Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 was a terrific year in many ways for our family (economy and politics aside)--there was Disneyland, New Jersey and Philly, Washington, D.C., Pickathon, electing Barack Obama as President, Thanksgiving in Oakland, and who could forget "Arctic Blast," a storm we may never see again in our lifetime here in Portland. So, here we are, looking ahead to 2009, and wondering what this year will bring. Landon and I are spending a quiet evening at home, drinking wine, and watching a few episodes of Nip/Tuck. Later we'll write out our resolutions for 2009 and review our resolutions for 2008. It's the time of the year when we sit down and reflect on where we've come and where we'd like to go. On tonight, New Year's Eve, may your night be merry and, if 2008 was a good year for you, may the good times continue. If not, may there be better days ahead. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here's to another year of blogging! Thank-you for reading. Love, Karli

Juniper is WALKING!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
She took her time with walking, preferring to crawl instead. In fact, when we'd try to help her walk, she'd throw herself on the ground and scream. She definitely wanted to walk when she decided the time was right, and I finally saw her take her first steps on December 28th! She's still crawling a lot, but she's walking a lot more, too. Here's a short video of her walking from the TV table to the coffee table last night while we were listening to Dido:

Almost Like It Never Happened

Monday, December 29, 2008
Was there really a snow storm last week, or was it only a dream?

Today, after a lot of morning rain, the sun began to shine. I could have sat in the sun all afternoon, just like my pepper plant.

You would never know our neighborhood was buried in two feet of snow only last week. The experience of the snow storm really does seem to have been a dream. I wonder if it will be decades before a storm like that passes through again.

I'm off to bed early tonight--insomnia last night, in addition to Juniper, who loves to play between 3 and 5AM these days, has me feeling very sleepy.

Resolutions

Sunday, December 28, 2008
As we get closer to the New Year, I've been thinking about resolutions and personal growth. Landon and I sit down together every year to review our previous year's resolutions, and we create a new list for the coming year. We started doing this the year we got married (nearly 7 years ago now). In the spirit of resolution-making and personal growth, this article by Arthur Rosenfeld was particularly inspiring to me:
"Pay It Backwards: An Act of Coffee Kindness"
After you read the article, you really must watch the video, too:

Two Days After Christmas

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I inspected some of the plants in my garden today, and was sad to see that I lost a few. My garden never looks the same from year to year. Each year, new plants are added, and others are replaced that don't make it for one reason or another. It seems as though I've lost one or two Hebes with this recent freeze (maybe more) and my new Gaura plants and a three-year old beautiful patch of Penstemon is gone now as well. At worst, it's completely gone, and at best, it will come back from the roots once I've completely cut it back. I will have to wait and see on some of the others I suspect I've lost--hopefully my suspicions are proven wrong.

Juniper still prefers to crawl, and I've kept her indoors due to her cough/cold for the past week until today, when we ran a few errands, returned a few Christmas gifts, and ate lunch and picked up a few groceries at New Seasons. I found out why she's been waking up at night so frequently--she is cutting all four of her 1-year molars. They had started to work their way up a couple of months ago, then seemed to stop. Now they are cutting through in full force with her gum tissue bulging in one place in particular. Poor little girl! She seems to be feeling less painful now that I know what the issue is and have been treating her accordingly with Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets and Tylenol. Her cough seems to be better now, too.

There was a great wind storm last night that brought lots of warmer air and rain from the South, so much of the snow melted away over night and during the day. When we were downtown today, there were giant piles of black snow with cigarette butts and garbage mixed in. Such a contrast to the falling white powder that provoked feelings of happiness and peace in me only a few days ago. Sam said to me while we were walking to Macy's, "Mommy, I only like it when the snow is white." Such a simple statement, but so true, and I'm thankful the blackish snow is melting in a hurry with the warmer weather. Once it is gone, I will anticipate the next snow storm, but for now, I've had a sufficient experience with it to last for a few weeks, I think.

Juniper is surprising me with her choices in books lately. She is drawn to books about Thomas the Tank Engine and books about machines. Part of me cringes at the idea of reading the Thomas books again. The plots in these books are usually pretty annoying. Someone says something James doesn't like, he pouts for awhile, and then somehow Thomas saves the day. Other Thomas books are about the trains fighting over who gets to make the top-priority delivery to Sir Topham Hat, a fat old man with a bald head that is rather demanding of his trains. Usually the other trains fail at their missions and need rescuing, at which point Thomas never fails to save the day. Thomas, always with a big smile on his face, becomes the hero by the end of nearly every story, and James, usually the object of the other trains' jokes, is usually frowning, but learning to be less grumpy. Then there are the books on machines. Landon and I spent many hours weekly with Samuel going over the different names of machines and all their parts. Samuel was fascinated and never tired of these books. So, despite the parts of me that feel like cringing, I do make a conscious effort to open these books once again--this time for Juniper--and try to be patient, because Juniper will only be one once, and these months and years pass by so quickly.

Cleaning Up Christmas

Friday, December 26, 2008

The house is remarkably clean, organized, and back to normal. Landon went to the Portland Art Museum with his parents to view the "Wild Beauty" exhibit, so I spent the morning listening to music with Juniper while Sam was at his winter camp and taking down Christmas decorations. Our dry and brittle tree is now curbside, and I must admit, it made me sad to carry it outdoors, thinking about how this beautiful tree was cut down for a few weeks of decorations and lights. It seems sort of messed up in a way. I'm not sure how the Christmas tree tradition got started, but I think I know what my next wikipedia search will be! Anyway, I finally got my car out at 4PM this evening after spending most of the day trying to do so. The snow is slowly melting, and water is pooled up all over the place. I managed to find our storm drains and uncover them, which was not easy, considering the snow plows had really piled the snow up on top of them. I don't know what good it will do, but Sam Adams said to uncover storm drains and shovel sidewalks, and when Sam Adams speaks, I listen! Seriously, it's a good feeling now that the snow is melting, my car is out, the decorations are packed away--life is getting back to normal as much as I've loved the snow and celebrating Christmas. And by the way, now that the snow is black, I'm starting to feel like I'm trapped in a coal mine, so please, dirty snow, do melt in a hurry!

Merry Christmas, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Despite the disappointment at not getting to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family last night, this Christmas just might go down as one of my favorite Christmases. The snow storm simplified the past two weeks, making this Christmas more about staying cozy and warm, bundling up for walks in the snow, and spending lots of time at home with Landon and the kids. I'll never forget the late-night walks in the snow, sledding with Samuel at Custer Park, walking to Fred Meyer for days in a row for groceries and supplies, and asking our neighbor for a ride to get Christmas dinner. "Arctic Blast 2008" is a storm I won't soon forget, and made this a Christmas to remember.

Sam was so excited to open presents Christmas morning, so as soon as Grandma and Grandpa Kuhn arrived, the present opening began. He was actually peeling paper back in anticipation before they got there, which led to guessing what his first present was--silly Samuel! He wanted to help everyone open their presents, and spilled the beans about this gift from Landon before I even opened it. He wanted to tell me that he helped pick the earrings out, and that he didn't pick gold, because gold is for pirates.

The gift that had Sam transfixed in a corner for the rest of Christmas Day was WALL-E, an automated, dancing robot that isn't quite what I thought it would be (you can plug in your ipod to it and it dances to the beat), but he loves it. It's one of two things he wanted for Christmas. He didn't play with anything else all day--he just kept pushing buttons on that thing to make it talk and play music. It was the only noise-maker he received, thank goodness!

The handmade logging truck from Etsy is on the back burner for now. WALL-E is Sam's top priority.

The other gift Sam asked for was trees so his predators had a place to hide in wait for their prey. I got wooden trees from Spielwerk, and so far, Sam has played with them very little in between playing with WALL-E, but eventually, I think he'll have a lot of fun with these. The wooden pieces fit inside each other, so he can take them apart if he wants to, using his imagination to create whatever forest setting he wants to.

Did I mention that Juniper slept through the opening of gifts? Well, she did, but she woke up happy, and with a head of hair going in every direction. I had a seamstress make her a beautiful little Christmas dress, but she screamed and pulled at it until I took it off, probably because she's not walking yet, and cannot crawl easily with a dress on. She also refuses to let me do anything with her hair and rips out any barrettes, ribbons, or headbands that I put on her. Hmmm, maybe this will pass as she gets a little older. For now, this is how Miss Juni looked on her second Christmas.

Juniper received drums for Christmas, because she loves musical instruments, and her favorite one of all are the drums she uses at Sound Roots Music. Juniper has always been interested in Landon's music, and whenever I play music at home, she dances and moves to the beat.

Meanwhile, I spent a fair amount of time preparing Christmas dinner. I roasted the turkey at 500 degrees before turning the heat down to 300 degrees for a few hours. Unfortunately, the turkey at first overlapped the roasting pan by accident, and some of the drippings caused the kitchen to smoke up pretty good when they fell on the heating elements (can you see the smoke in the picture?), setting our smoke alarms off. Not wanting to be the source for entertainment in the kitchen EVERY year, I got things quickly under control.

The table was set using Landon's grandmother's china that was passed along to me a few years ago. She obtained the china by trading cigarettes during WWII. I love the set--they are a festive gold and red, but they are very old, so we are careful with them.

I've never met a kid that doesn't like eating olives from their fingers.

Despite the smoky start, the turkey turned out just right. It was brined in an apple/water/sugar/kosher salt solution for 18 hours, then rubbed down with a butter mixture consisting of thyme, white pepper, and salt. To add flavor, the turkey was stuffed with aromatics (lemon zest, celery and carrot sticks, an apple wedge, and fresh rosemary and sage--it was tasty!

Landon and I received utilitarian gifts from his parents--3 fire extinguishers for each floor of our house. We actually already had one, so we'll take a couple of them back, but since we had so many, we decided we'd light a fire, even though our Christmas tree was dry and brittle. There's always the risk of a stray spark setting the tree on fire, so we had the fire extinguishers handy. It was so nice to have the fire on Christmas evening.

Later in the evening, Landon pulled out his guitar and most everyone joined in and sang a few songs. I can't say I was one of them! I just can't bring myself to join in to Cash's "Ring of Fire." It was nice to hear the music, though, and everyone had a great time. Even though Landon's parents and our friend Gay had to walk in from the main road, they stayed until late. It was an afternoon and evening full of good food, conversation, tasty alcoholic beverages, music, fun with Sam and Juniper (and WALL-E), and, of course, lots of snow! This will certainly be a Christmas I will always remember--after all, if it wasn't for my neighbor, I WAS going to walk to Lake Oswego and pull our turkey back on a sled. Yes, I definitely will always remember Christmas, 2008.

Christmas Eve 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The storm has passed, the snow is melting away, rain is falling, and chocolate and milk are sitting out for Santa. Today was spent listening to Christmas music and baking, brining, and cooking in the kitchen for Christmas dinner tomorrow after abandoning efforts to dig my car out to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family in McMinnville. Looking forward to a day of gift-giving, music, turkey, apple/walnut stuffing, desserts, wine, hot cider, and time with family. Sam's eyes are going to be wide with delight tomorrow morning when he opens one gift in particular. I can't wait. Happy Christmas Eve!

Turkey is in the Fridge!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today started off with wondering whether or not I would be walking four miles one way to get our turkey, then quickly changed when I went outside and asked our neighbor, a big time 4-wheel enthusiast, who likes to take his SUV for a spin as frequently as possible, if he'd give me a lift to the store. He was happy to, as he was going himself, so I bundled up and went for a crazy ride in his SUV that at times felt a little scary, especially when he drove up onto a drift and got stuck. His wife said it was like a scene out of "Children of the Corn" as six people immediately came running with shovels. People have definitely been helping each other out in this storm. It's great to see.

In the end, I was able to bring home $200.00 in groceries, as well as a turkey, which wasn't the one I ordered, but since the Mountain Park New Seasons was pretty much impossible to get to, even with chains and 4-wheel drive, I bought a free-range turkey from Market of Choice. My neighbors also stopped off at the liquor store, so I've now replenished my supply of rum, and with the bourbon, wine, and beer I already have on hand, I think we're set for Christmas!

There's supposed to be a new storm that will move in on Christmas Eve, lasting until Christmas Day, so we're about to have the whitest Christmas ever here in Portland. I'm making a conscious effort to slow myself down and have fun with it while it lasts. It's so easy to become anxious for life to return to usual, but I know when the snow melts away (will this be called "The Big Melt"?), that I'll miss it when its gone. Having said that, Sam has missed out on two weeks of preschool. Too bad they don't credit back snow days--that's nearly $100.00 in tuition expenses!

Tomorrow I will be baking and cooking for Christmas dinner. I'm bummed we can't travel down to McMinnville for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and celebration with my family, but we're still snowed in. Both of our Hondas are nearly buried in a giant drift. Our road is impassable unless you have chains, which we don't, and speaking of chains, the city has sold out, and they are still required. With a new storm moving in tomorrow, there are many reasons to stay home, stay safe, and celebrate Christmas with Landon and the kids. Landon's parents will hopefully be able to bus over Christmas morning for our traditional Christmas Day celebration at our house, and our friend Gay will be walking down from her house near Hillsdale. Neither Landon's parents nor Gay can get their cars out of their neighborhoods either, so they are all playing it safe by taking public transit or walking.

I promised Sam we would sled down Corbett hill tomorrow morning (Landon took him down for the first time today (see picture above), and said it was the best sledding he's ever done) before I start cooking, so I'm off to bed early tonight. All the walking I've been doing the past few days has me feeling exhausted. In addition, Juniper has been getting up every night for a few hours, so I'm one tired Mama.

I imagine most of us will be spending a fair amount of time tomorrow in the kitchen. Turn on your favorite Pandora station and celebrate Christmas and one of the greatest December snowfalls quite possibly in Portland's history if we exceed 15.5 inches with tomorrow's storm. We've already had 14.5 inches, so this month's snowfall just might set a new record. It has all been very exciting and beautiful to see.

Storm of a Lifetime

Monday, December 22, 2008

Portland is still well below freezing, and the forecast shows freezing temperatures tomorrow, then another snow storm that will bring 2-4 inches Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Amazing! This is a storm I may only see once in my lifetime here in Portland, and I'm spending every possible moment outside so I never forget it. We woke up to many more inches of snow this morning, and now have nearly 2' of snow in our SW Portland neighborhood. The drifts are much deeper. In fact, my car is nearly buried! I spent many hours outside today walking many miles. Landon and I have spent the past couple of days taking turns going for walks (oh, how I'd like to take a walk together, just the two of us!) so that Juniper can stay indoors to get over her cough. Portland is beautiful beyond words right now. This is the way December was meant to be. Just think--all the fake frost we usually buy around here, and this year, the wreaths on the homes of Portlanders are naturally frosted and it's a wondrous sight.

So, hang tight--this storm isn't quite over yet--get out every day for a walk, and soak up every minute of these beautiful city streets covered in white. It's not often we get to see what our city looks like without all the asphalt. Joni Mitchell's song goes, "Paved paradise to put up a parking lot . . . " Walking around the past few days, I've realized that when everything is covered in white, it really does look like Paradise--why did we ever pave it? By the way, if you are walking around in Paradise, as I was tonight, watch out for the occasional 4-wheel enthusiast. They can usually be spotted a mile away, and they just might be the end of you, so be careful!

I walked all the way up Bertha Blvd. tonight, cut down Capital Hill Road, stopped by our friend Gay's house for a glass of wine (her house looked beautiful from the street, illuminated with a Christmas-y glow), then walked back down Barbur and headed home. Stopping by Gay's house on a wintry night like tonight, it felt like an old-fashioned way of living, and hearkens back to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, where neighbors trekked in deep snow to check in on one another. I got to thinking tonight about our modern conveniences, and wonder if they don't rob us in the end. Slowing down this week, and spending many hours walking, I've felt like I'm really living. Maybe it's the excitement of the snow and all its abundance, but it could be that a slower-paced, more sustainable life might just be the answer to getting us away from the direction we're headed. Wouldn't it be great if as many people walked to the grocery store as we've seen on Portland streets the past few days? If everyone was helping and assisting each other the way we are seeing now? The snow storm has forced everyone to slow down, and I can't help but wish life would stay this way. If life did stay this way, I think we just might have a decent shot at turning global warming around. I can dream, but for now, I think I'm going to start walking more.

Happy Winter Solstice

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What an introduction to the Winter Solstice. I can't think of a better way to spend this first day of winter than indoors, looking out to frosted cedars, a thick blanket of snow, and icy, bare branches. The hummingbird feeder has been refilled, lemon blueberry muffins are baking, Sam and Landon are at Custer Park sledding, Juniper is sound asleep upstairs, and I can hear our neighbor chipping ice and snow from his windshield, determined to use his 4-wheel drive to dominate Nature. As much as I would love to go sledding today, it's only 22 degrees outside, and my little Juni needs to get better as her cold has now turned into a bad cough, so I don't want her to be outside at all today. So far, with Landon home to help with the kids, I'm loving the housebound nature of this "Arctic Blast" storm. Landon went for a night-walk last night and said it was magical out there. I might get out for a night-walk tonight, but last night, I stayed indoors, drinking wine and watching Mad Men. I think I'm in love with Don Draper, but shhh! don't tell Landon!

A Real Snow Storm

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Today was one of those mornings where you wake up to several inches of snow on the ground and a good snow storm underway. After canceling all the plans for the day, we all bundled up and ventured out for a late-morning walk. Then it was all about getting toasty warm, making coffee, and turning on a newly rented video for Sam, which we picked up on our walk. Do you see me waving at Landon in the upstairs window? I'm happily housebound, loving every minute of this wintry snow storm.

It's been quite a storm today with white powdery snow falling steadily, strong winds blowing it all around, and temperatures in the low to mid-20's.

The hummingbirds come by often for nectar, and sometimes, they fluff up their feathers and sit on the feeder, too cold to fly back and forth from their nest to the feeder.

Sam worked all morning on his Sculpey figures. In the past, he has watched Landon make them, participating here and there where he was able, but now, he makes them all by himself, and he does a really good job.

Here they are, fresh from the oven. There are many different sea dinosaurs, a centipede, and a human face.

I'm excited for this evening--sitting on the couch with Landon, playing with the kids, catching up on my magazines, drinking lots of hot coffee, staying warm by the fire, and savoring this winter storm, which is so beautiful to watch from our eight living room windows. This is the first December in many, many years that I can remember where the wintry weather has slowed down my schedule enough where I'm not longer stressed about keeping up with the holidays, but instead am enjoying, appreciating, and feeling happy and content.

Winter Fun

Friday, December 19, 2008

Once again, I'm looking out my windows to falling snow this morning, and everything is white and beautiful. There's nothing more peaceful and more serene than watching snowflakes fall.

There's also nothing more fun than good old-fashioned sledding, which isn't something we get to do very often here in Portland. The best kind of sledding is safe sledding. I know that's the Mom in me coming out, but although we probably live on one of the steepest hills in Portland, we actually drive to Custer Park on Capital Hill Road to go sledding. It must be one of my favorite parks in SW Portland, and the hills there are ideal for sledding, with absolutely no obstructions or nearby roads. It's perfect!

We're not the only ones who think so. There were many kids, all there with sleds in various shapes, colors, and sizes, sledding down the hills time and time again.

The past couple of days have only been at or above freezing, which means we can stay outdoors for a longer period of time. So, we're off to Custer Park once again today, where Sam will have the time of his life, Juniper will reach for snowflakes and put them in her mouth, and I'll sit close by with Juniper, sipping on a holiday latte, and trying to freeze these moments with Sam and Juni in my memory so I never forget them.

It's SNOWING!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I can't tell you how beautiful the falling snow is right now. My neighborhood is white once again. When it snows like this, all feelings of wanting to leave the house disappear, though now that we're feeling better, I can't wait to take Sam sledding again--maybe this afternoon. Right now, I going to turn on some music, cozy up with the kids and another hot mug of coffee, and look out our windows, completely in love with winter.

Impending Disaster . . . or Just More Rain?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
After spending a few days in anticipation for a big snow storm today, I was more than a little disappointed when it never happened. Landon says he feels mentally abused by the local weather coverage. It's true. We were so bummed we drove over to the east side for dinner, and all we saw was a lot of rain, puddles, and only a few patches of snow leftover on front lawns. I have to admit, though this second storm didn't pan out, it's been a week of slowing way down due to canceled plans, catching up (all the gifts are wrapped and all 165 of our Christmas cards were sent out!), spending time with the kids, and drinking lots of hot beverages like coffee and cocoa while watching Christmas movies with Sam during the day and Deadwood with Landon at night. I don't know whether or not this "Arctic Blast" has more snow in store for Portland, but I do know that as far as I'm concerned, the local weather coverage is like a soap opera that never quite delivers. I'm done--how about you?

Bitter Cold

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cold air has wrapped itself around our little city, and the snow that fell on Sunday morning isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In addition, it looks like another snow storm will come through tomorrow, and maybe an ice storm on Sunday. We spent the past couple of days indoors occupying ourselves with all those projects we'd been meaning to get to all along, but have been put aside in lieu of other things. I mixed up some Plaster of Paris and Samuel made a couple of ornaments for his preschool teachers.

We messed up on a couple of them, but Sam decided to paint two tiger masks, so in the end, they weren't mistakes at all.

Fortunately last night, a sander came by, enabling Landon to drive to work and I to leave the house after two long days. I know it doesn't sound like much time, but I was dying to leave the house. I think the hard part for me was that I came down with a cold, and wasn't feeling well enough to even go for a walk. The key is to leave your house, and that in no way depends on your car--unless you aren't feeling well. I was feeling a lot better today, so with the sand, I bundled up the kids and we headed to a nearby park with lots of safe hills and Sam had a lot of fun sledding down them over and over again. I joined him for awhile, but then sat in the car with Juniper to keep her warm--it was about 24 degrees outside--much too cold for Juniper who can't run like Sam to keep warm.

As you can see, traffic was moving nicely this morning along I-5. Landon took this picture before he left for work. He went for a morning walk around the block, which he enjoyed on such a sunny, wintry morning.

I've been keeping our wild bird feeder stocked with food and another with suet, and our hummingbird feeder filled with homemade nectar. Once I got the feeders up and started observing the birds that would frequent them, I started to feel an obligation and a responsibility to them. The hummingbirds will sit and perch on the lower oak tree branches and wait for me if the nectar is frozen. And the crows! There are two that sit on the power lines outside our house and watch me through the windows. For months I've been tossing out bread scraps from the south living room window and at some point I realized that two crows started camping out, waiting and watching. I think there are only two that keep that post, although they call for all their friends when I throw out something really good like a half loaf of olive ciabatta bread that has gone stale, or freezer-burned hot dog buns. It seems all day there are little bits I throw out there with the cheerios and crumbs that end up on the floor. Here are pictures of those two crows. I was nearly able to photograph them together on the wire, but today they forced me to photograph them separately. The one on the road I think thought I was exiting the house that way to throw him some much-needed food (which I did a moment later, but please don't call me the bird woman!).

And this one waits on the wire and watches to see if what I throw out will be worth the flight down. I have to wonder how the wild birds and other creatures stay warm in this weather.

The snow and ice have meant lots of canceled plans and lots of extra time to finish up what I thought I'd be working on until Christmas. I finished our Christmas cards (all 165 of them!), wrapped all the presents that have been making their way to us from Etsy and Amazon, have been doing a little reading (our book-club was rescheduled to January, so I can leisurely read this month's selection), and have been spending lots of time with Sam and Juni

In the evenings, Landon and I have been watching Deadwood--what a great show! Now that we've nearly completed the first season, I think we're hooked! Right now, the town of Deadwood is in the midst of a smallpox epidemic, we're wondering what will become of the guy who murdered Wild Bill Hickok, and what Alma Garrett will do about her claim . . . oh, but then there's Calamity Jane--what a woman she is--and Al Swearengen, well, he holds the show all together. It's so well done, and has been the perfect way to spend these chilly evenings with Landon.

Winter is Here

Monday, December 15, 2008

Although the season of winter does not begin until Winter Solstice on December 21st, its wardrobe has arrived, and how beautiful it is.

About three inches fell yesterday morning, and temperatures have been so low that it will be around for the week, I presume.

A Few Things

Sunday, December 14, 2008
I woke up to snow this morning, and am sitting cozy on the couch with my lap-top and a freshly brewed cup of French-press coffee. Sam is drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows, and Juniper is demanding some for herself by pointing and saying, "Nana, nana, nana," her word for food.

This morning I thought I'd share a few things, starting with a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, Modish. The giveaway package, filled with handmade goods, is worth $724.00. Check out the giveaway, and check out Jena Coray's fabulous blog, Modish (pronounced Moe-dish), which means "stylish." It really is one of my favorite design blogs!

Wow, the snow is really beautiful. What a rare treat here in Portland.

Here's a topic I never thought I'd be discussing on this blog: fair-trade condoms. Of all the ways you can green up (no pun intended) your lifestyle, going green in the bedroom hadn't crossed my mind. Even though I make light of it here, the rubber trade is actually one that deserves some attention, and workers deserve to be paid a fair wage. Check out The Hot Rubber, your number one source for fair-trade condoms, and here's another brand from the U.K. called the French Letter linked on Green Daily, where blogger Jonathon Morgan promises that "sex is now guilt free for the first time since that whole "free love" thing back in the 60s." Think about the men and women that extract latex from rubber trees and support fair-trade when and where you can--that's all I'm saying.

If you have some time today, check out the Handmade Bazaar in NW Portland. Alicia Carrier and Summer Allen-Gibson of Bread and Honey will be selling their artwork there as well as many other crafters. Here's the flyer for the event:
handmade bazaar

Did you see this Christmas tree made from 300 plastic water bottles? It's actually quite beautiful!

Floating stairs? Yes, I love them, too.

I think Caroline Swift's holiday cookies are beautiful and what a great idea to create a setting from holiday cookies. Her winter cherry brownies look amazing and I'm sure they taste just as good! Try them out for yourself--recipes are posted along with some great pictures of her work.

That's all for now. I'm off to help Sam build a snowman, but mostly on the agenda for today: staying warm and hopefully (finally) getting to this month's book selection for book-club, which may be canceled now with the snow and freezing temperatures. Enjoy the snow, Portlanders, and don't forget to make yourself many hot, tasty beverages today.

Welcome, Winter

Saturday, December 13, 2008
Bench
Hoping to wake up to a city in white tomorrow. What a great wintry photo by Spring90 on Flickr.

In My Head

Friday, December 12, 2008
There are many songs that have become stuck in my head over the years. Take this one for instance:

And this one, although the music video is out of control:

And this one:

None of these songs compare, however, to the horrible They Must Be Giants' theme song to Disney's Higglytown Heroes, which plays on repeat in my brain and didn't come with a pause button. I really need this song out of my head . . . immediately!

Here in Higglytown
Things all jump around
Just like the Higglytown heroes
(Our heroes)
They all work together
Making fun together
Come see the Higglytown heroes

Eubie, Wayne, Twinkle, Kip and Fran
All hop and pop around
Soon they'll learn about real heroes
Who and why and how
Now

Here in Higglytown
We'll all jump around
And meet the Higglytown heroes
(Our heroes)
We'll all work together
Having fun together
With all the Higglytown heroes
Let's all play together
Save the day together
Come join the Higglytown heroes

Oh, and last but not least, happy birthday to my long-time and dear friend, Sharla. Love you!

Red-Breasted Sapsucker

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This beautiful woodpecker has been hanging out around our Hawthorn tree lately, and just today when I was taking the kids out to the car, I realized he wasn't timid in the least. I walked right up to the tree, at which point he hid from me. As I circled the tree, he did as well, playing a game of hide-and-seek.
I wasn't sure what kind of bird this was, so e-mailed the picture out to a few friends. My friend Gay responded that it is a red-breasted sapsucker. This got me to thinking about bird watching. I've always wondered what the appeal is, but now that I think about it, it must be so satisfying to find birds and classify them. I also like the idea of getting out with the sole intention of observing nature. Perhaps this is a hobby I'll save for my fifties, when life is much slower-paced.
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