Friday, April 30, 2010
January 1, 1999
Things can change a lot in a year. People change. I've changed.
January 4, 1999
I am the Freshman class president! Can you believe it? It all happened so fast...I ran completely unopposed. But I still had to get 51% of the votes. Most people don't consider the fact that I won the election anything great. I wasn't competing against any particular person. But inside, I felt that I was. I guess it was defeating my own fear of rejection that I'd call a win.
February 9, 2000
Every time I write in this journal I have so much to say but not enough patience to write it all down. I guess I should at least say something about the new year, new century, and the new millennium. 2000! Wow! When I tell my kids I was born in the 1900's they're really going to think I'm old!
August 24, 2002
Today is my first day officially moved away from home...all my belongings are packed up in boxes...I'm embarrassed to say that I packed 4 suitcases, 2 back packs, and about 5 or 6 boxes of stuff. leaving only three boxes behind. But I left a lot more than that behind me...
It was scary to know that this family car trip was a one-way ride for me...
My mom has taught me a lot, but mostly I think of her steady, love-filled, unconditional service. She took me shopping today for toiletries and hangers and all that last minute necessary stuff a girl needs when beginning a new life as a student in the dorms 1,000 miles from home. She wasn't concerned with cost, just with making sure I had what I needed. I have watched her my whole life, never talking too much, just doing what needed to be done to take care of others--physically, mentally and spiritually. I want to pattern my life and my character after hers.
January 20, 2003
I cut my hair while I was home over Christmas break. It was over 24 inches long and now it doesn't even touch my shoulders. I like it a lot! It still has it's difficult days, but it's added lot of spunk!
January 21, 2003
Well, I still have loads of reading that I should be doing and I'm going to bed instead. Sleep is a real treat and I'm going to spoil myself.
January 18, 2004
Sometimes I'm afraid to write certain things because of what might happen in the future...if I write about loving someone, and then don't marry him, then what? Do I have to bury, burn or hide this journal? Well, all I know is that I need to write about all the aspects of my life, and hopefully my children and future generations will know that these are the things that prepared me for the rest of my life--my life with them.
Do you keep a journal? I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember. The little blurbs I have shared today are just a few pieces of my past that I took the time to write down. It's amazing how even with the missing pieces--because there are weeks, months, and years when I didn't write--my life comes together in my own words.
On a day-to-day basis we rarely think about how our experiences and conversations might shape and change the course of our lives. And most often they don't, at least not right away. But given time and added all up in a collection of words and sentences and pages, it's amazing how you can see the process of building a person and a life happen, one day at a time.
Over the past couple years, much of my journaling has been done in the form of blogging. I love combining photos and stories and having the visual support of family and friends as I share my life with them. However, there are so many things that remain personal and are so essential to the process of becoming who I am. And so, I continue to keep a journal. Hand written, bound in a book, and unedited. There are times I take a new approach--once I kept a gratitude journal and wrote about the things I was thankful for each day; once I focused on something that I had learned each day, and when I traveled to Italy, I wrote down everything we bought and how much it cost.
It isn't often that I sit and read my journals, but when I do I am always glad that I took the time to write.
Do you keep a journal? What things have you learned from yourself?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Grandma Zelda and Grandpa Ben at our wedding in 2004
Katelyn's middle name was even pretty easy. It was James Grandmas middle name. I loved her. So thus Katelyn's Middle name is Irene from Zelda Irene. As I look at Katelyn I am seeing Grandma Z's traits come out. Katelyn is stubborn, and man was Grandma stubborn. She is independent, and so was Grandma. Mind you this is my Grandma-in-Law, but she made a large impact on me. I love my own Grandmas too, and she reminds me of my very own Grandma Helen, or Hecken as we like to say, but there was always something about her. I loved her. So we named Katelyn, Katelyn Irene. A month before Katelyn was born, Grandma died suddenly. I don't think the family realizes that we were planing on having her middle name Irene since we knew we were having a girl. It just meant even more when she suddenly passed.Both my kids first names are names we just liked. James picked Katelyn, I picked Cameron (He was almost a Nathan. That was a name my husband picked too.)
Me and Uncle Carlos at our wedding in 2004My name is actually a last name of my parents friends, the Cali's. I did not meet them till I was 10 or so maybe. When they moved from Hawaii too Colorado. Carlos and my Dad were in the army in Germany together. I have heard tons of stories. Carlos is hilarious! Judy is so genuine and fun to be around. I was always there favorites growing up, I think it is because I was named after them. We call Carlos, Uncle Carlos, and Judy, Aunt Judy. I love them like family. My middle name is Michelle, and from what I have heard it is a tribute to one of my moms ex-boyfriends Michael. (She did not have boyfriends many since her and my dad are high school sweethearts.) My little brothers middle name is Michael too.
So what does this have to do with pieces of the past you may ask? A name is who you are, it is what you become. So are you living up to your name? Is there even a meaning behind it or is it something your parents liked? Is someone named after you? What are the pieces behind your name? I am very curious. There are some great stories out there. So you tell me, whats in YOUR name?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I'm holding in this photo (besides my lovely mom) a keepsake she made for my wedding day, a pure white linen handkerchief with the most intricate crocheted lace trim.
All of her grandchildren had one of these, even the boys so they could give them to their wives. She couldn't be there to see me married, which broke my heart, and I didn't let that delicate hanky out of my hands that whole day. I was grasping onto her in any way I could. Just three short weeks after my wedding she passed away.
Looking back, I wish a lot of things. I wish I had let her teach me more. I wish I would have watched her more. I wish I would have listened. I wish my husband could have known her as I knew her, instead of the frail body that once worked and the cloudy eyes that once saw. I'm so afraid her memory will fade, so I'm still grasping on to her. Occasionally I dream at night of her, and it's so incredibly real that it's painful to wake up and know she's not here. But I wake up to my daughter who bears her great-grandmother's name, and I know she IS here. It is a testament to how much she impacted my life because, fortunately, the memories I have of her and the lessons I've learned from her have not diminished.
When my grandmother passed away, she left photos. and photos. and photos. All of them are priceless treasures, and in most of them the names and faces are familiar and dear. But among my grandmother's photos was a smallish envelope containing images from a side of the family none of us ever knew - my grandfather's. He was my grandma's second husband, and not my dad's dad. But he was the only grandfather I ever knew: at family functions he was quiet and you'd most often find him on the sidelines, but he had tattoos all up and down his arms that spoke of a more colorful past than his demeanor let on. I like to think some of that spunk came from these two women - unknown (except by the handwritten caption below, as "Aunt Sue" and "Aunt Jessie" - but whose aunts?). There are other photos of these two together, but these are my favorites. You can just see how much fun they must have had together, and how much fun they must have been to be around. They were clearly well-loved. Just from these photos of them, I can't help but love them too.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The mixed pride and sadness I felt when I heard my 21 month old exclaim her own formed sentence of "I want to draw a picture mommy" just about knocked me over. I was losing my little baby and I was so afraid of forgetting all of that time when I would rock her in my arms. I desperately tried not to cry as I got her some crayons and paper and watched her scribble something only her mommy could see as art.
Friday, April 23, 2010
And then the sun came out...and stayed! It was beautiful, and quite welcomed.
I've been thinking lately about how important those cloudy days are. They really do make me appreciate the sunshine when it is here. Opposition in all things, as we say, is so necessary.
That's something I've been thinking about a lot. But I seem to have lost all ability to express my thoughts lately, in writing at least. So maybe I can illustrate with one experience--have you ever ridden in the window seat of an airplane during take-off? You leave the runway, ascending over the houses and trees, then up over the mountain peaks and into the clouds. For a while you're in the fog of white where nothing is visible and you are searching for something to focus on. Maybe it doesn't last too long, maybe you fear you'll never get out of that cloud; but then the fog breaks and you behold a beautiful vision. The top of the clouds are a majestic sight, reflecting the sunlight back at you across a perfectly blue span of endless sky. You breath deeply, slowly, and are filled with a sense of peace and appreciation.
You made it through the clouds.
You can see clearly.
After a few times of nervous take-offs, the knowledge of what is to come can override any initial fears and make the dark under-belly of the approaching clouds seem much less daunting. That's how I'm learning to see my own cloudy days. When I feel like there is a jet engine propelling me at a dark cloud, I know I can break through and the other side will be beautiful.
While pondering on this, my daughter found an old drawing that I had done years ago and made a significant improvement to it. She added something small and simple that is a perfect illustration of where my thoughts had lead me.
Yes, you can have clouds and sunshine at the same time--and smile at them both! And maybe next time I'll write about rainbows...
Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Tut Tut, looks like rain." Christopher Robin
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I love this quilt for so many reasons. I love every scrap of fabric - here's one from that dress I made for my daughter, here's a bit of that tie I made for my husband, the curtains in our dining room, my son's baby quilt, the birthday banners, that shopping trip with my mom/sister/dear friends, that fat-quarter swap with a total stranger. I love how it is so much like my life right now - the hodge-podge of fabrics put together in a tidy pattern; the organized chaos; the fact that when I'm in the middle of it I'm not really sure it's going to look nice in the end, but when I step back and see the big picture I realize it's just exactly what I wanted it to be like - yes, that's definitely like my life right now.
I finished over 30 nine-patch squares, but didn't end up using all of them in my quilt - I'll save the extras for some other one in the future.
I decided that 7 blocks x 7 blocks was just about as much as I was willing to sew up, and it worked out just right, I think. The finished size with the borders is 59" square - perfect for getting cozy on the sofa, or tossing out on the lawn for a sudden picnic, or draping over a napping Loved One.
I even love how the not-nine-patch blocks break up the pattern a little. I shuffled them in randomly ... and then I was a little bummed that most of them ended up on the outside, and that there are two right next to each other there. But I got over it pretty quickly - I mean, that's the whole point of random, isn't it?
For the borders, I did a 2" white strip, then a strip of 2.5" scrap squares, and finally a 5.5" strip of this thrift-store sheet I've been using pieces of here and there. I love how it's mostly white, but not completely - I think it fits in well with the pattern.
When I pieced the scrappy border together, I just made one really long strip of squares. I stitched it onto one side, trimmed it, and then stitched it on the other side. Repeat with top and bottom. I didn't even worry about making the corners perfect - because that's just the way I roll.
Here are the specs, then, in case you're a numbers sort of person - I counted it all up just for you:
For the nine-patch blocks (25 blocks total):
125 2.5" squares of scrap fabric
100 2.5" squares of white fabric
For the white alternating blocks:
24 6.5" squares of white fabric
For the first border:
2" wide strips of white fabric
For the scrappy (second) border:
approximately 96 2.5" squares of scrap fabric
For the third border:
5.5" wide strips of patterned fabric
Finished size: 59" square.
I'm going to quilt it this week - I'm so excited to put it together with the fabric I found for the backing and binding. If you have questions about the quilting part of ... well ... quilting, please let me know.
And please post a comment if you've been quilting along - I'd love to hear (and see!) how your quilts are shaping up!
A favorite series of books at our house is Charlie and Lola. Recently, we laughed through this one:
I'm enjoying this phase in my daughter's childhood (babyhood) where she eats pretty much whatever I put in front of her or in her mouth, and I'm simultaneously mourning that those very days are somewhat in the past for my 3-year-old son. He's actually not too terribly picky, but where and when do they figure out that certain foods are ones they don't like, when they used to gobble them up??
Anyway, in the book, Lola states, in no uncertain terms, that she will never eat carrots, peas, potatoes, fish sticks, cauliflower, sausages and especially tomatoes. Charlie, humored by her stubbornness, ever-so-sneakily convinces her to eat "orange twiglets" and "green drops from Greenland" (very rare!).
Lola will not eat potatoes, "not even mashed!" only to be told they are not having potatoes, but cloud fluff all the way from the top of Mount Fuji. Mashed potatoes are not on the list of disliked foods in our house, but in case they make their debut on said list, I'll keep the "cloud fluff" idea in my back pocket. Until then, here's my favorite way to make mashed potatoes (they turn out a little different every time depending on how much of the ingredients I have on hand).
Garlic Cheese Mashed Potatoes
4-5 large potatoes, cubed and boiled until tender (*see note)
3 large cloves garlic, boiled with the potatoes
3 ounces cream cheese (I've also used Ricotta cheese when I have some)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
chopped herbs to your taste (chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
Put all ingredients except herbs in large mixing bowl and blend together until smooth with electric mixer. It is possible to overwhip your mashed potatoes, as they will turn into a glue-like mess, so just mix it until all the ingredients are blended. For smoother texture, put cooked potatoes and garlic through a potato ricer. Add more milk if you like it less stiff. Fold in herbs at the end or sprinkle on top. So delicious you don't even need gravy!
*Note: I like to use Yukon gold potatoes because I just scrub them and don't worry about peeling them. A little bit of thin peel is not enough to make it chewy but adds to the rustic-ness (is that a word?). The texture of the potato is more starchy and, hence, creamier. If you are using Russet potatoes, here's a great video on how to peel them in a snap - I tried it and it works!
I don't think words can really express just exactly the lovely thoughts I have about "Charlie and Lola". It's charming and whimsical and smart and fun and I love watching it with my kids. For a girl who shuns most television, especially kids television, this is high praise indeed.
This particular story, "I Will Never, Not Ever, Eat a Tomato" (pronounce it "tom-ah-to") is one we can all relate to - Lola is a "very fussy eater". But her ever-patient and amazingly thoughtful brother comes to the rescue with lines like this:
think that but no,
this is cloud fluff from
the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji."
"Oh," said Lola, "in that case a large helping for me.
I love to eat cloud."
I have one adventurous eater - she'll try anything once, which is all we ask - and one who is fussy to say the least. So, how do you do it? How do you get your fussy eaters to eat? Personally, it's simply not a battle I've ever really wanted to fight. So I don't. I love this article by Catherine Newman (who wrote for the fabulous late Wondertime magazine and still writes for FamilyFun) about stealth vegetables - especially this part:
I like to think we have healthy eating habits around here, even those of us who are more ... um ... particular. But the real wish I have for my kids is that they not be afraid of trying new things. So I put salad on his plate over and over again, and we don't try to be sneaky about it. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun with it too - pretend we're rabbits or deer or cows, or that we're on a secret mission to destroy the evil plots of Captain Lettuce to take over the world. Or whatever.
So how about you? What's your picky-eater philosophy? Does it work?
P.S. I'm sewing as we speak! Stay tuned for the exciting next episode of our Quilt Along!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Sorry to Rachel and any other vegetarian friends, I hope this photo doesn't offend--
Thursday, April 15, 2010
In honor of Earth Day and National Jr. Park Ranger Day the National Park Service has made it free to all 392 National Parks during those dates. Awesome huh! So no matter where you live, get out and enjoy the spring beauty around you.
For more info here is the link.
Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad
1/2-1 lb Bacon
1/2-1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2-4 hard boiled eggs
1 head lettuce (I prefer romaine or green leaf, but we grew up on iceberg)
shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes, or anything else you like on your salads.
1 part Ranch Dressing
1 part Barbecue Sauce
Mix together in small bowl.
Cook then drain the bacon. Chop it up when cool.
Drain all but a tablespoon or so of bacon grease. Cook your chicken till done. (You could grill the chicken too if you want to.)
Chop up your chicken into bite size pieces. (You could also chop it before you cook it. It works both ways.)
Chop the hard boiled eggs into bits size pieces.
Add all the ingredients to a large bowl of lettuce. Toss salad. Serve with the dressing above.
My mom used to mix the dressing into the salad, but we serve it on the side. that way if there is leftovers the lettuce does not get all wilty. The dressing may sound odd too, but it is really what makes the salad. Try it, it is delicious!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In my case, the chicken came first when my Mom made it for me a few years ago. Since then, I've made some for my sewing friends in hopes that this cheerful clucker keeps them company at the sewing machine just like mine does for me. I've seen a few tutorials to make it (plain fabric on the sides), but the one I make is made of a paper pieced 4" log cabin block on each side.
If you've never paper pieced anything (also called foundation piecing), I think you'd love it. You can sew intricate patterns easily and accurately without ever tracing any templates. Think color-by-number for the quilting world. If there's any interest out there, I'm thinking of doing a video tutorial on paper piecing basics. Any takers?
Anyway, find a good pattern here for the pincushion. Also, I don't fill mine with fiberfill because it makes the chicken too round and a bit roly-poly and tipsy (although a tipsy chicken could be fun), so I use these to fill the inside. I've heard of people stuffing pincushions with everything from crushed walnut shells (found at your local nursery, or someone found it at a gun store - yikes), to human hair, to dry lentils, to sand. Pick your preference and stuff away!
As for the eggs (who says they're only for Easter?), I found the instructions here. I have a little trick for you when making little stuffed items such as these. Get yourself some of these:
Yep, your standard hospital-grade hemostats. The ends have ridges, so they grab on and hold without slipping. And, you can leave a smaller opening to turn your project right side out because you don't have to squeeze your fingers in the hole. This means less hand stitching later to close up the hole - yay! Just reach in with the hemostats and grab onto the fabric,
and pull it out the hole.
Easy! I got these hemostats as part of an applique class years ago, and the instuctor had a bunch to give away. But you don't have to hit up your doc or swipe some from the supply closet at the hospital, because you can buy them here.
There you have it. Whichever you think came first, this way you can enjoy both together and it won't even matter!