Scientific Theories & Other Stuff

For some time now my son has enlightened me with explanations about how the world works from his perspective. Being a good testosterone loaded male he has a reason for everything and always delivers his explanation with an air of authority.

For example, tonight he told me why some of the beans I am soaking for tomorrow’s bean soup float. Evidently it has something to do with the water hollowing out said beans so they are lighter.

I had no idea.

Tonight he also shared with me one of his theories about long distance travel. The conversation went like this . . .

G:  “Mom, do you know why it takes so long to get from Alaska to . . . what is that place called where Papa lives?”

Mom:  “Texas.”

G:  “No, the other one.”

Mom:  “Wasilla.”

G:  “Do you know why it takes so long to get from Alaska to Wasilla?”

(Wasilla is in Alaska for those of you who managed to remain blissfully ignorant for the duration of the last presidential election cycle.)

Mom:  “Why does it take so long?”

G:  “Because,” said my child who still pronounces ‘th’ as ‘f,’ “your car fights the erf because the erf goes backwards and your car goes forwards.”

Mom:  “Uh, ok.”

And here I was under the mistaken impression that the 40 mile trip between our house and Wasilla takes forever because my children don’t like to ride in the car and have no qualms about letting us know it the entire time.

On another note . . . G just asked if he could dig into the “Give” section of his piggy bank and take the money from it to school for the sick kids. His school is collecting “Pennies for Patients.”

Lessons are being learned. Giving is one of my favorite. Makes me a proud mama.

They are both so happy and chatty and cooperative tonight I think I might shed a few tears of joy. It has been a challenging week and a half and we’ve all earned this bliss.


Our Reader

Dear Roo,

This is one of my favorite pictures of you. Nearly every day you spend time in this chair by the window reading.

I love that you love to read.

I love that you read cereal boxes, newpapers, fliers, road signs and even the tags on your clothes.

I love that you love to read aloud to me at night.

Reading is a part of who you are . . .

Such a part that we even had your portrait taken with a book somewhere along the way . . .

I vividly remember lying next to you on your mattress when you were just months old. (You slept on a twin mattress on the floor as an infant.) You were not yet able to roll over so you lay on your back staring at me as I read Margaret Wise Brown’s Runaway Bunny. I can so clearly recall your sweet little face and alert blue eyes.

I knew your relationship with books was special when you were ten months old. I was cleaning the kitchen and was stricken with the momentary panic that comes over a mother when they suddenly realize they don’t know where their child is.

I found you sitting in the book basket in your room studying your board books. You took to parking yourself there regularly for up to half an hour at a time.

I think your fate was sealed when I got pregnant with your little brother. Between the nausea and exhaustion all I could do with you for five weeks was lie on the couch and read books. I put up baby gates and child-proofed the living room because sometimes I just could not keep my eyes open. We made it through those weeks by reading dozens of books a day. You especially liked Sandra Boynton’s BlueHat, Green Hat and Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Except we had to skip the “Boo!” page because it scared you.

You really were not, however, particularly picky about what we read.

Shortly before you turned two you started “reading” books out loud to yourself. Using something resembling English and in your insanely high-pitched little voice you would rattle off the entire story as you remembered it.

By the time you were three you were learning your letters and by four you were starting to spell. Remember when I had to ask you how to spell “story” when you were in first grade? I’m forever trying to put an ‘e’ in that word.

You would always read anything within reach . . . or eyesight.

And still do . . . which is why I have to check my email when you are in the other room now.

Words and language and books are your gifts, Roo.

It’s a beautiful thing.

And it doesn’t hurt my feelings that you help me justify my book habit.

I love you to your bones, girl-child, to your bones.


Sexy Ungulate


Members of PETA will probably not want to read this post.


Close your browser window now if you are squeamish.

Consider yourself warned.

One night last week my husband and I had the opportunity to bond over this . . .

This, for those of you who don’t know, is a hind quarter of an Alces alces.

We call them moose around here.

They look like this when still in one piece.

And it is a beautiful thing. It is equally beautiful in our freezer.

Except maybe not this part.

But I digress, as usual.

As my in-laws were graciously braving the crazy Monday night crowd at the Everything Store on our behalf, C and I worked together to get this put up in the freezer.

That means he wielded the knife and I herded children around, ran the FoodSaver®, and was momentarily able to forget the fact that the very next day my baby was running off to kindergarten.

This particular hunk of meat was a gift to my husband in exchange for the use of his boat and muscles.

And we are extremely grateful for it.

And it isn’t just because security in my little world is a full freezer.

By the way . . .

I have to tell you. There is nothing sexier than your husband walking through the door of your house with the hind quarter of an ungulate slung over his shoulder. I’d have the pictures to prove it but I was busy opening the door.

It’s true. The sexy part, that is.

Yes that does say moose fajita.


And for those of you who are curious about what the bottom of a moose hoof looks like, well here you go.

Reminds me of an ashtray my parents had. It was made from a moose hoof. What can I even say about that? Except the word “classy” doesn’t immediately spring to mind.

Grateful and drooling,

Hope – Day 1

I’ve been promising to upload the pictures from our 4th of July trek out to Hope for – well – What day is it today? – twelve days. I’m finally getting started. Part of the challenge was that I took 285 pictures during that 48 hour trip. Really. 285 pictures. I’ll try to spare you the delight torture of having to view them all.

This trip to Hope had been planned since forever ago by my friend J who had the brains to plan ahead and reserve a cabin for the holiday weekend some time last winter.

We like to camp with J and her family because their kids are the same ages as ours. (Read: totally understand meltdowns, insane numbers of pit stops, a reasonable bedtime, time outs, quiet time, etc., etc.) You might remember J’s son G from the post about the wedding.

After meeting up at the Ranger Station on the edge of town and making sure we were all really going the same place we loaded up and headed on down the road.

I took this picture about 5 minutes into our drive. Our destination is across this water there at the base of the mountains.  


See those itty bitty white dots on the far shoreline in this picture? Probably not. Trust me, they are there. Those dots are buildings in Hope. It would be a quick 10 minute jaunt over the bridge from town if there were one. But there isn’t. Of course, Hope wouldn’t be Hope if it were just a quick 10 minute jaunt over the bridge. It would lose its . . . uh . . . um . . . unique Alaska charm . . . and become a suburb of Anchorage.

Anyway, so it isn’t a quick ten minute jaunt. It is more like an 80 mile 1.5 hour drive or something like that. We have to drive up around all this water . . .   

and back down the other side.

So we did.

The scenery was beautiful. You’ll have to trust me on that. I had to cut something. If you want to look at great pictures of Turnagain Arm I guarantee you that you can find better ones out there than those I took.

We eventually arrived at our destination . . .

. . . this charming little cabin in a neighborhood in Hope. I use the word neighborhood loosely. Picture an assortment of dwellings in various stages of development built from every imaginable type of material (building and otherwise) scattered through the woods and connected by gravel roads.

We then fed the starving little children. (Our good deed for the day.)

Then we strolled.

I have to say strolled because look at our footwear. If I told people we were hiking we’d get accused of being naïve unprepared tourists.


See what I mean?

Generally speaking I don’t recommend strolling through the woods in Alaska in flip-flops (or Crocs™ or Tevas® for that matter). But as they say, you can take the boy off of the Gulf of Texas but you can’t take his flip-flops from him

It was a beautiful evening for a hike stroll . .

Lush and green.

And very, very prickly.

This stuff is wicked. It’s called Devil’s Club by those of us who don’t know our Latin from our genus. Devil’s Club is everywhere and there is no bushwhacking here because it is evil. It’s covered in thorns that don’t just poke you. They can make you itch and blister.

We saw cool stuff on our stroll . . .

and made a new friend . . .

I don’t know where this sweet little thing lives . . . if any place specific. She was so skinny her hip bones were protruding from her body. She followed us back to the cabin and spent the evening coveting (and sharing) our food. She was dear and gentle and trained (which makes me think someone is lovin’ on her somewhere . . . I hope). And it took all of my self-control and some threatening words from my husband to keep me from taking her home with me.

That evening we hung out at the cabin. Some of us quite literally.

“I’m done now,” says the cute little redhead.

We smoked out all the mosquitos.

Ate S’mores.

Some of us gave in to the pressure of being out of touch for nine whole hours and checked our email.

We put the kids to bed.

 And I have to stop now. I’ve reached my self-imposed per post picture limit.

We’ll chat about day two later this week.


The Outbacks

That is not a typo.
We are not discussing Australia or restaurant chains.
We’re here to chat about this:
This is a Subaru Outback®.
In the city in which I reside people drive vehicles falling into one of four categories:
1) Trucks (of various shapes, sizes and horsepower)
2) SUVs
3) Subaru Outbacks®
4) Everything else
Of those Subaru Outbacks® at least half of them are some shade of green. Based on my sound scientific research and clever mathematical analysis this means that there are probably around 40,000 green Subaru Outbacks® in this lovely little town.
Give or take a few.
The only time they are outnumbered by anything besides people is between May and September when the geese visit and leave little presents on every square inch of green public use space they can find.
But I digress . . .
This is what happens when you live in a town with 40,000 green Subaru Outbacks® . . .
When you decide to meet friends in the parking lot after work to head out for 5 o’clock hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine they say to you, “I’ll meet you at my car – just look for the Outback®.” They don’t even have to say Subaru™ because when the word “outback” is spoken here no one has visions of kangaroos and koala bears just all-wheel drive and bike racks.
“Gee, that’s helpful,” you think. Narrows it down to slightly less than 100 cars in a parking lot that holds 375.
Being aware themselves that there are tens of thousands of Outbacks® in town they considerately add, “It’s a green one.”
Really? Well that narrows it down to about fifty. Shouldn’t take much more than an hour to locate your friend. By then you’ll need more than a glass of wine.
All of this being said, it wasn’t surprising to me when I discovered the parents of my daughter’s new-found kindergarten friend drive a (drumroll, please) . . . green Subaru Outback®.
Ah . . . but little did I know.
This green Subaru Outback® would be easy to spot in a parking lot – or on the highway – or anywhere.
Do you see what I see?
Notice the charming window decorations?
I have to admit . . .  I was tickled to see little stickers plastered all over those windows. Not only would I forever be able to find our new friends on the road and wave madly across six lanes of traffic, I was pretty sure we’d get along just fine.
Not only do we both have small children.
Not only do we both have pediatricians who hand out stickers.
But our outlook on life is strikingly similar . . . at least from the back seat of our respective vehicle.
See . . .
Their view:
Their window
Our view:
These are the things on which friendships are built.
Never prone to exaggeration,