31 August 2007

chocolate face

stepbrat seth has his first birthday today, but the party was yesterday.
seth's a pretty calm guy, likes to check things out before he jumps in. so when his mom gave him his piece of cake, he just kind of stared at it.
then he put his hand in, and squished a bit. and got the best ever EWW WHAT IS ON MY HAND look. wish we had caught it on chip. seth was totally grossed out by this sticky mess on his hands. but after a while he got the idea (once he tasted it out and figured out it was yummy no matter how sticky) and went all for it.
he was slowing down when his dad started cleaning him up, but once he figured out the cake was going away, seth made frantic grasps to cram what he could in his mouth before it was gone. we were entertained.

seth didn't quite get how to unwrap the presents, but nobody cared. all the other kids got to open his gifts for him. i was very proud of what me and chuck picked out. i made sure it made noise and moved and was in general very obnoxious. we got a chicken truck that made cackling noises and drives itself (if it falls on its side so it can't drive, it sounds like a chicken about to die - very funny). all the kids loved it. they wouldn't stop playing with it, and i could tell we were 10 out of 10 for obnoxious because after about 15-20 min, even i didn't want to hear the dumb thing anymore. his parents will love us forever. hehehe.

we're cursed

well, at least we thought we were until last week. we went fishing at chitina, for real this time. we got all prepared to take the charter and pay our 90 bucks each, maybe stay out all day (and all night - some people do until they get their limit). we had a nice drive down, although some of the higher elevation areas were looking even more like fall than my traitor leaves. got there tuesday night, and decided to buy ice that night. chuck has the fisherman's habit of asking everyone he sees how the fishing's going, and it was a good thing. he asked the clerk, who told us the one charter that was opened had closed up that morning due to family medical emergency. geez. that sure was a bummer. where were we going to fish now?

we'd seen people parking at this bend in the road, and stopped to talk to one of them. apparently there was a trail out to a fishing spot, called salmon point. the fee for accessing the native-owned land was $15. so we paid that and got 11 fish in 4 hours with only one net. and didn't feel cursed anymore. the fish were pretty good sized, but they were starting to turn pink. that means they've been in the fresh water too long and are starting to die, and their flesh gets mushy. i haven't tasted mushy yet, but it sure sounds yucky. so we threw back 5, but the 6 we kept looked impressive - chuck even caught a little king salmon.
they were heavy. and we've got loads frozen (in the new freezer that freezes! i'm still not quite over the pleasure of things freezing yet) so it'll be a good winter for salmon. i love that stuff. while chuck was fishing i played with the camera a bit. i had a good excuse: a really bad headache plus one of the nets we borrowed had a short handle and didn't go deep enough - although i did catch one by accident. but anyway i got this awesome sepia pic of chuck fishing. he looks so old school in his plaid and too long hair, i can almost picture him with a rustic pipe sticking out the side of his mouth like popeye. and there's a nice black and white of the opposite bank, which doesn't look all that different from the color one. alaska rivers are grey with silt.
i was quite proud of my pics.

school's back in session here, so i'm stocking up on my kid fantasy books. i've got the last 2 circle opens books, and the wishsong of shannara. in honor of the movie coming out, i re-read stardust. chuck read it too, and enjoyed it. it's fun reading the same books together. i like stardust, it's a cool fairytale. gaiman's written some very good books. then i did some marathon reading while chuck played computer games all day and got through ptolemy's gate in one day. remember my other post about the bartimeaus trilogy? they've just got something that clicks.

back when we had the stepbrats and went down to delta i blazed through the deathly hallows in 2 days. it was a good ending to the series i thought. for the first time, it occurred to me to wonder: where are harry potter's grandparents? it was thanks to neville that the question came up. neville lives with his grandmother, and she doesn't seem to be too old, so it's perfectly possible for harry's grandparents to be alive. but as far as i can remember, no extended family is ever mentioned except for the excruciable dursleys. harry's dad came from a wizarding family, surely he must have some extended family left. it's very odd, but i suppose not as tragic if harry had some relatives that were pleasant. chuck and i went to see the lastest movie installment too. since chuck hasn't read the books, it was interesting to see how easy the movies are to follow. he wanted to see all the others first, and fell asleep during the first two, but liked the third to fifth. just watching with him made me more aware of things they had to leave out that makes the story flow more smoothly.

last night i finished voyager, the time traveling to 1700s scotland novels. i like the history of them, but a definite downside/embarrassment is the flaming love scenes scattered through the book. the history bits can be very scholarly, and then all of a sudden they're ripping clothes off. at least they're married i guess. but i still skip over those bits. still i have the uneasy horror when reading in public: what if someone picks it up to see what it's about and flips open to one of those scenes? and thinks i'm reading trashy romance novels? oh, the shame. molly, when she recommended the books to me, said she "admitted to a guilty pleasure" in them, because of those passages the book could do quite well without. i know exactly what she meant. so be warned if you decide to check them out.

26 August 2007

traitor leaves

do you see the yellow leaves in there? they've been there a week or so
now. traitors. it's getting cold at night, in the 40s. yuck. and it's dark outside when i go to bed. before i go to bed even. woe is me. summer is ending.

we're still hoping to get some stuff out of our garden though. the plants are huge. yesterday we stopped by a neighbor's garden while he was in it. it's a big garden on the side of the road, we'd admired it and wondered what the huge flowers in it were. so we talked for 45 minutes or so, and ended up with all kinds of goodies from him. we asked what the flowers were. they're poppies, with edible seeds (poppy muffins you know) and he gave us 10 seed heads or so to plant in our yard. they self seed and his have been there for 10+ years. i did save some of the seeds for muffins though. we asked him about his carrots, and next thing you knew we had 5 of them to try. sweetest carrots we'll ever try, he promised. asked how big his potatoes get, and he pulled out a big one for us. chuck mentioned i was growing herbs, and he gave us a bag full of parsley. also got a small head of cauliflower, a kohlrabi to try and a taste of his strawberries. we got quite a haul.
more than we got at farmer's market, and that cost us. it's cool to have friendly neighbors.
we did get a squash out of the garden last week, our first one. chuck laughed at me, but i couldn't resist taking a pic of it.and this is what i made with itchuck laughed at me even more for taking this one. i got squash, zucchini, sundried tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and garlic in there. it was yummy. chuck didn't eat any. he missed out.

24 August 2007

year of the mushroom

thanks to all the rain this summer, when i look at the backyard i see this:

all those white spots? mushrooms. all different kinds. some of them look like everyday boring mushrooms, maybe with some color in there.
this one was kind of reddish

then there's the wrinkly ones, some yellow ones, and some puffballs.
they make a nice poof sound when you step on them and make a cloud of shroom dust.

and we've got these funky cuplike ones (they like to hide behind the hose), some green warty pads,

and a whole village of these, whatever they are.

nice huh? just thought i'd share

23 August 2007

good-bye sulfur sprites

when we looked at our house before buying it, the owners dwayne and daphne assured us the water was very good and tasty. maybe with a little iron but not so you’d notice. they said. well, we noticed pretty quick that drinking that water made us thirsty, and it smelled like the hot springs. not that i mind it at the hot springs, but who wants to take a sulfur shower? and the toilet has a permanent brown stain from the rust. honest. we do clean it, you just can't tell. so we put in a charcoal sediment filter, that we change every month, and it’s done a good job getting rid of the smell. until now. at the fair we ran into the water purifier people – we signed up for a free water test in the winter sometime and never heard from them. so we made an appointment for a test, and i swear the sulfur sprites heard about it because chuck changed out the filter and somehow they snuck through it. we had sulfur smell worse than the hot springs.

so we got 3 water tests within 3 days, and got a water purification system set up by the end of the week. the water actually felt lighter somehow. and my skin’s not so dry. and the sulfur sprites are gone. yay!

the only bummer was that somehow the pressure in the kitchen faucet went from awesome to a trickle. the plumber had no clue why, and chuck cleaned out the faucet and the pipes to no avail. alas. so the domino effect of fixing house is still alive and well. so on top of the filter we had to buy a new faucet. we knew that was coming, but i know the checkbook wasn’t planning on it for a long while.

and while we’re talking about unplanned home improvement, let’s talk about the refrigerator. 30 year old original Kenmore that came with the house. daphne warned us that it had to be manually defrosted. she didn’t warn us that it didn’t freeze anything. took a month to realize that one. luckily we didn't lose any ice cream to it. then i would have been mad. so we don’t use the freezer. then last week we found our milk turning to cheese. so now we have a new fridge. and it’s a nice one. we’d already looked at them ages ago, and picked the one we wanted, so it was fairly simple to go get it. the checkbook complained, but who listens to him anyway? it’s kind of weird having cold drinks again, that mist up on the outside. and ice cubes frozen within hours. we don’t have to walk to the garage anymore to get ice cream (from the chest freezer). i kind of like it. plus we can make ice cubes now, which means we can do homemade ice cream again.........yum!

21 August 2007


the last 2 weekends we've been babysitting grandkids. cuz their mom's a pothead and doesn't get a sitter. but that's beside the point. the first weekend we went down to delta (on business to meet a possible renter who didn't show up. we didn't appreciate it), and went hiking around the bottom of donnelly dome looking for blueberries. didn't find any but there's loads of lingon (lowbush cranberry) that we'll go back for after a frost.

pretty, isn't it?
then last weekend we bored the kids to death running errands with them. couldn't help it since it was last minute. in the store, we were talking about their dad and issac said something about me being a stepmom to his dad. so chuck said, do you know that makes you? her stepbrats :D it was the best joke i ever heard him make i think. isaac of course did a good jeremiah kind of angry face, trying not to laugh but even he knew it was funny. so stepbrats it is. even if they are kind of cute.

can you tell he's been eating chocolate?

20 August 2007

there is light at the end of the sunbeam tunnel

last sunday the counselor guy said they were releasing me as sunbeam teacher. bummer :D it feels like i’ve been in there forever, though it’s only been maybe 6 months. not too long after we moved into the ward. now i’m free! sort of. my new calling is sunday school teacher for 16-17 year olds. not bad. i don’t know any of them so well have to see. chuck’s being released as gospel doctrine teacher after about a month, and being called as the employment specialist. sounds like loads of fun. he already got to go to some ultra boring classes for it. but this whole calling thing has given me something else to like about military wards: when they say they’re going to do something, by golly they do it. this sunday they took care of everything and i’ll be teaching the teenagers next sunday. whew.

09 August 2007

warning for dangerous side effects


caused by: overdose of and/or addiction to The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud (The Magic Circle and The Circle Opens by Tamora Pierce are close behind with similar side effects)

the library should definitely warn you about these dangerous items out on the market, but since they're not, i, as a responsible citizen, am taking it upon myself to do so.

back to normal heather mode: those bartimaeus books are awful (addicting). the main character is a dumb kid (nathaniel) totally brainwashed by government propoganda and social expectations for wizards. he shows glimmers of a normal person with feelings every once in a while, but always falls back to wizard standards. so we don't read the book for him, except for hoping he'll come to his senses one day. the djinni he summons to do his dirty work is entertaining, with more morals than nathaniel. and a smart chick heading some resistence against the 1984-ish magician government, is equally interesting. but i'm really not sure what the addicting substance is in the whole story line. i finished The Golem's Eye (book 2) yesterday. stroud uses the usual tv-style writing, flashing back and forth between 2 seperate scenes/chains of events to keep the suspense up. plenty of books do that nowadays, and i can walk away from them. something about these books just grabs me though. and my house is dusty. i've stayed up late. read instead of gardening, knitting, emailing, blogging, watching a movie with chuck. it's bad.

now that i've finished book 2, you might wonder, what about book 3? i have it. it's sitting on the fireplace. and i ignored it - and picked up Magic Steps, the next Circle Opens book. at least they're only 300 pages or so. i only read 100 of them last night.

oh and PS i got a pet. Chris'll like it. another dangerous side effect for the list today, the dangers of looking at cool stuff on other people's blogs