Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas for the Griffiths

Oh it was a marvelous Christmas this year. It had a few fraught moments leading up to it, but except for a brief run on Friday afternoon, I avoided all mall experiences (mall=mal). Amazon got a fair chunk of my shopping time, but I also found small businesses on the web selling beads and bead kits and ordered kits both to give and to make and give from them. The highlight of the gifting was a last-minute item I found and ordered for Dave from the Make magazine store. I thought I was getting a completed item but what I really got was a kit. When I opened the box Wednesday evening in the midst of all the last-minute Christmas prep, a full-firing schedule, and June Cleaver momming activities, I didn't know if I was going to be able to pull it out. But Thursday I planned, and Friday--between playdates and firings--I ran to Ace Hardware and bought a soldering iron for electronics, a multimeter, a small-project vise--and a dimmer and three faucet repair kits (I got to play electrician Friday afternoon during playdate #2--the plumbing can wait till the faucets start to leak again).

The second stop on my Friday errand run was the knitting store where I purchased double-pointed needles, and the yarn and a pattern for knitted Mary Jane slippers for J. Whumped out a pair of the slippers Friday and Saturday nights. J wearing and holding them shown here. Today or tomorrow I am going to embroider some big red yarn daisies on them for her.

Saturday found me hiding in the studio sporting reading glasses (damn, those circuit boards are TINY!) and poring over the downloaded instructions in preparation for my first foray into small electronics. Jessie and her friend Grace placed some of the resistors for me--after my mall run to Radio Shack to get the 100K 1/4 watt 5% resistors that weren't included in the kit--and after I soldered them in I noticed J's was in the wrong holes. Whoops! Good thing I have a lot of experience soldering and unsoldering from stained glass. I got it out, put a new one in the right holes and soldered it all up. After checking to make sure there was no solder where it shouldn't be, I tested it out and cased it up. Voila! A Cinna Boost battery-powered USB charger that will power up iPods, iPhones, iTouches, shuffles and Blackberries! Actually it will charge a lot more than that, but those are the devices we have. Two AA batteries later (it even works with rechargeables) and Dave's gift was done.

Jessie, not to be outdone, made some of her Christmas gifts too. Here are the pics of her stringing turquoise and silver necklaces for her Grammas. She laid out all the beads according to the picture, and then she strung them all. I couldn't even see the seed beads on one of them--much less the holes she had to string them through. She did one Wednesday and one Thursday and we got them both out for delivery by Christmas to Montana and Illinois. Whew!

Christmas Day I actually had to wake Jessie up at 9:30 to tell her to get up to see what Santa brought. She opened one bleary eye at me and snuggled back down under the covers. I think my child is an alien. After the presents were all unwrapped, we settled down to play with them. J opened her sand art kit from Uncle Ed and cousins Jessica and Andrew and started making bottled sand art (pictured here).

Now we all rest and recover... I had to write that so I could roll on the floor and laugh hysterically afterward. Dave is back at work in the full-out coding run before the primaries, and I am slogging through a big order at Siyeh Studio. J is the only one who is taking it easy--playing with Christmas stuff and watching movies today, playdates start up again tomorrow. Tonight we celebrate Boxing Day with fa cold buffet at some friends' house. Hope you all (y'all) had a peaceful, restful, happy Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzah, winter holiday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Day 1

J: "Mommy, you know what I really want for Christmas?"
Me: "World Peace?"
J: "What's World Peace?"
Me: "That's when everyone lives together happily and no one is fighting and there is no war."
J: "That would be nice too, but what I really want is an iTouch like Daddy's."

So we haven't quite achieved a child with a social conscious yet. We'll keep working on it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Dave: "... and you have to eat all of the green beans"
Jessie: "You said I have to eat half the green beans!'
Dave: "No I didn't!"
Jessie: "Yes, you looked at my plate, and you drew a line, and you said I had to eat this half of the grean beans"
Dave: "That was yesterday! Today I said you had to eat all of the grean beans."
Jessie: "No you didn't, you said half"
Dave: "You're not going to tell me I said something I didn't. I've had top salesmen try to tell me I said something I didn't. I remember sitting across the table in St. Louis from three guys in Armani suits who were trying to do that. It didn't work for them, and it won't work from you"

[Later, after reporting the conversation to Me]

Jessie: "I know what you were telling Mommy"
Dave: "What?"
Jessie: "You were talking about those three guys in jumpsuits."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday at the Manse

Stacy was right and I don't post enough on Stranded in the South. So Stacy, this one's for you.

The weekend has been consumed with property ownership and parenthood, and it has been good. It's only Sunday morning so it's not over, and any minute now friends will be over for breakfast (their daughter has a spontaneous sleepover with Jessie last night) and they will come to get her and we (Dave, of course) will feed them.

It's a lovely, cool fall morning. Yesterday we cleaned a bunch of stuff out of the dining room in anticipation of actually *having* a dining room again once the studio has been moved. We also put up the beginnings of the Halloween decorations in the front yard. We still need (according to Jessie) a couple more tombstones under the grim reaper, and we can't put the cobwebs filled with spiders up on either side of the screen door until we buy new little finishing nails (I have managed to lose our existing box of them).

A few days before Halloween we'll turn the pumpkins on the steps into jack-o-lanterns. J wants to make a jack-o-lantern snow man out of them and I'm inclined to acquiesce, but Dave isn't sold.


Breakfast is over, sad friends are parted (Jessie and Grace were together for *18 straight hours* and only had one tiff that needed intervention), and now the rest of the family is off to run errands while I gird my loins to continue the painting. Painting and parting are such sweet sorrow!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Battle Cry

It's Sunday. I am taking the weekend off from work. Well, not the whole weekend entirely off from work, but most of the weekend off. I am luxuriating in catching up on my blog reading. Ren linked me in to Stephen Fry's blog and a great Wallace and Gromit site (which includes info on a new short film). He's so wonderful. And Bridget has provided me with a what's your fill-in-the-blank-blog-thing. Oh I love it:

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Striding on the mountains, swinging an oversized scalpel, cometh Siyeh! And she gives a bloodthirsty roar:

"I'm going to hump you until you are unable to sit properly, then bake cookies!!!"

Find out!
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but I must end with this racy little gem (by way of Lilith Saintcrow) on the steps to writing a romance novel:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I Bowed to the Inevitable...

... And took Jessie to get her hair cut today for the first time... ever. She has been begging me to let her get it cut for a year now, and I have resisted--sure that she would have cutter's remorse, and sure that I loved it long and unique. But it's not all about ME, more's the pity.

Yes, it's her hair. Yes the cut is adorable. I just have a problem with the hair- like- everyone- else thing (she wanted her hair cut "like Phoebe's" and this is THE cut for little girls now).

I had my hair in the Pixie cut when I was her age and HATED it. What do I know. She loves it, it's too short to tangle, she can brush it herself. It's a win, win, win (cry).

She wants to Donate to Locks of Love so we had the stylist put it in a ponytail prior to cutting it. She measured the cut ponytail at 18" and then she took off another 2-3" during the styling.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


County Road Jester born 6/30/99 of sire Champion Thistleglen Fairfax and dam Stornoway Myra at County Road, crossed the rainbow bridge at 3:20 pm on 8/23/07. I held him as he crossed. His bravery through all of his surgeries and his gentleness throughout his trials made everyone at the vet love him and stop by his run for kisses and pets. Many thanks to his primary vet, Lori MacDougall who celebrated his life and cried at his passing with me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Our Last Night in Montana

I sit in bed all cosy with my laptop on my lap and my spouse by my side (also be-laptopped) and reflect on the past two wonderful weeks in Montana. It's always hard to leave here, but this time is harder than usual. We spent the majority of our time up on Finley Point at Flathead Lake just collecting rocks, reading, drowsing in the sun and swimming in the lovely cold, clear water. Every afternoon and evening we saw the resident deer--the doe and her two fawns, the three year-old buck, and various of their friends. At night we carefully put everything inside the cabin so the resident bear wouldn't get it. But the bear didn't bother us as the last cherries are falling off the trees bursting with late summer juice and he has all he can eat from them--keeps him busy.

One gray day Dave, Jessie and I drove up to Logan Pass at the top of the Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. We thought about going on up to Canada and seeing the Waterton side of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, but the day got away from us and the construction on the GTTS Road slowed us down a bit. For those of you who have never been to Glacier--and for those who just want to marvel at the incredible feat of engineering that is the Going-to-The-Sun Highway, the etours on this page are fascinating (especially the power tour).

I still haven't replaced my broken digital camera and the iPhone is just not meant for panoramic shots so I don't have any photos from our day. I was forced to live not commemorate the sightings of a herd of bighorn sheep grazing at the pass, a columbia ground squirrel, a pika and a young mountain goat grazing at the side of the road. There wasn't any snow at the visitor center and not much on the mountain above it, but it has been a particularly long, hot summer. For good snow shots, and a previous day in Glacier, see the original post on Siyeh Pass. What great days I've had in Glacier.

Tonight we stopped by Van (from that day on Siyeh Pass) and Molly's house and Jessie played with their daughters Emma and Sally. I could go on about how I have known Van since first grade, but instead I am just going to say, take it as read that we had a Big Chill kind of evening and are hoping to repeat it again next summer.

Now to close, perchance to dream of high blue mountains rising into the clouds, snow kissed air flowing down from them--even in August, and the beautiful wild country that is the home of my heart.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mika - Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

Saw this on Lilith Saintcrow's blog and had to grab it. no, this is not *entirely* how I am spending my vacation...

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Mayonnaise Jar and the Two Glasses of Wine

As I scurried to ready myself for the BMAC in Philadelphia, I took a break to have lunch and catch up on my email. In my Inbox was the following from my mother:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first , " he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

The Indigo Girls

Last night I saw the Indigo Girls in concert for the first time. The concert was on the lawn at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens--a hometown show for them. I was so overwhelmed by the concert that I dreamed about them all night. Two women, two instruments, that's it. Two incredible voices and two amazing song-writing talents. This was the best concert of my life by far. Today on iTunes is an all-Indigo-Girls day--not too difficult as we have all of their albums (whatever the media, they will always be albums to me). And this group already holds a special place for me: Our friend Andrea sang "The Power of Two", an Indigo Girls song, at Dave's and my wedding. It gave me goose-bumps to hear the IG sing it last night (as D and I held hands and hugged).

The show started at 8:00 and the gates were supposed to open at 6:30 so we got there about 6:15. We stood in the drizzling rain at what felt like the end of a very long line. But the people that streamed past us to the back of the line during the ensuing 45 minutes that it took till the gates opened at 7:00 made our line look like a couple of people around a water cooler. And we still all fit in.

When we got in and found a space we weren't pressed right up front, but we were very close--on the little Botanical Gardens Lawn there isn't a "far away" seat anyway. We put down our tarp and our blanket, got a bottle of wine, some water, some antipasti from the Sun In My Belly caterers, and settled down to play gin rummy till the concert started.

The pictures were taken with an iPhone (not even a real camera) as I was *sitting*, lounging really on our blanket. I am usually not too much of a concert person as I don't like to stand for three hours to listen to music--and the person in front of you is always standing so you have to stand too if you want to see. This concert was perfect: There were songs you had to stand up and dance, and then you sat (or lay) back down and lounged for awhile. Because everyone did that, everyone got to see all the time--how cool is that? The first picture is the opening act, Brandi Carlile, then the stage just as dark fell, then--still sitting--our view of the Indigo Girls themselves. Sadly the pictures don't capture just how close it felt or how clear the view was.