Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Antarctica Colder than the North Pole?

I'm in a good mood. I looked out the window this morning, and for the first day in at least a week, the thermometer read 10 degrees ABOVE zero, instead of 10 degrees BELOW.

I heard on the radio yesterday something about a woman crossing the Antarctic on skis. She travelled completely solo across the entire continent. In 59 days, I think. Maybe it wasn't the entire continent, just a portion. The radio mentioned that she skiied around crevasses, over mountains, and across the Ice Shelf. (I realize that in this day of Google I have no excuse for posting a vague recollection of something that I "heard" about . . . with a few clicks of the keyboard, I could bring you the exact details along with several links to original sources. Let's just pretend that it's 1982 and computers are still huge units stored in underground rooms that require special government codes to access.)

I thought to myself, there really are only two types of people in this world. One type likes to ski across Antarctica. The other type likes to sit in front of her fireplace, sipping hot chocolate topped with those special peppermint marshmallows that her mother sent, refusing to Google answers to her many questions, such as, Isn't Antarctica the largest of the seven continents? Is Antarctica an actual land mass or just a big chunk of ice? Like, if the globe warmed, I mean REALLY warmed up, would most of Antarctica just melt away and be left as a tiny little island? Pfft. Anyone could ski across that.






Dinner last night: chicken egg rolls, pork egg rolls, rice





Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blessings

I don't know about you, but I need time and distance before I can write about traumatic events that have occurred in my life. My eldest daughter is 13 years old, and still, I'm not yet ready to write her birth story. The first tenuous month of her life was the most stressful . . . most spiritual . . . most profound time . . . (see? I'm not able to express myself on this subject.) I wish I were talking about the miracle of birth and the anxieties of parenthood that every new mother goes through, but my first baby's arrival into this world involved a long and winding walk through the valley of the shadow of death. She was born full-term, but a series of complications quickly caused her health to spiral out-of-control.

She was pumped full of several medications that we were warned would most likely cause serious side effects. Should she survive, we were told to expect hearing loss and stunted growth. Shortly after she turned 4 years old, I was convinced that she was partially deaf. In a panic, I made an appointment for a full range of testing. Turns out, she suffers only from "selective hearing loss." She heard me just fine when I called—she just chose to ignore me. The disorder persists to this day. The louder I yell, the worse her hearing gets.

I've had to make peace with the fact that due to her scary start in life, my eldest daughter's height potential has been negatively affected. I have been accused of pride regarding my own height. When my back isn't out, I stand 5'10. I remember reading several years ago that the average height for American women is 5'5, so I was relieved to see that, while my daughter would never be tall like me or her younger sisters (all three who sit among the 90th percentile on height charts), she had reached the 5'5 mark by her 12th birthday. Except she didn't stop growing. She's up to 5'7 now, and one of the tallest girls on her junior high volleyball team.

She can pretend all she wants that she doesn't hear me,
but I still call her Shorty.



Dinner last night: pecan-encrusted chicken, tortellini

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly three years ago:






Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That's Affirmatory

Whenever I'm out and about with my youngest daughters, people ask, "Are they twins?" From now on, I think I'll just whip out my cell phone and show them this picture that I snapped this morning.

Two little peas-in-a-pod sitting at the breakfast table.



Dinner last night: grilled chicken breasts, risotto, steamed carrots

Exactly one year ago:



Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't Be a Dummy Like Me

Have you backed up your photos lately? Do it. Now, please.

Last week, my computer stopped working. Just like that. No slowing down. No error message. No warnings whatsoever that the hard drive was going to clutch its chest and drop to the floor dead.

The last time we backed up our hard drive was September 2010. Many times since then I've thought to myself, You ought to save your precious photos to a disk, Kim. You know, in case something ever happened to the computer. Hey! Lazy bones! Maybe you should print some pictures and catch up on your scrapbooking . . . but evidently I laid down on the couch and stared at my clean windows until those thoughts went away. Every photo I've taken since the fall of 2010—the family celebrations, the children's milestones, the funny times, the sweet moments—has disappeared. Fortunately, I made our parents a calendar for Christmas, so at least 12 good pictures (and a few others that I didn't end up using) are sitting safely in an online album.

A measly twenty photos from 2011 survived. Oh! and the pictures I've posted on my blog. What would I do without my blurry shots of moose's heinies?

. . . there's one going around the back of the house . . .

. . . and another through my spotlessly clean window . . .

. . . and the one from last week . . .


This one from Halloween isn't so blurry. Sorry.


Dinner last night: baked potatoes

Exactly three years ago:








Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Hard Out Here for a Moose

More moose than ever have been traipsing through our yard. The temperatures are cold and the snow is very deep, so moose are hanging out closer to civilization where they can get around a little easier. They drive me crazy with their droppings all over the driveway and their destruction of my ornamental trees. For the record, I don't like dumb moose. Off the record?

. . . I feel a little sorry for the moose this winter.


Dinner last night: franks and beans

Exactly two years ago:




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Good Old-Fashioned Winter

I feel like I'm living in the pages of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. I'm huddled at home in front of the crackling fireplace making a corn husk doll while Pa trudges through the hip-deep snow. Okay, I'm not making a doll, but I am sitting in front of the fireplace. And don't feel too bad about Pa . . . he is trudging through hip-deep snow, but safely inside his toasty warm 4-wheel-drive truck.

For those of you who have never seen –9° on a thermometer . . .

Dinner last night: white chili, cornbread



Monday, January 16, 2012

Moose Crossing

Please, take your time.


I have nothing better to do than to sit here and watch you stroll across the road.


May I go now? Thanks. WHAT? No, I didn't. I did not call you a dumb moose. I said, that's some caboose.






Dinner last night: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green salad

Exactly three years ago:





Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Still Skating

Not quite two years ago, my daughter pestered us to sign her up for figure skating lessons. A monster was born. A skinny, graceful skating monster who makes me drive her to the rink to practice.

This past Christmas, she performed in her second ice show. You should have seen the worried face, the wringing hands, the profuse sweating . . .  I was a wreck. Do you know how difficult it is to watch your 11-year-old spin and glide around the ice in front of hundreds of spectators? You can forget about me capturing a clear picture. My tiny, delicate hands were shaking like a leaf. And she was spinning 100 mph. I can't stop motion, people.

The theme of this year's show was "A Country Christmas." I tried to convince my daughter to select a piece of music sung by Faith Hill or Taylor Swift. Maybe something sweet and pretty by Martina McBride or Amy Grant. Oh, no. She got all literal on my heinie. She insisted on Loretta Lynn's Country Christmas. LORETTA LYNN.


I don't know what song she skated to in her group number. Winter Wonderland, maybe? Let it Snow? Was it Silver Bells? I didn't notice because I was too busy watching my girl and trying not to cry. She was born, what was it, a couple months ago, I think. How can she already be 11 years old?



Dinner last night: roasted garlic- and herb-encrusted chicken breasts, garlic mashed potatoes (what's with all the garlic?)

Exactly one year ago:



Monday, January 9, 2012

Call the Tooth Fairy

Look at who lost her first tooth already! She woke up one morning with a hole where her tooth used to sit . . . after searching the bed sheets, we finally found the tiny thing. Phew!



Dinner last night: turkey burgers, baked beans


Exactly three years ago:



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back to the Snow . . .

All good things must come to an end, I suppose.



*sniff* Aloha *sniff*

Dinner last night: da Kitchen

Exactly three years ago:


Friday, January 6, 2012

Snorkeling

It took a couple of tries, but the twins finally figured out to "put just your eyes in the water—not your entire heads!" Once they realized they could breathe, they took off. We saw yellow tangs and black spiny urchins. No sharks, much to the girls' dismay.




Dinner: luau


Exactly two years ago:


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zippity Doo Dah

We drove up into the mountains and slid back down on a series of ziplines, each longer that the one before. We stopped halfway for breakfast and to take some pictures of the stunning view. The morning consisted of a little hiking, a lot of zipping, and a whole bunch of fun.

I'm too sexy for my helmet.


There's my 11-year-old with her fearless self.


My husband wore a helmet with a small camera attached, and the following 20 second clip gives a sense of the experience of zipping across a Hawaiian valley. Click the arrow to play:

video


Dinner last night: Korean barbecue


Exactly two years ago:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Alaska's Rival

I am partial to Alaskan sunsets, but I must admit that Hawaii's are pretty awesome.

Taken with a cell phone out the restaurant window!



Dinner last night: barbecue chicken

Exactly one year ago:


Monday, January 2, 2012

Where's Allison?

You know how in horror movies there's that scene where the unsuspecting character is so terrified that his or her entire head of hair turns white? I've already experienced at least three of those moments. My 11-year-old daughter will disappear, I'll start to panic, and then I'll see her . . . floating half a mile out in the ocean, or . . .

. . . smiling from her perch 15' up in a tree, or . . . 


. . . waving at me from atop a rocky cliff.

Something tells me that this kid has a future in extreme sports. And, now, I'm off to dye my hair back to a normal shade of brown.



Dinner last night: cheeseburger in paradise, onion rings

Exactly three years ago:



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wow, That Was a Really Long Nap

Happy New Year, gentle readers! Guess where I am? I'll give you a hint . . .


I'm not in Alaska. That is my 11-year-old daughter IN THE OCEAN. I paid $6 for those goggles and plastic snorkel set, and she is one happy kid.

The internet at our hotel costs a little more than $6 . . . they charge $15/day to hook up to the world-wide web. I don't know about you, but I find that obscene. Insulting. Abhorrent. Does the management not realize that entire cities offer free wifi? Seattle, New Orleans, and Mountain View, California, to name just a few. I refuse to pay such a ridiculous amount for something I can get for free at McDonald's, so I ambled up the road and am sitting here with a cold, refreshing Coca-Cola product in my hand. Thank you, McDonald's. Your pickles are gross, but your free wifi rules.

December kicked my rather small and shapely heinie. There was the usual chaos of my girls' end-of-the-semester activities. Add to that the writing course I took, which required a lot of time and mental energy. I'm pretty sure that writing is about the most difficult thing in the world for me, yet I enjoy it. Oh, how I struggled. Laughed. Cried. Vomited . . . well, almost. I was so nervous before the public reading that my professor required that I almost threw up. We can't forget about Christmas, and all that the holiday season involves. Toss in three severe windstorms that knocked trees down and left us without power for a couple days, and you've got one busy Kim. Let's not forget packing for the family vacation, which first required conquering the massive pile of laundry in front of the washer.

So, long story short, I am sunburnt but still alive.



Dinner last night: ono in orange sauce and encrusted with crushed macadamia nuts, hula pie (oh, my!)


Exactly two years ago: