Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYE 09

If you're like me, perhaps you, too, just figured out that NYE stands for "New Years Eve," not "New York Edition," or "Not Your Everday," or something like that. I've been looking at that acronym all month and had no clue.

Tonight's NYE looks lame. Did I say lame? I meant, um, tame...

Both kids will be overnighting with friends, which should be super-fun for them. Dane's been instructed to bring warm things and a flashlight because they're going to play tag all night. Aubrey's just supposed to plan to watch movies and play video games. That suits her just fine for a night.

Mick and I were going to go out with Kai and Dana and Garth, but they've all got major colds. It's not like we were going to majorly whoop it up or anything anways, though. In fact, last year I think we lasted until 11? Maybe 10?

Personally, I think there's a lot of romanticized hoopla about New Years Eve and whether you stay up to bring the New Year in, get a special kiss, etc., etc. But, then again, I've never been one much for ceremony.

Here's what I'm hoping to get out of tonight: good food, a movie, and myhoney by my side. Or a good book.

Tomorrow might be a little zippier: our neighbors across the street, Ali and Al, are having a neighborhood "Morning After" brunch. The kids can play and we can drink mimosas.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grammar Grouch

I'm not particularly picky about grammatical errors. Of course, I never make them, but I tolerate others' mistakes quite well.

All half-joking aside, here's a poster I'm thinking of buying for my kids. I'll probably have to wait and give it to them after they've reached their teens, since it has an abbreviated bad word in it, but it'll be worth the wait.

It clears up a lot of the confusion they're encountering in their writing. Perhaps it will have a positive effect on them and then maybe their writing won't be so weird.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I kid you not, you need to make this. It's scrumptious and fast-tious. It came from the Diabetic Cooking: Meals in Minutes cookbook that I bought in the checkout line at RiteAid.

I doubled it and added shrimp, but if you make it just like this, you'll still need to hold on to your hat.


2 c cooked brown rice
2 t canola oil
1 chopped onion
1 small green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T all-purpose flour
1 can (14-1/2 oz) diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 package (9 oz) fully cooked andouille or spicy chicken sausage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 t dried thyme
1/4 t hot pepper sauce or smoked pepper sauce (optional)

1. Cook rice according to package directions

2. Heat oil in large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes and other juices, broth, sausage, thyme and hot pepper sauce, if desired. (I did not desire.) Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and sauce thickens. Stir in rice or serve over rice. Garnish with red chiles, if desired. (I did not desire.)

Makes 4 servings (1/2 c rice and 1 c jambalaya per serving)

Calories 291, total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 19g, Carbohydrate 38g, Cholesterol 54mg, Dietary Fiber 4g, Socium 511mg

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My friend Nate thinks "most ciggies in the mouth" should be in the curriculum at ScienceWorks World Record Week. Good thing they didn't hire him to teach the K-3 "hands-on" course.
ScienceWorks Spring Break Camp

Spring Break at ScienceWorks
Spring Break at ScienceWorks

ScienceWorks Spring Break Science Camp: World Record Week

March 22 – 26, 2010
Grades K – 3
8:30 am – 2 pm, with aftercare available until 4:30

Behind every world record there is a scientific explanation! Come

explore the strange, bizarre and funny records of the world…Who

is the world’s tallest person, and how did they get so tall? Who is

the world’s hairiest family, and how did they get so hairy? What

makes the world’s longest fingernails grow curly instead of straight?

We’ll even try to recreate some zany records on a smaller scale,

like what happens when 1,911 students each combine Mentos and

soda at exactly the same moment! At World Record Week, we’ll

inquire, experiment, analyze and dream about some of the world’s

most amazing records!

Camp includes hands-on projects and experiments, time on exhibits, healthy snacks, games and art/craft activities. Bring a lunch and water bottle daily and get ready for some science fun!

Space is limited so sign up now!


Click here to register and pay for camp on-line with a credit card. If you would like to pay with cash or check, please print out the registration form below and mail in or drop off with your payment.

Camp Fees
ScienceWorks Member Rate
M-F 8:30 – 2:00 $175
M-F 8:30 – 4:30 $225

Non-Member Rate
M-F 8:30 – 2:00 $200
M-F 8:30 – 4:30 $250

Instructor Bio

Camp is being taught by Anjie Reynolds. Anjie taught Kinder Camps at ScienceWorks 2009 and has been teaching students of all ages for over 15 years. Whether guiding tours in Alaska, instructing writing and critical thinking to university students in Washington, or fostering the development and education of pre-schoolers in California, she is inspired by the curiosity and wonder that lead to learning. She holds a Masters degree in Literature from Western Washington University, and combines science and the arts in a nurturing and exciting classroom environment.


Thursday, December 24, 2009


Tonight it's Christmas Eve Dessert and Singing at our house.

We have fruits and Nilla wafers and gummy worms ready, and we've printed up songbooks for the singers and guitar players.

Mick's bro and his wife (Kai and Dana) and their four kids (Barritt, Indi, Jude and Weston), Dana's parents (Greg and Linda), Dana's bro ("Uncle Garth"), Mick's parents (Mike and Jan), and our family (you know all of us) will celebrate together.

And sometime in there, my mom and Don are coming! They're leaving Puyallup after an appointment this morning, and hope to arrive by 9 or so tonight. This was a last minute plan, and it's just perfect they'll round out the family celebration.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kids Poetry Contest at CSM

If your kids write poetry, send their stuff to the Christian Science Monitor! Here's what I sent on behalf of my kids:

The Dog

A dog runs
through a grassy field
fetching a ball.
The owner waits,
The dog comes.
He does it again.

by Dane Reynolds, age 9
(written before we got our dog)

Sharly My Dog

Sharly is my Dog.
Her fur is the Color of
a fox's. She does not
Bite. She is very
very Sweet.
Her ears feel like
Velvet. She wags her
tail when I pet her.
I love Sharly my dog!

by Aubrey Reynolds, age 7

(Yeah, we've got a bit of a theme going here.)

My new friend Jennie is throwing a LEGO party at her house today. It was her kids' idea. They made a flyer and only invited their friends who were gonzo for LEGOs, although her middle schooler wanted to post the flyer around the school. (Yikes!)

Aubrey's going to the book store with Grammy and Grandad - she wasn't feeling the LEGO fever.

Dane, on the other hand, is already planning on hosting the next one.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Write Now

I was telling Mick last night that I'm feeling rather zen about my writing. I'm aware when I'm in the company of accomplished writers that I'm no journalist, no lyric essayist, no novelist. One of those I don't ever want to be (journalist); the other ones I do hope to be, when the time comes. The zen feeling of all that, is that ultimately I must write to write. That's it.

In re-reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones and after meeting all the shewrites women for coffee recently, I'm feeling grounded. Whatever I write is what I write; it's true when it comes out of me, and it's true to my experience, and if I allow (and discipline) myself to write regularly, some of it could be great.

If I write about parenting, if I write about my childhood, if I juxtapose images or ideas, if I write about current events or ancient history, so be it -- regardless of whether it comes out as simply blogworthy, or as publishable in the Christian Science Monitor's Home Forum, or publishable in The Sun (*sigh, flutter*). Likewise, if my novel comes out as utterly awful prose - as the first draft of a first novel - so be it. With everything, I'll keeping writing, working, re-working -- all for the sake of that commitment to write.

Eckart Toll wrote "Be here now." I just wrote in my journal, "Write now." That's meaningful in different ways and it inspires me within the realm of discipline, craft, parenting, and dreaming.

This also inspires me, and I think it says a lot more succinctly what I'm trying to say:

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
-C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun Little Write-up

Check out, the Soapstone Writers Retreat site. I'm Saturday's featured writer.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shewrites. And she writes. And she writes...

Yesterday's coffee with Kamy Wicoff of was rather exciting. Kamy brought her boyfriend Pierre, a musician with The Dimes (click on their website -- music will play, and you'll hear their great sound). The others who joined us were writer/storyteller Devorah Zaslow and world renowned science writer, Virginia Morell, who had the February 2008 cover story for National Geographic and just signed a high six-figure book deal based on her research. Of course, Jennifer Margulis was there, too, who is an accomplished writer in her own right, having, among other things, held the cover story for November 2009's Smithsonian magazine, an article which was recently chosen for The 2009 Best Science Writing anthology.

You might say I was in exceptional company.

That's what made it fun, inspiring and special - but so was all the frank talk about writing and commitment and networking and choosing agents. Obviously, I'm nowhere near the stages any of these women are (by the way, Kamy's written a book, too, called I Do But I Don't, a book about marriage and divorce), but as Jennifer went around the table and introduced everybody, ending finally with me and my small accomplishments and novel-in-progress, I somehow still felt like I was part of the big picture.

There's a kind of big picture kindness and respect that comes from good writers. They're the ones who respect the process, the stages, the hard work, and the successes of any writer at any level. I definitely felt that respect and kindness yesterday as talk around the table shifted to different experiences and issues from each of us. Admittedly, I was the one playing the newbie card, but it was okay because they'd all been there.

But that's the point of, and that's the feeling I got from these other writers: at some point We've all been there. We've been at some spot, and possess information or advice or ideas that are valuable to share. And that's the purpose of a community of writers.

Kamy said she'd wished she could've recorded the meeting for her website, as it hit on the topics pursues. And, afterward, Devorah suggested we (sans Kamy) get together once a month or so to talk about writing.

Perhaps Devorah's comments were directed more at Virginia and Jennifer, but I didn't necessarily get that vibe. I got that writers-supporting-writers vibe instead.

It sounds like Virginia is absolutely swamped with her book deal, kind of like she wants to sneak away to a cave and pound the book out, uninterrupted, so I'm not sure what will come of Devorah's suggestion. However,I still came away inspired to work hard -- and you'd better believe I'll be sure to write again if I ever have the pleasure of actually being part of something so cool.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Coffee with Kamy

One of the head honchos at, Kamy Wicoff, is on a West Coast tour. My writer friend Jennifer Margulis thought it'd be fun to woo her to Ashland on Kamy's drive south from Eugene to San Francisco, so we've got her at Noble Coffee this morning from about 10-11.

I just heard about last month when a San Francisco girlfriend emailed me to tell me to check it out. It's essentially a writing network/information station for women (although their disclaimers say men can join; after all, they'd be bent out of joint if there were a men's only writing hub that excluded women). They have "webinars," forums, manuscript "help" match-ups, and a growing list of members who've published books.

So far I've just been a voyeur; I'm currently in a phase of writing where I'm kicking myself. Kicking myself into gear (I just sold "That Bike" to The Christian Science Monitor; it should publish in the next couple months), and kicking myself for not being as disciplined as I'd like to be in writing new stuff.

As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes teacher, freelance writer, I'd say I don't do a very good job of going AIC ("ass in the chair" as writers call the disclipline) on the writer part -- at least not for very long periods of time. Currently, I'm writing, actually writing, about 30 minutes a day and thinking about writing the rest of the day. Maybe that's a formula that will pay off, but I'm pretty clear that I need to spend more time than that to revise and craft the raw material I have.

It's almost time to quit saying life's transitions are distracting me. Dental school's over, we've fully re-located, fully moved into our home, nearly fully remodeled the kitchen. It's time to get a grip.

So, I'll go have a cup of java with Kamy Wicoff and let myself get inspired about the craft, the time commitment, the obstacles, and writing's original lure. After all, shewrites.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I first made these Stained Glass Cookies in 4th grade 4-H. Not only do they catch light beautifully, but it's really fun to hammer the Life Savers and Jolly Ranchers. I recognize the satisfying glimmer in my kids' eyes as they whack those things.

Here's the recipe we're using tonight. It's probably not what Audrey Raymond set us 4-H'ers up with back in 1980, but it'll have to do. It's from's Simply Recipes.

I'm practicing with Dane and Aubrey tonight because I'm teaching Dane's 3rd grade class to make them on Tuesday.

We're going to our neighbor Paul and Beth's Soup and Sing-along tomorrow afternoon -- maybe we'll show up with some of these pretties.



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 30-40 hard candies (such as Life Savers), preferably in several flavors/colors


1 Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

2 In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add molasses and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated. Add egg and mix until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed.

3 Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture. Use electric mixer to blend just until flour is incorporated. Divide dough in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to 2 days.

4 Remove any wrappers on candies and separate them by color into plastic bags. Using a mallet to crush candies.

5 Place one disk between two large sheets of waxed paper and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Using a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies, reserving these center bits to add into extra dough.

6 Use a spoon to sprinkle the crushed candy into the hollowed-out centers of the cookies, filling to the edges. Try to keep the candy within the centers. Any candy specks that fall on the cookie will color the cookie.

7 If cookies will be hung as ornaments or decorations, poke a small hole in the top of each cookie before baking.

8 Bake 9 to 10 minutes. The candy should be melted and bubbling and the cookies just barely beginning to brown. Remove baking sheets from oven and place on wire racks to cool. Allow cookies to cool on pans at least 10 minutes; otherwise, the candy centers may separate from the dough. When cookies are completely cooled, remove and store in an airtight container. String with ribbon if you want to hang as an ornament.

Makes 2 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

* * *

Move over, Mick.

As you can see, Chris Isaak's totally into me.

* * *

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beaver Cleaver meets Calvin and Hobbes

Mom, you know what I like about you? You're not as strict as Calvin's mom. When he does something bad, she sends him to his room.

-Dane, after burping at the dinner table

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

crazy cousin dog pile

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Monday, December 07, 2009

Monday's Rockin' Recipe Share

He can bring home the bacon,
fry it up... some chocolate chip dough.*

That's right. Bacon with anything is all the rage these days, so Mick threw together some Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday.

They were delicious.

It's a little bit weird to understand it, but imagine sweet/salty with chocolate chips and alternately the chewiness and crispiness of bacon pieces.


And so I bring you Monday's Rockin' Recipe Share, courtesy of Pete Bakes:

bacon chocolate chip cookies and candied bacon

candied bacon
1 pckg thick cut bacon (about 10 strips)
brown sugar for sprinkling

chocolate chip cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz toll house semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1. make the candied bacon: preheat the oven to 350 F. lay bacon on a parchment covered baking sheet so they are not overlapping. sprinkle about 2 tsp brown sugar evenly on each strip of bacon. bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven, flip bacon and drag it through the syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. put the bacon back in the oven for another 12-15 minutes, until it is fully cooked and very dark (mahogany). remove the strips from the sheet and cool on a wire rack. after they have cooked, chop them or quickly food process into tiny pieces.

2. make the cookies: combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. beat butter, both sugars and vanilla in a large bowl. add eggs, one at a time, beating well. gradually beat in flour mixture. stir in morsels and bacon pieces.

3. spoon dough (about a Tbsp per cookie) onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 F for 9-11 minutes. i tend to go a little under 9 minutes so they come out just underdone. remove to cooling racks or eat immediately with a tall glass of cold milk.

*Re: photo - Again, ladies, I married for love.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


We just brought Sharly home an hour ago. (Yeah, I think we'll give her a new name. So far, she seems to respond to Jimmy. haha.)

Sharly's a Nova Scotia Tolling Retriever, a rare breed, and she is well-mannered, mellow, and has ears like velvet.
She also fetches, which was important to us.

In fact, many things were, such as:
*soft fur for cuddling and sleeping with
*up for walks and hikes
*would play fetch
*not a big shedder
*not a big barker
*a puppy, if you asked Dane and Aubrey
*an adult (at least a year and a half), if you asked Mick or me (not sure we're up for training!)

Sharly meets 'em all -- except for the puppy part if you're Dane and Aubrey (Sharly's 5). And she was free on craigslist! It's a long story as to how she came to us, but we'll take her in all her splendor and adorableness.

Dane and Aubrey have waited all their lives for a dog. This is a really sweet day. I'll post pics with them soon...