Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
Last spring, we started a joke with my friend Eddie that the moose were after him, after he reported having seen about ten on the way to a rehearsal. On that day, he rode home with my brother and I, and we saw about twenty four moose. I told them that he had angered the head-moose somehow. Incredulously, he asked me if there was some sort of Moose Mafia. So, being my typical self, I told him there was, and he was their prime target.
Tonight it must have been me. None of them stepped on to the road (thank you, God!) but I still slowed down and drove cautiously when they were near. It didn't help my nervousness that I saw twelve of them. In a fifteen minute drive, that's pretty amazing. Alaska's Mafia of Moose was out tonight, and it looks like I'm the one in trouble.
Got to wonder what I did, and who's the Godfather here?
Saturday, 27 September 2008
And our church was in charge of bringing deserts. Mum surmised that there wouldn't be many people from our church there and therefore we would have to bring a lot. (She was right - only two others came) Anyways, as the family was digging potatoes today, I was in charge of the baking. So I made my old standby: the cobbler. Only, we don't have any rhubarb left.
I improvised. Using crowberries and raspberries, which had been in our freezer for a while and needed to be used up. I wasn't expecting them to juice in the oven.
Which is exactly what happened. There was raspberry crowberry juice galore. Flowing over the side if the pan was touch. After suctioning out about five or so cups with the turkey baster, I finally got the levels down suffiecently. There was still a lot of juices left in the cobbler.
Then I had to decide what to do with the remaining juice... and a crazy idea to super-heat it and then mix in some sugar and can it came. And I did. So now I have a bottle of syrupy, cordial-like juice fermenting itself on my counter. I think I'll drink it tomorrow or sometime this week.
At least the cobbler was a hit at the festival... And I'll load pictures of my juice tomorrow when my brain returns from musical vacation!
Friday, 26 September 2008
Mum: Is that your pet rock honey?
Tink: Uhunh. You wanna pet it?
Me: Why don't you give it something to eat honey, you always need to feed your pets.
Tink: Yeah. Leaf for lunch. (Runs off with a fallen leaf.)
Me: Don't rocks need minerals, not vegetables?
Mum: It's a vegetarian.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Or, shall I say, the very model of a modern major general instead?
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
But I am happy, because I have something to look forward to, a new challenge in life. I like working towards goals and defeating obstacles. And visiting colleges means I get to travel around the country. Travelling is a lot of fun for me and even though airflights exhaust me, I find it a lot of fun to be in airports and planes and buses and cars... just going places. And then crashing in bed when I get wherever I'm going. Also, I'm extremely excited that I'll probably get to travel to Britain for a semester study whilst in college.
Also, since I'm not sure of which college to choose or what pieces to play where or who to talk to for more information, I lay in bed at night, worrying about the future. I hate things being up in the air and not knowing what I'm going to do just eight months from now. Also, the cost numbers run together so badly in my head (I'm no mathematician) that I become befuddled very quickly. I'm not quite sure until Mum tells me whether or not I can actually afford to attend some colleges on my list of potentials. Although I don't like being confused, it's pretty much a certain state of mind for me right now, so I'll live with that.
But I am at peace, above all. I know that God will lead me in the decision process. He got through to me (I have a remarkably thick skull) and He's in charge of the rest. Even if I'm confused, He'll give me the grace to deal with that and finally understand what all the numbers mean and decide where I'm supposed to go (pretty sure He's had that one planned already), He's the one who is giving me the joy that I feel about all this applying, and He can allow me that "perfect rest" which He knows I need.
Trust me, it's only through Him that I'd have the patience to fill out all those question-thingies on the applications. Thanks to everyone for the prayers, for my sanity and otherwise!
Cheers for now ~ Laura
Now here's something to listen to, a lovely song perform by two wonderful musicians.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Cold inclosing me
In a chill embrace
My thoughts like the
Wandering lost leaves
As the days go on
I begin to see
Autumn hanging frost
In the Air.
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Then about a year and a half ago, I settled on not going to college at all. My parents went back and forth on supporting that decision and I could never really tell where they were going to be from day to day. I've heard all the remarks, or so it would seem, from others in the community or at church about how I was going to waste my life by not going to college. To be fair, when I wanted to go to school, I got plenty of comments about how I was disobeying God's will for me. Still, I maintained that I was not going because you don't really have to have a degree to teach children music lessons.
And last night came. I spent an hour and a half talking to a friend of mine who is at college for music. He encouraged me, prayed with me, and said that he'd support me any way I went and that whatever I ended up doing, I should be sure of God's will. He pointed out that it may be God's will that I go to college to prepare for what He intends me to do. After finishing up the conversation, I went to bed, at about ten thirty. I lay in bed, wrestling in prayer... and there seemed no getting away from the feeling that I needed to go to college. Whenever I said "but GOD! I don't want to!" I felt that I was running away and avoiding Him.
Exasperated, I pulled up my computer. It was three in the morning my time, and four in Arizona. Amazingly enough, (or maybe not so, he is a college student) my friend was still online. I told him about what had happened after five hours of praying. I expected him to tell me that I should go to bed and think about it again in the morning. However, that wouldn't have been very like him.
So, today, I've spent almost all my time researching colleges and beginning to work on essays and applications.
Funnily enough, it's never really been in question what my degree will be. Only which instrument. And I've decided to go for piano, after all, I'm better on that than on violin. A minor in creative writing is also pretty much an order. We'll see where I go from here.
At least I feel like I've actually arrive somewhere after all this time.
Friday, 19 September 2008
I've heard a lot of my college friends saying "Thank God it's Friday" this past month, and I decided to adopt it for my own this week. There are, of course, the normal reasons. Friday is the last I day that I work during the week. I love the peace, the chance to relax, the rest I can have on weekends. It's my time to walk around my neighbourhood, read, write, play music, bake or do something without worrying about going somewhere. My weekends are free, and I like them that way.
But for the past two weeks, I've been looking forward to this Friday, eagerly and worriedly. Because this morning, I had my first ever official, professional job interview. I felt like a child being promised a trip to the ice cream shop. (Which is, coincedently, just around the corner from where the job's at, along with the library and the craft store. What luck!)
And what job had me so excited? Well, being a receptionist at a midwifery actually. I was really a little nervous when I walked in, after praying all the drive into town for the meeting to go well. And it did. She and I had actually met before, which neither of us knew when we set up the interview via the telephone. Also, it helped that I actually knew the name of the business that she ran and what she did. I was informed that I was the first person she'd talked to that knew what a midwife does, as her other applicants so far had thought it was another form of early childhood education.
I'll find out next week sometime whether or not I got the job. I am just so happy that it went well and I didn't blunder my way through it. Oh, and I also got to ask her some questions I had about the use of herbs during labor. On the whole, it was a very profitable day.
All the same, thank God it's Friday and there's absolutely nothing I need to do tomorrow. Except for clean. And I like that. (Usually.)
Thursday, 18 September 2008
So after a while of reading and music, I lay in the sun, watching the wind toss the trees about. Dvorak's New World Symphony is the perfect soundtrack to my life right now. Then I prepped some cookie-dough, once again, a recipe calling for cardamom. The smell of crushed or cut cardamom is one of the best smells in the world.
Later, when the kids came home, they all went outside to eat peanuts on the deck. I joined them, wrapped up in an afghan and watched them from the curious perspective of the ground. Some of the best moments were the simplest: watching Belle's shoes prancing around my head, biking through crisp, golden leaves, scraping out the remaining cookie dough with my fingers, knitting in the wind...
These are the days that I love, and that make me so very happy and let me know that that there's no career I'd take over being a home-keeper.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
"Notice that Friendship thus repeats on a more individual and less social necessary level the character of the Companionship which was its matrix. The Companionship was between people who were doing something together - hunting, studying, painting, or what you will. The Friends will still be doing something together, but something more inward, less widely shared and less easily defined; still hunters, but of some immaterial quarry; still collaborating, but in some work the world does not, or not yet, take account of; still travelling companions, but on a diferent kind of journey. Hence we picture lovers face to face but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.
That is why those pathetic people who simply "want friends" can never make any. The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travellers."
--C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I think this passage can be used to clarify my definition of "friends". (Also why things like Facebook and Myspace are therefore rediculous to me in the naming of one's contacts.) And it is just a really good book and ought to be read more than it is.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I should mention that the last few days, I have had a desire to sit with my nose stuck in a book and ignore the doings in the rest of the world. Today was no different. Except - it was pouring buckets outside and that always makes me want to read more. So I was more than mildly obsessively reading in my Lewis book. The Four Loves, if you were wondering. It's an excellent book, and I'd highly suggest it. But, I digress.
A new lady checked in at the desk, relieving a woman who'd previously tried to talk to me about her sick puppy that she needed to go look in on (coincidentally causing her to call her husband to ask him to pick up their three-year-old who would have to stay longer at school because of the little pooch.) This lady tried a very different tactic. No asking how I'm doing, who I was waiting for, what I was reading and have I ever had a frightfully sick dog.
"Do you need help setting up an appointment for counselling?"
"No, I'm here waiting for my foster sister, she's the one who needed it." I buried my nose even farther in my book.
"How long have you been in care? Are you sure you don't need to see a councilor?"
Rolling my eyes at this lady, I set my book on my lap and looked directly at her. "I'm not the one in care, and I don't need to see a councilor. I don't have any problems."
"Are you sure of that? We could help face them and..." I couldn't believe my ears. "I really think you need to see someone."
"No. I'm fine really. I'll just sit here quietly until my sister's done." I stuck my nose back authoritatively in my book and she stopped. Somewhere, deep down inside, I felt like piping up : "Yes, I have a problem. I love books. I love reading. And when people bug me whilst I'm reading a book I like, I get angry/annoyed. It's very bothersome. But you see, it doesn't happen when people aren't bugging me, so I don't think I need counselling."
What do you think she'd have said then?
At least, for the rest of the time, she didn't try to talk to me. And finally, whenever I had to speak to someone behind the counter, I didn't have to deal with her. But honestly, why did she think I had problems? Do I ooze the personality of someone in dire need of psychological help?
Monday, 15 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Friday, 12 September 2008
On the parlour floor, there is this. It's either to remind the kids that it's Autumn and that they need to zip up their jackets and wear warmer clothes or it is for the cat to knock over on her way towards the door.
Just to cheer up whomever it is doing the dishes: your very own burst of sunshine 'cause you know you won't find it outdoors! Plus, sunflowers look good in blue coffeepots. However, on an offical note, coffee in the coffee pot looks better than anything else.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
"What? Do what?"
"Take a picture of their painful price. That was pretty interesting... why'd you do it?"
"Um... to record how much the price has gone down and how much I'm still paying for gas."
"You're an oddball original, aren't you?"
Wow. I didn't know I was noteworthy whilst trying to pay for gas. Why do I always seem to stand out when I don't mean to?
I should have known better than to go in the store after that. But I can be pretty dense. Oh yeah, and I did want some new knee-socks. After picking out four pairs of pretty, albeit fairly plain, socks I had to make a decision about which not to get. (There was a two and get one pair free, so I had to drop at least one pair.) While standing there, a woman in her thirties came near me. To my amazement, she critized me for my choice, saying that I should get some typical teen socks and what was I thinking trying to dress maturely. Then she pointed at a rack of girls' socks which were decorated with skulls, red lips, frogs and bubblegum. Calmly, I laughed, told her that I'm not an idiot, and went on my way.
It didn't stop there. As I was checking out, I had to pay for the last dollar with quarters. Four quarters = one dollar, right? Well, after she counted them five times, I assured her that it was indeed one dollar. She merely nodded her head and began to count them again. The man behind me, aggravated at how long the purchase of three pairs of socks was taking, told her that everyone in line by now could tell that it was a dollar. Annoyed, she finally began bagging the socks. Politely, I asked her to use my canvas bag which I supplied for that purpose rather than a plastic bag.
"What's wrong with just using the stupid plastic bag? We have them here to be USED."
Taken aback, I replied: "Well, I like to use canvas, it's more economical."
Grumpily, she shoved the socks in the bag and handed me the reciept. I don't know what seized me, but I grinned and turned to the man behind me.
"Yep, and I heard earlier this summer that the cashiers here are supposed to give five cents discount every time you use a canvas bag. That helps me remember to grab them before I leave home."
In the corner of my eye, I saw her punch in the numbers and take five cents off my charge. (I found the nickel in the bag when I got back to Sherwood.) The man smiled warmly at me. "REALLY? I wish I'd known that before." He turned to his daughter and pointed to a rack of canvas bags just by the register. "Go grab ten or so for us. It's time to start saving money at this place."
As I walked off, the cashier was giving me a deathly glare and the man seemed to think that Christmas had come early and was greeting everyone. Oh, and I heard him tell the woman behind him about the bag deal. It looked like that cashier will have the joy of dicounting a lot of people today.
So pain at the prices might actually have some good results. Just an idea: I've been thinking of making more canvas bags myself. What do you think?
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
There was one problem: apparently they are not so concerned about exact measurements or directions as Americans are. The measurements were such as: a reasonable about of milk, seven handfuls of flour, etc. Oh, and there was no definites of "knead for so long, let rise for x-minutes, and then bake for half an hour." Nope - we had knead until approximately the right consistency, let rise until somewheres around double, then bake until golden brown.
Perhaps I am a little crazy to have gone ahead with this anyways. But I did. It was... interesting. And educational.
And it still turned out tasty and good. Nothing burnt, nothing doughy. My family says that it goes on the "Make-Again" list. I think that's pretty good for being approximation bread. Not sure if it's really how Finnish Cardamom Bread is supposed to be, but we could always just call it Laura's Approximately Finnish Cardamom bread.
Maybe - just maybe - I won't mind not have precise directions in the future. It depends: would that be around about reasonable?
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
It was fun from the start: neither of us could find gallon or quart measures, so we ended up resorting to pint measures. Then I went out, and began picking them. It wasn't like working at all; the wind was blowing and the sun was playing hide-and-go-seek through the clouds. It seemed like it was no time at all before about three hours had passed.
I felt like I was a small child again. The bushes towered over my head in almost all the patch except the first few plants. To reach some of the berries, I crawled underneath where an aisle used to be and laid flat on the ground. Once, I got in an argument with a crazed magpie, but I ended up winning that. A few times, Fern was concerned because she couldn't see me, so she'd send her son - who'd dropped in for a while - to go look for me. Usually it was because I'd been engulfed by a large mass of berry-bushes.
For three wonderful hours, I got to be a little girl again. I got to pick large, ripe, delicious raspberries. I got to be outdoors in the beautiful Autumn weather. I got to be little Laura Jean again. How can I call that work?
Only once I got home did I realise that my hair resembled something akin to a very tangled briar bush. And my clothes were covered in brambles, and my lips and hands were red with the juice. But I think it was fair enough - I got to have a quiet, peaceful, restful three hours and Fern got just shy of two gallons. I missed by a pint.
Little Laura Jean wasn't so into math either.
Monday, 8 September 2008
So we talked about a piece I was playing, which I was nervous about. See - I've taught myself to play it, without having ever played it for anyone before. (Excepting my family, of course.) It's by Mozart, whom I have a love/hate relationship to begin things, and my main point of critique that I am always hearing is that I'm too expressionistic with my music to be good at playing Mozart. "You're fine with Chopin, but Mozart? You need to make yourself into a metronome."
I'm just not a ticking clock. And I tend to be very passionate and emotional when I play piano. This piece was no different. When I played today, I forgot how much I'd drilled the song, and I let it all out. Only after I'd finished did I remember that I was going to reign it in for my teacher. But when I turned to face her, she was smiling.
"You played that with just the right expressions and emotions... the best I've heard someone who's never performed it before do."
"But... wasn't it too much?" I asked, very confused. "Everyond says that -"
"You can forget what they say, most people don't understand Mozart, especially this particular piece." She reached for her music dictionary. "Here. Look up Sturm und Drang and Emfindsamer Stil."
Sturm und Drang-
("Storm and Stress”), German literary movement of the late 18th century that exalted nature, feeling, and human individualism and sought to overthrow the Enlightenment cult of Rationalism. Goethe and Schiller began their careers as prominent members of the movement.
("Sensitivity") An important movement occurring in northern German instrumental music during the mid-18th century and characterized by an emphasis upon the expression of a variety of deeply felt emotions within a musical work. This aesthetic is typical of an age that was much given to the expression of moving sentiments not only in art but in everyday life.
(definition of terms from Encyclopaedia Brittanica Online.)
Apparently, I need to remember these two movements when I play Mozart, because some of his pieces reflected the movements. Suddenly, I'm feeling a lot more motivated to play Mozart's piano pieces. (I still don't love him enough for violin - but I feel I can do the piano bits.)
I wonder where I fall on the spectrum, but today, I feel like I'd rather fit nicely with Emfindsamer Stil. Plus, it has a pretty cool name, if you think about it.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Here's the basics: Mum and Dad have two biological children, Theophilus and me. For medical reasons, my mother is unable to have more children, whether my parents wanted more or not. Then, three years and one month ago, we were asked to take a German exchange student. We said yes. So for a year, Schokolade lived with us. Following that, we took two exchange students, Panda and Jojo. The first was from Thailand, and the second from Germany. Jojo lasted nine weeks with us, but then left to live with another family, and Panda stayed for the rest of the year.
In March of the year with Panda, we took four foster girls: Annastasia, Nympha, Belle, and Tink. A few months later, we took their brothers, Henry and Norwood. The following August, we took Jenni from Finland. Over the fall, the two foster boys and the two eldest of the girls went back to their mother. In December, Jenni left us, and the two little girls left us as well.
For a while in January and February, we had a little boy, but he was sent up to Anchorage for special treatment. Then right as I began blogging, we began intregrating Lance and Harrison in from another foster family. In June, we got Belle and Tink back, and then Theophilus left us a few weeks ago.
So, currently, our family is just four foster kids, plus me and my parents. I hope this clears up the questions and doesn't create more!
Friday, 5 September 2008
We ended up watching the Disney princess movies all over again. Is it any wonder that I'm constantly singing the songs from them - especially "Once Upon a Dream?" Knitting is wonderful for days like these, because I can set my project in my basket and pause whenever I need to so that I can take care of Tink. Also, it's very soothing to me. (And I don't have to watch what I'm doing so that I can see the movie.)
Since the coming of Autumn, it's the perfect weather for hot cocoa. And what better to drink from than a cup with my name on it? With a Disney hippo? (It's from a zoo in Germany, I believe it's the one near to Cologne.)
Thursday, 4 September 2008
However, I had a lovely conversation with Jhaniel for nearly an hour, which cemented my wish to visit Hawaii sometime. For the first time, I talked on the phone about politics - yeah, Palin changes things.
Also, I finished the Snowflake Shawl.
And, once again, I've started another one. The current one is a lovely "winter-white" merino wool. Oh, and I'm keeping this one. So, I guess this is becoming a habit for me.
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
I can't wait until I can make tea with this. And Halleymarie, I'm going to see about getting you a plant here soon. If it doesn't work out, I'll get you another one in spring.
Here's my project that I started on Sunday afternoon, simply because I'm loving the rhythm of knitting. It's very relaxing.
This is the edging of the shawl I'm making. I made another one on Friday/Saturday, which was red and had only one edge rather than the double I have here.
By the way, this is one of my Christmas presents I'm working on. At last, I've beaten my procrastination - by doing everything a few months in advance. I doubt it's going to last. Somebody's present is going to be forgotten, but I promise to try to get everything done as soon as possible.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Monday, 1 September 2008
Let's say that the announcement has everyone up here excited and talking. For the past several months, if you brought up politics, you were lucky if you only got rolled eyes. Some would tell you to shut up and not mention it again. But Sunday morning, you could hear whispers all over and the one distinguishable word was: Palin. Yeah, now everyone's talking about politics. And many people who were planning on staying home rather than voting because they didn't like McCain and Obama (nicknamed by many up here as "Obama Bin Ladin") scared them are now saying that they're planning to vote for McCain simply because he's running with Palin.
We like her up here, her approval ratings are amazing. I heard on the news that they are consistently in the eighties and occasionally into the nineties. Normally, I'm not into politics, and I don't talk about it, but this has gotten me interested in the coming elections, even though I'm still (by a month) too young to vote. Although I can't say I've ever met her, I have seen her once in my life, right before she became our governor. She was the commencement speaker at my friend Jennifer's homeschool graduation in 2006. I don't even remember who spoke at my graduation.
I have this to say to the rest of the country: Yep, my Governor pretty much rocks. It's about time that people remembered that Alaska is actually part of the US. And no- we are not off the coast of Baja. We're off by Canada. We're on the same continent. If you haven't heard, our Governor may be the future vice-president. Perhaps, even further off than that, she could be our president. Go Alaska, and go Palin!