Saturday, July 31, 2010


Here it is!  Outside of my blog, this is the first site programming work I've done.  It was challenging and time consuming, but so much fun.

There are still a few tweaks to make. (That welcome sign is straight, I swear, but it still looks crooked to me--it'll probably go.)  It was fun to work with clients, to discover their tastes and try to meld that into an achievable design.  This is the product of that team.  Overall, the site is done.

I have to tell you a story.  My peers and I have been talking a lot about the concept of choosing the Best use for our time.  The idea is that there are good things to do, better things to do and best things to do.  We all have the same hours in a day, which seem too few, and we need to choose only those Best things to fill those hours.  My blogging certainly can take a lot of time and I have frequently wondered if it is the best use of my time.  I blog because it is a fun outlet for me, it gets me writing and thinking, it has introduced me to some wonderful and talented people, and it is a record, of sorts, of this time in my life.  As a complete side, it has also been a training tool in programming.  I am not satisfied to just use the templates that are out there, I have to change this and re-work that until it is what I want.  Totally not essential, but fun.  I'm sure I could be doing better things with my time, but each time I have had the good, better, best discussion, I just cannot feel guilty about my blogging.  And I was never really sure why.

Then, an opportunity came along.  My son wanted to take ballet from a very prestigious academy.  Prestigious, or in other words, Expensive.  I offered to build a website in exchange for a discount.  They accepted and I suddenly understood why, what seemed like a fun past-time, was beneficial for more than just me.

Today's lesson?  Do what you love.  You never know how it will pay off.

Love always,
The MotherShip

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My husband had a day off.

We picked him up from work and went to the mountains.

And this, I am not kidding, is what we saw.

This beautiful wilderness was absolutely breathtaking.

The flowers were incredible.  Mountain Lupine, Geranium, Indian Paintbrush, Christ's Paintbrush, Horse Mint, Yarrow, and more, more, more.

Sometimes it seemed artificial, it was so perfect.

At 9260 feet above sea level:

I kept finding myself singing, "I feel my Savior's Love in all the world around me.  His spirit warms my soul through everything I see."

 I couldn't help it.  As I sat at the top of the world, I knew the Creator made this for me--for the restoring of my soul.  I knew the Creator made this--so much beauty cannot be random.  I knew the Creator--His creation cried out it's testimony of Him.

Here I am, getting all religious on you, but if it weren't the gloria's, it would have been

"The hills are alive . . ."

Either works.  I dabbled in both over our twenty-four stint in the flowers.  I know Austria has beautiful mountains, but Maria really should have seen Idaho.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life is Good

Oh, my gosh, Oh, my gosh.  I am inspired!  I have to share!

Layla, at The Lettered Cottage, posted this today.  If you don't want to click over there, here are the two things that spoke to my soul:  1.  Quote, "I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them." Pablo Picasso.  I never understood that man, but I understand this.  2.  This video:

Last night I finished reading a (pretty) new children's book.  It is called Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  It is an elegant, gentle story that was so uplifting and good.  At first, I worried that since there was no sword play or trolls or action, my children would not like it.  Now that I have finished it, though, I think they will like it because it is interesting and lovely.  Anyway, there is a part in the story that describes a very happy family.  They are so happy, the chickens don't even fight over the grain.  The magistrate wants to know the secret to their happiness, so he sends his soldiers to find out.  The grandfather writes down the secret and the soldiers place it in a treasure chest to hurry back to the magistrate.  On the way, they stumble and the chest falls and breaks open.  The wind catches the paper and it begins to fly away. One soldier, grabs it with just his fingertips and glances at the paper before the wind once again snatches the Happiness Paper.  The soldier can't read, but he knows that written on the paper was the same character over and over again.

What do you think that one word might have been?  I instantly thought of love or kindness.

"I have thought a long time about what that word could have been," said Ba.  "Was it wisdom or honor?  Love or truth?  For a long time, I liked to think that the word was kindness.  But now, I think, perhaps, the word was faith."

That rang true to me.  Faith.  Faith makes us happy.  Faith in God, in others, in ourselves, but mostly faith in God.  Believing that He is in control, that what He has given me was intended for me (the good and the hard).

In the end, the word on the page was thankfulness.  That works, too, doesn't it?  If we are always grateful, we are never lacking.  If we remember to show gratitude for our children, it is harder to lose patience.  If we are grateful for our home (no matter how small or what state of remodel it is in) we will be happy to have it.  If we are grateful for our trials, we will begin to recognize the lessons or skills or joys we are learning.

Anyway, I just wanted to share all of that with you today.  It made me happy and if it makes you happy, too, well, it's the least I could do.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Companion

While working in the garden the other day, my daughter, my weirdest (ie: funniest) child, began the following conversation.

Her:  Mom, why do we call them flower beds?

Me, using logic to deduce the answer, replied:  Well, I suppose it is because it is where we put the flowers to rest.

Her:  Long, thoughtful pause then Geesh.  Flowers are lazy.

Me:  Long thoughtful pause because I had never considered the activity rate of any in the plant world.

Her:  Flowers are the lazy ones.  They could learn from bees.  Bees are the busy ones.

Me:  Huh.

Her:  Bees are like the daycare workers and they are working so hard while the flowers just lay around and don't help at all.

Me:  Trying not to laugh because this particular child is the sensitive type and wouldn't take it well.

Her:  Staring at her hand and then gasping, MOM!!  I just saw myself growing!

(On a recent hike, praying that she wouldn't be bitten by a snake 
while she took care of business behind a sagebrush)

I would be so bored in an office.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review (of a sort): The Odyssey by Homer

I was twenty-seven years old when I first decided to read the classics.  Most classics read differently than new literature.  Many have archaic language, references I didn't understand, words I had never read (much less heard or used).  You know how, for the first fifteen minutes of watching a movie or play whose characters have strong accents, it is hard to understand what the heck is going on?  After listening for a while, you know what they are saying and by the end, you've forgotten that there was a language barrier at all.  The same goes for reading popular literature, then, for the first time, delving into Dickens or Austen or Hugo or Eliot.  The "thee's" and the inside-out construction of sentences can be hard to swallow.

Les Miserables was the most difficult book I have ever read--and I read it in those first few months after beginning my quest to be well versed in the classics.  It was daunting, it was long, it was fantastic.  It is not my favorite book, though I certainly place it firmly in my Top Ten.  Mostly, I was proud of myself for closing the book without having skipped any of Hugo's sometimes tiresome tangents.

I just finished a book that was just as difficult, though not quite as wonderful, as Les Mis.  It is The Odyssey by Homer.  After The Iliad, The Odyssey is considered the second book of western literature.  It was written it in something like 1200 BC.  That's a long time ago.  I have to say, while the story was not incredibly captivating (though it did keep my attention), I cannot overstate the historical importance of this book.  I couldn't believe how many times I thought, "Oh, my gosh!  So-and-so lifted that movie/story/plot straight from Homer!"  There is, for instance, a reason that Penelope from Lost (Desmond's beloved) was named after Odysseus' wife.

Perfect fit.

Do you remember that super weird movie Spirited Away?

The parent's turning to swine?  Totally Homer.

Wikipedia has a whole list of other things influenced by this story.  Having just read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, all the Greek God stuff was interesting.

There you go.  If you've always wanted to read it, I actually listened to an unabridged version; a translation by  Robert Fagles read by Sir Ian McKellen.  Tell them the MotherShip sent you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Too Much, Again

I have a history of taking on too much at one time.  But, since this is the longest I have NOT been pregnant since 1998, I have balanced hormones and a level head (well, for me).  That, my dear friends, is a recipe for too much at one time.

  • I have scraped the garage and am in the process of priming it.  It must be done now because tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to skyrocket.  
  • I finally had the chance to consult with the ballet people about the web site we traded for tuition.  It is exciting and a challenge and I am in love with the not-cleaning-other-people's-toilets aspect.
  • In order to keep buying new inner tubes for bicycles, barrettes for all the hair, camping food and other summer essentials, I am still cleaning other people's toilets--and floors and windows.
  • My book club's book choice this month is 568 pages.  I am on page 174.  Book Club is on Tuesday.
  • I have all of these darling children and someone must make sure they are fed and watered.
  • Because of all the monotonous jobs in my life, I am listening to a book on tape while I work.  It confuses my already feeble brain to have more than one story running in my subconscious.
  • My fridge is empty again and I feel guilty going shopping without first organizing my coupons.  
  • There is about a month's worth of unsorted coupons on my desk.
  • I know I had been pushing my luck for quite some time with this one, but my two year old just figured out that she doesn't have to stay in the crib when I put her there.  She is tired, tired, tired.  And crying a lot.
  • My daughter, who is usually a pretty good cook, doubled only half of the ingredients in the cookies.  Now I get to figure out what was doubled to try to salvage the bowl.
So that's it, really.  Of course there are the little things like the crumbs on my floor, the laundry in a pile and the calls that need to be made, but that is just noise.  All in due time.

I had a friend in college who used to say he would sleep when he was dead.  And he didn't know what it would be like to be the dad.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good, Cheap, Fast


There are three factors:  Cheap, Fast, and Good.  You can only have two at a time.  

If it is cheap and fast, it won't be good.  

If it is good and fast, it won't be cheap.  

If it is good and cheap, it won't be fast.

I think I may be in love with this new way of looking at the world.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My House--Front View

This is my house.

I took pictures today because, believe it or not, we are nearing the end of our time here.  We may be here another three years, but will most likely be moving when my husband finishes his course work in May.  Since we'll likely have the house on the market in the ugly months of February and March (before the tulips and after the snow), I wanted any future owner of my beloved cottage to see it's summer beauty.

When we first came to this place, there were elm trees literally growing into the roof.  The house was a horrible, faded and dirty pink/peach color with no trim around the windows and doors.  We cut down the invading trees, painted the house, changed the light fixture, improved the landscaping, removed the astroturf from the front steps and watered the grass.

I love this home and it will be hard, very hard, to leave it.  I have never been a serial mover type.  For some, a house is just a house, but I put my whole heart into my home (plus sweat, tears, sore back, slivered fingers, and bloodied knuckles, in this case).  It will be hard to say goodbye.  Good thing I have lots of time.