Thursday, June 3, 2010

In reverse

just a little photo roll. love, family, friends, fun. reminding me that goodbyes are part of hellos.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

home (ahem...) improvements


I have one bathroom. It is really small. It has the tiniest sink you could ever imagine. It has linoleum floors which I painted blue, for fun, which turned out to be not-so-fun afterall.

Being that my bathroom is really small I thought, to myself, I should really improve the aesthetics, so that potential renters will say, on their drive home: "I love the house, honey. The bathroom is really small but it is SO CUTE."

I thought, again to myself, gee, I should use those vintage tiles I have been keeping for YEARS and finally tile the floors. And then I thought, gee, I should find a sink that actually fits in here. And perhaps a cupboard. And a mirror. For really cheap. And so I did. (I heart the RE-Building Center!)

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I ripped out the sink. I took out the toilet and tore off the linoleum. I took down the shelves and the shower curtain. I made a big mess and big holes and put it all in the bathtub. This was Friday.

By Saturday my fingers were raw from sanding and ripping and sanding and tearing. By Sunday I realized that VINTAGE means USELESS when it comes to 50 year old self-adhesive backing on tiles. By Monday I got used to my 5 gallon bucket toilet (who says kitty litter is for kitties?) By Tuesday I had the holes fixed and the walls painted. Wednesday I put the toilet back in and contemplated the sink. Thursday I caulked everything. Tonight I take a bath.

Lori, my contractor friend, called me almost every day, wondering if she should come and rescue me from my project. Nay (I said), I will best this tiny bathroom, using only my imagination and whatever tools I have in the garage.

Who knew it could be done? For $50 and some elbow grease, I have a new bathroom. Except for the sink. For this I need Lori.


The improvements did not stop there. What else do renters need at home? A garden, of course!

So I used 10X wheelbarrows worth of nail gravel (the gravel from my garage, full of nails n' stuff), old siding, some cheap (cracked) posts and a bag full of screws.

Et viola, a garden bed. Now for the dirt and chicken wire (so that the cats do not mistake it for their bathroom).


The final home improvement of the month.

Littleman has been growing his hair out for 6 months. So I go to the local Asia salon, where, for $7 I can de-fur what is known as my eyebrows, and Littleman starts this ruckus about wanting his hair cut. Short. 1" all around. Like Zachary.

So I immediately think of my mother, and say: "I have buzzers at home. I am not paying $12 for a haircut." To which he replies: "I prefer to have a professional do it. You always cut my hair, and you tell me to be open to new experiences. I would like to have a unique haircut experience."

Whose kid is this?

Well, he sure is handsome.

That is what we have been up to. Lots of elbow grease and late work nights. The to-do list keeps me on a weekly improvement cadence. I just keep with the mantra, "Tejas, Tejas. There's no place like home."

In a thousand years I never thought these words would escape my mouth.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Get 'er duhn

What has 18 legs, six heads and a mustache?
The Keefers in Tejas.

Yup, you heard right. The Keefers are moving. To the land of fire ants and armadillos, snake skin boots and hats that come in gallon sizes. To the land of Jobs.

Oregon is the broken toy. Tejas is still in the box. Oregon is green and lush. Tejas has scorpions. Oregon has ocean and mountains and deserts and old growth. Tejas has the Alamo. What will I miss, you ask?

The days will count down slowly. Four months seems like a long time. Then I look at my list of sh*t I have to do to my house before I rent it out, and another list of things to organize for the move, and then there are the animals, and the cars, and paperwork, and the goodbyes, and suddenly four months is not enough time.

Aaah, the goodbyes. Lets not go there quite yet.

For now we just say Ciao to Daddy Greg, as he rolls out in the Subaru with 6 of the legs, two of the heads and the mustache.

And we were just getting going again...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Living Food Journal

The shiny red VitaMixer 5200 came on day 6.

Smoothies for Littleman plus my two new cookbooks equals a strong desire to un-cook. So, I broke the cleanse on day 6 and I haven't looked back.

The VitaMixer is a blender on crack. It even has two containers- one for wet, one for dry (I can now grind my own flour!) The torrent of recipes in the past week has been educational, exciting, experimental and festive. We went to Whole Paycheck and loaded up the cart with bags from the bulk section. Shopping is weird now. Eating is weird. I am learning to do these things all over again, and this time I feel great about what I am fueling myself with.*

*What is a living diet? Eating things that are still alive. This means fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and spices that are either fresh or have been dehydrated and then re-hydrated or sprouted prior to "cooking." Nothing heated above 115 degrees, as heat kills the "alive" part of your food and leaves your body hungry for nutrients. It is not as weird as it sounds, and yes, you get plenty of protein. More so, in fact, than a carnivore.

Had a talk with sissy Em who says she is working toward a living diet. Says sissy Jenna is also walking down that road. Em asked for recipes to start with and Sissy Liza asked to be included. So today is a recipe day- one recipe to share. The email with lots of recipes is going out this weekend. Send me a note if you want to be included...

Fettuccini Alfredo (so rich and creamy you cannot believe it is living):
Serves 4
Time: 2 hours soaking, 40 minutes making, 1 hour warming

4 large (or 8 small) squash (green, yellow, both, whatever).
Peel the skin off, then use your peeler to make 'thick' peels of the squash meat. Finely slice the bits that you cannot peel.
Put the 'noodles' in a big bowl, sprinkle on some salt, mix, and let sit for 30 while you make the sauce.

2 cups raw cashews (first soak them in water for a couple of hours)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional: not technically raw, but it lends a cheesy flavor and is loaded with B-12 and protein)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS water
1/3 cup of oil (olive, grape seed, whatever cold-pressed stuff you have)
5 chives
small clove of garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
pepper, cayenne (to taste)

But everything in a blender and pureé.
Drain the squash (the salt pulls the water out). Add the sauce to the squash noodles and mix it up. Throw it all in a 9" glass pie round. Top with chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, whatever) and paprica.

Put the dish in your oven (if you do not have a dehydrator), on the LOWEST setting for one hour, to 'warm' it up.

Serve, eat and enjoy. You will want seconds.

So there it is. This Mama J is 99% raw. Daddy Greg has a soft spot for pizza but is learning his lesson, slowly, the hard way. Littleman hates sweet potato soup (it made him cry) but is otherwise a trooper on the living food front. He loves to make new and interesting smoothies for breakfast...

It's been fun, friends.

And just to prove that I am not completely fixated on food (ha ha) here is a little April Fools treat for you to pull on your kids. It's called "T-Rexing." All you need is saran wrap. I highly suggest you find a helper for this prank. Kid arms are surprisingly strong...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Food Torture Journal (aka Master Cleanse)

Okay. Here it is.
I decided to partake in the Master Cleanse.
The quick skinny:
1: Slowly ease into a liquid diet (three days).
For 10 Days:
2: Start each morning with a liter of warm water mixed with 1Tbs. sea salt. It is like flushing the toilet, only your gut is the bowl.
3: Drink only a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper all day. Yum.
4: Drink a laxative tea at night and watch the magic happen.

As I am 1/3 of the way through, and DYING, I thought I would publish my journal early, so that the added accountability of having people read it keeps me on the path.

Read with a bowl of ice cream in your hand, or a BIG PFAT BURRITO if you dare. My tummy says Grrrr.

April 1
(The only day to start something as ridiculous as this.)
Day One/Ease In: Living food today. Munching. Avocados, apples, snap peas, bananas. Is it supposed to be this easy? This is yummy.

April 2
Day Two/Ease In: Liquid soup today. Slurping. Butternut squash. Spicy Thai. Vegetable broth. Cashew curry ginger. Dreaming of popcorn and toast. Perhaps it isn't going to be this easy. Still yummy.

April 3
Day Three/Ease In: Orange and tangerine juice today. Drinking. Tea. Drinking. Researching. Learning. Raw/living factoids and recipes dancing in my head. I have concocted the most delicious raw burrito. It is so yummy, with fresh salsa and guacamole. But alas, back to fresh tangerine juice.

Headaches today. Big day tomorrow. Not excited about the SWF.

Ready, Set, Go.

April 4
Day 1: Okay. Whoever said that giving yourself the runs is a good way to clean out your system is loony. But alas, even with the lovely side effects, I have endured day one of the (to be said as if you were announcing a WWF wrestler) Master Cleanse. Actually, the lemon/syrup/cayenne drink is pretty yummy. The SWF is not. Drinking it in front of a mirror made it easier, for whatever reason. Tomorrow I will have my lemonade ready as a chaser.

Hungry today, but not too fixated. Except when I heat up a slice of quiche for Littleman and I have to compost the sun dried tomato on top because he wont eat it, and I feel like a refuge that would kill for that little scrap of concentrated tart and sweet tomato. Nope, not too fixated.

April 5
Day 2: Oh my gosh I Am Dying. I am So Hungry and my belly is Rumbling and I have the runs and I am dreaming about avocados and wakame salad and jalapeno poppers and that darn burrito from ease-in day 3!!

Yes, I am ready to quit. No, I will not quit. Ready, yes. Quitting? No.

The Smooth Move tea is making my belly cramp. I am not taking it tonight.
The SWF was a little easier today. Still tastes like the ocean.

Spent about an hour researching raw food recipes today. Thought it would curb the appetite, which it did a little. A Little Something Psychological, kind of like smelling the dinner I cooked for Littleman, except I did put a soybean into my mouth and chew it up, then spat it out. WaaaAAAAAaaaaHHH! I am Hungry!

I have mad all kinds of plans, like stopping this when my VitaMixer 5200 arrives (aah aah ahh) or just eating avocados tomorrow (yuuuuummy). I am obviously not fixated on 10 days like I was 5 days ago. If I count the ease-in I am 1/3 of the way through this! No, no. I will endure. Bring it, Day Three!

So, as you can see, this is fun. And fun is good.

Burrito, anyone?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quick Look-See

Could you love this kid any more?
Miss Lori is convinced that he has a future with an interpretive dance company. Billy Elliot Von Rohr, anyone?

You have to promise not to show this to anyone...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three stories and a joke.


Some days are bad because of laundry and dishes. Other days are bad because the budget is tight. Some days are endless, with responsibilities and worries and sorrows that perpetually sneak up on you. The worst day was the day Daddy Greg went away. And he took the dog, too. I have learned that my emotional range is limitless.

After two months in the desert Daddy Greg came back. He found a few pieces of himself there and brought them home to share. Pieces that were stolen from him by a drunk driver two years ago; pieces that went missing in physical therapy; pieces that evaporated and disappeared in the heat of frustration. While he was away in the desert Mama J found a few pieces of her own. Pieces of sadness, pieces of anger; a lot of fragments of memories and dreams.

When Daddy Greg came home he put his pieces on a table and said 'look at what I found.' Then Mama J put her pieces on the table and said, 'hey, look, some of these fit together.' As we arranged, and re-arranged the pieces we started to see a picture of a really happy, very hopeful, young, naive couple that were frozen in time two years ago. A couple that still love one another desperately and might just be ready to start over again, where they left off, before all these pieces were blown away in the wind.

Some of the pieces are still missing, but we have vowed to keep looking for them. Some of the pieces are sitting under the proverbial subconscious rug and will probably never see the light of day again. That is fine by me. I have endured, and I am humbled by my fortune. My story was broken into a thousand pieces but the picture is still fresh in my mind. We can build the puzzle back again; we just have to use our imaginations. And a hell of a lot of kleenex.


My little man is turning into a young man. Some moms cry and mourn the loss of their little one. I am loving every minute of it.

He has man stink. He has a man's appetite. He farts and burps and wants to play video games All Day Long. All of this, and the lack of Santa Claus in our lives finally led me to the bribe: prove to me you are a young man; responsible like a big man, but still sweet and dear to your old mom like a little boy. In return, you will get a GameBoy before you go to Switzerland. This is the best bribe I have ever made. I get to (ab)use it for over three months.

Yesterday we climbed Dog Mountain. As Littleman says, 'it's named because you pant like a dog when you get to the top.' It only took 4 minutes to hear the panting and complaining start from Littlemans mouth. After about a half hour of wenching and whining I started talking to him about attitude and 'mind over matter.' I finally pulled out the bribe. He almost ran to the top of the mountain.

We had our picnic and our rest at the top of the ridge. The wind paused for this moment and the sun was splendid as it kissed our faces. We declared a word of the day: Endurance. We all tested our limits on that hike, and came down the mountain humbly proud of our day.


My family started a biggest losers competition and asked that we all join in. Some are pregnant, gaining points for gaining weight. Some have Butler Butts that they aim to melt away. I am trying to lose a twenty pound monkey that is tied around my neck. Thank goodness he is not on my back.

This monkey is responsible for all the bad habits that prevent me from living the healthiest life possible. It feeds me junk food when I have a craving. It pours me a glass of beer when I have had a rough day. It tells me 'stay in bed today' when I am finding it hard to motivate. It sneaks chocolate ice cream into my dinner bowl and hides my running shoes. My neck is sore and the monkey stinks. I have devised a plan.

I started by thinking about joining the ARMY. I didn't join, but instead started doing push-ups and sit-ups with LittleMan every school day morning, in efforts to reach the top 10 percentile of physical fitness, marked so by US soldiers. Next I found my running shoes and took myself on a run. Shin splints hit about mile .25 and I realized I had a collapsed lung injury that had gone undiagnosed. Thirdly I joined the local Rec Center and taught myself to swim again. Got a case of athlete's foot from the showers and my hair turned green. Lastly, I decided to omit sugar from my diet. I got one day into this and started googling insane asylums.

The monkey was winning at this point but am determined to keep trying. I changed my tactics to a tortoise and hare motif. I still do sit-ups and push-ups every morning with LittleMan, while silently giving thanks that I am not in cammo's. I go running and play soccer and swim when I can, making sure that I do at least 4 days of exercise a week. This is all part of step one.

Step two is food. First the master cleanse, which starts on April Fools Day. I plan to ease back into eating with a 75% raw food diet. The 25% that I just cannot live without includes such luxuries as my morning tea, eggs, fish and tofu. I do not know how I will live without bread, beer and dairy, but I have to try.

Step three includes snogging and laughing. Between these two I think I can beat the last drops of winter blues out of my head. I plan to take Greg on dates, hang around Orion and friends, watch a lot of Jon Stewart and Ben Stiller, and buy curtains for the bedroom.

I may not post my weekly losses on the loser board, but I am working hard to lose the weight of this monkey. When I meet my family in July I want to be able to say that I not only met, but exceeded my goals. Not pounds but habits. Who knows. I may even lose some of this Butler Butt along the way.

What is the scariest kind of tree? BAM-BOO!
or how about this one?
What do you call a fish with no eye? FSH.
or this one?
Why was the broom late? HE OVER SWEPT.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

randomly springy

Daffodils in February? Buds on the poplar? Oh, El Niño, you wiley fox you. Shoo. I want snow just like DC.

Naruto Shippuden is the new hero of the house. He uses chi (energy) to enhance his kung fu fighting styles. Littleman is ga-ga. We are staging a look-alike contest here. Can you tell which one is Littleman?

Dō itashi mashite

('You're welcome' in Japanese.) Aimee Stein coined it "don't you touch my mustache" to help me remember. It worked... I remember. And Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is a ridiculously funny movie.

I am not joining the ARMY. But it was fun thinking about it.

These are but a few of the examples of how life simply goes on. No matter what crazy-ness my life brings me there is always a miracle, a good time, a friend, an imagination, that reminds me it's all gonna be alright. My latest therapy: just start whistling. Amazing what happens when you whistle at everyone. (Except for that scary dude in the molester van that keeps parking across the street from my house. Don't whistle at him ;)

Everything is gonna be alright.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Nine! Nine! Nine!

We skipped OMSI and hit the arcade. Like, duh.
I had the unique pleasure of hanging with Littleman all day and he didn't even get bored! Sushi for birthday dinner (I love a nine year old that loves sushi) and the only day mom does not get on Littleman's back about...

-what his hair looks like
-what clothes he is wearing out to dinner
-how much cake and ice cream he eats
-which games we play at wunderland

Happy Happy Happy HaPPY DAY!! I love you more than all the blades of grass and all the ants in all the world...

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Today is the best worst day ever.
Things to be proud of, sad of, mad of and happy for all wrapped up in a day of pajamas.

I have a littleman wearing his blue belt to kung fu.
I have a guest dog whose farts are unbearable.
I have an achey breaky heart.
I have plenty of noodles and peas for dinner.

All of life's drama in my day of pajamas.
And Littleman's awesome hair.
What more could I ask for?

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Makin' resumes and revamping websites.
Lookin' fer a jooooeeeerb.
To move or not to move.
What is the question again?
Tiniest house in the world.
Biggest dreams in the kabloonaverse.
Where is the warm?!

South. South. South. South. South.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bring it.

We exist. We made it.
2010 watch out the thistle is blooming.
Business unusual. Family feuds.
Bring it.