Skating and Squirrels

15 11 2010

The girls have been taking ice skating lessons on and off for two years.  They are really enjoying it – and we are lucky to have a rink only about 15 minutes from our house.  They participate in the ISI (Ice Skating Institute) program.  Each session they have certain things they have to learn and then they are moved on to the next level.  The levels are:

Beginner, Pre-Alpha, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and then Freestyle levels 1-9.

Sophie just graduated Gamma (where you learn to skate backward) and Maya is on to Freestyle 2 (spins and beginning jumps).

I am always amazed at how much they have available to do here.  Growing up on a ranch in Montana I had so many opportunities.  I had a horse and participated in horse shows, we had crazy pets (pigs, cows, chickens, squirrels, rabbits)….but I would have been so excited to do things like learn how to figure skate.

I remember going roller skating at a rink only twice in my childhood.  It was two hours away in Bozeman, Mt.  Two hours!  Of course we didn’t go there just to go skating, but we were lucky enough to have done it when we were in town for other reasons.  Oh man…the lights!  The music!  The people!  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I moved here for the purpose of being around “things to do” and more people, and I am still happy with that.  People ask me all the time, “Why would you ever want to leave Montana?  It is so beautiful!” .  It may be…and I appreciate that now, but I always saw it as empty.  They call Montana the Big Sky state.  That Big Sky taunted me as a teenager…”Look at me!  Look how huge I am!  And there is STILL nothing to do!”.

I see this now as more of a teen angst problem than a location issue.  I see my kids get bored even though they are in the middle of town with friends surrounding them.  I get it.  But I still can’t shake that feeling of emptiness when I am in Montana.  It is funny how these things hold on to you.

I sit in the bleachers and watch them skate and wonder….what will they feel about this place?  Where will they go?  What will they seek out?

Probably lots of space and a few pet squirrels.





Sophie Quote #125 or Reason #54 Sophie Will Hate This Blog in a Few Years

12 11 2010

“I feel like there is a sharp poop dart in my butt.”





Hi I’m Shari and I Approve of This Message.

10 11 2010

I borrowed my neighbor’s couch and TV to watch Oprah (of all things).

We still don’t have cable, or any type of TV.  We stream Netflix through the Wii and, if needed, watch stuff on Hulu.  But, the company that I work (REI) for was highlighted on Oprah a few weeks ago and I just had to see it.  If you watch much Oprah, it was the one where Oprah and Gayle went camping in Yosemite.

It was great.  The REI store that she went to looked fantastic and she actually called it a “camping Mecca”.  Very nice exposure to have right before the holiday season!

I was horrified to experience the deluge of political ads, though.  Holy hell.  I don’t know how you do it.  I spent 1 hour in front of the television and I can’t tell you how many campaign ads I saw.  Many of them were just repeats at every break.  Over and over and over.  I wanted to huddle in the corner and cry after about 45 minutes.

I found two commercials particularly amusing.  One was for Dawn Morrell who repeated time and time again that she was a registered nurse, therefore the perfect candidate.  I am not sure how this makes sense unless she knows something I don’t know.  Her triage skills may come in handy if there is some sort of bloodbath in the state House of Representatives…

The other was for Dino Rossi.  Poor Dino.  Last election he was running against Chris Gregoire for Governor.  It was a very tight and hard-fought race.  He ended up losing by 138 votes after numerous recounts.  He was running for Senate this time against Patty Murray.  Another very close race where Patty Murray has emerged victorious.  His commercials were the crazy repeaters and on my neighbors’ HDTV his horrible orange face makeup was so distracting that I could do nothing but gape in wide-mouth wonderment.  Was the make-up person a closet democrat? 

Anyway, the neighborhood kids are old enough now to see the humor in much of this and decided to make their own political commercial.  I like it much better than the real ones.





Standing Out from the Crowd

9 11 2010

This is Maya’s second year participating in the Tacoma Youth Symphony.  They have  many symphonies and orchestras depending on age and ability.  This year she is in Tacoma String Philharmonia.  She got her group picture back on Saturday.   She is not happy with it, but I am trying to convince her that she will love this picture when she grows up.

She is the one in the back looking jauntingly off to her right.   





What We Did This Weekend – Went for A Hike

7 11 2010

The thing about the Pacific Northwest is it will really get you down if you don’t like going out in soggy weather.  It rains a lot here.  November always seems particularly wet.  It always amazes me how much it actually is not raining though.  It is just SOOOO gray that it seems like it is raining continually.

I have found that the only way to escape the doldrums of this kind of weather is to put on your rubber boots and just trudge right out into the middle of it.

It is pretty amazing what you can find…..

Right in the middle of town is a great park that has gorgeous trails. Three minutes into the hike you can’t hear any traffic – only birds and running water, and today the oddly beautiful sound of falling leaves and pine needles.

Midge was on high alert for wild animals and/or snausage treats.

I grew up in a very dry climate and am amazed every time how much there is to see on just one area of a fallen log. The girls apparently find this to be true as well.

Something like this for example. Check out that toadstool!

After we went up an over the hill and back down into the valley we found the creek full of spawning salmon.

They were everywhere!

AND…..some were dead. But cool and fun to poke gently with a stick. What? You would have wanted to poke them with a stick too. Really. You would.

And by the end of the hike, we all felt much better.

Get out there.
Even in the rain.