Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yay Senator Franken!

He FINALLY won the election and I'm way happier than Kira and Sam look in this picture!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Amy's Cabin

My sister Amy has the greatest cabin on Rainy Lake. It's a cute little octagon on an island and we love it. She is nice enough to let us stay there whenever we want. Thanks Amy!

But during the winter and spring, when people aren't around, the spiders take over. Mitch and I spent the night there last week and I was overcome with heebies jeebies from all the spiders. First of all, when I walked through the sliding door when we got there, I didn't see the enormous web covering the upper half of the doorway and I walked through it. With my face. It got in my mouth. Then when I went to turn down the bed, a large-ish spider scampered across the bed. THE BED! I couldn't see where it went (because my eyes were shut and I was screaming) and I got to lay awake all night thinking about how it would probably crawl into my mouth and have babies if I fell asleep.

But I had to act tough because Mitch was there. We started the sauna and played cards while it heated up. I wanted to cry, but I didn't. Before the sauna I went to the guest cabin to get us some towels and walked through another web with my face. I didn't scream and throw up like I wanted to, I just spazzed out a little, telling myself that it was probably an old abandoned web. When I got back outside I looked around the door and saw a spider around this size crawling into a crack above the doorframe.

Holy Heebie Jeebies!

In the morning I walked down to the dock to look at the lake and enjoy the beautiful day. There were hundreds and hundreds of webs. And in the middle of the dock this is what was waiting for me.

This little beauty said, "My name is Darla and you better get the fuck off of my dock or me and my family are going to wrap you into a cocoon and drink your blood!"

I tried to act tough and said, "Listen Darla, I appreciate your point of view, but this is my sister's cabin and you're just going to have to skedaddle. I could step on you, you know."

She said, "Oh yeah! Go ahead and try, fatty. I can run fast on these eight lightning bolts, and I can squeeze into tight places - like your mouth when you sleep! I put my egg sac on the back of your tongue so you better be careful because if anything happens to my 8000 babies, YOU'RE DEAD!"

Then she caught a fish and started eating it right in front of me. She's a very mean, disgusting spider. I hate her and all her friends. Next time I go there I'm bringing poison.

Kira's Fish

Kira caught this fish on the dock at Johnson's cabin. According to Rich and Julie, a bunch of northerns like this one live under the dock, along with many turtles of all shapes and sizes (mostly mean snappers), bass, spiders, leeches, and probably a serial killer or two.

Kira and Sam on the Paddleboat

My in-laws got a paddleboat for out at their cabin. The kids LOVE IT! They were so excited to be out at the lake, Sam for the boating opportunities and Kira just wanted to be swimming every second. Here they are on one of their many paddleboat rides together. Sam always has a plan and a destination. Kira never does. This causes some problems. Every so often Kira would stop peddling, strip off her lifejacket, (totally defeating the purpose of a life jacket) and jump in, not caring at all how much it pissed Sam off.

After jumping in, she would swim around to the back (always catching the boat no matter how hard Sam tried to peddle away from her) an then hang off of the ladder which would make steering the boat very difficult for the angry boy with a plan and destination.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I was just getting ready for bed and I noticed next to my junk box in my bookshelf that Mitch's Swampthing (affectionately known to us as "Swampy") toy was sitting on the lap of my Mother with Children Willow Tree figurine along with the children. That made me laugh. We have Swampy because Mitch's company's name is Swampthing Environmental, so he collects Swampythings. This particular one has come in very handy over the years. He's very bendy so he is good for recreating falls and accidents for those who weren't there to witness them personally.

It was especially handy when I sprained my ankle falling down the steps:

(Remember, Swampy is me) Me: Oh! I misjudged and there is one more step, this is bad! I'm holding a pair of scissors in my hand! (not pictured) What if I stab myself? Oh no! Oh no!

Ow! Ow! My ankle doesn't bend this way! My foot is breaking off! "Aaaaaahhhhhhh!"

This is the worst pain anyone has ever felt EVER! Call 911!

Is my foot still attached? I think it isn't! Did I hear it crack? Did I actually hear bones crack? Is this what a compound fracture feels like?

See, it comes in handy.

It's Boiling

And I am loving it (compared to winter)! The heat and humidity tend to make a person cranky though, no matter how much they love it. The kids are listless and irritable, and using any excuse to fight like a couple of cats over unbelievably stupid stuff, and I am easily annoyed by the constant bickering, but also by anyone who wants to talk to me, or be around me, or engage me in any way. I love having the windows open and smelling the woods and flowers, just let me sit still and be quiet and enjoy it. Is that too much to ask?

So tomorrow, in an effort to stem this annoyance, we are going to Rainy Lake where when the kids get irritable from the heat and annoy me, I can just throw them in the water and make them snap out of it. I should cherish this time of physical dominance because they are getting too big to push around. I think if they cooperated, they could overpower me, Sam having the first surges of testosterone and Kira having bloodlust. But they don't know that yet, and they don't cooperate, so I will continue to be able to overpower them for at least another summer. Good times!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Karen's Farm

When we visited Iowa, my aunt's friend Karen was kind enough to invite us all over for lunch one day. She lives on a little farm out in the country and has tons of animals. She has a litter of six week old kittens right now and we were all DYING to see them. I think we may have even convinced my aunt to take one or two of them... or three.

The cats were hiding, can you believe that?

Is there anything cuter than that?

Aside from kittens, Karen has three donkeys, three horses, three border collies, a gigantic white dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, two tortoises, chickens, pigeons, doves and canaries, as well as beautiful gardens. For lunch Karen made chicken salad and a green salad from lettuce she grew herself. It was fantastic! Thank you, Karen!

As soon as the donkeys saw us in their pen, they walked right up to us and demanded petting.

The horses are very friendly. One of them has an eating disorder!

This is Karen and her Jack Russell named Archer. Archer is my favorite of all the pets. He's a shriner.

Here's Sam and a kitten. Look at his muscle! A mustache and a muscle; he'll be a man soon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Are we there yet?

The kids and I took a trip to Des Moines this week. This is the longest trip they have ever taken in the car. I think Sam has made the trip three or four times, and this is Kira's second trip. The last time I took her she was about two and thankfully was in an incredibly tight carseat. When we got to about Ames (with an hour of driving to go) she decided she had had enough and I think she somehow dislocated her shoulder (like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon) and got out of her carseat. I had to stop, tighten the already tight straps (so tight that she had to take shallow breaths) and then I had to drive with one hand holding her hips down into her seat for the last hour. That memory lasted a long time so I haven't been brave enough to take her on a long car trip for the last seven years.

It was way better this time! We listened to music played car games, the kids watched some videos, we stopped at gas stations and ate lots of junk food. No problems really at all, until today when they told me that when we were riding with my aunt out to her friend's farm and they were both sitting in the back seat, they had a vicious, mostly silent physical fight complete with biting. I heard some tusseling, and angry whispering, but I have to hand it to them for keeping their violence quiet. I never would have guessed there was biting.

I'm Back!

We went on a mini vacation to Des Moines to visit my Aunt Sarah and her family. It was a fun trip! We went to the zoo, and also to my aunt's friend Karen's farm for lunch one day. More posts on these topics to follow, but right now I would like to focus on the enormous fat-bodied moth that Kira found on the deck this morning. It is so beautiful! I don't know what kind it is though, so if you know, write it in the comments. (Yeah yeah, I could google it, but I'm THAT lazy.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Sam and Kira are outside playing together. They were walking across the yard and Sam spotted the wheelbarrow and said to Kira, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

She said, "That a sword fish could swim right through my head? ...Yeah. "

Sam said, "No, wheelbarrow rides!"

The funny part is that Sam wasn't even phased by Kira's response to his are-you-thinking-what-I'm-thinking question.

20 minutes in the bathroom after midnight

I was really tired last night but I was having so much fun playing with my new iPod and watching TV that I stayed up past midnight. After midnight my perception of time changes so much that I find myself spending lots of time doing stupid stuff. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of my mowing injury:

On the riding lawn mower I almost got strangled by the birch tree, like I do every time I mow, but at the last second I put my head down and the branches scraped my chin instead of my neck. It really hurt and I thought I'd have a big scab, but it's just these little scrapes.

Why did I think it was a good idea to take a pic of the mowing injury? I don't know. I looked at the picture and saw how perfectly in focus the enormous pores on my face were and I decided I wasn't leaving the bathroom until I got a good picture of myself.

Yikes! That's not it. There's a lot of face behind that face! And the hair, my god, the hair! It was like I was looking at myself for the first time in days. Try again:

Nope, not good. Not at all. Try something new:

That's a good picture!... Of the camera! More ideas were forming. Teeth were not getting brushed.

That's a little better, but my hair still looks like an ill-fitting toupee. The flash looks like a ball of light. Almost like a ghost! ...More ideas forming.

This is me practicing my acting skills and not brushing my teeth. I call this one "Surprise!"

I call this one "Oh my god, that spirit, that beautiful spirit is almost letting me touch it!"

I call this one: "What's it doing! What's it doing!"

I call this one: "OW! Let go of my goddamn hand!"

I call this one: "Nice spirit, nice... good spirit. shhh, calm spirit."

Then I brushed my teeth and went to bed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

iPod Heaven

I got an iPod Touch. It's extravagant and expensive and I was afraid that if I got it I would regret it and feel guilty that I didn't use the money for something more important. Guess what? I don't! It is just about the coolest little device I have ever had in my life. Last night I put all my address book info into it, I put all my music onto it, I put all my pictures onto it, I downloaded free games and other applications. One lets me see my facebook page with ONE CLICK OF A BUTTON, and another one is just like a bird identification book but way better. It plays bird calls! I also got a level application. I just have to lay my iPod on whatever it is I want to be level and there is a little bubble just like on a real level that tells me if what I am trying to make level is really level! Sure, I can't remember the last time I used a level or needed to identify a bird call, but still, how cool!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

William A. Irvin/William H. Macy

The Cousins and Grandma and Grandpa

We took a trip this afternoon to beautiful downtown Duluth and we toured the William A. Irvin, a retired iron ore ship which for years Mitch told me was named the William H. Macy. Julie and Rich met us with the cousins. It was fun! I forget that Duluth is a tourist town and there are lots of fun things to see.

I've been on this tour before, but not since the kids were really little. Kira was two years old and we were lining up for the tour and I went to put her up on my shoulders and didn't realize I was standing under a huge steel beam, and when I hoisted her up I banged her head on the beam and she hit so hard that the whole ship donged. She cried a little, but she was fine. The people in line behind us looked at me like I was a horrible mother, and continued to watch me to try to catch me in another act of abuse. One of them even looked at a teeny tiny scrape on her face and said, "Where did she get that cut?" I said, "Last night when she wouldn't SHUT UP!" No, I didn't really.

Anyway, back to today. Here's some more pics:

They're all getting so big!

Isn't he handsome?

Thank goodness the ship is bolted to the dock

This is Sam in the engine room. There is a legend that this ship is haunted because one time an engine worker got blasted in the face when a steam pipe broke and his face melted off. Hey tourguide, thanks a bunch for telling us that lovely story! (Actually, the kids loved that story.)

Sam and the kids in the cargo hold hearing about the melted-face ghost.

After the tour we went to Bayfront Park so the kids could run around together for a while. Kira found a beautiful lilac bush and burrowed into the center of it and discovered a big utility box so she stood on it and yelled which attracted every kid in the park who also wanted to try it. There are kids all over Duluth tonite with scratches all over their bodies because Kira lured them into the middle of a lilac bush and convinced them it was fun.

Kira decorated her grandparents