Thursday, March 31, 2005

Chicago, Random Stuph

Well, it looks like Stu and Blake are not going to go to Uganda this July now. So I can look for airfares for July, and if they are decent enough, then I get to go to Mysterium! Yay! Ideally I would like to find a roomie to sahre the hotel expenses with. Chicago is hugely busy that weekend what with mega-gift shows going on and all like that there. They have totally JACKED up the hotel rates because of it. How typical! Capitalist Swine! ;o)
Anyway, with any luck I will be able to "toss my pearls" to these hotel mongering swine.

Blake went on his first paying gig running shotgun mic and second cam alternately for a local publishing house and now has edited a really nice promo for some local camps to distribute for staff recruitment. He really did a nice job cutting the thing. If I can find a place to upload it I will. Stu recorded the music for the opening scene selection options, and he tweeked his voice and sang and played guitar really badly, on purpose.
It's pretty histerical!
Stu doesn't actually "play" a guitar, as far as I know.

Yes, I would say that is still an accurate statement.

he didn't let it stop him though.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Weasely Black Guts...

While working on the illo's for the childrens book a terrible thot came to me:

"...if I approached the "Acme Publishing Company" with the manuscript, now what with all this flap about Shaivo and feeding tubes and heroic medical life saving measures and what not, they may see fit to cash in on the publicity and publish our book."

I can hardly believe such a callous thot came into my head.

Cynical as it sounds, that is how the publishing industry is, now matter how they might try to whitewash themselves.

That is why I will be self publishing again.

I am not Martha Stewart, Lauren Becall, Nancy Stafford or Russell Cronkite.
I have no big name, no easily pidgeonhole-able content to market.
I have not already targeted a market for my subject matter, so that I can present it to the acquisitions people in editorial.
It's a a sleeper.
But to those who need it, it has already made a difference, even with out the illo's.

Publishing has become more about quantity not quality.

That is why I think Ryan has been an encouragement and he doesn't even know it.

Self publishing may really be the best solution, allowing one to maintain ones integrity and to make available, something worth reading.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

It's the Stuff the Money Gets

I hadn't thought of that phrase (in a truly applicable sense) since we left the Mission.
But I am lately reminded of it.
Ever since Stu and I decided that, no matter what our finances looked like, it was best for me to quit my FT job to be home again with the kids, I have been second guessing that decision and wouldn't ya know it? God is big enough and interested enough to remind me on a personal level of what is important.

The Phrase:
"It's not the money, it's the stuff the money gets..."

2nd Half of The Phrase:
"...and our Father in Heaven owns "the cattle on 1000 hills", therefore, He is well able to supply my needs." (Read: needs -vs- wants)

It was illustrated in daily living for the whole 9 years we served with Arctic Missions, later known as InterAct Missions.
Such daily examples of provision almost became

-dare I say it?-

"ho-hum" and common place.

It was as simple and second nature as saying,
"uhm, God? There is this bill coming down the pike here, how would you like to solve it?"
And He always did.
It became a no-brainer.
Once we left the Mission and got "a real job" that simple faith was not excersized in the same way as frequently.

Back to today:
So here we are, looking down the narrows to my final paycheck on June 1.
Every day I second guess my/our decision to quit FT, saying,
"Uhm God? This looks really stupid on paper. Am I sure this is what you want me to do?"

He is so kind. He talks in so many ways.

The dishwasher broke and flooded again. (Yes. That is again.)
-He gave us a new, slightly used, dishwasher for free, which was better than the one we had to begin with.

I had an outstanding bill to a local vendor, (which I hate to miss payments to locals)
-God managed to provide for its payment by using a tenant in our building, who gave me a gift certificate to this vendors establishment. It was for the amount owed. The giver could not have known the amt.

School tuition in full, was not going to be payed this month.
-Somebody donated anonymously to our tuition fund at the end of last month. I just found out about it yesterday when I went to tell the school. We did not know last month, that this month would end up as short as it did.

We were borrowing the current editing equipment, which is due back in May.
-Yesterday, He provided us with a free replacement of the current editing suite, and upgraded.

For many this would be a wonderful set of amazing coincidences, and I would not begrudge them their happy attitude. For me, in light of my daily searching, and asking and second guessing, the timing of all these lovely gifts says alot more to me. It communicates to me, that God is answering my inner questions to Him, and it is as though He is quoting the "Michelle Paraphrase," saying, "See Michelle? It's not the Money you need, it's the stuff the money gets, and I own evrything, therefore I am MORE than able to provide for your daily needs and I am even willing to provide for some of your wants, just because I like to bless my kids. I am your 'Dad' after all."

Even so, Sunday, we had a guest speaker at the Church, while our own pastor is at our Sister Church in Uganda. This new guy was talking about being "counter culture."
He talked about living your life,
not according to what tradition
or according to what modern culture dictates,
but according to how God wants us to live as He lays it out in the Bible.

It certainly applied to me, since nothing about this decision looks good on paper, or even normal.
Even so, I believe it is what God would have me do right now.

Disclaimer: The Phrase
Is not a Bible verse.
It is my own observation after 9 years of living it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Ash Tracker Update



Ash Tracker and Geology Queen For A Day

Update for Wednesday A.M.,
March 9, 2005

Track map
Leading Edge of ash has entered Western Montana. Ash is becoming fainter or more diffuse in satellite imagery. The ash is currently moving eastward, but is expected to turn more south in the next several hours.
Next advisory will be issued 2005 March 09 at 1615

Matinee St. Helens:
Slide Show view of last nights Eruption?
Topo Map of the St. Helen's area?
Johnston Ridge Live Web Cam?

Ain't geology wacky? I love it!
It's one of the great things about The Pacific Northwest.
We have volcanic activity, we have the Juan DeFuca plate off the coast, we have Hikes in the gorge showing spetacular examples of the effects of erosion on basalt. There is Fort Rock in the middle what was once a gigantic lake that covered much of the southern half of the state of Oregon.


Recent History of Helen's Activity:
1979 — The mountain is a recreational haven. Half a million people a year visit the Spirit Lake area below the cone-shaped, 9,677-foot summit.
March 1980 — The volcano begins to show signs of unrest. Earthquakes and steam eruptions continue for several weeks.
8:32 a.m., May 18, 1980 — A 5.1-magnitude earthquake about a mile below the summit triggers a massive eruption and landslide, flattening 230 square miles of forest northwest of the summit and resulting in the deaths of 57 people. A plume of ash extends 15 miles into the sky and coats towns 250 miles away.
Summer 1980-October 1986 — Repeated minor eruptions build a 925-foot-tall dome of hardened lava inside the crater left by the eruption.
1982 — Congress and President Reagan create the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation and education. Inside the monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.
1990-present — Steady progression in the variety and number of plants and animals returning to the blast zone.
1998 — First major seismic activity since 1986, with earthquakes located as deep as 6 miles forcing magma to within about a mile of the dome, scientists believe.
2001 — Another flurry of small earthquakes, but once again, no magma surfaces.
Sept. 23, 2004 — The first of thousands of tiny, shallow earthquakes are recorded at St. Helens.
Sept. 26, 2004 — The U.S. Geological Survey declares a notice of volcanic unrest, closing the crater and upper flanks of the volcano to hikers and climbers.
Sept. 29, 2004 — Earthquakes increase to about four per minute, ranging in magnitude from 2.0-2.8. The USGS raises its warning system to the third of four levels and warns that a blast could send rocks and ash 3 miles from the summit.
Oct. 1, 2004 — Mountain briefly belches out a plume of smoke and ash. Quakes subside.
Oct. 11, 2004 — Molten rock reaches the surface, marking resumption of dome-building activity that had stopped in 1986.
March 8, 2005 — A large plume of steam is emitted from the crater, accompanied by an earthquake of about 2.0 magnitude at 5:25 p.m.

St Helens Expanded History
MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. -- There has been a volcano on this site for 40,000 years — the youngest and most active peak in a 1,000-mile Cascade Range chain that extends from Mount Garibaldi in Canada to Mount Lassen in Northern California.
Like the others, Mount St. Helens erupted, blasted itself apart and reformed several times over tens of thousands of years.
The perfect cone that blew apart in May 1980 began to form during the 500-year Pine Creek eruptive period that began in 1,000 B.C.
So the current mountain is about 2,500 years old — the blink of an eye in geological time, but a period that roughly covers the history of western civilization.
The pyramids in Egypt were already 2,000 years old when the current peak began to form. Greece and Rome rose and fell as it grew.
All the world's major religions developed as the cone rose above the forested mountains — Buddhism in 500 B.C., Christianity as the millennial clock turned from B.C. to A.D., Islam 600 years later.
The nations of Europe formed, dissolved and redesigned themselves as the centuries rolled.
To the west, the Aztecs were building pyramids in 1200, the Mayans about 500 years later. European explorers ventured to the New World in the late 1400s, followed by colonists and settlers.
The Klickitat and Cowlitz tribes, who had already inhabited the area for centuries, called the peak "mountain of fire" in their languages.
In 1792, British explorer George Vancouver named the mountain for a countryman, diplomat Baron St. Helens.
In 1836, Dr. Meredith Gairdner of Fort Vancouver logged the first written eyewitness report of an eruption.
In 1980, it erupted, reducing its height by 1,300 feet. Debris was spread as much as 17 miles northwest of the crater. The blast destroyed more than 200 square miles of forest, covered the river valley to the west with an average 150 feet of debris and killed 57 people, about 7,000 big-game animals and countless smaller creatures.

Vanity, all is vanity.

Dang, this hair cutting thing really bites!

Blake has decided that he is not calling Bill Clinton "Bill" anymore, but has instead renamed him
as "Billyard."

I like it.

Heard a good review about a film out recently called "King Arthur."
I heard it was good.
Has anybody seen it, who could offer up an opinion?

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Mt St Helens Farts

So I posted the first blurb about it at Metallicity.
Since then things have settled down a bit here. We Oregonians get excited about our neighboring state's volcano. As far as residents living within 500 miles of the mountain are concerned, Mt St Helens belongs to everybody in the Pacific Northwest. May of us remember when she blew in 1980, and the bizarre dusty, annoying rain of ash that fell the next day(s).
So if I appear to be wound up, well...I AM!
Hey, I love geology!
So here is the latest according to Portland's KGW News 8 and KATU .

Corrections to the Metallicity update that I previously posted.
Apparently there was a 2.0 earhtquake. (2.0? Big deal? I think I know people who belch louder than that.) and the Weather Service has issued a "Falling Ash Alert."
I have no fear of falling on my ash, that's for sure.
I live about 6 hours south of the mountain.
(ahem - cough!)

4 inches = 1 Hand

Rememebr the poly-urethane varnish blog entry from two days previous?
Well, I had an "accident" with the compound in question, which unfortunately resulted in the cutting off of my hair by about 4 inches (gived or take a cm).

Don't ask.

If this is not the Matrix...

...then why are my battles against machines?

Could some one please pass me the axe? I need to fix the Fax/Copier/Printer, and the A drive in my antiquated computer.

The problem with working in an office, is that it is full of office machines.
Ok, and people.
If you un-install those elements from your office, things would run much more smoothly, imho anyway.

Where did all my money go?
I thought it was here a minute ago, but the walls in the bank some how magically turned to rubber and everything bounced in one window and into a black hole. I don't think any of it is coming back, either.
I think I know where it went.
One item ran afoul of the deposit at Man-Birthday Time, and it all "went-to-hand-in-a-heck-basket" soon after.
Now I know what this feels like.
The word "bounce" suddenly has a new and unpleasant meaning in my vocabulary.
I don't like it.

Can this month be over now, God?


Monday, March 7, 2005

Poly-Urethane Varnish!

It's what's new and cool in my life!
I accidentally stymbled upon a can of it on the sale rack at Luttons Hardware.
Normally $25 a gallon, this one was on the "Mis-tints" table. Don't ask me how a "clear" varnish could get into the mis-tints sale, but hey-I'm not complaining. So, I got some of the almost finished art, down off of the studio walls and took it out side in the sun. I slopped the stuff all over the surfaces and spread it with a rubber gloved-hand, nice and thick.
I think it is going to really make the colours 'pop' like they didn't before. It inspired me to do more things that I had only contemplated in the past.
Poly-Urethane Varnish now makes it all possible.
Hail! Hail! Poly-Urethane Varnish!

Wee-ha and woop-de-do!

Saturday, March 5, 2005

Poisoned Grades

Ok, so...
We are (dad & I) having a chit chat wiht Freshman about grade-ishness.
When asked why he did so well the first trimester and crashed in the second, what was the boys explanation?
"I ate less Tuna in the first trimester."

Very funny.

But you can't use current news events against your mother.

Thursday, March 3, 2005


I am really frustrated.
Here is a glimpse into the day of me:

-Two incomes that equal one.
-One Large Surgery for one middle child, looming in 8 weeks.

-June 1st, my last day of FT work, so that I may be a mom again:
-looks bad on paper.
-is bad on paper.
-God is not always about building visible stability, but inner character.
-My kids need their mom back.


-A student getting F's
-A/B student getting D's
-Freshman year is freaky.
It is a weird place, with weird people
who make you feel weird.
It is easy to blow off crappy grades, saying "I don't care"
and on the inside, you really DO care about those
crappy grades and saying, "I don't care!" is a way of
hiding from other people, the fear of everything new going on around you at highschool.

Its easy to punish and apply pressure, but punishment alone and apart from
realistic reaping/sowing logic, is fruitless and more likely damaging.
Punishment (like tradition) for it's own sake is stupid, pointless and damaging to some one who is older. Small children and animals respond to simple chastisement and reward tactics because they are still small and developing. Black and white, "you do this, you get this reward" options versus, "you commit this crime and you earn this consequence" are extremely useful and proper in young children, but you can't treat big kids in the same manner. Obviously.
When Freshman was little (1-6 years) he would have days when it seemed like he lived in his bedroom for all the time-outs he earned! I remember one day,when he was about 2, I had an epiphany. In a calm moment, I wrote down all of the offenses that he was known to commit. I listed everyone I could remember. Then, I calmly and rationally assessed an appropriate "consequence" for each offense. I taped the list to the front of the fridge, (up high so he couldn't easily tear it off and pronounce it "lost.") I picked him up and carried him over tot he list and I showed it to him. We read all the words on one side. They were things he liked to do that got him into trouble. I explained that these were the "bad ideas" and rules, and when he wanted to break one, we would have to come and find out what he would earn from that choice. There were two offenses that earned a spanking. I told him, (often through his young life) "don't make me do that one please. I hate to do that one." By saying this, I effectively communicated the responsibility of earning this and other consequences, was on his own shoulders. After all, I wasn't holding a gun to his head, making him stick his tongue out at his daddy. That was HIS choice, and he should understand the full ramifications of what he was choosing. He did learn at a young age that his poor choices were his alone.

I digress!
Anyway, so getting BACK to what I was going on about...

So, rather than punish Freaked-Out-Fearful Freshman and Low-Grade-Achieving-Smart-Child, I prefer to look at it as;

-how do they spend their time when they get home? How can I help them?
(By being at home - hence choice to quit FT job.)

-how can I help Freshman to not goof off during class time.
(short of sitting in the classroom which not only demeans him, it embarasses me too, and I pretty much refuse to do it unless need is great.)

-what things/activities are getting in the way of him being focused on his schol work during the week, and how can I help him train himself to be more balanced in how he spends his time?

And this is how to help some of it:
-the TV/GameCube will have to be removed from his room.
-The TV in the family room will have to stay off until grown ups are home.
-the editing suite is off limits during the week, camera is restricted to weekends as well, with no shoots scheduled during the week.
-no computer access until grown ups are home.

Will he hate me because he views this help as punishment even though it is not? Probably

Will I permit his hating me, to stop me from doing what is right for him? No. I love him too much. He is a good person, he wants to do well. He just has too many things to distract him right now, and school is so unpleasant when you aren't sure of your place.

Do I get to have ulcers and headaches for my helping? Maybe to the first, yes to the latter.

Does he think I will want to hold this over his head for the rest of his life? Probably.

Do I.


Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Pam had a talk with God

Pam is yet another co-worker of mine and probably the counter balance to Donna and I.
Pam is the epitome of balance, logic and love. Donna and I are flagrant word abusers and always looking for the opportunity to be strange or irreverant - not that we don't revere God, mind you - we just like to make fun of life's little jokes at the expense of mankind (and especially MANkind).

Anyway, so Pam was having a talk with God, as she is wont to do frequently, and she brought back this lovely quotable quote that I think is very much in keeping with alot of things God Himself tends to say via The Bible.

Pam's memorable quote was this:
(and aren't you glad I am finally getting to it?)

"Don't be deceived by those who speak well, but look deeper to the character of the one speaking."

About That New Virus Alert...'s legit!
I got it straight from some friends at HP,
here is the most recent update:

There is a new virus.
The code name is WORK.
If you receive WORK from your colleagues, your boss, via e-mail, or from anyone else, do not touch it under any circumstances.
This virus wipes out your private life completely.
If you should happen to come in contact with this virus, take two friends and go straight to the nearest bar.
Order drinks immediately and after three rounds, you will find that WORK has been completely deleted from your system.
Forward this virus warning immediately to at least five friends.
Should you realize you do not have five friends, this means you are already infected by this virus and WORK already controls your life.
If this is the case, go to the bar and stay until you make at least five friends.
Then retry.
I think I have five friends, but am not entirely positive so I'm headed for the bar never hurts to be safe.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Read Aloud with Ahntee M

It has been a long, long time since I had the privilege of doing 'Read Aloud' to the first and second grade classes.
Dang I miss that!
So, I think that, in order to fill that hungry space in my heart, I might just begin the aud-blog snippets by doing read aloud. I am tempted to start with my favorite author and read from his childrens works.

Stephen R. Lawhead.

Funny, the only other person I ever met who
A) knew who he was and
B) also liked his works was my friend Bill.

I wonder if Bill knows about the little kid books that Stephen did way back when?
I should email him.
I think I'll just go do that right now.

Why I didn't see it before?

I dunno why the obvious eludes me.
It's probably why Myst themes puzzle game solutions elude me for so long.
After thrashing about, trying to figure out how to process a set of illo's for a kids book it finally hit me at 2 in the morning, Sunday. It was so obvious I coulda smacked myself in the head!
So that will be a good summer time project.