Monday, December 14, 2009

falling in a winter wonderland

sunday dawned a beautiful day! ice shimmered in the pale pink sunrise, mist lent a fairytale softness to sharp gray buildings, every tree glistened with ephemeral frosty christmas sparkles ... a beautiful day.

and how appropriate that such a day should be a sunday - a celebration day, less than two weeks before christmas!

for once, we actually made time to enjoy the beauty before church, even though joel was preaching and i was on worship team and speaking a transition. we left our warm home early, giggling and skidding on ice, for a hot starbucks breakfast. it was a perfect morning date and we arrived at church anticipating a blessed time of community and worship. and after that - freedom! our first free sunday in months! time with family, each other, and a few good football games filled the agenda out nicely.

excited, i filled my arms with the usual sunday accessories and stepped gingerly onto the sparkling parking lot. "wow, this is slick!" was the last thought that flitted through my mind as i attempted another step.

a terrific crack sounded in both ears as my head bounced off the ground. my body followed rapidly (it usually does) and i found myself lying on my back with the worst headache i've ever had. and that's saying something!

as my demised caramel brulee latte froze in brown trails, joel half led, half carried me into the almost empty church building. i fought the flashes clouding my vision, and felt the giantest ostrich egg on the back of my head. scary? uh, yeah.

i did not play flute on worship or speak my transition. and joel did not preach. (he was mercifully relieved when low numbers+compassion restructured the morning's service.) we did not watch football.

i am not, however, feeling sorry for myself - not a bit! stuff like this is becoming fairly typical. i steeled myself when i thought i married an accident prone man ... and proceeded in the following 5 years to get into numerous car accidents, have 2 surgeries, allergic reactions, weird illnesses, and now, a concussion. (a full list would wear one out!) i don't know why the poor man still wants to go into medicine - he certainly has enough opportunity to use his nursing skills at home! (and is always gracious, patient, and kind.)

so i am now watching christmas movies, having finally convinced my pupils to behave and dilate to the same size. this forced pause has been good for me; they usually are.
i stressed: is my christmas ruined now (since i'll probably have symptoms for at least a month)? what if i can't finish my christmas shopping? what if i can't finish sending cards and decorating and making cookies for the neighbors? what if i can't go to any christmas parties? is christmas ruined?

for the answer i turn to my usual source of wise advice - the grinch. ;)

"and the grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling: "how could it be so?
it came without ribbons! it came without tags!
it came without packages, boxes or bags!"
and he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
then the grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"maybe christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"maybe christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

of course it means a little bit more. christmas can't be taken away by a measly little concussion.
christmas is thankfulness, and tiny baby Jesus.
christmas is the glory song of angels, and the wonder of baby Emmanuel in a shed.
christmas is a promise fulfilled and hope made real.

merry christmas from the concussed but thankful one!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

transitions and messes...

thursday, december 10, 2009 was a big day in the roberts household.

it was a big day because i gave a first lesson to a brand new piano student.
it was a bigger day because joel took a nutrition final.
it was even bigger because joel's nutrition final was the last test of his crazy, 16-credit-40hr-work-week-pocahontas schedule.

and it was even bigger than that ... because this nutrition final was the last final of joel's pre-nursing classes.

this journey began over 2 years ago when i suddenly found myself under a truck with no graceful way out. joel spent months caring for my resulting injuries: wound dressing changes ... doctor appointments ... helping me wash my hair for 6 months ... and God used this to redirect his caring, pastor's heart from vocational ministry into medicine. really, just another title of vocational ministry. :)

he started 2 springs ago on pre-med classes, planning to become a doctor. after several terms of doctor pre-reqs, we realized that the schooling to become a doctor would hold back many of our dreams for ministry, family, and community. so he switched paths to nurse practitioner: more flexibility, family-friendly schooling, and staying in our community.

he has spent the last 2 years taking anatomy& physiology, chemistry, biology, advanced maths, microbiology, anthropology ... i'm probably missing some 'ologies ... while working full time and ministering in various capacities. apparently a degree in bible and ancient greek wasn't sufficient to get into nursing school.

now, after working so hard for 2 years, we're in the next phase. it's a big transition - the last 2 years have been long and hard, working toward a goal which, though attainable, seemed far off. this next phase - the "applying-to-nursing-schools-and-waiting-FOREVER-to-hear-back phase" will be challenging, but mercifully short! we hope that he can get into linfield's accelerated rn program - 15 months, starting this june.

the light at the end of this tunnel just got a lot brighter. :)

we spent thursday night organizing our study for the first time in 3 years ... which was almost a bigger deal than the last final! :) i post these "before" pictures to encourage anyone who thinks that you're disorganized ... chances are, we've got you beat!

"after" pictures might come soon. if i can ever find them in all of this dratted new organization. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

scroogecat attacks.

just my luck to get a cat who hates christmas.

i, the christmas lover, acquired a cat whose mission is to eat every garland, break every ornament, prematurely unwrap every package, knock over every nativity character, and short out every christmas light in the house.

methinks we should arrange scroogecat a visit from the ghost of christmas past. muah ha ha ha!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

the dirty hippie confesses.

ok, ok, ok, i confess: i am a dirty hippie. but please, let me explain.

i've always had a love-hate relationship with my poofy, wavy, curly, unpredictable, frizzy hair. when i was little i wanted beautiful straight princess hair, and at about age 13 i started growing my hair out in hopes of achieving princess-hood, or at least weighing down the frizzies.

i grew it out for 4 years.

on a good day (after 2 hours with the straightener), i'd get this:
but most days i'd sport a convenient 3lb bun or braid, the embodiment of 1890s chic. i chopped it to my shoulders at 18, hoping the cranial weight loss would lesson my headaches. it didn't, but that's another story. i discovered that my hair curled nicely when washed with special curly hair shampoo and conditioner and slathered with brightly colored gels and sprays. for years, i consumed more tigi and frizz-ease than coffee.

then, joel decided to take anatomy and physiology from a crazy, wacked out professer who insisted that hair was healthiest when it wasn't shampooed! joel came home and repeated this nonsense, which i indignantly dismissed. maybe the hair was healthier, but it wouldn't do much for your social life! besides, what about those of us who rely on mountains of sticky stuff? without shampoo my hair would congeal into a gel-cemented helmet!

fast forward through a few months ... i had a change of heart (or is it change of follicle?) and decided to actually research this "shampoo-less" method. my budget confronted my vanity each month, and i was eager for alternatives. i came across this blog post, which explained a fairly reasonable looking shampoo-less routine - aka, it actually involved washing your hair with something other than rain. so i did it.

i switched from using a gob of shampoo, a bigger gob of conditioner, and half a bottle of goop every day, to one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of vinegar once a week and nothing else but water.

and my crazy, poofy, wavy hair ... loves it!
(so does my budget.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

packages, boxes and bags!

the grinch's observation was totally correct. christmas will come with or without packages, boxes, or bags.
... but that doesn't mean that packages, boxes, and bags can't be awesome!

there were three packages on the doorstep when we got home from our pocahontas daytime show today.
#1 was a pair of jeans i bought steeply discounted. :)
#2 was a photo order from my print company - including my very first photo christmas card order! :) :)
#3 was a laptop. for me! it is itty bitty, and will be perfect for my on-the-go schedule. :) :) :)

i am very happy.

oh, and the best part of this laptop: it has a webcam! there's just something addicting about webcams, i tell ya...

notice i said "addicting," not "flattering".

Thursday, December 3, 2009

you win, universe.

the universe hates me this week.
its arsenal includes entropy, gravity, all the other laws of physics, and of course, murphy's law.
my arsenal consists of whining. the universe is not affected by whining.

i have burned myself three times and pulled muscles in both my calves.
i lost my garden gloves, rake, shoes, half a string of christmas lights, a bowl of oatmeal, and part of the fence. i nearly lost mary and a shepherd.
the cat learned how to jump on the kitchen counters and is currently on mission to attack every nativity scene, string of lights, gift wrapped package, and human in the house.
the universe has also employed photoshop, ups, the garbage man, coffee, my cell phone, traffic, darkness, and wind in its reign of terror.

... maybe this is the price i have to pay for having 3 great hair days in a row!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

one month later...

wow, seriously, did not intend to ignore the blog for this long! i guess it's time for a very random update blog!

this month ...
we studied, music directed, worked, taught, preached, cleaned, fixed our cat, took pictures, fought viruses (both biological and computer), drank eggnog chai, experienced strange car problems, thanksgiving-ed with friends and family, ran a huge sound system, made sweet potato fries, got (and gave) a haircut, halfway set up the christmas decorations, and laughed a lot.

we didn't spend enough time with friends, sleep enough, stay sane ... or blog.
but you already knew that last part. ;)

more bloggage will hopefully ensue after finals and pocahontas shows are over (tickets still available at!), but for now, that's november in a nutshell!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

tabitha preview

today was such a beautiful day! clear sky, skittering leaves, dancing trees ... in which i found a tabitha. :)
she's a senior. so i took her senior pictures.
~reflecting on high school ... or maybe just trying not to fall through the floorboards!
no cats were harmed during this photoshoot.

... maybe a little traumatized though. :D
me: could you toss the cat toward that direction?

such a pretty lady.
click on any photo to view larger.

Monday, November 2, 2009

rw preview

i had so much fun today photographing my lovely friends with some of the last of the fall leaves ... here's a brief preview for you guys! the rest will be up soon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

can i be this old?

last night, an 8 year old friend read me her reading-aloud homework assignment. the last time i fulfilled the role of "homework-read-aloud-listener," i was 13 years old, and the reader was a 9 year old neighbor, friend, and babysit-ee.

he got married on friday.
justin is in the army now, and leaving for germany this week. his bride, ellie, is going with him. :)

we went to their reception on saturday.

his little brother, mikey, is 16. i babysat him when he was 5-7ish.

we met their older sister, her husband, and their daughter, who looked just like mikey. :)
jeff, their dad.

congratulations, justin and ellie! looking forward to staying in touch on facebook! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


i can't avoid it any longer. i can't hide from it, shield my eyes from it, or deny it. so i will blog it.

you may want to stop reading right now unless you possess an extraordinarily strong constitution, because the news i will share in forthcoming paragraphs is, quite frankly, devastating. it is heartbreaking, and should you choose blissful (though ephemeral) naivety i will fully understand.

-don't say i didn't warn you-

but it is my job as a blogger and self proclaimed social commentarian* to proclaim that which is in front of our very eyes:


now - before you dismiss me as a fearmongering, naysaying, delusive prophet of doom ... i have proof.

googled: 1980s fashion
googled: 2009 fashion
i'm sure that you, wonderfully perceptive readers, see the same thing i see.
they're similar!! and what do they have in common?
pointy pumps
primary colors
puffed sleeves**
high waists
general ubiquitous fluffiness

need i say more? and don't even get me started on the music!

friends, this is bad. many of you have seen this day coming. some, i'm sure, will be blindsided by this blog, and to you i offer my heartfelt condolences.

please, all, consider this place, this speck of space in the interwebz, a place of rest and escape*** from the perfidious phoenix rising again in our culture ... a 1969 haven from medusa's serpentine skinny-leg tendrils ... a hippie commune of peace and love in the swirling, stormy return of the decade of "frantic change, characterised by political and economic decentralisation, especially in countries with mixed and command economies..."****
-ok, i'm done now.

and, um, to all y'all who are into the whole 80's thing ... hi. [waves awkwardly]

*yes, i know it isn't a word. this is my blog and i can make up words if i want to.
**lots of p's, but that's beside the point.
***and commas

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


this is not a real polaroid. it is edited with one of the many softwares that mimic the features of polaroid ... and fail to capture the essence.

i had a polaroid when i was little - my grandma gave it to me, and i loved it. i thrilled to take pictures of legos, dolls, my mother holding a stuffed orangutan -the 3 minute wait was excruciating - until i ran out of film. we couldn't afford to buy more film, so the polaroid sat on a shelf, staring through empty eye at my closet door. like many small objects laden with childhood nostalgia, it disappeared sometime between 2nd grade and high school.

and now polaroids are gone, and i can only make tinted replicas of these childhood images - mimicking the shading and focus, but lacking that which defined the experience.

postscript #1: please pardon the whiny nostalgia - i'm sick today. :)
postscript #2: polaroid is coming back! :)))))

Monday, October 19, 2009

after the weekend...

yes, i know joel is blurry. he is not the subject of this picture. the subject of this picture is the full sink, the remnants of salad, the water bottle that i filled for rehearsal on friday and accidentally left home, and ... vinegar? no idea why that's there.

this is what the house generally looks like after the weekend, at least the parts of the house not visible to my 8pm sunday piano student. he gets a clean living room.

life is busy but so good. we are especially enjoying working together with pocahontas - i had no idea my husband was such a good vocal teacher! you learn new things all the time... :)

christian youth theater is in a financial bind right now, and lots of emphasis has been placed on ticket sales for pocahontas. there is a big incentive for reaching the ticket goal: a party with lots of fun stuff ...
including the spectacle of my husband being given a mohawk.

[sigh] ... yes, i'm willing to sacrifice his hair for a good cause. so, if you want to see pictures of joel with a mohawk on this blog, pop over here to get tickets.

and, if you like, go here for some video of the awesome fight scene our kids our learning with a professional fight choreographer!

Monday, October 12, 2009

random cupcake blog

... it's like a random update blog, except there's cupcakes in it.

so, joel and i have gone insane, but that's ok because most people thought we were a little off before anyway. now we can just say, "we're insane." and it's all cool. until the nice men in the white coats show up.

moving on ...

he's taking 16 credits this term (in addition to his full time job), i am in full swing with my new studio, and we are co-music-directing pocahontas together, among various other projects.

we're surviving the 7 day/week madness, mostly with smiles and laughter, and occasionally with panic attacks or arguments about who should walk across the room to stop the cat from destroying wrapping paper. that was a low point. but really, over all, we're doing quite well.

yes, yes, the cupcakes - i'm getting there.
last thursday my wonderful friend jessica came over and we made over 90 cupcakes for me to take to our neighbors. we had a wonderful time, and delivering the cupcakes was a blast! i had no idea there were so many sweet people in our neighborhood, and i can't wait to get to know them better.

though ... just my recommendation ... halloween is probably the worst time of year to deliver cupcakes to strangers. it takes a special measure of courage to march past a yard strewn with skulls and gravestones to a bloodstained door, insufficiently armed with pastries and a faltering grin.
wait til thanksgiving: much more welcoming.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

a walk in the park with a toddler

... and her mommy, who happens to be my very good friend.

sometimes, a walk in the park is the best way to spend a crisp, dewy, sunny october morning.
every moment is a unique discovery.

i totally want shoes that cool. seriously.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

the attack of pocahontas

last spring i accompanied christian youth theater's presentation of willy wonka. it was a blast. i had a great time working with the kids, the band, and the music director, jeff, and decided that maybe someday i'd like to be a music director for cyt.

i mentioned this to jeff, and specified that i would definitely want to get some training first ... accompany another show, shadow a music director ... stuff like that, before i'd feel ready.

several weeks passed before a buoyant, theater-ish lady with lovely red hair marched up to me, introduced herself as the director of cyt's next show, and announced that jeff had told her to talk to me about music directing it. i told her that i'd think about it, went home, and told joel that there was absolutely no way that i would music direct a show in the fall.

well ...

so here it is, october, and we just finished our first rehearsal for pocahontas. joel and i are co-music directing - which makes me very glad.

these last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of planning, meetings, auditions, and recording rehearsal cds all night.

i love working with kids, music, and joel. my three favorites.

(by the way, i blame pocahontas for my near total neglect of this blog for the last, oh, month-and-a-half.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

this blog is somewhere in the pile on the left.

objects in picture are messier than they appear.

Monday, September 28, 2009

a lame vlog in lieu of a witty blog.

please don't make fun of how ridiculous i am in front of a camera. it's been a long day...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a little friend.

- from the garden this week.

that's all. happy rainy saturday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

my kind of exercise...

beats treadmill any day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

this & that

i cannot sleep. and so, at 2am i shall share a photo of my living room/piano studio...

and of a window which, if i am not mistaken, is watching me...
and i am editing photos of strangers taken back in may, even though a full inbox and even fuller to-do list await. we will be hauling dirt very early tomorrow morning, at which point i will be very regretful that i didn't try to sleep earlier.

these photos have intrigued me since i met them 4 months ago. 3 women - 3 life stages - each seem frozen in a moment of transparency. my favorite images are the rare captures of the expression in between expressions: that half-second when the subject is unposed and vulnerable, truth etched in each line and shadow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

i am a piano teacher now.

i met a little girl today named haley. she is 5. i am her piano teacher.
she loves pink and purple, and dolls and dancing. she has fluffy blond hair and blue eyes. she is not shy.

she is me. 18 years ago, i was hailey (with pink glasses).

she played the piano for me, just like she plays it at grandma's house. she copied every rhythm i tapped for her perfectly, concentration creasing her cherub face. she tapped the dolly with her right and left hands just as i asked. i told her that she must be the simon-says champion of the whole world.

when we were done hailey cried, "i want to stay!"

inside i said, "i want you to stay!" but outside i said, "i'll see you next week."
... and smiled really big.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

my husband decided to indulge my love of spontaneity.

... and this is what happened.
there will be lots of pictures.

august 22
we ditched homework, housework, and work-work at about 7pm to find a place to hike in the gorge.
end location: latourell falls.
best part: venturing as far as possible behind the falls without tumbling into the pool below.
... at which point joel decided to check his cell reception. five bars.
i, of course, ended up drenched - modeling the drowned rat look.

we ended the hike by enjoying the sunset from the edge of this unguarded precipice.
august 23
joel had to spend the day studying, so i decided that we should study at the beach. deeply concentrating on his anthropology text on the drive, he requested that we not listen to any music with english words. so we listened to french, latin, portuguese, spanish, and arabic ... oh, and mozart. :)
we spent most of the afternoon at my favorite cafe ever in the whole entire world. :)
i love this place. if you're ever in cannon beach, be sure to check out bella espresso.

of course, we did go to the beach too.
august 27
joel's birthday isn't until september 21, but we celebrated a little early. i surprised him with tickets to fiddler on the roof, and what a night it was!
we started with happy hour at portland city grill. this was our view.
this was my view.
we arrived at the keller an hour early because someone didn't read the tickets she bought (oops), and decided to find a starbucks. we managed to walk the one route across the entire area that contained no starbucks, a travesty which i blame on the starbucks planning people, the portland city planning people, the dutch mafia, and that stupid mermaid on their cups.*
starbucks incident aside, the show was breathtaking. i don't think i shut my mouth the whole time - my jaw was somewhere near my lap. my favorite line (not in the movie) was when tevye referred to the state of being "poor as synagogue mice". i'm still laughing.

august 28
in addition to being international "race your mouse" day, august 28 was also our anniversary.
we went to the zoo. just because.

there were many interesting things to see at the zoo, including one of my favorite creatures of all: the vw van.

we also went back to the church where we were married, sat in the car and watched half of our wedding video. partway through, the computer decided it wasn't getting enough battery from the car and flipped out, but we caught the processional, most of the message, and our vows. so i suppose at this point i could draw out a complicated metaphor involving marriage and the trials of life, but it is now 2:11am and i'm not going to.
finished off the day at papa haydn's eastside, where we both had vanilla lattes with hearts on them. joel kinda freaked out a little bit right after i took this picture cause i used flash in a dark restaurant. i won't share the one i took of him three seconds later - it's kind of scary. heh.
love you dear. mwah.**
*it is now 1:58am and i accept no responsibility for the coherence of what i write.
**did i seriously just write "mwah" in a blog post? i am so going to hate myself in the morning.