Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The kids and I went on a scavenger hunt in the woods today. We found all but one of the things on our list including, something round, a black rock, something rough, a red leaf, a piece of litter, etc. We never found a feather. We decided there were three possible suspects who might have stolen all the feathers from the forrest.

Suspect #1

Suspect #2

And this guy, was the shadiest of all, because we caught him drinking:

Friday, November 25, 2005

Today's outdoor activity was setting adrift "walnut wish boats" on Lake Anna. We cracked walnuts in half (harder than it sounds) filled them with candle wax and wicks and lit them and set them out on the lake carrying a wish. They looked so pretty. Uncle John tried to convince everyone to wish for a new enclosed boat he wants, Chuck was mumbling something about a gold top Gibson, and I was wishing we could come back to Virginia this summer.
Best way to start a cold winter day on vacation! Posted by Picasa
Ferrari Lake Anna house from the front. Sleeps 17! Posted by Picasa
It has been so cold here we have been able to use the porch as a backup fridge. Posted by Picasa
In anticipation of the visiting grand nephew and niece Aunt Vicky ordered an outdoor activity book. We have many activities planned but the first was yesterday the Balloon stomp, in which each player ties a balloon to their ankle and tries to stomp on their opponents to pop them. The last player with an unpopped balloon wins. The game was cut short slightly by sharp sticks. When my proposed strategy of wearing spikey boots was vetoed I employed a new strategy of hanging on the sidelines until everyone was out except Charlie. This proved to be a winning strategy. I was able to take him out and am now the reigning Balloon stomp champion. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

And here is the boat house(s). Although the jet skis, jet boat and bass fishing boats are winterized, apparantly we can take out the pontoon or the ?? some other boat for an evening winter cocktail cruise. Everyone should have an aunt vicky and uncle john who spoil them like this!! Posted by Picasa
This is the view out our bedroom window at Vicky and John's lake house. Almost makes me want to get married again. It is so pretty here. A soft snow started to fall tonight. The kids are wondering why they cannot go swimming in the lake like they did when we came out in the summer. brrrrrrrr Posted by Picasa
When mom yells about potty words, you can always switch to playing 10,000 Posted by Picasa

safe experiments with butts and monkeys

You know what is hilarious when you are trying to kill time in the Phoenix airport? Potty words mad libs (mundorff children contributions in bold):

Science Lab:
Once a week, we have a science laboratory class, and we get to do
safe experiments with butts and monkeys. Our teacher, Ms. Dorothy the Dinosaur, shows us how to dissect boogers. First we take out the internal butt zits and chickens and draw pictures of them in our notebooks. We have to work happily or else we will make a mess.
We also learn to use chemicals to make squishy things like inexpensive household poop and deodorizers that make a toenail smell like a bottlecap. Last week we had a creepy accident in the lab. Mom mixed some bleach with hot dogs and added some orange juice and the mixture exploded and blew two boobies through the roof. So now our teacher makes us all wear safety shorts during science class.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 21, 2005

My husband just referred to me as middle aged. So he'll pretty much be sleeping on the couch for the rest of the month.

Oregon 56 - Oregon State 14

For the past three years now, we have attended a Civil War tailgater to beat all tailgaters. Ida Mae (Beth’s mom) basically assumes control of the La Quinta Inn in Eugene for this event, and hosts a weekend long party with tons of activities, games and crafts for the kids (and a bring along babysitter) as well as food, drinks, and poker for the adults.

There was a small hiccup this year, however, when I called the Knutsen’s to see about caravanning to Eugene, and Chris said they had sick kids, and the current plan was that only one of them was going to come down for the event and not until the next day. I tried really hard not to be bummed out, but the fact is, this weekend is all about hanging out with those guys. Actually this year it was all about Duck braggin’ rights too, but that’s another story.

“You’re going to have to pick, Deb. Which one of us do you want?” Yikes!!! I had just finished telling him that although I thought he was a great guy, he had a fundamental character flaw in his allegiance to the Beavers. So when he asked me this really really tough question (do I pick my favorite bar tender? Or my dear friend?)

I was flummoxed. I told him I was afraid if I answered truthfully it would expose my own character flaw. A few minutes later I got a call from Beth, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT IS A TOUGH CHOICE???????!!!" Chris needed to shutup. They rallied – the whole crew showed up early Saturday morning, Beth ready to go to the game, Chris ready to make Tequila sunrises for everyone.

Charlie and I took our family's two tickets and went to the game. We went with Beth and her cousin Brad to the Moshovski center prior to the game and Charlie was able to mess around with some of the fun activities there before the game (first time he made the field goal attempt in the blowup tent thing - besting a drunk idiot who was razzing him about being a Beaver). He was such a trouper to hang out in the sea of Kelly green and Lemon yellow with a bright orange shirt, orange hair, and Beavers tattoos on his cheeks. He took a lot of ribbing but stood tough throughout the game (even when the Beavers got destroyed – I think they forgot to bring the defense down from Corvallis).

I love hanging out with that boy. By the end of third quarter, we decided the outcome was a forgone conclusion and the combination of the freezing cold and peasoup fog – convinced us to head back to the hotel. And after 10 years of hardwork on a native Eugene boy, work that started with siging him to sleep with the Oregon Duck fight song as an infant, I may have finally flipped him. I have been the sole Duck fan on Civil War day in this household for too long.

Most of the rest of the weekend was consumed with playing Texas Hold’em – which my children are surprisingly good at.

The rest of the pictures from our weekend can be found here. There aren't many because somehow over the weekend my camera stopped powering up. The day before we leave for two weeks of vacation, I could just cry!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Viva Las Divas (the origins of "Shouldn't I have this?")

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Passionate Kisses has been running in my head as a theme song of late. My current personal motto is a line from this song, is “Shouldn’t I have this?”

Chuck has accused me of turning into a diva. He blames the girlfriends I hang out with, Nell Anne in particular. That is probably unfair.

In fact, I’m certain I can pinpoint the beginning of this transformation. It was the reduction. There is something about going from being in constant back pain and thinking, “my god I wish I didn’t have these enormous boobs in my lap from nursing two babies” to “hey! I’ve got a fabulous rack! It cost my insurance company 12 grand!” that gives a girl a stronger sense of entitlement.

Makes me all the more likely to think, Shouldn’t I have this? when indulging in a boot binge at Nordstrom Rack (4 pairs of boots last week, yikes!), a new tube of MAC lip gloss or enjoying being treated like a princess.

Happily I have found the tabs for my song, and I’m guessing since it is written and composed by the woman Chuck insists if it weren’t for me would be Mrs. Mundorff (Lucinda Williams) he’d be willing to play it for me. Honey?

Is it too much to ask
I want a comfortable bed that won't hurt my back
Food to fill me up
And warm clothes and all that stuff

Shouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have all of this, and
Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

Is it too much to demand
I want a full house and a rock and roll band
Pens that won't run out of ink
And cool quiet and time to think

Shouldn't I have thisShouldn't I have this
Shouldn't I have all of this, and
Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

Do I want too much
Am I going overboard to want that touch
I shout it out to the night
"Give me what I deserve, 'cause it's my right"

Shouldn't I have this (shouldn't I)
Shouldn't I have this (shouldn't I)
Shouldn't I have all of this, and
Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you
Passionate kisses
Passionate kisses, whoa oh oh
Passionate kisses from you

Friday, November 18, 2005


My two brothers were killed 20 years ago today ... Matthew Richard Hallick (Jauary 27, 1981 - November 18, 1985), Christopher Andrew Hallick (March 19, 1983 - November 18, 1985).

I'm so greatful for the years they were part of my life and for the fact that I was a big sister. I also, 20 years later, have a wonderful life...

.. but every now and then (especially anticipating this anniversary) I get a lump in my throat and I focus on these things…

My family and friends today– who mean the world to me - will never get to know Matthew and Christopher.

I won’t get to grow old with my brothers or even know them as adults.

And mostly, I have never been to escape the overwhelming horror of imagining that the boys in someway had fear or pain on the day it happened.

Click. Hear.

GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poker Bust

So wanting to move quickly towards avoiding another disaster like that of the first out at No limits Texas hold’em night at Damien’s – I decided to TRY and organize a round two the following night at Mikki’s. She’s an amazingly indulgent friend, and while I loathe to take advantage of her unconditional love, me being last at anything, seemed important enough to impose and insist on using her house for tournament #2. I had one problem, however. I had a dinner obligation with my lead from our San Diego offices and one of my testers. Since he had flown to Portland, essentially for the opportunity to have this dinner, I had to go.

My ideal night was somewhat a repeat of the night before, with a slightly altered collection of folks. I needed Damien to show up with his chips (plus he's in an elite group of guys I hang out with who can give me as much crap as I dish out). I also wanted Kristina to show up, another work buddy who a) I think is cool, and b) knows what she’s doing.

And then to round out the game I invited my cosmogirlz and the varying collection of dudes I can always count on hanging around them. The stickler was that I proposed a 10 p.m. start time so that I could enjoy dinner beforehand. I knew this was going to be a problem with the work friends because we are basically bunch of old wusies.

I worked hard to overcome the concerns of being tired, (you can sleep this weekend! You are only 27!) and every other objection that came up. Man I worked hard on Kristina. By the end of a very lengthy IM’ing session I was assuring her everything from paying her entrance fee, promising her there would be a bunch of drunk women who didn’t know how to play and would be easy targets (this in fact was true), snacks, and I think I might have offered to buy her a TIVO so she could tape some show she was going to miss. Yikes. I had her teetering on the edge, I know I did, until Damien eventually piped in that he was out too and that I should relax about loosing or something like that. He should know me better than that.

For opposite reasons 10 p.m. was also a problem with the rest of the invitees. Although with the exception of Kruse, who said she had a hot date (only valid excuse I heard all day) I think they were for the most part game. But I completely failed to deliver the chips and the experts and 10 p.m. as it turns out, is well into happy hour for the rest of the crew. Too late for them, not because they were tired, but because they had long since been tarting it up at Cactus Jacks. We called Nell Anne and Jason at the bar and had a conversation that went something like this:

DEB: “Hey! It’s Deb. You comin over?”
NAO: “WHAAAAAAAAATUP? Get your butt down here.”
JASON: “We’re all at Cactus Jacks”
DEB: “Poker?”
NAO: “The kids covered? Get Joseph and Mikki get your butts in the car and get down here.”
DEB: “You having fun?”

I went to bed. Old wusie that I am I was actually wiped out from a 10 hour work day and a late night before and slightly relieved at the thought of putting on my cute pajammies and slipping into Mikki’s daughter’s new bed. I was kind of over it after I couldn’t convince Damien and Kristina. Cousin John is going to be in VA. He is on a mission to turn Charlie into a card shark like himself (I think he frequently hits the card rooms in San Diego where he lives) and might be willing to offer Charlie’s mom a few tips as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

um, what's a flop again?

It turns out, I suck at Texas Hold'em. First out. I can't decide if I'll be invited back or not. I figure it is easy money for my competitors, right?

I don't like to loose. I'm going to have to figure out how to play better. I going to get my hands on Damien's special Hold'em for dummies cards and a tutor and play again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I have worked with Dave Minch now for close to 10 years and with his wife the three before that. I’m probably closer to Dave than anyone in the office.

His is one of the opinions I most respect in the world, I routinely use him as a sounding board about interacting with colleagues, solving technical problems and we keep up to date on each other’s families. We also been known to argue like siblings and step on each other’s toes marking our territory at work – but that’s another story and part of the joy of our relationship.

Anyway – I always go to him with my hardware issues – no matter how petty.

This morning, I couldn’t get my file cabinet to work correctly (did I mention I’m a senior engineer?) – the frame that inserts in the drawer was wider than the notches of the standard sized hanging file.

“Dave!” I yelled across the hall to his office. “This is wrong and stupid. It doesn’t fit!” as I waved around a hanging file.

He suggested I turn the hanging file around hang it the other way. I had already tried this, so I asked him to show me. He came in and tried to hang it one way and the other and decided I was right. At which point he took the file into his office to see if it fit into his identical file drawer. As he was messing around with it (before we discovered I was missing a bar that narrowed the frame for the files) he muttered, “BUGGIN.”

“Dave! You said buggin! You’re starting to talk like me!”

“Yea,” he said. “that’s buggin too.”

Shouldn't I have this?

For the second time this week, I enjoyed a dinner of fresh Dungeness Crab. Dungeness Crab is one of my favorite foods in the world. Growing up, I always chose it for birthday dinner (as opposed to the Pepperoni Pizza my kids pick) and to this day, our special meals, like Christmas dinner, always have crab as a headliner.

Chris Knutsen went fishing last weekend, and apparently made a haul. While I was working in Portland last Friday he brought by 10 crabs for our family.

As I sat down to a bowl of just about the sweetest, freshest melt in your mouth seafood I have had in years, I looked up at my husband and said, “honey, I think I’m in love with another man.” He laughed and wondered what Beth thought of that.

But– guess who shucked it for me??? What a happy princess I am. One man catching my crab and another shucking it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Sundays, if chores, homework, and piano practice are already checked off the list, we like to play games after dinner.

Tonight we opened up Cranium Family Fun, which although we have had since last Christmas, we had never opened. What a riot.

You separate into teams and then move around the game board by successfully completing various goofy assignments – that involve drawing, acting, treasure hunts, flipping frogs, clay sculpture and more - trying to beat an egg timer.

Any game that has my husband running from the mail pile to the table with an insurance card stuck to his forehead, Charlie trying to tie a pony tail in his very short boy hair with twine, me trying to draw a big toe with my eyes closed, or Samantha spelling “pajamas” backwards, correctly, out loud, is a winner in my book. The kids loved it and even my husband who would rather “chew on tinfoil” or “shave [his] head with a cheese grater” than play a board game, seemed to have fun.

Here’s a sampling of our challenges:

  1. In the hokey pokey, what do you do after you put your right foot out?
  2. Choose a teammate who can get you to guess the answer by sculpting this subject in clay without talking. Clue: Remote Control
  3. Choose a teammate who can get you to guess the answer by drawing clues without talking, letters or numbers. The artists eyes must stay closed. "Spiderweb"
  4. Choose a teammate who can get you to guess the answer by moving the hand of another teammate who holds the pencil, drawing together without talking, letters or numbers. Only the guide gets to see the answer, and every other team member guesses: braces.
  5. Work together to spell this word backwards on the first try without writing it down. Team members take turns, adding one letter at a time to spell the word in reverse. Word: “gymnastics”
  6. Work together to go get these things before time runs out: Something you can pickup with your toes, something you can tie to your hair, something that sticks to your forehead when you press it on.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Play a song for me, CIC!

Danni Leigh - I Don't Feel That Way Anymore Lyrics
We are working on the next CIC gig. I explained to Candy that when Charlie watched his dad setting up for the Halloween party, turning the electric guitar, setting up drums and plugging in the rented disco lights, from the look on the boy’s face he could have had a backstage pass to a Stones concert or something. Knowing this party was going to be drowned in alcohol and full of half- naked sluttily dressed women, I knew it wasn’t an event at which he could stay, but it made me realize it was time for a family friendly Christ I’m Chuck event.

So – at Candy’s urging - we have decided on a barn dance. (Chris balked slightly at the term “barn dance” too square dancy sounding not so much rock and roll? Rock the Barn? Farmstock?)

Candy proposed having the band play up on the second story, above the sawdust covered barn floor, with the wood stove fired-up warming the adoring fans. Her answer to concerns about hauling up amps and drums to the second story of the barn involved pallettes and the kobota tractor. The barn is huge, the property can accommodate lots of people and lots of noise, it’s perfect. We are aiming for a February billing date, and I’m working on a guest and snack list (both of which will be very long) as we speak. I have also put in some early song requests.

Chuck and Charlie were playing Proud Mary the other night, Charlie picking up the chords on the piano. I’m hoping the boy will get to play along for a couple songs.
Chuck has been reading up on infusing your own vodka. Since the girls and I are so fond of vodka cocktails (lemon drops, cosmos, etc.) he proposed them as potential Christmas gifts. I think he's on to something.
I scored Christ I'm Chuck a Halloween gig. see them rockin? I believe they had fun, but you can be the judge of that. they looked and sounded marevelous. Posted by Picasa

Chuck's braggin part II

"Sammie's teacher confrence was this morning with her teacher Mrs. Kerr. She was also Charlie's 1st grade teacher so we know and really like her. Samantha is also doing outstanding and is performing work that is targeted for year end. She has her own reading and spelling program and has shown some nice skills in drawing. She is taking piano lessons and performing very well - she is the youngest student that her teacher - Linda Mustard - has (don't you just love that name?). She is making friends and is quite sociable but not disruptive.

Plus she is cute!

So that is enough bragging until year end grades - I promise."

(I make no such promises)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I've been so busy, and sick and tired and stressed -- slacking as a blogger big time. So today, a guest entry, from CRM.

"We had Charlie's parent-teacher conference last night. His home room teacher has been teaching for 32 years and told us that he tested higher than any fourth grader she has ever taught. She also said he is a nice kid, not a nerd, and all the other kids like him. He tested at the 9th grade level in math and 7th grade in reading. They are very big on He of course was feeling pretty good about all the nice things she said and when we got home he asked me "do other countries have colleges?" I told him they do. So he said "which is the best college in the world?" I said I dunno but Oxford University in England is probably right up there and he said - "that's where I want to go to school."

Damn we are good parents. ;)"

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sofia Cathrine Sherzai!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I look at this picture, my eyes fill with tears. The joy in Magan's face, holding her day old daughter...
This is the luckiest baby - with the most amazingly wonderful parents. And they had to wait a long time to get her.
And what a cool ethnic heritage. How many Irish/Afghan girls do you know? I need your input! What is the best new parent thing you can send to a dear friend that lives way to far away? I can't take over my typical lasagna and casaroles and cookies. (I'm a big one for showing love through food!) How do I help this new family from afar???