Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Oh, what to do when you are young, girly, and forced to go outside?

Here are a few choices...

1. Remember that you and all your friends are fairies and that, (duh!), fairies live outside! Go find them in the 'secret' garden. (a.k.a. the neighbors front yard)

Sometimes they have parties in this circle garden...

Or climb up this fairy rope...

2. If fairies cannot be found, do not despair! Instead, make a throne for the King of the Garden (a.k.a. your little dog, Beans) out of firewood from the backyard!

Don't worry about the spelling...fairies are notoriously bad spellers...

3. To show off your work, beg your Mom to take a photograph of your fabulous creation. Ask her not to notice the bad spelling.

4. When your friends are called in for supper, search out a fairy dress in your atrociously messy room and ask your Mom to 'make fairy hair'.

5. Take lots of pictures.

6. Go to bed happy, knowing that you have done your fairy duty for the day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Gillian, on finding her part and brushing her hair:

"It's like there were two clubs and some of them kept trying to join the wrong club. So I have to show them which way to go. See?"

Ahhhhh. So true. A lesson I am still learning. How is it that my seven year old can speak in parables?

Just when you thought it was safe...

to hang out in your own house.


Something bizarro happens.

As in, a drunken stranger breaks into your neighbors house and you are completely unaware that anything strange has happened until the police show up, four squad cars worth, and shout at said stranger, with your spawn in full hearing range, "I've got a gun pointed right at you, so don't move!"

Ummmm. What?

So, said stranger breaks in, not to rob or pillage, but to play with the dogs.

Everything turns out okay. Other neighbors bring said victims muffins and scones to reassure them of the safety of the neighborhood.

I don't know if I should laugh at the ridiculousness of it all or move.

So, I post it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chin up! It's your day!

September 22nd is a special day.

Some years ago today, my favorite woman in the world was born.

I love you, Iloveyou!, I love you, I love you.

Here are just a few of the reasons why:

You labored through the three of us.

We didn't actually look that cute. It was more like this.

Although not encouraged to, you cooked wonderful dinners for all of us. We frowned, and grumped, and Josh mashed his peas up in the napkin, and Leilani refused to eat the bananas and vomited when made to, and Dad wouldn't eat anything unless it was burned, and I...what did I do? Probably something awful.

You planned the best birthday parties ever. Even before it was cool.

You are beautiful and terribly smart. You somehow managed to attend college while all three of us us were screaming little kids.

You sewed us fabulous clothes. Including my favorite flowergirl dress. And when that got too small for me, I wore my big sister's. I wore it to my birthday party, and school pictures, and when I was older I chopped it up and made a skirt.

You took us to the mountains in Colorado on the train. The best week of my five-year-old life. We stayed in a cabin complete with medieval weapons hanging on the wall next to a mounted bobcat. For an evening of fun, you took pictures of Dad standing over us three, covered in fake blood (ketchup), holding the weapons. We never misbehaved again. Ha.

You love me. Even after everything.

You moved me to Iowa where I met these nutballs.

And where I made this one.

After falling in love with this one.

Who I finally married after three years of dating denial and seven years of living in sin.

And you walked me down the aisle.

And I thank you for everything you are to me. And have been. And will forever be. You are my inspiration, my mentor, my sounding board, my champion. I love you.

We all love you. Happy Birthday!

Love, us

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Morning routine

Nathan gets Gillian ready for school in the morning. That's a post in and of itself, and one day I'll get a picture of one of her 'fancy' outfits, but it is not the reason for today.

Today I come to you to discuss oatmeal and giraffes.

Let me explain.

Gillian is a very picky eater. Shocking. I know. She likes to describe things that are gross in terms that she and all of her little buddies will understand. Perfectly reasonable.

This morning, so my husband tells me, Gillian was walking past the neighbors house and caught a whiff of their breakfast.

Gillian: What is THAT?

Nathan: That's oatmeal.

Gillian: It smells like a giant giraffe farted!

Good Gracious. I hope they didn't hear that one!

I guess I won't be force feeding her oatmeal anytime soon. Ah, well. Do you suppose home made granola might smell like a rhinoceros butt?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dirt Roads

I grew up in Chicago. Four generations of my family grew up in Chicago. Both sides.

When my Great Grandmother was 15, she emigrated from Denmark. Alone. She had no family there yet, but word on the street was that there was a solid Danish community in Chicago, so, that is where she went. She found my Great Grandfather swiftly, settled down, and got to the business of child bearing.

My entire extended family found one another in the windy city.

Until me.

When I was 16, my Mother and Father decided that farm country would be a great change of scenery. Nevermind that I was right smack in the middle of my formative , panic inducing high school years. Nevermind that it was the middle of the school year. Nevermind that they had never lived in the country let alone a tiny country town. Population 6000. I think that would have been the size of my graduating class.

So, off we went to Charles City, Iowa. Me, in rainbow painted peeling combat boots, 13 earrings in one ear, a black leather jacket complete with my painted version of Piaf attached to the back with silver spikes and ATTITUDE. You can guess that my initial reception at the local high school was not well taken.

Then, there's my Mother. She's loud, and beautiful, and full of outspoken laughter. You do not miss her in a room. My Father discovered her stage presence one night when she was singing at Aerie Crown Theater in Chicago. Months later, after he had broken his leg in a motorcycle accident and was on crutches but still present at every concert, she finally noticed him. They've been together ever since.

But I digress. Back to the story at hand.

Well, my Mother, having grown up surrounded by the noise and the hustle and bustle of the city found the solitude of the country deafening. Her vivacious personality wasn't suited to the quiet life she had just landed herself in. Needless to say, she and my Father moved away after I graduated.

I stayed.

I had found something.

I found Nathan.

And Nicole.

And life.

And what it means to be a whole person.

And I am crying again (you must think I am such a sap) but I don't know if I would have liked who I had become if not for the country. For the nosy neighbors and practical reality and that greasy spoon where I drank too much coffee and smoked too many cigarettes and contemplated everything I would never know. I still don't.

So, here's to you Mom. Here's to you Nathan and Nicole. And that tiny little town named Charles City, Iowa.

This one's for you:


For a Child of 1918

Elizabeth Bishop

My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
"Be sure to remember to always speak to everyone you meet."

We met a stranger on foot.
My grandfather's whip tapped his hat.
"Good day, sir. Good day. A fine day."
And I said it and bowed where I sat.

Then we overtook a boy we knew
with his big pet crow on his shoulder.
"Always offer everyone a ride;
don't forget that when you get older,"

my grandfather said. So Willy
climbed up with us, but the crow
gave a "Caw!" and flew off. I was worried.
How would he know where to go?

But he flew a little way at a time
from fence post to fence post, ahead;
and when Willy whistled he answered.
"A fine bird," my grandfather said,

"and he's well brought up. See, he answers
nicely when he's spoken to.
Man or beast, that's good manners.
Be sure that you both always do."

When automobiles went by,
the dust hid the people's faces,
but we shouted "Good day! Good day!
Fine day!" at the top of our voices.

When we cam to Hustler Hill,
he said that the mare was tired,
so we all got down and walked,
as our good manners required.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Gillian and I played a game before bed last night. We decided that we would see how many funny looking creatures we could find on the computer. Guess who won. Words cannot describe.

How can you get to sleep when your side hurts so much from laughing?

Who's it?

Okay, so I loved tag when I was a kid. Heck, I still do. Who doesn't love a good chase?

Ahna tagged me, Galadriel tagged her.

It's on. My full name is Bethany Dawn Kois. Here goes:

D is for DaVinci.
Science + Art + Bethany = love.
Are there any other artists who actually took the time to measure the dimensions of a horse's leg? And how many spent so much time dissecting the female form? I don't know if I should be flattered or utterly offended. But, anyway, I adore DaVinci.

A is for Aardvark. Because...what in the hell?? How did that one happen? My Father has always had some bizarro fascination with them and somehow manages to be sure that everyone else is aware of it. Like the time when he thought it would be a great idea to buy my Mother a stuffed Aardvark for her birthday. Not something she required or even wanted. Not something that could, in any way, be confused with something that a Mother of three naughty children, one bunny (Avogadro), two cats (Begin and Sadat), and an obviously suicidal Husband (because, did he really think he would survive this??!) would ever even consider an acceptable gift IN ANY WAY. Can you guess her reaction? My sister, brother, and I went running from the house and left our Dad to fend for himself. Ummmm...Yeah. It was about like that. We have pictures to prove it.

W is for the Western World. Is it us or them? This has always been an area of great head scratching for me. Can anyone answer this? My Mother takes frequent trips to China for business and, on her first trip over, she brought home a map of the world that she humorously insisted had placed us on the wrong side. As in, Asia was on the left side of the map and we were on the right. It's posted on her wall I think. I've been meaning to request one.

N is for Neanderthal. I married one. Not kidding. It's a running joke in our happy little household. Come over for dinner and you'll quickly learn why. Nathan, when eating messy food will hold his left hand in a gorilla like pose just above the plate and will occasionally shake off the dripping food or thump the table with his middle two fingers. He has no idea that he is doing this. It's hilarious. I watched for years without saying a word, laughing uncontrollably in my mind, and then couldn't hold in the hilarity of the thing any longer and blurted out to Gilly that her Father was a neanderthal and should have died out like the others years ago. I suggested we call the Smithsonian and report him. I'll try to catch a picture of it one of these days.

So, that's it. Whew! Now I'll go read the others...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Humor on Sunday

You like funny know you do.

So, take this

And this

And this

And all these

Now, get back to work!

And then she's gone

Nathan and Gillian came home from the Saint Paul Public Library yesterday with a bevy of books.

I love that.

Not the inevitable late fees...but the beauty of having someone with very good taste bring home a bunch of books that I didn't have to search for. Mmmmmmm.

While reading a book of poems, I came across this one and cried. I thought of my baby, my little Gilly. I thought of Olivia and Nora and Big Girl Yaya. I thought of Alex and Anna. And finally, I thought of me. And I called my Mom.

Gillian and me, 2000

In the spirit of sharing:


Mary Leader

for my daughter Sara Marie

There was a time her door was never closed.
Her music box played "Fur Elise" in plinks.
Her crib new-bought--I drew her sleeping there.

The little drawing sits beside my chair.
These days, she ornaments her hands with rings.
She's seventeen. Her door is one I knock.

There was a time I daily brushed her hair
By window light--I bathed her, in the sink
In sunny water, in the kitchen, there.

I've bought her several thousand things to wear,
And now this boy buys her silver rings.
He goes inside her room and shuts the door.

Those days, to rock her was a form of prayer.
She'd gaze at me, and blink, and I would sing
Of bees and horses, in the pasture, there.

The drawing sits as still as nap-time air--
Her curled-up hand--that precious line, her cheek...
Next year her door will stand, again, ajar
But she herself will not be living there.

I am not ready for this.

New to You

I have to give credit where it is due, so, here's thanks to my neighbor, Ahna, for turning me on to the possibilities of blogging.

As a result of blowing hours of would-be Saturday evening family time reading hilarious and heartening passages on Iguana Banana, I've decided to re-evaluate my earlier view of bloggers as self-infatuated-nutballs to include other such describing words as: clever, interesting, funny, and fabulously entertaining. It matters not that I, too, am now a blogger. Haha.

So, while trying to come up with some funny name for this blog, I posed this question to my seven-year-old daughter, Gillian:

"Can you think of a word that describes us?"

To which she replied, not skipping a beat, "Qwingk!"

"Ummmmm. Okay. What does that mean?"

"Us, Mama! Queen, Princess, King! Duh!"

After which, in case my stupidity still lingered, she drew an illustration of her word. See above. I guess that's it then. Qwingk.