Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Decisions, decisions

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of 2008. We have several options for ringing in the new year:

  • Sashay up to Sundance's Tree Room restaurant for their fancy five course New Year's Eve meal at only $110 per person;
  • Trip over to Tucano's Brazilian Grill for "an evening of fun, food, music and dancing Brazilian-Style" for just $49.95 per person;
  • Visit Village Inn, which will be open all night and features yucky pies and decent food; or
  • Hold the fort at home, drink Martinelli's till we puke and go to bed at 10.
Hmmmmm.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Had ourselves a merry little Christmas

We spent Christmas this year with Regis' family up in Logan. It was really fun, and went better than I expected: normally I don't sleep well there, what with the air mattress and tons of people in the house with early morning paper routes. But this time I slept well, Abby slept well, and Regis slept well (what a shock), and our special Asian food dinner was tasty and almost all ready at the same time.

We all got lots of nifty presents. I've been enjoying my new clock/iPod player. Regis has already done significant work on the mound of chocolate Santa brought him. Abby's been enjoying her new toys and toothbrush, and I'm excited about her cute new clothes. She already needs a new Sunday dress, which boggles my mind since we just bought her two new ones a couple of months ago. As Regis said, we've been spoiled. She used to wear things for six months or so, but the way she's eating these days we suspect some serious growth is coming.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

State Hunting

As I said to Regis a couple days ago, I really don't think I can stand living in Utah much longer. It's just too cold. There are lots of good things about this state, but I can't handle being trapped in my house for at least four months of the year. The problem is, where to go?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So You Think You Can . . .


We did not teach her this. I love it when she comes up with things on her own.

Snow Baby




Abby got really excited when she saw the snow blowing around outside the window today. She and Regis had fun looking out at it, and even stepped outside for a closer look. She seemed so thrilled that we took off her jammies, put her into her brand-new snowsuit, and bounced out the door. The enthusiasm quickly waned: I don't think she was prepared for the chilly wind.
Behold, and believe whaaaat you see . . . Behold how my lover loves me! :)

That's all the text I was going to have, but Regis didn't know the reference (The King and I) so I thought I might explain a little more. This is yarn. Lovely yarn. I'm very excited to make things out of it. Regis bought it for me. Therefore, these are photographs that describe how my husband loves me: he, he himself . . . the GRINCH . . . er, Regis, drove with me ALLLLL the way up to Salt Lake IN THE SNOW just to let me walk around yarn stores and salivate. And then, because he loves me even more than that, he let me buy some expensive yarn made of sheepy wool. He's a good man, that Regis. I love him lots.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Philistine

I don't think Regis appreciates blogging as a productive form of housework. I asked him what I should blog about briefly, to make up for the last two hugely long posts, and he said "Beer." And then he suggested that I go empty the dish rack so he could finish doing the dishes.

I feel so unappreciated.

Waiting for Results

So, there's this commandment that I really struggle with.

I like to think that I'm good with most of the big ten. I mean, I'm not usually really tempted to steal, or adulterate, or covet my neighbor's wife. The commandment I'm talking about is one of those that Jesus thought was really important. I'm still working on "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and I like to think I'm getting better. But my real trouble is with the one like unto it: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Because if I actually do have that one down, my amour propre is in serious danger.

To be fair, I don't hate all of my neighbors. I wouldn't even say that I hate most of my neighbors. But there is one who smokes. And I can't stand him. If he died, my uppermost emotion would be delight.

It's probably not entirely his fault that I feel this way. I think I'm mostly frustrated by my helplessness in this situation. See, I live in an apartment complex. This complex is tyrannized by its homeowner's association (HOA), which so far has proved itself aggravatingly and belligerently inept. We pay a large fee every month for them to flounder around and ignore requests and complaints. Unfortunately, we really don't have any power to change the situation. (Not having to deal with an HOA will be a big selling point wherever I live next.)

So here's the sad tale. The rule is that there is no smoking within 25 feet of any complex structure, including parking structures. I've called to complain probably 15 times since this guy moved in about him smoking by our apartment, in front of our apartment, and next to our parking area. No response. No change. We tried asking him not to smoke near our place, which resulted in us being insulted and sworn at. A real charmer, that one. I've contacted all three members of the HOA presidency and griped. Nothing. This is the point at which I started daydreaming about sniper rifles and "accidentally" running this jerk over. Regis tried again to ask him to stop smoking, and was told that one of the HOA presidency actually said it was ok for the guy to smoke in the complex as long as he kept walking and didn't smoke by any open windows. Yes. I was not pleased.

This morning, I decided to try again. I called the member of the presidency that I'd contacted least, and actually got him on the phone. I checked with him to make sure the rule was actually what I thought it was, and asked why nothing had been done about this guy. He actually listened, was polite, and explained the actions he would take, including fining the smoker and talking to him about it. I was impressed in spite of myself. Poor guy--he probably doesn't realize that he just nominated himself as Complaints Department. Now I'm waiting to see if anything actually happens.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thoughts on a dead guy

I picked up my copy of Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals the other day and started reading the first section, which is entitled "Transition from common rational to philosophic moral cognition." It's a funny book. Not intentionally, of course, but Immanuel Kant's writings are amusing because when you read a sentence, you can understand the meaning of every single word he put down, but when you string them all together, they're incomprehensible. Or, you start out reading and totally get it, but by the time you get to the end of the sentence you no longer have any idea what Kant was talking about. For instance: "We have, then, to explicate the concept of a will that is to be esteemed in itself and that is good apart from any further purpose, as it already dwells in natural sound understanding and needs not so much to be taught as only to be clarified--this concept that always takes first place in estimating the total worth of our actions and constitutes the condition of all the rest."

Now that I look at that, though, it's not such a good example. If you understood that on the first try, raise your hand. Hmmm. That's what I thought. Here's a better one: "No subtle reflection is required to make the following remark, and one may assume that the commonest understanding can make it, though in its own way, by an obscure discrimination of judgment which it calls feeling: that all representations which come to us involuntarily (as do those of the senses) enable us to cognize objects only as they affect us and we remain ignorant of what they may be in themselves so that, as regards representations of this kind, even with the most strenuous attentiveness and distinctness that the understanding can ever bring to them we can achieve only cognition of appearances, never of things in themselves." HA! I defy you, even with the most strenuous attentiveness and distinctness that the understanding can ever bring to you, to fully comprehend that sentence on the first try. Did your eyes start to glaze over?

Anyway, so I picked up this book and started reading it again, and wondered, wow, did I actually understand this back then? My transcript says I did. My diploma agrees. My brain balks. I hate to think that I'm getting dumber as I get older, but that's sure what it looks like. I can only hope it's because I passed significant portions of intelligence on to Abby. But if that's true, I better not have any more kids, or I may not even be left with two brain cells to rub together.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Commentary

A well-thought-out article about some of the happenings in California.

http://www.lonsberry.com/writings.cfm?story=2504

Snatched from Miriam again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fourthwith

I've been tagged by Miriam to post the fourth photo from my fourth folder. Here it is:
This is Regis in his old apartment. I think this is from the week of Thanksgiving vacation the year before we got married, when I went home and Regis stayed behind to grow out his facial hair. I think I specifically asked him to take pictures for me, so I could see what he looked like with a fuzzy face.

I'll tag Rebe, if she ever reads this, and Brook.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frankly, my dear . . .


I am a hopeless romantic.

I love love stories. I can't stand unhappy endings, except for Gone With the Wind. You know that part in The Runaway Bride, where Richard Gere says, "You want a guy who will wake you up at dawn, just bursting to talk to you, can't wait another minute to find out what you'll say"? Richare Gere makes me gag ever since I watched First Knight, but I still sigh wistfully at that part. So. A romantic.

I'm a hopeless romantic because I married a man who thinks my desires for cut flowers (they wilt and die), spontaneous dates (wouldn't you rather help pick where we go?), and sappy sentiments (. . . yeah) are inexplicable.

Despite my best efforts, I have to concede that Regis is just not a romantic guy. As far as I can tell, that gene got booted out of the family line generations ago.

However: Regis is also a smart man. He well knows that "Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaƮt point," usually translated as "If Mamma ain't happy, aint nobody happy."* So he asked me to explain romance to him. I invite you to try explaining romance sometime. It's challenging. But I think something clicked, because last week, when he called on his way home from work and heard that I was having a hard day, he stopped by the store to buy me a pretty bouquet of roses and lilies. He explained, "I was going to just hurry home to help you out, but then I realized that was the logical thing to do. So I stopped and got flowers instead!"

Is it possible to be logically illogical? At any rate, he works hard to keep me happy. And what's more romantic than that?



*Blaise Pascal is turning in his grave. So sorry.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No, really!

I pulled a booger the size of Texas out of Abby's nose this morning. Seriously. It should have tipped me off when she actually brought the booger-sucker (okay, nasal aspirator. Whatever) over and handed it to me. That thing was nasty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another creepy ad

Look at this woman.

Is this an ad for a department store or for the Twilight movie?

Well, that makes sense.

Yesterday I noticed that Abby was sneezing a lot and had a runny nose. Last night she was sweet and jolly while we had people over for dinner, but as soon as they left and we tried to put her to bed she got very upset. We figure she probably had a sore throat and headache as well as a snotty nose, because this morning Regis woke up with it. :) When she woke up after about an hour, he went and rocked her back to sleep, even offering to sleep in the chair holding her if he needed to. Such sacrifice! I offered to let him stay home today and to coddle him so he could get over his cold quicker, but he opted to go to work since they'll be busy today. Abby is much more cheerful this morning, so hopefully Regis will recover quickly too.

Anyway, that's probably part of the reason Abby was noticeably twittier than usual. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking. But I did want to relate my favorite of her cute tricks: If you ask, "Can I give you lots of kisses?" she will lean her head towards you to receive them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sigh.

It's obvious around here that we were due for some serious twitiness. Abby was SUCH a good baby that I suppose it was inevitable that we should be hit with a regular tsunami of bad behavior. And all those with children above the age of two are probably laughing right now, but yes, we realize that it's only a beginning. It's just a rude awakening after our blissful stroll through early parenthood.

Haunting thoughts

I realized yesterday that if I die anytime soon, I'll be back to haunt my place. I'll have to stay as a spirit and linger fretfully over all the projects I haven't finished, until Regis summons my mother and sisters to perform an exorcism by crafting. In fact, I'm guessing that's how the tradition of having a wake started: everyone gathered around to finish off Grandma's knitting projects so she'd be able to rest in peace.

I am making progress, though. Last night I finished off the knitted cap for Regis that had been hibernating in my closet. Next in line is a much more complicated and girly one for Abby. I'm trying to free-hand knit it from a picture of a beanie sold by Gymboree or Children's Place or one of those other pricey places. If it turns out well I'll post a picture. It's kind of funny--the yarn I picked out turns into girly camouflage when knitted.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Subtle. Very subtle.

I think Abby's trying to tell me she's got cabin fever. She keeps going over to her car seat and climbing in and just sitting there. Yes? Did you have a destination in mind, my dear?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Advertising gone wrong


Doesn't this just make you want to run to the fabric store? You could look just like them!!!

Strange days

I don't feel like blogging. I'm going to go mop my kitchen floor instead.

I feel odd.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Extend and Retract

Heidi brought to my attention that what I saw at Barnes and Noble was actually an advertisement for this. Go take a look. It's funny, certainly, and I think if I'd been introduced to it a different way, my initial reaction would definitely have been laughter. So I take back all the mean nasty things I said or thought about Barnes and Noble. But they need to rethink their advertising strategy.

Thanks, Heidi, for setting me straight.

Read this too

I've written over 100 posts now, which sounded like a lot to me until I looked back and realized I've been blogging since March of 2006. Two and a half years, 106 posts . . . that's about one per week. Except that I haven't posted anywhere near that regularly until probably the last six months.

I've been wondering lately about the influence of blogs on the world, and on literature in particular. Since the advent of the internet, it seems like we're swamped with words, but not the kind on paper. I've heard predictions of doom for newspapers, which makes sense to me, but lately I've been curious about what effect technology is having on books. For example, I own a dictionary that is less than ten years old, but generally if I need to look up the definition of a word, I look online. Oprah, who I cannot stand but must allow to have significant influence in the world, particularly among women, recently enthused about Amazon's Kindle, the hand-held reading device that lets you download thousands of books into one little (disputably) handy electronic gadget. Is that what we're heading towards? Will our kids be instructed to scroll to page 35 on their Kindles, and be able to store notes and textbooks in the same little chunk of plastic and wires? That would probably be healthier for their poor strained little backs, but it sure takes the romance out of carrying someone's books for them.

Anyway, what I've really been thinking about is whether there is any money in writing fiction nowadays. There are probably thousands of new books being published every single day, and since they're easier to produce, they are widely available. We're getting better at preserving older books, so classics aren't being lost, even if they get a little harder to find. With soooooo many books to choose from, what are the chances that an author's book will get picked up by someone who will enjoy it and recommend it? I've come across great books that I'd never heard of before and wondered why they aren't all the rage instead of twaddle like the Twilight series. (Sorry to Dulcie and anyone else who likes those books; there are just too many inconsistencies for me to accept.)

So that's my latest puzzlement. I myself am writing a novel (not a three-volume novel, in deference to Cecily's sensibilities) and have been surprised by the amount of research that goes into making it have a plot and making that plot at least mildly believable. I think part of the reason I've been pondering on technology and books is that I'm trying to decide if it's worth the effort to make my story palatable to an audience besides myself, or if I should just keep rollicking along and tossing whatever I feel like writing into the pot. And then I think of some books I've read from the NY Times Bestseller list and think maybe those aren't opposing goals.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Inquiring Minds and all that

What are you going to be for Halloween?

I've got our costumes all picked out. And pictures will be posted. Last year's Halloween was really lame, complete with lame costumes, so I'm trying to make up for it this year.

We carved pumpkins last night after Abby was asleep. They turned out really very charming. Pictures will be posted, ideally before they start rotting. Are jack-o'lanterns a weird tradition or what? Just imagine what would happen if we all stopped carving them. Those poor, poor, pumpkin farmers.

Comment or die, as the Hollywood Flakes say. I really want to know what you'll be wearing. Especially you wild Montanans.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Boycott

I was astonished, while browsing through my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, to find a display table covered in pamphlets and books titled "Porn for Women." I am not sure what exactly they were advertising, since I didn't look too closely, but I can't think of anything called by that name that I would have any desire to study. Part of my disgust stems from the fact that this table was located by the mystery and fiction shelves, where I usually pass in order to reach the children's section of the store.

Now, I recognize that bookstores want to appeal to a wide audience. I also recognize that censorship is a difficult topic, and many books that I consider inappropriate and even disgusting are heralded as classics. However, pornography is such a pernicious, demoralizing, and destructive evil that I cannot bring myself to shop anywhere it is advertised as a desirable thing. I have expressed my feelings to the company in words, and I intend to further express them by my actions. If you should come across a similar display, I strongly encourage you to let the management know that you do not approve. I have concluded my last transaction with Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Open Captioning


What does this face say to you?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Excel-lent

I've decided that Excel is pretty much the coolest program ever. As Regis says, "If you can think of something you want to do, Excel can probably do it." Allllll right, I want to ski in the Olympics in 2011. Go go Excel!

Chilly

It is a very windy day today, and just looking out the window, I'm guessing it's cold out there. Which reminds me of my freezer.

This is my freezer just the way I like it. Over there on the right is our 1/16th of a cow. Seriously. Regis' grandma raises the cows, which, if you know her, makes a pretty funny mental image.

And if you're good, you can find two packages each of two of my favorite foods. First to find and identify them correctly in the comments gets glory.

Ewww.

Yes, I know it's gross. Yes, I know you didn't ask to see it. No, I won't be offended if you don't watch. But if you do, keep in mind that it's grosser in person. They snap.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Relative Love

My grandfather's funeral was held last week. It was very sweet. There was a lot said about how he loved the gospel and shared it with everyone he could. A story was also told of how following a prompting from the Holy Ghost saved his life. I remember my grandpa being a cheerful man, and even in the past few months when he was feeling crummy, he always seemed upbeat and hopeful. We will miss him.

I think members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a very interesting perspective when it comes to death. The few times someone I've known has died, I've wondered if I'm a terribly callous person, because I don't feel very sad. That is probably in part because I've never lost a young friend or relative, but I think it's largely because I believe that when we die, we go somewhere better. It will be difficult to be separated from people that we love who are still on earth, but I'm sure we don't just sit around and wait for them to finish up so we can be together again. As my dad put it, we move on to the next stage of life, and I'm willing to bet that Grandpa is glad to be free of pain and frailty, and to be put to work.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Progress

Abby took her first real steps today, I'm proud to report. She toddled between Regis and I for a good five minutes.

Even more exciting news: she imagined with me! It was very cute. She pretended to pick up something off the floor and hand it to me. I took it, said "thank you," and pretended to blow it out of my hand like a blowdart. She thought it was hilaaaarious and giggled with glee. So we did that for about 15 minutes. She was done with it before I was.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indo-Californians


Here's my brother, Glenn, with Abigail and Regis. They're all wearing Indonesian clothes that my brother Court brought back from his mission.
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I'm it

I got tagged by Heidi to tell five "unspectacular" quirks I have. So you'll just have to wonder what those spectacular quirks would have been.

1. I hate touching paper of any kind right after I wash my hands. It's like scraping fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

2. My big toes do this weird double-jointed snap thing. I can't really explain it, but I can wiggle them up and down in a way that really grosses people out. Maybe I'll post a video just to make you all sick.

3. I don't like having my food mixed together. Even if it's some kind of sauce on rice, I don't like it to be all mushed. I know it will get mixed in my stomach. That argument does not persuade me.

4. When I get nervous, I bite the skin around my fingernails instead of my fingernails.

5. I kind of like giving talks in church. I think this is a family trait. We like to teach and explain.

I'll tag Miriam and Dulcie, and anyone who doesn't have a middle name.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Costume vs. Therapy

Would it scar my child forever if I dressed her as Peter Pan instead of Tinkerbell for Halloween? Discuss.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Able Abby

Abigail has changed a lot while we've been in California. She can stand on her own now, and does. She's more aware of what's going on, and wants to be a part of it. She gives hugs (which may be my favorite change). She drinks out of a sippy cup without help. I think she recognizes that things have names, and a couple of times it's seemed like she's trying to repeat them when I say them. Her hair is out of control. She's definitely bigger.

Where did the baby go?

You probably think this post is about you, don't you? Don't you?

Well, it's not. It's about me, as usual. We are home from California, and after we'd parked the car and stepped out, I realized two things: first, that I had missed my little apartment more than I'd expected, and second, that I'd like to transplant it somewhere else. It was freakin' cold, and coming from 82 degree weather to 48 degree weather was not pleasant.

Anyway, I had a really good time at my parents' house. It was really fun to have all the family there for a while, despite the cramped conditions and the intermittent periods of screaming children. I enjoyed weeding the garden and mowing the lawn, things I haven't been able to do for a long time. But it's nice to be back. I'd forgotten how white our apartment is, and how easy to clean. My parents have a very large house on the outskirts of town, which means lots of room to move, which both people and bugs enjoy. I won't miss the spiders.

We also had a great time visiting with Miriam and Ryan, our old neighbors. They live in a charming house in southern California, where you consider putting on a sweater and decide to turn off the air conditioner instead. I'm wildly jealous. They live less than an hour from the beach.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Riiiiing

One thing I do NOT like about living in my parents' house is the phone. You would think that because they are not even here, fewer people would be calling for them. You would be wrong. Maybe it's because it's such a switch from my home, where I guard the phone number like a dragon with indigestion, but it seems like the phone rings at least 15 times a day. Good grief, people! This is why we have email!*

*Edited to add: This last sentence seemed funny last night when I wrote it. It isn't. I'm sorry.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I used to love her, but it's all over now

Disenchantment is a terrible thing.

About a year ago, I came across a new book series that enthralled me. (Heck no, it was not Twilight.) I'd never heard of it before, but the books had everything I love: mystery, romance, culture, and wit. I read what I could off of Amazon, borrowed the books from the library, and sniveled to Regis until he agreed to let me buy them. I devoured them happily multiple times, went back and reread all my favorite parts, and tried to anticipate what the third book will bring. I marked its release date on my calendar and kept my eyes glued to the author's blog, hoping for some hints of what was to come. Deliciously tortuous anticipation.

A few months later, I've fallen out of infatuation. I've read and thought about the books so many times that small problems that I merely noted earlier have grown and begun to spread their roots throughout the stories. The author's blog is no longer quaint and charming, but obnoxious and contrived. I'm disgusted by the inappropriate covers chosen for the third book and the reprinting of the second.

So, what's going on here? I have bought many books, and while the first glow always fades, I've never experienced such a marked turnaround before. I'm wondering if it's just overexposure. I'm going to try putting the books away somewhere, taking the author's blog off my reader, and ignoring it all for a while. The new book comes out in March--we'll see how I feel then.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Erm . . . yes.

Uh, well, this is kind of throwing myself out there, but I would like to ask for some help. I'd like to know what you want to read about. This blog is all about me, for the most part, with occasional generous appearances of Abby and Regis, and at times it's kind of stream-of-consciousness format. I'm trying to decide if I'd like to change that a little. So from now until Halloween, if there is something you'd like me to write about, leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll do my best. It can be personal, like anything from my latest knitting project to how I decided when to have kids, or weird, like why I regret never having seen a banana slug or where I keep my bellydancing outfit. Serious or whimsical, your topic is my topic. And if no one has any suggestions, I'll keep bumbling along merrily. Just remember you have the option.

Skills

Abby has learned how to drink from a sippy cup all by herself. She likes to make me hold it, but if I insist she can get a drink without my help. What a big girl.

She's also figured out that when she's tired and grumpy, getting into bed is a good thing that will make her feel better. Mmmmm. How nice.

Feeling Sore

I'm reminded today that it has been a loooong time since I mowed a lawn. As I mentioned earlier, my parents have a large yard. Luckily for me, they also have a riding lawnmower. Unluckily, their yard has some weird-shaped patches that are inaccessible with the John Deere mower. Enter the push mower.

Before my parents left, they emailed Amber and I long emails explaining all the things they wanted us to do, where keys were, what to do with the dog, etc. My dad included an explanation of how to start the riding lawnmower. I chuckled a little at that, since I've used such machinery before and it's not that hard. I chuckled even more when I got on the mower and saw that the instructions are printed on it. His anxiety is excusable, I guess, since it's a new mower and he's had bad experiences with his kids and the lawnmower before (cough cough COURT). So I mowed the parts of the lawn I could get to while Abby napped, and that was my hard work for the day.

The next day, I traipsed confidently out to get the push mower and finish the job. There was a sinister creak as I opened the door to the shed where it's kept, and a grim spider eyed me with black humor. I sidled up to the mower, and was confronted by levers, a pull cord, several screw-on caps, a yellow button, and a set of handlebar controls. Good heavens, I thought. Who would have believed that the push mower would be more complicated than the riding mower? And where the other mower had directions printed, the push mower mocked me with a panel advertising all the special features that I couldn't figure out how to use. Determined to finish what I'd started, I dragged it out into the sunlight, depressed a few levers, and pulled the starter cord. To my surprise, it started up, and I finished mowing the first section with little trouble, although the engine seemed tired, as did my arms. When I went to start it again at the next section, though, I tugged the starter cord in vain. Little did I know that my parents had bought the prima donna of lawn mowers, which requires a significant rest period in a shady spot before it consents to perform again. Silly me. I think I bruised the bones in my hand pulling on the cord. I was so determined to start it that I even summoned my pregnant sister from the house to give it a whirl. The mower admired her guts (ha ha), but refused to go on without its beauty sleep.

While the mower was a bit of a snot, it does have its good points. After a bit more tentative tinkering, I discovered that it is not, after all, a push mower. It's a barrel organ! Just kidding. It's a power mower. The lever that I thought was the blade height adjuster actually sets the forward speed, if one pushes buttons and depresses levers in the correct secret combination. So my brain got a workout yesterday, but it's passed the soreness to my legs, shoulders, back, and hand. What a prima donna.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Safe!

All right, we made it! The plane ride was not bad, but it may have been the first flight where I've nearly lost my lunch. Normally I LOVE plane rides, but this time I had to deal with a squirrelly baby all by myself, and the guy in back of us was woofing his cookies the whole time. Ick.

But we're here and it's nice to be back. I know at least one of my siblings and many other people I grew up with have less than fond feelings about this town, but I'm always glad to come and visit. It's even been fairly cool, relatively speaking: eighties and low nineties instead of 110 degrees or so. Abby and I went out earlier and weeded and watered the garden a bit, which reminded me that I would love love love to have a garden. Or at least a yard. Even though my parents' land is a bit overwhelming, it makes me jealous. (Abby had mixed feelings about the gardening, and a love/hate relationship with the water hose.)

My parents have somehow gotten this funny idea that I know all about plants because I have a lot of them inside my apartment and keep most of them alive. Maybe I gave them the wrong impression by blabbing too much. However it happened, they want me to fix a bunch of plant-related problems around the house. I'm interested to see what, if anything, I can get done before they get back. Maybe I should start by mowing the lawn. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Help!

Quick, what am I forgetting to pack???

I go through this every time I take a trip anywhere. You'd think I was taking off for the jungles of Azerbaijan, or somewhere where they have jungles if they don't have them in Azerbaijan. Is Azerbaijan a real place? Anyway, I'm NOT going to Azerbaijan, I'm going to California, where they are reasonable civilized. But I'm still worried that I will forget something very very important and the entire trip will be a flop. When I was younger, I solved this problem by trying to fit everything I owned into my suitcase, which caused my parents a lot of grief. Well, actually it caused my parents to cause ME a lot of grief. I don't think I was as bad as Coral, my little sister, though. She's the one who opted to bring an ice cream scoop instead of her toothbrush on a trip to my older brother's house. Because you know, regular spoons just won't cut it when you're on vacation and need a brain freeze.

Anyway, I'm trying to pack for me and Abby, which is even more difficult because Regis isn't coming, so I need to fit everything in a suitcase that I can lug around while I'm lugging Abby. And I'm sick, so I have to periodically pause and press my hands against my temples, partly because my hands are always cold so they feel nice on my fevered brow, and partly to keep my head from splitting open and depositing my brain in the suitcase. Although since Abby is also sick and will doubtless be a squirmy twit on the airplane ride, checking my brain might not be such a bad idea.

Now what have I forgotten?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Camping Pictures



Abby liked the fire all right, as long as Daddy didn't put too much fuel on at once. Her very favorite part about camping, though, was the getting dirty. She had a great time picking up rocks, sitting in the dirt, and kicking her feet in the water.

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You may not want to read Part 2

Things I'll Miss About Breastfeeding:

  • Eating whatever I want without gaining weight
  • Having an excuse to leave Relief Society for long periods of time
  • The coolness of producing all the nutrients my child needs from my own body
  • Mandatory snuggle time
  • Having something only I can do for my child
  • Always having at least something I can feed the baby

WARNING: This post may contain stuff you don't want to read about.

My daughter has weaned herself.

I was not expecting it to be hard for me. Like most things to do with babies, I've read a lot of different opinions and mused on the experiences of other moms. Like many baby-related things, my experience has not been what I expected.

I'm frequently struck by what an easy baby Abigail is. We didn't have to deal with colic; she started sleeping through the night reliably before she hit three months; she's never yet had stranger anxiety; she caught on to eating solids quickly and rarely rejects food; teething was barely noticeably; etc. One thing I love especially is how affectionate she is. Particularly now that she's not nursing anymore, she needs lots of cuddles before I put her down to sleep. I guess that knowing how easily she has jumped the hurdles of babyhood so far should have prepared me for weaning.

Because she's such a good baby, we had few qualms about taking her camping early this week. We went up to Strawberry Reservoir and had a great time fishing, roasting hot dogs, looking at the aspens, and pointing out a fox, a doe and fawn, and other wildlife. We got the tent set up and prepared for bed. Up to this point, Abby had nursed once first thing in the morning and once right before bed every day. For some reason, she refused her nightcap that night. I was surprised, but figured it was a temporary thing caused by the weirdness of camping.

We slept well until about 3am, when Abby woke up because she was cold. We tucked her in with us, and she and Regis slept pretty well, while I mostly tossed and turned. It's a good thing I have such a sweet and understanding husband, because I was already tired, and being rejected again by Abby in the morning hit me hard. I didn't cry, but I sulked. Regis, wise man, sent me fishing, which perked me up considerably.

And that's pretty much the end of the story. Abby nursed one more time, before a much-needed nap the next day, but since then she hasn't been interested, and I've stopped offering. I think it was hard because it was so unexpected. I'd toyed with cutting down to one feeding a day, but Abby seemed distraught, so I put it off. But she is over 13 months now, and does fine drinking cow milk, so even if there was something I could do about it, there's really nothing I ought to do. It's just a natural result of her growing independence, I suppose, and in some ways it makes things easier. She seems to have felt the change a lot less than I have. It's nice that she has considerately made it clear that she isn't rejecting ME: as I said, she still likes her cuddles, and in fact bawls if Regis tries to put her to bed. Nice to know there are still some things that only Mommy can do.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Puppy Love

Abby has become enamored of the blue velvet rocking chair we keep in her room. Old Blue is the reason she learned how to climb up, which was fortunately followed closely by climbing down. It took a while for us to realize that she actually knew how to get down, since once she is in the rocker she never wants to get out. Not only that, but now she's jealous, too: I am no longer allowed to accompany her in the chair. If she's feeling particularly magnanimous, I'm allowed to perch on the edge and assist her in rocking. Apparently my swaying skills are lacking, because she prefers to rock herself by smacking against the back of the chair. Although she loves the chair, she must not trust it completely, because even when she wants some alone time with it, I'm not allowed to leave the room. I'm supposed to stand a few feet away and watch her rock herself. Wait: I'm having an epiphany! It's not the chair she doesn't trust, it's me. She's trying to teach me to rock.

She must think I haven't grasped it yet, because whenever I try to remove her from the chair to put her to bed, she screams like a banshee and clings like a limpet. I'm tempted to throw her off by replacing the rocker with a glider. THEN we'll see who is in charge!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thoughts on the Mall

I get such a buzz out of buying clothes for Abby. I hate shopping for myself, but Regis has to drag me away from Gymboree and The Children's Place and the baby sections of other stores. I can't decide if it's because I feel guilty about spending money on me, or because I can never find anything cute and modest in my size.

Does it seem to anyone else like there is a sudden preponderance of punk clothing stores? I guess that explains why all our neighbor kids look like druggie hookers. Or maybe it's the neighborhood. Hmmm.

We ran into a very sweet lady from our ward at Macy's: Sister Smith (yes, that really IS her last name). She is one of those people who is so nice that it makes me want to be extra nice right back. I hope everyone meets up with a Sister Smith this week.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Boy, it's really feast or famine around here, isn't it? I guess that's my tendency with a lot of things, not just blog posts.

I'm really excited, because in less than two weeks now I'm heading out to California! Abby and I will join my sister Amber and her daughter Olivia to babysit my little sister Coral at my parents' house. I love California and I love the old homestead. I'm looking forward to hanging out with my sisters and watching the little ones chew on the bones-oh. It's been getting cooler and cooler here, so it will be nice to extend the summer by a few weeks. More time in the pool! :)

I was bemoaning the coming of winter to Regis the other day, pointing out that in California, at least where I grew up, the weather stays summery until the end of summer, and then some! Essentially, it stays summer until fall, which begins in late October, and fall lasts until the spring, which starts in March and lasts about a month. Some people, particularly Utahns, are aghast at this mutating of the seasons. I think it's maaaaaarvelous.

I concede that the turning of the leaves in the canyons is gorgeous.

So are postcards.

I love to watch snow falling, and one of the most melancholically beautiful things I've ever seen is a naked tree layered with snow.

A week later, it's a grimy pile of nuisance, like a soggy mountain of ratty old newspaper.

So when we drive back home in a few weeks, I'll be keeping Regis awake by choking out the words to "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." I won't have, but the name of my hometown doesn't fit.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Salsa and Other Recipes

I made my own salsa yesterday with tomatoes and jalapenos from the garden of my sister-in-law, Tisha. The salsa is terrific. To comprehend the import of that statement, you need to understand that I don't like tomatoes. Regis eats them like apples, and it grosses me out. I'll eat them on sandwiches, but they have to be sliced reeeeeally thin. But man, do I like this salsa.

I think I learned to like fresh salsa when I lived in the GlenHood with my sisters, so it's fitting that Amber should have asked for my salsa recipe when I told her how nummy this batch was. It's likewise fitting that this recipe is actually a blend of two other recipes, since I learned in part from my sisters that cooking is not an exact science.

I used to find cooking slightly terrifying. My mom would ask me to help out with dinner, and I'd kind of freeze up and have to ask her for directions every step of the way. I'm sure it was annoying, but I was afraid of messing things up because I usually had to help when the meal was something I'd asked for eagerly.

I can't pinpoint when I made the change from timid taster to bold baker, but it I think it began with a visit from the Cookie Nazi. The Cookie Nazi and I met my freshman year of college, and quickly realized we were meant for each other in a totally platonic BYU-appropriate way. :) Kristi earned her appellation when we decided to make dessert with our dates at my sister's apartment before a dance: Never on Sundays, hot-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies with scoops of ice cream on top. Mmmm. The rest of us were content to slap the ingredients together and get to the eatin', but Kristi insisted on carefully measuring--and leveling--the flour, the sugar, and so on. We all knew you were supposed to do that, but I don't think any of us had ever seen it done. Nevertheless, we bowed to the Cookie Nazi's superior experience and simply looked forward to the results.

The cookies, as you've probably anticipated, didn't turn out perfect. They were the kind that spread too much, so the chocolate chips didn't have a chance to melt before the dough was cooked all the way through. They tasted just fine, of course, especially with ice cream on top, but you can imagine how funny it was to a bunch of college twits.

I look back at that experience with fondness, in part because of the fun memories, and in part because it illustrates an important principle for cooking, among other things: getting caught up in the details won't always make the end result perfect.

All that for a simple recipe!

Salsa:

5 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
2 T lemon or lime juice
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt

Combine ingredients and serve with salty tortilla chips.

Note: My salsa is made from perhaps 10 small tomatoes. I had about 4/5 of an onion left over, so I used that. I passionately love garlic, so I'm not telling how many cloves I put in. Regis can't handle too much heat, so I only used one jalapeno. I never measure cilantro. My sugar was clumpy, so I threw in one clump and called it good. Salt was liberally sprinkled. In other words, the odds of your salsa tasting exactly like mine are not good. :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thwack!


I got my hair whacked off yesterday. I'm really enjoying having it short. I'm trying to decide what to do with Abby's hair, whether to give her bangs or just let it all grow out. We might dress as twins for Halloween--what do you think?
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

She gets it from me.


Abby's new trick is to pick out her own clothes. If I leave her in just a diaper, she'll crawl over to her drawers and pull out an ensemble and bring it to me. Her onesies and shorts are in the top drawers, and her sweaters and skirts/dresses are in the bottom drawers. We get some charming combinations.

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman

I LOVE getting things in the mail. Not junk or advertisements, I mean, but packages.

I LOVE yarn. I really got into knitting about a year ago, and then just recently I discovered the difference between cheapie-deapie acrylic yarn and the actual woolly good stuff.

So when you combine these two loves and get fancy yarn that arrives in the mail . . . well, the mind boggles. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wheel of Life

I find the little connections in life to be extremely interesting. Like the days when I'd be thinking about clam chowder at school, and come home and--guess what's for dinner? So I thought it was interesting when this popped up on my blog reader today. Wasn't I just writing about that? :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Figures.


You Are Aurora! (A.K.A. Sleeping Beauty.)
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Thoughtful and loving. Authority figures probably have been sheltering you all of your life. Thankfully you're a very tranquil person who is content with what life has given you, but secretly you want to know how the outside world works.


Which Disney Princess Are You?

Run, he's got a knife!

I like credit cards. I have (just a sec, I'll check)--four credit cards. I know that some people think they are of the devil. Lots of debt-management gurus recommend that you chop them up into little tiny pieces and then burn them. If that works for you, then hey, go for it. But I get my jollies another way: rewards!

Let me tell you why I love them. Last weekend, we went to Bed Bath and Beyond with a handful of rewards-traded gift cards. I love that store, because the juxtaposition of high-quality housewares and overpriced junk amuses me. I could spend hours browsing there, but on Saturday we went with a goal in mind: a new knife set. We bought knives there when we were newlyweds, but being the starving students that we were, we bought the cheapie-deapie set. They have lived up to their reputation. I hate them. So we sauntered back to the knife section and eventually met up with the Samurai Master.

The Samurai Master knows all about the knives at BB&B. He explained, very clearly, the differences between the Henckels and Wusthof brands, and why the higher-priced sets are so expensive. We explained that we already had one Wusthof knife, and thought it would be nice to get the matching set. He very kindly pulled out the Wusthof chef's knife to show us how to sharpen it at the 20 degrees necessary for proper cutting. He began by dropping it inches from my toes. Next, the Samurai Master, living up to his name, skillfully set the blade against the sharpening steel and drew the knife down it a few times. "See? 20 degrees. And--" We never got that next bit of wisdom, because he skillfully stabbed himself in the fleshy part of his palm.

Those who know my family, my dad in particular, may be aware that we don't do well with blood. We tend to faint at blood drives, and one of us (Hi Brook! Still reading?) turns green even at verbal descriptions of gore. So when I saw the deep red rivulets coursing down his arm and dripping onto the rug . . . needless to say, I felt a burning desire to inspect the skillets on the other side of that section of the store.

The Samurai Master deserves some credit. He toughed it out. That rug will never be the same again, since it took a while for backup to arrive with a roll of paper towels, but the Samurai Master never let himself be distracted from his task. He even used his accident to his advantage, pointing out, "That's a sign of a good knife: I didn't even feel it going in!" We ended up buying the Wusthof set, which I love. It cuts chicken like . . . well, like it was the Samurai Master's hand, if you must know. The chef's knife is amazing. I guess it's the touch of the Master's hand. :P

But back to my point: our knives were free. We bought them with rewards money. So I guess technically those people who pay only the minimum balance each month paid for our knives. Thanks, guys!

Monday, August 18, 2008

when I was your age, television was called 'books'

I don't have a tv.

I haven't been watching the Olympics.
I'm not familiar with American Idol.
I've never seen So You Think You Can Dance.

But I do have a favorite tv show.

If I had a tv, I would watch these guys:
It's partly because they're funny, and partly because I love the space between Jemaine's front teeth. And partly because they remind me of every Kiwi I've ever met.

If you want to feel like you're in New Zealand, take the following steps:

  • Remove all insulation from your house.
  • Eat muesli for breakfast.
  • Eat lamb for lunch and dinner, with a side of Marmite (not Vegemite; that's Australian).
  • Buy yourself some Milo and Tim Tams and do some Tim Tam slams!
  • Kiss everyone you meet on the cheek as a greeting.
  • Watch some Flight of the Conchords on YouTube. I recommend "Mermaids" and "Jenny."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sic transit gloria mundi


Why are you here?

This blog is essentially my journal.

I hope you feel like a voyeur now.

When I started writing here, I thought the only people who ever read it were Regis and I, and one of us much more often than the other. I was surprised and a little chagrined one day when my brother-in-law mentioned that he'd seen one of my posts. Recently, a friend asked if I had a blog, and pointed out that it isn't searchable on Blogger. Her comment has made me think about why I have a blog, and why I post, or don't post, what I write.

I came across my pen-and-paper journal a couple days ago, and leafing through it, it was impressed very forcibly on me that I reveal a lot more of myself than I intend to in my writing. In view of the fact that people I know only slightly can easily find my blog, and others that I know not at all can find it through search engines, I'm beginning to censor myself. That sounds a little silly, since I don't write about sex or crime, or even swear on here. I mean in the sense that I don't feel like just letting it all hang out, writing whatever I want to say about me, because I'm worried that people will think I'm depressed or self-centered or whatever. But then I end up not writing those things at all, and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it's because things that are written are written to be read, and just pushing them into a dark corner of my laptop seems wrong somehow.

So I'm going to try and taper off the censoring. Don't expect a huge change, because you'll be disappointed. This is mostly for me, a declaration that I can write whatever I want, because frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Oh yeah, him too. :)

In deference to those who come across this blog as a link from a Loganite's site, I've decided to post something about Regis, since he's the reason you're here. Don't be fooled by the fact that he's a "member" of this blog: I think the last time he posted was when dinosaurs ruled the earth. You can't really blame him, though, because he's a very busy guy and doesn't like writing anyway.

Regis graduated in April from BYU with a degree in statistics. He's started his career at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Right now he's up at the airport branch, which we hate because it means his hours are weird and he has a two hour commute every day. Hopefully they'll let him back into a normal branch within a month or two, this time as an assistant manager. Working takes up most of his time, but when he does have a day off, he likes to spend it relaxing and playing with Abby.

We've had some fun adventures this summer, including visiting the Hogle Zoo and climbing up to Timpanogos Caves. We're hoping to go camping soon, but we're not sure how Abby will take it. Our biggest trip will be coming in October, when my brother returns to California after his mission in Indonesia. Abby and I are going down to take care of my little sister for a couple weeks, then Regis will join us when my parents get back with Court. We are still trying to decide what fun things to do while we're in my nice, big, pretty, WARM home state. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Little Side Trip

In what world does it make sense that they ship a book from Arizona to Ohio in order to send it to me in Utah? It is about 3,600 miles from Phoenix to Ohio to my house. It is about 600 miles from Phoenix to my house. Is this my book's last big hurrah before it settles into a sedentary existence with me? I feel like calling them and yelling, "I'm an exciting person! I've been to Europe, New Zealand, AND Jamaica! There is NOTHING in Wilmington, Ohio that is as exciting as that!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cross Dressing

Have you ever heard the song "Leather and Lace" by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley? I used to get it stuck in my head every so often. I bought it on iTunes a couple of days ago, and now it's stuck in my head with disturbing permanence. It's a very sweet song in its way, but I'm a little annoyed with it. Not just because it's stuck in my head, but because I only know a few lines from it, so I have to repeat those instead of going through the whole song. Since I've listened to it about 40 times I should know more of it, but Stevie has one of those voices which, in addition to being an acquired taste, is not the clearest.

I like it because I think it illustrates an important facet of marriage. I particularly like the lines that talk about differences: "My city, your mountain," and "give to me your leather, take from me my lace." The longer I'm married to Regis, the more I realize that we are very different. Marriage brings a lot of changes, and sometimes it's hard to remember that part of why you fell in love with that baffling person across the table is that he is not you.

Saturday, July 05, 2008




This is our favorite Abby expression. Any guesses as to what we're doing to make her pull that face?
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Crawling!


Okay, this movie is from a month ago, and she's MUCH faster now. But this is a cute video of my cute baby crawling.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Peas Please!

Abby prefers peas to animal crackers. I'm no longer convinced that we're related.

I have yet to sound her out on bacon, though. That may change my mind.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bee Yourself

So, I just wrote a post that said this: "I'm a closet drama queen. I re-realized this today, when I was considering writing very bad words on my livingroom walls in black Sharpie." But then I thought that I probably shouldn't post that, since people might wonder why I'd consider doing it and get worried about me.

Don't worry about me too much. My visiting teachers came by this morning, and pointed out that now that I know them by sight, I can get their help if I ever need anything.

I'm so relieved.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Prism! Where is that ending?

"The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means." --Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

I love to read. When I go to the library and check out books, the librarians give me a speculative look and say, "You know these are all due in three weeks, right?" If all I had to worry about was reading through all those pages within three weeks, there would be no problem. The problem is that it's hard to find books that interest me. It's even harder to find books that interest me and make me like them.

I'm not one for intellectual snobbery. I don't read books to broaden my mind or educate myself. I like mystery novels, with suspense and intrigue and a romance thrown in somewhere. I love reading P.G. Wodehouse's books, with their jolly British wit and silly situations. I like reading Robert Asprin's fantasy "Myth" series. I throw the occasional chick flick book into my library bag.

I've tried including "smart" books in my hoard. My latest attempt was F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. I couldn't bring myself to even read the first page, since I could tell from reading the blurb on the back that it wasn't going to end well. Some of my favorite short stories are by Fitzgerald, but I have to flip through my copy of Jazz Age Stories to find them, passing over the profound but sad ones. I don't handle unhappy endings well. If boy meets girl and they fall in love, boy and girl better darn end up together once the dust settles.

In a high school English class, I always bummed a book off my teacher for our 15 minutes of silent reading. He was really into a series by some famous fantasy author, so I started reading the first installment. I think the author actually died a few years ago before finishing the final book, but his thousands of fans were overjoyed that he left instructions with his son to finish it. I really don't care whether there is a last book or not, because the first book was the last of his that I'll read. It was the most depressing story I've ever read. There's a bad guy and bunch of good guys, and the bad guy just keeps killing them off or enslaving them and stealing their powers, which makes him more powerful so he enslaves more good guys. I kept going to the end, thinking, "Man, whatever the good guys come up with to finally beat him has got to be awesome, because I don't see how they'll do it!" And you know what? They don't. The bad guy wins. Now, I realize that there are about 346 more books in the series, but just that first book was probably 500 pages long. Why on earth would I want to waste my time reading more of that kind of thing?

Obviously, not everything in life turns out ok. Sometimes, the guy and the girl don't end up together, or they do but don't stay together. Sometimes disaster is not averted, and the bad guys don't get punished. Sometimes the narrator dies in the middle of his or her story. But that's why Miss Prism and I are hanging out in the fiction section--we're holding out for the happy ever after.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What is that sound?

I love my landlords. This is mostly due to the fact that they are my parents, but let's not let that diminish the fact that they're great as landlord and -lady. Last Thursday, my landlord took me down to the appliance store and bought us a brand-new dishwasher. I don't know that I can adequately communicate the joy we feel at not having to wash our dishes before we put them in the dishwasher (which we had to do with our lousy old one). As if that were not enough, this dishwasher has enough settings to turn an astronaut's head. It tough scrubs, sanitizes, auto-cleans, heated dries, deep cleans the oven, changes Abby's diaper, gives head massages and I don't know what all. And if THAT is not enough to impress you, get this: I have to go look at the thing to make sure it's on. This is the quietest dishwasher since the invention of water. When we first installed it and turned it on to make sure it was connected, Regis, my landlord and I all looked at each other and gave a collective "Ooooo! That's quiet!" Then, the instructions instructed us to install a further piece at the bottom that made it even quieter. "Ahhhhhhh! So quiet!" Then, we were directed to install one further piece. And we were stunned. We were as silent as the dishwasher.

Seriously. It's beautiful.

Dad and Regis also installed a new in-sink garbage disposal. It's clean and shiny, despite the fact that we throw junk down it for it to grind up. Dad also fixed our closet door, which has been broken, I think, ever since my brother and his wife lived here over 3 years ago. So, apart from the fact that I've been commanded to, I have plenty of reasons to love my parents.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pondering

I had a visit from the Relief Society presidency of our new ward a couple of days ago. We had a nice little chat, and afterwards the president asked if I was prepared to be a visiting teacher. I have to wonder . . . what would happen if I'd told her no?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sneak sneak, giggle giggle

Soft and Squishy

Hooray! I finished a pillow. And I think it's quite lovely. We actually threw away the old pillows that went with our couch, because they were pretty nasty. The couch used to be Regis's grandma's, and it saw a good amount of service, which is why it's got a slipcover. We decided the pillows were too gross to just cover up, though, so I chopped up an old pillow and here's the finished product!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Foiled.

My sister is the muse of domesticity. Having spent many years in her company, I have developed certain of the domestic arts: I cook, I knit, I sew, I quilt*. I made an egregious mistake a couple years ago. My mother asked if I thought I would need a sewing machine, because she'd found a great deal and was buying one for herself and for Amber. I said no, I didn't think I had a place to put it. This was a stupid move of epic proportions. Those machines are awesome. Instead, now that I have need of a sewing machine, I have inherited Mom's old machine, which, as I recall, stutters and shivers when it is used. I have to reach back in my memory, because although I possess the machine, I do not possess its power cord, and therefore cannot ascertain whether it still shivers, or even if it still works. This is depressing, because a few weeks ago I paid an enormous sum for some gorgeous fabric, thread, and fluff in order to create drapes and a quilt for Abby's room, and pillow covers for our couch. All that good stuff is now sitting on various pieces of furniture, being clutter instead of couture. So now I must wait for the cord to arrive in the mail, and then I must plead for the muse's indulgence so that I can finish my crafts.

*This reminds me of Spanish classes. Cocino, cocinas, cocinamos . . . :)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Frumious Bandersnatch

Well, this is a little embarrassing. Not long after I wrote the previous post, I opened up the Word file with my story in it, just to look it over. To say goodbye, maybe. I should have been on my guard, but thinking of it as I did, as a terminally weakened and feeble creature, I blithely clicked on the file. It pounced. With all the indignation of a jilted prom date, it gnashed its teeth on my feeble excuses. Declaring its place as a legitimate child of my brain, it insisted that if I couldn't place it in its proper seat in the pantheon, I at least had the obligation to shape it with enough strength and suppleness to allow it to claw its way up as best it could.

I babbled agreement and retreated, shaken, leaving it to prowl filepaths and snarl at the occasional typo. Every time I opened my laptop, it would slink in the background and make sly, suggestive gestures. Whenever I gave in to temptation and tentatively typed a snatch of dialogue or a dribble of description, I felt better knowing that I hadn't yet consigned my story to the limbo of unfinished tales. It's coming together better than before. Maybe all I needed was a break.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Deferential Dream

I love playing with words. I used to think I should major in English, but then I had to read and evaluate The Scarlet Letter for a high school English class. I'll bet that book has turned off more English majors than anything else. It's not that I hated the book. It wasn't my favorite, but the thing I hate hate HATED was having to analyze the so-called symbolism. I don't hate symbolism. I DO hate being forced to extract it from a place where I don't think it exists. What does the door symbolize? Well, heck, I'd guess it symbolizes a door. And the rose? Well, I think by that the author intended to make us think of a rose. Maybe I'm just a shallow reader.

My revulsion for English classes only intensified when I took AP English my junior year. I hated reading "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield, and I've refused to read anything she's written ever since, even though I like short stories and New Zealand.

I took a creative writing class at BYU near the end of my college education. My teacher seemed to really like my writing. She left comments like "You're a great writer--don't stop!" on my papers, and I did very well on all the assignments. That's why I was so surprised when my grade showed up as a C-. Turns out I'd misunderstood her instructions on ONE assignment at the end of the semester. She was going to bump it up to an A-, but decided all she could do for me was a B+.

So when I think of "A Dream Deferred," I think about being an author. I think I've wanted to be a famous author all my life. I love to read, and I read fast. I can't even begin to estimate how many books I've read in my lifetime. I remember what I read fairly well, but I love to go back and read books again, even when I remember the ending (which Regis can't understand at all). I constantly make up stories in my head, too, and like to imagine "What would happen if I said X right now, or did Y?" I would like to think that I would make a good writer.

I started writing a book at the beginning of this year. I loved it. It felt great. I had a wonderful time envisioning the denouement, creating characters, inserting jokes and playful conversations. I think I told every member of my family that I was writing a book.

I'm not writing it any more. I had fun writing the fun parts, and slowed down when I realized I'd have to trudge through filling in all the details. Regis got tired of having ideas bounced off him and analyzing potential scenes. I let my sister read what I'd written so far, and felt disheartened by her criticisms and intimidated by her questions. I don't think I'm cut out to be a writer--I need to have somebody care about what I'm doing before it's done, and that, I think, is even harder with a story than with any other project. Stories are to a large extent superfluous. I believe mine will die a fairly natural death. You could say I'm neglecting it, but since it hasn't even the dignity of humanity, I don't think I can be held responsible for its passing if it doesn't have enough ambition to be self-sufficient.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Dream Deferred

By Langston Hughes


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

We're Back!

Boo-hoo, we're back from Jamaica. (This was originally "Hooray! We're back from Jamaica" but I rethought that one reeeeeeal quick.) What? You didn't know we went?

We had a funtastical time, meeting up with my sister Brook and her husband Jake and staying at a snazzy all-inclusive resort. There was a nice beach, swimming pools, water slide, restaurants, free drinks (we stuck to the virgin daiquiris, although Regis was suspicious when I got pretty giddy one afternoon), and other good stuff. It was lovely to stay in such a lush, warm, sunny place. It was not so lovely to come back to snow.

Abby was very well-behaved throughout, even during the flights. She was a scandalous flirt at the resort, and bestowed come-hither glances liberally. I'm frequently amazed at how bold strangers are about touching other peoples' children, but she sure asked for it that week. I'm sorry that she won't remember how much fun we had, but we did take a lot of pictures. And Regis and I enjoyed the heck out of it, which is why we went anyway. Our favorite parts were probably climbing a waterfall and eating yummy food. It was always funny after the meal when we'd all sit there and wait for the check until someone remembered that we wouldn't get one--all-inclusive, guys!

My least favorite part (besides coming home) was probably when Brook dragged me into the gym and proceeded to beat my muscles to a jiggly pulp. :) Okay, that wasn't so bad. The smokers were worse.

Thanks a whole lot, Brook and Jake, for a fun vacation!

(Pictures to be added later)

Monday, March 17, 2008

*&#^%$ it!

Things that make me want to swear:

Bad drivers
Trying to get Abby's car seat out of the car
Realizing that I have to "unstitch" nearly a whole row of my knitting
Having to get out of bed on freezing cold Utah mornings

But I only swear inside my head. That makes it better, right?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Where does the time go?

Abby will be seven months old tomorrow. Has it really been that long?


I keep looking at her and thinking how big she's gotten. Her head is bigger, her hair is much fuller, her legs are so much longer . . . and her feet are still tiny. Ha! It's awfully cute, but kind of disappointing, since I bought a bunch of really cheap, cutesy wutesy baby shoes that I was excited to put on her. She has yet to fit into the smallest pair. Heck, I can probably send these shoes to college with her.


In a lot of ways, I love that she is so much like her dad. She sleeps beautifully. She's very "chill" generally; really willing to try new things. She has yet to exhibit any stranger anxiety. On the other hand, it makes me a little sad that I can't see much of me in her yet. She even looks like Regis. She's got his skin tone, his eyelashes. Regis has tried to convince me that she must have my body type by claiming that he was a real fatty when he was a baby, but I've seen the pictures and I don't believe him.

At least she's got my style.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Now what?

Regis is graduating in April. We're very excited.

We're also scared. What the heck do we do now? He likes his job well enough, and it has a lot of great potential, but he doesn't know if he wants to stay there. He's applied to a lot of places, but nothing has panned out. I'm not sure what that means.

Part of the reason for being scared is that there are too many options. The company Regis works for is all over the place, so technically we could move anywhere. So where do we go? I've said for so long that I don't want to live in Utah that I'm not sure I really mean it any more. As Mom says, anywhere is livable unless it's Mojave or Barstow. :) But I'm not sure I can handle year after year of Utah winters. Every time it starts to turn truly cold, I slink back into myself and howl.

But if we don't stay here, where do we go? My sisters have each recommended that we come live near them, one in L.A. and one near Houston. I love living near family, and it would certainly mean more visits from Abby's doting grandparents, plus babysitting exchanges. But I have no idea whether we'd like it in those places or not. I think that's part of what scares me: I've only made one significant move in my life, from hometown to college town. Obviously SOME people enjoy living in other places, or they wouldn't be populated, but then some people apparently enjoy living in Utah.

Toothy

Abby has got to be the best baby ever. She has two little teeth now, and despite all the dire warnings about teething troubles, it was really not bad. She did wake up a few times during the night, but I thought it was because it's so dry here. MY nose and throat are painfully dry when I wake up, so I figured maybe hers were too. Sneaky baby, or clueless mommy? Well, it pretty much amounts to the same thing. I'm in pretty sad shape if I can be outfoxed by a six-month-old.

I found out a few days ago that my grandpa is probably dying. It feels strange. He is the only great-grandpa Abby has still living, and hearing that he is not doing well made me wonder what Abby will feel when she eventually learns that her grandpa is not well. I wonder a lot about whether she will feel the same things I have felt growing up. I hope she will escape some of them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Progress

Yay! I have 7381 words written in my story. I'll probably delete about 300 of them, but that's a good start, don't you think? It's been fun. I really, really like bouncing ideas off of Regis. He doesn't enjoy it quite as much, but he's still supportive. What a nice husband I have.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nothin' to Report

I like to box. How I like to box! So, every day, I box a Gox. In yellow socks I box my Gox. I box in yellow Gox box socks.

Thank you, Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roly Poly

My baby rolled over yesterday all by herself. Twice. I'm so proud. sniffle

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Latest

I am writing the Great American Novel.

Don't laugh. I really am.

Okay, so maybe it's more like the Lesser American Novel. Who cares. I've always wanted to write a book, and now I am. Except I don't feel like I'm writing a book, because I'm not writing it on paper in between covers; I'm just typing it on my laptop. And quite frankly, it doesn't have much of a plot yet, which I don't think will surprise Amber. She used to have me tell her bedtime stories, because my voice is so soooooooothing. She carefully didn't mention that it's also because my stories were sooooo boring, and it only took me a few years to figure it out. But I'm getting better. This one has a plot. I just haven't written it yet. I'm having fun "developing" my characters and thinking about what I could put in there, but probably won't.

I like it because I'm always making up a story in my head anyway; now I'm just writing it down. I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile, because suuuuuure, it could get published someday and make lots of money, and Regis has approved my project, which makes me think he thinks I'm not wasting my time. And Regis likes it because it means we don't have to go to the library quite as often as he was anticipating.

I wonder what kids think of their parents' books. I wonder what Abby would think of my book.