Tuesday, September 30, 2008


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.


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


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


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!


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. :)