Sunday, April 30, 2006

I would have preferred this

But instead I worked my booty off this weekend. Cleaned up the kitchen, family room, two bathrooms and hell-hole of a computer room. Unpacked the three boxes that I never unpacked when we moved into this house. Organized a closet. Wrote thank you notes for the wonderful birthday gifts and celebrations. (G and the boys did a great job babying me, and I have a pretty new Bondi BBQ grill to play with!) Made new job charts for the short people in the family.

This picture, by the way, was taken two weeks ago by G when I was sneaking some Sunday afternoon beauty rest. (Yes, with makeup on, sorry Mom.) I said to him, "What were you going to do if the flash woke me up?" He said, "Uh, I don't know ..." Big forehead slap right there. Boys are funny that way.

In another by the way, I understand my mom, dad and grandma are now reading Watch Out for Mama. Welcome, Nelsonics!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Catch-all catch-up

Well, I couldn't resist this photo op, now could I? I do love ketchup. Ketchup on eggs, ketchup on potatoes in any incarnation but especially fried or roasted with plenty of oil, ketchup on tuna casserole, ketchup on beans. Ketchup with sausage AND eggs on a plate with pancakes and butter and maple syrup.

Who's on a diet?

But that's not what we're here about today.

I've avoided the blog the past few days because I couldn't decide what to post about. There's just too dang much going on. But the passage of time won't help that any -- it will just get worse, you know. So here's a lightning-speed list to get you all updated on my life. You've been hoping for something like that, I know.
  • Saturday was the debut of the tutu ensemble. I sold a grand total of 3 sets, plus some odds and ends. That's okay; the booth space was cheap and I had fun. So the tutu ensembles will soon be available on ebay. I'll post links to the auctions when I get my rear in gear and get them done. Actually I may just do one or two for now, and then do the rest when it's closer to Halloween. Something tells me that will be the season of choice for the tutu ensemble.
  • Sunday was possibly the most spiritually unfulfilling stake conference I have ever been to. I lugged my two kids to the stake center and sat in the side room watching the conference on closed-circuit TV, because as we all know if you don't arrive 30 minutes early you will not get a pew. And who is going to arrive 30 minutes early with kids? And who wants to sit on the hard chairs in the echoey cultural hall with kids? Specifically, my kids? So we sat in the YW room, only to be lectured about wearing flip-flops to church, growing beards, and ditching the adult session the night before (which we did because of the prior commitment to selling tutus). If I had known we were going to get the lecture I would have worn the damn flip flops to stake conference! Maybe the spiritual food was in the adult session. I don't know. I was just disappointed. Not to mention, my kids were trying to be good until someone else sent their kid into the side room with no supervision. I would tell my kids to be quiet, and this kid would shake his head at them, like, "Don't do what your Mom says!" Before we knew it they were hanging from the curtains and running circles around the two rows of uncomfortable seats. Oh, kill me now before I have this experience again. We finally left halfway through the closing song. At least we avoided the perennial parking nightmare that is our stake center.
  • I had to go back in that paragraph and edit out all my SHOUTING and use a select few bold words instead. I guess I'm still upset.
  • Back to Saturday: while I was selling -- or, more accurately, not selling -- tutus, I finished reading It's Superman by Tom De Haven. It came recommended by Allison, if I remember right, although I can't find her review now. She was correct. It was loads of fun. However, I was reading a reviewer's copy (my library gets these somehow and puts them on the shelves) and I was wondering, did they leave out all those commas on purpose? Is it supposed to be more comic-booky? It drove me a little bit nuts. See the first sentence of this paragraph for an example of how commas can be useful.
  • Yep, I'm still a style/grammar nerd.
  • Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm having a little birthday anxiety. Not because I'm the least bit bothered by turning 32; I'm not. It's because I have a sneaking suspicion that once again I will be cooking my own birthday dinner and making my own birthday cake. Not to be ungrateful for the wonderful y-chromosomed individuals in my life. Just ... you know.
  • For Sunday dinner we had tri-tip. And lemon meringue pie (our strawberries didn't last long enough!) Yesterday I made the leftovers into chili. From the tri-tip, not the pie. Which just goes to show that life can still be good.
  • You can eat ketchup on chili.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Two sides to a busy Friday

Here's a serious side. As a mom of African-American boys, I've got serious stuff to think about in preparation for their young adult years. S currently professes to want to join the Army and fight in "the civil war." I think I've been listening to too much Iraq reporting on NPR, huh? I really hope he doesn't do that. For many reasons, including his creative and independent spirit which I think just might not be a good fit in a strict command structure. And, you know, the whole danger/violence thing freaks me out a little bit.

Here's a silly side. Just ignore the swearword you see onscreen (that's your fair warning if you have little kids at the computer with you). Oink!!

Now, back to work for me.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


This certainly warrants a second post for the day ...

I was driving to a birthday lunch for all those born in April -- mostly the rockin' awesome 55+ crowd from my ward. I'm not kidding; I love these ladies. On the way, I saw the most glorious sight:


Just in time for my 32nd birthday next week. Good gift! Shortcake is on the menu for this Sunday! Or maybe pie ... mmmmmm, pie!

Also, I found a fabulous post about a tri-tip dinner in the Central Valley. Go see. If it doesn't make you hungry, just think about adding a big slice of fresh strawberry pie with whipped cream for dessert. And if that doesn't make you hungry, you are really not normal!

But I'm really a ...

This week I took Monday and Tuesday off work. I didn't go out of town, I didn't have any major projects planned, but the kids have spring break this week and I wanted them to have at least a sample of what a school vacation is really supposed to be like. So we spent two days at home, playing. Can I just say, I LOVE doing this, now that Sam's ADHD is more under control ... we made models of Saturn with styrofoam balls and paper plates. We went to the library. We had friends over. (And I got all the fairy crowns almost done for Saturday. Just a bit more work tonight and I'll be set ...)

Then yesterday was one of those catch-up days at work. You know how you pay the price for your vacation? It stinks. I was so busy.

This morning I rode the elevator up to the third floor (shut up, I was tired and I didn't want to take the stairs, OK?) with an older gentleman. I introduced myself. He told me he was a Spanish instructor for the university. "But I'm really a lawyer," he said.

So hi, I'm Ana. I'm a communications officer. But I'm really a mommy.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Pride goeth before a lost leg of lamb

Place: Ana's kitchen
Time: Easter Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

Ana picks up the phone and dials the local grocery.

STORE LADY: Save Mart Number 123, this is {unintelligible}.

ANA: Hi, I have a question. Well, this is a little unusual. Yesterday, I bought a leg of lamb at your store, and I can't find it. I think I may have left it in the cart in the parking lot.

STORE LADY: {silence, muffled laughter}

ANA: I just wanted to find out if there's a way I can see if I actually left it there.

STORE LADY: {still stifling laughter} Just bring in your receipt, ma'am, and we'll replace it for you.

I could not find the receipt. I looked in the garbage inside and outside, and in my purse, which is almost scarier than the garbage. I think the receipt may have been in the bag with the meat. Needless to say I did not go into the store and beg for a free leg of lamb with no proof that I had ever actually purchased one. With a receipt, no problem. But without, na-uh.

So that was $13 worth of meat, folks, and I had big plans for it. That's so much money for me! My circumstances generally require thrift, and I normally have a $2/pound rule for all meats except fish. This was the first time I have ever purchased lamb.

Now, I have lost many things before. Usually they are keys, wallets, cell phones, pretty normal things to lose. This is officially the first time I have ever lost a leg of lamb. I think it pretty much takes the cake. Maybe that's what I get for getting so cocky.

So that is how it came to pass that I humbled myself and made baked chicken breasts for Easter dinner. I still marinated them in orange juice and fresh thyme. But overall it was pretty disappointing.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Choices made

I was thinking this morning about my marriage.

Despite the fact that I was virtually a child bride (19 years and almost 4 months old on my wedding day), I did not in fact marry the first person to come along, as people sometimes seem to think is the case for people who married young. I did marry the first person I ever talked about marriage with, but that was a choice. I can think of two other individuals with whom I am fairly certain I could have gone down that path, if I had wanted to.

I'm only going to talk about one of them. This guy had a lot of appealing qualities. He was good looking, stylishly masculine, and a darn fine kisser. When I met him, it was a real whirlwind romance. Red roses, late-night phone conversations, dancing, a moonlight boat ride. Constant attention and gifts. Lavish compliments and always, always, always being treated like a lady.

It took a few months, during which time I basked in all the romantic glow and intensity, but eventually ... this wore me out. I got a little weary of being everything to this person. I got a little bored up on the pedestal. I got a little concerned that I was actually something he worshipped rather than someone he loved. The way he saw me seemed out of whack, unrealistic, and eventually a little scary. I also started seeing that behind all that romance were some bedrock differences in faith and philosophy -- even though he was also LDS -- that would keep us from ever really being one. Ending that relationship was the right choice. But it was hard to let it go. I broke it off, thought I must be crazy to give up the way he treated me, begged it back (it wasn't that hard -- he was pining), then finally broke it off for good.

Just a month after that drama all ended, G came home from Korea and called me on the phone in my dorm at BYU. He was so missionary weird, all soft-spoken and cautious. We had been an item briefly before his mission, but that ended months before he left. We'd been writing as friends for the entire two years -- first occasionally, but with increasing frequency. I always knew he was the kind of person I could be with for my whole life. In addition to being drawn to him (like everyone always is), in addition to an undeniable chemistry, I was always comfortable with him. Our families are very alike (professor dads, stay-at-home moms, six kids). Our politics are very alike (centrist and disgusted). Our faith is very alike (committed and thoughtful, sometimes doubting but always determined anyway). Most importantly, we both had experiences where the Holy Ghost told us we needed to be together.

I chose better, choosing my best friend, choosing someone who is faithful and funny and smart and balanced. My marriage is steady, strong, and has definite fireworks moments. We have been through a lot together -- our entire college experience, infertility, job triumphs and losses, adopting, moving around the country. Our relationship has had soaring highs and definite lows, but its foundation is commitment to our covenants and to the gospel that defines our goals. This summer we will celebrate 13 years of being married. It's amazing to me to think that we actually met each other almost 17 years ago. Time flies when you're having fun, they say.

So how goofy is it that I still want someone to worship me? Just every once in a while?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The best substitute

Here is what we all learned on American Idol last night: The best substitute for Freddie Mercury is a black woman. (Go Paris!)

Monday, April 10, 2006

The right book

In spite of the thrill of the new hair and the agony of the illness, the real news last week was the inauguration of a new, chart-based motivational system for my kids. I am doing this because Boy #1 is having a lot of ups and downs in school. Two to three days a week he has been coming home with a red card, which means he's exhausted his warnings and gotten in real trouble -- as opposed to coming home with a stamped hand, which means he stayed on his green card all day. The problem always has to do with arguing with the teacher and denying wrongdoing. This is no news to me. The kid always has trouble accepting responsibility for his mistakes. I have tried and tried to fix this, to no avail.

After the most recent despairing call from his poor, embattled first grade teacher, I started looking into Oppositional Defiant Disorder. But that did not really feel right either. Although he shows some of the symptoms, it's such a nebulous disorder and it occurs most frequently in kids with really difficult family backgrounds. While I'm no angel mother, I certainly have not brought my kids up in the kind of chaotic home you seem to read about in ODD case studies.

As part of my ODD search, I turned to a guy I've always trusted with my kids. Yes, my friends, we're talking about Dr. William Sears, who doesn't know me from Adam. Or Eve, as the case may be. Strangely, he's got nothing on ODD. But my search did take me to his ADD/ADHD pages, which made me think maybe I should check out his ADD Book. I got it cheap from the used section on Amazon.

It's really amazing that I didn't do this before. I'm normally the kind of person who figures I can do anything if I can just find the right book to teach me how. And I think now I've found the right book, or at least a really good one.

Sears and his coauthor, Lynda Thompson, connect defiant and angry behaviors with ADHD in a way I'd never heard before. They say they are a defense against the feelings of low self-worth that come from struggling to do everyday tasks. Which totally makes sense! When you try to correct my son and he insists he has done nothing wrong, it's because at some level he really needs to believe that he's done nothing wrong. The prescription: More chances to achieve and more praise and love and positive attention.

Thus the chart system -- purposely made a bit complex because the book says that's more satisfying to the ADHD brain. So far it is great! Each daily task, from making the bed to leaving on time for school to coming home with a stamped hand, earns one sticker. Every 5 stickers earn a token -- a poker chip. (Yes, I know, my $10 for the box of poker chips supported the gambling industry. I couldn't think of any better thing to use for tokens.) Then I have a treasure box that I filled with rewards that take between 3 and 30 tokens to buy. Today, day 7, S should top 20 tokens. He came home with a stamped hand 4 days out of 5 last week. He's doing great! And as a bonus, little brother loves it, too, although he's less apt to save up his tokens and more apt to spend them on sugar-free gum or packaged rice krispie treats.

Back to the book: It is not at all anti-medication, which is great -- I'm all in favor of a balanced, multi-pronged approach. It also proposes using neurofeedback therapy, something I've just learned about from Sam's primary teacher, who is a psychologist for children and teenagers. She knows somebody who does it here in our little town. I just need to figure out how to get it paid for.

Feeling optimistic today -- maybe at last I've found the right book.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Back from the dead

That was the very worst cold I have ever, ever had. I was down, and I mean down, for three solid days. Up again Friday and Saturday thanks only to DayQuil, Ricola and running out of sick days at work. (I did just stay home with a kid recovering from surgery a little over a month ago.) Today I am med-free except aspirin and doing okay; just a little lingering cough and massive exhaustion.

I did manage to shuffle into the salon Friday morning for the cut and color, all coughy and sniffy and red-eyed. Way to make a first impression, I know. And please, let's not talk about how much this cost. (G's first response was, "You look expensive," and I couldn't argue.) But I do like how it turned out. It is quite a bit lighter than it looks in the picture, especially right in the front.

These are my first bangs in 10 years. Really, the last time I had bangs was my senior spring at BYU -- 1996. That's a long time ago! Fortunately, unlike last time, these bangs are supposed to be "sideswept," which is what my hair naturally wants to do anyhow. I just have to blowdry the good old cowlick down really hot in the morning right after I step out of the shower.

I come from the kind of Scandinavian Utah Mormon people who have jillions of little towheaded kids with cowlicks all over their heads, and the lucky ones get them right in the front so they look like they've been hit with a shovel so hard their hair sticks up in a kind of sunburst pattern. It shows up really well in the little boys just when their summer buzz cuts start to grow out. And if you don't give your little boys summer buzz cuts ... well, you're probably not from my people. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

On a mostly unrelated note, I made some killer food today. I was going to do a whole Thai kind of meal, but all the curry pastes at Albertson's looked icky (no green or red, just "golden" -- I guess Food4Less is good for some things) and so I just doubled the recipe for potstickers from the Everyday Food magazine Sally gave me, and made this amazing mango sticky rice from Epicurious. Who needs a main course anyway? We are so full! Hope it's as healing as it was comforting ...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sick mama

I have not felt really on point since about Saturday. I was at about 60% for 3 days with a slightly sore throat. Yesterday I crashed -- dizzy, broke a sweat standing up to make toast. Stayed home from work. Drank smoothies and tomato soup. I love Campbell's Tomato. Yum.

Today I thought I was feeling better until now, when I started thinking about leaving the house. What I'm leaving for, though, is a doctor's office visit. I'm going to ask for a strep culture. It's been going around.

Anyway, off to take the germy test. I don't know whether to hope it's positive so I can get on antibiotics and feel better quick, or negative so I can get on some DayQuil and get back to work ...

This made me smile this morning, though. Go here to get your very own advertising slogan made with your name. I am Lipsmackin' Thirstquenchin' Acetastin' Motivatin' Goodbuzzin' Cooltalkin' Highwalkin' Fastlivin' Evergivin' Coolfizzin' Ana. Somebody like that can't stay sick for too long.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bunny funny

Saturday afternoon we had a couple of little friends over to play with the boys. They had an absolutely grand time, as measured by their total haul of 7 spiders and an earthworm in jelly jars.

At one point the smaller little friend trotted in to where G and I were listening to General Conference online and announced, "There are 14 days until Easter!" Then he ran out again.

So, in the spirit of the season, I give you this. I love it. It's my favorite.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hair election

I'm thinking it's time for me to start taking care of myself like a grownup. Meaning, I have scheduled a cut and color appointment at an actual salon, not Supercuts. It's close to campus, and a girl from my ward went there and got an ultra cute cut, and it was only $20. I'm paying $16 at Supercuts by the time I leave a tip, anyway, so it's not really such a leap. I got myself all likkered up with a Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Blended Creme to overcome my anxiety about this in order to make the actual appointment. Starbucks is in the same shopping center as the salon.

I know that sounds like an April Fool's joke. But it is not! My appointment is Friday.

So here are some hair styles I like, that I could pretty much do with my hair. Actually my hair is not quite long enough yet for style #3, but I love the color in that one. I'm thinking about that color, with some lowlights on the bottom layers, kind of like in #5 only not that extreme.

As for the style, I'm interested in your input. I know it's April, not November. But vote for your favorite! Help me grow up here!