Monday, June 30, 2008

Ask me ask me ask me

If you ever want to know
  • where not to eat in Oakhurst, CA (hint: pale green guacamole comprising about 2% avocado)
  • how it feels to breathe wood smoke for two solid days
  • how to really lay on a killer guilt trip
    • for an 8-year-old computer game addict
    • for an extremely silly Primary class
  • what it takes to treat ringworm in a child's scalp
  • how it feels to hit the maximum charge limit at the gas station without filling up your whole tank
  • how to amuse a toddler and a preschooler in an exam room for 90 minutes
I also have some other skills and knowledge somewhere. But these are things I am absolutely sure are available in my brain today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ketchup again

A lot has been going on, and none of it has been blogging. Here it is.
  • My parents came to see us over the weekend. They brought my sister M1 and her two kids, N (age 5) and R (age 1). It was pretty much great. The house was packed and chaotic - imagine 11 people in your 1600 square foot 3/2 ranch for three or four days. We eat good, we talk good, even the kids mostly played good, except for Z who thought R looked literally delicious. Z has a very big, toothy mouth.
  • I took my mom and sister to the flea market. We got lots of fruits and veggies, of course. Also cold horchata and churros. And little Chinese PJs for the baby girls (including my brother's adorable preemie) and blingy gangsta Mario shirts for the boys. Z and R also got pink strollers for their baby dolls. There is no justice when moms are doing the buying for baby girls - there was no compensatory gift for the boys to balance out the strollers. But I understand they did go out for ice cream after their park outing with dad and grandpa that morning.
  • We spent the evening at the lake with hummus and veggies and warm breezes and cool green water full of floating, featherlike eucalyptus leaves. Watching the sailboats is my idea of fun on a Saturday night these days. However, there was a lot of garbage on the ground. Not so good for curious baby girls. We left after only a couple of hours.
  • My mom is staying all week to help out, hang out and stay with the kids while G and I go up to Yosemite overnight tomorrow and Friday. Grandmas rock! Say it with me! Grandmas rock!
  • Took a day off Monday to go junk shop/antiquing and Costcoing with my mom. So fun. I got a nice big blue Mason jar (this is what I use for canisters) and some sweet little Mexican silver earrings. Also a bunch of Usborne history books for my boys.
  • Grandma is spending one special day with each child this week. She took S to the nickel arcade and to Target. Today all A knows is he wants a Target trip, too. She is a saint. Those are the places I most hate to go with my kids.
  • She is also repainting my poor, pathetic faux-French-country dining set. First life: horrible '90s pickle finish. Second life: distressed chocolate brown. Third life: Bangkok Russet. I think I am going to like the third life best.
  • I read a couple of books: Eat, Pray Love, and These Is My Words. I am guessing I will not have time to totally review them, so here is a little two-book capsule. I liked them both - the first took more patience as a memoir that stubbornly held back the most interesting and potentially sympathy-worthy details (why the marriage failed) but in the end it was worthwhile. It was a mind-opener in terms of approaching God, most of all. The second was just very freaking fun to read - scary and romantic and educational.
  • I have been grilling. Finally got the new canister hooked up to the grill and boy is it worth the effort! Baby eggplants and pattypan squash were the stars last night - just tossed with some olive oil and lemon juice and salt and pepper and parsley. Served with leftover roasted chicken and cut up watermelon and cantaloupe. Heaven, I tell you.
Like I said, G and I are heading up to the park for the next couple of days. I'll check in when I get back.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mirror, mirror

K asked for "two toasts" (two pieces of toast) for his bedtime snack. It was already 8:30 or so, and I decided to give him only one.

K: I wanted two toasts!
Me: You can only have one. It's almost bedtime.
K: (with a death glare) That sucks.

Where do you think he learned that?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Soldier boys

My sons, like a lot of boys, I think, have been interested in the soldier's life. They like the idea of using guns and killing bad guys.

I tell them they can choose any honest work as long as they go to college first. And I pray that an education will teach them the stupidity of most wars, or at least keep them off the front lines should they choose to serve in the military.

My oldest is getting more careful already. At almost nine, he says, "if there were a war here, I would go around telling everyone to get away. Because you never know what can happen in a war." My precious, unselfish, still-learning, nine-year-old voice of warning.

While I respect members of the military, and I try to teach that to my children, I do not honor those who have sent them to the battlefields where they now serve. I guess maybe that comes through to my kids.

The real cry of my mommy heart is very much like this mom's. Above all, I want them safe, in a peaceful world.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Don't you hate it when you have a big zit about to emerge, and you can't see it, but you can feel it?

Don't you also hate it when a blogger gives a post a scary title and you look down a little further and find out it is not about anything important at all?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Parents, children, disasters

I believe I got the idea to read this book from Lucy. She gives me a lot of good book ideas. Sometimes I think we are twins separated at birth, and by that I don't mean to be a creepy internet stalker but it is just strange how much alike we seem to be. We have never even met in person although my visiting teacher does happen to be her sister in law, which is a nice function of being in the small overlap of the two small worlds of Mormons and bloggers. Anyway, if we are in fact twins separated at birth, Lucy got all the volleyball genes and I got none. But we do both have book fetishes and destructive sons and husbands about to become real grownups, among other commonalities.

So I read this book, and it was touching and funny and desperately sad. I told my sister yesterday it is about parents and children and disasters. It is also about love and forgiveness, about our inabilities to speak and connect, about how we manage to give each other what we need and fail to do the same, about realizing in the worst of times how lucky we are and have been.

There is an absent presence in this book - the protagonist's mother. It is so beautifully resolved toward the end, I had to put the book down and cry for a while.

Here's Lucy's review, which is more detailed than mine.

I will just say this: you should read it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Learn to face the strange

I always like to use a song lyric when I can't really think of a good title. Name that tune!

I am working on some more big changes that I hope will benefit our little family.

Unfortunately, I can't talk about them yet.

I just want to ask those of you who are praying people to pray that they work out. And those of you who are not praying people, to channel us some good energy and thoughts and stuff. Because quite frankly I believe it all makes a difference.


Veggie chips I found at Buchanan Hollow Nut Company.

Carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, taro and acorn squash. Seriously beautiful and delicious!

This product is not on the BHNC site but maybe if you called them you could get some!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Biker beware, or conservation gone awry

When you are biking home from work to save gas, be mindful.

If you are slightly distracted and biking one-handed, and then you suddenly realize you need to stop at a stop sign, you may brake with only your front brakes.

On a newly tuned-up bike, front brakes can be working well. Too well. If that is the case and you brake with only the front brakes, your bike will flip.

Poor Dr. G-to-be.

So much for saving gas.

This has been a public service announcement from Watch Out for Mama.

We are now accepting contributions for our Band-Aid fund. And it is not about hunger in Africa.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I love green

Have you known me since high school? I think there are a few of you out there who have. If so, you might be interested to know I am still crazy about green, even after the last house I lived in with the horrific avocado shag carpet. It took me a while to get over that. It inflicted a lot of trauma.

My love for the verdant now manifests more frequently in things that grow in the dirt, and less frequently in fuzzy wool skirts, trapeze tops, suede pumps and opaque tights. Before you get too worried, I was somewhat cute in those days and could get away with a lot. These days, not so much. And I'm aware of that. Anyway, my color choice made it easy to find great stuff on clearance racks. Still my primary strategy. But I only have one chartreuse sweater these days.

And I never did get that booger-green VW bus I used to want. I suppose I could paint the Odyssey. It would be sweet to get some airbrushed Norse gods and stuff, as well. I'm thinking about it.

These are purple potato plants. I love the slight purple cast in the leaves. Can hardly wait to dig them up.

First tomatoes! So pretty!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmgarlic ... and in contrast ...

Gardenia. Somebody when this landscaping was planted was thinking kindly of me falling asleep on the twin bed in the baby's room, breeze drifting over the shrubs into the window, carrying the sweetest scent in the world.

Sunflowers and onions, growing in the sun.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Summer salad

It's the first day of summer vacation for my kids today. There was a palpable energy in the house starting about 6:30 a.m. This caused us to hustle everybody to daycare asap even though I didn't have to be at work until 9. Because when I say palpable energy, what I mean is that the kids were really freaking loud today, even more than usual.

Anyway, yay, summer! Here is what we had last night alongside great big hamburgers:

Blackberry and jicama salad

4 c. romaine and/or red leaf lettuce in bite-size pieces
1/4 c. purple cabbage, sliced thin
1 c. jicama, diced
1 c. blackberries or boysenberries
Your favorite red wine or raspberry vinaigrette
1/2 c. feta cheese

Mix it. That is all. I love the ease of a salad.

I am sorry about no pictures. I have great intentions. Honestly, though, when I get dinner on the table, I generally care a lot more about my growly stomach than my blog readers. I will try to be less selfish.

Barack Obama in St. Paul, MN

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sorta tagged

I suppose I could get away with pretending I'm not included in Daravanh's tagged group.

But you know what? I am feeling lazy. A meme like this makes an easy blog post.

So there you go. I've been tagged. Sort of.

8 Things I'm Passionate About
  • my faith
  • my children (and racial awareness, foster care, and adoption - it's a package deal)
  • my husband
  • my extended family
  • my job (and science, higher education and the health of the regional economy- another package deal)
  • my friends
  • food and cooking
  • reading and writing
  • music and singing (I think that makes nine ... I have a lot of passion to go around, ok?)
  • oh, and the Obama campaign.
8 Books I've Read and Enjoyed
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (Erdrich)
  • The Master Butcher's Singing Club (Erdrich)
  • The Twilight series (Meyer) (polar opposite of an Erdrich book - but what they have in common is good storytelling)
  • The Birth House (McKay)
  • A Child Called It/The Lost Boy (Pelzer)
  • Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
  • Jane Eyre (over and over and over)
  • Pretty much everything by Orson Scott Card
8 Things/Words I say often
  • I don't know
  • Wait a minute
  • Maybe next year
  • I love you super
  • You can play outside or in your room.
  • What?
  • Is it ok if I get back to you on that tomorrow/next week?
  • Are you trying to kill me?
8 Things I want to do before I die
  • Be with all of my children in the temple
  • See big changes that I hope and pray for (yes, I'm being intentionally vague)
  • Get a graduate degree
  • Publish a novel
  • Serve a mission
  • Maintain a healthy weight and body image
  • Travel internationally, for fun
  • Learn to accept and celebrate the chaos that is life on earth
8 Things I learned or remembered this year
  • My relationship with Heavenly Father opens the way for me to live without fear or regret.
  • Faith is a choice.
  • Sometimes the right thing to do is put up a fight.
  • How it feels to have a completed family. I think.
  • How the cytoskeleton moves and behaves.
  • What quantum dots might be able to do.
  • New respect for lawyers.
  • How to talk with people with whom you have fundamental differences in belief or agenda.
8 People I Want to Tag
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Jane Austen
  • Bo Diddley
  • Marie Curie
  • Eliza R. Snow
  • Ira Gershwin
  • Annie Oakley
  • Jacques Cousteau
OK, so I hate tagging people, and that says I should list 8 people I want to tag, not 8 people I am tagging. You can't tell me you wouldn't want to read their responses, though.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Best tattle ever

K: Mom, she was going to tattle on me!