Monday, December 12, 2005

King Kong

You know how sometimes you’ll suddenly notice something that you have been seeing for a long time, but hadn’t really SEEN? Well, this has been around a long time but I wonder how many of you have SEEN it.

So what’s the deal? First of all, I’m not a fan of large inflatable advertising, but some folks must be because there sure is a lot of it. Personally I think a gorilla in shorts and sunglasses is dumb and tacky, but I can understand if the owners of this fine establishment genuinely enjoy large inflatable primates. However, I wonder if the owners of Giant Wireless realize their little gorilla is giving all of Provo the finger every time they drive past.

Since when do we allow this sort of gesture to be displayed at such a grand scale in our quiet town? I thought this was a very conservative community, but I have yet to hear an outcry regarding this unattractive and vulgar balloon. Curious. I suppose I could initiate a movement against tasteless displays atop buildings, but it would take a tremendous amount of time and energy and I’m not sure I’m up to it. Instead I have chosen to do the next best thing. Every now and then when the kids aren’t in the car, I crank up the tunes and with a guttural growl give my big furry friend the double bird right back.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm It

Okay, Okay. Resistance is useless. I'll play along, although it is against my better judgement.

Five little known facts about me:

1. I was Gretel in Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates in our 4th grade play. That was about the extent of my theatrical career.

2. I co-starred with my 4th grade crush, Rick Alexander. That was about the extent of our romantic relationship.

3. I took piano lessons for at least 4 years as a kid, but I can barely pluck out a melody. Go figure.

4. You already know I had headgear, a mullet and a "special" bicycle.

5. Other than my tennis shoes, all of my shoes are black.

Whew. That took some doing. Now I get to tag some friends and they get to either play along or just ignore the game, right? I'll tag Dally, Otto, Lisa, and Christopher.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I Saw It On the Way To Walmart

I was driving along yesterday, thinking through my shopping strategy, when I saw this frumpy lady raking leaves in her yard. (By the way, this is an observation, not a criticism—who doesn’t look frumpy doing yard work?) She had a wheelbarrow full of leaves and with great effort, she was pushing the wheelbarrow down her sloping lawn toward the road. The edge of her lawn is about 5 or 6 feet above the road, and railroad ties create the wall that hold up her yard. Once she got to the precipice, she carefully tipped the wheelbarrow full of leaves over the edge of her yard and into the weedy strip bordering the road below. Then she began pushing the wheelbarrow back up her lawn to get a new load.

I laughed out loud as I watched this whole process. Not so much that I thought it was funny as I was astonished at the audacity of this lady. She wasn’t dumping the leaves into a vacant, unused field where a compost pile would be unnoticed. No, she was tossing them over the edge of her yard onto a well-traveled road, next door to some homes and parks that have recently been improved and look quite neat and tidy. This would be like me gathering up my leaves and dumping them into my neighbor’s front yard. How rude. I’ve only done that once, but they weren’t my leaves in the first place, and in the second place, it was a really good joke. Anyway, I shook my head and laughed in amazement at this woman, and found myself feeling sorry for the poor blokes that live next to her and thinking how grateful I am that she isn’t my neighbor. On my way back home an hour and a half later, she was still at it, and I laughed again and thought about how much I like my neighbors.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Had a Mullet

It’s confession time. I was an ugly kid. I’d like to think I grew out of it, but that wasn’t until at least 9th or 10th grade, and that may be a generous estimation. I look back at old photos and realize this problem began early.

This makes me wonder what my mom was thinking. Shouldn’t a mom try to help her little girl look cute when she’s too young to do it herself? I think she tried. Maybe she was just misguided by the styles of a bad decade. Or maybe she just didn’t have much to work with. When I was a bit older and after a couple of not-quite-successful home permanent waves, she came to all my hair appointments and made decisions about my hairstyles. I distinctly remember my “Annie” cut and perm in fourth grade and how Mom was so thrilled that all I needed was a spray bottle and a pick to do my hair each morning. Why did she allow this? Couldn’t she see that an Annie-do wouldn’t go well with headgear?

Headgear. Twenty-two to 23 hours a day I wore that thing. And it wasn’t the kind that just went around the neck. No, I got the kind that was a helmet. One band down the back of the head, one band around the neck, and one band from in front of one ear, over the top of the head, then down to in front of the other ear. I got it in 4th grade and for a couple of years wore it everywhere I went. I remember I hated it, but I wore it anyway. Remember that I had pom-pom hair to go with it—a nice band down the middle and two fluffs out each side. A lovely picture, isn’t it? So why did I wear it so faithfully? Did I not care how weird I looked? Or did I just not realize how bad it really was?

I had this bike that was a hand-me-down from my aunt (probably from the late 50’s, making it about 20 years old). It was a gold 5-speed. The thing was enormous and weighed more than I did. The front tire was really small—like from a little pre-school sized bike—and the back tire was big—about the size of a pre-teen mountain bike. It had this big banana seat, complete with springs I wasn’t even heavy enough to budge, and the gear-shifter was on the bar in front of the seat. No subtle little gear-shifter, no sir, this thing was huge. And big old fenders and U-shaped handlebars. These days this bike would be awesome—all retro and everything. But in the early eighties, it was nightmarishly ugly. But it was the only bike I had, so, like the headgear, I just went with it. One day I was riding my golden atrocity down the road, sporting, of course, headgear on top of my puffy Annie hair. I passed this lady and she asked me in this sweet, condescending voice, “Oh! Did your mom and dad have that bike made special for you?” I think this was about the time I realized how truly pathetic I was. I didn’t just look a little weird, I looked “special.” That was the last time I rode that bike. And I’m still surprised I didn’t quit wearing the headgear, but maybe I really was “special.” Or I just wanted to have really good teeth.

By about 6th grade I didn’t have to wear the headgear anymore and I started growing out the hair. Gracefully? Not really. And I still had those marvelously silver-banded teeth. Junior High was miserable and is worthy of it’s own blog. I was still working on the hair situation and didn’t have any friends. Once I thought I’d have fun and dress up for Nerd Day. During the Nerd Parade at lunch, somebody asked me if I was dressed up. Apparently my nerdy clothes weren’t significantly different from my regular clothes.

In high school things started getting a little better. I found some friends and I wasn’t quite so self-conscious. I started to figure out who I was and I didn’t care quite so much what some people thought. My eyes went bad and I got glasses. Now I think those specs were horrible, but in the 80s they really were in style as far as glasses went. (Right? They were, weren’t they?)

Luckily, the 80s only lasted about 10 years. The 90s and 00s have been a little more merciful and I think I turned out okay in the end. So perhaps my ugly childhood was character building or something. At any rate, if you have an ugly kid, or if you are an ugly kid, just think…eventually you might pull out of it. You might even be better for it. I don’t know…mullet over.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Quote for the Day

"This compass sucks. It only points north."

-Daughter, age 7

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pineapple Chunks

I just wanted to let you all know that my youngest son has joined the ranks of kids who puke when they eat too much. Last night after the chicken, ravioli, pepperige farm goldfish, and creamie, the canned pineapple chunks his cousin Koltan shared with him finally pushed him over the edge. After puking into the sink, he said, "Koltan, I spit out yo food."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


It’s potty-learning time at our house. I try to let my kids take the reigns and do this at his/her own speed. My youngest has finally decided he likes the feel of “big-boy pannies” better than a diaper. (Yes, at our house they are “pannies” regardless of gender. And no ‘T’ is pronounced. Deal with it.) Those of you with children know, and those of you without can imagine or perhaps remember, that this journey to potty proficiency is fraught with accidents and setbacks. My son and I experienced his first big setback today. I’m pretty good about staying calm and I certainly don’t punish my child. I just put the kid in the tub and clean up the mess. Sometimes an audible growl and “eeeew, yuck!” do escape my lips, but that’s about it.

The worst part of the whole thing is rinsing the poop out of the pannies in the toilet. Ugh. It’s horrid. You start off so gingerly with thumb and forefinger carefully swishing the soiled underwear around in the bowl, trying not to splash. And you can get really quite good at it with the Flush-and-Swish technique. But in the back of your mind you know that ultimately you have to take the dive. There’s no getting around the final pannie wring. I know of no technique to avoid getting poo water on your hands. I hate it.

How did our ancestors do it? I remember the cloth diapers my mother left sitting in the toilet. At times washing those things out must have been more than she could bear. And she had an automatic washer and dryer. What about another 50 or 100 years before her? What if I’d lived then? How would I have managed? First of all, I don’t think I’d have been such a patient potty coach! And I think instead of a diaper pail I would have had a diaper vat—a diapers-only kettle sitting there to toss the diapers into, then fill with water and boil for a very, VERY long time. And what did they use for plastic pants? Wool I guess? How did they ever manage to keep a baby dry and not leaky all the time? Those folks were either incredibly creative and industrious or horribly smelly. Probably both.

What do I learn from all of this? To be grateful. So thank you, inventors of the disposable diaper, the automatic washer and dryer, Clorox wipes and bleach. Thank you.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blood Suckers

Yesterday I gave blood. Yes, kudos to me! I’m on the vampires’ call list, so they call and I go in. No big deal. I figure I can donate blood and there's always more where it came from. It doesn't bother me; I watch them put the needle in every time and I don't get sick or woozy from donating. No problem.

But the part that sucks about donating blood, besides that little owie lancelet prick on my finger, is reading the “What You Need to Know Before Donating Blood” booklet. You have to read it every time you go in. It tells you about all this stuff that could have possibly contaminated your blood. Then you have to answer all these worthiness questions, including the question, “Did you read the ‘What You Need to Know Before Donating Blood’ booklet?” I always feel like I’m going into some big interview, a final judgment of sorts. The thing of it is, I always give myself this pep talk as I drive out to the donation site. “You can just skim the information booklet. You haven’t done anything since your last donation to contaminate your blood.” I mean really, I lead a pretty boring life. I haven’t gone anywhere or done anything or anyone that would compromise the integrity of my blood. My riskiest behavior is my occasional encounter with mosquitoes, but I’m pretty good about wearing my summer scent (Deep Woods Off with DEET) at both dawn and dusk.

So I get to the donation site and sit down with the fateful red booklet ready to skim. Then I have this wave of anxiety and guilt sweep over me. What if one of the questions has changed? What if there is a NEW information sheet in the booklet? I mean, they are in plastic sleeves, so they could be easily updated or changed. What if I have forgotten some important little detail about my conduct since the last time I donated 8 weeks ago? And what am I going to say when they ask me if I read the booklet? So despite my pep talk, I start reading.

I pass my eyes over every word, pausing momentarily but trying not to contemplate too deeply all the new definitions of “sexual contact” they have included. Then here is the part that really sticks in my craw. About 5 minutes after I walk in and begin my soul-searching reading, another lady comes in and starts her reading. Then she finishes her reading another 5 minutes before me and goes back for her worthiness questioning! What the heck? Who does she think she’s fooling? I know she didn’t read the whole thing. I was flyin’ and hadn’t finished mine, and I think I’m a pretty quick reader. And even worse than that, a kid comes in 5 minutes after her, picks up his book, begins perusing, then starts chatting with one of the volunteers. Then he goes back for his interview. WHAT? He hadn’t sat there 5 minutes! I don’t think he even flipped each of the pages. And I'm certain he didn’t check his memory to recall if he had been a dependant of someone in the military since 1980 or if he’d had a family member with Krutchfeld-Jacobs disease. Does he think being an acquaintance of a volunteer gets him off the worthiness hook? And it’s not like he can say he’s been in more recently than I have, because I’m on the vampire call-back list. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. I had the same thing happen on my last two donations. Some people just aren’t taking this booklet seriously enough. And they got into the donation chair before me. Growl.

I can say that the American Red Cross is speeding up their process. It used to take me about an hour to donate. Now I’m out of there in 35 to 45 minutes. But I still wish they just had one worthiness question for regulars like me, something like, “Have you had any wildly excessive fun or any completely novel experiences or diseases since your last donation?” Then I could just say "no" once and be out of there in 15.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Every Breath You Take

Neighborhood Watch. I’ve mentioned her before. She’s my neighbor and friend and I love her. But she’s just a little quirky. Her house sits at the end of my street, facing the traffic coming up the road, giving her a clear view of the whole street. Some would put up blinds in a house with this view. Not Neighborhood Watch. No, instead she uses this eagle-eye perch to her advantage and stays busy with everyone’s business. I’ll illustrate.

This June, a group of us were standing around in the road talking when a neighbor of ours ran by. We knew she was training for a marathon, and so as she passed, we wondered aloud how long she had been out running that day. “An hour. I saw her leave an hour ago,” said Neighborhood Watch. Then another neighbor drove past. She hailed him and ran over (with baby on hip) to his Suburban to tell him some important piece of news. During that conversation, the mailman drove his truck down the road. She hollered to him, (calling him by name, of course) to tell him that a certain family wasn’t home, so not to deliver their mail. All of this occurred within 15 minutes.

What a busy life she leads! She calls to alert me of any police or ambulance activity on our street and to warn me of approaching salesmen. On the rare occasion that something obstructs her view, she calls me to get the scoop on the action happening at my end of the road. She watches children walking up and down the sidewalk and calls to let me know when mine are coming home.

One night last summer around 10:00 pm she called and asked me to turn my porch light back on. I was already in bed, so I asked why. She told me it was because our streetlight had burned out and the street was just too dark—she couldn’t see what was going on and it was driving her crazy. Driving HER crazy? Grudgingly, I indulged her. The next day she called the city and somehow managed to get the thing fixed within a few weeks, despite the fact that those city workers were backed up for months with lamppost fixing requests.

A few weeks ago she called me to let me know she was going camping for a week. She was entrusting me with the charge of neighborhood watch. Me? What a burden. I didn’t know if I was up to the task, but I told her I would do my best. The first day I did all right and checked the street a few times. Nothing much seemed to be happening. Then suddenly I realized it was four days later and I had no inkling the whereabouts or activities of any of my neighbors. I had no idea if anyone had had any disputes in their front yards, if any of the teenagers had any questionable guests at their houses, or if anyone had forgotten to pull in their garbage cans. Had George been on his bike ride? I couldn’t tell you. Had the mailman been sick or had a birthday? No clue. I had failed in my calling. What would I tell her when she got back? I would have nothing to report.

Fortunately when she got back she didn’t come ask for a report. She must have had her plate full getting back into the regular watch routine. I didn’t mention the fact that I had been negligent in my duty. All I know is that I’m grateful I don’t have the burden of neighborhood watch. I’m definitely not that busy a body!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Tribute to Sewer Guys

Food, water, shelter….and a place to poop. That last is all too often left off the list of basic human needs. Pooping is very important to all of us. If you aren’t sure of this fact, just browse around in this blogging community. Julie’s pen, my tree house, Chris and Lisa’s unfortunate neighbors on the east bench, and Wendysue’s Whitney all testify to it, to name a few. And what really drive this point home are the horrible pictures we’ve seen on the news of our friends in the South. So let’s not take for granted our places to poop. Here’s looking at you, Sewer Guys! May your pipes remain unobstructed and may it always run downhill.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Harvest Plenty

A few nights ago we enjoyed one of the bounties of our garden: corn-on-the-cob. We started this spring diligently tilling and preparing the garden to plant. Guy put in two rows of corn, planting them a week apart so we could enjoy the ripening crop over a period of time. We put in four rows of potatoes, 2 crookneck squash, and 14 tomato plants. We also planted pumpkins, starting some of them from seed indoors with the kids. We watered, weeded and hoed, involving our children in an attempt to teach them to work, and anticipated when they would enjoy the fruits of their labor.

We enjoyed those fruits the other night, and what a pathetic pile of fruit it was. You can see and count the entire crop—yes, the ENTIRE crop—of corn here. There are a few more ears still remaining on the plants that Guy thought were too small to bother picking—yes, even smaller than the ones pictured here. And the stuff we picked and ate was old. We should have “harvested” at least one week earlier, maybe two.

That’s just the corn. The tomatoes aren’t doing so hot either. We’ve eaten a whole 3 tomatoes from our garden so far this year. Hello! It’s August! Shouldn’t I have tomatoes and to spare by now? The squash has slowed down, too, which is a shame because we love squash. Sautee it in olive oil with a clove of garlic, salt and pepper….mmmm. But they’ve quit producing now. And the potatoes? Well, that remains to be seen, doesn’t it? When does one harvest potatoes, anyway? Before or after first frost? I have no idea.

I know the garden needs some weeding, but still, the thing I don’t get is that I didn’t think I was a horrible gardener. I’ve had successful vegetable gardens before. I actually have quite pretty flower gardens. I pride myself in having a nice yard. Particularly when you recognize that when we moved into this house a few years ago, the yard was lawn and 2 trees. That was basically it. I think we’ve made some pretty good improvements—and we’ve done it ourselves. No landscapers for us, no-siree.

So why is my vegetable garden so lousy?

Take a peek with me over my fence at my neighbor’s garden.
It’s a beautiful veggie garden. His tomato plants are nearly 5 feet tall, and he has rows and rows of corn that look like corn is supposed to look. And this guy is 90 years old. No kidding. Last winter he broke his hip. But that didn’t stop him. No, this whole summer I’ve heard him out shuffling around in his garden, whistling and calling (“hoo hoooo!”) to his cat, Buddy. So why does my stooped-over, 90 year old man neighbor have this lush, productive garden and all I get is 12 tiny ears of sticky corn, a few squash and three pitiful little tomatoes?

The only veggies that are really doing well are the pumpkins. I love growing pumpkins. The kids love them and I love them. They’re so much fun at Halloween! But unless you are Molly-Over-Achieving-Mormon and know how to cook them down into the stuff you make pies out of (which I don’t and won’t), they are pretty much non-utilitarian. I guess I’m only good at growing aesthetic stuff. But I’m not giving up yet. I’ll re-think my garden strategies and try again next year. Maybe a sunnier spot, some mulch and turkey poop…

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Midweek Bath

This morning (Thursday) I looked at my children. Ewww. “Alright kids, time for a bath!”

“What?!? But it’s not Sunday!” they complained. And they looked at me with the pain of injustice in their eyes.

This caused me to reflect for a moment on my domestic practices this summer, particularly the ones pertaining to my children’s hygiene. I realized that this summer I’ve bathed my children about once a week, whether they needed it or not. Of course, occasionally I took them swimming during the week. This accomplished some soaking and deep cleaning. And sometimes I told them to go play in the hose, figuring they’d wash a little of something off of them while they did. But other than these occasional water activities, this summer my children’s hygiene and my attention to cleanliness (my children’s and my house’s) has been deplorable.

I remember talking with another mom last winter and I made some comment like, “Well, if I bathe my kids every other day or maybe even skip two days, I figure that’s okay. It’s not like in the summer when they play outside and get all sweaty and dirty. You just HAVE to bathe them more in the summer.” Who was that woman? Bathe them more in the summer? That’s the great thing about summer. Who cares if your kids are grimy? So what if they look like orphans? Big deal if they stay up till 10 or 11 and don’t get up till 8 or 9. Last spring when I was thinking about the upcoming summer break, I determined I was going to be so diligent and start each day with a routine involving exercise, yard work and chores, limit television time, and have organized activities to do like this or that lesson or park time. I did pretty well with the exercise and yard work, but the rest went down the tube. At first I was worried about not having my kids on a routine, and then I decided to just forget it and go with the flow. I remember that was what I liked about summer as a kid—that you could just veg and play with friends and be a bum. I don’t even know if I owned summer clothes other than my swimsuit and I just played without being “scheduled”. I caught bugs and made mud pottery I dried in the sun. I tried (unsuccessfully) weaving a basket out of long grass weeds and played in the sprinkler. I read books. And it was that sense of no urgency and total relaxation that I remember relishing. So this summer I decided I would try to embrace this and just let my kids relax.

Now don’t get me wrong. There have been things that they have to do. I try to remember to have them make their beds in the morning. They help cook and do the dishes. They help me weed the garden and water the plants. They clean toilets and sinks and my oldest (10) mows the lawn. But I’ve been a little better at just letting them play when they have their things done rather than try to fill up their time by finding more work for them to do.

But I think I can only live with this lack of structure for a while before it starts to get to me. The kids start bickering or teasing when they get bored and I heard myself just the other day telling my youngest two (ages 4 and 2) to go beat each other up in the other room instead of where I was. They did. Boy, did they. (I decided maybe I should have said something like “you need to go work it out niiiiicely.”) I’ve about reached my limit of tolerating my messy house and kids with nothing to do. I’m looking forward to the school year and it will be nice to get back to a schedule. I think I’ll even start bathing the kids more than once a week again.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tree House Fun

Two days ago my friend told me she had to ground her son for an afternoon. He had been on the roof with his dad when his dad got down for a minute. When the dad got back on the roof, he found his son peeing down the sewer vent. I had a pretty good laugh as she told me the story. I have long since learned not to be smug about these kinds of things and I was NOT thinking things like, “If you just did a better job teaching your child…” or “Why can’t you control your child?” But I was thinking something like “Tee-hee! At least something like that hasn’t happened to me!” Well Julie, one day later and I can top that.

Yesterday my 4 1/2 yr old daughter came into the house with her head hung low and said to me, “I’m sorry, Mom.”

“Sorry for what?”

“I pooped.”


“I pooped.”

“Aaaar! Where did you poop?”


At this point I think I yelled something like “I’m going to kill you!” Guy, in an attempt to calm me down and comfort his penitent daughter, intervened by saying things like “Was it an accident?” and “Did you try to come inside and you didn’t make it?” She of course answered “yes” and “uh-huh.” I finally got control of myself and then began asking more questions.

“Where is the poop?”


Right. I gathered that from the grass answer. I was going to have to be more specific because my daughter was not volunteering anything more than she was asked.

“Okay. Show me”

She took me into the back yard under our big sycamore tree. Sure enough, there sat a little pie on the grass. It was time to learn more details.

“Did you get any on your underwear?”


“Did you pull down your pants and sit right here and do it?”


“Then how did this get here? Where were you when you pooped?”

“Tree house.”

I looked up. There, sitting on the branched trunk of my tree, were more little pies.

“You were up in the tree house when you did it?”



After more of this questioning I finally pieced together that she and her friend Cammie (3 1/2 yrs) were playing house and apparently two of the slats of the tree house floor looked like a toilet. My daughter was playing at using the toilet, and then I guess the urge got to her before she could get down the tree and inside. When nature calls…

After reminding her that we don't pretend to use toilets in tree houses, I sent her inside to get in the tub while I set to cleaning it up. My husband had some remarkable ideas like “Just throw it in the bushes—the cat goes in there” and “just squirt it until it dissolves away.” I reminded him we were talking about human fecal matter and I think I said something like “Just go away if you can’t contribute any useful suggestions.” He went inside and started fixing lunch.

I proceeded with the revolting task of scraping what I could up with paper towels and then hosed the tree house, the trunk and the grass down. I thought of bleaching the whole area, but I wasn’t sure how the tree and lawn would have done with that. As I was finishing up a half an hour later, Guy opened a window and told me to come in. He told me I was going to have to call Cammie’s mom because he wasn’t going to do it. I asked him why I needed to call her. He said that our youngest (2 1/2 yrs) had come to lunch and said “I going to poop on Cammie.”


“I going to poop on Cammie.”

Long pause…why would he say this…“Wait a minute. Did Cammie have poop on her?”

Apparently she did, but she had cleaned herself up with a wet-wipe. Great. Now I had to call my neighbor and tell her that my daughter pooped on her daughter and to put her into the tub quick. Nice. And this isn’t just any neighbor. No, this is the neighbor who keeps tabs on everything and everyone on the street and makes sure everyone else has the scoop, too. We call her Neighborhood Watch. (Really, I could write a whole blog just on her. Maybe I will.) Anyway, now Neighborhood Watch knows what my daughter did to her daughter. And you've probably already heard this story by now.

After I got off the phone I started wondering something else, so once again I asked my daughter.

“How did the poop get on Cammie?”


I guess Cammie wasn’t in the tree house at the time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I Say Tomato, You Say Tomato

The other day I thought I’d start keeping track of some of the interesting colloquialisms and pronunciations I hear from my friends and family. Many are particular to Utah, I’m sure, and I think some go back to small towns like Spanish Fork and Lakeshore 50+ years ago. There are some that drive me nuts-o, and some I find charming and funny. And I’m sure there are plenty more I don’t even hear because I’m just so used to them—or because I say them. I’m probably guilty of some humdingers! So let’s have some fun and make a list. I’d love to hear yours. Here’s a start…

Of course, the obvious heck, gosh, dang, darn… Me? Guilty. Heck, I’m from Utah!
Chimbley—just funny.
Asparagrus—kind of annoying.
Pellow and melk, not pillow and milk. Drives me nuts.
I seen Betty down to the Wal-mart. Yaaaahrr! I hear it all the time.
Irregardless—this one is in the dictionary, but it says “used humorously.” I don’t know if they know it’s funny.
Crens (crayons)
Crick (creek)
An (and)—I’m sure I say this one all the time.
Pedistool (pedestal)—this one makes me laugh.
Ping-kwin (penguin)
Roof or roof—I’m not even sure which one is right.
Doesn’t that make a rabbit slap a bear?—what does this mean?
Git (as in “Git down from there! or “Hey! Go on! Git!”)
Wint (went)
Shmorning—you know, like “The shmorning I wint down to Wal-marts to git some melk an asparagrus an guess what? On the way I seen Harold. He was fixin his chimbley.”

Well, that’s all I got fer now. Ahl be lettin’ ya know whin I heer summore.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Dark Knight

If you haven’t already, you need to go see Batman Begins. Holy league of shadows, it was fantastic! One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It was all I could do to not stand up and yell a big, guttural “Yaaahhhhhhr!” at the end of the movie. But it isn’t just this movie I loved—I’ll tell you more about that later; I just really like Batman. Here’s why:

1. Batman rocks. I don’t care who you are, you have to love him. I mean, he wears black (sexy, muscley black for the ladies), he has a cape (how cool are capes? Edna Mode was oversensitive), he’s sneaky and stealthy (how does he do that?), and he’s got a ton of cool stuff (c’mon—a batmobile, a batcave, grappling hook guns?…this stuff is great!). And he’s just a regular guy—he doesn’t even need superpowers to be this great.

2. Bruce Wayne is such a compelling character. Tragic, really. Boy does he have issues to deal with. Bats aside, his parents were killed in front of him and consequently he’s riddled with sadness, guilt, anger, and hate. That right there is enough for a pretty good character. Throw in a childhood phobia, martial arts, a mansion, a villain and a butler and voila! A great character!

3. Alfred is fabulous. He’s smart and witty and loves Bruce through all his issues. And doesn’t he embody what we all want? Someone who is loyal, loves us and takes care of us no matter what. (And calls us master, and cleans the mansion, and cooks, and sets out our clean, stylish, pressed clothes…)

4. The villains are pretty cool. You can’t have a great good guy without some really good bad guys.

So Batman is awesome. It’s no wonder he has captivated audiences for years. Now to the new movie (I won’t say anything here that would spoil it). What made this movie great?

1. It was nice to see Bruce’s character developed so well. It helped you understand what motivates him and why he makes the choices he does. You get to see his vulnerabilities as well as his courage, strength and nobility.

2. Batman had some really great new stuff. I'd had some issues with how his cape worked and where he got all his neat-o gadgets that were solved in the movie. (If I read comic books I'm sure those issues would have been solved already, but I just haven't found the time to get into it that deep.)

3. The computer-generated images were done well. Sitting next to an artist in a movie can wreck it for you when the CGI stuff is lousy. Guy will groan or make these little comments if the graphics aren’t up to par and after a while you get an eye for it. They have to be believable or it just isn’t any good. The CGI work in Batman Begins was superb by my book (and Mr. Critical agreed).

4. Scarecrow was so cool. The previews show you what he looks like and he is creepy! He was also believable. I won’t tell you his MO, but it worked for me because it didn’t seem so far out of the realm of reality.

5. The pace and action of the movie was good. I don’t really know movie speak, but you know when a movie has too much action, or not enough? This one was just right. The sound was great, too.

6. The movie was artistic. The whole feel and look of the movie was very epic. There’s nothing quite like seeing Batman’s silhouette while he looks over Gotham City at night. Oooooooh. Chills.

I could probably go on, but I’ll stop there. If you aren’t a Batman fan, maybe this movie will do it for you. Don’t even plan on comparing it to the Batman movies from ’89 and the 90s. The first one was okay—Michael Keaton did a pretty good job and Jack Nicholson had some great moments. But boy did the series go down from there. The one with Schwarzenegger was a real stinker. This new movie blows them all out of the water. So go see it and let me know what you think.

Here’s to you, Batman. May you strike fear in the hearts of villains everywhere!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Concerning Mold and In-laws

As I was diligently performing my noble domestic labors today (making egg-salad sandwiches for lunch), I noticed a spot of mold on a piece of bread. Instantly I had a dilemma (and microscopic mold spores) on my hands. The question: What to do with the loaf of bread? I am sure there are some who would throw away the loaf. Not me. I searched through the slices of bread, picked off any spots of mold I found, and made sandwiches to feed to my unsuspecting family, operating under the premise “what they don’t know can’t hurt them.”

What a lousy premise. Who thought of that one anyway? People didn’t know that rats were hauling around the Plague and contaminating their food. People didn’t know that leeches were sucking them (not the bad spirits) dry. And look what happened to them. But this hasn’t been the only erroneous logic I’ve used in my parenting. I’ve also heard myself say, “If you do that your face will stay that way!”

Anyway, I’m sure my family will be perfectly healthy after eating the sandwiches. The bread will taste like any other bread. Their only complaint will be that it is wheat, not white. But they are getting used to my new health-conscious answer (“the whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead!”—perhaps more bad logic), so that doesn’t bother me. The thing that made me pause and reflect was when I heard the voice in my head ask me if I was turning into my father-in-law.

My father-in-law. Larry can take bailing wire, a few screws and pieces of scrap metal and make pretty much anything he needs. He’s really quite clever this way. A greasy Martha Stewart of sorts. But along with his innovative spirit comes a pack rat beyond any I’ve seen. He had enough stuff that a house, a garage, a tool shed and a cabin weren’t enough to hold all his junk. He had a barn, too. He sold the barn a year or two ago and watching him try to part with his stuff was pretty poignant. He managed to pass a few important items on to his sons, though. (Thanks, Dad.)

But that’s just the mechanical stuff. He has the same philosophy when it comes to food. Once I watched him work to get the last little bit of poppy-seed salad dressing out of the bottle. I would have whacked the bottle a few times, and maybe even put it upside-down for a little while to let gravity do its thing. That’s not good enough for Larry. I watched in disbelief as he added water (not a little) to the bottle, shook it up, and poured it on his salad (which probably had been recovered from someone else’s plate about to go to the trash). I saw him do the same thing with a ketchup bottle, too. I try not to be wasteful, but come on.

It’s not just the last bits of dressings in bottles, either. He takes leftovers to a whole new level. Expiration date? They don’t know what they’re talking about. Smell? What smell? If it’s not lumpy, drink it. If it’s not too fuzzy, eat it. And my poor OCD mother-in-law can’t stand anything a mess. Imagine the controversy when she starts to clean out the fridge. She’s learned it’s best to do it while he’s working or out for the day. She has actually brought leftovers to my house to put them down my disposal so he won’t see.

The thing of it is, Larry is healthy as a horse. I don’t know if he’s ever had food poisoning, and I think he’s only had Giardia once (he probably forgot to strain the water through his handkerchief). So maybe what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you after all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Why Blogger?

About a year ago I heard about blogs while watching a show called “Screen Savers” on the Tech TV channel with my semi-tech-geekish hubby, Guy. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone want to put a journal online for who-knows-who to read?” A few months passed and I began to realize that for an illustrator (Guy), it could be a handy way to put a sketch or other art up in log-type fashion where people could look at it and make comments, etc, but I still figured it wasn’t for me.

Not too long ago, we started reading blogs of a couple of Guy’s young men. Boy are they clever! And then a strange thing happened. While reading these two boy’s blogs, we stumbled into a whole community of people we know. I’m still trying to work out why a few of our old high school friends know our neighbors the stunningly handsome Nate Perkins and Mat6t, but there was some connection somehow.

Anyway, these are a few things that finally convinced me I’d try blogging:

• One, lurking is rude. I figured if I was going to read other people’s stuff, I ought to be brave enough to be read. Mat6t gently reminded his readers of this.

• Two, if I blogged I could count that as a journal and then not feel guilty on family-history-is-the-topic Sundays. One more thing not to feel guilty about? Hook me up!

• Three, it could be fun. There are quite a few people in this little community I wouldn’t mind keeping up with.

• And four, I was inspired by teenagers.

I love teenagers. I loved being a teenager and I miss teaching teenagers in high school. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to re-live the glory days or anything—I don’t want to be a teenager again! There are things in the past that are best left there. But teenagers know some things that adults sometimes forget. I just had the chance to spend three whole wonderful days with teenagers and these kids reminded me how to do some things I sometimes forget when I’m busy being a grown-up. Like how to live in the moment and have a great time. And how to wrestle. How to jump around, yelling and singing rediculous things and dancing until 1 in the morning. How to tease and laugh (till your sides hurt—remember that?) and not take things too seriously. And how to notice and write about really funny things. I’ll never be the writer Mat6t is. But maybe I can remember a little bit how to see things in the novel way teenagers often do. And that’s fun.

Like asparagrus and chimleys. Maybe I’ll write about those next.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What Did You Stick In Your Nose?

My fourth child is one of those kind of kids I thought came from parents who don’t monitor their children. I think I was a bit smug when I had only one child. My oldest is pretty tame and easy going. My second is pretty even keeled, too. Numbers 3 and 4 are teaching me humility and tolerance for people who have kids who yell in church and run around the neighborhood naked. So far, I’ve been able to contain naked mostly to the backyard, but as far as I can tell, my family’s got the loudest bench in my aging church congregation.

I’ve known for quite a while that I’ve got my hands full with Number 4, sweet though he is. When he was about 16 months old I put him down to change his diaper. He opened his mouth and I saw a quarter rolling around back there. Rather than jam it down his throat by trying to grab it, I quickly turned him over to try and shake it out or something, and then I heard a big “gulp.” No more quarter. Had this been my first child, we would have gone straight to the doctor’s office. Instead I just called. A nurse told me to watch for it and it should come through in a while, but that it could take a few weeks. Now, what would you do? Well, if you were my husband’s family, you would get out the old metal detector, pin the child to the floor and push the metal detector around on his stomach to see if he really swallowed the quarter. Apparently a mother’s eyewitness account isn’t enough. If you were me, you’d just fish around in each diaper with a stick. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention this to the babysitter a week later, and the quarter may have gone out in the trash undetected. I didn’t retrieve the diaper to double check. At any rate, we never recovered the quarter.

Since then, he has managed to swallow turpentine (we got a visit from the ambulance and fire truck), suck on the Lime-Away bottle, and stuff a pearl, a wad of paper and a button up his nose (not all at the same time). The pearl was during church. My husband popped it out with the insides of a pen (I still wonder if using this technique was wise). I got the wad of paper (snot wad?) out—which I think had been in there over night—by holding his mouth and other nostril shut after he breathed in. He could only hold his breath so long, and the air had to come out somewhere. I know it sounds cruel, but he can’t blow his nose so well and it worked. I repeated this procedure with the button about a month ago and almost had time to grab the camera while it was still stuck halfway in his nostril.

He is 2 1/2 now and lately he spends a lot of time throwing, shooting and hitting stuff. The back door on our Tahoe now has a bunch of little dents where he whacked it with a metal hand-me-down popgun. I’m giving the popgun back to my brother-in-law. All the bedroom doors in the house have chipped paint where he has attempted to pound the doors in when the older sibs shut him out. I took away the toy hammer. Just 15 minutes ago he chucked a rock at my beautiful new laptop and marred two of my shiny new keys and scratched the screen. I threw away his rock. I guess I need to get some squishy toys for him to throw around and release some of his energy or something. But is throwing squishy stuff as rewarding as throwing hard things or breaking stuff? Probably not. I guess you just have to accept the fact that if you have four kids, some of your stuff is going to get beat up, and after all, it is only stuff.