Friday, May 30, 2008
Have got 4 bored children.
Monday we went to the first of our series of summer movies at the Harkins. On our way out, Jane asks me, "So what ELSE fun are we doing today?" I had to break it to her that the Veggie Tales: Pirates Who Don't Do Anything was probably going to be the highlight of her week.
Tuesday we babysat Mel's twins, cleaned the house and went to the library.
Wednesday I took all the kids to In-n-out for lunch, then to Ross' baseball game.
Yesterday we made 8 loaves of bread, plus some other interesting shapes produced by kids, including a 'regularbread man'. A regularbread man is a gingerbread man made of regular bread. Apparently.
Today we are making fresh cherry pie. We are out of almond extract again, so we will need to go to the store before we make the pie. We've been going through almond extract like water around here, mostly because Tommy is bathing in it. He dumped the last bottle all over himself, and then he smelled super delicious for like three days, even after soap. I also like to put it in many of my baked goods, and now I'm even considering wearing it as perfume, as Tommy does. Or maybe Jake should wear it as perfume; I'm sure it would entice me more than those perfumes with creepy synthetic pheremones in them. I AM extremely attracted to treats. Anyway, I'm hoping that pitting the cherries will keep children occupied for a very, very long time. Maybe 6 hours or so? Cause I'm running out of ideas, and school's been out just a week.
Hey! Maybe I should stop baking, and take the kids to the gym with me. Maybe Tom won't scream bloody murder again when I leave him in the kidszone. (Not likely, of course, but there is time killed in the trying, eh?) If he will stay, then perhaps I won't gain 15 pounds this summer from boredom baking.
The gym is an excellent idea. But really, I should save that idea for next week. I am super busy with all the pie and the exract shopping today. Though I LOVE the gym, of course. Is my favorite place, after Krispy Kreme.
Oh yeah. One more thing. I've got a hair appointment next Wednesday the 4th. Anybody want to meet me for lunch about 1pm, since I'll already have a sitter and some really awesome hair? A few ladies, perhaps? I'm thinking Flancer's, but am open to other delicious suggestions. Let me know. RSVP in comments or by email.
Update: As far as I know, Jake does not wear cologne, much less cologne with phremones to attract ladies. Just to be clear.
Monday, May 26, 2008
(Sometimes not right away, of course. And occasionally I'll say that I'll do something, then I actually don't. But I probably won't ever tell you NO, not right out loud. And mostly, I just do it.)
But anyway, some of you told me you want a review of The Host (great hordes of you, numbering maybe in the double digits). I have been accosted not only on my blog, but by email, phone, and even in real live life. I have just started reading a book entitled Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History, so maybe all this passive aggression and obedience will soon be in my past. Maybe reading Women's History textbooks will turn me into a lawless, bra-less, big-mouthed libber, but so far all I've learned is that making t-shirts with catchy phrases on the front is very lucrative. And honestly, those shirts are gonna look better if I've got a bra under them.
So, The Host. I feel nervous embarking on this, because the Twilight books excite such strong feelings in such normally mild-mannered women. Ladies don't just take em or leave em: they
a) REALLY, REALLY LOVE them, and sometimes accidentally call their husbands 'Edward'
b) Really love them, and have read them more than once
c) just love them a little
d) read them, all of them, immediately upon their hardback release, even though they don't totally love them, and cannot explain why they keep throwing cash at them
e) read them, but without letting them disrupt their lives and laundry (these are women who might be dead inside, or have nary a romantic bone in their bodies)
f) can't read them because the books have been burned or banned in their countries, and besides, they don't know how to read. And if they could read, they wouldn't waste their time on such fluffy American drivel.
g) sort of hate them but can't say that out loud because they fear they will be shunned by their Edward-lovin' peers
h) haven't read any of them yet (only because the books haven't been translated into Farsi).
i) haven't ever seen or heard of them (a la Helen Keller)
I am a 'd'. I was intrigued by Twilight. I felt like a teen again while I read it. (Or more, like I wished I'd felt as a teen, because I totally forgot to have exciting, amorous adventures with vampires or even regular boys back then). I couldn't put it down, but then when I was done I couldn't figure out why I got so caught up. (Da Vinci Code was another of these. I ended up reading everything Dan Brown ever wrote and then was very sorry I did). I don't love her writing (though it isn't terrible), or the characters, but I can't deny that Meyer has got something going here. I'll give ya that, Stephenie. I didn't like the next two books nearly as well, but I read em.
I'll admit it (sheepishly).
The Host is even further out of my literary comfort zone than than the Twilight books. We are talking alien invasion, people. Parasitic aliens who need human host bodies to survive, and have taken over the earth before the beginning of the novel. Course, it turns out they aren't all bad. There has been something of a misunderstanding. And, whoops. One strong-minded human whose spirit (my word) doesn't wholly disappear when the alien is inserted into the back of her neck. Which can be so embarrassing. For both parties involved. It is like when you steal a car, and as you drive off you notice the owner is handcuffed to the back seat. And the handcuff keys are lost. And you really need THIS car, because if you get out of the car, you will immediately die.
Yeah. It is pretty much exactly like that. I'm SO good at analogies.
You know something I really enjoyed? That most of the novel is set out in the desert by Picacho Peak. I have always had a special place in my heart for Picacho Peak (funny shaped hill sticking out of desert to the west of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson.
They used to have a grimy little old Dairy Queen there that I used to frequent as I commuted back and forth on weekends between school at the U of A and all the cute boys (and my family) in Mesa. And did you know that Picacho Pass was the scene of the westernmost battle in the Civil War on April 15, 1862? Well, it was. All that and a gift shop with velvet desert paintings, too. Which is great, but don't head down there expecting Gettysburg, cause then you might be a little sad.
The human protagonist in this novel has a little more gumption than her Twilight counterpart, but the alien is just as wimpy as Bella and you want to slap her around a little. I actually enjoyed the bizarre relationship the two women shared, but then Meyer muddies the waters by introducing their love interests (yes, that was plural. And yes, they just have the one body.) An aside: Why does she always have boys physically carrying girls around? It bugs. Girls know how to walk, even alien-infested girls. I can't decide if I was generally more annoyed or fascinated. But I do know that at some points I was neither; I was bored. Things really slowed down. Melanie/Wanda mopes around in a dark hole for what felt like 200 pages. And then the end was mildly disappointing, and mildly pedophilic. No, maybe predatory is a better word. (Especially in the case of all the vampires.) Maybe Meyer uses the teen girl/older man relationships to titillate her younger readers. I thought it worked in Twilight. I was just creeped out a little here.
But even boring and creepy didn't slow me down or stop me. I pressed on, and finished the book in a 24 hour period. So as much as I complain, I still can't explain why I keep coming back.
Someone told me the 4th Twilight book is on its way. You know I'm gonna read it. And you probably will, too. Unless you are a closet 'g'.
What sort of Stephenie Meyer reader are you? You can feel free to add additional letter choices if you cannot fit comfortably into mine.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Okay, so the rest of you are all ready to wallow in completely unearned self-pity? Let's go!
A few months ago in Relief Society a really nice Mom that I highly respect said something like:
"I don't know how some of you get all stressed out by summer, because there is nothing I like better than having all my kids around me, all day long." And the way she said it was like, the rest of you whiners need to fix your attitudes.
Which I know I need to do. (Although, to be fair to That Sister, it is perhaps possible that I read more into her tone than she actually meant to say.)
In my defense, though, That Sister does have a swimming pool, which can take up lots of time during the 115 degree days, when you aren't frying eggs on the sidewalk. I do not have a pool. And she also has a great teenage daughter who is one of our favorite babysitters. I do not have one of those living at my house, yet, so I have to go to That Sister's house and borrow hers, then pay that wonderful teenager for her company. Which doesn't happen every day, for a myriad of reasons; some financial, and some involving me not wanting to clean up my house, or call people on the phone (also, I don't like rejection).
So, anyway, I start to get anxious as May begins. The last couple of weeks have already been rough (when I've been home. Cause mostly I've been on vacation without my kids. I know. WAHWAHWAH. Stick with me. I am trying to paint a stark and bleak portrait of my general malaise, so that I can make my point. I'm just so terribly long-winded). The kids having been fighting more than usual, I end up in the middle of it, dinner isn't getting cooked very well (there was actually Mac 'n' cheese with cut up hot dogs last week. I could hate on hot dogs for an entire post. My Dad used to make dog food for a living), and I am so exhausted I am in bed by nine more often than not. Plus, I haven't been feeling so great since Mexico (I'm fairly certain I've got either Monteczuma's Revenge or Malaria), and I've been so busy with all the Coldplay singles, and reading romantic fiction about body-snatching aliens.
(No, I'm not pregnant. Why, do I look it? You shouldn't ask that. It is RUDE.)
I keep thinking, how are we going to get through this summer? Is this a sample of things to come? What is going on around here?
Then it hit me. During Jane's fifth meltdown in as many days.
This is totally Michael Jackson's fault.
THRILLER is the problem.
You see, maybe a month ago I watched some kids on the news, dressed as werewolves and moonwalking and celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller. That night, Jake was out of town, and Ross needled me until I went on YouTube and watched his favorite Weird Al videos with him. I thunk to myself: Pastiche? Parody? Reality? It is a slippery slope. You love Eat it? How about Beat it? I set the 80s scene: Did you know that when Thriller came out, they played it at the top of every hour on MTV? Because almost nobody else had made a video yet, except that one for Video Killed the Radio Star.
So they ask, what's MTV? Oh, yeah, I blocked that, didn't I? Never you mind about the MTV.
So we watched all 15 or so minutes of Thriller. Only, Jane didn't totally get the subtle differences between tongue-in-cheek-horror-dancing-music-videos and actual horror movies (to which she has never before been exposed). The crud was scared completely out of her. By her own mom. She has been sleeping in my bed ever since. She won't take a shower unless someone is in the room with her. I heard her hiss at someone last week: "I HATE Michael Jackson. He is so scary." And she isn't referring to the the real reasons we should all be scared of Jack-O.
Which explains why Jane and I are like mean, Michael Jackson-dancing-zombies-with-the-creepy-yellow-eyes these days; with all the crying, kicking and whining (won't say who's), no one is actually sleeping. Even Jake, usually immune, seems more blurry-eyed than usual.
You know what's funny? I actually feel like a better Mom since I figured out what the problem is around here. Jane is causing a ruckus cause she can't cope with lack of sleep and her irrational fears of the dancing dead, and I'm just too sleep deprived to be nice about it. So I actually have hope that the summer can, and will, be better.
I still feel pretty bad about freaking her out with Thriller, though. I'll bet That Sister wouldn't have made such a mistake. Ross doesn't seem any worse off for it, though. He's still begging for more Weird Al.
Now, I wish Jake had consulted me before renting Raiders of the Lost Ark last night. Jane said: "Mom, there were melting faces! It was really scary. Can I bring my blankets to your room?"
P.S. I might have exagerated my whininess a little for blog effect. Am actually thrilled silly over glorious, rainy weather.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
When I will clean my kitchen. (Today)
How I figured out that the little voice in the back of my head that tells me to eat two pounds of See's candy in one sitting isn't my natural man or even Satan. (It is the real me, Kelly, only she is trapped inside here while my body plays HOST to an alien invader that does most of the running around and the laundry. I've decided to let it slide because she obviously is doing a much better job than I could. Plus, she placates me with See's candy. Sneaky, cunning alien.)
Why I keep reading Stephenie Meyer's books. (I honestly don't know. Does anybody want to borrow THE HOST?)
Where I'm sitting at Coldplay (Section 101)
What I'm going to do with all my kids at home for two months in this wretched weather. (No clue. Open to ideas.)
Why I ran over that snake. Twice. (I ran over something, and I thought, perhaps that was a snake! So I threw it into reverse, just to check it out, and ran over him again. Ba-dump, ba-dump. Whoops. In the headlights, I could see his creepy head and tail still squirming around, but his middle section was stuck fast to the asphalt. I gagged a little bit.)
Monday, May 19, 2008
Two, Tommy. See, here are are two fingers! Today is your birthday!Two!
You want cereal for breakfast, Tommy?
C'mon, cereal is so tasty.
COOKIE. COOKIE AND A BOBBLE!
Okay, since it is your birthday...and since those WERE 5 words you put together for me. Not five different words, but still. Cookies and milk for breakfast, it is.
Now, our Tommy isn't a verbal prodigy, but he can really throw a ball (any kind), shake his booty, climb like a spider monkey, and play with match box cars for hours. He enjoys long, warm showers ('shows') and walks on the beach.
He also likes pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain.
He does not enjoy watching any TV. Which is kinda hard on me.
He is one dang cute baby.
Before Tom was born, I knew he was dark-haired, and dark-eyed. Which wasn't the most likely genetic combination, since babies 1,2, and 3 were blondies. But there he was, with a little cap of dark hair, born just a little after midnight, to his wailing, drugless mom, who hadn't had a LaMaze class in 7 years. I don't THINK I said the F word (I never have before, but if ever there was a time to start...). I can't be 100% sure, though. Jake is legally bound to back me up, I think. So you'll have to ask my Mom. She'll tell it like it was.
I would not go so far as to recommend epidural-less labor to anyone I actually like, but Tommy was so ALERT at birth! I was so alert! His dark eyes followed my voice even as he got passed from the doctor's big hands (not my Doc; he was at Les Miserables that night, and was planning to come induce me at nine the next morning), onto my belly, to the nurses with the needles who swaddled him into a tight little burrito, to Jake, to my Mom, and back to me. He looked so familiar, you know? Not a new acquaintance, but a family reunion.
He smiled at us that night. And again the next day. And then a few days after that. He never stopped the smiling.
Now, if only he'd start the talking. But I guess I can't complain. My Mom (who is a speech therapist) told me he's got the T-R blend of an 8-year-old.
And if you ask him, he'll gladly show it off.
How old are you, Tommy?
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
How many of you already knew about this but didn't tell me? Come on, raise your hands high. Cause like maybe 3 million people had already downloaded Coldplay's new singles before I even heard a word about em, and some of those people are likely to be YOU. But never mind that for a moment:
So I'm checking miladies' blogs yester-eventide, and I find out Coldplay released TWO songs, real sneaky-like! I go outta town, then outta the country like one tiny time, and I miss it. No matter that I've been sitting at my computer for like a year, waiting for a new album, new single, new ANYTHING to fill my time (cause raising four kids is easy peasy and I can do that before lunch if I don't brush my hair. And who needs to brush her hair if she's just sitting in front of her computer waiting for Coldplay's new album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends?) So I took up blogging, since I was already here in front of the computer, and then I blogged about Coldplay, and about how I love Chris Martin's hair, but am being driven mad by the lot of them because I've listened to X&Y more than maybe anybody else on the face of the earth, besides maybe my middle son, Sam Beeswax. Then one day (yester-eventide), I click on Kari's blog (she's very cutting edge, very plugged in, and knows all the latest, situated as she is in the thick of it, nestled against the mountains in Americken Fark, Utahar (her words, not mine). She's got her finger on the pulse of Chris Martin y sus Coldplaying Compadres. (And as long as her finger stays out of his blonde curls, we can still be friends.)
P.P.S. It is raining outside for the first time in over 100 days. YAY! Could not be more thrilled than am right now. I opened all the windows, and now my house smells like wet-Texas-Sage-and-dirt, which is one of the best smells in the world. Now, what can I do to help people in Myanmar and China, who need something more than Coldplay singles and rain today?
P.P.S.S. Raise your hand if you don't know what "feel the mode" means.
Monday, May 12, 2008
We arrived Thursday afternoon. See how happy I look? That's because I read my book for nearly 2 hours straight on the airplane, and nobody bugged me. Plus, I'm in Cabo, which doesn't make me sad, either. Okay, I'm standing up in this one, too, but if you lie down on the runway, someone might think you are crazy or high, and you might get a body cavity search.
After we checked in, they loaded our bags into a golf cart and took us to our room. Andrew was just coming back from some important business at the pool. I stepped out of the cart, and part way on to a low step separating the garden from the walkway. I was thrown off balance, but just barely. I knew I was going down, but not quickly. I had time to flail my arms around a bit, then think to myself: "self, you should grab the armrest on the front seat of that golf cart, then you won't fall into the bougainvillea and make a scene." So I grabbed it, but the seat was not hooked down, so then I'm holding the seat high aloft and falling down, down, into the planter. Somehow, I caught myself, put the chair back in its rightful place on the cart, and stood up. Everyone is looking at me. Without a pause or even a word of greeting, Andrew pipes up in Spanish, telling the hostess lady that I really like to drink. I think there were hand motions, too. Which is a pretty funny joke. Only she doesn't crack a smile, and says something roughly translated as "Hey, we are in Mexico. That's cool."
Here I am, doing something important like thinking about whether I want my chips with guacamole or salsa. (Answer: both.) Or maybe I'm thinking about Mexicanisimo, the buffet from the previous night. Overheard at the Mexicanisimo dessert table: Father says to his daughter "Hey, lay off the lady fingers." What sort of off-the-grid, underground lair in Kansas must this guy live in, to have seen nary a churro in all his years? Has he never been to Disneyland, or even less exotic places like the Costco snack bar? And if his daughter has never had the pleasure, either, let her eat what she likes. Only, they shoulda tried the flan, as well. It was quite remarkable, as flan goes.
It was hard to leave Cabo, but I got two more hours of reading in on the plane (book turned surprisingly sad, and, blind-sided, I found myself in tears. Hungover plane neighbors probly did not judge me too harshly. They felt like weeping, too, as the ocean disappeared into the clouds.
I returned home to some good Mother's Day loot. Cards, a beaded fan and bracelet from Ross, a bookmark, necklace and ring (which has a beaded tail that hangs down about 5 inches from my hand) from Sam, a card and poem from Jane, and flowers from Jake. My Mom made green chile burritos to alleviate our culture shock and help us smoothly re-assimilate into Arizona society. It is good to be home.
Now to the laundry. Mi ropa esta muy sucio. Except, I keep hearing a rustling sound coming from the laundry area, and I'm pretty sure there is something alive in there. It sounds too big to be una cucaracha. Maybe it is el chupacabra.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
While at the Urgent Care last week, the doctor said:
So, two kids, huh? (Had Jane and Tom with me).
Er, no. Four.
(He wrinkled his brow). How old are they?
He looked at me weird, then continued to check in everybody's ears. A few minutes later, he pipes up: So, what are you? 25? 26?
No, 35. (I'm not actually 35 yet, but I like to start practicing early, so by the time I actually am 35, announcing the fact will be old hat.)
So I decided I was offended, because he was implying that I started having kids at 16, but then I realized, no. I have two choices here. I can be offended, or I can be pleased that he thinks I'm 25. The only way I can be 25, and still be dragging all these old kids around, is to have started birthing them extra young. Or maybe I can pretend to be their nubile young stepmother. But no. They might be permanently damaged if I publicly disown them.
So, teen mom it is.
And 25 already.
I'm so pleased.
Last night at the Fresh and Easy, I ran into the Efnors, who told me they had just seen a scorpion in my yard while they were walking their dog, but decided not to to kill it. It was yea big, they said. (Which is to say, BIG. I've seen smaller squirrels). Um, HELLO? What kind of neighbors don't squish the scorpion, then TELL me about it? I'm going to get a black light, then catch any scorpions I find and release them into the Efnor's yard, because apparently they have a soft spot for scorpions. Which I do not. They can run the SR Ranch Scorp Sanctuary, si quieren. Normally, any scorps I find would get the business end of my hammer.
This morning as we got in the car to take Sam to preschool, Sam says:
Mom, I hope my teacher doesn't see you in that outfit.
What, this outfit? This outfit was carefully crafted to look purposefully vague. Jammies? Maybe. But I could also totally be on my way to yoga. Witch yoga, maybe. My hair is sorta crazy like I already explained. Or braless yoga. Cause I forgot to add my suppotive underfashions, even though I do still have them, because I didn't throw any at Michael McLean.
Then I explained to Sam that 25-year-olds can get away with this sort of haphazard grooming. It's only when you approach 35, that you gotta worry about keeping your stuff tight.
Which, for me, is a long way off.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
But I will tell you that Sheri Dew dissed Oprah (I think). Sheri Dew was sneaky and wily with her dissing, so as to not bring down an Oprah reign of terror or libel suit on her smarty self. But I am also crafty and wily, and I am capable of understanding moderately thinly veiled disses, and I think that was one. Maybe.
If this is Oprah reading this, I will not be a witness in your lawsuit against Ms. Dew. So don't call me.
Okay, if this is Oprah reading reading my blog, that is really super cool. So you can totally call me. We can discuss the suit over lunch at Flancer's or something. But Sheri told me you might not be a good role model, which is probably true. Anyway, thanks so much for reading my blog. I'm so flattered. Please come back soon. And leave a comment.
Err, sorry, back to Provo. I learned in a class about raising boys that boys are just sort of wild and crazy, and I shouldn't try to make them stop acting so, because it is just these sorts of behaviors that will allow them to grow into strong and capable men. I really hope their future wives appreciate all the work I'm doing here. Because it would be nice if they would sit still sometimes when they aren't on the toilet. (except for Tommy, who doesn't yet sit on the toilet. But he does slow down and get glassy-eyed when he's filling his pants. So it is sort of the same.)
Wednesday night as we arrived in SLC, it was snowing. Which thrilled me.
Thursday night we went to a concert full of well-behaved ladies, and we all listened to the latest Mormon Muzak. I would like to be a cool cat and say it wasn't my thang, which it ain't, usually; but it was actually really fun, and for a tiny moment I actually considered throwing my bra at Michael McLean. But then I remembered that it is my favorite bra, and it has been discontinued. Plus, what would he do with it? And really, we were so far up the side of the Marriott Center, that without some sort of slingshot contraption, it would have landed on some other lady down near the front. Maybe even Sheri Dew. Who might think that I was an Oprah-corrupted, bra-tossing, worldly woman, which I'm not, cause I got no time for Oprah.
Or maybe she'd just think: "Awesome. Free bra."
Friday I went to the Minerva Teichert exhibit at the art museum. She is my favorite Mormon artist, and here is my favorite painting, Wash Day on the Plains.
Friday afternoon President Monson came to close the conference. I have seen the prophet a few times: at BYU Firesides and Devotionals, at General Conference. Each time, as he enters the room, the spirit is so strong, he is less a still small voice, and more a knock upside the head, with an accompanying kindly shout in my ear: HEY LADY, THERE IS A PROPHET OF THE LORD. LISTEN UP. In addition, there is a burning in my bosom not caused by the smashed-flat York Peppermint Patty I've eaten for lunch, and I can't join in singing We Thank Thee o God for a Prophet, cause I'm all choked up.
I was accompanied on my trip by four wonderful and beautiful ladies of the Book Club: Dior, Allyson, Heather, and Holly. They were kind enough to let me crash on the floor of their dorm (Helaman Halls- Merrill Hall) and hang about with me. I learned many things from them, as well. Things that are secret lady-things, and unbloggable. Things even John Bytheway cannot teach me, unless he, too, is at Smith's at midnight, purchasing laxatives (not for recreational drug use, but for...an uncomfortable friend). Plus, if I tell all the secret activities, they won't invite me back again next year.
I also learned that the fry sauce at Training Table contains barbecue sauce, and is mind-expandingly delicious. I think next time, I might fore go the cheese fries and eat it with a spoon.
No, no, that's crazy talk. The fries are essential. I must be further spent than I even suspected. Must get to sleep.