Thursday, April 21, 2011

Two things: I've started smoking, and I think Rod Stewart is sexy. (In his song, he called me sugar, and told me just to let him know.)

So, last Thursday night, round about 7, we ate a roasted chicken for dinner; at 7:30, I tossed her picked over carcass into a pot with some onions and carrots and water (we were out of celery), and then I climbed into bed, where I soon became catatonic, slipped into an Office coma, and then fell asleep. (In my defense, Will Farrell was on).

I began to have vivid dreams full of horrible stenches of all sorts: swamp gas, burning hair, medieval open sewers chock full of cholera. But I did not wake up until nearly 6 a.m., when the chicken was fully cremated (rest in peace, little bird), and every nook and cranny of my entire house was full of smoke.

So I spent the day ventilating, ionizing, febrezing, boiling vinegar on stove (don't recommend), and placing bowls of baking soda in all the bedrooms. My friend Hallie from 5th grade and California came in around 4 o'clock (by way of Albuquerque). She didn't say it, but I'll bet what she was thinking was: I never suspected my Mormon friend's house would smell so much like an airport lounge in the disco era. But what I was thinking, and actually did say, was: it smells like that bus ride I took from London to Edinburgh in 1994, on which everyone chained smoked a variety of tobacky, including cigars, Marlboros, and what I later learned were Turkish cigarettes, with all the windows tightly sealed against the frigid July night (it was Scotland). Only, at my house, we didn't have the perhaps 30 stops, where all the BYU Study Abroaders would lunge out into the clean, sheep-scented night air, and then hurry into the rural petrol stations, which all contained mountains of Cadbury chocolate (gained 20 pounds in two months), and aisle end caps full of Hoff paraphernalia. (Baywatch was in full swing, and the former Knight Rider was an INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR!) Also, my house smelled less like body odor than the bus, and more like hot vinegar. Which makes me hungry for chips.

So anyway, Hallie brought pie with her from some small Arizona hamlet (but not Pietown, which she did not have time to peruse, because we were on a tight schedule), which made me feel much better, because pie does that for you, in much the same way as a Cadbury Flake might.

So then we showered and picked up my brother Ryan, because TONIGHT'S (was) THE NIGHT, and we were gonna take a DOWNTOWN TRAIN, but the light rail takes a long time, so we ended up in the minivan. And we got to the Arena just in time to get our hot dogs and seats and listen to Stevie Nicks flap her arms about dreamily and start in with Rhiannon. Stevie was okay, but I wouldn't pay to see her again. She played a lot of solo stuff that I didn't know, because really, if you've been in Fleetwood Mac, you might as well give up, because you've peaked. (Don't tell this to Paul McCartney.) She looked and sounded okay, except Hallie pointed out that perhaps she was wearing a circa-1850-style bustle under her drapey, glittery black dress?
Jake, Ryan, Kelly
Ryan, Hallie
But let's talk about Rod Stewart, okay? Because Rod blew my mind. I sort of knew he was a ladies man, and that he'd been busy fathering all sorts of children with models and other lovely young things for the past 50 or so years, but I never really understood what the big deal was. Well, I am here to tell you that Rod Stewart has got it. I know, I know, you're wondering, how can he be so old and so sexy at the same time? I don't know. Because it is a mystery. But when he came out in his skinny black pants, patent shoes, and shiny yellow dinner jacket, looking like some sort of crazy-haired 1950s dreamboat, I nearly swooned. Some of the more mature females around us (nearly everyone but us and some well-dressed boys in pairs were card carrying AARP members) were purring like cats. Meowing, I say. And he put on quite a show, complete with other suit-wearing band members, and back-up singers/dancers that looked all 80s in that Price-is-Right-model sort of way. They were so talented they could have put on their own show. But you couldn't look away from Rod for long, because you didn't want to miss him loosen his tie and starting doing lunges (the quads of a 20-year-old, I say!), or kick soccer balls into the stands, or change into the blue shiny jacket, or then into the full purple suit, in which he sang his encore of "Do ya think I'm Sexy?," which had us all on our feet screaming, because yes, Rod, I do think you are sexy. How sexy do I find you? So sexy that I bought this $45 dollar tee shirt to remember our night together:

Afterward, Jake chatted up this back-up singer by the tour buses,

then we went home to our reeking pool-hall-of-a-house,
and then on Monday I went to GATE camp with Sam,

and Jake stayed home and fed the kids fresh fruits and vegetables and such:

then I came home and my house still smells funny one week post chicken-incineration, but more like an ancient Denny's now, which is better, and today is my Dad's birthday and the only idea I've got for a present is to give him some squash, which seems like a lame gift even if it is from the garden.

So that's it. Smoking, Rod Stewart. Squash.

Have you ever had a horrible kitchen accident? Know any old, hot guys? Have idea for my Dad's birthday present?

P.S. I am genius. I needed to get my Dad's present while driving carpool with seven kids in the car, which limited my options. So I went on a drive-thru frozen Custard tour of the east valley, getting him quarts of Culver's, Freddy's, and Neilson's Custard, so he can have himself a taste test. We've been taste testing ice cream since he went to work at Carnation Co. more than 30 years ago.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

City Slickers

While on the hay ride at yesterday's preschool field trip to Superstition Farm:

Charlie, you see those huge, giant, long nipples on that cow right there? That's where the milk comes out.

No way, Tommy, Charlie retorts, pointing in the direction of the uncomfortable-looking heifer, his voice with edged with disdain. It comes out of that hole under his tail.

Tom considers for moment, then replies:  
 Oh. That makes sense. 

I didn't correct them. Is like last week, when Tom was listing all the bugs he'd seen in the garden: a cockroach, a bee, a spider, a bug I didn't know, and three holy molys. When Ross started to speak, I evil eyed him 'til he quit.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sneaky QT adventure, birthdays, and a tea party

So last night, after the kids went to bed, Jake and I snuck out. We rode our bikes down the canal over to the Quick Trip, where we returned our Blockbuster Express movie, and I got myself a soda, which sloshed around in my wicker basket all the way home. It was fairly exciting because it was very dark, except for the blinding lights coming from the second floor rooms of homes, so that we couldn't see the ground in front of us and had to be careful not to plunge into the canal.

SO where was I earlier? Ah, yes. March 25!

Pinewood Derby! Sam got the award for fastest truck.

March 22. Joey is 1. Question: Has a happier, more pleasant child ever been born? Answer: seems unlikely, but can't be sure.

March 20. Jane is 10.

March 18. Afternoon tea for 12 10-year-olds and two Grandmothers.

Tom wasn't invited. Jake took the boys out for Mongolian BBQ.

Daffodils $1.29 a bunch at Trader Joe's!

Grandma Taylor's wedding silver and tea cup collection.

Jane with first course of finger sandwiches: Egg salad, ham and Boursin, cucumber with cream cheese and lemon mint.

The girls made their own hats as they arrived

Grandma Gini Beeson
Grandma Mareen Layton. I'm wearing one of the lip gloss rings we used for napkin holders. Those things are very handy.
Second course: Scones, clotted cream, orange curd (I don't have a lemon tree anymore!), and jam.

Third course: coconut macaroons, tangelo shortbread, and tiny eclairs
Guess which were the most popular?

I spent the entire day in the kitchen, but it was so much fun, I want to do it again: this time, for my friends. Who wants to come?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Some thoughts on Elder Bednar's talk

Ok, so I'm back, but I shan't get give you the next installment of my March of Dissipation today.

I've been thinking about Elder Bednar's Conference talk. Conference, by the way, was lovely as usual. I gladly trade the usual three hours in the Church building wrestling the youngsters in high heels, for 8 hours in my yoga pants in front of the TV, watching the GAs. (To be clear, I'm the one in the heels, but perhaps if I put the kids in heels and I wore Nikes, everything would be more pleasant and I wouldn't scowl.)

Anyhow, I was talking with my sister not too long ago about how the Spirit works for us personally, and then after that discussion, I started asking the same question of some other friends and family. And I was interested to hear that all of us were being taught somewhat differently.  I explained to them how the Spirit works for me: pray, then wait until I feel peace about my way forward. But many times my answer is no answer because the decision doesn't really need to be made yet. I feel sometimes that the Lord is telling me not to plan too far ahead, but to fill this time with what I already know I should be doing, keep my options open, and wait for further instruction, or for new, completely different things to be thrown into my path. Sometimes I feel like there are many ways I can go, and many of them acceptable to the Lord. Sometimes when I finally do get the calm, peaceful  feeling I'm waiting for, and move forward, my steps are still tentative. I don't always feel sure until I'm up to my neck in it. The Spirit also tells me when someone speaks truth because I feel tingling and pressure in my head (often I end up in tears). It confirms all truth, whether I am learning spiritual things, walking through some Indian ruins in the Painted Desert, watching a show about black holes on the Discovery Channel, or chatting with a friend. And also, very, very occasionally, I have heard an actual voice inside my head that is not my own, that gives short, meaningful instruction and intense comfort.

As I explained this to one friend, she seemed to think I was being a little laissez-faire, and needed to run a tighter spiritual ship. She said she needs more timely, specific revelation, and she gets it.

Another woman gets very strong spiritual confirmations for many questions she has, answers that leave her without doubt. She even has the Spirit tell her when someone else is struggling, or will soon struggle, many times with deeply personal issues. Sometimes these people are near-strangers. She feels the burden of acting on this knowledge, even though many times she doesn't really know how, because she doesn't know if anyone else will know to help.  She said she knows this isn't how it works for most people, that it some sort of spiritual gift, and she hasn't always had it.

Another friend told me she feels a burning in her chest, and thought everyone else did, too.

I don't know what exactly to say about all this, because I already understood that our communication with the Lord is a personal one, and so I shouldn't be surprised at the differing ways the Spirit communicates with us as individuals, but I guess I was...fascinated by the variety. And Elder Bednar's talk further clarified my thoughts. His analogy about light and the Spirit (most of the time the Comforter is slow and nearly imperceptible, like the rising sun, although it is occasionally intense and dramatic, like flipping on a light in a dark room), resonated with me. It reminded me that the voice of the Spirit, for me, and for most people, most of the time, really is still and small.

How does the Holy Ghost speak to you? (Feel free to post anonymously).
Is there a Conference talk you are still thinking about?