Thursday, March 31, 2011

March of Dissipation

So I pretty much haven't sat down since March 11. Which was the last time I was here at Nun-a-ur-beeswax. Can't really remember what happened: it was just like, Ostrich Festival, blur of days and nights that became weeks, and then I woke up this morning with a actual mountain of laundry on my family room couch (is Everest of clothing),  four Three Musketeers wrappers on my nightstand (mint flavor), six extra pounds wrangled into my pants, and BANGS. Plus the broccoli and one strawberry in my garden are ready to be harvested, I found a palm sized wolf spider (inside) and a scorpion (outside), and Tommy apparently spent the night in a cowboy costume from two Halloweens ago?

And my phone tells me it will be 97 degrees tomorrow.

And I don't think it is an elaborate April fool's prank. I think it is real.  Which means that Spring is over, and I should go get some extra deodorant. Because I will be sweating unceasingly for conservatively 7 months. And I won't be able to pull my hot, damp hair off my face because someone gave me BANGS.

I feel sort of disoriented and nervous, like I missed something important.

This all reminds me of the girls in my freshman dorm, who would come to the study lounge to kvetch and cry about whether they did or didn't the night before:"Whadaya think? I'm pretty sure I was too drunk to have been able to retie this complicated knot in my belt all by myself, but maybe I should go to the Health Center just in case?" Then they'd moan a bit and throw up on the carpet.

But unlike most of the 10 keg frat parties of 1991, there seems to be photographic evidence of my MARCH OF DISSIPATION. Which I will share, because if I get up from the computer, I will be forced to fold clothes.

And just for fun, I think I will go backwards, so that when you see the ostrich chariot racing, you'll know we have reached the beginning: March 11. And don't get antsy. This might take a few days.

 Last but not least, we have an explanation for the cowboy get-up:
Friends and family night at the Rockin' R Ranch (is about 100 yards from our house, yet the kids had never been.) So we grabbed some friends and some family and headed over on Monday night. Big Jim and Sweet Mary Robson run the place. They also go to Church with us. It was fun to hear Jim bless the food with his fake cowboy voice. I wish he would pray like that in Sacrament meeting someday.

Snake oil salesman-slash-biscuit maker-slash-outlaw
Mom and my brother Ryan

Saturday night was the prom. Remember how I never went to the prom and this had stunted my emotional growth and might have cost me thousands in therapy if I had remembered to go to therapy? No? Well, Jake finally asked me. And I said yes. And we went to a fake prom thrown by 17 very sensitive thirty-something North Mesa Men (including Jake's sister Jane's husband Todd) for their lucky ladies at one of the fella's airplane hangar at Falcon Field. And we got invited along, too. 

I got ready for three hours. Most of that time was spent:

1. Trying to figure out how to make my new bangs only look a little bit like Farrah Fawcett,
2. Making Jake a boutonniere out of plants I found in the backyard (orange blossoms) and black electrical tape,
3. Attempting to get my falsies (eyelashes) to stay in place, 
4. Trying to get into the tiny black taffeta I borrowed from my sister (I got it over my head, but then it got stuck at my shoulders. I had to enlist Jake to yank on it for awhile, during which time he grumbled a lot and made rude comments about how the prom date's responsibility is only to get the girl OUT of the dress, not in. And there may also have been some ridicule about triple spanx (but jokes were undeserved, since was only in a single girdle. Plus some tasteful fishnets.)

Jake finally found somewhere to wear this tux he found abandoned in an old rental house. He says it is too big around the middle, but he's willing to grow into it.

So we had a good time, but we didn't get named Prom King and Queen, which was sad because the king and queen got a ride in the helicopter that was parked inside the hangar (along with the airplane, two Harleys, and the adult tricycle, which one woman, in a short white formal, rode around at top speed).

But Jake did get a text from my Mom warning us not to have sex, which was nice. But then she retracted it, saying it was probly too late for such admonitions, because she'd remembered about the five kids we already have.

And I also thought that maybe I should throw my own prom someday. And only play music that they used to play at the ASU Institute dances in the early 90s. This would include: That super annoying 500 miles song by the Proclaimers, and Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes. That's all I've got so far, so it is going to be a short prom if you don't help me out. If you were at an institute dance or perhaps at some club like The Palace or The Edge in Provo during this time, you might be able to help. But not if you were at the University of Arizona Institute. Because that deejay was super old and played Footloose. You Wildcats are all disqualified.

So I haven't gotten very far back into March, but I have to go pick up my children. There is so much left! Pinewood Derby! A tea party complete with clotted cream and orange curd and lots of ten-year-old girls! Jane Eyre! Trips to the optometrist! A really bad hangnail! The baby emptying out my nail polish drawer ten times a day to play with his favorite toy, the PedEgg, which he likes to suck on, even though it sharp and full of revolting bits of dead heel skin!

What did your March of Dissipation hold?
What songs should I add to my prom playlist?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ostrich festivities! And also, bugs are like Fen-phen.

So Spring Break has come early to the Beeswax household. Sam and Tom are home today, and two of the caterpillars we agreed to caterpillar-sit for Teacher Jeanne's preschool class have already become chrysalides, and the ladybug pupa are molting, which sounds nearly as gross as it actually is.

So there are lots of bugs on the kitchen counter. I'd spin myself into a cocoon, too, if I were trapped in a plastic cup half-filled with my own feces for two weeks. Once they are all safely wrapped up, we can take them out and safety pin them to the pop-up butterfly habitat, then wait 7-10 days before they emerge, painted lady butterflies, and we can feed them orange slices and take them back to preschool, where they can be ogled and prodded by four-year-olds until they are sickly, but not quite dead, then released in the park. (You know, the life cycle, exactly how God intended it.)

Also, Sam turned eight. We are going to the Chandler Ostrich Festival today to celebrate, because Sam has a serious thing for ostriches. He is excited to shop for ostrich memorabilia and see the ostrich races. We are also cleaning our house, because Sam is getting baptized tomorrow and people are coming over for lunch afterward. This might mean we have to move all the bugs and their excrement/molted skin out of the kitchen, even though I find them an effective appetite suppressant. Proof? There is a bag of mini Snickers bars right next to the caterpillars, and I've only eaten like 10.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

What I learned by watching my Mom do my homework

Yesterday I did a second grade science project. See, when you wait until the very last day to do it, you pretty much have to do it yourself, because you can't really say to your barely-eight-year-old, "well, son, I know your parents haven't actually mentioned any of this to you, but you sort of generally knew you had a science project due, right? I'm gonna slap some love and logic on you real hard tonight and tell you 'Oh, so sad! What are you gonna do about this'?" because it is more than he can do to organize this sort of thing at all, and he certainly can't do it in an afternoon. Heck, it was more than I could do in an afternoon. That's why I started it yesterday morning, right after I dropped him off at school.

So what have I learned from this experience? I mean, besides the fact that no one could tell the difference in taste between regular and low fat string cheese and regular and low fat peanut butter? I have learned that if I want him to do his own work, we cannot procrastinate a la my usual fashion.

But really, an even better question: What has Sam learned?

I pray, enough second grade science that he will be able to do his own childrens' projects, about 20 years from now. It seemed to work for me.

See, doing all this homework has made me reflect on my own education; specifically, how I learned to write. And so I'd like to take this opportunity to send out a special thanks to my Mom, who wrote that Etiquette report for (with, next to, instead of- let's not be picky about our prepositions) me in 5th grade. It was really good and interesting. I mildly revised that thing over and over again, turning it in a total of 5 times. It  reached the apex of its career in 1991, when I turned it in to a Pierce College psychology class (which I was taking so I could get out of high school early in the day, to free up my afternoons for eating In-n-Out burgers and watching The People's Court and Days of Our Lives) in 1991, where it received an A+. (It only got a B- in my sociology class at the University of Arizona, and I was afraid to try it out again at BYU, for fear someone would turn me in for honor code violations.)

I'd also like to thank her for the buffalo and crab reports, the Germany project, the three poems that won prizes and were published in the Granada Hills High School Literary Magazine, and the college essay that got me into UCLA (a real tear-jerker about how I desperately wanted to be a teacher. Even though I didn't want to be a teacher.).

At some point, though, our parasitic writing writing relationship became more symbiotic, and then, I learned to actually write for myself. See, sometimes I would procrastinate so long that I was writing my papers at lunch, and they were due 5th period. And I noticed that I got good grades. A literary bird flown the nest. And my Mom almost never writes this blog for me anymore.

So maybe I should have stayed in Education, because I've got this revolutionary theory that doing your kid's schoolwork for them occasionally might actually be good parenting. (Or it might have been my sister's revolutionary theory, but either way, we both graduated from the same Mareen Layton Literary Course.) The theory is this: that watching the process- being involved in the brainstorming, trying out sentences and watching them be revised, spending 15 minutes throwing out words, trying to find just the right one for the third line in the second stanza,  realizing how much time and effort it takes to produce good work, in addition to what a quality product really looks like up close- are all skills you don't learn in the classroom.

They are learned by watching your Mom do your homework.
(And maybe you get some of it by reading one trillion books, just for fun. Using time you might have spent going to a party, out on a date, or being a cheerleader, all of which you forgot to do. So you really hope all the books were good for something.) 

Do you agree? 
Vehemently Disagree? 
Are you going to call the cops?

How did you learn to write? 

**Update: My my just called to tell me she'd read this, and she only had a couple small changes she wanted made.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

78 and sunny.

Fort Beeswax

200 square feet of veggies (plus some strawberries). I've got lots of dirt under my nails.

Nothing smells better.


Herbs. Say your H, like Martha does. Who doesn't like a pretentious gardener?

Time to get out the ladder

What's better than February in Phoenix?


What's better than March?


(Except maybe November.)

What's your favorite month?

Happy March to you!