Friday, September 28, 2007

Nothing to see UPDATE!

It has been one week since I blogged my to-do list of 9 items.

Here is what I have accomplished:

1. I went to see the eye doc.
I got new contacts but my left eye is still a slacker. So far I have avoided the pirate patch. Yo-ho, yo-ho, no pirate's life for me. Not yet.

4. Signed Ross Up for Nerd class.
I sent in the application, but I don't check the mail, so I have nothing new to report on this one.

5. Filled up my Tivo box.
I recorded the shows, but I can't seem to watch them. I've watched so little TV for so long, I'm out of shape. No stamina. I need to stop reading, blogging, cleaning, mothering, and focus on the mindless TV. Build up my tolerance.

6. Babysat Logan, human Swiffer.
If you know me very well, you know I didn't let him eat off the floor. I actually swept and even mopped the floor of all the breakfast food before he came over. If you know me VERY,VERY well, you'll know that there were quite a lot of the previous night's dinner bits that needed sweeping as well.

8. Blamed flood in yard on nice neighbors.
Well, I peered over the fence and did some sleuthing. The neighbors' yard was wet as well. In my mind, case solved! My plan: Send Jake over with some cookies and ask them to turn down the H2O. But no, Jake goes and buys dirt (from the dirt store, Sam says) to try to fill the lake. Lake turns into mud bog, then refills. Water is now running out into the road. Then, on the Sabbath, the water magically recedes. A dove appears. Wait, no dove. Still, for now, the flood is over. Magically resolved itself. Plus, the truckload of dirt probably helped, because that was a very low spot in the yard. I also learned Jake might be nicer than I am. He was in no hurry to harass the neighbors.

Above: Ross helping Jake unload all the dirt on Saturday morning. He looks deceptively cheerful in the picture.

Here is what hasn't been accomplished:

2. I couldn't eat half a sheet cake.
I ate two pieces. I gave some to the kids. Kids made scary chocolate mess. Sent the rest home with the babysitter Friday night.

3. I Didn't call the exterminator.
I think the bugs are smart and read my blog, because they have been laying low for a few days. That's the main reason I haven't called. Plus, I'm still paranoid about the poison. All that bravado about 'nature must die' was a little bit of a show. What I really wanted was for nature to GO AWAY. But it didn't. The bugs are BACK. Even Tommy is going around the house with his tiny shoe in his hand, w the tile and saying, "O-O-O-ucky!" He's got quick reflexes for a 16-month-old. He smashed a cricket that was a slow because it only had one leg. That was one more leg than he had when Tommy was done with him. He can also usually get anything that is stuck on its back, flailing. The hand to hand combat going on over here is ugly and violent, but it does seem more humane than chemical weapons. I think that's the UN's take on it, too.

Above right: Jane likes to steal the camera and take weird pictures. In this one she is holding a cricket.
Above Left: Tommy in the swing. Is this the face of a killer?

7. I Haven't hidden the books I'm hoarding in the back of the van.
First, I needed to make room for them in the office shelves. So I went through all the bookshelves and made a big pile of books to go to D.I. Jake asked if I was feeling well, this was so out of character. Then I thought, "someone I know might want to read these!" So I took pictures of them and put them on my blog, hoping to find good and loving homes for some of them. Some of them are trashy and don't deserve good homes. I just can't remember which ones those might be. Then, Jake asks if I am running a shelter for books. Which, apparently, I am. So there isn't any room yet inside the house for Dick's books. They are still in the van. Said van has a button I can push that gives me my average gas mileage. I have been getting about 1.5 MPG less than I did before I started driving around town with all the books.

9. There is no homemade bread in the freezer.
Donna Reed doesn't live here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Office Swag

If you like The Office, you'll want to go to Target and get yourself a mug that says "World's Best Boss," or post-its that proclaim "The Schrutes have very thirsty babies." They have them in the dollar bins in the front of the store. Or they did until I cleaned them out. You might still be able to get a memo cube that informs us that Dwight is "faster than 90% of all snakes", or a magnet that says: "This is an environment of welcoming, and you should just get the heck (I replaced the explative, this is a family blog) outta here."

I can't wait for tonight! The episode is "Fun Run." Michael thinks the office is cursed.
Please feel free to put your favorite Office quotes in the comments area below :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuna and Corn: A Very Tardy Travel Diary of 1.2 days in London

May 8, 2007: On our third day in London this summer, my sister, Mom and I decided not to follow the boys to Greenwich and the Maritime Museum (where there is an impressive display of Lord Nelson's bloody pants from the Battle of Trafalgar, which I actually would like to have seen), but stay behind and go to Kensington Palace and have tea at the Orangerie.

When Jen and I were on study abroad in 1994, we lived quite near the palace, and its famous inhabitant, our royal neighbor, Diana, Princess of Wales. In fact, whenever we would hear a helicopter, we would run at top speed out the door of 27 Palace Court, London W2, and south through Kensington Park to the grassy area next to the palace, where HRH might alight from her chopper, and we could try to take her picture.

(Really, I'm certain I made less of a scene running after Princess Di than I did a few weeks later, running through Covent Garden on my 21st birthday, trying to get to Miss Saigon on time. We arrived at the theater sweaty and gasping, but Jen had breath enough for one final gasp. "Look!" Jen cried. I looked. The buttons on my dress had come undone all the way to my waist, and I had been running for 6 blocks. It was quite a spectacle. At least, I like to think so. I can picture some middle-aged Englishman, wearing a natty jumper (sweater), saying to his friend: Did you see that American girl, running by with her top down? It isn't proper! What does she think this is, Baywatch? Remember, this was 1994). The photo at right is Jen and I at Windsor in back then. I am wearing the trick dress.

Back then, no lowly lassies like us were allowed inside Kensington Palace , so this summer I was anxious to peer inside. It became immediately apparent to us that Di's In-Laws had, in fact, hated her guts. They are living like kings (ha!) over there at Buckingham, and she's in squalor over here in the sticks. Okay, not quite squalor, but her rooms were something of a royal dump. Oh, well! On to the Orangerie, a little lunch, and a little tea.

Chamomile tea (rhymes with smile) is twigs and berries, (not real tea, which is not allowed, not even on vacation). It is exactly like the French Chamomile tea (rhymes with heel). No Englishman with any sense wants to sound like a Frenchy (Jake loved this about the Brits). If you ask for it Frenchy-style, that is, rhymes with heel, a Brit will pretend they do not understand you. Sometimes it is safer to order Lemon Zinger. Or you can speak in the international language of Diet Coke. Don't ask for root beer, though. It can cause quite a stir. Another short walk south through the park and along Knightsbridge, and we were back at the Hotel. Now, it is REALLY time for tea. High tea (code for snacks). So we sat down to eat, again.

Here is the Mandarin Oriental Tea Menu:
Devonshire clotted cream, where have you been all my life? (Available at AJ's, in the refrigerated dairy case). Tiny petit four, eclairs, assorted treats. Before all that, though, were tiny finger sandwiches. Smoked salmon, cucumber, tuna with corn. Everything was so tiny and delicious we forgot we had eaten only 1 hour before! All very lovely!

May 9, 2007: The next day Jen, Andrew, Jake and I took a day trip to Stonehenge, Bath, and Salisbury Cathedral. Our tour guide, Marcus, picked us up in his station wagon (which he repeatedly called a van). Jake told Marcus that I was the leader (the Rick Steves, if you will) of our London adventures. This is perfectly true. I am always planning English excursions. If you ever see me staring off into space and not blinking, I am probably plotting which wing of the Victoria and Albert I will see on my next British holiday.

Jen and I at Stonehenge in 1994. Back then, you could walk around and sit on the stones, urinate, make animal sacrifices, or whatnot.

Here we are back again 13 years later. Now we can't get close enough to do our black magic. (Look at these cute boys we've picked up in the interim. We didn't do so bad for ourselves,eh, Jen?)

On our way out of London in the van, Jen was telling the boys about all the traditional British delicacies we had been carefully avoiding the whole trip (it is easy to avoid bangers and mash if you only eat at Mr. Chow's). "Wait!" I said. "What about all the finger sandwiches at tea yesterday! Those are very traditional. What could be more British than cucumber sandwiches? Or tuna and corn?"

Now, until this moment, Marcus had been rather quiet, letting us make hidebound Yankee arses of ourselves by ridiculing English fare, but at this point he quietly interjects: "Well, now, I don't want to undermine your authority, but I don't believe tuna and corn is very traditional."

So we all had a good laugh. Mostly because he was such a polite Briton and we were such stereotypically rude Americans. You know, though, the more I stew on it, the more I think, Marcus was wrong. Here's why:

1. The next day, we saw tuna and corn sandwiches on another, completely unrelated menu.
2. The British are always tossing a tin of cold veggies into an often already unappetizing meal. This is not a very American thing to do. We are more frozen and fresh vegetable sort of people. So maybe the corn and tuna is not specifically traditional, but rather just symbolic of what an Englishman might do to his food.

On the other hand, Marcus might be right. Most British food is inedible, and tuna and corn is comparatively quite nice, if not delicious. If you want really delicious, try Hob Nobs cookies with milk chocolate or clotted cream on your scones. No need to cross the pond. You can get them at AJ's.

In another installment: Why the Englishman's bad hair is not his fault.
(I took this photo at right on the tube in '94. I was enamored of this guy's blond 'fro. It was pretty risky taking pics of strangers on the subway. I had to use Jen as a decoy. This snapshot proves that my obsession began long before I had curly blond kids.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Coach Sam's Coloring Team

After our delicious breakfast-for-dinner of eggs, bacon, blueberry muffins, and grape slush, I did dishes while Sam colored this masterpiece entitled "Quilt".

Sam: I am totally a star at coloring!

It is amazing that I am sooo awesome!

I should be COACH of the coloring team!

Me: You are a star. Coach, huh?

Sam: Yeah. What's a hairdresser?

Me: A hairdresser cuts your hair and can do it up all fancy.

Sam: If I was an alien and crawled around on my belly, I would still love you, because you're my Mom.

Me: I'm so glad. I was worried about that.

Sam: What's a hairdresser again?

(I added a piece of Sam's "Quilt" to my header. I am totally a star at blog headers. It is amazing that I am so awesome!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nothing to see here...

I can't blog today until I get some stuff done:

1. Make an eye doctor appointment.
I am out of contacts, so I stole some of Jake's. Now I can't see properly out of my left eye. Maybe I need a pirate patch. (I hear my cousin Ben has one... I wear my glasses around most of the time, but they don't make me look smart or interesting. Think less 'sexy librarian' and more a 'messy ex-librarian' who might stay at home to eat chocolate cake for breakfast and hoard her own books.

2. Eat half a chocolate sheet cake.
Jake brought it home from a wedding last night. I hope he likes his messy librarian with a Rubensesque figure, because what he has done is nothing less than sabotage. (Only kidding. Keep the cakes coming, Jake.)

3. Find an exterminator.
I need someone to come and hose this place. I have let things get out of control because of my unreasonable fear of poison, but we can't live like this. I can no longer live in harmony with nature. Nature must die.

4. Get a jump start on making sure no girls kiss Ross in high school.
I need to send in his application to take a probability and statistics class for smarty 3rd graders at ASU on Saturday mornings. I hope it will end up something like this:

"Hey, Ross, you wanna go out Friday night?" asks cute high school girl.
"I can't. I have an early class Saturday morning on meteorology. It's really great. We get to use NASA computer software to track hurricanes!" replies 16-year-old Ross. "What about Saturday night?" he counters.
"Er...uh, no, thanks, I'm busy. I've got my own, uh, hurricane class that night" she lies convincingly.

If he is half as popular with the ladies as his father was, he will need this sort of intervention. Ross was already in trouble this week for passing Pokemon notes to Liliana. I figure you can never start geeking them up too early.

5. Research Fall TV and set my season passes at
I was just informed I have already missed something called "Back to You."
What if my procrastination made me miss The Office? It would be a nightmare.

6. Develop a symbiotic relationship with Logan Whitfield.
In a few minutes, Melanie's kids are coming over while she goes visiting teaching.
I can take this opportunity to multi-task! Logan scoots on his belly, eating whatever he finds. So while I watch him, he cleans my kitchen floor. Joe said if you put a swiffer on his belly, it might work better Plus, as a bonus, Logan gets free lunch!

7. Find somewhere to hide all of Uncle Dick's books I'm hoarding in the back of the van.
You know how some people are about dogs? They will take in strays off the street because they can't stand to see a dog without a home? That's how I am about books. I'm cool with the dogs on the street, as long as they aren't feral. So, anyway, I took all of the rest of Dick's books before they got sent to DI (There are hundreds of them). Don't judge me. They looked so lonely in those cardboard boxes in the garage. Thanks cousin Davey for loading them in for me. I couldn't carry them.
Oh, yeah. It is a secret. Don't tell Jake there are more books.

8. Figure out why there is a flood on the east side of our house.
If possible, blame it on the neighbors. That's plan A.

9. Make 8 loaves of bread
I got Aunt Ardy's stainless steel Bosch dough bowl. I looked it up online, and it holds 17 pounds of dough! I can make enough bread for 3 weeks in 1 batch. This is very exciting news! My old bowl only made 5.5 loaves. So far, though, no I've told is even remotely excited. I should email Martha Stewart. I'll bet she could show me some enthusiasm.

Uh, oh. Melanie is here. I have to stop NOT BLOGGING now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why I dig Blond Afros and...If You're going to Racially Profile Me, at Least Get it Right.

I hesitated to start a new post that would oust Chris Martin (Coldplay guy) from the top of my blog. I have always had a thing for blond, curly hair. Art Garfunkel was a real hot tamale. (Though in the picture below he looks more like a clown than a tamale.) Steve from 90210 and Michael Bolton don't do much for me, though I can't help but be impressed by the copious chest hair?! Can you think of any more? I'll add them to my collection here...

I think my preference is rooted in pre-mortal memories. I somehow knew I was destined to have all these blond, curly babies, and I was looking for their father. (I'm a little bit not kidding.) Who might have guessed that even though my head was turned by Jake's dark good looks, we would still have a house full of tow heads.

Jake with Garfunkel's hair

You know what's fun about Caucasians? (How terribly politically incorrect of me, I know.) A colorful variety of recessive genes. You just never know what you are gonna get. I'm pretty sure Asian babies are the cutest in the world, but I'll bet Chinese parents don't waste a lot of time standing around speculating on whether those eyes will be blue, or if all that black hair will fall out and come in red. (Though I'm sure, like everybody else, they do stand around speculating about something.)

My sister Jen is a great example. She doesn't look English and German. She has been accused of Italian, Middle Eastern, and even Korean. Mostly Hispanic. She was racially profiled at the pediatrician's office last week. The nurse was sure Jen spoke Spanish, and didn't understand her English question. If Jen did understand, "Caucasian" couldn't be her answer. So the nurse tried again: "White?" "Yes, white," Jen affirmed. The nurse remained unconvinced.

Her exotic good looks made her a bit smug. She told me soon after she married: "All our kids will look like me! I've got the dark skin, hair and eyes! Andrew's pasty white Scottish skin and blue eyes won't get past me!" We've all made the mistake. She underestimated the power of her own recessive genes. And Och, if she doesn't have 4 little blue-eyed bairns over there, and a couple even have ruddy cheeks that make them look like they've been spending too much time running about the moors and highlands in their kilts.

I've got brown and blue-eyed babies so far, but we are still hoping someone will get my Mom's green eyes. We have hair that is brown and blond, curly and straight, fine and course. We've got dark skin, light skin that tans, and shockingly white skin. We've got Tommy with a Mongolian spot on his backside, which proves we have some Asian, African, Hispanic, or American Indian genes of our own! I can't wait to see who starts going nearsighted, and prematurely gray, first. Recessive genes are SUPER FUN!

I take Tommy and Sam to Costco, and put them together in the front of the cart. The old people ask which one is adopted. (You can always count on Costco snowbirds to say something wildly inappropriate.) Tommy is dark, Sam is light. Dominant and recessive. Its all good. I just hope I get some more blond curly ones in the next generation. I sure dig 'em.

Yin and Yang

(Tommy and Sam)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coldplay is driving me bonks

I've got nothing against Coldplay. I love coldplay. That's how it began.

Since Sam causes the most trouble in the car, and since Sam won't listen to anything else, we listen to Coldplay quite a lot. You might think, "that's not so bad. Think of all your choices: 3 studio albums, a live album, a singles compilation, E.P.s. You could get from here to Mexico without having to listen to the same song twice!" WRONG! Just try to sneak A Rush of Blood to the Head, or even worse, Parachutes, into the CD changer and you get:

"NO! I want the REAL Coldplay!"

The real Coldplay is X&Y. We all know it by heart.

Our Coldplay dilemma really started back in the early 90s. When we first started dating, Jake and I had so much in common: Matthew Sweet, The Connells, The Gin blossoms, Pet Shop Boys, The Cars...I did step aerobics to the Utah Saints and Information Society. Jake knew all the words to James Taylor and Bread. But the older we get, the more our tastes diverge.

See, I'm a little bit folksy, he's a little bit techno 'n' house. We always had these tendencies, but they have grown larger as we grow more crotchety, inflexible, and set in our ways.

I have become increasingly hypersensitive to noise. It isn't quiet around here, and I need music that will calm me, and the four smaller Beesons, down. Way down. Sometimes I can't even stand drums or an electric guitar. Sometimes, I would prefer it if the vocalist would hum, or even better, stop singing and play a harp. Sometimes, Simon and Garfunkel's Wednesday Morning, 3 am is more than I can handle. I just need the Sounds of Silence. Coldplay is like musical Valium, and it comes in flavors for kids.

Jake likes to listen to dance music because he says it calms him down and "beats back the voices in his head." Techno makes me feel like four diet cokes before bed: anxious and uncomfortable.

These days, we have Coldplay in common. And John Mayer, sorta. A few others.

So Sam was inadvertently over-exposed to Coldpay at a highly sensitive age. We pay the price for this bit of poor parenting every day.

I heard that Coldplay is in the studio finishing up the new album, which we all fervently hope is entitled "Songs that will Hypnotize Sam in the Blue Honda Minivan."

In my next installment, I will delve into "Jane and Jewel: how it has all gone awry!"

Happy Birthday, MOM!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wipe it yourself!

When there are no more babies or toddlers at our house, there are many, many things that I will miss. I love babies.

You know what I won't miss?

"MOM, WILL YOU WIPE MY BUNS?!!!" at full volume from the bathroom the other end of the house.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm Not Using Good Sense

Last night was book club, and since I chose the book, I felt like I should read it. Unfortunately, as of Wednesday, 10 pm, all I'd managed of Sense and Sensibility was 37 pages, 5 cat-naps, and some drool on my pillow. So I spent all of Thursday reading it.

Back in school it became clear early that if I jammed as many facts into my head as possible, then ran to go take a test, I could many times get an A. (And many times, not.) So now I'm well trained to cram before any deadline. This not a skill that is serving me well as a parent of four kids. They don't care that I have 20 pages left to read! They don't mind that all the whining is making all the precariously stored information run right out my ears! They want dinner! In retrospect, I see my choice of Elinor, Marianne, Edward and Willoughby over Ross, Jane, Sam and Tommy was wrong. I think only one other book-clubber had actually finished the book last night, but I suspect most had fed their children and brushed their own hair before 7 p.m.

If you ever find yourself in a similar scrape, I recommend doing your dishes, brushing your teeth, feeding your family, and watching the Emma Thompson movie version. Hugh Grant is much more pleasant than Austen's insipid Edward (who by her own pen admits isn't even handsome!), and the final scene is sublime. Much better than the book! Rewind! Rewind! Swoon! Swoon! Emma Thompson won an Academy Award for her screenplay, and as far as I know, Jane Austen has no such award.

(Actually, I really like the book. I'll give it an 8. Though I still like Pride and Prejudice and Emma better. Has anyone read Northanger Abbey?)

Here is Hugh Grant (Oh, Edward!):

Here is Jake:

Here is Jake with Hugh's hair:

Separated at birth?

Okay, maybe not. How about this:

Jean Claude Van Damme:
Jake in Van Damme's fancy robe:

I think we have a winner! Now, which Jane Austen character can Jean Claude play? I think he's more a Libertine than a Hero. Maybe Mr. Wickam?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You smell like IHOP! and...The Natural Man goes to Fry's

This morning while I was doing Jane's hair she asked me, "Are we rich?" Well, my 8.5 years of parental experience have taught me you don't answer this kind of question with a yes or no, when "What do you mean?" will get you all kinds of fun information.

She elaborated: "Well, I don't mean, like, we're so rich we have $4,000 or something."

"Sure," I replied carefully.

"I mean, we are rich because we have lots of food and tables and quilts."

"Uh, huh..." (Jake would haul all the quilts off to Goodwill if I gave him the chance, we live in the desert and don't need so many quilts).

She continues,"I think Kilynn is rich. She has a cell phone. Plus, the other day she got to school late, and she smelled like IHOP, and she had a sticker that said 'Happy Birthday'."

I thought about this for a minute. "You have a very keen sense of smell. Kilynn could very well be rolling in the dough. But how do you know what IHOP smells like? If you've been there, you must be rich, too."

This seemed to appease her.

"Men are motivated by greed and fear," my Dad said cryptically on the phone last night. I had just returned from the sale at Fry's, and was telling him about my loot. 45 cans of soup for $7.50! (Thanks to Liz and Jane for the scoop.) It was such a rush, it takes me back to the heady days of Couponsense, going to Albertsons and spending 10 bucks and saving 200, or something crazy like that.

So I've been thinking. The natural man is motivated by greed and fear. (I hope I sometimes act on other, higher motivations, like love.) The Fry's trip was a great time for my natural man. Finally, a way to assuage my fear while I feed my greed! "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear"(D&C 38:30). We Mormons are constantly squirreling away food in preparation for a rainy day. A full pantry does makes me happy. Plus, a deal! A full pantry for almost nothing! It was enough motivation to get me back into my brassiere and out to a grocery store in unsavory Apache Junction at 8:30 pm on a Tuesday. When I should have been in bed reading Sense and Sensibility. Like a sensible girl.

But now, we're rich! Rich in quilts and cheap soup! Which, honestly, is better than 4000 bucks any day. Right?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Global Stardom

This is Jake. Click on the link at right to get to my real blog.

I have been taking Ross and Jane to school a couple of days a week. Today Jane said Hannah Montana had been in Glendale. I asked if Hannah Montana had another name, when she wasn't on stage. Jane said she was not really a star, meaning the Hannah Montana alter ego was just an oridnary . Ross took this as an affront to Hannah's stardom, and proclaimed, "Jane, she's a global star!"

Cobbler Quandry

Can peach cobbler count as dinner if we eat edamame with it? I only have a certain amount of energy I'm willing expend cooking tonight, and I need to make the cobbler before the peaches are bad. (It may already be too late.) Edamame is very, very healthy, and the cobbler will be full of healthy fruit as well (among other things). My Aunt Ardy would have given me the green light for sure. She had all sorts of theories and strong feelings about pie. Cobbler is very similiar to pie.

On the other hand, this is just the sort of thing the children will remember when they grow up.

"Ross," 20-year-old Jane will say, "remember how Mom would sometimes make us cobbler for dinner?"

"Yeah," replies 22-year-old Ross, "She would give us some jive about all the fruit in it. Healthy, my arse. I remember she made us eat it all the time."

"I think it was just that once. September 11, 2007. Wasn't there some edamame involved?" 18-year-old Sam asks.

"No!" Jane exclaims.

"No way!" Ross concurs. "Just dessert for dinner, pretty much every night of our young lives. I remember it clearly. It lies at the root of all my problems."

Sam states matter-of-factly: "It was very tasty, though. Made from fresh peaches, even. You both liked it enormously."

"I don't remember cobbler or edamame" frets 15-year-old Tom.

"Trust us, Tom," Jane says soothingly. "We remember. Don't try to rationalize it, Sam. It was unconscionable behavior. When I have kids, everything will be organic, free range, hormone and sugar free. Just watch!"

"Ah, yes. I'm beginning to remember all the cobbler now," concedes Sam. "But my problems stem from the fact that she made me grow my hair too long and moussed and gelled and diffused me every day. Not so much from the cobbler. Certainly, though, it couldn't have helped."

The little ingrates: Jane, Ross, and Sam on the first day of school, August 8, 2007.

They don't deserve to share my cobbler.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a review by my Dad

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

Synopsis: Kiyosaki contends that the wealthy have learned to make money work for them, rather than working for their $$ like everyone else.
He uses the example of his real father, an educated, hardworking man who became superintendent of education in Hawaii, who gave his son the traditional counsel about hard work and financial gain. He died poor and bitter. Kiyosaki's "second father," his friend Mike's dad, was a high school dropout who taught Kiyosaki all that he knows about money. He is one of Hawaii's wealthiest men. (Based on the Barnes and Noble review)

I've been blogging fewer than two weeks, and I already have a guest reviewer! Someone at Church asked my Dad to review Rich Dad, and here was his response (thanks for sending me a copy!):

"1. I really like the simplified view of financial understanding. I think most people would be more inclined to begin the process of getting financially literate, if we present the concepts this way.

2. I was really impressed with the way to look at an asset vs. a liability. In the personal finance area, people are confused and that is a great way to look at it. A home paid for is an asset while moving to a larger home with high payments is a liability.

3. I am really worried about characterizing his poor dad (the educated one)with the rich dad (the one that doesn't need formal education, so he gets rich)

4. He really has a severe bias against staying in school, making good grades and someday establishing a career working for someone else. He implies that we are stupid to do that. I can just hear a young man or woman saying, I will get an education dad, but I will not need to go to college. I willl learn this stuff and be rich. It really does not work that way, but his book suggests that it is that simple.

5. He calls his PhD father a socialist and the other father a capitalist.

Overall, I would not recommend that a church leader suggest this as reading material , I think the harm done by the education bias is more harmful than the added insight of financial literacy that it clearly brings. But it gives the reader the feeling that if he will just follow this he will be rich. I do not suggest that we teach our members to have "rich" as a goal. The goal lends itself to counterproductive short term and long term decisions. It has too many implications about behavior, and follows society's plan for finding peace. I think that is the opposite of our goals as members to live within our means, grow character and spend our time serving others, etc. I guess I really like the idea of learning how to think about money and finances, but the notion of getting rich and not working for others and not getting much formal education is really counter-productive. So, on balance, I would not suggest it to my grandchildren.

Thanks for suggesting that I read it. Now I understand what a couple of kids in the ward are talking about when they explain to me why they have elected not to go to college and sell multi-level products. Some of their quotes to me have come right from this book. They really are on the road to nowhere. (Frustrating to see bright kids have that as a goal)." Ross L.

So, Dad, what books would you suggest on this subject?
Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Here's Charlie!

And here are all the kids in the Beeson Bus on Friday (Only the best photographer can get six people, plus the contents of one nose, in the frame.):

Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert

So, here's my new favorite place! Lunch today was at Joe's Farm Grill. I got a Pesto Chicken Sandwich and sweet potato fries. WOWIE. It is actually BETTER than Flancer's "Its About Thyme" chicken sandwich, which I have widely heralded as the best sandwich in the valley. I ate so much that even now I am struggling to sit upright at the computer. I need to go lie flat. I overheard someone order a raspberry milkshake that I might have to go back and get for dinner, after I have sufficiently recovered.

Here's the info and menu:

They are 1/4 mile west of Higley on Ray. From the new 202, exit Higley and go south to Ray, and turn right.

Oh, and whilst googling for the picture above, I came across this photo of the bathroom!?

John Wise blogged: "...well, this is the most extraordinary farmhouse toilet one might find during a lifetime of looking. The uni-sex facility features a flat-panel TV showing episodes of the supermarionation (a form of puppetry) classic "Thunderbirds" and in fancy-shmancy display cases are Thunderbirds action figures - not only all that, this is the cleanest bathroom in the world."

See, even more reasons for me to go back for dinner!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Birthiversary Picture, Charlie Brown Martin, and Some Serious Carousing

This morning I sent Jake an email and asked him to send a picture of me he took with his cell phone at my Birthiversary dinner (I got married on my 23rd birthday, so that means I will forever have been married 6 wonderful years). I wanted to add it to my profile, so you can all see how incredibly good-looking I am (that is a Zoolander reference, not just horrible vanity). So he sends over this:

and then this:

before he finally sent me the picture you see on your top right. (The tiger one is actually a fair likeness of me from about 7-8 am, while trying to get everyone ready for school). But I don't need this kind of hassling. I think he might have some repressed anger because I commandeered his blog. Jake, is it too much to ask for a picture in which my hair is brushed and there isn't any visible food on my shirt? Is it?

Baby Charlie is still on oxygen, but they switched his Doc from the Neonatologist to the regular pediatrician, so that sounds like good news. Jen is getting released today, but the baby will stay until at least Monday. I still haven't seen him because nobody but the parents are allowed in the nursery, and he's not allowed out.

I picked up Jen's other sons, Jack and Will, from school Wednesday. They both told me, with absolute certainty, that the baby's middle name is Brown. Now, although Brown is a family name (Grandpa Taylor's Mother was Ruby Brown Taylor), I told them it was unlikely the baby's name is Charlie Brown Martin. Those boys were willing to put money on it. Jen said she might have led them to believe this, but his real middle name is James (a Martin family name). Jack and Will are going to be disappointed when I come to get their money. A bet is a bet.

I am still recovering from the serious carousing I did last night. Melanie and I went to 1st Grade Curriculum Night over at Noah Webster Basic School. I knew things were gonna get wild when Mel shows up wearing a banana clip (for the benefit of me and all my blog readers). Melanie was able to use her wiles (the same ones she used on the usher at the Gin Blossoms concert in 1993) to score us some backstage passes to the after-party from Kelly Wade (the Principal). Or maybe we went to On the Border and ate fish tacos. Either way, I know I came home reeking of rum (from the Orbitz gum in Mint Mojito flavor I used to mask my cilantro breath) at way past 9 o'clock.

Here are some photos from the last big Noah Webster event: The awards assembly in May. Both Ross and Jane (and Collin!) got medals for staying on the First Honor Roll all year. This is to prove we've got a bunch of smarties over here.

Jane (still healing from her treadmill accident)

Collin and Jane

Mrs. M, Mrs. Blatter, Collin and Jane

Ross (center), with friends Tanner W. and Matthew

Mrs. Nesheim and Ross