Monday, January 28, 2008

This Primary isn't so political, and way more honest

They totally don't have to to give me chocolate bars or hard candy or other little thank you gifts for subbing in Primary. I have been paid handsomely in 6-year-old wit.

Here are few little gems from yesterday:

"My brother calls me unibrow, or sometimes unicorn for short". (Child has no sign of excess  or unruly facial hair).

"I have an uncommonly good memory, and can remember things from when I was 3 months old, and possibly from before birth."

"I know quite a lot because I'm the (Priesthood leadership calling removed to preserve anonymity)'s son. Did you know that? You know I'll probably be a (same Priesthood leadership calling his Father now holds) someday because that's how it works." (I didn't set him straight. Thought his Father might want to do it).

"Once I got lost while my brother was at karate. He doesn't go anymore, though, because (here he lowers his voice to almost a whisper and smiles while nodding, giving me the distinct impression he is parroting his parent), it was just too much for him. You know, all the kicking and jabbing and stuff."

Yet another class member kept stealing my visual aids off the table behind me, and then holding them aloft while talking over me so she could hijack the lesson. (This same child, who is my own, also got spotlighted yesterday. She put 'rock star' under future plans. Not exactly a Sunday School answer, but her admission that her favorite thing to do is watch Rachael Ray with her Mom got a few giggles from the other teachers.)

These bring to mind my very favorite Primary moments from the past.

A closing prayer by an articulate Sunbeam who prayed that "Rebecca would be able to get out from under the table and be reverent," that "Ross would stop bugging everyone during sharing time", and that her "Mom's secret baby that no one knows about yet will be safe and happy in her tummy."

While I was teaching the 4-year-olds, I found that if I gave them a couple of minutes to share events from the week, before we started our lesson, things would go more smoothly. They especially liked to share whatever was under their band-aids, which was mostly nothing. (In a similar moment last year, Jane told her teacher she had been attacked by a shark). So when one little boy came in with a cast on his arm, I thought I'd better give him a chance to tell us his story and invited him up front. I said, " wow, that sure is a big owie! What happened there?" He looked at the floor, then at me, before blurting: 
"My Mom ran me over with a truck!" 
(She actually had. The Mom was still very shaken up, and began to cry when I asked about it.)

Okay, now it is Sharing Time. What are your favorite Primary moments? (I'm not talking about when Hillary cried or when all the Republicans played nice in the Florida debate.)

On Gordon B. Hinckley's Passing

He was a wonderful man and Prophet. I feel like I lost my Grandpa. He loved us, and worked tirelessly for us. I hope he gets a little vacation with his wife before he goes back to work on the other side.

Thank you, President Hinckley!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sick-bed travel diary

I have not been able to summon up necessary will to blog since returning home. Have taken to my bed since having been struck down with terrible influenza-like disease. I have named it West End Virus (even though we stayed in midtown). If you have fever, body aches, and a deep, soul-racking cough, you've got it. Either that or pleurisy. Neither one is nearly as romantic as it sounds.

(I had to go take a break. That one poor West Nile pun zapped my energy, and I needed to rest. Must be more careful.)

I am so happy I didn't fall ill while trying to eat my way through NYC. We stuck to the three page itinerary almost to the letter until the very end. I'll be honest, though. That last dish of creme brulee at Cafe Mozart on Monday night was more business than pleasure. We spent Monday down near Heath Ledger's SoHo flat on his last happy day on earth.

We brunched at Max Brenner's Chocolate by the Bald Man (thick Italian hot chocolate in hug mug is best I've ever had. One member of our party, who will remain nameless, is rumored to have had two. We also had chocolate fondue with freshly fried churros. The 2-mug lady missed the churros, mostly, because she was in the potty. All the hot chocolate had a not-wholly-unwelcome, er, cathartic effect.)

Went on to Nanette Lepore on Broome Street where I got some great shoes and earrings and a very flapper-y sort of dress with sequins that I can already picture Tommy trying to pick off during Sacrament meeting. Had it all shipped to us like all the fancy shoppers do. Nobody who is anybody carries her own purchases around anymore. Is totally declasse. (I'm making things up now.)

Then we went downtown to Chinatown. Now in Chinatown, if they offer to ship your purchases, do not believe them. Is likely big lie because you look like easy mark that just came out of Nanette Lepore. Mom bought some ancient perfume that had gone bad and went right in the trash in the hotel. Found Jen's favorite jeans connection. I was concerned that many were pegged at the bottom (I am too old to be fooled by terms like 'skinny leg.' I am still haunted by the photos of my 7th grade self, back when the pegged legs didn't contribute to the optical illusion that my arse should be moored down in the harbor instead of waddling about in $45 made in China True Religions on Canal Street. The most interesting part was the salesman, a large but agile man, who would tirelessly crawl under his table to some secret jeans underworld over and over to retrieve sizes and styles at our whim. We knew he was coming back because jeans would start flying at our feet from under the green vinyl partition, and he would soon follow them out, on his belly. This isn't how they do it over on 5th Avenue. Jen made an attempt at the 'dressing room' (small hole in wall), but came out pale and said she was 100% surprised she hadn't been bitten by a rat.

We soon realized our hands and feet were entirely frozen, and that we no longer cared about cheap thrills, so then I tried to talk Mom and Jen onto the subway, but they wouldn't go, not even in single digit temperatures and in absence of a cab.

I'm almost out of time. Jake said babysitter is coming and dishes are overflowing in sink. Long story short, we had some Mexican food (Maya) that was a little bland with a side of habanero salsa that caused a tiny little blister on my bottom lip, then we went to see a show that I found a little too sacrilegious (apparently I'm a Catholic at heart?), but that Jen (apparently more liberal-minded sort) dug a lot. The best part of Alter Boyz was song "I want you so much it makes me wanna wait". Howz all that for some run-on sentences?

Now, back to my sick bed...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hiking around this big, frozen apple in tall shoes

Some pics from yesterday:
Me at the Met (Temple of Dendur)
Tea at the Peninsula (American Express card: your gateway to free tea! Chamomile and scones and clotted cream and tarts and sandwiches!)

Jen trying to make some new best friends in the diamond district. She couldn't decide what to try on first.
Oh. And did not get picture of Paula Deen from cooking network in One if by land, Two if by Sea at dinner last night. Had Beef Wellington. (Me, not Paula). Jen said was possibly not Paula, but I think it was. Like 80% sure was Ms. Deen. Lady had southern accent. Was not with her two sons, as far as I could see.

11:00 Brunch: Eggs Benedict

12:30 Church Manhatten 8th Ward (Singles)

2pm Speech and Debate: Like 40 people fit into this tiny theater. The girl who played Diwata was SOO great and funny.

4:15 Little Pie Co.: Mississippi mud pie and key lime were very memorable. Rachel Ray told us to go to this little midtown gem.

6:30 Mary Poppins: was VERY impressive. Wished the kids were here to see it (first time I have wished that this trip). The New Amsterdam Theater is so beautiful. I think we saw 42nd Street there 3 years ago?

10:00 Tao 2 story buddha, Japanese pinball above toilets, and best egg roll I have ever eaten in all my years (all 23 of 'em).

Too tired to blog effectively. Today was COLD. Temp felt like teens, and I spent whole day in church clothes with 3 inch stiletto boots (looking like hot and sassy urbanite). Buns still numb from all the sitting and also possibly still frozen in manner of bunsicles.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Today was day we set aside for ogling things in 5th Avenue windows. Our hotel is right in the thick of it. Spent some time in Saks, Gap, and 2 hours in the Nike Store.

I'm totally lying about the Nike store. We practically jogged past it on our way to the diamond district. Which is awesome. I might have little bruises on my forehead from bonking my head on the windows while trying to get a better look at the enormous pretty jewels.

Dinner was 5:45 Asia de Cuba. We had dumplings 2 ways, coconut shrimp with black bean dip, jalepeno mayo, and something else (was mildly life changing), and some chicken with Thai sticky rice and guacamole stuff, and string beans, and mashed potatoes with lobster and other stuff mashed in there. All delicious. Then came the sustainable Chilean sea bass that was practically raw and one bite made me gag a little bit. Still, the other stuff made up for it.

Cab to Times Square to look for Duane Reade drug store (it used to be there). Very cold, and hair super static-y crazy.

8:00 Legally Blonde. Favorite part: song called Is He Gay or European? (SPOILER ALERT: Turns out he's both) and also when entire cast begins to Riverdance.

Dessert: Serendipity Frozen peanut butter hot chocolate. Why didn't somebody tell me about the peanut butter sooner!

Hope my pants will go up past my knees tomorrow!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Live from New York...Thursday Night

Only 2.5 hours in and already shaping up to be great trip. First thing, we saw John Denver in Terminal 2 at Sky Harbor and he tried to chat us up (Who wouldn't? We are some fine foxy ladies.) He had some sort of Northern European accent, which didn't fool us at all. He seemed very worried that the Louis Vuittons (both the real one and the fake one) would get nicked from the baggage carousel at our destination. He said it in a friendly, not shifty, way, but I'm totally on to you, John Denver. You just got tired of singing Rocky Mountain High and moved to Norway.

Our Continental 757-800 airliner is equipped with individual seat back screens on which I have already viewed the Jane Austen Book Club. I can watch movies or play games as I please (On-demand). Plus, this flight, listed as ‘snack’, was actually ‘lunch’, and my seat has its very own power outlet. We won’t get nit picky about actual edibility of food. Twas the thought that counts, Continental.

I slipped on my flip flops to take Sam to preschool this morning, then got busy and forgot to change them out before I left. I should be okay, right? Forecast called for possible flurries, but I hope I will only look ridiculous, and not lose any toes to frostbite.

Plan is: land Newark, drop stuff off, then Carnegie Deli for giant piles of pastrami.

Jen said I’m not allowed to reveal some of the many places on our eating itinerary (which she typed and printed in triplicate but did not laminate as rumor had it) because the premeditated gluttony is too embarrassing to put on World Wide Web. Plus I’m not allowed to blog about tranny air waitress(es) (there is possibly more than one, and to be fair, possibly none at all. Jen says the jury’s still out.) I am feeling uncomfortable with these limits on my civil liberties. Maybe when they catch sight of the Statue of Liberty they will have a change of heart.
Until then, enjoy the pictures up top of me with some Carnegie deli cheesecake, and Jen with some sort of chocolate peanut butter concoction which included mousse and 5th avenue candy bars. MMMMM. Might need tums...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pandora's Doritos

It's only 10 am, but somebody has opened Pandora's giant Costco-sized bag of Doritos that were purchased especially for Ross' Pokemon Battle Revolution party this afternoon, and that somebody needs to control herself or she'll get a belly ache. As long as they sat unopened on the counter, things were fine. But now the bag is opened, and there is no way to get all chips back inside and reseal it (I guess I could try the foodsaver, but seems like lots of trouble, plus does not have same psychological barrier as original seal). So I think I'll put the Doritos in the garage, where it is frigidly cold (like 60 degrees). Then, if somebody opens the garage door to go out and eat Doritos, she will receive negative reinforcement in form of chilly blast of air to face. B.F. Skinner says this operant conditioning should help her to stop scarfing the Doritos. But might it backfire? Perhaps whenever she hears garage door open she will begin to heavily salivate like one of Pavlov's dogs. Is deep scientific conundrum.

I put a new blog header on yesterday. Those are Sam's feet on Christmas Eve, as photographed by SIL Jane. I'm also trying out some new blog names. This first one is a play on our last name, plus a quote from The Office:

Jan : "Dwight’s name is on the security sign-in sheet, but I don’t know who he met with, and where it asks you to state your business he wrote, 'Beeswax Not Yours, Inc.'”

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

97 is the new 79

My maternal grandmother, Verna Pauline Oswald Taylor, is 97 years old today. She was born in 1911 to Ludwig Friederich Oswald and Mary Christine Klingler Oswald in Idaho. These are her parents:

She is a wonderful woman and I am so glad she is still with us. She complains of lots of aches and pains, but she can still get all dolled up in her hip clothes and pretty jewels (always has had great style, which I did not inherit), and go out to lunch or shopping with one of her daughters (she loves Stein Mart). She looks 15 years younger than she is. Who else can say that? She still lives alone (near my parents) since Grandpa died (at 96) a couple of years ago, and was still out working in her garden all last summer in the heat (good for the arthritis, bad because 115 degrees outside). She was still growing veggies and making us pickles until just a couple years ago. She only stopped the pickles because she said the heat made the cucumbers tough, and why work so hard on something if it didn't turn out just right? Which is nothing but the truth, Grandma. Still, I miss the pickles.

Grandma (and Grandpa, too) has come to see us every Christmas for almost as long as I can remember (maybe only slightly less reliably than Santa Claus). First to LA, then here to Arizona. They brought us presents from their world travels, and rock jewelry Grandpa made us. Grandma would crochet us things to wear, which didn't seem so cool in the 80s, but now I think I should hunt up some of those granny square vests and make my kids wear them. They would be so 70s retro chic. I have three afghans she made. And I have like 30 cousins, so do the math on the afghans. (Photo above taken at cousin Melanie's wedding. Jen, Verna, Don, Me. I look like an Amazon, don't I?).

Don and Verna moved down here a few years ago from Cody, Wyoming, looking for warmer winters and knowing they would need more help in the coming years. Grandpa also decided that he was getting too old for the ice fishing. Most people decide that before they turn 90. I have been so happy to have them here to see my children born (not actually invited into labor and delivery room, just to be clear.) My kids have been really lucky to know three of their Great Grandmas: Verna, Lavada Layton (lives in Central, Arizona near Safford), and Mary Binger (lives in Lincoln, Nebraska and reads my blog. Very tech-savvy.)

Grandma says it is hard to get so seriously old because you feel like the only one left. I believe it. Sure, there are a few other 97-year-olds around, but what are the chances they are your friends or family? She has no living brothers or sisters (out of something like nine). This makes her a celebrity at the Oswald Reunion in Idaho Falls, where nieces and nephews (mostly all senior citizens themselves) fawn all over her. Her eldest son is over 70.

Grandpa liked to tell us that when he was little, shoes weren't yet made for right and left feet (surely somewhere there were some. Sounds like the blisters would be horrendous.), and that his family got the first car in Lehi, Utah. I have Grandma's engagement ring to some feller other than Grandpa. I know she met grandpa at a dance and I've seen pictures. Grandpa was a real looker. Probably wasn't the first engagement he helped to bust up, but let's hope it was the last. (That's Grandpa Don Taylor, below).

Verna and I share a mildy irrational, some might say unhealthy, love of dishware. China, crystal, silver. She collected bells (finally quit growing the collection a few years ago), I collect pressed glass snack trays (I have about 50, if you would like to borrow them for your next baby/bridal shower). I like to scour Ebay for great deals on Towle Candlelight flatware (Grandma's wedding silver).

Today we are going to her birthday lunch at Benihana (brand new over at Chandler mall, no longer need to schlep to North Scottsdale), because Grandma is a serious fan of the Tepanyaki. Something else we have in common.

(Above is Grandma at her birthday party last year, with her three daughters: Mareen (my Mom), Ardith, and Sherry. She also has two sons, Lynn and Ralph, and 25 grandchildren, more than 60 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Letter from card-carrying member of Septimus Hodge fan club

My dear Septimus,

Democracy, I hope it ain't.

I just couldn't help myself. I bought tickets to Rock 'n' Roll, the Tom Stoppard play about communists and hippies. Once I found out the lead actor is you, Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale, Legend of Zorro, Amazing Grace, The Illusionist, The Holiday), the very same fella who played Septimus Hodge in Arcadia back in 1993, it was all over.  I found myself unable to resist your highbrow seduction. Now I'm just waiting for the file folders to drop. (Although, might perhaps be a very good play, as you are obviously brooding, handsome devil and not John Boy Walton.) If it is terrible in manner of Democracy, and am burned again, my highbrows might be singed completely off, and will then be entirely browless. That could be very unattractive.

As a sort of middlebrow back-up plan, I also bought tickets to: Legally Blonde, Speech and Debate, Mary Poppins, and Alter Boyz (off Broadway musical about Christian boy band. There is very little to see on Broadway on a Monday night, so will deny responsibility to family if is horrible mistake similar to Crazy for You).

Septimus, sometimes it is very hard to be such huge, enormous nerd trapped inside this smokin' hot fox's body. (Well, might be said fox if my treadmill wasn't busted, or I did a little more yoga). You can understand. We are misunderstood. 

P.S. Why are you acting like an aging Czech Communist in Rock 'n' Roll, when I need you to help me with some maths in the hermitage?

Love, Kelly (er, Thomasina Coverly)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Back at it

Got up this rainy crack-o-dawn (about ten after seven) to rouse children used to sleeping til 9. 
Vacation is over. The first week off school I spent in wallowing in frustration over not being able to accomplish anything or go anywhere with 4 children in tow and all around, making messes wherever they went. The second week, Tommy began to sleep in, and I got into the spirit of the season: sleep til 9, stay in bed reading books til 10, eat til 11. Back in bed for Tommy's nap. Stuck religiously to special diet in which I consumed only treats kind neighbors brought to front door, including lotsa fudge. (Surprisingly, diet proved ineffective for weight loss.)

Thursday night, Jake's little sister Molly got married, and Friday was the reception. So we had to rejoin the world. (Happy to do it, Molly and Todd. Really.) Was very nice to see relatives in actual instead of cyber space. The kids had a great time (bounce houses wonderful idea for reception), and Sammy was even 'flower guy' and had his own corsage. I started taking crappy pictures with my cell phone, then looked over and saw sisters-in-law Jane and Melissa with their fancy cameras taking fancy pictures, and realized I could steal some for myself right offa their blogs, so go there to see us in all our gussied-up glory. We Beesons clean up nice.

Saturday was Jake's birthday, which is always a treat because now he has to lay off calling me his 'old lady' until July, when he again starts pretending to defer to me, out of sarcastic respect for his elder. (I am 5.5 months older than he.) I guess I deserve it. He WAS still a high schooler when I met him, whilst I was great and wise freshman UofA coed, out in front yard trolling for impressionable boys, er, washing my car.

So now, we are back to real life. Kids off to school. Every single Christmas decoration down (tree had to come down long ago because I had grown weary of Tommy's reign of terror). Even got up early enough today to make oatmeal and orange julius from actual oranges for breakfast. Tommy staged sit-in in his high chair, refused to get out until he'd finished all the juice in the house. I predict 50% chance of explosive diarrhea before noon. 

Oh, wait. I think I smell something now.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I'm a Fresh & Easy girl (not a post about my singleton years)

Uh-oh. Am out of milk again. I guess I'll have to go back to Fresh & Easy.
Conveniently located on northwest corner of Crismon and Guadalupe, within walking distance of my house, a little bit of imported British bliss from the people that brought me Tesco (where Jake got about a hundred different candy bars on our London trip last summer), the Fresh and Easy is chock full of fun and sorta healthy foods you cannot get at the CVS, F&E's neighbor to the south. There are cactus leaves for stir-frying and Armenian string cheese. They have Nutella on an end-cap, to make me feel as if I'm shopping amongst like-minded, hazelnut-loving people. Do you know what Nutella tastes good with? EVERYTHING! But especially bananas and animal crackers! 

They have a vast, dizzying, and honestly, almost stupefying selection of dairy products, including Parma Butter. Apparently, when the Parmesano Reggiano cheese people are through with the milk portion, the cream is then made into butter and shipped off to suburban America, for us to spread on our toast, to add another dimension to our daydreaming that we are on a Roman minibreak. (C'mon, it can't be just me?)

It also totally doesn't hurt that they keep giving me 6$ coupons and free flowers in manner of a romantic courting lover. ("Oh, Fresh and Easy, you shouldn't have!" I giggle insincerely.) I already have tulips and tiny pink roses, but I have my eye on some sunflowers. There are also primo parking spots reserved for alt fuel cars or energy efficient cars or something (always empty, as far as I've seen. Do you think all my kids can squeeze into a smart car like circus clowns?) The whole experience gives me a fabulous euro-feeling like going to Ikea, only without the nasty meatballs and cardboard furniture to dampen my spirits. Although, let's be honest: ain't nothing wrong with lingonberry pop. It is quite refreshing.

I am not 100% sold on Fresh and Easy. There is no on-site butcher, so the meat might be EASY, but maybe not so FRESH. Gives me willies, a little. And apparenly, TESCO:England:: Wal-Mart:America. Cheap, but often reviled. Still, I've been to Wal-Mart, and the F&E seems to be trying WAY harder to look healthy. Tesco never did anything to me except provide me with a wide variety of delicious chocolate bars. I refuse to get all politically worked up. I'll leave that to the Iowans this week.

At this moment, a Fresh and Easy cheese pizza is in the oven, which is not frozen but instead FRESH and EASY, and which I will top with some fresh Basil I picked up there for New Year's Eve Tomato Soup. When we moved in 6.5 years ago, there was nothing out here. We couldn't even cajole Dominos or Pizza Hut to deliver a pizza to our house in this Phoenix backwater. Look at us now, with our Wal-Mart (terrible, but sure sign of encroaching civilization), an Imax movie theater, Crazy Sub, Fresh and Easy, and the foundation for our very own In-N-Out already poured. We'll be rolling in burgers by Spring! (More daydreaming).

I do realize that I am an embarrassing smug married suburban housewife, and this excitement over proximity to big box and fast food chain stores is probably both boring and horrifying you, gentle reader, at the same time.

The Fresh and Easy isn't big box or fast food. It is small box, and quick food. Maybe not high culture, but Euro-Wal-Mart is as close to highbrow as we will likely get on the corner of Guadalupe and Crismon (no, that isn't spelled wrong). So I will savor it, unapologetically. Plus, I do need milk. Tommy will get very crabby without his milk.

Has your Fresh & Easy opened yet? What did you think? Someone want to pick a fight with me about being a crappy citizen of the world by frequenting this place? Bring it on!