Thursday, January 31, 2008
I know what you're thinking. Haven't I already said all there is to say about California? Not in a million years, my friend. We determined that Arizona has heat and mosquitos and, well, thankfully, The Grand Canyon (to redeem its sorry soul*) Where Arizona is lacking in things you must see before you die, California is thriving.
California is made up of 163,696 square miles. And I'd be lying if I said that I love 'em all. Truthfully, a great number of these miles are icky desert and Central Valley. But it's fine. I forgive California for having such topography because some of her miles are the Redwoods, Yosemite, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe (Yes, Nevada, I realize you share that one), The Sequoias, Mammoth, San Diego, Hollywood, Crescent City and the list goes on and on.
There is such a relief and a joy in knowing that your dreams are not landlocked. I cannot describe the peace I felt in looking out at a watery horizon that never ended. Just the knowledge that my ultimate wishes could bob up and down in that vast ocean was enough. Even if they didn't come true, they were free to swim forever, because I lived on an edge.
California has the ocean and the mountains and the desert and the forest, all rolled into one great state. I can't think of much in terms of recreation that couldn't be accomplished within her borders. You couldn't climb Mt. Everest or swim in the Everglades (Question: Do people actually swim in the Everglades? I've never been to Florida but it seems to me that what with all the alligators, you just wouldn't take the chance.) but those are about the only things I can think of. If you need your leaves to change colors to be happy, drive north. The autumn may not be as gorgeous as a New England fall but you'll see colors. If you need snow, not a problem. Sun, definitely available. And Spring, in California, the world seems just a little cleaner, a little more holy in the Spring.
I suggest a visit. Even if The Golden State is not your idea of permanent residence, just take a moment out of your life to see her. Stand in wonder of the Redwoods. I dare you to deny God's existence once you have. Hike to a waterfall in Yosemite. Walk the streets of Hollywood Blvd and see if you don't feel alive with a thousand dreams and endless possibilities. Sit on the shores of Tahoe. Let the cold mountain water lick your toes and imagine God commanding the Sierras into being. Catch a wave in San Diego. Feel the sun soaking into your every pore. Walk the streets. Breathe the air. It's somehow different there, somehow simultaneously exuding freedom and protection.
*The author of this blog does not believe that The Grand Canyon can save souls. Nor does she think that Arizona actually has a soul. She maintains that the only entity capable of saving souls is the Lord.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Now, recently, I was mighty appalled by the indoctrination video that Cruise made on behalf of Scientology. But, I think, just maybe, the following pictures bug me even more. First we have Cruise, making the face that he now seems to always be making. Why? He used to be regal and oh so suave and and and and gorgeous, if you will. But then he started doing this:
It's okay though. I'm totally over it. If he wants to grin like the Cheshire cat, so be it. You go Tom. Dance on Oprah's couch if you want to. Grin like the madman you seem to have become. Marry someone who is barely older than me when you are barely younger than my father. Name your baby after the headquarters of Scientology in the UK. I'm sure she'll love that when she's about sixteen. But don't make your wife practice your crazy smile for hours every night. Trust me when I say that the world only needs one of you.
Oh Katie. Katie. Katie. Katie. Oh wait, sorry. I know your husband said that we should call you Kate now that you're a mother. Kate, Kate, Kate. Is he injecting you with his own DNA? If you'd make some sort of sign, a signal for distress, I'd try to save you. Really I would. Because, truthfully, I'm becoming quite concerned for your well being.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Dear Uncle Jon,
The other night my mommy was in the kitchen, cleaning up the colossal mess I made with my dinner, as is customary with people of my age and stature. My daddy was at the church and my mommy heard the television turn on. This is nothing unusual. I am obsessed with turning it on and off, as you may well know. Of course, she had to grab the camera and take this video when she realized exactly what was going on. I had turned it on. I had hoisted myself up onto the couch. I was completely enthralled with the game. The video itself is not altogether funny, but it gives you a glimpse of how intently I was watching. No amount of proding could get me to turn away. I just have one question, Unc J-Diddy, am I too short to be a post?
Please forgive my obnoxious voice running through the entire video. I cannot stand the way I sound and beg forgiveness that some of you actually have to listen to me speak on a regular basis. The voice I hear in my head is much better sounding than the voice that actually comes out of my mouth. I promise. If you were in here with us, you'd know.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Now, my brother and I used to play this game we called "Going to Grandma's." I'm not sure if this was a common game played by the masses or if we invented it, but it went something like this:
Me: I'm going to grandma's and I'm taking an apple.
Jon: I'm going to grandma's and I'm taking an apple and a beach ball.
Me: I'm going to grandma's and I'm taking an apple, a beach ball and a canteen.
Jon: I'm going to grandma's and I'm taking an apple, a beach ball, a canteen and dental floss.
And on and on and on it went until we reached the letter Z or someone messed up. We both had pretty good memories, so it was usually the former. Now, I can guarantee that when we "went to Grandma's" we never took stuffed pig slippers, a Click Clack Train Engine book, or an ab roller. Apparently, these are extremely necessary items when visiting Grandma and Grandpa in San Diego. Once the boy was successfully packed with his prized items, there wasn't any room left for our clothes.
"Hey Mom. Hey Dad. We're here. Garrett did the packing. We have the pig slippers, the ab roller and a children's book. Can't think of anything else we might need. Can you?"
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Yes I know that I am breeding attention deficit disorder. I'm just hoping that with a half hour a day, he develops only a mild case. I know that there are better parents than me out there, parents who do not own televisions, for example. I also know that there are worse parents, parents who pacify their eight month old with hours of Ed, Edd and Eddy. (Allow me to inform you that I have actually tried to sit through an episode of Ed, Edd and Eddy and it nearly killed me. It makes no sense and is a complete waste of airtime. It has been banned from my home. Take note, Troy.) I've decided that where television is concerned, I am a middle of the road kind of parent. I've got, maybe a B average. I'll trade my A for that half hour of snuggle time with my nearly comatose toddler. While we're on the subject of bad, er average, parenting, it should also be noted that I did not make my child wait until he turned one or two or fifteen to have sugar. In fact, he helped himself to his first bite at the ripe old age of three months. That's when, sitting in his bouncer, he lunged for my finger (which was sticking a pacifier back into his mouth) and heartily sucked cookie dough right off of it. I should have known he'd know exactly what it was. He'd had a major sweet tooth since the womb.
So anyway, we've been watching a lot of Scooby Doo and a lot of the Disney channel. Now there are some fine acting skills on the Disney channel. Let...me...tell...you. Kind of makes me wonder why I'm not more famous. Or, famous at all, for that matter. But I'm beginning to understand the obsession with Miley Cyrus er Hannah Montana er Miley Cyrus er, whoever she is. Other than the semi-annoying way she over enunciates her lines and does an extremely weird mouth contorting thing, she's totally cute. I just hope she doesn't turn into another train wrecking Britney Spears. I'm also beginning to laugh hysterically at The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. I mean, a character who is an uber rich supersnob and heiress to a hotel tycoon being named London Tipton. Now that's just funny. I wonder if Paris Hilton finds it as funny as I do.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Then, it snowed and snowed and snowed and we got about nine inches and my street looked like a football field covered in snow and my backyard looked like Narnia.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
My life is a far cry from exciting. Nowadays I mostly sit around shivering and eating pita chips to stay alive. I curse (fudge, mind you) the writer's strike and silently beg the producers to give the writers what they want and get on with it. I mourn the death of Heath Ledger because, for some ridiculous reason, I take it harder than most when people die too young in the entertainment industry. Especially when they are boho and live in Brooklyn and carry their kids around on their shoulders. I can't even talk about Brad Renfro and how he was all bad boy even at thirteen, in a way that, somehow, even a fourteen year old found attractive and now he's dead. I pay the bills. I cook dinner. I sniff my **flip flops. I dream of New York City and attempt to live there, vicariously, through friends. I dream of San Diego and attempt to live here in Utah, instead of in my own memories. I read my Bible every day, though sometimes it's only a few verses. I change diapers. I laugh. Often. I try, more than ever, to learn from my mistakes and to walk in the direction the Lord leads me. At the end of day, I am mostly content. Books are not born from the content. They are birthed from the twisting and turning and breaking and bleeding of life. I'd prefer not to be twisted, turned, broken or bled, thank you very much. I'd prefer to hold my bag of pita chips and have nothing good to write about. Ovary exclamation point just doesn't seem like too great a book title and my husband probably wouldn't appreciate a narrative on his sperm. If someone would like to give me their, much more interesting, life story, I'd be happy to try to write a book about it. For now, I'm rather content being boring.
*I do not generally think of myself as conservative. I am one of the more liberal members of my family, though this, in and of itself, is not really saying much for left wing thinking. In college I was a registered Democrat. However, near the end of my university days I came to realize that I find the two major political parties to be severely flawed. I do not want to be tied to either of them and am now registered Independent. I still vote and am generally accepting of the thought processes of my many Republican family members and my many Democrat friends. I just choose not to affiliate myself with one party or the other. It has become obvious to me, however, especially since the birth of the boy, that my own thought processes have swung more to the right on the issues that I choose to care deeply about. And on that note, please don't have an abortion. Give your baby to me if you don't want it. Because I want it. I really, really do. Ovary exclamation point, remember?
** Back during my junior year of college, an awful smell filled my dorm room. My roommate, Michelle, and I could not find the source of the smell. We entered the room and were hit with the aroma of skunk. We began to wander the room sniffing in all directions. Eventually we narrowed the stench down to my closet. Further sniffing brought us to a pair of unsuspecting flip flops. They smelled horrid but I loved them, so for awhile I kept them in a bag and would wear them, still. Interestingly, they didn't really smell unless they were confined. However, after about a week of the room stinking, even though the shoes were in a bag, my roommate and I came to the conclusion that, cute as they were, they had to go away. I now sniff all potential flip floppy footwear prior to purchase. It should also be noted that in Salt Lake City, flip flops are often still referred to as thongs. It pretty much makes me laugh every single time, as I picture people walking around with skimpy undergarments on their feet.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I am visiting San Diego in nine days. Praise God! I have never looked forward to being warm more than I do right now. I am picturing a sunny, 90 degree, So Cal summer. I realize that it will probably be more like 60 degrees and overcast. But guess what, 60 degrees will feel like 90. And I can't wait.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I've said it before and I will say it again and again and again, when he was born, he stared at me like he had known me forever. In some ways it felt so foreign and almost eerie to stare into the eyes of my flesh and blood but in all the ways that mattered it was as though I had known him for so much longer than mere seconds. In his face I saw the years of prayers and petitions I had sent to Heaven and becoming a mother took absolutely no getting used to. It was just as though it was something that had always been. I can say with certainly that no experience has moved me so completely than the birth of my son.
In the past year and a half, I have learned that the world is a much louder place with him in it. He has not quite mastered the "indoor voice" and his shrieking through WalMart can attest to that. I have learned that no matter how great an eater my nine month old may have been, my eighteen month old will turn his nose up at macaroni and cheese, even though he devoured it yesterday. I have learned that nothing is a more rewarding sound than the deep belly laugh of my toddler, and I'll do anything to warrant such a laugh. Yes, even dance around my house like a giant buffoon singing at the top of my lungs, theatre major style. I have learned that every animal barks or smells like a skunk and that's okay, for now. I have learned that my heart is now toddling around outside of my body and I will do anything to protect that heart. I have learned that I don't really want to French kiss my son, but he couldn't care less. I have learned that it's easier to write a blog without him sitting on me, but it's not nearly as heartwarming. I have learned that all those months of praying were well worth it. I wouldn't trade the sleepless nights early on, the lack of napping for the first six months, the pickiness, and the stubborn streak. Not if, in return, I get a fuzzy blonde head laying on my shoulder, or a chubby little hand holding my own. These past eighteen months have, indeed, been the best of my life. Hands down. No discussion. I am head over heels, mad, crazy in love, with a little man, and the husband who shares him with me.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
About a week ago, Troy got the boy up from his night of slumber and changed his diaper. When I got him dressed about an hour later, I was surprised when I unzipped his blanket sleeper and his, well, Little Garrett, was peering at me. I laughed hysterically and informed Troy that he had forgotten to put a diaper on him. But then we found it, bunched up in the leg of his jammies.
Today, Troy got Garrett up and changed his diaper. We fed him breakfast and, when he was finished, he played with the dog, I talked to my mom on the phone and Troy surfed the net. When I hung up with my mom I walked down the short flight of stairs from the kitchen to the family room. I smelled it. Horrible, stinky doody. It smelled so strong I was afraid the dog had crapped in the house. I asked Troy if he'd remembered to put a diaper on the boy because, it just didn't smell quite right. He made a face and assured me that he had, indeed, diapered the runt. I whisked the small stinker upstairs, unzipped his blanket sleeper and, there was Sir Garrett's little squire, undiaperclad and covered in brown goo. Stellar! I fell over laughing as I accused Troy, again, of not bestowing upon our son the gift of the diaper. Troy came into the bedroom and saw the diaperless whipper snapper. He began to doubt himself. "Did I really not put a diaper on him this morning?" But then we found it, pushed all the way down into the right foot of the pj. This begs the question, is Troy beginning to malfunction as a diaper putter onner or is Garrett starting to be able to pull on the tabs that remove his poop catchers?
In any case, I sent Troy to run a bath, obviously our son would need watery reinforcements after crapping himself. As I pulled the boy's leg out of the pajama I discovered the real horror of it all. His foot was completely covered in doo doo. I shrieked and he reached down and grabbed his foot with both hands. By this point I'm sure you've realized that the left foot of his blanket sleeper had acted as the diaper and a giant wad of poop was chillin' in the bottom of it. We ascertained that the boy would need a shower, lest he be bathed right along with quite a lot of poopy floaters. I lifted him under the arms and ran him to the shower where Troy climbed in and scrubbed him down.
It is the second worst poop experience we've had. The first, of course, being The Great Poopy Plane Caper of 2006. It most definitely required two parents, one shower, one load of laundry, and a great deal of laughter. On our part, that is. Garrett didn't find it funny. At all. He was quite disturbed by the large volume of guck on his feet, hands and legs. He did not like getting put into the shower in his pajamas but we didn't want to risk taking them off and experiencing droplets of poop all over the carpet as we rushed him to the bathroom.
Author John A. Shedd once said, "Simply having children does not make mothers." And I agree. But I do believe that being in the fires and taking the heat day in and day out, dodging doody infested feet and coming out on the other end only slightly singed is what makes a mother. Or a father for that matter.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I know that I am seriously missing them because I've started dreaming about them. It would appear that these dreams are on crack but that's beside the point. Take last night for example.
I was in San Diego and I went to see the MVA show. Meg was there too because she had decided to drive home from Arizona to see it. (Meg played Jo in my production of Little Women and then promptly graduated.) I went to the final dress rehearsal (why I do not know) and Meg was standing on the stage and I literally flipped out. It was really freakish behavior on my part because, while I really like Meg and miss her a great deal, I probably wouldn't flop around like a starstruck fanatic if I were to see her. Anyway, my class was putting on Les Mis which wouldn't happen for a great many reasons. For starters, I've tried to get shows approved at Mountain Valley Academy and let me tell you, if a character so much as says the word crap or falls in love or something, it's rejected for inappropriate language or behavior. So, I'm thinking they'd have a problem with the whole Fantine makes a living being a prostitute thing. Plus the innkeeper's wife does make use of the word sh*t and that would definitely be unacceptable. But, in the dream, Les Mis it was. They had a great deal of expensive scenery and pieces and I was wondering if the students had had to sell their souls to afford such a set. However, everything was circular and covered in white linens. I've seen Les Mis twice and I wasn't really sure how crisp sheets worked their way into the French Revolution. But I thought, "Ah well, this is certainly avant-garde." It got really weird when Ethan and Hannah who were playing Marius and Eponine sang "A Little Fall of Rain" from a bed...that they were in...together. That's just crazy on many levels because Hannah is a fairly high soprano, you know, Cosette style. I've never really thought of her as Eponine. But that aside, not only was it completely ridiculous staging, it was made more absurd by the fact that they couldn't get through it without cracking up. I'm thinking that when Eponine is laying there breathing her last few breaths, she's probably not supposed to be laughing. She's also supposed to be laying on the ground in the middle of a battle zone and not sitting comfortably in bed but that's really neither here nor there. It's good to know, though, that in a completely irrational dream my mind was managing to function somewhat rationally as I pondered, "What would Cosette do if she saw Marius in bed with Eponine? This is going to put a damper on that whole relationship thing." Hannah being cast as Eponine began making sense as it became apparent that I was standing in as Cosette. You know me with my charming soprano voice. Furthermore, I was draped over Michael, who was playing Valjean, in a position that, really, a teacher, former or otherwise, should not be in. I mean, it wasn't Mary Kay Letourneau style or anything but it prompted the entire class to snicker uproariously. I was more worried about the hideous wedding dress that I would have to wear at the end of the musical should I really have to go on as Cosette than I was about sobbing over Valjean's, er, Michael's lifeless body. Then, Dr. Bassett from Point Loma, showed up because his cable was out and he was bored and Stage Manager Paul knocked a gigantic ladder onto the stage and it narrowly missed knocking me out. The dream went on but I think you get the drift.
Despite the fact that MVA's production of Les Miserables was a giant disaster waiting to happen, I think I might have preferred that to Oklahoma. I'm hoping that they can redeem the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical for me. But, I don't know, when Curly busts out with, "Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling. Everything's going my way," well, I mean, who talks like that? Maybe I'll believe it when it's one of my ideological high schoolers singing it out. Although, I guess they aren't actually mine anymore. That might be why I'm having psychotic dreams about them...
Thursday, January 17, 2008
When I think of places in Arizona two things come to mind. Number one, The Grand Canyon. Number two, Lake Havasu. When we went to Lake Havasu I was, I don't know, five or six. We boated to our own private campground and, I'm sure the entire trip would have been smashing fun if it weren't for the mosquitoes. Y'all I am pretty much deathly afraid of mosquitoes. This does not bode well for my general happiness during Salt Lake City summers. Such a fear was developed as a result of the Lake Havasu Experience. We had a port-a-potty that we'd hauled out to our campground so that we didn't all have to spend a week, or however long we were there, relieving ourselves in the bushes. It was down a pathway and stuck modestly back into the brush. One day I tootled my unsuspecting kindergarten butt down the path, pulled down my bathing suit and squatted upon Sir Potty. At this moment 89 gajillion mosquitoes attacked my unsuspecting flesh and, if I remember correctly, the pain was almost unbearable. I don't even know how we ended up getting them off. All I know is that our golden retriever puppy, tied to a tree a few yards down the path, was nearly hanging herself trying to get to my screams. When all was said and done, I had 827 mosquito bites. Okay, I didn't. I think I had something like 71, but you'd have to ask my mom for the official count. Whatever the number, there were a great many of them and they caused a great deal of discomfort. I think we determined that the Satan mosquitoes had just hatched themselves and, when they saw my pasty white flesh, they knew they'd found dinner. So, uh, what we have learned is that Arizona has blazing heat and mosquitoes. Strike one and two.
But it also has The Grand Canyon. I've only been once and I must have been in about the fourth grade because every SINGLE picture of me shows yours truly wearing glasses and rocking the side ponytail. Let me point out that I have not ever needed my glasses for your average, every day, peering at a gigantic hole in the ground. I need them for seeing a blackboard. I need them for watching TV. When I turned sixteen, I needed them for driving (praise God for contacts). Apparently, in all my nine year old glory, I thought these new spectacles were stylin'. These were not awesome Tina Fey glasses. These were not tiny little wire rims that made me look fashionable and mysterious. These were big ole chunky rims. We didn't need a date stamped on our pictures, take one look at my glasses and it's obvious we were rocking 1989. Although it may have been '90. Those late elementary years are kind of a blur of layered neon socks and big bangs. It should also be noted that, during the Grand Canyon trip, I was at the height of my obsession with posing for the camera with one hip stuck way out and a hand bent ridiculously on it. It was sort of like Punky Brewster imitating Vanna White. But for this awkward little girl, the canyon itself was majesty. I remember standing in awe of sheer immensity and wondering, as I often do, what compelled the Creator to paint such a wondrous piece of art. Was it so that I could not, in my right mind, deny his existence? "To stand upon the edge of this stupendous gorge, as it receives its earliest greeting from the god of day, is to enjoy, in a moment, compensation for long years of ordinary uneventful life." John Stoddard.
I will take the heat and I will take the mosquitoes if that is the only way to take the Grand Canyon. Arizona is certainly not my favorite state, but I am glad to know that right now, as I sit shivering in the winter of Utah, there is a painted desert and a huge hole in the ground south of here, shouting the name of the Almighty God through its creases and crevasses and reds and browns.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
And I'm not talking about how some paparazzi snapped an unfortunate photo of her crying. I mean, if I had paparazzi following me all the time I'd have 42,000 pictures of myself looking like a frumpy slob with a pita chip addiction and maybe two photos where it looked as though I had finally pulled myself together. I'm not talking about the head shaving because, while that was a seriously unfortunate incident, I do feel that we are all entitled to do as we please with our hair. I'm not even talking about the whole What the heck are you doing marrying some backup dancer who is clearly after your money you crazy insane woman because, though I have no backup dancers (wouldn't want to draw your attention away from this groove) and no money to speak of, I do have the unfortunate memories of my own personal K-Fed. Fortunately we said no vows and bore no children but, nevertheless, I try not to judge other people's curious spousal decisions. And I am definitely not talking about the whole baby not in a car seat thing because, and I'll just go out there and be completely honest here, I often dream of sitting the boy on my lap to drive the two seconds it takes to get from The District Retail Center to my house. I don't do it because I pride myself on having a head attached to my neck, but I guess, and it's taken me awhile to admit this, I can wrap my brain around actually doing it and thus forgive her for her careless decision. But what I am talking about here is having two gorgeous little boys and seeming to not give a gosh dern (that's pastor's wife speak for "I'm really freakin' bugged by this") about ever seeing them again. And I have to think that something has gone terribly wrong in that pretty little head.
And ok. So I know she didn't have to be there on Monday. But you can bet your, I don't know, bottom dollar or something, that if I hadn't seen my son in over a week and my husband had full custody of him, I would not be three hours late to court. I would not be wearing my wedding dress when I finally got there. I would not start freaking out because of the media frenzy and get back in my car and go shopping. I would be on time. No, wait, I would be at least thirty minutes early. I would be wearing something sensible, like, maybe a pants suit that shrieked, "Look at all the business I am taking care of! I am taking care of so much business I should get a business woman special and you should let me see my kid." I would be begging for shared custody but, at the very least, visitation. This girl does not get to see her children until at least February 19. I think I would shrivel up and die and that's the honest truth.
What bugs me is, someone who is clearly psychotically deranged should be being watched closely. She shouldn't be allowed to wear a wedding dress to a hearing because, well, doesn't someone in her entourage glance in her direction before she leaves the house? I have to believe, for those boys, that she is just incredibly troubled and that she's not actively trying to be one of the worst mothers on the face of the planet.
We were on our way home from Israel in April of 2005, laying over for a time in O'Hare, when I saw the magazine covers confirming the rumor that Spears was pregnant with baby number one. I was exhausted from 16 hours of flying. I was infertile. I was having a gigantic pity party and my husband was having none of it. It turned into this over tired argument about how Britney Spears had just as much right to bear children as I did. No she doesn't! Yes she does!(When you've been trapped in an airplane over the Atlantic for hours and hours and hours, arguments begin sounding reminiscent of kindergarten.) While I have since retracted my thoughts that, "just because you make the completely psychotic television extravaganza, Chaotic and marry K-Fed you shouldn't be allowed the God given ability to have children," I do take just a small amount of pleasure in the fact that I can look at my husband, smile and say, "Remember how I went ballistic in the Chicago airport and said that I didn't really think she was fit to be a mother?" And he can bury his head deeper into the newspaper and roll his eyes. But he can't argue with me. Wait, did I say small amount of pleasure? Yah, I meant a lot. A lot of stinking pleasure. One point for Infertile Airport Lori.
It's not satisfying though, this feeling of being right. Because the fact remains that she's gone mad and she's got two children who need a mother. I don't think it's funny that she's turned into a total disaster. I don't want her to be the center of every joke about trailer trash. I want someone to help her. I want her poor mother to say, "Sorry, Jamie Lynn, about the fact that you're sixteen and pregnant. By the way, why did you go and do that, honey? You don't know, ah well, you've got seven or eight months before the real work begins so I'm going to go babysit your crazy sister and make sure she doesn't go anywhere in her wedding dress." I'm trying to think about what my mom would be doing in this situation. I think she'd be laying out my clothes for me. She might even be making me pancakes and taking me to my electroshock therapy sessions.
In conclusion, when I was in high school and Miss Spears (three months my junior) came crashing on to the music scene, people used to tell me that I looked like her. I used to take this as a compliment from the guys who thought she was hot--because that's back when she was hot--and a cut down from the girls who were about seven years older than her target crowd of eleven year olds and seriously annoyed by her crooning of hit me baby, one more time. Now I just have to know, once and for all, by a show of hands, er, comments, tell me, when you see me walking around with my toddler in tow, do we look like this?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Ask my son what sound a dog or a puppy makes, he barks. Ask him what sound a cow makes, he barks. Ask him what sound a sheep makes, he barks. Ask him what sound a kitty makes, he barks. Ask him what sound a bird makes, he barks. Ask him what sound a skunk makes, he plugs his nose and occasionally attempts to say peee uuuuu. My mom wanted to see a video of him doing it, so I tried, all afternoon, to get a good one. I finally did and then, accidentally, deleted it. I had to settle for the one that's posted above.
In other news I finally drove in a snowstorm. The kiddo and I went to Michael's and, though it was cold and gray when I entered, there was not a snowflake in sight. When I came out, about an hour later, my car was covered and the gray sky was...pouring snow? I think I drove about ten miles an hour all the way home. Cars were flying past me and, I'm sure, had I taken my eyes off the road long enough to glance sideways, I would have seen a few middle fingers being thrown in my direction. And I am, truly, very sorry but I'm a southern Californian. A little rain is stereotypically enough for me to get all up in a tizzy. White substances flittering all around my vehicle, guerrilla warfare style, should be reason enough for a full blown panic attack.
I have to go now. Every two seconds my son tries, rather successfully, to type his own sentences or comes precariously close to turning off the laptop or grabs my hand and screams and when I don't obey his command immediately, he shrieks in my face. I usually write blogs while he is catching some happy z's but today I was cleaning the basement and paying bills while he counted sheep. High times that was.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Seriously though, there is a lot of extra skin just hanging around that, hopefully, the little G will grow into. If he reaches seven or eight with no improvement, I might have to buy him a new bellybutton. Although this might be a good way to weed out the all the girls who are NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO DATE MY SON. It's very strange for us to see him walking around without a two or three inch bubble full of bodily fluid where other people have a bellybutton. Now, at least, he has an actual button, serious outtie though it may be.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I've seen a great deal of some and just a slice of others but they have all have left their mark on me. I'm sure that some impressions are a result of where I was in my life, what I was seeing, and what color the lens was that I was looking through. As an English student in college, I fell into a deep love with the American Writers who wrote about the country with such a raw depth that my heart was practically dripping with the blood of their words. I don't love this country because of its politics or its progressive thinking. I truly love this country because of its purple mountains majesty and its amber waves of grain. I love it for the way Cather describes Nebraska in "My Antonia" or the way I want nothing more than to float down the Mississippi in a chapter of Twain's "Huckleberry Finn." And though I wasn't ready for Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley" when I was first introduced to it, I identified with his description of California and saw it, for the first time, through the eyes of a man who died over a decade before I was even born. I love that the coast looks so different in San Diego than it does in northern Oregon. I love that there is desert and mountains and snow in Colorado and trade winds in Hawaii and moose and deer and alligators and waterfalls.
Periodically, as in, whenever nothing particularly funny or poignant or news worthy occurs in my life, I will discuss the states that I have been to, and the impressions they've given me. Who knows, maybe sometimes whatever I say will persuade you to visit the state (i.e. Wyoming) or move to the state (i.e. California) or avoid the state altogether (i.e. Kansas). And no offense meant to people who love Kansas and call it their home but I'd like to turn it into a giant, square, man made lake with house boating and water skiing in the summer and ice skating, ice fishing and ice hockey in the winter. But then, I only spent time in an itty bitty town in south eastern Kansas where the highlight of my stay was Sonic and people offered me fried chicken gizzards when I had a touch of the flu. This isn't the post on Kansas. That, in time, will come and I will give you a full rundown on the flying buttresses and the wretched Mexican food. Are you waiting with bated breath?
Friday, January 11, 2008
Last night, I took this picture of my son's best friend, Snouter. I used to see his herniated bellybutton and think, "If this is my son's physical imperfection, praise God!"But that was exactly it, I saw it as a flaw, something that made my child different from all the other babies crawling around. I realized last night, as I sat only hours away from bidding Sir Snouter farewell, that I have come to love the bump. Since Garrett began walking he would proudly shove the fluid back into his abdominal wall thus making a giant slurping sound. This would delight him and he would squeal. I know he'll miss it for a couple of nanoseconds. But I'm sure that when he is sixteen he'll be thrilled that his friends don't know him as Snout Boy. Mom, on the other hand, well, she would have been okay with it for a while longer.
Below is another shot of the wondrous button, the bellyknob, if you will. In all of its glory.
We got up this morning and our little cherub went to Primary Children's Medical Center up at the University of Utah. He got all decked out in hospital jammies, complete with no-slip socks.
And then he took some medicine that made him, well, drunk. At least, he appeared to be drunk. They told us that it would make him drowsy and that he wouldn't have separation anxiety when they took him from us. They said it was medicine. If, by medicine, they meant bourbon, than I'm sure that's exactly what it was. I've never been drunk but I imagine it is much like he was behaving, plus taking off your clothes, dancing on a table and then promptly puking your guts out--or something. Below is a short video of the drunken fiasco. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to rotate it so that you can see him in an upright position. That's okay though because this kind of shows it like it was, an acid trip. If you really must see it upright, I suggest turning your computer monitor on its side.
"Get this green thing off of my ankle. I hate it and also, please remove the tape that is on my foot and make my toe stop glowing. My toe is not supposed to glow. And hey, also GET THIS IV OUT OF MY ARM RIGHT THIS FREAKING SECOND BECAUSE I HATE IT!"
Thursday, January 10, 2008
We took this picture at my parents house on Thanksgiving Day. We moved five days later. I love this picture because we are sitting on the brink of our journey. We're staring out into the darkness and, far off, we see just a glimmer of light, a lamp to our feet. In the picture there is one person who is excited about the journey, one who is not, and one who has no idea that anything is about to happen. I like that the one who is less than thrilled is the one who is smiling the biggest. Maybe she's learned enough in this life to understand that God knows the plans He has for her. Maybe she's learned that in those plans she has hope. Maybe she's learned that it's really all about the journey.
So thanks, Heather. It was the perfect gift.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
No, really. It's true. I'm always trying to make bargains with God. As a kid I was a huge test negotiator. Oh crap, I'm not ready for this exam. Dear God, if you help me get an A on this test, I will never ask you for another thing as long as I shall live. Of course, as an adult I realize the foolishness of such a prayer and, most definitely, the stupidity of telling God that I was never going to ask him for another thing as long as I lived. When I managed to escape the evil confines of the Ex Fiance Who Shall Remain Unnamed, and found myself, miraculously held by the arms of Troy, I praised His holy name. (God's, that is. I live with Troy, I see his cluttery messes and they are anything but holy.) Thank you so much for this incredible man. If I never receive another blessing as long as I live, this wonderful love should be enough. At least as a wise, spiritually mature, and, of course, all knowing 21 year-old, I had the good sense not to tell God that I would never ask for anything else. Because then the bargaining really began. Dear God, I want to be a mother in the worst way and you know the desires of my heart and if you give me a child I won't ask for another one. One biological blessing will be enough and please grant me this petition. It was the prayer of a woman completely terrified about the prospect of giving birth. One time through the stretching and mutilating and sheer, unworldly pain would be enough. Thanks. I am so blessed to be able to say that infertility has been my darkest hour. So many people my age have experienced so much worse. And I know that the blackest moments of my life are still to come, but thus far, the barren demon has been the one thing that has shaken me to my very core. I truly believed, with every fiber of my being, that if the Lord blessed us with a child, one child, I would be satisfied.
And then Garrett was born. From the moment I saw that child's face, it was as though my own soul was somehow existing outside of my body. I remember, in a few seconds of sheer insanity, not wanting his umbilical cord cut, because he would be severed from me, forever. Thankfully I didn't express this thought as I'm sure the doctors and nurses would have exchanged glances and started me, right there and then, on Prozac, Wellbutrin and Nardil all at the same time. Every single day with that child makes my heart swell a little more with pride and love and sheer joy. Each night I thank God for answering my prayers. Often, I praise him for the months of waiting that we endured. I am sure that they made me a more patient mother. It took approximately three months, two days, 118 minutes and six seconds before I began desperately wanting another child. Dear God, remember how I told you that one would be enough? Well, um, turns out that other than those four unbearable hours, the other 21 hours of my labor weren't so bad. Turns out that the months of sleep I lost worrying about the giant needle that was going to go through my spine were for nothing. Turns out that, when numb from the waist down, I actually enjoy the experience of giving birth. And now, being a mother is my greatest joy. Could I have another one? Just one more. Please?
So far He hasn't answered my prayer, and it has officially been nine months. And yes, I realize that is long enough for most women to conceive, incubate and then spew forth a child. But I'm trying not to focus on that. I'm trying to remember the lessons I learned from the first time around. I'm trying not to waste tears or Garrett's life worrying about the blessing that may or may not come with the next month. I'm trying to believe, with every fiber of my being, that whether or not we are blessed with another biological child, this is all part of His perfect plan.
I've never had a Quiverfull mindset, I don't have a problem with people who do, it's just that I want two or three, if we adopt. It is at this point in my life that I am so very thankful that it never crossed my mind to have ten or twelve. If I'd wanted even seven, I'd be heartbroken and devastated and on the fast track to the insane asylum where I would happily pull paint from the wall and recite Shakespeare while picking lint from between my toes. Wikipedia says that a quiver can hold between 25 and 30. And I always believe everything I read on the Internet. This is off topic but, that's too many kids, dude. Speaking of a lot of kids, sometimes, living here and passing the grocery carts full of three or four or sixteen children, I have an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. It's a common feeling, this one that my ovaries are hopelessly broken.
So since adopting a quiverfull attitude would mean imminent psychiatric hospitalization, I really do only want one more to come from within. On account of the fact that dealing with this a third time would send me into the loony bin for sure, all others will be bought and paid for. (I have a JetBlue credit card now so, potentially, I could earn plane tickets by adding to my family. Now that's killing two birds with one stone!) But I desperately want that one more. That one more positive pregnancy test, that one more baby moving inside me, that one more warm body laid on my exhausted one, that one more flesh of my flesh. The thought consumes me almost as much as it did when I yearned for the child that became Garrett. I know that I may not receive the blessing again, may not get that one more. Many of the barren in the Bible received only one. Sarah had Issac. Elizabeth had John. When Rachel had Benjamin after having Joseph, she died in childbirth and, really, no thanks. And when I dare to consider myself in the company of these woman, I am honored. I pray that Garrett may, one day, be a John, proclaiming the Messiah, or an Issac, laying himself down upon the altar without so much as a murmur, or a Joseph, showing himself to be a godly man of exemplary character.
The fact of the matter remains, every night and part of the day, I pray for just one more. But here is the truth of it, I have met so many couples along this road of infertility that are still waiting for their miracle. Still waiting for their John or their Issac or their Joseph or their Samuel or their Samson. I know where they are. I know that these women do not want to be Michal. So, if you only have time in your day to pray for one extra thing, do not pray for us to conceive another child, we accept that this may not be the Lord's will. Instead, please pray that these childless couples would receive their blessing.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Today the wee one and I went to the post office and the bank and Dollar Tree to buy fruit snacks. See, I started giving him vitamins that taste just like fruit snacks and he cries because he can't have them by the handful. I let him have a baggie of them today (fruit snacks not vitamins) to curb his hunger and, when they were gone, he still went and pointed to the cabinet where the vitamins are kept. I shouldn't have given him an afternoon snack at all because he ate a terrible lunch. I dropped in on Allison from church because I was in the area and managed to find her house. She invited us to stay for lunch and, since I think it's awesome to surprise people at their homes around lunchtime and then impose on them, we accepted. Garrett, entirely interested only in what he could discover in Allison's house, ate about three bites of his peanut butter and jelly and three tiny bites of apple. He has great manners, that kid. It was such a wonderful time for me though, despite his lunch-induced tantrum. He played with the big kids and I actually had a few minutes of adult conversation, on a day other than Sunday, over a delicious salad. And then my world sighed contentedly.
*Updated to add*
In case any of you were as confused about the Buddha head as my husband, let me explain that it was a M-E-T-A-P-H-O-R. Troy read my blog and promptly questioned, "Where is this Buddha head?" I asked him what he meant. "Well, I mean, where, in our house, is it?" We do not actually have a Buddha head in our home. We do not worship Buddha. We do not have Buddha figurines. Nothing Buddhaesqe is anywhere on the premises. Just as the fish in the fishbowl do not have control over which plants or aquarium accouterments cohabitate with them, we do not always choose our circumstances, we merely explore them and make the best of them. If you are still confused and have no idea what I am talking about, just go ahead and skip to tomorrow's post. I'll be in my Buddha head. Thank you and have a nice day.
Monday, January 7, 2008
First of all, if you aren't privy to the kind of house I run, you should know that when there is a knock at the door or, heaven help us, the bell actually rings, all pandemonium breaks loose. My golden retriever springs into action as though he hasn't been fed in twelve hundred days or walked in two thousand and the person standing on the porch has a leash and a rack of lamb meant exclusively for him. (As it would be because if someone on the porch was bringing me a rack of lamb, she could just go right back from whence she came.) He starts bouncing off the walls and running toward the door so fast that his legs go sliding in every direction and, near as I can tell, he is on the brink of cardiac arrest. Garrett, gleefully leaps from wherever he has been and runs, pointing and grunting, toward the noise. The two siblings almost inevitably collide in their attempt to reach the visitor first, despite the fact that neither has adequately discovered how to, actually, turn the knob. They bounce off one another, the two-legged one laughs, and they continue on their psychotic scramble to the door.
So, after the crazy frolic occurred, I scooped up the son, shooed the canine away and turned the knob. There stood a woman and a little girl. A huge smile spread across her face, "Hi! We're here for the cleaning party." I have to admit that my first thought went a little something like this...
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I don't know who you are but you must be an angel sent by the Almighty Father. Here is a broom and a dust pan. The cleaning supplies are under the sink and, if you don't mind, I'm going to sit on the couch with my son and watch The Lion King.
This was followed quickly by the realization that I was very confused about who this woman was and why she was joining my one woman cleaning party...
Are you from the church? Do I know you and just not realize I know you? Did my husband send you? Because while that would be nice, I would have appreciated a little heads up from him so I didn't look like such a lunatic as I stood here and smiled awkwardly at you.
This was then followed with...
Oh my gosh, someone read my blog, knew I was cleaning, knew where I lived because I posted a freaking picture of the house and basically told everyone in the cyberworld how to get to it and since she has a little girl she is probably not going to kill me but what if she does and do I just invite her in and this is really, really weird.
As I thought these things, all I managed to do was smile an enormous grin, squint my eyes shut just a tad and stumble over, "Um. Oooookkkkkkaaaayyyyy." She just stood there smiling. There was a good few seconds of extremely awkward silence and finally, mercifully, she questioned, "Is this the Smith's* house?
Me: Oh! No! It's not! I'm sorry. We moved in at the end of November.
Her: Oh! That's why you look so confused!
Me: Well, I am cleaning but I wasn't sure how word got out that I was having a full blown party.
Her: I left the ward about a year ago and I got a call that there was a cleaning party at the Smiths* today. But, I guess they don't live here anymore.
If they do, let me tell you, they are very quiet, indeed. And they are more stealth, even, than the snow. And they owe me some serious rent. And I'm NOT IN THE WARD! (This is a common thought I have as it is assumed, always, that we are a little ward-going family.)
It was funny. We chatted for a couple of minutes and then it led, of course, to me having to take the canine and the small homosapien to the park because they both caught a glimpse, through the open door, of the great frontier and they had to discover it--and pee on it (the dog and, thankfully, not the boy, although I am sure, in time, that too will come). So, realistically, the angel woman who appeared to help me clean actually caused me to get less done. Maybe I should have handed her a broom while I took my boys to the park.
And then, I wonder, how long, if I'd actually invited her in and handed her a feather duster, would it have taken for her to say, "Hey, where is everyone else? And who, exactly, are you?"
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, and myself, in case someone read this blog and thought, "Oh, I know where the Smiths* used to live and now I can hide in the house and murder the unsuspecting Nelsons*.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I'd also like to respond to a comment that was posted anonymously on my last blog. By the vocabulary it seemed to come from someone here at the church and I want to assure the person that I have never once questioned that God sent us to the wrong place. Months of prayer led Troy and I here and while I may sometimes feel nostalgic for what was my home for 26 years, I have learned enough in those 26 years to know that the Lord does not make mistakes. Additionally, I am wholly committed to our ministry here, knowing, undoubtedly that God placed us in Utah "for such a time as this." With that being said, thank you for the encouraging verse.