Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day

Happy Leap Day everyone!

In honor of this blessed event, I encourage you all to, I don't know, jump over something...or...yah.

And you all know I'm really rootin' for the rapture but, in the event that doesn't happen in my lifetime, I've picked out my death date. Now, I've shared with a number of my friends that I have a sneaking suspicion that I will die at age 44 of some terminal illness. But, if that doesn't happen, I've picked out February 29, 2080. I'd like to die on Leap Day. That way people don't have to think, every year, about how you died that day however many years ago. Rather, every four years they can be like, "Oh remember how Great Granny died? Yah. That was sad. But, dude, she was old." Do you think they'll use the word "dude" in 2080? See, because, if I don't succumb to whatever disease I may have in my forties, I'd like to live to be 98. I won't be quite ready at 94--my 104 year old husband will still be gnashing his dentures in my general direction and whining that they took away his driver's license. But he'll die in his sleep around 105, give or take a month or two, and I don't want to have to live too long without him. It'll be a sad day in the nursing home when I finally expire. All the hired help will shake their heads sadly and mutter, "Now who are we gonna get to direct Geriatric Shakespeare?" I totally plan to go out onstage, mind you. I'll be rockin' Desdemona and I just won't ever recover from that whole getting smothered with a pillow thing.

Anyway, all that to say that I love Leap Day because it's like the rarest of all holidays. And if bad things happen, well, you can kind of forget about them for four years. I don't want to have a baby on Leap Day though, I think it would be super lame to only truly have a birthday twice a decade. My eighth grade math teacher was born on Leap Day. Technically speaking, he was younger than us.

Well, that's really all I have to say on the subject matter. If you're still around in 72 years, send my family a sympathy card or something.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Juno, I'd Like My Tears Back Please. Right Now!

* Possible spoilers ahead

So I've been a little under the weather lately. Feeling sick, on top of the fact that my grandma died and I live in Utah and my whole family lives in California and I'm like the only person I know without a master's degree and I've been cold for three months straight, prompted my wonderful husband to give me the afternoon off yesterday. He came home just a little early from work and sent me over to the movies to see Juno because I'd been pretty much doing nothing but talking about it for the last four days straight. I'd never been to the movies by myself before. I was afraid that I'd be viewed as, I don't know, pathetic. I was under the impression that, perhaps, a group of teenagers would throw popcorn at my poor, lonely, little head. And you know what? It was so not a big deal. Turns out there are a lot of people at the movies alone on a Wednesday afternoon.

So Juno had come highly recommended by several friends with opinions that I generally agree with. Plus, you know, it won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. It should be noted that for the past few days I have been stressing out about whether or not Diablo Cody is her given name. I mean, it can't be. Right? No one names their daughter "Devil" and gets away with it. Am I right? Of course I'm right. I just looked it up and her birth name is Brook Busey-Hunt. She must have changed it to Diablo when she was stripping. No, for real. She's a stripper turned screenwriter. I wonder, like, was she writing by day and stripping by night? It almost makes me tired just thinking about it. So anyway, highly recommended blah blah blah.

And I hated it. And by hated it I mean that my life is more than likely richer simply by experiencing the dialogue. And by hated it I mean that there were several times when I laughed out loud even though I was alone. (I've realized that I very rarely laugh out loud when in solitude. I think laughter is designed to be shared.) And by hated it I mean that the stupid film had me sitting in my dern stadium seating chair sobbing like a frickin' baby. I hate when I do that. I'm chalking it up to living 750 miles from my mommy and, maybe, like, the fact that produce looks really gross right now and I don't know if it's because I shop at WalMart or what. No but really. I don't usually cry in the movie theatre. Occasionally I'll let a tear slip out before quickly removing it because it's a war movie and all the soldiers are dying or whatever. But I so do not allow my shoulders to quiver in the movie theatre. Praise God I was alone and praise God there was no one even in my vicinity. So basically I hated it in a "I'm very glad I saw this movie but maybe I should have been forewarned that I would sob" kind of way.

If you've seen it, undoubtedly you did not sob and are wondering why I am a lunatic who saw fit to let out five or six years of emotion in a movie theatre. But then I would have to ask, first of all, if you're a mother and secondly if you're a mother who has struggled and or are struggling with infertility. In a nutshell a pregnant teenager decides to give her baby to a couple who has struggled with infertility for five years. I mean, the story is more about the pregnant teen than the adoptive couple but leave it to me to relate to them as opposed to the teenager who winds up with child after one random sexual encounter. Oh how I wish. I mean, not the random part but--nevermind. The reviews that I read labeled Vanessa (the woman in the adoptive couple) as so uptight that you wonder if you would really leave your baby with her. I never got that vibe. I always felt so much compassion for her and thought that Jennifer Garner did an amazing job of playing an infertile woman. And then I realized that I was scared. I was scared that Juno would back out. I was scared that something would go wrong. I was scared that Vanessa's hopes and dreams would be dashed again. When Vanessa puts her hands on Juno's expanding middle and feels her baby kicking for the first time, I almost commanded Juno to give Vanessa her child. But it really did frighten me. To think that, in all likelihood, we will be adding to our family not through biology but through adoption. And there is just so much that can happen. So many factors that can fall through. So much risk. Such little control.

Because I've had a baby. I know how impossibly hard it would be to give it up. I know that I couldn't do it. And, at the end of the film, when that little baby slipped into the world, I cried again, in remembrance of the birth of my own miraculous son. It pulled on every emotion I have as a mother, as an Infertile Myrtle, a Barren Karen, a girl who so very often feels like a teenager dealing with things well beyond her maturity level, a woman who sometimes longs to live in life's moments and rarely in the grease and grind of daily toilet cleaning. A girl who should have known that a movie about teen pregnancy and adoption would be her giant emotional downfall.

Stupid Juno. I hate you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

mustela putorius furo

Today we went to the miniature zoo which I have also heard referred to as Petco. Garrett is fascinated by the fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, turtles etc. Today, however, we discovered a new kind of animal. It really was a novel sort of pet for the both of us, given the fact that they are illegal in California. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! There is something Utah has that California doesn't have other than a giant salty lake. And I am actually admitting it! So, um, you know it must be good.

And now you can all be witnesses to the fact that Garrett and I desperately want a ferret. Er. Well, that is to say that Garrett thought they were cute little buggers and his mother very nearly left the pet store with one. But then she remembered the fact that she's already two cats over her preferred animal allotment so it's gonna take a couple of dead felines to make her the proud owner of a ferret.

Here is the deal. They are kind of like a cat. But whereas the world has cats, I don't think quite as many people have ferrets. I like being unique. That's, of course, why I bought an pygmy albino grizzly bear instead of a golden retriever. He just resembles a golden retriever, is all. Did you know you can litter box train a ferret? Well you can. And they can live in a cage or they can run around your house. Or both. Presumably. They can sleep up to 18 hours a day which is great because then, when the ferret owning newness rubs off, you only have to deal with it for six hours each day. Right? 24 minus 18 is 6? Math wasn't my strong suit but I'm thinking I could take care of anything for six hours. Except maybe thirty two preschoolers. Additionally, they are good hole hunters so, if I ever took up rabbit hunting, a ferret would probably be quite an asset. Undoubtedly, your life will be richer by knowing that ferrets have been used to run cables and wires through conduits. But the best part, the very best part of owning a ferret would have to be the weasel war dance.

Oh yes, you read that correctly. According to Wikipedia, the weasel war dance "is a colloquial term for a behavior of excited ferrets. The war dance usually follows play or the successful capture of a toy or a stolen object. It consists of a frenzied series of sideways and backwards hops, often accompanied by an arched back, dooking or hissing noises, and a frizzy tail."

Unfortunately a ferret's lifespan is typically between 7 and 10 years. I have a very hard time with the passing of animals in general and to have to say goodbye to something that does the weasel war dance just seems desperately tragic.

I still want one though, you know, for running wires through all my conduits.

When I was about eight I got a hamster and named him Jeremiah. His middle name was Lamentations which I still think was clever for a girl who only three years before that had given the name "Candy" to her puppy. If ever we were to get a mustela putorius furo I would probably have to let my son name it something like "Lightning McQueen" when what I really want is to call him Obadiah or Moses or Amos or maybe Bill. Garrett the ferret would have been good but, well, it's been done. Wouldn't want to call the kid and have the ferret come running.

In other news, it is 50 degrees outside. There aren't words for how giddy that makes me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are You Living In An Old Man's Rubble?

I apologize but the title of this post has nothing to do with the context. Unless, of course, you happen to be Veronica.

In middle school and high school I had a very dear friend. Her youth group often did events and conferences and mission trips with my own youth group and we usually had at least one class together in any given year. Together we make up two of the five member club known as the L.O.O.P.s (Last Ones On the Planet--who haven't had sex. I believe I've mentioned it here before but, as Seniors, we realized that one by one by one our peers had been steadily losing their virginity at an alarming rate. We were disheartened and decided that we were, more than likely, the last ones on the planet who valued purity and had ours happily in tact). We share a love for Jesus Christ, Carmen San Diego (thanks to 9th grade World Geography), macaroni and cheese, Mexico mission trips, toilet paper, and so much more that sits just on the horizon of my memories. The last nine years (sweet chicken have I really been out of high school that long?!?!) have taken us down very different paths but our colleges were close (shout out to Point Loma Nazarene and UC San Diego) so we kept in touch and saw each other on occasion. I think I can count on one hand the number of times we've seen each other since--but it doesn't lessen my appreciation of her friendship.

Veronica came to see me this past weekend. She met my son, LOOP offspring number one, for the first time. We watched the Oscars and made fun of quite a few elements such as, "Thank you life! Thank you love!" But we decided that Marion Cotillard could maybe get away with such a speech because she is French and adorable and when rendered completely speechless it might be alright to thank life and love. We ate macaroni and cheese. We went shopping at Gardner Village and found such gems as these:

We did not purchase them because, well, we do not generally spend massive amounts of money on horrid masquerade ball accouterments. We also did not want our homes to smell like the stinky store for all eternity. Yes, indeed, there is one store in Gardner Village that I positively could not work in because it smells like potpourri upchucked an entire florist shop in there.

We also found this one there and upon initial investigation I actually thought it was a pretty neat looking tragedy mask--someone must have purchased comedy because he was no where to be found. However, upon seeing the picture, I have decided that it looks a great deal like the mask that Bette Midler wore when she was in that creepy play in the movie Beaches. Not the play where she says, "The doctor will see you now." And not the play where she sings the song about Otto Titsling. The other play. The one where she sings, "She is my wife. Her mechanical heart, constantly serving 'til death do us part." Yah. This looks like the mask of someone with a mechanical heart.

Now, I'd like to bring your attention to the fact that we found giant sets of keys in three different shops on our excursion. I'd like to take suggestions for what, on God's green earth, you could do with these other than use them as a very uncommon murder weapon. I don't know. I, for one, think it was Veronica in the store, with the keys. It just couldn't have been Professor Plum in the study with the revolver. That's way too predictable. By the way, she's laughing and looking like she's been caught red handed because the store employee walked by and, well, if you look closely, Veronica has attached her own normal sized key ring to the giant one and, for the briefest of moments (caught on camera) we were both a little afraid that we'd be reprimanded. Let's face it, at 26 we're just a little past the "avile henchmen" antics of the ninth grade. Or. Wait. Clearly we're not. And I don't even think we want to be.

In any case, I had a wonderful two days with my dear friend. It had been much too long since we'd seen each other and I am incredibly thankful that she forked out the dough to come and visit me. She lives in San Francisco now and, well, she brought me Ghirardelli chocolate so I'm pretty much forever indebted to her.

Thank you, Veronica, for coming to see me. You are more dear to my heart than you can know. Thank you for being a constant friend and example of strength and Christianity. I know you don't see yourself the way I do which makes it all the more admirable. Maybe, one day, I'll be a real adult like you. Also, if any of the words I just wrote are spelled incorrectly and/or used completely out of context please inform me post-haste.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Thoughts

I'm watching the Oscars and I have decided that:

Nicole Kidman makes a very cute pregnant woman.


Cate Blanchett is amazing. I mean how does a woman become Bob Dylan. Just. I mean, how?

Katherine Hiegl's dress was wonderful but she was acting like a total nutjob.

While he's totally funny, Jon Stewart should maybe stop laughing at his own jokes. Maybe. I'm just saying.

Robert Boyle is a really cute old man. It was kind of weird that he thanked Nicole Kidman for so gracefully introducing him. But then again maybe he doesn't remember what he had for breakfast so maybe he forgot most of his speech?

Marion Cotillard. Now that surprised me. But she's gorgeous. Really and amazingly gorgeous.

Did I mention that Cate Blanchett is amazing? I maybe did but it's worth noting twice.

Jamia Simone Nash. If I could have sang like that at eleven years old I'd be...well, I don't know where I'd be but it wouldn't be sitting on my couch in Salt Lake City. I'd probably be, you know, famous. I don't know how many eleven year olds actually sing at the Oscars but I'm pretty sure I could count them on one or two fingers.

Jack Nicolson. Why does he always sit in the front row? Does he have to pay to do that? It's getting weird.

How has it been five years since Chicago won the Oscar for Best Picture? Where is the time going and why I am so very old now?

Kristin Chenoweth and Amy Adams are like actual little munchkins or tic tacs or something. I hate those dern triple threats. Especially exquisitely tiny triple threats.

I just heard Steven Spielberg say "male menopause" and, well, I have a personal problem with it.

They aren't over yet so I'm sure there is more but, given the fact I am now picturing the director of Schindler's List going through menopause, I'm going to go lay in the fetal position while I await the announce of best picture.

Um PS, why didn't Brad Renfro get his picture up there with the rest of the people who died?

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Potty Chair



Today we purchased this potty--though, not in these exact colors. It's a Safety 1st 3 in 1, in case you are so excited by the looks of it that you want to run right out and buy one as the new centerpiece on your dining room table or a food dish for your poodle. Don't misunderstand the situation here. We are in no way, shape or form attempting to potty train our nineteen month old. We just thought that if we had this charming minuscule toilet we could kind of mention periodically that potty goes in it and wouldn't it be so special if Garrett went tinkle in it so that mommy could stop spending the gross national product of Chile every month on diapers. Our son is just starting to recognize what potty and poop even are so he's not exactly ready to use this new toy. We fully intend for it to be purely ornamental for several months. When we ask him if he went poop he grabs the back of his diaper if he's dirty (and, well, sometimes when he's not) and if we ask him if he went potty he grabs the front. He shows great interest when we use the toilet, but definitely doesn't equate our bathroom visits with his wet or dirty diaper. So anyway, today I stuck it in our bathroom and I sat him down on it (fully clothed mind you). I walked over to our life size toilet and sat down (also fully clothed). "See Garrett, mommy and daddy go potty in this toilet and you go potty in your new and very cool potty chair." He looked at me, his little legs barely long enough to touch the ground. He smiled. "Garrett, can you go potty in your new potty chair?" Of course not would have been the correct answer as he was wearing the aforementioned clothing. He looked at me, turned, and fell off the potty chair as he attempted to climb down. He righted himself and stood in front of his new throne, facing it. Then, with all the exuberance he could muster he thrust his pelvis forward and stood perfectly still for a good ten seconds. It was as though, in answer to my question, he replied, "Yes, Mommy. Of course I can go potty in my new potty chair. But I'm a boy and boys stand when they go."

Touche, Garrett. Well played.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pink Is The New White, Right?

This right here would be the reason I missed MOPS this morning. This picture was taken after the dried crusty snot was removed from all over his face. Nevertheless, that bright red eye is leaking contagious germs that I suspect would not make other mothers dance with glee. This morning the 100.5 temperature that he had last night is down to a happy 97.4 and hopefully it will stay that way. He slept for 13.5 hours last night so maybe that'll help turn his eye back to a normal color.

The especially awesome part of this whole thing is that not only is snot leaking from his nostrils, not only is watery gunk leaking from his eyes, drool (for some unknown reason) is leaking from his mouth. It's as though he has no control over his facial fluids. One minute I've got him all cleaned up and the next minute his entire face is covered in salivasnottygoo.

Do you think it's like that with God? I mean, not that His face is covered with salivasnottygoo but that he lays us down. He carefully washes away all the snot. He even makes sure to get all the rest out with the nasal aspirator. He brushes away all the gooey sinstuff that's dripping from our eyes. And we're all clean and our fever is gone. We run away to brush the dog with a broom (or at least, that's what Garrett does) and when we turn back around it's only because we're covered in snot again. All I'm saying is that God must wipe a whole lot of runny noses. And I'm guessing he gets pretty tired of it.

I've gotta run, Garrett is licking the stream of snot that's dumping out of his face.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Great Wheelchair Balancing Act

I referenced The Great Wheelchair Balancing Act Games of 2008 in a previous blog and I thought that, perhaps, I should add some pictures. It should be noted that while I, myself, had success at balancing on the back wheels of the wheelchair, my head is too round or I am balanced challenged and could not keep anything stacked on my skull. My brother and cousin Kyle had much more success.

Here we have my cousin Kyle, back on two wheels and
balancing a baggie of trail mix, a tin full of candy, an upside down cup, and a water bottle on his head. My brother is the dork in the background and Kyle's girlfriend, Brynn, is behind him. My brother humorously insisted that, in order to find a measure of success with this task, your chi must be in balance. As you can see, Kyle has no problem with his Chi.






Below is a picture of my brother, and I promise he had not been drinking at Grandma's funeral even though the look on his face suggests otherwise, back on two wheels with the same items balanced on his head that Kyle had, plus some sort of empty tub. My grandpa is in the background looking on. Isn't he so cute for an 81 year old?

Finally, pictured above, is my brother with the tin and baby toy rings stacked on his noggin. We decided that Grandma needed to join in the festivities and no one was too sure they wanted to hold the urn on their lap so her picture had to suffice.

We had some close calls where the balancer nearly tipped over backward and had to be caught by an innocent bystander (usually my great aunt who might weigh 88 pounds, if she stepped on a scale just after Thanksgiving dinner). And in the moments that a competitor fell backward or darted forward, I could just about hear my Grandma burst out with her laugh and say something like, "Oh gosh, careful, Jon." If she had known we'd included her picture she would have rolled those big dark eyes and unsuccessfully hidden a smile.

She sure got herself some interesting characters for grandchildren. And if the only legacy we leave is dominating at balancing in the wheelchair she needed during the end of her life and some silly blog her oldest granddaughter authors, well, I still think she'll be proud.

It should also be noted that, at Grandma's service, the worst ever version of When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder was played. It sounded as though it was recorded in 1950 and was meant as a line dance, not a dirge. I was laughing so uncontrollably hard that all I could do was attempt to not actually cackle. This made the rest of my cousins start laughing and I am sure that, from the back, it looked at though we were a row of sobbing grandchildren as our shoulders quivered and shook. Smack in the middle of it, the singer shouted out, "All together now!" and was joined by a chorus. When that happened I literally had to cover my mouth because loud guffaws were about to escape. Finally, toward the end, he rang something to the effect of, "Ready for the big finish." (I'm not sure that was it, but you get the idea). It was so bad that I know my grandma would have died laughing. You know, if that hadn't been why we were there in the first place. So, all at once, I wasn't a pastor's wife. I wasn't 26. I was actually five years old and my grandma was doing something to make me laugh hysterically. I'm glad that the last thing I did at her funeral was laugh uncontrollably. It was ever so fitting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Camping

My dad and Garrett attempted to go "camping" twice this trip. Which means, of course, pitching a tent in the office. Last time Garrett fell asleep within about fifteen minutes and slept the whole night through. This time he literally bounced off the sides of the tent, squealed, pounced on my father, and refused to sleep. Once my dad gave up and put him in the Pack n Play, the boy was sound asleep within minutes.

This does not bode well for authentic camping trips in seasons to come.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Second Visit

It seemed that a lot of people at church were confused by my presence. Some wondered if I'd been here since they last saw me which would mean that my trip was quickly approaching the three week mark. Some, who hadn't seen me two weeks ago but knew I was coming asked if I'd changed my travel plans. Others just looked at me with puzzled expressions. I fought the urge to tell them, with a straight face, that I decided my love for California is just so intense that I am going to live here and visit Troy on occasion, instead of the other way around.

I didn't say that though. I just explained that my Grandma had poor timing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

In Loving Memory


In Loving Memory

BETTY CHARLENE SMOOT*

Born
July 27, 1928
Culver City, California

ENTERED INTO REST
February 10, 2008
Lakeside, California


Fill not your hearts with pain
And sorrow
But remember me
In every tomorrow
Remember the joy,
The laughter, the smiles
I've only gone to rest a while
Although my leaving causes
Pain and grief
My going has eased the hurt
And given relief
So dry your eyes and
Remember me
Not as now, but as I used to be
I will always remember you
And reflect with a smile
Understand I've gone only to
Rest a while
As long as I have the love
Of each of you
I will live in the hearts
Of all of you

I'm pretty biased but I think my grandmother was absolutely gorgeous back in the day. And today we celebrated her death the best way we knew how...by trying to balance on the back wheels of her wheelchair while we balanced things on our heads. First we had a service and a gathering back at the clubhouse--but then the games began. And we know she would have laughed along with us had she been there.

I'm so glad that she is no longer suffering. But oh how I miss my grandma. When we stood at the front after the service, looking at her picture and her urn, I asked my son to say bye-bye to great-grandma. I have to admit, when he looked right at her picture and waved, it tugged a great deal at my heart strings.

I love you, Grandma. And I don't think there will be a time when I don't miss you.

*The last name of this wonderful woman has been changed to protect her family from murderous stalkers.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Worst Valentine Gift Ever

So last night Troy and I watched his Valentine present. When I was out grocery shopping last week I sifted through the bin of Extremely Cheap DVDs at WalMart. I stumbled upon Anger Management and, while we'd never seen it, it was $5.00 and it would cost almost that much to rent it. Plus Adam Sandler is usually pretty funny and while Jack Nicholson appears to be a total whacko in real life, his movies are typically decent, if not good. Additionally, it had Marisa Tomei, Woody Harrelson and Lynne Thigpen who rocked in Godspell in 1973 and John C. Reilly who rocks ALL THE TIME. Can't go wrong, right?

I should have rented it. If I had rented it I might have saved a buck and the darn dvd wouldn't have taken up residence in my house. The movie made me furious and in need of some anger management. I seriously wanted to start punching people in the face. Furthermore, I think I have a pretty lenient filter. Call it being desensitized, call it being a theatre major, call it a product of the 80's and 90's but I can handle my share of sexual innuendo. But when the porn stars and cross dresser showed up I knew I'd bought The Worst Valentine Gift Ever. Um, that last sentence kind of implies that I bought my husband an adult film for Valentine's Day which I, in fact, did not. It's just that this particular film (rated PG-13 mind you) had characters that were employed by the adult film industry. Now, I don't know what's gotten into parents and/or people who administer ratings lately but for crying out loud. I thought about turning it off but, once again, I couldn't take my eyes off the train wreck and I had to know if Adam Sandler punched Jack Nicholson's lights out in the end because that's exaclty what I wanted to do. If my thirteen year old saw this movie I would be horrified. I just think that a world where Amistad is rated R and Anger Management is rated PG-13 is a world gone mad.

I told Troy that I would sell it on ebay but I just looked and there are over three pages listed for this gem of a film and guess what...not...one...bid. And some of them start at one cent. So probably I'll give it to the dog as a chew toy or something.

So Dear Really Good Cast and Not So Good Writer,
Your movie was very stupid and the sexual innuendo was just really extreme. Do you think that the only way to make us laugh is to make jokes about the size of the male anatomy? I feel as though you've all just insulted my intelligence and made me want to start punching people in the face. I challenge anyone to watch this movie and not start feeling very angry all over. Wait, no, I do not challenge anyone to watch this movie. Ever. It is almost as bad as The Pallbearer. The End.

Sincerely,
The Purchaser of The Worst Valentine Gift Ever

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day

Since I am leaving on a jet plane (thank you John Denver) tomorrow Troy and I decided to have Valentine's Day early. He has a Bible study tonight so we opted for last night. I didn't want to pay a sitter so Troy took care of Garrett while I surprised him with Chinese food or, as I referred to it last night and probably henceforth, Chinee Foose. And no, that's not alcohol in the bottle, it's sparkling cider so why I suddenly lost the ability to speak is beyond me but, when I tripped over my tongue and it came out Chinee Foose instead of Chinese food, we laughed about it for a good few minutes. That's what love does to you. Even after five years of celebrating Valentine's Day together, we still laugh like a couple of fools on a second date. Troy put Garrett down at 7:30 and came downstairs to chow main, fried rice, broccoli beef, orange chicken and chicken with mushrooms from Panda Express. Had I known that Salt Lake has a P.F. Chang's I probably would have brought home shrimp chow main and lettuce wraps. But, as I was ignorant to that marvelous fact, Panda was the establishment of choice. We ate and ate and then we scraped the leftovers back into their adorable boxes--and okay, when I think of China I think of warriors and extremes in regards to little girls and crouching tigers and hidden dragons so why is their food preparation so antithetically cute? When all was said and done, this is what we had left.


Now, it's a little difficult to see in these pictures but I am so not kidding when I say that three of five boxes are full and the other two are almost full. So here is the question: Is Chinese food truly magical? How does it do that? It seems to regenerate right before your eyes. We seriously ate until we were stuffed. And I am sure that three of us (at this point Garrett really likes Chinese food) will eat hearty portions again this evening and, if I were a betting person, I'd bet that we'll still have leftovers. But the small boxes just looked so small and the large boxes looked, well, small. And I wanted to have enough so I bought the family feast. It was cost effective and, apparently, for $25.00, we're going to eat Chinee foose forEVER.

Also, it should be noted that I not only took a shower, blew my hair dry, curled it, and put on a decent amount of make up for my date, I also wore this to, you know, tell my husband that I still think he's worth more than my usual "lounge around the house in jeans with my hair in a scrunchie" attire:



And yes, I realize that my neck looks extremely bizarre in this shot, kind of like a tortoise with a goiter. But that is so not what we should be focusing on here. We should be making note of the fact that both of my eyes appear to be the same size. I'm not even kidding you that one of my eyes is so much bigger than the other one when I smile. This weird skin flap shoves up and decreases the size of one and it is truly unfortunate. But NOT IN THIS PICTURE HALLELUJAH AND GLORY BE!


Alright so, we had a delicious dinner. Our son slept peacefully above our heads. We even danced which, if you know anything about either of us you know is a rare occasion indeed. I think it was a wonderful evening that should be duplicated often. Except that maybe next time I will trust that the small box holds enough food for two people? Then again, probably not.

******************************************************
In other news, you have absolutely got to see this video of my son. He's maybe got a little too much Carapace* blood running through his veins. Like my father and grandmother who have legendary stories told about them, this boy likes to clean. I turned my back for one minute, turned around and he was frantically doing this...with elbow grease, even.


video

Do you all hear Amy Grant belting "Every Heartbeat" in the background? Troy got me her greatest hits for Valentine's Day because he loves me like that. And you know what, there was a time, in late high school, when I was a little embarrassed to share my adoration of Ms. Grant with my peers. But the truth of the matter is that I not ashamed of my love for her. If you want the whole truth, my son and I were dancing to "Baby, Baby" like a couple of nut jobs just moments before the video was taken. And you know what, if that changes your impression of me, well, well, well...too bad. I love me some Amy Grant. There I said it.

Oh and postscript, the bananas were for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). We're feeding the families at a shelter tonight and my job was to supply a fruit item. I had chosen apples but then someone obtained a crate of them. I switched to bananas. I'm glad. If I'd been seen with a large number of apples all I could have said was, "For the horses" or "We're attempting to bake Utah's biggest pie." That is much less fun to say than, "Boy oh boy is our monkey gonna be one happy simian."



*As always, my maiden name has been changed to protect the innocent from murderous stalkers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bananas

Today I went to Costco where I purchased diapers (turns out I still had a whole bunch) and, roughly, 60 bananas. As I pushed my bananas, my diapers, and my toddler through the store I wondered if anyone would raise an eyebrow in the checkout line. I thought of different replies should I be humorously questioned about my odd purchase.

-We own stock in Dole.

- We're on a strict, bananas only diet.

- We just got a monkey.

- (Points to Garrett) We have 59 others where this one came from.

As we exited the warehouse and had our receipt marked the woman glanced at my son, who was sitting in the cart guarding the fruit. "Do you have lots of nanas?" She questioned in his direction. He just smiled and I fought the urge to give her one of my lines.

As we cruised across the parking lot, a woman gave a glance into the cart and she looked surprised. I waited until she was a few feet in front of us and I just couldn't help myself. I looked at Garrett and said, "Your monkey is going to be very happy when we get home."

So are you curious as to why we needed so much fruit or do you regularly purchase 60 bananas?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Going Home...Again

So I'm heading back to San Diego again.

I have to. I don't want to regret not attending my grandma's funeral. I know I was just there and if we could have scheduled her death I would have requested its occurance a few days earlier when I was still there the first time. But, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to cheat my grandfather out of three and a half more days with her. I feel slightly guilty that I'll be missing church again. I mean, as a pastor's wife I kind of think my job description can be summed up in two words: Attend church. But I don't think I feel nearly as guilty as I would if I wasn't at my grandma's funeral. As the oldest of five grandchildren, I think I should be present and accounted for. I can't imagine the rest of them sitting there while I walked around my house wishing I was with them. And I'm taking my kid, of course, though I'm terribly frightened by the thought of whatever toddler shenanigan he might try to pull.

And is the cyberworld aware of the fact that airlines (or at least JetBlue and Southwest) no longer offer bereavement flights? My husband spent a good hour on the phone this morning practically begging someone to give us a break. We weren't asking for a free flight, just that they would give us aifare for the normal cost instead of the, "Hi there, I'm an idiot who forgot to book my flight until three days before my trip and so you should charge me $450 for my lack of planning" fee. I mean, I think it can be agreed upon that my Grandma's death should not constitute a lack of planning on my part. But all Troy got out of that special bonding time with the phone was an address where he could write to complain. Jim Dandy!

But he is my hero. He pretty much loathes the phone and he sat patiently waiting to speak with the JetBlue manager. He brought me home ice cream from Cold Stone last night because, even though I didn't have much of an appetite, he knew I'd go for sugar. He told me that I could go back to San Diego for as long as I wanted to, even though it kills him to be away from his boy for more than two or three days (oh I'm sure he misses me also...maybe). And when I was freaking out about the cost of airfare and yelling at Garrett who was pulling my pants off by trying to climb my leg, he took my son to the playroom and told me that it didn't matter how much I spent, since it's important to me. He's a good one, that husband.

Since moving here, I've called my Grandma once a week. She couldn't talk long because she'd start to cough, but I always told her that it was just good to hear her voice. I keep thinking about picking up the phone and giving her a call. I so wish that she would answer. That's why I have to go back, to whisper a small thank you.

Thank you for always answering the phone.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm Pretty Proud To Have Those Eyes

That's my Grandma there, in the picture. I have her eyes. Well, really, I have my mother's eyes but they just seem to run in the family.

My Grandma died this morning.

It was very, very expected but I'm still kind of mad. Not at anyone in particular but her mother lived to be 97 so, until she was diagnosed with lung cancer, I always assumed she'd be around until I was at least 40.

My husband has lost most of his grandparents and I asked him if he could still hear their voices. It's very important to me that I don't forget the way she sounded when she spoke. Her voice was full of the adventures of her youth--at least it was when I listened. It climbed and fell in the memories of Hawai'i and old Hollywood. It rang excitedly in the raising of two daughters, the adoring of five grandchildren and the loving of one husband for over 55 years. I simply cannot allow myself to forget the charm in that voice.

I grew up near my grandmother and was blessed with a considerable amount of time spent with her. But it wasn't enough. I wasn't ready to say goodbye. And I wasn't prepared to be 750 miles away from her in the end. My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. Her wish was to live to see her first great grandchild. That child, Garrett, is now eighteen months old. I am so proud of her for that valiant fight, for allowing me the privilege of having her for so much longer than I expected.

I am so thankful that she lived long enough for me to see her twice during my visit last week. In my Sunday school class we each have prayer partners. Today, at eleven o'clock my time, my prayer partner asked me what she could pray for. I replied, "My Grandma is going to die soon. If you could just pray for my family. That's all I can think of right now." My Grandmother died an hour later while my husband delivered his sermon. I hadn't meant it quite so literally. At 10:00 am, two hours before she passed away, I read Psalm 139 in my class. "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

I wrote my Grandma a letter a few months ago. There were so many things that I wanted her to know and I knew I couldn't communicate them without paper. While I am not going to include the entire letter (it was mostly about memories that I would treasure forever) I will include the end as tribute and as honor to a woman that I loved dearly, a woman whose eyes I am proud to see through.

"...I hope that in some small way I have made you proud. I hope that I have grown into whatever you imagined I would when you first held me. Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother, for sharing so many of your life stories with me, and for believing in me. I will never say goodbye, for whenever you are finished with this world, I will carry you in my thoughts and you will never, truly, be gone...I just needed you to know how much I love you and how much I will miss you. Thank you for being my Grandma."

All my love for always,
Lori



This is a picture of my son and my grandma nine days ago. She would kill me for posting it, if she could. In fact, I kind of wish she would. She very nearly refused to be photographed at all because she was not happy with the way the cancer had taken her looks. But I am including it anyway because, even though my son is trying desperately to escape her lap, she is smiling. And, even if the sound of her voice one day escapes me, I just won't forget that smile.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jungle Jim's

Today it was generally gray and all full of Utah outside and the mere thought of cooping up my toddler for the entire day was nauseating. So I jumped on the Internet in an attempt to find an indoor activity that would keep the attention of an 18 month old. I did find an aquarium that sounds promising but what with Garrett frequenting Sea World less than a week ago I figured we'd save the 100 pound lobster for another day. We discovered, and settled upon, Jungle Jim's Playland. A review that I read of the establishment compared it to a Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. Given the fact that I'm totally cool with overstimulating my kid with mental 'roids (wait, when one uses the slang term roids is she typically referring to hemroids? Because there was none of that going on. Cuz. Just. Ew.) and adults ride free with a child, and a child under the age of two is only $5.50 for unlimited rides, we thought it would be a fun pre-nap trip.

When we got there I was amused by the interior. It was like stepping back into 1986. Almost as though 1986 puked out the remains of some abandoned amusement park. But, as Garrett has never actually seen 1986, vomited or otherwise, he was in toddler heaven. The only thing he couldn't ride were the bumper cars because he was too short. Too short for bumper cars but tall enough for what you are about to see, go figure.

video

In case you can't tell, the green blob whizzing by is me and the smallish blonde streak is the boy on his very first roller coaster ride. He absolutely loved it...twice. It's hard to comprehend, simply by watching the video, how fast this thing was actually going. My body was being painfully smashed into the side of the little car and any time I put my arm on the safety bar in front of Garrett to try to hold myself up, he shoved it back onto my own side. Apparently he didn't want his experience diminished by the sight of his mother's arm blocking his face. The second time around he rode with Troy and when the coaster started, uh, coasting, he broke into an enormous smile that practically screamed, "I know this coaster well. We are close, personal friends. Whatever, Dad, I suppose you can ride with me but it's not like I really need you here." On the contrary, whenever the coaster stopped to switch directions (that's right, friends, this bad boy also went backwards) the designated parent had to pull him back up into a sitting position as he had quietly slithered under the protective lap bar being that it was, you know, a foot away from his teeny tiny lap.

Aside from the coaster we did the airplane ride twice, the swings twice which he had to do all by himself because, clearly, Troy and I are taller than the 54 inch height limit. Well, that is to say that, clearly I am taller than the 54 inch height limit. Troy is a Lilliputian so he might have been able to swing right along with the toddler. (For anyone reading this that hasn't met my husband, he's actually 67.5 inches. It's just that he sometimes appears to only be four feet tall.) We rode the carousel twice. We rode the spinning car thingy ride that can only be described as worse than the teacups at Disneyland. Don't get me wrong, I think the teacups are very colorful and I find the music that accompanies them to be chipper and altogether glorious and I think that I used to love them fiercely until one day when I almost lost my Pizza Port lunch. I've been a little off ever since when it comes to spinny rides. But I did not want to lose my mother of the year nomination over something as silly as a little equilibrium, in February no less, so I endured it for my little grin monger. I just didn't look at anything but his very small body seated happily across from me. I zoned in on the golden retriever on his shirt and prayed it would be over soon. Troy and Garrett climbed around in the playground area. We taught the kiddo how to play Skee Ball and whack a...gator (whatever happened to the good ole moles?). When all was said and done, we walked right out of the establishment with no tears. He was tired and before he could cry he spotted his beloved dain dee in the carseat. That's Garrett speak for blankie, in case you couldn't figure that out. He giggled maniacally and reached for it. We're beginning to think this kid is an addict in need of some BlankAnon. Seriously. When he sees that sucker he produces this guttural laugh much like I imagine the sadistic chuckle of a dealer to sound like when he spots a new victim. Oh well, it keeps the tears from flowing so I don't really care if he's a five year old leaving Jungle Jim's with his Dain Dee. It sure beats him kicking me and yelling, "Stranger! This lady is not my mommy!" Not that I actually plan on raising a holy terror but y'all know that being in this fishbowl, the chance that it won't happen is slim. I mean it'll be just my luck, I'm sure, so we're keeping the blankie.

I'll leave you with a picture of my sweet cherub (and my sweet Lilliputian), three and a half years before the kicking incident may or may not occur. It's up to Dain Dee, really.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The San Francisco Treat

Last night, I didn’t burn the rice. This was a considerable accomplishment. When Troy and I were beginning our life together, I always microwaved rice, which happens to be one of Troy’s favorite dishes. It seemed that each and every time I attempted to make a side of Rice-a-Roni it came out burned. It didn’t matter how intently I read the stupid box, the outcome was the same. I’d open the dish to discover a few spoonfuls of edible rice in the center of crusty hardtack. It took quite some time, and several other burn victims from separate food groups, to realize that our microwave cooked much quicker than the average “cooking times included on the box” microwave. A bag of popcorn, for instance took approximately 82 seconds. “Ah ha!” thought I, “Vindication. I do not have a personal problem when it comes to rice." I was a little worried that with all the teeny tiny waves of especially speedy radiation we were being subjected to, our unborn children might have thirty two arms or we might experience premature balding or worse, spontaneously combust, but I’ve never been one to shy away from death, particularly if I save myself time in the process. Just ask my family about the near death experience my poor little Honda had when I practically drag raced her across the dirt lot behind Arco all in the name of beating Troy home from church. But back to the rice. So I opted to make rice on the stovetop, like any sensible person born before 1950 would do. Perhaps it is the pan that I choose to perform the art of rice making in. Perhaps it’s the fact that said pan does not have a decent fitting lid. Perhaps it’s the fact that one time I forgot to cover the rice and another time I forgot to turn the heat down. In truth, there are probably a million explanations for my lack of success where rice is concerned. There have to be. I refuse to believe that it is operator error. I’ve managed to salvage enough of the center, on each occasion, to feed my husband and, occasionally, myself. That wonderful man has gone so far as to say, “I like the crunchy rice.” Of course it is a dear and sweet thing to say but the keyword here is crunchy which does not even belong in the same sentence as the word rice, much less as an adjective to describe it. I mean, if we’re going to be a family who eats crunchy rice, we might as well just nibble it, grain by grain, straight from the box. When they came out with rice in the packet that you stick in the microwave and it’s finished in 90 seconds, I threw a party. We’ve been living on pouch rice ever since.

Until last night. Last night I wisely chose a pan. I wisely chose a lid. I wisely read the instructions word for word three times. I painstakingly found the perfect temperature on the gas burner. (I’ve never used a gas burner before to make rice and I was just sure that this detail alone would foil my side dish). I enlisted the husband to corral the boy. I stared at the rice for twenty minutes while it simmered. I repeatedly scrutinized whether it was simmering or burning. And I am pleased to announce that delicious rice was had and enjoyed by all members of the family.

When I was cleaning up the dishes I turned my attention to the microwave, that murderous and demonic rice killer. It was then that I remembered. While I was in San Diego our speed heater made a horrendous popping sound and proceeded to breathe its last. Troy removed its lifeless corpse from our kitchen and replaced it with a newer, cleaner, and altogether more attractive microwave. I mean, I don’t know what you want in your nuker but I think she’s a real looker. As I stared pensively at this new model I thought to myself, “I bet you would cook rice just perfectly, according to the directions on the box.” I might not have had to stare at my bubbling concoction for twenty minutes straight. Maybe some day I will try it. I mean, worst case scenario is that if the new microwave burns the dish, my husband will get the crunchy rice he knows and loves.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I do apologize for my blogging hiatus but an immense amount of fun was busy being had. In addition, the computer resides in the room that my toddler was sleeping in. We took a plethora of pictures but, as it would probably bore you to see them all, I have included one that sums up my child's feelings on the week spent in the south of California. Yep. That's pretty much the biggest smile I have maybe ever seen. It definitely has something to do with the fact that the guy in the picture with him is probably his best friend on earth. When Grandpa is around, everyone else--and I mean everyone--is chopped liver. When my dad came to get us at the airport, he was still twenty feet away when my son spotted him. This kid nearly killed himself trying to get to him as he broke into a smile a lot like the one he's wearing in that picture. It borderlines on being a tragedy that they no longer live in the same town. On Saturday night, my father went to bed at 7:55 because that's the time their campout started. It's true. My dad pitched a tent in the office and Garrett had his first ever experience of sleeping the whole night through with someone right next to him. We never wanted a child in bed with us and endeavored, right from the start, to keep him sleeping in his own crib. But my dad asked nicely and I figured that, at 18 months, we could give it a shot. The sight of him sound asleep curled up next to my dad in a tent was just about the cutest thing in the world. And the next night he slept perfectly by himself so no new "I have to sleep with my Grandpa in a tent" habits were forged.

We had a jammed week that included the carousel at Parkway Plaza, a wonderful Superbowl party with my extended family, visiting my mom's parents, seeing my students show, visiting my dad at work, Sea World, dinner with a dear friend and fellow pastor's wife (J'Lene, if you're reading this, I am so glad that we had time to catch up. I miss you tons!), time spent with Garrett's cousins, and lunch with my mom at La Cocina, the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food you will find north of the border.

The sun came out on Tuesday and Wednesday and I was able to soak in the warmth. Of course, my mom informed me that it had only been a mere 59 degrees. What has happened to my inner thermometer? I think it's broken. In any case, I am back in the land of the cold and snow. I've given my parents up for Lent* but will see them just after Easter when they visit for a few days. Maybe my dad will pitch our tent in Garrett's play room. We'll see.

*This blog writer, Lori Doozleberry, realizes that the point of Lent is not to give up something that you will already be doing or something that has an ulterior motive. On the contrary, if you choose to practice Lent, you should give up something that will be incredibly difficult, something that, when you think about it multiple times a day, causes you to pause and pray that the Lord will be with you through the sacrifice. Time with God should replace time spent with that which you have given up.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

San Diego

Um, have I ever mentioned that I love San Diego?

Quite often. Really? You don't say.

As my plane descended into America's Finest City, my boy became restless. I hoisted him up onto his chubby little legs so he could see out the window. "There's going to be a park," I whispered, "and we're going to fly through it." He looked at me, eyes twinkling and turned to stare out into the darkened world. Soon enough my trained eye recognized the Museum of Man at Balboa Park. I smiled, "See, I told you." And I almost burst into tears at the sheer thought of having my feet firmly on the coastal ground.

My husband thinks I am a complete and total nut case. I am obsessed. Luckily the illness won't prevent me from climbing on the plane and returning to the tundra on Wednesday--I'm too in love with Troy to live in a different state than him.

It should be noted, however, that Garrett most definitely understands the difference between snow on the ground and, well, not snow on the ground. He spends a great deal of time looking out the back door and screeching. He can go outside without a jacket and that's what he intends to do. All the time. It should also be noted that I special ordered warm weather and, apparently, Mother Nature hates me. Granted, I am wearing ONE layer of clothing and not eight but it is downright chilly. I suppose I shouldn't have aspired to wear a bikini in February.

I saw my students' show last night and I was greeted with an excited ambush of "Mrs. Doozleberries*!!!" and "We're so glad you're here!" Which led me think, Sally Field style, "They like me. They really like me!" But then, later, they informed me that I look sickly and white. Yah. Well. That's what two months of wearing eight layers will do to a girl.

*Names have been changed to protect this blog writer from scary murderous stalkers. The author of this blog is not named Lori Doozleberry. Though, she's starting to think she may go by that from now on.