Saturday, February 28, 2009

In honor of her THIRTIETH birthday, here are 30 great things/traits/characteristics about Monique, in no particular order. Please feel free to add anything I've missed in the comment section.
  1. Supermom!

  2. Great teacher

  3. Organized

  4. OCD, in a good way

  5. Intelligent

  6. Thrifty

  7. Lover of her family

  8. Recycler! She's green baby.

  9. Well read

  10. Interesting

  11. Food storage guru

  12. A gardener

  13. A chicken farmer

  14. Patient

  15. Excellent Achievement Day Leader

  16. Caring

  17. Very compassionate for children

  18. Cute pregnant person

  19. Excellent cook

  20. Fabulous baker (have you tried her cheesecake?)

  21. Lover of brownies

  22. Believer

  23. Trustworthy

  24. Follower of Christ

  25. Good friend

  26. Great painter/decorator

  27. Hair stylist/cutter
  28. Blogger (DUH!)
  29. Long-distance friend keeper (which is harder that it seems!)
  30. and, last but not least... drum roll please... and I mean this with all kindness and respect for true talent and use of her OCD qualities... Monique is a fantastic "nit-picker"!!! Nothing will bring you closer to her than hours spent with your neck in anguish as she carefully, considerately, and very thoroughly searches your head for nits!

I love you Mo for all these wonderful qualities and more! Thanks for your friendship and all the good chats. Thanks for loving my daughter and making her 8-12 year old years a blessing. Thanks for being a great example of a wife and mother, one that I try to emulate from time to time (because I can't keep up the rest of the time!). I feel very fortunate that our children and the church brought us together.

Happy Birthday Mo!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

All I Know About the Economy

Bill emailed me this article on Ten American Companies that Won't Cut Jobs. And I quote:

"Apollo (APOL) is a large education company almost no one has heard of. The firm has a stock market value of $12 billion and had sales of $970 million last quarter. Its operating profit on that was $307 million, so the company has obscene margins. In the last year, Apollo's shares were up almost 30%. While Apollo may not be well-known, it largest division, the University of Phoenix, is well known because it is the largest private university in the country. As people find that they need new skills to find work, Apollo is in a position to take advantage of a drop in the economy and rise in unemployment. "

I imagine we should feel very fortunate about now. We're also lucky that he's gotten a 12% raise over the past year. As Bill says, "that's not bad for a recession". I guess we'll count our blessings instead of complaining about some of the insignificant things. A job is a job right now and I'm thrilled that my husband has one. Thanks babe for having a job, going to your job, keeping your job, and supporting our family.

Elvis is in the building

I have been in many a lively online discussion about Waldorf schools as of late. I would like to say that I am full of infinite wisdom on the subject, but I'm just not. My daughter Kyra just started attending Desert Marigold, a Waldorf "inspired" school, this year (DMS is "inspired" because they don't make us pay tuition and therefore don't have the complete Waldorf stamp. Yipee for no ginormous tuition!). I've been hesitant to throw myself into the school community, just because I need a break from being super involved and I want her to get her own sense of who she is. This was a big deal for her this year. She had been at one school, with one class for 5 years and I could not have asked for a better beginning. But I digress, back to my Waldorfness.

I think I have come up with some randomly brilliant answers to some questions and concerns that have been raised about Waldorf schools and Waldorf philosophy. It must be my alter ego playing out or something like lack of sleep makes me smarter, especially since one of my replies was done at 1 in the morning. I feel a bit like Elvis: fabulous right now, but it won't last. Hopefully my momentarily brilliant legacy will follow me beyond the grave. Here goes...

A question was raised at the DMS open house: "What does the school do about gifted kids or kids who are struggling? (They didn't quite know how to answer her.) She then clarified and said 'well, what do you do with a kid in kindergarten or 1st grade who can already read?'" This is an excellent question and one that most parents want answered. It is also a question that Waldorfy people won't comment on because they don't label kids as gifted or challenged. Here's my answer: As far as the reader in Kindergarten... that's a mute point. They won't be doing any reading in Kindergarten so there is no way that they would need to be challenged in that area. The challenge will be in storytelling and memory recall. When they start learning letters in 1st grade it is done through art. So again, the challenge will be in art, not the knowledge of the letters which a child may already know. Numbers are done through chants, rhythms and rhymes. The challenges for "gifted" students might very well be in the artistic medium that the factual knowledge is being presented in.

OK, that wasn't as brilliant as I thought it was but I'm going to keep it in because it touches a little on the reading. I could (and probably should) do an entire post on the reading. Maybe later. Last night Rachel sent me this link:

Gnomes and Critics of Waldorf Schools

I must have been in a bizarro funk last night because I didn't get upset at the stupidity of the article, nor did I feel like I had to blast the author. I actually got a "yowsa" and a "that's the most amazing response ever" from 2 pretty amazing women that I respect. So now I'm glowing, bragging, and posting it for the world. (Seriously though, my head has become less and less inflated as I have typed words like "bizarro", "ginormous", and "Waldorfy". Clearly I've lost my Elvisness.)

Here are my thoughts from the article (Italics are quotes from the article, the rest is me):

“How many parents even know that Waldorf teachers study Steiner’s occultism in order to teach at a Waldorf?” Well, I think any parent that has seriously looked into Waldorf education understands that it is based on Steiner's teachings. I wouldn't call his teachings "occultism", but yes, any teacher at a Waldorf school would be very well versed in his views on child development and education. Waldorf schools follow what Steiner created as the best teaching model for children.

“I’ve encountered a claim once that Steiner’s writings are troubling...I examined it, and found the concern to be without merit.” Are some of the things that Steiner suggest outdated? Yes, I think they are and I think that the way people thought back then is drastically different than we think now in our politically correct society. He wrote and lectured in 1904. I am impressed with how much he knew at the time and how very accurate he is when looking at child development, but of course his language is going to be off because his teachings are over a hundred years old! I would say that his philosophies on teaching in the classroom could and should hold up, even in this modern day. The things that are lacking in Waldorf schools are things that can and should be supplemented at home (i.e. computer technology).

Another aspect of the Waldorf approach is its rejection of traditional medicine in favour of the Anthroposophical herbal remedies that are often sold in the schools. I think a lot of people these days are shying away from traditional medicine, but that isn't really my point. The more you involve a teacher in your child's ailments, the more input and influence they will have on how you treat your child. Some parents are going to turn to the Waldorf teacher for their Anthroposophical wisdom, but others are going to treat their child on their own. It is just like any other school, how much influence the teachers and staff have on your child is exactly how much you give them.

While Waldorf supporters see delayed reading as a positive step in a child’s development; others are not as impressed. As a reading teacher, I could go on and on on this subject, but I won't. I can say that Sweden doesn't start teaching reading until age 8 and their country is full of bright people, with a very low illiteracy rate. I can say that many students are not ready to learn to read until age 8, while others are completely competent by 3 or 4. What do you want a school to do, teach to the younger crowd and leave the rest to fend for themselves, or wait until everyone is ready? I will say that the way in which Waldorf teaches the early letters and numbers encourages the "bright" student (or the one that may already know these things) to use senses that might not be as fine tuned as their rote memory is. (i.e. while learning the letter "m", students will create a picture of a mountain with the 2 bumps of the letter. They use paint as a medium and skills that are often less fine-tuned in a child that reads and writes at a young age.) I see delayed reading and writing, with the inclusion of artistic, musical, and rhythmic expression to be an advantage to any student.

As far as the school is concerned, I don't know anything about alchemy, secret societies (they must be really secret!), or reincarnation. Eurythmy is beautiful. If their hand gestures are speaking to another spirit world, I imagine they are saying something nice, because it is very peaceful and calm during their performances and no lightning has ever struck that I know of. OK, I'm getting a little sarcastic here now so I better quit. I will say that I have had a few concerns about some of the celebrations that they hold, but nothing drastic. I would just say that sometimes it feels like they have replaced God the Father with Mother Nature and that is more sad to me than upsetting. No worries from my end.

Good luck to your friend in her school search. I would encourage her to visit the schools she looks into and go more by how she feels than anything else. I knew, and my fifth grade daughter knew, when we drove onto Desert Marigold campus that this was the right place for her. Ten years earlier I had been convinced that a Montessori school was right for her, until I toured the school and met her teacher. (I found a different school for her for K-4) I really believe that you can know what is right for your child, and it might even be different for each of your children.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another 1,000 Sun Post

This book does have a lot of horrible things that happen in it. The following is a little bit of that. Mariam was promised to Rasheed when she was 15. He was around 40-45. This happens about 20 years after their marriage. Jalil is Mariam's father, whom she never lived with. He visited her once a week for most her life. (pgs 346-7)

"Mariam lost count of how many times the belt cracked, how many pleading words she cried out to Rasheed, how many times she circled around the incoherent tangle of teeth and fists and belt, before she saw fingers clawing at Rasheed's face, chipped nails digging into his jowls and pulling at his hair and scratching his forehead. How long before she realized, with both shock and relish, that the fingers were hers...

At first, he looked at her without seeing her, then his eyes narrowed, appraised Mariam with interest. The look in them shifted from puzzlement to shock, then disapproval, disappointment even, lingering there a moment.

Mariam remembered the first time she had seen his eyes, under the wedding veil, in the mirror, with Jalil lookng on, how their gazes had slid across the glass and met, his indifferent, hers docile, conceding, almost apologetic.


Mariam saw now in those same eyes what a fool she had been.

Had she been a deceitful wife? she asked herself. A complacent wife? A dishonorable woman? Discreditable? Vulgar? What harmful thing had she willfully done to this man to warrant his malice, his continual assaults, the relish with which he tormented her? Had she not looked after him when he was ill? Fed him, and his friends, cleaned up after him dutifully?

Had she not given this man her youth?

Had she ever justly deserved his meanness?

The belt made a thump when Rasheed dropped it to the ground and came for her. Some jobs, that thump said, were meant to be done with bare hands."

(and from page 364...) Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam.

I don't have any good comments for this one. Just that I'm lucky to have found a man very unlike this man. One that does not have an accusing finger, or even an accusing mouth for that matter. I'm a lucky woman in many ways.


At one point in the book Laila and her daughter Aziza were separated. Because of the stresses in her life, Aziza began to stutter. Aziza did not talk about the difficulties of her life, but preferred to talk about other things she was learning. She talked at length about the subjects she was being schooled on and at one point was talking about something similar to earthquakes. Basically, Aziza was saying that when we feel tremors on the earth there is usually a lot more going on underneath the surface. This is quite an analogy coming from this fabulous author (pgs 324,325,327):

"Aziza stammered now. Mariam noticed it first. It was subtle but perceptible, and more pronounced with words that began with t...

(Laila) thought of Aziza's stutter, and of what Aziza had said earlier about fractures and powerful collisions deep down and how sometimes all we see on the surface is a slight tremor."

This situation reminds me that, as mothers, we have to be constantly aware of what is going on with our children. They are so precious and delicate and have been given to us to care for in this life. What a responsibility! We need to be on the lookout for the "tremors" that come up in their lives and try to be aware of situations that are causing them discomfort or stress. It is sometimes difficult to find the root of a problem, but I am often amazed at the simplicity of the root when I find it. I'm not saying my children have simple problems, especially not in their eyes, I'm just saying that at age 4 and 10 they don't have as much baggage to draw from and therefore are not as complicated as adults are. I love that Kyra's teacher is so very in tune with some of the things going on in her life and that she is usually aware of a situation if I bring it up. This has been true of 4 of her 7 teachers thus far in her schooling and I feel very blessed to have such caring educators on my side. I'm also grateful that Bill is the type of father that can sit down and have a heart to heart with his daughters without it being weird. I adore him for this quality and know that his daughters will go to him for comfort when they need it.

I'm not the most thoughtful, sensitive, and talkative mom at all times. I think this is a reflection of how I was raised and how my mom was raised. I don't remember any touchy-feely moments with my grandmother at all, she was all business. I loved her for all she did and taught me and she was always busy. My mom is super sensitive and emotional and that always bugged me as a child, and young adult. Maybe I overcompensate to not be like my mom, maybe I am just genetically built to be like my grandmother, I don't know. I am trying to find a happy sensitive medium though. I know my limitations, when I have no compassion for a situation, and I try to let my family know that the subject is something to discuss later and really do try to get back to it when I can look at it objectively and sympathetically. If I don't do that I end up saying something like, "get over it" or simply insinuating that their feelings are an overreaction. I always feel bad about this and end up apologizing, but that doesn't make up for the lack of empathy they feel from me. I guess I'm a work in progress.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love and Hope, 2 Beautiful Flowers

This is a long quote, but worth the read I think. You really get a feel for Hosseini's writing style here. He's good. (pgs 255-256)

"Seasons had come and gone; presidents in Kabul had been inaugurated and murdered; an empire had been defeated; old wars had ended and new ones had broken out. But Mariam had hardly noticed, harldy cared. She had passed these years in a distant corner of her mind. A dry, barren field, out beyond wish and lament, beyond dream and disillusionment. There, the future did not matter. And the past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion. And whenever those twin poisonous flowers began to sprout in the parched land of that field, Mariam uprooted them. She uprooted them and ditched them before they took hold...

The years had not been kind to Mariam. But perhaps, she thought, there were kinder years waiting still. A new life, a life in which she would find the blessings that Nana had said a harami like her would never see. Two new flowers had unexpectedly sprouted in her life, and she pictured (her former teacher) leaning in and whispering to her in his soft, tremulous voice, But it is God Who has planted them, Mariam jo. And it is His will that you tend to them. It is His will, my girl."

I find it sad that too many people view love and hope as an illusion. I find it even sadder that many people, like Mariam, uproot them when they do try to sprout. There are some people that I talk to and try to show an upside to that just abandon all hope and try to show me how the positive side of a situation just isn't possible. It's the classic "glass is half empty" scenario. People, I just can't live that way! If there is still water in the glass then dang it, there's hope! Don't talk to me about your sad life unless you're willing to see the positive as well. It's there, I promise. It's OK to gripe and complain about all the stupid stuff that happens in the day to day, but keep your eye on the big picture and you'll see the hope there.

I've been thinking a lot about love lately and reflecting on the crazy things it makes you do. Some of the things are good, some bad, and some just have consequences that we can't always judge the sanity of. I'm sure God created love in His image. He wants it to be a blessing in our lives and I'm certain that from the giving end all is well. But what about the receivers of that love? What happens when the love is not reciprocated, or worse yet, abused? How do we deal with the hurt that lies in the hearts of others and the problems we see developing from love given too freely? I know none of this makes sense without specific situations to reference them to, but maybe it will touch some one's heart in a positive way. I suppose I had some specific and non-specific thoughts in mind as I formulated those questions, but I assure you they were not directed at anyone in particular. It's just my mind running rampant again.

My final thought related to this quote is about the last paragraph. Mariam concludes that she really does have love and hope right in front of her and she clings to that. Not only does she see it, but she puts a face and a name to it. Although she pictures her teacher and his voice, it is the words of God where her faith really lie. God planted the seeds of love and hope in her life. He cares. He wants her to tend to them. His will be done.

Is faith in God the most important thing in this life? Is it that faith that is the key ingredient to developing and recognizing hope and love? "They say that those who have found love once are likely to find love again." This statement makes a lot more sense if you consider what it takes to develop faith. I'm sure you can find love without faith in God, but I bet it takes faith in something. My favorite thing about the above quote is that the line about God is from her teacher that preached out of the Koran. I love that God is God in many different languages, cultures, and religions. I think we all pray to, worship, and have faith in the same God, no matter where we are.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stubborn, who's Stubborn?

There is a long old story in this book about a man who is sick and won't listen to his wife who tells him to go see a doctor. (Sound familiar anyone?) He ends up with blood poisoning and almost dies, but is taking gigantic sulfa pills to get over it. He comments on an old saying which I've never heard before: (pg 205)

"A stubborn ass needs a stubborn driver."

Sounds like a good saying though, no? I'm just wondering which one I am. Both at times, I suppose. I didn't think I was that bad until lately. I've gotten 2 comments from people that I admire and they really stung. One said, "it doesn't matter what I want, you're going to do what you want to do anyway." Well, I didn't do what I wanted because of that awful comment. Then there was my mom. We were talking about an incident that happened maybe 20 years ago. She didn't even remember it but I did because it was fairly life-altering for me. She said something to me back then that made me make a certain choice because I felt she had more understanding of the situation than I did. My choice was not what I wanted and I still regret it to this day. This was my mom's comment last week, "I can't believe that you listened to me. You are such an independent thinker I would have thought you would have done what you wanted to despite what I said."

What?! Do people just say things to me and think I don't listen to them? I absorb and contemplate and sometimes rationalize everything that people say to me. Sure I'm still going to make my own decision, but puh-lease (!) I don't ignore the advice of people I love and people that love me. Alright, maybe sometimes I do, but not always. Maybe I am a stubborn ass. Crud.

I know with my kids I certainly can be a stubborn driver. But I think I'm getting better in that department as well. I've found it's much easier to work with your children and explain what needs to be done, rather than to (try to) force them to do something they don't understand. Also, if there comes I time when I really need them to just listen and do, they are a bit more responsive to my attitude. They go, do, and ask questions later. (Like at the park when I saw 2 cop cars pull up on either side and I told Tasha that we needed to go home. She listened without throwing a "I want to play more" fit and I explained it to her later.)

I think I'm going to go list in my journal all the things I've done that I haven't wanted to do but have because people have pushed me in that direction. I can think of at least 3 things already that were HUGE!!! (maybe 4) Maybe I just let people push me around when I was younger and now I've had enough. Hmm. Nope, now that I reread this, I can think of at least 5 things that contribute to who I am that I have done because of what other people have told me to do. No wonder I'm so stubborn now. Back off people! I had originally thought this post would be plea for people to tell me how un-asslike I was. Now I think I'm proud of the idea. Not really, but I don't want to be pushed around either. Hmm again.

How the Book Got It's Name

(Keeping up here with the book discussion?!) Here is Laila's dad talking. Kabul is the city in Afghanistan that they live in.

"All day, this poem about Kabul has been bouncing around in my head. Saib-e-Tabrizi wrote it back in the seventeenth century, I think. I used to know the whole poem, but all I can remember now is two lines:

'One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.'

Laila looked up, saw he was weeping. She put an arm around his waist..."

I think one could imagine arguing that Tempe has a thousand suns. But would I call them splendid? I've been thinking about this a lot lately, especially since we're in the most beautiful time of the year to live in Tempe. Well, one of them anyway. Early spring is fantastic as well. But back to the thousand splendid suns... June, July, August, September, (even) October... I don't know that I'd call that sun splendid. I'm a grouch when it comes to the heat, the temperature, and the sweat. Yuck.

Actually, I just did the math. In my 37 years on earth, in Tempe (or thereabout), I've seen 13 thousand splendid suns. Whooshta! That's a lot of sun. I think I'm going to pass out just thinking about it.

But here's my thought for this quote: what's 13 thousand miserably hot suns, compared to a handful of really good friends? I've always had friends and loved ones where I live, but not like I do now. Last summer I was ready to leave this blasted inferno. I had a brief glimmer of hope baited to me by my husband that there was some off chance that we would move. Move anywhere. Anywhere out of this place that I've spent my entire life trying to get out of. Now we're almost to that point in life (the one where Bill is done with school, I don't have a job, and Billy is all growed up) that we could up and move without too much to lose. But I'm not in an all fired hurry to move anymore. I would be really, really, miserably sad without the almost daily contact of different friends. The people I see once a week, and even once a year... I'd miss you. Am I getting sentimental in my old age? If I could cry, I would. So my challenge, dear friends (new and old), is to get me through this upcoming summer without an urge to flee the state. Either that, or come help me pack some boxes. You pick, I don't want that responsibility.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"How much are these Chickens going to cost us?"

I was quietly sitting at my laptop merrily typing when Bill glanced over at me. He said I looked so happy with the glow of the computer screen on my face and a smirk slyly working its way to my lips. What was I doing? I was replying to an email that my friend Jaylee sent me questioning the sanity that would be involved in naming her chickens Hera, Hestia and Demeter. She thinks it might be too difficult to explain who the Hera sisters are to all the friends and family that will visit her farm.

For those of you that don't know Jaylee, she has chickens. These chickens are sisters and they don't have names right now. She posted a contest to name her "stupid chickens" and has gotten many, many responses. She's not picked names yet, and got this comment just a few days ago:

"Home and Harvest: The Sisters of Hera"

Though not given a share in ruling the universe, the sisters of Hera (and Zeus) were no less deserving of honors. The original Olympian goddesses assumed “traditional” female responsibilities derived from the functions of ancient earth goddesses. Hera protected marriage and childbirth, Hestia guarded the hearth and home, and Demeter promoted fertility and the harvest. Since these functions played no small role in the earthly lives of mortal men and women, the Greeks (and later the Romans) showed them great reverence. Ancient literature on mythology and religious practices—written exclusively by male authors—offers us few tales about Demeter and Hestia. However, other relics of antiquity—artifacts, graffiti, place names, and so on—provide strong evidence that women in particular directed religious practices and daily worship primarily toward female deities.

Whooshta! That's a mouthful. I read it a couple of times, but I didn't grasp it entirely until I read it aloud to Bill. He looked at me. Then he rolled his eyes in sheer frustration. Then he asked, "how much are these chickens going to cost us?"

There it is folks, mark the date and approximate time. Bill has admitted that we are going to get chickens! Hooray for me. And, best of all, I've got them named already. Female deities and rulers of the universe living in my backyard! It sure beats the 2 stupid dogs I have running around and pooping back there right now.

The Grass is Always Greener...

At the risk of continued loss of readers, I am going to keep up my quoting of this book. I just use the quote to start a talking point. I think that is what a good book is all about, it makes you think. I will say this for Sara's sake, I got to the awful part of the book. It's in part 3. I almost cried, but really got more angry than anything else. I also saw it coming which makes me really, really mad. Seriously people... read A Thousand Splendid Suns, it's fabulous. If you are waiting for me to finish it to borrow from Sara it might take a while. I'm holding on to the good for a few more posts until I get the guts to go back to the horror.

So here's the next quote that makes me think about all the different types of people in the world and how we determine who will do what, or pass judgment on how we think someone will act or turn out in life, or just who we think someone is... (Liala, Hasina, and Giti are all girl friends that have grown up together. They are about 14/15 now and Giti is engaged to be married.)

"By the time we're twenty, Hasina used to say, Giti and I, we'll have pushed out four, five kids each. But you, Laila, you'll make us two dummies proud. You're going to be somebody. I know one day I'll pick up a newspaper and find your picture on the front page."

First of all, what makes us typecast people and think they will do something for sure? Just because that is the way of their culture doesn't necessarily make it so. I think of Mormon culture that says (or used to say?) returned missionaries come home, find a wife, and then multiply and replenish the earth within a year and I want to vomit. Especially because that doesn't happen for everyone and therefore ends up hurting someone. Basically, I hate typecasting in the real world.

Second, who says one is better than the other. Who says that getting married and having children at a young age isn't the smart thing to do? How does getting your picture on the front page make you any better/smarter than the girl that is a mother? It doesn't, provided you're doing the best you can in either role. The first woman Supreme Court Justice was first and foremost a mother, then she was a judge.

Third, being a mom isn't the only thing for a woman to do. It's not the only thing that makes you a proud woman. I just had to include that because it sounded like I was bashing anything other than having kids. Absolutely not true, at all.

And, of course, here's the personal experience that made all of these thoughts come out when I read that statement in the book. At one point of my life I didn't want to get married because I thought you did it to have kids and I didn't want any kids. At another point in my life, kids and family were the only things I wanted. I looked in awe at my sister-in-law who was in her early twenties and had 2 beautiful boys, one on the way, and what I thought was a pretty amazing life. One day she turned to me and said, "Hche, you have the smarts to do anything you want. You could be anything at all." I have no idea where that came from, but all I could think was, "no, I want what you have and I need a husband for that. Clearly smarts can't get me a husband."

Isn't it odd that the grass is always greener on the other side? I don't how green my grass is right now, but I'm pretty darn happy with it. I also don't think I like anyone else's yard more than mine, so that's a good thing. Is this where we get the thought that people are "green with envy"... from the whole grass scenario?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What's Your Buddha?

In this book that I'm reading on Afghanistan, a father ("Babi") takes 2 children to see the great Buddha statues. You can climb up them and look out over the Bamiyan Valley, which they do...

Tariq gasped. Laila did too. And she knew then that she could live to be a hundred and she would never again see a thing as magnificent...
"Look at this!" said Laila.
Babi smiled...
"It's so quiet," Laila breathed...
"It's what I always remember about being up here," Babi said. "The silence. The peace of it. I wanted you to experience it. But I also wanted you to see your country's heritage, children, to learn of its rich past. You see, some things I can teach you. Some you learn from books. But there are things that, well, you just have to see and feel."

It seems to me that all cultures and people have these types of places that really affect the way a person feels. I find it interesting that if you try to visit these places in another country, one that is not your own, you will not get quite the same feeling from it. I guess I don't really know because I've never tried that theory out, but I do know I've been places in the states when I feel the awe of the landmark is being missed by people that don't understand everything behind it. Here are a few places I've been that I feel words can not do it justice. Places that I can read about, study and know, but until I was there I didn't understand...

Arlington Cemetary
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
Ground Zero
The Sacred Grove
Utah Valley & Salt Lake Temple
Yankee Stadium

Obviously the same places are not going to inspire everyone, but these are just a few places I've been to. I've also been impressed with places like Zion National Park and the two mighty oceans as you look out at them from the beach, but there was no distinct connection or one inhaled breath that could make me feel the place. Someday I'd like to go back to the Grand Canyon (I don't remember going when I was 8), but somehow I don't think I will be so impressed. Is it possible that something can be too much a part of who you are supposed to be that you can't appreciate it when you have it? I think that might be true of a lot of things to a lot of different people and circumstances. Anyway, what's your Buddha? Where have you been that has inspired you or put you in awe?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dancing, Dumplings, and Drudgery

(Whoops, I forgot to hit "publish post" on this baby. I guess it will get hidden in my blog somewhere on the date I actually went to the ballet.) I just had to make the title of this post sound interesting and the 3 D's seemed to do the trick. The last word isn't really accurate, but I'll get to that later.

Dancing... tonight I attended Ballet Arizona's Romeo and Juliet with my good friend April. Bill's father has season tickets and was not able to attend, so lucky me was the happy recipient. It has been well over a year since I've attended the ballet and even longer for April, so we both thoroughly enjoyed our trek into culture for the evening. We had seats on the 2nd row (wow!) and were able to see the facial expression on all the faces of the performers. For this specific performance I think it was essential. I absolutely adored the little Polish dancer that filled the role of Benvolio, April preferred Mercuitio. The music, the dancing, the silly antics of the choreography were all simply delightful. Bravo for the ballet!

Dumplings... we went to P.F. Changs for a bite to eat afterwards (at 11:30!) and had dumplings and Orange Peel Chicken. It was extra yummy with some tangy sauce. My fortune said, "now is the time to make new friends." I threw it in the candle because I like the friends I have now. Stupid fortune cookie.

Drudgery... that 's what most people consider therapy to be. This evening turned out to be quite the opposite as we discussed how very different our views are considering we had some similarities in our upbringing. I also got April to agree that I should not go into counseling, which is quite a task since she thinks everyone could benefit from it. I'm glad I break the mold on that one. So I'm glad I can drudge through my past with friends instead of a stranger that I have to pay in cold hard cash as opposed to cookies, cleaning, and ballet tickets.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Some Witty Banter

Here's a great conversation from the book A Thousand Splendid Suns. This is what is going to get April to read it. The girl ,Laila, is about 9 and the boy, Tariq, is about 11 I think. They are young enough to be innocent, yet old enough to wonder about each other. Tariq had been gone for two weeks and it had been a really long two weeks for Laila to go without her best friend around. (pgs 131-133 I'm going to ... some of it so it's not too long and so you will go read the book!)

"All right, here's one," Laila said, shuffling. "What goes around the world but stays in a corner?"
..."A stamp," (Tariq) said.
..."You knew that one. Did you?"
"Absolutely not."
"You're a cheat."
"And you're envious."
"Of what?"

"My masculine smarts."
"Your masculine smarts? Really? Tell me, who always wins at chess?"
"I let you win." He laughed. They both knew that wasn't true.
"And who failed at math? Who do you come to for help with your math homework even though you're a grade ahead?"
"I'd be two grades ahead if math didn't bore me."

"I suppose geography bores you too."
"How did you know? Now, shut up. So are we going to the zoo or not?"
Laila smiled. "We're going."

"I missed you."

There was a pause. Then Tariq turned to her with a half-grinning, half-grimacing look of distaste. "What's the matter with you?"
..."I was trying to annoy you," she said.
He gave her a sidelong glance. "It worked."
But she thought his grimace softened. And she thought that maybe the sunburn on his cheeks deepened momentarily.

I just loved how the author showed the differences between boys and girls (men and women?) in such a simple light. Just the show of affection by saying that you miss someone can be interpreted in such a different way. Odd I think. But how many times do we pause when we are talking to the opposite sex thinking to ourselves, "can I say that to him?" It becomes different with close friends, but I think we may be very guarded in uncertain circumstances and probably with good cause. There were plenty of times when I worked at the hardware store that I thought male customers crossed a very clear line, especially when telling fairly racy jokes.

Then there was last night at softball. Our church has a co-ed league in which we are the only team that has any girls show up, so there are mostly men out there. I was playing first base, the ball was hit, our shortstop took a hard shot on the lower part of his body. We couldn't really see where (turns out it was the meaty part just above his knee). The guy that hit the ball asked me where he got hit. We were watching him wince in pain and trying to figure it out.
"I think he took it in the hand." he said.
"No, it looks like his elbow." I replied.
There was more wincing and then rubbing and limping so it clearly wasn't upper body.
"Maybe it was his knee," I thought out loud.
"I think it was his nads."
Did he just say that? I don't know him. Can he say that? This is church ball and we're talking about balls? Hmm. I bounce back with, "well, his wife won't be too happy."

I don't know. Maybe there are no lines. Maybe men and women aren't so different. Maybe we just think we're different and use that as an excuse not to understand each other. Really, I don't know. I do know that I just called Bill to check on how to spell "nads" (since blogger spellcheck doesn't claim it's a word) and he is fearing for his life now. I just love that man.

"A Thousand Splendid Suns"

I am reading this book that I borrowed from my friend Sara. She was kind enough to loan it to me in an effort to read a "real novel", as opposed to some lame Twilight series book. OK, the Twilight series isn't lame in the least, I just needed a vampire break. (I'm sure once the movie comes out on DVD and I'm back to Edward and Jacob I'll finish the series.) Sara read it in 3 days because she couldn't put it down and told me how depressing it was and how awful the Afghan situation was, especially for women. I'm not finding this to be true, but then maybe I've been corrupted by too much Law and Order and CSI episodes.

I'm a slow reader. I tend to stall at certain points in a book, and this one is broken into parts so of course I stop at each part. It is a fascinating book written by an amazing author, Khaled Hosseini. It is also not anything that I though it would be. It does read like a novel as you delve into the characters, their lives, their thoughts, their loves. It is beautifully written and I find tat Hosseini has some wonderful words of wisdom hidden in the pages. What surprises me most it the way he is able to express these women's thoughts when he is a man. What's that about?

I'm about 2/3rds of the way through this book now and a little while ago I started marking the pages that were inspiring to me. Sorry folks, but you're now going to suffer some book quotes. This blog seems to be the only place that I record my thoughts anymore and I really want to remember these things. Maybe the quotes will spawn some good discussion, I don't know. I like to think about these kinds of things and you might be surprised at what I pull out of a book like this.

Petty Annoyances

I guess I'm about due for another rant about things that drive me crazy. So here's a list of some of the lame things that bug me for whatever reason. Some of them are things I should appreciate, but annoy me instead, others really are troublesome.

  • My computer is not smarter than I am. I still have to tell it what to do, it won't read my mind and just bring up the sight that I mean to type in instead of the typo I did while punching the keys to quickly.
  • Kyra talks a lot in the morning and it makes me CRAZY! I should bank in on this opportunity, but I am not a talker in the morning. Email, blog comments, fine... but actual physical speech is beyond my realm until I've either showered or gone to the gym or both. Sometimes, if I've been up for a while, I even go back to bed until she leaves for school. (Rude, I know.) Thank goodness Bill drives in the morning.
  • Somebody programed 101.5 on my radio in the car. When I was flipping through stations it was the only station with any music playing and the song didn't suck so I listened. I turned off the van, picked up Tasha and then got back in to... what the crap kind of music is this?! I'm not sure, but I think this is Ryan's music and now I have just knocked him down a few notches on the people-I-can-tolerate scale.
  • Speaking of radios... EVERY time I get into Bill's car and drive somewhere is is ALWAYS on KTAR and it is ALWAYS a lame sports cast with some TOTALLY annoying announcer with not a single non-sports related thought in his head. Lame-o!
  • Softball should be fun. When it's too intense, I suck. I guess it's a good thing that I've always played on sorry teams. Except that one time, when it was no fun. Good thing I decided not to play college ball I guess.
  • People that ask questions and don't listen to the answers. If you want to tell me your opinion just say it! Don't ask me mine, not listen, then drabble on and on about how you don't agree with me.
  • Batteries that don't stay charged. Just because my cell phone battery and laptop batteries are years old doesn't mean they should have to be charged every hour, does it?! I don't want to replace them, and the computer keeps swearing at me, "your battery needs to be replaced"!
  • The mail. It just keeps coming.
  • The laundry. It just keeps getting dirty.
  • The dogs. They just keep pooping.
  • The kids... oh, just kidding!
  • Arizona weather. (Yes, now I'm going to talk about the weather, how drab) Right now, I love our weather, don't get me wrong, but just when you think it's going to be warm it's not. Just when you think it's going to be cold, it's not. The only thing we can really count on is 110+ for 2+ months in the summer. Yippee.
  • Whiny kids. (Yes, she's doing it right now.)
  • Play-by-play events of the night when I am gone from home. Both my mom and Bill seem to feel it necessary to tell me word for word what happens while I'm gone. What's more is that my mom will tell Bill who will tell me and then when my mom tries to tell me again and I tell her that Bill told me she continues to tell me. What?! Ya, I get to hear it twice.
  • The fact that Bill will read that above statement and will say "fine" the next time I ask him how it went while I was gone. Heehee, I'm just messing with him. If you don't understand this, stop reading my blog and judging our relationship!
  • Money doesn't grow on trees. But then again, I'm not much of a gardener so I don't know that tree money would help. Maybe if they grew like beets I'd be OK.
  • My brain doesn't retain information.
  • I can't seem to cry lately. Like in 2 or 3 months. Not even a sappy email or sentimental card from my mom will do the trick. I've teared up, but no drips. I better start cooking some onion-y food before my ducts close up.
  • I need a good dictionary. Kyra has a hand-me-down student dictionary from Billy, but none of the smart words that my friends use are in there. (Congrats friends that are smarter than students!) Words like diatribe...imagine a friend of mine accusing me of "a prolonged discourse". Outrageous I tell you, simply outrageous!
  • The phrase, "because of the economy..."

I think I've droned on and on enough now. I'm sure I'll come up with some more on another day. If you think of something I've missed please comment :)

Monday, February 9, 2009


I love to play cards. I always have. When I was about Kyra's age I learned to play double solitaire with my aunts in New York. Actually, I think we played triple solitaire since there were two of them and one of me. It was a lot of fun and I went home with a double deck of Pegasus cards. My Aunt Maria worked for Mobile at the time and if you remember (or were even alive at that time!) the logo for Mobile (before it was ExxonMobile) was a Pegasus. Last year I took one of the jokers from each deck and sent them to my Aunt Yota in New York. I told her how I remembered playing with them and how much I enjoyed it. She was delighted that I still had the cards, had the memory, and thought of her. In the note I sent her I told her I would come pick up the jokers from her, thus making it clear that I intended to visit again. She's all alone now and I think of her looking at those cards and remembering her dear sweet sister Maria.

About that same time I really really wanted to learn how to shuffle cards. I can recall spending an entire summer trying to conquer the "bridge". I can't remember how old I was, but I know it was the age where The Price is Right was a fun show to watch. I'd get up in the morning, do whatever until Bob Barker begged me to "come on down", and sit on the floor of my living room trying endlessly to shuffle and bridge those dang cards. That was sometime before Junior High. I would have been the only one home since my mom was at work and my brother was either sleeping or at work as well. Me, my cards, and Bob. Awe, what a nerd!

Now I've taught Kyra how to play solitaire, double, and triple. It's been fun and she is pretty intense. She slams those cards up when she sees an opening and is pretty good. You can tell it has been a while since we've played because I believe that annoying is the word Bill and I used more often when describing what it is like to play with her. She's pretty intense. I think Bill is very grateful that I am over my double solitaire phase of life. He's getting more sleep now and does not dread the time when the kids are in bed and he hears the cards shuffling.

My current card game of choice is Wizard. It takes at least 3 people to play, but is really more enjoyable with 4-6 people. It has been fun teaching new couples to play and it is a game that Bill and I equally enjoy. Although it takes a bit of skill to know what to do, much of the game is about luck in what you are dealt. It plays a bit like Hearts, with a wizard twist. Fun, fun, fun. One of the funniest nights of Wizard was when Bill and I taught his friend Larry to play. When there are just 3 players the game seems to go on FOREVER!!! Or maybe it was just because it was late and we were all a little slaphappy. Good people, good game, you can't go wrong. Clearly, the couple we've played the most with is the Lee's. In fact, there have been a couple of times that going into the last hand we've all been within reach of the win. Crystal and Bill just really enjoy this game, Jared and I like to argue. Again, what's not fun about that?! I think we would enjoy playing every week if we could. Good people, good game, good fun.

Since it is not possible to gather 4-6 of your dearest friends together on just any given weeknight, I sometimes try to get a little Wizard practice in on my own. I've been told that there is a website that you can play on, but I'm not the kind that is going to sign up and be at the mercy of strangers around the world. I also hear that you can mock each other and I just don't think I can take that kind of a beating from some guy in Japan. So, I settle for the next best thing... Hearts. Heck, that game is loaded on my computer and I play the delightful "west, north, and east". West doesn't seem to be very good, but the other two can hold their own. Tonight I didn't do so well. I don't want to talk about it.

BUT, the real reason I started this post is to nark on Bill. Apparently you can change the names of your opponents to anything you want. He likes to play with some good looking ladies. He named his competitors: Angie Harmon, Julia Roberts, and Diane Lane. The first two were a given, but Diane is a new comer. I think Bill is growing up a little, I'm impressed. She's beautiful in her own way and was fabulous in Under the Tuscan Sun. I loved that movie. What is funnier than anything is that he set Angie up to be directly opposite him at the table so he can look directly at her the whole time. Is this funny, or what? I just love that man, and he's got good taste, see:

I am going to be in so much trouble tomorrow when he sees this but it will be well worth it. I'm sure we'll make up :) It's the retaliation that I fear most. It will probably have something to do with the fact that I would have a hard time narrowing down my Hearts game to just 3 hotties.

Stinky Garbage

Me: Babe, there is chicken in the garbage. It is going to stink tomorrow.
Bill: That's nice.
Me: That was a hint to take out the garbage.
Bill: You're better at telling me what to do.

the next day...

Me: Babe, there is more chicken in the garbage now. It is going to stink soon.
Bill: Didn't you say that last night?
Me: Funny.

The garbage remains. Enter my stinky kitchen at your own risk.

It's Not Fair

It's not fair that I can be up at all hours of the morning and not need any sleep while there are many a weary momma out there with sleepless babies and toddlers. Kids puking, nursing, and teething, all while I read, type, and pass the time until the sun comes up. I'm sorry, sweet friends, that I can't help you more. I'd send your children sleepy vibes or help you stay awake and calm. But the fact of the matter is, if I was in your shoes, I'd probably be exhausted too. I love you, and pray for you in this early morning hour. Hopefully you (and I) will get in a couple more hours sleep now and be refreshed for our day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Orange Harvest

The girls picked these:

And I did this:

I got this to compost:

And this to drink:

And I still have this:

And this:

So if you feel so inclinded... come on over and harvest some of your own.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"I am Woman, Hear me Roar!"

The title to this post has a very long history to it and involves a dear friend that I love. She can roar baby, oh how I know she can roar! But then there are times she won't say a word. It is then that she hides in her house, probably in her bed, away from the world and even her family. Her husband that adores her tries to get in but she won't let him. Her children love her but won't bother her. They care for her enough to let her be. Only she can make the decision to come out and rejoin the world. Only she can save herself. Only she can make the difference in her life. We can love her and support her and point her in the right direction. Christ can take the burden, but she has to let Him. It is all easier said than done and we all probably know that. As women, we would love to take it all from her shoulders and would probably do it happily. We find it easier to take the troubles from our friends than we are able to release the pain from ourselves. If we could just step outside ourselves, punch ourselves in the face, and then get on with our own healing, then we could get on with our lives. Amen to that.

Stop speculating on who this might be, she doesn't even blog (although I may send her this link). And no, it's not me. Although Bill will tell you that I roar quite a bit, and probably bite too. In actuality, we have all probably been here... hence, the post.

I sent an email to this dear friend (because that is what I do, I email) and inadvertently told her to "roar". I told her we needed to beat Satan at his own game and stop letting him into our heads. I said we can't let him win. I told her to roar. She responded in jest by referring me to the Helen Reddy song, "I am Woman" from the 70's. There are many, many version of this song on YouTube. I'm going to include the links to several of them here:

This is the best one (Vanessa Amorosi sings it)

A Hermione Granger version (Helen Reddy singing with clips of Hermione from the Harry Potter movies)

A Political Poke at John Edwards (it's a guy singing with Edwards in several drag outfits, so rude!)

Three Degrees (the beginning is nice and jazzy with some horns going to town, then it gets too long when she goes into another song)

You can find our more about Helen Reddy here on wikipedia if you would like. It's got a good picture of her from 1974. I really didn't know anything about her until today. It turns out she is the lady from Pete's Dragon that sings "Candle in the Wind." She annoyed me in the show, but maybe it was the show and not her. I had to watch it something like 20 times in one week when Kyra was little and we borrowed it from the library.

Reddy joined the feminist movement and was looking for songs that reflected the images she felt. She was quoted by saying, "I realized that the song I was looking for didn't exist, and I was going to have to write it myself." Good for her, 'cause she is woman!!! I'm sure that Jaylee and her mom have some sort of good stories about this era and/or this song. I'm looking forward to it Jaylee, don't let me down.

My biggest problem right now is that I know this song was in a movie and I can't figure out which one. I was sure it was My Best Friend's Wedding because I can actually visualize Rupert Everett singing it and being quite obnoxious about it. I am wrong though because I checked the soundtrack and it is not there. So, dear Merrill girls, I am counting on you to clue me in. You probably have had the movie in your head since you read the title to the post.

But now, back to my original thought... ladies, ROAR!!! Repeat after me...

"I am STRONG!!! I am INVINCIBLE!!! I am WOMAN!!!"

Here are the song lyrics:
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to,
I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul
I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand
Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"I Guess he's Uncle Koko"

Tasha built a Mr. Potato Head this afternoon and couldn't get the hat to stay on his head.

Tasha: I guess he will just have to be Uncle Koko
Me: What?
Tasha: This potato head
Me: What are you talking about
Tasha: (showing me Mr. P.) I guess he's Uncle Koko
Me: (chuckling because I think I know the answer to this question) Oh yeah, why?
Tasha: Because Uncle Koko doesn't have any hair

Heh, heh. It's a good thing my brother doesn't read this blog. (In his defense, he shaves his head. In actuality, he doesn't have much to shave.) The funniest thing is that I tried to look online for a picture of Mr. Potato Head to post with this and could only find one that didn't have anything on it's head. It didn't look anything like my brother, and as I look at the one Tasha built... it kind of does look like Thomas. (Oh boy am I glad he doesn't read this blog!) I think it has something to do with the way he is kind of leaning forward like he's going to scream something at you, but he's really got his tongue sticking out in jest. That's my brother... he comes at you like he's angry but then he cracks a joke. Sometime the kids don't know what to do with that.

Speak of the Mr... could be just call him Mr. Head? Is Potato his first name?

"You Have Been Good"

(This one is a good reminder that He really has been good! No matter how hard things get, or how abandoned you might feel... He has been good and we should always remember that.)
If I never get to see another rainbow
Or share another laugh with a friend
If I never stand barefoot by the ocean
Or get to kiss my child goodnight again
If I never have another prayer that's answered
Or have another blessing come my way
If this is all I know of heaven's kindness
Father I would still have to say
You have been good
You have been good
And I am in wonder how could it be
You have been good
Yo've been so good
In so many ways you've been good to me
You have shown me mercy upon mercy
Grace upon grace time after time
And I know all to well what I'm deserving
Yet you are still so patient and kind
You have been god
You have been good
And I am in wonder how could it be
You have been good
You've been so good
In so many ways you've been good to me
If suddenly it all were ending
And your blessings disappeard
Looking back over a lifetime
The evidence is clear
You have been good
You have been good
And I am in wonder how could it e
You have been good
You've been so good
In so many ways you'be been good to me

"Audience of One"

(This song has a fabulous beat! Kyra and I crank it up and sing it loudly in the van. I never really looked at the lines of the song until now, we just love the chorus. Something is really lost here without the funky beat and the dynamics of the song. Oh well.)

Here tossed about
Reaching out
From an endless sea of souls
Losing sight
You face life
With a heart that feels alone
Well I want you to know right now
He can see you in the crowd
You... are golden in His eyes
He's right there by your side
And He knows your every heartbeat
Though... millions seek His will
Remember He would still have come
For an audience of one
Here on the earth
Rest assured
That He'll meet your every need
Through and through
He loves you
In a way you can't conceive
Oh you've got to know right now
He can see you in the crowd
You... are golden in His eyes
He's right there by your side
And He knows your every heartbeat
Though... millions seek His will
Remember He would still have come
For an audience of one
Oh can't you see it's true
He would have given His all
If it had just been you
(Chorus again)

"You'll Get Through This"

Pull the shades down on the sun
Don't want to see the morning break to another day
I don't have the strenght to face
Close the door and keep it shut
This ache just is too much for me to take
How do I begin to pray
My way back to some kind of peace of mind
But then I hear Love whispering through the darkest of times
You'll get through this
You'll break new ground
When you're lost within your weakness
Hope is waiting to be found
You'll get though this
No matter what it takes
I believe in you for heaven's sake
You'll get through this
When doubt starts tearing at
The faith deep in you don't be afraid
Just remember what He said
Nothing formed against you will succeed
As long as your heart's turned towards Me.
You'll get through this... (chorus)
Nothing formed against you will succeed
As long as your heart's turned to Me
You'll get through this... (chorus)


I have a CD by an LDS women's quartet called Providence. They really don't have a specific style that I could pick out, except to say that it is all spiritually based and uplifting. They have amazing voices and I love their version of "I Need Thee Every Hour" where they sing it a cappella. WOW! I won't retype all the words to that song since it's in the hymn book, but I am going to do a few more posts with some of their other song lyrics. Obviously some songs speak more to people than others so take from them what you will or don't read them at all. Sometimes I'm thinking of my friends when I hear them, sometimes myself, sometimes nobody at all. Some of them have a great beat while another I just recently appreciated the words since the tune seems to drone on and on. Enjoy, or don't.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Difference a Week Makes

This time last week: I could be found sitting in this same chair, in my pj's, picking lice of our little children's hair. My neck would be aching, I was cranky, and I had probably yelled at both my kids already. The kids were probably hungry but there was nothing good to eat since I had not been to the store and could not find an ounce of energy to be creative in the "let's find something to eat" department. My mom had fed me 3 meals already that week (bless her heart) and the thought of making, planning, or cooking was last on my list of survival skills. If none of this had happened, then you could find me in bed, avoiding all of the above.

Now this week, this day: I've been up (happily) since 4 am, done some serious scripture study (not the kind where you read the chapter to say you've done it), emailed and blogged (both read and typed), been to the gym (1/2 hour on the bike), showered, make-up, Tasha is ready and waiting for the bus, and I'm ready to get going as soon as I do my hair. I'm debating going to the temple to do some initiatories or going to Costco since Tasha said she didn't want to go with me. I imagine if I hurry I could do them both. The prospect of shopping does not overwhelm me and I am looking forward to cooking some meat to freeze for future meals.

So what's the difference?

No lice + No sugar = No neck pains + No headaches

Life is good again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sweet and Sour

I was about to post about the fabulous feeling that I had after talking with a friend and winning at Hearts, but now I'm pissed off beyond all belief so I think I'll introduce a new title post: Sweet and Sour. Diane introduced this concept to me when we were in YWomen's together. You simply ask what the sweetest (good) part of the day was and what the sour (worst) part of the day was. It's great if you have to struggle for a sour, but sucks if you have to search for the good. Here goes:

SWEET: I beat the computer at Hearts. (It's harder than you think) I had a great chat with a friend at the park. I don't have any lice and chatted with another friend while she searched. And I'm not lazy. I thought I was lazy, but this phone conversation cleared that up...

Friend: What are you doing these days in the afternoon?
Me: Not much, this and that. I try not to commit to anything in particular.
Friend: You're not working?
Me: No. I picked up a substitute application the other day but still haven't filled it out. I figured I could turn it in, work a bunch up front, and then be picky about when and where I go. I'm lazy though and don't want to work.
Friend: You're not lazy.
Me: Yes I am. I don't know why Bill doesn't kick me in the butt and make me get to work.
(there was a lot of in between banter now about kids and school etc. that I don't remember but this was the line that got me...)
Friend: Alright. Would you be working if you didn't have kids?
Me: Yeah, I guess I would.
Friend: Then you're not lazy.
Me: OK.

SOUR: Now I feel good again and don't want to rehash the sour. Let's just say it involves the stupid dog, dying plants, a chewed up water hose, a paper-strewn lawn, an angry husband and a bit of yelling. (in that order because the first on the list was the cause of all the rest)

So now comment and give me your sweet and sour...

Salads, Park Day, and Email addresses

I like to share salads with Tasha because she only likes the greens and a few carrot slivers. That leaves all the good cheese, nuts, and craisins for me. She'll eat just about any kind of salad too (most greens and most dressings). Her favorite is probably romaine and spinach with some sort of balsamic vinegar dressing. She will eat small crumbles of feta with this combination if you don't make a big deal out of it.

Just today I found out that she likes the middle "crunchy part" of the romaine leaf. The part that is white and has no flavor that I usually toss out. This is very strange to me that someone would choose to eat that. Again, this works out nicely for me when sharing a salad with Tasha.

Our personal favorite salad at the moment is Fresh and Easy's Craisin and Bleu Cheese for $4.06 (after tax). Yum. We grabbed one today on the way to the park. Oh, and speaking of parks... I'm taking over Mommy and Me until it is too hot to be outside. Because I'm me, and I don't care what time works for you, we're rescheduling to fit my schedule. Future Mommy and Me's will be on Tuesday's at 12:30 and we will meet at one of the many Tempe Parks. Look forward to a master schedule (as soon as I get on the ball), spread the word, bring a lunch if you'd like, and come enjoy the AZ winter. This will be a weekly venture, so join the fun. I do need your vote though... does there need to be a bathroom available at the parks we go to? Yes or no? Thanks for your input.

Also, since I have your attention... I don't have email addresses for many of you. If you have not received any email correspondence from me in the last month or so consider yourself lost in my book. When the computer crashed so did the address book. If you want to hear from me you'll have to step up, put yourself out there and email me first. Thanks for understanding that I don't hate you, I just can't contact you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

We Passed Inspection!

Bill took Kyra to school this morning and had to wait around until her head passed the official head-lice inspection. She got the seal of approval and wa-la, she's in! Yippee for us. And by us, I mean all of us! Thanks to Monique, Ester, and Crystal for helping me dig through hair and Bill for making the trek to school and being late for work while he waited around to see if she was good to go.

The last time Kyra missed this much school was in the 2nd grade when she had double pnemonia. She missed the school overnight and was quite sad. The school was supportive and missed her, but not like Desert Marigold. I've received 2 phone calls and an email from her teacher and the kids were delighted to have her back. (Both this time, and last week when we thought she could go back.) Here's the conversation Bill had with some unknown girl...

Girl: Are you Kyra's dad?
Bill: Yes.
Girl: Is Kyra here today?
Bill: Yes.
Girl: Is she staying?
Bill: Yes.
Girl: YES! (and she runs off to tell a group of kids)

That's my husband, a man of many words. Give him a break, it was still early. We're assuming this was a girl in Kyra's class. Bill did go talk with her teacher to let her know all was well.

What a relief this is off my shoulders. I felt so good this morning that I actually pretreated some stains on some shirts as I did laundry. With the 10 extra loads of laundry this past week (sheets and towels every day) I haven't had the energy to do anything other than shove them in the machine and hit the buttons. It was so bad that when I bought laundry soap I bought the powdered kind, opened it, scooped it, and THEN realized I couldn't use it in my machine. DUH. We got a high efficiency machine last summer and it only takes "he" liquid detergent. I'm such a genious sometimes.

Now I need to decide what to do with Tasha. She's still laying in bed and preschool started 5 minutes ago. That's what I get for enjoying my friends and letting her stay up late several nights this week. Oh well, I'm sure she can make up the work. :)