Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Now it's time for (drumroll) Siskel and....Earlgirl?

That's right folks, I have some new movie reviews for you. I don't know exactly how new these movies really are, but they're new to me. Both of these babies can be found under the "watch instantly" section of my beloved Netflix. (you can see my other recommendations here)

I love movies that let you inside the skin of someone from a different culture. I'm so curious about other people. It drives me crazy when I'm grocery shopping. I'll pass someone from Africa, or hear a family speaking Russian and I'll be just dying to sit down with them and hear their life stories. These movies are like being able to do just that, peek inside their worlds and walk around in their shoes.

I present to you: Arranged. An Orthodox Jewish gal works in the public school system, and ends up working in the same classroom as a devout Muslim gal. During a social studies lesson on tolerance, one of the kids spouts out, "What about this Jewish lady here, you hate her, right? Don't Muslims hate the Jews?" A really interesting friendship develops from this. Both girls are preparing for their arranged marriages, and the similarities in their lives become so much more important than their differences. The result is hilarious, fascinating, and very satisfying to my hunger for other cultures.




Don't be put off by the title of this one. It means 'guests' in Aramaic. In fact, the entire movie is in Hebrew, with English subtitles. Still, don't let that intimidate you. This story takes place during a Jewish festival that only sounds vaguely familiar to me from early morning seminary- Succoth. Moshe, a Rabbi in Old Jerusalem, is flat broke. He desperately wants to be able to provide a enough for his wife to be able to celebrate the holy festival. His wife aches to be able to have children. They decide to pray for a miracle. They're doing their best to live righteous lives, and they combine their faith in some of the most heart-rending prayers I have ever seen. What happens next is a miracle, and a test that takes on Abrahamic proportions.

I have to honest with you: religious movies sometimes have a schlock factor that repels me. When I feel like my emotions are being played, I get really cynical. The whole Work and the Glory series left me wanting to scream "Die Steeds, Die!" Isn't that terrible?
What I mean is, this movie wasn't like that. It was simple, profound and very moving. I dare you to keep from crying at the end.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008: the good, the bad and the ugly.

"So, are you having a good Christmas?"

I was asked this over and over by well-meaning relatives at our annual Christmas eve feast. They couldn't see that my smile was plastic and my eyes looked more manic than merry. They were just making conversation.

As they would ask that simple, innocent question, my mind would flash back through the last few days:

The stress, the huge projects dumped in my lap, the kids cooped up inside going mad with boredom, the mess, the roads too icy to drive on and too much shopping left to be done. I thought about the hour before the party when I'd had enough and cast my oldest out of the house into the snow and told him not to come back inside. I was nice and threw his coat out after him- that's a mother's love for ya!

"No, this is more like Christmas hell than anything." I wanted to say. I might have actually said it too, I don't remember.

All I know is, Christmas day made it all worthwhile.
We all slept in until 9.
The boys drew names for each other and some had saved for months to be able to give something really special.
I had all my sibs in town, so there was a lot of goofing off, singing while my brother played the guitar, Rock band, and karaoke.
I'd put in the time and slaved the day before on the mother of all feasts, so all the work I had to do was enjoy it.
I live for putting on feasts. I'm not fancy, I never have table decorations or anything like that.
I just love making lots of good food, for lots of wonderful people. When I've brined a turkey, mashed the potatoes, whisked the gravy, raised the rolls, baked the pies, and I lay all that in front of a crowd, it's nirvana, man. I'm in the happy zone. I can live on it for days.
Here are some pictures of the more memorable moments:

Playing a game at my Christmas day feast.

We've had crazy weather here. Usually we have snow for a day, then a warm wind will come the next day and melt it all. It was so cold for so long, the snow was too dry for building anything. Our beloved wind came yesterday, making the snow just right for making these babies.

Speaking of babies, this is my brother's first child. He's been frantic for the chance to show her off to all of us far away siblings. We got to just slurp her up for days, it was lovely.



Speaking of lovely, is there a more beautiful sight than a man in a frilly apron.


There's nothing frilly about the presents my sister's boys made for mine. Nothing says love between boys than hand-hewn weaponry. It seriously made me want to cry.

And how sweet is this? My bro doing the chords while my little guy strums.


I have to set the stage for this one. Ammon saved up and spent over $50 on this present for his brother. Can you tell how excited he is to see him open it? When I asked him what his favorite part of Christmas was, he told me it was the look on his brother's face as he opened the gift he'd sacrificed so much for.

There was a lot more that I didn't have my camera for: me freaking out and shoving my kid outside, me at 2 in the afternoonon Christmas eve in my pajamas with mascara under my eyes, frantically chopping veggies and trying not to cry, sledding, the family talent show, swimming, the video my sister took of me dancing through the house and singing "I will Survive" as my bro rocked out on the guitar, but you get the general idea. Christmas 2008- there was the good, the bad, the ugly, and the amazingly sweet.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sundays Traditions Continued- Worm Racing Edition


It was another quiet Sunday evening. It must have been a little too quiet. My husband had some handy sheet rock tape laying around and decided to have a worm race. Ever seen a worm race?

video

Talk about a good time! Gut busting laughter is good for the soul, and for your abs. I'm glad there's a lot of that to go around over here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hallelujah!

I haven't been blogging much lately, due to technical difficulties. I gradually lost the capability to do anything with my blog except embed video and add text. I couldn't even change my background! (sob) Well, my sweet husband surprised me yesterday with a rocking new computer and a beeeeee-utiful huge monitor, so I can once again share my thoughts and pictures to my heart's content. Thanks a million, sweety!

Here is a little something I've been wanting to share with you all for a while.


Our Sundays.


After we're all home from church, and we've stuffed our faces, there's always some delicious down time. I love it, because I'm not running the show. It's the Daddy Hour. Sometimes he reads aloud to us. He has a super power for reading aloud. He kept it up for 6 hours straight one Sunday. Sometimes he'll make up games. I remember one Sunday, I was snoozing on the couch when little Hercules shook me awake and said in a nervous voice,

"Mom. I think you should know, Dad's writing on the floor with a dry erase marker."


I rolled over and mumbled, "Honey, it's okay. He can do whatever he wants." Then I went back to sleep.

When I finally awoke, I found the family playing a game that kind of resembled shuffleboard, except with hotwheel cars instead of shuffleboard discs. The competition was intense. Each little area is worth a certain amount of points. You want to roll your car into the area with the most points and no further. You roll it too hard and it hits the the door, and it's negative points. Each car has its own rolling pattern, so you have to remember to push one really hard, the other to the left, and one you just barely tap. It's quite an art, let me tell you. The next time he used sheet rock tape instead of marker and I remembered to take a picture.

Good times, good times. It's an appropriate Sunday activity, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Give a Girl a Brake.

"I'm the biggest loser in the world!" I complained into my cell phone. I was parked in front of the middle school where I'd just dropped off my kids. Stuck. My van wouldn't budge. I watched glumly as other parents in big trucks, SUVs and even little zippy cars dropped their kids off and left again.
"You're not the biggest loser in the world," my neighbor consoled, "have you ever had to explain to the police(insert her embarrassing experience here)?"
"No, you're right, I've never done that. I just don't understand why my van is handling the snow so badly!"
We'd been on and off the phone since I'd begun my carpooling journey this morning. I could barely make it out of my shoveled driveway, and got stuck again on our street. The van was acting so funny, that I made a quick check to see if there were any alarm lights or on or anything. Nothing. It was a slippery ride to school, with many a spinning tire. But we made it. And there I stayed.

Before I even knew I was stuck, I called my trusty husband to tell him how terrible the van was driving on the ice.
"Just come straight here to the dealership. I'll have some snow tires put on." (The tires that I had on weren't snow tires, but they were still pretty new. They shouldn't have been a problem.) My hubby's work was only a couple of miles from where I was. I took a quick peek in the mirror. I still had curlers in. No makeup. I had visiting teaching appointments in 30 minutes.

"I can't! I have a day planned, I don't have time for this. I'll just go home, have someone else drive to our appointments, and think about it tomorrow."

I tried to pull out. And then I knew I was in trouble. None of my "getting out when you're stuck in the snow" tricks worked.(I'm actually an expert at driving in a ditch after I've slid into one. It was a useful tool in high school. There's never any snow here, so I haven't needed that maneuver in a while)

I swallowed my pride. I made some quick calls, pulled out my curlers, and submitted to my husband's superior reasoning.
"Babe, I'm actually stuck here. I can't move. It looks like I'll need some help after all."
He came. He sprinkled some ice melt around the tires. Then he took off the parking brake, and the van sprang to life and left its snowy grave.

The parking brake.

Was set.

I'd driven the entire way with the parking brake on.

"You're lucky there was snow, or your tires might have caught fire and burned up the van."

"Hummph."

In my defense, it's MY van. I never set the parking break unless I'm somewhere on a hill, and then I remember to release it, because I'M the one that set it. HE had driven my van last, and set the parking break out of habit. The light for said brake is on a little console that's blocked from view by the steering wheel. I never think to look there.

"Are you mad? Are you mad at me because I set the parking break?" He asked with a smile in his voice.

I couldn't decide. He explained that he always sets the parking break when he drives the van in case some child climbs in, puts the car in neutral and squishes someone. (Which in our family is a distinct possibility) How can you be mad at someone for that?
At least from now until the end of time, I will remember to check the parking brake. And I'll have a good story to tell. That's something, right?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sweet Niblets, I'm Outed!

I've been under the blogger radar for a while.

What have I been doing?
Laying on the couch.

Sick.

With a cough.

Hacking up a lung. I actually lost my voice for about a week. I got so sick that I couldn't cook dinner, so I brought home Taco Bell. Ever heard of Delhi Belly? I got Taco Belly. That's right food poisoning on top of whatever else I had. Then my husband was out of town and MY DOG was sick on the carpet. (Tia Juana, I'm SO getting your pet aversion right now!) I'm often accused of getting too gross on my blog, so I'll spare you the details except to say that I want new carpet.

With all this quality time I've had on the couch, I've picked up a dirty, embarrassing, shameful habit. See, when you don't feel well enough to do anything else, you're entertained by things you wouldn't ordinarily be entertained by.

Okay, I'll tell you.

(Drawing a deep cleansing breath)
My name is Earlgirl, and I'm addicted to Hannah Montana.
There I've said it.

Don't judge me, I've been very ill.

At first it was just curiosity. "What IS all this about Hannah Montana?" I said to myself. I watched the first episode and groaned. Then I watched another, and I cracked a smile. Then I watched more and more until now my three year old and I have watched three seasons and sing along with the music.
"You get the BEST OF BOTH WORLDS, chill it out take it slow, then you ROCK OUT THE SHOW....."

It's come to this.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Revenge of the Comeback

My cousin Eric loves to make movies- movies that have lots of 'action'. 'Action' means guns, fighting, explosions and blood. He also has a killer quirky sense of humor. Getting tapped to act in one of Eric's movies makes my boys' year. Eric is very careful to make sure I approve of whatever level of 'action' a movie, involving my boys, has. There's a lot of blood in this one, but it's hilarious. Good job Eric, it's your best yet!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beautiful Courage

I got to do something wonderful on Sunday. I sat in the front row and watched my father speak in Sacrament meeting. It was an amazing, inspiring sight. No one in the congregation had any idea how difficult it was for him, how terrifying.

Some of you might remember me mentioning my Dad's special circumstances before. The man that raised me was an ultra-confident bomber pilot. He had positions in the church of responsibility. He was outgoing and friendly, with a bit of swagger to him. He was technical and precise, working as an engineer after he retired from the Air Force.

Then he hit some black ice one day and rolled his truck seven times, hitting his head each time.

His life is so different now. The swagger has given way to humility and tenderness. He needs a lot of help, and he's so gracious and thankful to receive it. He serves in the temple every week, sometimes more. He thrives on his 'grandpa hugs' and has a close relationship with each of my boys.
When my Dad took the pulpit, he was shaking. He smiled and mouthed to my mom sitting beside me, "I can't do this!" And he really couldn't. After hours of study, he wouldn't remember what his subject was. In the middle of a point, he would lose his train of thought. My mom worked with him for hours and hours. She made a booklet of notes for him, each page with a single enlarged word or two, stapled together so they wouldn't get mixed up.

When he began to speak, he set his notes aside, too scared to use them. But he spoke clearly, sweetly and humbly. He made all his points. He needed help remembering a word or two that eluded him, but the spirit of what he said was powerful.

Simply put, my Dad was blessed for his beautiful courage and his faith. He took a step into the dark, knowing he didn't have the ability to do what was asked of him. His capabilities were magnified, he was sustained. It was an amazing, humbling thing to witness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Fell in Love

I saw something a couple of weeks ago, and I fell hard for it. It's in my hot little hands now, and it's my newest, bestest friend. My video phone.


Know what I can do with it?
Call my family and talk with them face to face.

Know what else I can do? Get four of us on the screen at the same time talking face to face!

I know. It's so cool. Does it get any better?
Yes.

I can record such sparkling and witty exchanges and save them as video files on my computer.

But wait! There's more!

She got one too, so now I can call her and show her my new haircut or earrings or cute shirt that I got on clearance. I don't have to wait until one of us can find the perfect moment between appointments, naps and physical discipline.

I got so excited by it, that I actually have become a real life Bidnesswoman. I've decided to distribute these babies! I never, ever would have thought that I could do it without the example and encouragement of some very chic real businesswoman friends. So until I am as cool as they are, I get to dress up and play with my phone for people. And think about this: if you get one, you can call me and I can make you laugh by pretending to pick my nose.

Want some more details?

It works over the internet (only high speed DSL or cable will do, dial-up will make you look fat), so you don't have to pay long distance ever again, or even local service. (!!!)

You get to keep your same phone number.

When you aren't using it, it entertains you as a digital photo frame.

The phone is free. You just have to pay $30 a month for the service. Because the phone is so spendy to make, you sign a two year contract just like a cell phone.

If you want someone else to have one too, like a grandma or sister far away or even anywhere in the world, there are family plans where you get a second phone to send to them for just $11 more a month.

It has every regular phone feature that I ever knew existed.

The sound quality is like a really good cell phone connection.

It does a whole lot more, like it can hook up to your TV so you can blow the image up reeeaaaalllly big if you want to. That would work if you were having a joint Family Home Evening with someone on the other side of the country.


How am I doing? Do I sound business savvy yet?
So, if you want one of these babies, you can get one all by yourself here, or you can email me, or even better, call me and I'll come to your house and we can play phones together!
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Fantastic Idea for a New Business

I had a flash of inspiration the other day. You know what I would be so good at? I could totally do this for a living. I could come to the hospital with you when you're in labor and having your baby. My job would be to play appropriate music to get things going, to create a 'mood'. Picture this in your mind:

It's your big day, and you're in the hospital. You're laboring in the bed all attached to monitors. Your husband is coaching you through the Lamaze breathing. When a really hard contraction hits, you see me peek up from the foot of your bed blasting Is there Anyone out there cause it's getting harder and harder to breathe! How cool would that be?

Or, say you had an epidural.... there's always Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.

I could fit a song to any situation. What about a C section? I've got you covered: Cheryl Crow's The First Cut is the Deepest. I would be there with you through it all.

Fully dilated and ready to go? Salt and Peppa fits the bill with Push It.

Baby's crowning? A little Johnny Cash will set the mood.... "And it burns, burns, burns, the Ring of Fire! The Ring of Fire!"

How about that critical postpartum recovery time? Nothing would be better than Natalie Inbruglia's I'm Torn.

Think about it gals. This experience could be yours. Wouldn't that be AWESOME?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Loving Tribute from my Aunt/Nextdoor Neighbor

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My Aunt posted this lovely photo of me from our Elder's Quorum murder mystery night a couple of weeks ago. I had a fabulous time tapping into my inner strumpet-tart-scarlet woman-crazy ex-wife. She included this touching, emotional tribute:

"I have this neighbor that a lot of people seem to admire and look up to. I think it is time to set the record straight. I mean sure, she looks wonderful when she shows up at church, together, nicely dressed, with a swarm of little boys all in their white shirts and ties, behaving respectably (mostly) while the talks are going on.

But what most people DON'T know is that they have a chicken killing dog (our poor innocent little chickens!) who leaves their lawn clean while leaving little "presents" on ours, they leave hazardous objects on their driveway that kids (mine) can break their arms on, there's trails on our lawn made by the aforementioned horde of little boys (and dog), that big strong husband of hers breaks trampolines (ours), and they are always "borrowing" stuff that they seem to have run out of. I caught a picture of the real Earlgirl, here included, so that people no longer need be decieved.

If she tries to tell you that we killed her dog, flooded their home, broke her kid's arm, or borrow their stuff all the time too, it's just the kind of thing she would do. Don't believe a word of it!!!"
.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Silly, Silly Husband (Warning- Disturbing Images)

I have a very goofy husband. He does all kinds of silly things. He can play The Eye of the Tiger using his hands as a whistle. He can swing up onto our roof with our rope swing. He's also very disciplined. He's been doing push-ups every day forever. He can actually hold a pencil between his pecs. I know, it's not fair. This is the fully clothed version of him performing his "Dancing Pectorals" routine. If you won't be able to look at him the same way again after viewing, please abstain. What you can't see or hear from the video, is that I'm shaking with silent laughter. He's a goof alright, but he's my goof.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Win a chocolate indulgence first aid kit!

Check out Jodi's blog here and comment to win some stuff made from the greatest substance known to womankind! You'll have to fight me for it though.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Request and a Warning

Gosh, I'm grouchy today. I found myself thinking that I'd be a dang good mother if I just didn't have any children! I realized that it maybe, possibly could be me after musing at length on how impossible everyone is to live with. I got to thinking....."Wait. What are the mathematical probabilities that everyone in my life is annoying at exactly the same time? Divide those calculations by the lunar calendar and you have your answer: PMS-induced insanity."

So stay away from me today. Don't call. It's for your own good.

But that's not what I want to blog about today. I need your help. I've started exercising again, and I need some ideas of really good songs to run to. Right now my favorite is Black Horse and a Cherry Tree. You just have to move around when that song's playing. I also love Crazy, by Gnarles Barkley. Some other ones that get me going are the Indian songs from the soundtrack to Bride and Prejudice. All those drums....love 'em. But I need more than that. Any ideas please? Pretty, pretty please? It's safe to leave your comment, I promise.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Family that Works Together.....

A few weekends ago, we made the 2 hour drive to the Inlaw's house. They're country folk, and heat with wood. They're getting older, and had a ginormous stack of lumber that needed to be cut, split and stacked. "Could you guys come for a wood chopping party?" they asked. "Sure!" I said. I'd be happy to volunteer my husband's considerable muscles to the cause. It would be fun to sit and chat with the ladies. His family is famous for their feasts, there would be tons of food to snack on while we're sitting and gabbing. The morning of the 'party' I pulled on my new cute jeans and sweater, all ready for some socializing. Then my husband's sister pulled up in work clothes and a baseball cap. Shoot.

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Here's a cute little collage of our day. Click on it to examine it closely. "Earlgirl", you say, "I see your baby working, your husband, and all kinds of other children, but I don't see you!"
Alas, 'tis true. I actually did do some hard labor for a few minutes, then I got sawdust in my eye and scratched it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a hard worker. No, seriously. I AM! I'm just not a wood-splitter-hauler-stacker. Take a look at my husband's sister though (in red). She split logs for hours! With an actual AXE. I guess I'll have to be content with being the flaky prissy sister in law. I did look cute in my jeans and sweater though. Does that count for something?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Netflix Gem


Last Sunday, before bed I wanted to watch a movie as a family. Something uplifting and inspiring to close out the sabbath with. We've seen every church movie we have a thousand times, so I turned to trusty Netflix. I stumbled on this movie and thought it sounded perfect. It was amazing to watch, all curled up together. We had to pause it a couple of times to answer questions and discuss it. It was amazing. This is a documentary of a Christian missionary couple (it never says their denomination, and it really doesn't matter) in Mozambique. You'll be in awe. You'll be inspired. You'll feel empowered to do what she's doing on a smaller scale in your own life. This is an excellent Sunday experience.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Love Thursdays!


Know why? Because every Thursday my girlfriends and I get together to hang out. To veg. To eat. Not just eat, but to engage in the almost ritualistic enjoyment of food. Our kids play, we talk, we cook, we consume. Most important of all, we relax. Here we are at my dining room table, feasting on Italian pastries and strangely enough, tortilla chips and pico de gallo. Eating pico is an art. First, you use a chip to scrape off some cream cheese, then you shovel fresh pico on the chip. Then you cram the entire chip indelicately in your mouth. Then you chew, and your eyes roll back in your head. It's lovely. When you've had enough of spicy, you take on the creamy desserts. Then you switch back. You repeat this, or something like it every Thursday until your jeans don't fit anymore. Then you get to go shopping! Is it Thursday yet?
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Enough Already!

I like the quiet life. My idea of adventure is packing up dinner and eating it in the park. Speed, danger, adrenaline.....it's just not my thing. So I'm wondering, what's with all the mortal peril lately?
All I wanted to do was work out at the gym. I just got a bunch of hours worth of gym babysitting for free (I've always felt too cheap to pay for the gym AND babysitting)and I wanted to try it out. So Friday after school, I hauled my considerable horde to the health club with the motto "A Family Place to Be!". Everyone 6 and older could swim, and I'd been prepping my little leprechaun for the toy room. I had my music, my water, I was good to go! Except...isn't there always an 'except'? Except, this turned out to be the only afternoon of the week when the toy room was closed. So I was stuck. No workout. Everyone but Blade was swimming, so we bounced basketballs, practiced ninja moves on punching bags and sat. Finally, the hour was up and I called the boys out of the pool to change. The rest of us went to the lobby to sit some more. Everything was quiet and low key, the little guy was mellow and peaceful. I picked up a magazine and tried to find an article to read that wasn't about Britney Spears or Ellen's wedding. All of a sudden, a woman a few feet from me shouted "OH NO!" and started running past me. As soon as the words left her mouth, there was a terrible crash, and the sound of shattering glass. I jumped and ran too, and just around the corner in a little alcove lay my little guy, surrounded by shards and daggers of broken glass.
At this club, there's a little nook that's not visible unless you're directly in front of it. In the nook, there's a bar height glass table, and tall stools around it. My little guy loves to go over there and sit. He was doing just that, when something happened and he fell, pulling the stool and the table over on top of him. The thick glass top was in pieces. His hands were glittering with glass slivers. Miraculously, all he got was a tiny cut on his scalp, and a nick on one hand. He didn't even need a bandaid. When I saw he was okay, I was only aware of being deeply embarrassed that my kid had made such a disaster. We beat a hasty retreat. That night though, as I was laying in bed, it hit me how lucky he was. What really happened was the best case scenario. There were infinite ways he could have been maimed or killed. I stayed up a long time, picturing those in my head.
All I know is, I'm putting in a request for a few boring, ordinary weeks! ASAP!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Welcome to my Universe

Sometimes I feel like I'm in an alternate reality. Like this morning, for instance. I'm pulling on a sweater, and there's this string hanging off it. I know I shouldn't, but I give it a tug. It's not a stray thread, like I thought it was. It's fishing line, with a couple of weights attached to it.
"Hey, look at this- it's fishing line!" I say to my husband.
He snorts, and answers "Better check for a hook!" I laugh, but decide to do it anyway. Sure enough, there's a rusty fish hook caught up in my sweater. How? HOW? The only one that even fished last year was Ammon, and that was only once or twice!

Then I'm making lunches. Someone who shall remain nameless asks me "Mom, if you're wearing two shirts, which one is the dirty one?" That's a tricky question. On an adult, it would be the undershirt. But on a boy? The outside is likely dirtier than the inside! "Uh, the inside one." I don't think any more on it until I see him standing before me ready for school. "Why are you wearing two T-shirts?...Wait a minute, aren't those the same two shirts you were just wearing before, but reversed?!"
He gives me a sheepish grin. "Well, you said the inside one was the dirty one, so I just switched them."
"Take them both off! Hey, aren't those the pants you (gulp) slept in? (side note: I send the big boys off to bed. Brushing and flossing their teeth are a component of their allowance, but I don't do pj checks. I'm too worn out by then.)
"CHANGE INTO CLEAN CLOTHES!" I insist. "AND CHANGE YOUR UNDERWEAR TOO!" I add for good measure. It's never safe to assume. That's a good rule for laundry too, never assume it's just fishing line in your sweater!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Channeling Kenny Rogers

(I've gone through all kinds of contortions to get these photos loaded. Hooray for persistence and a helpful husband! Now that I've found a back door to posting photos again, I can thrill you all with the fruits of my maniacal mind! Bua Ha Ha Ha!!!)


You've Gotta Know When to Hold'em

From Kenny Rogers


From Kenny Rogers

From




Know When to Scold'em!




From Kenny Rogers

From Kenny Rogers

From Kenny Rogers
Know When to Walk Away.......





From Kenny Rogers

From Kenny Rogers

From Kenny Rogers


Know When to Run!


From Kenny Rogers

From Kenny Rogers

From Kenny Rogers

Don't ever count your money, on the way to the ER, there'll be time enough for countin', when the stitchin's done!


From Kenny Rogers

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Harrowing

I'm not a nervous person. I'm not paranoid over anything. I let my kids take the city bus. I leave my doors unlocked most of the time. I almost never lock my car. I let my kids walk to the canyon and play by the stream. I don't spend a lot of time worrying.

This week gave me a lot of reasons to worry. Let's start with Monday.

We've had a cold snap, and as luck would have it, our furnace went out. Fortunately, we have a wood stove and a pellet stove. I let Ammon stay home from school 'sick'. He had a headache, sore throat, and good grades. I'm merciful. He begged to be able to light a fire in the basement stove. I let him, and he built a roaring one. About 4 hours later, I decided to take a shower. Ammon was engrossed with some adventure on the computer and my little guy was wandering around amusing himself. As I stepped out of the shower, my little leprechaun came to me with his hands clamped over his mouth. "My wip caught on fire!" was all he said.
"Your wip?" I pried his hands from his mouth and saw that he had a pretty good blister forming on his top lip. I tried to get him to be more specific, but no luck. I couldn't figure out what he could have burned it on. Then I remembered the wood stove. I grabbed Ammon and we ran downstairs.
I couldn't believe what I saw. The stove's door was hanging open, and a burning log was balancing on the edge of the stove and the hearth. A few inches under the log was a comforter all bunched up. Then I looked on the rug and found a long stick that had the top 5 inches charred. I could tell from this evidence exactly what had happened. He'd used a hot pad to open the door, and a log had come tumbling out. He'd grabbed a stick to try to get it back in. The stick caught on fire, a pretty good one by the look of it, and he'd brought it up to his mouth to blow out. The flames burned his lip and he'd dropped it. Miraculously, he'd been able to blow that fire out.

Can you believe it? You'd think nothing else that could happen this week would top that, right?

Until today.

I had an appointment to schlep one of my kids to this morning, so the house was filthy when I finally made it home at about 10 am. I let my little guy play alone in the front yard while I cleared the table and wiped it. I joined him in the front yard on my way to empty the trash. Up by the road, I could see a man about six houses down, walking around some mailboxes. Being more than my share of nosy, I scrutinized him. He saw me watching and struck a casual 'I'm not up to no good' pose against the mailbox of an elderly couple from our church. I decided to go call them and make sure they knew him. I gathered up my little one and started to walk inside. The only problem was, the guy was no longer standing still, he was walking toward me! I came inside and walked straight to the phone and called the police dispatch. There was still a part of me that would feel too stupid calling 911 on some random guy out for a walk.
The dispatcher was calm and encouraging, asking for all the details. I'd barely begun, when the doorbell rang.
I peeked out the window and it was HIM! I frantically whispered this to the police lady, and she asked me if my door was locked. My heart dropped. It wasn't. I quietly set down the phone and tiptoed to the door. I locked it as silently as I could. I locked the kitchen door too and ran back to the phone. "Just so you know, the police are on their way.... What's he doing now? I looked again, and he was gone! I hadn't seen him leave, I had no idea which way he'd gone.
She thanked me for calling, and asked if I was calm enough to hang up. I'm always calm during the actual crisis, so I was fine. She told me some police would be by to talk to me soon. I hung up the phone and looked around.

Shoot! The house was a mess! I spent the next few minutes scrubbing egg yolk off my dining room benches and putting away all the scriptures on the couches.

In just a few minutes, a policeman was at my door. He had the best news ever: they caught the guy one block away, and he had his pockets full of stolen mail and credit cards. One officer told me he was a home-burgling meth addict "a freaking walking crime spree". Since I'd seen him at it, he obviously had some intentions here. He told the police he planned to get in my house by asking to use the bathroom. "As if this wasn't creepy enough!" the cop said.

So there you go. My house didn't burn down, my little guy just has a scab on his lip. I didn't get ravished and plundered by a meth-riddled criminal. Everything's fine, but I'm not sure if I feel less safe, or more so. I definitely feel protected through all this, and I'm very grateful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unforgiven

Have any of you accidentally caught your little guy's pee pee in a zipper?

Hell hath no fury, my friends, no fury at all like an injured three year old.

*All kinds of interesting and clever things have been going on in my house and it's driving me crazy. Blogger is not uploading any of my photos, so I'm out of luck. One of these days, when it works again, I hope I can remember all of it! *

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

How To Cook a Wolf

I'd like to introduce you to a new acquaintance of mine. She's a food lover, and a writer. Her name is MFK Fisher, and she wrote this book back in 1942 when food shortages and rations were at their worst. Her book is quirky, and reads more like a novel than a cookbook. There's a sly sensuousness about her writing that hints that she doesn't just savor food. I love the almost antique recipes she's picked up all over Europe, like bread baked in flower pots. Apparently, it's unforgettable. Here's a snippet:

"Why can you not make the kind of round loaf, perhaps with a cross slashed on the top of it, that you used to see through the cellar door when you walked home from the theater late at night in France? the white-faced baker's boy, with flour in his eyebrows, his pores, and probably his lungs, slid it surely, intensely, on a long shovel into the blaze of an open oven. It was naked, like a firm-hipped woman, without the benefit of metal girdings. It came out, in an hour or so ready for next breakfast, round and brownly even and filled with an honorable savor. It was good bread, and you can make it."

See what I mean about slightly naughty?

There are all kinds of recipes in this book. I carried this book around with me everywhere for a couple of weeks. It was very useful in entertaining Ammon through his minor surgery reading aloud the directions for frying calf brains. There was one recipe that just stuck in my imagination, and I had to try it last night.

Green Garden Soup
2 Tbs butter or good oil 1 handful parsley
1 bunch watercress 2 cans chicken or beef broth
1/2 head lettuce 1 egg yolk
3 small onions and tops 1/2 cup thick cream (if possible)
2 or 3 cabbage leaves 4 celery stalk tops
1 sprig thyme or marjoram salt and pepper

She uses a mortar and pestle to grind all the vegetables together. I'm fresh out to those, so I put a little broth in the blender and whirled away. Then you simmer the green stuff in oil for about 10 minutes. You add the broth, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Then you beat the egg yolk and cream together, and add after the soup is in the tureen, if you happen to have a tureen. Then you sprinkle with some pepper.

This soup had the most amazing taste. I served it with fresh baked bread. I could almost feel the vitamins in the soup!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Eargirl's Political Rant

I can't wait until this election is over. Know why? The chain emails. They drive me insane. Some people think that the only way to get the 'real truth' out there is to forward some ghastly and ridiculous story to their entire address book. They don't bother to check if they're passing along a hoax or not. People, 99.9% of the time, if you get an email warning you, informing you, or begging for your help in finding a child, IT IS A LIE! Really. Just google the key words of the email, and you'll find out if it's real in less than a minute. Check before you click forward, I'm begging you.
I have political views that are different from Barak Obama's. I disagree with him on some pretty fundamental issues, but the lies that are spread about him are obscene.

Guys, he's not a Muslim. (Even if he was, there are billions of perfectly nice Muslims out there. I've met some. Anti Muslim emails really get to me too.) He's a US citizen. He does, in fact, salute the flag. When he visits the troops, he does shake their hands. I got an email the other day 'quoting' him as saying that he hates our national anthem because it's taking sides. He wants our anthem to be I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing. It's a lie. Those quotes were stolen from a political satire written as a joke.
He's not the devil, or the antichrist as some emails actually purport. I think he's a good man that wants the best for his country.
I used to listen to talk radio all day to fill the silence during quiet times and as an escape during the hectic times. I would get all fired up at some 'outrage' the other side had committed that day. Then I remember listening to General Conference, and there was a talk that addressed the tendency to demonize those on the other side of the aisle, to really and actually believe that their only goal is to destroy the 'good guys' in government. As I was listening, I wanted to cover my ears and hum aloud. The speaker had no idea how evil the other guys really were! Some time passed, and I changed my habits. When I would turn on the radio, those beloved familiar voices seemed shrill and gave me heartburn.
Now, I've gone years without listening to a single political ad. For the presidential election, I went to Wikipedia and studied their platforms and voting records. I've taken an honest look at the candidates personally, and I find them both to be decent. I can see some possible benefits if either of them are elected.
Hopefully, in the next term, the war in Iraq will wind to a close; the markets (cross your fingers) will stabilize, and Americans will catch a clue on living within their means. Both candidates want this. Who will be sitting in the oval office isn't nearly as important as the way we behave in our own personal lives. Instead of freaking over political things largely beyond our scope of influence, worry over these things: speaking kindly to members of your own family, be completely honest in your dealings, help other people, and bring your friends brownies! (hint, hint)

Friday, September 26, 2008

ER Adventures *Graphic Photos*

Something miraculous happened in our family today. There was a medical crisis, and my husband was home! You gotta love that. My poor little Hercules. (that's what I've decided to call him) Tonight was to be his first ever wii night of his very own. He's watched brother after brother have friends over to play. He's heard their laughter and sneaked some peeks. He's been counting the minutes for weeks, and he only had an hour til his friends arrived. I was making dinner, Hubby was across the street helping a neighbor, and the little boys were being silly, jumping around in the front room. It was all very peaceful until I heard the screams. I knew by the pitch that something was wrong. Both Hercules and his older brother were instantly hysterical. He was holding his head, and I could see blood, but I wasn't worried. Head wounds bleed a lot. My first thought was that we could just superglue it and he'd be fine. Then I pulled his hands back and my stomach flipped. This is a less bloody version of what I saw:See that white there? That's his skull.

I ran to get some napkins and sent Blade across the street to get his dad. I applied direct pressure just like I'm supposed to and watched as Blade sauntered across the street. I found out later what he said.

"Dad, Hercules is donating blood."

"What?!"

"Hercules is donating blood and Mom needs you."

He came running. He met up in the entryway and saw my concern. I pulled back the napkins and he breathed out "Oh Shhhhhhhhhh......oot." I was proud of him. Blade was taking off in a few minutes for a football game so we put Ammon in charge and took off. We tried a nearby urgent care, a nurse came out to the car, took one look and sent us to the ER. All the time, Hercules was whimpering but still talking coherently. Luckily, my parents live only a few minutes away. They rushed over to our place to hold down the fort and clean up the blood.
One thing you need to know about this guy, is that he's tough. He made it through dental fillings by repeating his full name to himself followed by "and I can do hard things!". He was scared about the possibility of stitches, while I was wondering how in the world they are going to close this huge crater in his forehead.
While we waited, a triage nurse dressed the wound with a topical anaesthetic, so he was chipper and happy. He'd been promised a deck of yugioh cards when it was all done, and that was all he could think about. He played games on Daddy's phone, we made glove balloons, and then it was time for the stitches.The Dr. couldn't get over how calm he was. He kept telling us about kids his age and the different ways they had to be restrained. He didn't even flinch when the needle went in. Look at that trusting face!
Here he is, and proud as can be. We'd shown him the photos, and he was beyond thrilled that he could see his skull. This will give him bragging rights for years, and a new deck of yugioh cards. Life doesn't get any better that that!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Love of Strange Brew

Saturday night, we settled down for another magical Netflix night. I'd been trolling the 'watch instantly' list for likely movies we'd enjoy, when I came upon Strange Brew. Do any of you remember Strange Brew? It came out in 1984, and is a forerunner of Nacho Libre. My husband was cleaning up after primering the walls in our new bedroom (yay!). I realized that my children had never before experienced the wonder that is Strange Brew. I started it so they could just have a taste of it until my husband came and we could watch something real. By the time he came, we were rolling with laughter. We ended up watching it together and having a ball. The only unintended consequence was at dinner the next day. The boys were quoting the movie and everyone was talking at once. One of my little boys was clamoring for a drink, and I let fly with "Blade, pass your brother the beer!" I didn't realize what I'd said until everyone stopped and stared at me. "Wait! I mean the water!" I cried out, but it was too late. There was no salvaging the situation. Alas.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Past, Revisited (Again!)

I'm in a bad mood today, so I think I'll tell you about my college days.

See, my van has been acting a little off. It's not that old, and still under warranty, so my van is something I never have to worry about. Unless I'm on a road trip with friends. But my point is, my van is dependable. There are a lot of things I can't count on. The moods of my 3 year old, for instance. My kids remembering their lunches. My husband's day off actually being 'off'. But my van, well, she's there for me. A few days ago, she started kind of hiccuping when my AC was on. Today she had a seizure on the way to pick up the carpool kids. We barely made it to my mom's house to drop off Blade for his guitar lesson. My van was making funny noises, like something was loose under the hood, and shuddering. I took my parents car, dropped the kidlets off at their homes, and my beloved van is getting towed. And I have a nasty hole in my craft room ceiling. I just discovered that this morning. So it's been a bad day.


I think it's a great time to relive college.
Ever had a really, really bad boyfriend? A creepy, mentally ill boyfriend who thinks it's his god-given duty to call you to repentance if you sneak out at night with your roommates to buy pickles during finals week?

No?

Good for you.

You were smarter than me.

I spent a few years pondering exactly what part of this usually sensible girl would be attracted to that scenario, and I decided that I liked the romance of giving someone an extreme makeover. This guy really needed it, and I decided I was just the girl to help him! I ended up giving him the 'heave ho' when he was on his mission, and he's still trying to stalk me on Facebook. As in, just a few days ago. Fifteen years later. Creepy, huh?

That was my freshman year at Ricks College. With the exception of Mr. Creepy Boyfriend (who ended up being a cop, oh the irony!) Ricks College was the happiest place on earth. I had a ball! The dances, the dunes, the caves, the bridges to jump off of. The trips to Salt Lake City in the bed of a pickup (thank goodness for the camper shell!) The late-night talks with roomies. I would love to relive those days. I only got a few pictures from my dad's the other day, but here they are.

I'm home for Christmas, and one of my family's favorite games is 'hide and seek in the dark'. We take it very seriously, as you can tell from the dark clothing. Looking at this picture now, I think the leggings I was wearing as pants must have been a bit thin. I hope I was wearing a long shirt or something! Ah well, the lights were off most of the time.
Here I am in my beloved U2 shirt with my mom for mother's week. That was a blast! My hair was shoulder length when I left for school, and here I'd just chopped it.Here it is, even shorter! I think this picture was taken in the Snow building. Anyone else play sardines in the Snow bldg? Could there be a better place to play that in? After hitting the books for 4 semesters, I decided to transfer to a University in my hometown.

I couldn't believe it. I'd been in a town just swimming with eligible guys, and here I was returning home, single. I had withered on the vine. I was an ancient 19. I was pretty worried. One of the first things I did, was go to a single adult dance. Who did I find there? Tons of people who were old when I started going to youth dances! I'd left my beloved room mates behind, and moved back in with my parents to get old.

There was a spark of hope, however.

A certain hunky blond babe was just returning from his mission. Oh what luck!





(seven months later)






Here we right by the bench I was sitting on when he proposed to me. It's in a grove out in front of the Seattle temple. I'll tell you the whole story another time. It's a thrilling tale, and I'm still in a bad mood.
I was looking through pictures of us on a boating trip a few days before we were married. I won't show them, because it almost made me weep. My legs were slender, tan, and had no unsightly veins. My stomach was concave. Sniff. Well, in less than a year, I went from that, to this:
Eek!
We have now officially entered the decade of pregnancy. That's something to cheer me up, the decade of pregnancy is over! Woo hoo!

Update: I got my van back in a couple of hours. My spark plugs were shorting and arcing and making the engine misfire. New wires, and we were good to go. I just wanted you to know, in case you couldn't sleep, worrying about poor Earlgirl and her carpooling woes.