Friday, February 29, 2008

My Demanding Spouse

My husband has been working very late every night this week. When this happens, I tend to put very little effort into dinner. The kids are lucky if it’s oatmeal. Yesterday Mike told me via phone that he wouldn’t be home til after 8:00.

“How ‘bout you have somethin’ really tasty for me for dinner when I get home.” He suggested.

He asks very little and I was eager to grant his request – although, in my mind I was thinking, “shoot, do I have enough time to make chicken cordon bleu? The kids still need to do their reading homework and have baths . . .” But I responded willingly, “Name it."

“Oh, I don’t know,” he hesitated.

“I’m serious,” I said, “just tell me what you want and I’ll make it.”

“Well,” he said, “how about grilled cheese?”

“Grilled cheese?? Really?” I asked – slightly relieved and slightly incredulous.

“Yah, but lots of grilled cheese, not a wimpy amount. . . . And maybe a little apple-juice – if we have some.”

Well, I didn’t have apple juice, but by George, that man was going to get a little apple juice with his grilled cheese! I ran to the store and got some, and I made FOUR of the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever!! I do like that Mike.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's a bloggy blog world

1 – I’m not super fond of the word “blog.” I don’t know why, I just feel a little dumb saying it. I still do say it though, so I’m not too good for the word. My smarty-pants sister tells me it comes from “web log”.

2 – I like the word “post”. I think it is because every time I hear it I think of the slightly bizarre movie “Cold Comfort Farm.” The main girl was often referred to only as, “Robert Post’s child.” Sometimes I tell my sisters to go check out my new Robert Post’s child when I’ve added a new post.

3 – I used to wonder what the deal was with the strange curvy letters you have to type in if you want to leave a comment at the end of a post. I knew it was some type of protection and so wondered, “can ‘bad’ people not read these tricky letters?” My sister thought perhaps it was some form of discrimination against the visually impaired and any comments they might like to leave. Once again smarty-pants sister (that’s Perla for any of you who have noticed her here) tells me it is to avoid spam – as an actual person needs to type it in. Ah-hah!

4 – A good way to have the last word in any conversation (especially if your husband is treading on thin ice with some smart-alecy remarks) is to say, “HA! I’m going to blog about that!!” -- Even if you must say the word “blog.” It always makes me laugh like, "just wait, I'll show you!"

5 – People seem to feel silly leaving comments if you didn’t specifically invite them to your blog, but that is only because they don’t realize a comment (especially unexpected) is like a little treat left on your door-step, and you like that they have been sneakily reading your blog.

6 – Everyone I know who started up a blog (or “jib” as my sister calls it) after first seeing mine, made their own ten times cooler looking. What gives?

If there is anything else you've thought of when it comes to blogging, feel free to tell me in a comment.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Trouble with Ants

We have a little problem with ants, or rather; I have a little problem with ants. Up to this point Mike has not acknowledged their existence. I know this because he usually likes to fix things that trouble me. For four months I have been more and, depending on my mood, occasionally less enthusiastically troubled by our visitors; and Mike has, as of yet, made no attempt to stop them. I also suspect he doesn’t believe in their visits as there can certainly be no other explanation as to why he would tempt them by leaving small food items on the two ant plagued counter tops before going to bed at night.

Luckily they have some limitations. They don’t feel perfectly safe in climbing over our stove top, so the counter on that side remains a relatively safe haven for me to leave baked goods, etc. Still, I am just very discontent knowing these ants are about, so I took matters into my own hands and bought some of those fancy little ant death traps -- you know the ones. My plan seemed so great because these traps not only kill the ants that come to visit, but (as the box explained) the ants carry the tasty particles back to the colony and feed them to the egg producing queen who then dies – thereby destroying the entire colony.

This was several months ago. There was an initial slowing of ants followed by an even stronger surge – leading me to believe that the traps only killed the ant weaklings off and left the stronger ants to continue the colony. The queen is not dead at all, only laughing, as this was exactly what she needed for her colony. I am hoping that this new generation of terrifying super ants will finally induce my capable husband to some sort of “let’s stop this nonsense” action. We shall see.

Lest this seem unfair to my husband, you should all see it in this light: I have such complete confidence in his abilities that I am wholly unable to believe there is any problem he can’t fix – if he only will. In fact, even when he mentions things like the housing market not looking too good for selling our home, I get a little grumpy because I kind of think if he just would will it to be fixed it would be.

Side note: I could have taken actual pictures of the ants, but in truth, they are a small wimpy looking variety. I felt that these drawings of mine would better allow the reader to see them the way I feel about them . . . although I don't actually know if they have fangs . . . or eyebrows for that matter. I also gave them fierce red little eyes, but they are hard to see. Plus, Mike just looked at this post and said, "did you draw those??" In a most impressed tone. What a good husband to appreciate my aristic skills so, hehe. (I also hope they made him scared of ants -- so he'll want to get rid of ours).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pregnancy Trade-Offs

The other day I was talking with some friends at church. One is pregnant with her first child. When asked how her pregnancy was going, she complained that she felt she was loosing her mind a bit. My friend with two children quickly assured her not to worry. "It comes back," she said. "Comes back?" I wondered, as my thoughts inadvertantly turned to
the glass of milk at home on my counter.

If it looks a bit odd, it is because it has several scoops of formula in it. You see, I made the fatal mistake of motherhood, which is thinking that I could do two things at once (namely drink some milk while making a bottle for Penny) and actually do them both right. The even more interesting thing about motherhood is, not only can you never do two or more things at the same time and get them right, but you will ALWAYS be doing two or more things at the same time . . . which means that most things you do will be wrong.

I smiled and assured my pregnant friend that her steel trap mind would go right back to normal. I may have neglected to add that it would be a new normal . . . very different from the old normal. Even if she knew this frightening truth though, it would be ok. It's not a bad trade-off. For each ounce of lost ability to think correctly, put things where they belong (like milk in the fridge and not in the cupboard), and talk intelligently, you get some pretty great stuff. Like these here kids below. In fact I think there exists a direct link between how much mental capability you lose during pregnancy and how great the kid turns out. The more you lose, the better the kid. That is why mine are so great.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Men Are From Mars

Oh alright, I haven’t even read the book Men are from Mars Women are from Venus. And I don’t even know that what I am writing about has anything to do with men and women and their differences. I like the title though, and it reminds me of a little rhyme we were fond of chanting to boys when I was young. It goes like this: “Girls go to Mars to get more candy bars. Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.” Ohhh how clever we thought we were – how we showed those boys! Yet, looking back upon it now, I see that perhaps it wasn’t ultra flattering to us girls either – running off to Mars to gobble up candy bars, growing larger and larger with each gleeful bite. Yes, the book title is much better and makes much more sense. Men are from Mars. They are therefore Martians. We women are from Venus. Venus was the goddess of love (I don’t know that, I’m just guessing). So, basically a Martian marries a goddess in our society. There is bound to be confusion in such a relationship. Actually, I think Mars may have been the god of war, but I prefer my Martian interpretation. It sounds more confusing – thereby making the relationship issue more confusing, which is exactly what it needs to be if someone is going to sell a lot of copies of a book about it.

As I mentioned, I’ve not yet read the book, though I own a copy. Perhaps I’ve been waiting for an astronomically large disagreement to occur whereupon we will rush to the book for guidance. We will then sigh with relief and both say, “Whew, so that’s what this was all about! You just think crazy.” Or, maybe I don’t feel particularly confused. Or maybe, I am confused, but prefer to remain that way -- what, after all, must I know about why my Martian wants loads of chickens, canoes and 4-wheelers other than the fact that it is so. Without them he cannot be fully happy. That is plenty to know. Must I also figure out the “why?” Plus, I am not altogether sure I agree with the stereotypes. One I often hear is: Men need to learn that when a woman is talking, she just needs you to listen! She only wants to be heard and does not, under any circumstances, want you to just try and fix her problem. This is not the case for me. I tell you most assuredly that the one thing I want is for my husband to just fix the problem. When I am worried about how to handle a situation with a friend or moaning about a child who just won’t sleep at night, a plain old listening ear is definitely not all I am after. I am after some good old fashioned problem fixing. Perhaps that is what has kept me from the book -- fear that I am not one of the goddesses at all with my unorthodox way of thinking.

Alright, the reason for all of this was just to add a little bulk to what I really wanted to write (because everyone loves a little extra bulk added to any post!). I was thinking of something Mike said to me the other night. I’d just started this blog and had been trying to think of a few things to write about. Then, rather off the blog subject (as I’ve no intention of recording this here), I mentioned that I had never even written about our Wedding day! Mike, who was looking at stuff for sale on the internet (another thing I’m sure I’d understand perfectly if I read the book – but once again, perhaps simply knowing he likes is all the understanding I need) replied, “I keep thinking you’re planning on dying when you keep talking about all this blogging.”

I immediately launched into how I didn’t plan on dying. (Certainly nothing I’ve posted here could constitute my last great words to my children). I began to tell him that it was just that thinking of things to write about had made me realize how many significant life events I have neglected to record. I was well prepared to then have a discussion about how sad it is that time robs us of so many memories. I thought I should reaffirm again that recording things shouldn’t make him think I was going to die, merely that I wanted to remember all the great things I am experiencing.

It turns out all this response was not going to be necessary to calm his troubled mind. He’d evidently realized with in the first word or two out of my mouth that I probably wasn’t going anywhere after all. At least I assume it was something like that because with his next breath he said (pulling me to his side and nodding at the computer screen), “Anyway, I’m just thinkin’ that a full size van with a little extra bling would be pretty nice.” By extra “bling” he meant fancy rims, tinted windows and maybe a little something else I have never paid attention to on a vehicle. I could launch into a whole new discussion about this odd topic, but I realize he is a Martian and I am probably one of the goddesses of love, and at the moment I don’t really need to understand why he wasn’t more concerned about my possible demise. I am just content that he thought I ought to be there at his side when there was a “full size van with a little extra bling” to be admired.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Very Awful Good Book

I read Tess of the D’Urbervilles several years ago when I got it from a sister-in-law at a family “book exchange” -- I thought I was over it now, but someone brought it up recently and I was surprised by the intensity of my feelings -- like feeling a violent surge of anger upon hearing the name of a past enemy, one whom you’d convinced yourself you’d forgiven. I guess I am not over it. I hardly even remember the details of the book, but I remember that I loved poor Tess, and I remember how awful the end was. I was mad at the author for days afterwards (well, apparently more than days). It just made you want to raise your fists to the sky and shake them at fate (fictional though it was) for allowing her life to go so awry when with a few minute changes, just a few strokes of luck, had she not gone to one place, or had she gone to another, had there been a small change in the timing of any number of crucial decisions she might have had the most happy of endings!

So, I have not yet recovered after all. What’s more, I’ve given away the ending to anyone who didn’t know. I suppose, as a friend commented, it must have been a pretty good book for its outcome to affect me so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Me, Me, Me

So, I was minding my own business reading my friends blog – well, ok, I guess that means I wasn’t minding my own business at all, rather, her business. Still, I was reading her list of 52 interests and preferences innocently enough when, upon reaching the end, I see, “You’re tagged, NANCY.” Well, I tell you I certainly did feel tagged or perhaps more “caught” – caught red handed reading her blog. How did she know I would be there!? It was all slightly unnerving, not to mention slightly unfair. Those of you who have read my blog already know that the only thing of even miniscule interest about me is that I am allergic to Brazil nuts (well, I did think of one more thing. I have TMJ – temporo mandibular joint disorder – which basically means I have a jaw that given half a chance will lock so tightly shut that to open it fully sounds like a car backfiring. Luckily I have learned to keep my teeth apart at all times other than chewing and my jaw remains fairly pliable). Here is where the unfairness lies. Knowing that what I have already mentioned is as interesting as it gets, how can I assume anyone would be foolish enough to read on for 52 more tid-bits?? Still, Sarah did indeed catch me there at the end of her blog, so I will proceed to comment on, not all, but whichever of the 52 questions strike my fancy. (In the mean time, if someone would fix my haphazard punctuation in the above paragraph I would be grateful).

15. Favorite place to shop for clothing? Well, I can’t really be sure if it is my “favorite” place as it is pretty much my only place. That would be Target. The reason, as you will understand if you are a mother, is that your kids can be in a shopping cart. I have a pretty ritzy wardrobe.

16. Where will I retire? Well, I don’t even know what that means. On TV people like to head to Florida upon retirement. I imagine we’ll want to stay wherever we’ve settled by that point.

20. Are you a morning person or a night person? I’ve always been a night person. Our home was always full of friends and siblings coming and going at all hours. It is even harder to go to bed on time now because it isn’t until after 8:00 that my time is all mine (kids sleeping and all).

23. What did you want to be when you were little? An actress and an artist. Weird. That’s what I said til about 8th grade though.

34. Last person you spoke to on the phone? One of my Young Women who wanted a ride to mutual tonight.

36. Favorite soft drink? I’m not a soda fan. It just doesn’t really tempt me. As Goldie will say occasionally, “it’s too zippy.”

39. Siblings? Ten. 5 girls and 6 boys. I’m so lucky. They are all just beautiful and smart and funny. Someday I’ll post a family picture.

40. What do you like most about yourself? What is not to like I ask you. As I told my Young Women on Sunday, if everyone were a Sister Harris, it seems like it would be a perfect world . . . but, it turns out that all different sorts of personalities and skills are needed. I will admit, if we were all me, not a lot of showers would get scrubbed and computers certainly wouldn’t have been created. Oh, I don’t know what I like best. That’s silly. It should ask what you like best about your spouse or some such.

44. Chocolate or vanilla? While I know it is true that these people exist, I find it very hard to imagine that someone could honestly say “vanilla”.

45. What is under your bed? A box where I keep letters and notes from people as well as a Tupperware of Mike’s church papers.

47. What did you do last night for dinner? My mother-in-laws taco casserole. We have that probably once a week. It’s my take it easy dinner of choice.

Whew, there. Now, as tradition goes, I am supposed to tag someone else. You know, like in the real game. You can't be a poor sport and just quit once you're it, so Megan, you are tagged. HaH! You can have a list of the Q's I answered (even the missing numbers), or you can just tell us a list of little things about you. I can't wait to read it!!

Monday, February 18, 2008


My husband loves nothing more than a good chicken. Not a good roast chicken mind you (though he has no qualms about enjoying one of those), but a good strutting and clucking live chicken. Therefore, in my days as his wife, I have had some small experience with chickens and would like to share a few personal observations I have made about chickens in general, as well as about a few of our very own chickens.

First of all, as I have mentioned before, no chicken dies of natural causes. The cause is generally well known and it is generally a dog. I doubt anyone can tell you the average lifespan of a healthy chicken (unless they count death by unnatural causes in their reckoning). We once sold a dog for being the chicken killer that he was (my husband loved his chickens more than his dog). I am not sure how fair this was as I believe that to be the natural way of things. Chickens are born, they lay a few eggs, they excite a dog with all their flapping and clucking, the dog chases the chicken (who runs back and forth in a frenzy doing anything but helping itself), the dog tosses the chicken about happily for awhile, the chicken dies, the dog looks disappointed and trots off. Once I stopped our dog as I caught this happening. I was then left with a mostly dead chicken. This reduced me to tears and panicky “what do I do??” calls to my husband. It also convinced me it was best not to interfere with the natural order of things. There have always been farms and it seems they have always had chickens as well as dogs – which leads me to believe there must be some non-chicken killer dogs out there, but I have yet to meet one.

Another observation: “teenage” chickens are a horrible site. They are darling as fluffy chicks, but puberty is very unkind to the poor birds. The part fluff, part feathery creatures make one wish nothing more than to have the homely beasts gone immediately from one's sight.

Now, a little about our first rooster, He was of a variety only half the size of our hens. He was a vicious mean little thing and for all his smallness, it was rather intimidating to see him -- wings flared and all -- rushing upon you for an attack. While displaying amazing confidence in these attacks (considering his size), he was evidently not totally oblivious to his disadvantage as he most often attacked when your back was turned. I despised that rooster for these unfair attacks upon me (after all, I generally only paid my visit to feed and water the chickens). In retrospect, however, I feel pity for the fellow. As you might imagine, what with his size and all, he was most unsuccessful in doing that which roosters do. The hens seemed to have little respect for him as potential perpetuator of the species and his attempts to assert himself generally failed in a rather embarrassing fashion. I now see that, ashamed of his inadequacies, these attacks upon me were likely just attempts to redeem him self by showing how well he performed his duty as a protector to his would be harem. Perhaps he felt that this impressive display of flock protectiveness might reduce the evident lack of respect displayed by the hens -- thereby better allowing him to claim his roosterly rights.

You will note, that the rooster in the above photo is definitely not the rooster I have been referring to; rather, his larger and far more successful successor.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Because it's Sunday

Yesterday our Mia-Maid advisor called to tell me she had a sick baby, so I ended up teaching a last minute lesson. It turns out that it was such a good lesson (not me teaching, I mean the actual lesson material) where you just get to make everyone feel important and indispensable. Here is a great quote from the lesson from Bishop H. Burke Peterson:

"Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to this earth by accident, without the possibility of a significant work to perform? . . . You were preserved to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose. Not just a few of you, but all of you. There are things for each of you to do that noone else can do as well as you . . ."

That last part reminds me of an Elder Maxwell quote I've always loved (even if the wording is a little fancy pants):

"Noone is placed exactly as we are in our oppurtune human orbits."

Another Great Stage

Mike and the two middle girls went to visit family this weekend. I can only bare the long drive if I have at least a five day rest before having to make the return trip, so I decided to stick around here with Penny. Abe also decided to stay (though he wasn't thrilled about anyone else going if he wasn't), but he seemed to think it his duty to attend the "It's Great to be Eight" fireside this evening for all kids who will be baptized this year.
I am so glad Abe stayed with me. Every age brings a new fun stage with kids. Newborns are unexpectedly amazing, then it is so fun when they are old enough to be excited about holidays; now Abe is entering the stage of being an actual great friend to have around. Generally I would be relieved to have a break from the kids, but instead, I am so grateful that I have Abe here to hang out with me and keep me from feeling lonely. He is such a good kid and I like so much who he is turning out to be. He was just made good. What a fun little pal for me to have around.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Not a bad job

How could I (or anyone) have known, when I married that Mike of mine, what would soon be ours? I mean, for goodness sakes, those are some beautiful children! They also happen to have been given such cute names: Abraham, Daisy, Goldie and Penny. Oh, we've made some good combinations.

Mike at his work

Recently Mike worked some on the retaining wall we need to build in our back yard. I like to watch him work -- though at those times his mind is so wholly occupied by the task that I fear I have little place there -- and I do like to be often near his thoughts. Still, if he happens to turn and see me at the window where I've momentarily paused from whatever task I was myself involved in, he'll give me a pursed lip, raised eyebrow smile that in turn sets me to smiling to my own self for some time afterwards.

He's so natural at working with his hands -- building, digging, fixing -- that it gives me a feeling of wellness or rightness about things just to watch him. He's often slow to be satisfied with his labors -- leveling here, adjusting there, and often often rethinking it all. When he's finished for the day, he stands for such a long long time looking and seemingly deeply considering what he's made. Often he's still thinking of ways it could be better (though how I can never tell) or what he'll do further on the project to bring it to a more full completetion, but amidst the planning and critisizing there is still always the feeling of something accomplished and sort of a calm satisfaction in the air. I like to watch him at that time best, and I try not to hurry him in my eagerness to have him back with us. Occasionally I go stand next to him to praise it all and look upon it all as if perhaps I somewhat understand the thoughts he himself could be thinking for so long about some cut and nailed wood. I can't exactly. It is more than cut and nailed wood, at least I do understand that.

Just last night I told Mike about these little peculiarties I've noticed while he works. Especially about him watching his work for so long afterwards. "I think that's the most content I ever am," he told me. I knew it was true and wondered what it is about the contentedness someone might feel so keenly from such work that made me feel so emotional. I guess it's that again -- more than wood and nails (or cement and dirt or whatever the medium of the days labors might have been). It's something I can mostly just sense or feel. Someone else perhaps, with the right gift, would know how to put it into words and then I'd understand myself (and Mike) all the better

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Lowly Brazil Nut

So I’ve been looking at a lot of blogs lately and noticing the fun different things people blog about to make their blog more entertaining. One I liked was my sister-in-law Rhonda’s list of ten unique or interesting things about herself. I immediately began trying to think of a similar list for myself (knowing that I must certainly be interesting, probably intriguing). I thought and thought and this was all I came up with:

1. Allergic to brazil nuts

That’s it. I even tried to ask Mike what I liked. At least maybe I could like something above and beyond how much the normal person likes it. I do love Dove chocolates, but who doesn’t? “I like hardwood floors and fluffy bedding,” I thought to myself, but really, is that special? Do I even love them so much that I can’t live with-out them? Apparently not – I live quite happily with out either of them.

So, I’m left with my only uniqueness being that I can’t eat brazil nuts. At least it is serious business. I have to go to the ER if I do, but that isn’t even a talent or a special personality quirk. In fact, it is probably the only unique trait I definitely should not blog about as someone dangerous will certainly use it against me now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Evil Enemy of Morning Me

Mike asked me the other night if I’d ever seen the Seinfeld episode where he talks about the “Night You” and the “Morning You.” I never had, but apparently he explained how the Night You is the Morning You’s enemy, and there is no way that poor Morning You can ever get back at Night You. Well, that struck me as one of the most accurate things I’d heard in some time. Case in point – these pictures of Goldie: Night Goldie is staying up late, happy and loving life – and look at all that does for Morning Goldie!
What’s worse is that Night Me is also an enemy to Middle-Of-The-Night Me (which I never knew existed since that Me was sleeping until I had children). Seriously, I am so miserably tired in the morning. I can only manage to get out of bed by assuring myself I will go to bed by 10:00 that night. Unfortunately by that time Night Me has rolled into town and she’s happily going about her sabotage of Morning Me. “Let’s stay up and watch this movie, Mike,” Night Me will say. “Perhaps I’ll just check a few more emails . . . oh, and this one certainly deserves a lengthy reply.” A few moments later Night me might suggest, “hey, you haven’t looked at your old photo albums for awhile, and what about your journal from when you and Mike were dating? . . . Oh no, you never wrote about your actual wedding day! Now would be the ideal time . . . just as soon as you and Mike look up coyotes on the internet to find out if they would ever attack you if they were in a group . . . but first, find out if they hunt in groups.” There is no no way Morning Me will ever get even.

Where will the poor lions go?

Goldie is fairly specific in her prayers. She doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room. "Please help that Penny will NEVER cry," "Please bless that mommy will ALWAYS get me a drink of water before bed", and, the other night, "please bless that there will be no lions or tigers . . . ANYWHERE, not even in the jungles." Is this fair? Must they even be gone from the zoos? Can't the poor beasts have somewhere to call home? Perhaps it would be best to generally leave mother nature on her own -- excepting, of course, if you can do this:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

War and Peace

That's not just a catchy title, I really am talking about the book. I read it ten years ago, so I've always been among that special group of people who have read the masterpiece. What's more, I am one who has been able to honestly say I love the book. The only trouble . . . it's loads of work -- superbly well rewarded loads of work. I had to keep notes on who all the charactars were, the different names they went by, how they were connected to anyone else for the first 300-400 pages.

I began reading it again last week, about 200 pages in, I chanced upon a "review" of War and Peace online wherein it stated something about the book being 1200 pages or so (depending upon your translation). Well, that sounded a bit much to me, so I took a closer look at my copy. I had never actually looked at the title page, and to my horror, as you may see here, it clearly is an "abridged translation". I can hardly hold my head up for the shame of it all. I was not among those who had read the book at all. Oh no, I'd read a measly 700 page abridged version. It has since been tossed aside while I await the arrival of my new full translation. Apparently I will have to wade through 500 or so more pages to once again have the full reward.
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