Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jesus taught the gospel and set the example by the way he lived



Aaron is a sun beam and a Sunbeam. He knew his part for the Primary program the first day he got it. He was ready. Although he's on the wild side sometimes at home, his teachers know him to be among the most reverent in the class, and when the big day came, they sat him in the seat farthest away from them. Naturally. They had Lindsay and Joseph and Katrina to worry about. And don't forget Brooklyn. Aaron would be very well-behaved on his own, at the end of the row. And he was. He said his part flawlessly and Steve and I beamed from the third row on the left. He only knew some of the sign language for "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and he was behind a beat or two, but that was cute, he was trying. He was making us so proud. Poor Joseph cried through his speaking part because he couldn't see his parents, and Brooklyn stared off into outer space with her mouth open. I'm sure their parents still loved them, and all, but clearly, Aaron was ahead of the curve in terms of Primary program readiness. Not that I'm comparing, just facing the facts. But, alas, the meeting was long, and he IS only four, and oh, about 13 1/2 minutes from the end, the tone started to change in the third row on the left. Our proud smiles faded and Steve and I both sat up straight and tall and tried to catch Aaron's eye to let him know that, no, we aren't supposed to pull our sweaters over our heads while we are singing. Identical raised eyebrows and slight head shakes. No, please don't duck below the rail and pop out over and over again. That piece of hair in your mouth! Where did it come from? Why are you eating it? Oh no, please don't lick the podium, son. Nor should you run your hands along the rail and lick them with flourish. We smiled nervously as people turned around to snicker and share their amused expressions. We sank a little lower in our pew. Oh, darn. The meeting is over? Well, that sure was great. Wow, Aaron! You really knew your part! Run off to class. Don't forget to be reverent.

It was two days later and the bishop walked in as we were finishing up a meeting. He went straight to the primary chorister's husband and congratulated him loudly on the fine job his wife had done with the children's program. I added my praise and compliments and turned to leave. As I walked down the hall, a burst of laughter followed from the room, "ha ha ha.....LICKED THE PODIUM!!.....ha ha ha." I had to smile. That's my Aaron. At least he didn't pick his nose.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I need advice

What color to paint the kitchen?

Our cabinets look like this, with a dark brown finish:



The countertop is this:




The appliances look like this:



and:




Nearby walls are grayish-blue, taupe, and a greenish-brown. So my dilemma is: do I play it safe with another drab neutral and then later maybe cover it with faux brick a la Monica's kitchen on Friends or do I paint it a real color (I'm leaning toward a masculine-y grayish-purple) and risk it looking really tacky and having my sister Sarah say, "I told you so" ? Please give your input.

On a related note, anyone who comes to help paint will be invited to one fabulous dinner cooked in above-pictured range. Mom....?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Isaac: A Photo Essay



He eats sand. He alternates saying, squawking, and shrieking "hi!" to every passerby. He mimics. He picks on his older brothers. He dances.



He beams. He climbs. He fears nothing, except an occasional dog. He calls every man on a bike "dad". He prides himself on getting out of the crib during naptime. He vomits.



He entertains. He hangs with his mom at the Grand Canyon. He unrolls a whole roll of toilet paper to blow his nose. He makes us happy. He looks like his dad. He laughs. He rocks.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Great American Export


Who woulda guessed?

Spam has become high-class Seoul food: South Koreans can't get enough
Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
Oct. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
SEOUL, South Korea - Stroll into an expensive department store and walk straight past the $180 watermelon with a ribbon twirled just so around its stem. Don't bother with the tea in a butterfly-shaped tin for $153, or with the gift boxes of Belgian chocolates or French cheeses.

If you're looking for a gift that bespeaks elegance and taste, you might try Spam. While it might be the subject of satire in the United States, in South Korea it is positively classy. With $136 million in sales, South Korea is the largest market in the world outside the United States for Spam. But here, the pink luncheon meat with its gelatinous shell is deemed too nice to buy for oneself, and 40 percent of the Spam sold here is for gifts.

Especially during the holidays, you can see the blue-and-yellow cans neatly stacked in the aisles of the better stores. Koreans are nearly as passionate about packaging as the Japanese, so the Spam often comes wrapped in boxed sets.

"Spam really is a luxury item," said Han Geun-rae, 43, an impeccably dressed fashion buyer who was loading gift boxes of Spam into a cart at Shinseyge department store in advance of the recent Chusok holiday.

Chusok is the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, the biggest gift-giving occasion of the year here. On this one holiday alone, Korean distributor CJ Corp. estimates, 8 million cans change hands.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Things I Will Not Be Doing at the Arizona State Fair


1. Eating chili fries, Superdogger, fried chicken, deep-fried cheesecake on a stick, taco dog, salmon burger, sausage on a stick, pork chop on a stick, anything on a stick, gyro, meatloaf, fried asparagus, fried Milky Way, apple-filled frybread, frozen banana, frybread of any sort, funnel cakes, deep-fried Twinkies, garlic mashed potatoes, deep-fried Mars, anything deep-fried, curly fries, turkey legs, bratwurst, carne asada, Polish sausage, nachos.

2. Participating in the World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship.

3. Riding the G-Force, "a 75-foot giant-swing with the head-spinning centrifugal force of four-Gs" after any combination of numbers 1 or 2.

4. Attending.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Can You Tell I'm a Little Stressed?!

THEN: Wow! We have a respectable sum of money to put into the house. First we'll remodel the kitchen, then we'll get new carpet. After that, a new garage door, then paint, inside and out. With any leftover money, let's landscape the backyard.
NOW: Forget the other stuff-- I hope we're going to have enough to finish the kitchen. Everything's costing just a little bit more than we'd planned. Okay, a lot.

THEN: Our friend the cabinet guy is so amazing! It only took 5 minutes to measure our whole kitchen. I trust him completely!
NOW: I wonder if we should have communicated with our friend the cabinet guy about what we wanted our new kitchen to look like. Hmmm....

THEN: We are so generous to offer to pay the guy raising our kitchen ceiling more money if it turns out to be a bigger project than he originally estimated. We are so nice, and giving.
NOW: What were we thinking to leave an open-ended offer for more money?! He is sure taking us up on that! The price is quickly doubling and it's frighteningly still open-ended!

THEN: Light wood finishes are so passe. Let's go dark, and then maybe glaze the cabinets black.
NOW: Oh dear, that was an expensive exercise in buyer's remorse.

THEN: It's great that we will have someone working on our kitchen in the evenings from here until who-knows-when. It is a good excuse to get to eat out every night!
NOW: Port of Subs, AGAIN?? McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Little Caesars, Costco Foodcourt, Boston Market, Kyoto Bowl---make them go away!!

COMING SOON: Then and Now photos

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Electrocution IS pretty bad

I graduated from college without ever taking any English or math of any kind. Zero. Freshman English? Nope. Calculus, zip. No American Heritage either, which was a required GE credit. In fact, my bachelor's degree in International Relations may be technically phony due to a beneficent grade advanced to me by a certain anthropology professor. You see, I was due to turn in the write-up of my field notes from a study excursion in Namibia, and this professor agreed to let me turn them in post-graduation, promising that when I did he would change my grade from an expectant C to a satisfied A. It's been 8 years, and I'm not making a lot of progress on said field notes. I think about it once in a while, and I believe in following through with what you commit to do, so maybe one of these days, I'll resume the tedious transcription of the dusty tapes buried in a box in the garage that every so often I have to rescue from the garbage pile when my husband decides to spring clean. The word is still out on whether I actually needed the credits from that anthropology class for the required number of credits to graduate. I think I'm good.

So I never took any creative writing classes. This isn't an apology so much as an explanation. I tell stories in an abrupt fashion, as if not to undersestimate the listener's ability to grasp my meaning. When I was 16 I won tickets from the radio to a screening of So I Married An Axe Murderer. You may remember the scene where Charlie and Harriet go out with their friend Tony and his date. They are sharing "there's nothing worse than" scenarios and when it's the date's turn, she says "being electrocuted." They look at her, expecting more, and that's it. That's all she had. And I SO related! That's how I tell stories. Really horribly, with little elaboration.

So enjoy. And leave all the comments you care to eat. It's a super-buffet of dialogue.