Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reason #372 Why I Love My Husband

In the "winter," Stephen gets all geared up every night and sleeps with a ski hat pulled low and a warm sweatshirt. He piles on extra comforters and pulls them up to his chin.

We live in Arizona. Our heat is set at 72 degrees. It is not cold in our house.

Simply adorable.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A serious exercise in restraint

I'm giving up sugar. For now, to see if I can do it. Today, Sunday afternoon nap, I dreamt about chocolate cake and tootsie rolls. Tootsie rolls. I am not a huge fan of the common tootsie roll, but, admittedly, I have been eating a lot of them lately as we made the unfortunate mistake of taking our kids trick or treating at the mall.

Last week I had an unusual experience with the common tootsie roll. I grabbed one out of the bucket of candy and sat down at the computer to pass some time (read: procrastinate folding laundry). It was one of the big ones, with ridges (knobs? rolls? indentations?). It was gone before I knew it, and I needed another one. Must have another tootsie roll. So, being the slave that I am to my sugar addiction, of course I ran into the kitchen and got another large, ridged tootsie roll. This time as I ate it, I got an immediate fix. Sugar coursing through my blood. That may have been the first time I have had such an instantaneous and physical reaction to sugar. Whoa. A sugar high/low right away.

Obviously, I need to get my constant cravings in check. I planned ahead for the best day to start my sugar hiatus: Thanksgiving would be bad because of the raspberry-pretzel-jell-o-cool whip number that I love so much and which I was contributing to the dinner cause. Friday was my sister's baby shower and I knew what delectable sugary items would be served at that. Saturday was the day. So, like any good addict would do, I overdosed on my drug bigtime before I gave it up completely. Friday, at the shower--three enormously huge sugar cookies dripping with cream cheese frosting. Mmmm.

Saturday, I was a champ. I passed on cranberry punch; different, although still enticing sugar cookies; German chocolate cake; cream puffs; donut holes; fruit dip; a king-size Symphony bar with toffee; Pillsbury slice and bake cookies beckoning from my refrigerator; and of course, that ominous bowl of Halloween candy. Seriously, I rock. I still wanted something sweet after my meals, but I went to the fridge and got fruit and ate that.

It's Day 2 of no sugar, and I think I'm still on the bandwagon, although maybe I cheated just a little. After that bad dream I had (man, my body is really craving sugar-- I had no idea), I made some muffins. I was planning on using Sweet N Low for the sugar, but then the darn package said that when baking, some real granulated sugar is still necessary to create the ideal texture and browning effect. So, I used half the sugar in the recipe, and half the sugar substitute. Then, I loaded the muffin with butter and honey. It was manna from heaven. Delicious. A fix for my sugar-starved body.

I'm already planning ahead for this Friday when I will be at a chichi restaurant for Steve's work party and will be offered drinks. Can I get you a Sprite? I'll take water, please. Dessert? Creme brulee? I would like a bowl of fresh berries, please, hold the cream. If that's not available, I'll just sit and watch while everyone else indulges in my favorite drug.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tales of an Inquisitive Neighbor, Part 1

I have a neighbor who is obsessed with me being pregnant.

Which I'm not.

Which, I have not even discussed with her the possibility of such a thing happening in the near future, except for that time last week when she came up behind me at her son's birthday party, stuck her face over my right shoulder and said point blank, "So when are you going to get pregnant again?" and my answer was, "It will happen when it happens," by which, of course, I meant, "This is none of your business. I do not wish to discuss it with you" and which of course she interpreted as, "Emily is taking no action to prevent pregnancy."

So today, she sees me get out of my car wearing workout clothes. She crosses my yard and says, "Exercising, huh? Trying to get in shape before the stress of the baby?"

"Um, what?" I ask. " What baby?"

"My husband and I have been trying to guess if you're pregnant. I have been wrong a few times before, but he can always tell. It must be the glow."

"If I'm pregnant??"

Big smile. "Are you?"

"No. I'm not pregnant. What made you think that?"

"You told me you weren't doing anything to prevent getting pregnant."

"No, I never said anything like that."

"You said, 'It will happen when it happens.'"

"Ahh. I see. Well, I'm not pregnant and I'm not trying to get pregnant," I answer, by which, of course, I mean, "This is none of your business. I do not wish to discuss this with you."

Stay tuned for more inappropriate and invasive neighborly inquiries that are sure to follow. She never lets me down in that department.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"I'm sorry, that side of the Cannon Center cafeteria closed 2 minutes ago and you may not go sit by your friends."

While I was reading Kacy's blog, I was reminded that Thanksgiving is great because it reminds me to use a wonderful expression that ought to be much more widely circulated and understood than it is. And Amy June ought to get a nickel every time someone uses it. The expression is: Indian Feather.

Now, I love my Native American brothers and sisters and I mean no disrespect. "Indian" is a politically incorrect term, and wearing Indian feathers on a paper headband to celebrate the first Americans and their contribution to our harvest celebration is not exactly kosher. And let's not forget the enigma of why the LDS church teaches children to pantomime pejorative actions to a song in a minor key and a steady beat about the Lamanites. That doesn't seem very nice to me, and thank you, Dennis, for pointing that out to me a long time ago. I cannot endorse any of that. What I do endorse is the practice of identifying Indian feathers and calling them on it. That said, Indian Feather is the perfect way to describe what an Indian Feather does.

In short, an Indian Feather is someone (who may or may not be wearing aforementioned headgear) who stringently enforces even the lamest of rules.

My Thanksgiving challenge to you, my readers (that means you, Amye, Elinor, ahc and Neil), is to find an opportunity to use "Indian Feather" in context sometime this week and then return and tell us about it, whether you are the Indian feather, or you are Indian featheritized by someone else.

And then mail your nickel to Amy June.

(For my example, see my comment in Kacy's blog.)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Lobotomy schlobotomy

Did anyone catch NPR's All Things Considered story yesterday about transorbital lobotomies?

Riveting, disturbing, gross, fascinating, and messed up. That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Equal time for our firstborn

At school, Elliot has a group of friends with whom he plays chase at recess. During this game, Elliot is a monkey--as in, he channels the powers of a monkey to help defeat his opponents. What are these special gifts? A monkey is "smart, well-skilled, and a free spirit," so says he. How do these apply to the real E? Yes, yes, and sort of. I would say he is less of a free spirit and more of a worrier. But we all agree he is a monkey.

In fact, there is another monkey that comes to mind when considering Elliot's unique gifts.

Elliot is curious. Let me illustrate.

Elliot spent his two weeks abroad this summer exploring an all-too-often overlooked aspect of the beautiful Spanish landscape: trash. He spent his days with eyes on the ground, looking for treasures to collect in his overflowing pockets. At the end of any given day, I would empty said pockets and discover treasures, indeed: broken luggage wheels, rocks, rocks, and more rocks, broken glass, spent subway tickets, business cards, sticks. He also enjoyed exploring the textures of Spain. He wanted to touch everything, running his hand along the length of every rail, acquiring smudges on his hands and shirt at every step along the way.

Elliot is also intellectually curious. His latest matter of inquiry is Harry Potter and he peppers us with questions. What is a goblet of fire? Who put the sorcerer's stone in that dungeon? How did Voldemort get into that teacher's body? Actually, I can't do his questions justice. They are much more advanced than that and leave me stumped most of the time.

He also relishes science and knows better than to ask me. To Steve: Let's talk about physical and chemical changes. Why does fire need to have air? What is the atomic theory? What is that called again when the sun's atoms go together to create gases? Can we watch Nova tonight?

Elliot is also like Curious George in that he can get into unusual predicaments. Like the time he cut right above his eye at 10 o'clock on a Saturday night. Or the time he had to get stitches in a hospital clinic in the Canary Islands after chasing the missionaries down the stairs. Or the time he ended up in the emergency room after swallowing a penny.

Come to think of it, the only times he ever gets into any kind of trouble are from instances of being ungraceful. Hmm. Not very much like a monkey, after all....

Monday, November 14, 2005

Oh, the horror

So now I know why countertop dude is ignoring me.

I just found out that I have written thirteen thousand dollars worth of bad checks. I paid lots of people with obsolete checks that no longer connect to our money market fund. I had run out of checks for this account and found some in the back of a desk drawer. Oops! Come to find out, my money market account managers have changed banks at which they hold my funds and these old checks went to the old place, where my money isn't. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Sorry, my friend the ceiling guy.
Sorry, my friends the cabinet people.
Sorry, countertop dude--but you should have called. I still blame you.

Tears. Lots of tears.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Countertop Dude: Missing in Action

I wish I could have my kitchen sink. And my dishwasher. Why won't countertop dude return my calls? Steve said something funny tonight: "Our countertop dude's last name is Loya. I feel like calling him and saying, 'You're not the only Lawya around here.'"

Speaking of lawyas, we went to a lawyer's house tonight who lives on top of Phoenix. This gentleman, in his opulent digs, says his house is higher in elevation than any other house in the valley. It's just too fitting to argue with. Of course he lives at the top of Phoenix. He lives at the top of the world. Anyway, we met a senator and an Arizona chief justice at this house tonight. We saw many an original piece of artwork--this fellow has a corner on the Greg Olson originals market. We ate steaks that were rarer than we prefer. We came down the mountain and got lemon sorbet and ameretto ice cream at Cold Stone and talked about if we ever want to be that rich. The answer is not so much a definitive no as it is a definitive what's the point? Definitive indifference.

We came home and walked past the bathroom and pretended to not take notice for one more night the pile of dishes collecting in the bathtub. Who really wants to wash dishes in the bathtub? But tomorrow I can ignore it no more, for we have coming over for dinner one gyrating old school fire monkey from the Helaman Halls days, and I must do the dishes before she arrives.

Lest I haven't made myself sound important enough, might I add that because our friends from Washington are coming over for dinner tomorrow, we will not be going to the Phoenix Coyotes game tomorrow and then going for drinks afterward with Wayne Gretzky. Oh, and also because we don't drink. And also because I was once, very recently, told that I could never be friends with rich people and I've really taken that to heart. And also because I don't want to go. But not because we weren't invited.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mahana, you ugly

Ten years ago I would have been too cool for this book club. Back then I was sassy, savvy, opinionated and passionate. I inwardly rolled my eyes at things other people said or liked or did because they were too boring/conformist/ignorant/bourgeois/elitist/racist/judgmental/materialistic/ uninteresting/sappy to make a connection with me. I would have been bored to tears by the discussion of this book: How important are friends to women and to their growth in life? Are you a ten-cow wife? Does life get better as we age? Pul-lease!! Gag me with a pre-printed list of book-club discussion questions. I would have found a way to disassociate my book discussing habits from this collective group of womanly "them." You know, "them," like the "them" that eagerly read every word of every nightly 50-page assignment in high school AP history, and eagerly answered every question while "us" sat in the distant corner and wrote limericks and made up new languages and laughed. "Us" and "them," like the Pink Floyd song. Er, well, I just read the lyrics to that song and I don't know if it means exactly what I'm talking about, but the title really works for how I would have felt about this book club ten years ago.

Today, I am a changed girl. I mostly really like this book club and am only slightly irritated that this month's selection was so obviously written in half a day. That it was written specifically for Mormon women LDS book clubs. That it had no depth. No character or plot development. That no one today wanted to discuss whatever trace of literary element there may have been, but rather chose to stick to those horrid discussion points: If fairies could bestow gifts, what gifts would you wish for your children? Which are easier to raise--boys or girls?

What I did enjoy was the company, at least one of whom is on my list of favorite people and others who are becoming lovely friends. The lunch was a treat: decked out baked potato bar, roll, salad, and chocolate cake with my beverage of choice, water. Getting out without the kids--always fun. Having a reason to make myself read is great. Looking forward to future book selections with more substance, exciting. And it was interesting to listen to how this book actually impacted at least one woman significantly (impact on me: very, very low) as it helped her come closer to terms with her inability to reproduce and the disappointment her two adopted children have become.

So, all in all, my experience of reading this book and attending our book club meeting was a few hours well spent. Here's the book:

Don't read it. It's really lame. But if you do, and afterward want to discuss if friends should always be absolutely honest with each other or what children with challenges bring to a family, I'll only roll my eyes a little. I think I've mellowed and am ever-so-gradually becoming one of "them." And I'm cool with that.

Unrelated post script: Will diana or ahc or someone smart please tell me what to do with commas and quotation marks? I get so confused.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I hope questionable-doctrine-lady doesn't read my blog

There were a few tense moments during testimony meeting yesterday. It's really a liberal policy, if you think about it. Once a month set aside a block of time in your worship service during which anybody can and does stand up and say anything at all. Supposedly the bishop or other presider has the responsibility to monitor and intervene and clarify, if things get out of hand, but have you ever seen that happen? I haven't.

Actually, I was secretly hoping it would happen yesterday. Although I was sending prayers heavenward like the next guy that such-and-such wouldn't go on and on for 25 minutes, like she could very well do, and so-and-so-the-inactive-dude-wearing-t-shirt-and-jeans-and-tennis-shoes (although last week it was a three-piece suit, so you never know with him)-and-who-waxes-bizarrely-philosophical-at-every-opportunity wouldn't pontificate ludicrous doctrine, or swear from the pulpit--sometimes there's nothing better than a really bad run-on sentence--I was also furtively wishing to see the bishop stand up and ask a person to sit down mid-testimony or correct someone on an issue. But, although I could tell the bishop was sweating it while they were speaking, such-and-such and so-and-so both sat down without any major testimony infractions. It wasn't a very Christ-centered meeting. Our friend, the former stake president who is pretty darn near perfect the way I see it, stood up at one point and tried to steer the meeting back to Christ. It was a beautiful and simple testimony and it almost worked to get the meeting back on track. Until...

Questionable-doctrine-lady who tells inappropriate and really winded stories in her testimonies stood up right at the end. Read: squirming, sweating everybody in the congregation. Is this really what we want to leave as a last impression for the visiting non-members in the audience? Is there time for one more testimony at the end just so she won't be the last? But, no. She is taking way too much time and we are already overdue for Sunday School to start. We may as well sit back and learn as much as we can about glam-rock cokeheads.

For that is what she spoke about. And spoke about. And spoke about. Apparently, her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to do with the bassist of a metal band called the New York Dolls who had a drug-induced injury (specifically, falling out of a window while beating his wife) and, while recovering in the hospital, converted to Mormonism. This man changed his ways (I'm all about the Atonement, don't get me wrong) and got called to serve in the Family History Library. When his band got together to do a reunion show, he dressed up like Joseph Smith to show the world he was a changed person. I don't know if the world got that message, or not. What I do know is there were way too many details about this fellow and the documentary q-d-lady saw about his life. Too. Many. Details.

My husband was out in the hallway (pretending our son was being noisy, but really preparing a lesson). He heard the testimony about the rocker, but missed the squirming-ness and general discomfort that it provoked. The first thing he mentioned as we drove home after church: "Cool. I want to go see that movie she was talking about."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A simple prop to occupy my time

This one goes out to the one I love.

Woo-hoo, my first html experience ever!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mother of the Year

If ever you find yourself in need of a new mom, might I suggest mine. Just a sampling of what she could do for you:

--drive across town four nights in a row to help you paint--or rather, paint for you--buying needed supplies and refusing reimbursement
--arrange and pay for tickets for you and your husband to see an off-Broadway show instead of going herself
--come to your house to babysit while you are at show because it is easier for you
--take kids to a birthday party while you go to a meeting, then fearlessly brave the dreaded sports picture event at Peter Piper Pizza with a zillion people everywhere and three children begging for tokens
--spend $5 to appease the begging children despite horrendous restaurant noise and crowds
--work her grandmotherly magic to make your youngest fall asleep when you can't do it
--compliment your choice of paint color, when you're starting to doubt yourself
--put your kids to bed
--restore calm
--clean your house
--love your children abundantly

And all this, in just one week's time. Everyone should be so lucky to have her for a mom. Thank you, Amye! You're the best.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Post-Holiday Observations

1. If you're cool and you blog (wait, are those two mutually exclusive??), you gotta have a Halloween post.
2. I am inexplicably drawn to, possessive of, and willing to fight for the Butterfinger bars in the kids' giant tub o' loot. I do not eat Butterfingers at any other time of the year.
3. If you go to the mall for trick or treating, you better like Tootsie Rolls and stickers.
4. Tootsie Rolls + decaying crowns and/or cavities = not a good idea.
5. Painted hermit crabs from the mall kiosk that have been abandoned in apartment complex hallway will attack if approached.
6. Creative costumes are overrated.
7. Sixteen-year-olds who trick-or-treat need to get a life.
8. Sixteen-year-olds who dress up as suicide bombers and push the buttons on the timers strapped to their chests and threaten to blow up your house after they have just taken candy from you are irresponsible and in extreme need of getting a life. (What, you don't like Sweetarts?)
9. Six-year-olds who want to change costumes mid-evening from Spiderman to the "grim reefer", consisting of a scary mask, blanket tied around the neck, and sword attached to the end of the broom, ought to be allowed to do just that.
10. The Grim Reefer is a much better name than the Grim Reaper.
11. Three Halloween parties/events in one weekend are too much for this holiday scrooge.
12. Being a holiday scrooge is an inherited trait.
13. Purple kitchens are dope.