Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jambo and digressive story

Our Kenyan friends performed at BYU today in the hot sun. They were awesome.

After the show and our goodbyes, my kids and I stopped by the Museum of Art for a light late lunch in the Cafe. We got our tray and took it to the cashier, only to realize that the heavy bag on my shoulder was my camera case, and not my purse. No money whatsoever. Neither the student cashier nor I knew how to proceed. I promised her I would bring back the money; she seemed doubtful and insisted she needed it in the next 20 minutes before they closed. So, after she begged me not to cause "any conflict" by which she meant, "do not stiff me out of this $10.30 because my supervisor will be mad at me if I don't balance out the register", I took the food, made the boys promise to sit tight and eat (read: do not chase each other around the Museum of Art), and I took Norah and the expensive camera (read: the things I didn't want to get taken by a stranger {read: my boys will need therapy when they read this in 10 years}) and ran to the ASB where Steve was in his annual performance review/raise meeting with his boss. Yes, I did barge into their meeting and ask Steve for his wallet. No, it didn't seem to affect his review. I paid the very relieved cashier who really looked like she was afraid of supervisory retribution for letting me take the unpaid-for food and thanked me for coming back. (Did she think I was lying?) The boys had actually stayed at the table, just as they said they would. No stranger had taken them, and Isaac's lick residue on the tops of the salt and pepper shakers seemed to be the only damage done in my absence. (Ew!)

Regarding the adorable Kenyan boys: The director of the choir is still looking for host families in the Salt Lake area for August 17-21. If any of y'all are interested, email her: I can pretty much guarantee a really great experience. Go here to learn more about why they're here and what they're doing.

After getting to know these sweet boys these last few days, Steve and I were both very disheartened and saddened to read about what life is like in their hometown. The choir is on a fundraising tour to support the schools and orphanage that have been established in their region, thanks to a Scottish couple who went there on vacation and saw a need, so they set about to make a change. I've become a fan of their efforts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I answered an email request to host some children

Daniel, age 10, and Randu, age 11, from Mombasa, Kenya are staying with us for two nights. They are here with an African Children's Choir and have left their families for three months to tour the UK and America. We were delighted to share with them their first day in America.
-----> BREAKFAST: waffle no butter or syrup, scrambled eggs, hot chocolate, pork and beans, and hot dog bun {they really wanted white bread, so that is what we gave them}
-----> ENTERTAINMENT: Elliot and Aaron's neighborhood choir rehearsal, Elliot and Aaron's neighborhood play performance, riding bikes in the street, Prince Caspian at "the cinema" {for Randu only. Daniel was too frightened by it so he and Norah and I dabbled in Speedracer on the next screen over, pretended we had money for the video games, and walked to Shopko where we had a great time getting to know each other}, Wii bowling, ice cream at the Creamery, and being adoringly attacked by Norah
-----> CHALLENGES: there were none because these boys are fantastically polite, but poor Daniel kept falling asleep, so I taught him a new word--"jetlag"

Daniel told us Americans are very rich {this is true} and that our house was too big for only six people. I wanted to let them use my cheap international phone card to call home, but their parents do not have telephones. Nor electricity. They do not seem envious of the material things we have, though. I've been on a kick lately that I have too much crap and am going to stop buying things and start reducing. Daniel and Randu have unknowingly encouraged that kick.

These boys are darling and we've all really enjoyed having them here. I wish they could stay for much longer. I do love Africa so.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My summer of theater

Wicked. New York City in June. We had pretty good seats for what we paid. It was a lot of fun, but I wonder if the actors were having an off night. Something was missing. Still, really really good.

Sound of Music. Tuacahn near St. George. Beautiful venue, the best of plays. I loved it, although the Captain was somewhat disappointing. I wanted to sing, "Goodbye!" at the appropriate times, and regret that I didn't just do it.

Les Miserables. Tuacahn, following night. I knew all the music and enjoyed my first Les Mis experience. Storyline was tedious, though. The previous night's disappointing Captain Von Trapp was a phenomenal Jean Valjean. Did he just not practice for the other show?

High School Musical. Taucahn. St. George Take Two. This was performed by high schoolers, and was fun but for a crotchety usher who kicked my mom out. Choreography was decent, but could have been much better. Am I turning into a theater snob?

Fiddler on the Roof. Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. I do believe this was my favorite show of the summer. Loved it, loved it, cried at the end.

Othello. Same Shakepearean Festival. My sole venture into a non-musical. This was acted well. I guess that Shakepeare fellow was a pretty good writer. Unfortunately, it was long long long, and, as this was the second long long long production of the day, I happened to fall asleep for Act V, in which Othello kills Desdemona, Iago kills Emilia, Othello sentences Iago to a brutal and miserable death, and the end. Tragic, that Othello tragedy.

The Shoeless Man. St. George condo. Exclusive performance, one night only. Written and directed by and starring my son Elliot. Awesome beyond words.

Next up: The Twelve Dancing Pirates. A neighborhood kids' affair. Sure to be great.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Living in Provo, Utah as a homeowner in an established neighborhood is so very different than living in Provo as a student. We moved to a neighborhood where certain families are Provo institutions, having lived in the same house for generations and having had 14 kids per generation that all settled nearby. Every longtime Provo resident knows every other longtime Provo resident. Mostly, the longtime homes won't ever go on the market because one of the children or grandchildren will snatch it up first. But if a sort-of-longterm Provo resident tries to sell you their house, he will take you out on the front porch to tell you who your potential neighbors are, because isn't that what you really want to know, anyway? This town is an intricate network and a true community in every sense of the word. For the most part, that's good. I think.

We're trying to finagle our way into the Provo inner circles. It might take a year. Or fifty.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We saw on the way here: two grizzly bears by a river

Place: Cardston, Alberta

Population: the motel desk clerk thinks maybe 1000 people

Restaurant that came highly recommended from same motel clerk: Grotto's ("It's Mexican," she told me, "and I've been there five different times and had five different things and they're all good.")

So we set out for Grotto's expecting: Mexican food, no matter that we are across the OTHER border

What the Grotto's sign said: Pizza, Chicken, Burgers, Steak

We asked someone on the street: "Is there a Mexican restaurant nearby?" thinking that of course we came to the wrong Grotto's

His reply: "Right here. It's the closest to Mexican we got in this town, honey."

We ate at: Grotto's

We got: a Guatamalan Filipino burger and pizza joint with pirated movies on a big screen tv

My kids chose to watch: Over the Hedge

We ate: Guatamalan food, Filipino food, and Canadian pizza

What we did not eat: Mexican food

We paid: essentially one US dollar for one Canadian dollar

Food was: mediocre

Kids are: not going to bed in an obedient manner

Last comment was: unrelated to anything in this post

I am feeling: better, thank you

Monday, July 14, 2008


We're leaving today for leg 2 of our family vacation. It's Canada, this week.

I am feeling vaguely like I caught the bug that brought down Steve yesterday and made for a miserable return trip from leg 1 of our family vacation. St. George, this past weekend.

Long road trip, close quarters, nausea, sickness. Heaven help us.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

On gratitude

Today Norah vomited prolifically at church. BUT, it didn't happen in the chapel, nor was it on the old man sitting next to us whose daughter told us he doesn't like to sit by children. Whew.

Today, Steve got stung by a wasp that lives with its entire colony in our swamp cooler. BUT, he hasn't gone into anaphylaxis yet, which makes me think he's not allergic.

Today, we have a colony of wasps in our swamp cooler. BUT, our A/C works.

Today, I went to find a document on the computer and discovered that our document folder has been annihilated, somehow. BUT, now I get to do thoughtful researching and talk preparing, rather than borrow from a lesson I've previously given.

Today, the kids spent most of the morning crying because they lost the privilege to play Lego Star Wars when they chose not to clean up their messes in time. BUT, now their brains won't rot. For today only.

There are always things to be grateful for, no?