Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Hawaii





My 2 favorite things. Christmas Elves and Japanese Christmas Cake. I feel sorry for everyone who doesn't get a bite of these.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving

Here's my Thanksgiving. How was yours?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The G.T. Class

In relation to The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, we were discussing more modern witchhunts that have happened in the US.
Someone mentioned terrorists, and another person mentioned homosexuality, and we were having a pretty adult conversation about the whole thing.

Then a girl who is really just the sweetest girl ever, and who even raised her hand and waited patiently to be called on, in all seriousness asked,

"What about Gay Terrorists?"

p.s. If that doesn't get me about 20 google search hits I will eat my hat.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Little More than 3

(This picture showed the remnants of halloween week "paint face" as Amaya calls it)
Amaya's hand went through a growth spurt. One day I'm holding onto a hand that fits almost entirely within my grasp, and yesterday I notice that her fingers actually wrap around to the back of my hand. It feels way more like hand holding than before. Before it was like baby dragging. I think she likes holding hands better now, too.

The other night we were in our house and I could hear distant sounds of a show being watched at Pam's. I couldn't tell what it was and was just ignoring it. She perked up her little ears and said, "I think they're watching Colbert."

She was right.

This morning when I dropped her at pre-school (YES! I know it's a furlough day, and I feel entirely guilty, but I do have tons of work to do and I plan on picking her up early, and yes, I know I'm blogging right now but I'm going to stop the second I'm done with this...) she had me lean down and said, "Mom? Can you give me a favor?" I said, "A favor? Do you know what a favor is?"

She said, "Yes. Can you give me a favor? I want a goody when I get home after pre-school."

I think her skills at workin' it are only getting better.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween

"Amaya, what are you going to be for Halloween?"
"Pit-bulls."

I guess the bone is dog related anyway.


And Aaron was a tiger (which came from the treasure trove of the humongous Yuen family collection). I quite think he makes a handsome Goku myself with that hair.


Jake made the ceramic bone, and it worked pretty well, even though I was skeptical of the idea.




And Pam sewed the millions of poorly cut out (by me) deltas and basically made the whole thing while I watched.

Mikey's beard is from one of those 25 cent machines. And it looks real!





Minami wore her hair in braids for most of the afternoon to achieve this look. Love the teeth, too.


Tru's costume was super professional. The shirt/hair/hat combo was perfect-o.

I didn't eat any sugar. I have to admit that the candy itself wasn't too tempting. But the pumpkin pie that the Yuens brought over for dessert... I probably would have eaten a piece if no one was watching. Sigh

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rediscovery

Jake got me this bike for my birthday.

I know. Don't you love it? I mean, LOVE it? With cute little hearts instead of Os?

Amaya loves it almost as much as me. We've been biking every day and only almost biffed it 23 times. (It's very hard to hold a bag and bike with a baby on board. I guess there's a reason the xtracycle is too expensive.)

I told Jake I wanted a bike for my birthday after I rode around the waterfront in Portland this summer, with a couple of old high school friends. I remembered how much I liked biking.

I mean, wouldn't you just really love biking after going with these guys?

And here's Cody with his GF just in case this picture freaks you out.

(Sorry, Dan, she's just way cuter.)

Anywho, we went biking to Voodoo Doughnuts, which is Norwegian for "We are doughnut geniuses and you have to stand outside in a line if you want them." I got a mango doughnut with mango sparkly sour sprinkles on top and an oreo cookie doughnut with peanut butter drizzled over the whole thing. My friends only hassled me a little for buying two doughnuts (because look at these guys-- you know they only ordered one each) when I really wanted to buy 10. I hope I didn't confuse my sudden urge to bike with doughnut satisfaction. Sigh.

Here's Serious Cody, for the road.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good Day, Bad Night



To-Day: Amaya gives lots of kisses and hugs all day long. She likes to sing "Ain't it great to be crazy" and say "Ska-doosh" when she's holding our hands as we walk to church. She pretends to be a cat (which is one stage of toddler-dom I have always somewhat disliked, but I try to humor her) and when you ask her what she's going to be for Halloween she says "trophy." Which in Amaya language is "Dorothy." She babbles "katchakatchakatchakatcha" when she knows she is being naughty. She requests we take a walk in the rain on Sunday afternoon and she makes a little "fire" out of sticks so we can roast our kukui nut "marshmallows". We throw and kick kukui nuts all over BYUH parking lot.

To-Night: We get a whiff of something strange, and come in to find that she has pooped her diaper but is asleep. When we turn on the light there is poop all over her mouth, her hands, on the wall, and on the bed.

And this is the 10th time that's happened this month, so we are none too pleased. This also reminds me of all the disgusting things I had to sweep out of her mouth today (and some of them got swallowed quickly).

If she would wake up at 7am instead of 6am, I might be able to forgive her. But I already know that tomorrow morning, when it's 6 am (or before) and I say, "Amaya, go back to bed!" she is going to say, "I want to wake up EARLY!"

It's a good thing she's got all day to make it up to us.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All By My Self

...don't wanna be... All By My Self...

Please come to my cooking blog and join my almost no sugar challenge.

What's your incentive?

Hmmmm.

I'll get back to you on that one.

How about, if you live around here, I'll make you something extra duper special on my birthday. How's that sound?

If you live far away you'll have to make something extra special for yourself on my birthday.
Not such a bad deal.

Plus, you can whine all about how hard it is to do this, and everyone will feel sorry for you. So it's like a win-win situation. And we can complain about it together while keeping our eyes on each other. Not in a weird sultry way, but a "if you mess up I can mess up too" kind of way. And then we can blame each other for slipping up and accidentally putting oreos in our mouths when really we meant to eat granny smith apples. Mmmmm. Apples dipped in milk. That's what we meant to do anyway.

Otherwise I'll just shame you into it, so you might as well get on now, before I tell everybody that big secret you told me that one time.

HA. You totally know what I'm talking about, don't you.

There's time to eat sugar later. Even Nutella can wait until Christmas, Sydney.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ask The Universe

Question: Why do the ants think they can leave their carcasses in one corner of my bathroom?
Universe: They leave their carcasses in the middle of the bathroom too, but you walk on those and move them around the rest of the house corners.

Question: Why does peanut butter have to taste so good with chocolate?
Universe: And bananas. You forgot about bananas.

Question: Why does my daughter eat random nastiness off the floor or in the windowsill but refuses to touch my vegan mac and cheese?
Universe: I don't think you really are ready to hear that answer.

Question: Why do parents expect teachers to do the same amount of work for a lot less money?
Universe: Sucks for you.

Question: Why do I even look at Reader's Digest?
Universe: Reader's Digest is anti-time. It sucks the life out of anything it touches.

Question: Why do I even bother scrubbing the floor?
Universe: Because 15 minutes of clean floor feels sooooooooo good.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Commitment Pattern

I have a serious commitment problem.

If I watch one TV episode of a series that looks interesting, I will go through a series of stages before committing myself to that series. I always hear about these shows from someone else, because I don't trust myself to find a good show with all the crap that's out there.
I do have rules about this. NO reality shows whether humorous, dramatic, fix-your-house, game-show or otherwise, NO. This doesn't mean I don't want to be on those shows, however. I would love to be on Wipeout. It looks dang fun.

If I decide that I liked the episode, I will actually have to start watching the entire series. Not just the season that is currently on TV, but every season before that one. I will have to watch the deleted scenes. The gag reel. The "next season" promos. The actor interviews. (I skip the commentary. I'm not that dedicated.) However, if the show has a formula where you can walk in and out like a revolving door, then I can just watch an episode here and there like a fair weather friend who eats the sausages off your pizza slice.

Now, since I haven't had a TV for 11 years, and TV on the internet and on DVD is a new phenomenon, this can lead up to a lot of commitment.

You're thinking, yeah, she does have a commitment problem. An addiction problem.

But PEOPLE. I haven't even told you the problem yet.

The real problem is that I actually feel guilty if I decide not to watch that series.

Like, if the series isn't that good, or it's crass, or sort of weak on interesting characters, or has cheesy music, I tell myself that 7 seasons is way too much to commit to.

But then I worry about it. I think, well, maybe I didn't really give it a chance. Or, so-'n-so liked it. Or, if it has 7 seasons it must be good. Won't the series feel bad if I just walk away now? What if it thinks there's something wrong with it? Is it fair of me to give an opinion after only one episode?

I also go through this if I have been previously committed to a show but we start having a series of episodes where they killed the main love interest or introduced an annoying new lead character, and I start becoming overwhelmed by the reality of watching 3 more seasons to catch up to the current, so I wonder if I was only having a fling instead of a committed polygamist relationship. This makes me feel dirty, and cheap.

Then I drop the show, but when it comes up in conversations where someone is telling me that they love this show, I immediately feel guilty. I clumsily mumble, "Ohhhh, yeah. I watched that once. It was pretty good." And soon I'm wondering if I should revisit my earlier rash decision.

So my new tactic is "don't start." I've had several shows on my list of "to check out" because of recommendations I've had lately. I'm sorry if you told me to watch something within the last month because I really really really am not going to watch it. Because I am really really really not wanting to start another show. Even though I really really really want to see that vampire show that Sarah recommended. And that "Psych" show that my students told me about (okay, so maybe I watched an episode of that). And I want to watch all the food network episodes they have on Hulu. It is totally eating me up.

But even more so, I just don't have time to watch a new show and that's because I have to watch the 3rd season of Friday Night Lights (recommended by Amy Palmer). Good thing there are only three. So far.

It must be good. Jake's been watching it with me. I give it my whole-hearted recommendation if you're looking for something to fill that slot you have open.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WWYD?

For every time out Amaya goes in, there have to be at least 10 put-her-back-in-time-outs.

There is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and then there is an attempt at a break out.

After finding her in Minami's gum stash (I would throw it away if I could) for the 2nd time today (and the 30th time in 3 days), I said, AGAIN, that she was in time out (a punishment she's familiar with for this particular action).

20 seconds after I put her in time out, she is getting out. Even though I am standing right there to put her back in.

After 5 times of putting her back in, I go to the kitchen to get a drink of water, and I hear the door swinging open. I run through the back door and intercept her on her way back to Pam's.

She screams, cries, tries to throw herself on the floor. I put her back in time out. I have to put her back in time out about 10 more times. Finally I just HOLD her there.

Once she is in time out for a total of 2 minutes in one sitting (well, holding), we talk about why she's in time out. Then I tell her that she is not allowed to go to Pam's house any more today, because I can't trust her to stay out of the gum stash.

She cries. She attempts break out about 2 minutes later. She gets all the way to Pam's back door before I can nab her. Back in time out we go. 10 more times.

She has definitely developed this pattern lately of going straight to the worst level. When I announce, "Dinnertime!" she flops on the floor and cries with all her might that "I! Don't! Want! Dinnnnner!"

I cannot keep her in my house these days. She refuses to stay at home. She wants to play with whatever and whoever is not at our house. No matter what game or book I try to bribe her with she is out the door and gone, all the time. If I want her to come back I have to drag her home and stand by the door at all times. She has an aversion to our walls. Of course, with everyone at Pam's house, she is perfectly pleasant. She even answers the phone and chats.

I'm really really ready for the even more terrible threes to be over. I just hope that 4 is not even worse. Or 13 for that matter.

What Would You Do?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Diss Order

I've come to grips with a very real and plain truth.

I am a messy person.



I've been dancing, swinging, skipping, tossing around this fact for years now. Anyone who knows me knows that this is an obvious fact, but I've been in denial.


This is what I tell myself:

I am busy, I don't have time to clean. I like to cook, so my kitchen is naturally messy. I live in Hawaii, so there are going to be piles of ants in every corner. I just cleaned the floor yesterday and it is already dirty, which means it is impossible to keep clean. I am planning on cleaning the fridge tomorrow. I am making a plan to clean one room each day this week. Amaya will just mess everything up anyway.

Now, this is not even close to the same thing as not knowing how to clean. In fact, when I do clean, I clean pretty thoroughly, which means I lift up the toaster to sweep the crumbs out from underneath it. I do care a lot about the floor of the house, so I will scrub it regularly. This keeps it clean for exactly 4 hours at a time.

But I will completely ignore other things, and make more work for myself later. I put papers into piles that I need to sort later, I put books on top of the stack in the shelf, and I empty my pockets on top of my dresser every evening. I usually get to this point where I see a pile, and I just throw something else into it, because obviously I have to clean up that pile and I might as well do it all at once.


So in this realization, I've also come to see some other truths that hold our universe together.


1. I don't have time to clean, but people who are clean and don't have time to clean clean anyway.

2. Paperclips, rubberbands, and other things that hold other things together attract others of their kind and make a mess in miscellaneous areas. And if you throw them away, you will grow new ones soon enough.

3. If you spend an hour cleaning the bathroom and get rid of all of the dead ant piles in the corners, they will rebel and stray their crumpled bodies all over the floor in protest of you interrupting their sacred burial ground.

4. Having a place where you keep things that you don't know where they go to also means that you will never find where these things go to (and take up valuable space in a drawer). However, if you throw these things away, you will immediately find whatever they go to, and you will absolutely need them and hate yourself for throwing them away.

5. Just because you are too short to see the top of the fridge does not mean that the top of the fridge is clean. In fact, you have been putting cereal boxes up there for months assuming it was a clean and bug free place to keep things, but once you stand on a chair and look, you will see several cockroaches running to another place you can't see the top of.

6. Cleaning your house just makes you aware of all the things you still need to clean. Even if you tell yourself you will clean the inside of the fridge tomorrow, in the meantime, ants and cockroaches will be busy making little piles inside the cupboard you cleaned today. And don't even get me started on the windows. There is no being DONE with cleaning.

7. The only time your house will be clean is when you move out, take all of your stuff to your new place, and scrub everything top to bottom.

So this morning Jake and I ignored Amaya entirely and cleaned the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. I organized every pile and put things away and scrubbed the surfaces. We ignored the windows and the inside of the fridge and only cleaned some of the cupboards.


Telling yourself that you are going to change and become a clean person is much like breaking an addiction. Good intentions, written goals, positive self-talk all come down to you, and something that needs to be cleaned up.

Does it really matter if I put this paperclip on top of the bookcase?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grown Up




Amaya started going to Rainbow school just last month. The weirdest part of it is that I am not realizing how old she is getting, I am realizing how old I am getting. And it's all happening so fast.
Jake and I are sitting at the kitchen table and talking about the fact that the teachers want to move Amaya up to the 3-4 class (she’s in the 2-3 class) and the whole time I’m thinking, Is this what parents do? Discuss how your kid is coping in her environment and how she might be affected for the rest of her life? Since she doesn't have to take naps in the 3-4 class will she grow up right?

Even as I'm hearing myself saying, "What did the teacher say?" I'm wondering how it got to be that I've accepted that the rest of the world is going to have a say in how Amaya grows up. I've let it in. And I have to work with it.

Yesterday Amaya was holding a spray can of some kind and I said, “Don’t play with that; it has chemicals in it.”
She said, “Yeah. It has POOP in it!”
I said, “What?! It doesn’t have poop in it.”
She replied, “Yes, poop has chemicals. It has poop in it.”

She is SO ready.
I think it's me who has to try to be a grownup.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Myth

This week in Time there is an article about exercise leading to weight loss being a myth. They say that diet matters so much more.
Yes, I could have told you that. After doing P90x for six straight weeks this summer and seeing zero actual weight loss, I told my Ted's breakfast sandwich that he wasn't doing me any good. And why not? He's yummy, and protein filled, and packed with fat. After my discussion with him, I looked at my glazed doughnut right in the eyes and told her that if she did not get herself worked off by the end of my hour long squats session, I would be annoyed, and may not come see her again for at least two weeks.

The only one who listened to me at all during my 6 weeks of P90x was my shoulders, who decided to pop up out of nowhere and slink back into nowhere under my shirt sleeves. What good is having shapely shoulders if they don't connect to shapely biceps and forearms?
I'll tell you. No good.

Then we hit my 2 week vacation, on which the second half my P90x dvd's were temporarily stolen. Then I got back and started school.
I tell you. Working is an exercise killer. Because work is work and exercise is work and if you're going to drop one work, you're certainly going to be dropping the work that doesn't work at all.

So now that everyone and their mother and Time magazine is telling me to stop visiting Ted's for breakfast, and stop looking at Tastespotting on fast sunday, and stop going to birthday parties, I want to throw out a few other myths regarding dieting.

Eating a big breakfast does NOT make you less hungry at lunch. If your name is Mariko and you are eating a big breakfast, you are halfway starved by lunch. And if you eat a big lunch, it does NOT make you less hungry at dinner. Oatmeal has got to be the least sticking breakfast there is. My stomach can metabolize oatmeal in 30 minutes.

Stopping when you are "satisfied" does not leave you full 15 minutes later. My brain is quite hungry 15 minutes later.

Eating a piece of fruit or drinking a glass of water when you are hungry does NOT stave off the beast. Total LIE! Not only do you not care about eating a piece of fruit when you are hungry, but if you do force yourself to eat fruit instead of a Nutella sandwich, you are so about to eat a Nutella sandwich 5 minutes later. So not only have you consumed a Nutella sandwich, you have eaten the sugar from a piece of fruit. Actually, you have already eaten the sugar of 5 pieces of fruit, because getting full off of fruit is the biggest lie there is, but you were trying to believe in it anyway. And yes. You are still going to be hungry for dinner. In fact, you are probably going to be hungry after dinner too, because you tried to make part of your dinner a salad.

Exercise combined with eating less is supposed to work. Problem is, there is no way you are exercising when you feel like crap from eating less.

And the last myth. The killer. The one where people tell you you look fine and you don't need to diet. I know. People with eating disorders never believe it either. But when you weigh 20 lbs more than you did before you had a baby and don't fit your clothes without sporting a muffin top and people ask you all the time if you are pregnant...

The only thing about dieting that is true is that you're sick of talking about it, thinking about it, and doing it, and so is everyone else listening to you. But you can't stop anyway, even though you aren't looking for sympathy. When you're hungry, the only thing you're thinking about is food. And not eating it. And pretty soon you're Cathy Guisewite. You even look like her.

So I guess I'm about to eat another piece of canteloupe.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Standing My Ground

The one problem with living in Hawaii is that you always have to say goodbye to people. It's more than just transience. It's people you love that are wanting to stay forever (or at least say so) who decide to pick up and leave.

People who live here are always talking about the situations that would cause them to leave. When you leave the universe door open to "if..." it's bound to happen. While they leave their hearts in Hawaii, they take their bodies to Utah. It's pretty hard to have a heart to heart with a bodiless heart.

Then you're tortured by a promise that the person will never love their new home as much as they love Hawaii, and they will try to come back as soon as they can. They even say things like, "I wish I was in Hawaii", but then they continue to revel in the benefits of being on the mainland that they swear they will never care about as much as living in Hawaii. If they come to visit, they casually mention they have a new house, gallons of milk for $2, and schools with toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Pretty soon their hearts are packing their bags. Worse, when I make fun of their newfoundland, they get annoyed and defend it.

I'm tired of being left behind. When people leave, they always act like it's about new progression and new beginnings and new opportunity. I wanna know. Just what the heck was wrong with the old one? Not only that, if those people come back to see what you're doing, and you happen to be living the old opportunity (however well you happen to be living it), they seem to feel like everything is right where they left it. In a bad way. Sure, I don't really want to make new friends because I'm waiting for the old ones to come back, and sure, my circle dwindles. But wouldn't it seem worse for you if I had moved on since I haven't moved?
Is it progression if I move to a place with 4 bedrooms and a dishwasher, cut off ties with the old friends, and start scrapbooking with my new crew?

I want to make a strong argument for Hawaii that I believe is air tight.

1. Owning your own house is totally over rated. What you are earning in equity, I am earning in peace of mind that I will never have to take care of my own plumbing problems. I think it's much better to concentrate on goals that require little upkeep but also signify "arriving" in terms of adulthood, like "owning a set of plates that all match and are not remnants from previous renters at the last three apartments you have lived".

2. So what if strawberries cost $1 a pound--You have to buy nice furniture to serve them on for your guests that you have to invite over with invitations made with little arranged pieces of paper cut out with a Cricut. Why not live here, where you eat mangoes dripping from your elbows while sitting in the yard with the people who happened to come over and ended up staying for dinner?

3. You will get at least 3 extra days off of school a year due to flooding, which is way better than a snow day (except in the event that it actually floods--and if that happens, you will probably get at least 5 days off). Plus some days are so nice that no one will begrudge you a surf vacation day occasionally.

4. I think I have to say it again in case you missed it: MANGO. So many that there are two huge tupperware of cut mango in your fridge and 10 more fruits on the counter ripening, not to mention the trees sagging with ripeness in the yard. I'll let that sit in your mind while I touch briefly on the words 'Mountain Apples'. That should be sufficient.

5. Good service is a myth. People who are polite and helpful in service related jobs are really just spitting in your food before it leaves the kitchen, or grumbling about their customers on their own personal blogs. It's much better to live in a place where everyone knows where they stand: that customers are really just a hassle, money made from this job is a necessary evil for idyllic island life, any pleasantries you would exchange are totally disingenuous anyway, and rather than bug the secretary you should probably just be more self-sufficient. I truly think it makes everyone happier at the end of the day to realize this and get on with the real relationships you have rather than worry about the fake ones that require pre-made conversational tools.

Now, I don't want everyone to come rent up all the remaining vacancies on my side of the island, but if anyone who has already left or is planning on leaving wants to stick around, I think we'd be happy to forgive and forget and make some room--

Maybe I could even spare a few mangoes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What you're thinking when a miracle happens to you

So some psychos stole my luggage, and a someone who sounds psycho on the phone found it.

Our phone conversations included him telling me detail by detail what was in my luggage, including the unmentionables, several reassurances that he was not crazy, and that he was looking for a new wife.

We were worried to go get it, and wanted the police to pick it up for us, which they won't do (in case you wanted to know). They wanted him to bring it to the station. When I mentioned that to him, he said he was old, didn't have a car, and was trying to do us a favor, but...

When I said we lived pretty far away and it would be hard to come get it, he said he could bring it to us.

Strange, yes?

Christian went and got it for me, paid the guy a reward, and reported him as harmless.

Yes, we got almost all of it back. Things that were gone:

brand new sandals, clothes with tags still attached, presents for various newborns and in utero children, random toiletries, and....

Sardines.

Don't ask me why I had sardines, but I had 2 cans of them from Zingerman's, and was dismayed to find them gone. The psychos liked the sardines I guess. But not the Nutella. I tell you, WEIRD.

I was even amazed to find that all of my school papers, the ones that had been in the zipper of the suitcase, were all stuffed into the duffel bag. I had specifically prayed to find these. And my brush. I mean, who rummages through a bunch of stuff and then actually puts stuff back in? Why not just toss it all into the trash?

Why not put the suitcase and duffel bag INTO the dumpster, instead of right beside it?

And if you find it, why do you grab them both, even if the duffel bag is totally unlabeled?

The main thing you think, when a miracle happens to you, is that Someone is paying attention.

And,

Why the sardines?

Friday, July 24, 2009

What you're thinking when some @#2%01# steals your luggage

W. H. A. T.
?

Really?
Maybe it's under the car.

Nope.

Okay. Think. Where did you see it last?

Alrighty, so if it's not in the trunk of the car, then where could it be now? I'm sure I must have put them somewhere around here.

I did something wrong here. I forgot some crucial step in my decision making today. Now, I need to rewind and happen to come back to the car at about 12:30. Then I would have seen that they were taking my stuff, and I would have run after them and scared them away, and my stuff would be safe.

ARRRRRRRGH. How can I catch them in the act?
Look around. Maybe they're still here. Is that woman putting a suitcase in her car?

No. That's a baby.

Okay, think. What was in the suitcase? Clothes, gifts, computer... AAAAHHH! My computer!

Weird. They didn't take my backpack with my computer. PHEW. That is crazy lucky. I mean, WOW. I am so awesome to have put all my expensive stuff in my backpack.

Why didn't I put my work papers in my backpack! WHY didn't I put my P90X DVD's in my backpack? Why didn't I put my awesome new Japanese brush in my backpack that I can never find again?
WHY didn't I put my suitcase in my backpack?!

Calm down. Really. There must be some other stuff that I don't actually care about.
Toothpaste. I don't really care about my toothpaste.

Well... I did just buy it. And it was Tom's toothpaste. I never buy that in Hawaii. Dang.

I don't really care about my toothpaste, but I kind of do.
I also had some socks.

Dang.

Is this a message from God that I shouldn't be here? Does he send messages through luggage thieves? Should I be interpreting this?

I totally should not have paid for my luggage to be brought here. It cost $15 per bag! I should have just thrown them in the trash before I got to the airport. That would have been so much smarter.

I even paid for the luggage cart! TWICE!

If those luggage thieves were here, I would tell them what an inconvenience they've caused me. They would feel pretty dumb if I could just talk to them.

Is that my luggage over there?

Hmmmm.

No.

That's a small shrub.

I really wish I wasn't so materialistic. Then this wouldn't even matter.
And I wish I was rich, so this wouldn't matter.

And I wish I had put my suitcase in my backpack.

Friday, July 10, 2009

If you could be 2 forever




If she was two forever:

She'd still be in love with Austin

I would find pieces of carpet in her nose

A parasite would be living in her stomach from licking the window screen daily

Every day she would ask me if it was her birthday

The last hour of morning sleep would be squirming around in my bed

New vocabulary would pop up in every day language, like "scrumptious"

L's would sound like y's, as in "I yick my yips"

We'd have popsicle tubes in our freezer

Singing "Hakuna Matata" would be one repeated line

Her bangs would always be in her eyes

We'd swing and sing in the hammock every afternoon

Everyone would want to entertain her

She'd take a nap from 4 till 5 pm

Tea time would be a permanent item on the agenda

Everything past would be last night and everything future would be tonight

Going pee in the toilet would be the last priority if anything interesting was happening

The library would be the most exciting place in the world

A marshmallow filled with mango juice would be enough reward for anything

She'd be giving me hugs, kisses, and I love yous hourly

Happy 3rd Birthday Amaya. I wish you could be two forever.


video

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Delaying the Inevitable

I'm a pro at putting off things that are inevitable. In case you'd like to put some of my techniques to use, here are some tried and true ideas.

1) When you see that the dishes are piling up in the sink, reorganize the counter so that more go in the sink, so you can put more on the counter when you need to. Everyone knows you don't have to do dishes until there is no more room to put dishes.
You can also soak the dishes that are super crusty, because everyone knows you can't do dishes that are super crusty.

2) If the floor is badly in need of a good "knees on the floor" scrub, buy a swiffer. If that isn't good enough, then use it. Don't bother moving the furniture. You'll get around to a good scrub eventually. You have time in your schedule next April. I recently vacuumed the kitchen. It's not such a bad substitute, really.

3) Let's say your car safety inspection is expiring. You definitely get at least a day grace period when it does expire. Then call your local safety inspector and ask him if he can do it. When he says, "No, call on Wednesday," wait until Thursday, so that he can tell you to call again on Monday, and so forth. This way, you are involving others in your putting off-ness, and you can even complain about it. Then others see that you are clearly trying to do something about it, but the forces of nature are colliding against you.

4) If you have a for sure something's wrong with you disease, and you feel awful, look up your symptoms on the internet. Then tell everyone about it. After listening to several friends and a spouse tell you to make a doctor's appointment, consider which kind of doctor you should go to. During this time have no real plans to make an appointment because everyone knows you should not ever confirm a "for sure something's wrong with you disease." Everyone knows this leads to "for sure something's wrong with you" treatment, which involves needles or small scopes built for small places. Instead you should wait until you are either so uncomfortable that your spouse calls a doctor for you, or your symptoms change slightly so that you can research a different "something is probably wrong with you" disease and start the process again.

5) Your neck has been telling you recently that you're getting old. The lines are standing out stronger than your chin line. The best thing for you to do here is to buy some products that work really hard, pumping their arms up and down all night and bathe your skin in plumping moisture while you sleep. Everyone knows that the inevitable here is surgery, but you haven't saved up enough money yet, since you're spending it all on "make your skin look like it will tomorrow" night cream.

Surely you've noticed now that delaying is hard work, which is probably why I never have any time to do anything else.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Learning Disability

I'm often stumped by things I want to learn, think I should be able to learn, but then because I don't immediately understand them I just stop.
I think I'm pretty learning spoiled.

Anything to do with moving my body, you can pretty much count out. I am hopeless at seeing someone do something (like a dance move, or a flip) and then doing it myself.

Even on my P90x video, there's a sequence where you throw and catch a pitch, and I just move around to get the exercise, but I can never figure out which foot to lift and what arm to put down, and I feel like I'm doing some sort of tribal dance. And yes, when I dance, it looks like an accident.

Things I want to learn, but am frustrated by easily:
1. Sew. It's too frustrating to even talk about.

2. How to fix actual problems with my computer without calling my dad. I am good at defragmenting and changing the startup programs, and beyond that, I can do nothing. I did open up my computer twice, and I think I broke my internet wireless card by touching it too much.


3. Play the guitar. I should be able to do this, but I get really annoyed really fast because I cannot remember where to put my fingers and it hurts.

4. Speak Japanese. It's tragic how I speak a minimal amount of French and next to no Japanese. The worst part is that Jake is now listening to the Japanese podcast. I am foreign language retarded, and I blame that on my English skill.

5. Gardening. Now, you're going to say, just go out there and do it. But for some reason, I am afraid of doing it. I think I am going to kill things. I can rake leaves, but I worry about touching actual alive plants.

There are a number of other things I want to learn how to do: fish, basic auto mechanics, carpentry and house building, do an ollie, dance like Michael Jackson... I'll probably need to spend too much time to learn those things.

I also want to write a book, get my PhD, have more kids, read every book on my bookshelf, travel, and everything else I already do.

I wish I didn't have to sleep so much. And that reading a book about doing something was as good as doing it.

Of course, if that worked, first thing I'd do before any of that list, I'd buy a bunch of diet books.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2 and 7/8ths year old senses


Taste: Mama! This is Yogurt Flavor! (upon tasting a pina colada popsicle)

Smell: Mmmm. Lemon. (upon smelling a plumeria)

Hear: Me: "Amaya, while I'm in the shower, do NOT run outside."

Amaya: Looking around.

Me: "Amaya, did you hear me? What did I say?"

Amaya: "Ummmmm. You said because I was naughty."

Me: "Noooooo, I said, don't run outside while I'm in the shower."

Amaya starting to walk away.
Me: "Amaya, WHAT did I say?" I grab her and make her look at me in the eyes.
Amaya: "Um, you said.... Mommy, what did you say?"

Me: "I said, 'Don't go outside while I'm in the shower. Don't go outside. Don't go outside."
Amaya: "Oh."

Me: "What did I say?"

Amaya: Long pause. "I don't know."

Me, thinking I need to take a different approach, "Amaya, you can't go outside because I am in the shower and I'm afraid you will run away. I can't chase you while I'm in the shower. Don't go outside."

Amaya: Silence

Me: "Ok, Amaya. What did I say?"

Amaya: "Ok."

Me: "NO, what did I say?"

Needless to say, this went on for several more interchanges, at which point I figured that she must know, just not telling me. So I took a shower. Guess who had to go out in her towel to find out if her daughter had been kidnapped?

And yes, she can open locked doors.

See:
Me: "Amaya, what color is this?"

Amaya: "Um, G."

Me: "Well, this is a G right here." pointing at a G. "What color is it?"

Amaya, pointing to the G: "G!" Then points to another 'G'.

Me: "Ok, good job. This is a G." switching cards, "Amaya, what color is this circle?"

Amaya: "Red."

Me: "No. This is blue. What color is this circle?" (pointing to the same circle)

Amaya: "Green."

Me: "No. This is blue. Ok, what color is this square?"

Amaya: "Red."

Me: "No, it's green." Switching cards back to the first one. "Amaya, can you point to the G?"

Amaya: "Blue" she says while pointing to the 'O' which is orange.

Me: "Ok, not the color. I want you to point to the 'G'. Remember? Where is it?"

Amaya: "Right here."
It's an L.

Touch:
Anyone who doesn't have kids doesn't realize how much physical affection you get from them. It's probably the best thing about having a kid. You think you get enough from your other relationships, but you don't. Amaya gives long hugs and cuddles. There's nothing like having a toddler.
I will be so sad when she's a big kid who doesn't need that anymore. I guess I will never be a big kid.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Crucial Conversation

I just finished reading Crucial Conversations: Tips for Talking When the Stakes are High and All Jokes Aside (AJA), this book is going to change my life.

I mean, it already has, but it is going to change how my life is going to change from now on. And yes, I have used the techniques in this book many times already. I'm not saying I've mastered it, but I've done much better at discussing emotionally charged issues since I've started. I would have to say this is the first book of this kind (self-help?) that I've read, ever. My dad sent me the book and I know he uses it because he is really good at discussing with people about sticky subjects. The main point though, that I got from the book was, "You can change how YOU act in a crucial conversation. Don't walk into a situation thinking you are going to get exactly what you want."

In case you don't have time to read this book, I have cleverly devised a summary scenario containing the main ideas.

You are supposed to use these techniques when you communicate with someone about a crucial subject. These can be used in any environment, and even with seemingly inane individuals. The whole point of this is to work out solutions and to avoid "silence" or "violence" types of responses, which is what usually happens in the cases of crucial conversations.

1. Communicate your facts and Tell your story. Start with the facts of the situation (your evidence to show what you've observed) and explain what conclusion this has led you to. This is to clear up when you have come to a conclusion about someone's actions so that they don't feel like you've made a villain out of them. It also helps you to realize that there may be many reasons that people act the way they do, and you can't just expect the worst.

Example: Jane: Every time I pass by your cubicle, you look at me up, down, and sideways, and you leave me out of the conversations when you go out with your snotty boyfriend, so I'm beginning to think that you don't trust me. Is there something I'm not seeing here?

2. When the response is in silence or violence, build safety to bring out more information.

Example: George: "Oh, so you think I never do anything around here. Whatever. Just send me the bill."
Jane: "It seems like that isn't okay with you. I see that your face is twisted and your left eye is twitching. Could it be that you are being sarcastic because you think I am insulting you? I am not trying to make you feel like your mother, I just want to make sure that we get to have a vacation that everyone is happy with."

3. After all the meaning is flowing into the shared pool, make a decision, make people responsible for their tasks, and follow up.

Jane: "So now that we know that you would prefer to have a dog because you are trying to reclaim your lost childhood pet, we will have a working prototype ready to go through debugging by May 1st, and Stan is in charge of notifying me of any issues."
Stan: "Wait, I wasn't here when we voted!"
Jane: "This decision was made by consult only, and we don't have time for full consensus. We only use voting when those involved don't mind either way things turn out."
George: "Thanks for listening to me. I really feel better now and that we can trust each other to communicate all the issues we're facing."
Jane: "Great. This may be a good time to discuss those pants you always wear when we visit my mother."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Now and Later


Now:
"Mama, can I go to the beach with Mikey?"
"No, honey. We're leaving in half an hour."
"NOOOOOOOO! I HAVE TO GO TO THE BEEEEEACH!"
Tantrum, fits, and screaming ensue.

Later:
"Mom, can I go to the beach with Mikey?"
"No. You're not allowed to go to the beach alone with a boy."
"You are the worst mother ever! YOU are ruining my life!!!! You never let me do anything!"
Tantrum, fits, and screaming ensue.

The only difference? Later, she won't want me to hug her while she's having her tantrum.

Sigh.

p.s. Isn't it funny how kids seem to resort to stereotypical movie like statements when faced with this problem? Their rage so stifles their creativity.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweet and Sour


Amaya came in to wake me up and said, "Momma, you're the best."

I swear I did not train her to say that.

Amaya constantly says "I love you" to me. I know she says it to a few other people too, but I like to think she means it especially much when she says it to me.

After she begged me to open a banana for her, for about 20 minutes of constant nagging. Amaya is the great fruit fake-out queen (oh, it's a title, trust me) and will almost inevitably not eat whatever fruit you willingly give her.

Finally I opened it up. She pulled a chunk off, brought it to her lips, and did not take a bite. Not even a little bite. She put the banana on the counter.

7 time outs later, I'm taking a picture of her miserable self, a hostage at the kitchen table, holding a banana and saying, "I don't WANNA take a bite of banana! I don't Yike it!"

I truly think she believed at that moment that she was having the worst day of her life.

Don't you wish this was your worst day? Being forced to take one bite of a banana?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Epiphaniacal


Guys, I don't come up with these realizations very often, so don't laugh.

I realized today: it's hard to do things sometimes.

And then a little later I realized: it's hard to do hard things.

Then in between bites of my 2nd bowl of carb loaded pasta: it's hard to do hard things for extended periods of time.

Now that is deep.

For example, I did my P90x workout plan faithfully for 5 weeks and ate vegan for 40 days (okay, so I missed 2 days). Then I had a crazy week getting ready to leave for a week, then I leaved for a week, and then I had to recover from leaving for a week. [okay, so I have to insert here, I did not lose a POUND during this 5 weeks of intense workout, so maybe I didn't feel very much motivation to continue. I think I did gain a little arm muscle, which has promptly left me, the cad.]

Now I'm like, "Workout? Um, I can't really think right now. I need to eat a bowl of ice cream to clear my brain."

Part of me would love to see Tony Horton just break down and gain 50 lbs, and the other part of me would think: "Man, that sucks." Because as I said, it's hard to do hard things, for a long time.

That's like, triple hard.

I know people would say, "Well, moderately hard things are easier to keep up," but I'm pretty sure that's not true either. Moderately hard things seem as hard to do for me as hard things. Actually, if it's a moderately hard thing, I think, "Oh well, it's not like that was going to do me much good anyway." I'm way more likely to not do it.

Yes, I know. I have the willpower of a human. The weak kind.

p.s. When I was looking for the picture for this post, I found Tony Horton's BLOG! Weird. And guess what he says: Make a plan, stick to the plan and do it... forever!

I'm pretty sure he's an alien. Evidence? Those cheekbones. And the fact that he can do one arm pushups. And probably because he wrote disdainfully about the foodporn industry.

Friday, May 15, 2009

...

Just how DO you teach someone what a color is? I'm telling you, if this does turn out to be a thing, years from now I'm sure I'll be blaming all of it on the fact that I'm a working mother. Really.

Jake: "What color is this?"

Amaya: "Turtle!"

Jake: "What color is it?"

Amaya: "TURTLE!"

Jake: "No, what color is this turtle?"

Amaya: "Ummmmm, BLUE!"

Jake: "No... It's Guhhhhhh...."

Amaya: "Guh?"

Jake: "No, Grrrrr..."

Amaya: "Grrrr?"

Jake: "Greeeee...."

Amaya: "Greeee?"

Jake: "Green!"

Amaya: *silence*

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Teacher Revision

Wyatt thought of this ridiculously awful awesome idea.


"Teacher should be forced to leave given a huge pension after 20 years. You teach 20 years, and then you're out made into a goddess, immediately. Done."


Kona jumped in on this evil scheme and said, "Yeah, I get so sick of seeing love the same d@#n teachers every year. They should get new give bonuses to teachers every year."


I said, "You've been here 20 years, huh?"


[cackle, cackle. I love that part.]


"Seriously, Miss. Why don't they just rotate give all the teachers mansions on the beach every year? Bring the Sunset teachers here and send all of you guys to Paris or somewhere else. Give you us some variety, please.


Gotta say, Kona. That is ingenious.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sistern




My mom used to think that I would never get married because I was so feminist.
Now I've realized I'm not feminist, I just have a lot of self-faith, which is so different than self-confidence. Really, I'm sexist.
What she should have been worried about is me not having any female friends.
Last week when I watched my brother getting married off, I thought a lot more about sisters.
You probably know I'm not a sisters kind of person. I kind of avoid them, I think. Especially when they come knocking on my door and try to bring me cookies and teach me a lesson.
Usually I think, "The cookies can stay. Unless they have raisins or walnuts." Then I hope that we can quickly get through the part where we sit around and talk. That's probably why they bring cookies, 'cause otherwise I would feel less inclined to let them through the door.
Yes, I realize that this has everything to do with me, and nothing to do with them. I'm a complete idiot around most people. I get nervous, I laugh too much (Ok, so I do that anyway), and I am constantly looking for the next thing to say around people I don't know. My students who read this will probably be surprised when I say that women intimidate me. I mean, you bring a woman into my house, and I say, "AAAAAAHHHHH! Don't eat me!!!!!" and then I run away in fright, warning people all along the way. "There's a WOMAN in there! And she's got COOKIES! Run for your lives!"
Now you're thinking I'm a horrible, terrible person, but really! I'm not!

Okay, I am a horrible, terrible person, but not because of this. It has nothing to do with not liking those girls who come over and ask me about my week and teaching the gospel. It has to do with me rather jumped on by a person on a pogo stick than be in a situation where I have to talk to a female I don't know that well. I've always been insecure around most women, and I don't like the whole do-si-do.
(I also don't like how pretty they are, how nice they are, and how well-organized they are. Give me a sloppy, loud-mouthed guy over a woman.)
Let me clarify that I don't feel like I have to be better than them, and I don't think it's a competition, but I don't want to be the unwilling participant in the competition. Which, let's face it, happens. I'd much prefer to ponder over those dumb things I do, because they're way funnier.
I love the friends I have (and I have mostly female friends these days), and I'm skeptical of the ones I don't. I spend a lot of energy and time into my few friendships and I kind of just avoid new ones altogether. If I meet someone who I click with immediately, great, but otherwise I don't go out of my way.
I never wanted sisters. Really. I wanted older brothers. Loads of them. The kind that beat potential boyfriends up. Now, just try to talk your mother into producing some older brothers.
But actual honest-to-goodness sisters-in-law? Can't really say that. You're sort of stuck. (No pressure, Amanda.)
At least these sisters don't come to me with the baggage of annoying habits, and catfights, and gross boyfriends they thankfully didn't marry. Instead, they have that baggage with some other siblings, and I just get to cackle about it as if it were a funny memory, instead of a real and painful thing.
As sisters go, Jen and Jill are awesome. Jill helped me pick out some clothes for the wedding (which, I have to say, did not happen when I went shopping with my bro), indulged my dessert obsession, and helped me entertain Amaya even though she had plenty of entertaining to do on her own. Jen jumped at every chance to make my stay more comfortable, talked with me late into the night, and made me some yummy breakfasts. Can I say, too, that both of these girls are ridiculously positive? I mean, they were seriously affecting my negative vibe. I was even smiling some of the time I was in Utah.
I really enjoyed their company, and found myself wishing that I could have sisters around more often.
Kegan and my dad told me (am I breaking confidence here?) that Amanda was a little intimidated by me. I told Kegan, "Actually, I'm kind of flattered that she's intimidated," which he thought was mean of me to say. She really had nothing to worry about. I think she had me at "English Major." She's right though. I'm kind of mean.

I did leave cookies at her house. But they were Vegan. Would you run away?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mutha'd


In an e-mail I got this week from my mother, she said, "I think you are very patient with Amaya. You must not have gotten that from me."

Well, if you had known me when I was a teenager, you would know how false that statement is. And that's all I'll say about that.

Something I do wish I could learn better, from her example, is "getting the job done." My mom is the perfect person to have around if you have something big to do. She just does things, without sitting down to procrastinate first.

Me, I like to dip my feet in, then walk around the lake, then pretend to be awed by the beauty of it, and then leave because it's gotten too cold.

My mom just jumps in and swims. She doesn't really sit and try to figure out if something is too difficult. She just knows she's going to figure it out.
She is SO organized, and she thinks of all the details. She made my brother's itinerary for his honeymoon, and printed out all the information he needed. It was a binder of information, put into those clear acetate sheets. She knows about presentation. I certainly didn't get that part of her.

I was thinking, last night, that we do have another big thing in common. When we want to have fun, we just decide to like things. Even if they're not that good, we're liking it.

And I wasn't always good. So you know what that means.

Happy Mother's Day. I love you, Mom.

P.S. If I get one thing from you, Mom, I'd like your skin. I will be Oh-so-happy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Utahnized


Kegan's mouth is a heart. Isn't that adorable?
I'll put up more wedding pics in a few days.
Uncle Kim and Aunt Yvonne. They drove 4 hours to be at the wedding, and then drove back right afterwards. They're probably the cutest people on this planet (except the hot guy at the bottom of this stack, and the girl just above). Below you'll see my dad with Uncle Kim and two of his cousins. The cousin on the right is Julie, Dad's childhood BFF. If I haven't told you before, my dad's from Virgin, UT, population 90. About half Spendloves, if you don't count the in-laws.

After my week long trip, I'm pretty sure I can say I'm an expert on Utah. Not "In" Utah, but On.
People from Utah are always apologizing for things. I heard many apologies that sounded like this:
"So you take 5th East-- that's 500 East, actually, we just say 5th. Sorry, it's kind of messed up."
Apparently an amazing genius came to Utah and said, "We shall name all the streets in the 100's, except for some randomly placed streets in between the hundreds in suburby areas, and those shall all be in inconsistent increments of 20's. And we shall start all of the streets from a zero-zero point that no one but a city planner will be able to discern and then count upwards from there, in every direction, naming each street East, West, North, and South. Yet in our addresses and directions, we shall explain the direction of the directions, and then the direction the street is called. Therefore, you shall take East 500 South and stop on the corner of the cross street, West 700 West. Then for good measure, we will throw in a diagonal street of East 200 West. Just so ye do not lose thy way."
Now, I totally understand the genius of this system. I especially understand how every single city in Utah (at least the 6 I've been in) has this system. So not only is there a 300 South in Orem, there is also a 300 South in Provo, Cedar Hills, Draper, Pleasant Grove, Salt Lake City and Spanish Fork.
I asked someone how I was supposed to remember which of the various 100 streets each direction points, and someone said, apologetically, "The mountains are East. Except for those mountains, which are South. And those way way mountains, those are West. Just remember to go South on 100 East, which is in the direction of those mountains, if you are facing the reflection of the mountains in the lake." You just can't get close to those way way mountains, because they will do an about face and become West mountains.
There were some apologies I did not hear, but I think we all understand a silent apology when we hear one.
For example, Super Walmart definitely is apologizing just for existing. I mean, you should totally NOT be able to buy shrink wrapped raw chicken breasts at the same store known for its discount prices. I really think there are a few things that just don't need a rollback.
The "G" on the hill over the valley apologized for not being a "P", because "Pleasant Grove" does not start with G, the last time I checked. I think that after the genius created his road system, he went down unto the valley and said, "We shall name this place 'Grove', which starts with G." Probably halfway through constructing this town the genius's assistant pointed out that Grove may be too generic, and it needed a strong adjective to help it survive.
I hold no ill-will towards Utah for being out of Sriracha sauce at 3 different stores, or for spelling Macy's with an 'e', with no clothes in sight, or for their near 7% sales tax. Or even for hogging all of the frozen yogurt locations in the U.S. or offering Mexican coke on tap. Or even for snowing on the last Sunday in May.
It's important to accept these apologies graciously, and forgive.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stuff That's Hard

  • Being a parent in a dirty public bathroom.
  • Understanding why people go to chain semi-fast food restaurants, like "Chili's"
  • Not eating oreos after I've eaten dinner, second dinner, a snack, and some m&m's.
  • playing "Hello, hello" at junior and senior primary for the billionth sunday in a row
  • stopping yourself from watching the next episode of "24"
  • watching your daughter fake vomit in her mouth from eating a piece of zucchini
  • following through with your P90x workout
  • finding clothes for school in the dark
  • getting a 9th grader's attention and keeping it
  • Jake's muscles

I guess not everything that's hard is undesirable.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Listen

When Amaya woke up early this morning (as she has been ever since we broke her from her morning bottle-- Now she sleeps even less-- not even 9 hours at night),
Jake said, "Amaya, why are you so lame sometimes?"
Amaya answered, "No, I'm not lame. Spongebob is lame."
Jake told her this tidbit about spongebob about 3 months ago, once. A little later she remembered that The Lion King was also lame.

For breakfast she said, "Get me a napkin, please." When we didn't jump up right away she said, "Anyone....? Anyone?"

After breakfast she wanted a body tart. Which is apparently the same thing as a poptart. A strawberry one.

When I was in the bathroom she was very upset about being locked into the house and heard "Uncle" Buddy talking to Pam outside. She was trying to unlock the door herself and kept calling out to them. Then she got a key out of the key bowl and said, "Uncle Buddy! I have a key! Let me show you how to use it! I need to unlock the door!"

I used to think nothing sounded funny at 6 am.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Workin' Girl


I caught Amaya with her hands down in the toilet this evening.

My first reaction: FREAK OUT.

And not in the good dancing kind of way.

The, "What-ARE-you-DOING?!-That-IS-SOOOO-YUCKY!-You-are-so-weird!!!!" kind of way.

She turned her head to me, and said, "Mommy, I love you." And smiled so sweetly.

Oh. My.
My girl already knows how to work it.

She doesn't know how to read letters or numbers, but she's fluent in people.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Poem

I'm having a hard time with the title.

I thought I would post this here, because I have some amazing students. And these amazing students actually helped me edit this poem.
Usually I'm really irritated with my students (every year) because they have a hard time being critical of writing. SO, I gave them something they couldn't wait to tear apart. My own poem.

I was surprised to find that they did a good job. Not because they don't write well. Because I actually made this into a way better poem because of them.
It still needs some tweaking, but I like how it's turning out.
They didn't like the word "crackling." But I couldn't find a suitable replacement. Poet's license I guess. Everything I came up with made it sound more and more like cereal.

Poem

When we argue in the car,
soon we fall into a silence
backlit by wheels spinning over concrete
~
~
~
air slips around our encased contention
the tunnel cuts the radio transmission
into a tune of electric chafe

Your head is facing the angle of the windshield.
You are watching the lines in the road
making their paths out of the dark.

I wonder if the direction of your face
Means you are waiting for my reply,

Being alone, together, crackles in my ears.

We’ve had this moment before
In many pieces

~ We’re standing in a wind, cliff side,
the waves cresting white over rocky pieces

~ hiking ahead of you,
clouds heavy in my rasping breath

~ our running soles scraping concrete,
a lopsided beat, at night

the static
scratches
my thinking.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Creative Cat







When I was in elementary school I put a lot of worth into the idea "creativity."

I think that was the buzz word back then. If you were creative, you were going somewhere, you were doing something, and you were somebody.

Funny how all of those things sound like somebody somewhere doing something else.

I often wracked my brain trying to find ways to be creative because I worried that I was not. I worried that the fact that I was wracking my brain meant that I was not creative, because creative was a gift that people had and it exploded out of them like a woman in labor. Sometimes you wanted to avert your eyes from creativity, but you didn't deny it either.

I think now that I am married to creativity, I know even better how creativity is like labor.
Difficult, inevitable, draining. And amazing.

Jake is on fire about 95% of every day. If he's lucky the other 5% is extinguished sleeping. His brain is on constant overdrive output. Creating is very different than explaining, assembling, or producing. It's that intangible idea that becomes tangible, abstract to concrete (and even abstract concrete). It's more than a plan and involves difficult manipulation to bring about, and I think the key here is that it IS created. Plenty of people have good ideas. Jake actually makes them happen.

We've watched more than a few movies about musician, writer, or artist geniuses. They're often on the haunting side, but they leave me with the strong feeling that Jake is in that category. He has the same need to create and work and love/hate his talent. Luckily for me he has worked very hard to put his fires under control, the ones that lean those geniuses to destruction.

Even luckier for me that I get to witness creativity in action. Jake is doing art, now, here. That kind of makes him a big deal.
Happy Birthday Jake.