12 December 2007

I never believed in Santa Claus


My first Christmas memory is finding my presents (accidentally, of course!) and thinking, "Oh, that's where they are this year." I do not, never ever, remember believing in Santa Claus. He was persona non grata in our house growing up. Mother seemed to have a personal vendetta for the the red and white jolly little old man. Instead of Santa Claus, we did a different country's Christmas tradition every year. One year, we had clogs instead of stockings. I got to be Saint Lucia one year with the pretty white dress and poinsettia wreath in my hair (I think we left off the candles) and bring sweet rolls around to everyone in the morning. As was preached in our house: Saint Nicholas was a nice man, but in NO WAY to be associated with SANTA CLAUS that conniving mercantilistic creation of Coca-Cola (the Devil's Very Own Beverage).

That said, I still enjoyed the silly Christmas movies with Santa and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and I don't remember trampling on the precious beliefs of my friends. Maybe I was smug in my knowledge, but I didn't ruin it for them!

I do confess to never really liking 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. (Now The Nightmare Before Christmas is an entirely different story!)

When it came to how I was to bring up my own kids, I had a relaxed attitude towards Santa. If relatives want to give "Santa" gifts, that's fine. Just don't expect me to take the time and effort to explain who he is and what to expect. The Dude has been young enough to not really take notice of the Man with the White Beard.

Until this year.

One day last week our neighbor innocently asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him this year. He stopped pedaling, looked up at her, and asked, "Who's Santa?" She turned an incredulous look on me, and I... started explaining.

Later, the Dude asked me about this Santa character, and I knew the Moment of Decision had come whether to impale myself on the North Pole or not. With a bit of mom-istic license, I told him about St. Nicholas being a man who was trying to be like Jesus and treat the children nicely (the Dude likes this story a lot right now), and so he gave presents to them. He died a long time ago, but people like to remember him as Santa Claus. How long that explanation will last, time will tell. At least it got us through one Christmas Party!

I do lament the secularization and commercialization of Christmas. The tradition of the Christchild (Christkindlein - eventually Kris Kringle) giving presents is a sad one to have lost. In (mild) protest, I don't think I'll be perpetuating a belief of Santa in our home.

So, Santa, St. Nick, Kris Kringle: you are welcome in my home, but you must be de-deified to enter. There's really only room for one Deity this Holiday.

10 December 2007

You know you're sick when....

After your bath to clean the puke off, you wrap up in your towel and fall asleep on the bathroom floor. You know your mommy's sick too when she just leaves you there.

05 December 2007

I'm a Mean Mommy

Today while the Dude and the Big O were playing, they decided to start playing Advanced Peek-a-boo, and of course, I was the audience. I spiced things up by lunging to tickle them before they could hide under their blankets again. The Dude protested, saying, "Don't be a Mean Mommy!"

I reclaimed my seat on the couch and resigned myself to making silly faces at them as they surfaced for air. Until Big O exclaimed, "I want you to be a Mean Mommy!"

I considered this my license to tickle them both mercilessly.

It is beyond wonderful to have the energy to play with the kids again! (The neighbors might not be so appreciative - the joyful shrieking has incrementally increased according to how recovered I'm feeling.)

If you're planning on wishing me a Happy Birthday,

you're too late.

28 November 2007


During the Sick Days, the Spozo Maravilloso was emptying the car of groceries or trash or car seats or some such thing, and the Dude and Rosita were both wanting to follow him back and forth. I was curled up on the couch trying to forget that everything hurt.

The Cita was quite distraught that Daddy had left her, and was crying in the stairwell. After a while, I noticed that the screams had stopped and I didn't hear her anymore. I assigned the Dude to go look for Rosita and bring her back. A couple of minutes later, he returns shriekingly sobbing that the Cita had escaped out the gate into the Wide World and that he couldn't get her. I try yelling out the window for the Spozo Maravilloso without much success.

My inner Mother Bear takes over at this point and I find the energy to sprint outside and yell at the SM that Rosita has gone missing. I stumble back inside as the neighborhood is mobilized to search for my wayward girl. After watching a couple of minutes of frantic yelling and running around, I hear a voice in the kids' room. A decidedly girly, singsongy babble.

I rush in and find the Cita playing happily oblivious to all the panic her docility has inspired. I call off the search by yelling (successfully!) out the window that all is well.

I try to feel like not too much of an idiot for starting a Search and Rescue operation for someone that is perfectly happy and safe.

25 November 2007

what's love got to do with it? (a svithe-ish post)

Today our class was in charge of the Primary Sharing Time. Since I've been gone a lot this month and my class is a bit younger, it was pretty much the 'Sposita Show. It was so much fun. I have to say, I love teaching, and I love teaching Primary.

The main attraction was our re-enactment of Nephi getting the Brass Plates. Half the Primary had parts (ah, the advantages of a small Primary!), and everyone else got to whine the Brothers part, "It's too hard!" or sing Nephi's part, "I will GO, I will DO the things the Lord commands!" at various points. The Dude got to be Sam, but he kept running back to the Wilderness instead of sticking with Nephi to get those plates. Lehi also didn't want to stay in the Wilderness and kept popping up in Jerusalem at random times. Laban was very good at being villainous and playing dead.

But really the whole point of this was that if we love Heavenly Father and Jesus, then we will follow their commandments (even the ones that seem impossible). And they give us the commandments because they love us and want us to be happy. It's just one great circle of love, man. Groovy.

23 November 2007

Goodbye, Paranoia!

We've been such diligently paranoid parents when it came to the Dude eating peanuts and beans. He wasn't even allowed to HOLD beans because we feared a reaction. We have conditioned him very carefully to check to make sure if something has peanuts in it or not. He cried on Halloween because he ate a bite of a Snickers bar (he checked with his friend to make sure it didn't have peanuts, first, but......). Not because anything actually hurt, but because he was so scared something might happen.

And then.

We got him tested.

It required much blood and wailing and gnashing of teeth and "Are we done now?"s.

And the results?

Negative. Nada. Nyet.

Not allergic to anything we tested for. Not beans. Not peanuts. Not peas. Not a LOT of things. Just a teeny tiny bit to milk. (And we already knew he couldn't have too much or else we get to play "How to Get the Dude to Stop Screaming in the Middle of the Night.")

So on one hand, we pass a hand over our brows and say, "Whew! Glad to have that off our list!" and the other, we say, "But really! He did have nasty reactions to peanuts and beans when he was younger! Really! Just smear some peanut butter on and see the rash!"

So what have we done to celebrate? Given him peanut butter, of course! Let him finish that Snickers bar! Introduce him to the wonderful world of beans! They have lots of fiber and protein! What I'm most excited about is that I can make chili and burritos and minestrone soup again.

After that minor matter of reversing this psychosis that we've carefully cultivated.

22 November 2007


Today I am most thankful for feeling Really Almost Completely Better after a month of waffling between Please Put Me Out of My Misery and Tolerable Enough to Live.

I look forward to not feeling constantly hungry and enjoying mashed potatoes and stuffing in the near future.

20 November 2007

Blessed are....

...the mother-in-laws who extend their stay to nurse their sick daughter-in-laws back to health and well-being for they shall be exalted.

06 November 2007

It's like riding a bike

My rolling-Playdoh-into-snakes skills are undiminished even after 20 years of neglect.

My rolling-Playdoh-into-poisonous-snakes skills have greatly improved.

Surprisingly, my rolling-Playdoh-into-balls skills need some brushing up on.

I should have been a sculptor.

Or is that sculptress?

05 November 2007

Strong Muscles

A normal morning in our household:

6:00 am: silence.

6:15 am: the first chirp of the day

6:30 am: laughing and chatting leaking out of the children's room

6:45 am: The Dude exits the room to report that the Cita is ready to be rescued from her crib and fed her baba

This morning:

6:00 am: silence.

6:15 am: the first chirp of the day

6:30 am: laughing and chatting in the children's room - perhaps a bit more than normal

6:45 am: The Dude exits the room with the Cita in tow

Upon questioning, the Dude reveals that he helped the Cita escape from her crib. Upon further questioning, the Dude declares that he used "my strong muscles" to liberate her. The mama decides that she doesn't really want to know more about this and wisely focuses on being grateful that neither child is injured and they seem to be quite happy. Until the mama is two seconds late in getting the Cita her baba, that is.

Primary Program Drama

Our Primary Program included screams. Not on purpose. Not the screams of overtired Sunbeams that have been on their best behavior for too long. Not the screams of nursery children that were aggravated by the extra time in Sacrament Meeting. All screams were courtesy of The Dude.

Not that I blame him. If I had gotten my hand smooshed as the motorized podium lowered to accommodate my friend as he recited his line in the program, I think I would have screamed, too. If my mother kind of just hovered for a bit because she wasn't really sure how bad it was, how to abandon her class on the stand, and how to exit gracefully, I might have been upset, too. If my hand looked swollen and purple and alien (and I were nearly 4 years old), howling would definitely be in order.

But the worst part was avoided entirely. The true tragedy would have been if the Dude had not been able to give his little talk that he had worked on for the past couple weeks. After he had calmed down a bit, he declared his intentions of giving his talk. A sympathetic counselor inserted him as soon as he returned, and he clearly wowed everyone in the congregation with his resilience and vocabulary.

By the time we got home, the purple had faded to pink and was completely forgotten. That's more than can be said for his latest Primary mishap. He has a lovely bruise on his cheek from a run-in with a bench.

Raccoon Wars

They come in the middle of the night.

Outside your window they howl. They hiss. They fight.

Hissing, howling and fighting for an hour. Or more.

And then - silence.

Who won?

Who knows?

Who cares?

04 November 2007

All the (New) Books I Read While Sick

the higher power of lucky by susan patron

yes. it uses the word scrotum on the first page. it's not graphic. it's not even understood by the character until the last page of the book! so get over it people! totally recommendable. sweet, quirky, and a happy ending! plus, the bonus of all that french thrown in. lovable characters, transparent plot.

water street by patricia reilly giff

historical young adult fiction! cool! i liked the Mallon family - a non-dysfunctional family! huzzah! also, i have a weakness for stories about irish immigrants. it is a mostly character-driven book - nothing much "happens" to the family, and although i liked the Mallon family, i didn't feel drawn into their lives as much as i wished.

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Another Historical young adult fiction book - this time focusing on the prejudice against Italian immigrants trying to make it in America. The mystery surrounding Penny's father's death is what drives the book, and it is sad to hear about the way Italian-Americans were treated during World War II. I love her extended Italian family, and I love the contrast between the grandmothers. (Of course, the Italian one is a great cook!)

Give Me Liberty by L. M. Elliot

Set in Virginia just as the War for Independence is starting, Nathaniel is an indentured servant about to be sold into slavery when an old man rescues him. The old man happens to be a passionate patriot and loves to listen to Patrick Henry and teach his charge music, reading, and 'rithmetic. You get to bump into Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, too. A much more fun read than a history book, but still feels contrived (which the author's afterward cements).

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Lowry excels at finding a haunting way of telling a seemingly simple story. Ever wondered why you have bad dreams - or good ones for that matter? This story will give you a new perspective. The storyweaving is great, and I only wish the story went on for a bit more. I guess that's part of the appeal - everything is not tied up prettily at the end, but it is not messy, either.

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg

Konigsburg still has it after almost 40 years! I love her stories of young people feeling empowered because they decide being different can be a good thing. Told with her wonderfully quirky style, you'll be singing "God Save the Queen" for a couple days after reading this. The eccentric uncles, although outrageous, are completely believable and Margaret is deliciously self-centered until she finds a greater purpose enter her life.

AND just so you know, I DID read grown-up books, too. One.

The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis

A delightful glimpse into an Orthodox community that is put on its head by the coming of a recently converted young, Hippie-ish New Yorker widow. I enjoyed seeing the struggle between Tradition and Action because of Faith. Mostly a book about not judging others and seeing the mote in your own eye, I found a sub-theme to be that you can't expect your children to grow up embracing your faith unless you really live it, not just do the surface things. And even then (as we sadly see) not everything turns out perfectly. Definitely worth reading again.

28 October 2007

I feel a Svithe coming on!

Being (very) sick this past week, I have had a lot more time to ponder things than I usually do. Mostly I've just been thinking "this hurts" or "this hurts ALOT," but I've also gotten to read and re-read a lot and I ran across one of the quotes that greatly affected how I think about life. I think I was 14-ish when it sank in for the first time.

Anne (Anne of Green Gables Anne in a later book, Anne of the Island) has a dying friend who is afraid of passing on because "it won't be what I'm used to!" Walking home from that visit, Anne reflects:

"When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different - something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."

The last phrase, "the life of heaven must be begun here on earth" resonated strongly with me because it made the whole "death is just a continuation of life" make more sense to me. Heaven had always been this outlandish glassy bright orb with trumpets galore and I wasn't sure if I'd really fit in there, but something clicked as I understood that I would feel comfortable there if it would be what I was most used to. And if I didn't feel like I belonged, I would probably be happier in Another Place.

Since I've been convinced that it's the place I want to be, I work on trying to fit in there.

Even when I'm sick.

20 October 2007

A bit early, don'tcha think?

Today while reading about nudibrachs (sea slugs), the Dude misread the meaning as, "naked girls" instead of "naked gills."


17 October 2007

Wishful Thinking

When we were in the doctor's office (yes, again) yesterday, the Cita and the Dude were having a grand old time zooming around the room on the doctor's stool, climbing up on the examination table to kick their legs and hear that lovely rustling sound, and generally amusing themselves (the Cita only got to wash her hands once, though).

As soon as the doctor smilingly opened the door, the atmosphere changed from fun to terrifying. I think people in white coats are going to be on the Cita's blacklist for a while (well, if one of them made your mommy hold your hands down and another person to hold your head while they shined bright lights into your eyes or stuck many pricks into your leg, you might be wary, too).

Frantically waving her hands "goodbye, Goodbye, GOODBYE!" she scrambled into my lap and huddled there like a cold puppy. The doctor was a good sport and didn't take it personally. Rosita whimpered and struggled against getting her eyes ("goodbye!") and ears ("goodbye!")and throat ("GOODBYE!!!") checked. For some reason, she didn't mind getting her chest listened to or her tummy squished about. Maybe she thought the doctor was as interested in her bellybutton as SHE is.

Diagnosed as "nothing much to worry about," the Cita vigorously kept waving the doctor out the door, extremely satisfied that she had (eventually) succeeded in getting the nasty lady in the white coat to go AWAY.

15 October 2007

Alien Spaceship Engine Causes Strange Effects Near Santa Cruz

Yes, I have finally visited the famous Mystery Spot.

Yes, a lot of the weirdness of the site is just tricks with perspective, but I can't explain a ball rolling DOWN a PERFECTLY level board.

Yes, I will be returning with my own level and compass and Extremely Skeptical Spozo.


07 October 2007

Thank you, Sister Beck!

Listening to General Conference today, Sister Beck made my day. Sometimes, especially living where I do, and even occasionally at church, I feel that being a full-time mother just isn't "enough." She just reminded me that what I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing. And I feel inspired to do a better job (especially that "house of order" bit) instead of feeling weighed down by more expectations. I look forward to reading and re-reading her talk in a month.

Also, thanks to Elder Dallin H. Oaks for the "good, better, best" - as it applies to using the internet (ahem!), and other ways of distracting ourselves from using our "free time" to the "best."

05 October 2007

It's a little late.....

So it's been 10 years since I graduated from high school. In honor of this most momentous occasion, I publish for the first time ever a poem that one of my good friends wrote me as a going away to college present (she's now getting her PhD in Children's Literature - not surprising since she was writing stories then that were cousins to literature even then!) I ask her to forgive me for any typos that I make.

old blue pianos and unbrushed hair

just as expressive gestures
span oceans for a second, then
falter and die,
and laughter fills a belly with bread, then
becomes a stranger,

ancient keys and wild locks,
globes we palmed for a moment,
limp listlessly from us
full-grown and faded,
like all fleet things
we think we understand

and the significance of sometimes
hardens into a grayish golden hope that
rests within the instep
and hangs loosely from the joints that
persist in remembering it all


01 October 2007

Is anyone else excited

when they see the Family Resources catalog that accompanies the Ensign every October?

28 September 2007

Being Neighborly

I always have grandiose plans of meeting all my neighbors shortly after moving in by bringing them a freshly-baked-something and this opening the doors to us being great neighbors. This of course, turns the neighborhood into a friendly community and we all get along splendidly and have block BBQs in the summer.


It's been 2 years.

This past week I introduced myself to the first neighbor that 1) does not share yardspace and a laundry room with me, and 2) does not go to church with me.

And in exchange for some freshly baked cookies, I got fresh figs off her tree! She's already learned my children's names by heart, invited us into her home, thinks it's great I'm a full-time mom, and smiles whenever we see her.

So the freshly-baked-something tack does seem to work. It helps that I have dang cute kids, too.

25 September 2007

Enjoyment is a State of Mind

At a recent baby shower, I was invited to give "parenting advice" for the mother-to-be. I gave advice that was useful, but not very insightful. As the evening wore on, I wished I had said something entirely different because I felt that motherhood sounded more and more like an ominous burden.

So, my advice to all the mothers-to-be out there would be: Enjoy your kids! Yes, they're going to be screamy. Yes, they're going to be poopy and drooly and gooey in general. Yes, you're going to need a break every so often. But don't let getting away from your children be the highlight of your life - because then being with them becomes drudgery.

I think what is hardest about being a full-time mother is how many different tenses you have to live in at once. You have to be in the present to enjoy it fully because if you're always rushing here and there and needing to be on time and life is generally just filled with Things To Do, you often miss out on the tender, wonder-filled, charming moments that pop up most frequently when you're not "doing anything" but Being with your child.

You need to live a bit in the future to remind yourself that everything passes to keep perspective on the relative smallness of all the disasters happening daily (your shirt is peed/pooped/burped on for the 317th time in one day; your child decides that it's a good time to experiment with heights and decides to throw his cup, your plate, and himself off the table; your child is feigning deafness when you ask her to pick up the toy/book/blanket). But not too much in the future because if the things you planned on don't get done, frustration inevitably sets in.

It would be nice to always live in the present perfect tense and the future perfect tense, but those imperfect tenses are also necessary, useful, and yes: enjoyable.

23 September 2007

First Primary Talk - check!

The Dude and I have been working on his Primary talk all week. After brainstorming and crafting his talk on service together (I asked him leading questions; he answered them in his own words), we selected visual aids. He helped me pick "pretty" pictures of Jesus, of people hugging, and also contributed some artwork:

(a very abstract picture of Jesus that I decided should remain unlabeled), and handwriting:

(He wrote it all himself, but decided to ask me for help in spelling "you" and "thank").

He's been increasingly excited about giving the talk all week. We practiced it a couple of times, and he woke up this morning ready to Go! We made it into Primary uneventfully - but during the scripture, the Dude bonked his head on the bench and proceeded to howl. He bleatingly made it back to where I was sitting and sobbed into my shoulder. Certain that he would be asked to give his talk any minute, I tried to calm him down because I did NOT want to end up giving his talk. Thankfully, they decided to insert all sorts of announcements right then, and he was raring to go again by the time they announced his talk.

As I knelt by him, I immediately regretted all the cautions I had given him about speaking too closely to the microphone because he spoke quietly and too far away from the microphone (it didn't help that his sister decided to raise her voice about then, too). After urging him to speak louder after every couple of sentences, by the end of the talk he was audible. He did a great job reading (even though I inserted one last-minute change on him), and was so sweet and earnest and eager that I almost started crying a couple times.

I think giving a talk in Primary was an important milestone I hadn't even realized was a milestone, but it made me very aware that my little boy is getting less little every day. When I take the time to really look at him - observe that his face is looking more boyish and less babyish, I am just overwhelmed with the thought that he is going to be gone before I even notice that he's grown up.

Right now, I think I'll just content myself to looking forward to the end of his current obsession with dying. I think the Big O will be grateful, too.

19 September 2007

Sheared Son

The Dude desperately needed a haircut. But it is always so sad to say goodbye to my fluffy-headed darling and meet the growing man-child that appears after the haircut, so I put it off as long as possible. Interpreted: he starts screaming a lot because his hair keeps getting in his eyes.

So here he is:



Yes, he is rubbing his eyes. It is because he's fake crying to avoid getting a picture taken, not a hair-related cause.

Carrots, Roasted

The Cita has always loved carrots.

She doesn't like them to be in little pieces, raw or cooked.

She just wants to gnaw them.

And suck ranch off of.

Mostly suck ranch off.

Tonight, she discovered the joy of roasted carrots. She's had them before, but her mama committed the cardinal sin of cutting them up. They were tossed to the floor with great vim (Joining the dregs of cheerios, half-chewed raisins, potatoes, chicken, and sprinklings of rice).

This time around, the Rosita got them whole (I figure it's easier clean up if nothing else). And she loved them. She ate at least 10 baby carrots (which for a one-year old is pretty impressive). At first, she just enjoyed being able to bite through a carrot on her own, but soon she spotted some excess dressing on my plate and demanded that I dip her carrot in it. Six carrots later, she took a break for a couple bites of brownie, but had to finish her meal with 2 more ranch dipped roasted carrots.

The moral of the story: There are better things than chocolate?

25 August 2007

Happy First Anniversary!

A whole year of blogging under my belt. Wow.

Thanks to all of you that have stuck with me for all that time, and thanks to all you who have joined in since then (whomever you may be).

This hasn't turned into the blog I was expecting it to be, but I think I like it.


An anniversary present for me?

Oh, no I couldn't.


Well, since you insist: for my anniversary present, I think I'd like you to tell me which post you like best.

24 August 2007

Just go back to sleep..... or not

You know the day might be tough if: you were up reading The Diary of a Whimpy Kid online until 2 am (blame Roni), your children wake up around 7:15 when you were counting on them waking you up earlier to be somewhere by 8 am, your three-and-a-half-year-old spends the first 10 minutes awake shrieking like you bullwhipped him when all you did was comment, "I heard you yell this morning," and your 1-year-old decides to latch onto your leg when you're trying to do a roundhouse kick (no injuries).

You know the day might have been worth it when: the new dinner you tried was delicious (and it uses squash!), the two children are in bed by 7:30 pm, they laugh themselves to sleep, Netflix delivered a the start of a new series to watch, and there's Hagen Daas Amazon Chocolate ice cream to share with the Spozo.

20 August 2007

Thank you, Jesus!

I have heard people say, "Thank you, Jesus!" many times and many places. I never expected to hear it as part of my exercise routine. Maybe I should have been wary when I got the Tae Bo believers' workout, but I really wasn't expecting Billy Blanks to exhort me to shout, "Thank you, Jesus!" whenever I threw a punch.

I apologize in advance to anyone who says,"Thank you, Jesus!" around me. I might just punch you in the face. Nothing personal, of course.

16 August 2007

Bi-Weekly Blood Rite

The Dude seems determined to draw blood from his own body at least twice a month. His biological clock must have an alarm labeled "bloodletting." When it goes off, a hormone is released that makes him clumsy enough to fall or fly or jump or dodge just the wrong way in order to fulfill the requirement.

Usually it involves teeth and lips; very rarely does it involve knees or elbows or any other easily scraped up or bangable part that would normally be associated with childhood accidents. (Although I am very glad he did not inherit his uncle's alarm labeled "stitches needed.")

Innovation of this week: involving the tongue. I can't say I'm attached to this addition. It meant a lot more blood. Which got on him, on me, and on the cement. Which meant more panic. Which meant more screaming. Which took more time to calm down to actually see the damage. Which turned out not to be horribly bad.

Yes, the tongue was not bitten through and did not require stitches. Although not severed, it still requires some special care. The poor darling has to have more milkshakes than usual. (I'm hoping this doesn't fall under positive reinforcement.)

On the bright side: now I know what bloodstained pavement looks like! Can't wait to bite my own tongue to have a good excuse to have a (chocolate) milkshake of my own!

11 August 2007


I shucked off the motherly mantle for a few hours this morning (gracefully draping it across the Spozo's shoulders before I left) to go see Ratatouille with Jane Dough. I haven't had a girls' only activity for a very long time, and it was so nice to just laugh and talk without having to have one part of my brain keeping Constant Vigilance for dangers lurking nearby that I need to distract the Rosita and the Dude from enjoying.

I was infinitely glad to have a friend along because otherwise I would have been laughing alone quite a bit of the time, and I wouldn't have had anyone to make asides to during the movie.

Favorite scenes: the granny with the shotgun. linguini dancing while bitten by remy. the documents chase. the flashback scene. the rollerskating waiter in a snooty french restaurant. hmmmmm.... everything?

Be warned: you may have an irresistible urge to visit The French Laundry afterward. Luckily, the waiting list is over 5 months long, so you'll probably get over it by then.

Unless you watch the movie again.

I don't know if we can afford to own Ratatouille!

10 August 2007

Life's a bit rosier now

I taught the Rosita "Ring Around the Rosy." I didn't, however, tell her it was all about the Black Death.

So I've been dizzier than usual this week.

But not as dizzy as when I get spun in this.

08 August 2007

Apple of my eye

Considering that I married a computer nerd over 5 years ago, the fact that I have resisted the siren call of new gadgetry for as long as I have is somewhat astounding.

And now, it has happened. I am in the throes of passionate computer lust for the first time in my life. I might have wistfully envied before, but now I am desperately longing for the new mac mini with iLife 08 on it! The new iPhoto is just amazing. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

And of course, since I'll have such a cool new photo program, a new camera is imperative.

07 August 2007


I want to thank Lady Steed for making my day yesterday.

All it takes is one compliment (and a cake stand) then I'm putty in your hands.

still on a YA fix

A Summer of Kings by Han Nolan

I recognized the name of Han Nolan, but I still can't remember what other book of hers I've read. Darn. A good book. Set in the 1960s at the height of civil rights with a young black man teetering between following Martin Luther King or Malcom X. Felt a bit preachy at times - a bit strained. But I enjoyed the relationship between Esther and her friend King-Roy and especially the tension over how they felt about each other individually as opposed to how they felt about each other's race.

Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)
by Justina Chen Headley

This. was. hilarious. Headley made me believe in Patty Ho and all her worries, crazy mamas, belly-button divinations and not-fitting-in-ness. I loved the Kung-Fu hi-yah! and the Proofs she did. A great coming to feel comfortable with yourself and be strong girly book. Definitely going to be on my list of books to have the Cita read when she's a teen.

La Linea: A novel by Ann Jaramillo

I am all for novels that try to capture immigrating from Mexico and the hardships, but the few I have read so far have been lacking. Add this one to the list. The characters were wooden and the author used no imagery and evoked no emotion. When Miguel was mad, the description was, "Miguel felt so mad." I mean, really! An infinitely more entertaining (and non-fiction!) quick read on the (illegal) immigration issue is Coyotes by Ted Conover. Much more worth the time.

04 August 2007

The Work and the Glory

I admit to one nasty laugh when I read, "'the work and the glory' isn't simply a set of serialized LDS novels but a sprawling, global effort that involves many more people than the Steed family and their 'Who's Who among Early Latter-day Saints' friends." (Trenton Hickman, Assistant Professor at BYU).

I further confess that I have read all nine (at least, I think there were only nine!) of Gerald N. Lund's Work and the Glory series AND his Kingdom and the Crown series.

I enjoy them for what I understand their purpose to be: making Church History a bit more accessible (and enjoyable) to many members that wish to know more about the founding years of the church (in both dispensations) but find it hard when faced with a list of boring dates and facts.


They are Not Great Literature. They are the Soap Opera version of Church History; the only reason I read all of them was because I had to know how they ended.

My question is this: Does anyone know of a Great Mormon Novel? One that explores the Saints' experiences without trying to make everything.. so rose-tinted? The closest thing I've encountered so far is Orson Scott Card's (appropriately named) Saints. But I'd like to think there are more out there.

Hypothetically speaking....

Say someone very nicely changed a dirty diaper. Say that same someone lobbed said diaper across the house just for the fun of it. Say the diaper is still there because it is beneath someone else's dignity to properly deposit it in the trash (especially when the someone else was the intended victim of said lobbing).

Hypothetically speaking, of course, do you think blogging about it would make someone decide to place the diaper into the proper receptacle?

Update: It worked!

23 July 2007

Accepting Christ: a svithe

One of the hardest things for me to do used to be to accept help from people. Anyone! I was very self sufficient, and had complete confidence that I could get through anything on my own (which is generally true). I didn't realize how that very self-sufficiency created a barrier with other people or how well-rooted in pride it was.

Now, I know self-sufficiency is one of those good things we're supposed to work towards, but let me just put forth that excessive self-sufficiency is just another form of pride.

Obvious example: There is no way to salvation without Christ.

Yes, we're supposed to be working as hard as we can to Become like Christ, but we cannot forget that without him, no matter how good we are, it is not sufficient.

The phrase, "I will give away my sins to know thee" intrigues me because it seems so counter to what I understand as part of knowing God and accepting Him in my life. Why would He want all my sins? Weren't those the things he wanted me to do away with? How would giving them away help me?

I think the key here is humility. Simon Peter shows exactly how dedicated to Christ we can be, but how unwilling we are to actually partake of His great sacrifice. When Jesus was washing the apostle's feet, Peter declared that he would not have Jesus do it for him. Peter, more vocal than most apostles in declaring that they understood Jesus was the Son of God, still did not understand that to truly accept Him, he had to let him touch his most dirty members so He could wash them clean.

That unwillingness to let Christ to clean us is that old enemy, Pride. We all shrink from letting others see our weakness, our "dirty parts." It takes a lot of humility to admit that we are not completely clean - that we are not entirely self-sufficient. It is hard enough to admit it to our fellow men with all their own weaknesses; it is harder still to admit it to those Perfect beings who know it anyway.

But that is what we must do - admit our weaknesses, submit to humility, and surrender all our sins. Then, and only then, can Christ make us clean.

21 July 2007

Finished: 7 am

After waiting in line (and helping it move along) and making it home by 1 am, I stayed up all night reading. I haven't done a true all-nighter (no naps at all!) for 10 years. I'd hear some small noise, look at the clock and realize two hours had passed since I last looked up. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I feel smart because some of my guesses were right and some more were almost right. Some I had completely wrong.

My brain is a bit fried, so I'm going to bed. I'm not going to say more than this because I don't want to spoil it: It ends the only way it could. Now finish it so I can say more!

17 July 2007

More Rapid Reviews (Young Adult Version)

I like Young Adult Fiction. I like that I can read a book in a couple of hours. I like that there's less swearing and sex and violence. And if there is any, it's pretty tame. I read a lot of it. So here's my take on the most recent three (not counting re-reading favorites).

A Step From Heaven
by An Na

I picked this one up because it had a pretty gold sticker on the front. Imagine being the immigrant daughter of an abusive drunk father. It doesn't sound pretty. But An Na's wonderful prose as she takes Young Ju through childhood into the cusp of adulthood is worth all the melancholy and bittersweet ending.

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabelle Allende

You don't need to read City of the Beasts first, but I'd suggest you do. Action! Adventure! Mysticism! Fighting ascetic Tibetan monks! Treasure to protect! Girls to rescue! Kings to save! It's all here, and it's great fun. I really need to read it in the original Spanish. I'm still glad Allende decided to take a stab at writing YA fiction even though it's not quite as good as her other works.

The Princess Academy
by Shannon Hale

As usual, the awkward girl of the village gets to save the day as she sets her mind to win the Academy Princess-ship and first chance at wooing the Prince. Only she doesn't get the Prince! (To her relief.) Wary of all things "princess," I only read this because of the pretty silver sticker on the front. And as princess things go, it's a good one. I'd like some of that linder stone!

14 July 2007

You will lose... everything

The new Harry Potter movie isn't perfect. But it's pretty gosh-durned excellent! Book purists will probably not like it, and people who haven't read Book 5 (yes, you!) will be confused because it doesn't take your hand to guide you into the world.

I remember thinking when Prisoner came out, "Wow! Dan Radcliffe can act!" I felt a similar sort of leap in ability when I saw him in this film, "Wow! He can ACT!" The same cannot be said for Miss Watson. She's using the same huffiness and eyebrow twitches that she's been (over)using for the last 3 films. I don't believe her - ever. Ok, I believe her when she's laughing during the post-first-kiss chat.

The sets were beautiful and amazing. Especially the Ministry. And everything exploding in it. The effects for the wizard battle were cool. The montage of the D.A. meetings (and outsmarting Flich) were great fun.

Times I laughed out loud: Many. Especially when Umbridge announced that students must maintain an 8 inch distance from each other. (Ever measured that BoM length?)

I liked Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, and I agree that Imelda Staunton almost stole the show.

What most disappointed me was the music. Goblet of Fire had glorious music. I had hoped Patrick Doyle would be back again. This time, the music was fine when it was well in the background, but when it was being showcased, I cringed. It clashed with the general tone of the scene and lacked an epic quality which I've grown accustomed to (starting with John Williams).

The 2 scenes that fell far short of my expectations were when Umbrige gets carried off by the centaurs and when Harry and Dumbledore are talking in D's office after the Ministry. But I've never really liked Michael Gambon as Dumbledore anyway.

Most interesting additions that weren't in the book: Voldemort egging Harry on to use Avada Kedavra on Bellatrix after she's killed Sirius and Harry telling Voldemort he felt sorry for him.

Go see it. And then see Ratatouille!

13 July 2007

Just like Magic!

After laboring like Cinderella after a hard day, the Wife hopes to hear something like:

"Wow! The house is clean! And you washed, folded and put away everyone's clothes! And there's dinner on the table! And the children are alive! May I just say that I am not worthy of you! Is there anything I can do?" and then perhaps get a kiss on the nape of the neck.

What really happens: The Husband walks in, wolfs down the food, then meanders into the living room to collapse in front of the Screen. The next morning, he's getting dressed and he thinks, "Looks like the Laundry Fairy visited again! Cool!"

11 July 2007

Center of the Universe located in the Bay Area

Today the Dude proclaimed himself the "winner" of the "race."

Never mind that it was against the Cita, who just started walking 2 weeks ago.

Never mind that she doesn't understand the idea of winning. Chasing, she's got chasing down. She thinks she's winning if she's being chased.

Never mind that he made it so only he could win according to his rules.

Carpe diem, my boy! Your days of total supremacy are numbered!

08 July 2007

Beauty of the Earth

Camping in the Redwoods was wonderful. Hiking through them was even better. Something about being surrounded completely by God's creations without too much tinkering... and thereby distancing from the original was just thoroughly relaxing.

I hadn't even thought of myself as particularly tightly wound until I began to unwind. One hike in particular, I felt all my anxieties and frustrations being siphoned off into the Greatness that I was surrounded by - like some type of stress osmosis. An overwhelming peace with simply Being that I don't find in my day-to-day life in the hustle and bustle of Getting Things Done.

I feel refreshed, and that is a lovely feeling. It makes me appreciate why God called His prophets up into the mountains to speak to them. I also appreciate all of our modern (in)conveniences, but there is something irreplaceable about being somewhere His work is so abundant that I don't feel in the urban jungle, no matter how well-tended it may be.

06 July 2007

Jiggity Jig

No, we haven't dropped off the planet. No, we were not brainwashed to believe that computers are evil. We actually have been doing things. Interesting things. Really!

The most impressive one: We lived away from the internet for a whole week, and not one head imploded from withdrawal symptoms. (Although a lot of books were read and sleep caught up on.)

Then we lived in a house with only one computer for 6 internetting adults. And we didn't get into wrestling matches over whose turn it was. The Princess Tent provided the necessary incentive for us to behave decently.

04 July 2007

America the Beautiful

"Whose birthday is it today, Mommy? Is it Daddy's birthday?"

"No, it's our country's birthday."

-Blank look-

"It's America's birthday."

"Oh. Is she coming over to share the cake with us?"

09 June 2007

Recent Readings (Rapid Review)

Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Two thumbs way up. Unless you're not married. Then I suggest you wait. Otherwise, a compelling read and a sweet (unorthodox) love story. I sympathized with the characters and the time traveling, which in other hands might have been more science-fiction-y feeling, had a depth of reality to it. Out of the entire book, I didn't like two scenes. Gomez was in both of them. One of them I just didn't get until I thought it over for a couple of hours, and even though I don't like it still, I can see why the author included it.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Really! I've never read it until now. And honestly, I don't like it. I never connected with Jane's insane attraction to a grumpy, brusque and deceitful man. I'm glad that he became decent-er before she married him, but..... not the tang I want in my romances.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Cute. Favorite paragraph: "The hardworking necklace couldn't believe it. It let out an inaudible, exasperated gasp." I liked the drawings and pictures and quirkiness. But classic material it is not. There's no inspiring theme to it. It is cute.

03 June 2007

My Turn

I'm sick and tired of being sick.

And of my children being sick.

It means we're the pariahs of playgroups and can't go anywhere except when absolutely necessary for survival. The Rosita has taken to scavenging for food. The Dude lives off a diet of applesauce, yogurt, and crackers with a random fishstick.

It means I've had minimal contact with friends for a month. It means we're starting to chat with the walls just to relieve boredom. It means that my head is about to explode from a combination of sinus pressure and whining leaving the aforementioned walls covered with a lot of blood and some snot.

At least it will give them something new to talk about.

02 June 2007

My First (Official) Rant

I've been flip-flopping about whether to send the Dude to Kindergarten or not. The Spozo Maravilloso is all for the Dude going to Kindergarten, but not having attended Kindergarten for a significant amount of time, I really don't see the point of it.

Case in point: Here are just some of the curriculum requirements for reading:

Decoding and Word Recognition
1.14 Match all consonant and short-vowel sounds to appropriate letters.
1.15 Read simple one-syllable and high-frequency words (i.e., sight words).
1.16 Understand that as letters of words change, so do the sounds (i.e., the alphabetic principle).

AUGH!!! The dude can read "carbohydrate" from the cereal box. He would be soooooo bored. And when he's bored, he acts up. I understand that it's a good thing (especially for the teachers) to have children learn to sit down and be quiet even (especially?) when they already know what's going on, but honestly, I don't think it's in his best interest to go to class where he knows everything already.

UNLESS the teacher was someone awesome that understood what was going on and would find a way to make it worthwhile for him to go.

BUT I think that is really hard considering that the poor teachers are becoming increasingly bound by rules and regulations about what they can teach and how they can teach it.

I'm beginning to feel nostalgic for one-room schoolhouses where you just moved up in your lessons if you were ahead (it wasn't age based), but you were still in a social atmosphere where you could play with kids your own age.

What really set me out on this rant was that California Legislature is trying to pass a law (AB 1236) to make Kindergarten compulsory and to start government-run "Kindergarten Readiness" (ie-preschool) programs - AFTER the people of California just voted against this program. It is another example of these lovely lawmakers deciding they know what's best for us poor unenlightened souls that don't know what's best for ourselves.


Phew! I feel much better now.

29 May 2007

Forays into properties of baking soda

I had one of those "this is worth it" moments of parenting a couple weeks ago.

We had a music leader substitute and she brought cups with mysterious clear liquid that specially selected kids got to choose which spoonful of mysterious white powder they put into one of said special cups. (Think grade school science project volcano) All of them changed colors when the white powder was added, but if you got a fizzy cup, then you got to choose your favorite song for everyone to sing.

Many many cups were filled with mysterious white powder and changed to a different color, but by the end of singing time, only one fizzy cup had been discovered (it being kind of a disappointment because no one could see it fizz). Everyone waited with bated breath as the last child was chosen. The Dude won the honors (he deserved it - he had been singing every word he knew as loudly as possible).

He turned to me and shouted, "Mommy, I get to pick! I get to pick!" and then ran his way up front. After selecting his spoon, he quickly dumped it into a cup (a little too quickly for the music leader) and stirred.


His joy could not be contained as red foam escaped all over. Laughing, he cried, "I got the fizzy! I got the fizzy!" Dancing back to his seat, he sought me out to smile glowingly at, just as if he had slain his first dragon. That smile (and the fact that he chose me to bestow it on) was the moment. I confess to temporary watery vision.

Of course, this meant that he completely forgot about choosing his favorite song and was way too excited to pick one. But as every little kid there knew - it wasn't about singing - it was about getting the fizzy cup!

20 May 2007

Church - (sick child + spouse) = Enlighenment!

Today, for the first time, I went to church and the SM stayed home with a sick child.

I only had to get one other person to pay attention during church instead of the usual three. (ok, ok, two... we don't require attention of the rosita yet).

My enjoyment of church was increased by at least threefold.

Maybe I should wish for a child to be sick every week.

Or not.

30 April 2007

Love, True Love

What makes a marriage work has been on my mind recently. What with a brother-in-law and a brother getting married a month apart and considering what's been going on in our extended families, it's shocking that it hasn't consumed my every thought.

I dated the SM briefly before his mission, but had been friends with him for most of our freshman year (amazing the allure of free food on the hungry young male - and I used that power most ruthlessly). After a whirlwind affair of IMing and emailing, he entered the MTC. I promptly "Dear John"ed him the first letter I sent to him as a missionary.


Because I decided that I didn't love him "like that." Ergo, the relationship should be terminated. I mean, every young girl knows you're supposed to be in love with anyone you're dating and considering to marry.

Of course, I still wanted him to be my best friend. And since he was desperate for mail (and he's such a stellar guy and he knew how stupid I was being) he didn't flush my address down the drain even though he was advised to do so by everyone in his missionary cohort.

Fast forward almost 3 years. I'm on my mission, he's been home for a little over 6 months. I get a letter from him, and I'm reading it on my bed. In a moment of shocking realization, I get dizzy with revelation. Here is a boy I don't have any romantic inclinations toward, but I'm writing him pages more than I write even my most loyal friends. He is the person I share my inmost thoughts with. And in that moment, I understood what a sham the necessity of being in love for a relationship to work - no, more than work - thrive is.

I think it is one of the biggest problems facing marriage today - people decide to terminate their marriages daily (and please understand, I'm not saying ALL marriages end for this reason) because they're not in love with their spouse anymore.

Being in love is a very wonderful feeling, but it is also (forgive me) a fleeting and shallow one. Being in love is also a selfish feeling - it is all about how you feel when you're around them. Or to use another limp phrase: how they make you feel. Considering how self-centered our society encourages us to be, I'm not too surprised that the importance of being in love has risen in prominence.

Love, True Love is the antithesis to being in love. It is a selfless feeling because the people you love are more important to you than you. True love is maintenance intensive and often exhausting.

A couple weeks ago some news place (CNN? MSNBC?) had a piece on arranged marriages in India - with the underlying astonishment that something as backward as arranged marriages would happen in our day and age. Especially since it was between two intelligent, consenting people!!! (They both had master's degrees). The man was excited about marrying a girl his parents had found for him. The woman was no less excited about marrying a man her parents had chosen for her instead of someone she had found herself. Both were given final say in whether they wanted to marry that particular person or not - so some choice was still involved.

Part of me is equally shocked that people are OK with their parents choosing their spouses. But most of me wonders what the dynamic of the couple would be where you know that you didn't choose each other. I wonder if somehow their marriage is more viable because it begins on a rational decision to unite instead of a hormonal rush. I wonder if they will be happier in the long run than many people who choose their own spouses because they aren't in love - they know they have to cultivate love for it to become Love, True Love.

I wonder.

24 April 2007

The forgotten begotten

The Dude said, "You forgot me, mommy!" without any prompting yesterday. I miss hearing "You begot me, Mommy!" already.

At least he still says "basagna" and "what nelse?" to keep me entertained.

Today's misspoken word: "Mr. Crap" instead of "Mr. Carp" while reading A Fish Out of Water.

I laughed.

Was that wicked of me?

22 April 2007

Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic

Cautionary note: You might want to skip this post if you are not related to us by blood or marriage. Contains gratuitous parental bragging that might make you not like me.

The Dude surprised me on our recent road trip. To keep him occupied because he had read and re-read all the books in the car (OK - all HIS books, he hasn't gotten interested in books without pictures yet), I started drawing pictures for him to color (not having had the foresight to bring a coloring book). I handed back a very well done Apatosaurus to be luridly colored. A few minutes later, the Dude called out, "Here, Mommy!"

I reached back, fully expecting to give him some (enthusiastic, but not necessarily entirely truthful) compliment upon seeing the page.

For a second, I wondered why he hadn't really colored in the dinosaur. Then it dawned on me: he had written "DiNO" across the bottom. Being a perfectionist already (I am deeply sorry he inherited this tendency), he had scribbled some of it out. We did the game a bit longer, but he got too frustrated, so we stopped.

I decided not to push him, because I really do worry about making him feel that he can't do things unless they are done perfectly.

But this past week, I turned from the computer to find him writing his name phonetically (if not accurately) into my notebook. He then charmingly wrote out "MOME" and "DADE."

I guess we only have to tackle 'rithmetic and then we're done with his schooling.

17 April 2007

Home again, home again

I have just returned from spending almost two weeks in the company of my in-laws. I can honestly say I enjoyed myself.

Firstly, they complimented me on being such a wonderful mother and that my children were absolute angels. Although this was not true all the time, they were generous in finding good excuses for when they were not. It also helped that the Rosita loved her Grandpa and had him wrapped around her pinky finger tightly (having never been subjected to female wiles of a younger generation before, he was especially susceptible). Of course, one of the worst lapses into demonic temper happened when the Open House was in full swing and the Dude imploded.

Secondly, they let me boss them around quite a bit. I got to tell them what to eat and how to eat it. I rearranged their furniture just how I wanted it. I reeducated them on how to ask for things nicely. =)

And, thirdly, they deferred to my superior judgement in many matters. Of course, that was why they asked me to be there. To add an "arty" touch to the affair. Within reason.

We also fulfilled one of our most important goals of the week: No blood was drawn.

So now you may all know me as 'Sposita: Open House Arranger Extraordinaire! Excellent, tyrannical, nearly painless service!

02 April 2007

Extra-Credit Svithe (in lieu of Sunday Conference)

So, after such spectacular attention during the Saturday sessions, it seemed improbable that I would actually get to listen to the Sunday sessions. And it wasn't. And although I had my husband break the Sabbath to buy cake ingredients (I had made a commitment to make this cake); and although I didn't listen to a lot of Conference because I was making said cake, I must declare: it was some d@*# fine chocolate cake with peppermint mousse filling and ganache!

I have to say there were some !!! talks: Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring gave spectacular talks that I will probably read and re-read. (I couldn't type their names without the middle initial. I tried, really I did!)

To make up for the lack of stimulating Conference coverage, I offer an additional thought that I had upon listening to Bonnie Parkin's talk on gratitude.

She mentioned at some time the 10 lepers and how only 1 of them came back to thank Him for the cleansing miracle that had taken place. It seems that when these lepers are discussed in various Sunday School lessons, the "how could they not?" aspect of the 9 "ungrateful" lepers seems to be a central theme.

I started thinking: What if, instead of looking at this as an event in the life of Christ, it was one of His parables?

My interpretation of this "parable" would be something like this:

Think of the 10 lepers as representative of the many blessings we recieve from Heavenly Father. Think of the 1 grateful leper as the percentage of thanks we give back to Our Father for all the many great gifts He gives to us that we have asked for. Does He revoke our blessings because we don't thank Him for them? Or worse - we don't even recognize them as blessings from Him? We write them off as happy coincidences or even claim we brought it about through our own merits. But no matter what, He lets us enjoy our blessings.

Each of us receives so much from Heavenly Father. We could thank Him all the day long, and it still wouldn't be long enough to thank Him for everything that we should be grateful for. (Sound King Benjamin-esque?) And the majority of the things we should be most grateful for, we don't usually think of thanking Him for.

I re-realized this when the Dude and I looked over an anatomy book and traced the various systems all over the body while I explained (in a vague sort of way) what they did and how they did it. Later that night as we prepared to say bedtime prayers, the Dude declared he didn't know what to be thankful for. I started listing all the things that we had learned about our bodies that day, and ended with this very impressive conclusion: "Heavenly Father designed our bodies to have all this cool stuff happen without us having to think about it. Isn't that cool?" He agreed and inserted some of those cool things into his prayer.

But it made me think: When was the last time (if there ever was a first time) that I thanked Heavenly Father for thinking of white blood cells? (the Dude was particularly impressed with them)

I am grateful that Our Father is willing to keep giving us gifts and giving them and giving them even though we don't notice nine tenths of the time. Although I don't consider myself ungrateful, I don't think I have earned my "Gratitude" Godhood patch, and certainly not my "Giving without Hope of Recognition or Reward" patch (or would that just be under the "Charity" patch requirements?). I'm glad He's got them and keeps renewing them. Eternally.

31 March 2007

Saturday afternoon session, General Conference

Our two hour break goes too quickly and we wolf down lunch during the first couple of minutes instead of listening closely. They are in the Tabernacle!!!! We are watching via BYUTV internet connection - which seems to work better than the direct lds.org video connection, but not quite as good as the sound only connection.

The choir sounds so much better - the Tabernacle is a much more pleasant place to sing in - you can fill the place and not feel like it's disappearing into the void. Although it is a nicely furnished void. And much more comfortable.

President Gordon B. Hinckley presiding

Come come Ye Saints (beautiful, haunting, beautiful!)

Elder Boyd K Packer

Elijah. Nephi. Hmm... the Still Small Voice? Power in Music - not separated from Voice of the Lord. Ah. An elegy for the MoTab? No, all things Tabernacular.
Wait, now we're on the Word of Wisdom?

the RC is trying to smile her way to destruction. the Dude says the beetles are naughty and can bite your head off.

Now the destroyer is after us. Back to the Tabernacle - and the Choir. Stands as a standard.
As the Dew from Heaven Distill- traditional closing song of Choir's weekly Broadcast.

Elder Earl C. Tingey

History - past and future.
Brigham Young - a pioneer
The Dude is describing how various insects will hurt various members of our family to his daddy, and now he's decided he's had a very long time with him and has come to grace me with his presence.
One of America's Grestest Colonizers - the Perpetual Immigration Fund - education!
God is at the Helm - You stick to the ship, don't worry about anything else. The ship guided by Him. Do your post, get there safely.
Heber J Grant - practically an adopted son

President Hinckley
Brigham Young looking over Pres. Hinckley's shoulder - don't ask me what to do, ask the Lord - it's His work!
missing missing skipping stalled paused dying? hm. no spinning beach ball.
and we're back!

youth love Pres. Hinckley.... and it's gone again.
AACCK! missed the rest

Presiding Bishop Burton

The reconstrucion of the Tablernacle - more knee room! more music room! 14 coats of paint! The walls speaking - 1918 Pres. Joseph F. Smith "I have not lived alone these 5 months" received revelation of work for the dead.

Great Depression - Church Welfare Program - curse of idleness done away - self-respect help people help themselves. Work is reigning principle

1964 Elder Lee Parental Responsibility
We talk about the weather, don't do anything about it. - FHE 50 years old, not really done. (and still.... for some of us!)

stuck stuck stck Elder McConkie - testimony of Jesus' atonement

1995 - women of the church forewarn - Proclamation of the Family

SING!!SING!! I don't know this hymn that well - the melody is familiar, but I don't know many lyrics

the kidlets are really restless - the Rosita goes back and forth between her mommy and daddy. The Dude monologues to his two Thomas books.

Only one verse! I feel cheated!

Bonnie D. Parkin (recently General RS President)
women of the church share many great and glorious privledges
attack of the Cita! no power cords for you!
express gratitude - oblivious to Lord's hand. Don't murmur! universe permeated with Richness of God - see Him everything
live in thanksgiving daily
Dude says I should read the Spanish Thomas book to her because she wants it
the grateful leper (interesting the 1 in 10 ratio, eh?)
gratitude is acknowledgement of Lord's hand in our lives
be grateful for trials - more than surface gratitude

Elder Marlin K. Jensen

memory, remember
The RC has self-induced pain while exploring the house - and just entered the bathroom. I hope the toilet is closed! It must be because she exited immediately.
phone call from someone who forgot about conference

i'm sorry, Elder Jensen, but your talk is lost on me.
Ah! the First Vision! Memorizing scriptures!
much screaming as the SM tickle tortures the Dude (it's a toss up as to who's more bored)
look to past and future to live righteously in the present
Forget yourself and go to work!
the SM puts forth movement to banish children to their bedroom
most important: always remember Jesus
get spirit when take sacrament - spirit brings all things to remembrance

President James E. Faust

kudos to the presiding bishopric for restoration of tabernacle.
the Dude is singing "you are my friend" to RC as he waves two books in her face
early temples not big enough to hold all members who want to attend - outdoor meetings by temple in the grove people sat out in grove while listening to Prophet Joseph
tabernacle contemplated for Navoo inspiration for the Salt Lake Tabernacle

President Tomas S. Monson

8 years old Baptism - not as common for fathers to baptize their children
the Dude attempts to load the rest of the cereal box we cut up for the Friend Conference dial on his back to haul to the trashcan
Speedy Repentance - Vietnam War?
The Dude gets his yogurt and the RC gets cranky that she didn't get any!
No, she is just tired beyond all reason

Misty deciding to get baptized.
Time out for nursing the RC to oblivion, sweet oblivion
Oblivion didn't last.

President Hinckley!!!!

Dedicatory Prayer for the Tabernacle

The Spirit of God (Mac Wilburg again!) the RC adds her shrill soprano screams to the rendition
It would be a lot more impressive without all the blips inserted by the poor streaming. Still inspiring. Not a performace.


Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring!!!! This has been one of my favorite musics for many moons - I hear the Joy in it.

Until tomorrow!

General Conference (Saturday Morning Session)

I decide to appropriate Theric's idea of blogging General Conference.

9:00 am! We have already gorged ourselves on the traditional sacrificial donuts. MMM! Crispy fatty goodness. Especially the chocolate old-fashioned.
The SM is cuddled in his blue fluffy.

Glory to God on High!
President Thomas S. Monson: We're so glad you all can hear us.

Sweet Hour of Prayer - I haven't prayed for an hour for a really long time. Years. The SM says hour is metaphorical. Duh.

Agreed: We need a better couch to sit on for extended periods of time

Statistics in the morning? I thought it was always the Saturday afternoon session!
The Dude learns the joys of sustaining General Authorities.
President Monson's Spanish accent is so cute.
We're losing the RS General Presidency and the YW General Counselors!!!!! Well, at least it's not too many new faces. =) Unanimous in the affirmative as usual.

Auditing Guy
Everything is legit. Your tithing goes for things good and great. Don't complain or doubt.

Growth and Activity 2745 stakes! 344 missions! 630 district 27475 wards! 12,868,606 members! 53164 missionaries! sacramento temple dedicated! (and helinski) total temples: 124.

Cita Bonita twitches her way to sleep without too much complaint.

Elder Richard G. Scott

Converse! Prayer good for everyone, anytime. Motives trump flowery language. Father is listening. Ask the right questions - honestly seek what He wants for you. Never too unworthy to pray! Vocal prayer important. Learn from Pres. Hinckely's prayers - prayed from heart (hem,hem opening prayer-talkers!) Complete responses not the norm - come in packets - like a treasure hunt! Exercise faith! Answers seldom during prayer itself.
Why prayers not answered as wished? Sometimes hard to recognize what is best in long term.

Both the Rosita and the SM are napping now.

When have no response - express thanks? - Heavenly Father trusts you to make decisions in the moment.

The Dude decides cleaning is more exciting than listening to Elder Scott.

Testify: Father will always answer prayers in best way for your Eternal Good!

MoTab: Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel - I don't like this extremely legato and calm version - it's like work is something to dream about.

Elder Jenson

Hymns = sermons. Nearer to the Lord through music than any other thing except prayer. Music a performance when it brings attention to itself instead of bringing revelation.
Hymns of the Restoration: Praise to the Man, Come Come Ye Saints, We Thank Thee, O God for a Prophet, and others. Nourishing hymns lead to conversion.

Hymns and appropriate music at home. Sing hymns as lullabies. Be punctual and listen to prelude music. Exit meetings reverently to extend spirit of meeting. SING! Listen to Hymns more frequently in homes.

Elder ?

Addressing the youth. I exempt myself from strict attention: I am no longer a youth, and my children are nowhere near youth age.

The Dude experiments with the vacuum and attachments. Without power. He then declares, "Mommy, you need raisins!" I defer and request a drink of water instead. He complies.


Elder Jeffery R Holland

By words that all things are done. Power and sanctity of words.
Quoting the apocrypha! Stinging whips. Ouch!
Tongue a little member: set on fire of hell - untameable, deadly, poisonous tongue.
Perfect man - husbands! greatest gift = wife. voluntarily gave herself to you - think of her as your queen! Cold, caustic words - that which cometh out of a mouth defileth a man. Verbal and emotional abuse against wives (and vice-versa!) biting and acrid - drive people love futher away NO CATTY REMARKS, gossip, etc.
Children shaped by how we speak to them. and their faith in us and their faith in God - be Constructive. Never compare children (even if think are right). Praise child for what they are. Keep away from culture of comparing, competing. See only complaint makes us all miserable. Don't complain and moan - in Golden Age - everything too yellow! Nephi -- hit me, I can still hear you!
Maxim for living: no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse.

The Dude distracts by reading me an animal babies book.

Speak by tongue of Angels. Speak with a new tongue - full of faith, hope and charity.

Elder David Bednar
Parable of the Pickle

Orchards and veggies - canning season! Temporal Self-reliance, provident living.
Cucumber to Pickle as We are to Being born again in Christ
1. Preparing and cleaning.
2. Immersing and Saturating in Brine (steady, sustained, complete for curing to happen correctly)
3. Sealing - all impurities removed.
Mortal life to be changed, transformed. New creatures in Christ.

1. cleansed by Aaronic priesthood ordinances - and REPENT (preparing)
2. Spiritual rebirth - gradually and imperceptibly motives become aligned with God's)
SALT=covenants baptism - walk in newness of life sporadic and shallow dipping won't produce spiritual transformation to picklehood
3. Purified and sealed by Holy Ghost consecration

Search Ponder and Pray - this is one of the primary songs that I know. The MoTab seems lacking in passion today.

The Dude practises couch diving. SM and RC briefly awake during Dude tantrum, then fall asleep again.

President Thomas S. Monson!
We're trailing clouds of glory again
crucify Christ anew - denying divinity of Christ.
Man trying to deny Christ eventually came back to faith - wife died. Not her - soul gone.

Dude exiled for kicking.

Storytime - family of muscular dystrophy
reality of resurrection
Die we must. But the end it not be.
Easter - He is Risen!!!!!
Somtimes I think he's been general authority for too long because he speaks in cadences that lullabic in nature - more so than any other speaker I know.

Come Thou Fount
The men sound like they mean it for the first time today and now the women do, too - and I Feel it. The SM wakes to listen to it. We love Mac Wilburg!

The SM and I agree that we liked Elder Holland's remarks best - probably because it was most applicable to us. I wonder if we're spiritually masochistic.

30 March 2007

Spoza claims Victory!

We have become online Settlers of Catan addicts. As soon as the kidlets are tucked away for the night, we each gravitate to our separate computers and open a game of Catan. Many man-hours of productive time have been lavishly wasted.

Tonight, I finally claimed victory because I grasped this amazing concept that to win demands that I be ruthless! Utterly ruthless! And when the SM begs for some commodity, I turn him away empty handed. And when I have a development card that is really quite cruel to use, I play it anyway and delight in the wicked false laughter.

That, and the dice were kind. I'd like to take credit for this, too, but I don't think I can claim my brainwaves caused the dice to "roll" in my favor. Although I have some pretty nifty brainwaves.

Hmmm... a game that encourages ruthlessness and selfishness... I think I may need a new hobby.

29 March 2007

Can you Feel the Love?

SM: I really love you because sometimes I'll close my computer... just for you.

me: That's love!

24 March 2007

zoom! zoom!

The Spozo Maravilloso declared that today, rain or shine, he was going to test drive a Mazda 5. So we all piled into our car and adventured into downtown Oakland. I knew it was all part of his plot to convince me that we need a new car, but I actually liked this car (in theory) and I was looking forward to meeting it in person.

Earlier in our marriage, I did something that made the SM very happy. I worked for GM in one of their call centers. Now, the fact that I had a job in general made him happy but he was, in general, exceptionally pleased with the results of that summer. In particular, the fact that now I actually had opinions about how cars looked and could now join with him in lamenting the lack of innovative design available from most manufacturers.

Yes, the SM loves his cars. But not Porsches or Corvettes or really any other traditional guy cars to like - he likes to obsess over family sedans and minivans. And alternative energy cars - his new love is the Tesla roadster (a sporty car - I don't understand his rules, but he has them and adheres to them strictly).

The only lasting evil of my GM experience: I call all things with wheels "vehicles" which drives (ha,ha) him absolutely batty. Why, he has yet to explain adequately.

Back to our experience today: We loved the sliding doors on both sides. I liked the fold-down seats in the back. I liked the hatchback. Minuses: the "sport" version (read: no bells and whistles) only comes with one interior color option: black. It's like they want every particle of dirt to show so you can feel like you're "sporty". Even if you're not. I guess having kids would make me "sporty" because it would look dirty all the time.

And they barely come in manual. Apparently, you have to special order it.


Which makes my dream of buying one used (with all the gizmos how I want them) to be an even more impossible dream.

We confused the Dude by taking it for a whirl. Before we buckled in, he was saying, "Daddy, I like this car. We buy it now?" While we got lost, "I'm so much taller! I like our new car." And once he realized it wasn't ours and it wasn't going to be ours, "I'm hungry."

What a pragmatist. At least there's one in the family.

22 March 2007

Book Group Report

After an eight month hiatus from book group, I got to go to one tonight. I had read the book (thanks, Lady Steed!), and that helped my enjoyment greatly. But tonight's book group was especially fun because there were other Really Cool people there that were willing to make comments and have favorite parts of the book.

Before, I always felt like I was dominating the discussion, making loud remarks, and being either the bane or blessing of the person in charge of leading the discussion. Tonight I wasn't the only one speaking out about what tickled my funny bone, gave me pause, or provoked deep thought.

And I gave two of those Really Cool People a ride home.

And there were delectable brownies.

Most interesting discussion topic of the night: Are humans capable of more cruelty towards other humans than "demons"?

19 March 2007

I'm older than I've ever been

I didn't realize that I am so old that when I was little there were no cars. Apparently that was what one of my students told his mom after our Primary lesson (he was quite adamant about it).

He must've missed the part of the story that I was on my mission in another country (where the majority of people do not have cars).

He also missed the part about me getting better with no complications after having surgery in a ... well, not a third world country, but imagine the U.S. in about the 1950's. Put it this way: the entire hospital had one phone; which I was wheeled to in order to convince my parents that I was very much alive and nowhere near dead.

Also according to him, I never got better. This concerns me, because the whole point of the story was that it was a kind of miracle that everything went well. I really hope my other students didn't have such garbled facts to repeat to their parents or my release from Primary is imminent.

Or maybe he really thinks I'm that old and sickly.

17 March 2007

Beware! Sharp!

After much wailing and gnashing of gums, the Rosita Chiquita has two teeth!


09 March 2007


I've been craving lemon bars for the past week. I'm not one to crave lemon bars. Usually it's brownies with ice cream and fudge sauce.

But then, I just found a great recipe that brings superior results according to lemon bar afficionados. It also helps that I have an excellent source of fresh (and free!) lemons thanks to Lady Steed.

Chocolate has lost its allure for the time being. Too much of a good thing and all. Perhaps I'll nibble some infrequently. Purely for it's health benefits, of course. I'm sure the old passion will re-ignite soon enough.

Until then: Lemon bars, anyone?

07 March 2007

it ain't no Harry Potter

So, I just finished reading Magic Street by Orson Scott Card. I've been wanting to read it for a while and it finally got old enough that the library had it on the shelf.

I enjoyed reading it. The plot was twisted enough, the main characters believable and decent, the fantasy of it interesting (although I've decided that describing appearances is not Cards' forte)

But... there was something fish-out-of-water-ish with it. Although I felt Card captured the emotions of people pretty well (as he usually does), I just cringed at his "African-American" dialogue. He made several in-story references about how the neighborhood kids learned their "ebonics" from the TV, kinda like he was explaining away the stiffness they spoke it with - like it was a foreign tongue.

I felt better reading the acknowledgments where he explained the genesis for this book because he knew it wasn't perfect. He tried his best.

But it was still written as an outsider. I didn't feel he caught the soul of the African-American community. Not that I would really have any experience with that, but I really felt that although mentioned, the passion or soul or fire that I feel from my African-American friends is lacking in some essential way.

Except, interestingly enough, in the preaching parts. There, I found the dialouge completely compatible with the setting. And I always love it when Card throws in some religious discussion without making it seem forced or trite - well, except in Children of the Mind. But that's a different story.

That said, I thought he did a good job of capturing the difficulties that African-American youth deal with when going to school - having to be labeled as a "tom" or an "oreo" or a "traitor" (which were all definitely used on the students in my classes at school) if you excelled.

All in all.... a good read. But not Card's best.

05 March 2007

I scream, you scream.... Man, I need some ice cream

Today I almost threw in my mommy towel to head for the hills.

The Dude has been especially whiny for the past week, but today he overwhelmed and vanquished my tolerance for screaming. I haven't decided whether this is a new stage of sibling rivalry (because whenever the Rosita Chiquita squawks, she gets picked up and cuddled until she stops) or if this is just a new level of "terrible three"s, or if it is his new favorite way of getting instant attention.

If it were over not getting what he wanted, it wouldn't be so bad. I can handle that and even feel a little good that I am being a good parent and NOT bowing to his even whim. But the instigation of every screaming session is some minor hurt: a finger in the door, the RC accidentally (it really was an accident this time) pulling his hair, tripping and falling on a knee. I guess this could be because he got so much attention for his spectacular fall the other day that made him look like Dracula for several hours because he kept bleeding. We had to call the doctor, make a special trip to the store, check the injury every so often.....

Whatever it was, it seemed like most of my day was spent holding one screaming child or the other or BOTH. In the afternoon, I lost all sympathy for the Dude's wails and consigned him to his bed until he stopped screaming and would TELL me what the matter was.

In between the screaming sessions he was a good helper and very cheery and sweet. He especially enjoyed cleaning the kitchen table off with his spray bottle and cleaning cloth. We read The Ugly Pumpkin ( a long-time favorite) with great gusto. The RC had a very a happy time exploring the interior of our car and gumming the Tic-Tac container to death (so the container survived fairly well, but the Tic-Tacs themselves will never recover).

It was these delicious moments that fueled me until they finally, blessedly, went to bed.


28 February 2007

the great shoe caper

The Spozo Maravilloso has been venemous towards my shoes for a year now. Not that I loved them - or even liked them, but they were functional and didn't let the rain get my feet wet. Apparently, the SM took it as a personal affront that his wife would be running around in shoes like that. He also laments that I don't have any pointy-toed shoes. So after many months of plotting, he finally succeeded in shoving me out of the house (sans kidlets!) to San Francisco with a woman that he trusted to get me some fashionable shoes.

Luckily, the woman he chose is very fun to go shoe-shopping with, and we were looking forward to hanging out (sans kidlets!) She whisked me into her favorite shoe shop (Steve Madden) and started picking out shoes for me to try on. Something strange has happened with my feet - or the sizing, because I used to be at least a 9, but I was fitting into eights and eight-and-a-halfs.

I shocked even her by asking to try on the really three-inch heels instead of the dinky ones. Even more shocking is that they felt MORE comfortable.

I dithered about spending so much on shoes and also about the SM liking them so much that she called him to wrench the promise out of him that since she approved of them, he would be happy no matter what. She also divulged some top secret information: I could go over budget and he wouldn't care. So I did. By a shocking amount. I felt encouraged that another girl in the shop bought the same pair of shoes as me - without even consulting my friend!

What really soared my fashionista soul occured in Payless Shoe Source.

I wanted some real walking shoes, too, so we decided to check out Payless (which, both of us reckon has to be radically different than the other Paylesses around - maybe being in Nordstrom's building has something to do with it). She pointed out (in her Canadianness) a couple pairs of suitable "runners," but I was drawn to some green with lavendar trim and laces beauties.

They are completely impractical but very fashionable (seems to go hand in hand), and get this: she ended up buying the same pair (in a different size, of course). I thought it charming that she asked my permission to get the same pair - apparently true fashionista code demands that friends can't buy the same thing. Luckily, I have a fairly mild strain of fashionistaness, so I took it as a compliment instead of an affront.

My only advice to shoe-shoppers: don't wear the fashionable shoes immediately to hike up San Francisco hills. Blisters may result.

So now I can't wear my fashionable shoes for a couple days.


25 February 2007

The First Step (a Svithe)

I always love hearing a convert's testimony, so when the Primary manual asked that I get someone with a strong testimony of Christ to share their feelings with my class, I immediately thought of a dear sister in the ward who got baptized last year and has been a faithful member since.

She was delighted to be asked.

After I introduced her to my class, she gave the most wonderful testimony that she could have to my 4-5 year-olds. She even sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children" for them. I started crying because of how passionately she could speak of her love for Jesus in simple terms.

Of course, my class thought I had gone batty.

It made me reflect that great testimonies are not made with many flowery words or nice anecdotes or even quoting nice scriptures. Great testimonies come because of great faith. That's why even leaders in the church can say the same, simple words, but the impact of them is greater because their underlying faith is at least the size of a mustard seed.

Where as of right now, mine would be closer to a vanilla seed. But growing....

19 February 2007

Advisory Notice

Do not put your cleaning toothbrush (you know, the old toothbrush that you use for scrubbing poo out of your baby's clothes with stain remover) in the bathroom with your current toothbrush.

Especially if they are the same color.


18 February 2007

Progress Report

After listening to first-time mothers rave over how their babies (younger than my daughter by quite a bit) have "favorite animals" and how much they loved seeing them at the zoo, I felt alarmingly guilty that I didn't know her favorite animal, etc. Let me be honest: I felt guilty that I hadn't even thought of her having a favorite animal.

Last night, I had the Dude in bed, and the Rosita had just woken up from a nap, so we enjoyed some rare mommy-daughter time. I know many things about her, don't get me wrong, but I didn't realize how smart she is! =)

We played Up! Down!, an extremely complicated game which involves standing, sitting, lots of exclamation points, and giggling. I was amazed that she would purposefully sit down then look up expectantly for me to say "Down!" and then laugh her head off when I did. I had forgotten how smart babies are.

Which is really shocking, especially since she has shown herself to be a notorious penny-finder-putter-in-mouth-er and a very picky only-want-to-eat-big-people-food-er (how she tells this is beyond me).

And although I might not know which is her favorite animal, I do know she favors whichever animal her brother is playing with at the moment.

Which he does not appreciate.

I guess he hasn't heard that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" bit.

Or perhaps (perhaps!) he doesn't know what "imitation" "sincerest" and "flattery" mean.


09 February 2007

The Grass is Greener

I've discovered that it's better not to know what's on the other side of the hill sometimes. That ignorance truly is bliss.

I was completely fine with the fact that my children wake up between 6:30 and 7:30 every morning in the winter and between 5:30 and 6:30 during the summer. So maybe not completely fine, but it was "normal" and I could handle it.

But I've since discovered that some children sleep in until the blessed hour of 9 every morning. Every morning!

I'm trying very hard not to imagine what life would be like if I had that much more time every day sans (awake) children. I could take a shower in peace. I could read a book. Use chemical cleaners. Write a letter. Exercise. Plan menus. Think. Breathe.

Whew! Excuse me while I banish those provocative images from my mind and return to basking in ignorance.