Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Days of Our Lives

The desk calender on my, ahem, desk is so ready for a new page. The page which was once white is now gray. The series of rectangles that once marched singularly across the page are now joined by brownish half moon coffee stains, and blue and purple exes marking off each date. Notes are scattered randomly over the page--some of them written in the date boxes as reminders of events, but more are just things I needed to write down and used the first handy paper surface.

Up at the top of the calendar, right next to the "Bell Photographers Inc." title, I've scrawled the words, "The Bad Place." I think this is the name of a book recommended to me by a student, rather than commentary on my state of mind about my job.

The box for Wednesday the 3rd contains the phrase "Awesome Scrabble Prowess." If I remember right, the 3rd is not "Awesome Scrabble Prowess Day." Rather, a student who has been trying for years finally beat me at Scrabble. She demanded a certificate--so I downloaded one from the computer. When I wrote it, I was probably making sure not to spell "awesome" or "prowess" wrong.

Reading across and down the squares as if they were words on a page, the next item of interest is a phone number. I've written it in the square for the 6th and oddly, the 12th and don't have any idea at all who would pick up the line if I called it. The 13th has a this one I recall. It's the purchasing site for Dixie State--and the spot where I purchased my Willie Nelson tickets. Sharing the square for the 13th is a math problem, written with one number on top of the other. Apparently 14 times 3 is 42, but I have no idea why I needed to know that.

The 14th contains the words "Vente Tall Tall Grande Vente." I was trying to remember coffee sizes for my post about Starbucks. Looks like 2 students had birthdays the week of the 14th. One turned 18--a birthday we dread here, because we usually loose the kids shortly after they turn 18. Some hang in there, but most just slowly fade away, a few to turn up next year at the adult high school.

The week of the 21st starts off with the words "synthetic blend,": E's instructions for me when I was having the oil in the car changed--a job I detest! The 23rd was the school wide family picnic--a surprising success.

The next week, the one in closest reach when I'm using the computer, has an array of very puzzling notes that I've made to myself over the month. Sunday the 20th has my ex-brother-in-law's email address. I sent him a note asking how things were, but the bastard never got back to me. Then I have the puzzling note, "12/1 Rex." I don't know anyone named Rex. Never have. And why 12/1? Such a mystery. Another weird fraction sits in the blank square following the 31st--"13/22" with the name Anna next to it. I know Anna. She has enrolled every year for the past 3, and comes diligently for the first 2 weeks, then is never seen from again. Why did I write her name on my January calendar when I haven't seen her since September? Again--I have no clue.

So--2 more days 'till a fresh, February page. I peeked ahead and while it is nice and white, 2 coffee rings have soaked through. A whole week is filled with the letters "UBSCT" which is pronounced "you-biscuit" and stands for "Utah Basic Skills Competency Test." This is the test all Utah students (ALL--Even sped and ell kids) must pass to receive a diploma. It tests competency in reading, writing, and math, so in reality, it's my job to prepare the kids for 2/3ds of it. Talk about high stakes testing. I'm currently deep in the trenches of the persuasive essay and reading for content. They get 2 chances a year from 10th through 12th grade. And know what? I hate it and I don't want to talk about it any more.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
This one's tricky today. Ok. She slows me down. This helps me see the world and enjoy more moments. Unfortunately it also makes me late for work. Every day.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
She's just a little sick. Not really sick. Her eyes were just slightly goopy day before yesterday. She has a tiny cough. I've been sending her to school because I'm evil, but have also been feeling way guilty about it. I sent her with a note today telling her teacher to call me if she feels at all like I should come pick her up. Does that make it ok?

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Truly. I suck so so so so bad.

Mandy's birthday was ELEVEN DAYS AGO!!

Last night Soph was having nightmares and climbed in bed with me (again) at about 4:00 a.m. She sleepily told me that she wanted to see Cinderella Three. I sleepily told her that we were going to go see the ballet of Cinderella in a few weeks. This made me think that I'd better write the date of the ballet on the calendar, which made me think that I'd better GET a new calendar, which made me wonder if I'd missed any important events in January by NOT having a calendar which caused me to sit bolt up right in bed because I realized that, yes, I HAD missed an important event--MANDY'S BIRTHDAY!

No one even reminded me. I mean, there was that ONE day (probably the 17th) when my mom and dad and Katy all asked me if I had talked to Mandy. At the time, I thought it was kind of an odd coincidence that they all asked me that on the same day.


So, here are 11 things that make me SO GRATEFUL for my big sister. One for each day that I have TOTALLY FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY AND AM A HUGE ASS HOLE.

1. She introduced me to ALL of my favorite authors. I may be the English teacher, but she is the true reader. Starting with Sweet Valley High, (Which, on a side note, taught me how to read. I wasn't a great reader in the early elementary grades because I HATED the crap they gave me to read and would look at he pictures and make up my own MUCH more interesting stories. I picked up a SVH book and my mom told me I couldn't read it because it was both too hard and too racy for me--so, of course, I did, asking her "What is this word" about a million times.) and moving on to Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Robin McKinley, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Heinlein, Tamora Pierce, and seventeen or eighteen more that I have ALSO forgotten.
2. Because of her, I didn't have to tell my mom right off when I started my first period, which, for some reason, I really didn't want to do. We were living in Carmel Valley, and I remember seeing the rust colored spot on my panties and thinking, "I better tell Mand about this." She totally hooked me up with a pad and some Midol. Then that night she poked her head in my room after I had gone to bed to check on me, and advise me against sleeping on my back, if I wanted to avoid nasty sheet washing in the morning.
3. More girly stuff--but I had the HARDEST time nursing Soph. Luckily she was nursing Zack at the same time, and we would bust out boobs and babies and she'd show me how it was done. She also showed me how to manually express the milk when my boobs were about ready to explode.
4. She also introduced me to yoga. She, of course, has been ROCKING the yoga lately, while I have been rocking the cheese. I AM going to a class today, though.
5. When I need someone to talk me down, she always has the grounded advice that I need.
6. Madeline's hand-me-downs have kept Soph clothed for, like, her entire life.
7. Mandy's courage in following her own path has given me the courage to follow my own more than once. In school, religion, family life, motherhood, and a number of other things, she has followed her intuition and listened to her own voice. I'm super shitty at doing that. Often when I'm doing something for ME, I hear her voice in my head telling me it's ok.
8. She taught me how to make roasted veggie and goat cheese sandwiches on foccacia. Yum.
9. I also have benefited from Mand's love of music. Growing up, she always had a music collection (composed of a surprising number of cassette singles) and I always had a music collection to borrow from. More recently, she has introduced me to Nina Simone, KT Tunstall, and Mindy Smith.
10. Need I say that I've had a BFF since I was born because of her?
11. She loves me. No matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. I rest in that. Often.

So big sis, I'm so, so sorry to be a birthday forgetting tool. Keep your eye on your mail box when you return from Seattle. I love you. No matter what.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

2 Haiku

Who do I look like?

Modern pre-schools ne-
ver, would dress kids up like In-
dians? Or would they?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Gateway Drink

When I was going to high school, there was nowhere to get a fancy coffee in Cedar City. Kara Thompson and I would skip class (for me, this was usually seminary), go to Shoney’s, and share a pot of pretty crappy coffee while commiserating the state of our love lives (which were actually pretty jumpin’), our family lives (which were also down right reasonable), and living in a crappy one horse town (which did kind of suck).

I probably don’t need to talk too much about the Mormon/coffee connection. The bottom line is-they don’t drink it. It’s part of the “Word of Wisdom” which counsels against MANY things, including “hot drinks,” “strong drinks,” and even eating too much animal flesh (a caveat which most LDS people have conveniently dismissed.) It’s assumed that the caffeine is the enemy in the case of coffee—but caffeine in other forms is much more socially acceptable. In fact my #1 favorite Mormon joke is, “How do you tell a Mormon from a non-Mormon? Take the temperature of her caffeine.” (My second favorite is, “Why should you always take 2 Mormons fishing? If you just take one, he’ll drink all the beer.”)

Then, as I entered into my college years, the odd coffee spot began popping up. Those Cedar Cidians who were “into that kind of thing” were found scratching their heads at blackboard menus, trying to figure out the difference between a cappuccino and a late, as well as translate exotic terms such as café au lait, breve, grande, and vente. For years all I drank were cappuccinos and mochas because I knew what they were and how to order them.

Coffee shops came and went—and they all had 2 things in common. They were locally/privately owned, and the service and ambiance was crappy. Not much has changed in the last 10ish years, until very recently. Our 3 coffee places were ok. The barista was usually a college kid (and apparently, I’m an old lady) and more often than not, he/she was a bit grumpy. The shops themselves were all right, leaning toward the comfortable and hip, but falling short for a number of reasons. Then about 6 months ago, the devil came to town.


I stuck to my local coffee, as I do with most things. My husband’s family are all local entrepreneurs, so “shop local” is a matter of family, not just community loyalty. Yea, I did hit the drive-thru a few times when I had Soph in the car and didn’t want to drag her out into the snow. And yes, when E brought me a Starbucks in the morning I certainly didn’t turn it down. But today I went in.

Damn is that place nice! Yes, yes, yes, I know it’s all packaged and produced and designed for me to feel very comfortable and cool at the same time. And I did! Nice music? Check. Comfy seating? Check. Tasteful yet slightly exotic décor? Check. Friendly, helpful, and kind of hot red-head lady barista to patiently, but not at all condescendingly help me through my order? Check. I was having a MORNING today, and needed the big guns, so enter the Vente Cinnamon Dulce Latte. Yummy. Oh so, so, so yummy.

It’s official. I’ve been seduced.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tasty Cakes

That's right. Tasty cakes. I mean, Patrice is awesome and all, but awesomer still are the Tasty Cakes which she brought us that are now ALMOST GONE. Well, the little round peanut butter chocolate ones ARE gone (sigh) but I have hidden the last 2 Butterscotch Krimpits in the crock pot--a place where only I would ever find them.

All right, maybe Patrice is equally, or even more awesome than sponge cake-that-is-only-available-in-Philadelphia (What can be done to rectify this immediately?). After all, she took to prison-rules dominoes as though she had been playing it all her life (something you're not telling us Patrice?), has been a gem to Soph, who has been letting her winey flag fly like mad this weekend, (and I'm sure impressed Patrice very much with her table manners and conversational skills. After all--who doesn't want to see a four year old eat over-easy eggs, which she has topped with jelly, with her fingers, and at the same time, listen to her talk baby-talk with her mouth full?) and has been one of the loveliest, easiest house guests it has ever been my pleasure to have.

So--a quick run-down of events:

Patrice arrived at 4:00 a.m. on Friday. You read it right. 4:00 a.m. E was a total peach and picked her up at the airport in Vegas--and with the time change + late-ish flight + slightly longer distance from Vegas to Cedar, I think she was pretty shocked to find herself arriving in the wee small hours. Actually, she was so tired she could hardly move, and white as a sheet. I expected her to sleep until at least noon, but she surprised me by rising at 8:30.

Friday was nice--but we were both pretty exhausted. I took the day off and we had breakfast at the local cowboy haunt, visited Kolob Canyon and then made a quick trip the the grocery store (riveting--eh?). Patrice took a much needed nap and I did a little to get ready for a small gathering. We frittered the afternoon away, and then that evening had a blast playing games with Katy, Paul, Jen and Kodi, and laughing at E who was in life-of-the-party mode.

Today we took a nice long drive up Cedar Mountain. (I got us stuck in the snow--but only for a couple of minutes.) Other than being slightly mortified at the lack of guard rails on the mountain drop-offs, I think Patrice enjoyed seeing our mountain. Then we headed to Grandees for lunch and ice cream, and then to the LDS book store to buy CTR rings for Patrice and family as souvenirs, dropped by my brothers new jewelry store. We leave for the airport in a couple of hours, and although the visit has been short, I think/hope Patrice had a good time. I know I have.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
It's been really fun watching her interact with Patrice.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
She's so sensitive. And it's getting so old.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This is me bitching.

2 nights now with fewer than 6 hours of sleep have gone by. And let me just say, if I had the energy, which I do not, I would rip out the trachea (possible?) of anyone who gave me the slightest reason.

I’m having a terrible time falling asleep—and don’t manage to drift off until about 12:00, just in time for Soph to wake me up with various shenanigans. Last night the sound of her bedroom door opening woke me just as I was drifting—you know, that moment in time when you’re falling asleep and the slightest interruption causes your heart and many of your other internal organs to attempt an escape right through your throat? I went looking for her, and couldn’t find her anywhere. She wasn’t in the bathroom, or the living room, or the kitchen. Just when I started to truly panic, I gave the kitchen a more thorough look, and found her, naked, asleep on her belly, on the floor next to the refrigerator. I guess, to her, it seemed like a good idea at the time. It took a half hour or so for her to truly fall back asleep. Apparently, the universe has decided that my optimum sleep hours are between the hours of one and six p.m. Frankly, the universe can shove that idea up its ass, because I am going to truly go crazy if I don’t get some decent sleep.

As for all my news yesterday, with the exception of Patrice’s visit, I’d like to formally complain about all the work involved with the rest of it. New carpet means moving all the crap out of the bedrooms. Also, the ass hats who owned the house before we did did all kinds of crazy stuff to it, so new carpet has necesitated even floors which has necesitated some business with a jack hammer and cement laying (E, not me, of course) which as created quite a mess--all over my new wood floors. New linoleum means taking the toilet out of the bathroom. Remember how I have only 1 potty? I still have no idea how that’s going to work. Don’t get me wrong—I have no major problem with peeing outside, but it’s been around minus 10 or so for the last few nights, and I don’t fancy a pee-cicle forming on my nethers. Plus, not to put too fine a point on it, what if someone has to poop?

The carpet cleaners are going to have to be able to FIND the carpet in the basement. At my house, the basement is “no women’s land.” That is, E and Janz have the run of the place. That + the fact that it’s become a bit of a dumping ground make demucking it a daunting task, to say the very least.

So, I’m telling myself that on Friday, when Patrice is here, the carpets look immaculate, the shitter is reinstalled, and I’m in the middle my second Chardonnay, I’ll look back at today and tomorrow and laugh. At least I better.

Today’s best thing about being a mom:
Well, it’s definitely NOT finding your kid naked on the kitchen floor in the middle of the night.

Today’s worst thing about being a mom:
Not being able to call in the nanny at 12:01 a.m.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Just kidding. More of a news--flicker?

Exciting things happening in the next 3 days include...
3. New carpet being installed in my bedrooms and hallway.
2. Having the carpet downstairs cleaned.

and (the reason for the cleaning but not installing, because, she's awesome but I'm not a TOTAL freak show...)

1. Patrice is coming for a visit!

She's just staying for 2 nights, but that's so much better than none. I've arranged for Friday off, so as to commence with the smokin' good times asap. Friday day I'm thinking a drive down to Kolob to see the sights and say hi to Kods. Maybe also breakfast at the Market Grill so she can get her cowboy spotting quota filled right off. Friday night is a party with the palls--so dominoes and Uno and adult libations aplenty. (Note to self: find out ingredients in a Shirley Temple and purchase, as this seems to be Patrice's favorite "drink.") Saturday we'll have most of the day to kick it, and then Kods (and hopefully, I) will drive her back to Vegas, and possibly dine at Memphis Barbecue (we all met up there for her last trip to these general parts)--thus starting a mini-tradition, and also creating the opportunity for fried pickles. Sweet.

Let's see. Any other news? I'm pretty deep into Angel--just finished the episodes with Faith, and they were fabulous. Anyone know the back-story of why Doyle cut out so quickly?

Oh--Soph is totally reading, and writing. Mostly 3 letter words with a short vowel, but she's getting a kick out of it. She sounded out and wrote "frog" all by herself a few days ago. Her new favorite past-time is going "tummy diving." While I'm laying on the couch, she pulls my shirt up over my fat stomach, takes a deep breath, plugs her nose, and "dives" her face into my stomach. She then blows a huge raspberry/zrbt into my stomach. I drew the line at her filling my navel with water. I do have SOME pride/parental control.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Bragging about how smart she is

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Being woken up a full half-hour before the alarm goes off

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm willing to tell you; I'm wanting to tell you; I'm waiting to tell you.

(Bonus points if you know the movie *hint--it's a musical* from which the subject quote was lifted.)

I really am! That is, willing, wanting, and waiting to tell you all the new and exciting news of my life. Problem is--there just isn't any. Soph is still equal parts precocious, naughty, and sweet as a bug; E is still equal parts maddening and amazing; work is still equal parts gratifying and exasperating; Utah is still equal parts crawling with Mormons and as safe and comfy as a well worn t-shirt; and I am still equal parts mother, wife, teacher, and inner-rock-star-who-is-dying-to-get-out.

What can I say? The days go by, and nothing happens that I feel is blog-worthy. It's both sad and a relief that 4 year-old Soph seems to be past the shenanigans of the last couple of years. I'm afraid there will be no more blogging about pudding art or anatomy lessons. I've said all there is to say about my struggles with weight and body image. I mean really, now many times and ways can you rephrase, "I'm fat but too lazy to do anything about it." I don't know folks. I think this blog may be going the way of the dodo.

I was kind of trying to think of some kind of formulaic approach to the blog--as I've seen others do: Monday, meme day; Tuesday, tantrum day; Wednesday, what-if? day; etc. But I just don't know.

I love my blog. I've fought battles for my blog. But I think I'm about blogged out.

This isn't a plea for comments like, "Don't quit blogging! You are totally awesome and if you quit, my pet hamster Gertrude and I will just absolutely perish!" I'm not deleting the blog or anything. Just thinking about why posting used to be a fun, daily ritual, and now it's a bit of a bi-monthly grind. If you have any ideas about how to bring back the zing, I'd much rather hear those.

So--enough meta-blog-nition. Onto the few bits of news I DO have.

Sophie has another bad hair cut. It's SHORT! Like, boy short. I had it cut at the beauty school (error 1) and it was ok, but not great. Then my mom did a little snipping here and there to try and fix things up (error 2) and I finally took her to my girl (who I go to like once a year) and the result is, well SHORT! No pics but I'll get some up soon. E hates it. I don't HATE it per say, but it's definitely short. I bought her some cute clippies and headbands--that she won't keep in, and even sprung for some $16.00 spray wax stuff (Am I the only one who thinks that calling various hair-goos "product" is kind of lame? As in, "Let's put in some product.") to--what did she say, "piece it out," which I think really means, "mess it up on top a little." I even asked her if she wanted to get her ears pierced--and she did, until the gal said, "Let me get my gun." Dur lady.

In TV news, I finally ordered Angel season one and it arrived yesterday. That lead to a much later night than I'm accustom to (11:30--jump back!) AND reopened the "Who's hotter: Angel or Spike" debate, and what a lovely debate it is. (Pause for vampy threesome fantasy. Ok. Done.) So far, I can say that it's definitely watchable. I'm kind of addicted to the watching-completed-series-on DVD thing. In my brain it feels like reading a nice long novel much more than watching the tube.

What else? Oh--I bought tickets for E and myself to the Willie Nelson and Family concert in February. I love me some Willie. I think I scored pretty decent seats, so that's something to look forward to.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Kissing her forehead while she's sleeping

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
She has SO many questions about death lately and I just don't know how to answer them. I'm trying to be honest and age appropriate, but for some reason, she seems to be afraid that I'm going to die. I think it's from all the Disney princess movies. Think about it. Snow White? Mom's dead. Sleeping Beauty's mom? Dead. Belle's mom? Dead. They don't come out and say that Ariel and Jasmine's moms are dead, but it's implied by their absence. I can't tell her I'm never going to die, and that's what she wants me to say. I tell her I'm young and healthy and that she doesn't need to worry about it, but man does she.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This is the part where...

When the alarm woke me up this morning, I very nearly began to cry. Two weeks of vacation went by in the flashiest of flashes. Exit sleeping in, playing with cousins, big-sister bonding time, home-made candy and cheese ball, and time to clean the house. Enter a hurried snuggle with Soph, followed by scraping ice off of the car with a credit card and no gloves in the wee hours of the morning, dealing with surly teenagers, catching up on grades (the WORST part of being a teacher), and knowing that the hurricane of 3 people fleeing the house this morning awaits me when I get home today. Sigh-a-nara Christmas.

Best images of Christmas break: (Mandy has most of these as real pictures, so badger her to post them asap.)

  • Soph flopped on her back in the snow, making yet another snow angel
  • Zack chanting "Trudge, trudge, trudge, trudge" with a huge grin on his face, making his way through the thigh deep (for him) snow in the back yard of the little house Mand rented for the week.
  • Happening to glance into the evergreen tree in same back yard, and spying a minuscule screech owl totally kickin' it mellow style.
  • Jimmy leaping through the show to catch his frisbee, and landing in a spray of sparkly white.
  • Madeline in her St. Lucia ensemble, reading her part in the Smith family Christmas program (which was complete with unexpected and hilarious interruptions by the Wack-a-Mole game and an accidental fart.)

As a whole, Christmas Vacation, or rather, Winter Break was awesome. Having Mandy and her kids here was, well, awesome. The kids got along SO well, and really, there are few things in the world that beat just spending time doing nothing with my best friend/big sis. The 3rd annual Karaoke in Kannaraville was, again, awesome. A little mild debauchery once a year is such a good thing. I rocked a couple of my classic Karaoke numbers, and once again talked E into his once a year rendition of "Sweet Caroline."

Of course, Soph much prefers the little parrot she got in her last Happy Meal to any of her Christmas presents, and I truly do hate taking down the Christmas tree, so I'm not completely without things to bitch about.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Morning snuggles

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Taming the bed-head