Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Indiscriminate thoughts...

Hurrah, our new washing machine was delivered this morning! It is very shiny and sparkly and I cannot wait to use it. I have been pondering which items in my house I want to wash first. I guess it should be my workout clothes which I am still wearing hours later. I ran on the treadmill this morning and it is never easy to get myself going. I think I have been running for so long and then I look, what four minutes? And I have burned 25 calories? That must be about one cheerio! I guess I'll keep going. I try to see how long I can go without looking at the time, don't look, don't look! Oh, I have to look, 25 more seconds have passed... Buying things always leads to needing (okay, not needing, thinking you need) more things because I really need a fan and a flat screen t.v. down there to help pass the time. Not going to happen.

Our library was waiving everyone's fines during September so I thought I had better hightail it over there since the summertime was bad in that department. Five people checking out piles of books on a regular basis -- there were bound to be some casualties. I went yesterday and I checked out "1776" and sat down in the afternoon to read while I nursed. Oh, that must be why I haven't been reading much!!! That baby reached behind him with his chubby little fingers waving back and forth to scrunch, grab, rip, snatch, yank, bend, etc. I think I should get large print and lay it on the couch next to me, hmmm. I am reading that particular book for our book club this month. By default, I am the leader of our little band so I decided I should try to drum up some more members by making a little sign (which is really too grand a word for what it is) for a bulletin board in the church hallway. Now this sheet of paper is not fancy, it is plain white with black lettering. I did, however, use two different fonts and I managed to pick out books through the month of May. This is an unprecedented show of forethought on my part as well as follow through with actually getting the piece of paper to church. I felt a lot like Elder Uchtdorf. He said that his wife is a wonderful cook and always finds something wrong with the meals she prepares, but since he doesn't cook much he is very proud of anything that he can concoct. I am so mediocre at so many things that I can be terribly proud of even the smallest of accomplishments.

We have an alley behind our house. It is very narrow, but everyone uses it to go out to the street. Sometimes people have to cooperate and pull in someone's driveway to let someone pass, etc. I had pulled out and saw a car coming so I turned into another driveway. It was awkward and I accidentally hit the horn. I hoped my neighbor wouldn't think I was mad at her and she didn't look over as she passed. I pulled back out and then saw that she had a backpack on the roof of her car. I started honking over and over, but she didn't stop. Then I saw it fall off, so I honked again and then jumped out of my car, picked up the pack, and then started to run down the alley yelling and waving it in the air. She never acknowledged me, but must have thought I was psycho for repeatedly honking at her. I then looked over and my neighbor's father who had just arrived from Hungary that morning was staring at me. It figures that I would have witnesses, crazy american! Not twenty minutes later I saw a car pass me on another street that had a pair of shoes on the top of their car. I started honking again, but then just stopped because I have learned that such things are useless and simply lead to misunderstandings regarding ones mental health.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I really like to read, but lately I haven't been able to indulge as much as I would like. There is always so much to do! Last year at this time I was going through books like wildfire, but I was pregnant. So I wonder how much I was accomplishing around the house because not only was I generally recumbent, I was moving in slow motion while upright. Now I feel like I am manic all day and still nothing is getting done. The moral? I don't know, but it doesn't look good for efficiency. I have a very long list of books that I would like to read and perhaps I might start a sidebar in their honor -- mostly to help me remember them. My sister (and other friends, but I am afraid she is the winner) sends me her reviews from Goodreads and I always want to read all the books she recommends.

Last Friday I went to Goodwill for the first time in months. For me that is truly astonishing. I have often driven by and made myself turn the other way because I do not have the time, the money, nor the space which is required. I had to drop some things off (see, I am getting rid of things!) so I thought I would just run in for a minute because I needed to find a coat for the baby. Oh, I found so many great things. I bought two nice skirts that Ella and I wore to church yesterday, some Halloween costumes, and the best thing was that just as I was remembering the coat and visualizing it in my mind, I turned around and there it was -- innocently hanging there as if waiting just for me. It is totally hip and even has fluff around the hood. Cool.

We have been suffering through a lingering cold at our house. It isn't horrible, but enough to make one feel lethargic, achy, out of sorts, and my worst symptom of all -- I cannot taste! I hate it. There were a couple of days when I couldn't taste anything and I didn't really want to eat. I came to the realization that I do not eat merely for nutrition -- to stay alive for heaven's sake. No, I just want to relish the magnificent flavors of delicious food. Mmmm. I think that if I lost that sense I would try to find some foods that were highly nutritious, low calorie, and texturally interesting. But it would be a terrible loss. I would deeply lament one of life's greatest pleasures. On Friday I went to a friend's house and everyone had brought appetizers to share. I thought I would be fine not eating anything, but everything looked so delectable. Finally, I asked her if I could take some Sudafed and sure enough in 30 minutes I could taste and it was so wonderful! I just tried not to think about the fact that Sudafed dries up my milk whilst drying out other things. "He won't get much milk if I don't eat anything either." I rationalized quietly to myself.

I was given another chance to overeat on tasty little tidbits at the dessert buffet sponsored by our Relief Society preceding the Women's General Broadcast. I tried to watch my intake all day and then make reasonably good choices while there ("I won't take some of the carrot cake," I think self-righteously as I surreptitiously grab a brownie, a raspberry topped cookie, some puppy chow, and some apple crisp, hoping my sanctimonious self won't notice the relapse). I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with everyone and then loved, loved, loved the messages given. Sister Beck reminded me that I do have faith and strength and everything will be okay. Elder Uchtdorf assuaged my guilty feelings at leaving my family for my art class by insisting that all of us deep down yearn to be creative. It always astounds me that at Conference they are talking to me. Little old me! There was so much discussed that I have been pondering lately! I cannot wait for this coming weekend and hope that we can all be mellow and enjoy it. Usually, almost always, without fail, we all get grumpy with one another. Is it -- Satan? (said like church lady, bien sur).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Well, we do need to get a new washing machine. Um, yea? So I have spent the better part of the week researching as is my wont prior to a large purchase. I think we have decided what we want, but no one in town seems to carry it. We will have to order. In the meantime, my old one is chugging along, albeit not with its former exuberance. Baby is in scratchy paper for the moment. He is sleeping right now. I love when he naps, but it also freaks me out. I'll think, "Was that him? No, that was the cat. Oh, he has been asleep for awhile. How nice. Unless... he has burrowed under something and is smothering and can't breathe and I am just sitting down here enjoying the peace and quiet while he is upstairs and the unthinkable has happened!!! Oh, he is crying. Phew, what a relief. Dang, I wasn't quite finished with what I was doing." This is my thought process every single time that boy goes down for a snooze. I am surprised I haven't keeled over with heart failure yet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The appliance repair guy said he would come at 11:30. I had to go be a bus, but I hurried everywhere and was making good time. Finally at the last place, I dropped off the boy, hurriedly told the lady in front I couldn't chat, ran to my car, buckled in the baby (without hitting his head even!), got behind the wheel and ... nothing. Car won't start. Try, try, try. Nothing. Run in to tell the daycare that my car is blocking their driveway and run home ( live a couple of blocks away), but I was a little late, so maybe I missed him. Isn't that ironic considering I was just blathering on about things not working? Don't you think it's funny? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, huh, hmm. And baby just wet on my bed. I know!!!

Remind you of anyone...?

I think Zach thinks this looks like me, but I can't decide.

"For behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery"

I do like to possess things, but oftentimes things are a burden. Everything in my house is breaking. There is something new every day. Charles went around the house and took some pictures of some broken things for me, but this is not even the half of it. One day recently the cat jumped off of a sill and broke a bowl of flowers that I had there. When I went into the kitchen to get the broom, I noticed that the stove clock was not working. Upon further inspection, nothing along that whole wall was working -- garbage disposal, dishwasher, lights, etc. I went and did whatever one does with the breaker switch, to no avail. The next day the electrician came and said that our hot water doohickey attached to our sink was shorting everything out. So we did what we usually do and decided we could live without it. But there are some things that you kind of have to fix. We replaced the rain gutters this summer because pieces of them were literally falling off of the roof. Every day there is a new cupboard in the kitchen hanging forlornly by its hinges and door knobs often detach themselves from the doors. The garage door has a long piece of rubber dangling down from it (that has been so long that there are now spider webs wafting in the breeze) and can only close with someone holding it down for the duration. Our back screen door won't close all the way,not just a little, but about 45ยบ. Matthew's car has been on its last leg for a few years and don't even get me started on my phone which is dropped on a regular basis. A few days ago our beloved rice cooker gave up the ghost. RIP. But yesterday, yesterday! Oh, I don't know if I can even talk about it. My washing machine protested mightily when I put in the third load of the day and finally just refused to do one more thing. I stared at it with consternation. I am obsessed with laundry. I do it every day. I do not like having any dirty linen in the house. It is already starting to pile up and it has only been a few hours. I cloth diaper a baby! I have five kids!! Some of them require more than one outfit a day!!! I made an emergency call to our appliance guy and he is coming today. I don't know what he will say and am wondering if I need to scour Consumer Reports for the next best thing. It is kind of elderly and it may just be its time. Oh, oh, the dishwasher is running unnaturally loudly this morning...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Meadow

I took some pictures of the baby on the lawn yesterday. The lawn is so full of plants that are not grass it probably doesn't deserve the name "lawn" anymore. Meadow might be more appropriate. And we would then use our Meadow Mower to cut it. I like it. I adore the one of him checking out the grass. You have to imagine his chubby fingers going back and forth. Where are the Harry Potter photos when you need them? And, of course, the ubiquitous hostas.

Never Forget!

This morning I had cottage cheese with tomatoes, chives, and shiso from my garden. I love running out and picking fresh food -- you can almost feel the life still coursing through. Alas, it smells like fall out there. In actuality, I adore Autumn -- the crisp air, the brilliant blue of October skies contrasting with the golds and crimsons down below. However, I know that part of it is the need to cherish every temperate moment before... WINTER. I like parts of winter -- cozying up in a blanket, wearing sweaters, ice crystals shimmering from every branch and stem, a blanket of snow. But all the coats, scarves, mittens everywhere everywhere. Not fitting in car seats, slipping on the ice, the fierce bite of wind as you race frantically to your unattached garage. I think I have post-traumatic stress from last winter. I was in a parking lot yesterday and I thought, 'It is SO nice that I am at a completely comfortable body temperature as I walk from the store to my car.' It is September 11th and I have not forgotten.

One of my students had her baby yesterday. She was 26 weeks along and the baby weighed 2 pounds. She had been in labor since Saturday, so I was relieved to hear that the baby had made it this far, but it is still so scary. Hopefully, all will be well.

I just returned from a consignment store for children called "Cute as a Button." I used to love this store, but now I am officially boycotting it. They used to make appointments for taking clothes, then they said bring it any day, then they said call before they open and they will take the first 12 callers, but then people just started lining up before it opened so they just take those people. Lining up before a store opens is distasteful to me. Even trying to be one of the first callers is not my favorite thing, but it is certainly better than scrambling to the store with a boxful of discards, vying for the owners attention, "Pick me! Pick me!" However, my basement needs to be emptied so I decided to swallow my pride and try to get there this morning. I got there right as it was opening and they said I was too late, rewarding only the really obnoxious people who somehow have the time to wait there for an hour! Consequently, I now do not like them. I think it is bad business to humiliate your customer base. I might have to resort to Ebay. I know I shouldn't be so worried about clothes, but it is part of my job, as it were, to try to save money and if I can get a little bit back from their old clothes, it can go toward their new clothes which they will inevitably be needing. (Okay, some they will need and the rest is bonus).

While I was out I swung by the chiropractor and they did not spurn me. I felt much more welcome. My back has been killing since I had the audacity to exercise last week, but after five visits since last Thursday I am now right as rain. I love my chiropractor! Maybe I can find a bumper sticker.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

S(n)ide Remarks

My friend said I should be a writer -- oh, but I am! I have my very own column and it is on the INTERNET!

I love to nuzzle my warm, snuggly, roly-poly, baby boy -- There is nothing better! He still curls up his legs and tries to burrow into my neck, and when I lay him down he flips right over ('cause he's gotta practice, of course) and lifts up his little head to take in the world. Nnh, honey, it is like a drug.

A couple of comments I wanted to remember. First, while I was in Relief Society at my mom's ward in Utah I got up to take my bairn out into the hall as he was being quite disruptive. I heard one lady stage whisper to her neighbor (they are getting a little long in the tooth, as it were), "Aren't you glad we're past that stage in our life?" It made me smile because it was so perfect. I was so happy to hear that she is content with where she is in life. I worry about missing my kids being little when I am older. I had that thought while I was in labor with Ella, strangely enough. It was also nice to know that when I looked inward, I know that I am also content with where I am, this phase that will pass quickly enough. I suspect, as well, that she just doesn't remember how lovely it was to get slobbery kisses every morning and have her mirrors covered with fingerprints. God's gift for helping us move on and enjoy the present.

Now, lest I get too sentimental about being a mom, I need to remember the next comment from Ella. I read a book a few months ago that I really enjoyed, "I Capture the Castle." While I read it, I kept thinking that my daughter would really like it. It is set in England and the main character is a teenage girl. I bought the book for her, she read it, and wasn't as keen on it as I had hoped. I recommended the book to my sister-in-law so while in Utah we were all talking about it. Jill said, "I really liked it and the main character reminded me of you, Mary." Ella, "Oh, no wonder I thought she was so annoying." !!!@!!?? I laughed and laughed. So amusing.

"The Baby wakes, the peacefulness flees..."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Boxed In

There are a lot of boxes in my front hallway. We took some boxes to UPS the other day and Tom (the UPS guy) said, "I saw that you got 40 boxes of padded envelopes delivered to your house this morning." "You know where I live?" I replied flabbergastedly. "Yes," he said, "At this computer, I've got my fingers on the pulse of this town." He probably knows about my penchant for buying $.75 books on half.com. I guess it isn't too bad since I know his name and quite a bit about him. I also know most of the workers at the post office, but I don't think they know where I live.

Ibby is doing better. She started to cry on Tuesday morning, but recovered before getting to the school. Wednesday we talked a lot about her happy face and as she got out of the car she said, "Won't my teacher be glad to see my happy face this morning?" Yes, I am sure that she will.

During a Sunday lesson, someone read this quote by Anna Quindlen that I have read before:
There’s one picture of my three children sitting on the grass on a quilt in the shadow of a swing, set on a summer day ages 6, 4 and 1, and I wish I could remember what we ate and what we talked about and how they sounded and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing; dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more, and the getting it done a little less.

Fine. It is totally sweet and it even brought out some tears. However, the more I thought about it the more dismayed I became. It is hard enough for me to get dinner on the table and everyone in bed at a reasonable hour without someone trying to make me feel bad about it! You still have to get it all done! Okay, that is just a rant because I feel the bittersweet-ness of motherhood intensely lately. I miss my kids while they are at school, but then don't enjoy the post-school transition time very much. I don't remember so much of their baby time. The baby I do have changes every day and I know that he will be leaving for a mission soon. Cry, cry, cry.

Bon Anniversaire.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Stomach Complaint

I was just switching a load of laundry which consisted mostly of towels. "Oh," thought I, "I should throw in a fabric softening sheet. Or, I shouldn't, because I read that blog that said that dryer sheets are terrible and contain ingredients that become carcinogenic when heated. But, I really don't know what the ingredients are, or what they do, and I really like soft towels..." So transpires the life of a half-wit, torn between two things of which she knows nothing, tid-bits of knowledge ricocheting through the gray matter, authority on nothing, alarmed by plenty.

The phantom illness struck again. It is an odd thing to be sure. Three weeks ago, Lucy felt sick after sacrament meeting. She laid on me during Sunday School and then I took her home early. Later that evening she literally got sick, to put it politely. I waited apprehensively to see if anyone else would catch her germs, but by Wednesday felt like we had dodged that bullet. Sunday again, Ibby played happily all morning, ate breakfast and lunch, then said she felt sick right as we were leaving. Ella was giving a talk in church so I tried to gauge how sick she felt and decided that we would go listen to the talk and then take stock. Didn't make it to church. Dropped off the kids, worried how they would sit alone (Daddy is always on the stand), came home to bathe girl and clean out car. How strange that they both got sick a week apart with eerily similar symptoms... Saturday evening. We have managed to bring home and assemble the heaviest treadmill that was ever created. The box was too heavy for us to lift so we pushed it end over end across the back walkway, down the stairs, and through the basement where we proceeded to assemble it with much too much ado. Matthew says, "I don't feel very well." The beginning of a very sick evening and night for him. Sunday night I feel sick, but since I like to hold on to things, it lasts a couple of days. Well, that was curious that we were sick three weeks in a row. Another Sunday, we all make it to church. Ella isn't hungry for dinner, gets worse as the evening progresses, and then is sick for most of Monday so no end of summer swimming for her. Amazing. Four weeks in a row, the exact same malady, but not really close enough together. So Charles is the last man standing. It must be bizarre to know that you are going to have the stomach flu in a few days and not be able to do anything about it.

I wished that I had been sick a week later because I have paid my money to join the "Biggest Loser" contest that Jenn, my niece-in-law, is doing. I wanted to weigh as much as possible for my first weigh in so, since I didn't eat at all the first couple of days of last week, I had to make up for it later. I know, it is stupid! But that is just the way I am. We went out for lunch and dinner on our anniversary and then all weekend I was trying to come up with the most fattening things I won't be able to eat for the next 12 weeks. I finally weighed in yesterday evening after our ward Labor Day picnic. I think -- I hope! -- I ate enough. I had to send in before photos!!! I always thought "they" made people frown for their before photos because you just look worse when you are not smiling. I realized yesterday that "they" do not have to make you do anything! I was almost crying it was such an awful experience and I almost don't want to win so that no one will ever see those pictures. Except, I do want to win. The pot is at $1500! Plus, I don't feel like myself at this weight. Plus, I don't want to buy any more clothes this size. Plus, I already feel better because I exercised this morning. Plus, I bought a 500,000 pound treadmill. Matthew wants me to win, too. He made me an excel sheet with how much I need to lose each week to be a serious contender (based on the percentage of weight lost by the previous winner, taking into account that this one can only be more competitive). He is sweet and knows how upset I was by the before pictures. He had to take them and I was snapping at him peevishly the whole time.
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