Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Real Reason For Cubicles

I don't even know how many times I've told myself I'll go to bed. I don't know why I don't want to. I'm not even alive anymore at this point! Why don't I just quit being awake already!

But while chasing an elusive booger (uh, yeah, I DID just say that--seriously, I'm alone in the room, my nose is stuffed, I'm about to wash my face and hands anyway to get ready for bed, so who cares? Really, do you? Well don't, because it's my nose, and I won't shake your hand with its germs).
Oh yeah, I was in the middle of a sentence. So. While chasing an elusive booger, I remembered something funny about yesterday. :) And had to share.

Oh, mini intro first. In second grade, my teacher was an avid user of what she called "blinders" during testing time. Mrs. Gray would hand out trifold cardstock things, two per kid. We'd put one in front of us, creating a three-sided wall on our desk, and then the second one on top. Then we'd pull our chairs in and crouch inside. 
Early training for cubicles. 
I took it as a blessing, an opportunity. At last! The privacy to pick my nose and get the boogers that had been bothering me all morning! And I would never have dared without my Mini Test Cubicle...

I've always been on the more private side with my nose picking...ahem. You dear friends and family who know me so well may laugh, but you are excluded from counting because privacy is scarce with you guys. You understand. 
So I've always been quite amused to find people who either have no inhibitions about gold digging in public or have let their minds wander in the boredom enough to forget where they are...

I'm the primary chorister. That means I get to enjoy the darling and amazingly attentive faces of the primary children. I LOVE it. I love THEM!!!

Yesterday, though, I had to let that love override the urge to laugh and embarrass them. Because as I conducted/talked, I looked right into the face of a pretty little girl with her finger up her nose to the knuckle. Half-second delay in response...then suddenly her eyebrows shoot up and her hand drops down--but I made myself look away like it was nothing.
(Laughing inside! Oh, these funny kids!)
And then it happened again. Same girl. I managed to make it seem like I was just letting my eyes slide past her.
And then it happened again: New girl! Oh dear. She was really digging. And she looked quite embarrassed and shocked to be discovered. I was already smiling, unfortunately, so I had a little less control, and I think my smile stretched bigger. But I forced myself to look elsewhere.

Then guess what.

It happened again.

A TEACHER. A MAN TEACHER. AN OLDER MAN TEACHER. And I just grinned. I think I even chuckled.

I'm just lucky the timing fit with something funny I'd said.

(And for the record? No way do I hold it against them for picking their noses. Remember my first paragraphs? Duh, yours truly).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Um...

I keep thinking of all these great blog ideas,

and then I keep forgetting them.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

chocolate
reading 
(especially with chocolate)
a warm blanket when it's cold outside
(especially with reading with chocolate)
cuddling with kitties 
(even better with chocolate, reading, and a warm blanket)
libraries 
(because i like reading...with chocolate, a blanket, etc...)
alone time 
(the best with all the above)
and... the option to take a nap if all the above happens to lose appeal in my sleepiness.

*sigh* 

But I returned my books to the library without going in. Which means I don't have a new one to read. I'd go get one right away, but Ender is napping. Ohhh, I need a book! I NEED ONE! I guess I'll scour our bookshelf again...

:) and then you can guess what I'll do (minus snuggling with the kitty, unfortunately).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Whistle--DON'T ROAR--While You Work

Well, the house is clean. So is Ender. I'm not. >:(

This morning, I've had to force myself to think kind thoughts. I've had pretty good success, but I've also created my own inventive string of russafrussaprofanity.

Since Saturday is one of the two mornings we can sleep in, it just feels so unfair when we can't sleep in. We were drowsily aware of Ender playing around us when he alerted us with "I need to go potty!" Michael jumped up. I meant to, honestly, but my brain moves so slowly in the mornings that my body didn't get the memo fast enough. In the bathroom, Michael was so tired that he didn't think straight and therefore didn't help Ender aim...and boy, Ender really had to go. So he didn't pee straight. At all. The entire bathroom floor was slick with pee. Michael got cranky about this (quite understandably), so I sent him back to bed now that my body was realizing it ought to move. I tossed Ender into the bathtub and got to work.
But I had some grumbles of my own, and it was really hard to suppress the urge to holler and roar every time I stepped right into the pee or got it all over my hands or had to switch robes for dipping the edge into the pee. I kept trying to remind myself that I should be kind. That it wasn't that big of a deal (except that it really seemed like it was) and that it was no one's fault, really. And I had to keep reminding myself that I had sent Michael back to bed and didn't want him to have to get up and help me...right? Ohhh, it was a struggle. Terrible strain on a groggy, cranky brain.
Once the mess was cleaned up, Ender pooped in the tub. Of course. Just a little encore to the whole performance. I just rolled my eyes and took care of it. Sheesh.

In a small lull of peace when I got to study my scriptures (during which I was obliged to clean the bathroom yet again and take care of THREE incidents when Ender pooped his pants--my sanity was really frail, I tell you), I tidied all the rooms and cleaned up breakfast. As I was putting away a book, I saw an ENORMOUS BLACK SPIDER. Out of my reach at the edge of the ceiling and wall. Why is it I always encounter ENORMOUS spiders when I'm naked? It's like some cruelly warped Murphy's Law! So, shivering and squeaking, I seized the vacuum. But then, there's a problem: the spider's not squished if I vacuum him up, so how can I be sure he's dead? Oh no. :| No time to look it up online.

[Now that I have, I've learned that it's unlikely a spider will live through the experience. The dust and suction suffocate the spider, and if the vacuum has good suction, the impact may also kill the spider. But...it's not a 100% sure thing]


I came to the conclusion that I could burry the spider in all the house debris if I kept the vacuum going. So I vacuumed like a mad woman, spazzing every time I notice the string poking out from the shoulder of my robe and being excruciatingly thorough. When I encountered yet more spiders in the corners of my house, I watched sadistically as they struggled away from the tube only to succumb to its power. I felt like Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride: "THERE WILL BE NO SURVIVORS!"
Partway through, Ender pooped his pants. Yes, again. And peed on the bathroom floor. Yes, yes, again.
I deep-cleaned the bathroom again. Ender had another bath.
Also partway through, Ender came to me with a dandelion...uh oh. That means he remembered how to open the front door. Lovely: I'm still in my robe. I zoomed over to the door, slammed and locked it, and resumed vacuuming only to discover a shredded dandelion waiting on the armchair, which was one of the first things I vacuumed.
Another finale to the escapade: Ender pooped his pants. Mm-hm, that's FIVE times. Have you ever heard the phrase "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"? Ender and I had some impressive moments of silence. I slapped my legs and roared once but quickly apologized and zipped my lips once more.

And now I just remembered I forgot to empty the vacuum. Plus, I don't feel good. Plus, it's past lunch time and Ender's nap time. Ender is trying to make LEGO stairs, and it's not working, and he's mad. Am I mad, too? *sigh*

I feel like the fight has gone out of me. I mean, that's good, but I feel very bedraggled. What a difficult morning to plow through. It takes so much effort to maintain Good Mommy Vibes while coming back for more and more and more and more and more poo-nasty tasks --what a record, Ender! SIX poops! FIVE in your pants!-- (and ENORMOUS SPIDERS--that really frayed my nerves).

But I did it, I think. And now that it's about 2:00pm, I'm really, really hoping that either the biggest part of the day is behind me or I'm too worn out to be upset by any new adventures.
:( boohoo
I had a thought that came to me quite authoritatively...the principle that if you do a service begrudgingly, it's as good as if you never did it. All that work for nothing? Better whistle while you work!
*groan*
I really tried. I did, I tried so hard to be calm and kind. I tried again and again and again...that's what counts, isn't it? I have to hope so.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ode to Potty Training

Sometimes it's hard to feel very sane while cleaning up potty messes. It was especially hard for me when poo-water would splash up in my face. That's very insulting, somehow. I once thought sarcastically, aren't I such the princess, having to dip into this disgusting mess. But because of my mother's example, I feel like I was able to prevent my attitude from getting to the very worst end of the sanity spectrum.
My mother didn't have the option of disposable diapers for most of her 7 children. And she has told us how one day, while swirling a very poopy cloth diaper in a toilet, she felt so degraded and depressed. It was just so nasty, such a low thing to find herself doing. But because my mother is sensitive to the Spirit, she learned a lesson right then. The Holy Ghost taught her that she was doing the Lord's work. And she knew it was true.
She even laughed aloud at the thought of poopy diapers being part of the Lord's work, but it's true.
Babies depend on us. They cannot take care of themselves. We learn to be like the Savior by providing that care. But there's another thing that makes it such a Christ-like thing to do: the disgustingness of it. Yep. The insulting, nasty part. That's what makes it such a sacrifice.
Caring for babies is a sacrifice, but most of it is incredibly rewarding. It's when we do something that seems so below us, so not worth our attention, and SO NOT REWARDING that we are making a real sacrifice of love.

You know, in the end, I think it IS rewarding. To prove it, I have felt driven to share some feelings of gratitude through potty training my son.

  1. My bathroom is cleaner than it has ever been (after cleaning up all the messes that made it dirtier than it had ever been).
  2. I have spent more time with Ender.
  3. Ender and I are learning to communicate better.
  4. Ender is proud of himself for his accomplishments.
  5. I have found yet another reason to be proud of him!
  6. We can say goodbye to the expense of diapers, wipes, and the occasional diaper genie refills.
  7. No more carrying that hulking diaper bag!
  8. Ender has cute underwear.
  9. The potty is faster than diapers.
  10. No more stinky diapers to gag at! HALLELUIAH!
  11. The accidents have gotten me to do the laundry I'd procrastinated. Phewf!
  12. I learned better self-control by not giving in to losing my temper.
  13. I learned that pee is not as scary as it seems...sure the smell lingers, but it IS cleanable.
  14. I'm even less afraid of getting my hands dirty and just digging in (ew, pardon the phrase) when there's poo to be dealt with. Man, if I can deal with poo like that, I'm Superwoman.
  15. I have an excuse to give Ender chocolate once in a while (before I just had to feel guilty, I guess).
  16. I take a little chocolate for myself when I feel the need. It's a very nice reward.
  17. Ender is very, very, very well-bathed. He smells good.
  18. I had a reason to keep as few things as possible in the bathroom, so now it's not as crowded as it used to be! And now I have an empty little drawers-bin-thing that can hold our winter hats and gloves when the time comes! Yay, organization and space!
  19. I've learned (or relearned) to get up immediately and help Ender as he needs me.
  20. Please don't think I'm wicked, but...now that Ender doesn't have a diaper to muffle his toots, he's noisy. And it makes me laugh. And I like laughing, so...um, I'm glad to hear his toots??? He laughs, too, and I really like laughing with him...oh dear...
ODE TO POTTY TRAINING! We are happy to be doing it! Ender is making such incredible progress! He is so good at holding it in, actually, that sometimes the hard thing is going at all. He hasn't wet himself for at least two days (and he did well the days before), and he is always dry for naps and bedtime. I won't go into details since I respect his privacy, but basically, my son is awesome. :) And so is potty training.
Sincerely.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recapturing Beauty

Stephanie Nielson spoke at an event for a project at BYU called "Recapturing Beauty."

When I got there, parking was a mess. I arrived at the WSC Ballroom late, and people were still arriving. They kept coming till at least half an hour after it was to start. People were crammed into every space possible! They crowded in the back until the booths had to relocate. They filled up the stage on the side. They extended out to the "lobby" and the hallways. They had to be asked multiple times to get out of the aisle for fire safety codes.
I was so excited! I was so glad that so many people had come to hear Stephanie speak.

Listening to her tell her story (with more details than I've heard before--I loved it), I was impressed with how very sweet she is. She has a darling sense of humor, and she's just as honest as she seems on her blog. We didn't have time to talk with her individually.

Stephanie talked about how her life had seemed ideal, fairytale-like, before the accident. She talked about how love can help you navigate through any and all trials. I believe that. I also believe that in a way, her life is ideal again. For her. We'd never want the same trials, but countless people are strengthened by her strength, uplifted by her example. I'm sure she is fulfilling every bit of potential Heavenly Father has planned for her life. And I want to be like that, too.

When I was pregnant with Ender, there were handfuls of complications. Michael gave me a priesthood blessing. And in the blessing, I was told that the birth would be ideal. I pondered on that for the remaining months of the pregnancy. When we got to that point, I kept it in my thoughts. There were even some problems during the labor and birth, but I never felt scared because I knew it would be according to Heavenly Father's plan--which doesn't often mean our definition of perfect. I think that Heavenly Father's ideal plans for us include all the experiences we could possibly need to make us the best version of ourselves. Ideal can mean trials because we can grow in trials. And growth is good.

*The labor and birth have become such a beautiful, sacred experience to me. I wholeheartedly agree that it was ideal.*

When we hurt ourselves by denying our beauty, it blocks growth.
A shallow example: when you look grungy and someone knocks on your door, it's likely that the only thing on your mind while you talk to them is a great big zit on your chin, your obviously greasy hair, your disgusting sweats and your morning breath. After they've left, the opportunity is gone for you to have been a spot of light in their day. When you dress nicely, it's easy to forget about your image when you answer that door. You'll probably smile and feel gracious towards your visitor...which would surely brighten their day.
A deeper example: when you give in to angry feelings, when you abuse yourself with unkindness, you are far from the Holy Ghost, and your own spirit is hurt. In the weak and captive state brought on by sin (which does indeed include anger and self abuse), your progress is seriously maimed.

During Stephanie's talk, I felt reminded of all the times it's been said in General Conferences that women have angelic qualities. They really do. And I felt impressed that beauty is as much a part of our divine nature as motherhood and godhood. I believe that inner beauty can translate itself into outer beauty.

Did you know Stephanie is really, really beautiful? Two pictures were shown in the slideshow, depicting Stephanie before and after the accident, side by side. And I found myself preferring the picture of the current Stephanie. I felt drawn to that one...I sincerely thought it was prettier. More beautiful--in every way! She is a woman whose inner beauty cannot be held back by scars from burns or any other limitation her body has given her.

She's not the only one who can be like that! Inner beauty can prove itself in outer beauty. Sometimes, perhaps, you have to look with different eyes to see it. But in the great cases of undeniable inner beauty, everyone sees it.

Inner beauty comes from living close to the Spirit, obeying the promptings received in such a lifestyle and being a person of charity in all things.

I have some work to do!

Thank you, Stephanie Nielson, for the life you live!

ps: if she feels bad for crying the whole time, she shouldn't...because I was fanning my eyes with my yellow notepad and chewing my flavorless gum rather furiously the entire time (trying not to cry--because as soon as I let loose, I knew I'd be sobbing like a dying seal somewhere in the back of the Ballroom. I had the warning signs of the knot in my throat and the snot threatening to break the dam)(the event was filmed, but let's hope I stayed anonymous in the massive crowd).

Old Men in Hot Tubs

The gross thing is...
sometimes the old men really look like this.

Once in a while, I'm awkward.
This morning I decided to relax at the gym and sit in the hot tub. There were two old men in the hot tub. It's only a little weird to share the water with them...there's rarely a time the hot tub doesn't have old men in it. When I got in, I focused on the bubbles in front of me and tried to daydream about owning a beautiful house. I finally succeeded when one the of the men's voices broke into my reverie and asked "What's your general take on the world?"
What?
I said "Oh, you're talking to me?" to kind of save myself in case they thought I was shyly eavesdropping. I faltered a bit.
"I...love the world." (oh dear).
"Yeah?"
"Yeah. I love life. That's about as general as I can get." (Did I really just say that?)
Then the other old man said "Well, as I always say, it's better to see than to view! chuckle chuckle Otherwise it's too permanent! chuckle chuckle."
The other man chuckled, too.
I'm sorry, I must have missed something. I just smiled and looked back at the bubbles. In my defense, I'd thought in my half-listening-trying-not-to that they were talking about riding horses, not politics (or whatever it was). Although it was hard to imagine them on horses. Especially the first man because his stomach was so expansive it got enormous before it reached his belly button. And it was so round and smooth, like he was pregnant. It was both hard to look away and hard to look at it.
I felt very young and weird.
After they left, I did a couple lazy laps in the pool, keeping my hair dry. When I got back into the hot tub, the bubbles were gone, but so were any old men, so I readied myself for some pleasant dreamhouse decorating when an old man came up, turned on the bubbles and got in. There goes my dreamhouse! We small-talked...I don't like small talk. I'd rather be quiet. But I obliged, and we talked about how it can be nice to have family in town or something like that. He guessed my age too, which was kind of weird.
Finally he left. I lazed through more laps and then really enjoyed some lonely minutes in the sauna.

In and Out of the Dog House

i spanked ender.
dumb reason (any reason is).
he pooped a second time in his undies.
potty training is hateable.

But guess what?
My day got better.
My husband gently comforted me...
And reminded me how much I hate spanking.
He loves me.
And Ender told me he loves me.
And I believe him.

And guess what else!
She is sweet.
And I need to organize my thoughts before I write about it, but write I will.
It was very healing to go to that after a potty-training-day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quench Not the Spirit

Michael's family came to visit yesterday, and we stayed up till 2am just talking (and of course, mentioning every hour or so that we really ought to go to bed...but that took more energy than staying where we were). And then I got up at 5am with them to ride to the airport so I could drive their car back. The next part is very weird, and a little bit embarrassing: when I got home, I got back in bed since Ender was still asleep and would likely stay asleep since he, too, went to bed past his usual hour.
And I woke up to Michael saying "It's 12:30!" NO WAY!!! What about Ender? I suddenly remembered that he had woken up at one point, and I had called out "Good morning, cutie! Can you open your door?" And then I was out again. Good parenting, Qait. And apparently he fell asleep again, too, because he is STILL asleep. :| Oh dear!
I haven't done that since early high school! (The sleeping in part, not the parenting part). I don't know how to sleep that late anymore! When I finally got myself to move and get up, I thought "Mmm, food smells good. And I don't." But in the kitchen, I lost the energy to eat and suddenly didn't care for food. Not even for the Pringles Michael had pilfered from the family's Yukon (I suppose I'm an accomplice since I didn't try very hard to dissuade him...).

* * *

Well! On a different note, I had a really nice scripture study while I half-heartedly downed the last crumbs of the Pringles. Along with my daily reading, I read some quotes in a glue-in that included one from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and the title of a book in his source caught my eye: "Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man," by Keith K. Hilbig. It's had me thinking about what that means, and I really like it for a little mantra right now.




Yesterday, Ender gave me a hard time. He was mildly bipolar, as all children can be, and all my disciplinary efforts frustrated him. He wanted things his own way. On Monday, our family home evening was a nursery lesson, "I Can Be Happy." We've been trying to help him understand that he can choose to be happy even when things aren't going his way. I have to say, I have tried much harder in the last week or two to be especially kind and gentle and not give way to the urge to lose my temper. I've done well. I'm grateful I feel like I've been a very good mommy. I've tried to not even entertain thoughts of frustration with Ender, because I know that leaves me insincere in my efforts to calm him. Michael's mom told us something she learned in teaching little kindergarten kids recently: when a child is angry, the neurons in his brain block him from learning. That's often the reason it can be so difficult to teach kids at school--they arrive grumpy that they had to eat a yucky breakfast, that they had to wear a stupid coat, that they didn't get to sleep in, and then they are definitely not in the mood to be taught. At BYU-Idaho (and BYU, but she used the former in her example), every class begins with a prayer. This allows the students to calm down, which clears the way for learning. School goes more smoothly, learning happens, and the students are markedly happier.
I've decided I'm going to learn techniques to help Ender calm down. I will try a number of things! I may simply hug him till he's quiet, or convince him to smile, or perhaps even sing a song with him. Because I've noticed that it's hard for both of us when he's yelling and I'm not willing to raise my voice; I keep trying to teach him when he's angry.
I think it will help. It makes sense. And then we will both be actively avoiding "quenching the Spirit" which would otherwise quicken our inner selves. It's infinitely important to stay close to the Spirit, and if this is one way to help him (and myself), we'll be blessed with success!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lazy Mission: Impossible

Would you hate me if I told you that my house is nearly always clean? It's true, I'm sorry. I mean, I'm not sorry. But don't hate me please.
Do you think it's because I just have one little child to care for? Maybe. We'll see. But he's also a good little cleaner! He loves (honestly, LOVES) to clean up his toys before his nap and before bedtime! He enjoys helping me!
And I just have so much fun cleaning!
Yesterday, I planned to be lazy. I thought maybe planning to be lazy would prove more enjoyable because I wouldn't have little naggings floating around my mind telling me to do this or that. Plan to be lazy, and those things are allowed to not matter! Really, I was counting on it, promising myself that the day I'd so very well earned had finally come.
I tried! When I went to the gym, I didn't feel like doing reps at the weights and then pounding through a grueling 20 minutes of cardio. So I decided to go to the 8:00 class. Instead of yoga or pilates, it was abs-n-glutes. Hm, might not be bad, right? OH MAN, it KILLED! AUGH! I'm usually not too bad at keeping up in a class like that, but there were a couple moments that I felt pretty dorky...the instructor would say "If you're having trouble with that, you can bend your legs a little..." and she'd look straight at me! (Maybe someone was being dorkier right behind me, but that doesn't make a difference because she seemed to look straight at me) and several moments I felt like my "glutes" were on fire. And it didn't help that I'd done a really thorough ab workout earlier in the week. Phewf.
And then it was quite necessary that we go straight to the bank from the gym.
(Aw, I have to interrupt myself: Ender just said "I see da whale, it's rearry pretty, it's wike a mommy!" Oh...great? Thanks? Hahhahha!)
Then we went straight from the bank to the grocery store--also necessary, and besides, it would be very UN-lazy to go home and then come back.
At home, I finally succeeded in being lazy by wasting some time watching movie trailers on youtube and postponing my shower for when Ender took his nap.
But then Ender took his nap, and my shower kind of accidentally got me all geared-up in cleaning mode...I didn't mean to! I wandered to the kitchen, feeling snackish and determined to just eat and read my book. But my wandering turned into cleaning the fridge, washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, then the house, then starting a load of laundry, making my bed, etc. etc. And when I'd finally made the rounds and saw that the house was very well-attended, I realized that I had had a lot of fun! I enjoyed all of that cleaning! It was sure easier than being lazy...nothing worked when Lazy was my plan.
So, pleased with this little lesson I'd given myself, I settled on the bed with a bowl of ice cream and got through about three pages before I fell asleep. :) Not as fun as reading, but it felt good.

Recalling Old Conversations

I've realized that a particular "trait" can be a blessing rather than just a frustration!
I was washing the dishes and thinking about giving Ender a bath when he was a newborn, and I remembered that when my mom came to visit, she'd asked if there was anything I felt I needed. I really felt like it was important to have one of those bathtub "seats" for infants so that I wouldn't have to lay him down flat in the tub--I just wasn't comfortable with that. My mom said "Really?" And she had a thoughtful look, like she was surprised that that's what mattered to me. Recently, I've been scanning some old pictures for her, and as I went through a bunch from when the family lived in Berlin, there were some cute baby bath time pictures, and the babies were simply lying on their backs in the tub. Smiling at my mom, perfectly happy. So that long-ago conversation came back to me, and I understood why she'd been surprised (it was a very subtle expression on her face; she would never have made me feel bad by telling me I was being ridiculous). She never saw the need for those baby tub seats. And with that realization, I felt a fresh sense of gratitude that she had been sensitive to the situation: I was a new mom, and the things that were so important to me might not have been important at all, but it's all such a new world that the new mother is getting used to that you really shouldn't be critical. She knew that. She knew it so well.
Usually, when a long-ago conversation comes back to me, it's with a certain air of haunting. I recall someone giving me a compliment, and I suddenly can't remember if I said thank you. Even if it didn't matter to them, I should have. Or I realize that I said something--blurted something, more like--and it could have been offensive or insulting...but it's months later that I'm remembering, and I have a miniature sense of despair that I could have hurt someone unknowingly.
So anyway, as I washed the dishes, remembering my mother and learning something new about her and myself, I figured out that my brain's habit of pulling up old conversations is a good thing. I can use that to learn and gain wisdom and perception for future conversations! In fact, it's quite amazing that the brain is capable of recalling such little things like that from such a long time ago! My brain brings back the exact facial expressions, the exact timing, and sometimes even exact words of the moment. The fact that I have to think for some time before I speak (which means I'm not someone with really fast and witty comebacks) means that I'm storing things up for some good wisdom-food, for a later time that I can ponder and analyze and deeply, thoroughly understand. Like while I wash the dishes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wedding Day

I was just remembering something.
After Michael and I were sealed in the temple,
there was a window of time for me to put on jewelry and makeup
(I knew the mascara would just get cried off)
and put the finishing touches on everything.
My mother was with me in the crowded, mirrored bridal room.
I remember that she was urging me to hurry up,
reminding me that everyone was waiting for us.
I didn't mean to dawdle;
I just remember feeling so very much at peace.
I felt so calm.
I felt so clean.
There wasn't a force in the world that could rush me...
I felt completely wrapped up in happiness and true love.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Salesmen and Barf

Hey, now that May is over, I guess I could review my resolutions, right? :D
Hmm...it's maybe not a good thing that I'm at a point where doing that makes me want to laugh...

Frugality? We're sort of slacking.
Harp practice? Better than before!
Strong body? YEAH!
Man, we're so proud of ourselves! We've been working out 5 days a week for 6+ weeks now, and it's wonderful! We're not too shabby on the nutrition department, either.
For a while, I was confused at this mass of fat that seemed to be GROWING on my belly--so not fair with all those negative pregnancy tests--but while talking to my sister Liz, I think I've figured it out! When you lose weight, the belly fat is typically the last to go. So while I lost everywhere else, maybe my stomach stayed the same and therefore looked horrible compared to the other shrinking parts! :) And I think I've finally leapt past that, too. I feel good, I look healthy.

And I think our recently improved health played a key role in preventing us from getting so sick this last weekend!

Our family reunion was so wonderful, such a blessing. So great that I had a hard time even writing good journal entries because I would have written SO many pages of all the happy things (it's hard for me to pick them apart, too)! And during all of that wonderful happiness, we had sick kiddos and a few sick adults. Flu sick. Barf and diarrhea sick.

I feel blessed; Ender got sick after we got home, and I had allergies bad enough that I couldn't smell any of the barf! Awesome.
Poor baby, though. When I was changing a particularly sewageful diaper of his, Michael said "Ender, you gotta stop diarrhea-ing!" Ender replied apologetically "It just got out."

I went off to the grocery store to pick up some soda and saltines (and 100 other things I didn't realize we needed...of course), and when I got home, a salesman perfected his nonchalance by watching me unload bags and asking "I'm just curious..."
RIGHT. No you're not. I mean, I don't mind salesmen too badly if they just come out with "Hey, I'd love to sell you this!" Fine, then I don't feel so bad saying "No. Goodbye."

But he asked me where we go to have our oil changed and stuff.
"We do it ourselves."
It probably still would cost more than the great deal he had to offer me...
"Well, we don't even have our car here! We're using my parents' car!" (and I'm not telling you that we're swapping back tomorrow).
He goes on about something, but at this point, I've stopped listening because Michael calls to me from the back of the house: "Heeeeelp!!!" Uh-oh. I interrupted the salesman:
"I'm sorry. I'm not interested, and I have to go now because my son just threw up and my husband needs my help. Have a nice day!"
...and he was gone!
Wow.
I think I'll use that next time even if Ender didn't throw up! :D

*in my mind I was more assertive and powerful...in real life, it might have been more apologetic and smiley and polite. But who wants to hear about that? What matters is how it played out in my head, right? :D Cause in there, I'm sooo cool...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mommy, Daddy, Baby

I laid on the floor with Ender and watched "Barnyard" with him...it was kind of a weird movie, nothing impressive.
But there was a part where the main cow's dad dies (sorry to spoil it for you), and Ender looked at me with teary eyes and a heart-breaking little frown--the kind you get when you're about to sob, you know?--and said "Are dey a'right?"
Oh, Ender...
I almost said "Yeah" but I couldn't. I started to get choked up myself, however dumb the movie. Ender at least understood that it was a daddy and a "baby," and he understood that something happened to the daddy... I had to cough and look away to keep my tears from crashing through the floodgates. I finally said "The daddy is hurt."

I don't care how stupid the movie was; I will not call it a waste of my time, because Ender really liked having me next to him. He rested his head on my lap, he enjoyed a "picnic" on the blanket we set out in front of the TV. And I enjoyed how sweet and sensitive he is.
And...well, the movie did make me laugh just a few times.
I love that Ender will call a group of toys "Daddy pwane, Mommy pwane, baby pwane!" I'm so grateful that the pattern of a family is not only recognizable but necessary for him. I wish every baby could have that wholeness.

You know how many movies have broken families? I know why...it started as a way of reaching out to the less-than-perfect people so they'd relate to the movie and feel accepted...and now it's considered normal. Having both parents is now pretty unusual in a movie, and MORE unusual is having both parents get along well. I like to hope that what's shown in movies isn't really everywhere in the world, but sometimes I feel like it's less and less common.

Michael and I have never fought. Truly, we've never even argued. What's the point? It's not worth it. Besides the fact that it's simply not in our natures to be like that (since that point can become moot in the situations where we do things against our natures--which like anyone, we do...like, it's totally against my nature to harm my body, but sometimes I eat a whole bag of mini Milky Way bars. Yes, sometimes. Not just once or twice).
Um. I lost that sentence.
Besides the fact that it's simply not in our natures to be like that we understand that there's a faster, better, and in the end, EASIER way to resolve misunderstandings.
First of all, I'm grateful that Michael and I work on the same wavelength concerning how we raise our family, manage our lifestyles, and repent over little things like eating whole bags of mini Milky Ways. We're so very similar in character. It's wonderful.
Secondly, when we have miscommunications, it's okay. It happens! It happens often enough because he's a man, and I'm a woman. Whoa. Species juxtaposition? (Just kidding) But we've built it into our minds that when that happens, we automatically forgive each other, because honestly, we each thought we were doing the right thing. And that's sweet. That's romantic, even, to me.

Michael and I like to sometimes say "I have a confession..." and finish it with a teensy weensy thing that's nowhere near Confession Boundaries. But it's handy; it's become a tender thing for us, so when we actually feel guilty about something that's less cute than eating a bag of chocolate, it's easier to begin with "I have a confession..." and immediately, we just can't harbor ill feelings. And for whoever's confessing, those words alone lift more than half the burden, and suddenly you want to explain all your feelings.
It's so healing for a relationship. Communication--especially REcommunication after MIScommunication--is absolutely necessary.

I'm so grateful Michael and I have a beautiful marriage. It makes life rosy, charming and happy, even while we go through harder times. Michael helps me be better, and I help him be better. I'm a good Mommy for Ender when I have Michael's help...I'm sure Ender is grateful he has nothing missing in this little family. I know I am.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Like INTO the Shoulder

This reminded me of Lynnae's Over-the-Shoulder experience...

Last night while I was making cookies with Michael, he got all flirty on me and decided to take charge Caveman Style.
He threw me over his shoulder! One swoop, and *plop* he had me. Only, it wasn't exactly romantic, because he has really broad shoulders (great if I wanted a shelf to drape myself over), and one of them ended up crammed into my gut.
ooOeulf.
I grunted and complained and protested in gasping barf-threats while he jogged me down the hall till he finally released me in a toss to the bed.
At least it ended with us both laughing!
Somehow, those romantic cliche things always seem to go bad for us--and we think it's hilarious. We really have to stick with our own brand of Romantic.

In other news:

The bunny is boinging in circles around my feet, and I thought it was perfectly adorable until just now I discovered a little pooplet by my ankle. Blech, Foofoo! I have a toilet for that kind of thing! I just might throw you back into your little stairs-cage in the snow!

(Speaking of pooplets, want to hear about my stinky morning?)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Story Telling


Ender turned off the TV in the middle of his Charlie and Lola movie.
So it was over!
When I tried explaining this to him, saying "Well, you pushed the button, so it's done!" he said:

"Nooo... I dinnit. Babybugs push button."

I don't think so, Ender. But you make me laugh.

A Meme: Picture This

I'm finally getting around to continuing the meme! Rae tagged me...and here's how it goes.

Here are the instructions:
1. Go to my Pictures.
2. Open the first folder.
3. Post the tenth picture and tell about it.
4. Tag 4 people.

I had to alter the rules just the tiniest bit, because my first folder didn't even have ten pictures...I like to be very organized about how my photos are stored in the computer. And if I open it from the computer's file, everything's in alphabetical order (but from Blogger's image uploader, it's not). So here is the picture we end up with:

The Story

Do you see the jagged layer of hair in the mirror? That's a bad haircut.
Actually, it's an adorable haircut...


...that's growing out very, very badly. It drove me nuts. I hated doing my hair, so most days, I looked pretty gross. :D
That first picture (le meme de la subjet) is me on the way to get my hair fixed (by my wonderful hairdresser/visiting teacher, Rachel--who was so very patient with my strange tresses).
Almost every time I wear a dress or skirt, Michael wants to take a picture of me. It's very flattering. It makes me like dressing up (and I like dressing up for haircuts...and shopping...and really, I just love dresses--which is not how I've always been, no way).

The Happily Ever After is that I'm happy with my hair and have vowed (once again) to not cut it short because I'm simply not a short-hair-person. My hair grows so fast anyway that to really keep it short and cute would mean a LOT of haircuts.
Sometimes when it's hard to fall asleep, I think wistfully of having long hair again...perhaps this summer it will qualify as "long" again...(and in the meantime, I really have fun styling my hair).

iTag...

Friday, April 23, 2010

How About an Energy Drive?

Have you heard the Beatles' song "I'm So Tired"? It's perfect. It sounds tired. It makes you feel tired(er).

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink?
No, no, no...

And it finishes with some mumbling. I know that feeling!
Yesterday, I gave blood. I love to give blood! I have O+, which can be donated to all positive bloods (yay), and it's healthy blood. And needles and blood don't bother me at all. So I figure I'm needed whenever there's a blood drive.
The funny thing is, it kind of takes my umph away--I've always been like that. My mom and I would go together, and she'd feel absolutely fine during and after. I feel fine during, but I'm lightheaded and tired and sore for some days after. I'm not especially little, just kind of, and that might have something to do with it.

Did you know? I was curious, so I asked some questions: positive can receive negative, but negative can't receive positive. And "A" and "B" are proteins. Protein blood can receive non-protein, but non-protein can't take protein. If you're AB, you can take either A or B (or both, obviously). So for example, with my O+ blood, I can donate to A+, B+, O+, AB+. O- is the universal donor, and AB+ is the universal recipient. My grandpa has AB+ (I will always remember that because my mom told me a story of how he got a little tattoo of his blood type for safety reasons in the Navy, and she would always remember it).

I'M SO TIRED! And I was so tired while I slept that I dreamed I was sleeping. Yeah.
In my dream, I was at church with my family in an old ward (it didn't feel like it was in Georgia, dream-sensely speaking, but the ward had all the familiar Samoan families like that one). I was excited to see everyone, but I couldn't hold myself up. I slumped over onto Maddie's lap and just stayed there. I heard people come up and introduce themselves, comment on my sleepiness, welcome us back...but I couldn't even open my eyes. I slept through my own dream!
When I "woke" up in the dream, it had been days, apparently. There was a dance talent show going on in the cultural hall, and people were asking my parents if they needed help moving my harp. I guess they needed help because I wasn't awake to move it myself! I was too sleepy to get involved. The dance show continued (hosted by my Mary Kay director in an uncharacteristically sloppy outfit). I decided I was too sleepy to dance, too. So the dream got bored of me and changed.
Suddenly, I was at tryouts for the olympics (Was my brain trying to send me a message or something?)! I was very excited to compete. I got up on some double bars and was ready to impress everyone with my fantastic skills...but while I tried to flip around and do cool stuff, I was just too tired to make things happen.
So I went to where everyone was camping and plopped down in my tent. Forget olympics. I was going back to sleep.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Heartfelt Love Letter

There are certain characters that get more than their share of movie time...specifically, the cool, popular people who always have loads of admirers to choose from. And those characters always make me roll my eyes because they're just too cool for real life. Nobody has admirers like that, not really.
Hah.
Well I married one of those Cassanova-like guys. While we've been unpacking, we've had the chance to sort through old papers and decipher the junk from the treasures. Here's my favorite treasure so far--and yes, it's real. Every word of it.

Mike,
I am infatuated with you. It is more than a crush. It has been two years now, and at first the attraction was purely physical, but today, as I watched you knee Jess Davies in the balls for messing with your sister I decided that you really are a nice guy too (which I have know [sic] for awhile, but was denying to myself). I know that pretty much every sophomore girl and every girl in band is "madly in love with you" and that you are in love with Tenille but I can't help it. I have tried to talk myself out of it so many times. There are times when I don't think that you even know that I exist, and other times with [sic] I think that you just don't know who I am, but then, you will touch me casually or look at me and smile; and all I want in the world is for you to look at me the way you used to look at Tenille. When we make eye contact I can't even think. I get chills up and down my spine and I want to be with you. I know that I don't have a chance and that is why I am writing this anonymously. My favorite thing to do is to listen to you sing. I sit quietly in the band room and pretend like I am listening when all I really want to do is join your group and stand there with those dumb girls that drool over you while you sing. I am not the kind of person to not voice my opinion, so I had to do something. But I don't think that I am ready for you to know who I am yet. I guess I will gauge your reaction and how much you care about this. If you felt like responding to this, you could e-mail me at [girly_girl##@email].com
All My Love Forever,
?

Yesss... that poor girl. My husband doesn't even remember if he ever tried the email. He remembers thinking "is this a hoax or something?" No way, I don't think it's a hoax.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

WE MOVED!!!

Wow... :D It feels so good.
Yes, we miss the family.
But we don't miss living in the same house with them. Not really.

This move is obviously the reason I've not blogged a lot lately (I've missed it, that's why it matters), and it's also the reason I probably still won't for a while.

But for now:

we have a bunny by our door

I have a washer and dryer (mine! Gifts! Free! WOW!)

I have a dishwasher. I don't even care that it's noisy and doesn't exactly dry things.

I have my own kitchen--and it's spacious!

It's all so cute! And mine! I feel so blessed!

Oh yes, and I already have a harp student. That's SO exciting. It was sad to leave my others behind.

Another exciting thing is that I can sort of change my New Year's Resolutions... ;) heh heh heh...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Date

I was just about to ask Michael for a date when he invited me to a Grand Pianos Live concert. My friend Glenn and I were having a competition for who could reach 50 dates first (with different people). Michael was around #12 or so, and that's about where I stopped, too. :)

I remember that I wore my black fuzzy slippers, barely disguised by the wide leg of my dress pants. Hmm...Old Me wore slippers a lot, and it wasn't necessarily to act cute, either. Slippers were my preferred footwear, and I didn't care to keep them in the appropriate shoe boundaries.

*After we got married, I somehow elevated my dressing standards (oh, a little before we married, too), but no campus rules enforcers could stop me from pulling out those slippers again when I was pregnant. What a sight! Pregnant woman in nice clothes...except...oooh dear, except for the slippers. Those bedraggled, holey, black blobs of fluff leaving shrapnel in my path. Wow.*

The date could have been like any other date, and I was extraordinarily comfortable with that. I settled cross-legged into my seat. My poor chiropractor...the only time I sit "normal" is when I'm at attention for a harp performance.

The first piano number started, and Michael whispered that he'd tried out for the concert and hadn't made it; apparently, the judges wanted a different flavor of music... and that comment opened the windows to a new date experience! I dared ask "You mean...you think this music is dorky?"
"YES."
YAAAAYYYYY!!!!

Now, sadly, that was not verbatim. Would that I had such perfect memory. But once we had this understanding that the music being performed was indeed cheese-pooh to the max for both our sets of ears, we were free to laugh conspiratorially together and whisper our criticisms. Our "evil" sides matched so well it was bliss! (I say "evil" because I realize a lot of people think we're awful for not liking their fluffy feel-good music). I'd never met someone who understood my music feelings like that outside of my family!

My favorite part:
Some show-off who'd gone on a Spanish-speaking mission decided to sing in Spanish (Yeahhh, I'd probably sing in French if I knew enough of it). Michael decided to translate.
Michael speaks Russian, not Spanish.
So the translation went like this (and it gave him an excuse to lean close and whisper in my ear):

"He just lost his car keys...
Hmm, I don't know what that next part meant...
But now he's asking his mommy where they are, I think.
Oh, she says they're in the tupperware."

I laughed SO hard I had to try not to SNORT! It was becoming a disturbance to the rest of the audience!
But I save us: I think everyone else was only mildly enduring this particular song. Especially the guy in charge of the lighting, because what was once a very Cool orange backlight switching to manly colors of Blue and Red (really, there was not ONE girl performer, now that I think of it), Mr. Lightsguy decided to practice his skills and started switching the colors to pink and purple with flowery shapes moving across.
Poor Spanish-speaking boy. I do feel bad that he might have been embarrassed if he noticed the feminine backlights.
HAhahha, but keys in the tupperware!!!

After the performance, Michael took me to a piano room to play a sample of what he'd auditioned with. Our bonding over cheesy music had braved him up. And his music was amazing. He did this cool thing where his right hand was actually on top of his left hand so he could do this ripple-y many-fingered chord thing that I've never seen anyone else do. I was baffled! And he felt shy after being so amazing. ;)

And then he had to go do some Home Teaching and take me home. *sigh* Oh righteousness. It left me wanting more! (Which he confides was his plan all along). (Really, I have more stories where he did the same thing).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just Call Me..."Smokin' Fingers"

Do birds share their birdhouses?
Have you ever seen a Senior Cat be miffed at the introduction of a New Kitty?
You know how sometimes when you have two goldfish so they can keep each other company they just swim around, bored with life, and somehow manage to avoid each other even in that little bowl?

Hmph. Today I wanted my own space. And...if I'm not a dunce at reading body language, so did Michael's mom. I wouldn't say the hackles were raised, no--but our personal space bubbles were a little more imposing than usual.

So I sat down at my harp. Mostly to look more useful than sitting down at the computer or the TV or my book.

I stumbled through a berceuse, which was not really depressing, but not really inspiring, either. The arpeggios just sounded like some maudlin soap opera.
So then I played Passacaille. But I think maybe I had some little anger issues? Because it was booming right from the start. And I LIKED it. >:) Too bad if the few people home thought I was strangulating the harp. It felt SO good.

And honestly, it was pretty beautiful. I have to admit. It felt pretty cool to let my fingers whoosh back and forth over the strings.

I finished with an uproarious slash of a chord (a HUGE one, reaching all across the harp).

And I didn't muffle.

My fingers smarted just a little. Whenever I play like this I have the image of a smoking gun in my mind--and sometimes I really do blow on my fingertips (my fervor is probably the reason they put me with the 300+peopled band that one year...surely the other harpist wasn't better than me? Oh no, I'm not bitter*).

The piece served its purpose. My homesickness, both for my own place and my childhood home, abated. For a while at least.

I miss the way my mom listened to me practice from her study. She'd comment once in a while (or sigh at the close of a song--very flattering). I also miss her hugs.

*yes I am. I conquered that Capriccio Espagnol cadenza! It was my dream to play it! And she played an altered version! On a smaller harp! With no passion! GAAAAAHHH!!!!! I still remember her flowery harp name. Olyvia Dellagardelle. Yeah.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The New Header for the Qaptain

If you read me in Google Reader, *coughABBYcoughcough*, you'll never see my amazing masterpiece of a header... ;)
Here's how it came to be!
My sister Rae asked me to do an illustration for her header and thought I should do one for myself as well.
Once I get into an art project, I'm completely immersed. Life zips by without my notice. Ender's diapers rank higher in ripeness by the minute. Michael actually misses me for the great lack of my company (aww...I love him). Mealtimes aren't just ignored--I don't even think about food. Or the bathroom. I'm all zoomed into my art.
So after a long time of doodling my picture (long time = who knows how many hours, honestly), I started to hate it. Everything about it was wrong. I looked weird, Ender looked creepy, the harp looked stupid, the laundry was dumb...but Michael looked pretty good. That was never a problem. But I started to think maybe Rae was wrong? Maybe I was wasting my time. Stupid picture.
But I finished it anyway (which isn't always advisable, because you should probably like your picture while you draw it or else you could do something irreparably vengeful).
It took maybe three days to share it with Rae.
And about five days before I liked it again.

Now, I REALLY LIKE IT! :D





This section of my predoodle sketchings made me laugh aloud!

A. Michael's telescope is rolled up music. WHY: that's the tool into the future for him! That will be his career and passion no matter what.

B. My captain hat is a book (labeled S.O.S.). WHY: well, first, a Book of Mormon on my head would be sort of dorky (er, dorkier) and somewhat sacrilegious. It also represents knowledge, which is one of the great ways I can be a leader. Also, I love reading. Feather: nothing. Makes it look more captainy.

C. Harp tipping...WHY: I don't know, because sometimes I feel like my skills are tipping if I don't practice as much? But notice I'm not grabbing the harp, I'm grabbing Ender. So as much as I love it, it's okay sometimes to sacrifice it for mothering.

D. Lipstick in my hand (it's there, look closely). WHY: because I feel that beauty is important. If I can look my best, I am respecting myself and others. And duh, it makes me feel better!

E. My risqué leg! Woohoo! WHY: why not? :D Have fun in life! Stand on the edge once in a while, flirt with your husband and be free! Yay!

F. Michael's hot white uniform. WHY: heh hehh heh. Because I like it. Okay, also because to me, Michael defies labels and societal molds. His "uniform" is blank. It is white, pure, which is to me like a blank paper--so deliciously ready to be written/drawn on. Michael can and will do that with his music, defining the soundworld. Seriously!

G. Michael is at the helm! WHY: I may call myself Captain, but Michael really does steer this ship.

H. Laundry in the crow's nest. WHY: hahahah! WHY??!!!! For one, I think it's hilarious. But aside from me laughing hysterically at my drawings (it's probably more fun to watch me because who would laugh at a drawing of laundry? Pooh), it's a number of things... I don't have a laundry room--this can fit in to a lot of things, though, as in some rooms have multiple uses...as in...I don't have the luxury home of my daydreams with a room for every purpose, but I'm happy. Took a while to spit that out, but that's what I mean. Did that make any sense??

I. Roiling water. WHY: Life. (Not everything is a calm sea, got it?)

J. "HMS MOTHERHOOD". WHY: Motherhood really is divine, so I'm happy to be on His Majesty's Ship.

K. Doodles on the sail (not just the baby's!). WHY: I love to draw! And I hope I won't be irritable and mean about drawings on the wall. Yeah, it's not good, but I hope I can laugh, too. Anyway, it also represents involving creativity in anything I do. Paintbrush and stuff tucked in a slit conveniently so I can draw any time.

L. Dishes in a pile. WHY: But guess what, they look clean, don't they? Mwa ha hahah... either way, they represent something that's always there. I'll always have dishes, every day. But I'll still wash them. It's just something I have to do. And that's okay.

M. Our subtle halos. heehee! WHY: We are children of God! I can be proud of myself and remember I have incredible potential! I'd better not belittle myself! And then, as for Michael and Ender, that's easy. I practically worship them. Ender's such an angel, and Michael is my hero. Gosh, I love him.

N. Sketchy edge only on leftish side of page. WHY: I actually really like my creative thinking here, sorry if it comes off as cheesy! Guess what it is!!! The unknown future! The past is clear cut because hindsight is 20-20. Future is sketchy--we may have an idea of how it will go, to some extent. But it's largely undrawn. :] (I need a cheshire-cat-size smile because I'm so pleased with myself).

O. Red sky at night, sailor's delight...red sky in the morning, sailors take warning...And who knows if it's night or day in my picture? WHY: I chose it not just because it looks cool with the blue water but because sometimes things are fairytale-like (accidentally typed fartytale, yikes). And sometimes, it's rough and you have to be careful in the bad weather.

P. One last thing--we're all touching each other in some way. WHY: We love each other, and we need each other.


Ender's 2nd Birthday!




Ender loves play-dough. He wants it at least three times a day. He calls it day-o.

Want to see his awesome Carousel Cake? Go here!

Everyone's been saying they can't believe my son's two! Well, I can. But I admit it's starting to dawn on me just what that means. I'm not even talking about Terrible Twos. Which, yeah, he gets cranky sometimes, but who cares? I do, too!

Ender is tall. And he talks a ton. And he's funny--his sense of humor is already quite apparent. He really is kind of growing up. I don't feel like I've missed it, that I've missed the time it took to get to this point; I know I've been a pretty good mommy, and I feel like I've been "present" for his babyhood. But it is sad that he's not so much a baby anymore.

I think he must somehow understand my feelings, because for the last few days,
he's let me hold him more.
He hugs me back, and while I cradle him, he rests his head on my chest.
He lets me sing lots of songs to him (the more the better).
He lets me drape a blanket around him when I rock him...
(he lets me rock him).
He lets me read the whole story to him, turning the pages only when we're ready.

I've always known Ender loves me, but he's such a little fireball that cuddling isn't usually on his agenda. But I've really needed it lately because my little baby's not that little anymore. So it's been nice. Very nice.

Ender got some tractors...which he LOVES...(and I could have done a Tractor Cake, but it just didn't look as fun to me...is that naughty? I figured he wouldn't know the difference, and he does love animals! I'm such a girl: "Tractors? Blah").
He also got a little collection of safari animals (loves them),
clothes (loves the triceratops on the shirt and calls it a rhino),
work gloves (he loves gloves, and they're like grandpa's),
and a Corduroy book (A Pocket For Corduroy) and Corduroy bear. He gasped with delight at the book and gave the bear several kisses.
Sorry he's not smiling very much in these pictures. He was cranky on his birthday! :)
But he did smile here and there, so we know he loved his presents.

When I put him down for his nap today, he said "Pocket! Where's Pocket?"
That's Corduroy's new name. :)

Harp Tutorial - part 3: Sheet Music and Sounds

Part 3 - Sheet Music & Sounds

I am brave. Because these clips are of me playing with very little practice and less-than-ideal technique. But I am not brave enough to include my face! These were done on a day that I had refused to shower (heh heh hehhh)!
But that's okay. Because I'll prove even braver when I include a full, beautiful harp piece at the end of these Tutorials.

The modern harp has so many different sounds; it's not all flowery angel stuff. Here, I demonstrate some of the more popular special effects.
In each short video:
Title of effect
Explanation of execution
Appearance in sheet music
What it sounds and looks like on the harp
(Watch out--there's no sound until the harp starts, and sometimes it startles me).

Pres de la Table

Double Glissando

Falling Hail

Falling Hail with Eolian Chords

Falling Hail with Gushing Chord/Glissando

Chimes

Tam Tam

Harmonics

I do not have a video for these two effects (my camera charger is still AWOL; I cheated and loaded my stuff with another camera, but the video with these cool effects didn't work. Sad).

This Xylophonic effect is a really cool one!
With one hand, I place my fingertip on the base of the string, and with the opposite hand, I pluck.

And this is the same kind of effect you'd use to play the slinky notes of Pink Panther. It's called a Pedal Slide, and it looks so cool because I only pluck the string once--and then I use my feet on the pedals to change the pitch, so it looks somewhat "ghostly." Like the harp's playing itself because my hands aren't moving.

Selections from Carlos Salzedo's "Chanson dans la Nuit" (Song in the Night)




Sunday, February 21, 2010

ZITS

This will be fun. For some reason, I've been thinking about zits (couldn't possibly be because I actually have some, of course).

Did you know...?

  • If you have zits along your hairline, you might want to change your shampoo. Try to find something that is sodium free (look for ammonium sulfate instead of sodium sulfate). It's kind of hard, but I can recommend Aussie's cleansing shampoo at least. Shampoo and conditioner can also be the cause of zits on your back; wash your hair first in the shower, and wash your body after you've rinsed all the conditioner out.
  • If you have zits around your mouth, it's hormones. Even if you're not on your period! Check the milk and meat you buy and make sure they don't have added hormones. Most milk doesn't (I think the Maid O' Clover is supposed to be best???), but keep an eye out for the meats.
  • If you have zits on the sides of your face, it could be your pillowcase. It's not too hard to get in the habit of changing a pillowcase every day. Be sure to use a fresh washcloth every time you wash your face, and clean your makeup applicators at least once a week (when I'm super good, I clean them every day). Remember to wash thoroughly around your face, too, as in down your neck and to your ears.
  • If you have zits on your chest, consider your laundry--do you wear a fresh bra every day? Do you spray perfume on your neck and decolletage? Last, is your jewelry clean? I know, that might seem gross...but you'd be unpleasantly surprised...
  • Before you try to pop that irresistable zit, try a hot or cold compress. You can place an icecube or very hot, wet cloth on the tip. Keep it there at least 2 1/2 minutes. The swelling should be noticeably down, and the zit will likely dry up by the next day. The intense temperature kills the bacteria.
  • If you MUST pop that zit, use as little pressure as possible. This will sound really extreme or disgusting, but it works: sterilize something like a needle (even a safety pin tip will work), and gently prod the thinnest point of the skin over the zit. After each prodding, gently coax the pus to see if you've punctured the skin layer. Clean it out as gently and carefully as you can, and clean the area (and the pin) when you are finished. The reason this is better than squeezing: squeezing not only pushes the pus upward but inward as well. This means you are forcing the bacteria deeper into your skin, elevating the seriousness of your acne (and prolonging the life of the zit). It could take a really, really long time to get it all cleared out. The pin is also better than scratching, because scratching spreads the bacteria and damages your skin. You might think poking a pin in your skin is worse than popping a zit, but the popping creates a jagged rupture that will take longer to heal. :( Sorry.
Well, sorry if I grossed you out! But at least you'll have some better control over your acne! Yay! Show it who's boss!

I have more tips of zit coverage, too, for a later time. When you know how to accurately cover a zit, it's less threatening--and you'll find it's easier to avoid popping it.

Love you all! Forgive me for my grossness!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Books I've Loved or Read Recently

Cara Jean (MeanJeansArt and D.I. Denizen) asked me what books I read...well, um, I read those children books. BUT! I do read some more mature books sometimes. This is what I said (and then some) in one of those tiny little comment boxes before I realized it should be a post:

I was thinking of doing a post of books I read, but I don't know...I still read a lot of YA books!
I loved the Hunger Games.Hunger Games 2-Pack: Hunger Games & Catching Fire Hardcover Books
It's surprisingly easy to relate to heroine Katniss as she's thrust into a carnal game of murder celebrated by the cruel Capitol every year. Every move she makes is with the intent to play the game--which plays with her mind until she can barely distinguish between what she does for herself and for the Capitol.
It is not overly graphic.


I have recently been reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld--I suppose they're sci-fi, but not invasively so. Tally lives in a society obsessed with beauty, so much that they perform surgery on every sixteen-year-old with the claim that the resulting beauty is the only way to be accepted. Having grown up with this idea ingrained in her mind, Tally will do nearly anything to be pretty. What she doesn't know yet is that the surgery does more than change your appearance...
Throughout the series, it becomes more and more clear how the city manipulates Tally into making their plans work. Tally somehow finds a way to defy them every time.
Uglies (Boxed Set): Uglies, Pretties, Specials (The Uglies)


I really loved a book called Kiln People by David Brin, and that is classified as sci-fi, but it's also a mystery that is really well spun. Albert is a fairly predictable man with a fascinating career as a detective, but he's far from traditional. In an age where people can make clay copies of themselves (in varying ranks and colors) for various chores and leisure--or anything they don't want to do in person--Albert has replicas of himself all over the place solving his mystery for him. There's a constant danger for the dittos, though; their only hopes of sharing their data with realAlbert is by "inloading" their memories at the end of their 24-hour shift, and it looks like their's been some ditnapping... ;)
Really, this is such a cool book. I love the very idea.
The only complaint I have for it is that once in a while the dialogue goes on for too long without tagging who's speaking, and one sentence suddenly turns out to be spoken by Albert when you thought it was his friend. Oh well. Still good reading.




And...I love the Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, but again that's meant for a younger audience...this book is so innocent and sweet. It's charming and clever, too. I loved it from the beginning!


[younger audience]The Larklight series by Philip Reeve is funny! It's told by a younger brother who thinks his sister is ridiculous, and he's hilarious the way he talks about her and everything. There's even a part or two where his sister (Myrtle) gives her own account of what happened, and the comparison is so funny; it reminds me hugely of my sister Rae! HAHAHAH!!!! Sorry, Rae. Myrtle is cute.
It all takes places in a world where England is still the biggest world power, and space is breathable (hence liveable). I actually laughed aloud pretty often!
Larklight



You see, I really do like children's books! :D

But! More adultlike: The Poisonwood Bible (you MUST) by Barbara Kingsolver. I felt like I had been to Africa, and more importantly, I felt like I understood Africa. The family is absolutely believable. They're also loveable...and hateable.
The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)




Dragonwyck by Anya Seton (generally out of print but some libraries might have it). The first time I read this book, I did not sleep. Except by accident for ten minutes, after which I jerked awake, completely alarmed that I had lost my place. I found it and resumed reading immediately.
Quite a load of romance and mystery...a dangerous sort of secret that maybe Miranda doesn't want to discover...
I love Miranda. She starts off so naive (but so spirited) and learns the darkness of men only after she's been blinded by what she thought was love. That sounds melodramatic, doesn't it. But I can vouch for its coolness, don't worry.
Oh man, and the fat fat fat woman Johanna...I pity her disgustingness. Poor huge thing.
Dragonwyck



I'll try to think of more, especially more that are for us "Older" people. :)
Oh yeah, and I read a pretty interesting one called A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson (yeah, what a name--but it was cool).
At first, he only cut 15 seconds back in time, but after he examined his route again, he found that the shortcut could take him a hundred years back. I forgot what his name is. Hee hee...
A young girl appears from seemingly nowhere, and everyone thinks she belongs in the foster home. Only the Man believes her story of whence she came ("where she came from" would be poor grammar, oh dear). And...I'm having a hard time making this sound as interesting as it is. :\ TIME TRAVEL = INTERESTING, right? I hope so.
A Shortcut in Time



And one more, but I wonder how well I can recommend it. It's called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Sadly, it had so much profanity, but it's so sensitively written. It's about an autistic boy and the way his world is. REALLY really interesting (to me). Christopher's mind pretty much divides the world in black and white, and somehow, his views are more tender than those of people who should be able to understand more than he does.
Christopher hates anything yellow because he figures if he likes one color, he should dislike another.
He likes to be crouched in tight, tiny spaces.
He can play Minesweeper in so few seconds it's crazy.
He hates people who lie, and he believes most people lie.
Christopher will not use a toilet besides the one at home, and he's glad he's not like another boy at their special school who will poop on purpose when he's mad.
And...someone killed the neighbor's dog, which disturbs Christopher more than it disturbs anyone else. He goes about solving this little "mystery," intent on writing a book. The answer to it all is so terribly heartbreaking.



GASP! And I LOVE the book the Count of Monte Cristo, if you're looking for a classic, but maybe that's just me. I adored it. Don't watch the movie--it's stupid because it does not at all capture the old fashioned exoticness of the Count, who returns from years in a dark prison with its darkness reflected in his deep, enigmatic eyes. No one understands how he came to be so incredibly skilled at all he does and so impossible to figure out.
The Count of Monte Cristo (Barnes & Noble Classics)




One more. Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden. It's poetic, so beautiful. As influential as Poisonwood Bible in the way that it made me feel like I knew Japan (I do to some degree by now from having been there, but this was beforehand). The world of a geisha is harsh and beautiful with infinite precision. Sayuri's heart is deep from the beginning as she recounts her life's story.
*I personally love the way she understands the cruel Hatsumomo who is evilly intent on ruining Sayuri's career as a geisha...



My "style" for books has a wide range. :)
I'll try to think of more if you want!

Sheesh, this should be a post!

(Hmmm, yes, yes it should...)