Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello, little wormies in your nice open can

I'm getting the (normal) flu shot next week.

And so are my kids.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I eat green olives by the jarful

I sweat enough for four teenage boys.

I have really ugly feet.

I catch cold when anyone in the vicinity thinks about sniffing.

I don't like whipped cream.

I'm directionally impaired - I've gotten lost in my hometown, where I spent two-thirds of my life.

I hate laundry.

Sometimes, when I don't have a tissue handy, I wipe my nose WITH MY HAND.

Sometimes, I judge.

When I have a new book, I tend to ignore everything and everyone in the vicinity.

I'm bad at making grocery lists.

I have to shave my toes.

I get cranky when I'm hungry.

I usually don't do anything special for holidays.

I don't do windows.

I never know what I'm making for dinner til about 5:15.

I hate talking on the phone, and avoid calling people at all costs. Even for pizza.

Sometimes I still bite my nails.

I'm responsible for at least a tenth of the road to hell with my good intentions.

I have really bad morning breath.

... And he loves me anyway.

Friday, September 25, 2009

In which I'm a little deep for a Friday

Yesterday, I thought.

Do you know what I mean by the past tense of the infinitive "to think"?

1. to have a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc.
2. to employ one's mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation.

So yesterday I thought a lot, pondering my life. I have a good life. We just bought a house and My Man is starting his own business. Our finances are remarkably good. I have three beautiful boys that are kissable from head to toe. I have a Man who .... well, I'll keep this G-rated. I love him lots and lots. We're expecting our fourth child, keeping tight to our "plan" that will let us kick the kids out while we still have a few good years left. I'm blessed to have my Favoritest Calling Ever at church, and I get to enjoy it with My Man - even allowing us to sit together during sacrament. He's home a lot more now. We live in a beautiful area where the grocery stores have free baby-sitting. I'm exercising and feeling pretty darn good about myself.

Are you ready for the BUT?

Something's missing.

I've been ... PUTZY lately. Flittering around like a lost butterfly, unable to concentrate on one solitary flower. Nothing holds my interest. I'm distracted, unfocused. Daydreaming about nothing and just kind of empty.

I'm busy - oh, I'm busy. But ... I'm BORED.

I have lists and lists of things to do. I'm one of those people that always has several projects going at once. I like to pretend I'm crafty. I scrapbook, quilt, and right now I have a mosaic in the making. (That sounds a lot better than I really am.) There was a time that any one of those hobbies would thrill me. Did you know I used to wake up EARLY (we're talking like 5AM), just so I could scrapbook? Yeah - I was that excited about it.

And now, even though I have a staggering pile of developed photos and all these fun new pages and stickers to play with ... I'm all NAH.

So I'm thinking yesterday. Why have I lost interest in things I used to enjoy?

And then - WHOA! Isn't that one of the hallmarks of depression?!

(So is talking to yourself, but whatever.)

I spent at least a good fifteen minutes laying on the floor yesterday, trying to figure out if I'm depressed. It was an interesting examination. I squinched up my eyes and tried to feel through my body, to see if it was hiding anywhere. But, nope. No depression lumps. Phew.

I really think I'm just bored.

Talked with My Man until waytoolate o'clock last night, psychoanalyzing each other. Our conclusion?


Not too many months ago, I was a bishop's wife with almost thirty very needy teenage girls to take care of. Lots of service. Lots of visiting and making meals and driving people to doctor's appointments and planning activities and making handouts and consoling the inconsolable. I felt needed. I was needed. I had purpose and drive and people who depended on me.

Now don't get me wrong - those readers who have been around a while know that I used to COMPLAIN YOUR BEJEEVERS OFF that I was too busy. I got overwhelmed. Tired. I had to plan breaks for myself. I would reserve one precious day a week to just pick blackberries and play in the pool. Those days were heaven on earth.

Now ... well ... we play in the pool every day. And ... every day is the same. And ... I'm bored.

Isn't it sad that repetition seems to decrease value?

Home Days were my favorite days when they were rare. Now, Home Days are slowly driving me insane.

And it's tough. Because my family IS my greatest treasure. And I'm supposed to be fulfilled just being a great mom, right? Right?

(But I'm feeling kind of full of empty calories.)

I need some filler. I need to be "anxiously engaged in a good cause." I need something to DO.

Last night My Man and I made a list of Things that Float our Boats. I was very pleased with our list. It was extensive. It was comprehensive. It was only slightly silly. But most of it really isn't in my season right now. (I don't think I'm QUITE ready to join the Peace Corps with three and a half kids in tow....) Because while I want to get involved in something, I also DON'T want to neglect my family.

It's like ... it's like ... like my husband and sons are my roses. The beauty. The color. The purpose in my life. But I need some pretty baby's breath and greenery to really complete the bouquet.

Okay, that was a really lame analogy, but you get the picture. Isn't it a nice picture?

And I don't even really know where I'm going with all this deepness. Only that I'm bored, I need a good cause, and I'm trying to find balance.

You know - same old, same old in the blogosphere.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Can I just say something?

Dear Stephenie Meyer,

Rio de Janeiro - and therefore Isle Esme - is COLD in August.

"Very thorough."

Warm regards,

That Girl

Friday, September 18, 2009

In which I have an epiphany

Yesterday I attended a women's meeting entitled "Super Mom, Molly Mormon, and YOU." They had all kinds of bee-u-tiful tables decorated to represent different aspects of a Super Mom. (PTO Mom, Cool Mom, Soccer Mom, Spiritual Mom, Chef Mom, Fitness Mom, etc.) Their tongues must have overextended themselves into their cheeks.

They didn't have a table for Slightly-Insane-and-on-the-Verge-of-Tears-Mom. I looked.

The meeting was excellent. Uplifting. Inspiring. I realized once again that I can't do this alone. I can't be the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect teacher, perfect neighbor ... I can't be perfect. And that's okay.

I cried a lot.

This morning I woke up refreshed. Ready. Awesome. Even attractive.

Sent Little Prince off to school and packed the wee ones off to my exercise class. Today was yoga. I was in a very yoga-ish mood, too. Ready to get in tune with my inner spirits, and all that jazz. The room was darkened, soft yoga-ish music playing. I think there were winds and waves involved. Children played happily by their mothers' mats. But not mine.

First Ouro Branco informed me that he wanted LIGHTS! NO DARK! in a very loud three-year-old voice during the warm up.

Mr. Squishy sat on my foot and cried during Warrior Three. And Triangle Pose. And Downward Dog.

Ouro Branco climbed on top of me during my Sun Salutation.

They both screamed every time the instructor told us to breeeeeeeeeathe.

Mr. Squishy ripped out my (fine tooth) headband during Child's Pose. Along with several hairs.

Ouro Branco dumped my ice-cold water bottle on the mat right during a lunge.

We left early.

Face burning, I was gritting my teeth and repeating the words, "they're just kids, they're just kids, they're just kids." A little different than "OM," but it worked. We piled in the car, all of us pouting, and the Primary CD that was playing previously turns on. Third verse of "The Family is of God."

A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.

She teaches children to obey, to pray,

To love and serve in the fam’ly.

Pretty sure I laughed. Then cried hysterically.

Last night one of the speakers gave insight into WHY we can't do it all. She said that if we were able to do everything we wanted to do, we wouldn't be able to show Heavenly Father what our priorities are. It is only when our time is limited that we display our true choices.

Lately, my priorities seem to be laying down, reading, laying down, surfing the net, and laying down.

Granted, I'm not feeling well. First trimesters, in a word, suck. (I hate that word. But "stink" doesn't have quite the same effect.) There are times and seasons for everything, and right now my season is growing a baby.


I can do better. I know I can.

I used to be a pretty hands-on mom. We had Mommy Mondays and Mommy Dates and did CRAFTS and stuff. Now I consider it an accomplishment if I merely observe them playing at least once a day.

I can do better. I know I can.

Because my priorities are NOT laying down and reading. My priorities are these guys.

And that's ALL. Yoga shmoga.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My name is not Julia. Or Julie.

I once exploded my stove.

We'd been in Brazil for a whopping one day. We were hungry. I was feeling adventurous and fearless and very BRAZILIAN, so I decided to make ... spaghetti. (Quick. Easy. And like four ingredients.)

I had the radio on, didn't understand a word of it, and was singin' it scat style OOOOOO BEE BAAA BOOO DAAAAAAA! Baby Little Prince on the floor next to me, My Man on the phone with family, assuring them that we did, indeed, arrive alive.

Then I moved a pot. And

Turns out my lovely Brazilian stove was not, in fact, a chic-y glass top stove like my mommy has.

It was, instead, more or less like this:

See that lid? The glass lid that I was supposed to lift UP? And instead, like some American idiot, cooked right on top of it?

Yeah. That's me.

The pot moved, a sonic boom that broke the sound barrier, and glass, glass raining down all over the kitchen.

Luckily I said my prayers that morning, and neither I nor LP were hurt.

(And I believe we went out to eat that night.)

Truth is, I learned a few things in Brazil. Things like the LESS water pressure you use in the shower, the HOTTER the water. Or Every Price is Negotiable. Or bundle up your kid no matter how freakin' hot it is outside, or the Grandma Police will be on your tail.

I also learned how to make beans.

Do you know how to make beans?

Since the days of the Great Depression in the United States, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has encouraged its members to be self-reliant through building up a year's supply of stored and preserved food and other necessities. We hear it every six months in General Conference, and intermittently throughout the year. Food storage! Food storage! Store food! Does everyone have their year supply? Free bird!

There's all kinds of information on the internet, including a Food Storage Calculator, telling you exactly how much peanut butter YOUR FAMILY would eat in a year. (Although they're woefully ignorant of chocolate chips.)

According to this handy-dandy device, my family of five (I didn't even include baby #4) needs to store ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY POUNDS OF BEANS.

Again - do you know how to cook beans?

It drives me crazy when I hear women say, "Oh, well, if I'm hungry enough, I'll figure it out." NOT. It took me a solid year to cook beans good enough to eat. I burned more than a few pans. (And at least one stove.)

So now I'm going to teach you. BEANS.

First things first. Pick through them. Pull out all the cracked, shriveled, peeling, and generally icky ones. Then cover in water and let soak. (The longer you soak them, the faster they'll cook. Plus it extracts all the "gases" that make beans so famously musical. I usually soak mine an hour or so, because I'm not very good at thinking ahead.)

Alright. Now drain the beans, and refill the pot.

They run $35 to approximately a million dollars. I bought a super cheap one, and it has served me well for many a year now. Go cheap.

If you DON'T buy a pressure cooker, then expect to cook your beans for about a week before they're ready to eat. Seriously.

Alright. So put your presoaked beans in the pot and FILL with water. You want at least one middle-finger length of water ABOVE the beans. This is crucial.


(No one likes tough beans.)

It'll take a few minutes for the pressure cooker to get hot and the top to start spinning. Let it spin for 30-45 minutes, and then do whatever you have to do to release the pressure. (Every pot is different.)

Keep it on the burner, but don't put the lid back on. Just let it keep boiling without any pressure. (Add more water if you need to.)

In a separate skillet, saute some onion, fresh garlic, and chopped bacon and/or kielbasa in oil. Amounts completely depend on taste. I LOOOOOVE me some garlic, so I really go to town. Add oregano, cumin and cilantro. (This is what I do - you can season it however you darn well want to.) Once the onion is soft, add it to the beans, as well as about a tablespoon of salt and a bay leaf. (Again - this depends on taste. I like it rather salty. I also cook a lot at one time, then freeze in small quantities.)

Let it continue boiling, stirring occasionally, for another 30-45 minutes. The longer you cook it, the thicker the beans, and the stronger the taste. I like me some thick-ish beans. Everyone's different.

Feel free to taste it every now and then and add more of anything. (Salt! Always more salt ....)

Serve with rice, and you got yourself a complete protein for pennies.

Just make sure you lift up the lid before you get started ....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In which I prove that riding on grocery carts is not my usual gig

So the other day I ran to the store, as I'm wont to do when we run out of milk.

(Wont. –adjective
1. accustomed; used (usually followed by an infinitive): He was wont to rise at dawn.)

I've been reading Jane Austen lately.

Anyway, so it's fifteen minutes before closing time and I'm there with my limit of four gallons. Skim. Because skim milk tastes delicious and I like it. Half percent is an abomination.

(I didn't really want to be there, but I lost Paper, Rock, Scissors, and the lot fell to me.)

I'm wearing my glasses, and I never feel very friendly in my glasses. Mostly I just don't want anyone to look at me. I just want to buy my milk and go home.

There were only two lanes open, and being the exceptionally-bad-line-picker that I am, I went in behind an older lady buying cat food, InTouch magazine and cigarettes.

(Not really. I don't remember what she was buying. But it sounds much more authentic if I give her some groceries.)

She was in a hurry too, and not at all chatty with the insanely chatty cashier. This girl - she looked maybe twelve years old and eighty pounds - was grinning at the cash register, extremely excited to tell the screen about

"the baby's nursery! We're going to paint as soon as I get home from work! We'll be up half the night and I don't care! I'm just so excited! We still don't know if it's a boy or a girl, but I will paint it blue no matter what, because I'm one of those people who doesn't like pink for girls! I don't know why! And my boyfriend doesn't want me to paint because I've been so so so super sick like all the time, but nothing can keep me from painting tonight! I'm so not even planning on sleeping!"

This did not improve my mood.

The equally chatty man behind me - his groceries (really) were six cases of beer - asked all the obligatory questions about how far along she was, names she's picked out, etc. This thrilled her.

"Oh! Thanks for asking! I just love making friends! That's why I love this job! Meeting new people! Everyone is my friend! Aren't we all friends?!"

She looked at me, ecstatic. I think I managed a wan smile. Just check out my milk, lady....

The chatty cashier and the chatty beer guy continued to chat about chatty things.

Chatty Him: "Well, good luck to you. Kids are so fun."
Chatty Her: "Do you have any?"
"Yeah, one. He's almost two years old."
"Oh, how fun! What are you doing for the party?"
"I don't know what his mom has planned. I don't really do the whole 'committed' thing. He was kind of an accident."
"Yeah, I'm not into commitment much, myself."
"Just introduce me to a hot girl who loves to drink, and that's alright with me! I just like having fun. I don't like being tied down."
"Whoo-hoo! Party! I knew we'd be good friends."

Amazingly, my mood was still not improved.

They continued to chat around and through and at my purchase. I didn't look up. I don't think I smiled again. I swiped the card, concentrating fiercely, punched the numbers, and reached for my milk. When I left, I heard them whispering conspiratorially about what a rude loser I was. (Exact words.)

And yeah - they were right. RUDE LOSER I WAS.

Everyone has bad days, but they will forever remember and think of me as being a RUDE LOSER. Their impression of me, regardless of what kind of person I really am, is RUDE LOSER PERSON. I could be freaking St. Theresa, but if they see me again, they will point fingers and mock, "There she goes! That RUDE LOSER!"

And I'm not really. Not usually. Only sometimes. Very occasionally. When I'm wearing glasses at the grocery story at 10:00 at night. Otherwise, I'm generally happy.

I'll have to remember this next time I encounter a fellow RUDE LOSER.

And check if they're wearing glasses.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Interview withThat Girl's offspring

Introducing Mr. Squishy, Little Prince, and Ouro Branco. Say hi.

Me: So, where did we go this weekend?

Little Prince: Grandma and Grandpa's house in Utah!
Ouro Branco: Poppa's house. Has tractor.
Mr. Squishy: Ahhh ahh baah bahh ga?

Me: How long does it take to get there?
LP: Ummm ... nine hours. [It was twelve, including three stops.]
OB: [Blank stare.] It's hot.

Me: What did we do in the car?
LP: Well, sleep [yeah right], read, play, sing songs ... lots of stuff.
OB: Cookies!

Me: What was your favorite thing to do at Grandma and Grandpa's house?
LP: The trampoline!
OB: Cake and ice cream!

Me: What was your favorite toy?
LP: The trampoline, Mom. I said that already.
OB: Uncle Brian.

Me: What was your favorite thing to do with Grandpa?
LP: I liked moving the sprinkler pipes. [true story]
OB: Feed sheep corn.

Me: Anything else?
LP: I liked the four-wheeler too. But the trampoline was my favorite.

Me: So are you ready to turn around and go back?
MS: [sniff, sniff] Ah ba ga?