Thursday, October 2, 2014

I must be living right

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons.

Ruth Ann Schabacker

Yesterday I decided it was finally time to face the dragons.  Or to put it less dramatically, to confront the little tasks that have been accumulating that I didn't want to do.  It was Time.

I made the phone call I didn't want to make (selling a house and all the detritus that accompanies it is a soul deadening pursuit).

I went to the post office (after finding it).

I went to Wal-mart. 

I typically avoid Wal-mart at all costs but the really irritating thing about Wal-mart is that even though I want to avoid it, sometimes they have what I need.  I wanted a collage frame for Braeden's senior pictures and I'd looked everywhere and come up empty.  So Wal-mart.

And they had exactly what I needed.

Next on my list was to get the safety and emission inspections done on our van so I can get it licensed in our new state.

Tabor called. They were on their way through and wondered if I wanted to meet for lunch.  I had already eaten but Mark had not.  (He would rather be home and scrounge around for his own food than do errands.)  I went home and got Mark and we met Tabor and Katie and their girls for an impromptu visit.  Mark gathered the little girls around him and showed him the wonders of his phone.  Cousin selfies...

When I woke up in the morning, I had no idea I'd be seeing my dear brother and his family.  A lovely surprise.

On the way home, Mark and I stopped by to do the car inspections.  I was told my car was new enough that I didn't need one. (My day just kept getting better!)

There's a house in our neighborhood that houses an 11 year old boy that is a potential friend for Mark.  (We've met his dad.)  Mark and I were going to go over and introduce ourselves.  Driving by the house, a boy was in the yard with a toy gun.  "Do you want to stop?" I asked Mark.

He vaulted from the car.  The boy wants friends.

Mark came home hours later.  Happy.  The two boys made plans to get together today too.

That's when I knew I must be living right.


Not entirely related but here's my senior boy's pictures, all framed.  (Sorry about the inexpert photograph of can see our kitchen reflected in the get the idea though.)  I haven't decided which wall to put them on.  Seeing himself in so many pictures made Braeden slightly uncomfortable.  He said, "I feel like Dudley Dursley."

I guess that makes me Aunt Petunia. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Introvert vs. Extrovert

Last night I told Braeden my introvert bones were aching.  It's been a wonderful time of spending time with family over the weekend and then carousing around BYU campus with Marianne and her kids (they came to town like the circus, bringing fun).  The kids all went to a Studio C season premiere party Monday night and Marianne and I went to dinner and then had really nasty frozen custard.  Being with Marianne is wonderful.  We interrupt each other, telling each other our tales (actually I probably do most of the interrupting...she has better manners than I do).  Tuesday we met for lunch and followed our kids around the Life Science Museum.  We saw our old Biology 100 professor there.  It was sort of exciting.  Olivia would have insisted we pose for a picture with him.  It is terrifically fun to see my family.

Last night I was tired though.  I needed to go in a cocoon and be alone a bit.  My parents were in town and invited me to dinner and to the temple.  Both would have been wonderful but like I said, my introvert bones, they were aching.

So when I told Braeden about my aching bones, he said, "My extrovert bones are healing."

It gave me an appreciation for what he's been through.  I know I need to tend to my introvert side or I'm very unhappy.  My poor extroverted son!  I'm glad he's healing.  This morning Braeden told me, "Do you remember when we first moved and I said that everything would be OK by October 1?  Well today is October 1 and everything is OK." 

He has been driving to school with Adam out of town and yesterday he needed gas so he filled his car with friends at lunchtime (they have an open campus) and they all went to the gas station together.  Things like that make his day as much as going in my room and closing the door behind me makes mine.

Last night he went on the town with his friends--the mission was unclear--and this weekend he is hosting a  "Yay, I Have Friends" party.  He said, "That's what I'm calling it."  He's very hopeful that the horse mask he ordered online will be here in time.  Because apparently he needed one...

It will be nice to have the house full of his friends. (I told him he could invite a dozen, we'll see if he listens...)  My job will be to lay out a table full of snacks and then make myself scarce.  I can do that.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Books I read in September 2014

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini **

This book was OK.  I liked the quilt part (even though I can't piece quilts, I wish I could) and I liked some of the characters.  I particularly liked the reminiscing of one of the characters.  I found other characters irritating.  There was this whole group of quilters who seemed indistinguishable from each other and who sort of annoyed me.

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz ****

I typically don't love non fiction but this book was an exception.  It's about a man's journey to learn about himself and to be a better person based on what he learned from Jane Austen books while he was in graduate school studying them.  It was thought provoking and made me like one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen, even more.

 Rules of Civility by Amor Towles ***

This book was set in the '30s and I liked the setting.  Also I loved the snappy dialogue.  The plot was sort of depressing and the ending unsatisfying.

Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison ***

This book was quintessential chick lit.  There was the longtime friendship, mean girls complete with a comeuppance and a romance.  It was a fun and quick read although the language was a little rough at times.

Monday, September 29, 2014


The highs and lows!

This is one for the record books.

Adam went on a business trip to Seattle of all places.  He left Friday.  You could taste the envy in the air around here.  The walls, ceilings, floors, they were all green with the envy going on.

I decided desperate times call for desperate distractions so we headed to Nevada.  Heading to Nevada is always a good course.

(Partway there the elements seemed to have other ideas.  We were in one of the most violent wind/thunderstorms I've ever driven in.  We persevered, Emma prayed, we survived.)

It was of course lovely, lovely, lovely.  I ate my mom's delicious food and visited with my family and took a walk through the sagebrush with my mom (and Braeden).  My dad repaired my shoes I'd brought specifically for the purpose.  Someday there might be something my dad can't fix but I doubt it.

Mark joined his cousins and uncle Robert for an 11-year-old scout campout.  It was a high point of his life.  He's a lucky boy to be one of four boy cousins roughly the same age--Lili is that same age too and she is a great refining addition to the mix. 

Saturday night we women and girls went to the General Women's Broadcast.  I sat by Olivia which is always a winning idea.  We started giggling at the beginning but then Marianne, partway down the pew gave us a big sister look that ironed us back into submission.  It was a wonderful meeting (of course it was).  I thought wistfully of my friends back in Everett at the same meeting.  I missed being with them but it was a huge consolation to be with this group:

I just wish Jennifer, Katie, Melanee and their sweet girls could have been there too...

That is what your joy being full looks like.  I love every single one of those women.  They make my heart sing.

We all trooped off to dinner (my mom's treat).  Teenagers sat on one end of the table, adults on the other and the little girls sat together and colored.  Olivia provided a good portion of the entertainment which is usually the case.

Sunday Adam went to church in our old ward.  We all felt nostalgic about that and wished we could be there too.  I sat by Olivia in Relief Society though (the others were in primary) and I sat by my dad and Enoch during Sunday School.  Church is nice sitting by tall people it turns out.  Speaking of tall people, there were so many of us on the front row in sacrament meeting, Enoch and Jennifer had to take their family to a different row.  "That's OK," Enoch said to me, "You need the leg room."  He's exactly 13 inches taller than me so I thought it was nice of him to finally acknowledge I need more leg room than he does...

After church at the behest of his cousins and then Olivia--or Ciocia as the adoring nephew calls her--Braeden sang "One Last Kiss" and recited his monologue which he's prepared for auditions which are today (fingers crossed).

I surveyed the loving and supportive group that was standing around Braeden, smiling and laughing at all the right places and I considered how lucky I am to be one of this tribe. 

My kids and I skedaddled home to Utah --which still sounds weird to our ears, home to Utah--because our stake was having a youth fireside and Elaine Dalton was speaking at it.  Elaine Dalton!  We were thrilled.  It was a terrific meeting.  I can't begin to describe it but at such times I feel a clarity of purpose and I know who I am and what matters most.  Emma wanted to meet her and my shy girl elbowed her way up to the front.  She didn't know what to say so she just hugged her.  Elaine Dalton said back to Emma, "You keep smiling!  You have a wonderful spirit about you."  Emma glowed after, she was so happy.

We all came home, grateful and euphoric and then... all hell broke loose.

Emma got a text that her accompanist for the auditions had backed out because the music was too hard (they have to provide their own accompanists here).

Then she realized that she'd forgotten her copy of the music at my parents' house.

There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (Emma) and throwing hands in the air and giving up (me) and problem solving (Braeden).  He texted his accompanist, an angel girl who is as accomplished as she is generous.  (This is not the first time Braeden has saved the day for Emma and probably won't be the last.)

Claire came over and I promised her any treat in my repertoire as well as my undying love.  She could play Emma's music, no problem.  (Emma had quickly purchased another digital copy.)  She gave both kids encouragement and advice and was just generally awesome.

It was the kind of weekend that was wonderful and emotional and frustrating and terrific.

I need a nap.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Things I have lost

1-The ability to sleep through the night.

2-The brain power to remember if it is recycling week or not.

3-The skill to communicate with my children about their transportation needs.

4- The capacity to actually take a photo with my phone when I thought I had.  (I was sure I had!)

Maybe if I get number one figured out the rest will fall into place?

Last night we went to Clarissa's choir concert at BYU.  (Yes, there were hundreds of singers, but it was Clarissa's least to me.)  It was a choir showcase of the audition choirs at BYU.  The best of the best.  And it was incredible.

When the Women's Chorus filed in, of which Clarissa is a part, I felt my eyes get a little teary.  I blame my dad.  But Clarissa looked beautiful and it was exciting to see her a part of something so wonderful.  I kept thinking, "Marianne should be here!" but then I thought, "I'll just have to be here for Marianne."

It isn't really logical but it made me feel a little better.

So Marianne, your girl was gorgeous.  She glowed like a shiny penny and I'm pretty sure she was the best one (although it was sort of hard to tell).

In addition to the Women's Chorus, the Men's Chorus sang (amazing), the Concert Choir (amazing) and the BYU Singers (amazing).  Our entire family was transfixed (and Mark was also thirsty). 

I kept thinking of the 13th Article of Faith:
...if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things...
Afterward we found our girl and hugged her and tried to express how fabulous it was.  I took a picture of Emma and Clarissa and Braeden together isn't on my phone.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

A girl came up to Clarissa while we were talking to her and congratulated her.  She said, "I'm in your Book of Mormon class!" 

Clarissa said, "Really? Now we have to be friends!" 

The girls heartily agreed and went away with a "See you on Tuesday!"

There is no danger of celebrity going to Clarissa's head.

Adam swung by Sonic on the way home for slushes.  (It was an unseasonably warm night.)  We all placed our orders and waited and waited...and waited.  The kid finally approached with the slushes.  He said, "Is it bad that I don't know what any of these are?"

We said it was OK, we would figure it out.  He said, "Do you want an indecent amount of straws?"

He said, "I'll give you six so you can try all the slushes and don't have to share straws."

I'm not sure how one extra straw would make that happen for us but I'm no math whiz.  The drive home consisted of us passing around the slushes, trying to determine the flavors.  In the end, none of us had any idea if we got the correct one but we just went with it.  The one with the most distinguishable flavor was Braeden's and it was lime, which he'd ordered.  It was also bright red.

We can't all, Sonic guy.  And some of us don't.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Surprised and delighted

At Macey's, the grocery store where I usually shop (I still haven't 100% committed to Macey' store loyalty can't be taken lightly), there is an aisle with a sign above it that reads, "Prices that surprise and delight."

(I always try to position my face into an appropriately surprised and delighted expression...for Mark.  He's who I shop with.)

Lately, in addition to the prices at Macey's, my boys have surprised and delighted me a little.

1)  When we first moved here, Braeden seemed to purely hate everything and everyone in Pleasant Grove.  Maybe in Utah altogether.  He was against it all.  The other night, completely unprompted, he said, "I like Pleasant Grove.  It's a good town."

Shut the front door!

2)  Mark will tell anyone who will listen how much he hates to read.  He grumbles about it and unlike my other two at that age, I never find that he's slipped off to read.  Never.  He did like one series of Usborne books a few years ago so I got him the first book in another similar series.  A few nights ago he came into our room late enough that I crankily asked, "What do you need, Mark?  I already kissed you goodnight."  (My patience has a nightly expiration date.)  He flopped face down on our bed, groaning, and in a muffled voice said,  "Cliff hanger!"

He had finished the book and was desperate for the next in the series (which I've ordered).

Mark had been reading and I hadn't been making him.  I know, right?

What will happen next?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Field trip

Mark and I went to the BYU Museum of Art yesterday.  We were going to go to the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum but needed to buy tickets to Clarissa's choir concert so we were by the art museum anyway.  (I would rather go to an art museum than a science museum any day of the week.)

Mark thought this sculpture had a Minecraft vibe about it.

Mark was enthusiastic about the art and you've got to admire an 11 year old boy who is enthusiastic about an art museum.  Also, he and I had about the same amount of attention span for each piece of art which is key when you are at any museum with someone.  There are the browsers and there are the readers of every word and you have to be with someone compatible!

We had a pleasant time walking around and soaking up beauty.  There was an Indian exhibit "Visions of Vishnu" that we enjoyed and also an Indian and Pakistani quilt exhibit.  I wish I could quilt!  You have to be a lot of things I'm not to be able to piece quilts.  Among them is exactness.  In a room there were quilts on the wall and then baskets full of wooden geometric shapes.  We could arrange them into "quilt blocks."  It was easier than fabric!

As you can imagine, Mark took the exactness of it all quite seriously.
The closest I'll ever get to making a quilt block...
 Pretty soon Mark took over completely and started some free form patterns.

He sifted through baskets of shapes like it was his job.


After I was done with shapes (Mark would still be there if I'd let him), we joined up with everyone's favorite BYU student, Clarissa, and took her to lunch.  It's always a pleasure to be with her.  At lunch I sat across the booth from Clarissa and Mark and they companionably shared a few Studio C Lobster Bisque quotes.  At one point Mark confessed to Clarissa that he had no friends and Clarissa exclaimed, "I'm your friend!"

I love that girl.

When we dropped her off for class, Mark reached up from the back seat and gave her a farewell pat on the shoulder.  She turned around and gave him a high five.  He called after her as she climbed out of the van, "I love you!"

Clarissa turned back and said, "Ahhhh.  I love you guys too!" and with that we sent her off to class.

I love cousin relationships.  They are like siblings you don't have to argue with about whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.


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