Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kiss boring good-bye

Our house lays in wait until Adam goes on a business trip.  It makes plans and then he leaves and bam! Action!

Yesterday Geri and Megan were here visiting (they're in and out this week; they headed south toward some National Parks today and will be back on Friday).  Megan went to get something in their car and then came back inside and alerted me to the geyser that was happening in our front yard.

A pipe was spewing water all over our neighbor's driveway.

I did the only rational thing to do in a case like that and texted Ammon.  (Yes, I have the good end of this brother/sister relationship.)

Did I mention it was raining?

It was.

Geri and I were outside trying to figure out what was going on.  I shut off the main water to the house and that didn't make a difference.  I checked and the sprinkler system was shut off.  Then Ammon called.  I Facetimed with him and showed him everything.  We have culinary and secondary water and he assured me it was just the secondary water so that was sort of a relief.  I still couldn't figure out how to get it shut off though.  I found some valves and they turned on the sprinklers (which further soaked us).  Without being here, Ammon couldn't do much else for us, so I called the city.  They sent two guys who found the main shut off box which was sort of buried by one of the bushes in the front yard.  They said, "You buried it!" and Geri came to my defense and told him we just moved here not too long ago.  They were very kind though and once they had the geyser stopped, they hung around and chatted a little.

So that was all exciting.

Other unrelated but exciting things:  Mark's play is this weekend.  He's super excited.  He came home yesterday from rehearsal with eyeliner on and he doesn't know how women possibly wear that every day.  He is having the time of his life and I'm looking forward to the show.  We have lots of family coming plus I have Women's Conference at BYU the next two days so things are about to get real around here. 

He can't cut his hair until after the show (and I'm equally excited about that happy occurrence finally happening.)

Last night, Megan got a pick and went to town on his hair.  His hair looked a bit like Bob Ross but the creepy smile is all his own (and yes, that is the pick stuck in his hair).

The final exciting thing?  Emma asked me the other day if we could go dress shopping.  I know, right?  It's the first time in 17 years that Emma has requested a shopping trip.  She wants a dress for the end of year drama banquet. 

I have to not get too excited about the shopping trip though.  She'll spook and say never mind.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not my email

People in Sweden don't know their email address:

People in South Africa don't know their email address:

People in Australia don't know their email address:

(I'm starting to feel like this is an international problem.)

People with accident prone friends don't know their email address (or it's possible the friend with the head injury mistakenly typed the wrong email address):

People on Facebook don't know their email address:

And a lot has happened!

People going to a conference don't know their email address:

People with bills due don't know their email address:

People who want to know about the So Simple Box Stitch Shawl don't know their address:

(The stitch is simple, knowing your email address, is not.)

And this poor soul doesn't know her email address.  I think I feel the most concerned about this one.  Because taking kids to the dentist is the worst. (Maybe she knew that so she gave them the wrong address to throw the dentist off.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Good times in PG

I made a realization yesterday.  And after 20 months, you might say it's about time.  Yesterday I realized I really like living here.

There have been things all along that I liked.  And there have been things all along that I didn't like.  I mostly liked the climate, having a mountain literally in my backyard, the proximity to my family, and the sunshine.  (You may think that sunshine should be included in climate but after living in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years, sunshine merits its own category.)

Yesterday I think I once and for all fell for Pleasant Grove.  It's sort of a quirky place.  It's not even quirky in a conventional way, like say Portland or San Francisco are quirky.  It's quirky in its own really unique way.  There are very few national chain stores here and I almost always have to leave Pleasant Grove for any shopping.  The library is abysmal.  The roads are the worst.  Seriously.  There are more potholes than you would think a city would tolerate.  There are almost as many churches as potholes.  Maybe more.  And they open the temple baptistry now at 4:30 a.m. instead of 5:30 to accommodate all the teenagers that want to go before school. 

It's not a normal place.

Yesterday we discovered this peculiar little park.  The Young Men president told me about it at church.  There were directions that included driving up Battle Creek and turning at the really big house.  At least I think so.  When people start to give me directions, their voices resemble all the adults in Peanuts cartoons.  It's a miracle we found it (and I give all the credit to Adam).  We were walking around, trying to make sense of what it even was.  We happened along apple trees, full of blossoms, as well as lilacs in fragrant bloom.  It reminded me so much of my Grandma and Grandpa Dahl's house that I ached a bit.  We were leaving the park and Adam pointed out Grove Creek Canyon behind us.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I think I love this place, I thought.

We went home and the kids went out to the trampoline while I made a snack for us.  We read Clarissa's weekly letter and towards the end of it Mark said, "Oh, I just realized this letter wasn't from Braeden."

I don't know what tipped him off.  All the mention of New Zealand?

We settled down to watch Cranford because Adam and I are taking very seriously our responsibility to school our children in the art of British television and movies.  We are doing our best to raise anglophiles and it's working!  At a climactic moment in the movie, Emma slid off the couch onto the floor and Mark started whooping. 

Good period dramas will do that to you.

I guess this is all to say that it's a pretty good life. 

Friday, April 22, 2016



Either the small stuff shouldn't be sweated or the little things/small stuff are really the big things.

Take your pick, I guess.

I have it on good authority that my dear nephew Hyrum hates it when I post teeny tiny blog posts.  Sorry Hyrum.  I hosted book club at our house last night.  For one thing, I was up past my bedtime.  (Turns out you can't leave if it's at your own house.)  Also, hosting a roomful of people you don't really know is exhausting work for an introvert.  It all turned out well and I'm getting to know them more all the time.  But for today, my everything is tired and I'm just left to ponder imponderables.  Like if I should or should not be worrying about the little things/small stuff....)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Taking a breather

Yesterday I woke up to two notes, one from each child.

When our children are sick/want to stay home from school, they write me a note.  They explain their ailment and tell me not to wake them up.

They do this because 1) they know I would be cranky if they woke me up in the middle of the night and 2) they know I'm a softie when it comes to them staying home.  I take a page out of my dad's book.  He used to say to me, "You'd better stay home with me.  Let the other kids catch up."

Mark woke up and had some juice and looked miserable and told me he was going to go to school after lunch in time for English.  Emma, on the other hand, has a talent that neither son has and I certainly don't have.  The girl can sleep.  She's like Rip Van Winkle.

So she slept on.

Meanwhile, Mark started dithering about going to school.  He still felt sick.  Maybe he should stay home all day and rest?  Maybe he should go?  He wondered what I thought.

I didn't know what he should do.  On the one hand, I feel like Emma's drama and choir teachers.  They tell the kids "not feeling well" isn't an excuse.  Neither of them have "felt well" for 15 years.  On the other hand, if you can't stay home and just give in to illness when you're 13, that's a sad state of affairs.

So I told Mark it was up to him.  He lay there with his swollen eyes and flushed face and his verdict was stay home.

He celebrated his decision with more juice.

Emma slept on.

At 1:00 in the afternoon, I ventured in her room to check that she was still among the living.  She was sleeping peacefully.  I shook my head in sheer admiration of her skills and quietly closed the door behind me.

She finally emerged from her sleeping den.  She felt fine.  Sleep was what she needed.

The two sat down at the computer to play Minecraft together.  They each had a tall glass of ice water.

Sometimes all you need is a day off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I don't know what people without an Emma do

I blame the internet.  It is usually the internet's fault.  The internet gives me Ideas and sometimes they're dangerous ideas.  (Not literally dangerous, just mentally dangerous.  Stick with me, here.)

I saw a picture of a collage of clocks and I liked it.

I gathered some clocks.

This was totally out of character, but I decided to measure the clocks and create a little scale model of the clocks and decide where I wanted them on the wall.  The reason this is out of character is because I'm allergic to both measuring and things that are of scale.  Everything I hang on my walls is usually done with abandon.  I trust my eye and I don't trust tape measures. 

I know that about myself but I guess I thought there was always a first time for everything.  Maybe this time measuring would be the ticket!

I measured all the clocks.  I fished out my circle shaped stencils (because I was being Serious here).  I cut out circles and even used my button circle punch because it was the right size.  I arranged them artfully on a piece of paper and it looked weird.  They didn't seem to scale, but I'd measured!

I showed it to Emma.  I said, "What do you think?"  She skeptically wondered if these were really the size of the clocks.  I told her I'd measured them.  The look on her face told me that maybe I'd done something wrong. 

"Help me!" I pleaded with my girl.

"OK," she said dutifully.

I told her the measurements of the clocks.  Not trusting me, she said, "Where's your tape measure?" (She's familiar with my allergies.)

She measured and calculated and told me where I'd gone wrong and I marveled at the fact that I taught her elementary school when really it probably should have been the other way around.

We arranged the little new and improved models on the paper.

The casual observer may not be impressed with how measure-y and plan-ny I was being here.  Yes, I cut a wonky starburst and didn't exactly stick to the original plan.  But still.  This is something for me.

Adam and I hung the clocks.

I feel like I need one more clock.  A red one.

There was a whole lot of me standing back and saying "higher, now lower" and "that way" (because I'm not excellent at knowing left and right).

I'm happy with the results, but on a sad side note, the sunburst clock (which is sort of my favorite one) wouldn't work right.  If we tapped it, it would start ticking and then slowly die.

Adam took it apart and has a scheme for fixing it.

(I don't what people without an Adam do.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mark and Emma

Vanessa was over and Adam and I were heading upstairs.  The two gingers and Emma were planning to play Monopoly.  Adam asked Emma, "Do you want Mark to go upstairs too?"

Historically Mark has been the younger brother we needed to sometimes shield our children's friends from.  Emma said, somewhat surprised, "No, he can stay."

I guess where Mark used to be attention seeking and annoying, he is now attention seeking and really, really funny.

There aren't very many good things about Braeden being gone, but one nice side effect is that Emma and Mark are getting closer.  Braeden and Emma have always been inseparable friends.  Braeden and Mark had their brother thing going.  Emma and Mark were mostly just tolerant of each other.  There's been a shift.

We'll go on a walk and they'll walk ahead of us, no doubt engrossed in some strange conversation.  (One time I asked them what they'd been talking about and they said they'd been considering what to do if they were at Disneyland and there was an active shooter.  This is the world my children have grown up in.)

They linger in the hallway outside their rooms at night and I call down the hallway 30 times, "Go to bed!"  They just keep talking.

When we picked Emma up from choir tour they happily sat side by side in the backseat.  They were silent a lot (two introverts) but talked some and every time we stopped, they'd walk off together, talking about who knows what.

Mark asked Emma to go with him to his set painting party at his school on Saturday morning.  Our original plan was to have Emma help us do yardwork but it softened our hearts that Mark was so proud of his play he wanted to show it off to Emma and so proud of his sister he wanted to show her off to his friends.

Later that afternoon, they were back from the school and we were doing errands.  We stopped at WinCo for steak like we do.  It was time to go so I texted them to see where they'd wandered off to.

Surprisingly, there are typos.  From Emma.  It's surprising when there are no typos from Mark.  He spells like Braeden.  So wobbly.

Adam bought them the hammock.  It was $8.  An $8 WinCo hammock.  Sounds...promising.

Monday, April 18, 2016


This is my latest chalkboard message.

On the day Adam did the taxes, which is should be noted is a great and terrible day, I tried to be contagiously cheerful.

Adam is the smartest person I know and when he gets confused, my world doesn't make sense (and he gets cranky).  Taxes scare me.  They are a great big mystery with nonsensical language and dollar signs.

So rather than hanging around and being cheerful, I just made myself scarce.  Seemed wise.

When Adam emerged, taxes done, I greeted him like the conquering hero he is.  I love that guy.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Came the Spring with all its splendor
All its birds and all its blossoms,
All its flowers and leaves and grasses.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Spring blossoms are making me happy.  That's all.

The grass is slowly getting green and the white blossoms are slowly converting to bright leaves.  The tree in the front yard is just showing off.

This is the view down the street behind us.  Layers and layers of blooms.

I bought a new geranium friend for the front porch and a hanging basket too.  (I hope the deer won't climb the front steps and eat my flowers.)

We have one solitary daffodil left, but the hydrangea bushes are promising great things.

and I spy with my little eye a dandelion in that pot....

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My souvenir from our trip

I started feeling sick when we were in San Diego.  I thought maybe I was just allergic to one of the many (many) plants in bloom.  The pollen count was high.

When we hit the desert on the way home, I was expecting to feel better but it didn't happen.

Then this week, I've had a bunch of errands and appointments.  I didn't have time to stay home and be sick so I didn't.

Every time I talked to my mom on the phone--with my really hoarse voice--she would tell me I should be in bed and that I needed to go to the doctor.

But I didn't.

When I was getting the oil changed in the van and I could hardly talk, the guy pantomimed for me when it was time to sign my name.  I've noticed when you can't talk, people think you can't hear either.  Mark has been making up sign language on my behalf all week.

Finally yesterday I realized I was feeling no better and was probably worse.  My strange cocktail of medicine I was taking at night to keep me from coughing (including but not limited to out of date prescription cough syrup) wasn't working.  I decided to give in to my mom's advice--and Adam's too--and go to the doctor.

Last night at 8:30, Adam asked me how late the walk in clinic was open.  I looked it up and they were open until 9:00.  "We're going right now," Adam said.

The place was empty.  And I have bronchitis.  I was prescribed an antibiotic and a steroid.  The doctor asked if I wanted cough syrup with codeine and I said yes before she could finish the sentence.

Everyone (except me) laughed.  I guess I answered sort of fast.

But I like medicine.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ill advised

A few years ago I was in one of my favorite little shops in Snohomish, Washington and I saw a table runner (although small for a table runner--a place mat?) that I fell in love with.

It was made of felt and was blanket stitched.  I thought, "I can make myself one of those!"

I bought a little bit of felt but I already had some felt so I started cutting out circles.  (Why didn't someone stop me?)

I didn't exactly know how big I was going to make the table runner because that's not how I live my life, but I kept cutting out circles and cutting out circles and I figured I might as well use up all the felt.  (Why didn't someone stop me?)

About a year and a half ago, I was out of felt so I started pinning circles onto a long black piece of felt.  (Why didn't someone stop me?)

Then I started blanket stitching.  It was an on again, off again proposition and I worked doggedly through every General Conference and then I'd pick it back up occasionally.  I made quite a bit of progress when my knee was hurt.

Once I was working on it and I said to Adam, "You know what?  I don't even use table runners that much."

He just looked at me and laughed.

I was finally (finally!) narrowing in on finishing the darn thing.  Over this last conference I was stitching and stitching and stitching and I wanted to hurl the thing out the window but I kept going.

I realized it took me 1/2 hour to do each set of three circles.  There are 150 sets of circles.  Just thinking about that makes me want to cry.  (WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE STOP ME?)

Late Sunday night, I had two set of circles to go.  Adam and Emma were upstairs but Mark was in the basement with me.  He is at that delightful (delightful?) teenage stage where he has definite opinions and makes irrefutable statements about random things.  He told me that it was scientifically proven that if I quit before I was done, my brain would keep returning to it and it would bother me so I should just finish.

I said, "I think scientifically, I'd better just finish then."

Mark was like a proud papa.  He sat by me and kept saying encouraging things.  "I'm so proud of you Mom!" and  "You can do it!"

Finally I finished!  I wrapped it around Mark's shoulders (it looked like a Boy Scout merit badge sash).  Mark covered himself with another blanket then walked upstairs.  He assembled Adam and Emma and TA DA! he took off the blanket and revealed the table runner.  Adam and Emma showed appropriate interest and made congratulatory remarks.  But Mark hugged me and kissed me over and over and told me again how proud he was of me.

We were walking upstairs to bed and Mark said, "So Mom?  What are you going to do with the table runner?"

I don't know.  I don't think I want to talk about it.

why didn't someone stop me?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Saturday and Sunday

Every morning of our trip I woke up to a sign like this:

The boy loves water.

Saturday morning I peeked out the window to see him in the pool and lo and behold, blue sky!


We headed to the beach.  The blue sky didn't last all day but neither did it rain.

Adam and Mark headed to the water and I was the one on the beach in a cardigan and long pants (it wasn't that warm).

Here they are, heads barely visible beneath a wave, with surfers in the background.

It was fun to watch the surfers + surfing strikes me as one of those impossible things that I don't know how people accomplish.

Adam flew his kite some more until it crashed into the waves and got waterlogged.

We went back to the hotel to regroup then we headed to the Mexican border.  We didn't have our passports and didn't really want to take the time to cross anyway, but it was interesting to see.  It was vastly different than the Canadian border.

From there we went to the U.S.S. Midway.  The museum was almost closed when we got there.  It's definitely a reason to go back to San Diego someday.

the museum is actually on the ship!

From there we went to Balboa Park.  That is another big reason to go back.  We could have spent a whole lot of time there.  We commented often about ways San Diego reminded us of Seattle, but Seattle has nothing like Balboa Park.  That place is straight up amazing.  I fell in love.

I went away from San Diego with the opinion that even when the weather is less than ideal, it is a pretty great place.

Sunday brought us home.  It was a long and meandering sort of trip.  We detoured a bit north and picked up Emma.  It saved her riding the bus home and she got home about three hours before the bus.  Also, when we picked her up, Emma said, "You have no idea how happy I am to go with you.  Well, maybe Mom does because she's an introvert too."

And I get it.  People, even people you love, can be exhausting when you are like my girl and me.

I was happy to have Emma with us.  More is more with these children of mine.

So thus ends the trip blog posts.  I could write about the laundry, and while it is impressive, it isn't entirely interesting.

Monday, April 11, 2016


We spent a slow and lazy morning around our hotel.  Mark swam and ate the hotel breakfast alternately.

We decided this weather was not exactly what we signed up for months ago when we decided San Diego for spring break.  This weather is what we had though, so we also decided to have a good time.

Next we hit Seaport Village for the kite shop.  Adam bought himself a new kite while I perused the other little shops.  We drove around downtown San Diego and were struck by how much it's like downtown Seattle.  We went across the bridge to West Seattle Coronado.  I wanted to see the Hotel del Coronado.

It did not disappoint.

These chandeliers were designed by Frank Baum (who wrote Wizard of Oz) and were built by Thomas Edison.  Photo bomb provided by Mark and Adam.

Mark said we should have stayed there.  We told him we would have except for the little fact that the rooms are $1000 per night.

We drove down the island a ways to a state park and Adam got to try out his kite.

Mark was his helper because it's a two person job to get it aloft.

It was sort of an ominous looking day to go to the beach, but the place was empty.

Mark tried out the kite too...

 Then he did rope tricks?

Then he went swimming.

I certainly didn't think it was warm enough for swimming but I did not give birth to people that are ever cold.  Especially when water is involved.  Also, they're all good swimmers (thanks to their dad).  Even so, I was a little worried about Mark swimming in the ocean alone.  (Adam didn't have his swimsuit...Mark is always prepared for water.)  He is my baby and I prefer it when his man-sized lifeguard trained brother is swimming next to him.

I asked Adam if it was safe.

Adam called Mark in and reviewed what to do in case of a riptide.

Then Mark went back out.

I don't know if that made me feel better or worse.

We had debated all day about whether or not we wanted to go surprise Emma at her choir performance that night in Placentia.  The Pleasant Grove choirs were part of a competition that centers on performing at Disneyland and having classes from college choir professors and competing.  The competition portion was being held at some buildings associated with a Presbyterian church.  It was about 1 1/2 hours up the coast.  We finally decided to just go for it.  And I'm so glad we did!

Emma was shocked when Mark tapped her on the shoulder.  She ran outside to where Adam and I were and kept asking, "What are you doing here?"  It was nice to see her face though and to get a hug from her and from all of her friends.  I think they missed their mothers.  Rose, who is also one of my laurels, hugged me about five times.  Of all the girls, Emma was probably the least effusive.

Which surprised exactly no one.

Here they are, complete with Mark being the pesky little brother.

I chatted with a few of the chaperones (one was a woman from our ward and another was the mother of Braeden's friend Nate...I still don't know her first name but I bet Emma does so I'll ask her).  Then we went into the church where they were performing.

The pastor of the church introduced Emma's choir.  He said he'd been waiting since last year for Pleasant Grove to come back.  You could tell from their faces that it delighted the kids.

Then they sang.

This picture was during their finale which was Glory Glory Hallelujah.  That's the pastor standing up and clapping along.  He was enthralled.  I guess we all were.  The acoustics were incredible and the kids knew it.  They sang their little hearts out and it was amazing.

After he got back up and said they sounded like a choir of angels.  He said when they were all in heaven together he wanted to hear them sing.  You could tell that pastor straight up loved all those Mormon kids from Utah.

I whispered to Adam, "Someone get that guy a pass along card."

It was the best Emma's choir has ever sounded and I was thrilled to be there for it.  It was definitely worth the drive.  We hugged good-bye and I gave Emma an umbrella to use the next day at Disneyland and we headed back to San Diego.

A day well spent.

Friday, April 8, 2016


When we were planning our trip, I looked into some of the attractions at SeaWorld and saw that you could get wet on some of the rides.  Also, it wasn't going to be exactly warm when we were there.  So I bought some of those disposable rain ponchos.

I told Adam and Mark, "We're going to be that family.  The one with the rain ponchos."

They both assured me they wouldn't be wearing them.

How far the proud and mighty have fallen.

But it was rainy.  Big fat incessant drops.  Like how it used to rain in Connecticut sometimes.  We still went to SeaWorld though.  For one thing, we're not made of brown sugar.  For another thing, we used to live in Seattle.  You don't change your plans for a little rain!

The real irony of the day was that the weather in both Seattle and Pleasant Grove was warm and sunny.

Mark especially didn't let the rain get in the way of his food consumption.

By the way, when you have a teenage son, springing for the dine all day ticket is worth it.  Mark ate three lunches.

It turned out the rain ponchos were sort of like Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland.  Everyone is wearing them and pretty soon it feels completely normal to be wearing what looks like a garbage sack all day.

We had a marvelous day, despite the rain.

Late in the afternoon, the sun came out.  I felt a kinship to this sea lion.  Ah...sunshine!

After SeaWorld, we stopped at the beach.

Of course, this happened.

We also stopped by to see the San Diego temple on the way back to the hotel.


Back at the hotel, Mark and Adam headed to the pool (of course they did) and chilled to the bone, I climbed under the covers in bed. 


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