Thursday, May 29, 2008


stands for San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. We went on a very short backpacking trip there over Memorial Day weekend. You can see the pictures here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Other Man

Friday, Stephen surprised me by calling to say he had the day off and was coming down to hang out with me. Of course i was thrilled, but also a little concerned, as the life of a full-time mom can be a little un-stimulating for a young single dude. He came down and since it was easily 100 degrees outside we mostly stayed in and talked, with a brief visit to Del Taco to help the boys release some energy by climbing on something other than Stephen. His critical mistake was agreeing to read a book to them (Dr. Seuss' What Was I Afraid Of?).

Dan was off on a Scout trip, so i booked our regular babysitter (the wonderful Melissa) and Stephen and i went out on a date. I knew that Dan would be super jealous when he found out, but only because he had to be in the mountains with his spoiled Scouts and not out having fun with us. Because south Orange County suffers from a lack of cultural institutions, downtowns, dance clubs and music venues, we ended up where Dan and i always end up - the Irvine Spectrum. Gads, i am boring. But we had fun and people-watched (although i did not see that unusual teenager who looks like a cross between Beetlejuice, Bob Dylan and Dr. Who) and Stephen at at Chipotle for the first time. I did not get to experience Pinkberry, however, because our burritos were much too big for our stomachs.

it was awesome fun because Stephen makes it that way. but i think i'm going to have to break down and read that awful rag, the OC Weekly, to see if there is anything slightly less slick and corporate and structured to do here in south county. i know i'm a homebody right now, but even to me this place just seems like a cultural wasteland.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happier Post

Mother's Day was great. The Primary kids sang in Sacrament Meeting, church went well, and afterward we went to the beach to watch the sun set. I've tried to make it a bit of a tradition to go to the beach on Mother's Day, as I think May is possibly the most beautiful month we have here in soCal. The jacarandas are in bloom, flowers are lush, we get the May Gray, the days are longer and longer but the summer heat is still far away. I took pictures, but since Dan installed a new operating system on my computer I don't have the easy easy easy Microsoft photo editing program I was accustomed to using. All I want to do is crop and resize, but all the free programs are complicated. I don't have time to learn new programs! Waahhh!

We're making progress with converting the Suburban to run on vegetable oil. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and I'm finding that I have to ask very specific questions in order to get the info I need. Still no clue if I'll be driving to Montana on soybean oil this summer.

Next month Allyne, my first cousin once removed, will be flying out to CA to stay with us for a week. She is the daughter of my cousin Don - who is moving to Suzhou, China with his entire family. Making an international move sounds to be about 100x more difficult than moving locally. I have never had to move more than 40 miles (yes, I've lived a very small life). Allyne is 15 years old and I want to make sure she has fun, although Don assures me that allowing her to sleep late in the morning will be a great vacation in and of itself. we are definitely taking the Metrolink into LA, and depending on the museum exhibits we may take it down to San Diego as well. I'll happily pull Paul out of school, as he's doing great and can handle the disruption. Any other ideas for cool things for a smart, really non-snotty 15-year-old girl about to move to China?

Paul's Spanish is amazing. He's also been forcing me to resurrect my dormant Spanish, in order to help him with homework, and I've conducted two conversations entirely in Spanish this week - real conversations. There were a couple of times that I had to confess I didn't understand what I was being told, but everybody tends to be very forgiving about that, as it's obvious Spanish is my distant second language.

Eli and I are going through a rough patch, fighting a lot. I have to struggle to remember that I am the grownup and need to act like it. We just seem to be made to butt heads with each other.

Hashimoto's Disease

OK, i don't want this to turn into Sick Woman Blog, but Cynthia asked (where is everybody, by the way?) and I may as well get this over with. I have Hashimoto's Disease. Basically, my immune system has decided that my thyroid must die, so my thyroid is wasting its resources fighting with my white blood cells and is NOT doing its day job (regulating the metabolism and producing hormones) very well. Normal thyroid antibody levels are under 30, mine are around 975. Now that this has been noticed, I need to see an endocrinologist. On July 28th. Aaargh.

For years, I have blamed my fatigue and persistent memory problems on children and the fact that I'm stupid. Now I have a disease to blame it all on, which is very convenient. "But I'm a sick woman!" will soon become my go-to whine. It's awesome! I can blame my acne, my incorrigible hair, my arthritis-like symptoms, my fuzzy mental state and my laziness on my malfunctioning immune system and resultant screwed-up hormones and metabolism! If you can find a way to develop an incurable autoimmune disorder, you should get cracking on it.

In all seriousness, I'm both unhappy and mildly relieved by this diagnosis. If it had gone on unnoticed, I could have ended up with an enlarged heart and all sorts of other nastiness. I really never knew there was anything wrong with me except that I didn't seem to function as well as everybody else, and when you combine that with my lifelong self-hatred it was just natural to assume that I was becoming even more worthless as I aged. Phew! Now I just wait and hope that I haven't had this for years and years and have already developed an oversized heart. Fun. My next post will be sunnier, I promise.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


This was originally a post whining about a delay in seeing a medical specialist, but my pity party passed and now i'm back to regular life.

Starting a new garden bed is much, much more work than i had estimated. i have been hauling dirt over from a neighbor's yard (with their blessing of course) and it is pretty back-breaking work. I laid down a tarp in the back of the Suburban and shoveled so much dirt in that the back end of the 'burb sags. Then i wheelbarrow it into the side yard, where my 30-foot by 8-foot strip of dirt is. We also have a small strip of dirt along the southeast-facing wall of the house and i have decided to put trellises there and grow beans, to shade that side of the house and try to keep summer temperatures down.

I've been saving gallon milk jugs for my poor man's drip irrigation system, and have even enlisted the Relief Society to save more for me, since we don't drink that much milk. I thought i had come up with the milk jug idea myself, adapted from a soil-saturation test in one of my gardening books, but it turns out i may have seen it before and subconsciously stored it. If you look at the bottom of this PDF, you'll see a brief description of what i'm doing, titled "Try This: Drip Irrigation for Garden Plants." I also found this very cool site showing the use of unglazed Mexican ollas for slow-release irrigation. very cool. i will probably cover the jugs with little foil tents to protect them from UV damage and keep the water from getting too hot.

Paul's birthday went well, very well. I found babysitting for Eli and so Dan and I were able to take him to Dizzyland and we had an awful lot of fun. The cultural snob in me says "You should have taken him to the symphony instead!" Paul would have enjoyed that too (and it would have been cheaper!) but I have to admit we had a great time.

It's hard to believe that my 3 lb 14 oz preemie is such a big, real human being now. I think about how horrible it would have been for Dan if we had died and I'm struck down with awe and humility. The arrival of any child is a moment of force and great impact, but even now six years after it all happened, the memories bring me to tears. It was such a horrible time and so much goodness and wonder came of it. Thank you a million times beyond measure to everyone who rallied around us, and everybody who would have rallied around us if you had been able to. I can't go on; I'm overcome.