Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Eli decided to celebrate his birthday by vomiting and running a low fever. The canoe turned out to not be so easy to tightly attach to the Suburban - I made it to Mom & Dad's, but averaged 45 mph because the canoe was wiggling and it scared me half to death. This morning Dad was checking the car over and decided that my tire treads are too low and advised me to replace the tires. So since Eli was sick anyway, I'm having a layover day at Mom & Pop's while I pay way too much money for new tires. The silver lining is that yesterday my mother-in-law slipped me some money to help with the trip expenses, and it will almost completely cover the cost of the new tires.

Dad also drilled some holes in my front bumper and installed some eye bolts so we could attach the canoe more securely. We went to a pick-a-part junkyard this morning to see if we could find a roof rack for the 'burb, but no luck. So we're back to strapping it to the front and back of the car and using cut-up foam pool noodles to keep it from scratching the heck out of the paint. When we're all packed up and ready to go, I'll be sure to take a picture, just to treat you to my pure white-trashery.

And Susan, if you wanna go next year, I'll take you. Seriously.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On the Road Again

There is a 17' aluminum canoe strapped to the top of my rusty Suburban. Inside that Suburban, there are duffel bags, a tent, and all manner of vaguely essential supplies - sewing accessories, quality cookware (the pans at the cabin are mostly pathetic), cookbooks (to replace the disintegrating 1950's era Betty Crocker), kids books, maps, and who knows what all else. Oh yes, a potty chair. My life exudes glamour from every pore.

I feel terrified. This is a long way to drive with just the boys. We have no internet at the cabin, but hopefully I'll be able to post from the library and let anybody who cares know that we made it alive.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Adios, kindergarten!

I am mildly stunned by the end of school. Go ahead and insert your own cliches about how quickly time passes. Considering how mortally afraid I was of sending Paul to school (my public school years were not happy ones), Kinder went miraculously well. Because of the consistency and patience that I am unable to provide to my children, school has helped Paul to progress by astonishing measures. I always knew he was good at math, he understood it intuitively, but school helped him to recognize mathematical notations and writing standards. He struggled for a long time with reading, but then it was like the switch was thrown and now he reads everything he sees.

I am still feeling stunned. I have a child who is transforming from being a little animal that I have to take care of 24/7, into a remarkably human creature who is suddenly able to do and figure out a lot of things on his own. He's astonishing. I just need to keep trying to be the kind of mother who deserves such a wonderful child.

Senor Wright and Senora Hernandez (i still haven't figured out how to add tildes to the n's) did a fantastic job. I do not believe that kindergarten could be any more idyllic than Paul's experience was. And he's getting less and less shy about using Spanish with me. I need to start really boning up on my vocabulary (and practicing my past tenses), so I can keep up with him and not teach him bad grammar this summer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Montana, here I come

I have less than two weeks before I leave for Montana. My departure date is not set in stone; my only requirement is that I have to be in Missoula on July 4th so I can pick Dan up at the airport.

Two weeks! I'll have to take my sewing machine with me. My house is not in order. My vegetable garden is not where I want it to be. I'll have to hire some kid to come water it and feed the cats while Dan is not home. And yo add insult to it all, the Times just ran this article on no-dig, minimal-water vegetable gardening! I want to try it incredibly badly, but I have to ask "Why couldn't they have runt his article two months ago?" I have been laboriously digging up hardpan, completely neglected dirt, and all along I could have been doing this no-dig stuff instead? All I can do is sigh. the time and labor I've wasted... now I just need to find out where I can buy straw.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

sewing, sewing, sewing

When a friend calls and says "You haven't updated your blog," I guess that's a sign.

Allyne is gone, she flew back to AZ on Tuesday. We had a delightful time in Little Tokyo. Stephen joined us for the day and Daniel took the train to meet us for dinner. We got some cool sushi erasers (they'll be in Paul's Christmas stocking, shh!), checked out the sort-of rooftop garden at the New Otani Hotel, and Allyne also bought a manga and a couple of Japanese CD's at Kinokuniya. We walked over to Union Station to retrieve Dan, then got on the waiting list for Daikokuya, which is an extremely popular ramen joint. Bear in mind that actual Japanese ramen bears no resemblance to Top Ramen. There are noodles and broth, but that pretty much ends the similarities. The Daikokuya ramen was outstanding, but the place was possibly as hot as Hell and we gulped down much cold water - I rubbed an ice cube all over my neck, which everybody laughed at but worked like a charm to cool me down.

Magic Mountain was a test of my patience and love. Dan and Allyne claimed to have had a good time, and I must take my satisfaction from that. Sunday I had even more cousins in town, so we hung out at my parents' house for a few hours with lots of relatives and got to attend my old church ward. Lots of history with those people - not always good history, but it's my past and I own it now.

And the title of today's entry? I am sewing a mockup of our new family backpacking tent. It's basically a copy of this tent. The 8-panel monstrosity I sewed five years ago is still functional (you can see it in this picture), but it's a crude design and crudely executed, and I'd like some more space than it provides. The new tent requires 17 yards of fabric, so luckily I have been hoarding $1 a yard nylon ripstop from WalMart, which keeps the expense of the mockup at a minimum (thank you Christine for scoring a 12+ yard piece for me!). It's tempting to just use the mockup for a while, as siliconized ripstop is upwards of $5 a yard these days. We'll see how well it turns out. The three seams are VERY long, and they are flat-felled, which means I am sewing each one twice. Looooooong seams are tedium personified.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Allyne is here

So my first-cousin-once-removed Allyne is here. So far it has been sedate - yesterday we took her to famous Crystal Cove to see the beach cottages. We saw dolphins playing in the surf and got shakes at the Shake Shack. She shares my love of Japan, so today we are going into LA to see Little Tokyo, and she will almost certainly buy some manga and little Japanese goodies. Saturday Dan and I are taking her to Magic Mountain, as she and Dan share a love of hideous roller coasters. I may survive, but if you never hear from me again, I have died a horrible death from vomiting.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

old loves

I have been married for over thirteen years now. I am thirty-three and much of the angst and emotional freewheeling of my young adulthood is settled and controlled (I'm still a basket case, just a slightly better-controlled basket case). And yet nothing has the ability to bring back the memories of that time like reminders of old boyfriends - or guys I wanted to be my boyfriends but were 100% not interested in me. In the past few months, I have seen one ex-boyfriend in person, and a photograph of possibly the most painful unrequited crush I ever had.

To see the ex after thirteen years was shocking. Gads, he was handsome - a clever, winking, potential heart-breaker. It was a first-sight type thing for both of us and we dated for over a year. I sabotaged it, as I was prone to doing at that time in my life. We both said and didn't say important things, broke up and got back together, broke up and got together, and then I re-met Daniel and I had to nail the coffin shut. Even though I did everything as honorably as I could, I always felt lingering guilt. Daniel and I got engaged very quickly (we only dated for two weeks) and I always felt like that looked bad. See, old emotions come back so quickly. I ended up dropping in at a church activity for the ward he's in now and saw him there. I don't know that he saw me; I made no effort to talk to him.

And then there was the crush. Oh, the crush. I finally understood why it was called a crush, as I was crushed by it. There were several instances in my dating years when I was really pathetic (oh, Trisha, remember Mr. Limpett?), but this was only mildly pathetic, as Mr. SuperCrush was very kind to me. My friends and I had a code name for him - Sam Brown - as we saw him all the time at the Institute of Religion at Mt. SAC and couldn't very well discuss him by his real name. It was one of those impossible matches that you see in the movies, but this was real life. Oh, Sam. He was about as Mormon as Mormon could get - wanted ten kids, avoided caffeinated drinks, thought PG movies were too racy, no style. I was an 18-year-old purple-haired anarchist Mormon, prone to internal spiritual philosophizing, full of justifications and limit-pushing (BYU's rejection of me was probably one of their better choices - for starters, my essay was hideous). But gads, I wanted him to like me. He was so darned nice, and so darned happy, and just radiated goodness. I was a moth to his flame. I made a few very tentative attempts to go on group dates with him, but whether by fate or by his tactful awareness they never quite happened. He's married now, with seven or so kids. I'm sure he's an awesome Dad.

Now for the gooey part. I'm glad for all of these experiences, because they led me to Dan. Only a man of his monumental patience could put up with me. And we have two rockin' kids and are still open to adding more through foster care (if we can ever get into a 4-bedroom house without bankrupting ourselves). And he's secretly as crazy as me and lets me talk him into loony schemes like flying to Phoenix to buy a rusty old Suburban to run on vegetable oil, and someday escaping to the country to build a house out of straw bales, and our plan to raft the entire length of the Grand Canyon as a family, and to let the kids learn Spanish and Mandarin when they're young and not go the traditional compulsory education route... and i think that's enough sap. My point is that it's awesome to look back at past phases and not feel any regrets, to feel that everything shook out for the best. To be very content with how everything has gone so far.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


We canceled cable. It was getting ridiculously expensive, and with the cost of gasoline and groceries going up all the time, it didn't seem like a worthwhile expense. I only watched about three channels, anyway - Bravo for Project Runway, HGTV for home design porn, and Family for Gimore Girls re-runs (got addicted).

The first week or so, I admit I was drawn to the TV several times before I remembered "Oh yeah, no cable." I wanted to know what happened with crazy Lorelie and hopeless Rory Gilmore! I wanted Mission Organization on in the background while I pretended to clean the house!

But now the darndest thing has happened. Aside from my internet time-wasting (no really! I'm researching Real Estate & Financial news!), I seem to be getting more done. Don't get me wrong, the big stupid picture box still sucks up some of our time - we subscribed to Netflix.

So now I need to assemble a killer list of movies I want to see. Got any suggestions? I want classics and oldies mostly (like the 1952 Moulin Rouge), although I can be persuaded towards more modern fare - Persepolis is on my must-see list. I can't go by the modern Oscar-winners; I haven't been able to trust them since Fargo won Best Picture. And I wonder if the boys will enjoy old silliness like Laurel & Hardy and some of the more fast-moving Harold Lloyd silents.

What should I see, now that I can see almost anything I want?