Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaBloPoMo

I just pledged myself to participate in National Blog Posting Month 2009 (NaBloPoMo), which means that I'll (try to) post something everyday for the whole month of November. I don't doubt that I can post something every day, but I can't promise it will be worth reading.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences: In which I remember a halloween past



I realize it is Friday, but bear with me. I just read this Slate article about people who love visiting graveyards and especially love taking pictures of tombs and uploading them to a website that is like Facebook for graveyards. These people are called gravers. Secretly, I wish I was one of these people. I love graveyards and one of my favorites is the one in San Luis, wherein can be found this large pyramid. On it is carved something like, "DO NOT DISTURB THE SLEEP OF DEATH" or something equally threatening. It has Masonic symbols all over it, which brings up the point that the Masons have the best graves. Hands down.

The Halloween of 2004, we were all just puttering around at Patrick and Peter's house, maybe 5 or 6 of us. I don't think we even really realized it was Halloween, just another weekend night with nothing much to do. I believe it was Peter who suggested we go over to the cemetery just to look around at the cool graves. We got in all my favorites: the headstone that's shaped like a tree stump, the Sinsheimers plot, the Jewish section, all the quirky Mason's graves and ended up sitting around the pyramid, talking. From the pyramid, you can see the drive-in screen, so I think we watched the silent movie for a while, or at least made up what the actors were saying.

Then, a police car pulled up. We all just looked up and watched as an officer got out and walked over. "Good evening, officer," Peter said in his pleasant way that he has.
"Well, you didn't scatter..." she began. It was only at that moment that I saw how it must've looked. Five or six college kids hanging around a graveyard at 11 o'clock on Halloween night. Who does that? And, it had seemed so normal up to that point.

I think we talked to the policewoman for a few minutes and then she left.

Not a particularly exciting Halloween edition of Tuesday Reminiscences, but seriously, how many modern people get to be buried inside their own pyramid? The Tucson cemetery is huge; it's several city blocks at least. Maybe we'll go over there one of these days and poke around.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I knew I was smart

Remember last June when I had a mental melt down about Cars? Turns out, I'm not the only one. The Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame had the exact same melt down. His was funnier and better written, but at least I'm on the same wavelength as the smartest person in America, trivially speaking.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally finished

I sewed 97% of the dress two weeks ago, but stalled when it came to the hem. I made it out of a low quality satin, and machine sewing it sort of ruined the fabric. It was fine for the 1-time seams, but I wanted to make the hem really big, so it could grow with her. Which meant I needed to hem it by hand. Which was boring and took a long time.


But it's done now. Isn't she cute?

In other news, I went to sleep last night at midnight. You heard that right- midnight. And I wasn't kept awake by a sick or screaming child. Get this: I just wasn't tired. Bizarre. See, I've had low iron all my life and I usually just deal with it by sleeping more. But, it was starting to get ridiculous. I couldn't even stay awake to put Lillian to bed at 8. I'd put Nora to bed at 7, then just sit down for a bit, but I couldn't get up off the couch to save my life, or even keep my eyes open. After missing family prayer for the bazillionth time, I broke down and bought some iron supplements and it's the craziest thing to have all this energy.

After we watched the Angel's lose last night, I looked at Tyler and said, "well what do you want to do now?" He was astonished.

In other other news, I'm training for the Sahuarita 8-mile Nut Run. I've never run 8 miles before, so this month of training should be interesting. I did 4.25 on Saturday and 4 this morning. My girls HATE the jogger stroller and start whining and complaining after about 15 minutes, so I'm not sure how going the longer distances is going to work. I have zero experience training for a run so I'm just making it up. I looked up a training plan for a 10K, and it suggested switching between long distances and short distances: 3, 4, 3, 5, 4, 6, 3, 4. Like that. Any other tips or ideas? Michelle, Bridget, I'm looking in your direction.

I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that my 4-year-old iPod's battery is just not what it used to be, and only holds a charge for about 5 songs. Maybe the iPod fairy will bring me a new one.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This never happens

Yesterday was the Green Valley Country Fair Parade. I'm always up for a good parade, so we decided to go. I knew about this parade because a week ago, I had received a flyer in the mail advertising it and announcing to me the existence of a local radio station, KGVY 1080, that would be broadcasting parade updates and news leading up to the broadcast of the actual parade. I noted the time and the parade route on my calendar.

As we were driving down to Green Valley, I tuned the radio to said station to get all the up-to-the-minute info on the parade action, and to see if there was a specific place we were supposed to park, or something. The first words we heard were, "And we still have 5 tickets to the U of A-UCLA game this afternoon, so call us at blah blah blah." Tyler pulled out his phone and dialed so fast.

Tyler and I had talked about buying tickets, but it wasn't in our budget. I had toyed with the idea of trying to win tickets earlier in the week. All the radio stations were giving them away, but it was always something tricky: like you had to listen for a certain song, or collect all the words of the day, and call in and be the 8th caller. I can't be bothered with that.

Then there we were. A guy on the local radio station that broadcasted to maybe 50,000 retirees just had tickets that he couldn't use, so he thought he'd offer them up on the air to whomever. AND WE GOT THEM.

Good: The parade was great. It even had the Shriners in their little cars, which Lillian thought was hilarious.

Bad: We sat near a utility box that had a beehive in it, so we were tormented for a good hour before we gave up our prime spots to move away from the bees.

Good: Our (only) friends were perfect to give the 2 extra tickets to.

Bad: They couldn't come... and in the height of our lameness, we couldn't find anyone else to give them to. Seriously.

Good: The game was good and fun and U of A fans are Very Enthusiastic.

Bad: Nora cried every time the U of A got a 1st down, or kicked off, or ran a play, or pretty much did anything.

Also bad: I just happened to be wearing a light blue shirt yesterday and didn't even consider it would look like I was supporting those fiendish Bruins. I didn't get very many dirty looks, but I made sure to be extra wary.

Good: We left during the 3rd quarter (bad: when our kids were freaking out) and the score was 27-13 Wildcats, which according to the internets, was the final score, so it seems we didn't miss much. And the U of A won.

Bonus discussion question: Why is Arizona's battle cry BEAR DOWN? Their mascot is the wildcat... and it is all over e v e r y t h i n g around campus (like the Bear Down Bike Path), so I'm 100% positive it had nothing to do with beating UCLA, who's mascot is the bruin, a bear. Also, did they consider how shouting BEAR DOWN would sound to uninitiated ears? How did such a phrase catch on?

Friday, October 23, 2009

What's a frittata with you?

I've started buying mass quantities of meat when it goes on sale. These 93% 2 lb chubs were on sale for $1.67 a pound a few weeks back, so I bought 4, cut them in half, and stuck them in the freezer. I pulled one out to make tacos a few days back, but when I went to actually use it, it was still frozen.


I looked in the fridge to see what else I could make and found these items: half an onion, 4 strips of bacon, and a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Seriously, this was all we had.

I was not dismayed, because this sounded like the makings of a delicious frittata.


Frittatas are like omelets in that you can put anything you want in them. They are not like omelets in that they are far easier to make, and much tastier, I think.


I usually use 8 eggs. Fry up what you want to fry, in my case that's bacon and half an onion, and then beat into the eggs everything you don't want to fry, like some sun-dried tomatoes.


Oh, lookie here. This will also do nicely.


Once your cooking ingredients are all cooked, pour the eggs over and prod them along with a spatula. Don't get too crazy, just kind of poke it around and try to get the bottom all cooked, but not cooked on top.

A variation that I did not do this time around, but is very delicious, is to take come stuffing and mix it up with some oil (or melted butter if you're feeling daring), then put it on top. It makes a nice crunchy crust.

Also, you could put some cheese on top, but I put cheese in it... so I opted out.

Then you broil the whole thing for 1 or 2 minutes. Just long enough to finish cooking it and brown the top a little bit.


Then you slide the whole thing out of the pan. Mmmmmmm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences: In which I remember being gappy but happy

It appears as if Nora is blessed with a diastema, or a gap between her front teeth. Of course, we can't be sure until all her teeth come in and get all settled, but for now, she's got a great one.

My dad has a diastema, and although my sister Anne told me the other day that she used to have one before she had braces, I have zero memory of this. Less than zero. And I don't really believer her because...


I was always a little irritated that out of 7 children, I was the only one who inherited it. Here's a picture of me on Halloween my sophomore year of high school, right before I got braces. I was teased mercilessly by my older brother about my diastema when I was very young, such that I didn't show my teeth in pictures for about 15 years. My friend Carlin (who is on the top of the picture) thought it was the coolest and wanted me to show off how I could fit my tongue through the gap.

Warning: gross picture to follow.


In order to fix the gap, I had to have a frenectomy. Your frenulum is the little piece of tissue that holds your lips onto your gums; you can feel it when you run your tongue up between your lip and your teeth. When my braces pushed my two front teeth together, my gum tissue got all bunched up and when they took my braces off, it would have just sprung back, so I had to have it taken out. I'm 100% positive that Anne did not have this procedure done, which furthers my theory that she did not have a gap.

When I pointed out to Tyler that Nora has a gap, he was a little irritated. I thought he was miffed that she has a physical "blemish" and that she might get teased about it. I assured him that it builds character and that she'd be a stronger person for it.

"No, that's not it. It's just that now we have to pay for her to have oral surgery to fix it."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple Annie's

A friend once called Tucson a barren wasteland. This is sort of true. But, they have farms in Willcox; farms like Apple Annie's, which we visited yesterday. You can see our (only) friends the Clarks in the upper left corner in the Maize Maze, where we lost Lillian for the most stressful 30 seconds of the day. The corn tub was by far the favorite attraction.


It was really really windy, which made these sunflowers sort of scary for the girls. It also picked up a nice layer of dust which coated us from head to toe.



They had a man handing out free samples of this kettle corn. What a scam: in the words of Homer Simpson, "Get us addicted, then jack up the price!" Whatever you do, don't click on this picture to make it bigger and see whatever weird thing I'm doing with my eye.



We also visited the apple orchard, but after waiting at least an hour in line for the BBQ, we were tapped out and just bought some pre-picked apples, which compared to See Canyon apples are just average. But, See Canyon apples are the best apples I've ever had in my whole life ever and are the stuff my dreams are made out of. So, my standards are probably a little high.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This is only a test

So, I have this here blog to chronicle my life and to let my far away family know how we're doing. Sometimes it morphs into a Seinfield-esque what-I-think-about-the-world sort of thing, but I have a hard time keeping that going. Maybe because I don't think a whole lot about the world these days because my brain is slowly turning to applesauce and oozing out my ears.

Anyway, the point is that it's time for a general update that will probably only be of interest to you if you actually know us.

Lillian. As you may remember, Lillian has a really small head which caused much concern and grief for her doctors and us as her parents for her first two years of life. She had blood work to test for a multitude of genetic disorders, x-rays, and a CT scan of her head. She was evaluated a few times by a pediatric neurologist who gave her a clean bill of health and told us we should follow up with another neurologist once we moved to Arizona if she had any delays. I don't think she has any delays, so I wasn't going to follow up. Apparently, the neurologist wrote in her notes that we should follow up with a specialist once Lillian turned 3, something our new pediatrician is interested in making happen. At this point, I see that it is better to be safe than sorry, but I just want this issue to die and be buried and not bother me anymore.

Also, Lillian's blood pressure is on the high end of normal. I wanted to tell the pediatrician what the doctor told me when I went in because my heart rate was 88 bpm at rest: the high end of normal is still normal. But, because we have a family history of kidney problems, he wants to check her out and make sure she doesn't have any issues. He ordered some blood work, "some urine tests," and an ultrasound of her kidneys. I briefly scanned the lab slip and saw that he wanted some routine tests done, put it in my purse and didn't think of it again. So I was surprised when the man behind the desk at the lab informed me that the MD ordered a 24-hour urine collection. Is he nuts? Has he met Lillian? Or any 3-year-old for that matter? I get that a 24-hour test would give you a really accurate picture of how your kidneys are doing, but pretty much, yeah right.

The blood draw went fine. She was more freaked out about being held down than the actual needle. Now she won't let me take off the band-aid.

Nora. Nora is very large. I just bought her some 3T pants and hemmed them because no other baby is her size. Some of that is the cloth diapers, but she's still r e a l l y big. But happy, and has 6 teeth.

Tyler. There was some concern over Tyler's company. They are subcontractors for a larger aerospace company who subcontracts for NASA. In July, the larger company did an audit that didn't go so well, and things looked shaky for a bit. But, his company has since passed two audits and is still hiring new people, so it looks like he's in the clear.

Me. My efforts to find a job (largely spurred by the uncertainty brought on by the failed audit) continue to yield little to no results. It's lame, and I hate it.


In creepy-crawly news, I found this guy in our orange tree. At first I thought it was bird poop.


Then I realized it was some sort of caterpillar. All I know was that it gave me the hee-be-da-jee-bies.


I made Tyler knock it off and throw it over the fence.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences

Tuesday Reminiscences is suspended this week on account of I can't stop reading this book. I told Lillian I could be her mom again in approximately 150 pages.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boredom

video

Circus Time

I'm not sure why, or how, but one of the moms at Lillian's preschool had a whole bunch of coupons to go to the circus. She gave us two free kids and a buy one, get one free adult. We'd never been to the circus before and it sounded almost free, so we gave it a go.


I thought it was pretty fun, the circus part and spending time with my South Tucson neighbors, whom I don't see very often, except on the bus.

There were lions and tigers. I explained to Lillian that there was a boy lion on top, and then a girl lion next to him, which lions then became 'Daddy' and 'Mom.' The other tigers became 'Lillian' and 'Nora.'

Our kids were pretty squirly, so we didn't get any good pictures of the aerialists, jugglers, the contortionist, the elephants, the Amazing Peruvian on the Circle of Destiny (which was my favorite part by far), the lame clown, or the BMX stunt biker.


Tyler did manage to capture this gem on the pretense of taking a picture of the bear (which is obscured by the ringmaster). Remember I said we got to spend time with our South Tucson neighbors?

It's kind of hard to read. The first word is Trust. As he was there with a woman and was holding a very small baby, it appears that he's not taking his own advice.




video

Also, we found a new life's ambition for Tristan and Jack. They made an announcement that we weren't supposed to take any movies, so I chided Tyler good naturedly when I saw he was taking video. Then, I was disappointed that he didn't get the 3 bikers, because that was cool.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Please pray for Della

I have a niece named Della Belle.


She is sweet and beautiful.


And, right now, she is very sick.Chronologically , she is just a few months younger than Lillian, but developmentally, she's about a year old. She can't talk, she can only walk with a walker and braces. She also has low muscle tone that makes it hard for her to clear her secretions. Yesterday, she came down with a fever that got worse and worse. My sister-in-law took her to urgent care where they confirmed she had swine flu.

She has swine flu, but is unable to cough, or sniff, or clear her throat. She is very sick. Please say a prayer for her.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences: In which Tyler explores what we all know

video


My friend Emily came over and asked me how to use iMovie. By way of demonstration, I poked around on the computer and found two raw clips and made this little movie.

It's not that great, and I'll understand if you never read this blog again because the movie was so lame, but it has one part that I think is really funny.

We took this trip in March of 2008. We went to DC for a week and then drove up to Boston for a week. During these weeks we saw a lot of historical sites. I planned most of the trip, so I knew all about the historical significance of our stops.

After visiting a few sites, we settled into a regular routine: we would arrive and look around for 5 or 10 minutes, then Tyler would say something like, "so, what was the Boston Tea Party?" Or whatever it was. Let's just say history is not his strong suit.

We decided to visit Concord the last day of our trip. It was ridiculously cold; it was the same 32˚ that it was in Boston proper, but for whatever trick of humidity it felt at least 10 degrees colder. We stopped at the tourism office to get a map and the old ladies told Tyler that he just had to stop at the Old North Bridge. As we were driving there, Tyler asked why we would want to see a bridge and I told him it's because that's where The Shot Heard 'Round The World happened. Blank stare. Then he said what had become sort of a catch phrase for him on that trip, "Just pretend I don't know anything about history, or the Revolutionary War."

I explained it all to him in the car, which is why he makes the "everybody knows that" comment. I had explained a lot of things on this trip, but I think him not knowing what the Shot Heard 'Round The World was shocked me a little bit.

And for the record, Tyler is very smart when it comes to math, science, engineering, problem solving, and finding his way around unfamiliar places. If I'd gone to Boston by myself, I'd probably still be lost to this day.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Well, I don't really want you to die.

We didn't have TV until we moved to Tucson. In SLO, I think we got a fuzzy NBC; and in one apartment, we got PBS, but that's it. Then, we graduated and Tyler got a real job and we ordered cable. A luxury such as that I had not known in a long time. At first, I spent hours watching What Not To Wear and Trauma, Life in the ER. I watched a few episodes of various baby and birthing shows, but the ones where the babies/mothers had negative outcomes made me upset, so Tyler banned them from our house.

After a few months, we realized that cable TV is expensive. Very expensive. And our TV watching sort of petered out anyway. When we moved to Sahuarita, we got basic cable. I looked it up, and it was $21.95 a month for 20 channels.

Me: I'd like basic cable.
Cox guy: OK, that will be $50 a month for 80 channels.
Me: No, I'd like BASIC cable.
CG: (incredulous) Like... the one where you only get 20 channels....? (Like no one in their right mind would do something like that. Only 20 channels? A person will go crazy with so few options).

So, that's what we had. Then, that $21.95 a month started feeling like a lot. Especially after we added our car payment and extra insurance.

This is what Tyler is doing outside as I type. With the antenna, we get NBC, CBS, FOX, 5 different PBS stations (one of which is in Spanish and a kids PBS, which is brilliant), various Telemundo stations, and the Tucson channel. Which is almost as many as we were getting with basic cable.

Antenna: $100
Mount, grounding wire, and various odds and ends: $20
New drill bit to drill into our bedroom closet: $10
Ladder rental: $20

Sticking it to the man: Priceless.

Also, I asked Tyler if he felt handy, completing his first major home improvement project on his first house. He was up on the ladder when I asked and he answered, "Not right now. I actually kind of feel like I'm going to die."

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Fan Fort

Last night, we watched a family of kids from our ward. They left about 7 o'clock. I had Nora in the bath and forced Lillian to get in with her. Out by 7:20, Nora's in bed by 7:30. Exactly one half hour until Lillian was supposed to start her bedtime routine, which was already half over because she took her bath early.


Enter a fan tent. When I was growing up, we had a much more powerful fan which supported a much bigger sheet. Last night though, this was all we had to work with. Also, we do not own a set of encyclopedias which absence I've never felt until last night when I was trying to secure the sheet with the Twilight and Harry Potter books. Lillian enjoyed it but it made me claustrophobic. Maybe if we get a bigger fan I can do it again.

Friday, October 02, 2009

She's Crafty

These are the aprons I made for my friend's little girls. I made them out of a dishtowel set and bias tape.

I know, they're super cute.

Also, I took Nora to the doctor for her 9 month check up.

Length: 30 in (99th+ percentile)
Weight: 25 lbs 4 oz (99th+ percentile)

They didn't write her head circumference on my paper, probably because I don't think they did it. Oh well. It's probably big too.

As the doctor was wrapping up the visit he asked if I had any questions and I asked him if he was concerned at all at how big she is. He looked at her as she crawled around on the floor and said he didn't think she was particularly large. Um, what? She's wearing the shirt her 3 year old cousin grew out of last week. He flipped open the chart and said, "Oh, she's 9 months old!? Yeah, she is big."

He said if I was really concerned about it, I could wean her, or at least cut down breastfeeding her. I told him I wasn't going to do that because (I didn't say all of this to the doctor, but this is my reasoning) if she's just big because she's breastfeeding, then she's big because she's supposed to be that big... like, she's hungry because she's got a whole lotta growing to do. But, if she's big because she's got some sort of glandular problem, cutting out breastmilk isn't going to fix that.

He said we'd just wait and if she continues to be gigantic, he'll order some blood work.

Also, Lillian had her 3-year appt as well and her blood pressure was high, so I have to take her back. I tried to tell the doctor that her blood pressure was high because they took it right after they gave her a shot which FREAKED HER OUT, but he wants us to come back in 2 weeks just to make sure.
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