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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

been a long time, on a crooked road

A video I just watched of Tipsy making a sandwich has made me curious. Please do the poll on the sidebar, or I may die. Of curiosity, like the cat.

regina coeli laetare

Well, yesterday was the first day of school and I already feel like I'm on a freight train hurtling along the tracks with all of the wheels coming off, so that's pretty neat. I need my kids to grow up just so I don't die of a coronary.

Why has no one invented a seamless sock yet? All my socks have a little seam end right on the fattest part of my little toe, and it gets squishy and painful. I wish I were a sock magnate, and I would right this terrible wrong.

Last night we went bowling for family home evening. There was another family in the lane next to us (copycats!), and the dad was one of Those Guys. He brought two or three of his own balls, had his own bowling shoes and a fancy wrist guard thing, and was all intense when he bowled, spinning the ball and whatnot. He berated his kids about their "approach," and generally was a big dummy--and the thing is, he stunk! Willa, a four-year-old, out-bowled him. She out-bowled me, too, so there's that.

The baby goats hate their worm medicine. Why don't they understand that it's tasty? I thought they were herd animals, so why don't they follow the examples of Traci and Hazel, and stomp all over each other trying to get more than their fair share?

I think it might still be too hot for soup, which is a bummer. I found a recipe for a pumpkin, barley and sage soup that I really want to try. I guess I'll make it anyway, and we'll sweat and be happy about it.

Why does lunch meat smell like farts?

Peach season report:
Redhaven, Regina and Glohaven are all on right now. Go buy some! I haven't had any of this season's Glohavens yet, but I've had Redhaven and Regina. My pick is Regina, only because the Redhavens stick to their pits just a little bit.

Friday, August 26, 2011

how I came to have a blood feud with justin boots, part the second, OR product may not stay: justin L9909 boots, or any other justin boots ever again

So I bought those stupid Justin boots and started wearing them, and right away I was a little miffed. The color was a little too red for me (like a sorrel horse-boo!), and they looked kind of cheap, and after I wore them the first day they were kind of itchy in the back of the shaft. But soon it was summer, and I don't wear boots very much in the summer, cowboy or otherwise. Then last night I put them on to wear to the rodeo, because who wants their sandals to get all dusty and poopy while they're watching steers get their heads twisted clean off? And they were so itchy in the shaft that I took them off to see what was going on. Well, inside the back of the shaft, sewn in there in a misguided attempt to add strength, is a piece of plastic that has cracked and is flaking off in sharp little shards. Absolutely unacceptable. This is why I buy leather shoes! So to have a boot that SAID it had a leather upper pull a fast one on me with a cheap little hunk of plastic digging into the back of my leg? WHAT THE CRAP IS GOING ON? If I'm going to live in the first world, I'm at least going to have decent shoes.

So I called Justin this morning, and straight out of the gate I knew it was going to be bad. The girl who answered the phone was sullen, she had no apology about the boots giving out on me after a mere five months, she said they don't ever take boots back and that I had to go through the retailer, and that was it, even though I politely voiced my opinion that it was a craftsmanship issue and therefore not the retailer's problem. Whatevs. Would it have killed her to say, "Oh, we're so sorry. That shouldn't have happened. Give the retailer a call and let me know if you have any trouble." But instead she lost me as a customer forever and ever, and gained instead a foe who makes up for her lack of actual power and influence with rabid vociferousness and intensity.

I called Zappos in annoyance, and they took the horrible turd sandwich that Justin had just given me, and they threw it away and washed their hands, and they said, "We're so sorry about that turd sandwich those mean people gave you. Here, have this bowl of juicy, perfect, sun-ripened peaches instead, and while we're here, let's print out a return label for those nasty boots and give you expedited shipping FOREVERMORE." They are wonderful, those Zappos people, and I am buying some replacement/rebound boots from them tonight. And they're probably going to be twice as expensive and have a big old gaudy shaft, and they will not be Justins.

Justin boots. Product may not stay.

how I came to have a blood feud with justin boots, part the first

I have a lot to say today, or at least I did when I was sitting in the bandstand at the county fair with my children. It was probably some really moving stuff about home and roots and the dignity of honest labor, but I've forgotten it all now.

What I do remember is my new blood feud with Justin boots. Do you sometimes wonder how I have the energy to sustain all these blood feuds? Me too. It's a lot of work, and sometimes I have to let other things slide, like mopping the floor or serving those who are less fortunate. But it is important enough to me that I'm willing to sacrifice--because I honor my commitments. I'm sorry, it's just the way I was raised.

So, here's the thing. I have not worn cowboy boots that much in my life. I grew up in the country and have attended many a rodeo, and I dig the Western mystique and all that, but it must be admitted that there is a lot of embarrassing ugliness to be found therein. Country music, on the whole, has gone to a very bad place where they celebrate ignorance and xenophobia and carousing and loose morals and general redneckery. Of course they're singing "Sweet Home Alabama" all summer long. Durfs. Pukes are pukes, and being American does not bestow dignity upon undignified behavior.

Also once I wore my pearl-button shirt and boots (with spurs, which makes my blood run cold to remember) to elementary school and was serenaded all day long by one of the boys in my class with the chorus of "Rhinestone Cowboy." I don't think he was really trying to call me a poseur, and I'd be willing to bet that I'd spent a fair amount more time on a horse than at least half of the kids in my class, but because I actually knew what the term "rhinestone cowboy" meant, it was that much more devastating--that someone might think I was all hat and no cattle! That, combined with my growing awareness of the ookiness of the typical cowboy boot wearer . . . exit cowboy boots for a couple of decades.

But then six years ago I had to replace a pair of Chelsea boots I'd worn out, and I was in Smith and Edwards, and there was a pair of Fatbaby boots, and I did have livestock now, and I needed something practical for wearing in mud and snow and poop, and the price was right, and I was weak, and I found myself buying my own pair of cowboy boots for the first time in my life. There was a little shame at first, until I reflected on the practicality of my choice, because I do live in a mucky place, I do own both chickens and goats, and besides, I'll wear what I want, thanks.

So my first pair of boots were Ariats. Here's what I said before, and I'll say it again. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. And that first pair lasted me five years. But finally the tread wore out and I had to replace them, and I thought I'd try out the Justin L9909s, because they were the same shape, looked to be of similar decent-but-not-investment quality, and they were ten dollars cheaper. This was in March of this year, as in five months ago.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

there's a lot about me you don't know

I didn't realize this, but apparently goats can unhinge their shoulders to get through tiny spaces. At least my goats can. I blame Lovely Rita, who has led them all into misbehavior, and now they all squeeze between the fence panels and the gate, a space that is only five inches wide at the most. I've always heard that a fence that won't hold water won't hold goats, and it seems to be true. Jerks.

Yesterday was the receiving of exhibits at the county fair. It was a sad year for us. Ike entered a pathetic little handful of cherry tomatoes of different sizes and stages of ripeness. I entered some wonky cinnamon gumdrops and the ugliest loaf of bread in the history of baking. Grant entered some beautiful oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that he made entirely by himself, except for some words of wisdom from me about "you need to soften the butter" and "are you sure that's all the flour?" He did a great job and alone among us deserves a blue ribbon. My mom entered a harvest basket that is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, full of squash and crimson long beans and onions and tomatoes--it's breathtaking. The kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement and we had to keep tracking them down to ensure that they weren't being abducted by the carnies, who from their appearances are all pervs and druggies. Ike went into the small animal exhibit and wants a pet rabbit now, because he has this idea that rabbits aren't stupid and boring. Wrong!

Yesterday was also back to school night at our elementary school, which felt a bit like being pummeled for two hours. It was hideously hot in the gym, and the line of parents stretched out forever, and I have no idea what I'm doing. Next year when I have to be the PTA president is going to be a real treat for everyone, I'm sure. Emmett and Ike have teachers who look like they're going to be great. I've applied for Emmett to be in the gifted and talented program so whenever I am around other parents I can sigh dramatically and declaim how difficult it is having a gifted child. I'm worried about Willa in preschool--I think she might be terrible. I hope Mrs. Jones survives. Grant is in my mom's class, which should be a thrilling adventure. Smart, hard-working kids always love my mom, so as long as Grant brings his A game he will have a great time.

I want to wallpaper our back hall with atlas pages and light it with an antler chandelier painted a crazy color. John thinks I'm nuts, but really I'm a genius.

The children are building a Lego chess set. They do this every few months or so, and they get all excited about it until they figure out that once they move the pieces they have no idea which are knights and which are rooks and pawns, etc.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

stop this beat is killing me

I don't need season passes to a waterpark again for a while. In case you were wondering.

One of my most favorite parts about being a mom is storytime. I'm sure all of you do it as well, unless you're negligent parents who should of course be jailed . . . you aren't, are you? On really hard mom days storytime might be the only positive interaction we have, which makes it that much more important. Like the church folks say, it's the time when you least feel like praying that you most need to do it.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that if you don't currently do storytime, I think you should give it a whirl and see how it works for you. It's wonderful to cuddle up together on the couch and fill everybody's brains with sweet, juicy knowledge. It's also an opportunity for indoctrinating your children with your worldview in a format that they find palatable.

I need to make some more goat wormer, but this last session of swimming lessons--eight o'clock in the morning, can you imagine?--has eaten us alive, and goat wormballing has fallen by the wayside next to bread baking and meal cooking. Since I've never seen evidence of worms in their poop I don't know that they need it, but the internets tell me that all goats have at least some worms. Hmm. Seems gross to me.

This is what I wonder about skunks: do they have a constant supply of stink? Like, in a little stink bladder? What happens if they blow the wad on a dog or something? Can they blow the wad, or does it come out in doses? If they can blow the wad, how long does it take them to fill the reservoir again? I think these questions could be answered by a book on mustelids (which family includes both wolverines and badgers, and did you know that wolverines are bigger than badgers?), or Wikipedia. If I remember, I will tell you what I find out. If you find out first or already know, then you tell me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

everything he says is true

Dear readers, I want you to know that I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This has been the best movie summer of my entire life, I think.

To celebrate my enjoyment of super-intelligent apes, and the ethical quandaries they present, I want to share something wonderful with you. I'm afraid I might have already shown it to you, but I think that quality cinema deserves repeated viewings. It is this (if you are a shelter-y mom like me, be warned that there are some swears):

I would say it's some of Dave Foley's finest work, but like anyone can even know that, Napoleon. It's like trying to choose your favorite child.

Friday, August 12, 2011

is there nothing I can take to relieve this bellyache

I was worried at first that maybe Hellboy ate the cats, but I'm relieved to know that is not the case.

Whenever I see a bald guy with a beard wearing Transitions lenses I assume he's a pervert.

Those wire cage thingies at the bottom of cold pack canners are dumb. They're hard to use, and they just make the jars sit funny. Spend the two bucks and buy a jar lifter.

I made pickles by myself for the first time today. I have always scrounged off my mom before, but today I took the leap. The kids helped stuff the jars and put dill and garlic in them. If they turn out crappy I'm blaming the kids.

My sister Claire is coming home to visit next week, and I asked her to bring me some of that Trader Joe's O-shaped pasta, because I love funky shapes of pasta, and her Trader Joe's doesn't have them! What a rip. In New York last year when Claire and I went to the Chelsea Market I bought some mushroom-shaped pasta at Buon Italia that was the cutest thing you could ever hope to see.

There are people out there who make me wonder how they do it all--garden, preserve, homeschool, clean the house, parent kindly and patiently--and then I remember that they aren't funny. They're so freaking earnest and starry-eyed they make me want to barf. My sense of humor has cost me a lot, mainly meaningful relationships with people who would have a softening effect on my caustic personality.

I saw one of those idiotic copy-paste pledges on Facebook a while ago that was lecturing us to not take other people's rights away if we don't want our own taken away, and as an example it used, "Don't like pornography? Don't watch it." Right. Because aside from the fact that it makes people less sympathetic, less humane, and more bestial, I guess pornography is a victimless crime that doesn't infringe upon the rights of others. Because countless women and children aren't abused and tortured every year just so some piece of human garbage can fulfill his selfish desires. Good night, people are stupid. Do they even know how to read anymore?

If the climate change findings really were falsified, that is terribly upsetting. I don't know why the only voices on the issue are extremists who are so rabid about their position that they're willing to lie to get their way. Can't we all just agree that however the polar bears met their untimely end doesn't matter, because we are still pretty poor stewards of the earth? Can't we just do better and stop ruining the only place we have to keep all our stuff?

Sometimes I want to judge my fellow church members for taking their five-year-olds to violent movies. But then I remember that I have bourbon in my food storage. Agree to disagree!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

because children are basically just animals you can train to do the work you don't want to

I'm sorry, but I think it's ridiculous that we have the so-called seven deadly sins, and not a one of them says a thing about dishonesty. I mean, they've got gluttony and greed, which seem like pretty much the same thing, don't you think? Just lack of control of carnal appetites, right? And then there's sloth, envy, wrath, pride and lust. And envy and lust overlap quite a bit as well, do they not? So, to my way of thinking, there are really only five, maybe five and a half deadly sins. Could they not find a little room in the inn for lying?

I don't know. It seems like maybe the guy in charge of designating the seven deadlies was not paying very close attention. I bet he didn't even read the ten commandments, because I'm pretty sure there's something about lying in there.

Do you sometimes wonder if this is the beginning of the end?

Monday, August 8, 2011

only the lonely know why I cry

I just ate an ice cream float with ginger ale and ginger ice cream. I expected it to be a slam dunk, but it sort of wasn't. It was okay, but I'd rather have something else.

I have a Twitter follower--I don't know why he follows me, I have no idea who he is--that I thought for sure was a spambot, but John says no, that's just how Evangelicals talk. He says Mormons talk weird, too! Is that true? Is it weird to talk about being divinely inspired to buy aluminum foil? Okay, if you say so. But at least we don't talk about having love affairs with our instruments. Because talk about gross!

Sometimes I wish I knew Ray Bradbury in real life. But then I realize that he would think I am a big dummy and it would be embarrassing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

about as high as a building oughta grow

Did you know that Harmons is the coolest grocery store? Not being privy to their board meetings I can only assume what decisions were made in the last few years, but it seems to me that they could see that the low-price grocery store arena was going to become much smaller, and rather than try to compete with Walmart, which is a fool's errand in many Utah towns, they created a niche--a grocery store somewhere between Whole Foods and Macey's. Harmons stores--the good ones (NOT the Five Points Harmons)--are long on quality and short on piety, unlike some Whole Foods I could mention; although, I have loved every Whole Foods cheesemonger I've talked to. They are all charming and friendly and generous with knowledge and samples.

You may not know this about me, but I love grocery stores. When I lived alone I used to wander the aisles of the Provo Fred Meyer for hours (it's where I first learned that you could have lunch meat sliced to order), and then when John and I started dating and I found out that he was the same way? Made for each other! We went grocery shopping on our dates all the time, and a zenith in our England trip was visiting the Five Lane Ends Morrisons and Asda (Stonehenge: eh). Even now that we are boring and old with a million kids and too much to do with not enough time or money we accomplish only about half of what we should because we choose to go grocery shopping together, rather than divide and conquer. Maybe that was off-topic, but I wanted you to know that I actually have spent some time thinking about grocery store quality, so when I say that Harmons is cool you will know that I am not screwing around.

But on to our story today, which is that Harmons and UEN partnered and created a Cheese Passport in conjunction with UEN's Cheese Slices program. Each Monday they talked about a different cheese, and you could go in to Harmons and sample that cheese, and have your passport stamped. Once your passport was filled you could redeem it for a twenty-five dollar cheese plate, filled with the cheeses of your choice. I learned about it at the dairy class I went to--remember the one where I wanted that lady's sheep?

They had a big kickoff event where they had a lady come from the Vermont Butter and Cheese Company (their cultured butter alone could put my family in the poorhouse, because my kids ladled it a half inch thick onto both sides of the baguette slices), and I've been back every week since to have my passport stamped, even though the Roy Harmons has been sold out of practically every cheese on the passport. But they were good sports and stamped me anyway.

It took a long time. It's not admirable or anything; it's not like I was digging ditches. I would have been in the neighborhood anyway, because Costco. But still. I did something that took a long time, and I bought a lot of cheese while doing it, because I felt bad being all, "Hey, stamp me. See ya, sucker!" Again, I realize that buying cheese is not a really truly sacrifice.

But I want you to know that I got my passport filled, and on Saturday I went to the beautiful new Harmons in Farmington, which looks like an English grocery store, and bought a CRAPLOAD of cheese. I think I had nine different cheeses. Blues, cheddars, runnies, thicks, all of them superb. I had to pay for about half of it, because twenty-five dollars only goes so far, you know.

I used the cheese to bribe our family to come help John move the chicken run to the other side of the milking parlor. The bribery was absolutely necessary, because the chicken run is a welded metal cage that weighs a frillion pounds. We had my sister's husband and three of John's brothers and a nephew helping with the actual heavy lifting. After the boys got the run moved, almost herniating themselves in the process, we retired to the indoors to stuff our fat faces full of cheese. And I sat there, eating nine different kinds of cheese with some of my most favorite people in all the world, and I thought, I have a blessed life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

or a wig with curls, or another chance

We keep a galvanized tin? aluminum? who cares? bucket next to the kitchen sink. It's where we put vegetable ends and peelings and uneaten pieces of toast and globs of soggy cereal. We call it the slop bucket, and when it gets full Emmett takes it out to the chickens. Today the young women were over helping me make dinner for a lady in our ward who just had a baby, and every time I walked past the sink I kept smelling something like a rotten potato went poop. Finally I figured out that it was the bucket, which had a thick layer of furry gray mold on the bottom. I'm not proud.

I find that after John has played the simplified version of "The Entertainer" a few times, and by "played" I mean "slaughtered," I have to go and play something to alleviate the aural irritation. It's like a song ending on an unresolved seventh--you just don't feel right. Years ago our friend Jenny told him how her mom always taught her piano students to play "The Entertainer" with the fourth note a half-step sharp, and he was enchanted, and has played it that way ever since. I bet Judy is up in heaven just laughing fit to bust at how maddening John is being.

Tonight at Fat Fighters they were talking about snacks, and about how we need to make sure we're giving our bodies the proper fuel at snack time. The instructor used as a bad example a Twinkie and a soda pop--that's not good nutrition, we all agreed. So then we went through a list of possible snacks, and how we can use the "power foods" to make them better fuel, and one of the choices for a reasonable snack was sugar-free pudding. How, class? How can we make sugar-free pudding more filling? What are some power foods we can add?

Will someone tell me what is the difference between a Twinkie and sugar-free pudding? Because I'd love to hear how one grouping of plastics is good for your body, and the other grouping of plastics is not.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

were beans really the first crop?

We're in the middle of school shopping. I guess I have no idea what current styles are, because I keep trying to get Grant to like certain shoes and certain shirts, but no dice. I'm almost starting to regret getting the velour tracksuit and the ridiculous boob job. They don't even work! I'm still a clueless mom!

Grant wants athletic shoes that are so durfy-looking, like he's going to work out at the gym. Stupid! Why can't he just like a nice, colorful pair of Sauconys? Why does he even watch "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" if he's not going to learn from it?

We finally found a pair on Amazon that both of us could stomach. I bet once he tries them on he will realize my superior fashion sense and defer to me henceforth.

Why isn't there a wood/plastic mechanical pencil hybrid? It would make me feel a lot better about myself.