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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

marie! I'm doin' yer favorite one!

We're nearing the end of our first family reunion of the summer, and I need a nap.  When John's family gets together we are very irresponsible about going to bed on time, and by the end of it we are all bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, and our children are ready to tear each other apart.  But if there's anything we love in that family as much as eating, it's talking, so we yammer on in our own echo chamber of how smart and talented and generally awesome we are, and before you know it it's midnight and the children are screaming.  Oops.

Somehow the cats were in the house while we were gone all day yesterday (I swear I checked all their hidey-holes before we left), and we came home to two ponderous turds in the bathroom, on my favorite bath mat.  That came out wrong.  I should say, the bath mat I like, not the one I hate.  Because "favorite bath mat?"  You need to get out more.

We went to Lagoon on Monday and John saw a boy who looked about thirteen who was wearing a shirt that said, "I don't know you!  That's my purse!"  Oh boy, we laughed so hard.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

don't look back

My bees are going crazy go nuts.  I think there are way more of them than there used to be, but maybe they're just more active because it's so hot outside.  Please don't leave, bees!

We haven't gotten air conditioning yet, and I'm starting to think maybe we won't.  It's so extravagant and irresponsible!  For me.  I'm not passing judgment on any of you guys that might have it.  I'll destroy the Earth in my way, you destroy it in yours. Once our trees get big we won't need air conditioning anyway, and that should only be another twenty or so years.

Willa and I went to Brave yesterday with my mom and sisters and their kids.  It was good.  I cried.  You are not surprised by this.  Why do I cry so much?  It's embarrassing.  Anyway, it's nice to see a princess movie in which the princess is not a vapid tool.  Ooh, I hate Belle so much. 

We finally got Hazel's abscess lanced.  We waited because we only had that terrible junky hay and we didn't want to fix her only to come home and fill her face full of crap again.  The vet got about two tablespoons of pus out of the abscess, and found a ton of foxtail working its way into her gums and cheeks all over her mouth.  Good thing she was chilling on the anesthesia, or she would have gone through the roof.  I felt horrible, but as the vet said, we can't control the hay, and we have to feed them, so what else can you do?

I'm glad to see that Jerry Sandusky the piece of human garbage is going to jail for the rest of his horrible life.  I hope that in the coming months we see some more indictments and convictions of all the other disgusting people who put a sports program above the safety and welfare of children.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

can he lift a lot of luggage?

We went to the zoo today.  I like zoos very much, even though the elephants and giraffes always make me sad.  They just look like they deserve better, you know?  The giraffe enclosure especially is obscene how spare it is.  But the zoo in general is miles better than it was when I used to go there as a child, when the animals were basically in cement boxes.  We learned from a zookeeper at the elephant show, at which the elephant did "behaviors" (a term that will never stop amusing me) that nowadays zoos typically have either Asian elephants or African elephants, not both.  She didn't bother to explain why, which I have noticed is common among zookeepers.  They'll tell you some juicy tidbit like, "We used to have hippos, but now we don't," and they don't tell you it's because the hippo ate its handler and escaped into Emigration Canyon.  Did you know that a kick from a giraffe can kill a lion?  

Willa was a royal pain the whole time we were there.  She is lazy and hates to walk, and Hogle Zoo is a hilly zoo, so there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  What child is so jaded and spoiled that she hates the zoo?  My child, that's who.   

Emmett buried the scoop in the bin of cat food, so I had to touch the cat food with my hand and now it smells like cat food. It's really sicking me out. 

I forgot to remove my contact last night, which has happened before and panics me every time.  I've heard that it makes the blood vessels grow across your eyes and you go blind.  That might be an urban legend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

you can walk the privies in the rain and never wet your feet

Victory! 

My cheese, which I have been fretting and stewing and wringing my hands over, has finally started to show progress.  This morning when I flipped it there were the tiny beginnings of white mold on the surface.  So cute!  I feel a lot like I did when I first made mozzarella at home, like a sorceress.  I've got to get a cheese fridge. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

too bad the rain forests are burning

I think part of what makes my mom say I'm dramatic is my ability to become angry about a surprisingly large number of things, many of them of next to no importance.  Last week I pointed to the word "hubby" in a newspaper ad, narrowed my eyes, and said to my mom, "That word is an abomination."  Not long ago I was in the car reading a blurb in Sunset touting a Salt Lake diner, in which the correspondent referred to the delicious sandwiches which he or she called "sandos."  Hot sandos.  "Sammies" isn't stupid enough, we've got to coin a new, even more repugnant term?  I became enraged and frothed at the mouth for a few minutes, while Emmett sat in the back seat and laughed at me.  Now he calls sandwiches sandos when he's trying to get a rise out of me.  I lectured friends and family for weeks about the idiocy of Pyrex's redesign of their liquid measuring cups.  You remember my feud with Justin boots just last summer, all because a piece of the lining cracked.  Have you ever wondered how it is that I can get so upset about the pettiest, most trivial things? Allow me to educate you. 

Ladies and gentleman, it is because of a precious gift I have been given: the gift of a limitless capacity for hatred.  My venom and bitterness know no bounds, and are in a constant state of outward expansion, creating my own Hate Galaxy, with angry little moons and planets and stars orbiting the great, pulsing, throbbing Rage Sun at its center.

I make a fuss about silly things, and my feelings of contempt and outrage are legitimate, trust me.  I really do feel that way.  So you can imagine the way I respond when confronted, as happens daily, with the mounting evidence of humanity's failure to prove that we even deserve to exist.  The Middle East!  Wall Street!  The government!  Sex trafficking!  Mexican drug wars!  You and I, the decent folks (I'm assuming you're decent) are surrounded by barbarians whose depravity and cunning increase with each passing day. 

I read an article about a man who walked in on an acquaintance sexually assaulting the man's four-year-old daughter, and the man punched the acquaintance to death.  And I'm thinking, "Right on."  I'm for the rule of law, generally, but in the heat of the moment?  Some guy is doing that to your little girl?  If granted the car-lifting strength that mothers purportedly gain during emergencies, I would tear that guy's throat out with my bare hands.  I would disembowel him. 

Which brings me, of course, to the Jerry Sandusky trial.  I'm reading Outliers right now (about time), and in the chapter on plane crashes Gladwell says that the typical accident involves seven consecutive errors.  It's not one huge error, but the compounding of error upon error.  You hear the details of the Sandusky trial and you can see this concept at work--at so many levels there was an egregious failure to act like a human being.  If any of the people who knew what was going on had just bothered to speak up and make sure they were heard, this would have been over long ago.  Sandusky's predation was made possible, and prolific, by the continued shelter of everyone around him.

This is the sort of thing that has given me my ability to hate everything in the entire world.  I can't flay Sandusky and put his head on a pike, much as he deserves it, I can't make Israelis and Palestinians and everybody else stop shooting and beheading each other, I can't interfere with the robber barons who control our country, and I can't stop the abuse of women and children that has been going on since the first man decided he wanted something he wasn't supposed to have.  I'm in this limbo land where I can't think or talk about any of it for very long or I can't sleep at night because I'm so angry and scared, but I also can't stop thinking about it because I want so badly to fix it.  I'm so used to impotent rage that I almost can't feel any other way.  Smiting powers, you guys, I'm serious.  If I had smiting powers I would not care nearly so much about people writing "it's" when they mean "its."  I would not cry about the city not watering the new trees at the cemetery.  As long as the smiting powers came with omniscience, and I could be sure I wasn't smiting the wrong guy, I would be so mellow, and I bet a lot of other people would be, too.

You know I believe in God.  How does he stay his hand?

I guess that's a rhetorical question.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

and had it not three corners it would not be my hat

Well, it froze the other night and killed most of the tender beans and squash I'd rescued from being eaten by the chickens.  So that's neat, and in this year when we're about a month ahead of schedule on temperatures it feels especially frustrating.  Why must I fail at every attempt at masonry? 

We went to Lagoon last week, which is a theme park here in Utah, for those who are unfamiliar with it.  I was totally dreading it, because the last time John and I went there on a whim during an anniversary trip I came away pretty darn bitter.  So hot, so many disgusting people, such a dump.  But on Wednesday it was nice and cool, the clientele was slightly less skeevy, and the grounds hadn't been trashed by the hordes of people yet, so we had a marvelous time.  Except:  is making out in lines becoming acceptable?  Or is it still just gross teenagers and maladapted adults doing it?  I hope it's still shameful, because I don't like that stuff.

When I was a senior in high school I dated a boy who was a twin.  He and his brother were very close, and very rambunctious, and they had a younger brother who was just like them.  Rich told me the most terrible stories.  There was a great big hole in the dry wall on the stair landing of their house, because they had been roughhousing and one of them threw the other one into the wall and ruined the dry wall.  Once Rich was chasing his brother Rob up the stairs (more roughhousing; you might even call it horseplay!) and Rob kicked back with his leg and kicked Rich's ear almost clean off his head.  He had to get stitches to re-attach it.  They wrestled and shouted and threw balls in the house and made messes all over the place, and their room was like an archaeological dig (to be fair, so was mine).  Their mom was wonderful, so sweet and welcoming and generous.  A peach of a lady for whom I carry residual fondness.  I witnessed a few mild-mannered attempts to corral the boys' exuberance, but in general she seemed to have resigned herself to living with a pack of feral dogs.  I liked Rich a lot, loved him even, as far as I was able at that time, and I loved his family.  But I did not understand him.  He was like a foreign species, the way he and his brothers acted.  They were so wild!  And their mom seemed unable or uninterested in stopping it.  I was on a fairly tight rein with my parents, so I didn't understand why their parents just didn't make them stop being so hyper and destructive. 

Yesterday Grant was dribbling his basketball in the living room.  On our way home from one of his dismal basketball games recently I was going through my usual post-game lecture, the one where I say I don't care whether he excels at basketball or not, but he doesn't get to not practice and not know how to handle the ball and then complain that he doesn't get played enough.  I said, "You have to practice dribbling.  You just have to do it," and then I heard myself say, "I will even let you dribble in the house if you want to, just practice!"  I have spent twelve years telling my kids and John NOT to throw or bounce balls in the house--fourteen years, if you count the times that John was throwing balls before we had kids.  He liked to lie on his back on the carpet and throw a ball so it would just barely brush the ceiling.  Why?  Anyway, I went and gave Grant permission to do the thing I'd yelled at him countless times about, and then when he was taking advantage of his new privileges yesterday, it crystallized in my mind:  I understand my friend's mom, and I have become her.  My exuberant, destructive boys have finally worn me down, and now I have my own pack of wild dogs.  I'm going to have to concede defeat in the battle for not bouncing balls in the house, because I realize now that it's not a battle that matters or that I can care about anymore. There's a saying in our house, and probably elsewhere in Mormondom, not to treat policy like doctrine, meaning that there are things that are True, and then there are things that we do because somebody thought it was a good idea, and we shouldn't treat the latter like it's truth from on high.  And I guess I decided that not bouncing balls is policy, not doctrine.

Check back with me in a month or two when my house is a shambles from the constantly ricocheting balls and see if I've reinstated the no-balls policy, or if I've given up even more.  I shudder to think what next thing I'm going to cave on.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

oh dear, milking is going to come so early in the morning

Say you have a dog, maybe a littleish dog, with dingy white curly fur, poodle-esque in shape and size.  But these details don't matter; we don't really care what the dog looks like, as its appearance is separate and distinct from the issue at hand.  Say that dog is a barker.  We don't know (or care) how much he barks while he's in the house, but we know he barks when he's outside.  Maybe he barks at oh, six o'clock in the morning.  He barks quite a bit.  He does it again around ten-thirty at night.  Another outburst lasting a few minutes.  Are you with me so far?  Good.  Because listen up, America:

You've got to stop this.  I can't adequately quantify for you how thoroughly you are blowing it.  Shut that dog's mouth.  Maybe you're thinking, if you even think about it at all, "it's not that bad."  But actually, yes.  It is that bad, and you suck as a human being.  If I put my children in public in a situation when quiet can reasonably be expected, and they make incessant loud noise to the point where they are disrupting the peace, then I fully expect to be glared at and reprimanded by the people around me, and rightly so, because if that happens I am doing a crappy job and need to be made aware that there are societal consequences for my behavior.  It is the same with dogs.  You make that dog be quiet, or take it to someone who can.  Show some respect for your neighbors and your dog by raising it correctly.  Grow up. 

Either that or be shunned.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I think of him as a friend I hadn't met

I just heard that Ray Bradbury has passed away.  I don't know what to say--if you're familiar with his books you know what a terrible loss this is for the literary world, the world in general, and for me personally.  He had as much to do with shaping my psyche as my parents did.  I called my mom and we both sobbed a little bit over the phone.  This is a sharp pain.  I hate to describe such a vibrant, unique, completely original man so tritely, but I lack his descriptive gift and am forced to clumsily stammer that the world was richer with him, and is markedly paler without him. He is irreplaceable.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

what's harder, harry potter or the hobbit?

Let's talk about magazine people.  We all hate them, right?  Or is it just me? 

Have you ever seen the episode of Ab Fab where Patsy is having an affair with I think the Prime Minister, and the press is hounding her about it, and she has a fantasy about an interview with Hello! magazine?  Here's a clip from it:

It's not funny without the context, but you get the point, that the interviewer is a fawning sycophant acting as though the people being interviewed are the most unique and precious snowflakes.  I was reading my Sunset magazine the other day and there was this piece on some people who built a house in Venice, and boy, what rarefied air they breathe.  They were remarking on how they've succeeded almost too well in blending indoor/outdoor space, such that their two-year-old had a hard time distinguishing between the two!  He was taking handfuls of dirt from outside and throwing them into the living room!  Can you imagine?  It must surely be because his parents are so in tune with Mother Gaia that the line between inside and outside doesn't exist for him, certainly not because he's two, and two-year-olds like to play in the dirt and throw stuff and make messes.  No.  He's special because his parents are special.  Then the article went on to say that one of the advantages of their glass walls is that they can observe the wild creatures that visit their yard.  The husband mentions that they can watch wasps and yellow jackets without scaring them away!  Blessed. 

City hippies, amiright?  I mean, I'm glad they're doing their part to not poison and smash and pave over everything they see, but still.  How much of the appearance of overweening vanity is due to the magazine treatment, and how much is just the way those people are? 

Meanwhile, here in the land of people whose two-year-olds are so institutionalized that they never throw dirt, we are managing to stay mostly ahead of the bindweed with mild to moderate levels of acrimonious nagging.  Thank goodness there's usually at least one child who has decided to be a suck-up on any given day, so the work goes a little faster.  Milking is going okay, aside from the come-aparts that Sally and Rita keep throwing.  But I am patient and long-suffering, and I will be victorious.  Plus Sophie has learned to steal milk from all of the moms, and that in addition to the bottles we feed her may save her life. Tonight we're clipping the chickens' wings, because they have begun eating my bean plants and there will be death if they don't stop it.

Plus I made camembert on Saturday, and so far it's not covered with hairy black mold, so suck on that, indoor/outdoor dirt-throwing hornet-watching Venice people.  Are they making their own cheese?  Didn't think so.

Friday, June 1, 2012

saw the sad shire horses walking home in the sodium light

Milking this morning was a searing white-hot disaster, and I am forced to conclude that my ladies don't care for the musical stylings of Sting.  Or maybe it's too sad for them to hear about a lonely boy losing his father and being offered empty platitudes by callous priests.  

Does it bother you when Wallace says "camembert" like "cammumburt?"  Not me.  It's under the British cloak of respectability along with jalapenos said like "juh-laa-puh-nose" with a hard J and aluminum pronounced "al-yew-min-ee-um."

I'm waiting for my cheese cultures to arrive.  I'm stressed out.  What if I ruin all that milk?  I don't even dare buy molds yet until I prove that I deserve them.  I'll use yogurt containers instead.  I'm way more freaked out about this than I was about the gouda.  White bloomy rind!  It's daunting. 

I had a dream I found a great big caterpillar, and I was just about to smash it when I thought, "Maybe it is a swallowtail caterpillar," and then I felt obligated to not smash it, but I wasn't happy about it.  Caterpillars are disgusting and I hate them most of the time.  I'm okay with Woolly Bears and milkweed worms, but I don't want to touch them or anything.  Larval stages of anything are pretty gross. 

We ate Swiss chard for dinner yesterday and it was sublime.  A little bit of lard, some salt, our new bargain pot, good stuff.  Willa ate a huge helping of it, which gives me hope for her future.  I worry about her, because it seems evident that she's going to end up washing herself with a rag on a stick.  So much junk food.  She's like a truffle pig for it.