Tuesday, April 28, 2009

White Azaleas

The azaleas have been and continue to be glorious this time of year. The plainest little house can be totally transformed with the eruption of color. I have three azaleas behind the house, near the Japanese maple. They are in a shady area, so they bloom later and last longer. They are dark pink, and not too large, and I love them.

As I was admiring some white azaleas the other day, I was reminded of Happy Valley. No, not Utah Valley, but the Happy Valley described in Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca. Have you read Rebecca? My friend lent me her copy a few years ago, and I devoured it. There is also an excellent film version, which won Best Picture in 1941. An interesting tidbit is that Rebecca has never been out of print.

Anyway, at least two flowering shrubs (or bushes? there is a difference, although I don't know what it is) feature prominently in the book. Blood red rhodedendrons that line the drive to Manderlay, and the white azaleas of Happy Valley and of Rebecca's perfume. It was her trademark scent.

Naturally, I was excited to finally have the chance to smell white azaleas. I have to say I was disappointed. They didn't smell like anything at all. I'm always disappointed when a beautifully described something in a novel turns out to be not so beautiful. I had a similar experience when I first tried Turkish delight. Thus it is now with white azaleas.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Clean and Cool

Good News. The house is cool and the dishes are clean.

I'm sure that's of great relief to everyone.

Weather Report

We had a very warm weekend.

Can you guess who's air conditioning is broken?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Appliance Question

If the bottom of my dishwasher is full of water and I can't get it to drain, does that mean I need a new dishwasher?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


When I was in elementary, junior high, and high school, I was fortunate to have teachers who assigned bazillions of writing assignments. We wrote about what we wanted to be when we grew up. We wrote and illustrated stories. We wrote reports on states of the union. We wrote book reviews. And essays. And analyses. And poems.

And I used the word "till." As in, "I won't be able to go to law school till I finish college."

And my teachers--not all of them, but most of them--invariably crossed it out and substituted "until."

I was always unclear as to why they crossed out "till." I read a lot, and I read "till" all the time. Being chronically overconfident, I figured my teachers were simply unaware of this usage of till.

The funny thing is, I still get a little thrill every time I read "till." Just this Sunday, as I was reading the first chapters of Sense and Sensibility, I read "till" at least twice and thought, "Ha! It can be used that way."

Friday, April 17, 2009


When Victor was post-laugh but pre-talk, he had a little gas when I was changing his diaper one day. Then he laughed. He thought it was the funniest thing ever. And I thought, "where on earth did he learn that was funny?" He certainly didn't learn it at home, and he doesn't go anywhere else.

Fast-forward two years. I was reading a little songbook to Zeke this afternoon. "A you're adorable, B you're so beautiful, C you're a cutie full of . . . " "BUM," Victor interjected, giggling. Bum?

But wait--there's more. I kept singing along, and so did Victor. Except I was singing "M N O P, I could go on all day," and he was singing "poop poop poop poop poooooooooop," and laughing hysterically.

I want to know where he learned this!


This year, my mom was in town for Victor's birthday. If you know my mom, it will not surprise you that when Victor showed her his birthday money, she said, "You can put it in the bank!"

That was it. Victor was determined to put his money in the bank. All $11.00 of it.

Yesterday was the day. We all put on nice clothes (i.e. clean for the kids and for me, not a faded Target t-shirt), and went to our local branch to open Victor's very own savings account.

We completed some paperwork and Victor handed over his $6.00 (I couldn't find the other $5). Then he got a green lollipop, and we went home.

That night, when he told Jeremy about our trip, it became very clear that he thought he had gone to the bank to purchase the lollipop. So I guess our next lesson will be about the value of money.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Movies I Don't Like

Yesterday, I watched part of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine goes to see The English Patient, and doesn't like it. Everyone else likes it, but she thinks it stinks.

It got me thinking about movies that I really didn't like, but which other people seemed to like. So far, I can only think of two:

Happy Feet

Pretty Woman

Oh, and The Book of Mormon Movie deserves a special mention for being the worst movie I ever saw. It was craptastic.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Victor and Zeke talked to their Grandma Nancy, Great-Grandma Alice, and Aunt Kassie on Skype this morning.

Well, Zeke babbled and waved. And Victor flopped on the floor behind me and said he could not talk. Then he turned the lights off with a Matchbox car.

Grandma Nancy cheerfully told Victor that when she came to visit, she was going to "lay the smack down" on that kind of behavior.

Victor wailed, "No! You will not lay it DOWN. You will lay the smack UP. You will lay the smack up in the airplane. You will leave it there up in the airplane!"

Grandma laughed her head off. And I was happy that Victor could showcase his knowledge of opposites.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Victor has a new book. It's called Worm, and he wrote it himself.

Worm can be any book he finds, so long as there are no pictures. That way, he cam make up any story. Right now he is using the scriptures.

A typical Worm story is like this:

Once upon a time there was a Worm. He lived in a nice house. Well, he was right in this house. Oh, Pongo and Perdita. First, they were right in this town. In town there was a big [something]. Then, after, after, the end.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Zeke Grew

Yesterday was Zeke's 15-month checkup. He got 2 shots and had his blood tested for hemoglobin and lead. He did NOT like the finger stick, the poor little thing.

Zeke has grown 2 inches and gained 2 pounds in the past 3 months. He is now 33 1/4 inches tall (95th) and weighs 23 pounds (25th). He's my little featherweight.

He says five words, if you count shaking his head NO, which the doctor says counts as a word at his age. The other words are Dad, Victor, hat, and Mama. He can make a nice doggie sound, but it's nothing like his second cousin's animal-sound repertoire, which is amazing.

Zeke can point to his head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth and lips, ears, tummy, and toes. When you tell him it's time for a diaper change, he runs into his room and to the changing table. When you tell him it's time to go outside, he runs to the door.

When Zeke is hungry, he usually goes to his high chair and tries to hang on the tray. He also signs "eat," makes a funny smacking sound, and babbles "yum yum yum." (Victor's early word for food was "mabum.")

He loves to eat with a fork, to put on shoes, and to drive cars and trucks on any available surface. He is totally into If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. He like to eat quesadillas, black beans, pears, and Honey Nut Cheerios.

Victor behaved well during the appointment.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Sound of a Great Idea

Victor likes to watch Sesame Street. Since it's one of the few kids' shows I like, and since he watches it quietly while I get other things done (and Zeke sleeps), he watches it most weekdays.

Victor has picked up many interesting bits of information from Sesame Street. He has learned lots of songs. And he has learned the sound a great idea makes when it pops into your head.

That sound is "ding."

We frequently have an exchange like this:

V: Is that a castle? Who lives there?

Me: I don't know.

V: Ding! I know. It's Cinderella.

Or like this:

Me: What should we have for lunch?

V: Ding! How about peanut butter and jelly.

Or like this:

Me: (reading the paper)

V: Ding! Let's go to the park.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Laughing So Hard

I am laughing so hard at failblog.org right now. You really should check it out.

Thank you, Who Calls So Loud.

My Warm Refrigerator

Every couple of days, like today, I open my refrigerator to find that it is too warm to properly refrigerate anything. This happens with my freezer, too.

The first time it happened, I panicked. I did not want to purchase a new refrigerator.

But then reason prevailed and I checked the temperature dials that control the refrigerator and freezer. Sure enough, the freezer had been set to "OFF." Similarly, ever other time the refrigerator has felt unseasonably warm, the dial has been set to "OFF."

I will let you guess who is behind this. I have two theories.

One: Fridge Fairies

Two: a small boy whose name rhymes with "Schmictor"

Friday, April 3, 2009


At the Science Center yesterday, Victor tried his hand at using a plastic screwdriver to remove a plastic screw from a plastic engine block.

Or as he described it: I am screwffing the screwf with this screwfdriver.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Today is my oldest niece's birthday. Happy First, Vea!

Today is also the 10th anniversary of the day I came home from my mission. That was a strange, great day.

I remember getting on the airplane and feeling like I'd stepped out of an alternate reality into the present day again. I remember looking at myself in the airplane bathroom mirror and feeling desperate because my skin was hammered and my hair was something else. I remember looking down at the Amazon as we flew away. I remember feeling excited.

Everything I had smelled funny. I had very little luggage. I was startled to see the redesigned VW Beetle in a magazine and that PriceWaterhouse had become PriceWaterhouseCooper.

Our group ate Whoppers in Miami, and they were delicious. We stepped outside during our layover to stand on some North American asphalt.

We had to run across the Dallas airport twice because our gate changed.

It was snowing when we landed in Utah. Snowing! My mom had brought me a coat to go with my lavender sundress that Grandma had made me and my sandals.

When I got home, the carpet and drywall and ceilings made my ears hurt because the sound was so deadened. The hot water in the shower and the high water pressure were alarming. My family thought everything I had smelled funny. They kept looking at me like I was crazy.

I slept in a bed that night, with pajamas and sheets.

The next morning, I was alone for a few hours. That was glorious. I poured myself some Cheerios and started picking through them looking for ants. Then it occurred to me that there would be no ants in my cereal.

I got my hair cut. I got released.

My parents washed everything I had brought home in hot hot water, and my mom admired how sparkly white my whites were. Hand washing is very effective, I told them.

My grandma bought me some delicious whole milk to drink, and my mom made me tacos and chicken squares. Kristy came over and we sat in the big chair together and watched the X-Files movie.

In the next week, I drove myself the 15 minutes to Provo, learned that the car radio would go off once I opened the driver's side door, reclaimed ZimZim from Katie, and figured out how to answer my parents' new phone. I signed up for spring term and got an apartment at the Promenade with my friend Liz (recently returned from Portugal).

Three months later, I met Jeremy. And that's another story.