Saturday, July 30, 2011

Victor's New Skill

Victor enjoys water.

He studiously--truly, he was very persistent--learned to float in the bathtub a couple of years ago. He spent the last two summers learning to float/flop/paddle/sink around a real swimming pool.

This week, he achieved actual swimming: the dog paddle. I count it as real swimming because he can use it to move himself in a desired direction without sinking.

Admittedly, he petered out in the middle of the deep end three times on Friday and needed assistance. The first time, I helped him to the ladder where he promptly announced that he had beaten his two girl friends to the ladder. Um, no he didn't.

The second time, I gave him a friendly push and he made it to the wall before jumping back in.

The third time, I sat on the edge of the pool and maintained a cheerful stream of encouragement until he paddled over.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Story about a Big, Big Team, by Victor

This evening, Victor wrote a movie.

The movie is called A Story about a Big, Big Team.

There is a song in the beginning.

The characters are cars and robots from other movies, including Lightning McQueen, Wall-E, and our Chevy Express van, or "Vanny." None of them has hair. Also in the movie are Dog (see the picture on the right) and Victor. Victor is the only human.

Now for the story, as told by Victor and moved along by my questions.

First, my team gets together at my home, which is a super-duper, extra-secret hideout in a cloud. We make sure everyone's engine and Wall-E's battery are charged. (Wall-E's battery charges all night, up to52,000.)

After the batteries are checked, we leave the hideout. Then Vanny and Lightning McQueen put out their wings and fly to a secret road. Dog has a little jet pack, about his size. He turns is on and flies with the team.

There are 500 secret roads. The roads lead to different places--different cities, or jungles (with volcanoes), or Japan. We take all one road and stay with ourselves. Dog still needs his jet pack. Sometimes he just runs.

I have no idea where the road is going.

The End.

It's kind of like some of the foreign films I saw in college. Victor intends to give it to the theater man.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Loss

After chemo, some people experience the loss of a certain flavor. A friend of mine lost chocolate.

I lost peanut butter.

It was not immediate. But one day I ate a bit of peanut butter and tasted nothing but oil. I can still get a faint smell of peanuts, but that delicious nutty flavor is gone.

It's not a bad flavor to lose. What if I had lost steak? Or zucchini? Or french silk pie?

So far, there have been two main inconveniences.

1. My go-to on-the-road breakfast of a pb&j sandwich is no longer an option.

2. When we got Reese's Pieces at the movies this week, I couldn't taste them.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Last Friday was "Dress Lik Me, Git Free Chikn" day at Chick-fil-A.

I'm still fun, so I figured we could go. But not until 3:30 p.m., well after the lunch crowd.

Not only am I fun, I am enriching: the boys made their own black cow spots. Victor used scissors and Zeke tore paper. I dispensed and rolled the tape, and they affixed spots to shirts. Victor then started on a mask. He cut out the eye holes by himself!

Chick-fil-A was busy, but not too crowded. The boys had such a good time and their meals were so free, that the fun outweighed the crowds.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Grandparents

My maternal grandparents are terrific!

Victor is named for Grandpa, and my niece Laura is named for Grandma.

I have met people who knew them "way back when" in my last two wards.

Here is a great picture of them.

I have learned a lot from my grandparents (much of it via my mother). For example:

--A place for everything, and everything in its place.

--Never force mechanical things.

--You don't need to do spring cleaning if you keep things clean during the winter.

--If you treat things nicely, they will last a long time.

--Always do what is right. There is never any other option.

--Be completely faithful to your family and to the Lord.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun Mom to the Rescue

Today, we went to a friend's pool. It was super hot outside, and there were lots of kids there.

Because I'm fun, I was in the water with the kids with my fun friends. There was a table full of less-fun moms observing from afar.

It's a good thing I'm fun, because I noticed a little boy of about five flailing over his head in the 5-ft section of the pool. His brothers were completely oblivious and his mom hadn't noticed. I hustled over and fished him out. The poor little fellow was panicked and very upset!

I calmly carried him over to the edge of the pool and gently set him on the deck so he could go to his mom. His mom smiled and waved, but I don't think she realized what had happened. The little boy was obviously shaken and just sat with his mom looking very upset for quite a while. When he finally got back in the water, he put on a life jacket.

Moral of the story: be fun! And act immediately if you see a drowning child. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011


If you've been to the grocery store in the last two years, you've probably noticed the appearance of acai, the Amazonian wonder fruit.

(Please imagine a cedilla on the "c" and pronounce it ah' sigh-EE.)

Since I have first-hand knowledge of this fruit, I thought I'd weigh in.

First, it does not taste good. The only way it tastes remotely acceptable is when you mix it (in its thick liquid form, which is the only way you can get it in the Amazon) with an unbelievable amount of sugar and farinha. I thought the American food people would find a way around this obstacle, but the yogurt blend I tried some time back was gross.

Second, it is not rumored to have any health benefits among the regular population in Amazonas. As people there are pretty up on their fruits, I'm sure they would know of any wonderful effects. If you want vitamin C, eat a tasty orange. If you want weight loss, well, I'm not sure what you should do. But don't bother with this stuff.

Third, I think it is available here because nobody there really likes it. Like I said, it does not taste good.

Finally, of all the Amazonian fruits, I don't know why the importers chose this one. Probably because cupuacu (imagine another cedilla) doesn't travel well or something.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Question for the Housekeeping Division

Dear SwindleFun,

We just moved into a new house! My children's new closets have huge mirrored doors, and they are covered in a linty, filmy, streaky residue. I assume it is from old cleanser because it seems to spread every time I try to clean it off. 

Do you have any suggestions?


Dear le:

What a mystery! Here's what I would do.

First, Goo Gone.

I have used it to remove price stickers from glass and ceramics and to get gum out of clothing. Liz uses it all the time.

It is a terrific product. Be SURE to follow the directions closely.

Second, the Mister Clean Magic Eraser.

This magical product removes all sorts of mystery grime. DO NOT use it on your skin. 

Third, when working on your mirrored doors, start in a small area where the residue is lightest. 

Use small, straight motions and move in one direction at a time, lifting your cloth or Eraser often to reveal a clean surface. Make sure whatever you are doing is not damaging the mirror.

For this kind of job, use a cloth with some scrubbing power instead of paper towels or newspaper. I like the big $4 packs of white wash cloths from Walmart.

Fourth, if neither of these things works, try rubbing alcohol. It's the best thing for carpets (I learned that from Grandma) and the only thing that got permanent marker off our computer screen.

If none of these ideas work, try Mr. Clean or Lysol in hot water. But I can't imagine that would work if Goo Gone failed.  

Good luck, and let us know what works!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Zeke's First Talk

Today, Zeke gave his first talk in Primary. His topic was "paragraph three of the Proclamation on the Family."

Here is his talk:

We lived with Heavenly Father before we were born. 

We loved Heavenly Father. We wanted to follow his plan.

We came to earth to get a body. 

Jesus Christ is our Savior.

We have temples so we can be with our families after we die.

This is my cousin Angelica.

We loved her very much, but she was very sick and she died.

Angelica lives in Heaven now.

But she is still my cousin. I love her!

I will see Angelica in heaven some day. 

I know we are still a family.