Tuesday, May 31, 2011

this kid of mine

I kind of sandwiched this bit of information in between other items on Saturday, but Jr has gone off to France for a month of immersion in the French language at some university over there.

This is how he looked after a long nonstop flight plus a several-hour train ride plus a day without sleep plus a night of sleep in his host home where no English is spoken plus a first day in class where English is not allowed plus a ride on the bus plus a long walk after exiting said bus further than realized from said host home and getting a little lost for 45 minutes plus no internet access during most of that time and no one to speak to in your native tongue.

Or, it might be how he looked when he pulled a funny face at me on Skype. Which I love. Skype and the face.

This is him driving to the airport for his grand month-long adventure. I'm missing this kid or I'm so excited for him or both.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

by way of explanation

The masthead photo is a shot of my peony.

I've always thought peonies were so beautiful, a combination of sorts of rose and carnation, but I've never grown them before, so sometime in the last two years, I planted a bunch of peony roots that I bought at Home Depot. And promptly forgot that I'd planted them.

A few weeks ago, I noticed something growing in the corner of the gardens, and upon closer inspection, realized I was growing peonies. Not just growing peony plants but one of them actually had a tightly-closed flower bud.

I was thrilled. I'd heard years ago that if you don't plant peonies at just the right depth that you'll get plants but no blossoms, and I'm a bit of a random gardener, not really good at remembering to dig just the right depth holes, just expecting that if I plant it, it ought to grow and if it doesn't, well then, we just weren't meant to be together.

So I watched that plant with its bud. Every time I looked out the kitchen window, I'd gaze towards the peony bud, waiting for the day that its deep red showy blossom opened and blessed that dreary corner of the gardens.

Two days ago, I was certain the bud should have opened and maybe I'd missed it?, so I strolled back over there. You can imagine my shock to see the bud missing. Missing. Removed from the plant. Nowhere in sight.

I was stunned. And disappointed. Stupid dogs. This is not the first time they have crashed through the beds, knocking over everything in sight, defrocking tulips and perennials alike. But still. I was so bummed.

Until I spotted the bud, safely nestled in one of the many holes the dogs have dug in the lawn (which is a whole other story). Yes, I was glad to find it, but still, quite sad that it was no longer attached to the plant.

I carried it into the house where Jack suggested I put it in a glass of water to see if it didn't open--and voila! it opened!

Not exactly how I preferred it, but it is a lovely flower, don't you agree?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

almost too full day

1. Yard sailing with Sugar & Colleen--scored brand new pink size 3 boots, a massive pile of new little dollies, a Fisher-Price house with kids and furniture, a purple castle-shaped tent that is big enough for at least five little girls to play in, and a long skinny pillow embroidered, "and they lived happily ever after."
2. Dropped off Jr at the airport for his month-long study abroad in France. I know, it isn't like he's moving to California, but man I'll miss that kid. My eyes are once again leaky.
3. Hosted bridal shower for fiance of boyhood friend of the drummer and his girl. Entertained them all with tales, fed them well (fresh fruit, broccoli salad, mini-quiche, mini-eclairs, and sherbert/sprite drink all served on/in those cut glass party plates and cups my mom and her friends used to use for girlie get-togethers). The pillow was perhaps the favorite gift of both the bride and the groom.
4. And now, it's time for 24 hours of non-stop homework.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

if you were the mother of the groom

Which of these would you choose to wear:





or E--


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a long somewhat cranky story

Last week my mom called to tell me that she was planning a party to celebrate my dad's 86th birthday on Sunday night. She asked me to invite my kids and said she would be cutting up fruit and pastries to serve and I should buy my dad one of those short-sleeved button up shirts like the kind you wear in Hawaii in a size 2XL and we could Skype with Jessie and her family so they could be part of the get-together.

I told my kids about the party, and as instructed, on Saturday, bought a shirt for my dad. Earlier that day, while Jack and I were at the rental house, my mom called and asked if she could come to my house to cut up the fruit so my dad wouldn't see her doing it and spoil the surprise party. I said okay, and came home later to find all kinds of berries and melons on my counter along with mom's knives and cutting board and strawberry cleaner. Also, a somewhat sticky kitchen floor. It seemed clear to me that mom had already cut up fruit, but there was still a bunch of fruit in my kitchen so I called and asked her what she wanted me to do with all of that fruit.

She said that she'd already cut up the fruit she needed, apologized for leaving the mess in my kitchen, and told me that since dad loves my berry pies that maybe I should make him some pie for his birthday with all of the leftover berries.

I'd thought about making a pie for my dad for his birthday before mom told me to buy him a shirt. My pie recipe calls for frozen berries (the frozen berries help the pie filling set up), but since I'm the obedient sort, I went ahead and baked pies on Sunday, using the frozen berries in my freezer, and served the leftover fruit with dinner that night.

After dinner, we all headed over to my parent's house where we crowded into the living room with my brothers, their families, my dad's brother and sister-in-law, and then later we crowded into my mom's over-filled office (think Hoarders) so we could Skype with Jessie's family.

On Monday night after work, I came into the house, walked into the kitchen and saw pie spilled down the front of one of my white cupboards and in a heap on the floor and tracked across the kitchen, through the dining room, and down the stairs. I asked Jack if he knew how it got there and he said the drummer has told him he didn't know where it came from and Jack didn't either so it must have been Jr because the shoe prints on the steps looked like the same shape as Jr's shoes.

Jr called later and told me he'd seen it too but didn't know where it came from and he thought the prints going down the steps were blood from a scratch on one of the cats' bellies and I should look at that belly to see if the cat needed to see the vet.

Does anybody see anything wrong with this story besides me?

First, the cat is okay, it's just a scratch.

The spots on the steps were pie. I know that because I scrubbed out the raspberry seeds.

I don't even care about solving the mystery of who spilled the pie and how there could be pie everywhere but no pie plate broken on the floor or in the trash.

I just want to understand why four adults live in my house and we all saw the pie mess and the first three that saw it didn't wipe it up.


Yeah, it's been several days and I'm still a little cranky about it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

some stuff i know for sure

1. You should never, not ever, get paint stripper on your skin.
2. I'd probably die without skype.
3. There's a ton--a metric ton if that's bigger than the other kind of ton--of crazy in my family, but I love them still.
4. I am tired. For all my good-intentioned family members who tell me every time they see me that I look tired, it's true, I'm tired. Bone weary, aching old woman tired. There, I said it, now can we please stop talking about it or do I have to start wearing my makeup when I visit?
5. Uh, there's more, but I'm too tired to remember it all.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

rental update

We have knocked our socks off. And worn out our backs. And finished these things:

1. The basement bathroom. Shower is tiled, grouted, and caulked. And while not perfect, it is perfectly lovely.
2. The back stairway. Patched, ready for primer and paint, minus all of the extra wires, pipes, and other devices hanging on the walls, and today we tiled the upper landing, and last week, Jack built a new wall to replace the one we knocked down. In a few days we will grout the tile and call it good.
3. Wiring in the upstairs part of the house (with the exception of hanging a light/fan in the girls' old bedroom and hanging lights in the bathroom, hallway, and kitchen.)
4. Patched all of the walls in the upstairs, including all of the holes we made to allow for the re-wire.
5. Cleaned everything out of the basement, including the laundry room, except for the workbench, shop vac, and a few odds and ends that would blow away if we took them outside because there is no more room in the trash cans this week. We also have enough stuff to return to the Home Depot to pay for a couple of base cabinets and a set of drawers and a countertop for the downstairs kitchen.
6. Have nearly completed the downstairs wiring, except for three outlets and one switch in the kitchen and installing lights in the bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen, and livingroom.
7. Jr brought the curtains home for laundering and pressing.

And smartypants that we are, we hired a contractor to complete the wall patching, texturing, priming, painting, and a bit more finish carpentry, and then Melissa, the darling who cleans our house every other week, has agreed to send over some of her workers to clean the entire place.

It should be ready for renters to move in by June 1.

Friday, May 13, 2011

this one's too funny to not post

My mom called the other day while I was at the doctor with Jack who was getting prescription refills for his diabetes.

Today, while driving to the Provo house, I called mom to see how she was doing. She says she's feeling good but can definitely tell something happened in her chest so she's following doctor's orders by resting.

She then asked about Jack's appointment with his doctor.

Mom: How's his blood sugar?

Me: Good.

Mom: His A1C?

Me: Good, not its lowest but not its highest either.

Mom: His prostate?

Me: Uh, fine.


I told Jack about the conversation and he quickly pointed out that I should have told her he doesn't have a prostate. He's still got all of his limbs and doesn't need one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

this day

is a special one.
happy anniversary Stu and Shi.
is it nine years?
seems like you've been through so much more
so glad you're together.

skype love part two

how many things do you see wrong with this picture?

Mom: I figured out something good about me having this surgery right now. You got hit by the guy on the motorcycle and your car needs to be in the shop getting fixed and if I hadn't had the surgery, I wouldn't be unable to drive for a week and you couldn't borrow my car while yours is in the shop, so see, that's a good thing all around. And by the way, I talked to Bruce, our insurance man, and he said it's okay for you to drive my car and if you have a problem--you know, another accident--we can work out whether it's covered by my insurance or yours.



Monday, May 9, 2011

and then today there was the heart surgery

My mom had heart surgery today.

Over the past year, she has had occasional bouts of an irregular heartbeat, something similar to what her mom had that eventually caused congestive heart failure. Mom's doctor has had her on several medications, including a blood thinner, because the irregular heartbeat is a major cause of blood clots and stroke. The more extreme method of dealing with the heartbeat issue is to insert catheters into veins in your legs and neck, then induce the irregular heartbeat, map the irregular heartbeat, and then laser around the major blood vessels in the heart, causing scar tissue to form that hopefully blocks the extra electrical impulses that cause the irregular heartbeats, thus eliminating the irregular heartbeats.

Note: surgery is the more extreme method of dealing with this issue.

Mom's thought process regarding dealing with this issue went something like this:

  • Try the medications including the blood thinner.
  • Become somewhat irritated by required blood tests to monitor blood "thickness".
  • Change to a different, more costly, non-generic blood thinner because it's newer and thus probably better.
  • Go see a surgeon to discuss options.
  • Comment regularly that she's not afraid of cancer but she can't stand the thought of having a stroke.
  • Become irritated because some of the other medications don't allow her to eat grapefruit.
  • Decide that if she has surgery, she will be able to stop taking all medications.
  • Go see the surgeon again and schedule surgery.
  • Decide that although this surgery typically requires at least four hours of anesthesia while doctors are feeding catheters through your heart, which, according to said doctors, will "irritate and stress" her heart, that in her case, it will only take about an hour and it can't be that big of a deal because she'll come home with just three little bandages and then she can stop taking all of those other drugs including the blood thinner.
  • Note that as soon as she is off the blood thinners and healed up from this procedure, she can have eyelid surgery because dad had it and he can see so much better now so she should probably have it too.
Very pleased to report her surgery only lasted three and a half hours and the doctor "accomplished all of the goals" he had set for today.

Unfortunately, there seems to have been a slight misunderstanding. Turns out she will have to take all of her current medications and two additional medications for the next three months. After that, the doctor will take her off of everything--oh, except the blood thinners, which she will have to take for the rest of her life, because while studies are currently being conducted, until they are certain that the risk of stroke is eliminated, they are going conservative and keeping patients like her on the meds.

Less than three minutes after the doctor told her she would remain on the blood thinner, she had already converted that conversation into a new version that said she was a guinea pig for his studies and would be able to stop taking the blood thinner at some point before too long.

I'm thinking she'll be scheduling the eyelid surgery by summer. I'm just glad she's okay tonight.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

this day

Happy Mother's Day

And Happy Birthday, Jr, a week late...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

watch out for motorcycles

Sometimes, even if you're just driving along, minding your own business, listening to NPR, even if you see a guy on a motorcycle come shooting out of a driveway and you watch him swerving into your lane, even if you yell, "dude, what are you doing?" and you try to swerve into the center lane to avoid hitting him, you may still hear that sickening sound when he and his bike slam into the side of your car and at the same time you may realize that your car is skidding to and fro and even though you are still holding onto the steering wheel, you are really not in control at all as your car slides from one direction to the other, side to side, eventually spinning around so you are facing the opposite direction, looking at the guy laying under his bike, attempting to get out from under it while people appear like ants on sugar in the spring, clearly describing the event to the 911 operator.

And just like that, in less than five seconds, you are facing the wrong direction, NPR is still playing on the radio, but your car engine is off and the guy on the bike is now standing and then walking toward you saying he's sorry, he didn't see you, it was all his fault, he just got the bike two days ago but he always wears a helmet and riding pants which are torn as are his jeans underneath the riding pants, but he has just a bit of a scrape on his elbow or his wrist, and he's asking if you're okay since you're shaking violently, and did you know you ran over his leg, but he's okay and he's sorry.

And now, ninety minutes later, you've called your insurance company and given all the details and obtained the phone number of a collision repair shop and learned that you have coverage that provides for a rental vehicle while yours is in the shop and your deductible is $500 but you have a $200 credit for no claims that will be applied towards that until he or his insurance reimburse you for the deductible, and now, ninety minutes later, you realize that in that five seconds you could have killed him. And you start shaking all over again.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

just look

Remember these from a week ago?

One day last week I saw this in my gardens when I left for work:

This is what was there when I got home:

Today I saw these--note the hostas on the left poking through the soil?

And remember when I said I thought I planted orange tulips last fall?

These started out yellow and then turned a lovely shade of orange.

These are definitely the shortest tulips I've ever seen:

But they are the most intense colors:

It will be amazing if the flowers all survive these two:

And today I also discovered these growing out back that Stu and Shi gave me last year for Mother's Day

And if they need a hint for this year, I really like these too and the true blue ones didn't seem to make it through the dogs/winter:

Oh, and this one is from Skype. I miss this one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

when you can't sleep

A few days ago, Jack was being a butthead. Or it seemed that way to me. I'd fallen asleep earlier than he had after a long day of tiling, or should I say, re-tiling, the shower in the basement rental. I believe I dozed off around 7:30. He did not fall asleep so easily that night. Around 12:52, he tried to sleep by turning off and on the lights (or so it seemed to me) and finally resorted to that thing that makes everyone fall asleep--turning up the volume really loud on the TV in our bedroom, which seems to always cause him to instantly pass out, while instantly irritating the hell out of me, so that I find myself WIDE AWAKE. (disclaimer: Jack may or may not remember any of this.)

As always, silly girl that I am, I rise, leave the bedroom, taking the dogs with me, quietly closing the door behind me, make myself a cup of tea and then settle in the big chair in the office with my computer and my tea for a few hours of freecell/facebook surfing/crossword puzzle solving/and this time, I found myself on the local NPR website, listening to one of my favorite radio programs, "This American Life."

I listened to several shows on this particular sleepless night, including this one. Of all the stories I listened to that night, I was most touched by Act Four, Function of the Heart, which is described as follows:

"When Elspeth was a girl, she wanted nothing more than her father's attention. He was busy, a doctor, and distant. One day he agrees to put on a volunteer seminar for their church, about his area of expertise: "The Function of the Heart." Elspeth and her best friend are the only two kids who show up, and Elspeth is attentive and engaged, the perfect student. It was an incredible experience for her, the best day she's ever spent with her dad...she thinks. That is, until her mother takes her aside and explains her big mistake."

This story only lasts eight minutes including the music before and after, but it was an awesome eight minutes. I wish I had heard it about fifty years ago, and then again forty-five years ago, and maybe even five years ago or five minutes ago.

You listen to it. You might like it.