Tuesday, April 22, 2008

it's april 22, people

why is today unlike any other day?

(1) on this day in 1509, henry VIII acceded to the throne of england after the death of his father.

(2) on this day in 1836, texas revolted. a day after the battle of san jacinto, forces under texas general sam houston captured mexican general antonio lopez de santa anna. booya.

(3) at high noon in 1889, thousands rushed to claim land in the land run of (you guessed it) 1889. Within hours, oklahoma city and guthrie were formed with populations of at least 10,000.

(4) in 1945, after learning that soviet forces had taken eberswalde without a fight, adolf hitler admitted defeat in his underground bunker and stated that suicide was his only recourse.

(5) we celebrate lola p. halberschmidt dee-yaz (a.k.a. 'my sister lauren') for being born and living every day for 25 years. just kidding, 26.
(6) also, it's earth day.

lauren is my best friend and one of the funniest people i know. also, despite what i may have told everyone in my toast at her wedding, she is a very organized and tidy person.

and now, a list of just a few of my favorite things about lauren:

a. she is really pretty and not one bit vain.
b. she's a recognized talent in floral design who occasionally arranges flowers for the dalai lama.
c. she once had a bunny named winston.
d. she doesn't like everything to be easy.
e. she's extra brave. (double extreme)
f. she has a mean sense of humor but she's kind to everyone.
g. she can make friends with any type of person, and they all love her back.
h. she reminds me of our mom.
i. she tells me when i'm being stupid.
j. she can frizz her hair straight up without hairspray.
k. she is allergic to cats.

and now, a short quiz for people who think they know lauren. which of the following is a lie?

(1) in high school, she dated her substitute teacher.
(2) she has attended 6 different institutions of higher learning and is contemplating a 7th.
(3) when she was little, she wanted her name to be princess consuela bananahammock.

i love you, larne!

readers, please leave your guesses & birthday wishes here...
p.s. historical facts provided by wikipedia. if they're wrong, blame them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

news roundup

this post is alternately titled, "not everything at trader joe's is good for you."

:: i have eaten many, many dark chocolate covered caramels this day.

:: diet hansen's creamy root beer has no sugar, no caffeine, no sodium and no aspartame. and yet, it is good. i love you splenda. i hate you splenda. i love you...

:: there is a garbage can at the end of my street labeled "dog poop." to whom does this belong? i don't know.

:: the basil and chives on my window sill have made a breakthrough.

:: i have been invited to teach the 12 year-olds (the 'beehives') at church. do we think this name is silly? who cares, i got a great calling! can you even imagine what kind of sordid, back-alley life i could be living if, long ago, my mother had allowed me to wear a bikini bathing suit in my first tap dance recital performance of "it was an itsy bitsy teeny weeny, yellow polka-dot...one-piece???

:: Little announced on our hike through the canyon this evening that she would not be accepting any help from us through the rocky or steep parts of the trail. her words: "a-yee do!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

'there lives the dearest freshness deep down things'

thanks, gerard manley hopkins, for inspiring today's little lovely:

my oregano is growing!
(not a peep yet from basil or chives. c'mon, little digs!)

Little and i enjoyed an evening romp & roll in the front yard. i love these cool evenings. and the deeper i get into richard louv's book on the so-called nature-deficit disorder of our children's generation, the more i want to spend every second outside. last night we went hunting for tadpoles in the creek and found lots. lizards too. all the way home, Little said bye-bye to the bees.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

quick!!! it's poem in your pocket day

no one who's anyone will be caught without a poem in their pocket today!

you can get one INSTANTLY if you click here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

today's little lovely

have i ever mentioned that Little snorts when she runs?

also, she sings a lot. after the hymn in church ends, she just keeps on going...all through the prayer. i'm pretty sure she's going to be 'that kid' who stands in front of all the other kids (despite being the tallest) during the primary program and makes darn sure you can't hear anyone else singing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

for serious

yesterday my new bishop asked me if i wear a bikini at the beach.

come again?

the only way i could have been more surprised is if he had then turned to bim and asked him if he wears a speedo (which he does)* or if he had followed the question with a wink (which he didn't). the bishop wanted to know if i was worthy to work with the ward's young women.

i had to laugh. then i said, no, i don't wear a bikini. but what i wish i had said is: i am far from perfect--no matter what your standard of perfection may be--and in past callings with the young women i have had serious doubts about my fitness to lead them. why not say that? probably because i didn't want to make trouble. i want this calling.

becoming privy to the considerable and often heartbreaking challenges my yw faced in miami was pretty shattering. i lost a lot of sleep wondering how on earth my set of experiences could translate to anything like helpful advice for disadvantaged teenagers with little concept of what a better life would look like. what should i counsel a yw to do, for example, when her father scars her arms and threatens to deport her? how could i point her toward the scriptures when she can't even read? what do i say to a yw whose parents cut her off from every opportunity to leave her squalid home and improve her condition? or teach a lesson on modesty to a girl whose parents utterly ignore her and whose only chance at affection seems (to her) to come from the drop-out neighbor kid five years older than she is?

i became a lot less concerned about sleeveless dresses and a lot more concerned about what a yw's dress and conduct says about her image of the ideal woman. for girls this age, being "sexy" = being somebody. npr had a story about a historian who read young girls' journals over the last century. She found that whereas our grandmothers valued doing good, our daughters value looking good.

i don't know where to go with this. maybe brilliance and wisdom will distill on me in the night. not too likely, as it hasn't happened yet, but i keep hoping...

all i can say is that small improvements can feel like miracles. pray for more of those.
(*no he doesn't.)

we need more short people 'round here

what is heaven but eight small, wet people running around the backyard covered in grass and bubbles, hopped up on on lemonade and smeared with cream cheese? delightsome times. my new neighbors, traci and petra, along with friends jaymie and rebecca, brought their little ones over today for a play date. we went inside, then outside, then inside, then out. many days from now i will be looking back in fond recollection...

i changed a lot of diapers that day, and i downed a lot of bagels.

there were more bubbles than you can shake a stick at. but ruby tried anyway.

little was as happy as a pig in mud, and just about as dirty. but at the end of the day, bye-bye is a hard lesson to learn.

Friday, April 11, 2008

not even sorry

i like The Be Good Tanyas. so what?

:: the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs ::
:: human thing ::

also i love linen. it's a fairly new obsession. little shares it with me, if only because she's compelled to wear it. i made this little apron to save her clothes from a premature end.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're Not Having Hot Mush Today....We're Having Cold Mush

I had a Miss Hannigan moment this morning.

It started with me spending 45 minutes to gently simmer some Irish oatmeal. Mush is what my mom would have called it. I prefer porridge. It's more, cozy-cottage-breakfast-by-the-fireside-on-a-chill-spring-morning, and less orphan-on-a-raw-wood-bench.

So, back to my drama. The porridge was peaking just about the time Little was going to bed for her morning nap. I sprinkled it with some brown sugar, trickled in some milk and, for the final flourish...wait for it...garnished the pot with golden raisins. The Queen would have been proud to eat this mush.

Then I lost it! Don't ask me how. I ran around the house looking on all the likely surfaces over and over. I even looked in the fridge. Time passed and I was only too aware of the fleeting shelf-life of oatmeal as I muttered, getting colder, GETTING COLDER!

I finally found it. In my crafts cupboard.

Just in time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Return

Oh, how fun it was to see our friends, Julian and Caleb, who visited today with their mom, Melissa. Our first playdate was more than a year ago and we have missed our buddies! I can't believe I forgot to take a picture. Here from the archives is a shot of the trio as little belly scooters. You should see them now. Julian has a smile to die for and Caleb (left) has learned to wear his pants at a much more socially respectable position--that is, below his armpits. Come back soon boyfriends!

Monday, April 7, 2008

We don't like to work -- we only like to play!

And we'll do it IN YOUR FACE!

My mom taught me that song. Also she wrote it. That one and one in Franglais (a French/English hybrid) about having to visit the ladies' room are two of her finest.

Today is Bim's last day of vacation. After this, it's back to the coal mines.
We will miss him something awful around the house. To celebrate his last day of freedom, we visited the Descanso Gardens for a little flower therapy. Little was entranced by the fish and also a couple of older girls. She longs to be a teenager. ACE!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hug Your Local Tree

We spent Saturday with our friends, the Taylors, hiking in Eaton Canyon. Hiking is probably too strong a verb. We meandered, waded, observed, and occasionally intervened as we followed the nonlinear progress of four little children. Scott found a tadpole, which attracted a lot of interest from nearby kids. The little ones enjoyed being hoisted into a tree, from which they jumped with great energy into their fathers' arms.

Would you believe we're less than twenty miles from downtown?

Reminds me to look up a book I've been meaning to read: Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. Here is an interview with the author. I'll report more when I've actually read what he has to say.

The View From Here

We've been home for a week of days, and a few more on top of that. It's still too early for the complete tour. Until then...here is the "office" corner of our new nest.

If, while seated at the computer, I should turn and loor over my right shoulder, this is what I would see. Call it the hearth, the heart of the home.
If I look straight ahead, I see my neighbor's lemon tree (tragically laden with overripe lemons that are too large to be snuck through the chain link fence).

To the left, a carport and our backyard neighbors or, if I have my new homespun curtains drawn...
This is a place to love, a place in which to dig deep and plant. These are not idle words; I am seriously considering an herb garden. Or tomatoes? The point is:

For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I am setting up a life that isn't shadowed by the next move, the next big change. What changes we do experience will not be the kind to uproot us for a while. I sound convinced, but I am half fooling. I am not completely sure even now that I can trust this "too good to be true" scenario we've built. Probably the strong pull of habit is keeping me slightly off-center. And yet. I am steering by a certain kind of faith that tells me I am home.

Friday, April 4, 2008

NoBe No Mo'

Hard to believe that just a week ago we were packing up in North Beach and embarking on our trip. Barking too -- it was a full moon.

On two previous trips across the county I took notes and pictures and assembled books of remembrance. Neither of which I have anymore. Taking a lesson from my failures, I decided to make an audio record of the trip and post it where it can't be lost forever. Unless of course Blogspot goes under and my computer crashes and my backup gets lost. That kind of bad luck would probably herald disasters of even larger consequence, in which case I might be more concerned about keeping all my fingers and toes instead of my keepsakes.
As soon as I figure out how to post my audio file, it'll appear on this entry, just in case you're interested in a running commentary by the Richardsons as we pass through Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally descend into the valley of the dolls. Or the Valley Girls. Who can remember all the names for this place?
Meantime, here are is a bit of amateur photo journalism. I'll try not to go buck-wild. To see more extensive pictures of the trip, click here.

Easter egging at the Carr's home. We decorated and rolled them down the hill

Little has a mouth full of chocolate piggy that she found in her basket on Easter morning.

Grand Canyon
I drove the whole way. Ace. Bim logged most of the miles by far. Here's how it would go most days:
Me: How are you doing?
Bim: Fine.
Me: I'm totally awake. Want me to drive? I can drive.
Bim: Only if you want to.
Me: I do. I really, really do. Pull over.
Bim pulls over and we change places.
25 minutes later...
Me: My eyes are kind of tired.
Bim: Do you want me to drive again?
Me: Yeah, okay.

Playing with Crookston cousins in Albuquerque.
The End

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April is National Poetry Month

Do you have a favorite poem to share?

if you need inspiration, click here and browse.

I have homework, too - the blog needs updating after a long trip. For now, suffice it to say that we are home and we are safe. Oh, and happy.