Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catching Up Is Hard to Do

Whew. So many pictures, so little posting...

Here's where we play the catch up game. You ready?


The Background.

1. Last soccer game. Josh rocked the game. Fun team, good coaches. Hooray.

2. Family picnic in the craziest thunderstorm. Hail. Lightning. Buckets of water. Kate and Ben, terrified. Fun with Eric & Nina, Kurt & Ashleigh, Blake, his girlfriend, Hillevie, and Chapin.

3. Ben, almost naked, eating on the kitchen counter. I just want to eat him up sometimes.

4. Third grade Pet Day. Sophie brought Natalia. But only after she cried hysterically for 45 minutes about why I gave away her guinea pig, Teddy. "How could you? HOW COULD YOU?" Well, this is how I could. And guess when they left the GreenHouse? Um, yeah...in February. Has anyone missed them? Nope. Not one word has been spoken about them. Did I cry a tear for Sophie's sadness? Well, honestly...nope. I'm just glad the smelly things are in a good home.

5. Wasatch Back Barbecue. Fun was had by all.

6. Last Day of School. Did I cry? Heck, yes. When they played taps and lowered the flag, I was just glad I had on my sunglasses. I don't even know if it was our last year at this school or not, but I bawled as if it had been. Cute kids, great teachers, happy place.

7. Last Day of School hot dog roast and chalk art festival. We had a water day planned, but we got rained out. Go figure.

8. The neighborhood helped tear out and re-sod Jeff and Liz's front yard. We won't say why it had to be done (too much fertilizer. Oops. Did I just say that?), but we will say that we had a great and magnificently dirty time helping fix the problem.

9. Liz and I did a long run that ended up involving the craziest thunderstorm I've ever seen. Wet t-shirt contest. I win.

10. Father's Day was a rousing success. The picture Katrina painted is lovely and David was so surprised. He ALWAYS guesses his presents. This one...he didn't guess. Thank you, Katrina!

11. I took the cousins to the park to hike the stream. Loved it.

12. We had our first two weekly neighborhood barbecues. More about those in another post. Suffice it to say, I LOVE MY NEIGHBORHOOD. (Oh, yeah, you already knew that.)

13. Our trip to the St. Joe river fell through. We decided to opt for a staycation. (Did I really just use the term "Staycation?" Yes. Deal with it.)
Day 1: Hike to Timp Cave, visit BYU, have lunch at the Cougareat (good times, good times.), and go to the I Spy exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art.
Day 2: Lagoon in all its glory
Day 3: Fishing in Midway
Day 4: Cleaning the house (what a fun vacation!) and having dinner with Matt and Ananda! Hooray Matt and Ananda! We stayed up until 3 am talking. I shouldn't stay up until 3 am anymore, but it was still extra fun.

14. Natalia had a stroke. So sad. She's still improving, though, so I'm hopeful.

15. Ben and Ez had a blast pulling out all the flowers from our front flowerpots, and pulling leaves off of our front tree. We had a blast re-planting them (not) and watching them perish. Ahhhh...two year olds. They're never boring.

You still here? You are brave.


The pictures:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Old Dog Update

After I finished my last post, I spent some time sitting next to Tally, crying my eyes out, preparing myself for the worst. I felt worn out when I crawled into bed. Emotionally spent.

This morning, after I carried her (all sixty pounds of her) outside to lay in the shade, I went inside to get her blanket. When I came out, she wasn't where I had put her. She had gotten up, walked slowly to the gravel area she uses as her bathroom, and was taking care of business. She then slowly and unsteadily walked back to where I stood. I was cheering and clapping and making a remarkable fool out of myself. She just kind of looked at me funny.

She ate the wet food I gave her and drank water. She moved to shadier areas when the path of the sun stole her shade.

She has some fight left! Way to go, old dog. We love you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Sweet Old Dog

So we have this sweet old dog. I've mentioned her before: Here, here, and also here. We welcomed Natalia into our home more than thirteen years ago, when I was pregnant with Josh, and she's been a (smelly) part of our family ever since.

She wasn't always smelly, of course. At one point she was a wrinkly little red ball of fur, with enormous paws and an even bigger heart. And teeth that liked to rip every loose article of clothing I owned.

Viszlas are loyal, loving, and intelligent dogs. She has always been sensitive to our moods, has been gentle to our children, and has stolen roasts off our kitchen counter. She has been a source of great love and also great frustration. She has been a shredder of tissue, a giver of (too many) kisses, and our constant companion.

And now I'm not quite sure what to do.

Her health has been failing for many months now. She's nearly deaf, she has lots of really disgusting skin bumps, terrible breath, and her fur is more white than red. Her hip gives her trouble, and she can't always make it up the stairs. But yesterday morning, I saw that something terrible had happened to her overnight. I woke to find that she had thrown up and wet next to her blanket, that she could barely raise her head, and that she had lost control over her body. She couldn't stand, let alone walk, her head was tilted to one side, and her eye was twitching. I think she had a stroke.

We've cared for her gently since. We've carried her to the sunny spots on the lawn, have loved and rubbed her and watched her struggle to lift her head to drink water, and tried to coax her to eat anything. She's taken a couple of slices of torn-up bread, but refused dog food and chunks of chicken. She's been able to drink a little water. She doesn't seem to be in pain, and she greets us with a limp tail wag, but she's not much better than she was when she woke yesterday morning.

My sweet Tally. My sweet, loving, non-judgmental, kind-hearted, loyal friend.

Tomorrow we'll take her to our vet and see what he has to say. I'm terrified to hear what he has to say. I'm not ready to hear what he has to say.

So for one more night, I'll pretend that I'll wake up to find shredded tissues near all of our trash cans, that the noodles that fell to the ground during dinner will be gone from the floor, and that everything is going to be as it was last week, when I could still believe she'd be with us forever.


Danielle just tagged me.

Here's the deal. Take a picture of yourself right now (I hope you're wearing clothes...) and post it. No primping. No putting your hair in a ponytail holder. Then tag 3 more people.

I love that I just walked in from church. Hair done...check. Makeup...check. Earrings, even? Wow. Check. Ha ha ha. I hope I'm catching some of you first thing in the morning. Can't wait to see...

I tag Stephanie, Christina, and Bri. And Sarah and Camilla and Liz and Jessie and all the rest of you. I just want to see what you look like when you think no one is paying attention...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My New Dilemma

To marathon or not to marathon.

That is really the question.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wasatch Back 2009

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The parts:

12 girls.
2 vans (OK, one van and one SUV).
188 miles.
30 hours and 43 minutes.
Little sleep.
Lots of cheering.
Bagels and cold pizza.
Hills and valleys and cities and pastures.
Crazy Utah weather.

The whole:


Mostly blissful.

This was not really about running really fast or trying to get a PR (good thing, too, or I would be disappointed). This was about pushing ourselves further than we thought we could and learning a lot about ourselves and our teammates in the process.

I was so impressed with the women I ran with. Our van was supportive and happy and funny and kind and interesting. Malisa survived on 30 minutes of sleep, did almost all of the driving, and cheered on Marianne through her nearly 10 miles in the middle of the night when the rest of us had crashed. Marianne ran those 10 with a migraine, and kept a good attitude. Cody and Malisa had never run distances before. Cody had an amazing climb, which she did with a smile. Malisa nailed her climb at 1:30 am. Mindy didn't seem to mind hanging with a bunch of women over 30, and had the best deep, dark secret by far. And Christa was just an animal. AMAZING. Fast. And funny.

When we met Van 1 at our first exchange, it looked as if none of them had run a mile. They looked gorgeous and maybe just a little bit tired. Julie ran up a dusty nasty hill and her hair looked better than mine ever does. Katie has a nursing baby and fed her at various points on the trail, and still managed to conquer a crazy hill on Saturday. Marysa fought bronchitis through the whole race. Tricia was always smiling, and man, that girl has biceps. And Bliss and Liz...what can I say about these two? I can say this. They both ran more than 18 miles for their own legs, but then when we got to Guardsman Pass, they jumped in our van to help support us. Liz ran with Marianne up part of her leg, and then they each hopped out and ran part of the way with me to help pace me. I know I was a little bit wacky and was talking all crazy philosophical junk and they just let me ramble on and on. Strong, beautiful women with huge hearts. And Liz, my co-captain...what a woman. I am blessed to be her friend. She ran with Marianne and me, like I said, but also with Tricia and Mindy. That is some huge team spirit.

So it all boils down to this. I started up Ragnar (my last leg, the second half of Guardsman Pass. 1700 foot gain over 4 miles. Gorgeous but nasty.), realizing that I wasn't going to be able to run the whole thing, but recognizing that it was OK, that I had worked hard to get there, and that my best effort was going to be enough. I've struggled with some internal battles in the last year. I have this crazy perfectionist in my head that keeps trying to convince me that I'm not quite there yet, that my efforts are not quite enough. As I ran and hiked, climbing this mountain, my iPod started playing "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard. The rain was falling, my feet were moving through the mud, and the music said:

"You have struggled enough
And warred with yourself.
It's time that you won."

Some big ol' cosmic yes welled up inside. All of the planning, all of the worry, all of the early morning training...it was all for that one moment. Will I forget this lesson? Oh, yeah, probably by next week. But one day, maybe it will sink in.

And here are some more Wasatch Back pictures:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wasatch Back, Here We Come...

So tomorrow (oops, I mean today. Better go to bed...) is the day I've been waiting for. Three years ago, pregnant with Ben, I got a flyer about some crazy relay all through the backcountry of northern Utah. That was it for me. Love at first sight. Why did it take me so long to actually do something about it? Life. It gets in the way sometimes.

But the Wasatch Back and I have been destined to get together. And I've pulled in some of my favorite people and some people I'm just getting to know to join me on this adventure. By the end of this weekend, I think we'll know each other all too well. And that's good, right?

Our team name started out as the Sugarhouse Sistah Wives. Liz and I thought we were very clever. We could go with french braids, high poofs, and floral running skirts for our team costumes. After all, I do have experience in this style...

(DId I seriously just post that again? Yup.)

But somehow the name didn't thrill the rest of the team. What? You didn't want to drive in a van with "Plyg Rig" on the back? OK. Fine.

So we went with White Lightning. This is very funny. Do you get it? First of all, we're all pretty white. Well, I'M pretty white. I'm the Whitest Lightning. See. I'm very funny. And also, we're not really fast. Isn't this so funny? You're totally getting it, right? Irony? We're s.l.o.w....so it'd be like calling Liz "Shorty" and me "Tally." Except "Tally" isn't a good nickname, is it?

Oh my goodness, I need to go to bed.

Anyway, brilliant Julie thought that we'd better make the irony clear, so she designed a snail out of a lightning bolt to paint on the two cars. She didn't want anyone to think that we really thought we were lightning fast, and I must say I agree with her. It would be pretty sad for someone to be excited to see how quickly I can run up Guardsman Pass simply because I'm from a team called White Lightning. Because I can not run up Guardsman Pass very quickly.

Maybe I should also draw a whisky bottle crossed out to make it clear that we don't like moonshine.

Tonight we decorated cars and sized up the equipment, not to mention each other. White van or silver van? How many coolers? Theme song? Who suffers from motion sickness and has to sit up front? Who draws the best lightning bolts (that would be Malisa. Sorry, Marianne.)? Who wants to pick up the cold pizza tomorrow?

And now I go off to bed... I should probably have done that before I wrote this post. I'm a little delirious.

I'll report after I get home. And take a shower. And eat. And sleep.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Deep, Dark Secret

I have very large library fines. The one I owe right now is a doozy.

Shhhh. Don't tell David. He likes to laugh at me. I say it's just investing in our public library system, so it's really a service to the community. He's not buying it. He even tried to pre-pay my fines at the library once for a birthday gift. The librarians thought that was hysterical.

So did I.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

I'm not great at planning things. I'm also not great at seeing things to completion. So what was I thinking, being the team captain for this crazy race?

It hasn't been too much work, and I've felt on top of things almost the whole way through. This, in and of itself, is rather remarkable. But this week is crunch time, and I'm just sure something important will fall through the cracks. Oh well, hopefully everyone will just be all chill about it and we'll just have a fantastic time. I'm getting so excited that I'm starting to dream about it.

So back to work...we have to find first aid kits, and coolers, and funny things to write on our windows, and good food to eat after a 5 am run, and sleeping bags, and sunscreen, and reflective vests...

Don't you wish you were running with us? You know you do.

Maybe next year...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer Piano Lessons

Kate has had a wonderful year with her amazing piano teacher, Bridget McBride. She has made fantastic progress and has loved every second of it. OK, well ALMOST every second of it. She does gripe here and there. She's a normal kid, and sometimes practicing isn't easy to do when there are TV shows to watch, friends to play with, and art projects to attack.

Some time in the last few months, Josh and Sophie have noticed that Kate's progress seems a little bit quicker than their progress. They both decided they would like to try lessons from Bridget, so today is the big day! All three of my kids have a lesson this morning. I'm excited for them and grateful for Bridget. However, I'm also embarrassed that she is going to see just how badly I've done as a teacher for them.

When I was in college, our pedagogy professor asked us all to swear not to teach our own children. He said it was a very bad idea, and almost never was successful. I thought I could prove him wrong. I've been teaching since I was 19, and I've had some great successes. I know my craft.

But he was right.

My children simply don't listen to me as a professional. They don't take my suggestions seriously. (What's THAT about? Don't all children just soak in everything their parents try to teach them?) There have been many tears at the piano bench over the last few years, and eventually I kind of gave up, and let them get away with the bare minimum. Sorry, kids! But sending them to another teacher didn't seem like a possibility with my crazy teaching schedule, and I hoped they'd learn all their musical lessons from their cello and violin teachers.

Today, however, we start a new era! I'm interested to see how this experiment will pay off.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Nightly Dilemma

To sleep or not to sleep. That is the question.

(Tonight I'm being borderline good. Off to bed I go. Before midnight! Aren't I virtuous?)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again

I spent a couple of hours last night immersed in my old pictures, looking for pictures of our first house. We bought this house in 1995, right after I finished my masters degree and right before I got pregnant with Josh. We fell in love with it the minute we walked through it, and loved it even after we knew we needed to leave it. It was a tiny little cottage on a half acre wooded lot, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, it wasn't exactly in the best neighborhood. Eventually, the desire for a safe home for our growing family pushed us to move, but leaving was still difficult.

This is the best picture of the home I could find last night. It was owned by a landscape architect before us, and he filled the yard with decks and trees and a pond with a waterfall and raspberry bushes and flowers. We added a hammock, a strawberry patch, a sandbox for Josh, secret paths through the tree farm in the far backyard, a swinging bench, and one year we even bought a live Christmas tree and planted it in the front yard. This picture doesn't really capture the magic of the house, but it was a wonderful place to dream and to start a family. Other than the meth labs down the street. And the neighbor boy who shot out our garage window. And the burglary and vandalism... Oh, stop. Let me remember it lovingly, just for today.

It has been a few years since I'd driven by the house. This is what I saw when I drove up.

Yes, that is tall grass growing in the driveway, in front of an abandoned truck. You can't see that the lawn in the front has gone to seed or that the porch boards are starting to rot out. You can't see that the next owner sold the back half of the lot to the rest home that bordered it, and that the roof of the house is starting to sag. And that huge pine tree that blocks the view of the house? Yup...that was our little Christmas tree.

No, you can't go home again. Life moves forward. It always does. But I wish my house still looked like it does in my memories.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Won! I Won!

I never win anything! I won Katrina's first anniversary art giveaway! I am so excited. Shhhh...don't tell David, but I think I'll have her paint our first house as a Father's Day present for him.

Aren't I lucky? Don't you wish you were me?

Thank you, Katrina! I'm so excited!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Daily Delights Art Giveaway

When I was growing up in California, there was a family I adored. The mom and dad were wonderful. I wanted to dance like the mom (never happened) and speak Chinese like the dad (as if.) I even worked in the dad's insurance agency for my first part-time job. But the thing I loved the most about this family were their gorgeous daughters that I was lucky enough to babysit. I determined that the oldest daughter would marry my brother, and I even got to go on a double date with them once. Too bad for me, though, we've just ended up being internet buddies instead of sisters-in-law.

Anyway, I introduce to you the lovely Katrina. She is not only a charming person but she is a gifted artist and is sponsoring a commissioned piece of art to celebrate her one-year blog anniversary. Run on over and meet her. But if YOU win the commission, I may hunt you down and force you to give it to me. I want it that much.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Send Me Some Motivation, Please. Or a Nap.

I think I'm tired. Or bored. Or lazy. Or tired. Or unmotivated. Or did I suggest tired? But I just can't seem to get my brain and body back on track. I'm running a lot and sleeping a little, and that doesn't seem to be a good combination for me. I think running a lot and sleeping a lot would work. Or running a little and sleeping a little. Not happening.

So I'm kind of wandering through today. Liz and I ran a hilly 8.6 this morning (getting ready for Wasatch Back...two more weeks! Exciting!) and then I did laundry and cleaned the kitchen and went to the ward craft morning (have I mentioned I am not a craft person? Yeah, I'll be mentioning it in an upcoming post, I think.) and went to Sophie's violin lesson and vacuumed the stairs and the basement and cleaned up an entire Costco bag of goldfish crackers that Ben decided to spill at the top of the stairs and found the music for tomorrow's choir rehearsal, but much of the time I've just spent in a slow-moving daze.

Maybe I'll sleep tonight and feel like myself again. Not this zombie woman who can't figure out what to make for dinner.

Did I mention that I was tired?

Friday, June 5, 2009


So I posted all about how cool my boy was for making the Davis County comp team after I got an email from the coach welcoming him to the team. Assuming he made the team seemed like a safe assumption after that, right?

Except after I blogged about it and made an enormous deal about it when he got home from school and he was beaming and feeling super cool, I got another email from the coach that pretty much said, "Oh, and by the way, it's not the PREMIER team we're talking about, it's the second team. Sorry for any misunderstanding."

So I had to tell my boy, who was rightfully disappointed, and take down my post, which was a little embarrassing.

What's that proverb? Don't count your chickens before they're hatched?


But still, Josh, congrats on the five goals you made in the scrimmage last night, my wonderful boy. Won't it be nice to finally know which team you'll actually play on? Living in Limbo Land is getting a little old.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures in House-Showing

We listed our house two weeks ago and didn't have one person come to see it.

We lowered the price yesterday.

Today at 1:35 I got a phone call from my agent asking if it was OK if someone came between 2 and 3. I was supposed to leave at 1:45 for Kate's piano lesson. I called Liz and asked if she felt like doing a good deed and she ran over and helped me pick up quickly and clean up the kitchen. We ran around insanely and got it all done and she took Natalia (the dog) to her backyard.

We got home from piano at 3:00 and the realtor had not come. (It's nice to have a neighbor to spy on things like that for me.) Natalia had eaten grease and a dirty diaper in Liz's backyard. (Wow, Liz. I bet you want a dog now.) We hung out on the front lawn until 3:30, when I decided most likely no one was coming after all, and it was safe to go back home.

At 4:05, sitting in the basement, I thought, "What is that SMELL?"

It was the dog. Grease and dirty diapers lead to truly smelly dog farts.

At 4:06, I saw an Audi pull into my driveway. Realtor. Potential buyer.

I grabbed Ben, the dog and her leash, and sprayed lilac room spray to try to mask smelly dog fart.

The downstairs then smelled like lilac farts.

I don't think we'll be getting an offer.