Sunday, April 29, 2012

A few things that happened a year ago and things that happened today

Happy Anniversary Will & Kate!

Remember that super amazing party my sisters and I threw for the wedding? Golly that was great.  To commemorate I wore my hat while I indexed this afternoon.

And another anniversary:  my grandpa died a year ago today.  Can you believe it's been a year? We had a brief cry/laugh while talking about him tonight at the parents. You cannot help but laugh when you're talking about him.  He was a cut up.

In other news, it was a very church-y weekend.  Friday night was a fundraiser to send the kids to camp.  Katie and I were the auctioneers for the dessert auction and let me tell you, it's kind of an exhausting job. The hardest part?  Remember people's names when you're talking really fast and everyone is waving their paddles.  And not just any names but your friends' names.  People you've known forever.  "I have $10 to um..uuuummmm...$10 to that person I've only known for years and years.  Yes, you, dear friend. Claim your brownies!" 

Then yesterday morning was the state-wide Mormon Helping Hands day of service where we all put on bright yellow vests and go out into the community and pick up trash or clear brush or help old ladies across the street or, in my case, paint green gates at the high school for several hours. We somehow ended up with 3 adults and 7 kids under 18 in my group. Which means we spent less time painting and more time convincing the kids that painting is fun.  But it was still a good time. 

But the biggest church-y thing I did was actually at church.  For the first time in many years I left the under-12 set and spent the whole time with grown-ups.  We have enough help in the nursery now that we get one Sunday a month to venture into Sunday School.  And while it was great to have adult conversation and an actual class discussion, I really missed those kids.  And the snacks.  And playing with the toys.  I was not the most reverent, is what I'm saying. It would appear that while I may be 80 in my habits I am 2 in my attention span.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'll pack the snacks and the mixed tapes

1.  I stayed up way passed my bedtime last night reading a book. On a school night, even.  Just like days of old.  And also, I was trying not to die from the killer cramps I was having.  As I get older my cramps have only gotten worse.  I think it's my uterus saying, "Hey!  HEEEEEEYYYYYYY!!!!!  What am I, chopped liver?"

2.  Camille, Nelly, and I went to the Dodger game on Monday night and even though we won and had a marvelous time we did not get on the jumbo-tron, despite all of our vigilant efforts.  And the efforts of these two guys sitting behind us.  Near the end we were basically the only ones left in our section (because the Dodgers were dominating the Braves and everyone leaves in the 8th anyways) and we had our Dodger blanket and we shimmied and danced and our new best friends behind us would join in.  And nothing.  Nothing at all.  We are hoping that at some point we made it onto the TV broadcast at least.

3.  Camille & Nelly spent the day out in LA so I took the train to meet them out there.  Which was a HUGE mistake.  Because it just reminded me of my awesome train trip to Chicago last summer.  And it made me even more antsy to get out of Dodge.  Spring does this to me.  It makes me want to pack my bags and head to exotic locations.  Or hop in my car and roll the windows down and drive until I feel like stopping.  Who's with me?  Let's go somewhere!  If you could take a road trip anywhere right now where would it be?  Me?  Yosemite.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oooh, You're Gold

Please tell me you're watching the Wilson Phillips reality show.  Because I would hate to think you were missing out on it.  And here's why:  Chynna Phillips is the mayor of Crazytown USA.

At one point in a recent episode Carnie was recovering from surgery and Chynna moved in to help her out because they had a fast-approaching tour to begin.  Chynna suggested doing some breathing exercises so she started by plugging one of Carnie's nostrils with her finger and telling her to breathe through the other nostril.  Carnie said that she couldn't because her sinuses were clogged to which Chynna replied, "Clogged sinuses are your body's way of telling you that you don't deserve to breathe." When Carnie protested Chynna was all, "No really.  You're body does not think you are worthy of breath."


And that is just the beginning.  She says and does loony things all the time like spritzing herself with herbal mist and doing self-affirmation exercises.  I'm so in love with her!  Who knew she was so bonkers.  Michelle didn't mention any of this when we became best friends

I just struck me that Chynna is married to one of the Baldwin brothers and I'm trying to imagine their family parties where she is hanging around the guacamole making small talk with Alec.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Morning Glory

My day started out a little stymied.  The power went out.  And then came back on. And then went out again.  So I decided to go to the gym.  Although begrudingly. I got in the car and started driving only to discover that the main street I live off of (Foothill, or you outsiders may know it as Route 66, because I'm cool like that) was packed.  The signal down the street was out and there was a mile long line up of people waiting to go through a four-way stop incorrectly.  I absolutely could not turn left.  So I turned around and went home and decided to walk around my complex. 

And that is when things started looking up.  The sun felt amazing.  The birds were chirping.  The combo of the vitamin D and endorphins made me want to skip.  I was listening to This American Life about a Jewish woman who wanted to perform a really big mitzvah and donate a kidney to a stranger but she was terrified of telling her mother.  It was a lovely story.  And then at the end of my walk I ran into Shelley and her girls and strolled around with them for a while and then we ran into my old neighbors Cindy and Ron and had a nice chat with them.  And then I mentioned how inviting the pool looked and Shelley convinced me that I needed to take a swim.  True story, I have never actually swum in our pool.  It's very fish-bowly.  All the apartments look right into.  And yet, it just seemed like the right thing to do.  So I did.  Best Decision Ever.  I swam for a bit, just long enough to not get a sun burn, which in my case is about 15 minutes.  (I did not put on any sunscreen which is tantamount to driving without a seatbelt while wearing a blindfold.  I am living on the edge, folks.)  The whole morning suddenly felt like a total victory.  I capped it all off by pluckng my eyebrows (a very life-affirming activity) and downloading the new Eric Hutchinson album (two thumbs up).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We will win the house cup!

Have you kids been to Pottermore yet?  I take real issue with authors giving out information after the book has been read.  I spend so much time investing myself in a book, visualizing the characters, thinking up back stories and basically creating an image in my head of who they are.  Same with places and situations.  That's my job as a reader.  So when an author says, "And by the way, I never mentioned it in the book but that favorite character of yours has every Pat Boone album and roots for the Cleveland Indians," well, I get a little annoyed. 

So I wasn't planning on checking it out.

Except that I did on Sunday night and two hours later I had a wand (10 inches, maple, phoenix feather core, slightly springy) and was put into Ravenclaw House and had read the back stories and inside stuff and brewed some potions and well, I was sort of hooked.  Ugh. I'm not pleased with myself, believe me. 

But I do think that if ever there was a series to do this to it would be Harry Potter.  One of the things I love the most about JK Rowling is her imagination.  There are just so many cool and interesting things she has created.  And who doesn't miss this world?  So, okay, I'm a fan of Pottermore.  Ravenclaw Rules!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bendy straws and root beer floats

I was commissioned by Valerie to make some felt flowers for a wreath.  As payment I received a package filled with Pokie sticks (which the Art Society devoured at our last meeting) and spring colored napkins and bendy straws.  I was instructed to host a root beer float party.

So I did. (Like I'm going to go against the wishes of a benevolent patron.)

The kids at the institute thank you, Val.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chapter 3 would be "Shimmy"

1.  First Dodger game of the season.  Woot!  It was good to be back.  And good to be out for under the miserable greedy thumb of Frank McCourt.  Welcome Magic Johnson, et al!  Plus, we won and there were fireworks and the predicted rain never came.  My face was exploding with happiness by the end of the night. And, as always, we got on the jumbo-tron.  My first book should be on the art of getting on the jumbo-tron.  Chapter 1:  Know your cameras.  Chapter 2:  Dance like a lunatic.

2.  At a meeting on Saturday night where several members of the world church leadership were present they opened things up for questions from the congregation.  In my head I was shouting, "NOOOOOOO!!!!!  PLEASE NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"  Because people ask the dumbest questions.  Oh, they're so dumb.  Oh, why??!  WHY!!!!???? And to prove that all of my fears were founded the very first question was, "Elder Snow, could you please tell me why we say, "I'm going to church" when the technical term for the building is the meetinghouse?"  Oh, for crying in the mud.

3. I watched my friend Teresa's baby twice this weekend and on both occasions I spend a large portion of my time there kissing on his face.  Because, ugh, those cheeks.

4.  I went to Cafe Rio for the second time in my life and I finally got why people go bananas for it.  The first time I was unimpressed.  But this time I wised up and got the pork salad and was convinced.  Plus, they have crushed ice AND cherry coke.  I don't actually like soda very much.  Coke in particular.  And don't get me started on diet coke.  Why don't you just dump a cup of sugar in a bottle of cough syrup?  But I have a soft spot in my heart for cherry coke.

5.  Remind me to never drink Cherry Coke again.  Because my body is not prepared for that kind of sugar and caffeine consumption.  So for about 5 hours after I had some my brain was all, "Buzz, buzzzz, buzz buzz buzz.  BUZZZZZZZ."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maybe they were all just really shy. Or bad dancers.

I have started doing indexing for the church's genealogy website.  I have found that fewer things have stirred my imagination more than seeing little glimpses of people's lives in historical documents.  Right now it's nothing but the 1940 census so I see a lot of pages filled with family information on individual blocks.  Take, for example, the family who lived in Westmoreland County Virginia - a widowed mother with six sons from the age of 25 to 40, all single, all still living at home. How come these guys couldn't get dates?  Were they all tragically disfigured?  Socially inept?  Was it bad breath?  Were they circus performers who had given their lives to the stage? Did the father die in a high wire act gone terribly wrong?  Don't they have single girls in the circus? That poor mother.  Or maybe she was the problem.  You know, never thinking any girls were good enough for her boys, especially those floozies over in the dog training tent. 

Or what about the family with immigrant parents (from Bohemia, no less) who had two daughters, ages 19 and 21, and a gentleman lodger.  Was he a teacher at the school?  Did he have a dashing mustache?  I bet both girls were in love with him.  And I also bet that he wasn't in love with either of them but was secretly dating the girl next door, named Mildred, of course.

I am fascinated by the family who lived in the rural south with a mother only 30 years old but with 10 children.  Or the family in Colorado with a father born in Iowa and a mother born in Arkansas.  How did they meet?  And how did they end up in Colorado.  And why did they have two sons named Robert?

One of my best discoveries, though, has nothing to do with families.  It is that there is a city in Virginia called Pittsville.  I wonder how fitting it is.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The tradition continues.

Institute Shenanigans:

1.)  One of the kids at the institute mentioned that he thought his head was small, so I did what I always do in this situation, I pulled out my little measuring tape that I always carry with me and measured it.  And then started measuring other people's heads.  And then started the official Walnut Institute Head Competition. Results will be posted on my office wall.  I seem to have found a group who will humor me.

2.)  I have snacks for sale in my office so I regularly get into conversations about favorite candy bars.  Do you know what people love?  A plain Hershey bar.  Okay, sure, it's chocolate.  I certainly can't fault that.  But you're really going to choose a plain Hershey bar over peanut M&Ms?  Or a Twix?  Or peanut butter cups?  Or even a Hershey bar with almonds?  It's mystifying.

3.)  The resale of snacks to college students has led to some interesting currency coming into our cash drawer.  So far I have received coins from Canada and Fiji and a half of a dollar bill.  I wonder if they thought it would count as 50 cents.  And as far as the coins go, I'll just start up a collection of money from Commonwealth nations.  Anything with the Queen's head on it is good enough for me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to find the eggs

Every Easter of my youth we would go to Grandma & Grandpa Knecht's house for breakfast and then all the grandkids would go out front and play Red Rover while the dads would hide the eggs in the back.  Then we would line up youngest to oldest (I always wished that it would be shortest to tallest so I would be closer to the front) and file in the back for the egg hunt.  There are countless pictures of us in this line up, all holding brown paper bags with our names on them. 

I haven't done an egg hunt in years but I did one last night.  There were only three kids at the family party but three more who couldn't make it and we wanted to collect eggs for them so Camille, Allie, and I took up the paper bags and joined in the search, complete with the line up (still youngest to oldest, drat) and pictures.  And I'm just going to say, I totally dominate at finding eggs.  I'll give you my number one tip in case you get an invite to the party next year.  You have to stand by Uncle Jeep because he will point you in the direction of the tricky ones.  He would do this all the time when we were kids and I'm happy to report that he still does it to this day. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Felting Padawan

Kaiya and Jaron came over to color with me today for our now weekly art society meeting.   Yes, I belong to an art society with an 8 and 6 year old.  They wanted to listen to classical music while we created - we're dealing with a rare brand of children here. 

When they walked in Kaiya showed me a picture of a hummingbird that she wanted to copy.  And I thought she would want to paint it with sparkly watercolors as that is her medium of choice these days but she started eye-balling the World's Largest Felt Collection and asked, "Is today the day we finally use felt?" And I knew that it was time. 

You guys, she's my little felting padawan! I felt just like Willy Wonka when he met Charlie Bucket and thought, yes, finally, someone to pass it all on to.

I showed her how to cut out shapes and what order to do things. And she picked out all the colors we would use and cut out a lot of feathers and glued them on. And then she decided that where there are hummingbirds there are flowers so I made some rosettes and behold:

She asked if I could make it into a pillow.  Cute!

And then she did my hair for me.

Jaron was content drawing pictures of pirate ships and drinking hot chocolate even though it was 80 degrees today.  One of our society's bylaws is that we will always have hot chocolate if we want it.

Fact:  my art society is rad.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Save the Libraries!!!

I saw the Hunger Games tonight.  And I liked it. Truly, I did.  I don't know that I'll see it again because this story has some kind of voodoo spell over me that is all-encompassing and my eyeballs felt like they would pop out because I was so into it.  Also, mutts, EEK!  But it was good.

And I was going to tell you all about the previews that assaulted us before the movie - KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, I wanted to hide under my seat despite the years of caked on soda and popcorn butter that I'm sure has collected on the floor under there - they were just so loud and long with lots of explosions and fighting.  I was so tense through it all.  And they must turn the volume way up during the previews because it was like I was sitting on a sub-woofer.  The 80 year old in me was ready to hit someone with an orthopedic shoe.

But that tale will have to wait because when I got home I ended up reading all about the proposed total slashing of library funding in California. As in, all of it gone-zo.  Ugh.  Maybe it was because I had just watched the Hunger Games and was incensed at the way governing bodies can ruin people's lives, or maybe it was because I love books and libraries and think that they deserve to be saved, or maybe it was just the 80 year old in me being cranky that I was now deaf from the movie trailers, but whatever the reason I started writing letters.  Eight, to be exact.  Each member on the committee who will make the decision will soon be getting a nicely worded, only slightly sarcastic but definitely from-the-heart letter from me.

I LOVE writing letters to government officials!!!  Hey, who wants to join me in this letter writing campaign?  I thought you'd say yes so here are the names and addresses.  You can also call or email or fax. But I personally love a good old fashioned letter.  Stamps make things seem more official, don't you think?