Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May Begins in Pictures

 You can see that our neighbor's home construction project to the west of us is proceeding nicely.  You can also see that the ridge line is going to neatly cut off our view when the roof goes in.  However, Chuck eyeballed it and said he thought it was higher than code.  He mentioned it to the contractor, who double checked his plans and found an error.  It IS three feet too tall.  The contractor came over the other day to thank Chuck for catching the mistake now, when it is relatively easy to fix; rather than later, when the county inspector would have made him tear the whole thing apart.  I was just so happy that he was nice to Chuck!  The neighbors who are building on the east side of us spent last summer dragging us into court for such infractions as watching construction too long. Of course, she and Chuck have a little baggage, to say the least.

When Sara gets her driver's license, I won't have to do these long drives to school in the early morning.  

This one has a "late start" on Fridays.

They are SUCH PIGS.  I get so tired of trying to keep my space livable.

 Has anyone ever had part of your washer agitator break off?  This happened:  I found the broken piece in the laundry basket; then located the sharp edge in the washing machine, lurking... waiting to destroy everything it touches.  We'll try filing it down and see if that works.

Colleagues!  I LOVE my colleagues!  BUT..

...I have so much work to do...

 Enrollment data... more enrollment data...  I was making good progress until I made the mistake of checking my e-mail and found a rabid message from one of the Fifth Grade teachers, accusing the Adult Education program of trashing her classroom last night.  Plant knocked over; markers dumped onto the floor; a bucket of other items dumped out; and (here's the kicker) VOMIT on a computer, pillow, desk and the floor.  Really?!?  She thinks one of our adult students PUKED in her room?  What kind of debauchery does she think we get up to!? She said, "I think it is shameful that  the children take better care of our spaces than your adults do."  Of course, this didn't happen.  I was in that room off and on all evening.  There were only two groups that used the space.  I checked with the staff and the volunteers and noting unusual happened in that room at all.  Plus, after we are finished, the custodians come in to do night-cleaning.  The custodian said he found no vomit either.  So, I have no idea what is going on, but it made me mad to be called in to my boss' office and questioned about it. And mad to have my department treated so poorly by some silly goose.
The circled area represents all the stuff I didn't get done while I was dealing with "vomit-gate".  

Nathan told me that he HAS to have a set of earphones for standardized testing on Monday morning.  He wants to take ear buds to school; but he left his lying around and Tobi chewed them.  I won't lend him mine, because I want to go running on Monday.  No worries, I tell him.  I have a really nice, school-issued head set that he can use.
Nate:  No way!  They can't be head phones, Mom!  They have to be ear buds!
Me:  Why?
Sara:  Nate, they have head sets there for you to use!
Nate:  No!  We have to bring our own!
Sara:  You just don't want to use mom's 'cuz they don't look cool.

Chuck found a pair for him to borrow and ended the discussion.  I was amused.
Get me out of this place and the crazy vomit accusations of a teacher who has issues with sharing.  

Sara and Ilan have prom tomorrow.  

Picnic!  I need to let go of my work day.

Let's take Ilan to the concert with us!

Acoustic music at the Unitarian Church.  Dinner, followed by...
...blurry Bluegrass, courtesy of the Lab Dogs.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Ups! The Downs!

Today, I had more than my share of teen drama.  Good lord.  Where do I even start?

Nate has two really good friends:  L & L, who are twin brothers.  Last week their mother died of a sudden heart attack, just out of the blue.  This was difficult for Nate to navigate:  thirteen-year-old boys don't have the most delicate social sensibilities.  He really wanted to be a good friend; so we went to the funeral together, and I encouraged him to text them every few days to say, "Hi".  They returned to school this week; and this weekend is their thirteenth birthday.  Their father has planned an epic blowout.  They are going to go to the amusement park in a big RV, spend the whole day there, then spend the night in the RV in the amusement park parking lot.  Even Sara said, "Dude, that sounds SICK!" (which is a good thing, by the way.)  Only problem is that he has a soccer match scheduled that day.  After initially saying that he had to miss the party for the soccer match, because he has already committed to the match, I relented in the name of his friends, who could use a few laughs.  But how to finesse it with his coach?  And his dad?  I do not like lying.  But I have to admit that, "Coach, I need to skip the match so I can go to my friends' birthday party." makes me want to come up with something different.

The best story today, though, comes from Sara.  Sara has a boyfriend named Ilan; and last month, they attended his ROTC ball together.  So, when they discussed his senior prom, they decided not to go.  Neither of them felt like it.  Then Ilan texted Sara last night to report that his dad is making him go.  MAKING?  How do MAKE a kid go to prom?  What ever happened to the good old days and, "I'm not going and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" Ilan isn't good at saying no to his dad, though.  His dad insists that it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and cannot be missed.  Sara really doesn't want to go.  She and Ilan go to different schools, so she won't know anyone.  I'm on her side; except that, since Ilan has to go, she should support him by going.  After some eye-rolling and quavering exclamations out why she shouldn't have to do this, she agreed.

Renewed upset his afternoon when she realized we were going to need to get him a button-hole.  No worries, I told her. We'll get him something cream-colored to go with your cream and gold dress.   But check on the color of his suit. 

He will be wearing a tux.

He will be wearing his father's tux.  His dad used to be a hot-shit banker in Singapore and had all of his suits tailored.  I assured Sara that Ilan would look great in a tux, and that her dress is adequate to be worn in the presence of the tux. 

Ilan texted again to say the tux was black and gold.  I was trying to picture it.  Black and gold? 

Ian sent her a picture of the tux.  It was definitely tailored in Singapore.  It is Singaporean in its style, complete with Nehru collar and wide gold trim.  Since Ilan's family hails from India and he is comfortable in his Asian skin, I think he is going to pull it off perfectly and look smashing.  There are no lapels, so I'm not totally sure how the button-hole fits into the picture, but we can figure it out. 

Sara was beside herself.  They will look ridiculous!  The other kids will spend the evening judging her and Ilan. 

Mom, prom is all about the judging! 

Makes me wish that now, as a middle aged woman, I could go to prom.  Chuck and I would have a ball!  We would wear coordinated outfits, laugh too loudly and make unreasonable music requests.  "Ma-vis!  Sta-ples!  Ma-vis! Sta-ples!"  Sara was not amused. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Today I woke to snow.

There had been talk of starting work on our sailboat project.  Step one:  pressure wash the inside of the bare hull to know out all the dead leaves and wasps nests.

But instead we made a fire in the cook stove and I baked lemon bars.  I made chicken mole in the crock  pot.  Chuck and I had an afternoon nap, which did include sleeping... after a while.  I repaired the broken wicker basket that sits on the table and holds napkins.  While I was at it, I attached things to the sides of it:  an old earring; a tiny "Hello Kitty" charm; a key; a spoon; a press-on metal letter from the mailbox.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hey, Hey, My, My

Today I took advantage of the warm weather to start mucking out the cleaning out my car.  Since I had an awkward mom-taxi route this afternoon, I didn't bother going home between dropping off and  picking up.  I brought wet rags and paper towels and Windex and Simple Green to the park where Nathan has soccer practice and just worked on it there.  It was a blue-sky, petal-strewn day; so I had the windows down and cranked KRCL, my favorite music station.

KRCL is a community station with mostly volunteer hosts doing a crazy mish-mash of programs.  Very much like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates.  There's a Native American show with lots of drumming; The Bluegrass Express; The Fret and Fiddle Show; Red White and Blues; a Reggae show, the  name of which I can't remember ("All killer, no filler!"); world music;  a meditation show with lots of trickling water and chimes; a very sentimental Pacific Islander show hosted in Tongan; Acoustic Sunrise; a youth show on Monday evenings; really weird electronica late at night.  Late afternoon is Drive Time, which tends slightly toward classic rock, but might include Beatles tunes in French or something.  They also have a daily spot called "Guilty Pleasures".  You can call in a favorite song that embarrasses you.  By ABBA, maybe, or John Denver.  Today it was the Commodores.

Perfect car-cleaning music.  Mavis Staples; Simon and Garfunkel inviting me to hang out with Julio down by the school yard;  Neil Young.

Hey, hey, my, my/
Rock and Roll will never die

Chuck is home from his river trip none the worse for wear except his big toes.  He will lose both nails, I'm pretty sure.  I amused him yesterday with the Worst Striptease I could come up with.  I tossed my dirty sneakers in the air.  I pretended I couldn't unhook my bra without turning it around in front. I toppled over with my pants around my ankles.  I twirled my dainties around and threw them at him but missed and sent them flying across the room, with the exception of my dirty socks, which landed expertly on his head.

He told me it was super hot.  How old married couples get it on.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Today I...

I don't know how many of you listen to The Diane Rehm Show on NPR, but I love it and listen to it almost every day.  So yesterday, Diane was interviewing a novelist named Heidi Julavits about her new book, "The Folded Clock".  It is, in fact, a diary:  a compilation of entries Julavits kept over the course of a year or two.  She read several passages and I was blown away by the beauty of her writing. 

She spoke movingly about the desire to take a moment at the end of each day to acknowledge that day and find something to make it stand out from the collection of days before and after.  She called it "a type of meditation".  This resonated with me.   She said that it helped her to encapsulate her thoughts by starting off each entry with, "Today I". 

Today I had interesting phone calls. 

My friend Cliff called me, baffled by a call he received from a woman he had casually dated a couple of years ago.  He wanted my opinion on the matter, because this woman was a student at my school when she and Cliff met.  Like that gives me any insight.  The last time they met for coffee, she told him that she was in love with a man; that she had just had a baby girl.  That must have been about two years ago.  Why did she call him out of the blue and ask if he wanted to get together for coffee now?  Well Cliff, my guess is that she has broken up with her guy  and is interested in seeing if you are available.  I asked him whether he was still interested in dating her.  He declared, "that ship has sailed".  Just as well.

Then I had a call from my cousin Anita.  She is coming up to Salt Lake from Phoenix next weekend for the wedding of her youngest son.  When I heard she was coming, I asked her if she wanted to stay with me; but she told me she planned to stay in Provo with her middle son.  She was looking forward to that:  she has a brand new baby grandson there she wants to see.  And she wants to spend more time with her daughter-in-law, who she says is a little stand-off-ish with her.  She called me this evening, though, to take me up on my offer.  Her middle son has found out that she smokes marijuana, and said that he can't have her in his home.  I pointed out that this is understandable.  Why not just leave the weed at home?That was not the problem.  She isn't welcome in his home because she HAS smoked it. Therefore he doesn't want her in proximity to his family.  Judgemental little twit.  Punitive, unctuous, Utah County stuffed shirt.  I told her to bring her swim suit so we could soak in the hot tub and that we would have a great time. 

Chuck is home tomorrow, and I can't wait to see him.  I am being mocked by my friends, who agree that a week without the husband is paradise.  I know it is pathetic to miss him - actually, I think part of it is that he's not just gone.  He's GONE.  Off the grid.  So it isn't like I can call him or text or anything.  I haven't heard a thing in a week.  That's different! 

The wind must be picking up again.  I can hear the house starting to creak.  Bed!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Letter to Chuck

Hello, Darling-

I hope you are staying warm on your excursion.  There is a font blowing in, and snow expected up here tomorrow.  It might be warmer in Canyonlands; or it might not.  I am picturing you happily paddling away during the day and trading bullshit stories by the fire at night.  And hopefully not sleeping too cold with just that bivvy bag.

It was a windy Easter today.  So windy that working in the garden was not fun.  I retreated with bits of gravel and twigs in my hair.  I found a couple asparagus stalks, though!  That was the good news. The bad news was that Sara asked if she could clean up one of the raised beds, and then proceeded to just rip out all my Russian Sage that I put in last year.  She didn't realize until it was too late.  (Sigh). 
She has been doing an excellent job of doodling on the freezer door, though.  She would like you to cover the whole wall next to the stairs in white-board surface, so she can doodle wildly all over it.  I told her to ask you when you get home. 

Let's see... what else happened today?

Cliff and the boys came down for supper.  He brought lamb; I made a roasted beet salad, rolls and a pecan pie.  Pecan pies continue to baffle me.  In this case, my main problem was that I only have a deep-dish pie pan, now.  I need to replace my regular pie pan.  Trying to fit the pie to the over-deep pan meant that the crust did not go up and over the sides, which meant that it shrank.  That, in turn, meant that when the filling began to bubble and expand, the brown sugar syrup seeped down between the crust and the pan.  The result was a burnt-sugar area that looked like obsidian.  No kidding, there was one piece we could see our reflections in!  The rest was pretty good, though.   Luckily, it was just the Hammonds.  Cliff always says that he likes my flops.  He actually dug around, looking for the burned bits.  I doubled the amount of pecans in the pie, because I like more nuts and less gel.

I filled Cliff in on our plans for the Rogue River.  Yes, he will drive the van home; so you and I can depart straight from the take-out to Seattle to meet your family for the cruise.  

Because of the wind, it became imperative to get rid of the dead raspberry brambles that I pruned the other day.  The wind blew my bramble heap apart:  we won't be able to go barefoot out there for half the summer!  I gathered everything (almost) back up and the kids and I wrapped it in a tarp.  We went for a walk this afternoon and dragged it out to the dumpster.  We hiked up the Little Cottonwood Trail, pausing frequently so Sara could take photos.  There is a notice posted on a fence post up there that says that, if the Wasatch Mountain Accord is approved, the proposed canyon rail line will follow the path of the Little Cottonwood Trail!  No way! A train clattering past?  Nothing like killing the quiet AND lowering our property value at the same time....  I had better find a minute to sit down and read the Mountain Accord carefully.  We are still in the public comment period.  God, just when we had won the battle of the wood burning stoves, we have to go another round? 

Your ex appears to be in a major hurry to get her home building project done.  She had a guy in there all day yesterday ('til dark) and until 5 PM today (EASTER, for Pete's sake). 

I am staying busy and trying not to miss you too much. Company for supper last night and tonight; two major projects I want to work on; looking forward to dinner out with Shirley and Rebecca on Wednesday. Still, I find that I count the days until you are home again.  I will have a stockpile of hugs and kisses waiting. 

PS!  You basement is LOADED with tools.  Implements of every kind.  In the garage today, I even encountered what I guess I would call a DRIFT of small hand-tools, like pliers, up against one of the walls.  I went in search of a nail.  A nail.  Couldn't find one.