Friday, February 29, 2008

Crushes-H.S. through College

It is snowing here. Shocking, I know. I would just like to say that nobody warned me about the lake effect before I moved here. However, regardless of how it looks outside, I have decided to take down the Christmas wreath from my door in honor of March. (All my other decorations were put away in the middle of January, but the Christmas wreath seems to help make it prettier outside in the sea of gray and white.)

And with another snow day and kids home from school with friends over, I have decided to add my high school and college crushes. Because I can. I could be doing dishes or laundry, I suppose, but this is more fun.

1) Robert Sean Leonard. Another New Jersey boy. Dreamy then and now. Actually, Todd and I refer to him as "pretty boy" whenever we can't remember his name. Somehow this started when he was playing in that Tom Stoppard play several years ago..."Inventions of Love", I think.

2) Keanu Reeves in his pre action movie and Paula Abdul video days.

3) Jason Scott Lee. When I went to Disney World with my family over winter break of my freshman year of college, I was very disappointed to learn that they did not in fact carry a life size poster of Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli. This was the closest they had:

4) Rupert Everett. Yes, I know he's gay. And therefore, not unlike every other man I was spending time with in college. Maybe it was a crush of empathy. Still, I find him wonderfully amusing and have compulsions to watch nearly everything he's in. With exceptions. No movies with Madonna.

5) Colin Firth. It all started with Pride and Prejudice, of course. You all know what I'm talking about. Was there any woman who watched him in that movie and came away unscathed?

Here are Colin and Rupert together!

You may notice that my list of crushes for high school and college is significantly shorter than my earlier list. Part of it is I was too busy for TV and movies. The other reason is that there were plenty of real boys to be enjoyed. ;)

Stay tuned for "Crushes-the married years". (When I was originally making the list and mentioned Orlando Bloom in all his elfen glory, Todd perked up and said, "HEY. That was just a few years ago. We were married then. We saw all those movies together while you were holding my hand!" When I said, "Are you telling me you haven't had any movie star crushes since we've been married?" he went a bit pink and suggested another name to add to MY list.)

Maybe it won't snow anymore and that portion of the list can wait until next winter!! A girl can dream, right?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Gym Chronicles, episode 1

I am making a full confession of being something of a gym rat. Mostly going there gives me an excellent excuse to be able to read for an extra hour of every day while still looking productive. And one hour per day without any children clinging to me is very helpful to everyone's sanity in my house.

It is due to this feeling of pleasure that I do my best to dissuade others from being social with me. I love socializing...but not at the gym. My average looks, average hair color, average height and weight and slightly below average ability to dress myself in matching clothes help quite a bit in my effort to go unnoticed while at the gym. My averageness is wonderful for an hour of peace and/or people watching. I spend lots of time studying everybody else. Gyms are full of wonderful characters.

Anyway, the other night I left Todd to put the boys to bed and book in hand ran off to the gym. I was only 15 minutes shy of being done with my 45 minutes on the treadmill when a man came and stood next to me. I should mention right here that I am prejudiced against people who are solid muscle. I've never really cared for the look. However, Mr. Solid Muscle man came and stood next to me and said, "Look! The treadmill next to you is open! I get to walk next to you!"

Unsure how to reply, I said, "Hm, well, it's all yours then," and went back to reading.

He hopped onto the treadmill next to me and said, "I really wanted this one, so I could walk next to the coolest girl in the whole gym."

Seriously. I'm not making this up. You all have met me. Nobody upon first meeting me has EVER had that impression of me, I'm sure. So, I briefly glanced up at him, smiled wanly, thinking but not saying, "Has that line ever worked for you?", and went back to reading.

At which point he began talking to me about how he really likes to walk for a few minutes after a workout to loosen up because he's so tight. I swear I'm not making this up. I occasionally said, "hm," but kept reading.

He must have realized after about ten minutes that I was trying to ignore his babbling, because he finally said, "Look, I shouldn't have said that 'you're so cool' thing. That was inappropriate and I'm sorry."

I looked up at him and as only a true New Jerseyan can said, "Forget about it."

He continued to blather apologies. And finally I said, "Look. Don't worry about it, really. I don't care. I just didn't realize that it showed." Said with a straight face, btw. And then I stopped my treadmill and walked away with my book, to retrieve my coat.

No sooner was I pulling on the 12 layers of clothing it takes to get back home, when some woman whom I have never met comes up to me and starts telling me some saga about her ipod and batteries and a conversation with her husband and her workout.

People have this idea about people from NYC. They think they are rude and unkind. Hogwash. New Yorkers are wonderful and helpful, if you politely stop and ask them something. Otherwise, they are very happy to ignore you. If you walk down the street sobbing but not asking for any help, you can be happily ignored. I love this about NYC.

I realize that I expect my gym to be like New York. But it's not. It's Ohio. And usually the nice people keep their distance from me, but something about the other night changed it. Maybe I smiled too much. Maybe it's because I was wearing a brighter T-shirt. I don't know.

When I recounted the story to Todd, he asked why I didn't show the guy my wedding ring. (This is funny coming from my husband who doesn't wear a wedding ring.) I looked at him and said, "Oh, that didn't even occur to me BECAUSE I HAD A BOOK!"

Fellow gym go-ers, a plea: DO NOT interrupt the sacred reading time of a mother...or you may find a very hard book colliding with your "tight body".

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Loving the Books!

Benjamin recently found Todd's old Calvin and Hobbes comic books on our bookshelves. He's been reading the two or three books every spare moment of every day. We hear him laughing out loud all over the house while he reads. Todd told him last week about the huge compilation book that has ALL of the comics from the series. They reserved it from the library and every day Benjamin would get home from school saying, "Did my book come YET, Mom?!" Well, last night on their way home from Cub Scouts, Todd and Benjamin stopped off at the library and THERE IT WAS!!!!

Because Benjamin has his first ever standardized testing today, we only let him read for 20 minutes before going to bed. He tried hiding the book so he could keep reading long after lights out (a child after my own heart!), but Todd was smart enough to ask for it. This morning he woke up early and was ready for school in record time just so he could read for an hour before school.

Despite all of his excitement about Calvin and Hobbes, Benjamin was just as excited that his new scriptures came yesterday in the mail. As soon as he saw them sitting on the table, he sat down and read the first five chapters of First Nephi.

I'm so proud of the boy that he is. He is sweet and sensitive and goofy and smart. (Really. I'm not biased in any way.)

Here's to good books and great boys!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Book Tag

I was tagged by my friend Tricia from her wonderful blog "Library Queue".

Go and visit. Her book reviews are succinct and her reading material wonderfully diverse. Though, it could just be that nearly all the books she's read are books that I have read so I am disposed to believe that she possesses flawless taste. ;)

Anyway, here are the rules:

  • Find the book closest to you with at least 123 pages.
  • Turn to page 123.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the next 3 sentences.
  • Tag 5 people.
The book closest to me is "Lord John and the Private Matter" by Diana Gabaldon. Lord John has a minor role in her Outlander series to which I was recently addicted. But she decided to give him his own series.

"Grey glanced down the street; he could not send the boy back past the tavern, not alone."

"'Come with me, then" he said, making up his mind upon the moment. "You may accompany me to the house; from there you will go home."
Byrd followed him without demur; Grey was obliged to take the young man's arm and draw him up beside-otherwise the boy fell by habit into step behind him, which would not do.'"

Certainly not the most telling passage, but "them's the rules".

I tag Annekin, Marcia (a twice published author!! and friend), Jen (broken wrist not withstanding), Beth, and Jessica because, ladies, in weather like this you might as well have something silly to do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Crushes- the early years

I'm in the mood for complete and utter frivolity. Maybe it's the fact that it's 7 degrees and snowing AGAIN or just the fact that I have 5 boys running around the house and am in need of an escape.

While driving somewhere this past Monday, Todd and I made a list of all the men I've had crushes on over the years. These are not real people. They are actors. Totally different. Implausible and therefore completely harmless.

So here are the early years-like preschool through middle school:

1. Luke Skywalker, I mean, Mark Hamill. All the boys in my neighborhood and I constantly reenacted scenes from Star Wars, and my favorite boy was always Luke to my Leia. I was terribly disturbed to find out years later that they were related.

2. Carey Grant. Is any explanation needed? I watched Carey Grant movies obsessively as a child. Father Goose, Charade and Arsenic and Old Lace were my favorites then.

3. Alan Alda. Tall, dark, skinny, and goofy. What's not to like? And he can sing! And he was a NJ boy. I was stunned speechless when I saw him at the Newark airport baggage claim, irritated at his delayed luggage just like the rest of us. Possibly one of the highlights of my 12th year of life. (there wasn't much going on at the time.)

4. Danny Kaye. Also tall, skinny, and goofy. Plus, he could sing AND dance. Are you seeing a pattern here?

5. Robby Benson. Dark, floppy hair. I'm a sucker for it. And he was in Ice Castles, a movie that I nearly wore out watching when I was 4 and 5. (It was the edited for TV version, lest you think badly of my parents.) He wasn't tall, but I really liked his voice. Years after his 70s movie career was over and we went to see Beauty and the Beast, I almost jumped out of my seat when I recognized his voice as that of Beast. Nobody else seemed to share my enthusiasm.

6. The guy who played "Jake" in '16 Candles'. No idea what his name is. But he was nice to look at. Apparently at age 10, I had developed an appreciation for the concept of eye candy. Again with the dark hair.

7. The nice Canadian boy from a Canadian movie called "Toby McTeague". Who looks a little like the guy who played Jake in 16 Candles. (This is not what he looked like in 1986, but I can't find any pictures from then.)

8. River Phoenix...because didn't everybody have a crush on him? I think it was a requirement.

9. But the best of the best, the one that set my middle school heart racing, was the one who played Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables. I can still recite most of the dialogue from the movies and have read the complete series through twice with particular attention to book 3. *sigh* Another Canadian. Maybe I just can't resist the way they say "aboat" instead of "about". Or again, maybe it's the dark floppy hair. Really, though, I think it's just that Gilbert Blythe is to young girls what Mr. Darcy is to grown women.

Enough frivolity for today. Perhaps we'll move into the high school and college years next time. Hooray for a few moments diversion!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Confessions of a Cutter

When I was 18, I went to another congregation to hear a boy that I liked speak. I don't remember a thing that he said. But I do remember the talk of the woman who spoke that day.

She told the story of her hands. She had always thought that lotion was for wimps. So she didn't take very good care of her hands. She viewed them as tools. Until she became a mother. She said that one night she touched her daughter's sleeping cheek and looked at her rough, cracked hands as she did it. She took better care of her hands after that. She realized that while they were wonderful, useful tools. They were also instruments of love and comfort. And she wanted to be a more gentle comforter.

I have ridiculously large hands for my relatively short stature. They are convenient only for piano playing. (I can palm a basket ball with no problem, but I'm not so good at doing anything else with said ball.)

When I was 12, I learned that I needed to always carry a bandanna with me when I hiked. Not to mop my brow or hold back my hair. Not even to keep out the dust like the cowboys once did. No, I had to carry a bandanna because I was going to end up cutting my hands while hiking. Usually badly. I use cut in the broadest of terms. Think more like slice. If there was a fallen log to climb over, I was bound to find the sharpest stick to grab on to. If there were clay walls to scale, I was going to find the one that had broken glass hidden within. What can I say? It's a gift.

As a result of this nasty habit of mine, I have LOTS of scars on my hands. The one I got from accidentally filleting the skin of my knuckle whilst whittling has finally faded into invisibility, but I always manage to find new ways to scar my hands. Broken glass seems to be magnetically attracted to my fingers.

Yesterday I was standing at the sink unscrewing the lid from a glass bottle. The bottle shattered in my hands as I was twisting. My hand has a lovely deep slice that still bleeds if I move it. There were three thoughts that went through my head when it first happened. The first was...well the first was an impolite word. The second was, "I should call Todd because I'm about to go into shock and there are two little boys right here". The third was, "I will never have pretty hands. I will just have scars."

I didn't call Todd. Dialing the phone was too far beyond my abilities for the first hour. I managed to bandage myself after 30 minutes of trying to stop the bleeding.

When Todd got home last night, he looked at the bandanna holding my bandages on and asked what happened.

My response: "Gang fight. I totally won."

Out of the mouths of babes

Nathaniel amazes me. Most of his days consist of being a typical 5 year old boy. He giggles at the mention of any potty talk and would happily spend all of his days watching cartoons. But every now and then he says something so amazingly witty I can do nothing but laugh out loud.

And then there are his wonderful observations of the world. Nathaniel has a way of distilling enormous ideas into wonderfully quotable quotes.

The other day he asked, "Mom, did Noah have an umbrella?" A very reasonable question that led to a conversation about being prepared.

My favorite, though, was after we had read scriptures one night. We were discussing our belief that this life is a test, but that the eternal reward is worth it.

Afterwards, Nathaniel said, "Mom, this is a REALLY long test."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best Make-out Songs and Albums

First of all, does anyone ever say "make-out" any more? I don't hear it so much...then again, it's not the likely topic of conversation at cub scout meetings or the preschool playground. Or if it is, then I am clearly talking to the wrong people.

I have cast the net far and wide searching for people's picks. Here are a few:

1."Coceau Twins: High recommended---especially the HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS album.i'm fond of albums with a good, strong bass beat, not necessarily a romantic message or feeling so i'm particularly fond of Delerium, Conjure One, and Jem
Center of the Sun is a particular favorite by them
add delerium too, they're similar
very trance-like
is the album
and touched is the song i like best" - a snarky newlywed girl in Provo, UT

2. "Weird Al -- You don't love me anymore" - a single 30 something guy friend in Mountain View, CA (I suggested that his taste in make out music might have something to do with his single status)

3. "I like Disintegration by the Cure." - a college friend in Princeton, NJ...also single, but having less to do with her taste in music.

4. "Bandwagonesque- best make out album EVER!" - my first "true" love...when he was 18 and 19. I have no idea what his choice is now. I didn't agree at the time, but I just listened to this album again, and I might have to agree that it is an excellent option. Except for track 2. Songs titled "Satan" just don't do it for me.

5. "Let's Get it On by Barry White." - a married guy in High Point, NJ. If you ask me, this is the most cliched answer of the bunch, but other people like it, so whatever.

6. "Light My Fire by the Doors. It long and kinda slow, but with a good beat. It is the perfect song."- My husband with whom, I should mention, I have never made out with to this song. Though I have experienced the Doors in general with other guys.

Now, my picks!

1. Miles Davis Album "Kind of Blue"
2. Joni Mitchell Album "Blue"
3. Yes
4. Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, especially "The Meeting"...this could be argued as the same as Yes, but it's not.
5. "Somebody" by Depeche Mode...this one began in High School and lasted all the way through college. It is a song that I associated with my husband when I was 14 years old (he wasn't my husband then, no worries!) and still smile and think of him when I hear it.

So, darlings, what are your picks?

Monday, February 11, 2008

"This Card Is Crass"

It will come as no surprise to those of you who know Todd and me, that we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. While Todd does bring me flowers every now and again, for the most part if I want flowers, I buy them myself. This keeps both of us happy. Same goes for chocolate. Chocolate needs no occasion. And then there is my theory about lingerie. If you have a good reason to be wearing it, you won't be wearing it long enough to make it worth the purchase. Jewelry does nothing for me. I don't understand it. Poor Todd is always counseled by his female coworkers to buy me jewelry at holiday times. When he tries to explain that I don't like it, they shake their heads and cluck at him and think of me sympathetically.

It may come as a bit of a surprise then to learn that I LOVE Valentine's Day cards. Oh, I don't mean the smarmy, "You mean so much to me, lovey dovey." No, no. I like the completely crass cards.

The first year we were married I gave Todd one which read, "Roses are Red. This card is crass. I enjoy your smile, but I really like your ...." Well, you get the idea.

My absolute favorite is one which absolutely cuts to the chase. On the front of the card is a dancing banana. Inside it reads, "La la la! Let's have sex!" I wholeheartedly approve of directness.

This year I had to hunt for one that was crass without being vulgar. It's a fine line and sadly there seemed to be less to choose from this year. Not to worry, though! I found one. Todd will blush appropriately at my inappropriate card to carry on our own personal Valentine's Day tradition.

Oh, happy day!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I'm sick of being sick.

Last Tuesday I woke up and said, "Oh. I'm going to have a fever today." Later that day I had a fever and bronchitis. (The bronchitis had been coming on for a few days.) The fever lasted until Sunday and was then replaced by the stomach virus that all three of my children managed to contract while I was sick with a fever. (Life is unfair. Nobody should have to clean up vomit while fevered.) My children of course are all better, but now Todd's sick, too. We are something of a pitiful sight, he and I, huddled in our respective blankets.

So, now it is Thursday. I have gone 9 days feeling yucky. I am pretty much back to normal except food still makes me sick. So, I can go through my normal routine but it requires napping. Here's my schedule:

wake up, teach seminary, get Benjamin fed and off to school
try to eat, three bites later give up
take nap while other boys watch tv
wake up, wash a few dishes, try to eat food, feed boys, take them to school
come home and nap
wake up pick up all three boys from school
come home, help with homework, try not to get sick at the thought of making dinner
try to eat dinner, send kids to bed, take a nap
fold laundry, go to bed

I like food. I like eating. I remember that food can taste good. So this whole not being able to eat thing completely sucks. I can't even bring myself to complain too loudly that my children have started eating honey-nut cheerios with chocolate soy milk for breakfast. I'm just so grateful that they can forage for themselves. What's a few extra teaspoons of sugar here and there?

I'm sick of sick.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

In Appreciation and Empathy for the Cave Fish

I think I totally get how it happened.

You know those fish who live in completely dark caves and so they are white and blind, because they don't even need eyes since it's way too dark in the cave for eyes to be useful? Well, I have a theory about those fish. I think they were perfectly normal fish living, let us say, along the east coast somewhere. They heard about a fabulous job opportunity in this cave and thought, "Hey! Good schools! Cheap housing! A simpler life! Let's go!"

Never once did it occur to them to kiss the sun good bye. They were so busy moving in and getting settled in the new cave that they didn't even notice the lack of the sun at first. Just every now and then someone would say, "Hm? It seems a little dark in here, dontcha think?" But they stayed anyway. Not realizing that little by little they were losing their sight. And then one day they were blind.

Why do I empathize with the cave fish, you ask? Because Columbus, Ohio has about three days more sunlight than Seattle, WA. We spend the winter looking at cement gray skies. Winter begins in October and ends in May. That's a long time without sun. Columbus has an overabundance of rooms painted yellow as people try to compensate for the lack of sunlight. Columbus, Ohio also has a ridiculous number of tanning salons. Which didn't seem so ridiculous after my first winter here. Though I still have never used one, I understand the temptation.

It was when the sun peeked through the clouds the other day I noticed a change in myself. Rather than do my typical happy rejoicing at seeing it, I instead found my eyes streaming as I groped wildly around me in search of a pair of sunglasses. I got the sunglasses on and then said, "Oh, sun, hm. That's nice. I just didn't remember it being so bright."

I am a cave fish.