Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It's late, and I need to go to bed. I stepped outside to check that I'd turned the sprinkler off and I glanced next door. And the wave of grief hits again.

Monday night my next door neighbor died in a plane crash in Nepal. Leaving behind her husband of 29 years and five children, the youngest a 14 year old daughter. One son is on a mission for the LDS church in New Jersey. She was in Nepal with her best friend to do a hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp. They'd been planning and training for the past four years. She was celebrating her 50th birthday.

I heard the news Tuesday morning. My friend called and when he told me, the first thing out of my mouth was "You're kidding," even as I knew that he wasn't, and that noone would joke about this. My thoughts first went to the kids, who have been wonderful friends to us since we moved in four years ago. How would they survive this? How can they be strong enough to bear this grief that I can't even imagine? I needed to talk to someone, so I called my sister-in-law Cristina into the room since I couldn't reach David on the phone. She cried with me and hugged me. I told the kids after breakfast, and then we went next door. There were other friends and neighbors there, and we just hugged them and cried with them. "I'm so sorry," is all that I could say. Hugging them seemed like the best way to share their pain. It was then that my thoughts moved from the kids to the father. They had lost their mother, but he had lost the love of his life, his companion. He's alone now. The anguish in his face was wrenching, but I could see the strength that he was mustering for his family right now.

It's just so sad. The kind of thing about life that makes you really angry, or it would, if you could get past the sorrow.

So when I stepped out tonight, thinking of my own little world here in my home, I look next door and wish I could somehow lessen their pain. I wish that my own sorrow could somehow take away some of theirs. But all we can do in these instances is to mourn with those that mourn, I guess. And I hope that's something.

The Deseret News published a really touching article about the family.

Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


So, as a sort of compensation for "stealing" my husband away, David's Uncle Brian took us all to Disneyland at the beginning of July. It was SO AMAZINGLY FUN! I haven't been in twenty years (which makes me feel weirdly old to be able to say that about something) and I really think I enjoyed it more as an adult than I did as a kid, and that's saying something. Honestly, since I've become an adult, I think I kind of pooh poohed Disneyland because it is so expensive and could it really be worth spending all that money? Well, I can definitely say it was worth spending all of someone else's money to go. The entire two days we were there, I really did feel like it was a wonderful vacation from the realities of life. Who has time to think about bills and schedules when you are contemplating whether to ride Splash Mountain or shoot aliens with Buzz Lightyear? Certainly not I.

We had a blast, and I purposefully didn't carry my camera both days because I wanted to enjoy the experience without trying too hard to capture it. But we did have Noodle's little point & shoot for half of the other day until the batteries died.

In addition to Brian, my sister-in-law Jenn and David's cousin Mikhail (age 10) also came. The kids had a blast with Mikhail, and I think it created a nice dynamic to have another kid to interact with. And I highly recommend the 1:1 kid:adult ratio! We'll have to remember that when we go back in four years.

Noodle and Spud rode EVERYTHING! Well, we missed a few of the smaller rides, but there was nothing too fast or too scary for them. I was very impressed. Noodle closed her eyes until after the upside down loop on California Screamin', but she still went on it again. They both liked the Tower of Terror, which was almost too intense for me. And they absolutely loved Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain and the Matterhorn. It is nice that Spud is so tall for his age, as there wasn't anything he wasn't big enough to ride. That's why we figure we can go back in 4 years when Sprout is 5 1/2. He should be tall enough then to enjoy everything.

Thanks Brian, for a fabulous time!

Monday, August 16, 2010

clueless cooking, continued

There is no way I'm going to be able to come up consistently with alliterative post titles, so I guess I'll have to go with something boringly sequential. Any ideas?

So, we had a whole bunch of green beans and bell peppers. The bell peppers were left over from my sister-in-law Jenn's farewell party last week and were supposed to be grilled by Kent, but her forgot. It's a six pack of red, yellow and orange, so I knew I had to think of a way to use them. I ended up sauteeing them in olive oil and we had them on our burritos, so they were a little fajita-ized. REALLY good. Noodle even ate her whole burrito, and she doesn't care much for beans. I think the peppers took away some of the beaniness for her. I also cooked the green beans: pour olive oil into the pan (I used our large cast iron griddle) and add green beans, turn heat up to 5.5. Add onions and garlic if desired. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and cook for 5-8 more minutes. The lid I thought would cover the pan didn't, so I had to use a large plate instead. Salt & pepper to taste. This is a great way to prepare fresh green beans--they don't get soggy or mushy like they would if you just steamed them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

confessions of a clueless cook

So, those of you who don't know me well (or in person) might not know my terrible little secret: I can't cook. Maybe it's because I was the youngest child of a working mom, maybe it's because I was quite happy living on baked potatoes, spaghetti, salad, and the occasional dish I'd make from a cookbook, but I never got the knack of looking in the fridge, seeing what was available and figuring out how to make A Food out of that. I don't suppose I'm all that different in that way from a lot of girls of my generation. Then we get married, and it's like, "Aw crap. Now we're supposed to eat food that is actually in meal form." And generally, the wife (still) does most of the cooking. But I got lucky. I married an Oldest who actually LIKES to cook and, more importantly, is really good at it. So, I kind of forgot some of the skills I used to have as I let him do 99.99% of the dinner prep over the past 9 years.

Due to his new working situation/schedule, it's become obvious to me that the kids and I can't eat my "quick meals" all the time. So, I need to learn to cook. A couple weeks ago, I made my first ever stir fry! It was really yummy. Last night and tonight again, I made what we call "Cucumber Salad," which is super easy. Peel a cucumber (or more, depending on how many people you have), mix about equal parts vinegar (white or red wine), water, and sugar (maybe a smidge less sugar) and add some salt. Mix with cucumbers. Eat. Noodle ABSOLUTELY loves this salad, and will eat bowlsful if given the chance. Spud told me at dinner tonight that he hates this salad, but after taking a bite of the one cucumber slice I forced on him, he said, "Mmmmm...can I have one more?"

I also did a rice stir fry and cooked FISH (my first time doing that, too). It was easier than I expected. Melt butter in the frying pan at 4.5 on the burner. Add fish and up the temp to 5.5. Wait and watch. The fish was really thick, so it took about 10-12 minutes total to cook, I think. I flipped it after about 6 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. It was yummy. I think the fish was salmon, but it wasn't labeled and it wasn't pink. Is there non-pink salmon?

I'm writing these things more for me than for you, as I'm guessing most of you know how to cook this stuff. I need to be able to find my "notes" again for future reference (my culinary memory stinks), so I figure blogging about it will be motivation to actually sit down and type it up. Maybe I'll even try and plate the food nicely and practice my food photography. ;o)

Friday, August 13, 2010

"It only hurts when I poke it."

There are a lot of blogs out there. Blogs are easy to start, fairly painless to maintain, and we all get to feel like we have a few moments of fame every once in a while. Moms, especially, seem to be drawn to blogging as a way to create and maintain adult relationships and have an outlet that is easily accessible from home, at any time. And, as you can tell by my list of blogs on the sidebar, I like to read others' blogs. But there are a couple of blogs that I know of that I do not enjoy reading, yet I find myself reading them once every few months, anyways. For some reason, I can't stay away permanently. I made the mistake of spending a few minutes on two such blogs about a week and a half ago, and I ended up with a really unpleasant sensation for a good part of the afternoon. Irritation mixed with disbelief,mixed with, I dunno, probably a bit of superiority thrown in that I'm not like that person, whatever my flaws might be. (You'd think that superiority would give it a positive twinge, but it's true that no form of pride really makes us feel better.) So, why do I do it?

For some reason, although I know that there are all types of people in this world, with different experiences and their own versions of reality, I tend to approach most people with the assumption that they see life fairly similarly to the way I do. This generally works, as I don't have occasion to spend much time in diverse or new company. But sometimes, I get THE SMACKDOWN. I'm made painfully aware that, NOPE, there are a number of people who see the world vastly different than I do. Sometimes I'm okay with that, and sometimes, it results in the above mentioned experience and sensation. I'm not one to go around looking for battles or things to gripe about, so I tend to shake it off and move on. After all, it's not like I have to LIVE with those people! So why do I revisit these blogs that make me want to throw things?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


So, after 36 hours, Noodle's eye was not much improved, still quite swollen. So we went in to the InstaCare this morning and the doctor gave her a prescription for a steroid. The swelling has noticeably gone down, for which she is very grateful. The doc said we should be vigilant with future stings, as her body might be forming a "memory" which could result in an allergic reaction.

Poor kidlet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The original. I still can't believe that she's 8 years old. Here she is helping me out while I practiced shooting "Jump shots" this morning.

Poor thing got double stung by a wasp this afternoon. Once on her eyebrow and once right under her eye. It swelled up a TON. It's still pretty swollen, but it has gone down a bit since the incident, so I don't think it will need anything more than time and maybe some more benadryl in the morning.

Monday, August 09, 2010

i could tell you

about my nephew's wedding last week (which was really fabulous) and how they asked me to be the photographer (which was also fabulous, but stressed me out and I didn't sleep a wink the night before the wedding) and how nice it was to see so much of the family, la dee dah etcetera. I could even share some of my favorite pictures from the day.

But instead, I will share this blog with you, that I discovered a month or so ago from a friend on Facebook and it never fails to make me laugh. A lot. So, enjoy. Hyperbole and a Half

Be sure to check out the "Best of" on the right sidebar. You won't be disappointed. And if you don't laugh, well, then, maybe we aren't that much alike after all. ;o)