Thursday, February 28, 2008
After last night's performances, Alaina definitely fell out of my top 3 girls. I'll replace her with Syesha. But my boyz are going strong! Micheal Johns' performance of "You Can Go Your Own Way" was so off key on the chorus, it made me sad for him, but he still rocks. Jason's performance made me swoon, and li'l David Archuleta was excellent (he made Paula cry!). What did you think?
First, Nie posted THIS about how productive she was when she locked her kids outside for a while.
Second, her sister, CJane, posted THIS about locking kids out (the comments, which are hilarious, seem to indicate it's not that unusual).
Then, like the next day, I dug in to my favorite library book from last week, Dress Your Family in corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. One of the first essays in the book is called Let It Snow, and I immediately wanted to read it to Nie & cjane & all our e-friends because it was so appropos.
Fourthly, my adorable li'l sis, Lisa, called from AZ Sunday night to tell me she had (once again) sent a package to my spoiled children (just because they made her a get well card--I'm serious, these kids are going to have HIGH expectations of the mailman in the future considering the rate at which they receive treats in the mail!!!! BTW, we got it Lisa and they went HOG WILD about it--I will have to make a video of how much James loves that puppy you sent--he hugs it up to his neck and says, "Doggie! Doggie!"). Anyway, Lisa happened to mention that she had kicked her sons out of the house for the evening and I laughed so hard. I told her that locking your kids out is The Next Big Thing, and that when the snow stops, I'm gonna give it a try (in the fenced back yard, that is).
So what have I learned from this thread? I have learned that I don't need to feel uptight about letting my kids outside. I don't need to be pretentious about being a "Good Mom," because many, many good moms need kid-free moments. I've learned that if nothing else, it will give my kids good memories to write about.........AND I learned that I need to DEVOUR all of David Sedaris' books (I have only heard him on NPR and Letterman, and heard OF him from his wacky sister, Amy, whom I love, too). I think there is something universally wacky about growing up in a big family that provides endless comic fodder--it's what makes Brian Reagen funny and it's what makes me love Sedaris.
And now, because I love you (and I am working at the hotel on a slow night), I present most of the Let It Snow essay. Read and enjoy.
The winter I was in fifth grade we got lucky. Snow fell, and for the first time it accumulated….On the fifth [snow day], my mother had a little breakdown. Our presence had disrupted the secret life she led while we were at school, and when she could no longer take it, she threw us out. It wasn’t a gentle request, but something closer to an eviction. “Get the hell out of my house,” she said.
We reminded her that it was our house, too, and she opened the front door and shoved us into the carport. “And stay out!” she shouted.
My sisters and I went down the hill and sledded with other children from the neighborhood. A few hours later we returned home, surprised to find the door still locked, “Oh, come on,” we said. I rang the bell and when no one answered. We went to the window and saw our mother in the kitchen, watching television. Normally she waited until five o’clock to have a drink, but for the past few days, she’d been making an exception. Drinking didn’t count if you followed a glass of wine with a cup of coffee, and so she had both a goblet and a mug positioned before her on the countertop.
“Hey,” we yelled. “Open the door. It’s us.” We knocked on the pane, and without looking in our direction, she refilled her goblet and left the room….We pounded again and again, and when our mother failed to answer we went around back and threw snowballs at her bedroom window. “You are going to be in so much trouble when dad gets home!” we shouted, and in response my mother pulled the drapes. Dusk approached, and as it grew colder it occurred to us that we could possibly die. It happened, surely. Selfish mothers wanted the house to themselves, and their children were discovered years later, frozen like mastodons in blocks of ice.
My sister Gretchen suggested we call our father, but none of us knew his number, and he probably wouldn’t have done anything anyway. He’d gone to work specifically to escape our mother, and between the weather and her mood, it could be hours or even days before he returned home.
“One of us should get hit by a car,” I said. “That would teach the both of them.” I pictured Gretchen, her life hanging by a thread as my parents paced the halls of Rex Hospital, wishing they had been more attentive. It was really the perfect solution. With her out of the way, the rest of us would be more valuable and have a bit more room to spread out. “Gretchen, go lie in the street.”
“Make Amy do it,” she said.
Amy in turn, pushed it off to Tiffany, who was the youngest and had no concept of death. “It’s like sleeping,” we told her, “Only you get a canopy bed.”
…We chose a quiet dip between two hills, a spot where drivers were almost required to swerve out of control. She took her place, this six-year-old in a butter-colored coat, and we gathered on the curb to watch. The first car to happen by belonged to a neighbor, a fellow Yankee who had outfitted his tired with chains and stopped a few feet from our sister’s body. “Is that a person?”
“Well, sort of,” Lisa said. She explained that we’d been locked out of the house and though the man appeared to accept it as a reasonable explanation, I’m pretty sure it was him who told on us. Another car passed, and then we saw our mother, this puffy figure awkwardly negotiating the crest of the hill. She did not own a pair of pants, and her legs were buried to the calves in snow. We wanted to send her home, to kick her out of nature just as she had kicked us out of the house, but it was hard to stay angry at someone so pitiful-looking.
“Are you wearing your loafers?” Lisa asked, and in response our mother raised her bare foot. “I was wearing loaders,” she said. “I mean really, it was there a second ago.”
This was how things went. One moment we were locked out of our own house and the next we were rooting around in the snow, looking for her left shoe. “Oh, forget about,” she said, “It’ll turn up in a few days.” Gretchen fitted her cap over my mother’s foot. Lisa secured it with her scarf, and surrounding her tightly on all sides, we made our way back home.
1) Where I was 10 years ago:
I was finishing up my degree in English and History at the U of A in Tucson, hanging out with Tom, Lyz, Celeste, Nichole, Ric and the McRae's, watching X-Files on Sunday nights at the condo, living at the G'rent's house--Sam lived there, too, and left on his mission in March 1998.
2) 5 things on my "to do list" today:
Take Heidi to first day of Pre-School at St. Mary's (YAY!)
Get free "Leap Day" McSkillet Breakfast Burrito
Play with/ feed kids (pick Heidi up from school)
Work at the hotel from 3-11pm (don't worry--dinner is taken care of)
3) Things I would do if I became a billionaire:
I would, of course, become debt-free, pay off the ranch and build a home out there, off the grid, with wind and solar power and a kick-butt organic garden & food storage; do the same for & share with family; send myself to fat camp; then I'd do all kinds of crazy Oprah stuff with the money, like hand people $100 bills discreetly in the grocery store, walk into the museum and hand them half a million dollars, make it so the Bishop's storehouse had tons of totally free food & clothing & medicine for the needy, mail everyone in Livingston a Book of Mormon with our family's testimony, pay off student loans for talented grads, send lots of people to college and on missions, etc...
4) Three of my Bad Habits:
biting my lip
talking too much/ too dorkily
nose picking/snot rockets (that's only in the shower, but it's still kinda gross)
5) 5 places I've lived:
6) 5 Jobs I've had:
Deli Girl (queen of the salad bar & party trays!)
Liz Claiborne rep at Macy's
Writer for MLM nutritionals company
7) Something Most People Don't Know About Me:
I have to really talk myself into leaving the house (it could be anxiety-related-???). I would really be perfectly comfortable spending the rest of my life in my house or yard, and often don't leave the house for 3-4 days straight.
People I am Tagging:
Ron Paul love!
Here's the messy corner and the door to Heidi's room, taken from my bedroom doorway.
Here's the new seating arrangement-- the walls a screaming for a warmer paint color and some more artwork, so we bought a nice warm Ivory color (two shades lighter than the tan on the stair wall) and I am going to order some enlargements of some fabulous Rich Melin photography in black frames for the walls).
Last but not least, the new telly. I hope it will not look so barren with new paint and a new artwork grouping (we are going the hang our big Jesus picture--the one now hanging in the messy corner--to the left of the TV and hang the two fancy-matted frames [The Living Christ & I Am A Child of God] to the right. All the family pix and landscpes will be in black frames on the walls above the couches). Why don't you come help me PAINT!?! I hate painting, but I LOOOOVE the results! Next we will be re-doing Addie's room (the guest room) and she wants a periwinkle or mauve-ish color. I will have to look at IKEA bedding and see which color we pick, and then I've been meaning to refinish that whole old bedroom set we got from Rich's Grandma (darker, cherry-ish finish instead of the Scandinavian gold). EEK...it's giving me flashbacks to three years ago! And don't even get me started on my plans for the yard! I even bought my work gloves and seed starters on Tuesday! Come join in the fun!
Heidi digging in the rice
Heidi in the "Doctor's Office" looking like a mad scientist ...
The Museum still needs a lot of stuff to get where they want to be. I have an idea for a donation drive brewing in my silly head. It would be a great service project (Debbie, are you reading this? It would be a great 10-hour project to collect some wish list donations from Livingston businesses and ward members, don't you think???) or Eagle Project. I'm gonna get crackin' on it.
Valentine's Day Breakfast
...James got a bear w/ chocolate hearts from me and the girls
Here we are enjoying our yummy breakfast
(you can see my "fondue for two" pot on the counter and the terrible psoriasis that just busted out on my eyelids).
Monday, February 25, 2008
We had a nice weekend at Stake Conference in Bozeman. Rich had so many meetings on Saturday that we just got a hotel and stayed over to attend the 8:50am Sunday meeting all together. So he went to meetings on Saturday and I took the kids swimming, then Grandma Rosalie joined me to take them to the Chidren's Museum of Bozeman to play (we bought an annual membership there, so YOU can come, too, next time you're up here). Then we all met at the Stake Center, including Uncle Mike, and we ate a picnic dinner. Then Mike took the kids back to play and swim at the hotel, and I joined Rich and Mom & Dad Melin for the adult session of Stake Conference.
The Saturday Night session focused on reverence, family reverence--as an attitude and a feeling, not just folding our arms and being quiet. One of the best talks compared Sacrament meeting to a funeral or a memorial. The speaker asked the congregation how people look and act and dress at a funeral, and why. Of course we talked about the hushed and reverent attitude people display at a memorial, how people usually wear their best black dresses and suits to show respect for the dead. He pointed out that Sacrament meeting is really a memorial of the death of our Savior and should be treated with our utmost reverence and respect. I thought that was a great way to teach reverence and respect to kids. He also used some Carl Bloch paintings of the crucifixion and entombment and focused on the attitudes and expressions of the people in the paintings mourning Christ. It really helped me to adjust my perspective and to be more reverent myself.
Our downstairs family room TV died last week, so we bought a new LCD flat screen this week and have spent FOREVER rearranging the family room. The beautiful entertainment center that Rich built for me is going into storage at the ranch (we pushed the two bookcases together and put them on the other wall near the girls' room to hold games, books, DVDs and my scrapbooking stuff). The flat screen shares a wall with the laundry room, so Rich built some shelves in there to hold the satellite receiver/DVR and the DVD player and got us UHF remotes (the remote and the receiver don't have to be in the same room cuz UHF is radio), so the only thing in the viewing area is the TV. It's pretty awesoem, but now I am re-doing all the decorating, too--we have two new little brown leather ottomans, so I am thinking a new area rug, more pictures, and some paint on the three white walls. SHEESH! It's almost like moving! Tonight after FHE, we plan on working late to get eveything moved and put away whiel the younguns sleep. CRAZY!
By the way, here's a fun thing for FHE: sing "Book of Mormon Stories"; use the pictures from your gospel art picture kit and give a brief synapsis of the following four stories to the kids. Then print out the game from THIS LINK (page 15...there's a cool thing on page 16, too) on cardstock, cut out the rhymes and the pictures; then have the kids guess what rhyme goes with what picture. My girls glued the rhymes next to the pictures on another sheet of paper and hung them in their rooms so they can learn about Samuel the Lamanite, Enos, Nephi and the broken bow, and Mahonri and the Shiny Stones.
I think I have some fun pix from the weekend--I'll have to find the camera and upload them. But the family room project comes FIRST!! Have a great week!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
PS: I finally saw "Across the Universe" last weekend on the way to Billings. I liked it and it made me want to bust out the Beatles CDs, but it wasn't as awesome as I thought ot would be. I think it would be breathtaking on Broadway, though. I liked how it started with "Oh Girl," and I loved the use of "Hey, Jude." Man, when you stop and think about it, even if you don't like them, the Beatles were AMAZING. I can't believe I got to see Paul McCartney buying artichokes at the ranch market in Tucson. Living legend in the produce department. I love them. There are "Dear Prudence" lyrics painted on my kids' playroom wall. I can't live with out at least the 20 Greatest CD...it's time for my kids to learn to sing along!
Today felt like April. The sun was blazing when I took the kids to the park at 3pm. I didn't wear a jacket and I could almost hear my skin singing the Hallelujah chorus. The fuzz in my brain went away with the winter blues as I watched my kids romp through yellow grass, slushy puddles, and mounds of crusty snow. It really does make a difference, I thought to myself...The sun really matters.
Today is MY DAD POST'S BIRTHDAY, which he shares with my nephew, Sam Post. Happy Birthday, Post Boys! Hope you had a great day! Dad, I'm sorry I taped over your Hard Day's Night video tape in 1988. Here's a little something to make up for it...
I watched the results show tonight in about 10 minutes with the fast-forward on. I think the people voted off were excellent choices--that Leif Garrett guy was creeping me out, and so was Colton (good call, Jill!), and I think Amy's and Joanne's performances were the weakest of the girls (Hey, did you notice how much that one guy looks like Orlando Bloom? Freaky!) I'm glad Chickezie Eze (?) stayed just so we can say his name some more.
So here are my TOP SIX...
David from Utah
Jason Dred (was he not STUNNING in the "Top 24" video on the results show? I didn't realize how good looking he is!)
Micheal the Natural
Alaina the Youngun
Brooke the Washing-Up Liquid Mormon
Ramiele Tiny Girl Big Voice
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Also, I gave myself a paper cut on one of those envelopes, then came home and started cooking Spanish Rice. I stirred in the chilies with my index finger--the one with the paper cut. AAIIIEEEEE!
All that in the past 30 minutes. That's just the kind of week it's been.
How's your week going? Happy Hump Day...
PS: Oh, I forgot to list my american Idol predictions--well, I guess they're not predictions as much as pronoucements--Jason Castro, David Archuleta, and Michael Johns are my top three favorite dudes. I also think they might be the only heteros ("not that there's anything wrong with that..."). I dont' know about the ladies--there are too many blodies this year and I can't tell them apart this early, but that Irish Carly and the little Ramiele are surely going to rock it, and don't forget that totally Mormonish girl form Mesa...I'll let you know tomorrow.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I'll write more later, but I just wanted to post THIS link. It really made me think about how respecting, loving, and truly caring for my body will indeed bring me closer to Heavenly Father (the link is from a blog I read about four years ago--the author and I communicated a bit and lost touch, then I came across a link to her again today. Hmmm! Her story is downright CRAZY, her past is incredible, her insights are often inspiring).
I had (well, HAVE) a terrible debilitating headache today (right now it is masked by drugs--Excedrin Migraine, I love you) and I can't wait to get adjusted tomorrow and try another whole food cleanse (strange things are afoot along my digestive tract). Too much info? Sorry. I'll check back in when I feel better and have more to say! :)
PS: More fun links from a recent search for reviews of Annie Dillard's latest book, a novel (shucks) called The Maytrees (I was hoping for some more natural non-fiction...but I will be re-reading For The Time Being to get my fix of Annie's deep thoughts). Here is an actual review of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek from 1974 (!!) written by Eudora Welty--yes! Eudora Welty, as in The Optimists Daughter and The Wide Net--WOW! Also, here is one of my favorite parts of Seeing, quoted within an essay question (I loved the story she told of hiding her own pennies to surprise strangers--something I totally did all the way through college with any coins I might have handy!).
Friday, February 15, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
...and of course this one reminds me of my step dad!
Happy Valentine's Day, Mom & Mark!
Enjoy your day & remember you are LOVED!
On Monday (2/11) when I was cleaning the great room like a crazy woman (it was sunny and bright so I even raised the curtains and cleaned the windows! It was deceptively spring-like), James and Heidi wanted to "color" at the table. The amazing thing is that they will do this for 20-30 minutes!
Eating an apple
Standing up on the cedar chest
Monday, February 11, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
I grab my magic eraser and some scrap paper and run over to stop the graffiti. I take the pencils from James, point to the scribbles and say, "No, no!" I show him the magic eraser and how to scrub off the mess. Then I get him down from the chest, put the scrap paper down on top, and show him how to scribble on the paper. I say, "Only on paper!" (a mantra around here) and hand him a pencil. He grins widely and scribbles with glee on the paper. Okay, I sigh, disaster averted.
A minute later he is scribbling on the window sill again and I run over there scowling. He looks up at me with a huge grin, folds his hands behind his back and says, "All gone!" As in, "Huh? What pencils? I have no pencils!"
Can you believe this punk, at only 17 months old? He's learned well from his dark master/ big sister.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
2. Get Well Soon, Lisaree! We love you! (my lil sis is recovering from major surgery)
3. Click here and follow the links to vote so Erica and Zach can have an awesome wedding! (I don't actually know theses two, but Erica's blog cracks me up, so go there and vote, and Erica, if you win, you have to invite me! HA!)
Oh, and a 4th...way to go, AZ and CA!!! You knocked all the GOOD Republicans down on Super Tuesday....for shame! But my own private Montana chose Romney and gave a FULL QUARTER of their votes to Ron Paul (I seriously think Paul could be The KING of Montana--we love him!)And I couldn't help but thinking this morning as I watched all the tornado destruction on TV..."That's what you get for voting for Huckabee, suthernerz!" But I didn't say that out loud because I know that (a) God doesn't send weather to punish people (at least not very often) and (b) He doesn't really care who you vote for...in fact maybe he WANTS McCain to win so Jesus can come, or hell can freeze over, or what ever....
Monday, February 04, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
At the museum, Rich saw the bat exhibit for the first time (it changes this week), and I took the kids up to play in the Discovery Room. This time they all put on astronaut costumes and pretended the play gym was their space station. Sadly, Heidi had taken off her suit before Rich came up with the camera, so I just got Addie and James in their suits...
Bad picture of James throwing a fit in his space suit
Heidi playing dinosaurs at the museum.
So THIS Saturday was kind of weird because I was still sick and we were hanging around watching BYUTV's Hinckley coverage. We really enjoyed the interview with Sheri Dew (his biographer) and the other coverage with Jane Clayson Johnson. President Hinckley's funeral was soooo sweet. It was such a great way to spend a Saturday, reflecting on his life. President Monson's comments especially made me feel how close their friendship was, and gave me a sense that our relationships truly are eternal--the way he talked was just so peaceful and familiar and joyful, and it made me feel happy instead of sad. I did, however, fall to pieces when they talked about him being buried with Lancashire dirt as well as Utah dirt, and OF COURSE when the piper came to play Danny Boy, Amazing Grace, and Praise to the Man (the drinking song version--what's that called?). I always felt like such a dork because I still have a soft spot in my heart for North Carolina where I served (and have been known to cry a little when the James Taylor song plays), but now I feel less dorky because even President Hinckley, 70 years after his mission, had tender feelings about England--the place where he served as a missionary and really came to know Christ.
The girls coloring and playing Play-Doh and eating pizza
James shared HIS pizza with his doggie. Now doggie in in the washer.
Heidi got something super-special and AWESOME in the mail from Cousin Summer...
Dear Loved Ones ...