Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maybe The Sun Won't Come Out Tomorrow

I love The Jungle, I do. I really do. I can't imagine living anywhere else because I would miss something on a very nearly daily basis. But this time of year, I start to wonder what it would be like to live in a place where it's not so freaking hot. I know, it's summer, it's supposed to be hot. But there does not seem to be a gradual warming like in other parts of the world. Here in The Jungle, it's moderate all year long - when I was in The Land of Cheese it was averaging 75 degrees here - and then bam! Have 90+ degrees the very next day. It doesn't last long - about four weeks or so - and as soon as it starts snowing somewhere else I love The Jungle unconditionally again, but man, it is sticky and warm right now.

This is me, in danger of melting all over my chair right now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Like I Never Left

There have been a few changes I have noticed since I got back. Yesterday night. (Apparently Tarzan got used to sleeping in the bed alone - it was only a week for crying out loud - and I woke up this morning - early this morning, cursed time zones - squished up in the upper corner of the bed as his big long legs were diagonally across the entire thing.
...but in other news the plants on the back porch were bigger:
Drier despite being watered every day:
And quite laden with the bugs:
But decidedly bigger. There are far more tomatoes than I had anticipated considering the late start we had:
Two varieties, I'm so excited:
With promise of a few more:
The cucumber - singular - is quite nice:
We shall eat it tomorrow I think.

This is me, checking to see what surprises are buried on my desk.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Return Trip

Small town or not, old plane or not, new pilot or not, it just does not instill confidence in the passengers for the airplane to flip a U-turn on the runway twice - TWICE! - during take-off.
I'm just sayin'.

This is me, with a brief note for the FAA.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Circus World

Apparently The Land of Cheese is also home to the winter quarters of the circus. (This amuses me greatly because who would choose a winter habitation where it snows? I thought the whole point was to get away from the freezing white stuff.) Rocketgirl's husband - for the life of me I can't remember the acronym I picked out for him and my cheat sheet in at home - works for a very nice organization and the company picnic was last Saturday at Circus World. Being the classy man that he is, I was included in the party and got to go too. It was totally awesome. I am just the kind of girl who loves the circus. The animals, the performers, the wagons, the ring, the food. And of course the company; Rocketgirl and spouse, Sunshine and Woody and the crazy nice people that are everywhere out here.
This is the hand stamp that let me in and seemingly does not come off:
As is to be expected, Sunshine was far more interested in the stuff her size:
And she loved the "monkey bars," though I wonder if her parents didn't get some ideas from this exhibit:
She got a kick out of the fun mirror too:
I'm a little miffed that I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the actual performances. I know why - flashes and all that bug the animals and can blow someone's concentration - but still, it's hard to describe the elephant that could walk on a ball - these are the elephants post performance:
The baby who was just learning:
Or the 'brothers' that flipped each other with their feet - without pictures. The main event was held here:
While we waited for lunch, and Woody got a nappy change, Sunshine and I wandered around the historical wagons:
This was right before I saw that sign that said, "don't touch the wagons." Oops:
There was a duck situation as we were crossing the bridge:
You have got to admit she is a freakishly photogenic child:
She must get it from her parents:
Certainly not from her aunt:
Other than the aforementioned diaper incident, Woody looked like this most of the day:
He was unimpressed with the circus. He did not emerge even for this lovely moment:
This is me, and Circus World was awesome.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Babies Don't Keep

Part of this poem was on my mom's wall my entire growing up but I never realized it was so long. And I'm not sure if I like it as much in the full version. So let me know your opinion.

Song For A Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue.
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due.
(Pat-a-cake, darling and peek, peekaboo.)
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo.)
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait 'til tomorrow,
For children grow up, I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

The six bolded lines were all I thought there were until I looked it up for the author. I liked it's simplicity and the full version seems more complicated somehow.

This is me, thinking about babies a lot lately.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

They Say That Even Clams Do It

Called Tarzan tonight for our ritual talk that we have started since I am out of town and he told me that he found two ladybugs on the cucumber plant that hangs from the back porch and they were apparently getting it on. Who knew?

This is me, knowing more than I needed about bugs.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ode To A Friend

It seems less than it is to call RHM merely a friend. Even 'my best friend' doesn't seem like enough. Stupendous isn't adequate either, but she is all of those things. Commenting on her service for others and desire to help doesn't really convey the reality of being on the receiving end. But I have, more times than I can count. But she keeps doing it. And it has not been the easiest year for her. What with the budget situation and the cutbacks - fortunately she got to keep her job - and then so many family members getting sick and/or passing away.
I am so proud of her strength and compassion and concern for others especially in the face of such personal trials.
I am just super impressed with her and can't really explain the depth to which I admire her.
You're a marvel, RHM, you really are.

This is me, Happy Birthday to you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thousands Of Words

Gratuitous pictures of the new bebe and company. Just because I can. These were from yesterday or Going Home Day as it shall be henceforth be known. Hot mama:
Baby socks are just so small:
(And before you punch me in the face for saying something so silly, consider that one of Woody's socks fits only my big toe. Yeah. I know.)
Sunshine is still fascinated by her baby brother:
(As much as she thinks about him that is. Which isn't too often. It will be interesting to see their relationship develop. Wait until he steals her hairbrush or rips a favorite book. She'll notice him then.)
All prepped and ready to go:
So really, what is up with car seats these days? I realize it is a good idea to buckle your kid in and smaller persons need more involved arrangements but is this really necessary:
To take this adorable thing home:

This is me, keeping you apprised of all the minute details. You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don'cha Know?

The Land of Cheese is a very neighborly place. I have never seen such friendly people in all my life. I'm a little creeped out actually. In The Jungle one does not usually meet the eyes of EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE STREET. Most of them are involved with looking in the gutter for change, being on a cell phone, an ipod or talking to the crack whore who is propositioning them or rejecting their entreaty. I was very used to the anonymity. Here, people - and by that I mean all the people you chance to pass on the sidewalk, glance at in the store or have to deal with at the post office - want not only to look at you and smile but at the VERY least tell you to have a nice day. The more adventurous ones want to know about the kid you are leading by the hand and isn't she a darling (she really is) and where are we headed. Others want to know how long I'm in town - since it's quite obvious that I'm not from around here what with my constant searching the streets for quarters - and what's the occasion and is The Jungle really as wild as they have heard? It's quite a different feel to the public than I am used to.
The ones I have cause to meet in a more formal way treat me like a bosom buddy upon the first meeting. I'd been invited to the local play group, book club and peanut butter party (Apparently some of the kids have really severe allergies so once a year their parents get together and eat a lot of peanut butter infused items) five minutes after being introduced to some of the girls at church.
Don't get me wrong, it's adorable and certainly makes you feel welcome and included - I feel so special - but it's unusual because I don't feel like I've done anything to be special about yet. I've only just met them.

This is me wondering if there's something in the water?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tarzan's Third Post

Man what a rush this last couple of weeks has been. First Jane and I get back from taking care of Grandpa and started addressing the stockpiled concerns of our lives. I had a job interview at College of the Canyons for an online library instructor position. I honestly have to say I really enjoyed it. Preparing for the interview gave me the chance to reflect on my career to this point and I like what I see. I created a short online demo class and practiced answering hypothetical questions. The interview itself felt very natural. I seemed to have a good rapport with the interviewers and really enjoyed demonstrating what I know. Even if I don't get the job, I'm glad I tried out for it. Though my chances could be better than I had hoped. I talked with one of my character references today and she mentioned that College of the Canyons had gotten in touch with her last week for a character reference about me. So at least I made the first cut.
After the interview, I organized a field trip to the Huntington Library for my Academic Decathlon team. Jane was a big help chaperoning about 8 students around the museum complex. Everything went well and I think they enjoyed themselves while learning something. That evening we drove down South for some wonderful sushi with my mom who had relieved us down at Grandpa's. We had some wonderful sushi and even better conversation at a local sushi restaurant that Jane and I discovered when we were there in July. Good memories.
Then I had to pack my camping stuff because I was going with the young men from the ward to a week long LDS themed Boy Scout summer camp. I have very mixed feeling about how that experience went. I was very impressed by how well my boys did and how hard the stake leadership worked to pull the whole thing off. I was very disappointed to see how poorly the camp was run though and absolutely enraged at some of the ugly things that happened at a camp full of LDS youth. I'd go into more detail here but I keep swearing whenever I think about the details and I know how Jane fells about me using profanity. In short there was good, bad and decidedly ugly at camp. Of course the bishop wants me to speak for 10 minutes about the camp next week in church. It'll be a strain but I will have to sanitize my recollections.
Now I am home which seems very empty without Jane. I miss her much and am happy to call her every day. It helps that I am busy trying to get done as much as I can in the last little bit of my summer that is remaining. So much to do and so little time.
On Sunday I read an article in the LA times about how easy it is to find information about people using the Internet. I decided to Google myself and was pleased that not much stuff came up. I was very surprised to see a link to the site Rate My Teacher. I followed the link here and was floored to see that some students had actually rated and commented about me as a teacher. Its all anonymous and shouldn't be taken too seriously, but the comments posted there really touched me. Someone actually noticed that I'm trying to make a difference. I felt like I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day.

Whew, I've been busy and very happy to be so.

The Baby Is In

In the past I have mocked people who drool over a newborn and post seven thousand pictures of her/him doing nothing but laying there sleeping or crying but...I am now one of them. So if you need to mock me then I totally understand. In fact I sort of want to mock myself a little bit. But he really IS so cute and tiny - like the grande burrito at Chipotle - and he does smell good and I really do want to take photos over and over hoping that one of them will convey the feeling of actually holding Woody and smelling that fresh from heaven scent. (Have I made you gag yet?) If you couldn't have guessed, Woody is my new nephew. He made his entrance into the world at 5:16 this morning, 6lbs 14ozs, 20" long and soo adorable. (I really will try to not say that too often.) Rocketgirl was totally fine playing violin last night and then around 10pm, bam! Have some contractions. Which she did. A lot of them apparently. But she was magnificent - from all accounts as I wasn't there - and looked totally hot doing it:
But I find it hard to hate her since she produced this:Mother and baby:
Father and son:
Proud parents:
Sunshine meets her brother for the first time, asking "Is he real?":
Happy family:
Aunt Jane meets Woody at only a few hours old:

This is me, as close to a newborn as I have ever been. And it's awesome.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good Advice

Reader's Digest is one of the greatest publications EVER. Ever. I mean, think about it, it's small - and therefore portable - the articles are divided into "chapters" so you can leave it if you have to; there's a great variety of information, it comes every month, not every week or anything, so there's time to enjoy it all and if you have to run off for other things you're not likely to fall behind; it's timeless - it's the one magazine at the dentist or doctor that is not out of date even if it's years old - and the jokes are funny and mostly true and I don't think I've ever seen the same joke twice. I read a LOT of Reader's Digest. A lot a lot.
So imagine my delight when Rocketgirl's edition arrived this last week. And it did not disappoint. Besides an article about Brad Paisley:
Who is totally yummy - I don't think I've ever said that about a guy before - and the bit about teaching your cat to shake hands there was another bit about advice; how to give it, what to do with it when it's given to you and there were some really great 'reader-tested life advice' submissions. Some of my favorites:
  • Live your life so the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral.
  • Love people. Use things. Never confuse the two.
  • Do what is right, not what is easy.
  • Never burn a bridge. Just shut it down for renovations for a while.
  • Put the peanut butter on the bread before the jelly.
  • Choose what is wise rather than what is fair.
  • Live through it or die from it - you choose.
  • If you don't have the money to pay for it, don't buy it until you do. (If only more people, including states and nations used this one.)
  • Try to look unimportant. The enemy may be low on ammunition.
  • Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.

There are way more that are just as great. If I used yours, thank you! I really loved it. What more can I say? It's a great magazine.

This is me, with the words of advice from Reader's Digest.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

T Plus Three Days

How good of an aunt am I, I ask you, if at a trip to the zoo I can't manage to get one picture of Sunshine OR Rocketgirl? I know right? Not so good. It just seemed that the animals were more inclined to stay still enough for the 1/2 second required to make the shot. Sunshine, being two, needs no justification and Rocketgirl was determined to walk the baby right out. Turns out that was not as easy as it sounds. So instead, I give you the animals at the local zoo in the middle of The Land of Cheese. A bear:
The llama named Yoda:
The llama named Maya:
An enclosure of deer:
Close up:
A goat:
The pig was not available for comment, the wolf was sleeping behind a tree and the bobcat was pawing at something on the floor on the other side of the cage. Then there were the ever adorable prairie dogs:
As I told Rocketgirl, I love all things small and furry. She thought that was hysterical though I still can't figure out why. This is a photo taken by Sunshine if that absolves me of any negligence:

This is me, there's still no baby, so we went to the zoo.

Friday, August 14, 2009

O Tarzan Where Art Thou?

So this whole being away from Tarzan thing is harder than I thought it would be.
(Do not misunderstand me - I love Rocketgirl, we're having a great time catching up and complaining about the dude who won't come out, Sunshine is marvelous and I am finding things to do. It's not that I am having a terrible time here, because I certainly am not. I'm even sleeping great.)
It's also not like Tarzan and I haven't ever been apart before. We've been lucky, I know, in that there aren't great long stretches of time when we are separated. Thank goodness neither one of us has to travel for our jobs, but he's had work retreats, there was the funeral, I went to The Frozen North and stuff like that. And even if I were at home, he wouldn't be. Scout Camp doesn't pack up until tomorrow. So why am I missing him so much?
This is new to me, and maybe that says a lot, but I've never felt like there was a hole, and actual gaping hole, in my person if Tarzan wasn't with me but now I do and it's weird. I have things to do, he has things to do, I call him, he calls me, every day, even if he has to climb to the top of a mountain out in the wilderness to get cell phone reception. It's only ten days and then I will be home again. What is my deal?
I wouldn't admit this to anyone but you Internets - I know you can keep a secret - but I cried when we hung up the phone today. Please realize, I am not That Girl. I don't cry at weddings, or funerals, or movies, or when something sweet happens. I don't even get blurry if an animal dies. I am not the girl who cries at the drop of a hat, or even when the hat is thrown in her face and the brim almost pokes her eye out so she'd be blind forever. I am the type of girl who pops the person who threw the hat in the face, not the one who cries about it, but there I was, sniffling, blinking my eyes really hard and dousing my face in cold water so I could go upstairs again.
What is happening to me?

This is me, missing Tarzan a whole freaking lot.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nothing Yet

Well, it's been two days now and there have been a lot of contractions but none in the pattern and timing that would indicate the eminent arrival of my next nephew. Rocketgirl is so irritated by the situation that she's about ready to reach in and pull the kid out. I don't recommend she do that but I can imagine the frustration. Especially since she isn't getting a decent night's sleep either.
In the meantime I feel a little bit extraneous. Sunshine is adorable but she's two and Rocketgirl has been taking care of her for years now, so she doesn't really need me. I can make dinner but that's only two hours in a day and then what? We really need this kid to arrive so I feel like I'm earning my keep.

This is me, waiting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Made It

It was a much less stressful trip than I was panicking about last night let me tell you. In fact it was probably the easiest trip I have ever taken and that is saying something. I don't have any real horror stories about airports and security. The airlines lost my luggage once but I got it all back a day later. Since I started carrying the written prescriptions for everything with me I have not been stopped once at the security checkpoints, so here's me getting on planes with sharp metal objects and liquids more than 3 oz at a time NOT in a plastic baggie. I am a rebel I tell you, a rebel!
The first leg of the trip was the longest and the most amusing. I was seated in the last row in the plane - which would have been super annoying if they hadn't fixed it so the seat could in fact recline. Thank goodness - between two guys. One was probably in his 50's and real nice. The other, on the aisle was a teenager, couldn't have been more than 17 and this was his first flight ever. Holy smokes I have never seen such a nervous person. Men, in my experience, try to be all macho and tough and nothing-bothers-me around women. Especially when they ARE nervous. So this was quite a change of pace. Once the plane started it's engines, every little bump or ping or beep or thump had his head between his knees hyperventilating and him deciding he wanted to get off. I tried to talk him through it, distract him like, but he was way nervous. Eventually he pulled the hood of his sweatshirt up, huddled his head under my arm and stayed like that for about an hour. I am not above playing the mother figure to any guy, just like I flirt or bully or whatever they want in the moment, but this was a tad overplayed I thought. Parts of it were cute and amusing and other parts were just annoying. Most of the annoyance was because I wanted to go to sleep. I had planned on getting at least four hours in a row and I might have been just a tad cranky. I hadn't had any sleep at all last night though. As I was packing I started to get really anxious about getting up on time. The flight was at 6:40am and the shuttle people, morons, were scheduled to come at 4am. If I have to get up before 8:00am then Tarzan needs to be my alarm clock or it just ain't gonnna happen. And Tarzan just happened to be gone to Scout Camp Monday morning so I was on my own and the thought came to me that I would have a lot of time just sitting on the planes and laying over between and why didn't I just stay up until 4am and then I would not miss the shuttle. So I did, and I didn't and I made it here with no mishaps other than tiredness. And once the guy - who's name I still don't know - calmed down I did sleep, and again at the airport and then again on the second plane. All in all it was all right. Rocketgirl is still pregnant, though she doesn't want to be, and Sunshine is a doll. Their house is gorgeous and there's just a ton of room everywhere. It's a little rural but after The Jungle's humanity 24/7 this is going to be fun.

This is me, in The Land of Cheese.

Monday, August 10, 2009

These Things Just Write Themselves

So I'm packing to go and see Rocketgirl at her new house, help with the baby and all, play with Sunshine, you know...and while I'm waiting for the last load of laundry to dry I'm sitting here wondering what to write, not really coming up with anything. Then I walk into the bedroom and this is what I see:
(That's a yawn BTW, not a ferocious snarl.) But apparently she was not too concerned with my running to get the camera as this was the next shot:
Is it just that my clothes smell good? Or is it that there's a lot of them in a pile? Or is it just a soft pile to sleep on? Or is it just that she likes this place on the bed better than the rest:

This is me, getting ready to go.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Cynic Is My Middle Name

You might think I am a horrible person after reading this post and if that's so then I'm sorry. That's not how it was supposed to come out. I promise. First watch this:

And then tell me what you think. Is it totally unromantic of me to first wonder what sort of connection he must have to Disneyland that this could be arranged AND THEN coo at the adorableness of it all? (I don't really coo but you know what I mean.) Am I a cynic to wonder how they got it filmed and arranged and who are all those people singing and dancing rather than sigh and imagine myself in Erika's shoes? And who ARE all those people? Are they family? How much money did that cost? Why don't more people do it? These are the things that I think about when watching videos of this nature. No romance in my soul. I suppose I lucked out that Tarzan isn't an exhibitionist.

This is me, less than romantic today.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Plants That We Planted

I've alluded to our upside down plants in a previous post or two, but here are some actual pictures of our tomatoes:
Coming soon to a salad near you:
Apparently the grape tomato seedling was the strongest of the two types in the pot because it seems that is what we are getting the most of:
Can anyone tell me if the leaves on the top of the cucumber plant are supposed to get all brown and dried like this:
The whole plant IS getting bigger:
And the leaves at the end of the vines are awesome and green:
So maybe it's an out with the old and in the with the new thing? Maybe I need to water it more? I water them both every single day - which is kind of a record for me - but the one disadvantage to the upside down thing is that the water all runs out if it isn't needed right away. Maybe this is as big as the cucumber will ever get:
Thankfully the cats have not appeared to notice the wavy, chewy things hanging down next to their food bowl:
Famous last words I expect these to be...

This is me with something growing on the back porch.

From Whence You Cometh