Friday, March 30, 2012


I wrote once about the raccoons that were living under the house and eating the cat food.
I thought I had put in a bit about the raccoons heading out for greener pastures - more variety - and a possum taking up residence. (If I did I have lost it in the vacuum of the Internets.) Not nearly as cute as raccoons, we try and run the possums off whenever we come upon them.
It would seem that the possum has not departed.
More to the specific, since I have begun taking the cat food in at night - to prevent it being sucked down by the possum(s), that's right, there is more than one - the, I am guessing, momma possum has started venturing out during daylight hours to forge:As you can tell, the local felines don't care enough to attempt to scare it off despite the fact it's the one eating their food.Weirdos.
So I can't feed them outside at all now.

This is me and the things I have to worry about...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It Was A Good Casserole

Does anyone have a handy tip for peeling butternut squash? (Really, thin, tough skinned squashes of any variety)
I know about roasting them first but I was making a casserole where I needed to saute the squash and I couldn't do that with the skin on.
I was using my "new" knives - a smaller blade than usual for more control - and of course it slipped and I sliced my thumb. Not off. But enough for it to bleed profusely. After the usual pressure and cold water and application of a band-aid I was okay.
Turns out one uses one's thumb a large number of times throughout the day. Putting on one's clothes for example. I can't pull up my pants or put on my socks without a lot of maneuvering. Shoes hurt a lot. Keys and doorknobs present a difficulty.

This is me and I did it again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There's Gonna Be A Weddin'

Oh right!
I forgot to mention, my sister BHB and her steady, Seth, got engaged last week:They are ridiculously twitterpated which is to be expected:The plan is to get hitched this summer. August sometime. Tarzan and I are the only ones from her family to not be introduced to the intended. I sure hope to meet the boy before the wedding or we might welcome the wrong guy into the family:
This is me and a big congratulations to them both!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My First Party

My first party as Relief Society President - the Relief Society Birthday Party no less - was not what I envisioned. After the search for egg rolls and mini-quiches yesterday failed - I settled for bagel bites and taquitos - I further discovered that the party supply places near my house did not have helium for the balloons, no one had round table cloths and Tarzan forgot to get the ingredients for the punch.
It was not a great start.
Taking time to find a place that did balloons took time, so I was late getting to church to set up, which meant I was late finding a place that had round table cloths - luckily across the street from the church - late getting the punch - at a store that was renovating their freezer section so the sherbet was almost liquid! - late getting started and I really, really, REALLY hate that feeling, of being late when it could have been avoided.
We had a lot of food: It was all really good. My second counselor made - MADE - the cupcakes:And they were delicious. She's on the right:(Note the FANTASTIC balloons I aquired. There were three dozen. I know.) The party goers:It was a low key fuction, with eating, talking and Pictionary which went well I thought. Everyone got a party favor. My first counselor made all the party favors and they were adorable. She's on the right:We were small in number but large in fun. And the kids were apparently fooling around with my camera when I was not in the room:
This is me and Tarzan was correct; it all came out okay.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Apocalypse Now

What has the world come to when Costco does not have egg rolls OR mini-quiches available for purchase? Costco was built on the certainty that mini-quiches were there. All the time.
I know, I know, your Costco has those snacks available. But because I need them for the Relief Society Birthday Party tomorrow, they are not to be found.
It's just been one of those days.

This is me and it's a travesty.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Letter To The Universe

Dear Universe,
Is there any way the 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, 30 minutes spent waiting for a person who promised to be ready when you arrive to get her doing her a favor but lost track of time at a place that shouldn't be mentioned in polite society, could be collected up and used as one block of time?
It would make my life so much more efficient.
And I know that's what you want as much as I do.
Nature abhors a vacuum, I hear.

This is me and thanks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Epic Tale - The Conclusion

Let's see.
The shed was finished on a Thursday and Christmas was the very next Sunday. We came home from my parents' house to be busy right away with Aunt Richie's Christmas party (it was a little weird to be a guest with the people I work with every day on the other side of the table serving me) and also rehearsals for the program at church. I was very excited about having Tarzan's parents and AuntReese involved. Not the least because Gamma offered to accompany most of the singing thus sparing me the lack of enthusiasm Tarzan has for learning new music. Also, she is much better at convincing him to practice than I am, and she knows what areas he needs to improve and I do not, so it was a real help to have her with us.
And when it all was done, the program went off with no obvious hang ups. One performer did not show. We skipped his acoustic guitar piece - probably the one I was most looking forward to and the most worried about - and the a Capella soloist went a little off-book but he did it well, so no harm, no foul. The youth chorus was probably the strongest; Tarzan and I sang with them. The missionary piece - We Three Kings - should have been fantastic. Gamma brought a really awesome accompaniment and AuntReese was exceedingly great improvising with her violin. The missionaries though, just didn't sing very loud. Though they had done okay in rehearsal it was tough to hear them in reality. The Primary were adorable as usual - the seven of them who were there; I guess it was Christmas - and the Elder's Quorum group was very good. Love me some bass/baritone harmony. So it was all alright.
After church we headed down a little south to see some family for dinner and sing some really old Christmas carols, really loudly with some personal interpretations, mostly by Tarzan. And that was Christmas Day.
I call the next four weeks My Month Of Airports. I am pretty sure there was a week near the end of December where I was at an airport every single day, dropping someone off, or picking someone up. Christmas Eve I fetched BHB to take her to our parents' and then the day after Christmas I fetched her back. (She got shafted on her holiday vacation this year, mostly because she broke her ankle and was on paid leave for a month in July.) M2, PIT and their children flew in the day after THAT; tickets from The Other Side Of The World being much cheaper that way. (My family had delayed our 'Christmas' until they were in town.) My brother and his family were down as well and the kids were just darling together. They were all enthralled with the roof coming down on my convertible so I took them each for a spin and PIT has some shaky but really hilarious video of them screaming from the backseat. My favorite part was LittleJ exclaiming his hair was coming off. (I wasn't going that fast.)
We stayed in for New Year's Eve - couldn't imagine needing things to get crazier - and I had to teach Relief Society on January 1st. I had not been to Relief Society in 15 years.
It was weird.Everyone was nice of course but it's much different than teaching the children. For one thing, if the kids misbehave I can pick them up and carry them down the hall to their parents. Not so if their parents aren't nice and won't let their neighbor finish a sentence. Again, a whole 'nother post.
BHB came back into town as soon as the new year opened - new year, new vacation schedule - and was with us for a week before she flew home with M2, PIT and Co. for a week there:(That's ATL, PIT, M2, BHB, Ecru in the stroller, Rosey on TOP of the stroller and Squishy to the right.)
When she came back from The Other Side of The World she was with us overnight and then flew out again, home.
Tarzan's parents flew home sometime in the week BHB was gone and then back in to do a fireside about Family History for our ward congregation. He's been at this for quite a long time, has visited a number of countries and has some amazing war stories to tell about his adventures. It was a very entertaining fireside with some colorful side notes from Tarzan and Gamma, clarifications when they thought MusicMan was getting to dramatic. But we had many positive comments from those in attendance and regret from those who missed out. The Stake is talking about having him come again on a larger scale. Then they were off again, home and to see other of their children.
That takes us through the middle of January.
By then I was too far behind to catch up in a short little post, I was swamped with things I "had" to do as Relief Society President - I didn't really but I didn't know that yet - we were neck deep in Academic Decathlon preparations - of which I did post a little - I was working crazy busy hours at Aunt Richie's and taking some side gigs with her daughter, Tarzan's cousin Stingy, and February slipped away. Even the 'extra' day we got didn't help me much.
Then BOOM, here we are in March and I hadn't posted in so long it was ridiculous.I almost decided to quit this blogging thing - several times in fact - because then the guilt might go away but at the same time I would take pictures or make notes and think "That needs to go on the blog."
So I repented of my wicked ways, spent much too long composing that first post back, and only now am getting back in the posting groove. The weather has been unpredictable but milder than previous years.
I hate the time change but I'm loving the sun up so late already.
This Relief Society thing is trying to kill me, but it'll get better, right?

This is me and that is my epic tale. And where I was for the past three months.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happiest Penguin

One day of catch up, one day of random.
Cutest video ever.

This is me. We should all be that happy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

An Epic Day In The Tale

As mentioned previously, the second day of our shed building experience deserved it's own post. It was one of those days that, if seen in a movie or something, would be dismissed as too far-fetched to be realistic.
This is my life.
You may recall an Ode I did a few months ago for my lovely MIL when she invited me to see Wicked with her and one of Tarzan's aunts, who'd never been. Tarzan's cousin VT went as well, and if not for her I might have jumped in front of a bus several times that night.
It started early at the job site, we naively believing we could still finish the shed that day. We spent a lot of time measuring the front beam for cutting - I checked the marks three times - squaring the posts and aligning everything - this will become important later. But I had to leave by 3:00. The show was at 8:00, we were meeting around 6:30-7 for dinner before and I figured if I left before 3, which meant 3:30, I'd be home in time to shower, dress and be ready to go. (All that heaving and running around leaves a girl with a certain 'glow.')
I didn't miss by too much, getting on the road by 3:45. I'd be home no later than 6.
Except traffic was atrocious.
I don't know why, I was going opposite to all the commuters, there were no accidents, no freeway construction, nothing but slow cars and blinking brake lights. Tarzan called me frequently to check on my progress and we discussed alternate routes to get home. (Thankfully there is more than one freeway between my parent's neighborhood and mine.) But nothing was any better. Shortly after 5:00 Tarzan's mother called to see how I was doing because in their eagerness to get to the show and beat the traffic - they were staying with family, a good distance south of us - they were at my house already.
I was nowhere close to being there.
Time became a real issue but what can you do when the cars just won't move? I raced when I could, took all the shortcuts Tarzan could find on the map, relaying it to me between calls from Gamma but nothing doing. I started revising my schedule for when I finally got back, skipping lots of frivolous things, like eating. Gamma, AuntReese and VT went and got dinner for themselves and me, but they had to eat it in their car because they couldn't get into my house and there aren't any parks or nice places to just hang out in the dark in the south central Jungle.
Sad, but true.
I finally pulled in to my house around 6:45pm. I opened the gate and let AuntReese pull her car into Tarzan's usual spot.
(I forgot to mention that the whole deal was we were going to drive in my car because AuntReese didn't want to take her fancy, red car into the neighborhood where the theater was. She was going to park it at my house, behind our secure gate and then pick it up when we dropped me off.)
My car was in it's spot, so there was about three feet for me to leave the car I was driving - Tarzan's - while I raced into the house, tore off my filthy, construction clothes, donned my Wicked green shirt and black pants and raced out the door again. No shower, no dinner, not even a chance to brush out my hair. The other three were already in the car so I hopped in and pressed the button to close the gate.
Then I remembered parking money. Gamma had bought the tickets, AuntReese had paid for dinner, it was only fair I pay for the parking, so - and this is the stupidest thing I have ever done - I clicked the remote to open the gate before it had shut completely and ran into the house to get some cash. When I came out, the gate was partially open, where I had left it and beeping.
I had forgotten about that safety feature.
So I tried to unscrew the bolts that hold the cover on the motor by hand but they were too tight so I raced to the shed to get a wrench - in my haste nearly tumbling suitcases on my head - and got them off, flipped the switch that shut off the horrible noise and waited the 30 seconds for the gate to reset itself. I turned it back on and clicked the remote.
I tried again, and still nothing. I called Tarzan, he mentioned the "really big allen wrench" that we use to crank the gate open when the power's out and I ran to get that from the shed. I found what I thought was the wrench but couldn't find the place where it fit on the motor box.
I'm in a panic. I'm filthy, now also covered in grease, sweaty, tired, late and my mother-in-law - plus company - is witness to this all. She's on the phone with Tarzan telling him to come and fix it - remember he's a two hour drive away, with neither of our cars available - it's getting later by the minute and I am nearly in tears.
Finally, it's about 7:10, AuntReese suggests that we just go or we'll miss the first act - not true, but whatever, I am in no mood to argue - and with one last longing look at her car and my half open gate, we hit the road. I am not chancing the freeways again, so we take the surface streets. About 15 blocks up the road we pass a Burger King with six police cars outside, flashing lights and megaphones. Apparently there is some sort of disturbance and the authorities are directing all traffic around the area.
Fortunately, I know an alternate route to the one they are suggesting and we get around the jam. I am probably going too fast but we figure all the police are already occupied for the evening and no one's going to bother me. Despite many careful questions from the passengers we arrive at the theater by 7:30pm. Even I am impressed with myself. There have been times ATL and I haven't even left our house by that time when making a show at 8, so for the first time in five hours, I can relax a bit. Parking is a breeze and right across the street from the venue. We get in, find our seats - which are phenomenal. I mean, able-to-see-the-expressions-on-the-cast-faces good - and there's time to text Tarzan about my mental state and his mother's before the lights flickered in warning.
It was a good show. It's Wicked - it's never a bad show - but I thought Mamie Parris did a nice job as Elphaba. Good balance of emotions and excellent voice. Katie Rose Clarke as Glinda was also very good. She didn't overplay the silliness which I appreciate. Liz McCartney as Madame Morrible was 'eh,' Kyle Dean Massey was a good voice for Fiyero, a little too slapstick in his actions. Boq wasn't too stupid and Nessarose, though a little violent, was strong. I was really glad to see it again, and as mentioned before the seats were amazing.At intermission I checked the dozens of texts Tarzan had sent me and he reminded me ATL got home from work shortly after we left; she was watching AuntReese's car so that made me feel a WHOLE LOT BETTER. I was able to reassure everyone, including myself.
After the show, we drove back to my house to see if we could get AuntReese's car out of my driveway somehow. Through Tarzan's second round of texts, he explained and I found the OTHER "really big allen wrench" in the shed, it also had a blue handle, and it fit, no problem, in the motor casing. We cranked open the gate - about 20 minutes of work - the car came out and since it was nearly midnight, the three of them left for the 45 minute drive they had to get home. I shut the gate, with the remote, after turning it back on, no sweat, threw all the tools in the wholly disarranged shed, went in the house and barely changed into pajamas before I fell into a pile and slept for nearly nine hours.
In the morning when I woke up, I finally got a shower and went back out to the Desert to finish the shed.

This is me and that was a crazy 24 hours.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Surprise

(I will return to the updating posting tomorrow.)
Tonight I will say this: Tarzan and I stepped WAY out of our comfort boxes and went to an Event (that's right, capitol E) at a local university where awards were given for excellence in helping out kids. I don't know the whole deal. Tarzan went because he's part of the program through his school and with all the negative press right now abut schools, he wanted to hear some good stuff.
There was a lot of "aren't we awesome," but the biggest surprise of the night was how much I enjoyed listening to Arianna Huffington speak. She's direct, honest but not mean or cruel - her introducer was quite right, she doesn't disparage anyone else's opinion - she's realistic, practical and she's funny.
Such a good speech.
Not overly long but very helpful and uplifting.
I would totally vote for her if she ran for President. (I know, born in Greece and all that but I think she'd be good at it.)
Do you remember in school, when the teacher asked who you looked up to? I could never think of anyone.
Now I have an idol, though I don't think that's the sort of attention she's looking for.

This is me and to think I almost stayed home tonight.

Friday, March 16, 2012

An Epic Tale - The Beginning

Where to start, where to start...
How do you blog about events in your life that are so huge you just don't know where to start describing them? The Christmas/New Year's thing this year was one of those monumental events, and it's only just barely over such that I can recognize it's been six weeks without a post of meaningful content.
Not because stuff hasn't happened - because it has, all over the floor it has - but because it's too immense for one post and I have no idea how to break it into many posts, so instead I do neither and watch six episodes of The Big Bang Theory instead. I know that's a healthy response. And that's not even including the whole Relief Society President responsibilities thing, though I have developed a lovely eyelid twitch because of that.
Completely different story.
I've been composing this post for a while now and I'm sure I'm omitting dozens of details but it seems to be blocking me from writing anything new, so here goes.
Early in December of 2011 my father got a contract to build a hay barn for a customer of his grain business. Because I am "the resident architect" - his words, not mine - and Tarzan is young, strong and willing to do most anything, we were conscripted to help my father, my sister and my brother get the thing up. Once Tarzan was on Christmas vacation we scheduled a visit. The night we had to drive the two hours out, we were at a family wedding - Tarzan's family - and it went a little later than planned so we were late leaving and therefore late getting to my parent's house and they do not like to be up past their bedtime, so that gave us a stellar start to the project. Oh, and a few days before that, Tarzan's parents came to town, ostensibly for the wedding, but also to see us and while I love them both, very much, it is stressful to have one's in-laws come to visit, especially when one has to figure out where to have them sleep in a house that - I am learning - is the size of most people's front porches. But they did, sleep, and so did we and we made it to my parent's in time to get up bright and early to work on this shed thing.
On the surface it seemed a fairly simple project. Four 4" square galvanized steel posts to be sunk into the dirt, a front and back beam, three 2" square support posts, twelve 4'x8' corrugated metal side panels and eight 8'x12' corrugated metal panels for the roof. A zillion screws and we should have been fine. We started with high hopes of taking one day for the structure, one day for the roof.
Oh, the follies of ignorance...
To begin with, there were no instructions. Not even a stick drawing. Tarzan and my father did not think this was a big deal but it's nigh on to heresy - blasphemy! - as far as I am concerned. I will deviate from a plan as required, color outside the lines so to speak, but I at least need to know where the line was. I hate flying without a net. As we plugged along, it became apparent that we would need a tool to notch the support pieces and the beams so the exterior panels would lay flat and give us at least two places to connect to. This necessitated a trip - which ended up being three trips - to Home Depot to get a grinder, which can also cut metal, with the right kind of blade. Of course, the cutting wears down the blade and with the kind of cuts were were making, we used up six blades over the course of the project. The first day took much longer than we had planned. We were trying to get as much done as possible so we stayed past dark and tried some fancy finagling to bend light around the corners and came home exhausted.
The second day deserves it's own post, so let's leave it there.
The third day we could finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, and the bloomin' thing hadn't fallen down in the middle of either of the two previous nights, so that was good for our morale.
This is how it came out:
Not too bad, considering what we started with. And with the sun still up.
It didn't take us two days however.
Grand total: Four days, a few more dollars than we planned and not a little pain.
AND THEN, to put the frosting on the cupcake, after the previous three days of crazy, my father informed us we had to buck the hay, into the brand new shed. Those bales are heavy. My poor fingers did not recover for days.

This is me, stay tuned for the rest of the epic tale.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oops I got fired again!

Hi all,
For the 2nd year in row I have been laid off by my school district. As a cost cutting measure they are going to replace all librarians with self service kiosks. I still don't get how the books are supposed to get shelved again. Some of my library regulars said they would give the machine a day before someone broke it. I'm not too worried though I feel sick inside at the general state of affairs in my school district. Acadeca is gone, school busses are gone, adult ed. is gone, not sure what will be left if this budget goes through. I've got my Patriarical blessing, I've been through this before last year (to no long term negative effect, good faith building exercise)and frankly I don't care or even bother thinking about this stuff anymore. I serve until released. Gotteswillen.
Jane and I are teaching students at my school how to swing dance for a musical, Zoot Suit Riot and will be teaching youth from our stake how to dance as well. I thinking of asking some of my students to attend the stake dance. Last night Jane and I went out to a casual sushi place called "how do you roll" that works a lot like subway. They assemble the rolls in front of you assembly line style. Tasted pretty good. We also went out Friday night to a little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant that serves the best beef rolls and dumplings Oh so good! Afterwards we wandered around a nearby Asian supermarket. It was like a field trip to a foreign country. Exotic fruits, more kinds of seafood than an aquarium and whole rows dedicated to the most delectable noodles and sauces you can imagine. Life is busy. No time for worries. Thank goodness.

From Whence You Cometh