Monday, June 30, 2008

Wardrobe Worries

I'm in the midst of a wardrobe malfunction. All of my clothes have shrunk!

I am at the point where I either need to buy new, bigger clothes, or lose some weight. For 13 weeks I've been hobbled - six of those on crutches. I've gained 10 pounds, and one by one, I've had to abandon pair after pair of pants because they became uncomfortably tight. And I hate tight clothes. Hate. Really really.

When I found out I was going to have surgery, I went to Deseret Industries and purchased three pairs of pants that were at that time a bit too large for me, just in case this happened. It's a good thing; those pants are now the backbone of my sorry wardrobe: a pair of light grey wool slacks, a pair of blue denim jeans, and a pair of tear-away warmup pants. I try not to think about it too much. And I don't. Except for when I am getting dressed or see myself in the mirror wearing the same sorry pair of size %$&! pair of blue jeans. Again.

Now that I'm off crutches and walking better, my activity level is up a bit, but I'm not in any stretch of the imagination ready for vigorous aerobic workouts. So I guess I need to get serious about reducing my calorie intake.

I really really hate diets. Hate them. Really. I guess that's probably an obvious statement to anyone who knows me, since I'm very obviously significantly overweight. I'd like to say that four pregnancies messed up my metabolism. I'd like to blame it on my mother. But I must face the sad fact that I got overweight by overeating. I think I'm somewhat addicted to sugar.

In 2002 I weighed a bit more than I do right now. I was having knee pain (deja vu, anyone?), and went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with Patellar Tracking Syndrome or something fancy like that and sent me to see the physical therapist, who told me that the quadriceps muscles on the front of my thigh were weak, and if I would do certain exercises to strengthen them, my knee pain would go away. He was right. He also pointed out that a gym membership would cost much less per month than visiting him would. So I signed up at one of the gyms in town.

I decided that it was time to get serious, so I also bought the book "Body for Life" and launched a very strict diet program, which seemed to work quite well. For 6 days a week, I balanced my protein and carbohydrate intake, and avoided sugar, white flour, juices, and excessive fats. My diet consisted primarily of oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, cottage cheese, vegetables, fruit, and lean meats, all carefully proportioned.

The Body for Life program also had detailed exercise guidelines. Six days a week; three days weight training and three days of bust-yer-butt cardio.

From January to July of 2002, I lost 30 pounds. I felt better, I looked better. And then I got complacent. I was still 30 pounds over my ideal weight, but I was doing so well, I figured I could ease off a little. And the desserts crept back in. I maintained weight within 5 pounds for about a year. But since 2003, I've added a few pounds here and there, slowly creeping upward until I've gained more than 20 pounds back. The last 10 weeks of forced inactivity have caused a loss of muscle, which probably means that I could actually be fatter than I was at my heaviest six years ago.

Enough. This injury has made me appreciate the simple feat of walking in a way I never had before. Being 60 pounds overweight certainly hasn't helped my knees, and in fact probably contributed to my current injury. Walking, jogging and clogging on an already bad knee while overweight most likely accelerated the degeneration of the cartilage due to the extra pressure.

I always rationalized that being thin was nice, but that as long as I was active, my weight wasn't a big deal. I always wanted to be thin. All I had to do was look at past pictures to remember what I looked like as a thin person. But I wasn't motivated enough to actually adopt the behaviors that would make me thin.

I think I'm there now.

I guess I'll go with what I know - back to Body for Life, at least the diet part, for the next month until I have the green light to return to normal activity. Time to get that gym membership again so I'll have access to the low-impact cardio machines and all the weight training equipment.

Anybody have tips on ignoring all the 20-something bust-job gym babes that poured themselves into their spandex? If you're one of those women, smack yourself, please.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Recipe: Goulash (aka Pseudo Lasagna)

I know that there are blogs and websites that publish fancy recipes. This is not one of those blogs. Check the name at the top of the page, folks; this is a Farm. We eat simple foods here. So if you are one of those namby pamby nose-in-the-air gourmet types, you'll want to stop reading now and go check out this recipe. If you are a down to earth, practical type who likes simple, down home foods that make your family smile, you're in the right place. Read on.

I make this dish regularly. It's easy, yummy, and a bit "dressier" than plain ole spaghetti, even though it has similar ingredients. This recipe will feed a hungry family of six, with leftovers for lunch the next day. Adjust according to your family's needs.

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef or Turkey
  • 2-3 tsp. of Armadillo Willy's Rib Rub or your favorite Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 28-44 ounces of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 15 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (I don't know if this is part-skim or not. It's just cheese, folks!)
  • 1 Tbsp Salt (yes I know it's not in the picture. Get over it.)
  • 1 pound Pasta Noodles - Rotini and Penne pasta work really well for this dish, but I also use macaroni noodles and shells. I've never actually used spaghetti for this recipe, but I'm sure it would work. Just use whatever you have on hand.

Brown ground beef with onion and garlic in a large saute pan with a lid. I got this nice 5.5 qt covered nonstick saute pan at Sam's Club for $20. I may go get another for a backup because I like it so well and the price is right, baby!

Add Rib Rub to taste (I put in three ample four fingered pinches here, approximately 2 tsp, maybe more).

Here is the ground beef/onion mixture partway through browning. There's no pink left, so it's probably safe to eat, but DO NOT STOP HERE. The meat is not yet brown. It's kinda tan, is all.

Now maybe I'm telling y'all something you already know, but a thorough browning of meat (whether it be ground, roasts, steak, or chops) is necessary - no - crucial to bring out all the yummy flavor in the meat. If you stop when it looks like the picture above, your dish will turn out just "ok". Keep browning over medium-high heat until all the water has cooked out and the sound of the cooking meat increases to a higher pitch. It may even pop a bit if your ground beef has a higher fat content.

This is what properly browned ground beef looks like. The smaller pieces, especially, are a dark brown. You may think they look burned. That's the tricky part - to brown them up to just before the point of burning, but not to burn them. You don't want your stove on high for this part, or you most certainly will burn the meat. I have an electric stove with a range of Low, 2-9, and High heat. I brown meat on 9 to start, and as the water cooks off, I lower the temp to 8 1/2 or 8, to keep browning without burning.

You may wish to brown the meat to the just barely tan stage before adding the onion and garlic to ensure that they do not burn during the final browning of the meat.

Drain mean if necessary, and add spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes. Turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp. salt to 2-3 quarts of water in a large pot; bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Do not overcook pasta; you want it to have a little firmness when you bite it. That's called "al dente". It's Italian for "to the tooth". When you say it people will think you are really smart because you know an Italian word. It's great for the personal pride cycle.

Drain pasta and add it to the tomato/meat mixture in the saute pan. Remove from heat and add mozzarella cheese, then serve it to your hungry hordes.

Oh yeah....

How to kill a chicken.

Against my wishes, my children named the meat birds. At least they named them all the same thing: Darth Sidious. They are named this by Susan because she thought their eyes look like wrinkled old Emperor Palpatine. They are all named this because they all look the same. I'm good with that.

This bad boy weighed just over 6 pounds yesterday. I decided that his time had come.

Last night I isolated him in a separate pen with water. And this morning, bright and early, he was transformed from a big white feathered brute into this:

He dressed out to 4 3/4 pounds - nice and fat. He'll make a nice juicy dinner tonight.

Seeing as how this was my first butchering experience, I didn't document it for you originally. But then I noticed that most of my hits from google searches were from people who actually want to know how to kill a chicken, so I recorded the steps here. If you want to know how to cut up a chicken after killing it, go here. Good luck!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Epidemic Among Women

"I'm such a bad mom."

"I am so dumb sometimes!"

"I think I'm just broken."

"I'm so bad!"

"Am I a freak or what?"

"I am so lazy."

Over and over I hear phrases like this in conversations with women. Often these and similar phrases are used as deprecating humor. I hear it everywhere. It is so prevalent that it disturbs me. Why is it considered ok or even humorous to say thing about ourselves that would be frowned upon if we said them to our children? An accompanying habit is an inability to accept and/or believe compliments. Tell a woman that she looks nice, and she's likely to say something like, "Oh! I am having such a bad hair day, but thanks anyway." And even when some women say "Thank you," inside they're thinking, "That isn't true, they're just saying that to be nice." I know, because I do this. And a whole lot of other women I know do this.

I learned from a pro. My mom was the consummate compliment dodger. She was intelligent and accomplished, but this woman couldn't accept/believe a compliment to save her life. She was a wonderful cook; everything she made was awesome. But when anyone would praise her cooking, she'd look away and say "aww, well, it's not much." I could never tell if she really didn't think she was a good cook or if she was trying to be modest about it. When I would see her and tell her how nice she looked, or how much I liked her blouse, I might get a "oh, thanks," but the tone of voice and the look on her face belied that she didn't believe a word of it.

Why do we do this to ourselves and the people who want to be kind to us? Do we believe that by talking tough to/about ourselves, we'll motivate ourselves to be better, smarter, more competent, less forgetful? Do I think that by labeling myself as "lazy" that I'll develop a better work ethic? But, but... Idleness is a sin! If I'm not busy doing something productive every minute of every day, I'm sinning in the eyes of God! Right? And yet, ironically, telling myself that I'm a pathetic loser when I waste a few hours messing around doesn't change my tendency to waste time. It just makes me feel worse about myself.

I can't help but wonder if a desire for humility is the goal driving this kind of self-defeating thinking. Do we believe that it's prideful to accept praise? If someone tells me the food is good, am I hopelessly arrogant if I believe them and answer with a gracious "Thank you"? Is it sin if I actually believe the compliment, and agree that I can hold my own in the kitchen?

But what about compliments that I honestly believe are false? If I truly hate my physical appearance and someone tells me I look good, how do I deal with that? Then I become the one who says "Thank you," and then mentally shreds the compliment to pieces. I wish I knew how to change that.

I have a theory, only partly formed. I believe that our attempts to deflect praise for humility's sake backfire. I think that when we talk unkindly about ourselves and refuse to believe the honest compliments others give, that we are serving him who would destroy us. I believe that most of us don't even realize how constant and damaging this negative self-talk is. We feel self-conscious, and unhappy with ourselves, and we don't know why. We may even feel depressed and hopeless, and cannot see that we are helping to dig the pits that we stumble through.

I could be wrong. And I'm reasonably sure there are women out there who don't engage in this habitual self-beating behavior. But I can't think of any just now...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Communicable disease runs rampant in schools

Your child may have already been exposed.

Kitchen Makeover!

Okay all you HGTV addicts. I need your help deciding on what to do with my kitchen.

The original cabinets are the cheap orang-y oak stock type. I think they get more orange every year.

Following are pictures of my current kitchen. In order to take these pictures I shooed all the children into a closet and locked the door and cleaned like a lunatic for half an hour. If you listen closely, you can almost hear them howling with hunger in the background.

The South Wall

Please do not ask me why I have a teapot on my stove in June. It is a remnant of winter when I indulge in the consumption of certain hot drinks. Don't tell my bishop.

And what is that small rectangular thing on the counter to the right of my stove top?

Sound it out. I received this little plaque from a dear friend in CA who sometimes reads but never ever comments on this blog. I think of her every time I see it. It is currently wanting a nail to hang it up on a wall somewhere.

The East Wall

Yes I know I have no valance or cute lacy curtains on my window. Haven't I mentioned my sheer lack of decorating talent before? Clearly I need your help.

The North peninsula with escaped children hoping for cookies.

They were sent away sad and disappointed to chew on cardboard until I was finished documenting that yes in fact my kitchen is clean for five minutes per year.

The lowdown is this: I am not able to spend the big bucks to do the dream kitchen thing right now. So my plan is to paint or stain the cabinets, and get a new countertop.

I need color/pattern opinions from you. And by you, I mean everyone reading this post - whether I know you or not.

The floor is light gray/tan tile with dark gray grout.

The sink is stainless steel, and the appliances are white. I do not want to spend money replacing appliances, either, so please try to work within those limits.

URL's are appreciated if you have them.

Now, ready, set..... GO!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Adventures in Sourdough: Part Deux

So I tried making bread again this afternoon.

I added less flour and tried not to over-knead the bread. It seemed a little less dense than last time so I was hopeful.

Once again, the rising took For. Ever. At a friends' suggestion I put it in the warm oven to help it rise faster (even though my kitchen was a balmy 82 degrees). Who knows whether it worked or not. The loaves did grow, but instead of a nice round boule loaf, I got two flattish things. And when I moved one of them onto the baking stone it deflated a bit. I wasn't optimistic this baking would turn out any better than the last.

Steaming the crust didn't seem to work... I don't think the oven was hot enough for that. In fact, the oven was set to 375... and the preheating light clicked off, I put the loaves in. And then I noticed that the oven thermometer said it was only 325 degrees. Sheesh. Stupid oven. And how careless of me not to check the actual temperature before sliding the loaves in.

Here's the flat, pale round loaf. It looked, if anything, worse than the last batch.

But the crust was a bit easier to cut, and inside, it was a bit lighter and more moist than the last batch. So, I'd have to say it was a slight improvement over the first try. I'll have to keep practicing until I get that crust right!

Adventures in Sourdough

My family likes sourdough bread. Sourdough bread is expensive. And so, do-it-yourselfer that I am, I decided I wanted to learn how to make sourdough bread.

Did you know that flour has native yeasts residing in it? And when you provide conditions friendly to those wild yeasts, that they grow and multiply until you have sourdough starter? It's true. Sourdough bread is made without adding yeast. The preparedness geek in me thought it would be very good to know how to make bread without yeast.

I was pointed to the Sourdough Home website by a friend, and began the adventure of making my own sourdough starter.

First, I added a little bit of flour to a little bit of warm water in a mason jar (see the Sourdough Home website for detailed instructions). I did two starters; one with all purpose unbleached white flour, and one with home ground hard red wheat flour. Water came from my kitchen tap.

Every twelve hours for the next week or so, I removed half of the goo from the jar, and added water and flour. This is called feeding the starter. During this time in early June, summer had not yet arrived, and so the temperature of my kitchen was closer to 70 degrees rather than the recommended 80 degrees. Although the cooler temperature slowed things down a bit, by the 4th day, things were bubbling. By the 9th day, the starter in the white flour jar was rising to double its size after each feeding, so I decided it was time to give baking a try.

The problem with baking bread "at home" is that the baker kinda needs to be AT HOME during the whole process, at least the first few times one does it, so as to keep a good eye on the rising loaves. Due to some craziness injected into my summer schedule by silly things like swimming lessons, physical therapy, saxophone lessons, and Cub Scout den meetings, I am rarely home for more than an hour at a time until late afternoon. It's been a little frustrating.

But finally, I had a free afternoon. I began my first attempt at making Black Canyon Sourdough Bread.

Here are the round loaves, resting on the counter after kneading.

Here they are in the oven, after waiting over three hours for them to rise. It is now after 9:00pm. They didn't rise well, so it seems obvious that something is off... either the starter wasn't vigorous enough, or I added too much flour (most likely) which made the dough too stiff.

And here is the finished loaf still hot from the oven.

The flavor was very good with a nice sourdough flavor. The texture, however, was dense, and the crust was very tough and difficult to cut. Still, people ate it and encouraged me to try again.

Next time, I plan to use less flour to hopefully produce a lighter crumb texture, and to put a pan of water in the oven to help steam the crust so it will be chewy and crunchy... I'll let you know how it goes.

Calling All Utards

Okay friends and neighbors in my state of residence - remember to vote in the State Primary Elections today! And if you don't know who to vote for because all those clowns seem the same... well just write me in! Just input "grumpy gardener"; the election officials know me well.

Another Nosy Poll

I used to plan meals in advance when my kids were younger. I would scan the grocery adds on Sunday and plan meals that incorporated the sale-items.

I wish I were still that organized and thrifty. These days, I have an alarm set for 4pm, and when it goes off, I decide what I'm in the mood for that I have ingredients on hand for, and make that. This method is stressful and somewhat boring, since my imagination has degraded with old age and my kids do not always share my moods.

Nutty teenager schedules and community sports programs interfere with the old fashioned sit down family dinner. Yet I still feel it is worthwhile to cook a wholesome meal and eat it together. Sometimes that doesn't happen until 8pm... but most days of the week it does happen, even if one child or another is absent.

I think my stress levels would go down and my enjoyment of cooking would go up if I would go back to planning in advance. Maybe this is the week it will happen.

So take the poll, and come here to share how you do things. I'm hoping to learn some new ideas and tricks for making meal management a more enjoyable part of my homemaking efforts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Treason and Betrayal

Last night Megan was complaining that her loose tooth was bugging her, so I tried to pull it out. I got my shortish fingernail under the edge and pulled. I even twisted a little bit. I pulled till her eyes got big and she said, "OW!" And then I decided that it wasn't ready yet.

Today Megan wanted to call her friend Scottlynn to play. Because I had Den Meeting and physical therapy this afternoon, I said she could go to Scottlynn's house if that was okay with her mom (Miss Amidey).

I should have known better than to send my loose-toothed child into the Den of the Evil Tooth Pulling Queen. By the time I got home from doing my duty in the Church, I found these pictures on Amidey's blog:

That Woman did it again! And My Child let it happen! A pox on them both! Okay I guess I'll let Megan off the hook because she's underage and didn't know better and I have taught her so very well to obey her Elders. Or is that Elderly? Well, people with gray hair anyway.

So later this evening Megan came to show me the tooth in a ziploc sandwich baggie. "Mom, since I know you are the Tooth Fairy and since you always forget for three days, can I just put this tooth on your dresser and get my dollar out of your coin jar?"

So ya had to spoil that little ritual too, huh, ETPQ? I think I'll send Megan over to your house to collect her tooth bounty from now on!

He made me cry today.

Ed is his name. Ed is my physical therapist. And I hate him.

The last lovely thing I got to do in therapy today was a another stretching method: face down on the training table, with my knees just off the edge, and let gravity pull the knee straight. For 10 minutes. When the buzzer rang and I was done, I stayed there and cried for a minute. Or two. One of the techs brought me tissue. After I had regained a measure of composure, I limped out to my car. Ed wisely hid somewhere until I was out of the building.

Have you ever heard that tears are healing? "Let it all out, honey, you'll feel better!" I think we've all heard that from some aunt. I don't believe it. At least not today; giving in to the tears made me feel worse. It made me feel like a wimp. And even now, nearly two hours later, I'm still on the brink of tears just thinking about it.

Warning to my family: everybody better be reeeeeelly nice to me tonight unless you wanna see momma cry.

P.S. - Ed says that if I will hang my leg for 10 minutes every morning and night, my leg will be straight in ten days. I forgot to ask how long it would take if I didn't do it.

Anybody know a good voodoo artist?

Recipe: Peasant Pasta

One of my most favorite summer recipes - especially once the tomatoes come on - is this wonderfully simple Italian dish. Tom's sister Jennifer served her mission in Italy, and came home with an amazing assortment of yummy dishes that I haven't tried very hard to learn to make. So instead we just use her as slave labor in the kitchen when she comes to visit, and watch while she does it.

Yo Jennifer! You should post some of these recipes on your blog and then I could just copy and/or link to your blog. That would save me a lot of effort and also ensure that I get it right.

But THIS dish, I know how to make, thanks to Jen's capable tutelage.


6-8 medium tomatoes (or more, if you really really like tomatoes)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the dark green stuff)
1-2 cloves of Garlic
Basil leaves, dried or fresh chopped
1 pound angel hair pasta

This recipe makes a LOT of pasta. The first time or so, until you're confident with it, I'd suggest cutting the quantities in half.

In a very large bowl, combine diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and basil. Add enough basil so that it looks pretty. How's that for exact instructions!! It is possible to add too much basil, but I've never done it. Let your heart be your guide. It will look like this:

Set bowl aside and let the flavors flow together for at least 10 minutes. The longer the better.

I must warn you that the garlic flavor will intensify over time, especially the day after you make it. So unless you really love a lot of garlic, you may want to add just one glove the first time, until you know what works best for you.

Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 Tbsp of salt. This is very important. If you don't add salt to the water, your pasta will taste bland and just wrong. Cook angel hair according to package directions... usually 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook.

Drain, then pour hot pasta over the tomato mixture. Using a pasta scooper-claw thingy, toss the pasta to mix the oil and tomatoes throughout. Add more oil if it seems dry. Gravity being what it is, most of the oily slippery slidey tomatoes will tend to want to hang out at the bottom. You'll have to go hunting for them when serving to plates.

Now I know it doesn't look fancy. But it isn't supposed to be fancy. It's Peasant Pasta after all!

This dish can be eaten warm or cold, but I prefer it warm. It is easily made ahead, and is one of those dishes that actually tastes better the second day. So make it up today, and feel the love, baby!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Poll!

How good do you think your sense of humor is? Are you the life of the party, or the one laughing at him?

I imagine that most people think they are more funny than they really are. Do you think that's true?

Here I go, all Judgey Judging

Please, will someone explain to me the phenomenon of "upgrading" to a new, larger house when a family hasn't grown out of the one they already have?

I just do not get this. Is it because I am a homebody who detests packing and moving?

And why do I get so annoyed when I hear of ward members who are planning to do this thing? Why do I give a flying fig what decisions other people make?

And why am I blogging about it in public so everyone will know how judgemental I am?

Why do I like this song so much?

Some time ago, I heard this song on Karianne's phone - she was using it for a morning alarm.

Love Song - Sara Bareilles

I was immediately hooked. So I got it on my playlist at Imeem, and we downloaded it for our mp3 players. I can listen to this song over and over and over, and sometimes I do, particularly while doing laundry related mindless tasks, like ironing the Bishop's shirts.

And that disturbs me a little bit. Why am I addicted to this song?

The chord progression and melody is pleasing to me, and the rythym is catchy. I also like the piano accompaniment, and it helps that her range matches mine so that I can sing along. But I think what draws me the most is her attitude. Somebody is making demands and she's not gonna take it. Go ahead and walk away, she says, but I won't write a love song just because you demand it.

At first I thought the lyrics were about some loser guy who wanted her to prove her love by writing him a song. That was a bit lame, I thought. At the very least, this chick has pretty poor taste in guys, right?

So, being obsessed, I began an online search about this girl and her song, and I found an interview that she did about it. In it, she said that in the process of making the album, the producers were waiting for her to produce The Hit Single. She was feeling immense pressure to write something that would top the charts, and it pretty much screwed up her ability to write at all. And it made her mad. At that point "Love Song" pretty much wrote itself; the song lyrics tell her producers that she's basically ticked off and they can take their record deal and walk if they want, but she has to write what she feels, not just whip something out that will make them rich.

So now the lyrics of the song mean something entirely different. It's no longer about a relationship gone south; it's about being authentic and doing something because you love it. And I think that's cool.

I think there is real truth in the message. I think that when I try to do/write/think what I think other people want, then I stop being myself and turn into somebody else's idea of me. If I'm jumping through hoops so that I can get the praise and approval of my ward, my friends, family, etc., then I'm not really living my life. I'm living theirs. And that doesn't make me happy.

So, if seeking the approval of mortals isn't a healthy primary motive for my actions, then what about seeking the approval of God? Doing God's will is supposed to make me happier than any other thing I could choose. But that has not always been my experience. Sometimes when I do what God wants, I feel grumpy and resentful, because I'd really rather be doing what I want instead.

So here is my dilemma: How do I make the leap from obeying God because I want his approval, to obeying God because I want what he wants? That one still has me stumped.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Day three of physical therapy got a little less pleasant. I guess the honeymoon is over.

The routine is to add on something new every day, I guess. So today when I got there a young therapy technician by the name of Katie, who is a nursing student with one year left, did the ultrasound deep heat thingy, followed by the electric shock treatment and the mother of all heating pads. Then I did my 15 minutes on the bike, which went rather well, except for one little problem, which I'll explain later. Then I did the wimpy leg curls with the rubber tubing while sitting in a chair, and then four way foot stretching, and then it was time for THE NEW THING.

First, Katie had me walk backwards on the treadmill for 5 minutes. It was at very slow speed, and it wasn't fun. My knee was popping a bit, and it kinda hurt. I had to grip the handrails for support so I didn't fall over. This is supposed to help fix my gait and get rid of that painful looking limp (aka The Lurch). Personally I think they just make this stuff up to keep you busy for an hour so they can charge $$$. At any rate, just as I was getting used to it and doing a little better, time was up. I went back to my exam table to await the next step, which I hoped was ice. I was ready to be outta there.

Then the therapist (aka the Dungeon Master) deigned me with his attention, and pressed my stiff knee toward the table as far as he could until I was gasping from the pain. He asked me to contract my quad muscles, and nothing happened. He didn't look surprised. In fact, he smiled. Then he said, "Okay, we're going to hang you straight". This struck fear into my heart, because it sounded like there might possibly be pain involved. An image of being strung up by my toes flashed through my mind. He must have mind reading powers, or maybe he just saw the brief look of panic that washed across my face, because he chuckled and said, "well, not you, just your knee."

For some reason this didn't comfort me very much.

Then Katie came over with my friend the ice pack, and this other black thing with straps. As she got closer, the black thing began to look more and more like a big heavy ankle weight. Oh. No.

Oh yes. She strapped the ice pack on, then had me lift my leg so she could put a rolled towel under my lower leg, halfway between the knee and ankle. Then she put that big weight on top of my knee! Hello!? That hurts, honey! She set the timer for TEN freaking minutes and as she walked away, said, "If it gets unbearable, go ahead and throw the weight off."

These people are sinister. They are smooth. And they know exactly what they are doing. Because there was nothing she could have said that would have made me more determined to last the entire 10 minutes. I've given birth to four really big babies, twice without anesthesia, little miss Kay-Tee. I can endure anything for a measly ten minutes! I didn't realize I was mumbling out loud until the tech at the next table asked me if I was ok. I smiled and nodded, and then turned up the volume on my mp3 player and listened to "Phantom of the Opera" while I focused on a black speck on the ceiling above me. And then, after only one song, the battery on my mp3 player died. With this method of distraction lost to me, I was forced to dig deep and apply the focused breathing/relaxation techniques from my natural childbirth days. The speck on the ceiling became a birthday candle, and I was going to blow it out. The speck was a distant hut made of straw, and I huffed and I puffed... and then the timer rang. And I snatched that black abomination off my knee and hurled it to the ground in triumph.

Ha HAH! Feeling a bit proud of my toughness, I smiled fiercely at Katie as she came over to unwrap the icepack. She smiled sweetly, and then spoke four words that chilled me to the bone:

"See you next week!"

New Poll Up

Yeah, it's a housewife poll. I'm workin' on some more interesting poll questions. If you wanna contribute ideas, I'd be thrilled!


Sometime after her last dentist checkup, Megan lost her two front teeth last year. One of them was pulled out by her dad, and the other was pulled out by her dance teacher, Miss Amidey. She's been waiting for them to come in. And Waiting. And waiting. Santa disappointed her when he didn't bring them at Christmas. Her notes to the tooth fairy have apparently fallen on deaf ears (or would that be blind eyes?).

At last, one of the new "teethies" have erupted.

It actually peeped through a few days ago, and just like the rising moon, it's really moving fast now that it's up!

But that is not all, no no, that is not all! On the other side, she has another loose tooth! See?

Here's a video to demonstrate just how loose it is:

Miss Amidey?! Hello! She already got her turn pulling out a tooth! I come in a distant THIRD if that! I'm her MOTHER, for crying out loud! I gave this child life, nurtured her, kissed her boo boos, and PAY for her ding dong dance lessons for the love of Pete, and I don't even get considered for the tooth pulling honors?! There is no justice in this world, I'm telling you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sleepy Feet

My least favorite part of the day is waking up tired kids who stayed up too late the night before. Some days I don't, because I just can't face the whining. Some days I just stay out in the garden and enjoy the peace before it gets hot.

But I recently re-committed to doing family scriptures at 8:30am, so when I neglect to wake people up, I now have guilt. And I'm not talking about your run of the mill I-ate-the-last-cookie kind of guilt. We're talking Real Guilt. Guilt as in not-following-the-prophet-I'm-going-to-hell brand of Guilt. And this sort of guilt must be avoided at all costs. Especially because I ate the last cookie yesterday so there is nothing with which to assuage said Guilt.

Reading the scriptures together in the mornings is a good thing on several levels, a minor benefit being that if the kids are up at a reasonable time, they'll go to bed at a reasonable time. That's my theory, at least. I'll let you know how that one pans out. I'm not terribly optimistic, but a mother can hope. Wish? Dream, maybe?

Speaking of dreaming; Megan is the worst at waking up. She moans and groans and whines and sometimes she even cries. This behavior is calculated to make me avoid waking her up in the mornings. Sometimes it works. But today I was more afraid of The Guilt than I was of little girl whining, so I hardened my heart, girded my loins for battle, and reluctantly opened her door.

This is the sight that greeted me.

So much for the hard heart.

I still woke her up though. I tickled those feet.

Recipe: Armadillo Willy's Rib Rub

In an attempt to liken the scriptures unto us, I offer an answer to this age-0ld question:

Matthew 5:13 ¶ Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?

The answer: With this rib rub, baby!

This rib rub is a basic ingredient in most of my cooking; it is very literally a staple at my house when it comes to seasoning meat. And now I will share the hidden knowledge with you. When you use this mixture on your beef, pork, and chicken, heads will turn. Your family will rave. Your spouse will grin mischievously. And you alone will have the secret knowledge, which you may choose to impart to your chosen few, if you wish.

Armadillo Willy's Rib Rub

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Salt
1/4 Cup Paprika
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp Fennel Seed, crushed
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed, ground

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sprinkle rub on ribs, chicken, brisket or pork, and rub in with fingers up to 24 hours before cooking. Store rubbed meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Knee update

On Tuesday I ditched my crutches. Six weeks has passed since surgery, and supposedly my knee is healed inside, and we've moved into the physical therapy phase.

It feels pretty good, and although my gait resembles a zombie-lurch more than walking, I'm happy to be able to get around without those pesky crutches. I'm back to gardening again, and it is actually enjoyable to hoe weeds. Who'da thunk it? My cat is happy that I am now able to carry her around as I lurch to and fro, except for when she decides she's had enough and digs her claws in my back to signal that she would like to be let down now, thank you very much.

My first day of PT was Tuesday. The therapist did an evaluation, asked a bunch of questions, and measured my range of motion. FTR, it was 20 degrees (at it's straightest) to 120 degrees. I know y'all don't give a flying fig about this stat, but I am recording this for my own reference.

So. The next step was to use an ultrasound machine to produce "deep heat" inside the joint. I didn't feel a thing. It reminded me of pregnancy, except there was no video monitor with a shrimp-like thing writhing on the screen. Then he put me on the stationary bike. After a couple of minutes of rocking back and forth, I was able to completely turn the pedals, despite some pressure and discomfort in the knee. After five minutes, it had loosened up nicely and I was pedaling fine. After a total of 10 minutes on the bike, he put some electrode things on my knee to help reduce swelling, along with the mother of all ice packs. And then I was done. Wha? I was a little disappointed - we were barely getting started!

Sheesh. And they billed the insurance company $300 for that. What a racket, huh?

I think the fancy schmancy machines really do make a difference though. I was able to bend my knee further than I could manage by myself at home. It was more swollen and tender Tuesday night, but felt ok Wed morning.

So thus begins 4-6 weeks of therapy 2-3 times per week. Let's get this party started!!!


The moral to this story?

Just because she's seven doesn't mean she's qualified to put on her own sunscreen.


See, now I'm feeling pressure. I've gone public, and people I don't even know are checking out this site, and one person on the poll even said that I am boring! GAH!

Actually that response on the poll made me laugh out loud, literally. I threw my head back on the couch and cackled for a good 10 seconds. The NERVE! Well, whatever. At least that person was honest. The rest of you are probably just saying nice things to be nice because you don't want to hurt my feelings.

And you know what? I've decided that it is okay to be boring sometimes. Cuz life is boring, sometimes. Actually, life is boring most of the time. The daily ins and outs of raising kids and paying bills and cooking dinner and carting people to swimming lessons and piano practicing and saxophone lessons and softball and physical therapy are BORING. That's why I almost never blog that stuff. It just happens and it doesn't seem newsworthy to me. What I'm wondering is when did this blog change from being a vehicle to preserve my personal and family history into something for the entertainment of the scant masses? I guess that happened when I started craving approval more than I wanted to preserve memories.

I must think on this. I need to decide who this blog is for: me, or you. And whether or not it can be both at the same time.

Take the Poll!

I am getting back into blogging on a nearly daily basis, and I am curious about what my two dozen fans want to see on this blog. The poll is located on the right sidebar just below my picture. You can choose as many answers as you like. Feel free to comment here if you'd like to see topics that the poll doesn't cover. I don't expect it to be a complete or even a good list, because I just kinda threw it together off the top of my head because it's time to leave for swimming lessons and I haven't even changed out of my gardening clothes or brushed my hair or put makeup on yet!

Ok, maybe that was TMI. But you get my issue.

I would really like to know what y'all think. Or if you think. Ha ha. A little early morning humor there. C'mon, you can take a joke, cantcha?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My New Toy

Summer has arrived, with a vengeance. We went from high's in the 70's to 90's overnight. And this means, SOLAR OVEN Season! Woo Hoooo!

Preparedness/survivalism is one of my hobbies. A couple of years ago, I came upon instructions for making a solar box cooker from carboard boxes. I made one very inexpensively, from stuff I had around the house, and played with it a bit. It wasn't the most efficient design, but it did manage to reach 190 degrees inside, almost enough to boil water. If given enough time, it would cook things, pretty much like a slow cooker. The disadvantages were several; the two main problems were, 1) in order to get hot enough to cook with, it had to be babysat and turned every hour to face directly at the sun; 2) being made of carboard, it wasn't at all weatherproof, and was so lightweight that it tended to blow around and spill the food.

There are ovens that are commercially produced, but were so expensive that I just couldn't justify it. But this spring I found one at a somewhat more reasonable price. It's still pretty steep, but the performance is so much better that it becomes a real viable tool for summer cooking. I dug into my mad money and purchased it, justifying the expense as part of our "emergency preparedness" equipment.

Sunday, I cooked the main course of Father's Day dinner in the oven: Roast Beef. It was every bit as good as anything I've ever done in the slow cooker.

Last night, I cooked Chicken and Rice in it.

For demonstration purposes, I brought it into the shade so I wouldn't be blinded by the reflectors while taking the picture. The reflectors maximize the solar energy that is funneled into the black oven interior, where it is turned into heat. This little baby heats up to 350 degrees in 20 minutes during peak hours. This meal was put into the oven at 4:15pm, and removed at 7pm. Cooking temperatures were in the 200-250 range that late in the day.

Here's a closeup of the interior of the oven. The open glass lid is hinged on the left side. The pot sits on a self-leveling shelf, so the food always stays level, even when the angle of the oven is changed to track the sun.

The family was very impressed when dinner was unveiled.

Yummy food, cooked by harnessing the power of the sun, all without heating up my kitchen!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Insecurity and Boredom

Many of my friends have blogs. I go to their blogs, and they have adorable, creative, artsy layouts. Then I go to my own blog, which is utilitarian, like I am. And I wanted to try something new. Something Garden-y. I like the sunflowers, but the white text is a little hard to read, imo.

What do you think?

Oh, and besides and, where do you people get cool layouts?

I'm too busy weeding to figure this all out. I should hire someone.


Remember what gave me a headache last week?

This same neighbor family sat in front of us in church on Sunday, and at the end of Sacrament Meeting, the mother turned around and said with a smile, "We got our new baby." And I nodded graciously (because that's what bishops' wives do) and replied with a smile, "Yes, I heard her!"

The woman looked a bit puzzled, but we continued talking. Then she got an "ah ha" look in her eyes, and said, "Oh, did you mean the black chihuahua? That was my father in law's dog. She was just visiting. I really HATE yapyap dogs."

My smile suddenly became much more sincere and she promised to bring the new puppy over after church. It is a maltese-shitsu mix, six weeks old, and adorable as can be. And to my delight, it doesn't bark!

Life is good again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I had grand plans to wax eloquent about fathers. Now the day is nearly over, and I'm just getting to it. Why? 'Cuz I've been dang busy spoiling the father in this home. But I figure he deserves it, so it's all good.

On this day, I feel the need to thank four Fathers.

First, thanks to my own father, Arlon Hibbert, for the loving guidance given to me throughout my life. My dad has always been a wonderful example of optimism, hard work, generosity and integrity, and did his best to pass those virtues on to me.

I have many memories of time spent with him during my childhood; certainly too many to list here. A few of my favorites: sitting next to him on the bench seat of his pickup, shifting the gearshift when he pressed on the clutch, and once we'd reached high gear, leaning over to steer the wheel while we drove on the rural backroads; playing chess with him (and losing) over and over and over; seeing (and hearing) him in the stands during my high school basketball games.

I remember one conversation that I believe has had a profound impact on my life. I was young... 10 at most. I don't remember what he was trying to teach me to do, but I wasn't picking it up as fast as I thought I should. I grumbled, "I'm just too dumb!" Dad took me by the shoulders, forcing me to look at him. He shook me gently to accent his words. "You are NOT dumb! Don't EVER say that about yourself!" I am confident there were many other such experiences where he tried, by example and words, to teach me to be confident in my abilities and to have a positive outlook, but that one in particular was seared into my memory.

Thanks Dad.

To the father of my husband, Norm, for his part in raising the man I would one day marry, and for exemplifying to him what it means to be a good father and husband. When I met Tom at BYU, he often spoke of his dad and how much he admired and loved him. By the time I met Norm, I subconsciously expected him to be 10 feet tall, based on his son's glowing account. He wasn't, but his gentleness and unfailing kindness was apparent from the moment we shook hands. My respect and love for him has only grown in the intervening years.

Thanks, Norm, for teaching your son what a real man is.

To the father of my children and my very best friend, for leading our family so well. Tom sacrifices so much of himself for the kids and me, working long hours on top of a long commute to provide for our temporal needs, and somehow finding time to spend time with each of us. His gentle influence has touched us all and made us want to be better people. My favorite things about him have never changed in the nearly 21 years I've known him: kindness, gentleness, patience, and a rare wit that still manages to surprise me after all this time.

Thanks Tom, for all you do and are for us.

And finally, to my Father in Heaven, for the abundant life he has given me. I know that I don't deserve it, nor can I ever hope to. When I think upon the many blessings I have, indeed there is no room to hold them all.

Happy Father's Day, everyone.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's In Your Purse?

So I started this blog as a journaling tool. Obviously I'm not going to use it to plumb the depths of my soul like I might if it were for my eyes only, but rather to record some of the things about daily life that I'm sure to forget if I don't write them down.

And yet daily life can be so.... daily. Boring, even. After all, there are only so many creative ways to write about washing dishes and laundry. I hesitate to chronicle some things because I don't want to embarrass my teenagers by throwing our conversations out in public, thus causing them to lose trust in me and never tell me anything ever again.

So... what to blog about today? In reading another blog, I ran across the silly idea of emptying out and listing everything that is in my purse. The idea struck me as funny. You may choose to list the contents of your own purse in the comments, or ask questions about the contents of mine, because heaven knows I am soooo interesting. So here goes:

1 Franklin Planner: my lifeblood and brain. I use this as my wallet/checkbook holder as well. It contains my driver's license, various bank account cards for the kids, 1 credit card, 1 debit card, Library card, Blockbuster Card, Hollywood Video Card, Domino's Fund Raiser card, a Land's End Gift Card, my Auto insurance information card, and orthodontist appointment reminder cards, as well as a bit of cash and latest receipts detailing the obscene amount of money I spent last week. Oh and also a pen and a mechanical pencil.
1 Macey's receipt
1 Ziploc sandwich bag, containing $1.90 cash.
1 Sunglass holder, with sunglasses and reading glasses in residence.
1 Pack of Wrigley's Doublemint Gum, with 11 sticks left.
1 Mini paperback Book of Mormon
1 Tampax Super-Plus Tampon, sans wrapper
1 Chapstick, regular flavor
1 Smith's Fresh Values Card
1 512 MB Flash Drive that I never ever use, but it's a cool thing to have!
1 mini LED flashlight with "Microwave Innovations" printed on the side (tom brought this home from one of his many trade show trips).
3 crumpled gum wrappers
1 folded orange 3x5 index card, blank
2 US Military Pins (US Navy and US Marine Corps) that I purchased as souvenirs when in Washington DC, with every intention of giving them to Nathan. Obviously, I never did.

Okay, I think I probably have the most boring purse on the planet. Your turn.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guess What?

Remember that post earlier today, about my weedy yard? Well, I have just redisovered an eternal principle: that confession is integral to true repentance. There's a scripture about that here, somewhere. Oh well, I'll just paraphrase.

"...When we undertake to cover our weeds, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the chickens, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Master Gardener is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the gardener-hood or the authority of that woman.

"Behold, ere she is aware, she is left unto herself, to kick against the rocks, to persecute the children, and to fight against bindweed forevermore."

My point is this: until I published photos of my weedy yard this morning, it stayed weedy. But once I let go of my gardening pride and confessed to y'all that I am not perfect, the strangest thing happened. I wanted to weed. So this afternoon I sat down and ripped all the weeds out of the backdoor flowerbed.

It was invigorating. It was almost... fun! Over and over my fingers searched out the crown of the bindweed, and pulled it from the ground.

For your convenience, here is the BEFORE pic:

And... AFTER!

Remember the clump of grass next to the lillies, BEFORE?


The flat contains some flowers and ground cover given to me by a friend. I'm planning to plant them tomorrow.

Oooh, and bonus: While working, I found a ripe strawberry; the first strawberry of the season! My kids would have been so excited! But I selfishly ate it without telling anyone. (See? I'm not trying to hide my sins anymore.)

It was delicious.

A Boost for your Self Esteem

I am a Master Gardener. Most people are intimidated by this.

It's an uncomfortable title that I try not to be let known (which is why I put it on my blog). I took a 40 hour class from the USU Extension service and put in 40 hours of volunteer work to earn it. And now people think I not only know everything, but that I have a perfect lawn and garden.

#1: I do not know everything.

#2: Even if I did, knowing does not necessarily equal doing.

The purpose of this post is to disabuse y'all of the notion that I have the perfect yard. Welcome to a glimpse of my garden thus far this year.

Here is the $14 flat of geraniums that I failed to plant.

Here is the forgotten pack of Jalapeno Peppers.

Here is my weedy backdoor flowerbed. The bindweed (in bloom) and thistle are healthier than they've ever been. It must be all the rain we've had. And the fact that I haven't pulled them out yet.

Further down, in front of the lillies, is a nice big grass clump with ripening seed heads. The strawberry plants beyond the rain spout are barely visible because they have been nearly covered by weeds.

Here is the back fence bed, which also has strawberries, day lillies, and sage, none of which can be seen. Instead, the crabgrass from the neighbor's yard and sunflower seedlings from last year's flowers have taken over.

Now, you should all breathe easier knowing that my yard is such a disaster. Right? Suddenly your own gardening skills seem better, don't they?

My work here is complete.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why I Have a Headache

So I was out in the backyard this evening, thinning peaches. It's not fun to yank half the fruit off of a tree, but I know from both book lernin' and sad experience that peach trees are overachievers; they set more fruit than they can ripen. So if I want large, sweet, juicy peaches in August, I must go out in June and remove at least one half to three-fifths of the little green fuzzballs.

It was a beautiful evening - one of those pleasant, calm, early summer evenings that must be spent out of doors. So I'm plucking away, and becoming more and more irritated by the minute. I couldn't figure out why. At first I thought that it was because Nathan was throwing fuzzy green projectiles at me. But then I stopped to think and realized that there was a strange, persistent, high pitched sound coming from the next door neighbor's yard. So I peeked over the fence, and this is what I saw.

I have no words to express how thrilled I am to have a yapyap dog for a neighbor. Will someone explain to me why my quiet, productive chickens are frowned upon by city ordinance, and this little noise-maker is sanctioned? Those neighbors are not getting any of my eggs, I can tell you that right now.

Patting Chickens

And now, Nathan will demonstrate what happens when you pet a chicken.

They're better'n TV, I'm tellin' ya!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Sign (this one is real).

Matthew 24:29

29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those adays shall the bsun be cdarkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Looks like the stars have started falling.

Link to news story on KSL

It's a sign (I'm losing my mind).

"And in the days before the end of the world, many signs and wonders shall be seen, and men shall wonder, and worry, and stand around with their mouths hanging open, for they shall know not what to do. For the moon shall turn to blood, and the sun shall hide her face from the earth. And there shall fall fiery hailstones from heaven. And there shall be a year without a summer. And by these things ye shall know that the time is not far hence.

"Yea, wo be unto the unbelievers, who mock those who plant in their fields, saying, ye know not that the sun will rise and give light to your crops, or that the clouds will rain upon your fields. For ye cannot tell the future, and thou doth even hop on one foot and should be sitting down! Yea, verily, I say unto you that they shall be stricken with much itching and all manner of discomfort, for I shall smite them with the rod of my mouth, and the day will come that they will crawl to beg of those that planted; have mercy on us and give us of your substance! Even also share with us your aloe vera that this itching may be taken from us!

"And again I say unto you, wo, wo, be unto those who shall mock the keepers of chickens in their pens. Fools mock, but they shall mourn. For when the day cometh that the birds lay eggs in the next box, then shall all the people pour forth from the woodwork, saying, give us of your eggs, for we were just joking and thou shouldest not take everything so seriously! And in that day, the keeper of the flock shall close the door on the foolish, but shall open up unto the wise who spoke flattering words even though they didn't mean it, and they shall go in with her and feast upon eggs and chicken flesh.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Remembering Mom

Memorial Day found us in Idaho, visiting my childhood home and my mother's grave. The headstone had been installed the week before.

Born Melba Darlene Stoddart, she always hated her first name, and went by Darlene. Karianne is named after her. I remember mom saying once how everybody names sons after fathers, but nobody thinks to name daughters after mothers. When I was pregnant with Karianne, we decided to add Darlene as a middle name as a tribute to my mom. We also named Susan after Tom's mother, Marjorie. I think it's cool, and my daughters agree.

Speaking of middle names, I always wanted one (which is partly why I gave middle names to my own daughters). When I complained to mom about it, her reply went something like this: "When you get married, you'll have a third name, and can use your maiden name as your middle if you like. If you're like me, who started out with three names, and then picked up a name with each marriage, you end up with entirely too many names."

And that was that. My suggestion that we could go before a judge and add a sweet middle name like "Marie" or "Christine" was unceremoniously dismissed. Of course, she dubbed me with many nicknames. Over the course of my childhood, I answered to such appellations as "Liza June" and "Monsterella" and "You Little Bugger!". Very rarely did she call me "Lisa" unless I was in trouble. Of course, without a middle name, I couldn't tell the difference between being in a little bit of trouble and being in REALLY BIG TROUBLE. That would have been useful a time or two. Knowing when to run and hide could have saved me a few spankings back in the day. Not that I got spanked much. I was a good kid. Really, I was!

But I digress...

On the back of the headstone is the list of her children.

Yep, I'm the caboose. My oldest sister, DeAnn was 16 when I was born, and Peggy was 10. So I was waaaaay the youngest.

Seeing my own name on a headstone got me thinking about purchasing cemetery plots. Assuming that Tom and the kids and I live long natural lives, the day when we'll need such a thing is in the distant future. I don't even know where we would want to be buried. If I buy land in our current town's cemetery, what's to say we'll be living here 40 years from now? Even if we were, is this where we want to be buried?

Weird thoughts, indeed. Maybe we'll look into buying a few plots in Idaho, where land is still cheap. Or, maybe we'll just hope that the millennium will come before we die, and then cemeteries will be obsolete anyway.

I think I like that solution best.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dance Recital Video: Adults!

The following video is my adult beginning clogging class dancing to "We Go Together". Erin is on the left, Jessica begins in the center, and I am the tall blonde on the far right. I wish. Ahem. I would have been the tall blonde on the right, had I not had knee surgery on May 6. Instead, I am sitting on the front row whooping and hollering obnoxiously while Amidey dances in my place. (I wish that was me though.)

Do these women rawk or what? So much fun to dance and to watch as well. Way to go girls!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dance Recital Video: Ballet!

Megan is also in ballet, and her class did two songs.

"We Are Siamese" is her first song. She is the blonde in the back left - under the "A" at the beginning of the song. She is at the front of the stage at 2:15 with the words "plenty of milk for you, and also some for me".

The second song is "Daughter of a King". Again, Megan starts on the back left under the "F", and then moves all around during the song (one disadvantage of being tall - she'll never be on the front row). A prize for anyone who can keep track of her for the whole song!

Megan loves dancing so much that she wants to be a professional ballerina and dance teacher when she grows up. I should have named her Angelina!

Dance Recital Video: Kids Clogging!

Here's Nathan and Megan's first clogging dance: "Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself"

Here's their second dance: "Get Your Head in the Game"

Pretty good for first years, dontcha think? Say yes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spring Dance Recital !

May 31 brought us to the pinnacle of our dancing year - the Recital. Because I wimped out and got knee surgery, I did not dance in the recital, but my kids did. I was backstage helping with costume changes, while Tom and my dad recorded the still and video footage. Thanks guys.

This woman is the creator of it all. My good friend Amidey (aka The Talented One) selects the music, creates all the choreography, and teaches all of the dances to forty-some-odd students spread among several classes. There are ballerinas as young as 3 years old, clear up through cloggers in their early teens. Her abilities and patience continually amaze and astound me. This girl is the real deal.

Here is a portrait taken under duress of our adult beginner clogging class. From left to right, Erin, Me, The Talented One, and Jessica on the front row. This class has been a riot, and I continued to attend class even after it was clear that I would not be able to limp through the recital, just to laugh with (and at) these awesome women.

And here is a sample of Jessica's default attitude, which contributes much to the chaos and fun of the class. Have I mentioned that I love this kid? I am so glad she moved to town so we could become joined at the hip. It is because of her that I decided to try clogging, and I am so very glad that I did.

Here is Nathan on stage while dancing "Get Your Head in the Game". He looked awesome with his big smile and high knees. He really enjoys clogging and I am just thrilled.

Megan the ballerina. This girl dances in her sleep, I think. The other morning she got out of the shower and while standing in front of the bathroom mirror in a puddle of water on the tile floor, prepared to do a pirouette. Naked. In a puddle of water. I kiboshed that one, and then five seconds later when I turned around again, she was clogging! Heaven help me if that kid breaks her neck someday.

If I can get blogger to work, I'll post videos of the dances. I had a clip uploading, but I want to go to bed now. I'll try again tomorrow.