October 2008


Calvin was just watching Desperate Housewives with me, and somewhere in there, this question made a spark in his mind:

Calvin: “Mom, what does cannibalism mean?”

Me: “It’s when you eat people.”

The follow up is what kills me:

Cal: “Then why would people have to ‘practice’ it?”

Whereupon I tried, fruitlessly, to explain how not all uses of the word ‘practice’ denote attempting to improve one’s performance.

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I still haven’t called Karee. I have no excuse.

We’re going to Utah for 3 weeks in December. Derek and I are going to Cancun and leaving the kids at Grandma’s house. (!!!)

I’m thinking of switching to a new blog. It would be called “Plain Jane”.

I’m trying to knit a sock.

I wish you could buy silk long johns at the thrift store. You can get anything else you want there, for Pete’s sake.

I say, “For Pete’s sake” way more, now that Sheila has a boyfriend named Pete.

Last night, I told Calvin that I married Derek because he’s so silly. Then I said that he married me because I knew how to buy a brownie. Whereupon Calvin flew into hysterics for 5 minutes straight, laughing and giggling until we were all infected. He then asked me to say something else as funny as that. (???)

Zeeb can write his name. I did not teach him this.

Kiki can say “ssssss”, but not if it begins a word. The other day, she was banging on my leg as I sat at the table talking to Derek. She kept yelling, “Hit! Hit!” until I finally figured out what she wanted was to sit.

A friend asked if I want to run with her once a week. This makes me happy on so many levels.

I ran for 15 minutes on Saturday. That’s more than I’ve run at a time for months. It was absolutely great.

I bought a bike trailer on craigslist and I love it soooo much! So do the kids.

I made cinnamon rolls on Saturday. They were yucky. I wanted squishy white-bread sweet rolls, but they were an eggy, structured dough, almost like a Danish, but denser. I won’t be using that recipe again. (Bread Baker’s Apprentice, I have loved you for every other recipe, but not this one.)

The Librarian, possibly the stupidest movie ever made.

I’m writing this post because I’m afraid I will do what I do every year, and forget the birthday of someone I love. Anyone who knows me knows that I am inordinately bad at remembering and contacting people on their birthdays, let alone sending a card or a gift.

When I was in first grade, I had a crush on a boy. (In retrospect, what the *&%#? My son is now in first grade.) Anyway, his name was Rodney. He was soooo cute. Little did I know, someone else in the class also had a crush on Rodney. We would play kissing tag, but if I was ever caught, I would just writhe and kick and never let anyone get to me. If I ever caught a boy, I would punch him and run away. It was great fun. So Karee hated me because I liked Rodney.

In second grade, Karee and I became best friends. I would walk the half mile to her house, which took about a month each way, and we would play all afternoon. When her mom married a man who lived a block away from me, our lifetime friendship was solidified. Karee and I grew up on the same street. Curiously, we only went to the same school until 4th grade, but that didn’t matter. We spent nearly every day together. We spent the weekend together. We watched “Somewhere in Time” possibly 9,000 times, while eating red vines and Chinese take-out from Smith’s.

Both of us had other friends, and separate lives, but we were still sisters.

There are some things that Karee and I still share, as a result of those formative years spent together. One of them is a freakish love of candy. She and I spent all our kid-money on penny candy. There were two special places we walked. Sam’s market, on the corner of 11th East and 13th South, was one of those tiny neighborhood markets that’s pretty much non-existent anymore. They had a big bowl of Swedish fish and another of raspberries. We’d dump out our pennies and count out the fish.

Jolley Drug was our other haunt. About a half mile away, across from the awesome 80s health food market, Jolley’s was a mini-chain, with two or three locations. They were pretty much like what CVS is now, except they also jumped onto the video rental bandwagon in the mid-80s. They sold those striped candy sticks for 10 cents, and those mini-boxes of Lemon Heads and Red Hots for the same. I think the only reason Karee and I didn’t become overweight was because we had to walk to those places.

Karee and I shared clothes. Really, she shared her clothes with me. I’ve never had a sense of fashion, and she always has. We did makeovers, listened to INXS and Chicago, she even cut my hair when I decided that I needed to go from waist-length to chin-length. We made peanut-butter candy. I was at her house often enough that her mom would come home sometimes and ask me to vacuum. We sat together in church and gave each other head massages.

We never had a crush on the same boy again. (Possibly owing to the fact that we were never acquainted with the same boys again.)

Karee moved away when we were 19. She got married and started a family, I went to school and traveled and couldn’t decide what to do with my life. She always called and came to visit when she was in Utah, and has always remembered my birthday. (I never actually forget the date, it just passes while my brain is swimming in the clouds. Can you forget those things that you learned as a child? I still remember her phone number from when we were kids.)

When my third child was being incubated, and I found out that she would be due on Karee’s birthday, I thought about how to incorporate her name into my own baby girl’s. In the end, I chose a name that’s pretty darn similar, with a transposition of the vowel sounds. Kiki wasn’t born on Karee’s birthday (but I have to admit that her coming on Friday the 13th of October has its charm).

Will this help me remember to call her on the 11th?

I’ve had a really hard time getting back into my normal internet routine. Since our 10 day recess, lots of things in my attitude and practice have changed. So here’s a brief update on us, since I cannot muster the strength to do a real post.

I went to Boston last weekend and had a smashing time. I attended the Exponent Retreat at Friendly Crossways Hostel. At the retreat, we had presentations and discussions about guilt, our relationship with food (not a dieting workshop, more of what food means in a social context), the economy, teamwork, and some other things that were excellent but too much for me to try to remember right now. We also knitted 9 inch squares to donate to a halfway house. They sew the squares together and make a quilt to give to someone who is leaving and settling in a new apartment. I think this is so beautiful. So I knitted furiously the whole time I was there. Also, the owners of the hostel prepared our meals from their own garden. They even have beehives and sell their honey. I wanted to buy some, but I knew it would get confiscated at the airport.

Sheila (BFF) and I also stayed with my brother NungNung, and gallivanted around Boston. I dropped the ball on Elizasmom, and totally missed the opportunity to take her out to dinner, but I did get to hang out with on of my other long-time internet crushes, Jana. We went for tea (er, um, chocolate) a couple of blocks from Harvard. Also, Jana brought me some key limes, from her own tree.

My neice, BuiBui doesn’t love me like she did when I visited in March.

My cousin, Liz and I just made some serious soap this afternoon. We also made some lip balm. I think I’m to the point in my soap making career that I need to spring for a loaf mold. Liz and I have been using too many Pringle’s cans, and other improvisations, and I’m ready for something a little more presentable.

Kiki is in the mimicking phase. She repeats back to us the last 3 or 4 words we say, every time we talk. She has a great vocabulary, and remembers people’s names, with slight variations. Sheila is “He-la” and Liz is “Lih”. She has trouble with the “s”. So Zeeb’s name (his real name) sounds like “Hor”. (My poor husband was so confused, because while I was gone, she would wake up from her naps and ask for “Hor”, but he couldn’t figure out what she wanted. She loves her bruzzer.) An hour or so ago, I tried to help her at least make the name two syllables, so she learned how to say “Hor- un.”

Zeeb loves preschool, and had a pretty hard time while the power was out, because he didn’t get to go for a week. He has a best friend there, which is the best thing in the world.

Calvin is taking on more and more of the personality traits of his namesake. I told him we would stop reading Calvin and Hobbes to him if he continued to behave that way, and he told me that he’s “less badder than Calvin.” ?

Derek pulled the box that the oven came in out of the garage, and made a clubhouse for the kids. Some of the neighbor kids came over and played with it, and the next day, we got some paints so they could all decorate it. It’s a huge jumble of paint splashes, but has gotten hours of enjoyment.

I’m trying to decide what I will study when I go back to school. Any suggestions?