February 22, 2009

School sure has changed since I was in it.

While we (the kids and I) were out jogging on Thursday morning, we were talking about books we are reading and school and stuff. Sydney has been doing a science unit at ELP (Extended Learning Program). Last week they cam home with a vial of DNA that they extracted from a strawberry. I thought that was pretty neat. It sounded very similar to a lab I did in my college biology course. So... we were running and talking and Sydney says "I am working on writing summaries of different marketing strategies for my science unit."
"what does marketing have to do with science?"
"we read about this new drug that kills this one kind of bacteria. There was a study on some mice that had cancer and they escaped from a cage that was accidentally left open. The scientist didn't bother catching the mice because their life expectancy was only 6 months and they were almost up. A while later the scientist found a mouse nest with babies. This was interesting because the mice with cancer hadn't been able to reproduce. The scientist found that the mice had eaten a plant in the lab. The plant is what the drug is made from."
"Umm, marketing strategies?"
"Oh, I am the marketing executive for our group. Each group is a drug company. We are going to use that plant and make our own medicine and try it out in the classroom on some real bacteria. I am supposed to have a marketing plan. I am thinking about using 'bandwagoning' and 'Glittering Generalities'."
"I read Hop on Pop, yesterday."

February 19, 2009


Well I am out of things I can do until Kenneth gets home and builds me a couple shelves. I think he will be happy that the tornado has died down.

I had to get creative over here. (and make another trip to IKEA) I put 2 rows of hooks for the tennis racket and hat collections. I also got the trunk on the floor for balls, mits, bats, frisbees, and the foxtail.

The book case is almost empty. I am trying to decide what to do with it now. It isn't pretty but it is very sturdy. And find a home for all his Hot Wheel track...
Full bookcase, full clothes rod and Rebekah even organized the shoes!


Still working on the book case.

I got Kenneth's clothes bar up and his clothes on it. The book case is in place and mounted to the wall, and has treasures on the shelves.

The floor mess is smaller. I found some bins and sorted Kenneth's stuff. We had boxes that had never really been unpacked since we came to Arizona in 1999. I tried to restrain myself from throwing things away. Kenneth has been suspicious of my disposal practices since he found his TV in my goodwill pile.
I got the hole covered. I did have to go to Home Depot 15 minuted before closing time, but I was really quick!

February 18, 2009

Tuesday Night

I worked hard all day and all I did was make a bigger mess!

This is the laundry chute hole in the floor.

Here is the "cubbie" piece of faux furniture that I assembled last week as described in Kenneth's letter.

this is the book case I plan to put over the hole and the basket that will make the hole beautiful and less hazardous.

Kenneth's notebooks and important writings (including 2 binders of spanish class noted from middle school) minus some of the textbooks which I removed so that I could move the bookcase.

February 17, 2009

The Storm Rages On

Kenneth left me today to go to Texas on business. He will be gone till Friday evening. He didn't realize that the calm in which he wrote on Sunday afternoon was simply the eye of the storm!

February 16, 2009

Coming Out Of The Closet, or, Hurricane Megan

I was looking at my life yesterday and was disappointed that I had nothing interesting to post on this blog. So I let Kenneth use the computer to write his family letter. He wouldn't let me see what he was writing and I was quickly becoming suspicious that what he was writing was untrue. Often times My perspective and his perspective of what happened differ greatly and I was preparing to defend myself. I have to say that I really had no perspective while this week was happening and now that I look back Kenneth is absolutely and undeniably accurate. (and I am glad that he stays married to me) So here is what he wrote!

Subject: Coming Out Of The Closet, or Hurricane Megan

Dear family, etc.

How are you all doing? We are fine, thanks.

(editor’s note: this first story is long, so if you just want news, you should skip down a couple pages and read the news).

Well, except for Megan. Somehow I didn’t realize just how desperate she was. In my observation, life has been going very well. We did a lot of Intense Work on our house remodeling project, then we tapered off to Hard Work on the kitchen until that project was finished. Since then, the house has felt rather finished, and I’ve been taking it easy – working sporadically, fixing little things here and there like the leg on my table saw, digging into little projects like the laundry chute, and letting Megan have the run of my shop to do a refinishing project, putting new veneer on a mirror frame for a lady in the ward. Unbeknownst to me, there was a storm brewing, a veritable typhoon, involving the woman I live with, and the room right next to my new bathroom.

I got a glimpse of the turmoil as Megan (the woman I live with) took me to Ikea last week to look at wardrobes, shelves and cubbies to go into my closet (the room right next to my bathroom). Its intensity started to manifest itself the next two nights as we stayed up until 12:30 or later discussing what we wanted/required in the closet. Repressed frustration became evident as our planning turned up the technicalities that had blocked our early tentative attempts at designing the closet interior. As the conversations persisted, I realized that my tolerance for the interior design of the closet was virtually all-encompassing, which was an egregious hinderance to my already diminutive capacity for making decisions. I am moderately okay at making decisions when one path is clearly better than the other, but when the choices are nearly balanced I’m not very good at all. At that point I made the only decision I felt would be wise given the circumstances – I turned over all decision making, with all accompanying accolades, to her (the woman I live with), with a pledge of all my energies and resources.

Still, somehow the urgency of the situation escaped me. In the course of our conversation she revealed that she had been wanting the closet to be finished for quite some time. But it was not until I came home on Monday night to a lighter pocketbook and a van full of heavy boxes from Ikea, followed by a late 15-minutes-left-before-closing-time trip to Home Depot to get closet rods and related hardware, in the pouring rain no less (Megan really hates putting people out by being the last customer in the store, and no one ever goes anywhere in the rain in Arizona, if for no other reason than that it will stop in 30 minutes, so why not just wait), that I really started to understand just how important it is to have a permanent place to hang your clothes.

In retrospect (they say, hindsight is 20/20), there are some things I could have done differently. I suppose it was an eyesore to have a huge pile of coats and tents in the corner, blocking one bookshelf that held my boxes of knick knacks and little treasures from childhood plus acted as a lousy makeshift linen closet dumping the sheets and towels onto the dusty floor with annoying regularity, and another bookshelf holding all of the family sleeping bags. And, the painted particleboard bookshelf in the other corner holding all the textbooks that I never ever read probably inspired great bouts of jealousy, fostering insecurities about whether the woman I live with was truly the most treasured of my possessions. But I’m sure that even those, in all their severity, pale in comparison to the aggravation I could have alleviated by purchasing just one more temporary clothing rack so that first of all Megan could hang all of her clothes, secondly she could add and remove clothes with ease, and lastly and most importantly that she didn’t have to pick it up off of the floor every other week because it had succumbed to the draw of gravity (i.e. taken the easy road, a.k.a. the road of least resistance). But to be completely honest, I may just be making excuses to cover up the true problem – my difficulty as already mentioned in making decisions coupled with my tendencies towards inertness.

Now, at this point nothing should have been able to surprise me. Least of all coming home Tuesday night to find one wall of the closet completely cleaned out, with three completely assembled pieces of furniture screwed to it. I kicked into high gear, and managed to get one closet rod/shelf support screwed to the wall. Thursday when I mounted the other supports, it took Megan a whole 21 seconds to fill it with her clothes, and then generously with a portion of mine. Saturday I was gone in the afternoon for little more than 2 hours, but that was enough for Megan to empty the rest of the closet and start building the last piece of fake furniture.

We worked on it some more on Saturday night, and honestly, I’ve appreciated her vision. The hardest part for me was determining what to do with our beloved laundry chute. It’s just not in a very convenient location: 4 inches from one wall and 9 from the other. It constantly posed a difficulty to my every attempt to come up with a good plan for the closet design. Megan had an idea that she wanted a basket over it, so on our date Friday night we spent some time looking at baskets. No luck. Saturday evening the hunt started again, but this time in earnest.
From the start I could see by the look in Megan’s eyes that tonight, a
basket was going down, and that my only hope was to find one I liked that caught her fancy before one that I didn’t like found her. The hunt was On! Oh, and it had to have a bottom that could be removed without compromising its integrity.

Every religion and culture has its myths, according to Joseph Campbell. These are the stories that define the motives, priorities, and thought patterns of its constituents. The name “myth” makes implication about the veracity of the story; some myths are true, some purport to be true, and some are just stories that illustrate valuable principles. “Bring me a rock” is an Engineering myth of the latter variety illustrating the importance of knowing the requirements before you start working. As the story goes, the manager tells the engineer, “Bring me a rock.” “What kind of rock?” “Oh, Any rock. Just bring me a rock.” Engineer complies, then gets the response, “No, I meant a bigger one.” Engineer complies, then gets the response, “No, bigger than that.” And so on. “Oh, no that’s too big.” “That’s a good size, but I wanted it green.” “Nope, too dark.” “Can you find a heavier one?” And on and on and on.

If I said, “Bring me a basket,” would that explain to you how this myth might apply to 45 minutes of my evening? Only, I didn’t even get that much feedback. “Nope.” “Nope.” “Nope. That’s just not quite what I’m looking for.” Fortunately, statistics and principles of economics were on my side. Given a limited sample space containing a large enough number of samples, eventually one will be able to find the sample that ‘best’ fits the requirements, even though the final solution may not be the ‘best possible’ solution. And, I did indeed get the honor of finding the basket that caught her fancy (actually, to let you in on my secret – I just looked for the ones that were up high where she couldn’t see very well… heh heh heh).

Well, to make a long story short, What? Too Late? The basket entailed tearing up some of my beautiful floorboards around the hole so that I could lay down new ones and effectively reduce the size of the hole to fit the basket. I think it will look really good when she is done, and I did, after all, pledge all my energy and resources to her assistance. So, we are in the process of fixing the flooring around the hole, and modifying the bookshelf that will go above it, plus the basket itself. Unfortunately time ran out last night and the responsibility to attend a meeting at 6:30 this morning compelled us to retire with the fun unfinished.

And, that is about all for the week. Christian and Truman played their Saturday music marathon. They stayed out there all day (from 8 to 4:30) in spite of the fact that it was Truman’s birthday. The draw was the ongoing drawing for prizes, and like their father, they seem to have a difficult time passing up an opportunity to get something for nothing. I didn’t mind – I went early to pick them up, and listened to some of their rehearsing. If you ask the boys though, they will probably not delay to inform you that my true motive was “Breaking Dawn” – the 4th in the Twilight series, and in which I am on page 400 or so. Truman’s birthday was uneventful, but very fun. We had clam chowder and sourdough bread for dinner, and he got a new tennis racket, some legos and a bike. You never way a happier kid, even when we all rode our bikes to church this morning. The chocolate sourdough birthday cake and mint chocolate moosetracks ice cream didn’t hurt his mood at all, either.

Megan and I celebrated the valentines holiday Friday night with dinner and shopping. Megan got our tax return earlier that day, so we both went out (together) to eat at a restaurant that was recommended to us 8 months ago (does that tell you how much desire I have to eat out?), and then to buy some new shoes to celebrate. I got my fill of eating out to last me for another good long while, and in spite of Megan’s willingness to patiently endure my characteristically long indecisiveness as pertaining to shoe shopping (I think it is probably related to the indecisiveness I described earlier), I managed to choose two pairs of shoes at the second store we visited (and the first store that we seriously investigated). Then we walked to a couple more stores, bought some random things, including Valentine’s presents for the boys, then came home and folded laundry and watched a movie. Talk about romantic. Notice I didn’t say that I bought presents for the girls. That is because I got them earlier in the week! Hooray for me! But, to be completely honest, the reason I got them earlier in the week was because Megan was kind enough to go out shopping with me one night (on our bikes) and help me select what to buy for them. All of them. Including herself.

And, that really is about all, this time. We all love you all,



February 9, 2009

The Results Are In!

Sydney and Truman auditioned on Saturday for the Mesa Public Schools Honor Band.
Our band teacher Mr. Mcallister called this morning to tell us that Sydney will be 4th chair Alto Sax, and Truman will be first chair Tuba. I have been so impressed with how hard they both worked to prepare. They both felt pleased with their auditions, but the best reward is getting in!

February 8, 2009

Cassette tapes

Friday morning, Kenneth and I finally went shopping with our Christmas money from my parents. We bought this handy little machine:

We have a lot of cassette tapes of my parents and grandparents reading stories to my kids,(and Kenneth has a lot of chinese heavy metal) that we would really like on CD so we finally gave in and bought the TAPE2PC. It is pretty easy to use. I only tried the basic transfer method, now that I know what to do I think I will try the advanced method and clean up the recordings a bit.

February 7, 2009

Two Little Helpers

Nate and Hazel peeled carrots for lunch today!

I have been feeling really lucky lately. I have been so blessed to have the kids we have. These are some of the things that I really apperciate:
*Most days when Christian comes home from school the first thing he says is "How was your day today Mom? Did you get the things done that you needed to?" (Ok sometimes he says what is for afternoon snack and then asks about my day.)
*Truman keeps a grocery list on the fridge of things I am almost out of.
*Sydney is incredible at getting Nate and Hazel to complete a task.
*Abby can make interesting conversation the entire 25 minutes of our morning jogs.
*Rebekah is a cheerful table-setter.
*Nate thinks I am more fun than Kindergarten.
*Hazel will sing Hakuna Matata while we ride the bike to and from preschool.

Let's Go Fly R Kites

Hazel has a turn to fly the butterfly kite that the girls got for Christmas.

Abby flying the butterfly kite.
Christian Dejay and Kenneth.

Truman flying my dragon kite.

Here's the dragon kite.

Christian and I played with Dejay on his 30 foot leash.

February 5, 2009


Today I went to Costco, took Hazel to preschool, and did 1 load of laundry!

February 4, 2009

Good stress - Bad stress... Still tired

Today was a busy day, lots of stress most of it good, but I am still tired.

6:13 am dropped Kenneth off at Toastmasters
6:30 am Christian started making breakfast for me
7:15 am breakfast (sourdough coffee cake. MMMMM)
7:30 am Christian leaves for drum line
8:00 am the rest of the kids leave except Nate (long story)
8:15 am make cookie dough and put in the fridge
8:20 am start to exercise
8:25 am Sydney called from the school she missed the bus to ELP.
8:40 am get back to exercising
9:15 am fix the flat tire on Nate's bike
9:40 am Hazel Nate and I rode our bikes to the library
10:15 am checked out 15 library books
10:30 am story time
11:00 am play on the playground
11:45 am lunch (pretzels and cheese, grapes, strawberries)
12:00 noon unload and reload dishwasher
12:23 pm roll out and bake cookies
12:40 pm clean off enough of the table for Nate and Hazel to frost cookies
1:00 pm frost cookies
1:24 pm shower
2:00 pm pick up the tuba at the Elementary school
2:15 pm SIAC (School Improvement Advisory Committee) Meeting
3:15 pm home unload and reload another dishwasher
3:45 pm Truman and the Tuba to the Junior High for an audition (he made it)
4:10 pm make pizza dough
4:30 pm Sydney and Abby to dance class
4:45 pm make pizzas
5:08 pm Kenneth home
5:15 pm pick up the dancers
5:45 pm Dinner
6:00 pm more dishes
6:45 pm begin wandering aimlessly
7:00 pm burning desire to prove that I actually earned how tired I am.
7:20 pm give up and put a movie on for the kids...