On the night before Thanksgiving two years ago I woke up suddenly to the sound of vomiting. My three-year-old had come down with the stomach bug that had hit my other children earlier in the month. Unfortunately we were at my parents’ house for the holiday and I had not packed many extra clothes. I spent the rest of the night tending to her as best I could, quietly searching the crowded house for extra towels and blankets to keep the mess contained without waking up anyone else and spoiling their holiday too. By the time the sun came up, my poor daughter was only wearing a t-shirt and was lying on the floor swaddled in a large bath towel. I spent Thanksgiving morning catatonic on the couch watching Disney cartoons with my daughter while my mom cooked the entire meal herself. I didn’t even enjoy the feast that year because I was too tired and the smell of food was nauseating (thankfully I escaped the illness myself). Continue reading Thanksgiving Mayhem, Christmas Chaos, and Other Cherished Memories
Six years ago, I had a routine: get all the kids ready, drop the two oldest off at the elementary school, then head over to the gym, where I’d put the baby and the preschooler in kid care, and I’d go off to spend the next two hours doing whatever I wanted. Usually, I wanted to take a spin class. I was pretty fanatical about my spin classes. I had teachers I loved and teachers I barely tolerated. Some songs were great for spinning (Latin dance music– who knew?), while some songs made the class almost unendurable– and if you asked (and even if you didn’t), I’d be happy to expound on which was which. In class, I’d sit in the back, right under the fan, with my water bottle full and my game face on. I was the annoying girl who grunted and sweated and tried to race you. It was awesome. If you had asked me what I was passionate about back in those days, spinning classes surely would have been on my list.
Five and a half years ago, we moved, and I can probably count on one hand the number of spin classes I’ve taken since. I haven’t even been on a bike.
Looking back, it’s obvious that spin classes were, for me, just a fad. An enjoyable fad, to be sure. My butt looked amazing, and my abs were much tighter than they’ve ever been before or since. But when we relocated, there wasn’t a gym that had classes at a time that worked, and my kids were old enough that I didn’t need my daily interaction with the girls at the gym (as competitive as it may have been on my part) to save my sanity. Continue reading Passion: Or maybe just a fad?
Earlier this week I read the delightful novel One Plus One by Jojo Moyes; it’s the story of a single mom with a chaotic life, two kids, and a stinky dog who gets thrown together on a road trip with a nerdy software developer whose life is also falling apart. The book is both funny and sweet and I highly recommend it (there are some spots of rough language and some sex, FYI). Yesterday I was trying to explain the book to a friend and why I loved it so much, despite the rather ridiculous twists and turns the plot takes along the way. My friend replied “I’m much more likely to suspend my disbelief for a crazy plot than for unbelievable characters”, and I realized that I feel the same way. As long as the characters in a book are believable, I’m willing to put up with a lot from the plot. Besides, I’ve learned that life can be pretty absurd at times. If I ever write a novel, I have more than situation that I could add that I know would leave readers shaking their heads in disbelief. Continue reading Choose the Funny
The year was 1989. I was fourteen, wearing black and white pegged plaid pants, a fair isle Christmas sweater in red, green, black and white, and my bobbed hair was pulled back in a black and white plaid headband. And I can pretty much guarantee that we ate something topped with raspberry vinaigrette or walnut oil at the holiday table. In 1989, in Connecticut, everything was drenched in raspberry vinaigrette and walnut oil.
I haven’t seen a bottle of raspberry vinaigrette in years. The ones in my pantry were replaced by Asian sesame and balsamic vinaigrettes. I’m sure the bottles of walnut oil in my mom’s pantry went rancid decades ago.
These foods are on my mind this morning because I’ve been thinking about butternut squash soup. I know, it’s a far cry from raspberry vinaigrette, but bear with me for a moment. Continue reading Eating trendy
In another ward and another state, I had the privilege of teaching seminary for almost four years. We had a small class of five students who met in my basement. Theses particular students and I all lived in a corner of the county that made it impossible to travel from the meeting house to their high school by the time the first class was in session. Consequently, we had our own little class separate from the others who met at the meeting house.
Because the students had different interests and learning styles, I tried to employ a variety of teaching strategies. We made temples out of building blocks, we enacted battle scenes on the stairs to my basement, we drew pictures of emigration routes, and we played Bible trivia games.
Sometimes, however, we did fall back on the old standard of watching film clips. Most often we used the LDS approved materials, but I was confident that I could bring other materials in support of the standard works. I could judge what was appropriate for viewing. Continue reading Seminary, Rated R