Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween

The ever-so-wise animated cat Garfield has commented that Halloween is the holiday when you don't celebrate anything but "candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy!" Today as we went throughout the rituals of the day, however, I was thinking about how Halloween celebrates a lot of things: imagination, generosity, neighbors, childhood, and joy. The magic of the day had my boys entranced, creating an enjoyable escape for all of us. Here are a few highlights:

The boys get a pumpkin boost to check on our spiderwebs and watch Dad do some pipe repairs.
Baby cow Mike manages a smile without having to remove the thumb-ifier.
The kids eat lunch at a fun neighborhood trick-or-treat/lunch.
The sun finally went down, and we hit the trick-or-treat trail.

After a fun night of talking with our neighbors and enjoying the boys' running commentaries ("This one is the spookiest!" and "Is that a real skull?"), we came home and watched a few cartoons while we sorted the candy.

Yesterday my sister-in-law and I were laughing about the meaninglessness of Halloween. But today I'm thinking that it's a pretty great tradition. 

Halloween Cousins Day

Every month or so, we get together with the Brinton cousins and have Cousins Day. Yesterday we had a Halloween party, where these cute (and scary!) munchkins enjoyed each other and the fun of the holiday. This picture absolutely cracks me up because their varied expressions make you wonder what each of them is thinking. I love that my niece Allie is spreading her recycled-umbrella "bat wings." And doesn't Superman Spencer look just as endearing as Clark Kent? (He is!)  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Final Cut with my beau

Last weekend Eric and I went down to Provo to attend an annual student film festival, Final Cut, and eat at an unbelievably good Japanese restaurant, Osaka. Both activities are things that we enjoyed while we were dating at BYU: Final Cut became a tradition after we saw the rave short "Peluca" there (the main character in "Peluca" was later adapted to become Napoleon in Napoleon Dynamite); Osaka was the first (and only) restaurant where the server knew my name and what I wanted (chicken sukiyaki). It was a good feeling, then, to go do these fun things with a handsome young man in his little red sports car.

It was an ever better feeling to go back with him now and to be in Provo again with him, watching Final Cut, and eating our sukiyaki and sashimi together. Magical Provo! It was like going home and breathing in a wonderful, familiar smell. 
  
Here's a picture of us going to a show in 2002. Eric has a funny smile because he was embarrassed that he had braces on.
Here's a picture of us after our date this weekend. Eric has a funny smile this time because he was being weird.
Oh, Eric. He's the spark of my life, the best way to make any day ten times better. I love 'im.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On chilling out: dancing like it's 1999

Once in high school my buddy Wes and I entered a swing dance competition with 100 or so other couples. "Here's our strategy," he told me. "We're going to dance so wild and so fast that the judges won't have a chance to tap us out." That's what we did, and we ended up evading the judges long enough to win. 

Late that night my friends and I drove home like champions, plastic leis tickling our necks as the summer air streamed into my '89 Honda Civic. I remember thinking that there was no better feeling than being 16. 

And now (just nine years later!), Eric was recently surprised that I was tapping my fingers on the steering wheel in rhythm to a song on the radio. "Oh, cute!" he said. "You're relaxed!" Others regularly ask about my welfare, offering concerned upturned eyebrows and furrowed frowns. Strangers bombard me with "there's never a moment's rest, is there?" or "now, don't you have your hands full?" Last week my physician asked me questions about how stress is affecting my health. I always find these queries strange, at best, and sometimes intrusive. Honestly, I'm not feeling stressed.

Enter Kim. Tonight my perennially carefree (and fun!) sister came over to take Jacob on an aunt date. When they came home, she introduced us to some youtube videos, including several variations of "Hamster Dance Spiderman." We spent the next 45 minutes trying to learn Spidey's smooth moves, and I'll have to admit that I revisited the clips after the kids went to bed (I have to get that lunge twist combo!). The experience tickled my serotonin receptors for sure.

I want to say that I "felt like myself" tonight, yet I always think it strange when people use the phrase. Aren't you always yourself, no matter the mood or stage of life? There are just aspects to the self that are less desirable and that we consider outside of ourselves? Lacan's "mirror stage" enlightens the analysis, as I can imagine an alternative stage in which I (the "real") am wholly (and, paradoxically, also fragmentally) represented through the "mirror" of dance. But I like to (romantically) think of myself as the dance's representation, even though I realize that the "real" encompasses much more.   

In short, I've been missing out because I'm too stressed to enjoy life. The Hamster Dance Spiderman helped me learn this. Try it out yourself if you feel like it: Hamster Dance Spiderman.

P.S. Do my thoughts still exist if I don't blog about them?


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Paradise Powell

When we were packing for Lake Powell, I almost didn't bring our swimsuits. It's October! Halloweentime! Plus, the weather forecast for Bullfrog Bay looked mighty similar to the forecast for Salt Lake. It turned out to be a summer-like paradise down at the houseboat, and Nana and Grandpa made it an especially fun trip for everyone.

Top five Lake Powell adventures:
5. Hanging out with my 16-year-old brother-in-law, Sam, and his buddies. I couldn't believe how those boys could cram so much fun into a three-day trip. (I also couldn't believe how dirty they could get without feeling like they needed to take showers!) After spending this week with such quality young men, I hope that we have a whole gaggle of boys.  
4. Running along the coastline with the red rock mountains as a backdrop. One day I took a nine-mile run and felt totally recharged. I felt like a runner on one of those posters with a one-word inspiring title, like "determination" or "endurance." Doesn't it seem that those posters always have photos of people running in the desert?
3. Boating and jet skiing! The boys and I kayaked around the bay, and we took the jet skis out several times. And can I just mention that Eric looks so dang handsome in a wetsuit?    
2. Building sand castles. I love watching the boys focus on projects like this, especially when they come up with ideas like, "we need to build a special place for them to keep all their treasures." 
1. Hiking up to the sand dunes. The boys were thrilled to hike through Moki Canyon to some huge sand dunes. Grandpa scaled the dunes more times than anyone; Jacob is following in his legacy and becoming a fast, tough hiker. Who knew that a big pile of sand could be so fun?

Once at a wedding, I heard someone advise the couple to take lots of vacations because that's where good memories come from. I agree wholeheartedly, especially when the vacations involve Lake Powell!






Jacob's ascent

This kid is an animal! He scaled two huge dunes on his own, then slid down (or "sledded down," if you ask Zachary).

video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Question

If you were up until after midnight cleaning the house and working on an e-newsletter (with a pressing deadline!), and if you went down to switch the laundry and found child-size orbs of excrement in your washing machine, would you laugh or cry?

Just wondering.  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Elder Uchtdorf's inspiration

Two weeks ago while speaking at the general Relief Society meeting, President Uchtdorf counseled sisters that we can overcome feelings of "discouragement, inadequacy and weariness" by 1) creating and 2) being compassionate.  I have pondered these ideas many times, especially Pres. Uchdorf's suggestion that we create. He likened the satisfying effects of creation to the happiness that God feels. With this counsel in mind, I created something this week: a wizard costume for Jacob. After finishing the robe part, I thought about how genuinely satisfying it is to create. I will keep this testimony in mind the next time I feel discouraged or inadequate. And today? I'm creating a banana creme pie!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Coolest park

We just discovered Murray City Park, home to the coolest playground ever!


The boys had mixed reviews for the chair spinners, though. Zachary grinned the entire time, and Jacob chanted "I want Mommy."

video

Solution for elite U.S. liberals

Now I'm sure that you've all heard about the flood of American liberals illegally immigrating to Canada because they fear the possibility of a McCain/Palin administration. Some Canadian citizens are apparently very concerned. Consider this recent news report: "Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies. 'I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them,' an Ottawa resident said. 'How many art history and English majors does one country need?'"

If you're thinking about legally heading to our northern neighbor, I'd suggest that you view this brief, informative video clip. And, by all means, please relocate before November 4.





Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday night, Crazy night

If you knew my family during my childhood years, you know that we have a tradition named "Crazy Night," held every Friday night. After a nice pizza dinner, all the kids get to choose an unusual spot to sleep for the night. When I was younger, I always chose something wild, like the living room floor. My kids are much more creative: here you can see them last night, sleeping in their "tortoise burrow" with their laundry-basket shells. I just checked on Zachary, and his shell is still attached.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Childhood fancy

Yesterday Jacob and his buddy were playing in the backyard for a few minutes before I came out. After looking all around the yard, I finally found them in the apple tree reading books. Absolutely romantic! They stayed up there for a good half hour before coming down to use their "magic wand" sticks to change all the trees in the backyard into dragons, monsters, and alligators. But when Jacob's friend changed himself into a "human," the game got too wild and we had to go inside.