Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Have Your Cake and Eat It Tuesday

Man, I haven't done one of these posts in a loooong time (six months?!).  And this one isn't even a real one, as I'm not sharing a recipe.  And a more appropriate title would be Have Your Cake and Eat It The Tuesday After You Get Back From America In June.  Here's why:

I had a dream last night.  I was in America for a very short visit.  I was on my last day or two and I hadn't bought any Reese's Peanut Butter Chips.

Also, I was in Poland and had just found out that they started selling Reese's peanut butter chips in a certain store here.   Greg was the manager/owner of one of them and he "helped" me while I was looking for the chips.  I searched EVERYWHERE, as I knew they'd be on some random shelf in a small pile between two products that weren't remotely related to baking.  After a desperate search (after all, I was leaving America very soon to go back to Poland -- never mind that I was already in Poland in this part of the dream) I realized that I'd have to go to a different store in the same chain.  

That one was in America.  It was about Costco sized and I did a shelf by shelf search and came up with nothing.  I went to the bakery and talked to some people working there about where I could find them.  Sitting at a table there, talking to another lady, was Steve S. from jr. high/high school who used to tease me and who I was a little afraid of, until he got a some self esteem, joined the football team and started being nice to me.  He didn't care too much about my peanut butter chips, but the lady he was talking with helped me (I have no idea why on Earth he was in this dream.  I haven't thought of him in decades, almost).

I don't really know what happened after that.  I don't think I ever found the chips.  It doesn't really matter though.  I know this all sounds very pointless, but it's not.  Not for me at least.  The moral of the story is, buy LOTS of peanut butter chips when you're in America in June.  




I love how a bag of those can last such a looong time.  I use them as an accent in chocolate chip cookies or brownies.  It only takes a very little bit to transform a recipe.  Good thing, too, because when I have them in the house I want to add them to everything I bake.  Mmmmm.

I really hate that there's a weight limit on luggage.  
Reese's Peanut Butter Chips 4M - 25 lb Peanut Butter Chips 4M: GR


Saturday, March 28, 2009

You Probably Had To Be There

Today while I was cleaning the kitchen (again) and the kids were eating a snack at the table:

Me:  Okay, I see two cups here with juice in them.  Whose are they?

David:  This one's mine, and this one. . . . is mine, too.

Me:  Why are there two cups half full of juice on a table that was just clean?

David:  Well, I had to get some new juice.

Me:  Okay, David.  New rule.  No juice for you unless you ask me first.  Every time I clean the kitchen I dump some juice from at least one cup.  You have to drink the juice that you pour for yourself.  Why did you pour a second cup of juice today?

David:  Because I had a Halls (he's a little sick) and then when I drank this juice it tasted minty.

Me:  Soooo. . .?  (stifling a giggle)

David:  So, I didn't want to drink it.

Me:  So you got another cup out?  And?  {I start laughing and can't finish my sentences}

Evie:  {starts laughing and tries to ask David a question, but she's laughing too hard}

Me:  That one . . .was minty so. . . you decided to try with a new cup?  

Evie and I are laughing like crazy and trying to talk.  David starts laughing a little too.  

Eventually we calmed down enough for David to explain that he came back to get a drink a little while  after he left the "minty" juice and thought that some of his "minty breath" had tainted it and it would still be minty, which is why he went for a new cup.  

He still has to ask before he can get juice.  

In Poland they sell mint apple juice.  And David likes it.  



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Paying My Lack of Craftiness Forward

I'm not crafty.  I don't feel apologetic about it.  I like seeing other people's crafts, and hearing about their talents.  I just don't have those kinds of talents.  

I  bake, but that's not a talent.  I'm a recipe follower and I'm also a make-the-same-thing-over-and-over-er (brownies) and an only-bake-very-basic-recipe-er (almost all drop cookies or bars).  I don't feel apologetic about this, either.  

But there are times when I sort of wish I knew how to do something.  Anything creative where you actually physically create something and then you can look at, display, or share it.  

 Well, there is one thing I know how to make.  I make really great ones, too.  Babies.  Unfortunately, I think there are a number of other women who might make the same claim for themselves, so I don't feel that it's some exotic talent of mine.  Plus, they aren't actually give away-able for like 20+ years from creation, and even then they'll still belong to me.

I've seen this on maybe 45 other blogs, but never entered to win because -- I'm not crafty.  And I'm not willing to pay shipping for one of the things I can create.  Then my sister Su posted it on her blog and told me I should really do it.  So I am.  Because I want to get something in the mail from my sister.  But, as I said, it makes me wish I had half a crafty bone in my body.  (I know, I'm one of the many with that particular wish)

It's called Pay It Forward:

Lucky you! The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
  1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
  2. What I create will be just for you.
  3. It’ll be done this year. {might be a little while}
  4. You will have no clue what it’s going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry or maybe even some creation I haven’t even invented yet (but Heaven knows it will most likely be totally fabulous and creative… :) . I may draw or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!
  5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog.

There are a few things I like about this.  Number 4 implies that there is NOTHING wrong with something that will fit in an envelope.  I can almost guarantee that what I send will fit in an envelope.  Oh, now I've got you all clamoring.  Relax!  It's okay.  I'm so sorry that I can't do this for everyone who comments, but over time, and with a little therapy, I'm sure you'll get over it.  

Also, if you're one of the first five, you could also pay me to not send you anything.  That's the option I'd go with, if I were you.

In case you haven't seen this on 45 different blogs and don't quite get it, the first five people that comment saying that they want me to send them something and that they will post the same thing on their blog, will get something from me.  It's not necessarily the first five people to comment either, since many people won't want to play and will just want to tell me that I should learn to bake more interesting stuff or something. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aaron's Calling

As I was washing dishes yesterday Aaron came in and stood next to me.  He began his babbling.  He does a lot of that. This time, though, he was speaking in a very firm voice.  I looked down and saw that he was facing into the kitchen, holding Greg's Polish Bible open and discoursing to the specks of dust floating through the air in the sunlight streaming through the window.  

"How darling!"  I thought, as mothers are wont to do.  I dried my hands and gave him a long squeezy hug and 3 kisses and then went back to washing dishes, while he went back to his sermon.  I reflected:  He sees his daddy up on the stand at church every Sunday.  Nearly every Sunday he gives a talk or teaches a lesson.  This is imitative behavior!  He's preparing to be like daddy.  How sweet!

But his tone of voice was different than Greg's.  He was sounding a bit more authoritative, putting a stronger emphasis on the key word of each "sentence." And it was getting worse.  He was as close to shouting as you can get while still only talking.   Soon his voice almost had an angry tone to it.   We were on to the hellfire and damnation portion of his address.  I looked down and saw that his face, buried in the book, was red and at some points his whole little body was shaking with the intensity of his delivery of the message.  

I stopped thinking about how adorable he was and started wondering where in the world he learned about this type of preaching.  Really!  Sheesh!  

If he's going to grow up to be a prophet, as Ewelina has been telling me she feels that he will, he'll have to learn a different way of sermonizing.   I think in our church we call it giving a "talk" for a reason.  

Also, today while I was starting a load of laundry, Aaron was in my room "folding" the socks.  When I went in to check on him and saw that he had made a discovery:

David's underwear fit perfectly!
This is a cell phone shot, obviously, but at least you can still make out my unmade, laundry covered bed in the background!
*********
I've mentioned that I don't have much access to books of different genres.  This is part of the reason Annette the Angelic sent me her book to read.  She thought that maybe there aren't as many Deseret Book Stores in Poland as there are in Utah. (Also, on my review I forgot to mention that the book is LDS historical fiction, the fourth in her temple series, and that Ewelina is reading and loving it, too!)

Also, Heather the Heavenly was SO NICE that she rigged her giveaway so that I won the book Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult that she had signed,!  Obviously Heather wants to give me a chance to read a wider range of books, too.  Or possibly I happened to be chosen randomly.  Either way.

However you look at it, I'll tell you one thing:  If I ever write a book, there are two phrases you'll be sure to find in that book, "The Lyon's Tale" and "The Extraordinary Ordinary."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thoughts on Shouting

This is sort of a journal type entry written for my own benefit but you can read it if you feel so inclined.
My kids are relatively well behaved.  They never (I may be jinxing myself here) write on walls or rip pages out of books.  They don't climb the curtains (and this isn't only because we don't have any.  I'm sure they wouldn't if we did) or hit other kids at school.  They're tame.  They're good.  I believe there are three likely reasons for this: 1) they are calm kids by nature 2) I'm a stickler for not letting them do anything I don't want them to from the very first time they try and 3)  We are only given what we can handle and I could not handle hyper kids.  

I love watching those parenting shows.  Little Angels, Tanya Byron's House of Tiny Taraways, Supernanny etc.  It's so surprising to see what some kids get away with.  I love cheering the mother on when she's following the counselors advice.  I love seeing the change that comes over the entire family when the parents learn what behavior of their own they need to change in order to change their children's.  I love that I can always anticipate what advice they will be given because it's very logical to me (and maybe because it's what I studied in school).

But I see those mothers, too.  The desperate single mother who's convinced that her four year old wants nothing more than to rile her up all day every day.  While following a new bedtime routine she takes her son back to his bed 30 times saying calmly, "Good night" as she walks out the door over and over and over.  And then he whines one more time and she goes into his room and throws off his blanket and screams in his face "WHAT DO YOU WANT!?!  JUST GO. TO. SLEEP!!!"  Very, very loudly.  

I'm thinking, am I so supposed to be shocked that a mother would do that?  I feel so much empathy for this poor mother.  And I have screamed in my own kid's faces before.  I mean screamed.  And I've never even had bedtime issues.  And I know all those tricks you use to get good behavior.  And my kids are generally good.

They're not perfect, though.  And I'm even less so.  Lately I have felt awful that I yell at my kids so much.  It is often almost my first reaction when they do something wrong or whine about something silly. 

Last Friday I had an awful migraine.  Or it might have been my blood sugar.  I had a terrible headache, I was nauseated and lightheaded, shaky and I just felt like bawling.  Greg was at a business dinner and David was whining about everything.  And I mean everything.  He would not do what I asked and I was just waaaaay past my limit and I went up to him and I held his shoulders and screamed in his face.  

Of course I felt terrible about this later.  Terrible.  Even though I knew I wasn't being myself, I realize that I just shout at the kids all the time.  Pretty much daily.  Some days are worse than others.  

On the drive to church on Sunday Greg had recorded a lecture from some Perry Symposium (or something) in which the speaker talked about the omission of the "without a cause" from after the "He that is angry with his brother."  The talk was compelling.  I mean, I know that we know that the "without a cause" was an addition to the original text, but it was fascinating to hear about the various versions and how and why it was added etc.  

The talk was very academic.  There was very little talk of the gospel or any sort of sentiment in the telling.  But it was very striking.   After an hour long speech, he ended with evidence that we are not meant to be angry (including a rebuttal to the common "What about Jesus and the money changers in the temple" argument.)  His closing paragraph was a short.  I don't even remember what he said.  I just remember feeling that there was no room in my home or life for shouting.  I knew it about anger in general, but I felt it about shouting in specific. 

As if I didn't know that before!  Duh!  As if I didn't feel bad any time I yelled at the kids.  As if I didn't pray to be a more patient mother all the time.  But this was just one of those moments of change.  

This week I didn't yell at my kids.  Well, I started to maybe 4 times.  I would ask them to do something and they wouldn't do it a few times in a row, then I'd ask them one more time a few minutes later and whining would ensue (this is what makes me mad.  They should be apologizing for not doing it earlier, not whining that I was going finally force them to do it!)  I would start in with the stupid, "I've asked you to do this 4 times. . ." in a raised voice, totally ready to be MAD.  Then I stopped myself and said, "Okay, I'm not going to yell. . ." and magically I didn't feel mad at ALL!  And the kids smiled!  And happily did what I asked (sort of).

So I feel like I just was not angry with my kids this week.  We even had FHE about anger and specifically shouting.  We've all decided that it doesn't belong in our home.  Aaron had just recently started yelling "NOOOOOO" very loudly when he didn't get his way, and I know he learned it from all of us (the kids yelled at each other a lot, too).  I really hope we can completely reverse this.

It's working so far, and I'm feeling really good about it.  It feels so nice to have control over myself.  I feel like I'm finally starting to set a good example for my kids.  Finally. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One Way An Author Might Tell You What She Thinks Of You

People who read my blog know that I am not a very well rounded reader.  I love to read, (and I'm still a little more well rounded than I'd like to be in some ways (ahem)) but you can't really put those things together in reference to me.  I don't have access to many books and even if I did, I'm likely to just stick to the classics that I love.  

Annette Lyon knows this, but she's a good writer, and wants to get a fair representation of all types of readers on her blog book tour.  Which is why she asked me to be part of it.  That is totally unfair of me to put words in her mouth because she would never say or probably even think those things.  It's really just how I myself justify myself writing a review.  Myself.

I was in the middle of my Twilight series reading when I got the book.  Now, I'm not going to say that I hate Stephenie Meyer's writing or that I think her books are trash or any of that (because neither statement is true).  But I AM going to say that when I switched over from the middle of Eclipse to Annette's Tower of Strength I had a hard time thinking much more than "Really?  She wrote this?  I can't believe someone I know wrote this!"  Not because I didn't know that she could write well, but because I'd never read any of her fiction (historical fiction, in this case), and it is such a different thing!  

The story was interesting from the very beginning, but the thing I loved the most and noticed right away is the detail that makes you feel like you're right there with the character.  Little things like what a character is doing with their hands while they say something or what they're thinking about as they cross the street.  It just felt so whole and full and real.  Like I wasn't missing anything.  I loved that.

Also, Annette often says that her stories are supposed to be about the story more than the romance and she has been surprised when people consider her books to be first and foremost romances.  Well, you definitely get some good story lines going through this book, plenty to wonder what's going to happen with, but when the romance hits, it happens much as it does in real life.  When you find yourself in love with someone, that emotion sort of drives your life and all the other things that are happening in it become sort of "the other things", even if they're really very major.  Love just does that.  I think that's what happens in her books (though this is the only one I've read so far).  You have a terrific story, but the romantic parts are so real, even if they're just little clips here and there, that they sort of color everything about the book.  I think it means that she does a good job with it.

Now I must say that I really like Annette a lot.  I think she likes me too.  You want to know why?  Well, you'd think it would be strange and awkward to mention someone's BLOG in a book that takes place in the 1870's.  Especially to work it into the actual story.  Well, Annette likes me SO MUCH that she did that with my blog!!  I mean, there I was, reading on page seven and she distinctly mentions Away From It All!  Except she didn't use capitals.  But she still said it.  When Tabitha was talking about feeling guilty for even considering taking her son away from everything he has ever known.  I KNOW!!!  She totally loves me.  And the fact that we didn't know each other at all at the time she was writing the book is completely irrelevant.  So is the fact that my blog title is an everyday phrase.  Annette just really, really likes me.

In Stores Now!

You should definitely read this book.  Maybe you'll find your blog title in there.  Then you'll know she likes you, too!  (Because if it isn't in there, she probably doesn't like you.  You know how that is.)
Click the button in my sidebar to find out how to get your hands on a copy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forgetting How to be Friendly

Every time I go to the United States for a visit I feel like I've come home (because I have, but it's more than that).  Even just boarding a plane full of Americans makes me happy.  They are loud.  They are happy.  They are friendly.  I love them.  (Even if they're sometimes a tiny bit obnoxious when you've been living in Europe for a while.)

When we first moved to Poland I was surprised and a little shocked when I passed people on the streets and said, "Hello." or smiled a little and they quickly looked away and sometimes gave me dirty looks.  It made me feel as though I was in a different world, one where nobody knew me, and everyone disliked me already, before they could have any reason to.  

While visiting in America someone stopped me in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store because they just had to tell me that my son  has the cutest glasses they've ever seen in their life and that he is just such a darling boy.  At the shark petting area of the aquarium someone comes up to me and asks if my sister's little boy is my son (she pointed.  She didn't ask, "Is your sister's little boy your son?" that would have been so weird.).  I tell her no, he's my nephew and she says, "Wow.  You guys have the exact same color of hair.  It's a really neat color.  It has just a little bit of red in it."  I love that these perfect strangers understand that I might care about something that they observed and so they share.  As if they know I'm a person too, and think I might be a nice one.  This is how it should be.

In Poland I come to a point where I realize that saying hello to someone you don't know just confuses them terribly.  "Do I know you from somewhere?" they're thinking, frantically searching their brains.  When people are searching their brains it sometimes causes them to knit their brow.  When people knit their brows, it sometimes looks like they're giving dirty looks.  Even if they're not.  I think I'm starting to get these Poles.  A slight upturn of the corners of the mouth is okay, though it's almost never returned.  Smile!  It makes people wonder what you've been up to.  Maybe I'm just making people wonder about me. . .

In the States I observe my sister laughing with other women who are also shopping for children's clothing.  I sort of wonder if their kids go to school together or something.  The next day while at the checkout stand in the grocery store the woman behind us in line says, "Your little girl lost a sock, it looks like."  I glance up and see that Su's little girl's right foot is socked, but the left is bare.  I turn my head slightly back to the woman and say, "Oh, yes.  Thank you."  without looking at her face.  I let Su know and she thanks the woman and starts talking about what might have happened to that sock and how it's terrible to get in the car and realize you're missing something etc. etc.  

I stand there, in between the two of them, while they chatter on as if they enjoy nothing better than talking about Beth's socks.  And I wonder what has happened to me?  Why didn't I at least look the woman in the face while I thanked her?  Have I completely lost my ability to engage a stranger in conversation or even to make eye contact?  Would I soon just start ignoring people that talked to me if I didn't know them.  Maybe I'd start punching them in the face?

Sheesh.  

All of that happened a few years ago.  I'm hoping that I've learned a little since then.  Still, it takes a bit of effort for me.  And I can't do it in Poland, although Greg sometimes starts up conversations and is nearly always conversed with (I think it's because he's handsome.  And smart.  And funny.  Oh, and his Polish might be better than mine.)

So, people, enjoy your fellow Americans.  And if you ever see a woman with once-blond hair with a hint of red in it in the store, don't be offended if she doesn't strike up a conversation.  And if you smile at her and she gives you a dirty look, forgive her.  She's probably just wondering where she knows you from.  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Editor In Chief

I started out writing all our articles on my own, but now we have writers that do most of the work.  We've assured our clients that all articles are either written by me, or at least edited by me (when addressing the writers I refer to myself as Lisa  (head writer/editor/wife) the "wife" is because they mostly deal with Greg.  I think my title is funny.  That's why I chose it.).  That makes me the editor.  It also makes me want to change large chunks of articles sometimes.  But I don't.  Usually.  Here are some things I've learned in my editing.

*  Just because someone says something differently than I would, doesn't mean it's wrong (necessarily). (this only applies because the client may assume it's written by me, normally I don't think about this at all, of course.)

*editing other people's articles (if they know how to write) takes less time and effort than writing them myself, which is a major bonus.

*editing other people's articles (if they don't know how to write) takes much more time and near explosions of the brain than just writing them myself (fortunately this only happens when we're looking to hire.  We don't hire those guys)
  
*  After editing "internet" in favor of "Internet" repeatedly, I find I am only doing it for the sake of consistency, but I wonder every time if it's not terribly old fashioned to capitalize it.  

*  I've had loads of practice in breaking up run-on sentences like this (I made up the following example but it's very much like the real thing, except dumber because I don't really know how to write a good, sensical run on like this writer does, although if I tried I probably could but it might take a little thought and effort and I don't have a lot of time right now as we are running out the door in a minute but I'll do my best.):

When considering which club of the month to purchase for a loved one, you should take into account the interests of the person in question,  so you can be sure that they will be pleased to receive their gift every month, which will give them a good feeling when they think of you because they will remember that the gift is from you, so this is a very important thing to keep in mind.

Wow.  My not really trying but just kind of kidding run-on was quite a bit better than my attempt at copying my writer's type of run-on.  

Only one period per comment, please.  Run-ON people.  Run-ON.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Overcast


By the time I finish typing this they will be gone.  I love them.  They bring me an enormous amount of joy, an immesurable sense of calm.  

They make me want- no, need -  to curl up under a soft blanket and read a good book.  They are the only thing that makes a cup of hot cocoa or tea sound good.  

I used to be terrified of them.  Any time they would start creeping in I would try to find something to distract myself.  When they brought thunder I froze in horror.  Surely I would die this time.
 
Now I look forward to the next thunderstorm.  If the clouds come quietly,  without the ostentatious show, I still love them.  I can appreciate their huge, billowing mass; the layers of varying shades of grey, almost black in places.  

The dull light filtering in through the windows uplifts me.  
I don't know why.

picture from Near Worlds

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Choices

My poor old laptop is really and truly dying.  I hope we can get through this difficult time in our lives.  I know we at least have a few more days together, so I'm trying to make the most of them, and won't actually start my dance of joy until the death is complete (because how rude would that be).  Some reasons I will rejoice when I inherit Greg's laptop are:

I will be able to open up ANY BLOG I want to
I will be able to comment on people's blogs
I will be able to watch people's videos
I will be able to listen to people's music
I will be able to see people's slideshows
I will not wait 48 hours for the computer to complete every command I give

All of the above will be accomplished without the computer shutting down on me.  That will be great.

This weekend while we were traveling we stopped in a mall and took a peek at new laptops for Greg (haven't found one yet. . .).  I made an observation though, that I wanted to share:  

Killzone 2 for Playstation 3! Really?  Because the first Killzone wasn't gory or graphic enough?  It's probably not as bad as it sounds, but I just don't have a husband or kids that play computer games (at all) and I can't imagine how we came to a point where people are rushing to the store to buy a heavily advertised and likely long awaited game called Killzone.  Wow.  

And now. . . how to transition. . . Oh!  I know:

Fortunately we get to choose what games we play (I know we can't choose for our spouses, sorry girls!)  and what other forms of entertainment we want to take part in.  And guess what?  I choose the good stuff!  Like Annette Lyon's latest book in her temple series, Tower of Strength.


In Stores Now!


It's just come out and it's good in all senses of the word.  But I'll be telling you more about the book another day (it requires its own post) but for now I'll just tell you that Annette's doing lots of celebrating and she's having a huge givaway bonanza (first time I've ever used that word.  Hopefully the last, too, although it is a great descriptor for this super awesome giveaway week)  Click those links to enter the giveaway!  But first check out this trailer for her book (I'd never heard of book trailers before this.  Cool!)


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weak

Thanks to my friend Sarah for inspiring today's post with this post of hers.
Twenty three years ago this month (I'm freaking out just writing that. Since when did I ever talk about twenty three years ago!) I was ten years old.  I had been at the Dentist with my mom and sister and two little brothers (we were known as the four little kids).  The two oldest boys, Jon and Adam and my oldest sister, Susan (known as the big kids) had stayed home doing some work around the house.  

We drove into the carport and I hopped out of our huge, olive green station wagon.  As everyone else piled out behind me, Su and Adam came rushing from around the side of the trailer.  They both starting jabbering frantically in high pitched tones.  Something had happened.  Dad had taken Jon to the hospital.  I didn't grasp what they were saying, I don't think, but as we followed them around the corner of the house we could see the blood dripped all over the path to the stairs leading up to the kitchen door.  The kitchen floor was also covered in blood.  There was no question where Jon had been.  

Eventually some of these details became apparent to me (not sure if I'm getting these right, but here's what I remember).  Dad and Jon had been working with the lawn mower.  I think there had been something wrong and they were going to turn it over, or lift it.  The blade hadn't stopped spinning and Jon had put his hand under the edge of one side to lift it.  And, bye-bye finger tips.  

Dad had rushed Jon into the house to care for him and asked Su to scour the yard for the rest of Jon's fingers and pick them up and bring them to him in a little towel.  (Lucky Su.)  He had to get that boy to the emergency room ASAP.  Not perfectly clear on the details here, but I've certainly pictured poor Su tip-toeing around the back yard in search of the finger fragments.  *shudder*

Once I had an idea of what had happened I remember running down the hallway to the avocado fixtured bathroom.  I shut and locked the door and I started bawling.  I kept thinking about how much I loved Jon.  I cried and cried until I could cry no more and then I just stared in the mirror.

This was the same mirror that I had stood before many times to do Bloody Mary.  You know, where you say Bloody Mary over and over and something is supposed to happen but never does?  Even at that time I recognized both the morbid similarity and the incongruousness of what I'd used this mirror for before and what I was feeling now.  After staring at my red puffy eyes for a minute I folded my arms and bowed my head and I spoke to Heavenly Father in the most sincere prayer of my life up until that point.  

I'm not sure what I thought would happen or what exactly I prayed for, but praying helped and I knew everything would be okay.  

It turns out only the very tips of the last three digits on his left hand had been cut and once they healed, the middle finger was the only one that you could even tell was missing a part (as they were unable to sew on what Su's search had produced).  
********
Like most mothers, I have often contemplated how I would react if something drastically dangerous happened to one of my kids.  Could I stay calm under pressure?  Could I comfort the child and take care of the injury in an intelligent way, all while dealing with my own freaking out?

Like most mothers, we've had a few good spills.  Nothing major, but some baaaad knee skinnings and that sort of thing.  I used to be quite good.  I could handle it very well.  Lately, though?  I'm not quite so good.  

My stomach totally does a flop when I even think about a serious injury.  David once knocked his front teeth pretty badly and they were all a little wiggly and bleeding.  While I was cleaning him up and checking things out I just felt ILL.  I was still good about the not freaking out and about the comforting etc. but my stomach did not handle it well, and it wasn't even an open wound! 

I just have a weak stomach.  I don't even handle the sight of blood well anymore which I NEVER thought I'd say.  Aren't you supposed to get more used to stuff like this instead of less?  

And it just makes me wonder how in the world my dad was feeling that day 23 years ago.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Q & A

Lara of Overstuffed interviewed me!  Well, not just me.  She'll interview you, too, if you want her to.  Here are my (rambling) answers to her questions:

1.  What has been your greatest accomplishment?  (Having children doesn't count:  I think of them as a work in progress that will someday be my greatest accomplishment...don't you?)
Accomplishment, eh?  Well, that word is kind of a tricky one for me.  It implies both a) starting and b) finishing something.  Frankly, I'm not all that great at either.  
I really don't know what to answer.  Oh, I know!  It's not having children in the sense of having a family, but having David and then Aaron naturally when I have a very low tolerance for pain was quite a feat (understatement of the world).  Although I admit I would never have done it if I'd had a choice.

2.  What is one thing people can appreciate about you?
Hmm, let's see.  I say what I mean.  You will never have to wonder if I'm just saying something to be nice, or in order not to offend someone.  Sometimes I don't say anything (rarely) but when I do say something it'll be something I really feel.  So I'd say "people can appreciate [that] about [me]".  Or they can hate it.
 
3.  What is your favorite comfort food, and what is your strongest memory tied to it?
Well, I find brownies to be rather comforting.  Apart from that, I really dig potatoes.  Not literally, of course.  I only ever get them already dug.  But I like 'em quite a lot.  We don't eat them all that often, though, as I just hate peeling them.  And I don't do the kind from a box of any sort.  So we eat a lot of pasta.  Not as good as potatoes, but still kind of comforting and muuuuuuuuch easier to prepare.  Oh, and when my tummy hurts I love mint tea.  That's comforting.  It's not a food, though.  Plus I already mentioned three comfort foods when one was only wanted.
 
Oh yes, and a memory tied to potatoes.  When I first got to Ricks College I thought, since I was in Idaho, I should learn to do stuff with potatoes.  I ate them at least once a day, usually just in the microwave mixed with sour cream and cheese.  Yummy.  I think I know why I put on a bajilli or 15.

4.  If you could meet anyone (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Sheesh!  I would have to think about this one for a week or two.  I'm not sure.  I really love the founding fathers (I know, generic answer) and I could stand to meet any of them.  Maybe Benjamin Franklin.  Or possibly Tadeusz KoĹ›ciuszko (not a founding father, but a close friend of Washington's.  Plus he's Polish and helped us win the Revolutionary War.  And my AP history teacher loved him, too).
 
5.  What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Butter, milk, cheese, yogurt, ketchup, mayonaise.  Okay, okay.  We usually have pickled herring, which is LOVED by all members of the family except for me (yes, even Aaron).  Because why in the world would you eat that stuff?  You look at those silver scales or whatever it is shimmering there, and you smell that sour, bitter smell then you rip and tear to get a piece off because it's tough (I think).  It's just gross, if you ask me.  But we don't have any of that in our fridge right now.  
One thing that we do have is 4 bags of carrots.  Like real carrots. You know the kind with the peel on and the place at the top where the greens came out?  Or have you forgottent that that's what a carrot is?  (Just kidding, I'm only making fun of American produce.  But really I'm just jealous that they don't have baby carrots in Poland.)  We always have/need carrots.  It's the go-to veggie if I don't have any other fresh vegetable to cook and serve with dinner.  I just grate it up on the little side of the grater, squeeze on a lemon and a bit of sugar: SALAD!  I know, lame.  Well, often we run out of carrots and the last 4 times I went to the store I forgot that we had neither a) run out, nor b) almost run out and I bought some anyway. Again and again and again.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do You Really Mean That?

I've been feeling quite nostalgic lately and I wanted to write about something from my past but every time I start pulling out memories I come up with things like this:

In kindergarten on Valentine's day my dearly beloved teacher (I really did think she was an angel) took us to the back of the room one at a time while everyone was coloring to help us "deliver" our Valentines to the correct little mailbox that we'd made a few days before and which now sat on the counter in the back. (can you say RUN-ON?)  We delivered all of mine and my teacher got very upset and started yelling at me, "What?  That's only 13.  Where are the rest of your Valentines?  How do you think those kids will feel who don't get a Valentine from you!?!  You HAVE to bring a Valentine for EVERY child!"  This rang through the entire, silent classroom.  

I'm pretty sure not ONE of the kids who didn't get a Valentine from me felt 1/100th as bad as I did after that.

Or this one:

On my first date at Ricks College, after a fun Hawaiian themed dinner, I went with a few couples to one of the empty buildings in the evening and we had some kind of race or scavenger hunt around the building (maybe it was hide and seek or something)  in three-legged form.  As in, my right leg was tied to the left leg of this guy that I really liked but hardly knew at all and we ran around the building up and down stairs etc.  For me at that point anything extremely hilarious + kind of embarrassing =ed disaster.  I peed my pants.  I pretended like I hadn't and when we all met up at the end I announced that I needed to go home for a second, and told my friend aside what had happened.

I ran home to change my clothes so we could go to get ice cream for the next part of the date.  While I was there the phone rang.  It was my dad.  He asked how I was doing and I told him that I was in the middle of this awesome date, except I was at home now changing my clothes because of this embarrassing happening.  He laughed and said, "It sounds like you're having a good time."  Then he tried his best to transition smoothly into giving me the news that my grandpa had just died.  My first grandparent to go.  

That was pretty bad.  And then when all of the people in our date group came to the apartment I learned that they all knew about my accident (Thanks Melissa!  Actually, I wasn't too embarrassed, since I'm really practical like that.  Who cares, right?)  For some weird reason I decided to go get ice cream with them anyway.  It was a bad idea because I sort of put a damper on everything.  My date totally endeared himself to me, though with his super awesome concern etc.  He was (and I'm sure still is) a really neat guy.

So, yeah.  That's why I'm not writing about things from my past today.  (Oh, wait. . . Whatever.)

Instead I'll write about something else I've been planning to write for a long time. COMPLIMENTS!!  

Do you have compliments from your past that stick in your mind.  Do you ever pull them out when you need a little boost?  Can you think of a few that really stand out?  

I can!   (I'm such a dork)

I'm going to share some of mine with you, and then I would LOVE to hear some of yours in the comments if you'll share.  If not (in which case: why not!?!) I encourage you to think about them for yourself at least, anyway.  Here they are, on subjects that I think we all get compliments on.

On Physical Appearance:  

Senior year of high school.  I came home for lunch before rushing off to work as always.  My mother was home alone, as usual, but she had a woman from our ward there working on her hair.  This woman was a beautician and her sister was a model and they were both sort of in the business.  When I came into the room she said, "Wow!  Have you ever thought about going into modeling?"  My mother responded with, "Oh, because of her long legs and slender frame?"  and the lady said, "Well, I was thinking mostly because of her eyes and teeth!"  (I was such a teenager to let this stick with me for so long)

On  Brains:

I had said something about how dumb I was (I don't do this anymore) and a friend leaned over to 2 year old Ewelina and said, "I'd love to be as dumb as your mom!"

And once when we were dating Greg said something about how you could tell that I was smart by how I spoke or something.  I had sort of thought of myself as a dumb blonde for some years, I think.

On Sense of Humor:

"You are a funny, funny girl."  Repeated often by the roommate that I most admired for how hilarious she was (is).

On Polish Language Skills:

This is two days ago:  "Sister Pawlik, you're a stud!"  (um, thanks?) This from a missionary after the meeting wherein I had shared my testimony.  He told me that he couldn't even understand half of what I said (he's been in Poland for like 4 months)  I assured him that none of the Poles could understand what I said either.  

So you see how easy I am to please.  Now tell me why YOU'RE so awesome.  (as if I don't already know)  Maybe yours will be less superficial than mine.  Maybe it is something you overheard someone saying about you (those are the best compliments, the ones you're not intended to hear).  Just tell me something! (please)  

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The List

This post is not going to be about The List by Melanie Jacobson, in case my title got you all excited.  Sorry about that.
When Anne, my 13 months-older-than-me-sister and I were young teenagers, we were always in the same Sunday School class for a year before she moved to the next class up and I stayed behind until we joined up again the next year.  We were a great little team of sassy but reverent, blonde know-it-alls.  We had our own clever answers to the teachers questions.  One of these (and, fine, the only one I can remember and possibly the only one we had) was really the answer to pretty much every question.  We would just answer by saying, "The List."

The List goes something like this (mine and Anne's; not Melanie's):
Read the scriptures
Say personal prayers
Keep the commandments
Go to church
Pay tithing
etc.
etc.

Last weekend we had a District Conference.  The mission president's wife asked me if I'd like to give a five minute testimony during the sister's meeting.  I said yes.  I was thinking, "Five minutes is pretty long, I'd better come up with a theme or something for my testimony."  I thought about it and tried to figure out how to be in tune with the Spirit, but didn't have any big revelation or anything.  While drying my hair that morning I thought that maybe I would just talk about "The List"  (mine and Anne's; not Melanie's)  How boring and generic, I thought.  But also how exceedingly important.  I asked Greg how you would say "smart-alecks" in the plural feminine (I know the word, of course, (I'm a mother),  but am not in the habit of putting it in the plural feminine)  Evie helped me with this too.

During the women's meeting first the visiting authority's awesome wife spoke.  I was busy with kids for her talk and much of the rest of the meeting and so I missed quite a lot of it, but things calmed down toward the end and I was able to listen to the end of the mission president's wife's talk.  She was talking about the basic things that bring us closer to our Father, reading our scriptures, daily prayer etc.  I was thinking, "Hey!  Will you listen to that!"  Then at the end she added her testimony to the visiting authority's wife  about how important it is for us, among other things, to be doing those basic things.  She ended and it was my turn.

We were all seated in a huge circle and it was so nice to look around at everyone while I spoke.  (and to have Aaron run to me across the length of the circle , or its diameter or whatever, exactly at the moment I mentioned how much I love my kids/being a mom) I talked about the list and how, even though my sister and I were being slightly sassy when we answered with it, it did give us an idea of just how important those things really are.  I said that over the years I have really learned by experience how much happier my life is and how much better things work out when I am keeping up with the things on that list, and that I know that they really are of the utmost importance.  And I said that I know for sure that this is the message that Heavenly Father had for this room full of his daughters, and that it meant that it is the time to reevaluate how we're doing on those things.

Evie's face was lit up the whole time.  She was smiling at me and nodding every now and again.  I've never seen her so attentive.  As I walked back to my seat by her she jumped up and gave me a hug (just like in the movies, except that we're not really like that.  This was actually very spontaneous).  I think when she heard me mention about Anne and me being smart alecks she realized that I really had been planning to speak about the same thing the other women had spoken about and it was a sort of spiritual experience for her.

So why am I telling you this?  Because I wanted to tell you about the list and then I kept typing and typing.  So there you have it. 
P.S.  Melanie's The List isn't actually a book yet.  It's still in it's manuscriptory stage.  But it will be a book.  Oh yes, it will be.  :)