Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not-A-Mommy Blogger

While I was running my big new technology conference this year, I met the founders of Mommy Bloggers. They were very sweet ladies, and encouraged me to join the movement. I frankly said, "Well, that won't work. I have no children." For perhaps the first time in their mommy-blogging lives, the realization hit them that the very name of their movement was not all-inclusive.

I didn't feel badly about this exclusion from the mommy blogging circle, nor did I dwell on that fact. I didn't start blogging because I was a mommy, nor I didn't start blogging because I couldn't have children. I started blogging because I love to write.

I say this with no (NO) criticism toward mommy bloggers. I think the majority of humans believe that motherhood is noble and necessary, and good grief, where would the world be without the careful production of human beings? It's a critical (non-optional) industry that requires great time, effort, and frankly, we have all benefited from the production of a quality human being and have suffered at the production of a damaged, broken human being.

I don't believe that day care facilities can ever come anywhere close to the watchful eyes of an invested mother. Who cares whether the children came out of her body or not! I obviously don't believe that motherhood is merely defined by getting a swollen belly and laboring for several hours either. The real labor comes in the development of that child.

While I deem the efforts of mommy bloggers noble and commendable, it will not be the sole topic of my blog. I own little birds, and I do write about them. I am married and I write about my prince charming without apology. I will eventually have two little humans to care for, and I am sure I will write about them. I will write about anything that I deem beautiful and interesting and intriguing just like I do now, seasoned and marinated in my unique mix of tasty words and spicy opinions.

I guess I just wanted to make that clear.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unter der Linde

One of my favorite German poems is Unter der Linde. Whenever I hear someone describe the German language as "ugly" or "harsh," I muse at their ignorance, for they have never read the words of Walther von der Vogelweide, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, or Eichendorff.

The poem, written by minstrel Vogelweide, describes an interchange between two lovers beneath a Linden tree, espied only by a "little bird" hidden within its branches. The "little bird" referenced Vogelweide himself; the German word for bird being "Vogel."
On these beautiful early summer evenings, we frequently toss a blanket on the grass under one of the apple trees. Our Penny purrs in delight as we set her amidst the branches, where she deems it her sworn duty to hastily clear every branch of leaves in rapid-fire succession. We lie on the blanket amidst a shower of leaves while Kawi transforms into that angel we knew in times past, begging for a head scratch, eager to learn a new word or song.
Occasionally Kawi musters up the confidence to sit aloft among the branches with Penny, crying for backup when one too many doves or sparrows flies in for closer inspection. For the most part, they are quite content as long as they can keep an eye on us, the lovers Under der Linde.

Friday, June 24, 2011

On Pre-Motherhood

When you have waited as long as I have to have children, even 16 diapers a day sounds like a reasonable way to spend your time. You cherish things like morning sickness because you just feel so lucky to experience it at all. You cherish every little step along the way, and think, if I only ever get to hear that heart beating and then it all goes awry, I will count myself immensely blessed. You look at those tiny faces and recognize something familiar. You promise yourself that any tragedy to follow will be worth these precious moments of watching tiny hands lifted to tiny faces and tiny legs kicking wildly inside of you. 

You count every step, every ache, every 30th trip to the bathroom a blessing because you don't know how it will all turn out, and you don't know if you will ever travel this road. You look at your swelling body and love it, you listen to your asthmatic breathing and embrace it. You are in awe that you get to even experience for a moment this wistful dream that so many take for granted. You choose it all, you embrace it, you cherish it. It isn't a burden; it's an honor. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ahem. I have something important to say... via Text Message:

Chivalrous C has never left the toilet seats up in our house, but now he has started closing the lids as well. I am not sure if he is concerned about alligators climbing out of them, or two little curious birds trying to take baths in them...

The most important news should always arrive via Text Message, didn't ya know? 
Texts between C and his mom:

C: We are pregnant.
K: April fools? 
C: Nope, it's not April 1st.
K: Can you tell that I'm always guarded?
C: I don't blame you.  But this is fo real.  I put it on Jesus!:)
K: Well that's just about the best news since I was engaged to S!
C: Yea!  We are very happy. But A and I are only telling grandma and spouse.  We believe we are only a few weeks along and have an apt to check heart beat etc in a couple of weeks.  Once we are there we will let everyone know!:) Just don't want to jump the gun, ya know.  So please no calls, facebook, etc. for now. :)
K: Way to go JESUS! We've prayed a lot too. Must have been the Primary calling. Our entire presidency was preg at the same time. Pres had twins. 
C: Jesus is cool. Thx for the prayers. Now we pray for health!
K: You got it!  Just more prayers.  WOW!
C:  Crap, now I have to be responsible and stuff.
K: Ha ha ha! Bout time you have your own to worry about!
C:  Just happy to have someone to mow the lawn.  I'll start him/her early.  Years to make up!:) Prob need to put a booster on the mower.
K:  Give A a big hug for us and take good care of her.  Good timing for Mom's Day!
C:  Ok will do.  I'll keep you posted.  As soon as we know I'll let you know.  Thx.  Love you.
K:  You'll be the booster.
C: :)
K:  Love you too.  Good night.  FINALLY A GRANDKID IN [State where we live]!!!

  • 3 months shy of 12 years trying.
  • One big belly that will get MUCH bigger.
  • 2 little squirrely peaches in a basket with long skinny legs.
  • 2 very grateful parents who never gave up hope, and a whole bunch of other happy people to boot. 
  • 1 grandpa who wasn't allowed to tell anyone for the past month, so he shouted out of the car window on the freeway, "I'm gonna be a grandpa of TWINS!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Please Fasten Your Seatbelts...

You arrive at the airport with thirty minutes prior to boarding rather than the proposed 60-90 minutes because you have failed to take into account the hoards of summer vacationers who will be flying with you. The security line stretches almost all of the way to the outside doors, but you jump in the shorter line with peace in your heart that it is the right one. Fortunately you were right, but the couple standing in the line next to you suddenly realizes that the line they have been standing in for 20 minutes is the wrong line and the frustrated woman cries, "I hate my horrible life!" with all of the gusto her drama queen self can muster. Golden-ticket holders whiz past to the front of the line carrying car seats and little ones, passing even the preferred business travelers. 

As you approach the TSA agent, you whip out your electronic ticket, conveniently located on your smart phone which the agent scans while you eye the lines to see which one you may get into to avoid the full-body scanner. Alas, the line ahead includes the metal detector only. You divide shoes and laptop into bins beside your minimalist luggage, and in moments you are on your way, but the man in front of you left one of his bags on the belt and has to go through the entire process twice. 

At the gate, you ask for an emergency seat for the extra legroom, only to later realize that the commuter plane you are on has treated every seat on the plane fairly, and your hopes for extra space are diminished. As you board, you hope that you will not have the honor of sitting beside IOUSes nor IOUSSes. As with ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size, as per Princess Bride), IOUSes (ndividuals of Unusual Size) does not refer to weight or health status, rather to the fact that the individual beside you exceeds the space limitations that some tiny little human likely defined as the "normal" seat size that should accommodate every human being on the earth. Oddly, this same person also determined that if you have the ability to pay for your ticket twice, you require significantly more space, because we all should know that those who have no money should somehow be much smaller than those who have money to spare. 

IOUSSes can double in meaning to define Individuals of Unusually Sickly Status, or Individuals of Unusually Strong Scent. While my quest for pure charity should one day diminish my awareness of IOUSes and IOUSSes, somehow my mortally flawed self is keenly aware of their existence at present. 

Taking your seat on the plane, you are presented in the front seat pocket with a magazine containing everything your heart has never ever desired. These exorbitantly priced items under any other circumstances would never find their way onto a weekly shopping list . However, somewhere between the moment you up open the magazine and the moment you land, your mind has determined that one or more of these items are essential, yea, even critical to obtain, and have somehow morphed into items worthy of the absurdly high prices attached to them.

Some even go so far as to tear a page out of the magazine despite the fact that the cover clearly reads "Take this with you. We'll replace it." The even more mysterious part lies in the fact that as soon as you've raised your body out of the seat to proceed off of the plane, you immediately forget the urgency of purchasing said item despite the fact that you have a torn remnant of a magazine in your shirt pocket.

If you are fortunate, you will have the pleasure of meeting colorful individuals like the Maverick Mom, a young new mother who announced to the world her maternal paternity with gusto: 

While waiting to board the plane the Maverick Mom proudly spread out her motherhood paraphernalia: a baby book complete with a sheet of notes detailing how she would implement her newfound knowledge, a breast pump, a picture of her baby, and a phonecall that identified her as the mother of a young child who was much to young to understand her as she explained that she was coming home today. 

I sat down on the plane and pulled out the Economist for some enlightened reading as the flight attendant buttoned down the overhead bins with her beauty pageant smile and grace. I glanced toward the woman sitting across the aisle to my left, curious to see if she would continue to ostentatiously broadcast her motherly status to those who may have missed this fact while sitting in the waiting area. 

The flight attendant had just announced that all electronics should be stowed, and walked through to verify that her instructions were followed. She innocently walked up to the mom, and asked the woman what the electronic device on her lap was. I could read the writing on the wall several moments before the lovely young attendant approached the woman. "It's a breast pump," the maverick mother declared as every man within earshot turned shamelessly to stare for the remainder of the conversation.

"Is it an electronic device?" asked the ill-informed attendant, oblivious to the attention she had recruited. The mother said that it was, and was encouraged to stow the item. The mother then asked if she could use it once in the air, to which the attendant replied that she could without a single disruption of her pageant smile. Once in the air, maverick mom whipped out said pump and pumped away while indiscreet men tried to catch a glimpse of this unique spectacle. She came prepared with a cover cloth, but this did not deter prying eyes. 

The poor man beside her was obviously uncomfortable and smashed himself against the window while he tried to bury his eyes in a book as she covered and uncovered, tucked and adjusted, kicked her head back and sighed loudly. Kudos to her for her boldness, I say. I have no actual reference point, so I cannot speak expertly on this, but would assume that this very short flight likely did not merit this in-flight process that could have reasonably preceded or followed the flight. Still, the mother was undaunted in her valiant oath to La Leche League (which really teaches that when you have the baby WITH you, you shouldn't let the poor darling starve, but to each her own).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mormon Sexting

I am going to admit it. I am kind of annoyed with Facebook. I only signed up for work networking purposes, but it is like the camel who started with his nose in the tent and gradually creeps in tip-to-tail. During my time off I have been vacationing from Facebook, mainly because I don't really find it something I want to do when I have time off.

A few days ago, I received a text message from C. The conversation went something like this:

Day 1, Mormon Sexting:
C: Sexting...
A: ?
C: I'm just sexting you. I hear it's all the rage. Enjoy! Sexting...
A: Right. I have an inkling, my lord, that you are supposed to do something more than text the word "Sexting," but I'll let you know when I figure it out.
C: ;)
A: Bean n cheese burrito with green sauce @ Del Taco hit the spot!!!
C: Nice! You make me hungry.
A: I can do better than that. $.99 baby! Soft, fresh tortillas, smooth beans, perfect texture with sweet melted cheese... A hint of spice from the green sauce...
C: You should work for Del Taco!

Day 2, Mormon Sexting:
A: Took the big lasagne to the Williams.
C: :-o
A: Just when you think you have a big lasagne, your wife up and gives it away!!!

Day 3, Mormon Sexting:
A: Missing my hot sexy man already. Can't wait to spend time with you! [X-men tonight, baby!]
C: You're so cute!
A: awe, shucks! Blush.
C: This is called, Mormon sexting! Cutie pie!
A: Costco has fresh copper river salmon!!! And cherries, so I am a happy girl!
C: Yes! Fish is good, hot stuff (more sexting). Only a few more hours until movie time my peaches and cream! (Sexting)
A: Can't wait for all of that action, baby! [X-men] See you in two hrs or less! Salmon and melon balls will be waiting, my hard working man! (sexting)

If you still don't get it, go find a Mormon and talk to them for a while. It won't take long to figure it out. Oh, and in case you were wondering, X-Men was very well done. The development of the characters and plot was very well executed with depth, and holy cow, did Kevin Bacon (?!) do a great job! While X-Men movies are never without their share of violence, the only blood I think you see is at the very end. They hit all of the "loose ends" like how Xavier winds up in a wheel chair, and how Mystique winds up with such loyalty to Magneto.

Do I totally sound like an X-Men nerd? Yeah, I guess I am. There are very few fictional genres out there that inject depth into their characters. Examples of shallow characters? Twilight and Harry Potter immediately come to mind. They do sort of a glossed-over shallow dip into their character's past that gives the illusion of depth, but if you try to search for a multifaceted dynamic within those individuals that allows you to look deep into their hearts and minds, you simply won't find it.

Perhaps it is the fact that rather than allegorical writing, X-Men utilizes historical events like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Holocaust and weaves the characters into these events to develop a sense of grounding despite the obvious disparity between reality and fiction. Tolkien did the same thing, only he wrote the entirety of the historical setting on his own over the span of many years. It allowed the characters to reach deep into the past and allowed Tolkien to journey for many years in his imaginary world while captivating readers young and old through story and song.

And thus ends my passionate discourse on well-written fiction. Adieu.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Come to Zions, Come to Zions...


Life is sweet. There are some stretches of the journey when you just wonder how you managed to get to this point, with all of its glorious vistas and unmeasurable joys. "We are going to be the cutest old couple, with little witty jabs here and there." C said as we ascended the 75 degree four mile incline. There are few things that C says make me completely melt inside with happiness, but this one did. We laughed our way to the top of some of the most difficult climbs in Zions National Park, me somewhat breathless, but glad I had made the effort.
The first time we climbed Angel's Landing years ago, C looked out over the blade of stone we would bridge to the other side, clung tightly to me and said, "Don't fall! I don't want to lose you!" I think I laughed, not because I didn't appreciate his tenderness, but because his fear of heights suddenly revealed his over-protective side. My brazen fearlessness of heights will no doubt be answered with me someday having a child just like me, scrambling on sandstone at age five, and climbing anything within sight long before that.
Since that first Angel's Landing ascent, C has climbed it several times, and has courageously stared his fear of heights in the eye on countless occasions. "But I wouldn't have done all of those things if it wasn't for you!" He told me on this trip. Once again, I had to gather my puddle-like self off of the ground. Wow. When did he get so good at turning me into mush?
At the top of one climb, we enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat that I had made before we left, and on the next climb we dined on Breton wheat crackers with crisp Braeburn apples and Jamaican No Woman cheese. What is it about long, exhausting climbs that makes you think that meal at the top is the best food you have eaten in your entire life?

I wish I could remember all of the funny things C said and did along the way. He made fun of my need to stay well abreast of those dorky hikers who use ski poles on cement trails. CLANK, CLANK, CLANK, echoing through wind-sculpted canyons of pink and white sandstone. Who wants to hear that in a breathtaking place like Zions? Could that kind of frustration be defined as trail rage, or just a purist mentality?
My big toes (clad in my cute minimalist Merrells shoes) started to blister near the end of Observation Point (8 miles, ~75% grade), and C was my hero. I was so worn out, but he kept me going despite my kamikaze attempts to run down the mountain the rest of the way just to make the last few switchbacks go by faster.
I was so impressed that with such a large number of visitors, beautiful flowers and cacti grew around or even right on the trails! My deepest admiration to the many respectful visitors from around the world who enjoyed the park without leaving their mark behind! Okay, that respect was then challenged on our final hike, the upper Emerald Pools...
Quiz: Which of the following did C&A observe on their way to the upper Emerald Pools?
A. A little boy proudly showing off his kidnapped blue-belly lizard, oblivious to the $150.00 fine attached to it.
B. A little girl pouting because her grandma did not appreciate the illegal bouquet of wildflowers she had picked for her.
C. A mature gentle(?) man who crossed the forbidden barrier at middle Emerald Pool.
D. A troop of little girls with mud streaked on their faces like warpaint who proudly declared, "We're CANADIANS!!!"
E. A man peeing in the bushes just before a group of kiddies rounded the corner.
F. A Park Ranger on the trail who may or may not have encountered the little boy with the lizard.
G. A woman stumbling around on the trail as if she'd had WAY too much to drink.
H. A woman walking the trails with her unleashed dog who then fibbed to the shuttle driver to get the dog on the shuttle bus.
I. A little boy proudly declaring that there were frogs that sounded like goats just up ahead.
J. A bunch of frogs that really DID sound like goats.
K. C&A saw all of the above, and every item listed above C&A saw along the way was done by Americans, minus the boy who informed them about the goat-frogs. What is it about those Americans?

I will leave you with this last memento:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Today was my last day at work. I say last day, but it's more like last 24 hours at work, considering that I was up most of the night transferring files, and then came home AFTER my last day of work to put the finishing touches on the business plan, but tonight at 9 PM I sent off the business plan and was truly finished! Earlier when I left work I stopped to see my cuddle-buddy at his job. I think his laugh is the most wonderful thing in the world. I just keep falling in love with that guy and I can't get up!

Oh, the bliss. My little birdies took a nap with me when I came home before I dragged out my computer long enough to finish the BP. I was hoping to finish before C arrived home because I knew I would get scolded. "You are STILL working, and I HUGGED YOU?" Shame on me, but I feel done now, which is the most important part. I now have this time, precious time to be FREE! I must be careful with it, or else it will vanish in no time and I will be working once again.

I feel so happy, despite my obvious insomnia at the moment. I never thought I would get through all of that work. And that's all I am going to say about that.

What's next, you ask? To avoid becoming a work-a-holic at my next job is what. Balance, harmony, all of that kind of thing. So I bet you are wondering why I am awake at 2 AM? Dr. Pepper is what. I have this grand old headache, and can you believe that the Doc prescribed a caffeinated cola? True story. What was I thinking. The headache is better, however.

This weekend we visited my grandparents and great-grandparents graves. I know Memorial Day is just another holiday for some, but we really do try to use it as intended, even if many of our interred relatives are far away. I love visiting that cemetery because Western Tanagers swarm like bees in the huge pine trees overhead. It's like a little piece of eternity to see so many of these rare beauties in one place. Of course I have told C that should I die before him, I would send a yellow bird to let him know I was not too far away.

Tomorrow I think I will begin adding photos again, or at least in my next post. I just needed to mourn the loss of my photo space on blogger. I guess that's what happens when you have a photo food blog, a regular blog, and a photo fun blog all under one username. That space gets eaten up pretty quickly.

Can you believe it? I am taking a vacation and don't have any work assignments to think about! What glorious things could I awake in this imaginative mind of mine? I think of all of the books I could work on... decisions, decisions... Darn. Still not tired. I could:

A. Go lie in bed until C wakes up and tells me that I am thinking too loudly.
B. Play an hour long puzzle game on
C. Work on my church talk.
D. Write in my journal all of the top secret things that I can't say here.
E. File paperwork in my home office.

I guess cleaning the house right now is out of the question, lest I wake bird and beloved. "C" probably has the best shot at lulling me back to sleep, but hopefully I won't lull everyone else to sleep with my talk. Tomorrow the fun begins.

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