Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This goes out to . . .

Do you remember the '80s? Seriously? Wow, you must be as old as I am. Sorry about that.

Anyway, the '80s were big on dedication nights on the radio. (If you don't remember the '80s, a radio is an old-fashioned device for getting music to your ears. Sort of like an MP3 player, but with an electrical cord, and the programming was done for you by guys in loud plaid suits and with no discernible taste. Just a little archeo-techno info for your more enlightened generation.) Dedication nights were entire evenings set aside so those bold/crazy enough to call in could proclaim their love/lust publicly and forever immortalize the object of their love/stalking in one song--thereby ruining certain classic tunes for those who found themselves dedicated to by someone they couldn't stand in the first place, "totally loved forever" but then later broke up with, or eventually had to get a restraining order against. (Il Roberto has a great story about dedication nights up at Ricks College [of Beauty and Automotive Repair]--sorry, private joke! Ask him sometime about it. Just be prepared to groan.) I used to listen to those dedications--knowing full well nobody ever was going to be daft enough to put themselves on the radio to dedicate "Forever Young" to me. (It seemed like a tragedy then, but now it's a major relief. How times and perceptions change.)

Amazingly (and completely unnecessarily), the '80s are making a MAJOR resurgence--hideous clothes everywhere!--so I thought I'd bring back the art of the dedication, but update it a bit for the digital generation. Thus, my dedications are not lame songs on an archaic analog technology, but fabulous full-color videos on your computer screen.


For el Jefe:

For Maya:

For Gina:

For Kate:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What are you doing at 10:14 p.m.? Are you heating milk to make yogurt? 'Cause I am, and if you are, too, we could be buddies in lunacy.

I've been waiting now for an eternity, it seems. It takes a while for the milk to reach 180 degrees--45 minutes so far, because I really hate it when the milk scorches, so I do this s-l-o-o-o-o-w-l-y--and then it takes a double eternity for it to cool to 115 degrees before I can add the culture. (Hey, if something has to be 115 degrees before it can have culture, then the Beautiful Desert Southwest is the best-cultured place on earth! Just a little desert humor for you there. Very little.) So I'm looking at a long sit here in front of the computer while the seconds tick by.

I wasn't planning on doing the eternity thing tonight. I was planning to read a little--some thing nice and literarily murderous, nothing too serious--but then I read something that struck the fear of breakfast into me: the weekly meal menu.

Somehow I had developed the insane notion that making blueberry coffee cake--and, yes, I know I will have to explain to my kids, again, that this particular carb-fest does not violate the Word of Wisdom. It just shatters the hope for balanced blood sugar.--for our morning meal tomorrow. Great idea. As long as someone else does the baking. But when I ask if there are any volunteers to take on the task, only the crickets respond. So it's me mixing up the batter and greasing the pans. And stupid me, I chose a recipe that sounded yummy. Which wouldn't be too bad, except that I'm sure most of the yumminess is due to the inclusion of sour cream in the batter. And--I'm sure I've mentioned this before--I'm cheap. And sour cream is expensive. So I substitute plain yogurt for sour cream. And I'm too cheap to buy yogurt. So here I sit, waiting for the stupid milk to come down off its frigid high horse and just warm up a little, darn it! Cause and effect really stinks at this moment.

Sigh. 175 degrees. Five more to go.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Whew--the first semi-week of school is nearly over. (And, boy, doesn't that sentence reveal how much of a wimp I am? Whining after only two days of school. How do I survive whole months? That, friends, is the ultimate mystery of the universe!) We've made it through multiple Meet-the-Teachers (kids in three different schools!!!!!!!!), a multi-day high school registration experience (a BIG Thank You to the helpful staff at, dare I admit it?, Mesa High), and the truly frightening thrill of sending my teeny-tiny kindergartner off to school in a big yellow school bus. Again I say with complete sincerity, "Whew!"

And have I mentioned that it has been a little warm lately--just to add to the overall experience?

I've had a lot on my plate lately (can't seem to kick that anxiety eating habit. Some day they'll make me into one of those scare-you-straight PSAs: "This is you. This is you on anxiety-induced nachos. Any questions?"), but what keeps coming to me--in the moments when I can take a second to actually think lucidly--is that courage is a rare and wonderful thing. I saw it in the child who thinks she's in charge, who was determined to ride the bus--the only one on at the first stop. She was one weensy morsel of humanity in all that diesel-powered empty space headed into the unknown. Her mom, sad to say, was not nearly so courageous and spent most of the day praying no one messed with her daughter, 'cause then she'd have to go all momma-bear on someone, and I've never had to do that before.

Another one of the people who has the ability to ignore the fear is our foreign exchange student, Sunny. How many of you would have been willing to leave your home country and language for a full school year in high school, to travel half-way round the globe to live with a family you'd never met, to go to a school where no one understands what you're saying when you stub your toe, where you know no one? Strange place. Strange food. Strange(r than some) family. There's no way I could have done it: it takes guts, and I break a cold sweat just contemplating calling people I know on the phone. But this sweetie dared to leave everything normal behind, with only two suitcases of familiarity in tow. She took a chance on adventure and experience--she risked a lot with no guarantee of anything. Plus, she does it with a smile! Wow. I am totally bowled over. (And she hasn't even cried over the fact that we live in God's own toaster oven. Guts, I tell you)

She's amazing. And when I grow up I want to be like her.