Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Still Here, World

In which Stuff Happens, and i don’t write much about it.

              Just reporting in to let you know I’m still alive.  With the warmth and green of summer beckoning me outdoors so constantly, I find that I have little inclination to sit down and write.  I am busy cooking, cleaning, and mothering.  I have begun many new adventures in the art of bread/pasta/yoghurt/rice milk making.  Successes all.  Additionally, I have finally mastered—no, conquered—the art of the seed sprout, after many failed attempts.  It turns out that my wheat berries were bad, or unsproutable anyway.  If any of you out there are interested in such random acts of healthiness, I highly suggest you look into this.  They don’t take a lot of effort once you get the hang of it.  And they are so tasty and healthy—way better than a multi-vitamin.  If I remember, I’ll come back to this topic in later days.
              In my gardening adventures I find myself wondering more and more why I felt the need to try this tomato thing so much—they aren’t happy being almost rained to death here in good old Anchorage.  Part of the problem may be that as I ruminate on the immanent failure of my tomatoes, I end up looking right over their unhappy shaggy shoulders and my glance falls directly on the most beautiful spinach, bok choy, kale, and broccoli leaves.  They are lush, full, healthy, and thriving.  Thank goodness.  It does make me feel better about the whole nearly-dead tomato thing.
              And, my child is suddenly a playground prodigy.  Today she managed a ladder, went down a tall curly slide, and climbed up the side of a jungle gym, all while wearing the girly dress she insisted on today.  When I caught her (gently) dumping rocks onto the head of the little boy who taught her all of these impressive moves, I was almost proud.  She’s actually acting like a normal 2 year old at the playground!  Maybe—just maybe—her days of whiny, tantrum, hold onto Mom’s legs days are over!  Not that I want her to throw rocks at other kids, exactly.
              Also, here are some more impressive photos of the wildlife at Denali:

Tolkat bears: the only place where they come as  true blondes.  Notice that spring had only just arrived by the end of May.

 I know.  Bad joke.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to NOT Potty-train Your Child

In which our Heroine’s Child defecates in her Bathwater. 

              Over the past month I have gotten into the lamentable habit of letting my child sit in the bathtub every morning for 30-40 minutes.  During these coveted few moments I turn into a whirlwind of motion.  I start laundry, do the dishes, make bread, sweep, vacuum, or any number of activities that are easier without Eva’s help.  This works for me because Eva greatly dislikes getting her head wet, so I can trust that drowning won’t come easily.  Besides, I stay nearby.  During my convalescence last fall, my mother taught me the free-babysitting bathtub trick, to which I have directed many a grateful thought. 
              Or, maybe not so “free.”  Moral: there is always a price to pay. 
              I was happily folding laundry when my child began screaming “Poopy, poopy, poopy,” at the top of her lungs.  Sudden visions of the worst burst into my mind as I sprinted up the steep half-flight of stairs.  Sure enough, it was everywhere.  Well, everywhere in the water anyway.  First thought: “That’s a lot of poop.  Does she do this normally?  How does it all fit in her diaper?”  Second thought: “I hate cleaning the tub.”  And then, surely one of the most ironic dilemmas in the history of mankind: Where do I put my unsanitary child while I sanitize the unsanitary bathtub that should be used to (you guessed it) sanitize said child.  Later I would wonder which toys were actually in the tub at the time of defecation, and which she tried to save and put away in the basket herself (because she is the kind of child who would). 
              Eva was fascinated by actually seeing her poop in action for once.  She was also (thankfully) repulsed by it and understood that playing with it was NOT desirable.  Perhaps she noticed the putrid smell emanating from the warm waters.  I certainly did.  My sense of smell is particularly acute due to the whole tumor-in-head thing.  Eva’s been interested in toilets for a long time.  The signs are there—I need to get going on this potty-training excercise.  There’s a problem, though.  I have no idea how to actually do it.  Also, I have a lot of diapers still (darn Costco box!)  Oh—and the under-developed, adolescent part of myself has manifested, and I don’t want to.  Of course, another part of me is reminded that I’ll be cleaning up a lot more excrement in the end if I don’t suffer the inevitable. 
              Hats off to my sister-in-law Michelle, who once tried to bathe her three children all at the same time in my puny college apartment’s bathtub.  My terrible memory may be embellishing a few details, but here’s what I remember.  Eli’s tattle-tale voice: “Mom! McKinley just pooped in the bathtub!” and Logan’s accompanying “Eww!”  And from small McKinley, a giggle.  Poor Michelle.  She has recently written on Facebook that she is finally done with diapers, after a combined total of ten and a half years.  Again, the moral: There is always a price to pay.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Birthday Girl

In which our Heroine turns Thirty. 

              I will confess that most of the time, the wishes I make as I blow out the candles are quickly made up, ill-thought out, and fairly useless.  They are split-second decisions that will probably have no bearing on my life, so I just go through the motions.  This year, as I focused on the single candle aglow atop my sprinkled cupcake, I decided to make a real wish.  I wanted it to be one that mattered and that would have some kind of magical power in changing my life for the better.  Perhaps it was the 15 primary-aged children who surrounded me at our ward’s park day that brought on my sudden belief in the enduring magical powers of a cheap candle, perhaps it was the bright sun, or maybe it was the kindness of my friends in providing me with a sugary reason to celebrate.  Whatever the case, I threw my birthday wish out into the wind, “Let this year be full of good health and happy moments.”  Well, more or less, since I was thinking less in words and more in emotions: a big bubble of happiness rising around me and my cupcake.
Dear Self,
Good job on making it through a rough year.  It was tough at times, but you're a trooper. 
P.S. I think you’re swell.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Food and a View

In which our Lady finally continues her Account of Denali. 

              Ah, Denali.  I find myself thinking of you here in Anchorage on this cold cloudy day…
              Jon’s dad, Clyde, was good enough to do the driving and provide the camping gear.  Camping is pretty cheap if you can mooch off of someone with bigger, better stuff than you’ve ever before seen.  I had a real eyeful on this trip.  And by the way, my side of the family’s idea of camping involves bringing an inadequate sleeping bag, a small tent, and a fishing pole.  Feeling cold in the middle of the night?  Tough.  Need food?  Go catch it!  Bait’s bad?  Guess you’ll have to starve.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a little—although the near starvation thing did happen that one time in what I can only assume was someone’s badly timed bait joke.  But Clyde has the works: cots, cooking utensils of all sizes and shapes, a travel size bag of spices, a little gas heater for your tent, etc…  Before Alaska I didn’t even know that people had special hiking shoes just to keep out water, and that they sold special pants just for camping—although I had figured out by that point that camping in jeans could be a miserably wet experience.  I am a creature of comfort, after all. 
              So anyway, I am starting to get into this over-the-top camping thing.  I packed like a refugee, especially when it came to food.  I bought some thinly sliced steaks and marinated them in a sauce made from ranch dressing, 2 tomatillos, and a bunch of cilantro, all blended up together before we left home.  I also sautéed some onions and green peppers to lay on top of said exquisite steak.  Here are a couple of photos:

              But the grand finale was my banana s’more:

              Getting back to Clyde: he’s also handy as a tour guide as he’s one of those few people who have actually climbed Mt. McKinley.  It’s interesting to see that white part of the mountain as “glacier that we had to climb up, roped to each other…”  Although, in my opinion, a few more “I almost died right there on that ridge!” sentences might really spice up the story of the great McKinley boy scout trip—legendary in our Stake here in Anchorage.  Apparently, though, Clyde didn’t know you could see the side of McKinley from where we were in Denali park, because it’s usually so cloudy on the peak.  Here’s McKinley with at least a few of the usual clouds from the usual viewing area:

And one from the back:

              For being a point and shoot camera, my zoom is awesome.  Too bad I don’t really know how to use the thing to get the lighting right…