Monday, August 24, 2009

The Marriage of True Minds

I can't believe I'm going to be this sappy in front of so many people. Oh, well. It is what it is.

I had this theory when I was young (and thinking about love) that for a marriage to succeed, those who entered into it had to be opposites: that on a big continuum of qualities and characteristics, each partner needed to be equidistant from the center line. This was largely based on observations of my parents, a definite marital success story, but by no means the only type. My mom is intense and expressive and passionate and (don't get mad, Mom) a bit of a reactionary and full of bluster. My dad only raises his voice to call the dog in, takes everything in stride, never gets ruffled, and, if I'm being honest, has a lot less to say than my mom does. This also means my dad is a bit oblivious to many of the little things that go on in a marriage, but never misses when it comes to the really big, really important parts. They were, individually and together, excellent examples for me as I was growing up, observing, and formulating my own ideas about what a truly committed partnership should be like.

When I was a teenager, I vividly remember watching some sappy, sad tv movie with my mom and my sister. They both cried through all the appropriate parts of the show, and while I could understand why they were moved, and I could have told you that it was sad, I did not react with the same level of emotion. It was always like this. I thought I was missing something, like part of my girl-genes were not plugged in the way they should be. It wasn't that I didn't feel things intensely -- I have always felt personal feelings and experiences with great intensity and passion -- but when it came to other people, or depictions of other people designed to evoke emotion, I still, somehow, remained detached, with rare exception. This makes me sound cold. Maybe I was -- engaged in my own life, but standing apart from everyone else's. Then, I could have waxed poetic for hours about a Dvorak symphony, and was frequently reduced to tears by a musical experience; I dove head-first into literature and identified acutely with the works and characters of the masters; but I was, to say the least, intense, more than a little self-centered and seriously lacking in the empathy/sympathy departments.

I don't honestly know how my family tolerated me.

I've already written The True Story of CPod and InkMom. Go read it if you haven't yet. It was fun to write, because I got to remember all the fun parts of dating and courtship. And while all the fun parts are an important part of the story, probably the best part, they barely scratch the surface of the changes that I underwent when I met this man.

Suddenly, I cried. At stuff I wouldn't have cried over before. I remember coming home for Christmas that year, getting teary-eyed over a vacuum commercial, and wondering what was wrong with me.

It's taken me a while to realize what happened, what strange power CPod held over my emotional self. But I think I've finally figured it out. For the first time in my life, I was thinking more about someone else than I was about myself. And it opened this door into . . . reality. I walked through it into a place where everyone, not just me, was experiencing heartache and happiness and shame and love and disappointment and joy and pain, and it was a world full of colors that I hadn't noticed before because I had been so focused on myself. He literally held the key to my heart, and with it, he flipped the switch on my ability to empathize, to see things from another perspective, to love.

We celebrated our 12th anniversary a week or so ago, and as I've reflected on our experiences together, I have marvelled at the Lord's visible hand in our lives. What if I had, actually, married another narcissistic musician? I shudder to think what a trial like, oh, I don't know, 7 years of infertility would have done to a marriage like that one. But for us, that trial solidified our commitment to one another, to live the Gospel, to be satisfied with the incredible blessings we already had just because we had each other.

I would argue that ours is one of the greatest love matches of all time. I hope everyone feels that way about their marriage. But I know it about mine. We are supremely, divinely, perfectly compatible. My heart still skips to feel the delicate touch of his hand on my arm, to meet his eyes across a room full of people and know that he is mine, to catch a glimpse of his tall and lanky figure in the audience from the stage during a concert, to see him chase around our clutch of rambunctious boys who all, contrary to genetic probability, look just like him.

William Shakespeare wrote many sonnets about love. My favorite is Number 116:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

This is what we have -- the marriage of true minds: that mellows and intensifies its flavors with age; that lasts through tempests (don't think we don't have them!) and stands constant while our ships, though moored together, float independently on the water; that inspires in its participants a desire to be better, and as a whole, accomplishes more than ever could be done individually. My successes are his successes, his triumphs, mine, and our sorrows are ours together. He humors my intellectual excesses, tempers my emotional instabilities, strengthens my spiritual frailties, encourages my outside endeavors, and keeps me laughing through all of it. And while I have been known to fail here and there, and my efforts sometimes fall short, I know that my presence in his life is just as essential to his happiness as his is to mine: equally yoked in more ways than one. Blessed. Lucky. Loved. Forever.

Happy anniversary to us.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tongues, Interpreted

Okay, friends. Sorry I'm late!

Here are the answers . . . followed by our winner. Who, I swear, either hacked my wireless network to steal the answers or is a really stealthy stalker. Really, I was pretty sure no one would get any of the correct answers, and I would have to do a random drawing. Not so!

Four-leaf clover:


Align Center




And our winner is . . . Laree! She got three answers correct, and she is the ONLY ONE who got three answers correct. Which means she wins. Yay! Laree, send me an e-mail with your logistical info and I will mail you the fabulous cilia forceps. I expect you to rave about them on your blog after you've discovered their wonders. My mom says they pluck hairs that aren't there. I tell her she needs new glasses.

Thanks for playing, everyone. It's nice to be indulged occasionally!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Interpretation of Tongues

I'm back! Wow, that was a long four days. Long, and eventful, and full of blog fodder, but that stuff will have to wait for another post. Because do you know what I was thinking yesterday? How sad it was that my 100th post was posted by someone else because I didn't have internet access. (Thanks to MommyJ, though, for keeping everyone in the loop.)

And then we got our internet up and running again. And I made the happy discovery that MommyJ's post on my behalf yesterday was, actually, only my 99th post. Which means . . . I can still do my fabulous give-away for post number 100!

Okay, so it's not that fabulous. And you have to work for it. And then, still, I'm only giving away one thing.

Here's the set-up: when MayDay was just beginning to talk, he talked a lot, but most of it was indecipherable. Oh, he talked a blue streak -- he was so earnest in his attempts to make us understand what he was saying, but CPod and I just plain didn't get about 95% of what he was saying. He was usually very patient with us, but sometimes this communication barrier elicited some serious weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Poor little guy -- he had a lot to say, but lacking a MayDay-English dictionary, we were in the dark. One day, we were sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner. MayDay was rambling on as usual, and, as usual, CPod and I were clueless as to what he was saying, when, all of a sudden, G-Dog piped up and said, "He says, 'I'm all fulled up.'"

MayDay's little face lit up -- he had a translator. So, with G-Dog's help, we figured out how to decipher MayDay's little language until his skills developed enough for his words to sound like English.

He still says some things that sound a lot like gibberish to the uninitiated -- but once you figure it out, you can understand his every word. He's nothing if not consistent, and his mispronunciations were strangely similar in their syntax. But. I did capture some of these moments. And so here is your task: you, dear readers, are charged with translating. I have posted here several short clips of a few utterances that might not be easily discerned by those not fluent in MayDay speak. Submit your translation for each clip in the comments section by Friday at noon (my time -- that's east coast, if you're wondering). I will select a random winner from those who get the most correct answers.

And what will you win? Do you remember this post about my tweezers? Well, friends, I have a brand new pair of cilia forceps just longing to help you shape your eyebrows into something worthy of Vogue. You need them. You know you do. You want them just badly enough to listen to my son butcher the English language for 15 seconds of your life.

A few hints: like I said before, he's very consistent in his mispronunciations. And I have not coersed him into saying any words that he does not use in ordinary, 2-year-old conversation. Granted, his vocabulary is a bit on the extraordinary side.

Let's review.

1. Watch the videos.
2. Make a note of what you think he's saying.
3. Write your answers in a comment to this post.
4. Check back on Friday, because you just might win a pair of brand new, still in the package, unused, medical-grade cilia forceps.

And, please, only one entry per person.

So, go forth! Listen! Translate! And do not be alarmed when your comment doesn't show up. I've taken a page from The Pioneer Woman and turned on comment moderation. We don't want any cheating! After the contest is over, I'll reveal all the comments as well as the correct answers so you can see how you measure up.

There is a good possibility that no one will get any answers correct. That's okay. In the event this is a total bust, I will randomly choose a winner from all of the comments regardless of the number of correct answers. So give it a try. It will be fun!

One last thing -- if you've heard these words in real life (MommyJ, Mom, Melanie, Jessie, etc.) you're disqualified. You're probably getting cilia forceps for Christmas anyway, so don't ruin it for everyone else.

Good luck!

Align Center

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We interrupt your general blogging for this important announcement:

So. Inkmom has no internet. She's sad. She misses you all. She will be back once she gets everything fixed. Until then... carry on. Though I'm sure it won't be near as much fun without her. Lucky for me, I know her phone number. And her phone still works.

Most sincerely,


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dear Babysitter

I've already written about the glorious child-free weekend CPod and I enjoyed recently.We were fortunate that Whitney, our favorite babysitter, was home from BYU for the summer and finished with her EFY counselor gig. For some reason, ConMan called her Apron for two days. We're still trying to figure that one out. But everyone was still alive when we got home, babysitter included, and, really, what more can you ask? I'm pretty certain, though, that Whitney/Apron will not be having children of her own any time in the near future. And by near future, I mean, like a decade. She may be scarred for life. Without further ado, here's what the babysitter needed to know to get through 28 hours with our brood, minus lists of food they can eat and ways to entertain them.

Dear Babysitter,

I can't tell you how appreciative we are . . . you're putting both your sanity and your desire to have kids in the future on the line here, and we're very grateful!

A few things you'll need to know:

1. The toilets WILL look like you've mysteriously been transported to a truck stop before 24 hours is up. Do not let this concern you -- seriously, it's CPod's job to clean them, as it's his job to correct aiming problems.

2. G-Dog is highly allergic to mosquito bites. I can't keep him from getting them, so we give him allergy medicine to prevent the reactions, but it still won't be a lovely sight if he gets one. Don't let this worry you, either -- just put a band-aid on it to keep him from scratching and make sure it stays clean. It seriously might make his entire leg swell up if he gets one, but it won't kill him, so don't worry about it.

3. Sometimes my kids talk about body parts. Don't be alarmed. Also, the big boys will need you to wipe bums if necessary. This is usual. BE ALARMED if ConMan doesn't ask you for help when pooping.

4. Sometimes they refuse to eat whatever dinner you put in front of them. If they do this, no treats. And don't worry -- they won't starve to death. Just be prepared for them to eat a lot of cereal for breakfast the next morning.

5. Feel free to administer time outs as needed. But -- they should always get an explanation for why they're being disciplined.

6. Bedtime: 8PM or thereabouts. No bath required tomorrow night -- we just did it. Clean diaper/"empty tank" (potty), jammies, teeth, hands & faces, family prayer (they will fight. I need to make a chart. If they're really arguing, just let everyone say their own prayer.), hugs, kisses, and dreams. Just ask each one what they're going to dream about tonight. G-Dog's will be totally off-the-wall, ConMan's will be about Fire Mario, and MayDay's will be about an assortment of Marios. Lights out (pull the chain on the overhead light in the twins' room), doors closed. Mason will probably want a drink of water. That's fine.

7. All three have been stung repeatedly by wasps and/or hornets this summer. This has made them wary in a BIG way of playing outside. If you can persuade them to go outside, please do. Use the "picnic blanket" (sunflowers, in the corner in the living room) and take lunch outside to sit in the shade under a tree; engage them in tricycle races down the driveway or relay races in the cul-de-sac -- anything to get them some Vitamin D. They are especially leery of the playground because the wasps keep building nests inside it. Check it out, and if it's still clear (you'd be amazed how quickly those nests go in) play pirates with the boys. They love this. They also love to pretend the bottom part is an ice cream stand. They love playing with the hose, too -- they call it a snake monster. Our wading pool has a big hole and, sadly, can no longer be inflated. It will be hot, though, so if you want to just hose them down, you can. They are also welcome to play with any of the neighbor kids whenever.

8. I don't care if you feed them snacks all day long and don't do a one of the things I've listed here. As long as they're still alive when I get back on Saturday, I'm good with it. One day of different routine will not undo the whole system!

(And here are some things I should have included, but didn't occur to me until later.)

Please be advised that we have recently come to suspect that the house across the street from us, which is now vacant, was, in the not too distant past, a marijuana grow house. We're not certain, but when your neighbors who've been renting suddenly up and buy a house triple the cost of the most expensive one on your street, and when you smell pot whenever you are near the house, it's not so hard to put two and two together. And since the grass is so tall, there are certain to be snakes. Do I need to tell you to stay away?

I'd like to tell you that every night after the kids go to bed, I'm super industrious and get all of the cleaning done so we can get up the next morning and start the day with a neat house. But I'd be lying. Because mostly, I collapse onto the couch and hardly move until I finally drag myself to bed. And I will not fault you one bit if you decide to take exactly the same course of action!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.



PS We'll leave you with keys to our van, just in case you need/want to leave the house. Or you feel like running away. But please call another babysitter first, and let me know where I can pick up my car.

Monday, August 10, 2009


You will NEVER guess who I saw this weekend.

That's right. The decidedly upscale hotel at which my husband and I stayed this weekend was infiltrated, nay, infested with NWA (National Wrestling Alliance, to the uninitiated) Legends Fans, all there to meet their idol, the greatest wrestler of all time, Ric Flair, the very Nature Boy himself.

Except he's a lot older now. And a bit fatter. As are most of his fans. Fatter, I mean. And balding, except for the mullet. And toothless. And rude. And -- do I even need to say this? -- single. I'm not kidding even a little bit. I sincerely hope that the conglomeration of people at the Hilton this weekend was not typical of the NWA audience. But I suspect it might have been.

We were childless, which goes a long way to improve the attitude, don't you think? Say what you will -- we did some really great people-watching this weekend.

But our hotel was not the only place we got to scan an interesting crowd.

No, friends, our wrestling experience was overwhelmingly eclipsed by the real reason for our trip -- these fellas:

Stumped? How about now?

Okay, I'll admit that my pictures are not clear or, even, recognizable. But trust me. Coldplay in concert was worth every penny we spent -- one of the best shows I have ever been to. (I speak with zero authority here, since my concert history, excluding big-name classical musicians, consists, in its entirety, of: New Kids on the Block, Tony Bennett, Chicago, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, and, now, Coldplay. But CPod's pedigree is more impressive: REM twice, Metallica twice, U2, Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam twice, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Toad the Wet Sprocket, twice . . . I could go on. He's much cooler than me. And he thinks it was one of the best shows he's ever seen, too. So there.)

CPod and I went with MommyJ (my sister) and her husband, Josh:

We had a blast. We sang along. We danced. They were FANTASTIC. I have loved Chris Martin for a long time -- that dude can play him some piano.

There were huge yellow balloons bounced through the crowd (during "Yellow"). There were millions of pieces of butterfly confetti:

There were three stages, and acoustic music, including a fantastic cover of "Billie Jean". There were lasers. There were mellow drunk people (instead of the usual obnoxious drunks . . . a nice change). A good time was had by all. Even my little pregnant belly. She was dancing, too!

I took a few videos that will do nothing for any of you, because they're NOT good. And because I was having too much fun to stand there holding my camera in the air for longer than 30 seconds at a time. But if you want just a small taste of what we experienced on Friday night, this YouTube video will not even come close, but it'll have to do.

Peace out.