Old Ladies On Planes

My daughter is going on her first flight as an "unaccompanied minor" next week. She was a little nervous when I first brought up the idea of her flying alone, but after talking to some friends of hers who fly alone on a regular basis she decided it might be okay.

I booked her ticket two days ago and was prepared for the fallout when giving her the "news." I said, "I booked your plane ticket to go to Idaho." She responded with, "when do I leave? Next week?" Whew! Crisis averted. She took the news so well that I thought nothing more about it.

Relieved that she was okay and thrilled at the prospect of having 4 blissful childfree days with my husband, full of debouchery and sleeping in, I went on with my evening.

At bedtime she said, "Mom when is Thanksgiving?" When I told her she was silent for a minute and then began wailing, "I've never been away from you for Thanksgiving before. If you aren't going or if Daddy isn't going, I'm not going either." I guess she hadn't made the connection with her going out of town and the holiday until that moment. And the surprising thing is that she isn't afraid to fly alone, but of being away from mom and dad for 4 days.

When, finally, I was able to calm her down she asked, "mom can we talk about my trip, calmly, after school tomorrow?"

The next morning she was calm and ready to talk about the trip. It was a lot of back and forth, her telling me she wasn't going and me responding with, "you'll be fine, you'll have fun with your grandma and cousins."

In the bathroom while combing her hair she said, "Mom, I'm not going without you."

Having had enough of the back and forth I firmly, but kindly, said, "You are going and you will be fine."

Looking at me in the mirror, combing her hair she responded, indignantly, "Fine! I guess now all I have to worry about is who I will sit by on the plane. I hope it's not an old lady!"

Child of the week

Two weeks ago I was listening to my daughter cry herself into hysterics because she didn't want to take piano lessons. That grandma was going to make her do it and that she had no interest in taking lessons. Why did she have to go, etc.

The truth is, she was excited to try it the day grandma took her by the music studio to check it out. She is nearly always terrified of trying something new but once she does, she loves it!

Well, the same thing happened with piano lessons. We "forced" her to try it out (like the meany mean parents that we are) and after much hesitation she jumped in and started doing the exercises with the other children, her dad and I tip toed out of the class when her back was turned and waited. An hour later, she came running out of the class shouting, "Can I get the books, can I get a folder? Can I?" She loved it.

The teacher assigned her just one song to work on the first week, probably trying to get a feel for her abilities, not wanting to overwhelm her the first week. She practiced and practiced everyday 30 or so times. When she went to her second lesson the teacher was thrilled, had her play through the next several pages in the book during class and found a good place for her to continue from.

A few days ago she got a postcard in the mail naming her the "Student of the Week" with all sorts of praises, "you rock" and "you are awesome". She couldn't have been happier. She said, "Daddy I was named child of the week at piano!"

So there it is, my daughter, Student of the Week.

Just tell me the truth

I understand that people are busy. I understand that people who run their own businesses are really busy. And crafters who run their own businesses are really, really busy. If you are busy and can't get the item I ordered to the post right away, I understand. I don't mind. But at least send me an email and let me know you are busy and that shipping will be delayed.

And then when I contact you and ask about the status and you say you have been busy and that you are going to mail it first thing tomorrow morning, please do. Don't wait four more days before mailing it. Because I will find out. It will be obvious that you didn't send it "first thing tomorrow morning" when it takes another week to arrive.

That is all.

Button, button. Whose got the button?

In the 70's and 80's my grandmother owned a yarn shop called Lee's Yarn and Things in Layton, Utah. She loved that shop, or at least I'm pretty sure she did.

I have vague memories of visiting her there, walking up and down the crowded isles. I can almost remember how it smelled yet I'm not sure if this is a real memory or just one I have made up. Her shop closed sometime in the early 80's because she was spending more on stock than she was selling.

She and my grandfather divorced sometime after that and she moved into a condominium and so did the entire stock from her yarn shop. Along with the yarn came the Avon and Bowling trophies and magazines. My grandmother suffered from "hoarders disease". She kept everything. It didn't matter if it had value, whether monetary or sentimental, if her hands touched it, she kept it.

I'm not sure how other people who suffer from this maintain their homes, but my grandmother had a strange sort of organization about hers. Her house wasn't always neat and tidy, but the things she hoarded were well organized. Take for example the cat food tins. Once empty, she removed the label and washed the tin. She had nice stacks of cat food tins and labels (paper clipped together) on her kitchen counters. In her bathroom medicine cabinet were tiny little balls of hair, her hair to be exact, all lined up in a row. Her entire house was this way. I found hundreds of rubber bands twist tied together. Empty egg cartons nicely stacked. The entire place was full. Top to bottom including the basement.

My grandmother wasn't dirty. She didn't smell bad (well except when she "layered" her perfume). She had a lot of friends and spent the majority of her time at the bowling alley or with her boyfriend, Gene. Eventually she moved in with her boyfriend and her condo became a house for her cats (she had two) and a storage facility.

In 2000 I approached her about renting the condo from her. My lease was up on my apartment, my roommate was moving to Spokane, moving back to my mom's house was not an option and I couldn't afford a place of my own (that didn't offer the deep discount a family member would). This meant I would be responsible for seriously and I do mean SERIOUSLY purging the condo. Initially we (my boyfriend, now husband) used the dumpster on the property. We quickly filled this. To be frank, we filled it in a day. And that was only the tip of the iceburg. Slowly, each week after the garbage truck came, we would fill the dumpster again. And again and again. Finally we realized, at that rate, that we would never get the condo emptied before it was time for us to retire and we rented a U-Haul, invited a couple of friends over, and filled it. Took it to the dump and dropped it off.

All the yarn, all the needles, all the patterns, all the latch-hook kits and netting. All of it. We just wanted it out and didn't have the energy to sort through it, price it, organize a yard sale. We didn't want to store it forever we just wanted it OUT. This was prior to eBay becoming huge. Prior to Craigslist.

In the mix of "yarn and things" were buttons. Steel tool cabinets full of buttons. Organized by size and color. Not appreciating the value of the buttons, I emptied them all into a box with the intention of throwing it out. My paternal grandmother asked me to give them to her rather than dumping them, so I did.

Since that time, I have realized the value of everything we threw out. To me, it was "just yarn". To anybody with half a brain and a penchant for crafting it was a gold mine. What I wouldn't give to be able to have that stock of yarn, needles, googly eyes and patterns. Luckily, I still have the buttons. I "reclaimed" the box of buttons from my grandmother on Friday. And what a box of buttons it is.

My daughter and I are currently sorting through them, trying to organize them all by color and size. Some of them are really, really cool and some of them are regular old buttons. But I'm so glad that I have them. I think my grandmother would breath a sigh of relief knowing that we hadn't thrown away everything.

Oh and hey, there is always that California Raisin Halloween costume. But that's a post for another time.

Reality is ruining my Fantasy

Do you ever have those days at work, whether you work from home or away, when you really wish you didn’t have to show up?

The last few weeks of work have been that way for me. I’m feeling completely demotivated. It doesn’t help that there is a moratorium on raises (going into my second review period without a raise) and that my immediate supervisor pretty much sucks. I don’t hate what I do. In fact, until recently, it’s been quite enjoyable. My work environment is layed back, no one is breathing down my neck, I’ve got plenty of downtime but not too much that I’m bored.

I find myself wishing for a big inheritance that someone doesn’t have to die in order for me to get. Or for that big break my husband has been waiting for so that he can become a billion dollar film maker.

Oh the thought of that makes me weak in the knees. How I would love to be a stay at home mom (even though my daughter is in school now) where I could drop her off at school in my gym clothes and then go work out and perhaps stop for a leisurly cup of coffee afterward and then maybe do a little browsing at the library or book store. After that I might go home for lunch with my hubby and then volunteer my time somewhere before I pick up our daughter from school and we spend a blissful evening enjoying each others company and I didn’t have to think about waking up early to go to work the next day.

But then reality comes crashing into my fantasy and I realize that isn’t the life I’m currently living.

Now before any of you say, “You should be thankful you even have a job in this economy,” let me say I am very thankful that I have an income in these tough economic times. I am. Seriously. I am thankful every day that I go to work that I do have a job. That I do have a steady income. I just wish, really REALLY wish, that I had a whole lot of money that I could roll around in from time to time.

Handmade Holidays

I know, I know "The Holidays are still 4 months away".

Yesterday my husband and I made a commitment that we would be having a Handmade Holiday season. We want to give gifts that are handmade by us or handmade by local artisans. I know there is a "movement" to further buying local, handmade, goods and I, for one, am ready to join. Too much of our money goes to support big corporations that outsource their work which only detriments our local economies. And honestly, don't we all own enough plastic crap made in China?

I currently buy local when I can and like shopping at mom and pop stores. It's not exactly easy to enforce the 150 mile rule, year round, when making food purchases but we do support local growers at our farmers market during the summer.

So for those of you who have holidays on your mind, where will you put your dollar to work?

Sometimes I forget

Do you ever have those days where you forget to be grateful that you are alive and well? I'm really struggling lately to be thankful that I have a heart that pumps blood through my body, legs that get me where I need to go and feet that are large enough to carry around my 5'9" inch frame.

Admittedly, I'm having body image issues as of late.

Recently I had lost a nice bit of weight and had been going to the gym on a very regular basis. I was getting to know my muscles again and I even said hello to my waist line. I was feeling very, very good in my own skin.

The last couple of months the weight has begun to creep back on and my muscles are disappearing under that nice layer of fat nature provides to keep us warm in the winter. The only thing is that it's summer and 95 degrees. No need for that extra layer of fat. Thanks Mother Nature, I owe you one.

Okay, so I can't blame mother nature or my genetic make-up. And in comparison to someone who is overweight, I'm relatively thin. Compared to Kate Moss, I'm a whale. Compared to Kate Moss, who isn't a whale, right?

On Regina Spektors' newest album, Far (which I love and highly recommend), there is a song called Folding Chair. In it she says, "I have a perfect body. But sometimes I forget. I have a perfect body 'cause my eyelashes catch my sweat."

I'm trying to remember that even though I may not look like Kate Moss (and really, do I want to?) my body is healthy and strong and I can get back on track. No need to kick myself while I'm down. Now, what was my gym membership number? And where is my exercise schedule?

Something to think about

I came accross this blog post today and it really made a lot of sense to me. I wanted to share it with everyone here.

4th of July

I hope everyone had a really great day celebrating our nations' independence from the British Crown. Did you all celebrate by shouting out, "Down with the British!" as you lit your fireworks? We did.

In addition we went to a parade and carnival in the town where I grew up. My daughter rode her bike and Thom recorded it all on his handy, dandy camera.

Lo getting ready for the parade to start.

Lo and Kia after riding their bikes.

Thom recording it all.

A beautiful sunflower on the parade route.

Lo getting a hair wrap at the carnival.

4th of July Parade from Thom Rockwell on Vimeo.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Hosting the Class Pet

As of yesterday we are officially hosting the class pet for the month of July. I bet you are all dying to know what kind of pet it is, right?

Well, his name is Dragon. Any ideas? Okay, I'll tell. He is a Bearded Dragon. And he is the cutest thing you've ever seen.

Seriously. He is so sweet. We fell in love with him right away. Lo can't keep her hands off of him. I think he may die of a heart attack before the end of the month.

Stay tuned

My daughter is riding her bicycle in the fourth of July parade on Saturday.

Stay tuned for the details, including photos.

A little explanation

I know that my last post made it seem like I don't enjoy living in Utah and that I'm intolerant to the beliefs of others.

For the record, I love living in Utah. It really is a great state with a lot of opportunities.

I am very tolerant of others. Even when I disagree, I typically keep my opinions to myself. I'm of the belief that I'm probably not going to change your mind and you are likely not going to change mine so let's agree to disagree. I don't know if that is a function of my tolerance or a side effect of my shyness. I typically don't point out wacky beliefs (or my perception that others beliefs are wacky). Usually my dialogue is internal, in this regard, and I don't publicly point out the faults of others.

So to the thousands of people who read my last post and were offended, I'm not sorry that I have this view. However, perhaps I should have been a little more sensitive when voicing my opinion. I will keep that in mind for next time.

Oh, Happy Day.

Is this planet earth?

For those of you who know me, you know I live in Utah. And when you think of Utah you probably think of all of the beautiful National Parks and recreation opportunities, Park City and Sundance Film Festival. Oh wait, I almost forgot. Mormons.

Firstly I have to defend the state which I live and it's dominant religion and say that it has created a really, really great place to raise a family. Overall the crime rate is low, most activities or festivals are kid friendly. And I like living here. Honestly, I can usually overlook the annoyance that comes with living in a very religious state. I mean, Utah isn't the only one. There are others whose laws are heavily influenced by the dominant religion, but it doesn't seem that they bleed their religiosity from every pore of their being.

Last night I was out with my family having dinner at a The Union Grill and afterward we went to Farr's Ice Cream. For those of you familiar with Ogden, you know this is a mainstay of town. Particularly on hot summer nights. It attracts all kinds of people - families, kids on dates and old people but there is one thing you can always count on.....Temple Workers. You can spot them (and yes I mean them in that sort of way) from a mile away. The Ogden LDS Temple is right across the street from Farr's Ice Cream so they often walk over and have some ice cream. It is a wholesome activity after all.

While we were there a car load of middle aged men pulled up wearing slacks and ties. I said to Thom, "Here they come. Watch for the carload of teenage girls followed by the carload of teenage boys." Sure enough, not more than a minute later the girls arrived followed by the boys. They all got out, looking so prim and proper, wearing their Sunday best. They were having an ice cream treat after completing their temple work. Baptisms for the dead, by proxy.

You might ask, "how do you baptize people after they are dead?"

This is not a short explanation. You have been warned.

A lot of people are interested in genealogy, family history etc but Mormons are REALLY interested in it. Not just to know who their ancestors were but in order to do temple work for them from beyond the grave. Spooky, isn't it?

After the list of ancestors has been compiled the names find their way into "the church" records and all different kinds of temple work is done for them, by proxy. In most other states (or countries) when you say, the church, it usually refers to the Roman Catholic Church or even the Church of England. In Utah, when you say "the church" you can bet your bottom dollar they are referring to the Mormon Church.

So on to the process. The list of names is prepared, young men and women don their Sunday best, climb into the suburban (the 'burb) and head downtown to the local temple. They go into the locker room and change into the sacred white temple garments (and I'm not referring to THE garments, these are reserved for those who have obtained a temple recommend and have taken out their "endowments") and line up outside of the baptismal font. One by one they take their turn being baptized, by proxy, 20-50 times depending on the number of people waiting in "paradise" for the opportunity to be Mormon.

The prayer is said, your entire body is immersed in the water, you come up for air and start over again with the next name on the list. There is a teleprompter with the prayer and the names. It's all very bizarre and cult-like.

Personally I find it creepy that some middle aged guy stands around in a pool of water all day playing "wet t-shirt contest" with a bunch of teen aged kids. Just feels weird to me.

I don't have any details about temple work aside from Baptisms for the dead because this is the only thing I have ever participated in. And in my defense, I did it, not because I felt some kind of holy responsibility to do it, but because when you are a 14 year old girl living in a Mormon state, being raised Mormon, it's what you do. And this is the sad thing. Luckily I had my mind about me enough not to be duped by the rhetoric, not everyone is as lucky as me. Most kids who are raised Mormon, die Mormon. It's the sad truth. And I think a large number or Mormons, stay Mormon, not because they really to believe it is "the one true church," but because they are terrified to do anything about it. The stigma of "falling away" is great here.

Personally, if I believed there was a heaven and I was waiting for rapture or the end of the world and someone on Earth tried baptizing me into a religion I didn't want to be a part of, I'd be pissed. And God would hear about it!

Sometimes our taxes are for the common good

The city where I live instituted a sales tax increase several years ago to benefit the arts and recreational activities. While I am never a fan of tax increases, this one has been extraordinarily beneficial for everyone.

My daughter is currently attending a week long Theater Camp at The Treehouse Museum. Free thanks to our R.A.M.P. tax. She is playing the part of Ostrich #1 and has 3 lines. She is having so much fun and learning a lot about the theater; what it takes to put on a play, sets, costumes, rehearsals etc.

Friday night they will be putting on their play for the public. We can't wait.

One reason I really like the internet

I am always baffled at the number of creative, inspiring women I have "discovered" since Al Gore invented the internet.

Some blogs like Sew Liberated, Wise Craft and Dooce I visit daily. Others like Angry Chicken, House on Hill Road (which I actually haven't been able to view for a while now and it makes me sad) and Vegan Lunchbox I visit weekly.

Another blog that keeps me laughing is A Slap in the Face written by my good friend. I need more hours in my day to keep up with my blog reading.

Congratulations ladies on your wonderfully inspiring work. I someday hope to be in your ranks.

A word about Floyd

My daughter and I went to Liberty Park this morning before the crowds arrived and the weather turned bad. We were sitting on the tire swing together when I spotted a man limping across the grass. At first glance he seemed completely average, aside from his limp. As he slowly approached I could see a small child in his arms. How sweet, I thought, he's bringing his baby to the park. When he was about 10 feet away, I realized his baby was actually a baby doll and that he wasn't simply average, but mentally handicapped in some way.

My daughter noticed it too and said, "why is that man carrying a doll?" I replied to her, "he must really like that doll a lot so he is bringing it to the park."

He passed us without a word and we watched him walk to the "baby" swings where he gently placed his baby, put down his bag and proceeded to push it. He pushed the swing for a moment before he stopped, readjusted his baby and continued pushing the swing for about 5 more minutes. How sad, I thought. Not only did I think it but those words came out of my mouth. My daughter, who is seven replied, "I see what you mean."

My heart was so heavy watching him push that doll as if it were a living child. What must he go through each day? What struggles does he have? Does he have someone to care for him as gently as he is caring for that doll? And then I wondered if I even had the right feeling that way. Perhaps he is perfectly happy with himself. Does he even know that he is different? He seemed happy pushing the doll in the swing.

Is it okay to feel sympathy toward someone who doesn't even realize that he deserves the sympathy of others?

Ether Binge

Newspaper Headline Reads: Murder Weapons found: empty ether bottle and pestle to blame.

Seriously, I'm not sure what I did in my previous life to deserve my current co-workers, but it must have been really bad. There is one in particular, whose name shall remain secret, not to protect the innocent but because just the mention of his/her name sends a rush of anger through my veins.

Today he/she was using ether (keeping in mind I work in a lab and the use of ether is common) out in the open air. Not in the hood where it belongs but out on his/her bench top where it was free to taint the air in the entire lab. I don't know if I am unique in my extreme sensitivity to ether or not, but within minutes I had a raging headache and mood to match. Not only does ether smell bad and give me a headache, but it is a known carcinogen. After being told to take the ether in the hood where it belongs, he/she continued to use it on his/her bench top which is where it is currently sitting.

Prior to the bench top use of said chemical, my co-worker threw one empty bottle into the garbage without, I repeat WITHOUT, letting it air out in the hood. For all of the non-science people who are reading this, and I'm sure there are thousands since it is so popular, a hood is an area that has airflow that carries the dangerous fumes out of the building without them circulating around the lab.

Me: "hey (insert name here) you need to let the ether bottle dry out completely in the hood before you throw it away."
He/She: "it's just ether"
Me: "it needs to dry out first."
He/She: "it's just ether"
Me: "I'm well aware of that. Are you aware that it is explosive and if it were to be crushed in the garbage truck it could explode?"
He/She: "It's just ether"

Say ether one more time.

Perhaps he/she had already huffed too much of said ether and was already too woozy to function properly. By this logic though, he/she needs to be huffing it every day.

How many cookbooks is too many?

Hello, my name is Amity and I am a cookbook addict.

Specifically, vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. I'm sure there are people out there with far more cookbooks than I have in my collection but I'd say my collection is pretty large. The cookbook (and education) section is the first I visit when I go to the library or the bookstore. Luckily, my local library has a fairly large vegetarian cooking section and what they don't have, I can browse at my local bookstore.

I would have to say that the most used cookbook in my collection is one that my sister gifted me about 15 years ago. It is 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles.

It contains recipes that are simple, straight forward and delicious. I don't think that I have had a recipe come out poorly. Of course I have pretty simple tastes and don't need anything overly sophisticated to please my palate. The ingredients required are not "exotic" and are easily found at most well-stocked supermarkets. I would recommend this cookbook to anyone who is a long-time vegetarian, new vegetarian, transistioning from an omnivourous diet or simply wants a change from your Betty Crocker cookbook.

I made the Current Scones a couple of days ago and they came out beautifully moist and delicious. Check back tomorrow for the recipe.

Thank you for rejecting me?

Saturday morning I submitted my cover letter, resume and application to the director of the Maria Montessori Academy.

I recieved an email from her today thanking me for my time, but that they weren't currently hiring. I'm not sure how to interpret this email. Is it the standard brush off because I'm not qualified? Is it sincere and simply stating facts, that they really aren't hiring right now (which I knew because the property for the school has not been purchased yet)? Do I send a "Thank you for rejecting me" letter? Have I actually been rejected?

I really didn't expect a "Your Hired!" response. I did, however, expect more information regarding the training for the certification in order to become qualified to teach in a Montessori classroom. I guess I'm taking the email a little harder than I thought I would, considering I'm not even sure what it means. I've been thinking about it a lot since I made the decision to pick up the phone and call the director. It was a big step for me, but once I did it I realized that it was what I want to be doing.

I am currently reading a book called, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. It outlines the Montessori method and philosophy in pretty great detail, with examples of how some materials are to be used and the objective behind those particular materials. Although the information is complex, it is presented in a way that is easy to read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a child in a Montessori school, is considering a Montessori school or is curious just how children in a Montessori school are educated. After reading only the first three chapters, I have realized how similar my philosophy of education is to Maria Montessori which I guess is a good thing since my daughter attends a Montessori school.

Do I have what it takes?

I have the name and phone number for a woman who is the director of a public charter Maria Montessori school to open in 2010. She is interviewing people for teaching positions and will be doing the Montessori training beginning July 1. I am considering calling her. If I weren't so shy I would have called two weeks ago. I think this would be a great opportunity for me. The disappointment I would have from trying and failing would be far less than if I don't try it at all.

I like my job, I really do. It's close to home, I like my coworkers (well, most of them anyway), the pay is fine, the benefits are okay, the hours are great. But, it's unfulfilling. I don't get a feeling of accomplishment or much of a warm fuzzy feeling from what I do.

I think I'm ready for some warm fuzzy feelings.

They made me cry

So yesterday was Mother's Day and to all you moms out there who have nothing better to do with your time than to read this pathetic blog (I swear one day it will be great), Happy Belated Mother's Day!

My day was wonderful.  At school, my daughter painted a birdhouse that she surprised me with.  Hubby and she made me breakfast in bed and later in the day they made me cry with a video they put together.  It was an amalgamation of home video with overlays over Lo saying, "I love you because...."  It had me crying, in a good way.  I'm beginning to tear up just thinking about it.

For those of you who know us, this past year has been exceptionally difficult for our family.  I know yesterday marked the start of something amazing.  
I was just talking to my friend Gina about eating lunch. Her kids are having manwiches for dinner tonight. I then proceded to say manwich several times in a row and got a good laugh from it. Manwich is a funny word. It's especially funny when in the plural form.


It's fun to say over and over again. What words do you think are fun to say?

Life is Change.

Sixteen years ago I skipped swim practice to get an Italian soda with my teammate at Grounds For Coffee. At that time smoking was still allowed inside and there was a room where all the smokers sat to drink their coffee.

Thirteen years ago I started hanging out at that same coffee shop. Smokers had been relegated to the patio and that is where, for the next two years, I spent way too many hours drinking way too many cups of coffee and smoking way, WAY too many cigarettes. This is where I went to meet up with friends, to play backgammon, to solve crossword puzzles. My life practically revolved around GFC. My ex-boyfriend and I spent a lot of time there.

Eleven years ago I broke up with that boyfriend and quit going. I felt somehow out of place there. It's interesting how somewhere that was so comfortable, so familiar could become, almost instantly, cold. I felt great anxiety going there. I thought to myself, "What if I see someone I know? What if I see a friend of X's? What if I see X?" I quit going.

Eight years ago I started going back on Saturday mornings for coffee and bagels with T. We walked the four blocks downhill and the four blocks back up when the weather was good and drove when it wasn't. We shared 3 bagels because at the time I was pregnant and one bagel was not enough. I grew comfortable there. It felt so warm and familiar again.

After L was born, we continued to go on Saturdays for a while. Mostly when the weather was good and we could walk. Little by little L grew older and soon enough she was asking for her own cup of coffee. So we ordered her a "kid coffee". Which is really just a soy steamer with carmel syrup in it. She always requested extra whipped cream.

And then something happened. We quit going.

I'm not really sure what it was, but we just quit going. Sure, we would occasionally stop on the way to work or school and grab a cup but our Saturday routine had been altered. Perhaps our Saturdays became too full. We were too busy going to gymnastics or soccer games or running errands to continue this tradition.

One year ago T started going back on a semi-regular basis and has met a lot of people there. He has made a lot of friends. He stops in at least once a day now. Usually just to say hi or see what is going on. There may come a point when he quits going.

Over the years GFC has gone through a lot of changes too. The interior has changed several times and is now a more sophisticated place. The exterior has changed as well, from one with a sort of run down patio full of smokers to a patio with a beautiful wrought iron gate where smoking is no longer allowed. The back of the building now displays the most amazing, vibrant mural depicting a garden full of plants and animals. And the property will soon be home to several small thriving gardens.

A lot of the changes in my own life can be compared to those I've experienced at GFC. There have been times when I have felt really good in my own skin and other times when I have felt out of place and not so comfortable. And at times I've felt cold and anxious. I was too busy to realize these changes were happening. I think I'm at a place right now where I'm beginning to feel comfortable again. I feel like I'm beginning to grow and thrive. Perhaps in time I, too, will be like that mural. Vibrant.

Let's go fly a kite

Spring is officially here and to celebrate we flew kites on Saturday. We packed a snack (apples and nutella, tortilla chips and mini-french toasts) and headed to Big Dee Park.

We easily launched the box kite and away it went. We flew kites (or should I say a kite my stunt kite took a serious nose dive and suffered some damage) for close to two hours. It was so much fun. I'm aching to go again, but wouldn't you know it, it's snowing. Such is spring in Utah.

It was 73 degrees on Saturday and it's snowing today. This is how it will go pretty much until June when it will snow one last time and then it will be blazing hot and dry. But then it will be perfect weather for early morning hikes and camping (which I think about non-stop) and gardening. Visits to the downtown farmers market and swimming. I can't wait. This winter has felt especially long.

Our locally owned coffee shop, Grounds for Coffee, is hosting a community garden for the first time this year. They have painted a beautiful mural (I'll post pics later) and built the raised garden beds this last weekend. I'm so excited for this as I have a small spot in my "backyard" for a raised bed garden but it isn't quite big enough to grow everything I'd like.

And you may be wondering what I cleaned this weekend. I purged a basket full of junky odds and ends, cleaned the bathroom and did a lot of laundry. I'll admit, laundry does not give me the same warm fuzzy feeling that cleaning other things does. Something about sorting and bending and lugging around awkward baskets, then folding and putting away that just doesn't quite do it for me. But the house is now clean and tidy and that always feels good.

The lean bedraggled one

Our family adopted a stray kitten about a year and a half ago. She was too cute to pass up. She slept on our porch each night and every day when we got home from work she was outside ready to play. We swore that after our previous two cats died we would never have another one. I couldn't help myself, I fed her.

We named her Beline Autumn. Autumn because she is orange and brown and black and Beline because, well, are you ready for this? My husband is a nerd. You see, he enjoys watching a little television show called, Star Trek: The animated series. It's completely nerdy and it puts you to sleep right away (which is probably why he enjoys watching it). When we were trying to think of a name he said, "she kind of looks like this cat-human thing on Star Trek: The animated series who is named Beline the draggled one."

I liked it, it seemed to fit. So that's what we called her. Then it was time to take her to be vaccinated and "fixed" and I had no idea how to spell her name so I put the Star Trek disc in with the episode starring this character and turn on the subtitles. To my surprise the characters' name wasn't Beline the draggled one, but The Lean Bedraggled One.

She is still known as Beline some of the time. Mostly we call her Belinee. She plays fetch and eats a lot. She is gigantic. And she tries every tactic in the book to wake us at 5am to feed her (because she seriously just might be starving to death and we wouldn't even know it). She jumps, very loudly, from the bedside table to the floor over and over again. Then she rattles the garbage can. Then she jumps on the bed purring loudly. Then she might rattle the window shades (this is a new one she has discovered and the one that irritates me the most). Lucky for her I'm a light sleeper or she might wither away into nothing.

The first but definitely not the last

I'm not sure where this blog will lead but I hope it is a great adventure for myself and anyone who happens upon it. I have an image in my mind of what I would like this blog to be but I'm not sure exactly how to get there. It is a work in progress, as is life.

I first considered starting a blog years ago but always put it off because I figured I would never write as beautifully as some of the women whose blogs I had been reading. I'm sure some of those women have innate talents for writing and some of them have worked really hard to get express their feelings. Either way, they have all spent a lot of time making their blogs what they are. For each of them I'm sure that their content and writing styles have evolved over time as will mine. As for not being a great writer, well, I hope to overcome that.

The title of my blog is not the end of what I will post about but it popped into my head the other day while I was cleaning my kitchen. Most people enjoy a clean living space (I'm sure there are a few people who don't care either way), but I actually enjoy cleaning my living space. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an anal retentive clean freak. Sure, I like things to be a certain way and I like the pans to be stacked in the cupboard just so, but I'm certainly not obsessive about it. I do, however, find it extraordinarily relaxing to clean (or cook) something.

At first I didn't realize it but a few weeks ago after an exceptionally hectic day at work I drove home and all I wanted to do was cook something. Not eat it (I enjoy that too) but cook something. As soon as I started, I felt much more relaxed and the even weirder thing is that I enjoyed cleaning up afterward. I got into this zone where I was cleaning up and washing dishes and didn't have a care in the world.

This past Monday the same thing happened at work. I was frustrated with a project I was working on when the dirty sink area caught my eye. I couldn't stop myself, not only was I washing glassware that didn't belong to me(I'm a chemist and the lab I work at is currently without a dishwasher) I was throwing away old brushes and cleaning out from under the sink (which looked like WWIII, btw). I wasn't irritated doing it, but actually enjoying it. It calmed me and when I finished, I was able to focus on my project again.

Who knows, perhaps taking a walk would have had the same effect. Maybe it's the diversion that I need in order to find calm and I'm not so weird afterall. But these events prompted me to start this blog. To put these thoughts out there. To overcome my fear of being a horrible writer.