For My Dad

Once upon a time there were three dogs.

One was small, black, and courageous. His name was Sir Barnabus MacDufflestuff.

One was tall, white with brown spots, and emotionally fragile. His name was Peter Pan.

One was large, black, and soulful. His name was Elvis The Dog.

Peter Pan and Barnaby MacDuff live in peace and contentment in the Kingdom of Poo, a colony adjacent to The Land Full Of Furniture To Chew On.

Elvis The Dog lives across the fence from the Kingdom of Poo. Elvis The Dog is the ruler of the Kingdom of Tall Grass and Automotive Parts.

When Elvis The Dog runs around in his Kingdom of Tall Grass, he creates great rustling noises, like a ferocious wind.

Elvis The Dog loves to sing. At night he stands by the fence, raises his giant head to the sky, and croons for all of B Street to hear.

Elvis The Dog and Peter Pan have a long-standing relationship based on mutual respect and trust.

When Elvis The Dog pokes his giant black nose through the gap in the fence separating the Kingdoms, Peter Pan somberly trots to their meeting place and the two of them confer like the esteemed dignitaries that they are.

When That Person With The Tall Shoes brings treats to the back yard, Peter Pan makes sure that Elvis The Dog is granted a milkbone of his own, as per the great treaty of 2006.

And when Elvis The Dog initiates a Twilight Bark message in the dark of the night, Peter Pan dutifully sends the message along with his hoarse donkey-bark.

Then Barnaby MacDuff moved to the Kingdom. He has no respect for such goings-on.

When Elvis The Dog appears at the fence, a playful growl jumps from Barnaby MacDuff's throat, and as he wriggles with delight toward the fence, Elvis backs out, ending the meeting of the minds before it can begin.

When That Person With The Tall Shoes brings treats to the back yard, Barnaby MacDuff engages Peter Pan in a spirited chase around the back yard for the last milkbone, causing Peter Pan to forget the great treaty of 2006.

And when the howl sounds and Peter Pan sits up to join the Twilight Bark, Barnaby MacDuff engages Peter Pan in a bed battle before he is able to get two syllables out.

And so the two great Kingdoms began to separate. Elvis The Dog no longer comes to the fence, and his Twilight Barks have ceased; it is too dang cold outside.

But Barnaby MacDuff recently had his nards taken out, and often with the relinquishing of puppy masculinity comes the wisdom of chastity and humility.

That Person With The Tall Shoes and her husband, The Other One, predict that a new treaty will be formed in the Summer of 2009, and Barnaby MacDuff will be initiated into the Alliance of the Schnozzles and included in the bi-weekly fence meetings as well. And then the milkbones will flow like honey.

The End.


Happy Thanksgeebing Bach?

i have about thirty bajillion things to accomplish this evening between the time that my butt gets off my office chair and my body collapses in an exhausted heap in bed, because it's the day before a road trip, and the day before a road trip is always filled with such exciting things, like Composing The Mother Of All To-Do Lists, and Doing So Much Laundry, and Making Awesome Road Trip CDs.

I make really awesome road trip CDs.


The Lipstick Redeems Itself

for mutual last night the mia maids planned a game of clue.

they asked me to play miss scarlet.

i saw this as an opportunity to let the red lipstick redeem itself. 

i practiced my miss scarlet moves in the bathroom.

pretty ridiculous.

i stayed in character all night. i'm not sure the deacons knew quite what to do with me.

who does miss scarlet love??

you, baby.


Confession Time

* * * *
i have not driven the proper speed limit in years.

* * * *


Kids These Days

Kids these days do not know Britney Spears songs.
"Well, I know who Britney Spears is but I've never heard her music," a girl tells me on Sunday.
"Britney Spears, she's like, crazy and things, right?" asks the girl's brother.
"Uhhhh, crazy good, maybe!" I say.

These don't even know who Curt Kobain is.
These kids wear flannel for warmth.
I feel old.

And furthermore, these kids don't even know.
They don't even know how lucky they are that instead of Jared Leto they have The Efron. Instead of Jonathan Taylor Thomas or Elijah Wood, they have The Efron. Instead of Kids, Incorporated or the New Mickey Mouse Club or, ick, Roundhouse, they have High School Musical, and The Efron. I mean, is there even any justice in this world?

I sat through all of High School Musical 3 on Saturday night and let me tell you something:
  The Efron is Omnipotent. The Efron is Spectacular. All Hail The Efron, Amen.

The Cheese was Glorious and The Efron was Muscular. I got my full eight bucks worth in the first five minutes with that fabulously awful musical number involving the basketballs, a Sweaty Efron, and a glorious Vanessa Hudgens rising from a crowd like an angel of cheese into the night.

The Cringe Factor was steady, and all told, I gave it two cheesy thumbs up. Plus two big toes.

But let us not forget, before The Efron, there was THIS:

Post Script: Thank you to my husband who went off to fight the good fight yesterday and argue with the mechanic about the bill to fix up poor Betsy. I am so lucky to have him around to do things like take out the garbage and shrink-wrap our windows in the winter and pull out the hair clots from the shower drain and argue with mechanics.  


What Do I Need Babies For?


tell me,
what do i need babies for?

when i have this bundle of squiggles

who loves when i hold him

and rock him

and plant sweet, sweet kisses on his furry wittle face?

tell me,
what do i need babies for?

and tell me,
why doesn't this work on barnaby?

the end



After a soul crushing day at work, I have only this to say:

 At least my house is cute. 

and at least i can kill it at homemade pizza.

that's something, anyway.

A Little Light Reading

Holbs sits down beside me and frowns.
He lays his head in my lap.
"I am your blog tonight. Read me."
I put my fingers on his forehead and scroll.
"Scroll, scroll, scroll," I say.
Holbs smiles.
"Oh, this is a happy blog?"
Holbs sticks his tongue out.
"Oh, a snarky blog."
"So today I woke up at 8:00," my ginger-haired blog begins. "My first class, which starts at 12:00, was canceled, and so I didn't actually need to go to class until..."
"Scroll, scroll, scroll," I say. This blog is kind of boring.
Holbs makes a fast-forwarding sound and then picks up later down the page.
"... and I was sitting there in class realizing, I don't really care about this, and this is really boring, but..."
"Scroll, scroll, scroll," I say. Seriously, can't this blog tell a dirty joke or something? Maybe tell me how cute I look today?
"... then the mechanic came to tow poor Betsy away," my blog continues.
"Poor Betsy," I say, scrolling some more.
"Then I called Natalie and she didn't answer!"
"I didn't hear it!" I interrupt. I click a link on his nose, but the blog continues.
"So I called again, even though Lyndon offered me a ride, just because I wanted to see her smiling face."
"I like this blog now," I say, interested.
"And then she was taking too long to show up, so I called again, but she didn't answer again..."
"So angry, this blog."
"Then she asked me if I wanted Italian Wedding soup or Chili, and I thought, what does it matter anyway, I'll just eat the other one tomorrow..."
"Gosh, is this what it's like in your head?"
"Hello!" my blog says, now that it has come to the present time. "How are you tonight?"
"You should probably not keep a blog," I tell him, shaking my head. "It wasn't very interesting."

After Holbs read this post, he said the following.
"It was cooler when it actually happened, you didn't tell it very well. Also, I think you lied a little about some points."



House rules are very important in a marriage, is what I say. And now, here are the Holbrook House Rules, as of this seventh day of November, Two Thousand Whatever:
RULE THE FIRST: Making Up Songs Is Not Allowed. This is mainly for The Holbs, and it came about because there are only so many words Holbs can come up with that rhyme with Natalie (broccoli).

RULE THE SECOND: Natalie Is Not Allowed To Shop Online. This is because once the flood gates are open there is no turning back.

RULE THE THIRD: Natalie Is Not Allowed To Make Complicated Metaphors. This one chagrins me mightily because I am a pro at metaphors. This one came about because too many times during arguments I will make a complicated metaphor to illustrate my point, causing The Holbs, a little slow on the uptake, to have to stop and consider things, and this gets in the way of his point-making ability and argument rhythms, and yes, the metaphors I come up with are a little ridiculous. This rule gets a lot of play at our house, often in front of other people, which causes them to halt the conversation and go "Wait, what??"

Por Ejemplo, The Other Night:
Scene: Our heroine, Natalie, explains to friend Anne why she wants a fat baby, and why she should quit her job post-haste.

It's like this - say you have a championship basketball player, and all his life he's been forced to play hockey.

(poking his head in from the other room)
Hey! What's the rule?

I'm not allowed to make complicated metaphors...

Wait, what??

RULE THE FOURTH: No Puking, Puking Noises, Or Puke Talk. Our most important house rule. Brandon breaks this rule all the time.

Unrelated: I wore red lipstick to our ward's Young Women in Excellence program last night and it did not make me feel fabulous (see fig. 1). I find this confusing and may need to repeat the experiment again.
Fig. 1: Photographic evidence of lipstick, and a larger than average nose.


This Post Two Thumbs Up!

My husband is my blog's biggest fan. (Isn't that right dearie?) But sometimes The Holbs reads my posts and doesn't have nice things to say at the end.

He checks faithfully every night before bed and I watch him like a hawk as he reads, perched next to him in my pajamas. I like to watch his face for reactions. If I can get Crabby Old Holbs to smile then I have done my job. If Crabby Old Holbs laughs, well then I am catapulted into inner somersaults of glee. Sometimes he reads with his brow furrowed. Then my eyes get large and I start to chew on my nails.

He is my biggest fan but he is also my toughest critic.

"Is it fantastic?" I ask.

"Eh, it was pretty good. It wasn't really about anything, though. I like it when your posts are about things."

"Sometimes it is just enough that I report on the day's events." I state matter-of-factly.

Sometimes he will call me to tell me how many comments I have.

"You have five comments today!" He says from the other end of Pullman through my cell phone.

Next to me Barnaby starts gakking.

"THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU EAT CANDY WRAPPERS" I shout while I jab at him with my poking finger.

"Don't get too much of a big head with your blog." Holbs tells me.


Yes We Can Take Naps!

"It feels weekendy" The Holbs says. It causes me pause and I consider: does it feel weekendy?

I don't suppose Tuesday has a consistent feel, does it?

"I don't suppose Tuesday has a consistent feel, does it?" I say aloud.

Most of my thoughts are worth saying out loud I've found. You may say I like the way my own voice sounds but mostly I like the way other voices sound when they are telling me how smart and clever and right I am.

I do enjoy being right. This must be why I am right so frequently.

Both of us voted today but only one of us voted for a winner. I will not say who. But I will refer you to the above paragraph. It was rainy. Rainy and blustery as I stood in line and voted with the other senior citizens that live with me in Precinct 9 in the Cultural Capital of America: Moscow, Idaho. I got my sticker and then the Starbucks folks kindly told me I could NOT swap a free drip coffee for a free steamed milk. And then it snowed for five whole minutes.

And yes, I was napping when The Holbs called me thirteen times because dear sweet Betsy The Flying Yet Unreliable Potato decided to overheat and he was stranded at the mechanic. I was napping during Holbs The Red's Time Of Need. And he had to walk all the way home past the Safeway in the coldest night of November so far and I felt terrible. So I took him to a butter-filled feast of a dinner to warm his chilly bones. (I didn't think it tasted very good.)

And then I was a very, very gracious winner.

Only now Brooks & Dunn is opening the acceptance speech and I am wondering if it is too late to rescind my vote. I don't know if I've ever mentioned my feelings about Brooks & Dunn.

Another One Of Those Days

me and my sewing machine

an afternoon walk with the dogs

cocoa and sweaters and leafy winds blowing

an old cd of silly disney songs i made in college for bad days

lunch from my very own kitchen

hand stitched onesies in packages tied up with string

i love days like today.


Write It Down, She Says

I am in my car in the covered carport of my shoebox house on the phone with my mother. It is 8:45. She tells me news from home and I tell her all the things that have been swimming around in my head since we spoke last. I hog these conversations. The ratio of my words to hers is something alarming like 42:5.

Ned comes by and I watch him go inside. The house is glowing and I can see my chalkboard wall through the kitchen window. I can picture where my mom is sitting (living room) or what she is doing (playing boggle online) or who is at home with her (Blake). I struggle to keep my voice steady as I promise to pray for my dad in his job search. I lose the battle completely as I describe my evening to her and what I am feeling.

She tells me to write it all down.

"Write it down," she says, "and one day when you are up at night nursing a crying baby, you will remember how much you wanted this.

And so I am writing it down.

I see two mothers walking down the street. I am in my car on my way home from another pointless day in a place that is not my own and I watch them walk. One is carrying a baby in a Bjorn and the other pushes a stroller. There are so many leaves on the ground that you can't see the sidewalk. They walk slowly, the breeze is soft and not cold. They chat. The woman pats her baby's bottom through the Bjorn. My eyes overflow and I force them to the road ahead. I am fine by the time I reach the stop sign.

I find out a friend is expecting. I feel jealous, the tears come, but I do not feel angry or bitter. I sigh into my husband's shoulder.

In yoga the instructor tells us to "go to your happy place" and for the first time I don't see myself at Disneyland, where I have my fondest memories of both my family and my sweet husband. This time, clear as day, I see my baby, I feel her weight in my arms, I rock her while she nurses. I am filled with incredible peace, even in the cold gym, lying on the hard floor, with the weird new wave music.

I want to be a mother.

Oh, oh, oh I want to be a mother.

And so, dear future me, I want you to know that I wanted this. I prayed for this.

I am just having to wait.

I don't like it. Not at all.