Thanksgiving, Report, Over And Out


The Smiths, who graciously provided the house and the bird, are immigrants of the Swiss nature. So, Switzerlandian. Then there are the Webbers who are invited as well and are made up of one-part Canadian to one-part Czech (marvelously heavy accent and all). Also invited are Lloyd's graduate engineering students, one from Iran and one from India.

The Holbs and the yours truly are bringing up the American contingent to this American holiday all on our lonely, which is quite the responsibility!

Este had asked me to bring the sides, and so here I am, literally and directly representing my country, the entire thing, coast to coast, through food. Such a task!

Naturally, I chose mainly orange dishes. Thanksgiving is a very orange holiday.  Here is a sampling of how my afternoon of foreign feasting fared:

So . . . is this pumpkin?

Oh, that's squash. Like pumpkin. But, squash.


It's a gourd?

(looks confused)

Would you like to try this instead?

These are pumpkin?

No, these are yams.

Oh. This is cheese on top?

Those are marshmallows.

(blank stare)


(look of understanding, then of concern, followed by waving of hands, international sign for no thanks, weird American.)

Cultural taste buds aside, I think it is safe to say my sides were a hit! Well, I liked them anyway. I kind of felt like a hero, an American hero! Where's my purple heart!

Because I am a smart cookie, I made enough sides to assure us of leftovers for the rest of November and on into December, leftovers being the best part of Thanksgiving after all, and then on Saturday night I received from the Heavens a stroke of genius and decided to cook us up a baby turkey. 

While Mr. Baby Turkey roasted up I reheated the sides, whipped up some stuffing (FROM A BOX!), and made a little gravy too. And then suddenly it was Thanksgiving again! So, we rolled with it. (I did not make any rolls.) 

Thanksgiving The Second:

Afterward we sat back and stared at each other,  shocked by this turn of events. It turns out, I can cook! Who could have seen that coming? 

And then I pulled out the Christmas tree. Lovin tradition.

The end.


Thanks In The Giving

I have a million reasons to be thankful. Some days it just bowls me right over. 

Here is what I am thankful for, right this minute.
(This minute being 1:19 AM!)

My family.

My husband!
He's really is pretty much the cutest.

My sister's wackadoo rendition of the Monk theme song.

That it is Thanksgiving and I can wear olives on my fingers all afternoon.

Barnaby MacDuff's bravado, and Peter Pan's emotional weirdness.
I am thankful that they are healthy, that they are dweebs, and that they are healthy.

I am thankful that I get to be at work at 5:45 AM on Friday. Uh.

I am thankful for bleach wipes and flushable toilet wands.

I am thankful for the hawthorne tree in my back yard.
It may have tried to kill me that one time, but it sure is a beauty!

I am thankful for my kitchen.

I am thankful for my little brother.

I am thankful for squeaky cheese.

I am thankful for my Savior.

I am thankful for my body, and for all of the weird and cool and not-so-cool things it pulls on me from time to time.

I am thankful for Moscow.

I'm thankful for the Smiths!
(Thanks for inviting us to dinner today and letting me be in charge of ALL THE SIDES. Such power!)

I am so thankful for this little house I get to fluff up and decorate.

I am thankful we made it through four years of grad school, that we've paid every bill on time, managed to feed and clothe ourselves, and fake like we're actual grownups or something. I am thankful that during this tough time we have somehow flourished.

I am thankful that my husband is graduating in May.

I am thankful that someday I will be somebody's mother.


Sixteen, Sixteen Minutes, Sixteen Minutes Gotta Get It Right

Thank heavens for No Shave November. The stubble!

Every now and then I like to do really nice things for The Holbsplaya. Like tonight, like how I let him take me to a junior high school basketball game. Just because he is so red-headed. 

First I played a fun game where I tried to count the number of boys that had already gotten armpit hair. 

Then I counted the bricks in the wall.

I hummed the Star Wars theme under my breath for a little bit just to see if I knew it.

I finished my can of Diet Dr Pepper and announced somberly, "The soda is gone, time to go home." Then I pestered The Holbs to go out into the lobby and buy me a Diet Coke. He obliged, he really is a good little redhead, and when he came back I told him all of the thoughts I had that he had missed out on while he had left the room. (My thoughts usually warrant narration, my brain is a fascinating place.)

I sipped my soda and thought for a bit about my hair, then about the girl's hair in front of me, and also about her jacket, which was very cute and very red. Then I thought about all the candles I have at home and how I hardly ever light them. I solemnly vowed to light them more often. That made me feel better.

My soda was already half gone, and I was starting to have that funny feeling like I was going to need to find a restroom in about ten minutes. That is a dreadful feeling! 

I asked The Holbs, "How much longerrrrrrrr?" and then frowned down at my boots. Then I had my boots do a little dance for me.

"Man, it is such an advantage being tall!" The Holbs suddenly said, interrupting my two-footed puppet show. "How would you know?" I asked. But then, how would I know either? Basketball games can be such tragic reminders of our own shortcomings!

So I decided to send some harassing text messages to the Bishop, who was sitting three rows behind us. 

Then I decided to practice my comedy routine. My comedy routine is something I'm pretty proud of. I made some highly witty jokes tonight if I do say so myself!

For about the last five minutes I watched the game. You know something, it wasn't so terrible.

At the end of the game we drove over to Mikey's where there were gyros and hummus. Mikey's!

And then I came home and didn't even eat a bowl of the $2 Cocoa Pebbles I got today at the Walmarts. That there is R-E-S-T-R-A-I-N-T my friends.

And then I sat and pondered those darned yams I bought. I wonder what I am doing with them for dinner? 


Under The Influence

Last night while I lay bundled and warm in my bed the flakes began to fall.

In the afternoon I padded around the house in thick sweat pants, fluffing up the corners of my nest, watching the ground slowly disappear under a thick dusting of sugar. I simmered a pot of soup and brought out the heavy boots from storage while The Holbs shoveled the driveway snow.

The dogs ran, biting mouthfuls of snow. Their barks echoed against the snowy sky, they chased and chased until blissfully exhausted, panting and shivering under the wet snow clinging to their fur.

In the night I cranked on the heaters, lit all the candles, pulled out the blankets, turned on the Christmas music. Some knitting and some football and some cold toes in warm socks, and a Monday looming with nowhere to be but in this house, under the influence of snow on snow on snow.


Sir Barnabus MacDufflePants

This is a post about Barney.

Ohh Barney, Barney, Barney.

If ever I need a moment of entertainment I like to look at Peter Pan and see what he can come up with for me. Usually he's doing something weird, like analyzing the pattern of the wood grain on the furniture or sitting forlornly under the bag of doggie toys hung just out of his reach making needy eyes at me. That dog is always thinking about something, you know. You can stare into Peter's beady little eyes and see the depths of the oceans, the heights of the mountains, the eternities of the Heavens, the square root of Pi. He is just a weird little dog.

And then, there's Barney.

Barney is a little bit stupid.

You stare into Barneys eyes and all you see is goofiness.

He is the biggest ball of love and devotion you'll ever meet.

Barnaby MacDuff joined our family on a stupid day in July. I can't really say what possessed us to do it. We were just running around town coming up with random things to entertain ourselves with ("Wanna get a soda?" "Sure!" "Wanna walk the mall?" "Sure!" "Wanna get a dog?" "Why not?") and then there we were, staring into the eyes of the cutest, sweetest, tiniest, funniest little baby Scottie.

He was only barely six weeks old, which is awful, if you know anything about puppy development. We saw that little dude sitting there in that cold metal cage and I just knew he was too little, that he was all alone, that he needed litter mates, and that he really needed a mama.

So we brought that dog home so I could breastfeed him, obviously. I'm really glad we did. He's brought a lot of heart to our little family of four.

When Barnaby sits it is not with the daintiness of Peter Pan, who sits almost in slow motion, his ears perked just-so. If Peter Pan had pinkies they would constantly be up. When Barnaby sits he just collapses onto the ground with a THUNK, legs spewed every which way. Either it is deliberate or not, I haven't decided. Maybe he selects his resting spot ahead of time and then artfully dives into it? Or else maybe he is just ambling along with no preconceived strategy to life until something deep within his psyche shouts sit! and then, THUNK.

 I guess depending on your perspective on life it is either one of these things.

Sometimes I like to play a little game with Barnaby when he is laying on the couch. I stand in front of him with my arms folded and just look at him. The minute we make eye contact his tail starts rotating fast enough to propel a small jet airliner. Thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk it goes against the back of the couch, his eyes open as wide as they will go while he lays there like a dead fish. When I move my eyes away from him the thunking slows, until it stops and he sighs. Phew. I'll give him a minute and then I'll look at him again, and then whump-whump-whump-whump goes his tail against the couch again. Some days I feel like we do this for hours. He is so, so sweet. 

Barnaby MacDuff will make you fall in love

But Barnaby MacDuff is always getting himself into trouble. It is like trouble follows him around, fascinated by the amount of things it can convince Barney to do.

I try not to admit this to myself, but actually if I were a dog, I'd be a Barnaby MacDuff. For sure.

Mama loves you, Barneyskoodles.


I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing

I am feeling pretty amorous feelings about my life today to tell you the truth.

The way the clouds leaned in close to kiss the mountains, the way Maggie jumped with excitement when she saw me for our walk, and how she told me she'd been so excited to tell me about her weekend. Something about how the leaves swirled around our feet as we dodged kids on bikes, and how afterwards I ran the fastest and strongest run I've ever been able to run before, and how I even remembered to fold The Holbsy's laundry too.

I hummed Jingle Bells all the way through my grocery shopping. The tune gave me the just the pep I needed to maneuver the crowded aisles and not get upset when I was violently cart-boxed at the jam section. The WinCo is a scary place on a Tuesday afternoon! When I got back to the car I saw that miraculously I had completed my grocery rounds in under sixteen minutes, how is that even possible? It was a Christmas miracle.

A word on the WinCo. The WinCo is a CRAZY PLACE. It's like I go to WinCo and then so does the whole town, all at the same time, and it is people! carts! food! lines! screaming children! bulk wheat!

Now that I consider it truthfully, I do not really think it is possible that there are enough homes in the Moscow area to house all of the people who seem to magically appear inside of the WinCo when I walk through the doors. They are like extras in a movie, fake people with their fake carts full of fake food that you just know they're not going to eat. I like to imagine that as soon as I leave the store someone will call CUT and these people will just vaporize into thin air. 

Also I bought five kinds of mustards today.

The Holbs texted me today like so:

Were you trying to make a statement by buying ten different mustards?

But what kind of a statement could you possibly make with mustards?

The loving truth is that as I pushed my cart down the aisle while singing of Santa Claus and his impending sojourn to the southern parts of the globe I spotted all these mustards just sitting there being all cute and diverse and mustardly, and I just fell in love with them! I mean, I fell in love with mustards.

I had to buy them all because they were like a family. My family. My family of mustards.

And I find I just want to kiss things! Here, I will kiss Petey.

Oh! Here's another! I went to Kendall's house tonight but on the way there I went to the right house number on the wrong street first, only to find the creepiest house. In all of Moscow. The creepiest. I called her to tell her that her house was scary and she said in an offended tone No, my house is Charming. 

I also love the fact that we established that I could blog about that and she would not think I was a dork.

Oh, today! You cute thing!


As I Type This My Toes Are Cold And My Socks Are All The Way Down The Hall

Saturday's Lunch

Today I got to church super late. I didn't really have any reason to be late, I was just late because I wanted to be late. You can do that when you're a grownup.

Also, I ate nothing but breakfast foods today. 

After church I happened to see on the TV Guide channel that a movie I was interested in watching was coming on channel 31 at 8:00. We only have cheap cable, so, no Info button or whatever. So I checked my watch. 6:00.  Then about twenty minutes later I promptly forgot what movie it was that I wanted to see. So it was this mystery! What movie was it? I kept asking myself but I kept not remembering! I tried recreating the scenario wherein I saw the movie scroll across the screen to see if it helped. I tried watching the TV Guide channel but I kept forgetting what I was looking for. It was all too weird.

Don't change the channel! I told The Holbs. A movie is coming up that I want to watch!

Oh, what movie? 

I don't remember. But, don't change it!

Then I had to suffer through two hours of the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a movie which I do not like. But I sat through it, because I knew the pay off would be good, I just couldn't remember why.

Finally a few hours later the movie ended. I sat up straight. It went into commercials. The suspense was killing me. What movie did I want to watch so bad I sat through bad Tim Burton to see it? I was about to find out. The dogs sighed on my lap. I shushed them.

Then the Target Thanksgiving commercial came on. I love that Target Thanksgiving commercial! Guest beds in the garage? It kills me. And then it was over. The movie started. It was . . . Disney. It was . . . animated. It was . . . Meet The Robinsons. 

And I went, oh, really self? But then I watched it and it totally made me cry. So.

Isn't that weird?


The Trappings Of Femininity

We all have demons. Mine chase after me at night when the house falls quiet and my mind begins to rest. There in the shadows my demons lie, soft and beguiling, ready to ensnare. Doubt. Vanity. With furtive smiles and drumming fingertips they feast on my virtue until I am hollowed and empty.

I try to quench the demons with words of encouragement but that only feeds them. I attempt to outrun them in service but they never leave my side. I am embarrassed by them and thus my doubt is fed, giving birth to a vanity that grows and growls.

Being a woman is difficult sometimes. We are conditioned from all sides to be perfection in form, tiny and lithe, shapely legs, slender torsos, elegant shoulders and graceful necks, youthful features and flowing hair. Inside we are ravaged by diets and worries, binges and purges, shopping and guilt, holding up our personal models on pedestals and knowing their perfection can never be reached because it never even existed. The failings that rage inside of me are inside of all of us all the same.

Being a woman is complex sometimes. To be so fragile, at the whim of a stronger man's desires, yet to be so strong, so capable of influence. In the juxtaposition I sometimes flounder, putting emphasis on what cannot be controlled and ignoring what positive change I can affect. I think all the time that I will be happy once this is tighter or that is slimmer. I will find peace when my hair lays a certain way. I think that I can finally find myself in the right make up of exterior trimmings. The obvious truth is that this path leads nowhere and too far down this road and I will be lost to myself forever. It is obvious truth but sometimes I still can't see it.

Some days I want to trade it in and roam free as spirit instead. I want to escape my boundaries and be nothing but light and love, nothing to be seen, only feelings to impress. Or Heidi Klum. That could be good, too. This body of mine is just too constricting, too many limitations. My outsides will never do justice to my insides. In moments where I catch myself fresh-faced and happy in reflection I also catch a fear that it will inevitably leave me; my face will retain water, my clothes will tug in the wrong parts, my color will fade, this cannot be, this cannot last.

Rather than find peace in the fallible of these bones and organs I often mistakenly assume the answer can still be found without.

And so I continue to search, but all I find are demons.



She turns off the engine, pulls the sleeves of her sweater over her fingertips, and stares at the sky. Brooding, dark; layer upon layer of dense, rich clouds, hovering over her tiny city, as rain drops fall lightly into puddles below, mirroring the rapturous black. She opens the door against the gusts of sky and runs, dodging glassy pools on the pavement, hair whipping in the wind against skin, until doors that greet her swing open, calm and warm, and she is safe inside again.


Mondays In Review

Here is what I liked about today.

I woke up at 7:30 this morning to take my basal body temperature. I stretched my arms as I rolled over toward the bedside table, and allowed myself the obligatory twenty seconds wherein I look at the results on my chart and wonder what the hell it all means.

Then I got to roll over and go back to sleep, Peter Pan snoozing in a ball on my bum, Barnaby resting his monster head on my shoulder. I like mornings like that.

I switched conditioners and my hair feels like hair again! What a relief!

I drove to the art gallery in the darkening afternoon to drop off an order. Twenty-one glorious onesies for the gift shop, all stitched with love and longing by Yours Truly, Esquire. The sky was a deep dark gray, shooing golden leaves across the road, leaves that swirled and swept along the concrete and asphalt, gold against gray. I ate a cinnamon bear with the car heater on full blast as I waited for the left turn arrow to blink on and I pondered the fate of all of those cute onesies I just sewed up, and all those cute babies that might one day live inside them. It was just lovely. 

When I got home I read the latest Lucky while eating homemade curry leftovers, enjoying the way the spices burned my lips. I think Lucky is like the last decent magazine on the planet that hasn't been cancelled. Then I went on a nice long walk. (Pictures at the bottommmmmm)

I ate a pickle at 9:30 in my dark kitchen and noticed on the jar that pickles apparently contain zero calories. Zero calories! I'm not buying it. So I ate another and asked myself Does this taste like zero calories?

idaho in the fall is prettyyyyyyy!

But what does zero calories even taste like though?


A Testimony

I believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

I believe in prayer, that God sees me, and that I can receive personal revelation if I ask in faith.

I believe in the healing powers of a really good dance party in the car.

I believe in handknit mittens.

I believe that this February when the Olympics are on I will be building my fort on the sofa and you will have to pry me out of that thing if you want anything from me. And how could you not? Want something from me, that is.

I believe in drinking as much Diet Coke as I want to.

I believe that I am meant to be a mother.

I believe in sewing (and ::cough:: shopping) as therapy.

I believe that Christ died for my sins, and that because he atoned for me in the Garden of Gethsemane he knows my struggles, my pain, and my disappointments, intimately. He knows exactly what I am going through, and because of that I know I am never alone.

I believe Sunday nights are for eating. Cereal. Also, ice cream. 

I believe that there is power in femininity, and that one can be both feminine and a feminist.

I believe in the power of a compliment.

I believe in hugging it out. I believe you can hug anything out.

I believe in family traditions.

I believe in striped t-shirts. A good striped t-shirt can make anything better.

I believe in babies. Universe! I would like a baby!

I believe in me.

(Shoot, somebody's got to.)



I am feeling especially fertile today.

I am also feeling super cluttered. My soul is ripe and delicious and my kitchen is a disaster area. Last night I baked four dozen cupcakes and two dozen sugar cookies in a whirlwind of flour for the young women in my ward and their parents. I slaved over those cupcakes, decorated them to within an inch of their lives and propped them lovingly on my nicest cake plate. As the evening ticked closer I threw together some sugar cookies as an afterthought and slapped some frosting on them all pell-mell and showed up at the door of the church crusty with icing with just seconds to spare. The refreshments table was greeted with oohs and aahhs but the proof was in the pudding as they say, and for all those compliments what did they eat? Not the cupcakes, I noticed bitterly as I stacked them all together on a paper plate afterwards and threw them away, their glossy sugar-dipped tops staring at me forlornly from the trash bin. No, they ate those ugly, good for nothing sugar cookies. Damn those sugar cookies!

It caused me to reflect as the night grew late and the dishes remained caked in frosting in the sink on the nature of all of these well-laid plans. Isn't it funny how the afterthoughts sometimes become the best of thoughts? Every time without fail, right? Afterthoughts have got to be some kind of direct communication from God, is how I figure.

I spent the better part of my day staring at online shopping carts filled with my soul's deepest desires. The Internet is on sale right now! But I just couldn't commit because I am feeling adrift with myself. November brought with it a flurry of questions and I just cannot put a finger on myself! Come on, November! And to think we used to be such friends . . .

And anyway, how about this?

But will somebody just buy me these already and get it over with? Gosh.


Pete And The Picnic (And Barney Too)

We like to share apples.

Wait for it, Pete . . .

Waaaiiit . . .

Waaaaaiiiiiiitttt . . .

Good boy.

Show mama your big scary teeth . . .


Oh hi Barney!

And Bugles! Best chip EVER.

The End.