4.30.2010

AND SUNSHINE TOO

At six thirty on the nose, my dashing husband waltzed through the front door positively glowing, having survived his Last Class At U of I Of Ever. Isn't that marvelous?

"I am done!" he announced like a tuba. "Let's celebrate!"

I looked down at my pajamas. I was hardly party ready. The horrible truth of the matter is that today I didn't get dressed, or leave the house, or even look into any reflective surfaces. It was too gross outside.

"Are you wearing a bra?" The Holbs asked, suddenly interested.

I got dressed and the outside was even grosser in person, but The Holbs was jubilant and wanting Mexican food and for him I would get dressed in gloomy weather a hundred times over! Plus, chips and salsa.

I ordered fajitas.

And now you know that story.

4.29.2010

BEGINNING OF NONSENSE TRANSMISSION

Admiral Boom. Don't worry, he plays pretty heavily later in this post.

Look. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but today was pretty ridiculous.

I had to wake up earlier than the dickens to deal with fancy real estate garbage. Tell me, who in their right mind schedules a four and a half hour broker open house on a Wednesday at 8:30AM followed by a showing at 1PM? Don't these people know I have two stupid dogs to deal with? Don't these people know there is nothing to do in Moscow? For six hours? 

Brandon graciously offered to tool around town with me until 2:00, which was his first mistake, because when you wake me up at 8AM I get really silly due to EXTREME SLEEP SHORTAGES.

I started the morning off by talking like that kid in Overboard (at the 0:22 mark, please). I am here to testify that there is nothing funnier than anything you could say in that voice. I finished out the morning by falling asleep in the passenger seat.

Then we got pulled over in Gennessee because our brake light was (still is) out.

Also we ate the nastiest lunch ever at the Jack in the Box in Lewiston.

Here is a tip from me to you: When you can buy two tacos for 99 cents, that is a sign. When your husband claims they were his favorite thing to eat, in high school, in Texas, that is another sign. Not good signs, mind yourself.

But what I really want to know is, who is this Jack In The Box person married to? He wears a wedding ring. (And suspenders.) I thought about asking the lady at the drive-thru to kindly pass my question up the management chain until it reached the big wigs, and then entertained a wonderfully heartwarming story in which the CEO of Jack In The Box honored my inquisitiveness with a lifetime supply of 99-cent tacos. The Holbs would certainly be happy with me then, wouldn't he?

By the time we got home at 2:00 I was two Almond Joys fatter and all together grumpy at the world.

To recover I had to drive to the mall by myself to partake in the Old Navy because isn't that what it's there for?

To get there one must drive past what I like to call the Battling Moscow Thermometers. There are three of them, and they can never seem to agree on the temperature. I like to pay close attention to them because I am convinced that one of these days I will crack the mystery. Some questions I have so far: Could the temperature really swing by six degrees on a one-mile stretch of the same road? Why can't they agree? What is in it for them, claiming differing temps? Today the First Bank told me it was 48 degrees out, while the University Inn claimed it was 54. The Second Chance Pawn shop told me it was 51. But why does a pawn shop need a blinking temperature sign anyway? Is their business somehow related to the weather? "It's cold! Want to buy some gold?"

(Second Chance Pawn should so hire me to write their slogans for them, that one just flew straight out of my brain. INSPIRED.)

I can sense already that this post is going to be very long and very, very stupid.

On the way to the Old Navy the local oldies station played a Backstreet Boys jam. Now, how am I supposed to feel about this? Even worse, how am I going to explain the Backstreet Boys to my kids someday? Will the Backstreet Boys be my generation's Styx? Then I started to wonder what it says about me that my boy band of choice was BSB, not N*Sync. And was that the right choice, given the Sexy Back? (Does Lance Bass cancel out the Sexy Back?) (Oh, these questions . . .) At the time I think BSB felt like the more sophisticated choice, which . . . well.

Lately I like going the mall because people seem to fawn all over me there. I don't know what it is, though I have an inkling. Today Ana, the manager at Bath and Body Works, told me how much she liked my earrings and then confessed that she had been stalking my Facebook page, and Anne, the manager at the Old Navy, told me that I looked fantastic for being fourteen weeks along. (But what does that even mean?) It's probably just the fetus they're excited about but you don't have to spoil my fun, okay? After all, I'm the one baking this fetus, and later I will push all my unfulfilled dreams on it, so, let's not forget to give credit where credit is due, am I right?

Then there was the whole thing about The Holbs and the 2-for-1 burrito that went down on my cell phone while I was trying on sandals at the Ross. It was an entirely confusing conversation wherein I just told him I was getting a salad and asked whether he wanted a Q'doba burrito or a Quizno's sandwich (so many Qs!), and he told me that Patty's had a twofer special on their big burritos, only but I wanted a salad, and then he said Well, don't get me a burrito unless you're having a burrito too, (for one), and I know my husband is about to graduate from law school but does that have to mean that he is now smarter than me? Because that whole thing made no sense at all.

So I got take-out Quiznos for dinner. I'm still not sure if that was the right answer?

It was really windy in the parking lot and I entertained visions of a grand tornado, big and black and angry, swooping down over Moscow to pick up our little shoe box of a house and deposit it across the country in . . . well . . . in where ever the dang hell we end up moving. I imagined our house landing precariously on the top of the Chrysler building, teetering and tottering this way and that, like a giant weathervane for all of Manhattan to see. We could be like Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins! Blowing those nuisance chimney sweeps to smithereens and marking the 6:00 hour on the dot twice each day. And then we wouldn't have to sell the house anymore or find ways to entertain ourselves for hours each day during showings that go nowhere. We may not even have to pay a mortgage anymore!

(How do mortgages work in weathervane situations?)

When I got home the ridiculous turned straight up stupid.

We watched Deadliest Catch while we ate dinner, prompting this little gem from the Holbscatch: "It's crazy that all these crabs just live in the ocean, isn't it?"

Then The Holbs built a Great Wall Of Holbrook out of pillows on the couch because I was talking too much.

Also we lost today's potential buyer due to the umpteen million beached trucks parked in my neighbors yard. Doesn't that just make you want to love up your neighbor? Love him up with a fist?

Now that we have gotten to this point I think it would be best to stop, as this is going nowhere, I have no thesis statement, and this has basically become a Masterpiece of Stupidity. And so.

END OF NONSENSE TRANSMISSION

4.28.2010

This Is Why I Let Him Watch American Idol



How You Know Your Man Loves You

1. He stands by the kitchen door whispering your name at increasing volumes while you're watching Grey's Anatomy reruns. When you hear him and look up, he waves at you and does a little dance.

2. While folding laundry he produces three dryer balls and juggles them in the air. "Did you know I could do that? Did you?" he asks.

3. When the oven starts producing a smoke monster after a pineapple upside down cake gone awry, he brings you home a giant sandwich from the Safeway and a can of oven spray and even turns down a pick-up basketball game to get to scrubbing.

4. He sends you a text message to let you know that the realtor scheduled an open house at the stupidly early hour of 8:45AM. The first words of the text are, "Take a deep breath!"

5. He shouts "How hard is it for you to fold my shirts the way I want you to fold them?" and when you say "How do you want me to fold them, dingo?" he says "The way you taught me to fold them! It's your fault I want them this way!"

6. You (from the bedroom) text him (in the living room) requesting a snack, and he brings you freshly heated dinner leftovers and a kiss.

4.27.2010

Easy Like Monday Morning



I woke up this morning and decided to practice being "easy."

You know, being the spouse of an ambitious type is sort of exhausting. He just wants to learn all these things and make all this money someday, and who am I to stand in his way? And bless his heart, he thinks he wants my opinion -- Florida? Or D.C.? Or NYU? -- but he doesn't really want my opinion.

Nobody really wants my opinions.

So today when I woke up in a real "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Holbsy" kind of mood, I decided to roll with it. Anyway, my husband somehow survived for twenty five whole years before I married him. He got by somehow without my constant wisdom and advice, right?

It is a good thing I decided because the first thing my Holbsdude did today was announce that he was taking the afternoon off. Coming home early! And just like that all of my hopes and dreams of a freshly scrubbed house had to be abandoned, because when The Holbs comes home the world stops. It is almost like a law of physics. He comes inside like a redheaded tornado and then asks me what I am up to every ten minutes. 

He arrived home at noon with a hungry belly, took one look at my morning bed head, and set to work brushing my hair for me. So, there went my emails.

"Want to go get some lunch?" he asked while he brushed.

Have you ever said no to a man who was brushing your hair?

But first we had to go to the Walmart on account of I had a dream that I went to the Walmart and bought a swiffer and used it to clean the floor under our bed and when I woke up I was like unto an woman obsessed. Dust bunnies!

My trips to the Walmart are sacred times. No husbands are allowed. I like to wander through the aisles, ponder lipstick colors I'd never wear, catch up on my text messages, you know. With The Holbs there, would I get to analyze cereal box nutrition information? Would I get to inspect thread counts on sheet sets and commune with paint chips? But in the spirit of being "easy" I let him come in with me. I let him talk me out of a baby Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix for sale in the parking lot, too. 

Then I let him take me to the Quiznos at the mall for a chopped salad. He got a roast beef sandwich and we ate them at a table in the middle of the mall for maximum people-watching. Then I let him tell me I couldn't buy him any shorts at Old Navy. They were 20% off! What are husbands for if you can't even buy them shorts in the summer?

Next he took me to the Kinkos so he could priority mail some something or other to the kind folks at Georgetown, and while he was doing that I tried on some reading glasses at the dollar store next door. Oh I love the dollar store! I almost bought some strawberry Twizzlers while The Holbs wasn't looking but then I didn't, because standing in that long line did not seem terribly easy to me at the moment. Also The Holbsugar saw me through the window with my armful of candy (Charleston Chews!) and he made that face at me which is to mean, "Seriously?" (But they only cost a dollar!) So. But now that I think about it I am really wishing I had a Twizzler.

Then I let him take me to Tye Dye Everything so I could smell like a hippie for the rest of the day. I have no idea why he took me to Tye Dye Everything. 

I let him drive me home and I even let him change the songs on the radio a zillion times.

Now I wonder if I should go practice being "easy" in the bedroom?

*****

P.S. The really wonderful thing about my life these days is all of the emails I get from readers who are struggling to get pregnant.

I recently got an email from a reader who had bought a onesie from me for the Nie Nie Fundraiser. She was struggling to get pregnant at the time and bought it for "someday." A few months ago she emailed to tell me that her someday had finally come. Isn't that wonderful? 

Yesterday I got an email from a reader who needed someone to share her frustrations with. I was so honored to get that email. (Expect a reply from me soon!)

Today I got an email from someone who had just found out she was expecting. I was the second person she told!

And I just wanted to tell you all how much I love being included in your lives.
I hope you know how very seriously I take your trust,
and how very much I've appreciated your prayers and love and support too.

Thanks times forty million. xo

4.26.2010

Please Let My Boobs Not Get Any Bigger, Amen



Will you just look at my lilacs for the love of all that is holy?

On Friday I turned my brain back on

First, imagine to yourself that it is February. When you think of February do you think of gloom and depression? If so, I am so sorry to make you think of it again. When I think of February I think of this:


And wasn't that fun? February, you have been promoted.

Right, so, it is February. You're there? Do you need some cocoa? It is probably all gross outside. Now picture that you are me. Bear with me please. You are me, it is February, you are up the stick, and all of the sudden you can't stay awake, like, at all. 

One day I found myself on my couch, staring at the ceiling, lost in deep thought. On the one hand I was feeling awfully frustrated. The dishes hadn't been done in days. The house was a mess. All I wanted to want to do was get up and get things done, but all I really wanted to do was eat a bagel and fall asleep. The gravitational pull from the couch to my bones was crazy.

Only but also, I was pregnant! AS IF I was going to be that pregnant woman whining on the couch.

So it was that kind of argument in my brain.

So I shook myself by the shoulders and I said, "Snap out of it, cheese!" And then I decided that I would just turn my brain off instead. Because have you ever tried to snap out of anything while pregnant and freakishly tired? There's no snapping anymore. Like, nothing snaps.

Everything dra-a-a-a-a-ags.

All of this to say, on Friday I realized that I could safely turn my brain back on because on Friday I felt like I wanted to do stuff. And go places! And didn't feel like dying even once. (Maybe just once.) 

And also it was like, When did it turn spring outside? What month is this, anyway?

So first I took my burrito bump on a run. 

Then I made curry for dinner. I was on a roll!

Then we got a call that the realtor had someone to show our house to the next day, which meant we had to CLEAN. This did not make me want to cry. It made me go, OKAY!

(That is a total lie. It made me go, AW CRAP, because who likes to clean their house on a Friday night? (Maybe your mom?) But I went on to live through it, is the good news.) (Also I had hot dogs for dinner which increased my mood exponentially.) (EXPONENTIALLY)

On Saturday we attended a party. While there I entertained some strange older gentleman. We sat there over lemon cupcakes discussing life on the East Coast and being dog parents versus human parents and then out of nowhere he said to Brandon, "Careful, this one's high maintenance!"

Isn't that so strange? 

Later that evening Brandon did a manly a pull up in our hostess's doorway. Can you imagine if I'd have missed that?

MORE: On Sunday I gave a lesson on The Holy Ghost, conned the Ward Secretary out of a piece of candy, and I even sat patiently through the longest closing prayer ever given in Sacrament Meeting in the history of LIFE AS WE KNOW IT.

These things are all major triumphs in my life as of late.

4.22.2010

Ebony And Ivory



The other day I wrote a little song. This is how it goes.

Peeeeeeeter Pan and Barrrrrnabyyy
Live together in perfect harrrrrmonyyyyy
Side by side on my floor, oh, puppies, why don't we?

Anyway, I guess it needs a little work.

4.21.2010

Fragments



It is mid April and the house isn't sold. Nobody wants our house! How did this happen?

The sun doesn't know the answers, but at least he is warm and I think that counts for something.

There are no jobs. I am sorry to tell you this. It is mid April and nobody has jobs. Brandon is looking into back up back up plans. That is fine, except now somebody has to decide which back up plan is best. Where is my sense of adventure these days? Will you check your pockets?

Not to mention I left my Casio nerd watch in Utah and I have felt all sorts of disabled since then.

That is the update from the Holbrooks. Over and out.

4.19.2010

THIRTY STRANGERS

our 30 strangers photos are in!
i loove them.



(As I explained to Justin, this picture is basically how I look on the inside all the time.)

thanks again justin!

4.16.2010

A Treatise On Emesis



The day started out like any other Thursday.

(Do you see me building intrigue here?)

Let it be known that usual Thursdays include: sleeping in until I don't want to anymore, waking up and wondering what I will wear, wandering into the bathroom to brush my teeth . . .

As I finished brushing I turned on the warm water to rinse. Any self respecting person will rinse their mouth with warm water. Isn't cold water rude? As I turned on the warm faucet it occurred to me that warm water sounded really awful.  No big deal, I thought, I'll just turn on the cold. See? Problem solved. I am such a problem solver these days.

I rinsed my mouth and then had to decide whether to brush my tongue. I hate deciding about brushing my tongue. I used to always brush my tongue but lately the still small voice has told me not to. But desperate times and all of that. And I gagged, as one does. No big deal, I survived it.

So, tongue brushed, gag survived, life goes on.

But!

Something went weird. Suddenly everything was wrong and nothing was right. Suddenly the world turned wonky and I felt as though I would never feel happiness again. My inside rumbled. My arms turned cold and shaky. The temperature in my head went up thirty degrees, while the temperature in my feet plummeted. I started seeing spots.

My stomach sent a signal to my brain. It said,

"BRAIN! SHALL WE SEND IT UP?"

To which my brain responded emphatically,

"No! No! No! Oh, no!"

I had to sit down. Then I had to lie down. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the toilet. The toilet was smiling at me.

Twenty years . . . twenty years and this was how it was all to end? On a Thursday? Over tongue brushing? It all seemed so wrong. And yet so inevitable. And . . . oh but then my wits were returned and I remembered that I am the one in control here! ME!

I immediately went away to my happy place (Julie Andrews in her nightgown under that ridiculously fluffy gold duvet and green and white drapes).

Then I found and devoured half a sleeve of Ritz Crackers.

Then I prayed mightily for deliverance!







I will pause for a moment to allow the suspense to build!








Well, I didn't puke.

Does it seem like all of my stories are anticlimactic these days?

And now I am wondering,
where can one find amazing gold duvets like those anymore?

4.15.2010

I Feel The Need, The Need For Burritos



"Tomorrow I would like a Patty's vegetarian jr. burrito," I announced to my husband, whose very life's existence is centered around procuring my heart's culinary desires the minute they arise.

But then I thought about it and I issued a correction.

"The fetus would like a Patty's vegetarian jr. burrito tomorrow."

I learned from Andy Carman that anything that goes on for the next six months I should blame on the baby, which I consider to be rather smart. Think about it. I blame bad behavior on it now, and then when it is born I make it do hard labor around the house. Genius!

"So, is that in the cards for me?" I had to ask again because I was being ignored.

Brandon was far away, eyes glued to the flickering television screen, where Goose had just fallen into the ocean and Tom Cruise was holding onto him for dear life like a devastated lover.

"You're going to have to let go!" Brandon said.

And I said,

"Beg your pardon?"

And then the man in the helicopter said,

"You're going to have to let go!"

I marveled at this man on the couch with me. This man who, unbeknownst to me until now, somehow knows the entire Top Gun script like he knows how to do wicked cool stuff with Excel spreadsheets.

But that still doesn't answer my question about that burrito.

4.07.2010

So You Say You're Reading The Old Testament? IV

Jacob and Rachel, via

I have been thinking a lot about infertility.

Brandon and I started our "Summer Project" in June of 2008. Oh, we had high hopes. And then somehow Summer turned to Fall, and then to Winter, and by early Spring I was ready to crawl into a hole and die.

There is a certain kind of sting in the failure of the body to perform what for most species is its most basic function. While it has never bothered me that I can't really do long division, or that I don't know how to sail, or that I can't do the splits, this failure to conceive somehow made me doubt myself so much. It completely broke my heart.

I consulted friends and loved ones for advice and always heard the same thing: Relax. Don't stress out. Go on vacation. Try some red wine. Lay off the caffeine. Try this doctor. Eat more avocados. Just stop trying! Trust the Lord's timing!

But every night as I prayed I heard something else: Keep Looking.

I saw doctor after doctor after doctor. Two OB/GYNs, one naturopath, one highly specialized and highly expensive Reproductive Specialist, they all told me the same thing. Your body is healthy. There is nothing wrong with you. Everything works. Just wait it out. Try to be patient.

Still I received the same prompting, the same feeling. Keep Looking, it said. Over and over I heard it. Keep Looking.

The prominent women of the book of Genesis are as follows: Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel. Of these prominent women in the book of Genesis, there is only one who does not suffer from infertility: Eve.

Eve was the cursed one, isn't that right?

Genesis is full of God's chosen women suffering from a want of children. In each case, she is a woman whom God directed a prophet to find and marry. She is a woman who was promised that her seed would bear rulers and kings. She is a woman who was loved by God.

When I started the book of Genesis in January I was reading with the eyes of the infertile, and I hated these stories. I hated these women for their struggle, and I hated them for their success. As I wrote about the stories I purposefully avoided the topic. I didn't care and I didn't want to care. I wanted to be over it.

But let's just go there, shall we? Okay then.

First there is Sarah. Sarah is the wife of Abraham, the eventual mother of Isaac. Sarah is easily the most severe of the Infertile Myrtles. At the age of 90 she has yet to conceive and is menopausal (Gen 18:10). As Abraham prays considering an eventual heir, God tells him that Sarah will conceive. And every time, Abraham and Sarah laugh. Ha-ha-ha. 
Genesis 17:16-17 I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea I will bless her, and she will be a mother of nations, kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Genesis 18:10 . . . and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself.
In Genesis 18:14, the Lord's messengers rebuke Sarah, saying, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

This was the question which kept me up at night for months and months and months. Surely nothing is too hard for the Lord. But how much can I expect from Him when I pray? Could I ask for a miracle, and would I receive? Could I ask for guidance, specific and direct, like a road map? Should I just ask for comfort? Is that the "faithful" thing to do?

I thought a lot of my cyberfriend Courtney, and the specific counsel she received when she inquired. I started to feel that I could ask, and that maybe I too would receive . . . something.

So, I asked. I was told to Keep Looking.

I had to look for a really long time.

When Rebekah, wife of Isaac and eventual mother of Esau and Jacob (twins!), was experiencing infertility, Isaac went to the Lord and demanded answers on her behalf. Rebekah had been blessed to be the mother of thousands of millions, so why was nothing happening?
Genesis 25:21 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, becasue she was barren, and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Like Rebekah, I had been blessed to know that my life's calling would be found in motherhood (although at the time I remember feeling entirely disgusted about it). So what was the hold up?

As I prayed I felt inspired to ask my husband for a blessing.
I was blessed with patience.
I was blessed that I would learn to love others more than I loved myself.
He was blessed that I didn't smack him right there on the spot. That was so not what I was going for, but thanks anyway.

Further reflection and prayer on my part led me to know what I always knew. That I was to Keep Looking. Keep Asking. Sometimes we are blessed with miracles. That wasn't my path.

I think Rachel, wife of Jacob and eventual mother of Joseph, is the woman in Genesis I relate to the most. If you remember, Rachel is the daughter of a proud and sneaky man, who tells Jacob he can marry her after seven years hard labor, and then pulls a trick by slipping Leah in at the wedding instead. Rachel is who Jacob loves, and for Rachel he continues to work for his father-in-law. When Leah has children easily and Rachel cannot . . .
Genesis 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
It was in my second November of wanting that I started to feel like Rachel. Give me children, or else I die. It was also around November that I decided to throw myself into fertility charting. After just two cycles I knew exactly my problem: My Luteal Phase was precisely one day too short. One day. I showed my doctor the results and by the end of the appointment I held a tiny little pill that promised to sort me all out.

I asked Brandon if he would give me another blessing.
This time I was blessed to know that I would get pregnant soon.
That my body would be able to receive a spirit child of God's.
That I would have a healthy pregnancy.

That month the pregnancy test blinked a word at me that was so foreign it nearly took me off my feet and I needed a minute before I could even tell if it was in English.

People keep telling me that these things are all on the Lord's schedule. When I told an older lady in the ward I was "finally" expecting, she screwed up her mouth at me and said, "Now, don't go insulting the Lord, this was his timing after all." I believe her, of course, but also I don't. There has to be so much more to it.

The thing is, I've talked with Him, pleaded with Him, listened for Him for far too long to really think I was a just passive participant faithfully awaiting my time. Those long months when I poured my soul out in prayer, the Lord whispered back that this was in my hands, that with faith and obedience He would lead me to my baby, but that I would have to do the work. It was such a teeny tiny small thing, how could I have found that on my own? We figured it out together. That was my path to this baby. I believe the Lord wanted me know that I had power with Him, that He heard my prayers, and that together we would make it work. Alone I would be left to struggle. Perhaps I needed to learn this now in order to properly mother this person that I am growing. I am so very much closer to my Heavenly Father as a result of these years of endless fasting and prayer. I think He had that in mind for me, too.

But.

I never gave up.
I never stopped trying.
Going on vacation never did nothing,
And not once did I ever relax.

(Just wanted to put that out there.)

What I take from Genesis is thus: If you work with God, God will work with you. It is like a crazy cheat sheet. We can be co-creators with our God. We can create our lives with Him, if we let Him show us the path he means for us to blaze. All we have to do is ask.



Genesis 30:22 And God remembered Rachel.



Thanks to my new favorite blog
for helping me make better sense
of all of these thoughts in my head.