Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mornings with Papa (and Audrey)

When my little family makes it upstairs for breakfast at a reasonable hour, (i.e. before 8:30) we can typically catch Papa on his way down to the bathroom to fix his bedhead.

Audrey starting asking quite some time ago what had happened to his hair to make it stick up all over.

The conversation will usually go something like this:

Audrey: Grandpa, what happened to your hair?

Papa: I got into a pillow fight with your grandmother.
Or: I slept on an egg beater last night.
Or: I had a brain-quake.
Or: I had a brain storm followed by a folicular typhoon.

The first few times, Audrey looked at her father or me to see if Papa was kidding. After a while, she just started responding with: Oh, Grandpa, you're so silly.

Papa has obviously enjoyed the dependability of Audrey asking this question because he comes up with something new and more imaginative or outlandish every time.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent somewhere around two hours up in my parent's room asking grammar questions. I was up to my eyeballs in text and found that I was confusing myself with it, so I went to the Human Lexicon and asked about everything that was causing me issue. I think I wore him out with all of it.

The next morning, he came down the stairs and before Audrey had time to notice him, he gave me a surly glare and said, "I was wrestling with a dictionary ALL night because someone asked me questions for two hours!"

I laughed, not apologetic in the least and as Papa made his way down the second flight of stairs, Audrey piped up.

"Oh, so THAT'S what happened to your hair!"

I couldn't possibly have come up with a better comeback, myself!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One of the things I learned in public school

I went to public school from Kindergarten through half of fifth grade. After that, I was homeschooled. It was a good thing too, because I had murderous intentions toward my fifth grade teacher.
I'm not knocking public school in any way. It works for most families, both for the kids and the parents. For me, however, it was doing several strange things to my brain. (See: murderous intentions)

One of the things I learned in public school was geography. I believe it was in my fourth grade class room that I sat at a desk right next to a map of the United States. It was one of those super simplified maps, like so:

We all remember these, right?

When I was much younger, I was under the impression that the color of the state designated on the map was actually literal. The maps that I saw certainly didn't have pink states, but there were green, brown, yellow, and probably blue. I assumed that this indicated the quality and quantity of grass and other green plants. I figured out differently on my own pretty quickly. I mean, I lived in California, and it was mostly brown. I think the map that I looked at as a kid showed it in green.

It didn't help that I wasn't really interested in geography that much.

Anyway, that's not the point I'm wanting to make. With regard to the map above, I learned the greatest non-fact about my country because of the way it was presented.

I was under the impression that the U.S. was a massive island floating out in the ocean with a ginormous Hawaii and a relatively small Alaska floating underneath. It never occurred to me that it would be rather strange to have an island occur naturally with really straight northern coastline. The same went for Alaska's eastern coast.

Imagine my surprise, years later, when I realized that the U.S. was not, in fact, an island. It was firmly placed between Canada and Mexico and qualified as a Continent! Whatdayaknow!

I also learned that Alaska was not even very close to the U.S. at all and was attached to Canada! How did that work out?

Even after learning all of that, in my head, I still imagined Hawaii to be just a little shorter in length than the Alaskan mainland and I also imagined that it was directly west of California. I think I also figured that you could take a sailboat to get there. I don't remember when I finally realized how relatively small Hawaii was and how far south. I was probably nearly an adult by this time. I do remember thinking, "Why the heck didn't I know this before?"

The same goes for countries like Egypt... I think I spent the greater part of my childhood thinking that Egypt was squashed somewhere in between Italy and Jerusalem. Apparently, Jerusalem was it's own country. Africa, for its part, was one huge country that only had a couple thousand people living there because the rest of it was safari country like the Serengeti. Oh, and Australia was the same size as Russia and was all by itself in the ocean. New Zealand didn't exist. China was just a little bigger than Japan.
All of those misunderstandings can be blamed on the fact that they didn't teach much about other countries in fourth grade. At least, if they did, I wasn't listening.

This is a rough approximation of what I imagined the U.S. looked like when I was a kid.
I forgot to draw Alaska and Hawaii... just imagine them floating under Texas and "?"

I find it almost ironic that I ended up marrying a Map Geek.

I suppose it's possible that I'm learning all kinds of interesting things from him almost purely by osmosis... but, most likely not.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monkey Brains

I've talked about hair on a couple of occasions... Actually, several. But who's counting? Besides Blogger?

Ben is bald(ing). He doesn't find this fact amusing. He also finds very little comfort in the fact that I think it looks good on him. I wrote a blog a year and a half ago about men being bald and not hiding the fact.
Occasionally, Ben will allude to something he wished he could do with hair if he had some. I just think to myself that he couldn't possibly be any more attractive to me than he is on the days he shaves his head and face. I suppose he makes up for his lack of head hair by growing interesting facial hair.

Audrey has a long, full head of hair. It's interesting to me that I like making her hair pretty and resist getting it cut when I chopped all my hair off at the first opportunity. I have had several hair adventures with Audrey over the years. If you're interested, look here, here, here, here and a recent fabulous picture that a friend posted on Facebook. Audrey was a flower girl that day.

Henry has had simpler styles but still just as fun. Check them out here and here. We are currently trying to grow it out some so that we can take advantage of whatever curliness decides to reveal itself.

As for me, I've had long hair, short hair and very short hair at various times of my life. Since having kids, I haven't seriously considered growing it out again. My most interesting hair adventure can be found here. When the blue started to fade, I used red dye on it and it came out somewhat purple-ish. I haven't dyed it since. It's almost not worth it when you end up cutting it all off a month or so later.
So generally speaking, I use up any creativity I have in finding interesting ways to style my hair. I've had it smoothed down, barretted, pinned, head-banded, flowered and, most often, spiked. It's surprisingly difficult to find hair product that can keep my hair spiked all day. By the end of the day, the back and/or sides are getting fuzzy looking.

So, back to the title of my blog, I found a new hair gel! And so far... I LOVE it!

It's called Monkey Brains. It comes in a yellow banana container that has an MP3 player-listening monkey with crazy hair on it.
When you squeeze it out of the tube, it's a strange shade of yellow and that, combined with its thickness, reminds me vaguely of a grub.

Sure, it's target market is preteens and teenagers... but, really... I don't care. I can dig a hair gel that keeps my hair looking almost exactly the same after having slept on it all night.

Of course, before I bought it, this scene ran through my head... you know the one.
If anything, it just made me want to buy it even more.

You don't have to tell me I have a twisted sense of humor. I already know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

On Charmed Lives

Ben is lucky.

There is no arguing with this fact.

I present to you some of the long list of items that prove this fact.

Ben has been pulled over six (6) times since we moved to Orem. I have been pulled over once (1). Ben's tickets: two (2). My tickets: one (1).
(As a sub-note. Ben has been pulled over countless times in his life and has only had perhaps one or two other tickets, ever. I have been pulled over twice in my life and both times got a ticket.)

Ben found $300 Kenneth Cole shoes at DI for a few bucks. I found a cute Prada bag at DI for a few bucks. It turned out to be a knock off that was made in China. (I'm not mad about it, I'm just illustrating the luck discrepancy.)

Ben has won a variety of prizes from radio or raffles. I won a prize from a radio station once and when we went to pick it up, they had run out. They told me they would mail me a copy of the book I won, but I never got it.

Convinced yet?

I could go on.

But I won't.

Ben leads somewhat of a charmed life. The benefit of being his wife is that, while I rarely if ever experience this luck myself, I often enjoy the benefits of his.

Last night, Ben returned home from work at an earlier hour than normal and cheerily asked me if I'd like to go and see the last Harry Potter film. I asked if there was any possibility that we could even get a showing and he said he'd check. He spent some time online looking and most everything looked packed according to the websites, but there seemed to be a few seats here and there. I suggested that he call and find out from a real person if the website was updating live. He called and got an automated system that was very little help.

So, he took a shower and I talked to my parents about making sure that my children don't burn down the house in their sleep.

We left the house at about 8:45.

I know what you're thinking... opening night of one of the biggest phenomena of our generation... of COURSE it's going to be sold out. BUT, remember who I was spending my evening with?

We checked a couple theaters nearby and no one had anything before 3am. I don't care how much I wanted to see this movie, I am NOT staying up until 3am.

We finally went to one other theater and passed the truly freakish die-hards, dressed up and waiting patiently in queues for their showing. This theater had a kiosk in the front selling tickets, so Ben decided to check that. He pulled everything up and we found, to our utter disbelief, that there was a showing at 12:01 that had tickets. He speedily bought them up and we attempted to find our queue.

After a few minutes of wandering around, we found a cute young thing that worked there and asked her where we were supposed to line up. She wasn't sure and went to ask. A few minutes later, we went to find her. When we did, she and the guy she was asking were both looking rather befuddled. They, in turn, asked the head manager fellow who, at this point, was looking rather relaxed for someone surrounded by such insanity.

When we showed him our tickets, he looked surprised and said, "You shouldn't have been able to get those!"
Apparently, the 12:01 showing in theater 9 was a private one for Seven Peaks employees. In the 30 seconds that the showing opened up for Seven Peaks to buy all the tickets, we just happened to get to the kiosk and get in on the show as well.

They didn't have a line set up for them yet, so we were cut loose to do whatever we wanted for a while. Ben was starving, so we went to the Subway at the mall who had decided to stay open for an extra hour because of all the Potterites. Smart of them, I say.

So, Ben ate his foot-long BMT and I ate cookies and stole sips of his Dr. Pepper.

While we ate, we watched several groups of kids (i.e. adults dressed up as HP characters) "duel" each other with their wand replicas or twigs. There was a fellow who strapped his feet to buckets and dressed up like Hagrid. People kept stopping him to have pictures taken. There were numerous Dobbys, Tonks, Harrys of both genders, Umbridges and one or two Lavender Browns. I saw The Fat Lady complete with frame and Molly Weasley. There was someone dressed up like a penguin and another dressed up like Where's Waldo. There was a rather shabbily done Dumbledore and a spectacularly done Snape. Robes and Hogwarts schoolgirls abounded.

When we finally sauntered into the theater again to look for our queue, we eventually got directed to the management again. The head manager was looking quite harried by this point and informed us that the lady who set up the Seven Peaks showing was intending to conduct some company business before the movie started and that we couldn't be in there for that. Instead, he said that theater 8 was already seating and we could go in there and see if there were any seats available.

What? No waiting in a queue?

Yes, please!

Feeling slightly guilty, I followed Ben (who was suffering no complex of any kind) into the theater and right into some seats right in the middle of the row.

Yes, please!!

The showing turned out to be a 12:15 one, but I wasn't especially concerned about 14 minutes. We got seated at about 10:45. For the next hour and a half, we chatted about the unbelievable night we were having and various pipe dreams of our possible future. Like how one day I will be a famous author. Not as famous as Rowling, but almost.

When the screen started the movie quotes and quizzes, I sent Ben out for snacks.

There were a million previews, which was okay.

The movie was stunning. I cried. A lot. It was completely worth the staying up late and feeling like a zombie today. The benefit of watching it so late (early) is that we were in a big group of adults who wanted to see it as much as we did. There were scenes where you could have heard an owl flap, it was so quiet.

That's all I will say about the movie.

If you've read the book, it's not exactly true to the story. A few things were left out, a few things were added.

If you haven't read the book... what rock have you been under for the last fourteen years.

Either way, the movie is worth the high ticket prices and ANY hour you choose to see it.

This lengthy story should by now convince you of Ben's fantastically charmed existence. Is he always lucky? I will have to give a judicious answer and say that even when it seems like his luck has run out, it's usually because his good luck is keeping something from happening that would be even worse. That aspect of his life is difficult to explain, so I won't even try.

I'll just keep things simple and say that my evening was truly magical!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Words Are Fun

Life has been quite busy for us the past few months. It seems like once summer started, it's been go, go, go for us, almost non-stop!
I will shortly be putting up pictures and telling the stories of the past few weeks, but for today, I need to tell you what's on my mind.

While I was growing up, and even to this very day, my parents instilled in me the desire to use words correctly and enthusiastically. Over the years, I have had many people look at me a little cross-eyed because what came out of my mouth was often more mature than my years.

I love words. I love using words... I love saying unusual or even archaic words. I like using certain words frequently just because of how they sound when I say them.

Because I read so much as a child, teenager and young adult, there were words that I had only ever read and never heard anyone say, so I never knew how to pronounce them. For a long time, I thought the word faux was pronounced fox. You can imagine my confusion when I read the words faux fur and then years later heard someone say what I thought was "foe fur."

Most of these mistakes and confusions are out of the way now, but I still love words.

I want my children to love words too.

So I have been teaching them words that I find supremely fun.

When Audrey was little and just learning how to talk, we thought up the longest words we could while driving around town and asked her to say them. Audrey's early vocabulary included: deciduous, superfluous, ubiquitous, disjunct and, my personal favorite, cloaca.

After a while, she didn't want to perform for us anymore, and I had to be content with teaching her useful words that, while advanced for her age, weren't nearly as fun to say.

So, you can imagine the sublime joy that entered my heart when I recently discovered that Henry has now entered that tender age when he will repeat everything we ask him to.

We fell back on the old vocabulary just for old times sake. However, today I was hit by a fit of mischievous humor and decided to twist the old game a little.

The phrases we taught Henry (and Audrey) today:

Don't touch my uvula!

Don't touch my phalanges!

Don't touch my philtrum! (This was Grammy's contribution.)

Don't touch my coccyx!

Don't touch my cloaca! (I couldn't help myself with this one...)

I am anxiously awaiting the moment when Henry will let one of these phrases fly in the middle of church or a restaurant... or a museum... or the store. I am sure most people will wonder what the heck we are doing to our child to make him say that.

On a less disturbing note, we taught Audrey about nocturnal and diurnal today. She correctly deduced from our explanation that humans (generally speaking) are diurnal. Yay!

So, here's to words! And all of us Word Nerds out there!


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