June 29, 2007
Collin and Mary also had 4 of their cousins in the workshop, and 2 of their neighborhood friends. Grandpa and Grandma came to the performance as well.
Mary (back center) performs "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun"
Mary (front right) sings her solo in "If We Hold On Together"
Collin (end left) performs "Sara Lee"
Collin (back center) singing "Standing on a Corner"
June 26, 2007
Jack likes to put on his goggles and say, "Mommy, I'm a scuba diver," and then he fetches things from the bottom of the pool, namely these. It cracks me up because he can't seem to remember what they are called.... he usually refers to them as "tortillas" or "mosquitoes." But I know what he's talking about. Mom's know these things.
Jack will surely be delighted with the pool for several more years at least.... probably longer than the pool will last. And Mary too. She has become quite the fish as well. She is perfecting her stroke, learning to do underwater flips, and other tricks. She especially likes to do "Cannon Balls." Collin probably won't be satisfied with it a long as the younger kids, but for now he is thrilled. He thinks it's pretty cool to make a whirl-pool (you can't do that in those big pools with a deep end, so there!), and he keeps asking the other kids if they want to have a chicken fight. But none of them are big enough or strong enough to handle such a challenge. That's just fine with me. Collin definitely likes the "Toypedo" toys too. And he can actually pronounce the word.
I have watched this series over and over, and I'm as delighted each time as if it were the first. It's quite the ultimate, and my absolute favorite. (sigh) And, of course, the novel is one of my all-time favorite books. (I was a bit disappointed with the recent film version. It just can't compare to the mini-series.)
I also adored "Sense and Sensibility".... the 1995 film is wonderful, but the book is fantastic! Another Jane Austen-put-to-film-favorite of mine is Persuasion. Emma was, of course, delightful, but Mansfield Park was just OK.
But last night I watched this, and I must say Elizabeth Gaskell's novel could give ol' Jane a run for her money in the repressed attraction department. I quite enjoyed it, and heartily recommend it, though I think nothing will ever take the place of "Pride and Prejudice" in my sappy, romantic heart. (sigh)
And as for leading men, no one can hold a candle to Colin Firth. (sigh, sigh, sigh) I think I would watch him in just about anything, but here are a few I can recommend. (I tried to put these in order, but I couldn't.... they are all excellent. However, Pride and Prejudice is definitely #1.) So, go rent one today.
Pride and Prejudice (did I mention I love this?)
The Importance of Being Earnest
Bridget Jones's Diary*
A Month in the Country
*I can only recommend these if they are the edited versions that I saw.
June 24, 2007
Please understand, it gets really hot where we live. I mean stinking hot. Basically, you can't go outside unless it's to go from your air-conditioned house, to your air-conditioned car, to the air-conditioned store, etc. From October to May, my kids play happily outdoors.... so content and getting along so well. Come June, when it's too hot to play outside, they drive each other crazy (and me) with the teasing, fighting, pestering, etc. We go stir crazy staying inside, and there is a limit to the amount of time you can spend hanging out in the nice, cool library or mall without going insane. So, if you want to survive, either your kids watch a lot of TV and DVD's, or you hang out in the pool.
I truly despise public pools. We have nice ones all over the place, with fun water slides and everything. But you have to actually GO there, and hang out there, with the other poor people who don' t have their own swimming pool. Ugh.
My in-laws used to have a large, beautiful pool, which they never used (and they were rarely at home). Since they lived only 2 miles from us, it was perfect... we could go any time without bothering anyone. It was lovely.
Then, they moved.... to a new house, further away, sans pool. Uh oh. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of kind people who offer to have us over to swim. They say, "You can come swim at our house any time!" I really appreciate it, but in reality, it doesn't happen very often. People who have their own pool hop into it whenever they fancy. Do they really expect us to do the same? I don't think so.
We barely survived last summer with a handful of invitations. I knew I couldn't take another summer like that one. I was feeling desperate to have our own swimming pool, and yet by no means do I want to spend 10's of thousands of dollars and give up half my yard (which we use 9 months out of the year), and redo the landscaping after the construction crew destroys it, for something we will use 3-4 months out of the year.
Then Jay suggested the unthinkable.... the "above-ground pool." I know, I know.... in other parts of the country they are quite common. But not here. I always thought it was weird and kind of "white trash."
But now I'm quite convinced this is the way to go. For $200 (thank you Wal-Mart) we got a 16 foot round pool, with a ladder, pump with filter, leaf/debris skimmer and vacuum, and cover. It was a cinch to set up. We filled it with water, added some chlorine, and we had a blast in it yesterday! My kids are absolutely beside themselves with joy. And I am so relieved.
The best part is, in a couple of months, we can pack it up and put it in the shed, and reclaim our yard for another lovely AZ winter. Perfect.
So, all you poor souls who don't have a swimming pool at your house, you are welcome to come swim in ours anytime. And if that isn't convenient for you, and you have $200 to spare, stop by your local Super Wal-Mart and pick up one of these.
June 21, 2007
June 19, 2007
Sting is absolutely amazing. It sounds totally cliche, but he is truly a very talented musician. Not only are his songs interesting musically, but his lyrics are intelligent and clever. Andy Summers was intense and serious, and played incredibly well. Stewart Copeland just cracked me up... he always had this huge grin on his face. He has so much energy. He looked like he was having a blast. And did I mention that Sting was incredible? I could listen to his voice all day long. The music was even better than on their recordings. They are amazing... no bells and whistles.... just 3 really talented guys making great music.
They started with "Message in a Bottle," and followed with:
Walking On the Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
The Bed's Too Big Without You
Truth Hits Everybody
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Walking in Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You
King of Pain
Every Breath You Take
Next to YouA lot of people complained that the performance veered to much from the original, but I thought it was just enough to make it interesting (why would you go to a live concert if you want to hear music played exactly as it is recorded?), but not enough to alienate.
- Singing along with Sting. "Walking on the Moon" and "King of Pain" were especially fun.
- Snagging a FREE on-street parking space directly across the street from the arena. Sweet.
- Sting shouting "Phoenix, Arizona" three times during "So Lonely."
- Copeland running around the stage like a kid.
- Stepping in the beer that the guy next to me spilled.
- The opening act, "FICTIONPLANE." There were terrible. I wondered how such a stinking awful band could have been opening for "The Police" until I learned that Sting's son, Joe Sumner, is the guitarist and singer. They had a couple of songs that were decent, and the last one was totally offensive and disgusting. Most of them were just plain boring. Basically, they were totally unoriginal.
Since we didn't have to pay $20 for parking, Jay decided we should buy a shirt. It's very UNFLATTERING on me, but I still like it.Check out this slide show of the concert. If you look really closely, you can see me. :)
June 18, 2007
I'm so pleased with the progress he has made though. This year he did well enough to make the relay team for freestyle. Unfortunately, since he had never participated in a relay before, he didn't quite understand how it works.
He was the 2nd swimmer, so he was up on the block ready to go. When he heard the starting signal for the first swimmer, he thought that was for him, and off he went. He didn't realize what was going on until he was half-way across the pool and almost ran into the first swimmer. So, he had to swim back and get out.
By this time, the first swimmer was completing his lap, and it was Collin's turn. He is used to swimming just one lap in a race. But at this point he had already completed a full lap.... in 2 halves. So, he was obviously a little tired at this point, but he completed his lap.... behind all the other teams. The last 2 swimmers did their best, but they weren't able to make up for the lost time.
Oh well, it was a good experience for Collin, and now he understands how it works.
The amazing this is, that in the end, because of disqualifications, his team took 2nd place. Not bad.
We used to subscribe to Cleanfilms.com. It worked just like Netflix, but the movies were edited for content. It was great to be able to select any movie that sounded interesting without having to worry about ratings or offensive content. But then the movie studios won, and put Cleanfilms and other companies like it out of business. We were really disappointed. We went back to Netflix, carefully avoiding R-rated films, and many PG-13 ones that are nearly as bad.
Then, my techie brother told me about this, available here, and I bought it. It really works! This is even better than edited movies, plus it's already been through the legal channels to make sure it won't have the problems of its forerunners. Hooray for people committed to providing clean entertainment options!
1) My dad, Russell. It is hard to describe what a wonderful father he is. He is kind and wise, supportive and loving, generous and hardworking. He taught me many things, like how to drive a car, budget money, build a house, teach lessons and give talks, respect my elders, and overcome my shyness. He taught me the gospel, to love the scriptures, and to work hard. He gave me many things: my first job, good advice to fill volumes, opportunities to travel the U.S., Canada, and Europe (and infected me with the travel bug), a loving home, and wonderful priesthood blessings. He provided for the spiritual and temporal welfare of a family of 11 children, and has always treated my mother like a queen. He has counseled with me when I have had problems, comforted me when I had my heart broken, and set me straight when I got out of line. By his example, he taught me to love learning, to persevere, to serve, and to be happy. He is also a wonderful grandfather to my children. Thank you Dad. I love you!
2) The father of my children, Jay. I always wanted to marry someone like my dad (even when I didn't realize my desires as such) and I did. Jay is all the things my dad is, and more... he changes diapers. :) Jay is good provider, and a wonderful priesthood leader in our home. He plays with the kids, reads to them, helps them with homework, takes them with him when he runs errands, makes them laugh, and helps them feel special. He also gives them baths and gets them ready for bed. He keeps our yard looking nice, and fixes things around the house. He goes on fathers-and-sons outings even though he hates camping. Unlike my dad, Jay doesn't like to travel, but he does anyway because he knows it is important to me and the kids. He commutes to Phoenix for works because he knows I want to raise our family in the suburbs. He supports me in my church callings, and serves well in his own. He teaches our children to work hard, treat their mother with respect, accept responsibility for their actions, and treat each other kindly. He is patient, but firm. He is fun, but serious. He is intelligent and good. Thank you Jay. I love you!
June 15, 2007
It would seem that attending a rock concert would qualify as "cool." My parents never let me go to concerts when I was in high school, so I have only attended 2 in my entire life; I saw Donny Osmond when I was at BYU (I'm not even sure that counts), and Cocteau Twins after I had graduated from college.
On the other hand, Jay went to quite a few concerts in his "younger" days, most of which I would have loved to attend; Sting, R.E.M., OMD, Depeche Mode, Morrissey, The Ramones, Live, Concrete Blonde, The Cure, Weezer, INXS, Luscious Jackson, and Peter Gabriel, to name just a few. He even saved most of the ticket stubs!
However, Jay is a little too young to have attended a Police concert; he was only in 6th grade when they released their last album, Synchronicity, in 1983. (Jay says the closest thing he saw to a Police concert was in elementary school when the music teacher had the class sing "Every Breath You Take" while a few kids played a single chord on acoustic guitars.) I remember buying the album (on cassette tape) for my older brother for Christmas. What a great album. After that, Sting went solo and I became a huge fan.... I still am.
And now The Police have reunited for a world tour, including Phoenix this Monday night. Even though Jay and I both agreed it would be "cool" to go to the concert, we decided it probably wasn't "our thing," nor did we want to spend an insane amount of money for tickets.
But last night, just for kicks, Jay looked on eBay for tickets to the concert. We even bid on a couple of decent seats, but gave up when it topped $150 for the pair. I admit to feeling relieved when we didn't win. Then we noticed 2 tickets for sale with the "Buy it Now" option, for $29 total, and free shipping. The catch? The seats are directly behind the stage.
And then suddenly we said, "What the heck. That's hardly more than it would cost to go to a movie. Let's do it." So, we'll be at US Airways Center on Monday night along with 20,000+ other fans. For that price, we won't feel bad leaving if it's lame (doubtful) or if we feel too "uncool" to be there (probable).
On second thought, these guys are old enough to be our parents. Maybe it's not so "cool" after all.
June 12, 2007
My dad and a business partner purchased Don Hoel's Cabins, which they plan to develop into residential lots. In the meantime, it sits empty, just as it was when the original owners sold it. Sadly, most of the cabins will be torn down eventually. But in the meantime, we can enjoy them.... and escape the heat.
June 05, 2007
It wasn't because I was sick or uncomfortable. None of my children were sick or frightened or otherwise in need of comfort. I didn't have nightmares, or hear scary noises that kept me awake.
It's because Jay was tossing and turning all night. And that is because he was stung by one of these. (shudder)
Yikes! I hate scorpions!