Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tonight while watching the State of the Union Address

(Sound of President Obama speaking as the speech streams onto Harry's MacBook)

Me: Hey... this speech is so recycled.  He's said all of this stuff before.

Harry: ...No, I don't think so.

Me: Really?  Because this sounds so familiar for some reason.

Harry: Maybe because we've just heard this kind of thing lately.

Me: Hmmm.

(five minutes pass)

Me: This is so weird.  I know he's given a speech just like this before.

Harry: No, I don't think so.

(five more minutes pass, and the President says something about two brothers from Michigan who own a roofing company, who volunteered their time and resources to help out in New York City right after September 11th happened)

Harry: Waaaaaait...

Me: I know, right?  This sounds so familiar!

(Harry takes the video out of full-screen and looks at the video title)

Harry:  Uh....

Me: What?

Harry: Uh, yeah, this is last year's speech.

Me: HA!

Don't worry, we're watching the real one now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Come Uppance Rears It's Ugly Head

A few days ago, Harry asked me if I wouldn't mind making some chocolate chip cookies this weekend for him to take to the families he home teaches.  

I take enormous pride in the fact that he loves my chocolate chip cookies, and requests them regularly, especially when I spend way too much on Guittard chocolate chips that are made locally and sold at the farmer's market, which I do on a weekly basis.  

I said sure.

I didn't get a chance to do it on Saturday, but "Not to worry," I assured him, "Church starts at 11 now, so I'll just do it before church on Sunday."

"Are you sure?" he asked, squinting in a way that suggested I was being highly unrealistic.

"Honey, it takes less than an hour.  I can totally do this."

So this morning at 9 am I arose and whipped up the cookies (a double batch, mind you, and without the help of an electric mixer, because the only mixer we own is called my arm).

In my groggy state, as I stood over my bowl of melted butter and brown and white sugar, I thought to myself, "You know, there's nothing really noble about baking.  I mean, no one needs this.  It's butter and sugar.  Anyone who eats these cookies is pretty much shortening their lifespan.  It tastes good but it technically reduces anyone's quality of life."

I shrugged and threw the cookies in the oven.

We left the cookies to cool on paper towels on the counter and went to Church.

When we came home, they were waiting for us, perched atop their little round grease stains on the paper towels.  I started to put them in bags for Harry to take home teaching when I said, "Oh-- where are my baking sheets?"

Harry shrugged.  My immediate conclusion: he cleaned them and put them away for me.

"Oh, honey, thank you, that was so nice." I say.

"No.  I didn't do anything." he says.

Then I realize-- hey, didn't I double this recipe?  Shouldn't there be way more cookies than this?

I peaked in the oven and the roar of a furious lion along with flames of hellfire emerged from my mouth.

I had turned off the oven this morning but had left the last two sheets of cookies in the oven.  We tested one-- it was like biting into a dark brown lava rock.

In my state of complete composure and maturity, I snapped, "Oh my gosh!  I'm never making cookies for you again!"

To which Harry responded, "What?"

To which I so eloquently responded, "It was just so much to do this morning!  I couldn't do it all!"

To which he responded in a smaller voice, "Remember when I thought you should do it on Saturday so that you wouldn't have too much to do this morning?"

To which I responded, the picture of feminine grace and loveliness, mind you, "Whatever!"

I started chucking the two dozen rock-cookies into the garbage can one by one.  And as I did, a little voice in the back of my mind started chanting in sing-song tones, "Well, at least you insist that there's nothing noble about baking anyway, and these cookies won't be shortening your life span by taking up residence on your ample caboose!"  This was followed by a Bellatrix LeStrange style cackle.

To which I responded, "Shut up, brain."

Note to self: Stay away from baking for a while.

Epilogue: We've since hugged it out and I said I'm sorry for being so irritated/ing and am going to try to eliminate my baking hubris for the new year.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas and all it's diversions

Christmas was wonderful this year.
We giddily packed up Harry's car and mentally prepared for the 22+ hours of driving that awaited us over two weeks.
We had some book tapes on hand, but sadly, I hated all of them.  It’s amazing how much a narrator can make or break a book tape.  One narrator made Jason Bourne (of the Bourne Identity series) read like a slovenly, grouchy Santa Clause.
Thank Heavens my husband is so much fun to talk to.  After 2.5 years of marriage he still makes me laugh so hard that I am silently convulsing and slapping my hands together like a baby seal.  That's love.
For the first time in three years, my entire family was together (for about 48 hours total) at Christmas. Every sibling, spouse, and child.  When we were eating Christmas Eve dinner, my mom looked across the table at my dad, wide eyed, and said, “Hey.  Everyone is here.” I'd been waiting a long time for that.
We took the kiddies to the park and launched water balloons into a wide, open field.  Harry ran out to see if nephew Sam could aim and hit him.  Not only was Sam’s aim dead on, but when the water balloon hit Harry, it didn’t break.  A nice shoulder bruise appeared shortly thereafter, and in Christmas colors! Festive.

We ate like kings, mostly because my parents are a dynamic kitchen duo.  Their garden (I call it their “victory garden”) has been sprouting fresh oranges, lemons, Italian dandelions, basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, sage, and lavender.  When winter wears off, there will be raspberries, blackberries, and a plethora of varied lettuce and (HOT) peppers.  I brought some oranges home and am salivating just thinking of them in our little fruit bowl.
Christmas Sunday was exactly how I wanted it to be.  We visited my parents’ ward and saw what seemed like millions of familiar faces.  My in-laws also drove in from Vegas to be there for the blessing of my newest niece Juniper.  It was perfect—so perfect, I felt like I was getting away with something.
We had a little Eaton family talent show (yes, this song is real, and yes, we really performed it with the help of my tuxedo-wearing father), we walked around Newport Beach to see the lights, another day Cam and I rode our bikes down to Balboa, we saw the “toppest” tree at Fashion Island, we ate Mom’s caramels, we had a glorious time.

Christmas dinner with a cross-eyed Harry

We also managed to snap a family picture.  I love these peeps.

In a flash it was time to be in Vegas, and we had a blast hanging out and playing games, my new favorite of which is the iPod game, in which someone lies on the floor with their eyes covered, and they are plugged into headphones.  Then someone else selects a song for them at high volume, and the person has to sing it without being able to hear themselves at all.  I laughed so hard I cried.  Prince and Cat Stevens will never be the same for me ever again.  *The Circle of Trust still exists.  Anyone who ever posts any of those videos will be cursed with eternal Spattergroit.*
A major highlight was going to the temple.  It’s always a sweet experience to go with family and friends, and I'm so thankful that Aja is eternally woven into the family tapestry.  We love her so much!
It blows my mind that this time next year, people won’t be flying in anymore for Christmas—mostly everyone will just live there.  I know that’s been a long time coming, and it is exciting stuff!
We had a talent show, the kids wrote/filmed/starred in their own Christmas movie, we ate Thai food and hot wings, we opened presents, we had a wonderful time.  I'm embarrassed to say though that the only snapshot I have is of the group at Mac and Julie's watching the big UFC fight.  I have this app that stitches pictures together to create a panorama.  I don't know how the quality will be on a blog post.  Only one way to find out!

New Years was spent at home, snuggled up to Harry on the sofa with a fever and some congestion, watching a movie and pausing to watch the crazy fireworks on the strip from the family room window.  We made a solemn promise to go to a party next year, but to be honest, there are few things I love more than snuggling with Harry on a sofa.
Now we’re back.  Christmas always seems like a dream afterwards.
This will sound strange (it even does to me), but I’m always sort of mad at myself after a vacation is over.  And it’s for no real reason, other than the fact that I utterly failed to make it somehow last forever.  Like, I had one job to do, and that was to make it so that Christmas would never end, and I blew it. Does anyone else ever feel that way?
This was the last time we drove up the grapevine to return for another Stanford semester.  Next time we drive away, Harry will have a law degree.  Weird.
Happy 2012!
Impending January highlights:
  1. Downton Abbey
  2. Probably a few other things that I can't remember now because I'm thinking about Downton Abbey now
  3. Downton Abbey