Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm it.


So I guess I've been tagged. I didn't realize that this was the risk I took when I began this blog a few weeks ago. And though I do enjoy reading interesting things I didn't know about people, I am not sure I am equally up to the challenge. Well, here it goes...

1. I love ice. (Just so you know, after making that statement I realized that I haven't had any ice yet today and so I got up and got myself a glass.) I should clarify that while I have appreciation for ice of all kinds and would generally choose some kind of ice over none at all, not all ice is created equal. I could very possibly write a book on the differences in ice and have actually considered writing a travel log about where to find good ice across the country. (Have I started to sound insane yet?) Let me just sum it up by saying that size isn't always important. It is the consistency that matters. Fresh is better. If you can manage to get that rabbit pellet ice just as it drops from the ice maker you have found heaven. My favorite places to get ice are: Sonic (you can buy it by the bag), Great American Cookie (watch out--this stuff gets crystally (is that a made-up word?) and yucky fast--fresh is best, and 24/7 Express gas station (better known as "Happy" in the Elison household). I someday hope to invest in an ice machine of my own. I have probably already paid for one by now. And by the way, I have heard all of the things that people associate with ice lovers. Yes, I am anemic and no to all the other stuff.

2. I might quite possibly be part English. I can't duplicate the accent worth beans but I love English literature, English humour, and I've been known to drive on the wrong side of the road. I am generally drawn to anything English. I haven't been to England yet but hope to remedy that in the next year. I'm not all that fascinated with royalty (except in the historical or Shakespearean sense) and I don't have much interest in their politics, but I would have loved to have been Elizabeth Bennett's neighbour (minus the chamber pots).

3. I love to read. This isn't exactly a newsflash, I know. If I could get paid for reading I would be rich (I've got to figure out how to do that!). I like almost everything except the smutty or gorey stuff. I actually suffer from the fact that I will never be able to read everything I want to read. And also the knowledge that there is stuff out there that I will never even know about troubles me. I used to feel compelled to complete every book I picked up but I do have a fairly new (3 or 4 years old) policy about reading: if I have read 50 pages and am finding zero enjoyment I stop reading. It rarely happens but some books are on the bargain table for a reason.

4. My eyes are blue. This isn't that remarkable but let me tell you that until I was about 19 I thought they were green. I don't know how I got through most of my life thinking that other than the fact that even today when I look in the mirror they still look a little green to me. But I am told that they are definitely blue despite what by driver's license said for all those years.

5. I am a huge procrastinator. I've convinced myself for years that I do some of my best work when I am under the gun. I am not so sure of that now and I don't know how to change this aspect of my personality. Here is an example: In six short hours I will have several women over at my house. Before they arrive I must clean my very messy house (cluttered with breakfast dishes, toys and the remnants of Christmas decorating), figure out--shop for--and make whatever food we will be eating, and take a shower. And even as I write this I am convinced that I can do all of that easily in the two hours right before.

6. A few other things:
- my favorite color is green
-I love most all kinds of music
-I wish I had a maid who would at least clean the bathrooms and hang up clothes
-I only require about 5 hours of sleep per night
-I have worked at a movie theatre (great high school job despite smelling of popcorn), telemarketer (the only job that made me physically ill each time I had to go), printing company (where, among other things, I learned to drive a forklift), Stein Mart (I think I basically worked for merchandise--I may have actually paid them to work there), pre-school teacher (mostly fun but I had a cold for two years straight), and mom (1993-present)
-I have a testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
-My family is the most important thing in the world to me

Was that too much information? I promise to not talk about myself anymore. Ever. And if I lost you during the paragraph on ice I do apologize. Sadly there are a lot more things about me that are crazier than my ice addiction. I'm not sure who to tag. I'm new at this and everyone I know has either been tagged or just tagged me. Becky? Do you have a blog? If so, you're it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What a Wicked Day! (a flashback)



Last night Eric picked up the part he needed to finally fix the windshield wiper on the back of our van. Being the handy man that he is, he completed it in record time and it now not only works, but looks like the back of a van should. It is great even though I was getting used to the whole white trash duct tape look. Not many mini-van owners can pull off the "duct tape where your windshield wiper should be" look.

If you are not up to date on the daily happenings in the Elison household you may wonder how we could end up with duct tape on our extremely attractive black (with pearl flecks) Chrysler Town and Country minivan. It all started on a summer day in August of this year.....

Eric and I decided to surprise Savannah and Sage for their birthdays this year (their birthdays fall only about 1 month apart) and take them to Los Angeles to see the musical "Wicked." They love the music and were dying to see it. (FYI: Wicked the Musical=Great; Wicked the Book = Trash.) Even though only Sage, Savannah and I were going to the show, we all went as a family and planned to go to the beach the next day. Another exciting aspect was that we were meeting Maren and Diona for the show as well. We told the girls about it a couple of days before and they were thrilled. (We kept the part about Maren and Diona a secret so that there would be a surprise for them when we pulled in to Hollywood.)

The day finally arrives! I drop Eric off at work that morning so that when we leave our house at noon we can just pick him up and hit the road. The time comes to load up. I partially back the van into the garage in order to fill it with our luggage (do you see where this is going?). At last we have everything in the car: luggage, snacks, dvds, cds, books, water, tickets, and kiddies. We are running just a few minutes behind and I am feeling a little stressed--you know that frenzied "I've got to hurry but I don't want to forget anything oh well I'll just get in the car take off and hope for the best" feeling? Anyway, there I am. In the driver's seat. The car is on and I begin the ritual of closing all those terribly convenient automatic doors. The side doors close first and what happens next I don't think I could duplicate for a million dollars. I semi-simultaneously close the back hatch of the van, put the van in drive, and begin to pull out of the driveway. The next thing I know is that there is an (until then) indescribable noise followed by a brief moment of silence followed by screeches of horror from Savannah and Sage in the back row of the van. I turn to see that the back window is shattered into billions of pieces and that the garage is now, somehow, connected to the windshield wiper blade. The screams are horrifying and Haven and Ryder soon join in. I am paralyzed momentarily until I also begin sobbing.

Sage runs for the house screaming something like "we're not going to see Wicked!" as I finally force myself out of the car to assess the damage. I am stunned! I'm no auto body mechanic but I can tell that this is not good. I cry as I finally separate the car from the garage and take a step back to look at our glass covered luggage. Moments later Sage is handing me the phone telling me that it is Eric. I continue the crying (it seems the thing to do--everyone else is) as I hear Eric tell me to come and pick him up at work (I have the undamaged Volvo at my disposal although I am a tad bit afraid of driving at the moment). Eric stops me as I repeatedly apologize by telling me that he is just glad that no one is dead--which is what he thought once a hysterical Sage got him on the phone ("mom...sob, sob, ran into...sob, sob, with the car..sob sob sob").

When I pick up Eric from work I am still blubbering profusely. It has actually gotten worse during the drive as I cruelly berated myself, "Of all the stupid! How could you? How did you get to be so dumb?" (I will leave out anything else I might have said in order to maintain the PG rating of this blog.) Eric is immediately a calming voice in a sea of hysteria. I stop crying right away as Eric forms our game plan: "When we get home you call and arrange for a rental car; call a garage door company (it is hopelessly crumpled); and call Natalie and ask her if she can come over until the garage guy comes." Okay. That is easy enough. I do just that as soon as we get home while Eric begins the tedious task of ridding our car and luggage of glass (he is very successful although we still find small shards periodically).

Everything mostly works out. Natalie is at our house when I return with the rental car (another van) within the hour. We hit the road a mere two hours or so later than originally planned, but we are on our way. We continue to endure several more hardships on our way including a rental car with some brake issues, killer traffic, and slight trouble navigating the LA freeways (Eric, after dropping us off at the theatre, had a terrible time finding our hotel). But we made it! We missed dinner with Maren and Diona, but pulled into a parking lot near the theatre with 1/2 hour to spare. I quickly nursed Ryder and then we booked it to the theatre as fast as we could. It was an amazing show and the girls loved it. It was the perfect thing for their birthday. I'll save the remainder of the saga for another day. Suffice it to say that a rental car switcheroo; losing our trip cd/dvd collection in the first rental van; failing to find a parking place at two different beaches; Haven peeing on a chair on the patio of a restaurant; a complete garage door replacement; and a van back window replacement were only some of the highlights of the remaining trip and the few days following. "Wicked" was definitely the theme for the weekend.

I ponder this experience on the eve of our trip to Utah for Thanksgiving. Any number of things can go wrong and don't I know it! But I also know positively that whatever it is, it will not be related to our garage door, the back window of our van, or automatic doors. We can all thank my new-found paranoia bordering on neurosis anytime the doors of the van or the garage open or close for that. I now have a 16-point double triple check in place. It only takes 1/2 hour for me to get in or out of our drive-way, but it is worth it!

Well, if I can impart any wisdom here it would be that a little collision with the garage is not the end of the world (I recently attended a Girls' Night Out where something similar to this had happened to five out of the seven people there) even though it may seem so at the time. Happy Thanksgiving and travel safely!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hurry, Santa!


It is clearly the beginning of the Christmas Season. Now, I don't know this because Santa is already at the mall and my mailbox is stuffed full of catalogs. I know because we have just gone through the process of THE FAMILY PICTURE. I stress about this every year. What should the kids wear? What about their hair? (AKA: Will Savannah take her hair out of that ponytail?) Will they smile or at least look pleasantly serious? These are the questions I wrestle with each year--when I have only the kids to worry about. This year I was able to add the thoughts, "Isn't my husband handsome (he really gets better looking all the time) and "Seriously. How many 'before' pictures does a girl need?"


This year was no different. Although any major disaster was again averted by our very talented photographer, Carrie (thanks again). But do truly wish I could substitute someone for me. Even a cardbord cutout of me 15 years ago would suffice. I can't tell you how much I hate being photographed. And then you have my sister (Natalie, MRK, Tanner, and Bentley shared our photo session), looking like a model in EVERY picture. The bright side is that the pictures are back and the cards have been ordered (check out shutterfly.com for your own Christmas cards and so much more). In only a few short days I will have that ever looked forward to pleasure of stuffing and sending off Christmas cards. Not because I want everyone to see my beautiful children (no, the complete family picture did not make the final cut), but because I hope that everyone I send a card to will send me a card so that I can check out their attractive family. So please send a picture! This year, however, has an added level of difficulty. Last spring my computer crashed. I mean a totally and completely back to square one kind of crash. And I lost many of my addresses. Especially ones that I had aquired in the last year or people who have recently moved. So, wish me luck!


On a sad note, today we celebrated what would have been my brother Erik's 28th birthday. It was a difficult day but I tried to think about good times. We (my family, Nat's family, and Ryan) got together and had a yummy dinner filled with a bunch of Erik's favorites. Back in Utah, Jessica and Matt dedicated a performance to him and everyone went back to Shannon's afterwards for caramel apple empanadas from Taco Time. Happy Birthday Erik! We love you!


I have finished two books in the last week. Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card and The Chopin Manuscript by Jeffery Deavers (and 14 other authors). If you are interested, check out my reviews on goodreads.com.


Before I end today I want to share with you what I have learned about communication this week. All four of my children have told me in various ways that I am spending too much time on the computer, but they all do it in different ways. Savannah - 14: "Mom. Get off the computer." Sage - 12: "Are we having dinner tonight?" Haven - 3: "Pow, pow, tackle." (The sounds I hear as she mistreats Ryder in an effort to get my attention.) Ryder - 1: He just violently picks up my hand off of the mouse and throws it to the side--sometimes repeatedly if I don't get the message the first time. And without any words he actually drives the point home most effectively. As a result I am going to scale back my computer use during the children's waking hours. After all, it has started cutting into my valuable soap operas (of course I'm joking! My t.v. will only tune into PBS anytime during the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.--no, not the whole time! What kind of a mother do you think I am?)


Happy Thanksgiving to all! Until next time.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Why Should I Write a Blog?


In order to discover the answer to the above question I asked myself the following:

1. Do you have insight to pass along to the world of blog readers?
2. Do you have extra time that you don't know what to do with?
3. Do you have beautiful and clever children whose antics should be shared with the world?
4. Are your writing talents so exceptional that they must be enjoyed by all?
5. Are you a world traveler who can share an abundance of information from around the world?
6. Are you more knowledgable than most in at least one subject?
7. Are you in dire need of some form of therapy but cannot afford it? So you hope that writing this blog may lead to self-discovery and an eventual return to sanity?

Of course number 7 is the only question to which I could give a resounding "yes" (although my children are beautiful, and if not always clever, then most of the time at least funny). So perhaps this will turn into something used exclusively for myself in an effort to reason out the root of my problems and pin down the sources of my happiness. Maybe then I can have more of the happiness part and less of those pesky problems. Or I can at least deal with them better. Are my expectations more than a little high for this effort? Probably. Could be that I'm setting myself up for more of that disappointment I've become so accustomed to.

Now before I really get off on the wrong foot and peg myself as a completely negative person, let's get to some of that happiness I was talking about. My kids, of course, are where I get most of that. And today I would like to talk about the happiness that is called "Ryder." He is 14 months old and it makes me happy just to think of him. He is mastering walking at the moment as the bruises all over him (mostly on his head) can attest to. He loves other kids and throwing things. I know he will have a rude awakening when I one day flip out and tell him to "stop throwing things for heaven's sake," when right now I just think it is funny. He is starting to assert himself a little more and is fighting back when someone (a sibling or a cousin) is bugging him. Again--pretty funny. That may change someday soon when he bloodies some kid's nose. But for now, pretty much everything he does is cute (aside from those nasty diapers that make me want to run for the hills). And as much as I love him, ahhhhh, those glorious naps and that early bedtime!