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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why Can't She Eat Tomatoes?

When I was a child, my mother was so worried about my eating habits, that she thought I might be anorexic. On one (and the only) family trip to Disney World, I frustrated my parents beyond belief by refusing to eat anything but chicken nuggets. Yes, the Japanese man throwing knives who fixed our food in front of us might be interesting, but there certainly weren't any chicken nuggets when it came time to eat. Even as a teenager, I was scared of dating because of the possibility of going out to eat where hamburgers might not be served. And a mission? Completely out of the question. What if they sent me to Mexico?

Brandon, on the other hand, always wanted to go to foreign lands on his mission to taste all of the exotic foods. His favorite thing when querying return missionaries was about the food they had eaten. When taken to an Asian restaurant as a child, he was disappointed to discover that the child's meal he ordered was a hamburger.

Thankfully for our marriage, time eventually gave me tastebuds, and Brandon and I now enjoy any ethnic food we can find. And apparently so does Kathleen.

Taking advantage of still only having one child who is more amenable to late hours than previously, Brandon and I went out for sushi Monday night, on a whim. Thankfully, the restaurant was nearly deserted, so Kathleen's occasional self-entertaining yells weren't so obnoxious. Knowing, however, that she wouldn't be entertained for long by talking to her self quietly, Brandon and I started giving her our food. Better Japanese baby there never was, as Kathleen greedily gobbled down every tasty morsel we put in front of her, and even consented to be fed by chopstick. Attempting to be good parents (and selfish, because we didn't want to share), we gave her no sushi, but certainly gave her some of everything else. Hopefully with an early intervention plan, we can prevent her from turning out like I did.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Unexplained Mysteries

Saturday night, Brandon and I grilled bratwurst and squash for dinner. There are two types of people in this world: those who adore bratwurst, and those that think bratwurst is disgusting. As for Brandon and me, we are in the former category. Perhaps it's my memories of the best street hotdogs in the world in Prague (that probably should have killed me), or my secret love for fatty chunks of meat stuffed inside crispy intestine casings, but the marriage of pre-burned wood and pre-chewed meat is one of magical results.

Recently, National Geographic had a small article about the "green" nature of various grilling methods. Not surprisingly, charcoal was hailed as the end of all civilization as not only does it emit greenhouse gases 1. when you burn it (and don't forget the silent killer: lighter fluid!) and 2. when it is produced. Of course any sensible citizen would eschew such an environmentally damaging source of pleasure for its much cleaner and guilt-free distant cousin: the solar grill.

But then, where would be the joy of tending a smoking fire in the cool of the evening in one's own backyard? The smell of smoke that drifts over the neighborhood, broadcasting the smell of good food to come? And the most important, that never-duplicated, mysteriously delicious, blessing to all meat - smoke flavor? Many malign man for his destructive impact on our world. But he did something right when the first Cro-Magnon pulled that flaming torch from the nearby forest fire, looked at it, and thought, "meat, fire, good."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pearls Before Swine

Yesterday we were in the backyard and I picked some grapes for Kathleen. She loves grapes, or perhaps it is better to say that she loved grapes the day before yesterday. One after another, she put a grape in her mouth, spit it out, and then put the next one in, only to spit it out before inserting the next victim. Perhaps she thought the next one might taste better.

After the grapes, she wandered over to my basket being filled with cherry tomatoes. When I came back to put some more in, I discovered four or five spit-covered tomatoes at her feet, with another entering her mouth, soon to join its fellows. With this food behavior, which is often echoed at the table, I was shocked to discover that she is in the 97th percentile for height. Kathleen certainly doesn't get that from me.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Leisure Day

Growing up as the child of an OBGYN, I always thought of ladies screaming and hollering and then popping out a miniature version of themselves when I thought of Labor Day. And as my mother-in-law Bobbie gave birth to Adam on Labor, I suppose I was right to some degree.

This Labor Day, however, involved no screaming or hollering, at least on my and Brandon's part. Kathleen may have complained a little about not being allow to plunge headfirst down the rocky bank into the Provo River. Even if we had allowed her, however, I think that perhaps there would have been even more complaining, and not just from Kathleen.

In keeping with our family tradition of avoiding all responsibility on holidays, Brandon, Kathleen, and I took a picnic up to Bridal Veil park and then visited the falls. Being an immensely curious child, Kathleen immediately set about exploring our surrounding vicinity and could only be bribed to stay put with some food. As soon as the novelty of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, tortellini, artichoke hearts, and Kalimata olives wore off, however, walks (only holding on to one hand) with Brandon and me were the only thing to keep a busy girl busy. As the weather was perfect, and the path nicely shaded, neither Brandon nor I minded.

After finishing the picnic with peaches and angel food cake, both of which Kathleen found highly delicious, we visited Bridal Veil falls. Brandon wasn't very excited about wading in the snow-melt, and it turned out, neither was Kathleen, so our visit was short before heading home for nap time.

As we had the rest of the afternoon to enjoy ourselves, Brandon and I decided to go to a movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. This decision came after much debating Kathleen's stamina and attention span, and was finally resolved with the help of some dice, but was rendered null after we drove to the theater, only to find the movie sold out. So instead, we put Kathleen to bed, and watched a movie, fuss free. And we didn't have to pay for popcorn.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Sound of Silence

Today, I turned on my dryer, which in itself is a miracle. After reassembling the dryer Saturday, which took at 45 minutes, Brandon plugged in the cord, and we turned it on. Nothing. The light on the dryer worked, but the drum didn't turn. Thankfully only one of the leads in the door had become unplugged, which made our teflon slide situation a snap.

After turning on the dryer, I listened, and heard nothing; well, nothing out of the ordinary. No squeaking. No groaning. No sound of small mice being slowly murdered.

And then I went into the bathroom. Again, nothing. No drips, no splashes, no sound of very gently runnnig water. My favorite part of this silence, however, is the price: $6. After all of the fuss, it's six dollars I'm more than willing to pay.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


In every person's life, there are milestones of maturing and achieving adulthood. The first kiss. Driver's license. One's first apartment. Marriage. Children. The first appliance repair.

Being young, and scarce of resources, Brandon and I purchased our first dryer used, for $20. It didn't come with a cord, and you had to time the cycles because it would catch the clothes on fire (theoretically) before it turned off of its own volition, but it worked. As my sister Laura says, dryers don't leak like washers do, so spend your money on a washer. Recently, however, it has started squealing every time we would turn it on.

Despite our advanced ages, neither Brandon nor I have been the sole proprietors of an appliance. Previously, someone else has always seen to essential maintenance, and so someone else was concerned if the dryer was squealing. So, we let it squeal for awhile; after all, laundry is only done once a week, and Brandon isn't home to hear the squealing. Problems always seem much less urgent when one doesn't hear the agony of the dryer oneself.

Finally, however, we remembered about the squealing when the dryer wasn't actually running. After disassembling the dryer, thanks to a very helpful website (who knew that the dryer had to be taken apart from the front), we reached the essential parts needing grease. Simple. Easy. Quick. So I thought. Beware the seeker of further knowledge.

Reading further, I noticed mention of a problem I had been having with black marks on my clothing. Oh, it turned out, we needed a felt belt, which cost $30. Calling around to various repair places, we discovered none are open on the Saturday before Labor day. And online, our problem was only compounded by delayed shipping time also caused by Labor day. Labor day? More like Leisure Day.

After more inspection of the dryer during my cursing of the local repair places, Brandon discovered that our problem was not the grease, not the felt, but a third (and hopefully final) problem: teflon sliders. Four of them, at $10 apiece.

Now we have a disassembled dryer with no sliders and no hope of sliders until Tuesday. And a leaky bathroom faucet. Perhaps the faucet will just have to slowly drain the reservoirs until we leave and it's some other tenant's problem.