Saturday, November 24, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake

In case you didn't know it, November is a Big Bailey Birthday Bash. Mine is on the 5th, Alden's is on the 10th, and Keegan's was today! We have celebrated with family all around this year, which made it even more fun. We are so thankful to have these two little November Boys in our lives. I love them so much, I don't even know where to start, except to say that they may actually be worth all the work they cause. (And let me just tell you, that is saying a whole lot.) Case in point: Keegan eating his first Birthday cake. Here is how it is done:

First, you get a little taste, and decide that sugar rush could be a really good thing.

Then, you dig in with everything you've got.

You raise your arms and grunt while jigging back and forth in a primal victory ritual.

And lick as much frosted cake off your fingers as you can with that tiny one-year old mouth.

Suddenly, you realize that this stuff is sticky, and may not go away.

You try squishing it off, and when that doesn't work . . .

You feed Papa Moon, who is a good sport and a problem solver if ever there was one.

Then you lean back, survey the damage, and wait for mom to fix it all.

And that is where the work comes in. He does clean up rather nicely though, so we think we'll keep him.

Happy Birthday Keegan!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Toto, We Are Not In Kansas Anymore

We've noticed that there are some differences between California and Utah, and it is keeping us scrambling (so much so that we have been derelict in our blogging, with so many things to think about and do). For example, who knew that you have to seal your driveway with cement sealer every year before winter hits? Drain your sprinklers too? Rake up leaves so you don't get mold on your roof and lawn and other places? Clean your gutters and make sure there are no shorts in the strange icicle prevention device that lines the edges of our roof? 

Just when you think you're kind of getting used to it, something else pops up that reminds you that we are in a whole different world. A few examples:
  • There are not zero, not one or two, but three (yes three!) country music stations on the FM dial. This is a good thing. The down-side: the only more popular format is the ultra- conservative talk show of the screaming-head, invade the world and shoot all the liberals variety. (They scare me, like a plague virus--it gives me the willies just to skip by them. Thank heaven for preset buttons.)
  • I actually saw someone with a full blown mullet yesterday. Yikes.
  • People carry around step-ladders to help them get into their trucks. And it is not because Utah is a state full of vertically challenged people.
  • If you turn left, you cannot assume that the oncoming traffic will stop or even slow when the light turns red (forget yellow -- it may as well be a "gun that engine" sign). People run red lights around here like it is a constitutional right. I've had more near head-ons caused by assuming that some courtesy will be show to us poor left-turning people than I care to think about. (Sorry, pal, it may be Zion, but when we get in our cars, it's each one for himself.  Besides, you're turning to the left.)
  • Speaking of traffic, there are some interesting unwritten rules here. Like if there are three cars and three lanes, each car has to fill one of those lanes. And cruise along side by side. At the same speed. Forever.
  • If you don't have a stable of ATVs, snowmobiles, at least one large boat and one mobile home, with a Hummer in the yard of your 7000 square foot house on a quarter-acre lot, you just haven't arrived yet.
  • There are polygamists everywhere. I feel like I've landed in the middle of an HBO miniseries. They own property just down the hill from us, and there is a compound (literally -- there is no other word for it) across the street from Kate's school. Then there is the co-op store they run on main street. Of course, you never actually see them. But everybody knows (think Leonard Cohen). It just feels strange.
  • You go to the park, and see someone about your age with kids about the age yours are. Being the polite, friendly type you walk up and say, "your kids are so cute, how old are they?" The response: "Oh, these are my grandchildren, and . . ." True story. Happened twice. We don't ask anymore. It is safe to say we are not in Marin County.
Of course, some things about coming home have been a joy. The mountains are just spectacular -- I never really gave them the credit they deserved when I was a kid. There is nothing quite like the smell of August after a thunderstorm here, or the crispness of mornings after a cold rain, with leaves on the ground everywhere. The rich earthiness of it feels like life itself. Autumn has been spectacular, and even the now bare trees have a beauty that speaks of age and endurance and essence and survival.

If you are a kid, there are many other pleasant surprises.  Like finding your mom's wedding dress and trying it on.

Or knowing that you can go to grandpa's deck to eat pine cones any day of the week.

Then there is the fact that you don't have to wear your sunglasses at night to escape the glare of the paparazzi . . .
And mom and dad are so busy you can watch as much Blue's Clues as you want and smile like the Cheshire Cat stealing cream.

Or just having a lot of family around to make you laugh.

And if that is not enough, there are the sunsets from our deck . . . :-)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oh dear, we shouldn't do this, but. . .

On October 11, we were blog-tagged by our friend Karen. We have to write 6 facts or habits about us. Sounds like an invitation to embarass ourselves, but we feel oddly compelled to respond, like when you get those silly forward to 10 friends or you'll have bad luck emails. So here we go:

1. Kathleen hates having shoes on her feet, almost as much as she loves leaving them right in the middle of the entryway where I trip on them without fail. You would think after the millionth time, one of us would do something to change. You would be wrong. It will be the death of me. I need to start Yoga classes just so I don't pull muscles on such a routine basis.

2. I sometimes snore loud enough to rattle windows. Kathleen actually thinks "its kind of nice" (so she says) because "it lets me know you're alive and breathing." Rather than jab me with elbows, she gently rubs my head (could be why I am going bald)--says it works every time. So she can leave her shoes any dang place she pleases.

3. I will eat almost any type of food -- Indian, Ethiopian, Morroccan, Afghani -- I've even eaten grilled cow hearts and raw marinated fish (ceviche) on the streets of Peru, for Pete's sake, but if you give me any of the following, I will gag: Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup, Pickles, raw tomato, warm lettuce. So much for the all american meal.

4. Our second date was in a driving rainstorm, and began by running a letter to a drop box for Kathleen's father. Liberated modern American man that I am, I sat contentedly while she got out of the car, ran in front of it to the drop box, and ran back, all without offering to do it for her or even giving her my coat or an umbrella. As she ran back in front of the car, she slipped and fell so completely that all I saw, from my cozy, heater-warmed driver's seat, was her upside down shoes flying through the headlights. I laughed. Hard. She got up. She laughed as hard as I did, and was still laughing when she got in the car. At that moment, I knew I was deeply, irretrievably in love. Despite all this, Kathleen actually consented to go out with me again. There is no explaining this. She is beautiful, talented, vivacious and smart. I am the luckiest chump alive.

5. Kathleen is Libra to the core. She analyzes every decision to the Nth degree, deeply agonizes in making it, and then can still be found, agonizing and analyzing, months or years after the decision has been made and is long gone. And no, this doesn't just pertain to her decision to marry. Though I am sure that one keeps her awake at nights on a regular basis.

6. Tomorrow is my birthday. I turn 45. There, I've said it. Now maybe the healing can begin.

So sorry, protocol demands that I now tag others. Annie Ballard, Brian Goodman (who needs to explain that whole dark socks and shorts thing on Candice Drew's blog), Paul Jager, and Cyrus Javadi, who needs to explain a lot more than socks.