Saturday, April 30, 2011

Of Yoga and Kids

I was recently introduced to Yoga by a friend. I have always been amazed by people who could do yoga and still be in one piece afterwards. My friend was very sold on the benefits of yoga so I tried it with her a couple times and then I dowloaded some yoga workouts from the internet and tried it out on my own. I have found it quite refreshing, rejuvenating, and enjoyable, but I have a tendency to feel highly self-concious when doing yoga. Here's why:

1) I am overweight, out of shape, and accident prone.

2) I have always found it funny to tease or joke about people I would call "granola" or "crunchy". This includes (but is not limited to) those who: are vegetarians; wear sandals in winter; use recycled or recyclable anything; anyone and anything associated with saving the whales, the planet, or whatever is the current endangered fad; and ... those who do yoga. My kids are very quick to pick up on my hypocrisy and it is only a matter of time before one of them teases me and calls me "granola" or "crunchy."

3) One morning my youngest woke and quietly tiptoed into the room where I was doing yoga and sat silently watching me. When I was in a particularly exposed pose trying hard to keep my balance and focus, my son says cheerfully, "big butt coming thru," and slaps my rear end. Before you gasp in shock at his behavior, you need to know that I taught him that phrase by jokingly saying it whenever I squeeze my way into or onto something (like when there is no room on the couch but I want to cuddle between my boys so I say it and force my way in.)

So, now I do my yoga when my husband is at work and the kids are all at school. I close all the curtains, lock the doors and get crunchy!

What Books Are in Your Bomb Shelter

I recently read a friend's blog where she asked what books would we put in our bomb shelter. If I were to have to retreat to a bomb shelter (as if there are any in Samoa) it would presumably be because of an end of the world type of scenario. I thought about this and determined that it isn't just about me, but about my kids and future generations right??? What would I deem valuable enough to save for myself and future generations?

Here's my list:

1. My scriptures.

2. The Laura Ingall's Wilder Books (I love history, especially American history. I love the stories of the American frontier and all of her practical pioneering info.)

3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (Like I said, I love history and her book is such an inspiring one about loving our fellow men even when faced with the horror of the Holocaust.)

4. Little Women, Little Men, & Jo's Boys all by Louisa May Alcott

5. Helen Keller's The Story of My Life

6. Best Loved Plays of William Shakespeare (mostly for posterity and because so many of his words are woven into our past and present culture. To understand ourselves we must know Shakespeare.)

7. Cheaper By the Dozen & Belles On Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (wonderfully funny and practical.)

8. James Herriot's books about his life experiences as a vet in the highlands of Yorkshire.

9. Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and Persuasion all by Jane Austen

10. Harry Potter series (we all need some magic and fantasy in our lives).

I would also make sure I threw in a good Dictionary so I can continue to say, "Look it up, the dictionary is right there" when my children ask me "what does that mean?" and "how do you spell that?"

So, I will pose the same question my friend did: What books would you have in your bomb shelter?

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Trail of Smears

I love history. I remember studying the massacre of Cherokee Indians (Native Americans for the PC people) as they were forcibly removed from their lands and made to march thousands of miles away to an Indian reservation. This event later came to be known as the Trail of Tears. It was a sad time and I feel a special sadness when I think of it because I have some Cherokee ancestry.

Today though, I am talking of another trail. This one is also filled with murder, gore and carnage. But this time I am the perpetrator of these deadly deeds. I speak of the snail trails in my garden beds.

This past Saturday we harvested our sweet potatoes and in the process found hundreds of snails and slugs. These aren’t just the cute little garden snails but they are the invasive species of African Snails that have decimated my previous pepper and cabbage crops. They can grow to be very large and I found one that measured from the base of my thumb to the base of my pinky finger (the diagonal width of my palm).

I took the biggest rock I could find (one that had rough edges to make it easier to crack their shells) and started smashing snails like a possessed person. I discovered their nurseries and egg clutches and smashed them all. I stopped counting at two hundred snails and never even started counting the slugs. I just went on a murderous frenzy, smashing and crushing my enemies.

Before I was half done the flies were buzzing loudly and the sun had risen enough to make it very hot! Did this stop me? Are you kidding??? I was taking revenge for all my poor defenseless pepper plants and cabbages that they selfishly ate and then pooped all over my garden!

I confess this murderous streak in me is most definitely not hereditary. I remember my mother was always so kind to animals, even insects. When a stray wasp or bee got into the house she would have one of us kids get a cup and paper plate to catch the poor thing in and release it outside. I am usually of the philosophy that if it is in my house then it is fair game, but if it is outside I will not hurt it. But, snails and slugs are another story.

While on my murder spree I had discarded my shoes with reckless abandon and cared only for the next kill. I tell you I was possessed. When I could find no more snails I stood up from my crouching position to hunt somewhere else and stepped right onto the squishy remains of the largest snail. Its juices splattered all over my feet, and oozed up between my toes. Hopping on one foot I made it to the hose to wash my feet, but the snail remains were very sticky thanks to the heat of the sun. I thought I heard the new Sugarland song playing somewhere: “Uh oh, uh oh, stuck like glue; you and me baby we’re stuck like glue.”

“Get off you sticky piece of goo!” I grumbled.

My husband (with his impeccable sense of timing) walks around the back of the house to see me hopping about, spraying water from the hose everywhere but where I needed it, all the time mumbling and grumbling.

“Murder is a messy business,” he quips and strolls inside the house leaving me to wrestle with the snail goo still lingering on my foot.

I smear my foot on the grass thinking, “why didn’t I just do that in the first place?” Then, just to make sure no slug or snail escapes my wrath, I sprinkle Slug Out all around my new pepper seedlings.

That night I dream of huge killer slugs and snails dragging me off to snail jail and banging me on the head with rocks. Not really, but it sounded like a good ending. I slept like a baby knowing that my garden was a lot safer than it had been the day before.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Girly Side

I have written previously about high school with much nostalgia. Today however I want to touch on something that boggles my mind. It’s the girly drama associated with high school. Having been a tomboy growing up I do not remember being involved in this side of high school life much because it seemed so RIDICULOUS that I didn’t waste my time on it.

Here’s what brought this up:

My teenage daughter comes home from school and says that she has bad news. I brace myself as thoughts of flunked tests, bad grades, or fights flood my brain. “Who did she hit? Is she suspended from school? Is she going to pass math?”

She then announces that one of her best friends is going out with her other best friend’s boyfriend who never officially broke up with best friend #2 before going out with best friend #1. So BF2 said to take BF1’s initial out of their group sign and BF1 says to refer to her just as her classmate and not her friend because she has joined another group [clique]. Then a girl from BF1’s new group starts “talking trash” about my daughter so my daughter says she hates BF1 forever, and to make it worse the scummy boyfriend (who somehow has escaped blame in all this drama) is a relative of ours so BF2 is now also mad at my daughter because it was her 10th cousin five times removed that treated BF2 like trash (but no blame directed to the player boyfriend).

So, my daughter no longer has any best friends but she has a new enemy, and her cousin is a putz. Her life sucks she says. No wonder she can’t pass math; she spends all her time thinking and worrying about this sort of RUBBISH!

I told her to tell her two former best friends to jump in a lake, slap her cousin in the face (because someone should), and forget about the trash-talking girl. Somewhere along the way as I was dispensing this valuable (and very good if I might add) advice, her eyes glazed over. I lost her.

So … never mind, tomorrow they will all be friends again and the cousin will probably be dating the trash-talking girl.

Now I remember why I have never wanted to go to any of my high school reunions.

Follow the Trail

I have a son who thinks I am psychic – not really but almost. He can’t figure out how I know where he’s been, what he’s been doing, and in what order he did those things and for how long he did them.

One day he was looking for his prefect badge that he had misplaced and asked for my help. I guided him through his activities of the day trying to jog his memory and perhaps find what had been “lost”. He was astounded I knew what he had been up to all day.

“How did you know all that?” he asked flabbergasted.

Inside me a battle was raging. Should I tell him my secret and give up my status as psychic? I thought it a marvelous opportunity to teach him something, and besides he looked so in earnest that I decided to reveal the secret to my psychic powers:

“I just follow your trail,” I replied.


“Here let me show you son.” We started out in the dining room (luckily it had been a busy day and nothing had been cleaned up yet.)“Here are the remnants of your breakfast … and lunch. See the banana and orange peels, bread crumbs, the margarine tub with the butter knife still in it, and your empty cup and dirty plates.”

Next I usher him into the living room. “Here is your shirt you took off this morning to put on your school uniform. See over there on the couch are your school uniform, and backpack, with your school shoes tossed on the floor nearby from when you came home after school.”

“Yeah, so what’s your point?”

“Let’s keep going son. It should become evident soon enough.” This was followed by a shrug, so off we went to the bathroom.

“Here is your toothbrush right where you left it on the counter when you finished brushing your teeth this morning. And there is the comb with hair gel still clinging to it in globs from when you put too much gel in your hair and had to comb it out. In the sink and on the wall here behind the sink is the extra gel you combed out of your hair and flung off the comb. Over there is the towel drawer still open from when you took out a washcloth to wipe your face, and there on the floor NEXT to the dirty clothes hamper is the washcloth you tossed in that general direction.”

“Okay … so…”

“To the hall now,” I say as my enthusiasm to teach him how much I do for him and how I know so much about him begins to wane.

“Here are your dirty clothes from when you cleaned up your bedroom.”

“Yeah, but you said I had to clean my room, so I did.”

“No son, you relocated the mess out here.”

“But my room is clean.”

“Never mind. Here is the linen closet door still open from when you took out clean sheets to put on your bed, and here are the dirty sheets in a pile on the floor next to your dirty clothes.” Exasperation starts to build up inside me as he begins to roll his eyes.

“Yeah, but my room is clean, Mom.”

“Okay, let’s have a look in there then. “ I am almost ready to abandon the exercise and return to my status as psychic. Have I revealed too much already??

“See, Mom, it’s clean.”

“Yes, it’s about the only thing. Over there though your phone is charging so you must have spent quite a bit of time texting friends and listening to music while cleaning your room.”


“AND…, your clean clothes are hanging out of your open drawers, your school books are like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and your sheet is wadded under your pillow, so I estimate that you spent about 5 minutes actually cleaning your room.”

“Okay, okay, I think I get what you’re trying to say. But where is my prefect badge?”

“Try looking in the pile of dirty clothes in yesterday’s dirty school uniform pocket.” Eyes rolling he humors me by rummaging through his pockets and then freezes.

“How did you know??!!!”

“Never mind. I have a headache. Clean the house, will you? I’m taking a nap; being a psychic is exhausting work.”

“But Mom!!!!!”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fat is Fabulous

Why is it that everything that tastes absolutely fabulous is loaded with fat? The top of my fabulous list would have to be McDonald’s French fries. Whenever I drive past McDonald’s I have to make sure all the windows are up so I don’t get a whiff of their delectableness, because once I smell them, my thighs and spare tire start to grow. NO FAIR!

Second is a tie between chewy chocolate chip cookies, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and triple berry chocolate ice cream. Need I say more?

Next on my fabulous fat list are fish and chips. Whether they are home cooked by my husband or from the shop around the corner – they just call my name! I can feel my jeans shorts getting tighter just thinking about them! NO FAIR!

Fourth: avocados. Why live on an island where the food straight off the tree is so heavenly if you can’t eat it? Avocados are food fit for the gods: smooth, silky deliciousness with just a sprinkle of salt. Here’s the slap in the face: Avocados are100% fat! NO FAIR!

Those are my top four but they may as well be my top four hundred most fabulous fatty foods. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Here are some others on my list, in no particular order. So don’t be offended my favorite fatties; I love you ALL:

Hershey’s chocolate in all its varieties
Fried chicken
Tortilla chips
Cheese (shredded, sliced, melted, cubed, saucy, YUMMY!)
Nachos (a marriage of two of my favorite fatties)
Pepperoni Pizza
Cheese cake
Pies (pumpkin, blueberry, chocolate cream, banana cream, peach, apple, plum)
Coconut milk
Deep fried anything…

Fat is fabulous! NO FAIR!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rugby Tape If You Please

My oldest son had a rugby game yesterday. In his preparations he asked if I had any electrical tape he could use – I directed him to where I thought I had a cache of electrical tape all stored up for the day when I, Mrs. Fixit, would need it to fix any number of electrical wiring problems. “I already used all of that,” came the reply. “Don’t you have any more somewhere?”

“Hmmmm let me see … just at the store. What in the world did you use all that electrical tape for?,“ I queried.

“My shoes, Andy’s [names have been changed to protect the guilty] legs and head, and now I need some for my head,” echoed from the bathroom.

It was too much for my curiosity. I walked into the bathroom to see rugby preparations for myself. There he and his best buddy were in their rugby gear. My son’s shoes so heavily strapped with electrical tape you could hardly see the shoes underneath. His buddy’s thighs were wrapped in ace bandages with electrical tape criss-crossed all over them, and around his head covering his ears was another ace bandage secured with electrical tape. My son had his own ace bandage around his head, which is what he wanted the tape for, to secure it tightly.

“Why all the tape son?”

His response: “It is on my shoes so I can wear them without them falling apart.” [In Samoa sometimes you just have to make due – better than playing barefoot.]

“And on Andy’s legs?”

“So that when I lift him in the lineout I have something to hold onto.” Probably thinking, “Geez Mom, don’t you know anything about rugby?”

“And your heads?”

“Mom, you and Andy’s mom both told us to protect our ears. These are your own words mom, ‘you’re too handsome to go around with cauliflower ears the rest of your life.’”

“Okay, fair enough.” Smiling inwardly because all along this sporty, rugby-enthused Mom knew exactly what he needed and only wanted to revel in it. I pulled out my last roll of electrical tape from my pocket, and handed it over for the protection of my son’s handsome ears. “Make sure you put it back where it goes when you’re done.”

I wonder … if I need to fix any electrical wiring will I have to run out on the rugby field, make a killer tackle on my son (or his buddy), peel my broken body off the ground, grab the tape and run? Nah! I’ll just go buy another 20 rolls at the store – and invest in electrical tape stock while I’m at it.