Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I must be premenstrual because the past couple of days I've been craving chocolate like mad, I snap a lot at Brahm and Oliver, and every little thing gets on my nerves. No calming self-talk, relaxing bath or long bike ride can snap me out of it, either. Therefore, I know it's hormonal.

Take tonight, for example. I asked Brahm five or six times to do his homework and every time I went to check on him, he was doing anything but; Oliver was chasing his chicken through the house ("Fluffy stays outside, Beavis!"); tried unsuccessfully many times to get both boys to eat their dinner, wanted to get the yard cleaned up for when my parents visit tomorrow; made mental note to pick up drip tape for community garden tomorrow morning all the while trying not to forget Brahm's Science Fair project is due next week.

"Mom, I'm hungry!" Brahm complains.

"You know why you're hungry??", I snap sarcastically.

"But I ate all my dinner."

I look at his plate and see that it's true. "Fine, I'll make you some nachos. While I'm doing that, please go in and finish your homework."

I put the nachos under the broiler then go in to see if he's actually doing it. No, he's absorbed in his Bakugan.


"But Dad said he'd come in and help me with the last five problems!"

Ugh. Brooks had left to go check in on a neighbor of ours who is going through a divorce.

"Look, I'll help you with them then." I say impatiently.

We finish the rest of it before it occurs to me that while we're at it, it wouldn't hurt to make some headway on his science project. We go to the computer, log on to NASA's website and begin to discuss the laws of aerodynamics. Oliver comes into the room and suddenly feels energized by the topic. He starts talking over me about drag, lift and thrust all while I'm trying to explain it to Brahm. Meanwhile I hear Brooks come in the front door and go to the kitchen. Soon he's talking to me, too, right in the middle of a sentence.

"Jenny?" Pause. "Jenny?"

I snap.

"I'm sorry but I can't talk to you right now." I boom. "As you can see, I'm trying to help Brahm with his science project and I can't talk to two people at the same time!"

Another pause.

"OK. But your nachos are on fire."


Two hours and one very stinky house later, the boys are in bed and we're crashed on the couch.

"Does my hair stink like smoke?" I ask him, holding up a strand under his nose.

"Jenny, there isn't one part of our house that doesn't stink like smoke right now."

Long pause.

"You know, it's hard being a woman with PMS!" I complain, feeling sorry for myself.

Without skipping a beat, he adds, "Yes, but not as hard as being a man who is married to the woman with PMS."

(Final mental note: after drip tape, pick up new smoke alarm for kitchen.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meet the Aunties

On our way to California, we stopped in St. George to visit my paternal grandmother. Also in town visiting were two of her five daughters, Pug (left) and Linda (right). They both live in California but were in Utah to celebrate Grandma's 87th birthday so it was my good fortune to be able to visit with them as well.

Pug's given name is Rosemarie — "Rose" after her mother and "Marie" after Rose's good friend. But ever since I can remember she's been Pug, or even more so, "Puggy". When she was a girl her nose upturned in a pug and the name has stuck ever since. I remember as a child going to her house and swimming in the pool, picking apricots off her tree and watching Sesame Street with her kids, all of whom I adore still as my most favorite cousins. Pug will tell it like it is so if you don't really want to know, don't ask. But this is one of the things I love about her. Another is that she would go to the ends of the earth for the good of her children (she has six) and they all adore her. Common sense is what she has most of with some to spare. And if that weren't enough, when she sings she has one of the most melodic voices you'll ever hear. When it was time to pack up and leave, Pug and I lingered in the driveway with so much still to talk about that I wished we had at least one more day together. "A good shot in the arm" is how my mom describes her. I think that pretty well sums it up.

Linda is the firstborn of the family, almost two years in front of my dad in. Interestingly enough, "Linda" is not her birth name either. "Ruth Ann" is the name on her birth certificate but grandpa announced her to the world as "Linda" at her baby blessing so "Linda" it's been ever since. Actually, it's "Auntie Linda", never "Aunt", a title perhaps too dry and formal for her carefree and zany personality. "Yoo-hoo!" she used to call when she stopped in to visit. "Howdy-doody" is also another signature expression. Like Pug, there is nothing she would not do for her children who all remain very close to her as well. For as long as I can remember she's had a head or rich auburn hair, always styled just so. And speaking of "just so", that's one phrase she uses to describe how she likes things. This is evident in the fact that her house is always clean. Furthermore, $10 says she'll hate this picture because the shutter snapped before she had a chance to flash her best smile. If Linda's not working a shift up at the hospital or spending time with her family, you know she's off to a Tom Jones concert with a girlfriend or scoring big at a garage sale. It's impossible to be with her and not burst out laughing at the stories she tells (and trust me, she always has a good story). I like how down-to-earth she is. What I admire (maybe envy?) even more is her ability to choose happiness. She doesn't seem to be as fragile as I sometimes feel when the chips are down — her self-respect and sense of humor ensure that she comes out on top every time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"So, What Do You Do All Day?"

One of the things I relish about my job is the variety. I know this contradicts everything I've written about the routine and monotony of being Resident Project Manager. Nonetheless, both statements are true.

Take this week, for example. It's been hectic because we just got back from a week-long vacation in California the night before Brahm's eighth birthday. Taxes are due next week and I'm still trying to dig my way out of the paperwork I need to prepare for the accountant. I got a call from a local PR firm to see if I can do a photo shoot on Friday, there are two work parties to organize for the community garden and my sister Vicki's first baby made his debut yesterday. And on top of it all, the boys are out of school for spring break. Phew!

But what I really wanted to put down on paper is that while I was on the phone yesterday trying to work out some confusion over the shoot, I swear some little boys in the hallway outside my door were knee-deep in a scheme involving our new chickens and the laundry chute. What more can I say?