Thursday, December 31, 2009

Party Like It's 1999

There was a reason Prince admonished everyone to "party like it's 1999." When I was growing up, there seemed to be a general "feeling" (warning: FEELINGS!) that the end of the world would take place in the year 2000. Here we are about to jump headfirst into 2010, and the idea that the world was supposed to end 10 years ago seems crazy now, right?

Not so much in 1999. I'm not kidding. I was a reporter for a now defunct and very small daily newspaper called The Orem Daily Journal from 1998 to 1999. At one of the business press junkets I was attending, the head I.T. guy from NuSkin predicted that the Y2K scare would be "real and worse than any of us could imagine."

Those were his exact words; I am not making this up. Consequently, all the NuSkin founders and heads would be spending their Christmas and New Year's in Jamaica that year. Jaimaca? Somehow that's safer than Utah?

For our New Year's edition of the paper in 1999, I was given the assignment to interview the Parowan Prophet. He'd been predicting the end of the world since the 1980s (not unlike my mother-in-law, bless her heart. However, Alzheimer's has unfortunately taken away much of her end-of-the-world prophecies.)

Today I was curious to see if the Parowan Prophet is still predicting the end of the world. He sure is. You can read all about his prophecies on his Web site at

He's a bit of a nut job, but I feel sorry for the guy. He was in a terrible plane wreck in the 70s that capsized his father's head, who was sitting next to him. He miraculously lived and spoke of being with Christ while he was in a coma. He came back from the brink of death a self-proclaimed prophet.

From his Web site, his stuff seems no different from any other White Supremecist, Communist hating, super-right-wing conservative nut job.

Back then, he predicted that the end of the world would take place before Y2K because of tracing and blocking devices implanted by the Communists that would render all computers inoperable. I actually talked with the guy on the phone, and he was pretty passionate. I don't know why he'd be so specific about times and dates of the end of the world, but he would.

I think it was "fun" for newspapers to interview this guy for years, but I haven't seen his prophecies in the news for a long time. His rantings got old with each passing year his predictions never came true.

The changing of the year from 1999 to 2000 actually came without hiccups. At my then new job as a technical writer for a banking software company, we were given a bonus just for sticking around close to Provo that year for New Year's, just in case Y2K would turn out as bad as some suggested. I was never called in for "emergency documentation."

Sidebar thought: Great idea for a television series, don't you think? "Kent Chauncey: PhD."
Programmer: Mr. Chauncey, we need you to document the latest release of the software bug we just found.
Chauncey: Mister? I'll have you know I have my doctorate and post-doctorate degrees on the misspellings and errors of the Holy Bible NIV version, as well as why the complete works of Shakespeare are really not so complete. It's Doctor Chauncey.
Programmer: Dr. Chauncey, can you do it?
Chauncey: Did Dante rise from the inferno only to reach mediocrity? Of course I can, you knave! Send it to me in an e-mail stat!

Of late I've listened to the most recent doomsayer, Glenn Beck. His rantings I've heard before in my junior history class in high school. Our teacher, Mr. Cazier, taught from the same books Beck has been pounding. I like some of the ideas, but listening too much causes me grief and consternation. For the following hours and days I'm in a state of paranoia. I generally try to avoid being paranoid, especially when in a state of pregnancy. (Pregnant women worry enough as it is: Will my baby be deformed, fully function? I haven't felt the baby kick! I didn't take my prenatal vitamins today; this baby is doomed! With the amount of evil in this world, why in the heck are we bringing another child into it?!)

As the predictions come and go, I don't get as rialed up over the end of the world. And it's not like it's just the conservative side crying "the sky is falling." The liberal side has their bent too, or haven't you heard about a little movie made by a one Al Gore called An Inconvenient Truth?

Still, every time I hear an end-of-the-world theory, a small part of me flinches and wonders. Like Lisa Simpson in the episode where the town people think the end-of-the-world would come at a certain time and hour, and it turns out that it was all just a hoax by promoters for the opening of the new mall. She held tightly to her mother's hand when the supposed hour arrived. And so do I. Every New Year: I hold tightly to Kulani's hand. If this is the end, I'm glad I'm with him. (Plus, the dude has a huge stash of guns and ammunition, so we'll be ready for those God-hating Commies.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Video of the Week

Back on that total time-suckage of all hobbies: video editing.

I present a new music video starring my kids and their favorite dancing partner, neighbor-boy Matthew. Nohea says dancing to New Order is dancing to "robot music."

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more important things to do like laundry since we've been without clean underwear now for at least a day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sassy Grandmas

Those of you who really know me know that I have been yearning to be 70 years old since I was 19. I lived with my Grandma McEuen for a year when I moved away from home to go to college. I adapted very well to her retired-lifestyle pace. I traveled with Grandma to her hometown places of Oak City, Lemington, and Delta (population of all three places combined: 2,000 and all are related to me). I went with her to a few meetings of the DUP (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers), and I even attended some Orem Women Club meetings with her (motto: must be over 70 and love boring meetings). Through my associations with older ladies, I somehow found it within me to conjure up a killer Carol Channing impression, an alter ego you might say. Even today, any time my brother-in-law Nathan sees me, he says, "Hello, Carol Channing." To which I sing, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend...raspberries!"

We'd eat a lot of chicken, not so much red meat. And we watched a lot of mystery/detective/ lawyer shows like Matlock. I retired to bed no later than 8:30 p.m. every night, much to the consternation of my friends partying it up at that party school, Utah State University. (AKA: Dixie College North. Ouch! Keri, you know what I mean.) My friends at USU would call Grandma's house around 9:30 p.m. with plans for the upcoming weekend, but Grandma would give them a not-so-friendly lecture about me having to work at 5 a.m. and that I shouldn't be disturbed. The woman always had my best interests at heart. This was before cell phones and Facebook.

But living with Grandma gave me an appreciation for old people, in particular, old battle axes. Grandma wasn't some wilting violet. Grandma was rather stern, with some choice phrases and comments. She scared a lot of my friends, and she could even scare me. But she also had an underlying warmth and her house felt very homey to me. At least, that first year. As time went on, and we lived with her a second time when Lilia was first born, her ability to cope with unexpected stimuli wasn't as great as it had been. But that's another story.

So I was caught off guard this Sunday when I sat near the back row with a bunch of the retired ladies in my ward. Being in nursery for the last two years, I'd missed my homeys, my peeps: the over 70 set.

The teacher at this particular Relief Society meeting was asking the question, "Why does Heavenly Father love us?"

Silence followed her question, as it normally does as people reflect and try to come up with a good answer. One of my over-70 sisters said in her inside-whisper voice, "Whooooo knows." It was so sarcastically wonderful and said like only a woman who's traveled life's winding roads could say it.

I burst out into laughter. Why would God love a bunch of yahoos and dingbats like us? Oh how I love the humor of old ladies!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kulani's Late Nights

Something that is made clear to anyone wanting to be a lawyer is that you must prepare yourself for long hours and heavy workloads. Not all lawyers work a lot of hours, but most do. And I know Kulani does.

When he has to work very late on projects, I take the kids to his office and we all have a sleep over. It's an adventure that may not be available to us once our fourth child arrives in June. (I don't think I've mentioned that I'm pregnant yet, so if you've been wondering, now you know.)

The great thing about Kulani's work is that it's in downtown SLC. Many adventures await us in downtown. We can walk to Temple Square and visit all the museums. We can catch TRAX and travel to the Gateway and take a visit to Build-a-Bear. All activities are free, unless the girls break me down at Build-a-Bear.

Kulani's office also has all kinds of drinks, including hot chocolate and V8 juice, my personal favortie.

We can stream Netflix over Kulani's computer, so the girls can also be entertained that way. Over Christmas break, Kulani let each of the girls take a half day with him at his office. I met him at the food court in the bottom of his building to have lunch with him, and then we switched girls so each could have a turn with Daddy.

Here's Lissy at Dad's work.

Here's Lilia at Dad's work.

Here's Nono monkeying around at Dad's work. Her attention span could not have endured four hours in his office.
Here's where Nohea and I sleep when we have a stay over at Kulani's office. We bought this couch at Costco. It's pretty sweet, as it looks like a couch, but it's really a leather daybed. The girls sleep on blow-up mattresses. Kulani works until about 3 a.m., and then he'll take a snoozer on the hard floor.

I'll miss these adventures.

A Photo Recap of the Last Several Months

I haven't downloaded the pictures from my camera since September, so I thought it would be fun to remember a few choice moments such as these:

Hugging Lissy on her first day of Kindergarten, Nohea secretly plans her takeover of the entire Fisher household. Sweet and innocent is just a ploy to her evil ways.

Walking Lissy to school and stopping to feed the horses. I miss these warm days.

Lilia plays soccer for the Purple Turtles.

Kulani finished his fastest Telos Turkey Tri ever on one of the most unseasonably warm November days.

Lilia turns 7!

Lilia on crazy hair day. She said she looked like someone on The Brady Bunch. Alice?

Lissy on crazy hair day sporting the school's colors.

Nohea falling asleep in one of her unconventional places.

Lissy and Nohea visiting with Glenda the Good Witch after watching American Fork High School's production of "The Wizard of Oz." Lilia was spooked by the Flying Monkeys who walked right up to her during the intermission and scared her. She refused to have anything to do with taking pictures with these people.

The family before the Pleasant Grove Turkey Trot. Lilia took first in her age group. Lissy even ran the whole thing. Nohea, not so much. She was cold, tired, and cranky. Kulani ran it in 28 minutes. It was a really fun race put on by a Scout trying to earn his Eagle. The race cost each of us five cans of food and $1.

The Thanksgiving table at the Kuhia and Susan Fisher house in Lindon. The entire Fisher clan, except Uncle Kawika in Nevada, made it to the dinner. I don't know why I didn't take a picture with people actually sitting in the chairs. I think I was grumpy and hid from everyone.

Kulani giving his mouth an amuse bouche of baked brie.

Nohea playing in the first snowfall of the year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Honesty of a First Grader

Lilia hasn't quite mastered the art of knowing what information to share and what information to keep to herself. Her mom doesn't always have that one down either, so it's not very fair to expect a first grader to be savvy about such matters.

The other day, Lilia revealed to me that during lunch recess she peed her pants "just a little bit" because she thought she wasn't allowed inside during recess. Later, after she came home, she got so busy building a snowman that she again didn't take time to come inside the house and take a potty break. She was playing with her good neighbor friend Matthew. She finally did excuse herself, and she decided to take a quick bath to clean herself up.

After about 10 minutes, Matthew knocked on the door.

"Is Lilia here?"
Lilia shows up at the door with new pants on.
"Sorry, Matthew, I peed my pants just a little bit and had to take a bath."

Matthew didn't look phased from this pronouncement of honesty. They went back outside and continued playing. Happens to most of us from time to time, I'm sure. Might as well shout it out on this blog.

Sometimes she's so like me it kills me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Constructive Criticism

I received some honest feedback on my blog by an anonymous poster recently. Who doesn't LOVE honest feedback, I ask you? I mean, when was the last time you really took the time to care enough about someone to say, "Your stories are boring me to tears." Or, "You lack the social graces of a cow." Or "Honestly, if I you look up 'dork' in the dictionary, there's a picture of you."

This caring annonymous poster basically had two complaints about this blog: 1) it's boring and (2) Kulani and myself are dorks. And he/she was passionate about both opinions, leaving comments on every post all the way back to June. I question how boring he/she really thought this blog was if he/she continued to read posts clear back in June.

But I can buy it. We are a bit boring, and I'm okay with that. This blog isn't for everybody. I'm not really sure why I created it in the first place. Yes, it's about my family. But it's also about just random thoughts. Mostly I just like to write. And I like reading about other's people thoughts and families, and maybe someone would like to read stuff that comes out of my head. But maybe not either. It's a free country, and a free blog service. Take it for what it is.

I wouldn't really want the life that is non-stop 24/7 high drama and/or FUN, FUN, FUN! When I was a junior in high school, we studied the play "Our Town." It's a rather boring play where nothing really happens, and that is the point. We're so busy living life that we don't always pause to enjoy the essence of life--the boringness of it. I remember our English teacher telling us that most of us would grow up to be ordinary people, not celebrities or extremely rich billionaires. Our lives would be simple. At the time, I thought, "Not me. I'll show 'em." But here I am: Boring Mayor of Boringtown.

It reminds me of a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley: "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

Sure, I love me some celebrity gossip from time to time. I like a good People reading as much as the next person. But you're not going to get that here. You're going to read about a barbecue we went to, or how the girls are changing with each passing year. For me, it's nice to re-read happenings from our lives, and I hope as my girls get older they will especially appreciate random, lame stories of day-to-day living as expressed from their mother and father.

As far as us being dorks, I'm pretty sure I know now that the anonymous poster was my big brother Doug. After he left on his mission, I stole his shirt with the following quote on the front: "I'm Okay, you're a Dork." Doug, I'm sorry I stole your stupid sweatshirt.

(Note: The comments have been erased and this blog is now officially closed to anonymous posters, which makes me kind-of sad. It's like going from an age where you trust everyone and never lock the front door, to being paranoid of everyone and double locking everything.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A love note from my girl

Lilia is heading head first down the super highway of growing up. If I'm not mistaken, preteens may be the new teenagers. Would you consider age 7 a preteen? Maybe not so much, but in some ways, I'd say yes.

Recently, Lilia has discovered the tactic of ignoring her parents. We ask her a question, and we get no response, or a half-glance of death. It says to me: "Leave me alone!" For example, she received a phone call from a boy in her class named Zeke.

"Hello," I answered the phone.
"Hi, is Lilia there?"
"Yes, who may I tell her is calling?"

Me to Lilia: "Telephone for you. It's Zeke."

Lilia's face turns red, and she takes the phone.

"What do you want?" Lilia says to Zeke on the phone. "I'll play with you at recess." And she hangs up.

Me: "Lilia, who was that?"
Lilia: Blank. Nothing.
Me: "I won't make fun of you. I'm just asking who it was on the phone just now."
Lilia continues to write on a piece of paper about heaven knows what, but by the look on her face, it was very important.
Me: "Is he someone from your class."
Lilia continues to ignore.
Me: "He sounds like a nice friend."
Lilia acts like she's the only one in the room.

So I drop it and talk to Kulani about it later that night. He says it's because I tease her about boys. I didn't think I'd teased her that bad, if ever...maybe. Gees.

Lilia also gets squirmy whenever a kissing scene comes on TV.

"Turn the channel! I don't want to see this!"
Me to her: "But Lilia, this is the best part. When you get older you'll understand."
Lilia: "Never."

I think this awkward stage lasted until I was about 18, so I think Lilia has a long road in front of her as well, which is good. I'm very glad for her shy ways.

I did get a love note from her the other day that absolutely melted my heart. I've never been super fond of my name. I like it okay, but it's ... Cindy. I took a communications class in college that included a chart of names that evoke respect, confidence, and class. Cindy was not among that list. It was among the list of names that evoked airhead, commonness, and plainness. I reflect much of those characteristics, as does my name, but still, there are days I wish my name was exotic and mysterious like Abigail or Victoria.

And then Lilia gives me this note (please ignore misspellings):

It says: "Mom your name is vurey pitey to me. I can sae it 100 tims: Cidey! Cidey! Cidey! And you are a grate Mom."

I love my name so much more now, misspellings and all.

And I love my little girls.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Iron Curtain

It was 20 years ago today that the Berlin Wall was yanked down by East and West Berliners in a symbolic fall of communism. It doesn't seem like it would be that momentous to a teenager in rural Idaho, but like most important news stories of the world, somehow we all feel affected and connected by great human events.

Ever since I was very young, I remember our family praying in our nightly prayers that "the Iron Curtain" would come down. My mom explained to us that freedom existed for one side, but not the other. Countries, cities, and families were torn apart because of this curtain. My mom explained that the Iron Curtain was a border made of high fencing of barbed wire, and anyone caught trying to get over it would be shot and killed.

My mom, who would like to sneak in educational films into our diet of completely inane cartoons and movies, once rented a movie about a family who escaped over the Iron Curtain in a hot-air balloon. It was based on actual events. That movie made it more real for me, and I had a fascination with the Iron Curtain for many years. I'd wish there was a way I could find a hole in it and sneak people across.

In late 1988, my oldest brother was called to serve an LDS mission in Hamburg, Germany. About nine months into his mission, we received a telephone call that he would be transferred to East Germany. East Germany? That's communist. They're letting missionaries into East Germany?

Within another year, the wall came down. When Doug returned home, he told us of the stark differences between East and West Germany. East German people had met relatively few Americans and were eager to talk with him. They loved giving stuff to the American missionaries, and a lot of the stuff they gave was communist medals and World War II medals. He picked up a lot of interesting souvenirs. Because in communist East Germany, rather than bonuses for good work, they got medals.

And the people lived more simply and poorly in East Germany, Doug told us. In most houses he usually had to shovel coal to feed the furnace in order to have hot water.

I remember watching news events of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the joy on the people's faces as they braced each other once again; brother to brother and sister to sister. An Iron Curtain hadn't existed in their hearts. It was like a huge dam had been broken and love came gushing out. And through prayer, I joined them in a long-distance bear hug.

Doug even brought home pieces of the Berlin Wall. It really just looks like a chunk of sidewalk. Symbolically, of course, it means much more.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

An Insomnia Post

I have a serious case of insomnia. I woke up at what the clock in my bedroom said 2:30 a.m., but we usually don't get around to setting our bedroom clocks to the correct hour until a few months AFTER daylight savings ends and begins. So, I tried going back to sleep until the bedroom clock read 3:25, but I still wasn't asleep.

Jesse (our dog) needed to go outside, so I got out of bed to take him outside, and now I'm officially awake. I have eight 7-year-old children arriving here in about ... let me think about it for a moment. My math skills are sorely lacking even when my brain is fully functional ... 10 hours for Lilia's birthday party. She wanted a Wii-themed party, but I thought I'd throw in some REAL games like egg races and wheelbarrow races. And then they can go bowling on the Wii. Old school meets new school.

I'm feeling bad about something I wrote in yesterday's post. I have many faults, but the habit I have that drives me the craziest is when I generalize about people, places, or things--nouns. Generalizing is okay in very small doses, perhaps, like my belief that everyone from Wales is kind based on my meeting of three real Welsh people who I count as some of the kindest people I've ever met. See, that's not taking it too far, right?

But it's bad when we generalize about the sexes. "Men are all pigs." "Women are bad drivers." You get the gist. So in my post yesterday, I wrote this when referring to the guys at BYU when I was attending school there over a decade ago:

"But truthfully, the guys sometimes acted a tad immature, and there was game playing to be played fah shah. For example, a guy could never act too interested in you in case there was a bigger fish to fry, if you catch my meaning."

What the heck? The girls could be just as bad as the guys when it came to holding out for a better catch. What a lame statement! It sounds like it was written by a fed-up college co-ed who sits on the couch sulking while her roommates are out dating.

And it brought me back to my idiotic junior high days when I borrowed a shirt from my sister that had the statement "Men are scum!" in black letters on the front. I wore it because it was a neon green color, and it was 1991, the height of neon and Information Society and all that. And I didn't own very much neon, if any. So I was drawn to that shirt! And I wore it ... to school.

And it was also the last time any guy from my school and my age was ever interested in me ever. I wasn't using my brain 3/4ths the time back then. It's at half capacity now.

Still not sleepy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

How Kulani Won My Heart

I always get sentimental and love-dippy this time of year. It was around late October/November that Kulani and I started dating 13 years ago.

I met my Polynesian hunk-of-burning-Johnny-Lingo love while living in the old and cheap Miller Apartments in downtown Provo, Utah; a hop, skip, and jump away from BYU campus. It was the institution Kulani and I were attending for purposes of higher education with the side hope of finding a spouse.

Of course, that's not what I was thinking back then, no sir. I was a liberated woman who had her eyes on a mission and career. Getting married? Psha! That's for suckers, saps, smarmies. (I love the word smarmy: def., smug, falsley earnest, ingratiaing. Maybe it doesn't work here, but I have found few places the word doesn't work. Dang, I've got smarmy laundry to do!)

And I was having one of my best dating eras of my life. For a girl who dated maybe four previous times her whole college career, in my third year of school I found the guys coming out from the cracks in the sidewalks. I was living the life, baby, and you can tell that to Telly Savalas. All was going according to my plans, which would culminate in me breaking everyone's heart to leave for a mission at age 21.

And then put the brakes on, folks. I caught a wave of southern Utah heat that beated in the chest of a raven-haired brilliant man. That would be Kulani.

Here's a picture of him back in the day when he still had a full head of hair and right after he came back from a mountain bike ride that ended in one of his famous crashes:

As if the picture isn't convincing enough as to why I chose my man. But he had other redeeming qualities besides just Polynesian good looks. For purposes of this post, let's say he had me at lobster and honey-curry chicken.

Kulani was not the typical BYU suitor. I love my BYU and don't you go around bad-mouthing it, now, you hear? But truthfully, the guys sometimes acted a tad immature, and there was game playing to be played fah shah. For example, a guy could never act too interested in you in case there was a bigger fish to fry, if you catch my meaning.

But I never got that sense with Kulani. He was genuine and earnest from the get go. I could tell fairly quickly that he was really into me, and I liked that. He wasn't shy about it, and he didn't play any games. He was who he was. Not a playa.

And to impress me one night, he made me dinner. The first dinner he ever made for me. And for those of you who know Kulani, the man can cook. He'd cooked me a burrito before that when I stopped by his apartment at lunchtime once. Most college students just put bean and cheese in a burrito, right? Well, Kulani had Mexican rice, peppers, some tasty meat, etc. in his burritos. Seven-layer burrito of heaven.

But he wasn't the cook he is now, mostly because of the busyness of school and lack of money, but he was still a great cook. And he loved to cook. I'd never met anyone who loved to cook. And the cooking the dinner for me would have been great on its own, but he also cleaned his apartment. And Kulani HATES to clean, and neither did any of his roommates, as their apartment was pretty much a giant trash can. He also borrowed some nice dinner plates and tablecloths and cloth napkins from his sister in Spanish Fork, and he set a beautiful card table for our first dinner. The man was trying to impress ME--girl raised in a family of 10 whose family regularly used paper towels as napkins. SO cleaning AND cooking? Ladies, I know you're with me when I say, "aaahhhhhh."

But that's not all, oh no it's not. The meal Kulani cooked me, up to that night in my life, was one of the best of my life. He cooked me slipper lobster tails and honey-curry chicken. I'd had lobster tails once before at a cheap restaurant in Las Vegas: not impressed with it, really. But the slipper lobster tails Kulani cooked me with melted butter, fuhget about it.

And honey-curry chicken: easily one of my favorite recipes. I'm posting it on our sister cooking Web site, so you can make some for your honey tonight, and maybe you'll get some curry later in bed (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). (I've never heard IT be called curry, but what hasn't IT been called? I mean, really, heaven knows we need more code words for IT to keep the little ones in the dark.)

So there you go. Maybe I'm easy to please, but really, my bar was set pretty high, and Kulani flew over it like he was a pole vaulter going over a high-jump bar. Honestly, if it weren't for Kulani in my life, I'd be doing the $5 Footlongs every night. And hosting a luau and quarterly food appreciation dinners? That's all Kulani's doing. He's the life of my party. I'm just holding on for the ride.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Halloween Tradition

While talking with my dad on the phone yesterday he let slip that my mom had a rare "pity party" expressing sadness that she didn't get to see any of her grandchildren dress up for Halloween. My cousin Becky and her kids stopped by their house, and it made her yearn to see her own grandchildren.

Well, never fear, Grandma C.! Here are the pictures from our traditional Halloween.

Lilia and Lissy snarling over the candy snake given to us by the Hornes atop a piece of tasty Texas sheet cake.

Lissy: Cinderella.
Nono: Dinosaur.
Lilia: Dorothy.

Another view of the monster.

Displaying the loot. Candied popcorn balls, are you kidding me? Only from the amazing James family (they left out the razor blades .... this time).

The customary jack-o-lantern pizza.

And then we watched a scary movie: The Proposal. It didn't look like Sandra Bullock would get her man, but in the end, she did. Belated spoiler alert.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Indomitable Nono

This is Kulani. Last night as I sat watching TV with my brother, Lissy approached me and asked me for a glass of milk. I poured one for her and as I handed it to her, she asked me if I wouldn't mind heating it up. Which I did.

Moments later, Nono (who's 2) ran into the room and asked for some milk as well. I told her to ask for some of Lissy's. Rather than wait for me to finish or ask again, Nono headed straight for the kitchen. Before I realized what was going on, she'd pushed a stool to the refrigerator and retrieved the milk, pushed another to the cabinets to retrieve a cup, returned to the island to pour the milk, and was in the process of putting it the microwave. We definitely have our hands full with this one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fans of Cycling and Cuisine Fall Harvest

Kulani and his friend Pat have created a club they dubbed "Fans of Cycling and Cuisine" or FCC. It's a chance to put together a multi-course meal on a quarterly basis for people who love food.

I'm queezy about announcing this on my blog, because I can already hear people saying, "How come I haven't been invited?" Maybe with time, you will be.

Your chances for being invited increase if both you and your spouse/date love to eat. And you should love to eat just about anything, including meat and seafood. Many of the dishes we attempt are experimental, so if we make something you don't like, pretend like you're eating it anyhow and somehow choke it down. We do have a dog, so maybe when no one is looking, you can feed it to him.
We are a very pro-children house, but for this particular event, no kids are invited. However, our kids roam the house, so it seems unfair, but you know, it's our house and we're cooking the food, so deal with it.
Also, being able to check your politics at the door will more likely get you an invitation. Nothing spoils a good dinner like crazy political talking.
With each meeting of the FCC, we get better and more organized. Our apologies to those first groups who had to deal with our disorganization. And hopefully in the future, it will get even better.
And with that, I give you the menu of this quarter's FCC Fall Harvest. Anything marked with an asterisks means it was a new dish we tried for the event. Lani provided a menu for the drinks. Guests brought a variety of drinks, which really made the meal more like a "food and wine" dinner, only all the drinks were non-alcoholic, but so very tasty.

One thing we're learning is like pairing good food together, it also takes effort to pair good groups together. Some of our groups have worked, and some haven't. This quarter's group was particularly great. Most everyone had a connection to law, so maybe the key is grouping people with commonalities.

Left to right, clockwise: Pat (co-founder of FCC), Matt Bates (law school buddy of Kulani's), Rachel Bates (wife of Matt and mother of three boys, soon to be four), Kulani, Dan Harper (law school buddy of Kulani's; wife was on vacation), Patrick (general counsel for Xango), and Lani (Kulani's brother).

Left to right, clockwise: Patrick, Lani, Pat (med student; met Kulani at Workman Nydegger when he was a clerk there), Chelsea (mother of Charlie), Matt, and Rachel.

"Real" History

A colleague recently challenged me to read a Utah history book not written by a Utahan. What does that even mean? The implication is that Utahans who write history books get their facts wrong or gloss over the "real" history of Utah.

It got my ire up in a big kind of way, but also in a good kind of way. If I were to attempt a research paper, I think I'd like to analyze who writes history books.

For example, are the best history books written by people inside a given state, country, region, group, etc., or are they best written by an outsider? If I want to learn more about Mississippi, for example, should I make sure to read a book written by an Alabaman about Mississippi? Or would an Alabaman also have an "axe to grind" and trump up all of Mississippi's dark history as part of a grudge the two states have endured over land parcels? (I don't know if they actually have a grudge between the two states; I'm just speculating.)

If the theory holds true that history books are best written by outsiders, it would have to be a WAY outsider, like from someone clear across the state. But then, how accurate can they get? I remember reading our family's World Book Encyclopedia's entry about the state of Utah, and it said that Joseph Smith had led the Latter-day Saint people west to Utah. In reality, it was Brigham Young. The set was published in 1980. Hopefully the editors have caught THAT error by now, but it makes me wonder how many other historical facts they got wrong.

And it surely makes me wonder what historical facts would be included in a History of America book written by that neutral country Sweden. It would probably play up the HUGE anti-war movement of World War II in this country. Haven't heard about it? Well, you're just reading history books from people BORN in America. Free your minds, people.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Way Back Machine

Kulani is sleeping. The girls are sleeping. I can't sleep. I'm wide awake at 11 p.m. So my mind starts to drift. I haven't had any bursts of inspiration to write about my current life lately, so tonight's story is retrieved from the recesses of my mind. And as my mind can lead toward the self-deprecating and negative--especially at night, this story involves one of my not-so-finer moments.

My junior year in high school was the year I was finally old enough to date and attend school dances. A good friend of mine, the notorious Aaron Monson, asked me to the Homecoming dance. I accepted and was anticipating a great event.

The only problem was I didn't have a dress. Well, truthfully, I had a closet full of dresses, but I thought I needed a new dress. This was the time in my family's life when Dad's car business wasn't doing so great, and Mom was working herself ragged with teaching school, trying to raise children, and helping Dad in his business. They had a lot on their plate.

And then you throw in an ungrateful teenage daughter.

I laid the guilt trip on my mom pretty thick. I remember crying a lot. And then this:

Me to Mom: "I'm just embarrassed of our house. Aaron will come by to pick me up, and the house will be a mess, and I'll have on an ugly dress."

Ouch! It hurts to even think that I said that, but in all honesty, I probably did say it that harshly.

The Friday before the date, my mom took me to the nicest store in Rupert to buy me a dress. It cost $100. I think the dress is still somewhere in my parent's house. There's nothing special about the dress, really. I had a dress that looked similar to it already hanging up in my closet. It was just new (see picture below). And besides my wedding dress, it's still the most expensive dress I own.

I left for my job at Kmart the Saturday morning before the date. I came home around 4 p.m. to a completely spotless house. Mom had worked all day cleaning. While she was on her hands and knees scrubbing the shower, she slipped a disc in her back which caused her extreme pain. She couldn't stand up all the way. She lied on her back for the next few days, eventually needing surgery to fix her back.

I don't remember having a super great time on my date. Aaron was a great friend, but my mind was elsewhere. I couldn't believe I'd acted like such a "teenager." Remembering that night still causes me a ping of pain in my heart because of my bratty behavior.

But as my dad puts it, what goes around comes around. I have a feeling one of my girls will likely go "teenager" on me, too. And when they do, you'll be hearing about it on this blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Luau '09

(This is Kulani again). This year was the biggest luau so far. We'd planned on around 300 people and between 350-400 people showed up. It wasn't without incident, but by and large it seemed to go pretty well. While we did get behind a few times on the various proteins, we didn't run out of food. By the numbers, we turned out 8 Costco packages of Italian Sausages with the corresponding sauce and argentine bread, a 10 lb bag of rice, 15 lbs of potato salad, 70 lbs of kalbi sirloin, 100 lbs of Kalua Pork, and 120 lbs of chicken.

So, here's how it went down:
(Cindy here now. Kulani has been too busy to finish his post.)

Kuhia - sous chef and Haupia Master

Ben helped man the grill station (with help from his son Jaron).

Alika and Brittney helped with initial prep on Friday, and allowed us the use of their dad's kitchen with Wolf appliances. (Maybe we can get Wolf to consider sponsoring our luau next year.) Kehaulani brought it up a notch this year with decorations.

Lani (and Patrick) made the Chicken Long Rice and brought the poi, as well as bringing Cindy and the girls fresh leis back from their recent trip to Hawaii.

Kamika was the official luau photographer. But I also saw my neighbor Ellen with her camera, and I can't wait to see what photos she took.

Brian helped cart stuff up to the park with his truck. Jon and Delena helped with whatever needed helping. And many more of you chipped in when a command was barked or things needed cleaned up. Many thanks!

And the last great component was our fine friends, colleagues, neighbors, and associates. We can't take you all to Hawaii, but we can bring a little piece of Hawaii to you.

Elyssa, Stephanie, and Ellen. Friends from the neighborhood.

Racer and Maren and their dog. Racer is one of Kulani's first friends from the biking world, and now Racer owns a great little bicycle shop in Provo appropriately named "Racer's." In fact, it was Kulani who dubbed Racer, "Racer." Racer's real name is Jared, but at Gourmet Bicycles back in the day, three Jareds worked at the shop, so Kulani gave Jared the name of Racer to tell them all apart. Racer has since legally changed his name to Racer.

This is Mackenzie my niece holding my sister Kathy's new baby. Mackenzie is only 9 or 10, but she's going to make a great babysitter soon (as she is already). Grandma and Grandpa Christenson came down from Idaho and scooped up all the grandkids along the way to give the adults a night off. Mackenzie lives in Bothwell, Utah.

This is the Lorimers. Pat is attending UofU Medical School. They are founding members of the FCC--Fans of Cycling and Cuisine. The club is known for enjoying fine food and fine bicycle rides, mostly between Kulani and Pat.

Kulani taking a well-deserved break. I know you all think it looks like a lot of trouble to do this every year, but let me tell you that it is the highlight of Kulani's year. He loves it.

Next year, I'll make sure every family gets a photo. Wait ... Kulani, will there be a next year? Tune in to find out!