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.