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.