Colors Festival

We are lucky enough to have a temple in town. I'll bet most of you didn't know that. But it's a pretty, white building with lots of Indian influences. It's the Hare Krishna's temple. A couple times a year they have big festivals. In the spring they welcome the change of seasons with Holi, the Festival of Color. This is the tenth year and we finally decided to check it out. You'd think we would have gone sooner. It is probably one of a few cultural events in Utah County without any hint of Mormonism.
"Holi is a Hindu holiday that commemorates the escape of Prahlad (a character from the Puranic texts of Hinduism) from the demonic witch Holika. According to the texts, the evil Holika carried the virtuous Prahlad into a large fire, but in a twist of fate, she burned while he remained unharmed because of his devotion to Lord Vishnu.

In countries such as India and Nepal, the joyous annual holiday is celebrated by constructing a bonfire to honor Prahlad's religious faith. The throwing of the colors follows the bonfire as a fun way to wipe out differences between people of different castes -- when everyone is covered with colored powder, race, ethnicity, and other superficial differences between people evaporate and everyone is free to celebrate and love one another." Salt Lake Tribune

We got there a little late, as did many people. We parked at the new ballpark and walked the rest of the way south to the temple. We knew it would be a long walk, but cars were parked from just before there all the way past the temple. It is a big event and many college students come as do all the Hare Krishnas from the surrounding area. From about 4 till 10 pm Main Street from the highway all the way south to the temple was bumper to bumper. It took us almost half an hour to walk to the temple and it reminded me of the opening scene to Office Space. The main character driving his car to work through rush hour traffic is being passed by an older gentelman with a walker. We kept passing and getting passed by the same red Mini Cooper. It finally parked near the temple but didn't save any time driving!

When we got there the ground were already covered with people and colored, aromatic chalk and the band was playing one of the Hare Krishna song. The one with the chorus that goes "Haareee Krissshhhnaaa!" It had a lot of verses and I don't think they made them all up. The second to last verse was "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down, and. . .Jill found some glue!"

We climbed up to the temple terrace to get a bird's eve view. There were thousands of people! According to the newspaper around 15,000 people came. They hailed it as BYU's unoffical Spring Break, since they don't get one, wouldn't want to give the kids a chance to be wild. I've been to a few concerts/festivals in my college-age life that reminded me of this, minus the colors, and I've never seen it attended by mostly sober kids. But they were still having fun!
After we arranged a meeting place with the children in case we were separated, we each grabbed a kid's hand and headed into the melee. I had Middle Child and slowly made our way to the stage down below. As we were standing there with some colors on us, I asked him if he liked it. "No, I can't hear anything!" he hollered back. I had stuck us next to the speakers, taller than him and sending the beat right through our bones. So we circuitously headed back up the hill to the temple.
After we found Olaf and Baby we hung out for a while getting the occasional chalk thrown on us. Then we went and checked out their animals. We had a blast and the kids loved it too. We decided to head home around 7 so we didn't have to hike up the highway after dark, it's a two-lane road without any curbs or sidewalks. While we were walking the Utah County sheriffs were attempting to keep order by telling everyone to walk single file on the side of the road. That wasn't going to happen. Then I decided I was starving! So we hoofed it in an attempt to get back to town before 8 so we could make our favorite restaurant in Spanish Fork, Jaxie's. And we made it in the nick of time!


Fight Club

Middle Child informed me that his school now has a Fight Club. They are a little behind the times as those were more popular a few years ago, but nevertheless they have one. I asked him if he was a member and he responded in the negative. That's a good thing that he's not a member, but at the same time he didn't get invited to be a member, so I don't know how that bodes for Junior High and his friend-making ability. If, by chance, there are only two or three members, then I'm not worried. But if everyone in 6th grade is a member but him, then I will begin to wonder about those social skills.

I guess I should just be thankful he's not a member because the kids were informed that if they're a member they'll get suspended. I was kind of wondering how the teachers would know who the members were until Middle Child informed me that they're supposed to tattle on the other kids if they know who the members are. And I just thought the kids duking it out at recess would be telling enough. But apparently the teachers are trying to get the kids to turn on each other, hopefully they'll get immunity or something worthwhile for the trouble they'll be in when they're discovered by the Fight Club kids.

And then I wonder what they call the Fight Club? When I asked, Middle Child said it was called "Ultimate Fighting or something. . . I have no idea what that is." We don't watch much Ultimate Fighting or Wrestling at this house. I know they're different sports, but I don't know how. I got my fill of it when I worked at the Bowling Alley Bar and they played it on the big screen every Saturday night. Currently, Middle Child is reading this over my shoulder as I type and informed me it's called TUF or something. But I just googled that and that's actually Taiwanese United Fund as found here. I guess my Know-It-All Middle Child doesn't know it all. I love proving that once in a while. I'm a Bad Mom.


I'm a Magician

I am a Magician. I'll bet you didn't know that? But I have been making things disappear at my house since I started working Part-Time:
  1. The piles of dirty laundry
  2. The dust bunnies of dog hair
  3. The TV programs recorded on my DVR
  4. The number of Take-out meals
  5. The smudges and streaks on the windows
  6. The dirty dishes in the sink
  7. The undone homework of my children
  8. The toothpaste scum in the bathroom sinks
  9. The pile of ironing
  10. The children's lack of chores
Thanks to the possibility of working part time (which can be chalked up to this economy, the job used to be full time) I have time to do the things I hadn't done much of for the last six months. And I love it! I don't ever want to work full time again. And my children's friend's parents have informed me that my children LOVE me being home when they get home from school. That right there makes it worth the teensy paycheck.


Update to Quantum of Solace

The Movie came out today! Olaf bought me the movie with the calendar to hang up at work. He really loves me!


The American Dream

I walked out to the mailbox and caught Baby selling a single Lifesaver in a wrapper to our neighbor for only $0.50! He saw me coming so he hurried and got the money and ran to his friend's house without acknowledging me at all, afraid I would make him give the money back. My neighbor, the sweet man that he is, begged me not to get mad at him. He told me Baby comes over regularly in warm weather, usually selling rocks. And he never wants more than $0.50. He said Baby will come up to the door and tell him "I've got some really cool rocks! Wanna buy one? It's only $0.50." To which my neighbor can't resist.

I knew he sold rocks. Last year he would get some of those sparkly white rocks from our neighbors side yard, bring them home, hit them with a hammer until they were the "right size," and then he would sell them to my poor neighbors. I thought it was pretty funny and entrepreneurial. One recently graduated high school student paid him $1.75 last summer! His mom told him that Baby'd be back for sure! Maybe that's why they moved last summer.

One year his cousin got him a Build-a-Bear which he loves. But he wanted to buy lots more clothes for him. So I helped him make some chocolate chip cookies and he went door-to-door selling 6 for $1. It was quite the bargain. He scored that time, especially when he told them what it was for, and made almost $10! Enough to buy one more outfit for that special bear of his.

It also reminds me of Calvin. He had the same entrepreneurial spirit. He used to sell rocks. My favorite was the summer he decided to go door-to-door selling Kool-Aid. He filled up two pitchers without my help. I think I was making the daycare kids lunch and told him I'd help in a minute or two and he just couldn't wait. Off he went pulling the rickety wagon with two gallons of Kool-Aid in the back. I thought for sure it would be all over the road. About ten minutes later he came back. "I forgot the sugar," he sheepishly told me. I had such a good laugh! I instructed him in how much sugar was needed for a gallon of Kool-Aid and he was off again. I think he made about $5 that day.

When he entered Middle School he was constantly selling stuff at school. He liked to make duct tape wallets and sell them to friends for a few bucks. Of course I bought the duct tape. But I didn't mind, it was a good use of his time. In 6th grade he would sell two rubberbands for a quarter. Sounds a little odd? The boys would fold paper into football shapes and play that little game where they shoot the footballs through their pal's fingers shaped into a goal post. It was great entertainment.

That same year Olaf brought a bunch of mechanical pencils home from work and Calvin loved them. He's always loved mechanical pencils and every year we had to stock up for school. So off to school Calvin went with about a dozen. A week later he asked Olaf to bring him more. We expressed our surprise at how quickly he had used them. That's when he told us he was selling them for $1! That one gave us a good laugh too. So as you can see, my children selling things is nothing new to me. They're trying to live the American Dream without the illegal alien part.


Biking with the Boys

For my birthday Olaf said I could get a bike. When I was starting to look I showed him a few Electra bikes that I thought were really cute. That's when he made the statement "I don't know what your budget for a bike is. . ."

I didn't realize until then that I had to find money for it in the budget. So then I was kind of bummed. I was determined to get a Cruiser bike with a few speeds and fenders. I needed at least three speeds so I could go up hills easier because I hate hills with a passion. I should rephrase that, I actually love hills, I just hate going up them under my own power. I think all that hill running I did in High School for track really messed up my love for running and biking hills. I love to look at hills and truly miss hills since there aren't many out here, but that's a story for another day.

I looked online a bunch for different cruiser bikes. Like I said I wanted one with several speeds and fenders. I looked and looked and looked some more. I spent days searching the internet for what I considered a "cool" bike. And I found a few. I did some more soul searching because I really had to love this bike. It was going to be mine for as long as it would last. I don't destroy bikes like my boys and I don't outgrow them either. So I had to find just the right one.

And after much deliberation I decided on this cute bike. I ordered it and patiently waited for it to arrive via UPS.

This last Sunday I got a computerized message from UPS: "You will receive a package tomorrow that needs to be signed for. If you are not there. . .blah blah blah. . .It will arrive between 8am and 7pm"

I got all excited and told Olaf my bike was coming tomorrow but I had to sign for it. I was hoping against all hope that it would come in the afternoon.

"What time is it coming? I'll be home if you're at work," he offered.

"Between 8am and 7pm" I told him. Then I had a brilliant idea to have my friend who is usually home sign for it. So I called her up and begged her to take my bike for me. And she agreed. Yeah! I went to work Monday morning in my windowless basement office where I have no cell phone reception. I really didn't expect it to come very early. But when I left work and was finally in Cell Phone Zone again a text came through. "Your package has arrived. It appears that 'some assembly is required.'"

So then I hopped on the phone and begged Olaf to come home early and put it together for me. When he got home he promptly set to getting it rigged up for me and a little while later I was riding around the neighborhood!

Since then the kids and I have been going for bike rides. Got to get them in before it snows again!


The Silver Rush

The other day I caught Baby on the computer after he had finished his chores.

"Go Outside!" I told him. It was beautiful out and he needed to go play.

He went out and promptly started digging in the dirt pile RV Pad. I came out to sit on the porch and enjoy the beautiful weather.

"Mom, today our teacher told us that there's silver at the bottom of Utah Lake! I've ridden over Utah Lake before!"

"Did you see it?" I asked.

"No. But remember I was wearing a life jacket?" He was in a small plane, so maybe he meant a parachute in case the plane lost power.

I thought that was the end of it. But, no, not Baby's one-track mind.

About an hour later. "Mom, I think we should go looking for the silver in Utah Lake."

"Ok. But that would be hard because the lake's pretty dirty. How would you see it?" If anyone's been on Utah Lake they know it looks like a huge mud puddle. I can't bring myself to get into the water.

"Um, you know," to which he waves his hand in front of him like he's holding something. "A flashlight."

"Oh, ok, that might work."

"And we need scuba gear." he informs me.

I must have given him a look of some sort because he tried to reassure me, "You can rent that stuff Mom."

"Maybe you should talk to your dad about this." Olaf has been trying to get me to learn to scuba dive with him, but it's not going to happen. I don't like water, much less sea creatures.

"Yeah! That would be a great Scout Activity! I'm gonna call him now!"

And that was how the Silver Rush of 2009 started.


Shady Vegas

Almost two years ago my parents moved to Vegas. Yeah! They now lived only six hours away versus the 25+ hours we had to drive to visit them when they lived in Indiana. We could actually go visit them a few times a year. I was pretty excited.

I refused to go and visit them in the summer. I've been to Vegas in the summer and it's a bit too warm for my comfort. I can barely deal with Utah's heat and it's probably 20 degrees cooler here. So, for fall break in October we went to visit my parents.

We had a lot of fun and did a few things. The last night there Olaf's good friend who lives in Vegas brought his family to meet us all for dinner. We had a good time eating and playing around. Their little three-year-old is adorable and my boys loved playing with him.

After dinner my parents opted to go home since they were tired, my children have that affect on others not used to rambunctious boys. We went down to the Old Part of Vegas. It was quite entertaining. There were some Jesus Freaks with big signs about how we're all going to burn in Hell if we don't Repent and get Saved Right Now. There was a saxophone player with a drunk couple dancing to his music. There was other performers of various types all around. And the best part was the light show on the ceiling, or roof top, of the avenue. It was pretty neat and the kids loved it. Then we went and checked out the remodel of the Golden Nugget. The swimming pool was pretty cool. There is a big Shark Tank in the middle of the pool. And the best part of it is the 30-foot waterslide anyone can ride right through the middle of the shark tank. Almost makes you want to stay in Old Vegas. The kids sure wanted to stay there and try the waterslide out for themselves.

Afterwards we decided to get some of the best frozen yogurt on town. It's a small shop run by someone from somewhere else. You can only pay in cash and you have to risk your life to find the place. We followed Olaf's friend all through Vegas. We kept turning at corners and I swear we drove in a few circles. But he swore he knew where we were going. And since I don't live there and he does I had to kinda trust him. At one point in the ride Olaf remarked, "I think we've driven through the shadiest parts of Vegas!"

To which Middle Child replied, "I noticed the lights were dimmer on those last few streets."

After we got done laughing so hard we couldn't drive and it was good we didn't have any frozen yogurt because it would have landed all over the place in our hysterical laughter (to which he just couldn't figure out what was so funny) we wittily replied to his naive comment, "It's cuz no one wants to be seen coming in and out of the places on those blocks."


Sky Diving

Come to find out Baby has been teaching the younger boys in our neighborhood fun stunts. Yesterday a friend told me about her 4-year-old and his adventures in trying out Baby's cool stunts.

My friend was on a business call when her boy comes in sobbing, obviously hurt, and carrying a plastic bag. "What's wrong little man?"

Sobbing, "I jumped out the window of the playhouse." Let me tell you the playhouse is Utah's version of a tree house since we rarely have any trees large enough for tree houses. So her 4-year-old jumped probably 8-10 feet to the ground.

"Why would you do that?" she asked baffled as to why her boy would jump that far.

"Baby said if I got a plastic bag I could parachute out the window," he replied, choking between sobs.

"Did you see him do that or did he just tell you about it?" she asked.

"He just told me I could. I just wanted to parachute!" She hugged him and laughed.

And then she tried to teach him the lesson about how Boys Love to Talk Things Up and Don't Believe Everything You Hear, you know, little boy locker room talk.


Not for PETA

I thought we had gotten off scot free this winter. I hadn't heard any mouse noises at night and thought maybe, just maybe, we weren't going to get any this year. But the mice had other plans. The farmer had been out fertilizing his field with steer manure two weeks ago. (Yes, it smells like I live on the farm and not in town. But I keep telling myself it's better than having neighbors.) And the smell must have driven the mice indoors. While my poor family was here we were overrun!

Friday night we were sitting around chatting when Sister Quilter gave out a squeal of terror.

"What? What's Wrong?" I asked.

"You have a mouse in your kitchen!"

"Oh, darn. I thought I wasn't going to get any this year, but I guess they found our house after all." and I shrugged my shoulders.

"Aren't you going to do anything about them?" she asked, debating on whether she should get a hotel if I wasn't going to take care of the problem right then and there.

"Well, Olaf is gone and I don't know how to set those mouse traps. Maybe Younger Brother (who was also visiting this weekend) will know how to set them." I nonchalantly replied. When you live next to a field you just know despite your best efforts that some mice are going to wiggle their way into the house.

"Yeah, I don't kill mice. Don't have a clue as to how to set those crazy things," Younger Brother replied while pounding away on the guitar, acing Guitar Hero.

"Where are they? Maybe we can set them," she demanded. Now let me tell you, we have tried various types of traps and have found the best ones are the Victor Snap Traps that we buy at Albertson's. Unfortunately, they no longer sell them.
I got the traps out and we proceeded to try and figure out how to set those things without taking our fingers off. A two-year-old probably could have figured it out faster than we did. But after 15 painstaking minutes, in which Sister Quilter's fingers only got trapped once, we finally figured it out! Once we learned how to set the trap we had the task of setting them carefully on the floor so they didn't snap our fingers off at that point. Let me remind you that Olaf was out of town and wouldn't be back until 1am and I wasn't relying on him to set the traps in the middle of the night, that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Even though he's experienced he'd probably lose some fingers.

We were so proud of ourselves when we got three traps set in the usual places. And before we went to bed that night we caught the mouse Sister Quilter had seen earlier! Then in the morning we had two more dead in the traps. We were so successful at our first try! The second night Olaf set a couple traps and caught one within five minutes! By the end of the weekend we had caught eight mice. I think that was the lot of them though, we haven't caught any since. I think since Sister Quilter had just invested in a Mouse Exterminator at her house, they decided to haunt her while she was at my house.


Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Names will Always Hurt Me

Somehow, I think someone hacked my land-line phone-bill preferences. I know I'm behind the times by still having a land line, but I tried the voip thing and it just didn't work out. You couldn't dial out half the time and I didn't feel so good about leaving my kids home alone without a working phone. What if someone hurt themselves and they couldn't dial 911? What if someone needed stitches? (That happens a lot at our house.) What if they were scared and needed to talk to their mommy? (The boys would never cop to that one, but it happens.) I didn't want Division of Child and Family Services banging on my door and accusing me of neglect issues. I have enough issues without involving the government.

When I signed up for a land line again I had the company send me my bill via email. One less paper for me to send to the recycling bin! I got my first bill a little later and it said "Dear Idiot Phone." I couldn't figure out who was sending me this email! It couldn't be the phone company because that wouldn't be very good customer service to call their customer an "Idiot!" I opened the email, for sure it was some phishing thing, but it wasn't. It was legit.

After several months of getting phone bills addressed to "Dear Idiot Phone" I started to get a little offended. I really don't need computers or someone who doesn't-know-me-from-Adam calling me names; I have enough self-confidence problems without them adding to the list. I finally got on today to check how this name-calling came to be. Somehow, someone had edited my Greeting to "Idiot." I know I didn't do this, although now that I think about it, in retrospect I may have; it was late at night and the phone company was giving me grief when I re-signed up with them. I may have been pretty irritated and thought it meant a greeting for them, not me. Actually, that makes a lot of sense now that I think about it. I'm pretty sure that's what I did. You know, talking things over in my head really helps me straighten things out.

Tonight I changed the greeting when I discovered I had that option. I changed it to "Not-an-Idiot."


UPDATE: The Top 10 Things That My Kids Think Make Me a Bad Mom

  1. Not letting my kids eat out every night
  2. Spending their gift cards at Walmart
  3. Making them walk home from school
  4. Making them ride bikes to friends houses instead of getting a ride
  5. Not letting them get everything they want at the store
  6. Making them do chores and then making them use the money they earn doing chores to buy things they want instead of me wasting my hard earned money
  7. Not letting my kids play video games rated "M" for mature
  8. Making my kids go to bed around 8:30 on a school night
  9. Trying to teach my kids good table manners
  10. No dessert unless dinner was completely eaten
UPDATE: I had to add one more that definitely makes me a Bad Mom in a boy's perspective
  1. Attempting to teach Personal Hygiene skills such as showering, teeth-brushing, deodorant usage, hair-combing and hair-gel-usage, frequency of underwear changes, and definitely how not to use too much cologne
PS. I couldn't figure out how to use the number list and start at #11 instead of #1 cuz I wasn't really starting all over again but if I just stuck in a #11 at the beginning of the line the formatting would have been all wrong and that would have bugged me. So if anyone has some cool, easy HTML tricks for messing up number lists, send 'em my way.


Eat Your Heart Out Hollywood

My new place of employment has a Coke machine. Not a vending machine with cans of coke for $.50 or even bottles of coke for $1, but a fountain machine with several options including Diet Coke! And depositing change in the "Soda Money" box is optional. So if I forget to bring myself a Diet Coke to work, it's already there.

This working 8am to 1pm is wonderful! I love getting home before the kids so I can workout. I am going to lose ten pounds. Or at least pretend to all of you that I'm a hot, workout machine. I am going to become the hottest, newest, latest Rockstar Wife. And then I will be all snotty to them and not invite them to my parties and snub my nose at them at school functions. And they will clamor around me begging for my latest "home party" invitation so they can buy jewelry or makeup or candles.

The next best thing I can do with my free time is clean house like a banshee. I will have the perfectest house in Utah County. I will look like I live in a museum with the perfect accessories from Pottery Barn and the most beautiful flowers in several vases strategically placed throughout the house. My children will have the prettiest playroom and Pottery Barn will ask to use my playroom in their next catalog. And I'll never ever let my kids play with anything because that would just mess things up and I can't have a messy house anymore.

And the next best thing is to involve my children in a few more activities. I must try to bring out all their talents. If we don't excel in everything I am going to be held accountable on Judgment Day for wasting my children's talents. I must involve them in piano, violin, all sports (especially baseball, I do live in Spanish Fork), acting, art, dance, singing, and definitely organ, you never know when my child will be the last organist in their congregation and he will be able to bring joy every Sunday to the church.

Lastly I will need to do more baking and cooking. I need to hone those baking talents of mine. I will practice making the perfect pie filling, cookies, brownies, cake, and frosting. I will become the food guru in my neighborhood. Everyone will call me for the latest hip ingredients and cooking styles. I will also be able to relay to everyone how to use their wheat and beans in new and delicious dishes so everyone will be able to live off their food storage for two years. Everyone will be on my doorstep on that fateful day when we have no choice but to eat our food storage and I will be ready with recipes and cooking classes for the masses.