Friday, November 12, 2010

Dear Mr. President...

Well we're about six months away from the day when, once again, you'll be invited along with your wife and kids to our house for my husband's birthday barbecue. Hopefully I'll be a little more organized and you'll get the letter executed with proper protocol instead of the last-minute email I sent you last year.

Politics aside, and really, I do mean politics aside, I just thought it might be nice for you to get away to a casual dinner and I'm sure we'd all find lots to talk about. Please let me know in advance how many secret service to make burgers and fruit salad for and we'll prepare accordingly. I don't need you to make a speech, get a gift for my husband, or anything like that. Just bring yourselves and relax in the backyard. It's still a little chilly that time of year so you'll want to pack a warm sweater or windbreaker, but usually the bugs aren't in full force yet so it's rather nice outside. Usually the kids kick around the soccer ball and most of the snow has melted.

Let me know if you have vegetarians/vegans among your crew and we can make my delicious veggie shish kabobs. And grilled corn. Also if there are any allergies that we need to be aware of. If you absolutely must bring something, a 6-pack of Alaskan Amber would be great, but don't stress out about it.

While you are in town you can visit the pipeline, take a walk at our local bird preserve, and check out the University Museum. The muskox farm might be fun for the girls.

No big deal if you can't make it but just wanted to let you know you're welcome. We're very laid back so don't worry about showing up early, or late either. I'm not planning a huge production so it will be mostly a few friends and neighbors plus some family. If it rains or snows we can play Wii sports inside.

This is a serious invitation, but the party will be very casual. I think it would be fun if you guys would come, and the reason it could be really fun for you is that you might feel a little human for one evening without all the pressures of a major function. Relaxing will be the operative word. Thanks for considering my invite and have a great week.

Sheila G.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the simple things

Today I've been thinking. Which is a somewhat frequent occurrence. But seriously, today I've been thinking about the simple things. I think about this quite often, due to not enjoying the simple things and not being able to enjoy the simple things, so when I can, I do.

One of my favorite simple things is picking out produce. I like to do this slowly when I can. I like to do it deliberately. I like to take the time to notice the firmness, the color, and even the scent of tomatoes. I like to pick the freshest, most delicious looking bunch of three or four and think about melted cheese and tomato sandwiches.

Grapes are a little less of a delicate procedure. I just flip over the bag and check for moisture, sliminess, and mold. Those of you in the lower 48 may have no idea what I'm talking about. Our produce gets shipped hundreds of miles and the produce clerks just put out on the shelves what they get in the trucks. And oftentimes what they get in the trucks is already moldy before they even put it out. I've actually had an employee at one of our local grocery stores tell me, "Oh, well, there's just a little mold." To which I replied, "Well if you want to take the risk of eating mold-infected grapes and get a disease where the end result is your face eats itself from mold then go ahead, but over my dead body will I buy these grapes or any in the immediate vicinity." (In my head, of course.) I think I just laughed politely and moved quickly away from the fuzzy grapes. Laughing politely works tremendously well in a variety of awkward situations. But you know, it's nice to be able to really take the time and check your grapes for mold, when sometimes you haven't had the luxury.

During my trip to New York, I visited a Whole Foods that had actual fresh figs in their produce section. Plump and purple-brown little packets of delight. Strawberries, unbelievable strawberries, not a damaged one in the whole package. Limes that were green and perfect. Not sure where I'm going with this but I couldn't ever say enough about the quality and the choices that I found there.

I don't know what it is about picking out produce that makes me feel like I'm having a pedicure, or treating myself to an expensive coffee, or buying something I don't really need, I just want. I feel that the produce department is my domain. I choose one, one stays behind. I see another that is above average, but sigh and carefully put it back for I have enough. I revel in the moment. The lack of panic. Perhaps for some there is nothing more mundane than picking out potatoes. Just remember, if you see a woman gently cradling an avocado with a far-away look in her eyes and a small smile on her lips, that's me. Don't bother saying hi until we get to the pasta aisle.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Can Poop in the Potty Like Elmo...

PTT - Potty Training Trenches... this is Sheila. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know what happened to me. I am on day 3 of Potty Training Attempt no. 2 , 3? The first time I gave up and backed off for medical reasons. Apparently someone can "hold it" for several days in their aversion to the potty and I figured that was not a good long-term solution. So we are trying again. In potty-related news I have made up a new potty song:

You can poop in the potty like Elmo, like Alleke, and like Xaniel,
Like Mommy and Daddy...
You don't have to cry
And I'll tell you why
You can poop in the potty like Elmo! (Repeat song for several hours)

Alleke is a little girl who has a potty training video on YouTube... Mia loves the video and now can do several of the steps by herself. Xaniel is our neighbor who was visiting us yesterday and Mia was quite impressed that he went potty in the big potty. Along with peer pressure I am also using bribes extensively. Last night she stayed dry all night. One less load of laundry for me right now is equivalent to a voice from heaven. I will update when mission accomplished. If I never update... may God have mercy on my soul.

We finally had enough snow to build a snowman; today's temperatures in the thirties may be his death, but we had fun and so far he hasn't been vandalized. We also had a lot of fun Halloween weekend, a kid's costume party at a friend's house and chili contest at church on Saturday, dressing up and trick or treating, plus veggie lasagna at Dad's house. Jason carved our coolest jack-o-lantern ever and Mia and I (with a lot of time at home focusing on the potty) did some kid rolls yesterday that were really fun. The higher than normal temps feel wonderful but the roads are not the best. If the roads are bad, the skies are awesome to make up for it. I took a picture of the sunrise which was pink, orange, and yellow with the bare trees looking like black lace against it... that's for you Bethy!