Jun 18, 2009

Oh So Needy. :)

I have been thinking a lot lately. It has never been a good thing when that happens. And I have discovered that the things I want to write about are no longer "surfacy" things. All of a sudden I have deep things on my mind. Things that probably never can be solved in a million years. Seems like by the time you are forty you should have some of these things figured out :) I have tried to suppress these things but they end up trying to sneak out all the time. Maybe life really can be summed up in 304 blog posts and I am done :) I am not going away but I do need to figure out how to deal with my....hmmmm...."neediness?"

Who knows what I need?

Maybe I need Zach's cardiologist visits to end and for him to be finally settled in Estonia on his mission?
Maybe I need Miriam to find where she belongs this summer...there are no other Laurels and she is too young for Institute. She feels so adrift and sad.
Maybe I need Joe to find some good friends and someone to spend quality time with him.
Maybe I need a money tree. :)
Maybe I need to organize a manhunt to deal with the demons who enjoy hiding in my brain :)
Maybe I need aphids and slugs and blight to move on to the neighbors house :)
Maybe I need to stop suppressing and demand the Relief Society bring me meals every day for a year :) Can you imagine how many chicken and rice casseroles that could work out to be? :)
Maybe I need a different closet...one with cute clothes. :)
Maybe I need Natalie to stop wetting her pants during the day :)
Maybe I need thick, lush beautiful lawn.

Yes, I am painfully aware that being needy is not good. It has a tendency to ruin everything. Why is that? We only want to know when people want to give us something not when they need something. But don't we all have needs? Is there a certain number of things you are allowed to need and then past that number you are needy? Does anyone know that number?

Jun 15, 2009

Bizarro Schmarro.

Ever since last summer when all the stars aligned perfectly and I ended up at an Amusement park with kids that were old enough to go on roller coasters I have been obsessing about roller coasters. You would never know it just to just look at me but inside my head I really am obsessing about roller coasters. I never made it back to Six Flags last summer to ride the roller coasters again and I was so sad about that. I really wanted to take my friends and their husbands with me. I can not experience something that makes me so happy and not want everyone else to also experience it.

This year Miriam is dating a really nice guy who is working at Six Flags and he was able to procure season passes for his friends for $45.00 apiece way, way, way back in March. A very sweet deal that Miriam and Joe immediately took advantage of. I wanted to take advantage of it too but decided it was a want not a need. Darn whoever came up with that, "want/need" thing anyway. But two passes in the family is better that none.

So Friday I took Joe and three of his friends and we headed to Six Flags after school and paper routes were finished. Miriam let me use one of her get "your cute, fun, nagging mom in free passes " and we were set. The forecast was rain but it only misted once. But if the forecast is ever for rain you should definitely head for Six Flags because everyone else thinks it is going to rain so they do not go. We were able to walk on every ride we wanted to go on. It was great. The minute we got into the park we headed straight for Bizarro. Bizarro used to be the Superman ride last year. I was a little confused as to why they changed the ride. They already had a good thing going why mess with it? But I was very curious. After the first ride I declared that I did not like it. But I really was not sure why. So Miriam and I went on a whole bunch of other roller coasters and a hour and a half later decided maybe we should give Bizarro one more chance.

It was a beautiful, clear evening with big white puffy clouds, bright sunshine, blue sky and it did not seem right that I had not enjoyed Bizarro.... I mean a 208 foot lift hill followed by a 221 foot drop? A roller coaster that has been critically acclaimed since its debut. A roller coaster that has won the Best Steel Roller Coaster Award in 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008. What was wrong with me? It was really bothering me. So we went again and I did not think about it so hard and I loved it. We got right off and went again. Let me tell you that first 221 foot drop straight into a tunnel of mist takes my breath away every time. I will not be content until I see all my best friends faces after they ride this roller coaster :)

Joe had a friend that went with us that was not interested in roller coaster riding at all. This information consumed Joe. All he wanted to do was get this friend on a roller coaster. We have had a lot of conversations about this dilemma throughout this weekend. I thought I did not like roller coasters when I was young. I only went to a few theme parks when I was a kid and I never had the pleasure of going to a theme park with someone that would be able to get me to do something that I did not want to do. Then last summer at the age of 39 I just got on a roller coaster and voila I loved it. I do not even know what compelled me to do it. I guess curiosity.

Jun 12, 2009


Why is it SO hard to finish? I have been thinking about this as the end of the school year is upon us and Joe's last 2 weeks of being in school have been spent learning how to choose which movie to watch. A very valuable skill. I mean I have been with a group of people that could not decide which movie to watch and it was definitely tough. But is it a two week course? Which movie would you choose between I Am Legend and Ironman? And how would you convince all the other 7th graders to support you so you could get what you want?

Miriam has come home from school every day the last couple of weeks needing to go to the library because all she is doing in her classes is reading her own books. And today she has three study halls at school and begged me to get her out early. I am not going to because for today I believe in finishing.

They still have 6 days of school left until official summer. I am not a teacher. I have never been a teacher. I have no idea how it works that you would have nothing to teach for the last three weeks of school. I have started many job charts with my kids and never finished them. I have started many exercise programs and never finished them. And oh the unfinished box of craft projects could surely tell some shocking tales. So I feel a little uncomfortable even wondering why finishing the school year starts earlier and earlier each year. Maybe just a little uncomfortable having high expectations of my children's public education.

But don't we all hate to have our time wasted? Don't we always want everything to be worth it? If you know something is not going to be worth it you don't even go do you? It was very tempting to want to coast the last couple weeks of Seminary but I did not. I wanted the kids to feel like it was worth it to come, I definitely did not want to waste their time at 5:30 in the morning. In some areas it is very easy for me to be a "finisher." I am super amazing at finishing books, finishing brushing my teeth, finishing a hike, and finishing tying my shoes. Other areas....not so good at finishing...and that list is pretty long and boring so I will spare you.

But after thinking about this I have decided to be a better finisher so that I can be free to judge all the other people who do not finish. :) (HAHA) Honestly, life is all about finishing, enduring to the end. How well am I doing? Well not as bad as the teachers in Western MA but not as good as I could be doing.

So I am off to finish the dishes, finish getting ready for the day, finish checking e-mails, finish exercising, finish overthinking everything, and finish sorting through boxes in the basement :)

Jun 10, 2009

Choosing And Spending.

I had a gift card to Border's. I had been enjoying a few days of thinking of all the things I could possibly purchase with the gift card. Yesterday was rainy and there was an ill wind blowing, the wind of laziness. So I gathered the newly graduated senior who had some gift cards to Barnes and Noble and we headed on our way. I dropped her at Barnes and Noble and I drove around the corner to Borders. I was so excited:

#1. No kids with me.

#2. Quiet Tuesday at the mall.

#3. Forty dollars to spend that I would not need to figure out how to hide from the husband :)

I did not know where to start. I wanted the spending of the gift card to be perfect. I do not get gift cards very often. I had decided the best use of the gift card for me would be music because I can check out books from the library and I rarely have the need to actually own a book. So I headed straight to the music....but when I got there it was gone. I looked around a little bewildered. I searched. I did not find music anywhere. So when the Border's employee with the body piercings asked me for the second time if he could help me I blurted out, "Where is the music?" and he said simply, "It's gone." He told me that there was a few Cd's up front in the bestsellers section. I was disappointed but I decided that bestsellers could be okay and I had visions of a shelf of the top 10 Cd's of the week. That would be do-able. I finally found it but seeing that they were all $18.99 was torture for me because I knew that at Target or Wal Mart the same Cd's were all under $12.99. Even though it was a gift card I could not do it. Besides all that caught my eye was the new Greeday CD that unfortunately had the words, "explicit content" written all over it and the Miley Cyrus movie soundtrack which I know the girls would love but the $18.99 thing held me back.

So now I was adrift in Border's with a gift card to spend and no Plan B. I looked at everything. First I thought I would find some workbooks for the kids for summer but my gift card would have bought one and a half workbooks. Then I thought maybe some fun craft idea books for summer but there was no craft idea books. I confess I began to be a little sad at the selection at Border's. The huge kids section that used to be full of shelves had disappeared and in it's place was some squares to sit on. When did books become SO expensive? It was like shopping for a house, you think you will get a ton for your money and then as you start looking you realize you won't. Oh, don't get me wrong I was definitely grateful I had anything to spend at all just sad at how far it would go.

So after wandering back and forth I finally ended up in the gardening section it made the most sense to buy a good gardening book to have on hand for identifying problems and knowing how to take care of things. I mean running to the library every time I have a garden question is beginning to be a pain. :) Besides, a couple weeks ago I borrowed a gardening book from a friend and it was so fabulous to have it on hand I had to force myself to give it back to her. I found the same book at Border's and decided it had the best pictures of gross garden pests and deformed leaves. It was $30.00. But I know I will never regret owning it. So now I have a gift card with $8.57 on it and can you imagine what a process I am going to have to go through to spend that? SIGH...why do I have to think about everything so much? Most of you would probably walk in the bookstore and spend the gosh darn gift card with no expectations or romantic notions. :)

Madeline had a ton of success at Barnes and Noble but I did not want to hear about it. Which bookstore do you like best?

Jun 9, 2009

Only Thirty Days.

I know hate is a strong word. I know some of you try to teach your kids not to say hate. But I love the word. It helps me to express how I feel about certain things. And today it is going to help me express how I feel about texting. Now remember I am not into having the latest technology craze. Remember I have a dial up modem and even a phone that...gasp...still has a cord :) Remember I often have to ask my kids questions about how to do certain things on the computer. Also remember I have only been in a cell phone store of any kind 3 times in my life. So my opinion will probably not count for much but I have to talk about it regardless because it is really bothering me.

For at least a year Madeline has been asking for texting. It was ALL that was on her Christmas list it was ALL that was on her birthday list it was ALL she ever talked about. I knew I would never, ever cave on the texting issue. I love it when you know you are strong in your belief and you know without a doubt that you will never cave and ALL the begging, bribing, promises and wheedling go in one ear and out the other. I was so thrilled when I discovered I was SO strong that I could tune out all texting related conversations in our home very effectively. I mean you can rarely use the words strong and Jennifer in the same sentence. But in all my, "I am so strong talk" I did forget one small detail, communicating with the husband about the being strong thing.

So last week Brian J Baird caved and got the kids texting. The kids are paying for it. But they do not care about that they are too busy worshipping their dad. He says it is only for a thirty day trial so I am interested to see how everyone feels when in thirty days I insist on the texting ending.

I have always been a little curious if all my strong reasons for not wanting texting really would come true so I have been watching very curiously to see how the children handle texting. Some of my reasons for not wanting it were that:

It makes it so you can communicate with someone when you should be doing something else....like listening. I have two boys who often texted in Seminary thinking I did not see them. I have already seen my girls texting in places they should not be texting but instead should be listening and verbally communicating with people around them.
It encourages sneakiness. Because you are trying to communicate with someone when you know you should not be.
It makes it so you do not have to talk to anyone.

I found out that the first text message was sent in 1989 from New York City to Melbourne Beach Florida. But texting did not really take off until many, many years after that. By 2006 72% of Finland, Norway and Sweden texted. For Europeans it was 85%. For North Americans it was closing in on 40% by the end of 2006. The numbers were staggering about how many texts are sent in a month and so much more but I think the thing that clinched it for me and strengthened my resolve to make sure texting leaves the Baird house were several studies that compared the addictiveness of texting to the addictiveness of cigarette smoking.

I know oh so many people that do not agree with me on this subject but I strangely can not back down on my feelings about texting. I have never seen it used considerately. The only time I ever thought texting would be useful was when Madeline was at a concert and I needed to be able to find out where to meet her but it was too loud at the concert to call her and be able to hear her. But it worked out anyway and we found each other and she made it home so that she could beg for three more long years after that to get texting :)
So how does texting enrich your life? :)

Jun 8, 2009

My First Priority.

Okay, quick run out to your yard, when you get out there frantically start looking under all the leaves of everything you care about in your yard. Did you see anything little and black and silent? Quick, run back in the house and run to your computer and anxiously wait for it to dial up. Then google "black bugs under leaves of plants." Then wade through gross picture after gross picture of every garden pest possible until you discover that the gross garden pest you have is APHIDS. They will try to reassure you by telling you they are the most common garden pest but you will still feel anxious about what to do so immediately google "what to do about aphids?" There are a lot of ideas and if you happen to be a, "solve the problem immediately" kind of person than you will search for the idea that involves what you have on hand.(By the way if you are that kind of person make sure to always have cayenne pepper, and spray bottles on hand so you do not have to call the neighbor :) So the quick fix was 2 TBS of dish soap in 2 quarts of water. Then I went out to the garden and lovingly sprayed every single side of every single leaf of 9 rows of beans, 22 tomato plants, 17 potato plants, 6 squash plants and 4 peppers. Then I boiled 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper ( don't get it in your eye on accident :) with 4 cloves of garlic for an hour and hopefully made the best poison ever. Mexican anyone? Don't let the picture trick you aphids are small, they come in many colors :), they like to hang out in groups and they produce sticky grossness that ants like.

So my plans for the afternoon changed drastically in the space of a minute and I discovered that I will do whatever it takes to protect my garden even if it means giving up watching Dan In Real Life and sorting through boxes of kids papers.

Jun 3, 2009

Looking For A Guarantee.

Do you do have anything in your life that you have to do a certain way, like to the point you have rituals about it? I have been thinking about this as I have a 18 year old who has more than a few things that have to be the same every time she runs a track meet. She has a certain pair of socks, lucky socks that she has to wear. She has to wash her uniform that night before the meet. And the list goes on and on. I only became aware of her rituals when Amanda happened to be wearing the "lucky socks"and I will not bore you with the drama and trauma that ensued from that.

I thought for awhile that the "sock thing" was her only thing she had to do the same every time she had a track meet but I have since found out she has a pretty large list of things that have to be just so for her to be able to run. I asked her what happens if one of those things can not happen and she will not even discuss that possibility. She assures me that every athlete has some things that have to be a certain way every time they compete. I guess that makes sense. If you perform really well one time and then another time do not perform as well aren't you going to start searching your mind for what you did different between the good time and the bad time. You probably become hyper aware of what you are doing. And then if you start regularly doing those things and you keep winning you can not help but make a correlation, can you? But I have to say I am always wondering what will happen when the time comes that those things that she HAS to do not come through for her?

Why does the superstitious/ritual thing seem to only apply to sports and performing? Why can't it work with the, "mom gig"? What if I discovered that if I wore certain socks that everyone in the family behaved better? What if every time I served pasta I noticed that everyone adored me and begged to know what their jobs were?

Jun 2, 2009

Of Lettuce and Beets.

When I planted my garden in Indiana I would always have a couple amazing rows of lettuce. My little girls loved to go out to the garden and pick leaves of lettuce and eat it. I never even imagined that growing lettuce was hard. It was the same with beets. I planted beets in Indiana because I had this memory of how yummy my mom's canned beets were. I never ended up canning my beets, I gave them away, but I was so thrilled with how beautiful they were. I never imagined the beets could turn on me...but they have. The beets and the lettuce have decided it is funny to not do what they are supposed to. They are not following the plan. They come up but that is about it. Then they just sit there and taunt me. Last year I let it slide. I finally just dug them up and gave up, but not this year. This year I have declared war. I have to know what the problem is. The potatoes seem happy. The beans are thrilled. The peas have flowers and pods. The tomatoes are not fraternizing with disease. But the beets and lettuce did not get the memo.

So here are the facts. The seeds germinate. They come up. And that is pretty much it. They grow a teeny tiny bit and then nothing more. I have ruled out animals. There is not a bite mark to be seen. I have given them Miracle Gro and so far no miracle. I have even spoken with them in a nice voice and an angry voice. I have finally decided it has to be one of two things, two minor things.....sunlight and dirt :) You see when my hubby kindly dug my garden we did not really communicate and I have some trees that think it is okay to give shade to part of the garden. But lettuce and beets are supposed to be okay in part sun from all I have read. The other issue could be "that dirt." I confess in all my years of gardening I have never had to acknowledge the dirt. It has always done what it should so I have just left it alone. But Massachusetts rocks and kazillion pine needles have forced me to finally recognize that dirt has needs too. In the space of a month I have become obsessed with the words acidic, lime,and nutrients. I keep reading and reading looking for which way is going to be the best for me to give my dirt the love it apparently needs. I am so desperate I have even allowed magazines that have the word organic on the cover to come into the house. :)

The thing is I really can not do much about it until Fall. And then much to my husbands chagrin I will plant a cover crop on my garden spot. Something that simply loves to put nitrogen into the dirt and I will figure out how to build a compost bin all by myself. I think with some chicken wire, an old crate and a staple gun I can do the job nicely.

But as for now. I replanted the beets and lettuce in different parts of the garden so I can see if it could be they want to live somewhere else. Maybe the sunbelt IS for them. Last year when this happened I cheated and for the first time in my life bought lettuce that was already started but let me tell you that did not feel right. So right now I have lettuce planted in 4 different places. I have not given up on my original lettuce, it is still there, maybe it will decide to grow at some point I am a believer in "leaving no lettuce behind" :) Hey, maybe the government will give me some money to make sure this lettuce gets the extra help it needs :)

Jun 1, 2009


I can not really remember what got me thinking about the subject of applause...wait, actually I can remember what it was but I sadly can not tell you about it. But it did get me wondering if applause is overdone? Actually, clearly it must be because there are standing ovations, right? Clapping is not my thing. I can remember two times in my life when I felt the overwhelming urge to clap because something inspired me so much. Otherwise, I confess that I only clap because of peer pressure. Maybe because it is expected that I do not like to do it. I would really fit in well at a golf tournament because the "golf clap" is how I usually clap at everything :) I know you need to let people know that you acknowledge their performance but I am still curious why it is so uncomfortable for me :)

The first time I really felt the overwhelming urge to show my appreciation was when the BYU chamber orchestra came to Boston last year. There I was sitting in Fanueil Hall looking at huge gilt framed pictures of our forefathers on the walls while listening to the orchestra play Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and I felt so inspired I could barely resist the urge to clap and when it was over and appropriate I heartily clapped...which I tell you I had never done the hearty clapping thing before.

Maybe I need to get out more and see more amazing things that make me feel like clapping. Or maybe as is usual for me I have too high of expectations and not much has earned my applause :)