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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Restful 2010

"He who cannot rest, cannot work;
he who cannot let go, cannot hold on..."

Harry Emerson Fosdick

It was GO-GO-GO time in 2009!
Mommying, running a business, and taking in the sudden crash of everything when my parents announced their separation and we "children" were caught in the middle.

I'm going Zen for 2010. Well, mostly, just making rest a priority.
(I have some physical and financial goals that I'll cover later, but rest comes first.)

I need not sleep the year through but honor moments for my body and my mind to be rejuvenated. Rest makes me more susceptible to inspiration and my work more effective. (Nothing is less rewarding than being so tired that all I can manage is mindless surfing on the internet.)

So, here are my rest baby steps this year:
  • Sit alone with no radio, no book, no internet once a day.
  • Be out of the office by 8pm.
  • Read to my daughter once a day.
  • Nap at least once during the day, even if only for 15 minutes.

How will you rest in 2010?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Case for Shaving in the Winter

Not that I don’t shave at all when the weather gets cold, but the occurrences of such activity are a little more spaced out. They are eons apart when I’m pregnant. I figure since I can’t see my legs, others probably can’t either. Right?

Tuesday, 3:30am and my left leg is hurting. I had had a recent conversation with my OB about blood clots because of some burning in my calf. He said if the burning and pain went away in a few minutes “You’re ok. If it lasts for 8 hours, call me.”

So at 3:30am, I note the time and go back to sleep. I wake up in the morning with my leg hurting which reminds me about the 3:30am wake-up.

At 11:30am, my leg is still hurting inside, and I call the nurses’ line and leave them a voicemail message. I let them know that I want to know what else to look for or be aware of.

Meanwhile, I am dying.

So, I email Kristen and ask her advice. We exchange a few instant emails and determine it’s probably nothing, but I should get checked in case I’m dying.

A nurse from the doctor’s office calls. I expect her to just let me know some stuff to look for. Instead, she says “You’re dying!” Well, her exact words were “We want you to go to the hospital today and have the Doplar look at your leg.” (To check the 10-day weather report?)

Oh- you mean you don’t want to tell me “it’s probably nothing, but call us back if you see this, this, and that.” That is news to me that is less than goodish.

So, we set an appointment for that day and aloud I realize, “I’m going to have to shave, aren’t I?”

The nurse pauses. “Shave?” And then she chuckles.

I put my daughter down for a nap and sit on the edge of my bathtub to mow my legs. I wish I had just shaved them the night before during my shower, but I can't really see them anymore and bending over is a pain. I work fast because I have to leave soon. I think I did ok, until I rinse off and feel a familiar sting. I have cut myself, right on the spot that is the center of my leg pain.

Typically, when I go to a doctor's office, I get a sort of stage fright. I often forget where my pain is or what my ailment is which is why David gets on my case about writing things down for the doctor. This time, I write nothing down; I have a handy landmark. If I forget where the pain is, I’ll just point to the knife wound and say, "Here. Hurt."

So, Dave’s driving me to the hospital when I realize the skin on my leg is burning. But not the hot "blood clot" burning. The hot "razor burn" kind of burning. Right over the ENTIRE area where my leg pain is contained. I guess I didn't use enough shaving gel when I frantically swung the machete through the briar. So, of course, I already know how things are going to go in the radiologist’s office.

Radiologist: Where is the pain?
Me: Hurt. Here.
Radiologist: Oh. I see what your problem is.
Me: Am I dying?
Radiologist: You have a stab wound, surrounded by claw marks from a raccoon.

I swear sometimes it’s like I’m clairvoyant or something.

I finally get to the dimly-lit room that is the radiologist's office, sans pants, with Radio Chick running a wand down my leg. She makes no mention of the stab wound or the raccoon marks. After scowling at the screen for a while and re-checking my leg, she says, “you’re dying.” I ask her to repeat herself and she says, “Everything looks good. There is no blood clot. You’re free to go!”

I am immediately aware that I no longer have the pain in my leg I had been experiencing for 12 hours. I apparently only needed to lie down with my legs in the figure 4 and have someone wave a wand over me. (Duh.) Most of the damage to my leg now is the cut and the large razor burn on my thigh.

And that’s how I narrowly escaped death.
And why you should shave your legs, even in the winter.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Latke Like That

Happy Hanukkah!
(Ok, so it ended already.) (Just in time for Christmas!)

Happy belated Hanukkah!
(That probably doesn't get said a lot considering someone has EIGHT DAYS to utter the greeting!)

As you know, I'm pregnant and useless, but I did muster up the energy to make latkes. A lotta latkes.

I used this simple recipe from a children's Hanukkah book I bought eons ago when I was a janitor for a local bookstore that accused me of stealing but only after the rumor had spread throughout the staff that I was a thief and I was oblivious to it because they never confronted me so I only heard about it through another janitor during her frustrated rant about my constant tardiness when she blurted out that "common fact." SO...

Here's the recipe!

A little messy-looking and non-circular this time, but good enough for this pregnant mama.

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
5 medium potatoes

1 small onion
2 eggs
2 TB flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

Frying oil (not olive oil)

Paper towels

1. Peel potatoes. Rinse in cold water.

2. Grate potatoes into a bowl.

3. Peel onion. Grate it into potato mixture.

4. Pile mixture into a colander. Press down to remove as much liquid as possible. Pat dry with paper towel. Put vegetables into a dry bowl.
5. Beat eggs, then mix into the potato/onion mixture. Mix in the flour, salt and pepper.

6. Pour a little frying oil into a frying pan, wait until it is hot, then add a heaping spoonful of the mix, pressing it down with a spatula to make a flat pancake. Cook three or four at a time.
7. When the edges are brown, turn each latke over carefully and fry the other side. Both sides should be golden brown and crisp. Drain on the paper towels to get rid of any extra oil.

Repeat steps 6 & 7 until all the potato mixture is used up.

Serve at once with applesauce.

You will notice that these are indeed FRIED. You will catch me frying food MAYBE twice a year. Once for Hanukkah and once for frying plantains when I'm longing for a little bit of Venezuela.

Eat them with applesauce or sour cream or whatever. We liked them plain this year and ate them as a side to our dinner.

Es gezunterheyt!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Conductor

Trying to get my husband to dress up for Halloween can be frustrating for a costume-loving woman like me. David typically puts on a cape over his regular clothes and calls himself "Cape Man". He's conservative. He likes capes. This is "perfect" in Dave's mind.

So, when Summer called my home asking if David would be the conductor for our church's Polar Express theme party, I volunteered him.


David surprised me and totally rocked it! You should have seen the kids skip away all giddy having had their tickets punched. David spoke lines from the "Polar Express" movie and often checked his pocketwatch. He softened his voice for the little passengers and deepened it for the older ones.

Here, he is telling an older kid who didn't have a ticket, "You know what happens if you don't have a ticket. All kids who don't have a ticket must go to the front and shovel coal to pay their way to the North Pole!"


All the kids and the adults loved The Conductor, but there was one little Who who loved him the most...

(Blasted camera! I kept missing photos of all the kisses she was giving him.)

Oh, yeah, and some other dude showed up, but the little Who didn't seem much impressed by him.

Her heart belonged to The Conductor.

I just HAD to share this photo of one of Baby Dhis' friend. Lucy didn't seem to care for the fellow in red either...

Loved that Lucy's mom, instead of trying to calm her, was yelling, "Quick! Somebody take a picture! Take a picture of that!" (Credit goes to Stephanie W. for capturing the moment.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Forbidden Fruit

You know you want it.

I know I do.

I once had a taste of this deliciously sinful gift and about drooled on myself.
Lucky for me (and lucky you!) Wendy, the creator of these mouthwatering orbs, is in business and is cranking these out this Christmas season.

Chocolate, caramel, roasted almonds enveloping a juicy apple... oh, so right!

When you eat a Fancy Schmancy Apple, not only are you doing your tastebuds a world of favors, but you are supporting a local small business woman and mum. (The business is small.) (Well, the business woman is too.) (You know what I meant.)

  • Apples are $7.50 each, or $6.00 each, if you order three or more.
  • They come in individual cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon.
  • You can choose milk or dark chocolate (the good chocolate, not the cheap waxy stuff)
  • They last 7-10 days in the fridge uncut.
  • Give at least 3 days' notice if you need them for a certain date, especially for larger quantities (ie, more than 8).

  • This is limited to customers in Utah valley as these apples require refrigeration and are not currently being shipped.
  • Wendy will bring your order to you or you can pick it up from her in Orem (near the Center Street exit).
  • Dec. 21 is the last drop-off/pick-up day. (The 16th and 20th of December are already fully booked for pick-up/delivery.)

Fancy Schmancy Apples
Phone: 801-616-7598


Monday, December 7, 2009


As I look out at this:

My mind can't help but go back to this:

I am not sure how I did it, but I got on the plane from Hawaii and came back to Utah. It was not easy to leave a warm, beautiful place and come home to the cold and snow. I suppose my being here is proof that David is strong enough to carry a one-year-old, a laptop bag, and a screaming and kicking 34-year-old woman onto a plane. I still check the weather report for Honolulu. How helpful is that?

The only snow I dealt with in Hawaii was of the pineapple- and coconut-flavored kind.
Brrrr! and Yumm!

While in paradise, I learned that there is a secret circle in Dante's inferno in which ones goes to Hawaii with a teething 1-yr-old, who cries for 30 minutes before collapsing into a nap right before the hotel housekeeper shows up and lies (twice) about understanding the English instructions "my baby is sleeping, please just take the trash and the towels" before giving herself away by throwing open the curtains, chirping a cheerful accented "HELLO!" to the baby and running the vacuum cleaner. (My resulting ticked-offness was not my best moment.)

Baby Dhis enjoying the breeze on the balcony.

Sure, there were drawbacks about taking a baby (there would have been anyway with my swelling and tiredness), but there are benefits as well. I suppose a lot of people do not take their babies on their Hawaiian vacation because I noticed early on walking through Waikiki with our daughter:
1) We got more smiles and interaction.
2) We got better service. Sometimes, free add-on foods "for the baby"
3) I was a rockstar. Or mom to one.
4) People remembered us when we returned to a restaurant or store.
5) The guys paid to pull people off the street for timeshare presentations left us alone. (They know you can't get a babysitter for their 2-hour shpeal.)

Us, not at a timeshare presentation

One afternoon, BabyDhis and I were in a restaurant for lunch (David was at work) and a flock of 8-10 Japanese girls at a nearby table caught sight of Baby Dhis. They came and surrounded her, taking photos with her as if she was Hello Kitty, squealing Japanese mixed with the occasional English "so cute." The restaurant liked the good vibe this brought and we ended up with free food.

Hanauma Bay, early in the morning

With or without child in tow, Hawaii in any form is a blessing! The weather was warm, the breezes delightful, the rains surprisingly short, the people hospitable. What I saw of Oahu reminded me a lot of my birthplace (minus the large Asian population). I even found that one of the fruits I had as a child and had not seen since grows a close cousin in Hawaii! Their lychee is very similar to Venezuela's mamon. That was a time warp!

Baby Dhis enjoyed the beach until she realized the grainy stuff wasn't coming off her hands.

And it took her a little bit to get used to the water...

(Forgive the quality of the video. We didn't bring the video camera, so this was taken on my regular camera.)

She did awesome though at the Polynesian Cultural Center, even though we spent a looong day and night there. I, on the other hand, was a whiny baby. My feet swelled up, my shoes didn't fit half way through our visit, and I wanted to make sure David knew and hadn't forgotten since the last time I had told him 20 minutes prior.

There is plenty to see and do at the Polynesian Cultural Center, so plan on spending more than one day there!

Dinner, fresh from an underground oven at the luau

If you are ever on Oahu, I recommend:
  • Leonard's Bakery- try a malasada; kind of like a creme-filled doughnut.
  • Hanauma Bay-- it's $7.50 per person UNLESS you go at 6am, then it's free! AND you get to see the sun rise over the mountains! Stay as long as you want; it's not just a beach; it's a preserve and sea lab, so everything is in pristine condition.
  • Polynesian Cultural Center - though, don't try to do it all in one day
  • Matsumoto's shaved ice- There is shaved ice advertised everywhere; don't waste your money. Go to Matsumoto in Haleiwa. (Say NO to the beans!)
  • Ocean House - a more upscale restaurant; They know how to handle food! Everything was DELICIOUS!
  • The swap meet at the Aloha Stadium- Cash is king! I found though that I had a better handle on haggling when I asked "do you take credit cards", found someone who did, and THEN asked for a better price. They would almost always say, "fine, but it has to be cash" to which I responded gladly with cash.
  • Verbano's Italian Restaurant-- the one on King Street, at least.
  • Taking a fair-skinned, blue-eyed baby- You get more smiles and better service.
  • Pearl Harbor- some images in the brief video of the tour might be too graphic for little kids. Take a tissue.
The gentleman in the center is Capt. Robert G. Kinsler (RET), who was a private when he was at Pearl Harbor during the attack of December 7, 1941.

Next time, I would like to:
  • go on a shark encounter- go out in the ocean, get in a shark cage, wait for sharks to swim up
  • see an active volcano
  • see the waterfalls
  • take photos by the Laie LDS Temple
  • visit Dole's pineapple plantation- we drove past it but did not stop since we had limited time
  • sleep more

I do not recommend:
  • packing your days full- that's not very islandy to be running around like crazy
  • Spada Restaurant- they present themselves like puffed-up peacocks, but the food falls flat
  • ABC stores- They are like convenience stores without the gasoline and they are ON EVERY FREAKIN' BLOCK. Their souvenir and beachwear prices seem "cheap" at first; hold off on shopping until AFTER you've been to the swap meet.
  • Waikiki's beach- It's a sand strip narrowed by encroaching hotels; head for almost any beach north of Waikiki.
  • Courtyard Marriott (formerly the Wyland Hotel), despite their friendly and helpful staff, the building needs "re-evaluation"
Although, as I look out the window again and cower from the 19°F weather, I wouldn't mind another week at that old Courtyard Marriott.

[Posted song: "Spread a Little Aloha" by Mana'o Company]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A rose by any other name could have sounded cooler.

Our daughter's name was picked out long before Dave came into the picture. Our first son's name (should we ever have one) is kinda picked out, too. So, we were a little surprised to hear we would be welcoming another daughter this spring. We hadn't thought about additional girl names.

I once had a running list of girl names when David and I were newlyweds, but I have since lost that list. I remember only a handful and half of them will not work with the family I've married into. For example, I had once thought of Zara (as in Zarahemla), but David has a sister named Sarah and a sister-in-law named Sara, both with our last name. It's confusing enough as it is now. Sarah, Sara, and Zara. Yeah.

Another name I've always liked is Isabella. David has liked Bella since his mission days. This would have been a sure winner for us, HOWEVER, you can see the unfortunate timing with the current pop culture. There will be a billion more Bellas named in the coming years as the squealing Jacob and Edward camps marry and birth their own little squealers. Or perhaps the opposite could occur. Bella will be associated with a morose little brat. I squirm either way at the thought of having people assume our child's name was influenced by pop culture. Thus, we're hesitant.

Other names I remember off the lost list are Terra or Tierra (Earth) and Solana (sunshine). That's it.

We once considered Alyeska based on a town we drove past in Alaska and thought about "Aly" as a nickname. I think that novelty has melted.

Someone recently suggested Dava or Davina playing off David's name. I dunno...

We have a couple of others in mind, but we could use more suggestions at this time.
Do you have any?

(Please, remember to avoid mention of our last name in your comments for privacy's sake. )

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh, boy!

Ultrasound photos can be difficult for the untrained eye to decipher, so I'll circle the part that revealed the gender.

Another girl!
Baby Dhis will have someone to fight with about closet raiding after all!