Thursday, November 9, 2006

The up... or downdate

Hello everyone,

Life goes on here. Jared and Camryn are doing well at their swimming lessons. Jared has almost gotten past his dislike of putting his face in the water. Camryn splashes around, trying to paddle and says, "I can swim!" Jared announced the day after Halloween that now we can listen to Christmas music because Christmas is almost here! I don't have enough energy to protest, especially with an enthusiastic 5 year old. If only I could convince him that that means we can get rid of all the Halloween candy....

Last Thursday I finally faced our unrelenting mountain of dishes. My typical approach to dishes is the same as Dave's approach to General Education classes in college: If you ignore them long enough, maybe they will go away. Unfortunately, both of us were proven wrong in our theories and were forced to face the unpleasant reality of doing them anyway. I decided to accept defeat gracefully, and so I enthusiastically removed all traces of our dish-pile and even kept up with all the new daily dirty dishes as they were created. This was a proud moment for me. Unfortunately, it didn't last much longer than a moment. Soon enough, I was faced with a surprise return attack of "Mt. Dish-More"... we went to eat breakfast yesterday and there were no clean bowls or spoons. By lunchtime there were no clean plates or knives. Wow. It's a losing battle. I feel like the girl on the Morton Salt package: I'm trying to clean up, but there's a trail left behind everywhere I go. Maybe I will convert to paper plates.

Last Thursday I also tried to clean up our house a bit before we left for Utah on Friday. I have to say, I outdid myself. I swept under the stove (finding hair balls and old dog treats from the people who used to live here), mopped the floor and even scrubbed the baseboards. I scrubbed the stove, cleaned the counters- I was truly amazing. And then I looked up. While I was busy, the kids had been busy too. The house actually looked worse than when I started. The family room and living room were trashed. I realized why I don't clean house that often: the net effect is that our house looks worse. =]

Last night I made the worst dish I have ever attempted in our 6 1/2 years of marriage. This was even worse than the famous "White Bean Soup": a remarkably bland and tasteless concoction that left Dave and I with, how shall I delicately put this, extreme flatulence for days on end. Encouraged by my success with a super-yummy warm balsamic-reduction dressing infused with garlic that I made earlier this week, I decided to try a recipe for "Balsamic Glazed Vegetables": tender-crisp veggies with a sweet and sticky warm balsamic glaze... it sounded tempting enough. Either something went horribly wrong or the recipe was put in the cookbook as a joke, but what I ended up with was soggy, watery vegetables doused in large quantities of extremely strong balsamic vinegar that dyed my zucchini and carrots an appetizing black color. I attempted to eat it before finally conceding that it was indeed a horrific failure and as a result gave myself an upset stomach for 30 minutes after dinner from an acute vinegar overdose.

The tragic vegetable adventure (what a waste of four good zucchini!) sadly overshadowed a very tasty chicken curry that I made as our main dish. As a postscript, this week I made another more successful attempt at Pumpkin-ish Soup: this time using acorn squash (much easier to cut and peel than a pumpkin- no sledgehammer required) and high-quality stock. It was quite tasty and I was proud of myself, except that the kids wouldn't touch it (Jared said maybe he'll like soup when he's 6) and Dave came home from work at 3:00 am that night, so he didn't try it either. Oh well!

Dave has been busy. He promised some people at work that he would write a program to help analyze particle problems, so any time a machine has particle issues they can compare samples of the issues to a database of other particle samples to try to narrow down what's causing it. Of course, they could just buy a program from another company that will already do this for $100,000+, but what's the point of doing that and helping my Dad's company get more profits when Dave can do it himself for free and just give the profits to his company? (Time is "free," right?) However, shockingly (given the looming deadline of the main project he is working on right now), Dave has not had any time during his regular work day to work on the particle analysis program -hence, the 3:00 am double work day. Dave's "record player" project is a success so far. Dave is trying to talk his company into making it into tool and selling it. (Would this mean they would have to sweep all of the area Goodwill stores for record players?) =] Before Dave leaves for work each morning, Camryn tells him, "Be a good little Daddy! Be nice to all your friends."

On a more serious note, we were so happy that we were able to go to Grama Holland's funeral last week, both to see everyone who was there and celebrate the life of a truly remarkable woman. It was so great to be able to visit with everyone, and the funeral itself was very uplifting and inspiring to me, and almost happy, despite the sad circumstances. Death makes you think about what really matters in life. While Grama did many great things with her life, the thing that stood out the most to me was how much her family and friends remembered and appreciated her love and service. I was touched by how visible it was that she was so deeply loved and that her life touched so many people in simple everyday ways. It made me think that when all is said and done, all that really matters is the family and friends who you love and love you, and showing them your love. Maybe there is a point to cooking meals and doing the dishes after all. =]

Sorry to ramble. We hope you all are doing well.



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