Our Star, Amelia

Super Student Graphic
Amelia has been working on something exciting this summer.  She has always loved acting and storytelling, but hadn’t had much formal experience before.  That is all about to change: Next Wednesday (June 30 at 6 p.m.) and Friday (July 2 at 5 p.m.) she will be performing in Super Student and the Case of the Water Pistol  at the Noorda Theatre at Utah Valley University.  While the play is hardly Shakespeare, children should find it highly amusing.  It will be a great production: they’ re going the whole nine yards with makeup and costumes, and even a professional set designer.  If you would like tickets, they are available at https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?e=2ab6aa0863dc43e5753e654fb2f6e392&t=tix .  Be sure to come on Wednesday or Friday, because that’s when Amelia will perform.  


Our Star, Amelia

I am thrilled for Amelia, because this is an opportunity to do something she has always wanted to do.  I am impressed with how much time the whole cast has put into the production.  They have been rehearsing every afternoon for at least  three hours and taking acting classes many mornings besides.  I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

Gelato now at Orem Costco

Today is the first day that gelato has been available at the Orem Costco Foodcourt.  You can’t beat the price: $1.50 for a large waffle cone.  There isn’t a lot of selection: one size and three flavors: berry (strawberry it tastes like to me), straciatella, and pistachio.  You can get all three flavors in one cone if you like.  The portion size is absolutely huge.  I struggled to finish mine.  It would be impossible for many children to finish.  The waffle cone was really tasty and I loved the berry flavor.  It was quite different than the strawberry gelato I make–the strawberry flavor was more muted than I expect in gelato and it was very creamy.  So I would say that this is an Americanized gelato–although I would be interested in what those of you who have spent time in Italy think.  Anyway, Americanized or not, the berry was very good. I’d put the straciatella  (chocolate chip ice cream) in second place.  The pistachio was my least favorite–not much flavor but still cold and creamy.  One effort at authenticity: their pistachio is not green, but a light nutty brown.  All in all, I’m sure I’ll be getting the gelato again, but I’ll just order the berry in the future and share it with someone.  The price is about 1/3 of what you’d pay at Zaza gelato (right next door to Costco inside Terra Mia) and the portion size is what?  6 times larger?  8 times larger?  What a deal!  (And no wonder they aren’t offering a chocolate option–they wouldn’t be able to charge $1.50 for it).

P.S., If you don’t have access to the Orem Costco, you may be out of luck.  Apparently, they have installed gelato counters in only a handful of stores so far; the Orem store is a test market.


To those seeking my vote:

I don’t want a tax cut.   The American tax burden is at the lowest rate it’s been in years. There are services I want from my government: lower class sizes, better transit, and more people with healthcare, and I am willing to pay for them.  What I don’t want to see is an increase in the debt. 

I don’t want you to promise to repeal Obamacare.  This may be judgmental, but when I hear someone mention “Obamacare,” I wonder if the person has thought through these issues. To me, the term “Obamacare” suggests the worst of talk radio, punditry, hype, politics for politics sake, perhaps even hatred.  Also, the term “Obamacare” is misleading. Healthcare is not Obama’s baby.  There were a lot of us who believed something had to be done about healthcare long before Obama came along. I am not happy with the healthcare reform that passed Congress, but I don’t believe the solution is to get government out of healthcare. The solution is for us to demand that our representatives structure our government’s involvement better.

Although I consider myself conservative, I don’t want my representative to be the conservative voice on every issue every time. Conservative is not a synonym for right or good. I want my representative to make the best possible decision every time. I want her to be a voice for what is right, for what is good, for the powerful and for the powerless. If these decisions and opportunities  coincide with conservatism, then great. If something else, then great. The label isn’t important, the thinking is.

I do want a simpler tax code.  For the most part, government should avoid behavioral engineering. However, although a national sales tax would be simple, it would also be regressive. The wealthiest Americans currently bear the largest part of the tax burden by far, and it should stay that way.  

I do want lower debt.  It is wrong to sell our children into bondage tomorrow to pay for the governmental largesse we enjoy today.  Every spending and taxing decision must be measured against this yardstick.  There aren’t many things we can afford to do on borrowed money. 

I do want a representative who understands where money comes from.  Government agencies don’t grow the economy, businesses do.  Business is not the enemy.  Business is not a necessary evil.  Business is the source of the nation’s economic power.

Waste or Smart Strategy? You be the judge!

Rationalizing waste

I threw away three bars of cream cheese yesterday. I feel guilty. Indulge me in my explanation:

My cumulative efforts to be healthy are rather modest. But I do try to avoid buying desserts that I could make myself–no packaged cookies or cakes, and no cheesecake. Cheesecake–you know the one. The large round cheesecake that Costco stacks in the refrigerated case by the dozen. The one I must pass on my way to buy milk. The one that calls my name. The one with the tempting little cut marks that suggest that one could somehow limit oneself to just one narrow slice. Thinking about it makes me want to go shopping RIGHT NOW. But here’s the thing: I don’t buy it. Because every time I pass those big plastic domes and glance at the fatty goodness within, I offer stern self-remonstrations: there is cream cheese at home! It’s just getting old in the fridge! If you want cheesecake, make your own! Do it homemade. I tear myself away and head to the milk room, safe for the moment, but destined to return soon to face the cheesecake again. Having a goodly supply of cream cheese in my refrigerator (it lasts for months!) helps me through it.

What do you say?

The Flag

To Saturday’s self-appointed flag conduct enforcers: I love my flag.  I hope that others will love it too.  I hope they choose to honor it.  An excellent way to honor the flag is to “stand at attention” with the right hand over the heart “at the moment the flag passes” in a parade (United States Flag Code).  Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of expected conduct towards their flag.  Others don’t even care.  This raises the question: What should our conduct be to those whose conduct towards the flag is less than ideal?  

Flag on Revolutionary Parade

Last night I saw you yelling at the people who didn’t immediately stand.  You hollered in their faces without hesitation.  Your tone wasn’t remonstrative, it was hateful.  Your shrieking distracted my attention from the flag to your own distorted visage.  Even my wheelchair bound neighbor was harangued.  (I assume in your haste you didn’t notice the chair?).  I ask: will your behavior likely increase the respect and honor these spectators feel for and show to the flag?  Unlikely. 

If you are a parent, teach your children how you feel about the flag by word and deed.  If you have the opportunity to teach other people’s children, tell them about the flag code and why it is important to you.  If your group would like to issue a gentle general reminder that the flag is coming and then review expected conduct, that could be helpful.  Your example and a whispered reminder to  your neighbor might also be helpful.  I know one thing: hatred and coercion won’t be.  Honor isn’t birthed from that cradle.

Spring Weather

These pictures would have been more interesting if I’d posted them right after it happened, but better late than never, right?


May 24, 10:51 a.m. Snowy Spring Arborvitae May 25, 11:00 a.m. Sunny Spring Arborvitae

Patricia Polacco

One of the greatest pleasures I have found in motherhood is in sharing good books with my children.  I love to read books with these small people and to discover that they take the same joy in them that I do.  Let me recommend one source of this joy to you in case you haven’t discovered her already, author Patricia Polacco. 

Polacco’s books are wonderful for reading with elementary school children and on one’s own.  Polacco is prolific and both writes and illustrates her books.  She is one of the rare authors who are able to do both extremely well.  Her stories (many based on her own childhood) are oh-so-human, so engaging, so interesting, so ready to transport you to a different place and time.  As for her illustrations–well, facial expressions have never been so well captured.  (Intriguingly, Polacco earned a PhD in art history and is an expert on Russian iconography–but her pictures are earthy and achingly real, her texts down to earth and accessible).  Some of my favorite titles are Thank you, Mr. Falker,  Just Plain Fancy , Chicken Sunday, and The Keeping Quilt

Rotten Richie and the Ultimate Dare--Patricia Polacco

After forgetting about Polacco for a while, just last week my love of her work was renewed by a title I’d never seen before: Rotten Richie and the Ultimate Dare, a partly (mostly?) true story of a conflict with her brother and how it all ended happily ever after.  Since sibling contention is an ongoing issue in our home, and I’m always hoping and looking forward to the day that my children can write their own happily ever after endings, I just adored this book.  Check it out!

P.S., Already familiar with Polacco?  What are your favorite titles?

Crayola Window Crayons

Crayola Window Crayons* are great!  They are cheap, they are fun, and they work.  I use them to write on our car windows when Amelia has a swim meet.  She is not a swimmer that wins races, so we look for other sources of motivation.  The window crayons allow me to let her know how much I love her, how much I am rooting for her, and how excited I am that she is swimming in a race.  I use the window crayons to tell the world that I have an athlete and that I am very proud of her hard, hard work and her stick-to-it-iveness.  I love seeing her face when she first spies the minivan covered with “Go, Amelia, go!” type slogans.  It doesn’t matter that I have no artistic skills.  It just matters that I try. 

Crayola window crayons on minivan window

You can buy a 5 crayon pack from  ToysRus for $3. Don’t confuse these with the window markers also by Crayola.  Surprisingly, they aren’t nearly as good!  The caps don’t fit the markers very well.  Then the marker dries out and your money is wasted.  Also, the marker colors are pale and harder to see, while the window crayon colors pop!  The slightly tinted windows on our van are the perfect background.  The crayons go on really smoothly and the colors are bright–messages can be read from many yards away.  Cleaning the crayon off the windows isn’t hard–it just takes a moist paper towel.   

Crayola Window Crayons

*I bought the crayons with my own money.  No one encouraged me to write this review, and I haven’t received any compensation for it financial or otherwise.   

P.S. Amelia achieved two personal best times at her meet this past weekend.  Hip, hip hooray!  Yea for personal bests!  Go, Amelia, go!

I don’t remember

Kate is three.  I realized this week that I don’t remember finding out that she would be a girl.  I know that we did–I found an old post discussing possible names* and they were all female–but I can’t remember finding out.  This sudden realization that I can’t remember what seems like a fairly significant event disturbs me.  I only have three children after all!  How can I not remember?  Where were my other children?  Who was watching them?  How did I tell them the news?  How did I feel about it?  How did Pdad feel about it?  I don’t know.  I don’t remember.   

Kate at Three-I don't want to forget

Kate at Three-I don't want to forget

I wonder what else I don’t remember.  It is like when someone defriends you on Facebook and you suddenly notice that his or her status updates are not showing up on your homepage any more.  You check, and yep, you’ve been defriended.  The defriending itself is not even as disturbing as the uneasiness–who else might have defriended you that you don’t even know about?  And so I find myself wondering: what am I forgetting that I’ve forgotten?

I need to blog more.  I think I need to worry less about saying something interesting or important, and just at least say something–because I don’t want to forget. 

*The runners-up were Amelia, Beata, Bethany, Catherine (Kate), Carrie, Christa, Eden, Eliza, Nora and Sariah