Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our new dishvarsher

Our dishwasher broke about a month ago. The thing was a piece o' junk- you had to rinse every particle of food off to the nth degree before loading it into the dishwasher for final sterilization, hoping that a dish wouldn't come out looking worse than when it went in. The wheels were constantly falling off and rolling away or breaking altogether, not to mention the top rack, which was so rickety it required the strength of a bear to pull it out. It was loud enough that no conversations, piano practicing, or tv watching could coincide with a cycle. So when it stopped draining, we decided we'd had enough and went for a new one. We had to wash dishes by hand for a couple days and the girls gleefully washed and rinsed their Friday night dish duty.

We went 4 1/2 years without a dishwasher, and it wasn't the end of the world, but I was very happy to have one when we moved to student housing in Boston. By that time, I had learned to be a Dish Stinge, trying to conserve as many dishes as possible and cook without dirtying more than was absolutely necessary. Which takes more time, but I'd rather spend the time cooking than cleaning if you haven't noticed by now.

Although my contribution was probably extremely minimal, my mother assigned me to a dishwashing team with my 13-year-old sister Paula when I was a mature 5 years old, a point of which I have reminded my children often. I spent a lot of dish-team years with my brother Craig, and most of the memories there are of us quarreling over who was doing what and which jobs were the hardest. He finally got sick of my pettiness and told me to do whatever and get out of the kitchen. Shortly after that, Mom assigned us all our own nights and we only had to harrass the sibling who was assigned to clear the table. (In fact, once Brian called me home from a friend's house -by looking up the number in my bizzare calculator- just to clear the table.) Even the table-clearing job was eventually joined to the dishes, to Neil's chagrin, as he couldn't really justify waking up the 4 year old at midnight, when he got around to doing the dishes. Doing the dishes was such an enormous task that I always put it on Monday nights, when I had to be home anyway, and Sunday dishes were split into multiple loads.

When I was a missionary, a couple in my last area told me about how they never put in a dishwasher because they wanted that time for their kids to work together cleaning the kitchen, and when the children left home, they enjoyed the process as a couple. Those are some pretty rose-tinted glasses, I thought. Doing the dishes is not a big deal to me now, but I'll take any shortcut or help that I can to clean up the kitchen. So we bought a new dishwasher and while it is not much quieter than the previous one (and emitting a strange, treble D# the entire cycle), it's nice to have around again.

Although those little girls had a great time working together. For once.

Shave and a Haircut- 2 Bits

Raise your hand if a little line of music just went through your head. No? Nobody? Sheesh. Seems like I'm living in the wrong generation.

We just got back from a spring break trip to Kansas/Missouri (and yes, Oklahoma). We had a great time visiting our family there and the kids enjoyed almost every minute of it. (You know that people are lying when they say they love every minute of something!!!!! (I mean, would you look at those exclamation points? I ask you!))

As you might guess, that is Matthew with the fro on the teeter totter with Eli. Mark and I take turns cutting Matthew's hair. I like it curly, and Mark likes it short. Mark has been busy lately (when is he not?), so he hasn't taken the chance to cut it. He traveled to Denver for work but when he joined us again in Kansas, he took this curly head

while I was spending some hard-earned cash at Hobby Lobby and Target and buzzed it down to this one

(Matthew's the one on the right, with his cheeks puffed out to assist his sister in her early birthday celebration).

And what do you think? He hates it. Upon fetching him from preschool yesterday, the mom who was teaching noted in a stage whisper that she likes his haircut despite his very apparent views to the contrary. If anyone brings up the subject, a dark cloud comes over his face and he tells you his extremely negative opinion, which topic henceforth dampens his mood. Yesterday he said the saddest thing- "I don't like looking at myself because I don't like the way I look." Mark had zero sympathy, but it's understandable- Matthew is as fickle as they come. During church on Sunday I kept feeling his soft face and then his rough head. It's a fun sensation, I recommend it.

I hope he gets over it soon, but in any case, he's a very cute & contrary little boy. Even with a brush-fade on a boy with thick wavy hair.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blogging about Blogging

I first became aware of blogs in 2003, when I was living in NJ and the New York Times did a piece on blogs. Upon reading, I learned that blogs are a sort of online journal and those who blog are people who have a desire to share their deepest thoughts and life events with the all of the world wide web who cared to read it. The article went on to explain that sometimes there are negative repercussions from blogging. For example, a young man with a "strict LDS upbringing" revealed his more exciting lifestyle, which his disappointed parents discovered on his blog. Or a woman who blogged juicy details about dates she went on, to the frustration of the men she was seeing.

Blogging has evolved a lot since then. It seems that currently, blogs are a way of keeping a personal (as in singular, not as in private) or family history, of interacting with a group of people, from sharing recipes to strategies to preparing for events or training for triathalons. For me, reading blogs is like reading columns in the "fun" section of the newspaper- comics, travel, food, advice, happenings, historical and economic perspectives. It's also fun to keep up with friends and their family events. I especially like reading from male voices, since I like variety. Unfortunately, there seem to be very few male bloggers out there, with the exception of having blogs exclusively for political or economic rants (not talking about you, Pete). Remember, reading blogs is supposed to be fun. Even though it's 95% of my own material, kids-only posts become tedious for me, as do congratulatory posts that guilt me into wishing I were more like someone else.

I'm not the sort of blogger who thinks this is my "online journal." I will probably get a blog book printed from my blogs, to use as a family history and photo album, but no way will you read everything here that I'm thinking about or all of the changes coming to my life. I have no need to share all of my innermost thoughts and feelings with all of Facebook or the Internet. Despite being a very open (aka Blunt) person, it's hard not to feel vulnerable about what thoughts I have written. Within minutes of posting, sometimes I worry that I've offended someone, made my family out to look too perfect or too faulty, or used poor grammar (the ultimate offense)(that's a joke). I get concerned about comments that seem to misunderstand my intentions and then wonder if I need to post again to explain what I really meant or what truly happened.

Speaking of comments, this is one of the best parts about blogging, when someone responds to a post with a comment. I read too many blogs to comment on all of them and recognize that most of my posts are probably met with a "Hmm. I have no response to that," hardly warranting a comment. When I do get a comment, it's fun for me, validation for writing, nearly as good as finding chocolate in my desk drawer that I hid from the kids and ultimately from myself. It's almost like a brief conversation with someone you might otherwise rarely or never see again. Most of the blogs I read are friends and family from different stages of life, although I enjoy reading a blog from someone I've never met, but knows a relative of mine. She's funny and real and her posts are thought-provoking. But I think I scared her out of blogging completely by commenting too often. I've never had anyone comment on my posts except for people I know or have met through the blogosphere, although it might unnerve me if I got one. That is what has prompted several people to go "private," which I respect, although I don't check those as much since I am lazy and prefer Google Reader. While I wish I had done more at the beginning to protect my family's privacy (like not used the last name anywhere on the site), I feel like there are enough blogs out there that leave mine somewhat anonymous, just another mommy blog. Which is half of the fun of it- I don't think I could handle the pressure if I knew there were lots of people actually interested in what I have to say, but I like to give them the option to read it, just the same.