OK, so normally the celebrity Mormon thing really doesn't mean anything to me, and usually I think the obsession with it makes us look a little needy. That said, I'm totally geeking out about this "I'm a Mormon" that my dad told me about, which probably means I'm the last person on Earth to see it.
My other Brandon Flowers connections:
— He's in the same ward as my college roommate (hi, Chelsea).
— He graduated from Jake's high school, but they missed each other by one year.
— I've liked the Killers for a long time.
— I've driven by Sam's Town on a number of occasions.
So pretty much, we're, like, best friends. He'll call me for a jam session any day now. I'm just sure of it.
Anyone else feel like their blog is this milk cow that's tied up in your front yard that's always moo-ing at you, like, "Come milk me before my udders burst and you lose all 13 of your followers!" And you're like, "Shut your fat pie hole, cow. I've got stuff to do." But it just keeps moo-ing and you think, yeah, OK, I'll do it. And so you go out to milk her and lo and behold she's got this new format that looks really nice, but you can't find where in the heck her teats are now and by the time you sort of figure it out, Jethro's up from his nap and insisting on a round of hide and go seek, so you give up. But then later, you think, "Oh yeah! I've got this fancy phone now that has this really great cow-milking app that should make this a breeze!" So you start messing around with it and find it to be really cumbersome, so you just put some bright pink lipstick and hipster horn-rimmed glasses on the cow and take a pseudo-polaroid picture of it with your fancy phone and then can't figure out how to post it with multiple pictures in a single blog post?
Anyone else feel like that?
So anyway. A summer happened. Did you see it?
Summers go so fast now. It seemed like, when I was a kid, summer lasted forever. You'd get back in school and see kids you hadn't seen over the summer that you had actually FORGOTTEN about. Like showing up for the fifth grade and saying, "Oh, yeah! I remember you! We sat by each other in the fourth grade!" as though your paths hadn't crossed in 10 years.
Speaking of which, one of the significant events of my summer was my 10 year high school class reunion. What a strange experience that was. Good to see old friends and fun to dance around in my high school cafeteria again, but strange. I went and participated and mingled and laughed, and when it was all over Jake asked me how I felt and I said "Kind of sad." I couldn't work out why, but the whole thing left me with a bit of a hole in my gut. I think it made a little more sense a couple of weeks ago when I saw this at a friend's house here in San Diego. It's a series called "The Voyage of Life" painted by Thomas Cole in 1840. It hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It covers the four major chapters of life:
The last time I saw most of my high school classmates, we were in youth mode. Everything was wide open and beautiful, smooth sailing to that awesome cloud castle thing. (I love the young man with his hand up in the air like, "Let's rock!") But now we are fairly recent inductees into the realm of adulthood, where the waters are fast and rough and treacherous and the stakes are very high and hope sometimes seems dim. We may be new to the scene but we've seen enough to know that life isn't what we thought it would be when we were 17. Most of the people I talked to seemed to be scraping by. The ones who had families were all desperately trying to make ends meet and do right by their spouses and little children, having let go of their youthful ambitions in lieu of love and survival. The ones who were single seemed lonely and searching for meaning. Boys I remembered as perpetually buzzing with energy and goofiness seemed somber. Everyone had this look that wasn't there in high school, this thing in their eyes that suggested they've tasted a little of life's struggle and heartache. I guess it's the very early beginnings of wisdom. I don't mean to sound like everyone from the class of 2001 is miserable now. If anything, it was the opposite. Most people seemed happy and content with life and themselves. It's also not that our lives are especially rough. In fact, that's the point: the realization that every life, even the best, happy life, is rough. That's the nature of the journey. It's the same realization that hit me right after Jethro was born. I'd always sort of assumed that if I played my cards right, I could lead a virtually painless life. Childbirth made me realize that pain and life are eternally intertwined. A painless life isn't really a life. Maybe I was the only one getting this feeling, but it seemed like there was a silent understanding among us. Sort of an "oh-so-that's-why-our-parents-were-the-way-they-were" feeling.
Well, enough from emo-JEM. That little person who lives in my house just woke up and is trying to eat my nose, so we'll have to pick this up later. I'll leave you with a few photos that will hopefully reassure you that I think my life is awesome and that I do not require antidepressants:
The "Decorate Your Favorite Bono" craft from a recent U2-themed family home evening.
I somehow found myself at presidential candidate Mitt Romney's La Jolla beach house last week.
I can't really explain how it happened. I get this baby shower invite in the mail a while ago for a girl whose name I don't recognize. Facebook sleuthing revealed it was a nice, beautiful, pregnant girl from my ward with whom I've had one actual conversation. I assumed it was a hey-let's-make-the-newish-girl-feel-welcome gesture, and I was happy to take the bait. I got a little gift and couldn't find an attractive box to wrap it in, so I ended up sticking it an empty garbage bag box before wrapping it up with paper and ribbon, figuring it would do the job and get a laugh when she unwrapped it. The day of the shower I looked up the address on Google Earth, figuring it would be somewhere in the ward boundaries. The satellite image revealed a mansion in a neighborhood full of mansions with the La Jolla beach as its backyard. I start feeling like maybe I should've gone with the empty Cheerios box instead.
I park the car a few blocks away thinking I'll be able to navigate the narrow streets better on foot. As the sound of the ocean crashing into the beach gets louder, the houses get bigger, and I'm seeing other girls with gifts approaching. Really beautiful girls. In dresses. And I'm starting to sweat pretty bad in my battered canvas Airwalks and wishing I'd gotten a haircut so that my do was less reminiscent of a 13-year-old boy miscreant, which is coincidentally also sort of how I had dressed for the affair.
I walk in with one of the beautiful guests and tuck my trash bag box gift way back behind all of these adorably wrapped gifts that undoubtedly contain the most en vogue onesies anyone has ever beheld. The house is spacious, though not the enormous mansion you might expect, and lovely and filled with family photos I don't take much notice of. What I do take notice of are the millions of beautiful girls that I do not know. Finally I spot a familiar face, another girl from the ward who whispers to me, "Do you know whose house this is?" Suddenly the patriarch's face in all the family photos jumps out. Sure enough. It's our pal, Mitt. And let me tell you, this guy's got a sensational view from his back patio. But the faucet in his guest bathroom is a little tough to figure out.
In case you don't believe me, as I expected you might, I took a couple of sneaky photos with my phone.
You always wonder how you will react to a brush with fame. Turns out I'm one of those creepy people who takes sneaky photos and posts them on the Internet. Did we expect anything more from me? Mitt's two super-chic daughters-in-law who were hosting the shindig probably saw me take them and thought, "Ugh. Why did we have to invite these plebeians? She probably wrapped her present in a trash bag box."
They left miserable, pouring rain weather in Idaho Falls and found us happily basking in the California sun surrounded by these beautiful purple flowering trees that are all over the place and decided it would be OK if we stayed here and converted our garage into an apartment for them.
To honor my parents' 29th anniversary we went to the USS Midway again. Because nothing will make two people fall in love all over again like a flight simulation of a fighter plane dogfight that flips you upside down and stuff.
I don't know what the No. 1 beach in the United States is, but it must be pretty phenomenal because Coronado beach is essentially perfect — clean, soft sand, nice water, fun waves, surfers. Jethro, who is afraid of more things than he isn't afraid of (washing his hair, the tree by our front door, stray cornflakes that stick to the corner of his mouth, etc.) surprised me by running, screaming and laughing, headlong into waves that were taller than he was. I believe he had the time of his short life. We actually went back the next day after Sea World was a bust. (We payed the $12 for parking and after 20 minutes of crawling through the totally full parking lot with about 400,000 other spot-seeking vehicles, decided that endeavor would only end in misery and exited the parking lot. Our example was immediately followed by at least five other vehicles.) Our second time to the Coronado beach we were better prepared with our swimming suits. Dad and Jake shed their shirts and dove into the waves like beautiful, glistening, albino dolphins. It was breathtaking. No photos of it, unfortunately. I had my hands full trying to keep Jethro from joining them.
We introduced the folks to "Toy Story 3", the ending of which always makes Jethro get teary-eyed when Andy drives away, which, in turn always makes us teary-eyed. I would've thought 2.5 years is too young to be emotionally moved by film, but my child is more sensitive and perceptive than any other child that ever lived probably.
I got us lost an average of two times each day. Dad broke one of my guitar strings, bought me new strings, then broke one of my bridge pins trying to change them, so he bought me new bridge pins, too, and then changed the strings with my new *black* bridge pins, which look very sleek and stealthy. He also adjusted the action on the neck of the guitar and it plays very well, Dad, thank you. And Grandma made it the best few days Jethro's ever had in his life by being his constant enthusiastic playmate. Seriously, though, sitting through church with those two I felt like I had two 2-year-olds to reign in. And Mom was the worse-behaved of the two.
The boys head to the pool.
I unfortunately didn't get any pictures, but we also hit up the sort of creepy Kobey's Swap Meet held every weekend in the Sports Arena parking lot. An odd crowd, but I guess you assume that going into any swap meet. Mom and I both had our astrological signs involuntarily analyzed by an awfully talkative older gentleman, who abruptly left when my dad walked over. My biggest regret of the outing: not purchasing the life-sized cardboard Jean-Luc Picard we spotted leaning against a chain link fence. Dad bought me a very nice straw hat there:
Jake said it made me look a little like Chuck Mangione.
But I keep insisting that it's more Neil Young.
Thanks Mom and Pop. We loved having you. You should come back just as soon as your backs recover from sleeping on our futon.
The morning before Mother's Day we're eating banana muffins prepared by Jethro and yours truly in our pajamas, and Jake's like, "How would you guys like to go to the aquarium today?" and I said, "Hells yeah!" And that was the last bad word I'll ever say in front of Jethro because I want to raise my children in the same profanity-free environment I was raised in. (Harharhar.) But seriously, I'm really trying, so don't anybody suggest an activity as awesome as the Birch Aquarium to me if my son is within earshot.
When I was a child I really wanted to be a marine biologist, which is so d*** funny to me now. I can scarce imagine a career I'd be worse at, as evidenced by me screaming in the tidepool exhibit when I reached in the water to touch a sea urchin and a single one of its tiny tentacles stuck to my fingertip. I blame "The Little Mermaid" and "Splash" entirely for my several-years-long obsession with making my future livelihood unduh duh sea.
A seahorse (they mate for life, did you know that?) and a startling disembodied human arm cleaning the sand.
Although I am pretty certain that if I someday become a kajillionaire I will have installed in my kick-a** mansion a blacklight jellyfish aquarium. You're all invited to the unveiling.
Jethro has in the last few months adopted his mother's tendency to gasp really dramatically when encountering anything he finds exciting. For him these things range from stop signs and fire hydrants to the following:
For me, this lionfish was gasp-worthy:
Because do you remember who else has a lionfish? That's right. Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his office.
Q and Picard's lionfish, Livingstone.
Then there was this fish-less exhibit all about how you're killing the environment pretty much just by being alive. As evidenced by Jake's expression we were sobered and disgusted with ourselves.
Jethro and I delivered a sobering newscast on wildfires or something.
And Jethro found this sobering learning device more exciting than seahorses. KNOBS AND BUTTONS!!! OMG!!!!
But I loved you, seahorses, with your good posture and your curly tails and your mating for life and your males-having-the-babies. I hope to visit you again. Almost certainly before Jethro's third birthday so that we don't have to spend $8.50 on a ticket for him. Yikes.
Jake actually drew a picture of a mitochondrion on the front of my Mother's Day card. A direct quote from the card: "I think it's fitting that we get the thing that is our sole source of energy from our mothers. Mothers are the foundation of movement and progress of our race."
I love geeks.
But, really, it is pretty amazing. To my own sweet and beautiful mom: Thanks for the mRNA, the warm cookies after school, and the endless words of encouragement and praise. I love you.