Friday, June 25, 2010

Janet, Elaine, and Me

It seems that #5 is not the only one in our household who has problems with wardrobe. Okay, so maybe my wardrobe malfunction wasn't as drastic as Janet Jackson's or Elaine Benes', but I can feel for those women (even if one of them is fictional).

While Kent has been gone on a high adventure with some of the Young Men, I've taken to not caring too much about my appearance, which is why I spent half of yesterday in my workout clothes. It was nice tonight to have a planned Ladies' Night Out as a reason to doll myself up a little. Nothing big. Just 45 minutes spent cleaning up, applying some makeup and styling my hair. I was happy to see that I could easily undo the hat hair; the hat hair had shaped all day under the cap that hid my bed-head hair; the bed-head hair was very impressive having been augmented by doing nothing but air drying after swimming yesterday. I love flat irons.

Anyway, I thought I looked cute. I put on capris with no stains and a non-sweaty shirt and headed out the door to meet some friends for a tour of historic homes in Provo.

An hour after I came back in the door, I noticed a problem with my blouse. If it hadn't been non-sweaty before, it would be non-sweaty then because there was a big, open hole in the middle of my bosom area. This particular shirt gathers to a knot in that area. I always assumed it was just a gathering of fabric tied off inside the shirt. Now I know it was a gathered opening that was not tied off so well as I would have liked.

I asked my kids if they had noticed a hole in my shirt when I came home, and they answered that yes they had. They had said nothing because they thought it was supposed to be like that. Um, no!

I don't know how many of the dozens of people I passed tonight noticed the flaw, but I'm glad I wear unders between my skin and my clothes.

This little episode has got me thinking, though. I heard someone on the radio say once that if a person one day met the queen of England and she had a booger hanging from her nose, it would never be appropriate to point that out. Upon hearing that, I remember thinking, "I would probably at least signal to her that she has a problem, and she would probably be grateful." My first reaction to my discovery tonight was that I wish someone had told me so I could have fixed the problem. But on second thought, I don't think I could have fixed it without a safety pin, which I did not have with me. For tonight, ignorance was bliss.

So I'm curious. Do you usually inform someone of a wardrobe, flossing, hair, etc. malfunction? Or do you try to overlook the problem to avoid embarrassing the person--and end up noticing it all the more? (I'm going to throw some safety pins into my purse right now!)

BTW, the home tour was fantastic! We went through four homes, and though each still held old-fashioned roots, they were all quite different; very different decor that evoked different feelings, from modern to country cottage. I think artists must be attracted to restoring old homes because three of the homes displayed artwork everywhere and two of them held paintings signed by the homeowner. In one home I also noticed two paintings by one of my favorite artists, Wulf Barsch. Too bad he's so popular that I'll never be able to afford an original. Would it be an "art malfunction" to hire a rip-off artist next time I'm in Mexico? They paint pretty good duplicates.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Poor #5 doesn't stand a chance.

Recently I noticed that he and #4 were playing very well in their room. I thought I'd peek in and see what was up. Here's what I found.

He seemed to be going along with the process pretty easily. You can see that #4 did a good job with the eye shadow and she is about to put some tights on him. However, when he saw me, he scowled with embarrassment and shut the door in my face (which is when I took the opportunity to grab the camera).

After snapping the photo and having the door shut in my face a second time, I left them alone for awhile longer. Twenty minutes later, I heard their voices in the bathroom. I grabbed the camera again and barged in.

You can't see it in the picture, but his nails were painted and he was wearing the tights with some patent leather Sunday shoes. #4 also did a nice job with his hair accessory considering she didn't have much to work with.

Having four older sisters is bad enough. As I write this, I realize he REALLY doesn't stand a chance, what with having a mom who dashes for the camera when she should be wiping off his makeup. But how can I help myself? He's just so cute!

Monday, June 7, 2010

My New Favorite Way to Start Summer Vacation

(Be warned: This post will make up for the last couple that had no photos.)

Just a few hours after the girls finished their last day of school to begin the Memorial Day weekend, we headed down south to Lake Powell for some relaxation and fun on a houseboat with Kent's extended family. Here are some of the highlights.

Of course, the kids spent most of their time in the water. #5 literally spent hours throwing rocks and clods of mud into the lake. Such simple pleasures.

In this photo, I love the way the water sparkles around #4 as if she were surrounded by water stars.

And speaking of stars...

The night sky was filled with them! Until the full moon would come out. We slept in the open air on the top deck of the boat, and the bright moon kept me awake most of the first night. After my mom-in-law loaned me an eye mask, I slept quite soundly being rocked by the water and cooled by the breeze each night after that. So nice! We let the kids stay up late each night, which also guaranteed me quiet mornings to myself.

Kent spent most of his time curled up with books that others had brought, which is pretty much an ideal vacation for him. I think he averaged a book a day. He got through the first two of the Hunger Games and now has to patiently wait for the third to come out this August.

#3 underwent a Lake Powell right of passage: jumping off the high diving board. I easily spent 30 minutes of recording time on my camera waiting for her to take the plunge over the course of two days. When her last chance had finally come...she did it! (The clip is 1 min 44 secs; I kept the whole thing because I like hearing the words of encouragement from her family. Skip to about 1:15 if you just want to see the big moment.) We were proud of her for working up the courage. When I asked her later if it was worth it (she got paid off with some bribes), she said flatly, "No."

Several of the attempted bribes for #3 to jump included back flips off the diving board by various Towner cousins. I am pretty happy that my little point-and-shoot camera caught this instant of Brandon's flip so well.

On Monday the water was tolerably warm and we all took our turns jumping off the boat one way or another.

#1 and Kent joined in the Lake Powell version of football with our cousins. The "quarterback" had to time her throw to meet the "receiver" as he ran off the diving board and the football had to reach him as he fell through midair. #1 proved to have a great throwing arm and hit her receivers 90% of the time. She was the only girl to leap off the boat for the football and made a good catch after a few attempts.

Kent caught the ball sometimes, but in this picture I think it's a fumble.

#5 got really excited about the idea of getting in the deep water and almost worked up the courage to jump off the back of the houseboat. When it came down to it, though, Aunt Anita just lifted him by his life jacket and set him in the water into someone's arms. You can see him very nervously waving as he clings to the ladder. It really must be a terrifying thing to float freely for the first time in a big body of water with no bottom to reassuringly rest one's feet on.

The best water toy is what we call The Slider. It's a two-person tube with no hole in the middle. It's great fun behind a speed boat because it skims the surface of the water and you can make it leap if you lean just right. It's also fun for playing around the houseboat. The first time #4 got on, she immediately grabbed the handles--all four of them!

My favorite game with the slider is to position it in such a way that it floats toward the boat's slide. When it gets to the right spot, you slide down and try to land in the middle without flipping it over. #2 tried it first. This video cracked me up!

Then I showed her the right way to do it. On my first attempt, I landed slightly off center and flipped backward head before heels into the water. On attempt number two, I landed it and earned an 8.5 from the judges. (I would have had to turn and smile at the camera as I flew off the slide to get a perfect 10.)

We managed to entertain ourselves out of the water too. Following brunch and a group testimony meeting on Sunday, we went for a boat tour. 17 of us fit on the ski boat and we witnessed some of the beautiful rocks and canyons of the lake.

Uncle Karl and Aunt Jan brought their family's paddle boat along, which the kids (my five plus one cousin) promptly took over. They packed picnic lunches and paddled over to the "island" rock in our cove. When they returned with the boat, they were very good about cleaning out the mud and sand and garbage they had accumulated.

Kent and I took the paddle boat for a spin (ha ha) one evening. I had to include this picture because I love how quickly I didn't care about wearing makeup or styling my hair once we were in that desert. It was nice, for a few days, to only worry about sunscreen. I was so diligent in protecting against the sun that I am probably the only one who has come back from Lake Powell with white legs. Oh well.

I did have fun with sunscreen on my kids. I decided to paint designs on their backs that would stay lighter than their tanned skin. It mostly worked. On #3 I painted these fairy wings. She laid out for another 20 minutes after I told her to come inside, so she burned instead of tanned. But you can really see the design!

The kids spent lots of time hiking rocks and burying themselves in the sand. Cousin Jason caught a lizard that #2 tried unsuccessfully to turn into a prince. That little lizard put up with a lot of handling and running on clothing before being released back into the wild.

My favorite spectator event is the bonfire. On the evening of our paddle boat ride, Kent and I passed an eight-feet-tall and 12-feet-wide stack of tumbleweeds. When darkness had fallen completely, the young males of our group fashioned torches out of paper plates stuck on branches and together they lit the bonfire. Then, just to punish their sunburned skin, they wrapped their shirts around their heads and danced around the 25-feet-high flames, whooping and leaping off rocks.

Tuesday morning marked our departure. The boys pulled up anchor and we headed back to the slip. Uncle Eric let #5 take a turn as captain for a few minutes, which was absolutely a highlight of the trip for my little guy.

Overall, it was a truly relaxing, wonderful way to begin the summer. It was great to be out of reach by phone or email for a short time, and I never once wished I were at home secretly cleaning or gardening. Kent and I hadn't realized how much we needed a vacation, so I'm glad his family made sure we had this one.

If I Could Send Scents Electronically...

...I would share with all of you the humid smell of the river that pours into my bedroom in the morning. When I go downstairs I am welcomed by the scent of my lilac bush that spreads through our downstairs all night. I'm also loving the freshly shredded wood chips that are under our trees and in the garden. As the wood heats up all day, the forest smell just gets stronger. Love it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Bet You Didn't Know...

...that Friday was Hug Your Cat Day.

My calendar from Oriental Trading Co. marks all the absurd "holidays". When #3 saw that cats had a day, she made sure Brownie felt special.

Brownie is our outdoor cat. She/he (I've never looked closely enough to know) adopted our family a few years ago. Brownie loves attention and will put up with all sorts of abuse--I mean "affection"--from my kids. Sometimes she/he even pretends to want to hunt mice. The pouncing pose usually turns to disinterest though, which then just leads to a cat nap.

#3 decided Brownie needed a day's respite from napping in the shade of our blue spruce on a gorgeous June afternoon, and so made up accommodations in her younger siblings' bedroom. She made a bed in the cat carrier and set a flimsy cardboard box filled with kitty litter nearby. Then she got to work convincing the cat to come inside. Brownie will sometimes take a few steps into the house when he/she can hear us scooping food. However, if the door ever gets closed behind him/her, we have a very nervous cat on our hands.

When I overheard #3 whisper to #5 that she had "finally caught the cat" and it was now trapped in his room, I had to interject.

With what turned out to be a prophetic statement, I said to #3, "If that cat poops on the carpet, you'll get to clean it up."

She did.

And Brownie was soon returned to the great outdoors.