Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Dance

Last Saturday night my homegurl boogied her way through her first church dance.  The kids were to come to the dance dressed in their PJs, so I said,

"What are you going to wear?  Your Soffe shorts and girls' camp T-shirt?  So hot!"
"No, Mom.  Nobody dresses up. That's what Grace says, anyway."
"So what are you going to wear then?"
"I don't know.  Whatever."

Unlike me, Hannah doesn't worry about what she's going to wear.  With hair and a smile like hers, she could wear an orange construction cone and still look stunning.  I, on the other hand, disguise my ugly with a new article of clothing, usually a shirt.  I feel twenty times more confident when I'm wearing something new.

"Let's go to Forever 21 and get a new shirt," I said.  She agreed.  But after five minutes of looking, Hannah, who hates shopping, said "Let's just go."

"No way! You're getting something new.  I don't want you to forget tonight, your first dance!  Can you even believe it?" I insisted.

She shrugged and said, "I'll stand in line while you pick something out."  I grabbed a shirt off the rack holding the fitting room rejects.  I walked to where Hannah was standing, waving the shirt around. "What about an accessory?  Accessories make the outfit, right? I said.  "Hurry, run, go get earrings or something to match."  She came back dangling a floral enamel key, hanging from a long gold chain.  "This is so me, Mom."  We piled the two items on the counter, paid the cashier, and were on our way.

"We have to curl your hair and pluck your eyebrows when we get home.  Plucking your eyebrows is priority #1; they are killing me.  Does it not bug you to see all those hairs poking outside of you brow line?"

"No, it doesn't bother me.  That's why the hairs are all still there," she said, rolling her eyes.

As the late afternoon turned to evening, she started fidgeting: playing the piano one minute, then reapplying lip gloss mid-song, then up from the bench to the fridge to grab a handful of chocolate chips. Her nerves had her scattered.

"What's the matter?" I said.

Mom, I don't know how to dance with a boy.  Like, where do my hands go?"

"Well first, you always let the boy ask; let him come to you. When he does ask..."

Bryce, overhearing our conversation and seeing my pathetic stand-in as a boy, interrupted our dance lesson.  He invited Hannah to join him on the living room floor.  "This is how you dance with a boy," he said, while extending his hand toward her.

Pulling her close and placing her left hand on his shoulder, his left hand on her waist,  he continued, "Let the boy lead.  Boys don't know how to lead anymore, but give him a chance.  Follow his moves and just relax; be yourself.  Talk about school, his family, music...

His voice trailed off as he turned. Standing at the carpet's edge, I watched as her anxiety melted into laughter as the two of them turned round and round.  He could always calm her in ways I never could.

As the dancing lesson ended he said, "I will buy you a longboard if you take a picture of the first boy who asks you to dance tonight.  I want to know all about him."

"Really, Dad?"

"Really," he said, smiling.  Send me his picture as soon as the dance ends.

She sent him the picture, and when she returned home, we asked for all the details:  How did he ask?  How was his breath?  What did you talk about?

She gave us the scoop, "He just walked up and said, while holding out his hand, 'May I have this dance?'"

"May I have this dance?" I repeated, giggling.  That's so old-fashioned, but totally polite.  " OK, keep going.  What else?"

"I don't know.  It was fine.  Whatever, you know?"

"Has Dad ordered the longboard yet?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Should I Worry?

Mi Amor is in the bishopbric, so I have the job of making sure my homies behave while he sits on the stand.  They're good most of the time, but yesterday I felt like I was having to referee their game of Tug-of-War.

"Can we have gum?"
"Scratch my back, please."
"Do the Sally in the Garden game on my arm."
"Sam licked my cheek."
"I'm bored."
"How many more talks until this is over?"
"Hannah pinched my shoulder."
"He kicked my chair; I don't want to sit by him anymore."

You've had Sundays like this, too.

At one point, my littlest homie threw his sketchpad on my lap in utter disgust.  He crossed his arms and tears began streaming down his rosie cheeks.  I looked inside to see what was causing his breakdown. One of my homie's sketches had outwitted his own.  Should I be worried about the pictures below?

First Submission: Boy in a Burning House, No Firemen Available to Save Him

Response: Will the Blind Cops Save You?

Submission #2:  Eat This Nuke Cookie, Please, While I Fly Away 

His Response:

Here are the pictures that brought the sketch battle to a screeching halt.  

Submission #3  Your Brain Is Gone Forever

Response:  You Don't Even Have a Brain

Saying you are brainless is the BIGGEST insult in this nuke-filled, explosive, burning with volcanic fire world. 

 Please tell me we'll come out of weeks sitting together on the same pew with some appreciation of the Gospel.  I do try; I promise.  Also, I told them that people, especially brothers, are not for killing, even if it's only in a sketchpad filled with stick figures and destructive imaginations.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On Not Making It

When one door closes, another door opens.  Helen Keller said something like this once, and it has become our new mantra.  My homegurl's audition results have not matched her hopes, her dreams, so we are carefully crafting a new plan.

Our conversations have been filled with doubt and discouragement.

Me: We should have started you in ballet when you were three, hired a private coach.  I should re-enroll you in Natasha's class.  Who cares if she left you crying and humiliated in front of your class.  She'll get you into Kirov.

Her:  The other girls were better.  I could have leaped higher, practiced longer, stretched more.  I could have...But I did my very best, Mom. Right now is my very best.

Me:  Forget about it.  Your best is all you can do, and you've pushed your body past exhaustion.  The Lord knows your deepest desires, Hannah.  This little bump in your ballet road must mean nothing in this stretch of your life.  He'll get you where you need to go.  No doubt.  But like Nephi, you've got to build your own boat, do the work.  And then you must knock on Heaven's door like never before.

Here's our new plan:

Two weeks here:
Three weeks here:

She will make it.

P.S.  Alexander Graham Bell is the author of the above mentioned quote, not Helen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We had a nice time.  I might be pregnant. Here are some pictures (not of me getting pregnant).

Where we stayed: Huntington on Nob Hill.  
The view of the Bay from our room window
Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill
The SilverSneakers Tai Chi class below our room window
 Haight Ashbury

Meat feast. I do not eat swine, but Bryce does.
Chinese New Year's parade.  The people sitting in the windows of the tall building had the best seats.
Me, ticked-off

the end

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sing It Like You Mean It, Homegurl

My homegurl is a member of the East Valley Mormon Choral Organization; it's our community's local choir, and she loves being a member more than buying a new dress at Forever 21.  She now has our family listening to the MoTab to and from school, on the way to the grocery store, and on our way home from ballet.  Today I wanted to push stop and play some Katy Parry, but I thought that would be a poor decision on my part, especially since I've been saying things like, "Kids, see how the feelings change in the car when I turn the MoTab off and turn on AC/DC instead.  Do you not feel like we're now really on the Highway to Dante's Inferno?  They always laugh, and then I switch the music back to "This Is My Beloved Son."  We all sing along when it gets to the H-h-h-ear Him part.

Do you know that part?  It gives me goosebumps every time I sing it, and I always find myself immediately thanking the Lord for music, a decent singing voice, and good homies who naturally gravitate to a better way of living.

If you're interested in hearing my homegurl's choir sing, watch the vid below. It sounds like a young MoTab, right?  And FYI: The choir director, Brandon Stewart (hellou, Julliard graduate) is in my ward.  Last week I did a little tap-tap on his shoulder and said, "My daughter loves you and your choir."  He nodded and smiled, so I think he was just trying to tell me that Hannah is his favorite student.

"This Is My Beloved Son"

P.S.  One of the organists, Clay Christiansen, is my dad's BFF. Not to brag.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Gates

We just got back from LA.  We were there so my homgurl could audition for Ballet West's summer intensive.  The competition was fierce, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that she'll be offered a spot.  Pray for her.  But you may want to pray for me after reading this story:

After my homegurl finished her audition, I went up to the director of the school and said the following: "Um, pardon me for a minute, um, we've planned our summer around her getting into your program, so I really hope she makes it.  What do you think?"  I didn't let him answer because I was already saying inside my head: You're the biggest stage parent on earth and this man now hates your guts.  Move your crazy self out of his sight, immediately.
Peter, that's his name, looked at me and said, "As I've already told the girls, we will let them know in a week or so."
I turned and began my strut of shame out of the room, but then I turned back and said, "I was kind of just kidding about the whole arranging our summer bit, but not really, you know?"

Can you believe the car wreck, absolute disaster I am?

We have not heard back from Peter, yet, but I have started writing an e-mail to him, apologizing for my pushy behavior.  My homegurl keeps saying, "Leave it alone; don't send it," so I'm taking her advice.  Even if she doesn't make it, we still had a good time parading around the City of Angels.  I would live there if I could.

We visited F&S Fabrics, where we found the perfect fabric remnant for reupholstering the chair for my homgurl's vanity set.  Then we visited Jenny at the Dance Store. She fit Hannah into the perfect pointe shoes.  We had heard that no one in the Western United States could do a better job than she, and so far, that's true.  Then we ate lunch at the Apple Pan. (You must order a piece of their banana cream pie), and spied on some kissing lovers while eating our fries and burgers.

I love living in a big city, but the truth is, I will live in Gilbert until I kick the bucket. (I do love Gilbert, BTW.) To requite my burning desire to live elsewhere,  I finally hung our picture of The Gates.  When I'm longing for some time in a city that never sleeps, I'll stare at this picture and imagine I'm in Central Park.  Do you think it will work?

If you're interested in learning more about one of the biggest displays of public art in modern history, you can read more about The Gates here.

P.S. We're off to San Francisco this weekend, so I won't need to stare at the picture until next week.