Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Last Aspen Grove

  Now that all the summer-pallooza is over and I'm tired of moping about it, I can finally play catch up! . . . . yayyyyyyy?

  Anyway, kicking off the summer travelling was Aspen Grove! I was on the fence on whether or not to go this year, as I was in the middle of the run for "Measure for Measure", the show I was currently in. I arrived at Aspen Grove two days late (Monday, the something-th) beacuse the ONE Sunday show "M4M" had was the weekend Aspen Grove started. I was also supposed to leave Aspen Grove a day early because I had to get back to Oregon for the ONE Thursday show we had. Bad timing all around. But as it was The Last Aspen Grove, I really wanted to be there, even if it was only for three days.

  And, boy, did Aspen Grove want to make those days memorable.

  The weather in late June can be dicey at times, given "June Gloom" and whatnot. But we've been there many, many years in June (we've been going for twenty years, after all), and I didn't think much about packing anything heavier than a light jacket for Lincoln and myself.

  So of course this ensued:

  Okay, that might be anticlimactic if you can't tell what happening. If that's the case, IT WAS SNOWING. IN LATE JUNE. ON PIONEER FUN TIME THINGY NIGHT. ON MOM'S BIRTHDAY.

  Those last two weren't especially shocking, but I like emphasis.

  We got up to the usual Aspen Grove shenanigans before this whole snowing business, though.

  Like turtle riding.

 Hanging out with cousins. This is actually Lincoln's cousin, Autry, who spread the joy of Winnie the Pooh like a disease. An adorable, catchy-tune DISEASE.
 Lincoln playing with his new car with Grandpa Ken.
Aren't my parents adorable? No one told them to do this. They just snuggle for all the world to see, like they like each other or something.

  It was great seeing everyone, but from the first night there was a problem.

  The first night I got there we went to Tucano's to celebrate Mom's birthday (a few days early so as not to interfere with Pioneer Fun Night Thingy [not actual name] which none of us ended up going to due to SNOW).

  Tucano's was basically a disaster. After we put two large tables together (managing to break two plates in the process), my little niece Kaylee threw up. We chalked this up to the winding road to get there from Aspen Grove and proceeded to order.

  And then she threw up again. And again. The waiter took this all in good stride, bless him.

  Just a few minutes before we were leaving, Lincoln spilled his (very sticky) juice all over the floor, and threw the crackers I'd given him into the sticky juice puddle for good measure.

  The waiter earned a very, very good tip that night.

  We optimistically hoped that Kaylee's upset stomach was food related. But as it slowly spread through our ranks, we became steadily more paranoid. Friendly hugs and other touching became a distant memory of happier times.

  Thursday at midnight, the day I was scheduled to leave, I woke up and  knew I was doomed.

  At least once an hour I was forced to leave my bed and rush for the bathroom. I would have sobbed through the night, but I was too tired. I got no sleep, and I (being the wienie I am) prayed I would either get better soon or die. The one mercy was that Lincoln slept through the entire thing, despite sleeping in a rickety crib at the foot of my bed.

  I had to cancel my flight and miss one of my last three shows. I felt dreadful on every level. Mom was an angel of mercy and took Lincoln for the entire day. By noon I managed to fall in and out of sleep between bathroom visits. Doctor Who playing on my phone was my only company.

  It was better that way.

  The next day I was feeling much better, if not at 100%. Mom drove me to the airport and halfway down the mountain, Lincoln threw up.

  That was when I cried.

  Turned out to be a false alarm (warm milk mixed with winding drive is not a good idea, in case you were wondering), and we got home without a hitch. HOORAY!

  Flying back home I was less sad that I would not be returning to Aspen Grove. Thanks for all the other memories, though, AG. The non-vomit related ones. It really was good times. I'll miss the week of not preparing my own food. Of seeing my extended family. Of trampolines, crafts, the incredibly cheap-priced candy store, actually getting exercise without it feeling like a chore, and so much more.

  Insert sweet, memorable last line here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Week of the Gallbladder

  About a month ago, I woke up at four AM on a Sunday morning in extreme pain. The kind of pain you can't escape from, not with changing position, not with pills, there's no relief, ever. McKay was sweet and stayed up with me, looking things up on Web MD and giving me massages, but nothing seemed to help.

  At eight, I was giving up hope that the pain was going to go away by itself, so I texted my Dad. Who informed me that my time was up. It was Gallbladder Season, a very much non-magical time in every Beesley girl's life when your gallbladder just up and decides that it hates you and wants to cause as much havoc as possible before it's removed.

  Fast forward one week. My gallbladder is removed. This made me happy, not just because it meant I could eat cheese again (a week without cheese is a long week indeed), but because it meant the bestest possible outcome ever.

  My mom was coming to take care of me.

 The first couple of days were pretty quiet. My big outing Monday was going to Costco, and even that left me shaking by the end. Getting your gallbladder out is weird, because for the first week, you can feel your organs rearranging themselves every time you stand up. It's a funny, nauseous kind of feeling. But by Wednesday, I was able to stand for longer periods of time.

  Mom is like a fairy godmother, making everything better everywhere she goes. And, like Cinderella's godmother, I always end up looking a whole lot better by the time she leaves. This is because we both love shopping, and I live pretty close to a tax-free outlet mall. Woot, Oregon!

  Thursday I was recovering from our epic shopping trip, so we stayed more low-key, walking around Corvallis' downtown, and eating far too much dessert at a local bakery.

   I loved showing Mom Oregon, because it was like everything was new and exciting again. Flowered bushes? BEAUTIFUL. Victorian houses? GORGEOUS. A bridge over a lake? AMAZING. I think I almost had Mom converted and ready to move . . . until the snake. But we'll not get too into that. Suffice to say, Mom's screaming broom action, herding the snake out my front door (yes, it was indoors. IN MY KITCHEN), was the most terrifying, hilarious thing I've ever seen.

  Friday was our last day, and Mom really wanted to see Newport. We stopped at the aquarium first.

   This otter was either snoozing, or doing a great impression of it. 

The sea lions were a big hit.

   I love the aquarium in Newport because they've got lots of interactive parts for kids. It was hard to tear Lincoln away from every section. Lincoln loved fishing, though eventually he figured out it was just easier to reach in the barrel and grab them out by hand. Who needs a pole? I think if he ever goes fishing for reals, though, he's going to be disappointed that magnets are not actually the best bait.
   Touching an anemone. You're allowed in this part, I promise. It's pretty awesome.


After the aquarium, Lincoln was pretty close to shutting down completely. It was already past nap time, and he was FREAKING OUT. But Mom really wanted to see the beach. So we headed over to the coast, and thank goodness we did, because I've never seen such fantastic weather there. Not only was it not very windy, the water was, if not warm, a tolerable kind of cold! AMAZING!
   Lincoln took some convincing at first that the sand was not, in fact, evil. He mistrusted it deeply, but once we got in the cooler, more hard-packed stuff by the water, he seemed to have accepted it. Even, dare I say, enjoy it.

  Once Mom and Lincoln were in the water, all bets were off. Lincoln LOVED the waves, racing in until he was chest-deep. I, being the over-prepared Beesley that I am, had brought him a swimsuit and change of clothes, but hadn't really expected I'd need it. But it turned out that for once I wasn't prepared ENOUGH, as Mom and I both wished we'd done the same for us. Lincoln continued to run heedlessly into the waves, laughing manically, having no healthy amount of fear in him. Luckily Mom was always next to him, holding his hand as he charged deeper and deeper into the water. He probably could have continued to jump in the waves for hours, but once he started shivering we decided to call it quits. He fell asleep almost instantly on the way home.

   For reasons we could never discern, Lincoln called my mom "Die-to" all week. Not sure what that was about, but when she drove away Saturday, the rest of the weekend he would look around and fretfully ask, "Die-to? Die-to?" It broke my heart, because I missed her, too.

  Mom's the best. Wish I had another gallbladder to remove to get her back.

  OH, also, you want to see what gallstones look like?
  Yuuup, my body made those. Pretty gross, right? Lincoln was fascinated and liked using the container as a maraca. I'm eternally grateful that the lid didn't pop off.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Easter 2014

  Lincoln loved dying eggs, but easily staining dye makes me anxious, so McKay was put in charge of helping Lincoln with all artistic endeavors.
   But they quickly finished their designs, and Lincoln became much more fascinated with the stickers. But if it was fun to put them on the eggs, that was nowhere near as fun as it was putting them on daddy. And McKay retaliated in kind.

The Master at work.

The day of the big event, Lincoln had no recollection of how Easter worked from last year. He went outside with his basket, and this ensued:

  Kind of long and boring if you're not his grandparent, sorry (also, "Snape" is what we call the snake that lives under our carport, in case you were wondering). Once he realized candy was in those plastic suckers, though, all bets were off. Which was good, getting in the spirit of things, EXCEPT that every single egg he picked up, he immediately wanted to crack open and consume his spoils. Normal reaction, but there was a problem: I always buy far, far too much candy. I restrained myself to two bags this year. But neither of those included Cadburry Mini Eggs or the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. So I had to get a bag of each of those, too. The end result being that we had SO MANY EGGS, we had to come inside to dump out his basket so there would be room for more.
 I have a problem.
 The hard-won spoils of war. Or Easter.


 Another Easter egg hunt video, if you're so inclined:

  Lincoln's problem was that once he actually had found all 4,326 eggs, he still wanted more. Not candy, necessarily. Just the thrill of the chase. So, despite my declarations that the Easter Bunny only comes once, McKay re-hid the eggs. Four times. Eventually Lincoln got tired of waiting while McKay hid the eggs, so he started hiding them himself, too. This largely consisted of him throwing the eggs randomly, three of which ended up under the car. We're too big and too lazy to crawl under the car (or, heaven forbid, move it), so McKay cajoled Lincoln into hunting them himself.

 "How do we get to it? Hmmm . . . "

  And then lots and lots and lots of candy was consumed by all. And we all lived happily ever after, the end.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Portland, Take Two. Or Three? I Forget

  For our fourth wedding anniversary, McKay and I decided to make a day of Portland. You may recall that Portland used to scare us a bit. But since that fateful, moon-filled day, we've become slightly more accustomed, and even knew whereabouts some fun things were.

  We stopped at the temple first, and walked around the grounds with Lincoln. He loved the fountains especially.

  Once in the downtown Portland area, we started at the Saturday's Market, which is chocked full with weird and wonderful finds.
 Bug eye baby!
 These shadow boxes were even more beautiful and strange in person.
 Lincoln LOVES hats. Unless he's supposed to wear it. But he seriously freaked out when we didn't buy this hat.
  Lincoln liked dancing to the performer. So did a drunk woman. She put on quite a show.

  After the market, we headed to Blue Star Donuts. Everyone here is crazy about Voodoo donuts, because they have amusing names and interesting toppings. Blue Star Donut, though, is the gourmet version of donuts. We really should have bought a water, though. My mouth practically burned from that crazy sweet consumption.

  We also headed over to Powell's, an amazingly huge used bookstore. I keep a list of books that I've checked out from the library that I would like to own someday, so I was able to check off quite a number of items off that list. I really liked the store, but next time I'd like to try going on a weekday. It was so crowded it was impossible to get the stroller through the tight isles, and some sections you were dancing around people. This is a place of introverts, why is it so claustrophobic?! But, really, it was awesome.

  So, Portland, I've become accustomed to you. Turns out your bark is worse than your bite. And you seriously have a crazy amount of donut shops, which is cool.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gluten-Free and Judginess

  I recently read an article on signs you have a gluten intolerance. I basically had every single one, all of which could quite possibly be explained by some other cause, but I thought, eh. Might as well give this whole gluten-free thingymagigy a try, and see if it helps anything.

  I don't like telling people I'm trying to go gluten-free, though. Because they get really judgey. But not from the side I was expecting. See, THIS is what I was expecting:

ME: Yeah, I'm giving this "gluten-free" thingy a whirl to see if it helps my digestion system/terrible acne.


  This is the reaction I expected because it's more or less what I think when I hear anyone is doing anything weird, food-wise. Paleo, juicing, all that stuff, I basically get judgey and feel superior. And I'm sorry about that. I'm not a great person.

 But terrible people like me must be in the minority, or maybe we're just better at hiding our disdain than I thought, because they're not the judgey ones I've encountered. Since I live in Oregon, here's a basic compilation of the reactions I've had:

ME: Yeah, I'm trying to go gluten-free for a while.

WHOEVER ELSE: Oh, me, too! It's so much better for you. And they have some great foods out there! There's this one cereal, it's super healthy for you, called Tastes Like Tree Bark [not actual name], and it's not bad! [NOTE: 'not bad' is the phrase used to describe something inedible made slightly more edible. Have you ever heard someone describe tofu as 'good'? No, the best that can be said of tofu is 'not bad'. End of rant.]

ME: Yeah, also Frosted Flakes! You know, since it's corn-based and all.

   And then whoever I'm talking to looks at me like I said I stabbed a baby seal. With a steak. A non-organic steak.

  See, here's where the mix-up is: I didn't say I was dieting. I didn't say I was going sugar-free, or even trying to eat healthy. I said I'm trying to give up gluten for a while. Because it would be nice to live my life without feeling perpetually tired, or having brain fog, or maybe (FINGERS CROSSED!) get rid of the acne my mother assured me would disappear after the puberty thing ended (my mother is a liar, but I love her anyway).

   So let me eat my friggin' Frosted Flakes in peace. Because they're gluten-free, and I like them. And you know what? I do feel a bit better. Even hopped up on sugar. I made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies last week, and they were the best cookies I've ever made. And I ate almost every single one.

UNRELATED P.S. Reached 100 pages in my new book! Remember how I wrote that book last year? It was crap. And I hated it. I made the mistake of never, ever editing it as I wrote, which made it one big, hot mess when I went to read over the 340+ pages I slaved over. And I realized I just wasn't crazy enough over the story I'd written to work for another year tearing it apart. So I decided to chalk it up to a learning experience and write another book, which I edit every weekend. I think that, if I were to come across the book I'm writing now in a bookstore, it is the kind of book I'd like to read. Which makes me very, very happy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Like Elementary School All Over Again

After 8 weeks of my bigoted teacher's rants against religion, I left class early today because I couldn't stop crying.

  Not because of his latest abuses against religion (apparently I must be "self-righteous" and "racist"). I can take that. Growing up Mormon, you learn to have a thick skin because you're an easy target. Even when he looked me straight in the eyes during one of these rants, knowing full well of my religious background, I didn't crack. Even when he interrupted my one attempt at defending myself and my religion, I just rolled my eyes and decided to let him have out.

  It was when a kid in the front row raised their hand and said, "I think you're being really offensive. I'm not even religious and I think you're being offensive" that my eyes started to water. People sticking up for me (or just showing kindness in general) has always been a soft spot for me. But naturally it was assumed I must be crying because of the religious rants (to the couple in the back who pointed me out and laughed--thanks. That was great.)

  Unfortunately, when I start to cry, I get extremely embarrassed. It's too vulnerable. Also, my whole face turns splotchy, and my nose/area around my mouth turn beet red, which is lovely. So I continued to cry due to mortification at my crying in public. It was okay when it was just a few tears. But then came the snot. I tried to make due at first, but it quickly became obvious I had two options: 1.) Leave class or 2.) Grab some kleenex and come back. Not wanting the class to think it was that easy to run me out (plus not wanting to miss vital notes for our final), I grabbed some toilet paper and headed back, thinking I had it under control, anyway.

  I didn't. After about a minute, the humiliation crept back in and the tears/snot started flowing again. A second return from the bathroom was more than I could handle. After using up the toilet paper I'd brought back, I decided to duck out early.

  Anyway, to the person in the front row: thank you. Also, I hate you, because you made me cry.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lincoln the Model

  At one point when visiting Colorado for Christmas, we found ourselves at the mall. Lincoln proved that he has a future career in modeling.
 He makes those glasses look good. Or at least hilariously adorable.
   Cuddling with Grandma Terri. In glasses.
   Eat your heart out.
   McKay was trying to indicate that if you kept your head up, the glasses would stay on better. Which of course led to this . . .
 Ahhh. That's one relaxed pose.
   I can never get enough of Lincoln in a hat. He picked this out himself.
   This is at some Cabela's-type hunting superstore. The kids section is like Disneyland, but with way more weapons. Given the way Lincoln preferred holding the rifle, I think he may have some dangerous tendencies.
We put the bell on him so we could hear him running away.

  I'd try to pull this post together with some funny after-commentary, but I'm too tired. Pretend I did and give a hearty laugh, though.