No lye

Still giggling a bit over this pun Zack left at the end of his blog post. And reveling in the very last item he listed as “Things I learned.”

No lye

And it reminded me of a good story. It’s a sad story. But it’s a good story.

One day a few years ago Lindsay came home with some friends while I was at work and they decided to make cookies. Even though I keep my soapmaking supplies tucked out of the way, they were visible enough that when she went looking for sugar she did see the big white bucket of lye, even though it was not in the pantry next to the flour where I generally keep the sugar.

Lye looks an awful lot like sugar.

Fortunately for the batch of cookies, Lindsay thought to make sure it was sugar before she dumped it by cupfuls into the bowl.

Unfortunately for Lindsay, the way she thought to make sure it was sugar was by putting a little tiny bit on her tongue.

Lye burns. It burns like the dickens. It is very reactive when wet. And a little goes a long way.

She must have called me at work because she rinsed her mouth with vinegar (and why else would you do that unless your momma told you to), which is sort of very literally insult to injury, but it does work.

Fortunately for Lindsay the blistering was minimal and limited to her mouth and tongue and not her entire throat and digestive tract.

And despite her pain she was a very good sport about it and now tells the story now with a good sense of humor. (Lindsay is a good storyteller. She gets that from her Dad.)

I learned my lesson and whipped out the black magic marker and marked up the big white bucket of lye with a POISON symbol. And I try to keep a gallon of white vinegar on hand just in case.

No lye.

Total eclipse of the sun

red-ring-fire-heres-watch-sundays-annular-solar-eclipse-and-not-get-blinded.w654photo courtesy of WonderHowTo

Here is how my memory works. Every now and then I will see flashbacks of random places, events, sometimes even people. They are often disjointed and, as I pointed out previously, not necessary anchored to reality. Which is why they are suspect.

One such memory has come and go rather persistently and I’ve been meaning to research it to see if it could possibly be true. Apparently it is.

Even though I went to a small high school, as I stated before, the opportunities I had to learn advanced math and science were ahead of their time. And I ate them up. We got to do a ton of lab work in chemistry, where while I did not burn down the classroom, I did at least create some big and visible energy a time or two. We had the opportunity to take AP biology, during which we dissected not just frogs, but pigs and small sharks as well. Aside from the smell of formaldehyde, i really got into dissection. And you bet I was one of the kids who took the challenge and jump roped with pig intestines.

But one of my most memorable (and I use that term loosely) experiences was a field trip to see what was reportedly the last total eclipse of the (well, that) century. At least that’s what my memory whispered to me through disjointed visuals of a long bus ride with my classmates, light and darkness and shadow playing on a unknown hillside somewhere in northern Oregon, and a rectangular piece of thick, dark, possibly reddish/black glass.

So last night I set out to see if my good friend Google search could help me out. And here is what I found:

Wiki knows what happened. (That Wiki–she thinks she knows everything!)

And good old Walter Cronkite. He remembers too! (I’m kind of sad I missed the druid scene at the Stonehenge replica.)

Next one is slated for 2017. Anyone want to meet up?

Sweeping, synergy, and soapmaking

Protective eyewear is a must when making soap. Safety first!

Zack wanted to come over today and make soap. At the time he asked the detritus of pumpkin carving strewn about the kitchen floor, a sink full of dishes and dishes on the table as well. The detritus of Halloween decor strewn about the living room. This is what happens when you’re working too much, you’re never home,  and you do Halloween last minute in the few and wee hours after work and dinner and before you go to bed so you can possibly bear to get up in the morning and start it all over again.

I told him I’d love to, but…

“How about if I come over and help you clean and then we can make soap?”

Music to my mother ears.

And so he came. And as we worked together – Zack doing the legwork – returning strewn items to their proper places while I went to town on the dishes, I thought of my grandparents on my mother’s side, Grandpa and Grandpa Jacobs.

Grandpa and Grandma Jacobs canned peaches together easily into their upper eighties, possibly early nineties. I know this because when they got too old to get around as much as they liked, I often picked up the bushels of lemon elberta peaches for them from the then-orchard-now-half-million-dollar-homes-development just up the road from my house and delivered them to Grandpa and Grandma.

I gave up on canning shortly after I went back to work, but I recall it’s a long, messy, sticky process. And it was particularly lonely doing it by oneself. And I realized that it’s likely the only reason Grandpa and Grandma Jacobs canned so very long is because they did it together.

Then word synergy came to mind. I’m awfully fond of synergy. I love how synergy reminds me of energy, because when I am working with someone–feeling part of a team–it’s not just that we accomplish more than the sum of our efforts, it’s also that I feel lifted, strengthened, energized. I am capable of staying more focused and more determined because I am not alone. It occured to me that’s part of the reason we are born into families. We are meant to work together. It’s good for us to share the responsibilities of taking care of the home and it’s more efficient to work together.

The best part of working with Zack today was, of course, his company. Zack is easy, smart, funny, and a thinker. We spoke of friends, music, politics, and some of his near-future plans. Good company makes any task more pleasant. Time seemed to fly.

After some order was brought to the house, we got down to the business of soapmaking. And you know how I feel about that. Even so, I was reminded that even the fun stuff is more pleasant with good company. Zack is good company. We’ll have to do it again sometime.

If you’d like to see what else Zack has been up to lately, you can check it out over on his new blog.


Chile rellenos, huevos rancheros, and Día de Muertos

Tonight on my way home from work I decided to pick up dinner, so I stopped by to see a friend of mine, and pick up dinner from someone I knew would treat me right. His name is Carlos, and he is one of the faces behind the current El Azteca.

Incidentally, El Azteca was established the year I was born. I didn’t meet El Azteca until I moved to Provo to attend BYU. I have no photographs of El Azteca I, and being a poor starving college student, I didn’t frequent it. But I do remember it. Specifically the nachos. They were filling and fine.

el azteca 1This is El Azteca II. It’s long been a favorite of my brother Keith, but eventually everyone caught on and now it is the location of choice for gathering when family comes to town.

One of my favorite memories of El Azteca II was late one night after suffering a devastating defeat in girls softball. Lindsay was in the passenger seat and was rather despondent as we drove through to order some churros or something. I assume the proprietor at that time was Carlos’ dad. He and his wife were familiar faces, clearly putting in long hours and lots of passion and hard work. He asked Lindsay how the game had gone.

“We lost,” she mumbled.

“Did you play your best?” he asked?

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Then you should celebrate, because you cannot lose when you do your best.”

I don’t exactly remember when it was I no longer saw Mr. El Azteca around, but I continued to see Mrs. El Azteca around for awhile, and eventually Carlos. He is hard to miss. Tall, with a great head of wavy hair, and always a warm and engaging smile. He’s also hard to miss because he is almost always there. The work ethic of the family behind El Azteca is inspiring.

One of my favorite things about Carlos is how he looks after my mother. After he learned of her cancer, he continually asked about her. His concern was genuine, and meant a good deal to me as well as to my mother, who needed the rallying well wishes during her fight. They lifted her spirits and helped her feel just a little less alone as she endured chemo and radiation and then the long haul back into a new, changed, life.

A little over a year ago, we found out El Azteca was losing their building. They were at a crossroads, trying to decide whether it was time to be done or to move on. I immediately joined others in looking for a new location and in encouraging them to stay. Eventually came the announcement that they had a place in mind and they were trying to work it out. A bit later came word that they had signed a contract and would close a few weeks to do some renovations and make their move. I was ecstatic.

el azteca 2And thus El Azteca III was born.

And I love it. Great color and decor. Same friendly faces. New favorites on the menu (chile relleno and huevos rancheros, for starters). And ambiance. Since it reopened I have introduced guests from Roosevelt, Scotland, Australia, and Pennsylvania. As well as the usual family members who are always anxious to gather there when they’re in town. One of the best things about it is the welcoming atmosphere invites you and the staff allows you to linger with your family and friends. Sometimes we’ve stayed for hours. Because it feels like home. Only in some ways better. Authentic Mexican food and I don’t have to make it or do the dishes!

“Hello, friend. How are you?” I asked Carlos as I walked up to the counter. He responded in kind. The place was packed, which always makes me happy. There is a new girl working there, but she too treats me as a friend.

Today and tomorrow El Azteca is celebrating Día de Muertos. I wish I’d had my camera so I could have taken a photo of their “ofrendas” altar, but at the same time, I felt it appropriate to enjoy the moment alone and in silence. As I waited for my takeout tonight I stood by, gazing at old photographs of the El Azteca family in the warm light of burning candles. I offered my respects, both for their dead and for my own. Gratitude for a strong work ethic and warm and welcoming hearts.

Here’s to another 50 years!


Reading, writing, arithmetic…and gymnastics

photo courtesy of Guillaume Guérin

I stumbled across this question on some personal history memory prompt: “Did you do well in school? What were your successes and failures?” So here goes…

Somewhere between doing well but being out of my league socially in elementary school in Eugene, and being voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and graduating second in my high-school class at Junction City, High School, there were, incidentally, a few stories.

Because I’m a good-news-last kind of girl, we’ll start with my most difficult subject. Gymnastics. Part of the reason gymnastics was not my friend was because my fault. I still remember one day filing from the cold gloomy hall into the warm well-lit library and realizing as I looked forward and then behind me that I was at least a full head taller than my entire class. I was tall. And awkward. That can be a lethal combination in gymnastics. The higher you are the further you fall. (The rest of the reason gymnastics was not my friend was simply because gymnastics hated me.) I remember loving the surge of power that builds while running towards the large, sturdy, immoveable vault. But the balance beam was my nemesis.

Awkward as I was, I was also–and still am–a little stubborn. I decided I wanted an A during the gymnastics portion of P.E., as it was the only class in which I wasn’t earning an A, and then I set about perfecting my beam routine. To this day I don’t know how I did it, but I do remember practicing at lunch and after school working on my routines and trying to nail the dismount. And I eventually got my A.

And then there was Math. My favorite math teacher was Mr. Hagen. He was as tall as Gandalf and was a wizard at math. He must have loved math, because he instilled in me a love of math, too. And that was nothing short of a miracle for this distracted, angst-ridden teenager. As a side-note, angst and distraction aside, I realize now how fortunate, even blessed I was, to–right there in the middle of the seventies–live somewhere where girls were encouraged to succeed in math and science.

I lived for Mr. Hagen’s lectures and for the way he taught math not by rote, but in such a way we understood not just what to do, but why. It almost became instinctual. Mr. Hagen was also very patient. So forgiving when I showed up late to class after lunch, meaning well, but struggling not to giggle through class sitting next to one of my best friends, Cyndi Smith.

The next year Mr. Hagen was followed by new teacher, someone who had transferred from another school. I don’t recall his name, but he had short reddish hair and wore glasses. Almost a little Kevin Kline-ish. One day he came into class and wrote an equation that took up the entire blackboard. (Yeah–remember those? Probably not.) He promised to give an A for the entire semester to any student who could solve the equation. We still had to turn in our work, but we would have a guaranteed A.

It took us a couple of weeks, but two of us eventually solved that big old long equation. Oh man, I loved solving equations! And I loved earning that A.

My love for math died a cold cruel death just the next year, on account of my trigonometry teacher. Having been spoilt by the in-depth explanations and understanding provided by Mr. Hagen and his successor, I was anxious to understand the whys behind trig.

“Because that’s just what you do,” was the brusk, unsatisfying reply I got from my instructor. I don’t recall even finishing the course, but I tested out of college math and have never taken another math course since. Although I like to joke now and then with a sarcastic “math is hard,” I miss being able to solve equations. I think I loved math because the rules are finite and predictable. And I much prefer problems I can solve to those I can’t.

Since I went from bad to good and then good to bad, let me end this with another recollection. At some point during high school I had the opportunity to compete with other high school students in regional college-bowl type competition. One of my favorite moments of the event was when I was battling it out with a tough competitor and the questions got a little tricky. The entire audience grew silent as I quickly slammed the button almost before the following question was completed. “What is a four-letter word for social intercourse that ends with “K.”

Talk!” I exclaimed.

A huge sigh of relief eased its way out of the adults in the room, along with a few snickers from the peanut gallery.

They thought they had me.

But they were wrong.





Post edit: Lest I present the past through rose-colored glasses, might I add that also in between my not-enoughness in elementary school and my likely overrated accolades as a senior, there were plenty of awkward moments, dateless Saturday nights, broken heart(s), mediocre writing assignments, a geeky prom date, being stood-up for the homecoming dance by the bad boy who wasn’t looking for a nice girl, being humbled by the barbed and forked tongues of mean girls, and the authorship of a really bad rhyming couplet poem about mute swans (somewhat forgiven on account of a couple of decent haiku.

That thing formerly known as NaBloPoMo

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know that while I am sort of hit and miss, there is one thing I do fairly consistently and that is flood you with daily blog posts every November. I used to call it NaBloPoBlahBlahBlah. From what I can tell, BlogHer has hijacked NaBloPoMo and, for some reason, like the FlyLady and e-Bay, has banished me (read, made it impossible for me to register/login). Since I’ve been relegated to rogue status, I’m going to start a bit early to get warmed up. Also, this year, I’ve decided to at least attempt a theme. I’d like to use November to turn some memories and stories into words before I forget. Disclaimer: Like those of my dear grandmother, some of my memories may or may not be true or entirely accurate. But they are real to me.

This is a photo of the upper part of my Grandpa’s ranch. To be more accurate, it is my Grandpa and Grandma Rex’s ranch. Or it was. The part from which most of my childhood memories come has been sold. But the sagebrush is the same pale green/grey and the sky the same clear blue, almost as deep as my grandfather’s eyes when he looked straight up into yours on the rare occasion when he spoke to you, and the dirt. Well, know you know from whence comes my love for red dirt.

I wish I had a picture of my Grandpa. But think of an old (so therefore now), nearly silent Harrison Ford, wearing a plaid polyester cotton western shirt, a broken-in offbrand pair of work jeans, worn and dusty cowboy boots, which he could rightfully wear, and a straw Stetson.

In my mind Grandpa’s truck was the color of ranch road dust. But it must have been tan or yellowish or maybe not. I just remember the red-dirt dust. I remember the first time Grandpa told me to drive it back up to the ranch house to get something or other. I have no idea how old I was. Only that I had never driven a car or a truck before. That my little sister was with me. And that neither one of us could hardly reach the clutch with our feet and see out the dusty front window with our eyes at the same time. I can’t tell you how many times we killed it. Or how we possibly got it from wherever we were back to the ranch house. Maybe we didn’t. I just know that even now, at 50 years old, I can still feel that stone cold panic one feels when someone one doesn’t dare disappoint requires the unknown and impossible.

Another memory that comes to mind when I think of Grandpa’s truck is of riding in the back of the truck. This was, of course, back in the day when riding in the back of a pickup truck was just as accepted as riding in the front without a seatbelt. In other words, we did it all the time.

I have no idea how old I was. When on the ranch, we were as ageless as the ranch was timeless. But I remember being in the back of Grandpa’s truck with at least two of my siblings. I was sitting on the passenger-side edge of the truckbed. As one did, even though common sense dictates that sitting on the top edge of a truckbed while bouncing down an unpaved, wheel-rutted old ranch road is well, either stupid or crazy or a little of both.

Grandpa went around a turn and one of the rusty old 55-gallon drums that for some unknown reason were also in the back of Grandpa’s truck came rolling straight at me. So, clearly valuing limb over life, I lifted both my legs straight up and let the barrel run right under them. Harmlessly, or so I thought. Until the barrel stopped and the rest of me preceded the trajectory of my legs and flipped right over the side of Grandpa’s truck.

Of course Grandpa wasn’t driving very fast (driving fast on a ranch road is darn near impossible, but that’s not to say there are some, mainly the young, who haven’t tried it). He must have watched me go right over, because he stopped the truck. I’m pretty sure I hit my head on the cold hard ground. Because I don’t remember anything from the moment I started to fall back–like a trust fall only with no one there to trust–and the moment I remember waking up and looking a long way up into my Grandpa’s face.

Now how my head likes to the tell the story, there was a rattlesnake right near where I fell and my grandpa killed it with his two bare hands so as to save my life. My grown-up self now (only just now, in the past couple of years) questions my ageless child-self about these details. In fact, the entire memory reeks of an asynchronous Louis L’Amour novel/Hallmark movie mashup. Or something.

But that’s what the little girl in me remembers when she thinks about red-dirt dusted pick-ups, old metal drums, red-ranch dirt, pale green-grey sagebrush, bumps on the head, or the warning rattle of a western rattlesnake.

Going home

You can take the girl out of the Pacific Northwest but you can’t (nor should you ever) take the Pacific Northwest out of the girl. Heading to Puget family to gather with my Dad’s siblings and their families this week. Blogging from my iPhone is not ideal, but it is a luxury and an opportunity to note a few favorites I don’t want to forget. If seeing is believing for you, you may want to find me on Instagram (dalenerowley).

My favorite things:

Slick red rental, Dodge’s Stow-And-Go, jacks/USB ports/cup holders for everyone, DVD player, double Red Box codes

Nature’s flatlining in Idaho, farm country, “Snake” (river that is, winding its way)

Baby brother and fam, excellent hosts who think of everything and roll with it when we impose on them more than we intended (after all, we are a party of 7), Zack–I like your beard, first road trip with our new daughter (love ya–Emily!), Shane making Basin connections with the bright, funny and adorable Tressa Gilbert, home movies, poofy hair and baby doll dresses on toddler sisters, bran muffins

low tires, more Red Box codes, husband who listened and pulled off in LeGrande, son who found the nail in the tire, wonderful team at Les Schwab who got us on our way in no time, breath duly taken by seeing the trees through the forests, tree farm, wind farms, Oregon Trail, Columbia River Gorge, wildflowers, wildfires, twin spotted fawns, yet another favorite brother, the shed/cabin, Pine Hollow, Hunger Games, reading perch, tree climbers, Aspen Alley, Witches Burn (?), imagination, Gator ride, Mexican food, Klickitat, wildlife, Multnomah Falls, Bailey, Friday Night Lights (and sirens and sleep

p.s. Tardis port-a-potty – it’a not bigger on the inside.


Remembering Kate

Note: I don’t do death days and I never repost, but today as I ask my friends and family to take a minute to send a happy thought heavenward and to remember to be kind and to love the ones we’re with, I thought it would be a good day to remember Kate here as well. Original post date: July 2, 2006.

I’d like you to meet my friend Kate. I want to honor her memory. But I’m afraid my words won’t do her justice. It’s always difficult to tell a story that doesn’t belong to you. But sometimes you just have to try.



I remember–



The day I first really met her. She had just turned twelve. She wasn’t sure what she wanted me to call her. Katharine, Katie, Kate. “I’ll call her Kate,” I thought to myself. She seemed quiet and unsure of herself. I always thought she was so beautiful and kind. Her smile warmed your heart.



A few years later I got to know and love her mother like a sister. And I would hear bits and painful pieces of Kate’s story, which parts are not mine to tell. I will just say she struggled and suffered in ways I can’t imagine. Except that because I sensed part of her pain was because she didn’t feel worthy of the love that surrounded her, I felt like I understood somewhat. My one wish for Kate was the same wish I have for so many–that she could see herself through the eyes of those who love her.



Kate invited me to her graduation from rehab. I was so honored to be asked to attend. She kept telling me not to come if it was too much trouble. But I would not have missed it for the world.


It was so real. I remember thinking, “I wish we could do this in Relief Society.”


My name is Dalene and…


I looked around the room–at broken lives and broken hearts–and willed us all to be better.



I was so proud of Kate.



Kate still struggled, but she was working so hard to choose a better path. The spark was back in her eyes. Her smile was dazzling and her heart was as kind and generous as ever. Every time I saw her I just had to take her in my arms and give her the biggest hugs. But with Kate you always got back so much more than you gave.


I remember one Christmas when she borrowed her mother’s credit card to purchase a present for me. A candle, a soothing gel eye mask, and some lovely hand-made soap. Gifts from the heart meant to encourage me to nurture and care for myself. How I hoped she would do the same for herself.



At the beginning of the summer of 2004 I remember one sunny afternoon. Kate–who had recently given me the best haircut I’d ever had–was going to cut my kids’ hair. She was at the house with a friend of hers. Emily was there studying for a test. My kids felt comfortable and easy. Warmth, love, friendship and acceptance hung in the air. It was the perfect day.



July 3, 2004. My family had just endured one more hot patriotic parade. We have been doing this for years–it’s tradition. And so we know very well the worst time in the world to go to the arts fair downtown is right after the parade–everyone from the region is there. We never go to the arts fair right after the parade. So we headed our van full of hot, hungry and tired kids toward home. Then, inexplicably, we turned the car around in the midst of all the traffic and drove to the arts fair. No one was having a good time, but we went anyway.


As we stood in the line for the snow cones we saw Kate and a guy she’d been dating. They fell in line behind us and I bought them a snow cone. It was a simple thing, but it gave me pleasure.


Kate and I visited for a minute. She told me of her plans for the future. She was looking ahead with a little uncertainty, but with definite eagerness. She was working to prepare herself to be able to go to the temple in time for good friend’s wedding. She told my Lindsay she was an angel. I told Kate–as I always did when I saw her–“I love you.” She stopped and asked me “Why?” It pained me that she didn’t know. So I tried to tell her what a great person she was, what a kind friend, how amazing, beautiful and wonderful. My words were insufficient, but I hoped she was listening to my heart and not my voice. Now I wish I would’ve simply replied, “Because you’re you.”


I hugged her once more and we said good-bye.



I was at Melody’s the next day when Shane came to get me with the news. My memory of that message stands still-framed in the arch of Melody’s doorway. Sometimes I still stop short when I pass through and remember.


I can’t even talk about what followed. But it is one of my worst memories. Such unfathomable grief. Still…


The week was a whirlwind. Preparing comfort food for the family that couldn’t bring themselves to eat. Trying to find the perfect way to celebrate Kate’s life. The exact words to say what was in our hearts. The lingering scent of Patchoulli oil for a bereft sister. The desperate search for a banjo player and the perfect venue (I kept seeing the place in my head but couldn’t remember where it was). It all came together as miracles do. Tears mingled with laughter. Love and loss. Hearts that were broken and yet filled. Floods of memories. Never enough hugs. Heartfelt tributes. Balloons floating skyward. Pleading for peace.


I wanted to embrace the Smith family and give them some comfort. But what could I offer when I was grieving too?



I remember getting my kids ready for the viewing. “We need to say good-bye to Kate.” It wasn’t till afterwards, when I still felt empty, that it hit me.


We already said good-bye.


(Click here to hear a sweet tribute to Kate from local artist Colby Stead.)





In honor of Kate’s memory today, please take a moment and do something to brighten the day or lift the load of someone–anyone–around you. Give them a helping hand, a big hug, a warm smile, or a kind word…

Choose kindness.

Beep beep!

The other day (well, lots of other days ago–time flies), Kyle hollered from the living room into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner:

“Mom! Do we have an anvil?”

At first I thought he said Advil. Then my ears brought his words into focus and I hollered back to make sure:

“An anvil? Like the thing Wile E. Coyote used to drop down on the Road Runner all the time?”

“Yes. That.”

(As a side note, you must know I take some delight in the fact that my son, whose nickname used to be Coyote [Kyle. Kyle E. Wile E. Wile E Coyote. Coyote], was invoking his namesake.)

“No. We don’t have an anvil.”

(Really. I ask you. Who do you know that just happens to have an anvil sitting around getting all rusted up in his or her backyard, garage, or shed.)


It wasn’t two days later that I walked out my front door and almost tripped over an anvil right there on my front lawn.


Apparently a friend of Kyle’s just happened across an anvil somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, dug it up, and was willing to part with it for a cool $40.

Hey Mr. Road Runner! Better watch out!


So Kyle, who has become the King of the How-To Video, has taken a sudden interest in metal working. Smithing. Forge-ery. (OK, I made up that last one.) He has slowly acquired several odd tools, random parts and pieces of equipment (old brake drum anyone?) and has started to build his own forge. I’d like to say I’m helping in some way, but other than the occasional run to Lowe’s, Harbor Freight Tools, or Provo City Library, I’m mostly just getting out of the way and standing back to watch.

I watch him learn some things the hard way (which is ok, because I am starting to believe that those may be the lessons which stick with us the most). For example, some kinds of brick are better for retaining the necessary heat and therefore for forge-making than others.

I watch him learn to deal with nay-sayers.

I watch from the dining room window as a few other local teens come over to see what’s up and literally stick some iron (or what have you) in the fire.

I watch him dig out the Neosporin and the bandaids and nurse the occasional burn for a couple of days at a time.

It’s all good.


The first Saturday after softball season was over I had one thing on my mind: spending some quality time with the-child-who-gets-abandoned-annually-during-softball-season. Kyle wanted to check out the blacksmithing demo at the Pioneer Village. It was intresting. But it quickly became apparent that the volunteer doing the demo hasn’t spent as much time watching YouTube how-to videos or with his nose in the latest smithing book as Kyle. Kyle patiently watched for awhile and we ask a few questions. Then, when the nice man was perplexed about which tool to use for his intended task, Kyle thoughtfully found a way to offer a suggestion without making said nice man feel sheepish. That happened a couple of times and we watched a little longer before wandering through the rest of the village. On our way out we met up with another man who took our contact information and promised to put us in touch with the local blacksmithing club. (By club, I assumed he meant guild. And I already know that Kyle can join, but they won’t let him do any actual smithing in any of their classes until he’s 18. I know how to use the Internets too.)


Over dinner last night the subject of the anvil came up again. Apparently the version of its discovery as related to Kyle by the friend who was so quick to sell it to Kyle might not have been entirely factual. The boy’s mother tracked down Shane the other night to ask about the family heirloom anvil that has gone missing. We will be returning it straight away, as soon as Kyle gets his $40 back. Apparently anvils are a little harder to come by than tripping across on in a junkyard and are also a little more expensive than a cool $40.

“I’ll find another one,” Kyle says.

Of that I have no doubt.

My brain on ADD

(Note: This is only the Reader’s Digest condensed version. You’re welcome.)

I start the dishwasher. I get the kids out the door. I’m going to write a blog post about the bird whisperer. I’m going to write a blog post about my trip to Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. I’m going to write a blog post about my new job. I’m not going to write a blog post. I’m going to clean out my spam (Thanks a lot, not, WordPress). I’m going to email my uncle about buying a Subaru Forester. I’m going to shop for a Subaru Forester. I’m going to do the laundry. I’m going to make soap. I’m going to make cookies. I’m going to go test drive a Subaru Forester. I’m going to go to clean off the sofa so I can fine my parents’ wedding photo and Kyle’s cell phone. I’m going to move the furniture and vacuum (and look for Kyle’s cell phone). I make breakfast. My neighbor is cleaning out her garage and is selling a love sac and giving away good hardwood doors. I go to my neighbor’s house and decide “no” on the love sac but bring home a hardwood door and agree to help her later pull down some more hardwood doors from the top of her garage. I’m going to Vineyard nursery to buy hanging baskets (will they be high enough the dog won’t chew them up?) and a couple of potted flowers. I’m going to pot some flowers by my front door. I’m going to come home and get all that stuff done. I empty the dishwasher. I’m going to go out and clip the last of the fresh lilacs so I can enjoy them for a couple more days. I’m going to pick up the fresh eggs and make sure my chickens have water. The dog jumps on me while I’m carrying the lilacs in one hand and holding my shirt which is full of eggs up with my other hand. There are broken eggs in my shirt. I wash the eggs that remain unbroken and stain treat my shirt. I’m going to make soap. I’m going to write a blog post.