Saturday, May 28, 2011

Graveyard Hunting

(Don't worry, Beth - there are no zombies in this story.)

It all started with a name: Thaddeus Constantine Hix. Uncle Gordon let Mom know that an ancestor of ours was buried somewhere near Auburn and sent her a document with all of the information he had on him...which was not much:

Born: Jan. 14 1818.
Lived in White Oak Township, El Dorado.
Died: Jan 19 1868, and was buried at New York Ravine, next to his daughter.

Mom sent us this information and suggested we go find where he was buried.

But White Oak Township doesn't exist anymore, and there is no record of where it was. And New York Ravine? The nearest geographical location currently named that is a 2-hour drive to the north of El Dorado County and is in the middle of nowhere. So we did some research, found a list of historic graveyards around El Dorado County, and decided to do a little hunting when Sarah came up to visit for her birthday weekend.

We hit four graveyards- one in Pilot Hill, a town of 415; one called Uniontown, which was behind a barn at the end of a narrow lane; Pioneer Graveyard (which seemed promising); and Mormon Island Cemetery, which had been relocated so as to not be at the bottom of Folsom Lake. Even though we hit the most promising spots, we had no luck locating Thaddeus...we're guessing his grave is one of the hundreds marked with a weather-beaten rock or simply labeled "Unknown".

Although we didn't find Thaddeus, we sure did find a lot of other treasures. We saw beautiful green countryside and dilapidated old barns and we pulled over at historic points of interest. At the end of windy back roads, we were rewarded with tiny overgrown cemeteries. We ate lunch at an old saloon-turned-cafe. We stopped in Sutter's Mill and saw the cabin where James S Brown lived. We watched a blacksmith at work and listened to an old lady playing violin. All in all, we had an adventure.

And maybe we'll find him next time - there are still lots of remote graveyards to this one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's in a name?

I've spent the last few months thinking a lot about baby names. I've had more than one conversation go on a while before I have realized, or rather, remembered, that I think more about this than most people and should stop talking. Thank goodness for Carrie, who is very interested in the philosophy and science of name picking. She's always willing to discuss options with me and for a good percentage of my pregnancy, was sending me name options multiple times a week.

Here's a sampling of the 'rules' I've formulated and applied to the ongoing search. I thought it would be good to write them all down so you can see what the search committee has been dealing with.

1.No popular names. Nothing in the top 200, but also nothing that looks like it might in the next 5 years reach the top 200. Basically nothing with a trend line with a slope greater than 1, and preferably less than 0.
2. Nothing that ends in E or Y. Extra points if you can't even conceivably put an extra Y on there for fun. (i.e.- no one will ever call him Levi-y)
3. Nothing that starts with T or ends in T or S because both sound funny with Thomas.
4. The less syllables the better, with a cap at 2.
5. Easy to say when read, easy to spell when heard. And no ambiguous vowels (i.e. Mira).

While being so picky might seem to make it hard to choose, on the contrary, if you would believe it, there are very few names that actually fit all of these requirements. I think we've got it narrowed down to top 5, and maybe top 3. So now I guess its time for middle names? Whats your opinion about middle names? I don't have nearly as much to say about them.

So far I've got:
1. Better to have different number of syllables than first name
2. Levi's middle is a family name, so that might be a nice thing to keep up, but not necessary
3. If we can't come up with something we like, forget it altogether

Any submissions before its too late?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maker Faire

Saturday Gordon and I went to San Mateo to attend Maker Faire. We got to see my friends Clarence and Kendra, which was fun. It's a difficult event to explain. It's put on by MAKE magazine, and showcases people who "make" things. All kinds of things.

We watched a battle between Axis and Allies 1/144 scale combat ships, which shot actual, live rounds of BBs and 1/4 inch ball bearings.
We saw Lego cities.
We saw a robot pulling a chariot.
We saw a guy who would write a poem for you- you choose the price, and the topic.
I overheard a guy say, "I won't be able to die happy until I make my own sword."
We had our body composition tested by a new machine from GE. Not pretty.
We watched a demonstration by the Diet Coke and Mentos guys- 108 bottles.
One guy tried to sell us a homemade laser.
They had solar cars, bikes, and merry-go-rounds.
We watched sparks fly between two Tesla towers (one million volts).
And I got hit by a motorized muffin.

As we parked the car, and walked toward the event, Gordon said, "I hope we see some steampunk." No worries. We saw some within 3 minutes, and never stopped.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Survey Says!

1. What is the ideal pet?
c- a desiccated dead frog
b- no such thing. i don't really get the draw of pets. but a trained, wild hawk that would come sit on my wrist once a week would be nice.
s- gravy was a pretty awesome pet
c- A quiet, housetrained, short hair gray cat, that doesn't need too much attention. Or a desiccated dead frog.
v- Pet monkey, trained to serve chocolate milk to me and my guests
r- A kitten that would never grow up.

2. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
c- the ability to put my kids to sleep at will
b- to create food out of thin air.
s- I don't know I have so many already, I would like to be able to transport my self anywhere.
c- selective mind reading
v- Telekineses, and that is not just because I have a tough time picking up things off the floor right now
r- Teleportation. I could get off work and be at Beth’s house for dinner, Claire’s for dessert, Mom and Sarah’s for a movie, Dad’s for a tango party, Carrie’s for late night laughs, and then wake up with Levi and Vivian.

3. If you could only choose 3 movies to take to jail with you (or snowed in with, if that sounds more your taste), what would they be?
c- Harold and Maude. Search for the Holy Grail. I don't want to say the last one.
b- sound of music, pride and prejudice (6 hour version), and planet earth
s- not sure on this one maybe Anne of green gables 1,2 and 3
c- Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and Nell. I figure if I can study these, I can act crazy enough for everyone else to leave me alone.
v- Arrested Development Season 1, 2, and 3? Seems like good thing to watch in jail.
r- The Next Three Days, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Prison Break. I'm not staying in there.

4. What is the worst (or just a bad) purchase you have made?
c- probably a house in California in 2006
b- the tahoe. don't get me started. sad thing is, i still don't know what i would buy instead.
s- I've purchased some shoes that are just darn uncomfortable.
c- my current bike. ugh. i bought it quickly, because it was a close model to my recently stolen old bike, and I needed wheels bad. but man, i wish i had taken more time to decide.
v- This is an unfair question, since, according to Carrie, this actually IS my superpower.
r- This is a tough question, since I usually just ask Vivian what to buy.

5. Is there a friend from high school that you miss?
c- oh, I miss Jessica, of course.
b- i miss matt and na sometimes, but the old guys. not these new responsible ones...
s- did I have friends? I think Claire and Carolyn were my friends so I miss Claire does that count?
c- I'm sort of with Sarah. I've managed to keep in touch with most of my high school friends that I care about. I guess I'll go with the Smith brothers.
v- I wish Lisa (Jensen) Maskovich were sitting on my couch right now.
r- No one else gets me quite as competitive and adventurous and excited about things as Joel.

6. If you could get one spa service (massage, facial, pedicure, waxing, etc), what would it be?
c-did you know you can get other people to pluck your eyebrows?
b- permanent hair removal. think about it. no. shaving.
s- pedicure
c- Latisse eyelash treatment
v- Pedicure
r- A massage. I think my fold-out couch mattress is starting to get to me.

7. Tell about 2 sensory memories you have from when you were little?
c- summer nights sleeping out on the deck of the big house. Lying on our front lawn in Oregon, wrapped in a sheet, but naked underneath because I had Chicken Pox all over and I couldn't stand having clothes on.
b- running from tree house to camper when we lived outside (i can still feel it), and making yourself go under at the high school pool when you first get there.
s- watching lighting from the deck, I think I'm with v making grass houses
c- Going on a sunny, lupine-hunting picnic with Rachel. Playing in a strong wind storm with Vivian, pretending it was a real disaster, finding shelter in the old immobile Dodge Dart, screaming things like, "I'm not leaving without you!!" and finding a source of warmth at the laundry filter exhaust.
v- making houses in the tall spring grass with Claire. Pulling “stickers” out of my socks in the summer.
r- Running down the Fowler’s driveway at full speed, rounding the grassy trail at the metal building, tensing next to the crack, and coasting home. Being wet and muddy and stalking tadpoles.

8. What should be the name of the street that we all live on when we are old?
c- Blue Hair Lane
b- Blasted Park
s- Ashby we already have the sign
c- Woodpile Court
v- Orville Ave (Cayucos, CA)
r- The way I see it, we’ll be living on our no-longer-entailed estate on Blue Heron Lane. So we just need to have a cool name for our manor house.

9. What is the sickest (or most pained) you have ever been?
c- Dengue fever. Bad news.Oooh, but vomiting after eye surgery was bad too.
b- when i woke up from gall bladder surgery. that hurt so bad. and this last labor. that was fast and ugly. i felt like someone had hit the eject button for my guts. (sorry viv.)
s- after 8th grade graduation and Claire and I had a reaction to medication.
c- smashing my finger in doors. specifically the auberry elementary lower playground girls' bathroom stall doors. this happened more times than it should have.
r- When I thought I was going to lose my finger AND my sister ring. It was painful, but mostly traumatizing.

10. If you were in the circus, which act would you be in?
c- can I ride a horse? I think I'd like to ride a horse.
b- trapeze. for sure.
s- concession stand?
c- some kind of freak...
v- Elephant girl. Whatever she does, I’m kinda hazy on what a circus actually entails. Elephant girl. Whatever she does, I’m kinda hazy on what a circus actually entails.
r- Acrobat

11. What is a calling you fear?
c- nursery. and camp director.
b- primary teacher. and nursery.
s- president of anything
c- ward missionary, or anything requiring me to attend Girls' Camp
v- primary singing time person, RS pres
r- Seminary teacher. anything to do with primary.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I was reading through old blog posts and found myself amused by this little entry from April, 2007:

Which sister would you most want to be stranded on a desert island with, and why?

Carrie: Sarah, cause she would leave most of the seaweed and coconuts for me to eat.

Rachel: Beth, for sure. I wouldnt know what to do with myself, but with Beth there we would have huts and food and an irrigation system in no time.

Vivian: Claire, because we could sit together in the sun and she would read to me.

Claire: Sorry guys, but I’m gonna have to go with Carrie on this one. I mean, her medical skills have to be worth something, right?

Beth: Sarah. Who else is gonna watch my kids while I set up an irrigation system?

Sarah: can i pick all of you? ok if just one then Claire. she would be sensible about the whole thing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home and Family of Losers?

Chris left on his most recent trip to the Philippines on the day before his birthday. Being the doting, organized wife that I am, I didn't think about it very much until the morning that he was leaving, then I ran around trying to think of things that would make him feel special on his special day. Eventually I stuffed a Jolly Rancher with a paper birthday candle taped to it into his suitcase and figured I'd try to make it up to him when he got back.

This is Chris's third or fourth visit to Manilla, where he always stays at the same hotel, often for weeks at a time. This time when he arrived, he was met by a group of hotel staff, who sang Happy Birthday to him, gave him a cake (with real candles), and this card:

Fortunately I think a 'Turndown Service and Bubble Bath' from his 'home and family of Butlers' might terrify my husband nearly as much as bellydancers. Otherwise I would really feel like a shmuck. I'm going to have to step it up around here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Well, Hello There

When we first got our rabbit, Fishy-Nipper, he seemed like the perfect pet. Quiet, friendly, reasonably low-maintenance, cute...and theoretically house-broken. If by housebroken you mean 'only pees in my closet but poops constantly everywhere else', then I guess he is housebroken.
We tried having him live in the attic, but he eats fiberglass and chews on the electrical wires. We've had him on the back porch in a little hutch recently, but it's starting to get hot for a little guy with fur. So, I had this big idea that i would 'accidentally' leave the hutch open, and if he hopped off to greener pastures, well, I would have Fished My Wish. After leaving his cage open all morning, I wandered by the back door to see this:

Anybody want a bunny?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gregory Kid Update

New member of the family. Isn't she lovely?

Lucy's entry at the local Artist's Market

Why are little kids playing soccer so cute?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Most Embarrassing

so... i have a hard time retaining in memory my most embarrassing moments. i am sure i have had some good ones. i can even remember thinking "this! this will be what i remember and tell..", but nope. they fly away. i can remember a few that have great stories attached, like when tim swung the headlights around on me (let me know if you want to hear that story and i'll decide whether or not our relationship can stand it), but mostly i get over it and forget.

but not this time.

so i have a crush on a woman in my ward. she is very beautiful, very put together, long, amazing hair, and very well dressed. she is also 6'1". she is very nice, but not friendly, in a shy way. she is so TALL and cool, and the wife of our first counselor in our stake (also super cool and very funny). i can get along with just about anyone, but this woman throws me. we don't cross paths much, and i get embarrassed really quick, and have a hard time thinking what to say to her. she is SO nice, but not helpful in a conversation. she mostly just stands there, looking amazing and smiling.


you know how humbling it is to look foolish in front of someone you are trying to get to like you, even worse if it is some one you feel awkward around anyway.

well, i was up at the store at 8:30pm one night (read: past bedtime) with 4 kids (read: tired and cranky). i was pregnant (read: wiped out and hurting) and i had a huge cart full of food that had taken 45 min to collect. i live about 20 min away from the grocery store, and i had just found out after waiting in line that the new store i picked didn't take discover cards, i didn't have my bank card for some reason, and they didn't take checks. these nice friends live just down the street. so i swallowed my pride and called her. she graciously came over and paid for the groceries, and i wrote her a check, blabbering the whole time. no big deal, helped me out so much, but it still flustered me and i worried that it may have put me on the "slightly incompetent/non-self sufficient" team.

But i still hoped that she was charitable enough to give me a bye. i may be able to have enough other positive contact with her to "prove" that i am not on that team.

so a few weeks later, i am in madera in another grocery store, and it is my first run out with new baby colin and jack. i am only 3 weeks post baby (read: no sleep/borderline crazy). i see her with her 3 children in the store. we smile and i try hard make sense (read: not gush) and answer her intelligently (read: finish a sentence and not stutter).

you know how in a store, when you see people you know, you say hi/good bye, but you run into them over and over again as you walk the isles? so awkward! do you say hello again? do you pretend not to see them? do you make small talk about what ever you are holding ("how about this lettuce!") ? do you try to hold your breath and do a flip turn at the end of the lane?

so we end up at the check out together. her children are smiley but silent and waiting, just like their mother. i fumble through unloading, crying baby, jack "helping", paying and putting the groceries into bags, all the while trying to force casual, friendly competence (read: short, manic bursts of me trying to be likable).

i get finished, make sure i have my card back, load jack up, and get my receipt. i toss out a friendly (or was it crazed?) good bye and run out, wondering what it is in my brain that i need to surgically correct in order to have a normal conversation with this woman.

i am taking deep breaths to calm my self down as i push my cart to my car and start unlocking the door when her 14 year old runs up to me.

"sister lawrence! sister lawrence! you left all your groceries at the check out!"

i stare at her for 3 clicks, then slowly turn and look in my cart. sure enough, there is nothing in there that i didn't give birth to. no grocery bags, no milk. nothing.

to make it worse, i saw her husband (i have a crush on him too) the next day and i shook my head as i told him about running in to his wife, and he said,

"oh yes! that was the topic of conversation around the dinner table last night."

i am totally on that team. sigh.