Word of the Week: Stolid

stolid  /adj./  not easily stirred or moved mentally.  unemotional.  impassive.  matter-of-fact.  inert.  wooden.  uninterested.  unmoved, unresponsive.  lumpish.

stolid  /adj./  1.  I can tell that I'm out of practice at this.  In the past, the word I chose would shape my destiny for the week.  I picked "stolid," not only because Ms. Estes used it several times in her book and it caught my fancy, but because I could use a bit of stolid life.  I have talked to several people this week who said, "I read your blog.  Sounds like you're having a hard time."  And I needed a bit of unemotional, lumpish days to counteract all the internal upheaval.  I'm not sure if it was just wishful thinking or if an eight-month hiatus from word-of-the-week has changed things, but the week was not stolid in any way.  In fact, there were moments when I thought, "This is the exact opposite of stolid.  Where are you 'stolid'?"  And so in the midst of change, even word-of-the-week has failed me, and I feel as though I have lost my bearings altogether. 

stolid  /adj./  2.  On Friday David came home for lunch and asked me about my word-of-the-week.  He told me he'd never heard of it.  I assured him that it was an actual word.  "Well, what does it mean?"  I told him.  He looked skeptical.  I asked him if he was teasing me.  He grinned and denied it.  I asked him if he wanted to fight about it.  He said no and tried to kiss me.  I told him just for that I was only going to kiss him stolidly.  I tried as hard as I could to remain impassive (I had a point to prove, see?), and it worked for about ten seconds.  Then I gave up.  After the kiss, knowing that I failed, I asked, "So how'd I do at stolid kissing?"  He told me that he didn't marry me for my stolidness.  Which was some consolation, I suppose.

(It has come to my attention that there may be far too many kissing pictures on my blog.  More evidence that stolidness is not one of my strong points.)

stolid  /adj./  3.  After several days of tears about the length of the school day, Ethan has resigned himself to his fate.  This morning he sat on the couch, staring out the window, and said stolidly, "Today is the 11th day of school," and then asked quietly, "How many more days of school in this week?"  Caleb told him three if you count today.  And then he gave a stolid little sigh and went to dump the sand out of his shoes.  I almost prefer the tears to this stoic, subdued surrender.  It was like something had died in him.  (I told you, I can't be stolid for anything.  Melodramatic, however, is no problem.) 

(This un-stolid picture was taken at our annual back-to-school brunch.)

stolid  /adj./  4.  Tonight David and I are going to the viewing of a friend.  He died unexpectedly on Sunday morning and left behind an amazing wife, four children and a baby on the way.  I can imagine that he did not want to leave them on any condition.  And still, heaven called him home.  My heart is broken for his wife and children.  I have wondered several times this week at how God bears it, He who is full of perfect compassion and boundless charity, how He can stand it, and how His heart must break at His children's unimaginable grief.  I do not believe in a stolid God.  I believe he weeps right along with them and with us, who know and love them.  I believe in a God that aches for us, that suffered every pain and tragedy.  All I can do is pray.  But I pray to a God that knows what is best, that knows it will be alright in the end, and sends comfort and angels in the meantime.

(More about that comfort here.)

Word of the First Three Months: Harbinger

These "word of the week" posts used to come weekly.  (Was I ever that together?)  Actually, if you'll remember, I did do a harbinger post here, but just never got around to making it official and posting it on my sidebar.  So there.  And anyway, it turns out that the universe had a reason for me not getting it together earlier.  You can read about that here.

I'll bet you had no idea I was that important in the universe.

You stand corrected.

Anyway, here is a quick post about one of my favorite words.

harbinger  /n./  a person or thing that comes before to announce or give an indication of what follows.  herald.  anything regarded as a token of what is to follow.  a foretaste of what is to come.  augury.  precursor.  forerunner.  omen.  portent.

harbinger /n./  1.  Last night Olivia had her first softball game ever.  David has been pushing me to sign her up for years.  He finally wore me down and I reluctantly signed her up.  We all sat on the bench last night and cheered her on and watched her get two base hits, an RBI, and make an inning-ending play with a nice throw from second base.  As I watched her glowing from the infield, I had the thought that this night was only a harbinger of hundreds of others I will likely spend under the lights, sitting on an aluminum bench, cheering her on.  David just grinned at me all night.  It must be taxing to always be right.

And now, for her, and her grandparents, here is her first hit during her first at-bat: 


Another harbinger, I suspect.

harbinger /n./  2.  As I was cheering for Olivia, I was working on some applique for a quilt we are auctioning off at the Spring Tea hospital benefit in May. 

The lady behind me asked me what I was working on.  When I explained it was the beginning of a tree and that I still need to add leaves and flowers, she shook her head and said, "Wow.  That's going to take a while."

I smiled and agreed.

And then my smile promptly faded as I remembered that it's supposed to be done in two weeks and that I'm running out of time.  And fast.  About the same time I remembered the invitations for the event (that I was supposed to seal and stamp and send) were still sitting in the back of my car (unsealed, unstamped, and unsent).  I prayed desperately that neither of these were harbingers for the success (or failure) of the actual event itself. 

harbinger  /n./  3.  Next week my kids all have standardized testing.  And the harbingers of stress and anxiety have already started in earnest.  The AIMS tests have made their way into the children's prayers, and every day I get another note home saying how important it is that my children get plenty of rest, have a good breakfast, are well-groomed (what?), and are propped up with positive encouragement.  A couple of days ago I told the kids that I would be gone for part of the week for quilt retreat.  They nearly came undone, certain that this disruption in their schedule was a harbinger for disaster on their tests.  And I am wondering how keeping our teachers and schools "accountable" has resulted in creating inordinate amounts of stress for my children.  Good grief.

harbinger /n./  4.  We spent part of our spring break in Santa Barbara last week visiting some very good friends.  I keep meaning to post all about our hours of freedom together, and maybe even make a movie, but haven't found the time amidst the demands of regular life.  Perhaps this is the real harbinger that our break is really and truly over.

Word of the Week: Detritus

detritus  /n./  rock in small particles or other material worn or broken away from a mass, as by the action of water or glacial ice.  any disintegrated material.  debris.  fragments.  garbage or waste.  matter.  rubbish.  scree.  silt.  tuff.  rubble.  shavings.  leavings.

detritus  /n./  1.  I have always loved this word.  The letters themselves, put together in this combination, sound like the leftover sand and rocks rolling around in the bottom of a beach bag.  And in addition to that, it is my constant companion.  Detritus and entropy dog me ceaselessly.

detritus  /n./  2.  I have to admit I almost discontinued "word-of-the-week."  It felt almost like the detritus of another time, and that maybe I ought go in a different direction with my blog this year.  But then I realized I had only posted once between my last two SPT's.  Apparently, I need more reasons to post, not less.

detritus  /n./  3.  Last week was rough.  Re-entry into regular life after two weeks vacation with my darlings was harsh and shocking.  It always is.  When I commented just that, David only said resignedly, "I knew it would be."  Last Monday, when I found myself surrounded on all sides by detritus of every kind (laundry, holiday decorations, suitcases and boxes from our trip to Michigan, ashes in the fireplace, and new toys with no "home") and simultaneously deserted by everyone I live with, a small rebellion ensued.  Not to mention a hearty resentment stew boiling away in my hard heart.  There was enough there to last more than a few days.  But eventually, I cleaned up both the detritus and my heart (you can guess which one took longer), and by Saturday night, it was livable here again.

 detritus  /n./  4.  By the end of last year, working (blogging and editing pictures) on our home computer was just about impossible.  There is so much detritus on there from programs the kids have uploaded and downloaded and generally unloaded on there, that it has brought it to an almost excruciating standstill when you're trying to do anything requiring even the least bit of memory.  David, seeing my plight, bought me a brand new Dell laptop for Christmas.  And in particular, a red one.  He was very specific about that last point.  I was so shocked and confused when I opened it (I thought it was an electric skillet?) I started bawling from the surprise.  (I'm sure that will shock most of you, considering my decidedly un-lachrymose nature.  Last night I did start bawling while I was making hamburgers, but my blood sugar was low, so there.)  Anyway, I am feeling extremely blessed to be using it.  In addition to all this, David spent a good two and a half hours on the phone and on the computer getting my wireless internet hooked up on Thursday night.  I know how lucky I am.  (Especially considering everything in the paragraph above.) 

detritus  /n./  5.  It seems we barely put away the detritus of the space station project, and Caleb is already nudging me to help him start his science project.  He told me yesterday, "Mom, I really think we need to order those petri dishes today."  I really think Target should have a petri dish section.

detritus  /n./  6.  In an effort to clear up some of the detritus leftover from last year and "start fresh," we finished reading the Book of Mormon this past week.  We read the last chapter of Moroni together on Tuesday night and then ate cake.  We believe in celebration around here. 

Word of the Week: Sanguinely

sanguinely /adv./  cheerfully optimistically.  assuredly.  buoyantly.  confidently and enthusiastically. expectantly.  lively.  hopefully.  also with reddish or ruddy color, floridly.

sanguinely  /adv./  1.  I think perhaps I had a hard time with this word this week, because the word itself doesn't sound sanguine to me at all.  The middle syllable in particular sounds like you opened a box of something distasteful and reminds me of dissecting frogs in 7th grade.  And so the week did not go sanguinely, at least for me.  There were moments spent in the exact opposite way in fact.  But we woke to rain this morning, sanguinely pattering on the roof and skylights, dark clouds covering everything, and so I am sanguinely publishing this post and hoping for days and days of rain and turkey and games around our kitchen table.

sanguinely  /adv./  2.  Olivia was delighted at her viola lesson this week to be invited to play at the big Christmas recital.  Her teacher has been astounded at her progress and believes she's ready to perform.  Olivia, of course, sanguinely accepted the invitation, beamed all the way home, and has been madly practicing the can-can ever since.

sanguinely  /adv./  3.  Savannah had her second grade "Johnny Appleseed" play this last week.  She wanted to memorize her part and spent a good part of the week pacing the house reciting lines about John Chapman's life.  She narrated beautifully and did her own share of sanguinely beaming.  The highlight of the play, though, came when David cancelled a meeting and surprised her by showing up.  He said when he walked up he had never seen such a grin on her face.  I am including a video of her part for her grandparents whom, I'm sure, will sanguinely applaud me for doing so.  Please notice the scenery that I helped create.  David was duly impressed of course. 

sanguinely  /adv./  4. Caleb and I spent more hours than I care to think about working on his aerospace project this week.  He and his team are sanguinely predicting a big win at the competition next week, but I am nervously worrying about all the "black holes" in our research and plans.  But there is little we can do now.  We have built and rebuilt and typed and retyped and thought and rethought, plus glued and sawed, and drilled, and mod-podged, and watercolored, and scale drawinged, and made a gazillion trips to Home Depot.  All that's left is the bibliography (which is substantial) and securing the solar panels (which are sadly skewampus).  Truth be told, I would find an "honorable mention" downright miraculous.  I keep telling the boys that this is just a learning experience, but their enthusiasm will not be dampened.

This was the state of my feet on Monday night after a day of helping 11-year-old boys spray paint.  They came clean, but my garage floor will never be the same.

sanguinely  /adv./  5.  On Saturday we drove down to Tucson to visit Daniel (my cousin) and Carol (his wife) and their lovely girls.  We went to watch the BYU vs. Utah game (we don't have any kind of cable) on their large theatre screen and have dinner.  The girls disappeared shortly after our arrival, emerged for dinner, and shed a few tears at our leaving.  When I announced that it was time to go, they said, "What?!" with utter shock and consternation.  BYU lost horribly to their big rivals, but David took it okay.  In fact, when we left to drive down he rather un-sanguinely said, "I have a bad feeling about this." (Meaning the game, not the car ride.)  They live in near some gorgeous mountains covered in saguaros, and this gorgeous specimen is right in front of their house.

sanguinely  /adv./  6.  On Sunday night, David and I attended "Priesthood Preview" with Caleb who will turn 12 this year and receive the Aaronic priesthood.  This was, of course, one of those moments that kind of stops in your tracks and you wonder "What just happened here?"  In the middle of the meeting they asked the boys to stand together and sing "Called to Serve."  Caleb sanguinely belted out his part, regardless of the other quiet, tentative, 11-year-old voices around him.  When the other boys looked at the floor or blushed shamefully at each other, Caleb stood up tall, looked straight at us and sang out his testimony.  I was busting.  I love that he knows who he is.   

Word of the Week: Reticent

reticent  /adj./  habitually silent or uncommunicative, disinclined to speak readily.  reserved.  taciturn. having a restrained, quiet, or understated quality.  bashful.  hesitant or shy.  tight-lipped.  clammed up.

reticent  /adj./  1.  Not being a reticent person myself, it might surprise you to know how much I really like this word.  That first syllable is so quiet you hardly know what's coming before it's already upon you, and then the last syllable bashfully quiets the word back down, as if it's sorry it spoke at all.

reticent  /adj./  2.  For whatever reason, I've been reticent to talk about last week, as I don't know how to capture it accurately.  In many ways it was just a dumb week, with a number of wasted days thrown in the mix.  But last night at dinner, David said something like, "We need to post those pictures of..." by which he meant I need to post those pictures.  And this only made me even more reticent to share any of it because its my blog after all, etc.  But here I am, reticently repenting. 

Maybe one reason I'm so disinclined to be reticent is that I look just plain weird with my mouth closed.  I need more lip to cover my teeth properly.

reticent  /adj./  3.  We had our family picture taken on Monday and Tuesday this week.  Yeah, that's right, it was a two-day affair.  I will only say that this was not by design.  (I will not say why...I am determined to stay reticent on this point.)  But this felt like a couple of wasted days because of all the prep it takes to get us looking presentable.  It's a job, believe me.  Our last good family picture was taken when Ethan was one and I was bound and determined this year to get a real live, official family picture taken.  Now we are anxiously awaiting the proofs.  I am two parts gleeful anticipation and one-and-a-half parts fearful trepidation.  I wanted it to be colorful...and it was.  David is quietly concerned about this and would have preferred us to all match.  Luckily for me, in our whole married life he has never once said, "I told you so."  (Even though he could have about a million times.)

reticent  /adj./  4.  The kids had Tuesday off school and so we went to the drive-in movie after our almost-family-picture on Monday night.  We blew up an air mattress for the back of the car and let the kids lay on that, while David and I sat on camp chairs outside and were, surprisingly, plenty cold by the end of the show.  (Though I'm reticent to complain about the cold because we've waited so long for it to arrive.  In fact, we're back to hot again today and I was boiling in bed last night.  It's not beginning to feel anything like Christmas.  The flannel sheets are going on the beds in a week...we're all going to have to sleep naked.)


reticent  /adj./  5.   Tuesday was spent family picturing (again) and playing games (it was a minor holiday).  Wednesday I had to go to the school to help with scenery for the upcoming 2nd grade play and the rest of the day was eaten up with mothering interruptions.  By Thursday I was starting to panic about my upcoming talk and the state of my house.  (My usual cleaning day is Monday, so by Thursday even RIM couldn't think straight.)  I am reticent to admit that I am pretty much a non-functioning human being when my house is a mess, or even (dare I admit it) when I "feel" like it is dirty.  So I scrubbed my way to sanity and then spent the next couple of days working on my talk for stake standards night on Sunday evening.  And my kids asked several times, "Aren't you done with that yet?" (I told you it was a dumb week.)

reticent  /adj./  6.  On Friday night we went to the Fall Festival at Caleb's school.  It's mostly a fundraiser, but they have dinner and a few carnival-like games.  We didn't stay for long, but the kids had a good time and got their fill of cotton candy and snow cones, which has to last them until the Lehi Rodeo in the spring.  Savannah asked David to hold her cotton candy while she frosted a cupcake at one of the booths, and he was reticent to admit that it was significantly smaller when he handed it back to her.  There was a gorgeous full moon that night and on the way home I pointed it out, to which Olivia said, "That's a perfect moon for running away."  What the?  Just when I was planning to ask her if she was happy at home she followed it with, "If I was an Indian that would be a perfect running-away moon."  I have no idea what happens inside her mind.

reticent  /adj./  7.  For a post on reticent, this certainly isn't very, is it?  I won't be a bit offended, if you stopped reading at number 3. 

Word of the Week: Ascribe

ascribe /vt./  to credit or assign, as to a cause or source.  to attribute or think of as belonging, as a quality or characteristic.  accredit.  credit.  impute.  hang on.  pin on.

ascribe  /vt./  1.  The appearance of this post can only be ascribed to Rachel, who when I told her I was going to put the word-of-the-week on hold for the rest of the year, gasped out loud in horror.  Bless you, Rara.  This one is for you.

ascribe  /vt./  2.  The word "ascribed" has been pounding through my head, ever since we sang this line at church last week (and a little):  "To Him ascribed be, Honor and majesty, Thru all eternity, Worthy the Lamb!"  (I especially like the exclamation point, don't you?)  I like the way ascribe sounds, especially in the past tense, when you say it in three syllables...a.scrib.ed.  If my life were a musical, that's how I would say it all the time.

ascribe  /vt./  3.  My absence from all things blog can be ascribed mostly to the pace of my life and the length of my list these days.  To be honest, there is no actual list, just a wheel in my head that turns around and around saying, "What about this..."  "Don't forget this..." "You better start on..."  (This wheel sounds suspiciously like RIM, while CIM just thinks its a good idea to take Tuesday afternoon off and play Monopoly with my boys.  Ethan creamed us by the way.  He kept saying "Nope, that's too expensive," and only bought Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues, while I bought everything I landed on.  I ended up going bankrupt and selling most everything to him in the end.  It was a little too frighteningly close to my actual life.)

ascribe /vt./  4. It seems like most of the week was taken up by the election.  The first part spent in nervous anticipation and after Tuesday, taken up with a bit of consolation pie and what can only be described as quiet, resigned acceptance.  But by Thursday, we had all recovered for the most part and life went on.  I can only ascribe this to the magic of pie.

ascribe  /vt./  5.  On Wednesday afternoon I took Savannah to get a haircut (which was badly needed and long overdue, and finally accomplishing it can only be ascribed to her constant prodding.)  It turned out darling and she said, "When you put this on your blog, you need to put an exclamation point by the 'after.'"  Indeed.  When David saw it he said, "I'm not sure if it makes her look older or younger."  As for me, I feel like I got my little girl back.

ascribe /vt./  6.  We had a big aerospace work party on Friday afternoon and evening.  The other boys in Caleb's group rode the bus home with Caleb and we worked until eight o' clock, when one of the boys said, "I'm really tired."  And they were.  Exhausted.  The most exciting part of the night happened when I hooked up about 9 volts too much power to our little motor and blew up two batteries.  After we got over the little scare this mini-explosion caused, the boys all said that was about the coolest thing ever.  All the progress we made this week can only be ascribed to the brilliance of my mother (who I called for consultation on physical layout...she's a genius with graph paper) and my cousin, Daniel (who I called in for help on the motor dilemma), and the guy at home depot who flirted with me shamelessly when I consulted him about belts and tubing and free plywood.  And in the meantime, my quilt room has been turned into ground zero for the project.  For the record, I am much better with fabric than I am with copper wire.

ascribe  /vt./  7.  On Saturday, my cousin, Daniel, and his family came from Tucson for a short visit.  They brought their bikes and we took our first bike ride of the season.  It was glorious.

The weather was beautiful and we rode about 4 miles with a stop in the middle at the frozen yogurt shop.  The kids played and we had dinner and dessert before they headed for home, but not before my girls tried to talk them all into spending the night.  It was delightful to see them all again.  David was one of Daniel's roommates at BYU, and I still ascribe all the happiness of my life to that (not so) "random" housing assignment. 

ascribe  /vt./  8.  I taught the lesson in gospel doctrine on Sunday and finally felt good about it.  Of course there were a few small moments where CIM started talking, but I was able to course correct pretty quickly and recover.  I can only ascribe this success to the advice I got from my dad and my brother, Matt, a few weeks ago.  (More on this in my 52 blessing post.)

ascribe  /vt./  9.  David is over the oncology program at his hospital, and they hosted their first annual Mustang Car Show/Prostate Cancer Screening Event on Saturday morning at the hospital.  When David told me about this, I just grinned.  I know you're all sorry you missed it.  And while Caleb and I did not need our prostates screened we went with David to check out the car show and show our support.  There is no end (no pun intended) to the variety of projects David's job entails.  But the success of this event has to be completely ascribed to Patricia DeBruhl, who is just about the best hire David has ever made.  She is a wonder.  I'm going to have to add this to our list of minor holidays.

Word of the Week: Passel

passel  /n./  an indeterminately great amount or number. a lot. multiplicity. a great deal. abundance. profusion. jillion. ream. heap. peck.

passel  /n./  1.  I have a passel of posts in my head.  I told David that I might as well just give up.  He told me it's only been four days since my last post, that I can't be that far behind.  He has (luckily) never been inside my mind.  He'd be shocked at how much my brain can produce in four days time.  And most of it crazy.

passel  /n./  2.  This week I had my one year blogiversary.  (I meant to do a whole post on it, but I had a peck of things to catch-up on after returning from Houston and Halloween stole the rest of the week.)  There are so many things I love about this milestone, not the least of which is the passel of daily, seemingly ordinary moments that make up my life, now real and recorded, forever.  Because of this blog I have more photos, I am more introspective, I am more kind (even to myself), I am more aware of my present, and I have fewer regrets.  That's a passel of reasons to keep going.

passel  /n./  3.  I had a great time at Quilt Market with my aunt and my mom and felt (above all) extremely useful, which is, occasionally, a really nice feeling to have.  I came home with a passel of new projects and ideas and handmade Christmas gift ideas.  Now I just need a passel of free hours to get to them.    

passel  /n./  4.  My favorite moment of the Halloween festivities this week came on Wednesday when Ethan and I went hunting for four perfect pumpkins among the passels of them at our local farmer's market.  We had a little carving party on Thursday night.  My parents came for dinner, and as payment we required them help one of the kids clean out and carve their pumpkin.  Divide and conquer, as it were.  My mom wondered out loud how she did it with nine of us.  I always wonder that.  No matter the subject.  We had pumpkin pie for dessert (Ethan's idea) which turned out to be the perfect ending.

passel /n./  5.  My children celebrated Halloween this week (a separate post altogether), and I celebrated it being over.  Now I just have a passel of candy that I need to discretely get rid of.  Usually I just let my kids eat themselves sick for two days and have done with it, but this year they got so much, we've still got a giant bowl full.  I'm already tired of the wrappers, the smashed-in goo, and the chocolate fingerprints around my house.  Really, I just don't get the point of it at all.  Boo.

passel  /n./  6.  David and I have been sick for the last couple of days.  Nothing serious.  Just complete fatigue, sore throats, headaches.  But feeling bad enough to require a passel of naps.  I was in and out of consciousness all afternoon yesterday.  During these naps I had a passel of disconcertingly bad dreams, one yesterday that is still haunting me and may have been the worst I've ever had, and one today which was all about the word "ascribed."  (Yes, really.)  I'm finally feeling a bit better, (David thinks this is all due to the medicine he force fed me) but I'm now filled with dread and that slightly panicky feeling that I've lost more hours than I'll ever be able to make up. 

Word of the Week: Otiose

otiose /adj./  lazy or indolent.  of no use.   ineffective or futile.  idle.  laggard.  slothful.  pointless.  profitless.  worthless.  hollow.  superfluous.

otiose /adj./  1.  I'm making myself write this post.  David, for one, wishes I would have written it yesterday.  (I had a rough night, all too terribly aware of my otiose homemaking efforts in the face of stupid and constant entropy.)  So here goes.  First the word itself.  Talk about otiose.  The "t" right in the middle of this word serves as a case in point, as it is pronounced "oh-shee-ohs."  That "t" seems equally lazy, ineffective, pointless, and superfluous.

otiose /adj./  2.  Ethan had three days off school this week and we had such an enjoyable time together, it made me wonder (yet again) if pre-K isn't a completely otiose endeavor.  But then I went to his parent-teacher conference and they showed me how week by week his ability to write his name has improved.  I got a little teary at his progress and even a little proud, despite myself.

otiose /adj./  3.  Caleb had his first official boy scout camp-out this week and David was good enough to go with him.  The camporee was held next to part of the Mormon Battalion trail and as part of the camp they did a 6 or 7 mile hike along the trail (through the middle of the desert) with stops and challenges along the way.  They came back hot and sunburned.  (I packed Caleb an otiose sweatshirt and long pants, instead of sunscreen.  Sounds about right.) 


otiose /adj./  4.  Thursday this week was "National Boss's Day."  (Which is quite an otiose minor holiday when you really think about it.)  But they celebrated it at the hospital.  When David came home with a balloon and goodies, Olivia asked incredulously, "You're the boss?"  When David smiled and said he was, Olivia commented that she had no idea. 

otiose /adj./  5.  Caleb is still working on his aerospace project, and I spent about eight otiose hours this weekend helping him with it.  I think I am quite possibly the most otiose "parent coach" ever (ineffective and worthless, not idle or lazy), and am just trying to figure out what we can come up with in 6 more weeks that will be worth standing up in front of a half dozen NASA scientists for.  We are still in the "life-support" stage (do you know how much water and oxygen 100 people use in 2 years time!), though we did make some progress yesterday as a group on the social/cultural/political aspects of the project.  Meanwhile, I am spending my "free time" reading articles about humanure...which is exactly what you think it is.

otiose /adj./  6.  On Saturday morning, while David and Caleb were at the scout camporee, the other kids and I helped out on an Eagle scout project, painting fire hydrants.  The kids were hesitant, at first, to spend their "play day" out in the hot sun doing "scouts" (Olivia says the word with particular revulsion), but all their protestations became otiose once they saw they got to wield their very own paintbrushes.  We had a great time, and even managed to keep most of the bright yellow, enamel-based paint on the actual hydrants...though there are a few obvious bits in David's car.  (David had the camera so you will just have to imagine our sweaty, paint-spotted faces grinning at you from behind a fire hydrant right here.)

Word of the Week: Peregrinate

peregrinate  /vt./  to make or go on a journey.  to move about and travel at random, especially over a wide area.  journey.  gallivant or rove.  ramble.  roam.  traipse.  wander.  meander.  gad.

peregrinate  /vt./  1.  This word makes me wonder which came first, the falcon or the verb, but either way we did our share of peregrinating this week.  Which is easily done when you are married to the man I am.  I often have dreams where he suggests we drive to far-off places like Maine for the weekend, and when I report these to David he just smiles and then quietly pulls out his road atlas to check the possibilities.  Incidentally, I haven't failed to notice the little "grin" right smack in the middle of this word. 

peregrinate  /vt./  2.  The kids had fall break this week, which means, unbelievably, that we've made it through the first quarter of school.  Thank heavens.  To celebrate this monumental accomplishment, we decided to peregrinate to Utah to go to the BYU homecoming game.  Yes, despite the downwardly peregrinating stock market and the troubled economy, we filled our car with gas and hit the road.  This was all David's brilliant idea of course, and one of the best trips we've taken.  We had sun and snow and family and football and real fall.  Peregrinating at its best.

peregrinate  /vt./  3.  On Thursday morning, before we left for Utah, we put in our winter lawn.  (This is a phenomenon of Arizona, so that you can have the joy of yard work year-round.)  David and the boys peregrinated all over town looking for the best deal on rye seed, and eventually arrived home with 50 pounds of seed and 10 large bags of manure.  We are now watering three times a day, shooing the birds who are enjoying their yearly feast, and watching carefully for the first bright green sprouts.   

peregrinate  /vt./  4.  On Friday morning, David wanted to take us all to hike "the Y" which is painted on the side of one of the mountains near BYU campus.  As we peregrinated our way up the mountain, the kids could no longer see the actual "Y" and got discouraged by the steepness of the climb.  We made lots of stops along the way.  All this faded away when we arrived though, and everyone was busting at their accomplishment.

peregrinate  /vt./  5.  Before the football game on Saturday afternoon, we peregrinated all over Utah county showing the kids all the places and things we remembered:  the Creamery, our first apartments, the library, the Wilk, the bookstore, Bridal Veil falls, and of course, fry sauce (which they serve everywhere).

peregrinate  /vt./  6.  On Saturday at 3:30, we peregrinated to the south bleachers and climbed our way to the top of the football stadium.  It was cold (but not wet) and we were bundled in beanies and blankets.  It was such a thrill to be in Cougar stadium again and I kept stealing looks at David and feeling so lucky to be there.  And I secretly hope that this trip will become an annual tradition.   

When Ethan saw this picture he said, "I was yelling DE-FENSE!"  I know, love.  I remember.

peregrinate  /vt./  7.  We parked on the opposite side of campus to go to the game so that we could see campus by foot on our way watch the Cougars play.  While David especially loved this walk down memory lane, the kids did not appreciate peregrinating all those miles on the way back to the car after the game was over.  We kept having to stop in various buildings to let them warm up, (most of which I hardly recognized as they have all been made-over since I was here last). 

peregrinate  /vt./  8.  On the way to and from Utah, I peregrinated away from "my usual kind of book" and read a crime thriller set in post-war Stalinist Russia in the fifties.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and even cried at the end.  If you're looking for a page turner, this one will get you emotionally too. 

Word of the Week: Fealty

fealty  /n./  faithfulness or devotion to a person, a cause, obligations, or duties.  allegiance.  loyalty.  fidelity.  constancy. 

fealty  /n./  1.  I loved thinking about this word this week, and after a rough couple of disconcerting weeks, this word reaffirmed my fealty to spotlighting a word-of-the-week.  For the record, fidelity is one of my favorite words of all time, and so perhaps it was natural that this week I developed a little crush on his velvety cousin.

fealty  /n./  2.  In our family scripture study, we are steadily making our way through the Book of Mormon, with big plans to finish before the end of the year.  This week as we were reading in Mormon, deep in the winding up scenes of the Nephite nation, Olivia suddenly caught on to what was going to happen.  Though we have read this book many times before, this is apparently the first time the story has really made sense for her.  Questioning my fealty to her security and happiness, on Wednesday morning she interruped our reading, outraged, "Wait a minute!  This book is not going to have a happy ending, is it?  Why would you have us read a book that doesn't have a happy ending?"  I smiled despite myself.  I confess I had never really thought about it that way.

fealty  /n./  3.  David had a rough week at the hospital, and because I am his loyal wife, this made a for a few rough moments of my own.  This is the price of fealty.  Occassionally there are moments, especially smack dab in the middle of budget season, where sincere fealty is the only thing helping him get up and head back to the hospital, particularly on days when he only just left his office five short hours before.  I kind of like the idea that fealty has a price, but the actual paying it is much less romantic.

fealty  /n./  4.  At the General Relief Society Meeting, a week or so ago, Sister Allred spoke about the temple.  As I sat in that meeting, I realized how long it had been since I had been to the temple, and I firmly recommitted to go more regularly.  (And in a stunning realization I also figured out that, for the first time in my life, I could go while my kids were at school and not even worry about a babysitter!  What in the world?)  So on Wednesday morning I went.  The overpowering feeling I had as I entered the House of the Lord was welcome.  Not rebuke.  Not disappointment.  Just love and welcome and joy.  And as I sat in His holy house, I was astounded by His fealty.  Despite my inconsistency and my wandering, his love and devotion are constant.

fealty  /n./  5.  Caleb swims with fealty for over an hour, four days a week, no matter the season or temperature.  Last year he swam these practices all year without going to one swim meet.  I promised him this year we would try to make it to a few swim meets.  He had his first one on Saturday between conference sessions and swam the 50 Butterfly and the 50 Free and a couple of relays.  He improved his freestyle time by over 9 seconds.  And it was such nice weather (cloudy and not even 90 degrees) and such a joy to watch him swimming, I wondered why I had been so hesistant to do more of these.

fealty  /n./  6.  We thoroughly enjoyed General Conference this past weekend.  It was, in every way, exactly what I needed.  I am so grateful for a living prophet and apostles who serve the Lord with absolute fealty and do all they can to lead and guide me and my family.   I would like to have their words and faith every single week, but instead I have decided to really hearken (listen and obey) to this conference.  At the end of conference we went around and told one thing we were going to try to do better.  Olivia said, "I thought I just had to listen.  I didn't know I had to think too."  She finally said that she was going to try to say her prayers every night.  To this, Caleb replied, "I pray every night.  I can't sleep unless I pray."  I didn't know whether to be happy or heartbroken about this revelation.  The truth is my family and I are deep in the wilderness, really and truly, and I am so glad for the light of the prophets that show us the way in the dark.  The word is so sweet to me.