We love nursery

Here's Luke making a fishy face.
Here's mine. When Luke saw mine, he said, "You're funny brother West." This kid already speaks in complete sentences, and outwits me when I try to get him to put his toys away.
Kathy is the fishy face champion.
At the end of class I tug them around on a blanket. It's my only workout of the week.
We love these kids. We want one. We're thinking of stealing one so Kathy doesn't have to go through labor. What do you guys think of that blond kid?

i turned into an 8-year-old

I apologize if you tried to call me in the last two months. As well as the months from January to April. It's possible that I didn't call you back. It's also possible that I didn't even know you called. Why? I lost my phone. Phones. Two of them. And I've spent more of 2008 without a phone than with one.

Yes, it's been kind of a hassle. Christopher graciously split up time and use of his phone with me. We could never call each other. And when people called ME expecting to talk to HIM, they sometimes got confused and the conversation got inexplicably awkward.

But no more. On Saturday, we bought me a shiny new phone. Here she is:

She's so flat and cool and purple and not-free that as we left the store, I made promises to Christopher: I'll take good care of it, I'll be so responsible, I'll never lose track of it again, blah, blah, blah. I sounded like a little kid promising to take extraordinary care of her new pet gerbil.

So far, I've succeeded. I haven't lost my phone yet: 30 hours and counting.
Feel free to call.

Out of the Big House

We saw this billboard on I-15 on our way to Salt Lake:

An advertisement for homes. Foreclosure news stirring in my mind made me comment:
"It looks like a father and daughter hung themselves. Probably lost their home."

Here's a close up.
On the way back to Provo, we saw three more billboards in a row.

The 1st read
"utahforclosed.com" For those losing their homes.
The 2nd
"LDS Real Estate Agents" For those looking for a good deal on foreclosed homes.
The 3rd
"Moving?" For those moving in and out of foreclosed homes.

tell me your worst nightmare

Fat people frighten me. Not overweight people, not jiggly people; I can understand those. I'm talking about people who have not seen their feet for a decade—people who would weigh 100 pounds on the moon. I don't fear them out of prejudice or some other misguided pride; I'm afraid because I don't want to become one. I'll tell you my most recent nightmare:

I needed to dress up for an important event. I tried on outfit after outfit. And every time I donned a new outfit, I instantly gained 15 pounds or so, meaning I couldn't go back to any previous outfits I had liked because they no longer fit. I almost feel like this happens daily with the items in my closet. Christopher has to reassure me every couple of days that, indeed, I have not ever remotely approached the size of a tank.

Between my unexplainable hormonal imbalance, two inert semesters without consistent exercise, and the handful of M&Ms in my mouth right now, I have every right to be afraid. I think I'm going to go do some push-ups.

don't know scat

I thought that I wouldn't graduate for another two or three years. But I'll actually be done in just three semesters. Dec. 2009!

Change of Major
I was out of my own loop because I had just changed my major, and so I hadn't mapped which classes I had left. I switched to avoid taking calculus. My major changed from Food Science: Technical, to Food Science: Management. Instead of calc., I'll take a couple business classes.

Today in food microbiology, I learned that when microbes break down meat, they produce skatole, cadaverine, and putresine, three compounds that make rotting dead things smell gross. The root skat, or scat, from skatole, is a word I just barely learned when one of Kathy's learn-ed master of English friends described a book as scatological. I asked her what that means. She said scat means poop. Scatological means the book is full of fart and poop jokes. Apparently you can get a degree in that. I need to tell my 14 year old brother about this.

Fun Activity
So I thought that spook houses should get some cadaverine (which smells like cadavers) and sprinkle it around. Wouldn't the smell enhance the fear, especially when it mingled with their patrons' vomit? Sounds spooky to me.

Or if you throw a halloween party, you could have those mystery boxes that people have to stick their hands in. The spaghetti "is the witches hair," the boiled eggs "are the witches eyes." Just add a couple drops of putresine and the kids may think you actually have a dead witch cut up in little pieces in your kitchen. For a better effect, have your wife absent from the party for the first thirty minutes.

What you'll need
I haven't found a company that sells these compounds. To make your own: leave raw meat on the counter for a couple weeks.

happy fall!

A week or so ago, I asked my class to brainstorm things they look forward to this coming fall. They came up with BYU football and the end of finals week. And for a minute, that was about it.

Pushing them to think about other possibilities (I mean, that's the point of brainstorming), I mentioned something I'm looking forward to: "What about scarves?" Scarves? They all kind of laughed like I was their crazy, nerdy English teacher. Which I am, thank you very much.

As soon as the weather gets colder in a few weeks, I will pull out my winter scarves. Yes, I've actually consciously and happily looked forward to it. And then yes, I will be the crazy, scarf-wearing English teacher my class believes me to be.

the bicycle's only built for two

I'm a chronic eavesdropper. Not because I really care what's going on in strangers' lives, but because I think it makes for good writing material. Plus, it's super easy to do on a college campus; students move in giant herds between classes, and they're all self-absorbed enough that they fail to realize that everyone FOR A MILE AROUND can hear them.

Some of those conversations are so revealing they actually embarrass me. But today's just made me sad. Here's how it went behind me while I walked down the hall after my writing class:

Girl: So, what are you doing this weekend?

Boy: I'm going biking.

Girl: How cool! With a bunch of people?
(said with the blatant intonation that shouts, "Invite me! Invite me!")

Boy: My girlfriend rented a tandem bike and we're going together.

Girl: Oh.
(said with much ouch.)

Silence. Very awkward silence.

(with that sort of boundless enthusiasm that overcompensates for sudden disappointment) Wow! You didn't mention a girl last time I saw you!

Boy: Yes. I did.

We rounded the corner and I turned to look at them as they walked past. I'm pretty certain that her heart was sloshing around in her feet. And from the look on his face, I felt just as certain that he didn't even know. I wanted to stop her and say, "Don't worry. He's just clueless. And taken. As well as doofy looking. You don't really want to go out with him." I didn't say that, though. Maybe I should have.

The look on her face was about enough to make me want to stop eavesdropping.

huspah! that's freakhog cool...

We don't know who programmed the predictive text on Christopher's phone, but we're grateful to them;
new words crop up in our vocabulary every time he sends a text message. If you try to spell hurray, it comes out huspah. And freaking becomes freakhog. Apparently, Huspah is a Baptist church in South Carolina. And you can find freakhog in the Urban Dictionary online. I can't wait to see what's next.

check this out...

You know how some teenage girls need fashion magazines the way people need air? And how those girls have to wade through the magazines' trashy parts to find the hair or fashion tips they were actually looking for?

Soon, I'll start writing for a magazine without that problem. My friend, Adelaide, started an online magazine for girls who wanted the perks of a fashion magazine, but were fed up with sleaze. So, if you have sisters, cousins, nieces, friends, or enemies who are teenage girls, point them in this direction.

Our Style Magazine talks about clothes and hair and school and boys—all the necessities of a teen magazine—without assuming that the girls are floozies. New articles will post every week or so with workout ideas, style tips, and fun.

How nice: a magazine that assumes that girls can look cute without dressing slutty, and they can have fun without sleeping around.

speaking of nerds...

We moved last week, but still haven't totally unpacked. When faced with the prospect of arranging and organizing our dishes, clothes, and other belongings, I immediately went with the most important task—organizing the books.

When Christopher got home from work last Friday, he noticed that all the dishes were still piled on the table, and we still couldn't reach our bed without stepping over massive piles of stuff. But if he wanted to know where all the poetry books were stashed, I could point him in the right direction.

He definitely helped make the books a priority. Look what he did before we ever even moved in the couch or table:

Nerds. Both of us. But if you need any book recommendations, we can point you to the right shelf.