25 October 2008

Live for the Weekend

An Olsen Family Adventure unfolded two weekends ago -- one of my favorite kind. Mom and son. Land and I went to SoCal to visit Aunt Jen, Uncle Tony, and the boys. They had graciously obtained tickets for us to witness the Van's Downtown Showdown. The best part (for Land) was having three crazy cousins for an alarm clock...
"cousins, cousins, here come the boys; chaos, bedlam, noise, noise, noise; get out the star wars costumes, hide the breakable toys; cousins, cousins, here come the boys!"
ps. I'm digging the wig Jen

We went to the Crewest Gallery in downtown LA on Saturday the 11th, before the showdown. The "Z-Boy" show was displayed. (You know the original skateboard art from Dogtown and Z-boys days) It actually was a streetart gallery and we learned why certain spray paint is better than others and that there are over 30 different nozzles for your spray can... who knew. We admired some of the colorful streetart near the gallery. A whole post could be spent on why we were drawn to the 'women against palin' grafitti. Needless to say, both Land and I are not fans.

After visiting the gallery we headed to the Paramount Studios backlot for the showdown. It was quite amazing. We thought it was cool that the set was downtown NY in downtown LA. Each skate team had built an obstacle and then every team attacked the obstacle for a set amount of time and the one to lay down the best tricks won. I really, really, like skateboarders. They have their own set of rules on how to conduct life and everyone was super chill. Land is seen above with Corey Duffel (punk) and Steve Reeves (pro for Creature, that Land has known for years from Concrete Rodeo). Matt Hensley from Flogging Molly and his cool jacket are pictured above as well as a women's adorable fish purse. The Creature obstacle was nicknamed the "five points of pure evil"... hilarious. Land remarked it was one of the best events he had ever attended. Love it!

21 October 2008

sixteen candles

Ovations and applause! Land is sah...wheet sixteen! (10-20) Nothing like homemade lemon cake made by your bestest girl friend's dad (cause he is the baker). Skull candlesticks also add to a cozy October birthday celebration. And so here's to a birthday, a baker, a candlestick maker - hooray!

17 October 2008

fun boarding

Gromfest Skate Finals 2008 from Ryan Simpson on Vimeo.

Here is some video from Gromfest that we all attended in July with Land in Whistler, BC. It was an adventurous week. Land is wearing his jersey as a cape or under an arm (looks like a sling) most of the time. The "demon bowl" was held in a skatepark on the bottom level of a parking garage. Actually, very cool. Daniel (with the wrist wrap) was from the Dominican Republic and and had never skated a concrete bowl before. He was awesome.

10 October 2008

omd at hmv

Land asked me if I had ever heard of the band... Scritti Politti. Are you kidding? I immediately took a trip down memory lane to the 80's to when I bought the vinyl version of their tunes in London. So this post is a shout out to Lisa M. (whose 2nd book, A Life of My Own, is a sort of a loosely based documentation of that time in our lives) and Kelly G... the best freshmen dorm roommates anyone could start college with.
Did we not hang at the "star pit" when these songs were playing?
(I did have white lines up there and yes, I do know what white lines refers to, but that didn't stop them from playing it at BYU, and I can't bring myself to keep the video posted)

Kelly, I think I still remember the moves to the routine.

oh heartache and young love - the lyrics were a mantra

nothing like getting the autographs of OMD at HMV

08 October 2008

Time Since... Five Months

I remembered the other day when Darren and I were first married, unpacking and setting up home in that beginning of us. Darren had a collection of 'last things', those items that seem to not be able to find a place to be and in his frustration he blurted out, "Mom". Because always when a child calls for his mother, no matter what age, there is that natural expectation that mom will be there to find a solution, the fall-back plan, that quiet support... always there for you. Well, it is gone. It's like when participating in a trust exercise... lean back into someone's arms, trusting they will catch you. Will they? or will I just keep tumbling down... down? I have just finished Joan Dideon's Year of Magical Thinking and this passage on grief helped me to not feel so crazy - or maybe feel ok about being crazy.
"Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days of weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the strength that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaningless itself."
And here is where my heart aches for my father. Our family is strong, but not many know the experiences we have journeyed through to build that strength. Harsh, violent, traumatic events, even the circumstances that caused my mother's death -- a tragic accident are hard to take, but take them we have and a familial bond of protection and endurance and love keeps us going when the odds seem stacked against us.

I heard about a plane wreck where a young mother and her husband were critically burned. Months of rehab - lives forever changed. I participated in an online auction where bloggers got together and raised over 100,000 dollars for their benefit. I bought a great necklace with a giant metal flower. I read about their recovery and pray for healing for this family and a sneaking thought enters my mind, "things could be worse" but for me, at this moment, grieving the loss of my mother is my worst. One day it will be put in perspective, but for now this is the lowest point. I hurt. We all do.

A niece wrote on her blog the reasons she blogs. I thought about why I do it. I tell the kids as I am snapping pictures that I am a documenter. It is a way to bear witness to the blessings in every day. I don't usually post about the days like today when I literally cannot stop crying and that moving through the moments is like being drowned in maple syrup so slow and sticky and tired. Or that I snap at the kids and Darren and forget too often that they are struggling too. No I post about the small "gifts of goodness" like vegetable pizza with whole wheat dough, or a new yellow lampshade, or the magical qualities of lucky jello. Another reason is my young nieces started the family blogging trend and my mother loved it. She would be so excited when they posted something new and say to me, "have you read the girls' blogspots?". I smile when I think about it. Maybe these virtual messages can be viewed much further away than just on a computer screen. I like to believe she knows how much we miss her and love her and love each other.

06 October 2008

Weekend Pizza

I am a big BYU football fan, but I am an Aggie now! so who to cheer for? The weekend started with the USU/BYU football game. The final score was 34-14, but you would have thought the Aggies had won the superbowl. They scored twice on the 8th ranked Cougars who had accumulated something like 125+ unanswered points and sacked Max Hall which is highly unusual. Our favorite part of the game was watching our friends the Kings (true blue Aggies) high five, jump and yell at the Cougar bench. As someone remarked as we left the stadium, "that's the most exciting non-close game I have ever been too." I did like the t-shirts USU made for the game, the back declaring, "win or lose, you still live in Provo."
ps: I missed you miss johnston.

Saturday was a soaking downpour with a soccer game. Land was amazing. He has been playing defense and is super fast. Nothing gets by him. They won and I'm sure it is the lucky jello - or maybe the coach (Darren).

We dined on homemade whole wheat non-cheese (because I am allergic to milk) veggie pizza. It was yummy and surprisingly flavorful. The boys ate it all up, but were still hungry and made their own dairy version. They put a bit of pepper-jack cheese, but Chase needed more cheddar steez so he invented the 'cheese-it' topping.

We also went and ate dinner with my dad. Chase and Darren stayed and visited after supper with him. Land's friend Michael was spending the weekend with us so once the rain stopped I took them (Land, Dallas, Michael) to the new Heber City skatepark. Pretty nice.

Autumn weekends spent with the family are the best.

04 October 2008

Don't Forget to...

There is a house down the lane and around the corner that I am fascinated with. I make sure my walking route and jogging path intersect its stately corner location. They have created a frontyard garden and the "merry golds" spell out a reminder of the huge election looming in some thirty days. A few of the flowers have already gone to seed so I used my new tablet to draw in stand-ins of my own. Oh technology, and neighbors, and great houses, and elections and America.

02 October 2008

Shady Characters

I'm lovin' the new lampshade from Pottery Barn. When I pull the chain to let on the light it is like the sun just popped in for a cheery hello.

01 October 2008


It's not so easy to have family dinners when your house is full of teenagers. I chopped up veggies and meat and let them assemble their own tin-foil supper this weekend. They cooked them in the backyard fire pit and ate poolside. Land actually ate while in the pool, but refused the photo-op. Good Stuff.
note: the new digs are very retro - 1970's. When we're hanging in the yard I feel we are participating in a scene from the Brady Bunch.