Monday, June 30, 2008

To Baldly Go...

I've had a few people ask me lately how things are going with my dad. So, I thought I'd post an update here. For those who don't know, Dad has lymphoma and has undergone heavy chemo, subsequently losing his hair and turning himself into Captain Jean-Luc Picard. When my sister Elise and I went home a few months ago, we were amazed at the resemblance!

Well, since going through chemotherapy, they have since found a lump on his thyroid. So, even thought the mass around his lymphs has decreased and chemo has been successful in that area, the doctors cannot determine whether the lump on the thyroid is benign. So, as soon as he's done with chemo, he goes into surgery to have it removed.

He describes the various treatments, the stabs with needles, the lethargy and the discomfort as "real fun." But despite it all, still works out, works too hard, and keeps up a beautiful yard and garden. When Elise and I came out for our visit, we thought we'd be able to get a lot of work done around the house for him, but we arrived to find he'd already done it! We keep praying and hope for a full recovery.

Avoidance Behavior

In less than two weeks, I'm presenting a paper for the Writing Program Administration (WPA) conference in Denver. Have I written the paper yet? Ah, no. We've recently finished the basement and everything that used to be down there is camping out in the garage, forcing the cars out onto the street. So, this past Saturday was I putting the house back together? Well, no. Our friends asked us to go boating with them, and I shirked all to spend an entire day out on the lake. We went swimming, tubing, wakeboarding, and just motoring around in the sunshine. We didn't come in until all of us were worn out and burnt. (Well, except Jeff and Carter who don't burn but turn a nice golden brown. No fair.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eight Years of Sweet Elaina

I can't believe she's eight already, my beautiful girl. She turned eight in May, but we're baptizing her in July, since all my family will be here. So, here's the haps:

Saturday, July 5th at 9:00am Elaina will be baptized. Please come if you can, and I can supply directions if you'd like them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And Salsa For All!

I'm posting here a copy of my most-requested recipe. It is a staple at all BBQ's at the Watson house, ever since my cousin-in-law, Tracy introduced it to me years and years ago. So, I've shared it with many of you already, but just in case you don't have it, here it is! Some call it "Cowboy Caviar," some call it "Salsa Sorte,"but I call it "Awesome."

1 can yellow corn, drained
1 can white (shoepeg) corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can white, pinto, or kidney beans, drained (You choose- I've tried them all, and any one is great!)
3 tomatoes, diced
2-3 avocados, diced
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 package "Good Seasons" Italian salad dressing, prepared (I prepare it with 1/2 the oil)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and serve with tortilla chips. It makes enough to serve a crowd!

It also tastes excellent on hamburgers. Place a spoonfull on the top of a grilled burger with some melted monterey jack cheese to give them a southwest kick. Mmm-mm! Anyone up for a BBQ? We always are!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Pictures, Because I'm Obsessed

"Shoo-ee, it's HOT!"
Liz Jeanine and Kelsey still looking fresh, at the beginning of the race.
At the finish. "Amber, gosh, put your arms down!"

Running Scared, Part 2

Wa-hoo! We did it!!! This is Diane, Kelsey, Lindsay, me, Liz, and Jeanine, the six teammates in my van. The other six members of our team were in another van. (By the way, a BIG thank you to Andra, my sister-in-law, for letting us use her van! It was a champ: tons of room, excellent A/C and big windows for decorating. :)

So, our 12-man team did Ragnar in 33 hours and everyone took the race like a rock star. We were all within our projected times, some of us even shaving time off, kicking butt and taking names. I never really saw the people in the other van, but the ladies in our van did awesome. Running two of our legs in 95+ degrees, running on zero sleep and with little substantial food, this race was definitely brutal. But we did it, and I think the six of us should be really proud of ourselves. I know I did better than I thought I would, which is cool.

The good news: none of us were eaten by bears or cougies. The bad news: I am so tired!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Running Scared...

Tomorrow I run the Wasatch Back! For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a 180-mile relay race that starts in Logan and ends in Park City. We have a 12-person team, and each member runs three legs of the distance. So, all total I'm running 13 miles over the course of two days. My first leg is Friday evening, my second Saturday around 4:00 in the morning, and my final leg is Saturday evening.

Our team name is "Running Scared" and I think it's appropriate. I've never been so unprepared for something so strenuous. I haven't adequately trained, since I joined the team pretty late and my IT Band on my left knee hurts so badly that Kay, my faithful running companion of two years, had to walk me home from our 5-miler on Monday. Lame!

So, hopefully I'll live through the ordeal to write about my experiences, because if nothing else, it promises to be memorable!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

On Looking Back and Not Turning to Salt...

I was doing the dishes the other day and it struck me that a year ago this month I would have just been returning home from my crazy, incredible trip to France.

It all started when I heard about the trip in my French class at UVSC. I brought the fliers home and jokingly asked Jeff if I could go. He said, "Well, tell me how you're going to afford it and who will watch the kids while you're gone, and I don't see why not." I think I looked at him and blinked a few times. "Really?"

Needless to say, I applied for and won a scholarship and scrimped and saved, then my sister Elise volunteered to come stay with the kids. So, I got my passport, packed my bags, had numerous emotional breakdowns, kissed my family good-bye and got on a plane for France.

Nice, France: Here is where I went to school every week day for three weeks at Actilangue. I lived with an elderly lady who would reprimand my roommate Sheri and I any time we spoke English.

We were in Monaco during the Monte Carlo Grand Prix...

And in Cannes during the film festival. (Sheri and I got to see a film!!) We also saw Eze; Antibes; Ventimiglia, Italy; all of Nice's Vieille Ville and so much more.

For the last week, we took the TGV to Paris. We blitzed the city, trying to see as much as we could in the short couple of days we had there. I saw Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Versailles, The Palais de Louvre, L'Arc de Triumph, Napoleon's Tomb, Musee D'Orsay, and more and more and more. To say I missed my family would be a gross understatement (just ask Sheri, who had to listen to me sob as I fell asleep listening to my MP3 player at night...) but am I glad I went? Oui, oui! It was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secret Shames

Alright...inspired by my friend Melissa, I am writing down my three Secret Shames. These are the things I will admit and then, depending on reactions, take stock of who my true friends are.

Secret Shame #1: I like to listen to the Beastie Boys really loud while cruising in the Jeep. I wish I had a nice car stereo so I could play it louder. Yes, my secret shame is that I wish I were a gangster sometimes. ("Can I get some action from the back section?")Secret Shame #2: The kids run wild through the streets, often in pajamas and without their hair fixed. I will usually choose a picnic on the front lawn over housekeeping, and last night, I finally rolled into bed at 1:30.

Secret Shame #3: For the first time ever, I just spent over $100 for a pair of jeans. It's something I never thought myself capable of doing...and now I've gone and done it. My consolation: they're flippin' sweet!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pomp and Circumstance

Carter's gone and got himself graduated from Kindergarten! Behind him on the right is his teacher, Mrs. Jensen, who has been wonderful. On the left is Principal Theler, whom every kid in the school just loves. For graduation the kids sang songs for the parents and then went one by one to get their diplomas. Afterward, all in attendance dined on donuts and drink boxes. I am really proud of Carter, but I have to admit, I had a bit of grad envy.

Bella Novella

I haven't posted in a while for two main reasons. #1: I have a blogging complex wherein I feel everything I want to write will turn out A. pointless B. uninteresting or C. a tacky combination of both. #2: I have been writing my fingers off working on my novella, which is due next week.

The good news about my novella is that I'm really into it right now. I think about it, dream about it, and in waking I formulate scenes, develop characters and plan plots. Jeff has had to bear the brunt of listening to all my ideas and reading over my drafts. He has also had to answer to many, many hypothetical plot situations. Here's a sampling of a possible exchange in our house of late:

Me: "Hey honey, suppose you were dating a woman whose husband had disappeared, and let's say you're really into each other. And then, say her husband came back. As a man, what would you do?"
Jeff: "Ah..."
Me: "Okay, okay. Imagine her husband doesn't come back, but the guy she's dating turns into a psychopath. What do you think?"
Jeff: "Uh..."
Me: "No, what if it's her son that's the psycho?"
Jeff: (blank stare)

He's a patient man.