Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How is This My Karma??

Whenever I call my mom to complain about some exasperating display of behaviour by Gus or Niko, she always starts to laugh. Mom claims that I'm sowing what I reaped.

Apparently, the karma card is one grandparents like to play: When asked about the troubles the twins were giving former President Bush, Barbara Bush replied, "He's just getting what he gave."

On a certain level I suppose I understand it all. After all, even though the boys and I don't share DNA, we can be frighteningly similar. Watching Niko stubbornly dig his heels in is enough to make even me consider a paternity test.

So if there's any truth to this karma theory, I suppose stubborn, strong-willed, talkative kids are my just desserts.

What I don't understand is why I'm paying for my brother John's childhood sins. It was John, who flung himself into the air. John, who feared neither God nor man (but wisely always Mom). And John, who took a part every conceivable movable mechanism he could get his hands on.

So it's John I'm blaming for not being able to properly close my office door this evening - disabled by a missing strike plate, compliments of Gus and his screwdriver. Hmmm, now I think about it, today is John's 50th birthday...maybe he should take that paternity test. 'Course it still doesn't explain why I'm paying for his karma...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When I Grow Up

When I was in first grade I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: a teacher. I think part of that desire stemmed from being totally in love with my own teacher, Miss Criddle.

Even today, almost 40 years later, I can still picture her: petite, clear blue eyes (with contacts!), her blond, shoulder-length hair flipping up in a That Girl curl, wearing one of those A-shaped dresses and a little cardigan.

I figured the way to her heart was to share a profession, so one day I asked her how much money teachers made. After she stopped laughing, she assured me that it wasn't a money-making proposition. By fourth grade she had moved, and I had changed plans: I was going to be a lawyer.

So I was rather intrigued the other night when Gus interrupted bedtime reading to tell me he simply couldn't decide what he'd like to be when he grew up. I put the book aside and asked him what his choices were.

"First a ninja. Then a secret agent or a spy."

Hey, at least he didn't say a lawyer.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Papa Sees a Snake

One of the best parts of living in Salt Lake is the easy access to wilderness. No matter where in the Valley you live, you're just a few minutes' drive from the mountains. Even better, thanks to some really visionary planning, there are plenty of green spaces right in town; many of them with streams and creeks running through them as well.

Memory Grove is one of these areas. Nestled at the mouth of City Creek Canyon the creek that runs through it is the perfect place to let Gracie cool off on hot summer days. And with the snow melt having subsided, the creek isn't more than a few inches deep in most places (with some deeper pools), so now it's also the perfect place for a couple of little boys to do some exploring.

Last week we were at Memory Grove walking through the creek with Gracie, when we reached a point that was a little too deep for Niko, I took him back on to the path while Kelly and Gus continued in the water. All of a sudden, from the water we heard a shriek in a familiar masculine voice, yet several octaves higher than usual.

Niko cocked his head toward the water, and quizzed, "What's that?"

"Papa's seen a snake," I replied.

As if in confirmation, the next sound we heard was Gus' voice ringing out from the creek below, "We've found a snake!!!!"

Niko and I rushed to the water. There at a spot in the creek where the branches of several bank-dwelling trees converged over the water, we found the guys. Gus saw us and started jumping up and down in the water.

"I can't believe it! I finally saw a real snake! A real snake!!"

There on a small branch, sitting motionless in an attempt to camouflage itself was a small garter snake. Maybe 8 inches long and about as thick as my finger, it desperately tried to ignore the four humans examining him.

After a few minutes of being observed, the snake finally showed some bravado and flung himself to the next branch and freedom.

Niko and I headed back to the path, as Gus and Kelly headed further down stream; Gus, retelling every minute detail of the sighting...apparently unaware or not caring that Kelly had been there.

Back on dry land Niko and I held hands, walking quietly. Suddenly another shriek flew from the creek! Niko turned to me and said, "Papa saw another snake." And so he had...

Trust me, it looks bigger in this photo than it really was!