Saturday, May 29, 2010

Senor Pinata

Heather and I made this Pinata for Diana's birthday. I asked Diana what her birthday wishes were--meaning in my mind breakfast and dinner foods--and she told me she wanted a fitted baseball cap (I forget the size), roller skates (ditto), and one other thing. Anyway, I'm sounding like a jerk who doesn't care, but I remembered at the time but ignored them to bring her, in almost her own words, 'the best present ever.' A direct quote would be more like this:

Me: Be honest. Is this the best present you have ever received?
Diana: Y--
Me: In your life?
Diana: Proba--
Me: Including the inestimably precious gift of life our sweet mother gave you?
Diana: Hmmm... yes.

Look how happy!

Before the bestowal of the gift, I was imagining all the ritual suicides that would ensue from the Pinata's sheer beauty, from the utter shock of seeing something so perfect and heavenly in this mortal realm.

Part of me realized I might have been setting myself up for disappointment. But another part of me had such faith in the glory that was the pinata, I knew it would absolutely blow their minds back to the stone age. It'd be like the opening scene in 2001 space odyssey if you replaced the monkeys with my family and the black intelligence-bestowing effigy with the pinata.

Anyway, here's what happened:

I was so happy when her petting the Pinata didn't make the fuzzy crepe paper come off.

So, I was probably the most excited. This video captures only the tiniest slice of the ecstasies I felt about the pinata which--let's remember--completely ignored the birthday wishes Diana had given me. But I guess the lesson there is that you don't always know what you want more than anything else in the world. And the lesson in me being such a freak about how awesome it was is that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And the lesson I hope to be learning from the tons of requests for our new and unimprovable Pinata kits is that sometimes doing something awesome can make you millions... millions and millions of dollars... with which you can do more awesome things... not as in something that is more awesome, but as in more things that are awesome... in their own uniquely awesome way.

Oh, and Annie would never have believed that we'd made it ourselves without some pictures to prove it, so here's one for any skeptics out there:

There, that's enough! You've seen enough of our secrets...

Little Pinata doing what he/she/it was made to do.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Oregon Trail

The plan was to fly out to Provo, pack Heather’s car and drive it back to Pennsylvania where I had a class to take and a gothic runway to walk down. But after talking to Cort about his upcoming vacation to the Oregon coast, we thought that might be a nicer way to spend a summer.

The first night at the coast, the sea was booming and furious. Boiler Bay—although named for a sunken boiler ship—was white with shaking Oregon’s coast. Later, below our balcony, white-crested waves crashed day and night: sometimes the whole lower half of the windows showed a frothy, white sprawl, sometimes the sea quieted down and we had to wait for a large crash to spread out across the rocks below us.

Then we found some last-minute, ridiculously cheap flights to New Zealand, so away we go. During it all I keep getting emails from my Dissertation Chair wondering when I’ll be back in PA to meet with my committee and get going on this PhD thing. I’ve replied with vague statements so far, but better give him a more definite window sometime soon.

And now we’re in Carson City. We visited an old Mormon fort today: Genoa, NV, the state’s oldest settlement. It got me thinking of Brigham Young and how many settlements he planned and sent people to in trying to create the mighty state of Deseret which would stretch from present day Utah down to the California coast somewhere around San Diego or Los Angeles.

Deseret didn’t quite pan out. Neither did the alphabet Brother Brigham planned out and wanted the saints to adopt (the more phonetically accurate alphabet would have made it easier for immigrants to learn English, and a similar project was funded posthumously by George Bernard Shaw in England.) He didn’t live to see the completion of the Salt Lake Temple either. Probably plenty of things didn’t quite work out for him. So, when I think of the lists and lists of things I’d like to do or write or read or see or research (i.e. accomplish) in my life, I feel (a) a bit comforted from my fears that I won’t get it all done by the realization that of course I won’t get it all done. Who does? Who can? (b) good that I have so many worthwhile projects to work on and dream about, and (c) spurred on to get working.

So plans change, classes wait, roads are and aren’t taken, and I get some things done and leave some newly-invented alphabets for another lifetime or world, and all the time keep moving from the almost violently beautiful Oregon Coast (note: highway 84 along the Columbia is a long, scenic procession of sharp slopes covered in green trees with intermitten cliff faces looking over a sometimes placid river broken by rushing waterfalls—i.e. gorgeous.), to the lovely Carson valley, to a warmer California coast and on to New Zealand which, by the way, is getting kind of close to the farthest point on earth from Hershey, PA where you can stand on land.