Thursday, September 22, 2011


I'm having an affair.

Today, in the middle of the workday, my partner and I arrived in separate cars at our secret destination.

In-n-Out Burger.

That's right. My husband and I met at In-n-Out Burger in the middle of the day to cheat on our children. We had cheeseburgers, and fries, and shared a strawberry milkshake.

With each other--and no one else. No bites, no sips, no messes, no interruptions, and absolutely no leftovers taken home to share.

Not one morsel.

Yes, my husband and I are cheating on our children, and we're loving it.

Emily Mabey Swensen iPhone

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nobody Knows: the Untold Story of Black Mormons

If you have the documentary channel, make sure you catch "Nobody Knows: the Untold Story of Black Mormons," being rebroadcast September 25th.

It is really excellent--an honest telling of the story of the race issue in the LDS church as told by faithful black Mormons. It doesn't shy away from the hard truth of the past, but also does it with respect for the faith from those who live it, and with solid facts.

I don't get up on my soapbox very often. But for the sake of my three beautiful children who are growing up both black and Mormon, I hope people both inside and outside the LDS church watch this and put to rest all the myths--those about race and those about the church.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Blog Gone?

Greetings from planet . . . hmm. I can't even think of a funny planet name right now. That's how creative my once-writerly brain has become. Has anyone been wondering why I don't blog anymore? I'VE been wondering why I don't blog anymore. It's as if I used to think in Bloggish, and now I don't.

Here are a few classic Saffron quotes I forgot to post months ago--it's almost sad to have the girls' English get so good we can't enjoy as many of these moments any more.

"Mom, my room is cute I dead!" Translation: My room is so cute I could die.

"I'm going to save my money for laffy taffy for my birthday." Does she really think she must save up for her birthday to get a 25 cent Laffy Taffy? No. Laffy Taffy = walkie talkie.

"When is turkey turkey?" Translation: Trick-or-treating

"Ruby went to get the iron man." Translation: blow dryer

Once I sent her to tell Steve to get a razor blade. Knowing it was hard, I even practiced it with her several times first. A few minutes later I turned to see him bringing me a box of Raisin Bran. Saffron thinks these moments are hilarious.

"Mom, did you say put this in the freez, or freezer?" Translation: fridge or freezer

Saffron is an excellent soccer player, and is playing on the highest level team for her age group. I went to the first practice with her and quietly tried to translate several of the coaches words for her on a drink break. After that I thought, forget it. She'll figure it out, or he'll figure out that he can't haphazardly interchange words like "halfback" and "midfielder" and think she'll know she's going to the same position. In fact, it was only after the first few games she mentioned to me that she wished the girls wouldn't "choose" her so she could play the whole game. When substitutions came in, she thought they got to choose whom to replace. She must have thought the coach just told her who to go in for because she couldn't choose fast enough. Who knows how many other things are lost in translation and we don't even know it.

Doesn't matter much, though--she's still been game MVP the last two games in a row. I taught her the word "aggressive" and told her it has to be said with a big roar on the "ggr" part, and with fingers up next to your face like claws. She laughs in embarrassment when I yell it that way from the sidelines, but she definitely gets the meaning. She has no problem being aggressive. She even heard a mom yelling from the other team's side "That girl is mean!" I told her she wasn't doing anything wrong, just playing fierce. Once she knew she wasn't in trouble, she was pretty proud of that moment. We like to say that she's playing her Ethiopian ancestors proud. She tells me she's not as good as Little Brother. He must be quite the soccer star, then. I only wish I could see him play.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Hug Place

Saffron went many years without a hug.

Tonight she had a rough evening. When she gets in trouble of any kind, she struggles to forgive herself and move on. After we talked through it we had a hug.

As we hugged she said, "When I'm in your hug I feel like I'm in a special place. When I don't get a goodnight hug I can't fall asleep for a very long time."

I think of how quickly Cyrus stops crying if I pick him up and hug him tight to my chest.

And I think of what my friend Brittney said through her tears. She recently volunteered at a third-world orphanage. Volunteers in the baby wing were forbidden to pick up the babies and hug them. They were only allowed to stroke them in their cribs. Brittney said she'd never experienced anything so excruciating as looking into the eyes of a crying baby whose eyes begged you to hold her, and not being able to do it. The agony of this memory was so clear on Brittney's face that I cried just watching her retell it.

The Hug Place must be wired into us physiologically and spiritually. I guess it makes sense that in Saffron's mind it's a place--something to be inside of, and somewhere to feel safe.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hilarious! The New "Who's on First"

This 2-minute piece featured today as part of a rerun of This American Life is one of the most hilarious things I've heard in a long time. Take a minute to listen--come on . . . you need a good laugh.

It's an excerpt from the show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, by the Chicago theater group The Neofuturists.

Cut and paste the link below (blogger's not in the mood to make it clickable), then go to minute 24:30: