Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Drain your Brain: Baby Steps Edition

Ahem . . .

Is this thing on? (testing testing)

Okay, I stand before you today to make an amendment to my last post about draining the clogs in your brain.

The amendment is really more like an addition--or an edition, if you will--inspired by your comments yesterday, as well as the recent developments in my daughter's continuing journey to learn about life from tennis rather than from life.

Okay, so lesson summary: sometimes your pipes get clogged, yada, yada, and then you need to drain your brain, or as I used to call it when I was a hoity toity English and history teacher, you need to deconstruct your brain. Which essentially means you empty it out (or if you think about it literally, means you tear down what has been (mis)constructed for you and by you) (that's a whole deep thought right there if you want to meditate upon it) (but let's not).

Any. ways. You drain your brain a little here and a little there. YaY for you, right!? And YaY for my daughter--braggetty, braggetty, braggetty. But as they say on Project Runway, one day you're in, the next day you're out.

That goes for clogs too, only vice versa.

One day they're out, the next day they're back in.

Gol dern clogs!

Draining your brain is evolutionary. It takes baby steps. Two baby steps forward, one baby step back. That's how clogs roll.

Two days ago my daughter beat a boy during practice. One of the varsity tennis boys who consistently beats her. She was down 5-2 and rallied back for the win. This was more than a baby step. It was a giant leap! It was like a big ole' super sonic plunger to her head.

The next day she dug in her heels and qualified for states.

But then today she played for 3rd place in the region and lost. She has lost to this girl twice before so it's not surprising she lost again. Big deal, right? 3rd or 4th! Tit for Tat. I could care less if she loses. I'm just in it for the life lessons.

But on this day she could have won. And she felt it. But for some reason she let it slide.

This is what it looks like to win 4th in the region when you know you could have won 3rd.

Look very very very closely and you can almost see the drain filling up again.

But that's life, right! You're up. You're down. You're up. You're down. I'm still proud as a peacock.

I mean, just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you HAVE to (every time), right?

Some of your comments yesterday reminded me that sometimes letting it slide is as important to draining your brain as wielding your sword.

Dolly said:

My son only got a red card in his game yesterday. I think it just added to the clog in his brain.

I keep trying to be the roto rooter to my kiddos and they don't seem to appreciate me calling them out on stuffs. They must be those sensitive "words of affirmation" types... which are lovely types of people too, but when they need an experience and won't go and get one, it's just a bit exasperating and I'm not one to let too much build up in my brain before I finally say something that is insightful, but comes out all wrong. I sort of suck at parenting. You look like you've got it going strong. Ok, time for me to go watch Dieter Uchtdorf again. : )

First of all, YES, go listen to Uchtdorf again. He is a cure-all! Second of all, AMEN! Don't we all feel like we suck at parenting? One day I have it going strong and the next day I'm listening to Uchtdorf again.

Susan said:

I'm so glad for your daughter. My daughter plays soccer because she really likes it, but it's not her passion either. I try to tell myself that's okay, but it's hard. Thanks for the reminder of why they play.

Been there/done that/still there/doing that! It's like giving yourself a root canal to say, "that's okay" when your kid doesn't (how do I say this?) LOVE to do the things they are best at. Or see themselves as they really are, and as they really can be. YET.

We all want our kids to strive and learn and find their grails and live their dreams and bloom and grow, (but only where they're planted) right? That's why we're all listening to Uchtdorf.

We all want to be the wind beneath our kid's wings.

But you know what? Sometimes they just gotta flap!

DeNae said:

I'm pretty sure this post was about more than your house, or even your daughter.

DeNae is so on to me. She has noticed that I never really come out and say what I'm trying to say, and once you figure that out about me, you suddenly get me.

You get me?

You are right DeNae, that post was about more than my house or my daughter. It was about me too, plus all of you. Ain't we all still draining our brains?

Okay and the truest comment came from Jillybean:

So far, our youngest kid has decided that he is passionate about Mario Kart on the Wii.

Touche, Jillybean! Touche! Who isn't passionate about Mario Kart?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brain Drain

Last Friday my house got a colonoscopy (poor thing). And can I just say that watching your house get a colonoscopy is like watching Edward sparkle. At first, you're like, ewwww, but then you can't tear your eyeballs from the screen.

And then your brain kicks in, and you hope all those you-are-what-you-eat posters in the elementary school lunch room aren't true. And that it's not really what's inside that counts.

And yet it is what's inside that counts, isn't it? Particularly when your house keeps regurgitating it.

Careful what you feed your house. She may internalize it.

Poor poor house. We've been so worried about her. We thought she might have stomach cancer or something. Or irritable bowl syndrome. Or maybe even an eating disorder.

Poor poor us. When your house is sick, you is sick. How does that old saying go? You're only as happy as your unhappiest house?


We gave her some Pepto and had her bowels emptied, but as it turns out, she just needs a by-pass surgery. Her main artery is blocked, that's all. Probably stress related. Probably been holding things in and letting things build up, you know, until she just couldn't contain it any longer.

Ain't that just like life? As far as emotions go anyway? We really are what we eat, if you think about it. As far as emotions go anyway.

When my daughter was trying to decide if she should play tennis this year, she said something that made me think she thought we, as parents, were disappointed in her because tennis isn't her passion and because she hasn't pursued it more . . . passionately.

"I could care less that tennis isn't your passion!" I told her. "I just want you to play so you can learn about life and push through your emotional blocks."

See I am of the opinion that there are better ways to learn about life than through life itself, you know. Might as well "unblock" your emotional pipes through tennis now than through a by-pass later.

Am I right, or am I right?

Fears, doubts and insecurities take up a lot of space in your brain drain.

So here is my daughter today, weilding her sword against self doubt, in the high school regional tennis tournament.

And here is her coach congratulating her on winning her first match.

And here she is on the phone telling my hub that she qualified for states.

If you look very, very, very closely, you can almost see her brain draining.

And ain't it a bee-U-tiful sight?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Behind closed doors

The following story is completely, 100% true, without any embellishment or fancy spin.

It's about my dog, Lulu, who is a model of perfect human behavior when she is indoors. Outdoors she has a free spirit, but indoors she is as civilized as the queen of England. (If the queen of England drank from the loo every so often.)

Lulu never chews up our shoes or claws at the floor boards. She doesn't jump on the furniture or tinkle on the carpet. She won't steal our food or eat our homework when we're not looking. When we are away, our house remains intact, exactly as we left it.

But yesterday I had to run home real quick-like from church because I forgot something. I raced through the front door and clomped down my wooden hallway in my clickity-clak heels. When I arrived at my bedroom door I was met with a most peculiar sight. A sight so peculiar it stopped me dead in my clickity-clack tracks.

Someone was sleeping in my bed.

And her name was Lulu.

I mean she was literally sleeping in my bed, peeps. Not to be confused with on my bed. In other words, her head was on my pillow, and her body was under my covers.

I repeat, under my covers.

And she was sound asleep.

I knew you wouldn't believe me so I kicked off my heels and tip-toed down the hallway to grab my camera and capture some photographic evidence.

But she suddenly awoke, darted out of my bed, and started acting like she was a . . . dog.

Kinda makes ya wonder, don't it? About who's been eating your porridge behind closed doors.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Careful Combinations

If you ever want to know the secret to quilting, ask Winona Ryder.

And if you can't get a hold of her just watch How to Make an American Quilt. Skip ahead to the very last scene where she says:

"In quilting you have to choose your combinations carefully. The right choices will enhance your quilt. The wrong choices will dull the colors, hide their original beauty. There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by instinct and you have to be brave."

Ain't quilting just like life? Or at least just like relationships?

You know how some combinations of people make you feel like a little church mouse? Or even like a tiny spec of dust on a little church mouse?

And then other combinations of people make you feel like the universe really does have a place for you. Somewhere out there. (Beneath the pale moonlight.) And maybe that place includes a room with a view. (And a laundry room that doesn't flood.)

This is how I felt a few days ago when I spent three hours over lunch with some of my writer friends who were gathered together to bask in the light of the lovely Melanie J, who was in town for a book signing.

She's on her 2nd book, peeps! Holy. Cow. (No disrespect to my son intended.)

Here is the photographic evidence (which also doubles as a magic button you can click on to purchase her latest ditty.)

Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson

Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting it. Yet. I will probably read it first before I start forcing you at gunpoint to purchase it.

(I've got ethics, yes I do! I've got ethics, how 'bout you?) (Cue jazz hands.)

So anyways, upon Melanie J.'s arrival some of us word nerds met at this cool, hip, happening joint in Provo called . . .

That's right. I said, Communal. But no worries, there were no hippies or polygamists present. And the food wasn't served on lunch trays.

Wait. I just noticed the food was served on lunch trays. But cool, hip, happening lunch trays, right?

But enough about lunch. There is a moral here. A definite moral here. Choose your combinations carefully. That's alls I'm sayin.

Wait! Can I say one more thing though?

Isn't it the best when you get to spend time with good combinations of people?

And also good combinations of shoes . . .

and bags.

And can I also just say that if I was one of those people-who-need-people kinda people, I would have really needed to be with these people this week. And I would have really needed to hear some of the things Melanie J. said over lunch. Whodda thought a famous author could be so humble and vulnerable, plus generous with her words, even though she eats at hippie restaurants and sports chic purple toenails and CA bags!?

LY Melanie J!

P.S. Ink blots and claw marks become me, eh? Hopefully I'll be hot when I'm an antique.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Extreme Extremism (or how to love)

I forgot to tell you the funniest part about my daughter's homecoming date. It wasn't the chastity belt, or even the piano belt. It was an incident which occurred while they were taking pictures at the public park across the street from the temple.

Suddenly a guy jumps out at them and starts yelling that they are trespassing. I mean he's really letting them have it. Freaking out, as my 15-year-old son would say. He paid $500 to reserve the entire park for a wedding reception so he tells them at the top of his lungs that if they want to pay him $500, they can take all the pictures they want.

Then he pushes the photographer and threatens to call the proper authorities.

Which. he. does.

Wouldn't you know it, the police actually arrive on the scene and start questioning the photographer. He had to fill out a report and everything.

Imagine the poor cop who took that call. "Mr. Policeman, sir. I'd like to report four teenagers in Sunday best trying to take adorable photos in the public park. Could you please come and arrest them ASAP! Before they get away with it."

But my daughter, through it all, found a way to say what she needed to say.

Bless her li'l subversive heart.

You probably don't get that do you? Raise your hand if you get that? You're too young to understand the subtle innuendo, huh?

First person who gets that I'll send you a Jamba Juice. Hopefully you don't live in Florida or something because it might be melted by the time it arrives. I hear Florida's hot like that.

Okay, I'll give you a clue. Two words. First word. Sounds like Potter. Only it's not spelled like Potter. It's the stuff that came out of the drain when my laundry room flooded last night.

Second word. Sounds like late. As in, I was up late last night because my laundry room flooded.

Now put it together . . . Potter . . . late. Potterlate.

You still don't get it do you?

Okay, last clue.

Now you're laughing, huh?

Me neither. But mostly because my laundry room is flooded.

You know when I lived in Hawaii I only feared one thing--besides racism and socialism and my kids being killed on Kam Highway--and that was skin-cancerism. Now that I live in Utah I'm afeared of many things. Underground pornism, blind perfectionism and culturally-induced depressionism, to name a few. I'm also afeared of women who look like they've been sucking on lemons or playing with Barbies. And of teenagers who only group date. And of adults who alert the proper authorities because they don't want to share the public park.

Come to think of it, I'm only afeared of one thing--extreme extremism.

In Hawaii that photographer probably would have been beaten to a pulp, or vice versa, without the proper authorities ever being alerted. (Especially if one of them was a "stupid haole" (I would add a URL link to that quote, but all the Urban Dictionary definitions include swear words.)

Or if the proper authorities had been alerted, they probably wouldn't have showed up.

Case in point. You get me?

You know what I'm most afeared of in Utah? Extreme happiness. Did you guys see that Acappella group from BYU on The Sing Off last night?

They say they want to conquer the world with happiness. YIKES! Is that a scary thought or what? I'm worried that outsiders are going to get the wrong idea about Mormons. What if they think we want to force everyone at gunpoint to smile from ear to ear? Not all Mormons want to impose their happiness on others like that.

It's just too bad the miserable Mormons aren't ever represented on t.v. The ones who didn't score a 32 on their ACT.

Isn't there an accapella group somewhere in Utah made up of those who failed their AP exams and who single dated in high school? Exclusively?

I would like to see those BYU singers sing about something that really happens for once. I mean, fer reals, no one jumps, jives or wails when it hails anymore. I want to hear them sing something by Lil' Wayne. Something like How to Love. Even extremely happy Mormons are trying to figure that out.

Am I right? Or am I right?

Monday, September 19, 2011

What not to wear

Well for starters, if you're a dog, please don't wear a chastity belt when my daughter's homecoming date comes to pick her up.

My daughter made this very clear. Several times. And by that I mean, she made it VERY VERY clear. In no uncertain terms.

In other words, she felt exceedingly strong about not wanting her date to see anything resembling this upon his arrival:

But poor Lulu is in heat right now so I insisted that her chastity belt remain intact. (I just have this thing about morally clean dogs.) However, I did oblige my daughter by chaining Lulu up behind the house for the big arrival.

Then my daughter started in on my son who was mowing the lawn. "Put a shirt on!" she called to him from the kitchen door. "Or at least take your necklace off so you don't look like a gangsta rapper!"

Then she noticed my hub's t-shirt, which, heaven help him, he somehow keeps finding at the bottom of his drawer in the pile marked, "Emergency use only."

"Honey, please!" I said. "PLEASE change your shirt. We want to make a good impression now don't we?"

"Yes, we do mom," my daughter jumped in. "So you need to change your shirt too."


Once we were all sufficiently dressed, or chained up behind the house, her date arrived and we learned what you can wear.

A piano belt. And suspenders. Suspenders are all the rage this year. I don't know if piano belts are all the rage, but I didn't hear my daughter ask her date to change so I'm assuming it is socially acceptable attire to meet the rents.

So while we were taking photographic evidence of her date's piano belt, Lulu began making a joyful noise from behind the house. It sounded something like "Hey, I want to see the piano belt too!"

I ignored it, but I guess my hub didn't get the fervent memo about chastity belts as opposed to piano belts, or maybe he wanted to give an object lesson, but unwittingly or not, he let Lulu off her chain.

Oh my! What happened next happened in super slow/fast motion.

Lulu came bounding towards my daughter's date, diaper and all, and you should have seen my daughter's face . . .

Her date, who's favorite movie happens to be Nacho Libre (he now has permission to marry my daughter (as long as he doesn't wear his piano belt to the wedding)) thought it was heeelarious, but my poor daughter could not stay in super model character after that.

Although I think she and her date would make surprisingly good animatronic-car-models.

I must say she looked loverly riding off into the sunset in that sleek black Lexus.

As did her date.

Long live the queen!

Ah heck, they all just looked loverly.

The End.


I did her hair my very own self, btw.

But I can't take credit for her eyelashes.

Those were a genetic mutation.

(Either that or a gift from the Barbie Doll gods.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The power of a loser

I have, as of late, been checking off a few items from my bucket list.

Since I already got a dog--check, and bought a house--check, I am on to making other dreams come true. Namely, climbing a hay bale, and yelling yeeeeehaaaw! Always wanted to do that. At least since last march.

See I pass huge hay bales every day when I'm out in the middle of nowhere taking Lulu to run in the fields, and yesterday I finally decided to carpe diem! (Minus the yeeeehaw!)

(Baby steps, peeps.)

Instead I climbed that bale of hay, stretched out on my back and thanked gad I'mma country girl.

I didn't used to be a country girl, I used to be a city snob, but heaven help me, I'm becoming the opposite of everything I used to be.

Old age is a bugger like that.

Another thing I've always wanted to do is go back to bed after I send my kids off to school. Yesterday I also made that dream come true. I planned on sleeping until the holy cows came home, but I woke up at 1o with a sudden urge to water my plants.

(Don't you hate it when that happens?)

Please refrain from spreading rumors that the dummy is depressed. I know that laying on hay bales and sleeping till 10 sounds suspicous, but I was just recooping. Too much 9/11 footage for my stone cold heart. Plus I saw Planet of the Apes last weekend. Nothing breaks my heart like a misunderstood monkey. Especially a smart misunderstood monkey.

Seriously, that monkey had my eyeballs sweatin' to the oldies.

Yesterday my daughter checked something off her bucket list too. She split sets at her tennis match against one of the best players in the region. (Martha, you would have been so dang proud!) What that means is both players won a set, taking the match into a third set. My daughter ended up losing the match, but she won a set.


And she made that girl beat her in three sets.

Just goes to show you that in every loss there can be found a small victory if you put a fancy spin on it.

The whole match kinda helped me forget about that smart monkey for a minute because the thing about best players is they think they're all that. And the thing about playing for a losing team is that best players treat you as if you have a big L on your forehead.

I say never underestimate the power of a loser!

Don't ask me why, but for some reason I love to watch losers make best players squirm.

Is that sacrelig?

It's just so entertaining the things best players do when they start squirming. Things like calling for their entourage to come and massage their legs and heat their shins. Or accusing us of coaching our daughter from the sidelines, even though we are clearly wearing muzzles.

Not complaining though. It's all just part of the game. See the golden rule in tennis is, "Do unto others, before others can do unto you."

He who rattles first, rattles last.

Unless the loser rallies back.

Rally back, losers! Rally back!

Monday, September 12, 2011


A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely. --Pam Brown

MAHALO to my twin's lifelong ex-door neighbor besties, Jimmy and Nana (who also happen to be twins) for keeping the friendship alive with this birthday package to my twins. They were SOOOO excited!

Everyone was fighting over everything!

And Nana, this picture poem made us--as my daughter would say--smile and be happy!

How cute is that?

Hip hip hooray for friendship that never dies!

P.S. Martha, I found the letter and will drop it in the mail first thing in the morning.