Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thirty years after

Mariko, my daughter's hoity toity English teacher from Hawaii, doesn't think I'm selling Utah very well and told me to work on it.

I may not be one to accentuate the positive, but I am one to do what I'm told, so . . .

Actually I'm not one to do what I'm told, but I'll give it a whirl.

While Hawaii may have many things that Utah doesn't have, like cockroaches, kane spiders and head lice, Utah has many things that Hawaii doesn't have, like tanning salons, Sono Bello billboards and 25 mph speed limits.

One thing both states definitely have in common is hoity toity English teachers. And equally awesome next door neighbors!

Anyways, I've decided to write a Good Things Utah list, in no particular order, to highlight my favorite things about Utah that I never enjoyed in Hawaii:
  1. Lulu
  2. My mom's new dog, Bella
  3. My mom's new mobile home, Edward
  4. My sister
  5. My five brothers, (almost all of) their wives, and (all of) their kids
  6. Lawnmower ownership
  7. Helpful school administrators
  8. All-you-can-eat restaurants
  9. All-you-can-play basketball tournaments
  10. All-you-can-love in-laws
  11. Lulu
  12. Lunch with my writing friends
  13. Dinner with my writing friends
  14. Slumber parties with my writing friends
  15. My daughter's bank account
  16. Prince charming on the doorstep
  17. Good hair
  18. Back-to-back state basketball championships
  19. St. George
  20. Hobby Lobby
  21. Sam Hawk's
  22. My field of dreams
  23. The first snow
  24. The last snow
  25. My fireplace
  26. Lulu

Wait, did I mention Lulu?

All of these things are perks, fo' sho, but one of the most rewarding things about living in Utah is being present to face this day, March 27th, 2012--30 years after--with a soft heart and a forgiving spirit.

LY Dad! It's all good in the hood.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

That Darn Romance

My daughter got asked to Prom. Not in the regular knock-and-run manner, but in the unusual knock-and-find-a-little-boy-dressed-in-a-suit-holding-a-rose manner.

"When I grow up will you go to Prom with me?" he asked my daughter.

I wasn't home at the time, but she called me instantly. "Mom, I got asked to PROM!!!!"

"Hooray!" I said. "By who?"

"Some little boy."

It gave me pause, but hey, I'm not picky. I just want my daughter to be loved.

After we got off the phone, she jumped into the shower. Just then another knock came at the door. The little boy was now a big boy, and he stood on our porch like Prince charming, with a dozen red roses in hand.

"Looks like your prom date grew up," called my son through the bathroom door.

Like I said before, I wasn't there, but I imagine she looked a little something like this when she said yes:

That darn romance will catch you off guard every time.


P.S. There are still five days left to win one of the three free Tell Me Who I Am books. Click here to enter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I double dog dare you.

Every year or so I like to ground my kids. Just to keep them . . . well, grounded. Of course I always offer a get-out-of-jail-free card, tailor-made according to my kid's individual dislikes and weaknesses.

This past weekend was my oldest son's turn to get grounded, and I was positively intoxicated by all of the power I had over him. But with great power comes great responsibility so I thought long and hard about the most appropriate key to unlock his freedom. It had to be something rewarding, yet hideously terrifying. Which left me with only one option.

A book. I would make him read a book.

The Hunger Games.

Timely, right? And a sure bet.

Ya think?

Let's just say I wasn't too far off when I told him, "this is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you."

So hey, if any of you ever want to get grounded I can recommend a good book. You've probably already read Hunger Games so may I suggest Tell Me Who I Am--that little Mormony diddy I contributed to, along with more than a dozen other Mormony writers.

You might like it. It's kinda like The Hunger Games for Mormons . . .

Actually it's not. I lied to peak your interest. But that would be a funny book, huh? Maybe there could be a lottery and one Bishop and one Relief Society President from each state could be thrown into an arena together to fight to the death. They could try to kill each other with kindness. Or with meetings. Whoever survives all the meetings wins.

No wait! I got it. Throw a bunch of inactives into the arena and make the actives hunt them down and fellowship them.

I kid, peeps. I kid. The Hunger Games for Mormons would probably be a cookbook, full of recipes for green Jello and funeral potatoes.

But seriously, remember a few posts ago how I said Mormons are people too? Well Tell Me Who I Am proves it. When you turn the last page of the book you will know who we are.

We are people.

Not just peculiar people, regular people too. (Although, for the record, some are a little more regular than others. (Not including my MIL, who has to eat black licorice to stay regular.))

I got my shipment yesterday and now I'm giving away three copies of the book for absolutely FREE. That's absolutely FREE, and if you act within the next four minutes I will give it to you for even more free. Just leave your credit card number in my comment box and answer a few simple questions about your temple worthiness.

Unless you'd rather not pay for it. Or be worthy of it. In which case you can just have it.

Alls you have to do is, get this, tell me who I am.

No fer reals, tell me. I double dog dare you.

Who am I? Ready, go.

The top three answers will win a FREE copy. In the case of a tie, whoever can accurately guess how many posts I have in my draft box will be crowned victorious.

I can throw in autographs too, which, who knows, might be worth something on eBay one day.

In the case that only two people enter, I will give the third book to charity.


P.S. If you don't want it free, you can order the book, minus the autographs, from Amazon

Or press this magic button:

If you really can't tell me who I am, and you don't want to pay $15 + shipping, you can always go to Good Reads where Josh Bingham is giving away 10 free books, (without my autograph).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tell Me Who I Am by DeNae Handy

Tell Me Who I Am

by DeNae Handy

Giveaway ends April 08, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Monday, March 19, 2012

. . . and we Liked it like that!

Remember that time I Liked my daughter's dance photos on Facebook?

And she threw a fit?

And made me Unlike them?

Well she went to another dance on Saturday, and guess what? Her date's mom Liked the photographs.

On Facebook!


But what's not to like? It was the 70's.

His sideburns are fo' real, btw. As is his chest hair. (Told me so hisself.)

Yes, men had chest hair in the 70's.

And we Liked it like that!


P.S. My hub wants me to add that men also had unibrows. And we Liked it like that too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mormons are people too!

I recently saw The Iron Lady and of the fistfuls of memorable quotes, my favorite line was, "I will not die washing out a saucer!"

And yet . . . the movie ends with Margaret Thatcher washing out a saucer.

Which made me realize that one of the biggest perks of writing movies would be making powerful people eat their words!

I also recently saw The Artist. My favorite line? "We need to talk, George."

Get it? We need to talk? And it's a silent movie?

Another perk of writing movies--making powerful people swallow their words.

As if that wasn't enough movie watching, I also saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and I quickly discovered that the incredibly closer you sit to the screen, the extremely louder a movie becomes.

My favorite line was "Maybe everyone is looking for something?" True that. I actually was looking for something--a seat farther away from the screen because I find the less extremely loud pain is, the more I can enjoy it.

You get me?

I only say this because I am not a pretty crier. If my eyeballs even think about breaking a sweat, they swell up like a blowfish and my hub has to turn away and avoid eye contact so he doesn't turn to stone.

Sometimes I'd rather not feel and be cranky, than feel and be ugly.

Is that vain?

You probably think there's no pleasing me, huh? Since my last post was dissing the loud happy, and this post is dissing the loud sad.

It's just that at times the sheer volume of the collective sad is so deafening I think my head might spin around and pop off.

But I assure you I don't discriminate. I can see the up and down sides of both.

DOWNSIDE TO LOUD HAPPY: it can make you oblivious to sad.
UPSIDE TO LOUD SAD: it can chip your stone cold heart and make you want to spread happy.

Especially if the loud sad people are people you love.

Gosh dang love. Makes you prettier and uglier all at once.

And that, my friends, is why I love The Crash Test Dummy. She looks at both the bright side and the dark side and laughs in the face of both.

And then she chases life down with a Coke.

Because it's the real thang, baby.

Wish I could do that.

But I don't even like Coke.

Anyways, that's not my point. I actually came here to tell you that I may have been a little off on the happy Mormon thing. My ex-door neighbor, Martha put a few Gallup Poll links in my comment box which claim that while the Provo-Orem area ranks #1 in optimism, the state of Utah only ranks #4 in happyness.

Of course Hawaii ranks #1. For the third year in the row. Which is weird since I moved away from Hawaii almost exactly three years ago.

Also weird is that Utah ranked #1 in happyness before I moved here, but has now fallen behind North Dakota and Minnesota.

Do you think . . .

Nah, probly the year-round construction that's bringing us down.

So I know what Hawaii has that Utah doesn't have (except me), but what do North Dakota and Minnesota have that Utah doesn't have? (Besides Lawrence Welk and the artist formerly known as Prince.) Inquiring minds want to know.

Maybe if the Gallup Poll did a study on which state's happy was the loudest, Utah would rank #1, because if we're happy and we know it, we clap our hands, stomp your feet, and shout HOO-RAY?

I bet North Dakota and Minnesota don't do that.

You know, if you think about it, it's pretty cool that everything I need to know about happyness I learned in Primary.

Except one thing. That it's okay if you're not okay. I learned that on Smash.

It's okay if you're not okay.

Even if you're a Mormon.

Because Mormons are people too.


P.S. Since I'm telling you my favorite lines . . . here's my favorite line from my 15-year old son this week:

"Can you please do your laundry so I can do my laundry. Every time I do my laundry I have to do your laundry first."

P.S.S. He figured out the folding thing so his room doesn't have the stomach flu anymore.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Is your happy too loud?

An important question if you think about. Which I have been lately--ever since I saw We Bought a Zoo.

In the story, 7-year-old Rosie can't sleep because the neighbors are always partying at the top of their lungs. Oh, and also because her mother recently died.

In one scene her dad tries to help her fall asleep. They're looking out the window watching the neighbors dance and laugh, and Rosie makes the most profound observation in the history of the world: Their happy is too loud.

Ain't that just the truth? When the volume on your sad goes up, suddenly everyone puts their happy on surround sound.

Why can't happy people just plug their headphones in once in a while?

I only say this because I live in Happy Valley. If I lived in Death Valley I would say, why can't the sad people push mute once in a while? And if I lived in Silicon Valley I would say, why can't the perfect people stop pumping up the volume on their implants?

(Wait, did I take that out of context?)

It's about balance, peeps. That's alls I'm sayin'.

(Wait, did you take that out of context?)

Balance your happy with your sad. And if you don't have your own sad, borrow someone else's. Believe me, there's plenty to go around. I've been borrowing other people's sad for the past several weeks and it works like a charm to take your happy down a few decibels.

You can borrow from the sad I'm borrowing if you want. I wouldn't mind some help carrying it.

Never mind. I probably shouldn't be lending out things that aren't mine. And anyway, we keep our sad on the down-low here in Utah. I think it's a Mormon thing.

Or is it?

I sometimes worry that Mormons are trying to corner the market on happiness, and maybe that's why Utah is the most depressed state (not to mention the most stressed state). Think about it logically; not only is it capitalistic, it's also depressing (and stressful) to be as happy as a clam all the time (even if you think you're shaping pearls).

Dang oxymormons.

Take me, for instance. I'm a Mormon. Oh yes I am. and if you want to study a Mormon I'm a living specimen. (Not like a bug-pinned-wriggling-to-the-wall specimen, but a religious specimen.)

Feel free to study me. To do as I'm doing. Then follow, follow me.

As a child I learned that no one likes a frowny face. So I changed it to a smile. I quickly turned it upside down, then smiled all the while.

But then I started getting cavities.

Not from smiling, from watching other people smile. Which is the reason I started blogging. My teeth were practically falling out of my mouth from hearing about everyone's wonderful husbands and wonderful lives and wonderful children, and I realized someone needed to step up and help fight the tooth decay.

(You're welcome. And don't forget to floss.)

It was easy to fight tooth decay when I lived in Hawaii because everyone's happy was way too loud, but then so was their sad, and their mad and their bad. I once witnessed a man beat his grandson up at ward camp for smoking pakalolo and laying on top of his girlfriend in the bushes.

During testimony meetings it wasn't uncommon to hear people get up and say they wished they could leave their spouses, or stop screaming at their children. Of course no one ever did leave their spouses or stop screaming at their children.

They were just sayin'.

I've never heard anyone in Happy Valley say they wish they could leave their spouses or stop screaming at their children, but then they do stop screaming at their children, and oh my, do they ever leave their spouses! Do. They. Ever. Seen it with my very own eyes.

Also seen way too many people here leave their lives, or try to leave their lives--as in shuffle off this mortal coil of their own volition--although I've never heard them say they wanted to.

But then maybe I wasn't listening because my happy was too loud.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Exuding a hormone

Warning: NOT the best choice of words to use in front of your teenagers, even if you are merely trying to find an explanation as to why your dog might be in love with your 15-year-old son.

"Maybe you are exuding a hormone," I said.

Try saying that three times fast: excuding a hormone, excuding a hormone, exuding a hormone . . .

"STOP saying EXUDING a HORMONE!" My fifteen-year-old finally shouted from his position atop the table.

Not a great photo since I was understandably LMFAO (laughing my friggin' arse off) at the time I snapped it.

Lulu is in heat, btw.

Later, after we put Lulu outside and stopped laughing and finished homework and put groceries away, we all took a deep breath and settled into a comfortable silence on the couch.

"What does excuding a Hormone mean?" asked my thirteen-year-old.


P.S. I found some photographic evidence of Martha's magic earrings after the state championship celebration.

MAHALO Martha! Too bad your name wasn't in the paper for your contribution to the big win.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh the things you will see . . . while I watch t.v.

I was just about to pull out my Braggeddy Anne doll and tell you something about my 15-year-old son.

Something I'm really, really, really proud of . . .

Something I could Like about him on Facebook, and then Unlike again if he got embarrassed . . .

He's been doing his own laundry.

By his very own self.

Been doing it for a month now so I can have more time to sit around and watch t.v.

He's got the washing and drying part down, but he hasn't quite gotten the hang of folding yet, which means when you walk into his bedroom you get the distinct impression his dresser has just come down with a severe case of the stomach flu.

I was going to tell you all about this, but then my ex-door neighbor, Martha (remember her?) politely demanded that I talk about basketball instead. (Why does basketball always trump domestic accord? That's what I want to know.)

But when Martha wants me to talk about basketball, I talk about basketball, especially after she sent me a pair of magic earrings to wear to the state tournament last week.

Now if only I had something interesting to say about basketball . . .

Unless, of course you want to hear about the state tournament last week?


I guess you could say it was just like every other week that we attend four basketball games in Salt Lake.

Except the price of admission was a little higher. The stakes were higher too. Oh, and the stress and adrenalin levels were through the roof!

Plus I shushed my MIL three times in the car on the way to the semi-finals for interrupting me while I was trying to yell at her son. I usually don't do that.

And my 13-year-old kept telling me I was weird. He usually doesn't do that.

Other than that it was just like every other week. Up until the championship game, when my 15-year-old son had to step in and play out of position for most of the first half because some of the starters were in foul trouble.

Oh Martha, I wish you could've seen it! He made the most gorgeous three pointer in the history of the world. Or as they say in the paper, he stuck a trey. Whatever that means.

Oh, and btw, your magic earrings worked and they won the state championship.

His papa was kinda proud:

And I think his cute "chica" was too. Look:

There was no kiss though because she's waiting until she's 16. How SaWeeeet is that?

My son's friends leaked it to me, and now I am leaking it to you, that someone (powerful) is donating $300 to her if she stays VL till her birthday. I think my son might be dangling the fruit of the tree of knowledge in front of her. For this reason I am taking up a collection with the hope of earning $301 to offer her if she will partake of the fruit before her birthday. If any of you would like to donate to this worthy cause, please leave your credit card number in my comment box.


Okay, back to Martha. Look Martha, guess who my boy is buds with:

And just for fun, check this out:

Not even embellishing a teensy bit.

Here's one more shot you can buy for $6.99 if you want. (It might make a lovely Christmas gift for a friend or neighbor.)

Just sayin'.

Here's another one, but you don't have to buy it because I already cut it out of the paper.

BTW, if you feel like reading about my boy in the paper, have at it.


But, Martha, promise me you won't lose sight of what really matters about the state tourny, and that is the fact that my boy came home after every game and washed his own uniform.

While I sat on the couch and watched t.v.