Friday, April 30, 2010

My first-ever familial wedding extravaganza

I guess I've milked the LDS Storymaker's conference long enough, huh? I still have one more semi-related story to share, but I better catch you up on my real life first.

I'll start backwards.

Yesterday I got to go to one of these:

Besides my siblings, this was the first familial wedding I have ever been within proximity to attend.

It was a lovely spring day in Salt Lake City.

Besides the freakin' SNOW!

And besides the fact that I wore the wrong shoes for freakin' SNOW . . .

Not to mention the wrong legs.

And besides that fact that I rode all the way to Salt Lake with two fingers and a Vanillaroma air freshener shoved up my nose because my in-laws spilled gasoline in their car.

Other than that it was great!

I got to give my hub a bad hair cut, then spend the day looking at it.

I also got to spend the day looking at my bee-U-tiful daughter.

And every time the bride and groom went like this . . .

I got to hear my MIL clap her hands together and squeal, "Oh goody goody!"

Have you all been formally introduced to my MIL?

Peeps, meet Dixie.

Or, as I like to call her, Dixie Darlin'.

She's a keeper.

If it weren't for her I wouldn't know half the wedding traditions I know now--like how wedding cakes were made of fruit cake in the good ole' dayz, which was cut into small pieces, covered in Saran wrap, then divied out among the wedding guests, who would take them home and place them under their pillows. By the power invested in the fruit cake genie, whatever the wedding guests dreamed of that night was sure to come true.

My MIL did in fact sleep with fruit cake under her pillow on occasion whilst dreaming of her current hub, whom she has been living happily/semi-happily ever after with for the past 60 odd years. (And I do mean odd years.)

(Shhh . . . don't tell anyone, but we shared Chinese food and a Mountain Dew before the wedding luncheon and I stole my nephew's fortune from his fortune cookie, which said You have a charming way with words, but which my hub, who doesn't believe in fortune, callously threw out with the leftovers.)

After the wedding luncheon we rushed home where I hauled out all my winter clothes from storage for my twins baseball game. But even with two blankets, a sweater, my stay-puff marshmallow coat, a scarf, and pair of gloves, I quickly resembled a human popsicle.

After the game my hub made the mistake of telling my twins they could do aloha wear for the wedding reception.

This is how they interpreted aloha wear:

"That's not aloha wear!" I gasped.

"But I'm wearing a Humuhumnukunukuapua'a shirt!" said one twin.

"And I tucked my shirt in!" said the other twin!

Would you like to see photographic evidence of what the one twin looked like after he changed into his wedding reception attire?


So guess who I saw at the reception!? Guess! Guess! Guess!

Barb from Barbaloot Suit

She was wearing her famous magic red shoes!

I was (by then) wearing my winter tights and riding boots.

With a few staples we would make a lovely centerfold, dontcha think?

Those magic red shoes really work because guess who caught the wedding bouquet without even trying?

It sailed right into her arms as if she were a marriage magnet.

You go, Barb!

The rest of the wedding reception was pretty dull (if you live in the Twilight Zone).

Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person who doesn't live in the Twilight Zone because no one else seemed the least bit amazed that our name had to pass security clearance to be admitted into this reception.

Or that some chica was wearing a skirt made out of ties.

Or that we were standing on the actual floor from the all-star basketball game in 1993, (which, btw, had been purchased by a private citizen for her private residence).

Or that the cake was being cut in front of Michael Jordan's jersey.

Or that there was a styrofoam strawberry ball at the food table.

But then I've never been an up-town girl, so maybe I'm easily impressed.

I am happy to report that at the end of the day I did manage to capture some photographic evidence of my hub doing his air guitar slash river dance.

In case you can't tell, his blood relations are also doing various interpretations of his jig.

You see what I mean about the Twilight Zone?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My writing conference tip of the day, thanks to Brandon Sanderson

I haven't spoken of my Sponge Bob ward since I was hauled in by the proper authorities and told to quit leaking episode plot lines to the media. In other words, one of my fellow cast members recommended me to the censorship committee, and because I didn't want to lose my endorsements, I complied and conformed.

This incident was only the first in a series of clues that in Utah the trees talk and the rocks whisper. In Hawaii they talk and whisper too, but not behind your back or to the proper authorities. Hawaii is a hang-loose and shaka-braddah state, but it's also an aggressive state. People in Hawaii say what they need to say. To your face.

Utah is an aggressive state too, especially when there are referees or steering wheels nearby, but Utah is aggressive with a more passive flair. People say what they need to say, but they say it in order to lead you to believe that what they said was what they meant.

You get me?

For instance, if someone drops by the orange stand and says, "I'll take a box fer sure, but I just need to run to the bank first and get some cash," what they really mean is, "See ya later, sucker!" Or if my daughter texts a friend to hang out and the friend texts back saying, "Sure, I'll call you when I get home," what she really means is, "I have no intention of hanging out with you tonight."

But I digress. This post is not about me giving a cultural awareness lesson, this post is about me breaking my Sponge Bob silence because last weekend my Sponge Bob world and my writer's conference world collided when heard a familiar name over and over at the LDS Storymakers Conference.

Brandon Sanderson.

Say that five times fast and you'll know how I felt at the conference.

Brandon Sanderson is the author of the Alcatraz series (among other things) and apparently is not only popular enough to have his own Wikipedia entry, but also to have his name passed around and around in sci-fi circles.

Every time I heard his name my hand shot up or my elbow jabbed my neighbor, "Oooh, oooh, oooh," I'd say, "I can throw a stone at Brandon Sanderson's house from my front lawn," or "I can toilet paper Brandon Sanderson's house without even leaving my driveway."

I wasn't trying to be annoying, I was just trying to let people know that I could make Brandon Sanderson's life miserable if I wanted to. That's how close we are in proximity.

When others at the Storymakers Conference found out that Brandon was one of the cast members of my Sponge Bob ward, they either sat in stupor, or asked me if he was active.

"I'm not tight enough with him to know his exercise routine," I shrugged.

"No, I mean, does he attend church regularly?"

"Oh, yes," I said, "and sometimes speaks in Sacrament, plus teaches Gospel Doctrine AND Priesthood all in the same day. We Sponge Bobbers call it the wham-bam-grand-slam."

And can I just add that when Brandon Sanderson speaks in sacrament, or bears his testimony, he grips either side of the pulpit and adjusts his glasses with a particular conviction the likes of which you only see in successful science fiction novelists who understand there is no conflict between science and religion, let alone science fiction and religion.

It's enough to keep even my hub awake. And prompt me to take feverish notes.

My favorite was when he taught us how to be the hero in our own lives. I have it all scribbled down on a stray program, or index card, or on the back of a fireside flier somewhere. (Hopefully I find it before I have to do anything heroic.)

That being said, you can understand why my ears perked up when the keynote speaker at the conference, Dave Wolverton, (who also has his own Wikipedia entry) told a story about the time Brandon Sanderson came to him for advice on how to get published. Wolverton outlined for him a specific no-fail, five-step process (which, you're welcome, I am happy to share):

1. Blow off work.
2. Max out credit card.
3. Fly to Florida to attend Nebula Awards.
4. Go to bar where all sci-fi agents hang out.
5. Order Sprite, straight up, on the rocks and hold breath to avoid second-hand smoke inhalation.

It works. You should try it. Brandon found his agent, paid off his credit card and lived happily ever after (within a stone's throw of The Crash Test Dummy).

When I asked Brandon for permission to share his success story he said:

"I don't mind . . . though Wolverton sent me to New York not
Florida. But that was his advice, and I DID (while nervously drinking a
Sprite) find an editor in the hotel bar during the Nebula awards." ;)

Florida/New York, agent/editor, tomayto/tomahto . . . these little things are tit for tat, but can I just say how relieved I am that Brandon clarified the bar as a hotel bar. Bar is just such a broad word, am I right or am I right? I wasn't sure I would be able to judge him correctly when I saw him in the halls at church without knowing whether he was sipping Sprite in a nightclub or a discotheque or a salsa bar or a strip club or a sports bar or a biker bar?

You get me?

A hotel bar is at least respectable, which just goes to show that details really do make or break a story.

You can consider that my writing conference tip of the day.

(btw, I picked up an Alcatraz book at the library and I think it's way cute. Swirl, add it to your bookclub4boys list, ASAP! I bet I can get you autographed Sprite cans for all your club members.)

P.S. I can't wait until I have my own Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


For those of you who desperately wanted to be at the Storymakers conference this past weekend, I put together a sweetened, condensed, cliff-note, van-down-by-the-river overview of the top three most insightful thoughts for writers.

I hope it makes you feel like you were there.

If you don't think my version is pointed enough, go read DeNae's version, which isn't as sweetened or condensed (and basically boils down to this: Writing is uber HARD!!!!)

(btw, this list doesn't include the tips about botox and hair transplants needed to avoid frightening our fans at book signings, (applies particularly to romance writers). It also doesn't include the tips on letting your pregnant wife mow the lawn or locking your toddlers in the kitchen while you finish your manuscript.)

(For what it's worth, did you know that Anita Stansfield doesn't read AT ALL?)

(Not gossiping, just saying.)

(It's not 2nd hand information either. I heard it straight from the horse's mouth. Unless that horse was lip syncing, I can safely say that her famous-author eyeballs have no patience for reading.)

And now to the list:

1. Writing is our way of screaming.

2. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

3. If you want to get struck by lightening, you have to be standing in the path.

If that doesn't make you want to drink raw eggs and run up the steps of the Philidelphia Art Museum, maybe this conference kick-off video will.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dear Braden Bell,

I wish you hadn't cried in my comment box yesterday because now I feel guilty that, as a new author of The Road Show, you were stuck in Tennessee judging field day during the LDS Storymakers conference.  

If it makes you feel any better, you didn't miss much.  Seriously! 

It was kind of a yawner. 

The best part was the Cheetos and Mountain Dew. 

Normally I would just grab a bottle of water, but it gave me a little thrill to think of drinking a Mountain Dew at an LDS venue.  So I took it. 

And then I giggled. 

When Melanie J. saw me drinking my Dew she was reminded of a story about someone close to her who used to drink twelve Mountain Dew's a day until his teeth finally fell out.

I didn't giggle after that. 

Braden Bell, do you feel better now that all you missed was Melanie J killing my Mountain Dew joy?

Oh, and you also missed me sneaking DeNae's Circus Animal Cookies during the Description workshop. 

The way it went down was like this: I slipped into the seat next to DeNae before the Description workshop to find her commenting on my last post. I grabbed me a handful of cookies, popped them in me mouth, and said "whatcha doin?" She turned the computer screen my direction so I could see that she was looking at the photographic evidence of us I posted on my blog, then she poked my eyes out. But not before I was able to make out her words in my comment box: 

"Holy Frick and Frack Mister. Bigglesworth! How many chins does one me need?" 

Without warning, the half-chewed cookie spewed forth from my mouth in projectile motion and the girl in front of me moved seats.

So Braden Bell, you missed the Mountain Dew and the Circus cookie shower, but that's it.

Besides the high heels.  There were many way cute high heels at the conference.  Mine were way cute. And DeNae's were way cute. But Melanie J's were WAY cutest! 

See what I mean? Even her French toes were way cute.  

Her baby was way cute too!

Don't you think she could be MY baby? (Sometimes I wish I could steal me a baby. Does anyone else ever get that urge?)

Oh, and Braden Bell, you also missed meeting Annette Lyon. 

I have no earthy idea why I cubed this photo.  Maybe to prove that it's hip to be square.  

(pssst, Annette, don't tell Braden Bell, but you're workshop was da bombdiggity.)

Hey, if you look closely you can see my Peace necklace. Thank goodness no one tried to beat me up.

So Braden Bell, I'm sorry I made the conference look like so much fun, but don't feel bad, the most intellectually stimulating conversation I had was when me and DeNae found ourselves some comfy chairs and kicked our high heels off and talked about Davide Sedaris like a couple of love sick school girls.  

The conversation went something like this:

Me: LOL, remember the time he was learning French . . . LOL

DeNae: ha ha ha ha ha and remember the chocolate bell . . . hee hee ho ho ha

Me: And how he was trying to quit smoking . . . (tears streaming my face)

DeNae: And the bouquet of flowers on the table . . . (doubled over).

And on and on and on and on it went.

Btw, peeps, Kazzy posted photos of that sparkly ring that nearly hypnotized me.  Check it out here. But beware because her whole blog is hypnotic. Even her profile pic. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

And hey, let's all give Braden Bell some support.  Check out his new book cover. As my favorite student, Wolfgang from Austria, would say, It's TREMENDOUS!  And if you want to read more about Braden Bell's new book, click here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who Says Wisdom Can't be Glamorous?

OMGOSH! My day was SO. MUCH. FUN.  
The LDS Storymakers Conference is da bombdiggity, with a capital DIGGITY! 

It was laugh-out-loud funny at times, and tear-jerking inspirational at other times. And no one laughed OR cried louder than moi. I definitely got my money's worth. Ask DeNae or Melanie J.

Are we the Charlie's Angels of writer's or what?  (I dibs Kelly).

This is DeNae. Melanie J. introduced us in blogland because she thought we would hit it off and she was oh sooooo right.  

For your viewing pleasure I will now reveal raw, uncut, candid photographic evidence of our true personalities when we didn't know the camera was looking. 

Did I not predict Melanie J. would be America's Next Top Model? And did I not say that DeNae was a sassy pants? She's slightly wack-a-doodle doo too?  And how many times have I said that I am not afeared to poke your eyes out? As you can see, the proof is in the pudding. 

Besides my strange friends, I also met some strange strangers today. Some strangers were stranger than other strangers, but some were pretty cool. I lucked out and sat by the pretty cool strangers at lunch and dinner. To my left were two chicas from Arizona, both BYU-Hawaii alumni--one majored in English and, get this, we had the same teachers!  You should have heard us gossiping like school girls all the way through the entertainment. 

To my right were two chicas from Virginia, one of which went to college with Melanie J., and one of which told me her mom was raised in Laie and graduated from Kahuku High School. She told me her mom has a license plate that says Red Raiders For Life.

I didn't want to break it to her that what they didn't say on the license plate was "Red Raiders For Life, unless you move away within the first week of school and want to say goodbye to all your childhood friends cuz we don't give visitor passes during the first week of school, however we do give them during the second week of school, unless you've attended Kahuku High School before, in which case we don't give visitor passes at all. In in other words, you're not welcome here anymore. Ever again. Don't let the door smack your okole on your way out. Mahalo!" 

That's what our t-shirt says, anyway.

Good thing I don't hold grudges.

During lunch, and for most of the workshops, I sat by this girl.

I'm holding up her name badge because she has the coolest name ever. 

Sadie Starling--how famous is she going to be with that name? 

Sadie Starling--coming soon to a bookstore near you!  

With a name like that, who cares about the quality of your writing or the substance of your plot? It's like trying to turn a man's head when you're super model gorgeous. Easy Peasy. 

Me? I'll have to work twice as hard as Sadie Starling to get published, just as I have to work twice as hard to turn a man's head.

Btw, do you guys know my real name?  The name on my birth certificate?  It starts with a De and ends with a bra.  

My twins think if I ever get rich and famous I should use the pseudonym "De Bra" but I'm leaning more towards "De Brah" or "De Braddah." 

What do you guys think? 

Oh, dangit, I digress, and I still have so much to say, but you're probably getting bored by now, huh? Don't let me forget to tell you later how I ran into my dept. student secretary from BYU-H at the conference. She was wearing the most dazzling eyeliner from Victoria's secret.  It was so sparkly that I couldn't stop looking deep into her eyes. And getting sleepy.  Melanie J. says I get distracted by shiny things. Maybe because she saw me get hypnotized by a ring that Kazzy was wearing. Truly, it was the most bee-U-tiful ring in all the land. Kazzy, please post a photo of it so my readers can get hypnotized too. 

I did wear a sparkly necklace to the conference today, but only because I think necklaces can make important statements.  The statement I made today was, "Whoo says wisdom can't be glamorous?" 

I think I might wear my Peace necklace tomorrow, although people might misunderstand me and think I'm endorsing it. Hopefully they will be able to figure out that I just look really good in peace. 

And anyway, who says peace can't be glamorous?

P.S. I didn't meet Annette Lyon today, but I promise to get photographic evidence tomorrow.  

P.S.S.  Guess what Melanie J. eats? Chocolate covered cinnamon bears and multi-flavored Swedish fish. 

P.S.S.S.  Remind me to tell about my stone cold heart and how I know it's like the Wicked Witch of the West. It's melting. 

Mingling with the upper crust

I feel like all three of the pointer sister combined because I'm soooooo excited.

The Storymakers conference starts today, which means a lot of serious, writers/bloggers have been gathering together to rub shoulders (which is kinda hypocritical if you ask me, because I got the stink eye when I tried to gather everyone in a circle for back massages).

Sooooooo, do you wanna hear who I met last night? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya? Pinky promise you won't get jealous?

I met DeNae from My Real Life Was Backordered. WOO HOO! What a sassy-pants. Sassy, sassy, sassy! That sassy chica has got more talent in her pinky finger than I've got in my whole thumb. Mark my words, peeps, she'll be hitting the big time soon.

I also met Kazzy from Kazzy's Ponderings. What a treat! She's got karma. She's got calm. Plus she knew our dear friend, April in college. I've added her to my sidebar so we can all be calmed by her ponderings.

I also met . . . drumroll, please . . . the queen bee of Mormon blogging, (Dooce doesn't count, right? Because she's a recovering Mormon, right?) I got to meet the One True Sue at Navel Gazing at it's Finest. I know you're all trying not to break the 8th commandment right now. (Especially Jami.) Do you guys want to know what Sue is like in real life? She is a cutie patootie. Not only is she miss thang blogger, she's got perfect, flawless skin and a sweet little shy smile. That's right. You heard it straight from the horse's mouth. (And not the house horse's mouth).

I also met Melanie Jacobson at Write Stuff (and her sister, Amy). What a spit-fire slash fashion plate! You know her blog header? That's exactly what she looks like. The girl just had a baby and she's working on her third manuscript. This year! (With the fourth all plotted out.) And I bet she wrote the whole thing in heels. Can I just kick you, Melanie J. She truly does have the write stuff.

I also met the sweetest person in the history of the world, Amber at Making the Moments Count who is kicking my booty in the Service Soapbox writing contest. I don't begrudge her though because everyone is kicking my booty and I'm just so thankful for all 18 of my votes. I have 10% of the votes, which technically means I'm the tithing! I couldn't be more honored. Much mahalo 18 voters. ANYWAYS, Amber shines! Her soul could light the world on fire. I'm putting her on my sidebar as well, so we can bask in her glow.

And finally I met Don Carey, who grew up in Laie, Hawaii--my old stomping grounds. He's also friends with my x-door neighbor, Martha. But now he lives in Texas and there ain't a trace of Pidgin in his southern drawl. It was like chicken soup for the soul to see a fellow former Hawaiian, especially one who is now a published author!

Well, I'm off to the conference, where I get to meet Annette Lyon. YAY!!!

P.S. I promise I will secure some photographic evidence for your viewing pleasure.

P.P.S. Just so you know, I also got to meet T is for Tonya at You Asked for It! while in St. George during spring break. We did lunch with Shelle and April, plus hubs, but I didn't blog about it because it was during my "stiff necked" period. I have been anxious to meet Tonya for a while now and guess what? I wasn't disappointed. She's feisty too! How come there are so many feisty bloggers? hmmmm?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is there a doctor in the house?

Or at least a dream analystician?

(Did I just make up a new word?)

I had the craziest dreams last night. Can someone please help me interpret?

First I dreamed that I was the proud owner of a beautiful horse. He was a house horse, which is to say he liked to hang out indoors with me. I didn't mind at all, until he started doing his bizness all over my house and I spent all my waking hours (well, sleeping hours) cleaning horse dung.

While I was busy with my pooper scooper, a cartoon villian in a bright green car crawled through my basement window and robbed me blind.

Then suddenly I was in New Zealand and a large crowd of solemn people greeted me in Maori attire. I couldn't remember the protocol, and when they questioned me about events that had taken place at previous protocol ceremonies I got all the answers wrong. I noticed two Maoris writing jokes about my memory on a chalk board and I did what any self-respecting dummy would do: I burst into tears and shouted, "THAT REALLY HURT MY FEELINGS BAD!"

Then suddenly I heard my daughter shouting from the crowd.


There were other dream segments too, but they all included one's "bizness," and though that may be important for the dream analysis, it's not appropriate blog material so I will edit the truth to fit the audience, (as I so often do.)

When I finally woke up it was 35 degrees and, yes, it was snowing, which goes to show that I'm a tad bit psychic. However, I can't figure out the rest of the dream symbolism.

Do you think it has anything to do with the two hot dogs and the bowl of cake batter I consumed at 9:30 p.m.? Or maybe with the fact that I will be attending my first ever Storymakers conference this weekend and meeting my future agent?

(btw, can you keep that info on the down-low? She doesn't yet know that she's my future agent.)

Mahalo in advance!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

People Get Ready

Remember this post where my daughter and I were stretched out on our backs across the trampoline with our eyes closed and our minds open?

And remember how she told me her seminary teacher said she'd probably need a ticket to see Jesus Christ again?

That kinda ticked me off a teensy weensy bit.

Why didn't he just sing this song to the class instead?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spectacular Spectacular!

Remember a few posts ago, when I told you amazing things are happening in my family?

Well there's more. And it's even more spectacular than before:

My oldest son is sewing!

And my daughter is driving. On the road. She passed the range, (despite car five.)

Check out the keys in "start" position.

And check out that concentration!

In other news, my twins are playing baseball, which isn't amazing, per say, except that since the day we moved to Utah they've been anxiously awaiting baseball season.

My youngest twin has been particularly ANXIOUS. According to their age they should be in the minor leagues, but they wanted to try out for the major leagues. My particularly anxious boy couldn't wait to find out so he called the coach himself and asked him straight up, point blank, "Did I make it or not?"

hee hee hee

Thank goodness the coach said YES. Both boys are now Blue Jays and today is their first game of the season. My particularly anxious boy couldn't sleep last night and I found him jumping rope to Rocky Balboa at 10:30 p.m.

This morning he couldn't eat.

And look!

How cute is this?

I wish he would lay out his church clothes this neatly on Saturday night, but apparently baseball trumps church when you're 11 years old.

Just saying.

Most spectacular of all is that my hub has been doing some major pruning.

I followed him around and cleaned up after him because that's what I do best.

(And worst, come to think of it.)

This is the enormous pile I built out of his tree clippings. Photos usually make things look 10 lbs heavier, but in this case, the photo doesn't do justice to how much this pile really weighs. Mostly because underneath the tree clippings are all the leaves I raked last fall.

When asked how we were going to haul this honkin' heavy pile off the property, my IL's told us we should just split it up and see if our neighbors have any extra space in their garbage cans.

hee hee ho ho ha ha ho ho hee hee ha ha

They're such a hoot, those two!

Maybe more amazing than the pruning is the fixing. Learning some fixing is the reason we moved to Utah in the first place. But in order to fix something you need to break something, so I broke the electric window in our Sante Fe.

That's how my hub tells it, but technically I didn't break it. Technically I was just the last one to roll it down before it slipped off it's track and refused to roll back up. My hub spent the better part of the day yesterday trying to get it back on track, which involved much disassembling and tugging and yanking and reassembling. It was all worth it because I learned something new about my hub. He only has two hands.

I probably could have learned that the first time he said it, but he repeated it several times to make sure it sunk in.

Just so you know, it takes more than two hands to get things back on track. By my count it takes at least six.

Now that my hub got the window back on track it glides up and down like buttah.

Unfortunately we have all been forbidden to roll that window down ever ever ever again.

Such a spectacular kill joy, my hub.

P.S Just thought of one more amazing thing that happened last night. My older twin came to me and said, "Mom, I've been brushing my teeth with toothpaste for four weeks now!"

hee hee