Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Creative Genie

My apostate brother Stephen made a good point in my comment box yesterday. He said he hopes that my lack of angst doesn't hinder my creative genie.

This immediately conjured up images of my creative genie with writer's block, lounging around on a red velvet couch eating Thin Mints and reading inspirational romances.

Oh dear. I gots ta get me some angst, pdq. (pretty darn quick) (that's and acronym from the 80's)

Where's my tortured soul when I need it?

But then again, I could always write cute little stories about rainbows and butterflies and unicorns.

And puppies.

I know a sweet story about a puppy who overcomes a sock fetish and an eating disorder to find religion and become a princess.

Or I could write little moral-of-the-story analogies. Like how good it feels to finally make a commitment to your house after living with it for a year. If you like it then why don't you put a ring on it. That's what me and Beyonce always say. But I learned a valuable life lesson while I was playing the field all year. It's hard to find a house that looks good on the outside and still has a great personality on the inside.

Oh, oh oh, here's another one: You know how when you break a tooth your tongue can't stop touching it, no matter how hard you concentrate? It just automatically darts to the empty void to feel the jagged missing piece? Over and over and over. Until it gets all raw and sore?

And then you go to the dentist to get it capped, which covers the emptiness, but takes a while to get used to because it's doesn't feel real. And it doesn't look real. And your hygienist, who also happens to be your visiting teacher, almost gags you to death while she's giving you the v.t. message from behind her Plexiglass mask?

Well, with the help of modern technology, and shorter v.t. lessons, there are other options. The dentist can now pay $136,000 for a machine that will take an exact imprint image of your empty places so he can use his mouse to draw a whole new tooth for you. Alls he has to do is stick a wedge the size of Vermont into your mouth to keep it open while he snaps the photos.

He then photo shops an exact replica of your old tooth onto a 3D computer model. Only without cavities or fillings or decay.

And then he prints it. On porcelain. With a printer made of diamonds.

And then he stretches your face and smashes your face and stretches your face some more until you think you might give birth, and then he pulls out his glue gun and BAM, sticks the new tooth inlay into your mouth. And it fits perfectly. Your tongue doesn't even have to check over and over and over because you can't even tell it's not your original tooth.

There's a moral here. There's a definite moral here.

I think God has a diamond printer.

If I don't feel like writing cute puppy stories or moral-of-the-story analogies I can always share my emails with you. I get emails from some pretty important people. In fact yesterday I got an email from Success.

Allow me to share:

Hey am success, i came across your email now when i was brousing the
internet, and you really got me intrested, My dear, i decided to contact you.
i really want to have a good friendship with you. I will be very happy,
If you can get back to me with my e-mail address so we can get to know each other
better,and i well give you my pictures and also tell you more about me
ok, maybe we can start from there,Beside i have something i want to discuse with you,
that i can write and send it to you. Have a nice day
Best Regards


What do you think Success wants to discuse with me?????

If you guys get tired of my emails, my creative genie can just share some linky lub. In fact, if you haven't already read Kristina P. today she is so stinkin' heelarious (as usual).

Also, remember Iwa? She was my 1st counselor in the R.S. Presidency when I lived in Laie. She is such a dang cute writer. And she has recently moved to American Samoa so it's a treat to read all about her new adventure. You can catch it here at A Wise Man Once Said.

Monday, August 30, 2010


You know what's weird? Yesterday I was craving Diet Coke all day and I don't even drink Diet Coke.

I don't even like Diet Coke.

You know what else is weird? I think my Bishop is trying to convert me. To biking. He has that are you sure? look on his face when he asks me again and again if I need to borrow a bike for the ward bike hike this week. I hope he doesn't bust out the 1st discussion on me because I'm pretty sure it has something to do with believing in spandex. And I don't believe in spandex. I only believe in the gospel according to sweat pants.

You know what else is weird? I'm finally living my dream. Not my dream with the creepy guy creeping down my hallway in the middle of the night, shining his creepy flashlight in my face. My other dream. The one where I'm a home owner. And a dog owner. Technically those dreams were my hub's and my kid's, but living their dreams is way cooler than living my dream with the creepy flashlight guy.

Except remember how I told you in my last post about my issues with religious zeal? I'm a little worried about my dog. She's showing signs . . . if you know what I mean . . .

I finally got her through her sock fetish and her eating disorders, but now I think she's found religion.

Hee hee

(Is it just me or is that a halo around my son's head?)

These aren't the only weirdities going on in my life right now. I've somehow turned into a Wicked song. You know the one that goes, "Something has changed within me. Something I can't explain . . ." I testify that that song is true. I am not the same. As I was a year ago. Or 20 years ago. I am not that girl. Anymore.

It kinda feels like I'm having an out of body experience. Like I'm floating above myself looking down on that girl and that life and trying to feel what she felt, trying to summon the pain and the sorrow and the frustration and the angst. But it doesn't come.

Where is the angst?

I sit in church and things that used to make me grit my teeth or shake my fist don't even make me roll my eyes. They just make me giggle.

I look around me at the church ladies and the Barbie Doll ladies and . . . nothing. Nada. Just, oh, wells.

Alls I can summon is a shrug. And a sigh. Of relief. That I don't find spray tans and neon white teeth something to emulate and strive for.

And I like being flat chested too. The better to wrap my arms around myself and give myself a hug for being so dang flawed.

So thankful I'm so dang flawed.

And so thankful other people are so dang flawed. I am rubbing shoulders with the coolest dang flawed people in Utah.

As for the other people, and the places, and the positions that used to make me feel less than or I can't or I'll never, now just make me feel . . . YAWN!


That's alls I can muster.

This didn't just dawn on me, btw. It's been an awakening. Or maybe a drifting off. I'm not sure which.

The weirdest is Mt. Carmel. I used to get so anxious whenever I had to go there to visit my grandma. I could never stay for more than an hour and I had to stop and stuff my face at every restaurant and gas station along the way.

Just in case.

But this last trip alls I felt was whatevah.

I didn't care that my grandma didn't feed me.

I fed her.

I'm a big girl now.

We split a plate of green beans and grapes and a slice of avacado

And it was enuff.

And she was enuff.

And he was enuff.

And I was enuff.

P.S. I got a great contribution to The Magic Quilt from Don Carey and it's full of Aloha. Go read it. Please, please, pretty please. It will make your eyeballs sweat.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baby Steps

So I'm trying to think of an object lesson. 

Because object lessons illustrate things. 

Things I want to convey. 

Remember when I went to Mt. Carmel to reconcile and reconnect with my past and my people? 

And remember when I said it's very hard to write about it? 

I didn't mean hard painful--over that part--I meant hard complicated! 

See my dad's family had an extremely complex family dynamic.  With very little food available to cope with that dynamic.

You get me?  

Manipulation, guilt and endless projects are so much easier to take when you've got Cheetos and Ding Dongs and Oreos to shove into your pie hole.  

And there's nothing like a Code Red Mountain Dew to take the edge off religious zeal.

I used to have food issues, btw.  (And I still have religious zeal issues.) 

It would take mounds and mounds of words to make you feel what I felt, and help you understand what I understand. About Psychology.

Let me just say that my dad was the favorite.  Everybody lubbed his guts.  Especially his sisters and his brothers and his mother and father. They missed his guts excessively when he died. Insomuch that they did feel that they were the only ones who missed his guts. And they did clutch and cling mightily to the memory of his guts.  Or at least to their memory of his guts, minus our memory of his guts. 

In other words, they didn't know about half the crap we went through. 

Just keepin'  it real. 

But it wasn't all crap. Family dynamics can be hilarious.

For instance, while I was in Mt. Carmel a few weeks ago, one of my dad's sisters mentioned that she had a couple of boxes she'd been saving--boxes full of my dad's stuff that she felt ready to turn over to me and my siblings to distribute amongst ourselves. 

Imagine my excitement! 

I don't have anything of my dad's (unless you count my extremely charm-your-socks-personality and the cowlick motif going on in my hair.)  

"Do you want some help carrying it down," I asked, anxious to see the treasures.

"No, I can get it," she said.  And she could. She really, really could.

She returned with these two boxes:

Photos are scaled to actual size. 

It's a reel to reel tape entitled The Road to Bethany.

And a check book box full of a tiny magazine cut outs, a poem, and a list of funeral arrangements.

Not sure how I'm going to divide it amongst the seven of us children.

At least I have first pick of the Jesus pictures.

Good Books and Bad Omens (and Bad Teachers)

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Today I found a dead bird on my back porch. I'm pretty sure a dead bird is a bad omen so I did a Google search:

What does it mean if you find a dead bird on your back porch? Is it a bad omen?

I received the following answer:

Yes, it is a very bad omen. Someone very near and dear to you will be cleaning bird poop off their car within 7 days.

What did we do before Professor McGoogle? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Okay, so my twins came home from their first day of school with their undies in a knot over the stupid sixth grade rules.

This is my son's face at dinner as he was telling us that they're not allowed to say certain words, like crap, or stink, or stupid, or boring.

"Imagine not being able to say boring!" he is saying. "And we're not allowed to say I can't do it. How dumb is that?"

"And we can't swear either," added the other twin.

Where do they come up with these teachers anyway? That's what I want to know.

Speaking of dinner, Garden of Egan wrote this in my comment box yesterdee:

What are you going to do with all your free time now? I hope to see you in a apron setting the table for a nutritious meal that you spent all day baking! Please take a picture of that K?

It just so happens that I do spend all my free time in an apron baking nutritious meals. And I do take pictures of myself doing it:

I even put on my best Stepford wife face when saying "You too can bake nutritious meals for only 88 cents at Walmart."

Oh peeps, I'm just joshing. That was all staged. I didn't make turkey pot pies for dinner. I made tacos.

The cute kind.

You know what that face is thinking, don't you? It's thinking, I wish I was reading Mockingjay right now instead of eating cute tacos.

Here's that face after school:

And here's that face after dinner:

And here's that face reading the epilogue:

She's just about to shut the book and shout "It's SO GOOD! Way better than the first two."

How is that possible????

Should I stay up all night and read it? Or should I be a responsible adult and catch some Zzzzzzz's?

I guess I'll do the latter, but first I want to do something I haven't done in forever--not since I moved to Utah and got all depressed, which is what we Stepford wives do best here in Utah.

(Joshing again peeps! Just trying to get your goat!)

I'm going to show some linky lub.

If you're not a man, you should read this stinkin' heelarious short and sweet post about my least favorite punctuation mark. It's by Serene is My Name, Not My Life.

Also, do you guys remember New England Alyson? Well she's coming out about the abuse she suffered as a child and it's powerful stuff. Go to Alyson's new blog for some truth and dare.

And finally Vern from Rabbit in the Headlights wins the prize for proving that great things really are happening in Parawon. Thanks to Professor McGoogle she found out there is a demolition derby this weekend at the Iron County Fair.

"Dirt flys as mini cars race and Demolition cars crash. Starts at 7 p.m. in the grandstands. For more information call the Iron County Fair Office at 435-477-8380".

It doesn't get much better than that.

(But seriously, are there any other great things happening in Parowan?)

P.S. Did I ever mention that I lub me some Lulu?

It's not just puppy lub either. It's full-blown, full-on doggy lub.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Inquiring Minds (and deep pockets)

My brother Stephen thought I gave up too early in the MY people vs. YOUR people contest with my MIL. He thought I should have bragged about seeing Obama at Turtle Bay.

Don't think it didn't cross my mind. But then I remembered that my MIL was with me when I saw him, and believe you me she was way more excited about seeing the Turtle Bay Buffet.

Eating at Turtle Bay with my MIL is always a What About Bob experience.

I also thought about bragging to her that I've seen Oprah at Sunday School, but then she was there for that too. Not to be rude, but you would not believe the way my MIL marched up to Oprah and hogged the conversation. Bless her heart, I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Just saying.

So while I was blogging across Southern Utah I wanted to bring you a you-saw-it-here-first moment. My MIL has never before pumped gas. She's never taken a photograph either. I wasn't successful at getting her to pump gas, but I did force her at gunpoint to take her first photo.

You saw it here first.

I also wanted to bring you an old-habits-die-hard moment and there is one habit that's hard to break when we drive to St. George. You probably know what it is, huh?

That's right, we stop in Beaver to buy cheese curd.

And ice cream.

You too can enjoy delicious jalepeno or salsa cheese curd, or jalepeno or salsa ice cream by looking for this sign:

Okay, so every time I drive to St. George there is this certain mysterious sign that intrigues me more and more:

Can somebody please tell me what great things are happening in Parowan?

Inquiring minds want to know! Really super bad!

Inquiring minds also want to know what everyone thinks about the latest Hunger Games book. Huh? Huh? Huh?

I haven't read it yet because I've been so busy dropping $700 on school fees, supplies and lunch $$$.

Half of that went solely towards my daughter's fees. No lie. But then the school gave me a free t-shirt.

After I picked up the t-shirt the snotty nosed kid said, "hey lady, you forgot to say thank you."

"For what?" I said.

"For the free t-shirt."

"What free t-shirt? This is the most expensive t-shirt I've ever purchased."

Was that rude? Cause he shoulda been thanking me, right?

Thank goodness for my twins cute little neighbor friends for getting my boys all pumped up about shopping for school clothes at D.I. Seriously, they made D.I. sound like Disneyland until my boys were practically begging me to take them there. Thank you cute neighbor boys for saving me a whole lotta back-to-school cash.

Another great savings was Mockingjay (third Hunger Games book). Did anyone else only have to pay $12.59 or was that just my daughter?

That Suzanne Collins is very fiscally responsible. She could have exploited our passionate desire to get our hands on that book at any cost.

Wanna see my daughter this morning before she won her 3rd tennis match as a varsity player?

Wanna see her after she won her 3rd tennis match as a varsity player?

It's 11:30 p.m. and school starts tomorrow, but I bet if I burst into her room right now with my camera I'd catch her still reading.

Want me to check?


hee hee

Gosh Darnit, that gosh darn girl is so gosh darn responsible. She's sound asleep.

I better learn from her gosh darn example.

Night night!

P.S. I just realized I never told your inquiring minds the two perfect songs that Jack Johnson opened and closed his concert with. I thought Martha would guess it fer shore but she didn't.

He opened with his new hit single, "You and Your Heart" and closed with my favorite, "Better Together."

Monday, August 23, 2010

MY people and HER people

First, MUCH MAHALO to all of you who emailed me for Springrose's address so you can send fabric.  Please take a photo of the fabric first and email it to me at Email your story to me as well so I can post it on my Magic Quilt blog.  

Second, the third Hunger Games book comes out at Midnight tonight. AAAAHHHH!!! Sooooo excited!!!!!!  My daughter is waiting in line as we speak. I would be in line too, but I'm too tired cause I've been blogging across Utah again, only this time with my MIL. And our hubs. And my twins.

(They didn't know we were blogging. They thought we were retreating to St. George for our last hurrah of the summer to celebrate our twins twelfth birthday.) 

(Wait, do you have to actually blog when you're blogging across Utah?)  

Blogging across Utah with my MIL ain't so bad. Unless you're grumpy. When you're grumpy it's a lot like blogging across Utah with a leaky faucet. Her thoughts just come drip, drip, dripping from her mind to her mouth and then come springing off her tongue.

Usually we get along like Captain and Tenille, Bonnie and Clyde, Butch and Cassidy, but there are occasions when we can get a little . . . competitive--like when we're putting puzzles together, or playing double solitaire, or putting on our Kellie Pickler voices to talk about our people. 

Only I've never had people before, so her people always trumped my people. 

Now that I've got people . . . 

For instance, we were at the condo watching Invictus and she said, "That's where my great great great grandfather came from--South Africa. He was a farmer"  So I said, "Well my great great great grandfather came from Ireland. He was a charmer." And then I added "A lucky charmer."

When we were driving home she said, "See that sign that says Milford? That's where my mother taught school." 

So I said, "well see that sign that says Cedar City? That's where BOTH of my great great great grandparents taught school." 

And then I added under my breath, "AFTER they returned from the Willie Handcart Company." 

When she told me that my FIL's grandfather was the first plumber in Provo and that her great uncle was the first photographer in Provo, I told her that my great grandparent's cat was the first cat-pioneer in Utah. 

"Yeah, RIGHT!" My hub said.

"True story," I told him. "Traveled all the way from Cedar to Mt. Carmel by itself. Showed up on my great great grandparents door step two months after they moved." 

Top THAT! I thought.

She tried. She told all kinds of stories, about her people, and their horses and their cows and the people her people met and married and the people her people's horses and cows met and married.

"Well my great aunt Mary met and married a Cullen," I piped in. 

True story! She really did. 

"And her sister met and married a Lookingland," I continued. "That means I'm 2nd cousins with both Edward Cullen and Bobby Brady. For alls I know I'm a freakin' goody-two-shoes vampire!" 

(It feels so good to have people.)

That quieted her some. For a minute. 

But then the faucet started leaking again. 

"I've seen President Truman," she said. 

I was this close to poking her eyes out, but, out of respect for my great great grandmother, I refrained.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Let's Be the Wand!

It's almost Sunday so I'm going to get all serious for a sec. 

Last Sunday I laid in the room in the house where my great grandmother Constance was born over 100 years ago. I read the beautiful history her daughter, my grandmother, wrote about her and her family and I got choked up. These are my people, I thought. 

I have people. 

Constance is one of my people. She has a mysteriously tragic story, which I will tell sometime. She did something that caused deep shame to her family and had an indelible effect on her posterity. But she is mine. I come from her. And I am honored to have her as my people. 

I wish I could hug her right now and tell her that all love is a blessing, even if it's short lived. And that no love is wasted, even if it's ill-timed.

I hope she saw it that way when she was alive, but I'll never know.

This post is not about my great grandmother. This post is about April from Springrose Journals, who is making the 2nd magic quilt. She needs our help. 

Springrose didn't do anything shameful, but I wish I could hug her too and tell her that all love is a blessing, even if it's short lived. And that no love is wasted, even if it's ill-timed. 

Springrose just lost a baby. It's the second pregnancy that has ended in a miscarriage in the past year and a half. I was hoping the magic quilt would miraculously keep her baby growing, but it was not to be. So now she needs our magic more than ever. She needs more fabric to finish the quilt because she is anxious to work and get her mind off her grief. 

Stan and Lila (the recipients of the first magic quilt) are sending her fabric as we speak. My MIL is donating fabric as well, and I brought home a quilted shower curtain from my aunt and pillow cases from my grandmother.

Please, if you have a story of healing or faith or inspiration or comfort or joy, (and who doesn't) and you have a piece of fabric which either represents that story or which you actually wore or used, please send it to April so she can make some magic and experience comfort from you. 

Please, please, pretty please. Dummies with stone cold hearts don't usually beg but here I am on hands and knees, because not only is one of our friends in need of a little magic, but there is a whole world in need of a little magic. 

Let's be the wand.

Here's a poignant comment on my Magic Quilt blog from Aunt Claudia: 

Isn't this what God does with our lives? Takes all the scraps in our journey and sews them together with strength, love and healing.

Did I already say let's be the wand?

I know my great grandmother Constance would give Springrose a hug too. There was no written record of her life, but at her funeral her bishop said, "Whenever I had to call upon the Relief Society to aid me in giving service to those in need of help, Sister Connie was always the first one to come forth." 

See why I'm so honored to have her as my people?

In her scrapbook two words, "my favorite" were written next to this poem: 

The Holy Supper is kept, indeed
In whatso we share with another's need;
Not what we give, but what we share,--
For the gift without the giver is bare; 
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbor and me. 

(From The Vision of Sir Launfal). 

If you want to send fabric, email me for the address. MAHALO!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I think I can . . . I think I can . . .

Of course I can!

Write about Mt. Carmel, that is. (Inhale. Outhale.)

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.

But also a very dull place to start.

Instead let's start in the middle, with me showing up on my grandmother's doorstep in Mt. Carmel last Saturday night. Both of my dad's sisters were in the front yard frantically cleaning up their yard sale so they quickly ushered me into the room where I would be sleeping, which just so happened to be the room where my great grandmother Constance was born, and the room in which her daughter, my cutie patootie grandmother, was sitting in a gray wing backed chair.

In her purple sweats.

Don't you just want to hug her? You should see her brushing her teeth in her purple sweats! It's one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.

So I sit down across from my grandmother and she claps her hands together and says, "Oh, darling, I just hate this chair!"

It turns out she wants to sit in a comfortable glider, but her daughter won't allow it because gliders aren't classy enough to sit in.

hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

Comfort before class. That's what I always say.

Raise your hand if you want to pitch in to buy my grandma a glider?

Seriously, she looks positively regal in this chair.

But in real life she's more kick back. Look at how she sits when we talked story on Sunday afternoons:

Did you ever see an 86 year old bending like that? That grandma o' mine could teach yoga, I bet.

This is actually the first time I've sat around talking story on a Sunday afternoon with my grandma. We've never been super close, us two. At least not for reals. We pretend to be when we see each other that one hour a year, (because an hour is all I can usually stand to stay in Mt. Carmel) but there are things we won't talk about. Dad things. She won't talk about her dad because she knows nothing about him and I won't talk about my dad because she knows everything about him.

Well not everything. Not the things I don't tell her. But she doesn't want to know the things I won't tell her.

I do, however, want to know the things she won't tell me. After all, her dad is flowing through my veins and I'm entitled, right? Not to mention curious. But it's a secret and nobody broaches the subject.

I've tried on occasion, but my grandmas's got changing the subject down to a science.

Bottom line, I had so much fun hanging out with my grandma this past weekend. I learned that we both love tacos and avocado and watermelon and Renior and Willa Cather. She has the same shower curtain as I do. And the same kitchen tins. And we wear the same shade of lipstick--Revlon 535, Rum Raisin.

Okay, that's the middle part. Next time I'll tell you the beginning and the ending.

P.S. Did I ever tell you how much I lub me some Lulu!?

Don't you just want to EAT her!?!?!?!