Thursday, September 30, 2010

I don't wanna grow up! Or do I?

It's like 3 o'clock in the a.m. and I can't sleep. But I'm kinda tired.

Kinda really tired.

I'm especially kinda tired of driving. And meetings. And dirty dishes. And budgeting. I'm kinda way tired of budgeting.

I'm also kinda tired of falling asleep with my mascara still securely fastened to my eyelashes.

Right now I'm mostly tired of Jiminy Cricket yakety yak yaking outside my bedroom window. For three. nights. straight. You have no idea!!!!! Unless you think Jiminy Cricket on Crack.

It's like the Chuck Norris of crickets. (Hey, did I just make up my own Chuck Norris joke?)

It's like the mother of all crickets. Or at least the mother-in-law. (After a high school social.)

You will get that joke if you know my MIL. See my MIL went to a high school social the other night and I got to be her captive audience (and I do mean captive) for 35 minutes straight while I drove her to my daughter's regional tennis competition. It was just she and me. And my seat belt made three.

She gets jazzed up when she sees the kids in her class. All the boys and all the girls. The boy who has taken over the reunion planning used to be such a, how would she say, small kid. Kinda, oh how would she say, unsociable. He was into dramatics--the prop-making/set building side of dramatics. But he has really grown up now and matured and taken the lead.

For gosh sakes, let's hope so, since he's 78 years old!

And do you know Jordan Tanner? The boy who used to play with my MIL when he'd come down and visit his grandma? He was sitting next to my MIL at the table with a real cute gal, but my MIL couldn't hear what they were saying, darnit. She just hates it when that happens.

I asked my mom at what age you stop seeing your 78-year-old high school peers as kids and stop caring what Jordan Tanner says to the cute gals at the dinner table? She said never, because you carry every age with you as you grow older. Every stage of your life is still right there inside you just as you left it, before you left it.

(Which is a very good reason to tidy up every stage before you leave it, if you ask me.) (Oh gosh, peeps. I don't wanna grow up.) (Or do I?) (Maybe that's why Jiminy Cricket keeps pestering me.)

What I wanna know is what about the stories we carry with us? How do we narrow it down to which ones we're going to tell over and over and over again and again and again to the people who are duct taped to us for eternity? And why did my MIL choose the one about how she used to pick strawberries to earn her own money to buy her own Kotex and Janzen Sweaters and Joyce shoes. She still has them in her cedar chest, you know.

I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wonder what stories I'll tell a hundred times when I turn into Jiminy Cricket. I haven't seen my high school friends in 25 years. And I don't have a cedar chest.

I guess I could always tell about my Ditto jeans phase.

It's 4 a.m now and I'm still kinda tired. But I gotsa tell you about my daughter's tennis match before I go back to sleep.

She and her doubles partner played against Alta for the championship.

Alta! Alta! Alta! They're like steam rollers up there at Alta. They eat nails for lunch at Alta. They're the Chuck Norris of High School tennis at Alta. (Hey, did I just do it again?)

During warm ups they don't hit back and forth with their opponents to get loose. They slam it, smash it, blast it cross court out of reach. And then they pump their fists and sound a barbaric war cry. My daughter and her doubles partner get kinda psyched out when they do that. They're like lambs to the slaughter, those two.

But not this time. My daughter and her partner refused to play the head games. Instead they played their guts out. They really gave it their all, and it was bee-U-tiful to behold. They lost, but not 6-0 like they usually do. Instead they made Alta earn their win at 7-5.

Victory isn't as sweet when you lose, but losing isn't as sour when you play your best.

What's that old saying? It ain't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game?

That is so dang true.

Every point was a battle. Smooth. Graceful. Respectful. There was no cheating. No loud mouth coaches. No poor sports. Both teams played like champions.

I couldn't be prouder. And I couldn't be sleepier. My daughter pushed through one of her psychological barriers and that's even better than winning.

Speaking of pushing through psychological barriers, I'm going to hear Nie Nie speak tonight at the Wilkinson Center. So excited!

K, peace out, peeps.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WOOHOO! (This one's for you Martha)

(To understand this post, read this post first.)

Victory is just as sweet the second time around. Even when it's not against cheaters. (Although, for the record, they did try to cheat, but there was a line judge this time.)

(I'd like to bear my testimony that line judges are true. AMEN!)

My daughter won her second match by the skin o' her teeth. So now she plays for the regional championship tomorrow. MARTHA, ARE YOU SO PROUD? (Don't mind me and Martha. Martha was just my daughter's tennis coach in Hawaii. That's all.)

So after I posted about her first win I grabbed my boys and my dog and jumped in the car. We were racing to the 2nd match when my hub called and said, "Have you already left? Because she's down 3-0 in the first set."

"I don't care," I said. "We're coming." Then we popped in Shakira and started fist pumping with all of our might.

Halfway there my hub called again. "She lost the first set 6-1."

"Well, get her head back in the game. We're almost there!" I told him. And then we pushed replay and pumped out fists harder.

See tennis is such a head trip. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Tennis is just like life. The line between seizing an opportunity and letting it slip away is paper thin. And things can turn on a dime. If you give up. Or out. Or in.

My daughter has sacrificed too much to get to this place and I wasn't about to let her go down without a fight.

When we showed up she was up 4-3 in the 2nd set. My in-laws said, "Oh, she is playing terri . . . "

I told them to talk to the hand and walked away. Briskly. Because life is too short to walk away slowly. Not with so much on the line. And anyway, it was my daughter's day. Shikira told me so. And I had to tell my daughter so.

So I pushed past the other team's loud mouth coach and got all up into the fence and started singing at the top of my lungs. Today's your day! I feel it! You paved the way! Believe it!

Then she hit me in the head with a ball and told me to shush.

J/K peeps. None of that actually happened. Martha woulda sung it though. I'm pretty sure.

Anyways, it went back and forth and back and forth. My daughter fought for every point until finally she won the 2nd set in a tie-breaker. And then she won the 3rd set too.

Shakira was right.

Told ya so.

On the way home my daughter laid in the back seat and, in between charlie horses, got all existential on me.

"Whoever thought of tennis is a genius, " she said. "Because it's just like life. You go up and down. And when you're down you have to fight to get back up. But you have to go through the down to appreciate the up. And it's all up to you to win the battle."

"Waka Waka" I said.

"Huh?" She said.

"I dunno, but that's what Shakira says."

And then I had her rub some Bengay on my shoulder, because all that fist pumping can take it's toll on a dummy like me.

P.S. Despite the aerobics teachers best efforts, my daughter also got Academic All-Region.

Was that too Braggety Anne?

Cheaters Sometimes Prosper

But not today, baby!

NOT. TO. DAY!!!!!!

And not against my daughter!!!!! So BACK OFF, cheater bo beaters!

Allow me a moment.


At the top of my lungs.


Now turn the Shakira song that's playing on my playlist up FULL BLAST.

That's right, pump it up!

Now start pumping your fist. Oh yeah!

Now start dancing. JUST DO IT! Let it all out! Just like I did in the car all the way home from my daughter's first regional tennis match in Salt Lake.

See the match went into a third set and I had to leave early to pick up my son and take him to basketball practice. When I left the match I was fuming mad. I mean, really really really really steamed. Because her opponents were cheating. Like crazy.

I just hate it when people cheat my daughter.

She was down 3-0 in the third set when I left.

When I hopped in the car I put on this Shakira song and started pumping my fist.

Then I played it again. And pumped my fist some more.

Then my hub called and told me she won three games in a row. WOOHOO!

I played the song over and over and over, pumping my fist and willing my daughter to show those cheaters who they're messing with.

My hub kept calling back and back and back to tell me the score. 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 5-5, 6-5, and finally 7-5!!


Especially against cheaters.

I just have to include the lyrics for those of you who can't listen:

You're a good soldier
Choosing your battles
Pick yourself up
And dust yourself off
And back in the saddle

You're on the front line
Everyone's watching
You know it's serious
We're getting closer
This isn't over

The pressure is on
You feel it
But you've got it all
Believe it

When you fall, get up
Oh oh...
And if you fall, get up
Oh oh...

Tsamina mina
Cuz this is Africa

Tsamina mina eh eh
Waka Waka eh eh

Tsamina mina zangalewa
Anawa aa
This time for Africa

Listen to your god
This is our motto
Your time to shine
Don't wait in line
Y vamos por Todo

People are raising
Their Expectations
Go on and feed them
This is your moment
No hesitations

Today's your day
I feel it
You paved the way
Believe it

If you get down
Get up Oh oh...
When you get down
Get up eh eh...

Tsamina mina zangalewa
Anawa aa
This time for Africa

Tsamina mina eh eh
Waka Waka eh eh

Tsamina mina zangalewa
Anawa aa

Tsamina mina eh eh
Waka Waka eh eh
Tsamina mina zangalewa
This time for Africa

Okay, I'm going to include the video too. For you viewing pleasure. And so I can remember the name of the song.

Okay, gotsta go. She's got another match.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What the HUH?

My life is so predictable.

Every morning, at 7:32 a.m., I drive my two oldest kids to school. I drop my daughter off first and then make my way to my son's junior high. At 7:47 the Mello Yello commercial plays on 103.9 FM. Then comes Animals by Neon Trees, to which I always say, "They're from Provo, you know."

Then we park at the school and wait, because we're too early. Within minutes the Rudy look-alike twins walk by with their three amigos, followed by two blond skater boys on long boards. Then, just as Dorothy rides past us on her red utility bicycle with Toto basket, Bruno Mars comes on the radio and tells me I'm amazing, just the way I am.

"Maybe for my age," I say, as three boys zip by on scooters and the bus rounds the corner.

By this time it's 7:57 so my son says, "see ya mom," and jumps out of the car. On the way home David Archuleta comes on the radio and tries to tell me there's something bout lub that breaks his heart.

"Duuuuude! I coulda toldya that a long time ago!" I tell him. But it ain't no use telling teenagers anything these days. You gotta wait until they figure it out then write a song about it.

Every so often unpredictable things happen amongst all the predictable things. Like today I saw an old lady driving a riding mower down the street. For some reason that made my day. Or at least my morning. Until Lulu started barking ferociously and chasing the school bus down the street.

Neighbors expect to see a puppy displaying poor judgement once in a while. Am I right? Or am I right? What they don't expect to see is a Crash Test Dummy chasing Lulu down the street. In her bare feet. At least I wasn't shaking a rolling pin above my head as I shouted fake profanities at my dog.

Why do good dogs do bad things?

That what I want to know.

And why does it hurt so stinkin' bad to run down the street in bare feet? It never hurt in Hawaii!

Okay, so yes my life is incredibly Groundhog Day, but every so often I hear or see something out of the ordinary that makes me go WHAT THE HUH? And then I rush over here to share.

So my kids are in new schools in which they are being exposed to that other side of life. That Richy Rich side. Now if there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that rich people are people too. I mean, they are just like ordinary folk like you and me. Except they have the money to make weird stuff happen. The stuff the rest of us only daydream about.

Like you know when you're unloading your groceries and you're like, "Man, these drinks take up a lot of my food space in my fridge. I wish I had a separate fridge for all my drinks."

Or you're getting a drink and you're like, "Gee whiz, I sure do enjoy ice ALOT. I wish I had a whole separate freezer for my ice needs."

Rich people can make that stuff happen.

And you know how when you're laying there watching TV and your dog starts getting all fidgety and restless and scratching at the door because she has to do her bizness? And you think, "Shoots, wouldn't it be so dang cool to have a button that my dog could push when she has to go shi shi. And then a bell would sound throughout the whole house to alert us that it's time to let her out."

Rich people can make that happen too.

My daughter saw it all with her very own eyeballs, peeps. A dog pushing a shi shi button!!!

Is this like a Chuck Norris joke thing? Where everyone else is in the know but me?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The CTD does PTC

You know what I lub about dirty dishes? They're always there for you. Rain or shine.

Hee hee

I made that one up at 4:15 this morning when I got up to get a drink.

Maybe that's why I don't clean the dishes more often. Cause they're always there for me. Get it?

hee hee

I usually have a really good reason for not doing the dishes, like I'm tired and stuff, but last night I didn't do them because I was at my daughter's parent teacher conferences from 4-7 p.m. And then I went laser tagging with my Young Women from 7-9 p.m. (Can I just say that I lub my young women so gosh darn much! And all them leader ladies too. It's so cool to be me.)

But about my daughter's parent teacher conferences. I didn't go last year. My daughter is a straight A student. Plus all her teachers knew her name. So I figured, why bother.

But this year was different.

My daughter changed schools this year. Again. She did it of her own volition, (which means free will and choice, Nana) and it wasn't because she had a bad experience last year. As Tony the Tiger would say, she had a Grrrrrreat experience last year.

I'm of the opinion that people are people. Wherever you go. When you take them case by case, they're almost always cool and interesting and fun. Almost. But as a collective group, people can be weirdies. It's called culture. But that's a whole nother post.

Teachers are just the opposite. Lump them all together as a group and teachers are awesome--they're laying the yellow brick road to the future. But take them case by case and some of them can mess with your head.

I just needed to see for myself. So I went to parent teacher conference.

There were several surprises. For instance, my daughter got a 97% on her last biology test, her seminary teacher is only twelve years old, and her math teacher said he teaches AP Calculus.

"No daughter of mine would be taking AP Calculus," I told him. "I barely passed pre-algebra in college." But then he showed me her name and grade on the roll and gave me some smelling salts.

There were other things I was more prepared for, but needed to see for myself. I knew her Computer Lit teacher was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and had a football helmet the size of Vermont on his wall. But that was just one wall. Holy sports paraphernalia Batman!

It turns out her Spanish teacher is related to my MIL, which explains her zest for life, but doesn't explain her desire to have her students tell their favorite Chuck Norris jokes in Spanish.

Can you even think of one Chuck Norris joke in English?

Her Honors English teacher. She looked right at my daughter on the first day of class and told her she would sue her pants off if she ever posted video footage of her teaching on Youtube.

Do you think that includes her annual Pride and Prejudice costume ball at the end of the year? And what if I just post in on my blog?

The aerobics teacher thinks my daughter's name is Slowpoke. That's what she calls her anyway. Unless my daughter speeds up. Then she calls her Cheater. And sometimes she just calls her Hey-you-in-the-red-shirt.

She's this little bundle of adrenalin who works their guts out. In fact one day she was working their guts out so hard that her own guts started coming up, in chuck-like fashion. Do you think she stopped? Nope. She just kept on keeping on. While chucking up in between.

My daughter is on the SAT list because of this teacher, which means she has to stay in for lunch because she has an unexcused absence. From the 2nd day of school. This school takes unexcused absences very seriously. But so does my daughter. She never misses the 2nd day of school. But the teacher accidentally marked her absent. My daughter has talked to her about it--asked her to correct it, so she can eat lunch and stuff--and the teacher tells her she's working on it.

I decided I should probably work on it with her. Because I like it when my daughter eats. The teacher told me my daughter would need to do some aerobic exercise on her own to make up for the absence.

"Well she wasn't actually absent," I said,"but hows about two hours of tennis a day? Does that count? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

She told me she would prefer it be exercise outside her normal exercise routine, because routine exercise shouldn't count.

I guess it doesn't get the heart rate up like unroutine exercise.

Long, trivial story short, I ended up forcing her at gunpoint to research and then admit that my daughter was indeed in class on the 2nd day of school.

She even filled out a slip for the office to excuse her absence, but she wrote Krista on the Studen't Name line.

"My daughter's name ain't Krista," I told her. "It's Slowpoke."

And then I slow poked her eyes out.

hee hee

Hey, I thought of a Chuck Norris joke:

Q: Why did Chuck Norris cross the road?

A: To get to the other bride. LOLOL

(Wait, did Chuck Norris get married a lot or not?)

(That probably would have been a better Brigham Young joke, huh?)

(See, there's nothing funny about Chuck Norris.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unblogging My Brain Part III: This Too Shall Pass

I'm here to keep my pinky promise. (And just so you know, my pinky isn't mortally wounded after all. It's a mere flesh wound. That drew a lot of blood. And hurt like helk.)

(And shucks, my ex-door neighbor's cute little sixth-grade daughter, Nana (short for nana nana boo boo) has been reading this blog for her SFA homework. Now she knows I had two cavities. (I hope she doesn't tell my kids.) And what if she reads me today? When I'm writing about meat and potatoes? I would write about soup and salad today but I pinky promised to write about meat and potatoes.)

(Insert ethical dilemma.)

(Nana, if you're here, skip to the end, okay. I'll write you a pretty little story about rainbows and butterflies in the P.S, okay. Okay, go play now, Nana. Off you go. Shoo.)

She's gone, let's dig in. Remember a week or so ago when I watched Frequency and wrote about that place then dedicated it to New England Aly? There were two comments I wanted to publicly respond to. First, was my brother Stephen. He said:

You have a way of making me feel grateful my family suffered so much . . . You have even almost convinced me that maybe their lives weren't miserable, and that maybe, just maybe they experienced some happiness in their lives. Maybe they, or all of us, need to suffer to be able to enjoy and appreciate a few fleeting moments. I don't know if you answered the question completely, but you certainly posed the question beautifully. I was left wanting more.

Ironically, I did write more. I tried to answer the question about suffering in my post but ended up deleting it because it felt so Sunday School, you know. Heavy handed. Sometimes the questions are more valuable than the answers anyway, right?

But since he asked . . .

While I was having my first baby, during the 18 hours of excruciatingly unbearable labor pains, I distinctly remember my mom saying, "This too shall pass! And it will be worth it."

I've never been closer to Kung Fu Panda kicking her little akole across the room than I was at that moment.

Of course in the end she was right. It did pass. And it was way way way worth it. But I got something tangible out of it--my rock star daughter. What about all those women who go through the same thing and then lose their rock star babies? All they get is rock star pain.

So is it worth it then?

Of course the answer is, of course. Because even that too shall pass, leaving behind only rock star knowledge and experience, which always leads to rock star action.

But what if the experience and knowledge isn't just painful, it's ugly or yucky or violent or disgusting? What if you never asked for the experience and knowledge? What if someone just gives it to you, against your will, and without your permission? And what if it shapes you and then leaves you holding a bag of rock star issues? For the rest of your life?

Can you tell I've been reading Aly's . . . leave a trail blog?

I'm talking about the A word here. Not the good A word, (Atonement) the bad A word (Abuse)

I hate the bad A word. It doesn't make any other words look good. Substance + abuse = BAD. Domestic + abuse = BAD. Verbal + abuse + BAD. (s.e.x.) + abuse = BAD BAD BAD.

The only word it makes better is Oatmeal. Oatmeal + abuse = GOOD, GOOD, GOOD. (Unless you're rude to the oatmeal before you swallow it.)

The baddest thing about the A word is that it not only makes the words associated with it look bad, it makes the people associated with it feel bad. Like they're tainted. And ruined. And broken. Like they're unclean.

Aly's perpetrator took her innocence when she was nine years old. That means she's been feeling dirty ever since her baptism.

But may I assert that innocence is over-rated?

True, she can never be innocent again, and she must mourn that, but she can still be pure.

You get me?

Purity is innocence refined. But refining is ouchie!

See innocence stems from ignorance. Purity stems from experience + knowledge + understanding. It's a choice. To go through the process. But you have to work for it. And earn it. And you need the magic ingredient--the other A word, the good one (Atonement), to kick booty on the bad one (Abuse). And believe you, me. It can. And it will.

Oh goodness. I know it's so complicated, especially for a dummy like me.

So who wants another helping of potatoes? Hows about gravy? If not just skip down to the rainbows and butterfly story in the P.S.

I taught three different classes at BYU-Hawaii and I began each class with the exact same readings--Plato's The Allegory of the Cave, William Golding's Thinking as a Hobby, and sometimes James Allen's As A Man Thinketh.

Then I asked the students to make a model of the three levels of thinking and the process to enlightenment. It looked something like this:

But it looked more like this for Sunday School:

And every year it changed and evolved with student input and discussion until it was a masterpiece of profundity.

I think the process to enlightenment is just like the process to purity. Step by step. But the middle part stinks. Because it's hard. And hard things stink.

One semester one of my best students, Miles--who now teaches English at BYU-H--asked me if you have to go through the painful middle to get to the end. I immediately said YES. It's just like going on a bear hunt. You can't go over it. You can't go under it. You can't go around it.

You have to go through it. (But it too shall pass. And it will be worth it.) (You can smack me now.)

After I thought about it for a while though, I came to the conclusion that for some the middle is longer and harder than for others. Depending on how one handles the middle.

Oh goodness, I need a nap. Can you see why I deleted all this stuff?

So what does this all have to do with Aly? Why did I dedicate my That Place post to her? Because in my That Place post, I think that place is where you feel clean. It's Peace. Enlightenment. Purity. And I can tell Aly is headed there because she's purging herself of all the bad A junk.

Have you ever heard that quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham City Jail?

We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured

By having the courage to carefully bring it out in the open, Aly is helping others who have been victims of the bad A word.

You go, Aly, girl. You're almost there.

OMGOSH! I FINALLY got that off my chest! (But I left a lot of stuff out. And in.)


P.S. Dear Nana, once upon a time there was a gigantic spool of invisible red thread that stretched all the way from Hawaii to Utah and tied everyone in the Mongoose Club together forever and ever. For those who didn't believe in the invisible red thread, there was a back up plan. It was a magical roll of da kine duct tape to make sure there was no child left behind. Even if they moved to Utah. The magic duct tape had the power to keep all the Red Raiders For Life taped together for eternity in the land of perpetual sunshine, where rainbows and butterflies ruled the sky, and stray chickens, cockroaches and geckos ruled the land. And ukus ruled the underworld. But they all learned to get along and live happily ever after.

The End

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Be the Westley

The reason I didn't come back last night is because I threw a tantrum.

I was cooking dinner when it started. Meat and potatoes, actually. Not the food for thought kine, the food for body kine. My hub walked through the door from work and spoke. It wasn't rude, or mean, or chauvinistic, what he said, and yet it gave me the overwhelming urge to chuck the spatula in his general direction.

I didn't do it of course because I'm disciplined like that, but I did get huffy. And puffy. And it's a good thing our house is made of brick!

You see, dummies are harder to lub than regular folks, on account of our stone cold hearts--all that crash testing takes it's toll--but we're even harder to lub when we get all grumpty dumpty up in your grill.

The whole scenario reminded me of a story.

My first semester as an English teacher at BYU-Hawaii I taught this novel by Anne Tyler called Ladder of Years, which opens with a family on vacation. They're all sitting on the beach when suddenly the mother just gets up and walks away.

She walks and walks and walks until she sees a bus, then she jumps on board and disappears.

She wasn't even wearing shoes.

She just up and left her family. Just like that. Without any shoes.

How weird is that? (Even weirder, they didn't come after her.)

But that's exactly what I did last night. I got up from the dinner table and walked away.

I walked and walked and walked. And walked. Until I reached my bedroom door. Then I closed the door behind me and threw myself across my bed.

I wasn't wearing shoes either.

Then I just waited, while my eyeballs perspired, to see if anyone would come after me. Something I haven't done since 2001 while staying at the Kona Hilton Waikaloa. I don't know what I yelled at my hub, probably something like, "Well, you must not lub me then!!!!" before I stormed out of the room and down to the beach where I settled into a hammock and pouted.

I pouted and pouted and pouted, but my hub never came to sweep me into his arms and tell me how sorry he was for being a man.

A few hours later I slunk back into the room with my tail between my legs. Sports Center was on and my hub was sprawled across the bed, sound asleep.

I slithered into bed and whispered, "You were s'pose to come after me."

Isn't that's what Westley did when he met Buttercup? Isn't that what Harry did when he met Sally? Isn't that what Shrek did when he met Fiona?

But about last night. Have you ever noticed how slowly time goes when you're pouting and perspiring? Luckily it wasn't long before my oldest son came to the door.

"Mom, is the laptop in there?" he said.

An hour later one of my twins came to the door.

"Mom, is that scope thing we borrowed from Adam in there?"

An hour later my hub came in an sat on the bed so I pulled the covers over my head.

"You okay?" he said. (He's not great with body language.)

"Not really," I said.

He asked me a few more times what was going on and I didn't answer because really he should already know without me having to spell it out.

"Wow, it's really hot in here," he said. And then he got up and opened the bathroom window before retreating downstairs to watch Sports Center.

True story. Except I added the Sports Center part. He could've been watching America's Got Talent for alls I know.

An hour later I got bored so I snuck out of the house and went for a walk. Course I took Lulu with me because there was a higher probability of being missed that way.

When I returned my youngest boy exclaimed, "Mom, where have you been? We needed you!"

My heart started getting all melty. Then he finished. "We can't find the laptop charger anywhere!"

It's so nice to be needed, don't you think?


Please don't ask me if I'm on any punctuation marks or letters of the alphabet, because I'm not. I'm just learning stuff and feeling stuff. About stuff. And watching other people I lub learn and feel stuff. About stuff. And anyway, I'm much better today, even though I mortally wounded my pinky finger with my new kitchen slicer this morning and then had to go to the dentist to get two cavities filled this afternoon.

Fer reals, I'm forty freakin' three, and still getting cavities and having tantrums!

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

Sometimes you have to walk away. Without your shoes. And if nobody comes to get you, gosh darnit, go get yourself.

As Gandhi would say, be the Westley you want to see in the world.

P.S. Tomorrow I pinky promise (with my mortally wounded pinky) that I will finish my BRB post.

P.S.S Do you hate me now?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Unblogging my Brain Part II: BRB

Oh who am I kidding. It's impossible to unblog my brain, because as soon as one story comes out, another story goes in.

In and out. In and out. Round and round. And round. That's the spin cycle of my mind.

Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my mom when I started blogging two years ago.

"Does this blogging thingie relieve some of the pressure on your brain?" she said.

"For a second," I said.

Even though my mom thinks blogging is an ugly word, she understands how heavy it is to carry all these nouns and verbs and adverbs and linking verbs and transitive verbs and adjectives around inside my head. Not to mention all the opinions, ideas, stories and dreams. Especially the meaty ones. The steak and potato ones, not the soup and salad ones. The steak and potato ones are so much more difficult to digest and regurg.

You get me?

Last week there were two comments in my box that I really wanted to smother in steak sauce and serve up steamy hot to all you peeps. But I had to put them on the back burner so I could make the Trek ROCKUMENTARY before I prepared the men in my life to survive in the wilderness for two days so I could force twelve girl cousins at gunpoint to slumber at my house and play dress ups and have hula hoop contests and light saber wars and paint their faces and their t-shirts and watch Barbie movies all night long.

Plus I had to play Gilmore Girls with my daughter all weekend.

For the record, I lub playing Gilmore Girls with my daughter all weekend. You get to watch back to back to back Ghost Whisperer and try on funky clothes at Mona Lisa Consignment and watch Pride and Prejudice with Spanish Subtitles and go to the movies with my mom before she makes you her famous home made tacos.

(Btw, Flipped is the cutest movie ever.)

Anyways! Can you see why I am so back-blogged?


I hope my thoughts aren't cold, or worse yet, overcooked now that they've been simmering in my brain all week.

Let's see, shall we?

Okay, first item on the menu is . . .

Oh wait! Hold that thought. I gotsta go rustle up some actual grub to feed my chillin's real quick.

Be right back!

(Or in other words, BRB!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Unblogging My Brain Part I: Problems with Hurricanes

So my twins had this birthday party last weekend. Which put them in harms way. It put all of their birthday guests in harms way.

You just never know when twelve twelve year old's jumping on a trampoline simultaneously might end in a trip to the ER.

And you just never know when twelve twelve year-old's engaging in a massive air soft war might put someone's eye out.

(I've seen A Christmas Story.)

Fortunately we took proper safety precautions and danger was averted.

Until we were inside the house opening presents.

See I'm the kind of irresponsible mom who allows her kids to engage with bite size candy bars without wearing safety goggles.

I underestimated the damage that can be done when twelve twelve-year-olds begin launching Baby Ruth bars at each other projectile style, within short range.

Yes, there were tears. And fears.

Fortunately in the end, all twelve twelve-year-olds left the party with their eyes intact.

There's a moral here. There's a definite moral. And it's best spelled out through this funny, yet poignant poem I used to teach called Problems with Hurricanes by Victor Hernandez Cruz:

A campesino looked at the air and told me:
With hurricanes it's not the wind
or the noise or the water.
I'll tell you he said:
it's the mangoes, avocados,
Green plantains and bananas
flying into town like projectiles.

How would your family feel if
they had to tell The generations
that you got killed by a flying banana?

Death by drowning has honor.
If the wind picked you up and slammed you
Against a mountain boulder
This would not carry shame
But to suffer a mango smashing
Your skull or a plantain hitting your
Temple at 70 miles per hour is the ultimate disgrace.

The campesino takes off his hat—
As a sign of respect toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don't worry about the noise
Don't worry about the water
Don't worry about the wind—
If you are going out, beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful sweet things.

Ain't that just like life? Sometimes you have to sweat the small stuff.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Behind, Behinder and Behindest

I feel like that old saying The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Ironically, the hurrieder I eat, the behinder I get too.) (hee hee)

Ain't it funny how you turn into all the old sayings on your childhood walls. Watch what you put on your childhood walls, peeps, for they will become your destiny.

Oh, wow. Did I just get all James Allen on you?

So I've been making a trek ROCKUMENTARY for the past four days. That's what I've been doing. Because I know the pioneers would've rocked out had they had the option. But now I'm behinder than I was last week when I was just behind.

When I give my first General Conference address I'm going to title it Behind, Behinder, and Behindest. Because life is about choices and priorities, even when you're in the red.

The worst part about being behinder is that my brain gets all blogged up. I need a plunger to unplug all the ideas and stories stuck in my brain right now.

Braden Bell and my mom are not going to like this analogy, because they both have delicate sensibilities, but when my brain gets full it's not unlike when my bladder gets full. I have so many full bladder stories, peeps. Oh, I could keep you here all night with my bus-across-New-England-with-a-full-bladder stories alone. That doesn't include my dating-with-a-full-bladder stories.

Maybe I will make my millions writing a series of full-bladder books. Like this one time I went on this date wid dis guy from da Bronx that I met at Nathan's. Shee wiz, (no pun intended) I shoulda known bettaw dan to cruise NYC on a full bladdaw wid some wize guy from da Bronx.

Ooooh, did that sound like Larry, Curly and Moe all rolled into Al Pacino's body? How gifted am I?

Anyways, point is, I need to relieve my brain. ASAP.

But first I need to wualk my duawg, clean my cawr and mowr my luawn.

Ya get me?

BYW, I stand corrected about Bawston. My friend Lisr says it's pronounced Bahston. And just because she's lived there for a handful of years she thinks she knows mo bettah.

Hmmph. (Hahved Yahd snobs!)

Well, I just spent a whole post saying absolutely nothing at all, didn't I?

I guess that makes me behindest now.

P.S. You know my dang stinkin' friggin cute dog, Lulu? The one that I lub and adore with all my stone cold heart?

She ate my pretty shoes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So dang stinkin' friggin

Remember how my apostate brother tried to test The Secret by attracting a purple feather into his life?

Well, in the book it says to visualize any type of feather you want--it can be big or small or rainbow colored--and it will come to you.

Well guess what? It works.

My brother didn't believe it, but I know it works because Lulu tried it. And look what she got yesterday.

She thinks big. And she smiles big.

Have you ever seen a dog smile that big? In fact I would go so far as to say she's laughing. That's how happy she is that The Secret works.

Told ya she's a magic dog.

And wait. What's this?

Is she doing a nani nani boo boo?

Oh, peeps, I'm sorry, but I lub my Lulu so dang, stinkin', friggin' much.

Come ere' Lulu! Come ere' girl!

Awwwww. Don't you just want to break one of the commandments so dang stinkin' friggin' bad right now? (But not the stealing one.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That place

Last night, while channel surfing, we caught the end of Frequency--that super duper complex time travel mystery thriller where this 36 year old cop, Johnny, learns how to use his father's old transistor radio to communicate with him in the past tense. Him, being his father who died 30 years earlier in a fire. 

Through the use of the transistor Johnny is able to warn his father about the fire and save his life.

How cool would that be?

Except, and this is the complicated part, because his father doesn't die, his mother, who is a nurse, isn't at his funeral, but is instead at work where she saves the life of a man who is a serial killer and who ends up killing her. That's the thanks she gets.

So poor Johnny saves his father, but in turn loses his mother.

So Johnny rewinds again and works with his father, via the magic transistor radio, to find the identity of the ungrateful serial killer before he murders their mother/wife.

They successfully foil the crime and alter their own history and in the end the whole family is alive and well and playing baseball together to a Garth Brooks song.

I like happy endings like that. Especially when Garth Brooks writes the lyrics.

And who wouldn't love to have a magic transistor radio to warn their loved ones of impending doom and gloom? I would.

Or would I?

Just think of all the pain and anguish you could spare people!

I could go back to my parents wedding day and tell my mom DON'T DO IT! It's going to miserable. He's going to cheat and go through long periods of depression. He won't be able to hold a job so there will be no money. What money there is he will spend on drugs. He'll overdose when he's 38, leaving you to raise seven kids by yourself. And his mother will tell everyone he died of a broken heart.

But then maybe I would just keep my trap shut. Because my mom lubbed my dad. Like crazy.

And anyway, in a nutshell it sounds like a really bad marriage, but we don't live in a nutshell do we? If I spared my mom all the pain I'd have to spare her all the joy as well. And the lessons. Nobody would learn any lessons.

(Besides, if my parents never got married what would I write about? Rainbows and butterflies?)

I could also go back to the day my great grandmother Constance got pregnant by he-who-must-not-be-named and tell her DON'T DO IT! It's going to be miserable. You are going to be ostracized by the town. And he-who-must-not-be-named will spend two years in prison with a scarlet letter A tattooed on his soul. Is that what you want? And your father will never speak to you again, even when you are screaming in agony for hours while giving birth. And there will be complications. With the birth. That will change you forever. You will be sick sick sick. And besides the years of headaches and infections your heart will ache in unimaginable ways. For years. You will leave your family and your home town and your daughter and move to California. Eventually you will marry a man you don't lub and then you will die in surgery when you are 33 years old. And your daughter will tell everyone you died of broken heart.

Then again maybe I would just keep my trap shut. After all, I wouldn't have a trap to shut if it weren't for that day. 

Am I right? Or am I right?

And anyway, that's just the bad stuff. That doesn't include all the good stuff. I'm betting she really did lub the man she married. Eventually. 

Maybe it's good we don't get magic transistor radios, huh? 

And maybe it's good Garth Brooks gets to write the happy ending lyrics. 

There’s a moment,
We all come to.
In our own time and in our own space.
Where all that we’ve done,
We can undo,
If our heart's in the right place.

(Thank goodness even stone cold hearts can get to that place.)

This post is dedicated to New England Alison because I've been reading her . . . leave a trail blog and I know she's moving towards that moment. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Least I got class

Yesterday I said I was happy. Today I'm just bloated.

Happiness often leads to bloating, don'tcha think?

Seriously though, how do you know if you're happy? Tonight we were watching Where the Wild Things Are and one of those scary monsters said that happiness isn't always the best path to happy.

Huh??? I don't get that? Do you?

If happiness ain't the best path then . . . oh, wait, I get it now. Sadness is the best path to happy. Am I right, or am I right? If you tweren't ever sad, you wouldn't recognize happy. And you definitely wouldn't appreciate happy.

You get me?

Me neither.

I'm pretty sure I'm happy because sometimes I forget I live in Utah. Sometimes I act like I'm still living in Laie. Like this morning. I was driving my two oldest kids to school when Lulu had a relapse and ate my son's socks. Right there in the car. (No, they weren't on his feet at the time.)

Did I swear? Uh uh. I simply ducked into Walmart so my son didn't have to go to school sockless.

(Okay that's not the part where I was acting like I live in Laie.)

As I was cruising the sock aisle SUDDENLY, out of nowhere, a thought occured to me. A thought about my . . . presentation, if you know what I mean. I had rolled out of bed and pulled on a pair of sweat pants and one of my hub's XL t-shirts. Then I did the dishes and spilled water down the front of my shirt. Then I slipped on the first pair of shoes I could find and drove my kids to school.

They were my pretty shoes.

I didn't comb my hair or dress my face before leaving the house!!! But I wore my pretty shoes.

I had a bare nekked face! And bedheaded hair! (And pretty shoes!) But as Gad as my witness, my son will never go sockless again.

As I waited in line at the cash register (after my aha moment and before my credit card was denied) I realized that I wasn't proud of myself. But I wasn't ashamed of myself neither.

That's gotta be happiness, huh?

Post script: I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the Walmart window on my way out and noticed I was still wearing my Filipino pearls from yesterday. This added a nice touch of elegance to my ensemble.

Least I got class, I thought.

For the record, my credit card was declined because it was expired. So I started digging through my purse to find the one that isn't expired because I slipped it in there after getting gas yesterday, which my hub should have done because, really, isn't getting gas a man's job? If my hub had gotten gas like he was supposed to my credit card wouldn't have been declined. So then I just grabbed my checkbook and started writing a check for $2. And then it hit me. I can pay cash for this purchase. So then I grabbed my wallet and pulled out my cash.

Do you think the cashier would have been as rude if I had dressed up my face, combed my hair and wrung my shirt out?

I guess she couldn't see my pretty shoes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I'm happy.

Don't know why. Just am. Maybe because my daughter's teammates yelled ALOHA after she won her tennis match today. That just gets me, ya know? That word packs a powerful punch with all of it's various meanings. Hello. Goodbye. I lub you. Welcome. To our team. We accept you as one of us, even though you just transferred from a different school.

Or maybe I'm happy because of the stories and fabric donations I'm getting for the 2nd magic quilt.

Or maybe because I spent the day with my mom and my sister volunteering at the Hemophilia foundation and meeting other cool mom's of children with bleeding disorders.

Or because I did the Dew today. The Mt. Dew.

Or maybe I'm happy because I did the Hokie Pokie and the Boot Scootin' Boogie and the Chicken dance with the patients at the Developmental Center last night.

(BTW, I figured out why Malcolm stole my stone cold heart so quickly. Because he reminds me of Lulu.)

(Fer reals.)

(Guess what! Lulu swims now.)

Maybe I'm. just. happy. The End.

I think I might be on the right path in the right place at the right time.

And I'm hoping that path leads me to Boston.

Which leads me to today's post:

Okay, so I used to travel a lot. By plane. When you live in Hawaii that's kinda how you travel. If you listen to the radio on an airplane for at least 10 minutes you will hear this song:

I have listened to this song on every single flight I've taken during the past five years.


Then last week, at the dentist, while my face felt like it was giving birth, this song came on the radio.

A single tear slid down my cheek. And not because of the tremendous stretching and pulling and smashing going on in the southern part of my face.

The next day I went to lunch with a friend of mine who was in town for the weekend. Her name is Lisa.

And she lives in Boston.

I had to show you us from both angles because Lisa says she looks like Marge in Charge in this photo.

hee hee

Lisa works for some big wig Hawvawd Business School dude. She calls it HBS. That's how cool she is.

She found my diary and enthusiastically invited me to start my Blog Across America in Boston.


She says she's the hostess with the mostess.


And she lives near Braintree, which is the home of John Adams and anyone who knows me knows I would marry John Adams if he asked me. And I would marry Abigail Adams too, if John didn't mind.

What say you peeps? Shall I start my Blog Across America where America started?

Do you think I've had enough practice blogging across southern Utah?

In the meantime, while I'm trying to wrangle up the funds to pawk my caw in Hawvawd Yawd, I will be blogging across China--Retro style--on my Dummies are People too site.

I'm doing it for my mom because she's been waiting to hear about my trip for three years now.

hee hee

Check out my first post here.

P.S. Don't you just lub how I can weave Lulu into any post?

P.S.S. I know I haven't finished the story about my great grandma Constance and my great grandpa he-who-shall-not-be-named. I do have another post up my sleeve which is coming soon, but I'm saving all the good stuff for my best selling novel.

You're welcome in advance.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The spirit is mightier than the body


I've been partying. Like a rock star. All weekend.

Only I wore underwear.

And I didn't play any musical instruments.

Partying like a rock star at my house entails eating a lot of red meat and listening to my MIL tell stories about the first time she used Kotex.

Oh, and listening to my sister recall evidence of how I've always been a Crash Test Dummy. (Gots a memory of steel, that one.)

"Remember that time where you took me and all my friends toilet papering and you dropped your car keys in the lawn, but didn't realize it until we were all piled in the car trying to make our get-a-way?" she said.

I didn't remember that one.

"Oh, and remember the time you toilet papered your friends house and then you toilet papered our house too so your friend wouldn't think it was you who toilet papered her house?"

I didn't remember that one either.

"Oh, and remember that time you grabbed one of our brother's garment tops from the dryer and thought it was a t-shirt? So you wore it? To the park? To make out with your boyfriend?"

I do remember that one actually. {cringe} How can one forget the moment one defiles holy underwear? {cringe} How can one forget crawling on ones hands and knees over hot lava rock while doing 1,000 Hail Mary's to seek forgiveness for defiling holy underwear? {cringe, cringe, cringe}

Like Danielle at An Eagle's View always says, I've got cringe charm.

(It's a wonder I haven't been struck by lightening like my gigi.)

So I learned a life lesson this weekend which I would like to share. You know how they say the pen is mightier than the sword? Because you can kill the body but not the mind? Because the mind is full of ideas? And idea's spread faster than cold sores?

(Cold sores are hard to kill too, come to think of it.)

Well I would like to propose that the spirit is mightier than the body. I tried to convince my MIL of this when she was freaking out about the fact that her grave plot runs North and South rather than East and West.

My hub says it's because she got a discount on it, but she says, "nuh uh!" She says her plot used to run East and West before they installed a sprinkler system in the cemetery. Now she's all worried that she'll be turned around when she rises from the grave. I tried to console her by assuring her we will crank her neck to the East when we bury her so she's facing the right direction.

Would that be considered cringe charm, Danielle?

The good thing is that the head stone people have agreed to configure her head stone in such a way that it looks like she is lying East to West, which is all that really matters, right?

It's all true. All of it. Except the part where my MIL was freaking out. I made that part up. She is totally cool with spinning around real quick-like when she rises up so as to make like she was facing East to begin with.

Okay that didn't really prove my theory about the spirit being mightier than the body, did it? Unless of course you believe you can fly no matter where or which direction you are buried.

Or what condition your body is in.

I actually thought up this theory while sitting in church with my Young Women at the Developmental Center, which is a place where people with developmental disabilities live.

You know how there are people in your life who you encounter? Briefly? They can't remember you? But you can't forget them?

The laughing baby in the Orphanage in China.

The shy Jewish boy on the Subway in New York City.

The smiling African kid running along the freeway reading the GMAT study guide.

And Malcolm from Memphis. Sweet, humble Malcolm guile from the Developmental Center, who ate all the sacrament bread after he finished passing it around. He didn't even need to eat it. He probably never kissed anyone enthusiastically while wearing someone else's holy underwear.

You get me?

Malcolm's soul could light the world on fire. And I couldn't keep my eye balls off of him. They were just drawn to him. His spirit was that enormous. Maybe even more enormous than all the other enormous spirits at the Developmental Center. Their bodies aren't attractive. Quite the opposite. Many of them are unable to control their faculties. Many of them take John Mayer's advise seriously (even though he was probably stoned when he wrote it) and they say what they need to say. In fact I would entitle the whole service as Make a Joyful Noise, if you know what I mean. There was plenty of joyful noise to go around. Even I made plenty of joyful noise because the whole experience was so dang awesome.

Fer reals, I was like the Josie and the Pussycats of joyful noise. Tamberine and all.

These people! Their bodies are not free, but their spirits are so flippin' free. It's amazing.

Like I said before, the spirit is mightier than the body.

Speaking of which, one of my girlz from my ole' hood in Provo, Tiffany needs our prayer and donations, if you can. Let's all lend our support, whether it be moral or financial. It seems like a tragic story right now. Like all tragic stories do at the time. But maybe if we squint our eyes up and look at it from a different perspective. A future perspective. A grand scale/grand scheme perspective. Maybe Tiffany's niece has an enormous spirit. Which can no longer be held back by her tiny body.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Sweatin'

Aloha peeps!

It's Sunday, so let's all sweat a little. Together. Around the eyeball area. That's what Sunday's are for after, all.

Wait. I did that wrong. I meant, afterall.

That's more like it.

Okay, check out the latest contribution to the 2nd magic quilt. It's called Super Grover and Might Man Adam.

Bring some tissue. Best photo ever.

I'm off at the Magic Cabin celebrating Labor day, which is literally the day I went into labor and gave birth to my twins twelve years ago.



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Deep Thoughts, by Crash Dummy

Look at this house!

This house was built in 1903 by my great great grandparents.

We call it the Mt. Carmel house.

This is the Mt. Carmel house today--107 years later:

It's almost exactly the same. How wild is that?

Original doors and windows. Original picket fence (behind the shrubbery). It even has the original linoleum floor in the parlor.

My great great grandmother Tait's flour bin still sits in the kitchen.

Walking into this house is like walking into a DeLorean car and going back to the future.

Or is it back to the past? It's so hard to tell on the road of life.

(Can I just wax philosophical for a sec?)

The road of life is funny like that. (So is the road of Kanosh, btw.) You have to look forward to find your way, but at the same time you have to look backward to make sure you don't get run over by a Mack truck.

You get me?

They say life is like a box of chocolates . . . (If that's true I hope they're Dove Chocolates because I like the little bits of wisdom written inside each wrapper. I just ate a Dove chocolate today which said "Remember, mistakes make life interesting." The next one said, "If nobody's perfect, then you're nobody." The next one said, "Be extraordinary in the ordinary things of life."

Susan from New Holland said that.

See that's what I like about Dove. Dove gives credit where credit is due. Most chocolate companies don't take the time to cite their sources.)


I don't think life is like a box of chocolates at all. Life is more predictable than that. With life you always know what you're gonna get.  You're gonna get old. And you're gonna get tired. And you're probably gonna get itchy. With a b. 

 I think life is more like a filmstrip.

This filmstrip in particular.

This filmstrip illustrates the need to look forward and the need to look backward at the same time.  To make sure you don't get side swiped when changing lanes.

I didn't need to worry about getting side swiped on the road to Kanosh because noone else travels to Kanosh but me. 

(Does anyone else feel the sudden urge to buckle up?) 

Point o' this photo object lesson is this: You gots ta keep things in perspective because you're not the only one traveling the road of life. You gots ta keep what's ahead of you and what's behind you in balance.  

You hear?

And always keep in mind that things are often distorted when you look back.  

The details get all blurred and you have to add stuff to sharpen it up. 

After I read my grandma's family history book I was so charmed that I told her she should write romance novels. She shook her head and said, "Oh, no darling. I only like to write the truth." 

Is she implying that Edward wouldn't give Bella the time of day in real life?  

No, she's simply saying that she values truth. 

Pretty truth.  

But what was I talking about again? 

Oh, yeah. The Mt. Carmel house.  So on the way to the Mt. Carmel house I stopped at the side of the road to pick some flowers for my dad's grave.

My dad is buried in the Mt. Carmel cemetery with the rest of the deceased family. 

I sat at his grave for a while. 

Some people talk to gravestones, but I don't. Some people have profound experiences in graveyards, but I don't. I didn't feel much so I got up and wandered around and looked at the headstones of all of my relatives back and back and back--trying to feel connected, you know.  

And then I saw this headstone, and I felt connected.

These are my peoples. The peoples who know where to go. And aren't afraid to tell you how to get there.  (hee hee hee)

"It's all uphill from here," they're saying. 

In the snow, both ways. 

Ba dum bum.  

(Can I show and tell the rest later? I need some beauty sleep.) 

P.S. My ex-door neighbor Martha called me yesterday! Squeeeeeel! MAHALO, Martha. I miss you so dang much. Even though you tried to steal my hub. 

J/K, peeps--she just borrowed him. She always brought him back when she was done. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

From the Beginning . . .

So yesterday this random kid shows up on our lawn. None of us know him from Adam.

"Do we know you?" My fourteen-year-old finally said.

"I'm the dead boy."

Awkward pause. "Uh . . . okay . . . so what is a dead boy like you doing here?"

"Being bored."

True story.

So there you have it-- proof that life when you're dead is just as monotonous as life when you're alive.

He's not really dead, by the way. Apparently he got hit by a car last year and lived. His dad also got hit by a car and lived so I think it's genetic.

The dead boy says that when you get hit by a car you either get smarter or dumber. He says his dad got meaner.

Go figure!

Okay, so for your information, (or as they say in virtual reality, FYI) I've finally started reading Mockingjay, and for the record, (or as they say, FTR) if Peeta dies, so help me Gad, I will hunt Suzanne Collins down and personally poke her eyes out.

I'm only on page 8 and before Braden Bell spilled the beans in my comment box I made a prediction. Someone tell me if I'm psychic. I predict that Gale will spend the whole novel with Katniss so we can all get even more conflicted about the love triangle.

Am I right? Huh? Huh? Huh?

That's what I would do if I was a best selling author.

So raise your hand if you want me to become a best selling author. One who writes conflicting love triangle stories full of angst and laced with undertones of political satire.

But would you mind terribly if I swapped the political satire for religious satire?

Now raise your hand if you think Nicole Kidman should play my grandma in the made for tv movie of my first best selling novel.

Fer reals, how pretty was my grandma?

And don't you think Jimmy Stewart should play my grandpa?

Or is Jimmy deceased?

No matter. My grandpa is deceased too.

I need to start at the very beginning of the whole best selling story, don't I?

Ahem . . .

I was born of goodly parents. Goodly and badly, actually, but that's life. You take the goodly with the badly.

My parents were also born of goodly and badly parents. And their parents were born of goodly and badly parents.

And so on and so on and so on.

For me the badliest part of my parents was that my dad was a drug addict. But the goodliest part was that he was the kindest, lovingest, intelligentest, charmingest drug addict in Provo.

The badliest part of his parents was that his mom was a religious fanatic, straight as an arrow, that one, and always standing directly in the path of revelation, which perhaps can be blamed on the shame and pain she felt over the badliest part of her parents, which perhaps can be blamed on lub sweet lub.

Do you get me?

Or is it hard to follow?

It's time to be blunt then, or as Tim O'Brien would say, "It's time to heat up the truth. Make it burn."

Her mom (who is my great grandma) fell in lub in 1923, when she was just 19 years old. The up side of this lub was that he was 24 years old and handsome as helk. The down side was that he was already married.

In hind sight, and restrospectively speaking, the up side of adultery is that it sometimes springs new life. In other words, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for that adultery.

Is that selfish?

Are you cringing right now?

The down side of adultery is that in the early 1900's it was a crime and my great grandfather spent two years in the Utah State Prison paying for it.

Are you cringing now?

Me too.

I'm not supposed to know all this because it's a secret, but I watched a lot of Get Smart when I was a kid and I can super sleuth as well as the next dummy. I've seen the court documents with my own eyeballs, signed with his own hand.

The exact wording on the subpoena goes a little somethin' somethin' like this:

Willful, unlawful, felonious and carnal adultery.


Cause for pause, ain't it?

My grandma has pretty much wiped him from our family tree so I often refer to him as Voldemort, or he "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

But I know things. About him. Like his name.

And other things.

When I went to visit my cute grandma two weeks ago we sat in her bedroom all afternoon talking story and I mustered up the courage to ask her if she ever gets curious about him now that she's older. In the back of my head I was thinking how it might lift her burden to know a few things about him.

Things that I know.

"Oh, no," she said. "I don't want to know anything about him."


To Be Continued: