Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swaying to the rhythm of nothing

Guess what I'm doing right now?


Absolutely nothing.

I have been doing nothing since 10:30 last night. That's nearly half of a whole day (including the whole night) of sheer nothingness--straight, pure, unadulterated nothingness.

Have I died and gone to heaven?

I didn't start doing nothing until after I drove fours hours to Mt. Carmel, attended my dear uncle Marty's funeral, ate funeral potatoes, watched funeral slideshows and attended the post-funeral-family-gathering in the hundred-year-old-house on Tait lane.

And then I retreated to the Thunderbird Motel, which, btw, if you need to get your bearings, sits at the mouth of Zion's National Park, and also, btw, is the home of the Ho-Made Pies. (speaking of which, I did some digging and found out the dealio with the Ho-made pies.) (I'll show and tell after I finish doing nothing.) (But right now I'm too busy. Doing nothing.)

It feels so luxurious sitting here, with nothing to break the silence but the rattle and hum of the hotel room heater, and the beating of my very own heart.

Speaking of the beating of my very own heart, don't you lub that Rhythm of Love song by the Plain White Tees? Of course you do. Doesn't it just make you feel like you're in Laie, Hawaii at a townhouse party, dancing with all your neighbors on the basketball court in the back field? Me too! I especially dig the ukulele on the chorus, but my favorite part is the drum beat--ba dum bum bum--that starts on the 2nd verse. I'm in LUB with that part. That's why I just hit replay to hear it again. And again.

The only thing I would change about that song is the words. I would swap out the word "love" for the word "nothing." That way I could sway to the rhythm of . . . nothing.

I've been so busy swaying to the rhythm of nothing for the past 12 hours that I haven't even had time to turn on the t.v. in my hotel room.

The uninterrupted quiet . . . it's just . . . so . . . delicious.

In fact, it's time like this that I start wondering if I haven't discovered my purpose in life. To do nothing.

Maybe it's my passion.

You wanna know the best part about a hotel room? How you lock the door. And then you bolt the door. And then you chain the door. And then you prop a chair against the door.

And then you're all alone. And no one can touch you. Or reach you. Or find you.

There are no lessons to be prepared, meetings to attend, or activities to be executed when the door is bolted.

Behind chained doors there is no laundry to be folded or dishes to be washed--no lists to be made, groceries to be purchased or checkbooks to be balanced. The toilets are already clean and the dresser drawers are full of nothing but . . . nothing. They are empty.

The whole room is empty. And quiet. And nothing. Which means there is plenty of room for me. And my thoughts.

My many many thoughts.

And so here I am. At the Thunderbird Hotel. With the chair propped against the door. Channeling my many many thoughts.

Maybe if I sit here long enough I'll be able to unlock the ancient Chinese secrets of the universe.

And solve the mysteries of history.

And figure out where I put my hub's fishing license.

Gotsta go.

More deets later gator!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm a Ghost Geek


So much to do and say and show and tell!


I'm a mother you know. With kids. And dogs. And hubs. And responsibilities. Not to mention people to see and places to go.

In fact I'm leaving in the morning to Mt. Carmel to get to the bottom of the ho-made pies dealio.

Oh, and to attend my Uncle Marty's funeral.

HOWEVER . . . I have started, and nearly finished, at least three riveting posts, which I haven't published because I'm not done saying what I need to say.

Do you think John Mayer would mind if I only said half of what I need to say?

Okay then, whoomp, there it is: (I mean, whoomp, here it is):

(Sorry, sometimes my subjects and verbs don't agree.)

Here are the half baked thoughts that tumbled from me a few days ago:

Remember how I told you everything I say is cold, hard, fact? Well, keep that in mind as you read this post because you're going to be sorely tempted--sorely, sorely tempted--to think I am using my imagination. But I'm not. Pinky swear. On a stack of Holy Bibles. I have NO imagination, but rather I am living proof that truth really is stranger than fiction.

I started this post with the intent of telling you about how I'm a ghost geek, but somewhere along the way I veered off into the Twilight Zone and forgot where I put my point. I'm sure I'll find it eventually, but for today, let's just roll with it.

Okay, so I dig ghosts. (In a good way.) I blame my dad to some extent because he was a ghost magnet. (In a bad way.) People say it was because he was a drug addict so his aura had little rips in it that ghosts could slip through.

Combine that with his religious zeal and we had our own special brand of Twilight Zone.

As a kid, I grew up on ghost stories, as if that wasn't out of the ordinary. In fact everything was presented to us kids as "the norm." Didn't everyone grow up with boa constrictors and pythons crawling out of their heating vents. Didn't everyone wake up with bites on their earlobes from their pet lab rats? Didn't all families have neighbors who boarded up the windows facing their home?

I mean, fer reals, didn't everyone have a father who brought King Cobra's home from India? And who took their children treasure hunting at the city dump? And who could cast out evil spirits from those who were tripping on LSD?

Okay, he sounds weird on paper, but who doesn't?

It's not his fault that people tripping on LSD came from miles around to have the evil cast out of them.

What can I say, my dad was a spiritual giant. Who loved blessing people back to normal. He also loved LSD so it seemed like a great way to combine interests.

My mom, on the other hand, wasn't too keen on the practice, mostly because evil spirits like LSD as much as sweet spirits. And they don't enjoy being interrupted while tripping. Cutting a trip short for an evil spirit can get ugly.

Once my dad really ticked a couple of evil spirits off while casting them out. According to the bedtime story, it was more like a hoard of evil spirits, all crammed into one hippie body, and all wailing and gnashing their teeth as they marched through our kitchen, across our creepy back porch, down our freezy cement stairs into the basement, past our fruit cellar and fiery furnace and into the bedroom where my apostate brother, Stephen and I lay sleeping soundly in our cribs.

Stephen, I'm sure, was dreaming of rainbows and butterflies at the time, with no intention of losing his faith later in life. I, on the other hand, was probably frozen in place, wide eyed, with all the hairs on my body standing at attention, bracing myself for the blow as the army of angry spirits descended upon me and began choking both me and Stephen out of our wits.

My mom saw the whole thing. Heard it too. And to this day stills swears on a stack of Holy Bibles that the lack of oxygen experienced in those few minutes is the reason I'm so dang strange today.

Her words, not mine.

Okay, I made that last part up. I'm not really strange. But the rest is all truth--albeit half the truth, since this is the part where I veered off and lost my point.

Hopefully I'll find it somewhere on the road to Mt. Carmel.


P.S. Raise your hand if you think I should write a book of geeky, ghostly stories.

P.S.S Raise your hand if you can't handle the truth and you're afeared of me now.

P.S.S.S Would it be off topic if I told you that I got some more flannel for the Magic Baby Quilt and asked you to come Check it out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And that's the way it was . . .

My daughter says she's going to start a blog so that every time I post and tell, she can post and tell (what really happened.)


"No one would read it," I told her. "No one cares what really happened. And anyways, I live by Marianne Moore's philosophy that a poet should present for inspection 'Imaginary gardens, with real toads in them.'"

Oh, who am I kidding? I ain't no poet! My gardens are real, and my toads are real! It's all real. That's why God gave me such a strange life, because I have no imagination. Everything that comes out of my mouth is cold, hard, fact. I'm just like a news anchor or reporter--I call it like I see it.

Like yesterday I saw my daughter rubbing her fingers after work at the flower shop. She proceeded to tell me what Shakespeare has been telling me for years. Roses have wicked thorns. But then she told me something Shakespeare never did--red roses aren't that bad, it's the colored roses that will kick your trash. Even their leaves have little pokies all over them.

Whatduyaknow! My daughter knows something Shakespeare didn't. BEWARE the pink and yellow rose, lest you fall prey to it's seductive beauty and smite yourself.

(I added them words of warning, btw. Since Shakespeare was unable to be here himself to say it. And since my daughter wouldn'ta thought to pass it along.)

(You're welcome.)

After my daughter finished rubbing her sore fingers, she picked up a few stalks of celery and observed them. She held them up, and out, and turned them this way, and that.

"This celery reminds me of a flower arrangement," she said. "These leaves, the way they bend . . . it reminds me of the greenery. . . and the stalk . . . it reminds me of the stem of a daffodil."

Hmmmm m m m m m . . . not. seeing. it.

But I am quoting it word for word. Without a single embellishment. (Although I did add a few ellipsis.)

It's official, my daughter not only smells like flowers, she also thinks like flowers.

And that's the way it was!

Tune in tomorrow for the cold, hard, facts about how my dad once ticked off a couple of evil spirits. Until then, you can visit The Magic Quilt post today in honor of baby Ella.

G'night everybody!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Tub Half Full


Gained at least 100 lbs. since my Gigi had her stroke. It ain't water weight neither. It's all fudge weight. Well, fudge and chocolate covered cinnamon bears.

Poked my MIL's eyes out at lunch today when she kept quoting Dr. Oz. about the evils of sugar.

"You know, you're only supposed to eat 6 teaspoons of sugar a day! And Dr. Oz says we consume THREE times that much."

HOW. DOES. HE. KNOW. THAT? Inquiring minds want to know. Does he have a hidden camera in my car?

Obviously his Gigi never had a stroke!

Gigi was out of it today and I was sure they was coming for to carry her home. She's still not speaking and didn't seem to know who I was, but she cried when I hugged her goodbye and told her I lubbed her.


You know what I hate (even more than JoAnn Fabrics' company policies)?

Sitting in a lukewarm bath!!!!

I absolutely hate sitting in a lukewarm bath! Especially after I've added six pots of boiling water. And after I realize the conditioner is in the other bathroom. And the towels are on my twins bedroom floor.


I especially hate lukewarm baths after my Gigi has a stroke. And after I attend the funeral of a six-year-old boy.

After funerals and strokes I need a HOT bath! WITH conditioner!

You get me?

You know what else I hate? Using washcloths to cover my luke-warm nooks and crannies as I run to the other bathroom to grab the conditioner. And then to cautiously make my way to the top of the stairs to yell down to my hub.

"Can you PLEASE turn the water heater up? PLEASE! PLEASE! Pretty PLEASE! And can somebody bring. me. a. gosh. darn. towel!?"

"It doesn't matter how much you turn the water heater up, it only holds so much water and if it's out, it's out!!" My hub yelled back.

"PALEEEEEEEEAZZZZE!" I begged. "I haven't conditioned yet!"


Doesn't he realize that people are dying left and right and having strokes and I need to CONDITION!?

See my uncle Marty died yesterday. (I'm headed down to Mt. Carmel on Saturday for the funeral and I'm thinking of staying at the Thunderbird Motel so I can try out the ho-made pie.)

Even though my uncle Marty's death is a blessings, since he's been in a care center for years battling the debilitating effects of both Diabetes and Parkinson's, it still makes me a bit verklempt to think on it. His quality of life hit rock bottom after he had both of his legs amputated and his wife wouldn't bring him his gol darn camera--she said she was afraid he would drop it, but those of us who are married know she was trying to drive him insane, as that's what all good wives do when we care for our hubs.

Anyways, my mind can't help but rewind to the days when Uncle Marty had the use of both legs and his camera. In those days we ran 5k races together in Los Angeles and afterwards he'd give me orange juice bars. I was 16 at the time and spending the summer in Irvine. Uncle Marty and Aunt Elaine would pick me up and take me to Disneyland when I got homesick. They even drove me to Mt. Carmel once and let me listen to Michael Jackson all the way. Then they drove me to Orderville and helped me spray paint a big heart in Mike Norton's driveway after he asked me on a date. Then Mike Norton jumped in his car and chased us all over Orderville while my Uncle Marty and Aunt Elaine giggled like school girls.

Thankfully I got to got to church with Marty and Elaine in August at his care center.

And then we ate Chili Relleno together in his room.

(Ooooh, ooooh, ooooh, I just noticed that poster behind him says RUN L.A. Told ya!)

Anyways, aloha oe Uncle Marty. Thanks for the memories.

Btw, Gigi is talking now. And smiling a crooked smile.


Guess what I did today? I lost my fudge weight. Now I've just gotta lose those darn chocolate covered cinnamon bears.

I also had a hot bath. Piping hot!

I mean, it was only half full, but I'm not the type of girl to see a half-full tub as a half-empty tub.

I'm the type of girl who understands that a water heater can only hold so much and when it's out, it's out. You just gotta be patient. And wait. Until it refills.

There is plenty of hot water to go around. If you're patient. And anyway there are starving children in Africa who don't even get to condition in luke-warm water, so you just gotta quit your gripin' and be ye therefore grateful for the little hot water you get!

Gigi looks so much better and brighter today. She's talking and telling stories and laughing. And my Laurel advisor, Marie has been her nurse for three days now, and she says she's never seen anyone recover quicklyer from a stroke.

That's my Gigi!

It's actually been fun going to the hospital and being surrounded by family--kinda cool to know that at any given moment I have somewhere to go where someone I lub will be sitting there doing nothing.

And I can go sit there and do nothing with them.

Now thats a tub half-full!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gigi, and the Magic Wave

Today I started crying at JoAnn Fabrics. Right at the cutting table.

It wasn't the cutters fault, she was just doing her job. Not cutting two yards of magic fleece into two separate one yard strips. It's just not allowed. Company policy.

I didn't mean to cry, it's just that JoAnn Fabrics has so many company policies! It made me SAD!

Plus I had eaten like a pound of fudge in the car. A pound of fudge can really take it's toll on a girl's emotions.

Plus my Gigi had a stroke last night and I was on my way to the hospital to see her. Only I stopped. When I saw JoAnn's Fabrics. To buy some magic fleece for her.

I had already stopped at the flower shop where my daughter works and bought one of my daughter's arrangements. For Gigi.

Then I stopped again at In-N-Out because In-N-Out is a California joint and I spent lotsa summers in Cali at In-N-Out with Gigi and Papa.

From the drive through at In-N-Out I had a perfect view of Mimi's Cafe, which is Gigi's favorite restaurant . . .

Can you see why the company policies push me over the edge?

When my mom called me this morning with the news, she had been up all night by my Gigi's bedside. It appeared Gigi had no memory of anyone and couldn't speak.

My Gigi! The same Gigi who was struck by lightening three times and lived. The same Gigi who fed me Bean with Bacon soup every day for a month just because I wanted it. The same Gigi who kept her cookie jar full of Oreos all summer long, just because I wanted it. The Gigi who always had gum in her purse and taffy on her coffee table. Who let me take sips of her Shasta Cola in between cartwheels and who let me have my very own glass of Instant Breakfast when no one else was looking.

Hmmmm . . . it would appear that the way to my heart is through my stomach.

But she did other things too--like drive 12 hours from Cali twice a year bearing a Subaru full of clothing purchased at Value Village for me and my siblings. When she and Papa packed up to go back home they always said, "Does anyone want to come with us?" I always raised my hand, so they always piled me into their Subaru where I sat in the back, but leaned forward so I could be right in between Gigi and Papa the whole way. I didn't want to miss a thing they said.

Or ate.

Gigi always took me to K-Mart for the Blue Light Specials. She taught me how to make quesadillas (which she called casadillas) and let me watch game-shows with her all day long. We ate popsicles and put puzzles together and lit sparklers on her front porch.


(But I don't lub company policies.)

The last time I saw my Gigi was over Christmas. Thank goodness I snapped some photographic evidence.

And thank goodness I stuck my camera out the window at the very last second to capture this blurry, yet priceless, image of her waving goodbye as we pulled out of the parking lot.

Maybe for the last time.

Gigi and Papa ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS stood on their front porch and waved goodbye to us as we left their house. NO MATTER WHAT. And they didn't stop waving until we were out of sight. Once we actually drove around the block just to see if they were still there and sure enough they were. And they waved goodbye to us again.

Now that my Gigi is 89, and can't manuever herself around very well, we tell her not to worry about it. "We can make our way out and get on home without you waving from the front porch," we tell her.

But she insists.

When I saw her today, all still and quiet in that hospital bed, it kinda started a few cracks in my stone cold heart.

But she was doing better than I expected and her eyes teared up a little bit when she saw me. She also squeaked out the words "so pretty" when I showed her the flower arrangement my daughter had made. And she waved at me, from her bed, as I was leaving her room. Her arm was full of wires and tubes and leads and such, but she still managed to send me off with a wave.


So, do you wanna see the magic fleece I picked out for Gigi?

I made her a puzzle blanket . . .

Because she's one of those puzzle geeks, and I give her a new puzzle every year for Christmas.

And guess what else! I got the first flannel in the mail today for the Magic traveling baby quilt. See this post, Emma and Taylor for the story.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Flower Power!

Oh my goodness, I have so much to say.

As usual.

Firstly, it has come to my attention that I didn't give some of the most important details about my son's exciting basketball game the other night.


Yes. And no. He won AND he lost. Sophomore and JV lost, Varsity won.

2. DID HE CHOKE? (When he was at the foul line, down by two points, with 12 seconds left and hundreds of people yelling CHOKE, CHOKE, CHOKE, CHOKE?)

No, he didn't choke. He tied the game and put us into overtime. Where we lost. But still . . . he DIDN'T choke.

(That's my boy!) (Wait! On second thought, that's not my boy. I woulda choked! I'm a pleaser that way.)

But just between me and you, can I just say that it kinda hurt my feelings that everyone was yelling at my son to CHOKE!?


But he thrives on it and he said it helped him find his rhythm!


(Btw, in the JV game he made six 3-pointers and ended up with 25 points.) (That's my boy!) (Oh wait! that's not my boy. I 've never made a 3-pointer in my life. )



Not too far off if you think about it. I must confess there have been moments when I'm listening to Kesha when I get a distinct urge to jam a horse down her throat--usually it's when I'm in the car with my 14-year-old.

(The things Kesha dares say in front of a 14-year-old and his mother! It doth make me blush!)

BTW, I hope I didn't give the impression that my MIL is a hater of music. She LUBS music actually. As long as John Williams composes it and the Mormon Tab sings it.

Okay, so now that I've clarified, allow to me to update:

Today was the first day of the new semester so I had to go to my son's junior high school with him to make some changes to his schedule. Guess what I noticed? That I was the only person on the face of the earth wearing a coat.

Mmmmhmmmm. That's right.

There was one other girl I saw in the office--a timid little thing who was all by her lonesome. She was kind of wearing a jacket. I got so excited to see this that I rushed right up to her and hugged her. Then I asked her for her name and phone number and if she'd be available in 10 years to marry my son.

I was going to introduce them but when I turned around the only trace of my boy was the lingering smell of burnt rubber.

(Like I said before, weirdie!)

So you know how my daughter works at a flower shop now? Well she was hired to do all the grunt work, like dumping buckets and cleaning the dirty flowers, etc, etc, etc., but lately they've been learning her how to tie ribbons and make corsages and arrange flowers too.

Yesterday she made two arrangements and today when she got to work they told her that one of them had sold.

EEeeeeeeee! Do you know what this means? Someone bought something that my daughter made! with her own two hands. Squeeeeeeeeeeal!

And guess what else?

She still smells like flowers! And she talks about flowers too. Daisies, and roses, and iris', and carnations and orchids.

And then she'll say, "You know what an orchid is, right mom?"

And then I'll poke her in the eye and tell her that I may be dumb, but I ain't stupid! I know my killer whales!

And guess what else?

She gets to see all the high school boys come in with their moms and awkwardly order corsages for the date dances.

hee hee

My daughter's in the know.

Now that's power.

Flower power, baby!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three easy ways to chillax basketball

Yesterday I spent almost six hours watching my son play high school basketball. More, if you count the time I spent preparing him to play high school basketball, including the haircut and the taxi-cabbing and the sack lunch and the snacks and the gatorade run. Oh, and the IV protein bars. Getting a vein to pump his system full of protein bars takes a lot of precision.

So these particular games were the most intense games my son has ever played. It was head to head rivalry of Clash of the Titans proportions. With a gym packed to rock star capacity, it was standing room only--fans and foes alike filling up the hallways and the aisles and the stairways, insomuch that they did have to set up a big screen projector in the overflow gym to broadcast the game via satellite.

Not to mention the mysterious voice over the loudspeaker, which threatened us periodically that if we left the gym for any reason whatsoever, we would be replaced immediately.

In other words, we were disposible fans.

My hub has alway said that life is like basketball and I think he might be right. Life is serious. And basketball is serious. Very, very serious.

I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of both life and basketball.

But it doesn't have to be that way. We can all lighten up. Can't we?

May I offer a few suggestions from my own serious life experience that might make basketball a bit more chillaxed? And a bit less confrontational?

1. YOGA. Why not fill the stands to capacity to watch yoga matches? There is no blood in yoga. And the fans most likely won't high five each other and strut around like the Chick-fil-A cow when one of their players sends an opponent to the hospital for 16 stitches--inside and out.

And I may be going out on a limb here, but I bet yoga fans wouldn't chant "CHOKE, CHOKE, CHOKE, CHOKE! at my son if he was at the foul line doing Down Dogs and Sunrise Serenades.

Just sayin'.

2. REFS. My hub says that when you play the game, you play the refs. That's basketball. And that's life. But if he really believes that, then why, why, why does he yell at the refs until I'm hiding under my seat sucking my thumb?

Could it be . . . Satan?

Or could it be that refs are people too and they have . . . leanings?

They also have power. Power plus leanings is a deadly combination.

Might I suggest implementing a program called Ref Duty, which would operate under the same premise as Jury Duty. Each citizen would be required by law, at gunpoint, to serve as a ref. No excuses! There would be an interview process to ensure there is no vested interest in the outcome of any given game or team.

And to ensure they look good in black polyester.

3. My MIL. If my MIL could be hired out to attend every basketball game on earth, there would be no more aggression in the stands. Mainly because all the aggression would be channeled in her direction. At least in between quarters and at half-time when the gangsta rap music blasts over the loud speaker.

Would you like a preview? Okay, here is my impression of my MIL in between quarters and at half-time:

Performed with extreme animated expression, right in your ear:

Oh Gad, do you like this music? I HATE this MUSIC! Do people really think this music is good? Because this. is. HORRIBLE! HONEST TO PETE! That singer sounds like someone shoved a horse down her throat! Did I mention that I. HATE. THIS. MUSIC?

I hear this a lot during games, that's why I'm so good at repeating it. In fact, technically I hear it, let's see, three times each game x three games = nine, x twice a week =18. Oh, and in between games too, so that's two more times x twice a week = 22.

22 times a week! And that's not including the times I hear it in the car when I'm listening to 103.9.

Anyways, no one will get mad at the refs as long as my MIL is close by! They'll be too busy poking her eyes out!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You can freeze my hair, but you can't freeze my heart!

Yesterday my son's hair froze on the way to school. 

His hair was frozen!

Did that effect his decision to wear a coat to school today? Nope. So I've decided to take drastic measures. I'm going to start squirting him down with a spray bottle before he leaves each morning. That way when he arrives at school he'll know what a popsicle feels like. 

(I think it's important to teach our children compassion like that.) 

So you know what's weird? Everything is frozen here. Except my stone cold heart. It kinda makes me feel like a rebel. Without a cause. 

It makes me feel like opening my front door and shaking my fist at the sky and yelling, "HA! You can freeze my hair, but you can't freeze my heart!" 

When I lived in Hawaii I was warm all the time, perfectly comfortable, day after day, year after year, and I put my stone cold heart on ice. Then I met you guys and pretty soon my heart got dyslexic and had an identity crisis and forgot who it was and what it stood for. It started getting all sweet and the next thing I knew it had melted into a Cold Stone heart. 

Sometimes life is weird like that. You never know when it's going to hand you dyslexia. When it does, I find the best thing to do is make dyslexia-aid.

Speaking of aid, please click over to my Magic Quilt blog and read my latest post about my traveling baby quilt idea. I need flannel, peeps. If you have ever lost a child or know someone who has, please send them this link:Be the comfort you want to see in the world.  

We've got work to do, peeps! 

P.S. Donald J. Carey's first book, Bumpy Landings is hitting the market today! I'm going to his book launch PaRtAy tonight.  It's from 6-8 at the Hawaiian Culture Center in Midvale. 741 S Smelter in Midvale, just west of I-15 and south of 7200. There will be light pupus (that's refreshments, peeps, not the other thing you were thinking) and for every book sold at the launch, Donald is making a $5 donation to HCC.  

Meet me there!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jack Frost. And Katy Perry.

When January 10th rolls around and you haven't taken Christmas down, you begin to think that maybe you should just leave it up for next year because, hey, spring is right around the corner and then comes summer, fall and BAM, you're smack dab in the middle of winter again. 

It feels kinda redundant to keep repeating yourself every year, you know.  

We did leave our Christmas lights up one year when we lived in Hawaii, but that was just to bug our ex-door neighbor, Martha.  

Remember that, Martha? 

It kinda backfired on us though because by the next December none of the lights worked. But at least we tried to bug Martha--better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. 

So they say.

So yesterday I was voted most embarrassing mom in the history of the world just because I testified to the truthfulness of Katy Perry when I introduced the New Young Men/Young Women theme in Sacrament Meeting.  

Kids these dayz!!! It's not like I bore my testimony of Lady Gaga or Keisha. 

I swear my kids LOOK for reasons to accuse me of being uncool and unhip.

Whatev! I'm totally with it, dude. I'm plugged in, man. On the hook.

Slap me some skin, ya'll.    

And anyways, my kids have no room to talk about what's embarrassing. They are all currently suffering from a severe jacket disorder, (which kinda makes me look bad).

I hate to say it, but almost everyone in Utah has a jacket disorder. It's one of those things we don't talk about though--we keep it on the down-low. (That's DL for us hipsters.) Rumor has it that Utah is the happiest state, even though rumor also has it that we suffer from the most depression and bankruptcy and suicide and porn addiction and ice cream addiction and prescription pain med addiction and Book of Mormon addiction . . . but I bet you haven't heard about the high percentage of jacket disorders in Utah?

My closet overfloweth with jackets and sweatshirts and hoodies and sweaters and coats, but my kids avoid these items at all costs. And if they do wear them, they wear them sparingly. 

Me thinks they're on a jacket diet. 

One of my three sons will SOMETIMES put a coat on in the morning, only to take it off as soon as he jumps out of the car for school.   

"But no one else wears coats!" They all protest. 

The only thing that would embarrass my children more than testifying of Katy Perry over the pulpit at church is if I declared that I believe the winter coat is divinely inspired. And maybe mention how grateful I am to have it in my life.  

It would be like wearing closed-toed shoes in Hawaii--blasphemous!

I have a dream that one day my children won't have to rely on my testimony of the winter coat, but that their faith in it will wax strong, regardless of what everyone else is doing. 

"If your friend's winter coat jumped off a bridge, would your winter coat jump off a bridge?" I keep asking them. 

(Totally rhetorical question, of course.) 

Betcha Jack Frost just sits back, laughs, and thinks, "HA! got 'em! They're mine now!"

One thing I've done to teach my children the basic principals of appropriate winter wear is created a chart out of vinyl lettering, which outlines exactly how to navigate their way through the icy temperatures ahead: 

(Feel free to plagiarize.)

Minimum Requirements to Avoid Getting Kung-Fu-Panda-Kicked by My Mom.

40 degrees--t-shirt and slippahs

32 degrees--light jacket

28 degrees-- light jacket, zipped

25 degrees--wool overcoat 

20 degrees--wool overcoat, buttoned and accented with a solid fleece scarf 

15 degrees--Brightly-colored stay-puff marshmallow coat.  

10 degrees or below--B-CS-PM coat, zipped, buttoned and accented with hot chocolate. 

(Btw, I would have spelled the whole thing out, but I ran out of vinyl.) 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Guess What!

I finally thought up a good New Years Resolution. A resolution that screams "PICK ME, CRASH!" 

I'm going to start putting my credit card back into my wallet after I use it. 

And I'm going to stop driving back and forth past Five Buck Pizza just to watch the spazzy sign guy shaking his booty on the street corner. And when I get caught at the light I'm going to stop switching the radio station around to see which song enhances his sign shaking skills best. (So far "Stairway to Heaven" is leading the pack, btw.)  

Guess what! Guess what! Guess what! My daughter got a job! At a flower shop. And now she smells like flowers!  

And guess what else? She got asked on a date. A boy called her on the phone--don't you lub it when boys do that--and he asked her straight up if she wanted to go ice skating. Just like that. No beating around the bush. And when he picked her up, he came to the door, and he shook my hand. 

And guess what else? He had braces. 

How cute is that? 

Dating is so much fun. 

You know what else is fun? Watching The Office two or three times a day. Sometimes four. I've been doing that in place of my exercise routine lately because my MIL says that laughing helps you lose weight.  

Guess what else helps you lose weight. Chocolate-covered celery. Celery is minus two calories--everyone knows that--so dip it in chocolate and VOILA! (That's French for WHALA!) you can have your cake and eat it too. (As long as your cake contains celery.)  

Hold your applause please, I developed that recipe purely by accident. Kinda like how I invented that Tim Tam Spam Slam back in the day. 

You're welcome, world!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

I fought the law, and . . .

. . . the law won.

Of course.

But I like traffic court very much anyway. It's peaceful there. And quiet.

Almost reverent.

Like being at the public library. Only more edgy. Or like being at church. Only more relaxing.

Traffic court and church actually have a lot in common. In both places you sit silently looking around at the people in the pews next to you and you think, "I wonder what they're in for?"

At church you can only speculate. At traffic court you're about to find out.

It's an edge-of-your-seat kind of peaceful.

The thing traffic court has over church is law enforcement. At church they tell you what you can and can't do and judge you accordingly. But only in their hearts.

Where's the satisfaction in that!? At least at traffic court you know where you stand.

"Were you going 25 miles per hour?"


"It's the law."

"But I don't like going 25 miles per hour. It's boring. And it makes me itchy."

"It's the law."

"But my car has a sleep disorder and it slips into a coma at 25 miles per hour."

"There is no BUT in the law. Cha-Ching. That'll be $90."

There's a sense of gratification in justice over mercy which I never understood before now. All those years teaching Les Mis and Cry The Beloved Country and Hamlet and The Things They Carried in order to open my student's blinds to the gray matters of morality, and yet I never really understood the true poetry in poetic justice.

I imagine this is what math feels like. There's right and there's wrong, yes and no. What if's and maybe's hold no sway. It's either 25 m.p.h. or it's not. And anything over 25 m.p.h. costs $90.

Math is predictable like that.

Life is a lot like math if you think about it. Only without the lawyers. There are no lawyers in math because it's completely objective--right always prevails over wrong. But life is tricky, so life needs lawyers.

At traffic court the prosecuting lawyer takes you aside, into a room, just the two of you. You and him. You sit down at a little table while he towers over you with his suit jacket open so you can get a glimpse of his gun. He looks straight at you, eyeball to eyeball and says, "I hope you don't have anything else planned this afternoon because we have a lot of cases today and this is going to take at least three hours."

While your brain is skimming through your afternoon schedule--meet Marie at 3:00 to laminate Young Women book marks . . . soccer practice at 4:00 . . . dinner, pick up twins, take Young Women to Carl Bloch exhibit at 5:30--he starts offering a plea bargain.

He strongly recommends you take the deal. And so does his gun.

He starts throwing out big, scary words, like misdemeanor and criminal and violation of section 41-6a-601.

And then comes the if you lose part. If you lose there will be more than helk to pay. There will be $$$ and traffic points to pay.

Unless you take the deal.

"But what about my light sabers?" You say. "What about my ensemble cast waiting in the wings to sing me out of this ticket? What about Victoria's Secret?"

The prosecuting lawyer just shakes his head side to side. "It's the law," he says.

It's not his fault. He's a prosecuting lawyer, and they do math. That's what they do.

I liked the judge very much though. There was something familiar about him, like someone I don't know, but who I see every so often. Maybe once a year in a Christmas card. My best friend from the hood's hub, perhaps. The one who writes poetry about his flu symptoms, then sends it out to everyone he loves with a final thought about the real reason for the season.

He had very kind eyes that spoke to me--exactly the sort of eyes a judge should have when he's about to ask you what you plead.

"Guilty, your honor."

Are you sure? his eyes said. But what about the light sabers. And what about your ensemble cast waiting in the wings? 24601! Remember!? Are you just going to go like a lamb to the slaughter without even asking me for mercy?

It's the law, my eyes said back.

Ironically, his eyes didn't ask me about Victoria's Secret. He was above that sort of nonsense.

But even a judge isn't above the law.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Speaking of secrets . . . and traffic court . . .

My hub is so darn funny. When he's not looking for the remote control. And when he's not asking who turned the thermostat up past 68. He's not funny at all when he does that.

But otherwise he's a crack up.

Like yesterday, he came home from work, sat up to the table and said, "OH MY GOSH! I had a dream last night about the book."

Unlike me, my hub doesn't dream very often, so when he does dream, I listen.

Usually his dreams involve correctly predicting when I am pregnant, (except for that one time I was pregnant with twins he had a nightmare. (ba dum bum.) )

One of his dreams that didin't involve pregnancy happened several years ago. He sat straight up in bed at 2 a.m., his eyes on fire as he relayed his million-dollar-Oprah-Book-Club-New-York-Times-best-seller book idea to me.

It made me laugh. OUT. loud.

I wasn't sold on the idea. AT ALL. Partly because it's a secret story. A true, secret story. And the main character is still alive.

It's an intriguing story, yes, but a delicate story. About a man-who-must-not-be-named (whom you can call Voldemort), and a young-woman-with-child. A child by the man-who-must-not-be-named.

The delicate story is set in a tiny Mormon town in Southern Utah (The same town where they now serve Ho-Made Pies at the Thunderbird Motel).

If every good story requires conflict then this is a really GREAT story, because unfortunately for the young-woman-with-child, the man-who-must-not-be-named was already married. And unfortunately for the man-who-must-not-be-named, it was against the law to commit adultery in 1923. He ended up doing jail time and she ended up marrying some guy she didn't love named Jack.

Eventually she moved to California and died of a broken heart at 32. He moved to Provo and stayed alive long enough to raise his unsecret children a few miles from where I grew up.

Ironically I went to high school with his great granddaughter.

Ironically she went to high school with me too. His other great granddaughter.

It's probably a good thing I didn't understand irony at the time because even though I walked the same halls with my secret, half, 2nd cousin, we didn't run in the same circles.

In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I think she may have been the inspiration for Ho-Made Pies.

See when the man-who-must-not-be-named and the young-woman-with-child went their separate ways, his side of the family got all the cleavage and my side of the family got all the religion.

Go figure!

So anyways, back to the dream. So my hub jumped out of bed and began pacing back and forth, his hands talking as fast as his mouth.

"Honestly," I interruped him. "I just don't know if I have the skill and the sensitivity to do this story justice."

But he didn't hear me. He was inspired. He even had all the metaphors and morals worked out in his mind, which he shared with great enthusiasm when we'd go for walks on the beach, or with my ex-door neighbor, Martha when she'd come over to bring me pasta salad, or with any of our extended family members who would lend an ear while sitting around a pool or on a dock or in a cabin at family reunions.

So last night at the dinner table he laid out for me his addendum to his book dream.

"OH MY GOSH!" he said, "I had a dream last night about the book."

That's where I left you dangling, right?

Okay, so are you ready for this, peeps?

It's the same true story with the same true characters, only he dreamed I should make the man-who-must-not-be-named a . . .

Are you sure you're ready for this?

A werewolf.

hee hee hee hee ho ho ho ho ha ha ha ha ha.

Oh goodness! Did you just spit your Diet Coke all over the computer screen too?

So I had to break it to my hub that a werewolf's been done. Sooooooo done. A vampire has also been done, as has an alien, an ogre, a mutant, a demi-god and a gangsta rapper. And I got it from a very reliable source that mermaids are next so I had to break that to him too.

But I've been thinking . . . you know what hasn't been done yet? A crash test dummy.

What if the man-who-must-not-be-named turns into a crash test dummy whenever the sun sets? Or whenever the full moon rises? He could be a smokin' hot, sparkly crash test dummy, who pops and locks and wears his cap backwards. His Kryptonite could be Code Red, and at the end of the novel a bunch of nursery rhyme characters could use light sabers to fight the law and break him out of jail.

What say you, peeps?

Speaking of the law . . . tomorrow I go to traffic court.


Monday, January 3, 2011


My vague outline of my top secret, six-and-a-half-year plan is beginning to take shape.

In other words, I'm hatching my plan.

In other words, I'm sitting on it, like Horton did.

In other words . . . well, there are no other words. That's it. I'm just sitting on it, like Fonzie told me to.

Meanwhile there are a few details my hub and I documented on a napkin over the holiday break which I don't mind divulging:

1. Finish raising our kids.
2. After we finish raising our kids we will finish raising our parents.
3. Clean our bathrooms regularly. (After we finish raising our parents.)

That's about as far as we got with the plan. However, after watching HGTV for the past week we now have a complete remodel/addition design drawn out on a seperate napkin.

Maybe we could staple the napkins together.

So this week I go to traffic court. I'm thinking of preparing a musical number from Les Miserables to introduce my mercy vs. justice platform to the judge. Maybe Who Am I would be appropriate? I could tattoo 24601 on my chest and rip my shirt open at the end of the song just like Jean Valjean did at his trial.

But wait! Then the judge would notice I don't have enthusiastic cleavage.

Life is so gosh darn complex when you break the laws of the land! But you won't get the complexities unless you're familiar with Les Mis. And Victoria's Secret.

You get me?

What is Victoria's Secret anyway? It doesn't look like she's hiding anything to me.

Maybe she's hatching a plan too.

Well anyway, I bet she's never had to go to traffic court.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Me, my mind, and I

It's the first day of 2011, and we're snowed in! Wooohoooo!

Technically we're just pretending to be snowed in, but it still merits a Wooohooo, don't you think?

The best week to pretend you're snowed in is the week between Christmas and New Years. It helps if there is actual snow, but it's not a deal breaker. The mind can be a very powerful tool.

Speaking of which, my mind has had too much time on it's hands during this break, and when my mind has too much time on it's hands it starts learning me things. For instance, I've learned that if I ever want to drive my hub certifiably insane, alls I have to do is hide the remote control. And if he ever wants to drive me certifiably insane, alls he has to do is spend the whole day tearing the house apart searching for the remote control.

I've also learned that maybe there aren't little elves who come out at night and hide all of our important papers and stuff. At least my hub's not buying that argument anymore. Not since he started digging through the garbage looking for the remote control.

"I WOULD NEVER THROW THE REMOTE CONTROL AWAY!" I told him again and again.

To my credit, he didn't find the remote control in the garbage, he found it in between the sheets of our bed. He did, however, find the Christmas check his parents gave us in the garbage, as well as a box of Sudafed I purchased for $8.95 not 30 minutes earlier. The same Sudafed I signed my name in blood for and swore on a stack of Holy Bibles in front of Gad and the pharmacist that I would not use for illegal purposes.

It's not illegal to throw Sudafed away, is it? If you do it by accident?

You'd think my mind would be sharper with so much time on it's hands, but in my case, less truly is more when it comes to mind control.

Do you think I need a brain girdle?

I've learned a few other things over the break too. I've learned that Platitudes need to be updated according to the weather. You know how they say with lub nothing is impossible? Well can I just modify that a tad? Can I add that with lub AND Russian ushanka hats nothing is impossible?

Seriously, you can do anything if you're wearing a ushanka. Except smile. You can't smile in a ushanka because your face will most likely be frozen in place. But you can instigate a spontaneous snowball fight, tromp around the lake during a blizzard, or borrow your neighbor's dog to go night sledding.

I've also learned that I dig marathons. Not running them, but watching them. Especially if they're on TLC, (the same station that brought us Jon divorcing Kate and her eight). I personally feel they should rename the station TFC for Totally Freakin' Creepy. There is nothing tender or loving or caring about Toddlers and Tiaras!

Spray tans and fake teeth on three year olds!? UGH!

Or Strange Addictions! Eating toilet paper and laundry soap!? I thought Lulu's sock eating disorder was weird.

And then there's Sister Wives?

Kody Brown!? EWWWWWWW!

(Did you like my use of the interobang!? My daughter's English teacher would be proud, eh?)

TLC is like a watching a train wreck over and over and over again. Can't. Look. Away.

I'm not the only one who learned a thing or two over the break. I think Lulu been learning too because I found this in the snow this morning:

She has a special way of communicating her opinion, don't you think?

The most important thing I learned over the break was from my buddy Lorinda over at I am LoW.

She told me to quit my murmuring about the outdated YW lesson manual and prepare something off the top of my head. Based on principal. And preferably after I get my brain girdle. So you know what? I did.

I am teaching Young Women's again tomorrow and I found this great New Years video called Look Not Behind Thee inspired from this talk by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled, The Best Is Yet to Be.

Since it's Sunday I figure I might as well teach you a lesson too. Cause that's what we do on Sunday, am I right, or am I right?

Happy New Year peeps!