Monday, February 28, 2011

Grieving Shmieving!

I did it!

Well, I'm doing it. Confronting my past, that is.

I'm unpacking the last of the boxes from the move . . . 18 months ago.

August 19, 2009, to be exact.

It all started because I've been reading this book about grief, which says that grief is work. If you don't work through it, you don't move through it.

Okay, that was an enormous overly simplificated paraphrase, but you get the drift. I gotsta keep movin' forward. So I rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

I pulled out the last of the sacred boxes, one by one, and gently mulled over the contents.

Inside were the very. last. things, still in tact from my life in Hawaii. Exactly as I swept them into boxes from my kitchen counter on August 19th, 2009, as I was running out the door to catch my plane out of Neverland.

Or something like that.

I didn't sort through everything before I moved because moving is a lot like taking the GRE. No matter how prepared you think you are, when the clock runs out, you're left screaming, WAIT! I'm NOT DONE!

So yesterday I was like, you know what Crash, it's time to be done!

Granted, I haven't gone through all of the boxes, and I haven't gone through the 5th grade backpack--being done is a process--but I've gone through a few, and I found some things I've been looking for. But mostly I've found things I haven't been looking for. I even found a few things I didn't know I should be looking for. Like my hub's wedding ring.

He never told me it was missing. And I never asked. Probably because I never noticed. But when he came home yesterday I said, "Let me see your left hand. You know the one that is an extension of your left arm, which is an extension of your left heart, which is an extension of your left wife. Or at least your on-the-verge-of-leaving wife."

When he lifted up his left hand, I said, "Are you missing something?"

He gave me a puzzled look. So I poked his eyes out.

Hee hee. Just joshin', peeps. I'm so over my abandonment issues it ain't even funny.

So I found other things too. Things that by themselves are insignificant, but that together offer a laser beam of light into the inner workings of the nether regions of the stone-cold heart of a dummy.

Allow me to offer up a sampling:

  • A BBQ scrubber
  • A 20" universal inner tube
  • A paper fan from China
  • My Hawaii public library card
  • My hub's passport and resume. (Not sure why they were together, but like I said, soooooo over my abandonment issues.)
  • Three pair of sunglasses
  • An unopened wedding announcement for Jonathan Marler. (Sorry Jonathan.)
  • A reminder, dated 12/8/08, to deposit more lunch money into my twins account at Laie Elementary school.
  • A print from the Peggy Chun Gallery in Honolulu of two cows snuggling in a rowboat by the light of the full moon.
  • A thank you note from Iwa after I did a skit at the Relief Society birthday party.
  • A parking permit from the Maui Beach Vacation Club, valid until 12/20/08.
  • A piece of the BYU Marriott Center floor in honor of my hub. (Cept his name is spelled wrong.)
  • A print out pic of my favorite hair style, which I showed my vietnamese hairdresser every time I got my hair cut.
  • Ticket stubs from our last PCC night show dated 8/12/2009.
  • My last phone bill for $64.00 from Hawaiian Tel. (For the phone number 293-7546.)
  • Annette Lyon's Tower of Strength.
  • My white Nike baseball cap. (Remember that Martha?)
  • A Kahuku High School promotional DVD.
  • The nine of hearts from a deck of Yankees playing cards.
  • A ticket stub from a Cubworld concert on May 28, 2008.
  • A piece of a broken window louver . . .

The list goes on.

There were other things too. LOTS and LOTS of other things. Edge-of-your-seat-exciting things to divide and separate and organize into bins. Like cords.

And CDs.

And sticky notes filled with phone numbers I never called.

You can stop waiting by the phone now, peeps. I have officially chucked the sticky notes.

(speaking of Chuck, did anyone see Zac Levi singing with Mandy Moore at the Oscars last night? WHO KNEW the boy can SANG!?) (Not I!)

You wanna see him sang in real life? (Okay, but if your name is my darling daughter, look away, for I know how much you loathe kissing.)

Is it just me, or is anyone else suddenly in the mood for lub?

Grieving Shmieving! That's what I always say. (After I watch Chuck and Sarah kissing.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thank Heavens for American Idol

PHEW! It felt good to get that off my chest.  

I've known for two weeks. About grad school. But I didn't tell you because I felt sorta like . . . um . . . how should I say it . . . a failure?

To be honest, I only felt like a failure for a few hours--until my closest friends consoled me with inspirational magnets and words of consolation. 

Take if from me, the best words of consolation you can offer a friend who just got rejected from grad school is CONGRATULATIONS! And then tell them that from your experience grad school was a creative vampire that sucked the life out of you.   

Someone should put those words on a magnet, because they have a way of making you think you just dodged a bullet.  

For the record, I did ask BYU why they rejected me from their creative writing program and they were happy to inform me that my file showed great promise.  (Or as my hub would say, "potential.") 

(Was my hub right? Or was he right?)

I was thinking of titling my first best selling novel, The Chosen, but I'll probably change it to The Promise. (Hey, I'm nothing if not original.)

I will fer sure send BYU an autographed copy of the first edition. 

At any rate, I should have leveled with you guys sooner--about not yet reaching my potential. Because in not telling you, it became something between us. 

You get me? 

But then after I came out with it, only a few of you said Nani nani boo boo in your hearts, and the barrier between us was lifted. I feel a thousand times lighter for having told you the truth about my failures--first my DEB-e for SAM-e failure and then my grad school failure. 

Btw, If any of you have a failure story you need to get off your chest, now would be a really good time.  

Failure lubs company.

I can wait while you all think of something. 

Fer reals, I highly recommend purging your soul in my comment box right now. 

While you're thinking, I'll give you a pep talk. Some life lessons I learned from American Idol. Because really, everything you need to know about life you can learn from American Idol

(BTW, aren't you just loving Steven Tyler and J-Lo?) (Is J-Lo the most beautiful person on the face of this earth, or what?)

Life Lesson #1: Sometimes you don't make the cut. But that doesn't mean you're not good enough. Or smart enough. Or that, doggonit, people don't like your GRE vocabulary.

Life Lesson #2: You must keep evolving and developing your voice until you KNOW who you are. And until you stop being so pitchy. 

Life Lesson #3: Once you stop being so pitchy, be generous with yourself. Put it ALL out there--on the line--your heart and soul--even if your heart is stone-cold, put it out there. Open yourself up--your whole freakin' self, not just your beautiful-rock-star-in-ghetto-stilettos self.

Life Lesson #4: Get messy. But don't get sloppy. (Messy is so much more attractive in ghetto stilettos than sloppy.)

Life Lesson #5: Take risks--risks that may not be appreciated by the masses (or by the grad school acceptance committee)--because someone out there will get you. If it's really you. (The non-pitchy you.)

Life Lesson #6: Don't copycat or pour yourself into a jello mold. Step out and be original.

Life Lesson #7: No rules. No fear. (Okay, I didn't learn that from American Idol, I learned that from The Jane Austen Book Club.)

And the most important life lesson I learned from American Idol is something I once learned from one of my favorite authors, Tim O'Brien, only it hit me in a different spot coming from J-Lo, Steven and Randy, who said it to one of the contestants who was always consistent and beautiful, but who didn't connect with the song or with the audience.  

Sometimes a song can happen and be a total lie. Other times a song won't happen at all and be truer than the truth.  

Okay, that wasn't exactly what they said. What they said was People want to feeeeeeeel. So you gotsta sing from your heart and not your head. 

You can't just think the truth, or speak the truth, you have to feeeeeeeeeeeeel the truth. 

And if you want to make other people feeeeeeeeel it, SING. FROM. THE. HEART. 

I probably could have learned all this from grad school, but . . .

Thank heavens for American Idol. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Me don't need no edumacation!

Last night one of my kids told me I was OCD.

That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever said to me! Yes, he was being rude and sassy and had mal intent, but it sent a thrill through me the size of Vermont anyway.

Me!? OCD!?

In my wildest dreams!

Sure I would have a few more ulcers and a severe eye twitch, but if I was OCD everything in my house would have a place and there would be a place for everything in my house. And I wouldn't be unpacking the last of the boxes from my move, 18 months later.

I have, as of late, been purging myself of more than dog hair, peeps. And I'm down to one. last. room. At least in my house. I may have a room or two left in my head.

I tell you this because yesterday The Mom made an astute observation in my comment box. Actually, it wasn't an observation as much as it was an astute tongue lashing. She noticed that I heinously insulted my peeps by forgetting about my blog the moment I became buried waste deep in dog hair.

It's a classic case of dog hair vs. blog hair. I have been using my dog hair issues as an excuse to avoid my blog hair issues.

Or have I?

MAHALO to The Mom for putting everything into perspective.

Or for not putting everything into perspective.

Either way, MAHALO! (The Mom is one of my Hawaii peeps, btw. I know her in real life. Her name is Ann and her hub was my next door neighbor in the English Department at BYU-Hawaii!)

The thing about Hawaii peeps, is they don't beat around the bush. Wrong or right, they come right out with it. And not delicately. My kids and I have had to refine our sensibilities over the last 18 months because in Utah you don't say what you need to say--unless you say it delicately. Or behind someone's back. In Utah we nip and tuck our thoughts. It's the law. We're not allowed to think faster than 25 m.p.h.

I can't afford another proper authority pulling me over so I've been censoring.

It's a tangled web, censoring. A lot of work goes into misrepresenting yourself and others.

Ah shucks, even that last statement is a smoke screen. (See what I mean about the tangled web?)

Me neither. Alls I know is I'm not saying what I need to say right now. I'm talking in circles. Which is unfortunate because what makes me such a dummy is my absolute allegiance to the truth--mixed with the lie.

Truth be told--mixed with a little bit of lie--I'm at a crossroads. I'm looking down the barrel of reality and seeing that I'm at the end of one road and at the beginning of another. Doors are closing and opening around me. And the best way for me to deal with this is by cursing and vacuuming up dog hair.

And watching Celebrity Ghost Stories.

In other words, I didn't get into grad school and I need to get a job. And a haircut.

My GRE scores said I could get into any Ivy League school I wanted--except Princeton--but BYU is not an Ivy league school, is it? And they don't want me in their creative writing program.

Thankfully, I purchased this book before I got rejected . . .

because it looks like I'm gonna have to edumacate myself--crash course style.

Get it? Crash course. (wink wink).

(Ah, sometimes I crack myself up.)

Maybe it's a lucky omen that I didn't get in. Jared and Jerusha Hess didn't get into BYU film school and they went on to create Napolean . . .

And Nacho

This rejection just means that bigger and better things are around the corner for me. Am I right? Or am I right?

Or does it just means that I'm a big, fat, Mormon loser? Who needs a haircut.

I'm having trouble reading the signs anymore.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'll Be Back!

My mom called a few days ago and asked me if I was okay.

"Yes, I'm fine," I told her. "Why?"

"Because you haven't posted anything on your blog this week!" she shouted.

"Oh," I said. "I forgot about my blog."

It must have slipped my mind since I've been so busy lately. Doing stuff. Crusader stuff.

I've been on the battlefield, peeps. Fighting the good fight. The good fight against dog hair everywhere. (And I do mean EVERYWHERE!)

Remember all that crapola I said about Lulu and roses and thorns? Well be careful what you say, because one thing I've learned through blogging is that you WILL, at one point or another, eat EVERY single WORD you've ever UTTERED.

My feelings for Lulu are being sorely tested and tried. I'll fer sure always lub her, of course. Endlessly. But I wasn't prepared for all this . . . HAIR. Why didn't anyone TELL me about all this HAIR!?

I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere!
I do not like it SPAM I am.
Not in my van or in my jam.
I do not like it on my fam.
Not in a pan or in a pot.
I do not like it SPAM a lot.

(Does this poem make sense? Because it's midnight right now.)

I have found there are several ways to combat dog hair on the battlefield of lub. First, and foremost, you will need a Dyson vacuum.

I cannot emphasize this enough because you WILL be vacuuming every nook and cranny of your house, carport and double wide yard. Several times. A day.

Next you will need one of these shiny, red, front loader washer/dryer sets.

If you don't have the red front loaders, my hub says any ole rusted out, plain white, washer/dryer set shipped from Hawaii will do.

Next, you will need some good reading material.

And finally, you will need the Furminator:

Not surprisingly, the Furminator was inspired by the Terminator:

It's a special de-shedding tool, that terminates dog hair for good. (Get it? TERMINATES?) And it really works. It works and works and works. Much like the Energizer Bunny, it's keeps on working. And working. And working.

Poor Lulu looks like a rag-a-muffin after I Furminated her over the weekend.

(PSYCH! That's not Lulu. I stole this pic from Brother Google.)

The Furminator actually has more in common with the Terminator than it's clever name. I swear on a stack of holy Shakespeare readers that every time I brush and vacuum and launder Lulu's hair, I hear voices.

Voices that bounce off every wall and echo throughout the entire house.

Voices that reverberate across the Universe, in mocking tones, repeating the exact same message over and over and over:

But will I be back? That is the question.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I think I just invented a new Mormon party game!

If you ever want to spike your blog stats, just mention the words "sell" "soul" and "devil" in the same sentence.

You can get the same jump in hits by mentioning Donny Osmond or Thomas Kincade.

You're welcome. I'm here to serve.

Speaking of Donny Osmond, he has his own radio show, you know. And yesterday I accidentally tuned into it while driving. He was talking about a study done by Oxford University which has identified the top ten most annoying phrases you hear everyday--the ones that just make you want to scream if you hear them one more time. (Donny's words, not mine).

Here are the top three:

  1. 1. At the end of the day
  2. 2. Fairly unique
  3. 3. I personally
Are you as shocked as I am that Bless her heart, Not to be rude, but, . . . and I'm just sayin' didn't make the list? Obviously Oxford didn't interview my MIL.

If I were to make a list of the top three phrases I hear everyday that make me want to scream, it would go a little somethin' somethin' like this:

  1. 1. There's no more hot water!
  3. 3. I'm HUNGRY!

I think Oxford University should compile a list of the most annoying adverbs. Not to be rude, but I bet most of them could be found in Twilight whilst describing Edward. Bless his heart.

I'm just sayin'.

The rest of them can be found in the hymn books at church. Adverbs are extremely useful in the hymnbook world. Exceedingly useful. Have you ever noticed that?

I have.

But then I spend a lot of time pondering the mysteries of the Universe while I'm sitting in church. Mysteries like why, if the hymnbook asks us to sing brightly, resolutely, thoughtfully or joyfully, do we sing lethargically?

If the hymnbook asks us to sing with dignity, with fervor, with spirit, with energy, with contemplation or with motion, why do we sing with apathy?

I think I know the answer. They ask too much of us. They ask us to sing confidently, boldly, majestically, vigorously, fervantly, firmly, earnestly, peacefully, tenderly, lightly, cheerfully, solemnly, gently, worshipfully, firmly, exultantly, humbly, calmly, meekly, reflectlively, thankfully, gently, expressively, broadly, smoothly and prayerfully.

It's overwhelming.

Not to mention confusing. Firmly confusing.

How do you sing with motion during church anyway? Does it require choreography?

And how do you sing prayerfully? Is it the same as singing thoughtfully and with contemplation? Or is it a combination of humbly, meekly, and reflectively? Do you close your eyes and bow your head, or is it enough to simply fold your arms?

And anyway, what does broadly mean? To a song. Should we try not to be too specific in our harmonies? Should we try to cover as many notes, keys, octaves and melodies as possible?

And when we're singing smoothly, should we imagine melted butter sliding down our throats in order to get into the groove?

I think a fun game would be to mix it up a bit--add some new adverbs to shake us out of our comas. Adverbs like rudely, sarcastically, romantically, drunkenly, speedily, contentiously, or as-if-you-are-alive-ly.

OMGOSH, I think I just invented a new Mormon party game.

Toldya I was gonna be rich and famous one day!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


You know what's weird? AP Calculus.

I mean, fer reals! Last night my daughter was memorizing 92 formulas. Plus the trigonometric functions. And then she had to find the antiderivatives instead of the derivatives, plus the stupid U substitutions. (Her word, not mine.)

Am I on another planet? Or is edumacation these days just irrelevant to reality!? I personally have never used a single pre-algebraic equation in my real life.

You know what else is weird? People who sell their soul to the devil. According to my 14-year-old, everyone is doing it. At leaset everyone who is anyone. Somehow my son has gotten the inside scoop on the secret underground society that rules the world, and his worldview has been altered.

If we're chillin' around the t.v., watching the Grammy's or an NBA basketball game or CNN, he informs us, matter-of-factly, which musicians, athletes and politicians have sold their souls to the devil.

(Do you have any idea how much harder it is to enjoy music and sports and politics when you're wondering who has slipped over to the dark side?)

How does he know all this, you ask? He saw it on Youtube.

Youtube is an edumacation unto itself.

See this is why I worry so much about Seminary. Some kids hear information and filter it. Other kids believe it. And follow it. Word for word. And it messes with their heads.

My daughter came home yesterday with a seminary story that I can't even repeat, lest I cause an uproar the size of Vermont in the blogasphere. But she can filter. She can strip things down to their bare essentials and discard the mythology and the culturally imposed crapola.

My son, however . . .

The other day he announced to me that Shakespeare helped write the Bible.


"He really did!" He said more than once. "My seminary teacher told me so."

According to both his English and Seminary teachers, Shakespeare re-wrote Psalms 46, and, like all good Gangsta rappers, hid his name in secret code. The evidence is overwhelming, peeps--Shakespeare was 46 when he re-wrote psalms 46. The 46th word from the top is shake and the 46th word from the bottom is spear.

But who's counting?

No, seriously, who's counting. Because that's just weird. Who has that kind of time on their hands?

Any anyway, spear is the 47th word from the bottom.

I counted.

(I'm weird like that.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All I really need to know about lub I learned from Lulu

So yesterday was Valentines Day, and we all know what that means. It means my daughter has been pulling double and triple shifts at the flower shop.

On Friday she spent four hours stripping all the thorns from the roses, which is false advertising if you ask me. Roses have thorns, peoples! Deal with it!

Why should a rose, if it smells the same by any other name, have to pretend it doesn't have thorns?

Go figure, my daughter really digs the hustle and bustle of the flower shop during the Valentines rush. She calls it "exciting" and comes home every day with entertaining stories about the type of people who buy de-thorned roses. I would tell them, but go figure again, I can't tell them half as funny as she does.

But I can give you the moral to her stories. And, I can draw you a metaphor:

People want harmless roses. Wrapped in sparkly ribbon. And they want it discounted.

You get me?

They don't want to pay full price for their harmless, sparkly roses.

That ain't reality though, is it? If you want to roll the dice (with a rose bush), you have to pay the price.

I learned all this from Lulu.

Remember when I got Lulu last May? And she was so cute and tiny and perfect.


And I lubbed her so so so much that I thought I might explode?

And then she developed an eating disorder.

She wouldn't eat dog food, but she would eat socks.

Remember that? And then she would up-chuck those socks. Once she up-chucked six socks in a single day.

And then she went through a diva phase, where she would only eat dog food out of the palm of my hand.

And then she developed an identity crisis and copped an attitude.

And then she found religion, and started hiding her sock addiction by sneaking socks under the bed.

And then she chewed up my How to Train a Perfect Puppy book. Twice.

And then she started barking at people and chasing cars until my neighbors started giving me the finger behind my back. In their minds.

And THEN. She started shedding. OH GLORY, THE SHEDDING! She shed and she shed and she shed, until I started buying jumbo lint brushes by the bushel from Costco.

And then I had to buy a Dyson vacuum, (but that's a whole nother lub story).

I brushed her and I bathed her, and then I vacuumed up after her. And then I did it all again--and again--and again. Brush, brush, brush, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.

And then I started vacuuming her. My son would hold her down while I sucked all the hair from her body.

And then we would wrap her in saran wrap.

Sounds terrible and horrible and no good and very bad, doesn't it?

And yet, I still LUB HER GUTS!

I have no idea why.

For some inexplicable reason she makes me smile.

Sometimes she's the only thing that makes me smile.

She makes me laugh too. I don't know why. Maybe it's the way she keeps me company. The way she rides shotgun in the car. And the way she reaches out with her paw while I'm driving, until I take it, and we drive off into the sunset, holding hands.

Or maybe it's the way she misses me when I'm gone. The way she runs to me when I come home, and wags her tail madly, and then drops to the floor and rolls onto her back and wriggles and wriggles and wriggles like she's having a seizure. She groans too, like she wants to tell me how terribly she's missed me.

Maybe it's the way she lubs me. No. matter. what. And she doesn't hold any of it back. No. matter. what. She nudges me and curls up at my feet and snuggles me and nuzzles me. And without fail, she always greets me at the door with a present--an offering--usually a stick or a bone, but sometimes she surprises me. Once she came tearing down the hall to bring me a hanger in her mouth.

So peeps, there's a moral here. There's a definite moral here.

Roses have thorns. But roses are bee-U-tiful!

And they are worth the price!