Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Million Dollar Question

Sunday night, while I was laying in bed, wide eyed, pondering the irony of all the motherless children on the planet, and all the childless mothers on the planet, our roof began to leak.

Drip Drip Drip Drip

Into the ice cream bucket right outside my bedroom door.

Drip Drip Drip Drip

We've had the roof fixed three times. But it still leaks.

We've had the skylights removed. But it still leaks.

Drip Drip Drip Drip Drip

I closed the bedroom door, but I could still hear the dripdripdripdripdripdripdripdripdripdrippitydrip.

So I closed my eyes and imagined I had a root beer IV in my arm. I watched it drip, drip, drip into my veins until I turned into a root beer float . . .

. . . and then suddenly the ceilings in my bedroom began to leak too.

Drip Drip Drip Drip Drip . . .

. . . soon every room in the house was leaking and there I was in my PJ's rushing from room to room trying to catch the water in pots and buckets but the leaks just kept getting bigger and bigger and I didn't have enough pots and buckets so I grabbed towels and blankets and quilts and started mopping up the mess but then the ceiling started cracking and I couldn't stop the water from gushing in around me . . .

And then I woke up. And the house was silent. And the dripping had stopped. And I was dry.

I got up, emptied the half-full/half-empty bucket in the hallway, wiped up the mess on the floor, and went back to bed.

Ain't that just like life!?

Which begs the million dollar question: do dreams imitate life, or does life imitate dreams?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What I want to be when I grow up!

On Friday I started drinking root beer at 10:30 a.m.

Please don't judge me, it's just that sometimes water doesn't cut it, you know. Sometimes you need the hard stuff to deal with the hard stuff.

Like when your son tells you that one of his best friend's parents are getting divorced. Parents that you know. That you've spent time with. That took your son to Las Vegas not two months ago.

And now the mom is gone. Just like that. POOF! And this is not the first mom who has disappeared into thin air on him. This is the 2nd mom.

How many disappearing mom's can one teenage boy take?

Who's going to do his laundry? Who's going to make him eat his broccoli? What if he forgets his math book, or his lunch money? Who will rush to the junior high to save him?

These questions keep me up at night. Fer reals! I lay in bed, wide-eyed, and stare into the dark, imagining him at school, all wrinkled and hungry, without a math book.

And then I get up and pour myself a root beer. And sometimes, if I imagine him sitting at lunch with all his friends, but without a lunch, I make it a root beer float. On the rocks!

The worst part is that last year at this time a different best friend's parents split up. Parents that we knew. Parents that we spent time with. That took my son to Las Vegas not two months before the mom disappeared into thin air.

I drank a lot of root beer over that vanishing act too!

(Do you think it's my son's fault?) (Huh? huh? huh?) (If anyone ever asks him to go to Las Vegas again, do you think I should lock them in their house, light a thousand candles and make them listen to Mozart until they promise to stay together forever?)

Anyway, all of this root beer has helped me decide what I want to be when I grow up. A mom. I want to be a mom. The kind who hides her children's math books just so she can rush to the junior high to let them know she's still around.

If anyone knows anyone who knows anyone who needs a mom like that, will you let them know I'm available?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fat means FAT, peoples!

Okay, I have a reputation to maintain here, so can I just change the subject before ya'll start questioning my stone-cold heart?

Let's talk about the American Idol finale.

I have three things to say about the American Idol finale, besides the fact that it felt like I was watching a frantic ho-made pie convention, where I had to FF through the commercials as well as the musical numbers because even that darn Nikon cool pix camera was a little too suggestive for my three teenage boys to be viewing on a Wednesday night after their Boy Scout Court of Honor.

You get me?

Is Fox in bed with MTV?

Just wondering.

Okay, first, is it just me, or have Scotty McHotty and Lauren BoBoren fallen in love?

But how could they not? I mean, they were the last two remaining, down-home, squeaky-clean, teenage country sangers standing on that big ole' stage like Katniss and Peeta against the world. The world of helkfire and damnation.

And Beyonce.

(Does Beyonce make pies too?)

Second, I LOVE that Casey Abrams picked Jack Black as his idol! And that they sang a Queen song.

Queen ROCKS, and Fat Bottomed Girls has long been a family favorite.

But the actual fat-bottomed girls kinda ruined it for me.

Why do television producers have to take music so literally? Huh? Huh? Huh? Don't they know that the fat-bottomed girls are figurative? And besides, if you're gonna go literal, go LITERAL! Don't send a bunch of pleasantly-plump-bottomed girls on stage to shake their booties at my three sons after their Boy Scout Court of Honor!

FAT means FAT, peoples!

And finally, why didn't anyone tell Lady Gaga that she had huge rips in the back of her black fish net stockings? Right in the vicinity of her pleasantly-plump bottom.

She must be so embarrassed!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nothing is Impossible (except writing a short post about how nothing is impossible)

On the day I was born my mom handed me a little black box marked Dummy, which contained my inheritance. Inside were her eyes, her laugh, her patience of job, and her Boho Momo ability to look past obscenity and find the truth, beauty and love in life.

I returned her patience of job because she needed it more than me, but I kept her Boho Momo superpower because I needed it more than she.

(WORD: Boho is short for Bohemian and Momo is short for Mormon. Both Bohos and Momos value truth, beauty and love, but Mormons are also keen on meetings, manuals, programs, handbooks, guidelines, and standards.)

(Oh, and perfection.)

So my mom is the sweetest little delicate slip of a woman you'll ever meet--well-mannered, soft-spoken and shy. The kind of woman who blushed if I said CRAP in front of my young women leaders, or turned bright red if I came home from my honeymoon declaring, "OUCH, that HURRRRRT!"

When I was ten, her brother got married to a florist named Debi from Pleasant Grove, who had two kids and a potty mouth. She could spew a string of swear words from here to Vermont with her tongue tied behind her back.

And yet my mom never even flinched. Or talked behind her back. Or shoved earplugs into our holy heads.

Finally one day I said to my mom, "Golly jeepers, that Debi sure can cuss like the dickens, can't she?"

"But she has such a good heart," said my mom. "And she's funny. And she makes the most delicious salads." Then she paused. "Maybe she's just going overboard on the swearing right now because she's new in the family and wants to see if we'll accept her as she is."

Nuff said.

John Bytheway (can I call him John btw?) says, in effect, that you shouldn't expose yourself to 10% yucky stuff just to get to the 90% good stuff, so I, Crash Test Dummy, being of sound mind and body, am taking it upon myself to do it for you.

U. R. Welcome. That's what friends R 4.

I'm talking about rated R movies, of course. I've watched a few over the past week. And now that I've waded through all the crapola, I'm going to share with you all the . . . what's the opposite of crapola?

I just asked my hub and he says fruit. Fruit is the opposite of crapola.

I'm now going to share with you the all the fruit from the last five movies I watched:

1. Soul Surfer. The NOT rated R story of Bethany Hamilton, who got her arm bit off by a shark, and then went on to became a professional surfer anyway.

LOVED IT! So many great . . . fruit lessons, but the line that sticks to memory most: I don't need easy, I just need possible.

You go, Bethany!

2. 127 Hours. Eeeeeew! Eeeeeewwwww! Eeewwwwwwwwww! This is the story about Aron Rahlston, that guy who got his arms wedged under a falling rock in Moab, Utah, and had to cut it off after five days in order to survive. Shudder, shudder!

Where was that darn shark when he needed it? (Toldya you can't get bit by a shark in Utah.)

Whodathought cutting off an arm could be such a bloody mess. I had to cover my eyeballs during much of it, because, DUDE, Aron Rahlston's got guts! But he's also got a ton of blood.

My favorite line: I NEED HELP!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Conviction. There are no bloody arms in this movie, but it's still an inspiring true story about a girl who spends 18 years getting her GED, her Bachelors degree, and then graduating from law school, so she can become her brother's lawyer, prove him innocent of murder and over turn his life sentence in prison.


Favorite line was a conversation: Q: Is it possible? A: It's HIGHLY unlikely. Q: But still possible???

4. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. I loved it. What can I say? How can you not love a kid who sticks it to Disney and Nickelodean by rising to super stardom without them, while flipping his hair back and forth in all sorts of adorable directions? It's a fascinating journey and I'm a new fan.

And I learned a new lesson: You can replace a human heart, but you can't replace a human vocal chord.

Your voice is irreplacable, peeps!

Favorite line: I will never say never!

5. Love, and other Drugs. Wow! This movie is a hard-core rated R, so don't see it if you have delicate sensibilites. You have to wade through a lot of crapola, but the ending is divine, and the character arc for both leading actors is superb. I adore Anne Hathaway! (And Jake Gyllenhaal ain't bad either.)

Jake Gyllenhaal decides to give up his fast track life of money, success and loosey goosey women to take care of Anne Hathaway, who he LOVES with a capital LOVES, but who also has Parkinson's Disease.

The most poignant moment is at the end when Jake tells Anne that he needs her and she says, "I'm going to need you a lot more than you need me."

And he says, "That's okay."


Life lesson: Sometimes the thing you most want, doesn't happen. And sometimes the thing you never expected to happen does.

Favorite line: You meet thousands of people, and none of them really touch. And then you meet one person, and your life is changed. Forever.

All of these movies are based on true stories, except one, of course, but I like to think Jake Gyllenhaal would chose a sick girl over a hundred healthy girls any day, and all of these movies have the same movie wisdom:

Some things are highly unlikely, but not impossible, which is okay because we don't need easy, we just need possible. So NeVeR say NEVER! And don't be afraid to scream I NEED HELP! at the top of your lungs sometimes, because you're going to need help a lot more than help is going to need you.

And that's okay.


P.S. I would like to dedicate this movie wisdom to New England Aly, who recently came out about her sexual abuse as a child on this blog, Leave a Trail.

Yesterday Aly asked me this question in my comment box:

Do you ever really, really stop crying for yourself? Because I believe I will always mourn for not having the family that everyone else in church seems to have. I've lost out on being close to nieces and nephews and having extended family for my kids. So I weep for my kids too. And I don't know if the crying for yourself ever stops. I mean, I know it slows down and can be a very tiny part of your life, but won't you always miss what you didn't get? I believe I will, though I believe it doesn't define me. Know what I mean?

Do you feel the same?

I know EXACTLY what you mean. And yes, I have felt the same.

But I don't feel the same anymore. When I first started blogging I wrote this post called Today I'm Happy/(Sad) and it starts out like this:

Today I'm happy.

At least as happy as I get. I can get mostly happy, but I'm always partly sad too. That part never goes away so I'm used to it. But today I'm mostly happy (and only a little part sad.)

Well, I'm not partly sad anymore. I'm all the way happy now, but not in a Whoooopeeeeee kinda way. In a whole, complete kinda way.

It's possible. Else what good is the atonement for. You might have to cut your arm off, or get Parkinson's, or you might have to move to Utah and buy a Golden Retriever named Lulu, but it's possible.

LY Aly! I know you can do it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The nutshell

Susan said this in my comment box after my last post: "You should write a book about your screwed up childhood."

I was like, what screwed up childhood? I didn't have a screwed up childhood . . . did I? 

Yes, odd things happened sometimes, like the time I found a boa constrictor in the linen closet, and the time I found a gun in the mailbox, but I never thought of it as screwed up. 

For the most part my childhood seemed pretty ho hum. I rolled my hair through the 70's and my eyes through church, just like every other girl on the block. Only difference was I didn't get pregnant in the 80's. Beyond that, I was just another fly-girl from the hood, who earned her personal progress medallion, dyed her hair with hydrogen peroxide, joined the drill team, and drank too much Fanta red cream soda. 

And yes, my dad happened to take drugs.  But it wasn't who he was, it was just something he did.  On the side. In between teaching Sunday School and giving priesthood blessings.

It's sounds screwed up when you put it in a nutshell, but if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, we don't live in a nutshell now, do we? 

(My dad's parents might have, but weeeeeeeee don't.) 

(ba dum bum)

There are things about my dad I haven't told you yet. Things I will tell you someday. But not today. Today I want to talk about my mom, because she's the one who gave me my Boho Momo super power, which in short is the ability to look past the profane and the obscene to find freedom, truth, beauty and love.

On second thought, maybe I'll talk about my mom tomorrow. Today I'm kinda busy sitting around doing nothing. 


BTW, I've seen five more movies, so I'll talk about that tomorrow too. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Movie Therapy Theory

My hub took me to Hawaii for my birthday last week! For nearly two full hours!

We bought popcorn and soda and a front row seat, and when the lights went down . . . there. we. were.



On the North Shore of Oahu. Listening to the wind and the waves and the doves, and the occasional rush of traffic making its way down Kam Highway. It was all so familiar--the leis, the shakas, the ancient Hawaiian chants--and yet it was all so . . . unfamiliar. Like a dream. I once starred in. Before I woke up in bed with Utah.

You get me?

Not that I don't like sleeping with Utah, but being back in Hawaii felt like going home and it made my eyes sweat semi profuse-ish-ly, even though I wasn't home at all, but rather sitting in a movie theater watching Soul Surfer.

I told my hub I want to go home again. Like tomorrow. And I want to take all the kids home too. He said I should wait until home goes to the $1 theater, but I might sneak $6. 50 and slip away when he's not looking. (Or maybe I'll sneak $11.50 so I can buy another $5 hamburger behind his back on my way to the theater.)

Speaking of soul surfing, I have been doing some, and I've come up with a new theory. I'm going to start a new method of psychoanalysis called movie therapy, in which I will strap my patients into a recliner and make them watch movies all day long. Until they cry. And then I will ask them, "Who are you crying for? Are you crying for yourself, or are you crying for the character in this movie?"

If they are crying for themselves I will say, "Dude, you've got issues--grief issues, loss issues, pain issues, anger issues--yada yada issues." And then I would hand them a prescription and say, "Watch two movies and call me in the morning."

If, however, they are crying for the character in the movie, or for someone else they love, I will say, "Congratulations, dude, your grief/loss/pain/anger/yada yada issues have been alchemized into compassion."

Then I will give them a camera and send them out into the big wide world to make their own movies.

I was crying for myself while watching Soul Surfer. I mean, it's sad and all that that poor girl gets her arm bit off by a shark, but . . . well, you know . . . at least she still lives in Hawaii!!!

Am I right, or am I right?

I mean, you can't get bit by sharks in Utah!

Does that make me selfish? Or does that make me honest?

Since I'm being honest, I'm going to concede that I don't cry for myself in movies anymore. Very often. (Unless someone is getting bit by a shark.) I think it's because, as they say, time heals all wounds.

Or maybe because people heal all wounds, and love heals all wounds, and faith and hope and tears and forgiveness and work and effort heal all wounds. And movies, of course. And books. And music. And love. Did I mention love?

I have been emersed in all of these things over the years, so in a way, yes, time has healed all wounds. (Except the shark bite one, but that one is only 21 months old.)

If you've been reading me for a while you know that my dad shuffled off his mortal coil when I was 14 years old. His family still swears that he died of a broken heart, but his autopsy came back stamped with two letters: O.D.

Whether he meant to or not, he overdosed.

It wasn't like we didn't know about his addiction. I found his drug paraphernalia hiding in the basement bathroom when I was in 5th grade--the spoon, the matches, the needles, the syringes, and the tourniquet. Shortly afterwards a family meeting was called and my dad spilled the beans that he had been using.

Using. What an ugly word. But not as ugly as the action attached to the word. Not as ugly as the hours and hours he spent locked in the basement bathroom with that spoon and syringe while I laid in bed with my eyes wide shut, reciting Helen Steiner Rice poems in my head.

Oh my Heavenly Father, I come in humble prayer. Not to beg for miracles, just faith to not despair. If I fail to see your wisdom, give me faith to never doubt it. Help me bear the cross you send, and not complain about it.

Towards the end of his life my dad got sloppy. Sometimes he'd forget to lock the bathroom door, and I would walk in to find him shooting up. Or even worse, shot up. Sometimes he'd leave his stuff on the kitchen counter, amongst the fruit bowl and the salt shaker and the spatulas, as if they should all just get along and stop judging each other. He couldn't go long without a fix so waiting in line, like at the airport, or at the movies, became prime opportunities for him to slip into the bathroom or into the car to get slammed.

We always held his place in line, and he always returned with that look.

This look:

Until eventually he didn't return at all.

This is Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues, the story about Billie Holiday and her addiction to morphine. At 15 years old, this movie was like a tsunami rushing in, snapping the dam around my stone-cold heart and pushing it through my eyeballs with such force that I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. And sobbed. Until 3 a.m., when my eyelids were completely swollen shut.

I wasn't crying for Billie, I was crying for me.

But now, nearly 3o years later, if I watched Lady Sings the Blues again I would cry for Billie. And also for Billy, (which is my dad's name) because I'm guessing addiction is itchy, with a capital B. (And I should know, because I've been addicted to love.)

So anyways, that's how you know your pain has been alchemized, and it's time for you to start making your own movie.

P.S. Movie-therapy coming soon, to a theater near year. Let me know if you want buy tickets.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Boho Momo Superpower

Have I stunned you into silence with my movie choices?

I could stun you even more, you know. I have secrets. Deep dark ones that would shock your socks off. For example, I never look at a movie rating before I watch it.


Do you hate me now? Are you going to turn me into the proper authorities, stone me in the public square, whisper-judge behind my back?

Can I help it if I don't care about obscenity? Can I help it if I only care about freedom, truth, beauty, and love? And Code Red Mountain Dew?

Can I help it if I'm a Boho Momo? (which, in a way is not unlike being shabby chic.) I know it seems oxymormonic, but I have this weird ability to be both spiritual AND religious at the same time.

It's like a super power. It's like I'm one of them teenage mutant ninja Mormons.

When I was 16 I took a Greyhound bus to Irvine, California, where I spent the summer with one of my mom's choir sistahs from her old hood in Long Beach. She and her hub owned a clothing store, a pool and a Mercedes. They took me shopping in Mexico, boating on Lake Mead and clubbing in Las Vegas.

When they got drunk they would sing Jazz songs and tap dance down the corridors of the Sahara hotel--do op do op do op! When they got bored they would take me to James Bond movies and drive under the influence. When they got curious they would read my journal.

They had a luminous daughter my age, who never brushed her teeth for less than 20 minutes at a time. She was an only child, who filled her perfume bottles with vodka before taking me out with the in-crowd.

The in-crowd spoke in code. About me. They called me Adam Ant.

It was 1983, the summer of Flashdance, Madonna and the Jane Fonda Workout, and Adam Ant's, "Goody Two Shoes" was at the top of the Billboard charts. I was dumb, but I could put two and two together. Especially after the in-crowd tied me up and pinned me down and got all up in my face about it.

"You don't drink! You don't smoke! What do you do?" They would sneer.

"I . . . I . . . eat red meat?" I would stammer. (I was quick on my feet, what can I say.)

See, I've gone my entire life being little miss Adam Ant--someone should really pin a medal on me--but I'm not perfect, peeps. I injest whip cream straight from the can. And I watch rated R movies. Whenever I want. And I don't tell the bishop about it either. Or my Young Women.

Don't try this at home, however! I only do it because of my super power--my uncanny ability to repel obscenity and retain only freedom, truth, beauty and love.

You see, obscenity and me are like oil and water.

Would you like me to share the secret to turning obscenity into oil? Because you too can have an eternally spotless mind, (even if you don't have an eternally spotless bathroom).

Just treat your brain like it's part of the furniture.

And make sure to wipe it down with Lysol after it has been "exposed."

You're welcome!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WARNING: DON'T watch this movie!

In my last post I told you about my great film challenge--to watch 20 interesting films by May 31st. Why? Because I'm studying the art of storytelling and emotional truth. I also left you hanging and promised to tell you about my favorite movie so far. Well, have no fear because I am about to keep that promise.

But first . . . I got an interesting comment in my comment box from my apostate brother, Stephen, after asking for movie suggestions:

I say be careful of foriegn movies. We have happy endings engrained in us here in American. A large percentage of the foriegn films I have watched often end in tragedy. They may be more realistic to the real world. but I like movies to help me happily escape from the world's realities.

This is exactly why I don't recommend the movie I'm going to tell you about today, even though, ironically, it had the most impact on me. It's not a feel-good movie and it doesn't help you escape reality. It's sad--like bury-your-head-in-a-towel-and-cry sad.

But I loved it. The storytelling was brilliant and the movie-making process was fascinating. And best of all, you could cut the emotional truth with a knife and spread it all over your soul like buttah!


But don't watch it. It's naughty--but not in a titillating way--and the characters drink and smoke. And they don't say heck or darn when they're angry, either. Plus their golden retriever gets hit by a car. How's that for lame-o!?

But still, I LOVED IT.

The movie is called Blue Valentine.

It looks all loverly doesn't it? That's what I thought too, but SURPRISE! It's only somewhat loverly, because you are basically experiencing the very end of a relationship, cut with flashbacks of the very beginning of the same relationship.

When I told my daughter how sad it was, she said, "Well DUH! That's why it's called BLUE Valentine and not RED Valentine!" (Such a sassy pants!)

But fer reals, if you have delicate sensibilities, avoid this movie like that plague. Especially if you don't think you can handle watching Michelle Williams yell at Ryan Gosling that it's OVER and that she doesn't have an ounce of love left for him.

Who could do that to Ryan Gosling? Especially while he's reminding her that she made a VOW to love him for better and for worse, and even though he's at his worst, he's going to get better.

The thing is, it was sad, yes, but they can't fool me by ending the movie with Ryan Gosling walking away as his daughter is being ripped out of his arms screaming, "I want daddy!" I'm seasoned at all this love and marriage stuff. I know that love doesn't just stop like that. Love is like the energizer bunny--it goes on and on and on, long, long after it's over. Love clings to life like a blood-sucking leach.

And anyway, Michelle Williams is just tired right now. And sad about her dog's death. Plus she's still sorting through all her junk--her father's loud voice, her accidental pregnancy by that jerk from college, her near abortion, and her guilt over Ryan raising the baby as his own and never doing anything with his life. She just needs a long nap and a piping hot bath. And maybe a new Mozart CD.

And I just know Ryan is going to quit drinking after he walks away, and then he'll come back better and they'll pick their love up where they dropped it and live semi-happily ever after. Amen.

As fascinating as the movie was to watch, the movie making process was even more fascinating.


The writer/director Derek Cianfrance had two childhood fears--that there would be a nuclear war and that his parents would split up. They ended up divorcing when he was 20, leaving him bewildered and full of questions about where love goes and what happens to it. He started writing Blue Valentine based on these questions, but it took him 12 years to finish the film, and six years after casting Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as the leads.

Because Cianfrance wanted the film to be as authentic as possible, Ryan and Michelle never met during the six years before shooting began. Cianfrance, however, met periodically with each of them individually and had long conversations with each of them about love. The script was rewritten 64 times based on these conversations.

Once the film started shooting, there were no rehearsals and Cianfrance rarely shot a scene twice. In order for the falling in love scenes to feel spontaneous, Ryan and Michelle met for the first time and got to know each other ALL while the camera was rolling.

After the beginning of the relationship was filmed, Cianfrance quit filming for 30 days, and then he asked Ryan and Michelle to move in together for a month so they could create a history together. He also had their on-screen daughter and their dog move in with them too. They spent a whole month living together and making home movies together and arguing together. All so that the emotions of their break up would feel real during filming.

And boy did they feel real.

Here's my favorite part--a line from an interview with Cianfrance:

"Every film has its own crazy, stubborn journey to be made. I'm thankful that it took so long. I've had life experience. I've been able to sit with the ideas and meditate on them."

How cool is that!? I love that Cianfrance took his time to let the story unfold organically. A rare choice in this rat race world of entertainment we feed on, don'tcha think?

And how cool is this? That I just spent 12 years talking about a movie that I don't even want you to see?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Wanting and the Getting and the Doing

My Gigi always says that the fun is the wanting, but that's not true now is it. That's just. not. true. Remember last week when I wanted a hamburger smothered in mushrooms, onions and cheese? I wanted it so bad I could almost taste it. (But not quite.)

There was nothing fun about wanting that hamburger.

For those of you wondering if I ever got that hamburger, YES I did, but I didn't enjoy it because I paid $5 and ate it behind my hub's back.

(It's not as enjoyable to defy my hub behind his back. You get me?)

Point is, the fun isn't always in the getting either

For instance, there was nothing fun about getting head lice after my twins were born. And there was nothing fun about getting three speeding tickets last year. And there was nothing fun about getting a bag of my MIL's hand-me-down . . . well . . . let's just say nighties, last weekend. Or as she calls them, quote fun wear unquote. (Ewwwww, does anyone have a bar of soap so I can wash my mind out with soap?)

Actually I take that back, it was a little bit fun getting that bag of hand-me-down "fun wear" from my MIL. I haven't simultaneously deep-belly-laughed and grossed out that hard in months.

When I grow up I'm going to tell my grand kids that the fun isn't in the wanting. Or even in the getting. The fun is in the doing.

You WANT something so you DO somthing to GET it. It's the doing that makes the wanting AND the getting fun.

Am I right? Or am I right?

Remember when I did Dummy Boot Camp last month? And I went to the temple four times? And I accomplished 20 tasks I'd been putting off for months? And I read seven great books? And I became acquainted with some of the deepest spiritual truths known to man? Truths like repent and forgive, love one another, and CLEAN YOUR FRIDGE already?

That was fun.

But this month has been even more fun because this month I'm studying the art of storytelling by challenging myself to watch 20 interesting movies, or as the hip people would say, films, by May 31. So far I've watched nine films. I have found that to study the art of storytelling is to study emotional truth.

Now you all know how I love movie wisdom, right? So please indulge me as I put on my yoda hat and share the emotional truths I have learned thus far in the films I've watched:

Waiting for Superman, a documentary about the education system in America. LOVED IT! I learned that the education system in America is broken, and all because, as my daughter frequently points out, adults are just teenagers who look old.

Black Swan. This movie creeped me out. Even a dummy can only take so much emotional truth. Wisdom gleaned? Return this movie to the Redbox after the bloody bathtub scene. (shudder, shudder)

The King's Speech, a film about the struggle to let your voice be heard. I really enjoyed it, even though I fell asleep halfway through. Lesson learned? It's always a struggle to step up and be the king you were meant to be.

Moulin Rouge, because can you ever get enough of Ewan McGregor singing love medleys to Nicole Kidman? Wisdom? The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in returned. Especially if Ewan McGregor is the one loving in return. (Just sayin')

The 19th Wife, a murder mystery in a polygamist community. Lesson learned? Braids just ain't that attractive on adult women. Oh, and polygamy bites!

Water for Elephants, a circus movie about Rob Pattinson and a heroic elephant--plus a little non-sparkley, non-fanged-toothed love story to boot. GREAT MOVIE! One of the lines sums up life in a nutshell: Everyone plays their part, and everything is an illusion.

Push, an artsy movie about bad acting. (And superpowers.) What I learned? Hmmmm . . . sometimes screaming can be funny?

Country Strong, one of my FAVORITES! A movie that illustrates the complexities of love and loss, and shows how the the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the beautiful and the ugly, always happen simultaneously.

Gwyneth Paltrow ROCKED! SO! HARD!

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this movie. Favorite line: She's not crazy, she's the only honest one among us. And the wisdom? Miracles do happen. For instance one day you may run out and buy a movie soundtrack even though you strongly h . . . h . . . h . . . ate country music.

And my personal favorite? A movie so good I wouldn't recommend it. At all. So good I'm going to have to tell you about it tomorrow because I'm out of space for today.

Don't move a muscle! I'll be back in the morning.

P.S. I need suggestions for more interesting movies to watch!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Results are in . . .

I am back from the Storymakers conference in Salt Lake City and the results are in--100% of voters swore on a stack of King James Holy Bibles that the diva heels were sported by Annie Valentine.

PSYCH! It's Melanie J. squeezing her pretty little pedicured toes into those heelios.

I personally got a kick out of watching all the glam authors teeter-tottering around the Sheraton from class to class in their spikey heels, but apparently it comes with the territory--publishing gives you blisters.

It also give you fans.

Check out Melanie J. signing The List for an excited fan! (First photographic evidence of Melanie J. wearing her author glasses. btw. You're welcome.)

And here's Becca Wilhite signing her Bright Blue Miracle.

(FTR, Not everyone wore 9 inch stilettos and wedges. DeNae wore white tennis shoes around the conference. But then DeNae is such a non-conformist.)

Sadly, these are the only three pics I took at the actual conference because I couldn't get my flash to pop--I'm afraid my camera is on it's last leg. But the conference was awesome. Even better than last year.

Please come next year! That's an order, peeps! It's a partay! The kind of partay where you kick it with old friends and new friends, while simultaneously getting smashed. Which is to say, completely intoxicated. With information. From editors, agents and authors.

I wrote furious notes. Plus I did my first pitch session with a publisher. I wasn't even nervous because my twins are both pitchers, and that can't come from strangers, right? In fact my twins helped prepare me by giving me pointers and lending me their top-o-the-line baseball mitts. I went in totally confident.

The way a pitch session works is that you go into a clean, well-lighted hotel room where an editor is sitting in a chair by a large window. You have 10 minutes to take the mound and wind up. Then I guess you pitch the ball and see if the editor can catch it.

Only my editor didn't bring a mitt. I had to lend her one of mine, and she just stared at it as if she had never seen a mitt before. (Writer people are so hip-to-be-square.)

I was like "What?"

And she was like "What?"

And I was like "WHAT?"

"You're supposed to pitch a BOOK," she said.

Is it just me, or is that weird? To wind up and chuck a book at an editor? In a hotel room?

So I pulled out all my kid's tournament trophies and medals and described each one of them to the editor. She said she loved them all, but that they are inundated with trophies and medals this year so it might take a few years to get them published.

Speaking of tournaments, between my three sons, guess how many games my hub had to attend while I was at the conference! Guess! guess! guess!

Are you sitting down?


And guess what else? He didn't get me a hamburger for Mother's Day either. (Do I have to meet all of my own hamburger needs?) Instead he gave me a dozen roses and a new camera, plus he cleaned the house and made me a ginormous breakfast.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Name Those Shoes

OMGOSH! Last night I went shmoozin' it with some famous peeps, (which is almost as fun as slummin' it with some not famous peeps.)

Donald J. Carey, author of Bumpy Landings, and DeNae of The Backordered Life

Annie Valentine, from the Standard Examiner and Melanie J, author of The List

Karen from Kazzy's Ponderings and Becca Wilhite, author of My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions and Bright Blue Miracle.

Even Rico Suave was there. Oooh la la

Oh, and I was there too!

Okay, now that you've been formerly introduced, it's time to play my favorite game, Name Those Shoes:

Cash prizes may or may not be awarded, with special emphasis on the may not.

P.S. There was an editor there too, and, for those of you who read my last post, I showed him my kids trophies and medals and I think he might be interested in publishing them.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I'm HUNGRY!!!!!!!!

Maybe you couldn't tell from my last post, but I have a dream! A dream that one day the sons of former athletes and former athlete owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

Tournament-free brotherhood.

When my dream comes true, I hope there are hamburgers on that table. Big, juicy hamburgers. Smothered in sauteed mushrooms and onions. And Avocado. And provolone cheese.

I'M HUNGRY, PEEPS! I can't remember the last time I ate anything besides jelly beans and empty headed bunnies.

Last night was our ward Senior Recognition Night. We're losing nine of our precious youth--bless-their-hearts-I-hope-they-don't-let-the-door-hit-em'-in-the-backside-on-their-way-out.

I was in charge, which always increases my appetite, but decreases my cooking time.

My hub came home from work on Tuesday and the cupboards were bare. And the table was empty. Empty, alls except for nine fleece blankets in media res.

"What should we eat?" said my hub. "Besides fleece."

Usually I say something like, Hmmm, let's whip something up, but instead I said. "HAMBURGERS! Me. Want. Hamburgers!"

"Okay," said my hub. "Let's run over to Little Caesars and grab some pizza."

"Me no want pizza!" I protested. "Me want HAMBUGERS! Smothered in mushrooms and onions and avocados and cheese . . ."

"Okay, let's go to Burger King," he said. "The Whopper Juniors are only $1."

"Me NO want Whopper Juniors! Me want HAMBURGERS!" I said. "BIG, Juicy hamburgers! With mushrooms, onions, avocados and cheese! Hamburgers that cost at least $4!"

My hub began knitting his brow.

"Let's go to JCW's," I said.

Knit. Knit. Knit. "That's a little pricey," he said. TO ME! Me, my face, and I! Who last month spent a mere $16.49 on fast food, $4 of which was spent solely to butter up the Burger King peeps before hitting them up for 145 crowns.

Suddenly I started to itch. With a B. I was itchy all over.

"You're right," I said. "We really should save our MONEY for the *@#@bleeeeeeeeep@ tournament fees. I think there's lettuce in the fridge anyway."

"ARE YOU SERIOUS?" said my hub incredulously. "Are you fer real? You would rather spend money on HAMBURGERS than TOURNAMENTS for our KIDS?"

"Yes!" I shouted. "I'm selfish like that! When I'm HUNGRY!"

True story.

This morning I rolled over in bed at 6:15. "What do you want for Mother's Day?" whispered my hub romantically.

"Me. Want. HAMBURGERS!" I whispered back sweetly.

P.S. I'm off to the Storymaker's conference in Salt Lake. No, my book is not ready to pitch, but no worries. I am going to bring all my children's trophies and medals to see if anyone is interested in publishing them.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Spring Fling


I'm back, did ya miss me? Did ya? Did ya? Did ya?

I missed me too.

Well, actually I didn't really miss me because I was with me 24/7. I was just trying to seem relatable to my readers--like I know how you feel. About missing me. But actually I don't know how you feel at all.

I've missed you though, so I think I can use my imagination.

The whole world has shifted on it's axis since I last posted. Prince William is married. Bin Laden is dead. And Casey got booted from American Idol.

Bless all their hearts.

But my world hasn't shifted at all. Nothing new or groundbreaking has happened to me. Except I made myself a little home office.


And I finished Dummy Boot camp. Wooooooohooooooo!

And I had an epiphany about my hub.

Can you keep a secret? I think he might be a sports junkie. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh

I don't know why I haven't noticed this before, but he's like one of those animal hoarders who can't say no to just one. more. kitten. And then ends up with 65 kittens, who can't stop giving birth to just one. more. kitten.

Sports is just like kittens. Unspayed kittens. Tournaments breed more tournaments, which in turn breed more tournaments.

Trust me, they multiply and divide so fast it would make your head spin if I showed you my calendar. And after they divide, they conquer. First they conquer your wallet, and then they take over your time, followed by your energy, followed by your sanity. Fer reals, you would need a priest to exorcise your demon spirits if you had to keep track of as many games as I do.

And you'd have to breath into a paper bag every time you check your email.

See tournaments are like cockroaches. Just when you think you've got them all under control--documented, calendared, scheduled--another one springs up out of nowhere (usually in the form of an email). And then another one. And another one. You turn the lights on in the middle of the night and they all skitter about yelling "SURPRISE! There are now two of us this weekend. I mean three. Per child. Cha ching. That will be another $160, please."

It's a full time job color coding and cross references all the different leagues and locations and times of all the tournaments for all the different children we have given birth to. A job which is further complicated when one of the children we've given birth to plays on both JV and Varsity teams.

When I say this to my hub he laughs.

"What are you laughing at?" I say.

"At your intensity," he says.

MY intensity? MY intensity? MY INTENSITY?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking WHY DO YOU ALLOW THIS INSANITY INTO YOUR LIFE?

You don't understand. You DON'T understand. I tried to put my foot down last week after I received an email from my twins coach asking if they wanted to pay $100 to participate in a two week basketball tournament which would consist of 4-5 games a week in the Salt Lake Area.

My gut reaction was "UH . . . NOoooooooOOOOOooooooo nooo, nooo, uh uh, no way, no how. I'd rather pay to have my spleen sucked through my nose."

But I'm a lady, so I consulted with my hub about all the pros and cons before shouting NO at the top of my lungs--the cons being that they are already juggling their regular basketball games and practices, as well as their baseball games and practices. Oh, and our other son is already in that tournament. Oh, and I am trying to write a book by Saturday.

But who's counting?

We decided together, as two consenting adults, to decline the offer. My hub agreed to break it to their coach at practice the next morning and I went to bed with visions of one less tournament dancing in my head.

The next day I received the following email from their coach:

Dear Dummy. Thank you so much for allowing your boys to play in the Spring Fling tournament. And I do mean Spring FLING, as in, you WILL fling yourself (or more likely your hub) off a cliff before this week is out.

Can someone please hand me my paper bag?

It was at that exact moment when all the missed clues starting piecing themselves together in my mind. It all suddenly made perfect sense.

My hub is coo coo for coconuts.

Alas, I guess he can't help it if his love language is like a fortune cookie. Everyone knows fortune cookies derive a deeper meaning when you add the phrase in bed to the end. My hub derives a deeper meaning from his love language when you add the phrase on the court to the end. You could say he is bi-lingual. In fact, he speaks all the love languages fluently: Words of Affirmation on the court. Acts of Service on the field. Physical Touch in the arena. Quality Time under the hoop. Receiving Gifts in the paint.

P.S. speaking of love languages, Lulu in no longer in heat and apparently she's lost all her charms. None of the Romeos in the neighborhood will give her the time of day anymore. (Ain't that just like a man!)

(But mark my words, next they'll be trying to get her to breed tournaments.)