Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!


  • Sports induced asthma. That's why my daughter can't breathe. And she hasn't been asked to Homecoming yet either, gosh darnit, so if anyone needs a Homecoming date that can't breathe . . .

  • My 15-year-old started basketball boot camp this week. Lifting and conditioning, baby! But he missed his 6:15 a.m. scripture study this morning. Uh-oh. All six versus of it. At least he made it in time for the closing song so maybe he'll get half a blessing. And guess what!!? His guardian makes him a home lunch everyday! La-dee-da! If I was his guardian I would make him a home lunch too, but I'm just his mom. So I say, let him eat cake! (Someone grab a pen and write that down.)

  • Today when I picked my 15-year old up from conditioning, he says to me, "This is what I'm going to need from you when I get home: A really tall protein shake, some Ibuprofen, and a cold, wet cloth." Then he put his head back and fell asleep. Toldya his needs are great.

  • But did I tellya he got his Learners Permit? And did I tellya that I went through a phase? A phase where moving vehicles made me want to FREAK OUT, so to speak? The only thing that made me want to freak out more than moving vehicles, so to speak, was when my son would say, STOP FREAKING OUT!

  • Speaking of moving vehicles, I almost ran over my next door neighbor yesterday. He darted in front of me on his bike across a busy street on his way home from high school. When I told my daughter that I almost ran over our next door neighbor she said, as sincerely as humanly possible, "Well, if you're gonna run over someone, I guess it's better to run over a neighbor than someone you don't even know."

FER REALS! She said that!

  • Lulu's shock collar was sent to Hawaii by mistake. Oh wells, at least there's one more temple worthy dog in the Islands.

  • Now my hub is saying that a year from now he either wants to raise chickens or a garden. I told him to keep fasting and praying about it. I'm sure the right answer will be revealed to him. One way or another. Or at least the answer that will make us more popular in the neighborhood.

That's it folks. But tune in tomorrow to hear about my hub's sudden, adult-onset thinking-things-through-logically kick.

P.S The Nutty Hamster Chick is trying to win some tickets to the Utah vs. BYU football game with her lucky Y shaped turkey bone. I personally think it would be easier to just take up a collection, so either click on this link, then click on the 5 stars (which gives her five points), or just leave your credit card number in my comment box.


Monday, August 29, 2011

That's how we roll in Utah

Here's a riddle for you: (Sorry, sometimes my mind works like a Five for Fighting song.)

How do you know when your kids have reached puberty? (Besides the fact that you can't get them out of bed in the morning, and they spend a lot of time looking in the mirror.)

They start laying their clothes out for school . . .

And shamelessly promoting themselves.

Notice they are wearing jeans. In August. (They also wanted to wear their new jackets because it's been a little . . . ahem, nippy . . . in the mornings.)

Please check back in January when they start laying out shorts and tank tops.

That's how we roll in Utah.

Okay, I unintentionally omitted a few things in my Seasons Greetings update. First of all, LULU! My dearly beloved! I haven't talked about Lulu in forevers! 

Lulu is doing just great. I am happy to announce that she is now the proud owner of a seat belt harness, which allows her to be buckled in at all times while traveling in moving vehicles.

(Mwuahahahahahaha!) (Remember when it was really trendy to say Mwuaaahahahaha when you blogged?)

She couldn't be more thrilled, as you can see, because there is nothing she loves more than to be restricted and restrained.

By the way, has anyone seen this bone? Anyone? Anyone?

I am also happy to announce that we are anxiously waiting for her remote control shock collar to arrive in the mail so we can help her become temple worthy. By shocking the bad out of her. And by bad I mean her passion for chasing moving objects. Some people would call it classical conditioning, but I like to call shock therapy.

There are several forms of shock therapy. One of the most effective forms is to scream at the top of your lungs in your neighbors face when her dearly beloved dog chases your bike. Throwing things at your neighbors dog is also effective. It's not being rude if you think about it. Some dogs (and people) need to be shocked straight.

That's how we roll in Utah.

When I'm finished shocking the bad out of Lulu I'm going to shock the bad out of my kids. And if that doesn't work, I'm hoping it will at least shock them out of bed in the morning.

Another thing I unintentionally omitted from my Christmas letter . . . remember how I told you about how my daughter's tennis coach looked her in the eyeball (sorry, sometimes my mind works like an Eminem song) and said, "whoever plays 1st singles is going to get slaughtered"? Well I forgot to mention that he added something to the end of that sentence. He added, "but you'll learn a lot."

Ain't that just the truth? Sometimes you get slaughtered, but you learn a lot.

Not only is my daughter's tennis coach the best old guy tennis player in the country, (that's what my daughter said) he is also like a Zen master of tennis philosophy (that's what I said).

I'm going to take his Zen tennis philosophy and raise it a couple of Buddhas. You also learn a lot when you can't breathe. You learn that air is the spice of life.

The reason I bring it up is because it appears my daughter has a theme song. No Air by Jordan Sparks. "Tell me how'm I s'pose to breath with no air?" That's an important question, now that I think about it. Now that I know my daughter is only able to access 30% the amount of air of a normal person.

"Well what percentage of air is she accessing compared to a crazy person?" I asked the doc, but apparently they don't do breathing tests on crazy people.

Wanna see photographic evidence of my daughter winning her first tennis match without any air?

(Martha, ain't it so adorable to see her in a skirt!?)

She looks surprised that a person can win without air, doesn't she?

Now here she is in her second match, going like a lion to the slaughter. 

What a little trooper scooper!  

(Btw, yes, it's true, no one around here plays tennis without a temple in sight.) (That's how we roll in Utah.)

Anyways, I took my daughter to the doc again today for a 2nd set of tests so we're waiting to find out how much longer she's s'pose to breath with no air. 

In the meantime, we can't help but be thankful about how much she's going to learn this year.  

That's how we roll in Utah.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seasons Greetings

If I ever get to meet Santa Claus, I'm going to make a suggestion. I'm going to suggest that the kids start each new school year on Christmas day. That way, instead of coal, we can just fill up their stockings with school fees receipts. And we can wrap up all their school supplies and text books and sports uniforms and back packs and back-2-school attire (and scrubs, since my daughter is studying to be a medical assistant) in bright packages and bows, and say ho ho ho, and call it good.

Two birds, one stone. You get me?

I just don't think I can put my wallet through this again in four months, you know!

Speaking of Christmas, I feel like I need to write you a Christmas letter. That's how long it's been since you've heard from me. I just checked the stats and I've only written to you THREE times in August!

What the what!? That's less than a handful!

I pinky promise I write to you in my head every. single. day. Can't wait till they come up with an ethernet cable you can plug into your brain. Then none of us will ever have to write Christmas letters again.

But since we're still in the stone ages, let me send some seasons greetings from my Dummy family to yours.

Let's start with me. Ever since the Bishop broke up with me as the YW Prez I've been drowning my sorrows in work. Work, work, work! That's what we do best here in Utah. We are industrious about our grief. It's the quickest way to turn our hearts back into stone.

Mostly I've been working on my "to do" list rather than my "to bee" list. (Another Utah dealio.) First I finished unpacking from the move two years ago. Then I cleaned out and organized my storage room, then my laundry room. Then I took a nap. Then I cleaned out my kitchen drawers, and rearranged the kid's play room, which is actually more of a man cave now, since all my kids are teenagers. With teenager needs.

There was a time I used to cry in my soup because I couldn't seem to get pregnant. I was afeared I would never be a mom. Then I started getting pregnant. Then came all the miscarriages. Then I was crying in my soup and my salad. Then came all the babies. Boom, Boom, Boom. (Even brighter than the moon, moon. moon.) (Sorry, sometimes my mind works like a Katie Perry song.)

Anyways, now my daughter is 16-years-old and my son is 15-years-old and my twins are 13-years-old son. And they are full of needs. Needs, needs, needs. Deodorant needs and protein shake needs and cake batter needs.

It just goes to show you, you should never cry in your soup. Just keep the faith, because one day you'll probably be crying in your cake batter.

But enough about me. It's a milestone year for us. My twins just started Jr. High, which means their needs include zit cream and new shoes and an extended course in how to open a locker. They also feel the need to shake their heads and say, "OH MoM! You ruin every song. And why are your waistbands so high?"

My middle son just started high school. And so his needs are great. But then his needs have always been great, so I should probably say his needs are greater. For some reason this year he had a great need for a gold fish. Go figure. He also has a great need to play basketball for the team with the best program. I have been fighting it for two years because we are not in the boundaries of the best program and it requires us to give over our guardianship to my hub's brother. In short that means that every week night he has to sleep at their house and wake up at 6:15 a.m. for scripture study. It's a sacrifice fer sure. We don't wake up for scripture study until 6:20.

But whatevah! I'm over it! GO MY SON! Go and climb the ladder! Who am I to hold you down!

And then there is my daughter. Who is in her senior year. And who still refuses to cause any trouble. All she wants to do is make us proud. She saves her money and doesn't text while she drives. She takes flowers to the elderly and organizes family temple trips. And yada yada yada, she finished her Personal Progress. I keep telling her that one day she's going to go off the deep end if she doesn't get a tattoo or something, but I'm just her mom. Whaddu I know?

She made the high school tennis team. But then everyone makes the team at AF High. No one gets cut, so if any of you want to play on a high school tennis team let me know . . . I can hook. you. up.

Martha, you will be happy to know she is playing 1st singles. But I'm not being Braggetty Ann in saying that. It's not the same school she played for last year, which was a tennis school. This school is a band school. The best band school in the whole world. The kind of school where people get cut from the band if they've never played an instrument. But it's not the kind of school where they get cut from the tennis team if they've never picked up a racket.

Last season they only won 2 matches all year, but they're all super nice and my daughter loves it. She could care less about playing for the best program and getting up at 6:15 for scripture study. She reads her scriptures at night. And she could care less that her new coach looked right at her and said, "Whoever plays 1st singles is going to get slaughtered."

And so she goes, like a lamb, to meet her destiny.

But not without a fight. She won her first match 6-1, 6-2. Woooohooooo! (Sorry, sometimes my mind works like a Black Eyed Peas song.)

She lost her second match, but she didn't go down like a lamb. That sassy pants went down like a lion. Rrrraaarrrr!

As for my hub, he's doing great. He spends a lot of time outside trying to reset the sprinkler system. Oh, and he wants to raise chickens.

Just when you think you know a person, they decide they want to raise chickens. There goes the neighborhood, right? As if we're not popular enough with our charming dog. FTR, my hub has agreed to fast and pray about it for a year before we start building coops, so don't start checking the by-laws yet. And please don't leave any anonymous letters on our doorstep from the proper authorities.


So that's life in the dumb lane. Hugs and kisses to all of you! Ex's and Oh's. Hope your season is merry and bright. And filled with peace and prosperity. Above all, prosperity.

LY everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

No "strings" attached!

Get it? No strings attached. And I'm posting about violins today?

(You gotsta admit, sometimes I really am punny.)

But fer reals, there are no strings attached to this post. I promise you won't hold it over my head later, or throw it back in my face. And you won't have to send me on a guilt trip around the world. I'm simply going to ask you to do something for nothing. Something kind and generous and enormously helpful, that will enrich the lives of a whole bunch of kids on the North Shore of Oahu.

It's super quick and easy--a few clicks on your computer--and you will be helping me, help my friend Amy Gold, help a bunch of kids from Laie Elementary School get some violins.

And believe you me, it ain't easy to get violins in Laie.

This is Amy Gold, doing her thang. Teaching violin lessons.

Only she's not a teacher, she's just a mom offering to teach. For totally free. Because that's how much she loves it.

The funnest part about this photographic evidence is Amy doesn't even know I have it--hee hee. I took it clear back in 2006 while she was preparing a bunch of Laie El kids to play a violin number for the Christmas program.


You just never know what someone's got on you, do you? And I've got more. Muaaahahaha!

You wanna see what it looks like when a bunch of kids from Laie El are learning to play the strings for the Christmas program?

Now Amy is trying to win violins, music and music equipment for 30 low income students at Laie Elementary School.

Are you sold yet? If so, click on this link to vote for Amy Gold's proposal in the Pepsi Refresh Project.

But if you're one of those people, who need more information, who just wanna know every little deet about every little project, then continue reading this note from Amy Gold herself:


Aloha! There are two weeks left in voting for the August Pepsi Refresh Project. My ranking has hovered around 27/28 all along. I had one five-place jump the last time my friend Anna helped me, so we’re going to try this again! And double the jump! Remember, I need to be in the top 15 to get the grant money. Hey, that means we need to triple that jump.

A little about the Pepsi Refresh Project: Pepsi is giving away millions each month to fund refreshing ideas that change the world, one community at a time. Consumers are encouraged to cast their vote on – giving them the power to decide which ideas are funded. Each month, Pepsi is giving away more than $1 million to 60 ideas that move communities forward. Groups or individuals, like myself, can submit ideas which are randomly selected to be voted on.

I appreciate your support! Please help me do a great thing for the children of this community!

Pepsi Refresh Project: Laie School Strings

We have discovered the best ways to maximize the vote:

1) Vote using your Facebook account
2) Vote using your PepsiRefresh account
3) Text in a vote (text 107867 to Pepsi (73774))
4) Use some of your extra votes to vote for related ideas in other monetary levels (i.e. $5K, $25K, or $50K) and leave a comment indicating that Laieschoolstrings2011 is voting for them and would really appreciate the favor returned.)
5) Use Power Vote codes found on select Pepsi products: bottle lids of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max or on 12 & 24 packs of cans. If you have more than 10 a day, share them with friends who can enter them! We need everything submitted by August 31st.

Pepsi is giving away millions to fund refreshing ideas. Vote for your favorites and buy Pepsi products to get up to 100 extra votes. Buy Pepsi & Power Vote today!

It's ain't Code Red, but let's hop on the bus Gus! No need to be coy Roy!

Look to it, peeps!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Find a way!

A few weeks ago I got to drive to Island Park, just me and my one and only daughter. And then I got to drive home from Island Park, just me and my three sons.

Driving with three sons is a teensy bit different than driving with one daughter. First of all, my daughter works at a flower shop so there are no nose plugs required. She also doesn't try to teach me how to duggy from Pocatello to Malad, so there are no ear plugs required. She also doesn't feel inclined to swap childhood excrement stories, so there is no need for me to smack her upside the head while shouting, "who raised you, again?"

The biggest difference, however, between driving with my daughter and driving with my sons is that I didn't get lost on I-15 with my sons. Mostly because I had already been there, done that with my daughter.

Which, if you think about it, is the best thing about getting lost, right? Not getting lost again?

Getting lost doesn't just help you figure out which road to take, it also helps you figure out which road not to take.

You follow?

Trust me, I've had a lot of experience on the wrong roads. Mostly because I grew up in Bronxville, New York. Which is not to say I was raised in Bronxville, New York. I was raised in Provo, Utah, but all of us who spent their 18th year of life being a nanny in Bronxville, New York used to get a kick out of saying we grew up in New York, being as that's where we learned all our whats and what nots and shoulds and should nots and all that jazz. (And jazz nots.)

One thing I learned fer sure is that there ain't just one road to get you through life. (Unless of course that road is paved with yellow bricks.) But I learned this the hard way.

See there is this one road that runs through New York. It's called Boston Post Road. Post road to those of us who knew it well. Like the back of my hand.

I was convinced that Post road would take me to infinity and beyond if I stayed on it long enough.

Either that or it would take me to China.

See I'm kind of a one road sorta gal. When I meet a road I like, I get clingy. And I commit. I'm just loyal like that. And at 18 years of age, Post road met all of my needs. It got me everywhere I desired to go. At least to the more important destinations, like church, Nathan's hot dogs, and Friendly's ice cream.

I'm only admitting this now because of a comment I received from Stephanie @ Diapers and Divinity on my post about how I thought I-15 was like the iron rod. She said, and I quote: I can't even explain why that is so funny to me. It's like there's something metaphysically true about that (to some people).

Darn straight! To (some people). Like me.

To the (other people), who are capable of having no-strings-attached relationships with the streets they drive on, it's hard to understand those (some people) who do.

Take my boss for instance. My poor poor boss. He was Italian, bless his heart. Italians have a way with words, that's alls I'm sayin'. My Italian boss was like the Cake Boss, only he didn't bake cakes. And I never heard him say the word fondant. Actually I never heard him say much. Unless something disgusted him. Like if you put mayonnaise on your hot dogs. Or if you said, "Oh my heck!" while doing jazz hands. Or if you drove up the driveway too fast in his BMW and knocked his alignment out of whack. He really had a way with words in those instances. And also when giving directions. He knew how to turn a phrase or two when giving directions. Especially if you stuffed your fingers into your ears and said, "La la la la la. I'm not listening unless you tell me how to get there from Post Road,"

Those words had a way of making my Cake Boss boss feel like drinking raw eggs and punching brick walls. Not in a bad way. It's just that Italian guys always think there is an easier way or a faster way or a better way to get where you're going, you know. And usually it's called the parkway.

At least that's what he always said.

But to me the Cross County Parkway and the Hutchinson River Parkway and the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Bronx River Parkway seemed like the hard way. I mean, if you got off at the wrong exit, you could never change your mind and get back on.You just started going in a whole nother direction.

Keep in mind that this was during the stone age when the GPS was just a twinkle in Gad's eye. Before GPS we used to drive uphill both ways in the snow. And sometimes late at night. In fits of tears.

And we liked it like that.

We liked it like that because all those late nights spent driving around (in a fit of tears) (uphill both ways) (in the snow) taught us a thing or two. Like where to go, for one. But mostly where not to go.

But most importantly it taught us how to find a way. A lost art if you think about it. (Get it? Lost art. (Ah, sometimes I crack myself up.)

Eventually I took my Cake Boss' advice and broke up with Post road. It was one of the hardest things I ever did at 18 years of age, in New York. But it was one of the rightest thing I ever did too.

There's a moral here. There's a definite moral here. There's more than just one road on the Atlas of life. And even if you miss a turn or two, you can always find a way to get to where you're going.

Which is exactly what Merril Hoge, of the Pittsburg Steelers, wrote to my kids on the football he signed after coming down the stairs from his weight room above the garage at his cabin in Island Park where we rent from him for one week of every summer. (inhale/exhale). He's never been there before and he'll probably never be there again, but for some reason this year he was there at the exact moment we were packing up our garbage, aka crap, to take to the land fill. He heard us shoving our crap into the back seat of our car and took pity on us.

I kid not. Merrill Hoge descended his staircase, much to our shock and awe, like a regular prom queen, and threw our garbage into the back of his truck.

And then wrote some swell advice on a football.


That's what it said.

Whaddaya know! Not only do I have a knack for bringing famous people into my life, it appears I also have a way of getting them to take my crap (ba dum bum) while simultaneously giving me swell advice on a football.

Seriously folks. Merrill Hoge gives great advice. On footballs. It's almost like looking into a magic 8 ball when you read the stuff he can dish out on a stinkin' football.



See what I mean?

It really makes you stop and think what advice you would give on the side of a football, given the opportunity to take someone else's crap.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Forwards and backwards. (And clean underwear)

The most exciting thing in the history of the world has happened.

I have finally finished unpacking from the move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Note how many explanations marks I used. Each one shows how totally psyched I am about my accomplishment.) And you thought I had dropped off the face of the earth, huh?

So it only took me two years to get settled in! Can you believe it? That's gotta be one for the Guinness world record books.

You know what this means don't you? It means I'm over my moving issues. It's official! I'm a perfectly well-adjusted, transition-free Utard.

High five!

Up high!

Down low!

Too slow! :) :)

You probably haven't noticed, but I'm giddy with enthusiasm. That's why I added the double smiley face.

It's just that it's such a relief to be unpacked. It was so so so so so hard, peeps. So. stinkin'. hard. Hard, as in I've been working on it for four days straight hard. Because all of my kids were away at Hemophila camp hard. So I didn't have any interruptions hard. Except to change the channel back and forth between Project Runway and America's Top Model hard.

Let's just say it is easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle, and for a rich man to get into heaven, than it is for me to finish unpacking.

That's how hard it was.

I pulled out every single box and bag and bin from my storage room and laundry room and spread their contents across my basement until it looked like I was auditioning for Clean House.

(Ain't it just ironic what a mess you have to make to clean things up sometimes?)

So there, strewn across my basement, were all of the things I was not ready to deal with before leaving Hawaii. Things I just had to shove into boxes and bags and bins and then turn away. I turned away and never looked back. Lest I should be transformed into a pillar of salt like Lot's dumb wife.

Instead I took the advice of the Robinsons and kept moving forwards. (Except I added an s to forward to make it more grammatically backwards.)

(You get me?)

So the thing about Lot's dumb wife is . . . I mean, have you ever noticed how hard it is to move forwards if you haven't sorted through the backwards?

The backwards weighs a ton when you're lugging it through the forwards. Especially because, well, once you start sorting through it, you realize most of it is crap, and who wants to lug a bunch of crap with them into the future?

Or, if you prefer the edited version, who wants to lug a bunch of junk with them into the future?

You gotsta get the junk out of the trunk. That's what I always say. Lighten up! That's what Chieko Okazaki always says.

But it ain't that easy, you know. Mostly because it's so so so hard. I mean, there I was, knee deep in the past. Literally holding the past in my hands. Touching it. And it was touching me. Day one it exhausted me. Day two it made me heavy laden and sad. But then day three dawned and I felt a spark of excited, as if I was seeing old, dear friends again, after a long, long absence. Day four, I was just done. So very done.

So you wanna see what the junk in my trunk looks like after I lightened up? After I seperated the wheat from the chaff? (Can you tell I'm teaching Sunday School this week?)

One fun thing about sorting through the backwards is that among your trash you will find your treasures. I found so many treasures which I had lost. Although technically, I hadn't lost them, I just couldn't find them. There's a difference, you know.

I found my favorite books and my favorite photos and journals and composition books and class notes. Boy do I have a lot of class notes. And none of them make any sense at all.

And I found my favorite print. I bought it for $1 from a street vendor in Mexico. Something about it instantly pierced my stone cold heart, but I was with a group and they didn't have time to stop. They just kept moving forward towards Tenocchtitlan's Plaza de la Constitucion. And I kept moving forward with them, until I couldn't stand it any longer. I broke away and sprinted back to the vendor to buy it. I kept it under my bed while I was going through my grieving season so I could slide it out at night and let my eyeballs sweat upon it.

I found other treasures too. Like a sticky note dated 2/23/07 at 1:55 that said "Please call Martha." And Pens. You thought 46 pens was a lot to find in my car? That was nothing. I found pens in every box and bag and bin. And chapstick spf 15. And little quotes written on the backs of receipts and movie tickets and unopened junk mail. I could write an entire quote calendar, peeps. I kid not.

The only place I didn't find pens or chapstick or little quotes was in my 72 hour kit. GO. FIGURE. See what I mean about the forwards being backwards?

At least now I'm not afraid to die. Now that I'm orgazined. Because ultimately isn't being organized a lot like wearing clean underwear?