Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Helloweeeeeeen!

Don't you think it should be called Helloween? Fer reals? All that boil, boil, toil and trouble. And all that wicked candy. And all those sordid Lady Gaga look-alikes.

HELLO! ween.

Plus doesn't Freud says you dress up like the person you would most like to be if the devil made you do it? I am dressed as a frumpty dumpty mom and my hub is dressed as a Kahuku Red Raider for life. In his PJ's. For life.

(photographic evidence not available)

My son wanted to dress up like the naked cowboy, but thanks to our next door neighbor, Grizzly Adam, he went to school fully clothed.

Love your guts, Grizzly Adam!

I think my daughter has nerd envy because she dresses like a nerd every year.

Analyze that, Mr. Freudian!

Sadly, I caught her rummaging through MY closet to put her outfit together, but all she came across were my frumpty dumpty costumes.

And then the twins. They have no deep-seeded longings. They just pop out of bed 10 minutes before school, throw on some skinny jeans, and raid the costume closet.

This twin is a Steven Tyler of sorts, who is thinking, dang, these skinny jeans are cutting off my circulation!

This twin is a Sherlock Holmes of sorts, who is thinking dang, if I had gotten out of bed five minutes earlier I could be rockin' those skinny jeans instead of this stodgy overcoat.

Anyways, party on, peeps! Happy Helloween

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't Forget to Breathe

When God created the world I bet he spent a lot of time on the human brain, holding it up to the light and examining it from every angle to make sure he was providing the earth with just the right balance of man power. I bet he seperated the brains into categories--those who could think in numbers, and those who could think in letters. Or in images, acronyms, explitives, etc. Finally, just for fun, I bet he made one extra brain that could think in song lyrics.

My son got that brain.

Which reminds me of a joke I just made up: How many dummies does it take to teach a family home evening lesson about sex?

Two--one to drop the "S" bomb, and one to drop the soundtrack.

With four teenagers in our house, my hub and I decided it was time. To tackle that topic. That awkward, awkward topic. I was unprepared by how much less awkward that awkward topic can be when put to music. My 15-year-old son, an improv troupe unto himself, can really isolate a point and drive it home with music and dance. By the end of the lesson, we were all singing songs from his Just Say No album--songs like "Naturally" by Selena Gomez, "How to Love" by Li'l Wayne, and "Don't Let me Fall" by B.o.B. Choreography was also included, under his direction.

And that, peeps, is what it's like to live in the Dummy household. In case you were wondering.

Which leads me to a story, because my brain thinks in story.

Does anyone else's brain think in story? That's why we blog, right? Blogging allows us to upchuck our stories on a regular basis, with the knowledge that someone somewhere is listening. I wish my MIL had a blog. She's been chucking up her stories all over me lately. And by that I mean, daily projectile vomiting over the phone. In fact, when she calls, I automatically hold the receiver straight out and away from my ear so as not to get slammed by all her chunks of story.

I don't blame her, she's unclogging her brain, which we all know requires an audience. I'm trying my best to clean up after her by picking up all of her pieces of story and putting them back together in, what she likes to call, her family history.

Such an impending word, family history, but basically it's just a bunch of stories we heave onto the page, right? And if you think about it, writing your family history is a lot like being pregnant. First you feel really, really tired. Shortly thereafter the nausea commences, followed by months of worry and discomfort. You can't sleep, you can't eat, you can't fit into your skinny genes, but finally, when the story is ready, you labor and deliver, until out pops your posterity.

We all know there are things that make pregnancy easier, right? Prenatal care. Lamaze classes. Support groups. Ice cream. Abstinence. But did you know that these same things can make carrying and delivering your story easier too?

Which is exactly why I've signed up for some prenatal care and Lamaze to help me learn how to pump out my MIL's stories. Or at least breath through the pain of it. Hee hee haw (Them's breathing sounds, not giggling sounds.) Because seriously, abstinence ain't no option when dealing with my MIL.

What I'm trying to say, in my roundabout way, is there is this cool conference coming up. It's called Story@Home, and if you are interested in eating ice cream and deep breathing with me here are all the deets:

WHAT: A conference to celebrate the power of story. Come learn to share your story with the world, bring the past to life, tell a captivating story.

WHEN: March 8-10

WHERE: JSMB and the LDS Conference Center

WHO: Hosted by FamilySearch and presented by Cherish Bound

HOW MUCH: Only $79.

This is not exclusively an LDS event! Anyone who loves to say what they need to say is invited, but there is a limited amount of pre-sale tickets for bloggers, so reserve your ticket now because once FamilySearch releases their tickets, the event will be sold out.

Make sure to go and Like the Facebook page for up to date information about the conference.

And don't forget to breathe!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Holy SNAP, it's Sunday, and I missed my daughter's birthday.

I mean YOU missed my daughter's birthday. I couldn't miss my daughter's birthday if I tried. Not with all these shoes in my house.

Is this not the loveliest sight you've seen in pairs since Lulu and diapers? Because where there are shoes, there are people, right!?

Lots and lots of people! Granted some of these people look like serial killers . . . well, at least one of them (in the bottom left hand corner) looks like a serial killer, but I allowed them all to cram into my basement anyway and wish my daughter a happy 17th birthday.

I'm not being rude about the serial killer thing, btw. Just giving my daughter, who thinks all of my high school friends look like serial killers, a taste of her own medicine.

She's not being rude, either. (She's never being rude.)

One of the boys in the photo does not look like a serial killer at all. He looks more like a tall Preference date with a dazzling smile. Do you want to see which boy I'm talking about?

Do you, do you, do you? Hmm? Hmm Hmmm? Do you?

Okay, hold you horses. Sheeeeesh! Here he is.

(I think the boy to his left might have serial killer potential too.)

Notice I strategically placed her Pref date's pumpkin in the background to prick his conscience about how long it took to say those three little words after my daughter asked him to the dance: Yes, Yes, Yes!

Luckily I don't hold grudges. I'm generously tolerant of people with commitment issues and/or time management issues and/or priority issues and/or date-dance-response block issues. As long as he doesn't have abandonment issues, I'm good.

So my daughter's 17th birthday was, as they say at the Moulin Rouge, spectacular, spectacular. She got a rainbow cake from her medical assisting friends, a darling sweater from my sister, and a perm from my mom.

You heard me right, a perm! As in permanent! (Yes, she listens to eight track tapes too!)

She also got asked on a date. Plus she got serenaded by a boy with a guitar and three back-up singers.

I only know this because during the party, while my hub, my twins, my dog and myself were shut up in the master bedroom, huddling together on our California King to give my daughter space, my twins decided to go outside and play football in the dark, where they witnessed the whole thing, from the boys leading her outside to them singing--get this--Baby, Baby, Baby by Justin Bieber. Apparently her Homecoming date isn't the only one who turns into Justin Bieber around my daughter.

Can you imagine having the Justin Bieber effect on so many boys? "I think you've found your gift," I told my daughter, but she shrugged and said, "Oh, mom, they sing that to all the girls on their birthdays."

Hmmmmm . . . . . . that's alls I'm saying.

I was going to give my daughter something for her birthday, but then I remembered that I gave her life, so I pulled out my favorite t-shirt instead: I gave my daughter life and alls I got was this lousy t-shirt!

I did eventually end up giving her something besides life. A modest shopping spree in Park City, with a friend of her choice, and a family of her choice--preferably our family. After day 1 I took her home because she had to work and take the ACT and go on her date. After day 2 I took my boys home because they were overdosing on the steam shower. Oh, and because they begged me to take them home.

But seriosuly, whodda thought steam could be so dangerously addicting?

Must be careful about substances that clear our pores.

"I can't wait until the boys are gone," I kept saying on day 2. But then after I took them home we were all alone. "I wish the boys were here," I kept saying, until, out of nowhere, my hub started a massive pillow fight. Then disappeared to take another steam shower.

Do you think he misunderstood me?

This retreat is actually the result of one of those time share dealios we attended two years ago. You know the ones where they call you and call you until, exasperated, you agree to take a free night, plus $100 cash, just to listen to a 30 minute seminar about the resort. Upon arrival they feed you finger foods and bring you Cokes laced with . . . coke, before they strap you into a chair for four hours and tell you you are getting sleepy . . . very . . . sleepy. Once you are in a trance-like state they ask you to fork out $16,000 for a once-a-year stay at the resort.

This breaks the trance.

"Can we think about it for a few hours? Maybe discuss it?" you say, but the answer is no. Thinking and talking are off limits. This a NOW or NEVER, once in a life-time opportunity. You choose the NEVER option, but instead of letting you go, they tighten your straps and call the manager over to smack some sense into you. He offers you a steal deal of $11,000, then $8,000, then bottoms out at $4,000. Finally he puts his final offer on the table. Three nights for $300.

You can do that. Because technically it's only $2oo when you minus the cash they are about to hand you. A small price to pay for freedom. Only you're not free at all. You are still in bondage to their constant phone calls and emails until you commit to a date.

So this is our date. UEA weekend, 2011. The very same date all the other suckers in Utah County committed to, after apparently being harassed and hypnotized into submission.

We are all victims here, sharing the pool with each others screaming children and maneuvering past each other down the narrow, dimly lit hallways on our way through the maze, a glint of recognition passing between us about where we have been and where we are going--back to our rooms, where the pots and pans are kept just out of reach in the cupboard above the fridge--the cupboard where you might store your punch bowls and flower vases at home.

Back to our rooms where the overhead light flickers and the sheets crunch and the fake plastic marble Kleenex box holds all of four tissues.

Back to our room where if you want a remote for the t.v. or shampoo for your hair, or garbage bags that don't bust open when you pull them out of the pail, all you have to do is place a call and the resort will be happy to provide you with what you need. It may take a few days, but if you hang tight, it will come. I am on a first name basis with the front desk now--an inevitable result of calling for more toilet paper at 4 a.m.

"And can you send the 2-ply this time, Julius?" I asked in all sincerity.


So last night, which was our last night, as my hub was finishing his steam shower, there was a knock on the door from someone at the V.I.P. desk. He handed me a ziploc baggie full of homemade cookies, and a welcome packet containing our internet access code, a whole bunch of coupons and discounts for local restaurants we might want to try during our stay, and a pair of handcuffs. His eyes narrowed. "You know that you will be in our custody forever and ever, throughout time and all eternity, right?"

I gulped.

"It's part of the covenant you made with us when you purchased your package, that we have to meet with you again before you leave. You know that, right?"

I gulped again. "What for? We did our time here like we promised."

"Oh, we just want to share a few . . . Cokes . . . and close out your account. How did you enjoy the steam shower, by the way?"

I gulped again and looked down at the cookies.

"When can we meet with you?" he pressed.

My mind was spinning like a hamster wheel. "How about tomorrow morning," I heard myself say. "Like say about 9 a.m?" And then he made me sign my name in blood.

Only thing is, we won't be here at 9 a.m. I've been up since 4:3o digging a tunnel to the parking lot with a spoon? After I changed our phone numbers and email addresses and identities? If you don't hear from me again, you'll know there were security guards at the exit.

As for my final wishes? I would like the words DON'T. DO. TIME SHARES. engraved on my headstone.

And if there's enough space maybe add (or steam showers) underneath.

Mahalo, peeps!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Drumroll, please . . .

Basketball season is underway once again. For my twins. And guess what! Guess what! Guess what! My short twin is starting to grow. Probably due to the large quantities of corn dogs he consumes on a daily basis.

(KIDDING, peeps! Don't call Social Services on me!)

He is as tall as me now! But I think all that growing is effecting his brain cells because the other day we were trying to teach him how to stop people from teasing him. By NOT reacting to them, right!? Because then they just leave you alone, right? So I used the example of my sister, bless her heart, who had to learn this the hard way.

"It was just too easy to get her goat," I told my growing boy.

"Wait!" he said, as sincerely as humanly possible. "She used to have a goat?"

Heee heee heee heee That's my boy!

FYI, the tall twin now has a B in choir, thanks to eating that corndog. Phew!

Oh, and guess what else! guess what else! Guess what else!

My daughter finally got her answer from that Ivy league boy with the dazzling smile, who even though he can score a 35 on the ACT, has a hard time answering a simple yes or no question.

And the answer is . . .

Drumroll, please . . .

He says he would "love" to go. He thinks it would "serve" him well. (And you guys were so worried!)

(Serve him well? Does that sound like a Hahvard boy or what? Except he forgot to add the dahling.) (And the apology for being such an Ace.)

hee hee (J/K peeps! please, PLEASE don't call Social Services on me!)

Btw, the candle in the pumpkin was a trick candle. My daughter huffed and puffed and it wouldn't blow out.

"He's sending you a message!" I told her. That the "love" can never be snuffed out.

But then she used her inhaler and POOF, the flame was gone! Just like that!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Your blog would suck without me!

In case you were wondering, my daughter doesn't read my blog. She doesn't want to know what I'm saying behind her back. But a few nights ago while I was laying in bed composing the letter to her preference date and cracking myself up as I yelled it across the hall to her, she said, "Mom, your blog would suck without me."

Those weren't her exact words, they were Kelly Clarkson's, but that was the gist of it.

And then she called out across the hall, "As soon as you get famous my life is over!" to which I replied, "That's why I'm waiting for you to go to college before I get famous!"

I'm such a rock star mom, don't you think?

Knock on wood.

I only say knock on wood because as soon as you pat yourself on the back for being a rock star mom, you'll fer sure get a one-two punch to the gut, reminding you that your mom skillz ain't that great after all. Elsewise why would your 13-year-old son be getting a C in choir? Besides that fact that he chose to eat a corn dog for his comfort zone project.

I shoulda known betta! I shoulda known! How does eating a corn dog help you overcome stage fright or perform more confidently or get an A in choir?

Call me crazy, but I think he misunderstood the comfort zone project. At least this was my feeling as I read his report this morning:

Ever since I was little, every time I smelled a corn dog it made my nose and my stomach hurt, so I never liked to be around them, but of course my twin brother loves them. He could eat seven corn dogs a day if he wanted so I hate it when he shoves a corn dog in my face.

So now I decided to try a corn dog for this comfort zone assignment. I would never do this in my regular day life, but I’m going to do this because it makes me very uncomfortable. So first I asked my mom to get the corn dog ready for me because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She put it on the edge of the table but while I was trying to get the nerve to eat it my dog jumped up and ate it. So I guess I can really say my dog ate my homework.

My mom made me get the next corn dog ready myself so I got some ketchup and put it on my corn dog and got ready. Once I took that first bite I hated it. It had a really weird taste. It was sweet and gross and nasty, but I still ate it. I timed myself and it took me seven minutes to eat the whole thing.

The good thing about this assignment is that I learned that you can do things that you’re not comfortable with. You can do new things so when a new thing happens and you’re not comfortable with it, u know it’s good to take risks and good things will happen. But bad things may also happen, so I think it’s good you made us do this assignment.

Ummmm . . . . yea, that's my boy.

FYI: No, my daughter's preference date, if I can call him that, still hasn't answered her. But FTR, apparently he didn't answer the girl who asked him last year for at least THREE weeks!!!!!!!

Ummmm . . . . yea, that's her boy. (Maybe) At least she's not asking him to get married. (Maybe)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A letter to my daughter's preference date

I should change the title of this blog to Crash Test Dummy's Daughter Diaries, huh?

Okay, one more and then I'll start bashing on someone else.

Here's the dealio. When you're in high school and you want to ask someone to a dance you have to get creative.

In other words, it's a big ole' production.

And then your date has to answer you back with an equally creative production.

It all seems very mysterious and exciting to a mom without a life, but to a teenager with three of four lives, it can get a little stressful.

The boys are pretty chill about it all. They begin asking their dates 2-3 weeks before any given dance.

The girls, however, have to move on it 6-8 weeks before the dance. That's because the junior girls jump the gun and place dibs all the senior boys, forcing the senior girls to get in the race if they want to pin down their date of choice.

Like I said before, it's all very mysterious and exciting, this underbelly of the date dance world. Kinda reminds me of Black Friday how everybody waits in line to snatch and grab the perfect date off the the clearance rack.

Some boys, like my daughter's Justin Bieber Homecoming date, got asked four times, eight weeks prior to the dance.

My daughter's first choice got snatched up at seven weeks prior. So she asked the varsity tennis player that she beat. Not a consolation date, though. He's a cutie patootie fer sure, with all his ducks in a row. Harvard bound, dazzling smile, tall enough to be her big brother (who just so happens to be 6'1" now--just sayin').

She asked this tall, dazzling, Ivy leaguer with a sign that said "We could make a perfect "match!" (Get it? Match?) (It's tennis lingo, peeps, keep up.) Unfortunately the second part of that sentence that said "because I beat you, and what's more perfect than me winning!?" didn't fit on the sign so she left it off.

Included with the sign were five tennis balls that spelled out P R E F ?

Then there was a clue. "It's what's inside that counts." This clue referred to the teeny tiny pieces of folded paper my daughter had slipped inside each ball that spelled her name. (She likes to play hard to get like that.)

It was all very symbolic. And it was all very 12 days ago. Or should I say, 12 freakin' days ago! And he still hasn't answered her back yet.

12 days!!!! That's got to be a Guinness world record, don't you think?

Don't get me wrong, it's just a technicality and he's not being rude about it, or anything. Bless his heart. He still talks to her every day and acts normal, like any ole' tall Ivy leaguer with a dazzling smile would.

I told her she should light a fire under him by leaving the drum stick on his porch with a sign that reads, "The annoying drummer boy got back to me quicker."

But of course she isn't worried about it because she has three or four lives, so I took it upon myself to write him a letter in a language I thought he might understand. I'm patient and compassionate like that.

May I?

(BTW, names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

Dear Ace,

Can I call you Ace?

I would like to offer a bit of motherly advice, from one dumb "ace" to another. (Get it? dumb ace?)

Allow me to share the eight simple rules to a successful date dance "court" ship? (Get it? court ship?)

1. To git date dance "love" you gotsta give date dance "love."

2. See, winning usually boils down to how well you "serve" (and how fast you answer my daughter).

3. You can't find your perfect "match" by "default" . . .

4. But don't worry, you can always "rally" back . . .

5. If you get 'cha, get 'cha, get 'cha, get 'cha head in the game . . .

6. And answer my daughter . . .


8. Before I poke your eyes out.


P.S. If you hit the net, you get a "let." So take two (weeks.) But after that it will be a "double fault" (and she will be forced to play the drummer)


Mahalo Nui Loa

Hee hee. Do you think this will make a good impression?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tennis anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

Yesterday me, my hub, my mom, and my MIL travelled through rain, sleet and snow to watch my daughter play tennis against the undefeated first singles champion from West High in Salt Lake.

When it comes to state tennis tournaments, as in life, there must be a winner and loser. But for the record, it took that winner a long time to beat my daughter.

My daughter was the loser. But she was a beautiful loser.

She was almost a beautiful winner. Almost won every point she lost. Every point went to deuce, and it was hard to tell the difference between the winner and the loser. Except when it came to beauty. That's where my daughter really shined.

Sometimes the line between winning and losing is fingernail thin. But the gap between beauty and not-as-much beauty is always deep and wide.

The upside to not getting all the fame and glory is that it frees you up to focus on your strengths and weaknesses, with special emphasis on your weaknesses. Each match becomes a lesson rather than a victory.

You learn how to keep your head in the game and how to keep your opponant out of your head. You learn how to pay attention and keep score because there are no refs in tennis. It's just you and your oppoanant battling it out. Your word against hers. And the more games you win, the more your opponant will challenge those games and question those games. Your opponant may even take a game or two from you if you let them. (But don't you let them!) Especially if they eats nails for breakfast.

My daughter eats hashbrowns for breakfast. (Buy if anyone has a good nail recipe, please do share.)

High school tennis is now over. Forever. (sniff) And my daughter will have to continue learning about life from life, rather than from tennis. (sniff). But at least she's got a head start. Yesterday, after the match, she got in the car and said "Well, I learned something really important about myself this season." We all waited with baited breath. "I gotsta stand up for myself. I let people walk all over me."

"Except the drummer in the band," I told her. "You didn't let him walk all over you."


"I mean, he threw his drumstick at you, but technically he didn't walk all over you."


"And you kept the drumstick to prove it."


There's a moral here. There's a definite moral here. Why? Because I'm a Mormon and we love our morals. Yes my daughter lost, but ultimately she didn't come away from the state tourney empty handed. Besides the lessons learned she is now the proud inheritor of a sweat shirt.

That's right, she got really excited when she saw my MIL's cross-stitched sweatshirt, and now she has her dibs on it in the will.

Didn't I tell you she had a dusty soul?

Betcha can't guess the first thought that popped into my head when she said she's going to wear it to her children and grandchildren's tennis matches.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Phyllis Era and The Comfort Zone

In regards to my daughter's recent lyrical fopa, Becca said "Who even knows anyone named Phyllis anymore? Besides my aunt Phyllis?"

Oh Becca, you don't understand. I think my daughter might be a reincarnate from another era. The Phyllis Era, maybe. Fer reals. And in that era there was probably some little white kid, Alphalpha maybe, in a silent film, or a comic book, whose tag line was:

You can pick her soul off the shelf and dust it off is alls I'm sayin'. She's an oldie. But a goodie. (When she's not throwing tennis balls at the band.)

To be perfectly frank, and I wasn't going to mention this but, Phyllis is her favorite name. No lie, she asked me the other day, "Would it be weird if I named one of my kids Phyllis?"

"Very!" I said. "You might wanna stop beating the boys and throwing stuff at the band if you wanna catch a man who will agree to that."

Am I right, or am I right?

Speaking of which, she beat another boy on the varsity tennis team yesterday. Hope she doesn't try to date him too. Fingers crossed all these victories are helping her prepare for states tomorrow. Her first (and perhaps last) match is against the undefeated reigning number one first singles champion from the Salt Lake region. West High school. I understand they eat nails for breakfast at West high, but you didn't hear it from me.

But hey, I have other kids too, don't I? Raise your hand if it feels like my daughter is dominating my diaries!

I have sons too. Who are just as entertaining as my daughter. Although I don't think their souls are as dusty. I only say this because yesterday they were listing all the dumb things about middle school, like how you have to do a good job on your homework and everything, and how much everybody hates choir.

"I thought choir was supposed to be singing," said twin #1, "but you have to do stupid stuff too!!!"

"Like what?" I asked, as sincerely as humanly possible.

"Like get out of your comfort zone!"

As if!!!!

Apparently that dumb choir teacher thinks getting out of their comfort zone will help them be better performers on stage.

Teachers these dayz!!

So guess what twin #1 has decided to do to get out of his comfort zone?

Guess, guess, guess!!

He's going. to eat. a corn dog.


Whodda thought eating corn dogs made him so uncomfortable.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Phyllis. And the "other" drum stick

So my daughter, as perfect as she is, has a disorder. It's a hearing disorder. She hears fine, don't worry, it's just that her ears can't quite translate lyrics correctly.

Bless her heart.

She got it from her dad.

It's true I thought Sean Kingston's eyeballs were stuck on his plate, but trust me, she got it from her dad.

You know that song by One Republic about how it's too late to apologize? For years she thought they were saying it's too late to call the child.

Again, bless her heart. That sweet sweet heart that went out to that poor, poor child waiting to hear from his parents, who were never going to call because it was just too late.

I could go on, but . . .

Okay, so remember this catch phrase?

Course you don't. You're too young. But somehow my daughter found out about it because she recently busted it out, and it went a little somethin' like this:

And I quote:

"What 'chu talkin' 'bout Phyllis!"


Ah, she kills me.

You know what else kills me? Yesterday during tennis practice she hit a few dead tennis balls (on purpose) over the fence at the band, who was also practicing.

Don't ask. I choose to believe it was a term of endearment. I also choose to believe the drummer in the band is just as endearing because he threw his dead drumstick back at her.

Are they a match made in heaven or what? She is now the proud owner of one very dead drumstick. (How romantic is that?) And I am now on a mission to find the owner of the "other" drumstick.

As Gad as my witness, If I have to search every drummer in the state of Utah, I will find that prince charming and bring them together in holy matrimony before I shuffle off this mortal coil!

(I hope he's cute.)

You would do the same thing if the drumstick was on the other foot, right?

(And btw, yes, I told my daughter that she would be one dead drumstick if I ever catch her throwing tennis balls at the band again.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Firm Foundations

Conference weekend! My hub thought it was predictible, and in a way it was.

As expected we were inspired, uplifted and edified, but there were also a few surprises. For instance, I didn't expect to give my entire litter of children a haircut and a pedicure during the Sunday sessions. (Not breaking the sabbath if you think about it, since we were obeying the commandments to exercise self-reliance, avoid debt, and stop looking like rugrats.)

I also didn't expect my 15-year-old son's phone alarm to wake me up at 7:00 a.m. to the tune of How Firm a Foundation.

"HOLY COW!" Was alls I could think to yell at him while throwing my pillow across the hallway.

I also didn't expect my daughter to do a Nacho Libre leap in front of the whole school at the Homecoming assembly on Friday. Or to ask the boy she beat at tennis to Preference. Apparently she thinks she can have her cake and eat it too. In my day you either beat the boys, or you asked them out. You didn't get to do both.

Come to think of it, you didn't get to do either. You just got to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow.

And we liked it like that.

Another surprising thing that happened this weekend was that Martha, my ex-door neighbor from Hawaii, came to town. And she brought us Japanese rice crackers (Mmmmmmm) and strawberry belts and li hing mui powder and Seaweed (I have no idea why I capitalized that).

We were going to play tennis together at the magic cabin, except she kept getting lost, which, bet your bottom dollar, she'll blame on me.

So instead we took a partial family picture together, which sounds easier than it looks. Particularly if your holy cow son is a little on the irreverent side.

Not only does he like to take bad pictures, he also likes to take bad pictures.

You get me?

And at least my son's foundation isn't too firm.

p.s. Speaking of foundations, my house had it's by-pass surgery on Friday and is recovering like a trooper.

Visitors are welcome. And meals would be appreciated.