Friday, December 29, 2006
Yes, those are wooden canes. My dad makes them for people who need them. He loves it. We think they're awesome. So awesome, in fact, that we decided we needed some for us before Dad gets so old he can't make them any more. Who wouldn't love to have a cane their dad made for them?
We spent a lot of time with my family over the weekend. Family gatherings for us usually involve lots of food. At Christmas, we have lots and lots of eggnog, mixed with Sprite to thin it out a bit, and cookies. This year, Mom made gumdrop bread (not fruitcake), which is not my favorite, gingerbread cookies, which I love, and my great grandmother's Scottish shortbread cookies, which are my favorite. I ate far too much, but that's the norm around these parts. (I call your attention to the matronly pooch protruding in my picture. So much for sucking in my gut. It scares me that I look so much like my brothers.)
I noticed something this weekend about my family. We love to tell stories. My whole life has been filled with stories. I thought it was normal--that every family did this. My future sister-in-law, who hasn't posted in over a year (ahem), informs me that this is not so. Her family gets together and picks on each other. She tells me that our storytelling is one of the things she noticed right off.
Does this mean I am a spinner of tales? A weaver of subtle yet complicated plots? Do I come from a long line of verbal magicians? Hardly. Our stories are probably not worth publishing. But we love to tell them. And we love to laugh. Because the stories are always funny--to us at least.
There's the one about my Grandma A., who beat up a boy several years older than she when he was teasing the little boy who lived with her and her family at the time. Years later, he still remembered her, although she had forgotten the incident.
There's the one about my mom, who, at a tender age, caught an entire bucketful of mice and brought them proudly into a houseful of Relief Society sisters to show her mother. She tripped on something and the bucket spilled. Amid the screams and squeals as the women jumped onto the furniture, the frightened mice ran back into the only thing familiar to them: the bucket. Mom returned the mice to the great outdoors, and Grandma B. eventually forgave her.
Another time, my mom poked a stick through a hole on the back of the outhouse. Grandpa B. got a bit of a surprise when his danglies got prodded. He came roaring out of the building and chased my mom all over the ranch until he caught her. She got a right good spanking.
And then there was the time my dad and his friends put a huge pile of autumn leaves on a neighbor's porch. They rang the doorbell and ran to hide in the ditch. Unfortunately for them, another young man saw what happened. When the neighbor opened the door and the leaves blew into the house, the young man said, "You'll find the boys who did that hiding in the ditch over there." The neighbor came after them. For the first time in his life, Dad ran faster than any of the other boys. He never got caught.
Dad's love for practical jokes is legendary. He once trapped some students, who had been sneaking into the Dixon Junior High gym to play during lunch, in the piano box that was their hiding place. He and the gym teacher nailed the box to the stage floor after the knew the kids were inside. (Don't worry--they drilled breathing holes.) The boys were let out after lunch was over.
One junior high student kept sneaking up into the school attic. So Dad and Max Mitchell nailed the attic door shut. When a very worried mother called about an hour or two after school had ended, she was informed that her son was trespassing in the school attic and would be let out as soon as she arrived to collect him. Now that's creative discipline. Of course, Dad couldn't do that now, even though he never laid a hand on the students.
Dad and his fellow teachers had lots of fun sending students around to each other looking for an umbilical cord for the "broken" projector. Conversations went something like this:
Gullible student: "Mr. Mitchell, Mr. A says he needs an umbilical cord. Do you have one he could borrow?"
Mr. Mitchell: "Hmmm. Well, I used to have one, but I don't have it any more. Why don't you go ask Mr. Stanley?"
After getting similar responses from other teachers, the student would return unsuccessful. They were told, "That's okay. We'll try to make do with this one instead," and out came the electrical cord. (These same teachers used to send kids to the nearby grocery store looking for Traffic Jam.)
Of course my sister has tons of good stories from all her years working as a nurse. There are the weird names she writes down (Permalua is one of my favorites), the clever comebacks to rude patients, and the hilarious stories of patients, physicians, and coworkers. (Her friend once told a doctor, who had recently permed his hair, "Hey, Dr. So-and so! Nice pubic hair transplant!")
And then there are my brothers. All five of them know how to tell a good tale. There's Lessel Peeper, who tells of his days in Primary and the time Dad taught him about feminine hygiene products. Then there's Nihao, who tells of life with braces and things of mystery. These are the only two who are "online." The other three could tell tales all night long and still not be finished: tales of things they did as kids that Mom never knew about; jokes they've heard; things their own kids have done.
As for me? Y'all can make your own judgements about my abilities as a storyteller. But even if I'm not that great, I still love to tell a good tale.
I can't wait to be seventy just so I can tell people how my dad made my cane. I can just see it:
"Oh, really? Could he make me one too?"
"What are you willing to do to get one?"
"I'll do anything. That's a really awesome cane."
"Then I guess you'll have to die."
Dad will get a kick out of that one, I'm sure. He loves that kind of stuff.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
"Mom, sometimes when T has a stinky diaper it smells like chicken nuggets."
Perhaps someone should tell the makers of chicken nuggets that their food smells like sh**.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Why do I see stray shoes on the road?
And it's never a pair of them. I realize that shoes can come off a person's feet in tragic auto-pedestrian accidents, but I'm pretty sure the officers on the scene clean those up. I'm talking about the single shoes you see in the middle of or off to the side of the road. Where do those come from?
I've always assumed that those lonely shoes are the casualty of a move. You've seen the college students with their little hatchbacks stuffed to overflowing with all their belongings. They're bound to lose something on their way to independence, finals, and rent payments. Or maybe the shoe has been thrown out the window by a child having a tantrum. I could see that. It's even possible that someone intended to be the first to create one of these and had poor aim.
But don't people notice that something has fallen out of their car? What do they do when they unpack or arrive at their destination and realize they or their child no longer have a complete pair of shoes? Would it bother them enough that they'd retrace their route to find the errant shoe? I can see myself doing that.
Missing things bug the crap out of me. I can't stand it. The thought of losing a single shoe would be enough to put me in the funny farm. Losing a sock in the wash is cause for a near nervous breakdown. I will hunt feverishly to figure out where that sock has disappeared. I just like to have paired things in pairs. Call me compulsive or obsessive, but that's the way I am.
Enter my three sons. Fortunately for my sanity, I no longer count every Lego block as it goes back into its container to make sure all are accounted for. I gave that up when son #2 got past the Duplo stage. I still do it with the Duplo Primo container because hey--20 pieces of huge Legos aren't that hard to keep track of. I had to give up keeping track of all the Matchbox/Hotwheels cars, though. I swear those things multiply in the dark when left unattended.
When it comes to keeping track of stuff, my sons are horrible. This is annoying to me. I can tell them exactly where their stuff is. I can give them specific directions to find something that is in plain site on top of their dresser. They go to find it and come back in less than a minute, claiming that "it wasn't there." Drives me nuts. I walk them back in the exact location and, lo and behold, there it is. Exactly where I said it was. I would like to assume that it's a boy thing, since I have no experience yet with daughters. However, I'm forced to be realistic and admit that it's a personality thing.
I don't know why I am anal retentive in this way. I don't remember not being this way. I could find any one of my toys as a child because I knew exactly where they all were. And it wasn't because I was a particularly neat and organized child. My dad used to tease me about bringing in the garden tiller to clean my room because there were so many piles. But I knew what was in each pile and could find what I wanted when I wanted it. I'm weird that way.
So can anyone explain to me the mystery of roadside footwear? Has anyone actually lost a shoe this way? C'mon. Enlighten me. I really need to know.
In the meantime, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my husband's missing sock.
Monday, November 20, 2006
You're sporty, yet practical, and you have a style of your own. You like to have fun, and you like to bring friends along for the ride, but when it comes time for everyday chores, you're willing to do your part.
Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Hmmmmm....do you think maybe I have an addiction to blogging????? (gasp)
Monday, November 13, 2006
1. My seven-year-old whispering forcefully in my ear, "You're the best mom in the whole world!"
2. A bonus nap yesterday, courtesy of Phil who took our food assignment and the kids over to my parents house while I had a quick snooze.
3. My ten-year-old volunteering to go to bed early because he felt like he was catching a cold. (This is a really big thing for him. He'll use any technique he can think of to postpone bedtime.)
4. My three-year-old snuggling into the crook of my arm to watch "The Restoration" video done by the church. It's his favorite thing to watch.
5. The belly rolling laughter of my sons, husband, and (gasp) 74-year-old mother that came as a result of my dad letting one rrrrrrip yesterday while standing at the desk. No one gets in touch with their "inner voice" quite like my dad.
Here's to a good week ahead.
Monday, October 30, 2006
This is what I want for Christmas. It would be perfect to wear to Girls' Camp.
This is what I would give Nihao for Christmas, if I could.
This is what I'd love to get Phil for Christmas, if he'd actually wear it.
Compulsive Writer needs this to go with her favorite book.
I think Lo Down needs this when she's having one of these moments. Or maybe this.
All mothers need this. Especially when children are teenagers.
Eating Paste definitely needs this. But, then, he also needs this after a meal at El Azteca. Or this.
This is a must-have for The Jolly Porter or Oh, Judy.
I could get this for certain members of my family.
My son needs this. The other day, my sister told him he had Dorothy Hamill hair.
Who'da thunk I'd like silly T-shirts with things written on them? I'm the poster child for "What Not to Wear."
At least I can't shoot my eye out with a shirt.
Monday, October 23, 2006
1. Incredible (adj.) Looking at the word parts, it should mean something not believable or credible. Most people choose to use it to mean something amazing or awe-inspiring. In my opinion, Bill Clinton fits the first definition. As for the second definition, well, I know lots of things/people/places that inspire awe and amazement. Music--really good music--can break through the darkness of depression and make me feel things that I haven't felt in months. That's incredible to me. My husband, who has to live with chronic pain, is an incredible person. My boys, who are way too smart for me, are incredible. The mountains, especially in the fall, are incredible. Catalina Island, specifically Avalon, is an incredible place for me.
2. Printer (n.) Mine sits to the right of my monitor. It is a black & white laser printer, which means I don't yet live in a modern world where I can print my own color photos. But it's a good little printer that has served me well. It's especially good for stacking papers that I mean to take care of eventually. It's so nice and warm up there that the papers stay for a long time. I would too, if I could.
3. Mommy (n.) That's what my kids call me until they are about 4 years old or so. Then I become "Mom." I work at home, but I don't get paid money for what I do. If I did get paid, I think I'd be rich. Anyone who has to expose themselves to raw sewage (albeit contained, hopefully) several times daily ought to be paid really well.
4. Rose (v., adj., n.) That's what the sun did this morning. When it sets, it turns the sky I can see outside my living room window that color. And it's one of my favorite flowers. I like the fire and ice variety. If you're into flowery names, I suppose you could go with Rose for a girl. I don't think a boy would appreciate it much. I'm fascinated by the meanings that people attach to the colors of the flower.
Okay, now it's your turn. Your words are creek (pronounced "crick" if you're from Utah), orange, nauseous (not nauseated--there is a difference), and server. And I tag compulsive, Lorien, Eating Paste, and anyone else who wants to play.
Monday, October 09, 2006
When I was younger, my older brothers used to say that my dad should make me a hope chest because I was still hoping for one. They also used to tease me about having mosquito bites and bee stings. My older sister K, on the other hand, is taller and heavier than I am, and, as such, is more "endowed" than I up top. This brings me to my story.
Several years ago, when my son A was probably 3 years old, he went on a sleepover to K's house. He walked in on her getting dressed. She covered herself up quickly, but not before A noticed her "giftedness." Conversation ensued:
A: "What are those?"
K: "Those are breasts."
. . . very long pause while the gears turn in A's head . . .
A: "My mom doesn't have any of those."
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
And so, in my hour of desperation, I turn to you, dear readers. What would you like to see me blog about? (Nothing skanky, mind you. This is a swearing-tolerant, family-friendly blog.) Please propose topic ideas. I shall pick my favorite and write away. Or something like that.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Saturday came and Phil started setting posts. He had two posts in, trying to get them exactly level and straight. The man is a perfectionist, so, in order to achieve fence post nirvana, Phil clamped his level to a third post and placed it horizontally across the tops of the other two posts. So far, so good. But one of the posts wasn't quite right, and Phil decided to bang it just a bit with his fist. Bad idea.
The horizontal post came crashing down on Phil's head. It hit hard enough that he nearly passed out. Instead, he lay down on the grass for a few minutes. The neighbor kids, who were playing right there at the time, saw the whole thing. The following conversation ensued:
Kids: "Are you okay?"
Phil: "Yes, I'm fine."
Kids: "Is it okay that I just told my mom what you did?"
Phil: "Uh, sure." (sits up at that point)
Kids: "Are you sure you're okay?"
Kids: "So...why is there blood going down your neck?"
Phil: "Blood? What blood?" (reaches his hand to the back of his neck) "Oh."
Phil came over to our other neighbor's house to find me. He asked if I could come help him with something, so I followed him back home. Then I noticed the blood.
Me: "Why is there blood on your neck? What did you do?"
Phil: "A post fell on my head."
Me: "Do you need me to check it before I help you?"
Phil: "Uh, yeah. That's what I need your help with."
We went inside, he removed his baseball hat, and the blood started dripping. I grabbed some rags to clean up what I could so I could inspect the wound. The cut was at least an inch long and a quarter inch deep. I told him this, too.
Me: "I think you need stitches, dear."
Phil: "Are you sure?"
He didn't believe me.
Instead, he put another rag under his hat so he could go outside and finish setting the fence posts. Not only that, he cleaned up his tools and ate some lunch. At that point, I figured he'd be ready to go get it checked and stitched up.
He called the InstaCare to see if he really needed stitches. They asked if the wound was gaping. In the background, I nodded furiously. He told them he didn't know for sure, since he couldn't see it himself. (Oh, brother.) He was more worried about wasting his post-setting time waiting in the lobby only to have someone tell him he didn't need stitches, but I finally got him to agree to at least have it checked.
Before heading out, Phil asked me to call my nurse friend to have her check it. Melody kindly came over with her rubber gloves and took a look. Her conclusion was the same: "You need stitches, Phil."
We got ready to go. Phil took time to wash his hair--because heaven forbid a doctor should see a guy with a head wound and dirty hair. Then he decided he was going by himself. He didn't want me to waste my time driving out there and sitting and waiting for him. (sigh) Fine.
He returned some time later sporting this:
Count 'em, folks. There are s-e-v-e-n staples. Yes, staples. Apparently, they don't do stitches in hair anymore because they don't work as well.
The doctor told him, "Yes, you definitely need stitches. It's nearly an inch and a quarter long and a quarter of an inch deep."
Wait. Isn't that what Melody told him?
Hold the phone...isn't that what I told him?
Monday, Jerry came home from work with a gift for Phil. It was even personalized.
Thanks, Jerry. It's perfect!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I took my 6- and 2-year-old sons to ShopKo on Monday to do some browsing. I came home fuming. Here's what happened:
I wouldn't allow the 2-year-old to have something he wanted, so he launched into a screaming fit. He's loud and persistent, which means he yells at full volume for a good long time. I'm a good mom, or so I think, which means I ignored his little tirade. (I can be just as stubborn as my kids when it comes to ignoring their tantrums.) As I was standing calmly in one of the aisles, a woman came up to me and said in her sweet little Relief Society Sister voice, "Don't you think you should take him out now? He's awfully loud and is being very disruptive to the other shoppers."
I was expecting some sympathy from her, seeing as she was old enough to have had kids go through this stage and all. I wasn't expecting such a stinging (although delivered sweetly) rebuke. All I could say was, "Sorry."
But I did not leave. I refuse to allow my kids to control me that way. I don't hit them, but I don't give in to their demands. I simply wait it out. Their storms, although intense, are short-lived. And sure enough, within about 10 minutes, I had him calmed down enough to make our purchase and leave the store. Besides which, that lady just bugged. I certainly didn't want to do what she asked me to do.
I wish I'd said something clever, like, "We're training him for the local hog calling contest and ShopKo is his sponsor. They encourage his behavior here." Or even, "He's practicing for the opera." But noooooooo, all I can do is apologize for intruding on her precious "quiet time." Does she not remember having kids throw tantrums in public places? Maybe her kids were never like that. Maybe she never had kids. Who knows. I just resented her intrusion.
Did I do the right thing? What would you have done?
Monday, September 04, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Mothers are underappreciated. And brothers are overrated.
There. Happy now, Klay?
Monday, August 21, 2006
When "Bob" was about 5 or so, he went somewhere with my sister in her minivan. She had given him numerous opportunities to take a bathroom break, none of which he took advantage. After all chances for potty breaks were past, he announced that he had to pee. My sister explained to him that stopping was no longer an option, but he insisted he had to go really bad.
"Well, honey, we just can't stop."
"But I have to go now!"
"Can't you wait?"
"All right. There's a cup back there. Just pee in the cup."
No problem. Except that "Bob" didn't hear "cup." He heard "cup holder."
He filled every one by which he was seated, almost to overflowing.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Phil was up on the roof fixing some electrical problems. He took "Bob" with him. "Bob" saw lots of pipes sticking up through the roof and wanted to know the function of each one. Phil explained the chimney, furnace vents, and sewer vents. "Bob" was very curious about the sewer vent. (Can you see it coming?)
Phil climbed off the roof to come inside for parts. When he got back on top of the roof, he caught "Bob" in the act of peeing down the sewer vent. (If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Lorien mentioned it briefly in her post about Treehouse Fun.) Pretty ingenious of "Bob," but we had to punish him simply because of the public nature of the pee.
"Son, it doesn't hurt anything to pee down the vent, but it's not a good idea to do it on the top of the roof with your pants down where any one of the neighbors could see."
All this has a point, to which I am coming.
Fast forward to yesterday. "Bob" is in the back yard with a squirt gun and a squirt bottle, shooting water at a swarm of dragonflies. No problem, I'm okay with this. Then Phil arrives home from work. Conversation ensues as follows:
Phil: "Do you realize 'Bob' is squirting dragonflies with the squirt bottle?"
Phil: "So what is that yellow stuff in the squirt bottle?"
Me: (no reply, since I am racing out the door to find out)
I reach the back yard and call out, "Bob? What's that yellow stuff in the squirt bottle?"
(Of course, by the time his name has escaped my lips, "Bob" has made a hasty retreat to the far corner of the house and is madly twisting the sprayer off the bottle and dumping the yellow liquid into the grass.)
Conversation ensues as follows:
Me: "What's the yellow stuff, 'Bob'?"
Bob: "Just water, Mom."
Me: "Water isn't yellow."
Bob: "I poured it out of the squirt gun."
He then proceeds to pour water from the gun into the squirt bottle. The water was, inconveniently for him, clear.
Me: "I don't think so. Was it pee?"
Bob (acting appalled): "No way, Mom! Why would I do that?"
Me (thinking back to last summer): "Because you're you."
Bob: "That's just disgusting! I would never do that!"
Me: "MmmmHmmm. Well, 'Bob,' I can tell you're lying to me. I'm thinking that you peed into the squirt bottle."
His body language is screaming "Lying!!!" this whole time. I'm talking eye darting, avoiding eye contact, everything.
Bob (with a sigh): "Okay, Mom, I did it. But I just wanted to see if pee was toxic to dragonflies."
Me (trying not to snort): "All right, but don't do that again. It's just plain gross."
I wonder what adventures next summer will bring?
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Favor? What favor are they talking about? And since when do I go around embracing cards? So I open it up to see this:
"The right card to have, to hold and to use."
What is this? Do they think I married a credit card or something?
And then, "You chose the Citi Dividend Card. So we think you deserve a big hug!"
A hug from whom? From Citi Card? I don't think so. That would be like kissing a rattlesnake. (No comments from the peanut gallery about my affection for legless, scaly animals, please.)
I open it further to reveal this:
In case you can't read the fuzzy print, it says, "Make your Citi Card your main squeeze."
"Instructions: 1. Wrap around torso. 2. Feel warm and cozy."
I got a "hug" in the mail from my credit card company?!?!?!? This is the kind of thing that kids make as gifts for their parents or that lovestruck Freshman girlfriends send their missionaries. What kind of message am I supposed to infer? Let's see..."We are so happy to be the means of increasing your chances for bankruptcy that we'd like to make you feel 'warm and cozy' about it." Hmmm. I don't think that works for me. How about another? "We love your credit score so much we couldn't resist sending you this love note in hopes that we might further lower it!" Mmmm, not a keeper either.
And what is it with the model in the picture? She looks like she couldn't be happier about receiving a paper embrace from a non-person. Should I feel that joyful about this unexpected "gift"? Those hands look a bit suspicious to me. And the background looks like a pinstriped suit that a mafia godfather would wear. Do I want those kinds of hands wrapped around my torso? I could end up feeding the fish at the bottom of the Provo River.
But as long as I have my Citi Card, I'll have the assurance that a paper arm will reach down and pull me out. How comforting. Makes me all warm and cozy just thinking about it.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Three years ago, my husband had surgery to fix a blocked tear duct. The procedure involved breaking a hole in the bone near his eye and, essentially, creating a new duct. As part of the process, the doc inserted a tiny tube into the new tear duct to hold it open while it healed. The tube went up through Phil's nose, out one duct and into the other, and then back down into his nose, creating a loop. It was quite irritating and really gross to look at. Of course the grossness factor inspired Phil to have me take this picture of the atrocity. If you look closely, you can see the tube in the corner of his eye going into the tear ducts of each eye lid. It still creeps me out to look at.
Phil's favorite part of the operation was finding out that the dressing they used to pack his nose after surgery was loaded with cocaine. (Awwww, my little druggie gets his first--and only--fix!)
Friday, July 21, 2006
Here's how it all happened: I was doing some mending on my ancient sewing machine. I needed to rethread the bobbin (or the Golden Snitch, as my second son once called it). Meanwhile, son number three, who was almost 2 at the time, was pitching a screaming fit about something. Unfortunately for me, the two activities combined in a most painful manner. I was reaching for the thread as it came up from the bottom at the same moment that my son stomped his little foot forcefully on the foot pedal. Needle met index finger and created a stitch in time--right through my fingernail and out the bottom of my finger.
I yelled and pulled my finger away from the machine, only to be shocked to see the thread pulling away as well. T-- had literally sewn a stitch in my finger. I cut the thread and walked outside to find my husband. His main concern was whether or not I was going to pass out. My main concern was getting that thread out of my finger and making sure the needle hadn't broken off inside. We debated for a while whether or not I should head out to the InstaCare.
In the end, we came inside, soaked my finger (and the thread) in rubbing alcohol, and got out the pliers. Phil pulled that alcohol-soaked thread through my finger and I tried really hard not to cry from the pain. Eventually, it healed just fine. I had to take out some parts of my nail to pull out more thread there about a week after it happened, but after that was out it only took another week to heal.
My only regret?
Not taking a picture of my finger with thread coming out both the top and bottom.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Yes, just a short 14 years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. He even knew how to do that sea food joke. Only in this case, it was "See? Cake!"
As a side note, I didn't start swearing until after I got married. And kudos to those who know which song I'm referring to in my title.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
When Nathan Radlich's house was burgled, thieves left his TV, his VCR, and even left his watch. What they did take was "small, generic, white, cardboard box filled with greyish-white powder." (That at least is the way the police described it.) A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said, "that it looked similar to cocaine and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big time."
Then Nathan stood in front of the TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars: "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago."
Well, the next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was there too; about half of Gertrude's ashes remained. And there was this note. It said: "Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day."
Sure, buddy . . . no hard feelings.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Yes, I've finally caught up. I know, I know...I'm confirming your suspicions that I'm not completely normal--anal retentive, even. But I can't help but celebrate. I've had that budget hanging over my head like Pooh's black cloud since February, and I got everything done through June. Yippeeee! Now I can blog without guilt!
Until July 31, that is.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
My favorite story from Girls' Camp happened when the Beehives were cooking lunch the first day I got there. Hamburgers were on the menu and they were putting the patties on the grill. One of the older Beehives noted that there was a lot of red stuff coming out of the meat as it cooked. One of the leaders told her it was blood.
"Blood?!?!?!? As in real blood?" she squealed.
"Well, um, yes. This is from a cow."
She was incredulous. "A real cow? Like the animal?"
Then she came over to where I was sitting to share this shocking news: "When they were cooking the hamburgers over there, all this red stuff came out of the meat. They said it was cow's blood!!"
I couldn't help myself. I muttered, just loud enough for one of my former Mia Maids, Leah R., to hear, "Yeah. You'd expect that, being cow meat and all."
I'm such a compassionate and caring leader...so sympathetic to a 13-year-old's naivete.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Problem. In the past, I've ordered laces online and found a great selection of colors and patterns. Well, I didn't have time for that. So I went on the hunt. Do you know how hard it is to find shoelaces that are not black or white? Well, trust me, it's not easy. I made some phone calls and found a place I'd never heard of that sold lots of different kinds of laces. Great! It was at the mall, and I had errands to do there anyway with my 73-year-old mother. (I mention her age because it factors into the disparity.)
Loaded up the boys, dropped the older two off with Grandpa, picked up my mom, and headed to the mall with her and the two-year-old T-man. Mom wanted to go shoe shopping, so we took care of that first. Then we went on the hunt for the shoelace store.
We found it. Actually, my mother found it. It was not what I was expecting. Anyone ever heard of "Hot Topic"? Ever been inside? No? Let's just say the entire store is painted black. It smells like whatever it is kids use to mask the scent of weed. Every clerk I saw had tattoos and body piercings. All the T-shirts had either offensive pictures or offensive statements on them. The music was not exactly the kind that I find uplifting or even decent.
"What the hell am I doing in here????" I think. "I'm a good little Mormon mom with a young child in a stroller and an elderly mother in tow. Oh yeah--shoelaces."
I find lots of shoelaces. Most of the shoelaces have either skulls and crossbones on them or some sort of Gothic symbol. Hmmmm, thinking that the YW president is not going to go for that. Find only two I can use: hot pink with black stars and neon green with black stars. Well, at least I can argue that they aren't pentagrams--if you turn the stars the right direction. So I bought them.
I find myself wondering now what exactly was going through the minds of the clerks and customers that day as they witnessed such a visual disparity? I hope we gave them something to laugh at. At least my mom didn't say anything embarrassing about the skimpy clothing.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
So, getting back to hell, I found myself in fashion hell yesterday at the PostMart while mailing a package. It was like junior high all over again, down to the stupid little alligator thingie. Yes, folks, it's official. That idiotic popped collar thing is back. (I feel like the little girl from Poltergeist--"They're baaaaaaaaaaack!")
Two, yes, TWO young men there had their polo shirt collars popped up. It was scary. One was a customer and the other was one of the employees. And get this: the employee was doing the double shirt thing with both collars popped up. And his outer shirt was a light blue IZOD. Silently, my mind was screaming, "Noooooooooooooo!" I couldn't take my eyes off this strange phenomenon. I thought the popped collar rumors were just that, but here they were in the flesh.
I always hated the popped collar thing. I couldn't pull it off even when they were in style. For one, my parents couldn't afford IZOD shirts, so I got the imitation kind. Of course, that was fashion death in junior high--you have to have the real thing or you're not cool. For two, I always thought the popped collar thing looked stupid. The only time I want my collar up around my neck is in the dead of winter when I'm outside and the wind is blowing. I just don't get the look.
So here's my firm Betty for today: may Izod and the popped collar rot in hell.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
NINE LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP
It was in Miss Bechter's 5th grade class at Lyndale Grade School that we were all commanded to learn a poem by heart and be ready to recite it the next day in front of everyone and some of us remembered to learn a poem but most of us didn't but Ronnie Robertson saved the day for a few of us at least for a little while because when it was his turn to recite he just said something he'd known forever which went TEN LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP/COME LITTLE PIGGIES AND EAT YOUR SLOP and he sat down and folded his hands and looked straight ahead and nobody giggled out loud and Miss Bechter went right down the row to the next one who was Carol Nelson who snapped up straight and said TREES BY JOYCE KILMER and then said the whole dumb poem without a mistake though she went too fast but when she tried to zip by the part about the tree being pressed to the earth's sweet flowing breast some of us whisper-giggled and Bob Essler said a bit too loud that he'd like to see a tree growing out of a tit which made Miss Bechter say TIME TO GROW UP REMBEMBER BOYS SOME OF YOU ARE GOING TO BE 6TH GRADERS SOON SHALL WE GET BACK TO BUSINESS but as soon as we got back to business a girl tried to get away with TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS WHEN but that's all she got out before Miss Bechter said that wasn't the sort of poem she had in mind and that the girl had better look for a different poem and try again tomorrow and then it was Jerry Beckley's turn which made everybody wonder what he'd try to get away with this time and this time he just yelled TEN LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP/COME LITTLE PIGGES AND EAT YOUR SLOP and grinned at Ronnie Robertson but Miss Bechter interrupted his grin by saying Mr. Beckley was supposed to stand when he recited so Mr. Beckley jumped up and yelled it again and Miss Bechter let it go because it was Jerry and because she'd just been cross about TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS but pretty soon she was also cross about the piggies poem because when the next guy tried it she made a noise with her foot and said THAT WILL BE THAT which we all knew meant no more about the piggies and we were on our own but Early Kinard who was a kind of daredevil and didn't care too much about his future and getting into 6th Grade didn't give up right away and when it was his turn to recite he gambled on NINE LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP/COME LITTLE PIGGIES AND EAT YOUR SLOP and won and ended up in 6th Grade.
(Keith Gunderson, 25 Minnesota Poets, edited by Seymour Yesner, Minneapolis: Nodin Press, 1974)
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
My mom's name is Julie .
She is 50 years old and weighs 60 lbs.
She has blonde hair and brown eyes.
Her favorite food is tacos .
She likes to snuggle with me .
She doesn't like to go Lego shopping with me .
My favorite thing about her is that she's nice to me .
I love her because she reminds me to play violin .
Not exactly accurate, but still sweet.
From son #1 came the following talk, written by himself with a little bit of help from his dad, delivered in Sacrament Meeting:
Mother's Day Talk
May 14, 2006
Why did God create woman?
Because he looked at Adam and said: "Oh, I can do better than that!"
A few days ago I was asked by Brother H-- to give a talk about Mother's Day during Sacrament Meeting. Hey Mom? Do me a favor and try not to be too embarrassed...
The theme of my talk today is how my mom and my grandmas have created an example of sacrifice and endurance for my brothers and me.
A few months ago my Mom got hooked on blogging. Blogging has now become almost a daily routine (note that I said almost). I have learned that you will be much better off to make sure to never disturb her as she writes her strange stories and comedies. Otherwise, you can usually expect her to behave like an angry cat. I think blogging has become her escape when the pressure of raising kids causes her to want to bring back the law of Moses and turn one of us into a burnt offering. I'm grateful that in this way my Mom is teaching me sacrifice and endurance.
After a long, long day of patiently helping and teaching me and my brothers, my Mom and Dad knelt together to say their evening prayers. Mom, being so tired from the efforts of the day, obviously wasn't thinking quite straight. She said, "We are grateful for the clothes that we have to eat and the food that we have to wear..." This story taught me that raising kids can be a demanding job but my Mom always does her best to remember to do what is most important.
Switching gears, let me tell you a little about my Grandma A-- when she was a kid. One day, the Relief Society decided to hold a meeting at her house. She was playing outside and caught a bucketful of mice. She thought they were so cute that she brought them inside to show to all the Relief Society ladies. Once inside, Grandma accidentally tripped and fell, spilling the bucket of mice everywhere. All the Relief Society ladies immediately jumped up onto their chairs and began screaming. The mice were scared from all the noise, so they all ran right back into the bucket. My grandma picked up the bucket, carried it back outside, and let the mice go free again. To this day, she still picks up snakes. Whenever she finds spiders in her house, rather than squishing them, she gingerly picks them up and carries them outside to set them free. This story has taught me to be kind even to things that some of us might find repulsive or scary (not that I mind snakes, but in my opinion spiders are totally evil).
My Grandma S-- has also left me with a legacy of sacrifice and service. Let me tell you two stories about her:
My Grandma and Grandpa S-- lived on a farm in Kansas. Grandpa always carried a rifle on his tractor to take care of the jack rabbits that would devour his crops. One day while driving over a particularly bumpy spot, the rifle accidentally went off. The bullet shot out straight towards his head. At the time, my dad had not been born yet and was still a twinkle in Grandma's eyes. My mom says that's why the bullet hit Grandpa in the teeth rather than killing him. I can just imagine my mom's spirit saying to my dad's, "O.K., you slow down the bullet and I'll wreck the aim!"
So, with blood streaming out of his mouth, Grandpa raced back to the house to get help. My Grandma S-- refused to take him to the hospital until she had a chance to put on some makeup. She always wanted to look her best.
Twenty five years later my Grandma S-- was cleaning up the basement in her house and found what she thought was an old board leaning up against the wall. She decided to vacuum behind it. The board was really a thick and very heavy piece of steel. So when she grabbed the top to move it, it's huge weight carried her hand and smashed it through a nearby wall. With several bones broken and blood streaming from her hand, she again refused to go to the hospital until she had a chance to put on makeup. Once again, she wanted to look her best despite the trying circumstances.
While living on the farm in Kansas, neither of my S-- grandparents were members of our church. One day the missionaries knocked on their door and gave them a Book of Mormon. My grandpa agreed to read it but only to prove that it was wrong. A few months later he was baptized into the church. So much for proving it wrong... My Grandma S-- had a harder time. You see, her dad was a Lutheran minister and the rest of her family were devoted Lutherans. Over time and through an experience that is too sacred to share now, my Grandma S-- came to know that the church was true. However, she was torn between honoring her parents and honoring her newly found beliefs. Eventually, she decided to get baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She found ways to still honor her parents while beginning a legacy of following truth that affects me even to this day.
Through their examples of sacrifice, endurance, and many other things, mothers play an important role in all of our lives. They always have, and they always will. Today is our chance to honor and respect mothers around the world. I know that despite anything, we should always love and respect our mothers. They deserve it. I bear witness to these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
7 things I want to do before I die
- See all of my children and their spouses together in the celestial room of the temple.
- Tour my husband's mission with him (Japan).
- Go on a mission with my husband.
- Be a better friend.
- Travel through Europe (specifically England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales).
- Live in a completely finished house.
- Build a treehouse in my yard.
- Grow a beard. (Give me 20 years, though, and I might be able to do it.)
- Walk on a tightrope.
- Wire a house.
- Lift my van.
- He's tall, dark, and handsome.
- He has a great sense of humor.
- He loves to play with children.
- He's not afraid to cry.
- He is humble.
- He teases kindly.
- He loves me.
- Who are you in charge of?
- Holy cow!
- Take care of each other, walk safely, and remember who you are. (To my boys as they leave for school)
- Uh-oh! (courtesy of Love and Logic)
- I love you.
- Oh sh**!
- Is your homework done?
- I Came to Love You Late, by Joyce Landorf
- These Is My Words, by Nancy Turner
- Anything by Robin McKinley
- The Dark Is Rising series, by Susan Cooper
- Harry Potter
- The Magic of Ordinary Days, by Ann Howard Creel
- Whatever I'm currently reading
7 movies I could watch over and over (or really like a lot--who has time to watch a movie over and over?)
- The Princess Bride
- Anne of Green Gables
- Shrek (1 and 2)
- The Emperor's New Groove
- Whale Rider
- Music from the Heart
- Christmas Story
7 People I'd like to hear 7 Sevens from (only seven?!?! Sheesh!)
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Is it a plague? Only you can decide.
This is for Lorien, C Jane, ~j, sewfunny, and the rest of you out there who also own "THE SHIRT."
I got mine for $1 at the Orem Walmart. My husband, not to be outdone by Guy, calls it my Garden of Gazoingos. Lovely.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
When asked why we are sometimes left alone and often sad, President Brigham Young's response was that man has to learn to "act as an independent being...to see what he will do...and try his independency--to be righteous in the dark." (Quoted by President James E. Faust in his October 2005 General Conference talk entitled "The Light in Their Eyes.")
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
As I pushed the cart through the store, finishing my shopping, son #3 (who is 2 years old), discovered the joys of sitting down hard on a whoopee cushion. Just like the cushion, he and son #2 erupted--in fits of giggles. I got some interesting (and withering) glances from my fellow shoppers, as my sons persisted in making fart noises and laughing at my embarrassment. Granted, I brought it on myself for even putting the things in my cart, but still.
Speaking of flatulence...not even a week after the ShopKo incident, I was watching Animal Planet's "The Most Extreme." They were doing a show on the most disgusting things that animals (including humans) do. I was educated to the fact that human beings experience an average of 10 "messages from within" per day. That's 3.5 PINTS of gas per day, folks. (Cows are the worst producers of methane, by the way.) And if you want to increase your degree of nastiness, your diet should include beans, broccoli, cabbage, and onions.
Why is it that people are so troubled by these "messages from within"? Everyone does it, but few want to admit it publicly. Eddie Murphy makes boo-koo bucks from potty humor. The only benefit I ever got from flatulation was a means of comfort for son #2. At one point in his young life, he was afraid of monsters. So, using my expert parenting skills (you know--the special ones you have to use when you're thinking on your feet), I told him that there were no monsters in our house because monsters don't like farts or burps, and every time anyone in our house did that, the monsters would run away. And since farting and burping happen a lot in a house with three boys and a grown man (all right--and a grown woman as well), he had nothing to worry about.
Hey--don't laugh. It worked. For weeks after that, anytime anyone expressed a message from within, son #2 would let us know that we had just cleared the house of monsters. (Of course, if my husband has been eating Mexican food, he can clear the house of people as well.)
So here's to messages from within. May your 3.5 pints of gas per day clear your house of all monsters and menaces, and may you always come off smelling like a rose!
Monday, March 20, 2006
Saturday, March 04, 2006
The truck in front of us had some strange appendages attached to the trailer hitch. I couldn't figure out what they were or the purpose they might serve, but I turned to Lorien, who was driving, and pointed it out.
"Does that look like what I think it is?"
"That truck there. It looks like it has a package on the trailer hitch."
Sure enough: someone had masculated their truck with what appeared to be metallic testicles. Now I can understand the whole fuzzy dice from the mirror, hula dancers on the dash board, and even the peeing Calvin sticker, but a fake scrotum? Puh-lease! It's bad enough when men put risers in their truck or buy really big pickups to assert their manhood, but must we put male body parts on the bumper?
I suppose it correlates somehow with that whole bra thing that used to be popular on cars. (Maybe it still is popular, but I wouldn't know--cars are colors to me.) At least the bra is merely an item of clothing, although an intimate piece of apparel at that. Perhaps I should seek out this truck and put a jock strap on it. I mean, this person is obviously seeking approval & support for something. No need to put the family jewels in jeopardy on a road with all those aggressive drivers asserting their manhood, right? Maybe a cup would be a better idea....
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Of course he used the wipe to clean his fingers, but then the man I know and love came shining through. The lemon-scented wipe went up his nose. (And I mean that literally: he shoved the wipe up his nostrils.) Judging by the reactions of our dinner companions, I gathered that somehow this behavior was supposed to be a shock to me. It wasn't.
Yes, I have known for years of Phil's addiction to lemon-scented hand wipes. Each time those wipes appear at a restaurant, I know what's going to happen next. He's going to put each one up to his nose and breath deeply for several minutes, after which he'll express his wish that he could eat them.
I suppose I'm an enabler because I, too, admit to loving that smell. When I was a lot younger than I am now, I had a lemon-scented chapstick that smelled (and tasted) just like those hand wipes. I rationed that stick out for years because I loved it so much. I've never found another one.
So this gets me thinking and wondering what smells do I love? Here's my off-the-top-of-my-head list:
1. Wet concrete, especially in the summer. It makes me think of running through sprinklers with my friends when I was little.
2. Sawdust. The smell of woodshops is comforting. Dad was a woodshop teacher for years and taught my brothers and my husband those skills as well.
3. Homemade bread. Mom used to make bread and rolls a lot while I was growing up. One of our favorite treats was hot bread, fresh from the oven, slathered in butter.
4. The smell of fall means it's time for school. I loved school! (See, Leah? I told you I was a weird kid.)
5. Cinnamon & sugar. Mmmmmmmm. 'Nuff said.
6. The smell of my babies in the morning, but only if they don't have stinky diapers. That whole wet diaper, morning breath thing, combined with the fuzzy hair and sweet smiles, just gets to me.
7. That cold smell just after a good snowfall. Crisp, clean, and no caffeine.
8. Rain. I love the smell of a pending rainstorm and the smell after it rains.
9. Books. Libraries smell sooooo good! I love to read, so it's a natural connection.
10. Hmmmm. Thinking...ah! Got it. The smell of leather. I don't really have any associations with it, but I love it.
So how about you, dear readers? What are your favorite smells?