Sunday, August 31, 2008


So yesterday afternoon I walked into the kitchen, and my 14-year old was doing the dishes. It thrilled me that she was doing her job without me having to remind her. And then I realized something that propelled my already happy heart into the stratosphere: dishes were not her responsibility this week. She did them just because she noticed that they needed doing.

Surely this dream is too good to be true... but please, please don't wake me up!

Thanks, Susan! You RAWK.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Husband Hero

My husband and I try to get out of the house on a date once a week. Unfortunately, we usually don't plan ahead, and when Friday night rolls around, this is what usually happens:

Does anyone in the world besides us have this problem? And is it even a problem? Maybe it's just a symptom of being married for a long time. Maybe the realities of raising children killed romance and stomped the bloody carcass beyond all recognition. Maybe I'm lucky to still be married at all, since only 52% of marriages last 15 years (we've been hitched for 17.5 years), and I should stop whining about lack of romance and just count my blessings already!

Well, there is a group of enterprising folks who are betting that there are plenty of married couples with this problem--and they assure me that it is indeed a big problem-- and they have the solution (click on the picture to link to the website):

The Husband Hero service promises to "make romance easier" by reminding husbands about important occasions, passing along great romantic ideas via email, and to give husbands "mind reading powers", so they're guaranteed that their romantic efforts will "knock the ball out of the park".

So, lemme see if I got this straight: Husband Hero is a bunch of guys who, in exchange for money, will teach other guys how to get some? But that's just my cynical side showing. Just ignore that. Ahem.

I am not sure how to feel about this service. It sounds like a great idea on the surface, but would it be weird knowing that my husband's romantic gestures were not his idea, but came from an email reminder?

What do y'all think?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Master the Hormones are Raging

I love my family with every fiber of my being. Home is a heaven on earth. Also a temple-like place where everyone speaks in respectful tones and smiles sweetly just like the family portrait on the wall.

Oh let's cut the crap, shall we? Family life is chaotic, messy, and occasionally downright annoying. Sometimes I want to scream obscenities at various smaller-than-me people and then run away and never come back.

It's true. Sometimes I think maybe there is an axe murderer living inside me, and once in a while she makes a break for freedom.

Monday night she almost escaped.

My children had no idea how close they came to death. There was no audible screaming. Although I did raise my voice at one point when this conversation happened:

"Mommy? Can I have a snack?"

"No Megan, I am cooking dinner. No snacks."

"But I'm hungry!"

"I know this. That is why I am fixing dinner. We will eat in 20 minutes."

"But can't I have something while I wait?"

I took a slow breath and spoke in my patient but firm mom voice. "Megan. Listen very carefully. I am making dinner as fast as I can. We will eat in 20 minutes. You may have a big glass of water, and then you can eat all you want when dinner is served."

"But... I'm hungry!"

Patience gave way to my WWF Smackdown voice. "OUT! If I see you in this kitchen again before I call you up for dinner you will be eating Cat Food for dinner!"

Megan's face crumpled, and her lower lip began to tremble.

"Please go to your room to cry because I so do not want to see it!"

She went.

Then my 16 year old came in to ask if she could do something with Tim (the 18-yo boyfriend -- yes, the one she's been dating since April. Heaven help us all.) after Family Home Evening. I groaned inwardly because -- hello! -- didn't we set ourselves up for this by letting her go out to a concert with another boy on the last Monday of summer, and also by letting her go out with Tim on weeknights during the summer? I hate having to be the bad guy, and I do have compassion for the fact that due to their combined work schedules, she hasn't seen his face in over a week, but come on - it's a school night, and Monday night to boot! She stomped off to pout in her room, and come dinnertime she wasn't hungry and sat at the table with a forlorn look on her face. Actually, everyone had a forlorn look on their face due to the lovely leftovers that graced the dinner table. Nobody was jazzed about dinner, including me.

And then, the pinnacle of the evening, that happiest of all times arrived: Family Home Evening!!!! A kid in our ward is doing his Eagle Project by organizing care packages to be sent to forgotten soldiers in Iraq who don't have anyone who loves them enough to send them letters and so they will be overjoyed to get mail from perfect strangers. So this project sounds like a pretty good idea, right? Except that in addition to filling the box with goodies, we all had to write a letter to a perfect stranger. Or perhaps he's an imperfect stranger. I've never really understood exactly what that phrase means, actually, now that I stop and think about it.

What do you say to a soldier that you don't know... "I hope you don't get blown up tomorrow, but just in case you do, thanks for your selfless service?"

So we're all sitting at the table, and I'm trying to think of something halfway intelligent and sincere to write to some sad lonely soldier and Megan is tapping my arm every FIVE SECONDS to ask how to spell this or that. Karianne starts to sniff, then bursts into tears and lays her head down on her paper, and then runs to her room to finish her meltdown.

Finally we finish the stupid lovely letters after I practically have to drag Megan away from hers because she keeps adding smiley faces and rainbows ad nauseum. So then off we go to the grocery store with the shipping box to fill it with goodies for the lonely but lucky soldier.

Because I am usually in charge and naturally bossy, at first I was frustrated that Tom kept disagreeing with me about where to go in the store and what to put in the package. Once I gave in to the Alpha Male and told myself I was GLAD that I was not in charge of something for a change, I was ok. Then Tom bought everyone a dipped cone at the deli, and we sat down at tables to eat them. The ice cream was oozing out of little holes in the hard chocolate shell like chocolate coated vanilla volcanos and we used about a pound of napkins to mop up the sticky mess that was dripping everywhere, including all over our hands and clothes.

Meanwhile, Nathan had bargained with his dad for a bag of caramel corn instead of a dipped cone so he was hoarding that, even though it was far too large for him to eat by himself, but by gum he was going to try. And all this time Megan is snuggling up to my left side on the bench with her sticky dripping cone and Susan was on my other side and at the next table was a family with an adorable toddler who kept screaming "DAD!!!" at random intervals and there was NO ESCAPE! I had to turn away from the other family and clamp my hand over the ear closest to them to keep from phasing into a murderous werewolf and killing everyone in that section of the store, which I'm pretty sure would be frowned upon by all involved. Besides, then my cute clothes would have been shredded.

Just kidding on the "cute" part. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

Finally we got home again and I stood at the counter contemplating the leftover leftovers to decide what to pitch and what could be saved to live another day while making a mental list of everything I had to do before I could close my eyes, and while I was doing this, Nathan burst into the kitchen with an angry "why isn't the monitor on the computer working?!"

And I just about lost it. Again.

I growled something about "there is only one of me in this house so the stupid computer will have to wait, and why in HECK are you standing here griping at me instead of getting ready for bed like I asked you to 10 minutes ago!"

So he growled and stomped off and I piled more guilt on myself and gave up and threw away all the food and slunk downstairs to try to figure out the cursed computer. And I actually did get it working in just a few minutes, amazingly enough.

And then I went and apologized to my son and then cut my husband's hair and then checked on the poor persecuted teenager with the thwarted love life and we talked until nearly midnight and then my husband also wanted to talk and it was 12:30 am when we finally turned out the light and I closed my eyes and waited for sleep and kinda hoped that I wouldn't wake up in the morning.

But I did wake up. And I felt better and could actually look back on the evening and smile. A little.

And while I figure that I am absolutely the only mom who ever wishes she could abandon her family but is too responsible to ever really do it, I'm okay with that.

I just hope it's a whole month before the axe-murderer comes to visit again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Occasionally Asked Questions

Welcome to my OAQ (pronounced 'oh-wack'). I know that it doesn't have the same clever ring as a FAQ, but since this blog doesn't get all that much traffic, most questions only get asked once or maybe twice, and hence the term "frequently" doesn't quite apply here. And I'm okay with that. Popularity is over-rated, anyway. Honestly, it's not a big deal to me! Really.

Chicken Update: they're about as big as breadboxes now. Does anyone actually know how big a breadbox is supposed to be? So yeah. They're dark orange feathered, white tailed, chicken-shaped breadboxes on legs. If you follow the link there is a picture of them. We've sent all the cockerels and meat birds on to that great pasture in the sky. Now that we're down to just the four hens (who will start laying in late September or so), I've been letting them run around the yard during the day. Actually, for the past week or so, I've pretty much been ignoring them. I changed their water yesterday. I think. They find a sheltered spot to spend the night, and spend their days scratching in all the flowerbeds, garden beds, and yes, eating my blackberries and grape tomatoes and windfall apples. I toss out leftovers and overripe ears of corn. They eat the cat's food if someone leaves it out on the porch. The siamese cat, Baby, is my chicken herder. She is never far from the flock, watching them with fascinated eyes. They are not afraid of her in the least, and often come in for a closer look, at which point the cat turns and flees to a safer spot. The other day I looked out the kitchen window, and one of the hens was actually chasing her across the lawn! She ran to the screen door and meowed piteously for me to save her! I must start keeping the camera closer at hand!

Knee Update: I am recovering nicely after falling out of my house nearly two weeks ago. After about a week, the swelling and painful stiffness began to recede and I am back to riding bike and walking to condition the leg. Clogging starts in just under a week and I hope to be ready to join the class on September 2nd. I got the green light from my surgeon to slowly re-engage in normal activities of my choice, so now I am just waiting for my knee to read the memo. Wish me luck!

The Kitchen: Ugh. I am trapped in indecision. Do I go for the cheap re-staining of cabinets and a spray-on countertop facelift that I can afford now, or do I save up another year or so for the complete renovation, including new flooring, appliances, and a cabinet/appliance configuration designed by someone who actually spends time working in a kitchen (aka: a woman)? Or maybe a middle of the road, fence sitter approach: stain the cabinets and buy a new laminate countertop? I think the problem is that I don't really know what I want. I guess when I really get serious about doing something, I will actually do the research and shopping required to make a decision. The real question is: will my desire for an updated kitchen ever be stronger than my aversion to shopping?

The Harvest: This is the time of year that I am glad that I forced myself to plant stuff in the spring. We are currently eating our fill of table grapes, corn, green beans, and zucchini, as well as sharing with neighbors. Green peppers are sizing up and will be ready soon, along with raspberries and peaches. We would be eating grape tomatoes and blackberries if I would keep the chickens penned up. Salad tomatoes are still green, and the cantaloupes are racing to ripen before cooler weather comes. I am cautiously optimistic.

The Garden: I think that this is my poorest gardening year yet. Last year I was ambitious and energetic, and we planted the entire back and side of the neighbor's yard. This year, I've let everything go.

Ever since my mother's passing last September I haven't felt the passion for working in the garden that I once did. I wonder if maybe I loved gardening because my mother did and I was subconsciously trying to be like her? I don't know. Now that she's gone, I don't care so much any more. Add lack of interest to being crippled for most of the spring and early summer, and the result is a weed patch. Even now that I can work outside again, I don't much. I feel faintly embarrassed when I actually open my eyes and see how bad my yard looks, but even then I don't care enough to do anything about it.

Maybe next year.

The Bishop: Hiccups asked, "What's it like being interviewed by the new bishop?" Uh... I don't understand the question, really. The bishop doesn't interview me, unless you count pillow talk.

Which I don't.

He puts in a 10 - 12 hour day most Sundays and has interviews or visits two other nights per week. He's out doing good a lot. Even when he's home he's often preoccupied with the problems of ward members or talking to them on the phone. I'm just the support personnel at home that irons his shirts and prepares meals so that when he walks in the door after a long day at work he can go right back out and do good. It's a good thing I'm a strong independent woman with my own interests and friends, otherwise I'd miss him too much. Then I might be forced to schedule an interview.

Stay tuned for more true confessions...

Anything else you wanna know?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Like A Giant Hairball...

...Puked forth from a large cat. A mountain lion sized hairball. Wet, rotting, and putrid.

This is what has been blocking the water drain on my washing machine, causing the clothes to finish the cycle dripping wet, with detergent residue still on them.

Clockwise from top:

Wet, partially decomposed paper, with entangled pony tail elastic.
A used bandaid.
The valet key to my Honda Odyssey (I've been looking everywhere for that thing!)
A dime and a penny.
My favorite silver necklace that I'd given up as lost forever. It is ruined beyond hope. :sob!:
Four bobby pins.
A ball inflating needle.
An Emery board.

Thankfully, my appliance was still under warranty, and so the $87.59 repair bill was waived. The repairman was in my house for less than 15 minutes. Dude. That's $350 per hour!!!

I guess I need to do a better job checking pockets from now on!

Just in case you missed it...

Sometimes I blog about events in the life of my family. Once in awhile I post silly links to websites or videos that I find entertaining. Occasionally I post recipes. Once a week or so, a vitally important poll question. And then there are the posts where I write about things I'm thinking about - questions, theories, or personal issues that I'd enjoy a little input on. The only time I care about comments are on the last kind. Okay, that's a baldface lie - I hope for comments on every post, but more especially on the posts that are meaningful to me. I love a good discussion, and although I make noise on the sidebar about only wanting comments and emails that agree with me, I really want the truth from you. I do. Truly. Just try to be nice about it, ok?

A couple of times there has been a most interesting comment, and I've replied to it asking for more clarification, and then the thread dies right there, because the person who made the original comment never comes back to check the post again and therefore never answers my question and deprives me of added knowledge and wisdom. This grieves me. Deeply.

So, this post is a little "how-to" about making comments on blogger: when you click on the comment link and it takes you to the little pop-up screen and you type in your sage words that will change my life, if you are signed into your google account, you have the option, should you choose to accept it, to click on the little checkbox that says "Email follow-up comments to". Then, any subsequent comments by anyone will be emailed directly to you, so when I reply and ask a very important question that only you can answer, you will know it and YOU WILL COMMENT AGAIN so that the thread can live on!

If you don't have a google account, you cannot use this feature. You must repent speedily and we will gladly welcome you into the fold.

Of course, if you are one of those compulsive reader types that checks in here several times a day because you just can't stay away (you know who you are), obviously you don't need email comment forwards. So just pretend you didn't read this.

Thank you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Girls' Night Out

Last Monday night I went out with two of my favorite people; Jessica, my fellow sister-outlaw (SOL), and Amidey, aka ETPQ. We went to see Mamma Mia, the utterly ridiculous chick-flick musical based on the music of ABBA. It was silly and and outrageous, with lots of tacky innuendo and bad singing. My husband would have hated it. But it was perfect for three women in the mood to cut loose and go crazy.

I would have posted a picture of this wild and crazy group, except that some people whine excessively when a camera is aimed at them. You know who you are. (Hint: It wasn't me. Or Jessica either.)

Because it was Monday night, all the good Mormons (i.e., not us) were home holding Family Home Evening or tucking their beloved small fry into bed, and the theater was completely EMPTY when we arrived. Jessica WaaaaHoooooo-ed her approval, I pumped an enthusiastic fist in the air, and Amidey began wriggling with excitement and declared that she was going to dance through the entire movie. A few minutes before showtime, a young couple took up residence on the back row above us. I suggested that maybe she should limit her celebrations to sit-dancing.

We sat on the front row of the top section of stadium seats, and stretched our legs out until our feet perched on the top rail in front of us. It was then that Jessica and I noticed the simply adorable tan canvas 3-inch platform pumps that Amidey had on her miserable little size 7 feet. Suddenly I understood why I felt like I was walking next to a Barbie Doll on the way into the theatre - this lunatic was 6 feet tall to my not quite 5'8". Jessica stuck her comfy Crocs clad footsies up while I displayed my nerdy brown leather loafers. Jessica and I looked at one another in mutual envious disgust, joined hands in our secret SOL handshake, and made a blood pact that for any future Girls' Nights there will be a "comfortable and casual" dress code enforced, with emphasis on the force.

We laughed, danced, and sang our way through the silly movie. The young couple tired of theater necking about 90 minutes in and headed for their car, at which point I granted Amidey permission to let loose. It was quite a show. There was a dare accepted and attempted. Please direct any photo or video inquiries to hippocricyatgmaildotcom.

Coming out of the theater, we were laughing so hard I regretted my decision to skip the ladies' room on the way out. None of us was ready to go home, so we set off in search of a restaurant still open at 11:35pm, with the intent of calming ourselves by devouring large amounts of sugar and fat. The rest of the evening is a little hazy. I do remember debilitating laughter, an almost food fight, and the overconsumption of large quantities of ice cream, caramel, chocolate, and cheesecake. Someone laughed so hard they began to cry. I was finally forced to take that potty break. But at no time was there reckless driving, profanity, over-sharing, or violence. I am the bishop's wife, after all.

I can't wait to do it again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

21st Anniversary

I met my amazing hottie husband twenty-one years ago today.

Would you like to hear the story?

It was August 24, 1987, and I had arrived for new student orientation the weekend before classes started for fall semester at BYU-Provo. My parents and sister had helped me unload my belongings into my on-campus dorm room that afternoon. I had met my new roommate and several other girls on my floor. At dinner we learned that our Y-group was going to meet for get-to-know-you games and a tour of campus that evening, and there were going to be boys there.

Boys?! Sign me up!

I went down a few minutes early to the lobby where our group was to meet, towing my roommate and a couple of other girls for security. After all, there were going to be boys there!

And boys there were. A lean, muscular young man with dark hair and large blue eyes looked up as my giggling group entered the room. His teeth were perfect, and his eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled. His biceps bulged out from the sleeves of his blue t-shirt. I'm sure there were other boys there too, but I don't remember much about them. I saw only him. Dang, but he was cute.

At BYU, the mandatory cliche pattern was always followed when meeting someone new: "What's your name, where're you from, what's your major?" His name was Tom. He was from Seattle. He was studying Electrical Engineering. When I told him I was from Idaho, he asked which town.

"Blackfoot," I said. (I grew up in the potato farming community west of Blackfoot, but no one knows or cares where backwater Pingree is, so I always say Blackfoot. It saves time).

"Really? I have an aunt and uncle that live near Blackfoot."

And because Idaho is a little hick state with exactly 25 people living in it, he told me the name of his uncle, naively confident that I would know who that was.

I did.

I gaped. "Mr. **** is your Uncle?! Mr. **** taught me how to drive!! Your aunt is the librarian at my high school! No way!"

And with that, a bond was formed between us. A pretty weak bond at first, actually, considering that he didn't ask me out for nearly two months after that despite me being oh so available, but there was something there, to be sure. Well, I felt it, anyway.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Yard Boy

This is my husband. I really like him.

He doesn't appear on my blog often because he doesn't care to have his picture plastered all over the internet. What a shame. The man is a hunk with some seriously sexy biceps I wouldn't mind showing off. Most of the time I respect his wish for anonymity. But not today.

See that weed in his left hand? It is the last one of scores of tall weeds that he pulled around the yard this morning, after mowing the neighbor's un-landscaped yard (in which we garden in exchange for weed control). Because I was crippled all through spring and into mid-summer, the garden next door was much reduced in size, which left the remainder of the yard at the mercy of nature. Translation: because I have been siting on my fat apple for the last five months, the weeds took over. Prickly lettuce, goats head, knotweed, spurge, kochia, pigweed, and wild sunflowers flourished.

I feel responsible for the mess - after all, I am the one who made the deal with the kind, gracious woman next door. My husband is busy with more important things than yardwork, such as earning a living and seeing to the temporal and spiritual needs of 500 people, so I haven't asked for help with what was clearly a losing battle for me. As a result, the nightmare next door has been preying on my mind all summer.

And now they've all been cut down to the ground. Because he noticed that I was in over my head and just not keeping up.

Thanks, honey.

What is this, 20 Questions?

Okay I got tagged with this funny little questionnaire while ago and finally got all my kids to answer the questions. Now I tag Raeley, Brooklyn, Tanner, Miles, Trent, Jared, Diana, Christina, Gabie, Reed, and George.

Wow, there is nothing like seeing yourself through the eyes of your children. Talk about a reality check!

1. What is something mom always says to you?

Karianne (16): "Are you going to do something with Tim tonight?" Also "Have a good day" when I leave in the morning. Plus "I love you" too of course.

Susan (14): "have you practiced saxophone today? what about piano?" or maybe "you are cute."

Nathan (11): "Go practice piano," and "Go do your dinner job."

Megan (8): She says "No!"

2. What makes mom happy?

Karianne: When you do the dishes without her asking. Also when we say thanks for dinner mom, thanks dinner for mom.

Susan: When her knee isn't swollen and it feels better than it has before plus also when we do the dishes!

Nathan: When I practice piano without her asking me. When I do my dinner job, and when I obey her.

Megan: When I hug her.

3. What makes mom sad?

Karianne: When you are late for curfew or you don't do your homework all because of a boy. That makes her worried. Which is the same as sad I think.

Susan: When she can't walk right, and when she thinks she is not a good mom. even though I think she is a good mom!

Nathan: When I die. :smirk:

Megan: When I don't obey her.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Karianne: She talks to plants. :) Also she gets mad when you say moun'n and it is really funny ha ha

Susan: By teasing me alot! :)

Nathan: By teasing me and attacking me.

Megan: When she tickles me.

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Karianne: Um hello, I was not alive how would I know that?

Susan: um, a child? with blonde hair? idk

Nathan: Um. Let's see... um. Small.

Megan: Um. I don't know anything about when she was a child.

6. How old is your mom?

Karianne: uh.... I actually forgot. No I'm serious. She didn't tell me not to tell. I think it's 39 or maybe it's still 38. How do I always forget this?

Susan: 38 I think but it doesn't really matter to me

Nathan: Uh... 39.

Megan: Um. Okay. Um. 38

(I am 39)

7. How tall is your mom?

5' 6" or something like that. I think she's taller than me still.

Susan: um, five foot......... eight. that's my guess. or five foot nine.

Nathan: Uh, like five foot nine or something like that.

Megan: I don't know. 10,000 feet? She is four feet tall.

(I am 5'8")

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Plant things. Also talk to plants that are growing. Maybe sing to them when nobody is listening.

Susan: Blog. And talk to Amidey and email. And garden usually

Nathan: Um... blog. Garden. And email. Oh, and watch us play games while she cooks.

Megan: She likes to blog and to sit with me.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

I have never figured that one out. I'm guessing she does laundry and cleans the kitchen also she burns lovely smelling candles and sometimes makes delicious bread. Because that's what it's like when I come home.

Susan: I don't know cause I'm not around, right? I think she probly blogs lol

Nathan: Um... shop and blog and um, blog some more. Let's see. Yeah.

Megan: I don't know, 'cause I'm not around! Blog maybe? And she goes shopping.

10. If your mom becomes famous what will it be for?

Gardening for sure.

Susan: It will be for gardening. or chicken knowledge! :)

Nathan: Um... Let's see. That would be because... she is good at nagging people and getting them to do things.

Megan: Ummmmmmmm... Hm. For having chickens. And for falling out of the house.

11. What is your mom really good at?

Cooking and making plants grow with her magical talking(or singing) skills.

Susan: She is really good at cooking! And she is a good mom. Plus she is good at writing I think and she plays the piano well too.

Nathan: Gardening, cooking, blogging, um... everything.

Megan: Blogging. Helping me fall asleep. Falling down.

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Explaining math to me. Doing the math is not really the problem it's just making me understand.

Susan: She is not very good at...... umm....... I don't really know!

Nathan: Um... walking forwards, keeping chickens off the porch, and that's it.

Megan: Walking. Waking me up in the morning.

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Keep us living

Susan: She raises chickens for her job! Plus also kids! lol

Nathan: Be a mom.

Megan: She be's a mom. And she takes care of chickies and that annoying cat that growls at peoples.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

Peasant Pasta? Or basically any homegrown vegetable, no matter how weird and unheard of it is. No actually it's La Casita. There we go.

Susan: Hmm. her favorite food is.... I think mexican. Plus she likes peasant pasta. But I don't! haha :)

Nathan: Um, like Mexican stuff from that one restaurant... I don't remember the name it's like a
Mexican name! (La Casita)

Megan: Spaghetti.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

She does what she wants and is the way she wants to be because she wants to. Not to please the world.

Susan: That she had knee surgery and I think she is doing a good job at recovering!

Nathan: She is a good mom, and a lot of things.

Megan: That she can have chickens and raise up four kids.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Um that is tricky. I might possibly come back to it. Or maybe not.

Susan: She would be... um..... let's see. She would be Elastigirl!

Nathan: The mommy buzzard on Loony Tunes.

Megan: Larry the Cucumber

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Talk late late late at night. Also lately we go shopping but she does NOT enjoy that activity so...

Susan: We talk. And also lately we went shopping for school.

Nathan: We pick beans and stuff, we planted corn, and swim at the reservoir.

Megan: Go shopping and get ears pierced.

18. How are you and your mom the same?

We look a lot the same on account of she gave me genes.

Susan: Well we are related! haha! Plus we both like music. And we can read each other's minds!

Nathan: We both have blue eyes. We both can sort-of-ish play the piano.

Megan: We're both the youngest child in our families.

19. How are you and your mom different?

I think I express my emotions more easily at all times (this basically means I cry a LOT for very little things that don't matter very much.) Also I am more involved socially than she ever was in high school and probly still now too. I care what other people think very much, I want to please everyone and she is content when it's the right thing to do even if some people are not that happy.

Susan: I have brown hair. and I have freckles. and ummm...... I have longer hair? I don't know.

Nathan: I'm a boy and she's not. I'm a kid and she's old. I have shorter hair, and I look more like my dad.

Megan: Um...because I go to school and she does not?

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Well, she tells me it often, also she waits up for me when I'm out of the house late and she talks to me and lets me dump problems on her because I need them to be dumped. She makes me delicious food because I like delicious food even though we could just eat rice and beans (not delicious) every single day. She asks me all the time if she is doing a good enough job being my mom. Obviously if she didn't love me she wouldn't care about that so much.

Susan: She tells me. Plus cause she talks to me and cooks food for all of us and she is nice to all of us and patient!

Nathan: Because she says so. And she does nice things like cook me dinner, and does my laundry, and doesn't even make me pay for it.

Megan: 'Cuz I spend lots of time with her and she tells me she loves me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Give Up -- Now with Video!!

This is yet another post about Megan and her teeth. The first one was a gem - a video of what happens when the dentist uses a little too much anesthetic for fillings.

Megan is in that stage of life when teeth become loose and fall out, making way for larger permanent teeth. She has lost several teeth now, and I have yet to pull one out. Her dad has pulled one or two, our friend Amidey has pulled two, and I have pulled none. That's right, A BIG FAT ZERO.

You've heard this story before. Twice. I bet you can't guess how this one ends.

So another tooth got loose. Megan worked on wiggling it. I worked on wiggling it until her eyes got wide and she pulled away and covered her mouth "ow, mom!" This went on for over a week.

Then the Evil Tooth Pulling Queen came to visit. And I set aside my maternal pride and asked Her Highness to just pull the stupid tooth already. (I was secretly hoping she would fail.)

She had it out in about 5 seconds.

And now I shall bow before the most high goddess of tooth removal. I am not worthy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The flow of creativity is an enigma to me. Why is it that some days I have lots of ideas for blogging, and the words just come, spilling out from my fingers onto the screen almost too fast to type, and other times I'll start a post and it just doesn't work and I end up shelving it and eventually just deleting it because it's BORING, even to me. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to spin the mundane events of my life into something funny or at least interesting. Why is that?

Obviously life events provide fodder for blogging. And I'm having "stuff" happen. But I just don't feel like blogging about it. I have no idea why.

I'm sure this too shall pass. Never fear, my dear friends... I'll remember how to think and write again soon. In the meantime, why don't you help me out by telling me what you want to hear about? Except for the cockamamie waxing idea a few people jumped on last week. I am so not doing that.

How egotistical is that - my assumption that anyone wants to know what I'm thinking or what's happening to me? Sure sure - that will unleash a compliment frenzy which is NOT why I said it. I'm just typing randomly and letting everything I think come right out. Okay, not everything; if I did that you'd all be so shocked that you'd never come back. Or maybe you would, kind of like how you can't stop staring at the carnage of a burning vehicle on the side of the road. It's disturbing, but riveting. And you'd tell all your friends -- "hey you've just got to go see this blog. The woman is seriously disturbed, but it'll make you feel good about yourself!"

I'm not even going to go back and proofread this post before I publish. Will I regret it? Will I humiliate myself beyond repair when everyone finds out that I actually do not compost coherent sentences off the top of my head and that when I drop the over-educated facade that in reality I think and speak in run-on fragments with abominable grammar even if I do know how to spell big words? No matter. Maybe you'll even like me better, right? Kind of like when you idolize some person who is so put together and intimidating and then drop in for an unannounced visit to find that they're a terrible housekeeper? Yeah - that would be me. I'm like a duck paddling furiously beneath the surface of the water, but all you see is the calm composed me floating along serenely. I think moast people are like that, really. Or maybe I'm the only one, and now you all know my pathetic secret. Whatever it is. If you figure it out, will you please let me know?

So - I don't want to see any comments about how wonderful you think I am because you felt alarmed reading this post and wonder if maybe I'm feeling down and need a boost or a pep talk, because that's not it at all. I feel great! I'm HAPPY! Really! I just have nothing to blog about -- so if you want to comment, do me a favor and feed me some ideas. The alternative, of course, is to say nothing, and then I'll know for sure that I've shocked you all beyond words.

Monday, August 18, 2008

If you were infected with Rabies

List the people you would bite, in order.

I'll go first.

  1. PraxAir's billing department. Hello? I already paid your stupid bill three months ago, so stop sicking the collection agency on me, kay?
  2. DeAnn Adams, who continues to give out my phone number on her loan and credit card applications, which phone number I have had for the last SIX years, and is apparently racking up major debts, which results in calls to ME from belligerant collection agents who refuse to believe that Mrs. DeAnn Adams does not live at my address.
  3. The dork in Britain who stole our credit card number, which has resulted in several of my auto payments to fail, which has resulted in late fees, which has resulted in me having to call and whine my way out of late fees. All's well that ends well, right? I personally think that's a really stupid cliche.

Your turn.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Piercing Scream Ripped the Air. Twice.

Alternate Title: The one with disjointed thoughts and run-on sentences.

Okay not really on the screaming. Anyone who blogs knows that coming up with a clever title that relates to the post contents is the hardest part of blogging. Well, maybe not THE hardest part, but it's right up there with finding time to sit down and blog, thinking of cool things to blog about, inventing provocative poll questions, waiting for videos to upload, embedding code in posts without mangling it beyond functionability, and being real without embarrassing family members to death and losing their trust so they never tell me anything again.

Anyway - while at first glance the post title above may not seem to be related to this post. Keep reading, and hopefully you'll see how in my twisty, windey way, I tie it all together at the end. You can even suggest alternate titles, and I'll put the best ones at the top of this post.

So, I've been moaning publicly about my lack of feminine qualities lately. I think this issue is on my mind because I've been hanging out with cute people who are more stylish and skinnier than I am. This actually pretty much sums up going to church. About 90% of my ward is younger and thinner and more hip than me. It's that dratted comparison game - I always lose and can't for the life of me figure out why I continue to play. If only we'd purchased that other house we were considering in that older neighborhood in Orem, where most of the ward would be in their 50's by now, I wouldn't be going through this painful introspection today!

Now what was I talking about before? :slaps cheeks lightly: Come on girl, focus...

Oh yes. While I've never been a lover of lace and bows and frills, on clothes or anything else, I remember an era around 1-7 BC (Before Children) when I was skinny and I did enjoy dressing up more and owned a few cute stylish clothes and wore pierced earrings and painted my fingernails and spent time on eye makeup and performed the batting of eyelashes when cute boys were around and once even tweezed my eyebrows! So I know that I do have it in me, somewhere. Somewhere deep.

I had my ears pierced in High School, right before the Junior Prom. Over the years my parents gave me various pairs of earrings and I loved them all. Every now and then I'll run across the box where I store them, and reminisce and feel a little sad that I can't wear them anymore due to the fact that I let my post holes heal over during early motherhood after baby Karianne yanked on my earrings one too many times and I removed them.

There is the pair of pearls I wore for my wedding. And the green jade dangly ones dad gave me when I graduated from college. There is a lovely pair with freshwater pearls dangling from short chains - except that this pair is now a single lonely earring due to the other being lost one night while I was bidding an enthusiastic farewell to my future husband (but neither of us knew it at the time) outside my dorm. But because this is a family-friendly website I'll just leave that story be. Ahem.

And then there are the several pairs of earrings that I have brought home from my mother's vast jewelry collection in the last year: dainty porcelain roses, delicate silver butterflies, and sparkling zirconia with matching pendant on a thin gold chain. I've brought them home, planning to give them to my girls someday, but secretly wishing that my ears hadn't healed shut and I could wear them myself.

And then a friend told me that getting ears re-pierced through the same holes doesn't hurt like the blazing suns like I thought it would, and I began thinking about actually doing it.

Do you think I should?

Too late. I already did. And while I was at it, I took Megan and got her ears pierced too, since she's been nagging me for over two years now and I figured that I might as well reverse my earlier wise parental edict that girls must reach the completely arbitrary age of twelve before paying people to poke holes in their ears, which will probably have the effect of spoiling her rotten and teaching her that family rules are debatable and starting her on the slippery slope into a rebellious teenager-hood and I'll have guilt and grief over this decision. But hey, at least I'll look cute while it happens.

I'm so glad I got my priorities straightened out on this issue.

Here is the photographic evidence of our mutual mutilation at the mall.

One ear down, one to go, and she's still smiling! (It's all an act, folks. That thing stung. But I didn't want the bossy little asian chick with the gun to see me cry. She scared me a little bit.)

Megan is so excited and takes heart because mom made it look so utterly easy.



Megan decided that she would probably live, and sucked it up for the pictures.

And this is how I came to understand that I am a real woman after all: because I am willing to endure pain and torture for the sake of fashion and I am teaching my youngest daughter to do the same.

There's a lot of personal policies being thrown under the bus lately.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of my feminine metamorphosis: Lisa Shaves Her Legs!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Brainiac Lives Here

I have resisted for as long as I can. I have resisted because I don't want to be one of those moms who brags about her children's accomplishments, but alas, I guess am one of those moms. I can't fight it any more. Please forgive me, world.

Karianne, my oldest, is a beautiful, talented, funny, oh-so-cool young lady. She is also astonishingly intelligent. I knew this, and I thought she knew this. So I was a little puzzled when she was so very nervous to take the AP Biology test last May. I mean, yeah, it cost a little bit of money, but it was purely an optional thing; take the test, and if you score a 3 or higher, earn some college credit. Score a 1 or 2, and nothing is lost. No biggie. No pressure. Right? No of course not -- except from the mother with exceptionally high expectations. Ahem.

On a scale of 1 to 5, Karianne scored.... a big fat FIVE!

I am unreasonably proud of her.

Is that a sin?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Almosta Woman

I suspect that maybe I'm not a real woman. I mean, sure, I have all the right body parts, so there's no confusion there. But there are so many typical feminine things that I just don't get. For example:

  1. Shopping: I would rather stick hot needles in my eyes. Unless we're talking about Home Depot--then I am so there!
  2. Clothes: What do you mean, t-shirts aren't 'fashionable?'... whatever the heck that means...
  3. Shoes: 8 pair is a lot of shoes for one person to own, isn't it?
  4. Accessories: I have one black leather purse. 'nuff said.
  5. Jewelry: Wedding ring-- check. Watch-- uh... the battery needs replacing. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc-- Ahahahahahahahahahaha--Ahem. No.
  6. Hair: I have never colored my hair and I have worn the same hairstyle as far back as my memory goes, which actually isn't very far, so hey, I could be wrong about that last one.
  7. Pedicure/manicure: I am not exactly sure what those words mean. All I know is that I don't own nail polish.
  8. Makeup: I do wear makeup, actually. DingDingDing - there's one for the woman column! No lipstick though.
  9. Wedding: I wanted to elope. We only had a reception because mom was afraid of what the neighbors might think.
  10. Multitasking: I can't talk on the phone and fold laundry at the same time, let alone cook dinner or drive.
  11. Interests: I like computers. And power tools. And farm animals. People.... not so much.
  12. Crafts/scrapbooking/home decor: Bwahahahahahahahahahhaa.... nope.
  13. Babies: The early phase of life that parents endure until their children get interesting. Sure, they're cute. Next?

I'm sure there are more. I'm just too depressed to keep listing them. Okay not really depressed depressed. Hi dad! :wave:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And we all fall down

It was a perfect summer's evening. The sun had just set, and stars were beginning to pop out of the deepening blue sky overhead. And then the fun started. There was screaming. Children were traumatized. Neighbors came running. No big deal, really. It's just a day in the life at the bishop's house.

The knee that has been the bane of my spring and summer has been improving dramatically in recent days and I have been working hard on getting my full range of motion back and re-training myself to walk without a limp. Last week my physical therapist, Ed (aka The Dungeon Master) was so happy with my progress that he said I only needed to come in once a week. I even did a tiny bit of clogging - yes, dad, I was careful! - to help Nathan and Megan practice for summer lessons. I am jazzed about getting my mobility back, and with it, my life.

Life is good.

Oh, except for one little detail.

Last night I fell out the front door and hurt myself. Again.

It was one of those stupid things that you keep going over in your mind and see all the ways it could have been avoided. If only I'd taken my stupid waffle stomper shoes off earlier so that my toe didn't catch on the threshold. Or maybe if I'd picked my feet up or -- oh here's a good one -- watched where I was going instead of scanning the horizon for a stupid planet we'd been watching for all summer. If only I'd declined my husband's offer to come and see Venus in the sunset instead of brushing my teeth. I had the toothpaste on my brush. I already had two buttons undone on my shirt. It all happened so fast. One moment I was stepping out the front door to see the sunset and the next I was on the porch, kneeling a step down on the welcome mat with my feet pinned behind me on the threshold above, my still tender knee bent as far as it would go-- far more than it had been bent in the last five months since I first hurt it.

I made quite a spectacle of myself. Tom was standing right behind me when it happened, and although it seemed like forever, within seconds he had lifted me off the porch and drug me backwards into the house so that I sat clutching my knee with both hands, my feet dangling out the door down onto the wide top step. I don't remember why the screen door didn't close on me. Was he holding it open or was I? I could hear Megan wailing in the kitchen. A door slammed somewhere in the house. The floor was shifting and the walls began to spin slowly. Someone was groaning loudly. It made me mad. SHUT UP, already! Oh wait... that would be me. Quick, somebody get a sock and stuff it in my mouth to stop that pitiful mewling noise!

Just then the neighbors arrived. Are you ok?! Oh... hi! Uhhhhh - yes I'm fine, but could you do me a really big favor and maybe get a gun and just shoot me? Right now would be real, real good.

One burly guy helped Tom hoist my great bulk the rest of the way into the house and onto the couch. Karianne, ever the calm one, filled ice packs and brought them to pack around me leg. I think maybe she should go into nursing or something. That girl has nerves of steel. Tom went to comfort the sobbing Megan and checked on Susan, who had fled to her room in tears.

So now I'm on the couch propped up on pillows and my knee is blessedly numb from the ice. I am telling the kids that I will be okay and I that I don't think I did any more damage. I'm telling them that I'll be back up and around again in no time.

But there's one burning question in my mind that I don't have an answer for...

Did I ever button my shirt back up?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Reinventing Myself

Today I became a two year old. I sat on the floor, played with puzzles, sang "popcorn popping" complete with big hand motions, giggled and cried, spilled my water, and wrapped up dollies in blankets and cradled them.

Yesterday evening, the primary president called to ask if I would be willing and able to substitute in nursery today. All because I foolishly signed my name on the primary substitute list in a misplaced fit of charity after a particularly guilt-inducing relief society lesson. I need to learn to resist that spirit of obedience.

So she called, and because I have compassion for Primary Presidents everywhere, I said yes. And then hung up the phone and I groaned. Because of all the classes I might agree to substitute, nursery is my least favorite.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Little kids are not my favorite. I liked my own kids well enough because the laws of nature dictated that it should be so. Other people's kids are harder for me as a general rule. One on one is not bad. But when there are a bunch of them crammed into a small room and none of them know me and half of them are scared of me and at least one is crying because his mommy left him, it's a very hard thing for me.

So today I when I entered the room, as expected, one little boy was already in tears, his arms firmly wrapped around his daddy's leg. Another little girl looked very distressed as her mommy said goodbye and left. I groaned inwardly. I didn't want to be there, and I really hate dealing with crying children who don't know me and refuse to be comforted. But I decided to try. What else could I do?

And it worked. I put on a bright happy face, got down on the floor and played with those two to distract them from their worries while the other nursery worker played with the other four kids. I had to work hard and be really silly to keep them entertained, but by the time the music leader came in to sing, we were friends. We sang about snowmen and popcorn and prophets, and then we had snacks and I spilled my water and the kids laughed and then helped me clean up the mess. They shared their snacks with me and we colored pictures and I took them to the potty and we played with toys and then put them away and played ring around the rosie until their parents came to pick them up.

A miracle occurred within me during those two hours. I started it feeling tired and selfish and out of sorts. By the end I felt happy and carefree and I had six new two-year old friends. I had genuinely had a great time and was a little sad that it was over.

So I was thinking: If I can fake it until I make it with 2 year olds, can I do that in other areas of my life? What is the difference between creating myself in the image I wish to be and being a big fat fake? Can I use this tool and still be real and genuine?

What do you all think?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Castle Valley Pageant: A Must See!

Tom has ancestors among the original settlers of Castle Valley, Emery County, Utah. On a Bi-Annual basis, the Castle Valley Pageant tells the story of the settling of the valley. We've always wanted to go, but somehow each year our plans were pre-empted by other, more pressing matters.

This was the year. Our children were buttheads and didn't want to go, so we left their sorry selves at home and made a date of it. We drove for two hours, most of that through copious rain and a alarming quantity of lightning. Like a miracle, as we approached the outdoor amphitheatre nestled in the hills west of Huntington, the skies cleared and the rain fell behind us. It was a beautiful night for a pageant.

It's a great show that far exceeded my expectations. I laughed, I cried, and I want to go again. Alas, tonight is the last production for two years. If you live in Utah and are at all inclined to make the drive, I highly recommend it.

Tom was in fine form last night. During a scene that included a re-enactment of a portion of the Book of Mormon, Jehovah is speaking to the prophet Nephi. The voice actor was an older gentleman with a strong old time Utah accent. "Lift up yerr head and be of good cheerrr; for bihold, thuh tahm is at hand, and on this naht shall thuh sign be given, and on thuh morrow come I into the werrld, to show unto the werrld that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of mah holy prophets." (3 Nephi 1:13)

Tom leaned over to me as I took a pull on my water bottle. I tilted my head as his sweet breath tickled my ear.

"I guess I never thought about it before, but I didn't know that God had an Emery County accent."

He leaned back and flashed his brilliant grin as I snorted water out my nose. He waited until my coughing fit subsided and then leaned in again.

"But hey, what do I know?"

I think I'll keep that guy around a little longer. I like to laugh. Laughing is my favorite.

Mayo or Miracle Whip?

Some foods seem to create controversy -- people either love them or hate them. Ketchup. Mustard. Nuts. Chocolate - okay, only a lunatic would hate chocolate. I dated a guy once who decided he didn't like chocolate because it was so unhealthy. His mental powers were such that after his change in taste, he would actually become sick to his stomach at the smell of chocolate. This was one of the reasons that I did not marry him.

But I digress.

I grew up eating Miracle Whip. I loved Miracle Whip so much that when I was a kid I would get a nice fat slice of cheddar cheese, and slather it with a nice thick layer of Miracle Whip and eat the combo that way. Once upon a time I was prone to eating it straight from the jar on a spoon. Ketchup was a close second on my favorite condiments list. In fact, for the first ten years of my life, those two sauces were the only ones on my favorite condiments list. I didn't know there were any others. Hey - I grew up in Idaho. That explains a lot about me, don't you think?

Don't answer that.

Now, I am not above eating Mayo if that's all that's available. This is because I am tolerant and open minded and a good Christian. But there is a fascinating trend I have noticed in my extensive experience and research (cough) into human nature: Miracle Whip people will eat Mayo if there is no other choice. Mayo people, however, will not condescend to eating Miracle Whip, no how no way. They'd rather starve. Not only this, but Miracle Whip lovers are openly mocked and ridiculed by Mayo-nites everywhere. It is open persecution, people. Think Rome and Christians.

So now I'd like to test my little hypothesis, in this most scientific random sampling of the world population. Which bread spread do you prefer? If you prefer Mayonnaise, are you a militant Mayo-nite that heaps persecution on the humble Miracle-Whippersnappers of the world?

Enquiring minds want to know.

p.s. - don't forget to vote in the poll at the top of the left sidebar!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You're just a. . . MEANY!

Megan is my dancer. I call her Angelina Ballerina (if you are unfamiliar with the story, click here), because she is always dancing in and out of the studio, from pirouettes on the softball field to clogging naked in the bathroom after a shower. She lives, sleeps, and breathes dancing. Of all my children, she alone is completely confident and at home on the stage.

Today she was helping me in the kitchen, and I noticed from across the room that her movements slowed until she was standing there, the broom forgotten in her hand. Her twinkling eyes had a faraway look in them, and then, her face stretching into a beatific smile, she lifted her arms above her head, elbows slightly bent, so that her fingertips just touched high above her head. There's a French word for that pose, I'm sure. The forgotten broom fell to the floor with a loud SLAP! but Megan didn't notice. Then, she bent at the waist, and her arms came down as her knees bent into a deep curtsy for her adoring fans.

I chuckled and applauded, and she snapped out of her daydream, looking a little startled, and then laughed with me.

I said, "did you know that you can get your name changed by filling out paperwork and going before a judge? We really could change your name to Angelina."

Megan's eyes widened a little, then looked uncertain. "Could I just change my middle name?"

"Sure. Megan Angelina N********. What do you think?"

Megan's flawless brow creased in thought. "But I like my middle name the way it is!"

She retrieved the broom and continued sweeping absently. Then, "Mom? Can a person have more than one middle name?"

"Sure," I said. "Some people in other countries, like Mexico, have three or four middle names."

Megan beamed. "That's what I want! I want to change my name to Megan Elizabeth Angelina N**********!

Tonight, Megan was telling her dad her big plan. Tom's eyes twinkled as he smiled. "But Megan, if you did that, your initials would be M.E.A.N."

This of course, brought on much giggling.

"And even worse, " Dad continued, "If you married a man with the last name of Young, your initials would be M.E.A.N.Y!"

Megan's eyes shone with tears of glee as she twittered in the circle of her dad's arms.

"But Dad! If I add Geraldine as another middle name, my initials could be M.E.G.A.N!"

Wow. It's hard to keep up with intellects like that.

Make These Cookies NOW.

I discovered this recipe while living in San Jose, California. A woman in my ward (Hi Denise!) ran a little business out of her home; she was an amazing cook. One of those people who just has the gift, you know? She shared this recipe with me, and it has been my mainstay cookie recipe for a good 10 years now.

You want to try this recipe. You MUST try this recipe. Try this recipe and you will jettison all other chocolate chip cookie recipes. Nay, you will forget you ever used any other chocolate chip cookie recipe. Revisionist history comes in handy sometimes.

Denise's Chocolate Chip Cookies
(aka "Evil, Wicked, I'll-Start-My-Diet-Tomorrow Chocolate Chip Cookies")

  • 1 Cup Butter (equal to two sticks. I know it's a ridiculous amount. Put it in anyway. And DO NOT under any circumstances even THINK about substituting margarine or shortening. The gods will strike you dead if you even try. Plus your cookies will be ruined. So there.)
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil (yes, a whole cup. I told you these were evil.)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Vanilla (that's not a typo. Two Tablespoons.)
  • 5 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats (quick or regular)
  • 2 Cups Nuts, chopped (optional if you have not yet ascended the holy mountain of nut worship. Keep this failure to yourself if you want to be my friend.)
  • 18 oz Chocolate Chips, either semi-sweet or milk chocolate as preferred

Soften butter and cream cheese. Add sugars and blend well. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix. In another bowl combine flour, salt, soda, and cinnamon, and stir well. Add to wet ingredients and mix just until uniform. Add oatmeal, nuts, and chocolate chips.

I make this recipe in my 5 qt Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. After adding the oatmeal, I detach the stainless steel bowl from the stand and use a heavy duty long handled spoon to mix in the chocolate chips by hand.

If mixed with the mixer, they just cluster at the bottom and cause seven kinds of trouble. And I don't like trouble. Not even one kind.

I personally don't add nuts because I have several anti-nutty-lehis in my household. I'm working on converting them, but moral and spiritual mentoring is a tricky and long term project. They'll come around eventually.

I love this little cookie scooper.

It makes the cookies just the right size and they come out perfectly round and uniform. And then when you take them to your neighbors, they gasp and exclaim "How did you make them all the same size?!" (Name that movie.) But what they're really thinking is that you are far superior to them and what would be the best way to worship this divine creature?

Space them 3 inches apart on the greased cookie sheet.

Many thanks to Karianne acting as my hand model in these pictures.

Bake in a 375 degree oven just until cookies begin to brown. In my oven, that takes 8-9 minutes on the top rack. I use Air-Bake brand pans for cookies to avoid burning the bottoms, but if you use only the top rack you should be fine with a single layer cookie sheet. When cookies are done, remove cookie sheet from oven and let sit for a minute before transferring them to the cooling rack. They should be somewhat crispy on the top and bottom, yet still chewy on the inside. If they're not chewy inside, you cooked them too long.

This recipe makes 4-5 dozen cookies, depending on the size you make them. If you don't need that kind of temptation around, you can freeze a portion of the cookie dough in balls on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a ziploc freezer bag for later snacking... er, baking.

Now go make these cookies and take some to your favorite neighbor. You know, the one with the boat you'd like to borrow.

Insomnia - Revisited

In my last post I was complaining about a disturbing pattern of sleeplessness and trouble winding down at night, despite being ridiculously exhausted. Here we are again - it's nearly midnight and I am nowhere near sleepy. But the difference between last night and tonight is that tonight I think I may know what's wrong with me.

Tuesday afternoon I was reading through the comments from last night's post, and a little alarm bell began to ring dimly in the back of my mind when Sararndt said,

"Does Tylenol PM work for you? It does wonders for me. I only have to take one and I am out for the night!"

Unfortunately this little bell went un-noticed because I awoke entirely too early Tuesday morning with a dull headache behind my eyes, and as the day wore on the headache spread and intensified until my ears were ringing, the result being that the little alarm bell could not be heard over the noise.

Tonight I had an itching fit, and after scratching desperately for several minutes, which only worsened my discomfort, I decided that a dose of Benadryl was in order to get it under control. Upon opening the medicine cabinet in a fevered search for the bottle of little pink pills, the tiny little alarm bell began to clang insistently, demanding attention -- and my poor brain finally made the connection.

The sleep inducing ingredient in Tylenol PM is the antihistamine Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride, or Diphen HCl, better known as ...

wait for it ...


When hives broke out all over my body nearly two weeks ago, I immediately began taking rather large doses of Benadryl every four hours. It was that or certain insanity. I was a little worried about liver damage from taking twice the recommended adult dose , but seeing as how we were en route to the family reunion three states away, I figured my chances of surviving a possible future liver transplant were better than those of jumping from a minivan traveling at 80 mph across southern Idaho.

I overdosed on Benadryl and dozed fitfully for more than a week until the hives had completely gone and the swelling of my feet and legs had receded to near normal levels. Then I reduced to the regular dose every 4-6 hours to keep the residual itching at bay. By Saturday last, I felt so much better that I decided enough with the benadryl (it comes with its own lovely little list of side effects), so I went to an only-if-I'm-desperate dosing schedule, hoping to quit completely. I've only taken one regular dose in the last 72 hours, which is very encouraging to me.

What I didn't notice is that after the first week, even though I was still taking benadryl 4 times per day, I was no longer sleepy like I had been at first.

And I think that's a big part of why I'm not sleeping well these days. I am addicted to benadryl. My brain adjusted to the ridiculous quantities of a sleep inducing substance until it didn't make me sleepy anymore. And now that I'm not taking it, my brain is saying, "sleep? who needs that?"

Okay, it's true that I've stayed up late dinking around on the computer, dealing with some girlfriend drama, talking to my very cool daughter after her hot date, or maybe possibly reading a new book I just got. It's also true that while on vacation we all got in the very bad habit of staying up and playing until much too late at night.

But I've done those things countless times, and never felt wired like this before. Wired, but at the same time exhausted and emotionally strung out, aka I'm-on-the-edge-don't-frown-at-me-or-I'll-jump-to-my-death. And I have no appetite; most things taste like sand and if eating isn't fun, why waste time on it? That last is so. not. me. I'm not sixty pounds overweight because of genetics, here.

So, my panic of not knowing the cause behind my sleeplessness is reduced somewhat, in that I'm reasonably confident that after more time has passed and my body re-adjusts, sans Benadryl, that I'll learn how to sleep again.

Until then... where's my book?

p.s. - thanks to Sara and Pat for getting my brain thinking.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Who knew insomnia was contagious?

I love to sleep. I need my sleep. In fact, sleep is dangerously near the top of my most favorite things to do list. When I had little kids that didn't sleep, it WAS my most favorite things to do list.

So why is it that I seem to attract people who don't sleep into my life? The last three friends I have made don't sleep. My seven-year old daughter has recently become afflicted with bedtime anxiety for which I cannot trace a source nor find a lasting cure.

Personally, I have had eight hours of sleep in the last, oh sixty four and counting. That is one hour of sleep for every eight hours awake. I normally average closer to a 1:2 ratio, when I'm getting what I need. I woke up at 5am this morning, after three hours of fitful sleep, and ran full speed ahead all day long. I thought for sure I'd be ready to crash tonight, but here I am, still wired, over nineteen hours later.

Is it the power of suggestion? I have to admit, these insomniacs masquerading as friends are incredibly cool. Maybe I'm just subconsciously trying to be like them. Yeah, I'm sure that's it. I think it's more likely that my new vitamins are laced with meth.

Oooooh! I just yawned.

Confessing my problems and failures online to strangers - works every time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

If you need a laugh

Okay this one was too funny. I have always wanted to do something like this ... but I am far too inhibited. I love it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Poll: Can You Handle the Suspense?

I have a friend who reads the last page of a book before she starts the beginning, because she can't stand the suspense of not knowing how the end turns out. When she told me this, I was dumbfounded and mystified. So now I need to know--which of us is the strange one, here? I have never even considered reading the end of a book until I get to the end, much less be tempted to do so before I start. I hate not knowing the context and I think it would ruin the entire book for me. My friend says that she always reads the end, because if it isn't going to end happy why waste time reading the book?

So, what do you do? Take the poll at the top of the left sidebar if you want to remain anonymous, but you can also leave a comment here if you'd like. And all you lurkers? I know you are out there. Please cast your vote too!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How Do I Love Home? Let Me Count the Ways, Part 1

My Bed. After eight nights of sleeping on assorted hotel beds, air mattresses, and sofas, all of which I was very thankful for and in no way disdainful of, I was very eager to get home to my bed.

I LOVE my bed. We're talking true love, here, folks. This bed - I am just a little bit ashamed to admit, cost us way more than it should have, but oh it was so worth it. When we got married, we lived in a furnished apartment and slept on an old broken down in the middle double bed. We were poor and young and dumb and skinny and oh-so-in-love, and slept like spoons in a drawer anyway so it didn't matter to us that the bed was so small and gave poor support. Heck, we even slept on a twin bed together once while traveling, but that's another story. I went through two pregnancies on that crappy little double bed crammed into one corner of a bedroom barely big enough to contain it- isn't it funny to look back on the crazy things you do and endure when you are young and don't know any better?

When Tom got his first job out of college and we moved to California and were forced to actually purchase furniture, we upgraded to a Queen size. It seemed HUGE to us. It wasn't a great bed -- in fact now that I know better it was a pretty cheap bed, but we were too poor to afford better and still young and pretty dumb and fairly thin and it was good enough. In truth I was never happy with that bed, and after going through one and a half more pregnancies and waking up with backaches every day, in the middle of my last pregnancy I woke up one morning and instead of saying "good morning my handsome prince" to Tom, I said: "I want a new bed. I want one of those Swedish DUX beds. And I want it today." And Tom, by this time being a battle scarred married man of nine and one-half years, and who was wise enough to know that a husband who wants to have peace in his home does not say no to a pregnant woman, took me bed shopping that very afternoon.

Now those of you who don't know what a Dux Bed is, if you really want to know the details you can follow the hyper link. Or you can just take my word for it that it is a wonderful bed. It is an all-in-one unit, with the box spring incorporated with the mattress springs. This sounds kind of cool until you try to move the thing around narrow hallway corners - it's an unweildy beast, and I am still amazed that we ever got it into our basement bedroom where it now resides. We have to live in this house forever because I don't think we will ever get it out again.

When I lie down on this bed, the springs give in all the right places and cuddle me gently and so comfortably that sometimes I sleep the entire night without turning over. This is what happened last night. I lay down on the bed in my bathrobe, with all the lights still on, and that was the last thing I remember until my eyes opened this morning at 8 am. I only got out of bed because my bladder was making threats of an alarming nature. So I reluctantly got up to take care of that annoying bodily need, and then I got back in bed again. For three more hours. Ahhhhh.....

Did I mention that I love my bed?

Oh, and there was one other thing I loved about sleeping in my bed last night: Tom slept in it too. But since I promised him that there would be no more racy posts on my blog, I'll just leave it at that. Ahem.

Friday, August 1, 2008


We made it. I am so glad to be here and I think that I may NEVER. LEAVE. AGAIN.

More details in tomorrow's posts. Right now I have to unload the stupid van. And people are wondering what's for dinner. Yeah, I'm home, alright.

There's No Place Like Home

We've been traveling for the last week, visiting family, seeing new places, and today is the last day of the trip. We've seen a lot of beautiful places; temperate rainforest, mountain glaciers, coastal cliffs, ocean breakers, expansive orchards and vineyards, and beautiful verdant rolling farms tucked in amidst deep green douglass fir forest. All of it almost painfully beautiful. But as much as I've enjoyed the various sights, sounds, and smells of the trip, my homing instinct is stronger. We launch the last leg of the drive today - barring any problems, we'll be home before dark. Home to my little 1/4 acre of parched grass and half-planted vegetable patch. Home to my wonderful soft comfy bed. Home to my four silly chickens and the beautiful cat with anger issues. Home to fruit trees that need spraying, weeds that need pulling, and wasp nests under the picnic table. Home to neighbor kids knocking on the door, dirty laundry, flies in the kitchen, bills, tracked in dirt, and dishes in the sink.

I can't wait.