Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ward Bulletin now features Personal Ads

As I am wont to do at the beginning of our church worship services, I picked up the weekly church bulletin as we walked in the chapel. I scanned the announcements disinterestedly; it was the usual blather -- Young Women's pedicure party on Wednesday; Elder's Quorum Meat Fest on Saturday; Please get your fabric donations for the Relief Society Humanitarian project to Sister Sew and Sew by Thursday afternoon, etc.

I was just about to fold the program in half and hand it to my son the origami expert when an unusual announcement at the bottom of the page caught my eye.

WANTED: New Friend

I am going through kind of a rough time and my current friends are just not working out. They insist on having lives of their own and trying to actually help me improve myself when all I want is someone to vent to. I am looking for someone who will fill my every need and boost my self esteem while distracting me from my problems.

Desired Qualifications:
  • Preferably fatter, plainer, and less educated than I am.
  • Must not bake bread, cook from scratch, sew, garden, or possess any other skill or talent that will make me feel inferior or self conscious in any way.
  • Must not be judgmental of my choices, but always willing to engage in scintillating discussions about the rest of the ward.
  • Willing to pester all your friends and family to attend my Pampered Chef, Discovery Toys, Avon, and Stampin' Up parties.
  • Have the same background and life experiences as me so that you can empathize with my every trial.
  • Be available to talk, shop, or watch my children at my convenience and at a moment's notice.
  • Have minor weaknesses and problems of your own so that I don't feel like a loser, but not so much that it distracts from talking about my stuff.
  • No problem solving experience required; excellent listening and validating skills preferred.
  • Housekeeping standards just a little bit lower than mine a plus.
Sooo tempting. I'd apply for the position, but I think I might wring her neck. That's probably not in keeping with the whole Bishop's Wife image thing I've got going.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gratitude Tag

More answers to more random, sometimes frustrating questions. Consider yourself tagged.


1. If every job paid $50,000 a year, and you had no physical or mental limitations, what would you do?

I'd have a hobby farm: 5-20 acres of pasture, woods, and ponds, with a great big garden and orchard. I'd raise chickens and horses and cows and I'd sell/share eggs, milk, and garden vegetables and fruit. Oh - no mental limitations, you say? Does that include raving insanity? It does? Well, never mind, then.

2. What is your current church calling? What do you like about it? What have some of your other callings been?

I am the Wolf Den Leader in Cub Scouts. For an hour a week, I get to play with a bunch of 8-year old boys. I love how simple their wants are: they want a challenge, they want to play, and they want a snack. They're still young enough to be excited about everything, but old enough that you can really do some fun stuff with them. I really miss them when they turn nine and go into Bears. When we lived in California I was cursed with all sorts of boring and stressful leadership callings that I have since tried to block from my memory. Since moving to Utah, I have been blessed with cushy jobs like R.S. Teacher, Primary Pianist, and Cub Scouts.

3. Name a person you regularly encounter (outside your family) who brightens your day.

Just one? This is my blog and I'll name two if I want to. You can't stop me.

Jessica -- technically she is family because she's married to my husband's brother, but I consider her a true friend. She talks straight and I like that. She knows I get weirded out by crowds of people and so she insulates me from the craziness of visiting relatives and I love her for that. She always makes me laugh and I admire her upbeat outlook on life and just being around her makes me feel cool by association. It's kinda like her "coolness" bubble expands to include me. I'm hoping it will rub off permanently one day. We don't talk so much as we used to... and I miss her.

Amidey -- Gosh what can I say. This adorable girl is one of my most favorite people ever. It's always a little surprising to me to come across someone that I enjoy so very much. Amidey is a lovely, talented woman who is much stronger than she thinks she is. She is a great example of raw emotional courage and self control, and I've learned a lot from her in the short time we've been friends. I can be real with her and she doesn't run screaming for the hills. That's a plus. I think I'll keep her around awhile.

4. In twenty years, what do you think you will miss most about your life now?

Having my kids at home. They are all so cool and fun to be with and interesting to talk to. In twenty years they'll all have kids of their own, I assume, so I'll probably miss staying at home all the time since we'll be traveling all over creation to baptisms and recitals and concerts, etc. I really hate traveling.

I'll also miss playing softball, volleyball, basketball, backpacking, and clogging, on account of my feeble knees are probably not going to hold out another 20 years. Oh wait. I already miss those things. Huh. Why wait 20 years when I can be old and decrepit now? Bring it on.

5. What’s something you appreciate about your spouse?

His sense of humor never fails to make me smile. I love how gentle he is, and most of all how he gives me room to be myself while still somehow making me want to be a better person all at the same time. He is an incredible example of patience, kindness, and optimism. I totally don't deserve him, but I'm keeping him as long as he'll have me.

6. What is your favorite routine, household chore?

I just love cleaning the kitchen over and over and over every day. There's nothing quite so rewarding as working hard to get the dishes washed, the counters and table clean, and the floor swept and mopped, and then within 10 minutes someone has fixed themselves a snack and left plates, bowls, utensils, and food residue all over the counter top. Sometimes even the food is left out as well. Yep, re-cleaning the kitchen is my favorite thing ever!!!

7. What’s a book you return to occasionally (besides the scriptures.)

That's cute. You assume that I am reading the scriptures at least "occasionally".


I re-read various books by Orson Scott Card every year. Favorites include "Enchanted", "Treason" and "Sarah".

8.Favorite Small Pleasures:

Blogging. Talking to/hanging out with my extremely cool friends. Waterfights in restaurants. The smile lines around my husband's eyes.

9. Favorite time of the day?

Dusk. I love summer evenings, when the day has worn itself out and the plants seem to sigh with relief that the heat is past. The mountains are splashed with the orange-pink sunset and the utterly calm air carries the happy noises of playing children from blocks around. My cat follows me as I putter in the garden, watering here, pulling weeds there, eating cherry tomatoes and raspberries off the vine and picking corn and green beans for supper.

10. Name a person who performed what they thought was a small act of service, but ended up being a big deal to you:

When my mom died I was gone for three days helping my dad with the funeral preparations. My sweet next door neighbor, Trudy, came over each morning to help get my children off to school and brought dinner over in the evening after Tom got home from work. She saw what my family needed and just stepped in to help at a time when I simply couldn't be there to do it myself. It wasn't a big deal to her, but it meant the world to me.

11. Name someone who somehow changed your life.

My kids. I thought I was mature and grown up when I got married. How wrong I was.

12. Consider what you do each day. Think of one attribute or trait that you bring to your daily work that is a strength—what is something you do really well?

How am I supposed to answer that? Why do these questions have to be so hard? It's late and I've been laboring to answer this for over a week now and I'm tired of it so I'm just going to post it. Sue me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Egg Day!!!

I went out to feed the hens and what did I see?

One little brown egg just waiting for me!

Fall has brought me such a nice surprise!

A cute little egg in the pan that fries!

I could take a handful and make a treat,

A yummy egg that will taste so sweet!

It was too really so!

And I hope to see,

Soon there'll be another egg for me!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Feeling like a Bad Wife? Read this.

Bad Wife or Just a Busy One?

By Orson Scott Card

Published: Thursday, Sep. 25, 2008

I wondered if my wife had a kind of Joan Crawford thing going on when she told me, about six years into our marriage, that she could not live with the idea of my taking my shirts to a professional laundry.

"What is it?" I asked. "The plastic bags? We can tie them in knots so the kids can never play with them."

"It's not the plastic bags!" Kristine looked so miserable. I decided to cheer her up with humor.

"The wire hangers?" I asked, pointedly.

Since this was only a few years after "Mommy Dearest," she got the joke. It didn't cheer her up at all. "You think I'm some kind of monster."

"No," I said. "I don't. I think you're a very busy woman, doing things that the whole family needs you to do."

The list of what she was doing really was quite remarkable. Our then-youngest child was born with cerebral palsy, and Kristine was taking care of him along with our other two children -- and handling the family finances, and dealing with scheduling and transportation, and anything that required making a list and remembering 10 minutes later that there was such a list and where it had been put.

The traditional division of labor was not for us. I had vowed to myself before I even proposed to her that there would never be a job so loathsome, tedious or difficult that my wife could do it and I couldn't. I could clean a toilet, wash and dry dishes, cook a meal, and vacuum a floor (not in that order, of course).

When she handled the check writing, the checks went where they were supposed to go and did what they were supposed to do. When I wrote checks, they often found their way to the Great Banking Trampoline. Our lives became so much better when I no longer carried the checkbook. Ever.

And while our firstborn loved the lullabies his mommy sang to him, when it came to seriously trying to go to sleep, that was daddy's job. From infancy on, he needed a deep baritone voice to fall asleep to. (In my years of teaching, I've found that many children and adults share this trait. I'm always happy to oblige.)

In my son's case, getting him to sleep was a long, long labor. I spent years lying on the floor of his room every night, with a little slant of light from the hall letting me see and grade student papers or stories that I was going to review, and all the while, hour after hour, I'm singing the only song that he'd accept, "Away in a Manger," over and over, in every season of the year. All versions, all verses.

It was my job because he would accept no substitutes. He has no memory of this, though it persisted till he was 5. But I still dream it.

We divided the labor according to my mom's and dad's old slogan: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." (None of us knew that it was an old Communist precept.)

When it came to my shirts, though, I ran into a wall of irrationality.

Because, you see, my wife had internalized the idea that a good Mormon wife irons her husband's shirts.

"So let me see if I understand this," I said. "You can't let me take my shirts to the cleaners, even though we can easily afford it, because if I do, it will mean you're a bad wife."

"Yes," she said unhappily.

"So the shirts pile up in the laundry room until there are 30 shirts there and I have to buy a new one. Or iron them myself. My mother taught me how. I have the skill. Only I don't want to iron them, I want to take them to the cleaners. Why won't you let me?"

"But if you take your shirts to the cleaners, it will mean that I've failed as a wife!"

"To whom will it mean this?" I asked. "Not to me. Not to the kids. Who else will know?"

"It'll mean that to me!" she wailed. "I know I'm being irrational, but that's how it feels."

"It also feels like a colossal waste of your time to iron them, and that's why you don't do it," I said, "because at any given moment on any day of any week of any year, you have something better to do than iron any shirts of mine."

"But if the other women in the ward found out that I ... "

And in that moment, she knew and I knew that I had won. I gloated immediately. "I thought we prided ourselves on making our own division of labor based on what worked in our marriage."

Glumly she nodded.

"Right now I own 30 shirts, all of which are in the laundry room, most of them clean and waiting to be ironed. Other men don't have to own 30 shirts in order to have a hope of a clean, ironed shirt to wear."

"Go," she said. "Take the shirts. Have them washed and pressed by the pros."

You'd have thought it was 1870 and she was giving me permission to take a plural wife.

Skip a few years. Now we shall talk about bread.

I grew up on homemade bread. There was no better food in all the world -- no, not even a spice cake with penuche icing for my birthday, not even pistachio ice cream in Brazil or France or Italy -- than my mother's bread, white or wheat, when it was still so fresh out of the oven you could barely slice it, eaten in thick slabs full of melting butter.

If they don't serve that in the celestial kingdom, I'm not going. Not that I expect my mother to bake bread every day in heaven. Once a week will do.

My wife knew this. But she is not a bread baker.

Don't misunderstand. Kristine is a great cook. She makes perfect pie crust every time. Her gravy always tastes perfect and never has lumps. And she never serves me Jell-O or anything involving Cool Whip. But for one reason or another, she never learned to make bread.

So when, in the late 1980s, I turned up with a breadmaker, she didn't view it as a cool piece of cutting edge technology. She saw it as an insult to her Mormon wifehood.

Because, just as Mormon wives had to iron their husband's shirts, they apparently also had to bake bread for their families.

"But you don't bake bread," I pointed out helpfully.

"Because I'm a terrible wife!"

"You're a wonderful wife who doesn't bake bread. Every now and then I'd like a loaf of hot fresh bread. Making bread is a lot of work and neither of us has time to do it or even time to learn. But this machine already knows how. Let's let the machine bake bread for us."

I think the machine has made two loaves of bread since 1989. Why? Because we both know that when the breadmaker comes out of the corner of the kitchen counter, my wife feels like a failure.

So we buy all our bread at Great Harvest Bread Co. It's almost as good as my mother's. If you toast it or nuke it, you can get butter to melt on it.

Somehow buying good healthy bread from a bakery is something a good Mormon wife can tolerate. But at least one good Mormon wife can't let a machine bake bread for her.

O my fellow Saints, ye males and ye females! Hearken to my voice!

There are so many ways to be a good Mormon wife. They involve taking all the talents and all the time and all the means that God has given you and using them to serve others, especially your family.

The key phrase is that you use the talents God has given you. And you use the time that you actually have.
  1. Not everybody is good at everything. I can't manage money. Kristine can't write novels. So I write the books and she pays the bills.
  2. Not every possible use of your time is as important as every other use. Kristine didn't have time to take care of our kids' needs (including the handicapped one), do her church callings, run our business, and learn to make bread and iron my stupid shirts.

Here's what a good Mormon wife does: Whatever must be done for the good of her family.

Here's what a good Mormon wife does not do: Beat herself up because she can't do every good thing that she's seen other Mormon wives do. There is no article of faith or temple recommend interview question dealing with shirt-ironing or bread-baking or even money-managing.

We all have our own marriages, our own talents, our own lives. Keep the commandments, be kind to each other and provident and wise with your children.

After that, whatever you do is what Good Mormon Wives and Husbands do; and whatever you don't do is obviously something that you don't have to do to be a Good Mormon Spouse.

Reprinted from Mormon Times: Bad Wife or Just a Busy One?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Help Me Choose

I was looking through my archives the other day with the thought of compiling a list of posts for newcomers to peruse that were particularly clever or funny, or at least didn't stink too much. And you know what? I couldn't find anything that I really liked.

Does that ever happen to any other bloggers? At the time of writing, most posts seemed interesting, important, and reasonably clever. I expected to be able to go through and pin down half a dozen or so decent posts. And they weren't there! I'm wondering if maybe the blogosphere stole them when I wasn't looking?

I'm so confused. People tell me they think I'm funny, and I guess I started believing that and maybe got a big head or something. But I am seeing no evidence of it in my archives today. Maybe I'm not the best judge just now. Which brings me to you.

I still want to compile the list, but I'd like some help. So if you'd do me the favor of sharing your favorite posts (look at my delusion, in thinking that you might have more than one!), I'd appreciate it. The newcomers will also appreciate it, since it will give them something to read while I wade through my latest spate of dullness.

Ready. Set. GO!

Anytime you're ready.

Today would be good for me. Just so you know.

Okay, well then... See ya!

Monday, September 22, 2008


We attended church yesterday, as we are wont to do. At the end of the meeting as I was opening my hymnal to sing the closing song, I looked over in response to my son's whispered "Psssst! Mom!" And this is what I saw.

I had to squint to see what he was holding so proudly in his hand.

In a 70 minute worship service, my 11-year old son and his 14-year old sister had produced no less than FOURTEEN origami paper swans.

I am so proud.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Parable of Peaches

1 On the eve of the Sabbath, the Farmer was walking in her garden in the cool of the day, and she beheld the peach tree, that the fruit thereof was good and ready to harvest.

2 And the Farmer looked down and beheld the fruit fallen to the earth beneath the tree and saw that it was beaten and bruised on the rocks. This waste grieved the Farmer, and she determined that the peaches should be picked that very night, yea, even on the eve of the Sabbath.

3 The Funny Farmer saith unto her children, let us go forth and harvest the fruit of this tree, for it is ripe and ready to harvest. Yea, let us thrust in our hands with our might, and pluck the fruit from the branches, that it may not be blown off by the wind and be lost unto us upon the rocks.

4 And the children said, nay, for we are playing a game. And also the Sabbath is nearly upon us; surely thou shalt not make us work so late on the eve of the Sabbath!

5 And the Farmer said, thou shalt stop playing thy game and help me harvest the peaches or thou shalt feel the wrath of my anger, yea, in my fierce anger shall I smite thy game unto destruction except thou speedily repent.

6 And the children obeyed. But there was much murmuring among the children; nevertheless, they did drag themselves up off the floor and follow the Farmer out into the garden.

7 And it came to pass that as they drew close to the tree, they saw that it was heavy with fruit.

8 And the children groaned and said, yea verily we are already sick of eating peaches, for thou hast fed us peaches from the garden all week long, and we would rather go and play our game than pick more peaches! But they looked upon the terrible face of the Farmer and were filled with fear, and did commence picking the fruit in silence for a time.

9 And it came to pass that while they were picking the fruit, there appeared in the tree the cat, who had heard the commotion in the garden, and being more subtle and curious than any other beast in the field, came forth to see what the fuss was all about.

10 And when the children saw this, they laughed and began to make merry and beckoned to the cat to come closer, but the cat was wise and would not hearken unto their pleadings, and fled from the tree, lest it be captured. The children pursued the cat to the edge of the garden, yea, unto the edge of the wilderness next door where those with bare feet dare not go, but the cat was fleet of foot and they could not overtake it, so speedy was its flight into the wilderness. And it came to pass that the cat could not be found anywhere in the garden from that time forth until darkness fell.

11 And it came to pass that the children heard the voice of the Farmer calling to them from the tree, saying, where art thou? Hast thou so soon forgotten my command to pick the fruit of this tree? Repent ye and return to your labors, lest I smite thee in my anger. Hurry, therefore, for my sword doth hang over thy game and it will surely be taken from thee for a week if thou doth delay thy coming. For darkness cometh quickly and the Sabbath is nearly upon us, and if we do not finish harvesting the fruit it will be utterly wasted by Monday.

12 Therefore the children, greatly fearing, returned to the tree and commenced again their labors.

13 The Farmer saw that the fruit of this tree was very good; yea, they were as large as baseballs, and the aroma thereof was sweet. And the children saw that they were good for food. And they began to find joy in their labors, especially did they take joy in throwing the fallen fruit at one another through the branches of the tree.

14 And it came to pass that after many minutes the work was finished.

15 And the children were glad.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Recipe: Salmon Fillet, Seattle Style

I know there are as many seasonings for salmon as there are chefs... not that I consider myself a chef, or anything... whatever. My POINT here, is that I am not claiming this is the only way, or even the best way to season salmon. This is just how we do it. So don't go making fun of me, kay? You know who you are.

The sauce recipe comes from Tom's parents, who live near Seattle. Hi Norm and Marge! :waves madly:

1 part each (I usually use 1/3 cup each for a single salmon fillet):

Soy Sauce
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil

If you pour them carefully, you can make a fun layered effect in the measuring cup.

This is not desirable for the recipe, however, so when you're done goofing around, heat the stratified mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the honey, and whisk well just before adding to the salmon.

I like to line the baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Otherwise I have a caramelized mess to scrub off later. However, if scrubbing baked on salmon sauce floats your boat, or you are feeling particularly contrary today, feel free to leave the pan unlined. Place salmon fillet, skin side down if yours has skin, in the pan. If you're silly like I am, you can use a fork to perforate the salmon fillet to facilitate sauce penetration. Or not. Pour half the sauce over salmon fillet, reserving the remainder for use at the table.

Bake salmon at 450 degrees for 4-6 minutes per half inch thickness.

Salmon is done when it is no longer flaming pink and flakes easily with a fork.

Serve with rice and remaining sauce.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do As I'm Doing... Follow Follow Me

*The following is a shameless plug for the sake of my vanity. Yeah, I'm shallow and insecure like that*

If I may direct your attention to the right sidebar - yeah, right there, just below my gunchick icon - you will notice a new little gadget that's all the rage on the bloggersphere right now. If you read here regularly, daily, religiously or even obssessive-compulsively and you are not afraid to let the world know it, click on the hot pink "follow this blog" link and put your photo up in lights! Okay so it will be a teeny tinsy photo - but that could be a good thing, cuz then your nose/mouth/chin/ears/zits will look much smaller too, right? Less is more, and all that.

It will mean the world to me and make me feel all popular and loved and warm-fuzzyish. And everyone knows that being popular is the most important thing ever. Just ask Glinda.

After taking this baby step, some of you could even try leaving a comment once in awhile. I know you're out there - you who come and read this blog daily, but NEVER COMMENT! It wounds me. It sucks the life force and creative energy right out of my soul when my hard won posts aren't even acknowledged by the vast majority of lurkers that come, partake, and depart without giving anything of yourselves. I know who you are, and you know who you are, so let's just drop the charade already. Come out, come out, wherever you are... here, kitty kitty... I won't hurt you!

You'll feel better about yourself and I can stop flinging passive-aggressive bad vibes out there into the web-ether-intersphere or wherever you are. So to all you peeps out there in (to name just a few) New York, Nevada, Virginia, Arkansas, California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho (Rexburg, even!), Alaska, Canada, Australia -- yeah, I got Aussies reading here, believe it or not!!! -- Your health and emotional well being will improve when you stop resisting what you know, deep down inside, that you want to do.

So, yeah. See you around. :waves:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why artichokes and houseguests do not mix

  • Because small children are freaked out by the scary looking alien vegetable sitting on Aunt Lisa's counter and run crying to their mothers, who give you nasty looks for the rest of the evening.
  • With extended family staying at two different houses in town, you never know exactly how many people will be eating any particular meal you prepare, so you cook a few extra.
  • Artichoke preparation time is too inflexible to be compatible with activity schedules in constant flux.
  • Artichokes are intended to be placidly savored, not wolfed down prior to racing off to get good seats in order to hear the wonderful inspiring words uttered by a grown man who calls himself 'Bronco'.
  • Weary, car-lagged travelers ignore all the rules of proper mealtimes and aren't hungry when they arrive for dinner.
  • Artichokes are a delicacy that country bumpkins from Idaho don't appreciate.
  • At a buck apiece (which is cheap for artichokes, but still), it's hard to throw them away, so you end up eating the extras yourself (since lovely leftovers artichokes do not make).
  • Woman was not meant to consume that much artichoke sauce in one evening. At least this woman wain't (wasn't + ain't).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It's been a year since mom left us.

It was a crisp September morning, sunny and mild, and I was preparing to process the several bushels of sauce tomatoes that we had picked the Saturday before. Quart jars were sterilizing in the dishwasher, and pots of water for scalding and processing were heating on the stove.

I was standing at the back door looking out at the old picnic table which was groaning under its load of cardboard boxes filled near to bursting with the glistening red fruit, deciding how many tomatoes to allocate to sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa, when the phone rang.

It was my dad. His voice was tired, but tight and high with emotion.

"Hi Lisa. Your mom had a really bad night. I think you'd better come as soon as you can."

And in that moment, the tomatoes were forgotten.


Mom told us that she was sick at our family gathering at Thanksgiving 2006. It was her heart, she said. Over the next nine months she had innumerable tests and several surgeries. Instead of improving, she got weaker with each successive treatment. And as she deteriorated, she withdrew from the world as well as her family.

She said she didn't want us to visit her at home, because the house was a mess and she didn't feel up to cleaning or hosting company. She said she didn't want us to visit her in the hospital, because she looked a wreck and didn't want to be on display when she felt so awful. No flowers, because that was just a waste of money. Even talking on the phone was exhausting, she told me. Being the obedient youngest child, I tried to respect her wishes for privacy. So I stayed away. I didn't send flowers. I called rarely.

In June 2007 we took a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park, and since we would be driving within 15 miles of my parents' home to get there, I called dad and told him I wanted to come for a short visit. We wouldn't stay very long, but I wanted my kids to see their grandma. And she agreed to let us come for half an hour.

I was prepared for her to be tired and sick, but I hadn't realized how much weight she had lost since I'd seen her in January. Her face was pinched with fatigue and heavily wrinkled, and she had aged 10 years in six months. She had had a pacemaker put in a week or so before, and she was exhausted and in pain. We couldn't hug her because she was so bruised from the surgery. She sat on the sofa and mostly listened while we all sat around and talked, but every so often she would groan involuntarily. My kids were shocked at the change in their once vibrant grandmother, and the older two were in tears.

As we prepared to leave, I went to mom and knelt on the floor in front of her and gently held her hands. She squeezed my hands weakly and smiled down at me with tears running down her face. "I love you Lisa," she said. "I am so very proud of you for the person you are and the family you are raising." It felt like good-bye. I told her that she was going to beat this and next year she would be out gardening again. "I'm not so sure about that," she said.

That was the last time I spoke with her.


After hanging up with dad, I called my SIL Jessica to make arrangements for the kids after school, and Tom to let him know I was going to Idaho and I'd call him later when I knew more. I picked up my sister Brenda and we started the 3 1/2 hour drive, hoping we'd get to say goodbye before she left.

Mom had other plans. She didn't like being in the spotlight, and I don't think she wanted an audience for her departure. Brenda and I had been on the road for only half an hour when dad called again with the news that she had gone Home.

I miss her. Ours wasn't a super-close call-and-chat everyday kind of relationship, and I don't grieve for her on a daily basis like some people describe. But every now and then the loss sneaks up and smacks me upside the head, like today.

Love you mom. :waves:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Final Notice!

On Friday the utility bill from the city arrived, but there was something different about it: the paper showing through the little plastic address window was PINK.

My first thought: someone down at the city utilities office was feeling colorful this week.

My second thought: this might possibly be something bad.

So I opened the envelope, and what do you think I found?

A threat.

They are going to turn off my water/electricity/sewer/garbage service if I don't pay THREE months worth of utility bills by September 16. That's Tuesday.

What. In. The. World?!

And then I remembered that way back at the first of July, our credit card number was stolen, and VISA promptly canceled that card number and sent us a new set of cards.

Unfortunately, I had my utility payments set up to auto-pay. On that stolen card. And I never called to re-set up the auto-pay with the new card number. So, the auto-pays haven't been auto-paying for the last two months and now my utilities will be shut off unless I haul my sorry carcass down to the city offices before Tuesday. I wonder if I just sliced open a vein on my arm if they would accept my blood as payment and proof of my repentance.

I have been watching with wonder as my checking account balance has been larger than usual the last couple of months, and was singing praises about the blessings of tithing and all that. Turns out it wasn't blessings. It was credit card theft.

Talk about a reality check.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Great Hair Day

Women like to talk about 'bad hair days' - and from the frequency of complaints, you'd think that most days find most women follicularly challenged.

I had a great hair day today.

I like my hair. It is naturally dark blond with summer highlights. I normally wear it shortish and curly, with the help of regular visits to my hairdresser for a perm. My spring perm is growing out. No longer can I just wash, gel, and go. Most days I require some serious help from the curling iron to get stuff to stay where it should. Despite the extra time, I like the softer look, so I'm holding out a little longer before going back in to get curly again.

But not today. Today my hair went just where I wanted when I combed it. The bangs are long-ish and wavy and brush over the tops of my eyebrows, thus eliminating the need to wax. Well on one side, anyway. It all just "worked" somehow, and I had no idea what I'd done to make that happen. I gave the mirror a wicked smile and sprayed the head down with hairspray, then off I went to the store, to a cooking class and lunch, and then into the garden to plant some fall vegetables. Just before driving Susan to saxophone lessons, I checked myself in the mirror briefly, and decided that the windblown look suited me.

Then we opened the front door to a hailstorm. Susan balked, unwilling to get wet. I squealed "what are you waiting for?!" because I, who was holding the storm door open wide so that she and her saxophone could clear it, was getting soaked by her indecision. And then we ran together screaming and laughing into the storm and were promptly wet through in the 20 foot race to the van.

I figured my great do was ruined, which was a shame because I still had two more public appearances to make today. I flipped down the visor to check the mirror, and do you know what? My hair got EVEN BETTER as a result of the hail, if it were even possible. Now I was not only windblown, but had that sorta random kinda spiky just-gelled look that is so hip nowadays. I was stylin', baby! Sexy, even.

I should have taken a picture... in fact I did take a picture. I took several. But they just didn't capture the amazingness of my true appearance, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

It is possible that I was just deluded. And I'll thank in advance my IRL friends that saw me today NOT to burst my bubble if they're holding their sides laughing and rolling on the floor right now. Ignorance is bliss, they say.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Give That Photo A Name - We Have A Winner!

Michael Phelps - You are so going DOWN!!

Congratulations to Debbie for winning this close close contest that had so many entries (a whopping 17) that it was hard to choose! Honestly, all the entries were good and made me smile, but Debbie's nod to the recently departed Olympic Games had that extra layer of humor that could not be denied. Besides, everyone else who commented was MY FRIEND and how do I pick among friends, I ask you?

The prize the Debbie won was the answer to anything she wanted to know. When I offered that, I made the assumption that she would ask something that I actually knew - i.e. something about me. But no, Debbie has higher aspirations than knowing my most embarrassing moment or the worst thing I ever did in High School or how many hickies I've ever been given in my life. Instead, Debbie asked a parenting question, which launches the answer into the realms of opinion and therefore relieves me of any actual personal sharing, which is a big relief, in a way.

Debbie's Question:

"If we can get a somewhat accurate representation of our country's people running for national office, if we can figure out how to evacuate huge numbers of people out of a storm's way, and we can begin to get most everyone talking about energy conservation, then how do I get my kids to clean their room together without killing each other?"

My Answer:

I have no idea.

I kid, I kid. I do have an idea. Several, in fact.

  • Why make them clean their room? Embrace the chaos; you'll all be happier.
  • Give each kid his/her own room. Then they can commit suicide instead of murder. At least no one goes to jail that way.
  • Make it a game: Give each child a list of the things they must pick up - age appropriate, of course. Put on a favorite upbeat song and promise a reward (candy, extra TV time, etc) if they can both get their list done before the song is over.
  • Stand there and threaten grounding and/or bodily harm if they don't stop fighting and just do it already! Oh - you've already tried this? Well, never mind, then.
  • Model the desired behavior. IOW - is YOUR room clean, mom?
  • Wait ten years until they're all out of the house. You'll be old and lonely, but by gum the bedrooms will be clean!
Okay so some most of those are tongue in cheek, smart-alec-off-the-top-of-my-head answers because I really don't know the answer, okay? Maybe some of the other folks who check in here will have better ideas than me.

But still, congratulations. Your kids' rooms may be messy, but you're a winner!

Monday, September 8, 2008

At last, the waiting is over.

My baby turned 8 today.

"I'm not a baby, mom!"

Hey, this is my blog, I'll write what I want. Go away.

Anyway. It's her birthday. She's extra excited, because not only is she being tortured by having to wait until dad gets home to open her presents, but turning 8 also means she gets to be baptised this weekend. We are all super excited about that. Tons of family will be here, and it will be a general riot of a party. I can't wait!

Here she is with the earrings and pendant her Grandpa Hibbert sent.

I took pity on her tortured soul and let her open them before school. Unfortunately, since it has only been three weeks since she got her ears pierced, she has to wait a few more weeks to wear them.

"I can still wear the necklace though!"

Don't you have homework or clogging practice or something you should be doing?

"But this is about me, I need to make sure you say the right words!"

Hmmm. Good point.

How about these words: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGAN!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why is it?

This weekend is stake conference, for me and pretty much everyone I know here in the intermountain west. Tonight the bishop and I went to the adult session. (Righteous, dedicated and faithful man that he is, the bishop also went to leadership meeting earlier in the afternoon, even though the BYU/Washington game was still undecided in the 4th quarter. Dude. I so do not deserve this guy.)

FYI - BYU won, 28-27 on a blocked extra point with two seconds left.


The meeting tonight was very good, as usual. I came away wondering a couple of things:

Why is it that the people who attend the evening adult session of stake conference also love to sing? The energy, enthusiasm and pure talent of the singing in this meeting would make it worth attending for that reason alone. Most of the people in attendance are in leadership, or like me, married to leadership. What is the relationship between music and leadership? There's a research paper for ya.

Why is it that uplifting pep talks about the refiners fire and pressing forward with steadfast faith in Christ and enduring to the end leave me feeling so incredibly discouraged that I cannot stop weeping? Why should a mother's story about her daughter who is cheerful and happy despite being afflicted with a debilitating, painful, and incurable illness make me feel like an utter weakling and complete failure?

Yeah - I know. Cognitive distortions. Bah.

Obviously I have issues.

I think I'll go practice clogging now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

11:34 pm

You know how some days just seem to go on forever and by evening you are simply exhausted? And you finally get the food put away and the house locked up and all the kids to bed, complete with prayers, hugs, kisses, and stories, and then crawl into bed at 10:14 pm and snuggle into your pillow and curl up on your side with a blissful smile on your face because finally at last you can just hold still for several hours? And then, when you are just starting to twitch because you are almost asleep, right on the edge, and you smile to yourself because you love how that feels.... and right then you hear someone crying? And the sound shatters your languid daze and yanks you back from the edge of that sweet nectar of oblivion that you have waited all day for, and suddenly you are wide awake and mad as a wet cat? And though you put the pillow over your head to block out the keening, gradually you realize that your feet are cold and you have a headache just behind your eyes, and you can't go back to sleep even though the crying has stopped and so you just get up and go to the kitchen for a cup of cocoa to wait until you get sleepy again?

I hate it when that happens.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

There's new poll up - and apparently at least some people want to talk about it. So here you go.

Here is a picture of me. Note the eyebrows. Do you think they need shaping, plucking, waxing, darkening, or other method of "fixing"?

I think what I need is a before/after comparison image - I'm scared to do it and then hate it, because although theoretically I know they would grow back... wouldn't it be ugly and awkward while it happens?

Blast away.

Give That Photo A Name!

Okay I love this picture. It makes me smile every time I see it. Why? Well, it must be because I can relate to the fury and desperation this cat is feeling. But mostly I love it because it's just plain funny. I have been saving it until I could come up with the perfect caption to use as a post title. But I am feeling creatively challenged lately and so I need a little help.

This is where you, dear readers, come in.

Apply your collective creative genius and give it your best shot! The winner gets to come and watch me get my eyebrows waxed.

Just kidding. The winner gets to ask me anything you want to know - and I'll post the answer right here on this here blog.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day, revisited.

So this was our Labor Day:

  • After some drama and yelling, we decided to go see Kung Fu Panda at the Buck-Fifty theater, and we would all be thankful for it, by gum!
  • We planned to go to the first showing at 12:30 so that Karianne could spent a couple of hours with Tim before he had to work at 5pm.
  • Susan was late getting back from marching in the parade, so we missed the first matinee, which put the pinch on Karianne's plans.
  • We decided to try for the 4:25 showing instead, so that Karianne could see Tim before the movie. (Are we accomodating parents, or what?)
  • Alas, Tim was busy all afternoon (with some lame excuse about a leaking roof) and so our flexibility was for nothing, darn it.
  • Nathan was annoyed that we had changed the schedule for Karianne's sake, thus causing his TV show viewing to be interrupted when it was time to leave for the movie.
  • When we arrived at the theater, we were chagrined to find that all showings were sold out. Who knew that all of Provo would think going to a movie on a rainy holiday was a good idea and that they would also have the brains to buy their tickets online the day before?
  • In an attempt to salvage the outing, we stopped for shakes, a banana split, and a dipped cone.
  • Due to fate, a vengeful god, or just plain bad luck, Nathan's dipped cone was delayed for over 35 minutes due to employee error.
  • Nathan growled and stomped to the other side of the restaurant, where he punched and kicked the booth seat while the rest of us ate our ice cream.
  • Two small toddlers began to play hide-and-scream mere feet away from our table.
  • Nathan's cone finally arrived, and we all sat and waited while he ate it on the other side of the restaurant.
  • I laid my head down on the table and gave in to the urge to laugh hysterically until tears squeezed from my tightly closed eyelids.
  • My husband whispered that the padded van was on its way and we'd better leave now unless I wanted to wear a strait jacket to bed tonight.
  • We drove home and stopped to rent WaterHorse from Blockbuster, where Tim works, much to Karianne's delight.
  • Once at home, I served a nutritious dinner of popcorn and candy bars to go along with the movie. My mothering skills are unsurpassed, I know.

I decided that I can't wait for the next Holiday. Ain't family togetherness great?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Do I get a Holiday too?

I have decided that I am against Holidays. And this is why:

Husbands get a day off from work. Kids get a day off from school. And I get a day off from, what exactly? Solitude? A quiet house that stays clean? Getting to do what I want instead of being on call to five people?

To me, a holiday means there are more people in the house eating, making noise, quarreling, and otherwise making work for me than there would otherwise be. Now that all my kids are in school full time, Holidays are a pain in the rear end.

But I'm not bitter about it, or anything.

And please don't try to make me feel better or solve it or try to talk me out of it. I'm just sayin'.

That is all.