Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finally, a phone number for Hell

My super-hot engineer husband and I just returned from a three day weekend getaway to Colorado to watch our team (GO COUGARS) take on Air Force last Saturday.

On the drive out, we saw this billboard in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I burst into loud laughter (guess where I'm going, folks?), and turned the car around to get a second look. While I was snapping a picture for my blog and fingering my cell phone, my husband dug out his scriptures to look up John 3:36. (guess where he's going, folks?)

I was intrigued by that phone number. Do you suppose that's like a reservation hotline? No longer do you need to ask a friend/enemy to save you a seat in Hell--now you can just call direct? Do you suppose Hell accepts Mastercard?

I can just see the ad now:

Adult Movie Rental: $10

Value of Stolen Office Supplies: $100

King Inferno Suite with Room Service: Priceless

My uber-righteous bishop husband guessed that it's probably the information line for a church ministry of some kind. To that I say, "BO-RING!"

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Will someone please explain to me

why it is that my children, all of whom have excellent hand eye coordination and full use of both hands, cannot seem to master the simple task of replacing an empty toilet paper roll with a new one? They know how to flush(sometimes) , how to wipe (thank goodness), and how to wash (I'm hoping), but it's like there's some religious aversion to actually removing the empty cardboard tube from the spring-loaded holder and replacing it with the new roll of paper. Just this morning I went into the kids' bathroom and discovered an empty cardboard roll still on the dispenser, and a mostly used roll of toilet paper sitting on its end on the edge of the sink counter, where water splashed from the recent washing of hands had seeped up into the remaining paper on the roll, thus ruining it for its intended use.

This kind of waste annoys me to no end.

Any ideas on how to teach my bright, talented, but incredibly lazy children how to perform this simple task without the currently endless nagging from me that is currently required would be much appreciated.

I will thank you. My children will thank you. My toilet paper will thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twilight... I've been there!

Last summer we traveled to the great Northwest to visit my husband's family, and while we were in the neighborhood, we decided to take a side trip out to the Olympic Peninsula. Since myself and three of my children have read all of the Twilight books, I suggested we plan a stop in Forks. That way, I reasoned, when we see the movie, we can lean over to our poorly traveled friends and say, "I've been there!" I wonder how many times I could say that before my friend punches me. Hm... I'll let you know

Yes, Forks, Washington, is a real place. Ms. Meyer didn't make it up. And yes, it really does rain there. A lot.

Here is my tall 8 year old standing next to the rain gauge at the Forks Visitor Information Center. As of August 2, it had already rained 4 3/4 FEET this year. That's 57 Inches, folks, with five months yet to go in the year. Average annual rainfall in Forks is 102 inches (8 1/2 feet).

All that rain makes the countryside incredibly green and lush.

And grows REEELLY big trees.

And REEEELLY big Banana Slugs. Vampires? Meh. I got bigger problems keeping this slug from gnawing off my finger!

Welcome to Forks, Home of the Highest Gas Prices in America (on Aug 2). Yikes.

Bella's workplace...

The Highschool...

The ONE stoplight in town...

A caption on this photo seems a tad redundant...

But look what we found around the back side of the building!

Bella's Truck. My children were truly thrilled to see this replica at the Visitor Center. They are grimacing because -- shocker -- it is raining.

No visit to Forks would be complete without a side trip to La Push and First Beach.

It's hard to go wrong with rocks, sand, water and a gorgeous sunset.

We spent one night in Forks, and it was plenty. It really is a "blink and you'll miss it" little nothing town on the highway. Rainy most days, even in summer, overcast on the rest. A perfect spot for vampires to hide.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm so cool

So last weekend my firstborn hosted a surprise birthday party for her friend, Christina, at our house. Her friend, Aubrynn, was also in on the nefarious plot, and was therefore hanging out at our house Saturday afternoon. Those girls cooked yummy brownies and cookies, and I mixed up some yummy faux caramel apple dip (ooh, I should probably post this recipe, huh?) and dill dip for potato chips.

At one point in the preparations, the discussion turned to the upcoming premier of Twilight 10 days 7 hours and 30 minutes as of this writing. Apparently the local high school is selling discount tickets to students for the midnight showing of the premiere. Adorable Aubrynn turned to me and asked if I was planning to see the movie.

"You betcha I am!" I replied with appropriate enthusiasm.

"Really?! You should go with us!"

I was really touched that my teenager's friend thought I was cool enough to want to go to the movies with me.

"Aw, Aubrynn, that's sweet of you to invite me! I was planning to go with my girlfriends though, but thanks!

"Well, you should still come with us. To drive us at least."

Huh. I guess my coolness is related to whether or not my daughter and her friends need a ride somewhere.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to make friends in your new ward (NOT)

My children and I sit on the second or third row in our church worship services.

On Sunday, a new family attended our meetings, and sat on the row in front of us. The family consisted of a couple that looked to be in their 50's and two mousy teenaged girls.

During one of the talks, one of my teenagers leaned over to ask a question about something the speaker had said. (Of course my angelic children listen attentively to all the talks in church. Don't yours?) I gave a whispered response, followed by another question. This went back and forth a few times. I didn't think we were being unduly loud or disruptive, but apparently I was wrong.

Suddenly the woman turned around, hooking her elbow over the back of her pew, and looked directly at me over her bifocals.

"What's your name?"

I sat back, flustered. Suddenly I was transformed into a little kid caught passing notes in class by the scary substitute teacher.

"Uh. Lisa?" Who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do you think you are?

"Well, Lisa, I have a hearing problem and I am finding it hard to concentrate on the meeting with your conversation going on behind me."

You've got a problem, alright, but hearing ain't it. "Uh. I apologize."

And I died of humiliation right there. But not before I picked a stray hair from the shoulder of her wool suit jacket.

Anybody know a good voodoo artist?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What's Normal?

So last night we had artichokes again. They were good this time, too. We were sitting around the table, all six of us (with two teenagers, having the whole family for dinner is truly an historic event worth blogging about, which is why I am blogging about it. duh.), savoring our artichokes. Pulling off a fat, succulent, perfectly steamed leaf, dipping it in sauce, and scraping the tender flesh off with the bottom teeth, then tossing the remainder of the leaf into the bowl. There was little conversation, but much slurping and aaahing and moaning. They were that good.

Then my 16 year old said,

"Do normal people eat artichokes this way, or do they just dispense with the leaves and go straight for the hearts?"

(Editor's Note: She didn't actually use the word "dispense". Sixteen year olds don't talk like that. At least NORMAL 16 year olds don't. I think.)

I guess we know who is NOT winning the "Favorite Daughter" award this week!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Friend. The End.

Have you ever made fast friends with someone you'll probably never see again?

I don't mean polite small-talk so they won't think you're rude. I mean real sharing about life experiences and feelings, to the point that you actually begin to care for the person and you're truly sad when time is up and you both to go separate ways a mere 24 hours after meeting.

It's happened just once to me. It was the strangest thing, in a bitter-sweet kind of way.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Good to know

Did you know that you can get away with saying almost anything, no matter how blunt, if you end with the phrase "Love you!"?

It's true. A sharp criticism cannot be taken as offensive if those two little words are tacked on at the end.

Also "bless his/her heart" if you're from The South or wish to pretend to be from The South. As in, "My goodness, but that man is ugly... bless his heart!"

These are just a couple of the things I learned from the very cool teenagers I hung out with on the marching band trip.

I also learned that when you have one teenager, you have one teenager's brain. When two teenagers are gathered, you have one-half of a teenager's brain. And when three or more teens are gathered, you have no brains among them at all.

Bless their hearts!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Receiving Service - Is it more trouble than it's worth?

I grow a vegetable garden next door in my neighbor's un-landscaped yard. It's the only way I have enough room to really farm -- corn, squash, pumpkins, and tomatoes need more space than my little backyard raised bed garden has available.

Every October, the Scoutmaster calls: "Sister Farmer, the Boy Scouts need a service project. Would you like help cleaning up the garden for the winter?"

And because I am 1) lazy and 2) a slow learner, I say yes.

So the boys come over and yank dried cornstalks out of the ground and pile tomato vines on the pickup truck and throw windfall tomatoes at one another until the scoutmaster's wife calls "Donuts!" and then they all disappear.

With one of my tools.

I needed my new garden fork on Saturday while I was planting fall bulbs. My new garden fork is, well, new. It is yellow and tight and shiny and works wonderfully well. But I couldn't find it anywhere. I walked the entire area of both my little plot and my neighbor's yard looking for it, to no avail. So I used my old garden fork, whose wood shank is split and the blue plastic D-handle at the top is loose and it's frankly a pain to use. It got the job done, but it's falling apart. I bought the new yellow shiny fork to replace the old blue worn-out fork just this year.

I'm a little chapped.

Do you think I could submit a receipt for my new garden fork to the ward and get reimbursed for the cost since the Boy Scouts stole it? Cuz otherwise, that "service" cost me $35 in a stolen tool.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last Night I Dreamed

Which is odd, because I almost never dream. Yes, I know everybody dreams every night, we just don't always remember the dreams unless we wake up right after a dream yada yada yada. It's so much easier and simpler to say "I don't dream", and everybody knows what I mean. Right?

Can I continue with my story now?

Thank you.

So, last night I dreamed. Twice. And they were both odd. The first dream was about my neighbor's husband, who is a computer programmer or maybe an engineer. I'm not exactly sure. He also plays the piano. She came to visit me or I went to visit her, or we met on the streetcorner in San Francisco or something - the venue kept shifting strangely. Anyway - she had a video Ipod and showed me a music video. Because her husband had quit his engineer job and joined a band as the piano player. But the video only showed the top of his head since he was behind the piano. Weird.

The second dream I almost forgot about, until just now when I was typing the first dream. I dreamed that I was pregnant. OH wait - that's not a dream, that's a nightmare! Anyway. It gets worse. I was only a few weeks along - like 6 or so, and went in for a checkup and the nurse was making a big deal about how she just knew I was having twins. I stared at her dumbfouded. How the heck could she know that - I wasn't even showing yet! She waggled her finger and smiled in a knowing way. "I just know these things!" And I said, "well, wouldn't it show on an ultrasound?" And then she got all weird and mumbled something about how expensive ultrasounds are, blah blah blah, and I said, well, my insurance covers it, right? And she said, "Yesbut."


So I said fine I'll just wait to have an ultrasound at 20 weeks cuz as long as we're looking we might as well see if it's a boy or girl. And she couldn't believe that I would want to wait that long to find out if I were having twins and didn't I want an ultrasound today? And also next week?

And then I socked her right on her stupid mouth and walked out of the office. And when I got to my car and looked back at the clinic, it had turned into a house of candy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Remember the Boy Who Won't Smile?

Apparently he also sings Opera.

For those who can't understand what he's saying, The Lyrics:

Little Purple Pansies dressed in yellow gold,
Growing in the corner of the garden old,
We are very little but must try try try,
For if someone steps on us we'll die die die!

In case you were wondering, no, those aren't the original lyrics for that well beloved Primary Song. Those are the updated, patented Funny Farm lyrics. We don't even know the original lyrics anymore.

Is it bad that I like the new, violent ones better?

Believe it or not, all of this transpired BEFORE the treats were served.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Timpanogos Cave

The day was cool, school was out, and dad was home. We decided to tackle the mountain: a 1 1/2 mile hike up 1000 feet of mountain to the cave.

The smaller one started out enthusiastic at the beginning, complete with walking stick.

About halfway up the walking stick became a pulling stick. Yay for dads to pull kids up mountains!

All along the trail there were various warning signs:

I thought this shirt was very appropriate for this particular day's work. Check out the tough guy expression.

Note to mom: It's not cool to smile if you're a boy over the age of 11 1/2.

Good to know.

See the red line behind this cute girl. These lines denoted the danger zones where rock falls frequently happen. We were instructed NOT to stop and take pictures while in the red zones.

So of course we had to. But at least she is watching for falling rock! So that makes it okay, right?

Near the top we were thrilled to arrive at this historic stone building. Why, you ask?

After 1 1/2 miles and 1000 feet, combined with the implied threat of "LAST CHANCE" for bathrooms - who wouldn't take advantage of the opportunity to relieve oneself in a cool place like this?

My oldest was particularly relieved.

Get it? Relieved? hee hee!

Well at least they got it! Sheesh Nathan. Get a sense of humor already!

The cave was amazing, but my camera phone wouldn't do it justice, so you'll just have to go see it for yourselves. My favorite part is always the place where they turn off all the lights and it's pitch black and my eyes bulge out trying to pick up any trace of light. Except this time I was a little chapped because there was a kid with light-up shoes who kept shuffling around and RUINED the moment. SMACK. At least it was dark so no one saw who hit him.

It wasn't me!