Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Contest! With A Prize!

It feels important to me that even though I'll be road tripping it for a while that you all continue to entertain me.  Your challenge is this:  submit some of your worst photos.  They don't necessarily have to be "professional" pictures, but something that showcases the likes of a very bad hair day, unfortunate fads of the time, or perhaps sheer neglect.  I've never done a contest before because it's usually only the really cool blogs with sponsors who can give away great stuff that do it.  But I don't care about "usually", so I'm going to give it a whirl.  Your prize may not be as cool, but still.  It's Wednesday, you couldn't possibly have anything better to do.
So.  Here's the deal.

THE CONTEST:  Submit Your Best (Worst?) Ugly Photo
  • DON'T send me anything inappropriate (you know who you are and you know what I mean)
  • DO send me photos with mullets and headgear (not necessarily together, but hey, even better!)
  • Email to me at:  vernmaster at gmail dot com
  • Deadline:  Sunday, July 4th
  • I will post the finalists and then YOU GUYS will vote for the winner
THE PRIZE:  $10 Gift card to Chili's, Starbucks, or Olive Garden and a postcard from Montana
(Dear Ganelle: I know how you love Olive Garden - may I suggest you submit the one with your ringlets and thick, green glasses from the 50's? Not that I will pay you any bias, but I want you to have a fighting chance.)

And just to show you that I'm a team player I will get y'all started.  I give you my class photo from 1st Grade:

Man I loved that dress.  And to think that only one year later Jeremy in Mrs. Johnson's class would want to sit next to me and hold my hand. 

Ready?  Don't disappoint me people, I am counting on you.  GO!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Would You Buy A Milkshake From A Llama?

A few weekend highlights:

#1: We went camping this weekend and en route through the mountains I saw a restaurant tucked in a strip mall called the “Angry Llama Diner”. Intrigued? So was I. Not enough to stop and try their food, but enough to google “llamas” just to see if I could find out what an angry llama would look like. Here’s one:

I’m not sure whose marketing idea it was to name this restaurant, but would YOU trust this dude to flip your burger or cut your fries? Me neither. I would, however, trust him to gather his friends and line up along southern California and help us secure our borders.

Here’s a happier llama:

Don’t you wonder how they got him to smile like that? It’s like he heard the Emperor was in search of a new groove and he’s waiting for his casting call. (How do I know it’s a “He”? Just a hunch.)

This llama, on the other hand, looks like a Charro wannabe with depression. Either that or her mom made her dress up for Halloween and she’s bitter that she didn’t get to be a princess. I’d be ticked off too. (How do I know it’s a “she”? Boy llamas don’t wear pink. Duh.)

#2: While filling out the paperwork for Scout Camp Drew peered over my shoulder and saw the line that read: “SEX ______”. He freaked out and gasped, “What the…?!” “Dude!” I replied. “Calm down, it’s not a yes or no question!”

#3: For Family Night tonight we decided to watch “Phineas & Ferb” and pause the show whenever we extracted a moral message. It took mere seconds before Candace launched into all of her inadequacies while comparing herself to a friend and I yelled, “Pause!” Cory hit the button on the remote and I said, “Thou shalt not covet!” Everyone nodded in agreement, and we resumed “Play”. Seconds later there was mention of a wedgie when Drew yelled, “Pause!” Cory obeyed, and Drew explained, “Never give a person a wedgie.” Unconvinced of its validity I probed, “What’s the moral message in not giving someone a wedgie?” “Because,” Drew said, “it’s just…WRONG.” Good enough.

In other news, we leave shortly for a two week road trip through Idaho, Yellowstone National Park, and Montana. Any road trip food suggestions?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Unfit Primary President

In my defense it had been a very long day.

Wait. Let’s start at the beginning. I am not what most would consider a “kid person”. One of the things I hated most when I was younger was getting a phone call and hearing on the other line, “Hi Vern, (uh oh – it’s not one of my friends) this is Mrs. Christianson/Smith/Johnson (No. No no no. Noooo!) and I was just wondering (Hurry up! You know what’s coming! Quick, think of something that you’re doing on Saturday!) if you could babysit this Saturday? (You should call my sister. She loves babysitting and kids adore her.) We already asked Suzi and she can’t do it so we wondered if YOU were available?” (Doh.) “Uh, sure Mrs. Christianson/Smith/Johnson.” (Man, I have GOT to get myself a boyfriend!)

Luckily, I have softened quite a bit since becoming a parent. So much so that for the last several months I have been helping a friend of mine watch a couple of her daycare kids twice a week. One of them has eyelashes the length of the Nile and I tell you what, when that 3-year-old boy looks up at me and says, “My Kristy? I LOVE you!” I would give him ice cream for lunch every day if he asked for it. Nevertheless, I’m not particularly skilled in the arena of young children. I mostly want them to play by themselves, get their own snacks, and take 4 hour naps. So, you can imagine how I took it when my church asked me a few years ago if I would be the President over all the children at church (we call it “Primary”) between the ages of 18 months – 11 years. While I can’t be certain about this, it’s probably a little like asking Joran Van Der Sloot if he will babysit your kittens. However, against my better judgment I agreed to take on the challenge and commenced my tenure as President over the Primary and things were going rather well. My favorite moment was when a young girl stepped up to the pulpit to say a prayer and she said, “And please bless us that we can have treats every time.”  I know how she feels.

Several months into that gig I decided to have some friends over for a dinner party. I wanted it to be nice. I wanted the food to be really good, and I wanted to try something new. So I got online, researched a few recipes and settled on one called Almond Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. Shazam! Now. The recipe called for two tablespoons of bourbon, and as a commitment to my faith I have agreed never to drink alcohol. I read the recipe carefully and determined that the alcohol would burn off before being ingested so I determined to move forward and headed to a big liquor store down the street to purchase my ingredient. Honest to goodness, this was my first time in a liquor store. It was like sending an Amish kid to Prom. I stood there with my eyes open wide, not sure where to even begin. I didn’t want to buy some huge thing of bourbon when I only needed 2 tablespooons! Then I noticed near the checkout area that they sold small shots of different liquors. A-ha! This was the ticket. I wasn’t sure if one shot would do it, so I bought two. I threw both of them in my purse and as it turned out, one was the exact amount I ended up needing so I sort of forgot about the 2nd one that still tossed around at the bottom of my purse.

Until I was at church.

In the Primary Room.

And while rummaging around for a pen I went, “Wait, what’s this?” and pulled out my 2nd little bottle of bourbon in front of the other women that I worked with. “Oh! Wait, I can explain….”

And that’s the story about the Primary President getting caught with alcohol at church.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


One of the ways I try to be a good parent is by telling my kids from the get go that you can’t (CAN’T) be anything you want to be, even if you put your mind to it. It’s my special way of giving back to the community, to raise children with realistic expectations and a firm grasp of how the world really works. For instance, my daughter (bless her heart) took gymnastics for four years. Four years at $100/month equals about five thousand dollars, which ended up buying me a few cartwheels and some trampoline time. Gymnastics is simply not what my daughter’s body was built for. Hello, her father is 6’3” and her mother is 5’10”. While we’re at it, we should probably also rule out my children’s future as horse jockeys. My husband also wanted to marry rich – we don’t always get what we want. (Consolation prize: I have a blog that creates zero revenue but hundreds of people now know him for the stud that he is. Bonus! See honey? Money isn’t everything.)

I think it’s also important to tell my kids that they’re probably not always going to be passionate about their work. Get a job that doesn’t completely kill your spirit but still pays the bills. Want to be a circus performer? Get a degree in Accounting. You can balance budgets during the week and the tightrope on the weekends. Everybody wins.

If there’s anything I’m confident about, it’s how many things I can’t do. I can’t make the Bobby’s at Buckingham Palace smile, I can’t make Val Kilmer hot again, I can’t make Hugh love me, and hard as I try (Ooohh, how I’ve tried), I can’t turn tofu into chocolate. I will never be a beauty queen, bear another child, drive along the Pacific Coast Highway holding Cary Grant’s hand, or help David Hasselhoff get sober. Can’t. Not to mention, despite numerous requests and encouraging shouts from my new personal trainer this week, I can’t do a push-up. Only one free session left, and I can’t make her go away. I can’t wait for it to be over, and I can’t imagine how ridiculous I look to other gym-goers grunting in the corner with sweat dripping down my temples as I try to suck in my gut to complete “The Bridge”. As you can see, it’s important to share the “I Can’t” message with our children. Otherwise, can you imagine? Drew would be 32 and living in my basement, staring at a poster of Yoda moaning, “Why haven’t you come for me?” while Samantha turns cartwheels across the floor. And I can’t have that.


Monday, June 14, 2010

I Don't Think The Pioneer Children Sang As Much As We Think They Did

At the crisp, early dawn of 5:30 am today we dropped off our darling 14-year-old in a church parking lot. Outfitted in a purple calico print, her waist to ankle skirt shifted awkwardly around her middle and her matching bonnet extended as if to accommodate a command to “walk the plank”. From there she would board a bus to transport her and hundreds of other youth to the middle of Wyoming where they planned to set up camp and kick it old school. It is her very first Pioneer Trek.

For those unfamiliar, it is rather common among us Latter-Day Saints to pay homage to those who have gone before us by retracing some of the steps of our pioneer ancestors. Some say it is a life changing experience, others say it is hot. To be fair, I cannot weigh in with authority as it has never been my lot privilege to participate. Nevertheless, I think we all know where I would come down. (Hey, don’t judge. I’m VERY sensitive to the heat.) One thing is for sure, it is not enough to don a pair of jeans and some sunglasses for this journey. No, in order to create an authentic experience it is believed that one must also wear authentic clothing. Seems noble, doesn’t it? I don’t know, let’s ask these ladies.

First of all, I think the most awesome thing that could occur right now is if you happen to be the woman in this picture and you are reading this blog. So help me, if you are that woman, please please PLEASE send me an email and I will promptly mail you half a pound of some legit horehound candy. (Let’s be real: I think we’re all relieved there’s no ‘w’ in ‘horehound’, are we not?) (Ideally I would have posted a picture of my daughter in her outfit, but I’m in the business of trying to gain her trust and seeing as I JUST got her to divulge the name of her current crush, I’m not about to blow it by plastering close ups of her “What Not To Wear” before photo.) Second of all, I’m pretty sure that lady is NOT reading this so with fingers crossed I’d like to share what I think about this picture. The way I see it, this woman ended up modeling pioneer clothing in one of three ways. Either she is, a) a struggling model still searching for her big break, b) a friend or family member of the person who runs this website or, c) someone with a sordid past who is being blackmailed. (Either you pose in this bonnet or I’ll send THESE pictures to The “Enquirer”! [she yells through her tears] Fine! I’ll do it! But this is the LAST! TIME!) If the answer is “a”, I’d like to say…good luck with that. If the answer is “b”, well then good for you because now somebody is eternally in your debt. As for “c”, don’t be na├»ve. You had to know those pictures would come back to haunt you. Oh well, one thing is for sure; I don’t care how fast that chick can churn butter she’s not getting a date in the 21st century.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Something I didn’t expect to hear: “…and that’s how my brother got that fungus on his butt.” 

Something embarrassing: Samantha’s friends were over. “Ice Ice Baby” came on over our speakers and I thought, (thinking = my first mistake) I should show them how well I can do ‘The Running Man’ – I bet they will see how cool I am and suddenly want to tell me stuff, and desire to have all their future gatherings at Samantha’s house because she is the one with the cool mom.  Here's an update on that: EPIC FAIL.

Something funny: Drew was gearing up for a presentation at school and he was a little nervous about it. I tried to pump him up and give him encouragement, after which he raised his eyebrows in mock appreciation and said, “Wow Mom. That was a really moving speech.”

Something…(I’m not sure what this is, but I don’t think it’s very positive): While lunching with some friends we began discussing a family while inserting all kinds of favorable adjectives. It piqued my curiosity (never a good sign) so I turned to Samantha and asked, “What kind of adjectives would you use to describe OUR family?” She looked up to the ceiling, pursed her lips and contemplated, “Uhhh…we’re…’special’.”

Something lame
  • Nonfat yogurt.
  • “Whole Grain” Fruity Pebbles.
  • Asking, “Hey, has anyone seen my iPod?” and then finding it in my washing machine.
  • Kevin Costner. (Why is he a famous actor? If I had known I could be rich for being boring I would have called him for some pointers years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s too late now.)
  • Bruce Jenner marrying into the Kardashians.
Something not lame: Sonic Happy Hour. Only six more hours until two o’clock.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This is my surprised face.

I am surprised that I didn't break down and pour myself a stiff drink today. 
I am surprised that I spent about 78 hours in my car.
I am surprised that I had sushi for the first time in my life this week, and ate something called "Monkey Brain" and LOVED. IT.
I am surprised at what a sore loser I am.  (Hello Monopoly Card Game.  Hello Husband who beat me in what was supposed to be a friendly, bonding experience.  Hello Devil, who possessed my body as Cory slowly ran me out of properties/money and threw me into such a tizzy that I had to go outside and "walk it off".  Hello TWO MILES before I was calm enough to return home.  Hello.)  Honestly, what is my problem?
I am surprised that despite my being a sore loser, we will say hello to 17 years of marriage on Saturday.  Not sure what keeps him around.  (Must be my awesome rack.)
I am surprised that no matter how hard American airports try, when they put up a sign over their moving walkway like THIS:

that everyone will still stand in the middle, crowd both sides of the path and stare straight ahead as if to say, "Sign?  What sign?  I don't see any sign." while a soothing voice overhead repeats the very words, "Please walk on the left and stand to the right."  In my opinion, that voice is too soothing and that's why people don't pay attention.  We need James Earl Jones over the PA System saying, "Move It Or Lose It.  That's right cowboy, I'm talking to YOU."  Even if I wasn't a cowboy, I think I'd listen to him.
I am surprised that I saw Kate Gosselin smiling (smiling!) on a magazine cover advertising her new season on TLC.  In this case, I think "TLC" might stand for "Totally Lame Chick".
I am surprised how stupid I am sometimes.  Like how I confessed to a group of church members that I had looked up some of my old boyfriends on facebook during a lesson in which our pastor was cautioning against the dangers of social media.  Oh, and did you hear the one about the Primary President who got caught at church with a shot of whiskey in her purse?  True story.  I'll tell you about it sometime.
I am surprised that people pay more for organic fruits and vegetables. 
I am surprised that Justin Bieber is famous.
I am surprised that you are still reading this.