Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Afternoon Abroad

Cruising Craigslist - It's not the name of a band, but something I like to do when I feel like fantasizing about knowing how to do stuff.  I don't know anything about restoring old furniture, but looking through Craigslist makes me wish I did.  It also makes me dream of Ford F-150's and flatbeds, because it would make it so much easier for me to haul the furniture that I don't know how to refinish back to my house where I don't have a place to put it.  You know what else would be nice?  Free Chipotle on Fridays. 

So, lately I've been browsing more seriously in search of a refinishing project and one of the listings took me to a small town an hour away.  Unfortunately, it was for naught.  (Unless the $1 hot fudge sundae from McDonald's equates success, but seeing as there's one just down the street from me I'm thinking more along the lines of: FAIL.)  Having driven so far I wasn't ready to turn right around and go home, so I decided to browse a nearby boutique.  It wasn't that much fun looking at $20 lip balms and leopard print aprons, but I turned the corner and found some homemade trinkets that made my heart sing.  I even went the extra mile and wrote down some of the quotes I found so I could share them with you here.  First up, a refrigerator magnet that said:
"Between my therapist and my personal trainer, I have no "ME" time."
 Printed on a napkin:
"My reality check bounced."
"I used to be driven but I pulled over."
On a couple of greeting cards:
"I'm so far behind I think I'm first."
"I'm pushing middle age.  That's enough exercise for me."
As for that last one, I don't recall giving anyone permission to read my thoughts and publish them.  Too hard to prove in court?

Monday, September 27, 2010

If I Were Lord Voldemort

It's been a while since I've heard any Potter chatter, but now that there's a movie coming out in November people are starting to talk.  In regards to this upcoming event I've decided to resurrect one of my posts from the now defunct Light Refreshments Served, not because I'm too lazy to write something new, but because I spent a buttload of time today writing something new when my computer Crashed.  And I mean, CRASHED.  Like, I might cry about how much information it ate, but I'm waiting for Cory to come home and tell me just how bad it is.  But guess what?  Cory is inspired, because two weeks ago he made me buy a new computer because he "just didn't have a good feeling" about that laptop and felt its days were numbered.  I thought he was being silly and a little frivolous with some of our disposable income, but now I will kiss him squarely on the lips when he gets home on account of his being so awesome.  He installed the new computer over the weekend, and the laptop bit the dust around 2 this afternoon.  And now for He Who Must Not Be Named... 
I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books.  I’m not apologizing, just stating a fact.  However, the rest of my family is very into it and so everyone was excited about the newest release.  I didn’t want to be left out or serve as the party pooper, so I tried to get up to speed before going to the latest movie so I could at least follow what was happening.  And by "get up to speed" I mean I went on Wikipedia.  After seven very enlightening paragraphs, I hopped in the car with the family secure in my knowledge that Dumbledore was a good guy, Voldemort was a bad guy, and Harry was the guy with the glasses.

A critical element of the story line comes to light in this 6th movie (and book) regarding horcruxes.  For those of you like me who have stayed away from the Harry Potter frenzy, let me briefly explain to both of you that a horcrux is a place where a dark wizard hides a part of his soul for the purpose of attaining immortality.  As long as the horcrux stays intact, so does the person’s soul.  At this point in the series, it is learned that this is precisely what Lord Voldemort has done, and now they just have to figure out what/where all of his horcruxes are so they can destroy them, and thus destroy HIM. 

Which got me thinking, if I were Lord Voldemort, where would I hide the pieces of my soul?  (psst:  I copied this idea from my friend Rachel.  You can read HER version here.)

Unlike Tom Riddle, my diary would not be a likely choice.  For starters, I have too many diaries, and I have too many lame diaries.   They contain startling details to the most ridiculous stages of my life, and I am certain that they are the first place people will be looking after I die for juicy information.  It’s where I document 5 years of Tuesday nights and use several exclamation points to emphasize how much I love “Remington Steele”, and where I drone on for months about a guy I refer to as “Mr. No Name” who I stalked but didn’t know what his name was until I finally asked him to dance at a party.  He said I was a good dancer and I thought he was serious and I planned our wedding to the tune of Madonna’s “Crazy For You” under the colored lights of the gym.  Surprisingly, it never went anywhere; a recurring theme through all seven volumes of my journals.  Like I said, “JUICY”.

Another place I would never use as a horcrux – my DVD’s of “The Office”.  Too obvious.  My computer?  Another dead giveaway.  The Costco size bag of chocolate chips – can you imagine?  Harry Potter would be all, “It’s like she’s not even trying.”  If I really had to be honest though, here’s what I think I would use.

MY CHAP STICK  Some people need meth, I need chap stick.  Only a few people who are close to me know how much I rely on the stuff and I have several stashes – one in my car, one in the kitchen, another in my bathroom drawer, and a final one in my purse.  For the record, I think I would pick the one in my bathroom drawer to store the horcrux, because I don’t care what your magical powers are you do NOT want to go rummaging around in there.  For as long as I can remember I have used Cherry Chap Stick, because it gives my lips a slightly glossy, pink tint and doesn’t require the stronger commitment of lipstick.  That was before I met my mistress, “Vanilla Mint” and we fell in love.  Except then I couldn’t find it anymore, and for months I had to revert to the cherry until Cory came home from work one day and said he had a present for me.  Could it be diamonds?   A laundry fairy?  Chipotle?  He handed me a paper sack and I opened it up to reveal FOUR PACKAGES of Vanilla Mint chap stick!  *Sigh* My hero.

THE TREADMILL  - Hellloooo, who’s going to think to look there?

A JOJO’S SHAVE ICE - I had one of these when Cory and I went to Kauai a few years ago, and as soon as I took a bite I knew we were meant to be together. 

THE AIR CONDITIONING VENT – I wouldn’t necessarily choose this, it’s just that I know myself enough to know that part of my soul belongs to air conditioning whether I’m a dark wizard or a stay at home mom.  It’s who I am.

Finally, if I really want to keep myself alive I think I’d hide one in Drew’s socks.  It’s basic common sense – Drew can’t ever find them, I can’t ever find them, and if I’m that desperate to live forever I think it’s my best shot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bits 'N Pieces

This morning as I logged on to my email I saw the following headline on the Comcast homepage: “Full Figured Halloween Costumes”. Some might argue that this is not societal progress, and that trashy pirates and gothic vampires should reserve their rights to a size 4. I think they are overlooking the encouraging opportunity that this opens up for plus sized parrots.
I still haven’t figured out who rigged my accounts for the wheelchair and hearing aids people, but I did come across this quote from Mark Twain: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” My guess is Mark Twain never dealt with incontinence.
Question: When someone sends you an email with a photo attachment of them getting a tattoo of your company logo, does that mean you’ve made it or that you just have a really tacky clientele?
You know you’re a “has been” when you get booked for the county fair and there’s no cover charge. Hope you had fun in Denver Billy Idol!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Calling And Election Unsure

Fact: I am a church going Latter-Day-Saint. I’m not supposed to drink, smoke, swear, have coffee, fornicate, or listen to raunchy music, especially not backwards.

Fact: I don’t drink, smoke, have coffee, or fornicate. Sometimes I listen to Lady Gaga, and I often throw in a “damn” or “hell” for good measure in some conversations. On very rare occasions I have referred to someone as a jack***, but that’s only because my friend’s ex-husband really is one, and calling him a “jerk” wasn’t satisfying enough. Oh, and remember that part about skinny dipping? I’ve done that a couple of times too.

You may recall that a little over a year ago I was asked to serve as the President over our Women’s organization at church. (Key operative word there is “asked” – that’s how it works in my church. With all leadership positions, whether it be a teacher, a pianist, or presidency member of some sort, we are asked to serve and we choose whether to accept or not.) I accepted the responsibility, and instantly inherited a stewardship over approximately 100 women. Along with my two counselors it is my job to make sure that the temporal and spiritual needs of these women are being met.

My quandary is this: As their leader I am expected to serve as an example. It seems reasonable enough, to count on people in certain positions to act a certain way – to “practice what they preach”. However, sometimes I struggle between the boundary of being myself and being a good example. The two should probably not conflict, but hi. Have we met? Here’s where things go fuzzy for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

If American Idol Was High School

I think American Idol has jumped the shark, but unfortunately people are still talking about it. Simon’s gone! Ellen’s leaving! JLo’s coming! Will Steven Tyler sign or are the risks too high that he will inhale contestants with his massive, vocal orifice when offering criticism? Still, the reports aren’t going away and I’m starting to feel like I’m in high school all over again.

Simon Cowell is like the Principal. He thinks he’s the smartest one there and that he’s better than everyone else but with visions of greener grass, he is switching teams and moving to another high school to do the same exact thing. Some feel betrayed, others are relieved, and everyone else doesn’t really care. (For the record, I am “everyone else”.)

Ryan Seacrest: he’s the cute guy from Choir who straddles the popular/unpopular line – popular with all the girls in the choir because all the other guys in the group are lame enough to make Ryan look like the hottest thing since Nutella became available at Costco.  UNpopular because, come on, it’s just Choir. Also? The boys like him too. I think it’s the blazers.

Paula Abdul: the head cheerleader – dumped by the football captain two days before Homecoming on account of being so short it really made slow dancing uncomfortable.  Plus, she wore too much eyeliner and people were starting to talk.  Other cheerleaders shunned her, forcing her to quit the team and start looking to the Chess Club for guys to date.

Kara Dioguardi: the new girl at school - not really that hot, but intriguing because nobody knows that in 2nd grade she had a mole the size of Wisconsin on her upper lip, or that in middle school she flunked PE -  she tries to be a friend to Paula and offers supportive feedback such as, “Paula, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m beautiful and taller than three foot nothing. You take everything so personally.” She’s essentially the new head cheerleader, but no one really cares because, remember? The football captain is suddenly available!

Randy Jackson: The dawg who name drops all the people he made famous. Nobody really knows who he is, or what he’s done, or why he’s on the panel to begin with until he says things like, “I signed Mariah Carey”. Which makes Randy the high school yearbook editor. He still dates the common folk, but at the end of the day he can sprawl out on his couch, lace his hands behind his head and smile knowing that the pictures he took of the Prom Queen at lunch that day were going to show up on page 18 of the yearbook and HE HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THAT.

Ellen: Your band has decided to invite some friends over on Saturday to hear you play a free concert out of your parents’ garage. You know that your closest friends will be there, but you’re hoping to draw a bigger crowd so you advertise, “Concert AND Comedian!” But the two don’t really go together, and at the end of the day you realize you should have just promised free hash instead.

Jennifer Lopez: Voted Homecoming Queen ten years ago, hoping to return and have everyone remember her from her glory days.  (i.e. Before "Bennifer", and waaayy before "Gigli".)  Unfortunately, no one has any reason to care what she thinks anymore.  We're not fooled by the rocks that she’s got, we know she’s just Jenny from the block.

One major problem facing American Idol is that there's no clearly defined role of the Football Quarterback.  Has no one considered Chris Pine?  Hugh JackmanEric DaneJavier BodemJames Marsden?  Do you get me?  Who am I leaving out?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I met 19-year-old Lucy* about a month ago. Sunday she was standing next to her mother, holding on securely to her arm when I looked her in the eye, said hello, and told her how pretty she looked. She glanced off to the side and moaned something undecipherable, as her mother patted her hand and said, “Okay, Lucy.” The mother turned to me as if trying to explain, “Whatever she says, I just say ‘okay’!” Some might argue that Lucy’s not really saying anything, that she doesn’t understand me, and that there’s no point in trying to communicate with her. Perhaps they’re right.

But what if they’re not?

Lucy, you see, has Down’s Syndrome. I only know a few things about this birth defect. I know that some people with Down’s are highly communicative, some are aggressive, and others are very affectionate. I know that many are both. I know that Lucy is neither. And I know that had my niece been required to endure this life here on earth, she would be over 4 years old now and living, however so, with this same defect.

Soon after my sister delivered our darling Clara Grace, stillborn in 2006, I was unable to look at anyone with Down’s Syndrome without growing immediately emotional and introspective. I observed them in airports, grocery stores, and schools and asked myself all kinds of questions as I watched. Would Clara have done that? Would Clara have looked like that? Would she be that beautiful? That vocal? As demonstrative? Would she love me? And more importantly, would she know that I love her?

We didn’t get to find out, which is why I look Lucy in the eye. Whether she understands me or not, sometimes I feel like she is my chance.

My chance to hug.
My chance to love.
My chance to learn.

I say her name deliberately. Several hours after the funeral for my niece I watched my sister and brother-in-law open cards of condolences, and my sister commented on something I will never forget. “My favorites are the ones where people say her name,” she said, further explaining how valid and real it made her feel to have others acknowledge it.

I’ve only known Lucy for a month, and I don’t know if she understands me.

But what if she does?

I want her to know that I see her.

And that she’s beautiful.

*name changed

Monday, September 13, 2010

I've Got Skiiiiills, They're Multiplying

My mom has mad skills.  When I am in my 70's and someone asks me, "Hey, what did you do this weekend?" I hope to talk about how my maid scrubbed my floors while I was at the movies.  A few months ago I asked my mom that question and she was stoked because she had just, "finished building the retaining wall"!  Or was it a deck?  I can't remember.  The point is, I am lazy and my mom isn't.  For example, I just bought nine trees for my yard, paid someone else to deliver them, and then paid another someone else to plant them.  If it had been my mom at the nursery, selecting trees and plotting the strategy for getting them home she would have grabbed a shovel and pointed to some rope and said, "Give me that!"  That's why when anyone says, "Oh, you're just like your mom," I dig in my heels and say, "Don't talk about her like that." 

But sometimes not even I can argue with the similarities.  For one, we draw the same.  Remember when I told you about my lame boss and how he said, "Guys, we're really under the hourglass," so I made fun of him and drew this picture and posted them all over the office?

And then remember yesterday's post where I made fun of the "Sit And Be Fit" lady on television?  For starters, my mom could so take her out.  But for finishers, I got an email today from my mom who said she found a cure for her back pain that was better than acupuncture, drugs, and suicidal fantasies.  However, as she tried to describe the process to us her description fell short, and she had to draw a picture.  GET THIS...

Friday, September 10, 2010

This Might Be A Long 2 Months

In two months and fourteen days I will have completed my 4th decade of life. In case this math is too complicated, I am almost 40 years old. Don’t you think I’m taking it really well? It’s probably because I know in my heart of hearts that I don’t look a day older than 39 ½. Plus, the beauty of old age is that I get to watch teenagers recycle the fashion from my prime while thinking it was their idea first. I like feeling smarter than them, with or without the big belt hanging off my hip.

The other bonus is that I’m inching closer and closer to being able to do the Sit And Be Fit Workout and declaring that a success. Unfortunately, I’m still young enough for people to expect that marathons are possible, so when I get to the point that being able to move my thumbs in and out is an impressive feat I’m prepared to celebrate that. Plus, someone needs to keep an eye on that lady – I’m not sure I trust her, but I figure it’s not my business yet. But the point is, I’m CLOSER to that being my business, and I can’t wait to corner that lady and find out once and for all what her secret is – I think we all know it’s not the nude pantyhose.

The down side to aging, however, other than the increasing viability of needing bladder repair surgery, is that somebody is trying to mess with me. At 9:30 this morning the “Scooter Store” showed up on my caller ID.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Hello,” the other end replied. “Is Vern there?”
“This is she.”
“Hi. I’m calling in response to your inquiry about motorized wheelchairs?”
“As if! I haven’t used one of those since they stole my ovaries and I couldn’t walk but desperately needed some milk from the Super Wal Mart!”
“Sorry ma’am, it says here you tried to call. I won’t be bothering you again.”

I went down to check my email, where I came upon a message from a guy named Tommy. The subject line read: “Your Path To Better Hearing”. What the crap? Delete. Thirty minutes later I got a phone call from Tommy.
“Hi. Is Vern there?”
“This is she.”
“This is Tommy from the better hearing store. I see you’ve downloaded our free information guide on the internet. I called to answer your questions about our hearing aid?”
I thought it would be funny if I yelled, “What?! Speak up! I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” But instead I started to chuckle. “Here’s the thing Tommy, someone is screwing with me. I’m sorry you had to get involved.”
We hung up with a promise that he would delete my information from all files.

So far I’ve asked three people who have vehemently denied any involvement, and I believe them, but this is no coincidence. I’ve only got one more call to try and weed out the instigator before I’m out of ideas – in other words, if you are the chick who put your bust measurements into the online calculator only to have it respond, “If these measurements are correct, you don’t need a bra”, (true story) then expect a phone call. If you are a crazy stalker desperate to be part of my fascinating life and this is your twisted way of trying to work your way in, you are overestimating my cool factor. And your check is in the mail. Other than that, I don’t know who’s toying with my head but whoever you are, be nice. I’m steps away from raising my arms over my head while sitting in a chair and calling it “exertion”.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tidbits From Dix - 1991 Installment

The year is 1991, and a young, 20-year-old white boy (in the form of my younger brother) was preparing to serve a mission for his church in Ecuador.  While training at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, he stated in a letter home that he was craving homemade peach pie.  My Dad drafted a response, requested that my mom help him type it, and sent it off to my brother.  At a time when computer networking was not what it is today, my mom would make copies of all these letters and mail them to the rest of us.  Lucky for you, I saved them!  I think this will help answer two questions: 1) What do you think Vern's parents are like? and, 2) What do you think peach pie with horseradish would taste like?  (I never said they were questions you would ask.)  Here is my Dad's letter:

Regarding the peach pie request, I think we have a plan that will work.  We will send you, in separate packages, the following:
(a) 1# of dried peaches
(b) 2 flour tortillas
(c) 1/2 cup sugar
(d) 2' of aluminum foil
(e) 2 TBSP  dried horse radish
(f) A stapler

1.  Put the dried peaches in water.  (If you have no container in which to put them, you might string them together -- using your sewing kit -- and wear them lei fashion -- in the shower for 2 hours).  (If the peaches are not sufficiently softened by that time, wrap a wet towel around your neck, being careful to keep the peaches next to your body with the towel on top, and do jumping jacks for 45 minutes.  The combination of body heat, body exudate, and towel moisture will--hypothetically--soften any peach to a chewable consistency.) (Note:  significant literature on this procedure is lacking.)
2.  Place the peaches on one of the tortillas
3.  Take another shower and dry off with the same towel so that the towel is drooling wet
4.  Spread the towel on the floor and empty the sugar onto the towel
5.  Roll the towel up and then, with your companion twisting one direction and you twisting the opposite direction, squeeze the sugared towel water on to the peaches--gently. (Editors note:  It is all I can do to type this!  I mean, how does he think up all this stuff?  What goes on in that mind, anyway??? ~mom)
6.  Place the other tortilla on top of the gently sweetened peaches and staple the edges of the two tortillas together--gently.
7.  The aluminum foil may be used in either of the following ways to bake the pie.
(a) Separate the foil into 2 equal pieces and wrap 1/2 the pie in each piece.  Place each wrapped piece securely under each arm and sleep for 24 hours lying on your back without moving.  This method is referred to as "cool fusion" in academic circles.  (There is considerable debate as to whether this is a physical or chemical reaction.)  Remove the pies after 24 hours.
(b)  Place the pie outside on a steel table in full sunlight.  Have your companion bend his body into the shape of a perfect parabola and carefully fold the foil against this parabolic shape. (Caution:  Beware of noses and navels or you may get raw spots in your pie.) (Editors note:  This is really gross and offensive. ~mom)  Orient your companion so that the suns' rays strike the parabolic foil and are focused on the pie.  Have your companion stand on one leg and gently rotate him so that the rays are spread evenly over the whole surface of the pie.*  Cooking time is approximately 30 minutes and voila--Most Thoroughly Cooked Peach Pie.  Be sure and remove the staples before eating.
8.  I was kidding about the dried horse radish.

* There is a sound track for this particular procedure, it is called "My Turn on Earth".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Q & A

Question: So, Vern, what did you do on Labor Day?
Vern: I’m so glad you asked. I watched Camp Rock, shopped the clearance rack at Target, and ran interference between a can of Sprite and my daughter’s barf bowl.

Q: Camp Rock eh? And how did you feel about the Jonas Brothers after that?
V: Well, I guess everyone has to make a living.

Q: You do realize that they make more money than you. Like, a LOT more.
V: Yes, but do they have a blog with 12 readers? I DON’T THINK SO.

Q: You seem like you’re really good at multi-tasking. Was it hard making toast for Samantha and keeping up with the plot of Camp Rock at the same time?
V: It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but I used to write notes to my friends during English class so I have a lot of experience.

Q: Wow, you really know how to party. Any advice for us inexperienced types in the future?
V: I find that a good pint of “Berry Voluntary” is helpful for getting anyone through a boring holiday. Plus, I highly encourage you to send your spouse golfing while you contemplate the slow and painful deaths of Disney prodigies. No sense in everyone being miserable.

Q: Good advice indeed. Thanks for spending some time with us, Vern.
V: Anytime.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Do you think people who still go to Blockbuster to rent movies also still listen to music on their walkman?