Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Night In The Car

The kids and I were driving home from a long day of many errands.  We had run out of conversation, the radio was turned low and I reached over to Drew in the front seat, patted him on the back and said, "I love you buddy."
He looked straight ahead and responded, "O...kay?"  Then, after a couple of seconds he added, "Why do you always do that?"
"Do what?"
"Whenever it gets quiet you tell us you love us."
"I don't know, maybe because one day you'll be on your own and won't have me around all the time and then once in a while, when you're by yourself and it's really quiet you'll hear my voice in your head telling you I love you and you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside."
"Huh.  I'll remember that...when I'm rocking in a corner...all alone...after my first break up."  And then he pretended to choke back fake tears.

That boy, he mocks me.  But one day he's going to be alone in a room.  And it will be quiet.  And he will have had a hard day.

And he'll know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The question on everyone’s mind…

…other than, “Who will be the GOP nominee?”
Or, “Which starburst flavor is superior?” (strawberry) (duh) (like, not even a close call)
Or, “What kind of a world do we live in where the Lindsay Lohan Playboy issue sells out but we can’t get anyone to read The Wall Street Journal?”
Or, “How is it that I can rally 127 Google followers but I can’t get one of my family members to accept my friend request on facebook?”  

All good questions, but the one that I know is burning at the tips of at least 11 of your tongues is, “Did Vern get her kids a dog for Christmas?”  My friend Emily stopped me in church Sunday morning with this precise inquiry, so I will tell you basically the same thing I told her.

He’s the color of brown sugar with soft, droopy ears.  His pug nose is dotted with dark brown freckles, and he smiles ALL the time.  He slept through the night on day one and has snuggled his way even into my cold, dead heart.  

Ladies and gentlemen, meet “Jimmer”.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

'Twas 2 Nights Before Christmas

‘Twas two nights before Christmas, when I looked at my roots
And declared then and there, I should do something, SOON.
All my regular stylists were busy already, 
with clients who didn’t procrastinate heavily.
So with gift card in hand and some reckless abandon, 
I called a salon and begged my locks lightened.

The stylists were nestled with their hands in one’s heads, 
while visions of Biolage conditioned their dreads.
With one in a burka and I in my coat, 
I searched for the one that might cause me to gloat.

When out of the back there arose such a clatter, 
I looked up and saw what, indeed, was the matter.
For standing there waiting to greet me, her client, 
was a girl fresh from high school, still awaiting her moment.

I followed her, slowly, I crept to her station.  
I bemoaned it already, my keen sense: trepidation.  
For how would a girl whom I sure could have birthed, 
give me and my locks the lift we deserved?

But onward I pressed, reading “People” to help me, 
she washed and she cut, then applied color liberally.   
When what to my wondering watch should appear, 
it had been THREE WHOLE HOURS and I was STILL HERE!

I spoke not a word, but was reaching ballistic 
when she finally quit drying and asked, “Do you like it?” 
I looked and quite frankly, I didn’t much care.   
All I wanted was to get the crap OUT OF THERE.

“It’s great!” I lied and I jumped up to pay, 
but the gift card I had was causing delay.  
I just couldn’t take anymore so I said,
“It’s your problem now – I’m going home to bed.”

I sprang to my car and sped home to my people, 
where dinner was made and o’er food we did mingle. 

Blah blah blah, I can’t rhyme anymore.  The point is I paid way too much money for a girl who probably asked for Polly Pockets from Santa for Christmas last year to cut and color my hair and I almost had another birthday while I waited.  When I came home and regaled my tale of unfairness and OH THE HUMANITY to my husband he couldn’t quite wrap his mind around why this was such an injustice.  While he spared me the line about starving children in Africa I detected a bit of sarcasm as he grabbed me in a hug and said, “It’s okay, you’re home with us now.”  Indeed there are bigger problems in the world, but still.  THREE HOURS?  I should have at least thrown something in the crock pot before I left.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Caramel Winner

Using it looks like the winner of my caramel hunk o' burnin' love goes to lucky #13 which in this case turns out to be "Jaydee & Shaunda"!  Send me your mailing address to vernmaster at gmail dot com and I'll get this little number out to you.  Oh, and I drizzled it in chocolate.  Hope you don't mind.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When The Hormones Are Rockin' Don't Come A Knockin'

Last night.

I was preparing to go to bed when I passed the living room and saw my daughter in the fetal position on the couch.  "What the...what's wrong?"
"I have a huge Biology test tomorrow and I forgot ALL my notes at school."
It was after 10pm folks, and usually by that time, USUALLY, all of my parenting strategies go out the window because I'm mentally already in bed.  My body still hasn't brushed her teeth or washed her face but my mind is already under the covers, curled up next to my personal space heater in the form of a middle aged man with great legs who is warming up my toes.  But last night, I rose to the occasion.  I put on my mom cape and asked, "What time do you have Biology?"
"First," she replied.
"Perfect," I said.  "Just sleep in and I'll take you after 1st period and you can make up the test later."
I know what you're thinking:  I WISH YOU WERE MY MOM WHEN I WAS A KID.  Aren't you?  Because at this point I was seriously contemplating nominating myself as The Best Mom Ever How Can I Ever Thank You and erecting a statue.  As I stood there waiting for her to jump in my arms and tell me how awesome I was she instead responded with, "What about Seminary?"
(...)  "Come again?"
"I mean, what am I supposed to do about Seminary?"
(You guys, why am I always having to spell out to my children how to be under-achievers?  I recognize I am the resident expert, but sometimes it's exhausting.)
I said, "Well, you would have to miss Seminary."  (Again, this isn't bad news!  Here I am, your mother in her Mother Cape saying, "Don't get up at 4:45 am.  Don't worry about your biology test.  Instead, SLEEP.  And then, EAT A HOT BREAKFAST FOR ONCE.  And THEN!  Make up your test later after you've had plenty of time to study and I will even write your tardy note to the office and WHERE THE HELL IS MY PLAQUE?!)
Instead?  She burst into tears.
I don't...I just...what...yeah.
So I took off my pretend Mother Cape and went to bed to let her deal with all of her teenage-ness by herself.  This morning I promptly made up for abandoning her by sending her a text message that I loved her and wished her well on her test, after which I came in to check my email.  I glanced down at the notepad next to the computer and couldn't help but laugh as I saw what Samantha had scribbled on it:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final December Giveaway

I don't have anything clever, interesting or self deprecating to say so I'm just going to get to the point and tell you that for my final giveaway this month I am offering up:  CARAMEL.  I've already made two batches this season but for you, I'm willing to make one more.  Only one thing you can do to enter and that is:  leave a comment.  You have until Friday, December 16th at midnight so that I have enough time to get your info and hopefully mail it to you before Christmas.  If not, you can enjoy it for New Year's.  Party hats, kazoos and caramel - sounds like a good NYE party to me!

Ready...go!  I hope you win!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Even Better Than A Cardboard Elvis

Two days ago I made a discovery.  Or rather the internet made a discovery.  Actually, the way it started was someone made a delicious recipe, and then they told the Taste of Home magazine in 2008, and then my SIL found it last month, and then she told her blog who then told ME.  Kind of like one of those gossip exercises where you all sit in a circle and one person whispers to the person next to them, "Vern's blog is hilarious" and you continue around and by the time you get to the last person they're like, "Your fern's dog is nefarious?" and everyone learns their lesson about spreading gossip.  Except at the end of this you get cookies.

The point is, my sister-in-law doesn't share stuff unless it's amazing, so when she posted a link to Peppermint Meltaways I knew we needed to make them.  Samantha had to take a treat to school for a meeting today so we decided to try this recipe out.  The result was a revelation.  People, these were so good.  They were even better than finding my boyfriend's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

Better than California Adventure at night,

Drew discovering FaceGoo,
or Samantha getting her braces off.
 Better than the kids meeting Elvis,

seeing Samantha in my wedding dress,
or Drew getting the help he needs.

The only problem with these little gems is that they are bite-size (like "fun size" on Atkins) so it's easy to eat 3 or 4.  Or 7.  I saved 9 of them to give to a friend for her birthday because that's how many fit perfectly in the box, then proceeded to put them in the fridge so I wouldn't be tempted.  There are 4 left.  Hey Cheryl, wanna go to lunch instead?  Moral of the story:  Go here, and make these.  You'll thank me later.

Hatch Patch Creations - Winner

Do you know what happens when one is in charge of a Christmas program meant to entertain 250 people when the biggest party she has ever planned didn't exceed 20 guests?  First, she makes The Polar Express out of a cardboard box, constructs a sleigh out of foam board and the North Pole out of posterboard and streamers, and then orders elf costumes, reindeer antlers, and 300 bells from Oriental Trading Company.  In other words, she sort of doesn't do anything else for a while other than plan this party,  because if it goes poorly there is no one else to blame. I don't mind doing things poorly as long as I can point the finger at someone else in the end.  Case in point:  The Felicita Ward Road Show of 1987.  I didn't ask to be one of the lead parts so it wasn't my fault that I sucked.  (For the record:  MARIA'S FAULT.)  See how that works?

In the end the program was a success, largely due to the grown man who agreed to squeeze into Drew's pajamas from 2 years ago and my pink Snuggie to play his part, not to mention the other grown men who pranced on stage before night's end or the boys in the process of reaching six feet tall who acted out the enthusiasm of elves.  And in case you were wondering, it's easy to make a 15-year-old girl look like a man with a little help from a Napoleon Dynamite wig and glasses.  At any rate, now that it's over I can finally announce the winner from last week's giveaway even though the deadline for entering was (remember?) at 7:34 pm on Friday.  I used a very advanced selection process and in the end, our winner is:  CRAZY LIFE OF VERONEAUS.  Congratulations!  Please send me your email address to me at vernmaster at gmail dot com and Hatch Patch will send you your gift certificate.  I'm planning one final giveaway for the month of December so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Christmas Wish

The truth?  (Note to my niece Rachel:  I hope you are sitting down.)

I want to get my kids a dog for Christmas.

I've envisioned the scene in my head numerous times; we would open all the presents on Christmas morning and then Cory and I would say, "Oh wait, we forgot one," and then we would walk to the garage, carefully lift the one box with holes in the top, and present it to the kids.  They might look confused for a moment and then a tiny bark would escape from within, causing their eyes to bulge out like a balloon in the death grip of a toddler.  There would be screaming, hugging, and potentially a few tears as they unwrapped the one gift they never thought they would ever get in their whole life, and right then and there as those dark brown eyes peer at them from under the gift wrap they would receive all their answers to the meaning of life.  Most importantly, they would learn once and for all that yes, their mother loves them THAT much.  The kids would frolic with the dog in the house for a while, maybe take him for a walk, chattering all the while about OH-MY-GOSH-THE-BEGGING-AND-GUILT-TRIPS-FINALLY-WORKED! and they would want to sleep in the same room as the puppy on that first night so it wouldn't be scared.

And the next morning I would wake up and say, "Well, that was fun!" and take the dog back to the store.  Breeder.  Pound.  Whatever.

Because that's really the only reason I want to get the kids a dog, so I can see the look on their face when we give it to them.  After that it's just vet bills and watching them eat their own poop, like urinating off the balcony on your honeymoon.  What do you think, can a person survive that kind of psychological damage or should I just stick with plan A and get them iCrap and video games?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Winner

The video wouldn't let me rotate, so sideways it is.  Either way, Vennessa is the winner of "When I Grow Up I'll Go On A Mission."  Vennessa, be sure to send me your mailing address to vernmaster at gmail dot com!

Hatch Patch Creations - Giveaway!

If you have been reading here for very long you may have noticed a few things about me; I love Pierce Brosnan, my children make me look bad, the way to my heart is through Roberto's and the beach, and I haven't been real heavy on the giveaway front.  But it's December, and you're not done shopping yet (Or are you?  And if so, did you remember to buy me some tact and an extra memory card for my menopausal brain?  WELL THEN GET BACK OUT THERE MISSY.)  (Memory Cards for our brains!!  Somebody needs to invent that, make it into an app and then remind me to download it.)  And since you're probably not done shopping I'm just trying to help you out.  (By the way, I haven't forgotten about announcing last week's giveaway winner it's just that I said you had until midnight, and I also said I would let Drew pick the name, and I didn't necessarily think that through because at midnight we were both asleep and this morning he was in a hurry to get to school and blah blah I promise to post it later!) (Blah.)


Today's giveaway comes to you from my friend Jill who eats cotton candy for breakfast, turned down an offer to slay her neighbor's 50 lb turkey for Thanksgiving (she's still new to Montana), and also manages to strengthen families worldwide through her business, Hatch Patch Creations, maker of family home evening packets.  You may recall some of my botched experiences with family home evening (like when Drew thought Samantha was Jesus, or when our deep discussion turned to talk of boogers) so this is the kind of product that was intended for people like me.

Sometimes Jill uses people she knows as inspiration which is why our friend Lorie gets mentioned in her "It's Nifty To Be Thrifty" packet, because Lorie is so cheap the Goodwill calls to ask her how she does it.  (But she and her husband got through med school with four children and NO DEBT, so you should call her.  Except be prepared to send your kid outside to pee so you don't have to pay for the water to flush the toilet.)  I hesitate to probe whether I have inspired any such lessons, but I have to say that "Harry The Unhealthy Hippo" strikes me as suspicious.  (Besides, HOLY HYPOCRITE BAT MAN, how many pieces of cake did Jill have on her birthday?  Answer:  No sense in bothering with "pieces" when you can just eat THE WHOLE CAKE.)  THE POINT IS, these packets are handy whether you're trying to gather your family around for a teaching moment or need something quick for a preschool or Sunday School lesson, and all you have to do is click your mouse a few times to download it.  And...Hatch Patch Creations is giving away a $50 gift certificate to do just that.  That will go a long way folks, especially since each packet contains the lesson, illustrations, a scriptural theme, a recipe, and a game or activity idea.  In addition, (20% more free!) Hatch Patch is offering a two week promotion where you can buy the "Mary & Joseph" kit and get the "Samuel The Lamanite" kit for free.  Simply enter "DECEMBER 12" as the promo code at checkout (picture and info below).

So, you know the drill - you get one entry for a comment HERE and another entry for a comment on "Hatch Patch Creations FHE Kits" on facebook, which you can get to by clicking here.  You have until Friday at 7:34 pm.  (BECAUSE I CAN.)  (And I should still be up.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When I Grow Up, I’ll Go On A Mission - Giveaway!

It’s one of my favorite stories to come out of my family yet.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, much like other Christian faiths, we believe in missionary work.  Most of our missionaries are young men between 19-21 years old, but many young women and empty nester couples also serve anywhere from one to two years as missionaries.  My parents served several years ago in Minnesota, and in the last year we’ve had two nephews return from two year stints in Missouri and Mexico, leaving one nephew out in the “field” who is currently serving in Brazil.

My nephew, Marshal, just got home last month from Mexico.  With one sister living in New York, a brother in Los Angeles, and two nephews of his own that had been born during his absence, the entire family gathered at my brother’s home in Utah to be there when he came home.  It was a momentous occasion that they all took very seriously, which is to say my sister-in-law got online and set about ordering sombreros and fake mustaches for everyone to wear in the airport as they waited to greet him.  That is how I know my SIL is completely integrated into my family because I come from a LONG line of airport shenanigans.  Like when we made a big banner out of butcher paper to wish my sister a happy 40th birthday as she exited the terminal (she was still in her 30’s) or the time my family wore red, white and blue and my Dad played “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy” on his ukulele as they welcomed me back from basketball camp.  So yeah, sorry Michelle, but YOU ARE ONE OF US NOW.  (I’ve known for some time.  I hope you don’t take it too hard.)
So there they were, this large crowd of sombrero toting, mustache donning hooligans in the Salt Lake City airport waiting for their son/brother/uncle to round the corner so they could put their arms around him for the first time in two years.

He came around the corner alright. 

Wearing a sombrero.  AND A FAKE MUSTACHE.

You guys, seriously.  This wasn't planned, which makes it only one of the 8,001 reasons I am stoked to share a last name with these people.  

(photos courtesy of Kinsey)

I won’t lie, I want my son to go on a mission.  He is almost 12, which means he would be eligible in about 7 more years.  I’m not anxious to get rid of him, and I know it would be hard to let him go, knowing that I would only hear his voice twice a year on Mother’s Day and Christmas, but I want him to go.  I want him to sit in living rooms or grass huts or dirt floors and tell people that Jesus lives.  I want him to write emails about seeing people get the light back in their eyes when they hear the gospel.  I want him to learn what it really means to rely on God.

I just read a book that I’m going to give Drew for Christmas called, “When I Grow Up, I’ll Go On A Mission”.  I love it because it illustrates with real pictures of real missionaries all over the world doing the same work.  Unless you have served a mission before (Cory did, I didn’t), all you really know about missionary work is that it’s hard, that you secretly hope you don’t get called to serve in Utah, and that you come back and say it was the best experience of your life.  I like the fact that this book gives a peek into the whole missionary experience, from sharing the gospel to helping a neighbor or from eating shave ice to tossing back a coconut, (let’s be honest, the shave ice really sold me) what you really get is a glimpse of love, the way God intended.  You see that Heavenly Father knows his children, He loves his children, and He’s using the ones who already know that to make sure the word gets out to the rest of them. 

So yes, I’m giving Drew a copy of this book for Christmas.  I will also be giving a copy to one of YOU, because the author, Valine Vikari (who, when she’s not writing fun books is probably spelling her name for people on the phone), has donated a book to give away!  You can enter by doing two things:  1) Leave a comment and, 2) “Like” the book on facebook, and leave me a comment to that end.  You have until midnight Sunday, December 4 to enter after which I will have Drew randomly pick a winner.  Seems fitting, don’t you think?  If you don't win, you can still order the book from the website.  I think it's going to be good for Drew AND you.  But if not, we’re still preparing in other ways:

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Cyber Monday, Can Someone Log On And Get Me A Life?

This post is going to make me look bad, so before I get into it I would like to brag about my Thanksgiving triumph, just to even things out.  I don’t know if you guys know this about me but I make really good caramel.  (Care-a-mell?  Or Car-mull?  I say “car-mull”, not because I feel strongly that it’s correct, but because it’s fewer syllables.  And I’m lazy.)  I mean, REALLY good.  Not like I’m trying to toot my own horn or anything but…what’s that?  Oh yeah, *beep*beep*!  It’s slap-your-mama-smoke-a-cigarette-to-calm-you-down good.  Not that you should slap your mama OR smoke a cigarette, because both would be bad.  I’m just saying this stuff makes a person do cRaZy things, so you have to be careful. 

Anyway, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the name tags to label the place settings at my Thanksgiving table and decided that I would make (make!) chocolate caramel apples with toasted almonds, using my homemade caramel recipe.  So I did.  I dipped granny smith apples in the homemade caramel, let it set, then dipped it in milk chocolate, and coated the bottom with chopped, toasted almonds before settling it onto wax paper.  The next day I gathered each apple into a cellophane bag, tied it with a ribbon, and attached a name tag to the top to mark each guest’s spot.  This is probably the point where I should grace you with a picture but, remember?  LAZY.  Unless I’m making homemade caramel, then I can be quite stellar. 

Okay, so we’re all clear on the fact that I CAN be impressive when I really want to be, right?  Excellent.  Now for my confession.

Remember a few weeks ago when Samantha ended up in the hospital and I couldn’t sleep so I watched Friday Night Lights on my iPhone?  Well, see, what I didn’t tell you is that I hadn’t ever watched this show before, so I started with season 1, episode 1.  It was brain candy, which was exactly what the doctor ordered.  (Well, technically the doctor ordered morphine, but I was noticeably absent on that recipient list.  Trust me, I asked.)  But then I wanted (needed) to see episode 2, and since I still wasn’t sleeping I went ahead and hit “Play”.  Then Samantha came home and Cory left for China and I was all alone day and night for 9 days, leaving a ripe environment for the over consumption of predictable television where The Breakfast Club meets a football field and a modern day Ward & June Cleaver take over Dillon, Texas.

That, my friends, was the point of no return.  It’s been 3 weeks and I’m on episode 58.  Do you know how much television that is?!  Let me tell you, it’s enough television to make a girl who is still on the couch in her underwear at 11:00 am ask the tough questions like, will Landry be convicted of murder for saving Tyra from her rapist?  Can Coach Taylor lead the Panthers to a State Championship?  Is poor Tim Riggins going to put down the bottle in favor of a better life?  Will Jason Street ever walk again?  Is Lyla ever going to be able to hang her head in disappointment without having a perfect strand of bangs fall across her face?  Like I said, the tough questions.

I’ve watched it in the car. 
I’ve watched it in bed.
I’ve watched it at the kitchen table.
On the couch.
In the (seriously) bathroom.
I would watch it on a boat with a goat or in a house with a mouse. 
Here or there. 
It’s shameful.  I’m not proud of it, but I still have to finish seasons 4 and 5 so I’m not out of the woods yet.

But I make really good caramel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rock, Scissors, Dynamite

If you are checking blogs on Thanksgiving you probably got a really easy assignment for dinner.  Be honest, you're in charge of the olives, aren't you?  (Olives!  I almost forgot.)  Good for you.  Nevertheless, I assume if you are bored enough to be checking blogs on Thanksgiving you are in serious need of some entertainment.  Or maybe you're just kickin' it until Black Friday starts AT MIDNIGHT so the consumer gods can point down at us and laugh.  Either way, I'm here for you.  At least until 11:30 pm, which is probably when I'll need to grab a leftover turkey leg and head to Target.

My niece (Hi Meg!) sent this to me the other day and I almost wet my pants, which doesn't really convey how funny it is because I've had a hysterectomy and my bladder works about as well as a water balloon at a porcupine festival.  But, here you go.  Love it or leave it.  I recommend the former.

That's only the beginning though, because once my niece sent me that one I had to have more.  So I clicked on "Happy As A Clam" and almost wet my pants AGAIN.  Because, yeah.

There's something about his accent that elevates the beauty of this whole experience.  He seems genuinely annoyed, which makes me feel genuinely amused.  Which is why I had to watch one more:

So much better than Black Friday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Precious Than Rubies But Not As Precious As Jumping Off Waterfalls in Kauai.

I knew it would happen eventually.

Last week I sat next to my daughter who was about to receive an award of recognition (in the form of a necklace) at church for doing a crap load of admirable stuff.  It's called her Young Womanhood Recognition, and is earned through a rigorous, lengthy process that begins when they are 12 and ends whenever they finish all the requirements, but must be completed by their 18th birthday.  Most people wait until they are 17 years, 11 months, 29 days and 23 hours old to complete everything, but what can I say?  Samantha takes after her father.  Although the necklace's design has changed over time, women have been earning these awards for decades and many resurrect their medallions for such a night as this.  Jewelry that has sat at the bottom of the box for months will get pulled out, dusted off and displayed around one's neck as a unifying symbol of generations of good works and obedience.

I used to have one.

I don't anymore. 

This was the first time Samantha noticed.  Just before the program was to start she settled into the seat next to me and noticed the woman next to me who was fielding questions about the snazzy chain cradling her medallion.  After peeking at my bare neck she asked,  "Hey Mom, why aren't you wearing your necklace?"

I looked at her and smiled.  "You're so pretty."
"What?  No seriously, where is it?"
"Ummm...I sold it?"
She laughed.  "No, really."
"Uh, that IS for real."
"You SOLD it?  Why?"
"I needed the money to take your Dad to Hawaii."
"Wow.  That's just sad," she said as she sat down, shaking her head at me and smiling in amused disbelief. 

The medallion these days has a small red gemstone below the emblem of the temple, our holiest place of worship.  That night Samantha approached me and asked, "Do you think we could take this gem out and replace it with my birthstone instead?" 
"Well," I answered, "do you know why they put a red one in it?"
"It's from the scripture that talks about your value being more precious than rubies (Proverbs 3:15) so no, I think you should keep that one."
She didn't miss a beat, "Oh!  This coming from the one who SOLD hers?!"
She proceeded to take one more crack at it and added, "Couldn't we just change it and say that my value is more precious than aquamarine?"

That girl.  Not even the Crown Jewels hold a candle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's All In The Reflexes

We are fortunate that Cory doesn't have to travel very much with his job but when he does he goes to one of two places, Missouri or China.  As you might guess there are numerous similarities between the two, like both have people who live there and both have "i's" in their name.  It might stop there.  One of the differences is that when he goes to Missouri he is in and out pretty quickly, but China is another story seeing as it takes two days just to get there.  For real, he flew out on a Monday and got there on a Wednesday, skipping Tuesday entirely.  I think this is good information to have in case you have a really busy, horrible day coming up and you don't want to deal with it - book a trip to China and you can just skip it.  It's a coping mechanism the therapists won't tell you about.

Another difference can be noted in our phone conversations.  When Cory is in Missouri he calls me every night and we can talk as long as we want, and with Cory's passion for talking on the phone these exchanges can last as long as 5, even 7 minutes on a really good day.  Calls from China go more like this:
"Hey Vern."
"Hi honey!"
"I'm not dead or anything."
"That's excellent."
"I had pig's feet jelly and yellow watermelon for dinner."
"That's disgusting."
"Well, this is costing about 18 dollars a minute so I'd better go."
"Ok, bye."
Still, it's nice to know he's not stuck somewhere with Kurt Russell in a semi truck trying to free an innocent woman from a street gang.

People sometimes ask me if I would ever like to go with him to such a far away land, and while there are a lot of far away places that I would follow my one and only, China is not one of them.  On account of the pig's feet jelly, mostly.  The way I see it, if you live in a place that makes a soy granola bar sound like fettuccine alfredo based on your other options, it's probably not for me. 

Anyhow, we are really starting to miss him around here and it's not just because he usually drives Samantha to seminary at 6am every day.  Although Samantha has admitted her preference for her Dad's tendency to drive 55 in a 30 when she is late, and my speech about how in 18 years of marriage I have never received a single speeding ticket and Cory has 9...carry the one... I don't know, SEVERAL, is completely lost on her. 

For the most part we have been holding down the fort just fine during the past eight days, seven hours and fourteen minutes.  In fact, this last week has included four parenting pay off moments that he has completely missed - I feel badly about it, but at least I can text him certain details and he can mull it over while hunching over his pig footed stew.  However, we did hit a bit of a weak moment without him last night when Drew got home from basketball practice.

I was in the office that faces our driveway when Drew's ride pulled up to drop him off and seeing the headlights hit the window, I got up to go open the front door.  Unfortunately, when Drew came flying in so did a bird.  A BIRD!  WAS FLYING AROUND MY HOUSE!  Samantha was the first to jump in and help out as she shut herself in her bedroom, screaming.  I stood frozen in the entryway at a complete loss for how to proceed.  After fluttering around for a bit the bird calmed down and perched itself at the top of our stairs, allowing me to gather my thoughts.  Which I did, and after gathering them all together in one little pocket of my frontal lobe the one that cried out the loudest was, "Get your camera!"  So I grabbed my phone:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Keeping Mediocrity Alive

As a self proclaimed expert on mediocrity it shouldn't really surprise me when people aren't all that impressed by me.  It's not like I don't try, I'm just regularly upstaged.  Like in 5th grade when we had a cake decorating contest.  I thought, "Dude, I've GOT this."  Because I made a cake in the shape of a BAND-AID!  And surely nobody else was going to think of that, and if they did I bet they didn't make their cake from SCRATCH let alone use highly evolved tools like a toothpick to add texture, and who doesn't like to think about scabs and neosporin when biting down on a nice layer of buttercream anyway?  Like I said, I had this in the bag.

What I hadn't counted on was the castle cake.  Needless to say, sugar cone towers swathed in sparkly, blue sugar quickly relegated the band-aid cake to the honorable mention table.  My cake wasn't bad, it just wasn't the best.  Which was okay, it probably prepared me to ride the bench throughout my high school basketball career.  Which reminds me, the bench?  WHERE THE MEDIOCRE PEOPLE GO.  People like me were the ones who got invited to the party with the new Dutch exchange student who was cuter than a pillow pet at a carnival, but the Friday night one-on-one date always went to the starting forward, no matter how good I was at burping the alphabet to try and impress him.

At any rate, I like to think of this blog as an avenue for embracing my mediocrity, a place where I can say, "I never took a high school AP class and still got several B's," and you might like me anyway.  A place where I can vent about being voted the 'Just Happy To Be Here' award at Girls' Camp in 1983, which I am still bitter about.  I mean, really?  "Just Happy To Be Here?!"  That's the award for the girl who takes to macrame like Octa-Mom to the tabloids, declines your licorice in favor of the trail mix she brought from home, and reads Sci-Fi novels during her free time instead of playing cards and saran wrapping the toilet seats.  It's the laziest award I've ever received and that's coming from someone who got a green participation ribbon at her 4th grade track meet. 

But I'm evolved now.  Somehow blogging about mediocrity makes me feel more powerful, which is why I can share the following story with pride.  About a month ago I was asked to take over the teaching of a Sunday School class full of 9 and 10-year-olds at church.  I said yes, despite knowing that their previous teacher was a stellar overachiever who pored over her lessons for hours and then brought treats to the class in the form of chocolate covered cake balls on a stick.  She was awesome, and the kids LOVED her.  I showed up on week one with an object lesson and a few Skittles and thought I nailed it - the next week I got this note from one of my new students:

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Mean It, I Can't Do Cartwheels

We’re somewhat experienced with hospitals in our family.  I’ve had 2 babies, 4 pregnancies, and 2 surgeries, Cory has been hospitalized for a blood clot, and Drew has been under the knife 3 times.  Samantha is the only one who has skated by without drama but as a witness to most of the above, it has caused her a bit of anxiety to think about what might land her hooked up to an IV.  Well, now she knows.

When she woke up Friday morning with stomach pain we considered all of the obvious possibilities and treated it accordingly with Advil, TUMS, and a full DVR.  Nothing seemed to be working and by noon, the pain was getting worse.  I made an appointment to see her Pediatrician and by the time we showed up she was managing the stabs to her gut with short breaths, a firm grip on the door jam, and tightly shut eyes – like watching Courtney Love wake up in the morning.  He proceeded to ask her all the questions that challenge one’s dignity – when was your last period? Last bowel movement?  ARE YOU SEXUALLY ACTIVE?  I knew it was coming, that question, and I knew the answer.  But to interrupt the gentle yet humiliating exchange that was happening between daughter and Doctor with “Of course not Doc, she is perfect.  SHE GETS IT FROM HER PARENTS,” didn’t seem like the right move either.  So I kept my mouth shut and let her answer “No,” on her own.  Even though I already knew it, hearing her say it made me do a little cartwheel inside.  That’s how I do all my cartwheels since doing a cartwheel OUTside would require safety gear and a body double, and perhaps a life coach to build me up afterward.  Following the Spanish Inquisition he probed her stomach in all the right (and therefore wrong) places and after peeling her lifeless form off the ceiling, determined that she needed to go to the ER.

One CT scan, urine sample, pregnancy test (What part of “Not sexually active” was confusing to you?) and 40 MINUTE ULTRASOUND (“I’m sorry, it’s just that her hips are casting a shadow,” were the tech’s precise words) later, they decided she would need an appendectomy.  We were to meet with the surgeon in the morning and in the meantime, morphine would get Samantha through the night as I slept on the fold out couch made of bricks and toilet paper.

Morning came…wait a second.  To simply say “morning came” makes it sound like we dreamed of butterflies for 8 hours and woke up to the song of birds outside our window.  More accurately, I slept for 3 hours before the heretofore mentioned sleeping on bricks routine trumped my exhaustion and I was no longer able to abide trying to spoon the arm of the sofa under the coziness of my blankets manufactured by Kleenex so I got out my iPhone and watched Friday Night Lights on Netflix at 2:00 am.  Have I shared my testimony of iPhones lately?  Because I know they are true.  With every fiber of my being.  But this isn’t about me it’s about Samantha, who is 15 and smart and beautiful and not sexually active who happened to be sleeping…like one of the bricks that made up my bed. 

Good for her.  Even more good for her was when she woke up and her pain was gone.  GONE!  She was a little sore, probably from the lady trying to cast Samantha’s hip shadows into outer darkness but the pain that had played the role of the Exorcist only hours previously was gone.  Her white blood cell count leveled out and after further observation the surgeon determined that operating was no longer necessary, the new theory being that she had merely suffered from inflamed lymph nodes.  Only one more thing – they wanted to make sure she could hold down a regular meal.

Samantha had me call room service immediately.  Four French toast, two eggs, a piece of toast and some apple juice later, we got our discharge papers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

When You Meet A Werewolf Be Sure To Stop And Get A Picture

Yesterday's post may have seemed kind of random, but the truth is we had a little experience at Disneyland last week that exorcised that particular memory from my brain.  Samantha doesn't have a celebrity crush like her under-the-influence-of-Tiger Beat-mom did, but she does watch a lot of Disney channel with her younger brother. 

At first we didn't notice the small group of teens walking ahead of us along the waterfront of California Adventure, but eventually we observed that every time this young crowd passed by a set of girls, their eyes got big and the girls turned and excitedly whispered to each other.  I can't remember who in our group figured it out first, but we soon realized that one of the kids ahead of us was Gregg Sulkin who plays a werewolf and Selena Gomez's boyfriend on Wizards of Waverly Place.  

I turned to Samantha and begged her to go ask him for a picture - I could tell she wanted to, but she hesitated.  "Don't do what I did Samantha!" I told her, the Pierce Brosnan regrets now fully engaging my frontal lobe.  She didn't want to go alone but when she tried to rally Drew for company he vehemently shook his head and retreated further behind.  Finally, she approached my friend Jill and asked her, "Jill!  Will you go with me?"  Being the good sport that she is and someone for whom the word "shy" never applies, Jill was game and saved the day.  She ran up to him, tapped his shoulder and politely asked him for a picture.  And now I know that if Samantha ever marries a werewolf, they will look really good together:

(thanks to Jill for making it happen, and thanks Gregg for being a good sport!  You know I know you're reading this.  Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And Now You Know The Rest Of The Story

If you have followed me here for very long you may have noticed my frequent yet brief references to my adolescent love of Pierce Brosnan.  At this point, however, I feel it is necessary to stress that there was nothing brief about my obsession with Pierce Brosnan and all of his Remington Steele-ness of the late 1980’s.  I loved him.  When his wife died I felt sad for him, and if he had taken the time to return my calls he would have known that.  When the show went off the air, I wrote NBC a letter and begged them not to steal my happiness.  I wrote about it in my journal every time I watched the show on Tuesday nights at 9/8 Central.  One time I saw his picture in a magazine and was so inspired I used a drawing technique to sketch my own copy of it:

I have even forgiven him for running like a dork and agreeing to sing in Mamma Mia.  I can do that because I’ve seen him walk along the beach in khakis and a white linen shirt. 

Which brings me to my next bit.

The year was 1989.  I had just wrapped up my first year of college and my sister, Suzi had just graduated from BYU.  She wanted to do something fun before accepting post-grad reality, and I didn’t have anyone begging me to be their roommate for college year #2 so we put our 22 and 18-year-old heads together and decided to go backpacking to Europe.  It was a brilliant plan, really, especially considering neither one of us had any money.  So we called our Mom, asked her if she would spot us until we could pay her back, and would you believe?!  She said yes.  My mother, who had 7 children and ground her own wheat to make bread and used chocolate powdered milk to make fudgesicles because she had to be resourceful as a stay-at-home mom being supported on a teacher’s salary, said YES.  Not, “Excuse me, but the last trip *I* took out of the country was to cross the border to Tijuana to get the car painted, so how about I go to Europe and I’ll send you a postcard.”  To this day I consider it one of her greatest acts of love.  I’d like to think I pay her back every time I write something warm and inspiring on this blog…oh, crap.  Maybe I should just get her something really nice for Christmas…?

So, Suzi and I went shopping for backpacks and money purses that we could strap on under our shirts to protect our cash and hopped a plane to Europe. One major bonus was that my other sister, Lori was living in London at the time so we enjoyed some serious sister bonding with her before exploring the continent.  One such day took us to downtown London – we posed in Picadilly Square, lunched at the Hard Rock Café, and posed with the Royals at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.  We gallivanted through Harrod’s and eventually the three of us took up the sidewalk as we strolled the side streets to window shop.  There we were, chatting and shopping and moseying along when all of the sudden I looked up, and there he was.  Pierce Brosnan.  With one hand in the pocket of his black suit he was sauntering toward me like any other citizen on the streets, except to me, THIS WAS NO ORDINARY CITIZEN.  I still remember thinking, “Holy crap, he’s even more beautiful in person.”  His eyes were mesmerizing, so much so that I stood in a trance before realizing that he was passing me, and I was missing it, and AREN’T YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING YOU STUPID GIRL?!  I had a camera!  In my pocket!  Because I was a tourist!  And the love of my life was passing me AND I WASN’T ASKING HIM FOR A PICTURE! 

Truth be told, I didn’t want to bother him.  I wanted to show him that I wasn’t like all the other silly girls who giggle and act ridiculous, no, I was way too mature for that.  Except celebrities tend to respond better to the gigglers who ask for a picture and pose for a split a second better than the really mature ones who are like, “Dude, I mean ‘Chap’, I don’t need a silly picture I just want to settle down and have your babies and make you oatmeal in the morning.”  He ducked into a clothing store and I paced outside of it as I watched him trace his hand along the sleeves of a suit, and I wondered what to do when he came out.  I’ll tell you what I did!

I watched him leave.

And then in total frustration and panic to capture at least a portion of this moment, I snapped a picture…OF HIS BACK.  This is all I have to show for it:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Our California Adventure

"It's a small world, but I sure wouldn't want to paint it." 
~ Stephen Wright

I've been gone from California longer now than I ever spent living there, but visiting still feels like emotional CPR.  The vines climb the bridges and guide me to Balboa Park, the ocean air whispers calm to my whole being, and the smell of eucalyptus transports me back to a moment as a child, driving in our family suburban with the windows down.  Ask me about any slumber party I ever attended as a child and I couldn't tell you much about it (except maybe the one that got a little wacky with the Ouija board for the girl at school who preferred to go by "The Golden Unicorn" as opposed to her given name), but pull out a fresh branch of eucalyptus and it's not just a slave to the glue gun and a bad Michael's craft, to me it's home.  Family.  Security.  Love. It's ME, minus the stretch marks and sarcasm.

This recent jaunt to my home state packed in 3 full days at Disneyland, one day in Hollywood, and one day in San Diego.  One key observation about Disneyland is that I would like their staff to come clean my toilets.  Dude, that place is spotless.  You know how most public trash cans look like chewing tobacco depositories for all the New York Yankees?  Disneyland's cans must come with their own cleaning fairies because not even once did I go to throw something away and think, "Jackson Pollock has been here experimenting with a new medium of vanilla soft serve and ketchup."  Also, have you ever met an amusement park that didn't have several corners that smelled like urine, especially indoors?  Well peeps, meet Disneyland.  Not even through the 2 miles of cave that form a line to the Indiana Jones ride did I get a single whiff of urine, and seeing as I can't even accomplish this within the walls of my own home I give serious props to the cleaning powers that be at Disneyland.  We wrapped up night #1 with the World of Color show and would you believe I thought of you guys during the program?  I totally did, because I was wishing all of you could be there to see it too.  I had no idea you could do such cool stuff with water and left feeling like this show should write a letter to all the tsunamis that says, "Here's how you can play nicer with your friends."  But since you guys couldn't be with me I took a little video to share - it doesn't do it justice, but it's still kinda cool.  Imagine you are Jack Sparrow and it hits even closer to home:

The "It's A Small World" ride was closed while we were there but the sentiment wasn't lost on us as we ran into EIGHT families that we knew from church and school.  Samantha was able to hook up with one of her buddies while rubbing elbows with Pluto which worked for all parties involved:

Oh Mickey, you're so fine this roller coaster blew my mind:

Space Mountain: I'm the one that looks like I was just told that I was about to undergo a colonoscopy using a scope with razor blades and no anesthesia.  Cory looks ready for a Motley Crue concert, and Drew (sitting in the back row behind him) is pretending to be asleep.  He ain't afraid of no ghosts.

Me and my friend Jill pretending to be trapped in the Toy Story box.  A Disney employee approached us afterward and said, "I've seen a LOT of pictures taken in that thing but I've never seen anything quite like THAT."  I think he liked it, in a twisted Disney janitor sort of way.


Why do I always look so wrinkly?  And why does Jill look stoned?

I don't remember the joke, but I bet it was good.


The picture that left me wondering how I would ever manage to get myself back on the plane to Colorado:

I still don't know how I did it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

California Girls - The Beach Boys Kind, Not The Katy Perry Kind

Today, as we waited to exit the plane:

"I gotta get outta here, it smells like farts and ketchup." ~Samantha  (I have to say, she sorta nailed it.)

Passing a graffitied building in downtown San Diego:

"Hey, check it out!  It's a monkey with an umbrella and a beard."  ~Samantha

It's Fall Break around these parts, and when I say "these" parts I mean the parts I left behind this morning as we parked our car at the airport and boarded a flight to the place where I once developed a crush on a boy named Jeremy in 2nd grade, used to ride bikes across town with reckless abandon for coconut frozen yogurt, (back when we didn't have cell phones, and we never called when we got there, and never once thought about child molesters!), and where I was the teacher's pet in ceramics class.  I was wild back in those days.  I mean, seriously, I would go toilet papering on WEEKnights.

The point is, we're on vacation in my hometown.  I've been afraid to talk about it for fear I would jinx it, as the last time we attempted a trip to Disneyland I ended up on a gurney two weeks previous and had to send Cory to the happiest place on earth without me.  Not cool, dudes.  NOT COOL.  So I am here to redeem myself, and I'm counting on all the planets to align and support the process.  We start tomorrow, but in the meantime we have settled into the warm pacific air - I have already driven the kids past my elementary school, high school, and showed them where my best friends used to live.  Not to mention we picked pomegranates from my parents' tree which my mother used to whip up a little batch of dark chocolate pomegranate scones.  Pomegranates!  From a TREE!  And then, SCONES!  Too bad my mom isn't your mom too. 

Operation Redemption:  Off to a roaring start.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I Know For Sure - IKEA Edition

Several months ago I saw my first IKEA but I didn't actually go inside - it was a quick freeway fly-by.  But the way people talk about this place you would think the Greeks left out one of their gods and we're just hearing about it.  There's been so much hype about the grand opening here that I decided to wait a couple of months to let things die down before visiting for the first time.  Last weekend Samantha and I came upon a little mother/daughter girl time and decided it was a prime opportunity to lose our IKEA virginity, except instead of lighting candles and getting a nice little room overlooking the water we entered the great and spacious building that bears my high school colors.  BLUE!  YELLOW!  Hard to miss.  Here's what I learned.

1.  Quote from Samantha:  "Little furniture, BIG napkins!"

2.  These birds have big butts and I cannot lie.

3.  Ligon Berry juice from the fountain!
4.  I don't know what ligon berry juice is!
5.  Giant pebble ice, like Sonic ice that hasn't been to fat camp.  Awesome.
6.  The sign says "Swedish Meatballs", but how do I know they didn't just get it from the giant bag at Costco?  This weighs on me and compromises the European feel I'm going after. 
7.  Still. GIANT pebble ice.
8.  Pitcher or Neti Pot?  I'm still not sure.

9.  Garden Gnome ornaments.  You start off wondering, "Who?  Why?" and then the cashier says, "That will be $2.98 please."

10.  You are the weakest link, hej da!

One thing I know for sure, we have a lot more in common with the Swedes than I thought:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rhymes With "Harlot"

Since I'm too old and broken to have anymore babies I often stalk my other friends whose reproductive capabilities are in full swing and have blogs with pictures to prove it.  There's a girl I love, and I used to be her youth leader.  As in, she looked UP to me as an example, came to me for advice, and relied on me for guidance sometimes.  Crazy enough, she turned out anyway!  I won't say her real name (rhymes with Barley) or tell you who she's married to (named after the river where Jesus was baptized) or what they named their darling, new baby girl (rhymes with "harlot"), but I WILL say that she posted some pictures lately that made me laugh.  As I began to draft a comment I realized that what I really wanted to do was turn the whole thing into a post, so I asked her for permission and what do you know that girl always comes through for me.  So, my friends get the credit for the pictures and I will take responsibility for the captions.

Uh, Mom?  You've got a bat in the cave.

Seriously.  Aren't you going to do something about that?


Friday, October 14, 2011


I really wanted Samantha to set a PR (personal record) today in her cross country meet.  I wanted it because she wanted it, and she’s been busting her chops to make it happen.  She was incredibly disappointed last week when her expectation to PR was foiled, and I wanted her to see that hard work eventually pays off. 

I really wanted her to PR.

I fed her a carb filled dinner the night before.

I wrote an encouraging note and put it in her lunch.

I made sure she had a full water bottle and we both climbed in the car to head for school.  “I love you Mom,” she said as I dropped her off.  “I love you too,” I managed before she shut the door and I watched her blond hair and green eyes disappear through the double doors.

Later this afternoon I showed up to the race across town.  With some time to spare before Sam's heat started I made my way up to the memorial on the hill, a place I had intended to visit before but ran out of time.  I read the sign at the entrance outlining “no cell phones”, “no climbing on walls”, and additional requests for certain levels of propriety.  I scanned the area to take note of the others meandering the memorial. 


They were quiet, walking slowly and deliberately, and following all the rules.  Circling the memorial they stopped to read the tributes engraved on the flattened, polished boulders.

It’s been over 11 years since Columbine, a massacre laid out on a group of students who had been dropped off that morning of April 20th just like Samantha had been this morning.  I walked the path that honored the victims through stories, accomplishments, their goals and beliefs.  They were deeply personal and I was deeply moved.

It’s been a long time since that awful day.  

I came to the race wanting Samantha to PR.  I left feeling grateful just to have her here.

Grateful she could run at all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's True, I Have Roasted Edamame In My Cupboard

Months ago a friend of mine (Hi Kettie!) was sharing her experience on working out with a personal trainer, who had encouraged her to make 80 grams of protein a day part of her diet.  A DAY!  I was like, "So, let me get this straight.  You pay her $50/hour and in exchange you masticate a cow every 17 minutes?"  She said, "Of course not, stupid.  I masticate a cow every nine minutes, and in my down time I pop a little roasted edamame."  I said I didn't know you could make edamame grosser, she said 'grosser' wasn't a word, I said look it up in the Scrabble dictionary, and it went downhill from there.  She may have a different version of this story, but the point is, I made fun of her for eating roasted edamame.  Because hellooo, too easy.

And then I went to Sprouts.
And the bin of roasted edamame and I came face to face.
My inner voice said, "Don't do it."
The bin cried out, "You know you want to."
My inner voice fought back, "Not really."
The bin argued, "Everybody's doing it."
I said, "No, you must have us confused with Boulder."
Then I got tired of the vulcan mind meld between the bin and I so I broke down and bought some, took a picture, and texted it to Kettie for proof.

It's been sitting in my cupboard ever since.  'Cuz for the record?  Not as delicious as you might trick yourself into thinking.

Then today I was at my WW meeting and the leader was asking what our refrigerators and cupboards should look like if we want to be successful at losing weight.  "If I came to your house right now," she began, "what would I find in your cupboards?"  Perhaps I should have jumped at the opportunity to highlight the abundance of soy gracing my shelves but I couldn't do it.  I couldn't be that kid in class in the front row who asks all the questions, turns in his homework before it's due, and requests additional extra credit work for fun.  So no, I wasn't forthcoming about my edamame but I also wasn't forthcoming about having a bundt cake for lunch last Thursday so I'm calling it even.  I feel like this picture is telling me that's okay:

This one is kind of funny:

As for this one, I SWEAR IT WASN'T ME!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Family Dinner

As we sat down for dinner tonight Drew was laughing about something when Cory asked, "Hey 'Laughing Boy', will you say the blessing on the food?'"  Before Drew could start, however, I observed, "You know, Dad would have been good at naming Native Americans."  We chuckled, Drew prayed, and then Cory turned to Samantha, "Hey 'Runs on Gravel', how was church today?"
"It was fine," she answered.
Then, turning to me he inquired, "How about you, 'Blogs With Rabbits', did you go to your new class?"
"No, not until next week," I replied.
As Samantha slurped up a final spoonful of soup she asked, "Is there more soup or is it all gone?"
"Well,"  I began, "I gave most of it to 'Grunts When Poops' but I think there's a little left."

We don't have a lot of friends.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Highs & Lows

Yesterday the high in Colorado was, no, not Ziggy Marley, it was 67 degrees.
The day before that the high was 78.
The day before that the high was in the 80's.
And the 27 days before that the high fluctuated between the 70's and 80's.

Last night it started to snow for the first time this season, and it's still going strong.
Windy, rainy, wet, blustery, side blowing snow.

Tomorrow is forecasted to be in the high 50's with sunshine.
The day after that should hit around 69 degrees, with sunshine.
The day after that Mike Nelson said it should be in the 70's.
Same for Wednesday and Thursday.
And Friday.

I'll let you guess which night Cory had to take Drew camping with the scouts, and which day we had to deliver 320 Yellow Books for the school fundraiser.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The One Where You Google "Anti-Depressants" And Email Me Your Findings

My birthday is coming up next month and I will turn 41.  FORTY.  ONE.  It's not like it's that high of a number, but if I was a celebrity this is about the time I would have to start considering dog food commercials instead of movie deals just to pay the rent.  So, you can imagine how relieved I am not to be famous.  It goes to show, really, that being mediocre in all things is a pretty good gig.  This way if someone called me up to do a dog food commercial I'd jump on my blog and be like, "YOU GUYS!  Watch Channel 9 and look for the ad with the backlit, middle-aged woman in the meadow getting mauled by a golden retriever - THAT'S ME!!"  This way it's a celebration instead of a walk of shame, and at the end of the day I get to come home and sleep with an accountant who golfs on Fridays and be totally happy with that.

I'll tell you what else I can be happy about when it comes to getting older is that I'm discovering how many strong opinions I have, and how I care less and less about whether people like them or not.  I think this is why old people have a reputation for being so crotchety, because they don't give a flying fig (digression:  I have no idea where the phrase "flying fig" originated, but if I had to guess I'd probably say a rest home food fight is a decent possibility) what you think.  They don't care if you're their friend as long as you bring them their pudding on time and keep their TV on "All My Children".  It's where I'm headed, I can feel it.

A few days ago I ran into a skinny friend at the store who had just finished a marathon over the weekend in THREE HOURS.  I asked her about it and was all prepared to congratulate and pat her on the back and say all kinds of nice things when she began to lament her time.  But that's not even the point where I got mad, because I understand the difference between myself and an elite runner.  (Elite runner:  "I didn't average a 5 minute mile"  Me:  "I got to the finish line before they turned off the lights!")  It was when she launched into her dissertation about being fat that I completely lost my mind.  This girl needs to lose weight the way Carson Kressley needs to shed a little of his masculinity.  I looked her in the eye, smiled, and said, "I'm sorry, this conversation is officially over", and walked away.  Cory's worried that I was too rude, but I'm at a point in my life where I refuse to tolerate that kind of utter nonsense.  I mean, if you were standing in a store talking to Martha Stewart and she said, "If I could just get a little more creative"....  See what I mean?


I'm also starting to get grouchy already about winter waiting for me just around the corner.  Because around here, "Winter" should be spelled "WINDter".  Wind in the summer can be kinda nice, but wind in the winter is like nature's way of saying, "I've never liked you very much."  Seriously, it gets so blustery around here that Chicago starts calling to see how I'm holding up.  I'm not ready.  One time last year when I was running around the neighborhood it was so cold and windy that I stopped dead in my tracks, raised my fists into the air and yelled, "STOOOOP IIIT!!!"  It yelled back at me, froze my snot and told me to run wee wee wee all the way home if I was going to be such a baby about it.  The wind - it mocks me.  As do the neighbors who may have witnessed this event.

So yes, soon I won't just be 40, I'll be "in my forties".  I've decided to celebrate by complaining without apology all year long.  Cory is super excited.  (p.s.  Buy me something really nice.)