Monday, January 30, 2012

LOSING! And then, WINNING! And then, YOU WINNING!

Did you have a good weekend?  That’s nice.  Yours was probably better than mine as it’s hard to compete with spending your Saturday watching your son’s basketball team get annihilated for the 8th weekend in a row.  Drew has been playing basketball for four years and for three of those years, we have gone ALL season without a single win.  Like, less than 1, more than -1, NADA.  Zip.  Zero. FOR THREE YEARS.  Drew likes to say we are the “undefeated losers”.  I like to say, “Somebody give me an Ambien and wake me when it’s over.”  I started out the season being supportive after our losses by highlighting the positives:  “well, your defense was better”, or “at least you guys got some good shots off”, and “those other guys have been playing together for years, your time will come.”  Well guys, our time has not come and I am out of speeches.  Now I just get in the car, Drew sulks in the back seat, and I say, “That sucked.  Want a milkshake?”  Only one game to go before it’s over, and we’re not exactly planning an after party.

But!  We did go to Red Robin after Saturday’s game and nursed our wounds – it’s amazing what a few steak fries in some ranch can do for a battered soul.  The thing is, I don’t care if we dominate – we don’t have to win all the time, or even most of the time, I would just like to lose by less than 44 points.  Is that so much to ask?  I think not, but our results suggest otherwise. 

After we drowned our sorrows in a pound of beef with special sauce, I spent the rest of my weekend reading a book.  I know!  I see how you guys are with your lists and your critiques of the dozens of books you read every other day, but sadly I’m not much of a reader.  Eater?  Yes.  Stalker?  Yes.  Bundt cake maker?  YES.  (Dudes.  Serious recipe coming to you soon – get your pans and ovens ready, and if you really want to be prepared go out and buy a white cake mix, small vanilla pudding mix, white chocolate chips and applesauce so you can make it the same day you read my post.  You’ll thank me later.)  But avid reader?  Not.  I’m not against reading, I just don’t do it very often.  But when I do, I enjoy it.

This weekend was no exception to that as I picked up a copy of “On Little Wings” by Regina Sirois.  This book is positively delightful.  Set in small town in Maine, a young girl is searching to piece together a part of her family that she didn’t even know was missing.  As she plots to set things right, the author sucks you in to the poetic landscape of a summer ocean and builds characters that make you laugh and cry at the same time.  There are parts that felt like “Grumpy Old Men” met up with Ouiser from Steel Magnolias  and I found myself wanting to get my haircut in the barbershop with all of them at the same time.  There’s just something about crotchety old people that makes me look forward to getting old.  Anyway, I definitely recommend this book – Regina Sirois really has a gift for language as evidenced by this PERFECT definition of what every writer seeks for:  “Words are like cameras.  There’s a million ways to take a picture of the same thing.  But only a few have the eye to master it.  And those few can use the camera, the words, to capture it.  And when words capture it, and you capture the words, then you own a piece of the world you didn’t have before.”  I love that! 

The author's original intention was to simply self publish this for family and friends, but it has received so much attention that it has since been picked up by a hot NY agent who is working on a wider release.  In the meantime, I talked with Ms. Sirois and she has offered to give a signed copy of her book to one of you dudes.   Free books!  It’s like I’m still trying to impress Oprah or something.  Anyway, if you would like to be the one to receive this free copy then do one or all of the following:

1.  Leave a comment. 
2.  "Like" Regina on facebook and then leave a comment to that end
3.  Follow her on Twitter, then leave a comment that you did
YOU HAVE UNTIL FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3rd AT MIDNIGHT

If you want to skip all that and just buy a hard copy or digital copy, you can visit here.  Or just leave me a comment about how to not lose a game in 10 days.  We need all the advice we can get.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Dog Guide For Non-Dog People

As you know, we didn't get our kids a dog for Christmas.  Technically.  My kids pretend to be annoyed about the pillow pet I got them in lieu of the real thing, but I had ten teenage girls for a movie night on Tuesday and several brought along their pillow pets and due to my generosity, my daughter wasn't left out.  In the end there are many reasons we chose not to go for it, not the least of which is that I don't even know what kind of dogs there are.  If you tell me what kind of dog you have, ESPECIALLY if it's some kind of a mix, chances are I have no idea what you are talking about.  Big?  Small?  Yippy?  Guard type?  Friendly?  Mellow?  Spastic?  I wouldn't have a clue.  It occurred to me that perhaps I'm not the only one who struggles in this area, so as your friend I have put together a handy little guide.  I think it will help you to understand how we came to our decision.

GOLDEN RETRIEVER

 
SHIH TZU (think about it)

BOXER DOODLE


PIT BULL


CHOCOLATE LAB


GERMAN SHEPHERD



You see why we opted out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Vow


As has been previously established, I am a sucker for brain candy movies.  I’m sorta too dumb to follow really complicated plots so I stick with the nice, sweet and predictable ones.  I like to see people kiss in the rain, get proposed to in train stations, and fall in love under twinkly lights (Edward’s diamond skin doesn’t count).  Above all, my most important movie criteria are eye candy and a happy ending.  Which is to say that I would have enjoyed 2001’s Kate & Leopold a lot more if not for Meg Ryan’s overdone lip injections and straw locks that appeared to have recently arm wrestled with a weed whacker but alas, I still had Hugh Jackman.  And even though Ms. Ryan’s career jumped the shark in this romantic comedy, Hugh walked around in double breasted coats with gold buttons and made toast while talking in his British accent which was, sadly, enough for me.

Nicholas Sparks is a romance novelist who seems to get a lot of movies made from his books.  The problem is, I don’t really trust him.  Sure, he gave us The Notebook where one of the main characters reads to his dementia-ridden wife every day and gets her to fall in love with him every time she wakes up in the nursing home, but he also gave us A Walk To Remember.  You know, the one where the good preacher’s daughter falls in love with the school’s bad boy, and the bad boy turns good because of her, and then she dies of leukemia?  Some might appreciate the unpredictable nature of this ending.  I say, this ending sucketh.  What’s so great about remembering a nice walk if she’s DEAD?!  If I wanted to watch somebody die I would just rent The Fugitive, watch the first 5 minutes and save myself the other hour and a half.  Not to mention Nicholas gave us The Last Song (father dies), Message In A Bottle (Kevin Costner's character dies at sea AT THE VERY END, RIGHT AFTER HE AND THE PRINCESS BRIDE FINALLY GET TOGETHER), and Dear John (competing love interest dies while woman's true love is away at war).  So you see why I'm leery.

Nevertheless, see paragraph one of this post wherein I use the word “sucker”.  Nicholas Sparks has another book being made into a movie that comes out soon called The Vow.  I haven’t read the book so I don’t know the full story (and if you do DON’T TELL ME) but here’s what I’ve gathered from the trailer:  The premise is that Channing Tatum’s character is married to Rachel McAdams character, they get in an accident, and the Rachel McAdams character gets amnesia and loses all memories surrounding their relationship/marriage.  My problem is that I fail to see the dilemma.  I mean, if you basically fell asleep and woke up to discover that you were married to Channing Tatum, would you be eager to challenge that?  I think the proper response would be to say, “Nurse?  I’m feeling much better now.  How’s about you slip me a little bottle of Vicodin and I let this nice boy take me home?”   

That’s what worries me though, the fact that I don’t see the dilemma.  I am very much looking forward to this movie – I will probably go by myself in the middle of the day and sit in the middle of the row, 2/3 of the way back with all the other middle aged women with no lives.  But so help me, if someone dies and these two don’t end up back together in the end, for real, as in NO DYING OF ANY KIND MR. SPARKS ARE YOU LISTENING?!  I will be very upset.  Channing, I will see you soon in the theaters.

Rachel, I am also looking forward to witnessing you and your beauty mark fall for Channing all over again.  Don’t let me down, GO TO HIM.  It’s the right thing to do.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reverently, Quietly. Or Not.


The problem in church today was two-fold.  It started out normally with Drew discovering two Smarties on the ground and asking us if we dared him to eat it, to which we replied “yes”, and so he did.  But we can get into the pros and cons of daring your children to do unsanitary things later.  Next, it is relevant for you to know that when we go to church the kids and I sit together in the pews while Cory’s responsibility requires that he sit on the stand.  Several minutes into today’s meeting a young boy in front of us made a noise.  Not unlike a pig with a sinus infection desperately inhaling for a hint of oxygen, it caught me by surprise and I started to chuckle.  The kids took this as a sign of permission and quickly followed suit.  We quietly laughed amongst ourselves but quickly matured and remembered who we were and what we stood for and simmered down.

And then he did it again.  Longer this time.  And louder.

It wasn’t even that funny, except for some reason it was.  I caught a glimpse of the girl a couple of rows over whose eyebrows also shot up over outburst #2 and as our eyes met, she started laughing too.  And then we sorta lost it.  Like, wiping tears from my eyes, smudging my mascara, snot dripping from my nose LOST IT.  This is usually the part where a responsible parent steps in, issues the death glare down the row and threatens through a hiss, “Do I need to sit between you two?” but as I said, CORY WAS ON THE STAND.  I kept turning to the kids and saying, “Shhh!” but I was laughing amidst my commands, which is kind of like telling your kid to grab a healthy snack as you’re biting down on a donut.  In a word:  INEFFECTIVE.  I determined that I needed to remove myself from the situation and headed to the foyer to blow my nose, get a drink, and take a deep breath.  It worked, and I returned to my seat where my children had also gotten a grip. 

Then I looked up and Cory was no longer sitting on the stand, which was highly unusual.  Apparently, during our little display of inappropriate Sunday meeting behavior an actual problem arose, and Cory was directed by our Bishop to further investigate.  Minutes later I learned that this “investigation” of sorts required my participation as Cory passed down the aisle, whispered some directions in my ear, and resumed his position on the stand.  His whispered request alarmed me, and evoked worry about the well being of someone I cared about.  I did as he asked, learned the information we needed, then gave him a slight nod and knowing look from the cheap seats as if to say, “I think things are under control for now.”  The rest of the meeting was quite lovely, filled with hopeful messages, beautiful music, and general warm fuzzies.

Looking back, it occurs to me that when Cory left his seat only to pass us by a few minutes later and whisper an important message in my ear, this following some seriously irreverent mishaps within our row, it probably looked like he was coming down to tell us to, “Shut up already you guys are emBARRASSING me!”  Alas, he was merely doing his duty and following the counsel of our good Bishop.  Although, had he come to tell us to “shut up” I can’t say it wouldn’t have been uncalled for.  I would have looked up at him, flashed a smile and offered, “Want some Smarties?”

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Definitely Not Wearing My Underwear


If you ever want to know what’s going on in your life you should hover your mouse over the tab titled “Recent Documents”.  I just did this by accident and the following three document titles popped up:  “5th Sunday – Unity”, “Carpool Schedule”, and “Spanish Burrito”.  There you have it, a window into my world.  It doesn’t quite cover it, however, and it makes me realize that I should have written something titled, “An In Depth Look at Regular Kleenex vs. Puffs Plus”, and “Things You Should Avoid Saying To Your Young, Impressionable Sunday School Class While Operating On a NyQuil Hangover”, if I was really interested in being thorough.  

For the record, when you are on day eleventy-twenty-four-hundred of THE COLD THAT WOULDN’T DIE there is no contest; only Puffs Plus will do.  It’s the only way to prevent your nose from looking like Whitney Houston’s after a cocaine spree.  Another valuable tidbit:  When your eyes are leaky, puffy and red and your nose seems to be running for Congress a good remedy might be to watch the movie “The Last Song”.  There’s a part where the little boy has just found out that his Dad, who he’s been spending the summer with and working side by side with making a stained glass window for the local church, is dying of cancer.  His sister is awakened in the middle of the night by a loud crash, and as she explores the house for the source of the noise she opens the door to find her little brother sobbing in front of spilled tools, mumbling something about having to finish the stained glass window by himself before his Dad dies.  Good heavens.  The REAL valuable tidbit here is this:  should you find yourself in such a situation, don’t look at yourself in the mirror for a good 24 hours.  For real, I’m trying to help you here.

Yes, you might say I’ve been a bit of a hot mess lately.  I was supposed to teach my Sunday School class of 10-year-olds yesterday and even though I wasn’t feeling great, it didn’t seem like enough of a big deal to skip church and get a substitute.  I felt a little differently once I got to church, however, but decided to man up and eek out my lesson after which I would go home an hour early.  (That’s right, leaving after two full hours of church would still be leaving EARLY.  We Mormons know how to party.)  Here’s the thing.  I haven’t spent much time in my church life teaching children.  Teenagers?  Adults?  Yes.  And yes.  But kids?  I once did a two-year stint in a leadership position, but never one-on-one in the classroom.  You’re about to find out that I’m not very good at it.  

The sad thing is that these kids really are darling and good, it’s just that I’m used to an audience that is either listening or tuned out, but not randomly spewing out their thoughts while you’re talking.  It’s like living in Rain Man for an hour every week. 
“How can prayer help you?”
“My wart is bleeding.”
“What do you think makes Jesus happy?”
“I like Transformers!”
“So, how can you show courage like the prophets?”
I’m an excellent driver.”

Normally I am patient and kind with my responses.  Yesterday…not so much.  By the time I was wrapping up the lesson I was exhausted and I was in the middle of sharing my thoughts about prophets when one of the kids blurted out, “I know where Lucy* is!”  What the…?  (Lucy is one of the cute girls in my class who was out of town.)  I wasn’t in the mood to dignify the interruption with a response so I kept talking as if I didn’t hear.  They tried again, “I know where Lucy is!”  I stopped, looked at the child and said, “Yeah, I do too but that’s not what we’re talking about right now, is it?” and then tried to finish my thought that nobody was listening to.

There’s a reason I’m only the 2nd best.

But I AM an excellent driver.

*Name changed

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Careful What You Wish For



Don’t worry, I’m not going to drone on and on about what we got for Christmas this year.  Besides, the Porsche doesn’t like it when we talk about him behind his back.  Kidding!  We didn’t get a new car, let alone a car like THAT.  But, I did take the minivan through the deluxe car wash so it’s not like Santa completely forgot about me.  And as we all know, sometimes you get what you wish for and sometimes you don’t.  Either way, it’s just the wishing that’s fun.  (Lies.)

Sometimes what you wish for happens, just maybe not the way you intended it.  Like when you tell the universe you want to reach your goal weight by the New Year and you start throwing up at 4am.  I wouldn’t say it was the best 24 hours of my life but still, goal weight!

Sometimes you don’t know what you wish for until you see an infomercial for it, and then suddenly you have to have it.  This happened to Drew while watching TV with his buddy and they saw the commercial for the Forever Lazy.  Similar to a Snuggie, the Forever Lazy is meant to keep you warm.  However, true to its name it takes laziness to a whole new level above the Snuggie.  For example, if you were on a road trip and had to go to the bathroom, the Snuggie would pull over and go in the bushes.  The Forever Lazy, on the other hand, would simply scrounge for an empty soda can and keep driving.  Now you understand?  Either way, Drew was enticed by the commercial and he and his friend rolled off the couch laughing at the televised demonstration.  So, you can imagine his delight when the day before Christmas this friend showed up on our doorstep with a box….   Drew was thrilled and couldn’t wait to demonstrate it himself.  Here, take a look (albeit sideways - sorry, don't know how to change that on video):

video



Other times you’re not even looking to wish for something, you’re just wandering around the mall with a cup of hot cocoa and soaking in the atmosphere when suddenly, you round the corner and there it is.  That thing you didn’t even know you wanted but now you see that your whole life has brought you here to this moment – you trace your finger along its edge, you imagine all the places it could go, you mentally design your bedroom around it, and then you leave.  Because it’s too much and it’s frivolous and impractical and there are people sleeping under bridges downtown.  Then, unbeknownst to you your husband goes back later and buys it for you for Christmas because he is the best boy you've ever met.


Finally, every once in a while you receive something really beautiful that’s made even more glorious when you realize the thought and effort that went into it.  This year, the award goes to Samantha.  She’s been taking a photography class this semester and decided to make our family a gift where she took pictures of architecture to spell out our last name, and then had it framed.  This meant she used her free time to go take the pictures.  It meant that she used her off period at school to hunt down the photography teacher to use the dark room.  It meant she used her friend’s mom to help drive her places and get the supplies she needed, and it meant she used her own money (and quite a bit of it) to pay for matting, developing, and framing.  Here’s a sneak peek, only because I don’t like to advertise my last name to the internet on account of stalkers and pedophiles or say, Child Protective Services.  Suffice it to say there is an "S" in our name somewhere:


I love it, and can’t wait to hang it in the house with the InstaHang Dispenser I ordered off the internet after seeing an infomercial.  I bought it with some money my parents gave me for Christmas – it was either that or Hot Booties.  Tough call.  Maybe next year.

Man, it’s a good thing I didn’t drone on and on about what we got.  This could’ve been a doozie.