Sunday, December 30, 2007

Starting anew....

The time is here. I stopped by Barnes and Noble today to find a few books and found myself bombarded by the tables projecting new 'yous' and new life with the help of new diets, new exercise regimes, new lovers, new personal themes, etc. Of course the largest group of books for the new year are those on changing your looks (in one way or another). Savvy store marketing.

Wish I could say that I was above those sort of new year resolutions but the truth is that I love New Years. Like Christmastime New Year's allows me a chance to bond with my family, play random games from our family game closet, and reflect on the themes of the season.

Our family, my mother in particular, has always been drawn to symbolic rituals. My favorite occurs at New Year's. At some point during the celebration, usually after diner, my mom brings out the candles. Each year the candles and their destination differ, but the general practice remains the same. We each get an unlit candle. My Mom lights a candle in the middle of the table. Each person reflects, silently, on the year that has past and then makes a hope/wish for the next year. When they are ready they light the candle from the central one and hold it until all are lit. We then each place our candle in the middle with the original one and it burns through the rest of the party. We can discuss our hope if we want (some do) or we can keep it as a personal desire.

Traditions can be strange and no doubt some of those reading this will find the above ritual a little, uncomfortable. Visually it is one of the most beautiful things I have been a part of. Spiritually it is something I anticipate each year as a way to force myself to take time to look forward. It is always so easy to be caught up with the here and now.

This year will be no different. I can already tell you what I hope for as it has been on my mind for the last month. I hope that the decisions that I make can be made with clarity and with a clear vision of the future. This might sound obtuse but as I look over this past year, and even before, many of my decisions were made out of momentary emotion.

At this moment in our lives we are in a prime spot to change so much about how our future appears. We can, and are taking steps to, change the way we manage money, parent our children, love each other, love ourselves, and relate in the world. For example, Eric and I have decided that it is time for me to go back to work. For many reasons. Honestly I've had my moments with the kids where I long for the day to go back to work, but now that it is is a reality it is one met with much deeper and mixed feelings. And with this I have the chance to really make a difference for our family, for myself, and for the organization I work with.

I hope that my decisions are made on solid foundation so that when I reflect back next year I can see, even if things were hard, the positive change.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

In need of....

A fairytale? I did not grow up on fairytales, specifically the Disney Princess ones. Still, I went for the second time to Enchanted (this time with my Grandma) and this scene has had me smiling all day:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hark the Meme Angels Sing!

We are visiting family out-of-state and I have been keeping busy with projects so I have neglected this blog, phone calls, and general keepings-in-touch. Tonight, after working all day going through my Grandfather's stuff (he passed away last month) I really just needed something fun to do while I watch Law and Order.

This fit the bill:

Christmas Tag!!

Thanks to Holly for the idea! And thanks to my boredom for the nauseating (but fun) colors!

1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Sorry, anything with the word 'egg' automatically loses my vote!
2) Do you wrap your presents or not? This is such a strange question to me. Are there people who don't wrap their presents...and if so, why the *bleep* not?
3) Colored lights or white? With kids, colored for sure!
4) Do you hang mistletoe? Nope, usually I just eat it.
5) When do you put up your decorations? Personally I like to wait until the 1st of December, but this year it was after Thanksgiving.
6) What is your favorite holiday dish? Funeral potatoes. Yum.
7) Favorite memory as a child? There are so many to choose from. I remember looking out the window, when I was eight or nine, with my brother Alan and seeing a red light flashing in the distance. We were convinced it was Rudolph and we watched that light for a good hour. Alan was the one who told me Santa doesn't exist. I loved that the Christmas elves always rang our doorbell on Christmas Eve and left new pjs on our doorstep. We've already continued that tradition with the boys. I cherish the years that my Grandpa would read the Christmas story - it was so treasured to him. Oh and of course there is the annual family movie night while we watch the Muppet Christmas Carol. It is a must-see movie. The minute the music starts my heart feels light!
8) When and how did you learn about Santa? My younger brother (Alan as mentioned above) and I were snooping in our parents room for presents. We found the 'Santa' stash. I didn't think much of it, but he made sure to explain it all.
9) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The Elf present.
10) How do you decorate your tree? One of the best parts of having children at Christmas is that they help decorate and add their 'flair' to the project. Normally I am pretty OCD about my decorating and the tree ends up looking very symmetrical. Now, we have ornaments that have memories attached and that the boys cannot break and they get put on as manically as the boys like.
11) it or dread it? Love it. Never thought I'd say that, but it's true.
12) Can you ice skate? Well enough not to end up with a black & blue butt.
13) Do you remember your favorite gift? I have been fortunate to receive lots of good gifts - but three stick out. The dog (Ty) that I got when I was 11, tickets to Wicked for the first time, and the shredder that Eric gave me last year.
14) What is the most important part of the holidays? My family. Taking time to reflect on the past year. Taking time to give someone something you hope means as much to them as it did for you to pick it out. I love the look a loved one has when they open a gift that really hits them.
15) Favorite holiday dessert? My Mom's Sugar Cookies. We'll have to see if we can make those gluten-free this year!
16) Favorite tradition? One thing that I love in our family is that when Christmas Day rolls around and we are all sitting there waiting to open presents, we take turns in a circular motion, paying attention to whoever is opening it. This allows everyone to have the time to react to their gift and gives respect to the person who bought the gift. I also love that we open a few, then eat breakfast, then come back and open the rest. It helps to keep the focus on Christmas being about family time.
17) Favorite Christmas Carol? I absolutely love 'Carol of the Bells'. With or without words that song moves me.

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically - but if you are reading this, I would love if you do it! If you do play along, let me know so I can see what your answers are!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Kick some a....addiction!

One of my guilty pleasures is to surf the celebrity gossip - specifically on Perez Hilton. It's juvenile and mind-numbingly dumb, but when I need a little brainless fodder, it works!

For a while though I have been contemplating divorce with my celebrity addiction. While the addiction feeds my desire to be famous, my desire to waste some time, and a desire to laugh (some of the celebrity antics and quotes are preciously stupid!) I am often disappointed in the malnourished imagery, wasteful spending, and incredible life invasions that end up on display.

There is a fine gray line between my entertainment and the intrusion into someone else's life.

This morning I read about Julia Roberts and an incident with a paparazzo. She isn't the first to take a stance like this, or to tell the paparazzo off, but given my affinity for her (both in general and her movies) it added one for thing for me to admire about her. While I don't condone her specific maneuvers to get the cameraman to pull over, I have no doubt that I would have done the same thing.

I am perfectly aware that Julia does not thrill everyone like she does me.

I am also perfectly aware that I am blogging about celebrities when I actually try to take my blogging somewhat seriously.

Still, I think the world of celebrity blogging, watching, and stalking has hit a ridiculous level. I can see pictures of body parts I have no need to see - tell me, what purpose does that serve?

Do we as consumers have some sort of unwritten contract that allows us access to celebrity worlds that surpasses anything we would want?

Unfortunately I cannot change everything - though not for lack of trying! My power lies only within myself...and that means that it's time for my addiction and I need to break-up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Music Memory Monday #6

I'm a little late in posting this - but given that I am about to post a picture of me from high school, I think you will all take one look, dig deep into your souls, and forgive me!

Every once and a while I exchange emails from people that I know from our days in high school. I graduated in 1996 - and a lot has happened since then. Many of my friends are married, some have kids, some have partners, some have passed away, and some haven't changed at all.

One thing that hasn't changed is our school song: Scotland the Brave! Granted most school songs don't change. Quite frankly I'm not sure if it's a theme song, fight song, or just some song to tie in our Scottish theme.

No one has enlightened me (nor have I googled it) as to why a small town nestled in California would adopt a Scottish theme. It all worked all well for me since, at the time, I look fantastic in red and even better in a short kilt-like skirt.

Really, I'm not sure how it started for me either. I don't remember the impetus that sent me to try-outs, but all of a sudden there I was, marching to the beat of Scotland the Brave as:

A Tall Flag Girl (the girls who twirl the flags in front of the band):

The next year and my senior year, I was a Banner Carrier, following in the footsteps of my Mom. (the girls who carry the letters that spell out the name of the school, often slamming them into our arms in rhythmic routines):

I spent the summers and falls of my freshman, sophomore, and senior years as part of the pageantry. My senior year I was co-captain with my friend Dana (she's the 'E').

So many memories are wrapped up in those years of marching, twirling, riding on buses to the competitions, and more.

It would only be fitting that every time this song comes on my arms twitch and my legs catch the beat, falling in line and stepping back in time.

Get out your batons, your drumsticks, your tuba, your pom-poms, and cheer along for Music Memory #6!

I'm not in this video (this is from this year, I think) but here, in all it's glory, is the GHS Marching Band and Scotland the Brave.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Capture my youth in a bottle...

If only we could capture our youth in a bottle to be sent to us at another time in our life, when we need it the most.

The Sunday Scribblings quandary of how our youth was spent is a strikingly apropos prompt for this week. In fact, as I type I sit in my room while my entire family sits in other rooms of the house, talking, reminiscing, planning for holidays, and other generalized conversation. Me being in my room is pretty atypical of my personality and my behavior...but much needed in this moment.

How did I misspend my life? Initially my answer felt easy: I grew up too fast. I was having adult conversations at eight, speaking with ease and comfort in large meetings at nine, celebrating events and birthdays with friends decades older than I. While I had friends my age I also considered (and still do) my parents' friends my own. I worked jobs as soon as I could - sometimes having many at a time.

Was this really misspent? That's a hard word for me to use. Misspent makes me think of the huge order I placed with CafePress a few months ago or the amount of money Eric and I spent on fast food in August of 2006.

The difficulty in labeling something as misspent invokes some notion that value was not realized. My youth, and my life learning process, are full of mistakes, missteps, errors in judgment, wrong questions, answers sought from bad sources...but isn't that all part of it?

How do we say that we misspent a time in our life? Is the answer that misspent time is time we would go back and change or do differently? If that is the case, then my reality is that none of my youth was misspent.

Yes, I grew up fast. I find myself at 29 trying to 'learn' how to relax, to take things slow, to undo adult-sized habits. I have moments were I wish I could run as fast and as far as I can from 'adult' responsibility. Sure there are things I wish I would have learned earlier or taken advantage of. Maybe I wouldn't have taken the promotion, or maybe I would have traveled to Europe or waited to get married, or focused on friends my age group, or maybe I wouldn't have changed anything. Responsibility seems to stick to me like cat hair.

Yet the world experiences I have had are built like a domino train upon each other. Taking one out would completely change the way my other dominoes fell. There are parts of my life, even right this minute, that I would love to be different. In no way, however, would I risk changing everything by 're-spending' a minute of my youth...

Black, blue and hurtful too...

The chorus to Mika's song 'Grace Kelly' have been floating through my brain all week. Seems to have matched my moods this week.

i could be brown
i could be blue
i could be violet sky
i could hurtful
i could be purple
i could be anything you like
gotta be green
gotta be mean
gotta be everything more
why don't you like me why don't you like me
why don't you like yourself

Monday, November 19, 2007

Music Memory Monday #5

Have you ever wondered if you have a sixth sense? Not in the Bruce Willis - Sylvia Browne kind of way but rather a soft whispering, or a feeling of deja vu,
or even a light premonition.

For a period of time - which include right now - I have wondered if Sister Hazel somehow has a sixth sense towards me! Yes I know, we all have songs that we think might have been written for us. Or maybe someone told you
that a certain song reminds them of you.

This goes above and beyond that. There have been other Mondays when I have sat down to blog about this, and then thought differently. I realize you all know I'm a tad crazy and, for the most part, honor my crazy. This might change that.
No doubt that if the below-mentioned ex
reads this it will confirm, once again, why we broke-up.

When I was in college, actually during my freshman year, I dated a guy that we'll call Owen. We only dated a few months before he compared me to breakfast cereal in a memorably creative break-up*. I was crushed. Whether or not this boy and I were actually compatible past the few months we dated is undetermined. However, at one point during our relationship he mentioned that a song we were listening too really explained how he felt about me. Awwww....I can hear the oohs and ahhs from all over blogerland.

The musicians were not his style (The Descendants) and the song itself was a little bit 'pop'ier than I expected him to like. Regardless I was thrilled to have a song remind someone of me.

Shortly after being likened to 'Fruity Pebbles' during our cereal date, and still reeling from the whole affair, I started to notice a trend.

EVERY time Owen called me or anytime I saw him on campus this song was on. Seriously. I was at a grocery store once with my roommate, the music came on, we turned a corner and there Owen was. My cousin and I were walking across campus, the song came on my Walkman (linked for those young-uns), and sure enough, there he was on his skateboard coming to find us.

It wasn't just me who noticed this trend.
My roommate had similar experiences as did my cousin.

For a while I forgot about the song and Owen. It probably played but I never heard or noticed it. Owen and I, who remain friends, weren't at school together, our friend group had dissolved and we were in different places.

Then last year I was sitting in our home with my husband, the song came on the radio (it gets a lot of SLC play) and shortly after the first strums of the guitar my phone rang with a call from Owen. NO JOKE!
I had not heard from him in over two years.

Crazy? Maybe. Strange? Definitely.

Regardless, it sure makes for an interesting story and a fantastic

Music Memory Monday

Happy Monday everyone!

**I am happy to share the cereal break-up story with anyone interested - it is one of the most creative break-ups I've ever heard, let alone be a part of...**

Friday, November 16, 2007

I carry...

This blog suggestion came from the wonderful people over at Sunday Scribblings. I am not sure they realized what a cathartic exercise this would be for so many of their readers. Or at least for me, I can only speak for myself. Damn. I love speaking for everyone.

Anyway. As I have thought this week about the theme, 'I Carry', my mind has wandered with so many possibilities. All pieces of my life that are blazing hot topics for me right now: the weight I carry, the traits, physical and emotions, that I carry from my Grandfather, my children who are more often in my arms than not, the responsibility of being the oldest child, and the list goes on and on.

At some point during the week, I found myself at the store. Which store it was isn't important, but it is one with a standard big-box cosmetics section. Standing in the cosmetics aisle time came to a stand still, and a memory started to spin in my head. It suddenly became clear what it is I carry. Guilt. Specific guilt for various pin points in my life. The smell of Bonnie Bell cherry lip gloss and eye make-up remover induced stabbing pricks of memory, and said guilt.

I carry the guilt for carrying cosmetics out of a store without paying for them.

There, I said it.

No, I did not steal Lipsmackers or Maybelline this week! It was actually nine years ago. That time frame is crucial because it means I can blog about it with no criminal consequences attached to it! That state in which this horrid event occurred has a seven year statute. That says something about me too, that I would look that up before blogging about it. Hum...that's another thought for another day...

I had recently moved from the warm comfort of my parents' home and pocketbook, to make my way as a student at a large, state-funded University. My parents combined income exceeded financial aid guidelines and my parents' combined parenting theory demanded that I provide for myself, minus the money they paid directly to the school for tuition.

There is a reason that I sharing all of this with you. It is not in any attempt for pity. My parents provided me both the opportunity for me to go to school, an opportunity that unfortunately not everyone has. More importantly, and as per their desire, having to work as well as attend school helped me set priorities (boys were still #1), forced me to create my own signature work style and ethic, and value the money that I earned.

So it is interesting that I would have felt spurred on to carry, in my purse, anything out of a store without paying. Not because I am angelic and that behavior is beneath me, but because I could afford to buy the things I needed, and a few things I desired.

I could not tell you what I took. It was probably foundation and mascara, which tend to be the more pricey things where make-up is concerned.

I can tell you that I took the said items out of their packaging, hid the evidence throughout the store, put the things into my purse, and then proceeded to the cash register where I purchased several things.

Yes. I bought a variety of other necessities. I stood at the cash register, smiled and made small talk, paid for my legal purchases, and walked out of the store. Have cash, but will carry anyway.

This is not the only contradiction in my behavior. The very notion that I would steal make-up is quite ironic...I rarely wear make-up. At that time in my life I was in good physical shape, had always had clear skin, and could get by with jeans, a tee, and lip gloss. Who knows if I even wore the make-up!

Those details are unimportant in the end though. What is important is that the memory of having stole items from a store has been something I have carried since then. Each time I enter the store and legitimately walk out with cosmetics I am drawn back to that one instance in my life.

One instance that weighs in my mind and on my soul. Even now, as I struggle to define myself religiously, I still believe firmly that there are wrong and right behaviors. We do things at times that are directly contrary to who we know we are. Carrying make-up out of a store, with no payment, and with no, at the time, guilt, is not who I am.

From that instance on there have been so many things that have carved and molded me into the person I am. That's not to say that I haven't done other things I am not embarrassed, ashamed, or feel guilty of. Life experience dictates that we have some of those, as well as some that if we could we'd list on our resumes or on a t-shirt with pride.

So, though I have carried this for years. It is time to drop it.

Now playing: Petra Haden - Don't Stop Believin'
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Five Life Classes

Terina over at Life as a Military Wife tagged me to do the following meme! I actually really like this one as it reminds me of one of my favorite songs - 'Eight Easy Steps' by Alanis Morrisette (see below). I could just take all the classes that she suggests...I haven't found another song that rings so true in my life. I think I'll do this meme every year and see what classes I've taken, failed, or added!

5 Life Classes to Fix My Existence

Devise a list of 5 courses you would take to fix your life.
It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include
one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take.
Tag five friends to go back to school with you!

I am tagging Jessica, Liz, Ali, Eric, and Melissa - plus ANYONE who wants to do it!

Shell's Life Semester Courses

Course #1: World Religions & Philosophies 501

I've taken world religion and philosophy both before so I want
the advanced course. I want the advanced version of this class.
I want field trips to monasteries, Shinto shrines,
kaballah centers, Hindu temples, sabbath with a rabbi,
visits with theological leaders and religious greats.
Schedule seminars, which include a review
of major doctrinal beliefs, introduction to scripture,
and a question & answer period, with the Dalai Lama, Jehan Begli,
Billy Graham, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
Pres. Gordon Hinckley, Archbishop Williams,
Yusuf Motala, Louis Farrakhan, Bishop Tutu,
Mary Manin Morrisey, Arun Gandhi, and more
Given the religious pursuit that I find myself in, having
this class would provide me with the factual information I need
and the spiritual experiences I crave.

Course #2: Expect Reality 101

When I got married (back in 2000!) my Mom's advice to me was:
"The best advice I can give you Shell is to lower your expectations".
The truth is that I needed help setting expectations LONG
before I got married and for every aspect of life - not just marriage.
It is easy to get in a mode where you think your way of doing things
is better than the rest. You expect that people either do things
the way you want, even though you haven't communicated what that looks like.
Or maybe you expected a situation to go differently than it did and
you find yourself being disappointed, a lot. Or you expect,
when the phone rings, that the friend on the other line will actually
ask about your life even though up to this point they NEVER ask.
Even though I got this advice a while ago - I still struggle with this
and would love to make my life easier (and those around me) by
resetting or letting go of expectations.

Course #3: Countries Have Boundaries & So Should You 101
Ugh. How many times have I said 'yes' to something and then
immediately regretted it. It's even more than regret - it's more
of a burning frustration with myself wanting to be 'nice'
to someone else rather than being nice to myself.
Saying no doesn't have to be mean -does it?

Course #4: Deaf Studies & ASL 101

Did you know that people who are deaf prefer
to eat in restaurants with bright lightening? Or that
if someone can lip read that they prefer you speak at your
regular tone of voice even if they cannot hear you because when
you whisper (or do not speak) you do not enunciate as much which
makes it harder to read your lips? Did you know that when you study
sign language part of your study includes non-manual signals such
as the lowering of eyebrows, tilting of head, and placement of
shoulders? I do - but only because my uncle, who was born deaf,
his wife, his children, and my cousin have given me these tidbits.
I am amazed by the ability my uncle Steve has to make people
he is speaking too feel comfy especially when they don't sign -
but I have long been unsatisfied with my ability to fully communicate
with him. By not knowing sign, or much of deaf culture, it makes
him work more to talk with me...even if he's used to it.
I miss out on phenomenal conversations with him and would
LOVE to just sit down, relax, and chat away.

Course #5: Blood Might Be Thick - But It Is Transferable 201
This is the class of Terina's that I would take too! She called it,
"How To Do With Crazy Family Members 101"
I have been working hard on understanding the dynamics
in my family or origin and in Eric's family of origin. This doesn't
mean that I understand them all or that I deal well with them - but
I feel like I am to a place where I can see why things happen. Still,
especially after my grandpa's funeral, I feel like there is SO much more to
explore. I would like to spend a lot of time doing a detailed, relationship
genogram, looking at the roles of older sibling/middle sibling/youngest
sibling in each family, the behaviors that we learn in our first five
years that haunt us as we grow old, and especially how to let go
of the issues that affect our new families that come from the old.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Children

I recently finished reading Helen of Troy by Margaret George.

I found this amazing nugget of truth regarding children and feel like it captures the amazement and wonder of raising children.

In this excerpt Helen is talking about reconnecting with the daughter she abandoned for Paris, Hermione. She says:

She was not like me. One's child never is. But until your child has grown to maturity, you cannot believe it. Your children are a part of you forever, from the moment of their birth, therefore you imagine you are part of them as well. But they are entirely apart, seeking their own secrets and bearing their own disappointments. If they choose to reveal them to you, you among mothers are fortunate.

I hope, when they are older, I am among the fortunate.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


At 2:20am this morning my Grandpa, Robert 'Bob' Walker, passed away.

Many of you know that 'Pa Bob' (that's what the boys call him) has struggled with his health over the last two months. I've blogged about it a lot on this site. We thought he had reached a major positive turning point when he was able to come home this past Tuesday.

His body just wasn't ready for the move from the hospital and on Thursday my Grandma called 9-1-1 and he was readmitted to the ICU. My Mom and Aunt Patti flew up on Friday to be with my Grandma. The Doctor was cautiously optimistic that he would, again, turn things around. They even took out the ventilator they had put him on.

This morning my Grandma received a call from the hospital saying that they needed to intubate him again, but that he was refusing. This was his wish and my Grandma relayed that to them. The nurse then suggested that she come down to the hospital. She woke my Mom and Patti up and they joined her at the hospital.

My Grandpa was awake and very coherent. He and my Grandma shared their quiet goodbyes. He said 'Things are taken care of Joyce". She said, "Yes they are Bob. You know that. We've been through everything." He nodded. He told Mom and Patti that he loved them and that he loves his family. He asked Patti to say a prayer. After the prayer he slowed his breathing, closed his eyes, shuddered, and was gone.

My Mom said that it was very peaceful and about as good as you could want a passing to be.

I absolutely adore my Grandparents. My Grandpa has been like a 2nd Father to me - coming to events in my life, teaching me lessons about love and spirit, and showing me love at every moment. I cannot even say how much I will miss him or how my heart feels with this loss.

Yet at the same time I am so glad he is done with the fight and done with the pain.

We will be going to Utah sometime this week for the funeral on Saturday - and it will be great to have time with my family to celebrate my Grandpa.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I was so excited about my new blogskin - only to realize (after being told) that there is no comment section!

I am working to figure out how to add it - so please be patient! I know you all have lots to say - all three of you who read this!

Friday, October 26, 2007

But vanity, not love, has been my folly!

It's the end of a long day at the end of a lengthy week.

To relax I decided to catch up on some blog reading. One random site I found had a Jane Austen Quiz.

How fun! Though it made me realize that it is time to pick up a complete Jane Austen collection and get cracking. I am reading Pride & Prejudice again, but it has been a long time since I read any of the others.

Still - it was fun to do this! I was surprised that I am Elizabeth, though I am tremendously attractive!

:: L I Z Z Y ::

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Duck, duck...


It would seem that I have been tagged by Lizalicious! Well, more than seem - I have!

I feel lucky - don't you all feel lucky that you get to read these. Stayed tuned until the end to see who I felt like tagging!!

Rules (cause we love rules):
1. The player (c'est moi) lists 6 facts/habits about themselves - try to find 6 you haven't already posted about!

2. At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names, and then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment, letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog for the rules.

~ Six ~
It drives me absolutely bonkers when cupboards and drawers are left open. If we were robbed, I would probably close all the yanked open cupboards before actually itemizing the missing goods.

~ Five ~
For about three months in Junior High I wore fake glasses at home. I wanted to 'look smart'
and thought this must be the way to do it. Plus I looked good in them. Still to this day I'll grab
a pair of glasses just to see how much sexier I look with them - even if they kill my eyes.

~ Four ~
Every single time I do my make-up (which isn't that often any more) I find myself staring at myself in the mirror, pausing for a moment, and then breaking out with model moves or facial expressions. This isn't as a joke because some part of me still thinks I could be the next Julia Roberts.

~ Three ~
I have a dream journal. It's almost 16 years old. I haven't written in it for a while, but my dreams are so vivid that I always woke up with them still playing out, and figured it was a good way to get them out of my mind (or keep them in, depending on the dream!). There is some pretty interesting stuff in there - including some things that have come true!

~ Two ~
Shellina is my evil twin. She's not real but she's who I blame all my craziness and bad behavior on.

~ One ~
One of my pet peeves is mispronunciation. To be fair it isn't that others pronounce a word poorly but rather that I believe that they are pronouncing it wrong. We have a dictionary in our car because I will argue with my spouse about how something is said. I'm always right.

Don't you feel enlightened now? I do - and it was me I was writing about!

Now it's your turn - anyone who reads this is welcome to do it (comment and tell me so I know to check it out) but I specifically tag the following lucky people:

My wonderful, but often poorly pronouncing, hubby Eric.
Terina, the person I've known longer than my dream journal.
My non-evil twin, Michelle.
Ali because she looks smart with or without glasses.
Because Melissa probably does those facial expressions too - I've seen the pics!

Have fun!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Music Memory Monday #4

Oh my, oh my. Even the first few notes of this song just makes my heart start to got pitter patter. Wow. Honestly I haven't thought about this memory for three years - in fact almost exactly three years ago.

Let me start with then, three years ago. I attended the funeral for someone I had known almost my entire life. And yet someone that I really never knew. Taylor John Marshall died in October 2004. His parents and mine have been friends since, well really since I can remember.

Standing there at his funeral, listening to his friends remember the person they knew, made me realize that we are different people to everyone we know. This isn't bad or good, this is just the way that perspective works. My memory of Taylor, before he passed, was mixed with emotion. For a while he had been selfish, snobby, rude, and obnoxious. I had, at one point in my life, an amazingly large crush on him - one that would simmer just below the surface for several years (sometimes not as under the surface as I thought). His contempt for my crush was at times very obvious, which sometimes fueled my desire and at other times fueled my low teenage esteem.

I found myself fading in and out during the funeral. Reverting to memories, many of them, that I had with Taylor. Suddenly I realized that there was a moment in time where Taylor was defined in my mind forever. The years and experiences that came after jaded this memory, but in its original state this moment with him was, the best.

In 1992 I was an eighth-grader. I have yet to met someone who LOVED their Junior High year experience - especially a girl. Junior High is awkward, and emotional, and hormonal. At this particular time my crush was not under the surface. In fact, after having moved away for a few years, my three years in Junior High were spent with lots of thought headed towards Taylor. Before I moved we were inseparable - but at an age where boys & girls were buddies. So now being unnoticed by him made him even more desirable.

He, on the other hand, seemed more distant the more I tried to get noticed. It was a bitter cycle.

So in 1992, at the end of my Junior High career I attended the 8th Grade Dance. This celebration of our triumph through hormones, sexist math teachers, and uncomfortable gym classes, was looked forward to by most everyone - me especially.

All night I hoped Taylor would dance with me. I'm embarrassed now to think how much I pined, but I did. Each slow song came and went...songs like:

"If You Asked Me To" ~ Celine Dion
"Tears in Heaven" - Eric Clapton (only Junior High students could obliviously dance to this song)
"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" ~ George Michael & Elton John

And nothing. No glances or anything from him.

Finally, at the end of the night, he started to make his way to my side of the room. Even now it is like magic in my mind. The song started, and I knew what it was. I hoped, no, PRAYED he was headed my way.

We didn't really say anything during the dance, but he did thank me at the end. I think I was on cloud nine not only the whole night, but also through that whole summer. Probably would have been forever if I did not realize that High School also had hormones, sexist math teachers, and uncomfortable gym classes.

This songs holds Taylor - the one I always want to remember. The one who saved the best for last. This is the memory of him I choose for last.

Music Memory Monday #4

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Favorite things

Some love raindrops on roses and whiskers on kitten, bright colored sashes and warm woolen mittens...

Me on the other hand...well, I have lots of favorites and no doubt will post more on here as the blog progresses.

However, as I sat down to read my book today, Helen of Troy, I found myself smiling at my bookmark. Technically it isn't even a bookmark but rather a magnetic page clip made by Re-Mark.

The re-marks that I own are the ladybug design page clips. Aren't they adorable?!?!

I bought these about a year ago, put them away during the move and found them recently. Being one to easily loose bookmarks these have really helped - not to mention that they are so cute that I spend almost as much time looking at them that I do reading (ok, that is a major exaggeration but they are that cute)

The company's website is getting a make-over, so this is all you get once you get there...but how fun are all of these!

Assuming you'd want one, which would you get?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Out of control...

Do you ever just have those days when things feel completely out of control?

Like you are spinning around and around, even though your feel are firmly planted on the ground?

Or like you're falling and no one knows it but you, and cannot pick you up even if they wanted to?

That is how this moment feels to me right now. There are things - one big thing called money - in my life that feel so out of control.

We are living with my parents.

We are in debt. (I am so embarassed to admit this, but it is SO much of my feelings right now)

We are living on much less than I expected at this point.

All of these things are changeable, I know that.

Yet for this moment, it just all feels out of control.

Monday, October 15, 2007

An absolute first!

For the very first time in my life I have...


I can hardly believe it.

I've worked on them before but I have never completed one without help or without quitting 1/2 way through!


Sunday, October 14, 2007

SS: First job & Worst Job

#80 - First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

Let's hear em! What was your first job, and what was your worst job, and any others you care to tell about. How about your dream job? Give us your "realistic" dream job, that which you are pursuing and hope to attain, and your total fantasy dream job, which may not even exist, but would be perfect for you.

This is from the fantastic team over at Sunday Scribblings. Figured it was a fun post to blog about and give me a chance to reminisce.

It is hard to remember what my very first job was. I started working before I can even remember - doing odd jobs for extra spending money. I worked in my Mom's school organizing cabinets, grading papers, and updating bulletin boards. I loved doing that as I earned money and got some extra time with my Mom.

Those are the same reasons that I loved my first 'official' paying job. This was working with my Dad doing reception work. I got to have time traveling with my Dad (even though it was early in the morning) and then during lunch. My Dad is an incredibly hard worker and was almost always awake and gone before we were awake, and then home late. Of course I loved being a receptionist. Within weeks I had learned vendors voices and they were always thrilled when I knew who they were before they said their names. This is the first experience I had in the work world where I started to understand how interpersonal relationships work, how to make a customer happy, and how to feel pride in what I do. A lot of this came from the job, but a lot of it also came from the expectations my Dad had of me in letting me work at the same company.

From that point I've had a myriad of other jobs, including (in no particular order):

~ customer service for a dry cleaner
~ a teacher of geriatric aerobics
~ days-long and weeks-long stints at Macy's and Mervyns (retail clothing is NOT my thing).
~ a hostess, then cashier, then server for Pinnacle Peak (yes, I LOVED cutting off ties!).
My best friend and my boyfriend also worked there at various times.
~ Special Sales and Ordering for the U of U Health Sciences Bookstore
~ a hostess for a Denny-esque restaurant
~ a student advisor, manager, teacher-trainer, Marketing & Academic Manager,
and Area Director at Kaplan
~ SAHM to a precocious three year-old and an obstinate two year-old
~ a Client Account Manager for an employment agency
~ a Client Education Coordinator for People Helping People

Really, it is quite hard to tell you what the worst job is. There are bits and pieces of mediocrity and embarassment at each job. The jobs I am drawn to and that I love the most are those that involve counseling people (be it careers, education, life), team construction and management, and overall business management. For those reasons, plus the chance to travel, I especially loved my job as Area Director for Kaplan. However that job came with high stress, unbelievable amounts of time at work, and a dramatic feeling of loss when I quit to become at SAHM.

Working for PHP was the last job that I did before staying home full-time. I had stopped working for Kaplan and needed a little bit of a break. The actual job at PHP was fulfilling but not challenging. The hardest part for me there was that I really couldn't commit myself - and stuggeled with feeling like I shortchanged both the job and my boys. That was harder than I can even express or want to remember.

In the future I know I'll be back at work. Every once and a while I get itchy to get out of the house and back in the workplace. Being a SAHM has challenged me more than I expected and more than I have encountered any where else. With every job there is a steep learning curve, but with being a SAHM your job duties, and therefore your learning curve, change JUST as you think you are getting the hang of it.

My personal job right now is to find contentment being 'just a mom', to provide them with a fun and educational home environment, and to take advantage of the time I have to do this. Not everyone has (or wants) this luxury.

When I do go back to work I'm not sure what I'll do. I loved the corporate world - but only until I got introduced to the non-profit. It will be hard to see what I feel compelled to do. It will be lots of fun, however, to interview and prove to employers that just because I off-ramped. Being a SAHM has given me incredible experience and education that I'm not sure I could learn anywhere else.

And now, I hear my bosses calling me!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Living your truth...

My nap-time treat is to walk on the treadmill and watch Oprah. I take a book with me in case Oprah is boring or at least for commercials.

Today's show was about transgender parents. A few weeks ago she did a show on young adults and teens who are transgender.

If you are unfamiliar with the term transgender here is the definition from the APA. This definition is not always accepted but I feel the best about posting it over some others I found:

Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Many transgender people live part-time or full-time as members of the other gender. Broadly speaking, anyone whose identity, appearance, or behavior falls outside of conventional gender norms can be described as transgender. However, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-atypical will identify as a transgender person.

Transgenderism is one of those subjects that is taboo for many people. I'll be honest. I don't know much about it myself. My first encounter with a transgender person was in college. In fact for a couple of years I rudely called her he/she or it. She worked at a restaurant that my friends and I would visit. In fact, we called the restaurant T-Dees, adding the 't' for transgender.

I'm not ashamed of my behavior then. Honestly, I think most people react poorly when they know little about a situation that they feel uncomfortable with.

She tried the entire show to understand what it must be like to live in a body that you don't feel is really yours. One of the women (former man) said, after being asked to explain why she wasn't just gay, 'Sex in in-between your legs, gender is in your head'.

Fascinating stuff! I sure don't understand it all - and I'm really not sure how I feel about it.

Still, what really moved me about the show is that here are these people, who believe something SO firmly about themselves and are willing to risk everything they have and believe in order to be themselves.

One of the things that Oprah said, which I guess is one of her catch phrases, is 'Live your truth'. She told one of the guests that she was so proud of them for living their truth.

It made me think. Am I living my truth? No this doesn't mean I think I'm a man. I don't. But your truth can be a million things.

So much to think about...both about others and myself. Never knew that Oprah could be so eye opening.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Music Memory Monday #3

Oh how I have the spirit of a Gypsy in my body. Recently we went on a small road trip. I love road trips. Love the time you get to spend thinking, the time you get to spend listening to music, the scenery that displays through the window, and the chance you get to experience, even for a moment, a new place.

On our trip this time I experienced a full-circle Music Memory Monday.

I've been road tripping for as long as I can remember. My parents liked to camp and visit family - and growing up where we did meant that we had to travel to do either. I distinctly remember singing this song while traveling in our brown station wagon, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang! For years, all of mine to be exact, I thought my Mom made up this song.

It wasn't until this recent trip that I realized the song wasn't my Mom's. It came on the CD that I got from the library - and it almost broke my heart when I heard it. The minute it came on both of the boys said 'It's Grandma KK's song!'.

Well it might not be her song, but it will always be her song in my memory. Here now, with no music (but I know you'll know it!), and with pictures of images from our trip, it is:

(Pine Valley Mountain)

I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills.

(Temple Square flowers)

I love the flowers, I love the daffodils.

(Downtown Salt Lake when the lights are low)

I love the fireside, when the lights are low.



Sunday, October 07, 2007

So much to say...

I have SO much to say and SO little time.

We just got home from Utah where I got to spend time with my grandparents. My grandpa has been in the ICU for 39 days...and it was amazing to have some time with him as he is healing.

More to come from all the things I've been thinking, reading about, and feeling.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Music Memory Monday #2

So you know how one of the fantasies of women (and men too I suppose) is to have a song written about you. Well for most of my life I thought the words to the Beatles' song went 'Rochelle ma belle' and not 'Michelle ma belle'. BIG difference.

Well, a few years ago I was listened to another song that I was sure I knew the lyrics to when WHAM, the carpet was pulled out from under me.

Let me start at the beginning. One day back in the late eighties, my Dad, my cousin Leslie, and I were in the car. I honestly cannot remember what spurred on the conversation, but my Dad mentioned the song (by the name I knew it) 'Rochelle ma belle'. Leslie then remarked that there would never be a song with her name. If I remember correctly she was going through a phase (one most of us do) where she wasn't thrilled with the name her parents had given her.

My Dad remarked that there was a song with her name in it! All of a sudden Groovin' by the Young Rascals came on. My Dad told us both to listen...and we sat and concentrated. I can remember this part so vividly. We were both silent (a miracle in itself), waiting and hoping for her name to appear.

And there it was:

"Life could be and me and Leslie"

Every time this song comes on now I still can't believe that it's not 'Leslie' that they say. Though I will admit now how clear the word 'endlessly' is heard...I still want to say Leslie.

This whole incident remains such a magical moment in my mind, that I really am not sure how it happened. How the song came on at the right time or how my Dad remembered that 'endlessly' was part of it or knew to convert it to Leslie so easily.

Nor do I want to probe too deeply because it made my Dad such a rock star in my mind and I don't want to take that away from him.

(PS - this is the only clip I could find with the music. Skip to 0:30 to hear the line I'm referring to)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Music Memory Monday #1

Every culture has it's own traditions. I grew up Mormon and as late night TV will attest, Mormons have a lot of unique traditions. Jell-O, 'secret underwear', multiple-wives, etc.

However there is one tradition of Mormonism that goes untouched by the outside jokes. And while it is prime for humor it is one tradition that is adored - especially by me. Some may mock it, but sure enough, when they turned 14 they too were dying to participate. In fact, when my best friend TJ was here I was so tempted to try and find one just so that we could go.


Oh my friends. These are not your ordinary dance experiences like a prom or a college homecoming. The first difference between the two would be the people. At a prom or college homecoming you expect the same group of people to go to each one. At an LDS Church dance the crowd is as varied as a flurry of winter snowflakes. Economical, sociological, improvisational, and even theological differences all blend in to form one body, movin' and groovin' to the same, often 80's era, music.

I loved LDS dances. I was so excited to turn 14 so that I could go. Thrilled to find the first one in college. And even more thrilled to drag my friends weekly to the myriad of dances all over the valley throughout college. Especially when they were at Saltair. That meant hundreds of bodies crammed together for the joy of dance.

So it is fitting that my first Music Memory Monday begins with a memory from a dance in high school.

It must of been my sophomore year of high school - I'm not really sure. What I am sure of is that all through the night a certain young man, we'll call him Dan, kept asking me to dance. Now, I wasn't a snob in high school (at least not that I remember) but I did have my moments. I did NOT want to dance with Dan. Multiple times he asked...and multiple times I found an excuse to say decline.

Towards the end of a song (and the night) TJ, Amber and I saw Dan moving towards us. We attempted to move but couldn't get through the people. Dan came up and asked me again to dance, just as a new song came on...

If You Leave by OMD.

This is one of those strange songs that is neither slow nor fast. I told Dan we couldn't dance because it wasn't a slow song. His response "We can make it slow." No joke! I was stuck. I had no way to get out.

So we danced.

And every time they said 'I touched you once' he touched me once, and every time they said 'I touched you twice' he touched me twice. And of course, every time they said 'I won't let go at any price' he'd pull me close.

It was hilarious! I tried so hard not to laugh but the minute the song was over, I admit I all-but-ran to my friends to spill.

Even now, I cannot help but giggle like a girl with the memory of it.

Now you too can take yourself back to whatever memories you find with this song:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Music Memory Monday Intro

I figured that a great way to help me blog consistently would be to have some 'themes'. I think in the blog world they are sometimes called 'memes' but since I am not tagging anyone else to do them, we're just going to stick with 'theme'.

In preparation for the road trip I was going to take with my best-friend TJ (which never happened, sniff, sniff) I gathered up a collection of my music for us to groove to in the car. It is quite an eclectic collection - one that I am quite proud of. In compiling songs to listen to in the car packed with our four kids I had moments of flashback where the world around me seemed to sink into the past. Bright, vivid memories flashed before me as I listened to song after song after song. This isn't unique.

Many of us recall our memories through music. Either we attach the memory to the song or the song triggers a thought which triggers the memory. Plenty of studies have been done confirming this link. Still, I barely remember anything so when a song comes on and my mind hits the rewind time button, I am giddy. I figured, what better way to capture my memories than sharing my walks down the lane with you!!

I'll admit to being less-versed in music than others but that doesn't mean I'm completely in the dark. I'm sure some of you will laugh at the music I choose each week for Music Memory Monday but that's ok too. Hopefully you will laugh at my stories as well - and be prompted to recall your own music memories.

The deep prodding and poking into my hippocampi starts tomorrow!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

What do you pack?

This seems so trivial...but I am so consumed by emotion that this seems like the one thing I can focus on. What do you pack when you are headed to what might be the last week of someone's life? My grandpa is 84. He's been aging quickly this past year. Until this year you would have thought he was in his 70's. Wednesday found him in the ER, and then in the hospital, and today he took a turn for the worse. Now my whole family, including us, are on our way to see him. It might be the end for him. I'm not ready for this. I'm not ready to let him go. I'm not ready to say goodbye. I am so angry. This isn't how life should work.

And I keep going back to my suitcase wondering what the hell I'm supposed to pack.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lunch with Old McDonald

Wi & Wa think that the man who owns Old McDonald's farm also owns McDonalds. Granted the Kroc family has tons of moola and might just own a farm, but it's funny when they ask if we can go to Old McDonalds.

Actually it is not funny. My Mom made a comment a few weeks ago that my boys had been to more fast food places in their short three years than we (her own children) did during our whole time at her house. She did not mean it as an attack, nor does she think of it as a negative. They had less money and less access than we do now.

Still, I never wanted to be one of those parents. And yet lack of planning on my part means that I am swinging through a drive-thru grabbing grub.

A few months ago E and I made the decision to cut back on our fast food. This isn't the first time we have revamped our eating habits. Partly because eating out wastes money and partly because eating out adds pounds really quickly. This time we added a new reason, and it has me viewing eating in a different light. The reason started when Wa tried to get a drink of my Diet Coke. And I refused, causing him to through a gigantic fit. Then I realized, I was drinking something that I wouldn't let my kid drink. Why? Shouldn't I feel comfy that the things I am giving myself are things I can give my kids?

So the other day when the boys asked if we could go to Old McDonalds I immediately said no. Here's the thing, they did not want to go there to eat, but rather to play in the playland. I'll refrain from a tangent on the massive marketing ploys that are directed at kids, but since I gave into going this time, I cannot.

I packed PB&Hs, juice boxes, and treats and headed to the golden arches. I went knowing that I was going to buy apples there, since we didn't have any fresh fruit at home. I figured I would still be a 'paying customer' but on my terms but then allowing us to use the playland.

It worked. The staff at McDonalds said nothing to me. The boys at their food and played on the playland. In fact they ate their sandwiches better than they have ever eaten their chicken nuggets.

Then again, it didn't work. The revolt that I was expecting from the staff came from a place I wasn't expecting. The other moms. I say moms not because I am sexist but because on this day at this time, it was only moms. I was absolutely surprised by how many moms, having said nothing to me during our other outings to McDonalds, spoke to me. And there was only one subject 'Are those peanut butter sandwiches?'. To be fair, I'm not sure if the comments stemmed from the moms wondering why they'd never hatched such a plan or if they were judging me. It felt like the latter. Especially when one mom, who was clearly judging me, picked up her food from our table and said that she was moving tables because she 'did not want to make my kids jealous'.

At some point I'll blog on the 'mommy world' which is sometimes worse than high school. But for now I think I'll need to say is:


That's ok. If she doesn't want my kids to be jealous of her kids' death meals that's fine by me. I will say that in my head I wanted to walk up to her and tell her kids that Ronald McDonald killed Old McDonald's chicken and cows in order to make their food.


Now playing: Chicago Public Radio - #339: Break-Up
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oh the places I'll go...

I'm feeling overly wanderlusty today. Not sure what the reason is. Maybe it is because we've traveled a lot in the past few months. Nothing far but travel nonetheless. For my high school graduation my Mom gave me this book:

The reason for the gift had more to do with the adventures that I would have and the life experiences I was about to encounter than actual places to visit. Regardless my parents have always done a good job of providing us with adventures of exploring new places and peoples. That foundation has led each of us to have a hunger for travel and exploration. Some of us kids do it more than others...

Looking at this map of all of the states that I have been makes me realize how much more there is to see. It's funny though because my desire is not just to 'travel' to the various places I haven't been, but to really experience the places I go. That was the best part of Chicago this last trip. My sister and I were in no rush to do the touristy things...but rather to breathe in the city itself. For a moment there I felt like I belonged. That is how I prefer to travel. Not a quest to see the things that others have deemed important, but rather to find myself in the places that others have built and sustained.

Unfortunately my next trip, via Megabus will only fuel my desire to be moving...not my desire to explore.

Time to start planning a trip!

Now playing: Priscilla Ahn - I Don't Think So
via FoxyTunes


This song captures so much for me. The music video is like the song, simple and innocent.

I'm ready fly.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Intestinal Fortitude

Being a Mom has introduced me, even just in three short years, to many experiences and subjects that I'd rather have died without knowing. And this summer has involved my most hated of subjects:


I hate poop.

I hate talking about poop.

I hate knowing that people have to go poop.

I even lied to my husband the first year of our marriage by telling him I never did. I wish that were true. I'd be first in line for the surgery if there was one.

So when you are a coprophobe or a rhypophobe (who knew there were actual poop-phobes!), potty training your child is not a easy thing to do. You have to talk about poop A LOT! And you have to deal with poop A LOT! On the floor, on their clothes, on their bodies, and sometimes, in the toilet.

'Sweetie do you need to go poo-poo?'
'Oh what a big boy! You did a poo-poo in the potty'
'Honey, we do not poop on the kitchen floor'

I know, I know. I am strange. You probably come from the Taro Gomi school of bodily functions. The land where everyone poops and gas is something we pass. In fact, I know one friend of mine, in his college days, even had a poster, something like this. He thought it was hilarious and asked my opinion is one even supposed to respond? My sister-in-law will go on and on about the importance of regular bowel movements in order to have overall good health. Or you at least realize it happens, accept it, and do your thing without much thought or consternation (or is it constipation!).

This is not my world!

However, today something magical happened. It is impetus for this post and for my overall happy demeanor.

Wi, my oldest, pooped in the potty. I wasn't sitting there with him, hoping it would happen, reading stories. He walked into the bathroom, put his potty chair on, and did his thing. I went in and he was standing, looking into the potty. His face lit up with glee! We stood, the two of us, staring at the offering he had given the porcelain God.

And I haven't talked about anything else all day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Many Colored Days

I think it is the nature of being human that we have days that range in emotion and mood. I tend to be more emotional than the average Jane. I realize that and accept it. Dr. Seuss hit it right on the head when he wrote "You'd be surprised how many ways you change on different colored days".

Lei has a really good blog called 'my many colored days' - and it helps to remind me that I am not alone in my emotions in this world of ours. Not to mention that most of my friends, especially those that are moms or dads, share stories from the days they label with all colors of the rainbow.

Today though, at least at this moment, feels very blue. In fact, I feel much like this:

Now I know we all prefer it when our friends, loved ones, or bloggers are 'pretty and witty and gay' - and on most days sunshine yellow is the crayon I'd color my day with.

Today started out optimistically enough. E and I awoke early. E headed to work and I got the boys ready for a visit to their Aunt P's. E and I were meeting later at the DMV. Now right there you can probably guess why my day went from a blank canvas to a blue day. However, despite the long line to get into the building, my initial two hours at the DMV went really well. We had our two vehicles inspected - not at the same time but by the same wonderful employee*. E and I both got our personal license plates ordered. (At one point in time I would have thought personalized plates were for rich folks...but they are only $8 more than the standard)

It really wasn't until I was informed, by the incredibly nice desk worker*, that we would need to pay the state 'use tax'. Granted this was posted on the website, right on the checklist I was working from (though I am loathe to admit it) and I should have realized this.

Needless to say after a move, a summer of trips, expenses we did not plan for (life!), and the purchase of a was-at-one-point-new car...the $1300 'use tax' was not in our plans. Now, since they know we are here and need to register we are between a rock and a hard place. If we register late, we incur a fine.


This, combined with the potty training we are attempting at home, has made me reach into Crayola land. The only real question is whether the day will be cornflower, aquamarine, denim, or midnight.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Capone, Monet, and me...

Oh all things holy and good, I am tired!

My sister and I arrived back into LA at 9:00am from our adventures in Chicago. My cousin lives in the Edgewater/Andersonville district of Chicago (see the picture below) and she was the hostess for the trip.

This is Edgewater, and yes I have walked down this street and know my way around...sort of...

There is so much to tell and so many hilarious stories to share. Still, given that my sister and I decided to try and sleep at the airport rather than at my cousin's, you can imagine that I am a little pooped. Plus the boys both have colds and I think mine is right around the corner.

However, I know you are all dying to hear some news so I'll share with you a few highlights:

- Being propositioned (yes, that kind of proposition) by a crazy sixty-year-old crackhead on the way to the airport.

- Standing in the amazing spaces that Frank Lloyd Wright imagined and created.

- Watching the fireworks and decorated boats during the Venetian Night celebration.

- Trying to sleep in the airport with a towel as a blanket because it was freezing!

- Taking the time to just sit and experience the energy of the city.

- Having enough time to stare intently at each version of Haystacks by Claude Monet and being able to finally decide which was my favorite.

- Realizing the simple truth that people raise their children everywhere, finding adventures for their family, the same way I do, in wherever they may be.

- Riding down the Chicago River, wind in my hair, sun in my face, and the spirit and brilliance of great minds who built the city around me.

- Drinks and jazz at the Green Mill (Al Capone's joint) with Patricia Barber & Quartet.

- Time with my sister that was never boring, bothersome, or stressful. It was time that we gave each other to continue strengthening our relationship.

I could easily put Chicago, cold weather and all, on my list of places to call home at some point. If you have not been there, I highly suggest it as a place you spend some time in.

And now it's time for a nap...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm looking for Abe Froman!

In about three hours my sister and I leave for our trip to Chicago! I have not been all that excited - probably because I've had company all this week and haven't been able to organize :)

Now that I am packed and my sister is here, the countdown has begun!

While this trip will be tons of fun, especially since Noonie has never been there before, I am glad for the time I will get to spend being quiet. Noonie is an introvert and by nature will need some solitude which will afford me with my own.

And in typical me form, I have created some goals for myself for my quiet time:

1) Just sit. No iPod. No book. No phone. No conversation.
2) Think about bio vs. adoption for baby #3. Why do I feel such a need to have another bio baby....
3) What's next for me? School? Work? And why...

Phew - now that I've done my goals I think I can actually get on the plane!

Chicago - here we come!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oh, please!

Yesterday morning I opened my email. I check my email as often as I can but it is always full of messages - mostly junk that make it into my inbox or emails that come from mailing lists I subscribe to.

There were seventeen of those type emails - not a problem since I have my handy little 'delete' button. However, there was one that caught my attention. The subject was:

'Hello from an old friend!'

Yeah, I know...most messages bearing this name are from people in foreign countries with dead relatives hoping to give me lots of money. Still I opened it.

It was from someone who wrote in a very friendly tone about how he hoped we were all doing well and that things in his life were good - including the fact that he started a new insurance business. The rest of the email was an image of his sales sheet with plans and rates for his insurance.

First, I have no idea who this person was.
I did notice that all of the other people being emailed, since he did not blind cc us, were from my high school. In fact, the list looked just like the alumni list on our high school website.

Second, I hate this type of marketing.
If I did know this person I would be happy to get an email from him with information about his life, including that he started a new business - but I don't want the sales sheet.

So, I responded:

"Dear _______,

Good luck with your new business.

I would like to be removed from your mailing list. I do not recognize your name at all, let alone as someone I would call an 'old friend'. You are violating section 3 of the CAN-SPAM email advertising laws.

Thank you,


This morning I opened my email and - VOILA! I had a response from my good 'old friend'. He said it was too bad that I did not recognize his name since we went to high school together but that he would remove me from his list. He said that he hoped his other 'old friends' would be more supportive than I was of his efforts.


Maybe we did go to high school together. His name does not ring any bells but I'm too lazy to actually pull out the yearbook. Still, if your marketing efforts include sitting on your butt sending out emails to a list of people that you get from your 'alumni' website than you're going to need more than good luck to be successful! Add to that the personal comment he added in his response back to me, and you've got one interesting business man. Just remove me from the list!

Life is funny.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Five things: Tag, I'm it!

My oh-so-lovely best friend tagged me to do this a few days ago- and since I am up late doing nothing else, now seems like a good time to do it!

This is called 'Five Things' but five is not the theme...guess not everyone is as Type A as I am, so here goes:

Rule #1: Remove the blog site at the top of the list below, move all the blog site names up one, and add yourself to the bottom.

LDS Writers Blogck
Tristi Pinkston
Lords of the Manor
Life as a Military Wife
The Life I Imagine

What were you doing ten years ago?
I had just turned 19! I had stayed in Utah instead of coming home for the summer. I was working for Kaplan - living with Gladyris - mourning the loss of a boyfriend - and having a blast! We spent my birthday at my friend Alan's apartment where we went swimming, danced, and ate a bunch of college-style crap. Oh, and Shelly, Liz and I did water ballet in the pool. Ha!

What were you doing one year ago?
Let's see. You know, I really can't remember. I think I had just turned 19 for the eighth time. Oh, but I do know I got some great gifts from my boys!

Five snacks you enjoy
(in no particular order)

1. Cheez-Its
2. grapes
3. edamame
4. ice
5. orange creme yogurt

Five songs you know all the lyrics to:

1. Sin, Sin, Sin by Robbie Williams
2. You Are My Sunshine
3. Defying Gravity from Wicked
4. It's Hard to Say by Sister Hazel
5. Brown-Eyed Girl, Van Morrison

Things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1. Pay off our debt
2. Start a non-profit - probably for single moms or low-income children.
3. Buy more Apple stock...and invest in some other hot stocks.
4. Finally buy a ticket to San Antonio :) Plus other tickets to the million places I'd like to go.
5. Put my boys in a fantastic private school when the time comes.

Five bad habits

1. picking scars
2. worrying too much
3. scratching my throat
4. backseat driving (oh, I am horrible at this and I HATE it!)
5. slouching

Five things you like to do

1. talk to people - though I prefer to do it in person
2. read, read, and more reading
3. watch my kids discover new things
4. play games with my hubby
5. relax in the water (pool, tub, ocean...doesn't matter)

Five things you will never wear again

1. big-frame glasses
2. denim dress
3. jelly shoes
4. a wedding dress
5. anything neon

Five favorite toys

1. iPod
2. label maker
3. my kids' imaginations
4. a deck of cards
5. my current collection of books

Where will you be in ten years?
Ideally, in another country, with several more children, a degree or two or three, a productive non-profit. Happy. With friends and with the ability to fly home frequently to see other friends and family.

Tag five friends to complete this survey for themselves:

Um...anyone who wants to! I love reading these.

You're tagged.....