Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day Three


I expect to come up with something to write for seven days? In a row?

I must have been out of my mind.

I never really wanted this blog to be like a journal entry marking out what I have done during my day. My days aren't that exciting.

For example, this is what has happened in my life in the last 12 hours...

1. My husband and I are having our carpets cleaned one level of the house at a time. Which means that last night we were up until 1 a.m. getting EVERYTHING out of the upstairs level of our house so the carpet guy could come this morning and clean the 3 bedrooms upstairs with absolutely nothing in the way. Nothing. No beds, dressers, bookshelves, toys, etc. etc. The carpet guy showed up and said "This is a first. I've never had anyone move into the living room of their home just to get their carpets cleaned. There must be a merit badge in there for you somewhere..."

Everyone is a comedian.

But he's right. My husband and I moved the dining room table into the kitchen and plopped our mattress down where the table had been since one of the upstairs bedrooms that we gutted of furniture is ours.

Carpets look marvelous, by the way.

2. My oldest daughter, who I never really considered overly vain, got her braces off this morning. And can't stop looking at herself in the mirror and smiling. :)

3. My 4 year old daughter said "Here is my name backwards" and then proceeded to spell it out. Correctly. I was impressed.

4. I read an entire 225 page romance novel while waiting the two hours for my daughter to get her braces off.

5. I took 10 bags of toys and clothes to Deseret Industries--there are bonuses to getting everything out of find things that you really don't want to ever put back and it cleans and minimizes clutter.

That's it. Not too shabby.

But not a page turner...or mouse scroller.

Maybe something fun will happen between now and tomorrow--or I'll get some inspired deep thought to ponder out loud.

I guess you'll just have to stay tuned until tomorrow to find out....:)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day Two

I know you have heard this one before, but...

Never, never, ever, never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.


You can go in to the store with shopping list in hand, determined to not waver. You can even give yourself a very limited amount of time to be in the store, telling yourself that it will keep you on task and not let you take a turn down the 'wrong' aisle.

But when your stomach is in charge, you might as well just cozy up to the snack section and load up. No use fighting it.

Suddenly everything looks good--especially if chocolate is involved in even the most minute form.

It wouldn't be so bad if you suddenly craved food that is actually good for you. It would be more impressive to say, "I'm starving, let's go raid the produce section!" But no. Go hungry to the grocery store and anything with less than 500 calories per serving is shunned.

And heaven forbid you bring one of your kids with you. You can then tell how insane you are becoming when your kid asks for a snack item, you say "Okay", and they look at you in a very confused way and say "Really?" Looking back at the snack in hand and then back at you and then quickly putting it in the cart as if worried that you will suddenly come to your senses and tell her "You're right, put it back."

And I won't even talk about how much more expensive the bill is when your cart is loaded with more junk food than it should.

Not going to the store hungry probably means one should not put off grocery shopping for so long that there is nothing to eat in the house--thus causing the starving-while-shopping dilemma. That might be something I should remember....

Not a huge insight today for you all, but one that is close to my heart--and stomach...and waist line....and....well, you get the picture.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Day One

For those of you who muddle through my ramblings, I thought I would warn you that I have decided to write a new blog entry every day this week.

Yes, seven days of writing about nothing in particular except what might strike my fancy at the moment.

You have been warned, so no complaining about the content. Things that strike my fancy might make zero sense to anyone else. Actually, I can almost guarantee that point. And it also opens up the blinding knowledge that I am not always the type who thinks in a straight line--I zig-zag in my thought processes and sometimes that makes it hard for you mere mortals to keep up. :)

Today I am going to write about husbands who sign their wives up for things they know absolutely nothing about.

Now, I will admit that I volunteer my husband for more things than I should. But the man has talent. He is a great speaker, gives good firesides to the youth, he can fix computers, he is good at helping people put down sod...and apparently I am really good at signing him up for those things and having him not complain too loudly.

It now appears that instead of the loud complaining, he has just been saving up for pay back.

The soccer club that our club just joined/helped form for the upcoming 2008-09 season needs a website. I knew this two weeks ago when I attended a coach's meeting. They asked then if there was anyone who could put the website together and get it running.

I didn't volunteer for a reason. I don't know HOW to do websites.

My husband had a board meeting with this club since he is on the board of our current club and HE volunteered me to be the web designer when the topic was brought up again.

I think he was pretty proud of himself when he called me from his cell phone on his way home from the meeting.

Usually he just volunteers me to bring dessert to some gathering--even when he volunteers me to make dutch oven cobblers for church parties, that isn't the same level as this one.

So there you go. I will be busy trying to look like I have a clue. I'll post the web url as soon as I get something solid there and let you take a look.

But for now....if anyone has need of sod laying help, or computer glitches fixed, you might even need a last minute speaker for a large group [the more last minute, the better]....let me know. I have a husband who I'm POSITIVE will be thrilled to help you out!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


A woman I know online--not in real life--has a teen aged daughter who is going to start dating soon. This lady wants to give her daughter a 'course' on dating, so she will know what to look forward to, what to anticipate--what to avoid--etc. Because of this course, she asked the opinion of about 25 ladies and a couple of gentlemen on what they would include in this course.

Me, having an opinion on pretty much anything...I posted some tongue-in-cheek responses (should you say tongue-in-cheek when talking about teenagers and dating? All of a sudden that just doesn't look right at all....), and a couple of more serious answers.

Also, because I usually have an opinion but also can be swayed fairly easily if someone has a darn good argument, I start second guessing myself and my answers. Then, to get really psychotic I start wondering what I would do if I gave a 'course' to MY teen aged daughters. And let me tell is a really good thing that I'm not the type to lose sleep over worry or I would be going on only about 13 1/2 minutes of quality R.E.M. about now...

I probably should think about that last one before I start offering flowing, humorous, "John Hughes" type answers. I'm fairly certain that some of my answers wouldn't make it to a course that I give to my own kids.

So here are the top ten answers from this woman's poll that I would actually tell one of my kids if I were trying to teach them about dating. These are taken from different folks from different areas of the country.:

10. It is okay to leave if you are on a bad date--call me and I'll come and get you if you are in a situation you don't feel comfortable with.
9. Most of the time, a friend is the best date. Going out with someone you have a 'crush' on is a lot of pressure and can be not as much fun as going out with someone you feel comfortable with.
8. Group dating is fun! Less awkward moments and lulls in conversation.
7. Some of the most fun dates are the ones that go wrong--go with the flow and make the best of the situation.
6. Respect each other.
5. Boys actually have feelings too, so be nice. Especially if you turn one down when he asks you out. But remember that you don't have to say yes, just because a boy got the nerve up to ask you on a date. Pity dates aren't good for either party.
4. Guaranteed, at least one boy at some point in your life will make you cry. That is life. Take a tissue and move on.
3. (Thanks Aimee for this next one:) Think of the $1000 kissing that boy worth losing $1000. If not, don't. If he is, do. [to sum up the explanation on that one...a friend of Aimee's told her daughters that if they made it to the age of 18 without being kissed, they would give them $1000...makes them stop and think. And hopefully make better choices. More discriminate ones anyway]
2. Unfortunately, date rape and getting drugged without your knowledge is more and more common. Don't let anyone fill a drink for you and don't leave your drink unattended.
1. Have fun. Dating is for getting to know people. Making friends. Learning what characteristics you will ultimately look for in a spouse. Learning how to interact with people who are different than you. It really is fun. Really.

If anyone else has anything to add, please leave a comment. Or two, or ten. My oldest daughter will be 16 in 9 months. It seems far away still, but it will fly by. I am actually more worried about the dating part of her life than I am about her getting her driver's license and driving. Even with talking and teaching her about consequences and values, curfews and rules, I am going to be a basket case every time she walks out the door with a member of the opposite sex.

I think I'm going to buy stock in L'Oreal. My hair is going to become a lovely shade of gray really soon. I can feel it. I will probably keep the economy booming simply by the amount of hair color I start to buy to cover my silver strands of panic. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

When I Grow Up...

You know the phrase, "When I grow up I want to be..."? Well, I have been thinking about that saying a bit today and realized that even at my age, I still don't know what I want to 'be'.

When I was young I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals. Over summer vacation I would write reports on different breeds of dog just for fun. I know more about the different breeds of dogs than any non-vet should.

Then I found out that to become a vet, you needed to actually have a clue about math and science. Instead of working through my hang-ups with those subjects, I decided to give up that particular goal.

I toyed with the idea of being a nurse, but after spending a summer as a physical therapy assistant at a convalescent center and seeing what the lower-rung-of-the-ladder nurses have to clean up, I changed my mind. I did like working with the people, so occasionally I reconsider the health field.

I decided at one point to get my college degree in English. Then when I had to learn Portuguese and realized that I actually don't know English I changed my mind again. I still blow the verbs in Portuguese simply because I don't remember all the tense rules in English.

I considered getting an art degree--I like to paint and sculpt and draw. But honestly, I am horrible at self-promotion. I would never be able to make a living being an artist because I would never charge enough for my work thinking that no one would pay me what I am worth.

I do like the idea of writing for a living, but I know how difficult that is to make any money on too. The difference there though is that I would have an editor to fix my contractions, and hopefully an agent to help with my contracts. I do sometimes fall into the 'not quite good enough' self-pity move when writing, like with my art, but I like the creativity and bringing characters to life. Maybe I could write stories and do the illustrations or covers. That way I could do both.

In two years my youngest kids will be in school. That is where I am looking right now. I know how fast two years goes, and I really want to have a clue about what to do with myself when I don't have the 24/7 responsibility with staying home all day with little ones.

Truth be told, I have the job I want right now. Being a stay-at-home mom isn't glamorous and can be thankless, but it is rewarding when your kids excel at being human.

I always planned on continuing my education when my kids went to school. I just thought that by now I would know what to study, what to aim for, what to major in.

Maybe I'll just be a perpetual junior in college. (I already have my Associates Degree from a Jr. College). Take a whole bunch of classes, expand my knowledge moving from 'Barney & Friends' to Beethoven & French Impressionism.

And just along those lines, but off the subject a bit--I know a guy who actually grew up to be a train engineer. And one who grew up to be a fireman. Those are careers that you always hear little boys say they want when they grow up, and I am so darn impressed that I actually know some who really did. You might even say I envy them. They knew what they wanted, and they did it.

When I grow up...I want to be happy with how I turned out. I want to know that I make more people smile than frown, and I want to be the kind of person that people are glad to know. I don't know if there is a college degree in that, or even a college course, but I'm fairly certain it doesn't take a stitch of math to do, so I'm in. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Trophies and Esteem

When I was in the 5th grade, a friend of mine talked me into joining a recreation soccer team. It was my first introduction to the sport. I remember playing as a defender and wearing really ugly red, white, and blue striped stockings. (They weren't part of the uniform, I just wore them--probably because I lost my actual soccer socks). I remember my mom being upset because I was on defense, and being new at the sport too she assumed that you stick all your bad players in defense and all the good ones in offense to score goals to win the game.

I'm still not sure if that meant that she thought I was one of the worst players and she didn't want anyone to figure it out because of my position on the field, or if she thought I was better than some and she expected me to play up front with Pele`-type aspirations...

Anyway. From that point on I was hooked. I played rec soccer for a few years. At one point I was on a team with Mr. Enomoto as my coach. We were a last place team. We really weren't any good. But Enomoto was a good coach. Within a couple of years we were the 1st place team in our age bracket. We earned ourselves a trophy. My mom was happy. I was playing forward at that point, and yes, I was scoring a lot of goals...but the defense was just as important to winning and we had all figured that out by then.

From that point, I tried out for a competitive soccer team and played on what was then one of the best girl soccer teams in the State. We went to out-of-State tournaments, played in two leagues--our U18 girls and in a Women's league, so I was playing soccer 6 days a week. When we would win 1st place we would get a trophy at the end of the season. When we took 2nd place, we would get a smaller trophy for the season. If we ever took 3rd or 4th...etc....we would get a 'thanks for playing' and a 'try harder next year'.

All that rambling gets me to my point. (Yes, I have a point)

I've been thinking about this for awhile now. Ever since my kids were old enough to participate in team sports. I played hard in soccer. Worked hard at it to improve my skills. I worked with my teammates and we strived to do our best. When we took 1st place we earned that trophy and it meant a lot to us. I have 3 of my old trophies on the desk next to my computer right now.

When my oldest daughter was old enough to play soccer I was surprised when at the end of the season EVERY kid who participated got a trophy. Not just the 1st and 2nd place teams. Everyone. The last place team was treated equally with the team that had taken 1st place. And it isn't ony in soccer. My son gets trophies for baseball in the same manner.

I sure hope it isn't just me, but does that seem right to you? All this talk lately about children's self-esteem is going to eveyone's head.

Here is how I see it. We are teaching our children NOT that everyone is equal and that we are all winners no matter what it says in the scorebook, but that it doesn't matter if you apply yourself and work really hard because in the end you will get the same reward as the guy who didn't care enough to even show up to half the games.

Now, when you have a bunch of 6 year olds running around learning the sport, I can almost see where the mothers in charge of warm fuzzies would want all the kids to get a prize for participating. And there is actually nothing wrong with a participation prize. But couldn't they still have a 1st and 2nd place trophy so that the next season it might spark enough desire in the kid who ended up with just a lousy medal to play a little harder and aim for the shiny trophy?

In the long run, I don't see how keeping everything exactly 'fair' is good for anyone. In school you get an 'A' for your hard work, and if you are a slacker you don't. Easy, right? In the work force--hopefully--you get rewarded for hard and ethical work, and if you aren't pulling your weight you might suddenly find yourself looking for a new job. Even in high school sports they do the trophy thing the right way.

So why do we pamper the little kids? Why not teach them young how to fight a little more for what they want? Or how to work harder with others to be successful? Or how participating is a great thing, but if you really go the extra mile and work at it you might get the big prize? I don't see how that can hurt them. It can only prepare them so that in the future, when bigger things come up like college and jobs and marriage, they will know how to dig in and work hard. How to be a good team member and know that if you work hard with others who are also trying to achieve the same objective, eveyone wins. Some years you get a participation medal for showing up. Sometimes you will work hard and the joker in the cubicle next to you holds back the whole team so that pat on the back is all you get. But other years it all comes together and playing nice and working hard gives you the ultimate reward--be it respect, love, social position, a better job, integrity, a good reputation, or even an 18" dust collector to display next to your computer for you to be proud of even 20 years later. Because you went above the call of just showing up. You actually earned it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Prayers and Fasting

I'm not used to posting blogs that aren't sarcastic or a bit light-hearted. So this will be new to you all. And to me. And I'll keep my ramblings to a minimum.

A friend of mine who is expecting twins, just found out that the little boy has an unoperable heart defect. The doctor's at Primary Children's Hospital are not giving many reasons to hope, and it will take a heart transplant very soon after his birth to save his life.

They are asking the Lord, through faith, for a miracle to save their baby son. This Sunday is Fast Sunday. They understand that they do not know what the Lord's plan is for their baby, and will accept whatever that plan is, but know that all things are possible through our combined faith and prayers.

Their names are Matt and Denise, and I'm sure they would appreciate all prayers anyone can pass their way.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chick Flick Reflections

My new blogger friend Danyelle--see Queen of the Clan blog link--has a contest running at the moment to discover the best 'chick flick'. She asked for suggestions, put them in poll form, and will have her husband watch the top three poll choices to determine the #1 Chick Flick.

(Which sounds really fun--me being a "chick" and loving "flicks"--but I'm not sure her husband is a good choice for picking the top chick flick movie. No offense. He is, by definition, a HUSBAND. Definitely not a chick. So in reality, he might actually choose the movie that is LESS chick-flick like. More watchable for a guy. Not that there is anything wrong with that...:) )

So, in order to expand a little wisdom to the guys for them to fully appreciate the 'chick flick', and what it is exactly that draw women to wanting to watch those movies again and again, I am going to point out some pivotal scenes in some of my favorite movies and try to explain why I like them. I'm not going to be so general as to assume ALL 'chicks' like these scenes the same way and for the same reasons that I do, but it is probably safe to say that most will agree with part of my judgement.

Let me start with 'The Lake House'. Mainly because this is the movie that my husband just doesn't 'get'. This is the movie that, when leaving the theater I overheard more than a dozen different men muttering to themselves something along the lines of "What was that? Did you get any of that movie? What a piece of..." Men with dazed expressions of confusion and the rolling of eyes at each other as their women (most of them anyway) smiled and told each other that they liked the movie. The men didn't understand the draw. The women ignored Keanu Reeve's acting ability and just soaked up the romance.

In the Lake House, there is one scene that clinches it all for me. The one scene that I will happily ignore the moans of my husband as I choose to watch my DVD again. It is the scene where Keanu goes to the party he knows Sandra will be attending. He sits with her on the back porch, knowing exactly who she is and she has no idea how their lives will become intertwined in the next two years. The scene when they end up dancing alone in the moonlight--fighting attraction, but giving in to a marvelous first kiss. [sigh] So romantic. It is what makes dancing so appealing. Being close. Feeling attracted--and attractive. I sometimes think all of us wish we had a little bit of Sandra Bullock in us. Or maybe we wish flashes of Keanu would be seen in our husbands. Not the bad acting parts--:) --but the going out and making the girl feel wanted. Like there is no one else in the world--no other place he'd rather be, than to be with his girl.

My 2nd movie to discuss would be 'Just Like Heaven'. My husband mockingly tells me that the criteria for a chick flick that I enjoy is only that it has some weird medical phenomenon. The Lake House has the goofy 2 year seperation thing, Just Like Heaven has the girl in a coma, While You Were Sleeping has another coma...there is a pattern, I will admit that much.

Just Like Heaven appeals because I think it shows more of the guy doing whatever he can for the girl. I mean, seriously...he steals her body for pete's sake. (No asking who Pete punny people). He is willing to seem extreme, insane, and he is willing to sacrifice everything to save her.

With While You Were Sleeping, the guy is willing to step aside and let the girl marry his brother if that will bring her happiness. Even at the expense of his own.

Romantic comedy chick flicks are really easy to break down. A regular romantic comedy becomes a chick flick when you have the hero love the girl for who she is, love her in spite of obstacles and differences, love her enough to be willing to let her go. But in the end, true love prevails.

To make it a romantic comedy for guys to enjoy, all they do is add shooting and car chases. Men are much more simple than women. Give a guy a bag of popcorn and a movie like Sahara, and both of you are happy.

Of course, if you give a guy a bag of popcorn, a box of Milk Duds, and a large soda...okay, and a double bacon cheeseburger and large order of fries....he'll probably even sit through 'Pride and Prejudice' with you. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April Ramblings

Okay. I wrote the previous post on April 1st, posted it...didn't love it so I took it off and put it in my drafts to contemplate it and the reasons behind not loving it. I then decided to just post the thing, so it is all there in its original form. And I still don't love it.
NOW I don't love it because the title is 'April Fools Day'--I originally wrote it then--but since I posted it a different day it doesn't quite make sense anymore.
Originally, I decided I don't love it because I had wanted to write at more length about the interruptions my kids love to make at inopportune times. I had a lovely ramble in my head about that one.
You know the saying about giving talks that says something like, 'You write three talks before you give it, the one in your head, the one you write down, and the one you actually give'? Well, the ramble in my head about my kids was awesome. Funny, memorable. It had Norman Rockwell type tendencies. Pure genius.
You will notice I didn't get to the 'write it down' part. It might have had a few chuckles, but probably not as memorable as my ego wanted.
So I condensed the thoughts and shoved them in my April Fool's post.
I realize that I probably just can't get the hilarity of the post in my head out of...well, my head. So that is why I am not a fan of that post.
Enough said.

Today, to make it really special I thought I would ramble like the pro I could be--if someone would pay me for my ramblings. [Just a side: If someone pays you to NOT not post due to eye strain and an aversion to sarcasm...would that make me a professional thinker? That wouldn't look too shabby on a business card....hmm....]

I've become a people watcher lately. When I served my mission in Portugal I used to walk down the cobblestone streets and see old Portuguese women in their houses, staring out their front windows and watching people as they passed by. I found it quaint to see them as life passed by their windows. Their faces were lined from years of hard work and they rarely smiled, unless a fellow widow would make her way past their house and they would lift gnarled hands in greeting and smile a mostly-toothless smile at one another while praising God, cursing dead husbands, and making their way to the market.
Fascinating exchange, that.
I used to find myself watching out my window too. It is different here in the States. In my neighborhood. My husband caught me staring out the window a few times and could never understand the draw.
So now I mostly watch people while I'm in my car. I will be at a stop light and I find myself looking at an older woman in the car next to me and begin to wonder what she looked like when she was young. I look at the man in the car behind me through my rearview mirror and wonder what he looked like when he had hair.
I wonder who the man in the suit is talking with on his phone--imagining he is making some big business deal when he almost blows through a red-light because of the cell phone distraction (when in reality, it is probably just him chatting with his wife and trying really hard to talk her out of having to going to her parents for dinner that night).
I laugh at the extremely well dressed 'beautiful people'--you know the ones: great hair, blindingly white teeth, hugely expensive car--who pick their nose when they think no one is looking.
And I feel a certain kinship to those I catch alone in their cars happily singing along to the radio.

I am a people watcher. We are interesting creatures.

And when I am old and have no teeth and white hair, I hope that instead of buying a black lace shawl and pulling up a window seat, I'll still be enjoying life instead of just watching it pass me by.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April Fool's Day

Today would have been the 17th wedding anniversary of my sister if they hadn't gotten divorced. Not a big deal except that I have been contemplating the date for some time and wondered how many people actually get married on this day, and if they do, how many marriages last. I mean, if it is a fool's day, are you getting married on this date to be silly or to fool everyone who thought you'd never end up together? Or maybe it was the only available day for the caterer for the month of April because no one wanted that date. Or maybe you picked that date on a dare.I would think that regardless of the reasons, being married on this date would be to bring some laughs and chuckles every anniversary. Right?Granted, my sister's marriage didn't last--but her 2nd marriage is still going strong, and I have no idea what her anniversary date is for that one. It just didn't stick in my head. When one elopes to Reno, you would think it would trump an April 1st wedding. It does in some ways--she is married with 5 kids now--and in others it doesn't, unless you count having a nice normal wedding anniversary date instead of one that sticks out.All that said, when above mentioned sister's marriage ended, I started wondering about my own marriage.April Fool's Day is a silly, lighthearted day to get married.My husband and I got married on Friday the 13th.Seriously.So when a happy day in April doesn't help out the longevity of a marriage, I worried about the fates when we thumbed our noses at any jinx that might occur when my husband and I picked a Friday the 13th. This will be our 17th wedding anniversary later this year. And we have 7 kids. 2 dogs. 1 cat. And 1 mouse (if you read my other post we had 3 mice as of last week, but they are quickly meeting their demise--not because of the cat however...)Some days with that craziness I'm thinking the jinxes are working well--for example:Maybe if I had married on the 12th instead I would get to take an entire shower without two 4 year-olds and a 3 year-old unlocking my door and coming in to complain about something, or show me something, or be generally annoying when all I really want is five minutes to get clean. Alone.Or maybe if I had married on the 14th I would not have all the kids be quiet and calm until the second I am talking on the phone when all heck breaks loose and someone is sure they are going to die unless I get them a corn dog.Maybe if I married on any other day than Friday the 13th I would not have such a crazy life...okay, I'm sure that if I had married on any other day my life would probably be the exact same, but what if it wasn't?If I think about it that way, I suppose I am glad I married on the date I did. I can't imagine life without chaos. If that is what marrying on Friday the 13th brought me, I welcome it.Most of the time. :)