Follow by Email

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Final Hours for Whitney Nominations!

Just a reminder that reader votes for the first annual Whitney Awards are due by midnight on December 31st 2007. However, since at that time many of us will either be snogging with someone special, or eating that last piece of pizza, or taking another aspirin so we can deal with the kids for another half hour, you might want to get your votes in earlier than rather than later. For a list of books check out LDSpublisher’s blog, where she has kindly kept a runny tally of the eligible books, though it might be missing some.

There has been a lot of flack for LDSfiction and some of it has been deserved; poorly written, trite storylines, peachy, unrealistic, cheesy—all those things can apply to certain books—which is why it’s so important to reward those titles that break those negative impressions and make a difference. The whole goal of the Whitney is to recognize those books that are of the quality readers want, but it only works if you take the time to nominate those books that you felt are worthy of emulation in the industry. This really is a pinnacle achievement for LDSfiction as a whole, as it’s the first time a reader driven “rating” system has been put in place. Please, please, please, if you read any books from the list that really made a good impression on you, take the time to nominate. You can nominate multiple titles in multiple categories or in the same category (though only one vote per book per category), you can nominate both traditionally published and self-published books, national market and LDS market so long as they were written by and LDS author. Don’t be shy, the award depends on YOU! (picture Rob Wells with a beard, a red, white, and blue top hat and his finger pointed)

For more information on how the award works, or to nominate a book, go to www.whitneyawards.com

Awards will be announced at the first annual Whitney Awards Gala that will be held March 22—reservations can now be made through the LDStorymakers writers’ conference registration page at www.ldstorymakers.com

Thanks for all the great support!

Friday, December 21, 2007

12 'Tings bout Christmas

Mothering on the Edge tagged me for Christmas so I gotta hurry--

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word (Josi doesn't even know what the m-word is but she's trying really hard to think of all the dirty words that start with M that she's ever heard.)
3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

1. My husband left for his mission on December 19 18 years ago (holy cow that's a long time) And he gave me this Christmas mouse made out of a 2 liter bottle he bought at a craft fair at his work. I kept it up for two years and it has survived all 4 kids. It's super cute.
2. My parents make fried oysters every Christmas morning. total yuck-fest. And they are spending Christmas with me this year, gotta clothespin? (do clothespins on your nose really work?)
3. My favorite Christmas song is "Oh Holy Night" Glen Beck did a version of that song where he took out all religious references so it went like "Oh beautiful-non-religious night ... it is the night of no-one-mportant's birth" makes me laugh my head off, but I still like the original version better.
4. I couldn't point out a Bing Crosby song if I would make $1000 getting it right.
5. I used to get into the "designer" tree but I've repented. Now my tree is full of all kinds of hideous ornaments made by my children and I love it.
6. We have English trifle for Christmas Eve every year--without the sherry.
7. I have a sister and a nephew and a second cousin all born on Christmas day--sucks to be them.
8. I have never put up Christmas lights
9. For years my kids were convinced we didn't have lights because their uncle wouldn't put it up for them. I was awesome. However, they are on to me now and know that I'm just lame that way.
10. I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" for the first time five years ago. It's really a pretty good movie even if it is black and white.
11. I'm waiting for someone to remake it, staring Mathew McConehey (can't spell his name, sorry) and the girl that Mr. Holland wanted to have an affair with in Mr. Holland's Opus.
12. I hate most holidays--they're dumb--but I do like this one so long as I don't tell myself it has to be just right.

As for who I'm tagging--Barbara, Marcia Mickleson, Tristi, Piper of Love.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Elf Wanted: Must be Reliable!

Our tooth fairy sucks. I don't know how we ended up with her, but she should never have been graduated from tooth fairy school. Not only does it take her weeks to actually do her job, but she seems to forget from one tooth to the next how much she's supposed to leave. My children have grown up with a complex about it, worried they aren't as important as other kids and therefore she doesn't give them priority. And then when she leaves a dollar for this one and fifty cents to another it causes all kinds of problems. If I paid her, I'd fire her, but I don't pay her, she pays the kids for freaking teeth, so it's hard to complain, but it would sure help me out if she'd be consistent in the execution of her tasks. If I knew how to contact the tooth fairy board I'd be sorely tempted, however, I don't believe it's any kind of accident that this information is not public knowledge. The tooth fairy I had growing up wasn't much better, so maybe it's an overall moral issue going on among the organization.

I think I figured out why she's so horrible though, I've determined she's an elf. A small elf, with wings and a dental fetish, but an elf all the same. And elves, I know without a doubt, are the most unreliable of creatures. If I ever doubt this I need only wait for Christmas to be reminded of why elves are not to be trusted.

See, we have a Christmas elf stay in our tree every December. Some might say that it's nothing more than a demented need to lie to my children more often--whatever. I have plenty of opportunity to lie to my children (your face will stay that way, I don't have any money, I love watching the plays you make up) I don't need to come up with such detailed and effort-invoking lies such as this.

So we have an elf. And every morning in the month of December the elf leaves candy for the kids if they've been good the day before. He leaves these treats in the match box bed I made him some fourteen Christmases ago (I'm nice that way) and the reason he stays in his match box bed in the tree is so he can report to Santa how the kids are doing. Never mind that he somehow watches the kids during the day, they can't see him, but he supposed to making toys too--let's not get distracted. Sometimes he leaves little notes for the kids--they love that. However, he, like his cousin the tooth fairy, sucks at his job. Too often he forgets to leave treats, making them question ME about why he didn't come. Well, how am I supposed to know?

"Weren't we good yesterday?"
"Is he telling Santa we were bad?"
"Does he hate the tree?"

And so in addition to the issues of tooth fairy malfeasance (not sure if that's the right word, but it sounds really cool) they have the additional weight of being unfairly treated by the Christmas elf as well. I have to ask, is there no shame for these creatures? Have they no respect for the role they play in the lives of my children! I mean, really, I'm not sure it's all that necessary for us to have these kind of "Helpers" if they can't be reliable. More trouble than they're worth says I.

Anyway, if you know any GOOD elves out there, the kind that follow through and give the children they serve the delight and joy they are supposed to create, send them my way.

At least our Christmas elf goes when the tree does. Unfortunately, my kindergartener has four loose teeth. I better buy some kleenex, or heck, maybe I ought to do it myself . . . nah, I've got enough to do.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

10 Random Facts about me

I got tagged and y'all won't believe who tagged me. MY BROTHER. Yeah, I know I've said my family doesn't read my blog, and they don't (cause if they did they would have claimed the reward $$ and they haven't), but he tagged me on myspace, but I, like, have to play cause a family member actually tagged me! Makes me feel all kinds of special. The tag is 10 totally random things about me, then I tag 10 people and tell why I tagged them. So here we go;

1--I threw away a dead chicken today. Don't know how it died, it was a real pretty one too. Were I a REAL woman I'd have made it into soup and stuffed a pillow. Instead, I used a KFC Bucket (ironic, huh) to help scoop it into the garbage sack, then I threw it in the garbage like I do with all my dead chickens.

2--I was listening to Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" when I got my tattoo.

3--I took cookies to my tattoo artist a week later, I'm pretty sure he thought my friends and I were the freakiest people he'd ever tattooed before.

4--I once had a pet iguana named Cruncher. I made a mug with his name on it in my high-school pottery class. He ran away anyway, danged ungrateful reptile. Cold blooded, that was.

5--I've watched 4 of the 5 Harry Potter movies in the last two days--the one I missed is #4 cause it's in the car and it's cold in the garage.

6--I absolutely despise the Simpsons. You will never find the show on in my house, you will never find a sticker, t-shirt, post-it note, or mug with a Simpson anything on it.

7--About once a month I dream that the fronts of my teeth fall off. Totally freaks me out.

8--About once a month I want to throw rocks at the world and everyone in it, that has nothing to do with the dreams though--it's a girl thing.

9--I once took a cat to the animal shelter and let my kids believe it ran away. It was a mean cat though--even if it's name was Rose Angel Star Princess (I had two little girls at the time) It's name would have been pukeface-meany-cat if I'd have named it.

10--If I had to choose between feeding, bathing, rocking to sleep, or changing the stinky diaper of a baby--I'd choose the diaper.

To tag:
Jules--cause she's funny and I like to see if I know everything about her yet
Crystal S--cause she just started a blog and I think she runs deep, very very deep.
Tami--cause I haven't tagged her for awhile.
Luisa--for no good reason other than the fact that she's entertaining.
Kymburlee--same reason as Lousia
Annette--Cause she's annette; I always tag annette.
Heather--Cause I always tag her too.
Jeanette--cause she makes me laugh
Sandra--cause I don't think I've ever tagged her before
Ajoy--cause she wants me to tag her, I can FEEL it

Have fun y'all. Let me know when you're answers are up.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Neighbor Gifts via. Utah Mormons

For those reading this that are not Mormon or are Mormon and outside of Utah, here's a little information that will make this rest of this blog make more sense. A Mormon congregation is divided along geographical boundaries according to members living in that area and is then called a ward. The clergy and auxiliary leaders for each ward live in those boundaries. Since Utah was settled by Mormons and that we reproduce at higher rates than most of the country (no, we don't do the polygamy thing but the average Mormon family has 4 kids and twenty years ago the average Morman family had 7)--we have a lot of Mormons here. A ward can be as small an area of two blocks depending on how many Mormons live in that area, which means that you go to church with your neighbors, you serve on PTA, carpool with, coach and cheer for your neighbors kids who, many of them, also go to your same church. Mormons worship weekly, and the youth have weekly activities so we're together A LOT just for church things. For Mormons outside of Utah, they might be the only Mormon in five miles, so it's different, but here we get tangled up in one another's lives. It's great, except when it's not, and it's not so great when you have to figure out who to give neighbor gifts to and who not to give neighbor gifts too--hence, the following insanity:

Most non-Utahns or non-Mormons probably give some cookies to your immediate neighbors based on the 2 house rule--two house to the left, right, and across the street. Yeah, that's how it starts for us too, but then . . .

Your visiting teacher who lives one door away to one of those ‘immediate’ neighbors brings you something and you realize you should bring her something too, she is your visiting teacher and directly related to your salvation after all. So you take her some and Sister Wilson, who is in her seventies and lives in between the VT and the immediate neighbor, sees you doing it when she comes out to get her newspaper. You go home all kinds of worried about hurting sister Wilson’s feelings since you realize that you just gave cookies to the neighbor on each side of her, and she SAW you. So you whip up another batch and take some to Sister Wilson, only then realizing that her real sister, Sister Larsen, who is a dour old bat and lives a street over, probably didn’t get many cookies this year since she made that comment about women who wear make-up were practically prostitutes. Yet, Sister Wilson will surely brag (they are your ginger cream cookies after all and when you made them for the ward social last year everyone raved about them so you know she'll brag too) so you make another batch and take some to sister Larsen, who gives you a dirty look before she takes the plate and slams the door while mumbling something about Maybelline and a curse of immorality.

Amid your grumbling about her rudeness, you realize it’s just wrong that you give and ungrateful witch like Sister Larsen cookies, and don’t give any to Sister Nebeker, who’s husband died last month. And right before Christmas too! So you take her some cookies, then feel even more guilty about not giving some to the Petersons who were a big part of George getting his Eagle this year. And if you’re going to give to the Petersons, well the Pinkstons teach Fred's Cub scouts, and by not giving them a plate of cookies are you basically saying that cub scouts is a wannabe organization? Isn’t a wolf as important as an Eagle in the developing of a boys self esteem? So the Pinkstons get some, and then you have to give something to the activity days leader so that you’re not saying your boys are more important than your girls—even if they do only meet twice a month and don’t give badges. The Young Womens president is next, and don’t the councilors work hard too? By now you’re out of butter and ginger, so you’re tying up microwave popcorn with ribbon and taking it over.

Then you realize that the kid’s primary teachers deserve some thoughtfulness (though you’re down using Kool-aid packets and a cute poem—mountain berry burst is really hard to rhyme to). And what about the Primary president? And your husband is in Elder’s quorum. By now you’re putting bologna sandwiches together, but you’re almost out of bread. The Bishop is way more important than the EQ president even if all callings are equal in the sight of the Lord, so you give him one too . . . And his councilors. And then that one sister—you know who she is—makes a comment about those nice ginger creams she saw at Sister Wilson’s house and you feel bad since she did bring you dinner when you had the baby two years ago, so you rob your local veterinarian clinic to buy more butter and ginger, then you feel bad about the burglary, even though it was for a really good reason, and so you take them some cookies too while they clean up the glass and tranquilize the kenneled dogs that haven't been the same since the break in.

On your way home from that you realize that the only people on the block that didn’t get something from you are the non-members. What kind of statement does that make? So you start pulling ornaments off the tree—they look new enough. Then you worry that those non-members will say something to the other non-members in the ward boundaries, so you throw the candy set aside for sockings into ziploc sandwich bags. After dropping them off you wonder if you remembered the women you visit teach? Did you get your husbands home teaching families? What about Sunday School teachers, high-councilor and recently returned RM who’s having a hard time adjusting and still wears his name tag? You give away the chocolate Santas, baking chocolate and the last bag of cat food, but it’s the thought that counts after all.

As you finish up the last few things Christmas eve, you realize you forgot to get anything to replace the stocking stuff you used, so you run down to the 7-11 and find a nice assortment of auto decals, Dr. Pepper and allergy medication. You also determine that next year you’re not going to do this, you’re going back to the two house rule since you've used up all your food storage and haven't yet wrapped a single present. And then you get home to find a sweet card from Sister Nebeker thanking you for the delicious ginger creams and you realize that this is what Christmas is all about, stressing yourself to the max and putting all your energy into something so stupid.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Timeshare Pitch--OY!


So last weekend I was at the chocolate show in Salt Lake. So was a timeshare company. I avoid these people like I avoid annoying relatives and each time I passed their booth I became fascinated by something on the ceiling. I am not one to be fooled . . . again. See, my husband and I have been to pitches before--you know, they give you a free dinner, or overnight stay in order to duct tape you to a chair and convince you that you're only chance at happiness is timeshare ownership.

We've done these before and when we said no, I felt like absolute garbage. I swear the guy had tears in his eyes. I felt horrible while eating my dinner, sure that I was responsible for this man's family having to eat from garbage cans behind the hotel (I was 22 and not nearly as cynical as I am now). Another time we said yes, and you'd think we cured cancer for the joy the whole office experienced. We were excited, until we tried to use our first bonus week. It was a nightmare, as was the next attempt, and the next, and the next. After a year I wrote a four page letter to the company demanding a refund for their having misrepresented the product. They responded with a form "sorry, but it's not our problem." I do not get ripped off quite so easily and so I wrote another letter, not only to the guy that responded, but to their main offices as well. I included the addresses for my local chapter of the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection so they would know I was serious. I got a full refund within two weeks and within the year helped my sister and my cousin with their own letters since it was a nightmare for them too.

Thus, based on my past experience--you can imagine my surprise when I found my husband in the grips of this timeshare saleswoman.

"We can get a two night stay and dinner just for listening to the presentation," he said as if he hadn't been sitting next to me through our other pitch experiences.

I wanted to say "You've got to be kidding me!" instead I said, "Are you sure?"

"We can go for my birthday next week.

Well, how do I argue with that?

So last night we checked into our hotel in Park City. It's very nice here. After we checked in and peeked in on the football game in triple overtime, we went to our presentation. It was supposed to last 90 minutes. I was hoping for one of the skanky girl salespeople, or one of the gangster looking male salespeople. I can say no to people like that. I got the fresh faced nice guy. I knew right then we were in trouble. However, the following things kept me secure in our practices answer of NO:

We have no money.
We already own a timeshare at Snowbird that we love.
We hate complicated reward programs.
We don't want to be tied into one type of vacation.
It was very very expensive.
We are not spontaneous decision makers (unless my husband is looking for a get away for his birthday)
We know sales, we know all the tricks.
We are educated, smart people
We'd already decided to say no.
We had no reason to say yes.

We beleived all these things. We said all these things. We said no several times, but that only got us a sweeter deal. We were there for almost 4 hours. Mr. Nice Guy was very very nice.

So, did we buy? Of course we did--but at least I can say it was my husband's fault. There is security in that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

That KISS!!


This isn't a tag or a meme or anything like that, but I just finished watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (again) and read Julie Wright's blog (which if you haven't read, you really really should) and I was thus inspired on a blog topic--kissing, or more specifically, kisses. Those great movie kisses that make your toes curl. I've thought of four that are my absolute favorites, and would love to hear from the rest of you which ones I missed.

4) Beauty and the Beast--Disney Cartoon. This is probably my favorite Disney cartoon, and a big reason for that is because of that ending kiss. You can picture the scene, right? The beast has just been levitated and rays of light has shot out of his fingers and toes (which I thought was a little odd looking) and he twists and the cape wraps him up in a cocoon and then he holds out his hands and realizes he human again. The first thing he does is turn to Belle, and she narrows her eyes suspiciously, then reaches toward him and says "It is you" and then they share a fabulous (even in cartoon) kiss. Breathtaking.

3) Princess Bride--The narrator even preps us by telling us there have been five kisses in the history of the world (or something like that) to outdo all kisses and this one tops them all. Buttercup and Wesley are on horseback after just having escaped Humperdinks castle and they move in slow as the sun comes up behind them, sealing the love they have both suffered without for so long. Very well done.

2) Spiderman 1--yep, it's the one where he's hanging upside down and MJ peels back his mask and they have a big ol sloppy passionate kiss in the rain. I saw Toby on a talk show and he said that was the most uncomfortable scene because he couldn't breathe with the mask pulled up and nearly choked on the water. But, hey, it looked AWESOME. I tried really hard to talk my husband into recreating it for me--no dice. Good thing I own the DVD.

1) Having just finished Return of the King, there is simply no better kiss than the one between elf-girl (Aerowen--can't say it or spell it but you know who I mean) and new king-man (Arogan or Strider or somthing like that. I'm really horrible with the names in that movie) and he's just been crowned and she emerges from behind a banner. he takes a step toward her, incredulous that after all that's happened, she's here. And just as you think they are going to draw it out and end in a sweet kiss of tenderness, he dives in and captures her mouth in a passionate, all-telling reminder of just how strong their love for one another is. Wow--it just doesn't get better than that.

Don't ya think? So which kisses am I missing?

***disclaimer: I may have gotten scene details wrong, but this is how I remember it. If I'm wrong then it only means this is how they SHOULD have been :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Won!


A few weeks back, my new friend Daizie at Looking Beyond A Cracked Window mentioned a contest her friend runs each month for different writing exercises. I surfed on over to read about it and the topic was My Ideal Day. I have to admit I'd been in a bit of a funk. Fall is my favorite time of year, but it's so incredibly busy. I had just finished a book that had stressed me out, Halloween was coming (and I hate Halloween) and I was just in one of those places where the joy is hard to find amid the tasks at hand. It was therefore intriguing and refreshing to consider what my ideal day would be. I can't remember the last time I just wrote for creativity sake. It was wonderful and freeing and it was nice to feel successful at something when I actually finished the project and linked back to the contest page. I read some of the other entries as well and they were very good. I was intrigued with how different each ideal day could be for different people. I didn't hear anything on the results and kept telling myself to go check in--and then on Friday I got a flurry of congrats and e-mails from friends and fellow participants congratulating me on having won! Not only did I win, but the judges gave excellent feedback and I am definitely a feedback hound. It's priceless to know what works for other people.

Anyway, I'm flattered and humbled and very grateful. Hop on over to Judith~Heartsong and you can read about the contest and the essays that were entered. Also, stay tuned for the November contest.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

108 Things About Me~kidding!

So I mentioned pizza in my last blog and would like to reiterate that I'm nothing if not obsessive. Being obsessive can be good thing when it comes to cleaning bathrooms (I don't have that symptom of the disease, however) or being on time (I try to do this one but I'm not great at it), but it can get out of hand.

Since last Friday I have made ten homemade pizzas. We've had one or two pizzas every day. I've tweaked several recipes for sauce and dough, and I'm not done yet, but I'm taking a break. I called my husband this afternoon and begged him to get a Cafe Rio salad for me on his way home. I realized that other than a Winger's salad on Saturday and some broccoli I had with my pizza-for-lunch on Tuesday, I haven't had any green vegetables for a week. And yes, that means my kids haven't either. I'd feel worse about that if they actually ATE green vegetables when I served them. I'm a really crappy mother sometimes and I know it's not healthy to have such a monochromatic diet. In addition to the pizza I perfected garlic bread sticks and sticky buns using the same dough recipe. Yes, I'm drowning in gluten. And actually I'm feeling so tired and almost sick. Whether that's due to all the white flour I've ingested or it's just a fall time cold and the fact that I'm waking up at 5:00 in the morning and am so busy with my dough recipes being just right that I'm not exercising, I can't be sure, but I'm not ruling it out.

I'm also not writing. I've worked on a few things and tried to catch up some digital scrapbooking that I really suck at, but this whole pizza thing might be my way of avoiding cutting some scenes I really really like. So sad.

I will share my recipes when they are perfect, and thank you A. Riley for your recipe, I changed the sugar to honey in the recipe I was working on and it's MUCH better for it. Honey always tastes better than white sugar in breads but I needed to be reminded of that. And Ronda, I'd love your recipe too.

Anyway, I think maybe next week I'll obsess on the perfect steamed veggie concoction--wish me luck!

Monday, November 05, 2007

107 things about me

Okay, so I've seen the "100 things about me" all over the place and thought it was a meme no one wanted to tag me for. Then Annette Lyon did her 100 things and I realized that it was something you did to memorialize your 100th blog. Unfortunately, I learned this as I was posting my 105th, and so here I am, 107 posts into my blogging career and, as is much of life, I'm trying to catch up. After writing this I was amazed it was possible to write 107 things about, basically, nothing at all. Go figure. And I'm probably doing this all wrong, but that's just like me as well. So, here goes:

1) I wear a size 7 ½ shoe
2) My arches are falling
3) Some shoes make my toes go numb
4) Especially cheap shoes
5) There are some really really really expensive shoes out there
6) And I own a few pair
7) And they do make a difference
8) I prefer Dansko clogs to about anything else
9) Even though they look funny with my skinny ankles
10) Other than my Danskos, I can’t wear most shoes for more than a couple hours
11) Ironically, one of my favorite shoes is a pair of “hooker” boots I got for $5 at Kmart 7 years ago--they are stretchy black heeled boots.
12) They’re even better than my Danskos and fit my feet perfectly
13) But the fake leather is starting to flake
14) So I color it with magic marker
15) Yep, just Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”
16) I’m not really a hooker
17) Although sometimes my husband will leave his tithing (church donation) on the bed so I’ll remember to pay it for him
18) And then it kind of seems like I’m getting paid
19) But I’m not
20) Otherwise I’d be a freaking MILLIONAIRE
21) It’s a good thing he’s not reading this or he’d fall out of his chair laughing
22) He loves to laugh at me
23) And I indulge him by giving him ample opportunity to do so
24) And if I don’t give him a reason, he laughs at something I once did
25) And they say women have great memories
26) I don’t have such a great memory
27) But I’m pretty good with names, unless I learn the wrong one, I can't seem to change my mind and reconnect a face with a new name
28) My husband is great with phone numbers
29) He’ll sometimes remember someone's phone number and not have a clue who they are
30) It’s really weird
31) He’s a math-wiz.
32) I’m a cheese-wiz
33) I love cheese
34) And beans
35) But I don’t like chili
36) I think it’s the actual chili powder I don’t like
37) I make a kickin' white chili though
38) It doesn’t have chili powder, just cumin
39) I like cumin
40) It’s a far more versatile spice than most people realize
41) I’m 33 years old
42) My birthday lands on memorial day sometimes
43) I don’t like having a birthday on a holiday
44) Everyone already has plans
45) My sister, however, really got reamed
46) Her birthday is on Christmas
47) If you HAVE to share your birthday with someone, He’s the not the guy to share with
48) More than once my family forgot all about her birthday
49) Then my other sister had a baby on Christmas a few years ago
50) And my cousin had a baby the Christmas after that
51) It’s a curse
52) I’d choose memorial day over Christmas
53) My sister that has a birthday on Christmas, her name, because of the holiday and all, is Crystal
54) Her middle name is, like mine, Snow
55) And she married a man with the last name White
56) Crystal Snow White
57) I tease her about it all the time
58) She’s my younger sister so I can get away with that
59) But at least she didn’t marry that guy she dated with the last name Ball
60) Then her name would be Crystal Snow Ball
61) I have 4 sisters
62) Two older and two younger
63) Then I have four brothers
64) One died
65) The other three didn’t
66) I like them a lot better now than I did when they were stealing my candy when I was younger
67) However, I became a pro at hiding it
68) Wanna know the best way to hid candy from anyone?
69) Hang a grocery sack on a hanger, then cover with a shirt, or better yet a jacket
70) The ugliest one you have will often work the best
71) Who thinks to look on a coat hanger for your stash of halloween candy?
72) Actually, little brother’s can
73) So I started hiding it in my dad’s brown and orange coat in the upstairs closet
74) Supreme irony that to truly hide my candy from the little monsters I’d put it outside of my room, in a common closet
75) After I moved out my mom found a stash
76) I was so ticked I hadn’t remembered to take it with me
77) I was a candy FREAK growing up
78) Which is why I’ve had at least 30 cavities and why I have 4 crowns and will likely have two more by the end of 2008.
79) I hate the dentist
80) But he loves me
81) As he should since I finance many a vacation
82) We just lost our dental insurance
83) Right before we went in for our cleanings and x-rays
84) We didn’t find out we didn’t have insurance until the insurance company denied the $800 of charges
85) This after paying $120 a month for 6 years.
86) Being self-employed sucks when it comes to insurance
87) And when it comes to getting a mortgage
88) And filing taxes
89) And paying bills
90) Other than that, it’s great
91) I’m on a pizza obsession right now
92) I’ve made 6 different homemade pizzas in the last 4 days
93) My kids are in heaven
94) And I’m eating too much
95) I’m on the quest for the best crust and pizza sauce
96) I’ve never made homemade pizza before
97) I’m a quick study in the kitchen however
98) I like to cook
99) But I only like to cook things that I like to eat
100) Drives my poor family crazy
101) So I tell them to do the cooking
102) And we eat hot dogs
103) They’re enjoying the pizza fetish though
104) I like pizza better than hot dogs
105) I like hot dogs better than chicken
106) I like fine chocolate better than just about anything
107) It’s time to go make a pizza for dinner

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And the truth will set you free! (answers to the Liar meme)


I'm glad so many of you think so well of me, however it puts me in an awkward position as I hate dashing peoples good impressions. Unfortunately I do it quite often and today is no exception. Anyway, here it goes.

#4--The Mikes--Only one person guessed this one and Newnorth only guessed it because no one else had (she's such a rebel :-). I really thought this story was rather unbelievable, but maybe it's one of those truth is stranger than fiction--that many Mike's would never work in a book. And yes, the husband was kind of jerk to insist on the name thing. Anyway--it's true.

#3--Gambling--I'm sorry (kinda) to say that my husband and I really did win $800 playing blackjack in Costa Rica. Yes, I know gambling is bad and against my religion, and I know several people that will lose thousands and go right back to it, my hubby and I don't gamble this way. Fact is, my husband is a professional gambler--not in casino's but in profession. He's a real estate investor and is constantly hedging his bets in one business or another. He loves the rush and is very good at what he does. He was a quick study in blackjack and thank goodness for our religious beliefs that keep us cautious. The trick is that he knows when to hold em and knows when to fold em and he taught me how to do it as well. I'm a baby and I only play with nice dealers though, and the other people at the table hate me because I constantly split tens--it's my favorite trick. Really we do it once a year, if that, and won't lose more than $40. But we were on fire that night! 12 people thought this one was a lie. (this is not an endorsement for gambling in anyway and the writer of this blog is not responsible for anything you may lose at the tables)

#2--Free trip to Mexico--I had no idea this 'payback' program existed and went back and forth about even calling them when I got the bill because I thought it was a mistake and didn't want to fess up and have them remove the credit. But I did call and it was awesome--the only thing we paid for was souvenirs and a couple meals, oh and braids that made me look like an 11 year old girl--doubly discomfiting since I was 5 months pregnant. Six days in Mexico for $200, not bad. The fact that the other five transactions I'd made that month weren't the winners was awesome since they were all under $30. 9 of you thought this was a lie.

#1--Hans Solo in my car--Yep, this was the lie. I've never met Harrison Ford. However, the trick to telling a good lie, make it as true as possible. The situation happened just like I said, only it wasn't me, it was my sister-in-law and she wasn't sure it was him until the town was wild with the news. I would NEVER have mistaken Harrison Ford for someone else, are you kidding? Also, did you know people are less likely to guess A in multiple choice? They have a hard time believing the right answer is the first one they read and by the time they read through all the answers, they've nearly forgotten what A was. B is actually the most common answer, mostly because people THINK C is the right answer most of the time, but it actually comes in second. Just some tips for all y'all in case you want to hone up on your dishonesty.

The three that picked it off were Holly, Jen & Tegdir92. My 5 year old is in bed already so my 13 year old drew after rolling her eyes and saying "fiiiine." The winner is . . . Jen!! Yeah Jen.

Please follow this link to my website, click on books and read up on which of the two you would like, Earning Eternity or Tempest Tossed. Then send your address to kilpack@gmail.com and I'll get the book in the mail.

Thanks for playing everyone, that was fun, and I hope no one's testimony was bruised in the process.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm a Liar--meme

Jenna at Cranberry Corner tagged me with this one. The game is that I'm going to list 4 things about me, one of which is a lie. You're job is to guess which one is a lie. I'm gunna make a contest out of it and offer a free book (Earning Eternity or Tempest Tossed) to one of those that are correct. I'll enter all the names of winners into a drawing and have my 5 year old pick a winner. So be sure to make a guess.

I should warn you that I'm a very very good liar, it's why I write fiction :-)


1) I once met Harrison Ford--well, met might be a strong word since he didn't tell me who he was and I didn't tell him who I was. He has his own plane and sometimes stops as the airport in a little town called Milford Utah where my parent's used to live. It's really a podunk airport, but it was a good mid-stop for small planes leaving California and celebrities liked to stop there because they didn't get mobbed (John Travolta stops there sometimes too). My brother's friend's dad owned the airport and called my brother to give a guy a ride--he'd just radioed in--to the Chinese restaurant in town. There is nothing to do in Milford Utah, so I went with my brother and we picked up this guy. The sad part--my brother didn't know who he was at all and I was unsure enough that I didn't say anything--he looks a lot older in real life--later that day the whole town was buzzing about it. I couldn't believe I didn't trust my gut.

2) Ten years ago, my husband and I had never had a real vacation and we finally decided to go on one cause this travel agency by our house was giving a great deal. We used our credit cards now and again, but never for purchases we couldn't pay off in 30 days. But we were desperate to go on this trip so we charged the whole thing and had a good time in Mazatlan. The next month, I get the bill and it shows the charge AND a credit for the exact same amount. I called the credit card company and it turns out they had this program where every transaction made goes into a monthly drawing and then they pull out a few charges to credit back to the person. Somehow, our charge for the entire vacation package was drawn. We went to Mexico for free.

3) My husband and I went to Costa Rica on vacation about five years ago, and one night took a taxi to this little casino--little means about 4 tables. We're the only people there and figured we'd either lose or make $40 before we left--we are both great blackjack players, though we don't do it very much. We ended up winning over $800--enough to pay for the hotel stay for the entire six days we were there. They actually made us leave, telling us they closed an hour before they really did. We stayed in Costa Rica for free.

4) I once babysat for a woman who had a ten year old son named Mike. He was named after her first husband, Mike, but they divorced and she'd married another man by the name of Mike. Her second husband had a tradition that the first son is always named after the father, hence, this man was named after his father and grandfather--all named Mike. The woman I babysat for was pregnant and scared to death that it would be a boy; her husband was insisting that they would name it Mike, even though she already had a son with that name. Sure enough, she had a boy, and they named him Mike. So she had an ex-husband, a husband, a father-in-law, a grandfather-in-law and two sons named Mike. I think she also had a brother named Mike, but I can't remember for sure. Incidentally, I have a brother named Mike as well.

So, what do you think? Which one is a lie? I'll wait one week for the answers to file in. AMENDMENT: Because I got such fast responses, I'll answer it on Friday, November 2 :-) Thanks for playing.

As to who I'm gunna tag--let's tag Kathleen, Julie Wright, Traci Abramson & Carole Thayne Warburton.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Sucks and Other Inspiration for your Friday Pleasures

Inspiration #1)

One of the most positive things that will come from my children leaving home (in, oh, fifteen years) is that I can come out of the closet and put a big sign in my yard that says "No Tricken or Treaten you greedy little Monsters" I'm sure my own kids will find that hilarious by then.

It's not the candy--I'm all about candy--it's all the other crap. The cheap costumes, the freaky movies and TV shows, and the horrible decorations that just muck up my house. I hate carving pumpkins, I hate candy corn, and I hate being scared. My city does Trunk or Treat because the houses are so spread out it takes hours for kids to get a decent sized haul, so instead we have 40 cars that stick there back ends into a horseshoe shape and then 300 kids cycle through like the zombies--oh wait, they ARE zombies, and other creatures of death--they don't even say trick or treat. And it's cold out there. A couple years ago it was snowing and there we are serpentining through cars so we can get candy--much of which is nasty and will end up in my carpet or my child's hair.

I liked it when I was a kid--it was lots of fun--but I also bathed once a week back then whether I needed it or not and I thought Micheal Jackson was super cute. My opinions from that time can not therefore be trusted.

So, I'm having dinner with a friend last night and she hates Halloween too--there are few things better than holiday bashing with a kindred spirit--so a few years ago she says in her nephew's presence that she hates Halloween. He looks up at her with these big doe eyes and says "But you go to church. You can't hate Halloween."

Inspiration #2)

Allyson Condie left a comment on my blog the other day. She wrote a book that it getting all kinds of great reviews called The Yearbook, and she reads MY blog. Is that not awesome? Kinda freaks me out with people I know of, but don't really know, turn up on this place. I mean, it's awesome, but then I wonder who else is reading my blog. We know my mother isn't (else she'd have claimed her $100), so that's probably a good thing, and I don't think any of my neighbors do, also a good thing, but if Allyson Condie reads it--who knows. Very cool thing to consider. She doesn't have a blog though, so I can't respond in kind, so I'm doing it here--assuming she'll come back. However, if she's a Halloween lover she might not have made it this far. Bummer.

Inspiration #3)

I broke my Mighty Mouse which is the best mouse every invented. It goes with my mac and I love it, or at least I did. I only dropped it four feet onto a tile floor--you'd think it could have a bit more forgiveness in it's heart after all the months we've been together. I'm rather dispondent about it, and disappointed, dismayed, disgusted, disheartened, disllusioned, distraught, discombobulated, discommoded, and disharmonious about it, which only goes to prove that I put far too much affection into material things. I'm also rather dishabille today, especially when one considers I ought to try and be a bit more diseuse than I am, but perhaps that's to be expected when one is as disonant as I am this morning. The reason there are typos in this blog is because without my mighty mouse I don't know how to access my spell check and I'm a really nasty speller. I did try and fix a few but if I don't know how to spell them, how do I fix them? It's a quandry.


Come to think of it, two out of three of the "inspiration" of this blog are rather dis-inspriational, so I suppose you can consider yourself tricked. Tis the season.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Whitney Awards to offer Cash Prizes!


PROVO, UT~OCTOBER 23, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHITNEY AWARDS COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES LARGE CASH AWARDS

The Whitney Awards Committee announced today that they will be offering seven large cash awards to be presented at the upcoming Whitney Awards banquet in March 2008. These cash prizes are due to the generosity of the Whitney Awards' marquis sponsor, ExclusivelyLDS.com.

Founded earlier this year, the Whitney Awards program is a non-profit organization dedicated to rewarding excellence among LDS authors. With the new sponsorship of ExclusivelyLDS.com, winning authors will receive up to $1000 along with their trophy.

The Whitneys offer a total of seven awards. The five genre awards (Best Romance/Women's Fiction, Best Mystery/Suspense, Best YA/Children's, Best Speculative Fiction, Best Historical) will each be accompanied by a $500 cash prize. The two overall winners, Best Novel by a New Author and Best Novel of the Year, will each receive $1000.

"We're very excited about the sponsorship with ExclusivelyLDS.com," Robison Wells, president of the Whitney Awards Committee, explains. "There is enormous talent among LDS authors, and every year seems to produce better and better novels. This is an exciting
time to be part of the LDS fiction industry. Our hope is that these awards will raise awareness about the high quality fiction available from LDS authors, and to draw in new readers."

Over a hundred years ago, Latter-Day Saint Apostle Orson F. Whitney declared "We shall yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. . . . In God's name and by His help we will build up a literature whose tops will touch the heaven, though its foundation may now be low on the earth."

Anyone can nominate a novel published during the previous calendar year in any of seven categories, and a final academy of industry professionals will vote on the final ballot. Nominations are being taken for books published in 2007 by LDS authors at the Whitney
Awards website: www.whitneyawards.com

Josi's notes: Remember that novels can be entered into more than one catigory--for example, mystery/suspense and best novel of the year (hint, hint)

This is so incredibly exciting for me and all other writers and readers of LDS fiction. Please blog about this today, spread the word, nominate your favorite books and be a part of this amazing opportunity to be heard and sing the praises of the Milton's and Shakespeares among us.

PS--I think I'm the first to post! Go me!
###

CONTACT:
Robison Wells
Whitney Awards President
robisonwells@msn.com
www.whitneyawards.com
(801) 691-9115

Whitney Awards Committee
13 West Center
Oak City, UT 84649

Monday, October 22, 2007

YOU wrote a book?

My first book had been out about six months and now it was Christmas--i.e. Christmas parties. We were having dinner at Black Angus in Salt Lake with my husband's business partners--i.e. no kids! I was looking forward to it. A good meal, no noses to wipe. I'm there.

I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was indeed, a writer. I was excited to have a published book out, don't get me wrong, but I didn't know how to present myself. I didn't want to downplay it, but neither did I want to come across as arrogant and full of myself. In the six months since my book had come out, my life hadn't really changed at all and I'd gotten mixed feedback. While some people were excited about it and congratulatory, other's seemed almost annoyed by it--I'm not sure why exactly, but there were several people--friends and family--that didn't want to hear anything about my book. It was a limbo time as I was trying to decide what it meant that was a published author.

So we're at dinner and there is a woman there that I'd never met before, the wife of one of my husband's business partners. I can't remember her name (well, I can, but I'm not gunna say it) so for the sake of the story lets just call her Jezebel--or Jezzy for short.

I ask about her kids, Jezzy asks about mine. I ask about where they live, she asks where we're at. We make small talk around the table as we wait for our meal and then my husband throws in "Josi had her first book published a few months ago."

Jezzy turns to me and leans across the table. "You wrote a book?" this is said in the tone of "You're a nuclear scientist that will save the world from utter destruction? I don't believe it."

I smile, embarrassed and kind of ducked my head. "Yeah, I did."

"You?" Jezzy said incredulously (I love this word, incredulously, but I wasn't a big fan of the tone that night). "You wrote a book?"

"Yes."

"A children's book?" she asks, as if any half baked chicken hawk can sit down and write a children's book. Having known a few children's authors in my time I can say without argument that the process is grueling. But people assume that children's books are easy to write and therefore she seemed to only believe I was capable of something simple.

"No, a novel. For adults."

This completely confused her. "Not a children's book?"

"Nope."

"Did you write it yourself?"

I try to laugh at this, but my eyes are shifting around the table, a blatant "help me" lurking in their depths. Keep in mind this woman has known me for exactly one appetizer of stuffed mushrooms. I'm wondering what it is about me that makes her think I am a) incapable of writing a novel or b) someone that would lie about it. "Yeah, I wrote it myself."

Someone breaks in and tries to save me, but Jezzy cuts them off and leans across the table. "A novel?"

"Yes," I say for the sixth time. "I wrote a novel."

"And it's published?"

"Yes," I'm getting annoyed now, but my dinner hasn't even come yet and I don't want to make a scene. "I wrote an adult novel all by myself and it's published."

At this point my husband proceeds to tell her how much some of our friends had liked it, how he'd finally read it when my friend's husbands said how great it was. She's still glancing at me over her drink, as if still trying to compute it and wondering if she's on candid camera.

"And you wrote it by yourself?" she repeated after Lee's attempts to redeem us all. About this time our dinner arrived and no one let her talk about this anymore--thank heavens.

*Case in point. When you achieve your dreams, not everyone is happy about it. In fact, some people are just plain ticked off. If you have passion and you're working toward a goal, prepare yourself for the backlash. I don't think I'm 'in your face' about my writing, in fact I rarely it up on my own, only talking about it when other people ask. I expected something different.

Of my family, including siblings, parents, cousins, in laws etc, less than half have read any of my books--I'm aware of only three that have read them all. None of them read my blog--ever. In fact, if a family member is reading this I will pay you $100. (No worries, my money is very safe, I assure you) Very few people I know outside of writing circles ask me what I'm working on, when my next book is coming out or how things are going. I have no doubt that there are some people that are hoping my career will come to an end one way or another.

Sad huh? But true as well. However, I also have wonderful cheerleaders--some family, friends, other writers, fans--that cheer me on and lift me up. There are days when they are my saving grace. As you work toward your own passions, your own dreams, hold on to the cheerleaders tightly, and be that person for someone else when they realize something BIG in their life. It's a priceless gift.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October Artsy Essay Contest~My Ideal Day

Judith over at Heartsong has apparently been sponsoring these contests for a few months, but I was just made aware of it through Daizie's profile at Cre8buzz--apparently Judith is a friend of hers and Daizie wanted to spread the love. Basically the contest is for bloggers who submit a poem, prose, photo or other blog-postable medium that fits the theme of "My Ideal Day". Posts can be posted between the 15th and 31st of October, and then she'll have another contest next month. Once you've posted, link your entry to her website and then wait for the judging. I was in serious need for something different with my writing, and this fit the bill for a wonderful creative exercise. Anyone can enter, so ponder on your own ideal day and put it out to the Universe--who knows what will happen. Also, let me know if you enter so I can read your day as well. You can find full contest details here.

Anyway, here goes . . .


My Ideal Day
By Josi S. Kilpack

Seawater clings to my skin and the tropical flora seem intent to convince me nothing in the world exists but this—right here, right now. Somewhere up the beach fish is grilling while beans boil in a covered pot. Mangos are in season and their ripening scent competes with that of the flowers all around me.

Can you smell it?

The call of a thousand sea birds fills the sky and my hammock creaks amid it’s swaying. The Ocean breeze creates a whispered symphony as it travels through the palm leaves above, behind, beside me. His footsteps approach while the waves crash and crash and crash upon the shore. They keep rhythm with my breathing until he whispers in my ear and breath deserts me entirely.

Can you hear it?

The air is thick and salty, each wave sending a tribute of itself toward the heavens when it breaks upon the beach. The sand is soft and supple on my feet and the world is moving back and forth as the hammock sways. Back and forth, back and forth. His hand lingers on my cheek, my neck, my shoulder and we try and see if it's a hammock built for two.

Can you feel it?

Sky as big as it’s ever been, the flat and flawless countenance broken only by the constant motion of sea. His eyes are as blue as the ocean surrounding us and the grasses and ferns are so green it's as if the color was invented just for them. The sun is made brighter by the reflection of whitened sand as his footprints are sucked back into the sea with every wave that rolls upon the beach.

Can you see it?

I am late for nothing and no one depends on me to be fed, or cleaned, or delivered. I have no deadlines, no appointments, no bills to pay, or calls to make. There are no excuses to fill my mind. There is no distraction from our course. And he is here too, as free as me. We have nothing to do but find us again; the us that sometimes gets lost in the laundry and board meetings, the carpools and lawn mowing.

With a little luck, the journey back to us will take all day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Action day--the Environment

Hey all, did you know yesterday was Blog Action Day? Well, me neither, and now I'm a day late but I've actually been wanting to post about this topic and so I'm gunna take the chance now.

I'm not a huge environmentalist--I don't want to get hate mail, but I've been to rain forests and they seem to go on forever. I 'm not convinced global warming is a result of pollution or if it's a natural cycle of the earth. I can see the stars at night and contaminants don't keep me up at night. I know that in some ways that's horrible, and someone somewhere is putting me on their prayer roll, but I think I'm like most people in the world--because I'm okay I don't look to far beyond my own backyard. That said, I definitely want to do what I can (short of devoting my life to it) and I want to teach my kids to do the same. I hate waste--be it a shirt that doesn't fit but will fit someone else, or six pounds of packaging for a cracker sized electronic divice. So I try and make wise choices and live certain principles but I'm far from perfect. Here's what I do.

Compost: I don't throw food away. Table scraps and uneaten leftover usually goes to the chickens, who eat it and love it and save me from having to buy chicken feed. I get better and healthier eggs when they eat a good variety of food. They even eat egg shells and chicken. The only thing they don't like to eat is lettuce and banana peels--they love watermelon rinds and pasta. The goats eat a lot of leftover too--they don't like anything with vinegar.
.
or, if the chickens and goats are overfed, leftover food goes to the compost. Because it's fall and my garden isn't in season, I dump left over food in my grow beds. Over the winter the scraps break down to give me great soil for the plants I'll grow next year. When my garden is growing, I put compost in a different pile that I haven't quite figured out how to work yet. It's supposed to create heat and break down into great fertilizer, but I haven't got the mixture right yet so it's kind of a mess . . . okay, not kind of about it, it IS a mess--but I'm working on it. Not only does composting reuse my leftovers, but it keeps me from needing to buy commercial fertilizer and put the chemicals in my plants. (see photo of chicken eating dumped compost--this adds even more fertilizer to my garden as said chicken processes what it eats--ain't nature beautiful?)


Home Canning: I love to bottle tomatoes, pickles, peaches, pears and anything else people will give me. This no only preserves the best quality produce for later in the eyar, but I don't buy the canned derivatives as much which cuts down on the use of cans and bottles bought from the store.


I reuse the canning bottles each year. This is economical and highly rewarding. I absolutely love home canning. there is a magnificence about looking at quarts of peaches and knowing they'd have gone to rot if not for me saving them. And come January, there is nothing like peach cobbler made from home canned peach pie filling.



Recycling: I keep a garbage can under the sink and it's child #3's daily chore to divide it into the slots in an old laundry hamper in the garage.



We live in a rural area and don't have curbside, so about once a week I load the bags and boxes into my car when I'm going to drive into town for other errands. Once I got the system down it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and it really only takes me a couple extra minutes a week. Not only does it feel good to be "A Good Citizen of the Earth" but we went from two garbage cans to one--which is awesome.


So there you have it, what I do. could I do more? yes. could I do less? Absolutely. I'm comfortable where I am right now with it and foresee that I will continue to improve as time goes on. Every little bit helps, right?

Monday, October 15, 2007

What I did this Weekend . . .

Do you remember the HUD commercial from a few years ago where the woman with the Spanish accent says "I luff my keetchen." Well, I'm right there with her. I have a fabulous kitchen--including these beautiful Corian countertops:


No, that brown ring is not a chocolate cake stain (though I nearly ate one in mourning). See, I had put a pan on the stove to heat up for scrambled eggs--Friday night dinner at the Kilpack's, something to be anticipated. I'm not picky, but very particular, and I don't like putting eggs in a warm pan, I want them in a hot pan so they cook fast and in nice big clumps. Well, I forgot about the pan for about . . . oh, ten minutes--it was smoking. So I moved it to the counter to cool down. For eight years I have put hot pans on the counter and had no ill effects because Corian is not supposed to scorch. WRONG! It totally burned, and totally stunk. Did you ever light a Barbie doll on fire? Yeah, it smelled like that. And no, it's not on warranty anymore because it was the original owners of the house that put in the counter tops and the warranty was for the length of their ownership. No worries though, new counter tops will only cost $10,000.00! I'll just take it out of next month's spa budget and call it a draw (if you missed the sarcasm . . . I have no idea what to say to you)


But the weekend was not a total loss:

Like many women--maybe men too, I don't know--I play favorites when it comes to things like brands of mayo, neighbors, and clothing.


These are my two favorite pairs of pants. The blue hospital scrubs I have owned for 15 years. I put the elastic waistband in them myself about nine years ago. They are reversable and anyone that has worn good, shapeless, cotton scrubs knows that they are pure comfort. I have likely worn these pants over 2000 times. I love them so much.

The Jeans cost me $60 five years ago after I lost my baby weight from child #4--I've since gained back ten pounds and they have been kind. They are from Buckle and are perfection in denim. They are stretched in all the right places, washed so many times they are soft as a shammy and I just love em, love em, love em.

However, within days I tore both of them on the fence of my chicken coop while making repairs. I was more upset about these pants than I was about the counter top--you can buy new countertops, or at least stratigically place a vase or something--but perfect jeans and comfy scrubs? Priceless. BUT, all was not lost.

With my masterful skill with a needle (It is called a needle, right?) I managed to mend them both. I know, I know, not everyone is as talented as me, and it really does look quite professional, but I did do this myself, I swear.












So, I lost a counter top but I regained two wonderful friends that have not let me down! Long live small pleasures!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All Good Things Come to end--Then you can own the Whole Series!


H.B. Moore--or to her close and personal friends (like myself) Heather Moor--has just come out with the last of her Out of Jerusalem series; Land of Inheritance.

She actually asked me to write up a blurb about it, so I got an advanced copy. I was crazy busy the week it arrived and put it on my kitchen counter. For three days every time I looked at it my stomach would sink. No way was I going to have time to read this. And since I hadn't read book 2 and 3 of the series, I wasn't sure I'd get into it--not to mention it was not on my summer reading 07' list and I had five titles that I hadn't gotten to.

Finally I decided I would read two chapters, then I could write something up. I hate doing it that way, because I feel that if I'm going to give an endorsement I should read the whole book--I mean, what if I base my blurb on the first chapters and then it sucks, or the author shows in some nasty scene I wouldn't have endorsed? However, I justified that by reminding myself that the book was based on the Book of Mormon, and I'd heard of her progress as she wrote it (back to that close personal friend thing), and she's not big on nasty scenes. So, I sat down after my kids went to bed and I started reading.

There was a time when I was afraid of reading at night. Not because of nightmares, but because if a story was good I couldn't put it down, which is real pain in the tail when the kids are up the next morning whether your a zombie or not. I haven' t had this problem so much in the last few years because I am so dang critical of what I read that I'm usually more than happy to put it down--for the night or forever depending on the book. Land of Inheritance, however, did not get put down. I read it straight through--not finishing until about 3:00 a.m. Truly, I was shocked. Now, anyone who has read my Summer Reading posts knows that I read Twilight and Peace like a River really fast too--but I put them down at night. No so with this one.

Talk about making stories come alive. Wow. This book was incredible. the writing was phenomenal, the characterization was so real, and the overall story was gripping and heart wrenching and faith affirming. I am so dang proud of Heather, the research on these books alone makes me cry Uncle, and she not only researched like a mad woman, but she wrote a story that I could not tear myself away from--EVEN THOUGH I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. This is a true gift, and the book was excellent. She put flesh on the bones of the time when the Nephites became the Nephites and the Lamanites became the Lamanites. You see how it happened, you feel the regret and grief when Lehi died and no longer held his sons together in a common purpose. This book was powerful and profound and beautifully done.

If you haven't read this series, please do. You'll thank yourself for making the time for them, you'll be reminded that the stories we read in the BOM were real, they really happened to real people.

Did I mention that I really really liked it?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Being the BEST



About 15 years ago I got married at the ripe old age of 18. Having been raised in a family of 11, I thought I knew how to cook and clean and take care of a home and a husband. My husband was raised by a single mom who worked three jobs and kept a good supply of frozen burritos, hence he thought Hamburger Helper was the bomb. I couldn't make much else. I also didn't know how to match my clothes or mop a floor. Cleaning my house was a weekly thing I should probably do if I didn't have anything better going on. I'd been taught how do do all these things that went into a home, but they got lost somewhere between learning to drive a car and trying to figure out what CD's were and if I really should give up on cassettes all togther. I was raising my nine year old niece within a few months. When school started she got herself up, ready, fed and to school cause there was no way I was getting out of bed before 9:00. None of this seemed like a problem to me. When confronted with moments of knowing I needed to do better, I took offense at the implication that I wasn't good enough and justified that I was being the BEST I could be. However, I continued to make small improvements that at the time didn't seem to make much of a difference.

About 10 years ago I was a mother of two. The niece was no longer with us, and we were buying our first home. I had learned how to cook--especially desserts--and I actually washed dishes every day. I woke up at 8:00 and did laundry once a week, content with dirty clothes if we ran out come Saturday. I didn't always open all my mail, putting it in piles for a few weeks and then throwing it all away when it got overwhelming. I frequently bounced checks and bought milk too close to the expiration date. When I spilled on the carpet, I chose the path of least effort and just left it there. My kids ate hot dogs at least once a day and I didn't know what a baseboard was let alone how to clean one. I'd grown a lot in those five years, but I was still overwhelmed. Now and then I'd come up against something that would challenge me to do better, and I'd justify that I was being the BEST I could be. But I continued to make small changes, small goals meant to do just a little bit better.

Five years ago I had just had my fourth child and our niece was living with us again. I cleaned baseboards once a year whether I needed to or not. I'd finally accepted that one day for laundry was not enough in a household of seven. I had learned to cook even more foods and no longer served hot dogs on a daily basis (I now traded off with mac and cheese) I sometimes cleaned up spills immediately and I had learned how to match not only my own clothes but those of my children. I had learned to do a French braid that would make it through church. I read my scriptures now and then, and opened all my mail even when I knew it was a stupid ad just in case it was important. I washed windows and moped floors on a semi-regular basis. I wore shoes when I went outside and read to my kids now and then. I was on the PTA and running a girl scout troop. I was writing on a regular basis, which meant my kids watched ten hours of TV a day, and I was finally beginning to feel as if I were really coming to know myself. I left yard tools in the yard for months on end and overcharged my credit cards because "I deserved it". I frequently forgot to brush my children's teeth and my flower beds were overrun with weeds. I'd improved, but now and then would come upon yet more moments than ever that would question if I was good enough. I would look at myself, see how far I had come and take pride in that, but wish I were doing a little bit better.

Two weeks ago I was challenged directly--to be the best mother, the best wife, and the best homemaker I could be. I came home and vented at my husband. He wisely said nothing and told me I'm doing a great job.

And you know what? He's absolutely right. I am doing a great job and my family and myself are very blessed by that. I had a week to ponder this, and then the challenge was reissued when I was in a better place to accept it.

What if I'd accepted that my BEST was the Josi of fifteen years ago, or even ten? What if I'd never accepted the challenges that came my way? Would I feel the satisfaction I feel now? And if I ignore a challenge I'm given now, am I missing out on even more satisfaction later on?

I'm not going to be a better cook than my sister-in-law, and I'm not going to be a better scrapbooker than my friend Marci. I'm not going to be a better gardener than Roxie, or a better home canner than Joan. But can I find MORE joy in being the best Josi I can be? Can I find greater satisfaction in rising to a challenge given? All in the name of blessing my family?

It is said in the scriptures that the Lord chastens those whom he loves. I have been chastened. It also says in the scriptures not to run faster than you have strength, but it does tell us to run. And, in the scriptures we are told that nothing is impossible in the Lord. Do I want to question that? Admitting we can do better doesn't negate what we have done, it simply reminds us that this life is given to us as a time to grow and improve and bless the lives of those entrusted to us. Sometimes we get mixed up and think "Do Better" really means "Not Good Enough" but I think that's the other guys way of trying to make it harder for us.

I won't be at my best tomorrow, it will be a very slow process as all other processes in my life have been, but if we have faith in ourselves the size of a mustard seed, we can become a tree in which our families will find refuge from a heavy world. And wouldn't it feel good? To be a force such as that in not only our own life, but those of our husband and children?

What say ye, shall we rise?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

General Conference--the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

*Disclaimer: For those blog-readers that are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, General Conference is a bi-annual conference for all members of our church. At this time the leaders of our church give talks about doctrine, current issues, scriptures etc. It is broken up into two hour segments, with two segments on Saturday and two on Sunday. The conferences are televised world wide. The fall conference is this weekend, October 6 & 7 and because of that we don't attend our regular church meetings.


I hate a lot of things (like PTA, Disneyland & most meetings in general) however, I absolutely love General Conference.

As a child, this was not the case. I preferred just about anything to being forced to sit in front of the TV and be bored out of my mind. As a teenager I was very outspoken of my supreme dislike of conference. It was my opinion that conference was rather blatent brainwashing by a bunch of old geezers--no worries, I have repented of that and all else my teenage years were rampant with.

And then, around the age of 17, after a lifetime of religion, I really found Jesus for myself, and through Him I finally understood what conference was about. I no longer watched the two sessions dictated by my parents, I watched them all and I took notes. I realized that these men and women, who had dedicated their lives to the gospel, were talking to ME, and they were imparting those things that my Father in Heaven wanted me to know. It was, for lack of a better word, and awesome realization.

In the last 16 years of my life I have missed exactly one weekend of conference, and my sister was supposed to record it, so it wasn't my fault. I committed to never go out of town for conference again (which is tricky because my wedding anniversary is the same week as Spring conference).

When I had kids I wanted to do all I could to keep them from having the same negative impressions I had of it as a child. And I am pleased to admit that so far, it's worked. Here's how we do it:

*WATCHING: They are only required to watch two sessions. Any two they want, I don't make them chose one or the other. We try to make sure they see the closing comments because they are usually given by President Hinckley, but the rest is totally up to them.

*GAMES: I printed off bingo cards from lds.about.com and have little candies I give out when they complete a line. We'll also let the kids put together a puzzle if they want to--something that can be done silently.

*FOOD: Everything in life is better with food. For confernece we have all of our favorites: A shrimp ring, 7 layer dip, 2-6 varieties of cookies, easy cheese, wontons. I prepare a lot of it during the morning session on Saturday, but everything only comes out when conference is on and you can only eat it if you're watching conference--they can't take a plate and disappear downstairs. The kids are so excited about the smorgasborg that they are more than happy to take their plate into the living room and pig out in front of the TV. It's also the only Sunday of the year we can stay in our jammies all day.

*OPTIMISM: My husband and I are very positive about conference. If something is said that gets our back up, we discuss it ourselves later and seek for our own answers. If we aren't in the mood for it, we are not allowed to say so. I'll crochet or do something with my hands because it's impossible for me to sit still these days, but we are there for every session.


My kids are 5-13 and they were all ecstatic when they realized conference was this weekend. We've been talking about what treats to have, they've been planning their weekend around the sessions they will be watching.

Are they getting anything out of it? Yeah, they are--I don't doubt this. They are listening to the prophet and his counselors. Much of what's said isn't really pertinent to them yet, but they are listening, they are learning, and they are making it a habit. Better than that, they have positive feelings about conference and they look forward to it.

Now, my oldest is just barely a teenager, so I know the real test is yet to come, but for us, this is working and fulfilling my goal to have my kids feel better about conference than I do.

Do you guys have any tricks? I'm all about adding more tools to my box-of-tricks.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Setting yourself up


I have a wonderful friend who does cake decorating. She did my wedding cake fourteen years ago and has done hundreds since. She recently related to me how she'd made a cake for her granddaughter's birthday. She'd decided to use butter cream frosting because it tastes so much better than shortening based frosting. However, it doesn't hold the decorative shapes as well as the trans-fat-laden-alternative so by the time she went to the party the frosting was blobby and drippy. She then spent the party trying not to be embarrassed and annoyed with herself--knowing that she should have used Crisco.

I don't decorate cakes, but there are so many other things in my life where I face this same thing. I hurry to get all the dishes in the dishwasher before I leave the house so that I'll have clean dishes when I get home, but getting it all done makes me late for my appointment. I--totally hypothetical here--agree to participate in a Book In A Month Challenge before reading the project I'll be working on. I haven't read it for a year and realize I need to cut 4,000 words. Not to mention that I have another book I'm editing for someone else, I am buying bookshelves that have to be put together, and between my own presentations and my kid's stuff I have 3 evenings in a two week period of time that I'm even home. I know I won't have time, but I commit anything. Sometimes it seems as if I have masochistic tendencies.

I could go on and on and on and on, but then we'd all wonder what was wrong with me.

The point is, why do we do it? Why do we set ourselves up for failure?

I think I figured it out. Because we have to fail. We simply CAN NOT do everything. My friend chose butter cream because it tastes better, she wanted a cake that tasted good. Shortening is beautiful but most people scrape it onto the plate. She had to choose between presentation and enjoyment of product. Who's to say she didn't make the right choice? If it were my cake--butter cream all the way.

Yes, I'm late for an appointment, but when I get home with half an hour to get dinner on the table, I'm sure glad the dishes got done (now, had I chosen not to spend 2 hours on the computer before I did the dishes. . . ) And as for the BIAM, well, I AM making progress that I don't think I'd be making if I didn't have a goal.

In my own life, I know that it is through my failures that I grow. It is through sin that I've come to understand the Atonement and through weaknesses that I've found the desire to do better. I still hate that I'm not perfect, hate that I can't do it all the way I see it in my head, but if I can look at life as a journey, at which I am slowly improving myself bit by bit, screw-up by screw-up, well, it's not so dang depressing.

And then I hear my friends butter cream vs. shortening story and remember that I'm not alone. We all set ourselves up in some way or another--so, what's your poison? And yes, I'm asking for purely selfish reasons.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bookshelves = Happiness

I have dreamed of bookshelves for many years. I have had little shelves here and there, but I wanted a library, a one-stop-shop for my bound and beautiful little friends. Last January (after not getting bookshelves from Santa AGAIN) I bought some shelves from Office Max. They are called 'mission' shelves, which means they aren't solid, but made up of strips of wood. But they were affordable for me so I bought them. I thought they would fit all the books that had been hiding in boxes for years and years. They didn't. I thought they would be taller, they weren't. I did not expect them to have a static charge that made them nearly impossible to dust--they did.

But they were bookshelves and they looked nice and I was happy. However, I am still a mere mortal so I wanted MORE. About four months ago I was as my mom's and she had an IKEA catalog. IKEA had just come to Salt Lake and I was rolling my eyes at the big deal everyone was making over it. It's furniture in a box, for heaven's sake, how good can it be? And yet, I honed in on some bookshelves and felt myself drooling. They were simple, yet tall, and almost affordable.

Since then I have plotted and planned and finally last Tuesday I made the trek to IKEA and bought my shelves! I also ate the meatballs--YUM. I got home and went to work, only to realize I had not calculated well, so I had to go back on Friday. My family nearly sold me on eBay for being such an obsessive freak as I put these together (You want dinner AGAIN--I did that last night!) and it took me days to get my study arranged the way I wanted it and figure out what to do with the furniture I already had. I put one set together with one backward, which meant I had to take it apart and they are far easier to put together than they are to take apart. I ended up making huge gouges in the wood and taking five years off my life, but a little sharpie marker made it all but disappear.

And now, I have my library! It fits all my books, scrapbooks, paper and knickknacks with room to spare! It even looks nice for now, without any toys or dust to mar it's loveliness. I love it, love it, love it, and my family loves me again.










I wonder what other people have done with their books? Are you still in the closet/box phase as I was last year? Have you already established one in your home? Or do you think it's a silly waste of time when there are so many shoes you could buy instead?

]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cre8buzz


Cre8buzz is a new social networking site geared toward adults, with no ads, and, the really unique part is that it 'ranks' you according to how many people are coming to see your page, how many comments you leave on other people's pages and how many freinds you have. Right now I'm #4 in the fiction community. They have a nice crisp look that, while it allows for some personality, it's over the top. I've been on it for a few days and it's a lot of fun. Many of the same people I read blogs from are on there as well.

Another big difference between it and other sites like My Space or Facebook, is that it's in Beta. That means they are still testing it out. Just anybody can't join up, however, if you happen to know someone already on there, they can invite you. Annette Lyon is the one that invited me, and I'm enjoying it. I'm sending this out to see if anyone else wants to be a part of it. If you do, send me your email address and I'll get an invite out to you.

If you want to know more about it, go to this article written by one of my new friends made at cre8buzz. It's kinda fun.

Also, my exclusivelylds.com blog posted yesterday if anyone wants to take a peek.

And I've eaten about 8 sugar cookies so far today, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Summer Reading Thing Recap

1. How many total books did you read? Were you surprised by that number?

I completely read a total of 9 books. Six from my list and 3 extras. I started two books on my list that I didn’t finish and have one I’m still working on. I was surprised in that I read so many. I have definitely fallen off my reading game the last few years and this was just the kick in the pants I needed.

2. How do you feel about what you read?

I feel good about it. I tried a few authors/books I had heard about and hadn’t taken the time to get to know. And, reading really helps me with my own writing, so that was a definite bonus I very much needed.

3. Which was your favorite book, and why?

Gosh—I don’t know. I loved Peace Like a River, it was probably my favorite overall. But I also loved the Twilight series and Harry Potter was awesome too. They had been ones I’d been excited to read for a long time, so it was that much more awesome to finally get them. But Peace Like a River was an unexpected surprise and I loved it.

4. Which was your least favorite, and why?

For those that I read completely, my least favorite was Metro Girl, cause it was crude and plot-hole-ridden. But I liked the James Patterson one even less, which is why I didn’t finish it.

5. What about your stretch book? Did you find that you enjoyed it after all? Are you planning to read more of that genre/author?

My original stretch book was Einstein’s biography, but it was much more of a muscle pull than a stretch so I dropped it and made “Simplify” my stretch. I don’t really like non-fiction, especially guilt-non-fiction, but I really liked this one and it reminds me not to be too judgmental, but to try books that I can implement in my life.

6. Did you read as many books as you intended to? Or more? How do you feel about that?

More, and it feels great! I’ve missed reading and didn’t realize how much. I have one book, Peace, happiness and Joy that I’m still working on, and I wish I’d finished it in time, but I didn’t. I like that I’m not going to be sent to the principal’s office over it ☺


7. Did you discover a new author that you're excited about?

Yes, Stephanie Meyer. I can’t wait for the next installments, and I’ll be looking for Michele Holmes and Leif Enger’s next ones as well.

8. What did you learn about yourself through this reading experience?

That I DO have time, and that I need to find it. It is a worthy use of my time and I’m a better, more well rounded person, when I am reading. I’ve missed a lot of great books and don’t want to miss anymore.

9. Was this fun? Do you want to continue (if so, sign up for Katrina's Fall Into Reading challenge.)

Super fun—I’m already working on my book list. One thing I’m doing differently, is finding out which ones I have and which ones I can get from my library, I ran into problems with this because I don’t have a great selection at my local library and book stores are not easy to access. I plan to start with ones I need to check out and get them reserved, instead of having to look for them week after week.