Sunday, November 30, 2008

Parable of the Cedar Chest

I don't actually know if this qualifies as a parable, but I like the idea of writing my own so I'm going to go with it. Also, I've decided to name my children for the blog--#2 was slightly offended at her nickname here so I've dug deep and gotten creative.

Jeanie--14 year old girl
Lou-Lou--12 year old girl (who will probably hate this name too)
Little man--9 year old boy
KB--7 year old girl

On with the story . . .

As a teenager I wanted a cedar chest. I had a few friends that had them and I thought they were so cool. Being one of 9 kids meant I didn't have much privacy and I was always scouting out little places I could keep things safe. At 14 I got a trunk for Christmas. It's plywood, with sheet metal overlay and fasteners. It was not a cedar chest, but I loved it and covered it with bumper stickers (including the one that says "Olympus Soccer: We Kick Balls" I was a classy kid, what can I say?) It had a key and it was my own little space. Over the years I stored journals, letters from my hubby, and other mementos. When I got married, it was one of two items that came with me (the other was a rocking horse my uncle made for me as a child--I still have that one too). I added my wedding veil, the cards that came with my wedding gifts, and some baseball cards I hoped to one day make a million dollars off of. I loved my trunk and only the most valuable things went into it.

For my 4th wedding anniversary my husband bought me a real cedar chest. The old trunk went into the closet and the new chest became a treasured piece of furniture, quickly doing it's job of preserving the most important things I wanted to hold on to. It was oak--which I didn't love--and so I refinished it in black a year or so ago, sanding the edges to give it an antiqued look.

Last year, I gave Jeanie a cedar chest for Christmas. We bought it used (new ones are several hundred dollars) and we refinished it after the holidays. For me, this was a powerful gift to give. Jeanie will be eighteen in only 4 years which seems like an incredibly short period of time. I wanted to give her this option of saving some of her youth while also preparing for her future which was coming up quickly. She was very positive about it and I just felt like I'd done a very good thing--giving a gift that will last a lifetime.

Last month, we bought a cedar chest at a charity auction. I sanded it down and was getting ready to paint it for Lou-Lou--excited to once again give a gift that, in my mind, is almost priceless. However, Lou-Lou found my Christmas list and read it--pronouncing bluntly that she didn't want a stupid cedar chest. She wants nail stuff, and CD's, not furniture. I was very annoyed at this--not only because I'd already invested in this gift but because it's a GIFT. That means I choose it, not her. I felt she was being very bratty about it, and yes, my feelings were hurt.

Amid all this I remembered the new knobs I'd bought for Jeanie's cedar chest last year and had never put on. So, I went and put them on only to find that after owning the chest for a year, she had put absolutely nothing inside it.

Then my husband said he thought we ought to sell the cedar chest and get Lou-Lou something she really wants.

Argggg! I was getting it from all sides and reviewed my options. In a rare moment of wisdom, I chose a route I don't often use. I decided to try to teach something, rather than pout.

Tonight, I invited Jeanie and Lou-Lou into my room. I told them how I'd wanted a cedar chest as a child and why it was improtant to them. I told them about my trunk, and then I opened my cedar chest and showed them the things I keep inside. Signed copies of my books that I will one day give to my children, copies of my books I sign to myself when they arrive. A newspaper from the olympics, the blessing dresses of my children that I will give them when they have kids of thier own, recipe books I've collected for my daughters, a pillow with a copy of my engagement picture on it, an extra wedding album in case something happens to the one I have, a time capsul Jeanie made in Kindergarten, a box full of mother's day cards and little notes the kids have given me over the years, the blown glass flower that topped my wedding cake, a blanket my freind quilted when Little Man was born. After we went through all these things I explained to them that even if I lost it all, I'd have the memories of these moments and they are the most powerful thing, but, I love having these tangible reminders. I love to touch the letters they've given me, I love knowing there is a safe place for my treasures. I explained that my giving them cedar chests is so that they can also find those treasures and save them for their futures. I then said that I realized it might be an old fashioned thing, that if they don't want the cedar chests we can sell them, they can keep the money and spend it on something else, but that I believed that the chests were something that twenty years from now, when iPods and CDs were a thing of the distant past, they would remember that their mother gave them a cedar chest. That one day they might pass them on to their children, and that when they left our home, they would take this little peice of it with them.

Lou-Lou promptly reported she wanted her cedar chest. Jeanie asked if she could have her signed books to put in her own. And me, well, I'm a little tender hearted at having forgone my usual bullying style of parenting and having this moment with my girls who are so precious to me, and are growing faster then I can keep up. Now and then I do a really good thing--creating these two wonderful daughters were two of my very best.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What have I done

This was a fun meme I found on My days and dreams. I can't think of anything else to say today and I'm working really hard at avoiding my current work in progress, so this fit the bill! Feel free to copy it and use it if you like. You highlight those things you've done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77.Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Let me know if you use it so I can come take a look.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh the Randomness

My kids love the word random, they use it all the time--often when it doesn't make sense for instance "My new art teacher; yeah, totally random" what does that even mean? Maybe Annette can break it down for me.

My husband said the M word the other day--M is for moving at my house. He does this every now and again, and I believe it's mostly a ploy to get me to dig into deep cleaning (it works every time) but it triggers my obsessiveness. The reason for him saying that vulgar word is because there's a chance we could sell the house (for far less than we could have sold a year ago, but still) and use the equity to buy a muuuuuuuch smaller house free and clear. i.e. no house payment. Normal people can consider this and think rationally. Josi grabs onto and refuses to let go of the idea. She's also a romantic, which does not help obsessive things like this. Suddenly, she hates her house, it's too big, it's unappreciated, the yard goes on forever.

But there's a 3 bedroom, one bath, 1300 square foot house, a couple blocks from here for 150K--we could buy it and build an addition out the back and it's a half acre lot and the kids would stay in their same school and we could keep chickens and I'd paint the living room green and my sister would help me make cute shutters and we wouldn't have to worry about irrigation and we would move to a new ward which means I would be released from scouts and my kids would learn what it's like to not have thier own room and they'd learn respect, dang it, and we'd be like Little house on the prarie and we'd sell all our big furniture and we would get rid of TV and my kids would learn to sew their own clothes and we could live on half the amount of money we live off of now and we'd be God's chosen because we would have no debt even though we'd need a storage unit for the food storage.

See how I am?

Who needs commas?

And then, today I decided to do a 5 minute speed cleaning of the kitchen. The philosophy is that I run around clearning like bonkers for 5 minutes and get it all cleaned up. Sounds fun, huh, right. Well, I knocked over the dog treats which went skittering all over the floor and then I picked up the salt shaker by the top that wasn't screwed on tight and the glass and salt went all over the floor. I don't think speed cleaning is a good thing for me.

And my dog got sprayed by a skunk. He already stunk pretty bad but he stinks really really bad now. And I've decided I'm tired of having cats. Is it wrong to take them up to the mountains? I used to think so, but now that the shelters are overflowing I'm not so sure. Isn't it basically being an evironmentalist to encourage natural selection? Plus, they're both fixed so it's not like they'd be adding to the population. One of them peed in my room the other night--that might be part of my problem.

Dinner. Shoot. I don't know what to make.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Surviving a Crash

I know, I know, you're all sick and tired of hearing my whine about my crash--I get it, I'm tired of whining about it. However, this post isn't about my whining (well, maybe a little bit) it's mostly about pointing out the things I've learned since this happened to me. So, here goes. Take it for what it's worth. As my friend Eric says "There are two kinds of computer users in the world, those that have lost a hard drive and those that will" I just hope it never happens to me again, or that I'm more prepared for it if it does.

1) Make a bootable back up. Many of us have a back up of some kind. The difference between a regular back up and a bootable back up is that you can actually run your computer off a bootable back up. If you lost your hard drive, you can then plug in your bootable back up and run everything just as you had it the last time you backed up to it. I'm now using a free-ware program called Super Duper (It's specifically for Macs) on my external hard drive (which was on my shelves, unused, for a year before I crashed. In 30 minutes I could have had a completely bootable back up system but it was too haaaaard, so I didn't use it. I'm using it now). This option stores data AND programs.

2) Have secondary back up. This can be a jump drive, or CD's or online storage of some kind. I'm now doing CD's once a month. If for some reason I crashed again and couldn't use my bootable back up, I could back up with CD's. This isn't a perfect form, as it won't retain program information and has a high failure incidence, but it will hold things like documents, pictures, movies, music, and other data that you will want to use.

3) Know how to use your back up options. I had subscribed to .mac for back up. I had problems figuring it out and so I settled for only backing up my documents. I'm very glad I did, but the way it worked was that it made a master back up and then saved anything that was changed every day. This is great, in that the back ups were fast (after the first one) and I didn't worry about it, but in order to restore my back ups I had 200 incremental backups I had to restore one at a time. I learned the hard way that the restore feature is very complicated, especially if you had to get a new hard drive and reroute the restore because the original location is not there. It took me hours and hours and hours, and I am still missing about 20% of my documents. I decided to recover those most valuble to me, but I know I will kick myself for many months as I remember another project I didn't restore. The problem is that there is no way for me to find a specific document other than opeing each of those 200 restores--which takes about 5 minutes to do. So, know how your back up works, practice restoring something so that you know how to use it. The mac back up program was very disappointing for me and yet I put my faith in it anyway. It also didn't back up my web builder pages because I assumed they were stored through the server that hosted them--not so. My website will stay as it is right now, but I have to completely rebuild my website before the next time I update it--which will take me several hours and I don't have the photos I used on there originally.

4) Subscribe to an online photo hosting program. Whether you use wal-mart, walgreens, shutterfly, or some other thing, having a seperate server to store your photos is a really good idea. I did a digital scrapbook last year, and thank goodness I did. It has a year's worth of family photos I'd have lost otherwise. I was waiting to do my 2008 photos until after the end of the year and lost all of them. I'm currenly working on downloading the 2007 photos back to my computer.

5) If you're crashed, don't keep pushing on the gas. When your car dies and you keep pushing the gas as you try to start it, you flood the engine. When your computer crashes and you keep trying to bring it back up over and over again, you burn up your head or risk jamming your spindles. My computer crashed on a Sunday, I googled a dozen ways to bring it back by myself and spent several hours trying over and over and over to bring it up. Whether or not this is why my hard drive is now inaccessible for basic data recovery is unknown, but it certainly doesn't help. I had no idea this was an issue until I got the estimate of $1600 to retreave the information because the head was bad on my hard drive. They tech reccomended that next time I even suspect I've had a hard drive crash, to leave the computer alone until someone can look at it. There's a chance that had I done this and my hard drive wasn't so burnt up by the time I took it in that I could have recovered my data for about $80.

6) Use Data Recovery experts. If you need your data recovered, don't waste time and money on a regular computer fix-it shop. Find an actual data recovery specialist. This might present itself a little more expensive, but they can more correctly identify what went wrong and reccomend the best way to proceed.

Anyway, there it is. I hope you and me both learn from my mistakes this time around.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Donation is up for Auction!

My donation to the Whitney Awards went up for auction today. It's a complete collection of my published books:

*Earning Eternity
*Surrounded by Strangers
*Tempest Tossed
*Star Struck
*To Have or To Hold
*Unsung Lullaby
*Sheep's Clothing
*Her Good Name

And a one of a kind Reader Survival Kit:

*Fuzzy Socks to keep your tootsies warm when you curl up with a good book)
*A scented candle so it smells like you've been baking something when in truth you've been reading all day OR to set the mood once the kids go to bed (I do write romance ya know)
*Dove Chocolates--do I really need to explain that one?
*Earplugs to drown our the hungry kids OR to help you sleep in the day after staying up until two a.m. (I'm not arrogant, really)
*Kleenex to dry your tears when you read the happy and sad parts
*A Hershey's bookmark that I made all by myself by laminating a Hershey wrapper after eating the chocolate. I just find it horribly clever so I had to throw it in

As of right now the bids are at $31, it's almost a $175 value AND I can sign any of the books to whoever you want, so if you want a couple and want to give some away, I can make that work for you! Here is the direct LINK.

There are some other fabulous items up for bid right now, so please take the time to browse through and see if you find something that works for you and in return can support the Whitney's. We've managed to raise about 35% of our goal, but we're already half way through the month. We could use your support. Here is the LINK to see all the wonderful items currently up for bid. Remember, there is free shipping on all purchases.

And remember you can still e-mail me for the html if you want to put the button on your blog to remind your readers of one sure fire way they can work toward going to heaven. (don't quote me on that to St. Peter though)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More than You wanted to know about my Tatoo

So, last month Melanie J posted her thoughts on Tatoos. Many of you know that I have one. A pair of angel wings on my back--just kidding. No, it's actually not nearly that exciting or anything. But, there is a story, and it can be summed up in one sentence.

The tattoo artist thought we were the freakiest people he ever gave tattoos to.

You have to go back in time with me to the fall of 1992--the year I graduated from high school. The characters in this story are myself, Leah, and Jan (not their real names, for reasons that I love them both and don't want them to feel embarrassed if they should somehow find this blog). Here is a brief synopsis of us and our relationship to one another.

Josi--Naively independent, moved out of her parent's house two days after high-school graduation. Working full time and barely paying the rent on her apartment she shares with a roommate she did not know before moving in with her. Nice gal though. Canadian. Josi is a full-time student and a few months away from her boyfriend coming home from his mission. She's excited about this, but nervous as well. She was 16 when he left and has grown up a lot during his absence. She worries that they won't have the same relationship they had when he left. She's also worried that if it works out she'll lose some freedom she's come to appreciate so much. She's worried that she'll be fatter than him because he sent a picture a year ago where he was skin and bones. She's anticipating that within the next 6 months her life is going to change drastically and she's excitedly nervous about it.

Leah--Incredibly smart, super ambitious, and four months pregnant. She's not sure she wants to get married. She's not sure she wants to keep the baby, and yet she's very much in love with both the boyfriend and this child growing inside of her. She'd dreamed of law school and a temple marriage and is now struggling with how much has suddenly changed. She's anticipating that within the next six months her life is going to change very drastically and she's scared and a little angry about it. To sum it up, she knows she's not quite ready for all this and has no choice but to face it. She's also a die hard Bruce Springsteen fan.

Jan--raised with privilege, in a family she feels very bonded to, and has a heart the size of Texas. She loves Josi and Leah despite their current and past circumstance, and she's very optimistic about both of our futures and just who we are. She has this streak of wanting to be independent, but is living at home while she attends the University of Utah. She's looking at Josi and Leah and the precipice we both stand on without judgment and I don't think she's anticipating many changes in her life for the next six months. She is optimistic for both of our futures but is first and foremost a fun loving person.

The three of us would get together on Friday nights that Leah and I didn't have to work and drag state street in Salt Lake while blaring the Spanish music station. This was before gangs were an issue, and though in hindsight I can see this might not have been very PC, we were truly not making fun of anyone or anything like that, we were just doing things that made us laugh. We would talk to boys that were also dragging state and give them fake phone numbers.

So, one night, as we're dragging state with the Spanish music blaring, we pass a tattoo parlor which is all lit up. Leah says she wants us all to get a tattoo. Jan and I laugh. Duh. We're good girls (the reputation and pregnancy thing not withstanding) why would we get tattoos? Leah, orator that she is, tells us why. Basically, because we might never get another chance to make such an independent decision. She will have a baby in a few months, I'll have my missionary, Jan will one day give her real phone number to one of these guys we meet. We're all at a crossroads and we need a symbol of our friendship, a symbol of the free-thinking independent girls we once were before we became actual women with responsibility and accountability for other people. Dang, but she made a lot of sense! Why on earth would we not get a tattoo?

So, we went to ASI tattoo and told them we wanted daisy tattoos on the bottom of our big toe. He just blinked at us. "What?"

So we told him again, and he was shaking his head. "No you don't," he said. "It will hurt like crazy to get a tatoo on the bottom of your toe, and white doesn't work."

"Oh." So we put our heads together and a few minutes later presented him with a handdrawn heart (done by Leah). We wanted it on our the inside of our right heel--low enough that it could be covered with footsy socks or shoes. We made this decision because we didn't want it on an area that would be easily seen and we didn't want it under an area that would be covered with temple garments.

He nodded and said it would be $40 per person. Leah balked and ended up talking him down to $25 each. She was a tough chick!

We were getting ready to start when we remembered the ghetto blaster and the Bruce Springsteen tape in the car. One of us went and got it. I mean, if we're going to get a tatoo, we gotta do it to music. I think Leah was first, then Jan, and then me. The song that played during my tatoo was Glory Days. I tried not to cry because Leah and Jan hadn't cried but DANG, it hurt. I mean really really hurt. They use a mechanical thing that is a needle moving at incredible speed, injecting ink into your skin each time it comes down. It moves like 200 times a second or something like that--you can barely see the needle--but it basically felt like a quilting needle (blunt) heated until it was red being scraped through my flesh. It was horrible! We'd passed a guy getting a corpse tattooed on his calf. It was a two hour process for him. No way. I just don't have enough Harley in me to make that even remotely possible.

So we got our tattoos and felt as though we'd become blood sisters. The next week we took our tatoo artist some heart shaped sugar cookies. He smiled one of those nervous smiles you might give when someone hands you a little red pill you've never seen before and tells you to swallow it. His boss freaked when she learned he'd done a tattoo on a pregnant girl. He was happy to never see us again when we left that night.

I told my parents about my tatoo the next day, they gave me blank stares and said they were glad it wasn't a communist symbol or a skull and crossbones. Leah told her mom a few days later and her mom was really mad about it, but got over it. As of three years after the whole thing, Jan had managed to keep it hidden from her parents. She wore socks all the time and a band aid when they went swimming. I wonder if her parents know now.

A few months later, Lee came home from his mission. We started talking about marriage that night. A couple weeks after that, Leah got married and they moved in with his parents. She had a baby about two months later and made the veil for my wedding dress a couple months after that. Sadly, in the 15 years since my wedding I've seen her about six times. I haven't seen her at all for the last 13 years. Our lives were busy, and I wasn't always a great friend in the sense of supporting the people around me.

I still talk with Jan a little bit. We're not what you would call close, and mostly we just send Christmas cards and chat now and then. We're both married and have four kids. Once in awhile we'll get together and I'll think that we're going to build from there, but it just hasn't quite happened. I'm not upset about it and I don't blame either of us, it's just one of those things. Once Lee got home I was stuck to him like glue, I think all of my friends at that time felt a little abandoned and I can't blame them for that. We've all just moved on. Tatoos didn't do much to bind us to one another.

And as for my thoughts about that tattoo now, when I'm so much older and wiser. I'm pretty neutral about it. My husband hates it, my kids think it's cool--which scares me--yet it does showcase the girl I have been. I did fear I'd lose my independence when I settled down; I didn't feel ready to give that up even though being all grown up also what I wanted more than anything. My tattoo does remind me of those things. Whether or not that's a good thing to be reminded of is still up for interpretation. As for my feelings about tattoos in general--I don't recommend them because you can't change your mind. I mean, I guess you can, but tattoo removal is extremely expensive. The tattoo that cost me $25 to get, would cost about $800 to remove. The colors have faded and it looks washed out and more like I drew on myself. I have to have ongoing discussions with my kids on why tattoos are bad, and yet explain my own behavior in a way that doesn't make them say "Well, mom did, so it's okay". It's impossible to give that lecture and not feel like a hypocrite.

So, there you have it. My tatoo--for good or bad, it's part of who I am. Let's just hope my son doesn't one day come home with a naked hula girl on his bicep.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Josi's Favorites

So, Oprah does her favorite things show every year. Quite frankly it makes me nuts. I want all of it and feel so ripped off that I don't get a magical $5,000 in my bank account to make it so. Now Dr. Phil does it do. Just makes me crazy, but then I figured I'd just copy them and do my own favorite things that you can all salivate over and want it for themselves. Prepare yourself, people, cause life just ain't gunna be the same:

Top Seven Favorite things for Today (It might change tomorrow)

1) Hard Lamination. Now this isn't that wimpy super-flexible-can-still-be-bent lamination--oh now--this is the hard core lamination. This is Thick plastic--like credit card plastic--that protects your valuable words or pictures with superman-type-strength. You can get this at Kinko's or other copy places, it runs about $1.25 for an 8x10 and comes in set sizes from name badge to 11x14. Works great as a white board so is fabulous for chore charts and budget sheets.

See, you're drooling already.

2) Hamburger. I'm not talking Hamburgers, like the meat between sandwiches, I'm talking the pound by pound ground beef. Oh, the versatility of this food stuff! Tacos, BBQ's, stroganoff, sloppy Joe's, Shepard's pie, hamburger soup, gravy, and about a million kinds of casserole. Whoever came up with ground beef is a freaking genius. We bought a cow once--dead and butchered already--and the steaks and roasts and things sat there for months and months while the hamburger was quickly enjoyed. Oh yes, I do love hamburger--especially since it doesn't taste anything like chicken.

3) Red Pens. Red is a power color, it draws powerful energy to you and although it might wash you out when it's in shirt form--it is welded power when it's contained in a pen. I use red pens for editing, of course, but also for notes, calendars, to do lists, grocery lists, and drawing hearts on my kid's arms. It is vibrant and bright and hard to ignore, those red pens of mine, and I keep several on hand at all times. Felt tip is best.

4) Blogs without music. Now I realize some of you reading this are saying "What? my blog has music! Does Josi hate me?" Of course Josi doesn't hate you, but she hates your music and this is why. When Josi reads blogs she sits down and opens about 8 at once, then goes through them, reads, comments, etc. It's not THAT bad when only one of the eight has music, but it's usually three which my computer plays simultaneously. So I've got Celine Dion, Dixie Chicks, and Sting all trying to sing in unison--it does not work. And it aggravates me. Anything that aggravates me is not my favorite. I will still go to your blogs, and I will still love you, but I will pray that you will be enlightened and get rid of the music. If your blog does not have music, I is a happy girl!

5) Bio-35. This is a vitamin that, when taken regularly, makes me almost feel normal rather than an emotionally driven female that can not focus or think of ten happy thoughts. It's full of Vitamin B and does make your pee bright yellow, but that is forgiven because it allows me to smile. Smiling is good. Blog music is bad. You can find Bio-35 at Wal-mart and sometimes Smith's. I need to get some for my food storage because everyone will want to eat me first if I don't have my Bio-35 when we're all living on cream base and peanut butter.

6) Thick pillows. I've tried expensive ones, latex ones, and the cheap ones from the store--the cheap ones aren't any worse than the expensive ones. But I like a firm pillow that holds my head up. Now my sister--I won't name names but it starts with a C has an rysta in the middle and ends with an L (not to be confused with my sis-in-law who has the same name) has had the same pillow for about 20 years. The thing is an inch thick. I don't know how she sleeps on it or why. I need new pillows about every 4 months because they squish. And I am not happy with squished pillows.

7) Thrift Stores. No matter how much money I have to spent, I will go to a thrift store first. I love em! And I'm good at Thrift stores. You can't go in a hurry, and you can't go looking for something in particular, and you have to try on about 25 things to find one you like, but hey, you could end up with a pair of lucky jeans for $4 or a Billibong shirt for $2. It's a very good thing. We went to San Diego and I dragged my family to a thrift store. I found the cutest shirt and some jammies for my daughter. It was a good day.

And last but not least . . .

7) Rain. I absolutely love rain. I could never live in Arizona because it does not rain enough. I think I would do great in Seattle. Rain just makes me happy, and if I can't get real rain, a CD will do. We have a big metal barn and one of my favorite things to do is is go in it when it rains and the acoustics are overwhelming. Ahhhhh, just thinking of it makes me happy. One day I'm going to get aluminum awnings on my bedroom windows so I can hear every little plink. And the best part about rain is that it's free! Free is good.

So there you have it, my attempt to make you all feel small and covetous. Bwahhahahahahaha. However, you can have all things I've mentioned here for around $50--including the Lucky jeans and billibong shirt and Rain CD. Not bad, huh. Who needs Oprah?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Complicated, complicated

Anyone that knows me knows how much I LOVE complications. It just gives me the chance to shrug my shoulders and say, "Hey, it's a new adventure."


I hate complications. I hate it when things don't work. I take little satisfaction in fixing things that should not go wrong in the first place. I can't stand it when things go wrong, especially when it's my fault. With that, here is my day:

7:45--get up, eat, get kids syked for the race we're running in Tremonton today.
8:15--Wake up husband, make him eat breakfast, run around the house trying to find shoes while grumbling "Why can't you guys just put your shoes away when you take them off, then you'd know right where they are!" In my 15 years of motherhood I've said this about ninety-seven thousand times. You'd think they would figure it out!
8:45--Print of flier from internet about the race, quickly review the time and place. Herd kids to car.
9:20--Arrive in Tremonton (30 miles away) and decide RIGHT THEN (not half an hour ago) to read the details of the race. Notice it says November 10--not November 8. Shake my head and talk about how important it is to proofread. Idiots.
9:21--Pull up to the Senior Center where the race is supposed to begin only to find it surrounded by red ski netting and the whole building a pile of debris.
9:22--make husband drive to city park because of course that's where they moved the race to since the senior center is being demolished. Ignore questions on why they would put the senior center on the flier if they knew it was going to be demolished.
9:23--Go into the library to look for a notice about the race change of location. Their community bullitin board sucks and has no information.
9:25--Pull into a gasstation, buy a local paper, give have to the husband who finds out the race is on the 15th--next weekend. Look at my flier and realize it's from LAST YEAR!!
9:27--Head back toward home, trying to blame the city for keeping an old notice on their website. Explain to boy-child that he now has to go to dance practice.
9:37--Grind teeth as boy-child cries and tells us how much he hates dance.
9:40--Get boy-child to shut up by promising him a Slurpee.
9:42--Get youngest child to shut up by promising her a slurpee too.
9:50--Pull up to high school where dance rehearsal is supposed to take place.
9:52--Take boy child inside only to have him tell me that practice is at the dance studio today, they told him last week and he forgot to tell me alllll week as well as the last 15 minutes we've been discussing it in the car.
9:58--Drop still sulking boy-child off at dance studio.
10:05--Stop at 7-11 for water and potty break. We decided to go run at the high-school track rather than drive home while son goes to last hour of practice.
10:07--Wait behind an overweight family of 9 filling up on $30 worth of nachos, slurpees, donuts, pop, and hot dogs. They paid for it with food stamps. I had to scrounge up quarters to buy water bottles.
10:15--Get on track, stretch out, get ready to go only to have youngest child tell us she needs to go Pee. We JUST left 7-11. Husband and I exchange those looks that say "Why did we have children?"
10:20--I told husband to run, I'll take youngest child to a bathroom.
10:25--Sneek youngest child into high school swimming pool bathroom.
10:30--Return to track, run 1.75 miles while stewing in my own negativity.
10:50--Leave track to pick up boy child
11:00--pick up boy--I'm so ready to go home--and get reminded that we owe him a Slurpee which means we have to go BACK into Brigham City before going home.

Luckily--it got better once we got home and now I get to do yard work. Let's hope next week it goes a bit smoother.

Fast, but not Turkey Fast

When I was growing up, my dad let all of us kids know that in high-school we were required to do a sport. There was no if-ands-or-buts about it--we would all be athletes because athletes learn discipline and work ethic and it kept kids out of trouble. My oldest sister did track, which was what my dad did in high-school and what he coached now that he was a teacher. He was quite pleased, even more so that she went on to BYU where she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology. The next sister did Swimming, which my father approved of as well and she went on to get her teaching certificate and serve a mission in Chile. My dad went to Guatimala--so, yeah, she proved his point as well. I tried cross country as a sophmore until I heard about this thing called tendinitis where your tendons get inflamed and it's very painful. I then used this tidbit of knowledge to get out of cross country. See, you can't spot tendinitis on an x-ray. I hated running and pretty much all other sports as well and managed to have tendinitis long enough that I was unable to be on the cross country team. In my defense, I think I really did have it . . . at first.

Anyway, I then went on to prove my dad right--if you didn't do sports you got into trouble. My poor father. A man of such ideals that I single-handidly crushed. The sports thing was picked up again a few kids later, but I bucked the system and took on lame boyfriends and bad grades instead--go me! I got married not quite a year after graduating high-school (with a tattoo) and dropped out of community college.

And yet, here I am, twenty years later, and running. I've run here and there the last few years and am just non-athletic enough to be all kinds of impressed with myself when I hit milestones.

"I ran half a mile without puking, wahoo!"

"I ran a whooooooole mile! Someone buy me a cheeseburger!"

"I ran TWOOOOO miles without taking any performance enhancing medication--Just call me Jackie Joiner."

Because I have never accomplished much in the way of athletics, everything I do accomplish is like super-star--in my own mind anyway. I know I'm not fast and I know I'm not all that disciplined--but still. A girl's got to have pride in something and since my oldest two kids are teenagers now, I have a lot of failure-complexes to overcome.

Two weeks ago I ran my first 5K. I was so nervous. I had gotten to where I could run four miles as I trained for it (Yeah, FOUR) but I'd never run with anyone but my friend Tiffany. To run with a huge group, and many of them dressed in coordinated warm up suits--whew, can you say intimidation? So, imagine my self-celebration when I came in at 28:39--which meant I ran my miles at about 9 and a half minutes. DANG good stuff for me!

And just in case I'm not impressed with myself enough, my husband is shocked. I think this stems from comments I've made over the years like "Running sucks" and "I stop exercising when it hurts or I can't breath very good." Now, I'm sticking to a schedule and pushing myself. He likes it. He likes it so much he decided to run yesterday's race with me. After last week's mix-up neither of us were all that pumped for yesterday but we were very glad it wasn't snowing and so we went ahead and did it.

We drove about 30 miles north (again--see last weeks post if you missed out on that thrill) and participated in Tremonton's annual Turkey Trot. The first place winners in each age/gender category win a frozen turkey and the second place winners win a free pie. Lee talked about how great it was going to be when I won the turkey. I laughed. I might be delusional, but I'm not THAT delusional. Still, I let him live out his little fantasy cause it made me feel good anyway.

My goal was twofold--beat my time from two weeks ago and keep breathing. I am pleased to say that I accomplished both of them! I came in at 28:28--11 seconds faster than my first 5K--and I managed to breath the whole way. I also killed (that's when you pass someone) 8 other runners after the first mile, and yes I am counting that little nine year old girl at a mile and a half AND the lady pushing the stroller that I passed about 20 feet from the finish line. No one killed me. I came in ninth in my age division which was 25-38 and I was number 43 overall, out of about 85 people. I also beat my husband by almost 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, coming in ninth does not win a Turkey, but my daughter came in as the 2nd girl at 8:49 in the kid's 1 mile and won a pie. My son came in third with a time of 7:40. Maybe I need to start running with him.

So anyway, I have caught the bug. Brigham City has a Thanksgiving race and I'm determined to beat my time again. Both my youngest kids are pumped up at their success and want to keep doing it to. Lee is shrugging off. He really hates running.

And who knows, maybe I'll invest in one of those coordinated warm up suits one of these days :-)
Unfortunately, I have to buy my own Thanksgiving turkey--and I don't eat turkey. That's totally not fair, but whatyagunnado? Fast but not turkey fast--I guess I can live with that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Catilogue Choice

You'll probably notice that I spelled catilogue wrong in the heading--well, that's me. I've always been a horrible speller and just for fun this post I'm not going to fix any of my spelling mistakes. I sometimes catch them, but then there are words like catilogue and colledge and buisness that just boggle my mind. I know they aren't spelled right, but I don't know why. Today you get to see my deficiency for what it really is.

But that's not the point of my post. My point today is the dreaded catilogue deluge that hits my mailbox this time every year. It truly makes me bonkers and I end up taking dozens of catilogues I have no interst in reading to the recycling bin. So, last month when I heard about Catilogue Choice I was thrilled. Catillogue choice is a company that basically sends cease and desist orders to catilogue companies on your behalf. And they do it for FREE. You go to their site, register and then start searching catilogue titles and marking your preference. It has spaces for you to enter customer numbers and source codes and things but if you're feeling lazy, like me, you just click on 'not available' and continue on. You can then 'view your choices' and see the catilogues you've entered and what the status is.

In just one month I have entered 41 catilogue titles into my catilogue choice account, requesting all of them to stop coming to my address. At least ten of those titles have sent me multiple catilogues in just 30 days. Can you imagine the kind of paper just my house is using up? It's really pathetic. Of the 41 I've entered, 17 are confirmed as having recieved my request and that they have canceled me on lists. 27 have not yet replied and the others are still processing (they are likely the ones I entered today). I'm a little annoyed that 27 of the companies haven't yet responded, and even more annoyed that several of them do not participate with catilogue choice, but nevertheless I'm doing what I can.

Here is me and the catilogues I've recieved since FRIDAY. Totally lame, huh?

So, if you don't use your catilogues and would like to cut down on those coming to your home, head on over to catilogue choice and sign up. Keep in mind it can take up to 10 weeks for the request to take effect, but 10 weeks will pass anyway.

have a great day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Whitney Benefit Auction

Last year I had the incredible honor of winning the Whitney Award for my novel Sheep’s Clothing. It was certainly a pinnacle moment for me in my writing career to receive that kind of validation. This year, I asked to be a part of the Whitney Award Committee so as to do my part in the continued development of the program which is run completely on donated time and paid for by donated money. In order to be a member of the committee, I understood that any books I wrote that would be eligible for the Whitney Award 2008 would not be nominated. Truly, I am fine with this. Though I am very proud of Her Good Name and very much enjoying the positive reviews that have come back to me, I am equally relieved to remain a Whitney Winner ☺ If I can’t win, then I also can’t lose. And it’s been great to be behind the scenes on the committee decisions and be part of something I find so remarkable—the birth of an award that I believe will improve the writing in the LDS market and draw attention to LDS writers in every market and every publishing venue. It truly has been an honor.

But we need money.

Perhaps I’m tactless in saying that so bluntly, but hey, if you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that tact is not my middle name any more than is patient or sane. However, the Whitney Awards are not requesting straight donations this year (though we wouldn’t turn them down) but this year we put out a call for donations we could then auction off. The bidders get to shop, they get the chance to bid on tangible items, and the Whitney Awards get the funding they need to continue this program. We put out the call and the answer was astonishing. We have literally hundreds of books, many of which come with one of a kind additions from the authors, we have massages, and clothing, and chocolate and all kinds of things donated by individuals and companies that see the vision of the Whitney Awards and wanted to do their part. Annette Lyon was nothing short of a amazing as day after day she found more and more people that wanted to be a part of this. Kerry Blair blew my mind as she put it all together from her home. Truly, the efforts to make this auction a success is incredible. And, the best news is that it is now open to the public at and will run for the month of November, with new auctions being added daily. Please, stop in and look around, do some Christmas shopping with the knowledge that by doing so gives a gift not only to your loved ones, but to the LDS writing community as a whole. Also, if you can put a link on your website and tell your blog readers about the auction, even more people can participate. This is very much a grass roots effort and campaign, and depends on the cyber community to get the word out.

If you have any questions, contact myself and I’ll do my best, or contact the queen of the auction herself, Kerry Blair at

Right now there is an advertising spot for Writing Excuses, a fantasy podcast with 5,000 downloads a week, a manuscript edit, an autographed copy of Emma Burning, and Vinyl wall art that says “Home Sweet Home”. Happy shopping!

To add a graphic link to your sidebar, like you see here: (I hope this works by putting it here)

Go to Layout
Choose "Add a Gadget"
Choose "Html/java"
Paste the following code into the code section (only copy the text between the **):

**whitneybenefitauctionsrc="" title="whitneybenefitauction"/ />**

UPDATE: The code isn't working here on the blog so please contact me at and I'll e-mail it to you. Thanks!