Monday, August 31, 2009

If You Care To Talk Politics For a Sec...

I have a question for you. Background: I saw a commercial today on TV about bill S391, one relating to preposed health care changes. And the commercial seemed quite biased, alarmist, and unfactual. So, having a few minutes to spare, I thought I'd look the bill up and read it myself. If you'd like to do so, here's a link. Healthy Americans Act.

The bill hopes to require all insurance companies to conform to certain standards deemed acceptable. Minimum care requirements. Also, it hopes to push insurance companies to cover more preventative care, things that detect and stop diseases before they start or early on rather than waiting until someone has a disease and then to cover treatment, which is the way most insurance companies lean now.

Some say the government shouldn't get involved in this debate at all. That it should be worked out in the private sector. That competition between insurance companies should be the only thing dictating how those companies behave. Others say that some regulation is necessary and prudent to make sure Americans a) get an acceptable level of health care and b) to bring down costs in health care that are too high because of a lack of preventative care.

My thoughts are that both things sound reasonable. I do believe in the free market system. And I do believe that in most cases competition does drive companies to improve and meet the desires of their customers. However, there are also cases in history where companies and industries have banded together to create a sort of monopoly situation. Where, with so much combined power, they no longer need to meet the desires of the consumers. But rather take the attitude "We're doing what suits our needs and profits best. What other choice does the consumer have?" And in those circumstances, the government has stepped in and said that they will set some rules, some laws, to protect the American people and keep mega-companies and mega-industries playing fair and keeping true competition in play.

So with that in mind, what do you think? Should the government step in under certain circumstances to set rules and regulations to make private companies function under a true free-market model? Or should they never step in, not even when people's health and well-being (as well as pocketbook) are at stake?

p.s. I'm not coming at this with a "right answer" in mind. I'm seriously open to your thoughts. But please make sure all debating is respectful of one another. Thanks.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

When Teaching Your Kids Manners Backfires

Sometimes I like to let out a really loud belch. Usually when drinking pop. I don't do it in public or anything. But at home, there is nothing like just letting a giant burp come out with full force and volume.

So I have to say that it really is annoying when, lately, every time I try to bask in a good belch, it is immediately followed by the voices of my two children in unison: "Mommy! Say EXCUSE ME!"

I know I could say it. But I have found that it ruins the satisfaction of the whole event.

Dang those kids and their pesky manners.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Please Feel Free To Promote Yourself Now

So. I have four baskets of laundry on my bed that need sorting and folding and putting away.


So. I have a Blockbuster movie (a part 2 of 2) that I has been sitting here next to my TV, ready to be watched, for 2 weeks.


So. I have 2 suitcases still unpacked from Vegas sitting in the middle of the living room floor.


So. I haven't been to read your blog in, like, 3 weeks?


And just so you know, I'm starting with the most important things first: that being the blog reading, of course. So now is your chance to pop in and say hi and tell me you'd like to be first in line to have your blog read. If I've been neglecting you, or never read you anymore, or don't know who you are, or have forgotten to check in, or if you're a blurker and need some bloggy lovin', or if you wrote something super funny and want recognition, or if you wrote something super boring and no one is commenting....


And I promise that within the next 24 hours I will read everyone's blog who comments on this post. Seriously. It's that easy to get comments from me while I have all this important stuff to avoid. So...



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Public Service Announcement On How to Fix Your Majorly Screwed Up Blog

Not that probably any of you care--or at least you won't until it happens to you and then you'll come crawling back to this post to figure things out--but I fixed my blog and it should now appear just fine (solid background under text, sidebar stuff on the side). And here's how it got screwed up:

You know how when you create a new blog post you can choose to write it in "compose" or in "edit html"? Well, if you write it in compose, which I usually don't, it will add in some html codes to space out the paragraphs, etc. One such code is the "div" code. And each time it adds a "div" there is a "< /div >" to close the html code. If you inadvertently (or advertently, in my case) delete some of the < /div >'s cause they annoy the crap out of you, you may find an error message when you try to publish that says something like "Hey, you idiot. You have messed with my perfectly good html code and your blog is about to get majorly screwed up." But fortunately, underneath that error message, a little box can be checked that says "Shut up. I'm too lazy to fix all those codes. Just publish my post already!" I frequently just check that box because, well, I am too lazy to fix all those html codes. And things have always worked out just fine when I have checked that box. Well, this time, not so much. Evidently it really can majorly screw up your blog. If you have multiple missing "< /div >'s," your entire side bar will relocate to the bottom of your blog and the nice pale pink background you had your friend/blog designer put in underneath your text to make it readable will just up and disappear, leaving only crazy, hot pink, headache-inducing swirls.

So, the moral of this story is, Always Write In "edit html." Or it could be "Stop Being So Lazy And Add a Few < /div >'s. But who wants to do that?? Blech. I'll stick with "edit html."

p.s. Thanks to the people at blogger help who so kindly furnished me with the answer to this baffling mystery.

p.p.s. Thanks to all of you who kindly lent your help in letting me know if you were seeing my blog right or not. Turns out it had nothing to do with the browser. Or if it did, I don't want to know. I'd like to live in the delusion that I fixed this issue all by myself.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raise Your Hand if You're Seeing Swirls

So something wierd has happened to my formatting. All of the sudden all my widgets are at the bottom of the screen instead of on the side. And several people have reported that the solid background that usually appears behind my text is gone and they are trying to read the text over the top of the hot pink swirly background (Nightmare! Sorry!). But on my screen, I still see the pale pink solid behind the text. So would you all mind letting me know if you're seeing solid or swirls behind the text? Also, what internet browser you are using. If Explorer, what version? I'm starting to think it's a web browser issue. Thanks!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Dancing Queen Update

I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone w/o getting on the computer AT ALL. Two and a half days!!! Anyway, I’m home. 3.3 hours later than expected due to the fact that I “pulled a Lorie” (i.e. got my flight wrong, something which my mother, Lorie, does every single time she flies. Although we probably would have made our flight, Las Vegas requires no less than 45 minutes ahead check in, so they made us wait for the next flight. LAME.) So, withiout further ado, here is the synopsis of my weekend in Vegas…

1) Big Daddy and I went golfing on Saturday and I GOT A BIRDIE!!! If you don’t know anything about golf, a Birdie is good. Very good. I only have had maybe half a dozen in the 10 years I’ve been playing golf. I average about one per summer, if I’m lucky, so that was a huge highlight of my trip. I know, I know-- you didn’t come here to hear about golf. I’m getting to the dancing part; hold your horses!

2) We went to the “Rising Star” competition on Saturday night. The rising stars are the pre-prefessional level. They are as good as professionals but are still in amateur status. It was amazing to watch. The costumes, the hair, the choreography, the near collisions on the dance floor….awesome. It also made me VERY nervous. Not that I in any way equate myself with these dancers. But just watching how good they were made me realize exactly how sucky I am. True, they’ve been dancing for years and I have only been dancing about 3 months, but I still felt the disparity. It was discouraging. The costumes, however, cheered me up somewhat. Most of them were worth $3000-4000 dollars. There had to have been a quarter million dollars worth of gowns in that room that night! And, oh, the sparkles!

3) I slept about 4 hours. I stayed at the ballroom quite late, watching the dancing, and then I went back to my hotel and fretted all night about how my dances would go, about whether or not I needed to have a good bow (the pros and even the little kids that danced before the pros that night all had these amazing triple spin bows), about waking up on time, etc. I “woke up” (I’m not sure I even really slept) at 4:30am and couldn’t force myself to sleep any more. I finally got up about 5:15 to get ready. Fortunately, adrenaline kept me awake until 11:30 when I finally got to nap.

4) I was relieved when I got to the ballroom, all dressed up, to find that I was appropriately dressed. A nice mix of flashy and whorish, like everyone else. There were a few costumes that were plain, but most were extravagant and sparkly and amazing. I’m also glad I opted out of the facial rhinestones. Not that I wouldn't adore walking around with jewels on my eyebrows for a few hours. But it appears that only the pros go quite that far.

5) Ok, I’m finally getting to the part you’re all waiting for: How I did. Well, my cha cha was up first. I was nervous about that because it’s a fast dance and always makes me winded when I do it in practice. But it went by so quickly and I had so much adrenaline that I didn’t notice it at all. I felt like my cha cha was OK. It is definitely my weaker of the two dances, so I had no expectations of placing at all. Still, I felt like I danced it about as well as I can, so I was satisfied. Next was the rumba. I didn’t do as well at this one as I had hoped. It’s my stronger dance, for sure, and I had felt very confident about it. First place confident. But I did one of the moves out of order and had to do a little shuffle to get back on track, and I noticed one of the judges watching me right as I did that little shuffle. I was sure I had screwed it all up. Anyway, I did my 2 minutes of dancing and cleared the floor for the other dances I wasn’t participating in. After an hour or so, they did the awards. The awards process is CRAZY. They line up everyone who danced and then as fast as they can, they say the name of the heat, the name of the dance, and then they call the first place winner’s name, the second place winner’s name, and the third place winner’s name. They don’t even pause between them. You have to sprint up to get your award and then go back in line for the next round of awards, which has already been announced by the time you get back in line.

Ok, so, how did I do?


Cha Cha?

And what did I win? You already saw it.

Yep, stickers. All my hard work of several months and dozens of hours, my blood, sweat, tears, and blisters were crowned with the fabulous prize of two 1” stickers. Ha! But of course no one goes there for the prizes. It’s all about the glory. And the fun. Both of which were had in large amounts. I was very pleased to have earned 2nd place for my cha cha. I hadn’t expected to even place. I was a little disappointed with not getting 1st for my rumba, but when I watched the video, I could see snippets of who won 1st place and she was definitely better than me. By a lot. By enough that I suspect she was padding her entry level. But whatever. I had a great time.

Thanks for all your well-wishes! Round 2 is in December! Who's up for it???

I didn't get any video footage of my rumba in Vegas. Big Daddy got scolded for taking video right after my cha cha (I guess they want you to pay the $50 for the professional videographer's take), so he had to stick to still pics. So I have included my dress rehearsal version.

Oh, and this is what I had for breakfast today. Raspberry lemon pancakes with vanilla bean whipped cream. It might be the best part about my weekend in Vegas. Nothing ends a two week starvation diet like 1500 calories in one sitting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ari, Ari, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

With Romano beans and cucumbers and raspberries all in a row.

Also, lovely dill, red leaf and green leaf lettuce, chives, an adorable baby watermelon (growing fast), peas, cilantro, radishes, strawberries, and a massive Roma tomato plant.

This has been the most successful Square Foot Garden I've done so far. I'm actually eating the things I grow! My strawberries have sent out runners to every empty spot on the garden, so next year I should have twice the strawberries. My cucumbers are crisp and sweet. My tomato plant has taken over one whole quarter of the garden and is giving me great tomatos for salsa. It's awesome!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shout Out To Winder Dairy

I have blogged several times before about my disappointment in the state of customer service these days. I have griped about how employees don't smile or say hello to you, how they talk to other employees while they're ringing you up, how you can't get through on the phone when you call customer service for help, or how even when you finally do, companies don't actually want to help you or give you the benefit of the doubt any more.


This post is a post to give props for outstanding customer service. I know, I know, it's like a Christmas miracle! But it's the truth. Here's how it all went down.

I've been a customer of Winder Dairy for about 5 years. I love that they deliver right to my door, I love that their milk and eggs are hormone free, I love that they have a huge variety of fresh and ready-made products, and I love that they deliver right to my door. Did I mention that they deliver to my door? Anywho, I started getting more than just milk and eggs over the last year. They have good bread, good produce, and in a pinch I'll also get things like yogurt, sour cream, cheese, juice, and even pizza from them.

Well, last week I decided to try a new bread they offered. 10 Grain. Big Daddy said he'd had a really good multi-grain bread in a sandwich shop recently, and, coming from a 99.9% white-bread-eater, I knew this was big news. So I thought I'd try to find a bread like the one he had. So I got the one from Winder (which is made by Paradise Bakery, incidentally). Well, it was a real disappointment. I had expected a nice hearty, dense whole wheat bread with bits of sunflower seeds and oats and other stuff throughout. Instead what I got was fluffy, flimsy WHITE BREAD with a few seeds and things in it. It wasn't at all what I had imagined and didn't remotely live up to Big Daddy's expectations. So I went to the website to leave some user feedback on the bread (I’m a big believer in user feedback and reviews. I find them invaluable in choosing items online so I try to do my duty and help others out in return).

Imagine my surprise when, less than a week later, the phone rang and it was Winder Dairy calling. The polite girl on the phone said that she wanted to thank me for leaving my review of the 10 Grain Bread. She was sorry that I didn’t like it and would pass my comments on to the quality control people. She hoped I would continue to try new things and leave comments to they could improve their products.

HOW NICE WAS THAT? I will tell you: VERY nice. In this world where no company or representative of any company gives a hoot about what you think or even cares if they keep you as a customer, it’s amazing to find someone who not only cares about what you said about their product, but who takes the time to CALL YOU and THANK YOU in person for leaving your feedback, even when the feedback was negative! Now THAT is customer service.

If I weren’t already completely in love with Winder Dairy for the fact that they have always had superb customer service, this would have tipped the scales. As it is, every time I’ve ever called, I have talked with exceptionally polite, respectful, eager to please people who have immediately resolved my issues and made sure I’m happy. Plus, their food is delicious and reasonably priced. Even when some things are higher priced than the grocery store, I save tons of money every month by not having to run to the store every other day to buy “just a loaf of bread” (as I leave the store $50 later) or “just a gallon of milk” (as I leave $75 later). Yes, I’m a true fan. A loyal customer. There isn’t much incentive that can out-do really good customer service.

Plus, did I mention that they deliver right to your door?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dancing Queen

Mia, you're a genious! When in doubt (or in a blogging funk), post pics!

I had a photo shoot with my dance studio on Saturday. We all got dolled up in our dance costumes, put on our whorish make-up, and spent 4 hours having our bodies contorted pics taken by a professional photographer. I don't know when we'll get copies of those pics, but I had the photographer snap a couple shots with my own camera whilst in the ridiculous poses he had me in. Unfortunately, there was some child-related goober on the lense, so all but one of the pics came out fuzzy. This will have to suffice until the professional shots come back....

(oh, how I love the cutlets!)

(One of the dance instructors, Mandy)

(This is not my partner. This is my dance instructor's partner. As in PARTNER, not partner.)

I have just recieved word that I dance at 7:47 and 7:48 am. That's IN THE MORNING, people. Heaven help this night owl. Do you think I will be able manage to apply 8 coats of foundation plus 2 lbs of eye make up plus fake eyelashes at 5 o'clock in the morning???


I've lost my blogging mojo. Has anyone seen it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chocolate Calculator

I already emailed this to a few of you, but it was so fun that I couldn't resist putting it here. Also, I'm too lazy to do a regular post today.


Don't tell me your age; you'd probably lie anyway-but the Chocolate Man will know!

This is pretty neat.

It takes less than a minute.
Work this out as you read.
Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator......

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1759. If you haven't, add 1758.

6... Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number

The first digit of this was your original number
(i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

The next two numbers are .....

YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)


(Hey, if nothing else, this post was visually stimulating, right?)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It Takes Two to Tango. And Cha-cha.

So I have dancing on the brain. What can I say? It's only 10 days until the pro-am competition I'm competing in. It's called the Nevada Star Ball, by the way, in case any of you want to drive/fly/hitchhike/stow away in our luggage to Las Vegas for it.

Yesterday I went shopping and I managed to pack myself into some really tight undergarments that take off about a size around the middle and add about 2 sizes up top. It's awesome. I'll share pics soon.

In the meantime, my dance studio (King Studio in Foothill Village) was featured on the morning news last week. You can watch a clip of my instructer/dance partner, Martin, here...

(Skip forward to 2:20 if you want to skip Big Budah. And you do.)


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I Hate August

It's not poor August's fault. It tries to be a good month, on the whole. Warm without being as blazing hot as July. Sometimes even pleasantly and cool and balmy. Its mornings are milder. Its evenings are softer. Its skies are just as blue in the day and just as sapphire in the night. Its stars shine just as brightly and its crickets chirp just as loudly. But August has one majorly glaring fault: It is the harbinger of death. DEATH of summer. DEATH of warmth. DEATH of vacation. DEATH, in short, of all that is virtuous, lovely, and of good report and praise-worthy.

When I was a kid, I hated August because I knew that school would be starting soon. When I was a teacher, I hated August because I knew that school would be starting soon. And now, even though I am neither student nor teacher, I can't help but go into a sense of panic when August hits. In fact, the fear hits earlier than August. It hits about late April. Because late April is when things really start to warm up. And once they warm up, it means summer is almost here. And summer, as we all know, has less hours and minutes and seconds in its days than all the other times of year. It flies faster and is over sooner. So as soon as it turns May, summer really has one foot in the grave. I mean, it's practically winter already!!!

I know that this is neurotic of me. I know I should just kick back and enjoy May, June and July. And I try! Honestly I do. And I usually manage to hold back the hysteria.......until August. But then it unleashes itself it it's full joy-killing glory. After August comes bare trees, dead flowers, cold weather, ice, snow, scraping the car, wearing bulky coats, getting sick, cold weather, putting on weight, having to leave my warm house, having to leave my warm bed, cold weather....everything I hate about life. And it all begins to begin in August.

And that, my friends, is why August and I will never get along.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Things I Learned From a Hong Kong Dress

The Good News: My dress has arrived! And it "fits."


Here are some things I've learned since trying it on:

1) Lycra, even encrusted in beads and sequins, shows every bump and lump you've got. Hence...
2) My waist is thicker than I thought
3) My legs are fatter at the top than I thought
4) My hips are bumpier than I thought
5) A girdle can only go so far to flatten out your gut, hips, and thighs
6) My boobs are flatter than I thought.
7) Actually, they are about like I thought they were, but this dress smashes them and makes them look flatter than they are.
8) I might have to get some chicken cutlets.
9) There's a reason why dresses from China are so cheap. The beading isn't sewed on super strong. I better remember not to cha-cha too fast or they might fly off! (The beads, not the cutlets.)
10) My legs need to look more tan.
11) You can buy spray on panty-hose.
12) I wish my legs looked sexier. Higher heels make your legs look sexier. Lower heels mean I might not fall on my butt. I'll probably take the higher heels.
13) I think I need to glam up my performance-look a bit. You know, hairspray, jewelry, body glitter.... But I'm not sure how far to go. There's a fine line between hot and hooker.
14) I don't care about 1-13. I'm so excited about this dance competition I could be 8 months pregnant and wearing a garbage bag and I'd have fun!

Only two weeks to go!

p.s. Once I experiment with push-up, flatten-out, batten-down undergarments for a while, I'll do some pictures of me in the dress.

Oh, and after I perfect my facial rhinestones.

(Thank you, Miss Tina Spaahkle)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Death's Door

I am sicky sick sick. I think I can say this is the worst cold or flu or whatever it is that I've had in a long long time. It's been six days and I still feel as sick as ever. I haven't seen any change in the amount of achiness, snot, coughing, plegm, sore throat or fatigue.

Add to that....

A visit from my least favorite aunt, Florence. (wink)
Bad news about the Cutterpillar
Bad news about the Florida mess
A poor sales month for my Honey
About 36 hours of crying and not sleeping and not eating for worrying over a friend in a major life crisis
And the fact that I can't find the match to one of my favorite pairs of flip flops

And now you know why I have been camped out on death's door. If I haven't read your blog, it's not you, it's me. If I haven't made comments, it isn't that I don't love you. If I haven't called, or dropped by, or made any contact with you in the last week, don't take it personally. I'm just having a really really bad week.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Support Your Local Mom and Pop!

If you're local, i.e. the Salt Lake Valley, you may or may not know about a great little locally owned steakhouse called Madeline's in South Jordan. It's delicious. Great food (I love their coconut shrimp, and their steaks are mouthwatering), a nice atmosphere, and I love that it's locally owned and one-of-a-kind. Plus, they happen to have one of the most fantastic raspberry cheesecakes EVER. You know me--I do NOT like to mess with my cheesecake. In theory, mixing in fruit is a serious crime. But somehow it just works. There is a sour cream layer on the top too that is yummy. ANYWAY.... Madeline's is having a promotion that I wanted to let you all know about. Here are the details:

"All you have to do is forward this email on to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, Facebook friends, Twitter friends, or whoever you want and have them sign up for our VIP text program. Once they sign up, they will immediately receive a free dessert, and then they will be entered into a drawing to win free dinner! 1 out of every 15 will win! So the chances are pretty good.

This is just me trying to be creative and trying to give back to our loyal customers. And at the same time get the word out about Madeline's Steakhouse.

The way to sign up, for yourself (if you're not already on our VIP text program) and for your friends that read this email is simply this:

TEXT the word 'Madelines' to 74700

Then they will automatically receive a free dessert and be eligible to win free dinner at 1 out of 15 chances.

Again, Renee and I sincerely appreciate your business. We understand that you have choices when it comes to eating out and we're excited to earn you business. We look forward to serving you.

If you have any feedback for us please don't hesitate to email me at:

We look forward to positive comments as well as any comments on how we can improve. Please don't hesitate to reply.

Your friends,

Adam and Renee Wheaton (Owners of Madeline's Steakhouse and Grill)"

So there you have it. Free dessert just for texting the above code. And a 1 in 15 chance of winning a free dinner! Plus, the most important thing, you know you are helping to keep a local restaurant in business during this tough economic time.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1987 Vogue

On Saturday, we went to Big Daddy's 20 year high school reunion. (I know, OLD, right? But fortunately I married one of those guys who gets better with age. He's at the peak of handsomeness now.) Even though I didn't go to his school, I know enough of his high school friends and their wives that it was fun. What was more fun was the slide show they did half way through with pictures of the students and faculty from the 80's.

In preparation for this slide show, and the badges everyone was to wear, Big Daddy had to find a picture of himself from his senior year. And finding it was such a trip down memory lane. Down 80's Street, to be exact. And that's when we found this gem:

There were so many n classically 80's things about this picture that I thought I'd do a little vote to see which one wins as the most quintessential 80's thing of all (click to enlarge. And you will want to enlarge to see some of these elements in their full glory):

1) The mullets
2) The white pleather pumps
3) The lace sailor collars on the dresses
4) The hair wings
5) The bad perms
6) The acid washed chambray shirt (courtesy of Big Daddy on the back left)
7) The white button earrings (front right)
8) The white lace stockings (front center)
9) The Sperry Top-Siders/Dock-siders (back right)
10) The ubiquitous claw bangs

So what do you think? Which one most says "80's Vogue" to you?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Photo Folder Part Deux

More pictures from my photo files! Aren't you so excited? I know, you are quivering with the anticipationg. Well, you don't have to fret anymore; your wish is my command.

So in July while the kiddles were staying at my house, I got sick of being cooped up. So I single handedly took 4 kids under the age of 4 1/4 to the Thanksgiving Point farm. It was quite an adventure!

First the kids rode on Bessy. Their reactions ranged from "this is fun" to "I think I need a nap" to "hey, who just farted?"

Daphne and Ada: BFF's. Reunited and it feels so good.

The kids got to ride the ponies next.

Beck? Loved it.

Daphne? Loved it.

Ada? Loved it.

Jasper? Get me the heck off this thing!

Next I learned a new way to babysit...

Shoot, they figured out how to get out!

All that craziness wore me out. So I came home to have my servents buff my feet. Ahhh, the luxurious life of a middle class, Utah housewife.