Friday, July 30, 2010

Mr. Integrity

I'm a golfer. My husband taught me to golf back when we were dating and I realized that if I didn't learn to golf, I'd never see him on a Saturday. I'm not fantastic. But I'm decent. I can hold my own. On occasion I out-drive the boys or birdie a hole that the others have only parred. I like to golf. In fact, I love to golf. Watching golf, on the other hand, has never been my cup of tea. And I'm pretty sure it isn't a cup of tea very many people out there enjoy.

But in April an event took place on the golf course that I think everyone needs to be aware of. It was an event that kind of changed the way I look at humanity. And certainly at professional golf.

Brian Davis. A British golfer who had never won a tournament, was neck and neck with Jim Furyk, a golfer with many wins under his belt. On the first hole of the playoff to win the tournament, Brian Davis took a swing that got him within distance of tying the hole and continue the playoff. But shortly after making that swing, Brian Davis called over an official and told the official that he thought he had committed a penalty. On his backswing, he said, he thought he saw his club brush a reed. This is, officially, against the rules. The club can't move any "impediment" on the back swing. No one saw it. No one had called him on it. Even on video replay, the tiny movement of the reed could only be seen in slow motion. But the reed had moved. And Brian was forced to take a 2-stroke penalty, forfeiting the game.

What is amazing here is that a man had so much on the line--his first tour win, over $1 million dollars in prize money--but he chose his honor, his integrity, his name as more important. He could have let the error go. Probably no one would have ever noticed. But HE noticed, and so he had to speak up.

There are a lot of names in golf that come and go. A few that stick in our minds for their greatness. A few that stick for their folly. But Brian Davis, a nearly unknown name in the world of golf, will always be remembered because of this day. He is an example to me. Something to set my honesty watch by. Thank you, Mr.Davis. You are a true hero.

Link to the article here

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Berry Season

I will resist the urge to use the word "berry" for the word "very" in this post. It's so trite. But it's also berry hard. Whoops! I mean very hard. Because what else is there to say when you post pictures of the luscious strawberries, red raspberries, and purple raspberries that are bursting forth all over your yard? Except maybe how sad you will be that they most likely won't be YOUR berries by this time next year. That does make one berry sad. Oh dang it! Very sad. Anyway, if you have a spare patch of ground in the corner of your hard, I highly recommend some berry bushes or a berry patch. They grow back on their own every year and are berry very little maintenance. Start with everbearing strawberries. They'll start blooming in early spring and by late May or early June you'll have your first handful of delicious, sweet berries. In July your raspberries will bear fruit and will do so all month long. In August you will still get a few raspberries and some strawberries, though they will dwindle a bit in the heat. And then in September, as it cools down, you'll get one last burst of strawberries. There are so may ways to use raspberries and strawberries in your food: You can freeze them for smoothies, boil them with some sugar for hot berry sauce over vanilla ice cream. You can throw them on your cereal so that you feel all official like the cereal box picture. Mix them into your lemonade or pancake batter. Sprinkle them between layers of chocolate cake. Or, just eat them right off the bush, like my daughter and I love to do. No matter what way you use them, summer berries, fresh from your garden, are, well, berry berry good.



I just finished purchasing Daphne's uniforms for her upcoming school year at a charter school. Short and long sleeved polos, one of each of the three approved colors. Khaki and navy twill pants. (What IS twill anyhow?) Two absolutely adorable little pleated skirts. And a couple of to-die-for little jumpers. Apparently the darling plaid skirt pictured on the school's website is not actually part of the uniform. It isn't on the list. But I may get a few of those just because I love nothing more than a little girl in a plaid skirt with white knee socks and Mary Janes.

ANYWAY....after spending all that money on uniforms, I had to ask myself, are uniforms good or bad? You'd think I would know by now. I grew up attending public school. Then I went to three different private schools in high school: one with a strict dress code, but no uniform. One with a classic school-girl uniform. And one with a more lenient dress code, but no uniform. I also taught at a private school for 6 years and was the enforcer of a school uniform that whole time. All of that should, it seems, qualify me to make the call on whether school uniforms are good or bad, whether they stifle your individuality or prevent one's financial background from being so divisive. I still don't know!

Any thoughts? Anyone out there with a sound, educated, well-developed opinion on the matter? Or a totally unfounded, biased, hysterical opinion on the matter? I'm all ears.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Merry Maid

While I'm waiting on hold at Old Navy customer service to ask them why my 30% off code won't work....

I have been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, fixing, repairing, packing, and cleaning like a mad woman the last 8-9 days, ever since I realized I needed to get my house ready for viewing. Let me share one of my observations with you:

I have become a victim of Mess Blindness. This occurs when you have a certain mess or item in disrepair in your house and you no longer see it. It's like it doesn't even exist. At first you notice it all the time. It bugs you whenever you pass it. But you know it is going to take more time than you have to clean/fix/deal with it, so you keep putting it off. Soon you forget about it more often than you remember it. In fact, usually you don't notice it much at all until your spouse points it out and asks when you're going to get to it. But you still don't have quite the time it will take, so you put it off some more. After a while, you only notice it when you are expecting guests. And you think, "I should have cleaned/repaired/dealt with that. But I can't do it now. I've got a whole house to clean! So I'll just ignore it/cover it up with something/stuff it in a drawer." Finally, you don't notice it at all. That is when you can be sure you have full-fledged Mess Blindness.

But don't worry. There is a cure. Decide to put your house up for sale and suddenly Mess Blindness will go into full remission and you will see ALL of these things anew. Those chips in the moldings and woodwork? They will stand out like sparklers on the Fourth of July. That hole you cut in the drywall to see what was behind it (two years ago, ahem)? It will look like the Grand Canyon. The worn paint and perma-dirt on the stairs to the basement? They will suddenly pop out at you like a Jackson Pollock painting. Everything you forgot to notice and pushed out of your mind for the last 8 years in your house will suddenly be very apparent and, unfortunately, completely unavoidable, unignorable, unpushawayable.

The one upside? When you are done spackling, painting, scrubbing, bleaching, packing, sorting, caulking, regrouting, dusting, sanding, storing, and polishing all the things you ignored under the influence of Mess Blindness, you will find that you suddenly like your house...A LOT. Not enough to stay! No, let's not get crazy here. But enough that you can invite strangers into your house without fear of what they might see that you don't. Call it the gift that follows the disease.

I'm so glad I'm finally cured. The treatment was painful, but, yes, worth it.

Now...nobody touch a thing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

THE Best Bet Win

A few years ago Big Daddy and I got in a "discussion" over whether TCBY's name was THE Country's Best Yogurt (me) or THIS Country's Best Yogurt (him). Normally when I bet against Big Daddy, I lose. Not so much because he is always right and I am always wrong (not even close, Sweetie), but more because he only likes to bet on things he is sure about (Don't pretend it isn't true. You know it is.) while I am willing to take a risk. ANYWHO...for once I won. I don't remember what I won. Probably something inappropriate to mention on a family blog, cause that is what we like to wager most. Or it could have been $5....same difference, right? (JUST KIDDING, HON!) But mostly I won the sweet moment of being able to strut around as victor. And you can be sure that every time we see a TCBY now, I point out my victory again.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw this 2 for 1 coupon out there for anyone who likes frozen yogurt --THE Country's Best Yogurt. You know by now that I'm more of a baked goods eater than a connoisseur of frozen treats. But this time of year I have occasionally been known to sacrifice precious dessert calories for something cold and creamy; it's that hot. So if you, too, need a sugar-filled cool down, and you have a friend to go with you (or if you're into eating two at a time, whichever)....voila!

p.s. Every time you print and use this coupon, my friend Kelli gets entered into a company contest for a flat screen TV. So eat up, people!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where Am I?

Has it really been almost a week since I posted? Where have I been???

I've been taking my kids to swimming lessons.

I've been chasing down the ice cream truck.

I've been eating Indian food and mini golfing with friends.

I've been maxi golfing. The real kind. With the occasional swearing and throwing of clubs.

I've been to the park, the aquarium, and the pool.

I've been looking at houses.

I've been finding houses!

I've been packing!!

I've been cleaning. :(

I've been lying in bed at night, not sleeping, imagining how nice it will be to have:
a garage
an office
a pantry!!!

It has been a whirlwind week. And it's only going to get crazier. And then my laptop's hard drive decided to fail, so checking in on my iPhone shall I say this? Less than quick. Fortunately I have Big Daddy's laptop today. But if you don't see me for a while, please forgive. I'll try to be around a few weeks, after we get settled, if not sooner.

p.s. I'm not going to post where we are moving to, for obvious reasons, but it's only a town or two away. Not a long distance move. If you know me IRL, feel free to email me for the details.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Some of you have asked me how my percale sheets ended up being.
Answer: A big pile of sheet. First of all, I cheaped out. I didn't end up buying the ones recommended by the article I read. I wasn't ready to shell out $100-200. Instead I found some $59 ones to try first that said 100% cotton percale and sang their own praises of smoothness and crispness. HOWEVER.... They were crisp, yes, but not smooth. They felt like sandpaper. So I returned them. However, I did keep the extra set of pillowcases I ordered with them. I've been washing them over and over, and yesterday I noticed that they are getting softer. Perhaps there is hope for them after all. I'll let you know in another 5 or 10 washes.

Some of you have asked me how my weight has been since going off the HCG diet. (It's been three months since I ended the maintenance phase).
Answer: I've stayed within 2 lbs of my last HCG day weight. So I've been able to maintain pretty well. My husband, who lost 12 lbs on that diet, is within 1/2 lb of his last HCG weight, and he didn't even do maintenance. I will say, however, that I did NOT go back to normal eating. "Normal" eating means drinking full-sugar pop, eating treats 3x a day, and having restaurant food 3-4 times a week. That would surely have made me gain it all back. Instead I went back to my pre-HCG semi-diet: mostly diet pop, only one treat each day, occasional restaurant food (trying to make good choices there) and intense exercise 3-4x a week. For me, that is a true maintanance diet. It's a way I can live for the rest of my life. It isn't very indulgent. But it also isn't extreme. I feel super healthy, am more toned than I've ever been, and I haven't gained back any weight. Woohoo! (In fact, I am doing a more restrictive diet this week to try to lose my last 3-4 lbs and so far so I'm one lb lower than my last HCG weight.) So the final synopsis after doing HCG is: 1)It was hard, but totally worth it. 10 lbs in 3 weeks? Um, yes! 2)It doesn't seem to have ruined my metabolism. (Although I did notice a massive increase in carb cravings after going off it). 3)I haven't gained it all back as everyone told me I would. 4) I still had to stay within reason and exercise after HCG to keep from gaining it back. 5)I would do it again if I had a lot of weight to lose.

3) Some people have asked me if I ever finished my quarter collection. Ok, no one has. But I thought I'd let you all know anyway that I did indeed complete my state quarter collection, thanks to several of my readers who sent me missing quarters, most especially JJ, who sent me a bunch and even HAND DELIVERED my final missing quarter. WHAT A MAN! (And having a man reader is a reward in itself. I feel truly honored just to register on his radar.) I had intended to do a give-away with it once I had it all collected, but now I'm thinking maybe we should have a blog luncheon and I'll buy all the apps or something. Seems more fun that than just giving it away. Of course, then I have to give the quarter collection to the idiots at Appleby's, so maybe not.

Anything else you're dying to know about me and my scintilating life that I haven't followed up on?

p.s. Someone asked me anonymously, way back when I was doing HCG, where I got my HCG from and evidently I didn't answer. So here is your answer now: I got it from an online pharmacy called It was a good price and made in Switzerland, though the pharmacy was in India.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random Post Of Summer Goodness (And Carcinogenics)

(This post was written a few weeks ago. Please backtrack your brain a few weeks and it will all make sense.)


I am THRILLED at how long the days have been, how light they have been.

I love the long days.

I am so sad that tomorrow is the longest day of the year.

Because it will only get darker and darker.

I hate darker.

Colder follows darker.

And colder is my nemesis.

That, and lowfattier.

Speaking of low fat, I had a sad realization today: I can now drink most diet drinks without cringing.

I am still 99% sure that diet drinks give you cancer.

But at least they don’t give you love handles.

So it’s probably worth it.

I still really love a full-sugar Coke.

Don’t think I’m ever going to be one of those people whose all, “Oh, I can’t stand full-sugar pop now. It’s too sweet.”

“Too sweet” is not, and never will be, in my vocabulary.

Unless we’re talking about chocolate.

Because milk chocolate is too sweet.


But back to what I was saying, I really actually like Diet Mountain Dew.

And I can actually drink a Crystal Light without gagging from the aspertaste.

And today I actually drank some of a Diet Coke without gagging.

Do you hear what I'm saying, people???

I think the temperature in hell just dropped 10 degrees.

Speaking of 10 degrees, hasn’t the weather been crazy lately?

And, no, it doesn’t matter if you don’t live where I live because I’m pretty sure spring weather is crazy everywhere.

Didn’t you get snow two weeks ago and 80 degree temps this week? See? Ok maybe not.

The carnival is in town.

I like the carnival.

I like crowded places in general.

Like airports. And movie theater bathrooms. And busy downtowns.

They make for great people watching.

But not as good as the people watching at carnivals.

OOOOOOOoooooooman, it's good. I will bring my camera when I go tonight and see if I can get some good shots.

It will be better than that website about people you see at Wal-mart.

I will not be eating the funnel cakes at the carnival.

I am on a diet.

I will not be eating the caramel apples at the carnival.

The caramel is made of plastic.

And everyone knows that eating plastic gives you cancer.

So I will have a Diet Coke instead.

I guess I prefer to drink my cancer than eat it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Making Up For Michigan

It's 4:45. I'm starting dinner. Fried chicken, corn bread, and baked beans. I've been craving Southern food ever since I started reading The Help. I hear a tinkling musical sound outside in the distance as I shake thin strips of chicken in a bag of seasoned flour.

I grew up in a busy suburb just shy of Detroit city. But right in the middle of the sprawling, dirty, asphalt was a little oasis. A tiny, dirt road with a sign marked "Private" at each end. The huge trees were left undisturbed in large patches on the street, arching over and almost touching in spots. Little paths took off through the woods here and there. Lilac bushes bloomed on the roadside. Shrieking pheasants and bushy red squirrels ran zig zag across the street. This is where I lived. And this shady, forested lane is a big part of who I turned out to be. I loved it there. I loved wandering over the wooded slope that made up our back yard. I loved exploring the Rouge River that flowed by the edge of the trees at the bottom of the hill. I loved looking for snapping turtles under the mushy black leaves in the pond, halfway down. I pretended I was an explorer. I pretended I was an Indian. I pretended I was a Nancy Drew. It was heaven.

But there was one real downside to living on this little dirt road, aside from the huge potholes that would form after every heavy rain: No ice cream trucks ever dared venture down our street. We all dreamed of hearing the high tinkling sound of the ice cream truck coming. We fantasized about running out of our house on a hot summer day, our pockets jingling with coins. We imagined the taste of exotic ice cream concoctions oozing down our chins. But dreams of mobile ice cream were all they ever were. We never once saw the ice cream man's smile or tasted anything but the square cardboard box kind of ice cream, stale from our freezer.

And that is why, at 4:45, just before dinner, I am passing out two dollars and fifty cents in change to each of my kids as they run towards the tinkling sound of The Entertainer driving towards our house. I'm trying to set the Universe right, in my own little way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can't Stop Reading Listening

I am reading the most fantastic book right now. FANTASTIC. I can't put it down. And technically I'm not even reading it, because I have been listening to it on my iPod. I downloaded it for my road trip to Texas and haven't finished it yet, so I walk around the house listening to it with the iPod in my pocket and headphones on while my oven beeps and my cake burns and my children scream for me and the phone rings off the hook. It's that good.

It's called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. WONDERFUL. And the recording is phenomenal. It is so good, in fact, that I often forget that I'm listening to an audio book instead of watching it on TV, or, more realistically, living it. I find myself inadvertently slipping into a Southern drawl. I keep accidentally calling my children, "Chile!" (like child without the 'd') or saying "Ooooo Lordy!" out of the blue. I am craving corn bread and fried chicken like a drunk craves bourbon. Like an old Chevy craves gas. Like a.... Well, her similes are way better than mine, but you get the idea.

I can't really tell you about it; the plot is hard to explain. But it is essentially the stories of black domestic help in the 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi...with a twist. Funny, clever, touching, thoughtful, and extremely well written.

Read it. Ya'll.

Monday, July 5, 2010

By Which I Offend Nearly Everyone, Even Star Wars Fans

If you haven't been around long enough to hear my opinions on baby names (1) boy, you must be new around here and (2) be prepared to leave in a huff. Because I'm going to lay it out how I see it. And there is a very high chance one or more of your children's names will be on my not-so-favorite list. I'm sorry, in advance. But since my readership has plummeted into the wee single digits already, I figure it's as good a time as any to get on my child-naming soapbox.

1) I am not a fan of using trendy names. Personally. I know a lot of people are. That's how they become trendy. But for me, I just prefer something a little less common. What is a trendy name to me? It's the name that you hear all the time, the one that is shouted from every playground bench and into the bottom of every McDonalds playland tube slide. Often trendy names are last names made to be first names. They tend to end in -en/-on or -er/or, especially for boys. For girls, they can be last names too, but lately they tend to be cute old-fashioned names that have come back in style... with a vengeance. It's sad about those names. Because on their own I probably would have really liked each and every one of them. But once they reach the top 100 in popularity nationally, forget it. Overplayed is not my thing. It might be your thing. And that's OK. But I just can't do trendy. (Seriously, though, there are some very cute names on this list! So I'm not saying your child's name is ugly. )

2) I strongly dislike made-up names. You've heard a lot of these too, especially if you live in Utah. They sound vaguely familiar. They might use syllables from more popular names. But then the ending is changed, or part of another name is added, or they are made up altogether. These names are born of good intentions, I believe. A desire to be unique and different is something I can relate to. But once names become too kreeaytiv, I just can't abide them.

3) Which brings me to my third category: I despise, DESPISE alternate spellings for common names. In my mind, it doesn't show more creativity. Or make the child more unique. All it does is confuse the poor kid when they are learning to read and write, and cause every human being for the rest of their life to spell their name wrong. Again, I apologize if you are in the camp of loving unique spellings for common names. (Your name is probably Lisa or Jennifer or Heather, right? You certainly didn't grow up having to spell "A-R-I-A-N-N-E" twenty times a day, I'm guessing.)

So in the end, the best names, in my book, are usually traditional. You've heard them before, but not often. They are easy to say, spell, and remember, but they are slightly off the beaten path. And they are definitely not common enough that there will ever be multiple children in the same classroom with that name. (Irony approaching. Be prepared to mock.)

There is an actual plot to this blog post, though. It's not just a friend-losing post. So if you haven't been infuriated yet, read on?

After quite a lot of do-si-do-ing with this school and that, charter vs public, morning vs afternoon, I finally got Daphne into a charter school that I am reasonably pleased with, and, more importantly (FAR more importantly), I got her into the afternoon class of Kindergarten for the fall. HALLELUIA. So this week I got the class lists from the Kindergarten teacher.

The first thing I noticed when I got them was the plethora of uber-trendy names present: (Click to enlarge)

What jumped out to me next was, of course, the horrific spellings of common names. There were some doozies on the class lists. (Click to enlarge)

As I scanned down to Daphne's class, you can imagine my horror when I saw this:

Not only is there another Daphne in her school, and in her grade, there is one IN HER CLASS--after we specifically chose the name Daphne on the likelihood of there never being another Daphne in her class! AND the other Daphne is right next to her in alphabetical order! You could have scraped my chin off the floor with a spatula. (On a more pleasant note, I can't wait to meet Daphne W's parents and see what their other kids are named!)

The last thing I noticed, as I scanned through the lists, was this I-KID-YOU-NOT name. I didn't make this up. It isn't a type-o. Take a look-see....

Well, after all I said above about kids' names, I take it all back. Name your kid whatever you want! Name them any variation, any spelling, name them the #1 name in America spelled with all the 'y's and 'x's you want. Because from now on, any name beats R2.

Except...maybe... Renesmee.