Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Need You Every Hour

Ok, Readers. I need your help. Due to a change in my caloric intake over the last few weeks, and a change in our budgetary financial monetary restrictivityness, I'm now trying to cook more at home. Like, a LOT more. But I'm running low on recipe ideas that are fairly low-cal/low fat and that can be made with things that are found either in my pantry/fridge or at every grocery store in the western hemisphere, not that quaint little specialty grocery store downtown that sells Asian produce and South American meats. Anyone got any good ideas? Please to post them or email them to me. Thank you kindly.


If You Still Love Bush, I'm Sorry

The best moments in this montage are at 1:04 and 3:34-3:49. HIL-ARIOUS. And I'm not trying to be a Bush hater. I even feel a bit sorry for him with some of the bloopers. Because, let's face it, if you're in the spotlight long enough, you're going to get caught on film dropping someone's dog. But still, these are just super funny moments.

Friday, January 30, 2009

McPhee Madness, Part 3

This will probably be the final installment of McPhee Madness. Judging from the onslaught of comments regarding this series of posts, I know that you will all be so disappointed. All six of you. But the hilarity had to end sometime.

1) I always thought toast was a boring breakfast item. Now I know I'm not alone.

2)Too chicken to get your own tattoos? Then tattoo your young daughters! And wear a shirt to brag about it.

3)Finally! The narwhal (is that how you spell that???) toy. With spearing action! comes with three lovable endangered animals to mutilate. What fun.

4) There's a special class of nerdiness reserved for people who like to mix Greek history with fantasy play. You know that guy--you sat next to him in homeroom. And here is the perfect present for that kid. Plus, it's been updated to the 21st Century with a black leather pants-suit for Medusa. Groovy.

5) Just tell me why-oh-why someone would want to wear this shirt!

6) Tired of all the squirrel johnsons hanging around your yard? No problem.

7) The Jesus action figure! With gliding action! Comes with 3 loaves and 2 fishes. Need more? No purchase necessary! Just add faith.

8) Ever wonder what would happen if Alfred E. Newman married Laa Laa from Teletubbies? Me neither. But here's your answer:



It's McPhee's book to explain why people would buy all the wierd stuff they sell. My question is, "Who would buy that book??!"

Well, this concludes the third installment of McPhee Madness. If you missed the first or second, click here and here. I can't say for sure if there will be another. I guess I'll have to leave it up to my readers to decide. (That's a hint. If you want to see more, you'd better say so!)

Operation Not Very Careful

Ooops. Looks like the Binky Fairy missed one. to 'splain?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have not done very well on the eating portion of my diet plan this time around. Acually, I haven't done super well at the exercise portion either. Ok, so I've pretty much been sucking at dieting altogether. Not being on Weight Watchers isn't really working out so well. But I figured if I could at least sort of change my eating habits, I might be able to get away with minimal exercise (which I pretty much hate doing). But I guess I've gotten into such a bad habit of eating whatever I want and drinking whatever I want, that I just can't seem to break it. I have improved slightly recently. Like, instead of eating whatever strikes my fancy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner--say, pancakes and sausage for breakfast, a smothered steak burrito with a Coke for lunch, and cheese tortellini with creamy pesto and garlic bread and another Coke for dinner--plus a snack, some hot vanilla, and dessert after each meal (No, I'm not even close to kidding about that being my standard food consumption over the last 6 months), I've cut down to cereal for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine and grapes for lunch, one Coke nursed throughout the day, a couple pieces of almond rocca for dessert, a Kashi fruit and grain bar for a snack, something homecooked but not necessarily lower calorie for dinner, and a Smart Ones brownie sundae for dessert. So ya, it is a reduction of calories. But I still am not eating what I should be. Not what it's going to take to see an actual losss on the scale this week. I decided to do something drastic.....

WAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Every time I take a sip, I want to cry. Not that it tastes that bad. Actually, Coke Zero is surprisngly good. For a diet drink. But it's not the same. It's like ordering Filet Mignon and getting a plate of ground beef. Not awful. Just not the necter of the gods. But I have to try to shave off a couple hundred calories a day somehow. Or I'm going to have to run them off. And I guess at this point I'd rather go for the plate of ground beef. But not literally. Cause that would probably add the calories back on.

(Mmmmm....ground beef.....)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brownies With Cookies

Thank Goodness I have some little girls in my neighborhood who take part in the Scouting program. Every year these two little Brownies show up at my door to sell me Girl Scout Cookies. And every year, though I'm usually trying desperately to undo the madness (i.e. fatness) created on my waistline over the holidays, I always order a bunch. How can I not? They're a tradition. A rite of passage. An American icon in cookie form! It's actually kind of unpatriotic not to order Girl Scout Cookies, in my opinion. Besides, it helps support a good cause. You know...uh....little girls wandering around neighborhoods by themselves, peddling sweets to complete strangers. It's a noble cause if I ever heard of one.

Personally, I'm a Tagalongs fan. They're the best ones. A light crispy cookie with a soft pool of peanut butter in the middle and a coating of delicious chocolate over the whole thing. Divine. I also like the Thin Mints. Although normally crisp cookies don't do much for me, these are so light and thin that you can eat about 12 for the calories of 1 Tagalong. At least that's what I tell myself after I start on my second dozen. As a child I was a big fan of the Samoas. Everything sweet layered on top of more sweet, covered in still more sweet. What more could a child want? But now...well, they're just too sweet. And yet, every year my husband orders a couple of boxes. He, like I, has this distinct memory from childhood of biting into the most sugar-laden cookie ever invented. And loving it. So he orders a couple of boxes, only to bite into the first cookie and say with disappointment, "Oh. These aren't that good. Why did I think I liked these?" Because, Silly. Girl Scout Cookies are made with cocaine. That's how they get you to spend $50 on cookies, year after year.

You know, some people may dislike the idea of 8 year old drug pushers. But I'm Ok with the way they work. Because I don't have a problem. I WANT to eat Girl Scout Cookies. They don't control me; I can quit any time I want.

(But I'm putting a few dozen boxes of Tagalongs in the freezer this year....just in case.)

To Dine or Not to Dine

There was rumor a couple of weeks back about there being a blogger get-together dinnery thing tonight. But I haven't heard anything from my "sources" about it, so my guess is "not." I know I can't go. Stupid Relief Society Board Meeting, gag. Needed, I know. But just not that fun. Anywho, I'll ask around. And if there is something going on, I'll post it. And then if anyone wants to go, despite the fact that I won't be there,'s your funeral. I mean, have fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Confession from a Motownian

I have a confession to make: I might be a little Facebook retarded. I like the extent that I use it. That is to say, I have a Facebook page, I have added a bunch of friends to it and a bunch of people from high school that I may or may not actually remember. I have a few pictures of me and my kids. And every so often I actually "write on somebody's wall." Is that what it's called? I hate to sound so old-lady-ish and un-tech-savvy. I usually love to try out these new internet trends. And I'll admit that I do like the satisfaction of seeing that some of the people I knew in high school are fatter than me now. But my Facebook usage ends about there. I do not take all those quizzes that are sent to me. I reject a lot of people as friends who are suggested to me by other people who I am pretty sure would not have sat with me at lunch--thanks for those memories, by the way. And then there are those invitations to stuff that I totally don't understand. I currently have about 650 of these waiting to be accepted or rejected. I don't want to flat out reject them because I don't want to insult the sender. And because I secretly suspect that accepting them makes you cooler. But mostly because I have no idea what it means to be invited to "join their posse in Fashion Wars" or to be "Kidnap'd by Becky to Seattle with the Ol' Potato Sack Trick!" And when Facebook asks me to allow it access to everything on my computer, in my journal, in my bank account, and in my naughty drawer so that someone can "send me a cupcake" or "put an ornament on my tree," I feel a bit nervous. So I just ignore these requests and hope they go away. I did take the plunge the other day and allow Big Brother Facebook access to my life so that I could take a quiz to find out what region of the U.S. or Canada my accent is from. It picked "North or Midwest." Bravo! Only, I already knew this. Cause I grew up in the North or Midwest. So really, I just handed out the master key to my computer files to a massive website so that they could brilliantly decipher that I'm not from the South. Great. When my identity gets stolen and millions of dollars disappear from my bank account, at least I'll have the consolation of knowing that I still sound like I'm from Detroit.

Mcphee Madness, Part 2

Day 2 of McPhee Madness is dedicated to bacon, all things bacon...which is completely understandable, really. Because bacon is totally awesome.

1) First off is bacon mints. Everyone loves the taste of bacon. So why not capture the taste any time you want? If your breath needs freshening up, why not go for a taste that makes your mouth water?

2) Bacon gumballs. Although I do like the idea of bacon mints, bacon gumballs might be a bit much. A few sucks of bacon flavor is delicious. But chewing bacon for hours on end? Not so much.

3) Demonstrate your love of bacon proudly!

4) Carry the fond reminder of bacon with you everywhere you go with the handy bacon wallet (not made of real bacon).

5) There's nothing I like more than flossing the bacon out from between my teeth while leaving the flavor of bacon behind.

6) Next Easter, skip the licorice and cherry jelly beans. Give your kids the taste of breakfast in their basket with these!

7) Nothing cheers up an injured child like the thought of a slice of hot bacon on their cut.

And don't worry if you're not a bacon fan. McPhee carries a wide variety of these as well...

Tune in later for more McPhee Madness! If you missed McPhee Madness Part 1, click here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Mouths of Babes

The other day I was doing my Dance Dance Revolution exercise routine in the living room when Daphne came in. (She gets very entranced watching the Japanese animation characters dance in the background.) As I switched from one song to another, the background dancer dudes in suits turned into a couple of background dancer girls. "Look Mommy!" said Daphne, "The daddies are gone!" "Where did they go?" I asked mindlessly, trying not to mess up my rhythm. "Oh. They went to work." she said. It made me laugh so hard that I failed the song. But I love that she called them daddies and that it made perfect sense to her that those guys in suits must have gone to work. That's what daddies do!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crossing The Line

The other night I had a dream. I was in New York City. And I was trying to get somewhere.....maybe Brooklyn or New Jersey because I knew I had to cross a bridge to get there. But I didn't know where the bridge was. So I stopped to ask a local man who was standing on the side of the road. He was so nice and so helpful. So polite. He gave me very clear directions, even walking me to the end of the street to point out where I would be when I came back on a different bridge so I wouldn't get lost later. In my dream I was so overwhelmed with the kindness and courtesy of this man, so opposite from the general reports you hear bout New Yorkers, that I started thinking (in my dream) about how I would blog about it. I began choosing the words I would use, deciding how best to decribe this man, and how all my friends would be so amazed by this report of a kind, polite New Yorker. And then, as I began to drift towards consciousness and became slightly more aware of my own thoughts as being separate from the dream (but still not quite awake yet), I continued to think about how to word my blog post. This went on for SEVERAL MINUTES until I finally reached an awake enough state that my brain said to me, "Hey retard. You are DREAMING about BLOGGING! Don't you think that is just a little bit pathetic?" And I had to agree. It was pathetic. Maybe more than just a little bit. I think I may have just crossed a line...and I'm a bit afraid of what blogging will do to me next.

McPhee Madness, Part 1

The other day, Big Daddy left a catalogue lying around for a company called Accoutrements. If you've never heard of it, and most people haven't, it's a magazine selling completely random, hilarious, bizarre, delightful, jouvenile crap. The magazine is for wholesalers, but they have a corresponding website called which is open the public. I had such a great time reading through this catalogue of curiosities and novelties, that I thought I'd share a few of them here with you. Tune in for additional posts tomorrow and the next day....

1) Mr. Bacon vs Monsieur Tofu.

Are you a bitter vegetarian? Then these action figures are for you! Show the world how you really feel about meat by defeating the evil Mr.Bacon every day on your desk at work or coffee table at home.

2. Chum Mints.
What could freshen your breath more than the taste of rotting fish heads? Um...pretty much anything, I think.

3. Angry Mob Play Set

What every child has always wished for has finally been mass produced. No more need for Stalker Ken. Now an angry mob can deal with that meddlesome Barbie. And her pesky little niece/cousin/daughter Skipper too.

4. Shredsors

Is a shredder too technically advanced? Then just try our handy shredsors! Comes with a free tube of Icy Hot for when you're done.

4. Smoking Baby

This is a quote from the catalogue on this item:
"Of all the things that shouldn't smoke, babies are a t the top of the list. The tag line for this product emphatically states our position on this issue: Real Babies Should Never Smoke! Ceramic babies smoking, on the other hand, are strangely appealing." Um....No. Not really.

5. Party Rats!

What? The name "party rats" doesn't sound appealing? Well, wait! Party rats are much cooler than they sound. They're little lights, shaped (for some reason we can't explain) like rats. You hook them your finger tips and you're ready to party! Or as the catalogue states, "Also great for the latest computer craze, night blogging!" Night blogging? Why didn't somebody tell me I was missing out on that craze? I'm going to order some party rats RIGHT NOW and start blogging at 3am IN STYLE!

Tune in tomorrow for more wacky products.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If You're On a Diet, Don't Read This

Am I a fan of milk chocolate? No.
A fan of Hershey's? Definitely not.
Do I think these new New York Cheesecake Hershey's Kisses are unbelievably delicious?
Holy Diet Braker, I do!

If you're not on a diet, I recommend that you get a bag. And then I double dare you to stop before you've eaten every last one.

If you ARE on a diet like condolences.

(Luckily, the bag I got for everyone else's Christmas stockings was almost empty when I found it in the cupboard today. Otherwise I'm pretty sure my weigh-in on Friday would be a gain of....hmmm, how much does a bag of Hershey's kisses weigh? Yeah, that much. Minus the wrappers. Maybe.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Operation Binky Fairy

Well, we did it. We successfully removed all the binkies, not Beck. Daphne! Yes, it's true. Our three and a half year old has still been sleeping with a binky. I know that must make us look like the biggest sucker parents that ever walked the earth. But I swear, in all other regards we are super responsible, whip cracking parents! (Ok, one of us is at least).

First let me backtrack. How did we get ourselves in this situation? It started when my first child, Daphne, was a baby. I, loving sleep more than anything on earth, decided I was going to get her sleeping through the night as soon as humanly possible. And one thing that really helped was a binky. By six weeks old she was sleeping midnight to 6am, pretty decent. By 8 weeks it was 11 to 7am. And from 10 weeks on, she slept 12 hours a night, plus several naps in the day. As long as she had her hideously ugly green Soothie binky, life was good. Eventually we lost a few green Soothies, and I discovered that they carried them at Wal-Mart. And in various colors! We stocked up on them--pink, blue, green, and I even had a purple preemie sized one from when she was born. Soon we had Soothies coming out our ears. I tried to limit her to one at a time, but she would find them hidden in nooks and crannies (i.e. under the furniture, covered in dust), and suddenly she'd appear walking around the house with a handful of multi-colored binkies, clutching them to her chest like treasure. Or chocolate.

But it started to bother me about age 3 that she was still so attached to them. She had them with her everywhere she went. And then, of course, she'd set them down and forget about them. so when nap time came, I'd have to do a massive search to try to find one. Plus, the doctor told me it was affecting her teeth. So I decided to limit them to in-bed use only. That went fine. It only took once for me to tell her that I would take her binkies away and put them on top of the dresser if she took them out of her bed, and she was very good about leaving them in there. But 6 months later, even the in-bed policy bothered me. She was 3 1/2, for goodness sake! Far too old for binkies. But you should see the way she held them, lovingly. Caressing them. And the way she sucked on them--the way you gasp air when you're swimming and you've gone too deep, when you finally make it to the surface. Like air. Like life itself. When she'd lay down at night, she'd put one in her mouth, pull her blankie up to her face, and begin this ritual of sucking and rubbing the blankie across the backs of her hands, back and forth, slowly, Savoring the taste and smell and touch of her security objects. It was heaven for her. Pure heaven. You could see it on her face. THAT is the reason it took us this long to get the cajones to take her binkies away. Taking away that much pleasure from someone seems just cruel.

This is Daphne at age 20 months or so, enjoying all her binkies together for the first time.... is about growing up, coming of age, doing away with things that are beneath you and which give you buck teeth. So I bit the bullet and came up with a plan. Operation Binky Fairy. I began prepping her a week or two before the actual night. Telling her about the Binky Fairy who would come and take her binkies to all the little babies who don't have any (hitting on her compassion), and telling her that the Binky Fairy would leave her a present instead. For the next few days, every time I tucked her in for a nap or at night, I'd remind her in this magical way that her binky's days were numbered. I even tried a trial separation. It didn't go well. There was screaming and crying and thrashing involved. It didn't bode well.

And then, over the next few days, there were questions:

Mommy, what will the Binky Fairy say to me when she comes? (You'll be asleep)
Mommy, how many binkies will the Binky Fairy take? (Uh, I hate to break this to you...)
Mommy, when will the Binky Fairy bring them back? (Jeez, this is going to sound like yet another piece of bad news....)
Mommy, how many presents will the Binky Fairy give me? I have lots of binkies. (Oh yeah. Well, the Binky Fairy might need to go do some more shopping...)

Finally the big night came. We let her suck on her binkies a couple of hours before bed, just for fun. She looked at me wide eyed. "OUTSIDE my bed?" Yes. "And you won't take them away and hide them?" Boy, I sure sound nice, don't I? And then that night, when she was fast asleep, we rounded up all the binkies, put a new stuffed pony on her nightstand, a new coloring book, and a large, prize-filled chocolate Kinder egg. All went as planned until 4am when Daphne woke up to go potty. As soon as she was done, her first question was, "Where's my binky?" Big Daddy told her that the Binky Fairy had come and taken them all away. She didn't cry. She didn't scream. She didn't even thrash a little. She just climbed back in bed to go to sleep. And then as soon as we were gone, she climbed back out and ate the entire chocolate egg. At 4am. And then at 6am, when she was still wired on sugar, but still not screaming for her binky, I knew we had done the right thing.

It's been a good run, Soothies. Thanks for all the good times. I sure hope they have you in Heaven, or one girl I know is going to be very disappointed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Innauguration Cake

So I signed up to make a cake for a missionary gathering today. I was pretty excited about it. Back in Michigan our family had the missionaries over for dinner on a regular basis. But here, our whole WARD shares a missionary feeding assignment every few months. So I was excited to make a cake for this missionary lunch, even though I wouldn't be there to see them enjoy it or anything.

I decided to make my sister's apple cake. Let me say, I'm not much for fruit desserts. In fact, the first time Jennie said she was making this for a family dinner I was like, "Are you kidding me? APPLE CAKE?" To me, that sounded like a waste of calories. But, as usual, she was right. It's divine. Really. If the cake itself weren't good enough (which it is), the homemade butterscotch sauce would win you over for sure.

I called my sister as the cake was nearing the end of its baking time to ask what it should look like when it's done, and it was then that I found out that I had inadvertently made inauguration cake. My sister told me that at Barak Obama's inauguration luncheon's menu was based on the inauguration luncheon menu of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was very fond of Apple Cake and it was on his menu (along with a bunch of other really interesting frontier recipes). The Obamas had it today as well. So it has become an inauguration tradition. Here too, I guess! So in honor of Inauguration Day, here is the recipe.

Apple Cake With Butterscotch Sauce

½ cup butter softened
2 cups sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
6 cups chopped, peeled apples

Butterscotch Sauce:
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter cubed
½ cup heavy whipping cream

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to creamed mixture, and mix well. Batter will be stiff (like cookie dough. And it will seem like there isn't even close to enough dough, but it puffs a lot while baking). Stir in apples until well combined. Spread into greased 9x13 pan. Bake 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown and springs back when lightly touched. Cool 30 mins before serving.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Gradually add cream. Bring to a slow bowl over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and serve with cake.


Our New President

I'll admit it. I cried a little. I got choked up during Aretha's "My Country Tis of Thee." And it wasn't because of her hat. I find myself becoming more and more patriotic as I get older, less able to make it through the national anthem without shedding a tear or two. Maybe it isn't as much patriotism as senility coming on. Well, whichever, I was so touched and inspired while watching the Inaguration Ceremony this morning. I've never watched one before, certainly not in its entirity. I may have watched the Bible swearing part for one president or another, but I can't even recall who. But this ceremony was of so much interest to me that I even listened to the endless commentaries before and after the ceremony itself. Not only because I have such high hopes for Obama to be a president of integrity and principle, but also because this marks such a historical day for so many Americans who have felt that they lacked a voice in our politcal system and who now must feel that true equality will someday be available to all. I thought the introductery comments by Diane Feinstien were so apt. And I thought the invokation was inspired, though the delivery was a bit odd. And then Obama's speech itself...WOW. I can't imagine that anyone--Republican, Democrat, or other--didn't find that speech amazing. I hope that he can accomplish half of what he spoke of; it was a tall order, for sure. But I haven't seen a president in my lifetime speak with such conviction and sincerety. EVER. And I think he had that speech memorized. It didn't look like he was ever reading the telepromptor. Anyway, I was impressed. And I really do hope that God blesses and guides our new president. And I hope he turns out to be a great leader.

You know I hate to be serious on my blog; there are plenty of boring, sappy blogs out there if that's what you're looking for. But today I had to stop and say that I consider this a great day, a day that I'm proud to be American. It's really true. Our political process--where we can freely elect those who we feel will best carry out our wishes for our country, without fear of reprisal or punishment or death--is an amazing thing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Deep Thoughts

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till without stopping and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and the silence took over, no one noticed it, no one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.
The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world,
playing the best music ever written,
how many other things are we missing?

ETA: Click HERE for a link on the story.

Thanks, Ben!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Miracle on 300 North Street

My husband is building a Pinewood Derby car for my nephew, who lives in Texas. No, my nephew is not in a single parent home without a father. And no, he's not mechanically challenged either (though he is 9, and that is a challenge of its own). No, my husband just happens to have a completely out of control obsession with building Pinewood Derby cars. I know what you must be thinking. "Wait. Your husband is 37 and your son is 2. Why would he be building Pinewood Derby cars at all?" Well, it all started when the Elder's Quorum decided to have their own Pinewood Derby about 5 years ago. No rules about weight and materials. No rules at all other than "There can't be a motor." Well, my creative, mechanical, bored husband got to work researching what makes for the fastest Pinewood Derby cars. He spent hours pouring over plans and photos, reading blogs and articles, visiting hobby shops and websites. Finally, he started. On Prototype # 1. Seven or eight prototypes later, he was ready to race. His car was made of a special wood that was light, yet flexible (Not pine. Oh no, not even close). It had carefully filed down wheels (three of them--don't ask). It had suspension. It had hot molten lead poured into various parts of its thinly sliced and carved chassis (Impressed? That's what happens when you have to listen to hours of Pinewood Derby ideas bounced off you. You learn fancy words like chassis.) Anywho, the car was a huge success. So huge, in fact, that it not only beat every other car that raced that day, but it also beat the all-time fastest record in the track's history. Result? No more Elders Quorum Pinewood Derbies. No one wanted to compete against a fanatic like that again. So now my Big Daddy takes out his racing fervor on the young, naive boys in our extended family.

The topic of this post, however it unlikely it must seem now, is actually not my husband or his engineering prowess. It is actually to tell you about a miracle that just occurred. My husband had to head to the hardware store for more Pinewood Derby supplies, and he took BOTH of our kids with him. He just took them and left. And now I am at my own house ALL BY MY SELF. This has never happened before. Ever. Not since we had our first child. I don't even know what to do with myself! ( Yes I do. Blog like a man woman, of course!) It's such a wonderful, liberating feeling to be here with no one else. I might drink a full Coke. I might take a long nap (well, a 40 minute nap, at least). I might blog the ENTIRE TIME with no one to ask me for drinks, or help with the potty, or to find their missing Polly Pocket, or to turn on Diego, or to make me feel guilty about sitting on my butt and staring at the computer. Or... I might just sit here and listen to the silence. It is heaven. It is wonderful. It is a miracle.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Too Tired to Write Anything Meaningful

This is a total cop out post. It's 11pm and I have just turned my computer on for the first time today. I feel I owe it to my faithful readers, fans, friends, family (Ok, that covers all four of you, right?) to post something. So here you go. Courtesy of a mass email sent to me by Cara, I give you....old people bumper stickers:

Go Clothes Shopping

Just FYI, Old Navy is having a sale where you can get an extra 50% off their clearance priced clothes. They're practically free. Just use the code "extra50" at check out.

Crap! I've been Spammed!

Warning! There is strong language in this post that may not be suitable for pure eyes. (Mom) . Please continue at your own discretion.

Today I opened my blog to see comments from three new readers! People who have never commented on my blog before. They each left two or three comments. You can imagine my delight. UNTIL>>>>I opened them and they were all spam. DAGNABBIT! Links to purses and shoes? That's what you have to say about my emotionally raw "Sad" post? And my carefully crafted "Note to Jane?" Thanks a lot.

So now it's back to having comment moderation. The management is sorry for any inconvenience this may cause it's real readers (and glad for all the inconvenience it will cause you spammer bastards!!!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This is For All the Mormons Out There

So I was thinking today about how there are some parts of my calling(s) I hate. First, I am the visiting teaching coordinator. I collect all the visiting teaching supervisors' reports once a month and enter them into the computer. I pass out new assignments and new report sheets every month or two when changes are made. I help once a year with the visiting teaching interviews, and also once a year with the visiting teaching dinner thingy. Overall, it's the easiest cake-walk of a calling I've ever had. But I do hate driving around the ward in the freezing cold, getting out of my car every few houses to run a piece of paper up to the door. Not my favorite part.

I'm also on the Enrichment Committee, in charge of the Young Couples Activities, held monthly. Yes, that is EVERY SINGLE MONTH. I'm in charge of motivating young 20 and 30 something marrieds to come hang out with each other. You wouldn't think so, but it's a drag. No one wants to come. Because I live in a ward of deadbeats. Because they're too busy. Because they're too poor. Because they couldn't possibly stand a night away from their kids with FREE babysitters. Whatever. I spend a ton of time advertising the activities--emails, evites, phone calls, personal door to door invitations, flyers, and Sunday announcements--and then the same 6 couples come who come to everything, and every so often we'll get one random new couple or slightly inactive couple. I guess those few random couples keep me going. But sometimes I just wish people here were willing to put any effort into being part of a ward family. But again, it's not the worst calling ever. There are lots of worse callings I could have. And that got me thinking.....what are the worst callings I could have? And I came up with a list of the top 3 worst callings ever. (Just for the record, anything with the word "president" in it automatically qualifies as a worst calling. So I'll just skip over those and go to the less obvious ones.) Here are mine:

3. Activities Committee Chair (been there, done that. HATED IT. Soooo much pressure, so little budget.)
2. Sacrament Meeting Pianist (You have to be there EVERY week, ON TIME. No thanks.)
1. Primary chorister, specifically jr. primary. ( Trying to come up with fun, creative, interactive ways to teach little kids-- who can't read and can't sit still for 15 seconds-- songs every week for twenty long minutes? Shoot me now.)

But I realize everyone is different. So what are your top 3 worst possible callings?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Note To Jane

I just finished reading Persuasion, by Jane Austin. First time reading this, though I've read a couple of other Austin books. I have to say, I liked it. It has the classic twists and unexpected turns of an Austin book, the proper and likable characters as well as the socially awkward characters and embarrassing relations that remind me all too much of people I know. It has a nice happy ending. It was a good read. But I do have a few comments for Jane:

1) When you're writing a book of a fictional nature, feel free to choose from a wide variety of available names. You're not limited to using only one or two names for all the males in the story. In fact, it can be kind of confusing to have not two, but THREE characters in the story with the same first name. I know Charles is a nice name, but expand your repertoire just a bit.

2) Spellcheck, Honey! "Viranda," "pannel," "teaze," and "crape?" Come on. EVERYONE knows how to spell those words!

3) If you're going to spend pages talking about obsolete modes of transportation like barouches, curricles, chairs, chaises, gigs, and coaches, please have the courtesy to include pictures! Jeez.

4) You should probably not make up words. Unexeptionable? Michealmas? (Everyone knows it CHRISTmas!) Grappler? Worsting? Blains? I know you're trying to show how creative you are. But please, just use REAL words.

I did learn a few useful things though. For example:

A) "Underhung": having a projecting lower jaw. I am SO going to implement that in my vocabulary. I know a lot of people I could describe with this handy new word!

B) "Brawn": Don't confuse this with having muscle or with the paper towel brand. No, this is a tasty dish made from minced and molded meat from a pig's head. YUM! I know what's for dinner tonight!

C) "The gapes" : Fits of yawning. I'm totally going to get this phrase reintroduced into the common vernacular. I could have used it 5 or 6 times at church last Sunday alone!

So, Jane, there you go. A few bits of constructive criticism and a few complements just to keep you from getting too depressed and overanalizing your writing style. But I do hope you'll implement some of these things in your next book. Good luck!

Please know that I actually love Jane Austen. This post was totally written tongue-in-cheek. I swear if I get any comments informing me that blains is really a word, I will flip.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

IF (Part 2)

IF you intended to meet at the blogger dinner tomorrow night, you're awesome!
IF you go, you're going to be the only one there. Turns out too many people couldn't go on that date. So we're moving it. It MIGHT be Wed, Jan 28But now it looks like even that is up in the air. So stay tuned.

Just don't show up tomorrow. Unless you like eating alone. And being stalked by all the the psycho killers who might show up. If so, then have a great night!

Time Management

It's 12:51pm. My children are finally in bed. I have an hour, maybe two, to do whatever I want with. Do I:

A) Read the book I've been wanting to read for months
B) Watch one of the 89 hours of recorded shows waiting on my DVR
C) Get online and try to catch up on email and blogging
D) Take a nap
E) Make phone calls I can only make when children aren't screamimg in the background
F) Clean the house.

I go through this dilemma every day. I bet you can use your amazing powers of deduction to figure out which usually wins. But lettters A, D, and B sometimes give me a moment's pause. E, rarely. F? Ha! I'll save that for when the kids are up. I'm not wasting valuable quiet time on the house! But seriously, I need to make time for A and B. I just need 4-6 more hours of uninterupt quiet and I could get it all done.

What about you? How do you choose to spend your quiet alone time?

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Hate Tile

There's not much more to say other than that. I hate tile. More exactly, I hate grout. If tile hadnospacesinbetweenitfordirttogetstuckin, I'd probably like it a lot better. But as it is, with a 1/4 inch grout line of cream colored dirt colored grout, it is nearly impossible to keep clean or to make LOOK clean. Even after it has been swept and mopt to within an inch (make that 1/4 inch) of its life, it is still always grungy looking. In my next house, there will be no tile. There will be hardwood and carpet, stamped cement, and even vinyl flooring if necessary. But until they invent a tile floor where the grout is made of anti-dirt-magnetic material, there will be NO tile in my house. Thank heavens I only have it in two small bathrooms in my house. If I lived in California and it was on every floor AND the countertop, I would have left my husband a widower long long ago. Tile and I don't mix.


IF you are really cool
IF you are not a crazy psycho killer (or any kind of crazy psycho, for that matter)
IF you like me (and/or anyone else who meets all these requirements)
IF you live in or around Salt Lake City
IF you have a hankering for some tasty fresh Mex

Meet us (meanging all the COOL bloggers) for a blogger dinner at Cafe Rio in Taylorsville on this Weds at 6:30pm.

I know I will be there. (Unless you are a psycho killer reading this. Then I'm sorry I won't be able to make it. I'll be home doing my laundry. Wait....that might be revealing too much information too. Um...I'll be having tea and strumpets (crumpets?) with the Chief of Police. At the police station. There. Now I feel safe.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jesus Wants me for a SunBEAM!

Daphne's first day of REAL primary (sunbeams) was this last Sunday. I realized half way through sacrament meeting that I had no idea what she was supposed to do or where she was supposed to go. I didn't know who her teachers were. And I hadn't prepared her for this change AT ALL. Our family had spent the entire month of December sick sick sick. Strep, sinus infections, ear infections, chest coughs, runny noses, and 2 rounds of antibiotics to get rid of it all. So neither child attented nursery for the entire month leading up to the new year. I suspect they may have done some sort of preparation in nursery and may have even sent something home with the kids, but we were not there to get it. So I was a little worried about how Daphne would do. How would she handle going to a new classroom with nothing familiar? Would she like her new teachers? Would she freak out that there were no toys or snack time? This is how it went...

Me: Daphne, you aren't going to nursery today.

Daphne: WHAT??? Why not?!

Me: Because you start primary today. You get to go to Sunbeams. With new teachers. And then you get to go in with the BIG kids to sing songs.

Daphne: Ok!

And off she ran towards the primary area. Well, that part seemed to go well. Then as we neared the room she was to go in, I worried again that her new room and teachers might upset her. But when we got to the room, she turned around to me and said, "Thanks Mommy. You can go now," and looked at me as if to say, "I'm waiting....don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Ooookay. (I can't believe I was worried.)

The best part came when the junior primary chorister grabbed me in the hall after church.

Her: Daphne is such a riot!

Me (thinking, Oh no. Now what?): Oh really?

Her: Yes. We were singing a song that had pictures. And I asked a little boy to come up and hold a picture. Then Daphne yelled to me that her birthday was coming up so SHE should get to hold the picture. (sidenote: Daphne has considered her birthday "coming up" since the day after her birthday party. IN JUNE.) And when I told her it wasn't her turn, she said, "You make me MAD!" and turned fully around in her chair to face her back to me.

That's my Daphne. Always a charmer.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Serial Killer In My House

There is a serial murderer that lives in my house. Yes, here. IN my house. It all started when we started finding bodies. Freshly dead bodies, so we knew the killer couldn't be far. Then one of the victims survived. And that little birdie sang, let me tell you.

And now we know who the killer is. And she sneaks in and out of our house, hiding during the day. Out hunting for victims at night. I've tried to put a stop to it....the blood and gore can be sickening. And when someone comes over and spots a body lying under a piece of furniture or stashed in a corner, it really can be quite embarrassing. But she just doesn't seem to understand it when I tell her it's not alright with us to use our home as her hideout and to stash the bodies here. She'll go for months without any incident. And then we'll come home to this....

So I'm going to out her, right here and now. THIS, my friends, is the killer:

Flossie The Cat. Alias, "Kitty."

Oh sure, she looks sweet and innocent. She may be quiet and keep to herself, but she is a killer, rest assured. And her victims come from all walks of life. She doesn't let species or genus deter her. Praying Mantises, mice, birds, crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas, and moths have all been left dead or dying in our house. The ghosts of her victims cry out to us at night, squeaking and banging around upstairs. Or that could be my kids, getting out of bed to go potty. Well, whichever. Still, their tiny voices cry out for vengeance. It's time to put a stop to it. It's time to call The Cat Police...

I think this should do the trick.