Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Mouths of Babes

Yesterday we took the kids to Maggie Moos. If you don't know what Maggie Moos is, it's like Cold Stone, but for kids. If you don't know what Cold Stone is, it's like Marble Slab, but in Utah. If you don't know what Marble Slab or Cold Stone are, you are probably a lot skinnier than me.

ANYWAY, we were walking into the store, and a few young girls, late teens-ish, were sitting in the outside patio area by the door enjoying their ice cream. Just as we were passing by, Beck turns to one of them and says, "'Scuse me. I burped." They couldn't stop laughing. Hey, at least he said excuse me!

Then, inside, there was a case full of ice cream and a counter covered with candies of all kinds and fruits and things to be mixed in. I asked Daphne what she wanted. Peanut butter ice cream with snow caps mixed in. I asked Beck what he wanted. "Mint" he said. "Mint with what?" I asked. "Mint!" he told me. "Mint with what?" I asked again. "Oreos? M&M's? Chocolate chips?" He said, "Mint!" I thought maybe he didn't understand. But then I asked him one more time, "Mint AND WHAT?" and he explained, in the best way he could think of in his 2 1/2 year old mind, "Mint, Mommy. No snacks."

I love it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Are you as blank when it comes to blog topics as I am? Then maybe you'll give in and do a quick-and-painless blog tag. Seven simple questions. All food related. couldn't be easier. You're it.

Food Network's got a series of specials. Their chefs describe the best thing they ever ate. What about you? What's the best thing you ever ate? Here are some of the Food Network categories.

1. Best thing ever
2. Best thing totally fried
3. Best BBQ
4. Best thing with bacon
5. Best sugar rush
6. Best pizza
7. Your obsession

My answers:
1. Best thing ever: The braised beef shortrib on polenta with fresh horseradish sauce. From Pizzeria 712. If they ever stop serving it, I will immediately lose all desire to live and throw myself in front of a train.
2. Best thing totally fried: Scones. Nothing beats my mom's fresh scones rolled in cinnamon, dripping with honey, smothered in jam. MMMMMmmmmm....
3. Best BBQ: I think the best BBQ I've ever had is probably the ribs at Texas Roadhouse. MELT IN YOUR MOUTH.
4. Best thing with bacon: I have to go with the roasted squash and bacon pizza from Pizzeria 712. DIVINE. Also, GONE. Dagnabbit.
5. Best sugar rush: Best sugar rush for sure is the Paradise Pie at Chilis. I hate Chilis. And that pie has 1500 calories. But seriously, to die for.
6. Best pizza: See number 4. But I also, strangely, truly appreciate a meat lovers pan-crust pizza from Pizza Hut. Sad, I know.
7. My Obsession: I think it's pretty safe to say, since 3 of my answers are from Pizzeria 712, that it must be my obsession. Well, that and baked goods, of course. NY style cheesecake goes without saying.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Proof Of Absence

So I mentioned that my brain was going on vacation. Afterward, I got some comments that lead me to believe I may not have been very clear. I did not go on vacation. Just my brain. The rest of me is still here, sweeping up mashed Ritz crackers and picking chartreuse play-doh out of the carpet.

I also thought I might offer some proof as to the complete absence of my brain during the last day and a half.

Article 1 for your consideration: I drove to downtown-ish Salt Lake for my dance lesson. About 1/3 of the way there, traffic got a little thick. So I jumped in the car pool lane and proceeded to drive there for the next 25 minutes, uninhibited by the lesser mortals in the regular lanes. Unfortunately, I realized only as I was getting out of the carpool lane to exit the freeway that I was alone in the car. In the Mini Cooper, a car which you couldn't hide a second passenger in if you only carried midgets. What was I thinking??? I tell you what I was thinking. I wasn't thinking. MY BRAIN IS IN CANCUN, people. you think a cop would have let me off if I tried to explain about my brain being on vacation?

Article 2: After dance class, I drove home (in the far right lane the whole way, trying to appease karma and the moving violation gods), watched some TV with Big Daddy, and got ready for bed. I looked around for my keys so I could lock my car, but I couldn't find them. I was too tired to do a thorough look, so I just used the remote on my spare to lock the car. The next day, after doing some yard work, I found my keys. Here....

Yes, that is the exterior of the front door. And yes, I left them there all night and most of the next day.

I sure hope my brain is getting a nice tan while my life goes to hell here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Braincation

I just thought I'd let you all know (and by "all" I mean the four of you who still occasionally check my blog) that my brain has decided to join the masses of Americans who are away on summer vacation right now. She's tired of sticking around this house doing the same old mundane, thought-free tasks and having to watch my body get to do all the fun stuff like laundry and exercising and chasing kids. So she's taking her leave of me and heading out for her own adventures.

Where to? Cancun.

In Cancun my brain intends to drink piña coladas and lounge on the beach and just think. It's been so long since my brain got to follow a line of thought for longer than 22 seconds that she really looks forward to just fixating and dwelling and stewing on things for a while. (Don't tell my brain that she's likely to experience some unpleasant sensations when sending piña coladas directly to the grey matter. She doesn't know about brain freeze!)

Then my brain is going to read. I know what you're thinking.....booooring! But reading is an activity my brain actually formerly enjoyed. Before children. And before DVR. Over the last four years, my brain has nearly forgotten how to sound out letters, so rare have been the reading opportunities. So my brain is going to find a good library and just read all day to her heart's content. her cells' content, I guess. She's leaving the heart here with me, fortunately.

Next my brain intends to try to participate in some intellectual conversation. This is nearly laughable. My brain forgets that she hasn't attempted anything that ambitious in almost half a decade. It will undoubtedly take some practice for my brain to form anything beyond a 2 syllable word. But she's pretty convinced if she goes to a few locales where adults hang out, she might be able to work a few words like "propitious" and "categorically" into the conversation. Can't wait to see how that works out for you, Brain.

I'm almost afraid to tell you what my brain thinks she will do after that. Foreign language skills! Hahaha. As if. Brain, I know Cancun is in Mexico, but don't you know that your Spanish is so rusty that you think "cheese quesadilla" is a great conversation starter? And what are you going to follow that up with? Olé? Sombrero? A mangled version of La Cucaracha? Don't you think you're going to make a fool out of yourself? Let me answer that for you. Sí.

Anyway, I'm sure my brain has a few other diverting activities planned while she's away. She's not letting the whole cat out of the bag (my brain can be secretive sometimes). All I know is that while she's gone, don't plan on anything genius showing up on this blog. My hands are pretty fast typers, even on auto-pilot, but without my brain I'm likely to blog about things like TV shows and ice cream flavors and lipstick. You know, mindless drivel.

So if a few weeks go by and things still haven't improved around here, well I guess it will be safe to assume that my brain got detained at the border trying to pass herself off as a local. I'm sure my brain thinks she will be able to talk her way out of something like that. But without my big mouth? Good luck with that, Brain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy 7th!

It’s our lucky number seven. Seven years of marital bliss. Actually, it’s our fantaversary, not our anniversary. But this is the day we celebrate.

According to the strange and twisted people who invented the list of what to get each other for each year you are married, your seventh anniversary is the year you give wool and copper as gifts. So I’ve picked out some items to consider for anniversary presents for Big Daddy. Which do you think he’ll like best?

These lovely copper roses are just his style...

What man isn't into oversized, a-symetrical copper rings?

Nothing says "manly" like a swirly copper money clip.

Every man needs a wine bottle blow torch tiki light!

This copper bird reminds me of Clash Of the Titans for some reason. I'm sure he would appreciate the flashback properties of this bird, as well as its practical applications.

A bag of copper runes can be helpful for traveling to Middle Earth.

And a giant copper boil is on every man's wish list.

And then there's wool....

If he's feeling nostalgic for 1991, try this wool and leather jacket.

This is listed as "An Authentic Civil War Blanket." Authentic? Like it's actually from 1863? Hmmmm... In the immortal words of Inigo Mantoya, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

And if all else fails, if all these other presents don't cut it, I'll pull out the pièce de résistance. I'm know this fabulous bear will be an item he'll treasure always. And in case he's in doubt as to why I'm giving him a teddy bear, the shirt spells it right out. (The shirt is, however, made of polyester. Classic.)

Well, I'm sure he'd love any of these. And only the best for my wonderful husband on this most special of anniversaries. Er, fantaversaries.

Here's to seven more amazing years, Sweetie. (After that, we'll talk.)

Monday, June 15, 2009


I swear that last week I had like six great ideas for blog posts. And then it rained for 8 straight days and I lost all will to live...well, write. I actually like summer rain. And I really like thunderstorms. But after a while it got old and my kids went stir crazy and I went literally crazy. And all the craziness sucked my brain dry of any and all writing ideas. So here, in place of a clever, witty, well-written and/or interesting blog post is a really funny youtube video. The sun is out today, so hopefully my will to blog will return. In the meantime...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Writing On The Wall

It's not often you find a lonely human cry for love scratched onto a bathroom wall. This day I found three...

I guess we all need someone to tell our sorrows to. Even if it's just a bathroom wall in Fillmore.

What's your hidden sorrow? Tell the old bathroom wall...
(Sign in anonymously if you like)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Speaking of Cake

During Daphne's party, as the children devoured their gummy tape covered cake, a child was heard to ask, "Can I have some more M&Ms?" And I can't be sure these words actually came out of my mouth, but I think I may have said, "No more candy until you finish your cake!"

Now that's what I call good parenting.

Cake Mamas

I'm not sure where I got the idea that a good mother only does homemade birthday cakes. Was it because my mom did? Or because my sister did? Or was it something else that ground that into my brain? Well, whatever it was, IT WAS WRONG! My first attempt at a fancy homemade birthday cake was for Daphne's 2nd birthday. It was a lion, her favorite animal. I'd say it turned out pretty mediocre:

Then the next year I got smart and bought one. It turned out so cute! And it actually tasted good, which is the main reason I'd avoided store bought cakes up until then (aside from the brainwashing).

Then I made the mistake of trying to make a fancy homemade cake again. This time for Beck's second birthday last December. The train cake. It was SO MUCH WORK! I spent probably six hours on it, including making the cakes and decorating them and assembling them. And the result was only one false move away from being a train wreck. I guess it's not bad for an ameteur. But it wasn't what I'd hoped for. I think I need to take some cake decorating classes.

But in the meantime, I heard from two friends of mine, Mary Christmas and Rebecca Poppleton that they had started a cake-making business, the Cake Mamas. So I hit them up to make Daphne's birthday cake this year. Mary said she wanted a challenge. So I told her "horses, polka dots and M&Ms" as per Daphne's request. And this is what the two of them created....

Have you ever seen its equal??? I think not. It's BRILLIANT! The horse is made out of fondant-covered styrofoam. The bow is made of sugared gummy tape. The polka dots and trim on the plate are too. The cake inside is confetti cake. And the frosting is buttercream (except for the part where the horse is coming out. That is fondant). It tasted amazing, and it has got to be the most impressive cake I've ever seen. I considered for a few seconds claiming to have made it myself. But I know no one who has ever seen any of my other cakes would believe it for a second.

SO.....if you're in the market for an amazing, one-of-a-kind, delicious, homemade cake, call The Cake Mamas! Mary 801-787-7870. Rebecca 801-636-4973.

p.s. My sister just made this cake for her daughter's baptism party. Can you see why I feel so inadequate??

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trim Your Bush! (not a metaphor)

You may think this post is about this:

Or this:

But it's not. Get your mind out of the gutter! What kind of a blog do you think this is? This kind? No. This kind? Certainly not! This kind? Ok, maybe it is the kind of blog you think it is. But today my blog is truly pristine. It's about a genuinely unruly bush. This one:

In fact all of these:

But after several hours of back-breaking pruning, the final result is much more pleasing...



See, nothing like trimming some unruly bushes into a nice straight landing strip. Er... racing stripe. Crap! Back in the gutter for me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quatro, Quatre, Vier, Four

Daphne turned 4 today. Four years ago today I gave birth, after 26 LONG hours of labor, to the tiniest, most perfect little baby God ever created. 5 lbs 7 oz. 17 1/2 inches long. She was a peanut. She was beautiful. She changed our lives.

Now she is a precocious, outgoing, smart, spunky, sassy, fun-loving, happy, extroverted, talkative four year old. Still tiny (28 lbs soaking wet), still beautiful, slightly more hair.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Love.

Now show everyone your best moves...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Did I Ever Tell You About The Time....Ooo! SPARKLES!

I am seriously drawn to sparkly things. I don't consider myself a very girly girl in general, but when it comes to sparkly things, I'm drawn in like a moth to a flame. Like a cheerleader to a kegger. Like a fat kid to donuts. Like a Utahan to hair bleach. My husband mocks me for my love of all things glittery, but I don't care. Sparkles are God's gift to my eyes.

A month or so ago, I was walking through a casino in Vegas....was it The Paris? Anyway, I was talking to my friend Christie about something, and dead in the middle of a sentence, I screeched to a stop. There before me was a whole wall of shiny, sparkly, glittery objects. I turned slowly, eyes wide, unable to blink or hear or talk, and walked towards the sparkles like I was in a trance. When I got there, I discovered that it was a wall kiosk containing 100% sparkly items, most of them Swarovski crystal encrusted. I couldn't tear myself away. For at least half an hour I walked back and forth, practically drooling on myself, examining the wares. Examining them again. Holding them up to the light. Turning them over. Grinning like a fool. Like a kid on Christmas morning. Like a fat kid with an empty plate that once contained donuts.

I ended up, after a very long and thorough examination of all options, with this....

And I can always tell who my kindred spirits are. They stop me on the street and grab at my key chain like they are under a spell. ITS spell. Like the glittering heart is pulling them in. Like Odysseus to the Sirens. Like the Enterprise to the Borg tractor beam. Like that guy in The Tell-Tale Heart to the tell-tale heart. You should see my four year old with my key chain. I've never seen that child hold so still and stare so long at anything in her life. She cradles it and strokes it and says, "It's sooo beauuutiful" in this slow, mesmerized voice. Like a robot. Like Frankenstein. Like Sleeping Beauty to the spindle. (She does actually talk to the spindle, right?)

So now that you know how captivating sparkly things can be to me, you shouldn't be surprised that I decided to get myself glitter-toed this week.

What may surprise you, though, is just how often I find myself stopping what I'm doing to look down at my toes. And how often I look up to find Daphne doing the same thing. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't take these toes out in public or woman and girls and gay men all over the city will be following me around, staring at my feet, trying to get closer to my toes. Like those runners to Forest Gump. Like Augustus Gloop to the river of chocolate. Like the rats to the Pied Piper. Like..... Oooo look! My sparkley toes!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can You Bear One More Flower Post?

I think the impressive-flowers-from-my-yard posts are just about done. But I have one more. And I can't believe I forgot about this one. Peonies. Say it with me: PEE-oh-nees. Try again. PEE-oh-nees. I know most of you out there are saying "pee-OH-nees, but you are seriously WRONG about that one. Don't believe me? Click here and play the sound icon. I do love to know the correct pronounciation of things. It's so interesting to realize when words I've been saying my whole life are pronounced totally differently. Like "mischievous." How many of you say miss-CHEE-vee-us? Well, look at the spelling again. It's "ous" not "ious". MISS-chiv-us, is the correct pronounciation. I always thought it was miss-CHEE-vee-us too. But when you look at the spelling you realize that you're throwing in an extra syallable that doesn't exist. Weird, huh?

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, flowers. Anyway, I planted some peonies in my yard a few years ago and they have become absolutely splendid. Why do I not remember how much I love peonies until they are in bloom? Maybe because they bloom such a short time and then they're gone for another 50 weeks.

I planted two bushes the first year. They opened up to be hot pink. So the next year I planted a white peony bush so I could make a multi-colored bouquet. The one problem? They don't bloom at the same time! The pinks are all petals-on-the-ground by the time the whites are starting to bloom. Foiled. But here are some pictures of the beautiful things anyway.

I have to say, I might have to work peonies into my list of favorite flowers. It currently looks like:

Favorite To Smell: Lilacs
Favorite To Look At: Lillies
Favorite in Yard: Crocus
Favorite in Bouquets: Gerbera Daisies

But I think I might have to scratch out Gerbera Daisies and put Peonies. If only they would last a bit longer! If only they bloomed all summer! I might just scratch everything off the list and just have peonies on there. (But Sweetie, feel free to go with the daisies and lillies any time!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Exercise, the EASY Way!

I'm not an exercise fanatic. I'm not an exercise enthusiast. I'm not even an exercise proficient. I'd qualify myself as more of an "exercise survivor." I do it because I have to, because I don't want to get fat. I rarely enjoy it. Sometimes I don't mind it. But mostly I do mind it. Mostly I hate it. Mostly it wears me out until I would just want to lay down and die afterwards. But I tend to like the results of exercise, so I do it. I try to do cardio 3-4 times a week. Mostly this consists of running on the treadmill, the stationary bike, and the eliptical in the cardio theater at the gym. In nice weather, I might actually walk/run outside or even bike outside. I occasionally do my Dance Dance Revolution at home, P90X, or yoga. I also hit the water aerobics class once a week. On top of that, I try to do weight training at least 3 times a week, but I don't generally pull that off. It ends up being once or twice usually. Part of my problem is the time constraints of my life. I have two little kids who rarely give me 30-45 minutes to exercise without interruption (although they do LOVE to "help" me jump all over the mat while I try to do DDR.) The other problem is the aforementioned hatred of exercise. So when I read this article today at (a site to help you track calories, get exercise ideas and healthy recipes, etc.), I was super into it. It's all about more realistic, fun, interesting ways to burn calories and get your exercise:

20 Ways to Burn 200 Calories
Do visions of schlepping away on the treadmill or giving up your social life for the gym come to mind when you think about burning calories? Think again!

These fun workouts and activities will help you burn approximately 200 calories* each. Take your pick, whether you need ideas to get started on your fitness program or get the scale moving in the right direction again.

*Calorie estimates for a 160-pound female come from SparkPeople's fitness tracker. Men--and women who weigh more--will burn more calories

1. Video games like Nintendo Wii let you exercise more than your thumbs. It gets you up off the couch and sweating!
50 minutes = 200 calories burned

Dude, I am all over that. I actually sweat when I play Wii tennis or boxing. I usually pull at least one muscle, too, so it must be exercise.

2. Grab a jump rope and make like a kid! Wear good cushioned shoes and use a steady hard surface.
10-15 minutes = 200 calories burned

Ya, sorry. 15 minutes with a jump rope? I think 15 seconds would wear me out. Too exercisey. Cross this one off the list.

3. Hit the links at your local golf course. Walking and pulling (or carrying) your own clubs is great exercise!
50 minutes = 210 calories burned

Since I already golf and enjoy it, this one might seem like a logical choice for me. But only if I have no interest in having a good score. Walking the course makes me so tired that my shots are sloppy after 3 or 4 holes. But maybe my caddy will take it under consideration.

4. Wash your car by hand. Get out the vacuum, hose, bucket, and sponge for a detailed cleaning.
40 minutes = 216 calories burned

This one gets two thumbs up. Not only does it save money and burn calories, you get a clean car out of it! I have a certain sister who might want to try this one. Or mother.

5. Take the dog for a walk, and try to maintain a brisk (about 4 mph) pace. Fido needs exercise, too!
25 minutes = 190 calories burned

Sounds great! Now who wants to lend me their dog? Flossie isn't so keen on walks.

6. Call up a friend for a friendly game of racquetball or tennis. This is a good opportunity to catch up while you get fit! You don’t have to be a pro to have fun!
25 minutes = 218 calories burned

Does anyone out there play racquetball or tennis?? Cause I'm always game for 30 minutes of mocking, jeering, and total humiliation. (That would be you doing the mocking, jeering, and humiliating, by the way.)

7. Get off the couch and move it for a whole new look. All that lifting, tugging, pushing, and pulling adds up.
25 minutes = 210 calories burned

You know what? This is actually a good idea. Except that the furniture in almost every room of my house only fits one way. Hmmmmm. But there is my bedroom.... Do you think I could drag a huge, queen-sized, solid wood bed frame plus mattress and box spring by myself?

8. Head for the Stairmaster at the gym, stadium steps at a local school, or staircase at your office to burn mega calories. Try to accumulate several minutes over the course of a day.
30 minutes = 216 calories burned

Sorry, but you lost me at "stairmaster."

9. Strike Out. This is a great opportunity to do something active and fun as a family instead of camping in front of the television.
60 minutes = 200 calories burned
Strike out? Uh...I'm not sure what this one is about. Playing baseball? Bowling? Looking for gold? Failing at picking up on chicks? No idea.

10. Do your best Lance Armstrong imitation. Get your bike out for a few trips around the block or head to your local bike trail. A 10-12 mph pace is moderate for most people, but you'll burn more calories going uphill and/or faster.
30 minutes = 210 calories

Again, this is called ACTUAL exercise, something which I'm trying to avoid doing. FAIL.

Well, anyway, you get the idea. This article provides lots of fun and unique ideas to "exercise" and burn off some calories without even noticing you're doing it (with a few lame ideas thrown in there to try to trick you into doing ACTUAL exercise.) If you want to read more, the other 10 ideas await you here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Break Out the Jiffy Pop

there are some movies coming up which you may or may not want to see....


May Not
(skip forward 30 seconds)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bean Day

It's my little brother Ben's birthday. My little brother who is 6'2 and has been my big little brother since I was 16 and he was 13. He's pretty much the most remarkable man I have ever met. I copied a bit about him from my mom's blog...

Today is such a special day! June 1st is the day I welcomed my adorable, gigantic son into the world at an ounce under ten pounds. And, of course, the doctor did NOT get there in time to administer anesthetic, so I delivered this giant infant virtually “natural.” He was a delightful, super-bouncy boy who never got sick in his life. I attribute this to the fact that I ate like a pig during the entire pregnancy and gained 50 lbs. Oddly, I was only down to 145 lbs a week later. Go figure!

Ben was a chaotic joy as a child, forever with that thousand-watt grin, charging through the house at top speed, scooping thing off shelves and tables on his way past them in order to hear the delightful reverberations of things crashing, breaking, and screaming (I was the one breaking and screaming). We called him “Ben the Wrecker.”

Ben was often tender and kind, too, trying to pick up the emotional and household-job ends that Jim sometimes dropped, feeling the self-imposed obligation to make me happy. That is too big a burden for a kid, so I officially announced to him his release from that job at age 16. Just to see if I meant it, he acted like a bratty, irresponsible teenager for a few years until I was glad, GLAD to see him off on his mission with not one tear for his departure.

In years since, we have become the BEST adult friends, and Ben is my delight. Whenever we visit, he always takes me on an adventure date: once canoeing down a river -- eating tons of ripe blackberries from wild bushes along the shores. Another time we took a long walk through a deep woods, stopping midway to discuss philosophy. Last year we went gold panning in what passes for mountains in Oregon, and found a couple of molecules of the precious metal. (He was also rehearsing the for a boy scout camp-out later on.)

Nobody could be a better son than my Ben. Not only is he handsome, polite, considerate, (helpful, friendly, clean, courteous, reverent, etc) (he is the personification of scoutmaster in his ward). Plus he is a loving husband and father to his wife and children. I envy them! He competes in triathlons, can do anything from cabinet making to car repair, designs anything on a computer, and is still as cheerful as he was as a little kid.


A few memories to add to that...
I remember when Ben got caught trying to steal a Mercedes hood ornament off a car. We were from Detroit, and it was cool to wear them.
I remember graciously inviting a very young Ben to drag a mattress into my room to sleep when it was stormy outside and our parents were out. (It was really because I was scared, not because he was.)
I remember when Ben took me fly fishing. I caught a 15 inch cutthroat! And Ben was happy for me instead of being jealous.
I remember the summer when I was 13 and we went sailing on our dad's new boat. We wore the same shoe size for those few short weeks.
I remember teaching Ben to drive my stick shift. He rear ended a lady at a stop light.
I remember finding a package of C4 explosive under my mom's house, left there by Ben. It actually wasn't real. But it looked real. Clay, label, fuses, the works. I thought any minute it would explode and blow my arms off. Turns out it was for a game of hitman (or what was it called?) he had going with some friends.
I remember Ben sending me a letter from his mission asking me to order flowers for his then girlfriend for Valentine's Day. So thoughtful!
I remember Ben playing Rapunzel's prince in his high school musical of Into The Woods and ROCKING IT.
I remember dancing the jive with Ben at a college dance. He was game for anything.
I remember singing duets with Ben. In high school, at funerals, around the house. Our version of A Whole New World is pretty freaking awesome.
I remember Ben teaching me to golf.
I remember laughing with Ben a lot, on pretty much every occasion we've ever been together. You just can't help it; Ben is joy incarnate.

He's one of the smartest, most ambitious, friendly, confident, hilarious, hairy, kind, thoughtful, even-tempered, cheap, loyal, wonderful people ever. There's no one like him. He's one in a million. No, a billion.

Happy Birthday, Bean. I love you.


I grew up in a household where we weren't allowed to eat most kid cereals. My mom read an article when we were little where some scientists fed a bunch of rats only cereal and then watched which ones would have enough nutrition to sustain the rats. Those cereals that kept the rats alive were deemed healthy enough by Mother to be given to us kids. They incuded such favorites as Raisin Bran, Cherrios, and Life. They also, thankfully, included Lucky Charms. I'm not sure how the Lucky Charms made it into the bunch; the rats must have eaten only the oaty bits and left the sugary, dye-filled "marshamallows." But however heaven intervened to allow the rats to survive on Lucky Charms, we rejoiced. Of course, we ate them in the opposite manner of the rats: marshmallows first, oaty bits last (if at all).

And so, it shouldn't have surprised me when I came into kitchen last week to find my children's Charms bowls looking like this:

I think it's a physical impossibility for children to eat all of the cereal in a bowl of Lucky Charms. And that's why I've decided not to buy it anymore. Actually, to be completely honest, I have never bought it. Some other shopper in the family has. But after finding cereal bowls like this for several days in a row, I realized that I was pretty much allowing my kids to eat only sugary marshmallow candy bits for breakfast. A big bowl of them. So the rest of the box of Yucky Charms went into the trash. And I had one of those annoying moments of clarity where you realize your own parents weren't purposely trying to torture you as a child, but were actually, probably, ahem.....right. There, I said it. You were right, Mom. And I too intend to try to feed my kids more healthy foods. Starting with cereal. I probably won't rely on the rats test. No, I think my general method of choosing cereal will be based on the presence of toys in the box, animal spokesmen on the commercials, and general appeal of the cereal itself. If it looks yummy, like something my kids would enjoy eating, it's out. Only the cereals that are questionable or definitely disgusting looking will probably make the grade.

Now if I can just convince the other shopper in the house to stop comming home with the cereals that look exactly like Chips Ahoy. But I fear that task might be more impossible than choking down the soggy oaty parts in a bowl of Lucky Charms.