Friday, November 30, 2007
ALL MY MAKEUP FELL IN THE TOILET THIS MORNING -- code for "I'm going to change the subject." This comes from a friend of a friend who could never keep up with the topic of conversation and would just say the strangest out of the blue things. This is especially comical because Nigel says it all the time (much to the shock of people who don't know what it means).
PLEASE PASS THE RIPLEY and WHAT DO YOU MEAN DID YOU WIN THOSE CLOTHES? -- code for "I misunderstood what you said." "Please pass the Ripley" comes from my brother, Spence, who misunderstood when his son said "Please pass the syrup, please" (we also now refer to syrup as "Ripley"). The other phrase comes from when I misunderstood my father asking "Are the windows closed" to my mother and I thought he said, "Did you win those clothes?"
SPACKY HAND -- referring to when your hand suddenly spazzes out and you drop something or accidentally hit something. This comes from Sister Spackman who had an unfortunate arm-to-industrial scone mixer encounter and would occasionally lose control of her hand (which was great because she was the ward organist and we would wait in anticipation for a "Spacky Hand" moment).
DO YOU THINK I CAN TOUCH MY KNEE TO THE CEILING? -- said before doing something very stupid that's sure to result in bodily harm. This comes from my sister, Rena, who was jumping on the bed and touching various body parts to the ceiling -- her head, her ear, her tongue, etc. Then she had the bright idea of touching her knee to the ceiling. She jumped as hard as she could and unfortunately didn't realize that her head would impact the ceiling way before her knee would.
HAPPY NEW YORK -- code for any English phrase horribly mangled on a consumer product because it was made overseas. This includes "Spoopy" book bags and "Winnie The Puff" stuffed animals.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
When Nigel was a missionary and an investigator agreed to be baptized, he would have a member of the local area baptize the person so that they would always have a connection to that ward or branch. He knew that he would be transferred to a new location or eventually go back home, so he wanted the new member to have a special bond with someone that would always be close by.
I also love him because I never knew this about him until years later at my own daughter's baptism and one of his old college roommates related this to us in a talk.
I love you, Nigel!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
- When I was sick in bed and bored out of my mind, she brought over her prized Martha Stewart Living magazines for me to look at (as well as her fabulous collection of Esther Williams videotapes).
- When I lent her my car, she returned it with a full tank of gas AND she vacuumed out the interior!
- She didn't get mad at me when Nigel gave her husband a pet snake and the feeder mouse escaped and nibbled through her food storage.
- She's an awesome example of being a caregiver as she's taken in her in-laws, grandmother, friends, relatives and various animals (dog, cat, chicken, etc.).
- She drove me to the hospital when I was in labor with my babies (at crazy hours in the wee morning) AND she drove me back home with my new bundles of joy.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
When I was a young "Sunbeam" in church, my Primary teacher and I shared the same birthday. That year she came by my house to bring me a card to celebrate "our" birthday.
But it didn't stop there. Every year on my birthday she came by my house to bring me a card. She did this for many, many years, and then the cards and visits stopped (I still don't know if she moved away or passed away and now I'm sad to say that I can't even remember her name).
A few years ago I found a girl who shares my birthdate. Now every year I go into her classroom at school and surprise her with a bag of candy or balloons or some special treat to celebrate "our" birthday.
I realize that she doesn't know my name or why I do this, and that's OK. What's important is that she knows that she's special and remembered -- just like I was.
After seeing her read this poem, I so wanted my own poet to follow me around and inspire me when I feel down or discouraged. Thank you, Nikki Giovanni and thank you to all those who follow your hearts and in so doing, lift the spirits of others.
“We are Virginia Tech.
We are sad today and we will be sad for quite awhile. WE are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.
We are Virginia Tech.
We are strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must laugh again.
We are Virginia Tech.
We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, but neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.
We are Virginia Tech.
The Hokier Nation embraces our own with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness.
We are the Hokies.
We will prevail, we will prevail.
We are Virginia Tech. "
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I love that Nigel says ta-BLOID when referring to those trashy newspapers.
I love those that still say "fark" for fork.
I love people who say EYE-talian (you know, the ones with the yummy pasta).
I love that my mother-in-law talks like a character in the movie "Fargo" (don't you know).
I love that my father says "rut" beer.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
- He can watch the VH-1 "Hip Hop Honors" and sing along to every rap song.
- He goes along with all of my crazy schemes ("Yeah, Lois, covering the living room with tin foil and and pretending we live in a submarine is a great idea!").
- He cooks -- very well.
- He lets me take naps in the afternoon.
- He understands Yiddish.
- He never gets mad when I use up all the hot water (which is often).
- He always has a new conspiracy theory (I always thought those "Smoking Gun" guys where hot).
- He would go out and buy me club sandwiches when my pregnant body was craving them (usually at 3 AM).
- He cooks Thanksgiving dinner every year.
- He loves me.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
When I was in high school, my best friend and I thought it would be fun to join the track team (everyone was allowed on and that way we could avoid regular PE).
The coach noticed my lack of ability and decided that I would run the JV two-mile event. Since there were no girls in our area that ran the JV two-mile, I would automatically win as long as I finished the race and our team would get the points.
I felt I was suffering enough just by running eight times around the track during meets, so I never did anything during practice. I would goof off all week and on competition day just walk/skip/amble around the track, finish, and win.
Well, obviously my coach and I weren't thinking ahead because since I was "undefeated," I had made it to the regionals/area/state competition (I'm so non-athletic, I'm not even sure which one it was -- I just know that for the first time I was actually competing against people and these were girls that lived, ate and breathed running).
Mine was the first race of the meet, so at least I could get it over with quick. We started the race and I soon got lapped. No big deal. Then I got lapped again! OK, this is bad. Then, all the other girls finished the race and I still had two laps to go! As if that wasn't humiliating enough, the officials decided that I was taking too long, so they made me run on the inside of the track (the grass of the football field) so that they could set up the hurdles for the next race.
By this time I figured that everyone had forgotten about me and hoped they thought that I was just warming up by running on the grass. I was also seriously debating faking an appendicitis attack, but I couldn't remember which side my appendix was on.
When it came time for my last 100 meters, they let me run on the track again and I finally crossed the finish line. I was hoping to fade away quietly, but the crowd in the stands was always aware of me and they all stood up and cheered when I finally finished (but I'm convinced they were cheering more for the school that let "that special girl" join their track team).
Well, many years later, I've realized that I am "special." I may not be the most prepared, I may not do all the things that I should be doing, but I do finish the race. I don't give up, no matter how tempting it may be. I may not have the most triumphant end, but I'm sure there will be a crowd of people cheering when I do.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Anyway, she has a not-so-hidden evil streak that brings me such joy when it comes out.
The other day she was trying to get her one-year-old brother in the house and said to him in her squeaky tiny toddler voice, "Come on, numb-nuts!"
Her father turned around surprised and asked, "What did you say?"
She batted her baby blues at him and replied, "Nothing."
Oh, I'm so thankful for three-year-olds. Rena always called that the "magic" age (though I think she meant that she no longer had to cut up their hot-dogs and they could play with regular toys), but I think everything they do is adorable.
- Get to be the crazy old lady on the block wearing a housecoat with curlers in my hair holding a shotgun yelling, "Get the hell off my lawn!" to the neighborhood kids.
- Get to make nonsensical comments in church every week (something along the lines of "My name is Cleo, but everyone calls me Honey because I'm so sweet" or "In 1953, President David O. McKay gave me a special assignment to help save the devil's soul").*
- Get to wear crazy clothes and hats (because everything looks adorable when you're under 5 or over 85).
- Get to give people odd gifts like nails attached to empty thread spools or bags of hair.**
- Get to fulfill my dream of being one of those Super Bowl streakers (because who's going to tackle a naked old lady limping across the field with her walker?).
**Lorna got the empty thread spools -- I must admit it was my Jeffrey who gave our neighbor a bag of hair as a gift.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
(After 13 years, he decided that he couldn't tolerate us anymore and decided to live with the neighbors who eventually renamed him and took him out of state with them)
- No more feline farts (he especially liked to pass gas on Julene and our friends referred to him as "The Windy Kitty").
- No more vet bills (he would get in fights and get huge gashes across his tummy that required stitches. Once he threw up in his "cone" and then shook his head so that cat barf went flying all over the place! Also, the vet told us to wrap up his wounds with gauze pads and bandages. Have you ever tried to get an ace bandage around a cat? We finally went with maxi pads and held them in place by sticking the poor cat in our baby's onesie).
- No more Jeffrey scurrying up the furniture and screaming whenever the cat walked by (for some reason the boy loves snails and bugs, but is petrified of anything with fur).
- No more rescuing him in the middle of the night because his paws are frozen to the metal roof.
- No more peeing on my pillow -- WHILE I'M STILL SLEEPING ON IT!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Is there any kid alive who isn't scared to death of those things?
I'm so tired of standing in the corner of the stall covering the sensor on the toilet. Thank you old fashioned johns!
Aunt Viv is hilarious. She always has funny stories -- mostly about losing her glass eye. "And then my eye fell down the kitchen drain!" or "So I'm chasing after my eye as it rolls down the hallway at church!" You always want to sit at Viv's table at family reunions.
The funniest was at a wedding reception and just out of the blue Viv blurts out, "I love a good fire." She doesn't mean going camping and roasting marshmallows, she's talking about when a house or school burns down!
The best part was when my Aunt Glynnis (on Dot's side of the family) said that she also "loves a good fire." She related a story about her son-in-law coming home from a SCA party (he was in full suit of armor regalia) late at night saying that there was a good fire going on. Glynnis ran out of the house in just her nightgown and they drove up to the local "make-out spot" so they could get a good view of the fire down in the valley. Of course, a cop showed up. I could just imagine what was going through his mind when he saw this woman in her nightgown, a man dressed as a knight, at the local "lover's lane" watching a house burn down.
Oh, aren't you thankful for crazy old aunts?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I'm grateful for the example of my brother, Spence:
In school he had a hard time reading, so he used his own money to pay for a speed reading course so that he could keep up in his classes.
After many years, he finally graduated from college. I've lost count of how many schools he attended and how many credits he finally ended up with (but amazingly enough, still fewer credits than Nigel graduated with), but he didn't give up and got his degree.
Because he loves to fly, he joined the Air Force. After basic training he had to take a physical to get clearance for flying. Well, the geniuses at the medical center gave him the GESTATIONAL diabetes test. It came back positive -- for diabetes, not pregnancy -- so he wasn't allowed to fly. He knew that he didn't have diabetes, and he fought and fought to get a new test and have the results changed. By the time they figured out their mistake, he had his birthday and was now too old for the Air Force and they kicked him out.
Not one to be deterred, he joined the Army and did basic training AGAIN. He had to change from flying planes to flying helicopters, but he now loves flying helicopters and has served in the military for over 20 years.
He also has some funny stories. There was the time he came home from a job interview that he thought went really well and then realized there was a big bird turd on his suit coat (nothing says "hire me" like feces on your clothes).
Our favorite story was when he was bishop of a branch in Korea. His wife bought him a tie at a local market and he wore it to church. One of his counselors came up to him and said, "Why are you wearing that tie? Especially to church?" Spence didn't understand what he was referring to. "Don't you know what those are?" he asked pointing at the tie. Spence looked down and said, "Yeah, colorful ghosts." The counselor chortled, "Those aren't ghosts, those are CONDOMS!"
Please keep Spence in your prayers. Tomorrow he returns to serve another tour in Iraq as a medevac pilot, saving lives and not giving up.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
- MLB Life Science Museum (my kids refer to this place as the "Hippo Store").*
- Four seasons (OK, 3.12 seasons -- it seems like spring lasts about two days).
- Eating my weight in snow cones at the Freedom Festival every summer.
- Walking to church.
- Sweet's (especially on luau night).
When Dot was Relief Society president, there was a woman in their group that was really struggling financially. I'm not sure what her situation was, but her condition was quite dire.
Dot and her counselors decided to have everyone bring some canned food to their monthly activity so that they could collect it and bring it to this woman. Of course, they didn't announce who the food was for because they didn't want to embarrass her.
Well, the activity was going along great and Dot noticed that in walked the woman that they were collecting the food for -- and she had some cans in her hand. Even though they were probably the last bits of food in her home, she was willing to share to help out a "sister" in need.
I'm so grateful for people that look out for others -- and those that are willing to share.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Now, this woman is one of those that's always dressed to the nines and demands perfection from everyone around her. You would understandably think that she was angry and frustrated that the sacrament was taking so long.
But a few weeks earlier she had told me about her son who had a horrible stuttering problem and how it would just be agonizing for her to see him suffer through trying to say the sacrament prayer.
She wasn't angry or frustrated. She was sympathizing and her heart was aching for this young man and his struggles that she knew oh so well.
When he finally got through the prayer, she grabbed my hand and smiled at me.
Now I smile thinking of her and how grateful I am that she let me into her life, so that I could better understand her and in turn, better understand all those around me. Thank you.
Anyway, Leslie J. is Jeffrey's primary teacher.
You've got to understand, Jeffrey HATES church. We would have to get him dressed while he was sleeping or he would catch on that it's Sunday. We would physically restrain him in the car and then literally drag him into the building. He would stick out his arms and legs and grip on to the door jamb and it would take both me and Nigel to pry him off and stick him in his chair.
After a while, we just gave up and let him stay home. Every week that Jeffrey missed church, Leslie J. would mail a note that she missed him (not hand deliver, not e-mail, but sit down and write a message, put it in an envelope, and mail it off).
After a few weeks, Jeffrey started going to church, just to see his teacher (Of course, it also helps that Leslie J. is totally gorgeous and all the boys in her class are in love with her). It's so great that Leslie J. speaks to her class like real people and is genuinely happy to see them each week.
One day while watching "Veggie Tales," Jeffrey turned to me and said, "You know what, Mom? I believe in God." What??? Is this the same boy that drew a picture of the temple on his poster of "Things I Hate" in preschool?
The icing on the cake was Stake Conference (known in our house as "let's sleep in Sunday"). Of course, I had to go to the adult session Saturday night because Leslie J. was speaking (she did awesome). I also went to the Sunday session and asked if any of the kids wanted to go. Frances and Alice-Grace declined, but Jeffrey piped up that he wanted to go. He sat through two hours of church, sang along with the songs, drew pictures of the people that spoke and at the end of the meeting, he turned to me and said, "Mom, I want to go to Stake Conference every time!"
I'm so very grateful for people like Leslie J. Thank you!!!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
For example, at a recent gathering, a woman was given the assignment of putting numbers under people's chairs for a game. Now, if it was me putting numbers under the chairs, I would've just ripped a sheet of paper into squares (I'd be too lazy to even find the scissors to cut them out), hand write the numbers on them, and then tape them to the chairs. Well, this woman bought these beautiful circle tags, calligraphied numbers on them, put a grommet in them and tied silk ribbons to them to attach to the bottom of the chairs.
OK, doing something like that NEVER occurs to me!!! Maybe that's a bad example because I really can't fathom spending that much time and money on something that's just going to be thrown away five minutes later, but I do appreciate the thought and beauty involved.
But here's the kind of extra mile that I truly strive for:
When I was a teenager, our youth group would go down to Mexico every Christmas and bring food, clothes, and gifts to a few families. We would raise money all year and collect things, wrap presents, and learn Christmas songs in Spanish.
You'd think that was enough, but one man in our group drove up to the mountains, filled his pick-up truck with snow and drove it all the way to Mexico so that the kids in this village could have a snowball fight at Christmas time.
Now that's going the extra mile -- or 100. I'm so grateful for people like that and the inspiration they are to me.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Similarly, I had 100% attendance in junior high and high school. I found out years later that my brother, Henry, also had 100% attendance for the exact same reason ("Mom, I know I'm coughing up a lung and bleeding from my eyes, but I can't miss school, I don't even know where the office is!").
Also, I feel bad for the voting officials in my precinct. My area is full of college students, so none of them ever vote. Also, I vote in a car dealership. A CAR DEALERSHIP! Who votes in a car dealership? So the officials are always very excited whenever ANYONE shows up (Geo and C. Jane, you know what I'm talking about).
Plus, I always think of that British suffragette who threw herself in the middle of a horse race for "the cause." She throws herself in front of a horse and I can't get off my butt and vote? I think not.
So get out there and vote -- and be grateful that you can.
After you get married, always the first question out of people’s mouths is, “Are you pregnant yet?” The months and years go by and they ask, “So, when are you going to have kids?” You jokingly answer with “All the righteous women in the Bible were barren” or “I was originally born a man.”
But even worse than the questions is when the questions STOP. Now it’s official. You’re part of “the club,” those couples without children. The members and their reasons for membership are varied, and the dues are very costly.
You walk around like a recent amputee with phantom limb pain – you can feel that baby on your hip or a small hand clasped in yours, but when you look down, there’s nothing there. The worst is Mother’s Day at church and the young men hand you your “pity” potted plant. It’s one disappointment after another – like Henry and Julene, after being 10 plus years on the adoption waiting list and when it looks like they’re finally going to get their boys, the agency “loses” their information and they have to go through it all over again.
The worst was standing in a crowded room and seeing a man yell across to another man, “Hey, where’s the rest of your kids? I thought you had six.” “No, just five,” he replies.” The first man continues, “Really? I thought it was six.” And you want to run over and cover his mouth and yell, “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” Because they DID have six, but their little baby girl – their ONLY girl – had just died. But you don’t and the father doesn’t. You just smile and continue on with your life, because that’s one of the rules of “the club.”
You come to the realization that it's not going to happen for you and you take the box of baby clothes and baby toys that you've been saving and you slowly, one by one, wrap them up and give them away to others who have realized their baby dreams.
But then, the doctor announces, “It’s a girl!” And this little, perfect child, who you already know, is handed to you. Wonderfully, a few years later you have a boy, and then another girl. And just like that, you’ve been kicked out of “the club.”I'm so very grateful for my three beautiful children, but I'm also thankful for those seven years in "the club" because it has given me insight and empathy towards those who are still members of it.
Monday, November 5, 2007
- Shortest Main Street in America.
- My elementary, junior high, and high school were all on the same block.
- Early morning seminary -- held in a park!
- Dr. Demento was always the grand marshal of our Fiesta La Ballona parade.
- People like Hung Tri Ngoc (his real name) who actually said, "Wouldn't it be great if real life was in 3-D?" And we could NOT convince him that it really WAS in 3-D.
- Using the high school auditorium for high holidays because the synagogue isn't big enough.
- Getting let out of school early to watch them film "Eight is Enough" down the block.
- No car washes or bake sales, we raised money by being audience members for game shows.
- Out of work actors for school teachers ("Hey, Mr. Galbraith, didn't I see you in a video of 'Streets of Fire' playing a pimp?" -- and my brother-in-law even became my science teacher after his character got killed off on "General Hospital").
- TITO'S TACOS!!!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I love Fast Sunday. I look forward to it every month. And it's not for the reasons you think.
I hate that most of my budget money goes to food. I hate shopping for food. I hate cooking food (it's a good thing we have Supper Club, or we'd starve). I hate doing dishes.
That's why I love Fast Sunday. It's such a relief to know that I don't have to think about food at least for a few hours.
My secret wish is to be able to get all my nutritional needs through breathing alone. Just imagine, no shopping, no cooking, no cleaning. No kitchens, no supermarkets, no toilets. Take a deep breath and say, "Oh, I'm full. I can't inhale another bite."
Until that day comes, I'll be grateful for Fast Sundays.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I'M A FLEA'S CANDY LADY!!! (Yes, I changed the name to curtail future law suits)
I get to wear the white dress and hand out free samples and everything. Now, it's just for the Christmas season, but at least I've got my foot in the door.
It's a good thing that I stopped dying my hair and let my gray show because they like to hire "mature" women. So, should I be insulted that I got the job? No way!
When I go job hunting, it's all about finding the right kind of atmosphere for the most hilarious experiences. I try to live my life based on having great stories to tell my future grandchildren.
Currently, I watch TV for a living (seriously, I do).
The best job was when I worked at a veterinary hospital and part of my job consisted of pulling the dead dogs out of the freezer and handing them to the pet cemetery guy. Not a walk-in freezer -- a chest freezer! I had to literally dig through frozen dogs to find just the right one. I was always a little wary because I was just there in a lab coat and bare hands and the cemetery guy was in full bio-hazard gear. Did he know something I didn't?
Oh, dreams really do come true.
Friday, November 2, 2007
- She played "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning" while the congregation was exiting the church because someone lit the drapes on fire during the seminary graduation.
- One year she gave away kittens as "treats" for Halloween.
- At the age of 75, she's started violin lessons (and we thought she was nuts when she started banjo lessons at 40).
- She's a "Beet Digger" and proud of it.
- She planted corn on the roof of the house (When Lorna asked her why she planted corn on the roof, Dot replied, "Because the cantaloupe kept rolling off").