Text Messages

Dave and I were a lot like most modern couples when we were dating, centered around text messages and dates. Throughout our "courtship" Dave and I exchanged a lot of text messages.  A lot of them were super cute or romantic. Even when we were newlyweds there was always a few sweet messages sent throughout the day to remind each other of "love" or something.
Now we have a little girl. Our text messages typically center around Cameron's activity and happiness level throughout the day.
I've been at work for almost three hours and my phone vibrates with a message from Dave. 

Married life is such a beautiful thing, especially after children.  Dave knows just how to describe a diaper so that I cringe without even seeing it. He says such classy things. Since Cameron's birth, it's amazing no other women have tried to pick him up by now.


News & Pictures

You know what I love? Checking the news online.  
That's right, I work for a television station that broadcasts news stories at least three times a day and I get my news from the internet. Isn't that glamorous.
In my defense; I check their web site first. Sometimes there are things and stories on their web site that cannot be made up.  Like the story I stumbled upon back in March. The story is titled "Stick Ponies". It's a a very serious story about some very awkward people. Read the story, watch the video and laugh heartily at the expense of Utah news. 
Random amusing stories like "Stick Ponies" are rare in news these days. There is too much violence, war and political agendas to ignore.  Sometimes I think people out in news try to use a little humor to tell serious stories. Like my favorite sports reporter, Rod Zundel, and his amazing story about Jazz player, Francisco Elson-hilarious. Sometimes articles are paired with awesome pictures.
Today Former President George H. W. Bush was taken out of intensive care. (Sarcastic comment here). The picture KSL paired it with becomes pretty epic when you read the headline.  He looks like he is cheering for the return of his health.
Right on, G. Bush, you conquered bronchitis in your old age and I'll cheer for the rare moment of serious news making me smile and chuckle slightly.


Traffic Cops and Tickets

Nine years ago I lined up with more than thirty people at the old DMV in Sandy, Utah to get my driver's license. Like any 16 year old, I was pretty excited to hold the temporary paper license--even if I didn't have a car. It marked a level of freedom. From that moment on I could drive where I wanted whenever I wanted, parent's permitting.
Driving isn't fun anymore. Flashing lights and parked cars on the freeway slow me down.Stereotype would say that women never get tickets. Just pull out the "girls" or start crying and no cop will hand you that money laced ticket. I had a roommate once who told me she'd been pulled over 12 times and never had a ticket.
Now, I'm not stupid. I tried all the methods to weaseling out of fines. I've been pulled over by the flashing lights six times. Of those six times, I received six tickets. No warnings and no sympathetic turns.
Last week was rough. The week before an extended weekend at my work equals a lot of extra commercials and later nights. One of those late nights was especially long and it was snowing. You know what I hate more than driving in the snow late at night? Stupid police officers camping out on major roads.
The police officer, Officer Bueller or something, pulled me over two miles from my house. He didn't pull me over for speeding (for once).  It wasn't for "improper lane change" or "not yielding" or whatever cops pull people over for these days. He pulled me over because my right headlight was out. 
On his way to talk to me, he noticed my old license plate under my seat and wanted to check that out too. My hoarder ways makes me look suspicious. I am sure the carseat base in the backseat probably looked stolen as well. He told me to get it fixed and went on his way.
Thank you, West Valley Police Department. While violence is likely erupting less than a mile from your location and drug deals are happening in the Walmart parking lot next door; you wanted to pull me over for a dead headlight. Waste your time, waste my time and waste the city's time. But hey, for the first time in my life I got pulled over and didn't get a ticket!


Weekend in Pictures

Cookie Train with the Hunts/Larsens is still a new experience for me. This is only my second time imagining and creating a cookie train piece.

My passenger care of Russian gummy bears was pretty awesome. I even tried to to do a Russian flag on the side. It looked silly so I slapped the wheel over it-to cover my shameful attempt.

Dave always does the train engine. It's the same every year. He doesn't have to be creative. Just there it is. Awesome and such.

After cookie train and during Cami's nap, Dave and I hit up Thanksgiving Point for lunch. Some legit reindeer were camped outside in the snow. Yay Christmas!


The tree

Oh, by the way- we finished putting up the tree. I love it because it's our tree.
It's not the one I grew up with. It's not the tree Dave knows from his mom or the one from his dad.
The brightly lit star, red garland, colored lights, matched red/silver/green and mismatched ornaments I have accumulated through my life.
This tree is the perfect combination of our childhood Christmas memories and that's pretty awesome.



Here we are! Note Cameron's tired, lost stare.

The past three years have been a rush. I try pretty desperately to keep some things and traditions the same.
One of my favorites is visiting the Interfaith Creche Exhibit in Midway. The display is only open the first weekend in December and it's usually shoved in tight at a local church.
I have so many memories of this tradition: walking through with my parents, who examine the artistic differences and make notes for their own nativity sets; two years ago going with Dave early in our relationship, standing close but not holding hands; and taking Cameron in a stroller by myself because Dave had to work last year.
Some pretty amazing creation in woven grass or something
This year (and last year) was held at the beautiful Homestead Inn. It was so amazing to attend something so festive and family oriented AS A FAMILY.  Our work schedules conflict big time so family time is rare and wonderful.
There weren't as many nativity displays as I remember and Cameron was pretty grumpy. I think the beauty of it all was lost a little on her. Even though she likes looking at things, her exhaustion was winning out.
The best part about this tradition is to see the thousands of countries represented and creations of their own versions of the nativity scene. The arts are amazing!

I'm kind of a sucker for Charlie Brown Christmas


Christmas Lights!

My family always had a ton of Christmas traditions. One night in December we could cram into the car and between yelling and fighting we would drive around the nearby neighborhoods looking at Christmas light displays.
It was probably partially atributed to light-envy. My dad was always super afraid of heights. I remember how much he hated getting up on ladders, even in the one level house. I don't remember a lot of years when our house was lit up.
You know what's awesome though? KSL finds the lights for you. Check out this site. People put in the address of their light displays and you can go check it out, without driving for hours, looking at boring lights. Like the famous street in Salt Lake, where every house is lit with a sign telling a story about Christmas. Totally awesome.



My friend, Johnny, posted a blog entry today about life as a roller coaster. He feels like his life is not a rollercoaster-very flat and boring.
I'd like to propose a life roller coaster swap with Johnny Walker.
My day felt like a gigantic roller coaster of shifty demise. A big coaster with metal swirls of questionable integrity and sharp descents. I could name a big long list of crappy parts of my day, but the big one for me was frustration.
Two weeks ago I applied for a job that I really wanted and felt like was a perfect fit for me. The hours were perfect: 9-5 p.m., no weekends and holidays. I would work with one other girl, who didn't seem mean or conniving at all. It sounded lower stress and better pay. I did a phone interview with her and then I did a face to face interview. The interview was one that was so-so. I didn't know what the outcome was going to be, which usually means bad-but I had hope. I have been trying to practice hope over the past three months, you know fight those awful reminders.
In short email form I read that I didn't get the job. It was impersonal and plain. Emails of rejection can be such a blow for me. When my job qualifications are so job specific. My field of expertise is so direct that it's difficult to find a job that fits me. I've been looking for a new job for a while and I've only been on two interviews and zero offers.
That jab at the jugular was the first hard part of the day. It was such a big blow for a day that just continued to spiral like those super scary roller coasters.
In some ways I feel like my day ended hours ago, with me sitting on a concrete step outside my work and wanting my dad so badly. I wanted to run home to him. I could almost see him sitting there in his tan armchair, holding a puzzle book.  he would put down his book, hug me and tell me he loved me. That's it. He would give me some sage, church advice and everything would feel okay again. I miss him a lot.
I suppose this entry isn't all happy and awesome, but not every day is a funny story. Sometimes there are roller coaster days.



Holidays are going to be overly sentimental this year. I want to take pictures of everything, so when my memory fails I can pull them up on my computer or t.v. and really remember again. Or maybe just for posterity's sake, so Cameron can look and recognize images and things like I do.
X amount of years ago, my parents started giving us nativity sets for Christmas.  There's the wooden puzzle set that's put on the floor right now so Cameron can play with it-but she's not really interested in Christmas stuff. There's an ultra small one that opens up like a book. Right now this one is my favorite.
It may just look like folded paper to people and wasted time to others, but it's so much more. 
My dad was an origami enthusiast. As a child, he developed this talent as a time waster while he was waiting for his parents to get home. When I was growing up, there was always a folded animal in progress placed by his armchair.
When I was ten or so he made me a pegasus. As many girls my age, I was super into horses and such.  I feel like Hercules came out around then too. Anyway, he handed the folded creature to me and even I could tell it was complicated. There were so many folds that the design was solid and destruction-proof. When he put it in my hand he told me that I couldn't lose it. I didn't.
Putting it up was a highlight for me. It's my own way of remembering and keeping my dad around at this time. What an odd thing to say...that origami is my symbol for my dad this time of year. This set is on the bookshelf right next to the hall. Every time I go to my room or Cameron's room, I will walk past this nativity set. A daily reminder.  One day I'd like to get a shadowbox for this set. It's so priceless now.


Four Day Christmas Tree

For the first time in my life, I joined the thousands of people who put up their Christmas tree.  This was our first actual tree. Last year Dave, Cameron and I were crammed in a tiny one bedroom apartment. Cameron "slept" in the living room, shoved in the space between Dave's gigantic brown couch and television.  We created our tree as a space saver option. In case you forgot. Last year's tree looked like this:
It was made out of green scrubs and spare ribbon from Cameron's baby shower gifts. Honestly, it didn't stay up too long because we were in the process of prepping for yet another move. Even though it wasn't awesome, it was there as a symbol.

After last Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law were getting rid of their tree. They wanted to be all upper-classy with a pre-lit Christmas tree. So we got their old one. Setting up a fake tree takes so much longer to put up than I remember. As a kid, I never helped spread out the boughs. It took more than just an hour.  
It was so perfect though. Dave and I pushed out the branches, listening to Christmas music via Pandora playlist and Cameron checked in on us frequently (luckily she doesn't care for the bristles at all).
It was so picturesque.
That's what we had at day number one: an assembled, fake Christmas Tree.
Saturday we went shopping for lights, garland and ornaments. Like most Christmas first timers, we were short a strand of colored lights and two strings of garland. We haven't finished it yet. It's getting there.
I am super glad Cameron isn't pulling lights off or trying to chew on the plastic branches. She does go in the front room a lot, to play with Aunt Lara's quilt on the couch. The tree makes a pretty great backdrop for her cute face.


Post Facebook "Fast"

How poetic! My Facebook Fast technically ended on Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for the choices I make (sometimes). Facebook has many wonderful purposes. My mom and my sister use it to keep in touch and share pictures and stories of their daily lives. In 2008 or whenever I joined the cult of Facebook because I was living alone in Idaho, without a cell phone and felt really lonely. Those purposes are great. Things changed. I already wrote about how Facebook has changed for me in an old blog post. The decision to take a break from Facebook is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Two weeks without that "book of faces" and I'm okay. I'm more than okay. My fingers aren't itching to check my "friends'" statuses or who wrote on my wall. In fact I don't want to go back to Facebook. I don't think I will. After work last night, I did a mini reflection of the past two weeks. As I sat in my dark car, waiting for the light to change; I thought about everything the past two weeks entailed. I haven't changed my life dramatically. I still do the same things. Have the same frustrations and excitements. My list of actual friends hasn't been tripled, doubled or even increased by one. I never actually called anyone in my family or friend circle-although they did call me a few times and we had REAL conversations. I started writing again, building multiple stories into novel ideas. Although it's slow going, I've written over 10,000 words in my budding novel. Those words wouldn't happen if I was checking Facebook. You know what has changed the most? Me. I am different. I feel so much more at peace with who I am and what is around me. I wish I could explain in words how my feelings changed. It makes me sound like an addict. I wouldn't say I was addicted to Facebook, but I was letting it run my life. I used Facebook to bring me down. Even if I lied and said I just wanted to see what funny thing "so and so" will write. It was really to see where I was failing as a mother, wife and woman. I saw people's posts as challenges and I can't meet them because I'm different. After two weeks I don't see that as failure anymore. Cameron is still a challenge but she's my girl and I'm glad she's not like every other child on Facebook. If I don't have beautiful hair like my friend on Facebook, it's okay because I don't have perfectly straight shiny hair. I'm an individual and not them and I'm okay with me and what's in my life. Maybe that's rehashing what I've already said and perhaps I'm kicking the dead horse a little bit. Facebook is a waste of self esteem, fuels dissatisfaction and depression. Take a Facebook break, the longer the better. I don't think one week is enough to feel change, but any break will be good for you. Try it and share. I would love to hear how lives get changed when we all open our eyes to our REAL life profile.


The Voice

When I first saw The Voice, I scoffed. Who cares about Christina Aguilera anymore, I don't even know who Blake Shelton is, I thought Adam Levine was the gay member of Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green was a fresh artist.
I thought it would fail. It's the same music talent show; redone in different modes and different quirks to make them look more "original".
As much as I hated the show; it grew on me like a bad case of Chicken Pox. This season is especially good. I think that the world needs to see some of the performances from tonight. The top ten performed and I want to share the song from the bigger than life, Cody Belew. I promise that his rendition of "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce' will rock your socks off and make you giggle under your breath a little.


The Red Balloon Toy Store

After an eight day in a row working streak, I wanted my first day off to be different. My days off usually consist of Cameron following me around, sitting at my feet and throwing hysterical fits. Today I decided ahead of time we were going out.
It's my nephew's birthday part tomorrow and we needed to find a gift. I took Cameron to The Red Balloon Toy Store in Sandy. 
I was feeling emotional before we even got there. The store hold a lot of my childhood in those glass doors. I never went to the store without my dad. He was, after all, just a kid stuck in a grown-ups body.
On my first drive down that road in more than ten years, I missed it. It used to be a little tiny shop in a strip mall. I feel like it might have been next to a nail salon and chinese laundry place. It was probably about the size of my bedroom. 
I remember the toys layered on the shelves and when the shelves didn't have anymore room; they were stapled to the walls and hung from the cieling.  It was one of those magical places of childhood, where I picked up little plastic animals and danced with giant dolls.  That place was probably kept in business by my allowance alone.
My dad would cruise the aisles ahead of me and call out to me behind one in the corner, "Look at this! Isn't this neat?!" He pulled out a little marrionette with string and wooden parts. It was fantastic. He collected the more expensive versions of these marrionettes and I wanted to share in one of his plays. I bought three of them, but I didn't keep them. I wish I did now.
Anyway,  the toy store moved across the street in a bigger location and an updated logo. It's ginormous with more space and toys than i thought possible. Cameron and I examine the Lincoln Log knock offs and Playmobile sets of old. I felt like I was falling in love with the store all over.
I tried to get Cameron to play with some of the toys and the only one she held onto through the store was a plush microbe of mono, "the kissing disease".
In a lot of ways, it's almost become tradition. My dad took me there as a kid and I took Cameron there. I really hope that she can take her children later in life too. It's weird that I've been trying to think of creating our own traditions and memories.  This kind of place is perfect for creating memories with children and parents.  My stroll through memory lane at the toy store was the greatest way to start my weekend.


TSA Agents

In October we flew a lot. Layovers and airports are not awesome, but sometimes the TSA Agents can be funny.
We're filing through TSA Security and one of the agents has a sense of humor about his job.
He's singing to us and making jokes. His last one before we walked away was, "TSA: saving the country one waterbottle at a time."
Due to the four hour extended layover in Dallas, crappy "Chili's" in the airport, seating displacement and jetlag; it didn't take much to be a highlight for the day. That guy made his job and my traveling day awesome.


Abe Lincoln

Handsome Abe
 Confession: I love Abraham Lincoln, sometimes a little obsessively. So I'm pretty stoked about the upcoming Stephen Spielberg production Lincoln. Unfortunately, it won't be released in any city near me until December or something like that.
 With this upcoming movie there has been so much buzz about little-known facts about this amazing man. He is fantastic. He is made up of the magic that presidents should all have. Some of his best qualities is his humility and his strength during a time of unease on uncertainty.
I stumbled across a story on Yahoo, "The endearing reason why Lincoln grew his beard".  It was because some 11 year old girl thought he should. She suggested that with a beard, he was more marketable to the adult male audience (in my own verbage of course). Lincoln not only took her advice, he went out of his way to write this girl a letter back. Now think about presidents of the present. If I wrote a letter to Obama right now about how he should dress or look. I would just get a standard email or letter back from the White House or something saying, "Thanks for your letter, you may or may not get a response back." and I bet 99,999 out of 100,000 times there isn't a real response back. Population arguments are a moot point. This was an 11 year old girl and he listened to her. I think that is fabulous!
In that same article, Mike Krumboltz talks about Lincoln's very un-regal presentation. In crowds and speeches he dressed normal with pants too high for his long legs and suit coats too wide for his thin frame.  How awesome is it that he didn't dress in designer clothes or grade A clothing. There could be any reason for this from a look at the economy back then or maybe he acted like a man and just put on what was comfortable. Whatever the reason, he looked like a true American at the time-frame--he looked real. 
It's hard for me to just name one reason when his strength as President helped the American people. I see his life and it looks like that's all he ever was. He was always strong.
There's the pinnacle moments that other people always cite: the Gettysberg Address, where he spoke on the same battlefield that thousands of men died for their country; the Emancipation Proclamation, which was a beginning to finally ending slavery in the United States; or what about actually uniting the States together after the war. Bringing them into a Union of United States. He essentially created our country (once again) from the division of war and disagreements. How much stronger can one man be?!
I loved reading the interviews and facts on the new movie. Lincoln is going to be amazing. Daniel Day-Lewis is acting as handsome Abraham Lincoln and you can't go wrong with DDL right? He mentioned in one of the interviews that he grew to love Abe Lincoln through his role.
The best quote came from Stephen Spielberg, “...Everybody should claim Lincoln as their own, because he represents all of us, and what he did basically provided the opportunities that, that all of us are enjoying today."(blogs.indiewire.com)



Snow is really pretty.
It's a nice change from the super hot weather.
I am not opposed to snow.
It is beautiful, white and it is like a big blanket.
I am opposed to the cold weather.
I wish it could snow 70 degree snowflakes.
Everyone could love it so much more.
Snow is still really pretty.


Remember Fall?

Fall was yesterday, remember the sun and burnt colored leaves? I do.


I'm Dead to the World

I'm sticking strong to my no Facebook for two weeks, but it's extra hard today.
Work is slow. I spend so much time waiting for stuff to be downloaded.I could be looking at Facebook right now, judging people and feeling inadequate. Oh, wait no...
My phone is acting weird too, so no texts or phonecalls today. For the next five hours it's me, NBC and the seven infomercials I have to record. Lots of waiting, lots of time to think and lots of time to wish I could scroll through seven pages of Facebook. I have a lot of reasons for getting rid of Facebook. I'll make you a wonderful blog list.

1. Hypothyroidism-It seriously blows, guys, you don't even know. Let's just say it's an all around kind of problem. I'm so unbalanced right now, it's crazy, but not in the I'm going to run out screaming through the mall with a giant gingerbread kind of crazy. This awesome unbalance means physical and mental fluctuations. I'm not complaining because it's getting taken care of, just means I've got to stop looking at everyone else and take care of myself.
2.  Jealousy- I've been a part of Facebook since 2008, that's more than four years I've been scrolling that blue bordered page, stalking my friends and family.  Since 2008, it's changed a lot. It's become very much a show among everyone, including myself. This show is so irritating to me because I'm constantly comparing my life to that of the online variety, which I learn is typically not true. Despite knowing better, I really have a hard time with jealousy. Especially since no one really talks to me outside of Facebook, so I don't see problems people are having, the only thing I see is vacation pictures and your super perfect baby or lovely decorations. I'm eliminating that factor for a while so I can start recognizing what I have instead.
3. Productivity- I started writing again and although I've only written 15 pages. This time I mean to finish it and find a place for it on the bookshelf and not just in my computer. I easily waste more than three hours on Facebook. That's three hours of my creativity wasted online.
4. Break from the Online Grind-  I read a list somewhere of "Ten Ways to Be Happy Everyday" or something like that and one thing it listed was calling someone you care about every day. Not just text them or put something on their Facebook wall, really call someone you love. That's super hard to take. When's the last time I had an honest to God conversation with someone outside of the online world. I feel incapable of having them anymore and that's sad. It's time to reconnect with LIVE people and build REAL relationships instead of online ones.

Those four things seem so small but I could expand each point into many more sub-points. It really doesn't matter why or how I'm really going to accomplish this. I am looking at the end result. Hopefully in two weeks time I will feel more aware of my surroundings, happy with what I have, lots of novel progress and refreshed with reality and building friendships. Feel free to join me on this journey and make it your own. Two weeks are going to fly by, hopefully, because I'm dying to update my status.


Halloween Costumes

Halloween came and went pretty quick this year. October started rough, cruised into peace and shuffled through a wedding.
If my kid ever stopped moving, I would show Cameron as a super cute pink Batgirl, but she doesn't stop moving and ripped her ears off before I could pull out a camera. In lieu of something extremely photogenic, I'm opting for reality.

Sheloved the moving witch at my mom's house.
That's not the story I wanted to tell.
I LOVE Halloween so so much.This year was super exciting because it's our first Halloween in our new house and our neighborhood is heavily populated with children. We went through more than 6 bags of candy before we turned off our lights.
The most awkward story of the night wasn't from a kid at all.
This random parent hopped up on our porch ahead of all the children and started taking pictures of me (in costume) before any of the kids could get to the door.
Husband likes to make inappropriate jokes about this story, but I'd rather not put them on the blog. Suffice to say some stranger has a picture of me in Victorian era costume barefoot at the front door of my house. I hope he hasn't set up some in the windows. Creeper.


Carnival Cruise Bathroom Venture

I don't usually share tales from the bathroom, but I have to include this story.
 Dave and I just spent a week aboard the Carnival Legend. We left out of Tampa, Florida and landed in Cozumel, Belize, Mohagony Bay and the Grand Cayman. The trip was fantastic! 
 The story that sticks out in my mind doesn't occur on any of those gorgeous ports. We were on the boat and after a long, boring day at sea the Dave, Brad, Jaycie and I opted for a little excitement at the formal steakhouse. 
Brad made the appointment and we dressed up accordingly. 
In the middle of dinner I got that awkward feeling. You know when you gotta go, you gotta go. Walking in heels on the boat was fine, except for all the slick flooring that my old made my old stilettos slide all over the place.
I slowly walked down the stairs and finally found the bathroom.
Restrooms on the boat could be quite the experience. You had to heft a should inward just to get in a small foyer and another hefty door shove to get into the actual bathroom containing three or four stalls.
The steakhouse was pretty empty so I was surprised to see a woman standing in the foyer between the outside and the room with the stalls. She looked at me with that dull, irritated look my mom gave me a thousand times when I was a preteen, "They won't let me in."
"They are holding the door shut."
Almost as if she heard us talking, a middle-aged woman with mousey brown hair with a fancy dress and shawl came out laughing hysterically.  In the restroom, you could see four or five other middle-aged women laughing at the sinks.
The woman with mousey hair felt the need to explain to me, "They restaurant is so formal and they want you to be so good--so serious. We are all so naughty--loud--funny. These girls--."
She whips out an old digital camera to show me a picture of her friend (with a shawl over her head), peeing in the sink. Did I just enter Bridesmaid's 2, Middle-Aged Cruise?
I couldn't stop laughing. This middle-aged woman with greying hair was giggling like a teenager and showed me, a complete stranger, a picture of her friend peeing in the sink. It's just too awesome.
I want to be that awesome when I'm in my elder years. Here's to you, middle-aged woman peeing in the public sink, YOLO.


My Suburban Chicken

Normal people have normal pets. My friend next door had two dogs and my friend Stacey had a lizard. I didn't ever feel weird until my friends came over just to stare at the shed with peeling red paint.  I started to feel like my house was closer to a zoo than a house.
I grew up in Sandy, Utah. It is NOT a farming town. Sandy is very much surburbia at it's finest. You would have to drive a few miles to see anything besides houses and brick school houses.
We were the only family with pets that were a little different. We had a cat, a yellow canary and a chicken.We had a chicken that didn't produce eggs or do anything normal chickens do, besides cluck sometimes when she was nervous.
The story is good but it gets better. Not only did we have a chicken in suburban Utah, the chicken's name was not Florence or Betsy. The bird was appropriately named Ugly. She was missing a ton of feathers from close calls with neighborhood cats.  She also had a beak the seemed to frown all the time and only clucked when she felt nervous. Ugly chicken stopped laying eggs before I was born, but we still nurtured her in a shed in the back yard. She was a pet and part of the family
In the summer, my mom let her out of the shed to wander our large backyard and pick at bugs in my mom's garden.
The worst part about having a chicken in the backyard was feeding her. After dinner my brothers and I would take turns leaving bowls of appropriate dinner leftovers for Ugly. Those moments are still terrifying to think about. The backyard had exactly one light that pointed towards the back of the house towards the trees, not the shed. So I spent the time looking down the back of the house for murders, shuffling to the shed, dumping the bowl of lettuce for Ugly and sprinting back to the house before someone could kidnap me.
Even though I hated feeding Ugly. I was fond of the awkward chicken.
When I was in first grade, I got this assignment to draw a picture of my family. Like every six year old I included my pets: Butterscotch, the best long-haired tabby cat in the world;  Tweety, originally named yellow canary that appropriately used only the swing in the wire cage; and I couldn't forget about Ugly.


Bachelorette Lingerie mishap

This year has been full of weddings for Dave and I. This means lots of bridal showers, bridal picture sessions, bachelorette parties, set-up and take-down of all those things and then there are the weddings.
My favorite part of these events is the bachelorette parties. I love an excuse to shop for "fun things" and play "fun games" with friends--even if the friends are my sister-in-laws.
Last night was the last one. I got a super cute purple number that was cute and hot at the same time.
The day before said party was very busy and I shoved the lingerie into the gift bag in a big handful; running out the door literally with my child screaming from her carseat.
We played a game of guessing. The guests lined up panties they purchased on a line and the bride had to guess who gave it to her. I didn't want to buy a new pair so I separated the set. The panty hung on the line and I put the rest in a gift bag.  When gift opening began. She pulled out the number with praise.
I quickly explained that it didn't have a tag because I had to rip it open for the panty game and I didn't wear it.
Laughter all around and I demonstrate a little shimmy to go along with it.
Then she says, "Oh, wait there's something else."
My eyes went wide, wait what?
She pulled out my purple ruffle tank top. It's roughly the same color and was probably sitting too close to the lingerie on the bed.
Someone on the couch was pretty witty, "Maybe she did try it on."
I can't make this stuff up.
I brought a gift bag of scented hand sanitizer (matching with the bride's lotion) and my own purple tank top. True Story


My Blood-hypo what?

This post may get a little personal and a little serious at first, but I promise you will chuckle at the end.
Since the birth of my daughter (a little over a year ago), I felt like something inside was a little off center. Lots of people attribute it to the post birth blues...and then when it didn't leave....post partum disorder. It wasn't "depression" in a typical sense. It was kind of erratic and hysterical feeling.
A lot of people believe in talking to someone to talk through their problems. I took that advice at first. Utah has a new mental health building that looks fancy and authentic. When I talked to them, they wanted me to come in everyday for a four our group meeting. (Hello, I have a baby and I work full time...thanks for nothing).  I talked to my OBGYN, clergy, my mom and of course my husband.
Blah blah blah and it didn't feel better. A few months of that I took it inside and tried to handle it myself. That worked for a while, but it built up and slowly the release happened once every few weeks, then every week and than it hit a scary point for me when it started happening for days in a row.
Dave, my husband, has been a fantastic listener. Hearing my complaints and crying like a champ but even he has his limits. The company he works for has this "mental health campaign" or something for their employees. I took him up on it and met with a counselor, who is fantastic. I have a difficult work schedule and it is hard to find a babysitter for additional hours outside of work, so who knows how often I'll be able to see him.
His first suggestion was to get all my blood levels checked. As if my countless blood draws (to check my cumidin levels) during and post pregnancy weren't enough. Oh needles, it's a good thing I'm not afraid.
So I go and check, fill out more forms on depression and anxiety. I could probably recite them in my sleep I've read them so many times.
Results came back today and all my hormones look good but something awkward showed up: hypothyroidism.  I know thyroid problems run in the family but  I have no idea about what it means. Underactive thyroid, which means missing stuff.
So I'm reading symptoms and stuff: weight gain (not really), dry face (yup), aching joints and muscles (YES), feeling sluggish & tired (sure), depression (yup).  These things have increased over the past year to crazy levels.
Then I read the "people at risk". Women over 50 and/or a genetic predisposition. I'm only 25. What if I didn't find this stuff out now? Would I be dead by 50? Probably not, but I thought the blog universe would enjoy knowing that my body apparently thinks I'm a 50 year old women. Tell that to my monthly visitor.


People of Note

People come in our lives for a reason. Even the most obscure, random person has a very direct purpose. It's an odd thing to think about. Lately, on the drives back and forth from work I've been thinking about insignificant people who made a big difference.
I had to ride the bus in middle school. It was slightly embarrassing and as I got older, the younger people became more obnoxious and I hated it more each year. From my first step on the black ridged steps, Gavin made a difference in my life for more than an hour and a half every day.
Some people called him a creep. A girl I used to walk with swore that he looked down her shirt every day, but I didn't see him treat or look at anyone differently.
The only decoration I remember was a small, yellow "Rampant Lion" flag stuck to a peg next to his teacher looking name tag.  He had thick gray hair that would grow out to almost his ears before practically shaving his head.  He seemed to have perpetual scruff every day.
Gavin didn't really care what you did on the bus. You could be smoking dope; starting a rave; or pile seventh graders on top of each other and he wouldn't look twice at you. If you stood up; you faced his wrath, which included a powerful Scottish yell, "SEET DOOON!!!" And he would yell it; and glare at you in the reverse mirror over and over until you did.
There weren't a lot of kids on the bus who got bullied; for one reason. Gavin always put a stop to bullying on the bus pretty quick. He wasn't a heavy guy; but he was very "built".  One kid called him out and I'll never forget him charging down the aisle; pretty much shoving the kid off the bus, "Doon't yew everr git on mah bus agin."
After I graduated; I went on a lot of afternoon runs. I remember seeing him barreling that yellow bus down the road; honking the bus horn at me and waving. 

I met this other guy when I was in high school. I can't even remember his name. It was probably like Devin or Dane or something. A lot of my spare time was spent around the English department; especially when I was on the Literary Magazine Staff.
One day; I was having a really hard day. I sat by the window with my notebook just writing everything out. My friend, Brett, waved at me from the bottom of the steps before class; talking with Devin. Devin called me over to talk with them.
When I went down; he introduced himself and proceeded to give me the tightest hug I've ever received. We never had any real opportunities for conversation after that. Whenever Devin saw me after that, he stopped what he was doing and would ambush me with his famous tight hugs.
At the time, I developed a crush on him but he had a pretty steady girlfriend all through high school. Not too long after we graduated, he got in a car accident and died.

Those moments are frozen in time. Gavin, in mid-honk, hand in the air at me at the end of a long run. Devin, squeezing me so tight that for a moment I didn't worry or stress.  I didn't know these guys personally, but they both made a pretty big difference in creating who I am today.  It makes me want to make sure that my brief impressions with people in my neighborhood or other cars on the freeway should be more positive. Make that smile a little wider; wave to them even if you don't like the way they are driving; you know how to do it. Here's to this week; to being better.



These two boxes were delivered to Dave. One to my mom's house and one to our current house. They are two free sample boxes of deoderant that I didn't send for.
I wondered where he got them from, "Hey Dave, how come you got two free samples of deoderant?"
Dave's response, "They think I stink."
I don't think my husband smells at all, but apparantly the makers of Degree deoderant would like him to smell better. Thanks for the free samples. He won't stink anymore.


Emma Watson Sexy?

I am an avid "Pinterest" user and sometimes I stumble upon really stupid people and stupid quotes. This Emma Watson picture/quote combo has slid through my page many times.
If the print is too small for you, she says, "I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me - dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder."
She's such a great role model, righ?  I disagree. Did we all forget about the "Deathly Hallows" incident, where you see side-boob?! I tried to find a picture of it online (I would censor it of course), but alas the online world hasn't posted it.  Or what about this picture?

Or this one?

This one she actually wore to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
Okay so let's review notes from the quote. "The less you reveal, the more people can wonder."  I am not wondering about her underwear that's for sure. She also says something about short skirts or whatever. In the second picture I posted, clearly this barely goes past her butt. 
When you are publicly a hypocrite, I hate you. Shut up, Emma Watson. If you wanted to save everything for the imagination; cover up--or shut up.


Dad's Funeral Ponderings

Funerals. I didn't keep any physical images from that day. My memory is stronger; the emotions triggered by so many sights:
My brother and his four-year-old son wearing my dad's ties to the funeral; my dad's Winnie the Pooh tie on my nephew sitting crooked and nearly dragging on the ground.
Standing at the wooden pulpit; lined paper folded on below the microphone.  The flowers on top of the casket seeming to reach out to me. While I read my talk, I wanted to take one in my hand to solidify the events of the last few weeks.
Dozens of flowers on my mother's table-her usual bright tablecloth noticeably missing, symbols of support and love. 
Going through my father's clothes and shoes; the homemade blue denim slippers that he's had for my whole life, a heavy finality of the future. I snag a few shirts to craft for memories; so that in some way I can see it and feel like he's physically around still.
Family and neighbors I haven't met or seen in more than ten years; hugging me with condolences, and I just want to slap them and run.
Memories still linger of him.  After Cameron's birth, he was wheeled in the hospital room in a wheelchair and his smile couldn't be wider.  Her blessing day; my family all around but all that seemed to matter was my dad and Cameron.  A few terrifying hospital scares.  Private moments of Cameron and me visiting him a few times on my days off; sitting in the armchair with a book in his hand and an open laptop of writing on the coffee table. Conversations of joy and faith.
It's far too early for him to leave. I wanted to see him age like Andy Griffith. I could see him looking like him as he got older: white hair, smile wrinkles and crows feet around his bright blue eyes.  Cameron shared something special with him; I could sense that from her birth. He deserved to see her grow up, to be there for special moments in school and play. 
My dad worked so hard; he deserved a moment's peace. There are so many of his dreams left untouched and un-achieved.  There are so many unfinished stories and the train set in the spare bedroom will remain as it is with a half done water tower and unpainted mountains.  He deserved so much better than the painful, abrupt end. 
It makes me almost angry to think of all those people out there, who will get their fathers for many years. I still had so much more to do with him. I still had some fences to finish mending. He was supposed to teach me all the silly, random facts he always had up his sleeves.  We had so many more memories to make.


Aliens Do Exist

I can't remember the last time I had a nightmare, but last night was a doozy.It starts with Dave and me at a concert. My nephew, Andrew, was a concert pianist in the dream.  He was crazy good, the best pianist I had ever heard.
After the concert Dave and I were talking to some people and they mentioned that Curiosity (the land rover that was recently launched on Mars) found something. There was evidence of life on Mars.
I blew it off. I am a little bit of a skeptic.
After we went home; Dave and I walked into our room and a bright light filled the room with a loud "bang" noise outside.  Nothing else happened, but Dave seemed to understand the light and noise better than I. He shouted at me to get down on the floor because someone had tried to bomb our house.
I'm laying on the ground next to him trying not to move; when I hear someone in the house.  I need to look like I'm dead so I tried to hold my breath and not move at all.  In my heart, I knew what we were hearing was the alien killers coming to finish what they started.
I woke up because I was laying awkward and was literally holding my breath (just like in my dream). Dreams are so weird and scary sometimes.  If Curiosity finds something, I'm moving.


Stung By a Bee

My experience with bees is very limited. It is limited because when I see a bee buzzing towards me, my intelligence drops significantly.
I do not run or squeal when I see one. I laugh.  It reminds me of how stupid I have been when it comes to the fuzzy yellow and black bug.
The first time I encountered a bee, I was about six years old.  There was this big bush between my friend's yard and my yard.  We noticed a lot of bees around this bush and could see the bees nest resting in the middle of this bush.
Maybe it was a boring summer or maybe I didn't listen to my mom very well, but I turned to Erin and suggested the smartest idea ever. We should find a  stick to poke the nest. 
We picked out a long stick from one of the countless trees in my front yard (long enough so the bees wouldn't get us). 
I poked it kind of rough because I didn't really expect anything to happen.
Then there was the loud buzz of anger, beginning to echo around the bush.  They burst out like a grenade and Erin and I split, heading for our respective houses. 
I was a lot faster than Erin, but I still suffered a bee sting of numbing proportions in the middle of my right palm. I am smart.
Don't poke a bee's nest. They will not swirl around you like animals in Snow White, or pick you up and dance you around to a silly tune. They will impair you.


If I Had a Million Dollars

Before I fall asleep, my mind wanders.  Everything that's floated through my brain at some point during the day does a repeat; just in case I forget something.

Like forgetting how flat my pillow is until my head hits it. If I had a million dollars; my first purchase would be a really nice pillow and then every month I could replace that pillow and it would be perpetually fluffy and I wouldn't feel my mattress through it.
The pillow would feel like clouds and sleep would actually provide rest.
Buy what you want with a million dollars; I want sleep.


One word

Today it swims through my mind, how to make it real and not just a word.


My Dad's the Strongest Dad

This isn't a very funny post....it's heavy; and not in an extra 5lb ankle weight kind. It's more like a tank of emotion and sentiment.
Every little girl believes her dad is the strongest man in the world. When I was in like the second grade we had this presentation we put on for our parents. The presentations was full of pictures (I held that sign for the tongue) and lots of songs. One song was dedicated to our dads. I remember singing so loud that the song sounded more like a war cry, meant to challenge any of my classmates.  "My dad's the strongest dad!"
And I believed it with all my heart.
You know those childhood fights you have with your friends where you start out with "I'll beat you up if you don't come over" and the fight escalates to "my brother can beat up your brother". I knew my secret weapon, "My dad's bigger than yours and stronger and he can beat up your dad. Neener Neener Neener." (Or something like that) and usually the fight ended because my friends had seen my dad.
Now my dad stands tall at 6' 4"; and he is bigger than a lot of dads.  I'd never seen him yell or fight anyone, but I knew he would do it for me and he would win.  He was strong enough to shovel the whole walk without complaining and nail hundreds of boards together for my mom.  I knew that he could lift me up with one hand and when those horrible monsters came calling, he would be there to fight them off.
I could tell hundreds of stories about my dad and I admit circumstances bring these to mind. I'm sorry if things get a little sentimental.
My dad has terminal esophageal cancer. Right now he's sedated in a sheet protected plastic hospital bed: more than sixteen drug machines ticking behind his head, countless tubes threaded into his throat and arm, and his hands tied to his bed like a mental patient (to discourage him from pulling out all of the "accessories").
I first time I walked into the painfully white hospital room at the I.C.U.; the sound of a respirator was banging louder than I wanted to talk.
My sister in law and I leaned in and I talked as loud as I could without screaming, "It's good to see you awake. I know how you like to sleep."  His shadowed eyes focused on me and he nodded earnestly. 
He was responsive and alert, but I can't shake that feeling--that knowledge that I'd been fighting for the last year.
Where is my dad?  It's been years since he was strong enough to even life a shovel with both hands.  The wood shop sits vacant and dusted over with wood shavings like an old ghost town.My dad certainly couldn't pick me up now although with all the weight he's lost, I'm sure I could lift him. Those monsters from childhood have been replaced with new monsters that my family is far too familiar with.  That doubt, those questions and weakness.  Yet, there he is.  My dad? He's the strongest dad.
While others are arguing with their wives about baloney sandwiches or slaughtering weeds from their garden; my dad is and will be fighting for his life every day.



Sometimes you see things a certain way. When something life changing sits before you, precariously balancing on someone else's shoulders.  Those moments when all you can do is wait for the choice that's so casually used in films. The next two days may define your life forever.
It's like that scary moment of standing at the foot of your stairs in the dark basement and the switch isn't working because someone's left it at the half way point down the hall. Your gut is clenching and you don't want to walk in there, but you can't wait until daylight or a flashlight comes around.
It's not daylight, but there are some flashlights out there: like Cameron's contagious giggle that catches faster than a rhyming pop song. 


Adult braces: is there something in my teeth?

It's time for me to grow up....or grow down I suppose.  I'm 25 years old, but now I look 17 and I eat like I'm 80.  It's time that my smile is what it should be. So my question to you...do I have something in my teeth?
It always feels like globs of food are stuck to them--but I do brush like a paranoid freak and flossing took me almost ten minutes last night.
Eating is pretty bad. The assistant kept saying I could eat whatever, just smaller bites or whatever. That's the biggest lie ever. It hurts super bad and to correct my teeth means they don't connect right.  Dirty lies. I'll be eating mashed potatoes and oatmeal for the next 20 months.
These 20 months are going to be awesome.....?


The Scary Elevator

There are four elevators at work.  The only time I take the elevator is to get a soda; so I take it almost every day.  Okay, maybe not that much but sometimes it seems daily.
Three elevators are perfectly normal.  The fourth elevator is wide and a lot taller, it also has weird coverings on the walls.
I'm sure these coverings are to protect the walls when dangerous animals or things with sharp corners needs to go to the 8th floor or something.
The logic for these coverings doesn't matter. I hate getting it it. There are surely demons on the other side, yellow eyes glaring at me from the shiny elevator surface. Or perhaps there is a murder hiding behind the corner and to stab me. (Nevermind the fact, you need to get past security or badge checkpoints).
It would suck to get stabbed in an elevator.  Mostly because I would probably end up haunting it and going up and down the floors in KSL would be a really sucky afterlife.So maybe this time I'll step out of it, take the next one where I can see the killer's eyes. I hope they are blue.


The Coffin House

Shows like "Ghost Hunters" are my favorite. I love visiting places that have drama and spook to them. A few years ago I was really stuck on going to somewhere "haunted".  I googled the crap out of haunted places in my area.
My best friend at the time, Ryan, and his girlfriend wanted to go on an adventure to said haunted places. As we started on this journey; our hearts beating in time the his rusty engine in pure adrenaline; headed for the place mentioned thousands of times through high school and middle school.
A circular building/farm or something that was haunted. I can't recall the tale of murder or death, but the "round house" was terrifying to my classmates as a result of illegal shooting at the building.  With the slightest breeze, the building would echo a terrifying scream-like noise. To our disappointment, the building had been torn down a few years before.
Ryan enthusiastically suggested the "coffin house". He described the building as old and boarded up, conveniently located beside a cemetery and difficult to enter because of a cop who lived nearby.
Ryan, his girlfriend and I ran up the hill and walked beside a green, garbage filled stream.  (I'm pretty sure the stream was almost a solid mass it was so polluted.)
The house has also been torn down, but the "coffins" remained in a half circle around where the house used to sit. 
Kinda like this; scary right?

These square containers couldn't be longer than five feet and they made of thick grey cement--close to four inches thick.  Many of them had decayed on the corners and you could see inside--if your head didn't block all the light.
Ryan starts looking inside one with his flashlight and he starts yelling, "Oh my gosh guys, I think there's something in this one! It looks like something is scratched on the inside! I can't make out the words. Someone must have scratched in it with fingernails or something.
I am a skeptic, because clearly these weren't coffins. I take his flashlight and get on my knees, peering into the dark cement box where a skeleton should be rotting.
At first I see it too. There seemed to be writing and it kind of seemed to shine in the light of the flashlight. Suddenly this skeleton turned into an alien form leaving a message for us.  I shove the flashlight as far as the decaying cement would let me and I see----DUCT TAPE. 
That's right; my idiotic friend confused the grooves in silver, bent duct tape to be writing from an undead creature.



Either my Batman obsession has gone too far or my visual impairment previously discussed is out of control. Or perhaps I work too many late nights and my baby gets up too early.
For whatever reason, when I get off work I see this sign and I think it says "BATMOBILE TRAFFIC ONLY"

Clearly, it does not.   Almost every day I see it and laugh aloud.  I give the sign a nod and drive my black car underneath it. In this world, I drive a Batmobile to work--just your working class hero.


Anniversary Cheating

Yesterday was David and my anniversary.  We went to dinner and a movie....and I tried to leave with another man.
We saw Prometheus, which was fantastic. I had to pee pretty much the whole time, but I couldn't leave. The movie was far too intense and action packed. I figured I would risk it.
After the movie I almost sprinted to the bathroom, leaving Dave meandering behind me--lost in his Ridley Scott coma.  I came out and I see him standing there with his phone.
Almost exactly like this, except he wasn't facing me.

I start walking up beside him so I can grab his hand and then he faces me.  This man was clearly not Dave. His hair was dark and he was wearing horn rimmed glasses. 
A quick spin to avoid an already awkward moment and I see Dave about five feet away looking almost the same.
I'm a generalist when it comes to vision. I have 20/20 vision but I don't use it.  Finding a destination, reacquainting myself with old friends, and finding clothing to wear is very general.  The shirt I want to wear is green (I know it has a woman dancing on it, but I look for green shirts in my closet), my friend has long brown hair, glasses and a slightly crooked nose (I know her eyes are green and she is short, but I look for those things),  the destination I'm going to is next to an Arctic Circle (I look for an Arctic Circle in the vicinity). 
Clearly this has burned me one too many times. Going somewhere next to a McDonald's (do you know how many McDonald's there really are in Utah?). Trying to hold my "husband's" hand just because he was dressed and acting like Dave.  Maybe it's time to utilize that 20/20 vision to the full extent.


Don't Punch Cars

I'm sorry for posting yet another video. True stories are coming. I have to share this gem.  Kid history will change your life.  I laughed, I cried, I remembered my childhood. You will do the same.  Thanks to my coworker for the magic.


Pink Muppets

I am trying to force my childhood on Cameron. I stumbled across this a while ago, it's currently the only piece of my childhood she responds to. I love the "Muppets". Jim Henson=genius.


Reading for the Illiterate

On Nightly News Brian Williams (or whatever his name is) was talking to this kid who was wearing a pin that said he read 50 books in the school year.  He said that adults definitely don't read that many in a year.
I got a little defensive! Back in the day I used to read tons and tons--a new book every week or two. 
So I logged onto goodreads (the only decent way I can track my "to reads" and "reads" so I don't repeat).  I've only read four books this year...working on five.  Half way through the year and I've only read four books. The sad part is that out of the five, I've only enjoyed about half. How pathetic!
Sitting on a squishy couch, curled up with a book and some tunes playing in the background. Instead, there's Cameron crying or a commercial break at work. Wouldn't it be great, if everyone was granted a reading break? Somewhere in the middle of the day, where you can stop and just lose yourself in a story.

Just in case your wondering, I'm working on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". I caught wind of the book and all the whispers of the plot. I love a good murder mystery (Dateline/60 Minutes).  When I was a kid, I used to watch them with my mom, to see if I could figure stuff out before they said it. 
Anyways, I went back and forth on reading this book for a month. It sounded good--then I saw the movie--and it scarred me.  I took it off my list-put it back on-took it off-etc.
I put it back on for the last time; maybe the book will be different. Reading something is a lot different than seeing.
I'm loving the book. I feel like Lisbeth has one pale hand around my wrist, dragging me into the mystery. Even though I know what's going to happen, there's something more meaningful to a plot when read.  The feelings are more personable than seeing it on the big screen. Why am I blogging right now? I should read!


My kid

My baby girl makes me laugh sometimes. This photo would be great to caption.
"Stranger danger"
"Walmart or no, that's not okay!"
"If I stare long enough, will you buy it for me?"

She looks so quiet too...who is this kid?


One Man--Two Years

See look at his smile, so great right?
This week I went to visit one of my favorite men.  He's been there for me for the past two years. His lovely dark hair, bright eyes and nice smile always seems like such a contradiction with his white lab coat. 
People don't talk this way about their dentist--but I do because my dentist is great.
Dr. Robert Staley and my usual dental hygenist, Lori, are with Copper Creek Dental.
Copper Creek Dental looks a little sketchy at first, sitting in a strip mall across from a grocery store and next to a Chinese Buffet. Walking into the office, is almost like walking into a second world with a cute little playground for kids and a television.  The visit starts off with a smile from one of their wonderful receptionists. It's not something I'm used to.
I've had some pretty bad experiences with dentists. My first dentist saw me and got a little crazy with my crowns, a lot of unnecessary ones were put in for precaution--so my mouth looks like pure sheet metal when I open my mouth.  My second dentist lasted just long enough to pull my wisdom teeth, where his "painless" removal was felt and was excrutiating--not to mention getting mono from unsanitary tools.  Okay, that last part might not be true but it's the only way I could see that disease hitting me when it did.
So the first time I met Dr. Staley and Lori, I wasn't at my friendliest and I was feeling a little nervous.  It surprised me--such little pain and such happy faces. Not only were they happy, they were personable.
I had to go to the dentist on Wednesday and I was excited. We talked about my baby's new traits and Lori had even noted her name. As I was on my way out both Dr. Staley and Lori went over to tickle Cameron's feet. It was a proud moment for me,  they took notice of more than my teeth. So here's to two more years Dr. Staley and Lori!


A Hamburger Tale

When I was a kid, my parents were what could be described as "cheap".  (True story: my mom still empties extra ketchup packets into the ketchup bottle.)
Let's just say I didn't get a lot of happy meals when I was growing up. Happy meals were my children's food holy grail.
Delicious happy meals aren't usually a memorable event.  I can still remember almost every time I was given those golden arches and brightly colored bags.  One event always stands out when people start hating on McD's.
The family was going camping.  For reasons I don't remember I went up with my sister and her family-crammed between car seats in the back of their odd colored truck. We ran out of time to eat and stopped at a McDonald's on State Street. 
I got a cheeseburger and some plastic toy was involved.  While finally chomping down on that delicious bun and ketchup covered pickled burger, I felt something was amiss.
This burger was letting me down and I couldn't figure it out.  I mentioned it to my sister and took two more bites before finally opening it to see what was missing.
Between the golden buns were the pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayonaise and no burger.  I had nearly eaten the whole cheeseburger and there wasn't even a burger to be found.
This was probably one of the saddest moments of my childhood.  No burger?! 
My brother-in-law and sister found this very amusing and luckily they had ordered a slew for themselves and there was an extra. 
The damage had been done.  My lost burger had somehow exited my bun and ran away.  It should have been in my mouth among the other wonderful tastes of greasy fast food.  McDonald's had let me down for the first and last time. 
I avoid it still-the image of the empty bun will always remain. It's like the sign for a lost puppy.


Summer Plague

I have a problem. It's a life problem.  I call it a curse. The curse of paleness haunts me all year long but in the summer it creates a much larger problem. When 90 degree weather burns the grass and blacktop, my skin turns a lovely shade of red and a slight constant pain lingers.
Every year I forget that I'm white and every year my back becomes like a lobster. Sunblock is always outside of my memory.  I should remember other tales of burnt skin from my childhood.
When I was about 8 years old, my family went to Bear Lake (this was the same time we ran into Jeff Hornacek).  The family and I spent all day on the lake with some water skimmers. I love swimming and I loved going out in the lake.
As soon as we returned and had changed from our swimming suits, I began to feel the heat building. The worst sunburn of my life had begun a week long torture session.  Pretty soon after, I realized my whole body was burnt and regular clothes hurt very badly. I spent the next 48 hours in just a swimming suit, sitting next to a fan while my mom/sister coated aloe vera on my poor body.
You would think this tragic tale would remind me to put on sunblock.  Nope. I just scratch at my back that's just begun peeling.  Why does it always have to be in the middle of my back where I can't reach?


Hammocks kill small children

My childhood summers were consumed in imagination.  The yard from my parent's old home is the best kind for dreaming.  It was gigantic!
The back yard was big enough to house a fully functional garden with snap peas, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and a giant apple tree, where my dad fashioned a treehouse of sorts--but it was more like a couple of wooden slats nailed together.
The front yard was where my imaginations came alive.  There four or five trees in the yard, a couple of them were perfect for climbing and perching with dreams of conquering dragons or taking flight.  I dreamed a lot in the front yard, books in hand or friends in tow.
Two of these trees were even close enough for a decent hammock. In the summer the rope deathtrap sat between the two trees, unused for the most part.
I noticed that lovely rope swing as a perfect place to read and daydream. The weaving was more stable than a rocking branch and it cuddled me like a bed in the shade of the trees.  Perfect for a hot summer activity when my brothers and I were too loud for my mom's sanity.
During one of my reading adventures, one of my brothers came over to annoy me. He started pushing the hammock while asking me questions about what I was doing...what I was reading...and just being annoying.
Out of the blue he asks, "Hey, Michelle, can I do an underdoggie with the hammock."
"No. I'll fall out." Not to mention, Derrick is a good eight years older and contained more strength in one of his gangly limbs than my entire nine-year-old body.
Almost immediately, he began to back up for a run, "I'm gonna do it anyway."
I didn't even try to get out of the hammock. (Try to do jump out of that rope booby trap fast and the damage could be worse).  I braced myself and hoped the ropes would just wrap around me as a cage. They didn't.
The hammock flipped upside down and I fell face forward--my forehead smacking a one of the roots.
My nine year old logic was solid, but my brother's curiosity and ignorance caused this hammock to nearly kill me.
There's been a lot of talk about injuries from trampolines or playgrounds. Screw those things, stay away from hammocks or older brothers.


Why I Love Strangers

First I'm irritated. My phone is all fail tonight. I can't send pictures to my email so this will just be an ode with a general picture I yanked from the internet. So let's leap into it.
My whole life, life has told me to stay away from strangers. They'll offer you candy that if eaten would likely kill you or they'll kidnap you and take you to Canada. Despite such warnings I love strangers for one reason; their random acts of kindness.
Many years ago I worked at a certain retailer; let's call them Tegrat. I worked until nine, but setting up the store again is long, hard work and I didn't usually exit the store until after midnight. One Saturday night there was a really bad snowstorm, dumping at least four inches in the parking lot and roads. 
I seethed out the window--I really hate snow.  I was not looking forward to scraping all that snow and a layer of ice off my car in sub-zero temperatures at two in the morning.
Around 1:30 a.m. I made my way to the red-framed doors. I didn't even look up as I headed to my car. When I finally did, I was amazed.  It was scraped off.  Not just the front window either. The kind stranger had scraped all my windows. I almost cried in joy, if I could feel my cheeks.

Last Friday was not nearly as beautiful as a scraped car in the middle of the night at the end of a long shift. It was a long shift at work and I won't lie, I was pretty irritated with life in general.
When I got to my car, a single long stemmed carnation lay across my windshield. It was white with the ends died pink; probably left behind by some wedding thrown haphazardly while entering the car next to me.
Regardless of how it got there, it really made my day. I love strangers.
I wish I was a better stranger. I could definitely find more ways to make a positive (random) impact on the strangers around me.


Dealin the Green

This is not what it looks like. I do not have a gigantic bag of weed in my car. I don't! So you can stop gearing up your car to hunt me down for my massive plastic bag.
Recently, I was offered this gigantic bag of green. My coworker was trying to thin out his garden and I have a very sad looking yard and it could definitely use some real "green". As we stood in the covered parking garage next to his truck, Brett filled the plastic bag with "green" from a pink plastic bucket and I felt extremely suspicious. I wasn't even doing anything illegal but I knew there were security cameras in the garage and every time someone passed by, I wanted to shout, "It's not what it looks like! Brett is not my drug dealer!"
This is also terrifying because plants and I don't have a good track record.
My first year at college my mom offered me one of her many bamboo plants to make the gray dorm feel more "lively".  Do you know how to kill bamboo? I don't but it died in the first week and I mourned it: poor Frank.
After a year plant-free, I wanted to give it another chance. I brought Spike to Nauvoo. Lovely Spike, a wonderful drought resistant Aloe Vera Plant. He survived with me the whole year before I brought him back to my mom for safe keeping.
So we're going on a 50% living plant posterity and Brett just bestowed me with more green than just one plant to keep safe. Three different kinds and a lot of each.  Alright, my darling green, lets build this house into a home!


Beaver Potty

Road trips are life's big way of giving you real life experiences to laugh about.  
A few years ago I took a road trip with my then "friend" to visit his folks in California.  For some reason I had to stop at almost every restroom advertised on the side of the road.  As a female, I'm not okay without just pulling over and letting it out....it's dangerous.
We had been driving a little bit over three hours and I felt nature calling. It was pure luck that there was a gas station advertised on the side of the road.  After a long drive into the middle of nowhere, (literally it was just desert looking with cliffs and only two or three buildings within eyesight), we stopped at this super sketch looking bar/sandwich shop combo.  The building was a bar on one half and on the second half there was a sandwich shop and right in the middle sat the restrooms.
I pulled over ninja quick (it was one of those stops) and I run to the bathrooms....only to see something like this.
 The first thing I see is that there are no doors on these stalls.  Second thing is the obese dog sitting next to the entrance (which also doesn't have a door). 
The dog lazily turns his head to me and his dark eyes seem to warn me about the horrors ahead of me. Would I make it out alive?  Would this pee break end in a different kind of break?
The odds don't look good.  The seats all had some questionable liquid/solid stuck to it. The walls stained with curse words/gang scrawl along with more delightfully colored liquids.  
I don't want to use it.  I would almost rather stop and pee on my feet, but there wasn't even time to find an isolated spot to pee.  I had to go and it definitely couldn't wait.  
I performed the perfect ten squat low to the seat without touching (thanks to all that running I do) and the world's fastest pee ever performed. There was a high probability that it was the only bathroom in town for men AND women.
I'm pretty sure this was a restroom that people have been murdered in. With some difficulty (weaseling the faucet on/off with my feet), I washed my hands and walked out/maybe ran out.


Martha Stewart is happening

  Law and Order: SVU is by far one of my least favorite shows. I dislike the grisly, disturbing rape/molesting stories that appear.  Unintentional frowns and cringes hit me just thinking about it.
Anyway, it's ratings time. That lovely thing that happens quarterly with an increase of new episodes and "intriguing" promotions.  These promotions look like Dr. Phil talking to a woman who has multiple personalities or Nate Berkus' screaming guest hosts. Law & Order's hook is "star factor". Every episode is teased with a guest star. Last night's episode featured a disturbing Daddy issue James Vanderbeek. I expected their promo to feature another star maybe up on the star factor like Jennifer Lawrence or something.
Well, it wasn't. They teased Martha Stewart.  That's right, you read it correctly, crafting/cooking/organizing guru and jailbird Martha Stewart will be on Law & Order: SVU  next week.
Picture by Delish.com
I can almost see her sitting at a large wooden table fashioning beautiful colored box system for Ice T to use for his files.
"Incest and rape: it's a good thing." Flash over-cheesy smile.