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.



Sometimes I think Las Vegas, Nevada is the most awkward place in the United States. It's an odd collection of people from different places and different levels of intelligence.
Dave and I spent a weekend in Vegas for a birthday/one year engagement celebration.
One night we're walking and already we had an odd following. We were walking behind a bunch of girls and in front of a bunch of 20 something guys.  In front of us people were marketing "clubs" for the girls and as soon as they passed they flicked cards at the boys for "boobies".
One of the guys we're walking in front of runs up to Dave, "Wanna get some yogurt later?"
Dave's reacted immediately, "Yogurt?"
"Ya, we've been following you guys for a while down the strip and maybe we should ya know?"
Yogurt with strangers...drunk strangers...which we didn't do...but it was still an odd request. Maybe we should have got their phone numbers or something.