Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Why is it so fun to find new and glorious ways to embarrass my kids? And why is it so easy?

Can you guess what he is? Why, a fossil of course!

Another reason to love America: National Parks

The original golden arch...
Are you taking a vacation this summer?

Monday, June 28, 2010

What Kind of Casserole is That?

Here is a picture of what may possibly be the most random assortment of groceries I have ever purchased.

This is what happens when your husband wants to kill some time and you only have eight bucks in your pocket.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I Know

Last night my husband got a phone call at about 10:00. It was the wife of one of his close friends calling to say that their 11-year-old son had passed away, due to some health complications.

We hugged our kids a little tighter when we put them to bed. We hugged a little tighter again this morning as we went our seperate ways.

This is one of those moments. One of those moments where your breath is taken away because your heart hurts. One of those moments where it doesn't seem right to be going about your normal routine when someone else's Normal has been shattered. One of those moments where you feel completely, and utterly useless. One of those moments where no matter what you say or how you say it, it only sounds shallow and cliche. One of those moments where you fall to your knees and thank God for your own blessings, and then feel guilty for feeling that way.

I don't know what I would do if it were me, but I do know this:

I KNOW there is life beyond this one. I know that God loves us and He has a plan. He is at the helm and stands ready to embrace us in what can be our lowest moments. I know that families are eternal, and I know that our friends will be with their son again in a very real and physical way. The unimaginable pain they feel will be forgotten, replaced with a joy unimaginable; made possible because of the atonement of a loving Savior, Jesus Christ.

That is what I know.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wanna Keep Me Company?

So my manuscript is being placed directly into the hands of that lady I met last week. I am remaining calm. Calm like Hurricane Rita.

To keep my mind off of it, today I have done the following:

1. Purged the unwanted contents of my cedar chest.

2. Dusted AND vacuumed my bedroom.

3. Stir-fried some noodles. Ate three bites.

4. Made orange jello (I don't eat jello).

5. Cleaned AND vacuumed my bathroom (long dark hair on Travertine tiles).

6. Watched "What About Bob?" (I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful...)

7. Searched for a new camera lens on e-Bay.

8. Talked to the same person on the phone THREE times.

9. Cleaned and disinfected two Camelback bladders (we're going to Moab on Wednesday).

10. Got on Facebook at least 5 times.

11. Started a new story.

Only five more hours til bedtime.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Poisonous Butterflies

Just thought I would share a conversation I overheard earlier today between Dan and Jamison:

Dan: a poisonous butterfly?
Jamison: yeah.
Dan: how do you know it's poisonous?
Jamison: because a girl in my class told me about it and she's been researching it for a month and she read about it in a NON-fiction book and a scientist wrote the book and he's been researching it for YEARS. So HA!


One Step Closer

School has been out for a week and a half now, and I have been waiting for a day to be able to something because I WANT to and not because I HAVE to.

The have-to's on today's list included holding a Primary Presidency meeting and feeding my children. That's a pretty easy day, if I do say so myself.

So for the want-to, I just completed the final draft of a story I have been working on for a year. It's done. Chiseled. Sculpted. Until, that is, an editor says to fix it. The trick is getting it into the hands of an editor who also happens to think it worth fixing.

As luck would have it (and I don't believe in luck so much as seeking out the right opportunities) I met a woman this week who owns a publishing business. She told me to call her next week to show her my manuscript. She said if it's not something she can publish, then she's got connections and can point me to the right people. Isn't that great?

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

14-Year Spin

Once upon a time, in a tiny desert town, a school teacher and a physical therapist met. They went out for tacos, played some tennis, and fell in love. In that order. They got married 14 years ago today.

Here are some of the highlights:

Trips to San Diego, Chicago, New York and D.C. (Hey, they were DINKS and could do that sorta thing). He tried to teach her to golf, with no success. Then her appendix went nuclear and she took a 10-day trip to the hospital. (Year One)

Then came a move to a city in the mountains where the teaching and the therapy continued. They added a Jeep and several friends to their family. After a while they decided it was time to add a kid or two or four to their family so they moved again, to a cute brick house in a little green grove... in Texas. The kid was in a hurry, so the teacher went on bed rest and the therapist worried. The teacher managed to hold onto the kid with only two weeks to go, and then they both got thrown for a loop as they learned how to be Mom and Dad. She left her kids at school to take care of her kid at home. They had three bucks left at the end of the month. But the bills were paid and life was good. The big trips morphed into day trips, discovering the Texas Hill Country. They tried to add a few more babies but Heaven needed them more. Eventually the little family took a trip back to the mountains to see the Olympics. And then an even bigger trip to Japan, because, well, they saved their 3 leftover dollars each month. And then finally, a little boy came along, who brought a piece of Heaven with him. (Years Two - Nine)

So they took care of their kiddos, gave a couple more back to Heaven, and moved back to the desert. I guess they're nomads, that way. They hiked and water skied and saw some cool things. She finally took up golf, which thrilled him to no end. They built a new house, which thrilled her to no end. But when it came time to close, the bubble was just beginning to burst, so they walked away rather than taking on TWO mortgages. After all, Faithful and Fearless was there motto. Then came a quarter-life crisis for the physical therapist, who didn't want to be a therapist anymore. So he developed a 5-year exit plan which lasted exactly 8 months before he made his actual exit. He became a salesman, which required a move back to the mountains. Somewhere in there they squeezed in a trip to Fiji, and now they live on a green hillside where their kids roam without a care. Where the mom is a teacher again. Where the dad finally has his dream job of playing golf for business. (Years Ten - Fourteen)

When compared to Forever, fourteen years is hardly a speck. But what a ride that speck has been so far. One of my favorite quotes is this: "Love shared is love multiplied" (Jeffrey R. Holland). In other words, the more you love, the more love you have to give. And notice how I mentioned all our trips? And all of our moves? They say that home is where you hang your hat. I've hung my hat in lots of places; stuffed it in a backpack on an airplane, laid it on a bed on a cruise ship, worn it when mopping different floors in different houses... in different states. So I guess I'm at home no matter where I am, as long as I'm with my taco-eating, golf-loving Dan.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ah... Summer

We've had some wild weather recently here in the mountains. It seems like we had 7 months of winter followed by a week of spring; and now we're getting some major mid-August thunder storms thrown our way. Major floods have done some major damage. Yesterday I was dodging ping-pong-sized hail as I made my way around Salt Lake City.
And yet, despite the storms Mother Nature throws at us, the flowers still manage to bloom. These purple beauties are blooming in my front yard today.

Aren't they gorgeous? They've been pounded by the rain and blown by the wind, yet they still stand straight and tall, colors bursting. I have to ask myself, am I like those flowers? Do I keep my head up in the midst of a storm? Or do I wither and wilt? Do I manage to blossom and bloom despite the whirlwinds? The answer is, I try. These flowers are strong because their surroundings have made them that way. I guess it's like that with life. Whatever the trial, whatever the issue, we can choose to let it run us over, or we can choose to turn our face to the wind and build up some strength. That's not to say that we won't feel like we've been run over, because, well, life is tough. It's downright painful at times. But it's also beautiful. And the beauty is always there. Just look at these flowers.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Oh, the Answers

And without further adieu...

1. Only You... Robert Downey, Jr. and Marissa Tomei. Need I say more? I'll just say this: Marissa Tomei plays a teacher who goes to Italy to find her destiny, a.k.a. a yummy 90's version of Robert Downey, Jr. She wears nothing but beautiful black, white, and red clothes throughout the entire picture.

2. A Knight's Tale... I absolutely love this movie. The humor, the irreverence, and a medieval story peppered with modern music and sarcasm. I went to see it with a friend way back when, and when we came out of the movie theatre (yes, I love spelling it that way. It makes me feel fancy) tropical storm Allison was swooping over Houston. We got about 6 blocks down the road before spending the night at a What-A-Burger.

3. Two Weeks Notice... I find Hugh Grant... highly entertaining. Especially alongside Sandra Bullock. It's my go-to movie when I've got a cold and need to hunker down for a day or two.

4. Frequency... I had no idea what this movie was about when I went to see it. People actually applauded at the end. I love sci-fi and time travel and all that stuff. I've tried to type what it's about here like three times. Just see it. You will not be disappointed. I promise.

5. The Sound of Music is the most beautiful movie ever made. And that's all I have to say about that. Oh and also that my favorite scene is when Captain Von Trapp and Maria are dancing on the patio and they realize that they are in love with each other. Ahhhh....

6. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home... (see #4) Also, I was eleven years old when this movie came out and I hated Star Trek. My dad watched it religiously. I was more of a Star Wars kind of gal. I decided the best Christmas present I could give him that year was to treat him to this movie, even if I had to suffer through it. Guess what? We've gone to the premiere of every Star Trek movie together ever since.

7. The Princess Bride... No movie list would be complete without it. I could recite it for you if you like. Would anybody like a peanut?

8. So I Married An Axe Murderer... It's not what you think. It's funny. And silly. Kind of like me. When the Scottish father goes off on the younger son's "enormous melon" of a head, I laugh to the point of tears. Every time. "It's a virtual planetoid! It's like Sputnik on a toothpick! He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight on his large pillow..."

And that is my list. It is by no means a list of all of my favorites; just some of the more notable ones. So watch a movie tonight. I know I will.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh, the Memories

As of this week, we are Netflix Newbies. It's great. Kinda makes me wonder why we didn't sign up a long, long time ago. Dan and I have had some fun scrolling through their vast movie line-up and squealing with joy when we find a treasured gem from our collective pasts. (Ahem, Fletch).

Borrowing an idea from my good friend Becca (you know, the one who's published TWO novels) I thought I would share some lines from some of my favorite flicks and see if you can guess the movie. Extra points if you can throw in any additional quotes.

1. It-lee. My wife's in It-lee? What's she doing in It-lee?
I was born to kiss you.
Bisquit? Mmmm.... crunchy.

2. Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone else here NOT sitting on a cushion!
We WALK in the garden of his turbulence!
Then I shall call you a fox. For that is what you are, my foxy lady.

3. I find you... highly annoying.
I live in the hotel. And I own the hotel. My life is quite a lot like Monopoly, actually.
Ooooh, those dogs are really barking...

4. We did something. I don't know what, but it's like I remember both.
One word, Kid: Yahoo.
I told you I'd always be here for you, son.

5. I like this lemonade. Not too sweet. Not too sour. Just too... pink.
You didn't tell me to bring my harmonica.
You mean to tell me that my children have been parading about Salzberg in nothing but old curtains?

6. No, I'm FROM Iowa. I only WORK in outerspace.
Everybody remember where we parked.
But weren't those a gift from Dr. McCoy? Yes, and they will be again. That's the beauty of it.

7. If only we had a holocaust cloak.
You have six fingers on your right hand. Somebody is looking for you.

8. Come, Nadia. Let us run like children of the night! (in a Russian accent)
Charlie! Light a match! (in a Scottish accent)
She took my heart and my cat!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Cheese Monger

I was hoping to start off the month of June with a blog post like this:

Today is June 1st and it's finally starting to feel like spring up here in the mountain tops. The trees are exploding with a profusion of pinks, purples, and whites. The sun is shining and my glitter toes are sparkling.
That's what I would like to write. And it's mostly true (the above picture was taken last Thursday). Problem is, that it's raining and I came home and had to turn on the fireplace.
So I'll just share what I did yesterday. There's a fancy-shmancy grocery store down in the Salt Lake City area that boasts among other things, a huge selection of the world's cheeses. I like cheese. A lot. Can you beat a nice slice of gouda on a baguette? Hardly. But Dan adores it. Even more than I do. So as the finial cap to his birthday, we went to this store and spent a while hanging out among the Havartis and Edams.
Wild and crazy, I know.
And then we met the cheese monger. No lie. That is her title. It said it right on her name tag. And boy, did she know her cheeses. She gave us a few samples, and insisted we try the Spanish Machengo with a black olive (and not the kind from a can). Wow. I can never eat olives from a can ever again. Ever. She told us about her job, her love for cheese, and how she's been able to travel to Italy, Spain, and other places around the world to hone her mad cheese skills. We walked away with a block of the Machengo and a block of Butter Kase from Germany. And some olives. Not from a can.
As we hesitantly left the cheese area, Dan said, "if for some reason, my company no longer requires my services, I'm going to become a cheese monger."