Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cindy 4.0

Top 10 Birthday Highlights

10. Breakfast at Ruth's Diner with friends. If you're in the Salt Lake City area, you really have to go to Ruth's Diner. Secluded up in Emigration Canyon, it's an old trolley car that was converted into a restaurant 60 or so years ago. You can eat on the back patio, surrounded by tall trees and the sound of a rushing river. And their breakfasts are DEEEE-LISH!

9. There's something significant about having a birthday with a zero attached to it. Dan was especially sweet to me, gently easing me into my fourth decade on this planet.

8. Jamison sucked the helium out of my birthday balloon and sang "76 Trombones" in a very funny voice. Yes, The Music Man is still very much alive at our house!

7. Getting lots of texts and phone calls from friends and family.

6. Being sung to by a professional opera singer -- in Italian! (See #9)

5. Shopping at one of my favorite places as a result of receiving a generous gift card. (See #9)

4. Being told over and over how young I look. (See #9)

3. A good nap (I need my beauty sleep, after all).

2. A surprise party at an Italian restaurant, surrounded by wonderful friends! (See #9)

1. Speaking of which, a friend suggested that I am 4.0. Four Point OH. I liked that idea. It sounds like a really good Olympic score or a perfect G.P.A. Or just a better version of myself. So I'm sticking with that.

I am Cindy 4.0.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Around Here... can always tell if a person isn't from around here. They're usually the ones driving 10 miles an hour, distracted by all the beautiful scenery we've got. And really, you can't blame them.
Mt. Timpanogas on a Summer Day
We have a little burger/ice cream shack here called Timp Freeze. It's a cute little place. They have a walk-up window where you can order shakes and cones and all of those yummy summertime treats. Everything they sell is listed on an overhead menu board.

Dan and I were sitting outside of the Timp Freeze one night, enjoying our ice cream cones. Another couple came sauntering up the sidewalk. I nudged him with my elbow and said, "Look. Out-of-town-ers."

"How can you tell?" He asked.

First of all, the two of them were dressed like all of those beautiful people you see on Pinterest.
 I mean, who ACTUALLY dresses like that? Nobody from around here, that's for sure! She had on a sheer green, drop-hem skirt with metallic silver stilettos. He wore heather gray, linen pants, a cream-colored button-down shirt and a gray felt vest. A felt vest! In July! Then there were his hipster glasses. I started to wonder if maybe they had just come from a wedding. Or a perhaps a Pinterest photo shoot.

They walked up to the little order window and he said, "We'd like to see a dessert menu."

Need I say more?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cindy, Jedi Master

Today I took my daughter to Park City to do a little shopping. While she was in the fitting room at Old Navy, I searched my purse for a Tic Tac and realized that I did not have my wallet with me. I knew exactly where it was: sitting on my desk at home. So we returned the pants to the rack and came home. We decided to watch The Empire Strikes Back, which I had checked out from the library.

I hadn't seen that movie in years, and it brought back a funny memory. You know the scene where Luke Skywalker is hanging by his frozen feet in the monster's ice cave? His feet are frozen into the ice and his trusty light saber is stuck in the snow below, just out of reach. He uses the power of the force to summon the light saber into his grasp, then uses it to free himself from the ice.

When I was a kid, I would hang upside down from the top bed of my bunk and try for hours to summon my trusty toy light saber from the carpet. I would also try to close my bedroom door through the power of the force.

Alas, it never worked, but I was an expert at hanging upside down from a bunk bed!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

There's a Girl I Know

That's my daughter there in the front with the tan skirt. Isn't she pretty? She has been involved with our local theater's production of The Music Man this summer. This has proven to be a major time commitment for our entire family. She's been rehearsing since March and performances have been running since July 3. Everything we have done for the last several months has revolved around this play! It's our first experience of this sort, and I might have complained to myself a time or two.

But I have watched this girl grow and learn from this experience. Because this is theater, there has been drama. And I don't do drama. They've changed her part several times, which has changed our schedule. But she took it all in stride, never letting it get to her, and she stuck it through. She's made friends, comes home with a smile, and generally has a wonderful attitude about the whole thing.

The reward for me was watching her the first time she came out onto that stage singing and dancing. What a great moment for this proud momma!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Dangers of Bowling

"Hey Mom, remember that time you took us bowling and a bowling ball fell on your pinky and smashed it all up?"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Dear Jen,

I know on several occasions, we have discussed at length, the trustworthiness of someone who wears red pants. This was based on a character you had written into your book. And no doubt, that girl could NOT be trusted.

But I have something to confess to you. I, Cindy Stagg, own a pair of red pants, and have owned them for almost a year now. I received a T.J. Maxx gift card for my birthday last year, and I purchased these pants. They were so cute there, hanging on the rack. And when I tried them on...they were even cuter! They cuff at the ankles and come with a darling little leather belt!

But I digress.

I have been very careful not to wear them in your presence, for fear that you might think ill of me. One time, I wore them on a day I happened to be substituting at Midway Elementary. I was exiting the side door at the end of the day and you were waiting outside with Sampson. Fortunately, you were distracted by all the little kids wanting to say hello to your horse, so disaster was averted.

I hope, with time, you will find that I can still be trusted -- despite the fact that I wear red pants, and yes, I allow my daughter to wear them, too! I think my track record speaks for itself. Besides, you cut that red-pants-wearing floosey out of your story anyway!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Morning

This morning when I woke up, my left achilles hurt for no apparent reason. If I were say, training for a triathlon, at least I would feel really cool about it. But no. Every step I took shot an achy pain right through the back of my heel. I limped around the house for a few minutes, drinking orange juice, brushing my teeth, getting dressed. I went walking, and wearing my sneakers helped alleviate some of my limp. When I got back, I did a few stretches and the pain mostly worked itself out.

Brian Regan talks about getting older and discovering new aches and pains each morning, like waking up and immediately clutching your lower back. "Great! Well, I guess I'll live with THAT for THE REST OF MY LIFE!"

Anyway, it's the little things like that I'm starting to notice. Actually, I've been trying to ignore them, like they don't exist, but sometimes they yell really loud -- or hurt really bad -- as it were. And they're really bugging the heck out of me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Writing and Pizza -- It's Like I'm in College Again (Sort of)

As a public service announcement, I thought I should let you all know that you should not annoy me when I am in the middle of putting on/attending a writing conference. And that's because when I am at a writing conference, I am euphoric. Euphoric, people. Please don't take that away from me.

Case in point:

I had about an hour for dinner before I needed to return to the conference. So I called the hubby and told him I would pick up a quick Little Caesar's pizza, giving me approximately 45 minutes to spend at  home for the day. Easy enough, right?


As a general rule of thumb, if you are going to order $94.64-dollars-worth of pizza, DON'T USE THE DRIVE-THRU. Also, be sure to have a credit card handy and not a check. Secondly, Little Caesar's, get my order right the first time. I mean, how hard is it to put the wrong pizza back and take out the right pizza? Isn't that the very definition of hot-and-ready? Hmm?

But then, then I handed the girl a twenty to pay for my $8.58 pizza. She yelled out to the universe, "Can someone get me some change?" Apparently, the universe was not interested in getting her some change. So I frantically dug through my ash tray and scrounged together the fifty-eight cents. I handed it to her and said, "Now you can just give me back $12.00." I probably should have just told her to sign over a promissory note for her first-born child, because she still wouldn't have known what I was saying. She took the change, looked at me, looked at her hand, and proceeded to count the change THREE times. It could have been that my combination of coins threw her off, as it wasn't two quarters, a nickel, and three pennies. It was still .58 cents all the same. "Just give me back $12.00," I repeated. She then takes out a calculator and does some kind of calculus-type equation to figure out how much change I am owed. She handed me $12.01. And I still had to ask for my pizza.

Needless to say, I had 15 minutes for dinner with my family.

The conference, however has been lovely so far. Louise Plummer is my new best friend. Ann Cannon is a delight. Those of us on the planning committee have been working for nearly a year, and it has been such fun to see it all come to fruition. But above all, it has been motivating. I am motivated to write.

And all is well in the world.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

For the Fourth

Happy Fourth, everyone!

This morning we attended a really wonderful Sunrise Service. There were flags waving, and young girls singing, and a choir paying tribute to the Armed Services, and a stirring speech. The speech was given by Doug Wright, a well-known radio broadcaster in Salt Lake City. Among the things he said, he invited everyone to think back on their first patriotic experience. He spoke of his own, as a young boy with his grandpa, raising the flag in the yard on the Fourth of July. He watched the way his grandpa handled the flag with such dignity and respect, and it stirred in him feelings of love and loyalty for this great country.

My first patriotic experience is one that I, too, will always remember. I was born in South America. You know, it's like North America, only south. When I was in the first grade, my parents took me to wherever it is you go when you are a child and are about to become a citizen of the United States. I don't really remember much about that day at all, except that I had to miss school. It was the next day that has stayed with me all these years. When I got back to school the next day, my teacher, Mrs. Baxter, gave me two things: a little American flag, and a book about Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride. In my absence, she had all of my classmates make flags out of construction paper. And then, and then... she lined us all up at the door, like every teacher does. I was the line leader. We all held our flags. In her hand was a small tape player. She pressed play, and from that tiny monophone speaker, came John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." And for the next few minutes, we marched through the halls of The North School, in Heber City, Utah, a classroom full of little six-year-olds, having our own little American parade. I waved my flag and lead my class through the hallways; teachers and students stepped out of their rooms and clapped and cheered. I was an American Citizen.

I don't think my young, six-year-old mind understood the full impact of that day. I just know that I got to be the parade leader. But as I have gotten older, and looked back on that experience, I realize what Mrs. Baxter did for me. She instilled in me a sense of pride, a sense of love, for not only who I am, but where I am. And where I am has largely shaped who I am. I look back on that experience with appreciation and gratitude, thankful for a teacher who understood that becoming -- and being -- an American Citizen is indeed, something to celebrate.