Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Alive and Breathing and Thirsty

Breathe in.  There you go lungs...have some oxygen.  See how easy that was?  Breathe out.  And now, you get to live another two minutes.  All because you respirated, just like you probably do 20,000 times a day without even thinking about it.  Unless, of course,  you are sick or stressed out; in which case, you spend considerable more time appreciating this simple life function.

Today my mammogram technician was instructing me to breathe in and breathe out.  I wasn't necessarily stressed out, but a particular part of my body sure was.  I asked her if those instructions were meant to keep me from passing out, and she said that indeed they were.  Apparently she had two patients hit the floor this year because they unintentionally held their breathe during their mammogram.  Ouch!  (That's ouch before you even hit the floor, if you know what I mean, ladies.)  Then she asked me how I knew that and I told her that it was because I had passed out at the eye doctor once from unintentionally holding my breathe...before the exam even started.

For the record, it's 4:30 am and I woke up just to think about breathing.  True story.  Do you think I might be a little stressed out?

But I didn't get out of bed to wallow in my sad, sad predicament.  I could do that without leaving  bed.  I got out of bed to learn from it. What have I learned? Not much, really.  Afterall, it's only 4 am.  But I did find some really great quotes, so we're going to roll with those:

1. Laugh: "By trying we can easily endure adversity.  Another man's, I mean. "     Mark Twain

2.  Love: "We are all here for a single purpose: to grow in wisdom and to learn to love better.  We can do this through losing as well as through winning. All we need to do is show up for the class."                                            Rachel Naomi Remen

3. Pray:  "The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil."   C.S. Lewis

 "Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; Adversity is the blessing of the new."
                                                                                                                                        Francis Bacon

4. Live:  " I had thought joy to be rather synonymous with happiness, but it seems now to be far less vulnerable than happiness. Joy seems to be a part of an unconditional wish to live, not holding back because life may not meet our preferences and expectiations.  It has a kind of invincibility that attachement to any particular ourtcome would deny us. Joy seems more closely related to aliveness than to happiness."             Rachel Naomi Remen

5. Fight:  "He who does not tire; tires adversity."                       Martin F. Tupper

I'm far from feeling like super woman.  I don't even feel adequate.  But I didn't cheat death just to be defeated by life.  In addition to removing carbon dioxide, breathing results in loss of water from the body. Exhaled air has a relative humidity of 100% because of water diffusing across the moist surface of breathing passages. I'm writing this to remind myself that I'm dehydrated, not defeated.  The point is: I got out of bed because I was thirsty and I'm thirsty because I'm alive and according to all those smart, eloquant people I just quoted...I'm in good company and I'll be ok.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A bizarre and unexpected turn of events has rendered my little family out of work.  If you work in the video game industry, this is not unusual and we have endured it many times.  But like I said, this go 'round involves the bizarre and the unexpected; two elements that we are unaccustomed to and that are becoming rather bothersome. And can I just say that I HATE that we are in good company.  A toast to all of our out-of-work acquaintances.   May each of us soon find ourselves in someone else's company.  (Puns welcome, as any humor at this point most certainly is.)

We tried leaving the video game industry 8 years ago.  When I told my aunt that Mark had left the game industry, I either ran my words together or her hearing was failing her, because in a startled tone she replied "WHY WAS HE IN THE GAY MINISTRY?!"  

Well, no matter how you slice it; it's still a good question.

After leaving, we were happily self-employed for three years.  But then this old fetish that we have for steady, reliable paychecks and health benefits sort of came back and we fell off the wagon.  Mark interviewed for a job, almost out of curiousity, and was instantly seduced by the idea of being part of a creative team again and getting paid to work on a Snoopy title.   That little beagle is always stealing the show, isn't he?  But it sure was nice to be insured when the Red (or pink) Baron came knocking at our door a year later.

Now, from one day to the next,  I just hope that we have a door that can be knocked upon.

And... I am tired. And yes, after a year of one shoe dropping after the other....I am also a little scared.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Doesn't Hurt to Ask

If I keep all the crumbs out of the butter....will someone please come buy my house?   How 'bout  if I always put my shopping cart in that corral thingy?   No?   Ah-kay, I was just checking.

(How about a job.  Can I get a job if I do all those things? No?  Ah-kay, just checking.  I'll just be sitting here then...seeing as I've tried everything else.)

Yep...still here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Family Ties

My day officially begins with the sound of a door slamming.  No drama...it just swings on automatic hinges.  This signals to me that my two teenagers have once again, made it out the door (on their own) and are on their way, possibly still in their pajamas, to early-morning seminary.  In twenty minutes, they will arrive at church and study the New Testament with a dozen or so other LDS teenagers before their school day starts.  Any teenager is welcome to come study the scriptures with these kids, it's just that Mormons are probably the only ones crazy enough to do so. 

That's how my day begins.  I like that.  I am so proud of them for not only going, but for doing it all on their own.  Even if they discover that the car is out of gas, they still go.  They just take my debit card out of my wallet and leave me a note so I don't try to go anywhere without it.  Dedicated, thorough and considerate...what great kids!

My day officially ends with a sound too.  It is the sound of Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams singing "Without Us", the official theme song for the 1980's sitcom, Family Ties.  Thanks to Netflix, we have all seven seasons at our disposal.  From the Keaton kitchen to the Jarman living room; it's our low calorie, alcohol free, nightcap of choice.

Before we started watching it (after we had finished all eleven seasons of M*A*S*H), I told my kids about how my family used to watch Family Ties together every Sunday night, on our tiny little kitchen TV, while we made waffles.  Move over Norman Rockwell, right?  Sounds downright cozy.  The only problem is...that wonderful, very real-to-me memory apparently only exists in my head.  All other sources say that Family Ties aired on Thursday nights.  What tha??? Hmmm.
All laws of grammar fail me; how can that be?

Nevertheless, the important thing is that it's a happy memory.  Accuracy is optional. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Uugh!  Gah!  Ewww! No! No! No!

This is the sound of me throwing a temper tantrum.  Yes...me... a grown woman, throwing a temper tantrum.  Please, allow me to explain:

I haven't had a hair cut since we've been here in Illinois, at least not one that didn't involve me standing in my bathroom with a death grip on the electric clippers, cursing everything known to man, while buzzing off what you maybe, might, conceivable refer to as...my hair, or what's left of it. 

(Why, you may be asking, don't I grow it out?  Wouldn't long, thin hair be better than short, thin hair? Haven't I ever heard of a comb over, you ask?  Well...have you ever seen the Crypt-keeper? There's your answer.)

In Utah, I had a couple of lovely friends who had salons in their homes, who knew me 'before', and where I felt comfortable getting my hair cut.  Here I have nothing like that and  I have not been able to bring myself to go sit down in a salon full of women with beautiful hair and let total strangers try to act natural and not gawk at my pathetic little scalp.  It is humiliating just to think about it. 

So when it became apparent that I was long overdue for a real trimming, the best idea I could come up with was a barbershop.  Still, plenty of apprehension, but desperation and common sense were coming up on the inside and getting ready to steal the lead.  I had no choice but to act like I was with them as they crossed the finish line.

So yesterday, Mark took me to the barbershop.  And, it wasn't my favoritest thing in the world.  Especially the part where the barber swung my chair around, stopping me only when I was face to face with a guy who was waiting for his turn on the bench adjacent my chair.  He was a very talented finger tapper and took a sudden interest in the ceiling.  I'm not sure what was up there, but probably not a girl in a barber chair looking all butched up.

Anyway, so...I just closed my eyes and repeated in my head "I'm just getting a hair cut, I'm just getting a hair cut" over and over until the tears that were pushing at the back of my eyes went away.
Snippity, snip, snip, snip...a couple bucks for the tip, and we were on our way.

And that my friends, is what makes me say Uugh!  Gah!  No, no, please....please, not ever again, no.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rosemary Howell Jarman

Rosemary Howell Jarman


Friday, September 7, 2012

Mormon's and their Missionaries

Find out for yourself

Although we are out there, by the tens of thousands, knocking on your doors...the truth is; we don't want you to believe us.

If you were to believe us, that would actually be a very disappointing outcome as far as we're concerned. And for the record, we don't want you to believe anyone else, either. Ideally, we'd like to see you take whatever information we provide you, or someone else provides you and then allow you find out for yourself. Personal revelation; messages between you and God, are what we believe you should base your faith on. After all, is there a more reliable source for truth?

The Holy Ghost will help you do this. It is one of his primary roles. Here's how it works; study God's word, ponder what you've read and pray about it, and then experiment to see what kind of fruit it brings into your life.

For instance, let's start with forgiveness. Read what the Lord says about forgiveness, ponder how Jesus taught us about forgiving through his example, then try forgiving someone with whom you have an unresolved grievance. Praying throughout this experience will give you access to the grace you will need to follow through as well as the warming reassurance that what you are doing is right. This process is applicable in all aspects of doctrine, not to mention daily life itself.

Many churches waste their valuable resources trying to scare their congregations away from learning about other faiths, especially that of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This sends the message to their parishioners that they cannot trust the Holy Spirit or their Father in Heaven to guide them and protect them. See 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." and James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

My life would be missing some of God's great abundance if I didn't feel comfortable listening to sermons delivered by preachers from other churches. I also would not be able to enjoy half of the music that I listen to because it is also produced by Christians that are not of my denomination. Brigham Young taught us, and I am paraphrasing; if you find something that is good and uplifting...make it yours! I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that my church has given me the freedom and confidence to explore and embrace goodness in all it's forms.

FYI: Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

~excerpt taken from my Ask a Mormon Girl page (myunintentionallife.blogspot.com/p/ask-mormon-girl.html)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Temp

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." ~Robert Southey

Hello.  I am your temporary friend.  I will come into your life and mingle and we will share a couple of laughs.  I'll stand by your side and we'll work together and perhaps somewhere along the way, I'll even let you know one of my secrets.  But it will probably only be part of one of my secrets; because I'd never tell you the whole thing.  Afterall, I'm only a temporary friend. 

My departure is imminent.  Sooner than you expected.  Earlier than usual.  'Imminent", "sooner", "earlier" followed by gone and possibly...even forgotten. After I leave, someone else will come water my tree, look out my windows, and soak in my tub. That's what happens when you move and we move A LOT.   

I could be described as an actor that shows up for a cameo role on an episode or two; but that analogy doesn't really work.  It implies that I have a full-time gig somewhere else and I don't think "empty moving box collector" counts.  No...I am more like a character actor; I get around but I really don't belong anywhere.

But ironically, even though my fractured zip code collection is driving me a little crazy, it has also  made me a lot of whole. Because of my association with so many different people, I have witnessed first hand how carefully God tutors each one of us - how we need it and when we need it - and although I've only been auditing your classes with the Creator, I've still learned a lot. You seem to be doing really well and I hope to be like you...in some tiny, albeit significant way.

"Do not cry because it's over; smile because it happened."  Author Unknown

P.S.  What I meant to say, before my inner poet took over,  is that we're moving again.  After only nine months here, we are moving again.  Mark found a job elsewhere that he is really excited about.  It's been a great nine months for me...not so much for Mark. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Making My Day

"What is she doing?"  my 17 year old asked as she glanced over at our 12 year old working on the computer.  "Making my day," was my reply. 

Three days ago my 12 year old taught herself how to knit and has been knitting everywhere she goes ever since, so it only makes perfect sense that today she would wake up and decide to find a job too.
Her dad makes a living as an artist, so why can't she?  School schmool!  Let's go draw some pictures and start raking in the moolah!

So today I've been fielding questions like: Do I have a resume? What is our address?   Both questions being clear indicators that this child is definitely ready for the 9 to 5 grind and a five figure salary.  As soon as she polishes up her portfolio and attaches it to her blog it's just sit and wait time. 

Truly, this has made my day.  I hope it makes their day too....meaning the people who will be reviewing her application at High Voltage Software, the company where she applied.   I hope they realize what a privilege it is to be a part of her world; her hopes, her dreams and her indominable yet innocent spirit...even if it is only for the two minutes it will take them to read her wonderful little resume.

I hope they realize what I already know...she's over-qualified and way more expensive than they can afford.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Take the Money and Run

Whatever happened to ABC's "Take the Money and Run"? Remember that show?  It was a reality based television show that aired in 2011 in which they would give people a briefcase filled with money (like real money... the good stuff...to the tune of $100,000) and let them hide it.  If after 24 hours a team of professional interrogators couldn't find the money or get them to spill the beans, then the contestants would get to walk away with the cash.

It was an exciting show, but it didn't last for very many episodes.  I think their main problem was letting parents be the contestants.  These interrogators didn't stand a chance.  Parents are seasoned professionals when it comes to lying.  They're the BEST at it.  Think about it; Santa, the Easter Bunny, sex....we're talking generations of lies propagated so well that entire industries have survived on their existence. 

Sometimes on the show, in order to get someone to crack, the interrogators would use mind games and mental manipulation tactics.  The parents would just laugh at these attempts.  These are people who have gone up against two year olds and teenagers and have lived to tell! No amount of editing could hide the bewilderment on the faces of the investigators as tactic after tactic failed and the clock eventually ran out.  As for the contestants who were not parents?  They folded within hours.  But not ol' Ma and Pa.

In short, you can starve us, lock us up in solitary confinement, and deprive us of the essentials like sleep, sex and texting...but we are made of steal.  We've long since forgotten what it felt like to flinch. Not that we're necessarily super smart or anything...it's just that when you've been in survival mode for so long it has a way of hardening you.  Toddlers, teenagers, CIA investigators??? Bring it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Queen of Clean Meets Her Match

These pictures mean that I am happy, 
and that my office is a MESS!
(if you scrapbook or make your own cards, you know what I mean)

Emily and I have spent the past week making cards together and I have loved every minute!
But I think that I've finally made a mess that I can't clean up. 
Yup...I just don't know how to put away this much paper; at least not in any way remotely organized.  Who knew that paper, of all things, would be my demise.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cockroach Rescue

Saturday Mark and I had the privilege of attending the Whole Blu World event at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago;  a hoity-toity, prom for grown-ups, dress to the nines kind of event.  And for us...it was free, courtesy of a generous investor who is linked to Mark's company and who also LOVES donating to the aquarium.  To this generous benefactor I say: Thank You! We had a ball.

Although I have no idea how much was donated in our behalf, I do know that it was enough to merit our wearing a VIP band on our wrist all night.  I hope that this somehow made up for the fact that we were NOT dressed to the nines, in fact we barely made it past the sixes.  So if anyone asks...we were the 'eccentric' philanthropists at the party.  Yeah...that works.

Tables were strewn throughout the aquarium, offering hors d'oeuvres size menu samples from some of the best restaurants in town. I skipped the caviar table not only because that stuff tastes nasty, but because it's just rude to serve fish eggs at an aquarium. Live music was enjoyed and a dance commenced on the patio that overlooked Lake Michigan.  The dazzling view of Chicago's glittering skyline was even more spectacular than the fireworks show.  

But the highlight of the evening?  For us, it was the discovery of a Madagascar Cockroach that had escaped from an exhibit.  This baby was HUGE and it was just about to enter the main exhibit area and either cause a commotion, or meet an untimely demise.  Well, seeing as we were playing the part of the eccentric philanthropists that night....we rescued him.

Mark scooped him up while I squelched the desire to have a panic attack.  We began to look for an employee but opted instead for a discreet toss of the critter back behind a partition at the Amazon exhibit.  Surprisingly, no one even noticed we were carrying a large cockroach around; maybe he looked like an hors d'oeuvres?

These are the cupcakes we were given to take home as we left the aquarium.
Everyone got one, even people who did not save a bug's life.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Mormon Walks into a Bar...

Mormons don't drink. I am a Mormon. Therefore, I haven't spent too much time hanging out in bars. So, when a bunch of ladies from my neighborhood decided to have a girls night out at Duke's Ale House, I felt a little uncomfortable. Well, it was more like a lot of uncomfortable. The knot I felt in my stomach was familiar but I couldn't place where I had felt it before until suddenly it hit me: junior high school. It was just like my first day at junior high!  I was excited and nervous; there were a lot of unknowns and plenty of peer pressure. My goal in both situations: don't look stupid.

Surprisingly, once I had identified where I had felt that way before, I felt a whole lot better. Mainly because I recognized that nothing bad had happened at junior high, everything had gone just fine. I even opened my locker on the first try.

For the record; everything went just fine at the bar too. I watched how other people ordered and paid for their drinks at the bar and viola, before I knew it I had a $2.50 rootbeer in my hand. We had a good time; these ladies...were hilarious. Raising children demands a sense of humor, as does being married. Every time I hang out with other women, whether they have a drink in their hand or they are stone cold sober, I always leave with less stress and a face that aches from laughing so much. Alcohol doesn't make people funny; life does.

The only time it isn't fun to hang out with other women, is when one of them is heck-bent on gossiping. Then, I don't care how much you drink or don't drink, you've just emptied the fun right out of the room. Thankfully, that doesn't happen very often anymore. Maybe that's because we're all older and more mature now or maybe it could be that shows like "Dance Moms" have made us all realize how stupid we look when we're being catty. Either way, I'm just glad when civility is the choice of the day.

I did notice, however, (and I don't know if this is just my Mormon perspective or if everyone saw it) that unless you're with people at a bar...it's a very depressing place to be. I watched the loners. I felt so sad for them. This was the best they could do? Music that was way too loud blaring in their ears, huge television screens demanding your attention everywhere you turned, and really expensive alcohol. It was like: how many other ways can we help you not feel? How many other ways can we keep you disconnected from the life that is happening all around you? They may as well have been sitting there with a bag over their head. Very sad; but score one for the devil!

Friday, July 6, 2012

For more on Persistant Chemotherapy Induced Alopecia please see: "The Side Effect That Won't Go Away" tab at the top of my blog and be sure to visit  www.aheadofourtime.org

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Funeral, Part I

I walk into my room and kick off my shoes.  I think of everyone else that was at the funeral today and I think of them in their rooms, kicking off their shoes too.  We've all just spent the better part of our day feeling the other side of love.  There is one side of love that you feel in your heart and it makes you feel happy and giddy and then there is the other side of love that you feel in your stomach, and it does not feel so  good. It is called mourning.

So we go home and kick off our shoes for one more day because we are still alive.  Our journey is not yet over, but one day it will be and then all of our friends will put on their shoes and stand around feeling the other side of love as it relates to us.  I hope in my case, that while they are standing around, they realize what I realized today.  We are symbiotic.  There are no one way encounters or relationships.  We touch each other and affect each other whether we realize it or not. Significantly.  When God places someone in our orbit, it is not unintentional.  I will try to be more deliberate in my interactions now because of this awareness. Thank you for being in my orbit.

"The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well." ( Neal A. Maxwell  That My Family Should Partake, p. 86)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Aspen Grove

The Babylonians had it all wrong.  You don't build a tower to heaven...you drive there.  At 6:26 am yesterday morning I left McHenry County, Illinois and drove to Laramie Wyoming. After a good nights sleep in cowboy country, I resumed my journey and arrived at Aspen Grove, Utah at 2:39 this afternoon. 

You're going to have a hard time convincing me that this is not heaven.  When I got here today, I only had to walk from my car to the lodge to get all teary eyed.  I had forgotten the smell of it, but little else.  Now I'm home, even though I've never actually lived here for more than a week at a time.  As you can see from the photo, it's beautiful and serene, but one of it's most charming qualities is how it feels.  It is inhabited by families that, for just one week, have come here for the sole purpose of being together without the interference of the world.   To eat, to laugh, to talk and to play together. Right now, although I am not doing any of those things with my own family, I can still feel the magic that is happening for those who are... and I love it.  It is so pure, that it even works on a stranger who is sitting in the shade all by herself, typing on her blog.  If this isn't heaven, then it's a suburb for sure.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Drive In Theatre

In commemation of the 79th anniversary of the first drive-in movie theater:

This is the lock knob from our 1978 Ford Ltd. It was decapitated by a clunky drive-in
movie speaker that we forgot to remove from our car before driving away. Oops.
The year was 1990 and we had just watched Dick Tracy. We were probably trying to beat the rush of cars that would soon be lining up to exit. Since we didn't have any kids at the time I'm pretty sure we didn't have a good reason to be in such a hurry, other than chasing the pretense that we all tend to adopt from time to time that implies that making it out ahead of other people somehow merits a pat on the back. Well, haste not only makes waste, but it makes it really hard to lock and unlock your door from the inside.

I'm pretty sure that this is the only surviving piece of that vehicle but I'm not sure why I have kept it all these years.  That car was twelve years old when Mark bought it.  For a car that age, it didn't have many miles, but we soon discovered that it also didn't have many oil changes, or wax jobs, or anything else that lends to the longevity of a car .  When our friends wrote on that car with shoe polish the night of our wedding reception, the over exposed paint soaked it up good.  As a result, we never really could wash it completely off.  We drove around with cute little phrases like: "love hoopty" and "Mark's getting lucky tonight" and my favorite "ball and chain" for the remaining life of the vehicle.  It was a lemon...with a message.  Fortunately, it's life with us was rather short-lived.  It didn't even make it to Dick Tracy the Sequel (but then again...neither did Warren Beatty).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Donut Years

One hour in people time is ten years in donut time.
This donut is 18 hours old, and is therefore already a
candidate for the Smithsonian.

But if you took it to the Smithsonian, you would miss out
on the chocolate icing, which is still quite good.
Performing a simple icing-ectomy preserves this valuable asset.

(A custard filled donut after a custard-ectomy)
It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dark Horse Days

"It's the most humiliating thing I know of to run for office."  ~ Lenore Romney
Thank you, Mrs. Romney, for making it okay to feel humiliated.  I was slightly delighted to read of your 1970 campaign for US Senate.  I too was once convinced by party officials to run for public office.  I too had to deal with baffling  rumors and I too lost the election. 

I had popped in on city council meetings a time or two and had worked with the council on a few minor issues, but considered my interactions with them to be largely forgettable by all parties involved.   Apparently, I was wrong.  Somewhere along the way I had made an impression because out of the blue one Sunday afternoon, I got a call from a member of the council with the suggestion/invitation to run for office.  When I cornered him with "why me?" he said that I "exemplified courage".

 He promised unconditional support and coaching from both himself and the Mayor and for the most part he was good for his word.  In fact, things went so well at first that many people I met while campaigning started saying things like "why are you still out campaigning? you've got it in the bag."  And it certainly started to feel that way.  Until...

I said the "P" word.  P is for Privatize.

In Utah, it's not uncommon for a city to decide it's their job to provide recreational amenities for their citizens.  Golf courses, pools, gun clubs, cable television, etc.  Unfortunately, none of these institutions were or are self-sustaining.  Left to the rules of real- life business and free enterprise, they usually fall flat on their bottoms and go bankrupt.  Therefore the general population must be taxed, directly or otherwise, to maintain them.   Remember...a government that is big enough to give you everything, is also big enough to take away everything.  In this case, your choice and your money are the casualties.

No one had coached me on how to skirt this issue.  In all honesty, forget skirting it...it probably should have been avoided all together, but one night at a debate I opened my big mouth; and although I didn't know it at the time, I essentially announced my resignation.  The following day the phone calls began and my campaign ended.  

I learned the hard way just how many of my supporters were golfers and just how much it meant to these golfers that their past-time of choice be subsidized by their unwitting neighbors . I'm assuming there were somewhere around 27 of them because that's how many votes I came up short.   To this day I am still somewhat scared by the fact that part of my fate that night and the fate of that cute little town to this day, was and is decided by people like the gentleman who called me a "socialist pig" for wanting to privatize the city golf course.  Wow...those who know so little, rule so many. Yikes.

I don't know what Lenore Romney did the day after her defeat way back in 1970, but her humiliation sure resonated with me when I read about it today in a magazine.  It instantly took me back to 2007 when  I spent the day after my defeat at home, curled up on the sofa with two darling daughters, watching Ratatouille and eating an entire carton of Breyers together...right out of the carton.

My consolation prize, and truly the best prize of all, was the kind folks whom I would run into from time to time after that, who would not only recognize me in public, but express their support and regrets that I had not won.  Even as late as 18 months after the humiliation, I was reaping the balm of approbation.  Not bad for a loser.


Three weeks ago I broke up with Facebook.  It was supposed to be really hard or at the very least ...interesting.  Hey...good blogging material is hard to come up with sometimes!  But alas, I've got nothing.  With the exception of this little blurb...the experience has been noticably unnoteworthy.
Sorry FB.  I guess you really don't rock my world, you merely occupied it for a while.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Morning Rain

I hope I didn't wake you up today.  I ordered a thunder storm, with a side of heavy rain and it arrived a little early.  But 5:45 isn't such a bad time to get up when it's a Saturday, and everyone else is asleep. When everything inside the house is quiet and everything outside the house is loud.  It's especially not bad if you keep all the lights off and just go with whatever early morning illumination the rain let's through.  Sublime.  That is a good word for this moment.

Thunder and lightning are like a gripping paragraph in the middle of your novel that you weren't expecting.  That one paragraph that changes everything for the characters in the book and that does not allow you to put the book down or refrain from turning it's pages.  You are alarmed and yet seduced at the same time by the power and magnitude of everything that is out of your control.  And you want more, you definitely want more, primarily because from where you stand...you know you're safe.  Such is the gift of vicarious danger.  All of the adrenaline, and none of the consequences. Such is a Saturday morning thunderstorm, from the comfort of your living room window.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Loaf You...

One of the smartest things my husband ever did resulted in having a loaf of bread thrown at his head. If you can handle an 18 slice whack to the noggin...you too can have wedded bliss.  It was very early on in our marriage. I was just discovering what it was like to come home at the end of a long day, anxious to catch up and reconnect with my sweetheart, only to find that Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the entire crew of the Starship Enterprise were on a five-year mission...to steal his brain. 

In other words; if Star Trek was on...I was invisible and inaudible.  Literally. Star Trek was his version of football and you football widows know what that's like. I was flabbergasted, crushed, and eventually...irate.  In all my 20 years of life and what little maturity came with that, I opted for what I now know to be "emotional extortion" or in Mormon lingo "unrighteous dominion".  I went in the bedroom and pouted.

Now I know that his reaction was probably more lucky than it was deliberate, but nevertheless, there couldn't have been a more proper response to my sulking.  He did nothing.  Nada.  My bad behavior went completely unrecognized. A year went by, if a day, with this pattern of bad behavior when suddenly one night, I gave up.  I threw in the towel, or in this case...the loaf.  After repeatedly trying to ask him an important question and not getting as much as a simple grunt in reply, pure exasperation possessed me and I grabbed the nearest non-lethal object and hurled it at his head. It was a loaf of bread.

BAM.  It got his attention. Then I walked out of the room.

I never cared after that.  My happiness became my own responsibility, independent of him. It took me another decade to learn to apply that to every aspect of our relationship, but it was worth the journey.  Had he ever responded to my little tantrums, I would have learned quite a different lesson and would have possibly become a rather manipulative little punk. Not only did this new approach to life make me happier,  it made me more interesting to be around too.  It started to be his idea to hang out with me and do what I was doing.  And after I stopped perceiving Star Trek as the enemy, I started watching it with him and discovered it was a really good show, geekiness and all.

Now...it is my mission, my duty, and my joy to share that message with others in hope that it opens up a few new possibilities for them, and an entirely new 'frontier' of happiness. Let's do this, girls. Engage!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Please Pass the Penguin

    These cute little guys are our new salt and pepper shakers.
    Not only can you shake 'em...but they roll when you wind them up. 
    Passing has never been more fun.  I honestly don't think salt and
    pepper has ever been more popular at our house.  Now it seems
    everyone's soup needs a little something extra, as in...a visit from
    a rolling penguin.  

In the unfortunate event that you or a friend are diagnosed with breast cancer, and an oncologist prescribes Taxotere (manufactured by Aventis), please make sure that plenty of thought is given to all of the side-effects, but this one in particular:  Taxotere users have a 3-6% chance of never recovering their hair after treatment.  This ranges from never recovering all of their hair, to never recovering some of their hair. 

To put this in perspective, in America approximately 289,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer a year.  If all of them used Taxotere as part of their chemotherapy, the result would be between 8,670-17,340 women who would, for the rest of their lives, suffer from Persistant Chemo Induced Alopecia.  Significant hair loss. 

Compare this to other undesirable statistics: 400 people are struck by lightning a year (40 fatally struck), 60 people are attacked by sharks (worldwide), 1,500 people are injured in tornados (70 people die), and there were 117 aviation accidents last year with 828 fatalities.  These are all incidents and events that we people as a whole, not only fear, but take great measures to avoid when possible.  If comparing hair loss to natural disasters seems a little dramatic and out of context, just ask a woman if she'd rather be struck by lightning or see the top of her naked scalp every day for the rest of her life. 

"Better bald than buried" we all used to say in the chemo room at the hospital; and that is certainly true.  But if you've ever read Lance Armstrong's cancer story, you will remember that when he learned that his prescribed chemo would jeopardize his lung performance for the rest of his life, he didn't say "Better breathless than buried", he made the doctors do their homework and find an alternative chemo that would not affect his lungs. 

We're all just so scared and overwhelmed when we first get our diagnosis.   There are SO many choices to make and an overwhelming amount of new vocabulary and facts to digest, we just latch on to whatever the doctor says and start running the race of our lives before we even check to see if our laces are tied. 

I just wish someone would have spelled this out to me.  I would have dug deeper.  There was NO question in my mind that my hair was going to grow back.  I had the stages of regrowth all worked out in my head, with all the cutest short hairstyles already selected.  Start out with the Sinead O'Connor look, then move on to Halle Berry...add a little Meg Ryan pixie-cut next...you get it.

And in case you're a dude, and you just don't get it...here's your analogy for the day.  Boobs.  Imagine getting a nice rack when you turned 40.  Not just fat-gut man boobs, I mean the real deal, jiggy-wiggly girl stuff.  Now take a cold shower and stay with me (remember, they're on you).  Yah, you could tape 'em down, alter your wardrobe, whatever.  I know...I've got wigs and hats.  But the cold hard fact is...the new look sucks and you just want to be you again.  This was never part of the plan.

So wah-wah-poor-me-barf; I know, but the bottom line is (since we're spending time at the bottom):  If you're the type of person who would hide from a tornado or avoid swimming with sharks, be woefully wary of the Taxotere. Tell your friends. Don't let them be one of the numbers. The odds of hair complications on that medicine are higher than most of these other dreadful risks.  Read the small print. If it says "hair growth should resume 4-6 weeks after completing treatment", don't put a whole lot of money on "should". 

See http://aheadofourtime.org/ for more information, and heal at your own risk.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Acumen at it's finest...

When your husband comes home from work and mentions that his boss, who is usually cranky, behaved rather nicely instead, it's always interesting when your 11 year old has a ready explanation:  "Maybe he ate some cake?"

That's my girl.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Leaving Facebook

On Monday July 7th, 2008 I joined Facebook.  There was nothing significant about that event, in fact if I remember correctly, it basically happened at gunpoint.  I had heard all about social networking on the internet and it's inherent dangers and had forbade my children to join any of it.  But trusted colleagues of mine began to suggest that Facebook would be ok for kids, if their parents were one of their online "friends".  I reluctantly agreed and eventually created an account and just like that; BAM!  I had one more chore to add to my list of things to do: log into Facebook once a day and spy on my children.  But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

Little did I know then, that not only would I come to enjoy my time on the website, but I would eventually develop an entirely new section of gray matter in my brain, devoted solely to the purpose of communicating with the world via Facebook.  In the morning, I turn on my computer and check my emails.  Then I open up Facebook and leave it running throughout the day.  Like a punctuation mark at the end of every chore, errand, or activity, I stop by my laptop and see what's happened while I was away.  It's almost reflexive and definitely...pathetic.

But, I can do pathetic and I've done it for almost four years now.   It's been great...until now.  Now the makers of Facebook have introduced a new format called "Timeline" and I do not care for it at all.  The designers of this new format completely missed the whole 'less is more' chapter at web design school and as luck would have it,  I am all about simple. 

So today, Thursday May 10th, 2012 I deleted my Facebook account.  It's been interesting.  More interesting than I expected.  I didn't think I would hear anything about it, I didn't think anyone would really care.  Maybe the response I've received to my announcement is just nice people saying nice things, but whatever the reason....sigh....it kind of melted my heart, just a little.  So I have to say...thanks guys, you're the best 295 friends I've ever had!  You can still read my blog and leave comments.  No need to be a stranger.

P.S.  The kids are taking wagers on how long I can stay off of Facebook.  I'm placing my bet on an entire year, the kids are talking more in terms of weeks.

Friday, May 4, 2012

For the Birds

Here's the little bird that flew into our garage today and couldn't figure out how to get out (nevermind the HUGE opening right behind him that we all like to call a "garage door".

Here he is banging his head against the window.

Here's his partner in crime, acting like he doesn't know him.

When these little birds aren't hanging out in my garage, they are outside snagging the bugs from my lawn (at least I think that's what they're eating).  Five or six at a time, all out there pecking away.  Thank you little birdies! Bye bye little insects!

Also in my garage is a bag of unopened lawn fertilizer.  You see, however much I would like a nice, lush, weed n' feeded yard, I can't bring myself to dump this dust on their dinner.  You're welcome little birdies. 

And since we're talking about fertilizer...this is my eyeball.  Rachel says it's creepy. I think she means the picture is creepy... because it is.   But this is to show you that I have, if I do say so myself, pretty hazel eyes. They are my mothers eyes.

Rachel has them also, see? As a matter of fact, so does Phoebe and Kate.
We all have my mothers pretty hazel eyes.

Here is Phoebe's Eye.  Kate's eye is in Utah and my camera doesn't have a big enough lense to take a picture from this far away.

So after the chemo was supposed to have worn off and I found myself waiting in vain for the return of all my hair, people started recommending the new prescription eye lash fertilizer, Latisse. There was just one little side effect: it could change your eyecolor. 

Well, that was a deal breaker for me!  No way.  Having long, thick eyelashes cannot be better than having my mother's hazel eyes.   So even though I have so few eyelashes you can count them now, and even name them if you wanted to....once again, I'm going to pass on the fertilizer.   

(I could, however, use some Photoshop on the wrinkles!  Whoa!  Nice, red, wrinkles woman!) 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I suppose I do like raindrops on roses, or I would...if I hung out with wet flowers enough.  And I do like whiskers on kittens; primarily because I don't really like whiskers on anything else. But when it comes to a few of my favorite things...well, I have a different list.  So for posterities sake ('cause I don't think Broadway is interested):

1.  The smell of rain on cement. 
2.  The sound of heavy rain at night. 
3. The tingling feeling of someone else washing and or styling my hair (oh, how I miss that!).
4. Getting inside a car that has been warmed by the sun on a brisk day.
5. Taking a nap in said car.
6.  Witnessing my children as they experience something new. Especially if it changes their world...just a little.

Now this last one...it's special.  This experience most likely won't happen again, but is oddly enough, one of my favoritest memories and therefore, one of my favoritest things:

7.  Sitting on the floor in my kitchen (you can hate me, but it's pretty much always clean - the floor that is), with my back up against the cupboards; taking turns with a spoon, a yoplait and two smiling toddlers who inbetween bites, toddle-run the full length of the room and back before presenting their open mouths again for another bite.

 For a germ-a-phobe like me, this spoon sharing thing is way out of character, but maybe that's why it's such a favorite memory of mine.  I don't know, it's just that time stood still that morning and it was very happifying.  I don't remember the flavor, but it was the best yogurt I ever tasted.

So sing with me now..."when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I pay taxes"...I simply remember, I simply remember.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Where's the Car?

Today I drove our Yaris, of stick shift persuasion, into the garage and proceeded to carry our groceries into the house.  I then gathered everyone that needed to go with me on the next errand and stepped back out into the garage, which was surprisingly...empty.

"Where's the car?" I asked myself and anyone listening.  It's been stolen, I thought.  The neighborhood construction workers were my prime suspects.

"It's in the ditch." Mark replied as he came up behind me.   This was more of an assumption than an observation, since he couldn't actually see the car from where he was standing, and that's when I realized that I had probably not set the emergency brake, as I was so prone not to do.

Sure enough, it was in the ditch on the other side of the driveway.  Thank goodness for a side-load garage! Otherwise...it would have been in the street or who knows where.

Relieved, we were able to drive it right out of the ditch.  The neighborhood construction workers went from being my prime suspects to my prime audience.  Sheepishly, we all got in and resumed  our original task of going to the Urgent Care facility so that an unnamed "someone" could have an unnamed "something" delicately removed from their physical person-ness.  Not setting the parking brake was in all actuallity, stupid thing number 2 that these humble, bumbling Jarmans had managed to accomplish today .  Not our best work.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wish You Were Here

Dear Sad Person,

I don't know where you go when you're 'there', but I do know that we miss you here. 

It's been said that depression is really anger in slow motion.  So you must be
really angry.  You must feel like an animal that is backed into a corner; in other
words...you're angry because you're scared.  Someday I hope I can help you understand
the futility of fear.  But for today I can stroke your head, and feed you broth, and let the sunshine warm your shoulders. I can love you unconditionally and wait.  And wait.  But what I can't do is promise you that I will never get frustrated while waiting.  I am frustrated.  Right now.

But more than anything...it's very important for you to know that no matter how bad things are in 'there', wherever there is, things out here are just fine.  It's very safe out here and to be honest...quite lovely.  In fact, life is so lovely and abundant out here, that the only thing that's missing is you.
So,  whenever you're ready and whenever you're able...we're loving you...and waiting.

The Waiting


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Zoom Zoom

1,964 miles, 8 states and 5 days.  These numbers are significant.  These numbers are important.  These numbers mean one thing and one thing only...it's ready.  The road is ready for you. 

Out of the kindness of our hearts and the flatness of our bottoms, the Jarmans have spent the past five days driving mile after mile after mile, through breath-taking scenery and bank-breaking toll booths to bring to you...Road Trip Season 2012!

Now, thanks to our efforts, your windshield will be a safer, cleaner place. Thanks to the fearlessly unflinching windshield on our car, there are at least a thousand less insects out there capable of reproducing and ending up on the windshield of your car.  And you know what they say..."It takes a bug to raise a village.....of larvae."  (er...just go with it, OK?)  And as for the bugs that we missed?  Don't worry; one good deluge in the Appalachians will lick your chassis clean.

Rest assured...there is an ample supply of all 26 letters of the alphabet (including the elusive letters Q and Z) on most major roadways and little gems like Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum and Fudge Emporium are alive and kicking. Yes indeed, America is in good shape as far as road tripability is concerned. 

Road trips are to the soul, what a good stretch is to your muscles.  Life needs to be a little unscripted once in a while, and nothing lends itself to spontaneity quite like hitting the road.  Since leaving your stroller however many years ago, what other times in your life have you been able to dedicate your entire day to watching the world go by? With nothing else on your mind other than the song that is playing on the stereo and the challenge of grabbing another handful of sunflower seeds without looking.  Those good old stroller days are as close as your steering wheel.

  I like to mix that up with visits to old friends and neighborhoods.  You never know, I may just show up on your front porch one day...unannounced and out of the blue, like I did to my friends in Maryland and North Carolina last week.  And if I do, you can bet I'll have a big smile on my face, a windshield full of bugs, a few hours of asphalt behind me, and quite possibly the lyrics to "China Grove" still running through my brain. 

The road is ready...are you?

Bonus Quote:  "Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign unpossessed places."                      Italio Calvino

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Iron Chef

I'm running away from my kitchen right now.  I'm keeping my bra; but burning my apron.  I protest!!! I've never been a "foodie" nor have I ever loved cooking the way some people do.   Cookbooks get me about as excited as bathroom scales do, but...at least I could hold my own in the kitchen. I could definitely perform the needed culinary tasks with confidence that it was all going to be worth the effort in the end.

 But that was back when my cooking was actually kinda good.  Back when dinner was tasty.  That was before every fourth person I met became allergic to gluten, before every twelfth person I met became allergic to nuts and back before my husband became allergic to... everything else.

So, I look at Iron Chef America a little differently now.  This is a show where two chefs from the elite cooking class are given a "secret ingredient" (like fish or cucumbers) and a kitchen filled with every other edible ingredient known (and unknown) to mankind and they have an hour to create three or four dishes using that secret ingredient.  Whomever produces the yummiest, most attractive meal is named the winner by a panel of somewhat-celebrity judges and they hold the title of  king high Iron Chef, at least for that episode.

It can be quite the entertaining show, but given the ever-growing list of  restraints I have beeen given in my own kitchen arena, I fail to see the real challenge there.  Wouldn't it be more amazing if there was more than one secret ingredient and if those secret ingredients were things that they could NOT use?  Yah!...let's see someone who can whip up dinner at my house, every night without using any dairy (including cheese), soy sauce (or soy anything), onions (how do you cook without onions?), citrus (bye bye lemon zest), sausage, ham, bacon, nuts, msg, or Red 40, and...make it yummy! 

Do you know the secret behind Julia Child's success?  Butter and wine.  She's a culinary icon because she stuck butter and wine in everything and it tasted good.  Bravo Julia, you're not only a genius, but somehow a superhero as well.  Imagine what she could have done with bacon drippings and sugar?  We'd have a Nobel Laureate for sure.

Once again,  show me what you can do with one hand tied behind your back...then I'll be impressed.

It's not like I'm Paula Deen.  I am not actually trying to kill people with my delicious cooking, I just want to use an onion now and then...maybe a little soy sauce once in a while. Cheese, please? There has got to be some way to keep my inner Italian happy without giving my husband a brain tumor.

Tonight, we had Lemony Lentil Soup with Greens...but of course, minus the lemony, minus the onions.  Eh...it wasn't that bad...for me.  But for the kids?  Sometime, you should just see their faces.
Talk about pleasing a panel of judges.  Could there be a more cruel jury than the undeveloped tastebuds of youth?
"Why anyone would want to have food allergies is beyond me." (Carol Burnett in Annie...well kinda)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

When You Facebook on Three Hours of Sleep

I really went outside to fix the spout at 3 am and we really (reportedly) do have coyotes.  It was a little scary but I had insomnia and hearing that stinking pump go off every 15 minutes drove me to do this death-defying act of plumbing.   As far as the rest of the post goes (comments between Rachel and I from 8:30 on)  Rachel had left her facebook account open on one computer and I was checking my account on another...something about only having three hours of sleep and access to two accounts, brought out the mischievous in me and I just couldn't produce a single serious comment.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Up, Up and Away

You'd like my son if you met him.  He's got a great smile and a personality to match.  He's always walked to the beat of his own drum, a trait that I find irresistable in most people.  Perhaps the best way to sum him up is with this story: 

When he was three years old, we went to a family reunion where someone had supplied helium balloons for all the little children in attendance to have.  On our way to the van at the end of the day, we passed one of our cousins who was unsuccessfully trying to console her little boy whose balloon had just come loose and had begun to float away.  This little tike was unconsolable.  My son followed his tearful gaze up to the sky and in wonder, watched the escaping balloon float higher and higher. 

Suddenly my little guy looked at me, held up his wrist and asked me to untie his balloon.  I thought he was going to give it to our distraught little relative.  Nope.  He took his balloon by the ribbon and let it go as well.  Standing there, his little neck craned back as far as it would go...watching in double the wonder as double the balloons floated away. 

To him, seeing the balloons float up, up and away was much more fulfilling and magical than walking around with one tied to his wrist, and watching it die the next day.  I think he may really be on to something and although I can't quite tell exactly what it is all the time...it's been a joy trying to figure it out with him.

On The Record with Greta

One cool autumn morning while sitting at our kitchen island, my phone rang and on the other end was a guy who said he was the producer for some news show in New York.  "On The Record with Greta VonSuster..something"  I had never heard of it and had to ask him to repeat it one more time (which somewhat insulted him).  Assuming this show was some little local, public access news show, I accepted his invitation to be interviewed live...that night.

I had been getting a few phone calls from the local papers for interviews so this didn't register to me as any big deal.  A few weeks prior I had appeared before our city council and proposed a new resolution, which they ended up passing (or adopting or whatever they do to resolutions to get them on the books).  The resolution was basically a statement indicating that the citizens of Spanish Fork wanted a child-friendly community.

Such resolutions have been deemed necessary by the Supreme Court if a community is ever to have a chance against stopping business owners from displaying non-child friendly advertisements in public places. Think Victorias Secret and Abercrombie and Fitch's bigger-than-life-steamy-hot-sexy type ads.  Yeah...those.
There's more to it than that, volumes more, but for the sake of this post, we'll move on.

My New York producer friend called back several more times that day with questions and clarifications and then finally with instructions on when the limosine would be at my house to pick me up.  Limosine?  Wait a minute.  Rinky-dink local news shows don't send limos.  So I told my husband what was going on and...what the name of the show was. He recognized the name immediately and immediately let me know using no uncertain terms that this was not some basement production.  This was NATIONAL, LIVE, big-time stuff.

So later that evening my parents came down so my dad could go on this little adventure with us and so mom could watch the kids watch their mom on TV.  Before I knew it, the three of us were speeding down the interstate in the back of a limo.  We were happy and confident and excited.

When we arrived at the studio that would patch me into the New York studio, no one was there.  When the technician finally did arrive, his placid, non-chalant manner only reinforced my own relaxed and confident state of mind.   This was going to be fun!  What a great opportunity to spread awareness!

I was seated in a tiny, closet sized room with a fake Salt Lake City city-scape behind me.  I was wired inconspicuously and then the door was shut.  It was just me and the tech, the wires and the camera.  At that point the camera seemed to be only inches away from my face, and it suddenly became my whole world. My heart picked up pace.  Then the audio from New York kicked on in my ear piece.  I could hear all the behind the scenes instructions and countdowns and coughs and comments from the New York crew that happen right before you go live.  It was then that I noticed I could not move my face.  I wanted to smile for the camera, but I literally could not.

Now my heart REALLY started beating fast. The countdown continued, "5-4-3-"....wait!  If I couldn't smile, would I be able to speak?  Terror.  Terror like I had never before known or since.  The tech fingered to me "2-1" and then I was on.  On camera for millions to view.  No script. No idea what I was doing or how I was going to do it.  And did I mention that millions of people were watching?

There was no split screen image of Greta so I could see her talking to me and there seemed to be some sort of delay between when I answered her question and when she responded back.  Both of those elements were a little unnerving.  But we finished the interview and I didn't stutter and I didn't draw a blank and I knew my First Amendment stuff front and back.  But I didn't pass on the little nuggets of wisdom and light I had hoped to share with the world either.  I just answered her questions and kept breathing.  That was all I was capable of.

Mark and Dad had been watching the actual show in the green room so I asked them if I looked as terrified as I had felt.  Mark said that I looked fine, but that he didn't watch much of it because they kept flashing examples of racy, half-naked women all through-out the interview.  As if the audience didn't know what inappropriate advertising looked like.  I can't tell if they were jerks for doing that or idiots.  The very images I wanted children not to be exposed to, were exposed at least twenty times in the five minutes that the interview lasted.  I'm going with jerks.

The next day the phone rang again.  I was secretly hoping it was another news show, so I could have a second chance and say what I wanted to say the night before.  But it was not.  It was a woman who had worked extensively with the U.N. was best buddies with Ronald Reagan and was a directing member of the Eagle Forum during the 80's.  Her name started with "The Honorable" and I had a feeling she was rich, not just because her personal secretary got me on the phone for her, but because when she talked about me coming out to visit with her, she referred to her residence with a name, like Jefferson and Monticello. 

She invited me to speak at an Eagle Forum meeting the following spring and gave me Phyllis Schlafly's direct number.  She also gave me Orin Hatch's direct number too and said that I needed to connect with him as well, that he could use me as some kind of "opening act" when he went on speaking engagements. 

I wondered if I should really call those people.  I looked her up on the internet and she was the real thing, but she was also in her eighties.  What if she was a little kooky?  I finally decided to make the calls and the response I got from the personal assistants I spoke with in both offices was an unmistakable "don't call us, we'll call you."  Uugh.  I wanted to scream "I don't go around calling famous people, I swear!  It was all "The Honorable ________ __ _________'s idea!"

Well, that's the end of my big, long story.  My 15 minutes of unintentional, un-sought after fame.  This all led to my campaign for city council, but that's another blog for another time.
I have a DVD of my illustrious appearance on Greta's show, but few have seen it because those images I mentioned before....REALLY racy, scandalous!  I'm talking PG-13.  You have to bring a note from your mommy before I'll let you watch it. 

PS.  This was the post I was planning on writing when I initiated My Unintentional Life in the first place.  But before I could memorialize my 15 minutes of fame, cancer came and stole the show.

Monday, February 13, 2012


My youngest daughter's favorite game is called "Snorta".  This is one of my favorite things about her.  She loves Snorta and she always picks it when it's her turn to choose.  I love this so much about her because Snorta is the game that she ALWAYS loses and she loses big time.  But the whole time she's being shut-down by her family, she's smiling and laughing and enjoying every minute. 
Years ago, when we started playing games as a family, to assuage the tender feelings of my tots that lost, I coined the platitude "Whomever has the most fun, wins."  If you look at it that way, she has never lost a game.

Four Haircuts

This handsome kid is my little brother. This picture was taken at the St. Peters Ward picnic in 1988. You will notice that he is sporting the typical teenage "why are you taking my picture"look. He was such a cutie, even when he glowered.

He is also sporting the typical skater haircut of the 80's.  He spent A LOT of time either on a skateboard, or adjusting/building/manipulating a skateboard...and he was really good at it.  And as his big sister, my contribution to this illustrious skating career was relatively small and mainly cosmetic. I cut his hair. 

I'm not sure whose idea this was.  Did he ask me? Or did I make the suggestion?  I don't know. All I know is that I was 18 years old, had never cut anyones hair in my life, and I probably used fiskars. But I gave him the classic skater look he wanted at the time and had a lot of fun doing it!

That lead to me cutting his friends hair too.  Once again, fun on my part, but apparently, horrific as far as his mother was concerned. Sorry Mrs. Delano.
This is where the whole haircutting thing should have stopped.  But I'm afraid that by this time, we had created a monster.  With fiskars in hand and WAY too much adolescent confidance, I decided I was a beautician.  Obviously the whole beauty school thing was optional and just not for me.   

This is where Mr. Beautiful comes in (insert cringe.)

I'm talking about Mr. Everything On My Shallow List; good-looking, great at volleyball, returned missionary, sings and plays keyboard flawlessly, likes my favorite bands, perfectly whitty and drives the coolest car.  Dreamy.

Oh yeah, and he had a skater haircut, which is probably why when he asked at volleyball one night where a good barber was, my best friend who knew I liked him piped up: "Rosie cuts hair!" 

Oh my gosh.  I suddenly had a "date" with this guy...to cut his hair.  Fortunately, for everyone involved, he got to my house at the appointed time, but before I did.  Just enough time for my mom to probably fall over laughing when he announced why he's there and to warn him to stay away from me and scissors.  When I got there he graciously announced he'd rather go to a movie than get a haircut (my mom probably gave him money for the show AND for a real haircut somewhere else).  We watched Beaches and he held my hand when I cried.

Eventually I would find myself at BYU, living off campus without a car.  Hmmm....how would I get to the grocery store?  I know, I could trade haircuts for rides!  Enter poor unsuspecting victim number four.  This time however, there is no mom to save him.  It's just me, him and my dull fiskars. 

I don't know, I really don't know.  It had to be at least an hour, maybe more, of methodical/perplexed snips here and there. He did not wear a skater cut (pretty much a bowl cut).  He had one of those real haircuts that required tens upon thousands of little hairs all needing to line up and look...normal.  I was lost and I think he knew it, for as soon as my phone rang and I put down the scissors to get it, he practically jumped up out of the chair, made up some excuse and ran out the door.  Poor guy.

I don't cut hair anymore.

Water into Wine

I belong to a church that has a lay ministry.  That means that no one gets paid to serve the congregation in any way, shape or function.  This means that you don't have to worry about the content or direction of your worship services being driven by a need for financial contributions. It also means that you, yes you, will probably be called upon to prepare and deliver a sermon to the entire congregation from time to time.  And finally, it means that when it's someone else's turn, you will have the pleasure of sitting in the audience and becoming more acquainted with the Lord through the experiences and testimony He has given to them.

But every once in a while, for one reason or another...it just doesn't work.  Someone will show up a little too human, or ill-prepared, or whatever, but the show just never gets off the ground.  You may call that a drawback, as in "disadvantage" drawback; but I discovered yesterday that it's more like a drawback as in, "you're about to shoot an arrow from your bow" drawback.  Let me explain:

Yesterday I was in a meeting that was leaning a little on the "waste of my time" side when I decided that instead of judging the brother who was producing the jibber-jabber, I should try to love him and think of positive things about him.  Once I did that, I began to feel the Spirit and as soon as I began to feel the Spirit,  I noticed that I was being taught by that Spirit as well.  NOT by anything that was being said by this brother...it was still jibber-jabber...but because the Spirit had been invited into my heart, I actually left that class having learned a few things; a few things about the subject matter and a few things about love.

I do belong to the Lord's church.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He directs his church on earth and I am happy to say, still turns water into wine.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This morning I emerged from our basement after a three and a half hour organizing binge that started out as a quick trip downstairs to put something away, ONE something, mind you...just one.  I knew time was passing and that thirty seconds had turned into thirty minutes and then to an hour, but I had no idea it was almost lunch time (good thing I slept in my clothes last night...long story).   My morning had slowly escaped from me, or rather, been kidnapped from me by my penchant for organization; but I couldn't stop myself.  I am that way.  So much so, that  when our new Bishop asked my family what my talents were, they said organizing.  I was slightly disappointed.  I was hoping for writing or designing, but they said organizing.  That is a good talent, it really is, but it's hard to hear that what you consider of yourself to be a slight mental imbalance, is largely known by others to be your primary talent.  "Hey...I'm crazy and I'm really good at it!"

Mark has prodded me to turn my "talent" into a profit by becoming a professional organizer.  But I don't think that would work.  The main driving force behind my "gift" is the ability to throw stuff away.  It tends to make people angry when you try to throw out what looks to you like garbage, only to find out, it's actually not garbage, it's their junk. Junk isn't garbage. People like junk.  They carry it around for YEARS and hurt people who try to mess with it.

But as for me and my house...less is more and always will be. Except for stuffed animals. They are stronger than me and I have discovered that resistance is futile.  I have discovered this the hard way.  Call me crazy, but for every stuffed animal I've ever thrown away, I swear six more have come back to replace it.  Two by two these cuddly culprits will someday march onto a giant stuffed ark, and float away to a plush paradise and I will be left behind with nothing to loathe but the mosquitos and politicians.  This is not only my fate, but I believe the only way I'll EVER get rid of them.
Now it is two o'clock and I have not done my budget like I was supposed to do today.  But my basement is cleaner and my blog is longer.  Truly there's just one thing left to do...find out what time Ellen is on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The New Digs (photos for Mom)

As You Enter...

To Your Left...Mark's Study

To Your Right...Formal Living Room and Ping Pong Arena

Once Upstairs...

The Loft...

The Master Bedroom...

Master Bath...

Emily's Room...

Other Part of Emily's Room...

Rachel's Room...

More of Rachel's Room...
Phoebe's Room...(best view, but smallest room)

Back Downstairs...

Best Room of All...Rosemary's Studio
Family Room...