Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If You Feed Them They Will Come

Nobody asks for my parenting advice because they've seen my kids. Nobody asks for cleaning advice because they've seen my house. Nobody asks for hair advice because they've seen my unruly curls. But people ask my food advice and that makes up for all of it. In the last couple of days I've had a friend call me and ask how to cook a good steak and which to buy, my sister called and asked about what potatoes to use for viccysoise, and I just received an email from Paul's uncle telling me that he tried the butternut squash soup recipe on my food blog and that it turned out great. Next he was tackling the curry. Well, now we're talking!

Paul and I had our annual Christmas party at our house just last Saturday and it was a big ol' success. A few years ago I noticed that nobody has Christmas parties anymore so I set out to change that. Or maybe nobody invites US to their Christmas parties. Well if the mountain won't come to Mohammad.....So we invited 40 people and 34 came!! Our house is roomey, but not that roomey! People were crammed everywhere and for that I felt badly. That's never happened before--usually only half come because it's Christmastime and everybody is too busy. Who's too busy for a party? Did they come in droves because we are loved and adored by many? Maybe it's the fact that the invitation had one catch-your-eye phrase on it "Mexican dinner served." So we fed 34 people a dinner of tostadas, refried beans, and rice. It was a load of fun. Who doesn't like food smothered in hot sauce and cheese? Crazy people, that's who. That's my Christmas present to my friends and neighbors. Instead of a plate of sugary treats that are rarely edible, we feed 'em bacon fat infused beans and fried pork carnitas. Now you know why they came.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Inspector Gadget

My little Nathan has always had a knack when it comes to building things and fixing things. When he was 3 years old he found a screwdriver and took apart Patty’s electric piano. Patty had lent it to me and Nathan watched us put it together. So obviously he just did the reverse of what he watched us do. He carefully removed the legs and proudly showed us his handiwork. Nathan is also very good at building things—particularly with his Legos. Not too long ago he built this depiction of Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life. For you non-LDS folk out there, it’s a story from the Book of Mormon. We had read that story for family scripture study and Nathan soon afterwards built this wonderful rendition of the Tree of Life. I like how Luke and Obi Won are holding onto the iron rod but Anakin and Han Solo are drowning in the evil abyss.

Well, Nathan is 9-years old now, and he has done it again. I bought a DVD player at Wal-Mart this week for the upstairs TV. That TV doesn’t have any reception so movies are about all it is good for. Anyway, on my way home from Wal-Mart I am thinking with dread that I have to hook this dang machine up. I am terrible at stuff like this. Oh sure, I can read a sewing pattern successfully but I can hardly put together my Ikea finds. But then I remembered that Nathan is Inspector Gadget. When he came home from school I handed him the box and said, “I know you can hook this up.” He immediately told me that he wasn’t sure if it would work because that TV is old and it probably didn’t have the right cable hook ups in the back. (Winnie donated this TV to us and a garbage can donated it to her.) Nathan came down 15 minutes later, announced that the TV didn’t have the right hook-ups, but that he routed the cables through the VCR. (The VCR eats tapes now but we’ll keep it just to run the DVD player. Good grief.) So there we have it. Nathan can hardly answer the phone with more than a cave man grunt, but by golly, that boy can fix/build/connect anything. As Nathan always says about my dad, “Grandpa can fix anything.” Guess it’s all in the family.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Color Me Happy!

I hit my 100th sale on etsy yesterday. Don't have much to say about that. Just want all my friends to be happy for me. I should celebrate. Think I'll go shopping at I'm ill and need help.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shuffle Me Righteous

I always listen to my ipod while I am upstairs in my studio. (Studio sounds hip and creative, sewing room sounds dull and domestic.) I park the iPod in the docking station and hit shuffle. Putting the ipod on shuffle alone has been quite entertaining. I have all the recent conference talks on there as well as my usual secular music. You see where this is going, don’t ya? As Arsenio Hall used to say, some things make you go “hmmmm…”. Well, I have been going hmmmm a lot lately as I try to read some symbolism into how my iPod shuffles everything. After all, I am LDS and we LDS types likes to see symbolism in everything because it makes for good talks. Here’s a great combo: Sister Beck’s talk called “Mothers Who Know” will come on, and then it is followed by Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” (As a side note—Sister Beck’s talk comes on at least once a day, quite frequently if you ask me for having hundreds of songs on the iPod. It must mean something. But then I realize I put her talk on there twice, hence the frequency it is played.) As I am ironing the seams open on my project, my mind drifts into a sort of stream of consciousness. I wonder if Sister Beck would approve of Chris Isaak. Oh sure, “Wicked Game” isn’t a bad song but if she had seen the music video—the one in black and white, similar to a Calvin Cline underwear commercial on a beach, then I know she wouldn’t approve. Goodness, i don't approve. That video is porn! Would there ever be a venue where we have conference talks followed by a mean rendition on the electric keyboard of “Everybody's Changing” by Keane? (The keyboardist in Keane acts like a drummer in that video. Watch it. Easy Killer. )I think that could seriously help my attention span with such weightier matters. Kind of like a reward for being good. I know, I know, sounds a bit irreverent, but in the privacy of my own studio it’s ok to combine conference talks with heathen music, outside of my studio, wrong. Hey, don’t judge me, I need all the spiritual help I can get.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Never Ever in the Whole Wide World

Have you ever played that game with a large crowd where you go around the room and say things that you have never done, but that most others have? Well, I have a few that always push me closer to winning the game. Here they are:

1. I’ve never been in the hospital. (This always wins me the game in a room full of women!)
2. I’ve never watched an entire football game. Ever. I don’t even know the rules and don’t care to. I went to a BYU football game once as a freshman with my roommates thinking this is it—I’m going to learn to like football now that I’m in college. I left at halftime out of pure boredom. I come from a family where we all hate football--men as well as women. My parents loved the L.A. Dodgers during the 80s, so that was the extent seeing sports on tv. (Then I got married.)
3. I’ve never really liked candy. Pies and cakes yes, candy no. Even as a kid I would never eat all my Halloween candy. It would kind of go stale eventually. (I make up for it by baking all the time.)
4. I’ve never been on a horse. Don’t have much to say about this one. Just haven’t.
5. I’ve never seen a Shrek movie. This may sound like a weird ‘never’ but it seems like Shrek is everywhere these days with the release of Shrek 17, but whatever. Just the cover of the movie makes me wanna hurl. I’ve also never seen Pollyanna, or The Breakfast Club. Ilene has now fallen in love with Pollyanna and is quoting it, but it looks boring to me. Even as a kid it looked boring.
6. I’ve never been water skiing or snow skiing. I’ve had many opportunities to try these sports but am too afraid. And frankly, it looks more fearful than fun. I know, it’s wrong living in Utah and not being a skier. But I will gladly move out of the state lest my being here means I have to learn to ski.
7. I’ve never worn a bikini—have never even shown my stomach the light of day—nor the light of a tanning salon. I found myself wishing more women could say this while I was lounging on the beaches of Hawaii this month. Blech.
8. I’ve never eaten nor purchased Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, Chili Helper, Fish Helper, whatever. My mom used to joke that if she made a helper ‘meal’ my dad would give her divorce papers. Just cause I say.
9. I have never received a speedy ticket. Thanks for reminding me of that, KyLeyne!

What have you never done? Come on, don't be shy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Video Killed the Radio Star

Something scary happened the other day. Paul and I watched a video of our wedding day. We had never seen it. (Patty, my sister, had all of our family videos on tape transferred to DVD.) Now, this wasn’t a ‘wedding video’ per say. We didn’t have any moolah for such nonsense, so we just handed the video camera to different family members and they walked around taping everything. I noticed a few things on this video.

First of all, Paul and I definitely look older. My SIL Ilene quite often posts wedding/engagement pictures of her and Dan on her blog. They don’t look a day older. Those two are adorable. But Paul and I look completely different. Perhaps its because now I actually pluck my eyebrows, don’t wear burgundy lipstick anymore, and shy away from brocade dresses with puffed sleeves. Oh and my hair is 15 inches shorter. Maybe that’s why? Paul doesn’t part his hair in the middle nor puff it up anymore. Consequently, people don’t tell him anymore that he looks like David Bowie. Just a guess. I once told my hairstylist that there are a lot of fashion regrets I have of my wedding, to which she added, “Better to regret the fashion, and not regret the marriage.” Wise words from someone with scissors.

I also noticed on the video that Paul is still the same. Often on the video, he would touch my back to guide me this way or that way. Or lean in to talk to me quietly. He was tender then, and he still is. I think you can work through any problem in your marriage if you are kind and tender to each other. I think if there’s one thing (and maybe that’s the only thing) we’ve done right in our marriage thus far is to be kind and tender to one another. He’s been the example there. I'd like to think that Paul would still send me a note with David Bowie lyrics like he did in 1994: “One day I'm gonna write a poem in a letter; One day I'm gonna get that faculty together; Remember that everybody has to wait in line; Blue Jean-look out world you know I've got mine; She got Latin roots; She got everything.” I know, I've mentioned that in a previous blog already.

Paul and I will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary next month and there is nothing I regret about that. Even if I did have Brooke Shields eyebrows on my wedding day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Paradise Found

This is not going to be a typical run-down-of-a-vacation blog. I could write forever about the wonderful things we did in Hawaii but instead I'll simply give you a list of epiphanies that occured in my brain while we were in Hawaii.

  • Day 2 of 7 on our trip: "This place is paradise but I could never live here becuase my hair is frizzy and ugly from the 90% humidity." It wouldn't even straighten with my flat iron set to 400 degrees.

  • Realized my kids would never eat a bowl of cereal again if we lived in Hawaii because all cereals (even generic nasty ones) were $6.50 a box and milk was $7.00 a gallon.

  • Was reminded once again that most people on this planet looked better with more clothes on rather than less. (Including myself.)

  • Realized I ate mahi-mahi every time it was offered to me. Kind of like that guy on "SuperSize Me". If they offered to super size his fries, he had to say yes. I made that my rule concerning mahi-mahi. Server: "Our special today is grilled mahi-mahi with a thai chili sauce." Me: "I must have that."

  • Realized that the word Mahalo (Thank you) is used everywhere. It's even written on 'rubbish' cans!

  • Realized 4 airports in 18 hours is not for me. How do flight attendants do it? Also realized plenty of people drink booze on airplanes at 6am. (The plane was heading to Vegas.)

  • Realized it is possible for a mom to read 4 novels in 6 days. (Sans children of course.)

  • Once again was humiliated in asking for a fork to replace the chopsticks given to me due to lack of chopstick talent at many, many restaurants.

  • Realized that when it's over 85 degrees in Hawaii, that's all people talk about. Me to the airport ticket agent on Kono: "How are you". Ticket agent: "Fine but this heat is awful."

  • Realized that 85 degrees is the perfect temperature for my body--day and night. That was heaven. Turn off the air, open the doors, and let the love flow in.

  • Realized the 20 plus hours I worked on my tan was all for naught seeing as I am always covered from wrists to ankles in the winter here in Utah.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't Quote Me On That

Inspired by that mom on who made up lyrics to the William Tell Overture, I've been keeping track of what words come out of MY mouth to my kids. It ain't pretty.

That’s not a song, quit playing it on the piano! ......... Use your legs and walk down the stairs to talk to me! ........... Anything left on the stairs by bedtime goes in the garbage ............. Get those frosted mini wheats off of the couch ............. Spit out that wad of gum (an entire pack) before you choke to death ....... Life will stink next week while you’re gone (to Paul) ......... I’m going potty by myself. Get out ........... Why is an entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts in your bed? ........... Get out of the chocolate chips ............ What’s all this powder on your bed? Pop rocks? ........... Buckle the body ............ If you can’t find any soap to wash your body just use the bubbles in the water left from the shampoo ............ You don’t want the vinaigrette here at Brick Oven, Ilene, it’s no good. (To the server) No offense ....... Quit eating just the raisins out of the Raisin Bran .......... Why did you beat a 1,000 scratches into the piano bench with a naked Barbie?...... If you keep talking (at night) I’m taking away the radio .......... You’re not wearing the bunny costume to the Post Office.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fine Photography

I have no desire to be a photographer but I am completely enamored with fine photography. I just bought this tulip photo off of I framed it and wanted to share it with you all. I think it's glorious and not just because tulips are my favorite flower. (You knew that, right honey?) My father is an amateur photographer (who takes my family photo each year) and my brother, Mike Harrington, is a professional one for Super Chevy Magazine. Mike took the photo on the right of the clouds at sunset. (Yes, I know that is a huge wall and it could use more frames--I'm getting there.) That picture was taken at Heart Bar campground where as kids we camped at least 100 times. My dad and bro are super duper talented in this area. Thank goodness because I am slowly filling my house with framed art from those I know and those I wish I knew. Hooray for artists.

50th Sale on Etsy

Most of you know I have been selling on for about 6 weeks now. I thought I’d tell ya a little bit about what I’ve learned as I’ve just about hit my 50th sale.

1. I’ve learned that some customers want a bargain no matter what. I’m sorry but it you have $150 to spend on three of my purses you don’t need to ask for a shipping discount! You loaded!
2. I’ve learned that to ship to Singapore is a rip-off. Is the package being delivered by elephant? Why so much moo-lah?
3. I’ve learned that I can make as much money as I want to. Meaning, if I could sew 4 hours a day I could make a lot more. This is quite the trial for me as I am a good capitalist American and LOVE to make money. There is literally a devil on one shoulder telling me that money is everything and an angel on the other shoulder telling me to read to my kids and clean my house. Nobody pays me to clean my toilets but people will pay me to make ‘em some pillows. Curse housework.
4. I’ve learned that compared to many other sellers on I sell pretty normal stuff. These mesh glasses are the weirdest item I’ve seen yet.
5. I’ve learned to love the post office. They ain’t as evil as I thought. (Except of course for the ones who shoot people dead when they’re having a bad day.)
6. I’ve learned this week that I earned enough money to pay for myself to go to Hawaii! (Leaving in 15 days, not that I’m counting.) Hip hip hooray!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Future Arsonist

On Saturday I took Nathan to get his haircut—just the two of us. When I drove around alone with Nathan I try to keep the radio turned off so that this boy who doesn’t talk much may actually talk! Here is our conversation:

Nathan: Mom, if somebody didn’t want their house anymore, and wanted to build a new house, they wouldn’t have to tear it down. They could just burn it down!
Mom: No, Nathan. I don’t think someone is allowed to just burn their house down.
Nathan: Why not? Because it might catch someone else’s house on fire?
Mom: Yes, but also, most people, including us, don’t own our home outright yet. We are still making payments to the bank, so really, it’s the bank’s house and they don’t want us burning their stuff down.
Nathan: But once you pay it off, and it’s yours, you could burn it down right?
Mom: Nathan, why would someone pay off their house only to want to burn it down?

Nathan: Maybe it’s old and they don’t like it. Maybe they want to build a new house!
Mom: In that case, they could just re-decorate it. Or move. People don’t usually burn their houses down when they are tired of them. Houses are just too expensive for that.
Nathan: Oh. Well, if it's illegal to burn it down, how could they tear it down? With a big wrecking crane?

Mom: Sure, whatever.

Maybe I should just keep the radio on.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reverse Deja Vu

If it's possible to be in a situation where you feel you have been there before, isn't it possible to be in a situation and already be looking back at yourself years from now? I had that kind of moment today. It is a glorious fall day, the leaves are changing colors and beginning to fall. Hallie wanted to walk to get Nathan and Ilene at the bus stop today. So we walked off, hand in hand, down the street. The breeze was blowing, Hallie was singing, the leaves were falling. As we approached Nathan and Ilene, Hallie ran to them and they had a group hug. As the four of us walked home I noticed Ilene had a rip with a grass stain on her knee (click on photo above to see it in full glory) so we talked about what kind of fun patch we could put over it. In that moment, life was grand. I looked forward 20 years and realized I wouldn't always have three little friends who needed me that would hold my hand as I walked down the street. It was a good memory to file away in my brain because I know in five minutes someone will be screaming, "She's touching me..."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dammit Doll

I like to download free sewing patterns on the internet because I am a cheapskate. I definitely shy away from the more crafty projects (lavender eye masks and kitty tunnels) and focus in on useful sewing projects (headbands and aprons.) But tonight I ran across a crafty sewing pattern that I just had to share with you all. Get ready to wipe away tears of laughter. (I swear I am making one for my sister Carolyn--the road rage doll, different poem than below. Umm-humm. )

When you want to kick the desk
or throw the phone and shout.
Here's a little dammit doll you cannot do without.
Just grasp it firmly by the legs,
and find a place to slam it.
And as you whack it's stuffing out, yell,
"dammit, dammit, dammit!"

It's worth a try! They have all kinds of poems on the website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Farewell to Nemo

Nathan’s beta fish Nemo went to the giant fishbowl in the sky this week. He was a good Beta fish. He never made noise and never looked angry—always a happy fish. He lived a long life—3 years. It seems just like yesterday my sister Patricia took Nathan to Wal-Mart and let him buy a pet fish. (Was my permission even asked about this leap into pethood? Nope. Shame on Patricia!) Nonetheless, I let Nathan keep Nemo thinking he’d be dead in a month. On the contrary, Nemo proved to be near immortal. He once survived a trip down the garbage disposal. Were it not for the quick thinking and agile hands of Paul who quickly unscrewed the garbage disposal from underneath, ripping it off practically, and dumping Nemo safely into a cup of water, the fish would’ve suffered an ignominious death. He had a lot to brag about after that experience (Nemo that is.) After all, how many fish go down pipes and live? Nemo also survived out of water for a length of time, how long we’ll never know. His tank was being cleaned so he safely, we thought, rested in a cup of water on the sink. We had to run an errand and when we came back we noticed Nemo was no longer in the cup. He had flopped out onto the counter. We quickly put him back into a deeper cup of water, although it was now obvious he didn’t need water to survive. Nemo was definitely no ordinary beta fish. God bless him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Amy Butler Apron

Is it too housewife-y to wear an apron all day? Because I have been wearing this apron all day. I'm loving all the sewing projects in my new book, In Stitches. Although I don't think I'm brave enough to wear the apron over jeans out in public like in this photo to the right. I made it this morning at 4am when I couldn't sleep. (Surprise, surprise, I'm the worst sleeper ever. I've already blogged about that.)

I made sure I added the pocket because I once read that if you clean the house wearing an apron with pockets you'll be more efficient. You'll load up the pockets with all the odds and ends--rubberbands and crayons in my house) and then put them all away in one trip after you're done picking up . Will adding this pocket make my house organized the way buying an ab-roller makes one skinny? You're right, should've added ten pockets.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Easy as Pie

I spent 4 hours today making, baking, and freezing peach pies and peach crisps. (These are my favorite recipes.) Blanching the peaches in boiling water, shocking them in ice water, peeling them, de-pitting the peaches, and slicing the peaches is a lot of work. Adding the sugar, the tapioca/flour, and then the cinnamon and nutmeg (the secret) adds to the work. And that’s just the filling. Then I gotta make the crust—making the dough in my Cuisinart is the easy part. Chilling it, rolling it, and placing it in the pan without ripping it, is the hard part. I should’ve taken a picture of my kitchen today after I was done. I had three stations set-up—all in disarray by the end. Hallie added to the tornado-like mess when she decided to roll out the pastry scraps with her baby rolling pin. She managed to get flour everywhere, even into the keypad of the cordless phone. And then of course because it’s a butter pastry, it eventually melted and so Hallie left butter glops to clean up as well. Thanks sweetey.

So where did the phrase ‘easy as pie’ come from? True, anyone with a few brain cells who can read a recipe can make a pie, but it takes a long time and it is very messy. I think this phrase is misleading—pie easy? Yes. But it’s also messy, time consuming, and tiresome. Now eating the pie, that’s a different phrase. ‘Heavenly as pie’ or ‘sinful as pie’ all describe the eating. But as for the work, I’m changing the phrase to ‘as messy as pie’. At least now my freezer is filled with crisps and pies to last me through the winter. Happy tummy, aching feet.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bless you IKEA

Oh blessed day, IKEA has come to Draper, Utah.

Bless you Ikea for offering an alternative to puffy furniture and microsuede.

Bless you Ikea for not having any furniture in your store resembling logs.

Bless you Ikea for having cool and funky modern fabric.

Bless you Ikea for enabling me to buy this modern orange duvet for my guest room (and for only $20).

Bless you Ikea for selling slipcovered furniture,
thus making it possible for people with children
to fulfill their dream of white upholstery.

Bless you Ikea for being the complete opposite of The Quilted Bear.

Bless you Ikea, now I think it may be possible for Utah
to shed its image of being the capital of dried
eucalyptus and silk floral wall hangings.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's All (American) History

I’ve always loved American history. I’m terrible at dates, I can never remember where the Civil War started (was it Antietum or Bull Run?), and I forget the order of our first presidents after Jefferson. With that disclaimer, you can see why I didn’t major in history at BYU although I still think I’d make a great high school history teacher. It was tempting to switch my major from business to history once my roommate Kathy told me that history majors only had 32 credits in their department and us business majors had 52. That sounded more like a degree in electives to me than history! If it weren’t for my lack of gray matter in the memory department I would’ve signed up. I’m always up for less work.

I’m always telling Paul that he may be smarter when it comes to academics, but when it comes to mindless trivia, I blow anyone away. And American history is no exception. Thanks to my high school AP History teacher, Mr. Clark, my brain is infused with the nicknames of presidents and weird American catch phrases. Despite the widespread use of computers a decade earlier, his tests were always hand written and then copied for us students. A groan was always let out by our class when we would invariably get a nine page history test. We quickly scanned the test ‘packet’ and realized the length was due to his large male-style block print. And the tests were always chock full of American trivia, no doubt due to his love of American History magazine. We read more from that magazine than from our textbook. Because of his tests I still remember that William Henry Harrison’s nickname was ‘Old Tippecanoe’ and Andrew Jackson’s was ‘Old Hickory’. I’m good at phrases too. I can tell you that it was Teddy Roosevelt who made famous the phrase, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ and we can thank Churchill for the phrase, ‘A riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’ I was definitely surprised when I took the AP History test and learned there were no questions on ‘Old Fuss and Feathers’ nor on ‘Lemonade Lucy’. Nobody passed the test that year. Maybe Mr. Clark revamped his curriculum and eliminated questions from tests like; “Southerners were known for sipping __________ out on the ___________. That honestly was on a test. The answer was, “Southerners were known for sipping mint juleps out on the veranda.” I still remember that and I don’t even drink.

The highlight of our class had to be our ‘fake’ news skits we put on. Our group was assigned to cover the burning of the White House by the british in 1814. I was an eyewitness to the event in character of SNL’s Grumpy Old Man. I wore a stuffed plaid shirt, donned crooked spectacles, hunched over, and said things in a raspy old-man voice like, “Why didn’t we just paint a bulls-eye on the darn house for the stinkin’ British? In my day, the president was a humble man, living in a humble house, AND WE LIKED IT!” I got an A.

Good times, Mr. Clark, good times.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gotta Stick to my Principles

There are just certain lines I will not cross, things in good conscience I can not participate in in this life. I simply can’t lest I become one of those women on Oprah—“I just lost who I was once I became a mom.” I have principles and I need to be able to look at my freckly-face each morning in the mirror.

Life lesson #1: It it makes the kids happy, but me miserable, ban it. That's the litmus test in my house for parental decisions—if it makes them happy and it makes me miserable, I know it's a bad idea. I don't take my kids to Chuckie Cheese. Chuckie Cheese sucks the life and money out of its patrons. I could lose myself—a dangerous thing. Life lesson #1 has caused me to also ban Caillou—that annoying Canadian cartoon, as well as me planning art projects for my kids.

Life lesson #2: Deprivation is good for children. When you give a child everything, you teach them to appreciate nothing. My kids own (from me at least) two pairs of shoes, they don’t get soda or other sugared drinks, I don’t buy them toys unless it’s their birthday or Christmas, they have to eat their vegetables to get dessert, and bedtime is always at 8pm—winter or summer. Their birthday parties are always at home and always include pin-the-tail on the whatever they can draw—Jedi, donkey, etc. I figure once they leave our house, life will only be uphill for them. They’ll never need medication because all they’ll need is a giant sugared soda at Chuckie Cheese.

Life lesson #3: If it’s too much work, it’s just a plain bad idea. This has caused me to give up scrapbooking at least 6 years ago—a decision I have never regretted since. Someday my kids will inherit CDs (or whatever the method of storage is then) chock full of their childhood pictures and videos. Basically, all crafts are bad. I guess the children crafts mentioned in #1 should fit here as well. Mopping and most other house work involving chemicals definitely fits here as well.

Life lesson #4: Life is easier when you are not sentimental. I don’t save hair from my kids’ first haircut because I’d have to remember where I put it for them in 25 years and I don’t save their teeth. Ilene lost a tooth the other day at my friend Allison’s house and Allison kindly wrapped the tooth and carefully sent it home. We quickly threw the tooth away and gave her a buck. What tooth fairy?

Life lesson #5: Guilt is for sissies. This life lesson may send me straight to hell, but at least I’ll go without emotional baggage. If I do something wrong and know it’s wrong, and want to stop doing it, I stop, repent if necessary, and move on. If I need to start doing something, but I’m too lazy to do what needs to be done, I always give myself an out. Life is just easier that way.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Crazy kids, urine everywhere, mopping up pee, sweeping up an entire box of Life cereal, breaking out in cold sores, digging cereal from between couch cushions, spent two hours on ebay trying to figure out why I couldn’t print a shipping label for two customers, only one customer. Stood in line at post office with three kids to mail aforementioned package. Sat at the Nissan dealership with three kids watching ESPN at an extremely high volume while oil was being changed and my kids stared the entire time at a 10-year with a rainbow mohawk. Went to Walmart and let the kids buy a donut for being good at auto place. Bought myself a donut too for being good. Ate the donut—disgusting donut. Applied Abreva to now two cold sores. Took Nathan to piano late because I was cleaning up more pee. Didn’t have time to change Hallie so grabbed a cardboard box and made her sit on it in her booster while we drove to piano lest I have to clean pee off of car uphostery. Forgot to pay the piano teacher. Forgot to make dinner. Called Paul and had him pick up a Costco pizza. Applied more Abreva to now 3 cold sores. Bathed Hallie. Off to presidency meeting. Forgot to make an agenda. Came home, applied more Abreva to now four cold sores, watched reruns of Frasier. Went to bed at 10:30 and slept like a log. End of story.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Getting Soft

I always tell others than I am a true California girl and simply am a Utah resident but lately I am feeling more like a Utahan. I was going to title this blog “Things I don’t see in Provo” but I think once you read on you’ll see that the chosen title is the correct one. I found myself surprised, aghast, and afraid on one too many occasions while in California last week visiting my family.

On simply the road trip there I found my knuckles getting white as I braved the 5:00pm traffic down the El Cajon pass and through the San Bernardino area. Cars were whizzing past me at 90 miles an hour while I was going a good 70 mph! I realized quickly that I shouldn’t be traveling in the fast land going at such a turtle’s pace but I could hardly merge over as the cars literally were whizzing past me. I arrived at my parents’ house all frazzled and tense. The very next day my sister Carolyn drove me into L.A. to go to the fashion district and to Chinatown. Now, I knew Carolyn had a lead foot, but I quickly realized she had become Mr. Toad—she had become the crazy drivers that were cutting me off the entire day previously. The girl can weave and merge and slam on her brakes like no one else. And she has a temper too which explains her little Tinkerbelle ‘wind chime’ that hangs from her rear view mirror that she slaps and screams out, like Frank Constanza, “Serenity now!” when things just aren’t going her way on the 10 freeway. Yea, you just keep saying that Carolyn, like a mantra. It’s bound to work. (I could write a whole blog on Carolyn’s driving. But I won’t. It’d sure be good though.) I'm guessing other L.A. commuters have their own version of Tinkerbelle that gets them through the commute.

Later on in the week we went shopping at the Victoria Gardens shopping center to visit the lovely Crate and Barrel. As we exited the shop I was gleeful at the prospect of using my new individual gratin dishes when I spotted a cross dresser. He passed me, I stopped, and then turned around because I couldn’t believe my eyes. A man in a dress, carrying a purse, wearing high heels with hairy legs? Was it wrong of me to turn around and stare? Truly I just kept wondering why not shave your legs if you’re going to go to all the trouble of getting a matching purse for your outfit! See, none of the other shoppers were surprised. What’s wrong with me? Later on that night Carolyn and I were heading to Claremont to have dinner at the Harvard Café when I saw a lady of the night in Pomona on Holt avenue. Now, no surprise there, but she wasn’t wearing any pants—just her skivvies. Aren’t they issued at least a tiny skirt?

And let’s not forget the cars that are dedicated to dead relatives. Those always make me do a double take. I just don’t see those kinds of things in Provo. Please re-read that last line with a high-pitched Barbie-like and naïve voice. Yea, now you get what I’m saying. I’m becoming soft. You see, the longer I live away from California, the softer I become. Yup, it’s killing me to admit it, but I am getting soft, and I’m not just talking about my thighs. Pass the fry sauce.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bag it!

I've been on a bag making frenzy lately. You name it, tote bags, purses, messenger bags, etc. I decided that I am tired of sewing custom drapes and such for clients. These clients are stifling my creative ability! They pick out ugly fabric and then have me sew what they want for them. The nerve! That's great for the money and all (after all I did earn myself a new Yamaha piano during the winter) but I want to be a bit more creative. I need a hobby that can fuel my love of fabric. I've been playing around with the idea of making what I want and then selling it. I have the control of my timeline, the fabrics, my creative desires, etc.

As of late, I have become obsessed with retro and vintage inspired fabrics. As you can see by all these purses I've made this week, I'm not afraid of color. (By the way, I designed all these bags myself, drafting my own patterns.) I have browsed these fabrics online and the websites of the designers who have the glorious job of designing the fabrics. I envy women like Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, and Denyse Schmidt. Wow, now that would be my dream job--to design fabrics and patterns. These fabrics just scream to me, "Make me into something gorgeous!" What better than a purse or bag. Oh sure, I can make blouses, skirts, curtains, aprons, and pillows--but bag making is new to me. And if there is something I love, it's to learn something new, preferably with food or fabric. The latter seems to be the healthier choice given my love of butter and cream. So onward I press.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hallie the Trash Talker

I have decided that Hallie came to our family to try my very soul. By nature I am a very impatient person and Hallie was sent here to remedy that fault. If she isn’t hiding in a closet eating her brother’s candy in the dark then she’s taking the scissors to a client’s 70-dollar-a-yard fabric. I have cried, I have prayed, and still she seems to get the better of me nearly every day. I have even resorted to buying a parenting book—How to Talk So Your Kids will Listen. I have always said, if you need a book to parent, you are in real trouble. Well, we are in trouble.

As of late, Hallie has become a trash talker. She could go on Jerry Springer. She spits at us, whips us with her beloved blanky, and kicks innocent children until they fall down. When she is mad at me, which is several times a day, she screams at me, “You’re not my mama anymore!” I have been ignoring this heckling because frankly, I don’t care. The words don’t hurt, but the yelling is what I simply can’t stand. So today I pulled the plug on Hallie. I said to her, “Fine, I am not your Mama anymore just like you want. Cool! I don’t have to make your lunch now.” (As I am saying this I am making Ilene’s lunch.) She started sobbing, “Please make me lunch. You are my mama!” I held out.
A while later, she fell and hurt herself and wanted some consolation and a kiss. “Go find your Mama Hallie, she’ll kiss it and make it better. After all, you told me I am not your Mama.” Then the real wailing and gnashing of teeth began. “I don’t want a new mama! I don’t want her kisses! Please be my mama. I won’t ever say those mean words ever again! Please!” Do I believe the promise? No. But she did need to eat, so I had a talk with her, kissed her boo-boo, and made her lunch. As she is inhaling her peanut butter and honey sandwich (after all, lunch was delayed at least 20 minutes) she continues to reassure me, "I'll never say that again." Let’s see how long that trash talk subsides because that stupid parenting book hasn’t arrived yet from and I am out of ideas. Legal ones, anyway.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Weekend of Gluttony

I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting to hear about the Weekend of Cynthia part 2. If you’ll recall, last year the Weekend of Cynthia part 1 occurred in February. I had such a good time that I decided to do it all over again. (Minus me losing my lunch in a 4-star restaurant.) So last weekend I flew to Seattle to be with my dear friend Liz all over again. As I waited on the curb at baggage claim for Liz to arrive, who was late (some things never change), I decided to people watch. Lovers were reunited, a mother affectionately hugged her grown son who was wearing an army uniform, and anxious smokers were quickly looking for the area where smoking is designated. I contemplated my own reunion with Liz, whom I had just seen in Provo 3 weeks earlier. I wanted to give those around me a beautiful seen of friendship to behold. Instead, when Liz pulled up I gave her a good hug and then we sat in her beat-up van a minute longer trying to read the map to find the nearest Whole Foods grocery store.

Yup, that was our first stop—a grocery store. But not just any grocery store. I secretly hoped that Curtis Stone of Take Home Chef would find us drooling over the lemongrass and galangal and offer to go back to our place and cook us a gourmet meal. Have you noticed when you watch Take Home Chef (and I'm sure you do!) that he only approaches women whose backs face him? I guess it's that element of surprise. Alas, I am not 20 pounds underweight and I don't have a very L.A. career like yoga instructor or colon hydrotherapist so I knew my chances were close to nill I'd get picked anyway. I tried to keep my back towards the imaginary camera most of the time, just in case, to no avail. Curtis never showed, so we took matters into our own hands. I had to make two trips to the produce department just to look at the most beautiful vegetables I had ever seen. Liz and I settled on purchasing watercress and radicchio for a salad later that night.

I kept telling Liz that I could never be satisfied by Macey’s Grocery store in Provo again after that trip to Whole Foods. It was an international smorgasboard. We sampled everything we could get our lips on—kalamata olives, freshly-seared scallops, Brussels sprouts, mini fresh mozzarella balls, Israeli couscous, cranberry tuna salad and chicken korma. (Bombay House still makes the best chicken korma.) Yes, we were gluttons. It was almost embarrassing, but not enough to stop me. It was like being at Costco only instead of sampling Boca burgers (truly the only way you could get someone to eat those rubber hockey pucks) the samples were actually good.

We then went on to Pike Place market where we continued to eat things like Baklava and fresh donut holes. Liz of course had to buy a butter and ham sandwich at the French bakery. I think it’s hilarious—a sandwich made with a baguette smeared with just butter and layered with ham. It sounds so appetizing when Liz says it in French, but basically it’s a butter sandwich. That’s why Liz has never bought margarine—because the girl eats butter sandwiches. She should watch Paula’s Home Cooking……

The weekend continued and was a smashing success in terms of rejuvenating me—great restaurants, great sights, hikes in the rain, etc. It rained every day, all day, and that only added to the romance of it all. We ate at great restaurants like Primo Grill in Tacoma where I tasted the best polenta I’ve ever eaten. Try the recipe from their website—it’s addictive. I’ve made it twice since eating there. And I am so proud of my glass bowl purchased at the Childhood’s End Gallery in downtown Olympia where they feature handmade art glass from Glass Eye Studio. Liz explained to me that just as Utah is known for faux flower and twig wall hangings, Washington is known for blown glass. Was that a dig? Just remember Liz that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. After all, Provo doesn’t have a resident who roams the streets wrapped in Christmas lights while pulling a generator on wheels so that he can constantly be lit up like Olympia does. Nor do we have a parade called the Procession of the Species where people add wings to their bikes so as to imitate butterflies. Mmm-hmmm.

But all good things must come to an end, so I boarded my Southwest airlines flight Sunday morning carrying my treasures and said good-bye to The Emerald City. What a weekend.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Life on the Frozen Tundra

It has been cold here in Provo, Utah lately. Really cold. I don't ever remember it getting this cold. I hate the cold because not only do I have to bundle up when I leave the house but I have to bundle up three children when they leave the house. I am constantly nagging them to find their mittens, their hat, and their "puffy" coat. Puffy, of course means thick and warm around my house. (This picture was taken 12-17-06 but it could just as well be today. It hasn't changed.)

It has been so cold that our pipes freeze if we don't leave them dripping at night.

It has been so cold that the dead-end street I live on has been packed with hard snow since mid December because there simply isn't enough traffic from hot cars to melt the street.

It has been so cold that yesterday I had to pull over while driving because the ice under my wheels had built up to be at least 4-5 inches thick and while turning the wheels I would hear a grinding noise of ice against tires. So I pulled over on 620 N. and with my flimsy mittened hands scooped snow and ice out from each of the four wheels. The girls thought this was great. "Can I get out and help, too?" My answer: "No, we'll all die of the cold if you get out here."

It has been so cold that I wear a turtleneck everyday. Even to bed. Ok, not to bed, but I should.

It has been so cold that I almost paid $300 for an airline ticket to go to California this weekend with my sister. I wanted to go just so that I could get warm for two days. Is that too much to ask? Now I have to hate my sister Patty because she gets to thaw out for a few days while I sit here on the frozen tundra. And because tonight (1/26/07) she is going to the Keane concert in Los Angeles with my other sister Carolyn. Now I have to hate them both. Wah.

It has been so cold that my yearly longing to put a "For Sale" sign in my yard and move to a double-wide trailer in Santa Barbara has been moved up from March all the way till January. Yup, usually by March I am so sick of winter that I google things on the internet like, 'real estate in Santa Barbara' and then check out the prices. This depresses me even more because I realize we can only afford a double-wide. And that's if Paul's income doubled. Sigh.

It has been so cold that I don't use my refrigerator anymore. I lazily unload the groceries in the garage and they sit there next to the paints and lawnmower until we need another gallon of milk or orange juice. Only the milk has been freezing. If I put the groceries close enough to the freezer then the heat emitted from the freezer keeps the groceries thawed. Ironic. The freezer warms up my garage. Humph.

It has been so cold that my fingers are now icey cold while typing this and I have to stop.


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