Sunday, October 2, 2011

Deceptively Delicious

In the on-going war with trying to get my kids to eat healthier, I finally resorted to Jessica's Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious.  I have yet to use it, but I have perused it.  I can report that my kids have yet to eat vegetables by just perusing it.  Dang!  :(

Seriously, though. It sounds like a great concept.  Puree veges and sneak them into food.  So what if your mac n cheese is green, the kids will never taste that you put spinach in it!  Skimming over the part about she and Jerry making purees together in their kitchen on Sundays . . .with their money, wouldn't they have a cook?  Or a butler?  But back to the purees, I wondered if I could just go buy a jar of baby food and dump it in my recipe.  I mean, it's already pureed, and I didn't even have to do it.  Come to find out, there is no pureed cauliflower for babies, and I couldn't seem to find spinach, either.  I swear there was spinach when I was spoon feeding my kids.

Needless to say, I have not pureed.  Not yet.  But my intention is still there.

But here's the funny part. 

My kids found the cookbook and looked through it.  It also happened to be the same day I made brownies for when they came home from school.  Next thing I know, Esther says, "Mom!  Did you put carrots in these?"

I seriously had no idea what she was getting at.  I wouldn't ruin perfectly good brownies by putting carrots in them.  What was she talking about?  "What?  Why would I do that?"

"Because of that cookbook.  Did you put carrots in these?  I saw the cookbook, you know."

Then I laughed, because I hadn't done anything with that cookbook other than look at it and see if the store carried pureed cauliflower.

"Nope.  No carrots."

Esther eyed me suspiciously, "Are you sure?"

"Very sure," I reassured her.  And we all ate brownies happily ever after.

I still have yet to use the cookbook.  But I laugh at how my kids were deceptively deluded.  Hopefully when I DO use the cookbook, they won't have any clue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Brace Yourself Honey, It's Gonna Be Expensive!

My oldest child needs braces.  Poor guy, he inherited not only my good looks, but my crooked, crooked teeth.  Granted, now my teeth are not crooked.  But it took four longs years of braces to fix that.  And now, he's facing life with braces and he is none too happy about it.

Knowing how long I had mine, and the palate expander, and other various contaptions (luckily, I never had head gear), I knew his braces prognosis was not going to be particularly pretty.  And, it wasn't.  To the tune of over $5,000.00 not pretty.

As luck would have it, our dental plan has no orthodontic insurance.  Great.

Oh, and have I mentioned the oral surgery he needs?

Yes, he needs to have several teeth extracted, one tooth chained to gently yet forcefully "guide" it to it's rightful, natural position in his mouth.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it.  And last but not least, he may or may not have a bone cyst in the back part of his lower jaw.  Could it get any better?

Supposedly insurance covers the oral surgery.  We'll see.  Dubious would be a good adjective for my thoughts about that. 

The only upside to oral surgery is he would be under for the procedure.  I wonder if they'd be willing to put me under too, just a little?  It might dull the physical and financial pain I am going to have to endure.

My son does not understand that by getting braces put on, I am really doing him a favor.  Even if it costs me a small fortune.  He keeps trying to do ME a favor and tell me he doesn't need braces.  But that really wouldn't be doing him a favor.

Someday he will thank me.  Someday he will understand that I am willingly inflicting pain on him for the next (possibly) four years because I love him and want the best for him.  Someday he will appreciate how his dad and I willingly inflicted (serious) pain on our finances to give him a beautiful smile.

And now I am going to start saving for when my last child, who also is a carbon copy of me, needs braces.  Cause I know she will. 

Lucky me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Like Waiting For That Boy To Call

You know, back in the dating days, when you went out with a boy that you really like, that you think is perfect, that you think you could easily fall in love with?  Yeah, that boy that ends the date with "I had a really good time.  I'll call you,"  and you wait and wait and wait for him to call?

You don't expect, but secretly hope, that he will call the next day.  Isn't that, like, dating protocol?  To wait at least one day before calling, so as to not look too anxious.  So if date night was Friday night, you think maybe Sunday he will call.  But then Sunday comes and the hours tortuously tick away without the phone ringing.  Okay, maybe he is really busy with church, or something.

Monday will definitely be the day he calls.  Because then he won't seem too anxious and he can make plans for the next weekend.  Plans with you, that is. Instead of going to the library to study, like you need to, you go home and wait by the phone (this is back in my college days, when we didn't have cell phones.)  Or, you keep checking your messages, emails and facebook page to see if there is any sort of anything you can remotely consider him contacting you.  Nope. Nothing.

Tuesday is going to be the day.  You just know it.  And it's the perfect day to call for a date on Friday.  You spend another day staring at your phone, checking any sort of messaging, waiting for his.  The refresh button on your computer is started to wear out. 

Wednesday you are just mad.  What is his problem?  If he said he was going to call, why hasn't he called?  How dare he promise to do that and then not.  Or, if he really didn't like you, and had a really bad time, and really didn't want to call you, then why did he say he had a good time and would call?  Maybe he should have ended it with a handshake and a thanks!

Thursday, well, maybe, just maybe, he left your phone number in his jeans pocket and washed them?  Maybe his phone got stolen?  Maybe his computer crashed?  Maybe his car crashed with him in it and he's too injured to get to a phone to call you and ask you out?  There has to be a darn good excuse why he hasn't called you.  And yet, with all the excuses, still no call.

By Friday, you just hate him.  You are spitting nails and saying his name laced with venom.  Fine!  If that's how it's going to be then you can move on.  You didn't like him that much anyway.  Besides, he chewed his pasta weird.  You'll show him  that you don't care.  (But still, secretly you wonder, why hasn't he called?)

Saturday is the day that your phone battery dies because you checked it so many times yesterday and you fell asleep staring at it, willing for it to ring, wishing for telepathy.  Since the weekend is practically over, you plug in the phone, trudge to the grocery store, eat a bag of oreo's and watch some really crappy made-for-tv movie about some heartbroken girl trying to move on some personal tragedy.  You could relate, since you were currently living in the middle of your own personal dating tragedy.  You check your phone one last time before going to bed at 11:30 pm, and there it is, one missed called.

And of course, it's him.  And of course, he called when you were home, watching the pathetic movie stuffing your face with shortening laced cookies.  And of course, it's too late to call him now.  Bummer.

Sometimes there's a perfectly good reason for his silence, like his mom was in the hospital and he was out of town, or his grandma died, or his phone really was stolen, or he really washed your number in his laundry.  Whatever the reason, you are so excited to hear from him.  And so what if he eats his pasta a little weird?

Or you never hear from him and need to get over it or get another man, whichever one comes easily or quickest.

My whole point to this (yes, there is a point to this) is waiting for that guy to call is like waiting for my book to be accepted for publication.  When you send in a manuscript, the general rule is that you will hear in 8-12 weeks.  I heard at 12 weeks that they had received my manuscript.  So that was good news.  Next it was going to be evaluated.  That's another 4-6 months.  After that you will either hear a "no thank you" or you won't hear anything until after it goes to the deciding committee (the final YES or NO).  All in all, it takes a little more time than I realized.  But if the outcome is a YES then theoretically I should be happy to wait for however long it takes.  But instant gratification is apparantly not in the business of book publishing. 

So I wait. 

I'm sure I'll hear any day now.  Maybe they're all on vacation?  Maybe they all got food poisoning after a catered company meeting?   Maybe the flu hit Utah early this year?  Maybe all their computers crashed, wiping out everything . . .

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My loose interpretation of "Schedule"

I have a cute little sign that says, "Welcome to my loose interpretation of clean."  I find it hilarious, because that is my attitude toward housework.  My husband, who prefers to have the house a little cleaner than my "loose interpretation", does not find the sign so funny.  In fact, I think he secretly tries to hide it when I'm not around.  But, with that said, I want to clarify that I am not a total slacker living in complete filth.  The dishes get done, the laundry gets washed, the floors get vacuumed, I'm just not obsessed with getting it done.  (In fact, as I write, I'm in my bedroom blogging instead of being out in the living room spearheading the Saturday morning clean up!  :)  )

I am the same way about being scheduled.  I am not one of those people that have their whole day scheduled.  I have some friends that are that scheduled.  And bless their hearts, because I could not keep up their pace.  It stresses me out just hearing about their busy schedule.  My schedule revolves around my kids going to school.  I'm glad that it has started and it gives us just enough structure to our days.  But this year, the school district mixed things up by changing the school starting times and it has completely screwed me up and after two weeks of school, I have yet to adjust to this new schedule.

Last year, Emmett went to middle school from 8 am-2:30 pm.  He was picked up by our carpool in the morning, so getting him off to school mainly consisted of making sure he did not walk out the front door with a milk mustache. 

The girls went to elementary school from 9 am - 3:30 pm.  So I had time to shower in the morning before I took them to school.  Because I actually had to get out of my car and be seen, getting ready for the day usually needed to get done.  Since I always have a bad case of bed head, it sort of made showering a priority.  I wasn't anxious to share my bed head with the whole school. 

But now the school district has mixed up the schedule.  The girls need to be to school by 7:50 and Emmett needs to be to school by 9:00.  So now, I have to be ready to get the girls out the door by 7:30 to get them to school and Eve to the Kindergarten yard.  Then I feel the need to stay with Eve until the bell rings, because she just seems so young and little to just leave in the school yard (even though there are other kids there).  Then I get home, and have a half hour before Emmett needs to go to school.  I'm driving the morning part of the carpool instead of the afternoon, so when I get home from dropping kids off at 9:00, I have until 10:30 before I need to go pick Eve up from school.

This has completely screwed me up.  So even though I am not a tighly-scheduled person, my loose interpretation of a schedule like the one I had last year has been completely messed up by the school schedules. 

But enough whining and complaining.  At least the kids are back in school and the long, hot summer is over, right?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Adjusting Reality

I have two friends with daughters getting married. Hearing about their preparations, the inevitable problems that arise and having just had my 15th wedding anniversary, it has caused me to think back to my wedding.

With weddings, and with life, I think there is a gap between expectations and reality. The gap is called experience. We all have certain expectations, say about our wedding, that we have accumulated over the years. From other weddings, movies, books, bridal magazines. We all want the Princess Diana fairytale wedding, but more than likely end up with a Meet The Parents experience. Because Meet The Parents, or Father of the Bride, even though a bit over the top, are the reality of weddings. Something is bound to go wrong, tensions are running high, plans don't work out, miscommunications happen, something gets lost, overlooked, ripped, stepped on, dirty, whatever. Reality is something will happen that will cause the bride to stress out.

Real life is the same way. What our perception of what life is supposed to be and what it really is are two different things.

Motherhood is a great example of that. The idea of having a baby and actually having that baby were two totally different things to me. It was not like babysitting, something that I loved to do when I was a teenager. I came home from the hospital and thought, "Now what do I do?" My expectations about what kind of parent I was going to be has been somewhat obliterated as more kids came along, each with their own personality. The disciplinarian I thought I would be has slowly eroded, being worn down by persistent kids.

Taking care of the house, another completely different reality. Most houses, with kids, do not look like a page out of House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, or Martha Stewart Living. Even with kids in the photos of those glossy pages, I've decided that kids don't really live in those houses. My house is lived in. Very lived in. Reality is even if I clean and organize my house to look like a page out of one of those magazines, it doesn't stay that way. That is not a realistic expectation for me. I can't keep it up. I've had to adjust my reality that my house is more in a "lived-in" look than a model home look.

In life, at church, at work, wherever, I think it's easy to look around and see someone else that seems to have it better than me, or more together than me, or is more spiritual than me. But appearances and perceptions are not reality. There's always the trade off. Or the counter reality. Someone may be wealthy, but not healthy. Someone may be successful job-wise, but never has enough time to spend with the family. Or maybe someone is beautiful, but doesn't have any self esteem. I don't know of anyone who truly has it all.

But. By adjusting reality, realizing our expectations and perceptions may not be how things truly are, I think we can have peace. I can make peace with the fact that I will never be a Martha Stewart. I really don't want to be, anyway. My house is not going to look like a page out of a home magazine. Experience has taught me that is definitely not my reality.

I think if we adjust our reality to what is realistic for each of us individually, there is so much more happiness to be had than holding ourselves up to unrealistic, perceived expectations.

Timing is Everything

So we all know I wrote a book. So far, that's been the easy part. Now to get it published.

When I started out on this project (sorry, can't say process or journey. The Bachelorette has ruined those two words for me), I naively thought it'd take a couple of months. Publisher websites generally say you'll hear back from them in 8-12 weeks. The secret, though, is the longer it takes, the better your chances are. Who knew? But back to being naive, I hoped a publisher would receive my manuscript, happen to leaf through it upon it's arrival, get hooked and have to read the whole thing immediately. I know I'm not alone in the delusion. But that is not how it went.

First publisher: eight weeks and three days I got my manuscript back and my form rejection letter. Sad. :( I had written "no, no! Don't send me back!" on the back of the return envelope, hoping that might influence the decision. Obviously it did not.

Next I turned to Becca Wilhite, since she had two books published. I asked her how long it took to hear back on her books. She said seven months. I thought: Holy moly!

Then I went to the Utah Valley University Book Academy, got some great advice from Kirk Shaw of Covenant (my original first choice), did what he said (minor things, you know, like change the title and cut out 50 pages) and sent it to Covenant around Thanksgiving.

Patience is not my virtue. Especially since instant gratification is so easy to achieve.

I heard back after twelve weeks that they had received my manuscript and it was going to go through their evaluation process. Add on another 4-6 months. Okay, I won't complain because at least it wasn't an initial "no thank you."

Another 8 weeks later, I hear back (luckily this is all done by email, so it's more instant that snail mail), and my author questionnaire was coming up blank, so I needed to redo it and send it back to them. Yay! A small glimmer of hope, meaning it made it past the evaluations from outside readers.

Now I'm back to waiting again. I check my email an obnoxious number of times everyday looking for an email from "Submissions." I dare say I'm obsessed.

My whole point in this is if I step back and look at the situation, I know that timing is everything. Everything will fall into place when it's supposed to. When I started writing the book, I got the idea in August, Eve started preschool in September, and I actually had time to write. It all worked out perfectly. By the time I do hear, (hopefully a yes), school will be starting soon, or maybe already started, and I will have time to work on it while my kids are in school.

At least that's my plan anyway. But I do realize that it is not my timing, but the Lord's timing, and I just need to be patient.

Now if I could just stop checking my email 50 times a day . . .

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Two vomiting kids, possibly two to go. A broken dryer. Gross, pukey laundry. When it rains, it pours. Or when it pukes, it spews. So getting up this morning, I figured we'd go buy a dryer, a hit to the pocketbook, but we'd get over it and have dry clothes once again.

Then Steve called on his way home from work to say his car broke down. Like died. Like possibly it needs to be put to rest. It has 184,000 miles on it, so it's not like this comes as any big surprise. But really, today? Of all days!

The clutch went. Fun. and expensice to repair. Is it even worth repairing at this point?? But buying a dryer for a few hundred bucks is a lot easier to swallow than buying a car for many thousands of dollars! Ugh!

Last night I could laugh at the irony of having a broken dryer and puking kids. Today, after the car news, not so funny any more.

Luckily, Steve was able to fix the dryer by replacing the belt. One crisis averted. There might be a small chance he can also fix the car. Hopefully. But if anything else breaks this weekend, I might have a mini-breakdown! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Puke. Yes, Puke.

So I didn't win the Totally Cliche contest. :( Then my kids started throwing up today. And my dryer broke, too. Lovely. I'll spare you the picture (since i know how to do that, note Alice pic below), but not the details.

. . .Sorry, just had to go help comfort said sick child after another round of vomit. Lovely!

Anyway, the day started out with one child saying her stomach didn't feel good. Maybe she was hungry? Or, at least I was hoping that. I didn't know of anyone having the stomach flu, so that wasn't my first guess. We had survived Emmett sitting next to a kid in the car who started throwing up on a road trip. We had survived the stomach flu when it went around church. But I guess, in the end, their is no escaping it.

Then there's the dryer. I did a huge load of whites, towels, socks, underwear. You name it, if it was personal, it was in there. The load became unbalanced and practically shot out the laundry closet before I got to it. Rearranged, restarted, viola! But no. Not so simple. When I took the laundry out, it was very soggy. Almost as if it had skipped the spin cycle. I thought of sending for a respin, but then decided against it. I would just set the dryer temp on high, problem solved.

Fifteen minutes into drying, I hear a huge "Clunk", and the dryer shuts off. At first I thought it was my daughter, who was in the bathroom puking. I thought she passed out, hit her head on the toilet, and I would open the door to find her lying in a pool of her own vomit. (Okay, I know, graphic, and you get the picture. I'm just being dramatic!) I check out the dryer to make sure there is not a fire (the johnson's have had a dryer fire before, as have the Rex's). No fire, but it smells like something is burning. I watch for a minute to make sure no flames burst forth from the back (again, I'm having fun with the drama. I have to laugh or I will cry.)

First vomitting child seems better by 8 pm. We sit down, have subway, watch a movie. I share my subway with Evie, she has some milk, some Doritos, snacks on this and that. She falls asleep at 9pm, only to wake up at 9:30 hurling. Really colorful, since she ate all that lovely stuff earlier. We clean up, only to realize we have soaking wet laundry in the washer (I finally did a re-spin) and no dryer to dry it with. Plus, we have a whole load of laundry that absolutely needs to be washed. Great.

So, I guess we're buying a dryer tomorrow. Happy Fourth of July to us! Alot more is bursting forth in our house than just fireworks. At least there will be holiday sales. Take my advice and be preemptive: Replace your appliances after twelve years. Average appliance lifetime is 13 years (of course, unlucky 13). Our house is 13 years old and in the last year, we have bought a new washer, a new water heater and now a new dryer. Next will be the oven, then the dishwasher. Probably dishwasher first, since we use that A LOT more than the oven. :)

Vomit is very commanding. It makes you drop everything and attend to it. It's not just one of those things you can ignore. Since I have two more kids and two more adults yet to be cursed with the stomach flu, I have a feeling I'll be answering it's every Beck and call, or hurl and heave.

But I guess I'm going to get a new dryer. Yay?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

School's Out For Summer

Today was the last day of school. While my kids are celebrating, I am lamenting. I love school. School is a good thing. There is not one bit of homeschooling desire in this mom. Not that I don't like my kids, cause I do. But I also know how this is going to go: the kids will sleep in tomorrow til about nine, watch a little t.v. and then around 11:00 am they will announce that they are BORED!

Add Image

By 11:10 I am going to look like Alice Cooper.

And thus, summer has begun.

Summers in Vegas are long and hot. Hot, like 112 degrees hot. Granted, it's a dry heat, but when you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, what type of heat it is seems irrelevant. Hot is hot!
We don't have a pool (I promise I am not whining!), or that big of a back yard, so going outside is out. We are not going on vacation this year (again, stating a fact, not whining!), so there's nothing to look forward to.

I know I sound like I'm complaining, but if anything, I think I am just voicing my longing for the good ol days when school was year round. Oh!

But, other than the fear of resembling Mr. Cooper, I still have things to look forward to, like hearing about my book. So I will continue sending out good, positive thoughts about getting published, and make sure I get some good make up remover, so my eyeliner does not end up resembling Alice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Picky, Pickier, Pickiest

So I wrote how my kids were picky. Had another shining moment dealing with that this weekend.

We went up to Provo, Ut. for my husband's niece's wedding reception. When we arrived at my brother-in-laws house, they brought out the left over pizza for dinner. Yay! It was Papa John's. Every combination you could imagine. But combination pizza toppings are something I have yet to expose my kids to. We hardly ever buy Papa John's except if we have really good coupons. Mostly because it is Expensive. Not that I don't love it, cause I do. I really, really do! Little Caesers, on the other hand, is $5 a pizza and hot and ready to go. Plus, it is right behind my house. Literally. I look over my back wall and there is the back door of the Pizza place. I could probably safely slingshot myself there faster than I can walk.


Since we usually stick with Little Caesars, we usually stick with cheese or pepperoni. Since they weren't willing to try any of the pizzas, they were a little hungry going to bed that night.

Speaking of going to bed that night, our hotel reservations were totally screwed up. Instead of two queen beds, we got one king. Not really appropriate to be sleeping with out twelve year old boy and ten year old girl in bed with mom and dad. Esther slept over her cousins, Emmett ended up with the roll a way bed that you could litereally feel every spring (they had another one for Audrey, but it was totally "Ghetto". I'd hate to see how bad that was). So Audrey, Eve, me and Steve slept in the king bed. Rather unhappily, I might add.
But the visit got better from there. I was able to visit my friend Katrina, who moved down to Vegas same time I did, but moved back to Utah since theng. I got to do a little shopping. I got yards and yards of deep purple satin ribbon from my niece's wedding gifts, since she had no use for yards and yards of purple ribbon. I can't say I have a use for it, either. Yet. But I will find a use for it!

I found out that deodorant is flammable. So if you have a solid stick of deodorant that you are particularly fond of the scent, stick in a wick and light it up! Obviously not while applying it to you underarm, since underarms can be flammable, too.

And, last, but not least, the nieces and nephews gave me great stories about dates, school and what life is like now at their age. I don't know if they understand how much I love hearing all of it.

Overall, it was a good visit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Picky Picky Picky

My kids are picky eaters. When did this happen, I ask myself. They ate their vegetables when they were babies. They ate sweet potatoes and green beans and lasagna. Something happened between the puree and actually having to chew the food that things went downhill.

I don't completely blame myself.

It happened when they started feeding themselves. It happened when they actually had a choice and control over what was going in their mouths. It happened when more siblings came along and I was too busy trying to choo-choo a spoonful of mush into the babies mouth and wanted (and needed) the older ones to eat something (anything) on their own.

I don't get it. I love to eat. I love vegetables. I could be a vegetarian if I didn't love meat so much. Some food tastes so good I have a hard time not eating too much of it.

It must be my husband's genes. He hates vegetables. He used to throw his vegetables under his brother's chair at the dinner table to get out of eating them. I thought that was pretty ingenius. Unfortunately, that wouldn't have worked at my house, since there were only three kids. There were eight kids in his family, so it was easier to get away with that stunt.

I guess I should be grateful they don't have extravagent tastes, because when we go to a restaurant, they want the mac and cheese. The kicker is that it's Kraft, and for the price they're charging, I could buy a whole case of it myself!

Last night I fed the kids pulled chicken from Fresh n Easy. I knew they would complain, so I did them a favor. Instead of buying hamburger buns, I bought those teeny, tiny slider buns. The deal was they had to eat their tiny sandwich (meat included, not just the bun) and their rice pilaf. The older two, after initial hestitation, ate it and even admitted it wasn't too terrible. The younger two we had to resort to threats and sending them to bed to get them to eat some. Although, they did eat the rice pilaf without too much complaining.

There was an ad on t.v. for dog food on later. This dog was chowing down on this "treat" that looked like dried raw chicken jerky, or something stolen from the "Bodies" exhibit on the strip. And the dog loved it! I can't get my kids to eat real food, yummy food, and this dog is eating a nasty looking version of real food. Is it just cause it's a dog and they'll eat anything??

I guess I could count my blessings. Is picky eaters worse than overeaters? Is it harder to force my kids to eat than to stop them from eating? I don't know.

On the upside of this, my kids have learned an important life skill: foraging for food. They know how to go and find themselves something to eat.

But, since man, woman, and child can not live on Ramen Noodles alone, this obstacle will not be backed down from (sigh). Sometime in the next seven years before my sons leaves for his mission, we will get these kids to eat what is on their plate.

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it. I better eat up to build up my energy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good News!

No, it's not about my book--yet.

But global warming is a big fraud. Apparently. My friend Amber posted this on Facebook. So we can all rest easy now. We could say that is a convienent truth.

So on to my other good news. I got out of jury duty! At ten o'clock they said the case for the day "went away" (whatever that means) and we all got to leave! Whoo hoo! All that stressing and craziness came to an early end. And I could be home for when my kids got home from school. The Lord did answer my prayers, just not the way I thought he should. Haven't I learned that yet???

That means today I am back to my normal routine of fighting with my kids to get them out the door to school so I can come home and play with my imaginary friends. Gotta go! I have books to write!

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Inconvienent Truth

No, I am not talking about Al gore's book, although global warming is inconvienent. But I am one Birkenstock pair away from being a tree hugger . . . no, actually I recycle enough for my whole neighborhood. But that's not what I'm talking about.

Jury Duty! Err! I am jury duty today and it is a huge inconvience! For the 14 years I've lived in Vegas, I have always managed to get out of it. Usually because I had young, nursing children. but not this time. When i got my summons, I called to try and get excused because I had three kids with dentist appointments on that day. But instead of being excused, I got rescheduled--to today!

It would be inconvienent anyway, but today of all days! My husband is supposed to be in Canada for a business trip, but is actually stuck in Newark, NJ because his flight got canceled due to weather. So, he's no help. I have four kids that have to go to school. I have made intricate plans to get them to school and make sure they're not locked out when they get home, but really, my head is spinning because this stresses me out.

On top of that, this jury duty reporting (at 8:30 am, downtown--yuck) is messing with my writing time. Don't they know that time is SACRED???? I know it's my civil duty and blah, blah, blah, but it is just coming at a really bad time. My plan is to be an extreme feminist--"all men are guilty" or "people are GUILTY until proven innocent." Okay, I'm joking about that, cause I don't really believe that, but I'm trying to avoid having to go back to the court house again tomorrow! I'm wondering if I show up with bad hair, or just weird hair (not hard for me to accomplish, read my last post) and they'll just assume that I'm a little "out there!"

Anyhow, I have to go. I have to run to the grocery store to buy lunchables so the kids will have something to eat at noontime. Cause I need one more thing to do this morning!

I'll let you know how the whole jury duty thing went!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bad Hair Day

Early this morning, I had just gotten out of the shower and my hair was dripping wet when my phone started ringing. I took the call, meanwhile, my hair decided to dry on it's own.

Now to some of you, having hair that dries in, like, five minutes, might seem awesome. But to me, no, not so great. The resultant look I achieved was bedhead. I had just had bedhead, and that's why I showered in the first place. If I could somehow, creatively and unobviously, get rid of bedhead, I could probably get away with not showering everyday. But having tried everything short of just shaving my hair off and opting for a wig, I have not found a solution to my bedhead look other than just washing it and starting again.

I attempted to re-wet it and redry it with a blowdryer. But to no avail. (Huge, heavy sigh). So I tried to use some yummy-smelling, pretty-colored Kenra hair stuff. It's sticky stuff, so I figured it would do the trick and relieve me of my problematic flat spot at the back of my head. But, as mentioned before, I've been down this road, know better, and yet, still bother trying. With that said, it did not fix the problem. I had several options: wear a hat (but that would mean I would have to find my hat in the first place), create a t-shirt with a black sharpie that would read: my parents deprived me of tummy time when i was a baby, or I could just ignore it and hope the wind would blow it into a new style once I stepped foot outside. I opted for the third.

Truthfully, I wanted to just start over.

Realistically, It was 8:30 a.m. and I had my two youngest to get to school in 15 minutes. Both girls are notorious for creatively finding ways to not go to school: my tongue is licking the back of my throat (my 8 yr. olds allergy explanation), my foot is broken (my 5 yr. olds excuse for getting out of pre-k. I don't get it. What's not to love about pre-k?) . . . Obviously we don't have backward tongues and broken feet, so I forcefully tell my children to hurry up and get ready for school.

We still have to comb hair, fly away hairs to wet down, find shoes, and oh, yeah, socks, backpacks . . . the list goes on and on and meanwhile, no one is any closer to getting to school on time. The faster I get my kids to school, the faster I get to come home and play with my imaginary friends (a.k.a. writing. I'm not delusional).

Finally, they got to school, 5 minutes before the bell rang.

I wondered if maybe I tried rewashing my hair, started over completely, if my day would get better??

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bright Pink Gerber Daisy Miracle

Becca Wilhite wrote a book called Bright Blue Miracle. In it, the main character Leigh, has a cool grandma who assigns everything a color. Not just things that already have claim to color, but things that are intangible like feelings and emotions. The miracle in the story is obviously Bright Blue.
I'm going to take it a step further and assign my miracle my favorite color and flower. If I could wear it as one of those pretty trendy hair clippy things, I would. But really, I won't. I don't have enough hair to pull off that much accessory and it would not be pretty. More like distracting. But you can read about distracting hair problems on Becca's blog. But back to my miracle. I'm describing it as such because my miracle went above and beyond anything that I thought I would be blessed with. Let me explain.
I went to the LDStorymakers conference this weekend. I was very excited (I had never been, weekend away alone, discuss writing . . .), but also nervous. I had only been to one other LDS writing conference. I met a few people at the UVU Book Academy, but still didn't know many people. Going to classes, no big deal. It's like going to college classes on the first day--everyone is in the same boat, they are there for a purpose, and it's not really a situation where you have to socialize.
LUNCH, on the other hand, and DINNER . . . ugh! Aaagh!
If anything has the ability to make me feel like I'm back in high school, in the cafeteria, and having no one to sit with, it's meal time at a conference. I knew I could always sit with Becca . . . but what if I couldn't find her? Or what if, what if, what if . . .? I had a million what if's that I could worry about.
So I prayed. I prayed that I could make one friend. Just one friend that I could meet up with at meal times so I wouldn't have to be that lonely person inviting myself to eat at the only empty sit at a table full of people who already knew each other.
What happened I consider more than a blessing. I consider it my bright pink Gerber Daisy miracle (since I love those flowers and they make me smile and happy).
I was sitting at a table in the huge room, meeting the others sitting around me, realizing that I was not the only person at the conference that was in it alone, when I looked up and saw Tamara.
Tamara and I went to church together as Young Women. Our ward in Massachusetts was so spread out that we lived twenty minutes away and only saw each other at church or church activities. We always got along and were friends, but never really hung out because of the geographics. But still, I always counted her as a friend.
I went to BYU. Next year she went to BYU. We'd see each other in passing at times, but I lived off campus, she lived on campus, I was overwhelmed, had dysfunctional roommates, classes, blah, blah, blah. Life happened. Still friends, but still not hanging out much.
Tamara got married and I sort of lost track of where she went from there.
I have not seen Tamara in almost twenty years, and there she was, standing three feet away from me at a conference with hundreds of people attending.
I didn't know she would be there. She didn't know I would be there. But there she was. My friend from growing up. I didn't have to worry about making a friend, I already had a friend.
Again, that was an answer, a blessing, a miracle WAY above and beyond what I was expecting.
And the beauty of it? More so than now I had someone to eat with :) . . . I could reconnect with my friend after so many years. And it seemed like it hadn't been anytime at all that had passed. Things were as comfortable and fun as the last time I saw her, so long ago.
And, by the way, I met A LOT of really nice people there. Everyone was friendly and were happy to have you sit next to them, and were happy to talk about their writing and the classes they had been to. I really had nothing to worry about.
I guess lunch time in high school was just one of those traumatizing experiences that I never got over . . .

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Is He Doing???

Today Emmett and I were at a stoplight, and I looked over at the gas station on the corner, and saw this man getting paper towels at the gas pump. But what was weird, was he kept taking more and more. Like the whole 2-3 minutes I was stopped, he was pulling out paper towels continuously and bunching them up in his other arm. So my over-active imagination kicked in and made me wonder, "what is he doing?" Obviously I get that he is getting paper towels, but why would he need to clean out the whole container of them? He was getting gas, and had a back door open, so I came up with a few scenarios to explain his weird and obsessive behavior. 1. His kid threw up in the back seat of the car. 2. His pet had an accident. 3. He was mad at the gas station/and or gas prices in general, so he was going to get THEM back by taking all of their complimentary paper towels. 4. He just murdered someone and couldn't get enough towels to get the "blood off his hands." :) 5. He just maybe really likes paper towels. I wished I had turned in and asked him what was the source for the passionate taking of the paper towels. Any ideas? Suggestions? Scenarios?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good News . . .

After 15 weeks, (yes, it is quite literally like counting down the weeks in pregnancy), I heard from the publisher. . . (this is for added suspense). I saw the email from "submissions", my heart stopped and I thought: This is IT!!!!! The email told me my manuscript was going to start the evaluations process. So in my mind, that means it did not get an initial 'No' and they think it's worth reading. And I figure if it gets read by the outside professional evaluators, then it's worth paying them to read it. I may be totally wrong having never done this before, but that's what I took my email to mean. I hope they LOVE IT!!!! Now I just have to wait another 4-6 months. . . They did say if I wanted to know the status of my manuscript I could email them . . . I wonder how soon is too soon????? But, at the risk of being pesky, I think I'll just wait out my 4-6 months and continue praying that they will LOVE IT!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sick of Being Sick

The month of February was a blur of fever, coughing, and emptying several bottles of Advil. Everyone was sick with the Flu. All four of my children missed five days of school. The only upside to that was we each took a turn getting sick on a different week. The only upside to my kids having a 102 fever was it sort of sucked the life out of them and there was not enough energy left for much drama.
We had several trips to the pediatrician. One was done pre-emptively, when Eve started with the fever and coughing and I thought "if I get her in today, maybe we can ward off a week of fever and coughing". But we could not get in with our beloved Dr. Tuggle, and our only option was an associate, Dr. Barber. Eve did not like not seeing her regular Dr. and couldn't pronounce the other Dr.'s name right. He is now known as "Dr. Barfer." (Affectionately, of course.) Dr. Barfer, not knowing our history, and that we had already been in with one kid and this sickness, sent me home with no drugs, and the diagnosis that "it is viral and needs to run it's course." I get that, but Emmett had already been the test case for this flu, and I knew what course it'd be running and knew we'd need drugs. There's an advantage to seeing your regular doctor. Sure enough, the next week we were back to the doctor's office, seeing our regular and much-appreciated doctor, getting drugs from her and offering her a Diet Coke in solemn appreciation for her.
But the fun didn't end there. Audrey hadn't had the flu, yet. I knew it was coming. And then Eve, who is already allergic to two different types of antibiotics, broke out in a big, itchy, red rash, also known as an allergic reaction. What's next? I'm worried we're running out of choices of medicine to give her.
Audrey did get the flu the next week, but was the only kid who managed to ward it off without drugs. And she desperately wanted to get healthy so she could be back in school for the standardized testing. None of my other kids are that dedicated to school!
But even now, mid-March, there is still risidual coughing. All I can say is it better not come back to visit for a second round. I am quite sick of being sick.
And now that March is here, the wind is kicking up a storm. Don't even get me started on the kids and their allergies . . .

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ode To Clutter

Clutter: The stuff I love to hate.
Do you have a love/hate relationship with clutter? I sure do.
I really would love to be a minimalist.
Maybe someday I will achieve that goal.
But stepping foot into Target always seems to blow that delusion away.
I have piles here and bins there and stuff seemingly everywhere.
I'd love to chuck it all in the trash, but I might need it someday.
I have lots of excuses why I keep it.
My dad grew up in the Depression. He taught me to keep EVERYTHING.
(Mostly by example.)
The house I grew up in was a factory. (Literally, a building that housed a jewelry manufacturer.)
Factory-sized buildings make for lots of storage space.
Unfortunately, one-story, three bedroom houses in Las Vegas
Make for little storage space.
And, (sigh) no attic and no basement
Makes for even LESS storage space.
Don't even get me on the subject of craft stuff
And unfinished projects!
I'm sure I'm not the only one with some of those
Stuffed in my closet!
Somedays I get ambitious
And decide I'm going to tackle a box or two.
I have a sense of purpose, a sense of determination
Which quickly turns into a sense of feeling overwhelmed.
So all the stuff goes back into the box it came out of,
The box goes back into the closet or the garage,
And I pull a Scarlett O'Hara and dramatically say
"I can't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow!"
Or, in my case, next week, next month, or next year,
Whenever inspiration (or delusion) hits next.
But someday I will do it!

But just not yet.
I mean, what if I need that stuff someday?????

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dropping the Ball

I've never been very good at sports. I'd compare myself to Bella Swan in high school. Except, I didn't have a vampire boyfriend. I didn't have any boyfriend in high school. Oh, the drama of high school. But back to my athletic ability. In high school, and middle school, and elementary school, I was almost always the last one to be chosen for a team. My character, Sophia, same thing: bad at sports. I guess I wanted to share my pain and prepubescent and adolescent angst.

Last week I dropped the ball. Figuratively speaking.

We're in the process of refinancing our house. Lower rate=more money toward the house. It all makes financial sense. Long story short, the papers came in to sign, I set them down and forgot about them, son got sick, water heater blew up . . . I can come up with more excuses, but what it comes down to is we didn't get the papers done in time. If only there was an extenuating circumstances clause. Now interest rates are almost a half a percentage ( :( ) (that's a frowny face, not a monkey) higher and we sort of missed our chance.

If life was like a book, I could go back and edit my dropping the ball with the paperwork. But unfortunately in life there is no editing . . . only experience.

(I was trying to sound profound. Did I succeed?)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chinese Fortune: It Must Be True

Guess what I got in my fortune cookie? A fortune!

It said: "Good news will be coming soon in the mail."

I'm assuming that includes e-mail.

And if it's in my fortune cookie, it must be true. Right? :)

. . . Yeah, I'll let you know how that turns out!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Exciting Life

I should have called this blog "My Exciting Life" because this week has been very exciting. Outside my door, well, next to my driveway, really, are four cop cars. That's down from six cop cars earlier. My son, home sick from school (again) heard a bang and asked me if I thought it was a gunshot. I told him no, it was probably the dumpster at the Dollar Tree getting emptied. Since it is literally right on the other side of our back wall, it is very plausible. And my son, being twelve, could think of nothing cooler than a gun being shot in our neighborhood. I could come up with a few things I think would be cooler than that that could happen in our neighborhood. Speed bumps, for instance.

Anyway, I decided to run to the store for soup and soda, gave my son specific instructions not to open the door for anyone (I spotted the Jehovah Witnesses canvasing the neighborhood a few minutes earlier) and don't answer the phone. I went out, saw two cop cars parked in front of my neighbor's house, got in my car, looked the opposite way up the street, saw one cop with a rifle and another with his gun drawn, and decided maybe I should shop a little bit later.

So I rubbernecked, spied, took my recycle bins in off my front porch one at a time (I have six, I love to recycle, but not quite to the point of tree hugging.) left my door open to eavesdrop, walked out once or twice, but gathered not much of anything. Through my tiny window beside my front door, I could see a neighbor from the end of the street talking to the cops (after two more cars joined) and I heard the police talking (but couldn't see through the bushes/from the angle I was at) to some men of Hispanic descent, but still gleened nothing. But I think I saw one of them getting cuffed. Again, couldn't quite get a clear view through the bushes. FINALLY the mail man came. Hurray! I could go get the mail and maybe find out what was going on. I wasn't sure if I should just approach the closest officer or what. Do they frown on that sort of thing? You know, neighbors being nosey. I thought that was our job as neighbors to be nosey. Two houses down there were some other nosey neighbors, ones who have never been very chatty in the neighborhood, but they were chatty today.

We visited, compared notes, shared opinions, you know, all the good things that neighbors are supposed to do when there are five cop cars parked on their street. They also heard the bang and thought it was a gun shot also. There goes my dumpster theory. But they had no tidbits of info, either.

Another cop car pulled up with two female officers. Since they were parked right in front of my house I took the liberty of asking one in passing if there was someone running around the neighborhood that was dangerous or something. I really wanted to ask what was going on, but I didn't know if they would care to explain. The one answered, "No, but it would be a good idea to stay in your house." Then she went up to the two people I was just talking to and I think she told them the same thing. Nothing like being chastised by a female officer. :(

The cops migrated toward the South end of the street, where it intersected with another street. The lady that lives at the very end of my street pulled into her driveway and a cop car flipped on it's lights and then she was at the trunk of their car. I was waiting for them to arrest her. But next peek, she was sitting on the curb talking to the cops. And they have been at her house ever since. Still don't know what happened.

Where's Edward Cullen when you need him? I could really use someone who is an expert at eavesdropping right about now.

In Hot Water

So the water heater broke Wednesday. Yes, I am going to write about my water heater. But don't worry, there's nothing boring about gallons of hot water pouring out the bottom of your water tank, so keep reading!

I discovered the lovely puddle in the morning, right before I was taking the kids the school. Not really what you want to discover at 8:30 in the morning. Kind of changed my whole plans for the day. Suddenly my priority became moving stuff out of the path of running water (and if anyone has seen my garage, that is no small task. But just in my defense, houses don't have basements in Vegas!), sopping up seeping water and so on. Of course, it was one of the colder days in Vegas (barely in the 40's, and 27 degrees in the early morning), so it wasn't even a sunny and warm day where I could think, "Oh, what the heck, might as well clean out the garage since I sort of have to."

I have been anticipating this day for years. I have wanted to change the water heater at least once a year for the last five years to avoid exactly what happened. But, obviously, we never to the initiative to just spend the $1000.00 or so and pre-emptively change the water heater even though I thought about it many times. I even considered going tankless. After all, I could use the space! :)

Why I am making you suffer through my hot-water-heater-blew-up story is this: look how easily one thing can change so much. And yes, I'm going to equate to writing. Sometimes I know where the story line is going, but not quite sure how it is getting there. Or maybe it's already gotten there and it seems really boring or blase (that's blah-zay . . . I just don't know how to find the accented E on my computer) but if I change just one thing, it can change the whole direction of the scene or even story line. But if I use that one thing as a catalyst, BAM! suddenly everything's changed or just got the kick it needed. It's kind of exciting. At least more exciting than having water running out of my garage! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

False Alarm (Braxton Hicks)

Okay, so I keep referring to my writing as my baby. I can't help it, I like my characters alot! So imagine the heart-stopping moment I had today when an unidentified 801 area code (Utah) phone number showed up on my caller ID! Could it be the publishers calling to ask me where I had been all their professional publishing-career life??? It has been eight weeks since I submitted my manuscript. That's getting close to standard response time.

And as I waited with baited breath to have the person who asked for me BY NAME to identify herself . . . dang! It was someone calling to do a survey! It's like going to the hospital in labor only to be told it's Braxton Hicks and be sent back home.

I guess the baby will not be starting her published life just yet.

Naming The Baby

What to name the blog? That is the question. It's almost as hard (but obviously not quite as hard) as naming a baby. I had to consider if it rhymed with anything rude, gross, crude, sick, wrong, funny, embarassing (I hope I spelled embarassing right, because that would be embarassing), so on and so on. I had to contemplate the tone that would be conveyed by the title. I wanted readers to get a kick out of reading my blog and not think I'm a total weirdo. I definitely did not want to give the wrong impression.

But, of course, when I thought of the PERFECT name, I ran it through the little blog namer checking program, and wouldn't you know it, it was TAKEN!!!! Aaaaaggggghhhh!!!!!

So I tried three, four, five other name choices, all involving "Sally" and "writing" and came up with this.

Who would have thought "Sally" was such a common name? I'm waiting for it to make it's resurgence like other old names. You know, Opal, Ruby, Lucy. Although, I also predict that my grandma's names of Ida and Edna will not be making an appearance any time soon. But who knows, stranger names have been cursed on poor innocent kids.

I really liked something to do with "my imaginary friends" for a blog name, but I was REALLY afraid that would give strangers, visitors, and even friends, the wrong impression about the state of my mental health. Besides it was already taken. :)

And just so you know, my "imaginary friends" is how I lovingly refer to my characters in my book. After creating their lives and "working" with them and "spending time" with them every day (also known as writing), they do become friends.

I bet Stephenie Meyer would back that up.

She just needs to read my post first.