Friday, December 28, 2007

Give it To Me Straight: Snow Holds Barred

We've been enjoying a series of snowstorms the past few weeks. Before the onslaught began, my snow-loving D2 overheard DH talking in the kitchen.

"We are getting a snow storm tonight, another two days after that, and one more on the weekend." He explained.

D2 instantly ran out of her bedroom, down the hallway, into the kitchen, and slid her socks along the wood floor to come to a screeching halt right in front of her dad.

"Talk to me, weatherman!" she invited with a big grin.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Miracle

As this is the season to reflect on the amazing miracle of the Savior's birth so many years ago, I feel blessed to have the blessing of being involved, albeit distantly, to a modern day miracle as well.

A neighbor and friend of our family has been ill for a few years. He has been an active, healthy man, and is blessed with a lovely wife, and young-adult children, including a married daughter. A disease has plagued his lungs, the origin of which is most likely an inadvertant exposure to asbestos when he was young. While his condition has significantly worsened over the last year or two, in recent months his health has become gravely compromised. His breathing has been intensely labored as his sick lungs have been unable to function anywhere close to a level at which they should.

I have watched, for the most part helplessly, as his frame has aged prematurely while his body uses every available resource to obtain oxygen. Several months ago, testing was complete, which secured his spot on the top of a lung transplant list. The initial announcement was met with joy and anticipation. Days then dragged into long weeks since that important designation. In that time he became a grandfather for the first time, continued to work, and regularly attended Sunday services. And in all this time, no viable options presented themself.

A couple days before Christmas, the long-awaited news arrived. A compatible organ donor's healthy lungs were available. After a flurry of Saturday night testing, surgery began Sunday morning.

As I sat in a beautiful Sabbath Day service celebrating the birth of our Savior, I was moved with emotion. Hymns and carols were sung commerating the life of Jesus Christ, who was born of humble circumstance, lived a pure life, and selflessly gave his life for this world. His life touches mine profoundly each day, for which I am eternally grateful.

However, this Christmas there is a blessing that has emcompassed my thoughts as well. I am grateful to a family, somewhere suffering the penetrating pain of the loss of a loved one. However, through their unspeakable pain has come the miracle of a renewed life. While I do not know of their exact story, as I pray for the recovery of a dear friend, my prayers are also directed toward the family of an unknown person, whose gift, in a very small way is like that of the Savior's, and can never be measured in words.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mystery Solved

"I've got it!" D2 exclaimed the other day.

"I know how it works!" she continued.

"You know how most days I can't wake up until 7:29?"

"Well," she continued not waiting for my reponse, "I think Santa uses his magic."

"And that is how I wake up so early on Christmas morning."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One or the Other

D2 had a homework assignment this week in Language Arts. Part of the requirement was to write a sentence using the word, "president".

D2 wrote:

Either one of my relatives was the president or a cashier.

I think she is right. But you know how these things are...they are so similar they can easily be confused in your mind. Hmmm....I'm pretty sure it was one or the other though.

Jock Talk

This evening, D2 sat at the kitchen table calling her friends to issue an invitation to a Friday night birthday celebration.

Part of one conversation I heard went as follows

D1: Hey, Smith. This is Gamble. I'm having a party Friday at 8PM.
(Pause for response on other end of the phone.)
D1: Yeah, Can you come?

I'm so old-fashioned.

As far as I knew the only people that referred to each other solely by their last names were high school athletes trying to be cool. The ones that thought they were so tough, wearing little white towels in the locker room, after showering from a game or practice.

Since when do young Jr. High girls act this way? As in girly girls that straighten their hair, wear mascara, glitter eye shadow, and shiny lip gloss?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"The Best Day of My Life"

Last night DH and the kids were playing around with the camera on DH's Apple Powerbook. This morning D2 said, "Last night - when we were playing with Daddy's computer - was the best day of my life."

In case you are wondering what the best day of an entire lifetime looks like, here are some photos:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trash Talkin'

Marjory the Trash Heap

Wednesday afternoon D2 came home from her walk to Allens (think store-where-you-take -all-your-money-from-your-allowance-to buy-candy-and-dollar-toys). On my freshly washed kitchen counter she started to unload her treasures from the shopping spree. First she pulled out a couple foot long Tootsie Rolls, next came a Butterfinger bar, followed by a plastic package of fake money.

I was surprised to notice the plastic grocery sack was still not even close to empty. But not nearly surprised as I was to see what came out next: a flatten soda can, a piece of paper with tire marks, a balled up wad of wrapper, and a myriad of smaller pieces of litter. I stood in amazement at her collection, spread across my once clean kitchen counter. Before I could compliment her on picking up so much trash along her way home, she looked up at me and explained,

"My teacher says littering is the baddest thing you can do."

"The baddest?" I doubted, ignoring her grammar.


"What about stealing? What does your teacher say about the Enron executives?" I asked.

"My teacher says littering makes our world ugly," she replied, completely ignoring my inquiry.

"And murder? How wrong does you teacher believe it is to take another life?"

"No one should ever litter. It's really bad."

"Perhaps the real questions is what is your teacher's opinion on the death penalty. Have you ever discussed capital punishment?" I questioned.

"Littering is the baddest thing you can do," she repeated, "We should never do it."

While D2's teacher seems to be a fine person, I'll be terrified if this woman ever becomes a Supreme Court Judge or heaven forbid a member of the legislature.

'Cause if I'm sent to the gallows for a receipt blowing out my car window...I'm gonna be ticked!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don’t Run Away With the Cows, Unless, Of Course, You Don’t Want Anyone to Find You

In response to David's question of the week. :

P.S. This is a potential chapter in the potential book, which may have very little potential after all. (Can you tell all the rejections from agents are already getting me down?) So I figured when I saw David's post I'd not let it go to waste. I posted it here so at least a couple people could derive some form of entertainment from my writing. Pity party over. Thank you for joining me.

Dinner was served very early at my home. We usually ate well before 5 PM. We always ate dinner as a family, around the dinner table, using the proper utensils and good manners. My parents, both transplants to the Midwest insisted,

“Even though you girls are growing up in Iowa, you won’t learn to eat like you were raised in a barn.” I still do not know how people in barns eat, but I am very clear on how people outside barns are expected to eat.

For one, they always use the proper utensil for each food type. They use a salad fork for salad and not the entrée, hence the name. I’m certain it has something to do with lettuce maintaining its nutritional content when pierced with smaller tines compared to larger ones.

They never use their spoon to eat peas, even though it is much easier than a fork. Despite the round uncontrollable nature of peas, the left hand should remain in your lap at all times, and should never be used to help scoop up your food like you’re a monkey. Monkeys eat bugs out of other monkey’s hair, so no one wants to be confused with a monkey.

I can say with absolute assurance, people who eat outside a barn, should never stab their vegetables with a fork. After all vegetables are dead plants, without legs, and will not walk off the plate. So stabbing is completely unnecesary.

Eating your vegetables is so important; it must be done before you are allowed to serve yourself any potatoes, bread, or meat. Vegetables are best served slightly over cooked with no oil, butter or cheese sauce. You may add a prudent amount of salt.

There is a simple formula to follow in order to determine the number of vegetables you should eat. For larger vegetables like green beans or carrot chunks, you should eat one for every year old you are. Unless you are an adult, in which case you can max out at approximately twenty. (The sooner you learn that there are always different rules for adults, the fewer spankings you’ll get.) For smaller vegetables like peas and lima beans, you must eat two for every year old you are.

When your vegetables are eaten, or slyly stored under the lip of your plate, under the table, under your bum, or out the kitchen dining nook window, you may continue with the remainder of your meal. While there are alternate methods to disposing of your vegetables, eating them is by far the best choice. Being caught hiding vegetables, will result in a double serving of the disdained food.

At no time during dinner are elbows allowed on the table. In fact, resting one’s forearms against the edge of the table, even for the briefest of moments, is absolutely not tolerated either. In a barn that may be okay, it’s hard to say since most barns I’ve seen are not equipped to hold meals, let alone raise children, but it is certainly not okay at the dinner table.

No one over the age of two should ever grasp a fork like they are holding a dead chicken by its neck. Rather the technique is more akin to holding a pencil.

As far as cutting the food, that can be very tricky. Put your fork in your left, and knife in your right hand. Make certain you are not holding the fork like a dead chicken. Skillfully hold the food with the tip of the upside down fork tines and then saw slowly and gently with the knife. When you hit 1970’s mustard floral patterned Corelle, stop sawing immediately.

Don’t think you can cut the entire pork chop all at once and then chow down. You are allowed to cut only one piece at a time, switch hands with your utensils, put the knife down, eat the morsel of meat, and then pick up the utensils, switch hands again, and start all over. It is so complicated and time consuming, you understandably may decide eating the pork chop is not worth the effort.

Ah, but you better make that decision before you take the pork chop off the serving platter and put it on your plate. Once you have chosen the pork chop, it is yours to love and cherish forever. And you personally will be responsible for eating it.

But don’t worry, if you are unable to finish it at dinner, then it will remain on your plate, covered in Saran Wrap and will sit in the refrigerator until morning, when you will once again be presented with the meal for consumption. This time, however, it will be much cooler in temperature.

Having been thoroughly taught these dinner-time rules since before I could talk, I should have been wiser one summer evening as we sat down to eat in the dining nook of the kitchen.

After I uncharacteristically completed eating my vegetables without any prodding, I helped myself to some mashed potatoes and a slice of meatloaf. Jackie, assuming there was no possible way I could have devoured 14 green beans already, tattled,

“Debbie didn’t eat all her vegetables and now she has potatoes and meatloaf!”

I responded by grabbing my fork like a dead chicken’s neck, stuffing my mouth full of mashed potatoes, and in a dumb, muffled, potatoes oozing voice said,

“Debba dint et all ur begtables.”

This outburst was shocking and unprecedented in our family. Mom quickly excused me. She told me to take my plate and spoon and go eat in the living room. This made no sense to me, because none of the foods on my plate allowed for eating with a spoon, and we were never allowed to eat in the living room. She must have sensed my hesitation so she explained,

“If you can’t eat your food correctly with a fork at the kitchen table, you’ll eat with a spoon in the living room.” And then in response to Jackie’s snide snickering, she added,

“And, Jackie, you can join her.”

I was angry and humiliated. We both went to the living room. I stomped. Jackie skipped. We had never been allowed to eat anything in the family room except New Year’s Eve crackers and cheese, so Jackie gleefully starting finishing her dinner at the coffee table. I sat on the carpet with my plate and spoon on a side chair, too angry and insulted to take another bite. I wondered if my mother would ever stop treating me like a child.

Then, without thinking much about it, I walked out the front door.

I started running. I ran to the field behind our house, and continued passed the water tower and across the deserted road. Then I stopped to catch my breath. I was surprised to notice tears on my cheeks. This made me even madder so I continued to run passed the Legion Club, and fair grounds, and across a field of cows.

Looking back, the water tower was still well within view. So I kept running. Up and over another fence I ran to the top of a hill in another cow pasture. I finally stopped and sat on a bump in the ground. With the water tower in distant view I knew I could find my way home when I was ready.

It was a typical warm early summer evening as I sat in the quiet field. I cried over the seemingly unfairness of my life for a while. Then I grabbed a stick and poked at dried up cow pies. Next, I lied on my back and watched the clouds in the summer sky. Soon I noticed the sun was starting to go down, so I walked very slowly back home.

Just before dark, I entered the back door of the house and immediately saw my mother with bloodshot eyes and tear stained cheeks on the phone. She quickly told the police their help was no longer needed and replaced the receiver.

Her look was intense and painful.

“Where on earth have you been?” she asked and without waiting for a response continued, “Don’t you ever do that again. Go to your room!” I wisely obeyed.

I found out later that according to the police many teenage runaways go to the mall. Since the nearest mall was 40 miles away and I had not thought to bring my bike, that was out of the question. The next logical place to look, since I had not had dinner, was the restaurant in town and the two gas stations that also doubled as convenience stores. But since I had not thought to bring any money, those places were a fruitless search.

The next step was to call my friends’ houses. For my mom that meant all my friends and remote acquaintances. Mom called every single classmate she could think of. Some girls weren’t even really that good of friends. And then she called a couple boys’ homes too. Nothing could be more humiliating for a fourteen-year old. I can only imagine the dramatic tearful conversation.

“Debbie was eating like she was raised in a barn, so naturally we excused her from the table to eat in the living room with a spoon. Now she has runaway.” Pause for sniffle sounds, “Did she go to your home by chance?” Pause for nagatory response.

“No? Oh dear, I wonder where she could have gone.” Pause for loud nose blowing.“Oh yes, I am sure she is hungry, but don’t worry, we have her Corelle dinner plate covered in Saran Wrap in the refrigerator. She can eat it for breakfast in the morning. If we ever see her again.” Fade to muffled crying sounds before hanging up the receiver.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rise to the Occasion, Or Make Good Trades to Get There

With a high value placed on whole grains, and a small budget to feed a large family, when I was young, we made at fifteen loaves of homemade bread each week at our house. The dough was mixed as we stood on orange vinyl kitchen chairs to reach the counter that was still a few years away from being an appropriate workplace height for young girls. It was then kneaded for ten minutes, and left to rise with a cloth draped across the top of the bowl. After approximately one hour, the dough was revisited for shaping and placing in metal loaf pans. Again the bread was left for another hour of rising. The dough was then baked in the oven until the outside crust was thin, golden and crisp and the inside was soft and airy.

One loaf was often immediately devoured as soon as it emerged from the oven. As much as we might tire of it during the week, after smelling it baking, we always wanted a slice warm with melting butter swathed all over. But the other loaves were placed to cool with the top crust softened with butter. Then we placed a couple in the kitchen and the remaining loaves were wrapped and taken to the basement freezer. There they sat until one or two were pulled out each morning for that day’s consumption.

We ate bread for at least two meals a day. Breakfast might consist of toast, creamed eggs on toast, or even French toast. Lunch during the summer was always a sandwich, often a staple like peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and honey, or tuna salad. Bologna was considered a real treat. Of course, peeling the red strip off the diameter was almost as fun as eating the salty meat slice. During the school year we ate hot lunch at the elementary, but often the dinner entrée was served with a side of bread and butter.

With the prolific nature of the thick, dense baked item, we were usually not very excited about eating it. Some of the ladies in town would rave to Mom about how spoiled we were to get homemade bread every week. But we did not understand how it was such a treat. We had tasted white store-bought bread at friends’ homes and on vacation so we knew it tasted much better than homemade bread. We also believed those ladies would not call us spoiled if they knew we were the ones making the bread, not Mom. Though at our young age, that thought probably never even crossed their minds.

We certainly felt anything but spoiled when it came time to prepare the dreaded Field Trip Sack Lunch. We begged Mom to buy store bought bread for the lunch we had to prepare, take on a bus, and eat in front of our classmates. But she never would. We were so worried about being embarrassed to bring homemade bread, so we did everything to disguise our sandwiches’ origins. The night before Field Trip Day, we’d get out the best bread knife and slice as slowly as we could to get two perfect thin, straight slices of homemade bread, hoping they might pass for the store bought variety. It did not matter if it took an entire loaf to get two perfect slices, because neither time nor loaves of bread were a scarcity. But no matter what we tried, inevitably we’d get to some park in between museums, pull out our sack lunches, and as we peeled the Saran Wrap off the sandwich, someone would notice our odd meal.

“Hey,” they’d ask incredulously, “Is your sandwich made with homemade bread?”

All the kids would be involved in a trading frenzy, swapping Oreos for Little Debbie Snacks, and Tootsie Rolls for Pixie Sticks.

We’d sit with our thick peanut butter and honey sandwich, white milk, homemade oatmeal cookie and apple, wondering in vane what we had that could be traded for our classmate’s Chick-o-Stick.

One Saturday after the morning’s baking was complete, Mom told us to take a fresh loaf of bread to Mrs. Cleek, our elderly next door neighbor. Mrs. Cleek had been in the hospitable and Mom felt it would be a nice gesture. We didn’t know what someone who had been in the hospitable would want with a loaf of homemade bread, but we obeyed and took her one of the nicest shaped loaves.

We were surprised when Mrs. Cleek seemed genuinely touched by the gesture. Before we turned to leave, she asked us to wait by the door. She shuffled painfully slowly away and we waited impatiently. To ease our boredom, we tried to peer into the foreign abode that was so nearby, yet so strange to us. In the poorly lit home we craned our necks to get a peek at her many figurines of little children on doilies and piles of papers. Our heads whipped back upright as we heard her coming back down the hallway to the front entry.

In her hand was a bag of Brach’s caramels. When she tried to give it to us, we resisted, knowing our mother would not want us to take such an expensive gift. But she positively insisted, so as to not upset her, we finally relented and opened our hands to receive the generous offering. We ran home and when we finally convinced Mom how happy it made Mrs. Cleek for us to have this candy, she eventually decided we could keep the bag.

We ate the chewy candies until they no longer tasted very good. Then we unwrapped, chewed, and swallowed a few more. Finally when our stomachs could take no more, we stopped.

Each Saturday after that, we would ask Mom if we could take Mrs. Cleek a loaf of bread. Mom knew of our intentions, so she explained that she would deliver a loaf on Monday after we went to school. But sometimes, with so many loaves of bread and so many children helping in the kitchen, there was no way for Mom to keep track of everything, so we’d sneak a loaf over to Mrs. Cleek. And if she didn’t offer to bring us something right away we’d make a little small talk, until she asked us to wait by the door, while she shuffled to her pantry to get us something much better than a loaf of bread.

Friday, October 5, 2007

As It Turns Out...

S1 is a few weeks away from getting his driver's license. This has caused the typical parental concerns for DH and I as we attempt to teach him to drive. Suffice it to say driving does not come naturally to some.

We have been riding with him as he practices for several months. By now I am fairly prepared when I enter the front passenger seat of the car. The first thing after buckling my seat belt is to assume The Position.

When I was learning to drive, my mother assumed The Position which involved sticking both arms straight out against the dash and shutting her eyes as tightly as humanly possible. Then whenever she felt a subtle turn or stop, she'd let out a scream. Short but loud.

For S1, I have modified The Position somewhat. Basically I scoot to the far edge of my seat away from the side door and window. And there I am posed with one leg slightly raised and crossed over. I wince periodically as we graze trees, mailboxes, bikers, children, and cars lining the side of the road.

I often find myself panting and frantically waving my hand in a sideways flipping manner to indicate the direction S1 needs to move the car. Scrunching my forehead and squinting my eyes doesn't do anything to correct the car placement either. And jumping into the driver's seat for fear of my right arm being sliced off whatever obstacle is presently along the roadside has not been helpful.

So I've gone to silent chantings in order to hopefully help S1 with this struggle, "Feel the road, be one with the road, drive on the road. The gutter is not our friend." And it is gradually working.

The driving skill S1 and I are concentrating on this week is turns. Inevitably S1 will be halfway out in the intersection, still looking left for oncoming traffic before he finally determines that in fact it may be safe to proceed with a right hand turn. And since he is sitting in the middle of the road with no oncoming cars hitting him, it is an accurate assessment of the situation. Even though the conclusion is a long time in coming.

But since at this point S1 has not even begun to turn the wheel he ends up swinging out into oncoming traffic with the turn. Of course, all the while he is risking someone coming up alongside his right-hand side and making the same turn while in the very lane S1 should be himself.

I have remedied this with one simple phrase: "Turning is a process not an event." Gone is the screaming, lunging of my head in the direction I wish the car was going, and, of course, the ill-fated, grabbing of the steering wheel. It has all been supplanted with the simple message, "Turning is a process, son, not an event."

So while S1 enjoys turning 16 and turning the girls' heads, I silently remind myself it will not be over very soon. After all turning is a process, not an event.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sick in the Head

I alluded to the head cold I was suffering from this weekend. While I was upset about disappointing dinner partners and my Sunday class, my illness provided an even deeper concern.

Early Saturday morning I went to pick up my vacuum at the repair shop. However, after numerous phone calls regarding the appliance's unfit condition and the cause of the condition, followed by a phone call indicating the appliance's completed repair status, when I arrived to bring home my much needed vacuum, I was surprised to learn that it was not fit for release after all. In fact, parts were still in transit that would ensure complete recovery.

Devastated I explained that with five children, the old vacuum I had stolen borrowed was not cutting it. For my inconvenience, pain, worry, and frustration, which I tried to manage with a smile, I was awarded a loaner vacuum: their top-end, take-no-prisoners, hoo-rah vacuum.

However as the Saturday errands progressed and I felt worse and worse, I barely limped inside upon arriving home and went straight to bed.

While in bed I worried about the aforementioned Saturday dinner and Sunday class commitments. But mostly...I worried that I would not recover in time to try out the fancy-dancy razzle-dazzle vacuum, before my old one was well enough to come home!

And that thought process illustrates perfectly how being a mother housekeeper of five changes a person.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Crystal Ball Just When You Need One

The other evening, D2 approached me alone in the kitchen and said, "Mom, there's something you should know: I'm from the future."

While I admit I'm not certain how these things work, I do recall giving birth to that child. Actually more so than any of the others, since the epidural was non functional. But maybe that is how kids from the future come to this world. How should I know? I know very little about time travel.

In fact, as I contemplated this shocking news I realized that I know very little about several things. Naturally, I want to ask D2 many questions, like how and when I'll die, if DH will ever make a couple million dollars, which stock purchase will net me a 235% return in one year, and how soon Marie Osmond will be voted off Dancing With the Stars.

But if she only gives me one question, I've already decided what it will be, "Who wins: Blu-ray or HD DVD?"

The rest of my life will come and go regardless, but I'm putting off too many DVD purchases to let this battle continue undecided.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Book Review: Vegemite Vindaloo by David McMahon

It is not often I take the time to read a book. It is not because I don't enjoy reading; actually the opposite is true. However due to my admiration adoration addiction to all things fictional, suspenseful, sad, and/or beautiful, I do not make for a very civilized person when I am engrossed in a book. It is unfortunate that dishes, laundry, showering, sleep, even babies get neglected while I am reading a novel. So I have a self-imposed moratorium of fictional book reading until my family is grown or until I can afford to hire a full-time nanny, cook, and housekeeper.

But every now and then I become unfit for civilization anyway, and so locked in my room by DH, coughing, sneezing and wheezing, I pull out a good yarn. And that was the blessing I experienced this weekend. It actually began a few days back with a good start when I injured my arm and the non-stop throbbing pain, that was not even alleviated during sleep (despite borrowed prescription strength Motrin and a Lortab) gave me some time to start 'Vegemite Vindaloo' by David McMahon. It ended this weekend, when a head cold brought me to a grinding halt and I was able to flip back open the book and finish. The following is my review:

Interested in reading a book that explores cultural biases across numerous walks of life? Want to read something that will cause you to rethink everything you thought you knew about a parent's love for a child? Looking for a lesson on the culture of India? or Australia? What if I told you I had just the book for each exploration. Now what if I told you it was all the same book?

Vegemite Vindaloo by author, blogger and acclaimed writer David McMahon is more than a fictional novel. As the story unfolds, each layer reveals a deeper and deeper connection to the characters. But along the way, the reader comes face-to-face with decisions about human decisions. Is stealing to save someone's life okay? What actions are indicative of a mother's true love for her child? Do people ever fully overcome cultural stereotypes? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys: Petty street thieves? Crass pub owners?

While avoiding making any decided opinions on these and other of life's queries, David builds a story house. The author outlines the floor plan and furniture placement, the reader is left to ascertain the paint colors and throw pillow patterns.

Feeling richer for the experience, readers will come away with a deeper understanding of other cultures, as well as a new sense about some of life's toughest questions.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chivalric Burping

D2 was talking at the kitchen bar this afternoon and recited the following encounter:

"I was walking up the stairs while Hutch was walking down.
Just as he walked past me he burped.
I said, 'Eeeeew!'
And then Hutch said, 'Excuse me.'
Now there's a man that knows how to respect a woman!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

If Life Hands You Donuts, Eat Them

In case any of my faithful blog readers are also literary agents in disguise, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek on the book I'm writing:

If Life Hands You Donuts, Eat Them (And Other Lessons Learned Growing Up in Rural America) is a narrative nonfiction containing around 24 chapters (14 are complete, the remaining are in various stages of completion). Each chapter hosts an originally titled "Life Lesson" such as "If You Can Find Your Best Foot, Put it Forward", "Boys Always Look, Sometimes They Notice", "If Someone Gives You a Load of Crap, Carpe Diem", and more. The title summarizes the short story (typically around 1000 words) that follows. All the stories are true stories from my childhood growing up in rural Iowa and Pennsylvania in the late 70's and early 80's.

As the oldest daughter of six children, raised in a conservative, modest home, many of my life experiences, while seemingly ordinary at the time have taken on a new look and deeper meaning over time.

Invariably each story lifts and builds while providing subtle humor, practical application and an enduring theme. As people read my work, I expect they will feel more connected to their own roots and quickly identify with the "Life Lessons" whether they grew up in a big city, on the coast, or in rural America.

I am excited about another chapter for my book that I completed around 6AM this morning. D3 woke up early and after I wrestled her back to sleep, I found myself wide awake with a clear writing mind.

This morning's work, is titled: "Farm Pets" is Just a Fancy Title for Food

And a few quotes from the text include:

"...We sat each afternoon on the couch back in front of the living room picture window, waiting for Daddy to come home, hoping that day would be the day he’d bring us a sick, dying, abandoned baby farm animal, that we could call our very own..."

"...As a farm girl, I knew enough about these sorts of things to realize you don’t get hamburger from pigs..."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Time to Sudoku

I was sitting at my desk and realized this very instant that I have not done a Sudoku puzzle for at least four days. Not one!

I knew I was busy, but Holy Cajoly!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hot & Bothered

Because I cannot sit quietly when people are nonsensical, I often become more than uptight listening to Bob Lonsberry.

You've heard how I love my talk radio. And I do. After 9 AM. Because before 9 AM, at least during the hours that I am conscious, my favorite talk radio station features one of my least favorite radio show hosts.

In case you have never had the narrow experience of listening to Mr. Lonsberry, imagine someone who sees the world from his singular point of view, that is about as broad as a grain of mustard seed. And if you fall any direction outside that parameter, and how could you not, then you are in error. In a nutshell, or shall I say mustard seed, that is Bob.

But for some reason, this morning, I tuned in anyway. I dropped in on a discussion about the Mormons Exposed upcoming 2008 missionary calendar and I realized something Bob should already know. It is difficult to hold a debate on something when no one disagrees with you. And for once I even agreed, in principle anyway, with Bob.

But let me back up and fill you in, because chances are you have not heard of the soft-porn, ruckus-causing publication. Basically Mormons Exposed is a calendar featuring topless male Mormon returned missionaries. Sounds harmless to many of you, but in Mormon country, it's definitely causing a stir.

I agree this calendar is an odd enterprise within the Mormon culture. If you know Mormons, and understand their commitments to modesty, then you may appreciate the conflict. If not, then you'll have to trust me. It's a bit of a screwy concept. And I'm not just saying that because I have not yet been contacted by CMH Entertainment LLC to model for the sequel calendar Hot Mormon Moms.

But that was not my point when I dialed Bob's number on my cell phone this morning. I called him up to voice my opinion on the idea behind the calendar which applies to any product in this type of genre. Basically, men have to get over themselves and how they look because as women, we don't really care.

Now before you start arguing about how I'm screwed up or how you, your girlfriend, you sister, or your mom loves this type of junk, let me say one thing: PlayBoy outsells PlayGirl one thousand to one. The end.

It is a fact that women do not think like men. And if you are a man you probably first realized this when you were six and caught an elusive, slippery frog in the nearby pond and when you excitedly went to show it to the neighbor girl, she screamed and cried and then wouldn't even look your direction for a month.

If you are like Bob and have not had the fortune of learning that little bit of information, do so now. It will go a long way in your future relationships.

Don't forget it: Women Do Not Think Like Men. Ever.

All a man needs to do is think of how he would react to something, flip it upside down, do a 180, turn a few somersaults, jump up and down and then you'll be there or somewhere nearby. As in the vicinity of where a woman is in her thought process. But don't think that as a man you can actaully go "there" on your own. Consider yourself gymnastically challenged in this regard.

So I gave ol' Bob a jingle and he kindly put me on the air. I told him women are more complex than men. We are not as easily sexually stimulated visually like a man. We are wired differently. I proposed that if there is any market for these types of calendars among women it is largely because such thinking has been imposed on women by a male dominant society. Men like to think that women want to stare at their bodies, but we don't find it as stimulating like a man does looking at a woman.

Bob said apparently I've never seen him in his Levi 501's.

Point made perfectly. Thank you, Bob.

Oh, and a big ol' Charlie Brown, "Urrgghhh!" to you too!

If you have nothing better to do with your time the radio broadcast can be heard here. Go to Monday, September 24th and fast forward to 95% of the way to the end. (I was the second to the last caller for the day. I called in under the secret code name of "Debbie.")

If you want to read one of many credible scientific studies that backs up my statements about women and visual sexual stimulation compared to men go here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thou Shalt Have No Other Dogs Before Me


D1 is typically an early riser and more than once has presented us with stunning morning news.

When she was seven she gleefully announced at 5:30 AM on a Saturday that Chewy - the Guinea pig we had been duped into getting for "free" only a week earlier - "Had her babies!"

A few years ago, she was the first to alert us to what would be a weeks long restoration nightmare when she told us the kitchen hardwood floor had turned into a swimming pool overnight thanks to a clog in the kitchen drain.

This morning I realized D1 was up when I heard tearful, soulful moaning about her, "poor dog." Thinking that something awful must have happened to Cookie, I was terrified to hear the news. Choking in between sobs, she presented me with her latest toy that DH purchased for her at a gas station yesterday afternoon.

It used to be small dog in a dog bed. I thought its long hair made it look like a creepy mouse, but to each his own.

Apparently I was not the only one that found the gas station toy repulsive. Sometime in the night our real dog Cookie escaped from the mudroom and tracked down the creepy, mouse-dog, beloved treasure. Using her superior canine sense of smell - that is if you can count obstinate, prissy Shih Tzu's as part of the canine phylum - she embarked on a skillful game of search and destroy.

Cookie was victorious. The creepy mouse-dog never had a chance.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inventions Take Time

The other day D2 had an earring hanging from a safety pin attached to her top.

"What is that?" I asked.

I must have had a very quizzical look on my face, because without directly answering the question, she looked down at the jewelry and simply explained, "I'm still working on some of my inventions."

I'm working on some "inventions" of my own which is crowding out my blogging time. But I'll try to continue to post and read your blogs as much as I can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Skirting the Issue

Armed with a gift certificate from my friend Mindy, I hit the Ann Taylor Summer Sale. I brought this darling stretch twill skirt, but since I am not 5' 10" and 102 pounds it looks slightly different on me.

Nonetheless, I like it. So I wore it to church Sunday.

That evening we went to dinner at my parents' house. Shortly after arriving, my fashion oblivious father donned in a checkered western- cut shirt from Shephlers which was unbutton at the neck one too many buttons, commented, "Did you get a new skirt?"

"Er, yeah. I can't believe you noticed."

"Well of course I'd notice! You haven't worn anything that stylish in years."

Was that a compliment? Either way it is certain his head injury from 2004 is much more serious than we originally thought.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Meanest Mom Ever

Proof that I am the meanest mom in the whole wide world:

Friday 9:33 PM
The home phone rings. DH pauses the DVD for the one hundred fifty-seventh time. I answer the phone noting that the caller id indicates it is the neighbor's house where D2 is having a "late night."
Me: Hello?
D2: Can I stay here until 11?
(Remember she is only 8 years-old!?)
Me: No. We said ten. Remember?
D2: But I want to stay until 11.
Me: Sorry, no. Be home by 10.
D2: 10:30?
Me: How about 9:30?
D2: You ruin everything.
Me: Yes. That's what moms do.

Friday 10:05 PM
I call D1 on the "kids' cell." (Our children have to share a cell phone - they don't each get their own - that is how cruel we are.) We are quickly approaching the birthday party house where she has been for the past three hours.
Me: Hi, sweetie, gather your stuff we are almost there.
D1: But mom I was going to call you when I was ready.
Me: The party ended at ten, so we are coming to get you.
D1: But everyone is still here.
Me: And you won't be - in just a few minutes. Now get ready we're around the corner.

Friday 10:18 PM
D1 is playing a horrible recording of SOS by the Jonas Brothers on the "kids' cell" as we make our way back home from the party. I ask DH to turn on some real music. We listen to John Cougar Mellancamp, John Cougar, Mr. Mellancamp, Mr. Cougar, John Mellencamp, The King of Small Town Rock-n-Roll's Pink Houses at a volume level sufficient to drown out the Jonas Brothers, loud sirens, and my own thoughts until we reach our driveway.

And somehow I am optimistic enough to think my kids will grow up, leave home, and still call me every Mother's Day until at least the year 2049.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Why I Can't Buy Oreos

I bought a package of Oreos yesterday. Such a vacuum of nutrition is a rare treat for our family. They were supposed to be for S1's and D1's sack lunches. (S2 and D2 eat school lunch which is delivered from various local restaurants and the menu sounds so good I wish I could dine in their cafeteria.)

Yesterday after everyone left for school (except D3, of course) at approximately 8:43 AM I purchased the package containing 36 chocolate sandwich cookies. It was not opened until sometime yesterday afternoon when the wolves children came home from school. Today at 4:18 it was completely empty. That is only part of the problem.

The real problem is the fighting discussion that ensued:

S1: Who ate all the Oreos?

D1, S2, and D2 (in perfect unison): Not me!

D1: I only had four. (And then belatedly...) Not counting the three in my lunch today.

S1 (shouting overly defensively): I had none until this afternoon. I didn't even know we had them until today! How come no one told me?

D2: But how many did you eat S2?

S2: How many did you eat? You probably ate them all.

D2: Nuh uh.

S2: You and your friends - I bet you ate a ton.

D2: We did not. We did not eat hardly any. Probably only sixteen.

S1, D1 and S2 (simultaneously): Sixteen!!!

D2: Um, not really. I mean like six or three. Hardly any.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More of A Rule Breaker Than a Rule Maker

Free Willy was not necessarily a grand achievement in movie making. But it was probably watched by S1 as a toddler more than any other blockbuster. A classic line from that motion picture goes, "I am more of a rule breaker than a rule maker."

Those eleven words may easily be etched on DH's headstone.

It is very uncomfortable to sit by him on an airplane, for example. Inevitably he does not have his seat belt buckled before take off and will be found conducting business on his cell phone long after the instruction to turn off any portable electronic devices has been given. The repeated personal visits from the irritated flight attendants used to be embarrassing. I try to smile sweetly at their looks of, "Can't you control him any better than this?" It is all in an effort to try to convince them that I have never met this man before in my life.

More than once DH has gotten up to use the bathroom just minutes after the plane has "hit a little turbulence" and the Fasten Your Seat Belt light has been newly illuminated. I firmly believe it is not pressure on his bladder, but rather a reaction to being told what not to do that jumps him out of his seat. Of course, he is quickly escorted back to his seat by a frowning flight attendant, who wants to give me that look. Again. But I roll slowly over toward her to reveal quickly shut eyelids hoping she'll believe I fell asleep while reading a book and had no idea of his gallivanting about the airplane and rule breaking ways.

Naturally I am an avid rule follower as well as a rule maker. So I make the rules and DH breaks them. It is the perfect example of a match made in heaven.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Don't Mean to Brag, But You Should Know That I Got a 14,000 On The SOS

Since school has begun I am once again playing the role of dumb mother. I am not really dense, but I am constantly shocked at how impaired my kids think I am. I don't think I have ever done anything to make them question my intelligence. There was one time back in 2002 that I washed a wool sweater and it shrunk to the size to fit a cabbage patch doll. And of course the incident where I put the mostly empty shampoo bottle in the dishwasher in an effort to clean it for recycling. It was difficult to hide bubbles bursting from the appliance as they uncontrollably spewed across the oak kitchen floor.

But those occurrences are very rare and are not exactly a sign of lack of wisdom. They are simple mistakes that people from all walks of life make every single day.

Nevertheless when D2 asks me to sit down and help her with 3rd grade math, inevitably she seriously questions my knowledge of the subject. And I suppose it was getting a little old. So I was completely in the right to react the way I did.

A few days ago she had to specify the season for the date of March 7, 1998. When she wrote "spring", I shook my head, "Are you sure about that?" "Yes, mom! That is what my teacher said." Which loosely translates into, no matter what you and your years of education and your bachelors degree at a terrific private school where you tested out of all basic math classes and enrolled directly into Engineering Calculus 112 think, I know and my teacher knows more than you.

But it is not like I was questioning the solution to a quadratic equation. So since two can play this power trip game I reminded D2 that back in 1986 I got 29 on the ACT and 1140 on the SAT. That I took those tests only once, one of which was taken the Saturday morning of my junior prom after staying up all night on Friday to decorate the school gymnasium. That I almost got a perfect score on the math section. And that it was entirely likely that her teacher did not do half so well on these exams, so even if D2's memory was absolute, I would still be right and her teacher would be wrong. So there. Then I stuck out my tongue for effect.

With this new information, D2 scratched her head, sunk her chin into her hand and finally scribbled "winter" after erasing "spring."

Having satisfactorily made my point, D2 did not give me any more guff as we completed the homework page. Meanwhile I sat sorrowing for betraying and insulting her teacher so early in the school year. In case you have never done so, boasting about your intelligence to an eight year-old while slamming the only adult she adores more than anyone outside the family makes you feel about as tall as bowling ball. And you really hope your eight-year old experiences some short term memory loss. And soon.

Mine, I found out, did not.

Last night we were playing Balderdash as a family. DH voted for one of my made up definitions. When it was revealed that "zinzulation" was not really a trickle shock felt when coming in contact with low voltage electricity, but actually Japanese insulation, DH exclaimed, "No way! How could anyone have come up with that!"

When I acknowledge that the fictional electrical definition was mine, D2 helped explain the mystery to DH. "You know she got a fourteen thousand on the SOS. Mommy's smart!"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dinner Discord

After reading b.'s post Hey!! What's Fer Dinner?? I was reminded of how well my goal to have family dinner is not going.

Since school started on August 20th it has been my aim to sit as a family for dinner on all school nights. This is a huge step for us.

Sadly, in the past I have been less than consistent with serving a family meal even once a week. I have struggled to prepare something that I, as a vegetarian, will like, and that my meat-loving family will also devour, without cooking two separate entrees. However, with those excuses behind me, I embarked on a new resolution.

The third night of this new tradition, DH, upon hearing me call everyone in for dinner, told D1, "We need to go in to support your mother's efforts." DH denies any tone of ridicule in the word "efforts", despite D1's claim otherwise.

However, apparently DH is becoming accustomed to my "efforts" and has increased his expectations.

On Tuesday night of this week, DH did not arrive home until well after 6 PM so we had dinner without him. Later that evening I mentioned to DH that if he was hungry, there was vegetable lasagna that I had made in the refrigerator. A couple hours later he opened the refrigerator door, spotted the lasagna packaging and promptly called me at the mall on my cell phone.

DH: You made vegetable lasagna?

Me (initially oblivious to his sarcastic tone): For dinner tonight. Yes. It's in the refrig---

DH: This lasagna is from Costco. If you microwave a frozen dinner, that is not making dinner.

Me (full of indignation): I did not microwave the lasagna. I cooked it. For an hour. In the oven.

DH (mocking in a loving way - if that is possible): I can't believe you think that is making dinner.

(Remember this is a man that ten days ago was getting virtually nothing for dinner, except perhaps a bowl of cold cereal he poured himself.)

Me (exasperated and wanting to get back to shopping): Next time I'll be more precise. I'll say, "I prepared vegetable lasagna."

DH (in a non believing tone): Uh, huh.

Me: Warm some up and try it - it's really good.

DH having confirmed the complete lack of meat in the dish, ended up having steak for dinner instead. Steaks were charitably delivered by a dear neighbor concerned about DH's minimal iron and red meat consumption.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gamble With a 'G' As in Las Vegas and Poker

Compulsive had me in jaw dropping awe as she described a less-than-typical phone conversation with a customer at her place of employment. I was quickly reminded of my own rather awkward phone conversation when I was employed at a large corporation.

Me (completing my request for an order from an outside vendor with whom I had not previously done business): Thank you, I'll be looking for the package to arrive tomorrow.

Older Lady Sales Rep for Vendor in Illinois: Yes, it will be there. Now what did you say your name was again?

Me: My name? My name is Debbie Gamble, but I need the packaged delivered to the attention of the VP of Operations.....

Vendor (interrupting): Gamble you say? With a 'G'?

Me: Yes, that's right.

Vendor: And you say you are in Orem, Utah.

Me: Yes, in Orem.

Vendor: You didn't go to BYU by chance did you?

Me: Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. Are you a Cougar fan?

Vendor (ignoring my question entirely): So you are a Mormon?

Me (worried now that perhaps she does not do business with Mormons): Yes, I am a Mormon.

Vendor: Gamble. Hmmph. Well that is just a terrible name for a nice Mormon girl like you to have.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Perfect Plate Picture

David is not the only one out there photographing license plates. This picture was taken on a trip to Bear Lake with friends this past month. Their daughter's nickname is Breezy, so when we spotted this plate in the parking lot of tourist hot spot Merlin's Drive In, with the car owner patiently waiting, I had to get a picture of Breezy and the BREE Z Idaho plate.

Please don't knock the composition too much. I took this with a baby in one hand while a drunk boater honked the horn on his ginormous diesel truck and cursed at me. Evidently, me taking up an extra four feet of the 38 feet available in the parking lot driveway was too much of an imposition. He is clearly not a scrapbooker. Either that or the sentimental importance of taking this once-in-a-lifetime picture before the last fleeting daylight was gone was beyond his scope of comprehension.

No worries, though! We got the picture.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's In Your Pocket?

In a lovely show of affection, I drove north on I-15 this morning amid Monday morning rush hour traffic to deliver my mother curbside at the Salt Lake International Airport. Armed with my AM talk radio helicopter-in-the-sky every-ten-minute traffic report I believed we would make it to our destination without incident. Which we did. But that is in no way a credit to the gridlock guru.

Repeatedly throughout the two hours I was on the road, I was told by the way-too-cheerful-for-a-Monday-morning chopper voice that traffic on 1-15 was flowing with "pockets of slowing from Orem to Ogden." If you are not familiar with Utah geography, that is about a 75 mile range of freeway that covers three different counties. My guess is that traffic description could be used to describe a 75 mile stretch of virtually any metropolitan freeway system on a sunny Monday morning.

I am so indignant about the vague traffic summary that I am seriously wondering if the "eye in the sky" is not actually some peach on a beach. In fact, I'm certain she is there. She's got the wide rimmed sunglasses and a big floppy hat. Most assuredly she is mid way though Eclipse (Twilight Book 3) as she pauses to cue the helicopter blade swooping sounds and present via cell phone her regular report i.e. "pockets of slowing from Orem to Ogden" repeatedly throughout the morning.

And somehow, even though she is certainly hundreds of miles away on a Caribbean holiday, she knew when I had turned around this morning, because as I was driving home, now heading south on I-15, her traffic report changed only slightly as she announced "pockets of slowing as you make your way from Ogden to Orem."

While there may indeed be pockets of slowing on the freeway this morning, I am predicting my traffic tell-all lady has only got pockets of sunscreen with a hint of sand.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Love Is...Bearing All Things

If there is one thing I can't bear, it is typos. As a writer I try to produced well-edited manuscripts. However,
David, Suldog, and Janna have kindly notified me of some of my glaring mistakes in the past. Which I appreciate immensely.

However, occasionally a misspelling can make your point even better than you thought you were making it originally. Don't believe me? Here is one example:

Once upon a time I taught a Sunday School Class on marriage and family relationships. I was given this assignment because my marriage and family are perfect and ideal in every way. Either that or my Bishop (clergyman) knew I needed extra study regarding this subject matter on a weekly basis. The reason I was teaching the class does not matter.

What does matter is that in this role I found myself writing on a chalkboard frequently. If you are a so-so speller on paper or a computer screen, so-so turns to terrible on a chalkboard. The moment I picked up the soft white stick, all spelling sense was immediately soaked into the dry writing utensil.

One week I had listed several Biblical commandments on the board and we discussed how these could relate to marriage. One such charge found in I Corinthians 13:7 is to, "Bear all things."

However I wrote it on the blackboard with the brain cell sucking chalk as "Bare all things." Either out of kindness or spite, no one in the room said a thing. Until the end of class when I assigned a specific precept to each couple to work on for the week.

When I got to the Golly's I asked him if he and his wife would accept the challenge to "Bear all things," as I pointed on the blackboard to "Bare all things."

Naturally he had a big grin on his face and promised they, "definitely would" try to do so. When the snickers turned to outright laughter, I eventually realized my error.

But in hindsight, if bearing all things in your marriage is becoming a taxing chore, try baring all things. I'm not marriage counselor, but once upon a time I was a Sunday School teacher, and I'm certain both biddings possess positive benefits for a marriage.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Seventies Were Hot

I don't mean to dwell on the unfortunate, but if I don't stop complaining about the lack of A/C in my Yukon, I might be forced to recall my real problems.

Pope Terry pointed out the irony in that what is supposed to be the coldest place on earth, The Yukon, is actually the hottest, my Yukon. That made me laugh. For about a millisecond.

My neighbor, RKCD, unlike OzLady's neighbor, rarely assists with any of my plant care or gardening chores. And he is really pathetic when it comes to car repair. However, he tries to be helpful, which is probably why he suggested the following, "If you are going to drive around all day without air conditioning, like in the seventies, perhaps some seventies tunes will help you along."

It is rather basic logic, not rocket science, but as I considered it further, I realized, "This is profound advice!"

So I immediately snagged DH's custom burned CD, hand titled with a black Sharpie: "70's Funk." I suppose I have yet to mention that DH is The Master of Music Mixes. You wish you had this CD, I know. Or at least if you had ever heard it, you'd wish you had it.

It is hard to be cranky when you are grooving to Boogie Shoes and Brick House. Sorry, Chewy and Dance With the Sun, no Sugar, Sugar by The Archies. But only because it is DH's mix, not mine.

So in response to my adorable neighbor's terrific advice, I'm playing it at full volume. Mainly because with all the wind rushing around the car cabin that is the only level at which the music can be heard.

Air conditioning will come and go. But KC and The Sunshine Band, The Commodores, and even The Archies will live on forever.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Til Death We Still Cannot Part

The air conditioner in my beloved Yukon has expired. Completely. As in barely blowing hot air.

DH, the eternal optimist, said, "Well good thing it is the end of summer." I am not certain what the temperature is where he is standing, but I'm right next to him and today will be a high well into the nineties. In a black leather-seated Yukon that equals sticky, sweaty and gross.

The funeral for my beloved coolant system will be, well, I'm not sure. While I recognize the importance of laying to rest the deceased in a timely manner, there has been a complication.

Namely, a $1900 repair bill.

Yes, to properly replace my broken compressor, condenser, and other parts I do not recall the names for at this time, in addition to flushing the lines, which I assume is akin to the embalming process for mortals, it'll cost me nineteen Benjamins.

Since my checking account is about 18 and half Benjamins short, it'll have to wait.

I will continue to drive the Yukon with the deceased cooler under the hood. While the prolonged burial may cause friction in my marriage, let's hope the rotting parts in my car do not cause too much friction with local authorities.

I plan to send a death notice to the paper and when the memorial service is finally planned, you will all be invited. In lieu of flowers, please send condolences in the form of Benjamins.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Typecasting the Golf Widow

Once upon a time I wrote a regular column for a golf publication. It was called The Golf Widow. The following is one of my articles:

Golf Widows…they are all the same. Though you may think so, it is most assuredly a false notion. Golf widows are a complex and ever-changing breed. Below, a few of the most widespread golf widow types are defined. See if you can pick yourself or someone you love from the list.

Don’t Leave Me's – This golf widow is the newbie. She is dating or engaged to a hunk of a guy and she is so darn attached that she can’t stand the idea of them being apart. She brings her sun chair with attached umbrella, her latest People magazine and sunscreen to the driving range. There she sets up camp where she will sit and watch him hit balls for untold hours. She is not embarrassed by her devotion and even claims to enjoy the time spent just inches above the dirt in the hot sun with sweaty golfers all around. It is pathetic, understandably. But she is out there, and deserves our pity.

You’re Going Where’s? – She’s young with a houseful of kids, and is completely overwhelmed. Somehow during the day she manages a home with four kids going seven directions. She drives them to their activities and helps them with their homework and science fair projects. She even sands and paints Cub Scout pinewood cars. But, she can only take so much! She can’t wait for her husband to come home in the evening and lend a hand. However, at 5:30 PM, he calls to say he won’t be home for two more hours; he’s going to golf the back nine before it gets dark. Too much backlash directed at the golfer and he’ll get wiser. Without knowing it, she’ll soon become one of the “No Ideas.”

No Idea’s – The problem with this golf widow is she really has no clue she even is one. Whether it be financial concerns, time constraints, or plain guilt, the husband of this golf widow does not want her to know how much time he actually spends on that “Green Hill Far Away.” She is ignorant about the fresh dirt on her husband’s golf cleats as they are securely stored in the trunk of his car. She does not become wiser, until one day when she notices a nasty sunburn across his neck. She wonders out loud how he obtained such a scorcher at the office all day. Without a pause, he mutters to himself, “Dang, I’ve got to remember my sunscreen.” Finally, catching on, she understands it is not the risk of skin cancer as much as being caught golfing that upsets him the most.

If a Golfing You Will Go…Then A Shopping I Will Go’s – This is the golf widow that is most at peace with her situation. She enjoys the perfect freedom of no young children and a newly raised limit on her Nordstrom credit card. The only problem here is, unless there is an endless trust fund and the children are grown, such a combination of childless shopping with a perpetual zero-balance Nordstrom card, can only be temporary for this type of golf widow.

I’m Comin’ Too’s – This is the golf widow that has mastered the phrase, “If you can’t beat ‘em: join ‘em.” This lady is as addicted to golf as her husband. She has spent hours on the course perfecting her game. She plays in country club tournaments, is wanted in everyone’s foursome, and owns an awesome set of clubs. Even her golf wardrobe outshines them all. And if he is golfing, well then, so is she. Several days a week she may even beat him to the course. Best-of-all…her handicap is lower than his!

Get Outta Here’s – This dear, woman is often a retired empty nester. She is more than pleased to see her husband leave for a few hours, and can often be found pushing him out the door into his golf cart in the garage. She desperately needs a break from his aimless wandering around the house and not-so-helpful hints with her cooking. Besides, if he tries to fiddle with that garbage disposal one more time, it will break for sure.

Golf widows are a complicated species and tend to evolve from one version to another as their lives transform. One thing is for certain, they all share the common trait of a special guy that is missing in action for several hours every week. Luckily he is not drinking, smoking, gambling, or, heaven forbid, carousing with other women.

His harmless mistress is the rolling green, the little white ball, and a shiny set of clubs. And for this reason, we let him get away with it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dead Headed

A Mother's Day gift is a precious and priceless show of love, adoration and affection.

Whether or not a mother is able to keep such treasure alive is no indication of her true feelings for D2 her child.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Recently, I had the opportunity to interview ozlady. The discussion was enlightening as she confessed to performing mime in Paris, and explains why you should never take a pack of Bubblicious with you to Singapore.

This whole interview thing started with the beautiful and talented Carol, so it is probably only right that we've come full circle. Carol and I started this particular interview, oh, about two months ago. Due to circumstances beyond our control, it is only now ready for publication.

Hello Deborah, it's lovely to see you here in the tortu, er interview seat. What? Oh, don't worry about that, it's only a little lie-detector box, it'll just take a minute to hook you up. There now, see? Okay, I believe we're ready to roll. So, lets open with a gentle one to begin.

We are all aware of what a talented writer you are, and you never seem to lose inspiration when it comes to posting fresh, funny and interesting anecdotes. What first tuned you in to blogging, have you always written, and with such a busy home life, where do you find the time and energy for it? Is your family supportive, do they ever read your posts, and have you any future ambitions to publish outside of the blogasphere?

Your compliments are too kind. I had considered blogging for couple years, and one day, without even giving it much thought, I opened a blogspot account, put up my first post, and voila! A blog was born.

Writing is something that has been mine to do by default. When I was working, I was always the one assigned to write the letters, the scopes of work, and other business documents. I have been the resume doctor for friends, family, neighbors and vague acquaintances for years. I'm not sure what they like more, my work or my fees (or lack thereof). I created and wrote a magazine
Golf Widow column for a time as well.

I derive my energy from eating a healthy meat-free diet. Alright, just kidding. In truth I have no energy and often blog while nearly falling asleep.

My family is supportive of my blogging as long as it does not interfere with making meals, driving them places, washing their clothing, cleaning the house, or visiting with them (him) when they (he) come(s) home from work.

My family used to read my blog.

- S1 quit reading after the cell phone post which he still maintains is entirely fiction.

- My brother refuses to read my blog again until I post a "full retraction and apology" for the Spanish Fork post.

- My mom is too busy going to the gym for water aerobics to read my blog anymore.

- My dad only reads my blog if I sit at his computer and read it to him.

- DH's birth mother reads my blog. But as for DH himself, he reads only when he becomes an outsider to conversations at dinner with our friends, because every comment is an inside joke, funny only to my blog readers.

Happily all my sisters, their neighbors, friends, boyfriends and Sunday School classes are die hard readers of my blog. Sisters are the best!

My future ambitions outside blogasphere are to become a famous syndicated columnist, of course! Or one of the judges on American Idol. I'd happily take either job offer.

Moving on to my second question, I note you are a vegetarian, have you always been one, if not, what moved you to become one? Is your family also vegetarian? Do you also eat fish and dairy (my siblings are vegan, I know how much dedication that takes).

Actually, by my calculation, this is your seventh question, ah, but who's counting? I have not always been a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian about eight years ago. I never really liked meat, and after doing some research I became convinced of the health benefits so I abandoned meat and poultry all at once. My family is a chicken nugget and steak chomping crew. But I have high hopes for D3 to be a vegetarian with me. I do occasionally eat fish. Eight years ago I was a strict vegan for about a year, but I found that lifestyle to very difficult to maintain. So I slowly added some animal products back into my diet.

Stepping aside from the home front for a minute, can you expand on both your political and spiritual beliefs, have they always been the same, if not, what happened to make you change them?

Politically, I am a conservative, registered Republican, but I don't always vote straight for one party. I am more anti-gun (or at least favor stricter gun control) and pro-environment than the typical Republican is thought to be.

Spiritually, I believe in God and Jesus Christ. And I am trying to live my life such that I may worthy of living in their presence some day. These beliefs have not changed much throughout my life.

If you had unlimited wealth, and assuming you have already generously given to every good cause and charity you support, what would you choose to do with the rest of your life?

If I possessed unlimited wealth, I would probably divide my time between working in orphanages in Romania and shopping. This plan epitomizes the dichotomy in my life. Much like the conservative, non gun-owning, vegetarian Republican that I am. But I am a Gemini so maybe such opposites are my fate.

Finally, if you could go back in time and change one decision you made in your life, what would it be, and why?

If I had it to do over, I would have changed my college major. Well actually, I did change my college major, a few times. But I think I would have been better off majoring in something other than International Relations. Something like English, Computer Science, or even Organizational Behavior would have been far more applicable and useful later in my life.

Carol, thank you for taking time out of your busy blog and novel writing life to produce this interview. You are the best!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Holy Guacamole!

10:15 A.M. - I begin loading the dishwasher as D3, who is freshly changed and dressed for the day, is in her high chair finishing breakfast.

10:21 A.M. - "Mom," D2 interjects, "Where did D3 get guacomole?"

I glance over at D3 who has wiggled out of her belt fastener and is standing in her high chair with a greenish, creamy, slighly clumpy, glob on her hand.

Let me just say that while the resemblance was uncanny, it was not guacamole. And I have no plans for eating Mexican for lunch.

10:22 A.M. - I begin a major diaper overhaul on D3.

10:45 A.M. - The "guacamole" outfit is rinsed and placed in the washing machine.

11:05 A.M. - The "guacamole" baby is given a bath and redressed for the day.

11:45 A.M. - We were right back where we started.

Only now it was time to consider what was for lunch. And the dishwasher was still not loaded. And this is why I get nothing noticeably accomplished in a day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kate Comes to Us From The Date

Kate AKA Jessica Biel

Many of you have been asking for an update on my sister Kim and The Date. I am sorry to report that as far as these things go, this one appears to be moving about as fast as a hundred year old tortoise. Hence, there is not much of anything to say.

Of course, it is important to recognize that Grettir and Kim had only one brief blind date just hours before she flew 1893 miles away, so what can we expect? She barely had time to recover from the shock that Grettir was an intelligent, personable, hunky human. And then she vanished. Like the money in my checking account.

But thankfully, the entire experience was not in vain. As a result of this little afternoon tryst, I have a new BFF: Kate. Kate may not be aware that she and I are BFFs, but after reading this, she'll be officially clued in. I "met" Kate as she is the loquacious friend of Grettir. And if you read the Comments of this blog, then you to know a little bit about Kate. Probably more than you want to know. And that is what makes Kate so endearing.

As far as I can tell she and I are two peas in a pod. She loves pink and purple and fuchsia. I am a red, black, white, dark brown and sometimes grey or green fan. So see, we both have favorite colors. She has a family of kitten children and I have a brood of human children. And the similarities do not stop there! Of course, I am not aware of any more similarities at this time, but I'm sure as we become even better BFFs we'll figure them out.

So while Grettir is rethinking Chili's versus a pancake establishment for his one and only date with Kim, I can rest in peace knowing at least someone got something out of the whole experience.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Cold Shoulder Welcome

I am pleased to introduce you to Trevor, my six-year old nephew from Phoenix, Arizona. This was our exchange yesterday as he climbed into my car at the Salt Lake International Airport.

Trevor: Boy is it good to be here!

Me: Really? Why's that?

Trevor: Because at my house it is cookin'.

I glanced at the car thermometer to confirm that it was a brisk 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Does Google Ad Sense See In My Legs?

Should I be offended or frightened that on the day I post some pictures of myself this is the Google Ad Sense ad?

Utah Vein Doctor
Utah Vein Center Can Eliminate Varicose Veins Quickly and Safely

What makes Google Ad Sense think such an ad is "relevant to (my) audience" or my "site content"?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Travel to NYC in A.R.?

August, 1 B.R. - Taking the Jet Blue red eye to NYC.
I woke DH up so I could take this picture of us. Isn't he a sport?

May, 3 B.R. - DH and me in Central Park.

May, 3 B.R. - The Lady and me.

August, 2 B.R. - DH can't take his eyes off of me long enough for a picture of us at our favorite Italian restaurant in New York City.

I have told our friends that as DH and I look back on our life together it is timed much like the world is timed. The world's time is based on the pivotal event of Jesus Christ. Hence, B.C. = Before Christ and A.D. = Anno Domini, or since Christ was born.

In the world of Debbie and DH the pivotal time in our lives was not the birth of a child or graduation from college. Our pivotal time is entering the restaurant business. Hence our time is denoted as B.R. and A.R. Which is to say B.R. = Before Restaurants and A.R. = After Restaurants.

For example, we were married 15 B.R., or 15 years before entering the restaurant business. We traveled to NYC for the first time together in 4 B.R. We returned in 3 B.R., twice in 2 B.R. and finally again in 1 B.R. It is now 2 A.R. and we haven't been back to The Greatest City in the World. For those of you not historians or math majors that equals three years.

For the most part, I try not to think about my sad travel budget that currently prohibits such excursions. But just when I'm over it, someone has to brag about their upcoming trip to The Greatest City in the World.

Then I am once again reminded that I will not cross the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy a romantic dinner with DH where I would dine on Tuna with Tomatoes, Scallions and Capers here. Nor will I indulge in a Chocolate Croissant here. I won't be able to try to make up for the fattening breakfast by eating my favorite salad here. While the tourists fight the crowd at Carmine's, I won't spend an evening happily dining at the best Italian restaurant in Manhattan instead.

And it is just not all about the food.

DH won't be able to make me go here. Again. And we won't literally, and I truly mean literally, as in all text messaging overused lingo aside, be rolling on the floor laughing at Lucille Ball. Where she would be boxing in her kitchen during a hilarious old television show that we will not be personally choosing for our viewing...pleasure is so this little known secret place.

There will be no window shopping for me here or for DH at any jeweler savvy enough to carry these. I'll miss a ride on this, which we always take. Not because we necessarily want to see her again, although its nice. Nor is it because we really want to go here. Mostly we do it because it is free.

Since I won't be buying an airline ticket, I guess I'll go do some more laundry and try to sound sincere when I wish her a safe trip as she travels to The Greatest City in the World in August, 2 A.R.