Saturday, March 31, 2007

Vomit in Places it Never Should Be

My new blog friend Eve shared some insight into her passion for reading in her Friday post. I couldn’t help but recall the same fervor with which I read as a young girl. There was one particular paperback biography of Florence Nightingale that I repeatedly checked out of the school library. I read it cover to cover on numerous occasions. I would be so enthralled in the book, that sometimes I’d crawl out of bed onto the bare wood floor and pull the thin ball chain to turn on the closet light. There I sat half shivering in my nightgown while holding the book at an angle to catch the light peering from the open closet door. In that position I would read well into the night.

The book about a very brave nurse made me wonder if perhaps I’d want to be a nurse someday. As it turns out it’s a good thing I didn’t pursue the field of medicine, because I had no idea what a weak stomach I had until I became a mother. The bodily fluids I come in contact with on any given day can be more than what I am capable of handling. In fact, there are days when I feel as though I’ve been called upon to deal with more than is fair.

One such day occurred when D1 was about two years old. She was quietly snuggled in my lap. I held her close while talking with DH, and then she turned to look at me and seemed a bit pale. Looking down, I asked if she was okay. And right when I verbalized the ‘k’ in ‘okay’, she vomited.

Projectile positioned perfectly into my open mouth! I dropped my sick child on the floor and while pointing in an exaggerated fashion to my agape jaws not daring to close or swallow, I repeatedly hollered “Ing ee a owel. Urree!” Which loosely translates into, “DH, forget the vomiting child on the floor, she will pull through. But I may not! I have vomit in my mouth – vomit that is not my own!” DH, being a parent first and a husband second, picked up and caressed the still heaving and now crying-because-she-was-dropped youngster. It was not until he was certain she was going to survive, that he finally managed to grab a kitchen towel so I could attempt to mop my mouth.

That well-loved Florence Nightingale paperback seemed so dramatic at the time, as she helped ill and wounded infantry on the battlefront. But somehow the novel was not comprehensive enough to prepare me for nursing sick children at home, let alone sick soldiers at war.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Will the Real Dick Cheney Please Not? Come to BYU

John Spernak of Connecticut claimed to be Vice President Dick Cheney a few days ago after leading police on a high speed chase. Besides being just plain crazy, what reason would anyone have to make such a preposterous claim? Seriously, who would want to be Vice President Dick Cheney right now?

The poor man is being shunned in his own back yard. Wyoming native Cheney is scheduled to speak at Brigham Young University’s commencement exercises in April. My western state alma mater features a student body and staff that is largely Republican. This would lead one to think that hosting the Vice President as the keynote speaker would be considered an honor. Apparently, there are more than a few at BYU who are not feeling so warm and fuzzy about Vice President Cheney’s visit. And if anyone at BYU, (besides the school's spokeswoman Carri Jenkins) is happy about the choice, please speak up! All the noise from web sites advertising protests, online petitions opposing the speech and letters to the editor expressing displeasure is seemingly so loud, that if there is an alternate viewpoint, I can't hear it.

I am not exaggerating how bad it is. You know there have even been threats. That’s right. Just remember where you heard it first. I’m talking serious stuff too, like threatening to not attend even one more BYU football game in Lavell Edwards Stadium or to never purchase another BYU sweatshirt. Ever.

With a variety of scandals from torture, to Scooter Libby, to Halliburton lurking in Mr. Cheney’s shadows, perhaps he is too shady of a choice for BYU. It sounds like he could be more of a threat to the Cougars than the Utes at a homecoming game.

For some reason, I'm just not that worried. Perhaps I'll even attend Cheney's speech. If I go I'll need something to wear. Maybe DH can pick me up one of those cool navy hoodies with the white 'Y' at the bookstore. Size medium please.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Denny's & Sushi Bars

Growing up in a small town in the Midwest, my sisters and I were sheltered from much of the world. For instance, we felt the JCPenney catalog represented the essence of fashion. Without so much as even a McDonald’s in our town, we never ate out for dinner, because doing so could only involve going to the local tavern.

The afternoon Mom found out I had been going to the local tavern everyday after school, was not a good one. She didn’t seem to get it when I explained that it was the only place in town with the brand-new Ms PacMan arcade game. It was obvious that up to that point, I had never “shocked” and “disappointed” her so much. (No, not even when I fought with my sisters on the way home from church.)

Since going out to eat in our town was next to impossible, whenever Grandpa Littlefield would come to visit, he would take us to the next town over for dinner at Pizza Hut. That was a major deal. He made sure the waitress brought us a big pitcher of root beer and a massive pepperoni pizza. We made sure to eat and drink so much, so that at least one of us would end up puking all night. Interestingly enough, Grandpa would order a Grandpa-Root-Beer-with-a-wink for himself, which was lighter and more golden than our own dark-colored beverages.

The first time I ate at a Denny’s was a major turning point. I was 16 and had been brought there for lunch by a cute, but slightly older guy. They brought my sandwich, cut into fourths, with these fancy toothpicks poking up in the middle of each piece. I had no idea what to do! Do I take the toothpicks out? Do I pick up the sandwiches with the toothpicks still in them and try to eat around the tiny wooden sticks? Oh, how my heart was pounding on that one.

Needless to say, we (my sisters and I) have come a long way since then. So far in fact, that while talking to my sister Jackie yesterday, she proudly announced that she had finally eaten sushi. “Really?” I asked. “At a sushi bar or where?” “I dunno,” she started to recall, “It was a restaurant that serves only sushi.” “Okay,” I reasoned out loud, “Then it was probably a sushi bar. Cool, what did you have?” “Imitation krab!” she answered. “Was it raw imitation krab?” I asked, “Because that’s barely even fish so you can’t really count that as sushi.” “Of course you can,” she countered. “It was in a sushi roll.”

And so we Iowa-bred babes continue to broaden our minds as well as our palates.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Prettiest Sight to See

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Which can be very exciting if you're just getting over that stuffed feeling from eating too much Thanksgiving turkey and you're singing Christmas carols while hanging decorations on the the tree. But when you are planning Easter Egg hunts and the Christmas lights have been packed away in the basement for three months, it's not so thrilling.

Winter storms in the spring, are not uncommon where we live, but ten days ago, while the kids were running through the sprinklers and getting sunburned laying out on beach towels on the driveway, I took that as a good sign to finally clean out the mudroom for the season. Dragging snowboards, sleds, snow boots, hats, and mittens to the basement, I made room for the increasing clutter of flip flops, sunscreen, bottles of bubbles, kites and visors. In hindsight, I should have known such an act would send a red alert to Mother Nature.

This morning, after bundling the children up in their beach towels, I drove them to school in 4-wheel drive and marvelled at our blessed winter storm. Luckily, the holiday decorations are not buried too deep in the basement clutter. Now, if only I could decide what to ask Santa to bring me for Christmas.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

March Madness: NCAA Final Four and I'm In Baby!

To know DH is to love him. And to love him you must also love basketball, or at least put up with it. I was mildly aware of his sports passion before we married. I knew he liked to play basketball, in the evenings, while I was studying. However, the extent to which the orange leather ball dominated his life, I did not fully realize until well after I had committed myself to love and pay the cable bill with him forever.

When we bought our first TV, well actually our second... DH bought our first TV shortly after we were married. I came home from work and there in the living room sitting on the sofa (wait we didn't own one yet), so on the floor was DH and his brother sprawled out watching a brand new 26" Sony television, which was placed on an entertainment center (no, didn't have one), a low bookshelf then, (no, not one of those either), just the bare floor. So I put down my purse on the dining room table (uh, we didn't have one of those) so I held my purse and sat down in the chair (nope, didn't own even one of those) so I stood. Next, I basically freaked out at the purchase which two college students definitely could not afford. The following day the TV was gone and our living room was empty once again.

It was not until after the second time we bought a TV that I began to fully comprehend DH's love of the game. Big 12, Big Ten or Big East, the only thing they mean to me are big waste of time, big waste of ugly dish on side of house, and big waste of money. Season after season. One year of expensive cable after another. Is the game on ESPN? TNT? Fox Sports? ESPN2? NBA League Pass? No problem, we've got em' all!

Given DH's intimate knowledge of the game, you would think he'd be doing better on his March Madness bracket. Oh, he's doing okay. He has three of the final four. Which might be pretty good, if I DIDN'T HAVE ALL FOUR OF THE FINAL FOUR!!!!!

My selection for the winning teams was purely mathematical. For example, Dad went to Virginia Tech first, before attending UC Davis where he met Mom, so naturally Virginia Tech will win in the first round. UC Davis is not in the competition, but UCLA is. And Mom and Dad have lived in four different states since I was born, so UCLA should make the Final Four.

Some other upsets were similarly picked as well. We have a friend from college that lives in Michigan, and Marquette sounds like a furniture feature, so I figured Michigan could beat Marquette. Vanderbilt reminds me of Gloria Vanderbilt the cologne which I wore when I was 16, so certainly they can make it to the Sweet Sixteen.

Figuring Georgetown would at least make the Final Four was easy. In high school I was one of four girls in the contest for Homecoming Queen. I went to the Homecoming Dance with Dave Witte. Dave loved the Georgetown Hoyas.

And so my logic unfolded. So purely, in fact, that now I sit here in my crowning glory with the Final Four, just as I imagined. All those years of expensive TVs and cable may soon be forgotten if I actually beat DH at this thing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fond Memories Like Being Abandoned on the Roadside

Twelve-year old daughters are a blessing. And a pain in the keister. The latter is why D1 was almost dumped out of the car on the way to Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. It was nothing specific that nearly caused me to send her packing, just her general preteen conduct coupled with my hunger pangs. If it were not for traffic, serial killers, and DCFS, I probably would have invited her exit from my vehicle. Oh, for the good ol’ days when parents could boot their daughters out of the car to hike home…

It was an especially warm summer afternoon as our station wagon traversed the 15-mile route from church to home. My younger sisters Jackie and Christine had been aggravating me for miles. It reached a point where, despite my mature 13-years of age, I could restrain myself no longer.

The sweltering temperatures aided me in developing a pristine plan. With no air-conditioning in the car, we traveled with all the windows rolled down, our long strands whipping around in the tornado-like winds forming untold numbers of hair knots. And so I put the plan in motion, with fingers wide and straight I inserted my hands into their tangled tresses, one on the left, one on the right, simultaneously pull, and listen to them howl! I tried to suppress the wicked smile that formed across my lips, but the pleasure was too great. Naturally, payback was not long coming. In went their fingers into my mane, and thus the fight ensued. Stern motherly warnings from the front seat did nothing to temper our turmoil. We were at war by now and even Mom could not stop this battle. Dad on the other hand…

The 1974 grey Dodge station wagon came to a sudden, neck-jerking halt and so did our fighting. “What was he thinking?” we wondered. “Outta the car girls,” Dad spoke matter-of-factly, opening his car door. Okay – that was not expected. With nervous stomachs we slid off the sticky, black vinyl seats, terrified of the punishment awaiting us. We were standing on the side of the road presenting our most innocent-looking faces when Dad told us to shut our car door. Then he climbed back in the driver’s seat, and in the most unexpected move of all, drove away.

We stood there in brief amazement and then dashed after the family vehicle that was growing less and less significant in the distance. Panting and out of breath we finally stopped when the station wagon vanished over a small hill in the distance. Looking around, trying to hold back the tears, we realized that having just reached the edge of town, we were probably two-miles from home. After spending a fair amount of time blaming each other for our unfortunate situation, we grouped together to determine a plan. They were just trying to scare us, we assured ourselves, our parents would be back for us soon. So we seated ourselves on the roadside gravel and waited.

Some time passed and then, without saying much, we finally stood up and started the inevitable trek home. A two-mile journey in the afternoon sun in your church shoes is pretty bad. But not as awful as the embarrassment you feel when your school friends whisk by with their loving families that drive them home from church. “Do you think they saw us?” I asked. “Ummm, three girls walking all alone on an empty road,” Jackie sarcastically reasoned, “How could they not.”

We learned a few things that afternoon. Among them included, 1) If you are going to fight with your sisters while in the car, do so only when wearing your tennis shoes, 2) Even normally predictable parents can sometimes surprise you, and 3) A long walk in the muggy Iowa heat can turn enemies into best friends.

Too bad for D1 that overcrowded roads, criminals, and government agencies have ruined those types of teaching moments.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

As Fast as a What?

On the way home from school Friday, D2 begged me to go to the local copy store. I know it is an unusual request for a second-grader. However, let me explain that it is not because she had any plans to increase the demand for the merciless death of helpless trees. It is the 25-cent gumball machine in the front corner by the window that continues to attract her fancy.
Now when I say "begged" you need to understand the intensity with which she petitioned this favor. From the time she climbed in the Yukon, while we waited for D1 and S2, and then for friend of D1, and then friend of S2, and for friend of S2's scooter, and for all backpacks and arms and legs to be safely stowed inside the vehicle, and then while we drove out of the school parking lot, and veered right down the first street, and then took a left turn down the next street, she did not stop pleading, "Can we go to Copy Right, please, please, please, please, please, please can we go to Copy Right, please, please, please, please, please." This she repeated incessantly.
Finally, I could not take the repetition anymore, not to mention the fact that her constant jabber was making it difficult to focus on the AM Talk Radio commentary screeching over my car speakers. So I momentarily turned down the volume, and spoke to D2 very calmly yet firmly, "We are not going to Copy Right. No matter how many times you ask, that is my final answer and it will not change at all today." D2 paused and then replied in a solemn voice, "But, Mom. I'll be as fast as a chicken. I promise."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Getting Old: AM Talk Radio and Jazz

My DH just celebrated his 40th birthday. I'm married to someone much older than I am. Okay, he is only two years and three months older, but older is older. Personally, I'd like to think that despite his unfortunate birthday, I am still quite young. While there are many times DH finds me to be a bit juvenile, he will admit that I can also act too mature for my age.

For example, I love to listen to Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, and Glenn Beck. DH finds my talk radio addiction mildly humorous. He believes I should have waited until I was at least forty to be an AM talk radio junkie. By his count I started approximately ten years too soon. I'm just hoping (once again this year) to finally get XM Radio in the Yukon for my birthday. I detest that loud, fuzzy AM radio static I hear every time I drive by any sort of interference, such as a car with an antenna or a house with a microwave. It is so shrill and someday, it's going to ruin my hearing. I have no idea why my usually generous DH has held out on me, year after year, regarding this gift.

But I guess I've held out on DH as well, since I have yet to give him any kind of present for his regrettable birthday. It is hard to know what to buy the elderly. Even though he is old now, he aged way too fast while in his thirties too. I wish he would have waited to fall in love with jazz until after my funeral. Though I'm pretty sure he fell in love with Diana Krall first, and the jazz music adoration was just part of the package.

He's lucky I'm such a confident and secure woman, because Diana Krall is sultry. I know many wives that would be very jealous of their own DH buying every album Ms. Krall ever produced, travelling across the country to see her in concert twice in a 2-month period, hanging out in some dark alley of New York City for two hours after her concert just to watch her slip into a car with Elvis Costello (what does she see in him?), and watching "Diana Krall: Live in Paris" over and over and over again. Actually, when I think about it like that, if I weren't so tall and leggy with long blonde tresses and a musical prodigy myself, I would be jealous!

All right, so you know I'm not blonde. I must confess, I'm not tall either. And sadly, I have never, ever been referred to as "leggy." Well since I'm being so truthful, you should also know that even though D2 insists I need to try out for American Idol (don't you see why I just love her?) anyone who is not my elementary school-aged offspring, would never suggest such tryouts would be in my best interest.

So why am I not jealous of DH's affection for Diana Krall? Have you heard that lady sing? Her voice is getting worse every day. Frankly, I don't know how she sells any CD's. For the most part, her music sounds like that high-pitched AM radio static. Weird, huh?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spanish Fork (pronounced Fark) Spelling Lesson

Perhaps you haven't heard about the latest technological innovation for the small Utah town of Spanish Fork (pronounced Fark). Their mayor has expanded his nifty little e-mail system for the residents of their tiny town in order for them to communicate with him better. It is amazingly simple. Got a swimmin' pool in yer basement 'cause the neighbor kids figgered out how to undo the fire hydrant? E-mail Did yer dog darn near fall out the back of yer pickup when ya hit a road pit on the west end of town? Send notice to Truly, I am not making this up. These are actual working e-mail addresses in place for the inhabitants of Spanish Fork (pronounced Fark). But be sure to spell it the way it should be spelled and not the way it sounds. I would suspect e-mails sent to are not monitored.
I wonder if I could set up something similar for myself at home. Does S1 need a ride to the mall? He can e-mail Did D2 run out of clean underwear? She can simply log-on and send a message to As I contemplate this, the potential benefits are endless.
Supposedly it's been quite beneficial for the people of Spanish Fork (pronounced Fark). They've had in place for some time now and as proudly proclaimed by Mayor Thomas, "This town is clean of graffiti."
You know, I find that absolutely amazing! Seriously. No graffiti in Spanish Fork (pronounced Fark) whatsoever. I'm mostly astonished because I don't know how the mayor was alerted to all the troublesome markings. How did all those Spanish Farkians spell graffiti correctly, that is with two 'f's and only one 't', in their e-mails to Mayor Thomas? This thinking is in no way intended to question the intelligence of the citizens of Spanish Fork (pronounced Fark). It's just a tricky word to spell.
In fact, to verify that graffiti is a commonly misspelled word, I did a little Internet research. Unfortunately, I got this not-so-helpful Google suggestion at the top of my search results: "Did you mean: commonly misspelled words". Yep, you guessed it. I misspelled the word misspelled.
Dang! It's never cool when you are dumber than the people you are attempting to ridicule.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Got Milk? Nope? How 'Bout Laundry?

You've seen the posters pasted to the sides of buses, mounted on the walls of school lunchrooms, or featured on the back covers of magazines. They highlight an unbelievably famous and beautiful person with a milk mustache. On the latest ads, the headline reads something like, "Country by Carrie. Body by Milk." So even though I've seen these ads a few hundred times before, today I stopped to dream. I pictured me up on one of those posters. And I wondered, "What would my one word be?" My one word like Carrie's "Country."

Have I mentioned what an incredible dancer I am? I've been compared to some pretty famous people including Elaine from Seinfeld. But Beyonce Knowles already took "Moves." So I spent a fair amount of time reviewing my other talents and crossing off those already taken by the hot milk-bodied stars.

I thought about what I do best, what I do everyday, and what I do more than anyone else. Do you know what I came up with? Laundry. In case you don't run in my circles, among my people (which includes DH, S1, D1, S2, D2, and D3) it is what I am most famous for. If D1 wants a dress washed for a special occasion, does she take it to her dad or her brother? Nope. To me. She brings it straight to me. Or at least throws it generally in my direction, mumbling something about its state of cleanliness, or lack thereof, and a deadline. If S2 can't find a pair of matching socks, does he search the sock basket or his top drawer? Nope again. He comes to me. Often with a whine and look of disgust, but nevertheless, I am the first and last, actually I am the only contact for laundry. Making me undeniably famous for laundry.

I came up with "Laundry" only after souful deliberation. I seriously considered other talents of mine, and a close second was my superior athletic ability. Let me just say, I didn't play third string on the Jr. High JV volleyball team at a 1A school because of my looks. But ARod's already got his "Blast." Actually, he's got quite a hunky milk body too.

Which I guess brings me back to the reality that despite my fame for laundry, my body would never qualify me for one of those milk ad campaigns. "And why is that?" you ask. Well, if I had to pick just one food item (and there are many every day to pick from, which is another part of the problem), I'd have to confess, mine is a Body by Cookies. Apparently, bodies made by cookies don't look quite as good as bodies made by milk. Even when you dip the cookies in the milk, somehow it just isn't the same.

But if my Body by Cookies looked as good as a Body by Milk, then my poster would read, "Laundry by Debbie. Body by Cookies." Can you picture it? I like it. It's me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

JC Penney Catalog Model

It was created from navy blue and white polka dot polyester: a two-piece ensemble that was my most favorite outfit ever! Mom had expertly sewn the button-up top with long ties at the shortened waist, the kind of ties Catherine Bach later made so famous as Daisy Duke. Do I need to explain that we lived in a small Midwest town in 1976? The matching blue-with-white-polka-dot pants were generously proportioned and featured a wide flare at the ankle. I anxiously awaited the laborious process of creating my only new outfit for spring. There was buying fabric, laying out pattern pieces, pinning, cutting, more pinning, sewing, and hemming, that must have taken a mother of six at least a week.

The sun warmed my skin through the navy blue polyester the morning I originally wore that outfit to Mrs. Ruth’s first-grade class. I felt as fashionable as a JC Penney catalog model! I held my head high as I strode into the classroom, and later to the lunchroom, and the music room, accepting numerous compliments along the way.

It was the ill-fated afternoon recess when things took a devastating turn. Deeply involved in a heated game of girls-catch-the-boys I made a sudden turn and lunged in an unsuccessful attempt to tag Bobby Rasmussen. Next, my face was staring at the concrete, and sharp searing pain soared through my right knee. I gingerly rolled over, trying to hold back tears that were already forming in my warm, brown eyes. Then, terror struck as I looked at my aching leg. Panic set in when I saw my knee bloody and ravaged, because I saw my knee through a large gaping hole in my brand new polyester pants! The newly formed tears were poised for the boisterous crying that soon poured from my soul. I immediately knew my coveted, beautiful outfit was no more. The playground teacher and my best friend helped me hobble to the nurse’s office. Unbeknownst to them, my wailing was not for my ravished knee, but for my huge fashion loss. I felt nothing could have been a crueler fate.

A few hours later, walking home from school, I was as glum as a sunflower in the rain. I opened the front door and began to weep all over again for my pants, my ruined life, and my knee (in that order). My petite shoulders heaved up and down as I sobbed on Mother’s lap. She tried to console me, but we both knew there was no money to buy more fabric to make another pair of pants.

However, I was young, and in a few days I had rebounded from my regrettable situation. I was content in my usual hand-me-down and thrift store clothing, that was always pressed, clean and nice.

Then came the morning I never expected. I was getting dressed for school and Mom walked in my Holly Hobbie decorated bedroom holding the navy blue-with-white-polka-dot outfit. My heart sank, once again remembering that I’d never wear that darling duo again. But with a knowing smile on her face, she held up the pants by the waistband and the remaining fabric fell in place quickly to reveal the new, shortened version: Gauchos!

I was the first girl in my class to come to school wearing the latest fashion craze of gauchos. I held my head even higher, because now we were talking ultra-high JC Penney catalog fashion!