Saturday, June 30, 2007

For She's a Jolly Good Salesman

"You can't do that!" I pouted, "It's not right." Jackie did not seem to care what I said or how I felt as she remained unshaken with her nose in the air and her small hand outstretched awaiting the money. I squished my lips tighter and then dug my last two coins from the front pocket of my shorts. As I moved to place it in her greedy little hand, I recoiled for a second and then finally let her have another ten cents - my last ten cents - with an extra hard slap in the hand.

She ignored my childish anger and professionally responded, "And for ten cents you may have your choice of a Jolly Rancher in cherry or green apple." "I want watermelon," I countered. "Watermelon, blue raspberry and grape are very popular flavors, so I raised the price. They cost a nickle more." "But you know I don't have any more money," I whined. "So cherry or green apple?" she replied matter-of-factly. "Cherry." I grumbled. "No, green apple, green apple."

I unwrapped the hard candy, dropped it in my mouth, and walked to sulk on my bed. Trying to make it last a long time, I promised myself that this time I would not bite the small sugary block, but suck on it until it was a razor thin, sharp-edged candy. And then I'd suck a little longer until it melted away into nothing but a lingering flavor on my tongue.

"She thinks she is being so smart," I thought to myself, but I knew I was really wishing I had the foresight to save my money like my eight-year old sister did.

As soon as we had as much as twenty-five cents, my four younger sisters and I were usually begging Mom to let us walk uptown to the gas station to buy some candy. Deciding whether to buy five nickle candies like two Sweet Tart suckers and three small packs of Sixlets, or one big candy bar was a weighty decision. So important it often required twenty minutes or more of deliberation.

A few weeks ago, my younger sister Jackie had ceased coming on these outings. She oddly remained happily at home while we went on our frivolous spending sprees. Then one day she unexpectedly asked Mom if she could tag along with her to the grocery store a mile or two away. Mom agreed and Jackie came home an hour later with the biggest bag of Jolly Ranchers we had ever seen. It had been purchased with at least four weeks of money saved from doing odd jobs. Immediately, we surrounded her and begged for one of the candies.

Our pleadings were met with flat refusal. But, she agreed to sell them to us for ten-cents each. We brought her all our coins and each purchased as many as we could afford. Next we started searching the couches and the washing machine and the cigarette tray in the car for more spare change. As soon as we had enough to make ten cents, we were back in Jackie's room to complete another transaction. Neighbor kids heard about the hard to find candies, now available by the piece, and started coming to the house to make a purchase as well

We were mostly okay with the arrangement until one evening Jackie boasted that she had purchased the bag of Jolly Ranchers for $1.99 and in two days had made over five dollars. That was when I concluded she was being greedy and mean. The thought of all the money she had made off of me alone, was upsetting. As I awoke from my angry day dream, I found myself biting and chewing my precious candy.

"Oh no!" I kicked myself. "So much for enjoying it slowly."

The only thing left to do was figure out where to find ten more cents. Maybe behind the dryer. I was betting none of my sisters had thought to look there.

Friday, June 29, 2007

More D2 Funnies: Another Fast One

Background #1: In the LDS (Mormon) religion we set aside one Sunday a month known as Fast Sunday. Members typically come to church fasting for about 24 hours total. DH and I don't require the little children to fast, but when they get older we encourage them to fast for one meal which is often Sunday morning breakfast.

Background #2: Our typical Sunday meeting schedule is a 3 hour block. That puts us at church at least an hour or two longer than D2 would like.

One Sunday morning S2 and D2 sat at the kitchen bar. They had an array of newly-purchased cereals lined up in front of them from which they were freely partaking. I walked in and immediately S2 stopped mid mouthful and asked guiltily, with milk dripping from the corners of his mouth, "Today's not Fast Sunday is it?"

"No," I smiled, "Not until next week."

D2 groaned in reply, "Does that mean its gonna be a slow Sunday then?"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mom's Going Where? Not So Fast.

A few months ago I was preparing to leave for a long weekend girl's trip. We sat the children down to make them aware that I would be gone. We explained things might seem a little different, but we assured them Dad would be there to take care of everything.

They looked a little sullen at the news and so to cheer them up, DH shouted, "Four days of fast food! Yeah!"

Immediately D2 was even more visibly distraught. "Don't worry, sweetheart," I consoled, "Mommy isn't going to be gone too long. And you'll have fun with Dad while I'm gone."

"But," she worried with tears forming in her green eyes, "I don't think I can fast without food for four days."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One is Silver and the Other's Gold

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

When I was a Brownie (think miniature Girl Scout) we sang a little song in a round. It went as follows:

Make new firends but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold.

David McMahon is one of many new friends I have met via my blog. A few days ago, I was asked by an old friend how I met David McMahon. Actually, I think the question was more precisely worded, "How did you find that blog guy from Australia that wrote a novel and always comments on your blog."

I immediately recalled, our first meeting on David's blog. Above is the riveting picture he posted and below is the text:

Morning Has Broken
Cloudy Day Starts In A Riot Of Colour

It's a slightly cooler day today, about 25 Celsius, with some rain forecast. And though it's grey and overcast and humid, here's proof that the day started as if someone had mixed the most vibrant colours and daubed them over the sky. The spire is the Arts Centre, which served as a terrific silhouette to offset the shades in the sky.

I commented:

Looks like Autumn in Melbourne is getting off to a beautiful start! Spring in Utah is struggling to find its way.

David, in true David fashion replied:

Hi Deborah,

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a link to a very interesting blogpost.

I've left a comment on your blog. Do keep me updated on your progress and even though I'm busy wrapping up another novel, I've always got time for fellow writers and bloggers.

Take care


Reprinted with permission from David McMahon's blog

Monday, June 25, 2007

Addicted to Blog?

Eve commented on my blog a couple days ago and I am having a difficult time shaking the thought that was immediately evoked in my mind. The thought that I could be a blogging addict.

While the thought seems a bit extreme, I decided to document my time spent one morning in an effort to spot anything unusual that may be a sign of a blog junkie. The following is a typical summer morning for me as the sole author of the infamous blog Uncommon Notions:

6:00 AM - Barely conscious, rolling over in bed with fuzzy dreams quickly draining from my mind, and reality coming into sharper focus, first cognitive thought for the day is, "What can I blog about this morning?" Fall back asleep loosely creating photos with funny captions, clever anecdotes, and long-winded tell-all tales in my mind.

7:00 AM - Wake up for the second time and stumble into the shower. This part of my life has been blogged. What else?

8:00 AM - Check email and then saunter to the kitchen to pour cold cereal for anyone that will get up. Usually only D1, D2 and D3. Maybe I could I blog on cold cereal? Nope, been there done that too.

9:00 AM - Finish checking email, read some blogs.

9:45 AM - Start to panic. Freak! What will I write about?

9:55 AM - Suddenly, get a blogtastic idea for a Very Funny Blog!

10:00 AM - Begin writing Very Funny Blog.

10:10 AM - Quickly switch computer screen from Very Funny Blog to QuickBooks when DH comes back home unexpectedly. Assure him I'll have his accounting numbers ready by the end of the day.

10:12 AM - Switch back to Very Funny Blog as soon as front door is heard closing.

10:15 AM - Type very lightly while listening to my sister on phone about something or whatever. Vow to self to move quieter keyboard into office from bedroom computer so this will not be an issue in the future.

10:18 AM - Pinch baby so she will cry. Terminate phone conversation with sister early on behalf of crying baby.

10:19 AM - Call D1 into the office to take care of crying baby.

10:20 AM - Rewrite Very Funny Blog. Delete half my verbose wording, and edit misspellings and misuse of words.

10:25 AM - Begin to wish I had paid more attention to Ms. Wiltsie during 11th grade English teaching us when to use who versus whom. Briefly consider blogging about my English teacher happily stuck in the 60's.

10:27 AM - Wonder whether or not to underline a title, italicize the title or put said title in quotes. Double think other critical yet basic grammar lessons.

10:29 AM - Repeatedly read Very Funny Blog making small changes with each pass through.

10:38 AM - Reread Very Funny Blog just to make sure there are no "just"s in there. Just for Bart's sake and no one else's.

10:40 AM - Lightly pound desk in laughter. Smile at how incredibly witty I am. Reread Very Funny Blog for the 27th time and make more minor edits.

10:43 AM - Find a much funnier word for an overused word in Very Funny Blog at Congratulate myself for being so resourceful to do in-depth research for Very Funny Blog.

10:45 AM - Begin process of finding the Perfect Picture for Very Funny Blog. Peruse personal photos folder. Consider taking original photo (David would be so proud). Do not consider drawing or painting Perfect Picture like McGlinch or Chewy. Decide to search via Google Images and steal Perfect Picture instead.

11:15 AM - Publish Very Funny Blog with Perfect Picture.

11:16 AM - Click [View Blog]

11:17 AM - Admire Perfect Picture and reread Very Funny Blog again. Chuckle at Very Funny Blog's clever humor. Wonder how many people will appreciate hidden pun in Very Funny Blog.

11:19 AM - Find typo in Very Funny Blog!

11:20 AM - Edit Very Funny Blog. Reread two more times and republish.

11:25 AM - Click [View Blog]

11:26 AM - Pause and once again admire Perfect Picture and start to reread Very Funny Blog for the 31st time. Laugh out loud at Very Funny Blog's well contrived humor.

11:29 AM - Smile at the completed work of Very Funny Blog.

11:30 AM - Refresh blog page and notice there are no comments yet.

11:32 AM - Trying to hide disappointment, check email to see if the comments magically appear in my Inbox before appearing on the blog. Notice no comments, only one email from Aeropostale inviting me to their Sizzling Summer Sale.

11:34 AM - Refresh blog page again. Still no comments on Very Funny Blog.

11:37 AM - Switch over load of laundry and change baby's diaper.

11:55 AM - Check email for Very Funny Blog comments. Click [Send/Receive]. Watch computer think. Will it find Very Funny Blog comments? Send/Receive is complete. No new messages.

11:58 AM - Wonder what on earth people have to do that could possibly be better than reading and commenting on Very Funny Blog.

12:00 NOON - Skulk into kitchen to make a meal that will serve simultaneously as lunch for D1, D2 and D3 as well as breakfast for S1 and S2.

Sounds healthy and normal to me. Don't you think?

It's a Bird...It's a Plane...

"Mom, if this world had super powers, I know what yours would be: cleaning!" - D2

Don't be too impressed, I am not Super Cleaning Mom. Her standard for cleanliness is simply not as high as most people's.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Video-Game Addiction Prescription

The AMA is considering officially recognizing video-game addiction as a mental illness. Of course, a complete effort will take years of study and debate. Personally, I thought the American Medical Association had much bigger problems on their hands like Bird Flu, Cancer and Heart Disease. Nevertheless, apparently they feel video-game addiction is enough of a threat to our society that it warrants the time and effort required to officially list it among the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The initial debate begins Sunday and a preliminary vote will take place next week.

I do not even want to consider what this will do to the United States health care system. If it can be officially diagnosed, how many employees will be submitting for paid time off of work based on mental illness leave? And when left alone all day at home with no job to go to, what else will they have to do in between psychiatrist appointments? Besides play video games on the couch?

Speaking from first hand experience, there is nothing about video-game addiction that makes a person mentally ill. Video-game addiction is simply an addiction. And like other addictions, it can be beat. Oh, it is not easy. But with a little blindsided intervention from those who love you the most, it can be done.

Once upon a time (back in 2001), I too fell prey to the video-gaming industry's subtle addicting ways. My brother kindly loaded some simulator on my PC so I could play all the oldie but goodie video games from the 80's. I had Frogger, Tertris and what soon became my master: Dr. Mario.

It all began so innocently. While the children were napping, I'd venture down to the office and play some games for a little fun and relaxation. It was not long before Dr. Mario was the game that truly caught my fancy. Systematically ignoring all other games at my disposal, I became a die hard Dr. Mario fan.

As I got better, I could play for quite a stretch without "dying". This became a problem as the children would awake and while their cries could be heard from the office, I found it difficult, that is impossible, to leave my computer and go to them. Diapers went unchanged, meals went unprepared, baths went ungiven.

I knew it was time for a change. So I made some rules for myself. Only two lives (meaning after I died twice, I had to go back to being a mom), and I increased my speed from low to medium. I was still "living" until level 30 which means the pill bottle is all but full to start, so I increased the speed to high.

Still, I could play the game with relatively no trouble. It became so easy, I started on the highest level the game allows. Yep. Level 20. Speed set at high. That is where I always began.

I rationalized that with my new rules, my games were shorter so I could play more often than simply during nap time. So I decreased my life to one, and added more playing time to my schedule. I told myself I could play after finishing one chore. One load of laundry done equals time with Dr. Mario: Begin Level 20, Speed High, One Life. Unless I die immediately, then its a do-over.

A typical day went as follows: Feed the children breakfast = Dr. Mario. Change a diaper = Dr. Mario. Vacuum a couch = Dr. Mario. Make my bed = Dr. Mario. Brush my hair = Dr. Mario. Go to the bathroom = Dr. Mario. The fact that my minimal personal hygiene began to count as a chore did not alarm me in the least bit.

However, an alarm soon came. My brother and his friend Scott came over one day excited about an upcoming Dr. Mario Tournament at the Provo Towne Center. I encouraged them to enter, and offered if they needed any pointers, I would be happy to coach them. They looked at each other briefly, smiled, and then explained that it was me not them that they felt should enter the tournament.

Suddenly I saw a flash forward in my mind. I enter the tournament with a bunch of long haired, unshaven, fat thirty-somethings that don't shower. Then I kick their couch potato butts. I am called to the podium. With the National Anthem playing, I am awarded the Dr. Mario Regional Champion trophy. As I hold the heavy trophy high above my head, cameras flash. My name and picture with a brief article on how I rose to stardom, are on the front page of the local paper.

Hold the phone! I was not doing that. Despite their pleadings I refused to participate in the tournament because of only one fear. The fear that I knew I would win. At this time I realized that I had mastered Dr. Mario and my addiction had taken me to a place I did not want to be. That is when I realized I needed to change.

But I couldn't stop myself. So I continued.

One morning, after brushing my teeth (a chore complete: check) I went down to be with my love, Dr. Mario.

Houston, we have a problem. My video-gaming simulator for the PC was erroring out.

In a panic I called my brother. College term paper, finals to study for, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. "Whatever, get over here now!" I loudly insisted and hung up the phone. Knowing it would take him all of five minutes to solve my computer problem, I was more than irritated that he did not show. As I laid my head on the desk, willing my computer to work as it should, soon minutes turned into hours. Hours turned into days. And days turned into weeks. With no Dr. Mario, my life seemed empty and boring.

Eventually, I stopped placing unreturned phone calls to my brother. I started to clothe, feed and bathe my children. Occasionally we even went to the library or a park. And I found my life could go on without Dr. Mario.

But like all addictions for me it must be all or nothing. So I have never picked up a controller to empty a Dr. Mario medicine bottle full of pills since. Nor do I have any intention of doing so. But if I do, don't even try to play doubles with me. 'Cause I will kick your Dr. Mario butt!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some More and Laughter

I've always been a sucker for before and after shots. Whether it is a weight loss story or a home rennovation, they can be inspiring. However, with one-year olds it seems to work in reverse:



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Living the High Life

Hiking to Stewart Falls in Provo Canyon (5800 ft elevation) today was full of



One Lowlight:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

“A laugh is a smile that bursts.” Mary H. Waldrip

Is there an Internet slang more over used than LOL (laughing out loud)? But did you know you could also be ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) or even BWL (bursting with laughter)?

My blogger friends often have me LOL, or at least exhaling abruptly with a little snort, a barely audible 'ha', and a smile.

Below is a handful of my favorites from the last few days:

"...'telecommunications provider' and 'customer service' are fundamentally incompatible..."

“My philosophy is to go geeky when possible.”

"...if you want to leave home, at least have the decency to run farther away..."

"...if only I could get an Australian to wash my dishes while I drink a beer..."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Heart Attacks are For Hunks

I drove past this billboard the other day and was mildly amused. As a vegetarian, (aside from an occasional fish fillet), I initially took offense to the advertisement. I may not eat very many dead animals, but that does not make me a cowardly baby.

A second look confirmed the extremely poor condition of the sign. It is obvious whatever brave flesh eater put it up, has not been back to check on its condition, or re-glue and staple the edges.

I am left to suppose the heroic red meat indulging marketer has most likely suffered some set back that has wielded him or her unable to maintain their business' marketing efforts. I don't know if it was coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity or some form of cancer, that got to them.

However, I do know that anyone reading this all but abandoned billboard should think twice about actually eating a juicy sirloin from Ruby River Steakhouse. And I'll think twice about how delicious my salad with pears, feta, grapes and pine nuts tossed with raspberry vinaigrette is at lunch today.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Cleaner Burning Fuel

David recently observed that while the average Australian walks 900 miles a year, and drinks 22 gallons of beer a year, that must mean the average Australian gets about 41 miles per gallon.

Now, I don't know 'bout you all, but my rig doesn't get anywhere near that kind of mileage. Not even close. And since there seems to be no end to the raping and pillaging oil companies are willing to do for obscene profits, (are you impressed with my calm neutrality on this subject?) I'm game for something different.

I could drive a Toyota Prius. With "comfortable" seating for five, DH and I fit (sort of) in front, and the three girls could mash together in the back. But where does that leave S1 and S2? DH says my idea for lawn chairs (with seat belts, of course) strapped to the roof top would be too dangerous. I know the boys would be game, and I think DH is overreacting. But, I'm guessing the roof top seating would disturb the car's aerodynamics and depreciate my gas mileage.

So Plan B is to drive an Australian. It is winter Down Under right now, so it might be pretty easy to coerce one of them into coming to Utah. And there must be at least one Aussie that would prefer a sledding party Christmas to a beach party Christmas.

Okay, that may be going too far. But who says I couldn't give the Australian the Christmas week off to visit Queensland, or wherever they may call home? I mean the "holiday" week off. Or is it Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Boxing Day? Whatever.

While being without my Australian for the winter break might be a downer (ha! get it - Down Under - downer), there is an upside to driving one. Mainly, all the beer I'd be storing in the garage. They run on that, remember?

I'm not a beer drinker, but I figure cases and six packs of the lager sitting around, will really give my neighbors something to talk about.

And the possibilities don't end there. If I run out of Bath and Body Works Nutrient Rich Foaming Bath in Lavender, I could grab a bottle of Tooheys from the garage, dump it in my tub, and voila! Pure bath time bliss. Speaking from experience, if you have never bathed with beer, your skin is the one that is suffering.

Ya know, I may be trading in the old berry-stained-carpet Yukon after all.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Who Dumped Who?

In reading Suz50's blog this evening, her not so enjoyable job interview post reminded me of my worst job interview experience.

Several years ago a headhunter called me looking to fill a position at a company in neighboring Idaho. While I was not necessarily looking to change jobs, nor move to Idaho (but then who is?), after the inital discussion, I was mildly intrigued. I agreed to send her my resume, which she explained she would forward to the hiring company.

The hiring company soon called me and as we discussed the position over the phone, I learned that the position would be a significant decrease in what I already considered a scant paycheck. So I declined to continue with the phone interview and explained I was not interested.

A week later, I received a letter from the hiring company's Human Resource Department:

"Thank you for your interest in ABC Company. We are writing to inform you that we have received your application for XYZ Position. Unfortunately, your qualifications do not match our requirements for this position. Your application will remain on file for one year. In addition, please feel free to apply for another position in which you may be interested. We wish you the best of luck in your continued job search."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"A kiss is the shortest distance between two." Henny Youngman

I grew up being taught to abide by relatively high moral standards. As far as chastity goes, even 2nd and 3rd base before marriage were considered inappropriate.

But kissing. Kissing was okay. So I did a lot of it.

However, I wish I had been told the great advice of, "Never let a fool kiss you and never let a kiss fool you." I am afraid I let more than one fool kiss me, and I was fooled by more kisses than I am probably aware.

Since my kissing escapades are too humiliating to discuss here, I'll share one from someone else. We'll call her Cindy, since that is her name. Cindy was raised in much the same manner as I was. And she finished the line, "You know you have kissed too many boys when...." more perfectly than anyone I've ever heard before.

Cindy had concluded giving a lecture at a local conference when an unknown man came up to her afterward. He reminisced, "Hey, I remember you. You were a great kisser!"

The man's identity is still a mystery to Cindy, which she finds a bit bothersome. I don't think she should be concerned, since it is clear that her talent was obviously more memorable than his.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Movie Misconceptions

I come from the small town of Sidney, Iowa. Sidney is home to what was once one of the largest championship rodeos in the United States. For a small town, those are huge bragging rights. I went to Friday night football games to root for the Sidney Cowboys, and attended pep rallys, and school plays in a gym painted with a red and white bucking bronco logo. With the rodeo quite literally in our back yard, we saw many talented cowboys and cowgirls perform each year. While I have since come to question some of the ethics surrounding rodeoing, it was a part of my family's life in Iowa.

A couple years ago, I had a memorable discussion about cowboys with my conservative and sometimes naive parents. Mom mentioned how she saw a preview for a movie she wanted to see. It was a cowboy love story she explained, and she was certain that it would be one both she and my dad could enjoy together.

I tentatively asked if she was referring to Brokeback Mountain to which she replied, "Why yes! I think that is it."

In proceeding to summarize the plot as I knew it, I was careful to emphasize that the love affair is not a heterosexual one. This was vital as I knew such a detail would be important to her. She thoughtfully listened, and while she was surprised she had missed the whole point of who is in love with whom in the previews, she wondered out loud, "Do you think it is based on a true story?"

At this point, my father, who had been listening in on our conversation the entire time, could remain silent no longer. He quickly chided in absolute complete seriousness, "Of course not, Linda! There are no gay cowboys in real life!"

Monday, June 11, 2007

Old Car New Car

I try not to be vain. I really do. But now that our GMC Yukon is finally paid for, it is old. And I don't like it.

The carpet in the back is irreparably stained from a Costco Berry Smoothie. Have you ever had one? Mmmmm they are great! But not when spilled all over the carpet of your car. The guy at SuperSonic Car Wash shook his head in defeat when I brought it in for a cleaning.

The passenger side door features a scratched paint mural that D2 created with a saw when she was three. No, I have no idea what my three year-old was doing unsupervised with a saw. While its abstract nature vaguely resembles one of Chewy's pieces, it has no place on my car door.

And the windshield has more chips than a bag of Doritos.

It isn't as bad as the old Mercury DH had a couple years ago, but it is much closer to the oxidized Mercury Sable than the 2007 Lexus LX470 that I'd really like to own.

Like most of our cars, DH bought the old blue Mercury through a "deal" from a friend. For $600 he was thrilled to have a car to put a ton of miles on with all the driving he was doing between restaurants. So he sold his fine German-manufactured automobile and insisted he didn't care what people thought when seeing him drive around in that car.

I, on the other me crazy, but I cared. However, with gas prices creeping upward, and my growing concern for the environment, even I was occasionally tempted to drive the old blue Sable instead of the Yukon for errands around town. And I enjoyed the irony that when it was loaded with goods from Costco, the car's value doubled.

One day I had driven the Blue Beast to run errands. As I was driving in a parking lot, I saw a friend that I had not seen for over a year. She is the kind of woman that has never been spotted without perfect hair, clothes, jewelry and makeup. Even her children, dog and husband are immaculately groomed. As she drove by in her brand new champagne colored SUV, I waved. She didn't seem to see me, so I waved bigger. She still didn't seem to recognize me.

Then reality struck and I immediately understood why she did not notice me. She probably falsely assumed none of her friends drive 1986 Mercury Sables that barely run, so she did not give me a second glance.

DH's Mercury finally gave out and we replaced it with a new, gas efficient little number. But how long will I hold out before buying a new family car?

DH says we should drive the Yukon until the kids are grown, since it is already broken in. I might be okay with that plan, if we hadn't started over with having a child last summer.

However, even if I could afford the Lexus LX470, how would it look in a couple years, when D3 finds the saw D2 used and creates her own Chewy-like masterpiece on the car door?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'd Rather Be Lucky

My Grandpa Terry has been known to say, "I'd rather be lucky than good." Most often he is referring to how he amazingly dodged taking the Queen of Spades in a game of Hearts.

My friend Abi, posted recently on her blog about how lucky she has been lately. I was reminded of my unheard of luck on our recent trip. This would be out-of-this-world, luckier than winning the HGTV Dream Home luck.

We parked our car in the SeaWorld parking lot with thousands of other cars last Monday morning. I took a bit of cash out of my purse to carry in my pocket and then tucked the black leather Coach bag under a pillow on the floor of the front seat. We unloaded kids and the stroller and took off for an all-day adventure at the park.

Upon returning to our car about ten hours later, we were shocked to notice one of the car windows had been left rolled completely down. In addition we noticed the car had not been locked.

My purse with hundreds of dollars in vacation cash, not to mention an assortment of credit cards and ID, was in the front seat along with the spare set of car keys. We had a variety of travel elctronics including a laptop, a portable DVD player, iPods, and more inside the readily accessible car. Amazingly, all of it had been left untouched.

As we exited the parking lot still shaking our heads in disbelief, I smiled as I read the SeaWorld Parking Receipt: "SeaWorld is not responsible for loss or damage to vehicles or their contents."

Grandpa has never been heard to say, "I'd rather be lucky than stupid," but apparently we were both!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

SeaWorld Wonders

We recently returned from a trip to Southern California. Part of our itinerary included a day at SeaWorld. One of the rides at this theme park is Shipwreck Rapids. Here you float in a raft-like over sized inner tube through waves and caves.

It is one of those rides where you may get a little sprinkle, you may stay perfectly dry, or you could get soaked. Only the Shipwreck Rapids River Gods (and S1 and DH pouring quarters in the water guns along the sidelines) seem to determine your fate.

As I was not in the mood for a wet t-shirt contest, I opted out of the ride and sent D1, S2, and D2 by themselves. Meeting them at the ride exit, after each trip they begged to ride again. After the third time through the ride, they were all very wet!

As we left the attraction I saw two young boys leaving with their mom. They each had an arm around one of her legs and were grinning from ear to ear. "Mom" looked as though she fit in the "get soaked" category of riders leaving the attraction. As they passed by we overheard her oldest boy exclaim, "Thanks, Mom!" It made one consider that perhaps "Mom" had been a not-so-willing rapids rider. Then the small family turned in front of us, and I saw a bit more of "Mom" then she probably would have preferred.

I can only assume that she did not consider that wearing blue thong underwear with white cotton shorts made for an unwise clothing choice, since when they were dripping wet, there was little left to the imagination.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sisters are Like Bras: Close to Your Heart and There for Support

Yesterday we went to Target (pronounced Tar-shay) to purchase the first bra for D1. When we came home, this was the exchange:

D2: Hmmm, you look different.

D1 (dripping with her usual sarcasm): Gee. I wonder why.

D2: You just look weirder because now you have boo boos.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Parting is Such Sheep Sorrow

Because Bart has been clamoring for more missionary tales, and since I've only told one or two, I've got another today. As I have not served a mission, this story is retold from the DH archives.

One particular missionary that served in England with DH was Elder Poulsen. Elder Poulsen was a country boy from Utah, and playing pranks on other missionaries was his forte. He was so evil he made DH look like a choir boy.

More than one unsuspecting missionary had been left in the dust by Elder Poulsen because a bike tire had abruptly fallen off mid ride. Further investigation into the unfortunate accident would reveal that the tire bolt had been mysteriously loosened only minutes earlier. The destruction had most likely been done while the missionary companion had run back into the flat, on behalf of Elder Poulsen's request, for a forgotten leaflet.

Several elders (male missionaries) had uncomfortable conversations with sisters (female missionaries) because they needed to temper supposed romantic inclinations. They had been told in confidence by Elder Poulsen that a certain female missionary had the "hots for them." Of course, none of the alleged romantic feelings had been substantiated by any inkling of proof, which is probably what made the drama so seemingly enjoyable for Elder Poulsen.

Because of his reckless nature, many of the other missionaries were not so fond of Elder Poulsen, and they did little to hide their lack of affection.

Near the very end of Elder Poulsen's two year mission, several missionaries were celebrating his upcoming departure from England. But some seemed more contrite. A few of the missionaries in Elder Poulsen's mission sent him a package shortly before his scheduled departure date.

Elder Poulsen received the package one afternoon in the mail. Sitting in the flat he shared with three other missionaries, he unwrapped the twine and tore off the brown paper. The box of chocolates immediately had the others' eyes, but Elder Poulsen refused to share. He first looked inside at the hand written card from the kind-hearted package-posting missionaries.

Upon opening the note, Elder Poulsen read a sincere message his fellow missionaries had written. Expressing gratitude for his work ethic and example, the missionaries wrote of their respect for him and their confidence in Elder Poulsen and his abilities. They concluded with sharing their love for him and the work with which they were all involved.

Not one to be emotional, even Elder Poulsen was more than misty eyed by the peace offering. Still refusing the pleadings to share from his flat mates, he popped a chocolate in his mouth and began to open another letter.

After sucking on the soft melting chocolate for a minute, a striking putrid taste began to emit from the delicacy. Elder Poulsen quickly spit out the offending treat. Then he looked around. Apparently, having given up on receiving even one morsel of chocolate, and deeply engrossed in their own letters from home, none of the fellow missionaries had noticed Elder Poulsen's half-eaten confection.

In an uncharacteristic streak of generosity, Elder Poulsen threw a chocolate morsel to each of the other missionaries. They quickly gobbled the rare treats with delight, so Elder Poulsen tossed them each another.

Midway through the second round, one of them caught on to Elder Poulsen's inconsistent sharing of chocolates. In a loud gagging eruption, the fellow missionary's taste buds told him the truth about the supposed treats.

When eaten quickly, one could hardly notice, but when slowly enjoyed, the triple chocolate dipped sheep droppings were positively awful.