But I AM recommending this

I watched Steel Magnolias for the first time last night, as I waited for Slice to come home from work.
I think it's cliche by now, but I still loved it.
A delightful blend of family and life experiences...
just enough of them to make you think about your own.
Love and loss are all part of the game here, you can play them well, or they will play you.
I think sometimes we forget that.

I've been reading this book for what seems like three years now. It's actually only been three weeks, but it's taking forever because this is not one of those books you can breeze right through. Every paragraph, every sentence, is simply packed with substance. I've never seen writing like it.
Bragg writes about life and death and suffering and love, beautifully, as someone who has seen all of it. His total lack of pretension - abhorrence of it - is so refreshing, I can't even begin to explain.
I've always had a hard time with people who think they are better than everyone else.
(That's probably my favorite thing about living here in Roosevelt.)

Anyway, there are too many good quotes to post here, so I'll just recommend the book.
But you don't have take my word for it! (Did you hate it as much as I did when LeVar said that on Reading Rainbow every time? Oooh, I hated that.)

There you are, a movie and a book. "The both."


not recommending this

Around the time that Slice and I started dating –over a year ago– a mysterious illness manifested itself unto me. The main symptoms were burning, itchy, unbearably sore throats, and also chronic fatigue.
I chalked it up to the late nights, still chilly, that I spent outside with Slice.
(Which happened only once or twice a week - I was in Provo, he was in Roosevelt, and we saw each other mostly on weekends. I guess it could’ve also been from the many hours we spent talking on the phone.)

Whatever the cause, I tried to ignore it. I drank water like a camel, kept a waterbottle by my bed, stocked up on throat-soothing things like milk and Vitamin C drops. I also tried to keep up with my schedule of school, work, homework, church/social activities, and long-distance dating. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, I’ll tell you what.

Spring term came and I was engaged, but still trudging through life in Provo. The sore throat didn’t seem to get better. It would ebb and flow with the weeks, but it never truly went away. So I started gargling. Water, salt water, Listerine. When the pain was really bad I took Ibuprofen; no relief lasted for long.

But the worst part, by far, was being so tired all the time.
I would drag myself out of bed literally ten minutes before I had to be to work, throw myself together, grab a Slimfast and book it up the street. (I pretty much never made it on time.) It was probably more unlucky for me that work was only a five-minute walk away. I banked on it too much.
I yawned through the day, sometimes stealing a quick nap before/after choir, and when I got home from work I always took a real nap. Then I would wake up, eat, call Slice (if my phone was working – which it rarely was), and go back to bed around ten. The next day it would all start again. My roommates probably thought I was narcoleptic or something.
I could NOT figure out why I was so tired all the time.

The day I got scared was the day I was singing in choir, standing up even– AND I FELL ASLEEP. I caught myself nodding off mid-song.
That was when I started asking questions about mono.

Several of my friends had been diagnosed with mono before, so I asked around, but that was all I did. I had a wedding to plan, after all. I toughed the sore throats and finished the term, moved home, and got married six weeks later.

I don’t remember much from last summer. Seriously. If you asked me what I did, I couldn’t really tell you.
I do remember being tired all the time and asking other people about it; they told me “when you’re married you need more sleep.”
I would get up, take Slice to work, sleep for three more hours, and still need a nap by lunchtime. I tried to read for my Independent Study history class, but no matter when or where it was, I would fall asleep before long. It was incredibly frustrating.
(Also embarrassing, because Slice would get home from work and ask, “what did you do today?” “Um…..not much.” What a good wife I am.)

At the end of August, I finally went to see a doctor. I asked him about Mono and he said he’d test me for Strep first. The very first test came back positive, almost instantly.
“You have strep,” he said.
I couldn’t believe it.

The reason I’m telling you this, I suppose, is to help you learn from my mistakes, but also just because I’m wondering out loud.

I think my immune system is permanently damaged.

I’ve had a few colds since last April, among other things, and not one of them has been gone within a week or ten days. Heck, I think they’ve all been two- or three-week deals, with neverending congestion and painfully reminiscent sore throats.

I used to be the healthiest person I knew!
(Like ONE visit to a doctor in fifteen years, to burn off a wart.)

I’m still more tired than I ever used to be, but I’m not sure if that’s from the strep, or just “being married,” or something else entirely.

Maybe my body is still recovering from all those years I ran a rigorous schedule on pitiful amounts of sleep.


Things I am Loving right now

1. my (mostly) clean house

2. green!

3. Amish Friendship Bread

4. This article on big families (apparently mine is mega-sized) from the front page of today's Deseret News

5. this cold I've had for a week - NOT

6. Beethoven

7. Forever Strong (finally saw it last week!)

8. this bus, obviously

9. the temple

He called me from the airport because his flight was delayed several hours, and Slice had my cell phone but he brought it to me after lunch. We had a nice little chat chat.

11. We get to talk to him again in a couple weeks.

12. This kid:

who keeps me laughing by telling Grandpa to "lay off the booze," knowing that Grandma would say something like "I've always wanted to slip him a little liquor! To see if he would let his hair down just a little!"

She never disappoints.

*also he took that picture of himself.


Operation LAUNCH

The time has come.
I have a little something for you.

For a few months now, Slice and I have been working on a project. This project started with this and has grown into THIS. The Other Blog. (And everything that accompanies it.) We now offer it up to you.

Hopefully, we'll be posting there regularly in the future. Don't judge too harshly -- we are just beginners, learning as we go ... and there is so much to learn!

{You'll notice that some are watermarked, some are not. That's because Slice knows what he's doing, and he uses Photoshop to edit. I just play with iPhoto.}
{Which is pretty cool, actually.}

So there's the project, and your explanation. We welcome your comments, suggestions, whatever.


Sneak Peek

I took my first Senior Pictures last night! More to come...


My personal brand of Crazy

One result of getting married, I’m finding, is that you have to explain yourself to your spouse a lot. I never thought I was the type of person who would need to do this. Turns out I was wrong.
Aside from the whole wasting-anything-hurts-my-soul thing, there's these:

I only microwave things in consecutive or repeating numbers, i.e. 3:21 or 4:56, or 1:11. I never punch in full or half minutes. Can I explain that? Not really.

The other night during scripture study, I was laughing and then crying with no real reason to do either. (Blaming it on the hormones…) It startled me, too, really. Such a range of emotion in such a short amount of time! It’s exhausting. Believe me.

Apparently, I slurp cold cereal. (And make squishing noises when I'm washing my hands, but that's not germane to this conversation.) It took Slice a long time to tell me this. First he told me I chomp on my spoon, which isn't true, but at least it brought us closer to the real problem. Months later, he told me the cold hard truth.
Then he explained that his greatest fear in life is that we will someday eat cold cereal in public - any company, really - and I will shame him into oblivion.
I just can't stand leaving anything on the spoon.Link
Now as you know, I really love warm weather. I especially love sitting on my deck in the sun, reading or sleeping, and working on my tan. (Soaking up sunshine, remember?) But when Slice asks me why I’m wearing a skirt to work and I say, “because I shaved my legs” –in all seriousness, because if I shaved my legs you bet they’ll be bare the next day –he gets this grin on his face. It’s a grin that says “I married the quirkiest woman in the universe.” And what do I say to that?

And finally,
You know those commercials where irrational people kick, bang, shake, and otherwise assault vending machines just to get their little drinks out? Or, say, Grandma’s chocolate-chocolate chip cookies?

Those people are so irrational.



Every once in a while something happens that reminds me I am growing old, one short day at a time. It is a sobering thought.
Last week, several of those 'somethings' happened.

Friday night I attended a wedding reception for a good friend from high school. A happy event!! Still, I was reminded of all the years I have watched her family at mutual, church and school activities; so much has changed since we moved in their neighborhood almost eight years ago. I think it's harder to see their family changing -their parents getting older- than it is to see my own. I don't know why this is.

Saturday morning, I sang at a funeral for my next-door neighbor, who passed away on Wednesday. She was a sweet sweet lady.
The last funeral I'd witnessed was my grandpa's, and there couldn't have been a bigger difference. Carolyn's was a small, sad affair conducted right in the mortuary. Her family and friends had hardly a word to say about her. (?!) When my grandpa died, we held a family meeting where we shared stories and lessons learned; it lasted for a few hours.
Still, Carolyn's funeral was a sweet reminder of the things I know to be true, and what great comfort the knowledge will be to me again...
(not that I'm looking forward to that time!)

Then Saturday night I watched Union's Promenade for the first time. I haven't been back since I was in it myself. Has it really been only 4 years?
Kiana looked gorgeous, and I was proud.

Finally, yesterday marked a YEAR since Slice popped the all-important question. (I wrote about that unexpectedness here and here.) I still stare at this ring all the time, like I can't believe it's really there. I can't believe it's all happened. And here we are, a year later.

*One thing I forgot to mention in those posts was that Slice never asked my ring size. He played with my rings often -none of which I wore on that finger- putting them on his own fingers. Little did I know, he was actually logging away the relative size so he could get the right one without asking. So sly.


I tried my hand at Sports Photography

Monday Slice played in a Pro-Pro tournament at Ogden's country club. It was a beautiful course - and a beautiful day. I tagged along, snapping shots like crazy, until I got bored and my feet got blistered. I was also maybe worried about dying instantly from head trauma.

It's so fun for me to watch Slice play, there's a side of him that only can be seen on the course. (Make your jokes here....It's true.) He's totally in his element out there, isolated, cool.
I don't understand it, but maybe someday I will. Maybe.

My dream job

In Henderson, we stayed in a beautiful home packed full of tapestries, dishes, artwork and furniture from all around the world. Seriously, you've never seen so many cool things in a space that small. It looks like a museum.

The owner of this home has a PhD in demography, and over the past few decades has traveled (lived) with his family all over the globe advising governments and businesses on their own infrastructure.
(At least that was my understanding.)

Hot dog!

I didn't even know there was a demography degree, much less Masters and PhDs in it. I guess I figured the science was nestled somewhere between geography and history.

After I returned from Europe, almost every paper I wrote was geared towards demography. Birth rates, death rates, factors that have caused changes in family life are fascinating to me. I studied religions, wars, emigration patterns, living conditions, food. I read about the Turks taking over Austria not politically, but culturally. I wrote about the present phenomenon that is sucking the "soul" out of Europe.

You see, demography is everywhere. Whether you realize it or not, our families (or lack thereof) determine how our society is run. Demography begets marketing, begets business. It shapes world policies in hugely populated countries such as China and India. Some argue it will determine the next world superpower - when the United States has fallen from that throne.
(Did I just say "when"?)

So anyway, I think I have found my calling in life.
Don't tell Slice. I don't know how many golf courses there are in Hong Kong and Cambodia.

My Easter Treats

Remember when I wrote about living in a shoe?

Bella fits in Shaq's 22D.

On Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, we packed up the Avvy for the 8-hour drive home. Lo and behold! What was in the sky?

A sky writer declaring Jesus' love for all who would look up.

Look and live, people, look and live.


Park Here

Kiana took all these while Mom and I slept in the car. I might be going overboard with this collage thing.
(Isn't it cool though?)
These two take after their mother - very photogenic.

Hoover gets such a bad rap

Friday we went to Hoover Dam.

Have you been there before?

The road between Arizona and Nevada goes right over the dam. In the future, however, traffic will soar above the gorge. This bypass bridge is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. I took approximately 67 pictures of it.

This is why we have ENGINEERS. They do amazing things.

The rest of the dam is cool too (Shawna, I thought of you the whole time!), but we didn't take a tour of the inside because tickets are too expensive. It's a good thing we got there when we did; by the time we left, traffic was slowed for several miles.
See Emily taking the picture of me?


Henderson and Bella

I am finally sufficiently recovered to write about the last week's worth of adventures. (And by 'recovered' I mean the house is clean enough to function in, there's food in my fridge again, and my brain is on the right time schedule.)
So yesterday I went through the pictures we took and picked my very favorites ... I ended up with 136.

Don't worry, I will not post them all here - I don't want you to hate me. (Or get bored, which would be worse.) Some will be posted on our other blog* and some will end up on Facebook, but for these blogging purposes I will pick only a few to show. I'll also break up the posts.

As you can see, I picked a seat right over the wing, preventing me from taking pictures any cooler than this. I was fine with that, though, because I love flying. Love LOVE it. I had never flown over snow-capped mountains before (in daylight) and they were absolutely stunning.

My sister lives with her in-laws in a beautiful gated community in Henderson. I couldn't help but take pictures all over the house. Then again, maybe that was because there was so much green! So many colors! Unlike my own town, which is inching towards spring one windstorm at a time.
And of course, I held the baby. She is such a sweetheart. And so beautiful!
She looks like a thinker already.

*I have not yet told you about it. I will soon.


Breaking Spring

Earlier this week I was telling my husband that he's not very good at surprises.

"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, I don't know, you just go about it the wrong way...." I mused. It's hard for me to explain. For someone who loves surprises as much as I do, there is just something about him that makes me skeptical, even irritated, when he doesn't tell me what he's up to.
"Well, you haven't surprised me that much either." He countered.
"Fine, I won't plan another surprise birthday party for you then," I said, "And I'll certainly stop buying you flowers."

This came up because Slice made the plans for Spring Break. All he would tell me was that we were going to Ogden, might be making a temple trip, and would definitely be doing some golfing. I was not very happy about it.

"How did you get off work?? Do I have to take off work? Are you just going to skip class? When are we coming back? Will I need to get a sub for Primary? Should we take our perishing food next door?"
"Don't worry about it," is all he would say.

The Ogden part was fine - although I was still depressed about missing out on Angie's baby - but I got more exasperated with every question he waved off. And even though he'd told me I could find out by looking in the car's glove box, I refused to do so.
(It doesn't make sense to me either.)

Last night we got home late, and he told me we had to leave this morning by 7:00. I gave him the evil eye.
"You won't even let me sleep in?! If I'm getting up early just to watch you play golf, I'm gonna be ticked."
"Just pack." He said.
"I don't know what to pack." But I started anyway.
About this time, Slice left to get something out of the car. He returned and handed me a couple folded pieces of paper. I hesitated, then asked "You're sure you want me to open it?"


Gosh, I'm a jerk sometimes. And I really don't give my husband enough credit.

He is the BEST.

Also, little Bella is a doll.

Turns out, Slice has to work all day tomorrow, Saturday and possibly Sunday. He concocted a (convincing) web of lies to keep me off the trail. All my family was involved too, and it totally worked. "Not good with surprises" my foot.


the next best thing

This is the way to do it.
My mom and younger sisters are in Las Vegas today, with my beautiful older sister who IS HAVING A BABY.

Am I jealous? Oh yes. Holding a newborn baby beats working all week hands down - even taking into account the $$$. (of which I make so much)

However, things could be worse. Ki is in the waiting room texting me updates:

The inversion didn't work

Her surgery is at noon...our time...I will let you know

I guess since I can't be there, this is the next best thing. Thanks Ki!
Love you Ang and Dann! We hope to see you and the little one soon!


Sometimes I wonder just how I got here.

I think everyone wonders this occasionally, please tell me you do. What am I doing with my life? Why did I work so hard, spend so much money, for school (etc.) if I was just going to end up back where I started? How can I keep from losing everything I gained?
{Insert all similar queries here.}

I’ve been asking myself these questions even more than usual. Perhaps only because I spend so much time alone. I hate feeling like I’ve squandered my time, wasted my talent - and I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately.

I will not blame it on the “stifling” small town either; it irks me when people whine about where they live. (If you don’t like it, MOVE.) I'm a “bloom where you’re planted” believer. Our high school janitors are some of the best-informed citizens I know.

So… I was especially grateful for President Uchtdorf’s words yesterday morning. He often talks about lifting where we stand and doing the best we can in our circumstances; I love hearing it from him. I need those pricks every so often to kick me out of my hole of self-pity. I can do a lot more than I have been doing.
Isn't it great how millions of people can listen to the exact same talk, yet each one comes away with a different message? Personal revelation is the best thing ever.


It's a glitch

"Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain."

Eleven pages into Twilight, I can already tell how melodramatic Bella is. (Or how profound Stephenie Meyer was trying to be, I'm not sure.) I was thinking get a grip, girl throughout the entire series. She never did.

The idea, though, has been rattling around my own brain ever since, probably because it reminded me of one of my own epiphanies. I once discovered that my eyes see different colors.

Left eye - more subdued, bluish messages
Right eye - vibrant, pink/yellow

We can talk about my amblyopia later.

Realizing this made me wonder - do I see the same colors everyone else does? How would I know if I didn't? How would anyone know, for that matter? What about those poems we wrote in 4th grade describing colors in "feeling" words?
My perception of reality shifted.

I’ve returned to this concept recently, because sometimes, I feel like I just don’t get things that everyone else does. Things like .... well, things.

I read a LOT of personal writings: blogs, books, magazines, letters. I am always intrigued – and befuddled – by people who write about objects. Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, Furniture, Antiques! I don't understand the obsession. Some of them make me smile (CJane’s odes to her pink skirt, for example), a few make me covet. Most make me think, "I missed Consumerism 101."
I don’t like stuff.

I don’t really follow fashion trends (they’re trends, why would I want to follow them?); I dash in and out of the grocery store, grabbing only what’s on my list. I rarely shop for clothes, shoes, or makeup, and even then I stick to the basics. I never buy dishes or plants or decorations. I find it hard to justify eating out; I hate superstores and catalogs and sidewalk sales.
I guess it comes down to this: I hate spending money, especially when it's not necessary.

The material, to me, is immaterial.
Sorry Etsy.


The best thing

about short-sheeting everyone's beds on April Fool's Day?

They forget every year.

I love it.


The Best Joke

My family has a favorite vacation spot – more beloved even than Disneyland — that we have visited almost every other summer for several years now. Always over the 4th of July, we meet our Colorado cousins at Aspen Grove for a week of mountainy bliss.

I was pretty young the first couple times we went, so when I was finally old enough to sleep in the 'teenager cabin,' I was ecstatic. We’d party all night every night! That’s what teenagers do! I just knew the week could only get better.

One night as I climbed into bed, my feet got stuck halfway down the sheet. I could not figure out why. There was nothing in the bed but the sheets, which were refusing my skinny legs entrance. I struggled for a bit before my sisters came to investigate.

Someone had short-sheeted the bed.

I had never heard of such a thing...we laughed and wondered who it could be. Then we fell asleep.

The next night after dinner, we trudged up the mountainside to our little cabin. We unlocked the door to find muddy footprints all through the cabin (including the loft) and leaves stuffed in the damp swimsuits hanging from the rafters. Later, we found Smarties had been scattered all around and in our beds. We were completely baffled.

Who could have gotten in the locked cabin? It was only unlocked for a few minutes during the day - when one of us would have been around. Was it some teenage boys playing a joke on my sisters and cousins? Had they been watching us to know when the cabin would be open and empty?
I was particularly creeped out, having spent some time alone in the cabin that day as I changed out of my swimsuit and hung it up to dry.

We talked and speculated, waited and wondered. Our parents seemed a little concerned, but mostly they thought it was funny.

It wasn’t until YEARS later that we discovered who had done it - our mothers. My mom and Aunt Cheryl kept their secret for a long time. The little pranksters.

(My mom still laughs every time we mention it. All those conversations of "remember when that happened? I wonder who it was???")

I’ve short-sheeted the beds in my house every April Fool’s Day since.

Now, I told you that story so I could tell you this one.
They're completely unrelated. I just wanted you to know that I'm an expert at short-sheeting.

While I was chaperoning for the dance last week, the teacher I was with told me this story from a year ago. On April Fool's Day she asked her students to tell the best joke they'd ever played. One of the freshman girls said,
"I told my boyfriend I was pregnant....by another guy. Then I pulled up my shirt and APRIL FOOLS was written on my stomach! It was the best joke EVER!!!"

Apparently, the rest of the kids thought it was hilarious.