Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's a Good Day in Primary When . . .

So I’ve held a calling in Primary for several years now. I’m not complaining. I actually love it! Every week the kids make me laugh with something they say or do. I am constantly amazed at their ability to make things humorous.

Last week I had some time on my hands during Sacrament Meeting (both boys away and hubby running late), so as I sat alone I pondered what makes a good Primary day. Here’s what I came up with.

It’s a good day in Primary when . . .

1. All of the teachers show up.

2. The kid that gives everyone grief isn’t there that week.

3. Nobody tells you you’re old.

4. You remember all of the kids’ names without help.

5. No projectile vomiting or leaky diapers in nursery.

6. Sis. Lerner brings treats for everyone.

7. None of the kids ask embarrassing questions, usually referring to your anatomy.

8. Parents aren’t upset or complaining about something ridiculous.

9. No fights break out during singing time because of who is sitting where. (I’m referring to the girls, by the way.)

10. One of the Sunbeams takes up some of your Sharing Time lesson to give a long-winded narrative about
their cat “Pooky” that died last night and where they buried it. (This is a good thing---your lesson is much too short!)

11. The kids remain seated instead of running around the Primary room like track stars.

12. The kids sing the words written for a song, not their own made-up version. (“Jell-O, jell-O!” Instead of “Hello, hello!” in the welcome song.)

I’m sure as my years in Primary continue I will be adding to this list. In the meantime, feel free to leave your observations about what makes it a good day in Primary in the comment section. :o)

Photo credit: Corrina Terry
Songbook credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Morning at the Spa a.k.a. The Medieval Torture My Hubby Paid Good Money For

Ever spent a couple of hours at a spa? Saturday I spent 3 full hours at a beautiful spa using the birthday gift my hubby bought me---a Swedish massage, a facial, and a pedicure. It sounds heavenly, right? Well, most of it was.

The massage was wonderful. Anna* the massage therapist told me I have strong abductor muscles (some kind of leg muscle) and that I was very limber. For a 40-year-old mom who runs 3 days a week that made my day!

The pedicure was painless, if you don’t count the strange man in the chair next to me. While his wife was getting her hair done he was getting a pedicure AND HAVING HIS TOENAILS PAINTED CORVETTE RED! I had to push my eyeballs back in my head and choke down the, “No way!” coming out of my mouth. I usually paint MY nails that color of red. No way. Not for a long time, maybe years, maybe never again. I can still see those long toes and hideous man feet with red nails. I chose the color “Foxy Lady” instead. (No comment from the peanut gallery.)

The facial was another story.

If you’ve never had a facial, you’re in for a treat. I had one several years ago when I got remarried. Because I was getting married that afternoon, I now realize the aesthetician went WAY easy on me. No one wants a red, splotchy face in wedding pics. A red, splotchy face you may ask? Why? You’ll see.

So I enter the room. It’s quiet. Soothing music plays overhead. A long bed is set up next to a bank of machines. I have no idea what they are used for. They resemble torture equipment the Taliban might use. I begin to worry as I eye the machines.

Fran* asks me to change into a small towel and lie down on the bed under the sheet. The towel she hands me before stepping discreetly out of the room is so small it wouldn’t hit the knees on my 8-year-old nieces. Oh well, I figure. The lady’s working on my face, what do I care? As long as it covers the basics, I’m ok. I change into the towel and lie on the bed under the sheet.

Fran comes back into the room and begins asking me questions about my skin and myself. Do I drink water? Yes. Do I spend time outside? Yes. Do I use sunscreen? Sometimes. What do I use as a cleanser? Dove. (I answer this one confidently, thinking I may be going the cheap route using Dove, but it’s good for your skin, right?)

Fran makes an unhappy noise and I look up at her (backwards remember as I am on the bed with my head towards her chair and she leans over my face.) Fran shakes her head negatively. My answer to moisturizer made her happy though. (Murad. I should’ve forked out more $$$ to pay for Murad cleanser I guess.)

She asks me if I have any phobias with my hands. “What the . . .?” I think. I tell her no, no phobias. She rubs lotion on my hands, inserts them into plastic sleeves, and then inserts them into heating pads shaped like hands. At first I am grateful because my hands need some extra TLC they are so dry, but later I realize she does this so that I can’t hit her when she’s working on my skin.

She cleanses my face as she explains what I need to be doing better (wear sunscreen, use better cleanser, etc.) and then asks me if I have a phobia to steam. At this point I stop her and ask, “Are there people out there with phobias to steam and having their hands wrapped up? She sighs and confesses that MANY people have phobias about both. Okay, I wonder to myself, who are these people? Why haven’t I ever heard of these phobias?

Back to the steam. The steam is to open my pores. She places cotton pads (with something on them I can’t remember) on my eyes and cranks the steam. I begin to relax. Fran rubs my neck and shoulders as we wait for the steam to do its magic.

Turns out my pores are tight. Unusually tight. They are scrooge pores that do not want to open up and share their dirt. I have to spend extra time under the steam. By the time the steam portion of our session is over I am beginning to think I have a steam phobia.

Fran places even more cool things over my eyes as she explains she is now going to turn on a very bright light (an understatement---I almost went blind even with those thingy’s on my eyes) and look at my 40-year-old-run-in-the-sun-and-wind-and-never-wear-sunscreen-skin. Yikes. What have I done? I cringe with embarrassment.

Fran then uses her instruments of torture to dig out the dirt in my many, many black heads. Turns out I have white heads she wants to dig out too. Oh joy! This woman attacks my pores like I attack a box of See’s Candies. She enjoys it for heaven’s sake! Tears run down my cheeks. I stifle an animal-in-pain cry.

An FYI: They don’t offer you any painkillers for this torture folks. Nope. It hurts. It hurts like heck!!! A tattoo hurt less than this. Seriously. (No comment. I was very young.)

I flinch every single time she pops out one of those puppies. I also realize that covering my eyes keeps me from seeing the instruments of torture she is using and my hands are bound and wrapped preventing me from slapping her hands (and her face.) That didn't stop me from fantasizing about it though.

After the painful part was over, the rest was what I expected---a mask, a scrub, a nice lotion. Overall Fran was very kind and great at what she does. My skin looked fresher, younger, and more radiant when she was finished. I felt and looked pretty good.

Will I go back in 2 months like she asked? Probably not. More like 4 months. It’s expensive and like a birth I need time to let the painful memories fade.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Empty Bed

Warning: I'm delving into serious stuff today.  (And trying my hand at poetry.)

Magpie #24. See if you are interested in reading other people's writing about this prompt.

Empty bed,

Empty house,

Empty heart.

Dreams crushed,



but the morning dawns with hope.

Dishes to clean,

Son to feed,

Clothes to fold,

A livelihood waiting to be earned.


bed is made,

house is full,

heart is healed.

Photo credit: Willow @
I don’t consider myself a poet. My sisters are better poets than I am. This poem is extremely personal to me though. My bed is where I cried for an entire night after realizing my first marriage was over and my husband was no longer the person I knew and cared for. I cried until my tear ducts were emptied---not exaggerating. It had never happened to me before. (And I’m a crier!)

I have tried countless times to capture the emotions I felt that horrible night, as well as the hope that dawned with the new day, without doing it justice. Here I finally feel like I’ve nailed it.

Thank you Willow for this picture and for giving me the inspiration and the opportunity to capture my feelings in print.

I truly believe there is hope even after horrible things happen to us. When one door closes, another door opens.

p.s. I remarried a friend from childhood who had also gone through a divorce. We couldn’t be better matched or happier. :o)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Confessions of a Quad Princess

I don’t know if I’m technically young enough to be called a princess. (Anyone know the cutoff age for princess?) Queen is probably more appropriate for me, but I don’t like the awkward way “Quad Queen” is pronounced.

My husband has very few obsessions. (I’m not at liberty to discuss them here, even if they are interesting and would make for excellent blog fodder. I have my morals and a hubby I love.) One of his obsessions is riding quads. He LOVES his quad and happily rides it just about anywhere when the weather is nice. (Not LV in the summertime.)

Here’s my confession:
I have a few obsessions myself: anything chocolate, reading, Twilight, writing, cooking, running. Notice that quad riding is not on my list. It’s not that I don’t like riding. I really, really like riding, but I don’t love it most of the time. My hair gets mashed, my face gets dusty, and I smell like I’ve been hanging out in a garage fixing old beaters.

Then why, you may ask, do you ride? I’ll tell you why.

I ride because my husband and I bought quads for all four of us to have adventures together. We wanted to give our boys fun memories of their growing up years. Some of our best family experiences have been because we rode. (Logandale Trails---even when you have to bring in your own water---is one of my favorite places to ride. See my old blog posting: The Legacy )

I ride because I enjoy seeing what’s over the next hill or around the next curve. I love the adventure of it.

I ride because we’re teaching our boys rules and respect. (Staying on the trail, no littering, wearing the appropriate gear.) They need to learn rules. Plus it’s good for them to pick up trash inconsiderate people throw down.

I ride because we are constantly learning----about the geology of the place we’re at, the trees, the plants, the animals, and the people who live/have lived there. I love learning new things.

I ride because on a quad you have access to areas people don’t have access to in cars. You can ride through amazing meadows, over red sand dunes, and through ancient forests. A majority of folks out there will never see these places because they're stuck in a car on a road or highway.

Lastly, I ride because once in a while when the trail is smooth and I can go really, really fast---it feels like I’m flying.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot Vegas Days or My Afternoon at the Rec Center Pool

So I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that I grew up in Vegas. I have also lived (briefly) in Hawaii and 13 years or so in Mecca, I mean Utah. (If you aren’t Mormon you may not understand that Utah to us Mormons is like Mecca to Muslims. We make the pilgrimage to Salt Lake City once or twice a year for General Conference and most of us dream of living there, but can’t find a job to sustain us there.)

I consider myself a Vegas Girl. I survived the heat of the summers in Vegas for 18 years before moving away. I moved back almost 10 years ago and am still waiting to adjust to the desert summers.

You need to understand I’m not a winter person either. I loved, loved, loved my college plus years spent at BYU and then working for Covey Leadership Center in Provo, and the 2 brief years living in historic Salt Lake City, but I did not like the winters in Utah. I cried every winter. My body would go into shock. I went to tanning booths, drove home every chance I got, and had some serious winter blues. The last winter I lived in Utah I finally adjusted to the winters. Go figure! (Probably because my body knew I was moving away.)

I’m a desert lizard at heart. In high school I was a runner for a law firm and drove my 1982 Toyota Corolla, without A/C, all over town delivering documents, even during the summer! I was hot and sweaty, but the summers were bearable then. We used to swim and run around outside all day long in summers growing up. Was it my optimistic, youthful attitude or was my body able to handle the heat easier?

A friend of mine has a theory that the older we get the less comfortable our bodies are with extremes like heat or cold. I tend to agree.

The really miserable desert heat of Vegas usually lasts from the beginning of July through the end of September. I don’t count September because I’m back in school all day in air-conditioned classrooms, but July and August are sheer misery. I equate it to my cousins who live in Wyoming and have to stay indoors for the winter or risk hypothermia. (You couldn’t pay me enough money to live there during the winter. I’d seriously die.) Even with good A/C everywhere you go in Vegas, the heat permeates.

We go out of town a lot. That helps, but then I have to adjust back to the heat again.

Water also helps. We don’t have a pool, so during the summer we mooch off of my parents and swim in their pool almost daily. Otherwise we hit the local rec center pool. There is little risk associated with my parents’ pool. Helping my dad keep it free of leaves, dodging my nephews’ water guns, and picking up after ourselves is usually the extent.

The rec center pool on the other hand is scary. You have to understand, it’s my boys’ favorite place to swim. There, amid the germ, diaper, and urine-infested waters, they enjoy the slides, the fountains, and an acre or two of various pools. I am not as enamored with it as they are. I tend to see the bad there. (I know, I know---I need to look for the good in things. I’m not much of a public pool or public park person though. Stems from several frightening childhood incidents I’ll deal with in later blogs.)

The rec center is scary because first of all, I have to go out in public half naked. I feel better about that now that I’m at a nice post baby weight (Finally---I had my son almost 11 years ago!) but age is starting to creep up on me. Despite my best intentions I’ve got spider veins on my legs and Relief Society arms. That crap is hard to hide, unless I want to wear a full-length wet suit. Then I’d look like a polygamist wife.

Secondly are the weirdos. Yes, Vegas has its share. (See my blog: Funny Things Part Deux.)

There are the good mommies. They are nice and clean, even if their kiddos are kicking water in your face and bullying smaller kids. There are the grannies. They tend to group together and float. There are the young high schooly (yes, high schooly with a “y”) love couples. They are a tad too touchy to be tasteful, but being out in a public place in America keeps them from too much PDA. The weirdos I’m talking about are the loner older guys. They scare me. These guys are usually 40+, single, hairy, flabby, and scouting for chicks like sharks for bait. There is at least one loner guy every time we go.

Thirdly are the bathrooms. I wish it were legal to take a picture in there. You’d die. A dark, wet cave in Tijuana, Mexico is cleaner than these bathrooms. I try not to go to the bathroom while I’m there, holding it as long as I can, but then I have to make a desperate run for it or risk the dark blue water in the pool. (A childhood urban legend of peeing in a pool where no one has informed you that peeing in said pool will cause a chemical combination turning the area around you blue or red. If anyone has ever seen this happen with their own eyes, and not in a movie, please comment below. I want details.)

Holding my breath I sprint into the women’s restroom, head for the nearest stall, avoiding both the nude lady showering with the curtain open (WTH?) and the water/urine puddle at the base of the toilet. I can only imagine what that puddle consists of. Straddling the puddle while trying to shimmy my swim shorts down is insane. And don’t even talk to me about sitting anywhere near that toilet. I pray, squat, and aim. Also---the toilet paper is wet from somebody’s damp fingers and there is no soap in the dispenser at the sink. I could die! Literally.

So today as I lounged in shallow fecal-matter, I mean shallow rec pool water, all the while keeping one eye on the shark, one eye on my boys, and gossiping with my gal pals, I endured it all because it’s 117 degrees outside and I need to cool off. Towel anyone?

The Fire Extinguisher

Her 4th floor apartment was small, but she enjoyed filling it with original art and inexpensive antiques. The old fire extinguisher was no exception. She loved how the metal had oxidized, while the red paint had remained. Who had used it? Where had it spent its life?

Later that night she fell in an exhausted sleep. It had been a particularly long day at the middle school where she taught art. Some days she wondered if it was worth it.

That night she dreamed of fires and her fire extinguisher. She felt a persistent need to wake up, but fought it. When she finally did wake up she was groggy and confused. What the heck? The smoke was real!

She leaped out of bed, her heart in her throat as she tried to see through the gray smoke. The window closest to her bed had a fire escape, but as she pulled on the window sash, it wouldn’t give. It was painted shut. She cursed herself for not opening the windows sooner and for not being more prepared in situations like this one.

The smoke thickened. She tried another window and another. All had been painted shut. She turned to try the front door and remembered the fire training she’d had with the kids at school. She needed to touch the door first to see if the fire was on the other side. She laid her palm against the door and quickly removed it. The fire was most likely in the stairwell. The door was burning hot.

Her heart in her throat she got down on her hands and knees. She needed to find something to break a window with. She wasn’t going to die like this. Through the smoke something gleamed. It was her fire extinguisher! Crawling over to it, she took a breath of the cleaner air near the floor and holding it, prayed this would work.

The fire extinguisher was heavier than she remembered, but she found the strength to lift it. She threw it with all she had at the window with the fire escape. The sound of glass splintering was music to her ears.

Mag 23: Photo credit: Willow

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Back Window

I am opinionated. You can tell from the back window of my car (or by asking my husband, my friends, my sons, my students, etc.) See pic below for proof.

I have 3 important stickers.

The first one is my “Y” sticker. For those of you who hate BYU, don’t cut me off on the freeway please. You have to understand that BYU saved me from UNLV. (Don’t tell my hubby this. The hubby HATES BYU with a passion. He attended BYU-Idaho, I mean Ricks, then went UNLV. Now him buying me this shows how much he loves me because he bought me that “Y” sticker for my car and we were already married, plus he drives my car sometimes!!!)

I loved attending BYU, even if the rich kids there were snotty and the super smart kids there were snotty and some of the Utah kids there treated all of us Vegas Girls like we were trashy and nothing good could ever come out of Vegas. (Las Vegas has a temple you know!) The jocks were pretty cool though and the average folks like me, well, we all knew we were average when it came to BYU, so we had a great time. I loved BYU because my dad went there and because it became MY school too. It felt like home.

The second sticker is the “DUMP REID” sticker. I want Reid and his son out of any office in Nevada. They do not represent Nevada and should go back to Washington D.C./Virginia where they’ve been living for the past 30 years. Need I say more?

(Note to the creep in the Isuzu piece-of-crap car with the Obama/Change/2008 sticker: Honking at me repeatedly for 5 miles along the 95 freeway while waving your angry Obama-loving fist at me did not hurt my feelings or change my mind about my sticker. I’ve passed out 40 more “Dump Reid” stickers since then! Ha!)

The third sticker is my favorite. “I drive like a Cullen.” This sticker was also purchased by my sweet hubby. (Note: He has NOT read any of the books, but has been “forced” to watch Twilight and New Moon with me. He didn’t care for them, but survived just fine. In fact, there were times during New Moon I couldn’t get his attention and I think he might have actually enjoyed it.)

The Cullen sticker gets lots of smiles from the ladies who’ve read the series. I still haven’t seen another one anywhere, so I feel special. Many people who haven’t read the series or seen the movies ask me who or what a Cullen is, which gives me a chance to spread the word about Stephanie Meyer’s fantastic books. (Go team Edward!!!!)

Well, that’s it for now. Not much room left for any other stickers, although my sis, Nikki, has filled her window with 3 times the amount of stickers I have and claims she can still see out of it. The hubby says no more, but if there’s a good one out there, I might add it! ;o)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pine Valley in July

We’re spending a couple of days in lovely Pine Valley, Utah, with my in-laws this week. The trip from Vegas to St. George was quick, but after stopping at 6 places in (hot, sweltering) St. George, we were thrilled to finally get to the Terry Cabin. Did I mention we have our two boys AND two dogs with us? (See picture above.)

[By the way . . . I’m not exaggerating about stopping 6 places in St. George. They were:
1) Yamaha store for a quad battery
2) paintball/violins/food storage store for paintball equipment
3) Smith’s to buy whip cream for my sweet mother-in-law
4) Marv’s (my uncle’s awesome burger joint)
5) In-laws house in St. George to pick up some stuff
6) gas station for gas. Let’s face it---we could’ve found about 4 more things to do if I’d had the money.

And the paintball/violins/food storage store is for REAL. I would say only in Utah, but there’s bound to be another one out there somewhere.]

Anyway, it’s a lovely 85 degrees here. I took 2 pictures from their porch. One faces north and one faces south. For those who haven’t seen this beautiful valley, here’s a glimpse for you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Self-Respect, an Undervalued Quality

I might be poor when it comes to my bank account (thanks in part to selfishness and flagrant spending in my 30’s, not to mention a divorce and then remarriage to a great guy, but who also happened to be divorced and in debt.) I have my pride. Not the pride they warn you about in Sunday school, calm down. What I’m talking about is self-respect. Look around. Do you see a lot of people with pride? Self respect? It’s not one of those things you brag about when you run into someone from high school.

If we did it would go something like this:

Me: Hey! Gracie! Gracie Brown! Is that you? How are you? Wow, it’s been like 20-something years. You look great! How have you been?

Gracie: Yeah, it’s me. But who are . . . Corrina? Is that YOU? Wow. What happened to YOU? You look amazing! Have you had some work done girl?!?! Are you still married to that one guy?

Me: Oh, I got divorced four years ago. But don’t worry, I’m remarried now to a great guy. We don’t have 2 nickels to rub together due to our divorces, but we have a lot of love and self-respect.

Gracie: Gee whiz! You are SO lucky! You’ve got love AND self-respect? I wish I had self-respect. I’d give anything for that.

--- --- --- ---

NOT going to happen in real life. I wish.

So while we should have self-respect and pride in who we are and what we do with our lives, most people discount it. They either underestimate it or take it for granted until it’s too late.

Take Lindsay Lohan for example, that poor, dumb girl. Talk about having little to no self-respect and making bad life choices. Her saga is better than a rerun of Dallas! You can’t make up the stuff she’s done. (Just check out TMZ any night of the week and they’ll tell you ALL about it.) She had it all and snorted it, I mean threw it, away. Thanks to her lack of self-respect and the choices she’s made she’s looking at prison time. PRISON TIME!

Can you imagine yourself in prison? Not me. I’d make the world’s worst inmate. There’s no way I could share a cell with some husband beater (who would turn me into her personal punching bag) and no WAY I would survive meal times. I’d get shanked at breakfast on day one. I don’t know how Lindsay’s going to make it through. Maybe enduring those crucial childhood and teen years in Hollywood will help.

Makes my not having a lot of money look a little better right now, huh? Sure, I’d love to have a ton of money and be famous and get to dress up in designer clothes and attend premiers instead of teach teenage kids the difference between a hyperbole and an idiom, but what would I lose? What would my children learn if I handed them everything on a golden platter? What would I take for granted? Throw away? Turn into?

Not someone I would like to be. So I’ll keep my problems and Lindsay Lohan can keep hers, thank you very much. I’ve got self-respect.

Photo Credits

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Funny Things Part Deux

Okay, so I looked for additional funny things to write about and by the time my head hit the pillow only 1 other slightly funny thing happened yesterday. You may have already guessed Josh was involved.

We were at my parents' house and the boys were swimming. It was 180 degrees outside in the shade and after sweating it out in the sun (working on my cancer/tan) I stepped into the pool. Rafts, rings, and other swimming debris were floating in the pool and the boys were swimming (or drowning) underneath various rafts.

Up pops a raft in front of me with Josh underneath. He says, "Alert! Alert! Unidentified large woman entering the water! Alert!"

I lunged for the kid and took him down! (He has a LOT to learn before dating.)
One more funny thing. This one happened today. . .

Some People

I'm at the (ghetto) library with my boys. (We live in an older section of Vegas. Don't judge. It was all the house I could afford at the time I bought it.)

I usually sit with a book in the kid's section (hoping I don't catch lice or some disease) and wait for the guys to pick out their books. (After scoping out the area to make sure it is pedophile-free.) Today was no exception. I sat waiting patiently on the small, squishy couch next to the kiddie checkout area. I notice some dingbat mother has left her large stroller in the middle of the walkway.

People were tripping around it and over it trying to check out books. In addition there was a metal scooter leaning against a couch that was also in the way. Some people have nerve! (I thought this to myself as I looked around and saw no one standing by/claiming these items. I have a teeny bit of my grandparents in me. Think depression-era folks who stop on freeways if they see something they could use or sell. I'm Christian though and know that stealing this stroller would be wrong. Even if my sister, Nikki, with 5 kids under the age of 8 could use it. I resolved to wait and see who claims it. If nobody did I was running out the door with it!)

Tearing around the library was a curly-haired boy about 2. He pulled books off of shelves and threw them on the floor. A tornado had nothing on this kid. I had no idea where his mother was. Neither did he.

He stopped in front of me and stared. I smiled. (I love kids, even rotten ones.) I then noticed his shirt. It said, "My mom is hot!" (Some people! That kid can't read! What kind of woman puts a shirt like that on a 2 year old? Who needs THAT much validation? Sick.)

I swear to you, it was like a movie. Up strutted (yes, like a runway model, but not anorexic) a woman chasing after the wild child. She was not hot to me, however I am a woman, so what do I know? (If my hubby were there I would've asked him for his opinion. He's honest that way.) Her strutting and yelling after the wild child had people staring.

You have to understand where I live. It's Vegas. I grew up here, my mom grew up here, my grandpa grew up here. We are Vegas natives. I am used to ALL kinds of crazy stuff (Mafia kids, druggie parents, rich kids, alchy parents, neighbors who work as dealers, cocktail waitresses or in Cirque Du Soleil shows, seeing Donny Osmond in my sacrament meeting, friends growing up who dream to be hit men), but after spending about 14 years of my brief life living in Utah, I forget the things that really make Vegas unique. I get shocked once in a while.

Can you see where this is heading?

The woman was about 6 feet tall. (It could've been her 5 inch tie-up sandals. I don't know how she can walk on those things, much less run after a child.) She has long, dyed blond hair down to her backside, a small (think uber-tiny) tank sundress on (totally inappropriate for the children's section) and large sunglasses. Her accent was Russian or Romanian or something. I thought to myself, "Is she a . . .?"

Yep. She had to be a stripper or something worse. I don't want to know which.

Can you guess who the stroller and scooter belonged to? Yep, you guessed it. She pulled another kid out of nowhere, (seriously---I never saw this other kid the whole time I was sitting there half laughing and half in shock), plopped little wild child into the stroller and the three of them took off.

Let's just say the children's section was a whole lot quieter after they left.

Friday, July 9, 2010

White Hair & Other Funny Things

In an effort to write funnier things (I tend to be too serious on my blog), I am going to share with you, my (one faithful) reader, funny things I hear today. I will be updating this blog posting until this evening, so if there's only 1 funny thing on my list below, check back later. Wish me luck! (I'm gonna need it.)

1. My oldest son holds a flashlight up to my head. (Picture this--I am seated at the kitchen table reading the funniest blog in the world, on my laptop. It is 9am and I have been up since 6am and haven't yet showered or fluffed my hair. Instead I have been doing laundry, putting dishes away, and reading The Blog o Cheese and laughing until I cry.)

My son Joshua has a great talent of knowing exactly what bugs me and commenting on it. (He's a snarky 10 going on 19.) When it comes to my hair I have dark, silky, shorter hair. However . . . when I was 26 I started getting white strands of hair growing around my crown. I plucked them. Now at age 40 I need to dye my hair because there is sooooooooo much white hair (thanks Grandma Hall) that it makes me look 80.

It's summertime. I don't dye my hair in the summertime. I swim everyday and it would wash that $60 "coloring" Tiffany, the best hairdresser in the world, uses to cover my white hair. I don't have enough $$$ to pay Tiffany $60 a month to color my locks, so I suffer.

Back to me sitting at the table laughing over the Cheeseboy's blog.

My son, Joshua, holds a small flashlight up to the back of my head. He picks through my hair like a lemur picking lice. I hear him mutter something. I ask him what he's doing.

He answers, "Yep mom. I found out where all of your white hairs are coming in. They are everywhere!"

Stay tuned for funny thing #2.

Photo credit: They are 2 crazy chics from NYC who have been extreme hair colorists since 1977.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Early Memory

Hot, the summer sun pours onto my neck and head.

Moisture rains from the hose I hold.

The smell of my tomatoes growing sends me

  to the early memory of my parents’ first backyard,

    a short brick fence and a planter box, sturdy, and

      full of dirt and tomatoes.

I am small, dark-haired, and smiling.

Mom holds my fingertips and dad grins at my progress

  as I walk and touch the rough cement blocks.

The smell of tomatoes fills the air.

Magpie Tales #22 - Photo credit Willow @


I’ve been giving a lot of thought to language lately. Often what people say grates on my nerves. My students at school use a curse word in nearly every sentence. It’s not a biggie to them, but to me it’s the sound of nails on a chalkboard. By the end of the first week of school, they know I do not allow cussing in class and remind one another to use a different word. This usually leads to a discussion on which words are allowable and appropriate and why I don’t curse.

I’ll admit, I tend to drop the s-bomb once every day or so at home or to myself, usually at my clumsiness and due to the trauma my toes, fingers, funny bones, head or shins endure. Cursing is not part of my regular speech though. I usually judge (wrongly, I know) people who do curse in every sentence or speak crudely as uneducated or from a lower social class than I am.

That being said, I am a college graduate without a huge vocabulary. My writing and speaking are fairly simple. I enjoy writing and speaking this way. I don’t put a lot of effort in using big words or flowery speech, probably because I think it’s a waste, much like that extra frosting on a store-bought cake that I scrape off to get to the good stuff underneath, the cake.

Today I read the editorial by Dean John R. Rosenberg in my Humanities at BYU Alumni Magazine, Spring 2010. He impressed me with his essay on speech and how using certain language labels us in the eyes of others, not to mention changes how we think. Interesting. He used a great quote by Renaissance humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam:

Just as dress and outward appearance can enhance or disfigure the beauty and dignity of the body, so words can enhance or disfigure thought. Accordingly a great mistake is made by those who consider that it makes no difference how anything is expressed, provided it can be understood. . . . Our first concern should be to see that the garment is clean, that it fits, and that it is not wrongly made up. It would be a pity to have people put off by a spotty, dirty garment, when the underlying form itself is good. (De copia)

I read those words written by a man several hundred years ago and realized he had the same issue I do. Words create a part of who we are. How we use those words to express ourselves, whether through cursing like a sailor or quoting Shakespeare, we open ourselves up to the judgment of others. We also think differently about ourselves and the world around us when we speak below that which we are capable of.

This article reminded me why I don’t allow cursing in my classroom, why I teach my students and children to speak better English, and why I shouldn’t curse or talk coarsely, even if no one else hears it. My speech is a dress I wear, for all to hear, including my own ears. My goal is to present a clean, white cotton dress of speech to the world. I hope it is clear, simple, elegant, yet educated.

Picture credit “1914 Afternoon Dress,” by Jennie Chancey on April 20th, 2010. Check out their website for other beautiful vintage dresses.