Sunday, September 6, 2009


Let's talk about obscure talents. A lot of people have them. My dad can untangle necklaces in the blink of an eye - a talent which he got from his mother who is the only person I know who can untie an inflated balloon. My brother-in-law has the uncanny ability of always finding a good parking spot. My sister-in-law has a knack (one that I lack and envy greatly) for being able to judge exactly which size of tupperware will fit the amount of leftovers.

Well, God did not pass me by when He was passing out the useless, unmarketable skills. My obscure talent is coming up with song parodies. I love it. When the radio is on and my children are trying to talk to me I can answer - rhyming too, mind you - to the tune of whatever is playing. And they hate it. I once wrote, choreographed, and directed a 30 minute road show consisting entirely of song parodies from the 70's.

Lacking any other venue through which to share it, here is my all-time favorite parody. It was inspired while I was in Japan where the bathroom light switches are outside of the bathroom and my niece accidently turned it off while I was still occupying it. It goes to the tune of "Strangers in the Night". Enjoy.

Peeing in the Dark

Peeing in the dark, without the light on,
This is kind of hard, I hope I'm right on
the toilet or you'll be, angry about your chair.

Something in the air is rather pungent.
Something on the floor, I'll need a sponge if
In choosing where to pee, I should have used more care.

Peeing in the dark.
It's close to midnight,
but I'm peeing the dark.
And there's no moonlight,
so I thought this was the lav,
Now I'll never have
The chance to clean the stain away,
a spot I can't explain away.

And ever since that night, we haven't spoken
And we're in a fight, our friendship broken
And it is all because, of peeing in the dark.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coolest Book Covers/Mom, Ever

I think there is some universal parental law that says that parents must do things that embarrass their children, especially at school. My childhood cause for therapy was the lunches my mom packed for us. She was a super-economizer, she had to be with seven kids, and she bought the cheapest store brand bread 5 loaves at a time which she'd throw in the freezer. When it was sandwich making time, she'd thaw a loaf and lay one slice of Buddig lunch meat - the kind you can read a book through - between two soggy, misshappen slices of bread. This was accompanied by the aluminum foil mystery wad of carrot sticks, macaroni salad, or whatever side dish we didn't finish the night before. It was better than going hungry, just barely.

My children's cause for therapy is their book covers. I've never had luck with those stretchy fabric covers that schools suggest you buy that never fit or stay on and cost $3 each (four kids, four or five books a piece, you can do the math). So I've always used good, old fashioned, earth friendly, brown grocery bags and a bit of duct tape resulting in a beautifully and sturdily covered book like so: (SS stands for Social Studies)

My kids hate them. They are embarrassed by them, especially my oldest son who immediately doodles all over his with a Sharpie. I honestly think this kind of embarrassment is good for kids. Keeps them humble. But I was met with such protestations this year that the compassionate and creative side of me was moved. So, in the spirit of the brown grocery bag, I used shopping bags from the mall and a whole lot more duct tape to get this result:

I'm now going to have to think of something else to embarrass my kids with. Maybe I'll order braces with head gear for all of them whether they need it or not.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale of Ten Tickets

When most teenagers first start to drive, their parents usually advise caution before speed. Not my parents. Their feet are so full of lead, I'm not sure how they ever board airplanes. Unfortunately, lead in the feet is a genetic trait, but eagleness of the eye is not. That is how my mother, despite her speeding ways, has never gotten a speeding ticket, but I have a record spanning several states.

I thought I had finally broken my torrent of tickets, but my eight years of driving clean was shattered, this summer, by a road trip through Colorado. Unpleasant as the experience was, it gave me time to reflect, like a cheesey series finale, on each and every ticket I have gotten. The result was....disturbing.

1. Southern Utah, 1990: I didn't even have my license yet, just a permit, and I was driving the family van on a road trip with my mother in the front seat looking at the speedometer and saying, "We're never going to get there at this rate".

2. Houston, Texas, 1991: As an incredibly unobservant teenager, on my way to Galveston, I came up behind a slow moving car so I passed it on the wrong side of the road only to discover it was a police car. I was nabbed for going 20 over.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1992: In the wee hours of the morning, I figured I could turn left even though the turn light was red because the streets were deserted. I turned alright, but the streets weren't quite deserted. Dang!

4. Somewhere in Wyoming, 1992: The best thing about getting a ticket in Wyoming is, at the time anyway, the penalty is one dollar per mile over the speed limit. I was out $17.

5. Sandy, UT, 1993: Got nabbed behind the highschool I was attending. Being a student that the school zone was designed to keep safe apparently didn't help my cause at all.

6. Provo, UT, 1994: I hit a Geo Metro when we both started out from opposite driveways into the same break in 5 lanes of traffic. Why did I get the ticket and not her? I was turning left. Left turners have no rights. Maybe I should start lobbying...

7. almost to Utah, CO, 1995: I discovered that it is a policy in Colorado that if you are going more than 20 mph over the speed limit, the policeman is obligated to take you into custody. Lucky for me, he had mercy in his heart that day.

8. Provo, UT, 1996: Okay so this one's a parking ticket. Sometimes you just have to risk it when you're late for class and there's no other place to park. It's just embarrassing calling your boss to tell him you're going to be late for work because your car got booted.

9. Spokane, WA, 2001: On an overnight roadtrip, the book on tape I was using to keep me from dozing also kept me from realizing the speed limit had just dropped. Sneaky guy was waiting right after the reduced speed sign.

10. middle of nowhere, CO, 2009: I seriously got pulled over for doing 77 in a 65 on a straight, flat, country road. I think it's a ploy by financially strapped local governments to raise revenue, so I'll just think of the $164.50 I'm out as my contribution to stimulating the economy. It makes speeding patriotic, in a way.

So speed on my friends, and don't fret the tickets. It's saving jobs, or something.

Monday, June 22, 2009


The summer is in full swing with visitors and activities. The brain is going but the fingers lag. I'll see all you dear, online friends, (all 2 of you) on the other side.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Playing It Close

I don't know about you but I'm not a big fan of these:
Granted, I haven't lost anyone whom I would choose to honor in this manner. But seriously, why would I want to put a tribute to a person I love in the same place people put things like "I have a gun, and I vote" or a decal of Calvin peeing on a Ford logo?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for keeping momentos of people who are more important than anything else in this world to me. But rather than wearing a tight T-shirt that says "I heart my hubby!", I choose to wear a small, simple wedding ring. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve or my grief on my car. I show my love and devotion to the people I love by my actions. Spending time, attention, listening to and applying things they have taught me - not by renting out billboard space.

What do you think?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

You're Going to Have MORE?!

In honor of Ambie's birthday, this post has been inspired by my favorite mother of ten...

One of the side effects of sending your children to private school is that their classmates tend to come from small families. And when I say small, I mean they are only children or they have one sibling. So I am something of a freak with four children and people would just faint away if they ever met Ambie. Even outside of the private school set I constantly see raised eyebrows when I divulge the number of children I have. The one I love most is the people in the grocery store who say, "You are a busy lady!" And I suppose they all think they're the first person to tell me that.

So how do you explain to people who think one child is enough, why you have, and yes, they were all planned for and wanted, a lot of children? Especially when those children are in the middle of fighting, screaming, throwing a tantrum or destroying something, which, in my case, is often.

How do you explain that you want your children to learn to cooperate, sacrifice and serve one another? How there are just some lessons siblings can teach better than parents? How do you tell them that being poorer and less able to provide all the luxuries in life for each child can actually be better for them? That they will learn not to be spoiled or the constant center of attention? Can you really get them to believe that the joy of a house filled with children really does compensate for the sacrifice in freedom, money, and quiet? How do you describe a vision of the future filled with grown children, their spouses, and a host of grandchildren crowding a house for a special occasion?

Sometimes when I see my friends with one or two children - with their unstained clothing, tiny, diaper-free purses, blossoming careers, hair and make-up done, serenity and sanity intact - I feel sorry for myself. But then, there will be a moment, small though it may be, when all four children are snuggled up watching a movie and laughing, or all jumping on the trampoline playing a game, or they all join in to listen when I'm reading the youngest a book - that's when I feel sorry for my friends.

Drug or Distraction ?

It's true, we have finally had enough and have gone to extreme measures to get retrieve what little time there is left after activities and such, with our children. Mind you we only have 3 very short summer months in which to enjoy the wonderful outdoors here in Alaska. I was not prepared however for the dent that no cable and internet would create in my own life. In my mind my teenagers and children are the culprits of computer and tv over use ... not me, still on the first day without the two, I found myself continuously walking over to sit down and log, only to remember as I was sitting that there was no more internet. After that first day I felt humbled and a little like a recovering drug adict. When the kids came home from school you would have thought someone had died. With faces fallen , the kids sat around not sure what to do with themselves but then an amazing thing happened.... we all started talking to each other. It was great ! It felt sort of like visiting with old friends you haven't seen in ages. Still after a week or so of this the fighting started and now I am remembering why I had the internet and tv in the first place.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

MIA, Ambie

The silence of waiting for Ambie to post something is truly deafening. I gave up and called her one day only to discover that she shut off her internet in an attempt to curb her teenagers online time. I thought this was a pretty extreme measure, until I saw a news story about a teen who logged 300,000 text messages in one month! Let's do the math, folks. That's 10,000 texts per day, and about 7 per minute.

Her parents must be so proud - and grateful for a plan with unlimited texting.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

When Good Monkeybars Go Bad

Remember what I said about my kids having great timing when it comes to emergencies? So I shouldn't be surprised when, during the month between COBRA expiring and the new employment health insurance kicking in, I get to deal with this...

clicking "more" is not for those with weak stomachs


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Re-employed...and it feels so good.

Division of Labor: Part II

If I knew what Unemployment Weeks 4 and 5 were like, I would've started with them. Weeks 4 and 5 were filled with peace and productivity as my husband received two and a half job offers -one in Oregon and one and a half in Hawaii. (I know, you're wondering what a half of a job offer is. It's a verbal offer from a direct supervisor who has trouble getting the final okay from the Big Cheese. My husband actually got two of these so maybe together they make one offer.)

After careful consideration - taking into account salary, location, company size and stability, type of work, but most importantly, access to the beach - we have decided to stay in Hawaii despite taking a small (large) cut in pay.

So during Unemployment Weeks 4 and 5, my calm and rested husband was a humming machine of activity. He took the kids to school in the mornings, took on household projects during the day, then drove the kids to their sports and dance activities in the afternoon. I would've felt superfluous except I'm the only one who knows how to cook.

I thought that I would lament the day we had to go back to our traditional, Brady Bunch roles of "mother" and "father", but it actually felt "right". I don't like waking up at 5:45am to drive the kids to school or entertaining a 2-year-old for an hour in a ballet studio, but it is the role by love and the grace of God that I'm supposed to do - and that makes me happy.

...or maybe it's the money.

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