Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chapter Twenty-Eight

I know I know, why take a week to post a birthday review? Because at the end of Birthday Weekend, when the songs and salutations ended I broke down. Tears of age and I think some nonsensical babble about being old. Now some of you who have passed this milestone (every year is a milestone), you will smirk and sarcastically think it could be worse. Maybe it could, but it couldn't have been better. Before I freaked out I had a nearly perfect snowy celebration, and if I weren't so old I could have gone sledding, something I'd wished all 18 years in Lamar.

To start we visited the Pretty Part of Peoria uptown. This outdoor shopping mall is Utah.5 and makes me feel at home. It didn't hurt that I got to pick out all my birthday presents either. I'm a great shopper with other people's money.

On Saturday we recreated my youth. We had a pizza party! This excites me because there are two different chains that offer GF pizza. A treat that has failed when I tried making it myself. The toppings did not compare to my Grandma's colorful palate, but other than that it felt like home. After eating over half a pizza on my own I continued my glutenous state by visiting the second Pretty Part of Peoria, Peoria Heights, where the local shops held a Chocolate Walk in my honor. Every store had chocolate samples and I think the smile behind the owners said Happy Birthday! even if they were unaware.

We did hit one of my all-time favorite ridiculous speciality stores, Vino & Olio...or something similarly Italian. Anyway I'm standing between a line of gourmet flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Only in Peoria. What I did learn is that you can mix Blood Orange olive oil with Chocolate balsamic and taste a chocolate orange. Or add the Vanilla and Pear with the Blood Orange and drink a tangy creamy cream soda. If you're wondering I spend some downtime playing with flavor mixing there. Just like alchemy.

Due to a snow storm the all-night dance contest was post-poned.

By the time I actually turned 28 I was snowed in and content. Well, almost. I may have requested that all my presents be wrapped with homemade bows. Ha Ha Ha Ha ahhahaha. Skip thought I was joking until I handed him the scissors and tape.

Not as horrible as expected, but 28 has a whole year to screw up or prove itself. Make that six months. I think 29 might need some prep time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December!

At a dinner with some new friends last week a serious toddler asked me where my children were. Instead of pointing to my husband I simply stated that I had none.

"Oh," she nodded and with a light British accent concluded, "you should go get some at the store."

Hmmm...apparently that whole Mommy-just-had-a-new-baby thing didn't catch on. Daniel, you had a similar request years ago. Maybe you could help her out.
While I decided not to take home any children I saw at the store, Skip did let me pick out some Christmas lights. And after acquiring tape and push pins we created a masterpiece. If anyone can guess what the white blob is I'll be impressed. (Think winter!)

 Completely fun and festive once I realized the music playing wasn't my Christmas selection so much as the yoga DVD root menu.

Next I will introduced the English Knowles to a little known thing: Wassail, a holiday treat from his Motherland.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Call Me Murphy

As in Murphy's Law where anything that can go wrong will. My previous post serves to foreshadow the following ten days. When the bank, insurance, whoever crazies didn't accept our signatures we should have taken it as a sign. We should have rethought, revised and determined a new plan of action. Unfortunately when both members of the couple lean towards impulsivity we just scribbled out new signatures and started unloading box after box.

First night: a Friday night, we spent hanging drapes. A, we couldn't find anything (cheap) to fully cover the front window. It now has two different style of drapes that match and clash at the same time. B, the rod for that same window had some extra parts. It's not supposed to, we just had to rig it a certain way so it worked.

Second day: Lost the keys to the FJ and the storage unit. Spent most of the day in a stupor trying to find them.

Day three: Pretty productive and the first night we slept in our new place. Lost the bed frame so we put it on the floor all classy like. Oh, and it's deadly cold outside (finally November weather as opposed to August) and NO HEAT!

Day four: After the heater is fixed it goes out again in the middle of the night. I wake up with snotcicles. We drill through tile to install a fancy shower curtain. The drill bit lasts for approximately 2.5 holes. We had four. The sales personnel at Menards knows us by name.

Day five: Heater guy comes and says he can't fix the heater, but at least it randomly turned on again. Laundry room floods.

Day six: Kitchen sinks backed up and leaking. Dishwasher takes two runs to dissolve soap. Always.

Day seven: Internet goes out. I reprogram, reset, reassemble multiple times. A wire with a short leads to a long and complicated customer service phone call in which the guy never answers my only question: "Do I have to reinstall everything in a certain order?" We do go through the entire process with me telling him, "Dude there's a short in my power cord, it's not going to change anything!"

Day eight: The cable wire for our Internet goes out....seriously?! I asked dude to check on that last night.

Day nine: Trying to install a garbage disposal. With multiple saws, drills and trips for hardware I don't imagine they'll get to plumbing the fridge.

Tomorrow will be day ten. I plan to wrap up in a blanket and have a good cry.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

John Hancock Henry

Right as if moving isn't hard enough I was told that my signature wouldn't hold on my lease. The bank rejected our application and as far as we can tell we signed where appointed and printed where appointed. The advice we were given: "They want that fancy cursive, not print."

When can you tell someone their cursive signature isn't good enough? Now in 2010, when we've ditched the quills, tipped the ink and type all day every day. OHHH maybe we won't have great penmanship in this age. And maybe if it's a signature you accept it regardless if it's legible. (Half of you reading this know you almost complete the first letter of your name and hurriedly scribble out the rest.)

Mine in fact has all letters. Just for fun try it. Breanna Hall. Doesn't look horribly different in cursive.

In the heat of the moment I'd like to go over a list of things you can't refuse.

1. Signatures.
2. A fight over your original eye color.
3. Mother Nature. She's not going to change her course because you want to wear flip-flops.
4. A break up. Watch Aladdin, the Genie says it perfectly--"I can't make someone fall in love with you."
5. Your biological parents. It's a two-for-one special. Embrace it.
6. It's a John Hancock, not John Henry people! American Heritage 101.
7. The fact that this list could've been longer but my hand's cramped from getting that cursive right.

P.S. Later, when I'm feeling cheeky and no longer want to agree to that lease I can honestly say it's NOT my signature.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spooktacular Spinning

No, I'm not holding a thread, or wire. We stumbled onto this scene during a little nature walk (the others took it to be more of a recon project for future hunts). I think we have the huge Illinois spiders to thank for illusion. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pee or Pinch

In all my 18 years living in Lamar (bug capitall of Colorado) I never suffered anything more than a mosquito bite. Really quite a few of those. I had no idea how painfully annoying other bites were. Moving to Utah I put thoughts of unwanted bugs into neat file in my mind called Home. Utah's nickname, The Beehive State, didn't clue me in. Instead I dreamed of honey fountains, and it worked for nine years.

The first sting happened while I held a semiautomatic weapon in my hands. Trying to shoot a can from 50 yards sounded like a good time and was when I heard the bang of a hit. What I didn't know was that as I stared down my target I became the target for a nasty, multiple inch wasp. As it landed on my shirt collar Skip tried to warn me, "Don't move," he whispered. Thinking I had done something wrong with the gun I tensed up for the backfire.


Fiery hot and through a thick polo collar the wasp's stinger barely got me. Ohhh but it itched and suddenly it felt like the temperature jumped 30 degrees. I declared war on insects. They heard my cry and planned their attack.

Five months later I returned to The Bug Capital. Skip was instantly aware of the giant roaches, grasshoppers, flies...and wasps. I was more interested in showing off my dad's green thumb and our aspen grove. Walking barefoot across our lawn I heard Skip caution, "you aren't wearing any shoes."

Double ZING!!!

I looked down in time to see another giant wasp crawling towards the top of my foot. He'd done his damage on the soft side near my arch and grinned evilly before flying off. I wish he'd been a bee and would've died. Weeks later the puncture is healing, the swelling is down and the itch has left, but my foot is dry and scaly.

Now in Peoria I fear a spider will drop on my head or snip at my toes while I sleep. But I was ready to see the beauty in the millions of lady bugs fluttering by. I imagined my bug-hunter nieces visiting with their nets and quick hands. I smiled to myself and reached for a black spotted creature. I watched it crawl up my arm. I drew in a sharp breath remembering that they like to pee on people. And then I felt the innocent ladybug bite me. I didn't even know they did that.

My white flag is raised and this is my song. The war is over.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

75 Days Later

Last night I got a text about a sexy tie. Not the first text I've received on that subject. My youngest brother had the gift of a lifetime courtesy of my wedding: a Sexy Wedding Tie. A tie he chooses to wear to work on occasion. Normally I'd support this with cheerleader style, pom-poms and all. Since he works at the MTC and there really aren't any girls seduce I can only give a golf clap and sly smile.

His text last night held the weight of the supernatural forces of Halloween, love, and maybe even divine intervention. Perplexed by what tie to slip on he stood in front of the closet, closed his eyes, felt a little tug at his heart (after all his favorite sister just moved across the country), reached out and grabbed the Sexy Wedding Tie. If that weren't enough to make your skin tingle he then did some fancy math and concluded it was the 75th day anniversary of my wedding.

I'm not sure he thought we'd last this long.

So girls, here's Dano in his new sexy tie.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Midwest Ghosts

We've been driving and driving and driving. Sure we stayed with friends and family along the way, but the point in this post is the driving and more driving and the wrong turns at the end of our journey (I should not ever be leader). It was the wrong roads, the road food, the creepy truck stops, swollen eyes and gypsy lifestyle that had me on edge. What pushed me over was a scene that could be found in Amityville Horror.

A charming farmhouse near Peoria, Illinois, my new home, looked warm and inviting. The spiders also thought so and decided to move from the newly spun webs on the patio to the bathtub and kitchen. Welcome! or not. As I sat on the toilet I couldn't avoid the eye-level hint scrawled into the wall   LEAVE.

Right. Can do. Can't go. Creepy tree shadows everywhere. Spiders falling on my head. Black cats and bats and a witch cackle drifting in the wind. Spooky! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

At Last

Enter Happily Ever After
A little late I know, but I had to wait for a new, better computer as my trusty Vaio has multiple glitches and Skip was always using his for "work" and such nonsense, like he's a writer or something. Then he got a new computer for work, left the country for 10 days and told me to work out all the kinks. I took that as code for relive our wedding by making a video. And it was good.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grunt It Out

I don't usually like to make fun of others, especially on a public profile such as this where a handful of people might read, but after volleyball this past Thursday I have no choice.

Let's start with a little review of tennis. Watching it on TV you might notice that people grunt, a lot, when they hit the ball across the court. I don't know if it's involuntary or if it's intimidation. Tennis, a weird world I don't understand. Volleyball with its similar ball over the net concept I do, or thought I did.

The team we played against in our first game had plenty of vocalization. "Mine, yours, go, in, out...uhhnechaaa" or in my terms the longest loudest grunt heard during indoor coed volleyball. One tiny girl made that noise  every time she touched the ball. She hits uunng, she digs uuhhhaaa, she serves grruuuhhh, she sets oopphhh, she passes easily uuuunnnhhhh. Except it wasn't that fluid. Reread that sentence like this: She hits, someone sets, she expresses her efforts verbally.

The grunts had a two-three second delay which caused me to laugh hard, uncontrollably and when she served into the net. I think she noticed because the grunts became inaudible afterwards.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Genetics: Recessive and Dominate

You may or may not be aware of the little treat I discovered in my fourteenth or fifteenth year, the Eggtooth. It sits prominently on the right side of my nose dictating that all photos should be taken of my left side. I usually forget that. "I" noticed it when my adoring great aunt asked me about the huge zit on my nose, and should I have something like that looked at?


And so it continues. During times of anger and distress it flashes ominously. Other times it flashes quirkily. And still others it tries to and some pink and blend in as a common bump. Skip kinda likes it, calling it my imperfection on a seemingly perfect face. Although he also called Uma Thurman so ugly she's beautiful. But there's no doubt that the eggtooth is a source of joy for him. So wouldn't be even more stoked if I found another eggtooth?

I'm not sure, but after I noticed Alexis Bledel almost develops a slight eggtooth (it could've been lighting and camera angles and make up), in the final episode of Gilmore Girls I showed Skip a picture of her.

"Wow," he says, "the girl has a huge forehead. Like huge. It competes with my five-head."

Uhhh huh, but look for the eggtooth. You need to see this.

"I mean with out bangs that's ridiculous," he continues. Maybe he would like some bangs too?

And then he spots the almost eggtooth, gasps and spurts out this   "If we have a daughter that's what she'll look like!"

I think that if we time it right our daughter could play her daughter in mockumentary about eggtooths.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cat Nipped

Glancing at the sauce ring on my plate, I thought I knew what happened. I'd excused myself to the bathroom and by my return my steak had disappeared. Skip's smile seemed a little more smiley—he’d theifed it.

"You stole my steak!" I exclaimed.

"No I didn't," he answered.

"Then where is it? I didn't eat it, and it no longer sits on my plate," I said. Not that I really minded, but I did find it funny that he'd take it. On the last night of our over-the-top honeymoon, our hotel treated us to a four-course dinner. They tried their best to smooze and delight us. We got stares from other guests trying to figure out who we were. We were the representatives of a luxury magazine.

Skip managed to work magic and get us a penthouse suite, dinners at the top restaurants on the island, spa treatments and a scuba diving tour. So while we honeymooned he worked a little, which translates to people falling all over themselves so we'd be pleased.

Unfortunately the steaks failed every time. Skip ordered off the menu one night and got an over cooked slab. Now at our fancy special dinner my steak had been swiped, and not by the obvious suspect.

"I saw a flicker of movement while you were gone," he mentioned.

"A flicker of movement? As in a ghost? Voo-DOOO?" I smirked. He really thought I'd fall for something so lame?

I was about to reply with more sassy, smart-mouthed retorts when I saw the sauce trail. It jumped from the perfect circle on my plate to drips along the low courtyard wall. Leaning over I saw a grey cat. The third I'd seen that night, a brown cat had been sneaking around earlier and a black cat meowed at my every meal. GRRRR...I squinted at it chomping away on the last quarter of my filet mignon.

Luckily we'd just watched a vampire movie where the cats attacked people who'd been bitten. Picture 20 cats hissing and biting and licking a standing woman. Or the old Batman, where Michelle Pfeiffer falls out the window and the cats revive her. It was creepy like that, that rangy grey cat giving me the evil eye while it finished my dinner.

The managers were beside themselves, explaining that they carted off cats every week and more just showed up. I guess that means their vampires are under control.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Storybook Endings

Ahhh love, and marriage, and goodbyes. Along with the rush to the altar was the rush to make some important life decisions involving a possible cross-country move and a semi-permanent full-time job. (Those of you who know my job history can whoop and hollar. The rest of you: my jobs have been plentiful, I was laid off twice within two months and at one point divided my 90 hour work week between five jobs.)

As it stands we're making the move and I've committed to the almost full-time status for the next four to eight weeks. In doing so I ended two with two of my clients this week and ended my Disney Fairytale Princess titles.

You may remember my 15 minutes as Snow White which still invokes giggles. What cemented my Disney fate was my wedding dress. Many dress shops opened their doors to my frantic pleas. Many shopkeepers and sales ladies insisted that each new dress fit better, looked better and brought a light to my face. And I believed them all, also believing that my new career would be wedding dress model. Until one lady told me that the best part about my dream dress (the only dress I purchased) was the way it cinched my waist, you know so I wouldn't look fat.

"I've seen many girls skinnier than Breanna."

Ouch. Still hurts.

All that needed to be done were some simple alterations. A tuck at the waist (even my fuller figure needed a smaller size) and some sleeves added. The sleeves I constructed looked great and also like something from the closets of Belle, Jasmine, Cinderella or Auroa. DISNEY it screamed while I bit my lip and decided if ever I should feel like a princess my wedding would be it.

Four days later I showed up to work and instantly had to recap the event with my client, a ten-year-old boy. His mom stressed my beauty and the ceremony, the significance of a husband and wife. The boy? His face lit up as he called me Tinkerbell.

I'm just saying that if we miss the road to Peoria I might zip down to Disney World for auditions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Somebody Already Got My Number

In the rush of the morning I left my engagement ring in a dish by the sink, it's hard to slip it back on when my hands are covered in spf 50. And maybe if I hadn't been late to work I would have gone back and put it on and stopped a young man from ultimate humiliation.

As it was I didn't and he was. For work I take one of my client's to cash a check about every other week. We've been doing this for a year and have some friends there. None whose names I know, but I recognize their faces and they know my client well. Today happened to be a bank day. We strolled in, did our business and stepped back out onto the warm street.

"Excuse me," said an unfamiliar hesitant voice.

I turned to see some guy half looking at me and half staring at his feet holding a folded piece of paper out to me. I reached for it wondering what could have fallen from the purse of my client.

"The thing is..if you're not busy..maybe you could call me sometime," he said. Glancing at me he continued, "I think I have a crush on you."

"Oh," I replied. "Dude I'm getting married on Saturday. I just forgot my ring this morning."

He immediately began walking backwards and mumbled a congratulations as he turned to the building.

I tried to place him as a teller, a loan officer, mail carrier, but the plaid shorts and striped shirt gave no indication of any position. Perhaps just another bi-weekly patron? I'll never know as I'm sure he'll never have the courage to approach me (possibly any female) again. Still I couldn't help but be slightly touched by the sweetness of the gesture from an obviously painfully shy boy.

When I mentioned this to my fiance he remarked, "good thing he was sweet. Had it been me I'd have told you 'Oh good so we still have three days' or 'That's awesome that I'm going to be the last guy you ever make out with' or 'Good so you still have three days among the living, there's still time to save you' or 'I know a cry for help when I hear one' or 'You know that's the leading cause of divorce'."

Hmmmm....did I mention that SK spent the last week in a foreign country? Just glad he decided to show up for the ceremony.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cursed Crooked Sailors

It's hard to tell someone they're right. And in this case I have to tell two people, the Skipper (Erik, our sailing captain) and the Skipper a.k.a the future Mr. Breanna Hall. Guys you were right. First, when you told me that if I didn't sit on the side of the boat when it tipped I would plunge head first into the water only to be saved by the brevity of the air gust. Second, as soon as you dropped me off on shore and ran over me for good luck the wind did indeed pick up and you had the best runs of the day.

Sailing taught me a few things:

I don't need to know more nautical terms than Ben Affleck taught me in the Voyage of the Mimi. Starboard, Port, Mast, Sails will suffice.

Big mast, small keel, we should fly across the water, if ever a wind blew in the Rocky Mountains.

Taunting the wind works if you also sacrifice one rider, preferably the cute one, and ditch her on land (just glad they didn't throw me overboard, which they tried unsuccessfully due to the lack of coordination in their freezing fingers).

The captain should check all rigging I performed, especially anything involving a strap.

The super fast speed of the racing sailboat cruised past the motorboats but was upset by the lightning fast catamaran from Asia, or the Islands, or our next door neighbor. It's a mystery, as is how they passed us.

Hypothermia sets in before you realize it.

The best time for storytelling occurs as the sailboat eerily turns in slow 360 degree circles while we wait for a breeze or a tow, anything to get us moving.

There is some confusion about a boat and a banana and an old curse.

When your finance pounds you on the back having too much fun with your foam padded lifejacket, do not retaliate, Karma dictates that you will ram your forearm into the nearest cable taking a swing of your own.

The Greek Afro curls innocently in the ocean spray.

Scrambling across the boat while diving through ropes and under the sail with an 18-inch clearance is best done by a small child or a 200 lb. gorilla man.

It takes a few days to recover physically, after the cold and fatigue have your muscles do the sewing machine and your bum is sore from riding the gunwales.

And finally, a magazine staff makes the transition to a perfect crew flawlessly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two-Year Learning Curves

Some people naturally catch anything you throw at them. Some of us need a big welt on our heads before we learn to place our hands in front of our face and close when the flying objects touches our palm. And it's still painful. Imagine the struggle when you have it down, life is great and the wind flies through your hair. Then you put your bike away for the cold, snowy, icy winter, take your bike out in the spring and realize you forgot how to ride.

That was me, age six or so, embarrassed and horrified because the first year I learned involved a horrendous accident ending in a summersault through a sticker patch and a thump on a log. Traumatic. Obviously 20 years later only a bright blue hard tail mountain bike could make me happy.

At least I was happy when I tried my first too long ride in the city and the tire kept deflating. And I gladly smiled when I realized if I completely took my bike apart it barely fit in my emptied car trunk. When I nearly flew off the front, I frowned, scrunched my nose and stowed the bike against the bedroom wall. Every weekend found some disaster to prevent me from learning.

Summer's back and the bike's out, possibly at the urging of a natural bike pro who enjoys hurdling down and through narrow rocky tracks in the quakies.

We rode the gondola up the Canyons so he could ride down and I could walk my bike. Actually the gondola wasn't enough and we rode a ski lift up to the very top. Well the very top after we climbed a few hundred feet. A glorious climb if I might acknowledge the grace and style and speed of the novice (ME!). While Skip maybe felt out of breath and light headed on the uphill run, I found that by holding my breath and closing my eyes I generally made it to the next stopping point and a little oxygen deprivation keeps you sane.

It also wears you out and makes the muscles in your neck pop out. Creepy, yet effective as I am here to type it out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paper Mache Giraffe

In my eighth-grade art class we made paper mache animals. I chose a sea turtle. It was great and fun and I spent countless hours painting dots on the turtle's back outlining it in blues, greens, yellows, oranges. Thirteen years later I read a fictional-contemporary-history on an ex-president's wife's life. Go ahead a reread that. It was based on Laura Bush, who, in the book, spent a summer making paper mache animals for her school library. I guess that makes me an expert on paper mache animals.

I shared my expertise causally with SK the other day. We just had brunch at a small diner in Sugarhouse and I felt a throbbing need to get home quickly. Sometimes the water just runs through you. So as he saunters down the sidewalk and I pull at his arm in a frantic effort to rush him along, he starts spying. He peers into cars as if he thinks a dead body will appear, more likely a set of antlers. And there it was, a spectacular display of art crammed into a tiny hatchback car.

"WHOA! What is THAT?" SK exclaimed.

"Hmm, what? The paper mache giraffe? Yeah, we'll make one sometime. Great. Keep moving," I commanded.

End Scene One

In the immediate aftermath of my exclamation, Skip looked at me with a mixture of awe and confusion. He thought it looked nothing like a giraffe, but after I told him that and he stared at it (which he did, increasing the pressure to my bladder), he decided that in some avant garde way it possibly could have resembled something close to a giraffe. There were some color similarities. And I just zoomed in on the horns. Weird.

End Scene One again.

A week or so later we did a walk through for our apartment. When I say walk through I mean that we did a detailed checklist of all the furniture, art and knickknacks in the place. These are to remain intact throughout our inhabitation.

Rugs, African heads, Thai necklaces, bamboo skies, oars, twig chandelier...I'm yawning and slightly freaked out by the size of the list. And then I spot Paper Mache Giraffe. I whipped my head looking for the masterpiece. No giraffe. Maybe I was in the wrong room? No, 1024, right where I was. I looked again and bit my lip. There was an animal head on the wall. It was gourmet paper mache, and a zebra. How did I know? Not the white and black stripes  the lack of horns.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Snow Snow Go Away!

I get that global warming has the seasons all screwed up, but the key word is WARMing. I thought that meant I'd be pulling out the shorts a few days in December, bundle up for January and February, and back in flip-flops by March.

Not quite. We took a little Meet the Fockers road trip to Denver. (Literally if you know those movies he met the parents, I met the Fockers.) On the way there we had to drive over Vail Pass late into the midnight hour. A huge blunder in the winter but not a definite worry in late May. Whoops. We drove through a spring storm. As Skip cursed our luck I kept thinking my brother Phil would've killed me, and also would have checked the weather.

A few sunny and warm days in Colorado and we were back on the road. We got another late-ish start but figured we'd be fine since Vail would be conquered during the afternoon heat. And we were until the midnight hours in Spanish Fork Canyon. What started as rain left a white blanket covering the flowers.

My motivation for the day died when I woke up this morning knowing that I could not wear shorts and snowboard season ended months ago. Global warming? Not all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wipe Out

Still doing respite care and getting a feel for my new neighborhood. While sitting in the front room interneting and such I repeatedly hear a motorcycle screeching by.

I look out the window. Dude zooms by on a white dirt bike. A few seconds later dude zooms by again. And again. And again. And again. He's wearing cargo pants, a t-shirt, baseball cap and a bluetooth earpiece. Curiously I spy some more.

At first I thought he was just trying to learn how to ride, then I noticed he was lifting the front tire off the bike. Just a small lift, then a little lift, a bit bigger now. He's gone. He's back. He's gone. There goes a pedal-pusher, poor sucker because my dirt bike friend is back.

It's mildly entertaining, moderately annoying, and hella trying to impress the cute blonde that emerged from the house next door.

There she stands. Here he comes. Up goes the front tire. Down goes the seat. Off goes the boy. "Ouch!" goes my mouth.

There goes the girl. There goes the boy and bike.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Surviving Sugarhouse

Status update: I'm currently doing respite care for one of my clients. Meaning I'm spending a great deal of time in her house, an older house with charming vegetation. Beautiful tulips, a large pink blushing, blossoming hanging tree, blackberry bushes and more. Most of the windows lack screens and that alarms me.

Coming from Lamar, CO, capitol of bugs, I wince at the thought of anything with six or more legs. Even four can be too many. Screen doors, screen windows, screening phone calls...all important as they keep the unwanted away. Luckily Salt Lake lacks the bug population of Lamar, but it doesn't lack in the creepy crawlers.

Spiders. Eeek. I have an irrational fear of them that sprouts from an unfortunate watching of Arachnophobia. My dad called it family bonding, I called it torture. As it turned out I was right, being plagued with nightmares for years.

Those nightmares came crashing into the foreground tonight when I walked up the narrow steep stairs to the attic bedroom I'm sleeping in. Thank you Flowers In the Attic for my irrational fear of attics. So there I am facing fear of attic when I flip on the light to face fear of large black spider speeding towards my toe. I suppose I'm thankful that this was a freeze fear and I was unable to scream. I did mutter some strange guttural sounds in gasps.

I grabbed the first shoe I could find (I only feel right about killing spiders with shoes. They offer enough distance and usually you can't see the guts afterward.). Then I jumped on the chair close to the spider, which by now had a not-so-irrational fear of me, and talked myself into throwing the shoe with a skilled and marked aim. Success! The little sucker curled up into a dead spider position.

Failure! Something soft a furry slid onto my foot at the exact time and I screamed to tears. Up in the attic, locked away, where my mother would never see me again.

I looked down to see a pillow grazing my foot and my dead eight-legged friend still curled up in despair. He deserved a solid beating. I picked up the shoe again.

What happened next may have been savage, but it was necessary.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Little Psychotic

With a new engagement and a wedding looming many people ask how we met. It’s fun or embarrassing to admit that we met when I was a lowly intern and he a hot-shot editor, that is the black and white story. Some stories have more depth, more daring, more delusional psychotic history.

Recently we hooked up with our new landlord at a bakery. Instead of ordering a pastry or treat, we just sat there in a semi-awkward silence. It was weirdness we had noticed when we’d viewed the apartment. Skip’s usual ice breaking tactics didn’t not work, but they didn’t really work either. As we left the condo we both commented on the social differences. And by differences we meant that they lacked in being cool, and quite possibly they had a similar thought about us.

Leave it to me to really ponder this, I went as far as placing one spouse on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (eye contact is important people!). So when I found myself sitting across from the husband while Skip read and reread and signed and read the documents it seemed like I should investigate. I attribute this general curiosity/nosiness to my mother. After he asked about my engagement and wedding I turned those same questions on him; well not exactly but I asked how he and his wife met. ICE BREAKER.

“We met in a psych ward. She was a nurse and I was a patient.”

Wait, what. That’s how my parents met! I wish I could say I played it cool and listened to his story but I started hyperventilating, choking on water as a sputtered out my laughter. Back in their BYU days my parents worked at the psych hospital. And while they both worked there my mom gives that same line to people who ask how they met.

“I was a nurse at the psych hospital and your father was a patient.”

My new landlord told me story after story of the kids he worked with, he did more recreation therapy, something current in my own job history.

When we left and Skip encouraged my social skills (usually he’s doing the talking and I’m politely silent, that does not mean I don’t know how to interact) I decided that every woman must have their own little psychotic to love.

From now on when people ask how we met I will say, “We met at a psych ward. I was a nurse, he was a patient.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Closing Day

Instant recap: It's taken oh-so-long for me to learn how to "snowboard". In fact, depending on the day and who's feeling sorry and loving towards me it can be said that after 3 years I still don't know how to snowboard.

I do know how to fall with style, just ask the guys at the Canyons. I slipped off the lift and hung suspended in air for a bit until my shoulder popped, dislodging me and I proceeded to do flips and ninja my way into a standing position. I even offered a few fist pumps into the air. It seemed appropriate for the applause I received.

Now at the end of the season I have a wonderful thing to tell. Yes, I still struggle to point the board downhill—speed is not my thing. Yes, heights terrify me and I have a few choice words for cat trails, steeps and people flying by me. Yes, much like fusball Heelside is da Devil! And linking turns for me means coming to a stop and switching directions. I think I can hear my family weeping softly in their homes wondering how I lack all athletic skills.

Good news family. While I'm a dork strapped into a board and failing around in my straight jacket, I fail beautifully in any direction. I have no dominant foot. I profess to be goofy footed but really can ride switch just as well (almost). And on the last day of this season I had a rare moment of courage, also known as stupidity.

I pulled some tricks. My Ollie ain't bad, and it ain't good either. More impressive was my jump. I launched into the air and feeling nostalgia for my brief cheerleading career threw my body into a spread eagle. It worked, I totally landed that...on my stomach pancake-style. After carefully grooming the trail for the next kid I did my patent ninja twist onto my back, then back onto my stomach because that's how I get up. Slight concussion? Perhaps, but I prefer to think of it as exhilaration after conquering the mountain.

Definition of conquering the mountain: getting beat up while beating up the snow and doing a victory dance afterwards, even if no one is there to see it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This actually happened a week ago, but I'm about to be faced with the same dilemmia of using my cell phone while watching a movie in the dark abyss of a dollar theatre.

Probably you as the reader and fellow champion of law abiding behavior scowled and rolled your eyes over that last comment. Who does that?! you thought unwilling to read further and unable not to quit. I do that just as you most likely check a text when watching a semi-interesting movie in the darkened comfort of your home entertainment center. 

But you are right about one thing  it was wrong. So wrong, in fact, that a movie steward a.k.a. Hater of FUN instructed me to turn of my phone. I immediately jumped and threw my hand toward her face, for all I knew the Shadow Man from the Disney movie had somehow found my unaware. 

And before I could comment on the fact that there were exactly two people in the theatre, my companion and I, the moviemonger manager had disappeared...into the SHADOWS.

So I'm going back tomorrow and if I am one of two people in the theatre I will pull my phone out and use the flashlight as a warning to the staff.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You Don't Know Me

I'm about to blurt and you're about to read it. He's trying to engage me, not in the ceramics-painting-art-is-fun-way or the you-will-learn-to-snowboard-without-injury-way but in the lifelong-teamwork-have-my-babies-way. I blame my cousin Kellie's farewell where he developed baby lust after looking at my little cousins. Just glad he didn't try to take one home.

So in this new life adventure I'm supposed to help procure the most amazing jewelry commitment. A ring I will wear everyday for the rest of my life. It's got to fit every situation and outfit, not only for my current lifestyle but for all fashion and career choices in my future. Terrifying task. I know diamonds and gems are timeless now but in 10, 20, 30, 40 years will that hold true? Probably, it's the golden anniversary I'm worried about. I'll be creeping on 80 and the last thing I'll want is a huge slab of weight on my finger, instead I'd like a cozy crocheted knuckle warmer.

This one decision has kept me up long nights and given me ulcers, until I stumbled on a ring quiz developed for the guy who wanted to capture an unsuspecting girl. I figured I'd let the professionals find my perfect ring and all I had to do was answer four simple questions about me.

Who knew I'd fail? I took, retook and mathematically tried every possiblity ((f)x:4!). Each time a beautiful diamond ring I'd slit my wrists over flashed before me like a punishment. He took it one time and sent me proof of his A+, a ring nearly identical in design to what I'd said I liked.

Question one: dream getaway? outdoor adventure, uptown venues, beach. Umm...what is it I like. I've done them all and loved them all so I sat stumped. It's not like there was only one such getaway that I spent my savings on.
His correct answer: beach

Question two: shoes she always wears? athletic kicks, stiletto heels, bare feet. Hmm. Love heels. Barefoot gives me blisters. An athlete I'm not. I tapped my Vans covered toes on the floor debating between bare and heels. Never mind the brown skate shoes I take off every time I go to someone's home.
His correct answer: athletic.

Question three: favorite concert? loud wild boy music, soft slow snoring music, or Breezy music. I got this one because in the example they listed one band whose concert I've been to and another that I have both alblms of.
His correct answer: Underground indie.

Question four: celebrity style? casual, trendsetter, fabulous. No clue. I don't know what my lack of style is. So I decided that all the Gap clothing forced on me by my sisters years ago defined me—casual. Wrong. And those designer gowns I strut around in made me feel fabulous. Wait, no longer in high school trying on prom dresses. Instead I take cues from rock stars who throw on weird accessories and dark colors.
His correct answer: trendsetter.
The Ring

Finally an approximation to the perfect ring. But it's not because I had already found my perfect ring. Others might not see the 4c's but those who know me will fall in love with it (for me).

Maybe you do know me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear Body

You seem to have forgotten some basic rules so I'm refreshing your memory on "normalcy".

When fifty blankets cover you it is OK to stop shivering,. Really, midnight is not the time to burn the extra calories.

Speaking of calories, I'm fine with leaving food in the digestive tract for digestive purposes for two or more hours. It takes more than that for you to grab the nutrients and use them accordingly. I find you, you gain strength. Anything else is unacceptable.

Water rentention is welcomed in the desert...I'm just saying.

The retainer straightens your teeth. It is not a jaw-locking mechanism.

Bloodshot eyes do not become you. Right back to that whole hold in the moisture thing we were talking about. Oh and maybe the late nights begat early mornings thing.

Just a reminder that you will be here in 50 more years and there will be more chats if you don't control yourself.



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Declaring War

And I ask, snowball or spitwad from Mother Nature?

Snowball-ish. I volunteered my cracked and soon to be replaced winshield for the ultimate snowball test. Or I just didn't want to be hit with it because the person throwing it could easily throw a piece of ice at me without hesitation.

Splat. I laughed. I tried to wipe it off but it was a little too high for the wipers. So I decided to let it melt. Only by letting it melt I let it dry. With in the snowball was a napkin, old tissue, I'm not really sure but it stuck to the windshield like a spitwad. Stuck there for days.

Until my super-fast driving on the windy canyon roads began to lift the corner. Just a bit. Then a bit more and finally on the fourth day the wind ripped the spitwad right off. Later that night a small snow shower cleaned all evidence of the mess.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Painted Tips

 First grade has served me well and prepared me for my debut Valentine's Day on which I convinced/inspired Skip to throw age to the wind and get down and dirty by painting clay. And since neither of us is particularly skilled with a pencil (although I did create an all-time heart) we painted with our fingers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ghetto Stakeout

If ever I needed to train for something it was probably last night's stakeout.

Living in the ghetto presents unique opportunities for personal growth. Qualities like stealth, sneaking, sprinting, sign language, martial arts, self-defense, tantric breathing to warm your body in the sub-zero apt temps. I appreciate these challenges but I'm a little more Chuck Bartowski (without the computer chip brain) than Sydney Bristow. And if you don't watch crazy, romantic and satirical CIA teledramas I'll give you a run down on my spy achievements.

Stealth-Black is the dominate color of my wardrobe.

Sneaking-My joints pop about every hour, that means I have 59 minutes before I get caught.

(Real spies know the difference between stealth and sneaking)

Sign language-Employment has saved me since I know about 15 actual kindergarten signs for food, polite phrases and nouns.

Martial arts-Tai Chi. Took a class in college, watch out.

Self-defense-I can run, although not sprint.

Tantric breathing-That Tai Chi class alternated with yoga and we did learn to do a warming breath although I find that hyperventilating and passing out works just as well.

Now that you know I'm qualified to be running my own secret ops in the Murray Ghetto I'll tell you how it went. The reason for the stakeout was a misplaced phone charger. As I have a car charger I decided that it would be effective to charge my phone in my car. Unfortunately that required me to leave my keys in my car, the car turned on and the doors unlocked. To make sure no unsavory creature tried to open the car door and drive away I parked my car in front of my apt., ran up to my bedroom and sat in the dark staring out the window.

The staring grew old real quick and I turned on my computer. The blue light emanating from the screen was a little too bright and dizzying, even at its lowest setting. The only thing left to do was to grab my keys and spontaneously hit the panic button, especially as unsuspecting persons walked by.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Three-Year-Long Goodbye

I have a love hate/relationship with running. I hate to love it because, frankly, I'm not good. In fact I boarder the painful-to-watch category of runners. But it does give a certain release and freedom of mind, a tiring of body that I need and can't find elsewhere.

And a few years ago it became mandatory, and then shortly after impossible as I failed to train properly or eat properly or sleep...So I got a pinched nerve that caused a bulging disc that disrupted my neck and shoulder that popped out my hip that randomly and awkwardly rotated my other hip that incurred a bruise that lead to a bum running knee. Did I mention the bloody blisters?

I wanted to continue through the pain (read I'm willing to wait it out and begin again) but my only running supporter gave up. She no longer follows my tweets. I think it has something to do with the lack of running I've maintained.

Or maybe it's the lack of tweeting.

Running I love you! And I'm willing to wait out the pain. See you in a month.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wes Craven Lives in My REM Cycles

I wish it weren't true but I do know how long he's been there--since before I can remember. I know this because every week or so when I do get enough sleep I have nightmares. Nightmares on Memorial Drive, Nightmares on Woodland, Nightmares in Deseret V Tower, Nightmares on Damsel Drive...

The most recent of which involves the reoccurring theme of my hometown and a serial killer that I can identify. Naturally that means he wants my head removed. Fortunately I have not been beheaded in my sleep. Unfortunately I've wrecked my brother's new car, been turned in a blue box that was dying, and sewed my niece's arm back on. Don't you all wish this is where your creativity took you.

But this could be an improvement from my childhood torture. Then I shared a room with my sisters and about once a week I woke up just certain that they really did turn into gremlins like I'd dreamt. It was absolute courage and stupidity that allowed me to shriek so they'd too wake up and I could climb into bed with them. Keep your enemies closer? Close enough to eat me.

Gremlins I couldn't fight, their boiled skin creeped me out. Serial killers? I fight with needle and thread.