Saturday, March 26, 2005

Hoppy Easter

Here comes Peter Cottontail Posted by Hello

My sister Renee called this morning with somewhat disturbing news. O.k. it is only really disturbing if you are under 5 years old or a mom of someone who it, but here it is. Renee was so sad for her kids. I told her that she should write a letter and complain.

Renee had taken her three small children into the city of St. George for their community easter egg hunt.
Before the festivites were through, the teenager playing the Easter Bunny decided that, even though it was 42 degreees outside, he was just TOO hot to keep his costume on. He took his Easter Bunny head off right in front of all of the bright eyed children.

I think you will back me up when I say, this kid needed some serious on the job training. C'mon, do you think that Chuck E. Cheese would ever strip his head off in front of the birthday goers? NO WAY! What about the characters at Disneyland? They would be fired on the spot! and have no defense in their impending lawsuit. I mean, imagine it. Is Santa allowed to shed his fake beard in front of a line of eagerly waiting children? Do I have to answer that?

I can only speak for my niece and nephew: they were traumatized. 4 year old Tannon asked my sister, "Mom, why did the easter bunny take his head off? Why isn't he real?" I just imagaine all of the children running around like chickens with their heads cut off when the easter bunny decided to strip down. "Oh, no, oh, no...the easter bunny lost his head."

This news reminded me of a Maury Povich show that I saw years ago. The show was about people who had very interesting phobias. This one forty year old woman was deathly afraid of character costumes. For the dramatic effect, while this woman tried to explain her bizarre fear, the show had orchestrated an Easter Bunny onto the stage. Her reaction was explanation enough. As soon as she saw the bunny, she jumped up and over about four rows of the studio audience. She was terrified......she probably witnessed a bunny take his head off when she was just a wee-one too.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Got milk? Posted by Hello

Today, once again, I beheld the power of advertising. The Got milk campaign is, in my opinion, by far, the most ingenious ad campaign of all time. Above is one of milk's recent photo shoots. LG and I love the TV show Scrubs. It has some of the best comedy. You can't watch the show for more than three minutes without being exerted into an all-out bellyroll laugh.

While I was watching my taped version of ER today, (Yes, taped....remember, we are poor and therefore, some of the only Americans who still tape instead of TiVo ing) the Staples commercial came on. Abigail had been asking me for a glass of milk for a few minutes and I was trying to get the kids situated into a movie. I kept telling her, "Just a minute." Abigail must have been paying really good attention to the Staples commercial, which in my opinion is not good. But, for my five year old, today, it was good for something.

The commercial goes something like this.....1-man not listening to a co-worker....2- man catches the 1st and last part of the conversation....and hears only, "When I get back I need. mumble mumble mumble "er" or you are fired" 3 - Man goes to staples and the superhero staples employee walks through the store with the man,telling him everything that they carry that ends with the sound "er". 4- Man magically remembers that it is the blankety blank blank wireless routER that he needs 5- man shouts out staples' praises as he walks out of the store with his job still in tact.

After the commercial Abigail says this, "Mom, I need something that ends with 'ilk'" as if her mental challenge will make me work to her beck and call faster. She is so FUNNY.

I chuckled and went and got her the mILK that she so desperately needed. Abigail and Sophia then watched their movie. When I got back to my taping of ER, I was sorely disappointed that for the second taping in a row, we had managed to run out of tape and cut off the last ten minutes of the show. No frets though, my sister filled me in.


Jaw Breaker Posted by Hello

While growing up there were many things that my family liked to do together. One of the finest things was to take a trip to the harbor one town over. Oceanside's harbor is relatively small, but to us children it was a place of great excitement and wonder.

My family loved to walk along the wooden planks and watch the seagulls, the fishermen, the locals, tourists, but most of all, we loved to watch the boats. The different kinds of "sea travel" would bring much speculation from all of us children. My parents would foster the dialogue with questions like,"Do you think that he lives on his boat?" "Maybe this boat belonged to pirates." "I wonder where this boat has traveled."

Oh, yes, just thinking about taking a trip to the harbor brings the pungent scent of sea water mixed with fish guts deep into my lungs. Going to the harbor made a Saturday evening wonderous.

A trip to the harbor was not complete unless we had a stop at the Candy Store. I don't know how the tradition got started, but whenever we visited the Oceanside Harbor, my parents knew that they had better have enough cash in their pocket to purchase their ticket of departure. The price they would pay was $1 per child. What would they have to purchase? Seven large jaw breakers, of course.

One jawbreaker the size of each small child's two fists put together would keep all of us children quiet the whole ride home. This small price for 15 mintues of peace and silence must have been worth every penny to my parents. Mom and dad also knew they would have to put up with our moans of pain for the rest of the week, but still, it was worth it.

If you have never had the joy of finishing off a LARGE jawbreaker before, let me fill you in. We would lick and lick, until half of the jawbreaker would be worn flat. It was magical to see which color layers you could break through. To this day, whenever I view an image on earth and its layers, I still think about those hundreds of jawbreakers consumed. The images always have a pretend image of the earth cut in half, as to portray the different layers...these images look just like a half consumed jawbreaker.

Why am I so familiar with the state of a half consumed jawbreaker, you ask. The reason is that most of the jawbreakers we earned at the harbor almost never got more than halfway consumed. When a tongue is engaged in that much liking through harsh layers, it eventually gives way. Yes, the jawbreakers would eventually smooth out, but they would always leave our tongues one bloody mess. Therefore, we never had the courage to actually finsih the delectable eye candy. When we got home, we would retire the jawbreakers away in a sandwich bag, and before our tongues would heal, they would usually end up in the garbage.

When I think of the Harbor, not only do I smell the scents of the sea, but I can't help but salivate profusely... the saliva tastes of a mix between layered sugar and bloody tongue. I can't figure out why whenever I see a large jawbreaker, I STILL MUST HAVE ONE. You would think that my tongue has endured enough torture by now.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Space Mountain

The Greatest Ride on Earth Posted by Hello

When I was about twelve, my whole family together took our first trip to Disneyland. We were one of the greatest spectacles for the tourists. My mom made my dad buy each of us a red sailor cap with our name embroidered on it. This made it easier for her to spot all of us when she wanted to do her quick count check know 1,2,3,4,5,6,7..o.k they're all accounted for. We could have been our very own Mickey Mouse club.

This trip was so much fun. We were all having a blast, until Space Mountain. LG says I can't tell you Space Mountain until I o.k. it with certain unmentioned family member. Until then, let me just tell you was one of my life's most traumatizing experiences.

Alright, lucky for you, my family all have the same open-book policy as I do. LG's family is definitely more reserved, but I honored my husband and got the unnecessary permission from my mom.

So, we all got to Space Mountain. My mom was not in her BEST mental state. She was recently recovering from a mental breakdown and a drug addiction. She was addicted to Valuim for years upon her doctor's perscription. We thought that Disneyland would be a great celebration, and it was, until Space Mountain.

All of the family waited in line anxiously and we boarded on the Space Car in an orderly fashion. I was the lucky one to board in the back seat next to my mom. She got in first, meaning that when the ride was over, I would have to wait for her to exit to the right before I could make a departure.

If you have never been on Space Mountain, let me inform you. It is building where they have squashed a rollercoaster inside. The coaster is supposed to resemble a ride in Space and it goes very fast and loops up and down and all around. The room is completely dark; the only thing that one can see are the flashing lights (these add to the effect of traveling through space). Throughout the ride, you feel like you had better not reach out with your hands, or you may just lose a limb to a traveling car on another track.

From the get-go, my mom was doomed. She experienced sensory overload of some sort. Ten seconds into the ride, when I should have been like any other kid enjoying the ride, I was quite the opposite. All I wanted was for the ride to be over. My mom was wailing at the top of her lungs. I can't even describe what she sounded like, but it was something like this, "AHhhhhhhhhhhh, AHHHHHHHHHH, AAAHHHhhhhhhhhhhh, Ahhhhhhh." over and over again. When I caught a glimpse of her between flashing lights, all I could see was her hands clenched onto the bar for dear life and her face full of real terror.

I kept screaming, "Mom, mom, close your eyes." "Mom, it is just a rollercoaster." I tried to comfort her by patting her arm, but this is hard to do when a rollercoaster is traveling at the speed of light. My mom's screams of terror never stopped throughout the ride. I wanted so badly to make her alright, but I also couldn't stop thinking, "Why out of the 8 other members of the family, was I the one to sit by my mom on this particular ride?" I was just wishing that Dad would appear magically and switch me places.

Well, the ride was soon over. There is one bonus to Space Mountain. Most people feel it a rip to stand in line so long for a ride that lasts less than 60 seconds. On this day, that 60 seconds seemed like a lifetime. As we slowed down and approached the landing deck, my mom still didn't stop. She had literally checked out! She was still hanging on for dear life and repeatedly screaming, "ahhhhhh, ahhhhhh, ahhhhh."
It was as though my mom was possessed.

The people waiting in the line for their turn to board looked perplexed. They couldn't tell whether or not my mom was joking around. Was she trying to scare them from riding the ride? They were staring. By this point, I had given up on calming my mom down, and I tried not to look all these hundred of linegoers in the eye. I didn't know what to do.

The family all unboarded, but my mom was not going anywhere. Therefore, I had no choice but to sit and wait for something to be done. Now, everyone knew that my mom wasn't playing around. All of the potential riders looked at me in pity. The mother of these seven Mickey Mouse club members had truly lost it. My dad shooed the clueless Space Mountain worker to the side. My mom was always teeny (5 feet tall) and my dad big and strong. He leaned over and gathered up my raving mother in his arms. He carried her off to the side. I was finally able to unboard, and was totally immersed by my brothers and sisters wondering what in the world I had done to mom. I explained that she had just lost it. I don't remember much else after that, except for my dad got my mom a drink and luckily we didn't have to go home early. My mom came back to her senses at some point.

I know, this story and the last Pomp and Circumstance aren't funny at all. I have no idea why I am even writing them, except for the fact that out of tragedy can come humor. If you made this incidence into a sitcom, I am sure that people would laugh. I can look back and laugh at both situations. I came out of these scarred, but stronger. And, it is fun to laugh at what life throws your way. My mom experienced a nervous breakdown on Space Mountain, and I was right next to her to witness many people can say that? I bet not one other person in this world.

Pomp and Circumstance

Valley Jr. High Posted by Hello

7th and 8th grade are not fun for most people, for a girl like me, they were excrutiating. I was the fat girl and pretty much an outcast. I took control of my weight before heading to high school and finally elleviated my outcast status (having a "popular" older brother and sister was a definite bonus for a geek like me).

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when 8th grade graduation rolled around. Valley Junior High School to me signified only PAIN. During Junior High I had experienced one rejection after another. So, the end of the story is quite fitting.

Graduation was the end, but it almost didn't happen. I was horrified. I wanted nothing more than to be done with Junior High. For me, there wasn't any graduation pomp and circumstance. In fact, I would have been better off if I was a no-show. It wasn't that my grades weren't good, or that, like all of the rest of the kids, I hadn't earned the right to move to the 9th grade. My graduation was just one HUGE oversight by the school's administration.

On the night of graduation, all of the graduating students sat in their seats on the floor of the High School's gymnasium. The bleachers above us were surrounded with wellwishers. Because my last name was Wills, I was on the back row. One row at a time, the students would line up to the side of the stage and wait for their name to be called. When they were called, they would climb up the stairs to the makeshift stage and retreive their diploma. The school's new vice principal was doing the honors. It was just my luck that she was my former 6th grade teacher; you remember the Poltergeist incidence.

It was finally my row's turn, the nerves were high and my self-esteem low. All of the "popular" kids got the biggest cheers on their trek across the stage. And the rest of us, would have one more opportunity to prove to the world that we were worthless. I knew that the only cheers I would get would be from my family. Thank goodness I had a lot of brothers and sisters and a mom who could cheer really loud.

I stood up and walked with the rest of the herd to the side of the stage. Everyone watched us as we awaited our turn. I was so self-conscience, I knew everyone was watching me, waiting for a prime opporunity to "moo" or "boo" at me. I prayed that the kids would be kind; I didn't want to embarass my family.

The way the system worked was like this. There was a volunteer standing down by the lined-up students. This volunteer had the list of names, as well as the person at the top of the stairs. And, of course, the vice-principal at the pulpit. When I got to my place in line, the volunteer double checked her list for my name. Alice Elaine Wills was not on the list. The vice-principal, oblivious to the mix-up, kept calling out names. All of the students that were behind me, would kindly walk around me. I kept being pushed and pushed to the back of my line. The volunteer next to me had a look of horror on her face and she kept trying to get the attention of the administration.

The administration on the stage finally realized what was happening. They consulted one another to figure out what name they should call so that this poor outcast girl could come up and fetch NOTHING (they had not prepared anything for me). You would think that because the vice-principal had been my teacher the whole year of 6th grade, she would be able to remember my name. But, I had either gained too much weight or she wanted to prolong my torture to get back at me for Poltergeist.

They all looked at each other in confusion. The volunteer asked me for my name and she started mouthing it to the people up on the stage. Of course this approach didn't work. I stood, trying not to cry, because now all eyes were on me for sure! The volunteer went up and told the lady at the top of the stairs, who then told the vice-principal, who looked very surprised (she must have realized that she should have known my name). She called out Alice Wills. I walked up with my head down as low as possible, and tried to smile as the principal handed me some piece of notebook paper instead of my diploma.

I would never again have to step foot back at Valley Junior High. I didn't care if the administration hadn't given me a real diploma. Not receiving a diploma was nothing compared to the embarassment they caused me while I waited in that line. The people who hadn't witnessed my line incident were brought up to speed with my nothingness when there was a huge lull right after Lisa Zarate and before Alice Wills. Even though I was a W, I brought up the rear. (so appropriate considering the size of my rear) As I walked back to take my seat, I passed all of my fellow Junior High Students. I felt nothing but RELIEF. Pomp and Circumstance night had officially mortified me just enough to call my junior high experience finished....what an appropriate finale.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Display

Fireworks...for me they represent the test of true love Posted by Hello

I should save this entry for Independence Day, but it is the one that I feel like writing about today.

On July 4, 1997, my husband proved his love for me. How did he do that, you ask? Well, pretty much all he had to do was stick around. My family would probably have been very successful at running anybody else off. Even after this night LeGrand stuck around to marry me on August 15, 1997.

My parents thought that it would be a lovely idea to invite LeGrand's sister and her husband, and Jordan, LG's little brother over for the 4th of July celebration. We lived directly above the Lavell Edwards Stadium, which hosts not only BYU football, but, also, the biggest fireworks display of the year, The Stadium of Fire. We could see the show from the backyard and we were all excited to get in on the action without paying for the tickets.

We had enough food to last the evening, and my family so generously provided the entertainment until the fireworks display began. How did they do that, you ask? Well, all my family had to do was basically be themselves and it was enough to send my soon-to-be in-laws into hysterics.

First, my mom decided that it would be more comfortable to pull out all of our family room furniture onto the lawn. Yes, may be embarassing to some, but we had to offer the best seat to the company. Then, my brothers commenced in lighting the firecrackers. This was a sight to see: a bunch of grown men acting like they were 8 years old again.

The night was topped off with the two events that my in-laws still speak of today. First, was a display of my father's typical problem solving skills (it has to be BIG). When we ran out of matches to light the firecrackers, my dad decided to pull out the blow torch. My brothers then spent the rest of the night fighting over who would have the honor of lighting up the stuff.

My brother, Adam, decided to crown himself as the evening's commentator. He would delight us all with the names of what kind of firecrakers were being lit. We then all headed up to the roof (a family tradition, that didn't seem the least bit odd to me - I am desensitized). All 20 of us headed up, trying not to consider the people who lived upstairs from us. We invited them to join us, but only one took us up on the offer. We had the best show in the house and it was all free.

The award for the best entertainment of the night goes to Adam, when he said, "Now these fireworks are my very favorite...they are called the little sperm fireworks."

Thursday, March 17, 2005


The Hungry Leprachaun Posted by Hello

Abigail is obsessed with things from Ireland. Her Kindergarten teacher has turned her into a leprachaun lover by telling her story after story about her trip to Ireland. Last year, all that Abigail wanted from Santa was a leprachacun. Poor Santa had to shop on e-bay to find one, only for LG to say that Abigail was going to be disappointed that it wasn't a real living leprachaun. (Santa isn't that good) The obsession is so strong that I was teasing Abigail's teacher today that I would come and hunt her down if Abigail ever decides to convert to Catholicism, just so that she can be more like the Irish.

About a month back, when the kids and I were at the school library on Terrific Thursday, I pulled a book from the shelf that I knew Abigail would love, The Hungry Leprachaun. (It is out of print so there is no need to link to it) Abigail humored her father a few days later by repeating the story word for word.

Well, this week is National Reading Week. On Wednesday the children at Abigail's school were allowed to wear a costume that depicted their favorite storybook character. I tried to convince Abigail to dress up with something we had in the dress up box. Laura Ingalls, Professor McGonagall, even Pippi Longstocking would not do the trick. She only wanted to be Tippery, the hungry leprachaun.

On Tuesday night, we made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy the leprachaun hat. Abigail thought that Tippery wore green pants and a purple shirt. I figured that we could dig up a purple shirt somewhere.

On the way home, there was some confusion as to what Tippery did wear exactly. I, being the overzealous perfectionist that I am decided to stop in at the school. I ran up the library hoping that Mrs. McGee could help. The library was locked.

I then became desperate and did the unmentionable, I made sure no one was looking and I snuck into Abigail's classroom to take a look at the book. To my relief, I made it in and back out to the car with no one catching me.

The rest of the evening I was stuck coming up with The Hungry Leprachaun costume. I tell you, mothers do a little of everything. On Tuesday night, you would have thought that I was the seamstress. I found some leftover material and elastic and sewed the elf looking hat. I dug through drawers for the purple pants, purple socks and green shirt and spent the rest of the night nicking and tucking.

As I dropped Abigail off at school the next morning, she looked just like a leprachaun. When the Safety Kid told me that she looked cute, Abigail turned her head back at me with a satisfied look. I can't quite place what it looked like but it was a mix between her dad's goofy smirk and a leprachaun's smile.

Indeed, I am a good mom. Even if she converts to Catholicism I will still love her just the same.

Feeding Time

Oh no....the bottle is propped! Posted by Hello

A short while back, a friend and I were at Chik-fil-A for an evening out. Once in a while, when our law student hubbies are too busy to eat at home, we will go enjoy ourselves while the kids play. Chick-fil-a is where the responsible moms eat. The food is relatively healthy and the playland is safe, but most of all, it is CLEAN.

My friend and I were delightfully surprised when three other women from our church walked in. These women consisted of a single 19 year old, a pregnant 22 year old, and a 25 year old new mother. The new mother had the baby with her. We all delightfully exchanged hellos and chatted about the weather and other trivial girl things (like where the best places are to shop).

I was obviouslly the most experienced mother in the bunch. After I gathered up my three little monkies, I overheard a disturbing conversation. It went something like this:

"Do you know that girl that just had the baby?"


"I can't believe her...her baby was only three weeks old and she had her bottle propped."

For those of you that don't know what bottle propping is, see the picture above. The picture shows my FIRST child, Abigail, at 9 months old, enjoying her bottle, even when it was propped.

Now, you may not see the humor in this story, but I found the judgemental comment hilarious. The reason: the woman that "propped" her child, was not a FIRST time mom. The infant that had the bottle propped was her second child. All of these other women in my company: first time moms. They had no idea how many times I have propped a kid with a bottle. (Trust me, it gets more common with the more children that you have)

So, I butted my way into the conversation with,"Don't talk to me about that, I am a firm believer in propping." I swear you would have paid money to see the shock in their faces. One chimed up,"Oh, but not when they are so little." I said, "I don't know about that. Why does it matter, they are getting fed?"

The responses: "They can choke." "All the magazines say." "It is my bonding time." "They need to look you in the face, it helps their development."

At this point, I zipped my lips. (I know, it's a rare occasion.) What I wanted to say is this,"My FIRST child was propped all of the time, and I will bet money on the fact that she will be SMARTER than any of your children. She never choked. We still bonded. And, the people who write the magazines DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN. If they had children, than they would know that you can't write a magazine telling other people how to parent. Every single child I have ever met has different preferences. Two of my kids were happier to be propped. Come and talk to me when you get a few more kids."

And by the way, I had a bottle until I was seven, and according to the magazines, I would be a woman with screwed up teeth and a speech impedement. Well, my only speech impedement is I usually don't know when to keep my mouth shut. And trust me when I say, I never had braces and my teeth are just fine. Maybe if I still had a bottle I would be more succesful with keeping my mouth shut!


70's style Hairbows Posted by Hello

One part of having daughters is dealing with all of their hair things. I think that since we had our first daughter, not a holiday has gone by that we haven't been gifted some kind of hair thing. If you are a man, you have no idea how many hair things exist in the world. Whenever we recieve one, or the same one again, I always ACT very grateful and I guess, deep down, I have mixed feelings. I am so happy that I won't have to buy them myself, but bummed that I will now have to keep track of this new one. Even though I am the queen of organization, I have two things that cause me problems: tupperware and hairthings.

At our house we go through barrettes like nobody's business. Every time I turn around, one of the girls has lost some kind of hair thing, leaving their hair in disarray. I have recently converted to headbands. Headbands seem a little bit harder for the girls to lose. The bad thing about headbands is that at any given chance, Bella likes to pull them out of Abigail and Sophia's hair, along with a handful of their hair. When we wrestle Bella down to get the headband back, we provoke her agression to the point that she snaps the poor plastic band in half. Leaving all girls involved in complete hysteria.

Well, this blog entry is mostly for my sister Renee, but you may still enjoy it. Renee is 24 today.(and the mother of 3 - crazy) Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy Birthday to you, Renee. Renee reminded me of the "Hairbow" story the other day. She informed me that after the years and years that she has listened to the story, she still didn't know what kind of hairbows we were talking about. I promised her a picture, so here it is. The poor child grew up in the 80's and completely missed the cool look of braiding two ponytails on each side of the head, and then tying them up in a loop with one of these beautiful fuzzy hairbows.

Now, for the story. It really isn't that funny, but it shows how desperate I was for entertainment as a child. My sister Shannon and I shared a room growing up. The room was small and sported a set of bunkbeads, a play kitchen set and a dresser. We had hours and hours of fun soaking spaghetti noodles in water atop our play stove. We really thought that we were cooking those noodles, and we loved to eat our homecooked delicatessen. (YUCK!)

Another thing that we loved to do was play Barbies. What girl doesn't? We would dump out the suitcase full of barbies onto the floor and then proceed to take turns picking the items. We would go through the barbies, then the dresses, other clothes, and end off with the accessories. I don't know what we did about the shoes with no match, but I am sure that most of the shoes were missing their match.

When these two activities got old, Shannon and I used our imaginations to come up with something a little more interesting. The best game involved the ceiling. If you were around in the 70's, you know exactly what I am talking about when I say that we had popcorn ceilings throughout our house. Even though Renee wasn't born until 1981, even she knows what I am talking about. We, unlike many others, never rennovated those popcorn ceilings. If it wasn't for the fact that we sold the house to someone else, we may have been able to call our house true vintage with its remaining ceilings.

Well, as ugly as the popcorn ceilings were, they were great for one thing, and maybe only one thing. (did you know that they are full of asbestos?)Popcorn ceilings and fuzzy hairbows are a perfect match. They cling to one another like a sweater and a dryer sheet. I don't know how my sister and I figured this out, but I am guessing it had something to do with me being in my sister's top bunk, taunting her that I would throw her hairbow over to the alligators down on the floor.

My sister and I would spend hours and hours gathering up all the hairbows in the house that we could find, and then tossing them off the side of the top bunk. We perfected the throw to the point that we could make a hairbow stick every time. As time went on, the game progressed into seeing how far out we could throw the bows. One days our brothers got in on the action, and they showed us how to jump off the bunk and retrieve the bows on our way down.

Shannon and I were never as good as my brothers at retrieving the bows. Most of our hairbow sessions would end with us hollering for their assistance at getting the last few stray ones down. If the brothers weren't available, I might take one last try at it. Shannon would not dare. If all else failed, we would hunt down the broom and hit down the ribbon. Retreiving the ribbons off of the ceiling were some of the few times that we ever got to play in the snow. We lived in the sunny Southern California, and dancing around in asbestos popcorn ceiling flakes made us feel like we belonged in the movie, A White Christmas.

It's too bad that fuzzy hairbows are out of style. I guess it is O.k., my girls could never have the fun that we did with them anyway. We don't have a popcorn ceiling, and coming down on our hardwood floor would not be pretty. And, they don't have any brothers to retreive the hard ones for them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Mother Hen

Poltergeist Posted by Hello

It seems that I have blogged a lot about my dad, but I have yet to tell you about my mom. Both of my parents made for my interesting upbringing. I have been to many therapy sessions and talked about my family, but writing this blog has been the best therapy yet. I have found myself laughing about my family, instead of blaming them for my issues. Yes, we were unorthodox and disfunctional, but as I write, I realize that we had some really good times, and I was taught one very good coping technique: laughter.

My mom provided many of the good times. When I was younger my mom was the life of the neighborhood. We must have gone through a box of sandwich bags every day of the summer. She would keep us busy for hours filling them up and throwing them at the neighbor kids. Why didn't we use water balloons? I don't know. Probably because sandwich bags were always on hand. Sandwich bags were also much easier to fill....dump them in a bucket of water and Wala...full to the rim.

I have many stories about my mom. My mom's most apparent feature is that she considers herself to be every child's mom. She has no qualm about laying a lecture down any time any where. She was always the one cheering the loudest in the stands at the sporitng events. Were those cheers for us kids? Yes. Of course. But, they were also for our coaches, "Good job coach.", our other teammates, "Way to go Monica.", the umpire, "Nice call ref.", and last but definitely not least, the other team, "Good playing Oceanside, you are on your mark today." I am sure that you could also hear my mom cheering on all the fans in the stands, rallying them up, "Let's go parents, let's go."

When I was in 6th grade, I had finally almost recovered from the 4th grade situation. Then, my teacher chose to show Poltergeist. I, being the sensitive child that I was, as well as sheltered and naive, couldn't sleep for weeks after viewing the movie at school. I was scared out of my pants. I had nightmare after nightmare. My mom was getting sick of me coming into her room and waking her and my dad up. She started to grill me for details. I never wanted to give them up because I knew exactly how my mom would react.

My brothers, on the other hand, knew exaclty what I was afraid of. By some freaky coincidence, during the same time period, my sister and I had this porcelain clown in our room. I couldn't even look at it after watching Poltergeist. I was terrified that it would come to life and harm me. At nights, I would gather up every bit of courage that I had, grab the clown, smothering it in my pillow, and as quickly as possible I would deposit it somewhere else in the house, usually in one of my brother's rooms. I would run back and close the door behind me, feeling mighty accomplished that the clown would not be able to harm me, just my brothers.

Well, after a little while, my brothers figured out what I was doing. They loved to sneak back in our room and leave the clown next to my bed. In the middle of the night, after one of my nightmares, I would wake up to a real nightmare next to my bed.

After weeks of this torture, I finally gave in and told my mom what we had seen at school. She reacted just as I thought that she would, but I was so down-trodden by this point, I didn't care. First, my mom, gave me a lecture about how I should have told the teacher that I wasn't allowed to watch movies of that nature. Second, she tried to give me the pep talk that it wasn't real and it was nothing to be afraid of. Third, she got rid of the clown. And, fourth, she marched down to that school's principal's office and gave her a piece of her mind.

Well, of course, the teacher was in trouble. She had to apologize to the class and the parents. A few of the other children got in trouble with their parents. The class then came after me....they knew exactly whose mom had made the stink. Mother Hen of course....she wanted to protect all the children in the 6th grade from that filthy trash of a show. What my mom did or didn't realize is that she had succeeded at making me an outcast for another year of my life. She did the right thing, but I can only say that because now I am also a Mother Hen. I have to say that if I am ever faced with the same situation, I will want to do the same thing, but I probably won't just because of the scars that I still carry from the 6th grade.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Datsuns

Sheila with Adam Posted by Hello

May Sheila Rest In Peace. This is the last known picture of one of our beloved Datsun 210's. Yes, you heard me correct....ONE of our Datsun 210's. Our family had the fortune of owning two of them, at the same time. Because Adam, Shannon, and I were all in high school and driving at the same time, my parents honored us with both cars. Between the three of us, we still had to share, but hey, we took what we could get. Sharing two cars was definitely better than just having one.

I totally agree with my parents' decision of giving us pieces-of-junk to drive. (Not that they drove anything nicer) As you can tell from the picture above, these cars took a good beating. (I don't know why any parent would give their amateur driving child a new car.) For the life of me, I cannot recall how we even knew the difference between the two cars; they were like identical twins. They were the same make and model, the same exterior color, the same interior color, and the same piece of junk. In the beginning, I guess the only way we knew the difference was by the liscence plate. However, after breaking the cars in, it must have been much easier to tell the difference. I personally crashed one of the cars. After my fender bender, we always knew the difference. No one wanted to drive the Datsun without the grill.

The Datsun that I crashed never got her grill back. The only reason that I know that I didn't crash Sheila is from the picture above (notice Sheila still has her front grill). The Datsun I crashed was never forunate to have a name, like Shiela. Adam named Sheila years after we were in high school. He bought her from my parents for $2. Sheila was a great car. I can remember taking her on a trip from Provo, Utah to Carlsbad, California and back (aproximately 1200 miles round trip). Sheila had no heater, and the weather was below zero in Utah. We almost froze to death, all cuddled up under quilts. We were like Mormon pioneers. We were so happy when we reached Happy Valley (Las Vegas) where it finally started to warm up.

Another side note about Sheila is that she had no defrosting component. So, not only did we freeze to death when driving in her, we also, had a special way of clearing the windows for driving vision. Adam kept a towel and a credit card in the front seat of the car at all times. He would stop every ten miles or so and perform the ritual of scraping the left side of the window down and then wiping it thoroughly. On this one particular long trip, it became the shotgun passenger's responsibility. This way we wouldn't have to stop. It becasme a real talent to scrape the window without obstructing the driver's vision.

The other Datsun with no name, never took any long distance trips that I can think of. Although, I am sure that the car was involved with many other fun times: Like the time we stole 12 pairs of shoes from the bowling alley, only to have my dad find them in the back of the car the next day. We had to drive back to the bowling alley after church and give them back with an apology.

The most memorable time that I spent with the Datsun-with-no-name was when I was a Senior in High School. I had this boyfriend, Matt Jewell. He was a freshman, and I sure did take a lot of slack for dating him, but I was very immature for my age and he was so FINE! One night, Matt and I were driving down the coast. Of course, I was driving, since he was only 15. (Hey, I was barely 17)

So, we've already established that the Datsun was a piece of junk. It had a tail light out and the registration wasn't up to date. The one other fun thing about the car is that it had wires hanging down from the steering wheel. Someone had broken the key off in the ignition and my dad solved the problem by showing us each how to start the car by hotwiring it. Well, it was all fun and games to us and our friends. But, on this particular night, when I was trying to impress my goodlooking boyfriend, my car was not a reason to be proud. When the policeman pulled me over for a fix-it ticket and a registration warning, I could have died on the spot. The worst part of all was when he asked me about the wires. I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights while trying to explain to him that we really did own the car.

I don't know what happened to the Datsun-with-no-name, but it assuredly sat out in front of our house in a non-working state for at least a year. Sheila finally met her demise when Adam left her on the side of the road. She just gave up her will to live and my brother was too poor to do anything about it. Eventually, the city compounded her. She was probably so relieved to sit in a junkyard. Hey, a junkyard is Disneyland to a car that spent the last leg of its life being driven by us. And, at least Sheila could go out in glory instead of collecting dust in our yard like her identical twin with no name.

Jellyfish and June Bugs

an underwater wonder Posted by Hello

Alright, so a few entries ago in Sisterhood, I tattled on my sister Shannon for forcing me into a spanking that I didn't deserve. I guess there really is something called Sisterhood because my other sister, Renee, has gotten all over my case for making Shannon feel bad. I think I am o.k. with Shannon, but just to make her feel better, I will now pleasure you with a confession of my own.

As you know, I am the middle of seven. At the top of the line-up there is Erick. Four years later came Adam, then a year later, Shannon, and I came a whopping 18 months after her. Shannon was always the little princess. I found my way by NOT trying to be like her. I guess I realized at a young age that I could never compete with the first most perfect daughter. So, I settled into the fun-loving, somewhat tomboyish, "throwing caution to the wind" girl. I am still so glad that Shannon took the princess role; I am so much more fun than those prissy girls. Just ask LG.

As you picture Shannon, the princess, you can imagine her feeling towards creepy crawly things. She absolutely detested any kind of insect, and would scream at the top of her lungs for someone to save her whenever she spotted one. I can't tell you how many mornings I would have to fish spiders out of the tub before she could shower.

Well, I always thought that Shannon's fear was unfounded. (I still don't understand it when girls are afraid of those little creepy things - you can squash them between your fingers, for heaven's sake) I determined at an early age that I would be the one to cure my girlygirl sister of her irrational phobia.

In California there was an insect called the JuneBug (it usually surfaced in May, NOT explaining its common name, at all). These bugs are much like the South's Firefly, except they lack any kind of cool "light". JuneBugs were more apparent at night and would attach themselves to our window screens (because the light is so pretty). They looked like a teeny brownish version of a beetle mixed with a bee. My sister hated those bugs, and just the sound of their buzzing would scare her enough that she would have to run from shelter to shelter, as to not be attacked.

Of course, the sight of my sister sprinting from the house to the car was absolutely ridiculous. Whenever I would trail my sister, I would always collect a few JuneBugs on the way. I would then proceed to throw them at her, with or without warning. Those bugs would be crazed from being trapped in my hand and would fly full-speed ahead at Shannon. I would get one really good laugh every time from her agonizing reaction. Shannon would always go nuts, and she provided unlimited entertainment for me and my brothers.

My mom or dad would always come behind and instruct me to stop the torture. I would collect up the JuneBugs and say sorry. But, Shannon knew that the torture would never end: whenever the JuneBugs were out, she was on guard.

While we lived in Alaska for the summer of '81, to my disappointment, there were no JuneBugs. I had to find a new source of entertainment. And, so I did. It wasn't hard to do; there were all kinds of creepy crawly things to choose from. Of course I chose the thing that intimidated Shannon the most.....jellyfish.

Jellyfish always lingered in the ocean close to the house. They washed up on the shore every day. Whenever Shannon and I would venture out to play, I would hide myself in the tall grass out in front of our shanty with a dead or dying Jellyfish in hand, waiting to be put to use. Just like a crouching tiger, I would wait for Shannon's approach and then I would attack. I would use my good arm (I was quite the softball player in my day) always aiming for her head.

I usually hit the target and she would be so petrified that she would freeze in place and beg me to come and retreive it before it killed her. She was always the smart one and would remind me every time, "Alice, jellyfish are poisonous; they can kill you." I usually beleived what she would try to teach me, but not about the poison because she never got stung or poisoned. What would I do in response to my sister begging for mercy? Do I have to answer that question? Of course, I would retreive the jellyfish, tell my sister that I just couldn't resist the fun, apologize, and wait for the next opportunity to attack. Shannon always forgave me for my abuse; personally, I think that she should have beat the crap out of me. To this day, I still think that she takes too much crap from people.

So, there you have it, Shannon. I definitely think that my ongoing creepy crawly torture, was much less justifiable than your dodging of a spanking with a belt. So, really, truly, this time, I am very sorry. I will never scare you again. Promise.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Rolling Thunder

This skyline means trouble Posted by Hello

There is a hymn that I really enjoy, How Great Thou Art. I am truly grateful that I can now say that I know what is being talked about in this hymn when it states, "I hear the rolling thunder".

Being a western girl, I never knew what I was missing out on. The best storm that I ever heard before moving to Tennessee was at the beginning of Garth Brook's The Thunder Rolls track.

When I first moved to Tennessee, we had a brief stay at LG's deceased grandmother's empty home. She had died the year previous and it became a very nice stopover for us while we looked for a home to buy. Grandma's house was two doors down from my in-laws and this too was nice for me since LG was living 90 miles away while attending law school.

The house was a three bedroom rambler and comfortable. It always felt a little empty until LeGrand came home on the weekends. One night, I startled him out of his sleep. I guess I was totally disoriented when I shook him and said, "LeGrand, LeGrand, someone is upstairs. What is that noise? Do you hear it? You have to go and check on it." Remember Grandma's house was a rambler: it didn't have an upstairs.

LG rolled over and said, "Alice, there isn't anyone upstairs, go back to sleep, it is just the thunder."

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Sisters (left to right) Shannon, Alice, Sarah, Renee Posted by Hello

This is a picture that was taken in 1992 of my sisters and I. Do you know that we all have the same middle name: Elaine? Yeah, my parents figured since they were going to have so many kids that they would keep it simple. Well, Elaine is a good name, but I took on my maiden as my middle when I got married. After all those years of competing with my sisters, I was ready to be an original.

Sisters are the BEST. I know I could call my sisters for anything and they would drop whatever to come to my rescue. Brothers, on the other hand, I am not so sure about.

Well, there was a time in my life when I was VERY angry with my sister Shannon. (Now, Shannon, stop reading, I don't want you to relive your agony) My brother-in-law told this story last year and it left my sister in tears. It's 20 years later and she still feels bad. I told her that I forgave her a long time ago and that she has done so many good things for me over the years that this one bad thing really means nothing. But, it is a great story to tell...

Shannon and I always gave my parents grief when it was bedtime. (What kid doesn't?) When I was about 9 and Shannon was about 10, our room was the last at the end of the very long hallway that I talked about in The Home of the Free and Holes(3/2). We could always hear my dad coming because the keys in his pocket would jingle around when he walked. So, we always felt relatively safe that we could quiet up before he got too close.

Well, this one particular night, my dad was fed up. He had already had to make that very long walk down the hall twice and we still were "monkeying" around instead of going to sleep. My dad had warned us that if he had to come to our room one more time, someone would get spanked with his belt. (This was a HUGE threat, my dad never used a belt) We never thought that he would go through with it, nonetheless, I was afraid and getting tired and so I kept trying to tell Shannon to go to sleep.

I had gotten Shannon so riled up that she didn't want to sleep and she kept trying to play. She jumped over to my bed and was sitting on top of me trying to wrestle, when we heard my dad coming down the hall. I was petrified and started saying,"It's Shannon's fault. She did it." Well, Shannon was the angel of the family (especially when you compared her to me) But, right at the moment that it counted the most, she made one very CRUEL decision. She grabbed me, got underneath me, and held me on top of her. She started screaming repeatedly, "Alice, get off of me."

I tried to scream that she was lying, but most everyone in my family had learned to tune me out. My dad was so LIVID by this point that all he wanted to do was follow through with his threat. My dad must not have noticed that Shannon was acutally in my bed. He grabbed me, marched me down the hall, made me watch him get his belt, and I got it good. Let me tell you, getting beat with a belt is not fun. It hurt. It hurt as bad, if not worse than giving birth with an epideral. He only spanked me once, but I felt like I was getting beat. Not only had my sister, my best friend, betrayed me, but my Dad didn't believe me when I was telling the truth.

I went to bed sobbing and heart-broken. Shannon was forced to sit and listen in all her guilt. She had gotten back into her bed by this point. By the morning, it didn't matter anymore, but I learned a very good lesson about Sisterhood that night: When I figure out what it is, I will let you know.

Poor Bambi

The Classic: Bambi Posted by Hello

On Monday, I took the kids to Sam's Club. I ever so slyly put the newly released Bambi in the bottom of the buggy (that is what they call a shopping cart in TN). I even turned it upside down, so that if the kids did see it, tbey wouldn't know what it was. (I wanted to give it to them for Easter from the Easter Bunny)

I succeeded at hiding it from them for about 15 minutes. As soon as we stopped at the snack bar, it was over. Abigail, caught eye of it, picked it up, and announced to her sisters: "Look you guys, mom is getting us Bambi."

About an hour later, after I had managed to put several other things in the buggy too (including Abigail and Sophia), I started to feel guilty about the money I was going to spend. I put several things back, including Bambi. The girls were sorely diasappointed, but I told them that we would come back and get it when dad was with us.

As we were going to check out, Abigail and Sophia glued themselves to the TV monitor that was playing Bambi. (Aren't those Sam's Club people smart?) It was at this point that all of my guilt subsided. (I knew that I would have to buy Bambi, if I ever wanted to get out of the store) I told Abigail to get Bambi off the shelf again, and after the girls cheered for a second or two, we were off.

Buying a new movie is HEAVEN to a mother. When we got home, the baby went down for a nap and Abigail and Sophia proceeded to glue themselves to our TV. I was able to get some cleaning and other household duties accomplished without any interruption.

Well, later, as we sat down for dinner, I asked Sophia what she thought about the movie. I fully expected some kind of reaction. I was totally traumatized by the show when I was little and Sophia is my most sensitive child. I was totally taken off guard when I heard her response.

Sophia said,"I like Bambi." I happily said,"Good, what was your favorite part?" I thought that she would say Thumper or Flower the Skunk. No, this is what my twisted child said,"My favorite part was when Bambi's mom died." What in the world?!?! In a worried tone, hoping that she could redeem herself somehow, I asked her frantically, "Why was that your favorite part?" She said,"I just like it because I don't want Bambi to have a mom."

Who knows? Maybe my-three-year old was going for the reaction or maybe she needs some serious therapy. Maybe Sophia should grow up to be a hunter and join the Bambi Killers Club. I could only conclude one thing from the conversation, Disney has a conspiracy against mothers. First, they force us into buying their movies with their very skilled marketing. Second, mothers are allowed a false sense of relief when the kids happily sit and watch a Disney movie for hours on end. Then they pump anti-mother doctrine into our kids...think about it:

Disney killed Bambi's mom. Cinderella's step-mom is EVIL, and who knows what happened to her real mom. Belle doesn't have a mom. Mulan wants to be like her dad. The only conversations between Ariel and her parents were with her dad. Sleeping Beauty's mother poisons her with an apple. Tarzan's mom got eaten by a tiger. Nemo's mom.... well, you get the picture. Poor Bambi. Poor Mother of Bambi!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Man in Uniform

My favorite D.A.R.E. Officer Posted by Hello

There is something about a man in a uniform. The uniform seems to have magical powers that make any girl go weak in the knees. That is unless the uniform is a bit too tight.

This is Officer Kowalski. He was on the Carlsbad City Police Force back in 1991. For all I know, he could still be there. I am sure that if anyone there gets a hold of this entry, life could get a little interesting for him.

When I was a Senior in High School I had a MASSIVE crush on this favorite local Mr. Friendly. The picture above is from the morning of my graduation. I am sure I was thinking how bummed I would be because I wouldn't see him any more. The summer after graduation, I used to drive crazy on purpose hoping that I would be pulled over by Officer K, so that he would finally have an opportunity to profess his undying love for me.

Well, there is a funny story about Officer Kowalski and it goes something like this. One day, I was in Health Class and my teacher asked me to help Officer Kowalski carry some things in from his patrol car. He had boxes of drug paraphernalia that he needed for the presentation that he was to give our class.

He walked ahead of me on the way out to the car and I watched his backside the whole way. He was so fine! He popped the trunk and bent over to get one of the two boxes out. I stood back and watched only to have one very delightful surprise.....his back seam split right open. The noise was something like this: RIIIIIIPPPPPP. Now, a lady would have kept her hysteria to herself...I guess I am not a lady. I laughed hard out LOUD.

Now, remember the poor guy was responsible to give my class a presentation for the next 30 minutes. He turned and handed me the box, and said,"What is so funny?" I was startled that he was trying to play it off. I said,"Nothin."

We walked back into the classroom and he strategically kept his backside to the outside walls. I was forced to try and keep a straight face during his whole presentation. I wasn't always successful. I am sure everyone else was thinking what in the world is so funny about marijauna and drug needles. For all I know, they thought that I was a drugee.

Officer Kowalski, on the other hand, knew exactly what was so funny.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


An adult female louse Posted by Hello

I hated my name while growing up. I was always the only ALICE, among many Alissons and Ali's. I was called Allison more often than I was Alice. I had serious conversations with my parents about legally changing my name, but I never did.

I have now grown to love my name. My campaign theme, "Alice in Lancerland", won me the title of Sophomore Class President. Alice is a good classic name and I guess my parents were wise in their choosing. Even if I was the only child who bore the name of a Sr. Citizen, it is o.k. now. I grew into my name somewhere between 25 and 30.

As you can see from my previous post, Cialis, my name tends to get me into trouble.

One of the most memborable examples was the 4th grade. My sister and I made some new friends down the street and were reluctantly allowed to spend the night. We took home with us some new teeny friends....headlice.

Well, when I was in elementary school, about every 6 months, the school nurse would come into the classroom and perform a mass screening. You know, the nurse would come in with her gloves on, holding her stash of long Q-tips, and each of us would get a chance to sit in her special chair and have her pick through our hair like a chimpanzee.

To my complete humiliation, I was called out 30 minutes after the screening was through. EVERYONE knew exactly why. I was the kid with the headlice. When I got up to the school office, I was totally relieved to see my sister got sent out too.

Well, my sister had fine slick hair, and getting rid of her lice was easy. When we went back to the office the next morning for our readmittance test, she passed with flying colors. I, on the other hand, with my course, thick, long hair, was sent home again. This happened the next day also. Finally after 15 bottles of RID, and a really short hair cut, I was allowed to come back to school.

You may wonder how this has anything to do with my name.....well, here is the sob story. Really, it is going to break your heart. Oh, by the way, the Harvard School of Medicine calls these mass screenings totally unacceptable. (I suspect one of their doctors had as much of a traumatizing experience as me. - although, I don't know who could top mine)

Man, my head is itching right now, just thinking about it. So, you would think that I was redeemed when I went back to school, right. NO WAY! The kids were terrified of me. They wanted nothing to do with me and my head cooties. For the rest of the school year, whenever I was privileged enough to be addressed....I was affectionately known as "A - lice". How quaint.

Oh, and if you don't think that stereotyping happens in the classroom. You are dead wrong. My teacher, Mrs. Steadleman treated me like the TRASHIEST kid. Even though I was very bright, my report cards always reflected the detest that she had for me. The only thing I could figure is that she was terrified by headlice, just like the rest of the kids in my class.


For erectile disfunction....Cialis!?!?!? Posted by Hello

A while back LG and I were watching TV. We had tuned out during the commercials. All of the sudden we hear, "For erectile dysfunction, See Alice."

Come to find out it was really "Cialis", the new viagra. We weren't sure who should be more offended, ME or LG!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Loads and loads

Say DownyPosted by Hello

You can't tell from this picture, but here lies at least eight loads of clean laundry that I have to fold today. I don't want to admit it, and I am sure that I will get some kind of mean comment for even posting this, but this is a common occurence around here. This is the result of being too busy to actually tackle the laundry correctly, and I am a freak about keeping it all clean.

Now, unless you have three young children or more, you have NO idea about the huge vastness of laundry that I face on a constant basis. I feel like I am accomplishing something by just keeping it all clean, and it at least gets folded and put away on a weekly basis. (Usually, AFTER the kids go to bed so that they won't sabotage my folding by undoing it all when they jump on shown above)

When I was a teenager, whenever my friends would be at my house waiting on me to get ready, they all knew that a "SOCK HUNT" was inevitable. My friend, Kristen, named the ritual. The ritual was this: go out to the garage, wade through the mound of clothes on the garage floor (usually at least 20 loads of laundry) and try to come up with two matching socks that Alice could actually wear.(The socks came in all shapes and sizes in this pile because every family member's laundry ended up in the same place...on the garage floor) This ritual could take anywhere from 2 minutes to 30 minutes. You can't even imagine the high that we would get when one of us would find two matching socks in a close vicinity.

My mom just could not keep up, and I understand, she had the same mentalilty as I have adopted... at least it is clean. My dad would get so frustrated at times, especially when our piece of junk washer was broke again. He would take 2 or 3 of us kids to the laundromat for a five hour task. We would fill the back of the station wagon FULL of anything that needed laundering in the house. We children would have the joy of, on the way, trying to find a place to sit among the stinky laundry. We then would get to unload it all at the mat, sort it, and fill every available washer and dryer. This may not sound like fun, but we LOVED it. We would get some treats from the vending machine, and feeding those quarters made us feel like we were at the arcade.

The best part of going to the laundramat was knowing that when we got home, everyone would be forced to finish ALL of the folding. Then for a brief hiatus we each could get socks out of our drawers instead of going to the garage floor for a "sock hunt".


Good have the advantage over the telemarketer Posted by Hello

One of the joys of having a husband in law school is screening all of his calls from loan consolidation firms. Because he is rarely home, they are unlikely to ever get a hold of LG here, but it doesn't stop them from trying.

After a semester of an average of three calls a day, I got fed up. These people just were not getting the clue. They would ask me,"When is the better time to get a hold of him?" I would tell them, "Never, he is NEVER home." I always suggested that they give me their number and that I would have him call them back. They would always end up hanging up on me and calling ME back again a little later. UGh! They had the resiliance of a dandelion.

So, I came up with an ingenious plan. Whenever a telemarketer would call and ask for LeGrand Gold, I would say, "This is him." Now, I do have a low voice, but it isn't THAT low. They would always say, "Excuse me." I would say with the upmost confidence, "This is LeGrand." Then, the telemarketer would stumble into their spiel. I would then gladly cut them off, tell them that I wasn't interested, and kindly instruct them to take us off their calling list.

One time this guy called and he had the nerve to say, "You have to be kidding; You are not a man." Oh, this made me REALLY mad! How dare he say that I have a woman's voice!? I gave him a piece of my mind for his insult and then gladly instructed him to take us off his calling list.

THIS IS PRECISELY THE ADVANTAGE THAT YOU HAVE OVER THE TELEMARKETER. They don't know you, therefore, they cannot tell YOU what your voice should sound like! Face it, we all know a man with a mousy voice of a whimpy woman and visa versa. Just the other day, I was caught off guard when I called a new friend. I said, B*** (Her husband's name)?" , only to find out that it was her mother-in-law (quite the smoker).

Well, I must have been successful in my strategy. We are now the proud receivers of less than one student loan call per month. They may have won the battle, but we won the war.

If you have trouble with telemarketers and you can't come up with as elaborate of a plan as above to get rid of them, may I kindly suggest what my witty father-in-law does to get rid of them?

He cuts them off and says, "Let me ask you just one thing?" The say, "What is that?" He then inquires,"Is this a good buy?" They say,"Of course it is a good buy?" He then says, "O.k. goodbye."

Saturday, March 05, 2005

John Denver

John Denver is the man! Posted by Hello

When I found out that LG shared my love of John Denver, I KNEW he was the man for me. I thought that I had an unusual upbringing because my parents were always exposing us to JD's music. Come to find out, my upbringing was pretty normal. LG was growing up 2,000 miles away and he had just as much exposure to the King of country-folk music.

While I lived in Alaska, mom and dad would put us to sleep with John Denver. They would play him as loud as he would go on their little portable battery operated tape player.

I still love John Denver. LG and I carry on tradition and listen to him while we take road trips with our girls. We teach them to sing the lyrics to his songs, which are quite uplifting. Here is one of my favorites:

Perhaps love - 1980

Perhaps love is like a resting place,
A shelter from the storm,
It exists to give you comfort,
It is there to keep you warm,
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone,
The memory of love will bring you home...

Well, I was grief-stricken, like many others, when Denver died in a plane crash, October 12, 1997. I was mostly bummed because I never got to see him in concert.

At the time, I was taking a course in college, Public Speaking. Each student was to give a speech on a self-chosen topic. I did a bang-up job with mine on the life of John Denver. Did you know that his birth name was Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.?

Well, during my speech, I touched on Denver's act of adopting two children with his first wife, Annie. In explanation of the adoptions, instead of saying, "They thought that John was sterile." I said, "They thought that John was impotent."

Hello, they THOUGHT that John Denver was IMPOTENT...isn't that something that someone either knows or they don't?

I still got an A on the speech. No one even snickered when I said it. I didn't even realize what I had said until I was doing my mental speech replay later on during the day. I was mortified at what I had done. Luckily, most of the students in the class were really naive 18 year old Mormon girls. But, surely my hot young male professor from Michigan realized what I had done. I couldn't believe it when I got my grade. Either the teacher was really impressed that I was the only student who accompanied my speech with a Power Point presentation, or he was so entertained that he decided to let my mistake slide.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Soccer Moms

Sophia and Bella with Soccer Balls Posted by Hello

Soccer moms aren't what they used to be. Soccer has become something that parents do so that they can put it on their own "parental resumes". "Oh look at us, we are good parents. We drive our SUV's to pick up our well-dressed kids from their state-of-the-art daycare. Then we cart them to their private tutor, piano lessons, and soccer." Whatever happened to actual interaction between parent and child? Now, we pay everyone else to teach our kids the things that we are too busy to do oursleves? Whatever happened to playing soccer so that the family can spend time together?

Soccer started for us on Monday when we went to buy Abigail's equipment. She wanted the pink ball but the black and white was $4 cheaper. I told her that if she would get the black and white one, I would let her color it with my Sharpies. She always wants to draw with my "off-limits" permanent markers and she totally fell for my ingenious manipulation. Sophia brought her ball to me on Tuesday and asked if she could color hers too. I had to let her. (see the pic above)

Abigail's first practice was a blast. It was typical of any other like it across the country. You could spot the coach's kid: she was the only one in full uniform. Then there were the three moms who are so insecure that they kept to their little clique...they are the mom's of the girls that are the friends of the coach's daughter.

One of the cliquee moms must have been coerced into letting her daughter play. You could tell because her daughter was the chubby kid who kept interuppting her mom's "mommy" time on the sideline. She just had to tell her mom that she didn't like soccer and wanted to go home. Her mom would just embarassingly shoo her daughter back out on the field.

Abigail was the "girly girl" of the bunch. She is taller and faster than the rest of the kids, but doesn't dare go for the ball. She just kept running out in front of the rest of the herd, looking pretty. LG says that she will be really good at soccer if we work with her to be more agressive. I agree, but, surprisingly, part of me wishes that we could afford ballet instead of soccer. Although, Abigail loved it. She is too young to care about the competitive stuff. She just likes to be with the other girls and squeal as they run.

Bella hated soccer yesterday because she wanted a piece of the action, and wasn't allowed on the field to play with the sister who she idolizes. As for Sophia, she was traumitized by a fall at the playground. LG and I were pushing her back and forth on this sliding pulley. She hung on to it with her feet dangling 3 feet from the ground. At the end of her longest ride, LG let her plummet to the ground. Sophia screamed in disbelief. She face planted. The poor girl trusted her dad to catch her and all she got was a scraped forehead, a broken ego, and a mouth and nose full of dirt.

I later questioned LG as to why he didn't catch her. I assumed that if you are a parent trying to let your child hold on as long as she can, that you keep a constant eye on her grip. I assumed wrong. LG said, "I didn't see her hand slipping, I was waiting for her to tell me when she was going to let go." He should know better. The kid is as quiet as her dad, if not more quiet. Poor Phia. I don't think she will ever want to go back to the soccer field.


Me and Fast Eddie - Dec 31, 1994 Posted by Hello

I love motorcycles. I used to have this boyfriend and we would fantasize about how someday we would both buy a Harley Davidson and cruise around the Country. I don't think that this scenario will ever play out in my deck of cards, but every time I see Roadsters I wonder what it would be like to be "free".

A few years back (try 10 - WOW time flies) a bunch of friends and I went to The Rose Parade. If you have never experienced sleeping on the street with thousands of people in Pasadena, CA, you haven't lived. We had a blast! The streets were one HUGE party.

All kinds of vehicles would cruise up and down the street, and all kinds of people would run back and forth to greet them. Different objects (ie., candy, confetti, marshmellows, items of clothing, drinks) would be thrown between the cruisers and the spectators. I say cars, but I mean, cars, bikes, busses, scooters, motorcycles...anything that you can imagine with wheels.

Well, of course I was so envious of those motorcycles. Every time they drove by, which was countless, I knew that their goal was just to taunt me. At one point, a big group of cyclers parked close by to take a short break. I ran over and asked this group of upper middle age men if one would let me tag along on their next cruise. They were more than compliant. The problem was which one was going to be the lucky one to take me. I was a cute 21 yr old lively girl. Who wouldn't want me on the back of their motorcycle?

My friends thought that I was crazy for jumping on a bike with a complete stranger. I have to admit that at one point during the ride with Fast Eddie I had a panic stricken feeling that he could take me to some back alley and I would be completely helpless. Jumping on a motorcycle with a complete stranger was completely irresponsible, especially since we were some of the only people not drinking at the party, but I wanted to prove that Mormons could have fun too, and prove it I did.

Well, Fast Eddie, (shown above) was the winner among his friends. He was so COOL! We rode up and down the strip for as long as I wanted. All the people that I had come to the parade with and all of my new friends that I had made throughout the night would shout my name as we cruised by. What a blast. I was on HOG heaven.

Rewind to ten years previous to 1994. I was about 11. My dad had inherited some old dirtbikes from a Great Uncle who had passed. One Saturday, he was in the front yard tinkering with them. Throughout the day, my dad and my brothers would each take a turn going through the front yard and up and down the street.

I approached my dad and asked him if I could have a turn. He said, "Sure" and gave me all of the pointers about the clutch and the brakes, how to stop, accelerate, and steer. I was ready. My dad seemed a little reserved, and kept asking me if I knew how everything worked. I was overly confident (imagine that). I waved my dad off and told him I would be fine.

I accelerated as hard as I could and I choked trying to remember where the brakes were located. I took off so fast that I felt like steering was an impossibility or if I tried to take the sharp turn toward the street I would surely dismount. I hung on for dear life going a good thirty miles an hour or so. I crashed head-on into our front door. The whole door frame came tumbling down, leaving me sitting on the bike bewildered. The bike had finally stopped; I was staring at my mom just two feet in front of me. She was standing in our hallway with a horrified look on her face screaming at the top of her lungs.

I know, after hearing this story, you would wonder why I still have a thing for motorcycles. I guess I am a gluten for punishment. I also give Kudos to my mom and dad. They handled the situation perfectly. They laughed at me for hours on end. All the neighbors came over to get a good laugh too. Back then, all I could think about was how bad I hurt between my legs, but looking back now, I am glad that I could promote good is quite funny!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My Dad

"Here I come to save the day!" Posted by Hello

This story will be a shining example of how my siblings and I viewed my dad when we were kids. He was and still is Superman.

My dad worked construction until I was about nine at which point he changed his career path to building maintenance. One of our favorite things to do when we were young was to go with dad on Saturdays while he "checked out" different construction sites.

Our house used to be the most east in Carlsbad. Behind us were miles and miles of dirt hills. Those hills are now ALL developed and you can drive the actual paved roads into Vista instead of taking the long way around on the H-78, like we did.

One Saturday, my dad decided to take my sister, Shannon, (18 months older than me) and I out four-wheeling in those hills. He wanted to go beyond the construction sites that we had been exploring. This adventure was much more fun than it should have been considering we were in the family station wagon. Well, Carlsbad had gotten some rare moisture previously and the hills were somewhat muddy.

Lo and behold, we got stuck! My dad decided to play out Superman. He told my sister and I to "stay put", and he "would be back to get us out of the mud". Great plan in theory, but Shannon and I were terrified. We were in the hills with nothing in sight. We knew that these hills were full of mice, rattlesnakes, and the coyotes that always ate our cats.

At one point, I voiced my fear to my "wiser" sister. She reminded me that we had just learned a song in Primary about faith and believing that God would answer prayers. (I recently taught this same song, Faith, to the children at church. When I relayed this story from my childhood to them, I realized just how absolutely absurd it sounded.)

Well, my sister and I decided to sing this song. We thought that if we could sing it loud enough, God would hear that we had faith and somehow He would save us from the Coyotes. It seemed like a lifetime. We decided that we should pray too. We did. We prayed. We sang. We prayed. We sang.

All of the sudden we spot something moving over the horizon. It was over this same muddy hill that my dad had disappeared over minutes if not hours before. As this thing edged its way over the hill, we saw that it was a TRACTOR. It was coming straight towards us in all it's glory. (It was just like the one in the picture above.) As we looked closer, we saw that my dad was driving. He had found it at some construction site, hot wired it, and drove it back through the mud to SAVE THE DAY. (Hopefully enough time has passed that no one can press charges)

My dad easily pushed the wagon out of the mud, using the front scooper, while Shannon and I watched in pure amazement. Not only was our dad really Superman, but just like our primary teachers had told us, "God had heard our prayers." He had answered our pleas with one REALLY COOL ending.

Shut Up

Eskimo Man Posted by Hello

This picture provided by utask

My mind has been racing with experiences from Alaska. If you haven't read "a piece of the action", I highly recommend it. This is another "Tatitlek" story when I felt that my life was in danger.

The Eskimo people in Tatitlek were more than ecstatic to get their town rebuilt for "free" by the U.S. government and couldn't wait for their new homes and school. My dad, of course, was among these government paid construction workers. This village was normally very divided but now they were finally in 100% agreement on one issue: they hated the white men that had been sent to do the building.

Many people in the village drank A LOT. Because of the excessive drinking, there were all kinds of crazy things that happened all of the time. The summer of our stay, my family had STRICT orders from Dad as to who we should not associate with. We all understood that we needed to stay away from certain locals for our own well-being.

My dad had strategically placed our shanty about a mile from the town on our own private peninsula. It had been "jimmy-rigged" together by my dad in the evenings for the month before we arrived. We had no running water or electricity and a biffy out to the side of the house. We took a path along the shore to town when we wanted to see dad and we often got stuck in the mud.

On this particular day, in was more wet than usual and my dad decided that he would give us a ride home in the boat. We all walked down to the harbor where the boat should have been anchored, but it had been let out to sea. My dad was FURIOUS. He found a friend and they left immediately in hopes of getting our boat back, which had been let free to the currents by some hateful local.

While we all kept busy on the shore (what else did we have to do) my dad went and rescued our pathetic piece of sea transportation. We all cheered when he got back. My mom had loaded in the boat as well as a few of the kids. We were finally on our way home. A group of "locals" rode up to the side of us.

At first my dad ignored the locals, but they kept pestering him. So the "words" started to fly. From what I could gather from the conversation, the ring-leader of the Eskimos (he looked much like the guy in the picture above) was the man that had let our boat out to sea.

This Eskimo wasn't happy with my dad for one reason or another. (It could have been as simple as someone else's house got sheetrock before this mans...who knows) Well, the vocal altercation became more and more intense. The Eskimo pulled out his shotgun and pointed it at my dad. He insulted my dad repeatedly and made some kind of threat that he would shoot my dad right here in front of his family.

I guess my dad wasn't too worried because he knew that the guy was just showing off for his friends, but I was terrified because I knew this man was on our "Black Dangerous" list. He was aslo drunk, and he had a shotgun.

While my dad had it out with this man, he was trying to get the rest of us in the boat, so that we could get onto the safe waters. I was the only one left on shore when this man pulled out his gun. As an eight year old kid with obnoxoius tendencies, I saw this moment as my chance to prove that I could be like my hero, Laura Ingalls Wilder. And, prove myself I did. I freed myself from my dad's grip as he was trying to push me into the boat. I stood all four feet of myself as tall as I could between that mean eskimo and my dad and I gave him a peice of my mind, "If you want to shoot my dad, you will have to go through me first."

This brought howls of laughter from all of the local men on the boat. My dad turned his anger towards me and quietly said, "Alice, shut up, and get in that boat." The urgency of his voice made me think that I earned my dad a bullet in the head. I was devastated. I was very surprised that my dad jumped in the boat after me and off we went. I guess the Eskimos were either too entertained by me or distracted laughing that they had let my dad go without any kind of harm.

I got the lecture the whole 4 minute ride home. I don't know if my dad was more embarassed that he couldn't keep his eight year old in line or that she had just saved his life. He said,"Alice, you have to learn when to keep your mouth shut." My mom said,"You almost got your father killed." My 14 year old brother,"You aren't supposed to talk to that man, especially when he is drunk." My 10 year old brother,"You are a big mouth." On and on, the insults came...all the way home.

I couldn't believe it and I didn't understand it. All of the sudden everyone in my family was MAD at me. I had just SAVED all of us from death by gunshot wound. Why wasn't everyone thanking me?