Thursday, July 31, 2008
Today he was auditioning to be Satan's demon helper. Yes, it's true. Satan has a white, sorta nerdy sidekick. It's a Capital One ad that will only run in Canada about hell freezing over because of all the great perks Capital One's No-Hassle Rewards plan offers. He was a bit nervous that the whole thing was symbolic, that maybe it's some sort of sign that he's being asked to audition for this role. I told him he only needed to worry if he gets it. If his agent calls up and says that out of the thousand demon helpers they auditioned, he's the one that's perfect, then maybe he's got something to worry about. And wait, then would that be a test? Is he not supposed to take it? Well, I say if hell's gonna pay the bills, then it's good for something.
On the way home, we stopped at a gas station. Just after us pulled in a Corvette Stingray with no hood and primer all over the back end of the car. Can't miss that, right? It parked next to us on the opposite pump. Adam went in to pay and came back out and leaned into the car and said, "Do you know who Tommy Lee is?" Yeah, sure. The guy that Pamela Anderson married. "Well, he's right there." And sure enough, there he was, pumping his gas into his inconspicuous hoodless Stingray. It's always kind of weird when you see a celebrity, whether you like them personally or not. I'm not a huge Tommy Lee fan. I'm not even a small Tommy Lee fan. But there he was, standing right there.
Now, people think I see celebrities all the time because I live in L.A. I don't. Adam does more often because he leaves the house. I rarely do. Well, I go to the grocery store, Church, and Target. No luck at those places yet. This was actually only the second time I've seen a celebrity while living here. The first was Tom Bosley. You know, the dad from Happy Days? We were in line at a photography place waiting for Adam's head shots, and Mr. Bosley walked in and got in line behind us. Adam had worked with him years ago and wanted to go say hi. But Adam called him 'Bob' on accident and that didn't go over very well. No it didn't.
So, today I realized that the only two celebrities I've seen here have both been 'Tom's', and well things usually happen in three's, right? And there is a certain Tom I'd sure love to run into. . .fingers crossed ladies, fingers crossed.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Our prophets and leaders of the LDS Church have always encouraged us to maintain a year's supply of food and water and supplies. This kind of self-reliance is smart living for a number of reasons, and it has been a boon to us during times of unemployment or financial hardship. I was very sad to have to leave all of my wheat and pasta and water drums behind in Utah when I moved here because there simply was no room in the moving truck for them. I have felt vulnerable ever since.
And during the three years I've lived here, there has been a seeming increase in the warnings to prepare, and I'm doing the best I can on meager resources. When Gordon B. Hinckley died early this year, maybe a lot of people don't know that just three weeks before he died he broadcast a Stake Conference for just the members of the Church in southern California, where he spoke along with a few others, and the theme was "Get Prepared". It was loud and clear. Prepare your houses, get your storage in order, strengthen your marriages and families, get ready. It was very sobering. And it's been on my mind ever since.
A few months ago, our Stake held a huge community Preparedness Fair, and Adam was asked to do a video on earthquake preparedness, of all things. That was a great learning experience for all of us, to go through the drills and reenact the scenarios on film. The kids knew just what to do when the house started shaking. Nobody panicked.
I am praying for the resources to get our house in order so that we will be prepared. I found a great bulk food co-op here, and I have my eye on an excellent wheat grinder and mixer. My heart is right, and I know the blessings will show up and a way will be provided. I want to be ready. I want to be free from fear and panic in the event of an emergency situation, and be able to focus on the safety and calm of the people in this house. Even be able to help others, if possible. Yesterday's "wake up call" has done even more to strengthen my resolve to follow the counsel given to us by living prophets.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Also, one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world has a daughter who is kicking some tail in karaoke competitions. She won one, which gave her the opportunity to compete on the 4th of July in the Gilbert, AZ celebration before the fireworks. She won that too, and is now competing in "Kiddieokee", a kids' karaoke contest on 96.9 FM in Phoenix, AZ. Madison Vance is her name. Sweet, sweet girl. I was there with her mom when she was born, and she's such a little angel still, at 12 years old. A musical angel too, playing the piano and the harp, and now singing. If you'd be so kind to vote for her, go to:
Click on "Kiddieokee"
Click on "VOTE NOW"
Enter your email (only one vote per email address)
Go to the 10-12 year old age group.
Scroll down to the bottom and find Madison Vance and vote!
And stay tuned for news that she's an American Idol contestant and needs your votes then too.
Thanks, everybody! And pics and family news very shortly! Everybody is safe and sound and HOME.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
My Adam has started a blog! Okay, remember the dinner conversation I made mention of? His posts are sure to entertain you in similar (though hopefully a bit censored) fashion. Adam is the middle child of seven, but the oldest boy. The story goes that his mother sent in a family portrait for some acting call or talent tryout, but only Adam was selected. The little tiny guy with the bright green eyes, amidst a sea of dark brown eyes. He booked his first commercial when he was about eight years old, for McDonald's, and has done over 100 national commercials since then, along with various TV and movie roles over the last 28 years. I love it that he is super modest and humble about all the experiences he's had. He doesn't even have copies of most of his work, and has to be pushed to talk about the cool people he's met or the opportunities he's had. I've only begun to learn that he's been on every show from Webster to Home Improvement. But he shares a tiny bit in his opening post. He is probably the funniest guy I've ever known, and he's funniest when he's not trying to be. He also has a deeply tender and sensitive side, and is thoughtful and philosophical. He never takes himself too seriously, and can laugh at himself with the best of them. I think if you bookmark his new blog, you'll find yourself going back for more. It's my pleasure to share him with you for your entertainment.
And my Dad is blogging too! Almost daily, he gives us puns and rhymes, wisdom and wit. My Dad, as I've blogged about before, is the smartest, wisest, most interesting person (not man, person!) I know. I adore him. I'm so proud to have even a smidgen of his DNA. He began his blog several weeks ago, in which he keeps us laughing, thinking, and scratching our heads, asking "what the?". He has a thoughtful worldview, and a tried and tested testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is always seeking, always learning, and mostly always laughing. (I can hear him now!) He will post on everything from family stories to his gardening adventures, archaeology, and everything in between. You should definitely become a loyal reader. You'll learn something and be highly entertained, I promise. Oh, and scroll down to the bottom of his blog and check out his comic "George and Georgie". Yeah, he never stops. It must be exhausting to be in his mind, but oh, so fun!
Okay, so go on now, go say hi! Tell 'em Jenna sent you! Give them both a blogland welcome!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I have more to post but while the baby is being quiet I'm going to try to get a 20 minute nap. Wish me luck and I'll be back soon.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tonight, Jenna was complaining that she is tired of being fat and poor. Gee, what do you say to that even when it's not true? Well, about the fat part anyway. You girls really have us against the ropes with that one. I can't really give her condolences or show grief for her feeling that way, because that's just as bad as if I agreed or called her it myself. But then again I can't try and convince her she's not either, because then she'll think I'm placating her, which means I'm trying to avoid saying that I really think she is, which again, gets me in trouble. So, I realized this: Don't say anything. Just start groping and kissing until she forgets about it.
The truth is girls, Jenna is just right. She has without a doubt the sexiest legs I have ever seen; from her dainty ankles, to her razor sharp shins, to her always silky smooth shave that goes all the way up... A true babe. And why is it she thinks she has to be some hard-body cover girl on the front of some cheesy magazine? What Jenna doesn't believe is, is that guys don't really want some hard-body gym-freak to snuggle with. It feels too much like you're cuddling with a man. Leave the six pack and triceps to us. We like some squish on our woman. In fact secretly, we like that no matter where our hands are, it's like we're caressing a breast. A perverse confession maybe, but still it's true.
Since Jenna has begun teaching piano, she has been noticeably happier. Maybe it's because she's really good at it, or maybe it's because people actually have to pay her to boss them around, or maybe it's how all these older men from church have suddenly developed an interest in learning to play, so they try to set up "private lessons". I must admit, I'd pay 20 dollars to sit on a bench next to her for half an hour too. Luckily, Jenna has made it a company policy to not fall for that one.
Whatever you do, if you're the type of person that feels stupid if you lose at a board game, never play Jenna at Scrabble. She's a human dictionary. She cried in that spelling bee movie. Mensa even extended an invitation to her, but sadly... she was too broke to pay the fees. True story... I think.
Another thing about Jenna, is that she never ever smells. It's a weird freak of nature. No body odor, sour feet, bad breath, nothing... Ever. It's like a superpower.
People often ask me how I got such a beautiful and equally great a woman to marry me... My response? "You gotta lie to them on the Internet". Which I did. I added an inch to my height. Which had me sweating the whole way to our first meeting, because unlike the other girls, Jenna was actually the same exact height I had said I was on my website. And her last husband, also named Adam, has me by more than a foot. So when we met, of course she called me on it almost immediately. Luckily, I was able to convince her that our heads were just shaped different and her eyes are placed higher up on her face, so it just seems like she's looking down a bit.
I guess what I'm finding myself painting for all of you who read these blogs, is that the truth is, Jenna is better than me in almost every way. She's taller, smarter, less smelly, sexier... But, in my own defense, there is one thing I have that is better than her... I'm far more lucky than she is.
Now let me ask her to correct my spelling...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
On another note. I love conversations with little kids. I try to get to know each of my little piano students on a personal level. Find out who they are, what they love, what their lives are all about. I figure if they know I care about them, they're more likely to do what I say. So far it seems to be working. One mother told me last week that her son said randomly during the week, "I wish I was Miss Jenna's boy." Ouch. (to her), but it touched her that her son loves his piano teacher, and it made me all weepy for him.
But today I had some fun dialogue with Alex. He's 5. Well, on Sunday he'll be 6. Here's how I know.
"On Sunday is my birthday and so we're going on a Disney Cruise for 7 days and so I won't be at my lesson next week."
"Wow, a Disney Cruise! That sounds like fun! Will you get a cake for your birthday?"
"I don't get cake. I get all the Disney characters."
"Oh, I see. And who is your favorite?"
(after a long pause) "I don't know, but they'll all be there. You should come to our house to see my piano. It's bigger than yours. It's this tall (he shows me with his hands) and this big (he shows me with his hands)."
"Sounds beautiful. Maybe someday I can come see it. You are one lucky little boy, you know."
"I mean, I've never been on a cruise!"
"I've been on two boats."
"Well, I've been on many boats, but a cruise is different."
"Well, with the cruise that makes three boats I've been on."
"Yes, that's true."
"My dad and my mom and my brother and my grandma and grandpa are coming on the cruise with us."
"Sounds nice. Where are you going on the cruise?"
"To the beach."
"Oh, I see. So, what does your Dad do for his job, Alex?"
"He must work very hard."
"He works all day and all night doing his paperwork. He always works."
"Well, he must be looking forward to this cruise then!"
And my last question remained unasked. If you give a child a 7 day Disney cruise for his 6th birthday, what do you do for his 7th birthday, or heaven forbid his 16th? They'll think of something.
*Don't forget to enter the MikaRose giveaway! You have until Friday at midnight! Go here for the details!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Tomorrow is my 3rd wedding anniversary. Hallelujah! You have no idea what a milestone that is. We made it another year. Another year behind us. Another year we never have to live again. And believe me, with the things that we've had to deal with, making it through another year is a triumph! But then again, I suppose every year that any marriage survives is a triumph in this world of shifting values where quitting is easy and self-gratification is the name of the day. So, hooray for us, and hooray for you who every day are doing the grunt work of marriage, in the trenches, learning the lessons, gleaning the rewards. It's a satisfying place to be.
Monday, July 14, 2008
"We got a new dog and that took all of our time."
"I was just too tired all the time."
"My mom wouldn't let me."
"I just didn't understand."
"It was just too hot."
"We didn't get home until late."
But this next one was my favorite. The little boy, who is five, began to play his piece and was noticeably fumbling. He kept playing his way through, and in between measures, this was our conversation:
"You didn't practice this song enough, did you?"
"Well, I had to go to the bathroom."
"The whole week?"
"Whoa. That's weird. I've never heard of having to go to the bathroom for an entire week."
"Yeah. I had diarrhea."
"For a week?"
"You're lucky you're not dead. Did you have time to eat?"
"Yeah, but the rest of the time I was going to the bathroom."
"Did you have time to watch TV?"
"Yeah, but then I had to go to the bathroom."
"Were you able to sleep?"
"Yeah, but when I woke up I had to go back to the bathroom."
"This is the weirdest excuse I've ever heard, you know."
And so it was. And meanwhile, Mom was cracking up in the back room listening to this story of her son's intestinal backfiring. No, she said, he wasn't sick in any way. So why go to such lengths to excuse not practicing?
Well, probably the same reason I go to such lengths to excuse myself from not doing any number of things that I know I should be doing. Exercising, cleaning the bathrooms, writing a letter to my grandmothers, playing with my children more, finishing that article, reading my scriptures, eating carrots instead of cookies, you get the idea.
'cause I'm too tired.
'cause the noise would wake up the baby.
'cause I can't find a pen.
'cause it's too hot.
'cause I'm upstairs and my scriptures are downstairs.
But the truth would be that because right now I'm feeling like a lazy procrastinator who'd rather do fun things than dutiful things and. . . (now we're getting to the heart of things!)
I don't feel like it!
*(If you didn't enter our MikaRose giveaway, you have the entire week! Go to this post and follow the instructions. You can enter until Friday at midnight, and the winner will be chosen on Saturday morning from all participants. Good luck!)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
"Who are you?" she asked.
I giggled a bit self-consciously, aware of the line that was building up behind me. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, what do you do?"
"Well, I raise kids and teach piano, I guess."
"Oh, girl, there is something mighty powerful about you! Look!", at which she held out her bare arms (she was wearing a bright yellow sundress), and I could see that her skin had broken out in big, bold goosebumps. "This hardly ever happens to me anymore! What is it about you? Who are you? I gotta get some o' that!" and then she wrapped her arms around both Conor and me and gave us a little hug from behind. I wasn't sure exactly what was happening.
"Girl," she said. "There is some good energy about you. I don't know what it is, but you are powerful! God be with you. God bless you. Something good is coming for you." She again showed off the goosebumps that covered her arms and chest.
"Oh, good," I said, trying to face my stack of $1's so I could shove them into the blinking slot. "I could really use something good." I turned and smiled to the line waiting behind me, with a look of 'forgive me'.
She wished me well and began to walk away, but stopped ten feet away and called back, "Girl, get over here. There's something there!" Again with the goosebumps.
"Well, I have to finish my deposit," I said, wondering if this was a dangerous situation or not. There is an interesting collection of souls congregated in the Los Angeles area. But, then again, there were plenty of witnesses. And she didn't seem dangerous. Or even all that crazy. And I've met crazy. She seemed a little "off", but well-meaning and sincere. I finished up my deposit and walked down to where she was standing, directly in the sun. Sweat glistened on her black skin. She told me that she had to read me. That she didn't do this anymore, but she used to do readings, and there was just something there, like a lump in her throat or in her chest and she had to get it out. She told me she was 55. She asked if I had other children and whether they were all safe and healthy and if my grandmothers are alive. All yes.
Then she said, "Is your husband in a very low place right now?"
"Um. Yes, as a matter of fact."
"What's going on there?"
"Well, he's been looking for work and it's been very hard."
"Is he into computers? Something with computers?"
(at that very moment Adam was at home studying to take his Microsoft A+ certification test) "Yes," I replied.
"And balls, going back and forth. Something with balls, (and she was pantomiming hitting balls, as with a racket, back and forth). . ." the goosebumps burst forth again.
"Well, he plays ping-pong a lot."
"Yes, something big is coming for him! Tell him to act on it! There's lots of money in it for him. You go home, girl, and tell him to act on it."
She said many more oddly identifying things about Adam, and about his movie script, and she had this sense of frustration as she was 'reading' me because she sensed there was something that she just couldn't quite put her finger on. Something she felt but couldn't pull out in the right words. But eventually, she sent me off, a little befuddled, but with words of encouragement nonetheless, and I was tickled by the experience. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before.
When I got home, I ran up to him and said, "The weirdest thing just happened at the bank." This is usually not good news, but as I started the story, Adam, who gets a kick out any sign anywhere that hope is on the horizon, ate up every word. He talked about it all night. "What do you think it means?" he kept wondering. "You should have invited her over for dinner."
And so, we'll wait and see.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
We needed to come up with a slogan for the school, which would be printed on the back of the t-shirts. My dad, who also taught there for a short time, came up with "Mad at Mediocrity", which I still love. The only problem was that wherever we wore those shirts in Small Town, USA, people couldn't pronounce 'mediocrity', let alone know what it means. So I'm not convinced they were 'mad' at it.
But I am.
I am not a mom who supports kindergarten 'graduations'. I think they're ridiculous. I am not a mom who thinks that every kid who played on the team should get a trophy, or that every car in the Pinewood Derby should win some sort of ribbon.
I think my kids, and your kids should lose sometimes. I think they should come in last (or maybe worse, second) and not cry about it.
I think schools should give number and letter grades instead of stupid point systems, and I think if you don't study you should get an "F" and not a second chance.
I think if I ask you to make your bed and you only pull the bedspread over the messed up sheets instead of doing it right the way I taught you, then you should have all the blankets pulled off the bed and you should do it over again.
I think that your Sunday-best does not include the flip-flops you just wore to the beach on Saturday, and that you boys can expend the energy to pull up your pants.
I think if you're asked to sweep the floor (and you're old enough to sweep the floor and have been taught how) then there should be no crumbs left on the floor. Not even in the corners.
I think if you're supposed to fold your laundry and put it away, then you should fold your laundry and not just shove it in the drawers. Or don't be mad when I come in and empty all your drawers and make you start over again.
I don't think little effort should be rewarded. And I don't think I'm mean. But don't we have enough (excuse me, but it's the only word that I know that fits the way I want it to) half-assed people in this world doing half-assed jobs? And can't the mothers and fathers rise up and demand more from their lazy, self-indulged, entitled children? Have some pride!
So, when you come for piano lessons and I told you that if you practiced a song at least ten times then you would get a treat, you're not getting a treat if you only practiced six times. And if you do practice ten times, then your little sister (who didn't) doesn't get a treat just because you did.
And if you lose at something, then you should be happy for the winner and determined to try harder the next time if you want it badly enough, because that's how the world works. It does not cater to your feelings. And if I did, I would be doing you a grave inservice.
And you should learn that a job well done is its own reward, and that self-esteem comes from hard work and the confidence that you can do something correctly and whole-heartedly and well.
So, today, I am mad at mediocrity. We're the most powerful nation in the world and we're slipping into mediocrity. Doesn't it start at home like everything else? Can't we raise kids who are not big babies who think that every time they bat their eyelashes they deserve a treat or that just because they're alive they deserve special privileges? Isn't that unfair to them?
Please tell me you're okay with your child losing, and that you're not okay with "just enough to get by" all the time. Please tell me you're mad at mediocrity too. Please?
Monday, July 7, 2008
I miss my kids! I hear from at least one of them every day, most often Lyndsay, who is ready to come home, but still has three weeks to go. I know they are having so much fun and creating memories, so I'm comforted. Their dad will be moving from Show Low, AZ, so this might be their last visit there, which is a bit nostalgic even for me. Show Low is dear to me, but also painful. We moved there with such high hopes and dreams, and I left alone with a whole different set of plans.
Is anyone else getting panicked at the thought that it's already July? School, Halloween, Christmas. Oh my gosh. I bought my first Christmas present over the weekend and stashed it away. A drop in the bucket, but at least it's a drop!