Sunday, December 5, 2010

Remember the Starfish story, "Well, I might not be able to save all of them, but I can save this one." Inspired by that story, Amanda deLange does this for Chinese orphans. I read her story last summer in a BYU magazine. It's incredible--she applied to become a Chinese orphanage, approved in 4 days. Takes babies destined for death, nurtures them to health, started with five, now has more than a hundred.

A worthwhile place to donate, she will be our Christmas Star this year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dave's new TAT

Dave did it again--marathons are in his blood and now on his leg. One of Dia's friends said, "Your dad has the biggest, biking calves I've ever seen." And so there's a lot of space for more tally's.
4:12 finish time. WOOT!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TSA's Grope Potential

Maybe the security grope would be worth it, if it did any good, but TSA isn't proactive. Somebody will always be smarter and here's more proof.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Okay, the company party for 150 people was crazy. The 13 cakes were too many, 6 were left over. If it had been an alcohol-less party, I'm convinced that dessert would have been a bigger success. There was too much refried beans and rice, and believe it or not, too much beer and margaritas.

But there was not too much fun, Dante Schmitz played wonderful music and we shared delightful conversation. To quote a Summit County Bee-ism, I think a good time was had by all.
And the 72 luminaries in the front yard really should have been photographed for posterity. Sad that I was too darn busy.

And there was a dang cute wreath on the front door. I'll be eating peppers for weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Halloween Answer to Candy

I think it was successful. The kids loved it. Even the little ones chose an eyeball over playdough.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Aidan's costume was "The guy who follows your kids home from the bus." He wore a hoodie. What could be scarier?

Bus Stop Bureauocracy

Parenting is a mix of science, information and baggage. The baggage your parents loaded onto you will be shucked off your shoulders onto your children. And I usually enjoy doing it. “My father made me… so you are going to …”

Our family had a rule, you either learned to ride a bike before kindergarten, or you walked the mile to school each day. I was a tremendously uncoordinated child, so there I was, my five-year-old legs, trudging to school each day and trudging home. For a while my first-grade sister would take pity on me and pump me on the fender of her back tire—until it broke.

It wasn’t a bad walk, and even my short little legs could do it in about a half hour. We lived in a pretty cold place, it got to about ten below during the winter and as the number two child of nine, we didn’t always have hand-me-down hats, boots and mittens, but we always had coats.

The worst part of the walk was when Dad would drive to work and he would pass right by us in his heated automobile and sometimes he would wave. I thought that showed an extreme lack of regard for the wellbeing of children, even cruelty and while it may have built character, the character it built is the one that I’m trying to avoid in my own children.

This year, I’m watching as the school bus drives along the very street my son walks in the dark. The bus could stop where it has all his previous school years, right by our house and there it would pick up three children, but instead, this year it drives right on past them. It’s really too dark to see if the bus driver waves. These kids do have hats and mittens and maybe even the best coats money can buy, but these kids have something I didn’t. They are smarter than I ever was and they have a higher disdain for irrational behavior. They can think of no reason for this lack of consideration—none except that it’s “the rule.” Intermediate school children of age ten and eleven are deemed able to walk a third of a mile, so the rationale is that they should be made to do so. The other children are younger than my son and so they now have to be driven down to the bus stop each morning—for safety issues.

Walking doesn’t build character. What is engendered in that five blocks and ten minutes is a moldering cynicism. It’s just long enough form a credible theory against irrational bureaucracy. It’s another inevitability that I wish my son didn’t have to learn— that rampant bureaucracy plus the lack of reason equals stupidity.

What I have learned is something I already knew. All of my effort to effect change with the school has made a difference. The bus stop has been relocated .03 miles closer to us. That means not only will the children on this end still have to be driven, but now the three who come the other direction, will also have to be driven.

I’m reminded that when it comes to bureaucracy, it’s always best to leave well enough alone.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Recommendation???

Unvarnished Truth! WOW, For the first time. I was looking for a book at my library download and ran into this review.

"At HarperCollins, we are committed to customer satisfaction. Before proceeding with your purchase, please take the following questionnaire:

1. Which of the following do you appreciate?

A Women with somewhat horse-ish facial features.

B Women who, while not super Jew-y, are more identifiably Jewish than, say, Natalie Portman.

C Frequent discussion of unwanted body hair.

2. Are you offended by the following behavior?

A Instructing one's grandmother to place baked goods in her rectal cavity.

B Stripping naked in public–eleven times in a row.

C Stabbing one's boss in the head with a writing implement.

3. The best way to treat an emotionally fragile young girl is:

A Murder the main course of her Thanksgiving dinner before her very eyes.

B Tell her that her older sister is prettier than she, and then immediately die.

C Prevent her suicide by recommending she stay away from open windows.

If you read the above questions without getting nauseous or forming a hate Web site, you are ready to buy this audiobook! Please proceed to the cashier."


No, I'm not telling you the name so you can read it. Think of it as saving you from yourself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Health Care Despair

Nope Ethopia isn't the answer either. (see the previous link)

Age is great teacher 'cause you don't have to do much but hang around with open ears for a very long time and life's lessons allow the formulation of opinion on critical issues.

For example: I'm just sitting listening to a return missionary (for us Mormons, that means a young person who goes away for 18 months to 2 years and lives among the natives without respite (and that means ever returning home or even calling there very often)).

So I'm debriefing a returned Missionary at dinner at my kitchen table and I asked him about his travels and what he felt was the greatest difference in America and the country he went to, Denmark.

"Well," he drawls quietly, "It's gotta be health care."

"Oh? I ask, Socialized medicine?"

"Yeah," he responds, "Everybody has it. You get sick, you just go to the doctor."

Then he goes on. "My companion had something go wrong with his back. It really hurt so he and I got an appointment and went to the doctor. The doc did an exam, then went to his computer and googled, "Sore back." I was sitting behind the doc and I was so surprised that my companion saw my expression of shock and tried to sit on the edge of his chair and crane his neck to the side so he could see what was going on."

"The doctor stopped, looked at the guy straining, and said suddenly, "I know what's wrong. You have injured your neck by holding it funny." He proceeded to treat the patient by pulling off a strip of masking tape and taping it onto the guys head and sticking the other end to his shoulder. "Do this every evening for two weeks and you should be better," the doctor tells him.

Back to the wisdom thing, I may not have read the 2700 pages of health care reform, but I hope somewhere in it there is a dumb doctor clause for preventing this happening when our medical plan settles in.

I've lived a long time and heard a lot of stuff on both sides of this issue. We are currently choosing to live the life of no medical insurance. It's a wild and edgy thing that keeps the adrenaline in tip top form and yes, having no insurance has made me skip the doctor when maybe I shoulda gone, just for safety and peace of mind.

But my running conclusion on health care (always subject to change with every new story--age has not yet set in far enough to force me to stay of the same opinion with new information,) is that the old American value of supply and demand will eventually kick in and the Free Enterprise System will once more triumph.

And when everybody has health care, nobody will really want it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Physician Heal… Anybody

The word Care means worry, concern, attention, charge, protection, nurture, except when attached to the word health.

My arm is sore, kind of aching, for no reason. The ache radiates up into my jaw line at times. My hand goes numb and there is this pressure like something is sitting on my chest near my shoulder. It’s done this for about a week. No problem, just inconvenient. I should get a stress test? The internet says yes! See someone immediately!

It comes and goes though, so I’m not too worried. And neither is my doctor. I called yesterday and left the symptoms with the nurse. She said she would pass on the message. I haven’t heard anything, so no worries.

Besides, I’m young, in my 40’s, active, in good health, no family history of heart attack. I really didn’t call about the heart thing anyway, I just figured that I’d tack it on because I have this lump in my breast.

I just noticed it the last couple of days, while I was massaging the pain in my arm. It’s pretty big, truthfully the lump makes one breast visibly bigger than the other, but on the up side, anything that accentuates the size of my breasts can’t be all bad.

The nurse isn’t concerned, she says she’ll add that onto the list. If she’s not worried, I’m not. Oh, and while I’m on the phone, the nurse insists, “Would you like to book your annual physical?”

Oops, the computer’s calendar must have triggered the fact that I’m not a regular patient. I believe in going to the doctor when I’m sick, but I really should accept the idea that like all corporate connections, it’s best to keep in tight with the professional by paying his retainer.

I'm sure that regular patients get in quicker, but they risk their computer trigger coming up “hypochondriac”. I wish I could tiptoe on some happy middle ground, but I only go to the doctor as last resort. The last three or four times, I’ve made the diagnosis and advised the doctor on treatment and that seems to work well for both of us.

I like “new-age physicians” who acknowledge that a doctor’s twenty minutes outside the body can’t trump forty some years of living inside it.

My problem is that health care isn’t available ala carte off some menu. But I’m a quick thinker and I know my symptoms could benefit from an ultrasound and a stress test—both of which are part of an annual physical so if my history triggers the, “opportunity for additional income” flag, they may as well sign me up. Besides my insurance pays ZERO now, unless it's an annual physical... but let's not get into insurance.

My family seems to have a history of health care issues… first and foremost #1 finding a doctor to care about health.

My sister finally got in for a similar breast lump and was treated and then told to check back every six months for a mammogram. Six months later her doctor moved somewhere like Ethiopia and the lab needs a prescription and the physicians group won’t issue it, “We don’t need to, they should do it without.” But her insurance won’t authorize, so there she is… stuck. Once again with no worries and nothing to be concerned about.

Another sister who woke with a kinked neck, found her doctor has also moved out of town (perhaps Ethiopia) and she is driving about during lunch trying to find someone who will prescribe an anti-inflammatory and a painkiller. She knows that will work as she did her internet homework last night and found relief with a pain pill leftover from the last labor and delivery. So far, her health care alternatives are urgent care with a three hour wait or a physician who will accept new patients, but only for “sports related injuries”.

She called me to find out how to join a soccer league for the day.

I take my physicians soonest available appointment which is the end of next week, no problem. I must be fasting twelve hours but they want me there late afternoon. Again, no problem, I’ll starve all my waking hours.

But, I interrupt with the caveat that, "If I wait two more weeks and this thing continues to grow at its current rate, I will have to come in braless." I get the same reassurance by the nurse that it's “No problem.”

What I really need is an annual reassurance that I’m fine, but that involves a voice, (not even physical contact) just a voice. But when the voice finally calls back late the next day, it says that the doctor got my message and she’ll review my issues when she sees me at my next scheduled visit.

My health care crisis really isn’t the hefty sum I pay for no covered insurance. It’s with the word care.

Maybe I should move to Ethiopia.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Birthdays and Boys

"Mom, here's your present. Read the card first."

"Oh, Aidan. Did you make it?" I asked.

"Nah, but it's funny," Aidan says.

So I pluck the card off the top of the present and open it. It's one of my cards... that I made.

I look at him sideways. Certainly he knows I made it?

"Read it, Mom!" Aidan insists.

"I must say you look fabulous." I read and then I open it to the inside, "And on my birthday you must tell me I look fabulous."

He laughs and laughs, and so I laugh. At him.

Finally he breaks off, "Funny, Huh, Mom?"

Yeah Aidan. Funny. On so many levels.

And I get the feeling that he and I will split the Lemonheads he bought me for my present.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"If the women don't find you handsome..."

He actually said that when I happened upon this.

We had to carefully and judiciously edit the pictures 'cause it's against his company's policy to have their logo associated with asinine behavior.

Yes, that is a wet/dry vacuum dangling 30 feet up.

"...they should at least find you handy." Red Green

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beautiful Children's Books

Once upon a time, a long time ago, one of my Utah neighbors wrote a book and her husband illustrated it and it was beautiful. It was a fanciful little tale of Fanny (another neighbor sat as the model) whose fairy godmother always showed up late. So while she waited, Fanny was talked into marrying Heber and she set about making a life. When the Godmother finally showed, Fanny had to decide whether to leave Heber and her little boys to go live her dream.

I won't spoil the ending, but to hear my neighbor retell the signing with the publisher, she said that one of the editors at Dial books in New York recommended a total rewrite--with the opposite ending, because one should always live one's dream.

My neighbors were Caralyn and Mark Buehner and now they have a website. Visit their site for me as a favor so their blog will begin to move up the list on google. (hits means placement). P.S. Scholastic published a book of top illustrators for children's books and Mark was on the list!! WOW! I just checked it into my school's library. Another famous Mormon, cool huh?

Their other books are wonderful too, but my little girl was raised on the reality of this fairy tale and it's one of our favorite.

Max the Taxi Dog, Escape of Marvin the Ape, Balloon Farm are some of our favorites. Snowmen at Night is about our neighborhood in Salt Lake and the neighbors who would go out at night and move people's snowmen around. Look for them at the Library.

These books have some of the most entertaining illustrations I've ever seen in children books and the dialog teaches great values. Oh, PS, there are spotters on every page for the kids to search for.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chim, chimminey, chim chimminey, achoo!

Ian is so handy around the house, and on the house. This was his job this summer and he did it marvelously.

Who knew that chimney sweeps really got that dirty--completely unintentionally.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Darcey Summer 2010

Darcey Boys idea of push mowing:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Farewell Ian

We were at a party and while leaving, we noticed a foreclosure house next door and went by to snoop. Aidan said, "Why are you looking at that? Are we moving now that Ian's leaving for college?"

Ian responded, "Yeah, they're moving, cause you've been bad, to someplace with a really, really small, nasty room just for you."

Aidan shot back, "Like a dorm?"

Ah, I'll miss the witty reparte between those two!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

College Guy

Farewell Tulsa photo.
Dia packed the van to bursting and it took three days to move her into her dorm. No so for a guy. Ian's done in a day of packing and into his dorm in 15 minutes. Which is good, because we have to go clean Dia's dorm. It takes two days to clean it!!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Women's Conference

Last speaker, first day, I giggled 'til I split.

The Ugly Truth About Beauty
by Dave Barry

If you're a man, at some point a woman will ask you how she looks.

"How do I look?" she'll ask.

You must be careful how you answer this question. The best technique is to form an honest yet sensitive opinion, then collapse on the floor with some kind of fatal seizure. Trust me, this is the easiest way out. Because you will never come up with the right answer.

The problem is that women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do. Most men form an opinion of how they look in the seventh grade, and they stick to it for the rest of their lives. Some men form the opinion that they are irresistible stud muffins, and they do not change this opinion even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants and their eyebrows grow together to form what appears to be a giant forehead-dwelling tropical caterpillar.

Most men, I believe, think of themselves as average-looking. Men will think this even if their faces cause heart failure in cattle at a range of 300 yards. Being average does not bother them; average is fine for men. This is why men never ask anybody how they look. Their primary form of beauty care is to shave themselves, which is essentially the same form of beauty care that they give to their lawns. If, at the end of his four-minute daily beauty regimen, a man has managed to wipe most of the shaving cream out of his hair and is not bleeding too badly, he feels that he has done all he can, so he stops thinking about his appearance and devotes his mind to more critical issues, such as the Super Bowl.

Women do not look at themselves this way. If I had to express, in three words, what most women think about their appearance, those words would be: "not good enough." No matter how attractive a woman may appear to others, when she looks at herself in the mirror, she thinks, "woof." She thinks that at any moment a municipal animal-control officer is going to throw a net over her and haul her off to the shelter.

Why do women have such low self-esteem? There are many complex psychological and societal reasons, by which I mean "Barbie." Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it were human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds, of which 53 pounds would be bosoms. This is a difficult appearance standard to live up to, especially when you contrast it with the standard set for little boys by their dolls . . . excuse me, by their action figures. Most of the action figures that my son played with when he was little were hideous looking. For example, he was fond of an action figure (part of the He-Man series) called "Buzz-Off," who was part human, part flying insect. Buzz-Off was not a looker. But he was extremely self-confident. You could not imagine Buzz-Off saying to the other action figures, "Do you think these wings makes my hips look big?"

But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie, which for most women is impossible, although there is a multibillion-dollar beauty industry devoted to convincing women that they must try. I once saw an Oprah show wherein supermodel Cindy Crawford dispensed makeup tips to the studio audience. Cindy had all these middle-aged women apply beauty products to their faces; she stressed how important it was to apply them in a certain way, using the tips of their fingers. All the women dutifully did this, even though it was obvious to any sane observer that no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation.

I'm not saying that men are superior. I'm just saying that you're not going to get a group of middle-aged men to sit in a room and apply cosmetics to themselves under the instruction of Brad Pitt, in hopes of looking more like him. Men would realize that this task was pointless and demeaning. They would find some way to bolster their self-esteem that did not require looking like Brad Pitt. They would say to Brad, "Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN CARE, pretty boy?"

Of course many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like Cindy Crawford is that men, being as shallow as a drop of spit, WANT women to look that way. To which I have two responses:

1. Hey, just because WE'RE idiots, that does not mean YOU have to be; and

2. Men don't even notice 97 percent of the beauty efforts you make anyway. Take fingernails. The average woman spends 5,000 hours per year worrying about her fingernails; I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about women, heard a man say, "She has a nice set of fingernails!" Many men would not notice if a woman had upward of four hands.

Anyway, to get back to my original point: If you're a man, and a woman asks you how she looks, you're in big trouble. Obviously, you can't say she looks bad. But you also can't say that she looks great, because she'll think you're lying, because she has spent countless hours, with the help of the multibillion-dollar beauty industry, obsessing about the differences between herself and Cindy Crawford. Also, she suspects that you're not qualified to judge anybody's appearance. This is because you have shaving cream in your hair.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Accidental Niceness

The nicest things I ever did in High School were accidental.

I thought I was pretty great in high school. I was the smartest girl with the highest ACT of all the other girls in my class. (I attended a rural high school, with a graduating class of about 50—and later I learned that we were not overloaded in the smarts department.)

I thought was the cutest. I wore coke bottle glasses, so I couldn’t see anyone else—at all—who was cuter.)

I was quick with a comeback--pithy, brilliant, saucy. I was not one of those timid, uncomfortable girls in high school—indeed, I was one of the obnoxious ones. I was the quintessential be all, do all, not-a-cheerleader-as-that-was-beneath-me, kind of girls.

What I was really best at was being a fraud. You know who I mean, that girl who managed to get through school with all the same insecurities as everyone else, but whose greatest talent was acting confident. Yup, that was me.

But I could pirouette. My momma was one of the only dance teachers in my little town. She would clear out the kitchen in the mornings all summer long and teach us ballet. First position, second position, third position, plie. She taught me as long as she could stand me and I took it from there. I practiced all the time and could perform a tight pirouette down in the aisles of our crowded little supermarket.

My nemesis through high school, everybody has one, (otherwise it wouldn’t be a good story) could have been the good girl, my opposite, but she wasn’t. My arch-rival was Sandra J. She and I had an unspoken competition going—one I didn’t learn all the details of until later. (The coke bottles distorted most things that were right in front of my face.)

What I perceived from my altered perspective was that she was spoiled rotten. She had her own red Camero with personalized license plates, Sandra J. I had my parent’s 20 yr old clunker, when they didn’t have it, which was always. She had a mother who was a teacher and their family was rich—appeared to be anyway.

Anything I wanted, she got, anything she got, I wanted. President of Speech and Forensics, she got it. President of FHA, her. Choir, her. Valedictorian – I got it, but no, when the numbers were re-tallied later, she won by 1/100th of a point. But I was the best dancer. I could pirouette!

It was Spring Prom time and it was my prom. In those days, the Senior Ball was kinda low key because they were focused on graduating. So the Junior Prom was the big thing. Juniors got to date (usually for the first time) since everybody was turning 16 about then. We got days off to decorate the gymnasium, spent the big bucks on the plastic to encase it, colored lights, the whole thing. The Juniors got dates, got group pictures, and most important, the Juniors got to promenade. That means to parade down the middle of the gym be presented, in their first formals/tuxedo’s and then the whole Junior class danced during intermission.

This dance, was choreographed every year by Sandra J’s aunt—the only other dance teacher in town. The first day of promenade practice, the girls were all lined up and set to pirouette. The teacher had to know which of us could pirouette the furthest because in her plan, at least two of us had to do it without barfing or slamming into anyone else. The best ones would dance in the center with their assigned partners.

Partners… that was a problem. Picking partners is like picking teams in P.E. You just know it’s going to get really ugly for some people. My dream dance partner was Dean—as in James Dean! He was handsome in that famous, unassuming yet brooding way. I would have died to dance with Dean. Thank goodness I was sick the day everyone selected partners. When I got back the next day and walked in to the afterschool promenade rehearsal, I found out that Sandra picked Dean and I was dancing with the left-over guy—Jud.

Now, being a reject is a regional concept. In our state, Jud would have been no reject—the boy was a giant! I’m not joking, a giant! He would have been the star fullback, and loved by everyone, coach and cheerleaders alike, but in my home state, he was just big, and… no dancer.

How my Momma got through my stuck-up, thick skull that I should be a nice person I don’t know. I was not naturally a nice person, I have this ongoing fear that I’ll go to a high school reunion and someone will walk up to me and smak me right across the face. I will have to say, “I deserved that,” because I did. But this time, I shut my mouth and just danced. Sandra J. and I danced the best pirouettes, so we got the middle.

My Prom could have been named the Year of the Loser Prom. It was this same dance that I first said yes to a pity date. I had avoided saying yes to this other certain boy in town, but he was determined. He suffered the ignominy of being told over and over that I could not go out, that I had to spend that evening washing my hair, (Yes, that excuse really works!) that I was grounded, (and I should have been—for lying) and that I just couldn’t go out as I had to babysit (True, but my baby sister had doubled with me before—often, on many of my dates.)

Finally this other boy caught me at my lowest, two weeks before prom and no date! In my little town, that was not done. In fact, at the Prom two years before, the boys had arranged for all the girls to have dates. They even pooled money and paid out cold hard cash for dates—just to make sure no one was humiliated--totally missing the point that paying for a date was humiliating. I tell you, dates were important.

So this boy caught me at a low point and I said I would go, but I told my Mom, no pictures. I will never date this person ever again and off I went to prom.

I pirouetted beautifully and I’m sure I wowed the audience. I really don’t know how it looked, because at that time I spurned wearing my coke bottles glasses to important functions like that so I really didn’t see how it went, because of course I couldn’t see anything. But I was certain, I was beautiful.

Skip ahead three years, I was now married to my “never date again prom date”. And I was working full time, team-cleaning condominiums for the ski season in the tourist town next door.

I loved my cleaning team. Those women ranged in age from 15 to 50 and they taught me so much. They taught me to work and they helped me discover that age was only a number—that hilarity is ageless and that girls will be girls no matter how old.

I benefited so much from their training and on my last day, I mentioned how much the friendships meant to me and my partner that day responded, “You’ve always meant a lot to me, too… ever since you danced with my son.”

I didn’t want to say, “I had to.” So I wisely shut up. That was one of best things these women tried to teach me—to shut up!

She went on as if reading my mind, “I know you didn’t have to.” “He told me that that day at the gym when everyone was picking partners—a girl pulled his name out of the hat, and she threw such a fit, that they let her put his name back and she took Dean, your intended partner.”

“You danced with my son. And you will never know until you have children of your own what that means to a mom.”

And she’s right. I never really understood until I had boys of my own.

So really, at that loser prom, two of the nicest things I did in High School happened--totally by accident? Who knows.

But guess what? That boy might be one of the guys at the reunion that I don’t have to duck.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Arylamide??? What happened?

I did some research in September on acrylamide, a known carcinogenic in foods caused by cooking starchy foods at high temperatures in artificial fat. Highest levels are in french fries and potato chips.

National Cancer Institute WHO (world health org.) says it is a significant risk.

I found a great website warning about it and identifying the government study that was to come forth in October. Then I get on that site to see what the study said, it's been dismantled! A new site is in it's place. My guess is that when this site was purchased by the Grocery Manufacturers Group, oddly enough, all of the study stats that warned of carcinogens in food are gone!

Rest assured, there are still 200 international studies on acrylamide to come out soon it's so dangerous. Meanwhile, avoid french fries and potato chips for kids, because it's inordinately higher in acrylamide than any other food.

What's really going on? During my research, I read this article warning the food business that if consumers found out that potato chips and french fries were carcinogenic, we would balk at feeding them to our children?

Sacramento Examiner

Harvard study 2003 deadly cancers caused by acrylamide

extra articles

Why is the public avoiding this issue? Are we just too tired of worrying about food?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whee Ski Vacation

Pictures should say it all!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Wow, I saw these photographs and thought, "What great fun skiing is."

Look at that beautiful mountain.

Guys on the ski lift, gently swaying, listening to the silence of a beautiful ski day.

Then I remembered. I don't like skiing. It hurts, it's cold, and here is how I would look if I were skiing with them. Aidan must be channeling me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Bucket List

Copy paste and then X the things you've done and remove the X from the ones you have not, and send it to your friends (including me).

X ) Shot a gun - yeah, pshaw. I'm from the country. Okay, once.
(X ) Slapped a Bull--no, but I've milked a really mean cow.

( ) Gone on a blind date--but I married a near deaf mate?

(X) Skipped school - so often that Mom said, "sign your own notes... mine will look like forgeries."

(X ) Watched someone die--wouldn't have missed it.
(X) Been to Canada -- 22 hours in Calgary
(X ) Been to Alaska -- slept through it, pregnant and seething.
( ) Been to Cuba -- Isn't that illegal for Americans?
) Been to Europe -- Does Paris, Idaho count?
(X) Been to Las Vegas --and it can stay in Vegas.

( ) Been to Florida -- the gateway to CruiseAmerica? No.
(X) Been on a plane -- TSA has me on their watch list-safest way to fly.
(X) Served on a jury - never seated - guy plead out.
(X) Been lost - constantly--with my keys.
X) Swam in the ocean -- cough, cough, sputter, choke, drown.
(X) Cried yourself to sleep - P.U.
( ) Played cops and robbers - waiting for grandkids.
) Played cowboys and Indians -- ditto.
) Recently colored with crayons. -- What is it about the word grandkids thats confusing?
) Sang Karaoke - family night around the machine - happiness!
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only - groceries, $16.54 - year one marriage.
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? -- woke up today.
X) Made prank phone calls - not since *69.
X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose. -- solid food doesn't count?
X ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue--caught my tongue on a flake.
X ) Danced in the rain - cried in the rain. Same, same.
) Written a letter to Santa Claus - who that old phoney?
) Been kissed under the mistletoe -- gotta get on that-- note to self, find mistletoe immediately.
(X) Watched the sunrise with someone--after being up all night?
(X) Blown bubbles -- out my nose.
X ) Gone ice-skating -- wrenched an ankle--how do they do that?
X ) Camped out under the stars -- too often.
X ) Seen something so beautiful that it took your breath away? - babies--new life---beautiful beyond words.
X ) Are you or have you been married? Every day in every way.
X ) Have Children -- to check off the bucket list, why else birth them?
X) Have a Pet - Had a plethora - not good at keeping them, but have had them.
(X) Been fishing -- fondest memories in life have been in a boat.
) Been boating -- only as a means to fish.
) Been water skiing/tubing -- only to fish.
(X) Been hiking -- not as recreation--only obligation. And to fish.
(X) Been camping in a trailer/RV/tent/car -- been there, done that all.

(X) Flown in a small 4-seater airplane - helicopter count? Got sick!
( ) Flown in a glider -- helicopter counts!!!
) Been flying in a hot air balloon -- yes, but also there was that helicopter ride...

(X ) Been Bungee-jumping, skydiving, Zip-lining or Para-Sailing -- ZIPPED and UNZIPPED --nothing like zipping with an open zip!
X) Gone to a drive-in movie -- slept through Star Wars.
) Done something that should have killed you-- YIKES--I've almost completed the bucket list... does that mean I'm on my last leg?

1. Any nickname? nah

2. Favorite drink: nah

3. Body piercings: nah - not purposely anyway.

4. Tattoos: nah
5. How much do you like your job: I'm making stuff up daily.

6. Where were you born? Utah

7. Favorite vacation spot? Hawaii --- mee tooo, who knew?

8 Been to Africa? no - so touristee.
9. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? yes and dessert first - not good.

10. Ever been on the T.V.? Nope, not in public anyway. My new one has such a thin screen that I don't think it could support my weight anyway.

11. Ever steal any traffic signs? Nope, but I have ignored one or two?

12. Ever been in a car accident? Yes, due to #11

11. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? 5

14. Favorite number? people have favorite numbers? How? Why?

15. Do you smoke? Nope, therefore I will live forever, a dried up crotchety old non smoker.

16. Favorite holiday: Birthdays and unbirthdays.

17. Favorite dessert. Cream puffs because they suit my personality, flaky outside, squishy inside.

18. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In a mirror.

19. Furthest place you will send this message? To Utah, but the long way around the world.

20. Who will be first to read this? No one, the same people who read my blog.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Arms & Legs In

Flight of the Bumbles II

One of the treatments for phobia is immersion, so I'm headed out to fly.

I'm at the airport hearing a faux voice over the loud speaker... "We are at an extra high security level," and despite it's monotone calm, my guts begin to unravel.
In my extra high state of insecurity, I perch at the edge of my seat and listen for the next announcement. My nerves are at a matching extra high level, and my reaction is knife sharp. I clutch at my husband, "Did you hear that? Did you? Extra high!"

He mumbles something from under the newspaper that he customarily settles over his face as soon as we alight in any of the world's waiting areas.

"We are currently at orange."

"Orange?" "Orange," my nervous twinge morphs to an outrage that is noticeable to other passengers, except to the husband who is still under his paper. I'm off on a tirade.

"Orange?" I repeat the comment giving it the correct emphasis, "Orange?" "It's apparent that TSA has never raised children! Do they not understand the fine art of threats?" And the monologue begins.

My verbal soliloquy to the newspaper covered lump continues, "Do they not know that you have to hold back. When you issuing threats, you must reserve something for "RED". The human psyche becomes inured to the constancy of empty threats."

"What are they going to say when it's red? Explain that? Does the lack of government vision extend even to the airlines?" I continue with rhetorical queries, but it works whenever government is involved.

"Has no one thought ahead? What are they going to say next?" I muse aloud. By this time, other potential flyers are overhearing, but I have my earbuds in, so they assume that I am accidentally speaking too loudly over my sound reducing earphones. They are wrong.

"What comes after extra high level? What can they say next? We are currently experiencing "PEE YOUR PANTS" security levels?" and finally I ease into my ending.

"Please. Anyone with children knows that you must reserve your hyperbole. Hold something back for heaven sakes! That's why my best threats start at one and count to ten. Heaven help the child that doesn't move by five or six. Even a teen knows that to get to eight is life threatening--because by then, Mom has to get up and enforce--and you'd better duck if you make Momma move."

And I settle back into my waiting seat, noticing out of the corner of my eye each head that nods, and eyes that glint. I have made even more converts to the paranoia that accompanies flight.

Another important part of fear therapy is rational thought. I need to admit that our flight security levels are never--not ever-- going lower than orange. Just admit to myself that flying "extra high security, orange level, ' is forever. 'Cause even if Bin Ladenis assassinated, we're stuck with TSA because no government worker is ever laid off.

And there I go. Off on another rant. Hey, it's therapy!

excerpt from the book: Arms and Legs In and Have a Nice Ride

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Food Foibles

I am an authoritarian chef in my house. The children will eat what I fix and when I fix it--no variation. And so for the first ten years of my second son's life I choose tortillas and yogurt.

Jesting aside, I really had great intentions to start. I would involve my children in food, allow them to explore and expand their own food horizons. I have video of Dia at three discussing in long sentences why she doesn't enjoy Asian food, "I like it fine, but it's just so hard to eat with chopsticks."

Ah so cute. And there sits the brother, the baby hitched up to the table in the background with this steely eyed grin on his face, and one eyebrow cocked as if to say, "Really, really? You are such a suck-up and I am so gonna introduce this family to the real world."

From the time he turned two, the boy refused to eat. It was as if the world no longer made food to his taste and he wasn't going to bother. Then he turned six and discovered that non-food items were another way to tweek the mother food instinct, and so the boy snacked on paper, plastic and other interesting items--but still, nothing of any nutritional value and never enough of whatever it was, to appease the mother and assure her that at least he was getting full... of something.

I tried everything and every doctor. I sought the help of a dietitian who said it had become a control issue and to give the boy a multi-vitamin and back off. At that point, I was willing to settle for the calcium deposits in chalk. The meals at home ended in anger and tears, (mostly mine). And when the child was mistaken at the pool for a visiting albino Ethopian, I was sure at the time, that the whole world was eyeballing Mom! Feed That Boy!

Nothing worked and he wandered about for years with dark circles (the photo evidence) from inability to sleep and when the movie "Meet The Robinson's" came out, I was certain that they modeled poor depressed and exhausted Guber after my son.

The story has a happy ending, the food police didn't come and haul me away and we finally discovered that what his body was yelling was, "Just don't feed me stuff that makes me sick."

The boy now wakes up early in order to get first pickin' before he leaves for seminary, he gets home and eats another full meal before school, he cuts out early for elevensies, gobbles lunch, eats after school and again for supper.

And now when food or anything else is missing...

Ian Ate It.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

…cooking al la queen

I love gluten-free cooking because the art responds well to my wit and whimsy. I have no culinary training, therefore I’m not constrained by any set of rules or recipes, and that makes my gf cooking always new and stimulating. This attitude keeps the repetition at bay and makes every meal exciting—for there may never be another creation quite like the last, and if there were, I have such a short memory, I wouldn’t recall it anyway.

Hey, I’ve salvaged another ruined meal. I decided to whip up instant potatoes for supper. I boiled the water, added butter, milk and salt, and then dumped in the last of the potato flakes. Oops, a little thin.

In retrospect, I should have added onion and parsley and called it soup, but I wanted mashed potatoes. So, I pulled out the few potatoes I had left and snapped off their feelers. After peeling, slicing, boiling, and mashing, I made the mistake of adding them to the soup. Still soup, yet even more of it!

Resolutely not wanting soup, I put them in the oven to bake off some of the water. Meanwhile I warmed tomato soup for supper.

The next morning when I turned on the oven to make muffins, I remembered the potatoes. Voila! They were just the right consistency for potato pancakes!

…welcome for dinner at my house anytime, Terina