Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sara Lee Update

My favorite part of their response is that they, from time to time, experience "product irregularities." That is hilarious. I wonder how long it took their marketing people to come up with that phrase.

Dear Jeanna,

Thank you for contacting Sara Lee. It is always important to hear from our consumers, and we appreciate the time you have taken to contact us. We apologize about your poor experience with the Sara Lee pie.

Sara Lee Food and Beverage is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality products. Although we use "state of the art" production and inspection systems at our facilities, we still experience product irregularities on occasion. Fortunately, consumers like yourself bring these issues to our attention which allows us to take measures to correct the situation. Our Quality Assurance team has been notified.

In appreciation of your time, we would be happy to send you a complimentary coupon to be used on a future purchase of a Sara Lee product. You can expect the coupon to arrive in 7-10 business days via the mail. Should you have any comments or questions in the future, please contact us via our website at www.saralee.com or by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-323-7117. Our representatives are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7am and 6pm CST.

Sincerely,


Julie
Sara Lee Customer Affairs Representative

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Consumer Advocate, Part Deux

Here is my latest attempt at consumer advocacy:

Dear Sara Lee,

I purchased, for the first time, your Mince Pie. I lived in Scotland for a while and have enjoyed the flavors of mince pie for some time but have never had one here in the U.S. (where I am from). Last night I saw your pie in the freezer aisle and decided it was time to relive my Scottish experience. I had to talk my husband into the pie as he is not a raisin fan, but from the picture on the package we both thought he could pick around the raisins and enjoy the rest of the pie.

I baked the pie and when I served it I was extremely surprised to see that there was no way to pick around the raisins. The actual pie was in fact the exact opposite of the picture. The picture portrays mostly apples with some raisins thrown in. The actual pie had mostly raisins with a few applies thrown in. Even I, who likes raisins, felt there were WAY too many raisins in the pie. Not only that, I felt the pie was misrepresented by the picture on the package.

I did enjoy the flavor of the pie, so kudos to you there. But, I will never be purchasing a mince pie from Sara Lee again as there were way too many raisins.

Note to Bloggers: I talk about "writing a letter" all the time when I am dissatisfied with a product. But lately I have decided, why make a decision about not buying a product without letting the supplier know? I will be interested to see what Sara Lee has to say, and of course I will let my fellow bloggers know as well. Don't you feel that the picture of a product should be a fairly accurate portrayal of the actual product? I don't mean that the piece of pie has to look as perfect as the one on the front. I get that my pie making efforts can flop and even though it looks sketchy it tastes great, I'm okay with that. I just think that the apple to raisin ratio was misrepresented in the Sara Lee pie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Shovel Woes

All last winter I used a broken snow shovel. It had a crack, but if I treated my snow shovel right, it kept on working. The way I would "treat it right" was to get out and shovel snow while it was only a few inches. No matter the storm size, if I did this, this helped me stay on top of my walks being clear. It would also help ease the burden put onto my sweet snow shovel. I would also spread some Ice Melt and that would help as well.

Yesterday it snowed off and on pretty much all day. We didn't get nearly the amount of snow that other cities in Utah County did. Harold kept calling me all day long, "How much snow do you have?" "Is it snowing there now?" "You should see the snow here, I bet we have a foot now!" He works in PG, so is 30 miles north of us.

I was locked inside all day having to work and do various other projects. I am fine with that. I don't mind staying indoors on days like yesterday. Too cold, too wet, too many crazies on the road and I don't want to add myself to the mix. Every time H. would call I would have to 1. Put the phone down, 2. Go upstairs, 3. Pick up the other phone, 4. Look out the window, 5. Give the weather report, 6. Possibly put the phone down again, 7. Walk to the front door, 8. Visually assess the number of inches on the ground, 9. Walk back to the phone, 10. Give the revised weather report to H.

After I FINALLY showered yesterday, I got myself ready to go shovel the walks. We had about 5 inches. And the snow was WET. And my poor shovel....the crack had advanced and the heavy snow was weighing it down. I had to basically bend over at a 90 degree angle to get only so much snow on the shovel and heave it to one side or the other.

I'm a 39-year-old woman. I expect that one of these days while shoveling snow I will throw my back out. And, if my shovel is any indication, that day is coming soon. How much stronger can my back be than a snow shovel, right?

The clincher is this.....after I finished shoveling (I actually did a pretty pathetic job, but I blame my tool!) I went to Wal-Mart where I proceeded to purchase a few things I needed and FORGOT to get a new shovel. (I forgot the hair spray, too.) It's a good thing I live so close to WM....or a bad thing.....I go there almost EVERY SINGLE DAY. On the other hand, I take one look at the price of a snow shovel and I can't bring myself to buy one. I know, $12.87 isn't that bad. But when I buy stuff at WM my mental limit for a single item is probably $3. Any more and I get a little skeptical. I stop and ask if I REALLY need this item. The answer for the hair spray (3.48) is yes. The answer for the two-pound block of cheese (5.97 on sale) is yes. The snow shovel.....well it can last a little longer, right?

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Top 10 Quirks, or at least the first 10 I could think of...

1. I type with my toes. Ever since I took the job as a transcriptionist, if I am not typing with my hands, I am typing with my toes. I do this while in conversations, in church, watching TV, etc. My toes are in constant motion, and this sometimes irritates my husband.

2. I cannot stand still. If I am standing, I am swaying back and forth. This started when I was pregnant, I call it "rocking."

3. I sometimes get completely ready for the day, hair and makeup, before I get dressed. (Please don't picture this.) I don't like getting makeup or hair on my clothes or undergarments.

4. I will rarely, if ever, leave the house to run an errand without having showered, done my hair and makeup. I HATE being dirty. Hate it. I wash my hair every single day. I will never be one of those people who think their hair turns out better on day 2.

5. I peruse all printed material for errors. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling being the top three offenders. (I do not do this with my blog.) The place I feel the most guilty for doing this in is church. I do this with the newsletter, the bulletin, and posters advertising activities.

6. I often talk about my finances with people when I shouldn't.

7. Repetitive noises make me go insane. I used to do this when I was younger and couldn't understand what was bothering my mother so much. Now I know.

8. I won't ever go to the restaurant "El Pollo Loco" because I feel the name in and of itself makes me want to run another direction. Kind of like when a chicken has its head cut off! I have never patronized the place and never will.

9. I can pick my nose or toes in front of Harold, but if he does it, it grosses me out.

10. If I am at home, I check facebook a bazillion times a day to see if my sister Amy has played a word in our Scrabble game. If anyone out there wants to play, let me know!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Goose, aka I got "goosed" for Christmas

Last night our family went to a party/dinner thrown by the facility where my grandmother resides. They provided a nice buffet dinner and the local cub scout troop came and sang some merry songs. We had a nice time visiting grandma (even though she asks the same questions over and over--I see my future!), visiting with my parents, SIL, nephew, aunt, uncle, cousin, and her children. The most difficult part of the evening was that the kids got stir crazy and we were having a rough time keeping them calm. Okay, who's kidding who? They weren't calm at all. My grandmother's room cannot fit more than 3 or 4 people in it, so once we retired to her room the kids were pretty much stuck in the hallway. At one point cousin Julie came up with the idea of giving the kids some M&Ms and asking them to make a pattern. That activity was pretty funny. Some of the kids made great patterns or pictures, but my favorite was Sam who made a quick Christmas-y picture and promptly asked if he could please eat the M&Ms now? I watched as some of the M&Ms that had been man-handled by the children and dragged all over the hallway floor made it back into the mug my grandmother has for her personal use. Ewww....

As we were driving home my husband and son say, "How about that goose?"

Me: What goose?

Harold: The goose they served for dinner....

Mackson: No, that was duck.

Harold: I heard the staff say it was goose.

Me: I only saw Turkey, ham and chicken.

Harold: That wasn't chicken.

Me: SHUT UP! Really?

Harold: Yep.

Bad news to the two Julie's in my life. That was goose. No wonder it was "tough."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ice Cream Update

While I wasn't super professional about the letter I wrote to Good Humor-Breyers, my readers should know that I haven't lived in Payson long enough to be stripped of all of my letter-writing ability/personal dignity. However, I wasn't letting them off the hook, I needed them to know how their icky concoction affected my life. Plus, I tend to exagerate for the sake of my blog, saying what I really want to say instead of smoothing things over for the sake of propriety.

Here is the actual letter I wrote:

I picked Caramel Praline Crunch because I enjoy caramel and pralines,
not because I enjoy coffee. If I had wanted coffee ice cream, I would
have bought coffee ice cream. We do not enjoy the flavor of coffee at
our house and my children and I were sorely disappointed when the coffee
flavor permeated the ice cream. Can you explain to me why you would put
coffee into an ice cream entitled, "Caramel Praline Crunch?"

Their response:

Hello Jeanna,

Thanks for writing!

We apologize for the experience you had while using our product. Before
marketing our products, we conduct extensive consumer tests. Our
manufacturing and packaging operations are strictly supervised, and
inspections conducted to ensure Consumers receive a superior product .
The recipes are proprietary information. We always recommend reading
the ingredients list for any potential allergy or taste restrictions as
these may change at any time.

We will be more than happy to share your comments with our Brand Manager
and the appropriate staff. Consumer comments are very important to us
and are evaluated on a regular basis.

Thank you for forwarding your complete address. We are sending you a
replacement coupon via postal mail for your inconvenience.

Kind regards,
Your friends at Good Humor-Breyers

Next time I'll pick something safe, like Triple Chocolate or Strawberry. Yum. But, I'll be checking the ingredients from now on.

Carmel Pray-line Crunch

The other day, Wednesday in fact, I was in the mood for ice cream. This mood had persisted for several days so while I was at Wal-Mart I start perusing the freezer aisle for a luscious creamy/sugary delight. I looked at Breyers because I like the way they do ice cream, and their price was right. I found Caramel Praline Crunch. Mmmmmm, sounds yummy. Caramel swirls, caramel ice cream, with crunch bits of praline? Come on! You cannot go wrong with that combo. Surprisingly, I didn't used to love caramel ice cream of any kind. If I was going to indulge, it was definitely going to be chocolate related, and preferably chocolate with peanut butter; however, I have come to appreciate other flavors of ice cream, i.e. Peach Cobber (Ben and Jerrys), Cherry Garcia (B&Js) and on Wednesday, Caramel Praline Crunch.

Mack got wind of my ice cream purchase and was begging to have some. I assured him that after pack night he could have some (even though they served sugary stuff at pack night for treats.....bad mother award, I know).

We get home from pack night, Mack bee-lines it over to the freezer and wants a scoop or two or three or whatever he can get away with. I scoop him up his ice cream and Harold and I are cleaning the kitchen and generally picking up around the house when we hear this:

Mack: This ice cream tastes like coffee.

Me: Well, its not coffee ice cream, so you are mistaken.

A minute later....

Mack: This really tastes like coffee.

Me: How would you know what coffee tastes like?

Mack: No response.

Then another moment later....

Harold (from his position in the freezer): He's right, there's coffee in the ice cream.

Me: What? Let me see.....

Sure 'nuf, coffee in my Caramel Pray-line Crunch (mack's pronunciation).

What the heck???? Why in the name of all that is holy in ice-cream land would anyone include coffee in caramel ice cream?

My first response was to just declare this particular flavor of ice cream my personal favorite so that I could assure that NO ONE would eat any but me. So, I had some ice cream that first night and didn't love it, but was determined to make my new favorite work. Then last night I had more. Mack questioned why I would eat ice cream that contains coffee. Harold gives me the sideways quizzical look that means he wants to know the answer, too. I tell Mack that I don't feel having coffee as an ingredient in ice cream is a problem, and I proceed to eat. One bite, two bites....

Then, I whip out my laptop, go to Google and type in Breyers ice cream, find their website, hunt for the "contact us" button and proceed to ask my question:

Why would anyone insert coffee into caramel praline crunch ice cream? It PERMEATES the whole dang thing. Ick.

You better bet I have issues with your QUALITY, Mr. Ice Cream Maker Man. Dang, what the heck were you thinking?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pack Night

If you have ever had a boy who is a Cub Scout, or a brother who was a Cub Scout.....

Tonight was Pack Night. Our little pack has gone from about 4-5 families to a dozen or so, including leaders and their spouses and children. Suddenly our primary room has become too small, which is a good thing. I enjoy these little get-togethers. My son loves putting on his navy shirt with his Bobcat and Wolf patches attached, his little yellow and red beads hanging, telling tales of months and years now of efforts on the part of his leaders and his parents. My son gets to see his friends, play fun games, get awards, run relays, and have treats.

Tonight was particularly fun because Santa came and handed out the awards and gave gifts. Now here is the part where mothers and fathers everywhere get a chill down their spine. The gift my son (and every other cub scout) was given was a Pinewood Derby car kit. EEEEEEKKK! Why am I having such a negative reaction when I turned the car over to my husband and informed him that I was washing my hands of this affair? Because I will spend the next month worrying over when they will get to making the car, I will get question after question from my son over when dad will finally have the time to help him make his master creation, I will probably have to run to the store for supplies (or my kind friend will, because undoubtedly my husband will go to their house to craft the one-of-a-kind masterpiece). I will spend the next month NOT getting ready for Christmas, but getting ready for the Pinewood Derby.

Now, with the news of a Pinewood Derby on our horizon you can do one of two things:

1. Rub the fingers on each hand with one another and say aloud the words, "Crumby, crumby, crumby."

or

2. While circling both your arms together in a 2-foot diameter, clap your hands and offer a "round of applause."

Cub Scouts Rock! (and so does my good friend Ann who rocks the Cub Scout world in our ward like no other!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's a Band-i-ful life!

It's been a while since I posted about my lapband, and since I had a major "band moment" yesterday, I thought I would share.

I got stuck. This is a familiar term for people with lapbands. Getting stuck means you have eaten something that isn't passing through the smaller stomach that your band has created to the lower stomach (which is the larger part of your stomach that is below the band) and now your little tummy is full and overlowing back into your esophagus.

I have had minor feelings of "stuck" before yesterday, but yesterday I was super, duper, majorly stuck. I had not eaten (Fast Sunday) and decided to eat a roll first. The first time a lapbander eats in a day, the the band is "tight" and it is hard to eat anything, fluids are best. Also, white bread tends to get all paste like in anyone's stomach, but for a bander eating white bread on an empty stomach, not having eaten anything previously, becomes a real problem.

I ate. I didn't think about any of that. I just popped that sucker in my mouth without much thought to bite size or chewing well. Next thing you know, WHAM. I'm stuck.

I spent 20 minutes in the bathroom freaking out, hyperventilating to the point that my arms became all tingly. It was awful. The only way to relieve this pain/pressure, freaky feeling, is to throw up, or wait for the food to pass. Well, I went with option A. I felt immediately better. I have learned my lesson. No white bread on an empty stomach. No more eating without thinking about bite sizes and chewing.

I am officially a lapbander and I need to act like one.

Postscript: One of the kids ran to get H. when all of this happened. He busted home (he was out doing the ward mission leader thing) and was there to help me. He saw the bad and the ugly. Oh, married life. I know Jeff, this is why you are NOT married! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Postop-Part Deux

Apparently I did a little too much complaining about the amount of support I received when I was postop. I admit, I am a bit of a baby and want some time to heal, some time to do nothing, to have someone wait on me a little bit. Harold did that, but he stopped before I was ready. He may have given all the support he felt I needed, or that he would need if the table was turned.

Now the table has turned. I offer to get him a drink, his pills, a meal, a pillow, blanket, ice pack, etc. He likes to turn me down. Is this to prove that I didn't need as much help as I thought? Or is he just being an obstinate male? This annoying habit gets on my nerves. You are sick, postop by 1 whole day, you need help. Let me do it, please!

I know you could probably make your own darn toast, that doesn't mean you should!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Postop

Harold would probably be mortified if he knew I was posting this.....but I'll do it anyway. Because that is the kind of person I am, I have to get a laugh at the expense of Harold.

Harold got his gallbladder removed today. We went in around 7:30 a.m. and he was released around 12:30 p.m. So, 5 hours in and out, wham, bam, thank you ma'am. He has four tiny incisions and at this moment he is resting comfortably in bed.

When the surgeon came out to tell me all about how the surgery went (in 30 seconds or less, because that is how great the bedside manner of most surgeon's is) he relayed to me that Harold's gallbladder had cholesterol deposits inside and that was probably what was causing the gallbladder to have problems.

I get called back to his recovery room and he is SUPER out of it. He asks what the doc said and I tell him about the cholesterol deposits, then I proceed to make a crack about how if there are those kinds of deposits in his gallbladder, then there most be some in his heart as well. "NO FAT FOR YOU!" I declared.

Then, in the most out-of-it state Harold has ever been in, he says, "then I shouldn't have had my gallbladder taken out."

Me: "What, why?"

H: "Because there weren't any stones."

Me: "But you knew that going in, the ultrasound never showed any stones."

H: "I know."

Me: Stumped.

Okay, give the guy some slack. The anesthesia is messing with him.

Later on.....

H: "So I shouldn't have had my gallbladder out."

Me: "Why do you say that?"

H: "Because...."

Me: "Dude, this operation cost us LESS money than the ER visit, or any subsequent ER visits the pain might have incurred."

H: "Yeah..."

Me: Stumped again.

Then later.....

H: "Did the doctor say I have this problem because I am fat?"

Me: "No dude, he never said ANYTHING about you being fat."

Me: Stumped again.

Maybe I missed my calling in life. I should have been a nurse in same-day surgery.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Have You Done?

I liked this from Julie J.'s blog, so I did it too. The items bolded are the ones I've done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (Scottish?)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee (a wasp)100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
101. Learned to play an instrument

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Little Holiday Fun

So we are in D for the T-day HD. H is in P from eating too much HMB. H refuses to go to the H, even though the P is TI! Says we can't afford to P. B gets bugged and loads H into the C. I hop into the SH so I can run down to the H to meet up with H and B. After a while I get a PH-C from B, H doesn't have any more P. Really? Do you B him? Yes, he is Ting and not Wing in P anymore. OK, bring H back, I say. No more P for the rest of the day. Only 4 more days until the GB is O-U-T!

Can you translate the above paragraph from our Thanksgiving day fun?

Translation: So we are in Denver for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. Harold is in pain from eating too much homemade bread. Harold refuses to go to the hospital, even though the pain is totally intense. Says we can't afford to pay. Brice gets bugged and loads Harold into the car. I hop into the shower so I can run down to the hospital to meet up with Harold and Brice. After a while I get a phone call from Brice, Harold doesn't have any more pain. Really? Do you believe him? Yes, he is talking and not writhing in pain anymore. OK, bring Harold back, I say. No more pain for the rest of the day. Only 4 more days until the gallbladder is OUT!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogger Thief

Last night I sat around with a few siblings and the topic of blogs came up. As you could probably tell I've had a little bit of a blogging dry spell. I've been really busy with work lately and I just haven't been super inspired about anything in my life to blog about.

My brother, Paul, has apparently started a blog but hasn't posted to it yet. We were talking about fun things to post about and as we talked I got some great ideas. The problem is, the ideas all come from other people's lives. The very best idea was about how my brother Paul, the almost 42-year-old lawyer, is serving in the nursery. Come on people, there has to be a TON of fodder there. But that isn't even the best part. The best part is that Paul has apparently started bringing in adult treats for nursery. I guess goldfish just weren't cutting it? Anyway, here Harold and I are thinking that adult treats probably means fancier store bought cookies, specifically Harold was thinking Oreos. Nope. Paul brings in salami and provolone with french bread, guacamole and chips, salsa, etc. The list goes on, but I don't want to be a blog thief. We started speculating on the myriad of ideas for adult nursery treats. The possibilities are endless! Then Paul tells us how sometimes he sees the kids putting the little goldfish in their mouths as they look longingly up at the "adult treats," with a look in their eye that senses being cheated out of something. Then sometimes, the kids will start to pull their little chairs over to the adult treat table that is up a little higher. Then they are on their chair, with their arms high above their heads as they "feel" their way around the upper table for better treats. The image was priceless.

I have vowed that if I ever serve in nursery, that I am going to start bringing in adult treats. What a great idea! Suddenly the nursery will be the hot spot to serve. Paul loves those kids, too. He is having a ball in there, and not just because of the gourmet food!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thirteen Years Ago...

I became a mother. I find it ironic that my cousin did an honest-to-goodness, naked, bare-bones post today on motherhood. Read it.

This is my girl: my beautiful, thoughtful, amazing girl. She has changed me and made me better.



Oh, how I love this girl! Happy Birthday Dear, Sweet Savannah.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween 2008

Tomorrow will be a busy day. What with work, the elementary school having parade which I must attend, and other festivities thrown in, tomorrow will be too busy for me to post anything. Here are the pics from our little goblins, our FHE pumpkin carving efforts, and the first day of school. (I know that is a random addition, but I forgot, so here they are!)

This is the boy. Handsome devil!



This is my junior high girl. What a beauty!



Sav has to dress up for a drama production she is in this year called "Scream III"


This is her scary face.


This is the boy who wants to enlist in the Army. I'm pretty sure I'll be discouraging that. But, if he does enlist, I've got my vote for Marines, they have a dang nice uniform.


Ignore the "Old Navy" print. He will have a jacket to wear for the actual event. This is him dressing up for a cub scout activity.


Mackson picked this one, Harold ended up carving it.


Sav decided to do "Wicked" this year. She found a pic online, had Harold blow it up, and designed the carving herself. I'm sorry this pic isn't the best, but you get the idea. We have an artiste on our hands!


When Sav saw this design she said, "Who would want to carve something so boring." Little did she know I had already decided this would be mine. I wanted to carve something, but I just wasn't up for a ton of effort this year, so this is my emoticon pumpkin giving all my readers a Wink!


Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Aftermath

My report on Harold's 39th birthday is as follows:

He woke up, went to a church meeting and came home to find me sick as a dog in the bathroom. I had to play the piano for the primary program. I thought I was sick because I had eaten too much on Saturday night, but after the program I was miraculously better, so the real stomach bug was my nerves. Harold was ultra supportive and gave me lots of reassurance. It didn't help, but he was kind enough to give it.

After church we came home and I proceeded to make his requested meal. Simple really: Hamburgers and potato salad. He also requested white cake, white frosting w/ coconut.

I had forgotten to buy a cake mix, and that was okay with me because I wanted to have a cake that would hold up a little better under the frosting and so I made a homemade white cake. The batter was beautiful and fluffy and I had high hopes. I also made the frosting from a recipe that a local wedding cake designer gave me.

The cake report: Icky. I didn't like any of it. Poor Harold. He said it was "okay." Which in translation meant, It could have been better. And that is the truth, I am not just being hard on myself. After the cake last night I decided cake isn't my favorite dessert any more. I prefer a fancy dessert from a good bakery, like a fruit tart.

The presents: Sav burned H. a CD from the musical Wicked. She got the idea by herself, and despite the fact that the CD is illegal, she was being thoughtful and sweet and H. loved the gift. Mackson got H. a magazine called Airways, about airplanes. He loves it. I got him a 6-month subscription to the same magazine. And H. got a sweet little picture from his mother of H. when he was 8 years old and played Tommy in the play Aurelia. The picture is with the playwright and H. is looking young and sweet. He brought the pic into work to display on his desk. H. also got a birthday check from his in-laws.

I think his birthday went well. Oh, I forgot to say that I used 93/7 hamburger for his meal and there wasn't nearly enough fat to make a tasty burger. Bummer.

This is my truthful account. I hope Harold had a good day because he deserves the very best from me and his children. He is a wonderful husband, and excellent father, and a most amazing man. I love you Harold!!! Happy Birthday plus one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Freedom

Yesterday I got last-minute permission to escape the dulldrums of being at home and took off with a friend to a few stores and the mall. I can't say exactly where we went due a certain someone's birthday coming up.

We had such a good time. Amazing what 2-1/2 hours away from home will do for a girl! We went to a few stores that stock "women's" clothing and headed straight for the clearance racks. That is what I do, I head straight for the clearance racks no matter where I shop, from Wal-Mart to Dillard's to Macy's, etc.

We were at Macy's, rifling through the racks, laughing and cracking jokes when my friend lifts up a jean skirt and says, "I look at this skirt and it seems so big that it could circulate the earths atmosphere at least twice and yet when I see the tag I realize it isn't big enough to circulate my butt."

I started laughing so hard I had to bend over. Then the saleslady walks on by and comments on us having a good time, to which my friend says, "We're high on freedom."

Again, with the bent over laughter.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

(Birthday) Suggestion Box

As many of you know, October is my favorite month of the year. The weather is great, the pumpkins (I've already gone into that), the colors (I believe I dedicated an entire post to the color red) and I do love orange, and it's Harold's and my birthday month.

Harold's birthday is this Sunday. He is turning 39, can you believe how old he is? Wait, I'm turning 39, too! Crud.

Here is my problem: Money is tight. We like to do a "get away" around this time of year and we were researching different places and different deals and came up with the best deal we could find, Chez Johnson. That's right, my parents are going out of town on October 31 and will be gone until November 2. Perfect timing!

Chez Johnson has 3 qualities that we like in a getaway:
1. Nice size TV.
2. Nice tub.
3. It isn't OUR house.

Of course the best quality is #4: It doesn't cost us a dime!

The getaway is the big plan for the birthdays, however, I feel that the kids should be involved in the celebration so I like to have a little cake and a couple of small gifts.

I turn to Harold and tell him about my plan and he agrees. Then I ask him what smallish gifts he would like. His response: Nothing. Come on, there has to be something that you would want, that you wouldn't necessarily buy for yourself. Harold: Nope, nothing. Really? Because I like getting lotion this time of year to gear up for the dry weather, or a great pair of slippers for around the house during the winter months. There has to be something. Harold: Nope, nothing.

ARGH! A little help would be nice, a little hint.

Are all men like this? Do they REALLY not care about gifts like women do? This is a hard concept for me because I adore gifts. I don't need pricey, large, out of control gifts. I like thoughtful gifts, a remembrance really.

One of the best gifts Harold gave me was a small frame with 3 small old-fashioned looking keys inside. With the gift came a letter about how I as his wife and the mother of his children hold the keys to all their hearts. Now that gift was thoughtful and beautiful and cost very little money. It was the time and consideration that made the gift so beautiful.

I need help here. I might have an idea for a gift after all, but all gift suggestions will be given equal consideration.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Journal Jar

Years ago at a RS meeting we were handed a Mason jar and a journal. Inside the jar are little strips of paper with ideas or suggestions on what to write about in your journal. I have decided to adapt my journal jar to this blog. I will pull a question out every now and then and address the subject here on my blog. This way I can write down what I want my children to know in the future, give my reading audience a further glimpse into my life and I get to feel good about keeping a "journal."

Today's question: Describe your yard as a child. Did you help with yard work?

When I was about 7 years old my family moved to Hathaway Court in San Jose, CA. The subdivision was new and our lot was located at the end of the court, creating a bit of an odd shaped, small front yard. Our backyard was a nice size and at the age of 7 I was pretty sure we owned half of Africa. I have no idea how long it took my parents to get the back yard "done." But in those early years the weeds grew up to my waist and I would go out in the back yard and play explorer. I don't remember who I played this with, probably other siblings, but I can't remember. I would hack my way through the bush and find amongst other things a metal swing set. I don't know if we got that set new or used, but I know we brought it over from my parents first house on Sandpoint Drive in SJ, CA. The slide was tilted, the swings were a bit wonky and there was a little carriage where you and a friend could sit and face each other and rock back and forth. When I was a kid I didn't care that the swing set was metal or wonky. I just loved that thing.

My brothers got the brunt, if not all, of the yard work, I'm not sure why the girls weren't required to help out there, because the boys were required to do housework as well. Well, I'm not complaining. Two out of three of my brothers are pretty allergic to grass, so you can imagine what they must have looked like while they were mowing. In a word: Miserable.

Every spring my parents would have a yard work day, or weekend, depending. The kids would have a day or two off school and my parents would promise a fun family adventure if we spent the first half day or first day of the two-day break cleaning up the yard. I always escaped this, too. They started this when I was in my mid teens and by then I had a job. Oops, sorry, gotta work!

Our front yard was really a postage stamp. For years we had an olive tree out front. I liked that tree, but my mother hated it. Olives, olives everywhere. Purple juice squirting underneath the shoe of a hulking teenager, being tracked into the house. Not good. Eventually my parents cut that down. I missed that tree.

My parents were pretty meticulous about their yard. It was always in good repair and well manicured. In the later years of owning that house, after Matt moved out, my parents hired a gardener. For a while there was a masculine woman named Tiger, I think, working on the yard. That provided some fun discussions! (And no, my cat is NOT named after the gardener!)

Now Harold is my gardener. He loves to work out in our yard. We have spent very little money on our landscaping, but Harold has done his very best and sometimes our yard looks fantastic, other times he has to dump the oil from the lawnmower somewhere! and we end up with a patch of dead grass here or there.

I am so allergic to grass that it is hard for me to enjoy the outdoors. In my own personal heaven I'll get a nice swing and Harold and I will enjoy many a sunset allergy-free.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You're Hired!

Now that it's official at work, I can post about it on my blog. I got the job I interviewed for on Monday. I am now a QA/training specialist for Intermountain Healthcare. I have quite a job description which varies from reading LOTS of medical reports and assessing them for errors, tending to the "pend" file, the virtual computer file that holds jobs that haven't been properly matched with patient encounters, and training MTs (medical transcriptionists) on QA, style, etc.

I have a meeting I will attend once a week up in SLC, which is a bit of a commute, but anyone who has talked to me lately knows how BADLY I want to get out of my basement and be around people! I crave it, and I couldn't be happier about this new position that allows me to interact with the wonderful people in my department more regularly and face to face instead of with emails and IMs.

Of course, now that you all know that my job description involves making sure the documents we process are QUALITY documents, you all might start reading my blog posts with a fine-toothed comb. Don't. My blog is my world and I get to create my own style and my own spelling errors, punctuation missteps, and editorial oversights.

I'm so excited and want to thank everyone who wished me well!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oops

Maybe I shouldn't have harassed the UofU staff with my BYU shirt after all. While convalescing at our home this weekend, my friend who had her gallbladder removed got suddenly and violently ill. Throwing up, super bad pain. We had to drive clear up to the U to get her to the ER (darn insurance!!!) Turns out the surgeon missed a gallstone. What? And I specifically asked him if he retrieved ALL the stones. I did. Here is how it went:

Surgeon: The operation took a little longer than normal. She had some stones in her common bile duct and the new piece of equipment we have to retrieve the stone wasn't sterile. We had to wait for it to be sterile, then got the stones out of the bile duct.

Me: Ok. Did you get ALL the stones?

Surgeon: Yes, we did.

Wrong Again!! She had to have an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) yesterday. Basically, they put a tube down your throat, find the stone, and extract it.

Poor thing! On Saturday, we waited in the ER (she was pretty doped up) for 6 hours waiting for a CT scan. Then they finally tell us that it didn't matter what the CT said, the blood work showed elevated liver enzymes and bilirubin, which is suspicious for retained stone, so they were going to admit her.

You couldn't tell us that hours ago? They could have admitted her and I could have gone home.

As it turns out, I'm a pretty selfish person and sitting on a folding chair in the ER wasn't my idea of a good time. I wanted to go home so bad. We did, however, watch several fun shows on HGTV. I'm loving that station! I've heard about it, but never watched anything on it before. We also watched this reality show about girls trying out for the DCC, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. Craziness! Tight abs, tight bods, lots of blonde hair, but not exclusively blonde. Not my life, will never be my life, and I'm okay with that.

Yesterday: I interviewed for a new job within my department at work. The job is part of a new team wherein we do quality assurance for the department. This means reading through medical reports and assuring there are no typos, missed words, misspelled words, etc. This new job would put my degree to good use, and my natural abilities! :) And, I wouldn't have to type as much. Now that sounds good!

Friday, October 3, 2008

BYU v. U of U

Yesterday I accompanied a friend to "the U." She had to undergo surgery and I was her point of contact, shoulder to cry on, general friend indeed. I had to stay overnight Wednesday at her house because her check in time was 6 a.m. at the U. While packing for my little overnighter (which DOES NOT count as a girl's night by the way...Harold!) I opened my drawer and the first t-shirt I saw was my ALUM '08 shirt from BYU. I like that shirt, as you all know, and went to pack it and realized maybe that wasn't such a hot idea. I didn't want to be completely obnoxious by wearing my BYU shirt to the U. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, "Hey, I AM that obnoxious." Actually, there is some guy who I think lives in the townhomes across from us who has a big ole' white truck with red streaks, two U flags flying from his front windows and he goes around wearing practially ONLY U of U gear. I find that guy obnoxious, so my little payback was to wear my BYU shirt up to the U.

When I arrived at her home on Wednesday night I told my friend about my plan. She was a tad worried that maybe she wouldn't get very good care if I was running around in my navy in-your-face BYU gear while at the U, but I couldn't resist, and I almost had her talked into wearing her bright pink shirt that also bears the BYU emblem, but no, she wanted good care. I had actually packed a couple of backup shirts, because I am that paranoid and that weird about packing for a 1-night stay. But, sure enough, after only 3ish hours of sleep, I made the decision to go ahead with my true-blue-BYU plan.

I only got one comment. Only one. But I did get a lot of what I call "looks." True dat. There were people staring at my chest....and I like to think it was because of the slogan thereon.

My friend's nurse made a comment about me graduating from BYU and I confirmed that I had, indeed, finally, graduated. She told me to gear up for more comments (which I didn't get) and that she was, indeed, a fellow BYU fan. ROCK ON U of U SISTA!!! Ha!! See, even the good nurse at the U has seen the light and come to the bright side.

Rise and SHOUT the Cougars were out!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Two-Fold Mission of this Post

Women's Conference:
I went to Women's Conference on Saturday. We got tickets on the plaza level, which means on the floor, a stone's throw away from the action. I had never sat that close before. Since this is only my second time in the Conference Center it wasn't too hard to get closer than the last time, but I'm pretty sure I won't get that close ever again.

I enjoyed the entire conference but my favorite parts were:
1. The Choir. They were terrific. The leader was extremely enthusiastic and the songs were quite cheerful and energetic.
2. The intermediate hymn: The energy in the room was electric. I loved it.
3. Elder Uchtdorf: His talk made me really appreciate what it means to have talents and to be creative. He said we are spirit children of the most creative being in the universe. So true. I have a new-found appreciation for my spiritual heritage.

We went to dinner afterward with the girls and that was fun, too. Interestingly enough, I got home at midnight. Crazy. The entire family was asleep when I arrived, surprise!

The Reason I Love Fall:
Here we are, about to hop into October. Amazing. It's time for me to post about my favorite part of fall. I love the weather. I love the colors. I love the birthday celebrations and Halloween. But I SUPER DUPER love pumpkins!

We grew some sugar pumpkins this year and we have 8 coming to full fruition. One of them has been picked and given away to a friend who loves to bake with pumpkin. I am eagerly awaiting the baking and the carving of the remaining 7 pumpkins.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin tart, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pasta (psych...that sounds gross even to me!)

The only pumpkin problem: Whatever I bake will only be eaten by myself. My kids and husband will maybe have a piece of whatever I bake, but the rest will sit on my counter top, begging for me to inhale it all. I'll have to bake with the pumpkin knowing that I need to give some away or else I'm afraid I might turn orange and become the shape of a pumpkin if I don't.

Anyone out there have any favorite pumpkin foods? Anything I didn't already mention? Please provide recipes where possible. And if the recipe involves cream cheese, so much the better.

(If anyone is wondering how I can eat so much pumpkin with a LapBand, I can't. But I can eat a small piece and dream about eating the rest, that will have to do.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Student Education Plan

Every year I am forced to attend my school district's version of the parent-teacher conference. But, instead of this little get together being just between me and the teacher, I get to bring along my child. Then the three of us sit together and first ask my child what his/her strengths are. Then we ask that child what he/she can work on. We set goals. We write what the child will do to attain these goals. Then we talk about how I, as the parent, will help the child reach the goals.

This is the most retarded, idiotic, waste of time I have ever encountered as a parent. I cannot believe I am forced to this every single year. What is the point? Let's address each of my concerns:

1. I take my child with me. Why? I want some one-on-one time with the teacher. I want to get the real low-down about what is going on with my kid. I want privacy and reality.

2. What are my child's strengths? Why am I asking the child? I want to know what the teacher thinks are his/her strengths. Come on! I want the teacher's viewpoint. They are the ones who spend 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with my kid, supposedly teaching them. The teacher should know what the kid's strengths are.

3. My kids weaknesses. Okay, I think its fine to have the child fess up and own up to their own problems. I think it is a good exercise in self-realization for them to come clean.

4. Goal setting. Again, I want the teacher to help me out here. The teacher ought to know what is up. The teacher should be very aware of what my kid needs to work on. I am busy after school trying to get the kids to do chores, finish homework, get shuffled off to soccer or piano or whatever, make dinner, clean up from dinner, get baths, scripture study, and prayer. Like I said before, 6 hours in an academic environment with my kid ought to clue the teacher in.

5. How the child can attain the goals: Again, I'm fine with this part. The kid should come up with their own plan.

6. How can I, as a parent, help them attain their goals: This is the horrifying part for me. As I stated in problem #4, I'm a busy gal. I have a hard time committing to completing anything else around here between 3:30 and 9:00. I'm up to my neck in what I like to call, "schtuff." This is similar to the grade the kid gets for homework and home reading. Those grades are not a reflection on anyone else but me, the mom. If I wanted to get graded on being a mom, I would call up DCFS and have them do a home study just for fun. Then I would contact the police department, fire department, my local clergy, as well as a peer group and ask them to grade my performance.

If you haven't heard me say it before, Parenting is one long guilt trip after another. Like a Merry-Go-Round that keep spinning and spinning, faster and faster, with no sign of letting up and no brass ring to grab because some other more put together, well-coiffed mother has already grabbed it and has it grasped in her perfectly manicured hands as her clean, well behaved children smile gratefully and admiringly up at her.

NOTE: I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but it's on my mind and I have to gripe about it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As Promised...

Has anyone noticed that my new favorite way to punctuate is with three dots? As in... Weird how I've taken a liking to three little periods in a row.

Harold was sick this weekend. A harsh cold. He spent hours sleeping on both Saturday and Sunday. He was still feeling pretty lousy on Monday, better but lousy, so he stayed home from work. He cannot stand staying home for 3 days in a row even if he is sick so for FHE last night the four of us went to the dollar theater to see Indiana Jones. Harold had seen it and didn't like it but for some odd reason has been trying to convince me to see it ever since. For $2 for the entire family, I'll give it a try. Plus my expectations were low so I couldn't go wrong.

We got there at a decent time, about 20 minutes before the movie started, which is a big deal for my ever-late family. We found some seats and I immediately could tell I was going to be irritated during the movie. You know when you have people sit down near you and they are loud and obnoxious, shouting to their friends on the other side of their row? When this happens I get a kind of a ticked-off, irritable feeling and start preparing to be annoyed. I had to remind myself that you get what you pay for so keep those expectations low, missy!

There is a scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan and Greg Kinnear go to the movies and are talking during the previews and a lady tells them to hush. He says "you want me to be quiet while a HOT DOG is singing?" Apparently it was the part where the movie vendor is promoting buying treats at the snack counter. I love that part of the movie, but I'm kind of like that woman, once the lights go down, STOP TALKING!

During the pre-show there was lots of talking, a calmed myself down and figured that once the lights went down a hush would magically fall over the crowd. The lights go down, the previews start and the kids behind me are LOUDLY talking to each other. Not even attempting to keep it on the low-down. I just couldn't handle it, my nerves were already a little raw, so I whip my entire body around and and say "Hey!" The kid apologizes and even after his siblings or friends, whatever, were still talking he was sushing them. Good job kid! Thanks for respecting my right to a peaceful movie.

Then the movie starts. All goes fairly well until a lady behind me and to the right (who had been chatting VERY loudly during the pre-movie show) starts doing it again. Only this time it is a running commentary.

Cate Blanchet's character shows up:
Loud Lady Response: "Who is SHE?"

Indiana splits open the casing of a mummy to reveal the nastiness inside.
Loud Lady Response: "DISGUSTING!"

Indiana reverses a poison dart at a foe and kills him.
Loud Lady Response: "EW"

NOTE: Ew and Disgusting were the LL's favorite words last night.

The crystal skull is revealed.
Loud Lady Reponse: "EW. THAT IS SO UGLY. DISGUSTING. HIS TEETH LOOK LIKE DAGGERS!"

At this point I start laughing, uncontrollably. My body is shaking as I try to stop myself. Harold starts laughing, Sav starts laughing, the three of us have our entire bodies shaking and rolling as we try to contain ourselves. I mean at this point all I'm thinking is, "Is it weirdo night at the dollar theater? Do all the movie crazies go to some class wherein they learn the fine art of disturbing other movie-goers? Am I am candid camera?"

At some point early on I had turned to the LL and made a nasty face (yes in the dark, where she probably couldn't see...) and Harold says, "Honey, she's got something wrong with her." YA THINK? Turns out she really did. I think she had a mental retardation, for real. Then I felt bad for my nasty look. But I still couldn't help busting out into laughter at least three times during the movie.

Harold says the running commentary made the movie for him. Even now...I am sitting here with a grin on my face. I guess it made the movie for me, too. Although spending 2 hours of time with Harrison Ford is a secret dream of mine, so that aspect might have helped.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heidi Ho

I had my two-week follow up appointment with my surgeon today. All is well. I fessed up that I have been eating things that were not pureed. He was cool with it. I also told him there were foods I was NOT going to try until I was sure I had healed. Things like salad, raw veg, beef. etc. He reiterated that the chewing until the food is complete mush is key.

Have you ever tried to do that? Most of us chew, chew, chew, Swallow, chunks and all. How about talking and eating? Do you find that when you talk you don't pay attention and just swallow whenever? I do. I was on the phone the other day talking with my sister when I realized I was done with my food and I had no idea whether or not I had chewed it well enough or not. I can't do that again any time soon.

My dear daughter had her first progress report....drum roll please....straight A's. Thatta Girl! We went to parent-teacher conference last night even though with her grades our attendance was not required. All the teachers sang her praises and I could tell they were wondering why we were there. I think positive reinforcement was a good thing for Sav. She seems to really like the praise and hopefully that will keep her going for the next little while until the next progress report, and so on, and so on... She also made a goal in last night's game. Sah-weet!

We had an interesting convo with my boy the other day. He wanted to know if it was okay to take one's own life if you were dying anyway, to save yourself from the trauma of it all. He wanted to know if he could pull out a gun and use it if he was falling from a very high cliff anyway. Where does the kid get this stuff? Like it is more manly to just shoot yourself than to freak out as you are falling from a 500 foot cliff. We talked about the sanctity of life and how Heavenly Father is the only individual with the power to take life, no matter what, even if you are falling from a very high cliff. He thinks about dying a lot and is worried about the pain I think.

My dad is gearing up to attend BYU. My alma mater. (Did you know Alma Mater is Latin for nourishing mother? I like that.) I am a little sad about that. Only because I MISS those days. All the blogging possibilities!!! What am I going to do??? I need good blogging material. You know what? I should join a gym. There are crazies all over a place like that. Or let's see....I could sign up for a pottery class. I would imagine a pottery class would be excellent blog fodder. Too bad I'm not pregnant, those pre-birth classes are a good place, too. I need to get out more because even at Wal-Mart I could probably find some good material. I feel like a comic who has run out of inspiration. Writer's block if you will. I have resorted to only blogging about my children and I KNOW that isn't that interesting.

I'll work on getting out more, and being more observant. I think that might be the answer. I was super observant at BYU because I was just so happy to be there, and mesmerized by the young kids who thought they were something special. Which they are, as my BIL Justin would tell you. Right Justin?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jail Bird

Just when you think there is nothing to blog about....Congrats to a certain someone on not going to jail this week.

Note To My Dear Readers: Pay your speeding tickets. Don't leave it until you have a court date. If you do have a court date, attend court. If you do not attend court a warrant will be issued for your arrest. When said warrant is pulled up on a kind policeman's computer while he has you pulled over for another moving violation, you will be arrested. Your spouse will have to bail you out. Then another court date will be set. Your lawyers may inform you that time in jail is a strong possibility. The prosecuting attorney may not care that you have a family. If by some small chance you avoid jail time...do your community service work. Do not delay.

Note: Harold currently has a speeding ticket (remember Wyoming [hey that sounds like a movie title!]). Anyway, I don't want to pay the ticket. I don't. I think we should be able to pay half and half in order to NOT break the bank this month. But after the story above, Harold thinks I am wanting to push our limit. I don't. I just don't want to pay the dang ticket.

Harold, don't pay. And if you get arrested in the near future, I promise to bail you out.

P.S. The above story is not a story about my husband, although it could be if he doesn't stop harassing me tonight, I may let him rot in the County Jail.

Friday, September 12, 2008

FYI

Ever had ground up Won Ton soup? Don't do it. Not good. Won Tons should be eaten whole. Period.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Notes

Lapband Note: Yesterday I hit a low. I kinda don't want to go into it, but suffice it to say I was crying on the phone to Harold and feeling super down. After that conversation I decided to take control instead of feeling out of control and I did the following:

I arranged to have lunch with Karen (it was her b-day).
I arranged to get a pedicure on Friday (H gave me a gift cert for my bday last year, time to use it).
I decided to forget going back to work until Thursday (today).

Now I feel tons better. Well, eating at Cafe Rio was pretty helpful, too. Check this out. I ordered the soup and a flan, both of which will go down pretty smooth, still taking super careful care to chew every last bit of lump or bump in my soup. I ate about 1/4 of the soup and 1/3 of the flan and was SO FULL! It was the weirdest thing. Granted, I did have a drink with my lunch (which is a lapband no-no) but I have been eating so little and I was eating soup anyway I figured it didn't matter if I drank or not.

But I walked outta there, having eaten so very little, fulling ultra-ultra full. If this is what the lapband is going to do for me.....bring it on!

Soccer Note: Mack had a game on Tuesday. I didn't go because I was feeling kinda icky and it was raining out. I just couldn't expose myself to that. (So I exposed my kid....nice.) Anyway, he scored 6 out of 7 goals. Woohoo! I was so sad I missed it but so proud of my little "Playah"

YW Note: Sav had to highlight me in YW on Tues. The coolest thing she said about me was that I "let her be herself." I was stunned but completely pleased. I am so glad she feels she can be herself and be proud of who she is and that I LOVE HER. My girl rocks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Teething

Since the cat is out of the bag, its time for me to share some fun food stories. I was on liquids for quite a few days postop and may I just say that having only liquids gets really old? I could feel my stomach rumbling something fierce, but the weird part was....I didn't feel hungry. I am attributing this to being postoperative, and not because I have a band in there. But I got sick of the noise, no really. I would be just sitting on the couch, recuperating, and my stomach would be rolling and rolling and growling and super, duper ticked off. It was LOUD. I advanced my diet faster than I was supposed to and started eating mushy food. Mushy food is going to be on the menu for the next 3 weeks by the way. But my stomach has decided it isn't going to kill me from the inside out. I think it's still pouting, but it'll get over it.

Anyone out there ever heard of the Happy Baby Food Grinder? My mom had one growing up. She loved it. You could take what you were serving the rest of the family for dinner, throw it into the grinder, and Voila! your toddler who had few teeth could gum down some lasagna. I happen to have said food grinder at my house. My mom asked if the one I had belongs to her....and I think it does. It has a dated look to it. I'm not sure why I still have it, but thanks mom! This little guy is going to save my life, and the life of my loved ones who live in my house.

I have now used the grinder for a pasta dish a nice lady in our ward brought over, for lasagna (who said it was just for toddlers with no teeth?), and I plan on using it for a crockpot chicken recipe I'm trying out tonight.

If you think I am going to buy baby food to get me through the next three weeks you are Crazy! Although I really used to love the baby food plums. They had a little tapioca in them and they were oh, so yummy. (I even used to choose this as my "treat" when my mom took me to the store...remember mom?)

Which reminds me, tonight is mother-daughter night at young women's. We are supposed to bring a dessert we enjoy to share. Maybe I should buy a dozen or so jars of baby food plums to spread around? Nothing like making a broad announcement at a church function "Yep, I had lapband surgery...wanna suffer with me?" So I get to make a chocolate cake, because that is what my dear daughter requested. I could probably gum some of that down, but I've had enough chocolate cake in my lifetime....thankyouverymuch...and I don't need any more tonight. Tonight will be an exercise in enjoying people and company, and not food. This will be good for my relationship with food. We are on a bit of a break...only seeing each other 3x a day instead of 24/7. That kind of codependency is unhealthy.

But now that I've mentioned it, I think I'm gonna make a quick trip to Wally's to see about those plums. They gotta have some redeeming value in them, don't they?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The New Me

I've been debating about whether to post about the latest development in my life and after some soul searching...here goes...

On Thursday, September 4 at approximately 7:45 a.m. I entered an operating room where I had a Lap Band inserted into my body.



Many of you probably know what this is, but for those who don't, the brief explanation is that a Lap Band is placed around the upper portion of your stomach, creating a smaller stomach pouch, with an access port wherein saline can be inserted or withdrawn. The smaller stomach pouch pretty much restricts your food intake, therefore the Lap Band is considered a dieting tool.



This is a picture of how the band is inserted. Sorry if it grosses you out.

I have been thinking about getting this surgery off and on for the past 2 years and the pieces finally fell together in August(meaning insurance will pay for it, and the personal timing was right).

Some people may consider a LapBand an easier road than just plain ole dieting and exercise. They may be right. But, I am here to report that undergoing surgery to help lose weight was not an easy decision and I am pretty sure I have a rough road to hoe ahead. The band will not do any of the work for me. If I want to eat chocolate and ice cream all day, I can sure do that because pretty much having liquid calories is completely possible and will allow me never to lose weight. I still have to make choices about getting the RIGHT kinds of food into my body, as well as stay on track with exercise.

Basically, my new band will signal me when I've had enough. My body has probably been trying for years to give me the signal and I would ignore it. I can't do that with the band. Ignoring the signal will cause problems that I won't go into just yet.

I decided to come clean, as it were, because I feel I have an ultra supportive group of family and friends who will understand and appreciate this decision and why I made it....

And will help me go shopping for skinny girl clothes in the next 1 to 2 years. Yes, it is going to take that long. The band isn't the bypass, the weight loss is way less dramatic and is more like a regular diet. I just needed a boost, a very important, vital boost.

The possibilities of weight loss are endless. I can lose 0 pounds, I can lose all my excess weight, but most people lose 60% of their excess. Only time, and responsible choices will tell.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Soccer Mom Strikes Again

It's soccer season again. I love soccer season. I love watching my kids run up and down the field, getting all sweaty, gasping for water or a breath, with big smiles on their faces. I love watching them use their physical prowess to gain access to the ball and of course a goal or two is nice as well.

I am a soccer mom. I have no shame in that. In fact I take great pride in it.

Nichols Family Soccer History:

2006: Mack's team rocked the planet. He was all over the field, dominating the ball, and making goals. He was a bit of a ball hog, but everyone knew if they wanted the team to win, get the ball to Mack.

2006: Sav's team: Completely uninspiring. Sav would run up to the ball with all kinds of energy and then all of a sudden come to a screeching halt just before she reached the ball. No kicks, no goals. Sad.

2007: Mack's team: Less than inspirational. Lots of kids, still too small to play positions so it was still like watching a kid magnet roll around the field, attracting every player within a 30 foot radius.

2007: Sav's team. So stinkin' sweet. Sav rocked. She wasn't a big scorer, but she was IN THERE. She would rush the ball, take it away, she was a great forward and a great defender, often assisting in getting the goals. Her coach would tell everyone how great she was. I LOVED watching her games.

2008: Mack's team: 16 players. Last night there were 17. Okay. That means 6 are sitting on the sidelines while the others are still so fascinated with the soccer magnet that getting them to play positions is difficult. He is still having tons of fun, so still fun to watch.

2008: Sav's team: What happened? Last year's coach told our friend who is coaching her age group this year that if he got ANYONE on the league this year, it needed to be Sav. I watched last night as she got too tired, wouldn't rush the ball, and when she got near the goal she hesitated too long and the other team rushed her and would get the ball back.

COME ON GIRL! Get your stuff together. I want the girl from last year back. I know you have it in you. Go, go, go! I am not entirely sure where the kids get their physical prowess. It must come from their dad, because it wasn't from me (see side note story below). So, I owe a great big thanks to H for giving me children who for the most part ROCK at soccer, who bring me at least 4 to 5 weeks of sheer joy in the fall.

Side Note: The other night at a friend's BBQ another woman who was invited pulled out her adult trike. If you don't know what that is, this is a plaything thatlooks like a scooter but has two places for feet, one for each foot, so essentially a jacked up scooter. I have been there when she has pulled this out before and insisted on NOT riding it. The other night, everyone was trying to get me to ride it again. I refused. I know what happens when I do physical stuff. Finally, when I felt no one was watching, I decided to try it out. You get on and really have to work your body in a weird way to get the thing to move, swaying back and forth INTO the force, its odd. So I hop on and try to ride. After a minute I decide to go UP a tiny little driveway curb so that I can take the trike to the top and use some of the momentum to help me learn how to ride this beast. Well, I approach the tiny, itsy, bitsy bump and SLAM into it. I proceed to topple over, landing on my right knee and using my arms to keep my face from slamming into the sidewalk, coming within 2 inches of doing major damage to my moneymaker(that would be my face). Ouch. I get up, look around, and sure enough no one saw. But dang, at that point a little sympathy would have been nice. But this little story is exactly why I am hesitant to EVER try something new physically.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Congratulations....

I did it again. I was waiting to see who would take the coveted title of 10,000th visitor to my blog. I log in this morning and lo and behold I've reached 9,999. So, I click on the feedjit button to watch "live" who is my next visitor, happy 10K, when my dumb work computer does something funky, I have to get out and it turns out I am the lucky winner. Stupid.

I never did figure out how to get the counter to stop counting my own visits to my blog. I guess that just shows you that most of the hits I get are from myself. Pathetic and sad really.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Poseidon Adventure- circa 1972

Harold tells me that I have resisted renting this movie in the past. I honestly cannot remember him ever trying to get me to watch it. And, if he did I probably would not have been too happy about it and would have thought I had no desire to see a black and white (don't criticize me yet) movie with old-timey overactors in a doomsday flick.

How wrong I was!!! I had no idea this film was made in 1972 which means there would be actors I would actually recognize and it would be in color. You are all probably thinking I am a nutcase for not knowing any better...and I have no excuse for myself.

Yesterday I was at my mom's in between appointments. My kids were staying with her and when I walked in they were in the middle of the movie, right smack dab in the middle. The part where the captain is called away from the New Year's revelers. There is dancing, singing, seriously tight "hot pants" (my mom called them that and its true, they were smokin') (I actually just started laughing out loud right there). When what do my wondering eyes behold? But actors I recognize. From where? From The Love Boat. That's right, serious B-rated actors from the 70s, who frequented The Love Boat repeatedly because they couldn't get any other acting gig apparently. The only serious actor on board the Poseidon was Gene Hackman, and I might consider Shelly Winters as a semi-serious actor (although in her day she would have been called an actress). How poetic! The Love Boat v. The Posiedon Adventure.

And....little did I know there would be a tsunami. Sweet! I had no idea that is what happens in the movie, and no idea what the premise of the story was at all; the capsizing, the rat-like retreat to the lower bowels of the ship that have actually become the portion of the boat that is ABOVE the water line. I WAS LOVING IT!

I don't think I was supposed to be laughing out loud, but I was. And I was laughing even harder when I was re-telling my experience with watching the movie to him later that day. And I laughed the hardest when I told him how Mack had turned to me midway through the movie and said, "You are NOT going on a cruise!" Even now....its so ridiculous I'm laughing!

I didn't see the beginning and I didn't see the end, but I am gonna rent that sweet baby and have the time of my life on a date night in my near future.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

For anyone who knows me, the title of this post has more meanings than one. I often speak before I think, and often think as I am speaking and end up saying too much or coming across like I really don't want to do something when I am just making talking logistics out loud in my head.

Having said that, my title is in reference to yesterday's post. Exactly one week after starting school my kid is home sick. But, I have to hand it to him, it is legitimate. After having a semi-sore throat for a couple of days and running around like a madman at his first soccer game last night, he woke up this morning wheezing with an even worse sore throat.

Here is how I know its for real: Tonight he has a sweet cub scout den meeting planned where they get to hike up to the Grotto here in Payson canyon with the entire pack. He was seriously looking forward to it and was super sad when I had to call his den leader. Poor guy. If he was even semi-sick he would have gone to school because he knows if he stays home from school there is no playing and no extracurricular activities that day.

Good times, a kid home sick. I hope my current foray back into the wide world of exercise will help me stay healthy as I have no interest in catching anything off the little guy.

SIDE NOTE: As for the soccer game, I was impressed. Our little guy can still run like a mad man, though I noticed he isn't quite as spry as he used to be. But he is still talented. A father from the opposing team stopped us in the parking lot to tell us that it was too bad these teams were playing on smaller than regulation fields because my kid (and another one on our team) had the size and the skill to have kicked the other teams trash and that the only reason our kids' team got beat was because the field was small and every time our guys would turn around they would hit a wall of blue shirts (opposing side's color last night). I really do love watching my kids play soccer. Soccer is the most amazing sport to me, requiring a level of athleticism that will keep my kids healthy and they will have some MAD skills. I hope our boy recovers by tomorrow night, there is another game and I would hate for him to miss one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Week in School

We made it! No tears, no sleepless nights. Mack did so great this year and I'm really proud of him for recognizing the anxiety about school and being able to deal with it. I worry about him, but lately he seems to be managing his anxiety pretty well. I have read a bunch about anxiety really coming on at his age and how its normal for this age to think more about death and dying and the causes of it. He asks me the most random questions...like:

Mack: Mom, will my dresser start on fire?
Me: Why would your dresser start on fire?
Mack: Because of all the stuff on top.
Me: What difference does that make. Why would the stuff on top be a problem?
Mack: Friction.
Me: Well, you would have to take the stuff on your dresser and rub it really hard on your dresser to see if you could start a fire with it. And I'm guessing that nothing on your dresser at the moment would have enough friction with a painted dresser to start a fire.

Nothing quite like spontaneous combustion to get a kid really fearing for his life.

The kids are both doing so great with school. Sav is adjusting to junior high life pretty well, locker, 7 periods, 7 teachers, 5 different classrooms. She's a good kid. They both are. I'm lucky, or blessed, however you prefer to see it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bee-Attitudes

Last night we had free tickets to attend the Bees game. They are some sort of minor league baseball in SLC. H's work got us 4 tickets. Here are my various attitudies about the Bees game as time progressed.

A. Sweet, that was very nice of them to get us tickets, maybe we'll take the kids and it'll be fun.
B. Maybe we won't go. Matt and Julie want to double date, so lets do that instead.
C. What do you mean we HAVE to go? I thought this was optional.
D. Maybe M&J will go with us?
E. No M&J, lets take the kids.
F. At least I get some taco bell tacos for dinner tonight on the way to the game.
G. Harold is being unusually quiet tonight while we drive to SLC.
H. Harold seems to be in a foul mood, but he insists he isn't.
I. Harold is seriously making me angry. This is his work thingee, why won't he perk up?
I1. H keeps trying to get the kids to leave.
I2. He talks Sav into going home.
I3. Mack might be up for leaving.
I4. I'm playing it cool, mirroring Mr. Downer-pants.
J. Ok, two can play at this game. I'll be just as quiet and moody as he is being.
K. I see, he can make an attempt to talk to coworkers (only after being at this dumb game for 2 hours) but not to his wife?
L. Oh, so now that someone is talking to him he is happy? What about me? Wasn't I good enough company?
M. Harold turns to me and says, "I Hate to say it, but I think we're gonna lose?" You think? Its 10-1 at this point, inning 8.
N. I guess we are staying for the fireworks.
O. I text ChaCha to find out how many calories are in a McDonald's ice cream cone (150 if you care).
P. The fireworks are pretty freakin' cool.
Q. I should not have worn flip-flops because in order to not pay for parking we had to park 1 mile away. Ouch.
R. Me and the kids sleep on the way home, never stopping for a cone. Too tired, too late.
S. Harold seems happier now, thankfully.

Friday, August 22, 2008

School Picture Day

School just started this week and yet Sav has school picture day today. What the heck? Is there a problem with waiting for mothers to get their wits about them before you ask them to track down paperwork, figure out a portrait package and get it paid for online? Come on People!

Sav brought home a small slip of paper yesterday informing me that it was picture day today. In very small print on the bottom of this slip of paper was a statement that basically said, you only get pictures that are paid for in advance. Of course I know this already, however, this little slip doesn't give me any type of payment information, envelope, etc. with which to make said payment.

I send Sav off this morning and she is completely ticked off that I don't have it together, that she has to ASK someone in the office what is going on and call me back. She gets the I'm-a-preteen-so-therefore-I-will-be-grumpy-for-no-other-apparent-reason-other-than-to-irritate-you look, and goes out the door.

About 10 minutes later here comes Harold, who took Sav to school and was supposed to drive straight on to work. He has in his hot little hands the envelope with payment instructions. Good. Well, apparently Lifetouch has finally worked out a system where you can pay online prior to the pictures being taken. Hallelujah! (As many of you may or may not know, we either do our deals with our Visa card or cash and I NEVER have cash on me, and we haven't had checks for YEARS).

I go to lifetouch.com and proceed to order when H tells me he doesn't have time for this. Hmmmmm. And I do? He asks, can you please do this and then drive the form back to school. Here is the list of problems running through my head:

1. Mack is still home, hasn't had breakfast, lunch isn't made and if I leave he will have to get himself out the door.
2. The car that is available to me has informed me that I have approximately 1 mile of driving left before the gas runs out and the round trip is about 1.5 miles.
3. The car from #2 is also unregistered.
4. The car from #2 and #3 also has the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT on.
5. I am supposed to be clocking in for work.
6. I went walking this morning, haven't showered and I will have to haul my nasty, smelly, dried sweat body into the jr. high and meet up with my 7th grader to give her the info, probably embarrassing her to death.

Fine, whatever. I do the online payment, I drive the un-gassed, un-registered car. I leave my 9 year old alone at home, and I haul my nastiness over to the school.

Good thing I had some time on my hands.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Virtual Vacation

Despite the generous economic stimulus check we received back in May, we (H and I) won't be going on any kind of getaway vacation for a very long time. I can't be too sad about it, because I am pretty blessed and I love my life.

However, I've been reading Em's posts about Lucern and feeling super bummed that I live in Payson rather than Switzerland. As a result, this morning I started thinking about a "Virtual Vacation." I spent a few minutes online and came up with some pictures of the top five places I would visit if you asked me right now. So, here goes:



This is the hotel we will be staying at while we visit Emalei and Fabio. I know Em probably has a fabulous flat, but we don't want to crowd them out, and we really, really like staying at fancy hotels. And, since this is MY virtual vacation, I get my way. This hotel overlooks Lake Lucern so I'm sure if I go out on my private balcony I will be able to see Em walking along the beautiful streets, shopping at the farmer's markets, and waiting for us to join her and her hubby for a quaint dinner at a sidewalk cafe.



Our next stop will be on the Mediterranean (the only reason I spelled that right is due to spellchecker). We will stay at this beautiful hotel, but unlike the people in the photo, we will not be bringing our children. I love my kids and I want to take them to gorgeous places, too, but this is my VV, right? On our first VV, we aren't taking the kids. We will sun ourselves and enjoy the local cuisine, take in some parasailing and I will wear a white sundress, a large floppy hat, and and leather sandals. I will sport a healthy glow and H will wear khakis, a polo shirt and maybe some deck shoes(shout out to Dale!)



We will then head on over to Scotland, because no VV is complete without a trip to my motherland. This is Loch Lomond. We will have plenty of time to explore all the tiny villages we want, have some yummy baked goods, and visit old friends. The people there are amazingly kind and we will feel right at home. We will then take the train over to Edinburgh where we will attend....



The Tattoo. Every year at the Edinburgh castle in August all manner of pipe bands come together, military included, to perform the most amazing concert. (Using the word amazing is speculative because I did not get to attend this event while I was a missionary). We will sit in the stands and Harold will ask if he can buy a kilt. I will of course agree to this, and he will wear it (and this will be a major turn on) on the plane to our next stop....



Tahiti. This is a view of our hotel from above. We will of course be staying at one of the cool huts on the water.



I will don my sweet new bathing suit that fits my fabulous new body (remember, my "virtual" vacation). H and I will sleep, read, eat, sunbathe, and listen to sweet music. We will be amazed by the fresh produce and Harold will decide that he does like fruit after all. This will be a life-changing experience and we will eat healthier for the rest of our lives as a result.

By this time, we are ready to go home and see our kids, but only after we are sporting a nice tan, a completely relaxed countenance, and a very large bank account (because we befriended a lonely old widow on one of our trips and she, having no children, decided to bequeath her entire fortune to us).

At the beginning of this post I said I would I would tell you my top 5 places. Well, my #1 place is right here at home. Where my family and friends are, where I have a house and a yard, where I have lived, loved, and laughed.



Life is Good, right here in Payson, Utah.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Final Countdown

I'm pretty sure I've used that title for a past blog, but I don't care!

I have about 12 hours to go before Sav gets home. I'm pretty excited to see her. I have to tell y'all about what happened today.

I begged my mom to come down to Payson to spend time with me. I was feeling super desperate to get out of the house and thankfully my mom had some free time for her oldest daughter. We went to lunch, stopped at a few home decor stores for fun, took Mack to Toys R Us for being a decent sport so that he could look at some "army guns" (his current obsession), and then we went to Costco.

While at Costco I spotted a couple of YW leaders from our ward, with matching camp shirts (the logo was "its a jungle out there," which I think is cute). Anyway, I stroll over and proceed to harass them about whether or not they have run out of food and that is why they were at Costco. They laughed and said they had come down from camp on Tuesday night for some personal responsibilities and were headed back up, but had to make a pitstop to get a birthday cake of some sort to take back to celebrate the YW president's bday.

I asked how Sav was doing and they were super nice, very complimentary about her. They were telling me about how she was such a good sport, and how she participated in the more difficult physical challenges, etc. I could tell they were holding out on me, so I called them on it. They kind of looked at each other and were like, "Oh she cried a little on Monday, she may have been a bit homesick." So then I'm feeling kinda bad for her. Then they say that some girl was mean to Sav. What? Someone was mean to my baby? Why would anyone do that? I prodded, wanting to know the name of the offender. (I had visions of toilet papering dancing through my head...). They were hesitant to tell me, but I assured them that Sav would tell me, so why don't they just give me the name NOW! They told me who the girl was and I wasn't too surprised. Sav is pretty strong willed, but this other girl is 13 going on 20. Even though they are both beehives, the one is way more physically advanced than my girl, and she is a HUGE flirt. Sav hasn't picked up on the finer points of flirtation yet (thank goodness). Anyway, I am anxious to hear the juicy details from my daughter. The leaders said she cried, had some alone time, and then came back and everyone was fine after about 30 minutes.

Oh, the drama of being in Young Women's. And, oh the drama associated with the hormonal shifts that are taking place in those girls' bodies. It is at moments like this that I am ultra grateful for Primary.

Thanks to all the YW leaders out there, past, present and future. You have a place reserved in the CK, a very special, hormone-free place.