Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cinderella doesn’t have to eat your daughter

I almost don’t even know where to begin with my review of Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter.  This book has evoked nearly every emotion possible which is why I would have to give it 5 out of 5 stars.  There were many moments and a few chapters where I would never dream that would be my conclusion.  But a 5 out of 5 star book it is.  It just is. 

Would I recommend this book?  Unequivocally yes.   With the caveat that it is not for the weak or faint at heart.  This is an intense book!  It needs to be read with an open mind because that’s how she wrote it.  Her experience writing it often changed her mind about things and often gave her greater insight to why people are the way they are.  I have to give Ms. Orenstein credit for her research as well as her talent for persuasive writing.  I really appreciate people who have a talent for stating their opinions in a well constructed and thought provoking way.  I did not agree with everything she said but I will always applaud the way she said it.  I appreciated her standards because she backed up her opinions and explained her point of view in a way I could understand why she felt the way she did.  Back to that open mind thing!  Just don’t have your mind so open your brains fall out. 

One thing I really liked about the book was while she discussed what society is doing to females she also cited many examples of how young boys are affected by “changing times.”  I don’t worry only about my daughter.  I worry about my boys too.  I worried about them long before Gwen came along. 

In the middle of reading this book I felt guilty for the elaborate princess party I threw.  I felt guilty for all the hot pink in Gwen’s wardrobe.  It’s possible that if pink wasn’t synonymous with girls she might dress differently but she rocks the hot pink.  She was never a bubblegum pink girl and as much as she loves purple she’s not even a sophisticated purple girl like I always thought she would be.  She is hot pink personified.   I felt guilty for every toy she played with and everything she did.  I felt like I was constantly justifying my way of raising her.  Now I feel like I have been right all along and I’m doing fine.  She’s not going to turn into some tarty tramp. 

Many times I was so infuriated by the book I wanted to quit reading.  Sometimes because I did not agree with the author or the people she was talking about and sometimes because I hated how true it all was.  I had it all in my mind how I was going to give my own advice to parents and especially those of girls.  But then the last chapter said everything I was planning on saying.  The last chapter, in my mind, redeemed all the muck I had been drug through.  The last chapter summed everything up so well by saying that yes, girls have it rough with what the media is throwing at them as well as the rise of online life, but it is possible to navigate the world with the help of attentive parents. 

I worried about how to give parenting advice that wouldn’t sound like I was an ostrich with my head in the sand because I’m a conservative Mormon.  This is why I absolutely love that a Jewish feminist put my thoughts together in a way that sounded like common sense.  She advised parents to decide early what their standards were and how far they would go.  What would they allow in the home in terms of toys or other branches of the media and what would not be allowed?  Decide and act early because it would make a difference later on.  Teach your girls (and I would say boys too).  Talk to them instead of dictating to them.  It’s ok to say no to them. 

One personal example of this in my home is that Heath and I decided, before we had kids, where we would draw the line with modesty for both boys and girls.  I don’t see our kids fighting us as teenagers as hard because we have set the standards from the beginning.  If immodest clothing is never a choice as a baby, toddler, or older child, it certainly won’t be a choice as a maturing teenager.  We never have to take anything away because they never had it to begin with.  That is one way we are teaching our standards to our children. 

I started a modesty post a long time ago but never finished it.  My mom had told me about this video from Jonna, a Finnish pop star who risked everything to put her foot down and be modest.  It fits here.  For all the Britney Spears’, Christina Aguilera’s, Hilary Duff’s, Vanessa Hudgens’ Miley Cyrus’, and the list goes on – for all those girls who think growing up means taking off your clothes to be taken seriously as an adult – Jonna is successful and modestly tasteful. 

There may be a lot of negativity out there directed at girls but there are still good role models and there are ways for girls to have it all.  Moderation in all things.  Attentive parents willing to teach.  Focus on trusting oneself rather than marketing oneself for the approval of others.  This world is a good place.  You just have to open your eyes and look for it.  I’m glad I read this book! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Moments of Magic

It was an unremarkable spring day yet everything about it was magical.  That was the best part.  Every once in a while it’s nice to recognize the magic in a moment with a child. 


After weeks of gloomy, cold rain, spring finally sprung.  It sprung so hard it feels like summer now, complete with an already forming sunburn on my arms.  The highest temperature I have seen today is 81 degrees.  Yep, we sprung straight into summer.  A lot of rain will do that. 

We didn’t find any fairies on our walk even though we sure tried. 

The alien wouldn’t talk to us either but somehow it didn’t matter. 

There was enough magic to go around.  I was reminded of a talk I heard a few years ago where the speaker encouraged the congregation to never stop wondering.  May my children keep me young and always full of wonder for the beautiful world around us.  And may I have many more moments where I fall even deeper in love with them. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mom Profiling

Anyone who knows me knows I have a thing for superstition.  Today’s superstitious thoughts come courtesy of my city’s police department. 

I was driving home from the library minding my own business.  Gwen was reading the picture books out loud to herself.  I was listening to Education by Modest Mouse thinking I really need to look up the lyrics because I have no idea what they’re saying!  An intersection ahead of me I saw a motocop (I just made that word up and Live Writer doesn’t like it) coming down the road in my direction.  Suddenly he did a u-turn in the middle of the street.  I imagined he was responding to a call and I went back to Education’s indecipherable lyrics. 

Rounding the corner I instinctively looked up at the digital sign registering my speed for God and everyone to see.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw the cop on his motorcycle on the opposite side of the street.  He looked up too.  My foot came off the accelerator which I don’t know why since the sign flashed a huge 28 in the 25 mile per hour zone.  I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but it seemed a little strange that after I crossed through the last stop sign before the speed limit increases, a police car was behind me. 

No worries.  It’s just a policeman.  I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  When the single lane road opened to accommodate a second lane I moved to the right wondering if I was supposed to signal my intent to do so.  In my rearview mirror I saw an SUV make the same move without signaling.  The cop stayed in the left lane. 

The light changed green so I proceeded through the intersection cautiously while checking for the opportunity to move into the new third lane.  A mini van was waiting to turn right into the third lane even though the lane opens up for those right turn people coming from the perpendicular intersection.  I signaled and moved over.  The cop, who was in the left lane, signaled and moved to the center lane.  I turned right at the next light onto the 5 minute road to my neighborhood.  When I naturally checked my rearview mirror there was the cop turning onto the same road.  Um . . . ?

I don’t speed despite my lead foot genes.  But all I could think of was that somehow this cop wanted to catch me speeding in the 25 mph zone.  That was the last place I saw another cop – the 25 mph zone near the library.  Another glance in my mirror showed the car turning left into the parking lot the police tend to just sit in.  I drove home thinking it was a strange drive home but not really worth writing home about. 

About 45 minutes later I left again to pick up kids from school.  Who follows me for part of my route?  Another police car.  For real.  Psycho superstition could no longer be suppressed so I exclaim out loud, as if Gwen has any clue what I mean, “Why are there so many cops out today?  What’s going on?”

I got thinking.  Why would the police be after me?  I’m clearly a mom in a minivan.  Even without actually seeing the driver, the assumption when one sees a minivan in the middle of the day is mom.  Rusted, pedophile looking vans wheezing down the street in the middle of the day and one does not think soccer mom.  White vans curiously unmarked by any business logos also do not conjure up visions of homemaking moms driving around running errands. 

So here I am, a mom driving a preschooler around town in a nice minivan, picking up the rest of my children, hunkering down for an afternoon of snacks and homework.  Meanwhile the third police officer in an hour is staring me down.  Mom profiling.  That’s the only explanation. 

What I don’t know is why.  Why would anyone profile a mom?  Maybe it’s Velma.  The cop saw that I drive a VW Routan and he snapped his fingers immediately making the connection that I’m the Piquant Storyteller and I wrote something hypothetical about Velma on the Autobahn.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Like most superstition, it was probably just an odd  coincidence.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

My latest obsession

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Can you guess which one is real? 

My new phone arrived last week along with my case.  Isn’t that case so me?  I love it.  Not only does my phone look good it does a lot of cool things. 

  • I can play games which is so good for my scrambled mind.  I used to be smart until I had kids.  Now I can practice my math facts and live longer while avoiding Alzheimer's. 
  • I can make a shopping list.
  • I can take pictures.  Supposedly the phone camera is the same quality as my Canon. 
  • I can email and text pictures.
  • I can email and text from my phone.  My mom is so excited!  Funny that I spent a lot of Friday and Saturday texting my sister but I haven’t texted my mom yet.  I need to find her cell number so I can call her and then she’ll have my number. 
  • I can access the Internet. 
  • I can play Pandora.  My brother in law told me to do that but I haven’t yet.  I love Pandora but I don’t have a lot of need to play it on my phone when I can listen from my TV and Blu-ray player.  This is my other new obsession.  Listening to Pandora on the TV is awesome.  The sound comes out the surround speakers and fills the house without sounding like the volume is too high for the size of the speakers.  Pandora on the computer sounded like that a little.  The computer speakers are much smaller and not meant to fill the house with beautiful music. 
  • If I ever had to I could even get Facebook updates on my phone.  I still have a no Facebook for me rule. 
  • I can plan things in my calendar and my phone will remind me -  like to breathe in and out every day, shower, and feed the kids.  The only problem is I can’t say I forgot ever again.  Like my kids would ever let me forget to feed them!  It’s one big graze fest around here. 
  • I can do so many things with my new phone.  Most of which I probably don’t remember because I haven’t practiced it yet. 
  • Oh yeah!  I can also make phone calls. 

I kind of liked my anonymity though so I’m not sure if I want to give out my number as a reasonable way to reach me!  If I do give you my number you should consider yourself extremely lucky.  I may even answer!  Heath makes me charge my phone every night and he makes me take it with me everywhere.  It’s like I’m participating in a trend or something! 

Gavin said he wanted a phone.  We told him that he’s only 7.  Who was he planning on calling?  We thought that was the end of that conversation.  It was sort of.  He made himself a phone.  It was on the back of a handwriting practice page I made him do while he was sick.  He says his case has letters on it!  His phone has most of the buttons on the home screen that our phones have.  In people he drew me with glasses and his dad.  He drew a picture of himself with glasses on the picture button.  Too bad the glasses weren’t ready yet.  Gavin is too funny.  I love that he has his own cell phone and he carries it everywhere with him.  I also love that he can’t wait to get glasses.  He says he’ll be the coolest kid ever!  He doesn’t know that he already is.  Glasses would just be the cherry on top. 

Better go.  My phone is calling my name . . .

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Finally!

The fever broke.  Gavin slept on me while we watched a movie.  My back aches and my shirt is soaked but it’s all good because the stubborn fever finally broke!!!!  I cannot express how relieved I feel.  Finally. 

Germs = Creativity or Cold Hair Continued

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It’s been 10 days since Gwen’s nose started oozing.  It’s been 6 days that Gavin has had a fever every. single. day.  This is the fourth day in a row that he has missed school. 

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To say I’m going crazy is to put it mildly! 

Today is the second day that Parker has asked me to just drop him off in the drop off zone at school.  Bless that child!  It is raining blankets of heavy rain.  The ground cannot absorb any more rain so it’s puddly everywhere.  And my confident little 5 year old knew I didn’t want the other kids to have to get out so he told me I didn’t have to get out either.  See?  Every cloud has a silver lining. 

I did take Gavin to the doctor yesterday because it felt like it was my responsibility to do so after calling him in sick 3 days in a row.  For $25 I learned there is nothing more I can do for him.  He has the flu and now cold symptoms on top of it.  Poor guy.  The doctor says to take him back in if he isn’t better by the middle of next week.  Yes, the middle of next week!  At least he gets his new glasses tomorrow.  He hasn’t had to strain to see the board all week!  See?  Silver lining. 

This has gotten my creative juices flowing.  I washed Gavin’s nice water bottle months ago and lost the straw that goes with it.  The dishwasher just ate it because I cannot find it anywhere.  So today I made him lemonade so he would stay hydrated and I cut a disposable straw to the right length so all he has to do is lay on the couch, watching Neverending Story, and sip away.  I have given up on making him do anything academic all day.  We’re both sick of my failed attempts at homeschooling.  He’s caught up on his homework and the rain is so depressing I just broke down and popped in a movie. 

The point of this post was not to cry about Gavin’s illness but to post pictures of Gwen’s hair for the last 10 days.  This is the longest she has had a runny nose so my creativity has been well exercised. 

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I took these pictures to show how well the shamrock held up for the day.  This is what it looked like the morning after.  A little fuzzy on the sides but practically perfect! 

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The Hokahonka look.  Gwen calls Pocahontas Hokanonka!  It’s hilarious.  So I read the little board book that way just to hear Heath laugh.  This hairstyle was a stroke of genius after Gwen’s bath.  I hate getting her all clean just to have her hair glued to her face.  So I put it in two simple braids.  It kept the hair out of her face and her hair was easy to comb the next morning.  No tangles at all. 

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A variation on the Hokahonka look.  Two French braids.  A random mom at the library complimented the look and told me the braids were so perfect.  I thanked her of course but I really didn’t know what to do with that compliment. 

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After 10 days I think I started to forget what I had done with her hair.  Today’s look is just two upside down French braids. 

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These two days look familiar!  I guess I did these two half French braids into a ponytail a couple of times without remembering.  Now onto some different looks . . .

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This little style came after much frustration.  I had given Gwen a bath that morning because the night before was too busy.  I hate trying to do her hair straight out of the bath.  It’s too soft!  So in frustration I did this side French braid that is really easy for me.  It’s kind of my variation on the popular side French braid where the bangs are braided in.  I’ve tried to get her bangs into the braid but it doesn’t work.  I do it this way and it’s super cute.  I normally leave the rest of her hair down but because of her snotty nose I pulled the rest of it into a ponytail.  I was surprised by the results.  I may have to do this one again. 

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Sunday’s look came out really well.  The best I’ve done on this style.  I just twist both sides picking up hair like a French braid.  Then I put both sides together and flipped the ponytail through itself.  Very soft and romantic which just seems perfect for church for some reason. 

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I had a Relief Society planning meeting at my house and I was in a hurry to get Gwen’s hair done.  I quickly pulled it up into two ponytails.  You can see how quickly I did it by the crooked part!  I haven’t done Gwen’s hair in two ponytails for maybe a year now.  I don’t remember why I stopped doing it but I thought it was cute.  My mom did my hair like this once when I was in first grade and I remember hating her all day.  How dare she do my hair like a baby!  My hair was really long so the ponytails were really long.  Gwen’s long ponytails reminded me of that day.  I figure she’s only 3 so this is still a viable style for her. 

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Last but not least, this is what I threw together in a matter of 2 minutes or less yesterday as we rushed out the door for the doctor’s appointment.  I remember seeing this style on that Adopt a Do blog I love to read.  It was a look meant for dads to do.  It’s super easy but looks complicated.  It’s just a ponytail with another elastic tied off a couple inches down.  Then you split the hair and flip the tail through the middle of the two elastics.  It looks like you fish tail braided the hair.  For longer hair you can do this several times.  I will say it’s probably a better look for older girls because Gwen’s hair looked like she had slept on it before we picked up Parker from school.  Cute but not long lasting. 

So there you go.  A 10 page post on different hairstyles to keep hair out of your little one’s runny nose. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hairy Men

As a general rule, I find hairy men off putting.  I have never been into the long, shaggy glam rock look.  And the new look for young guys with the long hair and bangs . . . oh come on!  You look like a girl!  I think ears should always be visible on guys without having to comb the hair behind the ears.  I don’t even like neck hair on a guy.  Shave it already!  My brother used to have me shave his neck hair because he hated it too.  Neck hair just looks unkempt as if the guy doesn’t care. 

Not only did I used to keep my brother’s neckline under control, I cut my boys’ hair.  Heath was pretty nervous the first time I cut his hair.  He kept cringing and asking if I could practice on some neighborhood kid first.  Now he lets me cut his hair no problem.  The only reason why he goes somewhere to pay for a haircut is because I am notoriously slow.  If we don’t have time for a haircut it is sometimes easier to pay for one.  If I cut his hair, the rule is, if he gets complimented on it I did it.  If people snicker or say something negative about it then he should say someone else did it!  That never happens though.  Usually he tells me he’s had tons of girls compliment him – coworkers and Gwen.  “Daddy, you hair looks good.  You get a haircut?  You so handsome!” 

Women spend a lot of time controlling the hair on their bodies.  I have been shaving my legs daily for over a decade now.  It’s become a habit that I can’t seem to break.  When I don’t shave, in the interest of time, I can feel my hair inside my pants and it’s irritating.  So even in the winter I shave.  Every day. 

I don’t have facial hair.  Other than keeping my eyebrows plucked and groomed.  It seems like that should go without saying but some girls have to wax a stache.  Not me.  I had a roommate tell me she was surprised I don’t have issues with facial hair because I’m brunette.  I didn’t know that was the rule – all brunettes have hairy upper lips.  Guess I’m the exception to that one.  I try to understand men and what it must be like for them to have to do something with the abrasively prickly hair that grows on their face and neck.  What I don’t get is why a long weekend is license to try out a beard. 

Now men help me out here.  Is it really that much effort to shave a beard?  I could see the traditional shaving cream and razor method being time consuming but so many men these days use electric razors.  How hard could that be?  You make weird faces as you run the thing over the hairy parts and you’re done in a couple minutes.  Do you know how long it takes to shave pits and legs?  Longer than it does to run an electric razor over your face.  Oh, and size matters.  When my legs were all huge and swollen from pregnancy it took longer to shave them.  Of course maybe that had something to do with the huge baby in the way of me getting down there. 

When I first met Heath he didn’t have to shave every day.  We joke that he finally hit puberty in his 30’s!  I’m assuming that for him, growing a beard is kind of a personal challenge.  So now that he has to shave daily I think he wants to see how long it takes to get any beard action.  Like all men who decide to grow a beard in a weekend, he gets all excited about it. 

Man:  Look at my beard!  Does it look good?
Me:  No.  You look homeless.  Shave that thing off or kiss kissing goodbye. 

Kissing a man with facial hair is another thing.  I hate it.  I know a lot of women who hate it.  I also know some women who are not bothered by it.  What gives?  Here’s my theory that I just thought of.  Men who look ridiculous with goatees have unkissable facial hair.  Men who can pull off the goatee look in all it’s forms have acceptably kissable facial hair.  It’s just a theory.  I would never want to kiss a man who has a full mustache and beard.  Especially when you can see his food in it.  Thank heavens Heath is still cursed with a thin beard compared to say, my brother, who has 5 o’clock shadows 10 minutes after shaving.  He’s a hairy little monkey. 

Men are probably fascinated by women and the lengths we go to to groom all the hair on our bodies.  I’m actually fascinated by men and the lengths they won’t go to to take care of the few hairy parts men are expected to groom. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Say What

Gavin:  Are there any bonus features on this DVD?
Heath and Me:  ???
G:  I’m saying it in a different way.  I mean is there any dessert?  This meal is like a DVD. 

Parker:  Stop!  I’m trying to be sick.

Parker:  Mom, can I have strange cheese?
Me:  You mean string cheese?
Parker:  Yeah, strange cheese. 

Parker:  You know witches aren’t real but we still talk about it in the Pledge of Allegiance. 
Me:  What?
Parker repeated what he said before thinking that would help me figure out how witches fit into the Pledge of Allegiance.
Me:  Oh!  For which it stands! 

Me:  Gavin, I’m just teasing you. 
Parker:  It’s not funny to tease people.
Me:  For me it is. 
Parker:  Teasing is mean.
Heath:  There’s a difference between teasing in a lighthearted joking way and bullying.
Gavin:  We learned about bullying at school.
Heath:  Gavin, I know you will never bully anyone. 
Parker:  I can lift a bowling ball behind me and throw it because I’m so strong! 
Me:  These mashed potatoes are so creamy!  (This is our way of saying welcome to the random conversation.)
Heath:  Parker, we were talking about bullies not bowling with a ball.
Me:  Oh that’s what he meant!  I’m glad you followed that train of thought because it came out of nowhere for me! 

Gavin:  I’m going to be 33 in 16 years.
Heath:  You’re not going to be 33 in 16 years. 
Gavin:  Yeah.  I did the math.
Heath:  What’s 16 + 7?
Gavin:  13.
Heath:  16 + 7 is not 13 either!  What kind of math are they teaching you at that school? 

Parker:  Not everything is yours.
Gwen:  Everything MINE! 

Me:  Who peed on the floor in the bathroom?
Parker:  Not me!
Gwen:  I did.
Me:  You pee in the potty not on the floor.
Gwen:  Oh.

Parker:  I know why they call it strange cheese.  Because it looks so strange.
Me:  You’re the only one who calls it that.  It’s actually string cheese.
Parker:  Oh, I get it now! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Idiot Sightings

Mondays can be rough so I thought I’d pass along an email sent by a friend.  I hope it brings a smile to your face!

IDIOT SIGHTING:
We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a "large" enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, "Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower." I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, "NO, it's not." Four is larger than two.."

We haven't used Sears repair since.

IDIOT SIGHTING
My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, "you gave me too much money." I said, "Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back."  She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said "We're sorry but they could not do that kind of thing." The clerk then proceeded to give me back$1 and 75 cents in change.

Do not confuse the clerks at McD's.



IDIOT SIGHTING
:
I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: "Too many deer are being hit by cars out here!
I don't think this is a good place for  them to be crossing anymore."

From Kingman , KS .


IDIOT SIGHTING IN FOOD SERVICE:
My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.

From Kansas City


IDIOT SIGHTING:
I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" To which I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."

Happened in Birmingham , Ala.


IDIOT SIGHTING:
The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?!"

She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS



IDIOT SIGHTING
:
At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker. She was leaving the company due to "downsizing." Our manager commented cheerfully, "This is fun. We should do this more often." Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.




IDIOT SIGHTING
:
I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on.

A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office, no less.




IDIOT SIGHTING
:
When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the drivers side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I announced to the technician, "it
's open!" His reply, "I know. I already got that side."

This was at the Ford dealership in Canton , Mississippi



STAY ALERT!
They walk among us... and the scary part is that they VOTE and
they  REPRODUCE

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Things that make you go hmmm . . .

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This is Heath’s second cell phone.  Really.  How many cell phones does one need?  It was probably a good idea for him to get a second cell phone so he would only do business on his company phone. 

Unfortunately this new phone bit the dust.  It jumped out of Gavin’s hands spiraling into a suicidal free fall, crashing onto the hard tile floor of the Shane Company.  There was no belly flop nor did it fall flat on its back.  No, it experienced the one in a million chance that the impact would be on the bottom right hand corner which cracked the screen.  An expensive paperweight.  Nothing can be seen on the screen.  It’s the black screen of death even though everything else works.  Heath had to call his brother to find out what he texted since Heath couldn’t read it. 

It was a silent ride home.  Gavin felt bad for the accident.  Heath was so mad he was shaking but he never said anything.  I was quiet since I knew there was nothing to say to make it better.  Secretly I was in awe of Heath and his composure.  I wish I could be more like him and immediately forgive while quietly calming myself.  So mad props to Heath for always being a wonderful husband and father. 

When we got home Heath headed out to the mall to see what could be done to save the phone.  He called me from his cell phone so I thought that meant they fixed it.  No, he just knows where to touch on the screen to call home.  Impressive. 

He was calling to tell me that T Mobile wanted to charge him over $400 to fix the phone.  He threatened to take his business elsewhere so they magically found out that it would really only be $150 to fix it.  A new phone would be $200 and it would cost him $200 to get out of his contract with them.  Not looking good. 

His next stop was AT&T to look into new phones.  He wants to get me one too.  After waiting for 20 minutes to be helped he just walked out.  There was a BYU game on soon!  Good thing they won last night or it would have been a somber evening around our house. 

The plan was still to bundle everything with AT&T and finally get rid of Comcast.  This plan would save us over $100 a month in bills.  Heath wanted to find a couple Windows phones on Amazon because that’s how he got the original one.  It was much cheaper through Amazon.  He ordered two phones. 

For a penny a piece. 

I know.  I couldn’t believe it either!  He had to pull up the invoice to prove to me he paid two cents for two phones.  Then he showed me this.  Did you click on the link?  It says the phone’s list price is $499.99 next to that it says Price From: $0.01!  Click on the link.  I am so not making this up!  Then he told me that as of today AT&T bought T Mobile.  I couldn’t make that up even if I wanted to!  Do you hear the Twilight Zone theme song too?  Hmmm . . . .

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness

The year was 1997.  The five other girls I lived with along with my roommate’s boyfriend and his roommates were all crowded in the living room, eyes glued on the 13” TV screen.  It was the final game of the season for the Utah Jazz.  I knew virtually nothing about what I was watching but I could feel the electricity surging through the room and out into the apartment complex.  The last several minutes of the game were intense and screamworthy even for a basketball dunce like myself.  Karl Malone and John Stockton lived up to every bit of the hype. 

I found my heart racing while I sat closer to the edge of my seat.  Pleasewinpleasewinpleasewinpleasewin!  And win they did!  The apartment exploded into cheers.  Cory grabbed Mel picking her up and kissing her.  Trevor and Tyler, the TNT twins, yelled as loud as they could.  The rest of us laughed and cheered and jumped up and down.  Cory flung the door open to run out into the parking lot.  Several other students had done the same.  We all ran around screaming in excitement for a huge win. 

Don’t ask me about the stats of that year or how the game was won.  It was the only game I sat down and watched for any length of time.  I don’t know if that game was the last game Karl Malone and John Stockton played together.  I’m assuming it was the end of March Madness for that year.  I don’t know.  I am not a basketball fan but I remember that night.  I remember how fun it was to cheer for a winning team.  Cheering for a winning team is how I became a BYU football fan.  Their 2001 season was a great one and an even better season to learn to love football!  I’ve been hooked ever since. 

My mom had a boyfriend who took her to all the U of U games.  She hated football but really loved basketball.  They even went to several WAC games in Las Vegas.  She doesn’t understand our obsession with BYU football but she has no problem paying attention to a basketball game if Heath has one on. 

I don’t know why I decided to sit down and watch basketball with Heath this year.  Maybe it was because he can’t seem to shut up about Jimmer Fredette.  Every day he would tell me how this obscure person tweeted about Jimmer.  I watched part of something about Jimmer and how at the age of three he played basketball against his older brother.  Jimmer would get mad if his brother or his dad would try to go easy on him.  He would hold his hands up in the air and tell his brother to do that and try to block him. 

I could be anywhere in the house and hear Heath cheering.  Then he would run to me to breathlessly tell me how Jimmer had scored 50 points already and it wasn’t even halftime yet.  Maybe I was intrigued by all the hype.  I watched parts of games and could see that Jimmer wasn’t carrying the team.  All the boys were good players but if Jimmer got the ball he was scoring.  One day I decided to just start asking questions.  That’s how I learned to fall in love with football.  Maybe I would fall in love with basketball too.  At least it would increase my appreciation for the sport while decreasing a lot of my confusion.  Heath patiently explained things to me.  I think I’m understanding a little more now.  I’ve watched a few games with him. 

He showed me this video yesterday.  Cool video!  I loved the video of Jimmer as a child because I know that story.  I watched it!  I especially loved the video of him practicing.  How awesome must that kid be to dribble two basketballs, alternating the dribbles, as he walks backwards! 

Last night Heath asked what movie we should watch and I said Hoosiers.  He couldn’t believe I was choosing a basketball movie.  As much as it pains me to admit, I think I may have the March Madness fever! 

Philo T. Farnsworth

The students chose a famous American to do their March speech on.  Gavin chose Philo T. Farnsworth for several reasons.  He was an inventor and Gavin loves inventions.  He lived in Idaho on a farm just like Gavin’s grandpa and later moved to San Francisco like our family did.  He also attended BYU.  I read online that Philo Farnsworth is arguably the most influential BYU graduate of all time.  So why don’t you know what he did? 

For whatever reason, Philo T. Farnsworth is TV’s forgotten hero.  He spent the greater part of his life improving his invention of the television but eventually let other companies take over this process so maybe that’s why people don’t remember he was actually the one to invent television. 

He loved science and loved to read science magazines.  One day he found a science magazine in the attic that talked about television.  It said that in the future there would be flying pictures.  Instead of sitting around watching the radio (which is how people listened to radio shows – they stared at the radio) people could see these flying pictures.  Philo wanted to make that happen so he did. 

At the age of 14 he was plowing the field when the lines from the plow sparked an idea in his mind.  He thought that he could make images appear on a screen one line at a time.  (That was the part I remember learning in my 7th grade Utah Studies class!)  Anyway, Philo was always tinkering around and figuring things out and talking a mile a minute to anyone who would listen to him.  His high school science teacher would listen to Philo’s ideas after school until one day he told Philo to be careful with what he said in case someone tried to steal his ideas.  Years later RCA tried to say that Philo stole their idea for the television.  Mr. Tolman, the science teacher, found a picture Philo had drawn for him years earlier.  It proved that Philo was the one who had the idea for the invention first. 

Soon after that Philo was able to get patents on his invention.  When the patents expired decades later and he was exhausted from putting so much effort into television he allowed other companies to take television and run with it.  After dealing with pneumonia, he died of heart complications at the age of 65. 

He wasn’t some nerdy guy with zero social skills who could only talk science.  He played musical instruments and joined a band.  He also acted in many plays while he was at BYU.  He dated a girl who dumped him because she wanted to be with someone who was going somewhere with his life!  After that girl he dated another girl he liked to call Pem.  Some men were interested in helping Philo finance his television idea but insisted that they all work together in California.  Philo called Pem and asked her if she could be ready to get married in three days.  She was stressed out by the short timing but they got married in three days and the day after they were on a train for Los Angeles.  They worked in LA for a while then moved to San Francisco. 

Philo Farnsworth Plaque

Heath took this picture because he only works a block away from Farnsworth’s Green Street Lab. 

Philo not only invented the television, he invented many things like the isolette cribs hospitals use for preemies.  A doctor had asked him to come up with something for premature babies.  He was a family man, deeply in love with his wife and children, and a hard worker.  He always looked older than he was because he had so much on his mind or, as an adult, he was so crazy busy.  I think he worked himself to death. 

For all these amazing things we learned about the teen who invented television, Gavin didn’t say hardly anything in his speech!  He got nervous in the beginning and tried to read his poster then he gained enough confidence to face the class and just talk but he didn’t say much.  I’m disappointed because Gavin knows these facts.  We’ve been discussing it for a couple weeks now and talking about what we both found interesting in the books we read.  I read one book in the library before I checked it out. 

I’m kind of sad that Gavin didn’t shine more.  He’s a great kid though.  He loves to learn.  And bless his heart he wrote a lot about Philo that I put on the poster.  The poster wanted a lot of information in tiny little boxes.  Gavin wrote so much and has such large handwriting that I wrote it for him so it was legible.  I made him turn in the papers he wrote so his teacher could see his hard work. 

I sure do love this kid!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blind Leading the Blind

I have Gavin’s speech post all done but I couldn’t upload the video to youtube yesterday and Heath has my computer tied up while he works from home. 

Speaking of Gavin . . . he’s blind as a bat.  We kind of figured he couldn’t see well when he would stand an inch away from our big screen TV all the time but we had no idea how blind that poor kid actually is! 

Heath likes to tease me for having worse eyesight than him.  He says he can drive without contacts if he has to.  The sidewalks would have to be evacuated if I did that.  Heath also thinks he’s something snazzy because he got glasses at 15.  I was 8.  We both feel so bad for Gavin.  His eyesight is significantly worse than mine and he’s 7.  Age really has nothing to do with how bad we feel though.  We feel awful that the poor kid can hardly see anything at a distance.  I have no idea how he survives in this world.  At least he doesn’t run into walls or furniture but pretty close. 

He’s very bummed that his glasses won’t be ready for a week.  Poor kid.  At least he’s excited to have glasses.  But I think nowadays nobody will tease him about having glasses.  If they do he can finally see to punch them in the nose. 

Heath and I got new glasses too.  My glasses are scratched so badly I can hardly see out of them and they have been so bent and beat up they barely resemble their original shape.  I told the eye doctor that they’ve been through 3 kids.  She was very understanding.  Heath made sure he told everyone what happened to his last pair of glasses 5 or more years ago.  Actually we don’t know what happened to them.  We can only assume Gavin threw them in the garbage because we never could find them anywhere.  Even when we moved!  Gavin was just a toddler so all we could do was laugh. 

Parker, who suffers from Middle Child Syndrome, wants glasses.  He’s extremely sad he doesn’t get any.  That’s a tough one.  How do we tell him that it’s better to have perfect eyesight without making Gavin feel bad for being the product of our crappy genes and needing glasses?  Heath just told him that it’s not good to wear glasses if you don’t need them.  Hopefully that’s enough. 

I get to go back in a week for a follow up on the new contacts the doctor is having me try.  Hopefully they don’t float on my eyes as much as the Biofinity contacts did.  I could almost always feel the edges of those contacts too.  I don’t think they fit as well as they should.  So I will pick up our prescriptions, hopefully paper so we can get cheaper contacts from Costco or 1-800-CONTACTS, and I’ll get whatever glasses are ready.  Mine will take longer since I’m getting more done to the lenses.  Then lucky me, I get to go see an ophthalmologist in a couple weeks to see what the diabetes is doing to my eyes. 

My total was the highest.  It doesn’t matter what I do I’m always the most expensive.  I thought it was because I chose Vera Wang frames but about half the total is for the lenses and all the things I’m having done to them – making them thinner and the protective coatings, etc. 

In about a week we will all look much smarter in our sophisticated new frames but looks aren’t everything!  Seeing is. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top o’ the Mornin to Ya!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.  This is one of the strangest holidays to me.  I’m not Catholic nor am I Irish so I don’t understand the purpose behind St. Patrick’s day.  I’m sure that originally it had a purpose greater than green, leprechauns, pinching, and drinking.  Oh and people suddenly swearing they’re Irish and therefore worthy of some kissing action.  I don’t get that. 

I don’t get a lot of holidays.  Why should a worthy cause or event be reduced to mythical creatures or shameless sales?  Whatever.  Thank heavens I have kids to help me get in the spirit of things right?  So here come the pictures and cute stories! 

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Since I’m taking pictures of all the hairstyles I’m doing to keep Gwen’s hair out of her face while she has this cold, this is how she started the morning.  Gavin was giving a speech/report on Philo T. Farnsworth that I will post about later.  We were going to watch him in his classroom.  Getting four people ready by 8:00 am is not as easy as one might think especially since I’m in the habit of only dressing everyone and hair comes later.  So Gwen got a ponytail that was really fluffy from yesterday’s braids.  The ponytail was super cute and I would have left it that way but I found a festive style I wanted to try. 

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Holy cuteness right?  This was my first attempt.  I found the link yesterday and sent it to a friend who absolutely loved all the hearts I did in Gwen’s hair in February.  She had fun doing hearts for her 4th grader for the class Valentine’s party.  As soon as I got home from Gavin’s speech this morning I went to work on Gwen.  Can I just say this turned out so much cuter than I ever imagined!  I can’t get over how darling it is.  I can’t wait to take Parker to school so everyone can see Gwen’s hair! 

Now on to something different.  A standard kindergarten assignment is a leprechaun trap.  I think the idea is to have it be a family activity.  Parker only had two homework assignments last week and the trap that was due yesterday.  This week he had no homework probably so the kids had time to finish the trap.  He finished his homework and asked about the trap.  I told him to wait until his dad got home.  He didn’t want to wait.  So I gave him some paper to design the trap since that was part of the assignment.  When he was done with the picture he didn’t want to wait for his dad.  He pulled out his Lego’s and built it himself. 

That’s Parker’s style.  His impatience and curios nature make him really self reliant.  He loves figuring things out on his own.  I have learned that when it comes to homework he wants to do everything himself.  That is an admirable quality especially in a little 5 year old kindergartener.  So he built his own trap and was very proud of his work.  I was a little embarrassed to take it to school yesterday with all the other kids and their perfect little working traps. 

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This is Parker’s trap.  He is convinced that if leprechauns really do exist one will get into the trap but never think to crawl out the back of it.  He is really into the whole idea of leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day.  He wanted to wear green pajamas to bed in case a leprechaun pinched him in his sleep!  He was dying waiting for today when he could finally wear his favorite t-shirt – a green Toy Story 3 shirt. 

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Parker was so proud of his trap.  I was too.  It was all his idea and I think he did a good job.  Gotta love how we were so busy making signs to tempt the leprechaun to disobey that I forgot to comb his hair yesterday!  Oh well. 

The parents were impressed with Parker’s trap.  I got a lot of comments and compliments.  Apparently he was the only one who made his out of Lego’s.  One of his friends said he would use Lego’s but his parents must have talked him into doing something else.  Parker is definitely embracing the whole kindergarten experience.  It’s really fun.  It’s almost turning me into a holiday convert!  Hair blogs sure help. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What would you do?

The elementary school produces yearbooks every year.  They are $25 each.  In my humble opinion Winking smileI don’t think they’re worth the price.  After paying for yearbooks the last two years and being disappointed in the quality, I decided not to do it this year.  I will happily pay the therapy bills because my children don’t have a paperback magazine reminding them of their elementary school years.  They’ll be ok.  There’s always Facebook if they really need to keep in touch with kids they knew when they were 5! 

Today is Red Robin day so Red Robin was at the school along with parent volunteers passing out the flyers for people to use to have 15% of the bill go to the school.  Parker’s teacher had let the class out late today.  Gwen had sneezed yellow snot all over her hands and I didn’t have a tissue so I got one from the teacher.  Those two variables made us much later than usual walking to the back of the school to pick up Gavin. 

Gwen and I had walked past Red Robin on the way to get Parker.  I’ve seen Red Robin at the school before and I’ve seen kids go up to hug him and whatnot.  I did not know that a parent volunteer takes pictures of the kids with Red Robin.  Since we were so late leaving the kindergarten area the crowds had died down considerably.  As we walked past Red Robin the kids were all excited to see him.  My friend asked her kids if they wanted to say hi.  So I told Parker he could say hi too.  Then the parent volunteers asked the kids if they wanted to pose for a picture.  So I shoved Gwen in there really fast. 

The parent took the picture and my friend asked about the pictures.  The parent said they go in the yearbook.  I kind of knew that’s what was going on.  So now I don’t know what to do.  I almost feel obligated to buy two yearbooks because I know my kids and their friends were photographed with Red Robin.  Then again, I can’t guarantee the picture will be in the book.  I’m sure several pictures were taken today.  Who’s to say which one they’ll pick?  Gavin did have a couple cameo appearances in last year’s book. 

So what would you do?  Would you buy the books, which probably cost more than $25 apiece now?  Or would you stick to your guns?  Vote on my poll and/or leave a comment. 

Do my kids really need to have sloppy signatures from their classmates from kindergarten and second grade to treasure forever?  Gavin hasn’t even looked at his yearbooks since he brought them home for the final time on the last day of school.  Do I really need to pay $50 or more for one photograph of Parker and Gwen and their little friends?  Am I just the worst mom ever!  By the way, we’re not going to Red Robin tonight.  We went last week since Heath was invited to a special business dinner.  I will be cooking tonight.  Cross your fingers I don’t burn dinner like the last time I was solo.