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Monday, September 29, 2008

Caught on the Web

Q: Which of these doors would be more appealing to someone intending harm?











Q: Which of these blogs would be more appealing to someone intending harm?
A. The Jones Family: Trying to keep up with no one!
B. Gray's Blog: Life is never black and white
C. The Steve and Holly Mountaintop Family: Loving life in Alpine, Utah

If you answered "C" to both questions, pat yourself on the back! (Go ahead. No one's watching.)

While someone intending harm could break into all three of the doors shown above, he would prefer the 3rd door since it has no deadbolt and provides the least resistance.

While someone intending harm could physically find all three of the families in the blogs above, he would choose the 3rd family since he has the first and last names of two people and the city they live in, which provides the least resistance. He has enough information to find their phone number and/or address.

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of people put personal information on public blogs. On top of their full names and locations, I've seen phone numbers, personal email addresses and even home addresses listed!

Dudes! EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, you put on the public internet is accessible by anyone. ANYONE.

"But no one reads my blogs."
This last week, I got an average of 8 comments per blog entry. How many people do you think that means visited my blog?

My blog tracker says I got 50-100 people visiting my blog each day of the past week. That means there were 40-90 people EACH DAY who didn't let me know they visited. More people read your blog than actually comment, even if you have a blog with zero comments.

"But only people I know and trust visit my blog."
Not if you have a public blog.
My blog tracker tells me that I've been visited by someone in several cities in almost every state in the United States, plus 17 other countries. Some people passed right on through. Some stayed and read for a long time. Strangers come upon my blog all the time, a few have commented on it. I, personally, come across strangers' blogs regularly, even ones with no comments on them. *I'm* the stranger.

"I still think no one outside my family visits my blog. I never have anyone comment."
Install a tracker on your blog, and you will be surprised. Also, blogs come up on search engines, depending on what you're discussing on your blog and what a person is searching for.

Go to Google and do a search for "family blog."
In less than one second, you will pull up thousands and thousands of blogs belonging to families who think "no one will ever find our blog."

Do a search for "family blog" with your state's name on it.
Do it again but add your city name this time.
What did you find?

Choose a family from the list generated. Do you find any more identifying information about them? What are their kids' names? What schools do they go to? Do they have a dog? Is there an illness in the family? Weddings, new babies, moves, deaths? What does the blogger do for a living?

"OK. Yeah, so?"
You're a good guy. You were merely curious. A bad guy is not just curious; he is looking for the door with no deadbolt on it. Maybe he wants the nice car you just bought and blogged about. Maybe he wants your identity to buy his own car. Maybe he wants your child.

I did a search with "(my town, my state) family blog" and in half a second, I had a list of people living in my town. Some of the families had no comments on their blogs, and still, they came up. So much for "no one reads our blog." Some of the families included nice long lists of the first and last names of friends and neighbors. So, even if they have no more information I could glean, I could try their parents', sisters' or neighbors' blogs.

Here's the first favor you can do for your friends and family. When you link them on your blog, only list their first names. (For example, "Adhis" or "Adhis and Dave" or "Queen Fantastica".) If you must have their last names, list them without the first names, if you can.

Don't post your city and state on your blog. It's not terribly hard to find your phone number even if it's NOT listed in the local phone book. Also, don't list your phone number or email address on someone else's comments section. The blog author isn't the only one reading those comments. If you must leave a way for the blog author to contact you, create a free email account just for public posting and use that in her blog. To cut down on spam, write out your email address. (For example: myfakeemail (at) hotmail dotcom, or something like that, so it is not easily picked up by webcrawlers.)

Here's the second favor you can do for your friends and family. If someone posts her phone number, email address or any other identifying information on YOUR blog, contact her and let her know you got her comment but that you are going to delete it for her sake. Then, delete it.

And lastly, be mindful about what you say in your posts. Don't write about your husband being out of town. Wait until he gets back to blog about it. Don't talk about your plans to visit Yellowstone National Park next week. Blog all you want about your trip when you get back, but don't let the world know your house will be empty for a week. (For fun and security measure, once in a while, google your name, phone number or address and see what, if anything, comes up.)

I'm trying to inform you, not freak you out. Remember that ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, you put on the public internet is accessible to anyone.

[Posted song: "Private Eyes" from Hall & Oates]

Friday, September 26, 2008

3rd Annual Favorite Things Party

Time for the Annual Favorite Things Party!

Instructions for a Favorite Things party:
1. Think of one of your favorite things that costs $5 or less.
2. Buy three of that thing and bring them to the party.
3. Write your name on three pieces of paper and deposit them into a basket/hat/box.
4. When everyone has deposited their names, take a turn to showcase your item and explain why it's one of your favorite things.

5. When all items have been showcased, pull three names out of the basket/hat/box making sure that you haven't grabbed your own name or any duplicate names.
6. Go find the three people whose names you pulled out of the basket/hat/box and get one of their showcased items.
7. Three people will come to you to collect one of the things you brought.
8. Now, you have three ideas for low-cost holidays gifts!

This year, I brought trifle dishes with a note containing a recipe for fruit trifle and suggestions for other uses for a trifle dish (a centerpiece, a fishbowl, a fruit bowl, etc.).

I decided tonight, when I saw the above photo of me, that I need to choose and practice the smile I'll use for spontaneous photo posing. I look like I'm doing a Gene Simmons impersonation. That's my default pose every time someone points a camera at me. Sexy, ain't it? I will stay up late and work on this tonight! I will work on it longer than Kim.


I will practice so much that I will pull a face muscle. You just wait and see! My face will be on crutches on Sunday from spraining a cheek. I'm that dedicated.

(This photo reminds me of The Last Supper but with sugary treats and some sort of gang hand signs going on.)

The party was hosted, as it always is, by Chelon and Erin (seen above; center and right, respectively). Chelon moved to Texas two years ago, but she has flown out to Utah the last two years to throw this shindig together. That's commitment!

For not-so-flattering candid photos, check out Kim's post on this party.

Because I hadn't seen Chelon since last year, I thought about bringing Baby Dhis with me, but then I thought that would be fun until she got tired and cranky.


SCORE! I came home with a tile quote (from Chelon), gel glitter markers with a magnetic notepad (from Christi), and a bag of chocolate-covered cinnamon bears (from Kristen). At least, I didn't end up with a stupid trifle dish.


[Posted song: "Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music; "My Favorite Things" by Gary Hoey]

P.S.
We each brought a dessert or appetizer to the party. I brought a Snickers Salad (a contradiction in terms) from a recipe I got in my old ward about 6 years ago and had never made. I adjusted the recipe last night, which I'll denote in italics. I served this in a... guess what?... trifle dish!

Snickers Salad (by Jody Adams)
3 granny smith apples (2 large granny smiths)
3 red apples (2 large red delicious)
1 king size Snickers bar (2 king size Snickers)
1 8oz tub Cool Whip

Cut apples and Snickers into small pieces and mix together.
Gently stir in Cool Whip.
Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Depression Might Be Fun

I was thinking about President George W. Bush’s speech, and – call me crazy— I thought a financial depression might be kind of fun.


Bush addressed our country last night in regards to our economy’s current crisis, saying "our entire economy is in danger." We are supposed to be in favor of a $700Billion bailout program to save us from the mistakes this country has made with money. If we don’t interfere, then (dum dum dum) DOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!

As ignorant as this sounds, I was kind of thinking a financial crash might be a good cleanse for this country. I mentioned this to my dear husband and he pointed out that banks that lend money would go out of business and there would be very few mortgages, business loans or car loans made.

Yeah. So?

We'd all live in quaint little apartments with our laundry hanging out the windows, have less rooms to clean up after, and drive our hoopties into the ground. Just like the old days.

I figure it would kind of be like the Great Depression and that would prompt everyone to be creative with their resources. We’d collect whipped cream containers, scrounge for bits of twine and create big orbs of rubber bands and brag to each other about who had the biggest collection. There'd be gardening and bartering and quilting galore! I think a great deal of talent that people have smothered with laziness and convenience would be revealed.

Hubby jumped on my wagon. “You could make all our bread. You could make breakfast by cracking our own wheat. And we could raise chickens in the backyard.” I’m not sure if he was humoring me, but I liked the words just the same. I reminded him that our Homeowners' Association (HOA) doesn’t allow chickens. He insightfully stated that they’d be too busy raising their own chickens so as not to starve.

I like it.

[Neighborhood tangent: I call dibs on Matt Smith and his bowhunting skills and on Rochelle Nelson for her ding dang darn delicious blackberry/strawberry jam. Oh, and also dibs on Donna Rice for her killer bread and on Carol Whitaker for her sewing prowess. There are a few more people on my list, and I call dibs on all of them. You guys can have the computer programmers and accountants.] [Sorry, honey.]

Of course, I anticipate that in such a crisis, crime would go up for a while, mostly things like stealing apples from Mr. Jones' tree and throwing rocks at the old warehouse windows. But eventually, those would decrease.
Just think of the neat stories you'd be able to tell your grandkids while wearing a straw fedora! Of course, that's assuming that the whippersnappers stick around to listen to them, but you'd have those stories, darn it! And you could tell them with a wistful look in your eye at Thanksgiving dinner every year, right before carving the turkey. Now, THAT'S a captive audience.

Anyhoo, I thought a financial depression might be kind of fun.

Now, you can call me crazy. But remember, I've got the wheat. And the Smiths.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Baby Boost

A thought occurred to me about a week ago: Baby Dhis needs to serve. She is here for a divine purpose, and I don't want to wait to teach her that. BUT, I didn't know where to go with this revelation.

A couple days later, I received an email from Lindsey stating that she was going to Greenwood Assisted Living to allow the residents a chance to hold her baby, and she was inviting anyone interested in enjoying the same opportunity; I just knew this was right for Baby Dhis!


Lindsey brought her two daughters, Mia and Tera; Marcela brought her two children, Lucy and Benny, and I brought Adhis.

I purposely brought Baby Dhis with no socks and shoes on since I know how old people feel about bare baby feet. I figured it would give the residents something to talk about when they tell me my baby's feet are either cold or small.


The ladies and gentlemen LOVED holding the little babies and thoroughly ENJOYED having the lively toddlers visit around the room.

I was so happy to be visiting at Greenwood! When I became pregnant, I promised the Lord I'd remember that this was His child entrusted to my care and I would raise her how He wants her raised and not how I would want.

Baby Dhis wasn't sure what to make of all the new faces. The new faces weren't sure what to make of her name. :)

She was a little cranky from needing a nap, and we'll prepare next time for that, but the grandmas and grandpas thought she was adorable anyway.

In this photo, Delsa is warming Baby Dhis' feet.

I kicked myself when I realized I forgot my camera. These photos were taken by Lindsey. I'm so glad she brought her camera!

We all had such a good time there and will do this again! There were about 14 grandmothers and grandfathers holding and beholding our children, so we would certainly welcome anyone who'd like to share the joy of their little children with people who don't get to see or hold babies very often.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Like Christmas

The other day, as the sun penetrated my window and lightly coated me in warmth, I found myself mindlessly humming a holiday carol. Caught off-guard, I had to verify in my mind what month it is. Then, I realized I feel like Christmas inside.

For the last few days, my insides have felt like music, motion and aliveness. I’m excited for no particular reason. I sense my purpose thinly veiled. My heart feels fully open, and I am conscious of the humanness of those I pass and of those with whom I interact.

I feel like Christmas inside, like I’m in a season of giving of myself, in a season to share of that which I thought I did not have enough. I feel blessed, strong, and abundant.

Just the week prior, I felt panicked and desperate. No circumstance has changed but a wand of peace has been waved over me and my heart has been lightened and enlightened. I feel awake and alert, present and in the moment.

I am fully aware of my connection to humanity, to God. I am entwined with everyone: strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family. They are all a piece of my existence and energy. My heart notices and understands the emotions playing in their hearts, though I rarely voice it.

I feel incredible clarity and peace. The layers on the onion of my fears are peeling away. With each layer, painful memories resurface like angry little gremlins, and after a few minutes, they look like little children dancing in costumes. And I feel OK. I feel glad. I feel free. I float above the chaos of the storm. I didn’t know I was allowed to feel so happy already!

A desire burns within me to do what I can to elevate the downtrodden heart and the downcast eyes, to lift burdens a little. I feel like the Savior’s hands. I feel a need to do His will and I have no desire to know in advance what it is. Just guide me and I’ll flow with it, Lord.

If these words seem vague and don’t quite make sense, it’s because the only words I can think of to accurately describe my current state is “I feel like Christmas.”


[Posted song: "There's No Feeling Like Christmas"]



(photo by brockvicky)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Texas Roadhouse


I've heard and read many many MANY of my friends, neighbors, and fellow bloggers mention this restaurant and how much they LOOOOOOOVE it, so when my in-laws invited David and I to eat there, I was looking forward to trying it out.

I don't get it.

First: The motto printed on the menu is "If it doesn't say Texas, it's not Texas Roadhouse." Well, yeah, you're right; it would just be "Roadhouse." Thanks... for... that.

Second, Third, and Fourth: The food was horribly bland, the atmosphere "meh", and the salad soupy. I was there with at least 7 other people, and I noticed their faces did not express a delicious experience. No one really seemed all that pleased with their food. My sister-in-law from Texas was disappointed that this place had her state's name on it. This was a throw-your-peanut-shells-on-the-floor place and sitting there made me want to locate the restaurant's broom and dustpan. Are they serious?

I am not a food snob; I just like my food to have flavor and texture. Nevertheless, I can tolerate sitting through a bad meal, but the whole time I was thinking, "what does _(insert your name if you raved about this place on your blog or in my presence) see in this place?" Am I missing something?

And Fifth: I'm a people watcher, and I couldn't help but notice the majority of the clientele this particular night had an old-school Johnny Cash air about them. A few others seemed to be enjoying a meal before making their guest appearances on Jerry Springer. Large guts thinly covered by white t-shirts, leathery skin paired with ratty jean shorts, 80's beauty pageant bangs, heavy eyeliner. I've never seen these people in Utah! Where'd they come from this night? I made a mental Quick Exit Plan in case a brawl broke out between a woman "done wrong," her on-again-off-again beau, and a broken beer bottle.

So, I don't get it. What do you guys see in it?

For those of you who haven't been there, look for the place that doesn't say "Texas" on it. If it doesn't say "Texas" on it, then it ain't Texas Roadhouse, and maybe the food will taste good.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Blog Book

On Saturday, August 16, 2008, Stephanie Nielson was in a plane crash with her husband, Christian Nielson, and his flight instructor, Doug Kinneard, near St. Johns, Arizona. Doug Kinneard passed away soon after arriving at the Maricopa County Hospital.
Christian & Stephanie remain in critical condition at Maricopa Burn Center. Christian has sustained burns on over 30% of his body. His wife Stephanie’s body was burned over 80%.



The site http://www.nierecovery.com/ has more information.


You have probably heard in the news about bloggers raising money to help pay for the Nielson's recovery in different ways.



One group of bloggers is creating a book of funny stories tentatively titled "Sometimes Life is Funny." Proceeds will go to the Nie Nie Fund. "The goal of the book is to make people smile - so everything from mildly amusing to laugh out loud funny is needed. Your essay can be about anything - a day in the life, parenting, marriage, dating, growing up, work - anything."

We all have funny and silly things happen in our lives, and I know many of you can submit stories to this book! Make sure to read the rules here first. Don't stress out wondering if your story is funny or not; send your stuff in and let the compilers decide what goes in the book! Here's an update on how the book is coming along. Next month, Sue (the blogger at the previous link) will post a list of all of the submissions that made it into the book.

Spread the word! The deadline for submissions is September 30th, 2008.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Blagh

NOOOOOOOOO!!!

I wrote two blog posts this week and Blogger ate them. ATE THEM!

They were the wittiest, funniest, most intelligent posts ever written in the history of mankind. They were going to enlighten, elevate, and elate. They were going to make your life easier and your teeth whiter. They were the portals to heaven and to Candy Land. They were going to make you look thinner and make you feel wiser. They were programmed to cause your CD drive to spit out $20 bills and your mouse to vacuum your desk. Butterflies and fairy princesses were going to spring out of them and grant your every wish and realize your wildest dreams.

But Blogger ate them. ATE THEM!!!

Blagh.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

These Colors Run

With our stake 5K run scheduled for last Saturday, I stopped procrastinating and FINALLY got myself into the physical therapist's office the day before. Surely, I could be cured of my back, hip, and ankle pain in less than 24 hours.

After a series of evaluation exercises and realizing that they in themselves caused pain, I accepted I would not be running the 5K and asked the physical therapist if I could walk it. "Yes," he said, "as long as you stop if you start hurting."

Saturday morning, I left the house a little later than I wanted to but still in time for the walkers' scheduled start at 8:15am. (Runners started at 8 am.) I arrived at the parking lot about 8:05 and walked over to where there was a group of people. I stood around waiting for directions. After a couple minutes, I noticed some sign-in sheets. I signed one, and a lady made me a badge stating my name and age (33, BTW). I don't know why the age was pertinent. Maybe to easily identify my bloated body when they found it on the route?

I stuck my badge on, wandered around, then asked "When do the walkers start?" At this point, my friend Kim overheard me and said "Oh-- we let them start already, right after the runners." Uhhhhhh... what? I was stumped as what to do, as I had anticipated walking along with some people from our ward. Kim said, "They didn't leave too long ago. If you jog, you can catch up to them soon." I was thinking, "I'm not supposed to be jogging," but then rationalized that a minute or two of jogging wouldn't aggravate my injuries.

"What were they wearing?" I asked as I walked towards the route.

"Amy is wearing red."

Red. Ok, red. So, I began jogging thinking, "Red. Red. Red. Red." You know, it's a hard color to remember; I kept repeating it in my head.

Red. Red. Red. Wearing red. Red. Red. Ok, I see some walkers; that's not too far. Just look for red.

I spotted a red shirt and cap in the distance. Maybe that's her. Red. (pant) Red. (pant) Red. Holy crap, those walkers must be going 35mph.

I don't know how long I jogged, and I didn't want to know. I just knew that I was NOT doing the planned walking of the 5K. My lungs said, "wheeze, wheeze, wheeze" to remind me of this.

I got to Red and it was indeed Amy, who was walking with Carrie. I expected a few other ladies to be walking with them, so I asked who else was at the event.

"Oh, Christi is up there. She's wearing a green shirt."

Green. Ok, green. I said goodbye and started jogging looking for a green shirt.

Green, green, green. Green, green, green.


At this point, I remembered what the physical therapist said: If it hurts, stop. I realized if I did start hurting and I stopped, then I'd just be out in the middle of nowhere, with no phone, no ride, nothing. (That, kids, is how you plan ahead.) I kept jogging and thought, "well, my back's not hurting, my knee's not hurting, my ankle... wait a minute- where's my ankle?" I didn't feel pain. In fact, I didn't feel anything below my right ankle. At all. Everything was numb down there. Well, it wasn't PAIN, and I didn't have a way to get someone to come get me so... green, green, green.

I spotted a green shirt in the distance. Green. Green. Green. Man, she's really booking it. Green. Green. Green.

I thought I would never catch up to Green Shirt, but after a couple days, I did. I went through my "Hi, hello, how's it going, this is hard, who else is here" thing.

"Aubrey is up there wearing a white shirt and a white bandana."

Ok. White. (pant) White. (pant) White shirt, white bandana. Wh(pant)ite. White (gasp). Wh...

I stopped thinking. I was just moving my feet and gasping for air. I got closer to the white bandana, and I was pretty sure it was Aubrey, but my brain was conserving energy and had stopped processing thought. I decided I was going to smack White Bandana's butt when I caught up.

Why?

Because.

And I did. White Bandana turned around and yelled "hey!" That's when I realized White Bandana was...

...

...

Aubrey! You thought I was going to say a stranger?

Aubrey and her husband Russ were hauling butt (butts?), and I was out of breath. Team AubRuss was walking/jogging faster than I had planned on. The day suddenly got hot, and by "the day," I mean me. The water station up ahead told me I had so far jogged/speed-walked half of the race I was supposed to be walking. I walked past the table and grabbed my 8oz bottle of water. (Yes, 8oz. One cup. Basically a spitwad in a bottle.)

(Think running a 5K is easy? Try running it with a tree in your hoodie.)

Now, the thing about grabbing a water bottle at this run was that the coordinators did not plan a water bottle DROP OFF. So, I drank my water, and then, I was stuck with an empty bottle in my hand. My hot hand. My hot, sweaty hand. The hand that could barely move to wipe sweat off my neck.

I've never been a litterbug. In fact, I tend to go out of my way to throw garbage into a receptacle. I recycle. I pick up trash off the street. Never had I wanted to litter as much as I did on that run.

I decided I was gonna do something I hadn't planned on doing that day but had been forced to do halfway already. I was going to jog the race. For spirit? For health? For personal triumph? I was going to jog to the finish line, so I could find the trash can and dispose of the annoying bottle. And I had to get there fast because I was being tempted to toss it in a field.

The truth that then revealed itself was that the last time (and only time) I ran 3 miles was back in 2000. If you know anything about math, that means 8 years ago. If you know anything about science, it means I was about to begin a long, slow death. "I can do a little more," I thought. I spotted a pink posterboard sign marking the route, so I said to AubRuss, "I'm going to jog to the pink sign. Pick my body up when you get to it." And off I went.

Pink. Pink. (pant) Pink. Pink. (pant) Just to the pink (pant) (pant) sign. Pink. Pink. (pant) Pink.

I reached it and walked. The bottle was still in my hand. Agh. I spotted another pink sign.
Pink. (pant) Sign. Pink. (pant) Sign. Jog. (pant) Jog. Pink. (pant) Sign.

I reached it and walked a minute. My hand was twitching to drop the plastic bottle. I spotted another pink sign.

Repeat this scenario about a dozen times and presto-change-o you are in my head for the rest of the run. Walk. Sweaty Hand. Don't toss it. Pink sign. Jog. Pink. Pink.

I got past the empty fields and back into a residential area which meant I was close to the finish line, but my legs said " ... ... ... " They couldn't really say anything. They're legs. Legs don't talk.

And then I saw this:
Well, I didn't have my camera with me, but if I did, the above photo would be of my smiling husband cheering, pushing a baby stroller with one hand and holding a camera in the other coming towards me. And I immediately felt exceedingly happy. I reached him and stopped, looked at my cutie baby and said hello to her. I forgot about the run. Totally spaced it. I posed for some photos for him, and then he said, "Go! Go run!" And I was like, "oh yeah."

(One guess what I'm posing with in my right hand.)


I recommenced running, and then heard my name being yelled out. There was a bunch of people from my ward who had finished the 5K already because-- get this-- they had planned on running.

(The last pink sign.)

I, of course, finished with the flair of Adhis, occasionally leaping in great exaggeration towards the finish line with my big mouth opened and smiling. I'm such a flippin' clown, but those of you who know me, well... you know me. And I forgot I hurt. And I forgot I couldn't breathe. And I forgot I had the water bottle in my hand. All I felt was energy, happiness, and great fun. I even said "I hope they do this every year!"


Next year, I'll ask my friends to run their colors in alphabetical order (Blue, Brown, Fuschia, Green, Maroon, Teal, etc.) so I can keep track easier.

That's if I don't finish dying my long, slow death before then. It began this morning.

[Posted song: "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Heading South

With summer coming to an end and the weather cooling, my thoughts have turned to those lovely critters heading south: my boobs. It's been almost 4 months since I gave birth, and I'm unhappily noticing my body going into Autumn. The leaves on my head are clogging the bathtub drain, my body is stockpiling fat for hibernation and, most disconcerting of all, The Girls are heading south.

The Girls have always looked straight ahead, determined and focused, but lately they're looking slightly down as if scanning for loose change on the sidewalk. I had heard that pregnancy and maturity would change my bosom, but like most of the things that people tell me, I didn't believe them. Now, I'm dreading that The Girls will soon be ON the ground searching for a lost contact lens.

The Girls first made their debut in 5th grade. I thought I could will them back into my chest cavity, or more like if I ignored them, they'd go away. This means that I went without "support" much longer than I should have. When my mom finally took me to buy The Girls a sling, I became angry. If she'd just ignore them too they'd go away. Why was she feeding their ego with attention? I willfully remained naive about my body looking any different. I decided to go with a theory akin to another I had held onto tightly for also too long just a few years earlier: if my eyes are closed, I'll become invisible. So, I thought "as long as I have a big shirt on, they don't exist."

There were several theories I held onto for way too long in my life. A few:
~ As I mentioned, if I close my eyes, no one can see me. (The reason I was ever caught or found, is because I peeked to see if the other person was gone and caused the invisible shield to break.)
~ I was a boy, and I could pee like one if I just practiced. (If only the bathroom door facing the kitchen table where everyone was sitting for breakfast hadn't swung open just then.)
~ If I stare at the sun long enough, I can change it to another color. (I'll never know if I could have avoided wearing glasses by not spending so much time proving this theory.)
~ If I spent enough time meditating on it, I could will my body to grow to 6 feet tall. (I'm 5'3" and I still think it's because I lost focus.)
~ If I'm not careful when playing with my parents' clock radio, I'll screw up the time in the entire world by one hour. (This I, of course, shared with my class at Show 'N' Tell the following Monday.)
~ The time/weather guy on the phone is rude and doesn't stop to listen when you attempt to tell him that the time he's quoting is incorrect because I messed with my parents' clock. (Luckily, the multitude of phone calls I made to him were free.)
~ Santa takes his sled and reindeer on test runs at dusk. (I made sure to tell my 5th grade teacher I saw him flying over our backyard.)

So, see, my big shirt theory was going to fix this problem. (Think about the last time you saw me, you didn't even KNOW I had boobs! This bright girl is always thinking.)

In 5th grade, I went to the principal's office to pick out a prize from a jar and a kindergartener looked at me and turned to her friend and said, "she's in college." I just thought it was because I was soooo tall. (I was still faithfully meditating on my height then.)

In middle school, my friend Aleshia told a boy on the bus that I was actually in high school but just riding the bus with the middle schoolers. Yeeah.

In high school, I couldn't understand why I was so popular in the mostly male Army JROTC program or why older students were surprised when I mentioned I was a freshman. I figured it was because I did my make-up just right. Do you notice a pattern of denial?

By this time, I had largely ignored The Girls since all the other girls had "girls" of their own. But it wasn't long before MY girls came up in conversation. I was in JROTC and my military dress shirt and jacket had to be ordered in because I could not fit in the ones already in the supply room. This brought the long ignored elephant in the room front and center. I became embarrassed and fell back on my trusty, if-I-wear-a-big-shirt-no-one-will-notice. I figured it had only failed because the shirt wasn't big enough, so I upgraded to size XL and XXL shirts to hide in. Near the end of my senior year, I was describing my dress for the prom by following my silhouette with my hands to demonstrate how the dress was fitted and one of my guy friends said "you have a small waist!" It had never occurred to me that the big shirts did not hide my chest, they just hid the rest of my body.

Fast-forward to 2004 when I'm 29. One would think denial would have jumped ship long ago, but it was indeed still a dear friend in my lingerie drawer. I was hanging out with about 9 other women in my old neighborhood when one of the teeny tiny slim girls mentioned something about being a 32 C or something. I looked at her small frame and laughed at the disillusioned girl. I said "You're not a C! *I'm* a C!" and continued chuckling at the poor misguided soul. Her eyes lit up and she yelled "Hey, everybody! Hey! Adhis thinks she's a C!" All the other conversations in the room halted and everyone turned to us. I thought "just wait until everyone corrects her on her bra size." Suddenly, the room exploded into a caucaphony of WHAT?!'s, whatever's, yeah-right's, and HAHAHAHAHAHA's. Confused, I pointed to the friend and mocked "SHE thinks she's a C!" They looked at her and said, "She probably is. YOU need to get measured!"

I moved out of that neighborhood a month later. I didn't want anything to do with such ludicrous women! (And we had just bought a house, but ignore that part.) About 5 months into my new neighborhood, I don't remember where, I don't remember how, but somehow, my chest became the topic of conversation. (I don't know why boobs come up in conversation with a group of women; I really don't. I just know it isn't me who starts it.) I shared the story of the crazy women in my last neighborhood. This caused a crescendo of laughter. In the following months, I regularly got nagged with "did you get measured yet?", "There's an Oprah this week about women who wear the wrong size bra," and "Are you going to go in soon?"

Well, hello, nice to meet you, too. Since I couldn't afford to move again and buy another house, I got The Girls professionally weighed measured.

I was 3 or 4 cups off. I didn't even know bra cups went past D, and I just drove right past it. I just didn't know. It's hard to know someone when you've ignored them and shamed them into hiding for years.

So, what's the point? The Girls are looking down! And it's all my fault. I ignored them so long that now they're depressed.

Maybe if I cross my fingers and wear flower-print shirts, they'll head back north at the sign of spring. Yeah, that'll do it.

[Posted song: "Brick House" by The Commodores]
Please, make sure to vote in the poll regarding music autoplay.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Little Snack

Since I incubated and gave birth to a little baby this summer, I only planted a little garden this year, which yielded a little bell pepper that I cut into little slices and put in a little vegetable sandwich and grilled just a little. Then, I ate it in little bites and enjoyed it a LOT.


Vegetable Sandwich
This is one of my favorite ways to get in one or two of my daily vegetable servings.

Two slices of your favorite whole grain bread
Fresh mushrooms
Bell pepper
Onion
Tomato
Black beans (or whatever beans you prefer)
Sprouts and any other veggies you like
Slice of cheddar
Slice of mozzarella

Assemble sandwich.
Grill.
Cut.
Enjoy!

My Blog


I got tagged by someone who loves to read my blog.

I don't know why I ever started a blog. I think I just wanted a chance to write creatively again. I also enjoy speaking my mind, which I actually don't get to do very often without being interrupted or cut off. How else could I talk about puking vs. diarrhea, wading through postpartum blues, aching from foster parenting, and finding a housekeeper without looking like a lunatic? If I came up to you in person and started talking about biscuit cans popping, you'd politely smile before deciding that you will have to be more diligent about popping out of sight when you see me turn a corner. (Hmmm... come to think of it, I haven't seen a few of you in a while.) Here, I can say whatever I want and you can tune me out if you don't like what I'm saying (My two dollars' worth) or you can amen when you can relate to what you're reading (A Tiny Baby Rant) or you can sit through my thoughts without feeling obligated to respond. Whatever your reaction, I still get to say what I want without having to navigate the social courtesies of face-to-face interaction (like politely pausing to allow you to speak or giving up on what I'm trying to say because the topic has changed).

I received the "I love your blog" from Jenn. According to the rules, I must list seven blogs I enjoy reading. That is difficult as I really enjoy reading more than that, but I'll obey and list just seven.

1) The most I'm-named-after-the-country-I'm-from blog on the web: http://utahenglishs.blogspot.com/
2) The starchiest blog on the web: http://idahonelsons.blogspot.com/
3) The sunniest blog on the web if "sunny" was pronounced "soonie": http://joshandsunni.blogspot.com/
4) The cutest-three-girls-to-drive-a-mom-crazy blog on the net: http://heidiwakley.blogspot.com/
5) The crappiest-pair-of-pants blog on the net: http://rucrappingmypants.blogspot.com/
6) The yummiest, healthiest and easy-to-make blog on the net: http://hundredhealthydinners.blogspot.com/
7) The most uber-cool and well-traveled wedding-and-everyday-life photographer blog on the net: http://canlasphotography.blogspot.com/
Really.
No, really.
And really.

Oh, yeah, so if you are on the list of seven above, feel free to post the "I (heart) your blog" graphic above on your blog. It will make you popular.

Monday, September 8, 2008

In the High Chair

I could not resist. She is so adorable and teeny sitting in her cousin's high chair! You can't even see her little toes peeking out the bottom. She seemed stumped as to what she was supposed to be doing once placed there.

::kissy kissy::

(You know you want to click on them and see them enlarged.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Best Erin Ever

The best bowler ever (title self-dubbed at the great California Bowling Tournament of 2005)

Erin also happens to be the best storyteller ever. She is a human Google and lds.org rolled into one. She can recall a factoid related to anything one might be discussing-- OR-- the discussion at hand will remind her of a great story, anecdote, or statistic. "This has nothing to with what we're talking about, but did you know..." She can recall any talk given by any LDS general authority in the history of general authorities and impart some profound quote.

(The following photo was taken by a waiter who apparently didn't know that we wanted to be in the photo. My version of this photo doesn't look so bad after I cropped two inches off the top and two inches off the left. Notice Jen on the right barely made the cut. Tracie's version of this photo is much, much worse. I think people were completed sliced off on that one.)

Last night, we had a farewell dinner with/for/next to Erin and got to share with her what we will miss the most about her and/or her family. Everyone knows she is a great teacher, a compassionate person, and a good friend. I decided to create my own list here of Erin's little-known talents.

The best dancer ever.

The best Mad Gabber ever.

The best sunglasses model ever.

The best drill sergeant ever.

The best donkey wooer ever.

Which reminds me... the most deserving title Erin holds is "the best camera blinker ever." You know how most people will occasionally be caught blinking in a photo? Erin is the only person I've ever met that has an 85% chance of blinking in a photo.

You will need to take five to thirty-one photos of Erin to get one of her with her eyes open, unless she helps you out and does this:

The best Erin ever.
And now she's gone, only to the neighboring city, but it might as well be Nebraska. Nobody goes to Nebraska. Not on purpose anyway.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gad-zukes!

On the way to Kid to Kid on Saturday (BTW, there's a new Kid to Kid by WalMart in AF), David and I drove by a freesale. We picked up a heavy Williams & Sonoma butcher block table (covered in glitter, glue, and marker ink-- gasp!-- we'll sand it off) and two "big-A" zucchinis. I had planned to use them for stir-fry. The owners encouraged me to take the other two they had out among some gourds and suggested I make zucchini bread. I don't know how to make zucchini bread; I'm not a pioneer. So, the zukes sat on my counter for a few days.

Wednesday, I decided it was time to do SOMETHING with the zucchini. I hate to see fresh produce go to waste. I googled 'easy zucchini bread' and found there are no less than 1 million recipe variations. I picked one and printed it out.

When I got back to the kitchen, I realized I couldn't just toss a zucchini into a mixing bowl and hope it would dissolve into the batter if I stirred hard enough. I had to shred it. The recipe called for 3 cups of shredded zucchini. Even though these zukes were huge, I looked at them and hoped I'd have enough for the recipe. I washed, scrubbed and dried the 4 monsters and cut them into spears to fit in my food processor and began sending them to their painful shredded death.

I needed 3 cups of shredded zucchini. Do you know how much shredded zucchini you get from four big-A zucchinis?? Guess.

If you said "a freakin' buttload," you are correct! You have just won a freezer bag of shredded zucchini! There was zucchini everywhere, on the walls, on the floor, on my shirt. I'm pretty sure I flung some into the middle of October.

Long story short (ok, so there really isn't a story), I made the bread. It tastes fine, nothing to write home about, though apparently ok enough to blog about. I still have a buttload of shredded zucchini. What else can I make with it? Anyone have any suggestions? Maybe something savory? Let me know. Send me a link. Something.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zucchini Bread Recipe

from http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/001330zucchini_bread.php

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.

2 Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 loaves.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Miraculous Conception

One year ago today, at about 9:30 am, this little cutie was conceived.

It was Sunday morning, and David and I were just recovering from one of the biggest arguments we have ever gotten into. (The observant among you will notice that we made up when we were supposed to be in Sacrament meeting.)

As many of you know, we have been married 7.5 years (at the time, 6.5 years) without being able to bear children. We wanted children but didn't feel compelled to pursue any sort of medical intervention. We accepted whatever the Lord saw fit for us and were pretty much OK if that meant living out our mortality as an awesome aunt and uncle.

But on Sunday, September 2nd, I got this overwhelming burning/tingling "feeling" from head to toe that I was going to get pregnant, and I could not deny it.

The first trimester of the pregnancy had its moments of drama and anxiety. During one such episode, I asked David for a priesthood blessing. In it, he mentioned that my daughter and I would be OK. This was when we learned we were having a girl. We couldn't contain our excitement, though not everyone in our families accepted this announcement as truth.

Wasn't she a cute little fetus??


Baby Adhis was born 40 weeks and 2 days after being conceived. And we've been in trouble ever since.

I am fascinated by her brain and body development and am amazed that she favors me. (David is always "the favorite" with people, so this is a weird adjustment for me.)

Lately, it's been nice to get a little less this:


And this:

And get a little more of this:


And this:


My favorite thing is to get her out of the crib in the morning. When she opens her eyes and realize it's me coming to get her, she greets me with a gaggle of big smiles and grins complete with her little tongue and nose wrinkles. (I tried to get a video of it, but she got shy when she saw the camera and stared at it suspiciously while sucking her thumb.)

One of David's favorite things is this:


When she's ready to sleep, Miss Thang ALWAYS puts her left thumb in her mouth and her right hand on her head. She could be screaming her lungs out demanding we take her out of the crib "this instant!", but as soon as she gets in this pose, she's off to Dream Land.

Maybe that's the pose I should try myself to get better sleep?


[Posted songs: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole]

[I'll leave "Rainy Day Bells" by Globetrotters up for a while also.]