“Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Yo, Yo…”


Looking back #2

On March of this year we went to San Diego (yes, I am playing serious catch-up on this Rad blog). We went with a home school group to Sea World, and no, we weren’t home schooling back then but I believe in not letting school get in the way of my children’s education (thanks Mark Twain). My incredible niece, let’s call her “Chuck”, allowed us to stay with her and her hubby and then she accompanied us to Sea World.

Touching this starfish was a big accomplishment (Chunk #1 would have nothing to do with it)

Chunk #2 gave this Dolphin the endearing name of  “Dolphy”.  Later, after she was splashed, she felt differently.

At the temple

Ain’t she great?

The next day we did our usual trip to the Mormon Battalion

After this I went looking for the IKEA.  I thought for sure I could remember where it was.  I couldn’t.  After passing the zoo twice, the historic district and a certain mall five times, I gave up.  The Chunks were patient but very tired so I headed for La Jolla and we found-

The. Best. Tide-pool. Beach. Ever.

It was a Thursday afternoon.  No one was around.  This was OUR beach (for about an hour anyway). It was one of those perfect moments in my life.

Chunk #1, you told me that your favorite part of this beach was seeing the little crabs and seashells and sea anemones.
Chunk #2, your favorite memory of this beach was touching the sea anemones that were covered in sea shells.


In the soundtrack of my life, this song is somewhere in my list of top ten — mmmm, maybe top five:

Tell me some of your songs…

She’s Home

“…the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
~Walt Whitman, “O Me! O Life!”, Leaves of Grass

Click here to read about someone I know who contributed a beautiful verse to this world.  She was my neighbor, growing up, and I loved her and her whole family.  Mostly, I remember jumping on the trampoline with her and her sweet prayers in church. Her name is Cindy Abbott  (Dec 1, 1952-February 17, 2011)

**Art Credit: Alpha and Omega: On My Way Home, by Wulf Barsch (1985, oil on paper, 24″ x 50″).  This piece of work is a representation of mankind’s eternal journey homeward to God.

Shadows of Valentines Past

I loved Valentine’s Day as a child. Then I got older and started to dislike it – greatly. Then I was luke warm towards it. Now, I love it. I adore it.

Today I have Valentine memories floating around in my head and as I stop to take a look,  I realize I no longer cringe at them. They make me laugh, mostly.  Here, come have chuckle at my expense.

2nd grade: I had the coolest package of Valentine cards where you could assemble them so that parts moved. For example, I had one where a boy was giving a girl flowers, and you could move the flowers back and forth. This one was the best one. This one I saved for my biggest Crush. I sat in my bedroom, at my desk imagining how I would give it to him. The next day, with my boy-crazy friend, Shannon, giggling at my side, we walked up to the Crush, handed him the card and walked away. He said nothing. By afternoon recess I was so over him. He didn’t say anything!  No reciprocation.  Unbelievable.   I remember walking up to him, again, with Shannon at my side, and I don’t know what I said but I held my head high, let him know I had moved on. He still said nothing. What a waste of an awesome card.

4th grade: Another crush. These were the days where you checked your cards to make sure you didn’t give any boys the wrong idea (you know, the Lisa Simpson debacle when she gave Ralph Wiggum the “I choo choo choose you” valentine – those fiascos need to be avoided). And, I’m sure boys felt the same way. However, I did save the best card for my Crush. And it turned out, this crush went out of his way to give me some Big Red gum. None of the other girls in the class got any Big Red gum…in a special envelope…..with a special note. However, after school, I discovered that my friend, Teri, also received the same kind of package from the same boy. Perhaps this is where the seeds of Valentine resentment were planted.

6th grade:  A boy named Robert spent all year flirting with me.  I didn’t like him like “that” although he always made me laugh.  On Valentine’s, in homeroom, he kept giving me conversation hearts with special messages.  I turned him down.  I don’t remember how, I don’t know what I said. I was probably snotty and mean.  If I could go back in time and punch myself in the face for that one, I would, because before the bell rang, Robert was no longer sitting at his desk.  He was under it.

Jr High: Every year the Jr. National Honor Society or the Jr. Key Club or one of those respectable clubs would sell carnations. You could buy one for, I don’t know, $.50 or $1.00, with a message, and it would be delivered to the recipient’s classroom on Valentine’s Day. I was happy to receive five. I was elated to receive 10 (I don’t know how many I got). But, once you entered the hallway with your bundle of flowers, the popularity contest was in full swing. The girl with the most carnations walked those corridors with her garden of love and messages and the crowd would part like the Red Sea, gawking at her spoils. Were these all from boys? How many were from just her girl pals? You wondered and you envied as she floated by (and even got her picture taken for the year book). Aaah, Jr. High, you are such a strange place.

High school: I honestly cannot remember my high school Valentine Days and this could be either because they were just plain boring, or, they were terrible and need to be blocked. I have no idea. Actually, I do have one memory. I got a card from another Crush that said “Cupid is Stupid”. It also had candy and some cherry chapstick attached. I loved that Cherry Chapstick. The card made me giggle. That was enough for me. I’m pretty sure that the same Crush handed out similar valentines to other girls who he knew liked him. You see this motif popping up again and again.

Freshman year of college: I painted black hearts and hung them up outside our dorm room the week before Valentine’s. I don’t know if my roommates appreciated this. A girl, who lived in the basement came up to visit us. As I sat on the brownish linoleum, she watched me paint the black hearts and then said “you are so cool” whilst something like “The Smiths” played in the background. She creeped me out and then I questioned my actions for a little bit, but I continued in my tongue-in-cheek display of being a jilted Valentine. On the actual day there was a knock on the door by a boy, dressed as a big pink bunny rabbit, who came to see why this apartment was so anti-valentine. I laughed, hard.

Sophomore year of college: I had a date with a boy who gave me a puzzle Valentine for a dance earlier in the week. He was cute, funny, and charming. We were about to go out when the phone rang. It was my old boyfriend.  For some strange reason I allowed for a conversation.  He said things like “Just called to see how you’re doing.” No “Happy Valentines” or anything to indicate that day of celebration because that just wasn’t his style. I wanted to be petty and say “I’m on a date.”  But then I didn’t want to be petty.  But then I wanted to be petty (back and forth, back and forth)…  I was uncomfortable listening to him while looking at my date.  Again, if I could go back in time to fix my behavior, I would.  Except instead of punches, they would be quick slaps, back and forth across the face. (Hang up the phone!)

Senior year of college:   I had grown up a bit.  I’d even lived and served abroad for a year and a half.  I wasn’t quite so self absorbed (or I’d like to think so anyway). I had learned to not care about Valentines…..until…..a boy.  I had been crushing on him for a while.  He left me a big Gerber Daisy with a note on our doorstep.  It said, “Thanks for being such a great friend, Love (I seriously am unsure of the name)”.  How great!  I got a daisy from my crush!  But wait, “such a great friend”?  What did that mean?  I realized, later that he had sent similar flowers to other girls.  You see this theme, right? There really was no escaping it.   That same night my now husband, then friend, found out about the daisy and made fun of it.  He also made me a Valentine that looked like a booty-crack over some jeans, but when you opened it, it was a heart.  Funny.  (I discovered, after our marriage, that he had made the exact same valentine for another girl while in high school….sheesh, I can NOT get a break, can I?)

Today:  I sent my children off to school with treats for a party, and valentine cards and lollipops with lips and mustaches attached for their friends.  They had no expectations of crushes, romance, or feeling special by someone else (as far as I can tell, anyway). Tonight we will go to a friend’s house for Crepes (french things are always appropriate today, no?).  Yesterday we had a pink and red dinner.  And sometime soon, the Valentine Lady will visit.  I love these moments oh so much more. And for the record, Cupid is not Stupid.

When and if they need it, I can’t wait to share my ridiculous Valentine shenanigans with my Chunks. But, perhaps they will be better at this stuff than I was.


*photo credit:by Daniela Arrais on flickr.com

So, what are your favorite/least favorite Valentine memories? 

January Slide Show #19

Taken 1980(ish)

I grew up in a house where I could literally climb the walls.

I sometimes wonder if it is strange to have such a strong attachment to a building made of wood and bricks.  But I’m not going to ask the question because I don’t want to really hear the answer.

I adored my house. It was like another member of my family to me. Seriously, I get sad that I was never able to introduce it to my husband or my kids.  It is my first and last definition of Home. Everywhere else I’ve lived fits somewhere in between (although, the Blue Bungalow is not far behind).

Today I looked at this picture and could immediately feel the wood- the smooth banister, the rough walls.  I get flashes of memories, in smells and sounds, mostly. I still breathe in the scent from the cedar wood. My mind tunes in with the echo of the stairs- the hollow sound of the twelve wooden steps that resounded with each smack of my feet. I still hear the creaking floors and feel of the warm winter sun through the west windows, by the piano. Yes, these details pull me home, and I wish I could go back.

And there are other things this picture reminds me of.  I miss the walls that led to the children’s wing (it sounds like a mansion when I say “wing” but it wasn’t. That’s just what we called it -it jutted out of the house like, well, a wing and it was where we children slept and played).  Back to the walls. They were made of brick.  It was there that I would position my feet between each cube of stone, climb as close to the ceiling as possible, and wait. My goal was to jump down and scare the next person to walk down the hallway (usually hoping it was Guy), but I was never Ninja enough. It was always worth a try.

I was certainly dorky enough.

Have a great weekend!  January Slide Show ends Monday.


This slide show is to remember Kodachrome’s 75 years on this earth.  Click here.

It’s that time of year again.

I’m dejunking, people! I have my seasons (read SEASONS not REASONS—although of course I have my reasons but they don’t need to be itemized here)

I’m in that dejunking season again.

I’m not very good at it. What I do is I look at boxes and say “why do we still have you?” and I go through it. Then my hands get sticky with memories and I can’t let it go.  But, last season, I got tough on myself and finally disposed of quite a few items, including this ridiculously awesome souvenir.

You see, about twelve years ago, the streets of Argentina echoed of Enrique, Shakira, and Ricky.  It was everywhere. So, while waiting for the use of the phone in the bus terminal of Cañada de Gomez, I bought Enrique’s mug for .50 centavos.  I stashed it in my luggage until the end of my mission (a sister has to stay focused, you know), and then kept it in a box of “mission stuff” for the next eleven and a half years.  So, I said goodbye to Enrique last Spring and laughed at the fact that his mole was photoshopped off of his face.

Now, the question is, do I get rid of this?

It was a “gift” from my husband.

Ten years? TEN years?

Tonight El Jefe and I celebrated the ten year anniversary of our first date. How the heck do I remember the actual DATE of our first date you may ask? Well, as I was getting ready for the historic event, I made a mental note that it was the birthday of my niece, Lauren. And something in me said, “Hey you can always remember your first date with El Jefe because it’s Lauren’s b-day.”

So,  Happy Birthday to this girl:

photo by La

Lauren, while you were turning 14 and dancing to Justin Timberlake, El Jefe and I shared a pork burrito, enchilada style, at the new hot spot of Provo – Cafe Rio.

Can anyone imagine our joy when Cafe Rio came to Sin City?  Well only if you’re Cafe Rio fans I suppose.   Now we can eat there, every year, on this day….or any other time we feel like it.

I will admit though, we almost didn’t go tonight.  I found out that today is also National Waffle Day (so many things to celebrate on this day, the 25th).  El Jefe had the option of Pumpkin Waffles or Cafe Rio.  Although Pumpkin Waffles are my fave (and I happen to LOVE “Brinner” – yes, that’s short for Breakfast for Dinner – no I did not make it up but I wish I did), where was I?  Oh, yes, I kind of wanted Pumpkin Waffles for dinner but I was glad I did not have to cook. El Jefe chose Cafe Rio.  Yum!

Oh, and the story gets better.  As we were paying I looked at the price and said “[El Jefe], why’s it so cheap?”  He said “we got a discount.” Oh really, you just asked for a discount and “Viola!”

I was so confused.  What discount?  How’d you do that? Then El Jefe pointed out my niece’s cousin.  Now, when I say that, you say, “La, then that would be your niece, too.”  No, this cousin is on my niece’s other side of their family.  This gal could also be called my “sister’s niece”, or my “brother-in-law’s brother’s daughter.”  Confusing enough?  Oh, but let me add some more confusion to the pot.  This lovely girl, let’s call her “S”, is weirdly “related, but not related” to us in two different ways.

  • One: She is my niece’s cousin, or, my sister’s niece, or, my brother-in-law’s brother’s daughter (as I already said).
  • Two: Her sister married a boy who is the son of my father-in-law’s cousin, or, she married my husband’s second cousin.  (who we’ve actually never met…)

I love it!  It’s like we’re related but, really, we’re not.  But we are, but we’re not…..for some reason I feel like we could be characters in a Jane Austen novel but I’m not sure why…..

Alright, after all that, I’ll bring it to the point: she works there and threw us a discount.  Thank you “S”.

Some snapshots around the table:

Rather than a picture of me, I felt you should see a picture of the Cafe Rio salad with grilled steak and cilantro lime vinaigrette.  Did you read that?  CILANTRO LIME.  Like my brother would say, “Aaaaaaaaaah, delicious.”

So my dear, El Jefe, who knew ten years ago that we would be married, with a couple of chunks, and I’d be typing up blog entries in bed about how ten years ago we went on our first date while you snored away next to me in our own Blue Bungalow?  Who  knew?