Saturday, January 30, 2010

The One Where I Would Like My Friends Back

Dear AT&T,

How are you? I haven’t heard from you in awhile. In a way it is almost like you are one of my kids… the one that I only hear from when you need money. And of course, of late it has been difficult for you to reach me. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. It is because I don’t have a cell phone. If you have tried to call me on my old cell phone number, you probably reached my son Casey. When he returned home after a two-year absence, he had no phone, and after much deliberation, I gave him mine. You see, apparently “your hands are tied,” because the AT&T family plan maxes out at five lines. While I realize that in China this family plan would seem generous to the point of being ridiculous, I actually have more family members than that, and I find it troubling that you do not want us all to share the same plan.

It seems you would require us to purchase a second family plan, texting plan, minutes plan, data plan... in fact, if I didn’t know better, I would say it was a plot on your part to extract more money from my budget than I already send you for my television service, my internet, my home phone, and the five-line family plan for which I already pay handsomely… despite the fact that I have been a loyal AT&T customer for twenty years.

I have tried to just “make do.” There was a time in the not-so-distant past that I got by fine without a cell phone. And yes, it has been a month with no cell phone, and I am still alive. Nothing terrible happened. But I will admit to being just a little bit lonely. In December, I received 1,500 text messages. In January, zero. I know what you are thinking… I have just managed to free up several hours in a single month for other activities. With that much spare time, I could have written a song… read a book… maybe climbed a mountain. Well, a very small mountain. But no. I did none of those things, and in fact have no idea where those hours even went, and do you know what? I want them back. Better yet, I would like my friends back… that ones that used to call and text me. Can you do that for me, AT&T? And while you’re at it, maybe you could just add another line to our family plan. I have already done all the hard work… I gave birth to these children. All I am asking you to do is add lines for them, for which you will be paid yet more money. Seems more than fair to me.

Hope to hear from you soon. You’ll have to call the home phone. I don’t answer it very much, I’m afraid.


Friday, January 29, 2010

The One With the Dead Ringer

I noticed that on Facebook everyone is saying it is “Doppelganger Week.” You are supposed to post a photo of the celebrity that everyone is always telling you you look like. Well, no one has ever told me I look like a celebrity. Nor am I self-aware enough to look at someone and think, “Wow, I look a lot like that person.” So I went to and clicked on Celebrities and Fun, and I uploaded a picture of myself. It runs what I hope is a very low-tech face recognition program, and then tells you the celebrities that you look the most like. You think,  oh, cool... maybe I will look like someone really pretty, right? Here is what I got. I am going to go hide, now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The One With the 6:00 a.m. Wakeup Call

Casey went to Big Bear Friday night. Big Bear got six new feet of snow that day. Chains required, roads closed. Probably not the best idea, but he and his friends were determined. I went to bed that night thinking of him, and also of Ethan, flying in from Virginia to his new station at MCRD San Diego. Suddenly my eyes flew open. The phone was ringing. It was dark. That is never good news, right? Check the clock: 6:00 a.m. I jumped out of bed and flew down the stairs to just miss the last ring of the phone. My mind, which had been occupied by weird dreams only seconds before, began to quickly generate scenarios, none of them good.

Caller ID: Ethan. “Mom, I’m in the barracks in San Diego.” Mmm, okay...? I just found out I don’t have to check in until Sunday night. Can you and Dad come and get me? Mmm, okay.

I climbed back under my down blanket and thought, just a couple more hours of sleep, and then we can go get Ethan. Two minutes later... let’s just go now. We drove down the coast for an hour and twenty minutes. After four straight days of drowning in rain, the skies were bluer than normal, and the hills greener. Everything freshly washed and glistening. Lance Corporal in the back seat. All well with the world.

Apparently Casey had texted Dillon at 2:00 that morning to let him know they finally made it up the hill in the snow Dillon didn’t think it was important enough to tell me that until Sunday on the way home from church. Fortunately, I am not a worrier.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The One Where She Can’t Get it Out of Her Head

I have been working on music this week. Not quite sure where to go with it right now, but I am trying.

This song... Prodigal Son...  has been in my mind a lot lately. It is a song that I think is really fun, but it is more than that. In a way, it seems like this song encapsulates what the composing and recording process is like. It was fun and it was frustrating. It was simple, but I managed to make it complicated. I worked the longest on it, yet it is not finished. The bottom line is, I know when I listen to it, that I didn’t capture the performance I was looking for. I love the way my Christmas CD turned out, but I learned so much this year... much of it, actually, while recording and editing this song... and I know I can do this so much better. It is my dream to hear it with no regrets.

I don’t know if “no regrets” is possible. Like the song, it is all about repentance, forgiveness, moving on to the next thing. Like I said, simple... but I can usually manage to make it complicated:).

{Artwork is “Father and Son Dancing” by one of my favorite artists, Brian Kershisnik. If you would like to read more about how I wrote the song, you can check out this post from last year.}

Click on the mp3 player to listen:

Prodigal Son

I’ve been walking this path for far too long
I feel weak
It’s harder and harder to breathe
I know
It’s just a case of choosing right or wrong
But in this dark place
Sometimes I can barely see.

Show me
The way I can finally be free
There’s a fire that’s burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins and hurt to thee
Take my troubles
I’m giving them all away.

You have had the perfect answers all along
You tried to tell me
But I didn’t have ears to hear
Now there’s music where before I heard no song
And when you sing
The message becomes so clear.

Will you show me
The way I can finally be free?
There’s a fire that is burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins to thee
Lay my troubles down
At my Savior’s feet
I’m giving them all away.

Forgive me for the times I turned away
How’d I forget that
I was my father’s son?
I let temptation lead me so far astray
That it left me
No other choice but to run.

I think I see
The way I can finally be free
There’s a fire that is burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins to thee
Lay my troubles down
I’m giving them all away.

Lay my troubles down
I’m giving them all away.

Still, it’s not enough to say that I’ve come home
I’m your servant
Yearning to do my part
Father, as long as I live I’ll never roam
Just look inside me
You’ll find a disciple’s heart.

Now I finally see
How to live and be free
There’s a fire that’s burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins to thee
Lay my troubles down
At my Savior’s feet
I’m giving them all away.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The One With the Trash Bin Parade

I know, I know... two posts in one day. But it had to be done. I don’t usually even click on video links, but this one is awesome:). I actually watched it about four times yesterday, and then begged to borrow it for the blog. It was shot by my friend Rachel on Tuesday, and was filmed about a block from my house. In case you thought I was kidding about the weather in my Tuesday post, this is what I was talking about...

The One Where Everyone Was Here

Ethan almost didn’t make it home for Christmas... his flight was scheduled out of Washington, D.C., and all of the flights from there were canceled. So they put him on a flight to Newark, where they parked him on the floor for the night, and the next day he managed to find a flight to LAX. So we only had him for two days... but for those two days, everyone was home. It was crazy and fun, and did I mention crazy? {Click on any of the photos to view them large}

Random Vacation facts:
On Christmas Eve the kids got ready to bake the sugar cookies by preheating the ovens, where I had two full batches of orange rolls rising in plastic bowls covered by kitchen towels. Need I say more?

Skippy got a tattoo kit in his Christmas stocking (I’m not going to lie... Santa is a little edgy at times) and surprised us by charging all of the young adults who are always hanging out at our house 19 cents per tattoo, and turned a tidy little profit for himself. He now has $28.76 in his money jar.

Everyone entertained themselves by trying to get Jif to walk several steps. He would only perform if the reward offered was electronics, such as a cell phone. I myself have decided not to budge for anything less than a new iPhone. So far it is not working well for me.

Josh got straight A’s his first semester at UCLA Law School, with the exception of a single A-, which has bruised his ego enough that this week I was finally able to beat him at online Scrabble.

Ethan told me over the phone that he had gained 40 pounds since basic training. I didn’t believe him... until he arrived. He fell asleep on the couch in a jet-lag-induced stupor, and it took four boys to carry his Marine body up the stairs without throwing him into a fireman-carry.

Josh and Jessi came over to the dark side, and sacrificed their anti-video-game vows on the altar of Rock Band for X-Box 360. It was at once sad and entertaining.

There are many more random facts... but you have places to go and people to see. I am going to work on my New Year’s resolution. Exercise? you ask... no. I am striving to make the perfect donut. There are so many recipes in the world:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The One Where it Rained Cats and Dogs

Okay, maybe it didn’t actually rain cats and dogs. But it has been a seriously weird, dark day of hailstorms, thunder and lightning and flash floods. And to make things more interesting, it is trash day. Our trash can remained firmly anchored in front of our house, but all over town, full trash cans were taken from their residences on a wicked water ride to intersections and main streets, where they left debris everywhere. On the way to pick up Skippy from school, it was like a trash and vegetation obstacle course to reach him. The storm drains were plugged with huge piles of trash and the gutters are about six feet wide with muddy water. And did I mention my electricity went out? Interesting fact: I can still e-mail and text from my ipod touch during an electricity outage because the AT&T router is on a backup battery pack! Interesting...

This is the “little storm.” The big one is scheduled to arrive on Thursday. Keep your eye out for us floating by on a raft or something.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The One With the Christmas Card Dilemma

I love Christmas cards. I love coming up with something cool and unique to send. I love addressing them. I love sending them. I love the people I send them to. I even try really really really hard not to make the “family letter” part too obnoxious or long. Even though, as you know, I love to make things really long and obnoxious.

This year was no exception. I found some awesome cards. They are from a place called and they open up into a really cool family tree poster with little photos of everyone on the tree. I must admit that there is no actual group family picture this year... it seems I could never get more than five of us together in the same place until Christmas day. But there are a lot of fun pictures on it, and I love the cards.

So, what is the problem? Was I late ordering the cards? No. I had them in my hot little hands by the second week of December. That was when I started to become rather overwhelmed. Busy. Crazy. A little bit lame. Diffuse. I gave Christmas cards to a couple of people to whom I was mailing gifts, and the remaining 90 or so are sitting in a box behind a curtain in my living room. I might add that these are not the 50-cents-a-card variety... they were my December splurge. Then New Year’s rolled around. Perfectly acceptable to call them New Year’s cards, right? And then the first of the year I kind of lost heart for a little while. Now that I am working on finding it again, those cards are just mocking me, because it is January 16th. I can’t even call them New Year’s cards at this point! Should I send some out? Open them all up into posters and paper a bathroom wall? Use them as gift wrap? Help!

P.S. If you are looking at the blog and it has this funky green and magenta background... I tried it on, and just had to leave it for a little while. It reminds me of that old Rock Hudson and Doris Day movie from decades ago... Pillow Talk. In the movie, she wants to get revenge for his womanizing, and so she redecorates his apartment like a brothel... very tacky and tasteless. I am not saying this background is exactly that, but it did put me in mind of that... like you should be able to push a button and you would get mood lighting and music, and a bed would appear out of the wall.

P.P.S. I am done with so much introspection, and back to occasional blogging, in case you hadn’t noticed. Thank you to many many people who e-mailed me to make sure I was still alive, and ask when I would post again. You are very kind.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The One Where She Gives You a Second Chance

Okay, I’m not back from break. But I have had a lot of people tell me they are sad that they “missed” my Christmas present, which was my recipe file. You are not too late. I don’t want to leave it up for everyone in the world to download. But for you, anything. If you would like to download the recipes and you missed them when the link was active, just send me a quick e-mail to, and I will send you a link. Or if there is anything else I can do for you, just let me know. Second chances are a good thing.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The One Where She Takes a Break

I am going to be taking a break from blogging for awhile... I know you are thinking, haven’t you already been taking a break? I haven’t been posting much, it is true. I need to work on some projects, and I need to limit distractions for awhile. I am leaving the blog up so that you can find me if you need to. The Christmas blog will also remain up, but since it is no longer Christmas, I am finished posting on that blog for the next many months.