Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Hipstamatic One

I am informed by my family that I am the only one that thinks this is cool... well, except for my nephew Sam who showed it to me to begin with. I take some pretty beautiful photos with my Canon camera. I never thought I would take many pictures with my iPhone, but with a five-megapixel resolution and the fact that it is always on hand, I actually use it a lot. And then, along came Hipstamatic. Hipstamatic is an app for the iPhone that has a collection of vintage “lenses,” “film” and “flashes” to choose from, in order to create a sort of 80s-era photo.

My family thinks they are lame, but I can’t help myself. I just love the vivid color. Or the desaturation. There is something about these photos that is just so... moody.


Is it just me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The One With the Sticker Shock

Today was a very frustrating day. Things were going well until about 9:00 am., and suddenly everything tumbled down in a domino effect, and by noon I was so mad and stressed out that my hands were kind of shaking. And then I spotted it. It was a sticker on the back of a Honda Element: “Baby in Car.”

Even in the days when I habitually drove around with babies in my car… sometimes lots of them… I never went for those “Baby on Board” stickers. But I didn’t really give them much thought either. Until today. When something snapped. I thought angrily, what earthly reason do they have for telling me there is a baby in their car? Now, I will admit, I was not driving in the best frame of mind. But that sticker really bugged me. Guess what… even before I knew that you had a baby in there, I was not planning to strike your vehicle with my Suburban. I wasn’t planning to tailgate you, sideswipe you, or even make an unsafe lane change anywhere close to you. It really hasn’t changed anything for me. Even if you had a sticker that said, Ugly Person in Car: Please, Put Me Out of My Misery; or maybe: Old Person in the Car: Already Lived a Full Life… even then, I still wasn’t going to hit you.

Maybe that wasn’t even your purpose in informing me. Maybe you were just flaunting it. Trying to make infertile women suicidal. Or, HEY, CHINA! Look at me… PROCREATING. Over. And over. And over. Two, three, four, babies… take THAT, zero population!

Finally, I felt that I just had to catch a glimpse of this sticker-worthy child. I pulled up alongside, and caught a glimpse of a suit. A thirty-dollar manicure caressing a six-dollar Starbucks cup. Wait a second… there’s no BABY in there. You dropped the little darling off at daycare, didn’t you? If indeed there ever WAS a baby. Now we have gone from annoying to just plain FRAUDULENT. And at that point, I may or may not have cut her off. Made my day just a little better.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Epic One

Well, here we are and nearly two months have gone by with no post. Lame, I know. At least three of you actually check my blog. And nothing. So I am going to do a very unusual post here. You know those interactive stories, where you get to choose the ending? And then you can read it again, and choose a different ending if you like? This is totally like that. There is something for everyone here.

1. A recipe. I think that is kind of a cop-out. It is what I do when I don’t have anything else of interest to post. But some of you actually care about that. It reminds me of Little Women (in my top five favorite books of all time, btw) when the four sisters are writing their newspaper (okay, so they didn’t have Netflix), and Beth’s column is a recipe, and all of the sisters think she is kind of lame, but they just do that, “Oh, Beth, that’s so cute… you think this is interesting but it is actually just a recipe…” thing. But that said, if you are here for recipes, click HERE:

2. One for DK. (In case you come late to my game, DK is code for Dearest Kevin. You know… my husband who bought me four new tires for my Suburban today, even though (maybe actually because) he knows I drive a little like a Nascar driver. Expect something political. It is October, after all. It might be a little California-specific. After all, you may or may not remember that I have vowed to not think of the president of the United States… old what’s-his-name. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Or-Even-Thought-Of. Codename B.O. (plug your nose when you say that one). I know you think I am kidding about this, but I am totally serious. Anytime my brain strays to good old Osama or whatever his name is… I just think of something else. Hum a hymn. Take a cold shower. Imagine eating my weight in M&Ms. Or just eat the M&Ms… and poof! He is gone. Out of my thoughts. Anyway, enough about whatever that was we were talking about… I forget… Oh, and the post is probably not as long as my explanation of it. It is just a little Skippy story. So don’t be afraid. For your political education, click HERE.

3. One for my friend who has NOT returned my calls. Yes, you know who you are. The one I have called and asked to go to breakfast with me. The one who gave me an immersion blender for Christmas… about the coolest thing ever. Hey you! I am worried about you. Where are you? I actually just want to go to Cinnamon Productions with you and eat carbs and talk. Nothing serious. But I haven’t forgotten that I am working on a little project for you… and so this post is yours. (Hint: contains music… a little taste of your present). Music, click HERE.

4. One for Hannah and Kim. Special request here. Two of my boys are dating some pretty spectacular women. The request was for snarky and sarcastic. Naturally that is a stretch for me. But I will do my humble best. Okay, so Kim and Hannah haven’t agreed to marry my sons, but they are awesome and I think they should. And this post should seal the deal. For Kim and Hannah’s post, click HERE.

5. One for Jif, wherein he tries root beer for the first time. It was about as fun as his first time on the ferris wheel. For Jif’s post, click HERE.

6. One for my friend Garry who puts a little fun into pretty much every day, and pushes me out of my comfort zone to attempt something out of the ordinary, and just a little bit amazing... such as a new project for 2011 that is probably the coolest thing ever. And that is just a small part of the fun. So this post is for my best and most unusual friend. For a little sport, click HERE.

7. A techie review? Yes, techie. This one is for my mom, who is pretty cool. She says she is older than dirt. That is pretty old. Can she learn new tricks? We shall see. Techie, click HERE.

8. A picture with no words. Okay, okay… I’ll just tell you right now… the picture is of me, and I got to do something I have wanted to do for ages. Photo, click HERE.

9. There is no number nine. Seriously, I am exhausted. Eight is enough. And I don’t think I should have to post again for at least a month and a half.

But if anyone feels left out, I guess you should just tell me now. Because apparently I am taking special requests. Peace, Love, Out.

The One With the Computers vs. Cinderella

And by Cinderella, I mean the Boise State Broncos. Since pre-season, this amazing Boise State football team has been ranked number one in both the Harris Poll and the coaches’ poll… but enter the wicked stepmother: the computers.

The computers only care about schedule. And no, Boise State does not have the kind of schedule that Oregon, Oklahoma or Auburn put up. They only wish upon a star that they did. Because they would still dominate. Boise State is number 2 in the AP and USA Today rankings this week… the BCS rankings won’t be announced until tonight… but it is only because of computers that they haven’t already hit number one. The computers don’t even take into account spreads. They only care about who they play. But Boise has treated the teams they have played to championship-caliber scores: 51-6 (Wyoming), 59-0 (New Mexico State), 57-14 (Toledo), and 48-0 (San Jose State). And even at that, they have been careful not to run up fourth-quarter scoring.

Oregon is number one. They just crushed UCLA 60-13. But what if they had to face Ryan Winterswyk, Billy Winn, and the rest of the number one defense in the country, both in total defense as well as pass-efficiency defense? They would not be putting up any 60 points against Boise, that is for sure.

And yes, Auburn is breathing down their necks at number three… what would happen if Boise got to play Auburn? The Tigers might run for a few yards… Cameron Newton, probably more than a few. I mean, seriously... he is arguably the best football player in the country. But Auburn’s defense wouldn’t stand a chance against All-American First-Team QB Kellen Moore. Even people outside of Idaho would be forced to sit up and take notice.

The wicked stepmother is not going anywhere. In fact, as the weeks go by, the computer polls are going to push Boise State down even more, unless the Fairy Godmother steps in. Oregon needs to falter. Auburn is ripe for an upset. And Boise State just needs to keep doing what they are doing, which is pretty darned awesome. So check it out. They play Louisiana Tech Tuesday night. And go ahead… buy a Broncos t-shirt.

The One Where There is an App for That

My mom just got an iPhone 4. She asked me first, “Do you think I am too old to have an iPhone?” What a silly question. I don’t think they come with an age limit. And she didn’t just get an iPhone; she actually got rid of her landline. I am trying to do the same.

What is the big deal with an iPhone? Well, for me, it is like carrying around my iMac in the palm of my hand… and it also makes phone calls, texts, and takes pictures and HD video. Plays games… and it babysits.

I know… you are thinking, right. But one Sunday my oldest son brought little Jif down to visit. Because his mom is relief society president and had meetings, she had to stay home. Mid-afternoon an interesting thing happened. Facetime. Now, before I had an iPhone 4, I thought Facetime didn’t sound all that cool. I was wrong. A touch of the button, and all of a sudden you are enjoying a video phone call. So Josh and Jes were enjoying a video chat via Facetime, and Josh called Jif over to say hi to his mom. She was playing peekaboo with him, which actually amused her a lot more than it did him.

Jif wandered off with the phone. I asked if we should go after him, but Josh, said, “No, Jes is watching him.” She was, until he buried her with toys in the family room. We rescued her, only to have her put in the game cupboard. “Help! Jif has locked me in the game cupboard!” is not what you want to hear from your babysitter.

So, okay, maybe it is not a very good babysitter. But I still love mine more than… well, I won’t say whom. And if you think you’re too old, think again. There is probably an app for that, too.

P.S. Apple just came out with the announcement that iMacs and MacBooks can make Facetime calls now. I haven’t actually gotten a Facetime call from anyone with a computer, but it is bound to happen any day now…

The One That Burned All the Way Down

Jif’s first taste of root beer:

The One Where We Discover Skippy Actually Pays Attention

Well, guess what. I have actually been onto him for quite some time, now. It seems like he is just doing his own thing, but he is actually taking in all the conversations around him. Well, this last week he was doing homework at the table in the family room while the rest of the family was watching T.V. This being the middle of October, and elections just around the corner, we have been completely inundated with political ads for days now.
Commercial break rolled around, and before DK’s fast finger could skip through the commercial, the question blared out of the speakers: “Who raised taxes twelve times in nine years?” And without even looking up from his homework, Skippy replied in a tired and bored voice, “Grey Davis.” Then the voice from the T.V.: “Grey Davis.” The whole family burst out into laughter. When questioned, Skippy said he also would not vote for Meg Whitman, because she is a liar (as evidenced by the commercials in which she grows a long, Pinocchio nose. That even freaks me out!). I finally asked him who we should vote for, and he replied, Carly Fiorino. She is kind of pretty.

Which only goes to prove that Skippy is not all that smart. I mean, seriously… Carly Fiorino is running for U.S. senate, not governor.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The One Where She Got What She Wanted

The One Where She Did Her Part To Save Turkeys

I love Thanksgiving food, but honestly, I’m not a big turkey fan. Even when perfectly cooked, brined, deep fried, seasoned to perfection, whatever… it is still just about the blandest meat I can imagine. Not only that, but the poor birds… they have been genetically engineered in this country until they are so big and fat that they can’t even walk around properly. This actually seems appropriate, when you picture how everyone else looks the evening of Thanksgiving, staggering around with their pants unbuttoned. Gross.

So I am proposing you save a bird, and eat beef. It’s what’s for dinner. Not just any beef. My favorite cut: Prime Rib. I know you think it is too hard and you can’t do it… believe me when I tell you it is sooooo much easier than turkey. And it tastes so amazing that the side dishes will be relegated back where they belong… as side dishes.

Okay, turkeys, I have done my bit. You’re on your own. You know I will still have to cook you on Thanksgiving, because my family is just way too traditional to have prime rib for Thanksgiving dinner. But maybe someone out there will save a turkey’s life this year.

The One With the Best Mother-in-Law Ever

Who, me? Yes, of course it is me.

I don’t like to brag, but there are plenty of girls who date my boys just so that they can have me as a mother-in-law. Being a good mother-in-law is not just a matter of minding one’s own business. Or giving good advice. It is really a skill, and one that I personally have raised to an artform. And, as with all good art, there are rules.

Rule Number One. Never make your daughter-in-law look bad. This one is so easy I can do it in my sleep. In fact, sleeping in until nine or ten so that my daughter-in-law has time to get up and make me breakfast in bed is a perfect example. I have to be careful because I am a good cook. You see, if I am a good cook, and hypothetically speaking, the daughter-in-law is not, then that makes her feel a little nervous. So if I play the mother-in-law game correctly, I can sit with my feet up in front of the TV while all the daughters-in-law make meals (and do the dishes, obviously). It is all part of the best mother-in-law service that I provide. It also helps if my house is messy (and it is). Not completely slovenly with rotting food in every corner… just messy. Then the daughters-in-law can feel that they are superior housekeepers. Because they are! See how perfect that is? There are certain areas where I just can’t help but stand out as a shining pillar of perfection… a wifely paragon, if you will… but by letting other things slide, those things can be overlooked, thus maintaining perfect mother-in-law-hood.

Rule Number Two. Avoid giving unsolicited advice. I cannot tell a lie... I love to give advice. But as a mother-in-law I have adopted a sort of reverse psychology approach. By pretending not to give any advice, and pretending that I don’t even like to give advice, the girls will just naturally crave it. It is human nature. And once they open the door, well, let’s just say I will come in and make myself right at home.

Rule Number Three. Child-rearing is not the job of Perfect Mother-in-Law. The key to this rule is Laissez Faire. Hands off. I will not give you my opinion on your baby names. You can name your child Atilla the Hun if you really want to. I will just smile and say, “Oh, how sweet.” Because babies in our family are notoriously large at birth, and by the time you push that ten-pound linebacker out with his little conehead, you should get to name him whatever the heck you feel like. This hands-off philosophy will continue. I will never ask you why little Atilla does not wear socks. I will not ask you why your darling 18-month-old is sitting in front of the TV watching Spanish novelas, drinking a two-liter of Coca Cola and gnawing on an entire brick of cheddar. I don’t judge. After all, I clearly was no great shakes when it came to child-rearing. Just take a look at your husband.

Rule Number Four. When in doubt, always take daughter-in-law’s side. Please refer to rule number two, here. But once advice is solicited, it is best to side with the darling DIL. This is not difficult, either, because my pack of boys and I have been at odds for lo, this many years. Just because we have patched things up since those unfortunate teenage years and adopted an uneasy truce does not mean that it is all water under the bridge. I may not be able to remember a single thing I did last week, but I can sure as hellfire remember when Josh called 9-1-1 and told them I beat him with the bar off his red bunk bed. Oh, it’s on, alright. But I’m not bitter or anything.

Rule Number Five. Live at least an hour away. The perfect mother-in-law is the one that is inaccessible at best. If my daughter-in-law thinks she can just drop off little Atilla any old time for babysitting, then eventually she will begin to feel used and resentful that her mother-in-law is monopolizing so much of her family time. If Perfect Mother-In-Law can just drop by and help out and do dishes and other household chores with so little difficulty, then the special and long-awaited nature of her visits cannot be properly maintained. In a situation like this one, the young married couple does not have time to have MIL’s favorite treats prepared and other comforts which a daughter-in-law loves so much to provide.

And that is really all the rules. It is more of lifestyle, really. An attitude. Maybe even a certain disregard, if one is to be honest with herself. But it all works together to make the perfect mother-in-law. And I do so love my job.

The One Where They Cried Just a Little Bit

There is kind of a cool story that goes with this one. I was asked to play a solo during our ward Primary Sacrament Meeting program, wherein all the children sing and say parts instead of having to listen to adults. Well, except for me, I guess. They asked me to play “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.”

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over, since there are fifty kids up on the stand, and they are very wiggly and excited. But as soon as I started to play, I could feel that the kids were holding still, and they were listening. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was as though it brought everything into focus. I could really feel the spirit there, and reverence.

About four or five days later, the primary president’s daughter, Anna, who is seven, asked her mom, “Did you cry when Sister McD played the piano?” Taken aback, she replied, “Well, yes, I did, a little. Why do you ask?” Anna replied, “Well, Sister McClanahan and I cried a little bit too.”

And since it is my goal to make everyone cry, score three for Sunday. Here is the hymn that I played.