April 26, 2007

May I have this dance?

I couldn't believe I was finally old enough to attend my first church dance! I had waited months for this! I'd turned twelve in May, and the first dance after that happened to be a stake Halloween dance. I decided I'd go as a gypsy that year. My mom helped me to apply dark skin makeup, eyeshadow, and fake eyelashes. She loaned me long necklaces and bracelets and a colorful skirt that was perfect for my costume. I put on a scoop-necked white peasant blouse, and a black wig...

But when I stood in the mirror, something wasn't quite right. It wasn't that I was too blonde or fair to be a gypsy; we'd already fixed that with the dark makeup and wig. We stood there looking at me, when suddenly Mom snapped her fingers and left the room fast.

Soon she returned with one of her bras in hand. "Mo-oooom! No. Way. NO. I am NOT wearing that thing! It's HUGE!"

"Just shut up and put it on."

I did as she asked, and it took us considerable time to stuff that thing. When I turned and faced myself in the mirror, however, I could see that she'd been right! I looked just like a gypsy should look. I was so happy. It was like a dream...what twelve year old girl doesn't imagine what she'd look like with boobs? Any girl who reads Judy Blume knows that once you get boobs, you have ARRIVED.

We made it to the church, and I entered the doors to a gym transformed. There were dark lights and scary decorations, with a disco ball hanging in the middle of the ceiling, throwing dots of light around the room in a dizzying swirl of motion. The music was already playing. I found my friend and had to tell her it was me because she didn't even recognize me. This was her first dance too. We made our way to the table of cookies and punch, and filled our nervous hands. We found some chairs across the room and sat down with our punch, and talked about how neither of us knew how to dance, and how we hoped to God nobody asked us!

I was sitting there, sipping my punch, when suddenly I noticed a handsome guy across the room, looking right at me. I looked away really fast, and after a second or two, I nonchalantly let my gaze roam back to where he was...

Holy crap!! He was headed my way! He was halfway across the room walking in a straight line toward me, and I was so panicked I didn't even think to stand up and run. My eyes were locked on his in what I'm certain now was a look of abject terror. He stood in front of me and smiled with all the charm and confidence of a college student (which he was) who knows he's got it.

"May I have this dance?"

The blood roared in my ears so loud that I couldn't even hear the music. If I hadn't had so much makeup on, I'm sure I would have been beet red, if not purple. I said the only thing a girl who has no idea how to dance could say.


His smile got even broader and a dimple showed on his cheek. God, he was good-looking. He took a step toward me a little and said, "Seriously? Are you sure? Come on, it'll be fun! Dance with me, please." I shook my head no really fast. My mouth was so dry I couldn't swallow anymore.

"Aw, come on! Don't leave a guy hanging! Dance with me. Come on. You'll like it! I promise I don't bite."

But there was no way I was risking making a fool of myself and revealing to this handsome paragon of manliness that I couldn't dance.

"Come on, dance with me, please!" His arms were held out to the side like I was crucifying him by saying no. I was sure he had no clue I was only 12. I was 5'8" and I looked gorgeous with all that makeup and all those curves. But I was too young and inexperienced. I was too scared. I had to say no.

"Are you sure? I'd really love to dance with you." I assured him I was sure, and he smiled once more, kind of a grin from one side of his face, and told me he was bummed I hadn't said yes. Then he walked away.

I watched him the rest of the night, wishing I had been brave enough to try it, just once, with him ~ wishing he'd come back and ask me again, so I could say yes and change the outcome of the memory of my first dance.

April 23, 2007

Wow. I mean, wow.

“On Friday I skipped French class to go to the chorus room to practice my solo with Ethan playing guitar for me. My chorus teacher asked us if we’d be willing to perform it for her class, so we did. Guess what happened?”


“Two girls started crying while I sang.”

“Are you kidding?!”

“Dead serious. They totally sat there crying while I sang "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.”

...A word to the wise: keep your daughters away from my son. He’s a heartbreaker.

April 19, 2007

It ain't pretty

As I drove slowly up the rutted alley beside the baseball field a couple days ago, I could see my daughter and her teammates gathering their softball gear near the fence. I reached the parking lot adjacent to the field and had to wait for a Suburban to back out of the tight space, then I parked and got out to get her.

I walked across the parking lot, loving the sound my heeled boots made as I walked. I like the way women walk when they wear heels, and when I do it I feel very sexy…

As I got closer to the field I was surprised to find only one coach remaining with his daughter ~ no other girls in sight. I asked where my daughter was, surprised because I had just seen her. He had no clue, but his daughter said she was with another girl, though she didn’t know where. I turned, and scanned the distant game being played two fields over for the familiar form of my daughter, and I started walking toward the game. All of a sudden my right foot hit a concrete parking barrier and I went down face-first so fast it dried my eyeballs. I rolled over into a sitting position and sat there, stunned.

The coach had been watching me and he called, “Are you okay? My God! Did you hurt yourself?” I turned and looked at him, grinning at him but laughing inside because I know damn well how ungraceful my fall was. It ain’t pretty when a tall girl falls.

“Does my pride count?”

It was almost as embarrassing as my most embarrassing moment, except that I only had a couple people watching this time instead of an entire gym full of spectators. The worst part of the experience? My favorite sexy boots are ruined from being gouged by the concrete barrier that so rudely took me out.

April 17, 2007

What it's all about

Last night I watched the news in silent shock as reporters tried to make sense out of the horrible shooting at Virginia Tech that makes no sense to anyone except the man who did it.

Tragic events like this cause me to think about how dear my own children are to me, as I imagine the unthinkable: what if that shooting had happened at my daughter's college and not in Virginia? Nobody is immune from violence. Nobody. I tend to forget that as I live my life day to day, taking for granted the people I value.

Therefore, tonight was even sweeter to me, because I recognize that I'm very lucky that my children are alive and with me today. I got home tonight and found these sticky notes on the door at eye-level:

My daughter and I chose the best sticks we could find from our lilac bush, and while I whittled the ends, the fire was stoked, and soon we were ready to begin. Four people huddled in chairs around the tiny opening of the chiminea. Four hot dogs were secured on four wobbly sticks. Four arms reached toward the flames, vying for the perfect spot to cook each hot dog to perfection.

We ate and knew we'd never tasted better dogs. Then we got down the the most important part of the evening: roasting the perfect marshmallow. Aaaaahhhh, sweet bliss. Is there anything more fun than trying to roast a marshmallow to absolute perfection? My personal favorite is when the entire skin of my marshmallow turns golden tan and bubbles up without turning black. When it's cool enough, I pull the skin off and pop it in my mouth, leaving a smaller, gooey marshmallow center on my stick to be roasted also for a second tasty bite. Mmmmmmmm, good.

Now I have to hit the showers because the smoke in my hair and on my clothes is becoming too much to withstand.

I love when we have impromptu fun like this. What will I do after my kids grow up and quit leaving such sweet notes with great ideas on them??

April 13, 2007

On the road again!

I just love traveling across Montana at this time of year. We travel a lot for soccer games just so the kids can have actual competition with similar teams ~ all you people out there who are blessed to have gobs of humanity in your state don't have a clue. But we enjoy it or we wouldn't do it.

So, we'll be in Helena tomorrow, which will be fun. There is a mountain visible in the distance called "The Sleeping Giant" which never fails to make me smile.

What I love is watching the change of seasons as we travel each week. Right now there is no green, but soon the cottonwoods will be in full leaf and spring will be here for real. My favorite time of year.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Just when I thought vanity plates couldn't get any worse...

I saw a vanity plate the other day that totally reinforces for me why I hate them. It read:


Need I say more?

Of course I've waffled back and forth on this issue. But now, after seeing the REPENT plates, I'm done. Vanity plates are lame.

April 10, 2007

Fun Times

Recently my youngest daughter and I have been enjoying some quality time together at a local ceramic studio. You pick out a raw piece of ceramic, (they have plates, bowls, mugs, piggy banks, even bathroom sinks!) and you choose colors from a huge assortment, then you sit at a table and paint to your heart's content.

Here's my first ceramic art attempt, a sushi platter I plan to hang on my wall as soon as I find a decorative hanger. I'm thrilled with how it turned out, because before they fired it, it was dull and the colors weren't vivid, and I wasn't that pleased. But after they glazed it and fired it in the kiln, the colors emerged and became more like I originally envisioned when I started painting.

I have a feeling I'm gonna be dropping lots of money at that ceramic studio. I may already be addicted.


What I AM doing: Working my tail off getting billing ready for our clients. This week out of each month really sucks eggs.

What I'd RATHER BE doing: Painting at Keokea Beach Park we found in Hawaii on the Big Island...the one where the rocks loom straight up from the ocean, and the huge waves come crashing in with beautiful majesty unlike anything I've ever seen before. We climbed out on the rocks by the water and from there, we could see around the cliff face and it was breathtaking.

I'd love to actually live in Hawi Town and be an artist and live the simple life until I'm old. Wouldn't that be grand?

April 5, 2007

Dear SML - Will Engaged Daughter Be Under His Thumb?

Dear SML,

Hello, I'm sorry, you don't know me and I hate to email you in this way but I am feeling desperate. My name is Tim, my wife and I just found out tonight that my daughter has accepted a marriage proposal from her Mormon boyfriend. We have had many reservations about him, many which have nothing to do with the fact he is Mormon. To make make matters worse we also found out that she is pregnant as well. He has been unclean and I suppose the fact that she is pregnant has prompted the proposal. We are very concerned as our daughter is 22 with an 8 month old and he is 29 with a 5 year old. She is very impressionable and very easily manipulated and she is already slipping away. She has had a tough life with a mild learning disability and has difficulty just comprehending things her whole life. She can be focused and single-minded which has served her in the past over coming challenges but in this case I see it as a hindrance. He has already arranged several meetings with teachers for her. We know so little about the Mormon faith but what I have read to this point is that she will be under his thumb and with her personality it will be very difficult for her to escape if she finds she doesn't like it. We are afraid for her. We know that she is an adult but we are always her parents.
Do you have any advice on how we can move forward? We are lost.
I await with great anticipation.



Dear Tim,

First and foremost you need to remember that your daughter is an adult, and while it's brutally difficult to watch your child, no matter what age, do something you consider to be a mistake, you still must let her lead her own life and learn lessons and gain her own experience. That doesn't mean you can't advise and encourage her to avoid certain mistakes, but in the end, it's wise to give your advice once, then allow her to choose her own path, and support her and be there for her no matter what she chooses. This will be especially important if what you suspect is true and she needs your help later on if she's being mistreated by her husband.

You don't give too many clues to his personality or what your reservations are concerning him. You do, however, mention that your daughter is pregnant and that is what you suspect has prompted the proposal. This may be true. I suspect there is also an attraction between them, maybe even love, since they have been intimate enough to become pregnant, and since she has already agreed to marry him. It is natural when a person is in that stage of love and infatuation to seem like they are "slipping away" from their families. It makes it hard for you to watch, especially if you don't like her fiance very much.

You wrote, "he has been unclean." What do you mean by this? I will admit those words make me wary and raise some questions. Do you think he's "unclean" because he has been intimate with your daughter? Do you think he's unclean because he's got a 5 year old from a previous relationship? What exactly do you mean? I hope you don't think that he's unclean simply because he loves your daughter enough to be physically intimate with her. That is a natural and beautiful step in a loving relationship, and society and religion often attach a taboo of sin and wrongdoing to it that I feel is unjustified. I know it can be difficult for a father to think of his little girl growing up and having sex, just as it's difficult for children to consider the sexuality of their parents. Maybe you can reply in the comments and clarify what you mean by "unclean."

It is my experience that people who are in love, no matter what age they are, do not easily listen to their loved ones when warnings are issued. Love is blind.

So. That leaves you with little comfort, but allow me to help you see the positives or things that will maybe give you hope. You wrote that "she can be focused and single-minded which has served her in the past overcoming challenges." This will come in handy if something bad happens and she needs to leave her marriage. Plus, she will have your support and love and wisdom to draw from.

You do not know that these two people will not make a success of their lives together, either. They will have many struggles, as do all people who have that many young ones in the house, but there is hope. If they are willing to work hard and treat each other well, then it could very well be the beginning of a good life.

Have you talked deeply with your daughter and spelled out your specific worries with her? If you are worried that the Mormon religion will be the cause of her being "held under his thumb," have you said this to her? Let her hear the question so that she is able to watch for signs of that herself. Have you encouraged her to have a longer engagement, possibly marrying him after their baby is born? This will give her even more time to get to know him well. If he's an active Mormon, then he will likely be unwilling to try living together (although he apparently didn't refrain from having sex before marriage, one of the more serious sins in the Mormon culture) especially if he's got family who will judge him for doing so.

I think all of your questions, hesitations and reservations would be good to talk over with her, but do so lovingly and keep in mind that you are talking about the man she loves, so do it respectfully. You don't want to push her into rebellion and cause her to dig her heels in and not see the reason in your worries. Plus, what if theirs turns out to be a successful marriage? You may not want your negative comments about him to be in her memory forever, giving her the fear that no matter what, you don't support her choice.

If you are concerned over the Mormon faith and what she is learning with her teachers, whom I assume are the missionaries, then why don't you ask if you can join in the discussions? You will then be more likely to offer her sage advice after hearing what she's hearing and will be able to ask the missionaries harder questions if it appears she isn't asking the obvious ones. I will leave it up to my readers to respond to you any good questions you may want to ask the missionaries about the religion, or questions your daughter may want to ask them. They most definitely give only a very light overview of the church in their first discussions, and the full picture can take years to uncover.

There is definitely a patriarchal order in the church, and women are encouraged and commanded to embrace their divine role, motherhood, and to defer to "divine" priesthood authority in all things. She will be encouraged to always support the priesthood leadership at church, as well as her priesthood-wielding husband, who "presides over her" with his priesthood which is termed "the power to act in God's name." Women who are naturally submissive should be very aware of what they are taking on when they marry a man from the church.

I wish you luck. There is no real answer but that your daughter is a grown woman and you should support whatever she chooses, even if it's not something you would choose for yourself or for her. She will appreciate your love and support if you give it to her, especially if she someday finds herself in a situation that is unbearable.

Your daughter should be free to forge her own path, and learn and grow and love and live as she sees fit. That is the greatest gift a parent can give their child: room to simply BE, with love, acceptance, and encouragement from those she loves the best.

April 3, 2007

A Conversation at Tony's

T: "Mom! I'm so excited that my primary teacher brought over a card for my birthday! I can't wait to be baptized!!"

Tony: "Well...Let's talk about this, Honey. Tell me what it means to you. Why do you want to be baptized?"

T: "Well, it's the right thing to do."

Tony: "What do you mean?"

T: "You know, that ONE GUY did it."

Tony: (stunned look on her face that says, are you freakin' kidding me??)

B: (Five year old picking up on the look on her mom's face) "Duh! That's JESUS and JOHN THE BAPTISM!"

Two for the Price of One Weenis Action

I want to post more often, since I’ve been writing much less than I’d like. One thing I’ve neglected is my Weenis of the Week posts.

So, without further ado, I give you.....(drumroll, please)

TEAM CHARLA & MIRNA (aka Mirna & Schmirna)


This team of cousins from this season’s The Amazing Race All-Stars drives me absolutely bonkers with the way they talk to foreign people. The foreigners understand English perfectly, but for some reason, Mirna and Schmirna feel the need to talk with a strange half-Latino, half-(Greek?) accent every goddamn time they talk to anyone whose first language is not English.

Need to buy airline tickets from a travel agent in Zanzibar? Break out the accent!

Need to quickly complete a task of painting fingernails for money in Mozambique? Yell to sell with your pseudo accent! Leave out words too, as if you don’t know English!

Need to give your cab driver directions? Break out the accent, and use the word “si” for “yes” ~ even though you’re in Warsaw! Better yet, if the Polish cab driver wants $100 to escort you while you follow him, but you don’t have enough money, CRY and WAIL in your fake accent, “Take pity on a poor girl! No money! No money enough! I’m just a poor girl. Will you make a poor girl beg?!” Wave your $50 in his face, until he walks away, then call him back with tears streaming down your face, using your shrill weenis voice to scream, “Have a little bit of sympathy as a human being! We are here at two in the morning” until he finally agrees just to shut you up.

If your fake accents and voices weren’t so irritating, then maybe I wouldn’t have laughed when Charla face-planted twice while wearing medieval armor in one of the tasks during last night’s episode.

(I will say that I find Mirna twice the Weenis Charla is. That woman is a serious SHREW.)