Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wonder-Rachel has no office PC

I had to go into work today. My laptop got infected a few days ago. So today I appeared in the back corner/dungeon area occupied by our awesome IT Department. Steve spied me and asked how I was doing.

"I caught a virus" I told him.

He groaned but dutifully jumped right on my laptop and cleaned it right up - with all the typical IT awesomeness I mentioned before (Please don't confuse IT with GSD - they are both supposed to solve our technical difficulties here at work but the Global Service Desk doesn't do shit).

Anyway, still... I was just a teeny bit disappointed that when I said I caught a virus, he didn't make some crude joke about using protection. I would have - I'm so not PC.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eight is Enough (not a smiley post)

I guess eight years is enough time to put a face on why I started hating Christmas. I could at least try to think about it in concrete terms for once. Especially since this year I've decided to stop hating it - today couldn't be a better day to say why I started.

First, in December of 2000 I moved to California. I had really stepped outside the church by this time - not just in little actions here & there, but in real thought and belief. Even after my affair, divorce, 2nd marriage & Dante's birth I still went to church pretty regularly I know, why the fuck would I bother at that point?. Maybe I was amazed & grateful that I hadn't been excommunicated after my affair with Michael. Maybe I felt some obligation to show that gratitude with further attendance. And for a long time I wasn't consciously aware yet how far off my beliefs were growing. When I went to California it was a severing. I didn't leave a forwarding address, I didn't contact my new ward, attend meetings, I was fully into my new job at that point and in CA the money was very different than in Seattle so I didn't need financial assistance from the church, even without Michael working - at all. So I very clearly walked away from the god of my girlhood days at that point. I've never taken to hypocrisy so it wouldn't be long before I started questioning the Christmas celebration & my place in it anyway.

And now the subconscious correlation of a seemingly unrelated event: Scotty, my step-dad, died eight years ago today. Which is probably the second reason I don't like Christmas much. To add to it, he loved Christmas like no one I know. He was the only parent I knew who was awake before his kids on Christmas morning & wanting to get us to the presents ASAP.

In the late 90s my family (Mom, Scotty, Jesse & I) lived in Seattle, but eventually everyone moved away: Mom was in Indiana. Jesse was in Missouri. Dad, Ramona & Kristiina were still here in Utah where I was NOT returning. Then Scotty went to California to help his sister with Betty-Grandma in 98 and I was the last one left in WA for two years. Michael, Dante & I moved to Ventura, CA on December 12, 2000 where his parents lived - 100 miles from where Scotty had moved to Westminster - just 17 days before he died.

It was unreal. I dropped the phone and walked away after my mom told me he was dead and locked myself in the bathroom. I didn't even hang up the call. I think I didn't want to acknowledge the call had even happened. It still doesn't seem real sometimes. Even a little over two years ago when I found out I was pregnant with Noah - there was a moment where my impulse was - call Scotty. He'll be so excited. It's happened a lot over the years. You get the impulse to call. Then - a couple seconds delay - then Oh yes, he's dead. And it hurts all over again. And no amount of better-place or see-him-again or he's-with-us-in-spirit or remember-the-good-times bullshit can make the pain of loss of a parent feel any better. Even eight years later. So maybe that's part of why I don't get super-excited at Christmas time.

But I'm done hating Christmas, and I'll celebrate along with everyone else. It may not be on December 25th, since Dante is always with his dad that day, but at least I promise not to try to kill Santa anymore. Maybe now that I know why I hate it so much , I'll be able to separate that event from the holiday that falls so close.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Red & Green Xmas Survey

A few weeks ago I had begun to author an entertaining post about my decision to finally murder Santa. It went along the lines of my usual Christmas rant: I'm not Christian, I certainly don't want to celebrate the commercial aspect of the holiday... thus, exactly what am I celebrating? Anyone who knows me has heard me complain about my personal/religious/family/community conflicts surrounding the holidays. Well Anthony and I had a very intellectual and enlightened discussion about the whole thing and decided we wouldn't teach Noah about Santa. Dante is so close to figuring it all out anyway I figure now was the perfect year to murder Santa.

Then Noah learned two new words this week: Claus and Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho!

Fuck. Fine. So now I'm resigned to diving headlong into the Santa/baking/giving/celebrating aspect of the holidays foreverafter. And in my attempts to resurrect Santa and the spirit of xmas in my life, I have set a few tasks for myself. The first two are the obvious ones...

PUT UP THE TREE We have little ones, this is a necessity - so we have a tree now and it's very pretty.

BUY & WRAP PRESENTS FOR THE KIDS. Okay so that's pretty much done.
DO SOME XMAS BAKING. This helps me feel like there are some redeeming aspects of the holidays that even I, the heathen, can celebrate. I've done a bit. Hubby has been a big help. And likely I'll crank out a billion cookies after Dante leaves for CA. But this year I won't be able to send any baking with him. Not enough time. I wish I had pictures of the hot cran-apple tartlets I gave to family last night but oh well. Here are the apple-pie tartlets I made last week - good stuff!


If you feel so inclined, gimme your own responses to any of the questions below, or paste the whole damn thing into the comments section & tell me all about yourself! lol I got this from my mom and my husband so I guess it's my turn...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. It takes longer, but I think it looks nicer.
2. Real tree or Artificial? We have an artificial tree we've set up each year, but I do like the smell of real trees.
3. When do you put up the tree? after December 1.
4. When do you take the tree down? A couple of days after we all open our presents. (That's never on Christmas for us - sometimes it's the first week of January. This year, December 22 but we'll likely leave the tree up till after Dante gets back on January 5!)
5. Do you like eggnog? Grocery store eggnog, yes.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hands down it was the My Little Pony Dream Castle.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Anthony
8. Easiest person to buy for? Dante
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope. My own little babies mean more to me than that one, no offense.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. I'm terrible. I'm considering a yearly card in March since xmas means nothing to me but March is when we have all our own birthdays.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Geez I've been trying to come up with an answer to this one for days! Finally I realized I don't really have any memorable least favorite gifts! If someone cares enough to give me a fucking present, I'm damn happy to get it! That's just me.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story of course! "Fra-Gee-Lay! ...must be Italian!"
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When the money comes in!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh yeah. Gift exchanges are great for that!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?Pot-roast, rolls & gravy!
16. Lights on your house/apartment? No lights! We've had enough broken bones thanks!
17. Favorite Christmas song? I know I know - I rail against all the CHRISTmas stuff and wonder why I celebrate since I'm not Christian, but I like Still, Still, Still and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay at home!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Let's see... You know Candy & Brandy & Lyric & Bunny... Destiny, Kendal & Dylan & Honey... Wait, sorry, those aren't the reindeer!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Angels are kind of too over the top & fluffy-foo-foo.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Whenever the fuck I feel like it! Or whenever fits in with Dante's trip to see his dad.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? All the traffic, wasted ad newspaper & needless consumption.
23. 3 Favorite ornaments? The painted puzzle piece picture frame of Dante that he made in 1st grade, Two red eggs Anthony & I got at the Bennett Grown Grand-children's xmas party and all the bows I made myself.
24. Does your tree have a theme or color? Yes it has two and it alternates each year which one it wears. This year it's in orange & gold tones. Next year, like last year, it will be in Pink. It's beautiful.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A hand-steamer or a pole for the playroom!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let the feats of strength begin!

Festivus is here and the feats of strength have begun. Lately Noah does this thing where he gets into the kitchen pantry & begins pulling all our large Costco size bottles off of the bottom shelf and bringing them to us somewhere else in the house, one by one. This is no small job for a toddler of not-yet-two-years! Anthony said several nights ago: "Yeah, start hauling the bottle of Canola Oil around and then I'll be impressed kid." That's why I snapped a picture of the Feats of Strength collection that took place the very next day while he was at work. Since this picture was taken he has added two more items to his Feats of Strength: Two full 3lb jars of Jif Super Chunk peanut butter. He's a little go-getter. HAPPY FESTIVUS!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Waiting at the Window

I come from a huge family of Utah Bennetts. When I was a little girl my great grandpa Bennett was still the head of the family and each year at Christmas time there was a huge family party held at McCune Mansion. My grandpa was one of several siblings - the third son of Harold & Emily Bennett. He and my grandma had 8 kids of their own, and his brothers and sisters all had similarly large families. At this time aunts & uncles were adding cousins to my family all the time. The party was huge every year. I remember running all over that mansion, hiding and playing games, causing mischief. We had fancy dinners & wonderful programs there each year. The whole family is very talented, very outspoken and very desirous of the limelight. It was always a boisterous event. And at the end of the night Great Grandpa would always sing a few songs. When Great-Grandpa went on his mission to England in 1919 he brought home 4 song books by A A Milne, all of which are now out of print. The songs were all about Christopher Robin (which I think was A A Milne's sons name) and Great Grandpa sang them to his children as they grew up. Grandpa sang them to my mom and sometimes she'd sing them to us. But really the memories I have are of Great Grandpa Bennett singing them to us at the Bennett family Christmas party. My favorite was Waiting at the Window - a song about two drops of rain. The direction at the beginning of the music isn't legato or andante etc, it tells the performer "fast or slow - depending on which drop is winning" lol
Saturday night me & my cousins gathered at my Grandpa Bennett's house for their third annual Grown Grand children's Christmas party. Grandpa calls himself an actor who sings, not a singer who acts. And each year he has prepared a reading. Last year it was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (One of Seuss's few non-rhyming and oldest stories as well as Grandpas favorite). This year he had selected some poetry & I started thinking about Great Grandpa's Christopher Robin songs.
"Grandpa, can you sing?" I asked after he'd finished the poems. I told him I very much miss the song about the two drops of rain. A lot of my younger cousins looked at me like I was smoking crack. But the older ones all nodded smiling & Grandpa went to find the old tattered music book to be sure he got the words just right.
He sand Waiting at the Window and Vespers. I cried just a teeny bit. It was great. Then I kicked myself all the way home for not pulling out my camera and recording the little ditties for YouTube. I'm an idiot. But here is the poem by A A Milne for anyone interested. I wish I could post the song.


by A.A. Milne

These are my two drops of rain
Waiting on the window-pane.
I am waiting here to see
Which the winning one will be.

Both of them have different names.
One is John and one is James.
All the best and all the worst
Comes from which of them is first.

James has just begun to ooze.
He's the one I want to lose.
John is waiting to begin.
He's the one I want to win.

James is going slowly on.
Something sort of sticks to John.
John is moving off at last.
James is going pretty fast.

John is rushing down the pane.
James is going slow again.
James has met a sort of smear.
John is getting very near.

Is he going fast enough?
(James has found a piece of fluff.)
John has quickly hurried by.
(James was talking to a fly.)

John is there, and John has won!
Look! I told you! Here's the sun!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bitches go down

Real Instant Message sent into my team chat room tonight, by me:
I don't usually work tonight but I always get emails that system maintenance happens Thursdays and our work tools go down.

[10:22:00 PM] Rachel says: So is this bitch gonna go down on me tonight?
[10:22:13 PM] Rachel says: The tool I mean.
[10:22:19 PM] Jake says: haha
[10:22:36 PM] Rachel says: Oh! sorry, wrong window!
[10:22:52 PM] Jake says: (rofl)
[10:24:46 PM] Jane says: LMAO

Meanwhile in the next room (or rather the window I meant to say that in):

[10:23:16 PM] Rachel says: I'm laughing so fucking hard I'm crying.
[10:23:35 PM] Rachel says: wow that was... embarrassing.
[10:23:41 PM] Maximo says: lol, what?
[10:23:45 PM] Rachel says: look in team chat.
[10:24:07 PM] Maximo says: lmfao
[10:24:18 PM] Maximo says: that's the best ever
[10:25:03 PM] Maximo says: wow
[10:25:23 PM] Maximo says: that is so awesome
[10:25:46 PM] Maximo says: my head is hurting, Rachel
[10:26:41 PM] Rachel says: I hadn't noticed it was the wrong window yet. If Jake hadn't said haha, I probably would have cracked some joke about you asking yourself the same question.
[10:27:56 PM] Maximo says: I don't think I can work the rest of the night. I seriously think I might just sit here.

Wow. I don't know what more I could possibly say to top the genius that is spontaneous-me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why I Hate The Snow - Episode 2

I'm one of the lucky ones. I get to work from home 9 out of every 10 shifts. Twice a month I have to go in to the office. And since I work a swing shift and my bosses are off and heading home by the time I've been there a while, I can usually drive home on my lunch break and finish the night here. So even then I still get to work the second half of my shift in PJs and then endure a ten second hallway commute to roll into bed. Ah, the good life. My window scraper has probably been used less than a dozen times since I started working from home over two years ago.

My wonderful husband is not so lucky. He gets up early every day and leaves at 7:30am to drive into the office. Then at 5pm he jumps into that commuter mess and heads home in time to see me already working and spend the rest of night playing Mr Mom while I watch & comment, confined to my office in the loft. Yep, he's an incredible man. And now that it's cold and snowy, he deserves to park his car in our garage. I mean, we've got one, why not use it for at least one of our cars? No one can fault a man for not wanting to leave his car out in this nasty weather to risk powder burial every night. But it does put me in mind of my second why I hate the snow experience of the year...

Why I Hate The Snow: The loud garage door directly under the boys' room wakes up Noah the minute his dad leaves for work in the morning and my sleep goes from seven hours down to six.

Why I Hate The Snow (the first)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Faithless Fuckers

Last week my husband and I were indulging in a little late night DVR. Our two favorite shows are Dexter & Californication: We record them on Sunday night & watch them on Thursday night. I look forward to 9:30pm all day long lemme tell ya.

So last week both my two favorite shows busted out my favorite word.


Yep. I know. Powerful huh? So powerful, sometimes it just needs it's own line.

When I was three or four years old I had picked up this new word and decided I was going to teach it to all the little kids in the area. It was fucker. Specifically fucker. Not fuck or fucked or fucking. Fucker. Specifically. It's one of those very few very early memories I can still see clearly in my mind. I remember creeping my tiny 2 foot something tall body quietly past the enormous bathroom door as my huge mommy curled her hair far away up in the air. I remember trying to be very quiet. I remember getting to the porch and feeling relief. I don't really remember gathering the neighborhood kids around me. That stuff wasn't nearly as exciting and tension filled as making it outside. Anyway of course my mom heard it all from her spot in front of the bathroom mirror. That tiny little house on Jefferson Street probably wasn't more than 750 square feet total. So no matter how long the hallway past my mom seemed in my short-legged little three-year-old memories, the bathroom could not have been very far from the porch.

So back to the television appearance of my favorite word...

Dexter is having a hell of a time trying to figure out what to do with the unwanted partner-in-crime he's found in ADA Miguel Prado. Meanwhile Miguel's wife has decided he must be cheating on her. So while he's trying to cover his tracks with Lieutenant LaGuerta, Sylvia shows up and assumes he's cheating with his old flame Maria. They confront on the lawn and Sylvia screams Fucker!! I agree. Even if he wasn't really cheating on you. I mean, come on people. Is his being there to cover up a murder any better?

And this week on Californication Hank walked in on a tender little tete-a-tete between his flame Karen & his slimy buddy Ashby. Fucker!! he shouts. And then proceeds to wreck the apartment as he chases the offender down.

All very entertaining. I was giddy to hear my specifically favorite swear word prominently showcased in both my favorite programs. I was also interested to observe that both uses were in love-triangle instances. I suppose love and sex bring out our most animalistic tendencies and words.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And for a moment I shall beat a dead horse...

So if you've been reading a while you may remember a post I wrote, My Letter to Voters, back in October. It was inspired by a post a friend of mine sent around to pray every night at 6pm (pacific) about the presidential election. It wasn't directly about Prop 8 like some of my later posts were, but as time went on, my communication with my friend centered more & more around Prop 8 than around the election. I think she took a much more Gods-Will-Be-Done stance on the presidential race and didn't say much. But she was very clear about her support for Prop 8 for the duration (she lives in CA), and it was clear she assumed she KNEW Gods will and it was fully in favor of banning gay marriage, without question.

Her MySpace page was full of YouTube clips and anecdotes about the evils of Gay Marriage lessons in schools for weeks. I can understand where this was coming from. She's highly religious, faithful, a mother to small children... I get it. It bothered me that she was being so closed-minded and, I felt, actively discriminating. But at some point you have to agree to disagree. So it goes, if we can be reasonable people we can let go of differences and remain friends with people we have so little in common with. After the election she posted some praise god notes about how marriage was saved and god was victorious etc etc.

Two days ago she posted another story. It was titled "What do you mean WE?!" and went on to tell a story of her pastor. He was driving one evening and saw a remaining Prop 8 yard sign and said "Thank you God, we won." And God responded "What do you mean WE?! From my point of view, it was all you." He goes on to explain that God pointed out how everyone was so focused on protecting the children, no one considered the hate & pain they were spreading and all the Gays who were now hurting because of their actions. She wrapped it up by saying how this struck her and she wanted everyone to go out and listen and pray with and care for another fellow child of God, and let them know you care about their pain.

I wanted to light myself on fire.

What have I been trying to tell you for WEEKS?!?!?!

Two things come to mind:

1-How nice of you to say effectually "Okay, now that I've won and my own interests are safe, I can safely (& uselessly) sympathize with your plight."

2-You just thought of the pain you might be causing other people NOW?! YOUR OWN FUCKING BROTHER IS GAY! AND YOU JUST THOUGHT OF IT NOW?!"

Wow. I just can hardly believe the obliviousness of some people. After previous related posts I emailed my friend and let her know I had posted something, would like for her to read it and hoped she would understand my position as well. She even commented some, though I didn't change her mind obviously. Anyway, today I won't bother linking her to my blog. No sense in letting her know how asinine I think that whole post was, or how I'm seriously in danger of spontaneous combustion due to a lack of logic employed by some people these days.

Related Posts:
My Letter to Voters Posted Mid October
No on Prop 8 Posted late October
In the wake of Prop 8 Posted early November

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well they've got us by the balls now

Quote me on that.

I thought the moment called for some profound words. I was perusing our take-home copy of my first-ever home purchase loan. Looking at my own loopy signature there on the pages so many pages, those were the profound words. If I hadn't been on the phone with my sister at the moment Anthony handed the packet to me, it likely would have gone more like this: Well those fuckers got us by the balls now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited. Happy to have our house back - to have the house back in our names (and mine actually on it this time around)! Happy, despite the fact that with property values in UT finally dipping like the rest of the country, we'll likely be upside down on our loan soon enough. Happy despite the dripping water heater and the fridge that can't keep a bulb lit I should have RC Willey on speed dial with how many appliances have given out & will go out in the near future at our house. I'm happy that the threadbare carpet, dingy paint and bare wood stairs are mine. All our half-finished home improvement projects might actually find a bit more inspiration coming from me in the months ahead now that it all belongs to me again.

What a strange and mixed emotion is owning a home. But to be sure, the phrase applies: They've got us by the balls now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Feast with the Beasts - our Thanksgiving day at Hogle Zoo

Thanksgiving day dawned gray and wet, but we had a date for a Feast with the Beasts so we bundled up and headed to Noah's favorite place: Hogle Zoo!
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There, we met up with my Dad who delivered to us my cutie niece Meghan - we were without Dante (in CA again) and she was boarding with my parents for a week while my sister & her husband went on a cruise (poor suckers - Fun & sun... but no Pumpkin Stomp!) and my two other nieces stayed with a different grandma, so we thought we'd drag her along with us. I think she loved it.
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So armed with umbellas, we headed for the elephant habitat, where they were said to be stomping pumkins at 10am sharp. And they were...
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Apparently this is yummy stuff for elephants cuz they chowed down!
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Next stop: the great apes - for yummy Thanksgiving pie (well, I didn't taste it but I'm sure it was delicious)!
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And this curious little monkey got a paper mache turkey
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He wasn't sure what to make of it at first. He snuck up, took a swing at the mysterious object and jumped back as it rolled off the pedestal.
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Then he quickly reached inside and yanked out some chopped veggies to munch on.
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Meghan was squeeling with delight over the little monkey while Noah was staring in awe of the huge orangutan in the next habitat. She was getting her own thanksgiving treats and impressing the crowd with her strength by shaking her climbing tree with all her might.
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And on our way by, Meghan & I still got a peek at the orangutan.
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The rhinos are always a favorite but they never seem to be close enough to get a good look at them (see Zebra shot below)!
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But we got lucky on Thanksgiving and both Noah and Meghan were happy to see them munching hay so close to the observation window.
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Noah even gave an excited squeely "why-wo!" to impress us.
Both mountain lions were up and pacing. I was sad Dante wasn't there to see them. They're his favorite.
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Up at the Asian Highlands habitat the tigers were getting pumpkins too.
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And it was SO crowded at this point, we didn't get any more pictures of the cats! But Noah managed to spend a fair amount of time with his favorite big cats:
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The statues. Hehehee

Some other favorites we saw:
The giraffes,
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a grassy-ass black bear,
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and the aforementioned shy zebras.
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A favorite we did NOT see: The Red Panda. My favorite and so shy! But it was getting cold & windy so we decided we'd had our fill. We hit the Conservation Carousel and then headed back to my parents for some turkey dinner of our own!
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Happy Thanksgiving!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Precious Moments

My boys are 8 years apart but they're pretty good buds - they'll be 10 & 2 this spring. Dante goes away every month to visit his dad in California. It's been interesting and a little sad to see my baby recognize the absence and miss his "big bubba" each time Dante goes. And there is a definite change in him. I think he likes the alone time with Mommy, but I can tell he misses his brother too.

Today I called Dante to check on him since he was home alone at their condo while his dad worked. We were talking and then I said "Hey Noah, you wanna talk to Bubba?" His face lit up and he reached for the phone, grinning ear to ear. He got the phone to his ear and squeeled "Hi!" which is the first time he's ever said anything to the voice in the phone! Dante laughed and talked to him for a second and Noah answered with some long crazy baby-talk! He even said Bye when I told him to. It was so sweet - the first time he decides to really talk on the phone is with his far-away brother. I cried a teeny bit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Yeah, I went to Coldplay on Saturday night. Since this is a busy week and I don't think I'll have much time to post, I thought I'd at least get up these awesome shots of the show. I am truly a photographic genius.
This is the band on the main stage, and some laser action there across the middle:
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This is the band on a little side stage. The floor was lit up disco style and they had a piano there... can you see it? The little box on the light box - lower right:
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And near the end of the show they all ran off stage & reappeared at the back of the stadium. They ran up into the stands where there were 4 empty seats, a few instruments and a microphone. The spotlight followed them up into the stands and they played 3 songs there near the back. Chris said it was the part where they all played instruments they didn't know how to play (all but one guy who he said can play anything). He said it would sound terrible but be full of passion & soul. It was fun.
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It was a really good time. I've seen 4 other shows at Energy Solutions arena: The Cure, Def Leopard, Oingo Boingo & Pearl Jam. I'm not a huge fan of the venue since typically the sound quality sucks, but it was a damn good show. I had a damn good time.
Here's me & Anthony in the stands in the dark. I know, I should really sell these photos to a magazine huh?
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Relativism & Recycling

I've always had a very live-&-let-live attitude. I have my areas of high standard - I don't think they coincide with most traditional ideas on morality, but I've got them. Recycling for example: I am ashamed of how little we as a society recycle. I try to recycle anything and everything they'll take at our curb. Even still I include myself in this judgment.

Really most of the things I judge harshly are my own behaviors, as opposed to those of others. Maybe you could say I've always felt we live in glass houses. So because of this, obviously I would never judge anyone for falling short of moral targets I've never bothered aiming at myself. Examples of this might be premarital sex done it, don't give a damn who else does it, who cares - even though my parents tried to raise me that way or keeping the sabbath holy Sundays are the ONLY day to brave Costco here in SLC!, etc etc. Never thought less of anyone who indulges in the same things I do, or who indulges in their own set of personally questionable practices.

But the other day I was at Costco (on Sunday) thinking about how here in the valley (I hear it's a slower more Utahish Sunday if you visit a Costco further north or south in Provo) there's not a whole lot of difference between Sundays & other days. I remember my sister telling me they always go to Costco on Sunday, then park their car in the garage & sneak all the groceries in the back door so their neighbors won't see them shopping on Sunday my parents church lessons held on my sister in a way they obviously didn't hold on me. I think I know a lot of church-goers that do this. So I started to wonder... If someone CLAIMS the moral high ground (not saying my sister does this, she's very cool about our differing ideas/ideals), feels superior, saved, whatever - should I be able to hold them to a higher standard than I hold myself? If someone professes to believe that God has given them commandments not suggestions - commandments. and they believe in him and this whole heaven & after-life thing, but then they do all the things I might do - shopping on Sundays, shagging a non-husband (before I was married obviously) etc, shouldn't I think less of that? Shouldn't I be right to see that they're holding themselves to an ideal that they then choose not to live up to?

I'm not saying I do think this way even now that I've made the observation. I still think I live in a glass house. But it puts me in a questioning philosophical sort of mood nonetheless. I'd really like to hear what other people think of all this. Are you disappointed by people who don't live up to the standards they profess? What if we were great friends out to lunch and I told you that 40% of land-fill waste is recyclable paper This is one of my favorite pet-stats and I do tell it to my friends often - then you came to my house and saw that I didn't have a recycle can. Shouldn't you think less of me? I do have a recycle can btw.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Finding Nemo In My Living Room (and asian cartoon warriors on my front lawn)

So I know I'm a little late with the Halloween post, but in my defense, I came down with an awful flu bug ON Halloween so I've been recovering since then and hey, I can only post so much! So the week before Halloween we took the boys (and my sister and her three girls) to Hogle Zoo for Boo at the Zoo trick or treating. It was a lot of fun, and more crowded than I've ever seen it. My husband read an article that said attendance at the zoo that day hit a record high, breaking the record set years earlier when ZCMI hosted a free-all-day event.
It wasn't a huge costume production for us: we threw their costumes on, tried to leave as many accessories at home, skipped hair & makeup and headed for the zoo. Dante was Inuyasha, Meghan (niece #1) was Mulan, Anna (niece #2) was Sleeping Beauty,
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Eloise (Niece #3) was a dalmatian (who didn't like her hood very much)
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and Noah was Nemo.
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We didn't even worry about hair-combing. And little Anna, my spit-fire niece that reminds me so much of myself, had to wear a shirt under her off-the-shoulder Sleeping Beauty dress or flash the world her little girl chest.

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It was a fun day, even if it was so crowded we could barely breathe. At least we didn't get parking tickets like so many others!

For real trick-or-treating, the kids were a bit more polished (I know the date on this picture isn't Halloween: Dante & Meghan dressed up in full regalia for the Utah Symphony event they go to each year and it was the only picture I had since Dante went to CA to see his dad again this year - like every year).
Dante wants me to post this picture because you can see his sword Tessaiga:

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But I like this one better because you can see their faces:
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Noah didn't love getting his face painted but he seemed to tolerate it well enough. His first night of trick-or-treating was great fun. He started to get the idea about half way through. "Okay, they give me candy and I wave bye-bye and move on to the next house for more candy. I can do that."
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He got a ton of candy, most of which mysteriously disappeared while he slept (Wonder-Rachel says as she innocently wipes chocolate from her face), and I think by next year he'll know how to say "Trick or Treat" on his own.
So despite my own flu-bug misery & the near rain we had to worry about, I think the kids had a great time this year.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Why I Hate The Snow

To my regular readers: this will be a fun little mini-series that will appear throughout the next several months. I will post items in no particular order.

Today I went downstairs to do my daily load of laundry - this is the only way I manage to get it done. My husband of course is a laundry saint. So if I want to be any help at all, I have to employ the one-a-day method through the week. As I was pulling laundry out of the basket, sorting into piles of white, pink & red, blue & black, green & brown, nasty towels... I heard my cat Pilar meowing at me from the door. "Hello kitty" I said as I heaped laundry around the room. She daintily picked her way through the piles to the back corner where her littler box was sitting: not exactly clean, severely lacking in sand, and dormant all these past warm months. She meowed again and I was hit with the first example of the season.

Why I Hate The Snow: Pilar is going to want me to start scooping her littler-box again.

This is my beautiful white calico kitty Pilar where she made herself comfortable in a drawer I forgot to close a couple weeks ago. I love her dearly but I'm still not sure the litter scooping is worth it.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

In the wake of Proposition 8

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"Common sense, and concern for the common good, trumped ideology, bigotry and power politics here in California," said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage in California.

Okay, supporters of Proposition 8 have every right to be pleased right now I suppose. But that doesn't mean they can discard the definitions of words and say whatever the hell they want and think they're making sense at all.

Ideology was not trumped with the passage of Prop 8. This twisted ideology of what religious freaks think marriage should be is what won the day out there.

Bigotry was not trumped! Bigotry won the day.

1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
2. the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

Proposition 8 is the definition of bigotry!

Power Politics was certainly not trumped here! The campaign was won plain and simple, by the side with more money. Just as every campaign is won. Supporters of Proposition 8 were louder and spent more money. Not enough people came out against 8 soon enough to make a difference. The fear campaign initiated by Yes on 8 was enormous, ubiquitous and complete. And complete bullshit. Even here in Utah I heard all about it - saw more than I wanted to see.

Here is my question: How is that those who think homosexuality is wrong can spend years denouncing gays for their promiscuous lifestyle, then turn around and deny them the right to legitimize their relationships? The two ideas completely oppose one another! And why is it that religious groups want government to stay out of schools when school prayer is at stake, but when marriage curriculum becomes an issue (which quite possibly isn't actually an issue, just another fear tactic used by Proposition 8 supporters), now government should step in and dictate that schools teach only heterosexual marriage?

Another awesome quote from Brian Brown, apparently a man who didn't pass English in high school: "Government did not create marriage, and neither politicians nor legislators have the right to redefine its basic meaning,"

Interesting Mr Brown... so asking the state of California to impose a constitutional amendment isn't involving government in the definition of marriage? This guy's an idiot.

The situation is this: Homosexual couples and families are reality. To say they can't get married does nothing to stop them from becoming couples and families. So now Christians are not performing some noble act of ridding the world of an abomination. They're merely in the business of destroying families. How ironic.

Well if more than half of California (and Arizona and Florida - I'm really disgusted at this point) wants to deny homosexual couples the right to commit their lives to their partners in a sacred and ceremonial way, they've succeeded, for now. But lets call a spade a spade: They're bigots. Plain and simple.

Update: I just emailed this directly to Brian Brown.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm overjoyed

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I was working last night so I had my headphones plugged into my computer to listen to streaming coverage as the election results came in. It got exciting for me when they announced Ohio. I've heard the statistic before that no candidate has ever won without Ohio, so that sparked a little more excitement in me just as it did everyone gathering at Grant Park. No surprise about who Utah's electoral votes went to. I will hold back all my usual anti-Utah-spew this time - just know it's all still there in my heart waiting to be shared. But really who needs Utah's electoral votes anyway? My two other home states came through for me to push Obama over the top! I love you Washington and California! And of course you too Oregon - I may even make you home next! My husband came rushing into my office from his TV coverage to tell me, right about the same time I heard it on my internet coverage. We were overjoyed! So I waited till 10pm far later than I should have taken my lunch break and clocked out to watch Obamas victory speech. - listening would not be enough. He inspires me every time I hear him speak. I believe in what he says. I feel his passion. I share it. I cried. I'm a crier, so what? And I had goose bumps all over my body as he told the story of our history. The story of America telling the world Yes We Can! ...damnit, here I go again with the water-works! I really believe we can do some amazing things if we can find a way to care for each other and work with each other. I've always hated partisan bullshit and along with all my hopes for our future, I guess my all-encompassing hope is that we can come together as one people to affect change in our country. I don't see it happening any other way. But I know it can happen. And I know this election marks a huge change in our history. It makes me proud to know that my boys will grow up in this reality of diversity and tolerance. I know our nation has a long way to come away from racism but this truly is a huge step forward. And I'm so grateful I have this to be proud of - I don't know if I could face the rest of the world if we'd elected McCain. But while we celebrate we can't forget that the road ahead is beyond challenging and daunting. It is downright frightening. Our president-elect faces a host of misery, and we must all be patient and do our part to take this country back to its roots of being a country - as he quoted - "of the people, by the people and for the people". And I do have high hopes that this is completely possible!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes, I voted - and it feels so good!

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To really get into it, sing that title to the tune of Reunited and it Feels So Good
I voted today! Got the boys up (well Noah was up at 6am cranky & sniffly), got us all dressed and fed, piled us all into the car and drove through the snow to the elementary school down the street. Noah isn't feeling well (he has the cold I'm just getting over - poor baby) so that was kind of a nightmare. He was extra cranky and so needed to carry both Beeya (his Bear) AND Ooh-ooh (his monkey) all over with him. Not easy for a 95 pound girl to haul around 25 pounds of puffy-coated baby clutching two stuffed animals! LOL But I did it and I'm pretty excited. My ex-husband would be shocked and mortified to know I voted all democrat this time. Hm, I guess it's no surprise we're not so compatible anymore huh (wow that's the understatement of the year).

I voted for Barak Obama (obviously) and I'm pretty excited now. I also voted to issue bonds to raise funds for Hogle Zoo and Tracey Aviary. I have so many great childhood memories at both those places, and my boys really love going to the zoo. We're regular visitors. :)

Now it's like Christmas Eve... will I get what I want? Have to wait and see... oh the anticipation!!

This is a way cute video of Noah - he's in love with the polar bear on our Renew the Zoo campaign sign. We had to preserve it for posterity. Ironically he had his own agenda this time. Most times he loved to go through naming every last part on the bear face over & over.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dracula versus The Hunchback

So this Friday & Saturday are the last two chances to see Dracula versus the Hunchback at The Off Broadway Theatre in Salt Lake City. Hubby & I went last week and it was really awesome. Fantastic spoof comedy, fun audience participation... It was great. And whenever I go back to the OBT I have a great time. I used to work the candy bar & box office in high school & right after HS I met Hubby there. Now years later my brother is in shows there & it's so much fun to go back. I love to see Eric & Sandy, and seeing Jesse act with Eric like our dad used to do is really great.
So I got a few pictures in the lobby.

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The Hunchback!
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The Hunchback, Esmerelda & Jenny
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I have to say that Jenny was a side part but probably the best one in the show (sorry Jesse! - I love you!) She was hilarious! Both Hubby and I were riveted to her antics every moment that she was on stage!

Me & my baby brother, the hunchback sorry about the flash - big shiny metal behind us!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Cupcake Charade

I decided to make cupcakes last week for Dante's soccer party. I let Dante & his friend Tyler ride their bikes to the store for cake mix & frosting because when I say MAKE cupcakes I mean by adding oil, eggs and water of course. I'm not my sister after all. And I got the awesome idea of frosting them red since they are Team Inferno with red jerseys.
I hit a snag when I found the box made 24 cups and I had a one dozen pan. So I knocked on a few doors around the neighborhood but no one was home. Except Jill. So I gathered my courage and knocked on the door (Jill and I don't get along ever since she said Dante broke her Santa yard sign and I slammed my door in her face). We played nice like all hateful women do, and I asked to borrow a muffin pan for the boys soccer party (Yeah it helps that Joey is on the team too). Amazingly she didn't have a single muffin pan. Is that strange? I don't know. But she had bread pans galore and was happy to loan them to me. So I took them and decided I'd make do.
Dante helped crack the eggs and they both helped me rinse the dishes.

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Noah looks like he got a little drunk on cupcake batter:

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And then he got very mad when it was all gone.

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There were 12 in my muffin pan and 6 cups nestled perfectly into two large bread pans. After 15 minutes in the oven I pulled out 12 perfect cupcakes and 2 loafs of cake. A dozen round and a dozen that needed to be pulled apart around a bunch of fallen squared muffin cups.

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Once they were cooling we set to making red frosting. HAHAHAHAHA! Let me just say that no matter what you do, if you start with white frosting, and you use red food coloring, you're going to get pink. Period.

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The good news: not one of the boys at the soccer party gave a damn that their treats were bright pink. I was going to get a picture of them eating them happily to prove my success, but it just happened too fast. I blinked and all the cupcakes were gone.