Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dollars, but no sense...

My oldest daughter is more than a Drama Queen. She is also Sultana of Savings. She tries to educate me how I can save money too, but I told her my brain just can’t make the leap.

She encouraged me with something like, “Price-matching at ____Mart is so easy, you don’t need a brain. Even you can do it, Mom.”

It’s hard to believe that they’ll just take my word on a price. It sounds too good to be true. I mean—I could say any number. If they don’t require proof, they could get ripped off.

It longer to find the super-low prices to match than it would have for me to grow the corn to grind for the chips to make the Doritos I wanted to buy. But the lure of saving fifty cents fired up my blood and I searched for more things I could price match.

At the checkout stand I timidly told the clerk, “The Doritos are on sale at CompetitorMart for $2. I’d like to price match.” It worked. I saved fifty cents.

Emboldened by my success, I price matched another item. And another. I kept going. It was so addicting—throwing out numbers and watching the clerk change them based solely on my word. Such power! Before I knew it, I realized I was going the wrong direction! I price-matched up. Yes—UP! I named an amount eleven cents higher than what the item was priced at. And the clerk took my word for it. He conveniently couldn’t get it to void, and after seven attempts and four angry glares from the customer behind me, I agreed to pay the higher price.

By the time I got home, I realized I may have saved $3.75, but probably overpaid by more. I ripped myself off. I decided I’d best leave the saving to the pros.

So now I let my daughter do the shopping and saving and I’ll stick to what I’m good at—the eating, the sleeping, the exaggeration, and avoiding cooking.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mind over Matter: Use it or Lose it...or Both

The last big snowstorm left us with a thick icy coating on our driveway, front steps, and the right frontal lobe of my brain.

For reasons known only to the voices inside my head and the Magic 8-Ball, I willingly went out to shovel/hack the driveway.

Accompanying me and my personalities was my iPod. Do not confuse this with an iPod any of my children or anyone under the age of 30 would use. It is a tiny red iPod Shuffle, possibly a prototype dropped from Santa’s sleigh years ago when nobody knew what iPod stood for. This ancient half-decade-old device holds approximately 7.2 songs.

Most importantly—it is too un-cool for my children to use, so it’s always fully-charged and right where I leave it.

I spent thirty minutes of ice-chipping, back-spasming, rocking to the oldies. I guess I’m fortunate my neighbors didn’t think I was having a seizure and call the paramedics—or that I was hopped up on something stronger than the BeeGees and call Officer Standoffish.

Interrupted by a visitor, I shed my outerwear quickly, leaving it on the stairs inside.

Later that evening I had to run an unexpected errand and thought, ”I’ll grab my iPod again.”

I snagged the white earphones and ran out the door. It didn’t take long to realize they were flapping in the wind—and it wasn’t because I was running so fast.

My little red iPod had detached from its white tether and was lost somewhere in the vast vagueness that was my day.

I retraced my steps since removing my snow gear. Stairs, couch, kitchen, couch, bathroom, couch, refrigerator, couch, bathroom. It was gone! I shook out my boots, dug in the snow bank, and even looked under the shelf among the cobwebs and Cheerios. No trace.

It must be buried deep in the banks of snow alongside my driveway. I envisioned it showing up in the spring—a rusted red shell of a music player. A shriveled-up Apple core.

I alerted my family who was sympathetic (which I think is a device they use to disarm me).

My daughter even went outside in the dark to search for it.

Daily I asked, “Has anybody found my iPod?”

Silence answered me. I decided to wait until my family actually came home to ask again.

I’m sad. I have long been without style, but now I am without style and can’t tune myself out.

Life goes on.

Today while pretending to work, I looked up and saw my little red iPod, neatly wrapped and tucked in the little cubby on my desk.

Someone found it for me! And the truly lovely gesture was—nobody claimed credit or asked for a reward. Just left it there as a quiet little present for me to find.

I waited until my family came home.

“Did you find my iPod?” I asked my dear husband.

“No, I thought it was lost.”

“Did you find my iPod?” I asked my video-game-fiend son.

“No, I thought it was lost.”

I asked the weight-room dweller who was driven by hunger enough to exchange his pint of Ben & Jerry’s for me to cook him dinner.


The 13-year-old was next and also disavowed knowledge.

The neighbors didn’t answer when I rang their doorbell. The UPS guy made a quick U-turn when he saw me sprinting towards him.

Nobody was willing to take credit for the miraculous return.

And then I saw it. The empty white earphone cord dangling from where I’d dropped it days before. Puzzled, I looked at my own iPod, Old Red, tucked into my palm—headphones wrapped neatly.

Was it possible more than one set of white ear buds exist in our house?

I wondered it aloud, “Does anyone else have white head phones around here?”

Anything but silence greeted me as virtually everyone replied, “I do.” I think I even heard the UPS guy chime in.

It dawned on me that I was the one who put away my iPod—right after I finished using it. And then I promptly forgot what I did.

My family laughed at me when I admitted my iPod was really never lost—only part of my brain was. The part that controls memory. And judgment. And reasoning. And taste in music and iPods (those last two my children added).

I learned an important lesson from this situation.

And if I remember it, I’ll share it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow, Officer Not-so-friendly, Ordinances, and Offspring

Limited Winter Parking Ordinance #11-3-45:

“It shall be unlawful for any person or owner of any vehicle to park a motor vehicle, travel trailer, horse trailer, utility trailer or other like vehicle on any street in this municipality between the 1st day of November of each year and the first day of April of the following year, for a period of time longer than three minutes when loading or unloading passengers and for a period of time longer than thirty minutes when loading, unloading or delivering property between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on the streets of ___________City. Violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by citation or impounding and removal of the vehicle.”

I know this is the law.

Tell it to my two offspring who moved home within the last month when one of the said children is only home between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. and the other said child is burrowed somewhere between the stacks of computer equipment and empty PowerAde bottles.

And they both park their cars on the street.

And their keys are buried in: A) a pile of PowerAde bottle rubble; or B) inside a large satchel that could hold the entire contents of my pantry after a trip to Costco.

And I’ve threatened them if they block me in the garage ONE more time.

This is the difficult situation I found myself in last Monday after a large snowstorm had dumped around 8 inches of snow on and around my house and the cars parked in front of it (not to be confused with the Blizzard of 2010 which blew approximately 1.79 centimeters of snow onto my driveway).

Officer Friendly’s not-so-amiable step-sister, Officer Standoffish, stopped by my house that afternoon. She asked, “Do you know who owns that car out there?” She pointed to a really big snow drift in front of my house—on the street—that turned out to be a Hyundai Accent.

I wondered how she could tell it was a car. Maybe her Taser was also a metal detector. I thought it was best not to find out.

I recollected out loud that my daughter-in-law owns a Hyundai Accent. She’s been in the Air Force since June. The military reference had no noticeable impact on Officer Standoffish. I thought her hand twitched towards her baton. She said, “It’s illegal to have a car parked overnight on the street between November 1st and April 1st. The mayor wants us to remind everyone that the snow plows have a hard time plowing when cars are parked on the street.”

Come again? I looked at the 8 inches of snow in my cul-de-sac. This is the very cul-de-sac that has never seen the likes of a snowplow. I had wondered if we were even on the city map.

I said. “Maybe you could remind the mayor that it would be nice to have our cul-de-sac plowed.”

Officer Standoffish became Officer Iceberg. “I’m not getting in the middle of that one.”

I gulped as I realized I’d opened my mouth and my brains had leaked out. I quickly apologized, “Sorry. I was kidding. I know snow removal isn’t your job. I’ll move the car.”

Officer Iceberg drove away in her four-wheel drive vehicle. I thought about moving the car—but man, that was a LOT of snow to clear away and there was probably ice under the snow. I went inside where it was warm.

A couple of hours later, I heard a vehicle pull into our cul-de-sac. I looked out my office window. IT WAS A SNOWPLOW! In our cul-de-sac!

“Crap!” I thought, “I should’ve moved the car!”

It was too late—the plow was gone.

Five minutes later, I heard another engine—THE SNOWPLOW CAME BACK FOR A SECOND PASS THROUGH THE CUL-DE-SAC!

I ran through the house like a madwoman trying to find the keys. Out the door, in my slippers, without a coat, leaping snow-covered hedges (okay, it was a snow-covered crack in the sidewalk), clawing my way through the layers of snow and ice to find the key hole so I could unlock the car.

I moved it into the driveway and waited. The snowplow never came back.

I shook the snow out of my slippers, wrung out my sopping wet shirt sleeve, and trudged back upstairs to work.

I went to run an errand later and as I backed my own car out of the garage, I realized I’d blocked myself in.

I’ve written myself a new ordinance to abide by:

“It shall be unwise to procrastinate, for a period of time longer than three minutes when telling an officer of the law that you will move a vehicle off a snow-covered street in front of your house It is also ill-advised to make a wisecrack to any officer of the law because you are mad at the mayor, because both the police and mayor know where you live and can create extreme paranoia within your small little mind. It is also prohibited to leave your locks unchanged when your adult children move away because they will come back and let themselves into your home and take up residence again. It is hereby advisable that you not only change the locks, but move as well, so the local police force, mayor, or adult offspring cannot track you down. Violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by having to live with the consequences of your actions and getting your perfectly good slippers wet. And then you will also run out of Diet Coke and find yourself blocked in your own garage by the original offending vehicle.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Smiling's my favorite!"....someone should tell my face

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Great about 48???

Four dozen - 48 - an interesting number, good or bad, depending on your point of view:

48 is great for:
diet Coke
hundred dollar bills
pairs of shoes
days in Cancun
books sold at a booksigning
friends wishing you Happy Birthday
back massages
good books to read
chocolate truffles
chocolate chips in a cookie

48 is not so great for:
candles on a birthday cake (Unified Fire Authority came a knockin')
chin hairs
bed bugs
pounds gained
speeding tickets
rejection letters
shingles missing
9-1-1 calling because your kids were messing around on the phone
frogs in the swimming pool
children (I'm glad I stopped at 6!)

Happy Birthday to Me! I may be old, but at least I didn't wake up dead!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A couple of recent headlines announced: "[so and so] dead at age 96." I think "[so and so] ALIVE at age 96" is more newsworthy...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Authorpalooza at Barnes & Noble, Orem, Utah, this Saturday afternoon, Sept. 18, 1 - 4 p.m 40 local authors will be there signing books - including Yours Truly...stop & shop & chat!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Die Blood-sucking Bedbugs!!!

Because I grossed everyone out by sharing my bedbug experience, I feel a moral and social obligation to share the eradication story with you as well. It is a long saga, as bedbugs are nasty, resistant little bloodsuckers, but maybe this will help someone who faces a similar problem:

Phase I - Discovery
1. I freaked out

2. Internet research

3. Scratched

4. Took pictures

5. Drank a Diet Coke

6. Disposed of mattress & boxsprings

7. More internet research

8. More scratching

9. Freaked out again

10. Drank another Diet Coke

11. Caught approx. 5 live blood-sucking specimens in a cup to serve as a control group

12. Named the control group members “Edward” “Carlisle” “Alice” “Jasper” “Esme” (a.k.a. The Cullens)

Phase II - Education
1. Made list of bedbug-killing chemicals that are safe to use in residences

2. Determined bedbugs came from a hotel in Page, AZ via my suitcase (found one still alive in my suitcase)

3. Searched every room in the house for evidence of infestation – appeared limited to my bedroom

4. Went to Lowe’s and asked young saggy-pants clerk about chemicals on my list

5. Saggy-Pants gave me a blank look, I said slowly “I NEED SOMETHING TO KILL BEDBUGS!”

6. Saggy-Pants replied, “Are you sure they are bedbugs?”

7. Gave Saggy-Pants a detailed description of bedbugs with photos and snickered as I walked away and he was scratching all over.

8. I scratched

9. Went to IFA (Intermountain Farmers Association)

10. Was introduced to Cykick CS and Nuvan Pro-Strips by two older guys who had both experienced bedbugs in their lives

11. Was assured by the two old guys that I was NOT A BAD HOUSEKEEPER (they haven’t seen my house!)

12. Had a Diet Coke.

Phase III - Destruction
1. Mixed up a Cykick CS (cyfluthrin) cocktail

2. Prepared Nuvan Pro-Strips

From Nuvan’s website:(Pests don’t have a chance near Nuvan® Prostrips®. They are the only product containing DDVP available to the professional pest management market for residential use)

3. Vacuumed room thoroughly (disposed of bag)

4. Washed every washable item in hot water & dried on “bacterial” setting

5. Threw away several items I couldn’t wash due to “gross out factor”

6. Sprayed all crevices, bed frame, night stands, dresser

7. Set the Cullens in center of the room

8. Activated Nuvan Pro-Strips

9. Sealed off room for seven days

10. Sprayed the rest of the house with Cykick-CS cocktail

11. Had a couple of Diet Cokes and premium chocolate


Phase IV - Adding to destruction
1. Checked on progress at least daily

2. Took about 4 days for all of the Cullens to die

3. After 6 days, wiped down walls & furniture with Cykick CS cocktail

4. Re-sprayed the entire room with Cykick CS cocktail

5. 7th day – aired out room; reassembled bed with new mattress & boxsprings

6. Installed mattress cover that is bed-mite proof & bedbug resistant


Phase V - Post "I hope I killed the bloodsuckers"
1. Subsequent days – check mattress every morning and night

2. Scratch

3. 3 days after reassembling everything, crawled around on the floor searching for bedbugs. Found one.

4. Freaked out

5. Pulled everything out from the walls again, moved nightstands & dressers

6. Found 6 bedbugs total on the floor – they were sluggish and slowmoving

7. Caught them in a cup

8. Named them “The Volturi”

9. Mixed up another Cykick CS cocktail (considered drinking a little of it myself)

10. Drank a Diet Coke

11. Sprayed the cup containing “The Volturi”directly, to satisfy my eradication energy burst

12. Sprayed the perimeter of the room, including under the nightstands & dressers again


Phase VI - Paranoia
1. Continue to check morning & night for evidence of bedbugs

2. None seen yet (approx. 10 days – knock on wood)

3. Drink some more Diet Coke and eat more chocolate as a preventative measure

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't let the Bedbugs bite!

What does this:
And this:

Have in common?

I hate them both.

HATE them.

There are some who never use the HATE word—I use it sparingly myself.

When it comes to pickles and me, the word is appropriate. I tell people I am allergic to pickles—they make me break out in vomit. The smell nauseates me and they are banned from my house. If my children must have a pickle, they travel to a distance not less than six blocks from me and beg them, door-to-door.

I have found nothing I hate more than pickles—except maybe pickle relish. The smell of a hot dog loaded with mustard, ketchup, and pickle relish is worse than an outhouse at a chili cook-off on the 4th of July.

Something now tops my HATE list—bedbugs.

Several seemingly unrelated issues have occurred over the past few weeks. I developed an itchy rash on my left shoulder that traveled down my arm on to my hands. In addition to the red splotches I started breaking out in hives, daily on both hands and arms.

I thought the abscess under tooth #18 had caused some reaction run amok, but after a thorough examination by my dentist, Dr. Extraction, it was only three abscesses and a vertical fracture on the root causing the radiating jaw pain.

Next came the blood marks on the sheets—TMI, you say? They were odd streaks, like someone digging at their hives in the night, only I didn’t have any scabs to show for it. (Maybe you should skip that paragraph you just read if you have a weak stomach.)

Then—the weird black marks surrounding the outline of my head on my pillows and sheets. Like a bizarre police-chalk outline of a body, my upper torso imprint was a stark white contrast surrounded by black specks. My husband had a not-quite-as-vivid imprint on his side of the bed.

We blamed our new, twin CPAP machines (blog and photos to follow at a later date). A couple of nights ago, we spent our twilight hours in a not-so-romantic game of examining the shiny silver boxes with attached hoses for black-speck-spewage. When we tired of that pastime, we checked each others’ ankles and calves for scabs to explain the new blood streaks across the bottom of the bed.

The bloodstains seemingly came from nowhere.

I covered my face with a tissue as I slept, hoping to catch some black ash as evidence. I blew off the tissue in the night, but “LO!” when I dug the tissue clump from the floor beside my bed I had an epiphany!

Here is a picture of the epiphany:

Ugly, isn’t it? Let me describe it to you: a mass of bed bugs scurrying in their own defecation to hide in the seams of my once-lovely pillow-top mattress after glutting themselves on my tasty blood.

The hives and rash on my arms: Allergic reaction to the myriad bed-bug bites on my upper torso

The black specks surrounding my head: Bed-bug poop trails

The red blood streaks on the sheets: Spots where we rolled over the little blood-engorged creatures as we slept.

Eeeeew!!!! Do you itch all over? I do!

So if you hate pickles, like I hate pickles (or something equally disgusting to you)


Bedbugs are worse!!!

Aren’t you glad I shared this?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ants in my pantry - Come join the fun!

It started with ants. Scurrying around my pantry floor in confusion—not me, the ants. At first I ascribed it to general ant confusion. You know, “Why are ants so confused?” “Because all their uncles are ants!”

I swept up the chips, cereal, and pretzel bits from the floor—along with a goodly number of ants, wiped the area down with an ammonia-soaked cloth and went to bed.

This morning they were back—en masse. It would take super effort to get rid of this problem—I would have to actually clean my pantry. My children steer clear when I embark on such a drastic measure—they want to stay out of the line of fire. Whether I’m tossing out cellophane wrappers containing two stale crackers and a trio of ants playing poker with the crumbs, or throwing out a verbal barrage of cursing their general pig-like forages through my pantry leaving snout-droppings behind—they run for cover.

The good thing about cleaning out your pantry is finding long-forgotten food—or better yet, candy that has fallen through the cracks. Did you know that washing ants off M&Ms takes off the color, as well as the ants, but the candy-coated shell s, while losing their bright hue, still protects the chocolate inside?

I also discovered why you shouldn’t rinse off cookies. Even I won’t eat food that has dropped into my kitchen sink. In my defense, the fudge frosting from the cookie wasn’t technically touching the sink—the soggy pile on which it lay protected it from contamination.

I finished off the package of barbeque chips that expired July 4, 2009 and washed those down with Doritos crumbs that were packaged in a “Win Super Bowl 43 tickets” bag.

After eating my weight in stale food, I searched frantically for some Tums. I noticed the ants were no longer running around in mass confusion. They were in an organized line—marching. I could almost make out little tiny picket signs. I searched for my husband’s magnifying glass and, kneeling down, I could almost make out their words of protest.

Now I don’t speak “ant” and reading it isn’t much easier, but I’m pretty sure the signs read :

• “Check your expiration dates!”

• “Deport the Giant Woman before she eats everything!”

• “Buy something good!

• “You’re stealing food from our little ant mandibles!”

• “Ants are people, too!”

I certainly felt in the minority. The LARGE minority. The HUGE minority with a can of Raid in my GIANT phalanges. A few minutes later, the plague of ants was gone, leaving behind a few of their little “anti bodies”. Kind person that I am, I gave them a decent burial crunched in a wadded paper towel in the “casket o’ trash”

The worst thing about ants in your pantry—when you’re on the floor sweeping and hand mopping to eradicate the food on the floor, you notice the dirt on the baseboards. When you wipe the dirt off the baseboards, you see the splashes of grimy hand and drool prints on the lower half of the door. When you disinfect the brownish streaks you’re pretty sure were chocolate, you touch the doorknob and realize either gum, honey, or the innards of something sticky prevents you from turning it. Next you’re chipping off something green and hard from the wall that you pray is a gummi-bear torso and not something else. Before you know it you have been sucked into the CLEANING VORTEX, churned about like a half lucid Martha Stewart who envisions a centerpiece on yon table when you’ve finally cleared the computer parts, ten days worth of mail, your last full deck of cards with one now missing, a dirty sweatshirt, your sons gym shoes, and the motor of a dismantled lawn mower. At least there was a partial Diet Coke under the mess.

I realize I needed an intervention (a.k.a. a nap). I go to the only place I know for sure is clean—the pantry. Lying on the floor I look up and notice a clear baggie, wedged in a corner, unseen from my former towering heights. I reach up, and—behold—two chocolate-covered cinnamon bears who have been hibernating for who knows how long. Arctic polar bears, judging from the white sheen of the chocolate. I pop them in my mouth, enjoying the stale chocolate soft-crumbly-chewy texture. Aahhh. Cleaning has its rewards!

Friday, August 6, 2010

2nd Alpha reader report

Again, ignoring sage advice from well-seasoned writers ...

My dear, sweet M-I-L returned the edit of the technological thriller manuscript my husband and I co-wrote.

Her number one complaint? Parts were childish.

Hello? Mom? Your child wrote it...Isn't childish good in this case?

The secret to happiness is:

Take EVERYTHING as a compliment!

I've been told that if your mother loves your manuscript, agents and publishers may well hate it; therefore, if your mother hates the manuscript, agents and publishers will likely love it!

P.S. stands for "Positive Spin" - try it!

P.P.S. I am a proponent of hyperbole and propositional fallacies

P.P.P.S. Thanks Susan--your input really is valued!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Be careful what you ask for--and WHO you ask!

One bit of advice always given to writers: Don’t give your book to friends and family to critique—they’ll tell you it’s good even if it’s better suited to line the bottom of a hamster cage.

I agree that advice is good, but not applicable in the case of my daughter—an alpha reader for the manuscript my husband and I have jointly written.

It is a technological thriller.

She is brutally honest.

She was the first to finish reading it, and she was the first to give her feedback—which went something like this:

“Your characters need better description”
“I didn’t like the ending, it was stupid”
“It needs more romance”
“I wouldn’t throw it away, it has potential”
“I think it is about 60% ready”
“Did you copy the plot from I-Robot?”
“FYI—you have too many acronyms”

We were a little confused. I tried recapping what I was hearing:

“So, except for the ending, the middle, and the characters, it was good?”

“Yeah, I liked the first chapter a lot.”

This is the same girl who asked me, right before I gave a talk in church—“Mom, do you know you have a mustache?” (What does she think I was waxing all those years?)

The very child who queried—“Mom are you embarrassed to go to the store because you’re so fat?” (Was it sitting in the middle of cookie aisle, burying my face in a bag of Oreos that clued her in?)

I guessed we asked for it!

It is our first attempt at co-authoring and we handle criticism very differently:

Me: Oh, I’m a failure! I guess we need to re-write everything. Should we re-name the characters? I should give up writing—except for the first chapter.

My husband: We’ll keep sending out alpha-copies until we find someone who likes it. Where’s the ward directory?

So if my husband calls this month to come home teaching—just don’t answer the phone. As for me, I’ll be at the store—in the cookie aisle.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

•"Read Today: Tooele man beats the odds, learns to read" (
Does this mean the odds are that people from Tooele usually can't learn to read?

A GRAND experience!

Warm chocolate chip cookies, tall cold glass of milk, plush robe…

Sounds GRAND doesn’t it?

But wait, there’s more!

Italian marble bathrooms
17th Century Flemish tapestries
Handcrafted Richelieu furniture

It is GRAND!

My husband and I spent a delightful night here (thanks to my employer who provided us with this gift!)

It was beautiful and glorious and is Salt Lake’s only AAA Five Diamond Hotel.

I sometimes forget what a beautiful valley we live in, but the ceiling to floor window provided a view of the city and mountains that I usually take for granted.

Of course, I immediately checked out the little fridge & being the cheapskate that I am, removed the Evian ($3.50) in order to chill my Arrowhead ($0.25). The tiny, classy bottle of Diet Coke ($3.50) got pushed aside for my 16 oz bottle($0.40) with the proper Coke-bottle-curves.

The Grand America has something for EVERYONE, as evidenced by the thoughtful items for sale in the little cabinet next to the fridge (of course I had to take photos, but only had my phone camera):

FIRST AID KIT $6 (two bandages, two Tylenol™, two antihistamines, two antacids, one antiseptic towelette)

INTIMACY KIT $6 (the contents of this kit are…intimate)

DECK OF CARDS $10 (playing Solitaire is a lonely, expensive business—not to mention, a solitary one)

They think of everything (except the beds in the New Orleans Marriott are much more comfortable) and the best rating I can give it is this one: We will return to this GRAND place—on our own dime next time (or dollar or credit card, as the season warrants).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Team Jacob or Team DJ?

Several teenage girls recently commented that my soon-to-turn-16 son looks like Jacob Black. You know--THE Jacob Black of Twilight fame.

I took it upon myself to do some research and provide comparisons.



Jacob has russet skin, black hair and dark eyes. (a)

DJ has black hair and dark eyes and eats russet potatoes. (b)

[Jacob] tends to wear only cut-off style jeans or shorts, since clothes are often ruined during his transformations into a wolf.

DJ tends to wear only basketball shorts, that are often ruined by paint, solvents, grease, grime, and food coloring during his transformations into an inventor—often combining things such as leaf blowers and swimming pools.

[Jacob] is descended from an ancient line of "shape-shifters" that assume wolf form.

DJ emerges daily from an ancient pile of laundry and debris that annually assumes “clean-room” form.

Jacob is also able to phase at will into a giant wolf

DJ is also able to phase at will into a human-like form with the appetite of a giant wolf.

[Jacob] forcibly kisses [Bella], much to her displeasure, and she reacts by punching him in the face - breaking her hand and not leaving a scratch on him.

DJ forcibly flexes his biceps, trying to break through velcro rope holders, and puts white duct tape on his legs to see if it is stronger than hair, and he reacts by yowling loudly as his friend removes the tape—and the hair grows back within days.

Coincendence???   You decide!

Other reasons to vote for Team DJ:

DJ can tie threads around snakes and take them for walks

DJ can fit a surgical glove over his entire head

DJ can make attractive bike trailers out of 2x4s, plywood, skateboard wheels, and his younger sister.

There are many, many other reasons to vote Team DJ, but time, space, and federal laws protecting children from their parents prohibit me from continuing at this time.

(a) All Jacob quotes were obtained from

(b) All DJ quotes were obtained from his mother

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Random Dam Stuff

We just returned from our annual family vacation to Lake Powell. We go every year except when we skip a year. We’ve tried camping, but the wind and rattlesnakes changed our minds. We’ve tried the houseboat thing, but I’m not sure if it counts as a houseboat when it is old enough to be modeled after the Ark.

We’ve settled on an alternative that pleases us all—meaning me. We drive the extra hour to Page, AZ and “camp” in a hotel room. Long days on the lake, followed by warm showers, hot meals, and soft beds in an air conditioned room—my idea of a vacation.

One of my children’s favorite things is sighting Glen Canyon Dam for the first time each trip. For some reason (which my husband refers to as ME) the children take the visual of the dam as their cue to start on the “dam” comments such as: “That dam bridge is huge!” (which it is).
 As we pass into Page, the pseudo-swearing kicks into high gear as we see:

The Dam Plaza, which contains:

The Dam Bar & Grill (“Can we eat at the Dam Bar & Grill, Mom?”)

The Dam Outlet (“What do you think they sell at the Dam Outlet?”)

This year when we drove into the Dam Plaza, after dark, to eat at Pizza Hut, we climbed out of the Suburban, and a large lumpish thing moved on the park strip, startling us. A man, who at first appeared to have no legs, staggered up, and it became evident he was vertically challenged only by his excessive imbibing. We tried to walk past, but he reached out to me and croaked, “Ma’am?”

It was dark, he was scary, wobbly, and persistently approaching us. My children ran around the boat, and I firmly said “I don’t have anything for you.” He stumbled off towards the Dam Bar and Grill, likely in search of a more generous and less skittish group. Since he appeared to be a resident of the Dam Plaza, we named him the Dam Bum.

Stopping at the Dam Visitor Center, we saw that the National Park Service was not immune from Dam Comments. The Dam IQ sign above, and the Dam Tours sign below are pictures of the actual signage. I would have taken photos of the Dam Plaza, Dam Bar & Grill, and Dam Outlet signs, but I was scurrying away from the Dam Bum.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Gas prices at “rest area” outside of Beaver: $3.29/gallon

Seven-day pass into Glen Canyon Recreation Area for one vehicle + one boat: $31

Hitting a bus in the parking lot at Wahweap Marina: Priceless


At least it was fun hanging the children upside down...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What! No chocolate?!

A couple of months ago I went in for a polysomnography (sleep study) to see if I have sleep apnea. I looked like this:

A week after that, I went in for a polysomnography with CPAP (sleep study with an elephant nose) I looked like this:

I recently visited the Dr. for the official report and, unfortunately the assistant weighed me first. The scale made a noise that sounded uncannily like “One at a time, please” and I watched the medical assistant mark my height and weight on the chart and saw that the intersection landed over the line dividing overweight and obese. I am now obese. I look like this:

I had a hard time focusing on the doctor telling me I have moderate to severe sleep apnea (I may have been looking for chocolate in my purse). Since I had stopped breathing 125 times the night of the first study, the longest episode lasting 41 seconds, the elephant nose is my new appendage.

As if pushing the upper limit of middle-age with a thickening body that sprouts hair in the most inconvenient places isn’t enough to make a woman feel unattractive, sleeping with the long hose protruding from my nose whilst making Darth Vader noises adds to that empowering feeling of “I Am Woman, hear me roar!”

My husband tries to be supportive as I struggle to roll from obese back to overweight, in an effort to help the sleep apnea. While I gnaw on salad greens he offers encouraging phrases such as, “Does it bother you that I eat my chocolate Hagen Daas in front of you?” After he dislodges the pint from his nasal cavity, he gives me a back massage. I now look like this:

I think he may be getting it. The other night I awoke to find him shoving my nasal pillows back up my nostrils. Apparently, the mask had slipped and the resulting vortex alerted his survival instincts and he didn’t want to wake me, so he took action. At least, that’s what he told me. I think he’s afraid for his Hagen Daas.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

3 Generations of Drama

My four-year-old granddaughter (DramaPrincess) loves to talk to me on the cell phone—long enough to ask if she can talk to one of my other children, D or S. (If they are perchance unavailable, she asks to talk to Gramp). In essence: I am the telephone operator of the household for the DramaPrincess.

Whilst on the phone today with my daughter (DramaQueen), her daughter was nagging her, demanding to know what my daughter and I were planning. My daughter ignored her for awhile, then DramaPrincess wanted to talk to me.

Here is how part of the conversation went:

DramaPrincess [demanding]: Let me talk to Gran

Me: I don’t want to talk to her if she’s just going to ask to talk to D or S

DramaQueen: Do you want to talk to Gran just so you can ask to talk to D or S?

DramaPrincess: Yes

DramaQueen: Then you can’t talk to Gran

DramaPrincess: Why?

DramaQueen: It makes Gran feel bad when you only talk to her so you can ask to talk to D or S

DramaPrincess: [exasperated] Ok. I’ll talk to her for 2 minutes

DramaQueen: That’s not long enough

DramaPrincess: [exaggerated sigh] Ok. I’ll talk to her for 10 minutes

Me: That will work

DramaQueen: Here’s Gran

DramaPrincess: Hi Gran!

Me: Why don’t you want to talk to me? Why are you such a stinker? Did you learn how to be such a stinker from your mom?

DramaPrincess: Yes. I learn everything from my mom. I’m just like her.

Me: You are just like her. But that’s a good thing. Your mom is a really good person to be just like.

DramaPrincess: And my mom is just like you.

Me: Thank you, that’s the sweetest thing I’ve heard all day!

DramaPrincess: You’re welcome. Can I talk to D or S now?

So, if my granddaughter is the DramaPrincess, and my daughter is the DramaQueen, what does that make me? I guess I’m the DramaMama. The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

(Challenge: I used whilst and perchance in the previous paragraphs—try to use one or both words conversationally today)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today's mental forecast: Foggy with a slight chance of inspiration

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Did you ever wonder why?

On every airline flight I hear the attendant announce “Please lock your tray tables and return your seat backs to the upright position.” This is repeated prior to take off and in preparation for landing.

Why? I mean, the seat only reclines 2.5 cm in the first place.

I did a little research and I found that there is an actual regulation concerning this very thing:

Do procedures prohibit an airplane from taking off or landing unless each passenger seat back is in the upright position, except as provided in 14 CFR part 121.311(e)(1-2)?

Note(s):  During takeoff and landing, seatbacks may be reclined provided:

• Seatbacks do not obstruct access to emergency exits. and

• Seatbacks do not obstruct any passenger’s access to the aisle or to any emergency exit when cabin seats are used for cargo or for persons unable to sit erect for medical reasons.

Updated: Rev # 3 on 09/15/2009
SRRs: 121.311(e)

Wait! Did that just say “seatbacks may be reclined provided…”

So it’s more of a suggestion then.

A regulation that would actually be more helpful would be:

“Passengers are prohibited from boarding an aircraft if…

1) The only use they have for a toothbrush is to scratch their backs; or

2) The fumes emanating from their pores exceed 2x the legal limit of alcohol, or

3) The last time the passenger showered was when he fell in the irrigation ditch last fall”

My seatmate on a recent flight would have failed all three tests. I prayed that the oxygen mask would fall from the compartment in the ceiling, but then realized that Mr. Stink next to me would have to lift his arms to get his mask, too. I recanted.

I was glad that my tray table was stowed, so access to my airsickness bag was not obstructed. Airsickness bags are not as big as they used to be. When the flight attendant came through the cabin one last time to collect “any remaining service items” she wasn’t expecting what I dropped in her trash bag. With my shirt pulled up to cover my nose and mouth to act as a filter for my burning lungs, I surreptitiously rolled my eyes in the direction of Mr. Stink. I was trying to place the blame where it belonged, but she didn’t take me seriously because my seat was not in the upright position in preparation for landing. Which caused me to question why, which led to this post, and the realization that, like stop signs in Mexico, the upright seat backs are more of a suggestion.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What do YOU want for Mother's Day?

My sister-in-law posted a list of gift ideas she wants for Mother's Day here. It is a list that suits her perfectly and I don't wish to gloat, but I already have at least one thing on her list (I'm not telling specifics--let's just say my bite is now worse than my bark!)

Since I'm the woman who has everything (my affirmation for the day), I only want one thing for Mother's Day...

(drum roll, please)

World Peace.

Oops. Typo.

I meant Whirled Peace. As in "Imagine Whirled Peace" the way Ben & Jerry's intended:
and I quote "caramel and sweet cream ice cream swirled with fudge peace signs and toffee cookie pieces"


Also, I had the pleasure to speak with Rebecca Cressman from and with her interview skills, I almost sound like a normal mother. My teenage son listened to it and said "Wow, Mom, you almost had me fooled!" Check the interview out if you have a few minutes. You can listen to it, read it, print and frame it, or eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream with it. Very versatile.

What do you want for Mother's Day?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Mother's Daze!

Before she ever became a parent, first-time author Jane Still was the “perfect mother”. In her new book Mother’s Daze Jane shares her hilarious wake-up calls as she evolves from pre-pregnancy perfection to the reality of being in perpetual mothers’ daze.

I laughed as I commiserated with her—from having to wear maternity clothes home from the hospital (I also faced that dilemma—but it never occurred to me to wear the bed sheet), to stashing dirty cloth diapers throughout the house so her frugal husband could “convince” her that disposable diapers were a bargain at any cost.

Mother’s Daze delivers laughs from gestation to lactation and beyond. This fun combination of motherhood and laughter makes this an ideal gift for any mother on Mother’s Day.

I had the opportunity to interview Jane Still:

(Okay, okay—I didn’t take the opportunity when I had it, so I just wrote it as I imagined it would be)

Terri: I’ve had a hard time catching up with you, Jane.

Jane: Me, too! I accidentally checked myself instead of my bag at the airport

Terri: Didn’t you freeze to death in the baggage compartment?

Jane: Fortunately, the plane lost a generator and they heard me clawing at the cargo door. I’m glad I didn’t bother doing my hair today.

Terri: You’ve traveled a lot lately. I saw you in Dayton at the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers’ workshop, in Provo at LDStorymakers’ Writers’ Conference, and now at Women’s Conference. I’ve seen you more than your family has. Have you spoken to your husband recently?

Jane: Homeland Security has my home number on speed dial now. They usually give me a minute to say “hello” to him.

Terri: Speaking of your husband, what does Rick think about your writing? Is he excited for your first book Mother’s Daze?

Jane: He likes the fact that I can’t talk while I write—he’s urging me to get to work on a sequel—a long sequel.

Terri: What would a sequel to Mother’s Daze be called?

Jane: I think Father’s Laze is appropriate when I remember how eager Rick was to change diapers—not!

Terri: How do you stay looking so fit and have so much energy?

Jane: I lost 35 lbs on Nutrisystem.

Terri: I thought it was the HCG diet?

Jane: That’s what I said.

Terri: Whichever it was, you look great!

Jane: You can lose weight too!

Terri: Did you just call me fat?

Jane: [Moos loudly, followed by a pig-like squeal]

Terri: Thank you, Jane [gives an injured sniff]

Jane: Hey, I’ve got to pick up product endorsements where I can to tide me over until the royalty payments roll in.

Terri: We have time for one more question. Jane, what advice would you give other mothers out there?

Jane: Skip over the parent part and go straight to being a grandparent. And check out my website.

Terri: Thanks Jane!

Happy Mother’s Daze everyone! You can get your own copy at or

(disclaimer: no actual Janes were used or harmed in this interview)
Avoiding 'Death by PowerPoint' (
As a rule, I try to avoid death by any means...but, PowerPoint seems an exceedingly dull way to die...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Must set my imagination aside and focus on accounting. focus. on. accounting. Squirrel!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quick Change Artist (Author)

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend two writing conferences lately. The most recent was the LDStorymakers’ Writers’ Conference. I realized that not only was my creative genius (a term I use loosely) fed, but I was hanging out amongst rich and famous writers.

Famous writers at least. I think the rich ones may have been camouflaged since I couldn’t see any, and the ones I suspected were rich, refused to show me their balance sheets although I flashed my CPA credentials at them…

Speaking of flashing credentials, when it came time to change from my casual business conference-wearing attire to my rich-and-famous writer attire for the Whitney Awards, I realized I could either: 1) Change in the bathroom; or, 2) Ask to use someone’s hotel room.

Since I had alienated the writers who were potentially wealthy enough to afford a hotel room by my Jack Bauer-like attempts to find out if they were rich and famous, and I had already spent enough time in the bathroom that day (I sure love Diet Coke), I decided to come up with another option:

My 2010 Cyber Gray Metallic Camaro SS. (Which, incidentally, was not parked in the parking garage, but out in an open lot by a busy traffic light).

My mission—change from frumpy, grumpy Terri Ferran, CPA to glamorous, genius Terri Ferran, Author. In my Camaro. In daylight, without alerting the fashion police or the real police.

Mission accomplished. Yes, I changed in my car. Yet another reason to love my Camaro!

Here are pictures of a couple of rich and famous authors I mingled with. (Disclaimer—I cannot vouch for their actual richness)

Janette Rallison & me all dolled up (Rebecca disappeared, maybe I should check the Camaro trunk...)

Rachel Rager, me (my vision was blurring as I snapped this, Need. Diet. Coke.)

and, the Piece de Resistance:

My vision has cleared. Apparently chocolate works as well as Diet Coke.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Re-framing the moment

It’s all in how you frame things…

This week has been a little rough for various reasons. As I drove to yet another commitment tonight, I felt like I’d been dragged backwards through a knothole. Then I realized I could re-frame it. I could either be:

A) The migraine-induced-innards-turned-outtards old worn out unit that has shared my skin all week, or…

B) I could be the three-time author, rocketing forth in my cyber-gray metallic 2010 Camaro SS, tunes blasting, on my way to a dinner honoring authors.

Here’s what I decided:

If you can’t tell if I chose option A or option B, I have much bigger problems than I thought!

So I had a lovely dinner, courtesy of my publisher CFI, got to visit with some of my favorite author friends.

Here are two of them below:

This is me and my new friend, Jane Still, author of Mother's Daze at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. Jane's goes 90 miles an hour--without a muscle car, all on her own power. If you click on her link above, you'll see her own self-portrait on her book!

This is me and my friend Janet Burningham, author of Monday Nights in Jerusalem (and 2 other books in the series) at the CFI authors' dinner. She claims her life has gone downhill since she met me, but I think she's doing great--a lot better than the character Janet in my first book, Finding Faith

It was a fun evening and reminded me that life is fun, even when it's hard. Need a light read? Read this handy, dandy book:

Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Cedar Fort or me!

If you already have it, please leave a review at one or more of these sites.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Loved Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop!LDStorymakers Writers' Conference-2 days, & BYU Women's Conference-8 days. I'm bursting with inspiration!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A visit to St Mary's

I recently worked in St. George for a few days. I stayed with my colleague and friend who owns a modest little home down there:

She is a nice woman, but her Diet Coke was expired. Do you know what expired Diet Coke tastes like? Formaldehyde. Not that I ever drank formaldehyde, but some things you just know—like Pepsi tastes like toilet bowl cleaner. Or at least what I would imagine toilet bowl cleaner to taste like if I were to indulge.

I brought my own Diet Coke this trip, so my friend sought to torture me another way. Sunday before I left home, my family and I had a nice dinner consisting of:

Roast beef
Mashed potatoes

A very good dinner. Then on Monday, my friend cooked dinner for me. She made:

Roast beef
Roasted potatoes

She is a nice person—a saint, really. But then on Tuesday:

Roast beef
Warmed up roasted potatoes

I am trying to be a polite house guest, but when I came home Wednesday, her halo became a little more tarnished. She cooked:

Roast beef
Fried, warmed-up roasted potatoes

It’s not that I’m picky. Okay, I am picky, but enough is enough. Especially when I received the following letter in my email. It went like this:

Dear Ms. Ferran,

We are in possession of your food diary for the past four evenings and would like to file a formal protest.

How many of our kindred dead do you plan on eating?

Have you no imagination? What happened to the chocoholic deep within you? Get a grip, get some chocolate and go pig out. Away from us.

We will seek a restraining order if necessary.

                Mr. Potato Head, Junior Asparagus and those cows that paint the signs for Chik-Fil-A.

I didn’t even know cows and vegetables could type, let alone have internet access. I am a little concerned.

Thankfully, I was rescued on Thursday with a dinner of pulled pork, a cinnamon yam, and chocolate pie I saved for Friday morning’s breakfast.

German chocolate pie, washed down with Diet Coke. Ahhhh, the burn.

I don't know when I can ever go back there. Maybe next year, when the nightmares fade...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished...

Last Sunday I stopped by my friend's house to bring her a little treat because she was feeling down. After saying goodbye and running down the stairs, I had a moment...

Trip! Splat! Swear!

So much for my new, white $3 Walmart shirt--driveway marks all over the sleeve.

My friend couldn't stop laughing--oh, she tried, but she failed. I just wanted to write her a Thank You note and let her know how I am doing:

Dear Karen,

I am doing fine after the nasty trip and fall on your property. I’m glad you liked the cookies.Thank you for your friendship and concern. I have learned many things from you:

1. Your driveway is hard and unforgiving
2. You were too late with the helmet
3. No good deed goes unpunished
4. The brownies were delicious
5. A true friend lies in the driveway with you until you can get up
6. At least I didn’t lose any teeth (which means my super powers are still intact)

P.S. What are the limits on your homeowners’ policy?

A couple of photos for your scrapbook:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Well....I Never!

I had a lunch meeting with a prospective client recently at one of his favorite restaurants—a Thai place. I had to swallow my fear of the food—as well as some of the food, itself. It was tough, because I am the pickiest eater I know. Condiment-free, vinegar free, pepper-free, flavor-free—that’s me!

I confessed to the client that I’d never had Thai food before. Mistake? Maybe.

I also admitted I’d never been skiing before (Yikes! I’ve lived in Colorado or Utah for 40 years). Considering the client is a winter sports equipment retailer, I may have made another mistake.

I feel justified. I can see myself like a 1970s Barbie doll—legs won’t bend, they’re pulled opposite directions, they break off right at the hip. Snap. Duct tape, Velcro, or super glue ain’t gonna fix a problem like that. And I can prevent it—no skiing for me (snow or water).

The client’s expression hinted at pity. No Thai food. No skiing.

Don’t judge me.

There are lots of things I’ve never done. For instance, I never…

Got acrylic nails (I did poke a straight pin through one of my nails to see how tough a finger nail really is. They really aren’t that tough, and there are a lot of nerve endings in the nail bed).

Ate a snail (I caught my son salting snails on my front doorstep one day watching them shrivel. I also paid my daughter a penny a snail to chuck them over the fence out of my back yard. She earned about a dollar that day. I guess I could have added my own butter and saved myself a buck!).

Went to jail (Although multiple family members have multiple times—but they got three square meals a day, a free toothbrush, and the streets were a little safer for awhile).

Had to make bail (I let the afore-mentioned family members wait it out and tell it to the judge).

Was ridden out of town on a rail (However, I was kicked out of the flea market in Cancun because my sister was too cheap, and I look and act a lot like her).

Nails, snails, jail, bail, rail…apparently I’m ail-ing today.

What have you never done?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shameless promo...Keep reading!

It’s here!

I have my sweaty, chubby fingers gripped around my newest book: Life’s Alphabet Soup: When Your Children Make You Eat Your Words

A glimpse at the back cover blurb:

“Terri Ferran might not be the world’s best mother, but she just might be the mother with the best stories.

For years, Terri balanced a professional career with the demands of raising six kids and almost became completely unbalanced in the process. Now she brings a fresh take on parenting and a double dose of hilarity to Life’s Alphabet Soup: When Your Children Make You Eat Your Words. Inside you’ll find all kinds of motherly wisdom. For example:

HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD TO STOP RAIDING THE COOKING JAR: let her eat all the cookies she wants one day and then see if she can make it through the night without tossing them up.

HOW TO UNITE THE FAMILY IN A COMMON CAUSE: organize a rat-killing party in the backyard.

HOW TO GET YOUR HUSBAND TO PULL WEEDS: become an accidental neighborhood charity case.”

You get all this, and more, in one easy-to-read volume.

Be the first person on your block (or in your mind) to get your signed copy! Come and see me at Barnes & Noble in Sandy, this Saturday from 1-4 pm. Can’t make it then? Come to Costco in West Valley on Saturday, Feb 13th from 11-4 pm. You don’t have to stay the whole time…unless you’re behind in your shopping like I am. Or your idea of lunch out is the samples at Costco. I’m not here to judge you, I’m here to entertain you. At least that’s what my children believe…

It's also a great Mother's Day gift...or Valentine's Day gift...or birthday gift...or "Buy a Book for yourself" gift...the list goes on...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wasting away in iguanaville...

It seems that I have a lot in common with iguanas…

As I read in a recent newspaper article:

When temperatures drop, the iguanas, many up to 6 feet long, go into a stunned, catatonic state, stiffen and fall to the ground from tree branches and other perches.

This may be news in Florida and to iguanas, but I’ve had this happen to me several times…except for the perching in a tree branch part (although I am nearly 6 feet long if I lie on the ground—give or take 7 inches).

Just last Friday, as I was in a stunned, catatonic state at 6 a.m., I stiffened and fell to the ground dismounting from the treadmill. Dropped like a stupefied iguana hanging out in a frozen orange juice tree.

I rolled my ankle and caused not insignificant seismic activity.

Did reporters flock to report my plight? No (unless you count that seventh grader who gets email updates from the US Geological Survey doing a science project).

At least I was inside and didn’t risk actually freezing to death.

Don’t feel too badly about the iguanas. Apparently they were simply in a state of suspended animation and came back to life when they lay out in the sun. Once again, in amazing similarity to me.

There’s only one cure for it that I can see—Cancun. It is sure to cure what ails me. I’m thinking I’ll see some of my iguana buddies there. Adios.