Saturday, December 12, 2009

When I Was Young, It Seemed That Life Was So Wonderful, a Miracle. Oh It Was Beautiful, Magical.

The day after Christmas in 1991 I was given a pair of hiking boots, a Patagonia windbreaker, a Cannondale and my walking papers. My boyfriend broke up with me the day after Christmas because he didn't want me to always think of Christmas as the day we broke up. I could see that these gifts were supposed to be my consolation prizes. But the guy said to me before he would hand over the bike, and this is rich, he said that he didn't want me to have the bike unless I was going to use it. And he meant it. Who says, "I'd like to give you this sweater as a Christmas gift but only if you swear will really, really wear it." What-ever.

I was so bound and determined that Mr Mister was going to find out about my riding the crap out of that bike, that I committed to it. I had visions of me being the next Julie Furtado and Mr just shaking his head, saying, "I didn't think she had it in her. I was so, so wrong." I had no other goal in life but this, to make him eat his words.

I began to pray. My Grandmother Jenkins told me she used to pray for her talents to be magnified. I had a basic concept of what I thought this meant. So when I wasn't laying on the floor crying to God and begging that Mr's junk would fall off for leaving me for someone else, I prayed that my cycling would be magnified. I began to ride. I lived in the foothills at the time but began on the street. The first time out riding, I was pushing my bike up a hill that I couldn't go up. Instead of telling myself this would never, ever work and I should just give up, which is kind of my Modus Operandi, I thought, "This will get easier. This is how it begins." And I just calmly talked myself into investing the time that it would take to get better.

One day my ex's mother came over to my house. She sat down in the living room to talk with my grandmother, my mother and I and she gave me a picture of Jesus. She said that she knew that things were hard for me right now, but that Jesus could be my husband. I had no idea what she was talking about. Nuns married Jesus. We were Mormon. So I got back on my bike. Those times when I felt alone and wanted to sit in my room, listen to Gladys Knight and smoke endless cigarettes, I got on my bike. When I had to go to work, I would ride my bike. When I had to go to school at UVU, I rode there. I started to venture off -road. I lost weight and gained muscle. Two of my best guy friends, Eric and Jim, began to ride with me and we had an insane amount of fun. We went everywhere on our bikes. One day Jim said, "Let's go to Will's Pit Stop and get a drink." So we headed down Quail. I was in cut off jean shorts and a wide Axl Rose bandanna like all the tools wear now. I remember because as we pulled in, I saw the old familiar gray Volvo in the lot. It was too late to warn Jim. He was already ahead of me and parking his bike. Mister and his girlfriend were coming out of the store. And I happened to be heading right for them. They greeted me with warm hugs, stopped to chat and Kristen was kind enough to show me her ring. I noticed it was the exact style Mr told me that he had always wanted to give to his fiance. I pretended to be really, really happy for them. I must have said goodbye. I'm sure I went in and got a drink. I must have ridden home with Jim. Though I can't recall any of that part. But I remember what her hand looked like with that ring on it.

I began to ride with a team and pick up local races. I had an emergency appendectomy and was told not to get on my bike for 6 weeks. I got on my bike after 4. I split some stitches but I was addicted. After glancing outside my bedroom window one afternoon, and seeing my uncle tooling around in the street on my bike, I found her, Little Nel, a new place to live other than the garage. I put her up over my bed. We were always together. She was my replacement husband.

My singles ward and the ward my ex was in were sister wards and this being the 90's they planned a joint activity trip to Moab. We were all going down to go ride Slickrock. This was my chance, I thought. I knew I hadn't been racing in anything that would be covered in Mtn Bike Action and as such the chance of my ex actually knowing anything about my cycling was pretty slim, so I placed all of my hope on the chance that he may have friends still in the ward that might miraculously spread the word about this to him. If I could kill everyone on this ride, it might possibly make it back to him. It was a long shot, but I had nothing else. I had to do it. I had to beat them all. The guy organizing the joint activity was a friend's brother and he was a serious rider. She told me he and a group of others were meeting at the first gate around like 9 in the morning. They were the contenders. The casual riders were leaving later, around 11. I was with a couple of friends and we got to the first gate at Slickrock to wait for the contender group. I went over the little cow catcher grate at the first gate and my chain right broke. No problem, right? Easy to fix. I unzipped my seat pack. No chain tool. I ask my group, no chain tools. No one. I ask riders going by, I ask riders in the parking lot. I ask the group of contenders when they show up to ride. No chain tool. No. One. Has. A. Chain. Tool. I have to go to Bill 'em and Rob 'em.

Bill and Rob own the best, most expensive and for a while the only, Bike Shop in Moab. Remember, again, early 90's. So what I am suddenly faced with is the knowledge that I have to ride into town and hope that I can be back in time to catch up and ride with the non-contenders at 11. So I coast down the hill and push my bike all the way to Rob and Bills shop. I walk in and explain I need a chain tool, and I don't have any money. Now, at the time I really had no idea what I was doing. Asking a couple of overweight middle aged guys to pretty please help me, a 19 year old long haired blond. If I had, I may have asked for a lot more. I thought I was asking for a miracle since I had not a dime on me. As it was, they fixed it for me, asked for nothing in exchange and sent me on my way in a fairly professional manner. (I later took them some beer, I think. Maybe that was another time...) I rode back through town, up the hill and back up to Slickrock. I found out I had missed the second group. A couple of people in the parking lot from my ward had seen them leave about a half hour before I got there. I decided to see if I could catch up with them. After an almost three hour trip into town, I finally embarked on my ride.
The first time I rode Slickrock was with Mister. And we stopped a lot because I was tired or I would hit my front break and go over the handle bars or because we wanted to make-out. It took us, I want to say, four hours-ish. And I remember spending some extra time on two sections that he struggled with. One was a hop-skip over a log onto a little ledge and the other was a big flat steep hill with a top lip that was like a curb. It went straight up. He never did get the log part but after a few tries he managed to get up the hill. I remember afterwards going back to the tent and my legs felt like they had a fever in them. They were hot to the touch and were almost swollen. I was in so much pain.

This time around I was alone, recalling everything again. The log part, the little place where we laid down to rest, the overhang where we sat and smooched a bit. I met up with the non-contender group and said hi to them on my way by. I met stragglers from both wards along the way. I met up with the hill. I killed it my first run. I went on and caught up with the contenders, only to find they seemed to be having some issues with the terrain. They were struggling, those boys. I stayed with them but it was clear, somehow I was better than they were. I passed them and went on to the end. I just kept going and going. I finished up with Slickrock, I want to say, around two hours..? When I finished I thought about what I had just accomplished. I had just pushed Nel into town, I had just ridden miles and miles back up hill only to go on to meet and beat everyone on that ride from both wards. Something in me clicked, and I set it down. I set down my bike and I set down the whole desire I had to prove anything to my ex. I didn't get over him then, but I got over me not getting over him. I rode some after that but it just wasn't the same. I didn't have anyone to ride for. No one to prove anything to. I had proved I could do it. I knew I could have beaten Mister and his arrogant little riding buddies and I would have done it handily. It was all over. Eventually I cut and dyed my hair and became angry and started drinking. I grew calloused over and one day when I was in bad spot for rent I sold Little Nel to some business man. It killed me to do it.

A couple marriages and kids happened over time and now I am here in the present day and Julia and I are talking about getting into shape. This brings up all kinds of things for me, because the last time I did so it was because I was heart broken and angry and frustrated and sad. I was taking out my frustrations about not being in control and not being good enough for someone and for loving someone that didn't believe in me. Now I will be getting in shape so I do not have to post a picture of myself in a bikini on Facebook. So I am trying to tell myself I will be doing it to prove that I am not too old, that I can do whatever it is I set my mind to and that I can remember how to ride a bike. It's just like,'s own self. At the end of this fitness challenge that runs from Jan to the end of May, I want to go to Slickrock and ride it. And I hope to go up that super hard hill again, and go over the place where I passed the contenders. And I hope to do it better and faster and stronger than ever before because I am older and wiser and I will have brought a chain tool. We'll have to see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ironing a Record

I have this really faded memory. The kind that may have been a dream, may have actually happened, may have been seen on TV. It is of a record that was left in the sun in the back window of a car. And the thing got so hot that it melted into a wavy bubbly oval, like a tortilla cooking. When my Grandma Virginia wanted to do the impossible she would call it "ironing a record". Being a visual person, I always loved the mental picture of my Grandma in an apron with an ironing board and an old warped 45.

When I was living in the Avenues in Salt Lake one Sunday these women came in from another ward and did a little skit in Relief Society. One of them had THE highest stilettos I have ever seen at church. At some point the woman leaned over the table to pretend to answer the phone and her high heel caught in the crocheted table covering. I was frozen. She was inches away. Do I stand up and stop her and unloosen her heel and make them start the skit over? Does she know she's caught? And around the time I am processing, sure enough, her heel slices right through and tears a hole in it a foot long and wide. It is a handmade work of art. I am now sick to my stomach. She makes a surprised and horrified face before she sits down for the rest of the meeting. I can't think of anything else but this tablecloth.

At the end of the meeting I stay in my place waiting for all of the female traffic to sort of thin out. A woman comes over to the table to clear it off. She reverently picks up the tablecloth and folds it up, then turns right to me and says, "I don't even know how to fix this. Do you know someone that can fix this?" And I say, "I can," and hold out my arms. She sort of jumps back and then hands it to me. I am not sure why I said it, it was only a hunch I could do it, but I felt I could. So I take it home and get out a needle and thread. I pick up the torn strands, figure out where they connect in the pattern and then sew them up. When I was done, I could still tell where it had been torn. I was kind of sad so I put it down and walked away from it. (Something Grandma taught me...) The next day when I looked at it again I didn't know where the tear was anymore, I couldn't find it. I was marveled. What really are the odds the woman would turn and ask that question right to the person who could fix it? 1/60? What are the odds I would be sitting right there in that seat? 1/2,000? What are the odds I would even be in Salt Lake, or in that ward, on that day? 1/18,000,000,000,000?? great.

When people ask me what I do, I really have no answer. It depends on the shoot. 'Technically" I do make-up and props and wardrobe for commercials so my title usually reads, "Art Director" on the crew sheet. But really each shoot is a unique set of problems that I get to try and solve. Like a puzzle. Or a riddle. I used to work retail and the necklaces used to turn into a rat king in shipping sometimes and I was the only volunteer to untangle the messes. I loved it. Today it dawned on me, I am a record ironer. I had two illegitimate kids and was a dead broke single mom who was working three jobs and trying to go to school, now I am a happily employed happily married mother of two beautiful kids sealed to their Dad in the temple. I used to be a half a pack a day smoker with a loose grasp on the definition of integrity and now I'm a Relief Society Secretary. (For 1.75 GPA me, that is a big deal.) I used to live in homes of strangers and at the mercy of friends and move from place to place at least twice a year and now I am a homeowner thanks to the spirit that helped me find a silly house for a song in my great old neighborhood. And all of these things about me that I am making sound so awesome do not belong to me. Be clear about this, if I am awesome at any of these things, if I have a moment where I am an awesome Mom or a great cook or a compassionate listener, it is because of my Grandmother. Her genes and her influence and her testimony and her prayers. It's not mine to brag over, any of it. My good qualities, my happy life, my love of God, all belong to her. I love her. I cherish her. I will miss her.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is the Right Place. To Freak Out.

I had the privilege and honor of being asked to shoot with Tyler Gourley for Deseret Book. I think Tyler is one of the most talented photographers in Utah and I have not worked for Deseret Book since the Jericho Road days. So I was totally excited when I was asked to come help shoot for their catalog at This is the Place State Park. Until I heard the ghost stories. Then I wanted to leave.

I have never in my life been up to This is the Place State Park. If you also have not, I suggest you go up there and take the kids. You can tell it's for kids by the font. It looks the same as the font used by The Children's Place clothing store. I hardly think that's a coincidence. I thought TITPSP was going to be a big statue of some Mormon dudes and their oxen sprinkled with seagull poop parked somewhere off the freeway. I had no idea there was a whole actual town, called Heritage Village. (It's right next to the big statue of some Mormon dudes and their oxen sprinkled with bird poop.)
In Heritage Village there are these beautiful historical buildings from all over the state that have been picked up and carefully tiptoed to this new resting place. They have furniture from their famous deceased homeowners and/or their time periods and the rooms are all made up as if they are being lived in currently. They are all very historically accurate and super fascinating. Especially for people who love aesthetics. So all of us could not help but to look around at things in between getting our shots. In the Heber C Kimball house there were some cool instruments, a funky chair made out of horns and a haunted doll. Yep. A rag doll that allegedly moves around on it's own whilst you navigate about the house. According to Diamond Jim, who is an expert on the place and a tour guide, the doll will be laying on the bed until you go downstairs, where you may then see it at the piano. Or sitting at the kitchen table. Or by the china cabinet. But this is not the only reported haunting. One time a little girl told her Dad she wouldn't go up the stairs with him. She was at the bottom of the staircase. He turned at the second to top stair and asked her what her problem was. She pointed to his pant leg and said something about not wanting to go near the child by his side. He then felt a distinct tugging on his pant leg and watched his jeans actually move, even though he could not see anything there.

I thought that was a quaint story and imagined the kind of attention starved people that must have made something like that up. Then we wrapped out our day and went home. The next day we were to be shooting in the park again. I woke up super early and got ready. I was drinking my hot cocoa in the Jeep when I turned the radio to 101.9 The End. They were doing their annual ghost hunters radio show where they bring people in from the Ghost Investigators Society or Ghost Hunters Club or whatever it's called. They do this for a few hours during October so they can tell stories about their ghostie adventures. They begin the show by playing a bunch of EVPs. These are taped recordings of ghost voices that can not be heard with the "naked ear". I never think they are accurate. Like if they say to the audience, "In this EVP you will hear a little child say, "Don't leave me!"" I always think its sounds like an old woman saying, "Cleveland." This year it is no different. Then they begin to talk about This is the Place State Park. And they all agree it's one of the most haunted places in Utah. So I turn it up, because I am on I-15 headed North. And Jimmy Chunga, AKA Brett Smith, tells a story about Cort getting hit with a ball of light and feeling really dark and gross, in the same exact spot a guy in years past had his wrist broken. Then a woman calls in and says she believes the park is haunted because her child saw another child that wasn't there and it happened by the white schoolhouse. And the hairs on my neck stand up. I pull into the entrance of the park. I see Tyler and his assistant Cody driving towards me. They tell me that they will stop by the building we are going to shoot at, so I should just follow them. I roll up my window and we start up a dirt road. Chunga is now talking about a night of ghost hunting at the State Park in the Andrus Halfway House. He was with a woman that is supposed to be a certified psychic. The two of them went into one of the upstairs bedrooms, he even got specific as to which one but I don't recall it now, and they suddenly felt cold and odd. He said the temperature in the room dropped like 40 degrees in fifteen seconds. Chunga then turned to see a little boy in tweed knee pants run past him and go straight into the wall. The psychic just dropped to her knees and began to cry. I assume she also wet herself and released her bowels. I would have.

I am now driving through the park with my mouth open holding my cup of cocoa. We stop. I look to my right and there is the white schoolhouse. To my left? The Andrus Halfway House. I park and knock on Tyler's car window. I tell them to turn on 101.9. They catch the last of the story so I fill them in on the first part. We listen to them talk some more about other spooky experiences people have had there and we turn off our cars. I tell the guys that the building Chunga was talking about is *right there*. We all go up to the fence. It's not helping that it is all decorated for Halloween. They have a big HUGE haunted affair there, you can go around and look in the houses and the little orchards are full of fake bodies and stuff. It's cool. And they had begun the decorating THAT DAY. So we go look in the windows of the Andrus house and it's about one third of the way finished being decorated. Just as I glide along the porch casually looking in the windows, Cody steps away from one and reveals a dummy pressed up against the glass. I jump and squeal. A carnal sin. You never let other crew see your petticoat. It's like film rule 101. The rest of the day the guys keep setting me up and scaring me. We move from building to building taking care of our set ups and our shots. We'd turn the corner and see a pioneer walking towards us with a musket or a woman in a long skirt and aprons and I'd wonder what it would be like if I knew they weren't real.

It became a little old, the haunted thing, by mid afternoon. We left the main part of the park for Brigham Young's farmhouse. It's pink. It's a big pink gingerbread house. Which I venture to guess is why he never actually lived there. It was used instead for events and visiting dignitaries. We entered the thing and were greeted by a large sweet man. He told us about the house, it's purposes and it's ghost. One of the wives, Ann Eliza, loved the house. She was the only wife of Brigham's to divorce him. (I guess if you play the odds, even a prophet, and even back in those days, you're bound to lose one...) Anyway Ann Eliza did not like people in her house. He said that during a previous Halloween he was setting up a CD player for sound effects as part of the spook display. He left the room and came back to hear it playing. He turned the thing off and left again to carry in more things for the display. He entered, only to hear it playing again. This time he unplugged it. And it still turned back on. People use the building for receptions and parties and a lot of people claim to have seen a woman at the sink looking out the window or hear footsteps on the floor above. The footsteps thing may not be so impressive. I could hear what the people upstairs were wearing the floor was so touchy, but the woman at the window thing? Yeah. So again, we begin to set up our shots. I go out to my car and get my tool boxes but before I cross the threshold back into the house I spiritually ask Ann Eliza if it's OK if I come back in. I make it clear I want her permission, out of respect. And then I assume she says yes because I come inside. I clean her windows. I pick up all of the trash I drop. I make sure I don't leave behind any dirt from my shoes. I put everything back where it belongs and even fix and fluff the pillows on the couches in a drawing room we never went into. Because what could be scarier than an angry German ex-wife ghost? I plan on being one myself one day. Cody double dog dares me to go down a pitch black stairway that leads to a locked door to the basement. I feel like I have to make up for the womanish squeal on the porch of the Halfway house, so I do it. I am surprisingly not scared. I tell myself it's because I have been respectful of Ann Eliza and she likes me. When we write up phony names for a prop FHE chalkboard. I thoughtfully assign Ann Eliza a task. I think she was in charge of the opening prayer. We wrap up our day by watching the sun come down over the various workers prepping the park and even shoot one cool shed full of bloody broken dolls hanging from their necks. We stand in the gravel parking lot and talk about everything but spooky stuff. By now we are not into it anymore. We are sick of the topic. We stand in the parking lot and chat about people we know and how great a time we had and how we hope to be able to shoot for Deseret Book again because they are just really cool down to earth people to work for and then we say our goodbyes.

I stop for gas at the Chevron off 7th East. There is a super scruffy older guy in his car about to leave, but then sees me walking into the station and stops. He turns off his car, gets out of the vehicle, and stands on the sidewalk, staring. I put my hand behind me and make an unfriendly gesture then place it on my butt. If he looks there, he deserves to see it. I go in and get a drink and pay for my gas. I walk past the guy that now stands in my way. I get past him. He then turns 180 degrees to watch me walk back to my car. I grab my keys in my hand like a weapon. Just in case. I pump my gas while this Bozo stands there and stares at me without any hint of subtlety at all. I imagine that in this guy's POV I am like a Tweety bird that turns into a roast bird on a plate. I finish pumping, sprint into my car and lock the doors. I pull through the lot and see that the guy gets back into his car and finally pulls out going in my opposite direction. That was easily the scariest thing to happen to me the whole day. I believe certain people do see ghosts. I am sure they have a gift or a talent for it. I do not. I don't think I see ghosts because I tend to believe they are nothing special, really. They are just normal people like me, that just happen to be dead on the outside. I'm afraid I'm just not afraid of them. I am afraid of people that are dead on the inside.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nigel and Me.

Covered in dog hair and blood, I had a moment. And while I was having it I was very conscious of the fact that it was not special. Everyone feels this way about their dogs. They drive you nuts until something happens to them.

A bunch of boys were over here playing on the Wii. Bella and I were finding back-to-school clothes on the computer. Aidan asked suddenly, "Who's bleeding?" We looked at the floor and there was blood all over, like someone had a bloody nose and walked it around the room. We followed the trail, all five of us, and it led to Nigel Pugmann sitting under a chair with his foot limply dangling there, bleeding and swollen. Aidan got a towel, I grabbed the dog and called Brett and we all went straight to the Vet. Who was closed. So we went to another Vet, who wouldn't take him. But if they weren't helpful at least they took forever. Brett got the most absurdly detailed directions from a woman at the front desk who's assistant just handed us a freaking card with a map on it for the Pet ER on 8th N. Meanwhile I am trying to hold him down and there is blood just everywhere. We finally arrived and a nice woman who smelled like so many Camel Lights helped us. She said he most likely was hit by a car. His foot was smooshed. He lost a foot pad, two toe nails, broke a toe, chipped the bone at the "knee" and dislocated a ligament, which is why his foot went all loosey goosey. He got weighed and we tried to take his (ahem) rectal temperature to no avail. So he got sedated, x-rayed, some cleaning solution for his ears and a little blue cast. He got a bunch of pills he won't take and then sent home.

I was holding our little broken guy in a towel on the way to the hospital when I realized he might actually have internal damage for all I knew and that he could maybe actually bite the black banana. I told him he was a good dog and we loved him and I found that I kind of meant it. Most days we, and by "we" I mean "I", hate this dog. He chews his feet loudly, he licks the wood floors obsessively, he is always underfoot. He sheds, he stinks, he barks at the birds and sneezes in our faces. And we wouldn't be the same family without him. Like Aidan said, "Who else would we all hate for being so dumb?"

We love you, Nigel. Thanks for not being as stupid as we think you are. You were at least smart enough to move a crucial 6 inches in one direction to save your own fat butt.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The *State* of Utah.

So I read a post from some lady. I will not be more specific. Someone that I follow on Twitter posted a link to it, so I clicked on it and read some. I felt like a few things about it were She was trying to defend the Church's treatment of women. Which is a good thing, I guess. But am I crazy in writing a post saying that we shouldn't post about this stuff? Yeeep.

She read an article against the Mormon Church's treatment of women. Not sure why. If you find it offensive, quit reading it. Like I did with her post. (I am told that later on she makes herself clear, but I chose to stop reading. Because I thought she made herself pretty clear in the beginning and middle.) She writes about how women are not in fact ever told by the Mormon Church to be subservient, like this article suggests, and then to prove her point she goes on to quote what our covenant actually IS in the temple. Now, I'm new around here, but I'm pretty sure they make it nutty clear that's not super cool. Also, she says that the wording in the covenant is purely ceremonial, really. And anyway she doesn't know any families really like that and what she believes is that women are really in charge. Like, *wink*.

She also then goes on to say that she can't speak for Utah women because she doesn't know what it's like in Utah homes. But she is pretty sure that, and I quote, "When President Gordon B. Hinckley speaks out in General Conference about Mormons not being arrogant about all they believe and have, I believe he's talking to Utah. (Because when you are a minority as a Mormon, you can't afford to be arrogant about it.)"

Aaaand that's where I quit reading. Because...what the crap?

Once when I went to a Fast and Testimony meeting in Colorado I couldn't believe what I heard. A man stood up and said some very ignorant and rude comments about Utah Mormons. It was the first time I had even heard of the concept of a "Utah" Mormon. I totally thought we were all in this together. But the loving and smart member I was with just went over and told him he appreciated his comments and talked to him until the guy asked where my friend was from, and he said proudly, Utah.

So very quickly, because the only way to handle a hot potato is to drop it, I will make my point. To swiftly and effectively defeat an opponent, divide and conquer.

Article of Faith # 13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

And so, trying my hardest to follow this even though it's frikkin hard at this very moment, I'll just say, Amen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to lose five pounds in one week.

Pretend like you say, "Hey, Amelia what have you been up to?"
And I answer, "Painting 400 sq feet of floor, that was covered in tar adhesive, until one in the morning for three days straight."
And you're like, "No way!"
And I go, "Yeah, I did. My 5 year old took pics. Wanna see 'em?"
And you go, "Sure!"

"Gee!" You say. "That looks hard."
I'm all modest so I go, "Naw, not really."
"How did it turn out?"
"Oh, Like this..."

And I'm like, "But don't even worry, we coated it with 2 coats of garage sealant to make it nice and tough. So it lasted all of thirty seconds until we moved the furniture in and ripped the paint off the floor in about ten places."
And like, you don't know what to say about that.
And then I start to cry and stuff.
And then you feel uncomfortable, and I feel bad I made you feel uncomfortable, so then I tell you all about our trip to Lagoon instead.

And then I tell you how I call this my Swim Gown, because it is one. And how I was easily the flattest woman under 39 there. (You laugh. But I can tell it's tinged with pity.)

And here is where you tell me how it looks like my kid is frisking his business through his pockets and I get all embarrassed because he totally is.

And then I tell you how my favorite part of the day was that my kids LOVED pioneer village and could have spent 3 hours there. And you get all jealous cause your kids would rather ride rides and eat cotton candy until they puke off the Jet Star 2.
And I'm like, "Wow...weird."
And then I wind it all up with my saying it was fun to see Jared and have him over and the in-laws are all so fun and we had a really, really good time bonding. So we say goodbye feeling good at the end of our chat. And I don't realize until after you leave I forgot to mention I lost 5 pounds with all of this activity going on. But then I realize that it's probably for the best that I didn't bring it up, 'cause that's super braggy to say and stuff.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Up and Running,

Chelsey and I are happy to finally announce we have up and running. It made me stop and think about how this vintage obsession that I have ever got started. And I have to credit some of my friends.

When I was in seventh grade my friend Tiff's older sister owned a store on Center St in Provo. Not sure if anyone will recall it, but it was up some stairs over a little diner that was called 534 or something to do with it's address. There were these little enclosed booths you could sit down and eat in. There were always teen hipsters in black clothes and sailor hats hanging out there. The little store had dressing rooms with hand-prints in different colors all over the walls. I thought it couldn't be more awesome. I would spend every dime I had there. Between those things and the stuff I "borrowed" from my Mom I made up a pretty punk-rock wardrobe. And by punk-rock I mean I got made fun of every single day of my life. Wearing lace gloves with a big tweed man's blazer and cuffed jeans is not cool in Provo Utah in November at the bus stop. It's just not. By the time Tiff and the Grow sisters started wearing cool vintage and Tiff started helping me pick cool stuff I was not laughed at so much and school girls started liking the things I wore. One week I wore a stack of gold necklaces with a German cross pinned at the neck of my collared shirt and by the next week it was a fad. I knew the torment would be over. For a few months at least, until I cut off my hair. That's another story...

After the little store closed down I had to get creative and I just borrowed a lot of clothes for the next few years. Until Sue Andrus took me to DI. I used to pass it and wonder what was going on in there, but I assumed it was some kind of storehouse. Like you had to qualify to enter. But Sue just walked in like she belonged there and we left with some of the most amazing vintage jewelry I still have ever seen, for just pennies. (I still have one of the bracelets.) And that was it for me. I remember shopping weekly in the old DI. When the basement was the best part. Back when the glass cases held all the wonders of the world, like Portobello Road. I miss the old DI. I miss the old pricing structure.

Once DI began to carry new items, (the pine furniture they manufacture), they had to restructure their business. Legally they are required to structure and price their merchandise like Target and Kmart. This is why DI no longer has things priced for a quarter, or fifty cents. It's not because the church needs the money. I personally think it stinks for shoppers. They are too overpriced to want to shop there anymore. It's not any fun. I used to find designer merchandise for two and three dollars. Now dresses can be fifteen to twenty bucks and tables, couches a hundred bucks. It's a rare occasion I find something great for the price I want to pay.

DI originally opened directly after the depression. They realized a need to try and pool extra resources from the saints and begin to redistribute these assets. There used to be drives to raise items. Men would come by weekly and haul stuff away. The church used to ask their members to give as much as possible and gave out DI bags to fill. Not we have so much stuff the DI problem is processing it all and figuring out what is garbage and what is not. I do so enjoy DI dumpster diving. (The sorter's idea of trash is not always my idea of trash.) I wish I could go in every day. I should buy their garbage... I'm looking into that.

So, with this love of mine for old things I hope to bring some joy to people who may love old items as well, but not so much the dumpster diving. I get that that part is an acquired taste. I guess I've acquired it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dressers and Front Door in Robin's Egg Blue.

So here are the pictures of the dressers that my friends talked me into keeping. (Like I needed any arm twisting.) I wanted to sell them, but I am just far, far too in love with them. I used this great Benjamin Moore paint that is the only thing I use for furniture anymore.

Here is what they looked like when I brought them home from a community yard sale...

I haven't attached the mirror, yet. It's only one coat short of being done!

I took off all of the pulls and instead of replacing them, I painted them with a special spray paint I have found. 'Cause why tamper with perfection? Some people would think they should do that to update them. Tsk.

Pugmann has to be sure and shake a few hairs in for good luck. Ancient Chinese secret.

And here they are now! Tadadadada do do deeed eed od o ta da ta da tadada dada dada dada da DA!

If you've noticed I have no baseboards, you'd be right! That's #23497 on the to do list.

Aaaand because I loved it so much, I painted my front door this same color.

Wow, I really need to paint my front stoop. It's still covered in glue from the ripped up carpet we pulled off it the day we moved in. I'll add it to the list...#31567...paint...front...stoop.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A day late and...ok a lot of days late...and $500 short.

Well, I finally got my camera and my computer and the right cords and the right memory card all in the same place at the same time. It wasn't easy. So I now have the pictures from the Multi-Master shoot from what, six months ago? But here you go, if you still care at all.

This is what our kitchen looked like for six weeks. Seven? A lot of weeks.

Boy, did the animals love playing in the debris! They dragged it all over my house.

But don't even worry, the Multi-Master crew is here, now. Shhhh, yeah it's all gonna be OK now.

I think here Kent stepped on a nail. Sorry.

New counter tops going in.

Ooooooh, preeeeety.

I love my farm house sink.

Here are the floors going in. I had to es'plain how the pattern was supposed to go at the last minute. They had it wrong. So it slowed us up a bit. But they did it perfect and now I love them.

Jane is looking out the window wondering where her pile of debris went.

Oh, nope. There it is.

The deck.

There's that darn debris pile. And it looks like it's gotten angry. I don't want to see it angry.

I shouldn't have looked in the garage either.

Six months after the make-over we have had some issues with the speedy nature of the remodel. The sink leaks, the doors underneath are pulling off and apart, the tile settled crooked from us walking on them and we have had a lot of grout loss on the tiles. But for the most part it looks good. CERTAINLY better then it did. And one of the tile workers left us a cool used sweatshirt. So thanks for that.

Since these pictures were taken I have painted the kitchen a softer green in my new favorite thing, Benjamin Moore Matte paint. It's washable flat paint. That's right, you heard me. And I picked a cool "greige" for the hallways and entryway. It hides EVERYTHING. Run, don't walk, out and buy some for your house if you have old and ugly wall texture you need to hide. I vowed to never use anything but Benjamin Moore paint ever again.

Coming new dressers!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thumbs Up.

I really thought that our illness quota had been filled for this quarter. But no, because Bella started throwing up early Monday morning and that night I got hit with a bad head cold, hard and fast. I had to be on set for two days and endured 48 hours of Swine Flu jokes. As I had suspected I would.

We were shooting these well conceived, if not hastily thrown together, spots for an accident firm called The Advocates. On the second day at lunch I sit with the sound guy, "Hard G" Gerald and Murphy the producer. Murph tells a story about the Mormon conversion of a gay friend of his who was his next-door neighbor. The guy was fully homosexual, out of the closet, the whole she-bang (pardon the pun) and one night while playing Scrooge on stage he internalizes his lines about changing and realizes that it's time for him, that he has to change. So he goes back to the Mormon church and goes through the process of repentance and marries and is re-baptized although not necessarily in that order. And John said this guy was amazing. Just such a fantastic person to be around and at his baptism all of his gay friends are there to support him. And I love that because there is none of that pesky reverse discrimination in this story, not for this guy. Because he is just pure love. And then the guy dies of AIDS some time later.

And then John also tells about his Sister in law who was at the gym working out and starts to get really light headed. And she stops working out and goes into the showers and is really fuzzy in the head. She turns on the shower but it's full blast hot. She passes out right away and sees herself on the ground. And her deceased Mother, (Mother in law?), is standing next to her and says, "It's not your time. You have to turn the water to cold." And somehow she is able to turn it to cold, even though she tries and can't move her right hand. And then she tells her she has to move the water to her head immediately, or she will die. Again, somehow she does this and then wakes up straight away. John says what makes this story amazing is also to know the woman this happened to. She is very pragmatic and not at all new age-y and mystical.

So then I tell about my Dad and the story about the woman in the back seat of the car during the accident he was in on New Years Eve in college. Their car was hit head on by a group of drunk kids. My Dad's first wife was killed. The woman in the back seat said she could see the people trying to work on them, the cops and medics but she also saw a bunch of people around that she knew were not being seen by anyone but her. I wondered in that moment if I was there...

We were then called back to set. Gerald and I kept talking about angels on our SLOW walk back and I told him about how my Mother talks about them a lot and how I had a close friend that used to, also. When I was first back in the church I challenged my friend. I asked her if she really believed in Angels, the whole harp and wings crap. She was surprised I didn't and told me if I wasn't sure, then I should pray about it. I was all like, "Fine I will!" So that night, I said, "Dear Heavenly Father, I am wondering, is there such thing as ang..." and I swear I had not finished the sentence before I was overwhelmed with that warm, weepy feeling you get when something is true without a doubt. I was shocked. I had to wrap my brain around it. I figure, they don't look like little babies with bare butts hanging out inside fluffy clouds, but they do exist. So I'm shifting my paradigm about it.

After Gerald and I finished our chat, we went back to work. All day I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. We are creating accidents for these ads which is just...tempting fate. And I hate heights more than ANY-THING and we spent the day on a three story parking structure. Just that much height freaks my junk out. There is a part of me that wants to jump and fly through the air without consequence and that part of me is what scares the crap out of me. I am afraid it will win one day. I tell this to the six guys from the ad agency, Struck. One says to another, "Dude, tell her about thumbs up!" And does a two handed thumbs up like Fonzie. But the guy goes, "Naaaaw..." They all encourage him, so he relents.

His brother loves to mountain bike and has a group of buddies he likes to go with. And they are in Moab. Anyone who has some knowledge of Moab knows that most rides down there have one or two spots that are lookout spots. You ride up red-rock hills for a long, windey time and then get to a place where you stop and look out over a huge drop. Some have them very close to the trail. Some, like Gemini Bridges have spots like, ON the trail. But they were on such a trail on the day in question, with a good two hundred or so foot drop. This agency guy's brother was video taping his buddies as they rode around a bend, with the drop off point to one side of their trail. One of their guys came through when suddenly his front wheel locked and his bike donkey kicked him off. He flew off his bike, over the edge of the cliff. And as he flew through the air he looked at the camera and smiled, and gave two thumbs up. And then fell to his death. They showed the footage at his service. They showed that he was smiling and it was OK. Because, you know, thumbs up.

I would like to make a deal with God. I know dying in my bed would be my first choice. Go to sleep, not wake up. Second would be to be hit by something funny. Like a Zamboni or a Wonder Bread Truck. Leave them laughing. Third choice would be to live until Christ comes and not have to actually die. This deal I make will include a clause somewhere that I will not in any way fall to my death. Not in a plane, a zeppelin, a hang glider, a bike, a car, my clothes, nothing. In no way will there be a moment of recognition of my impending doom while I vomit all over myself as I realize, "Hey, I'm about to hit some rocks and die" I would rather have a terminal disease. I would rather choke. I would rather not ever die. Thumbs up for that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

KSL Part Three.

Oh, man. I have some more great stuff from crazy people. I get such a nice glimpse into the psyche of the average American that I think that even once my home is fully furnished I will still go to KSL for the entertainment. For a while there I was only finding things that gave me minor chuckles. Mostly at how people will misspell things. "Couche in Mint Condition" "I also have more items for sell" One woman even posted an ad asking for people to please "higher her" to decorate their homes because she knows how to do it for less. (FYI...So do the people reading your ad. That is why they are on KSL.)

But here are some real doozies. You really have to see the full ads on these to appreciate them.

$1,199.00 $ / FOR ** 4 CHAIRS **
Sandy, UT 84092 - Feb 7, 2009
These are barcellona style chairs each originally over 900 a piece, frames of stainless steel,chrome, perfect for that MODERN LOOK!! leather (could be refinished in different color if desired)The one shown is the worst of the 4, The others are not damaged ....On EBAY 4 are shown for 1899. with not as much leather.. These on here are a SUPERVALUE @under 300 each!(Table solid & sturdy same leg style also available for 399.)MAKE AN OFFER !

Okaaaay... I have seen this phenomenon before. Let's call it the Antique Roadshow Syndrome. People see that old items that look like these are in Vogue and get all wound up thinking that their stuff must also be worth something. What they don't get is that a painting by Picasso is worth millions but a cubist "style" painting by their great uncle Earl is not. And their nappy chairs are worth about a hand full of gumballs.

Speaking of...

easter chicks order today for friday and sat pick up
pleasent grove, UT 84062 - Apr 7, 2009
I have a limited suppily of colored easter chicks I will hold them till friday or saturday befout noon but I cannot promice the colors you want they are here and the people who pick up first will get first dibs on colors
other chicks and ducks also avalible

Wow, just what my kids wanted for Easter. It's like he's in their heads! I am so glad that this PG man is around to suppily all of my many water fowl needs.

NEW AR-15! Century Arms New in the Box.
Farr West, UT 84404 - Apr 15, 2009
These are awesome guns. Great guns to shoot coyotes or varmints or just fun to target practice with.

I thought the word "varmint" was a word that Yosemete Sam made up.

...Nice doggie...

Make Reasonable Offer
Star Trek Plus The Next Generation
Provo, UT 84601 - Apr 6, 2009
Everything is in excellent condition. Tapes & cases. There is a total of 103. If you have any ?'s call or text! Can arrange for pick-up in South Salt Lake area! Click more by seller! I will be around Monday & Tuesday. Will be gone 8th-15th! Happy Easter!

I'll make you a reasonable offer! How about your 103 Star Trek PLUS videos for some colored chicks and a set of torn up leather chairs "just like" some that are really expensive?

Reading this article should be mandatory before posting on KSL.


The End.