Friday, May 28, 2010

Love for Millie

My brother Jesse, the musician, wrote a beautiful song for some friends of his whose little daughter, Millie, is battling leukemia.

Jesse wrote about the song on his blog. He said, "I had been wanting to do something special for their family, and had toyed with the idea of recording a song for her. I tried to think of the message I would want [my daughter] to hear if she were in the same situation."

You should listen to the song here, and then you should send up some happy thoughts and prayers for Millie. Then you should hug your kids.


Close your eyes, think of what you'll be
And everywhere you'll go and what you'll see.
A cowgirl on the range, or an astronaut in space,
Or a mommy with a babe, or all of these.

Millie Millie no matter what you do
We'll be right by your side
To share it all with you.
Millie Millie look around you'll see
Nothing but faith and hope from friends and family.
You're gonna fight fight fight 'till the sun goes down
Fight fight fight for the whole year round
You're gone smile and hope and believe.

What is red if we have no green?
The blue without the orange means nothing.
The shadows violet haze
Cast from the burning golden rays.
How can you pick a favorite one
From all you've seen?

Millie Millie you'll always have a friend
Someone to pick you up and dust you off again.
Millie Millie look around you'll see
Nothing but faith and hope from friends and family.


Tilt your head, look up to the sky
And in the starry night you'll see a satellite.
And you can touch it with your eyes,
And you can wish inside your heart,
And it will be your shooting star every night.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Miss Them More Than They Miss Me

Confession: I miss some of my favorite eating places in Utah as much as I miss some of my favorite people in Utah. I know that sounds shallow, but if you understood how much I love food, you'd know that was a sincere and lavish compliment to the people I love there.

Another confession: I had a secret desire to eat at all of my favorite places in the 55 hours I spent there last week. I guess I knew it wasn't practical, but still--I had hope. In a perfect world, I would have eaten my favorite dishes at the following places and then rolled on to the plane, blissfully bountifully bloated.

One of my first stops would be Cafe Trio and I would order the Garlic Chicken Pizza. And a house salad. And the Spaghetti Pomodoro. And I would draw on the paper tablecloth with my pen while I waited.

At Greek Souvlaki, I would order the Chicken Pita with white and red sauce, along with their divine lemon rice and a big Diet Dr. Pepper.

I would have made my way to Thai Siam for a lunch special with yellow curry. Or green curry. Or Massaman curry. Or all three. Because, you know, I'm only in town for a little bit.

I would only order water to drink at Tsunami, because I would need room in my tummy for the 21 Sunshine Rolls I would order. One for every month I've been gone. It's symbolic. I don't expect you to understand.

I would cleanse my palate with some Split Pea Soup from The Soup Kitchen and 24 breadsticks.

I'd make my way to Thaifoon and have some Mango Chicken and some Evil Jungle Princess.

At Morelia, I would nibble my pebble ice and wait anxiously for my Chile Verde and Bean Burrito. And I would savor the pickled beet garnish on the plate and eat yours if you don't want it.

I would sit in a vinyl booth at El Farol and order a giant platter of Bean Dip, because it's the best. And then I would order a pint of refried beans to carry on to the plane with me.

I didn't think I would miss Spaghetti Factory, but I do. I would order a Manager's Special--half meat sauce and half myzthra cheese.

How could I leave without a trip to Ab's drive thru for a Blackberry Banana shake? I couldn't. And while I'm at it, I'd order some onion rings. With fry sauce.

And then I would wonder if the fry sauce at Arctic Circle still tastes the same, so I would have to find out for myself. With a large side of fries.

I would end things on a light note and visit Yogurt Stop. I would concoct Christian's favorite and fill my cup with vanilla yogurt topped with hot fudge, cookie dough, Oreos, and Andes mints. (Srsly.) (Although, rumor has it that I'm going to have a new favorite yogurt place in town.)

If you live in Utah, will you please eat at one or all of these places? And tell them it's from me? Please, oh, please?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Proud Parenting

Yesterday I met with Max's teacher for parent-teacher conference. One of the highlights of the visit was going through some of his papers. One assignment was to write a "How To" paper. The other kids in the class wrote "How To Make a Peanut Butter Sandwich" or "How To Ride a Bike" or "How to Make Your Bed."

Max's paper?

How To Take People Down
First you hug them. 
Senc you shak a lot. 
Third you lean left or right. 
Forth then thair down.

I didn't know what to say, and for a moment I was lost in my thoughts. I couldn't believe it. I mean, you teach and teach and teach your kids, but you never really expect that they'll listen. And then they go and surprise you this way. I was beaming with pride.

To the parents of the world, I say, the kids are listening. They can be taught!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Utah, I Sure Do Love Ya and Appreciatecha

I snuck into Salt Lake late Thursday night and back out Sunday morning. I picked up my rental car at the airport and the employee asked me what I was in town for. I quickly replied, "Work and family," and then kicked myself for not saying, "Business and pleasure," because it sounds so much cooler. Especially with a british accent.

Some (or none?) of you know that I work as a freelance copywriter, and my biggest (sometimes only) client is Mrs. Fields. I have been working with Mrs. Fields for three, almost four, years and I find them to be a great company to work with, especially when I open my front door and UPS is dropping off yet another shipment of cookies. Anyway, I write their gift catalog, their business catalogs, and also their blog.

Friday afternoon, I took part in an event held at Mrs. Fields Gifts. They invited a handful of local bloggers to come and tour the 158,000 square foot bakery and gifting facility. Luckily, not one blogger got lost in that giant space.

The tour is pretty spectacular. It's pretty much just like Willy Wonka's factory, minus all the unfortunate accidents. And Oompa Loompas.

In fact, if you live in or around the Salt Lake Valley, you should take a free tour. It's very cool. And the smell? Well, you can just imagine.

After the event, I got to spend some quality time with both Ryan's and my family and a couple of friends. There wasn't enough time to see everyone, so if I didn't see you, please forgive. Maybe next time?

I got back Sunday evening, just in time to miss Utah's May 24th snowfall. Good timing! As I lifted off the ground nestled between two strangers, I hope you heard me whisper (or Twitter) in the words of my dad, "Sure do love ya and appreciatecha!" Because I do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How To Write a Random Blog Post

  • It's simple really.
  • You start with bullet points and a mind that can't settle on one idea.
  • You don't have to use bullet points.
  • (Especially if you are anti-violence.)
  • Next, you type out something, like announcing the condition of your socks today.
  • The thought about your sock condition--holey--will remind you of something else.
  • Like, where did the phrase "holey moley" come from?
  • And then, admit that you're not sure you spelled either of those words right.
  • This thought is a dead end, so don't pursue it.
  • Glance around the room and let your eyes rest on something.
  • Talk about that item.
  • Do you like it?
  • Does it remind you of a memory about your sister?
  • Does it remind you of a meal you ate two months ago that gave you diarrhea?
  • If yes, then you should talk about it here.
  • Diarrhea is always a popular inclusion in random blog posts.
  • Keeps things fluid, you know?
  • That's another thing--play on words when possible.
  • But don't be cheesey.
  • It's a fine line.
  • Admit that you're not sure "cheesey" is spelled correctly.
  • That's another good point--loosely weave your random thoughts together like that.
  • Then start a new topic.
  • But avoid religion and politics.
  • Because you've already shared your thoughts on those subjects in the 4,876 emails you forward.
  • Just kidding.
  • Actually, avoid three topics: religion, politics, and email forwarding practices.
  • You'll thank me later for that one.
  • You're about two-thirds of the way through now.
  • It's a good time for you to reveal something personal.
  • You're comfortable enough now, so open up and say something.
  • Like, how meeting new people scares the bujeebers out of you.
  • (And you could deflect the vulnerability there by pointing out that you were going to write "bujeezus" but weren't sure if it was a swear word.)
  • Don't run away from the vulnerability though.
  • Expound at least one or more thoughts on the subject.
  • Writing is all about vulnerability.
  • And we all want to know that you have irrational fears like the rest of us.
  • Most new people are nice.
  • See? That wasn't so bad.
  • Let's wrap things up with a funny thought, perhaps an image.
  • For instance, you could describe the booger that's been dancing inside your nose with every exhale.
  • And your tactics for removing it discreetly.
  • You could point out that it's silly how much we try to hide boogers, and farts too.
  • Everybody has boogers.
  • Everybody has farts.
  • But we love to pretend that we don't.
  • You're just about done.
  • You've covered the four main random points: diarrhea, boogers, farts, and vulnerability.
  • Congratulations.
  • You've just written a random blog post.
  • And wasted part of your day that you'll never have back.

Monday, May 17, 2010

All in a Day's Work

We made homemade noodles for dinner. They weren't perfect, but they were delicious. The kids slurped up every last one on their plates. I overate, but that's to be expected. Homemade carbs are my kryptonite. Store-bought carbs are my addiction, and Amish carbs are my Nirvana. (Just in case you're keeping score at home.)

Max came home from school announcing that he was going to write a book and have it published. He made it sound so easy. He got out paper and crayons and began his memoir on the kitchen floor. He was really prolific for about twenty minutes and I made a mental note to plop myself in the same spot the next time I'm struck with writer's block.

Earlier in the day, I wrangled Ryan into taking a walk with me. He was outside talking on the phone. I did sign language, two little walking fingers, inviting him to come along. He preferred to change his clothes and have lunch first, but I was determined to walk right then, so walk we did. At the end of the walk, when he was sweaty in his nice clothes, he pointed out that sometimes I get an idea in my head and there's no changing it. And that character trait? Well, he said, it can be kind of aggravating.

I had an idea in my head that he was wrong about that, but I didn't argue it for long because I started getting a new idea in my head that he was probably right. The only thing I enjoy more than having a plan is sticking to the plan. Even if I don't actually like the plan, I still have a yearning to stick to it. Right then I made a new plan to stop sticking to arbitrary plans.

Time out. I love the word arbitrary. If I had a daughter I would name her Arbitrary.

Time in.

I chipped away at more work, writing another catalog, and rewarding myself along the way for small accomplishments. My rewards were: eating a cookie, peeing, changing the load of laundry, showering, and snapping a photo to determine if my necklace was working with my shirt.

After dinner, I was back at my computer--plink, plink, plink, silence, silence, silence, plink, silence, plink--when Ryan walked in wearing his shorts and walking shoes. He asked if I wanted to take another walk. I actually had a plan to finish the paragraph I was working on, but I got up and went for a walk anyway because I'm all about sticking to my new plan to be flexible. When we got back, the paragraph was waiting right where I left it.

Plink, plink, plink, silence, silence. Plink.

The kids are in bed now. The dog is asleep at my feet. I rewarded myself for another completed catalog page with a few minutes to blog. I was hoping to be done with the catalog by now, but I'm not. Perhaps I need a crayon and a few minutes on the kitchen floor.

Approximate Worth: Six Thousand Words

We had an unforgettable time (as evidenced here in impromptu photo shoots on South Street).
Thanks, girls, for a great time!

Read Christy's account of us sneaking into Independence Hall here. It was very Nicolas Cage.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Girl Power

Sometimes when my Bed & Breakfast & Gall Bladder Surgical Recovery Center isn't filled with surgical patients, I open it up to the healthy. Two of my dear gal pals from Utah showed up tonight for a few days of girl time. Living with three boys, I don't get a whole lotta girl time, so this is a special treat. We are going to have so much fun. Here are just some of the girl-centric ideas I have planned:

  • Talking about our feelings
  • Talking about our husbands' feelings
  • Talking about our childrens' feelings
  • Talking about shoes
  • Shopping
  • Talking about shopping
  • Thinking about shopping
  • Talking about things we bought while shopping
  • Telling each other we look pretty
  • Eating salads
  • Talking about our periods
  • Passing notes
  • Watching movies without guns
  • Pursuing chocolate in various forms
  • Watching Bravo
  • Complaining about our bodies while eating cookie dough
  • Pulling the car into empty parking lots to cry
It's a full-on estrogen-fest. Wish the boys luck.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crying Gets the Sad Out of You

I cried last weekend, a loud, unattractive sob. I was in the car alone when I felt it coming on, like a sneeze. I pulled into an empty parking lot, put the car in park, and gave in to the emotion completely. Tears flooded, my mascara ran and my mouth contorted into that scary cry smile--lips pulled tight, teeth clenched, tongue tied, strange caveman noises erupting from deep inside my throat. I pulled a spare napkin from the glove box after a few minutes and began Disaster Recovery. Dotting, blotting, dabbing, wiping. I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror. Yikes.

Mid-cry, I started gathering my scattered thoughts. I couldn't remember the last time I'd cried, really cried, like this. There was a certain satisfaction in letting go, not fighting to be in control of my emotions. A cry is cleansing, I thought. I should cry more often.

When I was done, I folded the napkin into a small wad and tucked it in my garbage bag. I took a deep breath and blew the air from my limp lower lip up to my forehead, the amen of a proper cry. I put the car in drive.

And when I got home, I took two Extra Strength Pamprin.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Zoom, Zoom

You know those car commercials? The ones that end with the little boy who leans into the camera and whispers, "Zoom, zoom!" with an adorable smirk? Well, I've got news for you: those aren't really car commercials. Those are messages from God disguised as car commercials. That boy? He's really an angel. His message? Zoom, zoom, time is flying by. Better pay attention. Those cars? Well, those are Mazdas. God's pretty into Mazdas.

Zoom, zoom. That's how long it took for this baby to grow up to seven years old. No time at all.

Zoom, zoom. He's got opinions and homework and hobbies and friends.

Zoom, zoom. He's got a sense of humor, a sense of style, and a sense of determination. He can pour the milk all by himself. Don't insult him with an offer to help. Need something googled? He's your man.

Zoom, zoom. He's full of wishes and dreams for his future. He thinks about being grown up. He's scoping out career options. I guess he knows it's not that far away.

Zoom, zoom, seven years passed just like that. He said it was his best birthday ever. He now has enough to compare them.

Zoom, zoom, indeed.

Does God talk to you through car commercials?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Under-Promise, Over-Perform

This is my brother Justin and me. We spent a couple of days together earlier in the week. He is ten years older than me and ten inches taller. He is the Chief Financial Officer of a bank. I'm not sure how much money he makes, but he didn't even blink when he paid for my turkey hoagie in Philly.

During our time together, he explained his philosophy of under-promising and over-performing: under-promise what you can do and then follow it up with an over-performance. Set the expectation lower than what you think you can deliver, and then when you deliver--WOW! LOOK AT YOU, OVER-ACHIEVER! (Plus, if you can't deliver, then no harm done because nobody expected you to.)

This was mind blowing for me. I run around promising exactly what I can do, sometimes more, creating arbitrary deadlines, and then working myself into a frenzy to meet them. Is anybody thrilled when I complete the task that I said I could and when? Um, no, but thanks for asking.

I think this is the beginning of a new era of success for me. From now on, I plan to do very little in every single aspect of my life. I will shower on only a semi-regular basis. I will only be a good parent on every other Tuesday. I will occasionally blog (when I'm not feeling fickle). I will rarely cook. I will never clean. I will gain a massive amount of weight in a short period of time. I will offend most of my friends, and alienate the others. I will frighten small children and animals. I will evoke pity from the elderly.

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stuff I Didn't Know About Motherhood Until the Baby Came Out

  • Baby's first poop that looks like tar
  • Mom's first post-birth poop (Where is the epidural for THAT?)
  • Stretch marks
  • The peace and warmth of a sleeping baby on your chest
  • That carrying around your "baby weight" for two years isn't exactly normal
  • An extraordinary amount of equipment that goes everywhere you do
  • The wide variety of breast pumps available
  • Postpartum depression 
  • The expanse of your heart
  • The occasional feelings of claustrophobia
  • Other people's strong opinions about your decision to breast feed or not (WHOA!)
  • The ability to rock and sway without realizing you're doing it
  • The delightful smell of Johnson's lavender baby wash
  • The surprisingly pleasant amount of late-night infomercials
  • Kid fashion
  • Happy Meal toys
  • Realizing a latent ability to dispose of boogers in...unusual ways
  • Realizing a latent ability to clean up all manner of bodily fluids 
  • The brilliance of toddler TV
  • Crusty car seats
  • The joy of finding your preferred diaper and wipe brand
  • The horror of hearing your own "baby-talk voice" on home videos
  • The gorgeousness of chubby thighs (baby's, not yours)
  • The ability to perform a multitude of tasks while half asleep
  • An ache in your upper back from holding kids who literally get bigger every day
  • Bottle rot
  • Yeast infections (for everyone!)
  • Finding menial things to clap about (Yay! Burping! Yay!)
  • Doing the same thing over and over to get a laugh
  • Projectile vomiting
My babies are both celebrating their birthdays within the next six weeks. They are hardly babies anymore. Christian's birthday will mark a dozen years of motherhood for me. I still feel like a rookie most of the time, but they make it so worth it to play the game.

What didn't you know before you had kids?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Is There a Doctor in the House?

People often ask me what it's like to be married to a psychologist. Does he ever try to analyze you, they wonder?

And I say, no, he doesn't try to analyze me. The closest he ever comes is occasionally, when we're discussing something, he says, "If I were your therapist, I would probably ask you about ______." And then I throw a dirty sock in his face. (Because he's right.)

It's even more fun, during other arguments conversations when I say to him, "If I were your therapist, I would ask you about ______." He loves that. (Because I'm right.)

One time, in the depths of his lengthy clinical education, he said to me, "You are the most mentally healthy person I know."

I beamed with pride. I considered it a ringing endorsement. Four out of five dentists agree.

A few jaded years later I thought, Well, that was a clever thing to say! And then I imagined him writing secret articles for prominent psychological journals: Marriage Experiment, Year 13: Wife Still Crazy, Still Unsuspecting.

The truth is, sometimes I'd like him to be my therapist. I'd like to lie on the couch with him perched on the leather chair nearby, pen in hand, listening to my delicate thoughts. I'd like him to formulate my entire life story, sympathetically explain all my idiosyncrasies, and carefully solve all of my problems. Except that if he did, I'd probably throw a dirty sock in his face. Or a frying pan. But, no worries, because he wouldn't do it anyway. He's all into "ethics" and "boundaries" and crap like that.

I do, however, ask for his advice. He's a very wise advice-giver. So wise, in fact, that sometimes he says, "I don't think you really want my advice on this."

And I say, "Of course, I want you to tell me that I'm right! I mean, of course I want your advice!"

And he says, "Put down the dirty sock."


Do you use Twitter? I do. I was a little reluctant about how to use it/how to think of it until I heard it described as micro-blogging. Ah! Now it all makes sense! Twitter is where I now put those little thoughts that never need to grow any bigger than they are. 

Here are some of my tweets from the last few weeks, just in case you're not one of the tens of people who already saw them: 

Are you ever going about your day and then suddenly stricken with the fear that you forgot to put on deodorant this morning?

Rain, rain, go away!
(Later) Hey! The rain went away! My tweet worked! I have magical tweet power!

I watched District 9 tonight. Wow. It's kind of like Avatar, except that it doesn't suck.

Dear kitchen floor, you are dirty.

Wouldn't it be great if TAMN had two more daughters and named them Kamisole and Kardigan?

One of my favorite TV shows is CBS Sunday Morning News. I love it! And I'm not even 73!

Thank goodness the Jazz pulled ahead. I can't handle Ryan verbally abusing the TV when they're behind.

Proofreading is numbing my brain, which is ironic because that's when you miss stuff.


Still channeling Winnie the Pooh (think, think, think), but hijacked by Tigger (bounce, bounce, bounce).

Scrapping draft, starting fresh. I never do that.

I love children. Except for the ones who annoy me. Which is most of them. I guess I don't really like children.

Just drank an Airborne, orange juice, Red Bull cocktail. WATCH OUT!

Time spent dreading the pantry clean-out: 4 months. Time spent cleaning out the pantry: 30 minutes.

My B&B is double booked this weekend. Hoping to make big tips. (Tips = rifling for cash through guests' pockets while they sleep.)

I like micro-blogging. It's nice have a place to store those micro-thoughts and keep them from gumming up the inner workings of my brain. Now if I could just get into micro-eating...

My Twitter handle is @tiffanywbwg. What's yours?

P.S. Looking for something else to read? I wrote a Mother's Day guest post for Today's Mama. Check it out here!
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