I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dear Huck/ Rasta Beagle

Dear Readers,
Rasta Beagle
Today is the day we begin officially Huck's advice column.  To be considered in a future publication please email your thoughts, questions and concerns to Hucksadvice@gmail.com.  He will sort through them at his leisure.

Today's questions comes from an interested reader:

Dear Huck,
I notice you wear a lot of different hats, do you like wearing them?  Which one is your favorite?
Curiouser and curiouser

Dear Curiouser and curiouser,
Contrary to popular belief, I do enjoy wearing hats.  In addition, I, like most superior house dogs, wear many "hats" in my life.  Companion, patience provider, room freshener...you get the idea.
Being fashion conscious, I do not have a favorite, for I find that one needs to wear the appropriate hat for the occasion.  I think humans would benefit from wearing more hats; particularly ones that cover large portions of their face.  I don't want to insinuate that people are uncomely, but there you have it.

Your true friend and advocate to all things dog,


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Scouting: The end of the worst?

Well....we made it.  William received his Arrow of Light Award this past week.  Well....WE received the Arrow of Light last week.  Because anyone who has ever had to deal with a cub scout knows that it is mostly up to a parent, in this case me and me alone, who had been the catalyst for cub scout completion.
As I have made well known, I have not been a big fan of scouting thus far.  Our experience with Webelos was enough of a failure to leave the church, but we made it through.  Even the "ceremony" for William was a big fail.  Despite the fact that I gave them a complete list of all the things William had completed since last September (the last time the leaders had awarded anything) they did not get the list on time to the master cub scout guy to purchase the pins.  So they didn't have anything to give him--and there were at least 8.  And they didn't give the right list the cub scout master guy, so I had to go and correct the list with him later.
 But now, all of that wonderful incompetency is behind us and we are apparently on our way into the second phase of scouting: The Boy Scouts.  Now being a scouting idiot, I did not know they were two separate programs, but they are, and I guess this is the part when it gets good.
And, honestly, we ARE off to a good start.  The new scout leader contacted me weeks ago and gave me this really really thorough packet that even had a list of the exact things I would need to purchase at the scout store and a picture of where the patches and things go (yeah, it was $30 for a really crappy polyester shirt that was made in China), but also the names of the new leaders and their phone numbers and a calendar for the entire summer.  So far, only a week into this new regime, I love them.  I would probably thrive in a totalitarian state.  I might even be willing to let my precious son go on their stupid campouts with them.  Maybe.  We'll see.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Clean Day

Ever since we got back from spring break...a month ago, I've been playing catch up.  First I had to catch up on work and then I had to catch up on getting a show up, which if you've ever done a musical with 82 children and 450 costumes, you'll know takes it all right out of you.  That combined with giving and grading finals and then starting a new class (brand new, I've never taught this one....) I didn't feed my family properly for almost 2 weeks. Thankfully real food has begun to make an appearance again at our house, but the house itself is....well, the word that comes to mind is condemnable. So today, between the birthday party and the soccer game and the state report project I will have to pull on my big boy pants and clean.
Feel free to come by and bring me a Coke Zero.  And/or cupcakes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Commence Mowing

It is here.  The season of the mowing.  And I realized today, that if I did not commence the mowing of the lawn soon, it would be too much for my little electric mower to handle.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Man of the House

I love summer meals that consist of throwing meat on the grill and a salad.  We typically don't eat much meat, but if we do, this is how we do it.

William has expressed interest in learning to man the grill...which is fine by me, cause I don't do it very well.  I would happily abdicate my authority over grilling to him, however, based on this photo, I may not  purchase very expensive meat until he looks a little more confident doing it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why My Job is Better Than Yours Pt. 2

I gave 2 finals yesterday.  And by gave, I mean I sat at my little counter-desk-office and did computer stuff while my students put on their makeup.  I do like my job sometimes.  Of course, not 30 minutes into the first final the school called to tell me Anna had thrown up in the hallway...of course she did, because I am right in the middle of finals and could in no way leave and I was 45 minutes away anyway.  Luckily I have good friends who will go fetch my vomity children for me.

But that is off-topic.  My kids did pretty well.  These are all makeups from my advanced class where they get to play with prosthetics and stuff.  And this is why I have a great job.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: There are No Graves As Yet

No Graves As Yet (World War One #1)

A good friend gave me this book to take to the beach with me.  I'll be honest.  I have heard of Anne Perry, and have seen her book-on-tapes available at Cracker Barrels so I wasn't really interested.  I adore this old friend, but her taste in books has always seemed suspect.  Am I a bit of a snob? Perhaps.

But she sold me on it with the phrase "historical fiction."  I am a sucker for historial fiction.  I am a very visual thinker and love to design the costumes for the book in my head while I read.  Because in the end, it is all about the dresses.  Always.

She also gave me a little of the author's backstory which included helping to murder her best friend's mother back in the 50's when she was just a teenager.  No kidding.  She than later came to the United States for a period of time where she joined the Mormon church.  No kidding.  This was the basis for the film Heavenly Creatures.  NO KIDDING.  Wikipedia it.  Seriously.

Surprisingly, I really like this book and will read more by this author.  A mystery, compelling characters, a historical setting which actually spotlights interesting tidbits of actual history, yet an easy read.  Very good beach/summer/vacation reading.

This particular book is the first in her World War I series of five books and begins just pre-war before anything has happened to the Arch Duke yet.  There is a mysterious incident which may have been an accident and the main character happens to be a broodingTheology professor at Oxford who himself seems to have a past riddled with sorrow.  The path to war in Europe is laid out for us and includes a romantic country manor, intrigue and what I assume were very good looking and earnest Oxford boys.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Happy Monday Everyone!!

Huck is fruity
(sorry about that...I'm in technical rehearsal for a show so I've started caffeinating early and long...)

In addition to the usual Huck Monday Madness, we have additional Huck news to present!

First I want you to know I read all my reader comments (there have been at least 3).  I usually reply too, but you won't know that, because blogger doesn't inform you that I commented on your comment.
I ALSO take them to heart.  And one of you suggested that Huck start his own blog where he offers advice.  Well, I am too lazy to take care of two blogs (unless Huck is willing to pay me to do it...), so I am just going to give Huck his own ADVICE COLUMN.  You can email him all your pressing life questions, ask for recipes, parenting advice--WHATEVER is on your mind, and I will read them to Huck.  Every Monday (FINALLY MONDAYS HAVE A PURPOSE) Huck will respond and comment.

I really don't know what he'll say.

To ask Huck your important questions email him at HucksAdvice@gmail.com

Friday, April 20, 2012

Piano time

We had a rough piano season this spring.  The Citizens didn't get their recital pieces until right before we left for Mexico, and funnily enough piano wasn't a priority for us while we were busy swimming with turtles...oh well.
This was Anna's first recital...I thought she'd be nervous, but she didn't seem to be at all.  She worked her little type A self very hard this last week to get her piece ready.
William, being a seasoned veteran of the recital scene, and having the glorious disposition that never gets worked up, may not have even realized there was an audience.

I, of course, am a proud mama.  Mistakes and all.

*Apparently I can only upload one video...so I'll show you the little miss-she is so earnest.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It Was Not About the Titanic

dress with friends
I feel like I somehow missed the boat (sorry, couldn't be helped) not blogging about the Titanic this week.  I mean, we've been waiting for this day every since we remembered it was almost one hundred years while watching the very first episode of Downtown Abbey.  Plus I'm all into costumes and history and stuff.
AND, the nineteen-teens are one of my favorite time periods for fashion ever.  And that was pretty evident in 1996 when I got married.  I constructed a 1912 dress (more-or-less) for the big day.  I loved my wedding dress.
The blue day dress.  My people were
sewing the buttons on this thing
the morning of
I met up with a friend last week who helped me work on my dresses (I had two--a lovely blue day dress and the actual wedding dress...you know, cause one isn't enough) who reminded how lovely my dresses were and we reminisced about how thin I was back then.  Because I was really really thin.  I'd always been thin, but I had spent the summer in London doing Study Abroad and was on a really really tight budget that kept me from eating much, so I was even thinner than usual.  I did not have an eating disorder, unless you count being to poor to eat as a disorder. The saddest part about this is that no one will ever be able to wear that dress  because it is ridiculously small.  This made my friend and I sad, but we got over it eating some cheesecake.

back of dress.

BUT, my dress came before the movie; it was not about the Titanic. But I will post pictures of my ridiculously thin self in lovely dresses in honor of the sunken boat and all the beautiful dresses it had on it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Deeper Questions of the Universe: To Scout or NOT to Scout

Wm at a Pinewood Derby 2 years ago
I have this dilemma.  I am not in love with the Boys Scouts.  But I have a Boy Scout.  And really, my dislike of scouting, in general, has not prevented me from supporting my scout to the best of my completely-oblivious-to-the-scouting-world ability.  But now, my son, being 11, is advancing from cub scouts to boy scouts.  I do not pretend to understand the differences between these groups, with one exception: Overnight Camping Trips.  And here is where it gets tricky.

We have a family policy.  No sleep-overs.  Period.  The one and only exception being to gram's house.  They do not get to sleep over with friends, cousins, or anyone else.  And the scouting program has these rather extensive pamphlets on protecting your son from sexual abuse which you have to go over every year.  But these same people are asking me to hand my 11 year old son over to strangers for an over-night trip into the woods.  I said no.  They said, fine, but he can't advance in scouting.  In fact, there is a camp-out this weekend, and they got him all excited about it.  And now he is sad.

Being Mormon, I am practically forced to include my son in the scouting program, and have done so almost willingly, but now they are telling him that unless he can get his mom to give-up a family policy put in place for his safety, he can no longer fully participate.  This seems wrong to me on so many levels I am practically apoplectic about it.

But then I thought about my daughter....and if I would let her go to Girl's Camp when she is 12 (which, by the way, is in NO WAY comparable to the scouting program, but that is a rant for another day...) and the answer, was "of course."  BUT, and here is the real distinction:  My daughter will go to girl's camp with all girls and all women leaders.  AND I will most likely know these women, AND I will most likely be in YW, because that's just how the universe rolls.

SO, here's the question: Am I over reacting?  Should I let William go?  I do not consider my self a helicopter parent, but I am very aware that there are predators everywhere--even among those you trust, and for me, it is easier to have a blanket policy that protects my children than to have to pick-and-choose who they go with and why they can't go with others...plus, I would probably trust the wrong person.  So I don't trust MY ability to trust.  And I am very angry at the church (and make no mistake, the boys scouts IS the church) for making me choose between a church program and what I believe is a good policy that strengthens MY family.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: Austenland


I wanted to love this book.  I like Shannon Hale and I typically love all things Austen.  I LOVE the idea of getting to go to 1816 and being immersed in everything.  It sounds terribly fun.
But I may have done myself a damage by reading the Midnight in Austenland first, or maybe my expectations were too high.
The book wasn't bad, it was enjoyable, but it didn't satiate and in the end it didn't do what it seemed like it was going to set out to do.

*spoiler alert*

So Jane, the main character is obsessed with Mr. Darcy (who isn't?) and it is ruining all real relationships for her.  Her batty old great aunt leaves her this vacation in her will and she goes and really seems to have a hard time getting into it, but finally seems to be getting a grip on her unrealistic expectations of men, when low and behold *here is the spoiler* she ends up with him anyway!!  Maybe I am just so unromantic as to now have to put this book into an entirely different category of fiction: fairytale.
And I don't see why we can't have a little Darcy fantasy in our lives anyway.  The rest of us KNOW he isn't going to show up....

But there is a movie being made.  Keri Russell plays Jane with (here's the best part!!) Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Charming!  That will make it worth watching.  And Jerusha Hess wrote the screenplay and directed it, which is kind of Awesome (with a capital A) because she is a BYU grad and lives right here in the valley.  Good for her.

*Here is my review on Midnight in Austenland if you are interested...which also has a pictorial Mr. Darcy comparison at the end that you might find enlightening.  Or horrifying.  Or depressing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pharaoh Huck

So I might be working on a musical right now.  It might be mildly interpreted from a holy book.  My house just might be filled with Egyptian costumes too....lucky Huck.
He actually likes this one (see?? no hate in his eyes!) because it makes him feel omnipotent.
And he, like my children, has been taught to dress for power.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Conversations Among Boys

William turns 11 today.  My baby boy.  Who probably wishes I would stop calling him baby boy.  It is not going to happen.  We celebrated with his friends last night.  If you remember my previous dilemma, you'll recall he wanted to go see The Hunger Games.  After checking with all the moms, no one had a problem with it.  So I took them.
We ate pizza and by request had donuts from Krispy Kreme, where I stole hats for all them, which they wore all night despite the fact that we had a hard time coming up with party ideas because they are all so cool now.
My favorite part of the night (aside from sitting alone in the movie theatre cradling my popcorn I didn't have to share with anyone oh so gently...) was the conversation that ran amok in my car.  We ended up with +5 guests...so 6 boys ranging in age from 10-12.

Wm: I really do prefer a hardback book to paperback.

Friend #1: I do too.  They are more collectable that way.

F#2: But paperbacks are easier to carry, and less expensive.

F#1: But paperbacks get beat up, and I think they are harder to hold while you are reading.

I'm going to stop right there, because I want to remind you that these are basically 11 year old BOYS.  And ohmygosh could they get any nerdier?? I just keep picturing them sitting in leather chairs around a fire, wearing turtlenecks and goatees and sipping some sort of expensive liquor.

At some point, the talk took an abrupt turn (I did not follow the flow very well...) to which of them would survive longest if forced to fight one another to the death (aka Hunger Games).

F#2: I'd win, I'm the biggest.

F#3: Well....I am pretty handy with a sword (this is said somewhat modestly despite what it sounds like).

Wm: That's true.  I've seen him.

F#4: I think I could beat William up.

Wm: But I'll have knives.  I don't think you could beat me up if I had knives.  I would wield them at you. (Waves his deadly ready-to-wield-knife hands in the air wildly)

F#1: Knives do change the game. (nodding solemnly)

F#2: I'd hide in the trees and wait it out.

Wm: I couldn't hide, I'd starve.

F#4: Dude, you'd be the first one dead.

Wm: I'd run.  I'm fast.

All of them nod in agreement murmuring something about running away.

Then the conversation switched up so many times I couldn't keep up anymore.  They are so cute and so nerdy.  I have some interesting years ahead of me...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits

I had a few people ask me for the recipe for my Buttermilk Biscuits.  They are sort of my speciality.  We eat these at Easter and Christmas instead of rolls, because they are pretty dang tasty.  Problem is, I think it may be technique....so I probably need a video.  ooooh...and a tag-line.  I could be the caffeinated chef.
Any who....I was taught how to make biscuits by a rather large and very skilled southern woman.  She also taught me to make fried chicken, only I never make that, because I really hate the smell of my house after frying food.  But my biscuits are legend. And they make the house smell delicious.

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 Tbsp. vegetable shortening (I don't actually measure this, so I think my "guessimation" is generous)
1 cup buttermilk

Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and soda together.  Cut in shortening until crumbs are pea-sized.  Add buttermilk; mixing together until most of the flour is combined.  If there is a little flour at the bottom of the bowl, don't try to get it all in, you'll over mix these babies and they'll be tough.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and throw the left-over flour on top.  Knead the flour in...typically I roll the sides in and press in and then fold the top and bottom of my dough in and press into a ball and that is it.  DO NOT OVER-KNEAD.  Roll out to about 3/4-1" thick (we like em' thick and BIG) and cut out (I usually use a glass)and they are about 2 1/2" diameter).  Re-roll and cut as need, being careful not to knead any more than necessary to reshape.  Place on oiled baking sheet (or silpat) and let rest for 15-20 minutes or up to an hour (after this they start to get gray and taste fine, but are not as pretty).  Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Enjoy with copious amounts of butter and homemade jam.

*Editing note.  This is the original recipe, which, I must say does not make nearly enough.  What you see in the picture above is a double batch (I like em' big...).  When I made them last Christmas for a group with 8 adults and 6 kids I quintupled it....that's 5, right?)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mexico Recap

Did I mention we went to Mexico for spring break?  We did  and it was awesome.  It was nice to get away and be near the sun (not IN it...that is for pagans)...but near it.

We stayed in a condo in Tulum, which is about an hour or so south of Cancun.  Past all the big mega-resorts.  I hear the resorts are nice, but since we wanted to do lots of different things and all-inclusive resorts also include a lot of alcohol that we wouldn't be drinking, it is much cheaper NOT to go to one.
Tulum is nice.  It has one main road that goes straight through the middle of the town lined with shops and restaurants.  There were a lot of "free spirits" there and on more than one occasion we caught a whiff of pot.  The people were very friendly, it was clean and on EVERY street corner there is a cop.  Or two.  They also patrolled up and down the main avenue in trucks carrying big guns.  I think this was mostly a show of force for the tourists.  WE WILL KEEP YOU SAFE.  And never at any time did I think we weren't.
The beaches in Tulum are made up of the finest whitest sand.  It was soft.  The water was so brilliantly blue.  Most of the tourist there were European; we saw few Americans, which made the beach much more interesting, since Europeans considered bathing suit tops optional.  They also smoked with reckless abandon.  AND I'm not sure any of them had sunscreen.  Our poor family was usually garbed head to toe in sun proof shorts and rash guards, and practically white with a thick layer of sunscreen, while any other child out there was as brown as brown gets in their panties or speedos.
The condo we rented was spacious (3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath, kitchen, laundry...) with a big pool, so after spending all day at the beach the kids could swim in the pool (which they DID).  The best part about our condo is that it was rented to us by Lucy Ricardo.
Because of the kitchen we were able to prepare several meals and pack lunches and keep milk and yogurt and everything else we needed, cutting food costs.  We ate out about 1 meal a day, and Tulum had all sorts of restaurants, including several pizza and Italian ones to cater to all those Europeans.
Tulum is the home of the only seaside Mayan ruins, which are beautiful.  We also went to Chichen Itza (another hour drive), but I thought the ruins at Tulum the better of the two.
One of the rare times he was allowed out
without a rash guard...

We really loved the little town to the north of us, Akumal, which if we went again, is where we would stay.  They had a really lovely Eco-park inlet with wonderful snorkeling and the beaches there were pretty great too.  We also snorkeled in the open ocean, which I was NOT sure I was going to like, but I loved it!  Once you stick your face in the water it really is quite magical.  Anna was a trooper. She went everywhere we went and kept up.  It was in the ocean at Akumal that  we swam with turtles.  Awesome.  You could even touch them.  The kids also claimed to have seen a ray and a barracuda, but happily, I saw neither of those.  Turtles and bright fishies were more than enough.
We had a great time, and I would be happy to impart any valuable info I could to you if you want to go.  In fact, I think I want to be a travel blogger.  One that people pay to come and visit their beautiful area and then tell people how to do it with children.  I think it is a lifestyle I could embrace.

I do not understand the joy of being hit by
waves, but apparently, it is wonderful

At Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Tulum Ruins

You can see some of the Tulum ruins in the background
set against the sea.  It really was a beautiful place to build

Iguanas everywhere.  We have more pictures of these than anything

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: The Magicians

The Magicians

I expected to like this book, but I really didn’t. I kept reading, hoping that I would find something appealing…but sadly, no.
 This is a book for Harry Potter fans that are all grown up and looking for something edgier.  I have a feeling my dislike for the book comes from what might be considered a “generational gap.”  In that maybe, just maybe I might be too old for young magicians smoking pot and having illicit sexual encounters…and you might be too.  But maybe not.
The plot is interesting, the characters less so. 
My biggest problem, other than not being the demographic readership, was that there were several key plot points that seemed critical to the growth of the main character what’s-his-name….wait, I’ll look it up….Quentin, and the author got it all revved up and then….bleh.
I think this is the first in a series, but I probably won’t go back.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Feast

Easter Brie
This year we celebrated Easter with dear friends.  I cooked and she drove.  Her husband (with perhaps a tinge of guilt) asked why they hadn't contributed more to the feast.  We both agreed that we both did what we would rather do.  She would rather drive and I would rather cook.  It is best this way.
I do not do a really lavish meal for Easter.  Most of it can be purchased or prepared ahead, so there is less Sunday bustle...which is good since I have church until 4:00.
This is what we had, plus a ham and funeral potatoes, which were not as photogenic.

Deviled Eggs, bread & butter pickles & pineapple

Southern Biscuits.  A specialty of mine...perhaps I'll
share the recipe if you are nice to me.

Asparagus.  Lots.  We all like this.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Huck Bunny

We celebrated all weekend long...as did Huck.  For some reason, though, I was not able to persuade him to sit in a basket with plastic grass surrounded by plastic eggs...

Friday, April 6, 2012

It Gets Better

For the Youtube link click here
I was really moved by this video produced by LGBT students at BYU.  I have struggled to reconcile the beliefs and political action of my church concerning these very people with my own heart.
I was moved to tears by these brave strong students.  I cannot imagine the loneliness and isolation that must come with trying to be Mormon and being gay.  My heart aches for them.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Deeper Questions of the Universe: PG13 for the under 13 crowd

William's birthday is next week.  He turns 11 and in recent months I've begun to notice a decided shift into "pre-teen" behavior.  First, he asked me to stop laying out his clothes for each day.  I've done this since his birth and I do it mainly to save time and also because he never cared.  I have gladly given up this post, but it should be noted that he does not yet have the ability to choose pants without holey knees or shirts that are not stained beyond recognition.
Second he cares about his hair.  This cracks me up.  He spends several minutes (I know, in mom world, minutes on hair is a joke...) combing it just so.  And then he asks me to hairspray it for him.  I do ALL of this without so much as a smirk or comment.  This deserves an award.
Third, he has developed a jaunty swagger, which on his 5 foot 70 lb. frame is rather comical.  He's like a jazzy stick figure.
Apparently, he is too big and too cool for a birthday party.  My kids get a friend party every-other year and Anna spends a good part of that total 2 year period planning hers. But William just didn't care.  OR, my suspicion is that he didn't want to have a party that wouldn't be up to par with his new found coolness.
I offered to take him and handful of friends to the movies to celebrate and he jumped at that.  Movies with friends sounds like something high-school kids do, so it ranks as cool.
But there isn't much out and here's the movie he picked: Hunger Games.  I read the books, and loved them and am really looking forward to it myself, but it is really really violent.  And for the most part, I'm pretty careful about how much and when my kids get exposed to stuff.  I'm pretty firm on my "age appropriate" stance.  And I'm not sure it is....
What do you think?  It is PG13 for violence.  Should I take a group of 11 year old boys to see it?  Will their parents even let them?  Will I then be branded "that mom" who doesn't give a flip about her growing children's tender psyche?  If I take him will I actually do harm? And how much popcorn will 6 boys eat??

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

I know...this doesn't sound like a vacation read, but I had heard part of an interview with the author and i thought it was interesting.  Interesting because, I, like everyone else I know, has habits we would rather not have.  In the interview he was saying that the best time to try to change your habits is on vacation, because you are not in your normal routine and do not have the same triggers that signals a particular habit.  And this sounded like a good idea to me, because I am forever quitting caffeine only to come back to it after a couple of weeks with a vengeance.  And also I was going on vacation.

He begins by talking about the cyclical nature of habits and how they begin with a cue. We respond with our habit, which gives us a reward.  If we can identify what triggers our desire for something, we can work with it.  For instance, today I was really really busy.  I had to go down to BYU to fight over a job contract as well as drop a coat off for a production in Pleasant Grove and stop by Joann's  for pleather and trim and teach my three classes that I haven't been to in a week and a half and get tickets to a show and, and, and...you get the idea.  Well I got waylaid on my way to my car by a colleague who was unhappy with some of my students and wanted to discuss it at length.  By the time I got to my car I really wanted a coke.  Stress is one of my triggers.  Well the chances are I won't be able to eliminate stress from my life, but I did recognize that I wanted a coke because I was stressed.  I also want one when I am bored, when I am in a meeting, when I am driving and at 11:00 and 3:00.  So for me, pretty much anything at any given time is a trigger....boo.   BUT, I recognized it, and can direct my attention elsewhere.

Mr. Duhigg goes into great detail about this in personal lives, the science behind our brains and cravings, cultural habits (habits that develop in a specific place like work), and habits created in businesses.  There is a fascinating bit on Target and how they gather info on their customers and how they can predict how likely you are to be pregnant-before you even know yourself.

He does not really offer any science behind how to change the habits, but does have a few suggestions, which so far, for me is working.

I wonder how long it will take before I quit craving a coke? (Actually he talks about this too...apparently our habits NEVER go away, they just get filed away into a different part of the brain until we need them again...which is why you can still ride a bike even though you haven't been on one for years).

Anyway, an interesting read.  He has an easy manner and does a good job breaking down complicated science into layman's terms.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chichen Itza

I just noticed while downloading this that it is blurry.  The camera was
giving me fits and wouldn't focus right...I am not a happy gal right now.
I was going to give you a run down today of our little trip south, but today got crazy and then my internet went wonky and now I am tired.

Iguanas everywhere.  Seriously, they were like rats or seagulls
which, curiously, they do not have here.
But I will post a couple of pics from Chichen Itza.  I know lots of people who go to the Mayan Riviera to stay in a big fancy resort and eat at the buffets and lay on the beach all day, but I drag my kids around to historical sites...too bad for them.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Huck Attempts Humor

I guess since it is April Fool's Day, Huck decided to attempt a bit of humor.  I certainly got the giggles over it...