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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BEST FHE of 2013

Do you do family time?  In Mormon circles it is often referred to as FHE (Family Home Evening) and traditionally consists of things like a song and a prayer and some sort of lesson-often religion based.  We don't really do it that way.  I love our family time together, but as is my way, is often on-the-go, or game nights or forcing my kids to watch old musicals with me.

Today was a lesson on Choices.

So we went and ate lunch at the Prison.

Yeah, you heard me.

There is a little trailer diner attached to the prison, where, I'm assuming, extremely low risk female inmates cook your food.  More on the food in another post--The Citizens are wanting to become food critics, so we'll start the new year off with that one later...

Anyway, we ate our lunch; the place was full of stocky Prison Correctional Officers; it was good.
And then we took a good long look at the gates just 30 feet or so from our parked car.  Chain link.  Covered in that circular barb-wire that automatically makes you think of prison.  Tall security tower in the distance.  Large guards packing heat and probably a lot of pepper spray.  What I wouldn't have given to have a German Shepherd drag an officer by right then (in my mind this is what happened, no need to get into the truth).

"So...." I ask, "how do you think people end up here?"

Anna : You kill people!

Wm: Um...blank look.

Ensue teaching moment where we discuss how most of these people didn't start out as "bad" people and probably did not plan on a life behind bars.  Most of them probably had people at home who cared about them deeply.  But they made bad choices.  And they didn't start out saying "I'm going to make a bad choice today!"  It starts years earlier with little things and little lies and little crimes or more often than not, being around people who do those things.  And that started them on a path that ended up here.

And then, as most of our discussions do, we talked about the value of education and how good choices put us on a different path.  But the point being, you have to choose a path that takes you in the direction you want to go.  And oddly enough, I am not going to choose that path for them.

Now I'm not proud of a lot of things, but I love The Citizens deeply, and I'm pretty proud of them.  And if either (or both) of them grow up to be good people and contribute to society in any shape or form, I'm going to take credit.  Let it be known.  And then, when they are being interviewed about their success and they point to this moment, when their mom took them to the prison for lunch and then lectured discussed choices with them, and how that was a pivotal moment in their childhood, I'm going to startle awake in my easy chair at the old folks home and then nod solemnly in agreement.  Because it made a difference.

And that, folks, is how you do family time.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Report: Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep
S.J. Watson

This one is a weekend reader.  Easy, not too long, total fluff, suspense.

Christine, the main character wakes up and can't remember where she is, how she got there, and who the man in the bed beside her is.  Turns out, everyday is like this.  She has had a traumatic experience that has erased nearly 20 years of her memory.

Her doctor gives her a journal to keep and she begins to track her experiences and what few memories she does have and each day she starts again, reads her journal to find out about herself and then adds to it.  In this process she begins to unravel her memories and that's where the good stuff starts to happen.

Can't tell you anymore without ruining it, although I don't think it is terribly tricky to figure out.

Like I said, a good weekend get-away read.  I could totally see a movie made out of this; I'm surprised it hasn't been yet.

**Just googled it...it will be coming out in 2014 with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.  HAH!

Book Report: The Angel Experiment: Maximum Ride #1 & 2

The Angel Experiment: Maximum Ride #1
School's Out Forever: #2
By James Patterson

Yes, you saw that right, it is the James Patterson, of the best selling book fame....this is a YA  book, and my 12 year old was super excited about these books and insisted I read them.  So I did.

I think there are lots of them...I made it through book #2, but went no further.

The story is basically about a group of kids, Max being their leader and the eyes the story is told through.  They have been stolen from their families and genetically experimented on so that they have wings and/or special gifts.  There is another group that is basically their nemesis that are also experimental people and are wolves of sorts who chase them everywhere trying to kill them.

Apparently Max is supposed to save the world, and I'm assuming the series plays this out.

I typically like a lot of YA literature.  But man...I'll leave this set to 12 year old boys.  I'm not really all that hard to please, but these books feel like they were slammed out in a weekend and underestimate the ability of YA's to be able to understand complex characters and plot points.  But then, maybe this hits a very specific demographic...and who am I to knock a book that will get a tween boy to read?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Report: The Secret History

The Secret History
by Donna Tartt

I recently heard a book review of a new book, The Goldfinch, by Ms. Tartt on NPR and tried to get it from the library, but it wasn't available right away.  The review had mentioned a previous book of acclaim, so I decided to get that one instead.

The Secret History came out in 2004 and revolves around Richard, a poor California kid who flees his shabby life to go to school at an expensive Eastern liberal arts college in Vermont.  He is immediately fascinated by a small group of unapproachable elite students studying Greek, something Richard studied at his community college back in CA.  He finds himself admitted to this group of five  and unexpectedly into their private "research" of ancient ritual.

It should be noted, that the book starts with a death.  Richard then recounts the strange path that took this group there.  The story is fascinating, particularly for the haunting way everyone in the group gets to and then justifies murdering one of their own.

Not quite a mystery, since you know what happened, and even who did it from the very beginning, but discovering how they got there is fascinating.

A bit long for a weekend read; may not be the best companion just before bed.

Book Report: The Lowland

The Lowland
by Jhumpa Lahiri

The most recent novel by Ms. Lahiri and a favorite of mine.  She also has a very poetic writing style.  I love when the words seems to form images so effortlessly.  I'm a visual reader-meaning, I form images of the story I'm reading in my head as I read-kind of like a movie.  I was surprised to learn a few years back that not everyone reads like this.  I actually do this with everything.  If you tell me an event that happened to you...I will picture it.  It makes for some very uncomfortable images sometimes that I can't erase.

Anyway, I've loved previous books by this author: The Namesake, Interpreter of Maladies (a Pulitzer Prize winner) and Unaccustomed Earth.  So I was excited when this book came out and requested it from the library before they even had a copy (I love to be the first one to christen a library book...I don't know why, but I do).

This one is a full novel (some of her books are collections of short stories) and follows her traditional view of a native born Indian who moves to the U.S. and then unfolds their life from there.

The main character in this book, Subhash grows up very close with his brother in Calcutta, but as his brother becomes more involved with political groups Subhash goes away to graduate school in the U.S.  The story then takes a turn when Subhash returns to India upon the death of his brother and meets his sister-in-law, also a student in Calcutta.  We then follow their lives and the complications that follow duty and regret and personal sorrow.

While not a light book, it is not terribly long, and not a difficult book to read.  Perfect to curl up with over a long weekend by the fire.

**You can follow me on Goodreads by following the link on the left side of the blog.  Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Report: Harry Potter (s)

Ok.  I'm not actually going to Review Harry Potter.  I started reading this series with Anna last year at her request.  We finished #5 a couple of months ago, and are gearing up to start #6 in January.
Like many many people, I love these books.

I recently met someone who bragged that they had never read them and didn't care to.  Whatever.
 That's like saying "I've never eaten chocolate, but because so many people like it, I'm never going to try it, because it would taste like the masses."  Seriously, you are the only one losing out there.

I started reading these before I had kids (just before Citizen #1 hit the scene) and waited eagerly for each one to come out.  Because the span between each one was 2-3 years, my poor memory just couldn't hold it all in, so I would start over with #1 each time a new one came out.  But this time, I'm reading them with Anna, and reading your favorite books with a child is wonderful.  I love that we both get into it and lose track of time, and that she can't wait to get into her jammies so we can read together.

I don't have a lot of loose time on my hands, so snuggling down in my bed and reading is precious.  I'm not sure how much more I'll get, so I'd better make these last 2 books count.

Book Report: Peter and The Starcatchers

Peter and The Starcatchers (#1)
Peter and The Shadow Thieves (#2)
Peter and The Secret of Rundoon (#3)
Peter and The Sword of Mercy (#4)

by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

We love these books.  To be fair, we haven't read any of them.  But over the past two years, we've got one of these on tape (disc really) every time we hit the road.  They are read by Jim Dale (of Harry Potter book-on-tape fame) and are wonderful.  Wonderful in their own right, but Jim Dale is a fantastic story teller, so doubly so for him.  We actually have one of those DVD thingies in our car, and my kids often prefer stories like this over movies.  Truth.

This is the story of Peter Pan.  And is a delightfully woven tale about where he came from and how he got to be who is he is.  Why he can fly, why Captain hook hates him...in fact all the characters and how they came to be.   It is hard to say more without giving it away, but each of the books build on one another, revealing more details about the characters you already know.

Last year, a play hit Off-Broadway in New York and is out now to theater companies.  I think the Utah Shakespeare festival had it on the season this year.  It is also delightful, so if a production pops up near you, take your kids.

The 5th book, The Bridge to Neverland, came out this year, but our library is having a hard time getting the book-on-tape version...I may have to order it myself.

I think this series would be appropriate for kids 5ish and up to listen to, and 7-8 on up for reading-on occasion, we get the tape and the book and Anna reads along.  As I said, we LOVE it.  Even the tween.

Book Report: Gilead

Guys...I am so far behind on book reports.  Forgive me.  I'm sure you've been waiting, unable to choose a book to read without my input.  Well, I feel that I MUST get reports in before the year's end, so I'll try to get y'all caught up.

by Marilynne Robinson

If ever there was a book that I could describe as gentle, this would be it.  Ms. Robinson has a gift with the words.  Every night that I picked up this book, I was put into a calmness of mind that is both rare for books and for me personally.  That isn't to say it was boring, because I felt completely engaged with the characters.  Well, mainly one character.

The book is set in Gilead, Iowa and is told from the perspective of an aging Congregationalist minister.  It is a journal, one he is writing to his very young son, aware that he may not live to see him grow up.  It is full of stories-stories of family and generations and lessons learned along the way. He tells of his father and grandfather; of their passions and missteps.  Both were ministers during times of war and upheaval.

Though it is set in Iowa, I was reminded of my own grandfather in Kansas (based on dates given, I'm assuming this is set sometime in the 50's?  Maybe early 60's...when my own mother would have been a child.)  There is something rather nostalgic about the Midwest to a western gal, although every time I picture it there is wind, and I'm not a great lover of wind.

There is no real plot, and the lives lived are ordinary, but the writing is poetic and beautiful.  And while there is much talk of religion within the book, it is not dogmatic and seems to transcend religion straight to the spiritual.

It really is a lovely book.  From what I gather, it took 24 years for Ms. Robinson to go from her first novel Housekeeping to this one...I'm going to add that one to my Goodreads list.

Oh, and also it won the Pulitzer Prize.

*If you'd like to follow me on Goodreads and see what I'm really reading, follow the link on the left.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Huck-Elf on a Shelf

So an odd childhood acquaintance of mine has been doing "Self on a Shelf" this season with his family (don't ask, it is creepy...), and is the inspiration for today's photo-op.

We do not understand the whole "Elf on a Shelf" thing and do not do such a thing at  our house.  WHO invented something to make moms more crazy during the holiday season?  Had to be another mom.  One on crack.  But the things the elves do, is be all naughty.  Which Huck is pro at.

Clearly, he is enjoying himself immensely.

As am I.

Merry Christmas Eve all!

Enjoy your day however you spend it, wherever and with whomever you choose.
It comes but once a year.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

UnHoly Family

Lest you think Huck has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas or that I am not procrastinating away the day (or that I am some how wasting all that graduate school), we have a delightful rendition of the Holy Family for you.

Tis the season.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Utah Pride

So earlier today, in case you were one of the two people in the state who hadn't heard, a Utah Supreme Court judge over turned a law that voters put in place in 2004 banning gay marriage in the state.  It is a big deal.  Honestly, I don't think anyone saw this coming.

Before I knew it my Facebook feed was full of images of couples getting marriage licenses and the Mayor of SLC performing ceremonies.  Seriously.  There at least a million old Mormons in the state that think the second coming of Jesus is here and we are about to purge the earth with fire.

Huck wanted to know what I was clearly so excited about and in the true spirit of the day allowed me to post this picture of him.

Merry Christmas Gay Utah.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

"This boy is Ignorance.  This girl is Want.  Beware them both, and all of their decree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.  Deny it!  ...Slander those who tell it ye!  Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse.  And abide the end!"

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.

"Are there no prison?" said the spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words.  "Are there no work houses?"

The bell struck twelve.

This is perhaps my favorite section in A Christmas Carol, and the passages we read last night,

Huck was deeply affected.

As should we all be.

Merry Christmas!  Winter Break is finally here!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mr. Scrooooooge

We've been reading A Christmas Carol at our house this year.  We have quite the collection of Christmas books, but this was the first year I thought the Citizens would be able to sit through the full rendition of Dickens.  They love it....but unbeknownst to me, someone else was listening too...and joined our little group last night bedecked in his finest Scrooge outfit-a fitting character, no doubt-You be the judge.

Marry Christmas!  Only 2 more days til Winter Break!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Good King Wenceslas

So...it turns out Huck really likes his little photos shoots.  He thinks it is an indication that I like him.  Whatever.  The world is full of unrealistic expectations this time of year; my hound is no exception.

This did, however, lead to some unexpected Christmas cheer...HUCK STARTED SINGING CHRISTMAS SONGS.  No, really.

And then I said, "I have a costume for that."

Happy Wednesday Every One!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

So we are on day 2 of our new family Christmas tradition of Huck Shaming.  Don't feel sorry for him.  He deserves it...plus he'll never see this because I don't let him have internet access and also he doesn't have fingers.

Happy Monday Y'all!

Don't you feel better now?

Feliz Navidad.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Santa's Little Helper

Yesterday our darling hound ate 2 full boxes of wrapped and be-ribboned cakebites from the Sweet Tooth Fairy intended as gifts....I would have killed him on the spot, but had just mopped the floor.

And then I thought of a different sort of revenge....my blog.  (insert evil laugh here...)

My intention is to abuse and shame Huck as much as possible for the next ten days in the true spirit of Christmas.  Stay tuned.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bonnets and Bees

Utah-well, rather the Entire Western United States was hit by a big snowstorm this weekend (watch out Midwest & East Coast--its a comin' your way).  We got A LOT of snow.

I knew it was coming, and since we really didn't have anything on the docket for this weekend, I decided to hunker down...and then I realized I would have a WHOLE DAY where nothing had been scheduled.  So, I did what any sane person in the middle of Christmas projects and knee deep in a list of things that needed to be cleaned would do.  I decided to paint.  And once I got that bee in my bonnet, there was no letting go.

Isn't that what you would do???

My bedroom/bathroom has been bugging me every since I moved into this house six years ago...but has never been a priority.  Then when I had the whole bathroom debacle in September and had to redo it, the bedroom has really been standing out.  It was this sad beige color...but it had real strong pink undertones.  Most of the house was painted in this color, but the basement and my room still persists.

So I did.

I shoulda got a before picture.  But I carried the yellow/gray theme over from the bathroom and rearranged stuff and a whole new bed look.

I'm very happy.  My house is not clean, so you cannot come over and look at it, but I'm snuggled down deep in all those pillows reading a book.

**I thought I'd posted about the bathroom...but maybe I didn't.  Here is a picture of that project too.  However, that one was thrust upon me by fate and a water leak.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Reasons to Be Thankful You're Not a Pilgrim

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (or today if you live on the other side of the world and are just getting around to reading my blog, a priority, I'm sure...) and although I know you are plenty thankful, I thought I give you 10 real reasons to be thankful.

1. Small pox.  As another blogger (and also my boss incidentally...) blogged about just today, small pox talk at the dinner table is HOT.  Regardless of fads in table talk through the centuries, I think we can all be thankful that small pox is not a real problem for us.  Did you know that between the time the Mayflower left and just a few months after arriving in the new world, only about 1/3 of the passengers weren't on the verge of dying and more than half the crew had perished.  Disease flourished and there were no Rite Aids. Even basic penicillin was centuries off.

2. Millinery.  Perhaps you like to sport dapper head wear, but I think it is difficult for even the sartorial adept among us to wear a pilgrim hat (or cockel hat as may be known in costume circles) and be taken seriously.  Today, you have a wide range of choices when it comes to decorating your noggin whatever its shape or your proclivity.  Go ahead, express yourself.

3. Puritan Roots.  While I think this sometimes gets us in trouble and can be taken to extremes, I think it is perhaps these very roots that give us the stubbornness to be resilient, hardworking, and when necessary incredibly generous with one another.

4. Grocery Stores.  We've all heard the story about the first dinner (truth or myth, who knows?) But I am grateful that I do not have to shoot a wild turkey with a single shot front loading musket and gather unknown tubers and grains with which to celebrate my holiday dinner.  No matter how you go about your feast tomorrow, it is guaranteed to be much easier and much more plentiful than anything our forefathers ate even at the greatest celebrations.

5. Wool.  Back in the olden days almost everything was made of wool.  EVERYTHING.  From top to bottom, inside and out.  And none of it was cashmere.  Have you seen Babe?  The wool came from ordinary farm sheep like that.  And no fancy super-washing, combing, delousing, and bleaching.  Sheep stink and home spun wool is coarse.  Cotton was rare, mostly out of India and came in second in the shipping world behind all those spices Columbus was after.  It would be another 200 years before the southern half of the yet to be U.S. realized they could grow the stuff and make it an export to the world.  Can you image living in the itchiest fabric you can think of every day of your life, including summer-

6. Security.  While there is much talk about border security and the grief we go through at the airport is enough to make a person stay at home forever, we do not live in a fort.  If yo
ur family is like mine, stories abound of ancestors who came to America in those early years and those that didn't get taken out by small pox went the way of Indian raids.  There is even one particularly embellished story of a hot headed Irishman who went west to Ohio and was captured.  He worked his way to freedom and went in search of his young bride who promptly gave birth to my kin and then died.  This does sound like the kind of adventure we've been searching for.

7. And while we're near the subject: Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates.  In the modern world, we fully expect mothers to carry babies and birth them and for everyone to live.  Medicine has even gotten so good that we hear of babies scarcely into their fifth month of pregnancy surviving.  For our pilgrim friends no one took either of those things for granted.  Women commonly died in childbirth and many many children did not live to see their 5th birthday.  The birth of Virginia Dare was exceptional for many reasons, not just because she was the first, but that it happened at all.  Families were large because you could expect to lose half of them, and second and third marriages were common as wives and mothers died.

8. Sin.  Pilgrims were obsessed with sin.  And while Mormons can plausibly lay claim to a modern day obsession with it, I would wager the pilgrims took themselves just wee mite too seriously.  I'm guessing if they even had a peek at the way we celebrate this day they would prostrate themselves on the ground, renting their garments-sackcloth and ashes and all and entreat us to repent or be smitten.

9. Entertainment.  It is said that at the first thanksgiving they celebrated with prayers, wrestling, dancing and other games....can you imagine--oh wait, I think maybe there are still families who celebrate in a similar manner.  I'm grateful for the interwebs, DVDs and Wii.

10. I asked the citizens to tell me whey they are grateful they aren't Pilgrims and William is glad he didn't have to build his own house (Amen), and Anna (true to form) is glad we don't have to wear hot clothes and that we can go to Target to get stuff.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  May we all be be grateful for all we have and are.  May you have a wonderful day however you choose to celebrate with whomever you are with.

As for me, the Citizens and I are hunkered up in a small condo up in Park City watching The Hobbit in front of a fire and will partake of a lovely buffet style dinner tomorrow (as American as it gets if you ask me) that I will neither cook nor clean up after.  It is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things I Don't Understand or Maybe I'm Just Old

So my little miss likes to listen to the radio.  And not NPR and Ira Glass as I have brought her up to do.  She insists on what the youths these days like to refer to as "pop music."

And frankly, I just don't get a lot of it.  It makes me feel old.

"Do you ever feel, like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?"

Hmmmm....no.  can't say I've ever felt like a plastic bag?  Or maybe the plastic bag wants to start again??? I don't know....I just don't know.

"We could be Starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I"ll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold"

Yeah, but no thanks.  Really, love is not all you need.

"I came to dance, dance, dance, dance
I hit the floor 'cause that's my plans, plans, plans, plans
I'm wearing all my favorite brands, brands, brands, brands
Give me some space for both my hands, hands, hands, hands
Yeah, yeah
'Cause it's goes on and on and on
And it goes on and on and on..."

and on and on and on....

And pretty much anything by Train:

"OH I swear to you
I'll be there for you
This is not a drive by, ah-ah-ah-ah
Just a shy guy looking for two-ply
Hefty bag to hold my love
When you move me everything is groovy
They don't like it sue me
Oh I swear to you
I'll be there for you
This is not a drive by"

Why am I not swooning for this guy, right now, I ask myself?  Clearly, it is not a drive by.

"She went down in an airplane
Fried getting suntanned
Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
Help me, help me, I'm not good at goodbyes!
She  met a shark under water
Fell and no one caught her
I returned everything I ever bought her
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died"

At least we know they can rhyme.

And soooooo many more.  But I'm usually driving and don't write them down...the sad things is, I think I know most of the lyrics to all these songs.  

Help me, help me...

So what is the song that gets to you?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oddities and Such

Well, here we go again...there are just too many things I just don't get in this world. And since I have been super neglectful to my faithful readers and haven't done one of these in awhile, it is an extended version. YAY!

But here you go; to send you off on your holiday week with cheer and hopefully some glee.

First up: Target for the win on obesity!
Those are cereal bars.  Intended for breakfast.
Kudos to Americans for having just enough sense to know that this somehow crosses a line since it is on clearance.

Next is a little house that is near Wm's school; I only pass it if I am headed to work immediately after.  It is modest house in a modest neighborhood, but it has a HUGE bronze elk in the front yard.  And the elk (whom we will hereafter refer to as Edmond) wears a delightful holiday wreath that changes every month.  At Halloween he was covered in spider webs and big plastic spiders.  Edmund makes me unbelievably happy.  I wish I could get a better shot without looking creepy.  Maybe for December...

#3 is a new club at BYU I recently saw advertising for.  Do really tall people feel isolated?  Do they need their own club?  We had a guy get hustled into being part of a short/tall joke in the opera this fall who measured in a 6'10" (which by the way, is not "on the tall side" if you are talking to a costume designer about fitting someone with a sleeve length of 40") and I asked him what he thought about this club.  He thought it was a way to lure tall guys in to the tall girls. Hmm.  Yet another instance of someone playing match-maker?
I'm not sure the HFAC is the best place to advertise for really tall men since I doubt there is a performer in all the world who measures above 5'10", but maybe they were covering all their bases.

#4: This jacket.  Also at Target, marketed for tweens, perhaps?  Or maybe it was just a special out for dress-your-daughter-like-a-yeti-day.  Just because you can make something doesn't mean you should.

#5: Can you read that?  I did a double take.  It says "Sakura's Garden: Zen grooming for dogs".  Zen.  I consulted with our resident canine grouch to see what he thought about that and some uncharacteristically bad language was exhibited.  Well...that's not very Zen, is it?

#6: Little Mommy Princess and the Potty (carried at...you guessed it...Target).  This little gem has a try me feature which, when you press on the toilet seat flips up to reveal your precious's poop.  POOP.  Which then disappears when you flush the handle.  Um.  No words.

#7  Remember when you were a kid and it would snow and you and all the neighbor kids would run outside while your mom tried to shove a hat on your head and gloves on your hands?  And you would try to build the biggest snowman ever??  Or, if you are like me, are from St. George you rushed out before it could melt and tried to manufacture something that sort of resembled a couple of dirty balls of ice?  And then you would get sticks and a scarf and a carrot nose and give it personality?  Well, never fear, the taxation on young minds to figure out those minute details that is clearly stressing them out has been dealt with...at Target (I really don't know that Target carries more crap than anyone else; I really think this is more a reflection on how much time I spend there...).  You can buy this kit.  I think, that if we went looking this holiday season, we will be able to buy, tucked in among the Christmas trees at the lots, complete snowmen that you can take home and plop on your lawn.  No effort required.

#8  Bought a pair of shoes last week.  I had been looking for a very particular type of gray wool ballet flat for some time.  And I finally found it.  YAY!  But the brand of shoe gave me pause...In fact, I had to think briefly whether I was up to the task of owning and wearing a shoe that was Fergalicious.  Are you?

#9  Our elementary school has a bell choir.  It is awesome.  I have, somehow, by default, become the parent who keeps this thing running.  This year, we needed to replace a few bells (they do not do well when dropped.  Have you EVER heard of kids NOT dropping things?  Yeah. New Bells).  And so I looked up where we'd gotten bells in the past and it led me to this.  Which only made me want to buy more bells.

#10  To be clear, I'm a big fan of Hillary Clinton.  You don't have to be.  I know lots of people aren't.  But man, that woman has quite the set of chops and can she ever rock a pant suit.  Politics aside, though, I got this email just yesterday inviting me to purchase this lovely set of champagne glasses.  Um, yard sign?  You bet.  Bumper sticker?  Maybe.  Classy trucker hat?  Absolutely.  But Bubbles Glasses with a unique logo?  Again: um.

#11  And lastly, something closer to home.  Yesterday, being Sunday, I wrestled The Citizens into their finest and hustled them off to church.  Citizen #1 has finally reached a point where he will, under duress, dress himself.  FANTASTIC.  However, this sort of thing comes with a price.  As in, he dresses himself.  And this, folks, is what we end up with:

Yep, you got it.  TWO entirely different shoes (one slip on, one with LACES), and entirely different sizes (2 sizes different to be exact) and...here's the worst part: WHITE SPORT SOCKS.  He's killing me.  He only let me take a picture because I said I would take him home to fix it.  While I waited patiently in the car, he did procure a matching set of shoes and black socks.  However, once back at church I noticed they were short black ankle sport socks.  Seriously.  There is only so much you can do.  *Sigh*

Hold the Press!  Last minute addition that my childhood BFF just posted on Face book and I just can't let you leave without it.  You'll thank me later. (I couldn't get the exact one she posted to link here...but I think this one will be great...)

 Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

That's One Sick Puppy

So Huck was sick.

We left for fall break and when we came back he was not the same.  I assumed he was depressed, since the people we leave him with have a little dog and totally pamper him by letting him do things like SLEEP ON THEIR BED.  He does not have this luxury at home.  He sleeps in a kennel, where all dogs who like to pee on the floor in the middle of night should sleep.
Waiting for the vet

But then he wouldn't go up and down the stairs.  I know this because for some reason someone (no names) dropped a goldfish cracker in the middle of the stairs and it was there for DAYS, because any dropped food at our house usually does not last more than a few seconds so I don't bother much with it.

And then his tail...it was tucked firmly between his legs.

So after a week, I broke down and took him to the vet.  I hate this because they often can't tell any better than you can and then several HUNDRED dollars later they let you leave.

Here he is at the vet.  He wouldn't look at me, but mostly just stared at the door waiting for the vet to come in.

And then she examined him and my totally lazy, worthless guard dog of a hound tried to bite the vet.  He's never tried to bite anything in his life.

Turns out he had a staph infection all over his belly and bum and hurt his back somehow.  Probably wasn't broken, though.

Well, that was a week and a half ago, and he's only just now returning to himself.  He's been on a steady stream of antibiotics and pain killers since then, and today, his tail was half way raised and wagging and he chased something.  He still can't/won't jump up on Williams bed (his favorite place to be) but he's on the mend.

While he was sick, the vet had me give him soft food in case there was something intestinal going on.  He'd never had it, and since he's been on a diet (ineffectual diet, I might add) for months his food routine is pretty boring.  He wolfed it down in about 1.2 seconds and then seemed to regret it, just licking his bowl over and over again longingly.

Anyway.  He was pretty pathetic, but seems to be feeling better.  Several of you had asked me about him since I posted pictures of him a couple of weeks ago.  Thank you for your concern.  He is happily lying on the floor in my room right now snoring away.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Though We Adore Them Individually.....


Although I love Halloween, that is how I end up feeling every time.  I put my energy in Anna's costume this year, since I felt like she got cheated last year, and if I do say so myself, I done did good.

We decided to go for strong female role models this year.  It is important to me that my daughter grow up strong and independent and self-sufficient.  While I have nothing against Disney Princesses, let's face it, they aren't the best role models for a modern day girl.  And their dresses really aren't that great anyway (which may be of equal import).

So I tried talking her into a Suffragette, showing her pictures and explaining that pretty much every good thing like education, and being able to drive a car, and planning your family, and having a career and owning property, and not being property--we owed to these ladies.  They were brave and courageous beyond anything we understand.


No, thank you.

So I did it myself.

But for the missus, we were able to come to an agreement on Amelia Earhart, who is also a strong female figure and who also comes with no frills.  In fact, no lace, makeup, hair, glitter, or wings.  But boots, a scarf, a coat and a hat, which considering our weather lately, seems an appropriate choice.

I was able to purchase most of it, but made the jodhpurs.  OH MY GOODNESS does she look freakin fantastic in those jodhpurs??  Yes, she does.  I don't need your approval because I know it to be true.

She really wanted Huck to sport an AIRPLANE.  It didn't happen, but I was able to rig up a bit of
co-pilot's costume and he was (for nearly three minutes) The Red Baron.  He's been sick, so we didn't take him trick-or-treating.

Citizen #1 was too cool for costumes this year....well, at least he was until 3:15 October 30.  I quit taking costume orders in September, so he was on his own.  Luckily, he is a creative kid and we have the resources.  He went as the Mad Hatter.

So, now, I believe the holiday season is officially underway and I need to start thinking seriously about Christmas.  Whew.  After my nap.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Zion National Park

Anna took this money shot for her Reflection entry.
Immediately after surviving tech for The Opera, The Citizens had Fall Break.  We didn't get in our annual camping trip this summer, so we set off for Zion.  I've actually booked this same trip every fall break for the last three years.  You have to do it six months in advance if you want to get a camping space...but one year a show got in the way, one year everyone got sick.

THIS year, of course, The government got involved in trying to keep us from a National Park (don't try to tell me this wasn't a conspiracy...) but luckily all sorts of small business owners from Southern Utah threw a fiscal fit and the governor wired money to D.C. to get it back open.  (This is a true story.  Utah had to actually wire money to the federal government...no trust there.)

The hike to the Narrows
So the park opened, the show didn't collapse and we took off Thursday.  I only forgot one sleeping back and the cooking utensils, which really doesn't seem too bad considering I had been in tech the night before.  Luckily my sister lives a quick 30 minutes down the road so I went and got the needed supplies from her.

We allowed an extra guest on this trip, which in retrospect was probably not a good idea, and will probably not happen again (unless it is the Pugmire-Hinmon clan.  We like camping with them).

Did I mention I gave birth to a mountain goat?

It was colder than usual this year, so we were all pretty snug in our tent and sleeping bags by about 9:00 every night.  Seriously.  When was the last time you went to bed at 9pm?

Zion is so pretty.  I grew up down there, but it had been a few years since I'd been there with The Citizens, and we'd never camped.

Lower Emerald Pool

Zion is a great park for kids, older folks or some of us middlers who aren't as fit as we should be.  There are LOTS of pretty tame, but beautiful hikes like Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools and the hike to the Narrows.

Slightly more oomph gets you to the upper emerald pool, Into the Narrows (not recommended for this time of year brrrrr....) or Canyon Overlook.

Mountain Goats!  Actual ones!
 For the Adventurous go for Angel's Landing.

Zion has this awesome tunnel built right into the rock.  Started in 1927 it stretches over a mile and there are windows carved into one side so you can see through to the arch.  I am constantly amazed when we go to these National Parks the engineering feats you see there.  I love that tunnel.

Canyon Overlook.  My chosen final resting place.
And yes, Wm was hiking in his pajamas.

My favorite hike is the one just on the other side of the tunnel-Canyon Overlook.  This is where I want my ashes sprinkled.

Anna is still young enough that she was excited to do the Jr. Ranger program; I guess that ship has sailed in the brave new world of coolness with the Other Citizen.

Grafton Cemetery

We took a side detour one day over to Grafton (maybe a 20 minute drive outside the park), which as I remembered it from when I was a kid, was a run down ghost town.  It is still pretty cool, but do-gooders have been there and done all sorts of refurbishing of building and clearly took a few of the really dangerous ones down.

If you'd like more info about the park, go here.  If you'd like to come and do a grand tour of some great National Parks in the Southwest, let me know.  I'll set you up.