Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation...1976

Per Lisa's request - she wanted to know what I did between high school graduation and marriage:

Well, in those few months between June and November, I helped put the finishing touches on my wedding. Yup, I got married the November after graduating.

Very early on in my little girl life I decided that I wanted to be a mom when I grew up. I also decided I would never marry. I had seen enough of that and wanted nothing to do with it. Now back in the day single women did not rear children. That was unthinkable! If by chance some poor little thing was taken advantage of or had a huge laps in judgement she was shipped off to an aunt in the midwest and the situation was quietly taken care of. I knew this. I was nothing if not observant as a kid. I saw that After School Special played out a few times and I knew enough not get involved in that way with anyone! But I was also pretty naive and had not had "the talk" with dear ol' mom, so although I knew a boy would be involved, I wasn't exactly sure about Slot A and Tab B.

By the time I "grew up" I had a goal.."kids sans husband". How to do this? Well like I said I was observant and noticed that those with money got pretty much anything they wanted, even when it broke the rules. I would go to school and do what my parents wanted me to do, then go back to school and become a commercial artist, live at the beach, and eventually have enough money and go by me some kids. I would adopt. I would be rich and no one would stop me. That was the plan.

Then in the summer of my 15th year Thor's parents moved to our small little town. He would enter his Senior year in a brand new school, and he wasn't super keen on the idea, but it was a move to help the little girls in the family and give them a better neighborhood than they had in the old town. So move they did.

Thor and I met that summer; and by the following New Year's Eve we had our first date. By February I knew my plans of never being married would be done with. I was in loooove!

Side-bar: In Thor's family everyone had a habit of marrying young...YOUNG. Mom hit the alter at 16, and the older brothers all went forth at the ages of 17 and 18. That said, his parents had a happy marriage and the older brothers seemed to be doing just fine too.

So we dated, steady-eddies until I was a Senior myself and would graduate. Although this broke the previous tradition, even in love I wasn't stupid enough to graduate as a married lady; so we waited. He was 19, I was 18; and on November 12 (the 12th of "never"), we were married in the Los Angeles Temple. After two years of honeymoon time we began having all those kids I wanted. They came like clockwork every two years for eight years, and then we took a three year hiatus and were delightfully surprised by #5 after Thor took a job at a broken Nuclear Power Plant.

I never went to school to be what my parents wanted me to be, I never got rich enough to live at the beach, but I got the best wish of my childhood and Thor to boot. I did pretty well for myself.

That's the short story. Here's a slightly longer version for those truly bored.

We met in church. I was assigned the youth talk for that summer Sunday and I wore a dress I had made earlier that spring while I was sick and home from school for 7 months. I was very ill and had lost so much weight I was probably about 92 pounds when Thor first laid eyes on me in an "India Print" gauze dress, with elephants dyed and marching along the hem. I had -to my waist- straight as a board- dark brown hair and he was the new boy. He was skinny and shorter than most of the guys, but he had a great big smile and the prettiest green eyes you ever saw. Plus, this new guy had shoulders on him like a mack truck. They were huge and broad. He had the thickest brown hair and goofy clothes. He was the sweetest, most dear boy I knew. I trusted him immediately and worried that all the other girls would sweep him away and I would never get a chance to even talk with him. We officially met when he offered me his seat in Sunday school class, which I took, then thought how bold I was, got embarrassed and left the room changing classes for the next 5 months.

Our first date was News Year's Eve at the church dance. He was almost two hours late and I thought he stood me up. But he showed up, we danced, and then we sat by each other on the bus that would drive the ward down to the Rose Parade. We talked the entire trip while everyone else slept. By the time we arrived everyone woke up and Thor and I fell asleep and never saw a single float go by. The Bishop joked that "Now you need to get married, you slept together on the first date!" ha ha. Not so much, I was mortified. This was my first date with the guy and back then (hard to believe but true) I was SHY. Very SHY and not so confident. This was humiliating and everyone laughed! Oh well, it was prophetic. The stars were set and everyone saw it before we did.

So there you go. My Summer essay. Hope I get an "A"!

add to sk*rt

Monday, February 26, 2007

Advice from 3 hollywood types

I love this photo. It came with the computer program. Someone was able to capture what I have been feeling lately. The blues, wanting to take a long walk off a short pier, alone, a little sorry for myself, mourning, and a general chill. It will pass, it's not that big of a deal, and yeah, I'm fine. Really. From the look out there in blog-ville I am not the only one experiencing a bit of the "can spring just get here already?" ho-hums.

For me the reason was a bit of information I received and it kind of threw me for a loop. I was talking about it today and what I came up with is similar to the whole "Matrix" feeling. You know, "take the red pill and know the truth."

Up until that information hit I thought something was the truth. I took the pill and now I know that everything I felt before wasn't real. How do you live for 40+ years thinking that the dress you have worn for 40+ years has always been blue plaid and wake up one day to find that, in reality, it is a red stripe? There is so much of me that feels like a "matrix", what is real, what was a lie, what was a nice story to pacify me, what was truth? Even in the fabric of my dress threads were pulled to weave another garment. A garment worn by another person; making my clothing full of holes and thread bare.

There are so many holes in my fabric that at times I wondered if what I wore all my life was even a dress. Maybe it was a jumper, or shorts, maybe I had a heavy coat on all those years, or maybe I wore jeans and a tee shirt. At this point I question what is in the mirror on a daily basis. I can't trust my own memories and judgement in some areas, and that has me freaked a bit.

I know that in the long run it doesn't matter what I wear on my body as long as I know who resides in my heart. I refer to another great film of our time, The Lion King. In one particularly educational scene Rafiki bonks Simba on the head and reminds him that certain things are in the past and essentially that makes them a moot point. What really matters is that Simba listen to his father and realize his potential future, his right to be king. I went for the blue monkey, took the bonk on the head and am listening to my Father. Hopefully this will keep on a course that leads to my own Royalty someday.

I am sorting things out lately. I need to clean out my head -and like a closet, all the stuff is on the floor and being sorted out. Some things need to be boxed up, other things tossed, still others labeled and filed. Right now my mind is a bit empty. In the words of another good housekeeper: "It's a good thing!"

I haven't had a good idea for blogging in quite a while, the brain is otherwise occupado. But I am open to suggestion. Got something on your mind? Got a question for me? I am pretty much an open book and if you have read this blog at all, you know I have an opinion on pretty much everything. So give me a topic, ask my thoughts on your dilemma, send me a laundry list of ideas, or whatever.

This is your big chance...it's open mike night, let me have it!

add to sk*rt

Friday, February 23, 2007

Carlton's log, day 4, photos

add to sk*rt

Carlton's log, day 3, Year of the Pig

add to sk*rt

Carlton's log, day 2, Ethel M.

What to do after a day hiking? Why go to a chocolate factory of course! Henderson, just south of Vegas, is home to Ethel M. Chocolates. For any who may not know, she and her husband became famous for making a tiny contribution to the war effort in the manner of a convenient tasty, non melting energy source that came to be known as M&Ms. Named for Mr. & Mrs. After that came Mars Bars, and a variety of other chocolate bars and later grandsons added things like Skittles.

In the late 80's Mrs. Mars got an idea that she should make "fancy" chocolates like Mr. Mars' Grandmother did way back in the day. Bada Bing, Ethel M. was born.

Today you can go to the factory in Henderson and hand pick assorted chocolates, everything from the run of the mill hand dipped to the extra fancy (and uber expensive) specials... things that resemble cocktails to fruit and spice. The "regular" chocolates run you 6 pieces for $5.00. The specials go for just under two bucks a piece. The specials however, are a higher cacao percentage and special ingredients, so you are supposed to feel better about purchasing them.

I have to tell you, I didn't go for the specials. I just couldn't bring myself to try it without Chronicler there. I passed them up and went for the 6 for $5 deal. Both Thor and I felt they were the same caliber as Ghiradelli, a bit waxy for the price. They were very tempting and extremely pretty, just not worth the price.

Back to the tour. It also is a self tour with signs along the way pointing out what is happening on the factory floor behind large glass windows. The day we were there the factory seemed to be shut down. There were workers all in one spot shining and cleaning and a few others down the assembly line finishing up a few items, but all in all the place was shut down for the day. As the tour came to an end, we talked with a provider of free samples who mentioned the factory had a malfunction and blew chocolate all over the place. They had to shut down and clean. Oh. My. If you look at the hand wheel in the photo that was the last proof of the meltdown as it were, chocolate still covering it and the floor and space around it.

There was a small gift shop as you entered the factory and also one at the end of the tour. The first for run of the mill Mars products, mainly M&Ms, the latter strictly Ethel M. The center of the self tour brought you to what looked like a candy store. I am not sure if you can purchase items there, (it was empty the day we were there) but the cases were full of candy and there were display cases on pedestals with chocolate sculptures spotlighted on the floor.

I have to say that the employees were friendly but uninformed about both product and displays within the tour. We read the signs and asked questions of the hostess and she pretty much argued the point. The hostess actually went down to a particular sign to "prove" what we read was wrong information, however apologized when she read the sign herself. Others in the store were less than informed about ingredient and percentages of cacao, paraffin, and other ingredients.

You may purchase pre-packed boxes or hand pick, however you may not mix regulars with specialties. Just FYI. One sales person gave an extra piece of candy to one of us, while another sales person stuck to the 6 for $5. Go figure.

They do offer a free sample of chocolate. Our choice was a "Espresso Truffle" of "White Chocolate"...no name or what was inside (a white chocolate ganache -nice but all the same flavor). As you make your purchase you are offered a small brochure that pictures and describes their specialty line of chocolate.

Another very nice part of this factory is the botanical garden of native desert plants that are on the property and free to anyone to stroll around in. Lovely and fragrant.

Ethel M. is located near the corner of Sunset and Mountain View in Henderson. If you have children I would definitely put this on my list of places to go if I were in the area. Plan on early in the day as that is when the factory is most busy and the "views" are better. Everyone gets a free piece of chocolate and there are plenty of M&M gifts to please any little gal or guy.

add to sk*rt

Carlton's log, day 1, Red Rock

Well another trip to Vegas. This time however, I met an associates "wife" and we went in search of free fun. Our first stop was Red Rock, just north of sin city. The day was beautiful and brisk and we began in the Visitors Center. There were very nice exhibits, a photo contest -winner's display, and all kinds of opportunities to get into nature and learn more about the native Nevada desert. We took the self tour and read the info, walk the grounds and then headed for the drive loop around and up towards the main attraction: petroglyphs and pictographs!

The first go round we evidently missed the particular drive off the main loop and so we just got back into the park and drove around again! We found the right spot and made the very short walk to the pictographs of Native American hand prints. (You can see one, faded but there, red print in the center of the photo; and there are about six or seven more that go to the right -very difficult to see.) About twenty feet down the path there is a large roasting pit, larger than my living room, it was a roundish shallow pit filled with gravel that the Native Americans used for...roasting!

As we drove around the loop we came upon wild burros, who have been fed by so many tourists they have no fear of us. They saw the car, crossed the road and walked up to the passenger side window looking for a snack! Several cars began to stop and before long the burrows were eating bagels and scones from Starbucks. There you go. I predict they become as the bear in Yosemite... and that's not a good thing. Stop feeding the wild life folks. It's like the saying goes: "Feed a bear (or a burrow) and sign it's death warrant." They become conditioned to snuggling with the tourists and when nature takes its' course (Siegfried and Roy) the normal course of action is death to the animal. Stop feeding the wildlife.

Any who the day was great. It was a good day to be out in the fresh air, walking around and catching up on "old" times! The next time you are in Vegas, may I suggest a trip out to Red Rock for some EASY hiking, gorgeous views, a few burrow sightings and a history lesson for the kids. You may even see some rock climbers like we did...oh my heck, on straight up rocks...fantastic!

add to sk*rt

Friday, February 09, 2007

Joys of NEW blogger

Since I have switched over to the new and improved blogger, my blogging has stunk! One reason for this is the "new and improved" ain't so much.

For instance, the comments. Like many of you, I despise the comment verification. YIKES. So I thought why not just disengage it so the four people who visit here and make comments don't have to go through all the decoding and button clicking. Done. Check.

Well I also have a really cool bloggy thing that informs me when a new comment has been made on my blog. They send it straight to my mail box, I click and read, follow the link and then viola! I can reply to the comment.

Since disengaging the comment verification I have had an incredible amount of comments on past posts, ones from like a year ago, all informing me: "that post was really cool but having a larger p*&%s is cooler!" or "I love the way you write, but I would love you better with larger b*&#s!" Are they kidding? Obviously they have never met me in person.

Now I am faced with the dilemma of continuous e-mails from concerned for my intimate personal life commenters or making the real commenters decode all the stupid word verifications. I am going nuts. I hate blogger sometimes.

And have you noticed the lack of photos or links since the change over. Yeah, me too. I know there is that http://www.trylinkingtothissite.com thing that you can cut and paste, but frankly, it is harder for the technologically challenged to do it on this new system. Yeah. ugh. I'm not a geek? Somehow that worked in my head.

Then my Flickr! account decided I was at the limit. grrr. I need to make a new account or pay for a pro account. I am cheap. No pro account for me.

I am hoping to figure this out soon, until then, keep hanging in there with me.

add to sk*rt

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Not sure why, but I have had blogger's block lately. That and nothing cool to say when I visit other folk's blogs! But today was cool, so I'll blog about that.

Actually the last few days were cool, but busy so there you go.

Father in law's 80th b-day was Saturday and so there was the surprise family party at the house. Pretty much everyone came. We missed the youngest of the siblings due to a very pregnant wife and sick little ones and the fact they live out of state and the drive would have done in the best of parents. All forgiven there. Dad was surprised and everyone had a terrific time. One of the brother in laws made enough food to feed a small army, which is good because when this family gets together there is a small army! He had steak , chicken, casseroles and a bunch of side dishes...the guy's is a great cook; and crazy.

At the end of the evening before everyone went home we all gathered in the living room (well as many as could fit...some stood in the hallway and spilled out into the family room). Starting with the eldest sibling we all took turns telling dad a favorite memory and why we love him. It was a pretty good tear inducing ceremony, but in the end very sweet. He's a really great guy. Thor pointed out on the way home that you could see each person's personality by the view they had of dad and the experience they chose to share..it was insightful and cool.

After most every had gone home I had the opportunity to sit with my niece and talk about her life. She is the youngest in her family. She also has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. What she described as her 'normal' life was at the same time both frightening and courageous. I admired her for being so blunt and honest with me as she talked of how long she endured this mental illness alone and how she and her husband go through everyday life. I am glad that I can talk with her about things. I feel much closer to her and I have a totally new view of her than I did ever before. She has a lot of wisdom in regard to her personal situation for someone so young.

I also had the opportunity to go with Chronicler on Friday to Ontario and sit in on two bread making classes offered by 'King Arthur Flour'. I learned so much in those two sessions. About gluten, steam, proteins, what it means to have "bleached, enriched and bromated" flours; and I refuse to buy a flour that has been any of things ever again! It is alarming! Don't get me started on genetic altered foods... e-freaking-gads! I have a peaked interest in making bread again and hope to pop out a few good loaves soon. Spending the day with Chronicler is always good for a lot of laughing and good for incite in things that I have no clue about!

Today Thor and I had a trip to Anaheim for an annual pilgrimage. It was the most beautiful day, and I am sad to report to any one not from SoCAL, it was in the mid 80s!!! Yup, I actually came home tonight with a sweet sun kissed face! Woooohooo!

I also wish to report that the Haunted Mansion has some new, or rather old, ideas in place. Originally, waaaay back in the day, the idea was to have a story about a bride who murders her husband on their wedding day. Considered too gruesome or whatever, the idea was sacked and put on the back burner; until this year. The ride begins as usual and then after the initial cruise past the hallway with the floating candelabra, you begin to see scenes of bridal preparations, photos of the happy couple in their wedding attire, only the groom loses his head in Haunted Mansion portrait morphing style! Their is also a full sized bride with an axe and commentary! Another cool surprise is the famous talking head of the medium at the seance... this go round the entire sphere her head is in floats over the table in a circling-bobbing motion! OooOOooohh! If you can take your eyes of the medium, on the wall behind her is a very large ghoul, illuminated in the shadows. Hidden in the graveyard are new ghosts and ghouls, and one particularly creepy one in a crypt just before the ride ends. eeeeeeeeeeek! I love this ride!

The Pirates of the Caribbean also had one surprise since the last time I was there just a few months ago. I am not sure if this is new or just a new to me experience because we sat in the very front seat of the boat. However, as we passed between the pirate ship and the port's fortified walls, a canon went off and we were "hit" with a blast of air that felt like the cannon ball flew right by our faces! That was cool!

Finally we "killed the cat", and then ate it. We finally booked reservations at the Blue Bayou. The hoity toity restaurant at the Pirates ride. We have tried for years and never have been able to get in. Today was the day. Hmm. Good food (read "good" not "WOW"), but certainly not for the money, the hype or the ambiance. I had a pork chop, that was tasty, mainly from the tart diced apples on the top, tough and hard to cut. Thor had the beef ribs, very tender and tasty, but more bone than meat...I guess that's ribs though. Both of us had the scalloped potatoes (over peppered) and veggies (carrots - good, leeks(?) and squash...not so much). The rolls we had were similar in every way to those one would get at the local grocer's, not close to home made, but with real butter. The service was great and the surroundings were also.

We came home tired and happy and sunkissed! All in all a great day.

add to sk*rt

Thursday, February 01, 2007

inexpensive gift exchange

A couple of days ago I got a phone call from the Young Women's presidency asking me if I would find a quick (under ten minutes!) inexpensive (read: FREE) project for the girls to make each other.

Their next meeting night (tonight) they would be reviewing the Young Women Values (faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and integrity). The leaders decided that having a 'round robin' activity of fun projects would be a great way to get the girls and their moms interested and involved. My assignment is in the 'good works' theme, and they suggested that each girl draw a name for a "secret sister". This is another girl who they secretly give a small inexpensive gift to each day for a week. They do this similar gift exchange during their camp week in summer time, so the girls are familiar with the concept. At the end of the week they exchange the last gift in person and have an opportunity to chat with a new friend, or an old friend they have gotten to know a bit better through the experience of self-less giving.

Because there are 20 girls I needed to think very carefully on what I had or could get for free that would still be a nice gift, plus easy enough for the girls to make in 10 minutes, and also be pleasing to the age range of 12 through 18! Of course I consulted with Chronicler! She gave me several ideas, one of which she will be blogging about herself in a few days...with a tutorial: Crocheted Flowers. Together we brain stormed and came up with many ideas. One was an accordion folded mini scrapbook.

I love this particular one. I think it has a nice 'wow' factor the first time you see it as it pops open to reveal your photos or quotes, etc. Plus it is SO EASY and FAST! I grabbed 3 sheets of paper for each girl and a few feet of ribbon. Most of the girls have access to paper and ribbon at home, so this helps keep their costs down if they want to repeat the process later. The interiors and exteriors of the book can be embellished with more scrap papers or drawings, words, etc.

In addition to the little book, we'll make another small package for a tiny treat, like a snack sized candy bar or little notes, etc. It's just a tube of pretty paper that you glue closed on each end to make a triangular shape. Each girl will go home with a list and a few examples of other very inexpensive gifts they can easily make and exchange this week. Some of the ideas are:

felt or fabric strip book marks that can be added to their scriptures to give them more ribbon markers.

Shrinky-dinks, remember the old shrinky-dink plastic jewelry, embellishments, hair doodads, etc? They'll get some examples and instructions.

Large homemade cookie in a decorated paper CD holder.

Crocheted flower pins and hair ornaments.

Paint chip card holders, mini books, frames, mini drawers, and photo books.

Envelope accordion books for keeping receipts or notes for class, photos etc.

Card stock no glue (hand folded - self locking) envelopes for notes or special sayings, etc.

Hershey kiss roses.

Home made sugar scrubs.

Home made oatmeal facial.

Flat marble/glass magnets.

Origami decorations.

Key chains.

Painted terra cotta pot.

Paper boxes.

Hand made cartoon flip book.

Kettle Corn and flavored popcorns.

Hand made make-up tote.

Small recipe book.

So there you go! I am hoping the girls have as much making their gifts as I did coming up with the ideas.

add to sk*rt

the 6 Weird Things Meme

Not that you don't know all about my period teeth and cankles, my dual personality, and the fact that I am, frankly, nuts to begin with; I have been tagged by Kim (sidebar at one of my favorite sites: "Something to say") for a new meme: 6 Weird Things About Me

So here goes, more stuff, gory details if you will, 6 weird things about s'mee:

1. Thor and I have matching (size and shape) birthmarks on our hands that, if we hold hands, match up exactly.
(yup, we were meant to be! sigh)

2. I can repeat what someone is saying to me so fast that it seems like we are saying the same thing at the same time. I learned this from my brother who could also do this. (file under stupid human tricks)

3. I have never drank alcohol. Never smoked, or "done drugs". Never even tried it. (although the idea of "dropping acid" appealed to the artist in me...wondered about the colours and such...but never did.)

4. I have more "junk" jewelry than anyone I know. I worry about diamonds being "blood" diamonds or that the industry is artificially inflated. That doesn't mean that I don't like the way they sparkle...which explains the extensive CZ collection. Pearls...now there's a "jewel" I can get behind....

5. I collect pearls. I have about 40+ loose pearls. I keep them in a little satin pouch and bring them out every once in a while just to play with them in my hands. I will never put them in a setting, I like the way they roll around in my hand. They make me happy.

6. If I am talking with you 'Mary' and call you by someone else's name, 'Linda', that means I need to call 'Linda' as soon as possible. I have learned to listen to myself and call Linda right away. Every time I do this the person I named by accident has had some "thing" in their life that I could either help them with or at least allow them to talk with someone to ease a burden, or fill a need, and sometimes it has been to receive bad news immediately after it happens. The times I blow it off and don't call I have later regretted. It happens all the time and always with the same results. So if you and I are chatting and I call you by the wrong name, you can bet I will be making a call to that person soon. (insert Twilight Zone music here.)

So there you are, even more info to put in your S'mee file. I would like to tag Chronicler, cuz heck now, if I am weird she must be also. Also on my weird list I would like to tag Dave at the Whole Note, The First Daughter, The Youngest one, and Pea. Pretty much everyone else on my blog roll has done this, but if I have neglected you please have fun with it also!

add to sk*rt