Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No More Pee-Wee's Christmas Special For You

Scene: Wednesday afternoon at home. Topher is putting together a crib. In walks Phoebe, a curly-haired almost five year-old. She has ratted her hair to gigantic proportions. There is a sparkly hair accessory carefully placed on the side.

Phoebe: Hey dad, do you like my hair?

Topher: WOW. Yeah. . . it's. . . really big.

Phoebe: Does it remind you of someone?

Topher: Um, should it. . . ?

Phoebe: You know, someone we know? Someone who's REALLY PRETTY?

Topher: Uh. . .I don't know?


Topher: I give up. Who are you trying to look like?

Phoebe: CHARO! You know, from Pee-Wee's Christmas Special. She's so pretty.

Topher: Wow. Yeah, your hair looks just like hers.

Phoebe: Thanks!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Parent-Teacher Conferences; A Study in Genetics

I freely admit that I'm an over-achiever. I am one of those individuals who will tell you my GPA, play "high school/college trading cards" with anyone (I'll SEE your editor of the school paper and raise you one with Student Council PRESIDENT), and I won't even pretend I don't want to tell you. It's not something I'm proud of, but, rather, something I'm reassessing--mulling over--studying, if you will, and have been for a long time. Ever since I became a mother.

In all my zest and zeal to raise children the very best I can, I, and every other mother is slapped in the face, sometimes literally, with the fact that none of that ambition matters when it comes to raising children. I have humbly come to the conclusion, several times over the last 10 years now, that the pace of motherhood is slow, there are no awards (and don't give me "endless kisses and hugs," because we all know that's not what I'm talking about), and really confusing, conflicting standards of judgment in even assessing if someone's a "good" (let alone better, or best) mother. And even if you were, in some parallel universe, offered the title of "world's best mom," it wouldn't come with a cash prize and nobody would really care. I mean, what would it give you--a better job? increased benefits? Bragging rights at best, and then you wouldn't have any friends.

All that said, over the last 10 years I've tried to become a recovering over-achiever. I work hard to be the best mom I can be, but so do most (but not all) moms I know. All in all, I think that most (but not all) moms are too hard on themselves. And I think society is increasingly demanding of what mothers should and should not do.

None of that helps, however, when I walk into a parent-teacher conference. All I want to hear is how wonderful and smart, and funny-in-an-appropriate-way my children are. Leave out all that "needs work on" or "at level for." Because even though it's not meant to be a judgment on my mothering, it's the closest thing I've got.

When my oldest son was 2 1/2, he could name the planets in our solar system in order. This was not due to my diligent drilling or insistence by any means. Nor was the fact that he was reading by 3 1/2 all my doing (but if you want to think that, I'll let you), it was just this quirky thing. So, early on, in my mind, he was, naturally, going to be a gifted astronaut who would lead the first expedition to Mars in the near future. Now, at nearly 10, he has absolutely no interest in being an astronaut, and wants more than anything in the world, to be a stand-up comedian. Now, just so there's no confusion, being an astronaut is BETTER than being a stand-up comedian. Yes, I'm putting a value on it--and don't pretend like you aren't either. So now my always brilliant at math kid, doesn't like math, and is, I'm told by his teacher, contributing to classroom discussions, "but not always in an appropriate way." Miles goes red when he hears this out-loud and apologizes, giving me absolutely no time to make excuses in my mind. No time for a single "not MY kid" thought. . . " he just muttles out a timid "I just. . .want. . to be. . . funny."

So this is where I find myself. Not only doesn't he know his audience, but his timing's off. Now I find myself in the precarious situation of judging his comedic talent. I go so far as to suggest that Miles go to a family friend and comedic writer, Eric, for new material. "Or, maybe I could give HIM some new material," Miles retorts. Well, I guess we've got self-esteem down pretty well. That's something.

I'll confess I was nervous when Miles announced he had auditioned for the school talent show. "With what?!" I said, with a little panic in my voice. "Stand up comedy, OF COURSE!" was the reply. It's not my proudest mothering moment, but more of an instinct, really--mothers are wired to protect their children. His stand-up routine, which consisted of a commercial for powdered water seemed to be lost on me, and also suspiciously familiar. But when the neighborhood boys, ages 7-10 came over, Miles had them in the the palm of his hand. There was literal laughing so completely they were falling over on the floor. I guess he had them at "powdered water."

Both of my boys, bright and doing well in school, can work on (read: "needs improvement") "focusing," and "paying attention." The line "absent-minded professor" was thrown around by one teacher, in particular, and I had to laugh because their father is, quite literally, a professor who, just the week before had lost his cell phone charger, then his cell phone, and then all his keys. It's like destiny had its voice. It's silly, silly voice. So, "Yes," I replied to both teachers, ". . . we're working on that."

And I'm working on what it actually means to lower the bar and be awesome for my children's sake and my mental health. I mean, my husband is a successful, talented actor, director, teacher, husband, and father. . .and I bet he never cried in his bed as a 9 year-old because he suddenly realized his library books were overdue. (have I revealed too much?)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vegas: Concert, Cougars, and Stalkers!

The Valentine clan, Utah chapter, went to Vegas this weekend to see Maroon 5's final show of this leg of the tour. My father, mother, brother, Chris and his wife, Marilyn, and Topher and I drove down together in a mini-van. There was a lot of dark chocolate, talk of what our next meal would be, and making fun of each other. I totally win at that game. More on that later.

We took off and less than 15 minutes later my father takes out his own can of spray glass cleaner and begins spraying the windows, leaving a nice coat of film over Topher's Egg McMuffin and telling everyone how you can buy cans of this stuff at Costco (apparently for a reasonable price--in packs of 4, fyi), and instructing my mom and brother how they're not wiping it off correctly (not vigorous enough--rookie mistake). So, yeah, we were totally off to a wild start!

As soon as we got to Vegas, we met James, went to dinner, then off to the sound-check at The Pearl. The sound check is really a study in fan etiquette. Someday I'll have to do a study of the Maroon 5 fan base, but that's not for here. On this particular night, Topher and I noticed an unusually large population of "Cougars: 40-somethings with a lot of make-up, a lot of plastic surgery, dressed like lap-dancers with money and time to burn!" (re: totally awesome). I'm not judging, I'm just painting an ugly, desperate picture with words.

At the "meet and greet," fans who won or bought special time with the band get to take pictures with the boys, have stuff signed, and listen to the sound check. It's cool to hear the guys play some different stuff. They played a version of "Purple Rain" that was amazing. It's also a good time to watch my mom and dad. My dad has a special technique where he'll casually introduce himself to people by saying something like "Wow. They sound pretty good, huh? Well, I'm James Valentine's father. . ." or "Do you like Maroon 5? I'm the lead guitarist's father. . . " He loves the reaction, and I can't say I blame him. If anyone says anything good about one of my children, I smile and beg for more too. It's payback for when they were little and hit you in the head with Matchbox cars. But I get the feeling my father just wants to be part of the excitement. More than once, he offered to take a picture for the fans, all goofy over Maroon 5, and that's a special surprise because my father is meticulously talented with things like that. You can be guaranteed he got their feet in the shot.

The concert was truly amazing. I know, now I sound like a sister, not your regular concert-goer, which I'm not because I'm a big, fat pregnant lady who has a hard time staying up past 8 p.m., (and a constant reminder to everyone who saw me that what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas, if you know what I mean), but it was a really great concert. They are all at the top of their game. They are all so talented and so tight together. I got a big kick out of seeing James sing back-up, too. It was very, very cool and there were cool lights. I'm impressed by big productions like that, especially when the music is so on.

I think the audience liked it, too, because a woman behind us was clapping so hard the sapphire from her ring flew out. We helped her look for it, but she was more annoyed than frantic. She told us it was over 2 carats, and less than 10 hours old! And her stupid husband (her words, not mine) paid cash for it, dummy, instead of putting it on the American Express so it would be insured. She walked out (Cougar), and the woman next to me found it minutes later. It was obviously fake because there was a big glob of glue on the back of it. So, I'm intrigued: why the detailed lies? Will I ever understand the mysterious Cougar?

After the concert, there were talks of cool parties, getting dinner (big surprise for the Valentine family), and hanging out. We were waiting outside a celebrity-filled party and I clearly hear my sister, Gina. Deep breath. Gina was wearing leggings AND high heels, so she was in full-force. I hear her yelling, "Oh my gosh--We LOVE your show! You guys are so AWESOME! Seriously, we really watch your show! And I'm James Valentine's sister, so I'm not, like, A STALKER!" Red light, red light. . . I feel this maternal-like instinct to save the cast of "Chuck," so I run over there and give Gina the look like, "That's enough, calm down," and she recognizes said look and says, "No, Lisa, you don't understand--we totally love this show!" I nod in a "No Gina, I totally understand" way. After a couple of pictures, I apologize for taking up their time and come to find out that "Chuck" and "Morgan" are a. gracious and very kind b. really good-looking in person. Seriously, "Chuck" is breathtakingly handsome in person. I love the picture at the bottom of this post because you can see the earnestness in "Chuck's" eyes, and Gina's conversation. Acting, ladies and gentlemen, is a craft. Later James and I try to explain to Gina that stating you're NOT a stalker is not a way to convince someone you're not. It seems logical, but smells like crazy.

Then we had an elaborate room-service spread and realized that I had never had room-service in my life before. How fun for me! Might I recommend the Godiva chocolate mousse? And then Gina and her husband went back to the party to look for "Chuck." But remember: she's James Valentine's sister, so it's alright.

(In the spirit of equal opportunity reporting, check out Gina's version of the story at the compelling and controversial blog:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Don't Count Me Out: A Study in Good Intentions

Its been a while since I've last blogged, and I think it's time I got serious about it. Why now? Because I'm about to have 5 small children, and so, of course, I'm anticipating having a lot of time on my hands.

What have I been up to lately? Well, being awesome, of course. There's been a lot of picking-things-up-off-the-floor, which, at 8 months pregnant is probably the height of my awesomeness. I've also been really busy getting things for a demanding 2 year-old. Lots of sippy cups and fishy crackers, rice krispies, and whatever tickles his fancy at the moment. I think his demanding nature and penchant for screaming will serve him well in life in a number of lucrative fields. Right now I'm thinking a career in politics or organized crime. It also reminds me that not only am I not the center of the universe, and that I can't even remember the names and order of the planets in my actual universe. But I do remember that I'm still mad that the scientific community no longer formally recognizes Pluto. At least I remember that. It's something. Information that I used to know--information that I once thought was useful--has now been replaced by how many clicks it takes on my remote control to get through the commercials to a new episode of Diego. (three)

I've been meaning to get a lot of things done before the baby comes. At the top of my list is reminding people that this is my FIFTH child and that I'm REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE. I used to pride myself in "sucking it up" and "putting on a brave face," but I realize now that that is a waste of both time and resources. It's much easier to complain (who knew!). So far complaining has gotten me nowhere, and I still have to cook and clean and carry the laundry baskets up and down the stairs.

I have a lot of good intentions for blogging, and although a lot of them might be considered more "angry letters to the editor" than the "whimsical musings of a stay-at-home mom," I will try my best to keep things going and document this time in my life, and not be too angry (although I have some really great stories about Gina!). And doesn't the world need more "oh motherhood is SO crazy! But, shoot, we just love it!" blogs?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Opps, I Did It Again!

Being pregnant with your fifth child is harder than being pregnant with any other number (1-4), mostly because you don't get any attention and nobody really cares. This is not a cry for help, just the way it is. Case in point: when I announced my pregnancy over dinner in a hip LA hot-spot in front of my family, everyone sighed an obligatory "Ohhh," like they had just seen an interesting looking caterpillar. I was expecting cheers, and maybe a little clapping. At LEAST an extra dessert. But you feel really comfortable around family, right? You can say anything you're thinking without fear of being misunderstood, right? Like when I ASKED, outrightly, "Aren't you guys so excited!?" and my brother said, "Well, I though it was about time for you. You know, how you've been going." Like I was announcing changing the sheets off the bed or getting my oil changed. I looked at my sisters for support who just looked at me apologetically, shrugged their shoulders and said "Well. . . " like you've-put-yourself-in-this-position-it's-who-you-are.

People sometimes tell me--like at church this very week--how they didn't know I was pregnant, which is funny because they're really admitting that I look fat. It's not like I haven't gained, gulp, any weight. It's noticible. (and a special shout-out to the "I'm only being honest" Gina for confirming my fears. I can always count on you and Dad!) So their response is more relief, like "oh THAT explains it," than congratulations. (But I must admit that my weight gain makes my impression of Brittney Spears on the MTV Music Awards that much funnier. Anything for my art.)

I also get the tilted head and squinted eyes response when I confirm their suspicions which I've learned is the "do you believe in birth control?" or "how many children are you going to HAVE?" look. That response is also not congratulations.

Contrary to what you might think, and what Gina WILL think, I'm not looking for emails and comments with any sort of attention or congratulations. YOU'RE TOO LATE. It is what it is and I'M excited, and TOPHER's excited, and most of my women friends who are in the fertility stage of their lives are genuinely excited.

I do plan on being one of the mysterious-women-with-older-children in the near future, whose ways are so foreign and intriguing to me, who says congratulations upon learning of an impending birth, but in their minds sigh a deep "good luck!" or "you have no idea. . . " But I WILL say congratulations, right after I go to a movie by myself.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Come see my movie!

Come see my movie!

Wanna come see a good movie? The Utah Family Film Festival is showing "Stalking Santa" this weekend at the University Mall Cinemas.

My husband Topher and I filmed it when I was seven months pregnant with my son (now 2). We had a lot of fun improvising lines and making each other laugh. The director, Greg Kiefer has become a really good friend of ours and his work is amazing. As they say in the biz, he has a great eye. . . (yeah, I already know all the industry terms and stuff, like "strike" and "roll speed," etc.) This is his first feature, but you'd never know it. William Shatner narrates the movie, which really adds to it, because his voice is so distinct and commanding!

Its made it to many film festivals. Eric D. Snider reviewed it. Read about it here.

View the trailer here.

Come see it! Bring the whole family! I really like it and I'm proud of it! I wouldn't recommend it otherwise. Honestly. I've done a lot of stuff I wouldn't recommend.

The movie times are THIS Thurs. at 5, Friday at 7:10, and Saturday at 6:10.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I think I was cool once. . . okay, not really.

There's nothing like seeing really cool people to remind you that you're not cool. This didn't come as a big shock to me on my whirlwind vacation to LA, but more of a gradual 10 year revelation. Actually, I have four little daily reminders. One, and I'm not naming names, told me on my birthday this past week that he thought I was 44. I'm 33. Another one, again, no names, poured juice all over the floor because he really wanted milk. Another one corrects my spelling. You get the idea. I'm constantly being reminded that it's just not about me, and that I have special powers that only I can do. Like unloading the dishwasher.

Recently Topher and I went away to Maroon5's CD launch party in L.A. It was such an incredible trip, and such a fun, fun time. It was a nice, short break from reality into an entirely different world that I suspected existed, but had convinced myself was an illusion. If you want to read about how cool the party was, or the cool people I met, visit my guest blog at

We were treated by my brother to an incredible getaway. He was really so nice and generous, quite sincerely. We stayed in a nice hotel, rented a brand-new car (300 miles on it, GPS system, etc), were treated to an incredible dinner at the Palm, backstage passes to the Tonight Show and Ellen, and introduced all around at the launch party itself to friends and celebrities. James treated us like rock-stars.

We grew up in Nebraska, a family of five kids close in age. When I was home from my freshman year at college, little James was 14. He and his best friend, Shane begged me to take them to Omaha for the Firehose concert at the Ranch Bowl. I reluctantly agreed, not wanting my little brother to cramp my style. Wearing my Doc Martins and flannel, I thought I was pretty cool. To this day, it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to: small and intimate, incredible music, and Mike Watt actually talked to me and called me "sister." It was awesome, and it was very, very cool.

I also remember bringing boyfriends home who would talk music with my little brother, which I thought was so cute. I brought home the lead singer from the YardApes and James tripped over the rug, he was so excited to talk with him. One boyfriend lent him his guitar to practice with. Although I haven't spoken to him in a decade, they're still friends and he crashes at James' home. (Notice how I said "crashes" instead of "stays over"? Yeah, I still got it.)

So when I see how James lives, with assistants and stylists and fans and all of that, and he shows me around his incredible mid-century modern home, I expect a little attitude or a little, "see, you should have been happy to take me to see Firehose!" But instead, he is so, so sweet and happy to see me and asks all about the kids.

Now you know which long-haired guitar player is my brother. Do you see the family resemblance? Hey, we have the same hair--layers, highlights and all!

Now go buy the album!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Voucher Myths and Facts

I didn't write this, but I endorse it and I like it. It's clear and concise and research-based. It was compiled by a Utah group opposing vouchers, but you will see links for more detailed information/studies.


Myth #1: Taxpayers will save money under a voucher system.


The claim that vouchers will save the state money rely crucially on the assumption that a large number of students will switch from public to private schools, easing overcrowding and reducing construction costs and fixed expenses. Is there any historical basis for this assumption? The dramatic shifts in student enrollment promised by voucher and tuition tax credit activists have never materialized when voucher or tax credit systems are put in place, and NO STATE HAS SAVED MONEY BY PROVIDING VOUCHERS OR TUITION TAX CREDITS.

A Utah State University study, "Estimating Demand and Supply Response to Tuition Tax Credits for Private School Tuition in Utah" (November 2004) estimated that fewer than one-half of the parents projected to use tuition tax credits would be "switchers" from public to private schools. In addition, the study states "Historically, the parent decisions to send their children to private schools in Utah has little, if anything, to do with price." In other words, a parent's decision to send a child to private school is unlikely to be changed by the availability of public subsidies.

Regardless of the number of students initially switching from public to private schools, each year more students who use vouchers will be those WHO NEVER ATTENDED PUBLIC SCHOOLS and who NEVER WOULD HAVE ATTENDED PUBLIC SCHOOLS. When the program is completely phased in, the state will be providing vouchers for every private school student in the state. With 96% of Utah students attending public schools-and enrollment projected to increase to 600, 000 by 2012-Utah taxpayers can expect to spend money on new schools AND on subsidizing private schools. Legislative fiscal analysts project no savings from the voucher program. By their estimates, vouchers will COST THE TAXPAYERS MORE THAN $450 MILLION OVER THE NEXT THIRTEEN YEARS.

Myth #2: Private school students perform better than their public school counterparts.


All objective studies (such as the 2006 U.S. Department of Education study and the 2001 U.S. General Accounting Office study) find NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCES in the performance of public and private school students.

Myth #3: A healthy dose of competition will improve public schools.


A number of studies funded by voucher advocates have PROJECTED improvements in public schools due to competition with voucher schools. However, such studies generally factor out any other reforms-and any other motivations for reforms-in comparable schools or districts.

In Milwaukee, for example, pro-voucher studies credit voucher competition for improvements in milwaukee Public Schools. THese claims ignore the state-supported Student Achievement Guarantee in education (SAGE) program, which provided resources to reduce class size and enhance professional development.

Two decades ago, Chicago's public school system was considered among the worst in the country. After investing in pre-school programs, after-school programs, and summer school, the city is now widely recognized as having made great strides in student achievement.

In short, it's research-based reforms, not competition, that make the difference.

Myth #4: Parental choice is the same as accountability.


Despite the right and ability of parents to remove their children from private schools, many dysfunctional voucher schools have continued to operate year after year. Schools in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Florida provide frightening examples of abuse, fraud, and academic inadequacy. For a look at some of the ways tax dollars have been squandered, see the National School Boards Association's report "Why Vouchers Are a Bad Idea." (Find the report on the web at

Utah's voucher program requires NO ACCOUNTABILITY from private schools for the public funds they receive. It provides fewer protections (for students and taxpayers) than the scandal-ridden programs in other states.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Vouchers not good for Utah schools, society

I'm consistently unsure as to what this blog is supposed to "be." I came across an article that was first published in the Daily Herald that really has me thinking, so I thought I would put it here, for your information.

I am a huge advocate of public education, I have a degree in English Secondary Education, I have taught in different public schools, and I am the product of public schools. This is a hot topic. Enjoy!

Vouchers not good for Utah schools, society
by Richard Davis, Linda Shelton and Jim Hunter

Utah must seem funny to much of the rest of the United States.

We're not talking about polygamy or state liquor laws. Rather, it is the fact that the state will be paying people not to send their children to Utah's public schools.

Next year, the state will pay an estimated $9 million to parents not to send their children to a public school. And the cost will go up to an estimated $48 million a year by 2020.

Not only does that seem strange, but this is the state with the lowest per-pupil spending in the nation. Utah not only spends the least on public education per capita but spends more than $400 less per pupil than the next lowest state. Yet somehow the state has money to give to people not sending their children to public schools. Clearly, this policy makes no sense fiscally.

It also does not speak highly of Utah's commitment to its own public education system. This despite the fact that Utah students consistently rank highly on AP tests, Utah has a much higher-than-average high school graduation rate, and the state excels at the percentage of residents who are college graduates. Moreover, about 95 percent of Utah's school-age children attend public schools. Clearly, public education should be a Utah value.

Yet, various groups supporting vouchers routinely malign Utah's public schools. Some voucher proponents even hope the public education fails and the state turns to private education.

With all the criticism of public schools, it is easy to forget why we have public education in the first place. The United States invented public education; Horace Mann established the first public school in Massachusetts in 1839. Public schools spread quickly across the nation and dominate today. Universal access to education is a hallmark of America, one that Americans can be proud of. Our public education system is key to that universal access.

Unlike many other nations, Americans reject a caste system where rich people go to private schools and everybody else goes without an education or is left to a severely under-supported public education system. Such systems are the product of an intense selfishness where those who have the resources to help society as a whole instead choose to create their own private school system.

By contrast, America is a public-oriented society valuing the education of everybody's children. Public education brings together students from across the potential societal divides - rich and poor, black and white, Catholic or Protestant or LDS. It creates a common culture for our society. As children learn together in public schools, they later become adults who share common values, participate together in civic life and possess a sense of community. Public education is designed to bring us together, to enhance our sense of a united people.

But with vouchers, we are moving away from those traditional American values. And, sadly, Utah is leading the way backwards. Backwards to the two-tier system Horace Mann and many educators over the years sought to change. Backwards to the type of system that is prevalent in so many other nations. (It would be surprising for many in those countries who want to reform their systems and adopt the U.S. model to think that there are those in the United States who want to emulate their model.)

Proponents of vouchers will respond by saying the idea of choice is American, too. Indeed it is. But vouchers are not about choice. The choice to send children to a private school is not the issue. Choice already exists.

The issue is taxpayer money being taken form the many to support a few who don't want to send their children to public schools and want taxpayer money to do it. It is about a government subsidy, a handout if you will, to pay people not to attend public schools.

Opting out has always been, well, an option for anyone. No child is forced to attend public school. And those who want to form their own subculture certainly are allowed to do so in a free society. But, until now, the state didn't subsidize people who opted out. Vouchers, however, do just that.

A petition is circulating to place private school subsidies on the ballot. We urge residents to sign it. Let the voters decide whether our taxpayer money should be spent of public education or on private school vouchers.


Richard Davis teaches political science at BYU. Linda Shelton teaches English at UVSC. Jim Hunter is Associate Director of the Institute of Emergency Services

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Happy Birthday O!

O-dog: "Mom, my finger turned purple today in class."

Me: "Eww, why?"

O-dog: "I dunno."

Me: "Maybe it's that rubberband you have twisted around your finger."

O-dog: "Hmm-."

Me: "Hey, don't do that, it's dangerous. Don't wrap rubberbands around your fingers."

O-dog: "Why?"

Happy Birthday to my big seven year-old! My energetic, crazy bees in his head, lushious eyelashes and dreamy blue eyes, funny, bendy, smart, sweet, son number 2. You were eight days overdue, but worth the wait!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Details

Saturday, January 27th
3-5 PM
My house (email me if you need an address/directions)


1. Nice stuff you don't want/need any more.

2. Extra garbage bags/boxes for your stuff, and if anyone has a truck, bring it so we can load up the leftovers (or my minivan will have to do).

3. A treat to share (sweet or savory).

4. A good attitude, dude: no hoarding. Lets keep it fair (Tina).

Here's to cleaning out our houses, hidden closets, and drawers! Here's to thick chewy brownies with big chunks of chocolate in them! Whose bringing those?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Binge and Purge

Happy New Year! I'm having a "Binge and Purge" Party and my sister (you know the one) told me to make sure and give everyone plenty of notice, because this is an event you need to prepare for!

Unfortunate name for a party, but a descriptive one nonetheless. It's time to get together and have treats (binge) and rid our homes of unneeded stuff (purge). Nothing feels quite like that feeling of getting rid of junk: stuff you don't need, stuff you think you'll someday need but never use, stuff you've been given and feel guilty about getting rid of, stuff that takes up space and reminds you it's "still there. . ", and stuff that you just don't like.

Bring the good junk, the stuff you feel guilty about giving away to "whoever," and give it a home to ease where it will be loved and have space to run around and play with junk just like it. If it doesn't find a home, we'll take it to the DI where it will be put out of its misery once and for all.

No money will exchange hands, no worry for even trades. Remember, you're just trying to get rid of the stuff. If it makes someone happy, then good fuzzy feelings for you.

Here are some helpful questions to go through your head as you go through your house, room by room, closet by closet, free of charge, to give you a jump-start (because I'm nothing, if not helpful):
1. When was the last time I wore this? (over a year, give it away--UNLESS you've been pregnant, in that case, 2 years)
2. When was the last time I used this?
3. Is this my style? (you might have a great antique or piece, but it doesn't "go" with anything in your house--get rid of it)
4. Do I NEED it?

When in DOUBT, might I suggest putting "it" in a box or trash-bag and leaving it in a corner/closet/garage for a week. Reevaluate. Also, think, well, if I really need "it," could I buy it or is it "irreplaceable?" When in doubt after that, get rid of it.

Is it contradictory to get rid of junk and then go to a party and bring more junk home? We'll talk about that conundrum while we eat treats.

If you are interested in going to an event like this (no hard feelings if this isn't your thing), email me.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Best Moments of 2006

Lowering the bar: quitting some "extra's"
Miles learning to play the piano.
Owen learning to read.

Phoebe learning to dance and her dance recital--classic!

Hughie learning to crawl, walk, run, and talk. The most expressive baby ever!

Miles' baptism by his dad. Buying him a suit with my mom. Eric D. driving down for it and playing the piano.
The grandpas putting up our playgym in just under 11 hours.
My dad mowing my lawn, fixing up the house, etc when Topher was gone for 7 weeks.

Summer's Wednesday Burgerstand Rating 2006.
Ordinary days at home with Phoebe and Hugh including trips to the library and Target.

Bike rides with the family with our new/used bikes and trailer.

Clark Family Gala at our house starring Ryan Simmons.

4th of July with Wendy Sue and family from Nebraska.
Getting to know Haley, Petie, and Reyna better this year.
Thrillionaire shows! Some people have book group, others Bunko. . . I found my thing.
Doing short/long form improv after the kids go to bed and then watching Lost with Haley, et all.
Brett and Amelia's wedding.

The best birthday celebration of my life: 32 in London with Topher and a day of surprises.

The best trip of my life: 10 days with Topher in London, Dawlish, Dartmoor, Newton Abbot.
Seeing Jennie and her new baby Frankie and kids after 4 years.

Watching Owen and do gymnastics.

Appreciating/Understanding the Old Testament more.
Topher getting "the job" which came with "the salary" and "the benefits."

Taking the kids to the dentist. (no cavities!)
Losing a dress size.
A fun night out with my brothers and sisters and inlaws where we ended up at Target.

Watching UVSC's The Tempest. (and having it win a spot at ACTF)

Watching PTC's Much Ado with incredible actors. What a show.

A fun night out to dinner and Footloose with friends.

Diet Coke and long talks with Erbecca to keep me sane.
Painting more and giving away paintings.
Best Christmas ever--watching the wonder on Hugh's face and the excitement of the unexpected on the kids' faces.
Watching good tv, eating a -surprise- Runza! and chocolate truffles with the house clean and quiet on Christmas day.

Worst Moments of 2006

Provo Theater Company going dark.
Phoebe's broken arm.
Owen's stitches.
Hughie's ability to scream unnaturally loud.

Topher's long days of work/rehearsal/work. Sigh. A lot of long, long days.
The week leading up to my trip to London.
Having to pay a nanny for my trip when surrounded by family (still bitter).
Lame Halloween Party.
Topher's dislike of Bindi (she's 8!).
Phoebe telling me I don't look pretty without make-up (but I'm still nice).

Owen telling me to get a job "like dad-- outside the house" so I would leave him alone!
Miles absentmindedly losing three jackets this year.
Friends who have moved away are still away.
Not reading enough good books.
Missing Pandy at Christmas.
Watching my vivacious 90 year-old Grandmother get old.