Monday, February 16, 2009

40 Things Meme

This was a really fun and different kind of Meme to do. I really enjoyed the thinking/writing exercise . . . I wrote this on Saturday . . .

1. My uncle once: accidentally dropped chewed food from his mouth into my mouth when I looked up while he was talking with him mouth full. It was disgusting.

2. Never in my life: (until recently) did I think I'd be (and enjoy being) a business owner. We love it.

3. When I was five: my brother (my only sibling) started college.

4. High School was: good, a bit silly (I hate cliques and stupid head games), but overall fine. I'm not a fanatic about it nor do I care much about reunions. I keep in touch with good friends and teachers and that's good enough for me.

5. I will never forget: watching my Dad die.

6. I once met: Ben and Jerry at an ice cream festival in Boston called the Scooperbowl.

7. There’s this girl I know who: I used to think was really great (and who a lot of people think is really great) but who totally turned out to be someone I never would've imagined. I seriously thought there must have been a hidden camera on me when I was told that she had cheated on her husband with my friend's husband. I was shocked and thought it must've been a joke. Unfortunately, it wasn't a joke.

8. Once, at a bar: um, I've got nothing. I haven't ever been to a bar. I don't drink but even if I did, I don't think it would be my scene.

9. By noon, I’m usually: wrapping up school with the kids.

10. Last night: I cut my husband's hair, our son's hair, and I trimmed our daughter's bangs.

11. If only I had: a KitchenAid, perhaps I'd understand what all the fuss is about (seriously, it's a mixer and a bowl . . . why so expensive? And why do people love them so much?). This is a topic of current research, especially since our hand mixer broke and most people tell us to get a KitchenAid. You wouldn't believe how many batches of cookies we've made by hand in the meantime.

12. Next time I go to church: I might like it.

13. Terry Schiavo: was someone whose story I followed very closely. I cried the day she died.

14. What worries me most: is something I don't like to talk about.

15. When I turn my head left, I see: our pocket doors between our den and our living room.

16. When I turn my head right, I see: a big pile of papers to organize.

17. You know I’m lying when: I lie since I stink at it.

18. What I miss most about the eighties: is the music, laughing like I did as a teen, and the movies (but not the hairstyles). Oh and leg warmers! And my Johnny Depp poster from 21 Jump Street. Yum.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: eloquent in speech. (And this sentence would say "were" instead of "was").

20. By this time next year: I'll be a few weeks from turning 36. Omigosh, I'm almost 40!

21. A better name for me would be: . . . I happen to like my name.

22. I have a hard time understanding: people who are elitist and intolerant. No, maybe I understand them because I think I used to be a bit elitist and intolerant myself. Now, I'm just bugged by people like that.

23. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: . . . I used to think I wanted a PhD, but I'm content to study what I want when I want without the hoops and fancy titles.

24. You know I like you if: I tell you as much. I tend to tell people I like that I genuinely enjoy them.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: my husband.

26. Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro: are 2 people I'd be curious to meet, one person I don't know, and one person I think is a whiner.

27. Take my advice, never: let someone else write your story. Live authentically.

28. My ideal breakfast is: generally small and simple, but if I'm going all out, I'd say Dutch Babies and sausage.

29. A song I love, but do not own is: just about anything current really.

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest: driving by my childhood home to see the workmanship of my Dad's hands. And I also suggest a visit to my Mom's house for a delicious home-cooked meal and some very entertaining company.

31. Tulips, character flaws, microchips, & track stars: are pretty, gifts to help us understand ourselves and learn, wonderful technology, and hard-working people at something in a way I can't imagine myself being.

32. Why won’t people: accept others for who they are and where they are and be respectful of such and maybe even be happy for them if they're happy.

33. If you spend the night at my house: we'll feed you good food, show you around, and enjoy visiting with you.

34. I’d stop my wedding for: . . . nothing comes to mind.

35. The world could do without: hate and intolerance and elitism.

36. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: jump in a pool of icy cold water. And I'm germaphobic, so that's saying something.

37. My favorite blonde is: Phoebe on Friends.

38: Paper clips are more useful than: mac and cheese.

39. If I do anything well, it’s: loving my family and thinking and feeling deeply.

40. And by the way: I'm not pregnant (but I think this meme would be an awesome way to announce it if I were).


So, Thing 1 has been biting her fingernails, a habit that no one else in our family has. So I got the idea to promise her a manicure (and pedicure, because they're fun and relaxing) if she'd let them grow longer. It TOTALLY worked!

Mark took her to the store where whe picked out 2 colors for her nails--1 for her fingernails and 1 for her toenails. She stopped biting them and let them grow longer. And we went all out with the spa experience in our living room for both Thing 1 and Thing 2 . . .

Notice the tray of goodies -- cookies, cookie dough, lemonade, and root beer, per their request! A real treat since we don't usually do food in the living room.

The fun stuff for pampering their feet

We turned up relaxing music from our clinic and I really enjoyed doing this for the kids. I don't know what it is, but I thought it was relaxing, bonding, and fun.

Thing 2 was mostly excited about root beer but enjoyed the experience very much

Thing 1's cute piggies

Thing 1's cute fingernails

Thing 2's clean feet and nicely manicured toes

And this may seem scripted, but only because Thing 2 really said a bunch of cute stuff and we weren't filming when he said it, so we turned on the camera to see if we could get it on tape and we got most of it:

Some quotes of his from this suprisingly enjoyable spa experience show how he alternated between relaxed kid and wild boy energy:

"This is the best time of my life!"

*BURP!* "Oh, that was a Shrek burp!"

"This is so relaxing."

"I think I got Root Beer in my nose!"

"I like my feet shiny."

The next night, I heard them TOTALLY messing around and laughing in their room. It was getting late and so I went up to tell them to settle down and get to sleep. However, when I heard what they were doing, I grabbed the camera instead. I snuck upstairs and filmed for as long as I could without getting caught. I got SUCH a hilarious video of Thing 2 impersonating all 4 of the American Idol judges. His Randy impression was my favorite (Yo, yo, yo! Dude. Dawg!) The video is hysterical and often shakes from me laughing really hard while trying not to let them hear me. SO, so funny.


Thing 2 caught me and his first words were, "What the . . . ????" followed by "Noooooooooo! Mommy, PLEASE don't put that on your blog. PLEASE don't put that on your blog!!" I'm not sure if it's because he was in his underwear or because he was doing Paula Abdul impersonations, but either way after his sincere pleadings, I'm not posting it. But MAN are you missing out. It is SO SO funny.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine's Day Meme

I saw this over on bythelbs' blog and thought it would be fun, so here goes . . .

How long have you been together?

Over 16 years.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
About a month.

Who asked who out?
I asked him to preference. But he asked me out after I asked him and before we went to preference. Our party line is that we met through mutual friends, but we really had several possible ways to meet (same major, same dorms, same ward, same Political Science class, same group of friends, etc.).

How old are each of you?
We both turn 35 this year.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Since moving east, we've seen my brother a few times when he's come here. We're visiting Mark's brother Scott next week and hoping to get to a family reunion on Mark's side of the family this June as well.

Do you have any children together?
Yes, we have 2 great kids.

What about pets?
No (though the 2 kids beg often).

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Hmmmm, dealing with a miscarriage (1st pregnancy) and enduring the stress of residency and my struggle with depression. But the residency/depression thing has very much helped us figure out the right path for our family, too.

Did you go to the same school?
High school, no. College, yes (we met there). Graduate Schools, no (same town, though).

Are you from the same home town?
Nope. I’m from MA. He’s from CA.

Who is the smartest?
We're both smart. Total nerds. He has more of a natural ability with sciences and music. I am more the literature person. We are both writers, thinkers, and readers. Nerdy nerdy nerdy.

Who is the most sensitive?
I think he is. We both are, I guess. In various ways. But my first reaction to this question is to say he is.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Um, we don't each out much as a couple (but when we do it's usually for our anniversary at this great, local Italian place or it's out for sushi). As a family, we love to eat out, particularly Japanese. We also occasionally enjoy Chinese take out once the kids are in bed. Eating out is one of our favorite things to do, but all said, the economy has us not eating out so much (not that we would do it all the time, but you know what I mean).

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
East Coast from the West (residency interviews, etc.).

Who has the craziest exes?
Definitely me.

Who has the worst temper?

Who hogs the bed?
Neither. I think we have a good groove with this.

Who is more stubborn?
I don't think either of us is particularly stubborn, but if I have to choose, probably me.

Who is more jealous?
Neither one of us.

Who does the cooking?
It's a mix. Both of us do this.

Who is more social?
For sure I am, but he's on Facebook and I haven't yet signed up.

Who is the neat Freak?
We both are, but about different things. When the house is messy, I don't care. But when it's all neat and clean, I'm NUTS about keeping it that way. I have more paper clutter. We clean our house once a week and generally keep thing neat and that's good enough for us.

Who wakes up earlier?
Mark when he has early morning appointments or is on call. Though most of the time we both go to bed and get up at the same time.

Where was your first date?
Dinner at our friend's parents' house with about 8 couples. And then the Preference Dance at the Tanner Building (business building on campus).

Who has the bigger family?
Mark's side of the family is bigger. Mark is the oldest of 6. I am the youngest of 2.

Do you get flowers often?
I wouldn't say "often." Mark cleans bathrooms. To me, that's better than flowers.

How do you spend the holidays?
We spend the holidays here as a family and really love it.

How long did it take to get serious?
Not long. I know a good thing when I see one. We were exclusively dating within a couple of weeks. We told each other we loved each other 16 years ago today after a date (not because it was Valentine's Day). We got married about 4 years later (we were apart for 3 1/2 years of that).

Who does the laundry?
Mostly Mark, though we both do it. He's better about getting it going. I'm pretty good about folding.

Who drives when you are together?
On long drives, almost always him. Locally, it's a mix.

Is your family still growing?
In numbers? We're not sure. We've been on the fence about this for years. I think we're done, but we're not entirely sure.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

American Idol Auditions

We watch American Idol. We like American Idol. We even have an entire blog dedicated to American Idol.

But c'mon. We're on Season 8 now. We like it a lot, but we're not quite as YEEHA about it. We're sort of Woohoo about it. And if I had to choose my favorite reality show, it'd be Amazing Race, hands down. But American Idol is a very close second. They're my 2 favorites.

So rather than doing a weekly recap of the auditions, I thought I'd sum them all up at once. Because the audition weeks are my least favorite weeks.

I know a lot of people love audition weeks, but we don't. They're such a waste of time. Thankfully, with TiVo, it's less of a waste of time since we can fast forward the commercials as well as most of the crap (read: bad auditions that are so contrived they're not funny). We like the actual competition much better.

So, let's sum up their multi-city auditions briefly.

First off, I'm not a prude. I used to be much more of a prude. And again, my apologies to all those who had the patience to put up with me back then. Little miss goodie two shoes no more. Now I feel like my former self is satirized by television characters like Amy's parents on Everybody Loves Raymond, George Michael Bluth's girlfriend Anne from Arrested Development, or Millie from Freaks and Geeks. Okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the idea. That being said, I'm sooooooooooooo not a prude (anymore). And it's honestly a big relief. I am living life, speaking my mind, and I get more jokes.

That being said, this IS supposed to be a family show and my non-prudish self is appalled by some of the crass language and not-so-subtle innuendo they allow on the audition weeks of this show! We've, however, learned our lesson from the previous year and so now Mark and I watch it ourselves at night and then watch it together as a family the next day a la Tivo (read: we fast forward commercials and more crap). Now that is family fun.

I also take issue with commercials that do not match or reflect the rating of the program being shown, but that's another topic for another time.

So, here, in no particular order are my least favorite stand-outs and my most favorite stand-outs (even though I know there are surely some stand-outs we haven't yet seen because, you know, they like to show crap instead during audition weeks). Oh the humanity.

Least Favorite Stand-Outs

1. The goth chic who dresses like that not because she's depressed and not because she's a goth and not because it's a costume (nice one, Ryan), but because "that's just who she is." Sure. This is the contestant who, with her outfit, inspired our 8-year-old daughter to ask, "Why does it look like she has 3 of these?" while making the symbol for breasts. To which I responded, "They're called breasts. And 3? Or 6?" We then went on to discuss the meaning of the phrase "flattering outfit."

2. I could've done without the contrived, repeat performance from Philadelphia. You know the girl whose arm and hand movements have your kids asking, "Why are there little American Idol signs on her hands?" To have her go back and pretend to be Zen only to flip off the judges . . . again . . . is an insult to all Buddhists. And judges. And all of us watching TV. What a waste of air time. Over 100 hundred golden tickets and they show us this? I've got a little American Idol symbol of my own for them.

3. Bikini Jane. She could've worn a big sign that said, "I have no sense of self and am totally insecure" and it would've given the same message, albeit with less gawking from Simon. Everything about her attitude, her singing mannerisms, her talking back to the judges, her look, her demeanor BUGS me to no end. She must go. The only reason she went to Hollywood was because 2 male judges voted through a bikini. It's disgusting. And it only encourages more of this "Girls Gone Wild" attitude that seems to be fairly pervasive among auditioners who can't sing. Blech. The only funny part of her audition was watching Ryan giggle uncomfortably when she teased that she'd make out with him if she got a golden ticket. No, wait. That wasn't funny either. That was just awkward. If he would just come out of the closet already, we could just move on without the stupid put ons. I'm thinking that most of America is too homophobic to handle it, though, so we must endure these "ghah-stly" dialogues with pretty girls and cute, uncomfortable, is-he-gay Ryan.

4. Whiner Guitar Guy. This guy actually sounded really good. And if he had shut up and sang, he might've gone to Hollywood. And we might've enjoyed him. But his dramatic reaction to not being able to use his guitar was a bit much. What a diva. And I could hardly bear it when he kept begging and pleading. Blech. Massively unbecoming. And Simon isn't exactly a poker face. It was quite obvious he was getting annoyed. Less obvious is the reaction of the TV audience, but dude, if you're out there, we were annoyed, too. And when the sniveling whiner came out of the audition room, he totally shrugged of his mom as she tried to hug him. Kudos to Ryan for telling him that you don't do that to your mom.

It's so depressing to me to see how many delusional people there are in the world. These people seriously quit their jobs and sell their stuff to audition because they think they're good. I don't know if they could use a dose of reality or a better math class on odds and probability.

Most Favorite Stand-Outs

1. Michael Castro. Because I just can't get enough of these boys, their singing, or their interviews. I loved that he, with his pink hair, called his sister "girly." And when Jason responded with, "Oh you mean singing with emotion? Some people call that an artist," I knew we had to have this kid on Idol. He decided, about 2 weeks ago, that if his brother could sing, he probably could, too, so why not try. I didn't know whether to have high expectations or really low ones (those producers are so tricky with their tricky tricks), but I loved his audition and his newly-found voice.

2. Scott McIntyre. The vision-impaired singer was FABULOUS. He must move on. For oh so many reasons, chief among them being that he can sing. I can hardly wait until he gets behind the piano and sings. I really like this kid already. He's a favorite for many. And hey, he's homeschooled, too! I think it would be great for him to make the Top 24.

3. Danny Gokey. He's the music teacher with the soulful voice whose wife died just four weeks before the audition. His story was so moving as was his friendship with the guy who got a ticket right before he did. He's definitely one of my early favorites. That boy can sing and totally wraps you up in his awesome voice.

Ugh, I didn't pick a girl? I'm not a big fan of many girl contestants. Oh, except Fantasia. But I'm an Elliott girl through and through and no one has even compared to him since. Okay, I'll pick a girl. Ummmmmmm . . . . . . uh . . . . ummmm . . . . how about . . . . I can't think of any. Oh! Maybe that young mother with the husky voice? Neh? Maybe Rose? Neh? I don't know.

Other Thoughts from Auditions:

Randy is an idiot. He has nothing of substance to say. I can not believe that Paula gets so much flack for her mannerisms and words. She has loads more depth than "the Dawg" who has nothing to say but "Dawg," "Dude," (occasional hyena-like laughter), "Dope," "Whoa, whoa, what's going on?" and this season's new catch phrases "Good lookin' out" and "(city name) is jumpin' off!" I don't know how much I can take. And he ALWAYS goes along with what someone else has said. He has no opinion of his own. That's why he goes first on Idol. Because if he were 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, he'd just agree with someone before him. At least this way, they strive for some originality. Or something.

But bring on Hollywood. I actually like Hollywood. Plus it's one step closer to the competition. And one step farther away from the hideousness that is audition weeks.

Agree? Disagree? Did I forget someone? Sound off in the comments.