Friday, October 30, 2009

Coming soon ... even closer.


Look what I just happened to drive by yesterday! I got a little bit excited! A new McDonald's, only 7 minutes away. ('Cause, darn it, 11 minutes just wasn't quite close enough!)

I was at my usual McDonald's recently, placing my order, and requested an extra large diet coke. The girl said, "We don't have extra large anymore." When I got to the window, I asked her why not? And she said, "Apparently, we are contributing to making people fat, so we stopped selling the extra large size." And then she smiled and rolled her eyes. I agree with her eye roll.

Sophie and I have an ongoing joke between us about why McDonald's hasn't made us fat ...

Knowing how much I love the golden arches (read here) and trying to dissuade me, someone sent me a link once to watch a video on youtube where a woman, who was with a coaltion to fight obesity amongst children in our country, was talking about a happy meal from McDonald's.

First she got out all the food from the happy meal box and set it on the table. She picked up the cheeseburger and opened the bun. It looked fine. Then she announced that that cheeseburger was 4 years old, as were the french fries and it looked like she had bought them earlier that day. No discoloration, no mold, no difference in appearance what-so-ever.

Then my son in law told me that a coworker of his had put a happy meal packet of apple slices on his desk ... the bag was open for several days, and the apples never changed colors. (For those who cater, you might want to contact McDonald's to ask them what their secret is.)

Watching the youtube video didn't really change how I feel about McDonald's though. What it did do for me, was confirm what I had been told about their shakes years and years ago - they are made out of edible plastic. (Fortunately, I don't have the influence over America that Oprah has, so I doubt I will get in trouble for making this comment.) But that must be why McDonald's food hasn't packed on the pounds for my kids and me. It isn't real food! It's plastic food! It doesn't spoil after years of sitting out. Maybe we should get it for our food storage! Who knows how long the shelf life might be ....

Kidding aside, the lady in the video didn't eat it after four years, so maybe it would taste gross. But the presentation was still there, and isn't half of everything about the delivery/presentation?

Okay, kidding aside again, that is my joke with Sophie. When we order up our food at McDonald's we look at each other and say, "It's a good thing it's edible plastic."

And it's pretty good edible plastic ... we love it. It's a happy place for us to visit - just about everyday. ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009



I was going to title this post "Funny People" and just include Ellen, but I decided I would just go ahead and feature her. I have always loved Ellen. The first time (actually, the only time) I saw her in person was back in the early 80s.

My husband and I went to see a Pointer Sister's concert in Santa Fe Springs, California ... or was that just the name of the street it was on? Either way ... it was a very small, outdoor concert with folding chairs on the front lawn of the concert spot. The venue may have been a small college, or maybe an office complex park. Either way ... it wasn't an extremely memorable concert. In fact, it might have even been a Sister Sledge concert. And I think it was on Telegraph Road in Santa Fe Springs ... hmmm?

But a new comedian, Ellen Degeneres, opened their show, and I thought she was absolutely hilarious. Her comedy was clean, relatable, and her delivery (those faces!) was half the comedy for me. I loved it.

I'm not even sure if she had been on the Johnny Carson show yet - that night when he invited her to the couch on her first visit, which was the first time a female comedian had ever been invited to the couch. (GO ELLEN.)

I loved her first sitcom too. So funny. One of the funniest episodes was when she was getting her driver's license photo. (If you watched it, you know what I'm talkin' about! If you didn't, you missed out.) And the one where she and Paige go to the spa ... hilarious!

Not too long ago, my girls were watching a dvd in the basement and laughing their heads off. It was Ellen doing stand up. They watched it over and over again and called me down for their favorite routines. We all love Ellen. And I think she is one of those people, who although may have a different "life style" than you do, you can't help but like her. She is personable and cute and funny as all get out, and you KNOW she is a good dancer!!!! :)

BUT, did you know that her brother was the one who came up with the Mr. Bill character way back in the day on Saturday Night Live? It's true.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cute costumes.






Friday, October 23, 2009

Scary costumes.






Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween decorations, etc...



Halloween is coming, and I am SO excited!!! I love Halloween for lots of different reasons. The candy for one ... although, as the years have gone by I have come to learn that Easter candy far surpasses Halloween candy. At Halloween you get the same candy you can buy year round, except in smaller sizes. (Maybe with the exception of candy corn, but I don't really like candy corn so that isn't an issue for me. Candy corn's purpose, for me, is to sit in a jar and look really cute and festive on my counter.)

There were only a few houses I remember trick-or-treating to (growing up) that passed out regular size candy bars, so I decided to become one of those houses when I grew up. I did buy the bags of the little size candy bars for a long time. But I would go through about three quarters of it before Halloween night and then have to go buy more. So several years ago, I decided that I would get full size candy at Costco the day of Halloween. It cost me about the same but the kudos from the trick-or-treaters ... can't beat that! And trick-or-treaters are another reason I LOVE Halloween. (I keep my camera handy to take pictures of cute little costumes at my door.)

I have always been the one to stay home and pass out the candy too. My kids would go out with their dad to trick-or-treat. When the youngest would get too tired and/or want to start eating their candy, I was home, and they would join me while the others continued the pursuit of treats. (Mine are getting a little too old for that now, but my thought is, if kids are willing to get dressed up in costumes and roam the neighborhood gathering candy - that works for me. I don't mind if I get a group of teenagers at my door. They react the best to the big candy bars AND at least you know they will be the ones eating it, right? Not the moms and dads who sort through the littles' candy bags and keep the chocolate.)

Deciding what to be was always fun too. And for some strange reason, when my children were young, I felt like I had to make their costumes. Sometimes I would literally just make them up and hope for the best. When McCall was just a couple of months old I made her a felt strawberry costume ... then when she was two, she was so obsessed with the movie DUMBO, that I wanted her to be Dumbo. But I wanted it to be "authentic" and the pattern wasn't, so I just made it up.

And I do LOVE decorating for Halloween. Last night Sophie said, "Mom, Halloween is my favorite holiday because of the way you decorate our house."

Holiday decorating is a wee bit of an obsession in my family. We tend to go a little overboard but we justify it because it truly is like a hobby for my sisters and I. And shopping for the "stuff" together is one of the best parts.

I do plan to do more posts about Halloween - 'tis the season! Maybe I'll post some of my favorite costumes, and pictures of my sisters' decorations too ...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Unexpected love notes.


I came home from work this past Friday, and saw an envelope waiting for "Da Mama" on my entry table. It has been a tough week for me and Haley knew it, which makes me appreciate this card and her thoughtfulness all the more! She left earlier that day for Las Vegas ... UNLV vs. UofU football game ... but took the time to leave me this.

I have always told my kids that cards and notes from them (pictures when they were younger) meant more to me than any present they could buy me - and I really mean it. I save them all too. They are some of those priceless little things that I'm sure we all treasure having in our "special box" as the years go by.

Haley came up with my title of "One Woman" a few years ago too. I was out in the back yard, mowing, and I had to move the trampoline to a different spot on the grass. So I grabbed hold of it, and yanked it to it's new location for that week.

Haley and McCall were in the kitchen looking out the window into the yard. McCall told me later that Haley watched me move that tramp alone, shook her head and said, "Mom is such a ... a one woman." She didn't really mean to say that, but it came out that way and they both laughed out loud. The nick name stuck, and that is their term of endearment for me! :)

I am grateful for the relationship I have with my children. I adore them, and I let them know that - and that makes me happy.

Thanks for my note Haley ... I love you too!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Wizard of Oz.



Most people who know me well, know that I LOVE the Wizard of Oz. But if I was asked to explain "Why?" I am not exactly sure what that answer would be. I guess what I'm not sure about is when it all began - our kinship ... the Wizard of Oz and I.

Maybe it was when I was a little girl. I do remember looking so forward to it's annual appearance on television. WAY back in the day when you couldn't record anything and there was no such thing as a DVD or even a VHS. We just had to wait it out ... and then that night, when it was going to be shown, became a bit of an event for me. Popcorn, pillows, blankets. I remember being afraid at certain parts, but it was also SO exciting!

The Wicked Witch, Glinda (how pretty was she?), the cute munchkins, that Tin Man and Scarecrow ... I fell in love with the characters and the whole premise of the story. I never wanted it to end.

It also could have been when I was a young married mom. We were putting on a "roadshow" at our church, and our ward got to do the Wizard of Oz. That was back in the mid 80s, so they put a little twist on it - Dorothy was a Valley Girl and her ruby slippers were red high top Reebok's. And I got to be Dorothy.

We had to condense the entire movie into 18 minutes from start to finish ... in my opinion (since I had very little to do with the back end part of the production), it was nothing short of genius. The writers got that whole show down, the costumes were great, the music was great, and the sets, well - Nils Lindstrom, creative talent extraordinaire, had painted different scenes on an enormous scroll, so that as we were skipping "off to see the Wizard," the whole thing would move at the back of the stage, and take us from the farm in Kansas, to the woods, and into the forest, and then the poppy field, then on to the beautiful Emerald City.

Maybe it was years after that, when I went to see it performed at the Tuacahn Theater in St George. I was blown away by the talent of the four main characters, their chemistry, the sets, the music ... and then I saw it last year at Southern Utah University where Chloe was one of the flying monkeys and was so good at it, she freaked even her own mother out!

It might have happened when Mattel came out with Wizard of Oz Barbies - I do like Barbies. And I like Madam Alexander dolls, and McDonald's Happy Meal Toys, and Wee Forest Folk - all who came out with Wizard of Oz characters. (C'mon, they're cute, right?)

I'm going to guess that it must be a combination of all of the above ...

And then there is WICKED ... we can't even get started on how fabulous WICKED is!!!!!!


Thursday, October 15, 2009



This is my daughter's dog, Cooper. McCall and Jared lived with us for a few months after they got married, and they decided they wanted a dog. Now I am not necessarily a "dog person" so I had a little bit of a problem with that. I had told my son-in-law, that if he wanted to have a dog at my house and was willing to replace the basement carpet when they left, that was okay. (He forgot that I said that, I think.)

So, one day, this puppy showed up to begin the path of destruction (as do most puppies) and messes on the carpet - all over the house, particularly the stairs in the house. He was only about 7 months old when they brought him home. His name was Bandit Pooh Bear, his parents names were something like Teensy and Giga-bite, and he was a pure-bred yorkie ... or so was the claim.

The name had to immediately go - Cooper suits him SO much better - and then he started to grow, bigger and bigger. Not quite as big as Clifford, the red dog, but he got mighty big for a "pure bread yorkie." We started to question the pure-bread-ness of it all when he reached 15 pounds, and wasn't done growing.

He was naughty for a really, REALLY long time! Longer than we thought puppies should be naughty - what did WE know? But Cooper was so cute that you just couldn't help but love him ... we all got attached pretty quickly. (And he does have a particular fondness for me, so that helped him out a LOT!)

After McCall and Jared moved, it was kind of sad for those of us left behind - we actually missed him and looked forward to being his doggie day care when they needed us.

Coop got pretty used to our neighborhood (and running around), and all of the surrounding neighbors got used to him. My neighbors directly across the street have two big dogs and Cooper was always running over to their house. Unbeknownst to us, he would go around to their back yard, scratch on their door and they would let him come in for a little while. He would drink their dogs' water, eat their food, chill for a while and then scratch to get out and come home.

One day, McCall was pulling into my driveway with him and the dad across the street came over and said, "I'm taking my dogs to the park for awhile, can Cooper come with us?"

She was a little suprised at the request and said, "But he runs away all the time."

Then Scott said, "He comes when I call him, he'll be fine." So off they went for a little outing. How funny is that???

Everyone loves Cooper and Cooper loves everyone. When he stays with us, I will be taking him on a walk and he has just GOT to run up to anyone he sees. Not to bark, or sniff, or be annoying - he just likes to run up, tilt his head, look at them as if to say, "Hi. Nice to see you. Nice to have you see me." And then off he runs! (And I don't even have to use a leash anymore. He stays with me ... I love that.)

I gained such an affinity for this little dog that "puppy" is now a term of endearment for me. I was tending one of my nieces babies, he was crying, and I was trying to talk sweetly to him saying, "Its okay little puppy ..." I didn't even mean to. I've called my little grandbaby puppy too - and its a good thing! :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Paying bills ahead.


There is just something EXTREMELY satisfying about opening a utility bill, checking to see how much you owe, and reading DO NOT PAY. Am I right?

I do love summer, but one of the not so good things about it for me, is the high utility bills. I have paid as high as $300 for my electric bill (but I do LOVE my air conditioning. In fact, when we were living in California, my dad told me how much he loved to come to my house because it was like a refrigerator. Sadly, I don't have that same cooling capacity in this house, but I do try - thus the high summer bill. And maybe for some people, that doesn't even seem like a high bill ... but this is relative here, and compared to the fall/winter bills, it is!)

My water bill also goes up about a bazillion percent in the summer. Fall/winter bills - maybe $35.00. Summer bills, as high as $285.00. I do have a pretty big back yard, live on a mountain, and really need a green lawn, but when you live on a "fixed income" ... whoa, that makes me sound a little like a senior citizen, doesn't it? But you know what I mean ... that puts a damper on things.

Anyway. This year, I decided to pay a little bit more than was due on my water and electric bills during Spring. That way, the sting wouldn't be quite as bad. Now, the bill above only says I am "ahead" $8.66, that was the second time this summer I didn't owe anything and the one before this one said, -$33.46. So ...

Pretty SWEET!!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Canyon colors.




I have lived in several different states ... New York, California, Hawaii, Connecticut, and currently, Utah. They each have their own special things that make them unique and beautiful in their own way. (I think Connecticut still might have them all beat for most beautiful - just my humble little opinion.) And one of the things that makes Utah so beautiful are these spectacular fall colors when you drive up it's numerous mountain canyons.

I took these pictures in the Provo Canyon, heading up toward Sundance. It really is almost awe inspiring ... to realize that this colorful backdrop wasn't planned or planted by man, but created in nature for us - to enjoy here on earth.

I have heard people say that California doesn't really have seasons. I beg to differ. In front of one of our houses we had two enormous trees (can't really tell you what kind they were though) whose leaves turned gold and fell to the ground in fall, making a huge mess in the front yard but also creating hours of entertainment for my girls. I love California winters too - they are cool and rainy ... good rain storms too, where it comes down in buckets all day long. That just does not happen here.

I know Utah probably can't compete with the east for the real glorious colors of the fall season, but the canyons and mountain sides sure do come close! And what also makes them so pretty, is the blue, blue skies and white puffy clouds that they lie under ... and you just don't see that in LA or NY!