Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Story of the Dead Bird

Yesterday Cindy came in from outside very stressed and starting talking very, very fast about Yoshi and a dead bird. Yoshi indeed had killed a small bird and it was presented to us on the carpet that is outside the kitchen door. Cindy was so upset by this. She started crying and wailing (and we almost had the gnashing of teeth). I think she is starting to understand death a little more. She kept asking me when it was going to be alive again, and "how long do we have to wait before it gets up again"? She was even more sad when I said that it would not. She wailed and moaned, "But how will it get to go home and see it's family?" I finally told her that we should bury it. She was adamantly opposed to this idea! "Then we won't be able to see it or know where he is!" she said. I kept telling her that this was the proper thing to do. Finally, she called Dad and told him all about it. Dad told her to bury it. So she got off the phone and told me "We need to bury it!" like it was her idea. :) Why does Dad always get that much clout?? But I digress... So we buried the bird (which Cindy decided to name "Dead-y" (there is a pattern in her names, in case you haven't cracked the code yet). I was busy digging a small hole in the ground near our fence when I heard the camera flash go off. Cindy told me she was taking a picture of him so we would always remember him. (And if she is truly my daughter she was also thinking "we could put this on the blog!") Then as I put the last shovelful of dirt over Deady, Yoshi came frolicking out of the garden and, no lie, was covered in feathers. So add Baby Blue Jay to the long list of prey that have fallen to Yoshi the Conqueror. (The list that includes numerous snakes, a squirrel, dragonflies, mice, and about eleventy twelve hundred lizards). Now, if I could just get Yoshi to stand up to the wussie grey cat the steals her cat food every night, then we would be making some progress...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting Ready

We carved our Halloween pumpkin last night. Jacob is not so into it, but Cindy and I always have a great time every year. Here is this year's creation. Not too imaginative, but Cindy wanted it to look just like a ceramic pumpkin we have. I TRIED and TRIED to make it have rabbit ears (in honor of Rosa and to go with the two front teeth it has) but to no avail. Cindy would not have it! She thought I was so weird. Meanwhile, I am hard at work on Rapunzel-esque length hair and Luke's italian chef outfit. This will be a great Halloween, I can feel it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

DJ's Rule! Or, I mean, Rules of the DJ

Every six months or so it happens that Jacob gets double booked for DJing a Stake Dance or wedding reception. Therefore, I, the second best DJ in all the land, get to go and brush up on my mad DJ skills. So Saturday night I had the privilege of being the DJ for the Tri Stake Youth Dance at our building. Now, back in the day when I was a youth at Stake Dances, I always thought I could do a better job than the DJ- and last night I was pestered all night by a kid who obviously felt the same way. So as I was thinking about that experience, and remembering all the many dances I have done and kids I have interacted with, I have decided to present you here and now with....(drumroll please) The 10 Rules of Song Requests and DJ Interaction Etiquette. Ta-da! Oh, and these aren't meant to be mean or jade you- mostly they come from fond memories of dances of the past 9 years. And the realization that no mater where you go, people are pretty much the same :)

1. The way to a DJ's heart is to tell them how great they are-not how you really feel about them. If you want even a chance of getting your song played, do you honestly think saying "So when are you going to play something good?" is the way to go? Hardly.
2. Even if the DJ agrees to maybe play your song, you definitely do not get to decide when it gets played. Great dances have great flow and momentum, and playing someone's "Favorite Song" right when they request it most definitely will kill any it had going. This leads right into...
3. Give the DJ some time to play the music! If the dance is from 8-11pm- the last thing we want to hear is someone at 8:07 and then 8:18 and then at 8:19 ask us when we are going to play the Cha Cha Slide. That is why we make the big bucks- to judge the crowd and play things accordingly. Besides, we can't burn up all our good stuff with two hours left to go.
4. Nine out of ten songs the DJ plays, he personally hates. We don't play all those goofy songs because we like them- we play them because they work. We secretly do not have a mix CD in our car with Macarena, Cotton-eyed Joe and Electric Slide on it that we listen to on repeat anytime we drive somewhere. You think you have heard those songs a million times??? No, you haven't. :) I have calculated that I have heard the Boot Scootin Boogie more than 400 times- but you can't argue with the fact that it makes 150 teenagers have a great time.
5. If your requested song is not on mainstream radio, you have no chance of hearing it. Seriously, when a kid comes to me and says "Do you have "Melting" by The Screaming Popsicles?" what am I supposed to say? Come on, people. Get real. Which leads me to....
6. Just because it is YOUR favorite song, DOES NOT mean "Everyone else will like it". No, they won't. I am the DJ and I don't get to play MY favorite songs- it is about pleasing the masses, not the individual.
7. If by some miracle your request is played, for the love of all things good and holy- Dance to it!!!!!!! Do not endlessly pester me to play a song only to stand around and Sing it. It is called a "dance" (not a "radio") for a reason. (And do not be in the bathroom when I play your request, either. Stick around!)
8. NEVER start speaking to us by using the phrase "Hey, I have this CD out in my car and I was wondering..." This will not end well.
9. Deep down, DJs don't like announcing birthdays, dedications, or any other announcements in general. It clutters the dance.
10. When we ask for requests, we are assuming that you already know the song you want to hear. It is really not an invitation to come and look through our music while we are still trying to DJ the dance. Additionally, our music is usually not organized in any meaningful way to anyone but us. Thus, you just might find that CD we have that has the theme from Neverending Story- as well as Stand by Your Man and Up In Here by DMX. It isn't going to help you too much.

There, you have just gained access into the enigmatic mind of a DJ. Use this information wisely and you just might get to hear "Melting" by the Screaming Popsicles at your next dance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's My Party and I'll Vote How I want to

Upon receiving my Sample Ballot in the mail for the Nov. 4 election, I noticed that we (here in Florida at least) have 13 choices for President and not just the 2 we hear about on TV. All kinds of parties have candidates to choose from- the Libertarians, the Independent Party, The Objectivist Party, The Party for Socialism and Liberation, The Socialist Workers Party, The Socialist Presidential ticket, and even (and I am not making this up) The Boston Tea Party has candidates on the ballot. Anyway, although this information is pretty much only good for a laugh for me, because, (Crazily!) I am not interested in a socialist society...I DID notice that the Green Party has two women Candidates on their tickets and their names just happen to be Cynthia and Rosa. Too bad those two candidates really aren't a super cute 4 year old and her white pet bunny- because then they might actually have a chance of having one person vote for them. What a country!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Welcome to the Family, Rosa!

So Cindy has been dreaming of having a bunny for a while now- (along with the dreams of a pet butterfly, pet squirrel, birds that land on your finger, etc.) So now her life is complete because we have Rosa. She is a very sweet and has been incredibly patient with Cindy. Cindy has had her for about a day now and is totally obssessed with her, but at the same time, it is cute to watch her talk to her and play with her. For now she lives in her cage on the patio (Rosa, not Cindy), but is free to roam when Cindy is around out there. I let Cindy bring her in her room this morning for about 20 minutes. I am not too keen on the idea of her room smelling all "rabbity" and stuff. Cindy did run in off the patio this morning to show me the little nub of a carrot that was left from the giant one that was in the cage last night. She is thrilled that Rosa actually eats carrots- just like they do on TV. Anyhow, some pics of Rosa and Cindy- best friends. (Can you feel the love?? I can....)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Have You Ever Noticed...?

That any time you watch a show where some poor slob gets a makeover, they always get made over to have straight hair and they NEVER give them a curly hairstyle?? I say this because I am in desperate need of a new hairstyle, but, Alas! I have curly hair- and no one seems to have a good style for curly hair. (Unless they want me to wear it like Syesha from American Idol or Chad on High School Musical--> Exhibits A and B. Yeah, I have curls, but not like that.) So anytime I watch a show where someone with curly hair gets a makeover, I think, Great! Let's see what they do with the curly hair and BAM! Everytime it comes out straightened. This does not work for me. So if you have seen any realistic curly hair hairstyles or know of some magical hair accessories that help with making curly hair look controlled and pulled back from their face- (with volume :) let me know. Thanks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Life After Triathlon

Wow, I am really having a hard time adjusting to life after my triathlon. I had been training and obsessing for so long about it that now that it is over, I feel completely....well, weird. It is strange to not feel like something is hanging over you like that. I honestly thought it would feel amazing to be done, but part of me is a little sad. I intend to do another triathlon in the spring, but so far I cannot find one that I can really commit to doing. I would love to keep with the Publix Family Fitness series- but they have yet to announce their 2009 schedule, so I am twiddling my thumbs until they do. I did go running today after taking a full week off from exercising and it felt great to get out and sweat again. On the plus side, I have enough house projects to keep me busy for a lifetime, so it is not like I don't have anything to do. I still have 2 more walls to paint in my living room, the garden always needs some attention, as well as the yard, the fire pit still needs the last row of stones, and the house and driveway all need to be pressure washed. Yea, I got things to do, no problem. But I have realized the importance of goal setting and how rewarding it can be to really invest yourself in a goal and literally "work" extremely hard to follow thru on it. Way more rewarding than I could have guessed.

On a completely unrelated note, I took some pictures of the kids the other day while we were at the beach at Ft. DeSoto State Park and then some fall pictures on Sunday. It is the best way to spend time for me because I get to take pictures and spend time with Cindy and Luke-two things I love to do.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adding to her Resume

I have the pleasure of announcing that Cindy can now blow a bubble with bubble gum. Ta-da! It will now be listed on her resume in the "skills" section, right under Snapping, Whistling and Watching the same DVD over 50 times without tiring of it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fall Garden

I have been waiting for the heat to subside just a hint before I started planting my fall garden. So yesterday I finally got the first of the starts in the ground. I have broccoli and brussel sprouts in now.

My pumpkins are coming along pretty good, however, Karen at Peterson's Nursery tells me that I am going to have to "hand-pollinate" them. On account of the dwindling bee population and all... I since have been researching on the internet about doing this and it is a little creepy in a weird sort of mother-nature kind of way.

Anyhow, the kids dug giant holes in the other garden bed while I was hard at work and pretty much were totally disgusting by the end.

So afterward I turned on the sprinkler and let them frolic and cavort, much to their heart's delight. I love October in Florida!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I didn't have any official times for you on the last post, other than it took me 1:34:00 for the whole Tri. But I was just online at the race website and they posted all the results, with the splits. So now I can tell you this much about my times:
The Swim: 21:31 (Which is faster than the woman won our group, I might add)
Transition 1: 3:13
The Bike: 35:06
Transition 2: :56
The Run: 33:16 (I am stunned I was that fast, and that is pretty dang slow..)

AND, I finished 15th OUT OF 44!! That is so beyond my wildest dreams. Truly!

So there you go! I promise to not talk about the race anymore and return you to your regularly scheduled blogger programming.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Okay, Okay, I have kept you all in suspense long enough. But I finally have compiled all the video and pics to put together a blog post worthy of your attention. So without further ado, I will try and immerse you in the triathlon experience through a magical journey of multimedia heaven. The day began at 4:30am, when I just happened to wake up. It was a miracle I slept even one second that night, but Heavenly Father was watching out for me on that one and I got in a solid 5 hours. I then went to pick up Susie so we could caravan with Michelle to the park.

First you have to find a place on the giant bike racks to put your bike for "transition". You get your stuff all laid out on the grass next to it so when you come back from the swim or the bike you are ready for the next leg. I found a sweet spot next to some other Cannondale bikes and got set up.

Next is the body marking. Volunteers take a somewhat permanent magic marker and write your race number on both arms, then your age on the back of your calf. Hence, my sweet 251 on the arms and big fat (gulp!) 29 on my leg. Still have the 29 on there, not coming off so well yet, but this is the closest I will ever get to a tattoo, so I am enjoying releasing my inner rebel for a few days. Is everyone still with me? Okay good- down to the water.... The first glimpse of the lake actually brought me some relief because it looked pretty tame. There was no sign of disgusting seaweed or any mystery floaties, no gators anywhere and it felt great! Better than the pool! (tasted better too, I might add) I could tell as all of us gathered on the shore that some people were a little intimidated looking out where we had to swim, because it did look a little far, but I felt so confident about the swim. I had done it so many times in the pool, honestly, I could not wait to get in there and do it. So after each wave (based on age divisions, mainly) the next group would wade down into the water and wait for theit start. So we waved goodbye and finally! We were off! All 70 something first-timers, men and women. If you look closely you can see the triangle bouy out in the water. We had to swim out and around those.

My strategy was definitely to stay to the back of the pack and side and not mix it up with anyone. And that paid off pretty well. I only kicked someone 3 times (their fault, not mine) and I got to hug the buoys nice and tight which made for a good strategic swim. My breatstroke performed amazingly! But seriously, there were people in there doing freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, doggie paddle, sidestroke, manatee impersonation, you name it! This gave me even more confidence and I did great on the swim. I just have to say I beat Michelle on the swim. I have that ONE thing on her and I won't mention it again. Maybe. Now, on to the bike ride with some nice wet shorts! We had a short jog up to the transition area to get our bikes. So off with the swim cap, on with the shoes, helmet and sunglasses and it was time to go. Michelle was right there with me at this point and it was a good ride. My biggest fear was that a tire would pop, because if that happens you are out of luck entirely. But my bike was a champ! The bike route was on the main roads of Winter Haven and included some big hills, but I did it! Michelle totally pulled away from me at that point and I knew she was gone for good. :) But I enjoyed the bike ride, loved coming down the big hills and catching some major speed to carry me up the next one. A ton of fun. Here is a sweet video clip I just made, Hope you like it. The film is a little jumpy, but the camera man was so excited to see me!!

Time for my arch-nemesis: THE RUN.

I planned on taking a solid 5 minutes to transition from bike to run, but even going a little slow feels like an eternity in a race environment. So I did take my time, but felt the pressure to get going again, so after a quick drink, I was off! Let me just say that this portion of the race was really going to define me. I did not want to walk at all during the run. That was my one, big personal goal. (Besides just finishing.) The bad part was that I had never run the route before so I had no idea how far away it would be or where I was going. The first half was great. Beautiful run through the park and botanical gardens. Seriously, this is a gorgeous place. Here is a good story for ya- As I was running, I had my sunglasses on top of my head (because it was overcast) and at one point they popped off and I immediately thought "NO! I can't break the rhythm by having to stop and get them!" So by some totally awesome miracle, my cat-like reflexes kicked in and I managed to catch them behind my back!! I was a little bummed that I was alone right then because I would have gotten a standing ovation for that move. It was so cool. But I digress...

So the run was going smooth, I am not a gazelle, however, so my slower jogging pace was working fine. That is until the last half of the race which was the MEANEST trick in all of racing! So cruel. It was in the parking lot and it was 4 switchbacks that were about 200 yards long apiece. Like a giant, unending line at Disney World. The worst part was that you could see everyone coming out of it as you started in it. Oh, so mean! But, it was what it was and I was there to finish. So you put your head down like a good little soldier and get it done. I did see Michelle coming out of it. I took the time to call her a running "robot", which, totally confused her. :) But finally after making it thru the Parking Lot of Doom, I got back to the park entrance and each race official on the sideline would say "Come on! You are almost there!" To which I replied "You are lying to me!" Because I think the first guy said the same thing. But I really was almost there and turning the corner to finish was awesome. Jacob was up high with the video recorder, I had two of my Young Women at the corner, then all my friends and family at the finish line and even flowers! It was great. Totally an adrenaline rush. Michelle crossed 11 minutes ahead of me (I'll get you, Gadget!) so she had time to eat lunch and get a pedicure in the meantime. But it was over and I DID IT! What a feeling of accomplishment. Here is the video proof, no music this time, I like the sound of cheering....

Okay, story time. I have two things to mention that are somewhat interesting. Just after arriving and racking my bike, they announced on the megaphone that they needed to see "athlete 251- your bike is in violation" That was ME! So apparently if your curly handlebar thingy's (see how professional I am already?) don't have little end caps on them then you can be disqualified. Who knew?? So they told me to jut get some water bottle caps and tape them on and I would be fine. Thus, you can see my lovely jimmy-rigging job. Next, since your age is written on your calf, when someone would pass you on the bike or the run, you could totally see what age person was beating you. This became a source of much frustration to me. I would be happily plugging along on the run and then all of sudden a guy would pass and I would see "68" on his leg and think, "Are you kidding me!!??" But it was fun to walk around afterward and just see who all was doing the race. I think 88 was the oldest there and he may have beat me...

If you have seen the movie "The Saint" with Val Kilmer, he talks about needing 3 miracles to become a Saint. Well, I had 3 Miracles along the way of my own with this Triathlon. They definitely do not make me a Saint, but make me realize Heavenly Father is watching out for me. #1- The fact that I got sleep the night before. Seriously, that was such a blessing. #2- It was totally overcast that whole morning. I told my Dad that if the sun had been out, I would be a dead carcus in that parking lot for sure. It was the best situation. #3- No flat tires or bike trouble. I was SO paranoid about this, but it worked out fine. My final time was 1:34:00- and I won't know the time for each leg of the tri till about Tuesday when they post it online. We had to wear the electronic timing ankle bracelets so we could know all of this fancy information. I am curious to know the breakdown.

Susie perservered and finished like a champ! We all cheered so loud and were so proud of her accomplishment. It is no small feat!

So would I do it again? YOU BET! I definitely want to. I now have a Triathlon time to improve on-so I pretty much am required to do another one. It is now my intention to get even more people to do it with me. So who's in? Just let me know, we can meet at the pool, 5:15am, no problem. And here are my final words on the subject. Maybe....

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's the Final Countdown

So I am about 18 hours away from the Tri and I am FREAKING OUT!! Okay, not totally, but the anticipation is definitely starting to build. I starting packing all my gear in my backpack. Towels, goggles, socks, powerbar, gator repellent, pocket machete, you know, standard gear. Tonight is also the first-timers "workshop" so I can get all 287 of my burning questions answered (I do have quite a few...) Then me and Susie and Michelle are going to drive the bike route in the car, just to see what we are up against, and then it is out to dinner at Crisper's for something light and healthy- if we can avoid the cookies. I have to get up at- wow, I almost can't even say it- gulp! 4:15am to pick up the girls and be there by 5:30am for check-in and body marking. Even as I am typing this I can feel my heart pounding. I am really excited, though. It will be fun to see how it all plays out. From the weather, the actual experience of swimming in a lake, who shows up to watch, will I cramp or not, will I get accidentally disqualified for something??? So many scenarios. But ready or not, Here I Come! (I only put this picture of me in there to completely lower your expectations. That way, when I finish the triathlon without dying you will all be pleasantly surprised. It's all about strategy.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Congratulations, It's a Triathlon!

So I was thinking the other night, as I sometimes do, and I realized that this whole triathlon experience is kind of like being pregnant. (It's so obvious, right?) First of all, the whole thing begins way in advance and takes months to complete. It was way back in the spring when I was first toying with the idea of actually doing this race and I have now been training for over 6 months. Once you then commit to competing you get to announce it to everyone! You take great pride in the reaction you get from people when you tell them your "news". People are happy for you, surprised, etc- much like when you tell them you have a bun in the oven. Next comes all the preparation. First you start reading articles online about being a "first-timer", what "gear" is absolutely necessary and what isn't, much like the new mom who wonders if they should go with the totally awesome epidural or if splurging on that diaper warmer is a good idea. This mirrors my experience exactly. And I have learned, (just in case you were wondering) that first-time triathletes only focus on finishing-not competing, they use any bike they currently have, and only spending money on the running shoes is really worth it. Then, little by little, you acquire this gear as time gets closer to the race. Next you read others' blogs and figure out what your new diet should be. Carbs, protein, powerbars, watermelon and pickles?? You start making a list of what really applies to you and what doesn't. And eventually you start getting asked the two perpetual, unending questions: 1.So when is the race? (i.e. So when are you due?) and 2.So are you ready? (i.e. So are you ready?) Then you politely tell people when the big day is and say something like "As ready as I'll ever be" or "I think so". They also ask you if you are nervous or excited. You usually say "both" or something like it. But the race looms over you and by the end you are saying things like "I can't wait for this to be over" or "I wish the race were right now"- just like those last days of third trimester misery. Thankfully, though, I am not sure that people will be able to physically look at me and know that I did my race. Unless I leave my body marking on and wear it to Stake Conference- which is a tempting thought. This assumes, however, that I am going to Stake Conference. I might crash and burn LONG before 7pm comes around. But I would get a sweet seat (being in my wheelchair and all...) But the one big difference and best difference is that I can SLEEP after this whole thing is over and no medical bills! Who-hoo! Except if that gator finds me in the lake. Not cool. Oh, and in the time it took to write this post, Luke has taken off his diaper, and is in the living room window dancing for all the world to see. Good thing for tall hedges. ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

If these walls could talk

I had this wall space in my hallway that I thought would look good with one of those hip and trendy new vinyl lettering phrases that are all the rage. I had almost bought this one of eBay about 10 times but just never pulled the trigger all the way. But since a friend of mine in the other ward just became a "vinyl lettering distributor", I went to a party and within a week this is now up and looking pretty good on my wall. Now on to the living room to finish that painting...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where is the prophet Daniel when I need him?

As if I didn't need further proof that the triathlon is causing me a little bit of stress, I have been having pre-race dreams that are really messing with my head. Two of them are as follows:

Dream 1- I am at the race and I am running. I am hot, sweaty, and I am ready for it to be over. Then to my horror, I get done with the race only to realize that the run I had just completed was for me to get to the starting line, and everyone else was already there waiting for me so they could start the darn thing. Not cool.

Dream 2- I am woken up out of bed very early in the morning and told the triathlon is starting RIGHT NOW! So I am trying to get dressed as fast as I can and am realizing that I never did quite decide what I was going to wear to the race...Hmmm, let's see, should I wear the BYU t-shirt, tutu, church dress or what? So many options.

Needless to say, one other benefit of the race finally being finished this Saturday (yes, I did just say THIS Saturday...) is that I can rest peacefully once again, hopefully.

And just what am I really wearing to the race? Since I match my clothes by material thickness (to borrow a line from my brother, Dave) I will be totally stylin' in my orange and white running shoes, my purple helmet, my turquoise under armour and my newly purchased cyling shorts- still in transit off of eBay. Here is what they look like, and depending on what they actually look like on me, I might just be wearing a church dress that day afterall!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What's a Worship Song without Air Guitar?

This past Friday the parents of the kids at Preschool were invited to see the kids perform a few songs they had been working on. It was, after all, Johnny Appleseed's birthday- so we heard a few songs about apples, apple trees, applesauce, you get the idea. But as the grand finale we heard the "worship song" they were working on. Here is a video of it. You can see Cindy in the front and her glances over at me. She was apparently not happy with me "laughing at her" (which I was not, I just enjoyed seeing all the kids singing). She even completely berated me after they were done. Anyway, gotta love Kids Bop- Christian Style! And doesn't the air guitar just make the song? It did for me.