In which I complain a little


I am not usually a complainer really. However, today I just have to vent a bit. I was supposed to have lunch with a friend today, but that didn’t work out. Ok, I got stood up, if you must know. After waiting and smelling the yummy food, I was quite hungry on the drive home and decided to just pick something up. Fast food, you know. Fast food, by the very nature of it’s name, should be fast. However, it was not.

I wrote this letter, and because I am still irritated, I thought I would post it here.

I’m not usually a complainer, but the service today was absolutely terrible. I waited in the drive thru line for 10 minutes. I would have left, but I was boxed in by other cars. When I got up to pay, the person taking the orders got my change wrong, and I had to correct him. There was no apology, no service with a smile,or even a “Sorry for the wait.”

More waiting to get from the first window to the second window. Really? Can we not get a few more employees?

At the second window, the girl handed me my food bag, but not the drink. I waited at least 60 seconds while she tried to get my diet coke. She did say sorry, at least, and that the machine wasn’t working.

In my opinion, this kind of service is absolutely not acceptable. My food was no longer hot, and I had wasted 10 minutes.

As I was sitting there waiting for my drink, I dialed the 800 number on the window for comments about my service. The number that says to call anytime, 24 hours a day. I was put on hold. I live 5 minutes away, and talked to a live person just as I got to my driveway. The live person told me that the number I called does not support the McDonald’s location I was calling about. Really?

You don’t need to contact me about my experience, unless you are offering me my money back.

Harsh? Yes, probably. But I can’t be nice ALL the time, now can I?

And then I saw this on facebook.

So, no, I’m not angry. I just thought I should share my experience as a warning.


What kind of food would you be?


In taking my daughter to school, we were talking about friends, and she said she didn’t think a certain person liked her. “I guess you can’t please everyone,” I said, “you aren’t pizza.” Then we began talking about if we were a food, what kind of food would we be?

I am a hot fudge sundae. With nuts. I realize that not everyone in the world prefers hot fudge, and some people don’t like nuts.

Some people are really rather caramel or strawberry syrup kind of people, and then there are the whole nut allergy people who would not go for my type of sundae. I’m ok with that, because the people who DO like hot fudge sundaes with nuts REALLY like them. And I realize that not everyone is going to be my friend, or like me, or agree with me.

She said she might be carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s a little joke in our family that Ryan wanted carrot cake for his birthday. The girls had already told him they would make him a birthday cake, and they were aghast at his choice. Why carrot cake? His reply, “Because it’s DELICIOUS”. He even had a funny voice thing that went with his ‘Delicous’, and it’s kind of stuck. They made him carrot cake. From scratch. With real carrots that they had to grate themselves. And man, was that cake delicious. As good as Kneader’s carrot cake. Not kidding. So moist and flavorful. But still, not everyone will enjoy, or even try, a bit of that carrot cake.

It’s like that with friends. Not everyone in High School is going to think that my amazingly awesome daughter is the kind of person they would like to hang out with. (Those who think that would be wrong, of course, because she’s SUCH a great person and everyone who takes the time to get to know her will totally think that, of course.) That’s ok. I think she’s ok with that. And it’s good to realize that not everyone is going to like you. You don’t have to please everyone. You are enough.

So, my question to you, dear reader, is What kind of food would YOU be if you were a food?

Ohayo Gozaimasu


hikeWe have a Japanese boy with us for a couple more days. It was a busy weekend anyway, but we’re trying to be that “fun” family and make sure our boy has a good time. It’s quite exhausting to be that fun. I looked it up, and this is our 5th Japanese boy. Our first was in 2009. Since then we have hosted 6 girls from China for two weeks(2 at a time), 3 Taiwanese girls for 2 1/2 weeks (also at the same time), one French girl for a month, 2 Brazilian boys for a month (we all remember that wonderful experience, don’t we?) and Larissa, our German daughter, for one school year.

One of my friends asked how we can host, isn’t it awkward? Yes, it is awkward. We mostly don’t explain a whole lot of things and just say, “Come, it’s time to go.” Yesterday we took Nozomu to church with us, and he had no idea where we were going, but when he saw that we were dressed up, he was a little worried that he was in a t-shirt. “That’s fine,” I said, trying to ease his worries. It was a very emotional sacrament meeting, as we got a new bishopric, and I felt the spirit there very strongly. But he was trying to stay awake. When it was over, we stood up and he said, “Finished?” I felt like a wretch as I said, “There’s another meeting, still. John will take you.” Poor boy. But he made it through 3 long hours of church, which must be pure torturous boring for him. Yes, it is awkward, and I always feel like I should be connecting more with these kids. I should be LOVING them more. I should be more of a good mother. But we got a little burned with those boys in January, so I think I still have my guard up a little bit. And it’s hard to not compare ourselves to others in the group when we see pictures of what the other host families are doing. One family took their boy flying over timp. Flying? Really? There’s always some family that takes the kids to Moab or St. George over the weekend and it always looks like they are having more fun than we are. Oh, well. We do our best.

I’ve been a little worried about him not eating much. We went out to Mexican when he first got here, and it was too spicy for me, so I didn’t like it. He didn’t eat much of his, either. For breakfasts, he has had toast, a little yogurt and a banana. Even when we made pancakes and offered him some, he is sticking with the toast and banana. That reminds me, I’ve got to go the the store today and get some more yogurt and bananas. I don’t know what they are feeding them for lunches, but when he’s here, we got out some japanese ramen (left from a previous guest) and he liked that. When we had pizza, he took one slice. I don’t think they like cheese. Well, last night for dinner we finally had time to do dinner right. We had grilled chicken and rice, warm rolls, and cooked vegetables (I even cooked broccoli, which I hate). He ATE and ATE. I think he took 3 rolls, had a bunch of rice, and a LOT of chicken. I was surprised when there were no leftovers, since it was a whole package of chicken we had grilled up. Wow. Either he really liked the food, or he was just really hungry from not eating much the rest of the day, but I was glad he was finally eating. Now, what to cook for tonight?

On Saturday we had our busiest day. I had a rehearsal at the Tabernacle, so I invited the family to come up to temple square and meet me there. They got there for the last 1/2 hour of rehearsal and got to listen in. Maybe that’s a cool thing to see. I don’t know if he’s impressed or not.
As we were walking through temple square back to the car, we had a lot of people say Konichiwa to us. Two sisters talked to us for a minute while one of the kids used the bathroom.
temple square We aren’t allowed to proselyte or give them literature, but the sister was friendly and talked to him in Japanese for a bit. After a quick lunch I took the kids to Cornbelly’s.
cornbellyWe have never been before, so we really didn’t know what to expect, but it was a fun activity. We golfed, rode the little cow train, some of the kids did some nerf type shooting, Natalie and Nozomu rode the zipline. It was fabulous weather, too. I took off my sweater and was enjoying the 67 degree day. Too crowded and confusing for me (so imagine how it must have been to him!), but it was all fun stuff. There was so much we could have done, but we were getting tired, and wanted to get ready for trick-or-treating.
trick or treat
I sent him trick-or-treating with John and a friend. He had a cape. That’s enough of a costume, right? I don’t know what he thought of the whole trick-or-treating thing, but he was willing to go along with it. They were out for two hours. In fact, I was a little worried about them and glad that John answered his phone when I called to ask where they were. The instructions had been to go around our neighborhood and then come home, and I would drive them somewhere else if they wanted. They expanded the boundary a bit, but Ryan went and got them.

On Sunday, after church, we decided to go into the canyon for a drive. See some leaves, take some pictures. However, when we got to the pay station in American Fork Canyon, the guy said, “I’m going to have to ask you to turn around. There’s some police activity and we aren’t letting anyone up the canyon.” Wow. Never heard that before. So, we turned around, and went to Pleasant Grove. We decided to hike the Battlecreek Falls hike. Can you believe I’ve never done that before? The kids were NOT excited about a hike, even though Ryan said it was really a 2 mile walk. Ha. Not flat. For out of shape people, it was a climb. But we did it, and even had fun.

Today they go to a local school, and I’ll pick three of them up from the Junior High so they can hang out here for a while. We need to do our required activity of Bowling, and we’ll probably still go to Thanksgiving point. Busy, yes. Fun busy, though.

Old lady shoes? Show some respect, you young whippersnapper


Dear Daughter needed to find some shoes to wear to a debate thing last week, and in her frantic looking, I tried to help her. I brought a few pairs of black shoes for her to choose from. She didn’t like any of them, and found her own grey shoes. (Maybe that was my evil plan all along–Find your OWN shoes, kid.)

Well, then I remembered that she needs black shoes for work, and thought I would try to find some good shoes on sale.

These came yesterday, and I showed them to her. “Look at these cute shoes! You could wear them for work.”

Um, no. and she would find her own shoes, thank you very much.

WEll, how about these ones?

So cute, and comfy!

I could wear either of these shoes for bells, I thought.

Her response was basically a no thanks. More specifically, a no thanks with an eye roll. “Mom, those are old lady shoes.”

“Old Lady shoes? I do NOT wear old lady shoes!” I said, as I looked down at my Birkenstocks sandals I was wearing with socks. Ok, bad example. But then as I was looking through my shoes, I realized that I don’t wear anything with a heel more than about twice a year. I spend most of my time in my pink Birkenstocks or running shoes with heel inserts in them. Plantar Faciitis, dude.
When I get dressed for Wednesday night bells practice, I think, What’s the most comfortable shoe I can wear and still have it look ok with a skirt? And those black shoes? I’ll probably use those for concert shoes. In the 10 years I have been in bells, I’ve probably bought 10 pairs of black shoes.

On Sunday, I do wear cute shoes, but that’s only because I know I will be sitting most of the three hours that we are at church.

So, I guess I’m an old lady and I wear old lady shoes.


It’s a slippery slope.

Keep Calm and Carry on


I’m such a slacker.

Blog, what blog?

Anyhoo, how’s everyone doing? Me? I’m a little busy. Yesterday I was setting up the PTA dinner for the teachers, and my favorite kindergarten teacher said, “Are you SURE you aren’t subbing this year?” I had another teacher ask me that just the other day. Yes, I’m sure. I want to be thinking about my sisters in Relief Society and my family, not using all that’s left of my brain to figure out how to manage a squirly bunch of kids. And $65 dollars a day? Please. So, no, I won’t be subbing for a while.

I am super pleased with my chime choir, though. I have 25 kids in my two groups, and they are progressing so quickly (most of them). Because I have several returning kids, it makes it so much faster for the group to progress. John is in 6th grade, and I’ve been thinking about what to do next year. Should I quit teaching at the elementary school? But I’ve finally “built” a program. It’s my 4th year teaching there, and I feel like I’ve finally established the choir. And where would I go? I tried to break into the Jr High charter school, but it didn’t really take. Maybe I didn’t do all I could to promote the choir, but maybe this isn’t the year for that.

mama bear

Change of subject.

This morning we had a little drama. Natalie has a debate tournament that is tonight and tomorrow. She thought she asked for Saturday off, but maybe she didn’t do it in time, because she is scheduled to work 3-10, and she hasn’t been able to get anyone to cover for her. So, we’re down to the wire, and she doesn’t know what to do. Add to that, she’s late, and doesn’t have shoes.

Which problem to work on first?

I went upstairs and brought down an armload of shoes from my closet that she could choose while she called her manager at work. She’s trying to keep it together while her manager tells her that she HAS to work her assigned shift, or get someone to cover it, or else she’ll get written up (or something like that), while stuffing her feet into my shoes.

After she got off the phone, she was even worse.

Mom takes over. Yes, I will drive you to school (text the neighbor to let her know).
Give me the numbers of everyone you can call or text and I’ll see if I can get someone to work even an extra hour.
Worse case, we come pick you up at the U of U and get you home in time to work at 3:00.
After I dropped her off at school, and put lunch money in her account, I sent a text to all her work people, begging them to please help us. I’ve already gotten one response, and I think if we break it up into small bites, we can get this shift covered.

I’m trying to help her understand that this is a SCHEDULING issue, not a catastrophe. No one is in the hospital. No one is in jail. It’s just a problem that we can solve.

Hopefully she can calm down and enjoy her debate event without super stressing about work, but she does need to realize that we keep our commitments, even if that means missing out on something else (which is also a commitment. Catch 22 there).

I’m hoping I can work my mom magic and I’m happy that I can be there to help her with these things. I only wish I could step back and be this calm when it’s MY problems that I’m stressed about.

Treasures hidden in the freezer


There aren’t THAT many perks of being the Relief Society President. Unless you really like meetings and worrying about people, and planning things, and rearranging your schedule and making visiting teaching changes… then it’s GREAT.

But today, as I was looking for something to throw in the crockpot for dinner tonight, I discovered a hidden gem. Tucked away under the frozen lemon juice (not to be confused with pineapple juice–yes, there’s a story there) I found this little beauty.


Mother’s day fudge.

Yes, I will admit it. I took the extras home with me. I handed a few out to people that I knew weren’t at church that day. And I stuck one in the freezer for when I thought of someone who I should give it to.

Seems I forgot.

And today, when I saw that fudge, it was like a little tender mercy to me reminding me that even though I may not be getting warm fuzzies every day from doing my job, it’s important, and I matter.

Temple Week


It’s our Stake Temple Week this week. It seems to always be the busiest week, and this one was no exception. I had plans to spend time in the temple, but my calling as the Relief Society President got in the way.

With a death in the ward, that meant a viewing on Tuesday, and a funeral on Wednesday. I didn’t have much to do with the viewing on Tuesday, except open up the church and make sure the flowers got there. On Wednesday, though, I spent almost the whole day at the church with set up, the funeral (I got to lead the music), and the luncheon. I came home and crashed for an hour and literally told the kids they could watch tv if they got their homework done, because I just needed a one hour nap before I went to bells rehearsal that night.

Thursday I did manage to make it to the temple. I was there almost two hours doing initiatory. But I really wanted to take the kids to do baptisms. John just turned 12 and so we could ALL go. I called to make an appointment, and they had an appointment available for Friday night. No way! I scheduled us. But I said we would have family names to do, and I wasn’t sure if we actually would have family names. I knew Natalie knew how to find names, but she was gone to a debate tournament, so I had to try it for myself. Thanks to the hopechest program and family search, I was able to find family names! I found 8 women and 4 men (Natalie had already found 10 men, so we had 14). I was worried that I didn’t have enough names, but they were fine with it.

On Friday, we had a scary situation when a dear friend and neighbor got lost in the canyon Thursday night and stayed up there all night. Friday was a day of lots of prayer until we found that she had been discovered, and that she was fine. She had just gotten lost, and when it got dark, she just stayed put. She had her dog with her, but couldn’t get cell service. Her husband and the authorities looked for her that night when she didn’t come home, and they found her car, but finally had to stop looking. They were looking again in the morning. Another couple of hikers found her and she was able to call her husband and they brought her home. Big sigh of relief. You can read the story here.

Friday night, it was only Jenna and John who were able to come to the temple with us, but it was such a great experience. Ryan got to baptize us (and a young man from another family). They let me do baptisms, too. I haven’t done that in 20 years, and it was really wonderful. Especially to have Ryan there with me. I loved it. I can’t wait to go again with all the kids.

So, even though I didn’t get to spend as much time in the temple as I had originally planned, I did actually go twice this week, and got my family to go. Big success!

The funny thing, though, was afterward. Jenna said that after a temple trip, the youth usually got ice cream or shakes or something, and even though I’m trying to do a healthy challenge, I agreed. We have to make going to the temple fun (for all of us). I texted Natalie and asked if she was home yet. While waiting for her reply, we decided we would go to arctic circle for shakes. Natalie was done with the debate thing, but she and her friend Maggie had gone to Arctic Circle. As we were pulling up to the drive through, Jenna said, “I just saw Cole go in!” What? Cole and his date had gone to play laser tag or something, and I guess they went to eat afterward. As we pulled around, we could indeed see Natalie and her friend inside, and Cole and his date up to the counter to order. SO FUNNY! It was like a family night at Arctic Circle (and we seriously never go there!). I had to text both Cole and Natalie and let them know that we weren’t stalking them, but we were right outside!

I’m going to count it as a successful week!

Early morning music


This is my fourth year of teaching chime choir at Highland Elementary. It’s been a rough road, but we did manage to get a choir together, and each year it seems to grow a little bit.

This is one of my groups at their spring concert last year.

I love handbells and love teaching music. I wish I could do it MORE. I tried this year to get a group going at a local charter school where they have up to 9th grade, but I didn’t do a good enough job of sharing my vision, and I only had one student sign up. Rather than thinking of myself as a failure, I’m going to consider that a tender mercy. Now I don’t have to haul chimes back and forth from one school to the next, and I can really enjoy my work with my elementary school kids. Yes, it would be really nice to teach an older group, but perhaps now, with all my church duties, wasn’t the best time to start that.


This is how they look when we practice. We set up quilts on the tables, the chimes on top of the quilts. Because kids at this school have two different start times, I have one choir that comes at 7 am, and one that comes at 8. Strangely enough, the 7:00 kids are there early, excited to see if they can set up the chimes before I get there. Really. The 8:00 kids come late, wandering in between 5-10 after 8. And my early group has 14 kids, while the later group is struggling at only 7 (which is really not enough to play all the notes, but we’ll make it work).

I try to make it fun, and today we talked about how playing chimes WAKES UP your brain. How you are using your hands, arms, eyes, ears, fingers, and brain ALL at the same time, and your brain has to WAKE up and get energized and if you wake up your brain by playing music in the morning, you will be SMARTER, and your brain will be more awake all day. No, they did not ask for scientific evidence, which is a good thing, cause I don’t have any.

One little girl, who is new, and who was 20 minutes late today, said, “Can’t we keep playing? There’s 15 minutes until school starts, we could just play more.” I told her she lost those 15 minutes by being late and she should be on time next time (rude, aren’t I?). As she packed up her backpack, she said, “I wish we had chime choir EVERY day.” Ooohhh.

THAT is why I do it. That is my paycheck. That is why I drag myself to the school by 7 twice a week.

My nemesis is back


Many years ago, I didn’t eat gluten. I know, Yuck.

I developed a skin condition sometime after my first baby was born, but didn’t find out what it was until after my second baby was born. There’s a long name for this condition, and you can read more about it here, if you want. It’s basically a rash that is caused by eating gluten. Wheat, barley, mostly. I can do oats (at least I think I can). Anyway, after my last one was born, the condition kind of just went away. Weird, but I wasn’t going to question my good fortune, so I started making bread, and enjoying gluten again. I thought maybe it was a hormonal thing, related to pregnancy, I don’t know. I was just happy to be able to eat whatever again.

Because cookies are my favorite thing. Ever.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I scratched at something by my ear and a water blister broke open, oozing out onto my hand. What the what? Shortly after that these little blisters began popping up on my face, around my eyes and nose.

I tried half heartedly to give up gluten, but it seemed to be getting worse. Itchy, painful, and ugly, so I went off of gluten. No bread, no crackers, nothing. And I made an appointment with the dermatologist. By the time the appointment came around, the next week, the sores had started to scab over and dry up. Which to me is a sign that it is gluten related. The doctor didn’t think it was that, since it presented differently than the typical rash on the elbows and knees and back. He told me to use a very expensive steriod cream on the rash, then he zapped a few age spots and told em to come back in a couple of weeks.

To test his theory, I ate gluten again. Tortilla, even some bread. And stuff started to reappear. Painful, itchy, yucky looking stuff. On my face.


I guess I’ve got to give it up.

Harder said than done. When I can’t think of anything that I can eat, I look in the cupboard and see pringles or chocolate…Gluten Free! That’s not the right way to do this, of course.

I went to a luncheon yesterday, and they served croissant sandwiches, pasta salad, and grapes. Then there were all kinds of yummy cookies and stuff, too. I didn’t eat the pasta salad, but I did eat the croissant. Couldn’t see how to politely scrape it off. I guess I’ll have to be more prepared and pack my own stuff.

It’s so discouraging. Really. I’m trying to lose weight, trying to eat healthy, and now this? So please pardon me if I’m grumpy, it’s like I’ve lost my best friend….bread. For now, at least. I don’t really know if this is a long term thing or not, but I know I don’t want the gluten consequences.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have some peanut butter on a rice cake.

Time to serve


The phone rang this morning and it was the bishop. We talked about a few people and as I hung up I knew that my plan for the day was out the window. Today I would be working on the sisters in the ward. I started by making bread and texting one lady in the ward to see if I could come over and talk with her for a bit. I knew she wasn’t an early riser, so I figured I could have some bread done before I went to go and see her.

While the bread had been cooking and I thought about the large amounts of beans that were in the fridge, I contemplated asking my visiting teacher to come and help me snap them. We could get in a good chat, and get my “visit” out of the way. I texted her and asked if she was home, and she said she was, and let’s go to lunch. Lunch? Did I really have time for lunch? Ok. I told her I could meet her at about 1:00, which would be between the appointed visit with the other sister and my carpool pick up. I could just make it.

I got it JUST out of the oven before I went to visit. I grabbed a couple loaves and some squash. She was thrilled with the bread and the squash from my in-laws (they gave me enough to share).

I left a few minutes late, but got to the lunch place before my friend had ordered. We talked about her recent trip, and about how hard it is to deal with the death of her husband. She was agonizing over how to pick a headstone. I always have like the benches, and told her so, and she mentioned that she really liked a certain bench, but some of the family didn’t think a bench was dignified. “He’s your husband, and it’s your headstone, too, right? Pick out what you like.”
“I’ll get it, and tell them my Relief Society President told me that the bench was the best.” Ok.

After picking up the Jr. High kids, we had a little bit of time before John’s piano lesson, and I enlisted the help of the kids to snap some beans.

As I left to take John to piano, I grabbed two more loaves of bread, and looked up another sister’s phone number. We had been talking about her yesterday at a RS board meeting, and I knew it was time to see how she was getting along. He husband has Alzheimers. I dropped John off and called her to see if I could stop by. She was waiting for a nurse to come, but had a minute or two. When I arrived, I gave her bread, and told her that I thought it was time she let us help her a little. I said, “We are going to be bringing in dinner at least one night a week, and I’m not taking no for an answer this time. What night would be good for you.” I didn’t really want to bully her like that, but she’s going through such a difficult time, and if there is anything we can do in this delicate situation to help her, then we are going to do it. She agreed to dinner once a week. She didn’t have much of a choice, now did she?

Since the half hour wasn’t quite up, I ran over to another sister’s house to check on her. She’s been seriously sick in the first trimester of her pregnancy, and I just wanted to see how she was. She was up and looked good. Thankful for fresh bread, too. We chatted for only a few minutes, but it was good to see how she was doing, and let her know that we cared.

I was only a FEW minutes late to get John.

Home to the beans. Hooray! Most of them had been snapped!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of pressure cooking these beans. Man, it takes a long time!


As I look back at the day, it was definitely not the day I had envisioned. The laundry did not get touched, nothing got cleaned (except the wheat that spilled on the floor got swept up), I didn’t even make dinner. But I do not regret the service I have given today, and I know that I was guided in my actions today. I got a lot more done in one day than I normally would get done in one day (possibly two) and I know my family will not suffer or begrudge the fact that I didn’t take care of them today.

For FHE at night, I even had my family participate in the service day. They delivered bread, squash and beans to some more people.

I’m thankful that I was able to be flexible in my plans and take the time to serve.