Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Spectacular Yahoo

Yahoo #2 is a spectacular child.  Funny, mischievous, and spectacularly quick-whitted.  He's into reading, saying big words, and smiles with his eyes.  He's an analytical thinker and enjoys math.  If he could, this Yahoo would wear nothing but "jammies."  His first words of each day are: "Can we have Jammie day?" (I wonder what the school would do if I let him go to school every day wearing jammies?  Blame the parents of course!)

 

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Yahoo #2 has become particular about his clothing, which is okay because I too am particular about my clothing.  He adores anything sweat-pantish, dislikes jeans to the extent of moving-out upon any demand to wear them, and will not wear a shirt with a collar.

This spectacular Yahoo has taught me the wisdom of that term "pick your battles." He doesn't wear jeans or collars any more because I've chosen the play-the-piano battle over the wear-jeans-and-collars battle.  It's a fair trade, I'd say.

 

 

Yesterday was this Yahoo's birthday.  He's a spectacular seven.

 

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Spectacular Spouse

I have a Spectacular Spouse.  I won't go into detail, because, like, duh, most of that detail is private.  Just take my word and believe that I have a Spectacular Spouse.  Today Spouse and I turned eleven.  We turned eleven in 2011.  Do you think that was planned?  Of course.  We scheduled this wedding in that year 2000 so that we could remember the number of years endured just by looking at the year in Anno Domini.

 

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If you look real close, you can find me.

That's pretty much my designated spot -- way back behind.

 

I had to work on this Anniversary evening, so Spouse took the day off from work.  We skied uphill, then turned in for a True Grit* matinee.  It was a great day.  (And it's not even over yet!  Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, know-what-I-mean?)

* That True Grit was something else wasn't it?  The dialogue?  The surprises?  The suspense?  The Jeff Bridges?  A Spectacular show on a Spectacular Anniversary with a Spectacular Spouse.

 

So here we are.  Eleven in oh-eleven.

Dearest, Spouse, Schnookums, Hunny-Buns -- let's do it all over again, shall we?

 

 

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How do you like Spouse's shoes?  Those shoes have a good story.

 

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Utah couple photographed in Vermont by Megan Holdsworth of Prescott, Arizona.

"It's Complicated."

 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Spectacular Yahoo

Yahoo #1 is a spectacular child. And here he is with his spectacular Science Project. The kid involvement of this project is in the 80th percentile -- because he's so very advanced.  Heck he's a mini genius.  If you do the math, you'll figure out that the parents are in the 20th percentile for parent involvement of this same Science Project (100 - 80 = 20.)  Raising kids are all about percentiles aren't they?  At least when you're bragging?

Brace yourself.  I'm about to brag.

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Incidentally, this particular Science Project was made possible by my ole man Mikey, who, year after year seems to blow us away with spectacular Christmas gifts. About four years ago, Mikey was up late watching TV when an infomercial for this little machine called The Cricut came on. He thought his girls would enjoy one, so he purchased. Now we can make fancy cut-out lettering for the Science Projects just like all the cool cats and overachievers.

This year he gave us a Sodastream machine. The Sodastream carbonates water.  And after you have carbonated water, you can add soda-popish flavoring to it to make your own pop.  It's quite fun.  For the Science Project, Yahoo #1 decided to carbonate various liquids, then perform some before and after taste tests among the control group.

By the way, milk is beyond yucky when carbonated.

 

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Here is that spetacular Yahoo #1 just after delivering the finished product.

 

You'd think that being in the 80th percentile on his Science Project would produce enough joy for one day -- prolly too much joy -- but the joy didn't stop there. I was running about doing the morning business, when this spectacular Yahoo #1 was practicing the piano.  I was in the other room corralling various activities, when he played a song called Moonlight Serenade. It was so very beautiful.  I sat down to cry a little (not a lot, just a little.)  It was one of those angel, harp, 'n cloud moments, where I realized that his hard work and my perseverance were beginning to bare some fruits.

So here he is.  And check out the end, where he refuses to look at the camera.

 

 

That Yahoo #1 is spectacular, I tell you.  Spectacular.

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Tune, vol 71 - Shredded Cheese

Do you know what I just discovered?  That you can purchase cheese already shredded. As in, no need to get the grater out of the cupboard in the which you forgot which cupboard it's in, then dig the cheese out of the fridge,  then cut off a chunk of cheese, then run the cheese down the shredder and remove a piece of skin while you're at it, then run all over the house looking for a band-aid with red grody blood splashing to and fro, then wash the cheese grater, then make sure the cheese is free of any bio-hazard, then put the cheese back in the baggy (to prevent mold), and finally put the cheese back in the fridge.

Do you have any idea what kind of time-saving, life-promoting concept this is for me?  As in, get the bag of cheese out of the fridge, then sprinkle the cheese on the Yahoo's eggs, then put the cheese back in the fridge.  Easy peasy.

What's next?  Bread that's already made? You don't say...

Rip Her To Shreds - Blondie

Seas of Cheese - Primus

 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feeds of Photography

Folks, I've got big news. Alan Taylor, the creator of the Boston Globe's Big Picture is moving on.  He's going to a place called The Atlantic to start a gig called In Focus with Alan Taylor.  Good move for Al, right?  It wasn't the Big Picture with Alan Taylor, it was just The Big Picture.

Anyway, he's my favorite Alan, because he collects  photos for my favorite feed of photography.  If you've fancied The Big Picture, it's time to add or switch to In Focus with Alan Taylor.  Right now, this very minute, add thisIn Focus with Alan Taylor to your reader feeder.  NOW!  (Just kidding.... Or not.  No seriously.  If you know what's good for you, you'll add it.)

Speaking of Feeds of Photography, I'm going to share the feeds I read.  I don't generally feed on local photographers and their photography of people.  I don't find it all that interesting.  I will check some photographers here 'n there, but don't subscribe to many.  Actually, I only subscribe to two, and it's because I've taken classes from them both.

I'm assuming it's totally illegal for me to steal images from their web site without asking.  Since I don't have the time for asking and whatnot, I'm just going to direct you to their site.  Sorry.  Maybe next time.

 

Awkward Family Photos - This is a dandy.  Holds posts and posts of what I consider great family photos.

Photoshop Disasters - This one is so fun.  Some of the disasters are easier to spot than others, but they're all great.  Maybe one day my photoshop skills will make it on the Photoshop Disasters site!

Willie Holdman - Willie doesn't have a blog, he does the facebook thing.  I follow him on facebook.

Joey L Photography - This little punk has been making outstanding photographs since he was young, and professionally since 19. He was born November of 1989, so that makes him 21 now.  Look at him grow up.  They say he's so good because he isn't hell-bent about following "the rules" of photography.

Retrospect Studios - The only photographer in Utah that I feel can make a wedding interesting.

Megan Holdsworth - I met Megan in Vermont, where she was the photographer for Spouse's cousin's matrimonial affairs.  She's a delightful person who makes beautiful pictures.  I quite like her.  She lives in the Prescott Arizona area, and is highly recommended.

NicolveV Photography - Nicole makes some real nice photos.  She's incredibly smart too.  I attended one of her workshops a couple of years ago, in the which she displayed her awesomeness as a teacher.  She's a trained technical writer who taught English at The BYU.

Last but certainly, not least....

Bryan Niven - If you only look at one, please make it this one.  Took a class from this one too.

 

 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Four Agreements

 

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

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Every once in a while, a person lands themselves upon a book that is life-changing.  This Four Agreements book is one of those life-changing books.  It's a small book -- one that can be read in an afternoon; its message is simple -- one that can teach us all to live together as decent human beings.

Mr. Ruiz provides four very simple rules for life, and he calls these rules the Four Agreements.  The Four Agreements are: Be Impecable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, and Always Do Your Best.

My words would dilute the author's directive, so I have decided to quote the inner jacket.

 

Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is beause of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Don't Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply, do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

 

I kid you not, I finished this book, and hollered "I want to be that person!  I wanna be like that." I know that I'm supposed to be impeccable with my word -- which includes the bashing of myself -- but I'll be forthright and tell you all that I have a loooong way to go.  Riding a camel through all of Arabia would be easier.  (Unless, of course, Lawrence came with me.  Watching this Lawrence, however, would prolly take as long as riding a camel through all of Arabia.)

Have you ever made a decision in your life, a decision that's going to take some work and gutbuckets-full of change?  And once you've resolved yourself to the climbing of this monumental precipice, you're hit between the eyes with a scenario that tests your resolve to the very max?  Yeah, that happened.  And I blew it.   Sort of.

The cessation of repeated suffering for mistakes is a founding principle of this book  We shouldn't beat ourselves up over and over for stuff.  Humans are the only species who repeatedly punish ourselves for mistakes.  The agreements insist that we acknowledge our mistakes, and move on.  It's counter-productive to mull over mishaps by hoarding them in a tea bag, and dunking that bag repeatedly.

It seems that this book has blessed me with a new spidey sense, (remind me some day to tell you about my many spidey senses) for now I am acutely aware of every negative thought, action, and word oozing about by personal specimen.  And gossip?  Oh dear.  That's a hard one.  So hard is this one, that I felt the need to fabricate a playlist in gossip's honor. Wanna test your resolve?  Try going a whole day without gossip.  And don't justify yourself by proclaiming certain conversations as not gossip.  Try it.  Let me know what happens.

Truth is, I'm a sadistically-sarcastic, overbearingly-opinionated human being with a dark-'n-sooty sense of humor.  Those characteristics don't exactly jive well with some folks.  I'm also a person who doesn't necessarily specialize in being serious.  So when things start to wax weighty (according to my own serious-odometer), I start making fun.  Some people like that about me, while others most certainly do not.  This is my personality.  It's who I am.  If I were to change all that, I wouldn't be me, and quite honestly I'm happy to be me.

Now a few words on my overbearing opinions.  I have some STRONG opinions, and I've been known to voice said opinions over every river and woods between here and Pensylvania.  Do I require that the whole world share these opinions?  Do I require that my friends share these opinions?  Do I dislike people who are different?  Do I really have to answer these questions?

The answer is a vehement "absolutely not" on all accounts.  Our family motto is "DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO." In all caps, no less.  If I'm going to insist that others refrain from bossing me around, I most assuredly cannot do any bossing myself, and this includes the insistence of shared opinions.  Your opinions make your personality.  It's who you are.  If you were to change that, you wouldn't be you, and quite honestly I'm happy that you are you.

So, yes, I'm going to work on those agreements, but I'll still be that same sadistically-sarcastic, overbearingly-opinionated human being with a dark-'n-sooty sense of humor.  If you don't like me because of this, that's fine, but don't expect me to dislike you in return.  I only have a few decades left in my life, and I refuse to spend energy on not liking people.  Therefore, I won't assume that you don't like me, and if it's known that you don't like me, I won't take it personally.  I will also do my best to speak kind words of you.

This is my promise to me.

 

 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Male-Readers and Prolly-Sayers

In the wide-open world of blog readers, I've always felt that readers are not considered equal.  Mostly.  They are equal for most things, but if you're talking numbers and hits, all readers are not considered equal.  Specifically, I believe that every dude who reads a blog is worth 50 chicks.  Roughly.  You might think I'm a sexist pig and such, believing us W-folk to be weaker and whatnot, but the truth lies in the male species' minute amount of spanned attention.*  If you (I) can get a dude to come back for more, that's sayin' something.  Isn't it?

*If, by chance, you are offended by this comment, then it means you have a minute amount of spanned attention.  So minute that you couldn't even finish the paragraph before checking out the little star note.

Do you know what's even niftier than having a dude read your blog more than once?  How about when a dude says "prolly" in public.  Believe it or not, it's happened multiple times.  I -- and I'm going to take full credit for this one -- have managed to get two gents to say "prolly" in public.


Prolly #1 and Prolly #2
I was running with Radracer a while back, and we were having some conversation.  I don't remember the conversation, but it went something like this:

Rad: "Blah blahdy blah blah blahdy blahdy blah prolly blah blahdy blah."
Me: "Did you just say 'prolly?!'  No way!"
Rad:  "Yes, I said 'prolly.'  And I said 'prolly' during a conversation with a client the other day."

How would you feel if the guy engineering the bleachers for your up and at 'em stadium said "prolly?"  You'd think him to be super cool, right?  Prolly.

Prolly #3
Last Friday, I was in the car with Spouse and Tom.  We were heading to Sundance for some uphill skiing above the inverted smog.  So Tom is in the back seat saying this and that and whatever.  I asked Tom a yes or no question, to which Tom responded with a "Prolly."

Tom didn't know that I noticed.  I let that one roll on down the babbling brook of conversation so as to rush back here and brag about my male-readers and prolly-sayers.

*Speaking of Tom,  he's doing his part to help out with the male reader retention around here.  He wrote a widget that counts how many times "boob" is said in the current post.  I guess he figures that dudes are into that word or something, and that they'll keep coming back for the hidden boobs.  Stay tuned, he says it'll be done on Sunday maybe.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday Tune, vol 70 - January 'n Jessica

Oh January, January, wherefore art thou January?
Deny thy winter and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn in denial,
And I'll no longer be a January Hater.

At the beginning of this January, I decided I would spend the month celebrating January instead of my traditional bashing of January.  I'm an extremely predictable human being, and if I look back at my blog postings of the last few years, all January postings have that same woe-is-me tone.

Not this year, though.  I wanted to change it up a bit with some positive expression, and began with a simple facebook status update that read:

"I LOVE JANUARY!"

Then I decided to add it every day.  In the which I did -- add it (almost) every day.

This positivity proclamation turned me into a free-love and special-sauce January lover.  No lie, I'm lovin' January this year.  These postings also made my good gal-pal Jessica smile.  Even though Jessica lives way over in Los Angeles, I know she was smiling, each and every time I posted one of those "I LOVE JANUARY"s.  Do you know how I know this to be true?  Because she told me so.  In a comment.  Not only did she "like" my Love o' January postings, she made some comments about smiling and stuff.

It has come to my realization, however, that I am not alone with my troubles for January.  Many others have troubles in January.  I don't have any proof just now, but just take my word for it.  Many people have troubles in January.

Let's take the music industry for example.  No one writes anything decent about January.  I think it's because there's nothing inspiring about January.  It's just there.  It ain't up, it ain't down, it ain't sideways.  It's just there.

Jessica sent me an itunes gift certificate on the 16th day of January to show her love for this I-LOVE-JANUARY business, but maybe also to celebrate the fact that the 16th was January hump day.  We're at the top and on our way down.

With gratitude, I decided to devote that gift certificate to the making of a January playlist.  Great idea, yes?  Well, yeah it's a great idea.  I opened up the store, typed "January" and said search!  You know what happened?  Not much.  Not much at all.  In fact I believe I said, "January ain't got xxxx!" (Where xxxx rhymes with stick.)

Typical.

After the itunes store disappointment, I traveled to the internet.  I typed "songs about January" and said search!  Guess what happened there?  Not much.  And I said, "January still ain't got xxxx!"

You can find playlists for everything on the internet.  Everything!  Everything that is, except January.  I figure the only way to fix this January ho-hum is to rename it.

What's in a name? That which we call a season
By any other word would smell as sweet.
So January would, were he not January called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. January, doff  thy name;
And for thy name, which is no part of thee,

January, buddy?  From here on, henceforth and forever (except when I'm doing official business,) you shall be called Jessica.  And I will shout to the heavens and the facebook about how much I love this Jessica.  First, though, we'll start with a Jessica playlist.

Jessica - The Allman Brothers Band
Feel Like Makin' Love - Bad Company
Making Out - No Doubt
Makin' Some Noise - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
This Fine Social Scene - Zero 7
So So Happy Makin -  Hatcham Social
Saint Simon -  The Shins
Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
Garden Of Eden - Paula Cole

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Monday, January 17, 2011

A Major Award

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In the wide world of mommy-wifedom, this is a major award, yes?  How many moms get an appreciation for sushi, pajama parties, and numberless lovings?

Note that Spouse is calling my lovings numberless.  

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Blog Boredom

Blogging is boring lately.  Is it just me or do some of you share the same sentiment? Before January rolled in, I blamed it on the holidays.  I wasn't in the mood to expend extra energy for the blog and I knew others were roughly in the same boat.  Christmas is rough, people, rough.  Christmas is also the reason January is so rough.  We're all hungover.  Or is it just me?  Am I the only one who must force myself to put one foot in front of the other for the entire 31 days of January?  Why couldn't January have 28 days instead of February?  The planets and their alignment are rude!

Anyway, I've read a few posts that have mentioned blogs are going bye-bye.  They say it's been replaced by facebook and other one-liner repositories.  Is it true?  Could be.  In the olden days, like four years ago, people used to save their one-liners on paper scraps until two or three of those one-liners aligned themselves into a cohesive thought.  Then people would rush home and write a post about it, complete with fancy wording.  Didn't people use to do that in the olden days?  Or is that just me?  Nowdays they throw their one-liners up to stand by their lonesome.

Well.  Here's the deal, the readings of www.rabidrunner.com are down by half.  I mucked around in my analytics yesterday. Something I do only when really bored, or when some anonymous gum-flapper accuses me of something, and I want to figure out where they came from.  On this occasion, some anonymous gum-flapper accused me of not being a good Mormon.  Duh.  Tell me something I don't know.  However, I would like to point out that good Mormons aren't supposed to go around telling other Mormons that they aren't living as good Mormons.  Something along the lines of Jesus' "he without sin cast the first stone" speech.  I'm not saying that the anonymous gum-flapper wasn't a good Mormon, no-siree, I don't do that.  I'm just sayin' that a little research might suggest that pointing out others' sins ain't such a good idea--definitely not What Jesus Would Do.

So, yeah, the readers are down.  You might think I'm sad about this.  You might.  However, I didn't start this little escapade some five years ago to make up for my lack of high school popularity (oh and did it lack!  Don't make me go back!)  I started this little blog because I was a bored stay-at-home-mom-with-a-part-time-tax-job-who-liked-to-write-stuff.  Over the years, I've found that the more people you have hitting yer space, the more careful, and uh-hem, politically correct you have to be.  It's a dang drag to write your guts out and wonder if you'll piss someone off with your opinion, when that's all it is, an opinion.

Now that my readers are down, I can go OFF!  Off, I tell ya, off!  Should I go off now?  I think I will.  This anonymous gum-flapper asked me if I felt better because I bashed a good store.  She was talking about my criticisms of that one Sexy Modest place.  Now, to be clear, I was not bashing the store, I was making fun of the name because of the I-R-O-N-Y of combined names, sexy and modest.  There's no irony when looking at them separately.  But together?  They pack a mean irony punch.  So this anonymous person, after meticulous scrutiny from the Rabid's reading-between-lines, is most-likely a high school aged female, with an IP address from Lehi, who may or may not work at this Sexy Modest place.  I quote: "If you buy a beautiful shirt here, you will never run into someone else at school wearing the same. The stock rotates very quickly, and the accessories are to die for." 

I assumed female because she said "to die for."  I assumed high school aged because she said something about running into someone "at school" wearing the same "beautiful" shirt.  Now here's more irony: this girl so badly wants to be different.  She doesn't want her beautiful shirt to be worn by anyone but herself.  She wants to stand out and be different.  Yet, here she is criticizing me and accusing me of not living Mormon for having a different opinion.  That there is what folks around her refer to as irony.  We all must be different, she says, but I want you all my kind of different.  In other words, pick a color--any color--just make sure it's a shade of blue.

Megan also brought up a great point.  The store has deemed itself worthy of choosing stuff that is appropriately modest by labeling it as such.  Megan wrote, "the clothes aren't going to do the job for a gal. The gal has to do the work herself, and that's going to come from confidence and an understanding of oneself."  I could go into that store, buy something sexy modest and wear it to church.  When someone in authority accuses me of wearing something inappropriate, I'll say, "What?  I bought it at that one place named Modest, therefore it is modest." Nope.  Sorry.  Dudn't work that way.  We're required to think for ourselves and make our own decisions.  However, if it did work that way, I could establish a joint called "Mormon Munchies," sell hash, dorritos, and a number of opiate derivatives and the name alone would deem it Mormon approved, yes?  No.  Individuals make religiously appropriate choices--business owners do not.  That's my point.

Am I making my point to this female anonymous high school student?  No, of course not.  It's over and beyond that one.  I'm just bored.  Remember up above, I said blogging is boring these days?  Yeah, that.  At this point, I'd like to thank this anonymous gal for giving me something to write about.  If she hadn't of landed her criticism here, I wouldn't have had a single thing to write about.

I would like to end on this thoughtful note.  Anonymous directed a personal criticism at the readers and me, with this:  "Maybe ya'll ought to get off your computers, and venture out into the wide open world before you judge a store by its name."

Is Sexy Modest the wide open world?  Girl?  I've been India.  And if it weren't for my husband and his computer-luvin' job, I never would have gone.  A few facts about India:  Their population is mostly Hindu and their dress is more modest than the modestest of most Mormons.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Tune, vol 69 - Beethoven's 5th

Today's Tuesday Tune is the 4th movement from Beethoven's Symphony number 5.  Why this particular movement from this particular Beethoven Symphony?  Because of this video and the 3-year-old in it.  Wow.  Somebody get that kid a contract with Gap.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nihilism

I watched The Big Lebowski this weekend.  Again.  Do you know, that every time I watch that show, I come away with a new and improved deep thot?  At this particular viewing, I discovered that Nihilism is a complete fraud -- no one can be a Nihilist.  Here's why:  Nihilists believe in "nothing" and lack care for everything.  However, since they believe that there is nothing, that is believing in something, and caring enough to support the cause of nothing, therefore they believe in something because they believe in nothing.

Deep, right?  I love that show.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Friendship Phenomenon

I have some deep thoughts about friendship.  They've been mulling about here and there, scribbled onto envelopes, receipts, and gum wrappers, and punched into various applications on the mePhone.  Binding these thoughts into a post has proven itself a daunting and intimidating task.  Where do I start?  How do I end?  And more importantly, how do I make it interesting?

As I ask myself these questions, I'm baffled by the equally daunting and intimidating friendship-making corollary:  How do friendships start?  How do friendships end?  And more importantly how do they stay interesting?  Making and keeping friends is an art, a practice, a process that is never complete.  While I find the phenomenon of friend-making above and beyond magical (ask me about all of the friends I've acquired by magic,) keeping a magically acquired friend requires consistent care.

A friendship needs compassion and understanding, humor and whit, tolerance and a smidgen of clairvoyant transparency.  A friendship needs love and trust, truck-loads of "give" and wobbling wheelbarrows filled with "take."  Good friends come with lots of benefit and very little doubt.  They call when in need, and sometimes show up with a need even before it has been asked for.  A good friend will let you know when your metaphorical ass is on fire, and a great friend will listen when told about their metaphorical ass being on fire.  Friends listen, love, and learn -- without judging.

Why all the fuss about friendship?  I'm not sure, really.  But somehow, as if my magic, I've come upon some pretty important and sincere friendships.  Miraculously, I've landed upon an island of individuals that collectively keep me from drowning.  And, as if this save-me-from-drowning bit is not enough, they also feed me grapes, and chase off extra heat with fanning banana leaves.

Friends are a treasure.  Friends are the family you get to choose.  I want to keep my friend-family.  And the only way to keep a friend is to be a friend.  Hence the exercise.  Am I an example of that friendship factoid paragraph listed above?  Nope, but I'm gonna start.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Preciousness

I want you all to just take a minute and look at this precious photo of the twins sleeping.  Just look at them.  They worked so hard today!  And I'm so proud!  Aren't they just the most beautiful girls you've ever seen?  All snuggled up by the heater vent?

Preciousness.

(Don't tell the girls, but mommy makes hem sleep there so as they don't go and get all stinky.)


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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Tuesday Tune, vol 68 - Duran Duran

I have a serious thing for Duran Duran.  I've had this serious thing for Duran Duran since I was 12.  That's 26 years of Duran Duran-o-Rama.  Many of you know, many of you do not, that this Duran Duran teeny-bopper-heart-throb-foursome can produce and execute some awesome music, even to this day!

What I wouldn't give for one conversation (and of course a photo) with John Taylor.  Sigh.


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(Johnny's on the right. Plays the bass and shares my birthday.  Sigh.)

Check out their new "All You Need Is Now" album.  I lurve it so much it's got, like 18 stars.

Runway Runaway
All You Need Is Now
Blame The Machines
Being Followed
Leave a Light On
Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)
Girl Panic!
The Man Who Stole a Leopard
Before the Rain

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Mirror Mirror and The Mourning Run

I haven't been in much of a reading mood lately.  I wonder why... actually I don't wonder why.  It's Christmas and the tax season starts, like, tomorrow.  Therein lies the sucking source of my perusing passion for books.  Ah well, this too will pass, prolly into something new and exciting!  New, just like it was the same as it was last year.  And exciting?  Define exciting...

Here's what I have read as of late:

Mirror Mirror, by Gregory Maguire

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I enjoy Gregory Maguire's books.  They are truly and totally genius.  Mr. MacGuire takes the famed fairy tales of our youth and turns them upside-down.  Right on their heads!  And after he plops them upon their heads,  he turns 'em over again.  Right on their asses!  This Mirror Mirror is the the upside-down tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  While this Mirror Mirror is not my favorite of MacGuire's, it's definitely a good read.  It took me a while to get through it, but that's mostly because of the sucking source of my perusing passion mentioned above.

Mirror Mirror has some historical fiction cleverly woven into its Snow White and Dwarves fabric.  In Maguire's version of the tale, the wicked queen who yaks at the mirror is Italy's Lucrezia Borgia.  This indecent Lucrezia comes from the corrupt and grotesque House of Borgia.  If by chance you're feeling picked on because of the family in which you landed, do a little research on the Borgias, then thank me later.  I'm all about find what's worse so as to feel better.



The Mourning Run, by Sue E. Peterson

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Remember that thing about me finding out what's worse so as to feel better?  The Mourning Run is just that.  Based on a true story, the Mourning Run is the first-hand experience of a runner/triathlete and working mother of three small boys who loses her spouse in a small plane crash.  This is the first-hand story of how Tricia uses running to get back on her feet. It's a great, uplifting story, one that seems would be helpful for those who have also lost a loved one.

The author, Sue Peterson, is my good friend Megan's mom.  I've met Sue.  She's a delightfully talented individual who has raised six (6!) girls into fine and talented young women.  As if raising six girls isn't enough accomplishment, she's gone off and written a book.  Way to go Sue!

I especially like the way Sue began each chapter with a running metaphor for moving on.  For example, there's a chapter called "Water."  In this chapter, she compares hydration in exercise to getting help from others.  Another chapter, called "Resistance Training" does the same, except shows how we humans have a propensity to resist help from others.

I'm touched by this story.  It also reinforces that running (and any exercise) are great forms of therapy.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Right Place, Right Time

Do you ever feel like you're at the right place at the right time?

I run pretty early in the morning.  In the summer, the gang and I have been known to start before 5:00am.  Wintertime runs are generally around 5:15.  While we run about, before the sun rises, and most people are mulling about doing their this and that rituals, lots of strange things happen.  For the night-owl-party-til-you-pass (out) crowd, 5:15 is prime party and/or come-down time.  We've seen almost everything.

We've seen tweekers hollering at make-believe goblins in empty orchards, flashers on a dare, flashers NOT on a dare, and drunkards peeing off front porches.  We've seen sneaky teenagers gathered around fires and rolling in hay-like grass.  We've battled numerous paper-people, and run from our share of strangers huddled in the shadows of overpasses and bushes.  We've seen almost everything.

On this last New Year's Eve, Hillene and I decided we wanted to pack our long run mileage into 2010.  This meant that we'd do our normally scheduled Saturday run on a Friday.  The reason for this is two fold.  First, we wanted to sleep in on New Year's Day, and second, I wanted 2310 (miles) in 2010.  We runners can be psychotic about numbers.

The two of us went back and forth over what time to start, and finally landed upon 6:00.  Then we went back and forth over where to start, her house er mine.  We finally decided we'd start from my house.  After the menial logistics of when and where, we had to decide the where-to.  Should we do the American Fork Canyon loop?  Or head toward North Alpine via East Highland?  We decided upon North Alpine.

Saturday was cold.  Not as cold as today (thermometer says 1), but seriously cold.  It was around 13 degrees and windy.  We battled snow-drifts and consciously moved our face muscles so as to increase blood-flow and prevent frost-bite.  It was not an enjoyable run.  Both of us were thinking "let's call it quits" but neither of us had the guts to voice it.  At around 6:30, we had covered about four miles, and were heading north in Highland. 

We were running along, when we saw a dark figure laying in the snow on the other side of the street.  He waved an arm, and yelled something at us.  He sounded drunk.  My first guess was that he had been out partying all night, and didn't make it home.  He needed help.

So here's the trouble with living now:  we women-folk can't just run up to just any supposed hurt-person and offer assistance.  We've all heard enough horror stories to assume it's not safe.  Hillene and I didn't immediately run over to whoever it was laying in the snow, on this windy, dark, and frigid 13 degree morning.

"We need to get some help!"  I exclaimed!  Yes, exclaimed.  !.  "Should we call the cops?"  I questioned.  Yes, questioned.  ?.  Neither of us were carrying a phone, so Hillene and I started looking around for a house in which to knock and use a phone.  We were looking about frantically, when we heard someone three houses up start a snowblower.  Aside here -- who on earth goes out to blow a driveway at 6:30am?  We ran towards the snowblower. 

Now, I don't know if it was the supervescent incandescent light from the driveway, or if the heavens had turned a flashlight on this man, but he was angelically illuminated.  Seriously.  And if the snowblower weren't so darned noisy, I'm sure we'd hear angles and harps.

"Come quick, sir!" I screamed.  "Something's gone awry!"  I cried.  "There's a drunk or something laying in your neighbor's snow!"  He looked at us like we were drunk -- what with us being all bundled up and running in the cold. 

After Blowerman gave us his best you-girls-are-high expression, his face sort of fell a bit, and he somberly turned off the blower.  "My neighbor's elderly.  I wonder if he fell and can't get up."  That's when we all ran back to the poor man laying in the snow.  "Hal!?  Is that you?  We're coming for you Hal!  Just stay there!"

Turns out Hal had gone out to fetch the paper and fell.  "How long have you been laying there?"  Blowerman asked.  Hal replied with an exhausted, "Oh? Quite a while."  Quite a while, indeed, for the footprints from his travels were covered up with wind-blown snow.

The three of us helped Hal back into the house, where every light was on, and a fire was waiting for a man and his paper.  Hal's sweet little wife was still asleep.  We asked Hal if he was in pain.  He said, "Oh?  Nothing more than usual."

Blowerman said he'd stay with Hal, so Hillene and I helped him in, handed him his paper, and ran off.  Just as we left, Blowerman looked at us and said, "Sometimes you're in the right place at the right time, aren't ya?"

Hal is not this guy's real name.  I couldn't tell you his real name because it's the same as Yahoo #1's.  And for some reason, that's an important part of this story.

Happy New Year.

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