Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Have A Comment

My blog address is GerbsRandomThoughts, so today that's what you're going to get.

Here's the deal. Over 2 years and 404 posts ago, I started writing this blog. Initially it was because I love to write and I loved the idea of others wanting to read what I had to write. Actually, I still write for those very reasons but now there is more.

Like an actor on the stage loves applause, a blogger on the internet loves comments. And today I propose that it we start leaving them more often.

Not necessarily always "Hey, great job!" kind of comments every time, and not necessarily a long diatribe of opinion, either. It's just nice to know that someone read a post and left a comment to show they were there.

I sort of wonder - is there some kind of blog etiquette that I am unaware of regarding comments? If you have never been to the person's blog before and read it for the first time and never come back again, is it okay for you to comment? I say yes. Do you have to have read a person's blog for a specific amount of time before it is okay to come out of "blog-stalking/lurking" and leave a comment? I don't think so.

Here's what I think. Everyone likes comments. Think about it. Have you ever read a blog or heard a conversation where someone says something like, "And then this person I have NEVER EVEN HEARD OF BEFORE had the GALL to leave a comment on my BLOG! Can you even believe that?!" No, it is more likely you will read or hear something about how everyone loves being acknowledged. Unless I am unaware of some set of rules out there in blog land regarding the who/why/where/when and how of proper commenting, I am going to assume that comments are a good, positive, always welcome thing.

(Unless you're a commenter who says things like, "Your kids are hideously ugly and I am hiding in your bushes." In that case, my neighborhood watch program is in full force, I own 23 guns and I'm a quadruple black belt in karate. Plus you're wrong about my kids.)

So, here's the deal. I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Let's try a little experiment.

For the next day or 2 days or week or rest of your life (you set your own time limit) let's leave comments on all of the posts we read. Really. Every.One. Make your presence known! Leave happy, kind, polite, grateful and supportive comments when you read what someone took the time to write. I'm not saying you have to agree with everyone... because wouldn't life be boring if we all agreed with each other all the time? But I bet it would make someone's day if they got a slew of unexpected comments on a post. Or even just one unexpected comment. Don't you think?

Come on... let's spread some internet sunshine. Are you with me?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Bonding

One thing that is always guaranteed to bring a warmish feeling to my heart is the sight of my older kids reading to the younger ones.

When Coolister reads, it is always a special treat. For one, because it doesn't happen too often. But mostly because of the voices he creates to represent each character in the story.

He started reading the book "I Need My Monster" to Hubba, and as the other kids heard what was happening they quickly gathered around.

Each monster voice was unique - one with a proper English accent, one with a gravelly, creepy quality, some scary, but every one oozing with personality. When he had finished, the kids begged for him to read it just one more time...

So he did.

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed on and digested."
-Francis Bacon

(Please forgive the grainy pictures. I grabbed my camera as soon as I saw what was happening and took a few shots and then it was over before I realized I had my settings wrong. I'm just happy to have captured it at all.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting Out

Last Saturday I had the chance to get out in the community and do some sign language interpreting again. It has been awhile, but despite my nervousness I was really looking forward to it. I met up with my brother, Chip, and we carpooled to Salt Lake City together to work as two of the ASL interpreters for the General Relief Society broadcast for our church.


We had an amazing crew:
The green room was loaded with plenty of things to snack on:

I was so excited that Chip suggested I get out a little more often. (Wouldn't you be excited?! Look at all of the chocolate!! And you can't even see the fruit and veggie trays, or plethora of drinks!)

This is the set, with the hot seat:

Here are Chip and I, reviewing the talks we will be translating for:

The talk I was assigned to interpret went great, especially considering I have not done this in quite awhile. If you want to watch me at work, click on this link then click on the link for Silvia H. Allred's talk in American Sign Language. If I ever figure out how to embed the video here, I'll do so and make it easier for all of us. But for now, click.

As we were leaving, Chip pointed out this poster of a former event at the Conference Center:

He told me about how he got to interpret for this concert, featuring the Oak Ridge Boys. And how everyone in the Tabernacle Choir kept asking the Oak Ridge Boys during rehearsals if they were going to sing Elvira but they kept saying they didn't think it fit the program. And then how it came down from the top that they could go ahead and sing the song, and that Chip was told to not hold back in his interpretation, but to put on a show. And then he gave me a small sampling of his performance, the likes of which I would pay handsomely to see again. I mean, who knew he could move like that when signing, Giddy-up, a whoom-bop a whoom-bop a maow maow! Apparently Chip's hips are not a force to be reckoned with.

Every once in awhile it is just a great thing to spend some time with my brother, enjoying some tasty treats and doing something that we love.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Under Where?

Saturday was Underwear Day! That long-awaited, much anticipated random day of the year when we wake to find packages of children's underwear festooning our kitchen table.

What, you don't celebrate Underwear Day?

No Underwear Fairy comes to your home unannounced and leaves packages of underwear as a morning surprise?

You don't celebrate the day's arrival by eating maple frosted 'long johns'?

photo from


I'm kind of sad for you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cascade Springs

There are not many things I love more than the changing fall colors up the canyon. We took the kids to Cascade Springs to see what Mother Nature had in store for us this year.

We were not disappointed.

And so, because a picture is said to speak a thousand words, I'll let them do the talking.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vision Correction

Sometimes we see things wrong.

We, as humans beings, have an inherent need for visual proof that things exist.

Did you know that there was already technology in place which could reach into space and discover countless heavenly objects without the use of a telescope? The only reason telescopes were necessary was to fulfill the need that humans have to actually see what we were already told was there.

How would it be if we used our internal radar more than our tendency to visually perceive others? I'm sure it would be difficult since we are so dependent upon our vision to initially discern things.

But don't you think it would make a difference if we looked at each other with more insight instead of depending so much on eyesight?

I'm going to say yes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September Serendipi-Tea

One warm September afternoon I was invited to saunter over to my wonderful friend Jan's home to enjoy one of her quaint tea parties. Every party has a theme, and this month's was September Serendipity, which, as Jan pointed out, sounds quite a bit like September! Share-a-dip-of-tea. So we did.

To start things off we enjoyed shrimp scampi on sun-dried tomato crackers along with some sparkling strawberry pomegranate juice as we read aloud the morals from the Serendipity line of books. My favorite moral, ever since I was very little?

"Normal is whatever I am."

Next we feasted on spaghetti with meatballs and red sauce along with sourdough bread spread with pesto while admiring Jan's dishes and table decor.

For dessert we were served a splendid lemon sorbet in antique teacups along with snickerdoodle cookies. And then it was time for dress-ups. (What? It's not normal for grown ladies to play dress ups? Well, Normal Is Whatever I Am. So there.)

Jan gave us each a hat and pair of gloves to wear as we continued to eat and enjoy each other's company.

Don't they look charming? And so proper with their pinkies raised! After I took about a million pictures of the group, they insisted on taking one of me as well.

Pinkies up!

Jan then brought out this delicately beautiful hat which had been her aunt's and had us all try it on.

I thought it particularly suited Nadine and complimented her seashell necklace very nicely.

I think it is fair to conclude that we all had quite a serendipitous day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bring On The Rain

The late Friday afternoon skies held the promise of rain with five shades of dark clouds hovering over the tops of the mountains. It was a good day for a race.

I was giddy with the anticipation of finally attending one of Coolister and ElemenoB's cross-country meets because nothing thrills me more than to see my kids thriving at the things I loved when I was their age.

Coolister's goal was to beat his most recent time on this same course - which he did by almost a full minute. I like to believe this had something to do with the maniacal screaming of his mother racing from place to place to cheer him on at the sidelines. (Humor me.)

ElemenoB's goal was to beat her personal best time by one second. She started strong, running in a tight pack with her teammates in the first stretch. By the time she came back around to where I was waiting, she had pulled ahead some. I screamed encouraging words and she smiled.

The next time I saw her, however, things were different. She was running at a slower pace than usual. I noticed that she was talking with a girl from another team and as they ran past me, she smiled again. I continued to watch her and cheer her on.

Each time ElemenoB looped past me on the course I caught snatches of her conversations with this same stranger from another school: Keep it up, you can do it. Just keep running. Don't stop now. The two of them stuck together throughout the race and as they came in for the finish the girl passed ElemenoB up and placed just ahead of her.

We checked ElemenoB's time... almost a full minute more than her personal best. "That's a lot better than I thought I did," she told me. I asked who the girl was and why ElemenoB had run with her instead of at her usual speed. She responded that the girl had begun to walk and seemed to need some encouragement. So encouragement was offered throughout the remainder of the race - even at the end when the girl passed her up.

Why? Because ElemenoB tells me that she gets more satisfaction at the end of a race from knowing she helped someone else finish than from improving her own time.

There are so many lessons to be learned from that.

A few tears escaped from the overflowing reservoir beneath my eyes, thankfully sheltered behind my sunglasses.

And so the rain did come, but not in the way I had expected. And it was beautiful.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Perspective Of One

Every time I see this marquee in front of my kids' elementary school I can't help but snicker.

I mean, really, what does it mean?!

Are they planning on the school toilets overflowing that day?

Or is it an acronym...

Parents Opposing Orneriness?

Pursue Other Opportunities?

Point Of Order?

I would absolutely love to get your opinions on this. Please, the side of me that has giggle-fits over 12-year-old humor is dying to hear your take.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


photo from

Here in our neck of the woods it is Homecoming season. This means that young men all over the state have devised creative ways to invite a young lady to attend the Homecoming dance with them. This dance is a first for my oldest boy, who deliberated much over how to go about asking his date to accompany him. He decided to have a cheese pizza delivered to her with a note under the lid which read,

"I hope you don't think this is cheesy, but will you go to Homecoming with me?"

The next day he received her response; a bottle of Sunny Delight with this note attached:

"Look here, SUNNY, I'd be DELIGHTed to go to Homecoming with you!"

I thought that both the inquiry and the reply were very clever. Maybe even something they'll remember years from now. I, for one, will never forget one such occasion in my teenage life... the time I asked Mark to Homecoming.

I know what you're thinking; don't the guys ask the girls to Homecoming? Traditionally, yes. But I was never a very traditional young woman. It did not bother me in the least to be the one doing the asking, especially if a particular boy whom I may or may not have been precariously close to stalking for the previous 3 years had not asked me yet. Tradition? HA! I just wanted a date.

Like my oldest son, I carefully thought over the different ways of asking. I finally decided to place a wind-up alarm clock beneath his bed, set for 3:00 am. When the alarm would sound, he would scramble beneath his bed to find the source of the racket and find a note which read,

"Don't be alarmed! It's just me, Gerb, wondering if you'll go to Homecoming with me."

My carefully devised plan was to stealthily sneak into his home through a sliding glass door which was left unlocked, position the clock, and then leave undetected. This may or may not have required my missing a couple of classes during school hours. The clock was planted and I made my escape. The rest of the day I was consumed with giggles as I would think of the look on Mark's face when the abrasive noise woke him early the next morning.

I was still giggling as I crawled into bed that night.


From beneath my bed! Disoriented, I bolted upright and then raced haphazardly about the room for a moment before realizing what was going on. I crawled underneath my bed and retrieved the source of the commotion. It was a wind-up alarm clock! At this point I was coherent enough to realize that this was supposed to be surprising Mark, not me. How did it get here?! But none of that mattered when I read the note attached to the clock:

"Don't be alarmed! It's just Mark saying YES!"

I was elated. The next day I called to ask him what had happened. Had I inadvertently set the alarm for the wrong time? How was the little clock discovered early? Here is Mark's story:

He arrived home from school and went to his room. The first thing he noticed was an unfamiliar ticking noise coming from beneath his bed and the first thing he thought of was a bomb. He asked his dad, who was a police officer, to investigate. His dad called in the bomb squad, who discovered the source of the mysterious ticking noise (couldn't resist adding that link) and turned it over to its rightful owner. Mark then devised his plan to surprise me with my own surprise.

To this day I do not know if this story is the truth or a fabrication on Mark's part. However, I do know that it makes for an awesome legend in my personal history.

Even if it is a bit alarming.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guest Post: Aunt Spiker

I could not believe my EYES! When I awoke on that particular morning, James was nowhere to be found, the little ingrate. He was SUPPOSED to be outside, picking up the mess left in our yard from those who had come to view our MARVELOUS peach, but he seemed to have disappeared.

Well, I wouldn't have any of THAT ingratitude after all that I and his Auntie Sponge DO for the little worm! I determined that I would FIND him and BEAT him for running off. He had mentioned that he wanted to play with some CHILDREN so I went in search of him at a building which was SWARMING with the filthy little beasts!

As I entered one room, every pair of their BEADY little eyes turned towards me. And really, can you blame them? I mean, I AM quite becoming. I checked my best side and determined that I was looking my usual GLAMOROUS self. It was no wonder I had their RAPT attention.

However, I quickly discerned that they MUST be hiding something. I could see it in the smug looks on their HIDEOUS little faces and I knew right away that the something they were hiding was JAMES.

I demanded they tell me where he was LAZING about. Those disgusting little WORMS had the audacity to... LAUGH! Oh, how I was SEETHING! There is no sound more grating and disturbing than the sound of children's laughter!

One of the nasty little creatures then attempted to LIE to me, telling me James had run to the water closet. Well, I put that hideous little beast in his place IMMEDIATELY.

I gave the FILTHY little worms one last chance to report where James was hiding. They simply LAUGHED again. Well, I would have none of THAT sort of disrespect!

But just as I was making my way to BEAT the truth from them, I realized that I had not checked the vicinity of my PRECIOUS peach that morning. James could be there at this PRECISE moment, GORGING his ungrateful self! And these fiendish little DEMONS were likely only STALLING me for time!

I STORMED out of that classroom as quickly as my shapely, slender legs could carry me. I will not be returning to that TERRIBLE place EVER if I can help it! And as for James, I WILL find him.