Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vividly Dreaming

I had a very vivid dream last night - one I could recall completely this morning.

I dreamed that ElemenoB, Thumbelina and I were going to visit my mom. When we arrived at her house she peeked cautiously out the door before throwing it open wide and welcoming us with a declaration of "Happy Birthday ElemenoB and Thumbelina!" However, their birthdays were still quite a ways off. She appeared to have gone a bit mad.

Her small apartment was decorated with balloons, streamers and ribbons galore. When she noticed the confused looks on the girls' faces she sadly asked, "Did grandma do something wrong?"

"Just go along with it, guys," I cautioned under my breath. "You don't want to hurt her feelings."

"No, no, grandma - everything is fine!" ElemenoB declared, a bit too happily patronizing.

"Yeah, this is great - you are so sweet!" Thumbelina added.

My mom then got out a small cake which was festooned with 15 candles. We watched as she lit the candles one by one with a super-sized matchstick and began to sing Happy Birthday. The girls blew the candles out in unison.

"Now let's eat!" Mom instructed as she cut the cake and passed us each a plate.

We ate and visited for a bit before a grand announcement was made. "I have presents for both of you!" Mom proclaimed excitedly as she handed brightly wrapped gifts to both ElemenoB and Thumbelina.

They tore off the wrapping and found Christmas boxes exposed beneath the colorful exterior. "Grandma is going crazy!" my mom said. "I can't believe I used Christmas boxes for birthday presents!"

"It's okay, grandma, we do stuff like that all the time," ElemenoB assured her.

And then they opened the boxes and found that they were empty. My mom was going crazy.

Upon further investigation they discovered envelopes taped onto the underside of the box lids.

Inside the envelopes were tickets to Wicked! Screaming, happiness and nearly-passing-out ensued.
I found a ticket in my purse as well. (Funny thing, dreams.)

They checked their tickets for a date. The show was that very night! In less than 3 hours! However, they were still wearing their school clothes. What could they wear to the show?

"You could borrow some of my clothes," my mom generously offered.

"We could use safety pins," I suggested.

"Okay," they apprehensively agreed.

"I would go in my pajamas if I had to," Thumbelina conceded.

We went to Mom's closet and sorted through her various skirts and dresses. "How about these?" she asked, pulling out some of our very own clothing which just happened to have made its way into her closet - along with shoes to match. (Dreams can be so funny that way!)

"Have a good time!" Mom called to us as she left for work. We picked up some dinner, got dressed and were on the road to the show in record time.

I vividly recall the fact that there was no traffic on the freeway and parking was plentiful. Gotta love dreams.

We made our way into the theater to discover that our seats were perfectly positioned for prime viewing.

As the music began some winged-monkeys slowly drew up the curtain to reveal the opening scene for what could only be described as the best on-stage musical production we have ever experienced.

We did our best not to sing along... but a couple of times Thumbelina couldn't help herself. In fact, I found myself lip syncing throughout much of this portion of the dream.

The show was incredible. Exhilarating. Surreal.
It was a dream come true.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foreshadowing

Photo by Jason of Backroads Photography
Music speaks to me.

It has a way of seeping into my very being, expressing emotion that words alone cannot.

There are a few songs that bring me to tears because of memories they evoke or emotions they express. One song that brings me to tears every time is the song For Good from the musical Wicked.

It expresses the influence of a friend's presence in life and how truly powerful friendship can be.

So, to those of you who are that kind of friend to me - the kind that cross the boundary of friends into family... and the family I am lucky enough to call my friends (and I hope you know who you are) - thank you for being in my life.

Because I know you, I have been changed for good.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Time Keeps On Slipping

Look at what my baby can do. He is walking! And because he is such a cute little smarty pants, he has also mastered the ever-tricky stair descent.

He's not so much a baby anymore. (sigh.)

I look at my littlest boy and am amazed at his ability to turn a corner, walk into another room, and upon his return have become even more adorable, more smart and silly and handsome, more endeared to my heart.

I do not want my baby to grow up.

Sure, I am excited for him to stop biting my leg whenever he gets close enough. And I think it will be great when he can feed himself and stop wearing diapers. But I do not want to forget the sound of his incessant baby-babbling chatter. Or the look of his 6-toothed grin... or the way he resembles Frankenstein when he walks. I want to remember the feel of his soft baby skin, the rolls of his Michelin-Man legs. The smell of his breath when he comes in for a slobbery kiss. The way my heart-strings are tugged every time he snuggles in to my shoulder and begins to suck his thumb.

I know I will blink and he'll be in kindergarten. In middle school. In high school.

Walking. Running. Driving.

Ready or not...my sweet baby boy is now my toddler.

I am going to do my best to bask in every moment.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Fun Than Should Be Allowed

Because I hold certification as an ASL Interpreter in my great state I am required to attend 60 hours worth of workshops every 3 years.

The workshops I attend are educational as well as enjoyable for the most part because I choose to make them so. However, the workshop I attended this weekend blows all of the others out of the water.

First of all, it was FREE. This, in itself, is a rare occurrence. Add to that the fact that my little brother was going to attend with me and you've got the recipe for a GREAT time. Add Amy, a friend I had not seen in over 5 years, and I was in.

It gets even better. This was a two-day workshop and overnight accommodations were provided in the dorms adjacent to the school. A workshop/slumber party? Awesome.

I packed a few items that would guarantee a good time:
  1. Accordion
  2. Roller skates
  3. Sock puppets
  4. Night-vision goggles
Because you never know when these things will come in handy.

When the Friday evening portion of the workshop was finished we headed to the dorms to plan our night. It was decided that the empty, mostly carpeted halls of the school would make for some great skating.

As I laced up my skates I was excitedly thinking, How many people can say they have roller skated through the halls of a school after hours? And then , disappointed, realized that there were maybe a few.

So then I thought, How many people can say they have roller skated through the halls of a school wearing night-vision goggles, after hours, while playing the accordion?

And I can now happily add to that thought: Me.

I'm thinking about calling The Guinness World Records people.
We made some new interpreter friends in the dorms who were happy to come watch as I made workshop history.

After a while I wondered how everyone could possibly be having as much fun as myself. I mean, sure, it's fun to watch people's dreams come true, but only to a point.

Luck was on our side. Down a side hall we found a cache of enormous tricycles and other ride-on equipment that just screamed: Ride us! Ride us! Take us for a spin! So we did.
Chip and Amy tearing it up!

We had races. We had chases. We had a blast.

We quickly discovered the location of the school's gymnasium as well. I was in roller skating heaven! My own rink. Does it get any better?
At one point a piano was uncovered and played by the talented Jame. This made for some great interpretive dances.

Once we had tired out we sat on the stage and had an impromptu talent show with the help of the school's sound equipment.

Chip has not lost the talent of drumming out the rhythms of a beat-box with his mouth. And when it comes to break dancing? He's still got the moves down. (Word.)

We found some props on the stage which led to even more entertainment.

A giant teeter-totter.

A realistic coffin. (It was fun to talk about the poses we could get in there but when it came down to it, no one dared. Too creepy.)

My favorite prop? The perfect stage for a puppet show.
The puppets, performing a scene from Phantom of the Opera.

Eventually we traveled back to the commons area of the dorms to chat, laugh, munch on some junk food, debate avuncular smiles and listen to the flatulent sounds of Chip's iFart. (Incidentally, iFart is HILARIOUS at 2 in the morning!)

One by one our friends headed off to catch a few hours of sleep before we'd be back in the classroom learning about cohesion in our interpreting message. Chip, Amy and I (the true diehards!) finally turned the lights out at 4 a.m.

At some point in this adventure we realized that the school has security cameras throughout the campus. I'll be honest... we hold on to the secret hope that we will find ourselves on YouTube.

But if not, we at least hope that security enjoyed our nocturnal hi jinks as much as we did.

Although I doubt that is possible.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Resistance Is Futile

There was one day this week where I was actually away from my computer for nearly 18 hours.

Amazing, I know.

Of course, nearly 8 of those hours were spent sleeping. And 3 of those hours were spent away from home. But, still.

Amazing.

Most of those 8 sleeping hours were spent having dreams that were somewhere closer to nightmares. In the first one, I was aimlessly searching for a computer. I tried the library, public schools, even the bank - all to no avail. I could not get online regardless of how hard I tried. I can not remember why I needed to be online - only that it was increasingly more important that I do so. You know those dreams where you wake up and feel like you never went to sleep? This was one of those.

I awoke to my crying baby, glad for the escape from my search for an internet connection.

When I fell back asleep, a new nightmare took shape. It was one of the worst I can remember ever having. It involved the death (by spontaneous combustion) of my younger brother as well as the realization that my flesh was falling off in chunks.

To top it all off, I had a headache that would not go away for 3 days after this internet fast.

My conclusion?

Avoiding the computer is completely not worth it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Parable of the Peanut Butter

photo from epicurean.com

Once upon a time there was a boy. He had a mother and a father who loved him very much. However, the boy's parents were perplexed when they found an almost empty jar of peanut butter beneath the boy's bed.

Later that afternoon the parents questioned the boy as to where the jar of peanut butter had come from.

The boy told his parents this story of how the peanut butter came to be beneath his bed.

One day when the boy was at school he noticed a friend who was enjoying some nearly-expired peanut butter on crackers. The friend arrived at a point where he no longer had crackers, yet his peanut butter was still near to overflowing. "Whatever shall I do with this nearly-expired jar of peanut butter?" the friend wondered aloud. The boy, who was used to eating nearly-expired peanut butter, offered to take it off of his friend's hands. "Thank you ever so much!" the friend replied. The boy then brought the peanut butter home and placed it beneath his bed. He did not want to leave it in his locker at school. He did not want to leave it in his knapsack. He did not want to place it upon his dresser. He wanted it to be beneath his bed so that his younger brother would not ask for any nearly-expired peanut butter.

"How is it, then," the boy's mother inquired, "that your jar of nearly-expired peanut butter carries the same label, non-nearly-expired expiration date AND batch number as the plethora of peanut butter which is placed in our pantry?"

The boy lowered his head in shame. His parents were right. He had pilfered the peanut butter from the pantry. And it was then that he realized that one lie begets another and another... until the sticky, peanut butter web has been spun to the extent that one becomes stuck in it.

The End

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Teen Talk

With two teenagers and an almost-teen in the house, I am quickly learning to discern what they really mean when they say certain things. To make it easier for you who either share your home with or otherwise associate with teens or tweens, I will list some phrases and their true definitions here.

(I'm all about helping each other out like that.)

What they say: "Mom, you're such a nerd!"
What they mean: "Mom, I think you are SO cool!"

They say: "I love you, Mom."
They mean: "In the next 3 to 5 minutes I am going to ask you for something."

They say: "You totally embarrassed me!"
They mean: "That was hilarious! Do it again!"

They say: "Can I borrow your black sandals?"
They mean: "Those sandals will be mine within the week."

They say: "I DID clean my room!"
They mean: "I DID shove everything under my bed and into my closet!"

They say: "Mom, Pat's on the phone wanting to know if I can come over. But don't you and dad want to go on a date tonight?"
They mean: "I don't want to go to Pat's house but I want to say that you said I couldn't."

And my personal favorite:

They say: "You're pretty cool... for a mom."
They mean: "I love you."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Creepy-Crawly


What is it with spiders?

We, as human beings, are at least a gazillion times larger than those hairy 8-legged arachnids. So what is it about them that completely terrifies most of us?

For me, it's the unknown.

Is it a poisonous spider? Do I want to get close enough to find out? (NO.)

Can it jump? Will it jump on me if I try to capture it and set it nicely outside the back door? (Almost always, YES.)

And why (oh, HEAVENS, WHY?!) do they have to enter my personal space? Can't they be happy with the beautiful weather outdoors and just enjoy it, for heaven's sake? Even better... for my poor sake?

Today as I attempted to load our smallest munchkins into The Green Machine (a.k.a. Our Suburban), Hubba screamed.

Honestly. SCREAMED.

"A spider is in they-er!" he loudly proclaimed, pointing at the enormously hairy creepy-crawler who lay in wait beneath the seat.

I made all sorts of empty promises.

It won't hurt you, I promised. It won't bite you, I promised. It just wants to see what it's like to ride in a car, I promised.

Hubba and Curly looked me square in the eye and informed me with a look that: No, Mom, we are NOT getting in there with that creepy thing.

I acted completely put out that they would be frightened of something (just waiting to bite my toe off!!) so completely harmless and minuscule. I rolled my eyes, walked over to where the spider was last seen and pretended to pick it just as it retreated farther back into the shadows beneath the bench seat.

"See? I got it!" I announced triumphantly, holding out my (empty) cupped hands, walking toward the neighbor's flowery bush.

I pretended to set the spider free near the bush. "All gone!" I proudly proclaimed. "Now you can get into the car," I encouraged them.

As they climbed into their car seats Hubba scolded me. "The nay-bers are gonna be may-ad at you when they see the spider you put in they-er yard."

"Awesome," I muttered back as I buckled them in.

As we drove toward our destination, I began to think of the furry little traveling companion who was accompanying us on our drive. I hoped he planned to stay where he was. I started to feel bad that the kids would know what a liar their mom was if it showed up anywhere near...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" I screamed. I could feel it on my ankle! It was attacking me!! I shook my ankle furiously and looked down to see if the ferocious beast's fangs had embedded themselves in my skin yet...

A loose thread from my jeans was the culprit.

"What's a-matter, Mom?!" Hubba asked, eyes wide as saucers.

"Ha, ha... just kidding. Just wanted to see if you guys were asleep!" I answered confidently.

After arriving home I searched every square inch of the vehicle to rid it of the spider once and for all. I considered it penance for the slight untruths I had told.

Nothing.


And so, the laugh's on me, furry friend. But know this. DO NOT FORGET THIS! The next time I see you or any of your relatives, you WILL die. In fact...

I plan to offer up a full dollar to the kid who is brave enough to smash you. Because despite the fact that you infuriate me, I am not going to touch you with a ten-foot pole.

Especially considering the fact that you probably jump.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fair Warning

Yes, this means what you think it means.

Coolister has his driving permit.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Monday, April 20, 2009

All-a-Boy and the Mo-Tab Choir


Remember when All-a-Boy wrote a letter to the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with suggestions for their next performance during our church's General Conference?

I can't believe I forgot to post the response!

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

My favorite line is this:

With your energy and creative skills, I'm quite sure your future is bright.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Happy Birthday, All-a-Boy! Never stop changing the world.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Secret Ingredient

A friend of mine requested a post on my homemade pizza. She says I must have some kind of secret ingredient I use because hers doesn't turn out like mine when she makes it.

Well... she's right.

There is a secret ingredient I had not told her about previously... but I am ready to reveal what makes my pizza so amazing.

I start off with this simple recipe:

1 Tbsp yeast

1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

about 3 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together in one mixing bowl (I use my Kitchenaid). Let the dough rise for a half hour then roll out onto desired pan. Add toppings and cook at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
While the dough is rising I get my toppings ready. Use whatever your family likes. Our pizzas include pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, pineapple, green pepper and plenty of cheese.
Plus the secret ingredient.

The above recipe times 3 is enough for me to make 3 regular sized and one jumbo sized pizza. I split the dough into 4 blobs and flatten each dough-blob on a pizza pan using my favorite kitchen tool... my hands.
Lay down some sauce, sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over the top and then add a layer of mozzarella.
Cover the mozzarella with whatever toppings you've decided on...
Add another layer of mozzarella...
And bake.

Oh, I almost forgot. Did you notice the secret ingredient in the picture of all the toppings? Here it is:
Music.
That's right, I like to pretend I am acting out a scene from a musical as I prepare my pizzas.
When one of the kids come into the kitchen I improvise and add them into the scene. (I'm awesome with kitchen improv.)
Mr. Scarlata would be so proud to know that all of those classes in high school were not in vain.
I believe it gives the pizza some pizazz. Makes it a little more cultured. More diverse. More tasty.

Be sure to orchestrate a big finish for the best results...Now you try. Throw a little of my secret ingredient in the next time you make pizza and see if it doesn't make a difference.
(Thanks to ElemenoB for the cinematography)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Letters About Literature

Here's a shout-out to ElemenoB who entered the Letters About Literature contest and took third place out of 400 entries in her age category!

This is a contest where students write a letter to the author of a book which has touched their life in a personal way. She wrote to Alma Yates, the author of the novel Sammy's Song.

I would tell everyone to go find a copy of this book and read it but, unfortunately, it is no longer in print.

I love this book - and so do my girls.

It is the story of 10-year-old Marni who learns to deal with her handicapped cousin Sammy when he comes to live with their family. It delves into the uncomfortable feelings many people experience when they are around people with disabilities. As the story unfolds Marni learns to see things from Sammy's perspective. As she spends more time with him she realizes that there is someone unique hidden beneath his uncommon exterior.

I love that ElemenoB chose to write about how this book has influenced her way of thinking towards those who are different.

Congratulations, ElemenoB! Contest or not - you make me proud.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring (took a) Break

Snow in April? You better believe it.

This global warming is KILLING me!

Blankets

Curly is quite a little blanket-lover. She carries her blanket(s) with her everywhere she goes if she can get away with it.

I was thinking about that yesterday morning as she crawled into bed with me, blanket in tow, to watch and listen as the rain beat a steady rhythm against our windows.

"Mom has blankets, Curly." I told her. "We can share."

"No, mom, Curly want Curly's blank-let," she responded.

And why not? Honestly, if I could carry around a blanket without being looked upon as some kind of freak I probably would.

Think about it.

Blankets give warmth and security. They are a place to hide. They make a great place to sit at a beach or park. Blankets offer comfort. They make the perfect forts when draped over a table or chair. They can be used to protect items that are fragile. On a rainy day I could wrap myself in a blanket with a good book and a bowl of popcorn and be content for hours. They offer protection from the elements. Besides all of that, how many of us keep a spare blanket in our car?

A blanket's functions are really just as individual as the person who owns it.

Sometimes I think kids have a wisdom beyond their years.

Curly, you keep toting around that blank-let.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Good Fortune

I am SO excited!

I have wanted to see the musical Wicked ever since my friend Rebecca gave me the soundtrack for my birthday a few years back. I would even go so far as to say that it is my dearest wish to see this musical. You can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that the show was coming to Utah!

However, I didn't get tickets. And now, the show is sold out.

I thought it was too late.

Until today!

I opened a fortune cookie and could not believe what I read...
The cookie has spoken!

Wicked
, here I come.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tool Talk

(photo from flickr.com)

Princess came to me to request a tool for Allen, who was putting something back together in the basement.

"Dad needs a screwdriver, mom. Can you get him one?" she asked.

I asked her to find out which type he needed and off she went.

She came back a minute or so later, giggling.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

P: "He said he wants a fat head."

Me: "He said flathead."

P: "A flat head? Well, I wouldn't want my head to be fat or flat. Dad's funny."


I guess we know who Princess takes after, then.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter

I think yesterday's class was my favorite of all time with my cute little 4-year-olds at church.

Because it was Easter Sunday I was teaching them about the real meaning of Easter with the help of a sock puppet, a glove and some plastic eggs.

We had about 10 minutes left when I came to the part where I taught them about the resurrection of Jesus. Super C raised his hand and said, "Wait one minute. Go back. Say that big woyd again. Wes-a-what?"

"Resurrection?" I asked.

"Yeah, wes-a-wec-tion. Now, what does that woyd mean again?"

"It means Jesus died and then he lived again."

I showed the class a picture of Jesus after he was resurrected. "Here he is after he was resurrected. We know he was already crucified because you can see the scars on his hands from the nails. See?" I asked, pointing. They all took a closer look.

"He died and then he lived?" Super C asked. "And we aw gonna do that, too?"

"Exactly."

"And he died fo us? So we could live fo-ev-o? Even if we make mistakes?"

"That's right, Super C. That's why we celebrate Easter. "

"So East-o is to wemem-bo Jesus died fo us? It's not just fo East-o baskets and candy?" he asked, incredulous.

"Yup. There's a lot more to it than Easter baskets and candy," I answered.

"Oh my heck!" he exclaimed, standing. "How come I nev-o knew any of this stuff be-fo-ah?"

And then, turning to the rest of the class he loudly stated, "East-o is all about Jesus, guys! Can you be-weave it?!"


These are the days that make being a teacher completely worth it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

He's Unique

All-a-Boy wanted to get in contact with a friend from his old school to arrange some play time over spring break next week. He pulled out the phone book in an attempt to locate his phone number and found the page with his friend's last name.

"Do you remember his mom or dad's name?" he asked me.

"All I remember is that his dad's name is unique," I answered.

"Really? His dad's name is Unique?! That should be easy to find, then!" All-a-Boy exclaimed as he continued to scan the phone book.

"No, I mean it's not your typical name that you hear everyday. It's not a normal name. "

"I know what you mean," All-Boy responded. "Kind of like the name Gerberta."

Exactly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Unexpected

A couple of days ago Coolister asked me to come see something.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Just come see," was his reply.

So I followed him down the stairs as he informed me, "I think there is a mouse in our dryer."

I stopped. I am not a big fan of mice. Sure, they look all cute and tiny and they're awesome helpers if you're Cinderella or Gizelle, but those little rodents also occasionally jump onto people who are just trying to help them get out of the house without killing them off (I know this from personal experience).

As we approached the dryer I could hear the scritch-scratch noise of little mouse claws trying to work their way out of somewhere. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end as the heebie-jeebies made their way up my spine. Coolister cracked open the dryer and looked inside but no beady little black mouse eyes peered back at us. I sang the beginning refrain of Gizelle's "Happy Working Song" but no little critter responded. It was not in the dryer.

The noise came again, scritchity-scratch... from the dryer ventilation tubing. It was trapped in there and couldn't get out.

Since we didn't want to cook the little rodent and have roasted mouse stench in the dryer, we had to help it escape.

Coolister and I devised a plan. First, remove the dryer vent, then turn the end of it over into a large container, allow our little mouse intruder to fall into the container, put a lid on and take the container outside to set the mouse free.
Once it got to the part where we were supposed to remove the vent, I got squeamish. I could just imagine the disease-carrying rodent jumping out, landing on my arm and running up my sleeve. I let Allen and Coolister take over while I took pictures. It wouldn't jump out! They shook the dryer vent, encouraging it to escape. Finally, it landed in the big, blue jug.

"It's a bird!" Coolister exclaimed, pulling the lid over the container's opening.

A bird.

I like birds. A lot, actually. My heebie-jeebies went away as we walked outside to free our feathered friend.
We pulled the lid off the top of the jug but he wouldn't fly away. He just sat there, bewildered.
Finally Allen tipped the jug onto its side and our temporary visitor found freedom.
I couldn't help but remember another visit we had from a bird a couple of years ago. I wondered what lesson I was supposed to learn this time around.

I decided it was this:

Sometimes we get ourselves in predicaments that we can't get out of on our own. At times like this we need to rely on others to help us... and that's okay. It's not always easy to accept help from others but sometimes it is necessary.

We just need to realize that we can't make it through life's journey alone.

And that is why God gave us friends.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Guest Post: Teachinfourth

Hey, everyone! Today is Allen's surgery and I knew I wouldn't have time to post at all. I asked my friend Jason (better known in blogland as Teachinfourth) if he would be willing to post here and (lucky you!) he graciously agreed. So to Jason, thank you. And to everyone else, enjoy...


This is not my usual place for writing; however, since I was asked by my good friend, Gerb, to do a guest posting, I was quite flattered and decided to oblige. For those of you who either don’t know me or don’t care, rest assured, I am only here temporarily and Gerb will undoubtedly return yet again with sensational tales of wonder.


Until then…you’ve got me.


Now, when I was first asked to do this, I was given no parameters whatsoever.


“What would you like me to write about?” I inquired, hoping for a topic which would make the composition of said guest-blog so much easier.


“Whatever you want to write would be fine with me,” came the dreaded reply.


Curses.


Topics always tend to make it easier for writing instead of trying to pull something out of one’s own head.


I sat down at the keyboard and prepared to compose a work of art when it happened.


Nothing.


I sat for quite some time, staring at the blank screen. I began to feel perturbed…after all, I knew how to write. I knew I could do it.


I switched on my iPod and leaned back in my seat, waiting for something…


Some writers have great ideas thrust upon them in a flurry of inspiration; while others, like me, find themselves groping at proverbial straws of desperation.


As my iPod shuffled itself to a song I’d not heard in years, the awaited guest arrived. It came in the form of a song…a song riddled with recollections dating back to some of my earliest memories. Yeah, you know the song I am talking about. Though this song may be different for you in both tune and lyrics, it conveys the same outcome as mine did for me.


A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.

~Leopold Stokowski


As the haunting strains of music poured through the speakers, I felt an incessant desire to lock myself into that particular moment, and to let the memories saturate me like honey drizzled over freshly-warmed scones with butter.


I found myself closing my eyes and listening to the melody which seemed to carry me to another place, another time, and a whole other world which I’d once forgotten.


As the shadows played before my eyes like an old-time movie, I listened to the brilliant soundtrack in stereo sound. The metaphors of my life were sharp and defined, only as music can make them.


“Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.’

~Oliver Wendell Holmes


When the final notes of the song faded into silence, I opened my eyes. I’d been transported back to the place from which I’d started. I’d taken an entire journey all without leaving the four walls of my home.


Music is a power which can change an attitude, a temper, or even the atmosphere of an entire room. With an instrument as powerful as this, I hope we are utilizing it to its fullest extent in our everyday lives. Not only to visit those places and times of the past we love, but to create new memories to enjoy for tomorrow.


Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

~Berthold Auerbach

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's In A Name?


I have answered to many names in my life.

I was born Gerberta Donna but was referred to as 'Donna' most of my young life because one of my grandmas told my parents that I would hate my given name.

(She was wrong. I love having a unique name.)

As I got older my parents called me Gerby (there are only 3 people on this planet allowed to call me that so don't even try) and my friends called me Gerb.

After my family moved to California from Iowa some kids (jerks) at my elementary school called me HamburGERBerta. My sidekick was another new kid whom they dubbed HotDoug. I find this hilarious and clever now... but didn't so much at the time.

When I entered junior high I earned myself the nickname of Helicopter Head by twisting my head quickly from side to side just to feel the cool WHAP-WHAP-WHAP of my braided side ponytails as they smacked each side of my head. That name stuck like a permanent label on my forehead for years and is BY FAR my least favorite.

As I reached high school my teachers gave me all kinds of interesting pronounciations of my name, including my favorite: Jer-bear-ta. My drama teacher, Mr. Scarlata, came up with this unusual pronounciation and I just answered to it without any second thought. He was a bit mortified my senior year when someone pointed out the mispronunciation over the course of my high school years but it remains a fond memory for me.

When it became difficult for people to reach anyone in our home because I was always tying up the phone line I earned the nickname Gerb-a-phone.

As I went to college and worked as a sign language interpreter many of my clients called me "Little GerMaid" when they discovered my fascination with The Little Mermaid movie.

After moving to Utah my college roommates called me Bert and Gerbina.

I met Allen, stalked him and convinced him to marry me. We had a couple of kids. They call me things like Freak and Weirdo. But, as much as I love those nicknames, my favorite of all is the one I am referred to as most often:

Mom.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How Monday Became Fun Day

Today started out great with a phone call from my favorite younger brother.

"I'm in Provo. Let's celebrate your birthday! Figure out what kind of somethin'-somethin' you want for lunch and I'll bring it over."

He brought all of this:
Along with this:
And totally made my day.
My brother is awesome.