Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Meet my friend Janet.  She and I grew up together in southern California.  Like me, her parents are both Deaf so we met when my family converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1980 and started attending a congregation filled with Deaf members and their families.  I spent many weekends at Janet's house in Southgate and she spent plenty of time at my family's apartment in Torrance as well.  We share a lot of great memories.

Janet's son just left to serve a church mission this year, like my Allen-the-younger.  You'll never guess where he was called to serve?  Okay, maybe you will guess.  Texas!  Same mission as my boy but different language.  How cool is that??

Janet happened to be in my town a couple of weeks ago and she called to see if she could stop by.  We hadn't seen each other in many, many years - but it didn't matter!  We visited for a good 5 hours before she had to leave and it wasn't long enough.

There are some friends who you can go for years without seeing and it doesn't matter one bit.  You just pick up where you left off and you laugh together until your face aches and your sides hurt and you share stories of what's transpired in the time you've been apart and for the short time that you get to be together all is right with the world.  That's how it was with Janet.

Have you ever felt homesick, not necessarily for a place, but more for a time in the past and the people who were a part of it?  Being with Janet brought back so many happy thoughts and fond memories.  Thanks for your visit Janet!  It was just what I needed.  You are good for my soul.  

Me and Janet at a church Halloween party somewhere around a million years ago.

Me and Janet in my backyard a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Jokes For Kids: Star Wars Edition

I am always lacking in new jokes to put in the kids lunches so this year I decided to go with themes.  Since our kids are huge Star Wars fans, I searched the web for Star Wars jokes and found enough for 3 weeks worth of lunches!  Here are our favorites.

Q: Where does Princess Leia shop for Father's Day?
A: At the Darth Maul.

Q: What is Darth Vader's favorite Disney song?
A: When You Wish Upon A Death Star

Q: Why is a droid mechanic never lonely?
A: Because he's always making new friends.

Q: Why did the angry Jedi cross the road?
A: To get to the Dark Side.

Q: What's a Jedi's favorite car?
A: A Toy-Yoda

Q: What's a Jedi's favorite toy?
A: A yo-yo, duh! (Yo-Yoda)

Q: How does Darth Vader like his toast?
A: On the Dark Side.

Q: Which Star Wars character works in a restaurant?
A: Darth Waiter

Q: When was it obvious that Anakin was going to the Dark Side?
A: In Sith grade.

Q: Where does Qui-Gon keep his jam?
A: In a Jar-Jar.

Q: Why shouldn't you ask Yoda for money?
A: Because he's always a little short.

Q: What do you call a Jedi in denial?
A: Obi-Wan Cannot Be

Q: How is the Force like duct tape?
A: It has a dark side, a light side, and it holds the universe together.

Q: What's the difference between an AT-AT and a stormtrooper?
A: One's an Imperial walker and the other is a walking Imperial.

Q: Why do doctors make the best Jedi?
A: Because a Jedi must have patience.

Q:What do you call a sith who won't fight?
A: A sithy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I used to sing a lot.  I would often also use American Sign Language as I sang because it was the language I was most comfortable expressing myself with.  I guess I figured that any emotion that wasn't coming through in my singing would be evident in my signs.  I remember when I came across the word selflessness in a song and couldn't think of a specific sign to use, so I did what I always did - I pulled our fat, red dictionary out of my Dad's desk drawer and looked up the word.  (This was in the days before the internets even existed - am I old or what?)  Here's what I found:
selfless·ness n.  Having, exhibiting, or motivated by no concern for oneself; unselfish.

Whenever I figure out a new sign it gets stored in the part of my mind that puts pictures to words.  And as I experience situations that fit the word my mind creates a picture which is nicely tucked away next to the definition.

But this story is not about me.  It is about Thumbelina, whose face is now permanently ingrained in my mind's dictionary next to the word selflessness.

Thumbelina has wanted to be in a school musical ever since she started high school.  The problem is, she has also always wanted to be on the high school's cross country team - and the musical always takes place during cross country season.  Because this is her senior year, her last chance to live this dream of being on stage, she decided to go for it.  She had been practicing with the cross country team all summer long just in case she didn't get in to the musical, but her plan was to fulfill her dream and perform in the musical this year.  Well, Thumbelina tried out for the musical.  And she got in!  She was pretty excited, as you can imagine.  She decided that she wanted to try to do both cross country and the musical.

  After she got home with her rehearsal schedule and started to look at the dates on our family calendar she realized that most of her cross country meets would fall on the dates of required rehearsals for the musical.  She was torn.  I asked her what was making the choice so difficult when her plan all along had been to be in the musical.  Thumbelina told me that their girls varsity cross country team was the best they had been in years.  In fact, they had a pretty great chance of making it to the State Meet.  The problem was that she was one of the top 5 runners - the ones whose placing in each race determined their place overall.  In other words: if she didn't run they might not make it to state.

So, as much as Thumbelina knew she would have a fantastic time rehearsing and performing with her friends in the musical, she felt like she would be letting the girls cross country team down if she didn't compete with them.

She chose to run.

I asked her later if she had explained to the drama or choir teacher why she chose cross country.  She didn't because she didn't want them to think she was looking for their praise or pity or whatever.  She also does not like sounding braggy by telling people that she's one of the team's top runners.  I asked if she told her coach why she was choosing cross country.  No, she hadn't.  She just pushed her dream aside, quietly turned in her script for the musical, kept attending cross country practices and kept her reasoning to herself.

To me, that is selflessness.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Called To Serve

On Friday Elle got a big, white envelope in the mail.  We had been anticipating this letter and kind of stalking the poor mailman everyday as we waited for it to arrive.  This was the letter that would let her know where she would be going on her 18 month church service mission! (If you want to know more about why Mormons send missionaries all over the world and what exactly they do, click HERE.) She waited until Saturday afternoon to open it so that everyone in the immediate family could be here.

Do you want to share in our excitement?  Here you go...

We are all so excited for her to serve in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission, speaking the Spanish language!

I really have no words to describe the feelings of my heart.  This beautiful young woman, my sweet Elle, is going to be one fantastic missionary!  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How To Ask To Homecoming

Will you GOAT to Homecoming with me?

Thumbelina got asked to homecoming on Saturday.  With a goat.  A GOAT!!!

There was a note asking her to please leave her porch for a few minutes after seeing the goat so that it could be retrieved.  (MUCH better thinking than The "Bunny" Incident a couple of years ago.)  The goat was bleating (is that what goats do? Baaaahing?  Mehhhhing?) as if on cue when she opened the door.  I would even venture to say that it was pretty cute.  

After debating how she could answer with live animals (No LION - I'd love to go to homecoming! or COW could I say no?) and then realizing she had no access to a lion or a cow, she responded with a loaf of banana bread: I would LOAF to go to homecoming with you!

I love how creative the kids around here are when asking to dances.  So much better than how it worked when I was in high school... which was not getting asked at all. 

(Okay, I got asked.  Maybe twice.  But those are stories for another day.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

What Mom's Thinking

There was some serious weeping and wailing going on around here last week.  And no matter what I had to say, I was adding to the misery.  I was not allowed to voice any opinions or share any thoughts on how to deal with the situation because that only magnified the pity party and besides, I didn't understand!  These kind of situations frustrate me times infinity, especially when I feel like I have some genuine solutions to offer but the child in despair can not hear what I am saying because they can't see or hear beyond their own overwhelming thoughts and emotions.

Once it was obvious that my child was not listening to me and did not want to hear me speak, I put myself in time-out so I could think things through before saying things I would later regret.  I tried to look at things from my child's perspective.  I personally knew how frustrating the situation was because I had, in fact, gone through it myself quite a few times when I was a teenager.  I tried to think of a way to communicate some thoughts with this child without actually having to witness the inevitable eyerolls.  Nothing came to mind.

I went to search the internet for quotes about choosing to be happy despite whatever situation you may be faced with, thinking I could just put some quotes in this particular child's lunch, tuck them into textbooks and hide a few in the various pockets of a backpack.  I found a bunch of quotes that I loved and started cut and pasting them onto a document that I could print off.  As I was watching them print I had another idea come to mind.  Why not make a What Mom's Thinking spot in our house?  A sort of Here's What I Would Say If You Would Listen kind of idea.  The idea started to grow into something I had to do.  This would be a great way to share my silent thoughts with anyone who chose to read them rather than targeting a specific child.

I found some clothespins and attached the quotes to a long piece of ribbon with them.  I hung the ribbon from an empty curtain rod in our dining room and didn't say a thing about it.  I didn't tell anyone to go look at it.  I didn't tell the child who needed to read the quotes more than anyone to stop moping and go read them.  I just left them hanging there and eventually curiosity got the best of everyone and they all went and checked it out.

I am no longer an insensitive, non-understanding nag.  I am simply someone who wanted to have a little place to post some quotes that I like.  And even if the kids never read them I think it will make me feel a little better knowing that they're out there.  Kind of like blogging - it always makes me feel better to put my thoughts out on the internet knowing that someone might read them and understand.

Here are the quotes that I found about choosing to be happy instead of miserable when things don't go the way you would have liked.  I can't give anyone credit for making the quotes cute because I didn't keep track of where I found them - but none of them were made cute by me.  Just so you know.  I'm sure the guilt will get to me and eventually I'll find time to look them all up again so I can give credit where its due.  But until then, here they are:

Choose to be happy, friends!  It makes life a lot easier.

I can totally see you rolling your eyes at me.  Stop it.