Tailgating for Romney

Do you have plans for tonight?

David does.

It's the second presidential debate.

I know.  I'm excited too.

I just can't wait to hear the same questions and the same answers all over again.

But wait.

This time it's town hall style.

What?  Holy cow, that changes everything.

Now I'm totally excited.

Because different people will be asking the same questions that the same two guys will be answering in the same way.

Oh yeah, we're kickin' it town hall style tonight.

But what I want to know is if any of this is really necessary.  I mean, I could do all the answers for them at this point.  In my sleep.

What is left to suss out?

Do people really not know who they are going to vote for? 

I don't believe it.  It's not that hard.  Do you want more or less of what we've had for four years?  See?  Easy.

I want to know who all these "undecided" voters are and ask them why they can't get their junk together.

Get your junk together, people, so the rest of us can get on with our lives.

I thought about having a tailgating party for the debate.  You know, invite the neighbors, break out the grill, use red and blue paper plates, and napkins that say "Power to the People."  Maybe my neighbors will bring beer because I am pretty sure I cannot do another one of these without alcohol.

What?  Too far?

Not far enough, CIM says.

If I was at that townhall tonight, and Candy Crowley handed that microphone to me, here are the burning questions I'd ask the candidates:

Why are there no good designers on Project Runway this season?

Are skinny jeans actually an ironic joke that make us all look fat?

When is Starbucks starting up their salted caramel flavor again and what do we have to do to get that to be a year-round thing?

How does Connie Britton look that good all the time?

Is it wrong that some guy has the energy and determination to get himself 24 miles above the earth and I have trouble getting the energy and determination to get myself up 24 stairs to put the clothes away?

Should I join my ward bookclub or is my eventual disappointment inevitable?

Is using eventual and inevitable in the same sentence redundant?

Can I use the shrimp I didn't use last week, but put in the refrigerator to defrost, or is that just asking for trouble?

What do you think we should wear for our upcoming family picture?  Keep in mind that the last official family picture we took was four years ago when one of you took office, so this is most likely going to be on the wall for some time.  The voters cannot afford a mistake.

Should I curl my hair or wear it straight for the aforementioned family picture?  Should I color it the same color as Connie Britton's?

Forget that last one.  That's just silly. 

Or is it?

Regardless, as Fox News let us know this morning, there are only twenty days until the election, and then David will be all mine again.  And for the record, I am really hoping Romney wins tonight.  Because when Romney gets lucky, we all get lucky.

What?  Too far?

Yes, says RIM.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

This morning I woke up to the sounds of industry.

My husband, already in his shirt and tie and smelling like aftershave and soap (delicious), leaned over me and nudged my shoulder with his lips, "Just so you know, the lawn crew is here."

I could hear the lawnmower and the trimmers going.  He was giving me fair warning: Don't walk outside naked this morning and also, ahem, it might be time to get up.

I heard him start his car and the sounds of the garage door going up and down.  I rolled over and tried to sleep.  But it is very hard to sleep to the sounds of industry.  Sounds of industry smell like guilt to me.  (Which I can smell a mile away.)

I am in the last week of summer and it is a little like purgatory.  Can't go backward.  Don't want to go forward.  Limbo in my head, dread in my stomach, sludge in my blood, terror in my heart. 

David keeps telling me, "You know we had an amazing summer, right?  I mean, you know, right?"  He's making sure I know how lucky I am, telling me that I have nothing to complain about, reminding me that in my wildest dreams I couldn't imagine a better summer.  (And don't forget, he says with his flirty eyebrows, I provided it.  Don't worry darling, I am very good at showing my appreciation.) 

The thing is, I know that.  I really do.  It was amazing.  But that didn't stop me from crying myself to sleep last night.  Because even though it was the summer to end all summers, it's still almost over.

Insert swear word here.

And yet, the sounds of industry are all around me, nudging me back to work, back to school, back to schedule, back to getting up before eight.  And the guilt is close behind, telling me I have to do more in a day than slather sunscreen on my children's gorgeous, growing bodies or braid the girls' hair or go boogie boarding with my boys and wash the sand out of our suits at night. 

A couple of days ago I spent the day at the mall with my girls.  I sat across from them, sharing an orange julius while they chattered excitedly about the new year and new teachers and piano lessons and the first chair seat in the viola section.  And I wished I could be as excited as them.

But I could only stare at their suntanned, freckled, beaming faces and wish that it was just the beginning of June.

Or at the very least, that they could take me with them.

In one week, this house is going to be very quiet.

RIM thinks I should get motivated, make a plan, write out a schedule, get busy and accomplish a few things.  CIM just stares at the wall, lost in thought, lost in space, lost again. 

Because the truth is, when my kids walk out that door in less than a week, there is a part of me that feels like my purpose will walk out with them. 

RIM thinks that's ridiculous.  CIM just shrugs.  Because ridiculous or not, it's also true.

I had a full-time job rubbing sunscreen on shoulders and cheeks and ears and the tender lines of scalp where the braids were parted.  It was a very good job.  And I was very good at it.  And have you ever seen me boogie board?  I am like a professional.  I really am.

And well, damn, I really hate job-hunting.

P.S.  The nice shot of my very fine cleavage is a just a bonus to this post.  You're welcome.

Oh, To Be As Brilliant As She!

First some news, some anxieties, and then I'll do my best to bless your life.

First news.

Last week I was asked by a real-life editor to write a foreword for a new, soon-to-be-published book.  I know.  You can bet I did a little jig of happiness.

Which leads us, already, to the anxieties part.

I worked on it this morning.  I think parts of it were just shy of brilliant, or at least good.  Not sure about the rest of it though.  I emailed it off to him today with my heart in my throat and my ego on my sleeve.  Gulp.  We'll see.

After the first draft I left the house to get away from it a bit before I edited it.  I have to get a little space before I can start killing and maiming my babies, see?  I went to the college to get my student ID and my parking pass.  The student ID they gave me has my maiden name on it, as the computer refused to believe that I had gotten married.  I told David this morning in the shower that I needed to get a ring between now and next Tuesday just in case some other boy wants to ask me out.  He just smiled.  ("What?" I said, "I was very popular in college."  At which, his smile broadened.)

Anyway, while I was there I went to the bookstore for my required books (can I tell you what a little thrill that was?) and saw that one of the requireds is a book I already own, a book already sitting on my writing table, on top of the stack even!, a book I've already read and tried to learn from.  And I had the brief and horrible thought that what I might need is not more information (i.e. this class I've registered for) but more talent (i.e. no professor can help you there).  And the dream nearly died right there on the bookstore linoleum.

But then RIM raised her voice over CIM's freaking out and I pulled myself together.  That is, until I got home and murdered my forward, gave birth to a new version, and sent it through cyberspace to be critiqued and analyzed by a real-life editor.

Good night, what am I thinking?

There's no help for it.  Best move on to the part where I bless you life.

Last week I went to to lunch with my brother who was in town just briefly, and my sister who lives here all the time but whom I never see enough.  We had a delicious conversation over sandwiches and fries and water with lemon.  Near the end, my brother mentioned a masterful talk he had heard at church that had blessed his life.  I looked it up and now it has blessed mine as well.

So here it is.  It is by Sister Julie B. Beck--the B. stands for Brilliant by the way, and that is always how I refer to her in our house, Sister Julie Brilliant Beck.  I think you'll agree.

And, you're welcome. 


(P.S.  I know some of you might be sorely tempted to leave an encouraging comment about my "brilliant" writing, but honestly I can't bear it today.  I am restricting all comments to agreements about the gorgeous and wise, Julie Brilliant Beck, and to those of you who think it is entirely plausible that I could indeed get asked out my some cute boy in my class next week.)

My Not-So Hidden Talents


This post might be completely different written at the other end of the day.

RIM thinks that if I just get a good head of steam going and make some serious inroads into the jungle that is my laundry room and get something to eat and maybe take a walk and read a couple of chapters in my new book that the day could turn out alright after all.

We'll see.

CIM feels more like wallowing.

Because next to hibernating I am best at wallowing.

Scratch that.  Next to hard-heartedness I am best at hibernating and then wallowing.

(None of these are very good in talent shows.  It occurs to me that this would have been my only weakness on the pageant circuit, by the way.)

Sometimes when I'm in the shower and all that's facing me is a laundry room posing as a jungle I imagine the alternate paths my life could have taken.  Beauty Queen is one I hadn't thought of until just now.

Suddenly I like laundry masquerading as the Amazon.

RIM just interrupted me to ask what it is I'm writing about and to nudge me toward breakfast.  My blood sugar is clearly too low to be out in public.

But I know it's too late.  I'm to the point where I can't even think what to eat.  It's a lost cause.

If David were here he could make me a sandwich and then make me eat it.

But he's not.

Did I say that already?

No, I didn't.  But he is.  Gone, I mean.  And so is everyone else.

Which means that the hibernation is over and this only leaves me with hard-heartedness and wallowing.

Which is a real shame.

Last Night I Dreamed of Kalamazoo

Last night I dreamed that David took a new job in Kalamazoo and then turned into an orca whale and could no longer speak English.  I chased him as far as I could into the ocean, but eventually had to head for shore.

I woke up in the heat.  And was both disappointed and relieved.

I've lost all my motivation.

For everything. 

I keep looking at my kitchen and trying to talk myself into scrubbing it.

I need a motive.  I look through my old motivators, searching for reinforcements.

Number 1:  A smidge of OCD

RIM pipes up, "It would be clean."

All I can think is, "So?"

Number 2:  Food

"You'd have dishes to eat on."

All I can think is, "It's too hot to eat."  That's when I hatch a plan involving popsicles for dinner.  No dishes required.

Number 3:  Target

"As soon as you get your work done you can go to Target."

All I can think is, "I'm not leaving this house til the sun goes down.  Or it's September.  Whichever comes first."  It'll probably be September.

Number 4 (the fail safe):  Sex

RIM gives it one more try, "Nothing's sexier than a clean kitchen."

All I can think is, "What?  Now that's just crazy.  You didn't seriously think I'd fall for that did you?"

Besides it's too hot for sex.

Then again, I'd be naked.  (Ideally.)


The Coming Storm

I'm just shy of crazy.


It's an uncomfortable place to be.  Knowing how close you are to really, truly losing it.  My toes are testing the water today.  It might not be so bad to just jump in.  It could save an ungracious fall.

This morning, on my way to make pancakes, I walked past the quilt I am working on for the hospital benefit, spread all over the kitchen table.  Right away CIM piped up.

"Oh my gosh, that is so ugly.  You've got to do something."

RIM:  It's fine.

CIM:  Are you kidding.  What's with that border fabric?

RIM:  I'm sure it will be fine once it's done.

CIM:  You always say that, and it's never true.  Remember the time we painted the living room chartreuse and I kept saying how bad it looked and you kept saying, "Just wait until we get the tape off,"  and then, "Just wait until we get the furniture back in here."  Remember that?  That was a disaster.

RIM:  Why do you always bring that up?  What can't you just let that go?  Every time you get the least bit jumpy, I have to hear about the living room again.

CIM:  You just don't like it when I'm right.

RIM:  (under her breath)  Luckily that rarely happens.

CIM:  I heard that.  I'm standing right. here.

RIM:  (with a huff)  Look.  It will be fine.  You've just stared at it too long.  Let's just keep going.

CIM:  I know you think I'm crazy, but I know what I'm talking about.

RIM:  (not even trying to hide her doubts, rolls her eyes)  Whatever.

CIM:  Just because I've had a few questionable moments in the past, you think everything I say is crazy.

RIM:  I'm done having this conversation. 

CIM:  I'm just getting started.

RIM:  (silent)

CIM:  I know you can hear me.

RIM:  (silent)

CIM:  And you know I'm right.

RIM:  (still silent, but clamping her jaw)

CIM:  Fine.  But you're going to come crawling back here in about a week, begging for a maelstrom.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  Then we'll see who's crazy.

The New Economy

(I'm supposed to be decorating wedding cake.  But my buttercream is doubling in size under the ministrations of my Kitchen-Aid.  Just time for a short post.)

I've never been a great shopper.  An inherited trait, I think.  Or nurture over nature.

Regardless, whenever someone compliments my dress, I have to say, "David bought it."

Over the years this has resulted in a complete lack of shopping confidence.

And the new economy isn't helping.  Because now instead of just asking myself, "Is this cute?"  I have to also ask myself, "Is this a need or a want?"  And the conundrum of discovering if something is both cute and needed is enough to make my hands itch and my pulse race.

So the other day, (after an in-the-shower flash of genius) I was at an antique store looking for doorknobs, when I saw this apron.


Side Pockets.


Old, well-washed cotton.


Back panels that wrap all the way around.

Darling tie in the back.

Right away I knew it was cute.  I was drooling, which is always a give-away.

And then I thought, "Is it a need or a want?"

I wanted it. 

Oh, baby, I wanted it.

But that didn't necessarily mean that I didn't need it too.

I tallied my aprons in my head.  And remembered the last time David opened the apron drawer looking for hotpads and asked, "Do you really need all of these?"

I slowly put the apron back on the rack.  And just in time CIM pointed out all the things I could do in it.

"Think how cute you'll look making the beds and sorting laundry and starting dinner.  And don't get me started on how charming it will look when you fill the bottom with oranges and carry them inside for brunch.  In fact, I think it's quite possible, that you could actually look forward to Monday mornings (my cleaning day) just so you can put on your lovely new apron."

That's true, I thought.

RIM cleared her throat and said with emphasis, "Is it a need or a want?"  (With extra heavy emphasis on "a want."  Which I ignored.

I took it to the front to pay.

The man there said, "I thought you were looking for doorknobs."

I said, "This is even better."

I paid my nine dollars and grinned all the way home.

And just so all you skeptics know, it was the best nine dollars I spent all week.  My gross domestic product has gone up tremendously since then.  Even David commented on my productivity, which is really saying something.  (Usually my "amazingness" goes without saying around here.) 

Now that's my idea of a stimulus package.  Buy everyone a drooly, full-front apron with pockets.  I think it could work.

At the very least, we'll all look cuter sorting the laundry.  I certainly do.

CIM Takes Matters Into Her Own Hands

It's time I posted.  Past time, really.

David listed my neglected and missing posts last night in bed.

Surprisingly, I wasn't feeling too amorous after that.  And I may have said something rude.  (I'm not saying one way or another.)

And then this morning RIM and CIM got into an argument about what to post and what not to post, and in what order.  Like that matters.  Obviously, CIM won because here I am telling you all this.  She always wins when I'm tired or haven't eaten recently or I've said something rude to my husband and am therefore feeling out-of-sorts.  (Let's be honest, after all that there is really very little place in my life for RIM.)

And so yes, there are other things to talk about.  Like our date to Othello with my parents (it was brilliant, by the way),

David's new car (no pictures yet),

the word-of-the-week and my SPT (in which I am teaching my kids a *new* game and *trying something new by letting the laundry and the mopping wait in favor of a couple of good games of croquet*),

not to mention the girls' Saturday sewing class with my mom,


a talk by Elder Bednar,

an inauguration, and the 100th day of school (which happened on the same day).

But instead,

here is a movie about why it is great to live in Arizona in January even if your bicycle-built-for-two gets a flat tire and it's so warm that you have to run the air conditioner for an hour before bed.

My Life by the (Metric) Numbers. So There.

Note:  Please be advised that CIM wrote this all by herself.  RIM is already telling me that I will regret it in the morning.

Tonight I read that the "representative habitation module" for the space station needs to be "to scale (metric)."  I told David, "I have no idea what that means." 

So there.

But here's my life by the numbers, metric and otherwise:

In the last 3 weeks

I've been to Home Depot at least 10 times,

and Target only once.

Which is just plain weird.

(Today I thought, "I'll just walk around Home Depot and see if there is anything that might be helpful."  Which is also just plain weird.  Weirder still, I found what I was looking for.  So there.)

I have 1

30-40 minute talk to give tomorrow night

and 0 idea of what to say.

I do know that Caleb's space station designed for 100 people

is 5,090 meters squared

and will need about 2 billion liters of air

and 8,030 kilograms of potatoes,

but still 0 idea of what information might be useful to a roomful of faithful women. 

So there.

(Those last two lines just took the wind out of my sails.  I've lost my belligerence.  When I started this post I had a good head of steam going.  But now I'm just feeling small and scared.)

But I'm going to rally.  Here goes:

The good news is that the 83 cm-in-diameter space station

is actually now rotating at 2 rpms all by itself,

and I have 36 hours before I have to think about it again.

And also (in regards to the talk and not the space station),

that the Lord has never, not once,

left me alone.

So there.

Revolt of the Working Class

My cleaning lady needs to be fired.

The laundry is stacked literally to the ceiling...can't tell what has been washed and what still needs to be, so she'll probably need to start completely over.

The dishes haven't been done in two days.

There is just no polite way to describe the state of the bathrooms or the floors.

A week's worth of "end-of-the-year" backpack dumps are piled on the counter.

To say nothing of the bedrooms, the rabbit cage, and the garage which are all currently emanating various noxious smells.

She is definitely slipping.

I am so going to fire her. 

Just as soon as I can find her.


I didn't want to offend my gentle readers' sensibilities...so I took a picture of the cleanest room in the house.

RIM:  This place is disgusting.

CIM:  It apparently doesn't bother anyone but you.

RIM:  The girls were definitely upset that they couldn't find any clean clothes this morning.

CIM:  They just need to look harder.  I know they had clean turtlenecks in the bottom of their drawers.

RIM:  Let's just clean it up.  You'll feel better if you do.

CIM:  No, you'll feel better if I do.

RIM:  Would that be so wrong?

CIM:  Am I crazy or didn't we just do this?

RIM:  It's been longer than you think.

CIM:  (getting worked up) Oh, so now I'm "crazy"?

RIM:  Do you really want me to answer that?