February 28, 2011

The Cougar Faithful

For those of you who haven't noticed yet....SPORTS are a pretty big deal in our home.
The first and last website Brian looks at every day is ESPN.com.
(Specifically the Dallas/Fort Worth page)
He talks about sports constantly, he reads about sports constantly, and he writes about sports constantly.
Even in term papers.
Ask Brother Curtis.
He will confirm this point.

Brian is very good at prioritizing.
He doesn't let his sport addiction get in the way of church.
Or me.
For the most part.

I'm used to sports.
I never actually played them... but I'm a big fan of, well, being a fan.
I love the emotion and energy that exists in any sports arena or playing field.
It's also fun to yell at the refs from your couch, knowing they can't hear you, but thinking it may change the outcome of the game anyway.
REALLY.... I don't mind.

We were having an interesting conversation the other day though.
BYU teams are very clear in their Sunday Play beliefs.
We DO NOT play on Sundays.
The NCAA tournament recognizes this fact and makes sure that BYU is never scheduled for a Sunday game.

But there is one thing they forgot to schedule around this year.

General Conference.

If BYU makes it all the way to the Final Four... some of the games are on Conference Saturday.
Probably during Priesthood.
And Brian would go to Houston to cover the games for our department.
And possibly miss conference sessions.
But conference sessions are re-printed, right?
Women never listen to the Priesthood meeting, but are able to read about it later.
Can men play by the same rules?
On the other side, there is this wonderful new invention called DVR.
Guys can record the game, got to Priesthood, then come home and yell at the TV without knowing any different.
However, if your family is similar to mine...
The boys have said that if BYU is in the Final Four.... they're going to Houston to watch.
Which means they catch the sessions later.
I mean, some areas of the world don't get the sessions til a week or two late.
But how "Cougar Faithful" are we?
And what does "Cougar Faithful" even mean?
Just some thoughts for you and your man.
Love much,

February 27, 2011


I don't usually get along with girls well.
I can count on one had how many really close girl-friends I've ever had.
But I definitely lucked-out when I picked my major.
There are so many wonderful, talented, beautiful people that I've come to love.

Brian is out of town for the SDSU game and one of my closest girl-friends has a husband that travels a lot for work as well.
So we decided it was time for some good, solid girl time.

My home-making self went crazy!
Cheese fondue and all the fixings.
Chocolate fountain (borrowed from Mom and Dad) and all the dippings.
Oreo cheesecakes.
Home-made cookies.
Now.... I didn't make everything, but let me tell you, it was quite the spread.It really was a blast to get together with other passionate, driven, energetic women
Attention all other broadcast girls: You were invited.... You missed out....

We've decided to make a tradition of this.
Brian's out of town next month for the NCAA tourney.
Who's in?

Love much,

February 23, 2011



It was a dark and stormy night.

No, really – it was. Dark and cold, with a mid-winter snow storm swirling about, blanketing the world with its oppressively heavy wetness.

And not just outside. Inside my soul it was dark and stormy, too. It had been one of those days – you know what I mean? Nothing terribly tragic, just lots of hassle and frustration. Long, boring, unproductive meetings at work. Starter problems with the car. Bills. Children of various ages, with various problems and struggles. A nagging cold.

You know – dark stuff. Stormy stuff. Inside, and out.

As tough as the day had been for the inner me, it was the “out” part that was really bugging me as I made my way down the snow-covered street to the church, where I had a meeting. I’ve lived in snow country most of my life, but I’ve never developed much affection for what I consider to be a white, fluffy annoyance. Maybe it’s because I don’t ski; I could never understand why anyone would want to go out and intentionally get cold and wet. I think I inherited this attitude from my Mom, who used to say that the best place to be during a Rocky Mountain snowstorm is indoors.

In San Diego.

My meeting at the church went reasonably well. I almost forgot about the slush that was running down my leg and into my sock as a result of the spill I took on the un-shoveled sidewalk that led from the parking lot into the church. I was getting ready to go home when I heard the unmistakable sound of spirited teenage boys coming into the building.

“Hey, guys – what’s going on?”

They weren’t expecting to see me, and they were trying to hide something behind them. “Uh . . . nothin’,” the smallest of the four teenagers said. “We’re just . . . uh . . . coming in to . . . uh . . . get a drink of water.”

“Yeah,” another boy said. “We need some water.”

“We’re thirsty,” added a third.

“Uh-huh,” I said. “I can see where you’d get thirsty out there in that hot, dry weather.”

The boys laughed nervously. I would have laughed, too, but I wasn’t really in a laughing mood. “Come on in and get a drink,” I said. “I’m locking up, and I need to get going.”

“Well, we need to go, too,” said the shortest boy. “We can get water at my house.”

“Yeah,” said one of the other boys. “You’ve got really good water.”

The boys all turned and ran toward the street as fast the ice, snow and the snow shovels (snow shovels?) they were carrying would allow. I could hear them laughing and speaking loudly to each other as I clicked off the lights in the church and pulled the locked door shut behind me.

As I walked out to my car I noticed that something was different in the parking lot. The sidewalk had been scraped clean of snow and ice, and a thin layer of rock salt had been spread across the cement. I smiled as a mathematical equation formed in my non-mathematical mind: boys plus shovels plus clean walks equals a mid-winter service project.

No wonder they were thirsty, I thought as I smiled a refreshing, heart-felt smile.

When I got to where my car was parked I had to stop and laugh out loud. One of the boys had shoveled a path all the way from the sidewalk to the door of my car. He had even cleared away a little spot for me to stand while I unlocked my car and climbed in. Suddenly, my day didn’t seem nearly so dreary, and the night didn’t seem nearly so cold.

It was just a little act of kindness, requiring no more than a few minutes worth of shoveling. But somehow it was enough to make a difference for me.

Even on a dark and stormy night.

February 22, 2011


Last week was a long week.
Work was crazy.  School was stressful. And it seemed like bad news waited at every corner.
This took a huge toll on my already stressful life.
And Brian really noticed.

(That poor guy gets it the worst when I have a bad week.  Sorry BABE!)

Anyways.... I came home from work Thursday night in tears.
I can handle stress. I feel like I THRIVE on it.
But Thursday night...I broke.
A *JERK* came up to me and lectured me for 3 minutes about how ridiculously small the salad plates are.
Same complaint. Same response. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing new.
But this man would not back down.
He began to rip into me. I felt degrated.  I felt dishonest.  I felt like a failure.
And I don't EVER feel that way.
I braved through the rest of the conversation, trying to do everything I could to make this guy happy.
Then I ran to the manager's office, closed the door, and fell apart.
I didn't know what was happening.  It wasn't like me at all.
But I put on a brave face and *tried* to make it through the rest of the night.
Not very successfully I might add.
When I got home, Brian suggested that maybe I was just completely exhausted and needed to go to sleep.
I thought maybe he was just being insensitive and didn't want to deal with me anymore.
But it turns out he was right.

And I slept for a long time.

I skipped my 2 classes Friday morning and so all I had to do was be on campus at 10 to start directing the show. 
And the show went pretty well... which added to my good mood.
Then a bit of shopping and running errands with my hubby.
So nice.
Until I got more disappointing news.... which made me break down again.
I have NEVER been the girl that cries at the drop of a dime.  I'm tough.  I can handle a lot of things.
So what was wrong?
I didn't know. But I didn't have much time to figure it out because I worked all Friday night.
SO, fighting back the tears, I went to work, promising myself to not think about anything but the customers and doing my job correctly.
It was a good, busy shift and time passed quickly.
Soon it was time for me to go, so I headed out to my car and found this.....
I love that I married a "writer."  His ability to express himself through words is SO attractive!
I couldn't believe it... my husband was the most thoughtful person in the world.He knows me so well and knew exactly what would make me feel better.
In the note he left he wrote, "PS- There is a surprise waiting at home."
He'd planned surprises before so I thought it was a nice bubble bath or homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese (My fav!)
I was NOT expecting this.....
BYU threw in the printer for free.... who knew?
I still can't believe it!
We've been planning and saving for one of these for a while, but had decided that we'd wait til the end of the semester and look at money again before we bought.
So... I was COMPLETELY shocked.
And in love.
All at the same time.
But in my *fragile* and emotional state, do you know what sent me over and made me break down?
New black work socks.
My other ones were so worn out and had HUGE holes in the heels.  And my sweet husband bought me new ones.
Cheesey.... I know.
I love that he loves me.... even in my nasty funny work clothes
So last week ended up not being so bad after all.
And I am "totally, completely, relentlessly in love" with my Mac.
Er... Our Mac.
Love much,

PS - Who can tell me the movie that the quote 4 lines up is from?

February 17, 2011



George was my best friend in elementary school.

Which is not to say I didn’t have other friends. I did. I grew up with a great bunch of guys: Albert, Ron and Don (yeah, they were twins), Dean and Kenny, to name just five. We tended to do things as a group (did someone say “pack”?) whenever we could – riding bikes, playing basketball and football, building forts in empty lots, sledding and stealing . . . er, borrowing raspberries from Grandma Hayes’ raspberry bushes.

But when we couldn’t get the guys all together, George and I always managed to find a way to hang out. We climbed the fruit trees in his yard. We teased his little sister Patty and my big sister Kathy. We played army. We played one-on-one football (I was the huge one that he couldn’t bring down; he was the speedy one that I couldn’t catch). We spied on Gayle.

In fact, Gayle was the only thing we ever fought about. Gayle was my on-again, off-again girlfriend (we liked each other in 3rd, 5th and 7th grades, so it was on, off, on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, to be technically correct). George kind of liked her, too – but it was awkward for him, because they were sort of relatives (I never really understood HOW they were related – just that they were). So he wasn’t supposed to like her – it was against the commandments or the Beatitudes or something – but he kind of did. And it was upsetting to him when I told him about playing kissing games with Gayle in her back yard.

Yes, Gayle – I told George. I know I told you that I didn’t, but I did.

There. I feel better getting that off my chest, even though it took me 48 years to do it.

The thing is, I told George pretty much everything back then. That’s just the way it was with us. We’d sit up there in one of his trees, or we’d lie on our backs in his backyard (which was way better than my backyard) and look up at the clouds, and we’d talk. We talked about everything, and we knew everything about each other. He knew about that “men’s” magazine I had stolen a few . . . well, OK, maybe a dozen . . . peeks at. I knew about the homework assignment he had cheated on. And we schemed together about how to get Kathy to marry one of his older brothers – Vic or Dave, it didn’t really matter to us. We just wanted to be family.

You know – sort of like him and Gayle were. Whatever that meant.

At one point in our friendship our moms got together and decided we were seeing way too much of each other. As I recall, this came around the time that we started inviting each other over for dinner every day. George’s family had their big meal at lunchtime, and we had our big meal in the evening. So every day for about a week we ate two big meals a day. We were in heaven – but our moms had had enough. We couldn’t see each other or talk on the phone for a week. It was hard – we both went through a sort of withdrawal. But at the end of the week everything was the same as it was, only we were both down to one big meal per day.

Eventually junior high put the distance between us that our mothers couldn’t. We were still friends, but we started hanging with different groups (in other words, I was a band nerd and George wasn’t – end of story). We still said “hi” in the halls and we talked at church and stuff, but it was never really the same. We drifted further apart in high school, and have only bumped into each other occasionally after that. Still, it was sobering when Gayle sent me an e-mail yesterday to let me know that George had died. Even though I haven’t seen him in years, I felt an emptiness and a sadness that I never would have anticipated. Evidently the bonds forged while playing in fruit trees and lying on your back looking at clouds are strong.

And today I find myself wishing I had made an effort to communicate with George or to go to dinner with him or something. You know what I mean? I’m not riddled with guilt or angst or anything like that – I’d just like to spend some time with an old, dear friend. Only now I can’t.

Maybe there’s a George in your life, too. I know – our lives are all busy, and we have so much to do with work and family and current relationships that we have little time to go searching for friends in our past. I understand that. But if it’s true, as the poet Joseph Parry wrote, that we should “make new friends, but keep the old; those are silver; these are gold” . . . well, maybe we should try to find some time now and then to mine for a little interpersonal gold.

Which reminds me . . . I wonder what Albert is up to these days?

February 15, 2011

A *Love* Day

February 14.
One year ago.
The first time he told me he loved me.
Sounds so cliche right?
It was perfect.
And so was Valentine's Day this year.
Well.... besides the huge Art History test we had to take.
Our teacher was FULL of love.... right?
We both did well on our tests and then went home and worked out.
Which was good because we worked up quite the appetite.
Brian made reservations at our favorite restaurant.We love this place.
And nobody knows about it.
Which makes it even better.
Thanks to the love of my life for a wonderful evening!
Love much,


I really didn't know what to expect.
I'd only met them once.
If that.
But these guys were Brian's best friends in high school.
And they hadn't gotten together in probably 5 years.
So they invited themselves over to my house for a bit of a reunion.
And so we gathered... and talked... and most importantly....
... we ate!
Thanks to a wonderful, amzing cook in my parents' ward for the food.
Well, she didn't MAKE it
but she gave me the recipe book to make it happen.
Here are the 4 amigos
It was so fun to see them together and hear all of their funny stories.
Here are *3* of them with their one, true loves.
Thanks everybody for coming over and helping with the food.
Let's not wait another 4 years to get together again.
Love much,

February 11, 2011

I want to be Jimmered!

Made my night...
Hope it makes yours too...

February 10, 2011

Coco and Cocoa

So I have some pretty talented in-laws.
My mother-in-law does catering.
(Well... DID catering... she's in the process of "retiring" but is in such high demand she's finding it hard to keep saying "no.")
My brother-in-law is a carpenter.
Or something.
I don't know if that's what he actually likes to be called.
He is AMAZING at making furniture out of basically nothing... and he's currently going to school to improve his talents.Well his wife is awesome as well. She knits and crochets and sews all sorts of different things.
And today I happened upon these.
Aren't they adorable? Cute little owls....
Maybe it's all this cold weather we've been experiencing, but I think I can't survive without one of these anymore.
Anybody else what one?
Click here.
Now I just need to come up with my own talent so I can fit into this family better.

Love much,

February 9, 2011

Playing Catch Up....

SO.... I know that I haven't been the best blogger this year. I'm super busy! 
But you don't want excuses.... 
you want pictures!

So this post will be loaded with them..... 
Hold on tight, here we go....

Like I've mentioned in an earlier post, all of my brothers and sisters came out to for Jon's "Farewell."
And we took advantage of having everyone here.
Can you say "PAR-TAY?"
The girls - minus Amy.... she came later.
And the boys.... I've never thought this before, but they all look like they could be related.... right?
The "Farewell" was awesome.
My parents decided to throw a party for Jon and his friends the Saturday before his "farewell" talk.
It ended up being a blast.  They could all talk and laugh and eat and be dramatic and nobody was "shushing" them in the chapel.
I highly recommend this route for any upcoming missionaries.

Next up....
My man's 24th Birthday!
Brian's favorite cake = Red Velvet
My experience BAKING a Red Velvet cake = 0
Thanks to the wonderful Natalie Tripp, I got a hold of an awesome recipe.  
But it was challenging making a cake form scratch.
This is everything for the cake... minus the cocoa.  Who knew Red Velvet needed cocoa? Thanks to my wonderful neighbor who lent some to this girl in DIRE need.
All 3 layers cooling... PERFECTO!
The finished product... after a few slices were very much enjoyed.. I'm pretty proud of my first attempt.
One very happy Birthday Boy!
Last but not least....  
My handsome little brother with the strongest spirit and testimony one could as for left us. He's now out on the greatest adventure he's ever been on. 
Funny how I never appreciated him when he was here... and now I wish I could just sit down and talk with him some more.
The whole crew at Tucano's before we say good-bye.  We'll all look a little different next time he's in a picture with us.
Wonderful parents... wonderful brother.... wonderful picture.
Well.... as you can see, we've been pretty busy.
I'm getting weekly letter from Jon and have posted them on his blog.
So you can all keep updated on his shenanigans.
Love much,