Friday, June 19, 2009

Mom and Daughter Conversation

Cheyenne: Let's go to that place and get eel! That's what I want for dinner -- eel!
(At the restaurant)
Mom: So, if I were going to take you out to dinner and I let you choose pizza or sushi, what would you choose?
Cheyenne (while shoving a large bite of raw salmon in her mouth): SUSHI!
Cheyenne: I would order this same thing over and over again. It would be like a unicycle!
(Puzzled look on Mom's face)
Cheyenne (while drawing a circle with her hand): You know -- like a caterpillar goes to a cocoon then a butterfly!
Mom: Oh, that would be a life cycle.
Cheyenne: Uh huh.

The whole conversation made me smile, and it clearly needed to be recorded. Love that girl!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mid-life Finances

This week has been an interesting week in my shopping life as I wrestled with lots of decisions about updating Daniel's saxophone. You all know Dale and I are hyperanalytical when we are alone which makes us uberanalytical together! (Daniel loves to use "uber.") It's hard to pick something nice enough while trying to second guess what the next 4-8 years will bring for Daniel. I guess investing in an instrument that plays beautiful music can't be all bad, right? We can all benefit from that.

So, we did buy a new saxophone (and I will say it is beautiful in its looks and its sound). We did return his old rental one. I do thank all of you whom I surveyed to help me make these decisions.

These kinds of decisions and stressful weeks always bring out lots of deeply-held and deeply-questioned views of money. It's an interesting animal, isn't it? So needed, so wanted, so controlling, so confusing. To date, I've spent a lot of time studying money and thinking of its role in my life. Some days I feel more comfortable than others, but I'm sure I know more about myself and about money than I did 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, or last year.

I know I have young nieces and nephews who read my blog. If you ever want a few opinions about what I've learned about things like saxophone rentals or life insurance or retirement plans, I'd love to chat about it. I know it's all personal, but I sometimes wish I'd have had someone to give me a few more pointers when they weren't trying to sell me something. I'm always good for a discussion of these things, and I won't even be offended if you don't like my advice! At least it will have been free advice!

Bottom line -- we've been extraordinarily blessed, we currently have a job, we've been fortunate to land in a pretty good position at this mid-life point. I'm grateful for all the help and advice that got me here, but I'm still learning every day. It still makes my head hurt, so I hope they don't use money in Heaven. It'll be Heaven for me if my family is there, fresh peaches are free and always available, and we don't have to file taxes with itemized deductions!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Words to Live By

I officially made my goal of blogging every day this past week. It's been fun! Thanks for the support you guys have given me in reading my blogs and making me feel so famous. I think I'll continue to blog a lot just because I know I can.

As for a Facebook update, I'm getting by with a little help from my friends! I've had some tutoring and I have some more scheduled, so join me there as you can.

Finally, for today's blog, I want to share a few quotes I really like. I record them when I see them, but they will be more fun if I share them. I'll just share a couple now and save some others for another day. Enjoy these little snippets of wisdom!

“God left [the] world unfinished. . . . He left the problems unsolved and the pictures unpainted and the music unsung that man might know the joys and glories of creation.” - Attributed to Alan Stockdale (This one always reminds me of Daniel and the things he gets to do in order to experience this joy.)

(And now another one that reminds me of Daniel. I need to find a good way to display this one in his room!) I meander to the beat of my own drummer!

(Here's a great quote taken from the movie Hairspray. This was spoken by Maybelle and it reminds me what it's like some days just to go out in the world.) Brace yourself for a whole lotta ugly coming at you from a never-ending parade of stupid.

(I'll make this one my last one for tonight. It just gives me hope.) I hope this is the dark part of the night, which is generally just before day. – General Nathanael Greene during American campaign in 1776

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Day to Boldly Go...

This afternoon I took off with my friend Lisa to see the Star Trek movie. Our husbands took our boys within the first couple days of it opening. However, I didn't feel inclined to go then, nor did I fit in the crowd of men all with computers under their arms. So, we waited until we could just stroll in a few minutes before it started. There were things I really enjoyed, but it confirms that I'm not so into violence and major special effects. And to this day I can't see an earwig without thinking of "The Wrath of Kahn." There's no telling what this one is gonna do to me after that scene with Captain Pike! My memory is that I could still enjoy one of the classic episodes from the 60's without something exploding every second, but maybe I'd reconsider if I actually watched an episode from the 60's. Hmmmm.

And speaking of boldly going where I have not yet been ---- I finally did it! I joined the 21st century and a ton of friends on Facebook. Now I'm completely overwhelmed because I have no idea what I'm doing! My cute nephew Sam was here today and he volunteered to help me open an account. He was here long enough to get the account opened, but now I'm not sure what to do next. For anyone reading this, be forewarned that I'll be calling a lot of you this week to get some pointers. Notice I said I'd be "calling" because I wouldn't have a clue how to communicate with any of you online. So, please show some compassion on me as a neophyte.

I am pleased that I didn't sign up and find that no one wanted me as a friend. That would have made me overwhelmed and embarrassed all at the same time. So, I'll take a stab at Facebook, hope there are no earwigs or other disgusting creatures associated with it, and wish that I can live long and prosper (along with all my Friends, that is).

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Doll

The time has come to share the story of the doll. Last year my son had the luck to turn 13 on Friday the 13th. He was excited, so we had a Friday the 13th party. How could we resist? His friend thought it would be funny to buy a Barbie doll at the thrift store that he could decorate with fangs or something. Ah, but the the Barbie was not to be because instead, he found this!

It's tough to really grasp how creepy this doll is simply by seeing a picture of it. Not only is it creepy by nature, but it has a cord attached. When we plugged it in, we discovered that her hands move back and forth in an accordion fashion. Ick! As if that weren't enough, we discovered a few days later that she also plays "Silent Night." There are no words, just music while the hands move back and forth. The creep factor had now grown exponentially. Along with the creep factor came the endless possibilities that lay ahead.

The past 12 months have seen ever-increasingly creative appearances by the doll at one of three homes - the friend who originally bought it (Friend #1), ours, and their third friend (Friend #2). Let me offer a summary of her travels:

June - Given to Daniel for his birthday
July - Put in Friend #1's closet to surprise him
Later in July - Back on our doorstep with a note saying she missed us
Rest period
Christmas Eve - Placed on Friend #1's doorstep with candy in hand and music playing (prior to this point, they didn't know it played Silent Night!)
Valentine's Day - Placed on Friend #2's doorstep with hearts and candy
St. Patrick's Day - Greeted us on our doorstep with a bright green sparkly hat
April - Friend #2 and her family went on a cruise to Mexico. Thanks to PhotoShop, the doll was able to tour the very ship they sailed on! She was even able to parasail! Pictures of her antics kept showing up during the cruise. Sadly, the cruise was rerouted from Mexico to San Francisco due to swine flu concerns. When they arrived home, the doll was waiting on their counter with sunglasses, a mask over her nose and mouth, and lots of paper pigs attached to her dress.
May - She reappears at Friend #1's house for his birthday.
May - During a birthday BBQ for Friend #2, the doll was lowered over the fence holding a mylar balloon and a card with a song recorded on it - Not just any song, but the one with which she has been tortured by her brothers. She says she hates it, but someday it's gonna make a great memory.
June 12 - Tonight the doll returned in her best form yet. It was a prebirthday surprise and a scout camp sendoff. Who would've thought she could sport a makeshift swimsuit, a swim cap (my personal favorite), and an inflatable seahorse? She was accompanied by this great poem:

The creepy doll is here to say,
she hopes you have a great Birthday!
This time around, she comes equipped,
with treats and stuff for your big trip!
Camp Cherry Valley is calling you,
she wishes she could come along too.
She's got her swimsuit and her fishing pole.
Also -- a pail and shovel for digging holes,
But best to leave her home, I think,
or the other scouts might really freak!

This one's gonna be tough to top!!

So, as I review the last several days' posts, I've realized that I've revealed a shameful amount of info about myself. I must come across as being really out there! The truth is that we just try to have fun.

The day the neighbors were asked to help lower the doll over the fence, we kind of exposed our oddness to the neighborhood. Then she put a picture of it on her blog. Wow, a bunch more people know. So, it is in our defense that I share the story of the doll's life. Maybe you'll just laugh and not think about it again. Maybe it'll give you an idea for a birthday gift. Or maybe you'll report us for something. No matter what, I'm grateful for good friends who will have fun with us, and I look forward to many years of fun with the doll!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Few Things I Have Learned Lately

Life and its inherent experiences never stop teaching us, but some weeks seem more full of new teachings than others. Actually, my summary here probably includes a couple of weeks, but that's because some of the things I learned this week didn't make for nearly as interesting of a blog!

#1 - One firecracker inserted into a small 4" high chocolate bunny (purchased from an Easter clearance sale specifically for this purpose) will blast it into tiny pieces that are shot approximately 20+ feet (confirmed by chocolate shrapnel hitting Grandma who was located a measured 20 feet away). I also learned that chocolate flying at high speed hurts at close range. Oh, and for the real nerds out there, if you slow the video down to a frame by frame view, you can learn that that fuse burned for 1.5 seconds, then it took 1/15 of a second for the explosion and the complete obliteration of the bunny. The moral is: Don't let your kids play with firecrackers!

#2 - Raspberries can mold overnight. That's right, lots of pricey, beautiful raspberries waiting for time the next day to make jam, can mold overnight. Check out the internet, there are lots of other stories out there to back me up on this one!

#3 - Mold is pretty fascinating when viewed through a microscope. And when you get to the cell view, they move around just like water.

#4 - If you find a dead moth on your front porch before your cat does, it's fun to look at it. For reference, the sticks are chopsticks. The moth had at least a 4 or 4.5 inch wingspan -- and it was fuzzy.

#5 - Microscopes are cool!

#6 - To date, there have been about 4 billion Lego minifigures (people) produced. Before long, there will be enough for every man, woman, and child on the earth. Hmmm. Some of those people are gonna be ticked that theirs are in Daniel's room!

#7 -The new recipe we tried for bagels was great!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I am a dotted white line

So, I have recently reached the conclusion that in many areas of my life I am a dotted white line. That is, I am a pretty straight, middle of the road kind of gal with a certain consistency, but still lots of gaps. Let me explain some of my reasoning behind this declaration. I don't see myself as very extreme on most things, I just like the middle of the road. I want to try all kinds of things in this life, but I don't have to be the best, and I don't have to master them. Last summer when I went paragliding, I just wanted to try it, and I'd do it again, but I don't need to take it up as a major hobby for which I must be certified. There are lots of things that sound fun to try just for a fun experience. I'll keep working on those without focusing too heavily on any one thing.

I want to exercise and be in shape for the sake of being in shape, but I don't have to be big and muscle-bound, nor to I have to be an extreme competitor. This was brought home a little yesterday when I met Cathy and we took our kids to climb Y mountain in Provo. For those not familiar with it, the giant Y is on the side of a mountain overlooking BYU. According to what I read, it is almost 400 feet tall by 200 feet wide. The trail to get there is 1.2 miles long and rises 980 vertical feet. It's a thigh workout for sure. I was just thankful to be doing it with a healthy body and a smile on my face. We were passed, however, by a man who stops at every switchback (there are lots) and does push ups all the way up for a total of 250 push ups on the way up! He does it 5 days a week. I'd say, he's definitely a bright yellow solid line on the side of the road in the exercise realm! Then there was the lady who lapped us a couple of times as she hiked up and down 3 times in a row. We just enjoyed the hike and the view!

Ah, but I digress. Back to my road markings. I'm a straight arrow, rule-keeping type. I pretty much do my best to do what is asked in the way it was asked. I'm not suggesting I'm perfect, but I'm saying my intent is to follow the rules.

And I'm a very bland white color in many ways. My hair, my clothes, my house, etc. are all pretty nondescript. I don't really stand out in a crowd, but I try to be bright in my own right and little reflective of light that I find in others.

Lastly, I guess I'm a dotted white line because that would imply that I'm going the same direction as most of those around me. I don't usually go against the flow.

As I read this now, it almost sounds like it's a downer to be a dotted white line, but I quite like my place in the middle. I get to experience lots of things, I get to go on indefinitely, and I like to think I serve a rather useful purpose in the midst of all those around me.

I know this is a somewhat indulgent post as I analyze myself, but I'd love to hear how the rest of you would characterize yourselves. I think it might be quite insightful!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Horse Show 2009

The annual Horse Show at the place Cheyenne rides was held at the end of May. This was Cheyenne's best year ever. She worked hard before the show and she gave it her all at the show. With a name like Cheyenne Wilde, would you expect anything less? [And so I digress to a funny story shared by a neighbor recently. As a followup to another discussion, one of this neighbor's children said, 'What if Cheyenne married someone with a last name of West? Her name would be Cheyenne Wilde West!' We decided we'd use the theme to 'Wild, Wild, West' as the wedding march.]

She won first place in the barrel racing for her group. She wanted to gallop, but alas, she held herself to a trot and did a fine trot at that. Way to go! She also got ribbons for the skills test and the water race (a race in which she had to scoop water from a bucket with a pitcher, hold the pitcher with one hand and the reins in the other, and race to the other side to dump the water in another bucket). A lot of family was there to witness the big event, but please pay no attention to the dorky-faced teenage brother on the left side (oh, I shouldn't have pointed it out, I guess). But you should pay attention to the cute pink cowgirl boots she's wearing!

I'm sure many of you have heard me talk about how excited she can get about a 'Participant' ribbon. This was better! Way to go, girl!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Kids' Kreations

For some time now, Cheyenne has been asking me to teach her how to decorate a cake. We finally did it a couple weeks ago. We baked a yummy white cake together, then she did all the decorating. She did a great job, and she enjoyed it. I think we'll be doing more in the future. Maybe she'll take a little stress off of me by becoming the family's new cake supplier!

In the meantime, Daniel has been busy creating in his own way. When I recently took my turn dusting the entertainment center, I was given a treat when I saw the newest accessories for the cute wooden fish we have as decorations. I guess Daniel was a little consumed with the "Core Testing" they were doing that week at school. (Just in case you can't see the picture well, they each have a "Coral Test" along with an answer sheet full of small round circles.)

And as a followup, the next time I went to dust, the tests were all piled up in the center of the fish so they could burn them in a fire! At least chores become an experience of discovery!

And just for the record, this was posted before midnight, so I'm still up with my goal!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

She Lives!

Since starting this blog nearly two years ago, this is the longest I've ever gone without posting. May is always crazy with the end of school year activities and such. Then there are always the wildelife things that just happen. The reasons for my negligience are many. The month was busy, my head was more full of thoughts than my hands could really type (so I end up typing nothing instead of typing a little bit), and ironically, technological concerns have slowed me down. That is, Dale has been trying to consolidate all our pictures and such in one place. That means he downloads them all to his computer. I think about getting certain pictures to blog about them, but it takes longer these days, so I slack off. All lousy excuses. That happens a lot in my life.

So, today is a new day. I've set a goal for myself. For at least one week, I'm going to pretend I'm one of those big name, highly paid blogging moms who shares regularly. I'm going to post something every day between now and next Sunday. I certainly have enough ideas stored in my head to post every day for a lot longer, but that would be a little too much Cheryl, now wouldn't it?? I invite you to come along and share a week of a blog a day and see how it goes.

For today, my thought would be that I'm so thankful for kind, wonderful youth leaders who do things to strengthen teenagers. Parents can do a lot, but we can't do it all (and somedays can do nothing). That's when other adults can really influence these tender souls.

Daniel got to spend the last 3 days enjoying a youth conference put on by the leaders of our stake. They copied a very popular youth program called Especially for Youth. They had college-aged counselors, they played fun team building games, they saw concerts, they danced, they had workshops, they studied scriptures, they learned etiquette, etc., etc. Every night he came home beaming. Last night it was beaming mixed with humble spiritual awakening. He felt moved by knowing for sure that there is a Heavenly Father who loves him. All the other skills he learned will be beneficial in his life, but that kind of knowledge will be irreplaceable. Thank you again to those who helped him find that knowledge; it means a lot to a mom like me.