Sky Diving!

Yesterday my oldest son, Sean, did something only a few dare tell their mothers they are doing. He jumped from an airplane at 14,000 feet, dropping at a speed of 120 MPH and traveling over 1 mile to the ground. The jump was an 18th birthday gift from Brent and I who wanted to give an experience not a thing. It was a literal fulfillment of taking a flying leap into adulthood.

I hope despite the dementia I suffer from, I will never forget this day. All of the friends and family who gathered to watch witnessed a very animated Sean. Watching the adrenaline and genuine excitement course through Sean's veins was as fun as if I'd jumped myself (almost). Oh Happy Day!

Could there be a more perfect shirt to wear on this occasion?

Signing mounds of paperwork

Sean and Rick, who Sean has affectionately dubbed, "the awesome skydiver guy"

Taking off

The descent

Perfect landing

High fives

The face of CONTENT

"I want to go again"

Fan club

BIG, BIG thanks to Janessa for capturing the moments on camera!!

For Every Worry

I have a great friend named Lori, whom I admire and love dearly. She is the type of person that is NEVER at a loss for words. And in fact, she is usually overflowing with a preponderance of varied and unusual vocabulary. In fact, she is not only a walking lexicon, but without any advance notice at all and with uncanny timing, she will interject the perfect quote, quip, colloquium, prose, story, song or catchy phrase. Heck, she could create a Haiku on demand, if you need one (and in a perfect Japanese accent).

A few days ago, I was lamenting about the challenges of parenting. Right out of the top of her head, she piped up with this little gem:

For every worry under the sun
There is a remedy or there is none
If there is one, hurry and find it
If there is not, never mind it
-Richard Evans


Things Are Not Always As They Appear

One of my patients told me this story the other day (paraphrased by me):

"About a week ago, I looked in the mirror and noticed the skin on my face seemed to be a little yellow. I thought maybe it was just the lighting and thought nothing of it. Over the next couple of days, I noticed the yellow tint continued and in fact seemed to worsening. At this point, I started to become more alarmed and actually became a little nervous. My mother died of liver cancer, and with my breast cancer, of course the fear of it going to the liver is always in the back of my head. So, for the next couple of days, I watched as my facial skin grew more and more yellow. I tried to review the last week in my head. What had my diet been? Had I done anything different? The only thing I could think of was that I had begun using a different moisturizing cream. I ran to the bathroom and pulled out my new Oil of Olay facial lotion. There in teeny tiny letters were the words: touch of sun

For a review of this product, click here.


Candy Is Probably Bad

This fantastic essay was written by my youngest brother, Jordan. I wish every parent in America could read this. (And have Janna as their mother!)

Candy is probably bad. I have been slow to take it from the kids though. When I met Janna, her kids had never had sugared cereal and her house didn't have a manufactured, processed food it in. I sort of corrupted her and brought home smack ramen, captain crunch and frozen pizza. A lot of it. She told me her opinion and then just left it alone, since she is constitutionally unable to nag. But over time I have been convinced. Lucy and Anna grew more and more picky. Every meal was a fight. They wanted hot dogs or ramen and refused all fruit and vegetables. They are junkies, spending each waking moment scheming for sweets. They get more excited about the prospect for cake than for going to the pool, seeing their parents or camping. And, I am ashamed to admit, that due to their effective prodding, they had the cake, or its equivalent almost every day. And then I snapped. I said no more. Janna was waiting and we sprung into action.

The farewell painful event: Anna found a quarter on our way into a Chinese restaurant. She asked to use it in the little turn candy machine run by the local retarded kids. I said sure and Janna looked at me funny. Lucy screamed about being left out. I forced Anna to share. She screamed. For various reason involving the candy Imogen started screaming, Lucy kept it up and Anna refused to be outdone. It lasted about an hour because we were in the car, which is quite conducive to screaming. So I acquiesced and since that day 6 weeks ago their have been no sweets except that we make them at home. I've finally learned; candy does not make kids happy.

Janna and I have been trying really hard to feed the kids good food. If possible, that means local food above all else. Organic is important, I guess, but it is unproven if the added expense does anything. So I am indifferent to organic. Local make sense. Why buy "organic" milk from a coporate farm in California from cows bred in Argentina that used 3 barrels of oil to be shipped all around the world? We know the people who produce our milk, our vegetables, our fruits and our meats. It's made right where we live and it's delicious. And it turns out, it's almost always organic.

As a bonus, the food we've been eating, prepared by Chef Janna, is really incredible and the kids have begun to down it too. Janna knows food. At first, they went to bed hungry. We served the meal of the night (vegetable pot pie, fried cabbage and grilled corn cobs.) and that was that. No prodding.

"Do I have to finish my dinner?"


And after 2 or 3 days, they got hungry. They started eating what was served and since their only choices where healthy ones, they are filled up with healthy food. Janna has made it possible. All the beef we eat is from her friend's little cow who was slaughtered because he kept sneaking milk from his milk-cow mother. Everything is fresh, local. She's canned peaches, nectarines, tomatoes and preserves for the winter. She's bartered to buy half a pig from polyface farm, in our freezer now. The grocery store is for sugar and flour, used to make the occasional cookies and homemade ice cream made with strawberries picked from a friend's organic local farm. If the kids want a snack, they get a peach picked on Graves Mountain last Saturday.

I have been converted.


Banana Republic

My kids aren't the only ones that get new school clothes. I got one outfit. Classics, not trendy, that never go out of style.

I have a split personality: one side eclectic, one side plain. This purchase satisfied my conservative, simple, plain brain.

photo credit: banana republic

photo credit: banana republic


Delicious Dill

WARNING: If you like your nuts plain and your pickles wet, stop right now. If you are up for a culinary adventure, read on.

I LOVE dill pickles. Almost as much as I love cheesecake. And I love anything dill pickly, like Lay's dill pickle potato chips, Uncle Dan's dill pickle dip, or dill pickle cornbread (okay, I just made up that last one, but I'm loving that idea). I also dig nuts and their crunchy goodness. So, it makes perfect sense that a cross pollination of the two would be a merry marriage made in the lab. And guess what? The good folks at Archer Farms thought so too and are selling dill pickle cashews at Target. When I saw them, you can bet they popped into my cart. Funny how inanimate objects are sometimes known to do that. Those crazy jumping cashews.

Okay. So....verdict please! Do the pickled cashews remotely resemble a pickle?

Let me just say that the very first bite was pleasantly surprising. Initially, the nuts are salty, just as expected. Then a wave of dill is perceptpible. Not enough of a tang to produce that puckering release of saliva when eating lemons, but a definite dilly taste. And granted it isn't wet, cold and slimy, and as much fun to slurp on as the real deal. But there is no doubting the artificial carcinogenic pickle flavoring. YUMMMMMY!! I give them 4/5 stars.

Now if they could just come up with cheesecake flavored almonds.


BaCk to ScHOoL

Today is the first day of school for my three high schoolers. The beginning of school is always one of my favorite times of the year, and today I am waxing nostalgic. In Bountiful Utah, where we used to live, back to school meant apple crisp, sweaters and colorful leaves. I would always walk to school with the kids and invariably there was a noticeable change in the air. Somehow, like magic, the heavens had our first day of school marked on the giant universal calendar and kindly gifted us with the undeniable hint of fall's arrival.

Once at school, all the kids would gather outside for an opening flag ceremony. There was a tangible mix of anxiety and excitement as the kids waited in lines sporting brand new clothes, shiny new shoes and trendy backpacks. The teachers were fresh and cheerful, the kids obedient. Inside the school, the classrooms were armed with newly sharpened pencil bouquets and scrubbed desks with the lingering odor of disinfectant.

It was tradition that on the second day back to school, the mothers in my area would gather at the park for a potluck brunch. A celebration of having survived another summer. A commemoration of a fresh new start. Our hopes were high that this would be the year our kids would catch the spark of learning and dowse the flames of video games. Gorging ourselves on watermelon and coffee cake, we reconnected, relishing in the small reprieve from childcare, and collectively recommitting ourselves to being an active participant at the school and in our children's lives.

I remember fondly the first day of one particular school year. Stockton and Landon were starting the 3rd grade. Excitement had been building in the weeks prior. On the eve of the first day, S&L had packed and re-packed their backpacks, organizing them just right. They laid out their new clothes and kept asking if it was time for bed yet. The next day, I anxiously awaited their arrival home. Watching out our large picture window, I finally caught a glimpse of their bobbing backpacks coming down the street. As they got closer, I immediately sensed a problem. What was it? How could they leave so bubbly and return like a deflated balloon. Landon sauntered into the house, plopped down dejectedly on the couch and removed his backpack.

"Well.....? How was it?" I urgently wanted to know. "How did your day go?"

Landon looked up at me like I had just taken away his new puppy and mournfully replied, "Here is how our day went: rules, rules, rules, recess. Rules, rules, rules, lunch. Rules, rules, rules, home."

But like the amnesia of childbirth, those first monotonous days of obligatory protocol disbursement are forgotten each year as anticipation mounts for the return to routines and organized learning. This year was no exception. And just like when my kids were younger, I can hardly wait for them to get home and report.


Wake to Bacon

Do you love waking up to the smell and sizzle of bacon? Do you hate waking up to the annoying buzz of an alarm clock?

Well...it could be your lucky day. How about an alarm clock that gently wakes you up with the sizzle and mouthwatering smell of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of mom cooking breakfast (unless you are my kids who usually wake up to the smell of Corn Flakes).

Just place a frozen strip of bacon in the Wake n' Bacon the night before. The clock is set to go off 10 minutes before the desired waking time. It cooks the bacon with a halogen lamp.

Rise and Shine!! And no hitting the snooze.

School Starts Tommorrow

Sean and James finished the official Hurricane High website. Check it out at hurricanehigh.org. Notice the cool favicon and the new easy domain name.

Also, below is the logo Sean designed for the Digital Video Club. This year, Janessa will be the president of this club, carrying the torch that Sean lit as founder and first president.


Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Check out these pictures from the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Click here to see more and see the pictures in larger format. So beautiful!!

Photo credit Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Photo credit Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Photo credit Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Photo credit Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Grass Isn't Greener

Our grass is sick and slowly releasing it's chlorophyll filled grip on life. Each day we painfully watch, feeling utterly helpless and betrayed, as more of the vibrant green slips away. I mourn. My bare feet mourn.

Notice the circular patterns




This morning Stockton and Landon ran their first competitive distance race in the Washington County Fair 5K. They inspire me.

Landon at the finish line. 2nd place finish in his age group.

Stockton at the finish line. 5th place finish in his age group.

Shop Till Your Pedometer Drops

Janessa trying on some crazy platform shoes. I tried them on and had to have Janessa and Shari on either side spotting me. Designed, I'm sure, by orthopedic surgeons.

Shari trying on shoes.

Wednesday, my daughter Janessa and our friends, Shari and Debi Leavitt headed off to Vegas for a shopping excursion. Well, in our case, it was more like a window shopping excursion. (Having four teen-agers to register for school and outfit in new school clothes makes robbing a bank in August seem mighty tempting.) We did manage to purchase a few things, but the big story here is how much walking we did. Debi wore a pedometer and that thing said we only walked 2500 steps. But who can believe those things? I mean really, they come in a Happy Meal! Actually, I firmly believe that by the time we looked at the pedometer, it had reached its 100,000 zenith and started over. 102,500 steps. So in other words, we walked the equivalent from St. George to New York. All in one day!

This is helpful. Because if Brent wasn't impressed with how much money we spent, he certainly can't deny how impressive our physical activity was. He must really be proud. I know I am. That means I have already reached my exercise quota for the next four months. So, I'll start up again in December. Or better yet, I'll just ask Shari and Debi to go shopping again for Christmas. Then I won't have to exercise until May!


The Midnight Hour

Upon returning home from Lake Powell, I cleaned out the day's garbage from my car dropping it into our outside garbage cans. However, in my midnight post perfect-day stupor, I threw away more than trash. Before I could react, I felt my car keys leave my hand and listened as they rattled their way to the bottom of the garbage. After getting a flashlight, I spotted the keys, precariously balanced at the base of the can, contentedly resting in a pile of moldy grass clippings. Just out of arm's reach, I considered my options: a) don goggles, ear plugs, nose plugs, gloves and a neoprene body suit and climb inside, b) lengthen my arm through the means of a violent shoulder dislocation, c) try a coat hanger. Considering how pinchy nose plugs can be and how hard it is to cut my own meat with a torn rotator cuff, I chose the latter. After about 10-15 minutes of grunting, twisting, nose-plugging and an occasional Mormon expletive, I pulled out victorious.

Exhausted and smelling like congealed gravy, I slumped into bed. A few moments later, my husband piped up, "did you bring in your computer from the back seat?" I jumped out of bed. Too tired to dress and not tired enough to care, I stepped out into the balmy midnight air. The universe gifted a silvery crescent moon casting just enough glow to illuminate the streak. I stealthily grabbed my precious MAC and happily scampered back into the house like a mouse making off with a stolen piece of cheese (brings new meaning to the phrase mac n’ cheese)!

Through all of this, I only hope that I was able to give some insomniac a good laugh. Unless you live on Wisteria Lane, it isn’t every day one gets to witness a dumpster-diving, middle-aged woman streaking the neighborhood.

Lake Powell

Photo credit: Tell the Truth Travel

The other night I came home from a perfect day at Lake Powell. We took a long cruise up Navajo canyon, stopping at several spots along the way to swim, cliff dive and toss a football. We returned out of the canyon at sunset. There is nothing quite as enjoyable as a sunset cruise with fun people (thanks Jeff and Lyn Donovan family), a comfortable boat with ABBA blaring from the speakers, warm water, perfect weather and grand vistas!


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