Saturday, December 03, 2005

Why I Love the Gastineaux Girls

In my life, I hope I have the oppotunity to say to someone: "I'm not trying to guilt you, but remember the time I was in St. Tropez with ALL of my friends, and you were failing summer school, and I had to come take you home?" That would be awesome...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Working Stiff

I have been an errant blogger. I apologize. I have been busy with my woman of leisure lifestyle, but that’s all coming to an end.

I got a job.

Because Todd has gone back to school, and I’m NOT pregnant, there is no good reason for me to “sit around the house eating bon-bons.” By they way, those are my quotation marks, not anyone else’s…

As we signed off on the first of two new $16,000 student loans, I decided to “take one for the team” and earn some moolah.

I needed a job that would keep me home (meaning in-state…better yet, in-town), a job that would be interesting, a job I didn’t have to take home with me, and a job that would make us some killer cash.

Done, done, & done…

I have been hired as the manager of the women’s Ready-wear department at Meier & Frank at the University Mall in Orem. Super exciting. I bought my “back-to-work” wardrobe, expensive shoes, and I will report to work at 8am sharp tomorrow morning. I am nervous because I have become accustomed to my ways (sleeping in, my exercising routine, my lunches with ladies, my whatever…).

Wish me luck. I am hoping that a new job provides me with lots of juicy blodder.

And now that our printer is working again, I will be able to upload some fun Halloween pics…so stay tuned folks…

Monday, October 10, 2005

Gag Me With a Spoon

No seriously. It’s not my shtick to share these things, but some things are SO special, they must be shared with my blog “public.”

Hair people frolicking

Calder-like hair portrait

These are "hair drawings" made by someone I assume to be a college student living in the dorms sharing a bathroom with countless others. Here are the thoughts running through my head:

Who does these things?

Who willingly touches the hair left behind in a communal shower (such is the case here, my comrades)?

Who wastes their time this way?

Did they do this at the end of their shower or did they return later when dried and dressed to complete the project?

Did they have a vision?

Did they choose the hair they wanted carefully or just work with what was on hand…or er, wall?

I’m just so completely grossed out.

Or am I just missing out on all the beauty around me?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Speaking of Jeans

You know how I am always on the lookout for perfect jeans? Ladies of my particular proportions are always being extorted in our efforts to find denim with appropriate levels of sexiness without wanton-ness, fit without discomfort, control without roll, and a price that will allow me to pay Provo City this month.


As I was strolling through Target the other day, as I am want to do, I was going to buy a new pair of the Mossimo low-rise bootcuts that make EVERYONE look good regardless of age, salary, or size…
Mossimo Boot-cuts

…when I came across a NEW style in the “junior’s” section. They are Levi Strauss low-rise bootcut and they come in a couple of different washes…indigo and antique being the two best, in my humble opinion.
Levi's boot-cuts
So I thought I would share my (correct-as-usual) opinion on how to buy jeans:

They should be tight when you first try them on, but if you can’t button them comfortably, then they’re too small. Trust me on this. If you put on jeans and immediately think, “these are too small, I would never wear jeans this tight,” they are probably right. If you try on a size lager and think “that’s better” you are wearing jeans that are too big. Jeans straight from the manufacturer have been processed to death, wear them around the house for an hour, and they will loosen up. If you are in between sizes…sucks to be you, use your best judgment.

No one should be buying high-rise jeans. NO ONE. I don’t care who you are, how fat you think you are, or how old you think you are. Jeans that come up to your belly button make your BUTT AND HIPS LOOK HUGE…even if you’re skinny.
bad high rise jeans
For the most flattering fit, you should be wearing your jeans in a medium or low-rise. Low-rise does not necessarily mean that your crack is going to show; they usually call that super-low-rise or ultra-low-rise.
low-rise cartoon
Be prudent. If you buy your jeans in the teenager department, low rise means one thing. If you buy your jeans in the respectable adult department, it means another. If you have a J-Lo-esque rear, wear a belt with your low-rise jeans, this keeps them from sliding down when you sit down.

Medium-rise jeans should come below your belly button. If you are wearing high-rise jeans thinking that it will control the roll situation, you are sorely mistaken. Medium-rise jeans prevent the roll. High-rise jeans create the “pooch”. No one wants to create the pooch.

Most women look best in a modest, darker wash. Light washes are akin to white pants in that they can make you look larger than you are. The goal in mind with jeans is LONG and LEAN. Darker washes have the tendency to produce this effect. Stay away from obvious whiskering at the crotchal regions or obvious and unrealistic “sanding” at the thighs and buttal regions.
bad whiskering and sanding
This is stupid. I often try and imagine what kind of activity could possibly have worn the jeans THAT way? Sliding down concrete embankments? The darker the wash, the more “formal” the look. Jeans are more acceptable in social occasions of, say, going out, if the jeans look nice and have a dark wash with not a lot of “distressing” and wear.
good heel length and wash
Colored jeans are not worth even talking about at this juncture. You shouldn’t be wearing them. Full stop. Black jeans are a little too 90’s and white jeans only looked good on Jackie O and supermodels vacationing in St. Tropez.

Your best bet is straight leg or boot-cut. Flared jeans are somewhat trendy and youthful, but not flattering on most adults. The best line for ANY pant is straight from hip to foot. If your jeans come in too much at the knee then it accentuates the size of your thighs. If your thighs are the widest part of your leg (and we hope that they are or else you are some kind of freak with huge calves…) your jeans should fit you there and then should continue to the floor unfettered and unobstructed. A little flare is OK, but moderate to extreme flare is not.

Here you may balk. If you are a person who likes to wear boots or heels with jeans, you may need to consider buying jeans to fit with heels and jeans to wear with flats. Not kidding. One jean cannot rule them all, so to speak. If you are wearing a shoe/boot with a heel, the hem of the jeans should cover the top of the foot and be wide enough to clear the shoe and still have an inch before it touches the floor. If you are wearing heels and your hem touches the floor, your jeans are too long. If your jeans hit at the top of your heel, they are too short.
bad high heel jeans

If you are wearing flats or street shoes (notice I did not say running shoes or hiking shoes or any specific sport related shoe…) the same principle applies. Your jean may have a “break” at the top of your foot above the hem (which means that the line of the leg may bend, not bunch, at the top of your foot) and the hem should cover most of your heel without touching the ground. “Heel length” jeans would be too bunchy at the bottom to wear with flats. Bunchy=not good. Long and lean=fantastic.
Levi's boot-cuts
P.S. I was at Banana Republic today buying a gorgeous $168 pink silk dress for $12 when the woman in front of me was having the sales girl fill out an alterations ticket! For jeans! Genius!

My biggest pet peeve of fashion these days is this: just because they sell it in the stores doesn’t mean it’s “in style” or that it is going to look as good on you as it does on Giselle or SJP. You may be seeing some “skinny” styles coming back right now.

This does not mean this is where jeans are headed. This is a fad, a throwback to the 80’s, and you should not participate unless you are at or below a size 4. Seriously.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Not to imitate Kacy’s theme of self-loathing…it must be something in the air….

I thought I would share a triumph followed by a spectacular fall from coolness.

Yesterday, I had on my cool new jeans, the ones worth discussing in a subsequent blog. After a decent day of feeling decent in my jeans, I decided to stop by Kacy and Christian’s house. They were going out to dinner, and graciously asked if I would like to go along. Since dinner out is always better than lonely dark house, I accepted and we had a wonderful time.

Once back at their house, Christian valiantly put the kids to bed while Kacy and I chatted. We were tired and full of Korean food so we slumped down on their comfy overstuffed furniture.

During a particularly interesting and witty antidote I was telling, Kacy began to point and laugh at my crotchal region. (When you’re full with yummy Korean spicy pork lettuce wraps you are exempt from sitting like a lady.) I looked down and saw a single piece of rice clinging to my sexy new jeans.

“Oh,” said I. “I must have dropped some rice.”

“No!” Kacy laughed with increasing intensity. “There’s more!”

I looked a little further, and lo and behold, there was ANOTHER clump of dried rice! Yikes. It was getting embarrassing.

“Oh, I must have dropped more than I thought!” said I good-naturedly.

“No!” cried Kacy once more. “It’s all over!”

Without getting too graphic…I must have dropped a whole SPOONFUL of rice in my lap and proceeded to grind it into my crotch with my every movement. My new jeans! My pride! As I walked like a bow-legged cowboy to her trash can to throw away dried rice I discovered not only more rice…but a new level of humiliation. Luckily, Kacy and I are to the point in our relationship where I can pick rice off my crotchal region in front of her and she can laugh it up with no discomfort on my part, nor malice on hers. But I must say that I felt a strange new sensation much like the need to go home and clean out my fat rolls: negligent and slovenly…even *gasp* sloppy.

So much for the sexy jeans. The effect was ruined. I wanted to run home in shame. But, see, this is where everyone needs a Kacy in their life. Someone to ground you. Some one to help you “keep it real”. Someone to tell you when you have a LOT of rice smashed in to your crotch and then laugh it up uncontrollably. Thanks, dear friend. Thanks a lot.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Chosen Vessel


The other night as I was driving to pick Todd up from school, God blessed me with the rarest and most fleeting of gifts. For about 10 minutes, the combination of a long day and allergies allowed me to sing JUST like Billie Holiday. I was almost as good as David Sedaris. So I milked it, and all the way to campus I sang “All of Me” at the top of my lungs. Well, that was the only song I could remember, and only one verse of it at that, but perhaps someone along 800 North needed to hear Billie sing that song that night, and I was there to make it happen. Thank you, Lord, for making me a vessel for good…or for good jazz anyway.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Karaoke is Cheap Therapy

So last Friday night was our Relief Society’s retreat. We called it “Girl’s Night Out” and truly did some very girly things. We stayed up until past mid-night eating good food (like nachos), doing Dance Dance Revolution, lounging and chatting on 6 foot bean bags, giving ourselves manicures and pedicures, and singing karaoke.

I love to sing karaoke; in fact, I provided the machine and all the song discs. But as an ardent people watcher, I LOVE to WATCH people do karaoke. For me, the Karaoke characters fall into the following categories:

The Diva: This is the person who chooses really hard songs. These people are hard core and usually pretty brazen. They will belt out a ballad including all the vocal gymnastics they sing along with on the CD at home. This person can usually sing pretty well, and is not shy about letting you know that. They get mad if they don’t sound good, and blame it on the bad acoustics.

Idols: Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, or Celine Dion

Preferred venue: stadium or arena

Can’t perform without: pyrotechnics

The Beatnik: This is the person who prefers a smaller more discerning audience. They chose songs by folk artists, hippies, and acoustic performers. They often sing well although they are more humble about it. They rarely choose silly songs or crowd pleasers.

Idols: Sarah McLaughlin, Joan Baez, and Norah Jones

Preferred venue: Coffee house on poetry night

Can’t perform without: a stool

The Party Animal: This person doesn’t care what they sound like. They are usually mediocre-to-awful singers with either a healthy sense of irony or few social skills. This person chooses crowd pleasers with the intent of bringing down the house. Rarely does the Party Animal perform by him/herself; it is usually with other party animals or with reluctant wall flowers ripped from the comfort of their own chairs.

Idols: The Village People, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, or Meatloaf

Preferred venue: a smoky bar with lots of neon beer signs

Can’t perform without: pretending to play the instrumental section of the song be it guitar or keyboard

The Auditionee: This person loves country music and is convinced that if they could just get to Nashville they would be the next big thing. They only sing country karaoke simply as a step to getting closer to performing at the Grand Ole Opry.

Idols: Patsy Cline, the Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain

Preferred venue: mentioned above

Can’t perform without: a twang

The Shocker: You would never expect this person to get up in front of others and have the guts to sing a song, but they do; and when they do they are GOOD! This person actually sings so well that the rowdy crowd settles down and people stop talking to listen.

Idols: Dido, Alison Krauss, and Juice Newton

Preferred venue: their own shower

Can’t perform without: a spotlight

Then we have the other familiar characters: The Producer…the person who incites other people to sing songs but who never sings him/herself. This person can be quite convincing. They prey upon people who are dying to sing, and who are just waiting for someone to ask them to. This person usually has the knack for choosing just the right song for just the right person…like, say…”Back In The U.S.S.R” for the two Russian ladies in the ward…

The Validator: This person sits dutifully in the audience and claps and shouts out encouragements during the instrumentals like: “You go girl!” “Sing it like you mean it!” and “Wooooo!” This person is vital to karaoke. Too often, people are so concerned with picking their song or waiting for their turn that they forget to give the support they themselves are hoping for. The Validator beefs up the crowd and incites audience participation without ever taking a turn…heavens no.

But in the end, who you are at karaoke night says a lot about you. Though what it screams the loudest is either “you need to get out more” or “you need a good therapist.”

Happy birthday, Emma Jo.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Brownies Gone Wild

This week on VSoM we have been discussing Personal Progress vs. Eagle Scouts, and it wasn’t until today, that JLS brought up the Girl Scout program. While I am an ardent fan of the cookies…mmmm… Thin Mints and Samoas…. I am not really that excited about my girls being scouts. This is why…

Brownie gone Bad

You can teach a girl and mentor her…and give her everything she could possibly need in the world to be a contributing member of society, and this can still happen…

I could go on, but I can’t…I just can’t…

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Reluctant TV Maven

When I fantasize about the questions I will someday be asked by Vogue journalists, I always rehearse my answers so that they will sound a) intelligent and witty and b) spontaneous and off the cuff.

If I were to be asked today by Hamish Bowels or Plum Sykes about what hot new shows I am watching this summer…here would be my answers…get your TiVo remotes poised and ready…

1. The Cut : While Tommy Hilfiger is somewhat of an enigma (he looks gay and designs as good as gay…yet he is most definitely not…), I am gaining more and more respect for him not only as a clothing designer (have you SEEN the new “H” line?...holy hot…Palm Beach here I come!...when I’m 45…), but as a rather decent person. Oh the show…? It’s about various designers and non-designers who are competing for a spot in his company. Why he is even bothering with non-designers is beyond me…but I am loving this show! Not every task is that great, nor is the show that slick…but it does have a sort of “je ne sais quois”…that satisfies the impeccably-opinionated designer in me…

2. Stella: Holy CRAP this is the funniest show around. While I laugh self-consciously at the crass but helplessly funny “Chappelle Show”, Stella is comedic art. Stella consists of Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Swain, three ever-suited “men of leisure” who fall haplessly into hilarious and improbable situations (read: no plot of which to speak). They have amazing A(minus) list cameos, who patiently participate in skits that are scout jamboree worthy. Get your season pass NOW. Don’t let this become another “Arrested Development” story!

3. What Not to Wear: a TLC standard. People of the world…if you need help…and I know you do…for heaven’s sake…watch this show! While I do not pretend to have Stacy and Clinton’s clothing savvy, I’m sure that if we were to meet (as we have in my dreams) that we would become the bosom-est of friends (how would they not appreciate my opinion?). While the show is terribly formulaic, through the wonders of TiVo, I can take in a week-end’s worth in one lunch. I would do ANYTHING to get on the show and have $5000 and Stacy and Clinton at my fashion disposal…but alas…you have to dress REALLY bad to get on…and I REFUSE to wear pants that are too short with huge white tennis shoes!

And there you have it. I am not a TV advocate. I am a “TV Art Enthusiast”…a patroness, so to speak. Seriously…I wouldn’t ask you to watch crap.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Pioneer Day or an Excuse to Get the Kids Out of the House

We celebrate the 24th of July as Pioneer Day because it is the anniversary of the day that the first Mormon pioneer company, led by Brigham Young, caught glimpse of the surprisingly arid Salt Lake valley, and dear Brigham uttered the famous words: “This is the right place.” They entered the desert and made it bloom.

Here’s what Pioneer Day means to me:

Growing up everywhere BUT Utah, Pioneer Day meant getting dressed up in pioneer garb (yes, we had some because I think that as Mormons you are required to keep pioneer outfits in your food storage supply…in case we have to trek back to Missouri or something…), go to some park with as little shade as possible, eat bad picnic food, sweat a lot, be coerced into playing “pull the stick” which requires an uncomfortable amount of physical contact with a practical stranger, asking to go home a lot, and getting cranky.

As a young child, we (the sibs and I) sang songs of the pioneers, heard stories, visited Church history sites, participated in outdoor stage productions depicting said pioneers, and were generally immersed in the idea that pioneers were nothing less than superheroes, which I still do not dispute.

In Utah, the 24th of July is set aside as a state holiday. Most people get the day off work! (Although, if the holiday, ANY holiday for that matter, falls on Sunday, it gets bumped to Monday, like this year).

But it wasn’t until I visited my grandparents in Bountiful for the whole month of July in 1984 that I realized the extent to which Pioneer reverence was carried out. There are parades, fireworks, picnics, and barbeques(and if you DON’T live in Utah, lots of primary and ward activities held in said shade-less parks). Grandma and Grandpa took me and a bushel of cousins to Sugar House Park to watch sky divers, eat candied apples, and see the best fireworks EVA! This is the right way to celebrate a pioneer!

It was a magical day…although looking back, I might not have known it wasn’t the 4th of July. But never mind, I live in Utah now (purely by accident) and I love the extra holiday. I love that people set off fireworks and that I can smell barbeques cooking all day. I love that people still dress up as pioneers and re-enact the trek down the canyon into the valley.

Where ever we end up, will I make my future posterity dress in frilly calico and endure the shade-less July heat? Probably, because I think you cannot be called a true Mormon unless you have experienced this rite of passage or have been refined in the refiner’s fire…and I think this pretty much counts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

This Isn't My Blog to Write: Ribs and Ice Cream

Although this story doesn’t belong to me…I will write it since no one else has…

The other night, Todd and I sat around Kacy and Christian’s kitchen counter, as we often do. We live just around the block, you see. When their kids go to bed, they give us the signal (one ring) and we join them at our usual spot.

Occasionally, we watch a movie or something, but mostly, we just sit and talk. Often, our getting together involves some sort of treat or goody. The other night, it involved New York Creams and cold pork ribs.

Imagine if you will, four adults, a few gallons of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, malted milk, club soda, and pork ribs… It was decadence. It was over the top, heavenly, indulgent eating at 11:00pm at night. You know you have hit a certain level of friendship when there is no embarrassment at how many ribs you can down (for the second time that day) or by the chocolate to ice cream ratio in your shake.

Christian and Kacy are a dream come true…there is no judgment, and always good leftovers.

But, as young children are wont to do…their kids’ heads appeared over the banister…lured by the melodies on iTunes, the peals of party-like laughter, and the unmistakable scent of ice cream. Yes…if you are a child…you can detect the aroma of frozen confections…you lose this ability at puberty…

Now a disclaimer: Kacy and Christian are really good parents. For reals…they do stuff together…quality stuff…they have good techniques…etc. But what comes next is not so much a comment on their parenting, but an epiphany on why we remember what we do from childhood.

So the kids came down on the pretense that they were “hungry.” Oh, foolish children…we know your bellies are not empty… And they enter the kitchen to find grown-ups making shakes and eating ribs. But as everyone knows, shakes and ribs, while fine between the hours of 12pm and 8pm, turn into child-poison soon after 8:15pm. Their only option, the only SAFE option, was to be offered a glass of milk and a roll.

Their first-born son’s eyes were large as he eyed the ice cream and the chocolate while his drink was poured, and in the meekest voice Charles Dickens could have imagined, he asked, pointing to a spill of cream and chocolate, “Can I lick that off the counter?” To which the magnanimous answer was, “Of course, you may…” How could such delights NOT be shared, poison or no poison? And then he was whisked off to bed…

To be sure, their son will not remember all the vacations…all the father/son camp outs, he will sit in his therapist’s dimly lit office and say, “…they had ribs…they had ice cream…and they gave me a roll…THEY GAVE ME A ROLL! And made me lick the counter…”

You know, we do the best we can. Some injustices cannot be avoided. Childhood is not fair. You have to put in your time…pay your dues…puberty sucks…and then college is a disappointment. But then, you get to be an adult…you arrive at the point when you can do whatever you want… We were just giving that kid something to look forward to…something to aspire to. Because if nothing else, being able to eat ribs and ice cream at 11pm at night is really something to live for.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I’m So Crushin’ On You!

In light of my recent disclosure of my crush on a pedophile…I thought I would make a comprehensive list of all my crushes; both real and celebrity…because I know you’re dying to know if you’re on the list!

Here’s how I will organize it:

Age Person *(denoting celebrity status) Brief Description

3-4 Thomas Some Swedish kid (same age) who used to try and kiss me

4-5 Mark A kid in my pre-school with a head shaped like a strawberry

5-6 Jonathan Had a bad dream about him…plus he wet his pants at school

5-8 Josh McElroy So in love…first huge crush

9-11 Ronnie Galang First international crush…Ronnie was Fillipino

9-10 Michael Jackson* Crush produced first and only fan letter

9-current Gene Kelly* Handsome AND can sing and dance and be manly!

10-13 C. Thomas Howell* Ponyboy from “The Outsiders”

11-13 Wes White So in love…was like 8 inches shorter than me

11-13 Dave Baumstark Neighbor boy crush…first kiss; was gross

13-14 Doug Doyle Long time crush, first real boyfriend, I went to all his games

14-15 Jacob Osted Had lived in England ‘nough said…so cute

15-17 Stuart Truscott Hugest crush ever! Dated for over a year- soccer legs

18-19 Various Nondescript Guys of the jerk variety freshman year at college

19-20 Dana B. Thomas Great kisser but was the devil

20-21 Jason B. Merrill Totally got my heart smashed out

23 Jason B. Merrill Totally got my heart smashed out again after he kissed me

24 Dan Weber First adult boyfriend…should have let go like 3 months into it
25 Todd M. Rhodes SO cute…funny, can cook, had his own car

25-30 Don’t get big crushes anymore…I like Ewan McGregor (sings, dances, is manly), nerdy types, bookish fellows, brains are more sexy than biceps, Jude Law, I’m sure I’ll think of more because I’m so bad at making impromptu lists.

Who are some of YOUR crushes? Do tell…

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why Gene Simmons Scares the Bejesus Out of Me

When I was a wee lass of, oh about 4, I would occasionally hang out (uninvited of course) at the neighbor’s house down the street, hoping they would offer me sugar cubes (as a non-coffee drinker I had no idea sugar came in cube form!). They had a little girl about two years older than me and two teenaged sons. The little girl tolerated me, sometimes, but what really fascinated me about her, and particularly her house, was the posters on the walls of her brothers’ room.

Now, we were living in Sweden at this time and had been for almost 3 years. I came into awareness in Sweden, and didn’t know much about America other than that’s supposedly where we were from and where we were going back to someday. I had no concept of American culture.

The neighbor’s brothers were older than anyone I knew well (15-ish and 17-ish) and were far beyond the trends and fads that came into my home. They listened to American rock and roll, and saw American movies.

Sweden is a very conservative when it comes to movies. Sex is a different issue, but Star Wars, for example, was rated “barn verbuden” which means “children forbidden” because it was considered too violent. They just had zero tolerance for it. So by the time I was 4, I had never really seen any violence in movies or on TV. Which explains my absolute fascination with the following:

Exhibit A:
Jaws movie poster
A huge shark…coming up beneath an unsuspecting swimmer…at night…terrifying…plus I think the girl was nekkid.

There was nothing more frightening than that.

Well, except for this:

Exhibit B:
Kiss 1
Kiss 2
Who were these guys? Why did they wear such funny clothes? Why are their shoes so high? What’s with all the fire? Is that man hurt? Where is that blood coming from? What is sticking out of that man’s mouth? Is that blood on his tongue? Their holding guitars, do they play music? Why do they look so wild and angry?

I asked my neighbor-girl friend endless questions about these posters and her brothers. Who would want such things on their walls…in their bedrooms…where they had to turn the lights off and sleep? Where they would be watched…night and day…by a man with blood on his tongue?

I did not return after awhile. As fascinated as I was, my innocent mind could not handle it. Besides, one day I entered the house uninvited and was caught by one on the brothers in his room, this tiny little American girl, staring at the posters.

It wasn’t long after that when I was walking down the street and these two brothers started shooting their cap cannon at me. I thought it was a real cannon and hid behind a rock for a couple of hours until they ran out of caps and got bored. I guess that was appropriate payback considering they were KISS fans. Pyrotechnics are how I handle all my personal disputes.

Monday, June 20, 2005

What Makes a 9 Year-Old Do This?

So my dear old dad drove a truck from Houston to Utah to bring my brother and his family some furniture for their new house. I haven’t really lived at home since I graduated from high school, and I thought that I had removed any and all personal items from the “homestead”. But apparently, I had left a box of significant items.

Yesterday, my brother presented me with a box that contained some of my earliest relics: a couple of photo albums, some diplomas (eighth grade and the like), and a couple of journals.

Carefully folded and placed in one of the journals was a letter I had written to Michael Jackson on March 8, 1983. I was 9 years old.

Here is the letter in all its worshiping glory (original spelling and punctuation):


Dearest M.J.,

I don’t know how to spell your name so I write it M.J. My Name Is Carrie Ann Oscarson. I know I’m pretty young, I’m 9 years old I’m in 3rd grade but I would like to meet you some day but I dowt I will. I have a best friend named Missy Mgee, she’s crazy about you to I let my mom read this letter she said you might like it, you may not even get this letter I don’t even know why I am doing this, I suppose it’s because I like you alot.

We have seven in our family and that’s only the kids.

I would like to come and visit you and Kathren Hetbern very but thats only a dream.

I think you are a very cute and sweet.

I would like you to write ME a letter!

I like you very, very, very much! I’d like it very much if I could come to your concert and see you, but that’s another dream. I have three dollars and I am going to buy a pin with your pitcher on it!
Now let’s talk about your songs! Now I can sing real good and dance not to brag or any thing. See if there’s any thing I missed about you, Missy ceaps me up to date on you sining something new or something. My favorite video is “Thriller”! My favorite song is: “Billy Jean” I guess. Now please remember to write me!!

Love, Love, Love,
Love, Love, Love,

P.S. Here is a pitcher A Horses head.
P.S.S. I want to go on writin this letter for ever!”

Now let me comment on this letter a little. Did you notice my sophisticated punctuation? I had never before, nor since, written a fan letter. The thought had never even crossed my mind! What possessed me to write with such ardor? I remember so clearly how much I liked him.

I knew that this would be one of millions of letters and that he probably had people to read them FOR him. But I was trying to play the old sympathy card by saying I wanted to go to a concert but only had three dollars. And where did I get three dollars?

So interesting. You can view the letter below…and the sweet drawing of the “Horses head”. If you look close I tried to draw a ballerina, but chickened out and went for the horse instead.
whale detail 2
pg 1
pg 2
pg 3
pg 4
horse head detail
I’m kind of mad that my dad didn’t mail this like I asked him to, but then again…it’s awfully cute that I wrote a letter to Michael Jackson, and considering his behavior over the last, say…TWENTY YEARS, maybe my did was acting on some incredible foresight.

Friday, June 17, 2005

“Just So You Know…”

I fancy myself an expert. On what? might ask. Oh pretty much anything and everything. Some people would say I am opinionated. But I really don’t try and push my opinions…ahem…my expert opinions on others; I am really a live and let live kinda gal.

But recently, emboldened by my regular watching of “What Not to Wear” (American version), I feel the need to tell it like it is…to strangers…

For instance…

I often pass by a complex of doctor and dentist’s offices. This week, a clean cut looking man in a button up shirt and slacks (not jeans) was picketing the offices along the main road with a sign that said: “American Dental is untrustworthy.”

This impressed me for several reasons: A) the man was well dressed and seemingly poised unlike the union stand-ins that picket malls and other such large jobs where it’s easy to get screwed by contractors etc B) the use of the word “untrustworthy” was more insightful, carried more depth and resonance than, say, “sucks” or “cheated me”…

But then the very next day, I saw the same man and the same sign, but this time he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned, bare chest showing, and shorts with flip flops. His credibility went out the window. I SERIOUSLY contemplated pulling up to the curb and saying something like: “Just so you know, yesterday, when you were dressed nicely, I actually cared about your cause; was curious about it…but today, you look like just the kind of jerk who would picket a dentist’s office instead of handling the matter in a different way…say like a letter from a lawyer…”

But as the light changed, I chickened out. Besides, it was Friday, and who knows…maybe there is some unspoken dictate that says that picketers can dress down on the weekends, too.

Other moments where I just wanted to walk up and begin with:

1. “Just so you know… that kind of attitude will get you no where.”

2. “Just so you know…a shampoo, a set of dentures, a couple of highlights, and not having your crack show would do you wonders!”

3. “Just so you know…screaming your kids in public is seriously frowned upon.”

4. “Just so you know… it’s 2005, not 1985.”

5. “ Just so you know…showing skin between your shirt and pants is SO passé! Don’t you ever read a magazine?”

6. “Just so you know… I’m totally going to blog about this.”

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I’m Definitely Not a Never-Nude

May I tell you of my experience in a bath house? Because I just remembered it:

Bath house in Arkansas

Back when I worked for Del Sol, one of the perks was being able to travel to some fab places, like the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, and Hawaii. Occasionally, we would have to go somewhere less exciting like Gatlinburg, Tenn. or Hot Springs, AK.

But in downtown Hot Springs, there is still a row of old fashioned operating bath houses, and if you’re lucky and brave, which I definitely am, you too can experience the old time baths in all the splendor and technology of the early 1930’s!

Here’s how it played out (warning: nudity will be discussed…my nudity…in front of strangers…if you are not comfortable with this, or with words like pubic, sauna, or toga, stop here and go get a glass of water then return here and Google non-nudity requiring vacation hot spots…):

I made an appointment and showed up along with my insane co-worker, Miss Handstand. They gave me a little dressing room in which to take off all my clothing, and I was instructed to put on a fluffy robe and slippers. With all my stuff locked away, I was led into the bath room. Not the bathroom, the bath room.

Now keep in mind that pretty much the entire building it lined in white tile ala 1905; it gave me a strong sensation of “Return to Oz” type institution or sanitarium/sanatorium. This gives everything the impression that it is clean and sterile, but I still had a really hard time trying not to think about all of the other naked people who had been here before me.

Luckily, there were some fab stained glass ceilings, and the thought that Al Capone would come here all the time back in the 20’s. Luckily, the men are kept separate, because I would HATE to think that I was sitting naked somewhere Al Capone sat naked. Gross!

bath house cohort

The attendant (dressed in white) led me into my own bath room where there were hooks on the wall and a HUGE white tub. Nice and deep. The attendant turned on the taps and pure, hot spring water came gushing out.

Now these aren’t sulfur hot springs, this water is clean and tasty mineral water, it is heated by decomposing forest matter and filtered by hundreds of feet of limestone. It is definitely not your run of the mill tap water.

But here’s where it’s time to feel a little awkward. The attendant didn’t leave at first. She just turned her head, averted her eyes, and said, “Step into the tub, please.” And I didn’t allow myself to stop and think: I just did. The attendants are very skilled at “not looking”. You know they have seen the full gamut of pretty to pretty ugly, and they couldn’t care less about your hairy legs and dimply bottom.

But then she got out the loofah. In my mind I was thinking, “You’re going to hand that loofah to me any second, right?” Wrong. It is HER loofah, and you are the loofee. They put some yummy lavender soapy stuff on it and say, “Hold out your arm.” So I did. I followed commands to hold out my other arm, legs and feet, and I ignored the face that my pubic hair is clearly visible to another adult (and a stranger at that), and I complied. Because after all, a good loofa-ing is a good loofah-ing.

Then I was left to soak “for as long as I like”; which was as long as I thought was polite considering it was closing time and people were waiting on me.

What happened next is fuzzy…I know that said attendant was also present to see me raise my almost weightless body IN the water OUT of the water, where it was retuned to full gravitational pull, where I lumbered my tree stumps called gams out of the deep tub, and was wrapped into a huge towel. She took me into some sort of room where I was laying down? Or perhaps being wrapped into a toga-like sheet? In any case, the gist of that whole lost few moments was her being sure to tell me that I was expected to give her a tip when this was all over…

…there was also something called a spitz bath and a neddle shower which sounds awful, but I fuzzily remember it being wonderful…

She then led me into the sauna. I love saunas. In a sauna, you feel lithe, thin, and inexplicably tan. It’s the dim, orangey lights. Much to my dismay, I had to share my sauna with Miss Handstand. I just knew she was going to remove her toga, so I positioned myself with my eyes facing a blank wall and told her I was meditating. She is one of THOSE ladies… you know the type…the one who feels comfy walking around locker rooms nekkid. With her, nudity is about competition; who can be the most naked, the most comfortable with their own bodies. Compared with Miss Handstand, I’m practically a never-nude…

The attendant came and got us and laid us out on lawn chair-like lounges in the middle of the room. She wrapped me from head to toe in clean smelling hot towels. It was just like returning to the womb, I’m sure of it. Words cannot express the feeling of comfort and security I experienced at the hands of some wet cotton.

After the toweling it was massage time. Imagine going INTO the massage already relaxed…it was heavenly. No sore muscles to work through, no lumps and bumps and knots to untie…it was pure icing on the cake…except for the folksy manner with which my masseuse carried on a conversation where she made it quite apparent what she thought of Utah and Mormons in general. Oops, lady, there goes YOUR tip.

And the piece de resistance…cucumbers on my eyes. OK, old-lady-with-really-strong-hands-who-thinks-I’m-a-devil-worshipper, you can have your tip…

And so I had been soaked, scrubbed, needled, spitzed, streamed, rubbed, and lotioned. It definitely wasn’t the fussy pampering of a spa, it was way more primitive, more earthy somehow. But in my perfect world, that would be my personal hygiene routine… except I’d replace all the people with robots… including Miss Handstand.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ear Plug Addiction

hearos in the package

Hi. I’m Carrie Ann, and I am an ear plug addict.

At first, I was given a free pair, you know, to just try out. And then I went back and bought a pair, but only to use every once in a while. Then I started traveling more, which is really stressful, and I found that I needed them more and more. Before long, I was using them at home. Now, I am an every day user. I use ear plugs every day.

Using them while traveling is a no-brainer…you know that exhausted feeling you can sometimes get from a long flight? Well, I read that part of that exhaustion is caused because an airplane cabin is really loud; you become quickly accustomed to it. But it has a draining effect on your body. Ear plugs reduce the noise and the exhaustion later.

Plus, and this is a huge bonus for an introvert such as I am, you don’t have to talk to people on the flight, unless you want to. All you have to do is make a big show of pulling out the ear plug when your neighbor asks you a question, and pretty soon they don’t want to bug you anymore.

Using them for sleeping while in a foreign country or foreign hotel is a no-brainer. I found that they come in handy when my co-worker would come back to the hotel room late at night (or early in the morning) from the clubs or from her date she agreed to go on with a stranger in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language.

Ear plugs also come in handy when said co-worker comes home late and decides that this moment is the perfect moment to practice yoga or hand stands, in a skirt, wearing a thong. At this point ear plugs don’t do much good, so I have to quit pretending I’m asleep and ask her to cut it out. She then obliges and goes outside to continue hand stands in the hall of our open air hotel in Mexico.

I began using ear plugs at home to assuage the less than symphonic cacophony of chirping, barking, quacking, squawking, and cock-a-doodle-doing that goes on 24/7 at the goat/chicken/dog/duck farm next door. You thought roosters only crowed at dawn? I’m schoolin’ you, dog, they crow whenever they feel like it.

So when I go to bed, part of the ritual now includes rolling two nude colored foam cones (memory foam for the ears) into what resembles tiny joints (not that I would know) and sliding them into my ear holes where they gently expand causing a rushing sound (not unlike the rushing sound of the Spirit of the Lord…not that I would know) until they seal out the outside world like the air lock of a space shuttle. Shhhhhhhhcp.



And I sleep like I’ve been drugged.

hearos logo

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Awkward Walk

As inspired by Rebecca’s insights on various walks…

I have spent many an hour in dance class. As most young girls, I wanted to be a dancer more than anything. It was my DREAM. A lot of young girls have this dream whether they are talented or merely determined, coordinated or awkward.

I realized rather quickly, and I suspect that dance teachers also know this, that there is a simple way to determine whether or not someone is “awkward.” A means of separating the herd to determine true talent and coordination….

All you have to do is make up a pretense of learning a simple dance routine. You know, like you did when you were little. The routine must incorporate at least 4 counts of walking…yes, I said walking, in the forward direction preferably.

A coordinated person does not think about walking. They will extend a foot and the opposite arm.

For example: if your routine calls for 4 walks forward starting on the right foot then a pas de bouree to the left then to the right…the coordinated person will begin with their right foot and their left arm extended…

The awkward person will inevitably pause for a fraction of a second while they THINK about walking and then will ALWAYS extend a foot and the same arm i.e. right foot AND right arm.

Stand up right now and try walking this way. It’s loads of fun. Start with your right foot and make sure to extend your right arm as well, then move to the left and extend your left arm as well. Walk around the room (or cubical) a couple of times. This is how awkward people feel. Try the awkward run. You won't stop laughing, even if you're by yourself.

As I have shared this knowledge with others, it has become a game to see who can awkward walk, or run, most naturally. I have awkward walked in some pretty swanky places…just to see if I could pull it off.

But the most DELIGHTFUL thing about the awkward walk is teaching it to an awkward person; because the outcome of their awkward confusion about intentional awkward walking is always a non-awkward walk.

P.S. I am constantly bugged to see the awkward walk show up in public and or official places. For instance, the next time you watch The Apprentice, notice the little cartoon "business man" running with the briefcase by the logo. He is totally doing the awkward run. And then they freeze him into the logo to be forever immortalized in his awkwardness...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Happy Birthday Pom Pom Tankman Duck

One day old

So some of you might know that one month ago, a mommy duck laid her eggs right out my front door; in my flowers. Needless to say, she regretted her choice of nesting places. While it might seem picturesque to lay your eggs amidst daisies and violas, the traffic was an issue. After a few days, mommy duck gave up and left her eggs to us.

We decided that while I “look as fertile as the Tennessee valley, my womb is a rocky place where [Todd’s] seed can find no purchase…” we might as well become adoptive parents to 8 duck eggs.

We invested in a duck womb…
The Duck Womb

…and diligently read many websites on how to incubate eggs. They must have a constant 99.5 F temp (no more! no less!) and must be turned every four hours. We tracked their progress by shining a flashlight through a small hole in a piece of cardboard and holding it up to the shell.

Unfortunately, we are amateurs. I’m not sure what went wrong, but only one duck made it out of fetus-hood.

On May 10, 2005, after exactly 28 days in the “womb”, one of the eggs started to *peep*. Here is the progression:

It starts as a little hole…
Post Pip

Then it gets a little bigger…
Getting Strong Now...So Strong Now

The Activity Day girls crowd around to watch…
Activity Day Committee

A tiny beak appears as the duck makes cracks all the way around the shell…
A Beak!

The top pops off and a little wet duck comes out!
Wet and Exhausted

Kacy and her kids were present for the popping out. Amy Lynn and her kids arrived a little later.
That Fit in That

We let Jake name him/her (we won’t know until puberty). Jake chose Pom Pom Tankman Duck Rhodes.

Pom Pom has a cool new “brood” with a clip on light to keep warm and lots of tasty food and water.
Fave Cuddling Spot

Pom Pom’s favorite place to be is in between my cardigan and my shirt. Pom Pom just climbed on up and that’s where he/she likes to hang out. That won’t last too long seeing as how Pom Pom’s digestive system will kick in soon and ducks do not have sphincters.

We’ll see what happens with Pom Pom. We want to get chickens, but we are not quite ready yet. We have a pond and lots of other ducks in our back yard so we hope that Pom Pom will grow up to be a good normal duck and live in the pond, but will come visit every once in a while.

Todd and I are happy to be parents to a duck. I won’t dress up Pom Pom or take Pom Pom for walks on a leash. I promise we won’t let it get too out of hand.

(We are registered at Target and PetSmart…and Tiffany & Co.)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Freeze Dried Peas

So I may have neglected to mention that in 1999 for 4 months I worked for a food storage company. I sold food storage door to door.

It’s not what you think. It was an awesome company. I would not have sold ANYTHING door to door if I had NOT thought it was totally awesome. Trust me.

The president of the company was the father of a friend of mine, so I was psyched to go to their house one day for an orientation of the foods they sold.

Just to backtrack a bit, the company sold “normal” food packaged to last in storage so that you would not have to store wheat and crap like that. Instead you could store Krusteaz waffle, muffin, and bread mix, pasta, Bear Creek Soup, sauces, Malt-o-Meal cereals, and my favorite…freeze dried meats, fruits, and vegetables. Like I said, it was an awesome company.

All the sales reps (young, mostly male 20-somethings) were invited to the president’s house for a breakfast consisting of pancakes, waffles, muffins, juice, jams, jellies, and syrups all made from the food storage products. After breakfast we (about 15 young men, the president, and moi) congregated in the HUGE pantry to sample some of the other freeze dried products.

The freeze dried stuff was good. I used to buy the peas and strawberries just to snack on. So as we’re passing around the peas I decide to open my big mouth to add my personal endorsement.

“The thing I really love about the freeze dried stuff is that it really tastes good. Like these peas…they really retain their…their pea-ness…” PEA-NESS!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chanting: The Way to Family Unity

So my little brother brought up a funny family memory last week. It made him laugh out loud. He remembered playing a game with the sibs which consisted of many or all of the seven kids lying on my parent’s bed, heads on the pillows, in preparation for a round of “King of the Bed.”

But before the game could start, we would all begin a chant while kicking our legs up and down to get ourselves psyched up for the impending rumble. We would chant “De-feet! De-feet! De-feet!” Yes, this was a method to get the adrenaline running, but it was also an amusing pun in reference to the kick line of flying feet.

I then realized how chanting often accompanied certain family activities. Here are some of the all-star chants:

“A-roma! A-roma! A-roma!”

This chant occurred one day while Amy Lynn was downstairs “playing” school. Chip, Suzie Petunia , and I were the students. Emily, a toddler, came down into the basement with a very ripe diaper. Amy Lynn pinched her nose and began running around to avoid the stinky Emily and chanting “Aroma!” This quickly caught on, and soon we were running and hiding in a corners chanting “Aroma!” while Emily toddled over trying to catchus. As soon as she got close we would run to the opposite corner of the basement and hide. Emily thought this was great fun. So this game stuck, and to this day, when one of the nieces or nephews has a stinky diaper…someone will inevitably start chanting “Aroma!” until the problem is remedied.

“Terr-i-torry! Terr-i-tory! Terr-i-torry!”

The last stage of packing a station wagon to transport 7 kids and 2 adults across the western plains involves actually packing the kids. We sat/lay on luggage cocooned in blankets and pillows to soften the bumps of enough underwear and clothes to last 7 kids for 2 weeks. We immediately set up blankets and pillows between our bodies to avoid “He’s touching me!” moments. Mom and Dad would patiently wait out this epic land grab while we chanted “Territory!” until we were all satisfied with our personal space and we could get a move on. This would probably happen at least once a day as we left motels to continue on our way westward. Occasionally, the chanting would start up during the drive when someone’s territory had been invaded.

“Di-vorce court! Di-vorce court! Di-vorce court!”

This was a really obnoxious chant. My parents NEVER argued in front of us, and rarely uttered a tense phrase. So it made it all the more irritating that we kids would chant “Divorce court!” at the slightest hint of impatience or irritation. We thought we were hilarious.

And the chanting tradition continues to this day. I have noticed that we Aunts and mothers have chanted “Moo Baa La-la-la!” to numerous babies and toddlers. I have “caught” my nephew Jacob chanting songs and made up “raps” that go on for minutes (he’s 4!).

Todd and I have even caught ourselves chanting. We spontaneously chant or recite Beck’s “Loser” lyrics (our family anthem), but the strangest one of all is “Julianna Margulies.” All it takes is seeing her for one second on an “ER” re-run or hearing her name, and it’s inevitable. It will tickle our minds until it has to come out. We chant “Julianna Margulies!” a few times and then it’s purged and we can move on. But I feel that Todd and I are closer for it. Thank you, Julianna Margulies… (Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… OK I’m done…)
Julianna Margulies

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Sensitive Subject

A self-conscious disclaimer: I really hope this isn’t an insensitive post, and by telling this story, I am not passing judgment. Rather this incident sparked a curiosity/wonderment that has stayed with me all week.

So as I was in Old Navy this week for the 9th time, I saw an old co-woker of mine from my Eddie Bauer days. I immediately hid my face in an effort to avoid eye contact, as is my social M.O. mainly because I don’t remember names sometimes…often…almost always.

But walking out to my car I ran smack dab into this girl and inadvertently made eye contact. So then we both fumbled and got the names straight. Amidst the small talk, I noticed she was loading her two adorable small boys into a fairly new white Escalade (the one with gold trim, minus the Moroni antenna topper…).

I remembered that her husband had been a student, and two years ago (the last time I’d seen her) he had joined the National Guard to supplement their income. She was pregnant, and worked part-time at Eddie Bauer to help make ends meet. They must be doing well, I thought.

So I asked, “How is your husband doing?”

“Oh, he passed away.”

I was totally shocked. “I am so sorry. When?”

“About two years ago. He was training in Tooele and was involved in a truck roll-over accident.”

I must admit that I was first shocked and second sad to hear this, but that my THIRD reaction was “So you bought an Escalade?” I didn’t say this, of course…

But as the awkward conversation dwindled, all I could think of was the Escalade. She has two little boys, and a HUGE, expensive, conspicuously extravagant luxury SUV.

People express their grief in different ways. Not to say she wasn’t grieving. But an Escalade?

Later that day, after much personal reflection, I assured Todd that if he died suddenly I wouldn’t buy an Escalade.

“That’s nice of you,” he said. “But if you die I’m getting a Ducati.”

Saturday, April 16, 2005

If I Were a Mormon Celebrity…

This is what my day would be like:

5.oo am Pray for 30 min., being famous requires a lot of “favors”

5.3o am Read scriptures for 30 min. making notations for Book of Mormon commentary I will be publishing later in the year. Drink a cup of Mockaccino, my own brand of Mormon “coffee” sold in fine food emporiums in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.

6.oo – 7.3o am Work out with Utah-equivalent of Radu, trainer to the stars. LaVell will do, I suppose, although he tends to over work my glutes and neck muscles.

7.3o – 10.oo am Early temple session (all clothing rentals and breakfast in the cafeteria are on the house, of course…must also enter and exit through special “celebrity” entrance, no recommend necessary…)

Personal Assistant: Pick up white custom Escalade with gold-leafed chrome and custom Moroni antenna topper from car shop.

1o.oo – 11.oo am Appointment at Beehive Clothing for custom fitting

11.oo – 12.oo pm Sit for interview with Doug Fabrizio on KUER’s “Radio West” show…promote new book and CD. Harmlessly flirt…like we always do. Set up lunch date for next week to get my ideas for interesting topics.

Personal Assistant: Take documents to accountant. Make sure he sees the celebrity tithing voucher (only 8% this year!)

1.oo – 2.oo pm Book signing at Deseret Book in University Mall…overwhelmed by crowds…need police escort.

2.oo – 3.oo pm Photo shoot for modest swimwear . It’s the next big thing!

Personal Assistant: Field any calls from Sherry Dew concerning October’s General Conference suit. Tell her to go with blue.

3.oo – 4.oo pm Meet with acting coach about cameo role in Richard Dutch’s new “God’s Army II: In the Hood”

5.oo – 6.oo pm Dinner at Café Rio – order and pick up at celebrity drive thru

Personal Assistant: Remind Café Rio employees that on the celebrity stamp card it only takes 5 stamps to get a free meal, and if the meal is comped I still get a stamp

6.oo – 8.oo pm Secret Weekly Mormon Celebrity Seminar – Tonight’s guest host Michael Ballam on “Typecasting”
Tonight’s topics:
“How to Get Recognized in the Mall”
“Diet Coke with Lime: OK in a Paper Bag?”
“How to Act Normal in Church or in Public”
“Botox and the Word of Wisdom”
“The Face of Humility”
“Damage Control Series Part VI: When the Person You Are Dating Brings Your Ratings Down”
“Wedding Rings: I Do or I Don’t in Public”

9.oo – 10.oo pm spend quality time with family

Personal Assistant Reminder: Have nanny up bedtimes to 9.05 to squeeze out a few extra minutes for stress relieving yoga. Add to schedule.

10.oo – 12.ooam Answer fan email. Write daily blog for fan website. Lurk on other Mormon blogs to see if I’m mentioned, Google myself.

Personal Assistant: Continue to say nightly prayers for me according to list of things needed doing.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

On the Positive Side of Neutral

So yesterday, as I was participating in a charming “let’s take ice cream to daddy at work” activity with my sister, Amy Lynn and her three darling children, I passed by a guy who was standing in the building lobby talking on the phone. He looked familiar, and without much guessing I knew it to be a former fellow Scottish Mission missionary.

I said (rudely butting in, for he WAS on the phone),”You’re “M”, right? You were in my mission…” Notice how I said he was in MY mission? Why does it always have to be about me? Oh yeah, because I’m a narcissistic-egomaniac who is also surprisingly shy….See how I go on about myself?

He said, “Yeah, you’re…(wheels turning) Sister Oscarson.”

“Well, you’re on the phone so…” I said as I continued to make my way through the lobby and up the stairs. I wished we could have chatted a little since he happened to marry the sister of someone I know well (the one and only Christian f ), and it would have been a pleasant thing to make that connection.

Once I passed on by he continued his phone conversation, as is proper, but then I heard him say to the person on the phone, “Yeah, I just saw a sister from my mission…creepy…”

Creepy? CREEPY?! Did running into me necessitate the description of CREEPY? I am many things (see above) but I am not, nor have I ever been, CREEPY.

It WOULD have been creepy IF:

1. He would have run into say, 6 other sisters from his mission that same day…
2. He had recalled to that very person he was talking to a witty antidote from his mission that involved me just as I was walking through the door…
3. There is a girl who looks just like me who he THINKS is me, and she stalks him day and night…

What is NOT creepy is a person just recognizing you and saying “hi”.

While HE looked pretty much the same, I do as well if you just take the missionary me and stuff 40 lbs of adipose tissue under my skin concentrating heavily on the butt and thigh regions. No big whoop. But maybe this former Elder “M” finds weight gain “creepy.”

All I can say for him, and maybe this is all anyone can ever hope for after not being seen for ten years, is that he looked on the positive side of neutral. I definitely would have taken that over creepy.

Certain creative acknowledgements should be made to the one and only Kacy .

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Civic Duty

Doug & Me
This is me and Doug. Doug is one of my favorite interviewers on the radio. Doug is politely looking on as I foam at the mouth.

So I signed up to volunteer at the April fund drive at ,KUER 90.1 FM…you know, the NPR station.

Important motivations of note…I wanted to:

1. Contribute to something I love in a meaningful, and tangible way
2. See the behind the scenes workings of a station I listen to EVERY DAY (I was surprisingly right on…except I didn’t see the big digital clock that ticks away, down to the tenth of a second, by which all programs, news casts, and announcements are timed…I know there is such a clock, I just know it!)
3. Work side by side with like-minded NPR loving individuals
4. See if I could get any of the free “swag” brought in by sponsoring companies
5. See where I will be interviewed when I am famous
6. Meet Doug Fabrizio (I’m a HUGE fan of the local host and sometime “Talk of the Nation” substitute…)

And each and every motivation was fully realized and satisfied, except for the big clock thingy…

One unexpected pleasure, I met and talked with some really interesting people while waiting for phones to ring. One girl, Portia, was also a Doug fan, and had a pressing question for him after his show. She wanted to know from Doug, after his interviewing of Martha Beck and two Nibley siblings, which party gave the most credible story. How juicy! Who WOULDN’T be interested in THAT response?

I waited in the hall while Portia cornered Doug and asked him the pressing question. I thought he would give her a quick answer which I could evesdrop upon and then bust in for my photo op, but instead he said, “That is a great question…Would you like to come in [to my office] and sit down to talk about it?”

Being incredibly intelligent, instead of introducing myself at that point and participating in the conversation (ah!...the chance to sit at his feet and hear his response!), I just interrupted and said, “Oh, hey Portia, before you guys get into it can I ask you to take a ‘fan photo’ of me and Doug? I’m Carrie Ann, by the way…

Doug: Nice to meet you, Carrie Ann.
Carrie Ann and Doug are standing next to each other facing the camera phone.
Carrie Ann: I forgot to wear my badge.
Doug: What badge?
Carrie Ann: The “Doug Fabrizio Fan Club” badge.
Portia: Where do you get a badge?
Carrie Ann: You make one…
Doug: Don’t tell me there really is a fan club?
Carrie Ann: No, but let’s just say you have quite a little following…
Portia: Yeah, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re so cute!
Doug: (laughter)
Carrie Ann: Oh, we liked you BEFORE we even knew what you looked like.
Doug: (Laughing) Oh really?
Carrie Ann: Yeah, I thought you were blond!
Doug: (Laughing) Really? You thought I was blond?
Portia: Not me, I prefer brunettes…
(Slight awkward pause…)
Carrie Ann: Well, thanks!
Doug (to Portia and Carrie Ann): Well, are you going to be here tomorrow? (Explains tomorrow’s show…New York Dolls interview…the drummer converted to Mormonism…sounded great…)
Portia confirms her pending attendance on the morrow, and Carrie Ann acts vague.
Carrie Ann: That sounds fascinating…Well, nice to meet you…

Portia and Doug enter his office (the inner sanctum) to discuss juicy topic, Carrie Ann exits the building…in no hurry… just moseys on out.

Now some of you might wonder: “Why didn’t you just stay and hear all about it?” To those of you who ask this…I have to say, “I don’t know.” But here are some possible explanations in list form:

1. Carrie Ann is socially awkward
2. Carrie Ann was just a little “star struck”
3. Carrie Ann does not like to appear like a foaming fan

So that’s it. You all should really listen to NPR more. It makes you smarter, but no less socially awkward. In fact, socially, the fact that you support public radio can be slightly irritating. How many times in a day can you hear “I just heard recently on NPR…” come out of my mouth, or anyone’s mouth for that matter?

Support you local NPR station. Donate generously.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Star is Born

It is way more fun to watch the church movies now that I live in Provo, Utah, because chances are, I know someone; at least one or two of the extras.

I had a companion in Scotland whose neighbor had the nefarious job of screaming out in an extreme close up “Crucify him!” in the most popular Atonement/Crucifixion scene of all time. It makes me feel a little better to know that he doesn’t really mean it. But every time we watched the video with investigators, she’d whisper “There’s Mr. Georgopolis…”

So there is a girl in my congregation who is a casting director for the LDS Motion Picture Studios. A couple of months ago, she sent around a sign up sheet calling for extras for the new Joseph Smith movie that is in production to be shown at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Men in the ward had to grow out beards, and the women had to have long hair. I really wanted to sign up, but while I do have long hair Todd can’t grow a convincing beard. He can grow a really good foreign Count-of-Somewhere mustache, but no beard. And they needed couples. Besides, I felt too eager, and sometimes if I feel too eager about something, it’s a sign NOT to do it…but sometimes I do it anyway…it’s so unpredictable…

So last Sunday, she passed about another casting call; this time for video clips to be shown in General Conference this upcoming week. I guess the speakers submit their talks and then submit requests for scenes such as families gathered in prayer, couples walking in the park, that sort of thing, but the LDS Motion Picture Studios only have a matter of DAYS to set up and capture those shots. I would not let this chance pass me by, so I signed up.

On Tuesday night, just before my darling sister Suzie Petunia had to catch a flight back home from her wonderful, but too short, “Mommy Only” vacation, we were sitting in full Sunday garb in our chapel pretending to be in Sacrament Meeting. It was nice because we could sit and chat and reminisce all we wanted (no sound recording was needed).

The filming crew worked around us and shot a baby blessing (look for Todd in the prayer circle!) a confirmation, the Sacrament (you might see mine and Todd’s hands and another lady is wearing my wedding ring), and testimonies (the girl is wearing my black cardigan). Then this morning, I took a sister in my ward to a house over in east Provo, where they filmed us pretending to put her groceries away and chatting.

This is my big break, people! This is the shot at the big time that will catapult me into LDS motion picture stardom! Or so Todd keeps teasing me…

Anyway, keep a look out for me and Suzie and Todd, and if you see us up there on the big screen, give us a cheer, and make sure everyone around you knows that YOU KNOW ME!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

So I participated in a labor of love this week. It involved driving to Las Vegas for one day with 3 adults, 2 kids, and one infant in a Grand Caravan to visit my sister Abby while she and her husband were in Las Vegas for spring break.

While it sounds like the stuff of nightmares and family rifts, it really was quite pleasant.

Amy and Chris generously provided the car and the kids, and Abby’s friend, Jenny, and I provided the “other adult-ness”.

Once we picked up Abby for a day of fun and excitement, there was a seating issue. So I sat in what we explained to the kids as the “special auntie seat”. This was my view.
The Vehicle
We visited the M&M Experience thinking it would be a fun thing to do with the kids, but I didn’t realize it was 5 stories of M&M merchandise! It was just a big store! So we decided to stick around and watch the 3-D movie about how the red M&M loses his “m” gambling at roulette and how they find it again (good family fun?). The 3-D glasses were filthy and not very 3-D-y. They didn’t work unless I tilted them almost perpendicular to my face. Jake and Matt kept looking over at me as if to say “Are you sure about this? Am I supposed to be seeing double?” And afterwards, they didn’t mention the movie again. They pretended like it never happened. But hey, free M&Ms…
The Un-3-D Movie at the M&M Experience
The thought of Las Vegas is often alluring…you might occasionally find yourself saying “Gee, why don’t we ever go to Las Vegas?” because you’re thinking of the lights, warm weather with pleasant dry desert breezes, palm trees, the tropical drinks, the lights, the fancy hotel pools, the shopping, the exciting night life, the lights, the beautiful people, the shows, and did I mention those dazzling lights?

Then you go there, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and after 29 minutes, you remember why you HATE Las Vegas: the smoke, the thinking that the Aladdin is just down the street because you can SEE it, but it’s really a mile away, the tank tops worn by people who usually don’t (whiteness!) and SHOULDN’T (bulging!) wear tank tops, the flyers on the sidewalks and the free papers at 4 year old eye level, the overly-tan Elvises, or Elvi (ah, that one could go either way…), the exhaustion of getting from here to there while carrying 38 lbs of tired child, the dirtiness of my feet from wearing flip flops on the strip, the chilly desert air blowing up your overly summery dress, the crowds, the characters, the perverts, the NOISE, and the overt FAKENESS.

A highlight for me was visiting the Bellagio. I love that hotel. My dream is to be really, really ridiculously rich so that I can jet down to Vegas and stay at the Bellagio and spend a WEEK at the pool and in the shops
Come to Me Sweet Love
(my dream…)

and in the spas and at the museum and in the Bellagio Buffet (the BEST in town) gorging myself on king crab and crème brule.

But I digress…I thought the kids would get a kick out of the “flowers on the ceiling!” (the Chihule glass in the lobby) and the Conservatory which would be ripe with Springtime! They did. Matt kept climbing barriers just to smell things. He was adorable. Hannah was in the stroller cooing and smiling at strangers. People were constantly stopping to tell Amy “what beautiful children you have!” They are beautiful (non-biased opinion), but one lady went off, like she had never seen a “miniature human” before. “They’re called ‘kids’, lady…”
Stopping to Smell the Roses
The “miniature humans” had had about enough of this and were anxious for food and bed. So at this point we decided to head back to the car (a mile away) and go meet up with James and get some yummy I-talian food. I carried a lanky, 38 lb 4 year old most of the way…I DESERVED my ravioli and spaghetti & meatballs!
Viva Las Vegas
Here’s the crew on the Strip: (l to r) Jenny, Abby + 5 month old male fetus, Matt on top of Chris, and Amy holding sleepy Jake.

Dinner was yummy for us, but torture for the kids. It was one hour later to their little biological clocks and they were little cute ticking time bombs. I ended up in the car with an inconsolably crying Matt trying to pacify him with a terrifying movie. Thank goodness for mini-DVD players. He was asleep before the opening credits.

It was tres triste to say au revoir to Abby and James. I really, really, really miss them. But I will see them in July when the male child is born. Can’t wait!

We had stayed overnight in St. George two nights because there was a huge nerd convention going on last week and a huge retail convention going on this week; Vegas was BOOKED. Even the EconoLodge was charging $300 a night.

We got up Friday morning, and Amy and Chris wanted to hike before we drove home. Chris took us up a beautiful canyon (Snow Canyon?) and we found an easy hike down to some lava caves. Jake practiced saying “igneous”. The caves were neat-o; Jake and I saw a bat.

Then I carried 34 lb Matt the WHOLE way back. He actually fell ASLEEP on top of my shoulders. I treated myself to a Krispy Kreme doughnut, 3 flavors of potato chips, an Almond Joy, and a Caramello for my act of valor.

Hiking with a 34 lb pack.

We had a good time. I don’t know why I don’t do road trips more often… Summer’s a comin’!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

So Long, Worst Back-Up Dancer in the World…

So much like Kaycee , I feel that TiVo has let me down…

TiVo has an option whereby you can save a program, or a portion of a program, indefinitely. We have used that sacred option thrice:

1. The Beating Up of the Chicken-Handing-Out-Flyers Scene from “The Family Guy”

2. The Hilarious Guy Eating His Own Snot As He Gags Scene from “Fear Factor”

3. The Bobby Brown with the Worst Back-Up Dancer in the World Scene on “Saturday Night Live”

Every once in a while, as we sit and stare at the “Programs Recorded List” on the TiVo, we chose to watch one of the permanently recorded scenes, just for laughs. The Bobby Brown and the Worst Back-Up Dancer in the World is my personal favorite. Let me set the scene…

Bobby Brown on top of his game...

This is Bobby Brown in his hay-day. He’s on top of his game, he’s smooth, he’s married to Whitney Houston, and he has not yet been incarcerated. He is guest singing on SNL some time during the early-ish 90’s with a HUGE band and about 10 back-up dancers.

Bobby is decked out in gold, and his back-up dancers are in sexy black tights and leotards with bowler hats. His dancers are buff ladies, these are street dancers, not dancers found and trained in academies, they are tough and funky and smooth…except for one.

At a certain point in the choreography, this “dancer” literally cartwheels (along with the others) into view…legs akimbo, bent knees, like the kind you see on the playground not the gymnastics class. She is skinny, not muscled like the others. Oh, yeah, and she’s also a little more Caucasian than her peers. She’s very pretty, and you get the feeling that’s how she got the gig, dancing right next to Bobby.

But she is awful. Her timing is off, her feet are off, her funk is off, and she’s got no street credibility.

The first time I saw her was one night at about 2.30 am when I was waiting for Todd to come home from work. I saw what was going on, and had the presence of mind to press instant record on the TiVo.

Oh, how I’ve enjoyed that segment, over and over! Until today, I unwittingly pressed “DELETE” after viewing its delightful awkwardness. I have actually mourned that bit of TV all afternoon.

I will miss you Worst Back-Up Dancer in the World…keep practicing, baby.

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Cleaner, Gentler Me...

So after my sister casually asked me if I thought I was a hoarder, I decided that maybe I should de-junk my house a little.

Home Sweet Home

This, in culmination with the poop incident , gave me pause: “Am I grooming myself to be the cat lady? That lady in the neighborhood with all the animals and poop and junk?” While I don’t think so (we don’t own a cat, but a two dog start might make some people wonder…), I thought it wouldn’t hurt do exercise a little tough love on the shelves and closets of my home.

The reason of the visit from the friend on the day of the poop incident, ironically, was to share with me a book about organization and cleaning. So I have been reading this book and trying to implement its ideas.

First, I have started making my bed. A total waste of time, in my way of thinking, but BOY does it make a difference! Suddenly, my room looks clean each morning.

Second, I have divided my home into 5 zones to correspond with the 5 days of the week. For the next couple of weeks, all I have to do is light maintenance and the rest of the time I just de-junk one zone a day.

Today is day one and I am SO excited. I already swept my front porch and killed a spider in the process. (I though the spider touched my foot at first and I did a MAJOR freak out dance in my PJ’s in full view of the construction workers…Note to self: get dressed in the AM…)

So as soon as my jeans dry, I will continue on the war path to rid my life of junk. I wish that I could at least sell the junk. Donating memories is not as fun as exploiting them for cash.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I LOVE This Picture So Much I Wanted to Share It

Picture 033

This picture gets me everytime... This is my ("little") brother, Spencer. He is this funny ALL the time, and YES, ladies...he is available.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

For the Love of Dirt

Here’s why I love spring: the spring planting yields autumn harvest which yields photos like these…

This is Todd and his 90 lb pumpkin.


Todd gets really excited to garden. He spends HOURS planning the layout and the variety (usually during church…for the inspiration, I guess…). And every evening in the summer, when I think he should be home from work and he isn’t yet, I just have to look out the back window and he’s been home for 40 min; he’s out in the garden checking up on things.


I just love my “gentleman farmer” husband.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Mormon Mochaccino or Mockaccino if you will…

Are you a Mormon who loves coffee? The first and only time I have ever drunk coffee was when I was 5. I was at the realtors with my parents (a common activity) and I sneaked into the dark kitchenette (a closet with a coffee maker) and spied the pot on the burner.

Now as practicing Mormons, drinking coffee is strongly discouraged. It is common knowledge that too much of anything is not good for us, but coffee tends to be slightly addictive and a natural stimulant and therefore shunned by Mormons doctrinally.

I knew this at 5. But I LOVED the way it smelled when we went to the realtors or to friends’ houses… So I took my chance… The kitchenette was dark and I slid in and closed the door behind me. I made sure the pot wasn’t hot, I picked it up and took a couple of swigs of COLD, bitter, black coffee. It didn’t matter, I was hooked.

See, I have an addictive personality. I think I was born into a family and religion that shuns addictive behaviors because God knew I would have no chance out there in the “real world.” I needed a little protection.

I never drank coffee again, but I LOVE coffee flavor to this day: coffee candy, coffee smells (I just bought a coffee candle), and holy cow coffee ice cream (Starbucks makes a Mocha Chocolate Chip that they sell at Costco…sold in bulk and SO yummy…). I also like rum flavor, but that is for another time.

My mom (Mo) always had Postum in the house. She liked it and therefore I liked it. It is a “coffee substitute” developed for the “hot drink drinkers” who don’t want the negative side effects of caffeine and stuff. If you are a regular coffee drinker, it’s not much of a substitute, but if you are a closet coffee lover (no pun intended), then this might do the trick.

My mother-in-law taught me a nifty trick. She adds one spoonful of Postum, one spoonful of plain cocoa, and a couple of packets of Splenda to hot water and tops if off with a splash of milk, hence Mormon Mochaccino.

I drink this stuff in bulk, so a get a big bowl and add equal parts of all the ingredients including an equal part of coffee creamer to give it more of a creamy mocha effect.

I’m just throwing this out there. Not to jump on the recipe bandwagon, just because I know there are other secret coffee lovers out there like me. If you feel like a cup o’ mockaccino, I keep the pot on the stove and the door is always open…

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Seriously, Activity Days is pure blogging fodder…

So this month’s theme is Service, and the girls have been begging me to do a service project for a lovely house-bound lady in the ward. You may know her from Kacy’s blogs; it is none other than our dear Sister C .

We decided to combine two skills: service with learning to cook. As the date drew near, I had to think hard about what 7-10 ten-year-olds could handle cooking, together, with heat, and knives, and other various sharp and hazardous objects… And what do old ladies like to eat?

Mo suggested meatloaf. A classic. A favorite of generations past. Easy for old teeth and dentures to chew. And Mo’s meatloaf is to die for…

So after the safety lectures and the rigmarole of thorough hand washing (everyone was made to say their ABC’s as they “scrubbed up”), chopping, crushing, & mixing ingredients…the girls were allowed to mix the 5 ½ lbs. of meatloaf mixture in a HUGE bowl with their hands.

Little K, or Mrs. Harry Potter, came up to me just as I was putting the pans in the oven and said rather casually, “All of this is irritating my ringworm (shows me eerie circular rash on her upper forearm…). It’s really acting up…”

What to do? Do I trash the whole batch? Or do I pray that any possible contamination gets “cooked out”? At the very suggestion that we “don’t have time to take the meatloaf over to Sister C’s house tonight…” 7 ten-year-olds tear up and start whining, “But we LOVE her! We HAVE to take it over!”

So I cooked it at like 500 degrees.

I have not heard anything bad as of yet. Sister C is still alive as far as I know, and ringworm free. I have learned a valuable lesson. Ten year old girls are ravenous beasts, they will eat potato peelings if you let them…they sometimes carry strange diseases…but I can’t imagine ANYTHING giving them as much pleasure as bringing a warm dinner in to a very touched and grateful Sister C did. Bring on the service projects! Just please don’t notify the Health Department…

Mo’s Meatloaf

Makes 10 small servings or 5 regular servings

1 ½ lbs ground beef
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
½ cup finely crushed saltine crackers
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
¼ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped green pepper


½ cup ketchup
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard
4 Tbsp brown sugar

1. Mix meatloaf ingredients by hand (sans-ringworm is best) this mixes the ingredients super well and breaks the meat up better than a spoon…really squish it between your fingers good…
2. Mix topping ingredients together…this is best done with a spoon…no real reason to use your hands unless you really want to…and I don’t want you to…
3. Bake meatloaf for 1 hour at 350 degrees (or until it is no longer pink and cooked completely through). Topping may be put on top of the meatloaf before baking, or during the last few minutes of baking time. I like to put ½ on before cooking and then the last ½ for the last 15 minutes…

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Job Resume (just in case you’re hiring…)

I have been fascinated by what you can learn (or imagine) about people by knowing their job history. So I will join the likes of Kacy & Kaycee , and share my vast experience of menial labor…

1985-1993 Babysitting…I HATED it generally. We always lived next door to the NICEST people who salivated to see a family of 5 girls move next door. I babysat for family and neighbors (from before I was really competent) through high school.

1991 Nanny— Summer Job -- I was a nanny for an awesome family in Natick, Massachusetts. They were Jewish (ALL the Jewish families had nannies, it was cultural…it wasn’t a rich thing or a “both-parents-work-thing”). Luckily, I didn’t sleep over. But the kids were adorable and easy to play with. All I had to do was watch Superman in the morning, make lunch, and draw Superman in the afternoon. I even got a week at Cape Cod in a beach house. Swimming all day, restaurants at night… I was SUPER lucky. Amy Lynn needs to blog about the family SHE nannied for that summer…

1992-1993 Office Assistant – Medfield, Massachusetts -- My first real job was found in the newspaper, and was for a couple who had started an energy efficient lighting company out of their basement. They were hippies and the lady didn’t shave either her arm pits or her legs. But they were nice, and I learned some mad office skillz.

1993 Sales Associate: Intimate Apparel – Natick, Massachusetts – I was a certified bra fitter (I even wore a tape measure around my neck) and I know more about foundation garments than I ever thought possible. I can spot your bra size at 15 paces, and I can make an educated recommendation. I really liked this job. LONG hours, but fun customers… I saw more breasts that summer than I care to count (I stopped at 13…Simpson’s reference)… Some people are just exhibitionists!

1994 Lifeguard – Houston, TX – I “tried out” for this job after 30 days of mono. I was super weak and almost drown during the “auditions”. (Life guarding is a much sought after, cushy summer job in Houston…) I was assigned to a pool in a brand new neighborhood. I doubt there were 20 houses yet. And since most houses in Texas HAVE pools, not many people came to my pool. All I had to do was sit there and get wicked tan. And if no one was there, I could get off my stand and read, or work out… I think I read like 25 books in a 3 ½ month period…books like “Roots” for crying out loud…

1995 – Dance Instructor – Rexburg, Idaho – My ballet teacher had a baby during the semester, so she paid me the ULTIMATE compliment by having me teach her classes in town. She taught at Rick’s College but she taught 5-14 year olds in a studio “down town.” It was child’s play…literally…not exactly serious dancing.

1995 – Private Cook – The Roney Family – Provo, Utah – This was a cushy job. My roommate was the nanny for the president of NuSkin. The mom had 6 kids under 12 and hated cooking. She was a very good, attentive mom, she just had a lot of kids (hence the nanny) and hated cooking (hence the cook). Since I briefly studied culinary arts at Rick’s, I got the job. My “audition” meal was prefaced with the statement that they had fired two cooks already…I passed, phew! They have an AMAZING house with an AMAZING kitchen. So fun…so easy… She said I could come back and work for them after my mission, but I chickened out.

1995 & 1997 -- Server – La Dolce Vita – I really liked this job and had it before and after my mission. I loved the family, and I loved the food. My best friend at this job was a little Bolivian woman who had lived in France for 18 years. She had managed to pick up flawless French, but had a HUGE problem mastering English. Between her bad English and my bad French, we struck up quite a friendship. I miss Rosie…she moved to NYC.

1997-2000 – Cook/Server – Brick Oven Pizza & La Dolce Vita– Provo, Utah – I don’t know what possessed me to apply to be a cook at the Brick Oven, but I got the job and worked in the kitchen for over a year and a half…it might have been longer. I moved over to serving because I was also in school full time and I was tired of smelling like cheese.

1999-2003 -- Del Sol – Retail Design & Merchandising – As I was finishing school, I got the opportunity to do some designing for a start up retail company based in Utah. They market strictly to the tourist industry, hence the reason there are not stores in Utah. But I designed or assisted on stores in places like Grand Cayman, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Alaska, Cape Cod, Cozumel, Acapulco, etc. I loved this job, but after almost 5 years (and a lot of being away from home), I announced my retirement and looked for something new and local.

2003 – 2004 – LoveSac – Retail Design Manager – This was supposed to be the perfect solution. A local company with NO CLUE what they were doing. They thought I was some big shot designer (boy I had them fooled) and hired me without knowing exactly what I would ask them to do (start spending money on store design). They are a company with no plan, and I gave them a plan, and they took me to China (SO fun…). But once they got the plan, they didn’t want to pay my salary anymore (a lot of people there work for free basically and are expected to do so out of loyalty) so I got let go. I wouldn’t work for free….selfish me.

2004 – 2005 – Woman of Leisure/Retail Consultant – So I was thrown into my life of leisure… I am REALLY enjoying it. I thought I would be CRAZY without gainful employment, but I have managed to stay quite busy. I am a retail consultant for Del Sol, and when they get swamped, I take on a store or two for them which means I get a few weeks of stress and then a trip somewhere nice, and then it’s over.

My working days are not over. I am still figuring out how to rule the world in a safe, non-dictatorial, high-style sort of way…and to get paid lots of money for it…