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.