Monday, April 28, 2008


I’m going to begin by saying I’m fully prepared to embarrass myself in this post. But when balancing funny and embarrassing, funny usually wins out.

So I would consider myself a fairly impressionable person when it comes to certain things (I’m about a 5 on the jaded scale). If I admire someone, I follow by example most of the time. I’ll even start talking like them if I’m with them enough. And I can get sucked into stories, easily placing myself in roles – even when it comes to television. Characters can become so real to me.

About a year ago I initiated a very bad habit of watching DVDs on my portable, in my bed, right before bedtime. I started with seasons 1 and 2 of House, M.D. Great show. It became so much a part of my routine, and I got to know these characters so well and so quickly that I began to miss them when I was away. I fell in love with Dr. Chase a little bit. And I was so impressed by Dr. House’s genius and diagnostic abilities that I’m afraid if I were hospitalized at that time, and my real-life doctors were unable to figure out what was wrong with me I would demand to see Dr. House because he would go to the ends of the earth to discover my mystery illness. He wouldn’t give up on me. He would be mean to me, but he would save my life.

After I finished Season 2 of House, I suffered a little bit of separation anxiety but decided it was time to move on. So I began season 3 of The West Wing. I had already watched seasons 1 and 2 a couple times a couple years ago. I loved that show. In fact, that show is what drew me to Washington, D.C. a few years ago. I wanted to visit the White House and hang with the senior staff. Not our real-life senior staff. I wanted to hobnob with Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe and Allison Janney. They were cool. Of course they weren’t there.

Next came Felicity. I wasn’t sucked into this show as much as the others. But it did take me back to my college years. Not only because they were in college, but because I was in college when this show first came out. Memories flooded back to me and I remembered what finals week was like with all the stress and anxiety. So watching Feli every night became pretty regular. I was on an emotional roller coaster, hating Ben, loving Ben. I’ve since banned my portable DVD player from my bedtime routine.

Some shows I watch and I’m so taken with the protagonist and their exciting/glamorous life that I want to be like them. Take Alias for example. I wanted to be Sydney Bristow for years. Not really, but you know what I mean. She was so cool. She could speak dozens of languages, she was quick, smart, and she could scale buildings all over the world in all sorts of disguises. Being a spy looked so cool. AND Michael Vartan would do anything for her because he was hopelessly in love. I think I’ve seen seasons 1-3 of Alias at least twice. I know, it’s a wonder I get anything done. Somehow I manage.

Most of you know Lost is my favorite show, but Lost doesn’t have the same effect on me. It makes me happy and I get really excited about it, but I don’t place myself in their stories, nor do I think of them as my friends. Maybe because they’re all so messed up.

Here’s an embarrassing story: Right after college, a couple friends and I moved to Portland, Oregon. I don’t remember all the details of the story but we were talking about different places we would want to live. We discussed how it’s easier to move someplace if you know someone there. Someone mentioned they would like to move to D.C. sometime. Fortunately, I stopped myself but I ALMOST chimed in and said, “You know who just moved to D.C.? Julia.” Yeah, I was thinking of Julia Salinger on Party of Five. Her character made that announcement on the series finale I had recently watched.

My latest show is Veronica Mars. Veronica Mars is this totally awesome teenager who solves crimes. She’s way cooler than I ever was in high school, but I would like to think she would be my friend. We’d hang out at Neptune High, do our homework together and hop from caper to caper, bringing justice to criminals and helping the meek and unfortunate.

I watched about 4 episodes of V. Mars on Saturday afternoon. That night I went to dinner with some friends. Our waiter turned out to be a guy in our ward that we hadn’t seen in a long time. After he brought us our drinks we tried to figure out who his roommates were and where he had been. Because I just returned to reality from Neptune, California my first thought was to plant a bug on him when he took our order and then maybe solve the mystery by listening in on his conversations with other people.

I really can differentiate between television and reality – even if it is in the nick of time. Fortunately I do have a lot of real friends so I’m not that pathetic.

***change of topic***

At dinner Kristi and I reminisced about last year’s “perfect summer day”. It was so great. We went swimming at Jenn’s pool. We choreographed 8 counts of 4 of a synchronized swimming routine. And then we drove to the Burger Bar in Roy and sat out in the sun eating our hamburger and fries. Then we drove home, showered, went to Arctic Circle for a shake and then came back to my house and watched Les Mis in concert. It was the perfect summer day.

We talked about this upcoming summer. A bunch of us are getting Lagoon season passes. Maybe this year’s perfect summer day will be at Lagoon. A bunch of us will arrive in the early afternoon. We’ll ride the white roller coaster, the screamer; the samurai…things will be just peachy. But then maybe we’ll get in line for the jet star 2 and it will be shut down. Everyone will groan in disappointment but I’ll investigate. I’ll go up to the guy in the purple polo and ask him what’s up. He’ll be baffled and say “I don’t know, the ride just stopped” I’ll insist, “Rides don’t just stop, something must have gone wrong.” And then he’ll be all, “Go find another ride little girl” and then we’ll continue with snide remarks for a brief period before I decide it’s time to take matters into my own hands. I’ll visit the security office (I’ll happen to have a friend who works there). He’ll help me out by following the jet star 2 guy with close camera surveillance. In the meantime, I’ll be sifting through this guy’s outgoing text messages (I swiped his phone when he wasn’t looking). I’ll find a couple cryptic exchanges between him and some guy named Rocko. I’ll send a quick text back to Rocko telling him to meet me at the Terror Ride. Other strange things will occur, but long story short, my friends will take stations outside the Terror Ride entrance, we’ll surround this Rocko character, my security buddy will frisk him and he and jet star 2 guy will get busted for drug trafficking. Now that the mystery is solved, my friends and I will hit Pioneer Village for some ice cream cones, have our ride on the jet star 2 and it will be the perfect summer day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Choose Your Own Mayan Adventure

Saturday night I had the opportunity to go to the Mayan to watch a friend dive. I heard the food wasn't that great, so I wasn't expecting a lot. I thought it would be fun to mostly watch the diving, because how awesome is that? A diving show while you eat dinner?

Apparently it's so awesome that we had to wait an hour for our table. But not awesome enough that they fill all the tables in the restaurant. Seriously, when we were shown to our table there were about four other tables in our area without a dinner party. So when our waiter left, we got up and moved to a spot with a better view of the divers.

Do you want to:

a) see the divers dive
b) talk to the Mayan priestess
c) eat the fish tacos (scroll down)

So I wasn't expecting the food to be that great, but when we got the chips, they were nice and toasty warm, and the salsa wasn't bad, so my expectations improved. And I was told the current chef either worked at a Cafe Rio or was in charge of a Cafe Rio, and Cafe Rio ain't that bad. Because I have a thing about ordering fish when I go out, I ordered the fish tacos. I ate about one and a half of them.

I heard the burritos were good, but the guy who ordered the fajitas said there wasn't enough meat. Just as an FYI. Oh, Steph ordered the beef burrito and asked for carne asada. The waiter said they didn't have any. Steph pointed to the special which was a chimichanga or something with "carne asada." He said those come pre-made. Nice. I guess that is special. I wonder how much they inflated Costco's wholesale price.

Do you want to:

a) meet an honest to goodness diver
b) meet a stone lion
c) meet a parrot (scroll down)

I kind of felt like I was at Disneyland in the Tikki Room or something. There were fake birds everywhere, sounds of running water and island music. And people speaking to you in a strange language. It was a good time. But we all decided if we were to go back, we would bring small children.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Journal Gem #1

Sunday, May 26 2002
6:37 PM
The Cabin
Midway, UT

I went home yesterday for a little while and then realized there was nothing to eat, so I went to Chili's and got a Caribbean Pita. I was craving that and french fries all day. I've never been so excited to eat anything.

I tried to find a birthday present for Lisa, but I couldn't find anything that I thought she'd really like. So, as I was putting her clothes away that I borrowed I just kept cleaning until I took EVERYTHING off her floor, vacuumed, washed her sheets and pillowcases and even rearranged her (or some of her) pictures on the wall. She'll be happy. I hate coming home to a messy room after vacation. It wasn't until I was done that I noticed her computer's screensaver said, "Don't move anything."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Scary Mary

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you'll remember my post several weeks ago about fast forward songs. I mentioned how "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins freaked me out. What I didn't mention was how the whole movie seemed pretty dark to me. I happened upon this trailer the other night and discovered I wasn't alone.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Council

One of the common practices of my church is FHE (Family Home Evening). Even as single adults, we gather together every week for this tradition, calling ourselves a family. In fact, last night we gathered for games, a spiritual thought and treats – three staples of a traditional FHE.

My family never held FHE for very long when I was growing up. Although I remember one specifically: we held it in Dad’s study. He played the guitar. Maybe I remember this because it was probably one of two or three times I’ve seen my dad play the guitar.

One thing we did hold regularly from March 1986 to December 1987 was Durham Family Council. It was usually on a Sunday, after church while dinner was in the oven. We sat in the family room, reviewed the past week and discussed the upcoming week. Mom and Dad would talk about our behavior, how we were doing with our assignments and household chores. It was a staff meeting of sorts. Everyone had a turn to speak. Sometimes (a lot of times) it turned into an airing of grievances. The best thing about Durham Family Council was my dad took minutes from each meeting leaving us a detailed record of what was discussed.

Several years ago I found the handwritten minutes and after crying from uncontrollable laughter decided to type them up for everyone. I shared some of these when I taught Sunday school once – I was talking about the order of families. This is how my family attempted to keep order. I think it worked on some level. If one of us started to complain Mom and Dad would say, “Save it for Family Council!” and we would.

Here are the minutes from a few of the meetings. Keep in mind, Lisa is about 5, I’m 8 and Carter is 10. Maybe this will sound a little bit like your family.

2nd Meeting
3:25 PM

Suggested keeping minutes and reading some at next meeting.
Lisa in the morning –Carter and Laura should help her with breakfast.
Kids NOT to knock on our bedroom door in morning for inane reasons.

Laura and Lisa’s stuff all over family room. Not so much Carter’s stuff.
Sunday mornings: Today was one of those hectic Sunday mornings. Need more help with Sunday clothes, hair and rooms.
Each child to report weekly on something learned, or some new discovery, etc.
Carter needs to practice piano more. Use downstairs piano.

Confusion over morning actions and behavior.
Promised more control over mess spilling into rest of house.

Daddy moves me off couch and chairs when I was there first. Kids have rights too.
Laura’s rude to me. No specifics cited.

I want Carter to like me, but I often get a rude response out of him.

Meeting Adjourned: 3:42 PM

4th Meeting
4:34 PM

Minutes from previous meeting were read and passed.

Laura doesn’t know what she’s talking about with paper airplanes.
Learned about Bible, B of M, scriptures, Article of Faith

Liked swimming yesterday
Going to learn multiplication tables in May
Carter’s been gross – so gross I can’t even mention

Carter’s gross with brownies
Wants to go swimming –likes water wings

(Daddy reminds Carter to stop laughing uncontrollably)

Allowances reduced because of misbehavior
Carter hassled Mommy over leaving to go out. This needs to be stopped.
Telephone manners need work
Too many liberties with food.

Toilets need flushing even in middle of night
Reviewed week’s schedule
Will continue to think about Cabin trip.
Silverware, bowls, utensils belong in drawers and cupboards –not outside

Meeting adjourned at 5:02 PM

10th Meeting
3:50 PM

Minutes read and passed. (At 3:53 kitty knocked down knick-knack on piano)
Daddy noted that since Lisa was out of town last week, we didn’t hold Family Council.

Thanks for Father’s Day presents
3 more weeks of staying off the lawn

Admonished kids to make better use of time
Carter doing well on piano – Laura too.
Saturday jobs OK – more thorough straightening
Tomorrow and every Monday, trip to library and cards discussed. Reading chart. Read after lunch. Laura reads to Lisa on Tuesdays, Carter reads to her on Wednesdays.
Laura to start dancing Tuesday and Thursday
Review reading weekly at Family Council

Glad we have grass
Looking forward to Cedar City

Ditto on Grass
Happy Father’s Day


Meeting Adjourned at 4:06 PM

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Three for Three

A couple Christmas ago I was riding in the backseat of my brother’s car on Dad’s Durham Family Christmas Lights Caravan tour. I squished between my two nieces in their car seats: 4 year-old Chloe on my right, 1 year-old Piper on my left.

My brother and his wife (six months pregnant with Sadie) sat up front. I was in charge of keeping the girls entertained so we sang a bunch of Christmas carols. But after singing “Once There was a Snowman” about 8 times in a row I got really tired. As we drove past the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon on our way to see the lights at La Caille, Chloe said,

“Laura, how about when Sadie is born you take Piper.”
“Why would you want me to take Piper?” I said (after I laughed). Chloe answered, quite practically,
“I don’t think three is OK.”

Chloe must have had a lot of faith in this unborn sister to be willing to sacrifice the one she already knew for the sake of three being too many.

Last Sunday I took on the challenge of tending all three girls for three hours at my home. Every time I agree to tend the girls a wave of relief and gratitude overcomes Carter and Kelly – you’d think I paid off their mortgage or something.

Somehow I pulled it off.
We ate lunch.
We barked at the dog next door.
We tried to watch A Bug's Life.
Piper showed me her Cheerio trick.
Showed me her puppy impression.
Chloe helped in the kitchen.
We had a jelly belly hunt.
Aunt Lisa came to visit.
Their cousin Jack tried to get away.
Then we had a screaming match. My idea. It was a bad one. For some reason I thought if everyone screamed real loud once they would stop. But they didn't. This went on for what seemed like an eternity.Although I absolutely adore them all and life would not be complete without all three, I’m beginning to wonder if Chloe makes a valid argument.

One day if I have more than two kids they’ll read this and think how horrible their mommy is and ask me which one of them I wanted to give up.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008



1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Kitty Prizm

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Mint Cookie Macaroon

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Puppy

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Lee Iowa

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Orange Propel

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Paul Lowell

9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Chance Chocolate

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names)
C. Lee

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Burt Boston

12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Autumn Lilac

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Pear Skirty

14. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Orange Dogwood

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (The + Your fave hobby/fave weather element + Tour)
The Baking Thunder Tour

So I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to answer these, I'd love to see what you come up with.

Also, I recently tried on a swimsuit, and although I don't have a ton of weight to lose, I could definitely tone up some areas and build some lean muscle mass. I've always been a pretty healthy eater, but I'm not always disciplined when it comes to treats and keeping up an exercise routine. So as of today, I've started a Healthy Laura Campaign, and subsequently an additional blog. I invited a few authors who already expressed interest, but if you want to join by starting your own healthy campaign, I'll gladly invite you as an author. Also, it's for invited readers only, but again, I'll send you an invitation if you're interested.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Interim

Ever since Maria left for Manhattan and took the TV with her, I've become aware that I'm more a product of my generation than I thought. I miss TV. It's not that I'm missing out on a lot of shows I want to be watching. In fact, I've learned I really don't have a lot of programs that I NEED to see. But in the morning I usually watch the Today Show as I'm milling around, eating breakfast. And when I get home, I turn the TV on to whatever. The noise is mostly just a companion for me.

Without a TV, I feel so under-stimulated at times I'm not quite sure what to do. I mean, I have things to do. I'm a productive person, but I'm also a multi-tasker. And one of the tasks that usually accompanies my other tasks involves watching or at least listening to the television.

So for the time being, my iMac is my TV. On Sunday afternoon I wanted to watch a movie, but I didn't want to sit at my desk and watch it -- that's not relaxing. So I brought it downstairs so I could sit on the couch like I normally would. Only problem is when I want to use the computer as a computer (like now) I have to balance the keyboard on my lap. That's fine. I can improvise.

It actually looks kind of nice there doesn't it? Someday our computers will be our televisions. But not today. No, today, for me to pretend like I have a television, I go to or and look for shows online that I didn't have time to watch when they originally aired. I am now caught up on Medium. And I may have rewatched some Lost.

Here's the sad and pathetic thing: I am at a computer for the majority of my work day. But there's something inside me that needs to come home and sit in front of a box with a bright light to unwind. So I walk in the door and head towards the computer and sit in front of it. As if this computer has something very different to offer me than the one I sat at 8 minutes ago.

I've accomplished a lot this week with my spare time that reruns of Friends and Seinfeld and local news used to occupy. I did two loads of laundry, organized the spice cupboard (I love lining things up in a row). I cleaned my room a couple times, rearranged and sorted through everything in the "nursery" and I mopped the floor. Before I wrote this post I organized the DVDs by genre. Next is cleaning out the fridge. (No need to invite me over to your house to do chores, I know what you're thinking.)

I'm holding out on buying a new TV until we get a new roommate. After all, new girl may come with a nice flat screen. In the meantime, instead of curling up on the couch with a blanket and a remote control, I'll be curling up with a blanket and my wireless mouse so I can "click to continue."