Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Little Green Monster

The little green monster whose name is


I love my sisters and am excited to go to Texas this weekend to see them. BUT, I find that there is a little green monster growing inside me and that I hope doesn't take over. That monster is Jealousy. I am so envious that so many of you absolutely marvelous women get meet each other and visit and bond and laugh and have a good time and get to eat good food and get to share and learn from each other and have spiritual experiences and I am going to be left out and I don't like it, not one bit. (insert stamping of a pretty little foot wearing a really great pair of shoes here.)

I am not going to love you any more and I won't be your friend if you have too much fun without me. So don't...cause I mean it...I won't play with you anymore if you have too much fun without me. So there!

Now I am going to pout and pack for my trip to Texas where I will laugh and cry with my sisters and eat barbecue and go shopping and go waterskiing and meet Skyler's mom and bond and laugh and eat good food and share memories with my family.

It's going to be really fun, but truthfully, I will miss meeting you. Maybe someday!
Have fun and miss me okay?

Monday, April 28, 2008

What do you do when....

What do you do when you try to book a honeymoon cruise and find out that you can't go on your honeymoon of choice because....

a. your bride is too young according to the cruise line
b. you're too young to be the "adult" for your young bride.

If you are the kind, sweet, caring future mother-in-law you 'volunteer' to go with them!

If you are the future son-in-law you try to remain calm while you really want to say "ARE YOU FREAKIN' CRAZY!?!?!?

If you are the future bride you look at your mother with total disgust and say "Funny Mom."

If you are the mother and mother's friend Rachel you laugh and laugh and laugh.

Stay tuned for the saga of the honeymoon......

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rachel's Story

April 26, 1984 was the day that some of my hopes and dreams as a mother were shattered, was the day my faith in mankind was called in to question and the day that my daughter Rachel received her first class ticket to the Celestial Kingdom.

The previous weekend was lovely, it was Easter and my little sister Stacie had come to visit. It was so fun to marvel at all the fun new things 6 month old Rachel was doing. She was a giggler and could roll over and rock on all fours. It was just so fun to be a new mom of the most beautiful baby ever!

I worked on the campus of USC where my husband was attending Dental school. We lived in a neighborhood in south central LA, where there were about 8 other LDS dental students families. We were a close knit bunch. I worked because we could get tuition remission, half off the $8700 tuition rate per trimester and at 11 trimesters, it was a significant amount. Rachel had been in daycare at married student housing, but then a member of our ward offered to watch her. They had a baby one day older, in fact, we had been in the hospital together. We thought this was a great option.

I picked Rachel up on Monday and her ear was purple and she had little bruises on her tummy. Bill (not his real name) told me she had rolled off the couch and that he felt terrible about it.
As the night went on she got more listless and some other bruises appeared faintly. We took her to the Dr. As we went over health history, he asked about blood problems. My mother has a blood disorder and I am a carrier with a mild case. Without even taking a blood test he determined Rachel must have it. I was so sad and felt terrible, I had passed this on to my baby. After counseling with our parents that night, we decided that I should quit and stay home, we would just take out more student loans.

So the next day I gave my notice. That afternoon when I picked Rach up, she wouldn't move her head and was whimpering. We took her back to the Dr. and he said she had an ear infection and not to worry. Over the next two days she was more listless and could barely stay awake. 7 calls to the advise nurse helped calm my fears. Thursday afternoon I got a call from Bill at my office, "Rachel won't wake up, I am trying to feed her and she is out of it." I grabbed my shoes and ran to my car. This was before cell phones and I thought I would just call Byron when I got home. I arrived at our apartment in time to see the ambulance drive away, a policeman was there, threw me in his car and we raced after. At the hospital I saw them take little naked Rachel with tubes in her and they were using a breathing machine. What had happened? I had no clue.

I went into the hospital and waited. I called Byron at the school, he had his very first patient in a chair, the rubber dam on and was ready to drill. Another friend heard the emergency page and offered to take his patient, another friend offered to drive him. Three hours we waited and then a policeman, a neurologist and a social worker came in and told us that Rachel had been shaken. A baby's brain is like jello and hers was significantly damaged by a violent shaking. There was bruising on the front and back lobes, massive swelling and subdural hemorrhaging. This had caused massive brain damage. We were shocked and horrified to say the least. They told us that as the parents we were under suspicion and that they were placing a 72 hour hold. But at the same time they were life flighting her to Children's Hospital of LA. Our world crashed instantly and it was truly hard to breathe.

Over the next week our life was a nightmare. Rachel was in a coma, having every function done for her. We were under suspicion as child abusers. At some point the Dr.'s told us she probably wouldn't live, and if by some miracle she did, she would be multiply handicapped. I didn't care. I just wanted my baby to live. I begged Heavenly Father to save her, I didn't care what the future held, just save my baby. We signed away her organs just in case, the most difficult signature I have ever written.

Our parents came to be with us, our ward ignored us, except for the Bishop. We under went lie detector tests, Rorshacht testing, psychological testing, everything. The police interviewed us for hours and anyone who knew us. Meanwhile, Bill and his wife, Cruella, refused the lie detector test and moved in the middle of the night. They were in their apartment at 4:00pm and the next morning were gone. We have never heard from them since.

Rachel stayed in the hospital for 10 weeks. Our wonderful Stake President William Tanner asked Pres. John J. Carmack of the Seventy to represent us. He did, pro bono. He came to talk to us and held our hands and looked deep into us. He said the spirit didn't whisper, it spoke loudly, we, Rachel's parents were not responsible for her injuries. We received some marvelous blessings at the time as did Rachel. 10 weeks later we were through the family court ordeal, exhonorated and free to leave LA. We brought baby Rachel home to our parents as USC was shut down for the LA Olympics.

The ensuing years have been both horribly sad and marvelously happy. She is a beautiful girl, with the intelligence of a 12 month old. Her disabilities are profound. Rachel's left brain is the size of an English walnut, it is a miracle that she is a live. She has never spoken a word and can do very little for herself. Rachel brings out the wonderful in people. As much as I struggle, I marvel that she is so happy. How hard it must be for her perfect spirit to be trapped in a damaged mind and body. She has been loved and accepted by our tight circle of friends. The other kids her age loved her and took care of her. She was even asked by citymama to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. We have had so many, many choice experiences with her. She was baptized and that day was spectacular as we knew that she KNEW what was happening. Her patriarchal blessing is amazing, there is not an "IF" in it. It says "you WILL...."

As for Bill and Cruella? We have never heard from them. People ask me about them and how I feel. I forgive him. I understand the fear that made him run. The Lord will forgive whom He will forgive, of me, I am expected to forgive all men, seventy times seven. Please don't think I am the patron saint of Forgiveness, there are days....but he did give Rachel a blessing. He was unworthy to give it but she was worthy to receive it. When I tell this story to youth of the church they ask why would Heavenly Father let this happen? Couldn't he stop it? Yes, HE could stop all the bad things in the world, but he can't, that would be denying free agency. Free agency is the greatest of all the gifts of heaven.

I guess we will never know in this life what exactly happened and why, but I don't think that's important. She doesn't have a blood disorder though.

I could go on and on and tell stories of Rachel, I'll save those for her birthday. How grateful I am that my Heavenly Father trusts one of his most precious souls to me. I am so humbled that Byron and I and our entire family is blessed to have an eternity of loving Rachel.

The first picture is Rachel one week out of the hospital.
Next is learning how to eat solid foods, she was a year old in the picture.
My favorite picture ever, sitting on Grandmas porch swing. Notice her droopy arm, she has a right hemi-paresis, which means her right side doesn't work at all.
This is Rachel at 18, pretty much what she looks like now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jack Mormon?

Today I came into the office after an uberspiritual lesson in Seminary....
Can you see what just might not belong on my desk?

Can you see it? Do you need a closer look?

Yep, right there in a public school, a Jack Daniels bottle on the Mormon's desk! How and why did it get there, you might ask?

This is why I love my job. Yesterday this happened:

Telephone rings in my office..."This is Jeni..."
"Hey Jen, Gooch here (a coach), hey, could you send someone to the girls locker room? I have a drunk girl here."
"Yep!" So I get on my radio and call for a campus supervisor to go to the gym, "Possible H & S" I say. (Health & Safety issue)
About 5 minutes later, the campus supe opens the door, and I can smell her from my desk!
"Oh my!" says I.
"T------, what's going on?"
"I'm drunk I think!!"
"Well, I think you might be a little tipsy, do you know who I am?"
"well, shore I dooooo....yor Ms. G!" (say this with a slurred voice...)
"That's right! Did you drink something?" (Say this trying not to get sick from the smell.)
"YEP!" she yelled, "I went to Longs and I stole some Jack and I drank it with Pepsi!" very proudly said. "oh......."
"Dianna!" I calmly yell, "get me a garbage can....!"
So I stood next to T----- holding her long hair out of her face while she barfed and barfed and more... Then she started to sway and sweat and turn ghostly white. I know from experience that she was getting ready to pass out. So now I had to keep her awake.

As I calmly barked orders to everyone (and I really am calm in a crisis, unbelieveably so, I turn into a machine, seriously.) "Please lock my door so no students can come in, would you please get her emergency info for me...would you please, No T-----, you can't lay down sweetheart, let's just keep talking. How much did you drink?" (Need to know this for emergency personnel)
Dianna, please go get Matt, (the school 's officer)? Is there an administrator anywhere to be found?"
"I drank the whole bottle...."
"A little bottle? "
"No! The BIG one! I put it in my purse and I drank it. I'm having a bad day." (Well, I think that's an understatement)

We finally get the breathalizer out and get her to blow in it. She is THE drunkest student I have ever seen in four years. We are all worried about alcohol poisoning so the ambulance is called.
The Mom shows up sobbing.... they strap her down on her side and start an IV right in my office.

I can see why kids drink. It is so glamorous and fun, don't you think?
The janitor found the bottle in the trash and thought I would like it for a souvenir, he has a warped sense of humor. They've been calling me a Jack Mormon all day. Funny, funny people.

I had a post about Tuxedo's last night, I took it off because I got three of the meanest e-mails about "who did I think I was? " I don't even know these people. They have never commented on my, or any blog I have ever seen. Why they took such a negative view towards me, I don't know. But it hurt. I was just having fun and Lauren loved it! Of course I know she is the bride and she has the ultimate say...(but since I AM paying for it....) I am a tender hearted MOB, and this cut me to the core. ( And I am trying to figure out how to get my email address off!!)

To make things better...Rachel H. and I are off to Utah tomorrow to meet Lauren and have a whirlwind of shopping! We will be seeing Anne, Heather and my friends Kim & Natalie. Rachel and I have dreamed of this day for a while now, I am so thankful that we get to share it together! I hope we get a dress for Lolo, bridesmaids, flower girls etc....it's going to be fun! What a fun time in all our lives as we prepare for a temple marriage for two of the kindest, sweetest, funniest, wonderful young people I have ever known. And one of them is mine! I am blessed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This is where I'm headed...

Have you ever been overwhelmed and under capable to handle the pressure?

That's me, and this is where I am headed, the exploding head zone. Too much stuff, too many details and tid-bits of information to pack into one tiny little brain, mine. Can someone please tell me how to say the simple word "no" ? I seem to have forgotten, and it would come in real handy about now.

I am hanging on by white knuckled fingernails and have scheduled my nervous breakdown for August 4th, anyone care to join me?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Guy's only doing it for some Doll...(and $50)

For three years I have tried to get Jeff to try out for a part in the school musical. He certainly is dramatic at home so I was trying to find an outlet for his theatrics. I decided to follow the lead of an old friend of mine who has been known to pay her kids for doing things she wanted them to do and they didn't want to. Once she paid her child in the mid-three-figures to play in the school band. (For the amount she was paying, I would have learned an instrument and played.)

So I offered Jeff $50. $25 to try out and $25 when he finished the play. For days we heard him practicing singing in his room, (which for a boy with a voice that is doing funny things lately...was fairly entertaining for the rest of us).

He tried out and got a part! A small part, but a part. He was cast as Liver Lips Louie, one of the crapshooters. He endured practices bravely and learned the dances and was excited about the performances. Oh, I didn't mention, he had a line. Yep, A LINE. His line, (and thankfully we didn't miss it) was: "I've got a family to feed!" It was delivered with gusto and clearly articulated. As my dear friend Rachel says' "No part is a small part in the theatre...." Jeff's delivery of his line was Tony worthy in my opinion.

Jeff is the 5th one over from the left. I dug my "proud Mama" goofy smile out of storage and grinned away as he danced and sang his way through the play. I turned to my left and lo! and behold! Dad had a goofy smile on also! I looked to the right and there was little brother Scotty, he too had a goofy smile. We were all really proud of Jeff. (Can I tell you that I just couldn't get over the fact that he looked just like Ralphie in Christmas story? Note to self: make an appointment for new glasses.)

But the best part? In the picture below is a cute little 8th grade girl who is wearing white, she was Sarah Brown, the main character. She just might be the girl who Jeff wouldn't mind if she asked him to the 8th grade dance, just so they can stand around together, mind you. I think he has good taste in girls.

Got to pay up on the other $25 tomorrow!

I just found out that Jeff WILL INDEED have a 'standing around' partner at the 8th grade dance. There will be no matching shoelaces or anything else for that matter. But, there WILL be pictures and blogging about, fer sure!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Punch Drunk

Two Items of business tonight.

Today I was driving Jeff to his play that he is in, Guys and Dolls. On the way to the play we were just chit-chatting and he mentioned that the 8th grade dance was coming up. I though this was his subtle way of reminding me to pay for the ticket.
"You know Mom, people have asked people to go to the dance with them."
"Some people actually asked clear back in second quarter!"
"Well, that's dumb, they may not still like the person."
"mmmm hmmmmm>'
"Uh, Jeff, has anyone asked you?"
"Well, yes, but I said no".
"Oh?" Thinking he was going to say it was because he can't date until he was 16.
"Yeah, she wanted me to go matching with her."
"Yeah, she wanted me to wear a hot pink tie and Converses with hot pink shoelaces! Can you believe that? She wanted me to match hot pink!"
"That's terrible!"
"I know...." silence for a minute or so, and then...
"There might be someone that I wouldn't mind if they asked me to the dance."
"Oh?" (I ask such intelligent, insightful questions and make really relevant answers. I'm a terrific mom)
"So, what exactly does asking someone to the 8th grade dance entail? Do we pick them up?"
"NO!" said loudly with a crack in the changing voice.
"Do we buy them dinner?"
"Are you kidding?!?"
"Do you get them flowers?"
"Oh, HECK no!!!"
"So, back to the original question...what exactly does asking someone to the 8th grade dance entail?"
"Standing around with them."
Oh....why didn't I know that? Sounds simple, non-committal and cheap and I am pretty sure that doesn't technically break the no dating rule does it?


What should we drink at the Wedding of the Year?
(I feel okay saying this because so far Lolo is the only wedding in Brentwood this summer among the LDS crowd. I'm sure there might possibly be another, but it would still be just so-so compared to hers because she has US (you and I) making all the important decisions.....)

I cannot do Frappe' or anything with Ice cream. I just can't. It is going to be hotter than Hades in Brentwood in August. We need something refreshing and cool and easy. Left up to me, we would all have Diet Pepsi, so maybe this decision shouldn't be made by me.

So, what did you have at your weddings? Ideas and recipes please. And I am serious here, I need help with this. There are two possibilities at a Brentwood wedding, Frappe or the Apple Juice/Sprite combo. I am hoping for something terrific, original, yummy and refreshing. Help?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When I had no brains....

This might surprise you... but I have done some pretty stupid things in my life.
An adventure in a 1970 black El Camino comes in at #5 on my "Five dumbest things I have ever done" list.

At BYU in the early 1980's, I had no brains. It's a fact, ask anyone who knew me.

One Friday in July of 1981 my roommates Kathy, Kim and I were bored. School was out for a holiday weekend, so like all good co-eds, we decided on a ROAD TRIP!! We decided to load up Kathy's El Camino and drive to Cali. Sounds fun huh?

So we loaded a mattress in the back of the El Camino, squished it in really well, nice and tight. Went to the 7-11 behind the Pineview Apartments where we lived and stocked up on snacks and drinks. I even grabbed a good book and remembered my sunglasses. Called Mom and Dad and warned them that three girls were coming home for the weekend, they were thrilled.

Kathy drove and Kim and I LAID OUT in the back of the El Camino ALL THE WAY HOME TO CALIFORNIA, all 11 hours, no seatbelts, no protective sun screen, skimpy bathing suits.

I really enjoyed my three day sunstroke, second degree burns hospital stay.

(Gabi and I were on the same wave length today...)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Do they celebrate in Heaven?

Floyd & EvaDean (Last) Rydalch
April 15, 1949 & 1999

Today would be the 59th anniversary of the two most important people in my life, my Mom and Dad. We don't share genetics and we don't have a legal decree stating so, but these are my parents. I wish I had the writing talent that so many of you do because I would really like to paint a portrait of how wonderful they are.

In my quest this year to write a little about my life, the story of how I became one of the Rydalch kids is foremost. The story in my opinion borders on miraculous. Anything that I am that is good is from my Mom and Dad. This is for my kids, but you can read along if you like!

My birth mother is a beautiful, smart, and funny woman. She just probably shouldn't have been my mother. I will not disparage her in any way, I am thankful that despite all the struggles in her life ultimately she did the hardest thing a mother can do. My father was equally handsome and talented, he just didn't want to be our father. They divorced when I was three. Judy remarried. Enough said on that! The day after I finished third grade, I was put on a Greyhound bus, all by my little eight year self and sent to Seattle. I lived with my father, my grandparents and aunt. Then I was sent to Alaska to live with my mother's aunt and uncle. I loved my Alaska years.

A few years later I moved again back to Turlock where I had lived before. I lived in a few foster homes while my fate was decided. Eventually I moved back with my family. My mother divorced again and immediately remarried and we moved to another town. During our stay in this town I eventually left my mother's home for good. My counselor at school was LDS and he took me home with him and I stayed there for a bit with his family. Then I lived in 3 other foster homes while waiting for someone to want me.

Don't be sad for me at all...there's a happy ending! Meanwhile, for two years a kindly farmer that everyone called Bud was dreaming about a new daughter. He would tell his wife about the very vivid dreams. His new daughter was little, wore glasses and had blonde hair. She had a brother too that would show up in some dreams. His wife thought he was crazy, after all she was 48 and not about to have another child! One day his Stake President, Tom Stone called. He said he needed to talk to them. Bud went to the Stake center to meet Pres. Stone. He was told that there was a young girl who needed a home. "I've been waiting for her, when do we get her?"

I came the next day. 14 years old, short, scared and full of attitude. From that day in 1974 I have been their daughter. Not foster daughter, no labels at all, their daughter. My new siblings learned to love me and accept me and teach me. This family was very different from any I had ever been a part of. They ate wheat mush and didn't watch much TV! They were so loving and so kind. They prayed every day and taught me the gospel. I learned how to sew, can, garden, laugh, how to lead, how to have confidence in myself, to believe in my goodness.

One time I was at Girl's camp and was turning 16. I had a 'boyfriend' at the time, he and his friends drove up to Clark's Fork where our camp was and camped across the road from the camp. My best friend Anna Lisa and I went across the road to see him. He brought red roses and I took them back to camp. What was I thinking? When the leaders found out I had left camp, they sent me home. Dad was on the high council and was Priesthood in camp. That drive home was the longest 3 hours of my life. He didn't speak a word. When we got home, I went to my room and started to pack my things. Dad came to the door and asked what I was doing?
"I'm packing, aren't you going to send me away?"
"Do you want to go?" he asked.
"No." I said.
"Then why don't you unpack and let's talk."
That was one of the most important lessons of my life, you don't give up on people. You love them more when they need it.

Later after I turned 18 I moved out to live with a friend. I would come on Sundays for dinner. One Sunday I told Mom how my roommate Patty was moving to Utah and I wasn't sure what to do now. "Why don't you just come home?" Home, the sweetest word ever. For the first time in my life I knew I had a real home with real parents who loved me. I moved home. When I went away to BYU, this is where I came home on holidays and breaks. When I got married, it was this Mom and Dad with me in the temple and standing by me proudly. Mom was there when all my children were born. Mom and Dad traveled to LA to be with us when Rachel was hurt. When Mom passed away five years ago, we girls were cleaning out her drawers. In a box in her drawer were mementos just of me. I pulled out a well worn piece of paper, it was my first talk in church. Written on it was, 'Jeni's first talk in church. Bud and I are so proud of our girl.'

At their 50th anniversary party my brother said "Let's just get a picture of the real family."
"Great idea!" Dad said in his booming voice, "All you in-laws get out of the picture. Jeni, sweetheart, you stand here next to me."
Guess he told him!!

They are both gone now and I miss them. My proudest cheerleaders, my parents. Their children are my brother and sisters, their grandchildren, my nieces and nephews. And I am a proud member of the Rydalch family. Before he passed away Dad gave me a blessing, he told me not to worry about my place in their family, that Heavenly Father would work it out, that I would always and forever be his daughter. As Mom was being wheeled in to the surgery that would ultimately take her life, I told her that I loved her. She answered to me that she loved me too, that I had brought joy into their lives and that their family was complete when I came to them. I am a lucky girl.

This is our family in 1979. I'm standing in the middle next to my sister, Robyn. Rose is kneeling in front of me, Cheryl is on the end in the blazer and my brother Kim is in the back in the striped shirt. Look at my Mom...this picture says everything about her!!!
I hope they get to eat jello and cake today in Heaven to celebrate, that's what we're going to have!

P.S. I do have a brother, Mark. Mom and Dad would have taken him too!!! They grew to love him very much also.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekly Pot-pourri

Well, good news!!! We have survived week one of Lauren's engagement and we are all still alive!! Tempers have flared a bit, mom is stressed beyond stressed, older brother hates the idea, younger brothers are thrilled, and Dad? Well, Dad is smart to understand the inevitable and has been trying his very hardest to keep Mom sane. He even had the "money" conversation and didn't crack under that pressure. "A photgrapher costs HOW MUCH!?" "Subway can cater it for $5 a person." "Your yard is beautiful, can't we just pick the flowers?" Dad is our hero.

They got their temple confirmation and Skyler was so happy. Gotta love a guy who is that happy!

Winner of the cake contest? We will be having a conglomeration of #4 & #8 (kind of!) But in reality, she said she didn't care what it looked like as long as it wasn't chocolate. Whose daughter is she? Maybe one like this, with some pink on it and less bows and smaller flowers.
A work in progress.....stay tuned to the wedding cake drama

This is "Baby think it through...."my 8th grader brought him home this week for a night. This baby was programmed to cry every 2 hours and 56 minutes, all through the night. Jeff was thrilled, he thought it was great!! "Aaron", his baby ONLY cried 4 times during the night. I graciously offered to write the 5 page essay for him instead having to have this dumb doll come home. But, "Baby think it through" came home and his 'Grandma' went to bed. This is the kind of stuff that makes me think it through on the value of public education.

Tis the season to be sneezing...fa la la laaaaachooo! Usually by this time of year I am a miserable wreck. This year I am not. Why? My allergy regime.
This year I decided to spend money,
it's true...money does buy happiness!
I am so happy that I am not suffering. Here's what I do: At night I take one Zyrtec, (they are ridiculously expensive but worth it) they make you tired so you sleep well, (a bonus!!), drink an entire glass of water and put two drops of either Zaditor or Naphcon A in them. I think Zaditor might be a little better, but they make my eyes numb.
In the morning I take a Claritin and two more drops of eye drops and drink a glass of water. I have not sneezed once. I even was out in the yard all day yesterday and didn't sneeze.
My Dr. told me to do this as an experiment. He said that all his patients that take the Zyrtec/Claritin/lots of water combo have done really well. I also have pretty severe asthma so I have meds for that. It is working for me.

We suspended 11 kids at school on Friday. 2 were drinking, 2 were smoking wacky-tabaccky, 3 were off campus, 2 were fighting, 1 threatened a teacher that he would "take him out..." and one for her 5th dress code violation. This is the one that sent me over the edge. It was crazy and I was busy. She was sent in to the office (keep in mind I have no windows and I said she was SENT into the office...important to the story....) for wearing a top that was a little, okay a lot, on the hoochie side. This being her 5th offense, she was getting suspended for defiance. When her mom came in she started to absolutely ream me. "You are picking on my daughter, if I say it's okay for her to wear it then it's none of your business." (Remember, I have no windows, I didn't SEE her daughter til she was sent in.) On and on she went for 3-4 minutes and then she said....
"You're just jealous because YOU can't wear things like this so you pick on the little skinny girls. She's used to the fat girls not liking her, they're just jealous." WWWWWHAT the hay?
You know those times when someone says something and you THINK something and you don't say it? Well, THIS time I said it. "I'd rather be fat than mean" says I. Then I turned around, walked out of the office and went to my car and cried. Because that's why I do when I'm mad, I cry. I thought of this horrid woman and her equally horrid daughter, Lemon trees don't grow peaches.

Last of all: The Super Noodle Recipe. My kids absolute favorite. It's really Penne de Parma and here it is:

1 box Barilla Penne Pasta
1/2 C. Butter
1 C. Whipping cream
1 Can Chicken Broth
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes
4-6 oz. Shredded fresh parmesan cheese (not the grated stuff from the can)

Melt butter, add garlic and saute'. When garlic is soft, add cream and broth. Let simmer on low-it will thicken slightly (about 30-35 minutes). Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, don't rinse. Add pepper flakes to sauce and 1/2 the cheese. Stir, put pasta in a bowl and pour sauce over it and toss with the rest of the cheese.

This is the basic recipe, you can add many 'extras', mushrooms, proscuitto, and sun dried tomatoes are a great combination. We add chicken and make a chicken penne pasta. Capers, bacon, fresh spinach, fresh basil, broccoli, asparagus are all great add-ins. It's like a lighter version of Alfredo and really versatile. Enjoy!! (Sometimes I will marinate chicken in an Italian dressing, grill it and cut it up in the pasta. It's awesome!)

Whew! This week's wedding group collaboration project will be posted on Wednesday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wedding Planning by Committee

If you are reading this...CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are now an official member of the wedding planning committee! The nice thing is that you incure no cost and since 98% of you live elsewhere, I will not require or make mandatory your help doing the actual decorating or cutting watermelon in the kitchen.

I was going to bed early tonight. Yeah right. I started to watch Survivor at 8:00 pm/ Here it is, 11:13 and I am still at the computer. I thought I would just look at a few wedding cakes as I have an appointment Tuesday with the baker dude. Several thousand cakes later, here I still sit. I present to you some cakes for your opinions. I would do a poll, but I may have mentioned that i am a hopeless reject on the computer and this is about as far as my skills go.

The cakes.....
1. I'm thinking this one might be over the top. Colors are right, but it just looks destined to be on a 'Wedding Disasters' bloooper show.

2. Did someone really? This is a 'hand out the Claritin' at the door cake if I ever saw one. Holy Salt Lake City....now that's a cake!

3. I really want a grooms' cake. I was looking for an armadillo since he's from Texas and all, but I couldn't find one. Do you think a trout cake would do?4. I could like this one, we'd have to do without the Hydrangea's on steriods however. And change their color to pink. This is a maybe.

5. If Lauren was a 15 year old bride, she would love this. Really. That girl loves FUN and this cake is definitely fun!6. Again, a promising premise, simple cake but the decorator needed a 'less is more' lesson on the flowers. Change the colors, scale back the flowers....hmmmm............
7. This one is a definitely possibility. Lauren has never seen a polka dot she didn't love. With a brown bow on top? Yep, this could make the cut. Right colors, fun, out of the ordinary...might be THE cake. And then we'll be the topic of gossip in Brentwood for years... "did you SEE the cake Jeni got for Lauren's wedding, she always has to do something different...." We live in a gossipy town.
8. And my winner....this one. Simple, elegant, change the tasteful flowers to pink. I think it's really cute. Now I have to convince the bride. Fat Chance.
Your opinions Please!!!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Why yes...I WOULD like some cheese with my whine!"

Thank you for asking! I am just a little overwhelmed about now. Since the idea of my blog (at least in my pea-brain) is that someday my children will stumble across the books I intend to write and read all about my real life, here it is: Kids, today mom is feeling just a tad stretched. But what do I give up?

1. My family? (That I have forever)
2. My job? (Which I get paid for)
3. My church calling? (Which I am honestly good at)
4. My friends? (who I love dearly)
5. My daughters' wedding plans? (I want to continue to live)
6. My blogging? (uh, no)
7. My yard? (I would be sad and no one wants me sad)
8. Running? (oops, already gave that up YEARS ago)
9. Shopping? (Done.)
10. My sleep? (that seems to be the one lately)

Because nothing seems to be a good option for me, I have a plan. I ordered this a few days ago:

I am expecting great things when it comes! I will be transformed and able to handle anything thrown at me. Once I put my new outfit on, nothing will be impossible including STAR Testing for 1500 high school students, awesome seminary lessons, dinners for my family, CAHSEE testing for the Sophomore class, Every 15 Minutes (which I am coordinating), seeing Jeff's play at least once, planning a wedding long distance and coming up with witty blogs. AND maybe, just maybe, some sleep.

I am sure it's not going to look pretty on me. My thighs aren't quite as tight and my arms a tad more jiggly, but I am looking forward to the Super Powers that are automatically MINE when I put it on. I am especially looking forward to the waist that I will once again have, I have missed it for the last 11 years.

Thank you for attending my whine and cheese party.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's Bloomin' time!

People who know me well know that I love, love, love to garden. I love getting my hands in the dirt and digging in it. When I was a teenager, if we got angry with each other, my mother would send my sister Rose and I out to weed the yard and garden side by side. We would start weeding very grumpily and pretty soon we would be singing and laughing together. It's hard to be angry when you are outside.

My mom could make a planter out of anything. We had a ranch down in Modesto and our barn yard had a myriad of planters. An old claw tooth bathtub was home to onions. Old milk cans, old gas cans, they all had flowers in them. We used to tease Mom about it. Rose's boyfriend worked at a plumbing supply house, one day he came to our house with a urinal and a toilet and bet my mom she wouldn't use them. The urinal grew great cherry tomatoes and the toilet had daisies in it!

I love these wonderful memories of the colors and smells of our house. This is part of my back yard. I work hard out here every weekend, watering, weeding, fertilizing, snail baiting...my yard is my pride and joy.

Today as I drove off to work I noticed a new flower had sprouted in my yard, one I had not planted. I have a feeling like all the years past, this will be in my yard until October. Is it a decoration? A weed? A Nuisance? No, they are soccer balls and socks and probably will be a permanent fixture until fall. Usually there's a bike or two included. Aren't they lovely? Low maintenance except for broken windows, broken roof tiles and dents in the garage. You may grow roses and poppies, I grow soccer balls. There is no end to my talent.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a land called California, a beautiful girl baby was born. She was destined to be a Princess. All her life she was loved and cared for by her benevolent father, The King and his Queen, her wicked mother (all fairy tales have to have a wicked Queen in them...) The little princess grew and learned many things and was beloved by all who knew her.
One day, when the Princess was 18 her parents told her it was time to further her education and that they were sending her far, far away to another land full of ice and snow and potatoes. "No!" cried the Princess! "No!"

So, much to her dismay, they packed up her little white carriage and drove her off to her new home. The little Princess was not happy, she had a subject in her castle that was mean, and there were certainly a lot of frogs in this frozen place! But she stayed and like all good princesses, made the best of it.

The summer came and she came home to her parent's kingdom. All of a sudden...the far, far away land looked awfully good to her and when the time to go back came, she packed her own little white carriage!!

After a few weeks in her college kingdom, she met a Prince, actually, he was more like the court Jester. He was goofy and funny and made the fair Princess laugh. But he w
as slow on the uptake.

The holidays came and the fair Princess went home to her family. She found that she missed the goofy guy in the land of snow and potatoes. She was so happy when she would get messages and phone calls from him. She really liked this frog, only he wasn't so froggish, he was more Princely.
He made her laugh and that was a good thing to the Princess.

Time went on and the lovely Princess and the Prince dated. FINALLY he got around to kissing her. "This one's a keeper" thought the Princess. The King and Queen were happy that their little Princess was so happy. After some time listening to the Princess talk about this young Prince, they decided to see for themselves. So they loaded up their other two young Princes and made the journey to the frozen land.

They learned that the Prince was indeed a Prince! He was worthy of their little Princess. They left to travel home knowing their sweet girl was in good hands.

One evening, the Prince called. He wanted to talk to the benevolent King and the wicked Queen. He told them that he loved their daughter and wanted permission to marry her. He promised that he would take care of her and love her always. The King and Queen were happy, the young princes' were happy and they were certain the charming, in love Princess would also be happy.

So, one day, the Prince got down on one knee and proposed marriage to the beautiful Princess.

He gave her a beautiful gift to symbolize his devotion and love. She accepted his gift humbly and happily.

They will be sealed for time and all eternity August 2, 2008 in the beautiful castle on the hill called the Oakland Temple.

And they will live happily ever after.

Friday, April 4, 2008


I have issues with time,( and I don't think there is a drug for it. ) Unless it's something like Prozac that completely takes all emotion out of you and I don't want that. I have not quite so recently realized that I have real control issues, but unfortunately, honestly, I have other issues.

My new issue? I hate waiting.......waiting......waiting

I hate waiting:

In lines at amusement parks, or grocery stores, or anywhere for that matter.
For a new season of 'Project Runway'.
For a loved one to come off a plane.
For payday.
To get home to a Scotty love, I just want to twinkle and be there.
For interviews with the Bishop.
For gas to pump into my car, the gas goes slow, the dollar amounts fly by.
For a really fun afternoon, like lunch with friends.
For a cute little sweet smelling baby to be born.
For the tax return to come.
For test results.
For meetings to start.
For the 3:00 pm bell to ring
For it to be time to go to bed so I can read a little...
For the wild child to 'come home'
The dryer to be done with the clothes.
For my kids to do their chores.
For a new great book or movie to catch my interest
For the kids to get off the computer so I can read your blogs!
For my kids to do their homework.
A long planned, well deserved vacation.
For a new day and new funny blogs to read....
To be a mother-in-law.
For great news from a far-away place named Idaho.

tick tock...tick tock....tick tock....

ring phone ring!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thanks Always...

After having lunch with some fellow bloggers today where we discussed PMS, Menopause and Prozac and other fun stuff, I came back to work and found this on my e-mail. This is hysterical!

This is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse'? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying, jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into an George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by a bunch of drunken chimps, Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, there these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you flipping kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong', or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending crap. And that's a promise I will keep.


Wendi Aarons

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesday Torture

I cannot blog anymore on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and I am really bummed. Well, at least for the next 2 months. It's the Prophets time in Seminary, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, all the fascinating prophets. ICK. And I teach on the last three days of the week.

I love teaching seminary, this is year six. The kids are awesome, I love learning about the scriptures, I love starting my day with them. I don't like teaching these books. For adults it is fascinating to pick apart, for the kids...well, I might as well be singing Madame Butterfly in the original Japanese, that's how much they understand, and for that matter could care less if they understand. (I wish there was a good sword fight, beheading, immorality...something to spice it up.) But winged horses, mountains, rumors of war, it's no good for them. They want real wars, gory wars.

So I will read a bit, but I just don't have the time or creativity to be witty. That really bums me out. By the way, did you know that there are more verses of Isaiah quoted in the other scriptures than the entire book of Alma? If you put all the times Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Mormon into a book of its' own, it would be the third longest book? I guess it's important, I don't have as strong of a testimony of Isaiah as I do of blogging. Gotta work on that.