Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Grief

It is so hard to lose a loved one, but around the holidays seems especially hard. Everyone around you is celebrating, and your world just ended. I personally can't think of anything worse than someone saying "Merry Christmas" to you when you are making funeral plans. What set me off was seeing a friend's Facebook status about a recent loss. Someone posted in their comments that they made sure to add this poor family to their caroling list. The last thing that family needs is a group of happy people showing up at their house to sing holiday songs for them. What that family needs is to be left alone, with visitors who are close family and friends who mourn with them. So here is my guide to mourning with those who mourn.

First of all, do not buy them a plant. About a month or two after the funeral, that stupid plant is going to die, and it's not helpful for the healing process to have a stupid death plant laying around. I didn't keep any of the live plants we got when my mom died, I gave them all to family who can actually keep a plant alive.

Do not say it was their loved ones time to go. Even if it was, that's not a comforting thing to hear. Let them come to that realization on their own. It's been over 3 years since my mom died, going on 4, and I'm only now accepting that it may have been my mothers time. There were a lot of signs that we just didn't see, because we didn't want to accept it. I still don't.

Say something like "I am so sorry for your loss." The best thing anyone said to me when my mom died was my neighbor, who was quite a bit older than me. She said "I remember how hard that was." Yes, she got it. She had been there. If you haven't lost a parent, a child, or a sibling, you do not know exactly how that person is feeling. Even if you have lost someone, you still don't know how that person is feeling. I was mad as hell when my mom died, and my friend (whose mother was actually the midwife who delivered H) lost her mom a few months later. Her outlook was completely the opposite of mine. So don't say "I know exactly how you feel." You don't.

Think about your relationship with the mourner before you go visit them. They don't need everyone in the neighborhood or church group over at their house. If you are not super close, just go to the viewing. Even better, wait a month and then go and visit them. Everyone comes over in the first week, when things are hectic with funeral planning, notification, and sometimes out and out shock because this came out of nowhere. But a month down the road, everyone else seems to have moved on, and those who have experienced a loss are still floundering, and alone.

Donate money to the family to help pay for the funeral. My mother's funeral cost us around $12,000, and I downgraded the casket because I knew she wouldn't like any of the ones in the price package we were being shown. If a family is struggling financially, anything can help. Did you know you have to pay the funeral home before your loved one gets transported to the cemetery?

Take food over, but take good food. If it's something the family can make themselves--even the grief stricken can open up a can of beef stew or order pizza delivery--maybe you'd better rethink it. Horrible food can make a bad situation even worse. And don't bring over spaghetti, or anything containing spaghetti. And a watermelon isn't dinner, so please bring something else.

If the family has lost a child, be extra sensitive. When my sister Heather was stillborn, people said some of the most insensitive things. My mother never fully recovered from that loss, and honestly, neither did I. I still can't think about my little sister, that I never knew, for long without breaking down in tears.

Don't tell someone it was God's will. It's hard enough not to rail at God for allowing someone to die, much less consider the idea that He did it on purpose. Someone told me God needed my mother more than we did. That person is lucky I didn't punch them in the face. How could He need my mom more than my dad, my siblings, her grandkids did? My youngest brother was on a mission when she died. Did God need my mother more than my little brother needed stability at home so he could stay focused on the work in the mission field?

Watch out for the health of those who are grieving. My dad is a diabetic, and he required some close monitoring to make sure he was eating right and taking his insulin. And if you know someone in the house is diabetic, don't bring desserts over.

The most helpful thing someone did for us when my mom died was dropping off a deli meat and cheese platter and a bag of rolls. It made it easy to grab something fast, and it was helpful to have protein around.


It occurs to me that I'm still fairly bitter about my mothers death. My earliest memories are of my grandmother who died when I was 3 years old. I know what it's like to grow up without both grandmas. I have seen my brothers grow up have no memories of their paternal grandmother. My daughter doesn't really remember my mother, she only knows her through stories. My nephews will never know their grammy.

Grief is blinding.

My aunt, whose husband drowned during a family river trip, on the 4th of July , told me that some years are easier, and some holidays are easier than others. Sometimes Easter is easy to get through, and Halloween makes you want to crawl under the covers and never come out. She was right.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Restaurant Rant

So tonight we went to Hires Big H, which has to be one of the best hamburger joints in Utah. The main reason was because I was craving a root beer freeze and cheese fries, and no, I'm not pregnant so don't ask. Being that we're in Utah, and that its November, it's no surprise that the rain turned to snow. So I had very little sympathy for the chick at the restaurant who was wearing a tube top. We get snow from October to June at random. Tube tops are not a wise wardrobe choice here. Sweaters and boots, that's what you want. And if you are stupid enough to wear said tube top in the snow, you don't have any room to complain about being cold.

On a different topic, if you are a parent potty training a little boy, you really should wipe the seat off after your little spawn of satan...er little guy piddles all over it. I mean, it's really irritating and disgusting to be the next person to use the can if there is pee on it. And maybe the little guy should sit down for his business if he's using the ladies room. Or lift the seat if he must stand.

Also, if you are a waitress, unless you are working at Hooters wearing jeans low enough to show off your thong isn't going to get you a bigger tip. Seriously, they sell belts for ladies.

Monday, October 31, 2011

This is Halloween

What has happened to Halloween? Back when I was a kid (you know, when we were walking uphill both ways to school, barefoot, over shards of broken glass, just to work geometry with a broken pencil) Halloween was one of the best holidays of the year! Of course, we only had the one day and night to celebrate it, so our parents didn’t get burned out after taking us to three trunk-or-treats and trick-or-treating down main street.

This year H was sick, so she only went and trick-or-treated a few houses. And to be fair, she doesn’t really like candy, so the high point of our Halloween was playing Infamous Festival of Blood, which is awesome, albeit really short. Brent took her to about five houses, then she came in and had some Papa Murphy’s jack-o-lantern pizza (our Halloween tradition since the year dinner got burned up while I was trying to cook and hand out candy at the same time), and then I took her out and we hit another five houses. We walked past around 15 houses, as most of them had their lights off.

Brent had an old man moment when we realized that a lot of trick-or-treaters were skipping our house because the porch light was off, even though the pumpkins were lit. Back in the day if the pumpkins were lit it meant they were open for business. I did suggest to Brent that he go out and yell at the kids to get off his lawn.

I got annoyed with the fact that I had one more pumpkin to carve, so I carved a stupid face on it and stabbed it with my sheetrock saw, which has been an awesome tool for cutting into pumpkins. Usually I go all out on my jack-o-lanterns, but honestly this year I feel like I just called it in. I was going to do some really awesome pumpkins, but my wrist hurt so I didn’t really try. I did make an Edward Cullen pumpkin, and a snot shooting pumpkin, and H designed her very first pumpkin, and carved most of it herself.

Brent got into a car accident at the beginning of the month, so he didn’t feel good enough to decorate the front yard. I had foot surgery in September, and then had a bad reaction to a prescription, so I didn’t feel like decorating the house. I didn’t even dig out H’s trick or treat pumpkin, so she had to use a gift bag. We did manage to take her to the ward Halloween party, and she got to play some carnival games and trunk or treat. The party gave me a migraine, so I spent half of it in the foyer, and the other half in the Durango.

Back to my original rant, we had hardly any trick-or-treaters this year! I spent almost $30 on candy this year, candy bars even, and we have about 4 bags of it left. At least I only bought stuff that we like this year, so we shouldn’t run out of Hershey bars or Kit Kats any time soon.

I read the other day how many towns are legislating that Halloween be celebrated on last Saturday of October. As a parent, I can see the value in this. Of course, as a parent I can also see value in trunk-or-treats and trick-or-treating down main street. But as a parent, and neighbor, I like having the neighborhood kids dress up in costumes and stop by my house. I like giving H’s friends extra candy, and seeing how the kids grow. I also like keeping an informal tally of popular costumes—this year it seemed like there were a lot of Bumblebee’s from Transformers. Surprisingly, I didn’t see a lot of Rapunzels, and H was the only Darth Vader that we saw, although her friend Joey was dressed as Yoda.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Will Always Remember

Brent and I got married on September 9, 1994. I remember what we have done for most of our anniversaries, but I have no idea what we did for our 7th anniversary.

Like every American I remember where I was when the Twin Towers fell. I had hit the snooze alarm more times than I should have, and was going to be late for work. Brent's dad called the house to see if Brent was home, and was extremely relieved to find out that he wasn't traveling that day. Then he told us to go turn on the tv. All I remember of that week is watching CNN and being in a state of shock.

We've been married for 17 years, and it's the ten year anniversary of 9/11. It's hard to be excited about celebrating our anniversary when the entire nation is focused on a life changing event. Brent was home that day, but he travels most of the time. For years I have lived with the possibility of Brent not making it home from a trip, and I am relieved each time I get a text from him letting me know he arrived safely.

This has been one of the hardest blog posts to write, because I keep tearing up. Since going on my antidepressants after my mom died, I hardly cry. But I don't know anyone, even Cylons like myself, who doesn't get emotional when seeing footage, photographs, or reading articles about 9/11. On September 14th I ended up spending most of the day at my chiropractors office, as I had a terrible headache and was in a lot of pain. He told me he'd seen people who had been hit by trucks who were in better shape than I was. If I, who was out in Utah and not in any imminent danger, could internalize that much stress, how hard was it (and is it) for those who survived the attacks or who lost loved ones?

The world changed on 9/11, and it's never been the same since. There is so much more I'd like to say, but emotionally I can't handle it right now. So I'll just say God Bless America.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I spent a good portion of last summer working on the perfect mac and cheese recipe, and I have no idea where it is right now, and I'm going to have to start over and I'm not pleased.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Too Soon

School starts in less than 20 days. I'm not ready. It took me until April to get used to H being gone for half a day. This year she'll be gone all day, and I really don't want her to go. However, since I really don't want to home school her (that would be a fiasco) I guess I'm going to have to suck it up and deal. And perhaps up my Prozac.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Dreams Don't Mean A Thing

Okay, I really am not a fan of Grease, but I couldn't resist that title.

We have 19 days until school starts. Most of our summer we have wasted...er spent playing video games. I can just imagine what H will say when the first grade teacher asks what she did this summer: I spent the summer beating Infamous and Infamous 2 on the PS3. The other kids will be all talking about camping, Disneyland, swimming, and my kid will be rambling on about Cole and all the bad guys she got to fight.

We have managed to go bowling, we have gone to a couple of movies, but we haven't run away to the swimming pool yet, and we were planning to make a geocache, and it looks like that ain't going to happen. And for the third year in a row we didn't garden or paint the doorframe on the deck. Maybe next year...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fiesta Days 2011

I look forward to Fiesta Days in Spanish Fork all year long. For anyone not familiar with Fiesta Days, it is the town celebration for Spanish Fork, Utah. It's held over the 24th of July weekend, which is also Pioneer Day here in Utah. There's a rodeo, carnival, craft show, parades, and everything else that goes along with a town celebration. We even have a fish rodeo, where kids catch fish with their bare hands.

The funnel cake stand at Fiesta Days has the best funnel cakes I have ever had, and I have tried funnel cakes all over the United States. This particular stand puts pudding and whipped cream, and chocolate syrup on top of the funnel cakes.

There is a pulled pork sandwich stand that possibly sells the best pulled pork available in Utah, if not the Western US. And there is another booth that sells tri-tip steak sandwiches that has a line worth waiting in.

Usually the Fiesta Days Grand Parade is a really fun parade. This year, not so much. To start with, the powers that be, aka the Spanish Fork City Council, decided that people in the parade could not throw candy. So almost every child who was attending the parade was disappointed, and bored. My niece and nephew ended up fighting through most of the parade, because they didn't have candy to scramble for.

I went to Spanish Fork High, and it pains me to say this, but what happened to the SFHS marching band? There were 9 people in the band at the parade. Nine. I don't know if that was all the people who are in the band, or if the bulk of them didn't show up. At any rate, it was rather pathetic and embarrassing. Especially when you compared it to the other high school bands that showed up.

Most of the local royalty were wearing gowns that were a disappointment. The worst dresses, however, were those worn by the Lehi royalty. No sure if they were actually made of khaki, but they didn't look like dresses any self-respecting beauty queen would wear. They looked more like something you would wear if you decided to wear a dress while you plowed the back 20.

I will give the local town royalty a break, and only say that Bob Marley and beauty queens don't really mix. Also, if I never hear Whitewater Chopsticks again it will be too soon.

I would give this year's Fiesta Days a 3 out of 5. The food was great, as usual, the carnival was pretty fun, I'm sure the rodeo was great, but the parade brought the score down. Not sure if I'll go next year.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

To Catch a Woman

Because I wrote a post about catching a man, it's only fair that I write one on how to catch a woman.

Bathe frequently. Use deodorant. Daily. Wear clean clothes and do your laundry frequently.

Have a job.

If you have a car, try to keep the interior relatively clean.

Never compare anything your girlfriend/wife/fiancée does to how your mom doesn't it. You will pretty much guarantee yourself that you will never get whatever it was again.

Shave your face. If you must have a mustache or beard, fine, but if it is scruffy and makes you look unkempt, you aren't helping yourself out.

Do not make remarks about how many pairs of shoes she owns. We don't think that's funny.

Remember anniversaries, birthdays, and especially Valentines Day.

If you are on a date, put the blackberry away. Unless you are a doctor or a special ops guy who could be called away on a secret mission at any time, you can go for a couple of hours without checking in. And if you can't, do it in the bathroom.

If your girlfriends eyes start to glaze over while you are blathering on about something, consider changing the conversation and talking about something else.

Spending a lot of money on a girl who really isn't that into you isn't going to make her like you more. In fact, she will think you are a sucker.

If you can't afford lobster, then don't take her to an expensive lobster serving restaurant. It's really okay to stay within your budget. In the long run, most girls are not going to be impressed without your massive visa bill that you racked up trying to impress her, or worse, previous girlfriends.

Just keep your piehole shut about her mother, and don't say rude things about her cooking. If it is awful, be tactful. Saying "this meal tastes like dog crap" is going to hurt her feelings, and make her wonder why you tasted dog crap in the past.

Most chicks don't consider crackers and cheese in a can as fulfilling meal. And ditto for chili cheese dogs.

If you make her watch sports, be prepared to spend time holding her purse in the mall while she shops for more shoes.

If a girl asks you if something makes her look fat, do not give an honest answer, whatever you do.

If you aren't ready for a longtime relationship or a marriage commitment, don't string some poor girl along. At least tell her you aren't into her.

Go ahead and open doors for her. If you occasionally forget, it's not that big of a deal. And when we open our own doors, don't make a big deal out of it.

Try to remember to put the seat down.

Floss. Really.

In the long run, having a hobby other than video games is a plus.

Don't wear white socks with dress pants. Just don't. If you aren't sure of what clothes to buy, ask the salesperson, if you don't have a sister to take you shopping.

Girls like a man who can cook.

Be prepared to pay for dates, but don't make a stink out of it if she insists on buying or paying half.

Remember that looks fade, but stupid is forever.

If she doesn't like football/sci fi/fishing now, odds aren't good that she will like them any more after you're married.

When a woman is telling you about her problems, she doesn't always want you to fix them. If you want to solve the problem, ask her if she wants a solution before you offer it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Adventures in BBQing 1

Finally summer is here! Sort of. It's still raining, hailing, and occasionally snowing. But in theory, summer is here and it is time to break out the bbq and have some tasty food! Yes, technically I have a gas grill. So we're not really bbq-ing, we're grilling, but here in Utah we really don't care about terminology. And, to be fair, a lot of times we don't really care about taste, just quantity. And if you've been to some of our ward summer parties, you know what I'm talking about. Tons of over-cooked, under-seasoned hamburger patties, charred hot dogs, and various salads that may or may not have been sitting in the sun too long. Unless you go to my dads wards summer party. They have the best chicken, Nauulu (nah-ooh-loo) chicken. The last name of the family who makes it is Naulu. They are from Samoa. Mmm boy howdy is it good. How good? So good I will put the recipe right here. To make it hotter, add more peppers. They makes tons of marinade, 5 gallon buckets full, and my mouth is watering just thinking about that chicken.

Naulu Chicken:

Chicken breasts

Equal parts sugar, soy sauce and water

To taste:

Fresh ginger, grated

Garlic clove, chopped

Dash of sesame oil


Marinate chicken in sauce for several hours.


I try to be good at grilling, but honestly, it's not my forte. However, due to the amount of time I spend watching Foot Network, I persist in my quest to make something that is truly excellent on my grill. Tonight I am trying BBQed chicken. I have made actual, tasty, not overcooked or raw chicken before. Just not recently. In fact, we often eat burnt offering for dinner. But I have good feelings about tonight! For one, I am cooking slowly on low heat, and two, I am timing the chicken, and three, I am not putting any sauce on it until the chicken is cooked. So we'll see. I'm also trying (sort of) a recipe Grilled Yukon Potatoes that I found on Food Network.com. I say sort of, because I didn't have any fresh thyme, so I used dried Rosemary. We'll see how that goes. I have also printed off recipes for bacon wrapped asparagus, and grilled pizza. We'll see how our Adventures In BBqing goes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Worst Advice Ever Given

The worst book I have ever read in my life is Helen Andelin's "Facinating Girl." To be fair, I haven't read "Fascinating Woman", for tips on keeping your man happy once you catch him, or her books on parenting. Frankly, after reading the drivel/crap that filled "Fascinating Girl", I'm a little frightened about reading Andelin's parenting advice.

I read this book because a friend told me about it. She says that sometimes she and her husband pick up the book, read a random passage, and laugh and make fun of it. I had to see if it was truly as bad as she said. It was worse. The truly shocking thing about this book is that it has been reprinted several times, including the last few years. This was written in the 60's, during the time women were beginning to burn their bras and realized there was more to life than cooking, cleaning, and handing hubby slippers and newspaper when he gets home from work. Andelin's writing sets women's lib back at least a century, if not longer.

She recommends that women don't try to excel in subjects that are considered male oriented, such as math or science. She warns her readers against competing with men for academic honors, or attempting to get jobs in fields that have traditionally been dominated by men. No man, she warns, wants a wife who is smarter than him. It would be okay with Andelin to get a job working as a secretary for a man working in certain fields, but she would be expected to quit her job as soon as she was married. And if by some reason a marriage failed, or the husband died, Andelin suggests finding work in a womanly way. Since education, other than domestic arts, isn't recommended by Andelin, it is assumed that women in this situation will end up becoming cleaning ladies or day care providers. She certainly wouldn't believe in having a career/degree to fall back on.

One of the absolute worst suggestions she gives is on how to act when you are angry. She actually suggests that women act like little girls, pouting, stomping, and threatening to tell his mother. If I tried that on my husband, he'd either bust up laughing or get even madder. She also suggests women dress like little girls, using hair bows, ribbons, and lace.

Andelin repeatedly refers to Dora from "David Copperfield" as the ideal fascinating girl. If you can get past that Dora is a fictional character, and the fact that she has no skills, other than playing with her doggie and looking pretty, I still don't see how Dora could possibly be a role model for anyone. She's no Elizabeth Bennet, that's for sure.

If a woman wants to be a doormat to a man, have him make all the decisions, disregard her feelings and become a second class citizen, then by all means she should follow the advice in this book. If, however, she wants to be an equal partner with her husband, sharing decisions, finances, chores, child care, and respect, then she should do the opposite of what the book says.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Catch a Man

Having recently perused the truly awful man-catching book "Fascinating Girl" by Helen Andelin, I decided that I could come up with some better suggestions than acting like an incompetent imbecile and helping to set back women's lib 200 years of so. I actually ran my suggestions by an actual man (man, not Neanderthal or male chauvinist, which is who you would attract if you follow Andelin's advice).

Men like real food. They don't like inventive or frou frou food. Basically, if it has Craisins or sliced almonds in it, don't serve it to a potential mate.

If you can make buffalo wings, queso dip, and have a big flatscreen tv, you stand a good chance to peak a mans interest, or at least an interest in watching movies or sports at your house, where you can impress him with your buffalo wings. And if you serve him pie, he will be yours forever.

Do not talk baby talk. Men really hate that. Or use stupid pet names in public, or on Facebook. For example, if a girlfriend calls her man Pooky on Facebook, all his friends and family are going to start calling him Pooky, and he's probably going to dump her.

Do not pretend that you like to fish if you really hate it. He's going to be very upset if he marries you under the pretense that he has found someone to fish with. It's better to go into a relationship as yourself, not a fake projection of who you think he is looking for.

Be willing to compromise. For example, for every chick flick you pick he gets to pick an action movie.

Remember that you are seeking a partner, not a daddy or a son.

Do not think that you can change him. You can probably change his wardrobe quite a bit, and possibly even his hairstyle, but the core of who he is will stay. If you don't like him now, don't think you're going to like him anymore in 10 years.

Friends come and go, but family is forever. If you really can't stand his family, think long and hard before you commit to a lifetime of Thanksgiving dinners with people you loathe, or who loathe you.

See how his father treats his mother. It's usually a good indication of how he'll treat you. When my mom saw that my dad's father treated his wife like a queen, she said "that's for me." And that's pretty much how my dad treated her.

Remember that Mr. Darcy is a fictional character and you are not going to find Mr. Darcy no matter how hard you look.

Do not force a man to watch Twilight, or any other crazy female craze.

If you are dating a sports nut, recognize the fact that most weekends he will be watching sports and you will be left to scrapbook or read romance novels alone.

Learn to live within your means. Coming into a relationship with a large debt load, particularly if you maxed your Visa out buying Jimmy Choos, could be off putting. Unless you are marrying a sugar daddy, it would be helpful to know how to live on a budget. Even those who earn large incomes usually have massive student loans to pay off.

Don't make a huge fuss over anniversaries, and be prepared to be disappointed when he doesn't do something elaborate for Valentine's day. If he gets you flowers or chocolate, count yourself lucky.

Do not expect a man to guess what you want for your birthday. Just send him an email.

Don't say stupid things like "this is our two and a half week anniversary. "Guys hate that.

Don't always expect the man to pay for everything.

Try not to make a big deal if he leaves the seat up. And if you fall in the bowl, it's really your own fault for not checking to see that the seat was down.

Let him open the door for you, and don't make a fuss if you have to open your own doors.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Say What?

I have recently had occasion to do some research on the First Amendment. Specifically, does it apply to children or teenagers? Does the Constitution only kick in when you are an adult, or does it take effect from the minute you become a citizen? Are children considered citizens the minute they are born? Yes. Does the Constitution apply to children? That appears to be up for debate.

I started thinking about this when I was recently told that some parents had banned their daughter from writing in her journal after reading something that they didn't like. Personally I have issues with the fact that they read their daughter's journal. Your journal is a place for your personal, innermost thoughts and feelings. What you write in it is nobody's business. And a lot of times you process through anger and hurt feelings by writing it down, and you move past it.

What is worse though, is the fact that the parents said not to write in it anymore. I really don't feel that anyone should be telling anyone else how to feel, and I certainly do not believe that anyone has the right to tell anyone else that they can't write what they want. Haven't wars been fought over this? To me, that is a First Amendment issue.

One of the best things about living in the United States is that we have freedom of speech. If you think the current president is an idiot, you can say so without being worried you're going to be thrown in jail. At this point in the history of our nation, freedom of speech is often taken for granted because it's something that we have always had.

But does the First Amendment, or any of them for that matter, apply to children? There are several court cases that dealing with this topic, including a current case regarding the Fourth Amendment working its way through the Supreme Court. Should children be allowed to say what they want? Do they have freedom of religious expression? I agree that there are things that are inappropriate to be said or done in certain situations. I certainly don't think that it would be okay for a third grader to spray foul words on the side of the school building. I don't think people should stand up in church and yell profanities, even if legally they are allowed to. It's not appropriate.

But I personally don't believe that children are exempt from the First Amendment. I do not think that this set of parents was within their rights to tell their daughter to cease and desist writing in her own personal journal. We do not have laws in this country banning personal writing, regardless of age. Whether the child could take the parents to court over the matter is something I haven't been able to ascertain.

Overall, I couldn't really locate much information on any rights that children technically have. I assume they have a right to public education, and to necessary healthcare. According to Wikipedia, most scholars agree that to be healthy and free children need the right to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom from fear, freedom of choice and the right to make decisions, and ownership of one's body. I am not saying that parents should not be allowed to make decisions for their children. Overall children would do a poor job of raising themselves if they were allowed to run free. But I do believe there are certain, inalienable rights that no one, including ones parents, have the ability to take away. No one should tell anyone else how to feel, how to think, or what to write in their personal journal.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Hometown Pageant

Ah, yet another local beauty pageant..er scholarship pageant. This one is for the town, and I use the word loosely, right next to the one I live in. This one promises to be just as good as the last one. Last time the scores I came up with matched the judges choices dead-on, so I am curious to see if I can pick the winners again. Plus, there's nothing quite like watching girls teetering around in high heels, wearing questionable evening gowns and attempting to sound intelligent when asked a stupid question. I certainly hope tonight/s questions are better than the last pageant, which I will refer to as Miss P. If they ask questions based on the contestants talents or interests, I might hurl. For example, a crappy question is "do you like yellow?" A good question, and I'd love to see a beauty queen answer it, is "should the world rejoice now that Bin Laden is dead?" But since this is a small town, I doubt there will be any political or current event questions.

I was really expecting the opening number to be Black-Eyed Peas, because almost every pageant I've seen lately, including Miss America, has used "Tonight's Going to Be A Big Night" as their opening number. Not so tonight. The opening number was seven girls dancing (and I use that word loosely as one of them was just kind of moving a little bit and smiling) to Liza Minelli singing "New York, New York." The girls were all dressed in black dresses, and one girl had a dress covered in sequins, which pulled attention from the other girls. They had fluorescent sashes around their waists, and six of them had matching fluorescent hats. A word of advice for future contestants—if you can't dance, stand in the back or fake a sprain.

The cheesiest part was when Miss S 2010 came out wearing a feather boa and joined the contestants for the dance number. It wasn't executed well.

Before the pageant started we all stood for the "Star-Spangled Banner". Our poor national anthem has been mangled so many times, and sadly tonight was no exception. If there is a song that you should know the words to, it's the national anthem. Here's a hint: ramparts don't gleam, and they don't burst in air. To make matters worse, the woman sang the third verse to the song as well. As we know, no true American knows the words to the second and third verses, much less that there is more than one verse to the anthem. She forgot the words partway through the song, and we all stood there waiting for her to finish. Finally she looked in her book and with its help finally managed to make it through the song.

I was relieved that none of the contestants were performing White Water Chopsticks. That song is getting overdone on the pageant circuit.

The emcees had jokes from Laffy Taffy wrappers to fill dead space. Sadly, they used some of them. The best thing about the emcees was watching the crown sparkle on the beauty queen.

Eventually the technical crew managed to lower the screen and start the PowerPoint slide show of the contestants. Sadly, the accompanying song was "I Love Being a Girl." I have heard the song before, but I couldn't place it. Thanks to my Droid and Google, I learned it was from a Rodgers and Hammerstein show called "Flower Drum Song." This particular show got really bad reviews, and seems to be generally regarded as the pairs biggest flop. But that's off topic.

Finally we got to the talent competition. Contestant One, who was my personal pick to win the pageant, danced to "Ruby Blue". The dance was interesting, and kind of sounded like it should be in a burlesque show. Her outfit, which I liked, didn't match her dance. It was pink and sparkly, and really would have worked better for a tap dance routine. Her dance pants were very distracting, as they were white and it looked like her panties were showing. Still, I gave her the best score out of any of the contestants for talent.

Contestant Two also has a burlesque style dance, and wore a red flapper dress. Number Three appeared to get a second use out of her prom dress, and made a rather weird face when she came out. She was the only girl who didn't dance, and she played the piano instead. Her posture wasn't very great, and she tried to cover up her piano playing ability with fancy hand movements. Number Four had a bright pink sparkly short dress, and could do the splits, which was kind of cool. However, her song choice was dreadful, and the voice of the singer was kind of grating. Number Five's outfit looked like it came from an 80's workout video. She did a lot of one-handed cartwheels. Sadly, one-handed cartwheels aren't very impressive. She got my lowest score.

Number Six was probably the worst performer of the night. Bad song choice, bad costume choice, bad talent choice. She was a larger girl, and unfortunately her song had lots of loud parts where she stomped. Not only did the stomping call attention to the fact that she was big—thundering elephant herd came to mind—but she didn't quite do the stomping at the right moment. And the costume choice—a large oversized shirt over what appeared to be tights but were determined by us to be leggings—didn't do anything to help her out. Number Seven rounded out the performances with yet another dance, and was a nice break from all the burlesque-type numbers.

Why do these girls always insist on doing interpretive dance? No one enjoys watching interpretive dance. Why not just go with ballet, tap, or even clogging? Why mix them up? And a note for last year's winner—you really can't clog while wearing a flapper dress. They just don't seem to go together, even if you add in the Charleston.

Finally we got to the on-stage interview question. The girls came out on stage and were asked two questions by the current Miss S. They picked their own questions out of what appeared to be a poorly done copy of the goblet of fire. I was actually hoping some flames would jump out of it just to liven up the night. The contestants were asked a question regarding their service platform (which was nice because that part was missing from the program), and then an allegedly random question. I'm pretty certain the girls had seen the list of questions before hand, because quite a few of the answers seemed canned.

Contestant One's platform was driving while texting. She was against it. The second question was "What three places in our town would you tell visitors to go." Um, what? My husband Brent came up with a good answer "well, the traffic light is pretty neat, and the four-way stop is a must see, and of course you need to stop by Jenny's house." A tourist mecca this town ain't. Number Two was concerned about first aid, and planned to help children learn how to call 911 and also wanted to teach CPR. We were very surprised when her question turned out to be "What are the key issues facing our country in 2011?" She said something about the economy, I don't really remember her answer because I was looking at her bright red heels that didn't seem to go with the rest of her outfit.

Number Three was concerned with stranger danger, apparently because a stranger had approached her as a child. Her question was regarding the greatest gift we can give the next generation, and she answered self-worth. Better than world peace as an answer, I guess. Number Four's platform was childhood obesity. Her question was on how we can get others to help with the natural disasters going on. I personally thought she had the worst answer of the night, regarding that she should go and help and set a good example. Yes, I can just see a beauty queen in heels, tiara and sash filling sandbags or slogging through mud to rescue people or animals.

Number Five wanted to get the word on preventing teen suicide. Her question was "how she would like to be remembered if she won Miss S?" She said something about her personality and how she has grown as a person since the last few times "I ran". At least she didn't say "I run", but it still sounded wrong. Number Six was concerned with body image, not too much of a surprise since she was the larger contestant. She was asked what questions she would ask the President if she had the chance. She rambled a bit about campaign promises and while it didn't seem very coherent it showed she was at least somewhat aware of current events. Number Seven was concerned about kids finishing high school, and managed to work her platform into her answer of "how she defined at-risk youth". She didn't really show that she gave much thought to her answer.

While the girls changed into evening wear, we had to watch…er got to watch the local high school drill team perform. Overall they did a good job, although some of the girls timing was slightly off. Then we endured the emcee singing a song, half of which was in Italian. The person in front of me was trying to use VCast to help her identify the song. Um, that doesn't work on live performances, but it livened up the performance for me. Personally, I would rather see local talent perform and fill in the gaps during a pageant than watch someone who isn't even from the town. Why not have some local dance groups, or the high school choir perform? Or maybe last year's winners could each do a performance, instead of just one of them. I'm just saying.

Onto evening wear, my personal favorite part of the competition. Contestant One wore a long black dress with a sparkly belt and sparkly straps. Kind of plain for a pageant dress, but not a bad choice. She was chosen as Most Photogenic, and she had very good posture. Number Two was very a dress that just made you say "holy purple Batman!" The cut was a little mature, and the fabric looked a little costumey. While her smile seemed a little forced, her dress was tight enough to show she was in fabulous shape, as there was no way to hide anything. Number Three was wearing a red sparkly dress that appeared to be strapless, but when she turned around you could see that there was actually a strap over one shoulder. Her hair was down and covered the strap from the front. She was obviously not very comfortable on stage, because she made it across the stage and was off before the emcee's had a chance to finish her bio. Perhaps she wanted to get off the stage so no one would notice how bad her hair was.

Number Four, who ended up winning the pageant, was wearing a black and teal dress, which was sparkly and slit about as high as a slit should go. The shimmering of the dress took attention away from her bad hair choice, and was mesmerizing in it's own snakelike way. There must have been a special on one shouldered dresses, as Number Five was wearing a blue dress, with curving sparkles and a slit. Number Six was wearing what can only be described as a bad prom dress or bad bridesmaid dress. Strapless, red, and ruffles on the skirt. I was embarrassed for her. Number Seven wore the only dress with sleeves. The color can best be described as Pepto Pink. The music stopped during her walk around the stage, but it didn't seem to phase her. I had her down to win 2nd Attendant, and I was wrong as she won 1st. I had Contestant Two down to win 1st, and she got second.

I thought Number One was going to win, and she didn't even place. Number Four won, and I had her down as ranking 5th. Oh well. The audience seemed excited by it, although everyone started to leave before her crown was even pinned on her head.

When the former Miss S took her final walk, no one knew because there wasn't a light on her. My favorite part of the slide show was the picture of the back of the parade float, which made it look like a giant casket.

I forget the contestant this referred to, but her bio mentioned how flexible she was as she could walk on her hands, and that she was obsessed with Alice in Wonderland. All the things you could have listed, and she went with that.

I wish there had been more variety in the talent choices. Six dances, one piano solo, and that was it. No singing, no other instruments. Just once I'd like to see a contestant do a drum solo. She probably wouldn't win, but it would be memorable. I also wish the program had included more about the contestants, including who their parents are, what their platform is, and a little bit about them. Instead all we got was their names under their pageant photos.

More on pageants coming soon.



Friday, May 6, 2011

Max & Ruby

Sometimes H watches Max & Ruby on Nick. I find this show to be really irritating. Ruby, the big sister, is always bossing Max and expecting him to be quiet or sit still. She is always doing something for Bunny Scouts, and is trying to practice a skill of some kind. Meanwhile, Max wants to play and is always interrupting Ruby, but by the end of the episode he is finally getting what he wanted in the first place.

First of all, where are the parents? You see the Grandma, who shows up and watches Ruby show off her skills, but Grandma doesn't seem to jump in and watch Max, so Ruby still has to watch Max even if she is trying to synchronize swim with her bunny troop but still has to keep an eye on Max in the pool. It's no wonder Ruby never gets any better.

You see other bunny parents, but never Max and Rubys. Are they secret agents? Are they dead? Are they buried in the basement and Ruby is trying to keep things going so they don't get put in foster care? Who pays for the house? Why does Ruby always have to watch Max? Does she say "I'm going to practice swimming with my bunny scout troop." "Take Max with you." "But I always take Max and I can't watch him in the pool while I'm swimming with the troop." "Take him with you anyway. We don't care if you get better at anything, or if it's unsafe, just take Max and let us do our mystery business."

And what about the neighbors? Don't they wonder why Ruby is always caring for Max? Is someone going to call bunny protection service (BPS) and report that the parents are neglectful? It seems like an abusive situation to me. Ruby's childhood is being eaten up by caring for Max, which is turning her into a very bossy big sister.

Today is a Mother's Day marathon on Nick. Let's see if the mysterious mom shows up, or if Max and Ruby give their grandma a present. Really, Ruby is the one who should get a present from Max, since she is basically his mom. Alas, it's the episode where they go to buy grandma a birthday present, and Ruby ends up spending all the money at the Laundromat cleaning Max's clothes, and buying food, and then not only is there no money for the birthday present, they don't even have bus fare to get home. They end up having to give grandma the vampire teeth that Max bought at the candy shop when he was supposed to be getting a lemonade. Although, why did Ruby think that Max would actually get what he was told to do? He's a toddler and doesn't really have language skills.

One has to wonder about the grandma. Doesn't she notice the neglect going on? Maybe things are different in bunny land. And perhaps Ruby is older than I think she is and is the legal guardian of Max.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

At the Airport

There are lots of things I hate about travel, especially air travel, but what I like best is seeing what books other people are reading. What people read says a lot about them—for instance, it takes guts to read a trashy romance in public. Once on a flight I was reading "Paris 1919" and the guy next to me was reading "The Life of Pi." I ended up suggesting that for my book club, just because I saw someone else read it. This can backfire on you though—at a family reunion someone was reading "1491", which is about the America's before Columbus. What a snoozer. At the moment I am too embarrassed to take the book out of my bag—"Fascinating Girl." My friend says that she and her husband read it and make fun of it all the time, so I obviously had to read it, but you can't explain that you're reading the book for a satirical reason.

So far today I've seen a couple of people with library books—I admit, I have one or two in my bag. I like to travel with cheap paperbacks I got at the used book store so I can abandon them when I'm done with them. I figure someone else who reads will find them and they'll get another read. Plus, at some Holiday Inn Express hotels they have a paperback exchange shelf, where you can leave books and pick up new ones. I also abandon magazines in hotels and airports.

I don't like it when people are reading Kindles, because you can't tell what they're reading without asking them.

I also like to see what people are traveling in. I personally prefer velour sweats, but we're going to Florida where it is 80 degrees, so I'm willing to be chilled a little (it is snowing here) to be comfortable on the end. What really cracks me up is chicks that travel in high heels. That must be very comfortable when you are running between terminals to catch your connection.

If I had room in my carryon I would bring my Snuggie. I haven't seen anyone else travel with one, but it's got to be only a matter of time, especially since it's like pulling teeth to get a blanket on a plane anymore.

I hate it when people buy potent smelling food to take on the plane. Some of us are doing are best not to hurl, but certain smells can make us lose our lunch, and then we all suffer.

I think those backpack leashes on toddlers are a great idea. Those little ones are really quick, and you can lose them very fast.

I dislike it when people try to bring baggage on the plane that is obviously not going to fit in the overhead bin.

I really hate sitting in the back of the plane near the bathroom. I hate flying in general, but it just adds to my motion sickness issues.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort

This post is an FYI for all Trendwest WorldMark owners who are considering staying at the Ocean Walk resort in Daytona, Florida. Since I have several extended family members who are members, I wanted to make sure they had more information than we did about choosing this resort to stay at.

The resort itself was quite nice. There were 4 pools and several hot tubs, a kiddie area and a water slide. There was a lazy river, but it was closed. The beach was on the other side of the pool. There was a free mini golf course.


There is no free internet for TravelShare members. There is free wifi in the bottom two levels, but it sucks. If you want in-room internet, you'll be paying for it.

This is apparently a Wyndham resort, not a Worldmark Resort. Worldmark has two floors.

If you want to use a luggage cart to bring your bags in, you have to leave photo id at the pool towel desk to check it out. They do not tell you this at check-in.

You may only have one car in the parking terrace. If you have more than one you have to park in another lot. They do not validate for this service. They do not tell you that they don't validate at check-in.

They charge a $150 deposit to your credit card when you check-in. They don't really tell you that at check-in either.

You have to sign out your pool towels and take them back to the pool towel counter. If you are a Worldmark member you can trade your towels in once. If you are a Wyndham member, those are your towels for the week.

There were only vending machines on the bottom floor and the 10th floor, even though each floor has a spot for a vending machine.

Worldmark Members get at 12:00 noon checkout, but you might be ahead to put your own do not disturb sign on the door because housekeeping starts coming around at 9:00am. Wyndham members check out at 10.

Your key will stop working exactly at checkout time. So if you are in the parking garage and you need to return the luggage cart, you will have to push the cart through the entire parking structure to go into the front of the resort. You have to do this so you can get your id back.

This is a really large resort, and when we were there a national cheerleading competition checked in. It wasn't that crowded before that. From what I understand this is a common occurrence.

They tell you they have a gift basket and a check-in survey for you—it's really an attempt to get you into a Wyndham presentation.

The resort itself was nice, but I am really leering about Wyndham now owning Worldmark because their policies suck. Usually when we leave a resort we are already planning our next trip. The annoying policies with OceanWalk have put me off travel at the moment. I don't even want to plan next year's Spring Break.

On the web-site Ocean Walk was not really designated as an affiliate site. Its dot was exactly the same shape and color as all of the other Worldmark resorts, although the salesperson for Wyndham argued with us that it wasn't. I double checked it after he left.

I am planning to call Worldmark to double check what the salesman told us, which was Worldmark is no longer expanding and all the new resorts will be Wyndham ones. I really hope he's wrong, and was just trying to get us to buy into Wyndham, which I wouldn't recommend doing based on our experience at this resort. We have never had an issue at any other Worldmark resort that we stayed at that wasn't resolved immediately, usually involving broken blinds or burnt out bulbs.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Kindergarteners are so stinking cute. Every time I drop my daughter off at school, or pick her up, I smile at the exuberance they show. They wear their little backpacks and go to class, turn in their books and homework, and sit down at their tables or on the rug.

When parents come to pick them up or help with school, they are so excited and say "that's my mommy!" They hug their parents good-bye and hold their hands.

They bring home the cutest art work projects.

My daughter H can't leave school without hugging her teacher. I sincerely doubt the third graders are doing that.

Whatever game you show up with for a class party they like to play. H's class really likes Simon Says, which was a back-up game.

They look adorable in their little caps and gowns at graduation.

They study math and reading, but they also get lots of stories, art, and music time.

One of their main jobs is to learn the school rules, which are cute like "walk slow like a turtle".

They don't see going to school in their pajamas as a threat; instead it's a treat.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pros of Pageants

Since I usually poke fun at pageants, I thought for a change of pace I'd try to see things from the other point of view. You know, the side that would rather spend money on pageant dresses and butt glue than pay the utility bill. So, with no further ado here are the positive aspects of pageants.

You don't have to worry about buying any décor for your walls, because you can cover them with sashes, tiaras and trophies. Plus, depending on where you place the trophies, they can work as an anti-burglar system. Any burglar who comes in through the window will get impaled on a trophy. Seriously, have you seen those things? Some of them are five feet high.

Preparation for high school. If you want your daughter to be the school prima donna, I can think of no better training ground than a childhood full of teaching her that the most important thing is to be pretty and that the world revolves around her. Who doesn't want to raise a vapid, self-absorbed girl?

Skills that you can use in the real world. Being able to keep a plastic grin on your face is a job skill many employers look for. Of course, there would be fierce competition from robots. As I've said, fire batons help with a future career in arson or ninjadry. Yes, I made that up. I've even heard that beauty pageants can set you up for a future in politics.

You'd know an awful lot about disguises, which could be useful if you were a spy, an assassin, or a fugitive. When you see the before and after shots, you wouldn't recognize the girls.

By focusing on being better than everyone else, all the empathy you possess will disappear. You are then perfectly able to work in the DMV, where you will take pity on no one.

When you are unable to enter pageants any longer (notice I didn't say too old or unattractive) you can pass your skills onto the next generation as a pageant coach, and even make a living. Or you can use your knowledge for evil and push your daughter into pageants.

If there were no beauty pageants, a whole section of the economy would collapse. What would the manufacturers of sequins and rhinestones do? Pageants consume 94% of the worlds rhinestone production.

When everyone gives you anything you want and panders to your every whim, you would be perfectly comfortable as a dictator of a small country. It usually ends badly, but I say enjoy the ride while you can.

TLC would have to go back to learning programs without pageants to tape. Okay, that probably wouldn't happen, since there seems to be no end of supersized families, people with freaky addictions, and people living in their own filth that don't mind being on tv.

Without pageants, I would not have as many ideas for blog posts. Some of my wittiest remarks have been about pageants.

Competition is good for the soul, or so I've heard.

Contestants are more likely to get spray tans than fake and bake, which is probably the best change in the pageant industry, at least as far as skin cancer is concerned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things I’d Like To See, Pageant Edition


Metallica. Can you imagine a sequin-clad girl singing "Enter Sandman"? That would be priceless.

Something on the xylaphone.

Drum solo.

Obscure show tunes, but not from The Wiz.

Tap dancing.

I've never actually seen someone do fire batons. They aren't allowed at Miss America, but I think the ability to toss a flaming baton around your head and not get burned is a practical skill, particularly if you become an arsonist or a ninja. And what pageant girl doesn't dream of becoming a ninja?

An opening number that isn't The Black Eyed Peas. Maybe a nice choreographed dance to some Creedence.

A contestant with a Mohawk.



Vintage bathing suits.

American Gladiator style obstacle course, with contestants battling it out with the giant q-tips. Last girl standing wins the round.

Proof of actual fitness, not just who looks good in a swim suit. How many pushups, pull-ups, and sit-ups can they do? Let's see that onstage.

Two words, cage match.



Obscure questions taken from movies that the girls won't understand but some members of the audience will. Like "what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?" If the contestant says "African or European" they get the points.

Or what about asking each girl the same question so the judges can compare answers.

Rorschach tests.

Finish the phrase a man walks into a bar.


New Categories:

Limericks. Each girl is given part of a limerick and they have to finish it on the spot.

WWDD, also known as What would Darth Vader do? Give the girls a hypothetical situation, or even a real world situation, and then they have to come up with how Darth Vader would deal with it.

A Jeopardy-like trivia section to test intellect.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tonight’s Going To Be A Good Night

There is nothing quite like a local pageant. The one I went to tonight was no exception. I brought my own scoring sheet, and my picks were exactly the same as the judges. There were four components to the pageant—swimwear aka fitness and lifestyle, onstage interview, talent, and formal wear. I was surprised to see that there were only seven contestants, but it did make the night go faster.

Was a law passed that all pageants must open with The Black-Eyed Peas? If I never have to hear "Tonight's Going To Be A Good Night" again it will be too soon. The dance wasn't too complicated, which was probably a good thing because only a couple of the girls were dancers. The emcee was not so great. Okay, he was pretty bad. He could sing though, and he did a Beatles medly while the contestants changed outfits. I enjoyed the medly, which was a pleasant surprise after listening to this yahoo all night, although I thought including "Come Together" was an interesting choice for a pageant. I mean, it's a drug song, and the lyrics only make sense when you're high. "Hey Jude, fine. "Can't Buy Me Love", fine. But with all of the choices of Beatles songs, "Come Together?" Why not "Mean Mr. Mustard ," or "Polythene Pam?" I'm just saying. Or "Rocky Raccoon?" That seems like a nice crowd pleasing song. Just throw a dart at the White Album and there you go. But I digress.

First up was fitness and lifestyle competition, which is pretty much the chicks in heels and swimsuits competition. If you can walk across a stage in front of hundreds of people in beach attire, you have to be pretty confident. Or maybe you lost a bet. Either way, better them than me. As it was a small Utah town pageant, it was no surprise that all the girls wore fairly modest one-piece swimsuits, which is refreshing, especially when you realize some of these girls are only 16 or 17. Two of the girls seemed very sure of themselves during this part, and really worked the stage. The other five, however, didn't seem like they were really that comfortable with it. And I don't blame them.

Next up was the onstage question section. This was definitely the worst part of the night. In fact, this may have been the worst onstage question segment I have ever seen. The questions were mundane at best. Questions like "what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle?" Why not just ask things like "what's your favorite color?" "Do you like fruit?" "Is it important to eat breakfast?" Where are the questions about current events or controversial subjects? The girls seemed like they already knew what the questions were going to be, because the answers were pretty canned. And none of the answers were very great either.

The talent competition is what makes or breaks a girls chance to win a pageant. Playing the piano is safe, if you have practiced enough to do it flawlessly. The first piano solo was okay, but there were quite a few mistakes. The last piano solo wasn't much better. But at least no one played "Whitewater Chopsticks." I'm getting tired of that. If you can dance, dancing is okay. The first contestant to perform did a dance/cheer which she did pretty well. Her costume choice was terrible. I think a clown from the 80's called and wants their outfit back. Another contestant played the guitar and sang a song she wrote herself. The song wasn't terrible, but it wasn't that great either. Kind of dull. But she gets points for writing a song, singing the song, and playing the song. It's refreshing to see a guitar onstage, but I would have enjoyed it more if she had played "Smoke on the Water" or something that shows off guitar skill.

Three girls, including the guitarist, sang. The second girl to sing was absolutely terrible. She said she studied something called vocal toning, which is based on the premise that anyone can sing with the right training. Um, no. No they can't. I'm not sure if she was even near the right key, and I cringed with embarrassment for her. Someone, probably not her vocal coach, needs to take her aside and gently explain to her that music is not her calling, and she might be better off taking up another skill. Otherwise she's going to try out for American Idol and got mocked in front of the whole country, not just most of the city.

The third girl to sing did a really great job. She had one or two notes that didn't quite work, but I thought she did the best out of the talent choices. I think the judges did to as she ended up winning the title.

The most disappointing talent was the girl who played the fiddle. I was expecting more from someone who chose "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." If you're going to play Charlie Daniels, you'd better have the chops to do it. Alas, she didn't. Although I think everyone was mesmerized with the fringe on her costume that flipped around when she moved. I know it distracted me. A friend of mine wasn't distracted, and she informed me how bad the performance really was.

My favorite part of a pageant is the formal wear competition, where the girls wear fancy dresses and walk around the stage. Words fail me to describe the hideousness of the first dress. It was strapless with a sweetheart neckline, black and somewhat sparkly, but the bottom of the dress was confusing. I'm not sure if it was the fabric, or if the dress was really just strips of fabric across the thighs, and it was supposed to look like you could see through it. At the very least it was too mature for her age.

I was disappointed with most of the dresses. This is a beauty pageant for crying out loud! This is not an occasion to recycle a prom dress. You need something big and fancy and sparkly and sequined, with ridiculously high heels and big fancy hair and too much makeup. This is not an occasion for ponytails. Out of all the contestants, only one had a dress that I thought was pageanty enough. Yes, I know pageanty is not a word. I just made it up. It was all sequins and sparkles, all one color, which was some sort of teal shade I believe. Thanks to my rose colored glasses I'm not always sure what color things are. I didn't really like her dress, but it was more of what I wanted to see. The last girl to walk across the stage was wearing a dress that was a color I don't think I've ever seen before. Was it marigold or mustard? Was it a brown? It was ugly, whatever it was.

I'm going to another small town (an even smaller town) pageant next week. I think it will be more entertaining than this one. I hope so. As a beauty pageant junkie, I'd hate to have to give up watching pageants because they lost their entertainment value. My favorite part is breaking down the pageant afterwards, regardless of if the comments are positive or snarky.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Ten Most Influential Video Games

My youngest brother Ryan has been making favorite lists of everything he could think of. When I tried to join in and make a top ten favorites book list, I ended up going off into several different sub categories each requiring their own list. The only books we really could agree on was Harry Potter. So instead of coming with a top ten favorites video game list, we decided to come up with a list of the ten video games that have most influenced current game play. So in no particular order—hey, we may have come up with the list but we were unable to actually rank them one through ten—here are our picks.

Pong. While Ryan has never played Pong, or even seen it, Pong is where it all began. Ryan began playing video games when the Super Nintendo was released, so I had to do all the early picks.

Pac-Man, which started a video game playing craze, and spawned numerous spin-offs. Ryan has never played Pac-Man. Or Q-Bert. Or Frogger. But that's not the point.

Donkey Kong, which not only introduced us to Mario, but has become an enduring, and challenging, game franchise in its own right.

Super Mario Bros. It turns out a character can go from villain to hero, and after 25 years can still be as popular as ever, if not more so. And it's doubtful that any game has more incarnations, what with Mario Kart, Super Mario Galaxy, Paper Mario, and Mario Party, and the rest. Mario Kart is the main reason to buy a WII. Mario has staying power. Plus with Smash Bros you can intermix characters from different games. Ever wonder what would happen if Yoshi and Pichachu had a fight?

Mortal Kombat, one of the early fighting games, and a cross-platform one at that.

Goldeneye, which may be the best first person shooter game ever.

Pole Position. Would we have Blur, Grand Theft Auto, or Need For Speed if Pole Position hadn't paved the way?

Legend of Zelda. Ah, questing games. Not so much my thing, but enduring.

Halo. I haven't really played Halo, but Ryan said it had to make the list because it was one of the first games that you could play with friends via the internet.

We have been having trouble trying to decide what should be the tenth game on the list. Should it be WII Bowling, which has spawned the Move and the Kinect? Should it be Little Big Planet, which allows and encourages users to create and post their own games? In the end, I'm voting for Tetris.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

If Simon Cowell Came Over

I would really hope it was during the Miss America pageant because it would be hilarious to hear his commentary on the pageant, especially the talent portion.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gifts You Can’t Return

Tired of buying gifts that just go back to the store? Maybe that hard to buy for person would like one of the following. Either way, no give backs. (Hey, I didn't say it was a good list.)

Haircuts. Once it's cut, it can't be reattached.

Tattoos. Sure you can get it removed, but you aren't getting your money back. In fact, it'd cost you more.


Anything monogrammed.

Clearance items.

Garage sale and flea market finds.





Pretty much any spa treatment, especially waxing.

Nicotine addiction.

Food poisoning.

Poison ivy.

Dental work.

Broken bones.


Black eyes.

Ice cream cones.

Snow cones.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thoughts on Miss America

Miss America has no political power. She doesn't really get to do anything, other than sing the national anthem at baseball games, go to Disneyland and do charity work. Good thing there's scholarship money, or it would be a total rip.

If you are competing in a high profile pageant, it would be a really good idea to really think your talent through. Maybe singing "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" isn't the best choice for the competition, even if you are an alto.

The chick who sings opera almost always wins.

No one wants to know if you've eaten termites.

Posture is important. The viewers at home notice when you are hunched over.

Ask some people who don't know you what they think of your evening wear choice. They can be honest and tell you the truth, keeping you from looking stupid on national tv.

Even if she wears a bikini, poor Miss Utah isn't going to make it past the swimsuit round.

Apparently the answer to the final question really isn't that important, since no one really answers the questions anyway.

Do they let the contestants write their own statements to introduce themselves and their states? If so, does anyone double check the facts? Like the fact that the Boston Tea Party wasn't really about tea, but taxation without representation? And why does Miss Utah always have to mention polygamy or the birth rate?

Miss North Dakota had the best statement: from the state that gives you gas. I wanted her to win just for that.

Watch for panty lines. I'm just saying.

It would still be nice to see the contestants do either the Wipeout course or an American Gladiator course to prove physical fitness. Looking good in a swimsuit just doesn't do that. It just shows that you look good in a swim suit. Try to pick a suit that doesn't make your butt look big.

Practice walking in heels a lot. You don't want to be the contestant who trips.

If you didn't have enough time to get dressed backstage, forget the earrings. They just distract the viewers anyway.

The home viewers do not want to see the contestants rushing out of the dressing room in their evening gowns. That ruins the surprise when they walk out on stage. It takes out both the wow factor and the what the heck was she thinking factor.

No one believes that you are all the greatest of friends and you'd be happy for whoever won. Admit it, you are steamed you didn't make the final 10.

Doesn't matter who the host is, the dialogue stinks.

If your dress looks like you made it out of Jiffy Pop, think twice.

It seems like the girls should get to wear flip flops with their swimsuits. Who is going to wear high heels to the beach?

Huge earrings are a distraction, especially when one of them is missing.

Apparently there is a civil rights movement involving beauty queens and the rest of the world. I wonder if it's led by Sarah Palin?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Life Lessons from The Princess Bride

Life is Pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

There is no money in revenge.

Never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line.

Never trust people in masks.

Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

Not even death can stop true love.

Sometimes miracles do happen.

The Dread Pirate Roberts leaves no survivors, except sometimes.

Humperdink is a stupid name.