Jul 29, 2009

A Boring-ish Post about a Really Fun Trip--Plus old photos

Newlyweds John and Faezer. Headed to the D.R. in a few short days!(Any trip that includes a visit to Rubio's for Fish Taco's is bound to be a success. The American Fork location is no where near as nice as the Southern California locations, but the taco's taste just as good.)

Anna's parents: Some of my very favorite humans!!! (Bishop C. is half responsible for Sam's middle name. Doug's dad is responsible for the other half!)
This is my sister Jenny talking to Kristen who was my next door neighbor on Camino Circle. Her older brother Aaron came too with his cute wife and girls! It was so fun to see them for the first time in YEARS! Kristen even said she likes me now that I'm not an annoying little brat.
I get that a lot.

Speaking of friends we haven't seen in years, we were THRILLED to see Lynn, Jeph, and Johnny S. Also neighbors from good-old Cottonwood Heights. Lynn raised five boys (part of the time as a single mom) and lived to tell about it. She's my idol!And yes. As mentioned on Brandon's blog, I went on my first date with Danny. (Son number 2 not in attendance.)

That went down something like this: "Mom and Dad, I know you're going to want to set me up for my first date on my 16th birthday. But whatever you do, don't set me up with Danny (said with fingers crossed behind my back.) 'Cause that would be, like, so embarrassing." Mom and Dad: "Huh?"

Fabulous former roommates Anna-Banana (on tip-toe so she can be taller than me) and P.B. (real name=Michelle) holding sweet little Preslie.
I fell in love with Preslie instantly--even though she was a little unsure about me. P.B. started a great blog after Preslie was born chronicling their adventures in and out of the hospital. Seems like most of the first few months of Preslie's life were spent in the hospital. But I'm pretty sure they think she's worth it.

Did you know that 80% of Downs Syndrome babies are aborted? Can you believe that?!? Those misguided folks don't know what they're missing! (Why don't they give their baby to ME?!?)

Another great friend, Fletchy, lived with us in Carlsbad for a little while. I'm so glad you dragged your whole family to Springville, Fletch!!! (Real name=Brenda)
Faezer and I holding my newest Cousin-Nephew Coleman. Cousin Kimmy's first baby! I love you Cole!!! I love your faux-hawk!!! Come visit me in Japan, okay?!?!
(Some of) The Fam. Thanks for hosting the after-party Bubba.
But no thanks for hijacking my blog you flaming lunatic!!!

(Dear Readers/Commentors, I promise it's safe to come back now. I wont let the bad man mess with my blog any more, okay?!?!)

Jul 25, 2009

My Brother is a Psychopath!

I'd like to personally apologize to Maxwell's First Grade Teacher (along with the rest of my address book) who got Spam from him saying to visit my blog!

Sheesh!  A girl is never safe with a computer geek for a brother!!!  (I'd say something disparaging about him, but I don't want to tick him off.  And I don't want to have to reset my password.  Again.)

The Epitome of Innocence

Some folks out there may think that commandeering someone's blog is rude, unruly, perhaps even, unkind. I disagree. I do believe that this will actually have very positive effects for all involved. Emily, the mere fact that I have written on your blog will surely improve its Google page rank and increase readership.

Besides, would a person with this face of pure innocence do anything wrong?

Sister Spotlight - Laura

I'd like to dedicate this digital deviousness to my wonderful sister Laura. I understand that she's having some problems with her recent back surgery and is in need of some good cheering up.

So Laura, all of this is dedicated to you. When Emily wakes up in several hours and realizes what I've done, she'll officially be much sadder than you are today!

Join in my happiness at the expense of our poor, dear, youngest sister. Rejoice in her squirming discomfort!

Ah, yes, another factoid. Emily used to give very open-mouthed kisses. For all I know, she still might... (Doug? input?...)

Here's a golden oldie from back in the day.

Great News for Acte Gratuit Followers

Hello everyone,

This is Emily's big brother, Brandon. Emily has very kindly invited me to be a guest poster on her blog. I can only assume that she thinks you might get bored while she sleeps each night and that I can offer you some form of entertainment.

Therefore, I propose the following:

Every week on Sunday (the real Sunday, not the Japanese one), I will be posting 1 embarrassing picture of my sweet little sister at the following blog address...


Soon you will all be won over to OUR blog and will not ever return to this blog. Bu wa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

We'll call it Slammin' Sunday. It will be most excellent. Here's a little taste to whet your appetites!

All My Blog Are Belong To Him.

As promised, I'm going to continue the sibling profiles with my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SIBLING.

My glorious older brother, Brandon.

Many of you know him by "Brandoneous" or "Brandoneous Maximus". He is the best brother a punk little sister like me could ever have. His hacking skills are absolutely insane. He can gain access to my accounts at will and post whatever in the world he wants to my meager pathetic blog.

I only wish I could be as cool as he is. He's handsome, dashing, tall, has an impeccable sense of humor and can do just about anything in the world he wants to do. I only wish I were that cool.

Jul 24, 2009

Happy Pioneer Day & Sammy's Birthday

Did you know July 24th is Pioneer Day?  It is.  Just ask any Utahn.  (It's a state holiday) 
Or a Mormon.  (We're all about Pioneers)

Did you know it's also Sammy's birthday?  And P.B.'s?  Well, it is.

Here in Japan, we (Mormons) celebrated yesterday with a branch party at Citizen's Park off-base.

I made pizza 

and cupcakes...

The creation of the cupcakes only required 28 (3) prototypes and a tiny (huge) mess.
But I'm sure the 5 kids who ate my handcarts (I only had time to make 5 by the time I was done) appreciated them as they scarfed them down.

The main activity of the night was riding down THE HILL!  

I don't know what kind of hill it is.  
Sled Hill?  
Ski Hill?  
Break a Limb in 5 seconds or Less Hill?

Watch the movie and judge for yourself:

Jul 21, 2009


Monday morning, Utah time:  

There was no pre-flight anxiety this time.  (Though there should have been.)  Just excitement to be headed home!  And impatience to get through the loooong trip and see my kids and husband again.  Even when Jay and I left a few minutes late and then missed the airport exit, I still wasn't that stressed.

The flight from Salt Lake to San Francisco went smoothly.  In the terminal, I looked out the window at the fog and felt a pang of longing and homesickness for Dental School life.  I bought a novel, a loaf of delicious-smelling Boudin's Sour Dough, a sweatshirt...and boarded my next flight for Haneda Japan.

Thanks to staying up all night Sunday, I was ready to fall asleep.  And I did.  Only a few minutes into the 9.5 hour flight.

I don't know when I woke up, but I guess it had been quite a few hours.  I could smell food and knew I'd missed at least one meal in my sleep.  The cabin rocked a bit from turbulence, but it was nothing I hadn't felt a million times before.  And then it happened.

All of the sudden, it felt like the plane was dropping from the sky.  We went straight down instead of forward.  There were screams as food, drinks, and flight attendants flew through the air and crashed to the floor.

Of course the fasten seat belt light came on with a 'BING' and standing passengers were ordered to sit immediately in the nearest empty seat.

The flight attendant nearest me stayed right where she was...sitting on the isle floor...holding on to the cart to keep it from rolling away. 

The plane continued to rock and bounce but not as dramatically as before.  Over and over in my mind flashed the crash seen from "Lost", the story of Nie Nie, and news reports about the disappearance of the Air France plane...

And then it occurred to me.  I may be the only Christian on this whole plane!  And I started praying to my God and hoped everyone around me was doing the same.  I tried to remember if I'd read my scriptures the day before.  And realized the previous day didn't matter.  It was the whole life that mattered.  

I prayed for the pilot, the plane, myself, my kids and my husband.  And repeat.  The whole prayer over and over again only louder in my head forcing it to penetrate the roof of the plane and reach the ears of God.  My arms weren't folded.  They were gripping the arm rests.

I had the row to myself.  Across the isle, a mom kept her eyes and her hand on the baby next to her--who continued to sleep despite having been bounced fully into the air and back down.

I kept thinking; "I'm going to die alone.  I'm not done with my life and I'm going to die without my husband or kids beside me."  And I prayed again that they'd be okay if I did.

There were a few more big jolts.  A few more screams from passengers.  But the worst was behind us.  The flight attendants were cleaning up messes, talking loudly with false brightness, and all passengers were back in their seats and ordered to stay there.

When the wheels finally touched down much later, half the cabin burst into applause.  I smiled at the family across the isle with relief and saw it mirrored back in their faces.  We'd made it.  The pilot thanked us for choosing United.  I finally exited the plane and placed my feet on solid ground.  I had lived to take another flight.  Two down, one more to go.

Tuesday night, Japan time:

When I finally did arrive home last night, my heart was filled to the brim.  On the other side of the glass, while I waited for my bags, I saw Maxwell smiling his huge grin at me trying to climb straight up the window.  Gabe, in a smiling Doug's arms mouthing "Mama" while pointing at me and laughing.  Sammy, jumping up and down and squealing loud enough to be heard from where I stood.

I'm home.  To the only family that truly matters.  Yes, I love my extended family.  But my heart stays wherever Doug is.  And grows and swells the most when I'm with my kids.

I'm sure the horrible fear from the flight will fade from memory.  And I'm sure one day I'll take another plane trip alone...without husband or kids beside me.  But for now, never would be too soon.

It's good to be home.  

I think I'll stay awhile.

Jul 15, 2009

Jenny Jenny Bo-Benny!!!

Dear Readers,

In a few short days I'll get to see my sister Jenny. You may remember when I introduced my family here. But if you don't, I'll refresh your memory. Jenny is the sibling I'm closest to in age. She's number 4, I'm number 5.

Jenny is coming to town for the same reason I'm here: to attend the farewell (at church) for my mom who's going on an 18 month service mission to the Dominican Republic with her husband John.

"What's that?" you say "I thought Fae wasn't going anymore?!?!?!?" Well, she wasn't. She had a health scare and didn't think she could/should go. But then she got better. So they called the mission office. And the mission is back on. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel. But that's not what we're talking about today. I want to talk about Jenny. (My sister, you'll remember.)

Aside from being a great writer (who should have her own blog) Jenny is...
how shall I put this...
...a "Security Phobe".
"Careful about her Internet Identity,"
"Stalker Conscious"!
(Unlike her little sister the blabber mouth.)

So, although I'd like to tell you more about her, I can't. Not where she lives, not her childrens names. I can tell you she lives in America. And that she's coming to Utah in a few days. (Wait, can I say that?)

The rest? Well, see what you can learn from her Guest Post! Lovingly provided a week or two ago when I told her I had Blog-Writer's-Block (Writers Blogck) (Obviously, it went away) and begged for a witty submission. (She writes hilarious e-mails when the fancy strikes her.) This is the result:
Please Give a Warm Welcome to...
*whistles from the audience*

Deep Thoughts and Dogs

You know the old saying that dogs are a man's best friend? Well, dogs are no friends of mine. I do not like them at all.
No, I don't appreciate or enjoy their smell, their slobbery, sticky tongues, their constantly shedding fur, their evil looking teeth (they all have them you know....just look in their sinister mouths and you'll see), their especially rambunctious characters (or even the sedate lazy ones), their insistence on sniffing here, there, and everywhere during which they ALWAYS take the liberty of slobbering, licking, and shedding their annoying hair all over you.

In fact, don't even get me started on unleashed dogs in public! Oh, or the extremely annoying chorus of barking dogs I hear all night, every night outside my closed window (People, take your blasted dogs inside if they are going to bark ALL NIGHT long!). I could go on...

Now all you dog lovers out there, please understand that I didn't always hate dogs. (And also please note that I hate cats MORE (much, much more) than I hate dogs.)

As a child I loved to hold the neighbor's little puppies and even loved to hold the neighbor's cat. (For anyone who knows me, please sit down and use your inhaler for the shock of this last statement since you haven't seen an animal in my hands or arms or vicinity for years!) I even tried to dress my friend's cat in little doll clothes and hold and cuddle it. I tried this with the puppies too, but with less success.
Now after doing these sweet loving things with the little animals I wanted to adore like babies, my eyes would swell shut, hives erupted on my skin, my nose started the incessant drip (out the nose and post nasal baby), my lungs wheezed, and everything itched.

Then came the Benadryl,

and then darkness,

and then sleep.

Yes, allergies plagued me as a child (and unfortunately still do). Not just allergies to dogs and cats, but also to dust, grass, hay, etc.

Animals were just especially bad allergens for me. My nose was always running. I remember having to use those hard brown paper towels at school to blow my nose (all of the time) until it was raw. The kids called me Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (all the time).

I had people tell me they had hypoallergenic dogs, really really clean dogs, dogs that didn't shed, and so on. But still....the intolerable running, dripping, suffocating, itching madness of it all!

So, over the years I learned to resent the drool, the hair, the dander, the danger! I knew they were ALL out to ruin me!

That is until just this week. After all of these years, I have finally found a dog that I love. A dog that doesn't cause any reaction in me whatsoever, except pure joy! A dog that truly is hypoallergenic, that does not--nor will--ever drool. A dog that smells melodiously delicious and delectable. A dog that will never try to sniff me. A dog that will never chew the couch or my children or me.
I had three all at once.....

and then we ate them.*

* Please use common sense before consuming dogs. The dogs consumed in this case were cup cakes and not "real" dogs.
Thanks J-bird! Love you!!!
Editor's Note: No dogs were harmed in the making of this blog.

Jul 13, 2009

I Know for SURE!

I knew for sure I wasn't in a Japanese airport when I saw;

*An EMPLOYEE (security guy) being RUDE to a CUSTOMER!!! Seriously, where do we get off being such jerks in this country?!?!


*lots of white people,

*a family of ten

*and a very tall man.

I knew for sure I wasn't driving in Japan when I;

*kept turning my windshield wipers on when I was trying to change lanes,

*couldn't turn left on red,

*almost had a head-on collision due to repeatedly pulling out onto the left side of the road,

*had access to more than one English radio station,

*and had to drive over 70 kph. (70, which is the fastest freeway speed you'll find in Japan, happens to be very slow. And people in Utah drive VERY FAST! Even having been one of those people, I'd forgotten and was being passed right and left on the freeway.)

I knew for sure I wasn't eating out in Japan when I;

*couldn't look at plastic models of my food in the restaurant window before ordering,

*had access to dairy items on the menu,

*went to Cafe Rio, and a Gelatto Place, and a Soup and Sandwich place,

*and wasn't offered Green Tea anywhere!

BUT it's being surrounded by family and old friends that has absolutely convinced me I'm no longer in Japan.

And it's good to be home!

OH YEAH! I kept meaning to post more (other than about the toilets) about our awesome camping/rock climbing trip but I never did. So Dougie did it! Click here. And be sure to click on the picture of Gabe pouting. It's priceless.

For Posterity:
So far I've gotten to see all three of Doug's sisters, their husbands and cute kids, his wonderful parents, my cousin Kim, her hubby and new baby Coleman, and our great dental school friends Kim and Brett. (Who kindly drove all the way from Logan to see me!) It's been very busy but very fun and relaxing at the same time. Tomorrow I head South for even more love. Can't wait!

Jul 11, 2009

Last Will and Testament

***UPDATE: I've arrived without incident! You may disregard the following post!***

Last night I kept randomly bursting into tear. (I don’t cry easily. Sometimes one tear is all I can muster.)
To fall asleep, I had to repeat the words to a hymn in my head (at Doug’s suggestion) ad nauseam to settle my thoughts. When I did finally fall asleep, my dreams were riddled with vivid arguments with family members and cameo appearances from ex-boyfriends. (A sure sign my subconscious is in serious turmoil.)

I woke up this morning with a groan and a foot in the back from Doug shoving me out of bed with harsh orders to hurry up and get in the shower.

I have a stomach ache and a perma-scowl I can’t shake.

I keep taking deep shaky breathes, but they aren’t having the desired calming effect.
I don’t know why the anxiety is so intense, but it’s filling me from head to nervously tapping toes.

I’m hoping this “mind dump”/post will help clear my head.

Why so much turmoil?

Because in a few minutes I board a plane headed for Haneda. Where I’ll hop on the Airport Limousine to Narita. Where I’ll grab a flight to San Francisco. Where I’ll run across the airport to barely make my flight to Salt Lake City. Where my sweet mother-in-law will pick me up.

“What?” You say. “You didn’t tell me you were going to the states!”
“Well!” I say. “I don’t have to keep you appraised of all my travel plans now do I, ya Nosey Nate!?!”

So yeah. I’m going “home” (ish). To Utah. Where I lived the first 16 years of my life. Which, after moving, I replaced rather quickly with Carlsbad as my adopted home—and never looked back. (Even though I did live there again, met my husband there and birthed my first born son there.)

I’m going home to see family but mostly my mom. Who was going to go on a mission, but now isn’t. Because she’s sick. Or, more accurately, not healthy. At least not healthy enough for the Dominican Republic. Which makes me a little sick when I think about it. But we’re not going to talk about that.

We’re going to talk about this:
For some reason, for the last 24 hours I’ve been feeling like I’ll never make it. Like I’m heading into an abyss. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been back to the mainland for 11 months. Maybe it’s just the anxiety of leaving not only my kids, but my husband behind.

Whatever the reason, I’m very anxious. So I’m going to write this down. Just in case.

Here are my final wishes—my last will and testament—in case my plane disappears into the Pacific. These items must be seen to in case of my sudden demise:

First and foremost: Ang, you get my kids. (Sorry Joe...and Doug.) Doug can (maybe) handle them on his own, but they need a mommy. And you’re the closest to me they can get. You’re the upgraded version of me, I’m last years model of you. Once again, sorry to all parties. But maybe Doug could build a little shack in your back yard and become your landscaper to help out. (And of course, your new family of 6 kids would have a lifetime of free dental care!!!)

And speaking of the little devil-angels, a few notes:
Make sure Max marries Ani. (Ginger will take care of this.) Also, he has to master the piano before he can start drum lessons. My sweet, beautiful Sammy needs therapy and possibly a lobotomy…or maybe he’ll just grow out of it. Give him lots of cuddles. Gabe is practically potty trained. He’s peed on the potty like three times now. So he’s obviously very close. Don’t ever cut his beautiful hair too short. Be sure to kiss him on the nose and squeeze his sweet buns every day.

Tell all of them I love(d) every grubby part of them with every ounce of my heart and soul. (I’m tearing again.) They’re going to be really great men some day.

Secondly: The person I would have bequeathed Doug to (Cousin Kimmy ‘cause they’re both science geeks) got married a few years ago. No one else will do. So sorry ladies. He’s off-limits. He’ll just have to spend the rest of his life mourning my loss and not moving on. (While living in a shack in my best friends back yard.) Doug, you should know that every day I’ve known you I’ve felt unaccountably blessed and incredibly lucky to have you. Even the days when I’m really mad at you and want you to sleep on the couch. (Which you wont) And even when you think you're the funny one in the relationship which you aren't. I still love you. Even on those days.

Third: The only thing I “own” of any worth is my blog. Someone please publish it into a book and use the millions it makes (by being #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for 20 straight months.) to pay for my kids college. You can give a little to Doug to spruce up his shack.

Lastly, in lieu of a funeral, throw a big party for me. Make sure there is plenty of 80’s music (just use my i-Tunes play list) and lot’s of ice cream.

I think that just about covers everything. I feel a little less antsy.

If I live to see Utah, please disregard this blog post. If I don’t, well, now you know what to do.

Jul 9, 2009

The Open Letter

One day after a particularly hellish trip to Super Wal-mart in Rhode Island, I was feeling a little het-up and wrote a letter.  Mostly just to make myself feel better.  

And I did feel better and never published it.  

But then I wanted to submit something to Mormon Mommy Blogs and being the lazy person I am, found something I'd already written.  And they published it.  

And I got negative comments for the FIRST TIME!  (Which made me giggle.)  

I've always known deep down that I'm a very controversial person.  I think tomorrow I'll start a conversation about Gay Marriage.  
(no.  I wont.)

anyhoo, Go HERE if you'd like to see what all the stink is about!  

And don't forget to comment!

Jul 5, 2009

What I Learned About Squatters While Camping in Japan

That title got your attention, didn't it?

Today we're going to talk toilets.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here in Japan, they have some incredibly advanced advancements.  Why, just the other day, I heard Dr. Oz (on Oprah) talking about toilets in Japan that can analyze your urine to check for disease or illness.  (I pretty much learn about all cool Japanese things from American media.  Ironic, no?!)   

Yes!  That's right!  An incredibly high-tech toilet!  Like so many of the toilets here that go above and beyond the call of duty by providing not just a place to, e-hem, relieve yourself, but also a warm seat on which to rest your...seat, special potty music to mask any unpleasant sounds coming from...where ever, and best of all, a hot stream of water to clean your...self with.

They are marvels of cleanliness, happiness, goodness, modern technology-ness, and did I mention happiness?!?!

And then we have..."The Squatty Potty"...which is found here just as frequently.  

Many times the public bathroom will offer both options.  Sometimes squatters are the only option.   As they were at our beach side camp site this weekend.  (Which wasn't actually a camp site.  Just a beach with a strip of lawn where we set up 5 or 6 tents.  But more on that later.)

The "Squatty Potty", or "Squatter", is like a tiny Urinal embedded in the ground.  And, as the name implies, it must be squatted over to be used.  (At least to be used effectively.)

Here's what I learned about Squatters while camping:

They do have some advantages!
There are some advantages to Squatters...if you're the one in charge of cleaning them!!!  You see, the whole bathroom becomes one big toilet.  Which makes your job fairly simple.  If someone were to miss the squatter, (easy to do) it doesn't matter.  Because the bathroom floor is lined with drains.  So if you miss the hole in the floor, well, the floor will work just the same.  Basically, the moment you set foot inside, you can feel free to pee.  (freely)  
Because, let's face it: we're striving for efficiency, not accuracy here.  (This is evidently also the motto my sons live by.)  This makes cleaning a breeze.  Simply hose the whole place down.  

After racking my brain for hours, this is all I can come up with in the "advantages" category.

Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages:

For the unskilled in squatting, there are no handles to offer assistance.
Yes, that's right.  You basically have to be in excellent calf-health to use squatters easily.  It also helps to have perfect balance.  Because there is nothing whatsoever to hang on to.  This may pose a challenge for the "less-then-graceful", but I'm sure I wouldn't know anything about that.

You have to pull your pants down...and up...at the same time.  
Although it's important to pull your pants down before "going" you'll also want to pull the bottoms up at the same time.  So as not to cause bunchage which might possibly touch the floor.  (See above mentioned "advantages")  And make sure you situate them at the right height.  Too high, no go.  To low, no bueno.

Cuts down on reading time
Doug wanted this mentioned

The uninitiated child is NOT cooperative
Children not used to squatters may or may not be cooperative when confronted with squatters.  The consequences can be dire.  A visit to the hypno-therapist before camping is advisable.

You are really close to the bathroom floor.
Which we all know is disgusting.


Take your time and try to relax!
Rushed release may result in regrettable splatter.  i.e. pee on your shoes.

Bring your own soap.
They're not even providing a toilet seat.  Why would they provide soap?

Consider bringing your own toilet paper.  
Though I haven't personally seen it, I hear sometimes it isn't provided.

I hope this wealth of information makes your next visit to the Squatters a pleasant one!  Good luck!!!  (You'll need it.)

Any potty experiences you'd like to share???  Do tell!