Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Hate Snakes

The title of this blog really says it all. I hate them. Big ones, little ones, poisonous and non-poisonous. I hate them all. In fact, I hate them so much that I am happy to kill them. Yup. Me. The quintessential Mormon Mom, complete with Chevy Suburban, has a killer's heart.

I don't remember how it started. I don't remember ever being tormented with a snake or being frightened by one. I grew up in Maine where there were plenty of garter snakes, but apparently we didn't often cross paths. I think that the real hatred began about 11 years ago, right here in Lehi.

When we first moved to town, we lived in a house down on the south end of town. Jay and Jolene Richins' pasture was our neighbor and there were springs in that pasture. Consequently, there were little water snakes all over the place. (If I had realized THAT, we NEVER would have bought that house.) Whenever I went out to weed the garden, I would find at least one snake, so I took to wearing gloves and carrying scissors. Whenever I would find one of Satan's little buddies I would calmly grab it, carry it over to the trash can, and snip its head off with the scissors.

Remember. I did not say I was afraid of snakes. I HATE them.

I am still famous for the day I happened to grab three snakes and once and SNIP, SNIP, SNIP took care of the problem. When Parker introduced me to his 1st grade class many moons ago, he told the class that I cut snakes heads off with scissors. They were impressed. One day after that I was in Albertson's when I heard a little boy saying to his mother, "MOM! That's the snake killing lady!" I was proud.

But, no more. In the five years since we moved away from that house, I have gone soft. Monday was a lovely day and I was airing out the house and puttering in the backyard. As we ate dinner (yes. . . all five of us at the table at the sme time!) Colby got up for seconds. When he came back to sit down he startled and said, "There's a snake." Just like that. I, somewhat trepidaciously asked, "Where?" I assumed it was out on the patio- I sit with my back to the patio. "On the floor! It just came out from under my chair!"

(This is the part where I lost all my pride.)

I totally freaked out. I had my feet in the air and I was screaming. I screamed until I ran out of air. By that time, Ed was out of his chair and telling me to get up. I kept screaming that I didn';t know where to put my feet, to which he very unsympathetically answered, "On the floor!" By this time the snake, apparently frightened by the vibrations of my hysterical screaming, had gone down the grate into the duct. I was able to force my feet ontpo the floor long enough to climb on top of Ed's chair. I was no longer screaming, but suddenly I realized I wasn't breathing either. A few gasps took care of that issue.

Parker took the grate off the duct (in the floor by the sliding glass door) and pronounced that he could not see the snake. I just knew that snake was going to be happily gliding through my house using the duct system as it's own personal thruway. I had visions of Harry Potter's basilisk hanging out in there. I was on the verge of screaming again when I was sent to my room- and ordered to take the dogs with me. (As if I could go anywhere in the house without Lewis and Clark following me. . .) It only took about 5 minutes before the all clear was sounded. Parker had used a plastic sword to fling the offender outside.

What surprises and dismays me the most is that he and Ed LET IT LIVE! All snakes should be killed. Period.

I had gotten out of the habit of always wearing gloves outside and carrying scissors, but I promise I will be properly prepared before my next weeding session! And I don't go barefoot in my house anymore. It is no longer the sanctuary I once imagined it to be.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Capturing the Moment

We went to take Jim to the airport in Salt Lake this morning, so we decided to play around for a little while. I absolutely love to watch these fountains at the Gateway Plaza. We lucked out and were there for when they sync up with the music "Citius, Altius, Fortius" from the 2002 Olympics. Very cool, to say the least.

I bought myself a new book this week that was highly recommended at the Scrap Girls conference. It is called Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I use AUTO mode about 80% of the time on my fancy dancy Canon xTi, because I am terrified that I will miss the shot by being in manual mode. After reading only the first section of the book, I dared to give it a whirl today. I am pleased with the feathery water I got by using a slower shutter speed. I had no idea what I was getting until I uploaded them on the computer!
I love this shot of Reed running through the fountain. I panned with him which is how I got the feeling of movement. I feel like a little kid with a new toy! I have had this camera for two years- and I absolutely LOVE it- but I feel like I am just now figuring out how to use it! Luckily, I have Photoshop skills, too. The picture below would have been trash, with Reed terribly underexposed, but a few clicks and I can see my sweetie's face! BTW, I did not Photoshop the dark blue sky. . . that was a happy accident thanks to my polarized filter and the settings!

We also went to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" in 3-D. That was a cute movie, but most of the 3-D effects were lost on Ed and Reed, since they are both nearly blind in one eye!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


They are currently doing a little survey on KSL to see if people believe in paranormal activity. I love how this stuff rolls around every October! My definite response is yes. I point first to the famous quote by Brigham Young in response to the question about where the Spirit World is. . .

Brigham Young answered this question simply when he said: "Where is the spirit world? It is right here."Prophets have told us that the spirit world is not far from us and if we could rend the veil of forgetfulness (see Mortality) we would see the spirits of righteous people who have gone on before us. They know our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Speaking of these spirits, President Joseph F. Smith said, "They are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not with greater capacity, with far more interest behind the veil, than they were in the flesh."

When Ed and I bought our first house on 14 Spring Street in Calais, the first thing that stuck us was the happy, comforting "spirit' that struck us when we first walked into the home. Everyone who visited us felt the same way. . .

Then one day in March of 1992 or 1993 we decided that we needed to re-decorate the guest room. We moved all the furniture into the middle of the room and started removing the wall paper. We got it all down that first day and the room looked sad and empty. Late that afternoon our dogs went beserk and were standing at the door of that room looking in and barking. We thought there must be an animal in there, but they would not go into the room. Wierd, but no big deal. That night we were laying in bed when they started growling and suddenly the lights in the hallway went on. (I am getting the shivers just typing this.) Ed got up and turned the lights off, muttering about the wiring. A few minutes later, the lights went on again. Every morning we would get up to every single light in the house being on. Our neighbors teased us about leaving the lights on, but it wasn't us.

We completed the renovation in 2-3 weeks. When we finished making up the bed of the newly done room and putting the last touches on the decor, I said, "OK. We are done. Sorry about the disturbance, but we hope you like the new room."

We never had another incident with the lights or the dogs. Until we re-decorated the family room!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

To be popular.

I was never one of the popular girls in school. I longed to be like those graceful, nymph-like creatures who always looked good in their clothes, had every hair in place, and had boys following them around- happy to be at their beck and call. I on the other hand, was always overweight and could not look good in the latest fashions. (That is a blessing in retrospect. . . not too many pictures of me in the traditional garb of the 1980's!) My hair was a disaster. It had enough curl so that I could not wear straight styles and it wasn't curly enough to be pretty. On top of that, it was so thin that when I put it in a pony tail it had a diameter of about 1/2 inch. It always was a mess. No guys were following me around, carrying my books. I was a teen age failure in my warped mind.

What I was, I can now see in retrospect, was a geek. Yup. I loved playing the clarinet. That's pretty geeky all by itself, but I took it to the extreme and practiced a couple of hours a day. I got straight A's without trying too hard. Except in Algebra and I don't want to discuss THAT. I sang in the chorus and actually liked wearing all white and singing "We are the World." I was on the Hi-Q team, which is fairly similar to the Academic Decathlon program. I really enjoyed having a wide range of knowledge about a lot of odd subjects. I left the math to Kyle. That was his gig. To top it all off, I found the Drama Club my Junior year and acted in several plays. Since all my friends were apparently geeks, too, we had a lot of fun and never criticized each other.

Although I wasn't popular like I wanted to be, I was respected and I had a lot of friends. I even got elected Class President my Sophomore year.

If I had to sit down and list my friends, it would be a difficult task because I have lived in different places and been involved in different sub-cultures. (Don't worry- nothing too radical- just dog shows, karate, digi scrapping, and the like!) So imagine my surprise when I noticed today on Facebook that I have 350 friends. A lot of the people I would have on my friend list don't even have a Facebook page so it mde me wonder who these people really are. Luckily there was an application to assist me in figuring this out.

Here are the results:

34 friends are under the zodiac sign of Taurus (including my DH. . . I can put up with a lot of bull)
22 friends like country music best (not much clarinet in country music)
14 friends enjoy hiking (sick puppies)
73% female friends, 27% male friends (that actually surprises me since I hang out in a Scout uniform so much)
34% single, 66%taken (apparently I need to brush up on those matchmaking skills)
21% democrats/ 79% republicans (duh. I live in Utah!)

For some strange reason I just analyzed my friend list and came up with the following information. Please be aware that the percentages do no add up to 100% because I did not round anything and just used whole numbers.

Scrap Girls 22%
Ward Friends 16%
Family Friends 16%
Heritage Makers Friends 12%
Former Students 11%
School Buds (any grade) 10%
Scouting Friends 5%
Friends of my Children 3%
Family 3%
My Teachers 1%
People I Worked With 2%
Other 3%
People who need to NOT be my friends for various reasons 2% (like I have no idea who you are or how you got to be my friend)

I'm feeling pretty popular right now! Not because I'm thin and beautiful and have perfect hair (although it is a lot better now that it is short and I have learned to use gel) but because I have been blessed to cross paths with many people throughout my journey who like me enough to consider me a "friend." I am still a geek- well proved by the fact that 34% of my friends are digital divas like myself and think that Photoshop and Studio are the computer hotspots! But I must be a cool geek since about 14% of my friends are young whippersnappers.

Luckily I only have a couple of "friends" who are around because I am running for public office and I hope it stays that way. Although it would be nice to be popular on November 3rd. . .