Friday, May 27, 2011

Periodic Table

On one of my first dates with Dentist husband, he talked very excitedly about a new discovery about carbon.  He said, "Carbon has been relentlessly studied and nothing new had come out about it for years and then they found this.  It is called Buckminsterfullerene or Bucky Balls.  Because of its shape, they considered naming it Soccerballene, but decided to name it in honor of Richard Buckminster Fuller, who created the geodesic domes."  

It was the beginning of my learning about my husband and his love of science, in particular chemistry.  I later learned he took college chemistry classes in high school during the summer at the University of Utah and later became a chemistry TA at Brigham Young University.  He often talked about the "beauty" of the Periodic Table.  He loved how it clearly shows "everything."  He once said to me, "We are on the Periodic Table.  The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the earth we stand one, everything around us is there.  It is beautiful."  

And when put that way, I had to agree.  My husband has often said, "I never understood how people could separate science from religion and art.  They are all so clearly linked to me."  

So for Father's Day this year, I found the "classic" periodic table that my husband used and spent hours studying.  I ordered a classroom sized one and am having it framed and then hung in our house.  Happy Father's Day Dentist Husband.  Thank you for teaching me about the beauty of every basic element.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turning 12

In a few short weeks, my eldest child will be turning 12.  Today, I was thinking, "Wow, I now have a child the age of when I really start having clear memories."  That is not to say, I have no memories beforehand but honestly, 12 is so clear to me.  I now have a child I can "relate to", meaning, "I remember 12."

So, here are some of my 12 year old memories:

1.  I turned 12 flying home from Guatamala City, Guatamala having just attended the Guatamala Temple dedication.  My father was a mission president in Costa Rica/Panama and as a family, we were able to attend.

2.  They had just come out with a new Personal Progress book (the colors were in shades of green).  It was exciting to enter Young Womens.  There were three other girls in our English speaking branch who all turned 12 around the same time as me.  I attended a sleep over with the Young Women in the Young Womens president's house and made marshmallow cream for our ice cream sundaes by microwaving marshmallows.   (Costa Rica was still very much a 3rd world country back then.  It had not earned its "vacation destination" status yet.)

3.  I attended a private English speaking school.  There were only 6 other kids my age in my class.  I was one of the three good fairies in the school musical of Sleeping Beauty.  I got to wear a pink dress made for me by some local seamstress.  I loved that dress and hat.   I also had a really hard History of the World teacher.  I still remember many of the things I learned in that class.  (Israel became a state in 1948.)

4.  When I was 12 1/2, we moved back to Boulder, CO.  Six weeks later, both my brother and sister were married, one day apart.  I was a bridesmaid for my sister and wore a purple taffeta dress with dyed to match satin heals.

5.  I started 7th grade and junior high.  My locker was above a boy who was one of the tallest boys in our grade and I was one of the shortest.  I dropped things on him all year long and could never reach the hook to hang my backpack and coat on.  (I have no idea why we didn't just switch lockers.)   We became good friends and stayed that way all through out junior high and high school and through college.  I also met another boy who also became a great friend.  We became locker partners our sophomore year in high school.

6.  We had a great P. E. program in my junior high and every morning, we had to do calisthenics.  I now make my kids do "burpees" that I learned about in 7th grade.  We also had a wrestling unit, where we had to wrestle other girls in the class.  I didn't like that.  I also didn't like to shower in the community shower after P. E.  and would just wrap a towel around my body, get my legs and arms wet and report to the P.E. lady that way, showing her I had "showered."  (She never asked why my hair wasn't wet.)  

7.  I got in a bike accident and broke off my two front teeth.

8.  I was torn that whole time between missing Central America and loving the United States.  I was definitely somewhat of an outcaste and struggled quite a bit with fitting back into United States life.  Moving back home was harder than I realized.

9. I got braces and loved them because I hated my crooked teeth.  I had to wear a neck gear part of the time.

10.  My sister was a senior in high school.  She seemed so big and grown up to me.

11.  I was nice to boy who broke up with a girl in our 7th grade class and all of the girls in show of solidarity decided to not talk to him.  I thought that was silly and talked to him.  Years later, he said to me, "That always meant a lot to me.  I will never forget that kindness."  So, actions as a 12 year old matter.

And, those are just a few of my memories.  They are real and present to me.  So amazing I will soon be parenting a child the same age.  Time flies.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nephew to the MTC

This past Wednesday, I was able to take my nephew to the MTC.  He is going to Romania.  Currently, I am having e-mail issues, so I am doing this blog post, so my sister can see these pictures.

Wednesday morning, sword fighting with Toothsome #4.

 Getting ready to leave.  I was 18 when he was born.
 Last meal at In-N-Out Burger
 My nephew with the MTC buildings behind him.
 Getting out of the car.
 Shaking hands with his "host" Elder.  (He was asking questions about if he had his immunization card, did he leave his keys and phone with his "mom",  etc.
 Getting his backpack out of the car.
 Saying goodbye.
 One last final wave.
It is always an emotional experience being part of these goodbyes--good emotional and it brings back so many mission memories.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rainy Days and Red Lipstick

Most woman I know will admit, albeit reluctantly,  to having one feature on their face that they prefer over others.   They love their eyes, or their nose, or a dimple.  I have one friend, who because her husband told her that it was her freckles that he fell in love with, loves her freckles.  For me, it has always been my lips.  I have my dad's side of the family's huge teeth and even though my two front teeth are crowns because of a bike accident when I was 12, my mouth but in particular my lips are my "thing."

I am very happy with my lips and in my youth, I often wore chap-stick to highlight them and then, in my teens, I learned the advantage of wearing lipstick.  My friends, my husband and even my children know that I never leave the house without lipstick on.  I can be "makeup-less" no problem with the exception of lipstick. So, in most drawers, my purse, my car, my husband's car, my in-law's cabin, there is lipstick in various shades.  It is must for me and I own many colors and brands.  

Why this discussion?  Well, for the last month or so, we have had rainy cloudy skies, almost nonstop.    Many years ago, I decided weather was not going to affect my mood (even though I cannot stand endless hot days or endless gray skies), I push on and force myself to be happy (or sad when needed), regardless of the weather.  I will "be" regardless of outside influences.  When it comes to rainy cloudy weather, I have one tool I use to combat it--red lipstick.

On dark cloudy days, when Mother Nature is saying, "Gray it will be."  I say, "No, it will be red."  Take that Mother Nature.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Compulsive Snacking Update

About a week ago, I did this post about my current favorite snack item.  Well, thanks to my freshman year roommate, my snack choice has changed and it may have ruined my life.

During her last visit, my old roommate left her camera here,  so I sent it back to her with a few other "care package" items.  I learned about the beauty of a good care package from this roommate's mom.  Once a month, a big box would arrive at our dorm room.  It was always addressed to both of us (which I always thought was very generous of her) and it was filled with holiday decorations, exotic food items and often little gifts.  Our room had great holiday decorations all year long.  My roommate's mom was Jewish and for Chanukah, she sent eight presents to both of us.  At Easter, we got two huge baskets full of fun treats.  Honestly, I have been converted to "care packages" since then, and I try to mail care packages "just for fun" often.

Anyway, a few days after I mailed her care package, a box arrived at my house.  In it, she wrote a very nice note and said, "Here are some of our favorite Trader Joe's food."  Even though there is no Trader Joe's in Utah or Colorado, I know all about Trader Joe's.  I have friends who make specific trips to California just to fill up their car with their favorite Trader Joe's items.   I have one friend who moved here from New York and she said, "I might have to move back to New York and give up my yard and great house, just so I can shop at Trader Joe's."

I discovered their Spicy Black Bean Dip several years ago and I admit, I haven't been able to find anything as good around here and I have spent many hours buying and trying to do just that.  I honestly get that Trader Joe's is that good.  Am I willing to make a Why I Love Trader Joe's video yet?  No.  But that is because I only go to Trader Joe's when we are in California and even then, it is just a quick run in and run out.

However, that has all changed because of one item in the care package.  My roommate included a bag of their Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces.  After a run (when I always crave salty things), I thought, "Why not? I'll eat these."  And, ten minutes later, with 1/2 of the bag gone and me realizing that I won't be going to California until August, I had a mild panic attack.   My first thought, "How can I make this bag last until August?"  Then I thought, "How can I not eat the rest of the bag right now?"  Then I thought, "When I go to California, how many bags can I fit in the extra spaces of my car?  10? 30? 40?"  Then the true panic set in.  "How am I supposed to run tomorrow if I can't eat these after my run?"

So, now you see, I have a big problem.  When you are compulsive about your snacks, you must only eat things that you can buy at your local grocery store.  And, now I have to go and write a pleading letter to Trader Joe's asking for them to open one in Utah.  A friendly care package may have just ruined my life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It happened at the park . . .

Yesterday, after dinner, we took the kids to our neighborhood park.  The weather was perfect and my son had just purchased an aerobie disc and we wanted to try it out as a family.

Just as we crossed onto the grass, a big dog, taller than my four year old, came running up to us.  My kids squealed and my husband hollered out, "This dog needs to be on a leash."  There were a lot of people at the park and we didn't know who he belonged to.

FYI:  In the city we live in, all city parks with the exception of one designated "dog park" are leash-only parks.  This is a huge issue in our city and signs are posted everywhere.   At a recent city council meeting that I happened to attend with the 11 year old scouts, we learned they have hired two more animal control officers to deal with an increasing problem of people being at city parks without a leash.  

So, we continued walking and said dog kept running up to and around us.  My husband then again hollered out, "This dog needs to be on a leash!"  A woman, hollered out to him, "Thanks Dad," and hollered at her dog to come to her.  She petted him and off he ran again, to squat and do his number two business on the grass.

My husband went up to her and said, "Are you really going to ignore the leash policy and not clean up your dog's mess?"

She said, "He is just squatting, not actually doing anything.  (Which was not true, as there was a fresh pile of dog mess right where her dog had been squatting).  She then said, "I don't have their leashes (she actually had two dogs with her) and everyone lets their dogs run free at this park."

My husband said, "I don't care if everyone does it.  It is against city ordinance and you need to leave with your dogs."  She then said, "Well, if you are going to police me, you need to police everyone who does it at all parks in this city.  I am here every day."  My husband said, "I am glad to know you are here every day, so when I call animal control, I can give them a good description."

She then said, "My dogs are harmless.  They love kids."  My husband said, "We don't know that and my kids don't love dogs."

She then said, "That is your problem, you need to teach your kids to love dogs.  Look at them,  they are crying.  This is your fault. "  And my kids were crying for two reasons: a big dog they didn't know kept running up to them and their father was in a heated argument with a stranger--two very scary things.

I have no tolerance for people who refuse to take personal responsibility.  My husband was handling the situation just fine but when when she blamed us, I lost my cool.  I stepped in and said, "Excuse me but whether you knew the rules or not before,  you now do.  We have informed you.  I don't care if 'everyone does it' because we are speaking directly to you.  You need to take personal responsibility of this situation and either keep your dogs on a leash or take them home now.  And, pick up their 'mess' they leave behind."

She did leave and we did call animal control.  I don't hate dogs but sometimes I don't like their owners.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Incredibly Romantic story about the Ring I Wear on my right hand

(Sigh, 38 year old hands are hard to look at, sorry.)

Recently, I have had several people ask me about the ring I wear on my right hand.  I realized I have not documented the story behind it but I have mentioned the ring a few times here on my blog.  

My husband and I met during his first year of dental school.  I was home for the summer from BYU between my junior and senior years at BYU.  I had been home from my mission about a year.  It had been a rough year for a lot of reasons and I came home to Boulder, CO to regroup and just bask in the attention of two loving parents.  

I then met Dentist husband and my life would change positively forever.  Honestly, meeting him is truly a manifestation of a loving Heavenly Father, who knew when was the right time for us to meet.  We were on the same page instantly and our life together has been a blessing and joy from the day I met him.

We had been dating eight months when Christmas time rolled around.  We were serious with one another but not ready to get engaged yet.  We both wanted to date at least a year and I had this silly "losing my independence" fear that was always part of our early dating.  I adored him.  I knew we were meant to be together but was afraid of being absorbed in a relationship and not being me (and I liked me).  Silly now, looking back, but at the time, it was a real fear.

Anyway, Christmas presents can be tricky when you are seriously dating someone and in my husband's case, not having any spare money.  So, he decided to use what he had.  He took all of his dental school gold projects (none of them had been in anyone's mouth,), melted them down and made me this ring.  He had conceived it in his head one day while at school.

The ring is made of two intertwined circles.  He cast them together but as two separate pieces using a separate "sprue" to each ring and then cutting the sprues and polishing the rings, as they were intertwined.  (I realize this might be confusing, ask him for clarification).  He did not cut the smaller ring and interlock it with the bigger and then solder it together.  He wanted to cast it as one piece because he thought that represented our relationship--one.   

He represents the bigger circle and I am the smaller one.  He is wrapped around my finger and I am wrapped around him.  I wore this ring on my left hand until we got engaged (5 months later).  I never take it off and it is like skin to me.  I have told my husband, "I would gladly give up my diamond engagement ring but never this ring.  This is priceless to me."

So, there you have it--the incredibly romantic story about the ring I wear on my right hand.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why the movie "Tangled" has ruined my life

Toothsome #4 is my youngest child and she is my most strong-willed.  

From the moment she came out and Dentist husband said to me, "Janice, I can just tell she is going to be a wild one",  our lives were changed forever.  (I don't know if he cursed her or he could just tell.)  

So, recently, the movie Tangled has been played regularly at my house.  And, because of who Toothsome #4 is, it has ruined my life.

1.  She refuses to wear shoes because Rapunzel doesn't wear shoes.

2. At a weak moment in Walmart, I let her get the above Rapunzel dress and now that is all she wears.  She even explained to me that since it is a dress, she can wear it to church.  It honestly takes wrestling to get it off of her.  

3.  She now carries around a frying pan and has said, "Rapenzel hits people with a frying pan who make her mad."  Toothsome #3 got hit.  I have now hidden all of the frying pans in my house. 

4.  She won't let me do anything with her hair because "Rapenzel has it long and flangy."  (Flangy being a Toothsome #4 word.) 

5. Often at inopportune times, she breaks out singing "And at last I see the light . . ."  At home, no problem but pre-school and church, yes, it is a problem.    

So there you have it, the movie Tangled ruined my life.  Too bad it is such a dang good movie.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


This past weekend, I was able to get together with three of my best friends from college.  Actually, they really are just "my best friends."  All girls have many types of friends and at one point, most have been considered a "best friend."  I have one dear friend I have known since Kindergarten, and we talk weekly if not more often.  Another friend, dated my cousin in high school and we weren't very close then, but as the years have passed and they broke up long ago and she and I "talk" almost weekly via e-mail.  I consider her a best friend as well.  I have friends in my book club, that I adore and consider them, "best" as well.  In my neighborhood, I have good friends, friends who watch my kids for me in crisis', friends who sit and talk during dance lessons, friends who car pool with me etc.  All good and best friends in their own right.  

19 years ago, I met four ladies that would change me forever.  These friends have taken friendship to a whole different level for me.  We met our freshman year in college.  The girl in the bright blue dress was my roommate my freshman year.  The girl next to her, in the pastel flowered dress, lived across the hall, and the girl in the blue and white flowered dress on the end, kind of just invited herself in.  She lived off of campus, knew boys in our ward and just came to us.  

Our sophomore year in college, we lived together for one semester.  After that semester, I left and did a study abroad to Israel.  Later, three of us were in the MTC together.  At 23, I fell in love and at 25 was the first to get married.  The last one of us got married when we were all 30.  

During all of that time, phone calls, letters, e-mails and campus "run intos" happened.  Things were said, like, "Guess, who I ran into?  Your ex-boyfriend and he is dating a girl who looks exactly like you!"  And, "Janice, I am worried about M-----.  What do you think we should do?"  And, "I got my mission call.   I'm going to Brazil!"  And, "Janice, the pounds crept up on you over the summer, let's go for a run."  And, "He broke up with me.  I'm devastated."  And, "Guess what?  I'm engaged!"  We covered it all together.  Often, after not seeing each other for months or years.  
Here we are now.  19 years later.  We talked.  We laughed.  We cried.  We talked some more.  

We went to Apollo Burger, where L worked our freshman and sophomore year.  

We went shopping to M's favorite store and I walked out with a completely new outfit.  (White House, Black Market)

We were silly.  I bought these "dress" rubber gloves as a gift for everyone.

We reconnected and it was wonderful.  19 years ago, I moved into my freshman year dorm, not having any idea, how it would change my life forever.  So thankful for these girls.