Friday, March 30, 2012

Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson!

I can always remember how to spell principal because that man or woman is your pal, not your ple, at least that's what I learned in school--except that he never was my pal.  I don't think I ever made eye-contact with the man.  I don't think I made eye-contact with anybody because I was too busy navigating those boats I called feet (the only thing bigger than my feet was my hair) through crowded hallways pulsating with horrormones attached to teenagers--no easy task--and eating my lunch in the bathroom.

My daughter, T is the spitting image of me in eighth-grade only she has a harness on all that big-footed, awkward lurpiness because she is a finely-tuned athlete and is not scared of her own shadow or her principal. 

In fact T loves her princi-pal.  He is one awesome guy.  He asks her what she's reading and reads along with her when it's a book she's struggling with.  He understands that sometimes when you're in middle school you need to be late to class or maybe rise above the hormone cloud  (cut class) and catch a breath of fresh air.

T acknowledges the kindness of her pal with principles by eating all the Jelly Beans in his office, talking him into looking the other way when she sneaks into the teacher's lounge to buy cran-apple raspberry juice and playing practical jokes on him. 

My favorite was when she hid her phone in the ceiling of his office after changing her ring-tone to her sister, Cool Bean's voice yelling, "Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson!"  Adolescents get ideas like this when their parents are gone to PTA meetings, church meetings and caucus meetings and their kids are running a muck watching shows like The Office and The Bachelorette.

All day long she got faculty, staff and students to call her phone, which screamed, "Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson!" Mr. Anderson was a wee bit perplexed to say the least.  Unfortunately enlisting the aide of the the school policeman and custodian didn't do much to help solve his problem because T already had them firmly rooted in her camp.  So they feigned ignorance and laughed behind his back as Cool Bean's voice continued to yell, "Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson!"

I'm sure you can tell where this story is headed, and no it's not headed towards a scholarship to an Ivy league school or to winning student of the month honors.  Not even remotely.  But that's okay because T doesn't need a S.O.M. plaque mostly because she already got one last year before she hid the phone in Mr. A's ceiling.  She's got something better, the power to influence people.  Yes she's a mover and a shaker and those are the people that turn the world or at least make middle school tolerable or steal all your Jelly Beans. 
I bet Mr. Anderson is happy that April Fool's Day is on the weekend.

T and Mr. A last March when she was Eagle of the Quarter. . .
(whatever that means:))

How was middle school for you?  The best years of your life, or not so hot--something you can laugh about or something you're still in therapy for???

Friday, March 23, 2012

It Takes More Than a Cape to Fly

My granddaughter got a cape for her birthday last week.  She put it on, stretched her arms out in front and said, "It doesn't work."

Yeah, I get that a lot.  The laptop was supposed to make me a writer, but it didn't work.  The exercise clothes were supposed to make me exercise.  The camera was supposed to make me a photographer--and I do get a good picture for about every 100 bad ones I take.  You know, digital is swell.  I wish there was digital fitness where you could make 100 bad choices but as long as you made one good choice, you could manipulate it, photoshop the heck out of it, frame it, and put it on the wall as the "finished product." 

If your kids play high school sports the only thing better than the kajillion games you get to watch is the year-end banquet which lasts just about as long only you can't yell things like, "Box out!" or "Hey ref, you forgot your seeing eye dog," or "Check your cell phone stripes because you've missed a few calls!"  But you do get to eat some breadsticks and too many desserts and if your head coach is as funny as Brian Regan on valium it all makes for a pretty enjoyable night especially since somebody else made dinner besides you.

Which makes me think that wearing the uniform, being a "starter," and being a breadstick-gorging m.v.p. does not necessarily make you a team-playah, just like that cape doesn't make you Superman or Woman. 

These "playahs" took first in their region with a record of 9 and 1 after the Deseret News ranked them 4th out of 6 teams in their region.  These chicks made it to the final-four, but for me that was not their greatest accomplishment.

My season highlights were when they went Christmas caroling to a homebound, older gentleman in our neighborhood who followed their games in the paper, and today when they went in their uniforms to the funeral of one of the player's grandpas who came to all their games even though he was on hospice.  His family said the games were what kept him alive--kind of like a basketball-adrenaline i.v. drip.

That's what I think made those girls fly, not the jersey, not the points, not the rebounds, but all the plays they made off the court because when it's all said and done and the fat lady sings, those are the points that matter.  Those are the points that make a difference; that is, if you're keeping score.  Because in the end, we all put our socks on one at a time and nobody really cares how many points you scored or how many rebounds you had except for Uncle Rico.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dress Drama

Found prom dress,  It covers a lot of real estate except for those slippery slopes called shoulders.  Found seamstress (my neighbor, Terryl, who will probably be putting a for sale sign in front of her house if I ask her to do one more thing. . .), but can't find matching fabric.  So, I am home alone worrying about sleeves while Cool Beans is out worrying about boys.  I would put on the dress, take a picture and include it with this post, but you would probably spew because old woman in prom dress is so Uncle Ricoish.

Besides, I tried that once and it didn't work out so well.  Daughter #1 was a few weeks away from getting married.  I had just buried my mother, literally.  Okay, I didn't actually shovel the dirt, but you know what I mean.  I was home alone and a friend stopped by.  We got talking about the wedding and she asked to see the dress.  Seeing it on a hanger wasn't good enough; she wanted to see it on my daughter who was not home.  So in my grief-stricken, numb-minded state, she talked me into putting it on.  At least that's the story I'm going with.

I dropped my clothes on the family room floor and climbed, yes climbed--it was very poofy--into the dress.  We could even zip it up but only because daughter #1 inherited her chest from my sister-in-law Sharee, which is another story. 

But I digress. 

I was standing in a ginormous, puffy marshmallow swirl, when the doorbell rang.

My friend answered the door prepared to tell whichever one of my children's friends it was that whoever they wanted wasn't home.  Because the door is never for me unless it's a salesman or my friend who wants me to try on wedding dresses.

Instead she poked her head around the corner and said, "Jill, it's for you.  It's the stake president (equivalent to a Catholic Bishop).  He and his wife are here to make sure you are e-mo-tion-al-ly sound."  

So, they sat on the couch and I sat across from them looking like a toilette papering job gone bad while I assured them that I was physically, spiritually, and e-mo-tion-al-ly sound. 

So in a nutshell, that is why I won't be trying on the prom dress.

Besides, I'm not really confident about the whole zipper thing because this dress is more of the form-fitting type and not-so-much of the poofy type which was more daughter #1 and #2s' style.  So, in a buttshell, the dress will remain in the closet and my fragile ego will remain in my sweat pants.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prom Dress Shopping

The only thing better than prom dress shopping is natural childbirth.  (Yes, been there, done that, got the t-shirt 3 times.  You can read about one of those times here.) 

My 4th daughter, Cool Beans, just got asked to prom and even though I birthed 3 girls before her, not a single one of them has ever owned a dress that she remotely desires to wear.  Go figure.  Actually her figure could be part of the problem because she actually has one while her 3 predecessors were mostly sticks. 

I don't know if you're aware of this little fact, but sleeves are expensive, so are backs and so is any kind of fabric that covers cleavage. 

So while this costs $349.00,
this costs $136.00.

That's $213.00 for less than a yard of fabric to cover some very prime real estate.  I think I can get a root canal for cheaper.  Just saying.

I would offer her one of my old prom dresses if I'd ever gone to prom that is.  And if I had, it would have looked like this:


Because who didn't wear a Gunne Sax dress to the prom in the 80's?  That is, if you went to prom.

Anyway, it doesn't leave much to the imagination except: What were we thinking???!!! Well, I mean what were those other girls thinking, the ones who actually went to prom in their Gunne Saxes?

Monday, March 5, 2012


When I was 20, I moved to Marietta, OH with my husband and 4 month old daughter. I had lived within a 20 mile radius in UT my entire life. This was long before Skype, the internet and cell phones. I was basically thousands of miles away from everyone and everything familiar. My husband was at work all day and I was home with a baby and a phone with nobody to call because I didn’t know anybody and long distance was so not in our budget.

One day I was standing on my front porch on 9thstreet, ( a cute street I might add with cobblestones) when I saw my neighbor sitting on his porch across the street. I smiled and waved. The man stared directly at me and did not respond. Thinking, not too confidently, that perhaps he didn’t see my gesture, I waved again. Still, he did not return the wave. Flustered, embarrassed and angry, I retreated into the house.

I racked my brain trying to think of reasons he wouldn’t want me in his neighborhood. Maybe his best friend had lived there before and he was angry that we had moved in. He was older, maybe he thought because we were young that we would be loud and annoying. He had seen me holding my baby; maybe he didn’t like children. He was black; maybe he didn’t like white people.

Day after day he sat on the porch and never recognized my existance as I left my house to gather mail and such.

One day, a different gentleman sat on the porch. Maybe he would be friendlier.  Mustering up my courage, I offered a friendly wave. Nothing. No recognition of my presence, only the same stare the other gentleman had extended.

Near tears, I fled to the house contemplating how we could get out of our contract and move somewhere else. Somewhere better. Someplace where people were nicer.

I don’t remember how I ever found out, (it was nearly 25 years ago and I have such fond memories of those men, George and Vernie Flowers, that those first negative memories are a blur) but I eventually did find out that those two, sweet, old men were blind. Blind as bats.

They lived in the house with their sister Dot, her husband Max and Dot and Maxs' two daughters.  Dot became a second mother to me and a grandmother to my daughter and the next 2 children I would have.  I spent a good part of the 3 ½ years we lived there sitting on that porch, laughing, talking and swinging.

Dot, George and Vernie have long since passed away, but I still talk to Dot’s daughter, Jennifer, regularly. I count her as family even though she’s now married and has 2 kids of her own and lives on the other side of the country.

So, that is why I love the message Looking Through Windows so much because you just never know.

I almost let my insecurity, suspicions, and ill-drawn conclusions keep me from knowing and loving some of the best people I’ll ever meet. Don’t let it happen to you.