Thursday, April 30, 2009


She takes a picture of me; I take one of her.  We're pretending to be Vogue models. She won't let me post the picture of her.  I'm brave; we post mine.  We're giggling.  Her shoulder rubs against mine and the ends of her hair are tickling my arm.  I don't want her to grow another inch. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu

The threat of swine flu has sent me into a worried tizzy. I check the news updates every 5 minutes. I've started coughing and my throat feels scratchy. I google swine flu symptoms. Then I google hypochondriac. I decide that I need to put my energy somewhere constructive, so I go to Costco to stock-up on emergency supplies. I call mi madre while I'm there.

"Hi. This is Katy. May I please speak with mi madre?"

"This is she."

"This is your daughter."

"I know."

"Have you heard about the swine flu? Mexico City has been shut down. The end is near. I've started looking for real estate in Independence, Missouri. I'm at Costco buying water, bleach, and plastic so I can quarantine my house."

There's a long pause and sigh, "Last night we listened to the most beautiful pipe organ concert. You'd of been so proud of your brother."

"Have you been listening to NPR?" I say.


"It's bad, Madre."

I know she doesn't want to hear my litany of worries. Heaven knows she's endured them for 35 years. Like when I was 12, I made her take me to the doctor because I thought, from the depths of my soul, that I had breast cancer. The lumps in my chest turned out to be breast buds. (I'm still waiting for them to bloom.)

Then there was the Night Stalker, a serial killer who would break into homes at night and kill women. I refused to sleep in my room. I hid in a tent in our family room and watched the news 24/7. I don't think I slept for six months. I really thought I was his next victim.

Then I was balding, as in going bald like an 80 year old man. She took me to the doctor; I wasn't balding.

I tell mi madre goodbye and try to put my swine flu worries on hold. I traipse over to the medicine isle, scanning the shelves: Motrin, Tylenol, Gas-X. Where's the Valium? I need a double dose.

p.s.--This morning I found this cup on the counter. She makes a good point.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jean Kate

This is the latest and greatest Jean Kate creation.  

I mostly wanted a picture with the blue graffiti art for memory's sake.  I'm going to hose and scrub the walls because I'm tired of looking at them.  This morning there were maggots all over the trash can, and that made me grouchy.  I thought to myself, "This place is going to the dumps."  I threw out the sidewalk chalk and told the kids to watch more Sponge Bob.  Who needs outside play anyway? It's too much trouble.

p.s.--I'm waiting for your order, Louise.  I can't get over that you never went to Prom.  I think a red headband would look adorable with your glasses, maybe electric blue?  

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Call Me

When I was a girl we didn't have cell phones, caller ID, or a double line. All seven of us shared three phones and one phone number. When the phone would ring, my brothers and I would race answer it. Mi madre would warn, "Don't answer it unless you're going to answer it P-R-O-P-E-R-L-Y!" Here's an ideal phone call reenactment for your enjoyment and education:

Recipient (mi madre): Hello. We didn't have to identify our household using our last name. My grandmother did that, though. A simple hello was fine.

Caller: Hi. This is Jenny Smith. May I please SPEAK with Madre? The caller must identify him or herself. No ID equals no respect from mi madre. Don't ever ever start a phone conversation with, "Is Madre there?" Mi madre may respond, "Yeah, I'm here. What do you want to do about it?" The words that will spark her heart are, "May I SPEAK with..."

Recipient (mi madre): "This is SHE" or "This is Madre." She'd never say, "This is HER." If she ever makes a phone call, and the recipient responds with a "This is HER," the stars fall out of the sky and that recipient is crowned queen of all ignoramuses. I love that word.

Now I'm grown. I have three kids and mi Amor. We have caller ID, a double-line, 2 cell phones, 5 landline phones, and an answering machine. When the phone rings, my homies race to answer it, and I say, "You'd better not answer that phone unless you're going to answer it properly." They answer it just like I did as a girl. We've practiced and practiced because good phone etiquette makes us look fancy, classy, and refined, almost as refined as mi madre. I heart that woman.

Friday, April 24, 2009


The Young Women made these gold flower hair clips to wear during girls' camp. Their purpose is to remind the girls to return to virtue (not that any of them have departed from it. Plus, that's none of my business). 

Hopefully we can become famous and have a picture of our YW wearing the clips published in the New Era.  If anyone has connections, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Prom is in the air.  The girls at church have been chattering about it for the last month.  I love to hear about their dresses, where they're going for dinner, and how they were asked.  I always end my questioning with, "Do you think he'll kiss you?" I love asking because it makes the girls so deliciously squeamish I know they're thinking a kiss would be the perfect ending to such a magical night. Maybe not.

I didn't have good luck in the Prom department.

1.  Jr. Mid-Winter: I got dumped the week before because my curfew was too early, 12:00--no matter what.  Mi madre bought me a Smiths t-shirt instead of a dress. It was a deeply sympathetic gesture since she hated The Smiths.  "Their music is so depressing."  She'd sing in a mockingly made-up, monotone melody, "I'm going to kill my dog."  I loved The Smiths, still do.

2.  Jr. Prom: I L-O-V-E-D my date.  After we were both graduated from high school, he told me he was more interested in boys than girls.  I always tell mi Madre, "He was the safest Prom date in the deep blue sea." In case you were wondering, he didn't try to kiss me, not even close.

3. Sr. Prom: I went stag. Twice. (That's a story for another post.) 

I always enjoyed getting ready for Prom.  I would dedicate an entire day to Prom sprucing. I would go tanning, get my nails done, and take 3 hours to bangify and curl my hair.  I've always loved hair, especially hair accessories.  Luckily a few girls asked me if I could design something special for their Prom hairdos.  

If I'm wearing one of these when mi Amor comes home from work, do you think he'll ask me to dance?  Maybe I'll even get a kiss.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sprinkles of Fame

My friend Shawni and su Madre co-authored, A Mother's Book of Secrets.  Heaven knows I could use some freshening-up in that department, so I made a trip to D.B.
to check it out.  This book features Shawni's extraordinary photography and her down-to-earth perspective on mothering. I began flipping through its pages, taking in a big whiff.  I really love the way new books smell.  I continued thumbing through, reading bits and pieces of each chapter. I started wondering if I had enough cash to purchase a copy. Just as I decided that I'd better hold off until my next payday, I recognized one of the pictures. My heart started soaring and twirling as I realized Shawni had sprinkled a few Jean Kate pictures into her new book. I could just kiss you for doing that, Shawni.    

I took the book to the register counter and smacked-down my remaining cash wad. Never mind that my car's gas gage was on empty, or that we were out of toilet paper, I was buying that book.  As luck would have it, I had a 5.00 credit left on my account (the book was more than that but is well worth the C-A-S-H, every cent).  I got into my car and called-up mi Madre.  I told her about the pictures.  She immediately called her local bookstore and placed a copy on hold.  "I'll go down there and take a look.  How exciting," she said.  "It's totally exciting," I said.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Have 10

My cash-only diet has me living on spare change.  I'm sitting here thinking I'd better pack some pb & j sandwiches because I can't scrape together 4.50 for tomorrow's hot lunches.  My homies won't eat the sandwiches because they're afraid of salmonella poisoning, so I'll go with jelly and butter instead. No meat, remember?  

I've been clipping coupons and that's good for me.  I no longer toss the blue ValuPak mailers. I didn't know that both Ocean Blue and Gecko Grill offer buy one, get one free, or nail salons offer discounts on pedicures.  I need one bad.  I hate looking down at my calloused heels encrusted with perma-dirt. Bluck.  My b-day is coming up, so I'm going to set aside a coupon just in case (Stephanie, that was for you).  But I won't use this coupon.  Only 09 nails?  Well I have 10.

p.s.--Mi Amor informed me that "Nails 09"  isn't a silly name.  It's the year they established their business.  I didn't make that connection, not so clever.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chalk Talk

I'm the only one in my household who takes the garbage out.  My homies prefer watching the trash pile grow higher and higher.  I've seen them strategically place their crumpled papers on top of the already overflowing trash, then slam the door shut before any of it can topple out onto the floor--so sneaky. I've taken a picture so you can feel my pain:

Note to Self:
Start recycling and stop feeding your homies processed foods like donuts and Cheetos (all in one day). You'll have a lot less trash. 

One perk of taking the garbage out is I get to walk by and admire my homies' chalk art.  I haven't hosed it off the walls because I think it's cute.  It's reassuring to know that they're still creative and smart even though I allow them to watch too much TV.

  They're practicing-up for Sabbath tic-tac-toe.  They'll never beat him.

As I admired the chalk art this morning, I noticed a new addition. Blue graffiti?  

When my homies come home, I won't yell at them for spray painting our wall.

I'll tell them that I'm actually quite fond of graffiti art and I'm going to leave it there.  It's so LA of us, really.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cash-Only Diet

When I sit down to plan our monthly calender, the first thing I do is pencil a little heart around every Payday Friday.  There are usually two in a month, sometimes three.  On Payday Eve, I always lie awake in my bed thinking about how I'm going to transfer some cash, with mi Amor's approval, of course,  and buy a new shirt at Anthropologie.  I'll go there at 10a.m., right when they open. I start thinking about how good it smells in there, like roses and lavender mixed with a bit of spiced vanilla.  Yum.

A little aside:  I have a friend who becomes so excited while she's clothes shopping that she has to use the restroom (that's gross and I shouldn't have shared).  But I understand how she feels because I too land in a state of euphoria while shopping--not for groceries.  You can lose yourself and get caught up in the moment.  Just don't lose yourself in your pants. Especially if the pants you're wearing aren't your own--Would you drop it already, filth mouth?

Back to Payday Eve: Instead of dreaming of a new shirt, I decide that I'm going to have my hair done. I'll want it to look like Sarah Jessica Parker's long curly, golden locks.  Then I remember that my hair is thin and short like an 80 year old man, and so I switch back to the shirt idea.

The first thing I do when I wake up on that glorious Payday morning is make a cash T-R-A-N-S-F-E-R into my personal checking account.  Never mind that we're out of milk and dog food, my new shirt has taken priority.  As mi Amor begins crunching down his Raisin Bran sans milk, he looks over my shoulder at what I'm punching into the computer screen.  

"No transfers, Katy," he says.

"We just got paid," I tell him.

"I'm going to the ATM to get cash out.  You need to live on the 300 dollars we've budgeted for the week," he says.



I know he is right; he always is.   I hand him my debit card and two credit cards.  He tells me it isn't necessary.  I tell him it is.  So since Friday, it's now Sunday, I've been on a cash-only diet. And out of my 300 dollars, I have 25 left.  I've stocked up on milk, eggs, and other basics except we have NO MEAT.  I blew my meat budget on the 10 lbs. of bacon we used for our Easter breakfast--that's disgusting, I know.  Mi Amor is going to have to deal with eating beans and rice for the rest of the week even though he's the kind of man who thinks a meal isn't a meal without a big slab of meat. That 25 dollars is for my shirt; it's worth the sacrifice.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Things that should be monochromatic:

Wedding cakes

 Orange mini calla lilies

Not Your Dinner!
I felt like a real winner when I served up this plate o' lard for my homies.  I could have at least added a can of fruit cocktail (that's mostly yellow too). 

I remember sharing Sunday dinners with my college roommates.  Our meals often included: Rice-a-roni (chicken flavored), Hamburger Helper (meatless), mac-n-cheese, and Jiffy cornbread. 
Oh, so Y-E-L-L-O-W.

p.s. We don't love nuggs. shaped like fingers or soggy french fries.  They're gross.  I was desperate.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just Worry About Katy

When I was a girl, mi Madre often reminded me: "Katy, you don't need to worry about anyone but yourself.  Let me handle this."   It was her gentle way of saying, stay out of it! Back then I was a bossy tattle-tail who had an opinion about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, especially if it had to do with making sure my brothers were rightfully punished for their misdeeds.  "David shouldn't have lied about sticking his fingers into grandma's chocolate birthday cake.  He should get his rehind smacked with dad's big tennis shoe, mom, right?" Again her reminder: "Katy needs to worry about Katy." 

Her wise words, now stapled to my internal forehead,  remind me to not judge others and to focus on my own problems (heaven knows the list is long).   When I read that Jessica Simpson has gained more weight, I say, "Bless her heart.  She has a stressful life." When I hear my neighbor say a bad word, I think to myself, "Some days are like that."  But when I'm at the Mesa Temple Easter Pageant, trying to get my spirituals on, and I see a lady smoking a then tossing her big cig. right in front of me, I become judgemental. "How dare she? Smoking is so Miami Vice of her. Yuck." Then I recall mi Madre's sweet reminder, "Katy needs to worry about Katy."  And then I remember Jesus loves us all, even when we smoke cigs., say bad words, and gain weight. He has to give a little extra love to us judgemental types.  We require the most forgiveness.

p.s. Something inside of me is saying that might not be a your typical Marlboro cig.  She probably smokes for medicinal reasons.  My grandma says growing old is hard and isn't for sissies (not to be sexist or anything).  Who am I to judge.

p.s.s--The tennis shoe mentioned in this story is an exaggeration.