Friday, May 29, 2009

Miss V., Here's our Public Apology:

While we were in NYC, my homegurl purchased a Middleton Doll from FAO Schwarz. She had the doll out of the box and on her hip before the cashier swiped my debit card. I wanted to tuck my girl and her doll back into the box, keeping the two from ever leaving girlhood. Her doll days are numbered, and I cry every time I count how few are left.

We trucked Magnolia (fondly named after the cupcake bakery) up and down the streets of Manhattan. Droves of women approached and said things like: "Is that a real baby? I thought that was a real baby. Where'd you get that baby? I want a baby like that." They touched, squeezed, and cooed all over her doll, and I was reminded that a love for babies, real or not, is universal.

Out of all of Magnolia's admirers, Miss V., a sales associate in Bloomingdale's preteen department, was her biggest fan. She caught my homegurl and Magnolia on her doll radar, and we scanned Miss V., from head to toe as she marched over to where we were standing. She was wearing white Easy Spirits with tan pantyhose, a black polyester suit with a pressed, white-collared blouse. Her hair was as silver as the name badge she had neatly pinned to her lapel. Her face was wrinkly, and her eyelids hung heavy above her bluish eyes. Her breath brushed our bangs as she began speaking:

"What an adorable baby. I thought that was a real baby. Get a load of that baby. By golly, that's just a doll. Can I hold her?"

My homegurl graciously handed over the doll, and Miss V. pulled the doll to her chest, rocking her back and forth. We watched her, taking in another look at that woman: no make-up, no earrings, clean finger nails. She spoke again: "What's her name?"

"Magnolia." We answered, looking at Miss V's lips this time.

And that's when we noticed the full mustache and beard that was covering her upper lip and lower chin. The coarse white and gray hair blended into her pale skin, but heaven's to Betsy, her facial hair was thicker than a Coir Fiber doormat. Bless her heart, I wanted to say something to sweet Miss V. ,offer a complimentary wax, trim, or bleach (This beauty school drop-out can handle facial hair removal.)

We didn't offer her any help. Instead, while we were in the Bloomingdale's elevator, we talked trash on Miss V. (behind her back). It wasn't nice and I've since repented, telling my homegurl that when we have a friend, and that friend has a booger hanging from her nose, or a piece of broccoli stuck between her teeth, or muffin crumbs scattered on her face, or lipstick smeared on her teeth: It's our job to tell her. That's what friends are for.

We're sorry, Miss V.!

P.S. If you want to duplicate Miss V's facial hair look, just take the old hair from your dirty hair brush and Scotch Tape it to your face.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Next year all of my homies will be in school full-time. My friends say, "You'll have loads of free time. What will you do with yourself?" I lie in bed a night, searching for the answer to that question. Maybe I'll go back to hair school (I dropped out). But then I remember that no one wants a stylist whose forehead requires massive amounts of Botox to bridge the fault lines between her eyebrows. I'm too old to stand on my feet for hours on end and too tired to keep abreast of the latest hair trends.

Maybe I'll begin rewriting my picture book manuscript, Thanks for Nothing, Toothy. It's been rejected twice, but my gut keeps telling me, "That story is your big break; don't give up."
When I tell people that I'd love to write children's books for a living, they nod their heads, smiling, thinking, "This gal is a real dreamer, a complete time waster."

I've decided to go back to school because an M.F.A. in Creative Writing will look spiffy on my book's "about the author" cover flap. Yesterday I e-mailed ASU, inquiring about their Creative Writing program. When I clicked the send button, I covered my eyes and peeked from behind the cracks between my fingers: Your message was sent.

Mi madre's wise words began tickering around my forehead: Think (proofread) before you speak (or e-mail ). I'm copying the e-mail for your reading pleasure. It was too casual and horribly written. I'm sure I've blown my chances of getting accepted into their program. Now my friends won't have to ask me what I'll be doing with all my free time next year. That would be like rubbing salt into my oops-a-daisy wound.

To Whom it May Concern (sounds so stuffy. Do we even use that salutation anymore?),

I want to know if you ever admit students (like me) who dream of being in the Creative Writing program, but have 3 kids and a husband to take care of. I just want to dip my toes in the school pool, so I can see if I have M.F.A. gumption in me (I think it's in there). I graduated from BYU with a BA in English. My GPA is 3.1 (I'm not proud of it. I can do better.)

Katy Suzuki

I do have a blog:

P.P.S. I couldn't decide if I needed commas in that first sentence. The first class I'd take would be a grammar course. I've taken one before in undergrad but would love a refresher. The sentence diagramming nearly killed me. I think I landed a C- in the class. I'm not proud of that either.

I just noticed more grammatical errors in my e-mail. I find comfort in knowing that Jesus loves me, and the Church is still true.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I kept calling mi Amor, telling him to pack his bags:

"I love this city, and this city loves me. We're moving here," I told him.

He told me to enjoy my trip and that we're not moving to New York. Not ever.

I love everything about New York City; I'm urban to my core. I love how each New York City block spills-out new smells, new people, and endless potential to become whatever you want to become.

The becoming whatever you want part isn't easy, I realize. I know because we talked to a girl on the subway (I even like the subway), and she said that she has five jobs:

"Today, I'm a babysitter. Tomorrow, I'll be a make-up artist. I really want to be on Broadway; I've done a few small traveling shows but nothing in New York."

"It's political, I bet, getting a part in a big Broadway production," I said.

"So political. I know the man who plays the lead in Mary Poppins. Actually, I don't really know him. He's a friend of one of my friend's friend," she said.

"It's all in who you know." I said back. She agreed with me, still holding on to the potential outcome of her upcoming audition and then headed off to her babysitting job, somewhere in Times Square.

We shopped up and down 5th Avenue and ate at Katz Deli, The Burger Joint, Serendipity, Magnolia Bakery, and John's Pizza. We stood on the Empire State building's observation deck and stared as far north as the Bronx and as far south as the Statue of Liberty. I noticed that some of the building's visitors left behind little forget-me-not notes: "Steve and Donna were here." I wanted to write: NYC+me=TLA, except I forgot to bring my black sharpie.

We headed to Bryant Park and breezed through the fabric district. Mood Fabrics, Mokuba, and Shindo are some of the best fabric and trim stores on earth. The bright colors and rhinestoned buttons made me want to give Jean Kate designs an overhaul.

We got off the green line at Bleecker St. and walked through beautiful Greenwich Village. I would give my first born to live there (not really). I loved watching the NYU students, backpacks brimming with textbooks, their eyes focused on bright futures. It made excited to go back to school.

Then we traveled south to see the Statue of Liberty. While on the ferry ride, my homegurl talked to the 5th graders from Brooklyn's P.S. 241. The kids were witty and observant. One girl in particular, Khady, was drawn to my homegurl. They exchanged numbers, promising to be friends forever. Another girl from the class, Adriana, couldn't believe Khady was talkin' to that "White girl." Another boy warned my homegurl against getting pregnant before college. I thought that was good, sound advice and was grateful for his candor. The entire exchange made me want to move to NYC even more. I desperately want my homies to grow-up like I did, surrounded by cultural diversity.

Toward the end of the trip, I began to miss the things that normally fill my everyday schedule: talks with my kids before bed, kisses from my littlest boy, listening to music in the car, cooking, watching TV with mi Amor, and family prayer. While glancing up at the humongous Target ad, in the middle of Times Square, I realized: when you go away to visit the extraordinary, your heart grows fonder of the ordinary. I was ready to return to my Suburbia: the place where all of my dreams are unfurling.
P.S.--When I got home, I found this waiting for me. I can make at least 3 shakers out of it.

P.P.S.--The girl sitting next to me, on our flight home, told me that 69th St. on the Upper West Side is a cement oasis for families. "That sounds perfect," I said, making a mental note. I'll want to be prepared, just in case...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We Heart NYC

My homgurl and I are off to the Big City. We have an agenda jam-packed with shows, shopping, and eating. We're going to stuff our faces full with cupcakes(not from Magnolia Bakery, though). We hear Amy's Bread makes a better cupcake. I will give you a full report when I return on Sunday.

Maybe our homeboyz will miss us. Maybe mi Amor's heart will grow fonder while I'm away (for me, let's hope). They're going to miss us; it's a guarantee because who else is going to change the toilet paper?

P.S.--That black book pictured above might be the best New York guide ever written. It's entitled, Not For Tourists Guide to New York City.

P.P.S.--I've been collecting those toilet paper rolls for about two weeks. I'm going to turn them into music shakers, the kind you fill with pinto beans (heaven knows my food storage needs rotating). I'll make them for the nursery kids. Although, that could prove disastrous because they might bite right through them. Then I'd be responsible for creating a choking hazard--not good.

Someone in mi casa needs a lesson on how to use less toilet paper. My grandpa could get the job done using three squares. That's impressive.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

My birthday landed on Mother's Day this year. I told my family (mi Amor) that I wouldn't accept a 2 for 1, meaning I expected both events to be celebrated separately--so bossy and assumptive of me, I know. My family was wonderful. They went the extra mile and made me feel like a bazillion bucks. I needed that, thank you.

I don't know if it's the fact that I'm one year wiser, or that I was extra observant this weekend, but I experienced 3 epiphanies. My discoveries may be the 3 best birthday presents ever.

1. One of my favorite gospel doctrine teachers--ever, began her class, fielding responses to the following scenario:

Tell me which man is the better tithe payer:

a. One man pays 10 percent of his increase at the end of each year. Throughout that year, he puts his increase into a bank account, where it can accrue interest. He then takes out the increase, sans interest, and pays it to the church.

b. The other man pays his tithing throughout the year, as he receive his increase.

I snapped closed my D&C because I knew the next 30 minutes was going to be spent routing through a bag full of opinions. A member of the stake presidency was there, and he read straight from the church handbook. His words settled the masses, including me: "It's really between the tithe payer and the Lord."

The teacher went on to say, "Tithing is the one commandment we can get right 100% of the time. It's one of the only commandments that allows us to be 100% obedient. It's possible to pay a perfect tithe."

I had never thought of it that way.

2. If you're a White girl, working at the MAC counter, and you're helping your Black customer (whom you DO NOT know) DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT take a stab at incorporating BEV (Black English Vernacular) into your vocabulary while talking to her.

The MAC girl kept calling her customer, "girl." Every time she said it, she'd add vocal inflection and a head shake. It was embarrassing and made me feel uncomfortable. I wanted to say, "Stop doing that; you're ignorant." But I refrained because I could see her customer was already filtering the situation.

I began wondering how many times I assume people want to be treated a certain way. The MAC girl meant well. She was just trying to let the customer know, in a codeish way, that she understood where her customer was coming from. The reality is: We can't even began to assume, based on casual conversation, how our life events have shaped who we are. We don't "treat each other how we'd like to be treated" because we're all too different for that. The whole situation reminded me to be guarded in my assumptions about others and to keep my BEV to myself--always. (Heaven knows I have a thing for BEV. I even wrote a paper on it, while attending BYU.)

3. Always make your homegurl feel like she's worth a bazillion bucks. She tried to make me feel so special this weekend. She wrote me notes, made me treats, and told me, to my face, how much she adored me. I thought to myself, "I should cherish these moments because in 2 years she won't be able to stand the sight of this hunchback," (I have horrible posture). Every time she sent a kind gesture my way, I'd deflect it with my, "I'm too busy right now" shield. It was crushing her thoughtful heart, and mi Amor told me to cut-it-out.

On Sunday morning, I made these headbands for the two of us. (When I die, I'll be in purgatory picking glue dotes with my nose for making these on the Sabbath.) I thought together we could celebrate our motherhood/girlhood. I knew the headband wouldn't make up for my insensitivity, but it was a start. Except, at dinnertime, I accidently said I hated fudge brownie ice cream (the exact ice cream she had picked for dessert). And that Trader Joe's makes the best carrot cake (she had purchased my carrot cake from Fresh and Easy). I had B-L-O-W-N it, and I knew it. I'll be better next year, if there is a next year. She may just dump me in between now and then, and I won't blame her for it. Until then, I'm going to kiss her cheeks, write her notes, and tell her how wonderful she is. Maybe she'll keep me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I'm crazy about mi madre!  Here's why:

1.  When I went away to college, she got a 1-800 number so I could call her E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y.  I called her every 5 minutes instead because I missed her mucho.

2.  She read to me and taught me to love literature.  Do you remember reading Watership Down to us, Madre?  It was one of my favorites.

3.   Every time I go home to visit, she takes me to Miguel's.

4.  She would do anything for me, even break 2 sewing machines just so I could have the baby bedding of my dreams.

5.  She was brave and joined the church.

6.  She loves singing and telling us the stories behind the music that inspires her. She inspires me.

7.  She thinks I'm wonderful, even when I'm a grouchy.

8.  She plastered flyers all over my high school when I was running for student council. She believed in me, even when I'd come home crying, saying, "I'll never beat Eric Furgeson.  All the girls think he's so hot!"  She'd say, "You'll beat him; you're hotter."

9.  She laughs at my jokes, even when they're total duds.

10.  She made an emergency visit (24 hrs. notice--she lives 5 1/2 hours away) to help me manage mi homegurl's b-day party.  (That's mi madre on the bottom right hand side.)  I should have invited 11 girls like she suggested. I invited 32 instead, and she had to rescue me.
I Adore You, Madre!

Star Trek Love

Tonight mi Amor took me to see Star Trek.  I got goose bumps 20 times, cried once, and squeezed his hand throughout the entire movie.  I LOVED IT!  It reminded me of when we were newlyweds, and every night we'd cuddle up on the couch and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation (I heart Captain Picard). 

After the movie I asked mi Amor to name the top three people he'd want to mind meld (share/trade knowledge). He's a private person and doesn't like broadcasting his beeswax to the universe, so I'll just share my answers:

Top 3 people I'd mind meld:

I also asked him to where would he energize.  I told him I'd go to Tokyo, France, Jerusalem, and isle 10 at Walmart.  That's where they keep Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips.  I've eaten a whole bag of those today, and now my jeans feel too tight. Good thing it's Sunday tomorrow. I'll wear my moo moo to church.  

p.s.--We're going to dress up like the USS Enterprise Starfleet for Halloween. The movie was that inspiring.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pickup Lines

I love taking the young women home after our mutual activities. We rock out to music and talk about the latest: boys, boys, boys. One girl told us about her D-I-S-A-S-T-R-O-U-S first date. The best part of her story was the pickup line he used to ask her on a second date. Here's what he texted her:

Boy: Can you help me solve a math problem?
Girl: Yes.
Boy: You+Me+Polar Ice=...........(A. Big. Fat. No.)

The other girls began listing additional pickup lines, and we laughed all the way home. I'm listing our top five favorites for your reading pleasure.

Boy: Is your name Virtue?
Girl: No.
Boy: Because you're garnishing my thoughts unceasingly.

Boy: What's your favorite temple?
Girl: Mesa, AZ.
Boy: Well, I'm looking at mine.

Boy: Do you have a map?
Girl: No.
Boy: Because I keep getting lost in your eyes.

Boy: Do you have something stuck in your eyes?
Girl: No.
Boy: It's your eyes sparkling.

Boy: Did it hurt?
Girl: Did what hurt?
Boy: When you fell from Heaven and landed in my heart.

I know you've fallen for double-decker cheesy. You probably married him. And now Mr. Cheese Whiz continues to tell you romantic one-liners and believing him has placed you in a pile of laundry, with a handful of kids. You should have been like the young women and texted him a big: No. Thank. You. But maybe you're like me, and you're crazy about your kids (not so much the laundry part), and you wouldn't have your life be any other way, cheese and all.

p.s.--Here's the pickup line mi Amor used on me while we were stocking denim at the Gap. (We worked together.)

Boy: Do you have Captain Crunch cereal?
Girl: Yes. (I really didn't.)
Boy: Can I come over and eat some?
Girl: (Heart melting like butter in a microwave) Yes. Yes. Yes. (I only said it once.)

p.p.s--I text mi Amor cheesy pickup lines almost daily. "Your moves are so smooth," was my latest and greatest. It keeps things spicy and extra cheesy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Parenting 101

I'm not proud of this picture.  We've gotten into some bad habits, but I'm not going to feel guilty.  I'll do better tomorrow.  There's a lightsaber close by.  We'll have a dual as soon as I'm through making clips.  I'll be Darth Vader and he'll be Yoda.  I'll let him win.  I make a good Darth.  I've got his breathing down pat.

p.s.--I'm listening to "Lucky" by Jason Mraz.  I'm on my 10th listen. What a happy song!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I tucked my worries away and opted for a carefree day. I let the kids stay home from school, so we could be like Prince and party like it was 1999. (Remember Y2K? I worried.) We skipped to the car, rolled down the windows, and pumped-up the music. We sang along to "Killer Queen" and let our hands ride wind roller coasters all the way to the M-A-L-L. That's right, I said the mall. Never mind that I only had 40 bucks to last me until next Friday, we were going to lunch!

I told my homies, "Don't order sodas because we're running low on cash."

"Okay," They said.

"And don't eat the bread from the free sample plate. Germs."


"You're sharing sandwiches and don't order the kids' meal, even if the kids in front of you are ordering kids' meals. They have more money, and you should have asked Heavenly Father for a rich mom."

"We like you, Mom," They said.

My lunch rules were ruining their cheery moods. I could tell because their shoulders were slumping and their eyes were drooping like Eeyore's from Winnie the Pooh. "Let it go, psycho." I thought to myself. I relaxed and let them share a soda. My friend joined us too and that made lunch taste even better.

I had $15.00 left, and I felt like blowing it all. We'd just live on dehydrated carrots and potato buds until payday. Who needs meat anyway, especially ground beef. It's disgusting. I said to the kids, "Let's buy flowers for May Day and sparkle balls." (The balls are the latest rage in Gilbert, AZ.) On we went to Walgreen's and Fresh and Easy, spending all but fifteen cents.

I was fine with the empty rattle the two coins were making in my wallet. But on our way home, the car's check engine light started blinking. I cringed at the thought of paying for a car repair. Maybe the mechanics have little girls. Maybe they would take Jean Kate hair clips in exchange for the car repair. Maybe they would take sparkle balls, roses, and a half eaten sandwich too. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I reached for the stereo's volume and notched it up to loud. We rolled down the widows and sang along with Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds:"

Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright.
Singin: Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright!

So true, Bob. We're going to be just fine, even if we have to ride the bus tomorrow.

Saturday, May 2, 2009



Equals Popcorn that is better than your local movie theater's popcorn. Seriously.

I have to thank Stephanie for introducing us to such a wonderful treat!

p.s.--Don't forget the salt and butter.
p.s.s--The coconut oil is the secret ingredient. You can buy it at my favorite store, Wal-Mart (it's not really my favorite). This is an indulgent snack, but calories or fat grams don't count on Fast Sunday.