Monday, May 24, 2010

White House

Did you know the month of May is when we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage? Neither did I! Well, President Obama and his homies invited mi Amor to attend an annual reception at the White House in efforts to commemorate the arrival of Japanese immigrants in America, and to honor the many Chinese workers who labored to complete the transcontinental railroad.

Mi Amor was shocked when someone from the White House called and extended to him a personal invitation. He felt honored to attend, and he said the President's speech was eloquent. In his words, "The whole experience was surreal!" Here's President Obama addressing the group. I think he's wishing he were as handsome as mi Amor.

Who gets invited to the White House? I'll tell you who: MI AMOR. He's that awesome. Maybe he should be the one who plugs the gallons of oil that are spilling into the ocean.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Temple, Conditioner, and Dance

We went to the Gila Temple Dedication, and it was the best in the west. Several years ago, we attended the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple (so historic), and I can't remember a single bit of the dedicatory service. I may be getting Alzheimer's, and I'm not joking.

Anyway, today, when President Monson came out of the temple and made his way to mortar the cornerstone into the temple, he turned toward the children and wiggled his ears. We all started laughing at his candor, and then I leaned over to my homie and whispered, "You can do that, too. Maybe one day you'll be the prophet." He wiggled his ears and smiled. Then I smooched his cheek.
Could my hair look any more like a scarecrow's? Yikes! Someone needs to deep condition her mop, like, asap. Plus, I look manish. I think I see a stache shadow on my upper lip.

I was driving while doing this photo shoot. (I'm my own paparazzi, you know.) Driving while posing is dangerous, and then I went home and slammed a Diet DP. Should I tell the bishop?
She brings tears to my eyes. I lied when I said she's not dancing anymore. She's still taking one class, just in case soccer doesn't work out. (Let's pray she sees the light.) I got her all dressed up for her recital pictures, and I said, "Are you sure your dreams don't include dancing for the rest of your life?" She rolled her eyes at me, and I don't blame her for it. What will she do with this nag-hag who won't let it go?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cha-Cha-Cha Changes

Before I sent my homgurl off to school today, I gave her a little pep talk about the "changes" video she will be watching in class today. You remember the video, right? The one about periods, reproduction, and the endless battle of unwanted hair. Bluck!

I told her I couldn't wait to be in 6th grade so I could see that video (what a perve, I know). I remember watching the 6th grade girls slipping out of the library after watching "that" video. They seemed taller and wiser as the group of them huddled under a tree to talk and giggle about their new and enlighten minds. They looked as if they had just unlocked the secrets to life's greatest mystery: boys. What I would have given to be under that tree, to be a big 6th grader.

I told Hannah when I finally had my chance to see it, I was totally disappointed. "It didn't teach me how to get a boyfriend or kiss or anything good at all," I told her. "It was informative, very clinical, common information, stuff I already knew about my body." Then I told her, "Don't be weird about it. All you need to know is that your body is beautiful, be glad you're not a boy, and periods are a drag and a hassle."

"Please, Mom, just stop!" she said as she walked out the door. "I can't wait to hear all about it," I called after her. "Take notes, please!"

I'm demented, I think.

The only change in my life is this new bedspread pictured above. Do you love it? 30 bucks at Target.

P.S. Please note the bed at the bottom, right hand corner of the picture. Some things never change. Like having your scaredy-cat kids sleeping next to you when they hear things that go bump in the night. That will change, though, and then I will miss it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dear Hannah,

Do you hate me? Can you blame me?

Her beautiful stories made me laugh and cry, and I couldn't stop reading her insightful perspectives on life. Afterall, she's only twelve, but she writes like she's a mature eighteen. I was never as good as she. Never. And I can't believe she's mine.

P.S. Did I mention she's helped herself to my diary? I think we're even now, but I do realize that my eye-for-an-eye rational is deadly. I won't read her journal again. promise. Plus, this isn't her "real" journal.

P.P.S Did I mention that Mi Amor was invited to the White House? For reals. More about that next week.

**She just got home and said, "Moms are never to read their daughters' diaries, but I don't mind if you read mine. Just ask first."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Keepin' It Real In Gila

On Saturday we packed the bus and rode to the Gila Valley Temple open house. It was the first time my homegurl had seen a temple in its entirety, and I couldn't wait to watch her reactions to the temple's breathtaking craftsmanship: the furniture, the 9 foot solid Maple doors, the stained glass, the gold leaf trimmed ceilings, the life-size paintings of the Savior's ministry, the Bride's Room. I wanted her to see the Bride's Room.

More than anything, though, I wanted to stand with her between the mirrors that hang in the Sealing Room. I wanted to whisper in her ear how our love and friendship will go on for eternity, just like our reflection in the mirrors. We were meant to be, she and I. I wanted to tell her to find a man as good as her dad. Someone who will hold her high when she is low. A man who will sustain her divinity and amplify her very best qualities.

But I said none of these things.

She's at an age where my sentimental talk makes her feel squirmy, awkward, even queasy. When I actually muster the courage to tell her what is in my heart, she curls her lip and says, "Stop, Mom.  You're acting weird." Since I didn't want my mothering chatter to ruin our moments in the temple, I settled for trailing behind her.  I carefully reached up and grabbed her ponytailed hair and began twirling it round and round my wrist, and I vowed to not let go until we finished our procession through the Bride's Room and Ceiling Room.

"Look at the crystal chandeliers, Mom," she said in a whisper as we enter the Celestial Room, turning her head just enough for me to read her lips.

"They're stunning." I said immediately, wanting to say something more, wanting her to pinky promise me that she'll go to the temple someday.

As though she could read the thoughts in my mind, she quickly whipped her ponytail out of my hand. With a toss of her head and two quick steps forward, she was standing with her friends underneath the Celestial Room's chandeliers; I watched as they gathered and whispered; their faces outshining the twinkling facets that caught the lights above our heads. My impulse was to join her group of friends and tell them all the things I wanted to tell Hannah.  Instead,  I relinquished my thoughts and saved them for a more appropriate moment, for a time when she's older and wiser.

As we exited the temple, I quickly asked if she'd take a picture with me. She is gracious enough to let me have a few minutes of her time. (Seriously, moms can be such a drag.) We ask Brother Walker to take our picture, and he says, while adjusting the camera lens, "It doesn't get better: A girl and her mom at the temple together." I sucked in my want to cry, because crying in front of your teenage daughter is totally awk sauce-- Just say no to your emotions. Instead, I pulled her in close and waited for the click. 

As we walked back to the bus, I began twirling her ponytail round and round my wrist again. "I love you, Hannah," I said. "You're as good as they come." She smiled, "I love you too, Mom."

She tiled forward, pulling her hair from my hand. "I'm going to go find Grace now, but I'm glad we came to the temple together." "Me too," I say, taking another picture of her sweet face with my heart.

Friday, May 14, 2010


The other morning I received this e-mail from a classmate. She wrote:

I'm not going to be in class on Monday and possibly Wednesday. My Ava passed away sometime last week and I had to go into labor to deliver her. She was born around 4:30pm Saturday afternoon...She was a beautiful 3.5 pounds girl. The doctor said Ava's umbilical cord was wrapped so tightly around itself that her nutrients and oxygen got cut off. Apparently, this had a 1/1000 chance of occurring. Maybe I should start playing the lottery...

I'm sure those of you that have kids do this often, but hug and kiss them all again.

"Hug and kiss them all again." Her words continuously march through my mind like an endless parade. While I'm tucking my kids in at night, I hear them. While I'm watching them play in the pool, I hear them again. As I'm listening to their chatter and play at the homework table, my words begin to trumpet along with my mind's parade, "I love you like crazy!" I say it out loud, wanting desperately to brand their hearts with my love.

"Hug and kiss them, Katy." I hear the words, as I sit here typing, and I will hear them again while I'm putting clothes away in their chest of drawers.

When they come home, I will wrap my arms around them, just as I did the day before. Each day, another layer of love comes to rest upon what can never be taken away. Our love.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I've listened to Jewels' (Julie B. Beck) conference talk about fifty times. (I call her that because we're sorta like bffs, in a way.) Here's my favorite thought from her talk:

"A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently."

Just last night I said to mi Amor, "I will avoid taking night classes at ASU; they mess up our family's groove. I will go to school when the kids are in school. That's my new rule." "Agreed," he said, cautiously.

He's always careful when agreeing with me, just in case I've set a trap. Like the time I said, in front of our friends, "Isn't my peach cobbler the best you've ever had?" and he said, "I've had better." He dwelt in a tent that night. But soon after, he quickly learned how to calculate his responses to my questions based on the tone in my voice. His responses are accurate about 95 percent of the time. The other 5 percent, well, you know where he has to go. T-E-N-T City.

As the thoughts from Jewels' talk sink deeper and deeper into my heart, I've come to this: I'm in my parenting prime, chicas, and I need to make sure my aspirations coincide with raising up my homies in the best possible way. Even though I'm a 4.0 (yes, I did just say 4.0) student, night school made our fhe, scripture time, and our family prayers spotty at best. And spotty isn't good enough. Spotty at ASU equals a C--a 2.0 GPA. These homies need routines that are constant and predictable, consistency that merits a 4.0. I'm working on getting that GPA up.

P.S. But I'm not whipping myself with the guilt belt; that's no way to live.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Beauty by Josh

You may think you're staring at Sugar Lips the Drag Queen, but it's just me. I'm doing this glamorous pose just for you, and I'm hoping you're having a wonderful Mother's Day. Mothers are the best, you know, especially that mother who goes by the name of Mi Madre. Anyhoo...

On Friday I was invited to hang with my littlest homie and his classmates at an exclusive mommy makeover event. (Are you jeal?) As I walked into room A-3 the kids sang in unison, "Josh, she's here! Your mom is really here!" They made me feel like Queen Elizabeth, and so I graciously sat in my throne sized for Goldilocks's littlest bear. I began nibbling (like, inhaling) a sugar cookie while my homie sat on my lap and chatted in my ear about recess, corn dogs for lunch, and how we just saw Kent Grober pick it and eat it. All the while, the kids in A-3 continued announcing each mom as she entered, "She's here. Your mom is really here!" Within minutes, the room was overflowing with the lilting sounds of moms' kisses and best wishes.

As Mrs. Harnish stood to began explaining that day's event, my homie and I could hear coming from behind, "sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff." We synchronously turned around. "Alvin!" Josh said, concerned. "What's the matter, Alvin? I know what's wrong. Your mom is not here yet, huh? Where is she, Alvin. Where is she?"

Alvin lowered his head and we watched as his hot tears dotted his tan corduroy pants.

"Guess what, Alvin?" Josh said, wiggling Alvin's shoulders back and forth. "My mom has two eyes and she has two cheeks and she likes kids and so you and me can share my mom. You put makeup on this eye, and I'll put makeup on the other eye. We can share, Alvin, just like when we share our scissors."

Alvin said, "No thank you, Josh," and began crying even more.

"Where's his mother?" I said in desperation, while flagging down Mrs. Harnish. "Where in the world is his mother?"

"I have no idea," she said. "And I'm, like, dying right now." She leaned over Alvin and began rubbing his back. The whole class of kids and moms sat staring at Alvin who was now beginning to curl on the floor in the fetal position.

Just when we thought all was lost in Alvin's 5 year-old world, the door to room A-3 swung open. Like the angel of hope, peace, and joy, Alvin's mom stepped through the door. (She had wings.)

"Alvin, she's here! Your mom is really here!" we all sang like the Mo Tab choir. "Hallelujah!"

He ran and jumped into her arms, and while she rocked him back and forth she said, "You were the only one without a mom? The only one, huh? I'm so sorry!"

She kissed him head to toe and then sat in her throne sized for Goldilocks's littlest bear. A queen. An angel. A mom. She made his world new. Just like that.

P.S. Beauty by Josh is taking new clients. So if you'd like an appointment, just drop me a line, chica. Makeup artistry doesn't get better.

P.P.S In that top picture, do you see an arm that looks like a Madonna arm? Just wondering.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

2010 Census

Just seconds ago Garth, from the US Census Bureau, knocked on the door. He had come to fill out another report since ours got lost in the mail, or something like that. I gave my littlest homey a crusty for answering the door--that's a no-no in our house. Only adults are allowed to answer the door.

I swept the bitterness and my bangs to the side, and let southern hospitality gush from my lips.

"Can I help you?" I said smiling.

"Um, yes, this will take just 10 minutes of your ti..." I cut him off along with the artificial genteel and said, "We filled that baby out already. Mailed it out over a month ago."

"Oh. Well I'm so sorry to hear that. You can never count on the US mail system; it's a real shame...Anyway, the Census requires that I interview you again, so that we can update our records."

"Well I can't right now; I'm writing a research paper." (A TOTAL LIE, and I can't believe how easily the lie formed and came to save the day. I'm not proud.)

I continued, "Besides, we already spent hours filling the thing out, and now you're telling me it was lost in the mail?" He nodded and smiled. "You know what?" I said. "This Census reporting system is inefficient. I spent my time filling the thing out, and now you're here telling me it's lost. I just can't believe my tax dollars are paying for all this wasted time. Do you even know that our local schools are running out of paper? What's happening to this country?"

"When would be a better time to come back? It has to be filled out by Saturday," he said calmly.

"Well Friday and Saturday are busy, so is Sunday the Sabbath; it's Mother's Day. Then on Monday, it's my birthday."

"Happy birthday! " he said, resting his clipboard on his hip. "I understand you're so busy, but..."

I cut him off again, "You bet I'm busy. Then on Tuesday I have a dentist appointment, a presidency meeting, then I'm volunteering in the cafeteria, and going to two baseball games after that. Wednesday we have dance, Karate, piano practice. Then on Thursday I'm starting my period, and you'll want to steer clear, so looks likes you'll have to come back next month!"

"I'll let you decide when I can come back, but please remember that we really need to get this filled out. It's the law."

Just as I slammed the door on Garth, a little speck of doubt landed on my heart. Maybe I didn't actually mail it in, I thought. I ran back to my junk mail pile and flipped through months of old papers. Nothing. Then I slid open another drawer and rummaged through my note cards. Nothing. As I began closing the drawer, I heard something heavy slide down the backside of the cabinet. I opened the cupboard door and lo and behold, ding-ding-ding, there was the Census.

"You're a fat jerk," I said as I ran to catch Garth.

As he was pulling away he must of caught sight of my flailing arms in his rearview mirror. He stopped, then rolled backwards in his SUV, and before he could get his window down, I started, "I found it. Look right here. See it? I lied. I'm a big, fat jerk of a liar, and I'm so sorry. Do I still have to fill the report out with you?"


"Well I can't. You already know that. But I'm going to mail this right now. Then we'll see what happens. I know you're just doing your job, but you don't ever need to come back. I just came out to say sorry for being such a snot. Sorry."

"Apology accepted." And he drove away.

Sometimes I wish I were a little more civilized. I'm an embarrassment to this family of mine (and to mi Madre). I had better shape-up and fly right.

P.S. That's the face my homegurl will make when she hears about my latest shenanigans; she's embarrassed to be my daughter. I can't blame her.

P.P.S I really didn't tell Garth that I was starting my period; that's inappropriate.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

If You Tell Me No...

While I was a student at BYU, I remember hearing all about this so-called controversial professor, Brian Evenson. Do you remember hearing about him? His book, Altmann's Tongue, which a few critics labeled gratuitously violent, ruffled the minds of some students and faculty members.

I asked my friend, "What's the name of his book again? I need to buy it, like, ASAP." She looked at me puzzled, wondering why such a religious gal, like me, would want to purchase a book like that. I wanted to tell her I've always been the kind of gal who trades a "no" for a "yes." Like when the lifeguards at Hunt Park pool blow their whistles and tell me to stop running, I take that walk down to a jog. And when I'm not tall enough for the roller coaster at Six Flags, I stand on my tippy-toes, and when mi madre says, "Only one cookie, Katy." I stuff two more beneath my shirt.

I do say "yes" to obeying the commandments, though. Almost always.

The other day while I was in our study looking for a book on how to write a research paper without ripping your head bald in the process, I came across his book. I've never had the chance to read it, and so I opened the book and read its first line.

"He had that day found his daughter dead from what must have been the fever, her swollen eyes stretching her lids open."

"Oh, boy, have mercy," I thought to myself. Reading this story is way more interesting than reading about how to cite sources in APA format. "Brian, where ever you are, why are you tempting me with your gory story?"

He didn't answer me back, and so, I went to the computer to look him up. I've always wondered how his stay at BYU ended. Wondered if he had ever found a place to teach that was just right for him. If you're curious about his whereabouts, you can click here. A little hint: Brown University, Ivy League, hellou!

I don't know if I'll get a chance to finish reading Ultmann's Tongue; the gory genre tends to give me bad dreams. Besides, I have other books waiting in line, for instance, Anna Quindlen's Every Last One. Have you read it? Huh? Can you even put it down? But before you rush to Amazon, I must confess there are a few swears in that book. Now you see what I mean about obeying the commandments almost always. Pray for me.