Monday, May 31, 2010

One Of The Reasons

I love my husband...
...he loves my nieces and nephews.

...I'll be back tomorrow with grand stories from the weekend.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm Pathetic

I'm cooking dinner for Jason.

It will be ready when he gets home.

I've got sparkling cider in the refrigerator and wine glasses to drink it with.

I have candles on the table.

Dessert is in the oven.

I might, just maybe, go so far as to shave my legs.

The table is set.

There is just one problem.

I'm nearly 35 years old and I still have to call my mom and ask on which side of the plate the spoon and knife go.

I seriously doubt that there is any hope for me.

That's all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

One Last Thing Before The Weekend

He came into my office last night...picked up the bucket of peanuts we have for our customers, ...plopped himself down at my desk...and just ate peanuts.

...asked what I studied in college
...asked how I liked what I studied
...talked about retirement
...asked if Ben was doing any better
...talked about the flowers he's planting in his yard

And stayed for about 15 minutes.

I'm still not sure what the point of his visit was...


I was able to take this picture...

You're welcome.

My husband will be home tomorrow night...

...but only until Tuesday when he leaves me again.

I may call in sick on Monday...

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Memory

I'm not terribly fond of wind.

It's alright if you want to fly a kite...or send a balloon off...or parasail or something.

But mostly it just drives me crazy.

It blows my trees over and it stirs up the dirt and it encourages my allergies to get worse...

But it was in Mexico that wind and I stopped pretending to get along.

Here's what happened:

I had been in Mexico for about 24 hours. We had made the arduous journey to the top of a mountain and we were in a village called Potrerillos. We were going to be in the village about 6 days and our goal was to build water cisterns for each of the homes in the village.

I think you should know that in these villages of Mexico I'm somewhat of a celebrity. Not because I've done anything important, but because I'm friends with Juan...the man these people admire and respect more than anyone else. He's earned their respect. I've never known anyone who has worked harder to provide a better life for a group of people than Juan has.

I had been to the village of Potrerillos before and the people remembered me...which really isn't hard to do considering they rarely see someone from the United States. When I pulled my tent out and began to set it up I was immediately surrounded by the men and the women of the village. They were going to set my tent up for me. But before they set the tent up they cleared away all of the rocks, pulled the weeds surrounding my tent, and then swept the ground. Only after the spot was completely clear did they set my tent up. They wouldn't let me help and so I went in search of my duffel bag. I had barely lifted the bag to my shoulder when a young boy came and took it from me. "Guera, you can't carry that," he said. Guera is a nickname for a white girl and the only name Juan ever calls me. By the end of my first stay in Potrerillos, every man and woman of the village was calling me Guera.

I was in the village with a group of 12 people from the United States. They had come to work and to experience life in a way they never would again. I was there as their 'tour guide' if you will. Mostly I was there to translate and to help make their experience a positive one.

I've been to Mexico at least 10 times with similar groups and with each group I naturally gravitate to the people from Mexico. The North Americans eat their meals together, and I eat with the natives. The North Americans, for the most part, stay in their own little group, while I become a Mexican for a week. I love every minute.

During this particular trip the men who came from other villages to help us with our projects slept in the schoolhouse, and every night after dinner they would say to me, "Guera, you should come and sleep with us in the school. You would be more comfortable." And every night after dinner I would decline. Because let's think about this: 12 men and 1 woman. Now, I would have trusted every one of those men with my life but...

The reality is I would have been more comfortable in the school. I LOVE camping but I hate it at the same time. I never sleep well, and I'm always cold...even in Mexico where the temperature is perfect. In fact, Juan knows me so well that when he sent someone down to the city for supplies our second day there, he included two blankets for me. Bless his heart.

Mexico experienced a cold spell while we were in the village and our second night was colder than I ever remembered...and the wind blew the entire night. As I got ready to settle in for the third night the guys extended their offer again: "We have a spot saved for you if you change your mind."

As I walked to the latrine on my way to bed that night I noticed that the wind was picking up and I sent a silent plea heavenward: please make the wind stop.

I stood outside my tent and brushed my teeth and then crawled into my sleeping bag. I pulled the two blankets over me and hoped that the wind would stop soon. It didn't. It only got worse...and the harder it blew, the louder it was. The rain fly on the roof of the tent blew off and it was then that I sent a more serious plea heavenward: PLEASE God, can you stop this wind so that I can get some sleep?

We played this game for the next hour, God and I. Every time I prayed, and then begged and pleaded, for the wind to stop it got worse. Every. Single. Time. At one point my tent was blown completely over, and the only secure spot was where I was laying. As I laid there with the tent nearly suffocating me I started to laugh. I laughed and laughed and finally said, "Okay, you win."
I'm not sure if I was talking to God or to the wind.

I waited for a wind gust from the opposite direction to blow my tent right side up again and then I made my move. I unzipped the tent, grabbed my air mattress and sleeping bag, and ran to the school. I didn't have enough hands to grab my flashlight and as I opened the school door I walked into complete darkness.

I stood in the door for a minute and then whispered loudly, "Felix?" No answer. "Felix?" I whispered again. And then I heard, "Over here guera." I made my way quietly to his side, and sure enough, a spot on the floor had been reserved for me. As I settled in once again I heard a voice from the other side of the room: "We knew you'd join us eventually," and then a chorus of laughter.

The next morning as I left the schoolroom I was greeted by Juan; he was shaking his head. "Guera, what will your dad say when I tell him you slept with 12 men?"

Funny man that Juan.

You know, when it comes right down to it, I'd take the wind if it meant I was back in that village again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Day I'll Sleep

Remember this picture of the bed I had before I got married?

See the big brown bear?

It still resides at the end of our king size bed. I think Jason has grown fond of it.

Tonight he suggested that I could use the big brown bear to cuddle with until he comes home.

(Which, to be honest, I'm not sure that Jason is ever going to come home.)

I think I'll take his suggestion though and cuddle up with the bear.

Dear Husband, I might find that the big brown is more comfortable.

What will you do then?

- - - - - - - - - -

I called my sister today. Trouble answered the phone.

"Hi Well. Whatcha doing?"

"I'm working. What are you doing?"

She told me but I only understood snippets, she was talking so fast.

When she finally paused I said, "Hey Trouble, can I talk to your mom for just a minute?"

" you can't. Not right now."

- - - - - - - - - -

Don't mock but I cried a little when Simon gave his farewell speech tonight on American Idol.

- - - - - - - - - -

I went for a walk with my dad today.

We walked along the Provo River.

It was beautiful.

Remember how I told you about his penchant for picking up random clothing items along the way?

Today he said, "Look, roadkill."

I looked and then I said, "Yes Dad, but those are someones boxers. Let's leave them there shall we?"

He listened to me.

What a good dad.

- - - - - - - - - -

My favorite pair of jeans has a hole in a bad spot to have a unpatchable hole...

I almost cried when I saw it.

- - - - - - - - - -

I got home from work today and laid down on the couch and immediately fell asleep.

I think I would have slept the whole night except my sister called.

She brought Cafe Rio for dinner.

We watched American Idol and Criminal Minds.

Watching Criminal Minds = why I'm still awake.

I might have bad dreams if I fall asleep.

One of these days I'll wisen up and stop watching it.

- - - - - - - - - -

Okay...I've taken up enough of your time.

Anything you want me to write about?

Any question you're dying to know the answer to?

Any story you want me to tell?



In Case You Wanted To Know

When it's 4:17 pm and I'm starving to death...
And I'm sick of the .99 cent menu at Wendy's...
And I've already eaten an entire cantaloupe...
And there is no chocolate anywhere in sight...
And I have at least 2 hours before I can leave work...
And I have no husband to eat dinner with anyway...
Sometimes I eat Baby Sister's leftover spaghetti that was in the fridge...
Don't tell her.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Been A While

...since I've done a Grandpa Wednesday.

There are so many new friends and faces who don't even know what Grandpa Wednesday is.

But if I were to re-post all of my old posts, would you my long time friends get bored with reading them again?

To those who are new...
My grandpa was my best friend and my biggest inspiration.

Go here and here to read two of my favorite stories about him.

And to all of you...
...another letter from the war...

Sunday May 20, 1945

My Dearest Vic,

It's 9:15pm and I just finished fixing flat tires. There hasn't been so much for me to do today but I paid up for it tonight. I thought maybe I could take it easy all thru this Sunday, but no luck. It helps time pass a little faster though. You know me, "The busier the better." True, I'm not afraid of work, I will lay down right beside it.

Are you getting all the religion for both of us? You know it's up to you, cause I haven't attended a church since I was in England just at Christmas time. I do think about those things a lot though. It will be great to attend one of our meetings with you by my side again.

Tonight I received a letter from Mont N. He is still in France. He can't understand how it is we live in such swell quarters. We were in a nice apartment when I last wrote to him. It is kinda tough on these Germans when we move in, cause they just have to move out. All our quarters in Germany haven't been so nice. When we first came in to Germany the houses we used had either been bombed or shelled and that's the only kind there was. Some of those days and night seem like a bad nightmare now.

Mont says they live in tents, but it's not so bad now that it's warm. We lived in tents in France too, in January. For awhile the mud was up to our ankles, then it froze. Oh boy, what fun.

There is quite an article in our paper tonight by Mae West. She says the women back there will have to change a bit and be ready for a sexier bunch of men when they come home. She says those women that have been stepping out will have to mend their ways too. Kind of a queer article I'd say, but maybe there's more truth than fiction in it. I can hardly imagine an article like that coming out in the Era.

For the past month or so this company has been restricted to the immediate area where we stay, and it isn't so good. The reason - a couple of guys got caught playing around with some of the German gals, and the old man (company commander) got hell about it I guess. They call it fraternizing, and you know that is strictly against the law. It seems there are always some guys that have to make it tough on everyone else. For that reason I wish we would soon get out of this country.

I had to initial a card with the number of points I have yesterday. My total score is 27 - quite a ways to go for 85. I wonder if they will keep guys like me in the army until old age gets us. What do you think Vic? That's quite a question to ask you isn't it?

I am wondering if Forrest is home or on the way yet. Did he always stay in England?

These people seem to really observe the sabbath. They don't work and are all dressed up and it seems most of them go to church on Sunday.

This has been a sort of mixed up letter and now I'm running out. There's just one more thing.

I'm very much in love with you.

All my love to you,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Post It Notes...but Not

Monday was the dodgeball kind of day.

All day long.

And not just for me.

3 out of 3 people polled in my office would agree with the following:

I wasn't in a very good mood when my long lost husband called.

He had just finished one of the 'best bike rides ever' ... and I was just ending one of my longest days ever ... and well, you probably get the picture.

Sorry Husband.

Will this make it up to you?

Here's hoping you all have a hopscotch kind of day!

(the pictures are thanks to Hallmark Cards)

(and for real post-it note fun play along with Supah!)


How I love you...


Really Mother Nature???

I followed a snow plow to work.

A snow plow people.

What the _____?

I'll have to let you fill in the blank because I can't.

My mom reads my blog after all and that mother of mine...she's kind of sensitive.

And I'm not sure that I'm ready for my husband to find out that he married a girl who might on occasion have a small tendency to curse.

One time at Sunday dinner one of my siblings was telling a story about someone. The story required quoting something the person said but my sibling said, "I can't say what they said though."

Another sibling said, "Oh just get Noelle to say it, she doesn't have a problem using that kind of language."

They think their hilarious those siblings of mine.

But that's not the point of this story.

The point is I followed a snow plow to work.

My cousin came into the office this morning dripping wet.

He's who I should have taken the picture of.

"What are you doing?" Ben asked Travis.

"Someone's got to knock the snow off all of the trees."

And it's true, someone does. Poor trees. Poor Travis.

We're trying to see the bright side of things.

Here's something:

If someones tree snaps in half because of the weight of the snow that means they have to buy a new one. And if they have to buy a new one chances are they'll buy it from us. (Unless of course all of our trees have broken branches too.)

My sister called me this morning and said, "How are we going to handle our warranty now?"

Because you can bet someone will come in during the next 48 hours and say, "My tomatoes died. Are you going to replace them for me?"

I suggested that she kindly tell people that we are not responsible for freaks of nature.

I'll probably be joining my cousin here in a few minutes...

...after I find my bright yellow rain pants...

But wait...

...he just came in...

Maybe I WON'T be joining him because then I'll look like this:

Stupid snow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Pretend Interview

"Thank you so much Jason for taking the time to talk with us today."

"It's my pleasure actually. I would do anything for Noelle and her blog."

"You and Noelle have been married for how long?"

"A blissful two and a half months."

", congratulations!"

"Yes, thank you."

"The reason we wanted to interview you was because of a story floating around bloglandia. We would love for you to clear some things up for us."

"Of course. What would you like to know?"

"We have heard from an incredibly reliable source that you are a spy. Can you confirm this?"

"No, I am not a spy. I thought about being a spy once but when I realized I would never have the recognition that Jack Bauer does I gave up the dream."

"If you don't mind my asking, who is Jack Bauer?"

"WHO is Jack Bauer? He's the main star of the hit TV show 24. It will be a sad day for me when that show ends."

"Oh...I see...well then, let's get back to the interview shall we? If you aren't a spy can you tell us what you do for a living?"

"I sell really cool stuff."

"Really cool stuff. Can you be more specific?

"I sell high end outdoor gear."

"Outdoor gear...oh of course. Like those lovely plastic pink flamingos we see on so many lawns. Do you sell the clothing for the ceramic geese that you see all over the east coast as well?"

"No...nothing like that. I sell GEAR. You know, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, head lamps, snowshoes, anything you would need for an adventure in the back country."

"Interesting. I thought perhaps with the invention of RV's and hotels, people would lose interest in things like outdoor gear."

"On the contrary. We have a very large customer base."

"And who do you sell this gear to?"

"Our territory covers Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, and part of Colorado."

"And you live in Utah?"

"Yes, with my beautiful wife."

"So you must have to travel quite a bit?"

"Yes, especially during the spring months. I won't be finished traveling until sometime the end of June. I'll be home a few days here and there, but for the most part I'll be traveling."

"Oh...your poor wife. Doesn't she get lonely?"

"Yes she does. In fact she recently sent me the most endearing email telling me how much she missed me."

"And what does your wife think about what you sell?"

"She likes to hike and camp. I'm guessing she'll benefit quite a bit because of my job. I gave her a brand new backpack and air mattress for Christmas. I think she's excited to try them out this summer."

"That's nice. Do you have a lot of gear?"

"I don't think so, but the rest of the world would. I believe a person can't have too much gear."

"Interesting. So if you had to guess, how many backpacks would you say you have?"

"Maybe 16 or 17."

"And tents?"

"Well you can't just count total number of tents. You have to put them in categories...according to how many people they hold and where you'll be using them...things like that."

"Okay but for us simple folk, just give us an idea."

"Probably 12."

"12...that's a lot of tents. Do you have sleeping bags too?"

"Of least one in every temperature range. And as a side note would you like to know something that convinced me I should marry Noelle?"


"She has two sleeping bags. Two really nice sleeping bags. Not just any girl owns two really nice sleeping bags."

"A girl after your own heart it would seem."

"I never thought I would find someone like her."

"Where was your first date?"

"At an REI in Salt Lake City. REI is a high end gear shop. We spent three hours taking a tour of the store. I showed her everything we sell...down to the utensils and foldable bowls."

"And she wasn't bored?"

"Of course not."


"Where do you keep all of your gear?"

"All of my jackets are in my closet, and the rest of my gear is in a storage unit."

"All of your jackets? How many is all?"

"Somewhere between 48 and 52. Noelle counted them but she may have missed a few."

"By the way, what does your family think of Noelle?"

"I imagine they're just grateful that I have her to talk gear talk with. I think they got tired of it a long time ago."

"We don't want to take any more of your time, but we do have one more question. Would you rather be a spy?"

"No. I love what I do and I'm happy. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Actually, now that I'm married I would change one thing. I wish that I could be home at night with my wife."

"Yes I'm're lucky that she's patient and understanding."

"And she's hot. Don't forget that important piece of information."

"Of course she is. Thank you again for your time."

(It used to be that when I was bored I watched TV or read a I just blog. Lucky you ... or maybe not.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Meet Trouble

Those who have been around a while know that this is niece.

I've named her Trouble.

Whenever I see her I say, "Hello Trouble."

And she says, "I'm not Trouble, I'm Sami."

Sometime this afternoon I was outside helping a very serious and proper woman.

I've helped her before and she is always very serious and proper.

I was in the middle of saying "I can order..."

when Sami came up to me, right out of nowhere.

"Hi Well," because she can't say my name.

"Hey Trouble," I said. "Where's your mom?"

Because really, she came right out of nowhere.

"I dunaknow, and I not Trouble."

I tried my sentence again, "I can order..."

But I was interrupted.


"Yes Trouble?"

"Do you have a toilet?" you have a bathroom or I have to go potty...but

"Do you have a toilet?"

I looked at the very proper and serious customer and asked,

"Do you mind waiting a minute? She's just being potty trained and..."

The customer waved her had as if to dismiss me, and Trouble and I ran in to my office.

Trouble spent about 20 minutes with me and Ms. Proper and Serious.

At one point Ms. P&S asked, "Are you babysitting?"

"Apparently so. Her mom is around here somewhere I guess," is how I replied.

We found Trouble's mom sometime later.

Trouble's mom didn't know she was missing until she couldn't find her. (But in case you might worry, Trouble's dad knew where she was the whole time.)

"I knew she would find you," my sister told me.

I smiled and walked away.

Dear'll always be able to find me, because I'll be right here. Love, your aunt.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not It

There is an advantage that comes with working at the same place, with some of the same customers for almost 20 years. It's that you get to know your customers really well.

There is a disadvantage's that you get to know your customers really well.

We've developed a system for a few of the customers we know too well. It's simply the 'Not It' system. It works quite well. There are three of us in my office and the last one to say 'Not It' gets the fortune of helping the customer. And there can be no arguing...if we're the last we've lost...fair and square.

We're subtle...on the chance that you were worried. We've determined who is 'it' long before the customer ever walks into the office. One time a truck pulled up and I said not it, followed quickly by both my brother and my cousin...that left our friend and loyal customer Steve to be it...lucky for us he was there at the time.

Now...let me tell you about one of our favorite 'not it' customers.

Back when Dad ran the place Jon and Dad were least in Jon's head. Jon came in several times a year to discuss his make sure he was pruning everything properly, and to make sure he was watering everything properly. He brought pictures and leaf samples, and on more than one occasion he convinced Dad to prune his trees for him.

A few years ago Dad moved to Brazil and left the business in our hands. (What was he thinking?) By default it meant that Jon was left in our hands as well. At first he was hesitant...we were only Ed's kids. Eventually we won him over. (And looking back I realize that was our fist mistake.)

Jon has retired from the mental health field...and has been in the middle of a mid-life crisis for at least a decade. One day he came in and we noticed that his truck had all of a sudden become a low-rider. (And to be honest, I have NO idea if that's what you call a truck that is almost to the ground...but it reminds me of the way boys wear their pants these days and it works for me.)

The next time Jon came in his truck had orange flames painted on the sides.

Next it was dyed hair.

And then it was muscle shirts...and then a tattoo. Okay, not really about the tattoo part...

Through it all we've been there for Jon and his plants. We've mourned with him when a micro-burst of wind took out his flowering plum, we've shaken our heads in disgust when the deer have eaten his evergreens...and we've made sure he was on our Christmas card list every year.

Except for last year...because I had just gotten engaged and was kind of goofy and forgot to put a care in the mail for Jon. He was there a few months later, in my office, not with a plant concern, but one much bigger. "Noelle, why didn't I get a Christmas card this year? I was sad."

Good grief is what I thought, but what I said was, "Jon, it will never happen again...I am so sorry!"

You can be sure I sent him a wedding announcement...because can you imagine what would have happened if he had come into my office post-wedding to find that I had been married? The drama would have been unreal...and ever-lasting.

He came to our wedding...brought us a nice gift even. Don't worry, he should be getting his thank you card any day.

Last Saturday, our busiest day of the year, I was standing behind a cash register (because on busy Saturdays that's what I do) when Jon appeared in front of me. He looked distraught...he looked like he wanted to cry. I was worried that some blight had infected his entire yard, he looked that bad.

He leaned his head in close to me and whispered, "Noelle, is Ben alright?" (And for those of you who might be new to the party, Ben is my little partner in crime if you will.)

"Yes Jon, Ben is fine. Why?"

"Having spent my career in the mental health field I can tell when someone is NOT alright. Ben is NOT alright. And as a mental health professional I am worried."

"Jon don't be worried. Ben will be fine. Spring is a stressful time of year for us and he's probably just feeling a lot of pressure."

Jon shook his head and sighed and said, "I hope that's all it is. I really do." And then he showed me some fertilizer he had and said, "I don't have any money with me...I'll pay you next week," and then he was gone...he and his truck with the orange flames.

I called Ben and said "Jon is worried about you."

"WHAT?" was Ben's reply.

"You know, having been in the mental health profession and all...he thinks you're in trouble."

Ben probably rolled his eyes...but of course I can't be sure because we were talking on the phone...

I'll bet next time Ben says 'not it' first.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

7 Things

Jason left today for 10 more days.

At least he'll have cell phone service this time.

His boss thinks they should make my handwriting into a font.

Just thought I'd share...

That's all I'll be doing in this post...sharing the stuff that floats around in my head.

#1 Thing In My Head

My friend Joann @ Laundry Hurts My Feelings has an alligator infested lake behind her house. (Or was it crocodiles?) It doesn't matter really, because both animals have really big teeth. She's mentioned having to run after her moronic puppies (her words not mine) because they've gone into the lake. Here's the thing I think about way more than I ought Joann: aren't you afraid that the alligators/crocodiles might get sick of the lake and want to take a field to your front door? Do you dream about their beady little eyes at night? I'm pretty sure I would. In fact I'm pretty sure I would have to move. Maybe...just maybe... you're tougher than I am. Hmmm...that's probably what it is.

If you haven't read Joann's blog I highly recommend it. She'll have you laughing one minute and in tears the next...I'm a fan Joann, a big big fan.

#2 Thing In My Head

Do you ever put clothes in the washer on Saturday and remember the following Wednesday that they are still in the washer?

Yeah, me neither.

#3 Thing In My Head

Have you ever eaten a Fiber 1 bar? If so, have you learned yet that you have to drink at least a kiddie pool amount of water in order to walk away unscathed? Those bars could do permanent damage to one's innards. I stopped eating them a few weeks ago when my sister mentioned the damage they did to her innards and all of a sudden the world made sense! I was eating at least one a day. Yesterday Jason was experiencing his own innard discord...and we couldn't figure out why. It wasn't until he said he had eaten TWO Fiber 1 bars and had only a sippy cup amount of water (not that he drinks from a sippy cup...just that I figure you can visualize the amount of water in a sippy cup) that I realized the problem. "Honey, never never never never never eat two Fiber 1 bars in one day." That's what I said.

#4 Thing In My Head

A hypothetical question -

Let's say you give someone a wedding present. If three months had passed would you:

a) still appreciate a thank you card for your thoughtful gift
b) have forgotten all about the gift you gave
c) think the bride was the most ungrateful little brat on the planet or
d) tell the bride, if you saw her, that a thank you card wasn't necessary.'s the thing...I'm working on them, I really am. I carry a bright green bag full of them in my car and whenever I have a free minute I write thanks, in it's most sincere form, to the person who's card is on top. But at the rate I'm going it will be March 2015 before I'm done.

#5 Thing In My Head

My new sister-in-law just had a baby...a baby I didn't know about until a few days after...I have to figure out how to get in the loop! I think my sister-in-law might read my blog...and so...

Dear Sister-In-Law (I won't use your name because I'm not sure if you would want me to tell my vast throng of followers ((I'm kind of funny I think)) your name)...Okay back on topic...

I have a gift for you and the new one sitting in my car and I will put it in the mail to you by Friday.

Love, your brother's favorite wife

(If I put it in writing I have to do it.)

#6 Thing In My Head

I have a goal...a simple's to reach 2oo followers by...oh...I don't know...I just made this goal...let's say by June 6th. My friends all over the blogging world are announcing their 200th follower and I just want to play in their league...can you help me with that?

#7 Think In My Head

I need a shrink.


I've never had a drop of alcohol in my life.

It's against my religion.

Really, it is. I'm not just using that as an excuse.

If someday I were to switch religions (which I won't) and all of a sudden alcohol was okay, I still wouldn't drink it.

The reason: I can barely drink a Coke...and by barely, I mean BARELY.

I wasn't feeling too well yesterday: headache, upset stomach...

Did you know Coke can cure those two symptoms? It can. I drank it, and it did.

But then I was awake into the wee hours of the morning because of the caffeine. I was thinking about my blog and what I was going to write today.

As I was cursing myself for drinking the Coke I thought of that one time...

That one time where I might almost have had one drop of alcohol...

It went like this:

Wait...before I tell you how it went I want to tell you this. The sunrise this morning is beautiful! That's all.

You know that I lived in Mexico. Unless you didn't know, but now you do. I lived in Mexico once.
One of the reasons I loved living in Mexico as much as I did was named Juan.

(Juan is the big guy to the left.)

Juan and his family took me into their home and loved me like their own...they still love me like their own.

A few weeks ago I talked to Juan on the phone and he said, "So Guera, when do I get to meet my new son-in-law?"

I spent my days hanging out with either Juan or his wife Ana. One morning Juan said, "Guera, it's time to go or we're going to be late."

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"We have to go to Dolores Hidalgo and it's a two hour drive. Let's go."

This was the first time I had heard that we were going to take a road trip but I was happy to go.

We drove up a lush mountain pass and at the end of two hours ended up at a beautifully quaint little town:

Juan met with the people he was supposed to meet with, delivered the important papers he was supposed to deliver, and then we walked around the town while Juan told me it's history.

After about 30 minutes of walking Juan said, "I'm hungry. Let's eat."

We walked into a restaurant and sat down. I love restaurants in Mexico: the colors, the decorations, the birds flying around, the mariachi bands playing...I even love the food. Juan handed me a menu and said, "Order whatever you want."

I don't remember what I ordered to eat but I ordered bottled water to drink and Juan chewed me out.

"Guera, you're in Mexico. Live a little...order something good to know, like a cerveza." (And for those of you who don't know, cerveza is beer.)

Juan happens to be the same religion I am and as it turns out, he doesn't drink alcohol either...he just liked to tease me about drinking it.

I ordered a lemonade instead.

We talked, Juan harassed, and finally our meal arrived.

I took a big bite of whatever it was I ordered and realized that I had forgotten to ask for no salsa. The salsa in Mexico can kill me...really...if I eat more than one bite.

I started coughing, Juan started laughing, and I took a drink of my lemonade. But just one drink because it tasted really funny.

I continued to eat my meal but didn't take another drink of the lemonade.

Juan noticed and asked, "Guera, is something wrong with the lemonade?"

I nodded and said, "I think it has alcohol in it."

Juan rolled his eyes and said, "Give me your lemonade."

I handed my glass goblet full of lemonade to Juan and watched as he took a big swallow.

He started to laugh and didn't stop for a good four minutes...all the while I'm just sitting there trying my best not to laugh too. I didn't have a clue why he was laughing but his laugh was contagious.

Finally when he could talk Juan said, "Guera that's not alcohol...the lemonade is made with seltzer water."

Ohhhh... the heck was I to know they made lemonade with seltzer water?

Juan ordered me another lemonade, without the seltzer water, and we finished our lunch...

But not in peace...

Juan laughed at me through the entire meal...during the walk back to the car...and all the way down that same mountain pass...and when we walked into the front door of his house he started laughing again and yelled, "Ana, where are you? I have a story to tell you about the Guera."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Post It Notes and a Story

(Did you notice how many times I used the word ever? I didn't ... until I just re-read my blog ... good grief ... )

My sister-in-law and her 2 year old daughter were just here at the office.
My niece likes to stand at the door and say 'Hola' to anyone who walks in.
She just poked her head into the other office and said this to my cousin:
And he responded, "Hay is for horses."
And then it went like this:
"Where are the horses?"
"Well, there aren't really any horses."
"I guess the neighbors are horse deficient Ruthie."
"I don't know...maybe they don't like horses."
"Oh...maybe because horses cost too much money."
"I don't know."
"Where are the horses?"
And Travis said to me, "What have I done?"
A few minutes later he went to close the door and Ruthie said,
"Why are you closing the door?"
"So the horses don't come in."
And then Ruthie stood at the window and watched...and watched...
and when her mom went to open the door Ruthie said,
"MOMMY! Don't open the door! The horses will get in!"
And Ruthie's mommy looked at her and said, "WHAT?"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sometimes I'm Allergic To My Husband

Jason got home Saturday night at midnight.

He was home a day earlier that I had expected.

I was happy.

He leaves again on Wednesday and will be gone two and a half weeks.

I think my husband likes me.

We have a king size bed but we might as well have a twin for as much space as we use.

At 3:13 AM I said, "Jason scoot over."

And he did.

Which is a good thing because I was about to fall off of the bed.

At 6:30 AM when I was wide awake, once again hugging the edge of the bed, I said to Jason, "Do you see how much space is on your side of the bed?" He looked and then said, "But you keep scooting over and so then I have to scoot over too."

Wouldn't you say that means he likes me?

We talked into the wee hours of the morning Sunday morning.

After an hour or so of talking I noticed that my allergies were awful.

I couldn't breathe.

My eyes were swollen and runny.

My nose wouldn't stop running.

I said to my husband, "I think I'm allergic to you."

He laughed.

But as it turns out I was allergic to him.

He had mowed the lawn earlier in the day, and didn't clean up before he made the 4 hour journey home.

After two allergy pills and a cough drop... and Jason washing his arms ... I felt like I might live.

I'll take allergies any day if it means my husband is home.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Something That's Been On My Mind

This post is dedicated...with some pretty amazing friends...

We tend to associate with those we have a common bond with...with those who are in the same stage of life as we are...and as a result I know a lot of amazing single women...women I love and admire and strive to be like.

When I knew that Jason was the real deal...when I realized that I wouldn't be single very much longer my first emotion was guilt...guilt because I knew at least 20 amazing women who were more deserving than I, women who were yearning to be a wife, women who wanted nothing more than to be a mother...and yet for some reason I was the one getting married. The guilt didn't last long, because if nothing else, I believe completely in a God who has a plan for my life...and a plan for each and every one of my friends.

We, my friends and I, had similar upbringings for the most part. We grew up going to church, praying, trying to keep God's commandments, being taught right and wrong, and being taught that the greatest roles we could have in life were those of being a wife and a mother. And while those roles were not something I always wanted to play in my own life, I believed that being a wife, and especially being a mother were some of the greatest things we could do. We are creating a life...with God...and I can't think of anything more amazing and sacred than that.

I don't remember my leaders in church ever telling us that we might not get married, or that we might get married and then divorced, or that we might not be able to have children, or that really horrible things could happen to us...of course they wouldn't say those things because doesn't everyone who loves us only want what's best for us? And doesn't everyone who loves us want us to believe only in the best possible outcome?

As I got older being single became more of a struggle...not because I was miserable...but because everyone around me thought that I must not have been happy...not truly...because I wasn't a mother. I remember my grandma said to me once, "If you had only gotten married at 18 you wouldn't be having these trials in your life." She loves me, and she means well, but I have never wanted to tell her off more than I did at that moment.

Well-meaning friends and neighbors would ask about my life. Cousins I hadn't seen in ages would start every conversation the same way, "Are you dating anyone?" Everyone offered suggestions...everyone gave advice on things I should do differently...on ways that I should act differently. The same grandma, who I love...really...once told me, "Noelle, you need to be more righteously seductive." My brother still teases me about that.

"Are you going to dances?"
"Are you dating?"
"Are you putting yourself in situations where you can meet people?"
"Are you flirting?"
"Are you praying hard enough?"

These and many others were questions I heard frequently.

And I knew that if I wasn't careful, I was going to eventually let these well-meaning people define my life...and to be honest, it would have been an unhappy life.

We are NOT who we are based on our marital status or based on the number of children we have. We are NOT any more or any less in the eyes of God because we're married or single or because we have 10 children or none. We simply ARE...and that is enough.

In the months since I've been married I've heard from several friends who are struggling with their lives...who are wanting something they don't have, and who want peace to deal with situations that are completely out of their control. And in each situation I wish more than anything that I had the answers. I wish that I could say to some of my friends, "If you do this you will have a baby." I wish that I could say to others "If you do this you will meet the man of your dreams." And to some I'm closest to I wish I could say, "If you do this, you will have your financial burdens lifted."

All I can say...over and over that God has a plan...a real and definite plan...and trusting and believing in His timing will bring us the most happiness in the end.

In the mean time...just live. Embrace life and make the most of every single opportunity. Just be...just be the best person you can be and do the most with what you're given at the moment. If what you're given at the moment is an empty field, plant wildflowers. If what you're given at the moment is a mountain, just climb it and enjoy the view at the top. And if what you're given at the moment is harder than what you can bear, just dig your heels in a little deeper and trust that God is there.

I have two greeting cards that I've framed and put in my office. The first says this:

"There are many people who go their whole lives without living one day. She did not intend to be one of those people."

The second says this:

"Any given moment can change your life. You just have to be there."

If I've learned anything in life, it's that even in the midst of disappointment, I can find a silver lining if I'm looking for it. Some of the biggest disappointments I've faced and some of the greatest heartaches I've felt have brought about some of the biggest blessings of my life, and looking back, I wouldn't change a thing...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Letter To My Husband

Dear Husband,

I need you to come home now...for longer than the one or two nights you'll be home before you leave me again.

I have a lot of reasons:

I'm cold all of the time, especially my feet, and I need you to keep them warm.

I need you to rub my back, because it's been hurting a lot. So much a lot that a customer at work felt the need to tell me that I was walking crooked and he knew a good surgeon who could fix me.

I cried through the entirety of Grey's Anatomy because you weren't here to mock it...or me for that matter.

I stay up too late and as a result sleep in and am late to work nearly every single day.

And I stay up too late because the's too big for just one person.

The shower door hasn't been squeegeed (is that even a word?) in at least a day and there are hard water spots now.

I randomly pick clothes from your side of the closet that I think need washing and I wash them. I washed and ironed the pants you wore to church...they're hanging nicely in the closet now.

I cleaned out the fridge and it's empty now...I need you to help me fill it.

I've worn a different jacket out of your closet every day since you've been gone...I need you to come home so that I can show you which one is my favorite.

(Dear Friends, you should know that my husband could be gone 6 months and I could still wear a different jacket every day...that's how many he has.)

But mostly I just need you to come home because I miss you.

I know you're having fun out there in the wilderness...with your buddies and your beef jerky...and all of your fancy gear...

Just remember you have a wife at home...

I know it's a foreign concept seeing as how we've only been married a few weeks really...

I hope you haven't been caught in a flash flood...

Or been eaten by a cougar (because remember when I heard a cougar scream in the same place you are now?)

Or starved from lack of food...because seriously Husband, you didn't take very much food, and you didn't' have one single Jolly Rancher...I'm kind of worried.

Just one more thing: every time my cell phone rings I hope it's you telling me you ended your trip early...and I'll be anxiously awaiting your call on Saturday night.

Until then,

I still love you...even though I don't really remember what you look like.


Your Wife

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Hate Powdered Sugar

There's a reason people...

A reason I do my best to stay out of the kitchen...

A reason that I'm only assigned dessert, salad, or Jell-O for our Sunday dinners...

Except when I'm in charge of the main meal...

And then there's a reason my sister usually helps me, or I make something simple like tacos.

Good tacos to be sure...but still tacos.

The reason might have something to do with that one time...on Thanksgiving...when I clogged the kitchen sink so bad we had to bring a hose in from outside, and turn the water on full force to dislodge the clog...that was pleasant.

The reason might have to do with that other time...when Mom was in Brazil and I had to fix dinner for a group of friends...including the boy I was head over heels in love with at the time...
Mom didn't have cell phone service and I needed her in the worst way! My Auntie Judy came to the rescue and talked me through my failed dinner attempt...bless her heart...except only bless her heart a little bit because she sure used that failed dinner attempt to tease me...

The reason might have something to do with that other other time...when I put a hot pan of the BEST batch of caramel brownies I've ever made on top of the stove...not realizing that my sister...bless her heart too...had left a burner on. That pan exploded in less than 10 seconds and there were glass shards and caramel from the kitchen to next door. Oh...the mess...

That's a good reason...

In my mind I'm a world class chef...

In my mind I can make anything...

With any recipe...

What am I thinking?

My mom called me yesterday and said, "Remember how you love me a lot?"

"Yes Mom, I remember."

"I keep forgetting that I volunteered you for something."

"What did you volunteer me for?"

And in my head I just knew it was to teach a gardening class for the group of women in her church...thankfully that wasn't it.

"I told E that you would make cookies for Tiffany's bridal shower Thursday night."

(E is my mom's across the street neighbor and one of my favorite people...Tiffany is my sister.)

"Sure Mom, I can make cookies."

And I can...make cookies...really really really good cookies...just ask anyone.

My mom requested homemade Oreos.

I stopped at her house tonight to get the recipe and she and dad were unloading a bunch of rocks from the back of my dad's truck.

Because my dad...he collects rocks...but that's another story.

Mom said, "We're in a hurry because dad is going hiking with the kids from church tonight."

"OH! Can I go too?" I asked my dad. Because you all know I love hiking.

He said yes.

But then I remembered the cookies.

So instead of hiking I made a double batch of homemade Oreo cookies.

All was going according to schedule: I had a batch of cookies in the oven, a load of laundry in the washer, the back patio swept off, and the butter at room temperature to make the icing.

I used the biggest bowl for the icing...

I know all about how messy powdered sugar can be.

I stirred the powdered sugar with the cream cheese and butter with a spoon before using the hand mixer.

Because remember, I know all about how messy powdered sugar can be.

I took the first pan of cookies out of the oven only to realize one thing:

It's cloudy out...

And did you know that when it's cloudy out cookies come out of the oven flatter than they would on a sunny day?

THAT is a true fact.

And the fact that I know that...that should tell you that when it comes to making cookies...I'm good.

Oh well...flat homemade Oreo cookies still taste good.

I put the second batch of cookies in the oven and pulled out the hand mixer.


This isn't your run-of-the-mill, every day kind of hand mixer.

Oh no...

This is a Cuisine Art hand mixer.

One that my sister covets.

I know because she told me so.

It happens to be Jason's favorite kitchen appliance and up until tonight, it was one of mine.

I put that ever-so ridiculously expensive hand mixer into the pre-mixed bowl of icing and turned it on.

And then...



It was as if a giant snowball the size of Rhode Island dropped from the sky and landed in my kitchen.

Within 1.5 seconds I had chunks of powered cream cheese EVERYWHERE...

In every corner...

On every surface...

In my shoes...

Shoes that were on the other side of the room...

Trust me people...I squealed...loud.

But no, I did not swear. No Mom, I really didn't. Not even in my head. I didn't even spell it out... (sometimes I spell the word instead of say it)

And while the cookies continued to bake, batch after stupid batch, I cleaned up powdered sugar...

It took me through half of an episode of Mercy (commercials included) and the majority of Criminal Minds before I had it all cleaned up.

Mom and E will have their cookies for the bridal shower tomorrow night...

But I'm telling you...

I should have gone hiking.

A Few More...

Okay...I promise these are the last pictures I'll make you look at.
On account of mucho rain on our wedding day we took these pictures a month later:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Did you notice the new button on the side of my blog?
Let me explain:
My other third (because I'm I triplet if you didn't know) came into my office today and asked, "have you heard the news?"
And I hadn't because I don't watch the news...not very often.
He told me about a 4 year old boy who went missing a few days ago...
And then he told me that his little body was found today...and that his mom and step-dad are being charged for his death.
He cried.
I cried.
Because we have tender hearts like that.
And then tonight as I held my new little nephew for a while, I cried again (while my sister was in the bathroom so she wouldn't' see me.)
Because life is a miracle...and how could a parent do something so awful?
But back to the button...
This little angel has cancer and her mom and dad need our love and support.
You can follow her story here.
I probably won't post again about Monkey, because really, it's not my story to tell.
But the button will stay on my blog...and a prayer for her and her family will remain in my heart.

Monday, May 10, 2010