Friday, December 28, 2012

Fish are not animals

That's right.  I've come to the conclusion that, despite all that you have been taught in elementary school and the Discovery Channel, fish are not animals.

How did I arrive at such a conclusion?  Well, I am a vegetarian.  I have been one since I was about 13 years old.  I admit that while I was on my mission I had to sort of go with the flow.  My rule was that I would eat what was placed in front of me.  That wasn't always easy.  I had a few meals (for which I was very grateful, don't get me wrong) that reaffirmed my decision to go green (as it were).  But aside from that it's been a long time happily getting by with salads and various soy products.

Now, in the many years of being a vegetarian I have come to an amazing conclusion: I must be one of only perhaps two or three Mormon male vegetarians in Utah Valley.  I say that because if I tell someone that I don't eat meat they look at me with an absurd level of shock and bewilderment.  You can see it in their expressions.  Meeting a real, live vegetarian is like finding a unicorn.  Who knew they actually existed?

But invariably, as soon as the shock has worn off, they all (and with the exception of my wife, I really do mean all!) ask me the same question: "Do you eat fish?"  It's hysterical to me.  I almost just say it upfront now: "I'm a vegetarian, and no I don't eat fish."

Now, you've been told since you were a youngster in elementary school that there is no such things as a stupid question.  I don't think that that is totally correct. I have a suspicion that we just tell kids that so that they won't be afraid to ask questions.  But come on, there is such a thing as a stupid question.

I think the whole "Do you eat fish?" thing  definitely qualifies.  Think about it.  It's like if I were to say, "I don't like British pop music from the sixties."  "Oh, do you like the Beatles?"  Or, "I don't like American cars." "Oh, do you like Fords?"  Or perhaps, "I don't like fast food." "But you must like McDonalds?"
I could go on, but you get the idea.

Does anyone actually know what a vegetarian is?  The Oxford English Dictionary, which is pretty authoritative on such matters, says that a vegetarian is "a person who does not eat meat."  That's pretty definitive, isn't it?  Maybe the problem is that there are people who say that they are vegetarians, but really aren't.  I've heard of people claiming the title of vegetarian if they only abstain from red meat.  Or if they only eat chicken.  Come on!  That's not a vegetarian.  It's sort of an all-or-nothing thing.  You either are or you're not: that simple!  

Can you think of any other all-or-nothing things?  How about being pregnant?  You're never just sort of pregnant.   You're never just pregnant on the weekends.  You're pregnant, and that's that.

Maybe people think that I have just forgotten about fish?  I guess that's reasonable.  "Oh, I'm so glad you asked me that.  I thought for the last 14 years that I was a vegetarian.  But thanks to your highly original question, I guess I'm not.  Silly me, I'd totally forgotten about fish."

In any regards, if you disagree with my initial postulate and insist that fish are animals (and I have a nagging suspicion that they really are), then something is awry.   

So, if in the slim chance that you ever meet another vegetarian, take my advice: don't ask them if they eat fish!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I have a passion. (Well, I have many passions.) One of my greatest passion is that of creation. Have you ever seen this message before?

I adore it. First, I love that man. Second, I completely agree with what he has to say. I'm no artist (in the traditional sense), but I love making things with my hands, a tool, machine, or computer. (**Warning, if your name is Mark, Jill, Tricia, or you are my dad, you may not want to read more until after Christmas**)
This weekend, I was on a kick. Lots of Christmas presents were made for various people in my lovely family. They include the following:

 Math nerd clock

 Button earrings

Elephant onesie

Brown paper packages tied up with butcher twine. The bottom rectangular one is one I made for my husby but I wrapped it up before he could peak. (I used tape from this website to tape them up. I love washi tape.)

Creation space. My two prizes grace the table. Silhouette Cameo and Bernina.

Most of my creation materials. Don't mind the messy fabric.

Felt ornaments. One for the Mrs., one for the Mr., and one for the two of us. 

Glitter ornaments. Glitter graces the inside so there is no mess once you get it in.

I love to create things for my own home and for people I love, but I also try to incorporate creation into my classroom. I had a couple of BYU students in my classroom a couple of weeks ago and they were impressed with the number of different things my students have created. I try to have them making things all the time to encourage their own creations and to gain the love that I have.

Want to come create with me?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


My as-close-to-perfect-as-a-mortal-can-get mother passed away on Monday September 3 at around 11:15 am. This post is to share feelings and memories of the time shortly before and the time just after her passing.

Friday August 31
This was the day I last saw my mother in her paralyzed body. Wolf and I went on an old people date. An old people date is the kind of date where you go out to dinner just after 5:00, scrutinize the list of every movie at the theater, and decide just to go home. On our way back to Orem from American Fork, I remembered I needed to pick up something from my parents' house. I am now so thankful we stopped by. We entered their computer room to find a usual scene: my mother was in the reclining green chair that she spent most her time; my father was seated on a love seat next to her, holding her hand; and Michael was next to my dad with his iPad in hand. They were playing out a stereotypical Friday evening. Friday night brought date night for my parents. This meant a movie was playing and they were holding hands. My father always held her hand if he was next to her. Wolf and I stayed for thirty minutes, chatting and watching part of The Princess Bride. I gave my love to my mother and told her how much I love teaching. The only words she uttered to me were to repeat some words my father spoke. I left her with an embrace and a kiss.

Saturday September 1
I thought of my mother in brief intervals. My day was spent making bows, grading papers, and enjoying time with three of my original best friends back in the day when they used to all live less than a three minute walk from my house. We ran into my old next door neighbor at the restaurant of our choosing. She asked about my mother (as all friends of the family did) and I replied that I would not be surprised if she passed away soon.

Sunday September 2
Wolf and I had a discussion. We tried to figure out what our procedure would be if my mother passed away. Wolf was debating whether or not to call me if she passed during the school day. I realized that I had not signed up for the Alpine District sub service. I would have no way of calling for a sub if I needed one. I determined to talk to my principal about what to do if I received the news during a school day and sign up for sub services the Tuesday school resumed.

Monday September 3
I awoke to an email my father sent in the wee hours of the morning. He mentioned that Mom seemed to have a cold--something she had been blessed with not received for many years. He sent a copy of her obituary that we had been working on for several years to see if there were any revisions we could suggest. I set it aside for the moment and determined to have a long visit with her later in the day.
Wolf, Angi, and I met up for a late breakfast of crepes in Provo. Because it took the employees way too long to get us our food, we had a nice discussion about life and random topics. After we finished eating and went to our cars, it was 11:45. We talked about what we were going to do in case of her passing. I mentioned to Angi that it would be nice for me to finish up my school day, but I would like to be home for Michael's sake. As we parted ways, I gave a prophetic statement. "Well, I might see you later this week at a funeral." I now feel ridiculous and slightly calloused for uttering that remark.
I had my phone in a loose skirt so I could not feel any vibration during our meal. As Wolf and I drove up the University Parkway hill, Wolf received a phone call. I did not know who it was, but as he answered it, I heard a girl in hysterics on the other line. After speaking for a few seconds, he roughly told me to turn around. He hung up and my heart stopped for a second. I was worried that Angi had gotten in a car accident or something (even though she had all of 200 yards to drive). "Your mother has stopped breathing."
At that moment I guess it did not impact me yet that she was dead. We had a couple close calls this summer that brought screaming police cars and ambulances to our house. Wolf asked me once or twice if I would like him to drive. I felt numbness and anxiety. We stopped by Angi's apartment. She was still in her car, sobbing. I finally looked at my phone to realize I had missed several calls and texts. Whoops. As I cursed all the road construction being done on University Avenue, we called Michael. He confirmed that she had passed. I do not remember the rest of the drive.
We pulled up to my dad's house and rushed inside to the thick feeling--and smell--of death. Wolf and I went into the study. Angi opted to stand in the doorway, out of sight of the body. Tim's family and Maria beat us to the house so there was already a small gathering of people. It really is a testament to me how different a body looks without its soul. Even in my mother's case. She was trapped in a body that did not work anymore and now that she was gone, her body looked no more than an empty shell. She was free.
Eventually, Matt's family arrived and all of us that live in Utah were gathered. The day flew by. we reminisced  planned, and tears were shed. Some of her best friends dropped by to give condolences. Gentlemen from the mortuary eventually arrived in a red SUV to pick up her body. Her wheelchair was eventually moved and the green recliner she usually sat in was left untouched the rest of the day. It still held her air padding and an old fleece blanket with cats on it that Michael or Angi made years ago.
Tricia thought of food, something I had completely forgotten about. We ate Zupa's outside as we went over the plan we made for her funeral three years ago.
As I went home that evening, I looked at my plan book for Tuesday. Nearly blank. I quickly planned a days worth of lessons and went to bed, still numb.
Sleep was a rare commodity for me the rest of the week.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time for a little vacation

In precisely 20 days, Wolf and I are heading out of Utah for a lovely and much needed vacation. Here are some of the places we will head to...

Los Angeles

San Diego

Ensenada, Mexico 
(as shown here by my darling baby Gus)

San Fransisco

Santa Barbara

This famous place that needs not be named

And to hang out with this darling boy and his family

Twenty days could not come sooner. I cannot wait for this ten day vacation! (Wolf is pretty excited, too.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Farewell to the Little Yellow House

For the first eight months of our marriage Laura and I have lived in a basement apartment in Provo just south of BYU. We loved our apartment. From the very first day (or night since we got in extremely late after a cross-country flight) it felt like home. We had all sorts of adventures in our place, like when we tried to cook our first meal and the contents of a very hot pan suddenly combusted. I think Laura wrote about that one. The moral of that story is to not leave a cast-iron skillet on the stove too long before adding ingredients. Come to think of it, there was one more incident involving that pan. I tried to cook a steak in it. The recipe said to leave the pan on the stove to heat up for something like five minutes. By the time I threw the steak on, the pan had become rocket hot and within about 13 seconds the entire apartment was filled with smoke. It wasn't just a little bit either. It was almost like a scene out of Back Draft. Now that I think about it, I don't think that I like that pan very much.

But this post is not about why you shouldn't use cast-iron cookware. Getting back to the story...We loved out our little apartment. Laura thought that it was perfect. I agreed with just one exception.

On our first night in our apartment we discovered something: we had no control over the heating and air conditioning. On that night the upstairs neighbours cranked up the a/c. It was downright cold downstairs. I got up, went to the thermostat, and turned down the temp. We waited. Nothing happened.

Apparently the thermostat in our apartment wasn't connected to anything. It was just there. It didn't really serve any purpose other that letting you know how hot or cold the apartment was.

During the next couple of months we endured many sweltering nights. You see, the next set of neighbours didn't ever turn the a/c on. Come winter time we found that they didn't like to turn the heat on much either. Once we got into November it started getting cold. How cold? Most afternoons (afternoons mind you) it was in the low to mid 50s. At night the heater would come on, but Laura and I had to sleep with every blanket we owned to stay warm enough.

This went on for a while. I happened to mention it at work (University Mall management). One of the security officers (all of them are off-duty cops) works for Orem City. He told me that I should get in touch with such-and-such a department and they might be able to help us out. In my mind I assumed that that meant we would get control over the heating system for our apartment. I shot off an e-mail to Provo City. Nothing happened. Enough time went by that I figured that we would not hear back at all. Then one day I got an e-mail from someone. It was just a short request for our address. Knowing now what the outcome of that was, I probably should have hesitated. But I didn't. I gave him my address. A few days later I get a call from that employee. He said that our house wasn't zoned for a basement apartment and unless the house owner could come up with some sort of documentation (what kind he didn't say) we would be forced to move.

This was not what I wanted to hear. Moving during the middle of a semester did not sound like fun to me. Moving period is not fun. He told me that he would call me in a few days when he had heard back from the house owner. Then he actually thanked me. Maybe he gets the bureaucratic equivalent of brownie points for every newly-wed-student couple that he gets kicked out of their apartments.

Well, since Laura and I are now living in new accommodations, you can probably guess what happened. On a Monday afternoon I got a call from the landlord. We had to move and we had 30 days to do it. The other thing that made this difficult is that I hadn't told Laura. I thought that until I knew if we had to move for sure I wouldn't worry her about it. But she handled it very well. She only got slightly furious/raging mad/run for your life she's lost it.

I know Laura is reading and raising one of her eyebrows at that last comment. Actually, she really wasn't mad at all. Good thing. I felt really bad. But regardless of whether I did or not, we had to start looking for a new place. The one that we liked the best was a two-bedroom apartment next to Sierra West Jewelers.

Most of last Friday was spent moving. I don't think that we had any idea how much stuff we've already accumulated in eight months of marriage. But thanks to a lot of help from my family (I'd like to acknowledge my parents, brother Blake, and sister Amber) and from Laura's (thanks Mike, Mark, and Jill!) we did it.

We're still faced with at least a week's worth of organizing to get the apartment into a decent shape, but we're at least moved in.

So, goodbye little yellow house with the blue door. It's been great and we'll miss you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How it all began part V

The proposal:
* Side note: My darling Wolfgang had one requirement for his proposal. He only wanted it to be a surprise. He told me around the time he got the ring and I knew he could not hold onto it for long without giving it to me so he had a very narrow window in which to propose.
Continue reading. Please.
February 17 was one of those days...
My brother celebrated his 23rd birthday, my sister celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary, and one of my bffs from high school decided to get married that day.
I had the day off work somehow; I probably let someone else take my shift so they could get more hours. I slept in and worked on an art assignment that was due later in the day.
Wolf picked me up for lunch at the usual lunchy time and we decided to go to Red Robin mostly because I had never been there before. (My family never went out to eat when I was little. The only places we went to were Brick Oven, Chuck-a-Rama, other places and that just about covers it.
I gravitated towards the onion rings as a girl allergic to onions is bound to do every time she goes into a restaurant.
Fact: I am allergic to onions, peppers, and garlic. (And other things.)
These allergies do not stop me from eating whatever I want to eat.
I adore spicy food.
I used to eat onions like apples.
Wolf is trying to wean me from these foods.
This was an occasion in which Wolf actually let me eat the onion rings. I should have caught onto his hints. He had a black bean burger as he is bound to do and I ate a meat burger as I am bound to do. We munched and chatted wedding plans.
After lunch, I had plans to meet up with my darling friend Manny to go shopping for the wedding reception. Monica and I talked boys; she had just gotten out of a relationship and I was on top of the world with my current relationship. We bought the most comfortable blanket for Alyson and decided to meet up later that evening for more breakup talk.
I had to rush off to make it to my two classes on Thursday. Music went by quickly and art was full of clay and chatter from friends.
Fast forward to that evening.
I was waiting for 9:00 before I went to Monica's place. Up until July of last year, I was the manager of our cute little kiosk at the University Mall. Every single evening, I received a phone call from the girl that closed to give me the numbers and details of that day. That evening, Kaeli (my best friend's little sister) was closing. I took the numbers from her, called my boss, and rushed off to Monica's house.
Immediately as I pulled into Manny's driveway, I received yet another call from Kaeli.
Sadly, Kaeli told me that she had locked her keys into the cart and needed me to help her out.
I was in a bind.
There were many solutions to this problem that did not involve me going to the mall to help her. There are ways to get into the cart without a key, there were girls that live closer to the mall she could have called, I could have come up with a great solution.
I did not.
I sped right back out of Monica's driveway and called her as I rushed up University. "I am so sorry. I was literally in your driveway, but I have to help Aud's sister at Katelyn & Co. She locked her keys in the kiosk. I promise I will hurry as quickly as I can." I was off.
As I pulled up to the mall, I noticed Wolf's car still in the parking lot.
Hmmm. He normally leaves immediately at 9:00.
As I ran into the mall and approached the cart, there was nobody in sight. I circled the cart once. No Kaeli. I went around another half time.
As I pulled out my phone to call her, I saw someone walked towards me. Wolf.
"Hey. What are you doing here?"
"Kaeli called. She locked her keys in the cart, but I cannot find her."
"Oh. Well as long as you're here..."
He pulled out a small box and handed it to me.
I opened it and saw a ring.
A big, fat flower ring from the 70s.
Seriously? That was one thing I made him promise me; to never do a fake proposal.
Next I saw him pull a thin platinum band from his pinky.
Wolf offered me a replacement for what was in the box. It was a gorgeous halo setting ring with a gorgeous diamond in the middle.
Come to think of it, I do not think I said yes.
We hugged. We kissed. We found his dad and hugged him. We visited my family and called everyone that was not at my parents' house. Wolf texted his mom. Seriously? A text? We then visited his family and I told my story dozens of times. I apologized to Monica. I texted my boss to tell her I became engaged at work.
The world was good.