Wednesday, February 25, 2009

in need of a giggle?

Nothing terribly exciting has happened in the Blaser home lately -- and I'd like to keep it that way. The only downside is -- what do I blog about? So, here are some very random things that I hope bring a smile to your face.

Yesterday we were in the library (that is always so quiet) looking for some books, and Teya all of sudden starts singing really loud "Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah I'm going to start a fight!" (that song 'So What' by P!nk). It was embarrassing, but funny.

A few months ago I attempted to go off my sleep medicine. This resulted in weeks of very bizarre dreams. After you read some of them, you'll understand why I went back on the medicine (that and I couldn't sleep).

Dream #1: I was in the finals of a spelling bee with my friend Sarah Crawford (from my ward). The last word was some oft-used word in the Book of Mormon and I was really glad I had read my scriptures as it paid off and I won the spelling bee! (Translation: Sarah's daughter had just won the school spelling bee. I never made it past the classroom level in my school growing up so I must have some sort of complex that I was trying to make up for by patting myself on the back about scripture reading).

Dream #2: The woodpeckers won. Their insistent pecking at our eaves got them inside our roof and they pecked right through the sheet rock. I was sleeping peacefully when a flock of woodpeckers came in through our bathroom wall and went on the attack. (Translation: I hate woodpeckers and you can read all about it here: woodpeckers )

Dream #3: Simon Cowell kept having contestants get sick or be 'no shows' for the Top Ten of the American Idol show. So, he'd call me to fill in at the last minute. Every time he did, I'd protest that I had stage fright and couldn't sing, but he always said I'd be great. So, I was in several episodes of American Idol. I guess I got voted in to stay for a while, but every week I wanted to be eliminated. (Translation: Not really sure. I love American Idol. I can't sing and I do have stage fright.)

Dream #4: My friend Liz Hall (in my ward -- who is a GREAT cook and practically perfect in every way) asked me to join her and some friends in opening up a local bistro. However, we decided to call it a 'bistro' (rhyme the i with the i in kiss) instead of 'beestro' because we didn't want to sound too pretentious. And, I was only allowed to make my peppermint dessert (see all about it in my duct tape dessert entry). I kept asking if I could help out with the other menu items and she kept saying "No, Jennie, you just stick to that dessert. It's going to be our signature item -- it will bring the customers in. We couldn't do this without you". (Translation: I can't cook worth beans, and I'm always on Liz's blog for her recipes. I also would never use the word pretentious to describe myself. And, although the peppermint dessert was somewhat of a mistake, it was really good and everyone who had it raved about it and wanted more. It was nice to have had something successful come out of my kitchen)

Okay -- see what I mean about weird dreams? Here are some other funny things from Teya.

I was helping her say her prayers at night. I say a line, she repeats it, etc. I said, "Help me to sleep well" and she said, "Help me to stay up a little bit longer".

We were reading scriptures and Teya wanted to 'read' a verse. Dave would say a phrase and she'd repeat it.
Dave: "And it came to pass"
Teya: "And it came to pass"
Dave: "That Jesus said"
Teya: "That Jesus said"
(just then, something dropped off the couch and hit Dave and under his breath he said 'crap')
Teya: "Crap".

That might be sacrilegious -- sorry. I hope I didn't offend anyone! It was pretty funny -- and we really try hard not to use that kind of language around here. (Oh no, am I sounding pretentious??)

Well, the sink is overflowing with dishes and laundry needs to be done -- but I hope you had a giggle or two. Some days -- that is all I need to keep on going!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Miss America Pageant

There she goes! Miss America! (are you singing it in your head)

I was grocery shopping yesterday when out of the blue I remembered this hilarious experience I had when I was in high school. So, I thought I'd blog about it.

Some background is necessary for this entry, so you don't think I was a TOTAL nerd, although that title is not the least bit insulting to me. I was a nerd (and a total jock).

Anyway, remember 1984 when Charlene Wells won the Miss America pageant? This was back when people still watched the pageant. It was the year after the previous winner had some moral issues, so getting a Mormon to win was a statement of sorts. I remember watching that with my friends and cheering and jumping up and down when she won. I was 11 years old.

About two years later, I met Miss Wells at a luncheon for the wives and daughters of General Authorities. Her dad was a member of the seventy, as was mine. We were kindred spirits. She sang and played this piano that was made out of glass. After the program, I also played that piano for a few of the stragglers. I was already walking in her footsteps. Just a few more years until I was Miss America.

Well, in 1987, our family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We started attending Lincoln High School, a private school that was for expatriates and a few wealthy Argentines. Well, guess who also attended that very high school about a decade earlier? Charlene Wells! Her family had lived in the same place, went to the same ward, and the same school. I remember going to Geometry and seeing her framed picture on the wall with a personalized message to Mr. Czarnik (my math teacher). It was like I was destined to be like her -- :) (I do hope you are reading this with a bit of sarcasm in your voice -- I never REALLY thought I'd be Miss America). But, you got to admit -- we had a lot in common.

Anywho, fast forward to 1988. We were taking our family vacation with Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife. It was several weeks -- coinciding with stake conferences and mission conferences and all sorts of meeting that made up our typical family vacation. We were staying in a mission home in the southern part of Chile. It was a day FULL of meetings (I think they were interviewing for a new Stake President). All the adults were gone and my sister Viki and I were stuck at this mission home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. So, we decided to entertain ourselves by putting on our own Miss America Pageant.

So, using our limited wardrobe (we were on vacation), we proceeded to divide up all 50 states between the two of us. We created a 'runway' and would walk down in our outfits singing "My Country ‘Tis of Thee” over and over and over again to represent each state. We’d sing it in a southern accent if we were on Georgia or Alabama. We’d sing it in an eastern accent if we were from New York or Jersey. You get the idea. I doubt we really sang it 50 times, but we probably got close. We ‘judged’ each other each time, on talent (the song) & outfit. Like I said, we were bored, and still fascinated with the whole Miss America thing.

Well, at some point during our ‘pageant’, we were called down to dinner. We went down and noticed that Elder Perry was in the kitchen. As we started to talk over the dinner table, he asked us, “What exactly were you two doing? I kept hearing you sing the same song over and over!” I was SO embarrassed. Come to find out, Elder Perry wasn’t feeling well and had come home hours earlier to try and rest. We didn’t know this, and we were making all sorts of noise singing the SAME song over and over. Poor guy, he didn’t sleep at all! (Here is a side note – while this is a humorous happening, it also speaks loads about Elder Perry’s character – he could have EASILY asked us to quiet down or asked someone to make us stop so he could rest, but he let us go on and on and on just down the hall from where he was trying to rest. Remember that next general conference – he is a wonderful, caring man!)

My parents were quite embarrassed for us, as was to be expected. We apologized profusely and were quiet as could be the rest of the night. He was so kind to us. I remember the very next day we set up a volleyball net in the mission home’s back yard and we played volleyball with him. He is quite tall, and athletic, so he always won, but we had a great time. We also played a little one-on-one basketball. Basketball was my life back then, and from then on, every time my dad spoke to Elder Perry, he would ask about me and my basketball ‘career’. In fact, when we left Argentina a few years later and moved to Bountiful, Elder Perry wrote me a personal letter wishing me well on our move and saying that he had warned Bountiful that I was coming and that their B-ball team would never be the same. (It was. I was too late to make the team).

So, that is part I of the story. The second part isn’t quite so long, but still funny! Several years later, I was a senior at Bountiful High School. My Spanish teacher nominated me to be the Sterling Scholar for Foreign Languages. (Probably because I actually did speak Spanish and already taken and passed both the AP Spanish and AP Spanish Literature tests). In Utah, the Sterling Scholar program is where a student from each high school is nominated by faculty in about 12 categories (Foreign Language, Science, Math, History, etc). Each of us had to create a portfolio with our academic, social, and other accomplishments and send them in. We were judged against all the other students in our same category. About 10 were chosen to go onto the State level, and then one is declared a winner and given a scholarship.

So, all of a sudden, I had about 2 weeks to create this huge portfolio. One of the sections was 5 letters of recommendation from people in the community. My mom suggested I ask Elder Perry to write one of the letters. So, I did. Pretty soon, the deadline to turn in our portfolios was up and I hadn’t heard back from Elder Perry – just from his secretary who said he would love to write a letter. So, we knew one was coming from him, so I stuck in the letter (without re-reading it) that he had written a few months earlier when we moved back to Utah, thinking I would simply replace it with the real one when it came.

Well, I forgot to replace it. I made it to the State level and that required this intensive interview process with one of the judges. I was so nervous. It was about an hour-long interview and things were going quite well. Then, the judge said, “I’m not a member of the Mormon faith, but one of my colleagues is, and he said that this Elder Perry who wrote one of your recommendation letters is a big deal in your church.” I replied that he was, and that he was a friend of the family. Then, he said, “So, I read this letter he wrote, and I want to know – when were you in the Miss America Pageant?” The blank look on my face let him know I really had no idea what he was talking about.

He showed me the letter from my portfolio and at the bottom of Elder Perry’s letter was written, “P.S. Please, NO MORE Miss America Pageants!” He then proceeds to ask me, “When were you in the Miss America Pageant and why have we not heard all about it in your portfolio. That is a big achievement!”

I think I was ready to fall off my chair. This was supposed to be such a formal interview and I was… stunned into silence and trying hard to not LAUGH. I finally admitted that my sister and I had made up our own pageant years ago and it was kind of a personal joke between Elder Perry and I. I don’t think the answer appeased him, but oh well. I didn’t win State – the girl who won spoke 7 languages. I’m sure that factor was the winning ticket. That, and the fact that she hadn’t participated in any Miss America Pageants!

Friday, February 6, 2009

my kind of tender mercy

Phew! I made it back to blogging! For the past two weeks I feel like I haven't had a chance to sit down, let alone blog. Here are just a few of the things that have been going on:

*I took a fun trip to California with my friends for our annual scrapbook convention where we get to see all the newest products coming out. I had a great time, and because I'm a 'designer', I got TONS of free products that aren't even in the stores yet!
*My parents were in town for my nephew's mission 'farewell'. It happened to be the same weekend I was in California, so I hardly got to see them, but fortunately they were able to stay with the kids while I was gone, so that worked out.
*My in-laws were in town (they came two days after my parents left) for Dave's nephew's baptism. They have been BUSY house-shopping and finally found a house they put an offer on. It's always fun to have family in town.
*Dave was called as the new Elder's Quorum President for our ward. He is going to do a great job! He is super busy and I've been trying to help out where I can -- printing this and that, getting this phone number, etc. Mainly, though, I haven't even seen him much because he's gone so much. I'm hoping that eases up a bit. I think it will.
*It is my month to teach sharing time. That is always added responsibility! But, I love, love, love working in Primary.
*Soccer has started -- practices, coaching, games, you get the idea. My TIVO is so full-- I haven't had a chance to sit down and watch much (besides 24) lately!

Anyway, I'm SURE I'm not as busy as most of you. But, I just wanted to share a fun tender mercy that happened a few weeks ago. I was feeling a bit down one day -- nothing in particular, just the type of night that you want to get in your pj's at 6:30 p.m., put the kids to bed real early, pull out the carton of ice cream and watch a chick flick. Instead, I drove over to my sister's house to play games and visit with my parents. I was leaving for CA the next day and new I wouldn't see much of them.

They let me chose which games I wanted to play, so I chose my favorites -- Scrabble and Settlers of Catan. I sat in the middle of the table so I could play both! I played Settlers with my nephews while I was playing Scrabble with my sister and her husband and my parents. About 1/2 way through, a new episode of Monk came on (my sister and her family are fans, as am I). So, we watched that and played during the commercials. We were also eating ice cream. I sat back and thought -- this right here is a tender mercy! I'm eating ice-cream, watching Monk, and playing two of my favorite games at the same time, surrounded by family. Can life get any better? Well, it did -- because I won BOTH games! (My mom and I were on the same Scrabble team, so I can't take all the credit! She kept apologizing for picking 'bad' tiles -- like the X, the Z, and the Q. I had to convince her those were the best tiles she could pick!).

As I was driving home at 11:30 p.m. that night in the quiet drizzle of rain, listening to awesome 80's songs on the radio, I was really happy. It doesn't take much more than family, food, and fun to get me out of a bad mood! I pulled in our driveway, and was a little confused because we had been toilet-papered! There was shaving cream and toilet paper everywhere! Crazy! Here are a few photos. My first thought was 'what the heck?'. My second thought was 'I'm leaving for CA tomorrow. I don't have to clean this up!" Nice, huh! But the kids and Dave had a great time cleaning it up.

So, next time you are feeling down, pull out your Scrabble game, get out the ice cream, turn on Monk, and call me up!
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