Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When Mutual Goes Wrong

Plenty of people thought I was inactive at church as a teenager, some family members included, because I didn’t attend early-morning seminary. ALL good Mormon kids attend seminary and the fact that I didn’t obviously meant I was dealing drugs, never mind that I went to church every single week and never missed an activity. Truth is, I would have loved to have gone to seminary if it had been held at a godly hour, but few things on earth can persuade me to wake up at 5 in the morning and sitting in a cold metal chair is not one of those things.

I wasn’t a lost cause, though, because in every other aspect I was a textbook teenage Mormon. I lived for group dates and Stake dances. All of my friends were LDS. I looked forward to Girl’s Camp every year. I never once had an abortion. And most importantly, Wednesday night was my favorite night of the week. Mutual! A mini-weekend, a chance to spend time with my friends learning how to cook and how to plan fun dates and how to decorate cakes and all sorts of terrible things that seemed fun at the time that, in retrospect, were perhaps not the most fruitful ways to spend our Wednesday nights. A few offenders are obviously more egregious than others, and I hereby submit the three worst ones:


We’d bring our moms’ wedding dresses and our leaders’ hideous old prom frocks and put them on over our street clothes, giggling at the huge bows and puff sleeves and crinoline, then sashay down the runway to the hoots and hollers of the crowd. I can safely say that whatever lesson we were supposed to take away from it – that you can be modest AND beautiful, I presume – was the exact opposite of what we learned. (Related: My feelings about the unhealthy obsession Mormons have with the word ‘modesty’ to be reserved for another post, or maybe just kept to myself entirely.)


I shudder just thinking about it, especially when I remember how much we girls LOVED this activity, how we BEGGED for it to be included in the schedule every few months. We were divided into teams and the objective was to feed the other group a two course meal with only a dollar to spend per person. We’d race around the grocery store looking for the absolute cheapest food available then return to the church building to prepare it, set a table, and pat ourselves on the back for feeding the other team a meal of hygienic, digestible substances. The most common Dollar Dinners were ramen, Totino’s pizza, and tacos from Jack-in-the-Box, and I specifically remember once serving pretzels as an appetizer. We’d smugly watch the other team eating our meal, thinking about what good wives we were going to be. We could cook noodles! We could feed five whole people for a dollar apiece! We were going to be able to keep our children alive!!!! (In all fairness, I get where the leaders were going with it, but a shout-out to vegetables and a little less assumption that we’d all grow up to wait hand-and-foot on husbands that make minimum wage would have been nice.)


Oh dear, this one was downright creepy. Luckily none of us brought non-member friends or a camera crew that night, because some leader thought it would be a great bonding experience if our moms gave us foot massages in a silent, dimmed room while wearing their temple dresses???????? And my mom wasn’t able to attend, so my feet had the honor of being probed by Sister Muscly Hands who was clearly trying to squeeze whatever demons prevented me from attending seminary out through my toes. (Now that I think about it, it’s really too bad that there WASN’T a camera crew there. I would like a video montage of all the Young Womens’ faces during this activity. Especially mine.)


One time, one of our leaders hijacked Young Women’s in Excellence, an evening for the teens to showcase their talents and achievements, to perform an interpretive dance in her temple dress. She got a little too close to an empty chair during a particularly emotive spin and whacked her hand so hard I thought she’d die on impact. Everyone startled.

*I texted my friend Christa to make sure this hadn’t been a dream.



Monday, March 26, 2012

Two Things:

1. My office moved this weekend, therefore I am a giant walking papercut. Every single item in an office that could have sliced me, did. Folders, boxes, laminated posters, you name it, I've been cut by it. I ran my foot over good with a cart, too. I'm sure the bruising and swelling will go away soon :\ (I was so sad to leave the beautiful old office UNTIL I SAW THE NEW ONE. It's amazing. Pictures as soon as the chaos dies down.)

2. More importantly, I received the following text from my mom:

SHE'S TALKING ABOUT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Texts out of Context

This month has been off to a roaring start, if by 'roaring' you’re talking about a roaring cough that startles and disturbs coworkers and clients alike. Other than that it’s been very low-key, hence the lack of posts (sorry). The best part of my entire week was yesterday when we received an Easter candy surprise in the mail from Kelsey, Jon’s sister. (Her daughter, Norah, wanted to include Valentines for each of us, including the dog. Her Valentine read, “Penny will bark because she will like this one” – we, of course, sent her a video of Penny barking in return.)

Anyway, it’s that time again to add to the Texts out of Context series! I hope you enjoy these at least half as much as I do.


My chicken is partly soft.

Good, I hope they die soon.

Too bad you don’t still live in Tucson because then I could say what’s new in Tu? But now I’ll just have to ask what’s new in Phoenix?

I had a nightmare last night about an extremely seedy strawberry.

Dang. The ostrich festival?

I can’t believe you were able to read the Hunger Games with all the talk of vomit. Like 4 times per chapter. I think of you every time.

It’s almost your bedtime! Are you excited?

Have you ever watched Tosh.0? You’d like it. He said Jlo had a centaur body. I laughed forever.

So I think I want to get a greyhound.

There is too much for me to eat and I already had a sandwich.

Good, trying to record Penny having a barking/running dream.

That first text you sent said it was sent at 9:07 and it was only 9:03 when I got it! Was it from the future?

I don’t think I can bring dilly beans in my carry on bag :(

That’s it, babies all around. In or out of wedlock, I have a feeling it doesn’t even matter!

Is it sad that one of the reasons I like greyhounds is: their tail is so tightly clamped down all the time that you never have to see their butt hole. Also you never have to worry about them sitting tail out.

Jajajaja! Thanks for your cultural sensitivity!

Having fun with mom? Eating good food?

Are you eating some delicious things while she’s there I hope?

My mom and [sister] went to some dog wash and there was a free pet psychic who said Taffy was a princess, he likes all of his clothes they put on him, that his doggy door was too small and that he is our old dog Niquie reincarnated!!!! [My sister] sobbed for days. And they bought a bigger doggy door.

I don’t know. It could have been Costa Vida. I also accidentally ate a slightly moldy piece of bread for breakfast.

Next episode…hot wheelchair sexy time.

What’s Jon’s username? I want to play more people and am afraid of penis

I had two Hostess cupcakes for lunch

I want a good looking one. I felt shallow for saying that but it’s true!

Stupid calcium! Who says milk’s good for you?!

[Aaaand the best text I’ve received in the last six weeks]:

That reminds me of a girl I used to work with who had to teach the chastity lesson in Young Women’s and caught herself saying “so when you’re doing it” at least three times.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


I slept approximately three winks the night before last thanks to a murderously sore throat that set my body seizing each time I reflexively swallowed. Stupid reflexes!!! I originally thought it was laryngitis because no other major symptoms had presented themselves aside from the near inability to speak. Since my job requires lots of over-the-phone communication, I woke up yesterday morning a little panicked. After my shower, I attempted to say something. The result was a gravelly baritone. I cleared my throat, tried again, and my voice dropped four notes.

(I don’t think it’s laryngitis anymore, but the entire thing is a mystery. I was absolutely miserable yesterday evening and all through the night – fever, chills, nausea – but woke up feeling the same, if not better than, the day before. So.)

But the most important thing is this: My mom came to visit!!!!!!!!!!!1 She was only here a short time so we packed our days full of museums, zoos, sight-seeing, shopping, and eating.

The first thing we did was take advantage of the ridiculously beautiful weather by bringing Penny to the dog park/on a walk. I scared all the animals within a twenty yard radius laughing obnoxiously loud at my mom’s story of walking Gunner when he was an enormous five month old puppy. A woman with a small dog had approached them from the opposite direction and asked if Gunner was friendly. My mom (feeling smug that YES!, her dog WAS friendly!, and she didn’t need to worry about him attacking other dogs! Which was not the case with little Scout, rest in peace) replied in the affirmative, and the two dogs sniffed each other amiably until Gunner inexplicably flattened the poor thing with his giant paw.

After the park we headed to the Deer Valley Rock Art Center for some petroglyph viewing. REAL petroglyphs! Thousands of years old! I live within five miles of an entire hillside of thousands-of-years-old petroglyphs!

We made this for dinner that night – click the link; it will change your life.

The next morning we went to see The Artist (wish we’d seen it before all the hype, because I was disappointed :\). The best part of the entire thing was watching all the octogenarians shuffle in for the show. I knew I wouldn’t need to worry about anyone in front of me texting during the movie:

Next up was lunch at PF Changs with my cousin Katie and aunt Stacey. This was my fortune… sorry it ruined your surprise:

We mentioned to Katie that we might go to the zoo, so what does she do? Fishes around in her wallet and pulls out three tickets. THANK YOU, KATIE!! Admission is $18 per person, so it saved us a shload of cash.

The first thing I saw when we walked in was a giant tank with STINGRAYS YOU COULD TOUCH. I was little-kid excited. One of my favorite memories from living on the East Coast was visiting the Baltimore Aquarium and touching rays there, but I’d never seen anything like it since. I paid the two dollars (it’s like THEY were paying ME to touch their stingrays) and could have spent all day right there. They felt like velvety cooked eggwhite with a little bit of sand sprinkled on top. And they LIKED being touched - they'd pop up to the surface when you put your hand in the water.

Another fun thing at the zoo was this open-air monkey enclosure that you could walk through. The sign said to keep your distance because the monkeys bite, and my palms were sweatier than I care to admit. We emerged unscathed.


It’s called a gerenuk and I’m obsessed with them. I can’t believe an animal this awesome has existed my entire life and I never knew about it until now. I, of course, had a long day of Googling ahead of me as a result.

The next morning we went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale.

THAT IS A REAL INSTRUMENT. Before reading the sign, I'd assumed it was just a giant cello replica. It’s called an octobass (boy you got that boom-ba-do-boom boom-ba-do-boom hey, you got that octobass).

We HAD to take this picture in front of the St Kitt’s display. Those are the exact costumes in the carnival parades on Statia. I was ready to shield my mom’s eyes in case they showed footage of actual Caribbean carnival “dancing” (Search on Youtube for “St Maarten Carnival parade” if you’re feeling adventurous).

Gong! It was cool, but it was also lame because you're only allowed to hit it once.

Later that day we headed to downtown Glendale where we roamed all the antique shops.

This is the pin my mom bought me. (I’ve already received a compliment on it! From a 65 year old man.)

This is where we ate ice cream.

One last story from the visit. My mom told me that her newest piano student completed his first book so she congratulated him and pulled out the next in the series. He was confused because he thought he “was done” after the first, and a little crestfallen when he realized he wasn’t a concert pianist yet.

In conclusion, why can’t I be as funny as my husband? Exhibit A- His comment on my recent post about the sand in my bellybutton (“If you would have waited longer it might have become a pearl.”) Exhibit B- This illustration for the word “hamster” in our DrawSomething match:

See the last story in this blog post for context (and play me already! jessiejensen).

It's over!