Archive for the Tales of Yore Category

It’s raining men

Posted in Tales of Yore on October 9, 2009 by dunnthat

As a small-town Mormon gal, I didn’t get much chance to see a lot the world has to offer in my youth.  So as I got older and enjoyed more diversity through travel, I was curious about a few cultural practices.

This would include nude beaches.  I have been to exactly two.

My most recent nude beach experience was when husband and I traveled to Greece after I graduated from college about five years ago.  Europe is pretty much swimming suit optional, so I didn’t exactly seek out the beaches.

We were there in early June, a little early for the season.  This may have been the reason for the people variety there, or lack of it, but let me just say from my limited experience:  the nude people on beaches are generally NOT the people you want to see nude.

What I’m saying is, there was not a Jessica Alba or Ryan Reynolds to be found.

To wit:  There we were walking along the gorgeous black beaches of Santorini, when I looked away from the water gently pulsing up onto the beach and saw something that will forever scar my innocent mind…

There was above me a woman likely in her 60s, lying on her back.  I saw boobs drooping to her sides and under her arms, a large rising belly, and…wait for it…

A pose that can only be described as gynecological.  If there were stirrups, her feet would have been in them.

It was all I could do to keep from running fast and far with my fists pushed into my eyes while screaming, “MY EYES!!  MY EYES!!”

Scarred.  For.  Life.

Experience two:  For our tenth anniversary, husband and I saved and scrimped for a trip to Kauai, Hawaii.  In preparation for the trip, I purchased a book called “Hidden Kauai.”

You know.  To see what the dumb tourists don’t see.

This adventurous spirit almost resulted in our deaths, by the way.  A snorkeling trip gone bad in which we got caught in a rip tide where no one was there to write it down.  Another story, another day.

SO.  I saw in this book that there was a nude beach off the beaten path. 

Come on.  You would have done it, too.

So we drove and drove, until we found the mile marker next to the sugar cane field that eventually led us to “the beach.”

This was no easy place to find.  We finally arrived there, found a spot away from everyone way up on the side, and laid out our towels to worship some sun.

There weren’t many people there, and to be honest, I was still a little nervous to look around.  We, of course, were fully suited. 

Don’t be ridiculous.

So I’m lying on my back with my eyes closed, and after just a few minutes my husband says, “We need to leave.”

“Why?”

“This is a gay beach.”

“You’re just jealous because they’re aren’t any women here.”

“Open your eyes and look.”

I leaned up onto my elbows and beheld… Men.

Lots of men.

And these men weren’t charging into the water full of testosterone and with a purpose.  They were…

Frolicking.  Skipping.  Playfully splashing each other.

EW!

Husband was…RIGHT!

Quickly we gathered our few things and skulked off like the stupid tourists we were.

I can honestly say, without equivocation, that my thirst for all things nude is QUENCHED.  Drowned.  Choked.  Strangled.

Gone.

Ultimate back-stabber

Posted in In the News, Tales of Yore on September 20, 2009 by dunnthat

In my experience as a mother, there is a period of time when boys are about fifteen years old that I have moments when I just about lose my appreciation for parenthood (except for Mini, who continues to be pretty perfect so far, and his fifteenth birthday is tomorrow).

I recall one episode when Number One, also a pretty perfect kid, and I hit a bit of a rough patch. 

This is not one of my most proud parenting moments.

For the record.

We were arguing about something.  I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.  But my last nerve had been stomped on, and I just couldn’t…go…on…

And, for the record, I’m sure it was pretty exasperating and I’m sure I was justified in being torqued.

So, I directed the boy with a pointed finger and pointed words toward “outside.”

Then I locked the doors.  All of them.

It was raining.

And, he was barefoot.

I saw him out in the backyard.  In the rain.  Looking up at the window.

Drippy and forlorn.

I was unmoved.

Apparently he went to a friend’s house for the cooling down period.  After about a half hour he called me and said, “Can I come home now?”

Calmly I said, “I don’t think so.”

And I ended the call.

Eventually I returned to normal (such as it was) and I let the poor boy back in the house.

The next day we were in the car and a danc-y song came on the radio and I was doing the Cabbage Patch at a stop light with the purpose of embarrassing him as best as I could. 

He started laughing.  Then he said, “I love you, Mom.”

??

I said, “You do?  After what I did yesterday?”

And he said, “Yeah.”  Pause.  “That was weird.”

And we were done.

This is the best part about having boys.  One and done. 

Girls, on the other hand, tend to remember what wrongs were committed against them from years ago…date and time.

So, I was thinking about this as I read yet another newspaper article about a fifteen-year-old boy and the result of an argument he and his mother were having.

Whenever I want to feel like a decent mother I watch a little Jerry Springer or read a little news…

“Police say a 15-year-old Texas boy stabbed his mother in the back with a 6-inch kitchen knife while pretending to hug her after an argument.”

Oh…my…gosh…

Fifteen, right? 

The old “hug and stab.”

Guess I’m not such a bad mom after all.

I’m thinking of…

Posted in Daily Bread, Tales of Yore on June 19, 2009 by dunnthat

Sometimes people say things just because they’ve been said before.  And sometimes these things make absolutely no sense.

The funniest phrases come from parenting, don’t you think? 

My parents:  “I’m sick and tired of…”  Sick AND tired?  Not just sick.  Not just tired.  Sick AND tired.

Husband’s parents:  “And I don’t mean maybe …”  I don’t even know where to go with that.

Praying sometimes is really funny to me.  Not only have I heard this phrase in prayer, I’ve used this phrase in prayer:  “Please bless that we’ll be safe as we attend the rest of our meetings today.”

Now how often has any of us been attacked by robbers in the hallways at church?  Hazardous corridors…oooo.  Perhaps we might trip and fall.  That would be bad.  And dangerous. 

But mostly, it’s pretty safe.

“Please bless this food that it will nourish and strengthen our bodies and do us the good that we need.”

Who talks like that?  Brigham Young?  I like to pray over the refreshments that they won’t make me fat.  Now that’s a valuable blessing right there.

J. Golden Kimball is, for obvious reasons, my favorite historical church leader.  Probably because he was clearly himself and he didn’t let anyone change him.  Once in a sacrament meeting he was presiding over as a stake leader, he noticed many of the congregation dozing off.  (Believe me, if I were in a sacrament meeting with J. Golden Kimball, I would have been on the edge of my seat and had a pencil and paper handy.)

He stood up to the pulpit and tested his theory:  “All those in favor of moving Mt. Nebo across the valley, please indicate by raising your right hand.”

Hands were raised to the square.

Long pause.

“Now how the hell are you gonna do that??”

Of course, I paraphrase.  I wasn’t there.  But you get the idea.

And then, there are the heartfelt, original prayers, such as our oldest boy’s first prayer in Primary.  He was three.

We tried to prime him a little bit beforehand.  Tried to tell him, “Now you know we don’t pray for personal things in a church prayer.  Like, we don’t pray for Lady…” 

He interrupted us.  Impatient.  “I know!”  As in, DUH.  I’m certainly capable of a prayer in Primary for crying out loud.

Time for the prayer.  Husband and I are sitting in the back, tense but proud.  And the prayer begins.

Things are going well.  He’s really thought about what he wanted to say, and he was covering all his bases.

Until the final thought:

“Please bless that we won’t dink around.  Because this is Primary.

So proud.  So very very proud.

Perspective and Interpretation

Posted in Daily Bread, Tales of Yore on June 11, 2009 by dunnthat

I know what I mean when I say it.  As it comes out of my head and out of my mouth, and as my body language adds to its meaning, I have a clear concept of what message I am delivering. 

But quite often something happens to my message once it leaves my mouth.

A NEW perspective is added to it as it reaches the ears and brain of the receiver.  And if there’s more than one receiver, there is undoubtedly more than one perception.

So what was in the beginning a very clear intended message has the potential of becoming altered to create a varied and sometimes entirely new meaning.

Isn’t that weird?

Let me give you an example.  When my second son was about eight years old, he wanted to ride his bike to a friend’s house.  Even though the friend lived just six houses away, I told my son that he had to wear a helmet if he was going to ride his bike.

That had always been the rule.

He argued with me.  He absolutely did NOT want to wear his helmet for such a short ride.  I calmly (I’m so sure of it) told him that it didn’t matter what his wants were.  This was a rule I wasn’t willing to negotiate.  I required that he wear his helmet every time he rode his bike regardless of distance.

Part of his argument was, “But I’m a good and safe rider.”

I said, “It’s not you I’m worried about.  It’s the cars.”

Argument ended.  He wore his helmet, though he was none too happy about it.

Several days later, we were disagreeing about something else (I spent a lot of time disagreeing with this boy, whose calling in life I was sure was to be an attorney) when he blurted out, “You don’t care about me!   I know you don’t!  You even said it yourself.  You care more about cars than you do about me!”

Um…WHAT??

How had what I’d said and meant been altered so much that my sweet son thought that I was more worried that his body might damage a car than that he might get hurt??

I have to wonder…

Where is the glitch in communication?

Is it a matter of trust?  Did he not trust that I loved him enough to know without a doubt that I value his life above everything…and especially a stupid car?

I’ve seen this phenomenon repeated throughout my life.  The same situation can have as many interpretations as there are people experiencing it.  And then when someone close to the situation tells another person about the situation, the potential for variance increases exponentially.

You have the situation.  Then you have the person’s interpretation of the situation.  Then the person shares their perspective of the situation with another person, who interprets what is being said to them and pulls their own perspective into the situation.

It gets to the point that it’s hard to know truth.

This is a major ramble inspired by a recent event that quite frankly puzzled me.  And caused me to wonder:  what is the truth?  And whose truth is it?

And I just wanted you to know that I actually do have deep thoughts. 

But you’ve now taken what I’m saying and put your interpretive skills into play, and who the heck knows what the true meaning of this post is??

Natives, please?

Posted in Daily Bread, Tales of Yore on June 9, 2009 by dunnthat

Look, I’m NOT a racist.  Not by a long shot.  I wish I were multilingual.  I really do.  Alas, I am not. 

When I travel to other countries, I am embarrassed by my lack of multiple language skills.  But I don’t expect the native people to speak English.  I’m sure happy when they do, and I gratefully lavish them with high praise for their skill. 

Surprisingly, most countries DO have English speaking customer service.  Even Greece.  (Where I found myself saying “gracias” after the waiter took my order – what a moron.)

In Mexico, I know just enough to know when a vendor is calling my son a “mother-you-know-what-er” in Spanish. 

Tangent:  My son was negotiating on a silver (questionable) bracelet at Teotihuacan Aztec ruins near Mexico City.  He didn’t want the bracelet.  He had already purchased a bracelet.  But this guy kept pushing him, saying his bracelet was better quality than the one he’d already purchased.  So my son negotiated a trade that he determined was worth the effort for him.

The vendor was pretty torqued at my son, but again, my son didn’t want the bracelet all that much.  Finally, the guy agreed to my son’s offer.  And then called him a “mother-you-know-what-er” in Spanish. 

Sadly, I know that word.

I was SHOCKED.

I spun around and railed on the guy.  “DID YOU JUST CALL MY SON A [Spanish word for you-know-what]??!!”

Rude guy’s friend said in Spanish, with a little bit of awe I might add, “Amigo, she understood what you said!”

And I said, in English, “You’re darn right I understood!”  And I continued to yell at him…in English.

Now, my son used to be the assistant manager at a Big O Tire store, and believe me, he knew the word. 

[Another tangent:  While in Mexico City he said he was going to open a tire store in Mexico and hire all Americans…maybe you had to be there, but it was funny.

But he didn’t care about the insult.  He was just getting a bracelet, you know?

But I cared.  A lot.

We continued on our tour of the ruins, and eventually came back through that way, where the same guy approached my oldest son, a returned LDS missionary from Argentina and therefore a fluent speaker, (and believe me, we could not look less native – we are all tall and blond), and said to my son, “Amigo, you want to buy my bracelets?”

And my son turned to him and said in perfect Spanish, with an air of disdain I might add, “After what you just called my brother??  I don’t think so.”

I’m sure that was interesting chatter at la casa later that night.

End of tangent.

ANYWAY, I wish I were multilingual.  But I live in America.  And when I call Delta Airlines and get an English-as-a-second-language representative, I just feel like I’m wasting my time.  And it is SO FRUSTRATING because they don’t understand me as well as they would if I spoke, say, Hindi. 

Again, not knocking the multilingual.  My Hindi friends speak really great English for a second language.  I’m super impressed.  But DANGIT – I need help!  And I hate having to explain myself a hundred times.  And you know what?  If I were asked a question in Hindi, I wouldn’t be able to help her, either.

That was my first call today.  I had to call them again to follow up.

When the representative answered the phone in an accent that I could understand, I said, “Oh THANK YOU for not being someone who speaks English as a second language!  I’m so excited!  I think I may actually get the help I need!”  I kind of went on for awhile.  

Then I said, “I thought you guys weren’t outsourcing to India anymore.  What’s the deal with that?”

She kind of stammered…like she couldn’t really hear me.  Then she said she wasn’t sure when the policy might change, but that she’d heard that it might.

So anyway, after we’re chatting for awhile, I picked up on it…um, this representative was NOT a native English speaker.  Not at all.  Probably Spanish.  I don’t know.

HOW EMBARRASSING!!!

Again, another great story to share with la familia around the dinner table.

Puppy Therapy

Posted in Daily Bread, Tales of Yore on June 6, 2009 by dunnthat

puppies

My friend just became the g-ma to 11 yellow lab puppies.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  How cute are puppies?  Isn’t the world just a better place when you’re holding a puppy?

I call her quite regularly and say, “May I come by for some puppy therapy?” 

And sometimes, I don’t call at all.  I just show up.

Why I love puppies:

  • Their fur is so soft and touchable.
  • Their skin slides over their little bodies and is so pliable. It’s scrunchable.
  • They don’t smell like dogs.
  • I love puppy breath.  LOVE.  IT. 
  • They like to get their faces up under my hair and just rest.
  • When they’re really small they let me hold them.
  • I love to hold a sleeping puppy.
  • When I pet a puppy, each and every stroke eases stress.
  • I love their little puppy noises.
  • They let you lie them on their backs in your lap and their legs just hang there relaxed.
  • I love their little mouths and their little teeth.
  • I can’t stop smiling when I’m holding a puppy.
  • Puppies love me unconditionally.
  • They are utterly dependent on their mom and their master.

Puppies remind me of new life.  All new life.  Plants in Spring.  Wild baby animals.  Babies in general.

Puppies remind me of being a new mom.  Holding my infant while he’s still dependent on me for everything.  Watching the world through his eyes of wonder.  Reveling in the awe he experiences at discovering his own fist. 

The first giggle.  I was so delighted with my first son’s first laugh that I couldn’t stop making him laugh.  Unfortunately, it was during church.  Doubly unfortunate, we were sitting on the second row in the middle.  Especially unfortunate, the speaker actually STOPPED SPEAKING and looked at me with frustration.  That was the very last time we sat in the front at church.  If those are the only seats available, we sit in the foyer.  Even still.

And the smell of babies!!  I remember sticking my head in the basinet when my son wasn’t even in it, and just breathing deeply.

Babies and puppies are blank slates, on the precipice of life’s writings.  Untouched.  Unfettered.  Unharmed.  Fresh.  Free from harm.  Free from unpleasantness.  Innocent. 

Do I love puppies because I love babies?  Because it brings back my own baby memories?

Dunno.  Don’t care. 

LOVE.  PUPPIES.  LOVE.

Dude magnet

Posted in Tales of Yore on June 3, 2009 by dunnthat

dude magnet

When I got my driver’s license, the car available to me to drive was a 1963 Country Squire station wagon similar to the one pictured above.  Oh yes it was.  Except mine tried to be way cooler. 

My brother, a master mechanic even back then, had the car before me.  He made that wagon sing sweet music.  He jacked up the back with exposed spring bars, he installed loud, dual exhaust, and outfitted it with wide tires and sick aluminum wheels. 

But alas, it was still a 1963 Country Squire station wagon.  A nine-seater with red vinyl seats.  I simply could not have been more dorky.  I realize to the youngsters an “old car” is still an old car when the driver is as old as I am now.  But believe me, it was old when I drove it.  Ancient.

So many great memories of that car…many of you young critters don’t even know that when we use the term “roll your window down” we use it because back in the day we were actually rolling a window down – with a crank.  No electric windows for us.  If I shut my door too hard, the window slipped off its track and stayed in the door in the “down” position until my brother could put it back on its track.

In the winter, I couldn’t lock my door because when I stuck the key in the lock, the mechanism inside was so frozen that I couldn’t turn the key.  At all.  I even tried heating up the key as well as the lock with a Bic lighter. 

This probably wasn’t very smart.

So I left it unlocked.

However, when it was really cold, when I pushed in the door latch button to enter the car, it would stay pushed in, and I wouldn’t be able to latch the door closed.  So I would drive to school with my right hand on the steering wheel while holding onto the door armrest with my left hand to keep it from flying open.  This was especially tricky on right turns.

The brakes were not power brakes, and they were often scarily non-responsive.  Once I was heading down a rather steep street, and a busy street, which had a strange jagged intersection at the bottom of the hill.  It was a really weird deal where the streets didn’t match up and the straightaway jutted left.  There was a stop sign on my straightaway at the weird intersection.

I was gathering speed down the hill and pumping my brakes, and the car just wouldn’t stop.  I stomped on the  emergency brake.  Nothing.  I had two friends in the car with me.  They were screaming.

I just kept repeating, “Oh s**t, oh no, oh s**t, oh no.”  I’m so glad those weren’t my last words on Earth.

I went flying into that weird intersection, throwing the steering wheel left to miss the quickly approaching curb, and then a hard right to get back on the straightway, narrowly missing a police car going one way and another car going the other.

The car finally came to a stop as the hill lessened.  The police officer had whipped around and pulled in behind me.

He was livid.  His face was red as he shouted, “Do you know you almost caused TWO ACCIDENTS??!!”

I was shaking, as were my friends in the car.  My face and lips were drained of color.  I could only eek out, “My brakes went out!”

Nice guy.  He didn’t give me a ticket.  I’m just glad I lived through it.

Good times.