Trauma in the Lunchroom

It was the fourth grade. I hadn't yet been punched in the nose by Brady. That would come almost a year later. Our class sat on benches on either side of the long, metal table that folded out of the wall in the cafeteria. I don't know what the main dish was that day, but one of the little compartments on our plastic, rectangular tray was filled with canned peas.

Brady was sitting across from me. He loved peas. Many of the children at our table didn't like peas at all. A boy sitting next to him offered Brady his peas. Brady accepted. Soon someone else offered theirs, and then someone else. Brady gladly accepted all the peas offered. Before too long, peas were being passed from one tray to the next to the next until they ended up on Brady's tray. (The nastiness of what we were doing didn't occur to us.)

I liked peas just fine, but the group mentality and the funniness of Brady's growing pile of peas were enough to get the few of us who liked our peas to gladly give them up for the greater cause--filling Brady's tray with every possible pea from our table.

Brady made a comical show of eating several bites while trying not to laugh as he entertained us. Our entire table was laughing and cheering him on. Brady's tray was full of peas--not just the little pea compartment, but the entire tray. He'd even moved his milk carton to the table to make more room for the onslaught of peas. In front of him was a giant mound of slightly mushy green peas.

The commotion brought us some unwanted attention and soon Mr. Giles, the principal, was standing behind Brady.

"What have we here?" he asked, his hands on Brady's shoulders.

"Peas," Brady said proudly, trying not to snicker.

"So you like peas?"

"Yes."

"Good. Because you're not leaving this table until you've eaten every pea on your tray."

I was shocked. No one could eat that many peas. It was disgusting to think about. An uncomfortable quiet fell over our table as we realized that the joke we'd all participated in was not ending well. We quietly finished our lunches and went out to recess. I looked back at Brady's tray as I left and felt guilty for my contribution to that enormous pea pile.

We came back to class after lunch recess was over. There was no Brady. Mrs. Provost began reading "The Wind in the Willows" and when she finished twenty minutes later, there was still no Brady. Afternoon recess came and went without a sign of our vegetable victim. Finally, a short time before the final bell of the day, Brady walked through the door. He looked sick. He moved slowly. He was pale with what I could have sworn was a slight green cast. He laid his head down on his desk.

He'd had to eat every pea. He was miserable. He didn't speak on the bus ride home. I've often wondered if that day ruined his appreciation for peas. I wonder if he likes split pea soup or if he takes a spoonful of peas from the salad bar. I really doubt it.

Some Serious Pet Peeves

I'm not in a very good mood. I could attribute my mood to a variety of things that I don't want to go into. Some are important while some are petty, but all of them are working together to put me in a bit of a testy frame of mind. Please don't think badly of me. I know I'm blessed and that if I dwelled on the positive, I'd be able to snap out of my funk. But for a little while I don't really want to. I'm in a bad mood and I feel like wallowing here for a little while. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow, but for right now I'm going to channel my bad mood into a blog posting about a few of my pet peeves.

I'm pretty certain that with advances in man-made materials, a run-proof, hold-their-shape pantyhose is possible. There's no reason why we should have to deal with unsightly runs or pantyhose that lose their elasticity and either bunch up at the knees and ankles, or worse yet, lose their hold and fall down, causing Young Women's leaders to have extremely embarrassing moments in front of impressionable young girls who don't need to see how frumpy they'll be in just a few short years. I think the makers of pantyhose can't be very nice people.

I don't understand moms who make sure they look fancy and put-together while their children look completely uncared for. You know the ones I mean. Mom is looking stylish and clean and Junior's nose is running, his clothes are filthy and his hair hasn't been washed or combed for days. If you're going to take your children out in that condition, at least have the decency to match them.

I don't want to hear parents parenting in public. Don't misunderstand me. I love seeing a mother quietly reasoning with her child or in the event of a tempter tantrum, even ignoring the bad behavior. And I like seeing a dad visiting with his child about the cost of shoes or the dangers too much sugar. But please don't glance around to locate your audience and then loudly parent your children to impress or amuse us. And please don't curse out your children in public. It's embarrassing for them and for me.

I drink water when I go out to eat and I don't appreciate my empty water glass being ignored while those who spent the money for soda, iced tea or lemonade have their beverages attended to. I bought a meal and if my water is gone, I'm probably thirsty. Please bring me more water.

I don't like it when disadvantaged young people come to my door selling yellow or green cleaner. There are three major problems here. (1)How do I know they're any more disadvantaged than my own kids or the kids that live down the street? (2)By the time they've cleaned my window or a section of the silver door threshold or a spot on the concrete of my front step, all they've done is shown anyone else who comes to my house how filthy my window, threshold or concrete is. Before they cleaned their spot, no one knew. And (3)The bottle I buy is not the same as the one they demonstrated with. I don't care what they say, I just spent $20 or so on some watered down cleaner that DOES NOT work like the demonstration.

And please don't flip me off. It really irritates me and no matter how much I might want to flip you off back, I can't. It would be too disappointing to my mom and a bad example to my kids. So don't do it. It isn't fair.

Someone Needs Advice - A Hypothetical Situation (wink, wink)

Let's say some parents want their daughter to have some fun high school experiences. Because of that they tell their daughter she has to ask someone to the girl's choice preference dance. Let's say that the daughter insists its too late to get into a group and promises she'll ask someone to the next girl's choice dance--Spring Fling.

Now let's imagine that Spring Fling ends up being on March 19 and it isn't technically a dance. Instead it's ice skating and let's throw in there that the daughter isn't a proficient ice skater.

Now let's imagine that she's been asked to Prom with a boy that goes to a different school. And maybe that prom is on March 25. She insists she'll have a good school dance experience at prom and should be released from the promise to ask someone to Spring Fling. What if the daughter says she'd prefer to ask someone to Sadie Hawkins in the fall.

Should the parents insist that she go to two major dances two weekends in a row? or should they let her off the hook until next fall?

What would your advice be to these hypothetical people?

The Bachelor Does NOT Equal Romance

I love romance. Awhile back I shared with you my favorite romantic scenes from the movies. If someone tells me something is really romantic, I'll probably investigate it a little further.

That was the case when The Bachelor first aired ten years or so ago. I was hooked by the idea of romantic possibility. By the end of the show, I felt a little sick. It didn't feel romantic. It felt uncomfortable and contrived and icky.

I refused to watch the next couple of seasons and because of that I missed the first season that actually ended in a successful relationship. To me that means married and with children. If I'm not mistaken, Trista is the only one to pull that off.

But because of Trista, I gave it a few more tries. I was happy for Byron and Mary until they were involved in a domestic dispute that ended with an unattractive mugshot. I became disillusioned again after several more breakups so I missed Brad's first season. But DeAnna is wonderful, I was told. And so I watched her season. She was no better than the rest. In fact, she let Graham go, a guy who seemed pretty decent, all because he didn't want to make out with her after some of the other guys already had that date, and he wasn't willing to move fast enough or trust her enough. In my mind that made him worth keeping, but not in her or the director's minds.

I haven't watched a season since that one, and I haven't missed it. If you think about it, it's a pretty disgusting premise and a pretty sickening show.

So while I haven't watched a single episode this season, I'll tell you I haven't missed a single recap from Kacy, who started watching the show for the first time this season. I guess her husband knew someone on the show or something like that and so she's been watching. Her honest and rational and moral recaps are not only funny and spot-on, but they also bolster my position that the show is at best, a failure at finding true love for it's bachelors, and at worst, a dreadful sign of where we're headed.

Read her latest posting here. I dare you not smile if you haven't watched it and hang your head in shame if you have.

I Wonder...

Bruce Daniel Higginson
February 16, 1969 - April 26, 1985

I wonder if he'd live close enough that we'd see him often.
I wonder if his wife would have been pretty and sweet.
I wonder how many children he'd have.
I wonder if his freckles would have faded away.
I wonder if he'd have struggled with his weight.
I wonder if he'd have hair like some brothers or be bald like others.
I wonder if his garage would be in perfect order like his bedroom
and drawers always were.
I wonder if he'd still hate peas.
I wonder what career he'd have chosen.
I wonder if he'd be wealthy or if he'd struggle financially.
I wonder how opinionated he'd be.
I wonder if he'd be politically active or just a reliable voter.
I wonder where he'd have served his mission.
I wonder if his children would have his freckles or his mouth.
I wonder if he'd still love sports.
I wonder if we'd still stick up for each other.

I don't wonder where he is or if I'll see him again.
I don't wonder if he knows how much we love him and miss him.

I love you, Bruce. Even after all this time, you are still missed.

Random Valentine's Day

So Mr. White managed to make my Valentines Day great--even from San Antonio. He finished my book, gave me See's chocolates and a sweet phone call. Lucky me.

I got a great letter from my missionary--filled with wonderful experiences and his sense of humor that I love.

After 20 months, I got to talk face to face with our informally adopted Turkish son. Isn't Skype great? He's still cute, sweet, and completely un-self-conscious about sharing his life and telling us he loves us. Wish he was here for good!

The other three kids and I enjoyed a little Valentine's Day treat at The Chocolate. This is the bakery/cafe I would have owned if I'd ever owned a bakery with a storefront. Mmmm!!!

Veronica started working on "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever.

I got to chat with a couple of good friends online and on the phone. Woo hoo!.

I got my 100th follower on this blog.

My flowers from the book release party still look beautiful.

My eye only twitched a couple of times.

I'd say it was a pretty good day. Hope yours was too!

Goodbye to a Great Conductor

Yesterday Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan retired. He left the game as the longest-tenured coach in any of the major professional sports. He had an impressive winning record and was known as an old-school coach. He based his program on hard work, loyalty, respect and class. He made his players work hard and look dignified (as much as you can with the insane amount of tattoos some of them have). He had rules. You come on time, you work hard, you tuck in your shirt, and you don't clutter up the game with armbands and headbands and other "stylish" gear.

Some of us appreciated that. For years he had players who responded to that method. They worked hard and were tough. They ran the plays and got the job done. They listened and they learned.

I watched tonight's game with interest. Would it be the same team? Would all the rumors about Deron Williams wanting to run a different kind of offense show us a different kind of team?

I love basketball and I've been a fan of the Utah Jazz for a long, long time. I remember when Jerry Sloan took over for Frank Layden. I remember when Tyrone Corbin was a player on the team. I want Corbin and the Jazz to win. I want them to go to the playoffs and someday I'd like to see them win a title. I hoped it would happen for Sloan. I hoped he'd be named Coach of the Year at some point during his career. I think he deserved it.

In fairness, Corbin has been head coach for just over a day. I don't blame tonight's loss on him. But if tonight was an indication of the direction Deron Williams has been wanting to take the team, I wasn't impressed.

Sure, they got off to a great start. There was a lot of emotion. There was a lot to prove. They had arguably their best first quarter of the season. But they couldn't sustain it. They hardly had any pick and rolls--a Sloan staple. They didn't appear to be running any set plays. They settled for streetball with dozens of outside shots. Everyone knows that you can't settle for only outside shots. The second half we had no inside game. Al Jefferson had only 4 points.

An orchestra doesn't sound good if there's no conductor to keep everyone doing what they're supposed to be doing. A team needs a coach that can conduct the game. If the players aren't listening or don't allow the coach to direct the team, they'll be out of sync and their performance will suffer. Deron Williams and any other player who thinks they know more than the coach should save their vast knowledge for the day when they're the coach. If they earn that opportunity.

I wish Corbin luck and hope that the egos can be set aside so he'll be allowed to coach. He learned from one of the best coaches of all time and if the players will follow his lead, they might very well succeed.

Gifted Book Release Party

The Release Party for Gifted was a great success. We had about 200 people come, in spite of a blizzard. Thanks to Shannon and Marsha for hosting the party and to all the family and friends who provided food. You wouldn't have believed the spread of food.
Veronica, Savannah and Kayla sold books.

Marsha and Shannon kept the food stocked and managed the give-aways--A jar of M&Ms and two See's gift certificates.

My husband and neighbor both gave me flowers. Luckily, they looked beautiful together.

Julie Higginson shared an excerpt from the book and then I answered questions. There is no picture of me answering questions because I've discovered that when I talk, my face becomes distorted.
The house was wonderful. Such a great place to host a large group.

It was great to see old friends, neighbors, lots of family and even some people I didn't know.

Travis was a combination of host, babysitter and errand runner. He'd just come in from the blizzard.
My girls with Aunt Leslie, the official party photographer. She did a great job. The only thing she didn't do that I'd requested, was make me look tall and thin. Oh well, I'm sure she did her best.

It was a wonderful evening and Gifted is officially released! If you don't have yours yet, you can get it at Amazon.com or come and see me at the Lehi Costco on Saturday. I'll be there from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. so stop by, pick up a book and say hello.

Don't Forget the Party!



Don't forget the Release Party for Gifted.
Address: 4014 Sawgrass, Cedar Hills, UT
Day and Time: Monday, February 7, 2011, 6-9 p.m. (Open house--come when you can)
Signed books available for sale at a pre-release discount.
Games, prizes & refreshments.
Reading from book and Q&A at 7:30.
Please bring friends, family, or your entire book club group! Everyone is invited!

Thanks, Shannon and Marsha, for hosting this and all those who are helping with food. I'm honored!

I hope to see many old friends and meet many new ones. Come on out and say hi!

Carl Bloch Exhibit - Don't Miss It!

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art has an exhibit of the art of Carl Bloch. On display are five huge altar pieces that were brought from Europe, the first time they've been displayed in the United States.

I had the privilege of seeing this exhibit in November and am looking forward to taking my family before it ends on May 7. It is stunning.

There is nothing quite like seeing the work of an artist in person. The colors, the cracking paint, the expressions captured were awe-inspiring. The Savior is depicted so beautifully and so emotionally. It took my breath away.

In addition to the altar pieces, there are other pieces of his art, large and small. Please take your family to see this incredible exhibit. Seeing art like this is a privilege and you'll leave feeling enriched and inspired.

That Was a Close Call!


In 1979, we moved from Utah to Missouri. To get ready for the move, my dad cashed out his retirement savings. He was planning to use the money for the trip to Missouri and for a down payment on a new house. He went to the bank and got seventy-five $100 dollar bills for a total of $7,500 in cash. He put it in a nice stack and secured it with a rubber band.

Then he found a large, old book. He opened the book, took a pencil and drew a line around the stack of money. With an x-acto knife he very carefully cut out a hole the perfect size to hold the money. Satisfied with his work, he closed the book and put it on the shelf. It blended in perfectly. There was no sign of the treasure held inside. It was safe.

A couple of weeks passed and the family began packing for the move. As we packed we sorted the things we wanted to take with us into one place and the things we didn’t want any more into another place. A week or so before the move, we had a huge yard sale to sell the things we didn’t want.

The day of the yard sale came and people came from miles away. Many wanted to buy things, but some were just curious to see the old schoolhouse where we lived. During the day a woman bought a box of books. She offered my dad $1.00 and eager to clear everything out, he accepted her offer. After the yard sale was over, we took the rest of the things that hadn’t sold and gave them to Deseret Industries.

Late that afternoon the phone rang. "Hello," Dad said. It was Irene Tisdale, a woman from our ward.

“Hello. I was wondering if you might have sold a book that you didn’t really want to sell.” As soon as she said that, a sick feeling came over Dad and he looked at the shelf to see if the book was still there. It was gone.

“Yes, Irene, I think I sold a book I didn’t want to. You found the $7,500, didn't you?”

“I found it. I have it here. I’ll bring it back to you.”

Dad was so relieved. Irene brought back the book and Dad felt incredibly grateful. He was so glad she was the one who bought the books. And so glad that she'd looked through them that day instead of storing the box away to go through another time. We'd have never known where to begin looking for that book.

Dad took the money out of the book and never tried that trick again.

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On Sports (Especially Basketball)

DISCLAIMER: This is not a true story. This is an article that I wrote a few years ago as a sample for a sports magazine that was looking for stories about women who love sports who are married to men who don't. It's true that I love basketball (go Jazz!) and have loved the Celtics since the Larry Bird era, but I'm married to someone who loves sports even more than I do. And I don't like sushi.
"Yes!" I scream, as I leap triumphantly from the couch, spilling a large bowl of buttered popcorn and Junior Mints to the floor. I pump my fist in the air as enthusiastically as a black-clad goth at a Marilyn Manson concert. Ray Allen has just scored a basket that ensures a victory over my least favorite team in all of sports--the Los Angeles Lakers. If you're a Lakers fan, please don't be angry with me. My heart has belonged to the Boston Celtics since I was a little girl watching the Celtics and Lakers rivalry with my parents and seven brothers. I come by my rabid Lakers loathing honestly.

I look around, searching for someone to share my unbridled joy. My eyes fall on my patient husband, smiling up at me over his laptop from his end of the couch. He's obviously amused. I must admit the smirk he's wearing is rather irritating and I bemoan the fact that I must celebrate this wonderful victory alone. There are many days when I miss the mob mentality of watching a basketball game with a room full of fans just as vocal as me. Instead, here I am, watching a fantastic game with a husband who is now catching up on the news of the day. Not SportsCenter news, but real, the-world-hangs-in-the-balance news.

"Did you see that shot?" I ask, crawling under the coffee table to retrieve the remote control from where it landed during my victory dance.

"Sorry," he says. "I missed it."

"Watch this. It's so great!" I rewind the DVR and watch Ray shoot the beautiful shot again. I sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation, appreciating it as if it were the first time I've seen it. I look over at my husband for what I'm sure will have to be proper awe, given the beauty of the shot.

"Great shot," he says trying to muster up some enthusiasm. Then he turns back to the computer.

"Honey, watch this. Look how he fakes out Kobe," I say, rewinding it again, wanting him to experience the sheer bliss it brings me to see Kobe out-juked.

"That's great." He's seen all he wants to see. He doesn't really care. How he cannot care, I'll never know, but somehow, he really doesn't. He doesn't appreciate a spectacular slam dunk or a perfect jump shot. He probably thinks a triple double is three scoops of double fudge ice cream. He doesn't have the sports attention span to follow the intricate threading of the ball through a court full of players on a beautiful assist. His interest lies elsewhere.

I guess I can't hold it against him. I knew he lacked the sports gene when I married him. I thought it wouldn't matter because of all the other wonderful qualities he has. Most of the time, that thinking is right. I love him for many other reasons, but every once in awhile, usually during March or June, I long to have a fellow fan share the room with me. I want to cheer WITH someone, not IN FRONT OF someone. I want the outcome of the big game to cause adrenalin to pump through his veins the way it does mine. I want him to love Ray Allen as much as I do and despise Kobe Bryant with my same passion.

But alas, it is not to be. So I'll continue to politely listen as he describes mergers and takeovers and economic woes. I'll watch the news with him, trying to pay attention to the anchorman while I watch the all-important scores scroll across the bottom of the screen. I'll let SportCenter be my guilty pleasure as I watch highlights over and over while I fold the laundry. I'll attend the occasional game in person with a friend or one of my brothers and try not to feel guilty that I'm having such a great time without my husband.

And then I'll meet my husband after the game for sushi, something we both enjoy.