Thursday, July 31, 2008

Think before you quote...

I heard a funny story yesterday on the radio. I hope it doesn't offend anyone who has pre-teenage girls. Apparently, Miley Cyrus is in a bit of a celebrity feud with another Disney actress named Selena. Miley was making fun of Selena and it got out of hand. In her attempt to apoligize, she goes on the record as quoting, "It's like Elvis says, 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.'" She also attributes another famous quote, 'I have a dream' to Elvis. So, I have a few quotes of my own for Billy Ray and his ditzy daughter. "Get a life". One filled with education, not just blonde wigs and tight jeans. I don't care how good you look on stage or sound on the radio. If you are going to be a role model for the next generation of young women, think about what you say before you say it. I love Elvis as much as the next person, maybe even more than some, but I also know who said "I have a dream". So do my daughters, and so does my son. If you're going to be America's sweetheart, learn a little more about your country, darlin'.

***You'll notice I didn't post a photo of the divine Ms. Montana. If you don't know what she looks like, check out the May issue of Vanity Fair. You don't even want me to get started on that one!

"Joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea...Joy to you and me..."

'Slippin' away, sittin' on a pillow, waitin' for night to fall. Slippin' away, sittin' on a pillow, this is the night to go to the celebrity ball.' It was over 40 years ago today, that Three Dog Night started to play. Saturday night was our chance to step back in time for a few hours and just enjoy a few good "Old Fashioned Love Songs' and some pretty hot rock-and-roll! You'll notice that we opted out of wearing anything polyester or psychedelic, but it didn't matter. The other 2000 people we spent the evening with made up for our lack of 70's style. I have never seen so much tie-dye and black-fringed leather in my life, not to mention most people in the crowd were also sporting the same hairstyles they wore back in '72. My excitement over having free tickets turned to ecstacy when we found out that 'VIP' means 2nd row back from the stage. They were close enough to touch, and I'm pretty sure I made eye contact with one of the lead singers at least once, if not twice. The two ladies in front of us were from Minnesota. This was their 64th Three Dog Night Concert. I found it interesting that they were wearing earplugs. They were very entertaining to watch, especially when one lost her oxygen tank and had to be re-hooked up! Phillip was a good sport. He doesn't normally go in for big crowds or deafening music, but I know he loved every minute of it! His jumping up and down was my first clue! Several times I had to calm him down! They only sang 3 songs we didn't know, which is great, so we could sing along to all the rest. They may be old, but they can still sing, and sing they did, for an entire hour and a half! From the opening strains of "Family of Man", "Shambala" and "Never Been to Spain" to the double encore of "Eli's Coming" and "Joy to the World" it was one rockin' hot evening for the over-the-hill Joy and Phil. I was glad they saved those last two songs for the end. It was almost like being in the labor and delivery room almost 7 years ago when our own 'Eli's Coming' made his entrance to the world. The only difference between then and now was the fact that this time the music was MUCH louder and I wasn't stoned out on painkillers!
(I had the disctinct impression that my brother would have loved being at the concert with us. I practically raised him on Three Dog Night. Something tells me he was right there by my side!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You Don't Have to Push A Handcart...

When I was a young girl, my mother made me a black cotton dress for a Pioneer Day Parade. I wore it proudly with a matching bonnet as I marched around the neighborhood. In my minds' eye, pioneers skipped across the plains, singing as they went. They cooked over fires, square-danced at night and slept under the stars. For a five year old girl, the pioneer life sounded glamourous, straight out of Bonanza. I dreamed of being a pioneer. Little did I realize that my pioneer dreams would one day come to pass. Last year on July 23-25th, my husband and I participated in a trek to Martin's Cove, Wyoming. For three days we were 'ma' and 'pa' to nine teenagers. While I was excited for the opportunity, I was apprehensive; scared, in fact, afraid of the unknown. Friends told me horror stories of blowing wind, unbearable heat, and endless walking. Still sound like Bonanza? No. And since the realities of being a pioneer contrasted with my childhood daydreams, would I make the journey anyway? Yes. Knowing this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I boarded the bus to Wyoming.

Over the course of the next three days there was plenty of time to contemplate what the true pioneers experienced. Being a pioneer wasn't just about fun times, but it was also about very hard times. Times of leaving family and friends behind. Times of walking many miles every day. Times of eating minimul rations, if at all. Times of burying loved ones in frozen graves and then continuing wearily onward. These were the times that tried pioneer's souls as they made their way to Zion.
Our transportation for the trail was a simple handcart, energized only by those willing to push or pull. No worries of rising gas prices here. Just lace up your shoes and get moving. We loaded it with 5 gallon buckets carrying personal provisions and started our thirteen and a half mile walk across the plains of Wyoming.

The scenery is stark. Sage brush and sand for as far as the eye can see. Blue sky above and a hot sun beating down. I felt like a flaming map of the Ponderosa Ranch. One afternoon I spotted a mother dear and her fawn, a reminder that had I been a true pioneer, they might have been my dinner. Pulling the handcarts wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The boys in our family were amazing. We called them the Clydedales because they kept a steady pace the entire time, barely breaking a sweat. From time to time we would trade and take turns. As the days became longer and hotter, the cart got slower and heavier. I realized that had I been a true pioneer, this would have been my life from sunup to sundown, every day until I reached my destination. I was going home in 3 short days. There was hope on the horizon.

A traditional part of trek experiences is "The Women's Pull". The boys in the company are taken away and the women are left to pull their handcarts up a steep, rocky hill. This was my personal challenge. Finding strength to do something that I had always thought would be hard. In a long dress, no less. I kept wishing Little Joe would ride up and rescue me.

With no hope of that on the horizon, my woman's pull began. Four teenage girls shared their strength and together our handcart made it to the top. My heart swelled with pride as I watched my own daughter push and pull with her trek family and come out smiling. We did it! The challenge had been met. For now and for the future, I know we can do hard things!

The Sweet Water River was a refreshing sight in the middle of sand and sagebrush. My feet were aching for relief in the cool water. Members of the Martin Handcart Company were forced to cross here when ice chunks were floating down the river in temperatures well below zero. They say in extraordinary times there are no ordinary people. That day I stood where 4 extraordinary young men stood. My feet were burning with heat. Their feet were burning from the cold as they patiently carried mother and daughter, father and son across the water until all were safe on the other side. Would the boys in my trek family have been that courageous? The answer. Yes. Would my small son find a time in his life to display that kind of strength? I hope so. I hope he can be a pioneer courageous as he goes through life, facing hard times, and coming out stronger on the other side.
The steps I took through Martin's Cover were some of the hardest I have ever taken. It was 105 degrees, and my water bottle was empty. I walked on hallowed ground, the same ground where the Martin Handcart Company was stranded in a blizzard. The temperature was eleven below zero, even colder with the wind chill. Food and water were sparse, four ounces of flour a day per person. They slept under the stars on the frozen ground. They would bury their dead in the snow, and then watch the wolves devour the bodies. My steps were heavy as I pondered if I would have been found worthy to be among those faithful pioneers. I hope so.

I think a lot about the little girl in the black dress. She has come a long way from neighborhood parades. This experience gave me a new source of strength. It came not from cowboy heroes, but real people, pioneers courageous. I learned something from those who traveled that same road so many years ago. We are all pioneers, taking life one step at a time with strength and courage, sometimes sacrificing, always serving. And with the trials and hardships, there will always be hope on the horizon...a future where we can say, "All is well."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summertime is Watertime!

Don't you just love little boys and water? It's one of my favorite combinations! Yesterday after a hot t-ball game, in which Eli made two great plays (an out at 2nd and an out at 1st), and also beaned his coach in the arm with a ball he threw from out in centerfield, we had a few teammates over for some cooling off! Our slip-n-slide is called "The Banzai" and Eli's expression says it all!

Note to viewers: You know your son is on his way to true man-hood when he and his buddy start 'belly-bumping' over funny jokes and guy stuff that means nothing to mom! One of my favorite moments was when they both started singing at the top of their lungs, "It's too late to 'poligize'" over and over. Do you think they are exposed to the radio more than necessary?

Throw in a few popsicles for good measure, and everyone goes home happy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Movie Quote Madness

One of the best things about summer evenings and porches and daughters is the random conversations that we engage in. If one of us uses a favorite movie quote in a discussion, we are hooked for hours upon hours, trying to see who can come up with the most difficult quotes to identify. I'm turning a few over to my blogging audience. Guess the movies and then go and watch one. All of them are perfect for summertime--or anytime--viewing. If you get hung up, leave us a comment and we will solve your suspense. GOOD LUCK!

"I got sick on an imported Swiss water once. Do you remember that night? Oh it was awful!"

"Grace has Bob's dead wife's heart."

"Frankie never hit anybody. His people did, but he did not."

"Hey, kids, it's Sammy Sosa."

"Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flowers?"

"The stars will be jealous of you tonight. You're a vision."

"Men should for a club with jerseys. They should have their real names on the front and 'jerk' on the back."

"Why does it always have to be snakes? Why did it have to be snakes?"

" 'ello, Poppit!"

"m-f-e-o. Made for each other."

"I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly."

"Can I borrow your chapstick? My lips hurt real bad."

"Your mom goes to college."

"Do you know what this is?" "Presidential flashcards?" "A bonus" "Do you know why?" "i have no idea."

"Houston, we have a problem."

"Sunshine is for Cali-i-for-nia."

"Does the term cruel and unusual punishment mean anything to you?"

"Attitude reflect leadership, captain."

"Who's your daddy, Jerry?"

"Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

"Dismount the bannister."

"I see you brought the little bobbies down upon us."

"You're killin' me, Smalls!"

"He looks like a dead fish. Yeah, yeah, he looks pretty crappy."

"Big Chief. The best."

"Operation Gastro-Castro."

"I have gas. Lots of gas."

"You are a toy. You are a child's plaything. You are a sad, strange little man. And you have my pity."

"Hey, dad, do you want to play catch?"

"Baseball is the only game on earth where the object is to get back home."

"There's no crying in baseball."

"Stand up, your father's passing."

"I asked him to come inside and bust up a chiffarobe."

"Eunice, that's a person named Eunice?"

"Who are they gonna believe? The lady in the tub, or the man with his pants down?"

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." "That's the stupidest line I've ever heard."

"Bannister, as in sliding down the..."

"I simply cannot say. I am reticent at this time. My husband will wish to investigate."

"You don't do that to another carnie, fella."

"I could never be with someone who owns a boat." "I own a boat." "Well, then that clinches it."

"Oh, look, we've got a comedian in the house. What did you do? Have clown for breakfast?"

"You know the problem with you? You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie."

"Nacho? Taco? Burrito? No, I want a hot dog-o!"

"Nobody puts baby in a corner."

"Good party. No whiskey. We go now!"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Celebrate, Celebrate, Dance to the Music...

This is the best story ever! And it just gets better and better. Bear with me. Six and a half years ago, when I was in the operating room, being prepped for my c-section, Phillip and one of my doctors, who happened to be in our stake presidency at the time, were having a 'man - to - man' conversation while awaiting the MAIN EVENT! Here's how the dialogue went: "Hey, Phil, are you excited to have a son?" "Yeah, Ty, it's going to be great. Baseball, basketball, football, hunting, fishing, surfing, all the guy stuff I haven't done before with just girls in the house." About this time, my real doctor, a woman, arrives and says, "Let's get this party started. Do you have a name picked out for this boy?" Phillip says, "We are thinking Elijah, but we will call him Eli." Don't forget, in the midst of all the clever reparte I'm the one being sliced open and torn apart, but no, I'm not included in this conversation. Anyway, back to story. So, our stake presidency member/doctor say, "Well, Eli's coming right now. It reminds me of a song from THREE DOG NIGHT. I was listening to it in my truck this morning." And before you know it, the entire operating bursts into song, singing "Eli's Coming". Not to be outdone, my other doctor, the woman, says, "Let's not forget who's giving birth's Joy" and she starts singing "Joy to the World" one of my personal Three Dog Night favorites, for obvious reasons. By the time Eli made his arrival, everyone in the operating room was rockin' and boppin' at one of the hottest parties in the planet. Phillip even went so far as to buy me a Three Dog Night Greatest Hits cd as my reward for giving him a son. We listen to it often on car trips and Eli always says, "Tell me the story again about 'Eli's Coming'." Today, a radio station that I used to work for was talking about the upcoming Three Dog Night concert in Idaho Falls July 26th. I decided to e-mail them my story since they were totally making fun of the song 'Eli's Coming'. Guess what? They gave me free tickets to the concert! I AM SO PSYCHED! Back in my pre-teenage angst days, I would sit in my room for hours, listening to Three Dog Night. I knew I would someday be proposed to with "Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song" playing in the background, (didn't happen!) I rocked out to "Shambayla", dreamed of traveling after hearing "Never Been to Spain", and of course, claimed "Joy to the World" as my own theme song. To coin a much over-used phrase, "dreams do come true!" Joy Sorensen, what are you doing on July 26th? (Not going to Disneyland, although that would be another dream come true!) I'm going to Three Dog Night! Now if I can only find something polyester and psychedelic from the 70's to wear. Hopefully, Phillip will also have enough time to grow his hair out into some really funky rock-star style!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A few of my new favorite things...

The ABSOLUTE best tennis match I have ever witnessed! Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal fought valiantly to the bitter end. My favorite parts: Nadal when he falls flat on his back on the court after beating Federer, followed closely by the classy Roger in prep-school perfection...his post-match clothing reminded me of a commercial, "The romance...the beauty...the world of Ralph Lauren." His sportsmanship off-court was genuine and classy as well. Both men deserve to be called champions!

Only 30 more days until the 2008 Olympics. This is a major event at our house. We are literally counting down the minutes! We don't leave our tv, except for showering and sleeping, unless there's a 'must-see' event on at 2:00 in the morning. We have already requested for our friends to bring in food so we don't have to cook for two weeks! Our favorite events...swimming and track and field. Our favorite competitor to watch? Duh! Michael Phelps! He is perfection in AND out of the pool!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Delightful Read...

My new friend Kim, a kindred spirit I have fondly nick-named, "the provider of all things good" shared an amazing book with me last week. Years ago it was on one of my recommended reading lists, but for whatever reason, I never got around to actually reading it. Well, for two days last week, I spent some magically wonderful moments with the young Cassandra Mortmain, a rising young author. Her essence of youth brings a fresh remembrance of what it was like to be 17 and in love, and confused, and excited over the simplest of pleasures. The book is I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith and it is DEFINITELY a must read. J.K. Rowling says, "This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met." and I have to agree. It was simply charming. It reminds me of a book by Julie Edwards, (or as some may know her, Julie Andrews, or everyone's favorite nanny, Mary Poppins) called MANDY, another delightful summer read. And if you're looking for something else about a young girl's coming-of-age, try UP A ROAD SLOWLY by Irene Hunt. Many thanks to Kim for bringing something deliciously calorie-free to my door! To all my reading friends out there in cyber-space, I am passing the gift on to you. ENJOY!

A Family Tradition

Every year for the 4th of July we get shaved ice from the Sno Shack. Every year I take a picture of my kids on the porch eating their sweet summer treats. This year, I'm sharing that sweetness with my bloggin' friends. Flavor recommendations for 2008...Whitney went with Creamsicle, Cassidy was Raspberry with Peach, and Eli selected the ever-popular Pokemon. Everyone added cream on top for an even tastier treat! If you haven't had one yet this summer, go today. Don't wait one more minute. It's one of those 'must have' tastes of the season that needs to be savored. Not just once, but again, and again, and again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Favorite New Quote...

..."Some of my worst mistakes in life have been haircuts." Jim Morrison

Don't you just LOVE IT?

Happy Birthday America!

Once again, it's time for my favorite holiday of the year! Who doesn't love parades and picnics, snowcones and sparklers, friends and fireworks! This year is no exception! I always get goosebumps the night before thinking of the fun that is just around the corner. We have spent years past getting engaged underneath the fireworks, starting Whitney's hair on fire with her first sparkler experience, celebrating with neighbors at the Harris' Driveway of Fire, (now an Idaho tradition as well!) visiting the Freedom Flags display and eating Reed's Dairy ice cream cones, and hanging with the cousins at the park, playing cards until the Melaleuca Freeom Festival Fireworks burst into the skies. If you haven't witnessed this, you need to make a trip to Idaho Falls sometime soon! I know of a great family who would host you for this holiday! Wherever you and yours end up, take a moment to look into the skies and offer a silent prayer of gratitude for what a great country we do have. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else!
And for your listening pleasure, Joy's Patriotic Playlist:
Back in the USA, Chuck Berry; Living in America James Brown; R.O.C.K in the USA, John Cougar Mellencamp; Courtesty of the Red, White, and Blue, Toby Keith; America, Ray Charles; America from West Side Story, RIta Moreno; (We're Coming to) America, Neil Diamond, or our personal favorite, David Archuleta; America, Simon and Garfunkel or Josh Groban; Right Here, Right Now, Jesus Jones; Miss America, Styx; (for Whitney's friend Elise Davis, the new Miss Idaho and now heading to the MIss America pageant); Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, Alan Jackson; The Star Spangled Banner, Whitney Houston; God Bless America, (by our favorite Canadian) Celine Dion; The 1812 Overture by ANYONE; The Battle Hymn of the Republic, ONLY by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; God Bless the USA, Lee Greenwood; Surfin' USA or anything else by the Beach Boys; and just because I like it, Spirit in the Sky, Howard Greenbaum.

Runaway Moms...

I've decided to start a new reality show. I'm calling it "Runaway Moms". The premise is simple. Families wake up one morning to find their wife/mom--GONE! She has been whisked away to a tropical island where she will spend 7 days in pampering heaven. Manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, gourmet foods, (none which will cause weight gain!) tasteful entertainment, and relaxing sunsets on the beach. The family is left behind with a Super-Nanny-like trainer who drills the family boot-camp style in 'mom appreciation' skills. When mom returns relaxed and refreshed, family members are on their knees, worshipping her arrival, vowing never again to leave toys on the floor, spill milk on the counter, violate curfews, or forget to take the clothes out of the dryer. In short, they begin to honor her like royalty. After all, we are the Queen Mothers, and deserve to treated as such!