Friday, December 23, 2011

Stupid Prezi ate my newsletter.

I've been working on a Prezi newsletter for the past month that when finished would have family photos, cool captions, little blurbs of our life, and a dizzying visual effect, but...

Stupid Prezi ate my newsletter. That's not entirely accurate. The last few times I brought it up to edit it for final touches, Prezi took FOREVER to load and then froze my computer long enough for me to throw my hands in the air and declare the battle a loss. You win, Prezi. You win.

So here I am, back at my trusty blogger site. I'm just going to give the low-down of my family right here. Where it's safe. And the words don't spin and dip while you read them. (I'm pretty sure the Prezi version would've made my grandma want to hurl.)

So guess who's progeny is into Harry Potter now? Mine. Ugh. How did this happen?
We'll start with Layne. She's 7 and asked me what a period was the other day, so I'm pretty sure she's growing up too damn fast. I mean she graduated from kindergarten in May, for Dr. Seuss' sake! She shouldn't be asking me about that stuff until she's old enough to find Mr. Darcy the most attractive fictional character in print. (And bonus points if she finds him doubly attractive as a zombie-fighting aristocrat.)
Captain Underpants. At least he got over that slight slip of the tongue when he would pronounce "truck" like a very very bad word.

Then there's Gavin. He's 3, almost 4, and is in a punching phase right now. To recap he's also experienced the "spitting phase", "growling phase", "wearing-nothing-but-underwear-all-day" phase, "wearing-only-batman-and-superman-jammie-tops phase", and "threatening-to-hit-you-in-the-face-if-you-don't-turn-on-Toy-Story-right-now phase". He can revert back into any one of these phases depending on his mood and my mood. I just know to clear outta there when he growls, "Hulk Smash".

bad family photos 2011
Cole next. He started blogging a little bit on the side at Political Z-search and Z? I'm not mad! He was also a Payson correspondent for the Daily Herald for 5 months this year and still works full-time for the UVU Library. He got a dog in the summer, which we affectionately named William the Bloody after this William the Bloody, but nick-named him Spike. Unfortunately, right after Cole gave Spike his first bath, Spike has attached himself to me like a feisty Mexican parasite. (Did I mention Spike's part Chihuahua?) Now Spike spends most of his time trying to protect me from the strange cacophony coming from the laundry room on laundry day or biting the hem of my jeans while I'm dancing/doing the dishes in the kitchen.

Then there's me. If you don't know anything about what's going on in my life, then you haven't been reading my blog due to a flare up of Amish-itis. What else could it be? Get well soon, for when you do, here's links to some of the highlights of my year:

What's not to love with a mug like that?
Merry Christmas, e-friends and e-family and real friends and real family.

(See this post for something more reverent.)

Til next year. And sorry you have nothing to hang on the fridge this year. I guess if you're that needy, you could simply print this out, but don't hang it up with that Perky Plumber magnet. That's just tacky. And clearly we are one classy bunch.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas: a thank you note

They were good kids this year.
It's no secret that we're struggling financially this year. Aside from our own personal day-to-day money struggles, this year we've endured two pay cuts, a job loss, and an errant paycheck. Even without all that drama, I'm a part-time teacher and a writer, for Benjamin's sake. Money is always tight. And Cole has a job with great health insurance (I'm not kidding. It's like he works for the military), but the whole university on a raise-freeze, and there's no opportunities for advancement.

On top of all that we have been trying to eliminate debt. We sold a car to avoid the payment and now spend much of our time bumming rides off our friends--who, I'm sure given a little more time being forced to sit in a vehicle with us during the 20 minute commute, will be soon cured of their toleration for us.

The truth is we've spent several years in a financial rut, and are probably secretly known by our friends and family members as "the charity cases". Even our yard was donated by my mother. And when the washer broke two weeks ago (a 3rd hand washer that I bought off of my sister for a reduced reduced price almost a decade ago), I did wash at my mom's house until luckily and thankfully my grandmother offered to pay for the repairs. One friend bought me an entire Florida vacation for next month, and another offered to pay for a week's worth of hotel costs for a vacation in March. (I turned it down because the plane ticket was too much.) My brother-in-law bought presents for my kids when he heard of our struggles and my colleague bought me a pedicure soak kit (and Lords of Mary Kay know I need it). Clearly, I'm blessed with an awesome family and some kick-ass friends.

My miracle baby. True story.
Anyway, we've had hard Christmases before, but not like this one. My present budget for each of the kids was cut to 1/4 of what I usually spend each year, which wasn't a whole lot to begin with. I found some second-hand stuff, and Cole and I barely got anything for ourselves, instead pushing our funds into the kids' budget. Then when one of my paychecks went AWOL, I thought we were definitely screwed.

But...

Last week we discovered that our family was chosen to be the recipients of the Twelve Days of Christmas. The first day we found a bag of pears on the doorstep. The next day at bag of Dove chocolates and Turtle bars. Each day something fun showed up on our doorstep. The children and I eagerly anticipate that nightly doorbell chime. While the kids bolt to the door and Gavin tries desperately to twist the deadbolt open, I always take my time, because I want our secret Santas to have a chance to get away. I don't want to ruin their surprise.

Yes, he is wearing a batman shirt over his superman shirt. That's how we roll, folks.
I don't know if the family helping us has any intentions of revealing their identity, but if they don't, I need them to know how grateful we are.

Every time I give the kids a bath and pour a little of the apple-scented bubble bath from the Seventh Day of Christmas (swans-a-swimming) and watch their little faces light up at the cascades of bubbles or see them make bubble-beards and say "HO HO HO", my heart swells with gratitude.

Every time I pour milk into Elayna's oatmeal or fill Gavin's sippy cup with day 8's Maids-a-Milking gallon of skim milk, I'm reminded of how blessed we are to have people in our lives who care. Who noticed our suffering and literally provided the milk of human kindness.

Christmas play pose.
And as I hid away some of the goodies and tucked the hula hoop away before the kids saw it, I'm thankful to have something to fill stockings with or one more thing to put under the tree on Christmas Eve for my kids. My Christmas angels gave us a little more Christmas this year.

 
The spirit of Christmas is about giving, after all. I don't know if my kids appreciate it as much as they should. I mean they didn't get teary-eyed at the bag of 5 golden doughnuts or choke up at the sight of 4 calling holiday Peeps like I did, but I'll teach them to see the beauty in giving.

My biggest wish of all this season is not for new shoes.
Or a phone that my students won't make fun of because of because it predates MTV.
Or even that my kids aren't disappointed on Christmas.

Thank you and Merry Christmas! Love, the Smitheys
My biggest wish of all is that one day I can be in a position to give the way our Twelve Days of Christmas family gave to us this year. I hope we can change someone's life too.

Thank you so much.

Rena and Family

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Americans could be like frogs, and is it ever a good time to kick an old woman? Hilter says "yes".


We're reading Fahrenheit 451 in my junior English class, (side note: it's taken me like 5 years to finally spell Fahrenheit right without a squiggly misspelled indicator under it. Same thing with onomatopoeia) and as I started reading it, learning about how the government has firemen to burn books, I wondered how the devil the government decided it would be a good idea to burn literature. What happened to America that it's problems resulted in the incineration of literature. So, naturally, I had my students discuss and write on it.

I wrote about it too. Here's what I came up with during the Scribble:

Any government with plans to keep their people in line could come to the conclusion of burning books. Controlling which histories are made public and stifling literature that expresses free thought are not new concepts. It's been done for years. Fascists. Nazis. Communist Russia, and for goodness sake the whole Israeli/ Palestinian conflict is the he said-she said argument. So the idea of this happening doesn't surprise me. But I am shocked that it happened in America (Bradbury's fictional dystopian America, that is.)

Would Americans fall for that garbage? That book burning is acceptable and the best solution to a national problem? Would they reject literature and history because some ruler suggested it?! I don't think so.

However, I'm thinking what would really happen is Americans would be lured into giving up higher-level thinking in exchange for the brain-fodder that is reality TV or other mindless sources of entertainment. It's like that old frog story. You can't cook a frog by throwing it into a pot of boiling water, b/c it will jump out. But if you put it in tepid water and start boiling it, the frog will stay there and boil to death before realizing what happened. This is how it would happen in the US.

So how would this evil government do it? They start with the kids.
Convincing the children or new generations that burning books is a worthwhile undertaking would be easy if the government started brainwashing the kids at an early age. Infancy perhaps. They would simply need to endoctrinate them with the billboards of persuasive (pathos-based) arguments. I can picture a PSA that showed students reading books and some minor-chord angry guitar playing as a soundtrack. Then later those "free-thinking" rebel readers are seen kicking an old woman on dialysis. They'd have to go for the heart, and leave out the logic with ads like that. Down with books!, they'd chant. And somehow link reading to cancer and the hunger problems in America.

If you've never read Fahrenheit 451, I highly recommend it. Also, for the younger audience, try Ally Condie's Matched. It explores a similar concept in a similar world.

In Matched, Cassia lives in a world where everything is decided for her because of statistical probabilities researched by the Society. The Society chooses what clothes she wears, which foods are in her diet, and how much she eats, what recreational activities she may participate in, and even who she marries. But when a strange mix up occurs on the day of her Matching, Cassia begins to wonder if maybe the Society got some predictions wrong. It's brilliantly plotted and fast fun twist on a world like Bradbury's in Fahrenheit 451. I give it 4 stars.
Ally Condie just before signing a copy of Matched

Plus, her sequel Crossed is now available too.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

You know you want one.

I just got one of these super cute hats from Lettilu for my daughter's Christmas present. She is going to love it. I would've had her model it, but she has to wait until Dec. 25th to see it.

But fortunately, you have me to do the modeling, eh? Yes, they say modeling could've been my 8th career. And by "they" I mean "me and my highly controversial and often debated, warped perception of myself". But you don't have to take my word for it. The proof is in the pictures, baby!
Oh yeah! Sickly, angular pose! "Gimme lame teenage profile pic!" You got it!

Sweet duck-lips pose. Dang that's a cute hat. I shoulda got it for me.

I know you prefer the photos of me in the hat, but here's the item solo. Love it. 
Get yours at Lettilu before the holidays! [click me for fb link]

Friday, November 25, 2011

Craftering is hard.

I'm crafty.
And not in the sneaky way. Wait...yes, in the sneaky way, but also in the Martha Stewart-y way. Except mine usually turns out like Stewart's prison years stuff. Anyway, I saved my Christmas cards from last year and made these this year. Super fun. and EASY. Easy even for a craft-gimp like me.

Christmas Card Houses

I think they look better with the longer roof.

Anyone recognize the card you sent me last year?

Looks kind like Mater is the angel. I'm sure that's just what God wanted this scene to look like.
Closed house

See. You can put goodies inside. Guess what your Christmas cookies are coming in this year, neighbors? THIS HOUSE!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

My brain threw up some words tonight.



(This is fiction. I was reading Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer, and this just sort fell outta my head onto "paper".)
 

Jane reached her car, fumbled with the keys, and let her thumb hover over the unlock button. Her heartbeat drowned out the sounds of the street, masking even the faint rush of the ocean as it caressed the shoreline behind her. She knew she should leave. That her next move should be to get into the car, start the ignition, pull out of the parking lot and never look back. When she reached her destination (a ranch-style home, a pug, a wall of neatly framed pictures with the frozen smiles of people from her life, a husband, a job) she'd find a way to slip back into the routine of things. It wouldn't be easy. It would never be easy again, knowing that she'd chosen logic over passion. But what else could she do? She was settled.

She closed her eyes tightly, and inhaled. Their parting hug left remnants of his scent on her clothes; one part diner food two parts sandalwood.

Couldn't she somehow make a logical argument for the need to act on emotions? Emotions never got a fair fighting chance? Not for Jane. She didn't let emotions interfere with her choice of colleges. She didn't let emotions intercede when she allowed herself to courted by and later married to the firm's finest up-and-coming prosecuting attorney. She didn't let emotions butt-in when they decided not to adopt when natural-born children became a non-option. Didn't she owe it to herself to make at least one life choice purely on emotion? True, logic had provided a home and husband and dog and job, but not love.


What waited for her back behind the counter of the diner was a choice based entirely on emotion. After everything, he deserved better, Jane thought with certainty, but he still wanted her. She tried to remember the details of their final embrace, every nuance, how she trembled at the gentleness of his touch, his breath on her ear, the whispered longing, and that lump that rose from her gut into her throat and burned still.


She turned, looked over the tops of the cars lined next to hers and stared at the horizon. The sun dipped its toe into the ocean, and the water welcomed its touch, reflecting back crests of gold. As the two grew nearer, the water ignited streamers of fire, and it seemed as if they belonged together. The ocean was bland, tepid, and lonely until its lover returned to awaken a flame within.

Her eyes wandered to the diner. She could make out his figure, watching her from behind the glass. That stupid orange shirt. A name tag. Chocolaty brown hair spiked with reckless abandon. Two leather wristbands. There was nothing logical about him.

His eyes fixed on her, the pleading clear even from a distance. Jane slipped both hands into her blazer pockets and licked her lips. They felt rough, textured. Lonely.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's no wonder there's lots of malpractice suits out there

Think of your own caption. I just saw it and thought, "It's the Lego version of the opening scene of The Stand." I'm not sure how that fits with this post, but humor me. 
I just got my records from the doctors. I needed them for research for my weight loss memoir, and I kid you not, that whole cliche about docs having really bad handwriting is a true story.

Here's my interpretation of one of the notes:

Repressive got gain since 1st pregnancy. [Could be "Progressive wt. gain", but it sure felt repressive.]
& aus when act fishy [I do tend to break out my Australian accent when I act suspiciously.]
OCS Nevier pregnancy.
Stings @ rm Ha non. [He's making this part up, right?]
I revived a hve sitreateion (analysis
and adenied against NRC for
a treatment of AUB fincially
on liyner of denic pregnancy.
Instead, I recommended reat
for insulin resistance-->see
actended cursity sheet fr details
of counseling ink. Spent 25 min
of a nun appt counseling
zp: 1. chis compler nener
2. ohevity [obesity?]
3. puhance insulin resistance.
Man: /fasting glucen/lyrics/cr + [I know what this chicken scratch means. He ordered me a nasty flat orange soda glucose test. Yeck.]


I can't wait to talk to the dr. who wrote all this. I can't take heads or tails of most of it. But apparently at one point I had some problems with "liyner of denic pregnancy." I don't know what that is, but it sure sounds bad.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A peek into my Christmas stash

Layne's been really worried that Santa won't be bringing her anything this year, because of all the times she's been bad. (Seriously, she had a melt-down once because a kindergartener on her bus ambush-kissed her on the lips. She thought that made them somehow married. I don't where she gets this stuff. *cough* Disney.) We've talked to her about accountability and how if she's sorry for stuff that she did wrong (really wrong, none of this bogus 5-yo-kissed-me stuff) and makes amends, then Santa and God will forgive her. But alas, her severe anxiety keeps her up most nights. Usually she's freaked about zombies and vampires being real, but now it's Jolly old St. Nick who keeps her up at night. I say, she has a helluva conscious on her; it's like her Jiminy Cricket is trying to get his "Guilt Trip" merit badge. 

That said, I think she'd be happy to know that "Santa" already got her one thing:

Photographer: "Show me tormented. Yes. Now pout. Perfect."
This super cute hat from Lettilu in hot pink. Also, I ordered it in kids' sizes b/c obviously Layne's bigger than the model in the photo.

They have some of the cutest friggin' hats. I was going to get one for Gavin too, but let's be honest, the boy won't wear hats to save his life. (Let's hope he doesn't have to work on a construction site when he grows up, b/c he prolly won't wear a hard hat either.

This is the Lettilu hat I wish he'd wear:

So cute you could die. I bet the model has a wingman named Goose.

"Who" is the cutest kid ever? Gavin would be in this hat. (Also applaud my "owlsome" owl-humor.)
Check out Lettilu's facebook page, and get some of your Christmas shopping done early. If enough of you like their page, I may be able to arrange a give-away.

I also bought myself some brown suede boots for Christmas at Head Over Heels. I'd show you a pic, but my friend convinced me to wrap them up for Christmas and wait like Santa expects me too. So I'm being a good girl this year, and you'll just have to wait to see 'em in December.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pity Party! (and the bouncy-house of stress)

This pressure crushes,
Emitting tears.
A dream dissolved
Like grey gelatin
In boiling water.

Nails driven into a coffin
Of baked goods,
Stern looks
And an endless battle
Of prattle.

Nails bitten to the flesh,
and a lump of regret
Lodged in the throat.
The lump grows,
Gaining strength from Bile.

Binge.
Binge.
Binge.
Binge.

Comfort food
Tastes salty.
Now the pressure
Comes from within.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Part 1: Take away my closure, why don't cha?

I've been reading my old journals lately for a couple of reasons...

-- The main being to prove I was right about an argument that apparently had developed sometime over the past 12 years without my knowledge or participation, which is WRONG inasmuch as I was a key player in the event that the argument was constructed around. I mean when you find out that someone in your life blamed you for more than a decade about a situation that YOU thought was resolved, you tend to get a little miffed back. Especially when the accuser's details are TOTALLY off. Seriously?! I just...don't know what to say about this. It's so unbelievably NOT TRUE and it just feels like the closure I had was based on a foundation of half-truths and bitterness, rendering that closure invalid! How does that even happen? (whew what a rant, but that's not really what this post is about, I swear.) --

My expression upon hearing this irritating discovery.
and I realized after reading about moments in my life dating back to the early 90's that I've always been memoir-ing. The good news is that I have meticulous records of my life, and can use them to supplement and bolster the weight loss memoir that I'm writing right now. Down 65 lbs, btw. You can cheer and boost my ego in the comments (and also go ahead and mention how right I am about the confusing argument I mentioned earlier. I feed on validation.)

I even wrote out whole conversations word for word, like a script for a play. It's really fun to read the way I spoke back in high school. I am proud to say that I didn't use "like" in my writing as much as I did verbally. Although the habit might come back on account of how rattled I am. (Seriously, I'll get over it in "like" 2 days, b/c it's not that big of a deal. I was only taken off-guard, and once I chill, it'll be no biggie.)

Anyhoo, I gotta get to work. More on this later. I'll even give you an example of a chuck of dialogue that I wrote down from that time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Top 10 Things I Love About My Friends

10. Those who have more are always willing to share. I can't believe how generous and sweet some of them are. (Lisa, Kristin, Shan, and Texy, this one goes out to you.)
9. Debra just knows when I need Twizzlers.
8. I love that I think I know everything about my friends and then the dam breaks, and I learn SO MUCH MORE. (Oui, oui.)
7. When my best friend acts like a jackwagon, he more than makes up for it with a dozen post-it apologizes that make me smile all day long for several days.
6. Some of them are hilarious without realizing it.
5. Some of them get syndicated by BlogHer.
4. Bravery. I swear some of them have done some super brave things with their lives. I hope to have one ounce of their courage. (Nic, a shout out. I love your guts.)
3. Survivors. Some have survived some crazy shit, and I don't know how they do it. I wanna buy 'em all snuggies and hot cocoa.
2. They love a good rant. They can be the listener or the ranter. But either way they are always there for me.






1. They love me too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Thing Under the Bed

(Brandi said I had to preface this story with this explanation: This is a 1st person fictional piece about a kid afraid of something under his bed.)

I knew something was under the bed because it purred when the lights went out as if the darkness stroked it’s tufts of fur, eliciting a meditative rumble in its throat. The sound is soft at first, but grows as the blackness settles on my room. 


I saw the creature’s paw once; a giant baseball mitt with talons that scratched scars at the end of my bed posts. But I’m not afraid, because I’ve learned to sleep with a flashlight ever since I noticed the purring. It doesn’t emerge when the beam of my flashlight pierces holes in the darkness. 


Tonight, I hear a new noise. Something rolling across my wooden floors. I clutch the flashlight beneath my two quilts, and peek out over the layers. The rolling continues, its source slowing. Unafraid, I ready my flashlight and squint into the shadows. I flip the switch on my flashlight. But nothing. 


Then, I made out the shape of the thing that rolled. 


A battery. 


The thing purrs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Steve Jobs is Haunting My Laptop


I write in bed with exactly 3 pillows; two for my lower back and one for my upper back so that there’s a slight recline to the set up. I stick my feet out on the bed and rest my laptop on my lap and type until one of three things happen. 

First, the noise from the other room becomes unbearable. My son has taken to tormenting the dog with his interpretation of what Godzilla sounds like. A metallic shriek. My husband attempts to correct the sound, to which I smile. I only taught Gavin how to do this horribly inaccurate sound because I knew it would drive my Godzilla-fanatic husband crazy that Gavin is “doing it wrong!” Now, I’m paying for it, as I cannot concentrate with the sounds of gargling gravel, which is what my husband’s corrective version of Godzilla sounds like. I put in headphones. 

I pound out another 200ish words before my laptop, a 4-year old dinosaur (and might as well be a typewriter for technology’s sake) burns a hole through my yoga pants. I cover up the scalding patch with pillow number 4, which I keep next to me for this anticipated reason. Sometimes my archaic school-provided laptop blacks out entirely, succumbing to heat exhaustion. Meanwhile Steve Jobs rolls over in his high-tech grave.
I restart the damn thing and go again. Gotta meet that thousand word goal or the writing gods or muses with abandon me for Stephenie Meyer. Again. 

Then, when I’m at a word count of 891, my daughter bounds in onto the bed declares something inaudible, b/c all I can hear is Weezer’s serenades and the muted tap tap tap of the keyboard. I can guess what’s she’s saying though. “I’m hungry, Mom.” Because even though we already fed her dinner, and she ate 2 full helpings and dessert, Elayna always expects Dinner 2.0.

And that’s it. Session over, whether I like it not. Because Hungry Elayna is worse than if Godzilla had shown up at the back door.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I didn't get a photo of Wil Wheaton collating paper, but I got these...

I went to two conferences back-to-back last week. Thursday was a writing conference called Book Academy at UVU, which was AWESOME. I meet some new friends, drank way too much free diet Mt. Dew, and got re-inspired to focus on my memoir.

Plus I got to meet some brilliant authors.

For example, I met critically acclaimed author, Dan Wells. If you've ever met me before, you know that you either love my personality or hate it. I daresay, in the 3 minute conversation I had with Wells, I was banking that he was member of the latter party. I thought that he tolerated me at best...until I saw this photo with his to trigger-fingers covering up the "Not" on his "I am Not a Serial Killer" folder thingy, and it changed my mind. I think we are kindred spirits after all. (either that or it was a msg for me to get the hell away from him. But I'm a barrel-half empty kind of positive thinker, so...kindred spirits we are!) Love you, Dan! heh. heh.[eyes diverted to a strange sound outside my window.]
Dan Wells and I hanging with the sequel to his I am Not a Serial Killer Series. The books are like Dexter for teenagers. Awesome series.
Kindred spirits or not, Wells recognizes Speed-Scrabble talent when he sees it.

Eat your H-E-A-R-T out, Brandi! That's a 8pt. word, btw. But I slapped it down on Double Word tile. BOOYAH!

And for Texy, a title commemorative of BGW 2011.
Here are a few other authors that I met...
Abel Keogh, author of memoir: Room for Two, which is about recovering from a traumatic event in his life (his wife's suicide). A truly inspiring story and man. He's overcome a lot of challenges and turned out to be an amazing writer. 

I've followed Lisa Mangum's career for the past 5-6 yrs. She sent me my first rejection letter, in fact. (No hard feelings though. I TOTALLY deserved it.) Anyhoo, I got the 1st book in The Hourglass Door, a book I should've gotten a LONG time ago. I'm really happy for Lisa and can't wait to read her book.

This is Elana Johnson, author of Possession, which is supposed to be a really amazing story, but since I gave it away as a wedding gift [choke of regret], I'll have to wait until my friend loans it to me when she finishes it. Hear that, Kirsten?! 

Then on Friday, I had the pleasure of going to the UCTE conference in SLC. I ran into some CUWP friends and met even more authors.

I read Unwind with my students last year and this year had the pleasure of meeting author Neal Shusterman. He was an excellent public speaker; funny, captivating, thought-provoking. The whole SHA-bang. So I bought another one of his books.

And what do you know, he made it out to my BGW nickname: Gams! I think we can add "intuitive" to the list of Shusterman's traits, right, Texy? Or at the very least, "observant".

Though, I've read Jeff Anderson/Write Guy's book, Mechanically Inclined, I had never met him until Friday. He is the most BRILLIANT public speaker! I'm not kidding. Jeff could easily cover for either Conan or Oprah without batting an eye, and the audience would thank him for it. Anyway, in an odd twist of serendipitous fate, I got to carpool with Jeff back to Utah County. We shared dog stories, recited Shel Silverstein poetry, confessed our texting-while-driving sins, and swapped Thanksgiving ideas. I think we're BFF's now. (That's my girl Chris on the right, btw. CUWPies For Life!)

Ally Condie, an excellent writer of Matched, which I just started and am totally LOVING. I'm a sucker for dystopian YA lit. And the guy is Jon Ostensen. He's vehemently apologizing for not giving me verbal credit for also being a co-editor for the Utah English Journal during the UCTE conference. He made it up to me by asking his friend Ally to sign my book so I didn't have to wait in the ridiculously long line at Ally's table.

Here's the journal, btw.

I got credit on the by-line, but during the conference, the guy in charge of thanking everyone only thanked Jon for the UEJ. I really didn't even notice until Jon mouthed "I'm sorry" from his table.

Wishful thinking! Wait, there's a bonus for that right?

Chris and Heidi, CUWPies!

The Aussie from another posse, CUWP Gary at the conference with us. I meant to get a pic with Debbie Dean too, but I spaced it.

Saturday morning, watching the Payson Temple ground-breaking in the rain. I'm furiously taking notes as I had a deadline a right after the event. [Click to read article.]

I've been really busy. Geez. I need a break.

(Oh, and if you don't get the title of this post, read the Bloggess already!)

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