Thursday, July 31, 2008

53 Things About Joey

1. He’s 53 Friday (born on August 1, 1955).
2. This makes him a Leo (generous, independent, warm-spirited and loyal). Oh wait, we don’t believe in astrology. But he’s still all those things.
3. For years Joe was the middle child sandwiched among 4 sisters (Robyn-Susan-Joe-Carolee-Laurie).
4. Then when Joe was 13 his mom had twin boys, Mike and Matt.

5. Joe likes airplanes, the weather, TV shows about World War II (“Wings of the Luftwaffe!”), and movies with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and/or explosions.
6. He hates the group Blue Oyster Cult (“Don’t Fear the Reaper…” AAGH!)
7. He also hates the group “Heart."
8. Joey’s a very good cook. He’s a master of the Big Green Egg.

9. On our first date I was telling him how I rode the bus for several months after my mission because I didn’t have a car yet and I said, “It’s hard to be spontaneous when you have to take the bus.” He said, “Well you can be, just at 20-minute intervals.” (I thought,”Hey, this guy’s kinda funny.”)
10. He graduated from Highland High School in 1973 (“Ramble!”).
11. He lovingly smokes pork shoulder 16 hours to make pulled pork.
12. He’s very punctual.
13. He went on a mission to Uruguay/Paraguay. His brother Matt went to the same mission (minus the Paraguay by then). They now address each other as “Hermano.”
14. One of his favorite movies is “The Blues-Brothers.” When it first came out in 1980 he went to it once a week for two months.
15. Joe broke his nose twice in jr. high/high school (once playing basketball, once wrestling).
16. Another yummy thing he makes: Hedgehog, a splendid meatloaf made of beef, pork, and veal, criss-crossed with bacon strips and rosemary sprigs. Joe got this recipe from that old cooking show “Two Fat Ladies.”
17. Another favorite movie: “Blazing Saddles” (“Give the governor a harrumph!”) “Harumph” is a common Joey expletive.
18. When Napster first came on the scene and wasn’t yet entirely illegal, Joe probably downloaded, like, 1,000 songs. He spent HOURS downloading his favorite tunes. I was a Napster widow.
19. Once when we were watching the Miss USA pageant I wondered aloud what the judging criteria were for the evening gown competition. “No gravy stains,” Joe said.
20. Yummy thing #3: Egg salad sandwiches, made late Sunday evening.
21. He used to sneak out of his bedroom window at night in the summer when he was a teenager and go to the 7-11 for an Orange Mac soda.
22. Joe’s been on three Alaska fishing trips with his dad and brothers/brothers-in-law. He caught great big halibuts and brought home frozen fillets that we ate for months.

23. Joe has visited 31 countries and 42 states.
24. He’s a San Francisco Giants fan.
25. He likes reading the Sunday obits and calling his sister Boo Boo to report on any that he finds unusual/amusing (like the one about the guy who was a blackbelt in karate and died doing what he loved most, “participating in the marital arts”).
26. Yummy thing #4: Breakfast burritos (flour tortillas with shredded potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese.)
27. Once, very early in our dating days, we were driving somewhere in Davis County and I saw the exit sign for Willard Bay. “Willard” made me think of the movie “Ben” (about the rat) – because of course “Ben” was the sequel to “Willard.” So in my head I start humming the theme song for “Ben.” (“Ben, the two of us need look no more,” etc.) When I get to the part that starts going up high, Joe starts whistling “Ben” at the exact same spot I was at in my head, in the same key no less. I thought it was an eerily comical coincidence and proof that we should, you know, get married.

28. He’s a big tipper.
29. Another favorite movie: “Young Frankenstein” (“I suggest you put on a tie!”)
30. Joe's a good photographer. And he always volunteers to take families’ photos if we’re out somewhere and notices that somebody can’t be in the picture because they’re taking it.

31. When we were dating, he took me to Chicago to see the Monet exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute. Sighhh. Fun date.
32. Yummy thing #5: Homemade barbecue sauce (with brown sugar, molasses, white wine vinegar, allspice, chili powder, and probably many secret ingredients).
33. Joe loves the blues and listens to the likes of Jimmy Thackery, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Koko Taylor, and The Uppity Blues Women.
34. He also likes his CD of “Mozart French Horn Fragments”
35. We visited Antelope Island once. We stood and gazed at the buffalo, all of whom seemed to be frozen into position. I said, “Look; NONE of them are moving.” He said, “Well, they don’t have another show until 4:30…” Where does he come up with these things?
36. He likes watching “The Music Man” in the winter because it reminds him of summer.
37. His favorite comics are “Get Fuzzy” and “Zits.”
38. Another favorite movie: “Ghostbusters” (“That’s a big twinkie.”)
39. Joe used to keep a porcelain pig from Mexico in his office at work. Our nephew Hunter was visiting once and accidentally tipped it over and piggy broke. Joe calls Hunter “Porkchop” now.

40. Joey likes to sip mason jars of ice water, with lemon, in the evening.
41. We don’t normally frequent R-rated movies. Years ago an R movie came out that Joe wanted to see (I think it was “Cradle Will Rock”), so he cut out the PG-13 label from another movie and carefully glued it over the “R’” label for the one he wanted to see, then refolded the paper and put it back in the plastic bag. And then he didn’t say anything about it…I just happened to notice that “Cradle Will Rock” was rated PG-13 and I thought for sure it had been rated R when I saw the ad on T.V. And then I looked realllly close….
42. He’s a good storyteller (see preceding blogpost).
43. Jane Fonda bugs him.
44. Another favorite movie: “Caddyshack” (“So I got that goin’ for me…which is nice.”)
45. Once on Valentine’s Day he sent a group of singers to my office to serenade me.
46. Yummy thing #6: Brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and garlic. No really, they’re good.
47. Joe knows how to fix most things.
48. He doesn't get mad very often. Even when I once backed into our neighbor's fence and ripped out 10 or so feet of it and let their dog loose, all he said when I told him was "Whadja do that for?"
49. He answers to Joe, Joseph, Joey, Jose, Pop, Papa Joe, Baba, and sweetie-pie.
50. Yummy thing #7: Homemade peppermint ice cream.
51. Beverage of choice? Caffeine-free Diet Coke with vanilla.
52. He played the trombone in 5th grade.
53. He is richly deserving of a happy 53rd birthday, so please come out of lurkdom and send a howdy-do his way.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Fine Mess

This picture has nothing to do with the post. It is just a summery scene.

I have been told this is the stuff of legends. I suppose it could be. Families sitting around the dinner table years from now will look back to smirk and guffaw; and were I totally innocent of doing the same, I might cringe. But alas, I myself still get a chuckle at long ago instances of fast meeting testimony singers and too-detailed health updates and travelogues. So here you go, all those that missed the actual incident. Jest away (everybody else in church did)!

So there I was....I remember it as though it was yesterday. Probably because it was yesterday. It was the end of a fine sacrament meeting and Denny was playing the organ for the congregation. We have been trying to get Emma to settle down a bit in church, so I sat near the front with her. Denny joined us in between hymns. After the last speaker finished, Denny went up front to play the last tune, ol' number 35, "For the Strength of the Hills."

The first three verses went as expected. In fact, if Felicia D. Hermans had stopped writing at three verses, I wouldn't be telling this sad yet fascinating tale. Where was I? Oh yeah, Emma started walking slowly to the front. I was thinking "she won't go up to the stand." I flashed her the sign for "candy" as she glanced back, and she quickly returned. She took off again, having broken the proverbial "up on the stand" barrier and went directly to Denny, who now had her attention divided. As Emma climbed up on the bench, two things happened. The world slowed waaaaaay down, and Denny looked down and asked me to come up and get Emma.

I took off for the stand, ducking under poor Sister Gurr who was leading. As I went around the back of the organ, I stepped down on Denny's organ bag, slipped, and nearly went down like a sack of hammers. Them organ bags is slippery. By this time, any hope of surprising Emma was out the stain-glassed window, and she latched on to Denny's neck like Crusher Kowalski doing a full-nelson on a weaker foe (weren't they all weaker?).

In retrospect, I should have taken my chances with letting her stay on Denny's lap. Instead, I grabbed on and pulled, expecting her grip to give. It didn't. Must have been a fine sight. I'm told that those who were asleep or missed church are still kicking themselves. Denny's glasses were totally askew, and her hair was across her face. I had Emma around the waist, and she was hanging on to Denny's neck for all she was worth. A bizarre sight by any measure, much like a scene from Dante's "Tag team match from hell."

I finally got Emma free after nearly pulling Denny off of the bench. To her credit, and to the amazement of the whole congregation, she never missed a beat! Great work. Eye of the tiger. Battle zone organing.

Some poor soul had to then come up and give the final prayer amid the laughs. Emma then jumped down like nothing happened, and scurried into nursery.

There you have it. Use it. Share it. Change the names if you wish or quote verbatim. It's all true. My only hope is that it quickly fades from everybody's memory, or that something even more bizarre happens in church to somebody else. Fat chance. Ok then.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

She's A Camper!

What dirt?

Don't look too close at the fingernails

A leisurely stroll..

Baba chair, Mama chair, and Baby chair

More leisurely stroll
Lots of room on the inside

Emma had her first real camping adventure this week. We spent one night under the stars (in a tent) up in the mountains just past Payson, Ut. We had a great time, and Emma did swimmingly. As you can tell from the photos, 3 year olds are dirt magnets when in the hills. But what the heck, everything hoses off just like new.

We arrived at the campground on Friday around 2:30 PM to set up camp. There are a dozen or so camp sites, and we got the best of the bunch, as the place was empty. Nicely situated in the trees, and a level place to pitch the tent. Emma had fun watching Denny and me try and remember how all of the tent posts went, and quickly got the hang of opening the door zipper to get in and out. We hadn't been camping for a couple of years, so it took us some head scratching to remember where all of our stuff went. All in all, it turned out quite nicely if I say so myself.

We went for a quick hike to see some of the sites, and returned to fix dinner. Burgers, potato salad, and the ubiquitous can of camping Pringles. Yum. A fire was started, even though it was still light, and we sat around the campfire until we had "smores worthy" coals. Nothing like smores and Fresca, I always say. Emma was pretty tired by that point, and went to bed (sleeping bag) and fell asleep around 7:30 PM. Nice. Denny was lamenting the stark lack of trashy magazines, so I was dispatched 10 miles or so into town for a couple of literary gems.

Upon my return, Denny read until the sun gave out, and we sat by the fire for a while. It was nice. By then most of the spots had filled up, and we were a fine little camping community. We turned in and slept until around 6:00 AM. Emma woke up and wanted to know where I was. I already had a fire going, so she joined me by the fire wrapped up in her blanket and my coat drinkng hot cocoa for an hour, while mama got some extra shut eye.

We broke camp, packed up everything and headed back to civilization. A quick experience that only whetted our appetite for a two-day camp before the season ends! OK then