Friday, April 30, 2004


Did any of you ever ride your bike to Thrifty’s when you were a kid and get a scoop of ice cream for 50 cents? I was talking to this guy the other day who is about ten years older than me. Apparently he only had to pay 25 cents when he was a kid. I don’t think it’s fair that the price doubled in only ten years! Anyway, I always, without fail, got the chocolate malted crunch flavor. That was the best. Today I took a walk at lunch and passed by a Rite-Aid. Then I remembered that Thrifty’s was bought out by Rite-Aid (oh the wonderful world of mergers and acquisitions) and I wondered if they still had an ice cream counter inside. It was my lucky day! Not only did they have an ice cream counter, they still sold my favorite flavor! (But now, by the way, it’s 99 cents for a scoop.) It’s amazing how one little nostalgic scent or flavor will remind you of so many things. And then one thought leads to another . . . and another . . .

I ate my ice cream cone outside the store on a park bench. This funny little bird sat at my feet the whole time and watched me, expecting me to share with him. Finally I picked out a chocolate chip and threw it at him. He didn’t take me up on it, though. Silly bird. What kind of right-minded creature would refuse chocolate?

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Best interests of the child?

I absolutely refuse to make my life calling one of criticizing reality TV shows. But sometimes I just can’t help commenting on them. Here’s yet another insane one. (I’m sure you’ve heard about it already.) Apparently ABC aired a promo last weekend pitting five desperate couples against each other, all wanting to adopt a 16-year-old’s baby. I saw a picture on the internet of Barbara Walters with the birth mother and the baby. Barbara and the mother beamed. The baby already looked like he was in distress. It was all very pathetic. Can you imagine being that kid? I think adoptive children already have tough issues to deal with. Why compound them? Think about it - when this little guy grows up, he’ll be able to watch a video tape of his smiling mom handing him over to some crazed contestants who won him, the "prize." Do we really think this whole charade is in the child’s best interests? And isn’t that the test we use to determine how to handle minor children? (Ask any family law judge in the country!)

I think "selling" babies on TV should be a crime.

And that brings up another point. What do you guys think of "open adoption," anyway? This child’s mother will still have access to her child after he is adopted. The more I think about open adoption, the more I think it’s harmful. How confused and emotionally sabotaged will this child be?!

Ya know, it seems like society is falling ever more swiftly into the immoral abyss. It’s like a leak in a dam. At first it’s small and seems insignificant. Suddenly, the hole opens up because of the pressure . . . and the City is in hot water. (No pun intended.) Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic because I have a job that constantly places me in the muck and mire of depravity. Pretty soon I’m going to stop being shocked by the degradation of my culture. But hopefully I will never completely lose my idealism and hope. That would be sad.

I remember something my dad told me once when I was going through a time of being stunned that so many women could abort their very own children or throw them into trash cans after they’re born. He told me that we should, in all reality, be shocked when women choose not to abort their children or abandon them to death. "How can we expect people in the world to make righteous decisions when their hearts are dark, without Christ?" Indeed, we should always expect the world to choose evil. Anything better than that is God’s grace.

Will "Tolerance" Someday Trump the Constitution?

Yesterday the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-250, a bill that would criminalize people who express an opinion contrary to homosexual behavior, including views based on religion, conscience, morality, and even medical or humanitarian concerns! I must pause and wonder if Canada is simply one step "ahead" of the United States in its rush to promote tolerance for everyone except people of faith. If this is true, then how soon will it be before "tolerance" trumps the First Amendment? How much longer before we won’t be able to quote certain bible verses in public - or maybe even in private?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Hey Batter, Batter!

Kevin is playing men’s softball this summer with the church league. Last night was his first practice. I went along for the fun. A part of me wishes it were a co-ed team and I could be out there too. The other part of me enjoys sitting in the bleachers watching all of the folly from a distance.

Only five guys showed up from Kevin’s team last night. And the supposed coach didn’t even show up. This makes me worried. I mean, the whole point should be having fun. Right? But how fun is it to lose? (Heh, heh.)

Just before Kev’s team took over the diamond to practice, one of the other teams in the league was leaving. I was startled by the contrast of the players. After practice, Kevin walked up to me and said, "I’m scared."
"You should be," I said. "Did you see the other team?"

Let me give you four little words to help you conjure up an accurate image of the other team: Big, Bad, Buff, and Budweiser. They’re the type of guys who probably eat a rack of ribs for breakfast every morning and, the rest of the day, walk around scaring little children. After watching them leave, I looked over at our little team with scrawny limbs and pale faces. Two thoughts entered my mind: 1) Survival of the fittest and 2) We are going to be eaten alive.

But, then again, I still do believe in miracles.

Stupid Comment of the Year

After perusing the grocery advertisement, I turned to Kev and said, "We should eat Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo."
K: "Sounds good to me."
A: "When is Cinco de Mayo, anyway?"
K: "May fifth. That’s what Cinco de Mayo means. Fifth of May."
A: "That’s retarded. Couldn’t they think of a better name for their holiday than that?"
K: "Um, Amy? How about our Fourth of July?"
A: "Oh. I forgot about that." [insert sheepish grin]

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

A Pirate’s Life for Me

Now that I think about it, we have an unfortunate history of taking the most scenic parts of the journey after dark. When we arrived at the coastal Hwy. 1 on our way to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on Friday, the sun had long been set. But that didn’t hamper our spirits. We were looking forward to our weekend getaway, camping with friends. (Yes, I said camping. In a real tent, and everything. In fact, I went to WalMart and picked out the tent all by myself the week before. It was a nerve-wracking experience. But I think I did okay.) Overall, our weekend at Big Sur was fabulous. "Two thumbs up!" The only harried experience was when we first arrived at the campground.

As we drove into the campground, at approximately 9:15 p.m., we tried to call our friends to find out what camp site they were at. Apparently Kevin had asked Amy to do this in advance. Amy didn’t remember him asking her to do this. In fact, Amy thought Kevin had already had the information! As Murphy’s law would have it, our friends’ cell phones were off. We checked the message boards at the front of the campground. Nope, no messages. At that precise moment, we realized that we could be in big trouble. In a desperate attempt to feel that we were making progress, we started driving around the campground to find our friends. We drove slowly, squinting to make out the faces of people gathered around their campfires. There were many roads that twisted in and out of the thick redwoods. And there were over 200 campsites. It was like trying to find a flea in a sandbox. To make matters worse, we didn’t even know what our friends’ cars looked like! Yes, we could definitely be in trouble.

We asked a patrolling park ranger what we should do. She suggested we set up camp somewhere and they would try to help us find our friends the next day. We weren’t excited at that prospect. We drove to the front gate of the campground again. The ranger’s hut was empty but the light was on inside. We walked over to the message board one more time . . . just in case. Then I noticed that, inside the hut, there were little cards tacked to the back of the wall with names on them. Maybe, just maybe, we could squint hard enough and see a name we recognized.

It was hysterical. There we were, standing at a ranger’s hut, in the dark, with our noses pressed against the glass, squinting like there was no tomorrow. On the last visible row, halfway down, I saw the name of our friend, Jennifer. She was at campsite 103. It was a very triumphant and glorious moment. Kevin went from being mad and annoyed at my negligence to being impressed and proud of my sleuthing powers. We found our friends at 10:15 p.m. The funny part - we had passed our friends’ campsite several times that night but each time around we had only seen one person, a young Asian woman we didn’t recognize. I would tell Kev: "Keep going, it’s not them. It’s a bunch of Chinese people." Later we found out she was a guest of a friend. And, get this, she also lives in the same apartment complex as we do and Kevin had, randomly, helped her jump start her car the day before! Isn’t that wild?

Saturday, we took a hike up the mountain to some waterfalls. We also went to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and saw one of the few waterfalls in the world that actually falls into the ocean itself. From our perch on a cliff, we gazed down to the water below. I’ve never seen such beautiful water in all my life. It was a bright emerald green color swirled with a navy blue color. It took my breath away. I told Kevin that I could never tire of looking at it. The rest of the day we spent at Pfeiffer Beach, playing football, walking along the shore, and laying out in the sunshine. Later I found out that it’s one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Honestly, I felt like I’d just landed off a pirate ship. It was so beautiful it was unreal. The warm, golden sand stretched out before us, only interrupted by several huge rugged boulders. The green and blue waves powerfully crashed against the boulders and the shore. There were bright blue and purple jellyfish scattered all over the beach and the tide pools. It was indescribably spectacular. After dinner we went back to watch the sun set over the Pacific. I will never forget that day.

After we said goodbye to our friends on Sunday afternoon, we took our time driving back up Hwy. 1. There were many vista points along the way, overlooking the ocean. Many varied and brilliant wildflowers splashed radiant colors alongside the road. A marathon was taking place in Carmel. We happened upon the stragglers at the end. The last one to finish was a woman who appeared to be 100 years old. Very interesting. (You’ve gotta admire her stick-to-itiveness.) As we were driving along, Kevin’s eyes lit up when he saw the map and realized we were in close proximity to Pebble Beach Golf Links. So . . . we paid the $8.25 to drive the private road to the resort. The houses lined up along the coast and golf course were incredible. We felt very out of place after camping for the weekend and then going to a ritzy resort. But, hey, it’s all about making memories, right?

This trip was good for us. It rejuvenated and energized us. I had almost forgotten how much I love the sensations of the ocean. I grew up near the ocean but I think I took it for granted back then. Yes, this trip was very good for us.

Estee Lauder

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now - Estee Lauder died yesterday at the age of 97. Sounds like she was a remarkable woman. She started out by mixing cosmetics in her own kitchen and selling them to friends and neighbors. She eventually turned her home business into a billion-dollar global empire. "Beauty is an attitude," she once said. "There’s no secret. Why are all brides beautiful? Because on their wedding day they care about how they look. There are no ugly women — only women who don’t care or who don’t believe they’re attractive." But here’s the quote that takes the cake: "If every woman got out of bed in the morning, looked in the mirror, and was happy with the way she looked, the world economy would crumble." How true.

Recently we were talking about a friend who is going to be married. I remarked on how she was growing her hair out for the wedding. Kevin got a puzzled look on his face, the kind of look that indicated he was about to question the logic of the cryptic female world. He asked:

"Why is it when girls get married, they grow out their hair and loose weight for the wedding? When we fell in love with them and asked them to marry us, we liked how they looked just fine."

Good question!

Friday, April 23, 2004

Driven to the Brink

There are all sorts of things in life that motivate people to take action. Here’s one thing that is motivating us to take action: We are sick of living the apartment life!

Now, before I get too carried away, I will take a moment to stop and reflect on the living conditions of the majority of people in this world. For instance, on a missions trip to Mexico, I saw a heck of a lot of people living in cardboard boxes on the side of the road. One of the "wealthier" neighbors (wealth being a relative term, obviously) was so rich he was able to afford three garage doors propped up against each other for his house. (Don’t ask me where he found three spare garage doors to buy.) And it only takes a few moments of scanning Habitat for Humanity’s website to discover that many people would die for the opportunity to live in an apartment in the US. So, being reminded that I should be grateful for what I have, I will continue my ranting and raving. Thank you.

Two days ago it was the worst. We had to do laundry again. After searching for those ever evasive quarters, we hauled the laundry across the parking lot to the washers and dryers, only to discover that all eight of them were already being used. Sigh. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re out of clean underwear and you can’t do laundry until the next day.

And then there’s Pam, our Apartment Nazi manager. She’s always so crass and bitter. We’re sick of dealing with her. She has no life - and takes it out on us! Last night she scolded us for parking our car in the wrong spot all weekend. Kevin, being such a NICE person, actually apologized. But when we were out of Pam’s earshot, we looked at each other and screamed, "We weren’t home either Saturday or Sunday!" I was mad at Kev for being so nice. I told him, "Makes me want to park in the wrong spot all the time. What can she do to us? Evict us for parking in the wrong spot?" Kevin said that’s a bad attitude. He’s right. That wouldn’t be the Christian thing to do. But I’m still tempted, just to irk her.

And then there’s the fact that when you live in an apartment, your car gets lined up next to many other cars while you’re sleeping several hundred feet away. This is an open invitation for all the burglars of all the bad areas of the city to come and break into your vehicle, and the other millions, all lined up in a row, and take whatever they want. Our car has been broken into three times. (We finally learned to lock the doors and take the face off our stereo, by the way.) We’ve had enough of this. It’s time to move on.

Kevin and I have collectively decided that we will buy a house soon - whatever it takes.

Honestly, it’s been frustrating. But we’ve learned a lot in our search. Here’s one valuable thing I’ve learned about California real estate: If a home description says "what a cutie" or "dollhouse!" that simply means that it’s the size of a matchbox - and you’ll still have to pay $300,000!

Yesterday we met with a lender. While we were waiting in his office for him to return, I looked down at Kevin’s pile of paperwork. Kevin loves number crunching. Most of the time, when I ask him why he’s been on the computer for hours, he’ll tell me he’s simply "finding out the state of his flocks." I noticed that he brought a calculator with him. It was sitting saliently on the top of the pile. I started laughing. "Kevin, I wonder how many people come into this office and bring their own calculators!" He retorted: "You think I’m a nerd, don’t you? You’re making fun of me, aren’t you?" Hmmm. I probably was.

Hopefully we will someday soon realize an aspect of The American Dream - a small home and a big mortgage.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

In My Banana

The only thing eventful that happened today is that I bit into my banana and it was crunchy. Bananas are supposed to be soft and smooth. Bananas are not supposed to be crunchy. You do not want to know what I found in my banana. Nor do I want to think any further about what was inside my banana. So I’ve made an executive decision: I shall not write in this blog what was in my banana.

Let’s all just forget about what was in my banana.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Good one!

So . . . today’s Secretary’s Day. Or, to be politically correct, I should say Administrative Assistant’s Day. Last night, at the eleventh hour, I went to help Kev pick out a gift for his secretary. Since flowers are always nice (and safe), that’s what we did. He gave her a bucket of lavender and white hydrangeas. And, of course, he gave her a card. Here’s my theory: The bigwigs at Hallmark got together with the Society of American Florists and conspired to pay a lump sum to the calendar makers of the world if they would add a new holiday. Nice. But good secretaries are definitely worth a showing of appreciation. So maybe it was a splendid idea after all.

There's a really good South American restaurant downtown called El Centro. Today we met with a real estate investor to discuss mortgaging our futures away . . . basically. I turned to Kevin after we left, "Did I ask any stupid questions?" I'm learning to keep my mouth shut at these types of meetings. Kev understands it all better than I do. Anyway, back to this restaurant. It was a very unique sort of place. (If they say San Francisco is the city with all the good restaurants in No. Cal, don't believe them!) ;) I found all sorts of interesting, unidentifiable objects in my burrito. But it was good . . . so I didn't make inquiries.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Red Umbrellas

Room 4202 was especially crowded today. I looked around the room and it seemed like everyone was wearing heart-shaped stickers on their lapels. On the floor there were two men in suits playing with two little curly-haired boys. Soon the smallest boy started screaming and running uncontrollably up and down the aisles. Where was their mother? They didn’t have one.

Gay marriage was debated in committee and we lost. I did my best job testifying. So at least I can’t regret that. I know we could have been better organized. But we only had three days’ notice. (Definitely not enough time to make our own lapel stickers.)

After I was done testifying, I spent the rest of my time listening . . . and praying. The spiritual warfare in the room was thick. Throughout the entire hearing I kept glancing upward away from the masses of people, "God, You are stronger than this." It was comforting to know He was there, on my side, and in control.

As the votes were being cast, I realized that, whatever the result today, morality would be legislated. Indeed, every law on the books has been decided by some sort of standard. The question in my mind was whose version of morality would prevail: ours or theirs?

Truth was stifled today. But it will ultimately overcome.

As we left the capitol, I saw that the ground outside was wet and instinctively put up my red umbrella. As we walked back to the office, Karen chattered away about the hearing. I was only half-listening. My brain was numb. After several minutes, when we were almost back at the office, Karen stopped and turned to me: "Amy, I hate to mention it to you, but . . . it’s not raining."

Monday, April 19, 2004

A Good Book Affects Your Nose

Entranced. That’s a very good word to describe my fixation while reading Girl With a Pearl Earring. I simply couldn’t put it down. (I finished the last few pages on my commute to work this morning.) The story was captivating, with a lot of hidden meaning and symbolism. It completely engaged my imagination and pulled my whole being into another world. Kudos to author Chevalier for such an astounding and insightful work. Now I know why it was a New York Times Bestseller.

As I finished the book, a familiar feeling crept over me. It’s the type of feeling I always get after reading a good piece of fiction. (Which, as I stated earlier, has been too long!) It’s the satisfaction of resolution after the building up of curiosity and anticipation. Do you know this feeling? Do you experience it too?

If a book is really good, after reading it, I’ll turn it over in my hands for a few moments and contemplate the ending. As I’m doing this, I’ll suddenly realize I’ve been so caught up in the drama that I’ve been holding my breath for a long time. Then I’ll sigh heavily. If it was an exceptionally good book, and you’re probably gonna think this is stupid, my nose starts stinging involuntarily. It’s rare, though, to find a book that moves me to the point of noise-pain. Girl With a Pearl Earring was that kind of book. I highly recommend it.

I won’t bore you with other details of our eventful weekend. It’s now Monday. No more worlds of fiction, drama and intrigue for the present moment. For now, I must forget the imaginary world. Back to work. Back to life.

Tale of the Modern Era

Well, I’m happy to report that our toilet clogging problems have been solved. And, I’m also happy to report that the Koons household now has the coolest toilet plunger of all.

As I scanned the aisle at Target, I was shocked to discover that the only toilet plunger on the shelf was ten bucks! "This is highway robbery," I thought to myself. But then I read the back of the label and discovered that it’s not just any toilet plunger. It’s a special toilet plunger. In fact, it’s a Michael Graves toilet plunger. ("The Michael Graves collection provides an inspired balance of form and function. Sensible and sublime, practical and whimsical, the objects envisioned by this world renowned architect infuse our daily lives with joy.") "So, if I buy this product, we can be joyful toilet plungers," I thought. "And it comes with a nifty little stand, a non-slip grip handle, and a residual water drip tray. Maybe it’s worth ten bucks after all." I glanced at my watch and realized that I didn’t have time to waste - our guests would soon arrive at our home, and thus our toilet! I rushed to the checkout line. Several people glanced over at me, holding my toilet plunger and a six pack of Pepsi. They knowingly smiled.

Ya know, it’s great to live in an era where they pay "world renowned" architects to design state-of-the-art toilet plungers, pay marketing executives beaucoup bucks to entice you to buy them, and let the costs trickle down to you, the consumer.

Happy plunging!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Little Pablo

At Amy’s request, Kevin told her a bedtime story last night. He made up this story on the spot. It was about the adventures of a little boy named Pablo.

A: (this morning, as they were driving to work) Kevin, are you going to finish telling me about Pablo?
K: What was the last thing you heard before you fell asleep?
A: Um, that he lived in a fishing village in Baja?
K: WHAT?! That’s all you heard?!
A: Um, I also remember something about him being a skinny boy with brown eyes.
K: Are you SERIOUS? Do you remember anything about him being shipwrecked?
A: He was SHIPWRECKED?!! No, I don’t remember that.
K: Do you remember what I said about his dad?
A: He had a dad?
K: I can’t BELIEVE it. I thought you were wide awake the whole time.
A: Um, I guess not. (No offense, Kev, to your brilliant, fascinating, and very creative storytelling.)

I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the story about Pablo - tonight. (Apparently the last thing Kev said about Pablo, before he realized I really was asleep, was that he was with his friends after being shipwrecked and saw something "shining" in the sand. I can’t wait to find out what it was!)


Yesterday our front bathroom toilet wouldn’t flush. And, of course, the toilet had to be full of the worst kind of stuff imaginable when it refused to flush. (Please don’t visualize that concept - it’s really gross, I know.) To solve our problem, we went to hunt for a toilet plunger. To our dismay, after digging through all our cupboards and closets, we realized that we don’t yet own a toilet plunger! (Certainly this has been a problem for many young married couples - realizing, at the last minute, that they don’t have a necessary item.) Since it was late, and we were tired, we decided to just "wait and see" if it would go away on its own. Maybe it would magically disappear, we thought.

Well, this morning, it was still there.

Our current toilet problem is compounded by the fact that we are having company come to dinner tonight! (So I think I’ll have to make a quick Target run after work to get the plunger. We simply cannot afford any further delays!)

This morning I got to thinking . . . it’s been ages since I’ve had to use a toilet plunger. I can’t even remember the last time. I think I may have even (conveniently) forgot how to use one. Fortunately, if you can believe it, this morning I persuaded Kevin to do it - if I buy the plunger, he will take care of the clogging problem.

Isn’t Kevin great? He does my taxes and he plunges the toilets! What a wonderful husband I have. What more could I ask for?

Oh, and here’s my final comment. If you’re about to be married, there is a lesson you can learn from all of this: Make sure to ask for a toilet plunger on your gift registry list. It will help you avoid future emergency "situations."

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Try Lipstick!

Oh my word. I cannot tell you how insane it’s been on the job lately. The only reprieve I get is critiquing the fashion of the legislators on the TV screen with Karen, my boss. (Karen has a degree in fashion.) It’s fun to comment on this or that ugly outfit, someone’s new hair-do, or the fact that none of the feminists wear lipstick - and how much it would do for their faces if they did!

Today has been one of those days where my brain has been on constant overload. My fingers have been flying on the keyboard all morning. Ugh. I think I’ll stop typing now. I need a break. Maybe I’ll take the rest of my lunch to read a good book. I just got "Girl With a Pearl Earring" from the library. (I’ve made a vow that I won’t watch the movie until I’ve read the book.) So far it’s been rather interesting. But I’m only on page 19. I love a good work of fiction. I really do. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book for "dessert" purposes only. (Is it safe to say . . . before law school?) I needed this element back in my life.

Oh . . . Last night we watched Grease. Kevin hadn’t seen it before. I thought he’d like it because I remember liking it so much. But I hadn’t watched it for probably 15 years. And, I think that last time I watched it, I was too young to get most of the sexual innuendo. This is Kevin’s exact quote after watching the movie: "The whole freakin’ movie is about sex! No wonder my mom never let me watch it." What can I say?

I asked him: "But don’t you think it’s cute how much he tried to be ‘good’ for Sandy and then how she decided to meet him halfway?"
Kevin: "You mean how she decided to be ‘bad’? I have serious worldview problems with this movie."

I think Grease is the type of movie you simply cannot analyze if you want to appreciate and enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Half a Point

A: Did you agree with the point I made on the blog about supporting the troops but not the war?
K: Um, actually, I sorta disagreed with you.
A: But didn’t you see my point at all?
K: I saw a "half-point."

Lately Kevin has been whining about not having any good guy friends to shoot hoops with. (Mark Bigger goes to Bakersfield to play rather than Sacramento.) ;) So, alas, yours truly has decided to help fulfill his burning desire to play basketball. (Aren’t I a good wife?) It’s been fun, actually. We’ve been goin’ to the basketball court almost every evening for the last week. Kevin shoots more "seriously" than I do. I like to attempt to make baskets by throwing the ball under my legs, behind my back, etc. Kev tries to shoot them so they go IN the basket. Last night I asked him, after making only one shot out of 10, "If we were playing teams and you were the captain, would you pick ME?" "Of course I would," he said. "Even though I really stink?" I further inquired. "Naw, actually, you’re pretty good - for a GIRL."

My Problem

I have a problem, guys, maybe you can help me figure it out. I registered with just because I wanted to see what kinds of questions they ask in their survey. Now I can’t figure out how to un-register. I think this is going to be a problem.

Speaking of e-harmony, the other day Kevin was wondering if there is a service out there that brings people together for friendship purposes only. I told him that I thought it would be pretty lame if you had to use the internet to find friends. "Hi, I’m Julie. I like sunsets and quiet walks on the beaches. But no romance, please. I just want to be your platonic buddy." I mean, I understand that it’s rather difficult to find someone, standing on the street corner, who has all the qualifications you want in a spouse. So, for that reason, internet hook-up sites have their place. But finding friends? C’mon. All it takes to make friends is a little initiative and a kind smile. If you don’t have even that, then no internet site in the world can help you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Enough to make me lose my lunch . . .

Next time I hear someone say "Although I’m against the war in Iraq, I wholeheartedly support our troops," I’m going to puke. Don’t you realize you’re contradicting yourself when you say that?!

It’s analogous to telling an cinematic actress, "Although I’m against people watching movies, I support your profession." Or telling a plumber, "Although I’m against people getting their pipes cleaned, I support what you do for a living." Or telling a plastic surgeon, "Although I’m against people getting nose jobs, I support your work."

I just don’t get it.

If I were a soldier, how could I possibly feel appreciation from people who say they support me but are against what I’m fighting for every day? I’m sorry but, if I were a soldier, and if you wanted to support me, you’d have to support my calling.

When people say they are against the war but support the troops, it’s a sickening, sneaky, feel-good, cop-out. You simply cannot appreciate soldiers if you cannot appreciate war.

Taco Bell . . .

. . . also known as Taco Hell or Toxic Smell. But I like their food despite it all, so we went there last night for dinner. While we were sitting in the drive-thru, Kev and I got into this conversation about how we used to always order the same thing at Taco Bell, over and over, when we were kids. I always got a bean burrito (without onions) and a crunchy taco. Kev always got a bean burrito (without onions too, ‘cuz what kid in their right mind likes ONIONS?) and a chicken soft taco. We were laughing over this when it was time to place our order. So, we decided to take a walk down memory lane and order our favorite meals as kids. It was fun. I hadn’t had a bean burrito from Taco Bell in years. (And now I know why. There was a good reason for that.)

This whole reminiscing thing brings up a question: If you could, would you go back to your childhood and relive it again?

Personally, some days I think it would be fun to be a kid again. I mean, you have no stress, no responsibility, and all the time in the world to goof off and do what you want. But then again, if I went back to being a little girl, I’d have to relive all kinds of bad experiences, like second-grade, for instance, and I’d have to relearn all of those pesky little lessons in life. (And I tend to learn lessons the hard way!)

So, on second thought, I think I’ll just be happy with reminiscing my childhood in the drive-thru of Toxic Smell.

A First

Okay, guys, I went out on a limb and decided to submit that piece I'd written on The Swan to Relevant Magazine online. And . . . drumroll please . . . they decided to post it on the front page!! I was pleasantly surprised because this is the first time I've tried to submit anything I've written to a publisher. Yay! It's kinda fun to see your very own editorial posted on the internet. Maybe I'll even get up the nerve to try it again sometime. And then, watch, I'll get addicted and start submitting stuff all the time. And then I'll get my hopes dashed when I never get anything published again . . . ever. ;)

Anyway . . . thank you for sharing in my very small moment of glory.

P.S. - The coolest part about this whole posting on Relevant magazine is reading the comments from people I don't even know about what I wrote. It's fun to have people criticize me (hey, I'm tough - I can take it) and other people defend me. Heh, heh, heh.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Worst Fear

I was talking to Lance a minute ago:
Lance: I hear that Bush is six points behind Kerry in the polls.
Amy: You know, the worst thing about that is the dread I feel. I mean, I can’t think of anything worse than having to look at Kerry’s face for four years.
Lance: Yeah, he has such a hollow look to him.
Amy: He looks like a villain from a Disney cartoon.
Lance: Yeah, the only thing that would make him look scarier is if he had a waxed mustache.
Amy: I totally agree.

The Ghost of Easter Past

The Ghost of Easter Past mystically appeared in my life this past weekend and took me on a little tour of life’s last four Easters.

The last four Easters I’ve experienced have each been different from the other. Three years ago, my sisters came to visit me in Virginia. We went off-roading on a bunch of muddy roads in West Virginia until 3 AM on Easter morning. It was insane. It really was. (But it was also very fun.) We then slept for about 45 minutes, hit the snooze button five times, drug ourselves out of bed, combed our hair, threw on some clothes, and drove into D.C. for a sunrise service on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I will never forget sitting there, with hundreds of other hollow-eyed, sleep-deprived humanoids, in the dark, waiting for the sun to rise above the capitol and, eventually, the Washington monument. When the sun finally decided to show its face, it lit up the reflecting pool with brilliant colors. My sisters weren’t so sure - but I thought it was worth it. After church, we returned to the farm and rode 4-wheelers around the pond. I hopped on the back of one with Gordon and he took me for a wild, high-speed ride. At the end of the ride, he drove me into the pond. . . apparently as a joke. It took me a few moments before I was able to wipe the slime off my face and laugh with everyone else. I wanted to strangle Gordon. (I hear he’s now married and lives in Wisconsin. Heaven bless his wife!) Those were good ol’ days, at the Kendall farm. (The only thing I don’t miss about the Kendalls is being forced to watch Jackie Chan movies every weekend by the other boarders. It was enough to drive a girl mad.) ;)

Two years ago . . . Kevin and I were newly engaged and went to Long Beach to see my folks. It was Kev’s first time to meet my extended family and a bunch of my crazy friends. He handled himself marvelously. He even scored big points with my grandpa by remembering the name of his third cousin’s sister-in-law’s nephew’s step-daughter’s new god-baby. Or something like that. (See Kev, a good memory comes in handy now and then!)

Last year . . . we had been married for eight months and were waiting for our Bar results. We were living with Kev’s parents at the time, in Indiana. It was exciting to see the spring flowers pop-up and the green grass get greener every day that passed. Spring is beautiful in Indiana. I was blissful because I didn’t have to study and could actually enjoy a stress-free holiday. Yay!! (I dyed eggs for the first time in years!) Kevin drove five hours (in each direction) to pick up Betsy from Michigan so she could be with us. It was a special time.

This year . . . we decided to stay here in Sacramento. We thought we would be lonely but, as it turned out, after going to church in the morning, we went to two different parties. WE ATE LIKE PIGS. Ugh. Gluttony is such a sin, too. :-/ The best part, for me, was doing an egg hunt for Kevin. I waited until he was in the shower and then rushed out into our little back patio to hide the eggs. It was fun. He didn’t expect it. And I love surprising him. (My dad laughed when he heard about this. He asked, "Did Kevin have a basket and everything?" Of course he did!)

Sigh . . . I wonder what next Easter will bring, as life takes its twists and turns.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Swan

Last night I saw a TV show that was incredibly disturbing. Maybe it’s just that I’m out of touch with the rest of the world. I’m too cheap to pay for cable and probably watch TV once a month. (I kinda like being in the habit of not watching TV. It’s a very freeing thing, really.) Lately, whenever I have turned it on, I’ve been completely disgusted.

Have you ever seen the show "The Swan"? It was of those reality shows that starred two young women who, let’s just say, weren’t exactly super models. The "goal" was to turn these women into dolled-up, slender sex objects. I hate to put it that way. But that was the obvious goal. In order to accomplish this magic, the girls had to endure liposuctions, implants, major facial reconstruction surgery, dental work, intense weight loss training and other therapies. It wasn’t simply about - "Hey, let’s try some mascara on you and try highlighting your hair." It was about - "Hey, you have an ugly face and body, let’s see how we can surgically alter you so that the world thinks you’re beautiful and accepts you."

One major crux of the show was that the girls couldn’t look in the mirror for three months while undergoing their treatments. At the end of the three months, the girls donned formal gowns and walked down a dazzling runway, with their plastic surgeons and weight trainers there to gawk at them. At the end of the runway, they stood before a mirror to see their new selves.

I felt especially bad for the second girl, Kelly. Granted - her transformation was incredible. Her triple chins had become a single chin. Her teeth had been filed to straight perfection. Her zits were gone. Her dishwater colored hair had been dyed bright blonde. "She hasn’t quite met her weight goals," declared her trainer. "But she should still feel proud of herself," he said. (I guess we can’t expect Kelly to be totally perfect. I mean, look how far she’s come! Let’s just focus on that.)

Kelly was the type of person who seemed insecure and troubled to begin with. This Swan show was revolting to me because, now, rather than helping her to be a beautiful person on the inside and tell her that she had worth in the eyes of God, society was telling her that her value and self worth is based on the shape of her nose and the size of her breasts.

As she stood before the mirror, I wanted to cry for her.

The crowd standing behind her was obviously waiting for an outburst of joy. They never got it. Instead, Kelly looked at herself in the mirror, in a daze, as if she didn’t know the person who stood before her. (Would YOU know yourself after such a transformation?) She looked like a poor, frightened kitten. In fact, she seemed even more scared and intimidated than she was before this mess.

You see, the whole thing was a lose-lose situation for her. She had been set-up by a group of shallow people who had found a form happiness in their own outward beauty. I suppose it wasn’t a malicious thing for them to want Kelly to be like them. I suppose that they were well-meaning in their destruction of this young woman. (But the road to Hell is paved with you-know-what.)

If Kelly ever gains weight again or when, someday, she gets lots of wrinkles and cellulite, like all of us will, she’ll only be depressed that she’s no longer "beautiful." Her body will continue to decay on the outside. That’s a simple fact of life. Rather than being happy that her inward person is developing into something that is precious and wonderful, she’ll always look back on the time that society fixed her up - and that she, at least, had one fleeting moment of acceptance and approval.

Additionally, and this was Kevin’s insight, now she’ll always wonder if men want her for her looks, rather than being satisfied that they like her for the person she really is. For this reason alone, she’s worse off than she was before.

At the end of several awkward moments in front of the mirror, Kelly finally managed a smile and murmured, "I look so good." At this revelation, you could hear a collective sigh from the experts standing behind her. It was as if they were thinking, "Yes, I do have a wonderful job. I have the power to take a sopping mess of ugliness and give her true value and happiness. Here is Kelly, yet another life I have changed. I am validated."

Kelly, I’m really sorry that society doesn’t tell you the truth about your value in the eyes of God. I’m sorry that you are being oppressed, as a woman, to conform to Barbie standards - and modern feminists turn away their eyes to pursue more noble tasks (like, for instance, killing unborn children). I’m sorry that The Swan is not a show about becoming a beautiful person on the inside. (I hope you know that we could never have too many people in this world who have character, sweetness, generosity, courage, and conscience. You will always be valued for that.)

Although I doubt a show that encourages a person to develop their inward character would make the same big bucks, I think it would do a world of good for the Kellys out there. People who just want to be loved and accepted. Not contorted.

Sigh . . . I think I will end these thoughts now, before I start ranting about that Bachelor baloney. Don’t even get me started.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Coffee and the Creeps

Last night was a time of deja vu as, from the comfort of my overstuffed chair, I watched a green-aproned young man dump out grinds and close his till. Although I miss certain aspects of working at Starbucks (the relaxed ambiance, the music, being able to drink anything I wanted for no charge, seeing certain regular, happy -probably too happy- customers come in three times during my shift for their next dosage of brew), I can’t say I’d like to go back. Actually, I will admit, it was quite nice to sit comfortably and watch someone else do the grunt work. Hmmmm.

As I left the parking lot, in the dark, to go pick up Kevin from his rehearsal, I had an eerie feeling creep over me. I’m not a paranoid person. By the same token, I try to be cautious and take simple steps to prevent evil wrongdoers from taking advantage of my spacey tendencies (e.g., walk purposefully, keep an eye on what’s happening around me, lock my doors, park near a light, etc.). Last night, for some reason, I felt especially uneasy. Upon entering my car, shadows prevented me from seeing into the back seat. I took my hand and reached behind my seat to make sure no one was sitting there, ready to jump and abduct me! (You probably think I’m WEIRD - but at least I’m alive to tell you about it. Okay?)

To my relief, there was no boogie-man waiting for me in the back seat. I started the car and turned on the radio. Soon the voice of a woman who, coincidentally, worked at a MORGUE filled my car. Can you believe it?! This was plenty enough to give me the jitters. As she described her job (e.g., how dead people can sometimes make moaning noises days after they’ve been dead because air is still escaping their lungs), I really started getting the creeps. And then, to make matters worse, I got LOST in a strange, old neighborhood (go figure!) trying to take a shortcut to pick up Kevin.

Sigh. It was just one of those uncanny, spooky, odd experiences. And I just had to share it with you. What are blogs for, anyway?

Monday, April 05, 2004

It’s Monday, in case you haven’t noticed already.

Kevin just called and told me he has three court hearings this week. He’s really lovin’ litigation and doing well. I’m very proud of him. His firm just hired a new secretary. Her name is "Sue." (Don’t you think that’s the perfect name for a legal secretary?)

Apparently all the candidates for the job were over 50. Some of them were quite elderly. Another attorney in the office, Matt, who is about Kevin’s age, came into Kevin’s office last week with a look of doubt and perplexity on his face and asked: "Are you worried about being able to give orders to a secretary who’s the same age as your grandmother? It’ll be like ‘Here, Ethel, type this up for me.’"

Ron (The Boss), when he hired Sue, told the young guys, diplomatically, "Your wives will be relieved to know that we are hiring a secretary with a lot of experience." (i.e, She is OLD. She is not a vixen, buxom, little twenty-something that the wives will have to watch their backs over.) I’m glad Ron is looking out for the young women concerned. Nice, decent guy. ;)

My friends out there who actually READ the great classics, instead of simply watching the movies about them, will be chagrined to know that, although I’ve never read Moby Dick, I watched the film last night. (The new one where Gregory Peck is the old man preacher - he only has a cameo appearance at the beginning of the movie.) And it was it was fantastic! (Um . . . duh. I guess, being a classic, it probably would be fantastic.) I was really caught up with the characters in the movie. It was intriguing to see the drama. To see the men submitting to a leader who is psycho and experiencing the consequences. To see the costs and sacrifices - to ALL involved - of one man's burning desire for vengeance. I kept asking Kevin (who has read the book), "Does Ishmael survive? Puhleeez tell me that he DOES!" Of course, he wouldn’t tell me. Little brat!

Other highlights of the weekend include. . . Receiving a bunch of beautiful, hand-picked, white calla lillies (Breathtaking! I love ‘em. Now I’m totally in the Easter mood.) . . and . . . Playing volley ball with a bunch of church friends and watching Kevin pretend to be the cheerleader. (He’d make a good one! He has a great little spits-jump that he does.)

Don’t you love the little stuff that life is made of?

Friday, April 02, 2004

Biblical Bliss

We were very happy when our bible study announced they will study the book of James. Last night was our first night to study the actual bible, in a group setting, in a long time. We had a very refreshing, deep, open, wonderful, lively discussion. Everybody in the group participated. I’m very optimistic that this study will be the beginning of many beautiful things.

We really enjoy the company of these friends. I’m sure I’ve said that before - but it’s just so true. Walt asked us what we’ve been up to lately. We told everybody we’d just gone to Yosemite with Kev’s parents. Suddenly Walt and Emily look at each other with ga-ga eyes . . . "Awww . . . that’s where we fell in love with each other. That’s where we experienced that first spark." This charade prompted Tara to make a comment about when she first knew Todd liked her - he tried to impress her by "jumping really high." When Todd heard this, his face turned beet-red. And, of course, Walt wouldn’t stop torturing them until he got the full story - which Todd and Tara obviously didn’t want to tell. The rest of us were on the floor, laughing, after the whole interrogation. The "story" really wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t even embarrassing. It’s just that people like Walt have the capacity to make everything funny - and everything a big deal.


From Kev, yesterday: I had a good laugh at the wormed apple this morning (as did others here at the office). I got hungry about 10:30 and decided that I'd eat my apple since you have been giving me such a hard time about not eating my apples lately. [Editor’s note: What are wives for?] At first I saw the hole in the apple and was thinking, "Why the heck did Amy give me this holey apple?!" and then I saw the worm. I should've suspected something earlier this morning when you got lunch ready before putting your makeup on!

Thursday, April 01, 2004


It’s April Fools. (Have you noticed yet that I love to celebrate holidays?) I was going to sew up the leg holes of Kevin’s underwear. But then I thought that would be really mean and would make him late for work. So, I changed my mind. (But watch out Kev – If April Fools is ever on a lazy Saturday, you might be in t-r-o-u-b-l-e.)

So, instead, I made up a fake parking ticket – with a bar code and everything and put it on our car this morning. I got a much better reaction than I anticipated. He was incredulous. “Look! A parking ticket! Where has our car been parked? How long has that been there? Did you notice it yesterday?” It was GREAT. The expression on his face was priceless! The “ticket” was for “not using this car for a trip to the ice cream parlor” and the fine was $1,000,000. The bad thing about a joke like that, tho’, is that you can only do it once. But it was good.

I also put a gummy worm in his apple. Hopefully he’ll take an early lunch so I can post this blog without alerting him to my schemes. ;-) Fun, fun, fun!


The problem with classical music is that it’s so dang hard to remember the names of all the songs. I mean, rather than calling his songs “Sunny Side of the Street” or “Kiss Me Baby, One More Time” Mozart had the bright idea of naming them “Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major.” And it gets even more complicated than that. You see, the second movement of that piece, according to Kevin, is actually in “F sharp minor.”

Who (but Kevin, and a few other brainy people) can remember all Mozart’s song titles? How complicated is that?

The second movement of “Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major” is the precise song that we wake up to every weekday morning. This song, I think, has become the theme of my life. It puts me in a really reflective mood every morning. It’s almost like I’m being let in on someone’s melancholy thoughts. I envision a person who is very sad. He has just been betrayed or something else very tragic has happened. It’s like someone stabbed him and twisted the knife. He is disbelieving. He is in a daze. He’s trying understand and take it all in. But, despite the pain, something beautiful is happening. It’s like a surprising sort of happiness intertwined with tragedy.

This probably doesn’t make any sense to you. But, then again, I’m usually still half asleep when I’m thinking these thoughts.

Although I’m not the most avid classical music buff in the world (heh, heh), I have to admit that Mozart makes me reflect on more complex and deep subject matter than Britney Spears ever could.

Last night I met a hero.

I take a lot of heat for being a Dr. Laura fan. And I’m always quite ready and willing to defend myself. Dr. Laura Schlessinger is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever encountered. She cuts through the fat, perceives the issue, and articulates it like no one I’ve ever met. I typically agree with her analysis and I love her wit. I love how she combats the lies and deception of extreme feminism and other liberal ideology. She is an amazing person. Because of her, many people have been empowered to make better choices in life. Including me.

So, anyway, enough of that. I bring up this whole topic because last night she came to Sacramento for a book signing – promoting her latest book, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.” (Kevin was happy to take me to this event.) ;)

There were ten billion people standing in line to meet her and get their book signed. And I’m only exaggerating maybe slightly. The line extended out of the Borders bookstore, around the building, down the slope of the gigantic parking lot, and out onto the major boulevard below. I decided that I would forego meeting her in person because it would take at least two hours to wait in line. And there was no guarantee that I would even make it through.

Since the book was 30% off, we decided to go buy it anyway. The Borders employee looked at me and asked, “You’re not going to get it signed?” “No, the line is too long,” I replied. She said, incredulously, “You have to get it signed.” Before I knew it, she physically pushed me into a clearing in the line and Dr. Laura was within sight. Please note: I FELT VERY GUILTY ABOUT THIS. Kevin couldn’t believe I got it signed.

So, anyway, last night I met a hero. Not that she’ll ever remember me. But I’ll always remember her.

And note: I hope I look as good as her when I’m that old.