Monday, December 26, 2016

After Santa Parks His Sleigh

You thought Santa parked his sleigh and hung out at the North Pole after Christmas?
Nah. He hits the streets in a red car (check out the white bearded guy on the grill!) with antlers (a bit hard to spot... subtle, yet effective) and tracks down the best after-Christmas sales!
What do you like to do after Christmas? 

Monday, December 19, 2016

When Nature Calls, even Elves Gotta Go!

I didn't know what an Elf on the Shelf was until I visited my son's house and accidentally touched the leg of a red-suited elf hanging from a wire strung across the ceiling.
"NO!" my grandchildren screamed. "If you touch him, he'll go away!" 
Well, apparently there is a second-chance clause for uneducated Grammys. After spending a day with a bandage on his leg, Freddy was back to moving around the house at night.
(Can I lock my door?)
Here he is on the back of the toilet, poised over a cup with a bit of yellow liquid in the bottom, with the illuminating words, "Let it go, let it go, don't hold it back anymore! Hehehe. Freddy" written on the toilet lid.
(I don't know that Freddy is going to be getting any presents. Does his mama know he's writing on toilets, I wonder?)
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? 
Do you have a similar Christmas tradition?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Festival of Trees!

My friend Karen gave me a ticket to The Festival of Trees! Besides the amazing array of creatively decorated trees, there was a gorgeous castle entry that made me feel like a pink-coated princess!
It was so helpful to get me into the Christmas spirit!

I'm so glad for friends, and castles, and pink, warm coats!
What are you glad for?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Even the Chips are in a Christmas Mood!

Even the chips are in a Christmas mood!




(Perhaps we should help them celebrate... salsa is red and green, too, heh?)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tall Hot Blondes

When Rebecca and I met up with our equally tall, hot, blonde cousin, Jolene Rallison Garcia, at a store that had a sign that read, "Everyone wants a tall, hot blonde for Christmas," well, we had to take advantage of a photo op!
The only two problems are:
1. None of us stood up to show how tall we are.
2. I don't know how to crop this photo!
Argh!
(I want an electronically savvy brain for Christmas...)
What is your favorite beverage to warm up your insides in the winter?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Do I Look Like a Turkey?

I am thankful for FACE PAINT!

Or maybe I'm just thankful to spend time with people I love, like one of my granddaughters and her friend. The red and green snake girl could go on a Christmas tree! The apple/banana cheeked princess could go to a royal grocery store! And I could be... um... I could be a lizard lipped splashy cheeked jungle baby!
Or a turkey.
I painted two faces, my pictured granddaughter (better known as Banana Face) painted one.
(Guess who painted what!?)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Big, Mean, Pink Machine!

What did I see while riding down the road? A Hummer!
Big, tough, alligator stuff, Hummers are designed to be serious, hardcore, off-road-ready military vehicles designed to do battle in camel-infested nations.
Unless they're pink.

Then they are for Christmas shopping, to run over all the other cars parked near the front entrance of the store. The capacity inside won't have to hold the troops, but all the equipment needed for an over-abundant Christmas.
I think this Hummer is headed for some serious Black Friday shopping. It could certainly fit a camel in it.
Do you like the Black Friday shopping tradition?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Be Too Kind!

(This did not happen to me, but I saw this online today and I wanted to share this lengthy story...the message is one worth remembering. We all live in glass houses, so be kind to others - you never know what might happen because you shared a little kindness. Choose to consistently err on the side of kindness. Who knows? Maybe magic happens.)

"I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people. Any who, middle of the day this little old lady comes up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car ‘OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!’ She piles a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stops and tells me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean.
‘Wooooosh’ she says, making a wave gesture with her hand.
Ok. I think to myself. Awesomely happy, weird little old ladies are my favorite kind of customer. They’re thrilled about everything and they’re comfortably bananas. I can have a good time with this one. So we chat and it’s nice.
Then this kid, who’s been up my counter a few times to gather his school textbooks, comes up in line behind her (we’re connected to a major university in the city so we have a lot of harried students pass through). She turns around to him and, out of nowhere, demands that he put his textbooks on the counter. He’s confused but she explains that she’s going to buy his textbooks.
He goes sheetrock white. He refuses and adamantly insists that she can’t do that. It’s like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, boldly takes them out of his hands, throws them on the counter and turns to me with an intense stare and tells me to put them on her bill. The kid at this point is practically in tears. He’s confused and shocked and grateful. Then she turns to him and says ‘you need chocolate.’ She starts grabbing handfuls of chocolates and putting them in her pile.
He keeps asking her ‘why are you doing this?’ She responds ‘Do you like Harry Potter?’ and throws a copy of the new Cursed Child on the pile too.
Finally she’s done and I ring her up for a crazy amount of money. She pays and asks me to please give the kid a few bags for his stuff. While I’m bagging up her merchandise the kid hugs her. We’re both telling her how amazing she is and what an awesome thing she’s done. She turns to both of us and says probably one of the most profound, unscripted things I’ve ever had someone say:
‘It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.’
The kid thanks her again and leaves. I tell her again how awesome she is. She’s staring out the door after him and says to me: “My son is a homeless meth addict. I don’t know what I just did. I see that boy and I see the man my son could have been if someone had chosen to be kind to him at just the right time.”
I’ve bagged up all her stuff and at this point am super awkward and feel like I should say something but I don’t know what. Then she turns to me and says: “I wish I could have bangs like that but my darn hair is just too curly.” And leaves.
And that is the story of the best customer I’ve ever had. Be kind to somebody today."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

FOR SALE BY OWNER by Marlene Bateman



Filled with plans, McKenzie Forsberg returns to her hometown to spend Christmas with her family. Stressed by a year of intense, ongoing problems, she quit her high-powered job to move back and rebuild her life.  Kenzie desperately needs the peace and security she is sure will come from buying the home she grew up in. But when she arrives, Kenzie discovers that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, has already put an offer on the house. However, he can only close the deal if he sells his own house by Christmas Eve.


When Kenzie unexpectedly runs into a couple who are considering buying Jared’s house, she unthinkingly gives them information that changes their mind. Jared is more than a little interested in Kenzie, but has second thoughts when it appears Kenzie may have attempted to sabotage the sale of his home. Feeling bad, Kenzie apologizes but the damage may be too much for their relationship to overcome. Despite themselves, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, a few days before Christmas, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past. In that moment, everything changes. Will the power of love be enough to bring Jared and Kenzie together and allow them to find their happily ever after?

Excerpt

“What made you decide to move to Lake Forest?” Kenzie asked.
“I’ve always loved it here,” Jared said. “It’s a beautiful area, and there’s a special atmosphere here. People are so friendly. I guess part of the reason I came is because I needed to go someplace new and kind of start over, you know?”
            Kenzie did know. That was exactly what she was doing now. She’d gotten over Larry, but she needed to go someplace new and reinvent herself and her life.
“Now let me ask you,” Jared said. “What made you decide to come back?”
            “A lot of reasons. I need a fresh start too. I’m tired of the hectic pace in Chicago.” Impulsively she added, “Also, I had to get away from my job at Midwest. A guy was causing some real problems for me—” She stopped. Their eyes met and lingered. Jared’s compassion was evident and the expression on his face kind. She felt so comfortable talking with him—as if they were kindred spirits. Something in her heart softened into a spreading pool, and she smiled at him.
Tearing open his packet of Oreo cookies., Jared took one and dunked it in his hot chocolate.
Kenzie frowned. “Figures. You’re a dunker.”
“And I bet you’re a twister.”
Snatching up a cookie, Kenzie twisted it open and took a bite of the creamy middle. “Ummm.”
Jared shuddered. “That’s wrong in so many ways.”
Picking up her mug and warming her fingers, Kenzie sipped her hot chocolate. “This is wonderful!”
“It’s a secret recipe—been in my family for generations.”
            “Really?”
            “No, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?”

Links
For Sale by Owner is available at Deseret Book and Seagull Book. It can also be purchased online at:
Seagull Book; https://goo.gl/yQboNh

GoodReads;  https://goo.gl/ksPihN


Bio
Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Weird to see so many buzzards

I couldn't get all the buzzards circling over the funeral site in the frame of my camera, but I never saw so many in one place.
I would say there were at least forty, maybe even fifty.
I know Halloween was last week, but hey, we can pretend, can't we?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Scared to Read

These are the awesome people I once worked with. We chose the biggest book we could find so we could crown around it for a picture to encourage children to read.
And then I made a scared face and claw hands while everyone else is smiling!
Does that make children want to read?
Does my pose put them off, make them curious, or feel like giving me slight push to see if I can easily be knocked off balance?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy Truck!

You have to look closely, but on the back window of this truck, right behind the driver, are three little words. They read:

Happy, Happy, Happy!
Three times is better than one!
What are you happy about today?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Going Chinese!

I got free soup at a Chinese restaurant because the waiter brought the wrong kind. He just gave it to me, "flee of chalge."
I also had bananas fried dough (what were they called?) Yummy bananas!

I also had seaweed salad, and it wasn't slimy! It was even kind of crunchy. Yes, it did taste like seaweed, but not too much. I only looked over my shoulder for the ocean once. 

Spring rolls. They tasted good, but they had chewy cabbagey chopped up inside that was kind of hard to chew. I actually dipped the spring rolls in the seaweed salad sauce as much as the yellow sauce that they came with.

The bananas were the best, IMHO. (Do you know what that means? "In My Humble Opinion." Or it could mean "I Make Hot Oatmeal."
What would you say it means?
(And which of these foods would you like the best?)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Flip Flop Blowout!

I blew out my flip flop...

...but I didn't step on a pop top!

The thing is, this happened when I was out and about town, and I didn't have another pair of flips, or sneaks, or boots, or stilts.
What I DID have was a length of tan elastic in my purse.
(Yeah, I know. I don't know why I had an unshucked ear of corn in my pocket in a long-ago picture of me kneeling beside a swimming pool, either!)

Ta da! Now I'm allowed to walk in public places.
Considering that historically we've had fashions that make people's butts look big, and shark ripped jeans, and shirts that look like the seams are being worn on the outside, do you think this style might catch on?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Farewell to Watermelon

One of my favorite foods on the planet just got cuter!
Who knew this delicious, one-of-my-favorite foods could get even better? 

Why isn't watermelon like bananas, available year 'round?
Ah, well, it just gives me something to look forward to next summer.
But isn't there spring watermelon? 
(Please tell me there's spring watermelon!)
Are you a watermelon fan or foe? 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Then and Now! (Can you tell who is who?)

Back then!
 This picture was taken around 1968 in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. (Weren't we stylin', though?)

 This fine photo was snapped in 2016 in Logan, Utah. 
We're still stylin'!
(Don't we age well?)
Can you tell who is who?
(Or is that "who is whom?")
I can hear you saying I should know... but I don't! ;o)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Horses on Parade!

Big guy on a little horse...

 Little guy on a little horse...

Big mules with antlers!
You might see lots of interesting things in parades.
Do you like parades?
Have you been to one this summer?
What's your favorite parade memory?

Monday, September 5, 2016

My Car Tries

My car reached 40,000 miles! (It got a synthetic oil change... yum!)
But then I thought maybe my car was experiencing a mid-life crises when I came out of work and could not see it in its parking space.
 Oh, there it is!
 It does the best it can.
And I do the best I can, too!
Are you a big red truck? Or are you a little blue car?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Head Turners

I think the last time I saw a sidecar, well, since this one this summer, was when I was a kid sitting in front of a TV with the show "Hogan's Heroes" playing on it. 
Then there was this car that would survive any collision. (Look at those teeth!) 
 Would you choose the motorcycle? The side car? Or the one with teeth?
(Rawr!)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cat on a Hot Car Roof

There's a movie called "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," based on a book by Tennessee Williams. (I wonder if he's related to Indian Jones?) That cat is a woman who wants an inheritance.
 This blog is about a cat on a hot car roof. This is a real cat with four legs, fur, and whiskers who's after the leftovers in the fast food bag.
Now take a step back and think about this... if you could inherit money or food, which one would you pick?
You can't eat money. You could use it to buy food, if there was food for sale. 
But if food was scarce, who would trade it for rectangles of paper or hard metal circles they can't eat?
I suppose you could always eat the cat...
Overall, which one is better in your opinion? Why?

Monday, August 15, 2016

What Would You Do Here?

What do you think of this place? Does it make you want to turn and walk fast the other way? Is it appealing? Does it make you hungry? Or are you ambivalent?
This is one of the places I do my writing these days. It is a bistro, so people are coming and going, and peppy music is playing, and coffee is brewing, and there are outlets and FREE WIFI! (I don't even have to buy anything to eat!)
I find it positively inspiring.
What about you? Would you want to hang out here?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Too Hot!

There seem to have been a lot of wildfires lately.
 They are just too hot for me!
Even my car feels too hot inside. These were cheese slices. Honest. That was before they sat in my INSULATED lunch box in my car.

Cheese fondue, anyone?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mouse Car!

What a surprise! When I was driving in Salt Lake City, I found myself driving behind a rather unique car. It looked like a big, yellow mouse.
Because I dislike the startle factor of mice suddenly dashing across my path when least expected, it was kind of creepy. On the other hand, it was kind of cool, too. It looked like a really good way to not lose your car in a parking lot.
Would you drive a car like this if you didn't work for the company? Or are you more of a low-key driver kind of person?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Barbie style

What happens when Barbie goes skinny dipping and someone steals her high heels while her head is underwater?
Innovative Barbie straps on a tin foil skirt!
I used to make clothes for my troll dolls out of a fabric rectangle with holes cut for the arms. I'd wrap it around their round, stout bodies and snug it closed with a tie around the waist. Those trolls were real fashion statements, with vast wardrobes of colorful clothes.
Did you play with dolls? (GI Joe's and army guys count, too.) Did they keep their original clothing (if they had any) or was it lost to unfortunate sandbox burials, washing machine mishaps, or giant dog encounters?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Ideas are Everywhere

What would you think if you saw an apple rolled up against a store parking lot curb?
That it dropped from someone's cart?
That an obstinate child threw it on the ground because s/he wanted a candy bar instead?
That its chief aspiration in life was to become apple sauce, and it hoped a car would pull up close enough to the curb to make its dream come true?
The first thing that came to mind was that it was a poisoned apple, and a witch lay in hiding, waiting for a hungry, health conscious, five-second-rule passerby to pick it up. 
Then she could entrance him/her to go into the store and pay for all the witch's groceries, which would consist mainly of candy.
What would the witch do in your story?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sleeping Chicks

Yup, we hatched out chicks in the classroom last spring. I don't know that I would call it a cute or cuddly experience, at least not for me. They all came out wet and wobbly, and some of them died. 
But the kids gave the survivors names like "Zack" and "Ramsey Junior" and "Hercules." Here is a picture of the survivors sleeping, which is amazing in itself, because the smallest sound usually made them jerk their heads up and look around for fingers to peck. Because of this experience, chickens and eggs have taken a little different slant in my POV.
Do you like to eat chickens?
Do you like to eat eggs?
Do you like to watch things hatch?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pizza with Footprint!

I don't know what it is about this that caught my eye. Is it that it looks like it was stepped on by a big bare foot with only four toes?
Or is it that its main ingredient could be Sasquatches?
Perhaps it's that we are free to eat whatever we want, because this is Independence Day.
Does this look appealing to you?
Or would you rather eat chocolate covered ants, like my dad fed me when I was a kid? I thought there was crisped rice inside the candy. (My dad liked to laugh. One time when I was twelve, he watched me rush into the kitchen on a hot summer day, pour some milk from a carton on the counter, and guzzle it in my thirsty state. I was four gulps in before I realized it was sour. When he started laughing, I asked, "Why didn't you tell me it was sour?"
He said, "It won't hurt you. Your stomach makes it sour before it digests, anyway, so you just skipped a step.")
What's your favorite summertime food?

Monday, June 27, 2016

If You Don't Like Feet or Toes, Don't Look!

I never had a pedicure before May 2016. I got a gift certificate from my daughter-in-law, Nicolle, to have my feet soaked, pumiced, cuticles clipped, nails filed, and painted by a perfect stranger. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I am up for new experiences, so I went in to see what it was all about.
My GPS initially took me to a trailer park clubhouse. Momentarily confused, I recalculated with the business name instead of the address, and was redirected to a place 10 minutes away. It was still morning when I got to La Couture, and there was only one lady having her feet done. By the time I left, there were a dozen ladies soaking their toes.
I was directed to choose a nail polish color. As per my usual habit, I chose a flesh tone. After the cute Filipino nail technician painted two of my toes, she looked up at me and suggested that I have brightly painted toes for summer instead.
I told her to go ahead and choose the color for me, so she did!
I may not have the most beautiful feet in the world, but they work, and I'm grateful for them, even when I have a razor incident that accidentally injures my toe. (See my owie in the photo above?)
Speaking of toes, we are allowed to wear sandals at work, but the dress code requires a strap around the back of any shoes worn. Does this rule out flip flops? 
Not if someone figures out how to add a heel strap! 
So how are you with your feet? Do you like to walk around in bare feet or as little shoe as possible? (Like me?) Or are you happier in a pair of shoes? (Like my husband.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

2016 Mormon Miracle Pageant Pictures!

When we (Bob and I) went to the Mormon Miracle Pageant on Thursday, June 16, we got to see our son, Andy, who is sharing the role of playing the part of the Savior with another actor. 
He grew his own beard, but he had to borrow some long hair to fulfill the role.
I love that guy! 
(Both my son and the the Savior, who he portrays.)
When I saw him talking to the children around him on the hill, I asked what he was talking to them about. He replied that he was telling them how much Jesus loves them.

I also got to see two of my cousins, sisters Cathy (on my right, your left, holding the pictures of Jesus) and Dawn (on my left, your right. The lady in the bun walking past may be a distant relative, but we haven't traced our family tree back to Adam yet to identify her!) 
Cathy and Dawn used to be Anderson's like me, because our fathers were brothers.
It was so fun to see them and hug them!
Do you have cousins? (I think I have 45 firsts!) 
How many do you have?
Do like to see them?
When was the last time you did?
(I saw some from the other side two days later, but it was at a wedding reception where asking them to stop and take a picture might have made the wedding photographers feel redundant!)

What's Your First Thought?

When I passed this road sign, I was so full of ideas about the origin of the broken side that I had to turn around and go back to take a pi...