Friday, May 31, 2013

The answer to life the universe and everything

Today is my birthday. I'm sick. I'm sick on my birthday. Now, if I was 12 or 16 or even 21, I would be pouting all day, probably. But, I'm not. What I am, though, is not in the writing mood. I've been sick since Tuesday so instead of writing a post you can ponder, I've simply left you a couple of treats for your Friday.

First, Google "answer to life the universe and everything". See! 42! That's the age I am today! I made it. Learn more about 42 and why it's amazing here.

Second, here's Jim Gaffigan on birthdays, robes, and gifts:

And a little Seinfeld:

Happy Friday, everyone. And remember, 42 is the answer to everything.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm Teaching My Son How to Lie

This photo has nothing to do with this post. It just makes me laugh. 
My son, let's call him Hortensio, is a great kid. He's wicked smart, funny, outgoing and creative. He has boundless energy, which is amazing to watch and can, or course, be exhausting. But there is one element of his personality (that ahem he might have got from me) that I am not so crazy about. He never, ever, ever, ever wants to be wrong. (Or lose at anything - but that is a whole other blog post.)

If my wife or I ever disagree with Hortensio, or try and tell him he isn't right about something, he will argue with us until the cows come home, throw a house party, burn the house down, go to jail, get reformed and then start a non-profit to help build homes for other cows to come home to.

This really manifests itself when Hortensio occasionally (more than occasionally) finds himself in trouble. Let's say he is running around the yard like a crazy person and accidentally crashes into his sister. He will immediately insist that he didn't actually crash into her.  And that it was her fault. And that she made him push her, or that he was just swinging his arms and she ran into him. It's really hard for him to own up and say "You're right. I messed up. I'm sorry."

The other day Hortensio was trying to explain something to his brother and got really frustrated when he didn't get it. Hortensio started yelling at him and when I said "Hey, if you are trying to teach your brother something and he doesn't get it, yelling at him doesn't help. Do I yell at you if you are trying to learn something and you don't get it right away?" his response was "Well, I don't know because you never take the time to teach me anything new." Cat's in the cradle, bud. Cat's in the cradle.

The problem with this is that when he argues back and insists that he is in the right, he just gets in more trouble. All we want is for him to say he is wrong or say he is sorry. But often a small incident will turn into a big punishment because I get so frustrated with his talking back and arguing and insisting that he is right and I send him to his room. (This post is really making me look like a hack, right?)

The other night we had a big blow out fight, about something that I don't recall and he got sent to his room. I went down and was talking to him and said, "Sometimes, Mom and I just want you to say your sorry and feel bad about what you did. When you argue that it was someone else'
s fault, it just makes us more frustrated. If you say you are sorry, even if you don't totally feel sorry, things will go better for you."

Sure enough a few days later there was another incident where he lost his temper. And immediately became argumentative. And shortly thereafter got sent to his room. But surprisingly after a few minutes, he sheepishly came out and came up to me and said "Dad, I'm really sorry. I lost my temper and I was wrong. Is it OK if I come out of my room now?" And you know what? I let him out. Do I think he really was 100% sorry. Hmmm..probably not. Do I care? Not really. Does that make me a terrible parent? Absolutely. I felt like we won a small victory. Here he was taking responsibility and apologizing instead of going to his grave insisting that he was right. And maybe he was lying. And maybe I don't care.

So, help me out. Have I failed utterly as a parent because I let my son manipulate me and get out of a punishment? Or did I teach him a valuable life lesson because sometimes part of being a grown up is saying you are sorry for things that you might not really feel all that sorry about because it's the right thing to do? Do you need a .pdf version of this post to attach to my parent of the year application?  And please don't try and tell me that I am wrong. Because I am not. I'm just flailing my arms around and you ran into me.

ice capades

First off, watch this video. Watch the whole thing. It's short.

Then, imagine that this girl is named Deb, and that this is going through Deb's brain:

"OK, Deb. You got this. You are going to go out there and nail it. You have a classy black outfit from Chicos. There are hot hockey guys out there and they totally got your back. OK, I'm walking out there now. I'm Celine Dion. I have this. I practiced, you know, a few times. Ooh! Watch that ice! Haha I'm totally fine. I know exactly how far to hold this mic from my mouth. I got this. I'm singing now. I sound really great. I sure wish people would be a little more quiet for this, but whatevs. You guys like vibrato, right? I'm nailing it. I hold my notes just long enough for you to hear my training. Why does my tummy feel funny? As if I'm about to bomb a line? I sure love the Twilight series. Oh, crap! Why did I just think about the Twilight series? I think I just sang the twilight part too early. I JUST SANG THE TWILIGHT PART TOO EARLY! I think I might be Canadian! I think the devil just grabbed my tongue with a double pronged cork puller! My mom warned me about this! She told me to practice and I was too busy dropping coin at Chicos and the Undertease store. My mom told me I would fail. She's told me all my life. She's right! I just bombed the national anthem and now everyone knows I hate freedom. I want to swear soooooo bad right now! What am I'm going to do? I know - apologize! SUPER FAST. Done. Nailed it. I just squeaked out the meekest little "sorry" you have ever heard and now I'm busting through these hockey chimps and they are looking at me like my face is a puck. Which is totally how they are all the time. I dated a hockey guy in high school, you know. That guy was a keeper, whoo boy! He drove a pinto and bought me a Charleston Chew and called it dinner. Well, it takes a lot more than that to woo a lady, my man! A lot more. Especially if she's got training. With vibrato like mine I deserve at least the Sizzler. I high tailed it right out of that relationship (as soon as I got my Sugar Ray CD back) cuz I don't chase waterfalls! I cannot believe that I just beefed that song, you guys. I'm hiding in a corner behind two hockey dudes and wedged into the corner of a Gatorade dispenser. Is this mic still on? I have friends out there. I have fans! They are probably so mad. I would be. They paid a lot of money to hear me sing this. I don't even know what to do. I'm feeling so much inertia right now. I am trying to think what Katie Couric would tell me to do. She'd probably tell me to get right back out there, wouldn't she. She did. They fired her from the CBS News even though she had sexy, waxy legs and still she kept coming back. And now she has a daytime talk show with strict rainbow-colored clothing codes for the audience. Oh man. I should probably go back out there. Are they booing out there? Yes. No. Are they? Is it me they are booing? I'll show them. I paid good money for this jacket! I'm going back out. I totally know this song. Anyways, I have the words written on this piece of paper. Deb is a doer. I got this. I'm going back out there. Nothing happened, y'all! Keep movin'! Cue that track and let's have a do over! I'm confident and I totally have this. I owe it to our fallen. "What so proudly." I know it. Everyone has probably forgotten by now. I'm going to sound great! I'm walking out. Moving through, you hockey bums! Just one more step onto the ice, now! I got this..."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

It's Memorial Day and your plans probably include not sitting down at a computer and reading blogs today. But we at PTA like to reach out everyday, even if your plans are wildly more exciting. Hopefully they include being with family and friends, eating delicious food, possibly visiting the grave site of a family member who served in the military, maybe there's a parade you went to this morning.

I love holidays and long weekends. They always evoke feelings of gratitude, and remind me to be more grateful more often. And when I Google'd photos of freedom, this is what come up:

I kind of feel like that when the day is wide open.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vote! Is this She & Him video the best thing ever or the worst thing ever?

Watch the video and then chime in with a comment. Your opinion probably hinges on whether or not you like Zooey Deschanel. (Right, Chris?)

My observations:

  • Why is there no sound when he says "Coffee" and when the kid screams?
  • I can't tell if the dancers are supposed to be out of sync on purpose sometimes.
  • I guess the guy with the glasses is Him, aka M. Ward, but he got a haircut from the last time I saw him, I think.
  • I like the song.
  • Don't spill the coffee!
  • Newspaper.
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Green Thumb/ Black Thumb

I love a beautiful garden. And in my fantasies, I have a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of professional help to have a beautiful garden in my back yard. Kind of like Oprah. But I don't have any of those things: money, time or help. So I make due with what I've got.
This is my backyard. And truthfully, I am really lucky. It is beautiful. But none of the beauty of it was created by me, so I am basking in the hard work of others. That trumpet blossom vine that grows up through the railing on the deck is about my favorite thing in the world, but could never have been created by me. 

Every year of my home-owning life, I have tried to plant a garden. We've lived in 4 homes and each has had a slightly different set up. Some had garden spots already. Some did not. In our house in Oregon we had no garden so I actually built a garden box, bought a bunch of stuff to mix together to make my own soil and planted tomatoes. 
The fact that my daughter is so tiny in this photo makes me want to cry. 
I think the whole thing cost me about $200. And I think we got one tomato. And one the next year. Yeah! Really expensive tomatoes!

My family has some amazing gardeners in it. My Dad's tomato set up is unreal. It involves drip systems, water tents, heating elements. He usually has ripe tomatoes on the vine by early June. My younger brother has the most amazing yard I've ever seen. This is his vegetable garden:
I mean, COME ON! And this is another shot of his garden that I stole from his Facebook page:
I planted those same flowers (Lupine) in my garden last year and they never bloomed. And didn't come back this year.
I wish I had more pictures. It's amazing. There are also Chickens. And Honey Bees. (And ladies, he's single! Email me and I'll set you up. Seriously. Email me. I'm not kidding.) 

So every year I do a bunch of research and spend too much money on perennials and vegetables, and every year, they do moderately well, but I seem to be missing that magic touch. This is my garden that I just planted. I've got tomatoes, zucchini (not pictured) and some flowers that I have high hopes for (Lupine, Poppies and Black-Eyed Susans.) Please note, I didn't plant the gorgeous irises you see in the background. 
Sure. It's new. It was literally planted yesterday. So maybe there is hope, but if history is any indication, there will be a lot of unhealthy looking plants in about 2 months. If anyone out there is a master gardener, I would love to hear your quick tips. Again, remember: I have very little money, not a lot of time and no help. But I want a garden like Oprah's. Or my brothers. That's not too much to ask, is it?


I sometimes think of myself as the original photo-bomber, but I know that's probably not true. I always like to think I came up with or invented awesome things, and then I found out that people have been doing them for years. I sometimes want to post the awesome things I'm thinking about or invented online, so that there's a legitimate time-stamp and proof that I was the first one to ever think them. But then I remember: NOBODY CARES.

Anyway, I enjoy a good photo bomb and I think I'm pretty good at them. Here are a few examples:

Here I am, in 2006, on the steps of the British Museum with a group of Spanish teens. Were you photobombing in 2006? (Probably.)

Without my background grimace, this would be just another photo of Cooper Howell drinking bottled water while in line at Space Mountain. Surprise!

Look here! Just another day in Versailles with my Japanese friends.

But sometimes the tables get turned. I would like to show you what may be the best photobomb, possibly, EVER:

This is me (red hat) and a bunch of the apostle actors on an island in Sicily. There is a guy standing between me and James (sunglasses.) WE HAVE NO IDEA WHO HE IS.

In this photo, taken just seconds later, HE'S GONE. All that remains is a right leg. Where did he go? Who was he? Why is he so awesome? How can I tell him to shave his goatee?

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Personal Skyfall

So, last week I reminisced about the 25-year anniversary of moving to Hawaii, and that has spurred yet another memory of that same era. The memory of the day my father tried to kill me.

It was on the plane ride from Los Angeles to Honolulu when Dad announced that when we landed in Hawaii, he had arranged for some of us to go skydiving. I immediately pulled out my Bucket List and showed him that my list was in fact totally void of such nonsense. If I was going to do something that defied death, it was going to involve overeating or bedsores from the longevity of a lifestyle of inactivity.

I had heard Dad speak of his desire to skydive and knew it had been festering in his heart and soul for many years; but now he had clearly gone bananas. (Or coconuts—pick your island poison.) I wasn't too excited about Dad killing himself, but to involve me seemed completely unnecessary.

On the north side of Oahu, in a spacious, grassy field, stands a tiny hut, where Bubba and Buddy hang out all day, drinking beer and admiring the makeshift airplane they have stolen from some unsuspecting crop-duster. And they sit there waiting with a small hope that fools like us will pull up and give them enough money for more beer.

So, we fools pull up, throw some money at them, and they take us inside their tiny hut and explain that we’ll be jumping “tandem” – meaning that one of them will be attached to me by a thin cord that is tied to our waists. Apparently this is the loophole by which they can legally send us up without any instruction.

Dad went up and jumped first, while we all stayed on good ole’ terra firma and watched. As Dad floated gently to the ground, I was ecstatic that I would not be left to provide for my family at the tender age of seventeen. It was my turn to go, so I made the announcement that I was going to now board the plane, unless someone wanted to just put a bullet in my face now and save some cash. No takers.

I climbed aboard the plane, looked at the man whose hands I was putting my life in, and choked back a tear. There was one seat on the plane, and thankfully, it belonged to the pilot. I took a seat on the wood floor, sat up against the side of the plane, and wondered if any of my friends in California would come all the way to Hawaii for my funeral, and what my mom would serve them. I should have gone over the menu with her before getting on the plane, but it was too late now.

The plane itself didn't seem all that sturdy, and as a paying customer, I was of the opinion that I should be the one wearing the parachute, instead of the “professional” jumping with me. I looked at the other men on the plane and noticed I was the youngest person jumping. I wondered why the rest of them had decided to do this. Surely their dads were not forcing them into it.

We reached the two-mile point, and the instructor slid open the door to reveal nothing but blue. I couldn't see the ground, the ocean – nothing. And I was seated, most unfortunately, right by the door. The two other individuals on the plane decided not to jump. I now had the power of the crowd on my side. I could have easily been turned, were it not for the words of the instructor “Whether you jump or not, you still pay.” The fear of confronting my father and telling him, “Hey, thanks for the $100 plane ride, but I much, much prefer it here on the ground” overpowered my fear of jumping, and I made the suddenly easy decision to throw myself out of a moving plane.

“Climb out the door and hang onto the wing,” the guide instructed me.

“Pass,” I commented.

“Climb out, and I’ll climb out after you.”

I got down on my hands and knees and inched my way out the door, holding on to the wing. I clung to that wing so tightly; I think a few of my fingernails are still attached. At this point, I decided that wearing a mere tank top and 1988-length shorts was not the smartest wardrobe selection for leaving the earth’s atmosphere. I was freezing. The instructor came out, straddled over me and snapped the belt to attach us at the waist.

“Let go of the wing, you’ll swing between my legs.”

“What are my other options?”

I let go and swung between his legs, looking again at the big blue space beneath me. I sat there swinging, not knowing when he was going to jump, when I was going to fall, or when I was going to wet my pants. Actually, I had a pretty good idea of when I was going to wet my pants.

Suddenly, I was falling. I felt my stomach fall all the way back to the earth and wait for me there, under a palm tree. Somewhere around the falling rate of 90 mph my adrenaline kicked in, and I started getting really excited. I felt immortal, like I had somehow, in this single act, conquered life. Life, I was fairly sure, would never mess with me again.

After several moments of free falling, the parachute opened and the overpowering noise from the wind disappeared. I was floating, peacefully, and I was in no hurry to land. All my senses were alive and they were having a “come as you are” party. I was the host. They loved me.

We got closer to the ground and I heard the instructor yell “Uh-oh.” This is never a welcomed announcement, but even less so when you are in such a vulnerable position.

“Uh-oh…start running – there’s no wind.”


“There’s no wind to slow us down – we need wind to slow us down – we’re going to have to hit the ground running.”

Apparently there needs to be a strong wind to slow down the chute and land you gently on the ground. And we had no such wind. I hadn't taken physics, but I didn't see how “pre-running” was going to somehow store up a reserve of “running power” so that when you hit the ground you were actually ahead of the game because, hey, you were already running. But who was I to argue with Mr. Professional Skydiving Dude Man? I started Fred Flinstone-ing in the air. It made no difference. I hit the ground, landed on my face, and slid fifteen feet or so, with an instructor on my back.

We got up off the ground, shook off the dirt and … hugged. It’s what dudes do, don’t you know. I then declared that I needed a drink, and the instructor informed me there was a hose behind the shed. I walked behind the shed to also find something the instructor failed to mention – a large crop of your average, garden-variety marijuana, flourishing in the tropical Hawaiian weather. That was very reassuring. My instructor may or may not have been stoned, whilst I put my young life in his dude-ish hands.

So, nice try, Dad. But I’m still here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

On Set for "Inspired Guns"

Good morning!

Today I'm writing from my iPad mini, in an old warehouse, at a train yard, while I wait for it to be my turn in the wardrobe Winnebago. It's my second day of four on a movie shoot for "Inspired Guns." I play an eager FBI agent who has pushed a pencil his entire career and is finally getting a taste of the field. I bet it sounds like I'm the star. I'm not. And that's fine. 

It's a comedy. The movie is about missionaries, mafia, hit men, dreams, gangs, snipers, investigators, and baptism. Well, it HAS those things; it's about more than that. It's about patience, judgement, love, brothers, companionship, and has a few surprises. The more I'm around the movie, the more I'm proud to be in it.

Here's also why it's been fun:

- It stars Jake Suazo, Christian Busaith, Rick Macy, Scott Berringer, and many more fantastic actors you may know. Look it up on IMDB. My FBI partner (Scott) worked with Brad Pitt on "The Mexican"!
- I'm using vacation days so I'm getting double paid!
- The crew is very professional and fast.
- Everyone is nice.
- I get a gun and a badge.
- There is a full breakfast every morning. I had a breakfast burrito today.
- The writer/director Adam White is one of the nicest, coolest guys ever.
- It's not Italy but I get to be on locations like this ...

Anyway, I've got to get in the make up chair. It takes a team of people to make this 41 year-old look 31. 

If you feel so ... inclined ... go to Facebook and Like "Inspired Guns" for more info and pics and stuff. Let me know if you have questions in the comments. Quiet on the set!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I (think I) Am a Winner!!

I have always been an optimist. And a bit of a dreamer. My wife is definitely the pragmatist in our relationship. I always kind of imagine that the best will happen. And lately I have noticed that this manifests itself in an odd way: I think I am going to win every contest I enter. I don't just hope I will win. Or fantasize that I will win. I LITERALLY think I am going to win. This week Apple is giving away a $10,000 iTunes gift card to the person who downloads the 50,000,000,000 app. I have downloaded about 100 free apps this week to increase my odds and have already planned out how I plan on spending the $10,000. I even checked to make sure my phone number is up-to-date on my Apple account to make it easy for them to call me. I also am sure I am going to win $200 from the Beehive Bazaar for their #secondweekend contest. (They were doing the same giveaway last weekend and I had already decided how I was spending that gift card...which I didn't win. ) I am waiting for an email from the Pioneer Woman telling me I won a Kitchenaid. And I still am wondering why HGTV hasn't called me to tell me I won the Dream Home 2013. (Every year I spend lots of hours contemplating if I will actually move to the Dream Home, if I will keep it as a vacation home, or if I will sell it.)

This winning feeling is in no way based on fact or truth. I have literally won 3 things in my whole life: An early copy of a book called After the Golden Age. The Lower Lights first CD. And a weeks worth of free vegetables from a CSA. 3 wins out of 1.5 million entries in various contests, giveaways, etc. and you would think I would have a little perspective. Not be SO SURE that I am going to win every time I enter something.

Last year when I was out of work for a year, I did the same thing. I would simply apply for a job, and before they company had even called me to set up an initial interview, I would already be working there in my mind. I would plan what I was going to buy first with my company discount, and try and figure out where I would stop for diet cokes on my morning commute. And then the company would never call me and I would never even interview, let alone come close to getting the job.

Is this a good thing? I'm not sure. I guess it's good to be hopeful. But I am actually kind surprised (and bummed) when I don't win these things. Even as I am writing this I am thinking how funny it will be when a few hours after I publish this I get a call from both Apple and the Beehive Bazaar telling me that I won my $10,000 and my $200 respectively. Because clearly I am going to win, right?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

i got stuff to say

I'm not going to assume that you want to spend 45 minutes listening to me yammer on and on, but I'm going to give you the opportunity anyway! Happy birthday!

I did an interview with Richie T and Molly Mormon of the Cultural Hall podcast. It was a lot of fun. I think you might like it. It would be great to listen to if you were having to fold lots and lots of socks one afternoon, or if you were driving to Idaho. I don't expect you to just sit down and listen to it for the sake of just listening to it, unless you are Josh.

Anyway, here it is. I sort of come out as a Mormon Artist here. I hope you like it. Sorry about the dumb Harry Potter story.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Once, my brother was driving with his wife to Las Vegas. She made the comment that they never talk while they drive they just sit and stare out the window.  His response was that's what everyone does.

Still he took note.

The next time they were driving to Vegas (apparently this brother has a gambling/drinking/stripper problem...though there is also a Temple in Vegas so maybe they were going there) he had thought ahead.  He had taken a week and prepared, on his phone, a list of interesting topics to discuss on the drive.

So, just at the moment when the day to day conversation had piddled out he asked, "What are your thoughts about the rights of a polygamist to marry multiple times as it relates to the rights of homosexual marriage?*"  

Taken aback but intrigued by the topic they engaged in a discussion.  When that had run it course he hit her with, "Don't you think the decision have mortgage insurance last the life of the loan, as opposed to it's current 80% drop off, was egregious?!*"

She, noting his effort, joined in and they continued to discourse at 85 miles an hour.  The time flew by and he told me that they really did connect and really got into some big topics that did impact their lives.  The sun was setting and they were still laughing and speeding and talking and liking and then, when the topic of the voting rights of inmates came to an end, she noticed him flick out his phone, down by his leg, scroll down for a moment and then offer up, "Didn't you think Amanda totally redeemed herself in the reunion special of Project Runway?"

"Do you have notes?!"  She asked.


"Are you getting conversation topics from your phone?!"

"Yes, but I was the one who made them?!"

"Is it so hard to talk to me off the cuff that you had to get a crib sheet?!!"

"No, well, yes, but they took me a week and..."


"No! You just said we just stare out the window and so I came up with an agenda!"

"Well now I have an agenda! To shove that phone up your scrawny Zzyzx hole!"


Alright, well I wasn't there so I don't know how it went, but what I do know I understood both sides.  I wrote this from the point of view of my brother who told me the story and who I promptly, and without permission, stole it from.  But, if his wife's initial concern was we have a hard time talking on these long trips, then his abundant effort to fix it was actually an admission that said problem did exists and required abundant effort to fix!

He thought he nailed it, and then he got nailed. They sat in silence for the rest of the trip, even though his phone pulsed with engaging suggestions. And I know what you are going to say, I'm actually thinking the same thing right now, he should have just laid it out from the begininning, "So, I know how you think we don't talk on these long trips so I have spent the week coming up with interesting topics if we find we need it."

Then she hasn't been duped. She's not the one on the outside of a scheme, she's part of the scheme.  I don't know a lot about women, but I know they love a good scheme.

The best part of this story was when he was telling me about the conversation they had before he got caught. He really did remember what she said and how the whole thing felt nice and interesting and thoughtful and he learned things about his wife of over a decade that he hadn't known. And so he didn't tell this story the way I told it, his was borring and intimate and shared the blame between the two of them, he also never told me she said she'd shove the phone anywhere.  But I have to write a blog and I can't just tell stories about how much one of my brothers thinks his wife is still interesting and funny and sees things such a particular way that it still baffles him that he got to marry her.  NO ONE CARES! They want to hear a good phone shoving story and that, gental readers, is what you got.

*Not anywhere near the actual questions

Monday, May 13, 2013

Molokai Style

As the weather warms up and summer approaches, I have to tell you a Summer Story. It was twenty-five years ago this summer when my dad moved us to Hawaii.

It all began one night after dinner, circa 1986. My dad sat us all down and, unassisted by alcohol or peyote, told us that we were going to sell our house, buy a boat, and sail around the world. He had seven children, a flourishing CPA business, and apparently, a low tolerance for living out his days in Middle America. I was 15 and not impressed with this plan. If I could go back in time, I would smack my 15-year old self, because of course it would be incredible to live a life of globetrotting; but at the time, I was not thrilled with the dangers of the high seas. Sharks, pirates, and a lack of church dances left a bad taste in my mouth.

Fortunately, I had a plan. I suggested that before we do anything irrational we should probably rent the Harrison Ford movie, Mosquito Coast, wherein an eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America – by boat – to build an ice factory in the middle of the jungle. He goes completely crazy. At least…I think he does. The movie was kind of slow, so most of us kids left my parents watching it while we went into the other room and watched a rerun episode of Who’s the Boss?, starring a pre-skanky Alyssa Milano and small screen sensation Tony Danza. Riveting.

The plan must have worked, and Dad must have recognized the dangers of going crazy at sea (as well as the dangers of assuming that every Harrison Ford movie would be sensational—anything post 1995, I’m looking in your direction), because he never brought up the plan again and simultaneously stopped insisting we answered him with an “Ai, ai, Captain” whenever he asked us to do something. Who’s the boss now?

But he was still restless.

Fast-forward to 1988. 

We had another Family Meeting. This time, Dad explained that we would be selling our home and leaving all things glorious in Southern California for the opportunity to move to a tiny Hawaiian island by the name of Molokai. While there were decidedly fewer opportunities to be attacked by sharks or pirates while on land (equal opportunities for church dances), I wasn't convinced this was a great alternative. However there were zero movies starring Harrison Ford about a man going crazy in Hawaii. Unless you count the original screenplay for Temple of Doom, which was supposed to take place in Hawaii instead of India. Which also, I just made that up.

I had no way to thwart my father’s plan, so in August of 1988, we moved from Westlake, California to Kualapu’u, (pronounced, no joke, koala-poo-oo), Molokai, Hawaii. An island only six miles wide and thirty miles long.

When you tell people you lived on Molokai, you get one of two responses. “Never heard of it” or “Isn't that where the lepers are?” You are correct on both accounts. For the most part, even people who live on another Hawaiian island raise their eyebrows and are most surprised to hear that there are people alive and well on Molokai. In short, you will not find Molokai in your Fabulous Hawaiian Vacation brochure. Unless you were hoping to see the lepers; but even then, there isn't much left of them. (Zoing! Thank you, I'll be here all week.)

August 1988 was the month before I started my senior year in high school. Do you know how hard it is to move out of the state just before your senior year in high school? Not nearly as difficult as it is to find people who feel bad for you, since you are moving to Hawaii and they are not.

To pass the time on our flight from L.A. to Honolulu, I did a great deal of blubbering. I blubbered over the girl I was leaving in California; I blubbered over missing the suburb where I grew up; I blubbered over being an entire ocean away from In-N-Out; I blubbered over the in-flight movie (Three Men &a Baby, an emotional rollercoaster of love, laughter, and life lessons); and I blubbered over the hits-of-the-day tunes on my Walkman, including Cheap Trick’s The Flame, Guns n’ Roses Sweet Child of Mine, and Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy. (I've never wanted to throat-punch somebody more. Honestly, Bobby. You should worry; because if we ever meet, I am going to slap the “happy” right out of you.)

We spent a few days on Oahu doing all the touristy stuff we could manage to cram into our mini-stop – including the Polynesian Cultural Center, cliff jumping at Waimea Bay, walking Waikiki, flying in a glider plane, and touring the Dole Pineapple Plantation. It sounds like we were sitting in the lap of luxury, yes? But you forget. My dad had just taken a leave of absence from employment, he had seven children, and all these fun activities cost a ridiculous amount of money. How do you fund such an outing? Well, you do away with hotels and three square meals a day. That’s how.

We spent those first four days on Oahu in a minivan, my friend. We subsisted on bread and fresh fruit, purchased each morning. We spent the bulk of each day swimming at the beach, then driving around in wet swim suits, with wet towels (because nothing ever completely dries in humid places such as the Islands). By day four, I can’t describe the odious funk that permeated that minivan. Mildew-saturated towels and clothing, combined with old fruit rinds, combined with teenage body odor.  (Man, I missed church dances.) 

The nights were the worst, really. Dad would drive around until it got late enough that the police stopped patrolling the beaches.  Then he’d pull over and some of us would throw our towels out onto the sand and sleep, and some of the more fortunate souls called dibs on the seats in the van. It was a catch-22. Van seats weren't comfortable, but you ran the risk of being eaten alive by mosquitoes outside. I was so impressed when Dad handed that minivan back into Alamo Rental with a straight face.

Eventually we flew over to Molokai with about a week and half until school started. Here I have listed a few of my first impressions about Molokai:
  • It smells fantastic.
  • The dirt is red.
  • There are no stoplights.
  • There are barely any stop signs.
  • Nobody pays attention to the stop signs.
  • Everyone leaves their keys in the car ignition, because everybody knows which car belongs to whom. (Population: 6,000 folks.)
  • Everyone picks up hitchhikers.
  • The east end of the island is lush, with lagoons and an almost jungle-like feel; and the winding roads to get there make the trip longer than anywhere else you could go on the island. The west end is almost desert-like until you reach the coast, where the white-sand beaches are amazing. The north end holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest sea cliffs – and at the bottom is a peninsula, where the lepers live. The south end of the island has the wharf, groves of palm trees, and some restaurants and residential areas.
My brother and I eating octopus that had just come out of that water right behind us. 

Some things that made life easier:
  • I got to visit another island almost once a month, for some school, church, or family-related activity.
  • The local grocery store owner had Haagen-Dazs ice cream imported weekly just for our family.
  • The first video store on the island opened the same week we moved there. Coincidence? Not hardly.
  • I made friends that were more accepting than I had ever anticipated, and they kept me sane.
  • The beach, the beach, the beach.
I knew I was becoming localized when:
  • I ate sticky rice, poi, Portuguese sausage, and raw squid at 6:00 a.m. at Seminary Breakfast Parties.
  • I left my keys in my car ignition at all times.
  • I didn't always wear shoes to school.
I was only there the one year – my senior year of high school. After that I left for college and my parents later moved to Lake Tahoe while I was on my LDS mission. But Molokai will always a hold a special place in my soul. And Harrison Ford will always have a string of blockbuster hits to distract us from Hollywood Homicide.

Friday, May 10, 2013

If You Had to Wake Up to One Song Forever

Scenario: If you had to pick one song that would play to wake you up for the rest of your days, what would you pick?

This morning, my wife and I tried to figure that out for our daughter using Spotify. She has trouble waking up in the morning at times. Here are some songs that we tried, with mixed reactions and results:
  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor: A few measures in, Amelia and I begin a synchronized dance. Nine year-old daughter looks at us horrified. We keep dancing.
  • Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n' Roses: At this point my nine year-old daughter left the kitchen, went to her room, and turned off the light. I play air guitar.
  • Back in Black by AC/DC
  • Wildflower by The Cult: I then yelled to her over Ian Astbury that I had questions about the smoothie I was making for her. So she came back out, cautiously.
  • When Doves Cry by Prince: Eye roll.
  • Kiss by Prince: A string of eye rolls.
  • Raspberry Beret by Prince: Daughter not buying the French angle I'm selling because of her involvement with French Immersion at school. Enough Prince.
  • Rain in the Summertime by the Alarm: I don't know. I was reaching. Trying to find common ground.
  • You Take Me Up by Thompson Twins
  • Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  • Centerfold by J. Geils Band: Success! Nailed it! This is the one she wants to play every morning. Why? Because, "It sounds just like the Marshmallow Song!" I can't find the version she's thinking of anywhere.
I think this will need to be a continuing experiment. I still haven't found my personal wake up song. I think Amelia favors Eye of the Tiger. So, let me ask you, readers, what do you think your morning wake up song should be? You may have some good ideas and, really, I can't have my daughter cheerily waking up to a song about pornography.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tonight I died. And went to Heaven.

I have a dream. It's about me, a whole bunch of food trucks, an endless pocket full of money and me eating until I am sick. You see, I love food. The more interresting and unique the better, and no one does interresting and unique food better than food trucks. But unless you live or work in an Urban area where there are a lot of food trucks near your office, they aren't usually that convienent to get to. And unless you've been to them before, you kinda don't know what you are going to get. When Amy and I lived near Portland for our anniversay one year we went and stayed downtown one weekend. I was so excited to hit the food truck scene for lunch (in Portland they are not actually trucks - they are more permanent and all clustered in a few blocks) only to discover that the food trucks are all closed on Saturday because no one is working in the city. I was bummed.

Tonight, my food truck dream came true. I am at a work conference this week and tonight was one of our parties. It was down by the water in San Francisco, but it was windy and cold so I wasn't super excited. But when we got to the venue, we learned that dinner would be provided by 17 different food trucks. And, everything was paid for by the company so you could get whatever you want, as much as you want for free. Let me say that again: There were 17 food trucks and I could go up to them, order what I wanted, not pay for it. and then go to the next truck. I think I gained about 7 pounds tonight, but it was worth it.

I learned a few strategies. Like when I went to the truck that was serving Grilled Macaroni and cheese sandwiches...let me give that a moment to sink in. It was basically a grilled cheese sandwich. With bacon. And macaroni and cheese ON THE SANDWICH. Anyway, when I got my half of a sandwich it came with potato chips. I immediately threw them away. I don't have room for potato chip tonight, sir! I said, GOOD DAY! Or when the line for the Taco truck (where I got a taco with roasted poblanos, corn, sauteed mushrooms and queso fresco) was kind of long. I went next door to the Indian food truck, got my Kati roll stuffed with Chicken Tiki Masala and then ate that while I was waiting in the taco line. Once we figured out that the trucks didn't care how much we ordered (because it was free) we would just start ordering one of everything and then share with our friends. Rather than committing to one item, you could have a little taste of many items. So yes, I DO want a Pork Slider with cabbage and arugula slaw AND your smoked pork ribs. And no, ma'am, I don't want to decide if I'd rather have a Salted caramel, double vanilla or red velvet cupcake. I'd like one of each. In fact, I'd like TWO of each.

Did I eat to much? Absolutely. Am I going to have heart burn all night? You betcha? Is it hard for me to understand why no one else has ever thought of putting macaroni and cheese and bacon on a grilled cheese sandwich? I have literally had trouble thinking of anything else all night. But for a food nerd like me, it was heaven on earth. And when are you going to get a chance like that again? Probably never. So pass the lobster roll, the veggie empanada, the pork belly bao with pickled daikon and the Nutella and strawberry crème brûlée. Heaven is a beautiful place.

battle of the bulge

First off, I apologize for the title. Bulge might be the worst word ever. Say it a bunch of times. It's really the worst.

Like many of you, I'm paranoid to turn on the news and see that someone has used my fat belly as stock footage for a segment on obesity. It literally pushes me to go to the gym every morning. I'm not going to be that fat guy, even if they don't show my face! I refuse to be objectified. I'm also always on the lookout for low-lying camera operators.

I have come up with a series of tips to lose weight. Are you proud of me? You should be! I haven't actually lost any weight, but I feel GREAT. Here's a few thoughts:

1. When I eat at fast food establishments (every day - I'm super busy) I order a combo but I only eat HALF of the fries. You have to sacrifice!

2. When my kids want to play at a friends house, even if it's a block away, I'll drive them there. But I'll scoop them up out of the car and carry them to the door! Even Miles. You should see my arms!

3. I wear light, loose fitting clothes so that when I weigh myself I weigh less.

4. I "think thin" like French ladies do. It's all in your mind. I also wear clothes for thin people because that tricks everyone into thinking I'm thin, too. Size small t-shirts from Target seem to really slim me up.

5. Have you guys played Just Dance on the wii? What are you waiting for? It's a riot - and what a workout! I like to do one song, and then I watch my kids do about a hundred. It's really great family time.

6. Even when I'm in front of the computer I keep working out! I constantly flex my glutes. I'm doing it right now!

7. When my doctor says I'm a "bit high" in my obesity range during a check-up, I remember that he's a hater and just jealous.

8. I try not to be an emotional eater. I do this by cutting out ALL EMOTIONS. I feel nothing. I am a robot. If you ever see me crying it's because I'm just acting. (Remember - I'm a trained actor!)

9. I will never judge anyone for being overweight, because I understand their struggle. But I try to be proactive and remind them to "try a little harder," and sometimes I will pinch their tummies (good naturedly) just to say "you can do it!"

10. I only eat Lean Cuisines for lunch. Well, Lean Cuisines and a giant donut for dessert.

These are just some things that work for me. What are your diet tips?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Dad of a Son

So next week I am going to have been a Dad of a son for a year.  It's been pretty good, nothing real crazy, he walked faster then my daughter, though I think second children do; they need to keep up.  He is a much better eater, he's more aggressive in his dancing then she was, but all in all, they haven't been much different.

When I was younger...a little more then one year younger, I was petrified to have a son. I don't play sports, I am not tall, I've only been in one fight in my life and I was more feral raccoon then mighty lion. Also, I use metaphors of animals to explain fierceness in fighting. You know, that kind of guy.  And it's not that I think boys should play sports or fight to prove they are boys, but the truth is, some of them do.  Some boys just come out liking throwing balls and tackling strangers and kicking teeth, just like some boys come out liking to dance or sing or it is with all kids, you just never know what you are going to get.

The guy I used to work with (yes, THE, as in the only guy) was getting a baby the same time I was getting a baby and we talked often about the terror of raising wrestlers or, what, kick boxers?!.  I mean, we work in women's clothing...wait, strike that...we sell women's clothing, but do not work in it. Anyway, we are guys that have the ability to explain what a cloche is and how to wear it.  We, neither of us, could tell you who played in the Super Bowl in 1969...or 2012 for that matter or for THAT matter, which sport the Super Bowl is the championship of. Some guys just like different stuff, and that's great!  That's amazing, as long as my son doesn't like different stuff then me.

I take comfort in the fact that there really are men out there whose biggest fear is that their son won't like guns, or sports, or spitting, or that they will like fashion or opera or cloches.  While I am the exact opposite, I am, however, no less terrified. "Please, don't let my son want to put on a helmet and smash in to other kids with helmets!", "Please don't let him think it's funny to pick on kids different then him!" "Please let him find value in kindness and inclusion!".

The worst part is, when you grow up and you are not exactly like the other boys, and you sit and seethe on the bench durring dodgeball, and you look at all the other boys who somehow make you feel less than--you make a vow: I will let my son be who ever he wants to be, I will celebrate his choices and empower his decisions! I will love him for exactly who he is and who he wants to be!

It just never occurred to me, he might like football.


I'm sorry, I'll trying to keep an open mind.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What'cha wearin' to Promz?

Well, friends, we just made it through another season of high school proms. Whew! Congratulations, everyone!

I’m pretty sure I've talked about this before, but for those who aren't aware, the Craigs are a home schooling family. My oldest still isn't old enough to date, but I have to say that my very favorite response from people when they find out we homeschool – and this has actually happened more than once – is when they say, “What about prom?” Yep. You just read that. What. About. Prom.

Folks…I know we are all doing what we think is best for our children; but if the single purpose for your placing your children in public school is specifically for prom…then I’m going to admit it – I’m a little bit afraid of you.

PROM?!?! I know that according to Disney’s High School Musical 3 prom is the “Night of Nights” and a “Night to Last Forever” and a “Night we’ll never never ever forget.”  But seriously, what was your best memory from Prom? Was it choosing between the mint green cummerbund or vest? Or posing awkwardly in front of the white pillars and sparkly backdrop? Was it when you dented your dad's car after you assured him for weeks nothing would happen to it? Or maybe when your date was paying way too much attention to somebody else? 

Sure, occasionally you hear an adult reminiscing about prom and with fondness declare, “And that’s the night when I came up with the cure for cancer.” Or maybe, “Ah, prom. That’s where I had the vision for the Flux Capacitor, which is what makes time travel possible.”

But generally, the absolute best-case scenario is that you didn't blow all your money that you could have used for college, and that nobody did anything that…well, that couldn't be undone.

This photo can't be undone. 

And when did the phenomenon begin of making Prom a 24-hour date? “Well, we’re going to start at 3 a.m. with breakfast at Denny’s, then go mountain climbing to see the sunrise then jump a plane to Sri Lanka because they have the best rice and curry, then we’re going to stop in Hawaii on the way back – to go bowling – then we’ll drop off our dates to get ready for Prom, then pick them up, then go to dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse and then probably go to the dance, then fly to New York for a Broadway musical, then we’re going over to Tim’s house to make breakfast…and then we’ll wear our tuxes to church the next day.”

According to a Time Magazine article, the average cost of prom this year was $1,139 per attendee. ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-NINE DOLLARS – PER PERSON. Do you know what else you could do with $1,139?

-          Buy a car. (Not a good one. But I bought one in college for $900 and it lasted three years.)
-          Go to Europe.
-          Go to Fiji.
-          Build a Flux Capacitor.

So, am I way off? Did Prom change your life for the better?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thinking of Cutting Cable for the Summer? 4 Sites to Help You Be a Streaming Champ

Quick post today. No time for sentiment. Iron Man 3 is out and I'm barely able to write this, let alone make it poignant. (Confession: I just spelled that last word as poingnoint, I'm in such a hurry.)

So, here comes summer and you want cut back on your $50 to $200 dollar cable bill. I don't know how much you spend but let's say you don't want to spend it anymore. What are your options?*

Books, games, outings, vacations, movies (theater or DVD), regular TV, tube storage TV, and ... STREAMING everything. I won't focus on anything but streaming here.

The technology we have available these days for streaming TV and movies is remarkable. It's nearly perfect except that, to remain competitive, companies have to offer exclusive content (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) or keep the content you buy from them locked into their services and/or hardware (Apple, Amazon, Google). So, it won't be perfect until they can all get along and that will never happen. Moving on ...

How can you be a champion streamer? Well, it's more than just having the services. You have to know how to get the most out of the services. Assuming you have access via web, Roku, AppleTV, etc. to the big names in streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Vudu, etc.), you can use these sites to queue nearly everything you'd ever need to replace cable for a season. Here they are:
Why it rocks: "Have you ever rented a movie, only to find it streaming on Netflix? Or paid for a show on iTunes, not knowing it was cheaper on Amazon? ... With so many streaming services available, it can be time-consuming to hunt down ... Watch It Stream will show you if it's available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Instant. Even if your show is not streaming, the search results will guide you to the cheapest way to purchase the title online or on DVD/Blu-ray."
Why it's brilliant: "A free service ... that allows you to search across the most popular streaming, rental, and purchase services to find where a movie is available. If the movie you're looking for is not available, just sign-up, set a reminder and voila we will shoot you an email when your chosen service makes the movie available." It breaks down the services into movies (streaming instant/rental, digital purchase, DVD purchase, and Xfinity subscription) and TV (streaming instant, digital purchase, and Xfinity subscription).
Why it's helpful: "If you're a frequent viewer of Netflix's streaming fare, you're probably numb to how inefficient the rental service's browsing and search pages can be. InstantWatcher is a soothing balm of clean, fast movie browsing."— Lifehacker Feb 16, 2009
Why it's hacktastic: This site gives you all the Netflix New Releases for each week including the full list of new DVD releases that week (if you're still having DVDs sent to your home) and a list of interesting streaming releases in that past week. I like that option because I'm always looking for content new to Netflix.

There you go. Use these and you're off to a great summer of viewing in between all the other unfreakinbelieveable activities I'm sure you have planned.

Did I miss any? Have you used any of these? Let us know in the comments.

*This post was inspired by this one.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How Not to Be Bored in the Car

I've been thinking a lot about Topher's post about giving up texting while driving. I drive a lot for work, and I also want to constantly be entertained. I am not someone who is easily "left with my thoughts." I don't even take the trash out without getting my headphones in for something to entertain me for those 4 minutes trash emptying takes. So I am guilty of checking my phone while driving. And if you think logically about if for one second, it is insane. Here I am, going 65 (or more) miles per hour and I am glancing down to see if I have any new likes on Instagram or check and see how many retweets that last funny thing I said got. So I am stopping.

When I commented that I was giving it up, Topher replied and said, "It's not easy. And since I've stopped doing it driving seems SUPER BORING and unproductive. I need to rewire my brain." And so to help in that effort, I present to you my favorite podcasts to entertain you and keep you focused on the road. If you haven't listened to Podcasts, you should. They are free and will keep you entertained, but will keep your mind on the road.

(Side Note: Have you ever noticed that each of us here at PTA kinda has our "thing?" Like I make lists. I call it "lazy writing."Ken tells heartwarming stories about his family. Topher writes absurd but authoritative posts. Patrick writes manic rants that seem like he is talking right to you. And Brett finds iinteresting articles and summarizes them so I don't have to read them. I'm onto all our tricks.)

This American Life This long running show from Chicago Public Radio is one of the best. Each week they pick a topic and explore different elements of it. They range from the absurd (one family's insane myths about Santa Claus) to the sublime (their two part series this spring about Harper High, and inner city high school were multiple kids are killed each year due to gun activity.) It's funny, thought-provoking and amazing. I'm sure it's won a million awards, and it deserves them. If you start listening to only one podcast, make it this one.

NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour is a weekly round table discussion of pop culture. Each week there are three topics. One is usually something current - a movie that came out that week or a new TV show. One is more a meta examination of pop culture - how setting affects how we tell stories or how do TV shows stay relevant season after season. And then a segment called "What's making us happy" where the panelists recommend things in the pop culture universe that they are consuming and enjoying that week. The four panelists are funny and charming and lovely. 

Slate's Political Gabfest was probably the first podcast that I listened to regularly. Its a smart and thoughtful discussion of politics. If you are a Republican, you probably won't like this show because while I think they try and present a pretty balanced view of events, their is a strong left lean to the show. Really, I could do a whole post on the family of Slate Podcasts. I think I listen to them all: Culture Gabfest (similar to NPR: PCHH,) Double X (Slate's show about women's issues,) Spoiler Special (about movies.) And they are all incredibly smart and very entertaining. 

Writing Excuses Since this blog is ostensible about how we all want to writers, I thought I'd throw in my favorite writing podcast. It's 4 genre-fiction authors sharing tips about writing. It's 15 min long, which is great, and has some good info if you are a genre-fiction writer, which I ostensibly am! Maybe they can tell me if that last sentence was a run on with too many commas and if it is nerdy to use the word "ostensible" twice (three times!) in one paragraph. I think they would say yes, yes and yes.

America's Test Kitchen Radio Do you like America's Test Kitchen on PBS? Do you read Cook's Illustrated magazine? Did you make pork carnitas last night from the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook and plan an putting some on some nachos when you finish writing a blog post? You do? Then this is the show for you. All the cooking nerdery of the TV Show/ Magazine/ Cook Book empire, but in audio form. 

The Satellite Sisters I'll admit it. It's a little weird that I listen to this podcast about 5 real sisters talking about their lives and the news. It started as a radio show that I listened too in the pre-podcast days on some AM station in Utah. I followed the sisters to podcast-land and have been listening ever sense. Lian Dolan, one of the sisters, also has her own podcast called The Chaos Chronicles which is about Modern Motherhood and being an author whilst raising kids. Both are fantastic. And I like to talk about the sisters like they are my friends in real life. Like I'll say "My friend recommended this TV show to me." And my wife will say, "Was it  one of the Dolan sisters? Because they are people you listen to in a podcast and not actually your friends."

So this week, instead of texting while you drive or checking your twitter feed, download and listen to some great podcasts. It's much more entertaining than pictures of everyone's kids and lunch through awesome filters. And you just might learn a thing or two on that long commute.

But tell me, which podcasts did I miss? What do you listen to? And if the Part Time Authors were ever able to get it together enough to do a podcast, would you listen? And would you tell your friends? And would you find us sponsors? Please share in the comments.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Thought of a Dream

Just a quick thought.  I don't want to take up too much of your time, but is there anything better than a good dreaming?  I don't mean the Ms Pac Man needs your help kind of dreaming, but the kind where you and your spouse get to come together and plan and scheme and change minds and improve older dreams and really get to settle in deep to a good wondering.  A good think.

A have a great wife for dreaming.  She gives and takes and her ideas aren't stupid.  It was one of my greatest fears to marry a woman with stupid ideas.  Her's are good, even though they are different then mine?! But also she gets me, and she understands what I mean when I say, 'Those big ol' pink bushes all over Capri' or 'Yeah, I just don't want the whole thing to start looking all 'Cafeteria Chic''. She's good like that.

I have always been a dreamer, both a night one and a day one.  School was just a place where I could go and relax and really let my mind wander.  I have better memories of thoughts I thought in high school then lessons prepared and refined and taught to me.  My Antonia...

Work is sometimes that way, though it's harder with customers constantly interrupting me with their own thoughts and dreams. But I make due. Today I repainted all the old wood furniture left in the back yard of some house I don't even own yet. But I dreamt I did. I went with robbins egg blue, to make the birds feel more comfortable.

My kids are where I dream the greatest. My three year old lives in a whole world all her own. Some times I join her there but I like to bring a small brown suitcase and pull dreams out that I have brought from my world and shake them out and see how they fit in hers.  She loves them. Tonight we had to decide what each of the three fairies that live in our back yard did for a living and what color they were:

Twinkle: Blue. She's really responsible for the watering of the plants.

Dinkle: Orange.  She brings sunlight to each flower in her bucket and spreds it like butter over their faces.  Also, she has a tooth business on the side.

Dot: Pink. It's her job to wake up each flower in morning with a kiss and put each one to bed with a song. And there is a song.

My parents planted my dreaming seed.  Well, if not, then they grew it. My parents were not professional artists or actors or comedians or writers but I thought they were...and so I wanted to be.  They valued the parts of me that were different from my brothers and never put my dreams in drawers or jars.  That way they stayed fresh. I suppose I owe my dreams to them, some of which have gotten bigger, some smaller, so small they might be mistaken for a wish, but they hold fast and are not fleeting.  And sometimes, I dream for them. For those I reach deep into the back of my suitcase for my most precious spheres, dancing with my finest dreams.  And float them their direction.    
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