Sunday, February 28, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 35 and Week 5 Review

This week was a rough one for my stress level and I allowed that to become my excuse.  I didn't run until Friday night.  I kept putting it off until there was no way for me to run the three days I was supposed to.  I nearly went to bed instead of running Friday, then saw that Richard had fallen asleep fully dressed in anticipation of going out there with me.  My heart filled up with gratitude for this man who is willing to trade sleep to help me reach my goal.  I woke him and asked if he was still willing to get up so I could run and got an enthusiastic affirmative. I didn't even start until after 1 am and had to be up at 6 for work, but it was well worth it.

I think I run better when Richard's with me.  Something about his presence makes it easier, almost fun.  He tells me he's proud of me, how much he loves watching me run, how good I look doing it.  Hmmmm...I guess it's not too hard to see why I like that!  I like making him proud.  I always want to make him proud.

I'm proud of myself too.  I told Richard at the end of Friday night's run that I still feel like an impostor when I'm doing it.  I had an aha moment.  I remembered carrying my large sketch paper to art class and feeling like an impostor because I wasn't an artist.  And yet, I was sketching stuff like this:

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Maybe I'm not such an impostor after all.  Maybe I'm just as much a runner as I am an artist and the word impostor is just a crutch I don't need anymore.

During my run Friday night I noticed I'm standing straighter.  I lead into the run with my core muscles.  I like the way the wind feels when I throw out my chest and just go for it.  My time is 20 minutes again, and I could have run more.  That's new. :)

I have plans to run again tonight, and I'm actually looking forward to it.  It's kind of surreal, the way the dread has changed into excitement.  I still don't love running, but I'm open to the possibility...

Yeah, we still ate it.

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Mom, today I learned that I need to teach my little bakers that frosting goes on AFTER the cake has cooled...and that the perfect brownie stencils are meant for powdered sugar, not regular sugar.

I learned about today's Awesome Product, the War on Debt Home Study Program, at the Dani Johnson seminar Richard and I attended back in January.  Dani introduced her philosophy on debt and her program for eliminating it during day 2 of the training.  She then referred the attendees to the back of the room if any of us wanted to buy the home study course and become "soldiers" in her army.

I turned to Richard and said, "We have to buy that."  He nodded emphatically and off we went to war.  Just over a month later, I am here to say that the money we spent on this program is, hands down, the best investment we've made in... I struggle to find the right number to express what I'm feeling.  Purchasing this product is probably the best financial decision I've ever made.

(Tell us how you really feel, Sarah.)

I've learned methods for paying off debt in the past.  Some of what Dani has to say is similar to those methods.  However, I've also learned those methods and then looked at my budget and thought, "I just don't  have any extra money.  We already live frugally.  There's nowhere we can cut corners."

I'm here to say that those thoughts were big, FAT lies.  I emphasize the word fat because that is where the War on Debt program differs from other debt reduction methods.  Dani teaches her readers how to find the "fat" in their budgets and use it to blast away debt, then she sets a fire under her newly trained soldiers until they become the debt defying heroes of their own stories.

Dani lights that fire with stories from her own life and with the amazing successes of people who have used her program.  At the First Steps Seminar, I watched in awe as well over 30 people stepped forward to be recognized on stage for the debt they had paid off since using the War on Debt program.  One after another, they gave progress updates that sounded unreal.  "I'm ____. I found $300 of fat in my budget, and I've paid off $30,000 in debt in the past 10 months."  It was unreal until I started applying the principals.

Since attending the seminar, we've eliminated over $200 of fat from our monthly budget and started applying it to debt.  We felt the fire underneath us and paid off a $1500 bill we've been meaning to pay off for months.  This month, we'll pay off the first of our credit cards and start applying that payment to the next.  We should be free from credit card debt by the end of the year and we'll have made significant progress on our medical debt by then. I plan to start paying off my student loans BEFORE I FINISH SCHOOL.

If you're struggling with debt, or if you don't realize you're struggling with debt, you need to get out from under it.  I am here to say that this product will help you.  When I'm feeling tempted to buy something stupid or wasteful, I pop in one of the cds and let Dani Johnson remind me of my goals.  Then I take the money I would have spent and put it toward a debt instead.

And then I smile. BIG!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oops...

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Mom, today I learned why there was a thumping sound coming from under my car.

Friday, February 26, 2010

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Mom, today I learned that there is an official toilet paper of Race for the Cure.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Forsooth! I have not!

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Mom, today I learned that pumping gas at Smiths is fancy business.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stupid Product: Chocolate Babies

The website for Chocolate Babies, today's Stupid Product, invites the reader to be the first to review this product.  You have no idea how happy I am to oblige.  Or maybe you've been reading these Stupid Product reviews for awhile and know exactly how giddy-crazy-stupid happy I am to be the first reviewer.  Either way, here it is.

Chocolate babies are, sadly, exactly what you think they are.  They're small pieces of solid chocolate molded to resemble babies.  Well, they don't so much resemble babies as mummies tightly wrapped for burial, but the makers say they resemble babies, so I'm taking their word for it.

I don't know what's more disturbing: a) that these candies look like dead babies rendered rigid by rigor mortis; b) that the makers actually intended for them to look like real babies; or c) that this product is being marketed for use at baby showers which would conceivably involve a pregnant woman who might find the thought of eating a baby, dead or alive, a tad unpallatable.

Chocolate babies remind me of all the lifelike baby cakes over on Cake Wrecks.  The only difference is that most of those baby cakes are beautifully made and look exactly like gorgeous, sleeping babies.  I still wouldn't want to eat them, but there's at least some craftsmanship involved.

The makers of Chocolate Babies end with a caution.  These candies are sensitive to heat, so they're best bought in the winter months.  They're right, you know.  If there's anything worse than serving a chocolate baby to a mom-to-be at her baby shower, it's serving her a DEFORMED chocolate baby.

For people with chocolate allergies (oh, that's so sad...can I have your share?), there are also Licorice Babies!  Mmmmm...chewy for the lifelike texture!

*Deep breath*  It's the end of the world, people. Nice knowing you.

(Thanks to Richard C. for alerting me to the existence of Chocolate Babies, and for understanding that no matter how much you love chocolate, these will never be okay.)

Watch out for solar flares...

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Mom, today I learned that sunshine is the produce of the month. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We've got a two for one deal on this feature today.  My friend, Heather L., posted these on a message board I frequent.  After laughing my guts out, I did what any good friend would do.  I stole them.  (Insert evil laugh here.)

The quality isn't the best, but I guarantee you'll enjoy them.  I had that mom and I've been that mom, and I'm proud!





(Thanks to Heather L. for the heads up on the videos!)

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Mom, today I learned my math teacher is a huge fan of Star Wars books.  I also learned that I'm not too proud to exploit that.

(Author's update:  No partial credit for me, but my Jedi instructor told me it was worth some nerd cred.  Aha! Even better!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

So Richard and I were in a state of supreme excitement this past weekend when we realized New Moon had finally made it to the dollar theater.  Before you start shrieking in giddy, Twihard fashion and begin gushing about Edward's brooding face or Jacob's washboard abs (He's 16, ladies. Settle down.), I should point out that we attended the movie only to make fun of it. 

Twilight fans we are not.  At one point, when uber romantic (read: codependent) words were being spoken between the tormented leads, Richard leaned close to me and whispered his eerily accurate impression of this YouTube video.



 I snorted loudly enough for the couple in front of us to turn around and then proceeded to laugh quietly until the end of the movie.

As the credits began to roll, I caught Richard's face on camera.  I think it sums up our New Moon sentiments nicely.

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But wait!  This is my Outrageous News feature!  I should get to the news, shouldn't I?

It seems that the Vancouver home that was featured in New Moon as the Cullen house is for sale!  Better still, its price has just been reduced!  You, yes you, can own a piece of vampire history for a mere $2,988,000.  That's down from the over $3.3 million asking price the owner wanted when the home was listed in November.

November, huh?  Wasn't New Moon released in November? Eeeeeeeenterestink...

With the economy the way it is, it's not hard to figure out why the house hasn't sold.  The ladies love them some Edward, but they're not completely stupid when it comes to overpriced real estate.

And really, the house has some liabilities.  Imagine living in a house that will be stalked by screaming teens and their moms until the end of time.  I don't think being able to say, "Robert Pattinson breathed here," could make up for that.

If the movie versions of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn continue to use the home, I suppose the new owners might get a chance to meet the cast.  Some would think that's worth a couple million bucks.  I contend that the filming of the Breaking Dawn scene in which Rosemary's, I mean, Bella's baby chews her way out of her mother would be enough to turn most buyers off.  Can you imagine the cleanup?

Besides, if you ever did get to meet Robert Pattinson, he'd just throw you into a wall at the first sign of a papercut.

(Author's note: Eagle eyed Mother Load reader (and Twilight fan) Lis C. pointed out to me that Taylor Lautner is actually 18, so I guess all you middle aged ladies don't really have to settle down.  I still think you should, because ew.  But legally, you can lust after him to your heart's content and your daughter's disgust.  He'll always be Shark Boy to me, so again, ew.)

My banker is passionate about zombies.

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Mom, today I learned that there is a group called the Utah Defense Against Zombies League.

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And that my banker is a member.  AWESOME!

Couch to 5K: Day 29 and Week 4 Review

Before I start today's post, I want to let all my readers in on a promotion Phazes Fitness is working on for the rest of February.  They made a goal to get 15 new clients by the end of the month. At this writing, they still have 12 to go. Remote clients count too.  The best part? If you refer a friend, you get a month of free training!  I can't recommend Michelle and her crew highly enough.  At $20 a month for remote training, anyone can afford to meet their fitness goals, even a non-runner like me.  In addition to the remote training, Phazes also offers group personal training, dance and stretch classes, and intensive bootcamps for the locals.  Get on the phone and sign up this week.  Tell them The Mother Load sent you, and I'll throw in 10 entries in your name for my next giveaway.

Okay, on to the running.

I went out alone in the dark at nearly one in the morning to get my third run in for the week.  This run was hard won.  I'd spent the preceding few hours getting bad news from my health insurance company (Obama's plan is looking better and better), continuing my job search, and writing a pretty emotional Divorce and Metamorphosis post on Sarah...Phenomenally.  I was spent.

I ran anyway.

As someone who spends much of her time spent, either physically or emotionally, this was a pretty big deal.  I realized that trying to opt out of my run because it was late and I was tired was just one more excuse to hide behind.  Considering I'll be writing the Divorce and Metamorphosis posts regularly until the entire story is told, I might as well get used to running despite the emotion.  I also realized that after a night like tonight, there's no better way to renew and heal than getting outside and getting my heart pumping.

The run was uneventful.  No zombie attacks or sparkly vampires to contend with.  I had one moment of nervousness remembering the trailer for The Lovely Bones and wondering what the heck I was thinking.  I promise running late and alone is not something I'm going to make a habit.  However, I'm also glad I did it.

It's hard to believe I've been on this journey for a month now.  Hard and good.  I tried something new tonight with regards to the way I count my seconds.  The last time I ran, Richard was with me and he mentioned that my 90 second run/walk cycles seemed longer than 90 seconds to him.  I made a conscious effort to pace my counting by actual seconds and not by footfalls or breaths.  It turns out I was probably running nearly double what I needed to going by footfalls and at least a half more time by breaths.  It was AMAZING how easily I ran a real minute and a half.  I'm not nearly as nervous to bump up to the next level this week, knowing I've probably already been there.

Until then...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Writing Tips

Tiffany Colter presents MacMillan, Amazon.com, Authors and Readers posted at The Writing Examiner.

SVB presents Make Money Blogging: Top Bloggers And How Much They Earn posted at The Digerati Life.


Humor

Madeleine Begun Kane presents My New Policy posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.


Relationships and Parenting

Pamela presents Love posted at Blah, Blah, Blog.

Toni presents What do Moms do for ME time? posted at Wifely Steps.


Poetry

Robert Terrell presents galactic dreamers ? haiku posted at the existential poet.


Misc.

Jasmine Hall presents 20 Great Talks on the Future of Information posted at Online Colleges.org.

TSW presents A Guide To Collectibles For Hobbyists and Collectors posted at The Smarter Wallet.


Sarah’s Pick of the Week

Pamela presents Love posted at Blah,Blah,Blog

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We know you're in there, Mom.

As I write this, I can feel a familiar feeling of tightness and urgency forming within my bladder.  Maybe that was too much information, but for the purposes of this column, I feel the need to share it.  I've gotta go.  If I weren't sitting on my bed, laptop perched on a pillow on my lap, I'd be doing a potty dance the likes of which the world has never seen.

So, why don't I go?  Because I'm on a roll, and the kids aren't bothering me.  As long as I sit on this bed and type, the kids will continue going about their kidly business of playing, running, giggling, and by the sounds of it, not doing chores.  I'm okay with that for now, because I have a column to write, and I need them to let me get it done.   The minute I get off this bed and hurry into the bathroom that is a mere 7 or 8 feet away, all of that will change.

You moms know what I'm talking about, don't you?

If there's one thing I've learned in my 13 years of motherhood, it's that there is no such thing as a  private bathroom break.  The moment I step inside those walls it's like some alarm goes off in my kids' heads.  Mom's in the bathroom! Must...go...knock!  Must...disturb...with..requests...that...could...wait!  Must...smack...my...brother...on...the...head!

Sometimes, they come running before I even make it in there.  They see me barreling down the stairs and think, "Hey! There's mom on her way to the bathroom. I think this is a fine time to yell through the door about my allowance.  Wait...she's really in a hurry.  Definitely a 'walk right in' kind of situation."

I could be more understanding of this behavior if I spent half the day hiding in the bathroom, but really, I don't.  I'm not the kind of person who uses bathroom time as an opportunity to read National Geographic or write the great American novel.  I go in, get 'er done, and get out.  I'm sure I only average three minutes each time. 

All I want is three minutes of peace.  Is that too much to ask?

Sarah's kids: Yes, mom. Yes, it is.

I suppose it's all a product of early childhood conditioning.  When they're babies and toddlers, we take them in there with us in order to keep an eye on them...keep them safe.  They get a little older, and suddenly they're verboten.  It's very possible that we've wired our kids to expect danger any time they're not in the bathroom with us.

"Mom's in the bathroom and we're out here with the zombies and the tigers and the planet ending asteroids!  Everybody in there NOW!"

And so my seated potty dance continues until this column is published.  It's great for uninterrupted writing...terrible for my urinary tract health.  I guess that's why God invented antibiotics.

And writer's block.

Either way...

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Mom, today I learned that my husband is weird.  Okay...so I didn't so much learn it as have it reaffirmed to me. 

Susan Keller of St. George, UT, long-time reader of The Mother Load column in the St. George Spectrum & Daily News, has won the Perfect Brownie Pan!  According to the spiffy spreadsheet Richard and I made, she referred 16 fans for a probability of 6.6%.  I mention those numbers because Richard is very proud of them.  All I'm really thinking about is when I can visit Susan and she can make me brownies.

We currently stand at 429 fans.  For those of you with working brains (and you can't be a fan of my blog without one), this means that we didn't quite make it to the 500 mark in time for my hair to turn blue.  I'm compromising and buying some blue-black hair dye today.  Goodbye, grays!  Hello, Superman hair!  WOOHOO!

Even though I didn't make the goal, I'm extremely impressed with the fabulous growth of the blog in such a short amount of time.  I'm considering what I want to do for the 1000 fan Leah Clutch giveaway, and I think I might add some smaller ones in between (Old Spice Body Wash, anyone?).  I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Incredible thank yous to everyone who helped The Mother Load grow by referring fans.  Remember, the fans you've already referred still count in future giveaways, so if you're a fan leader, you still have a great chance to win cool stuff.  So far, Michelle Ennis has referred the most fans.  She also has a thing for my Stupid Products, so I think if she wins a future giveaway, I'll just send her some Handerpants.

Thank you again, everyone!  And congratulations to Susan!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Small price to pay for beauty

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Mom, today I learned that Wal Mart bouquets last just as long as their more expensive counterparts.  I also learned they're just as likely to cause me to trip over my dining room chairs as I gaze lovingly upon them while walking by.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My daughter, the scientist!

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Mom, today I learned the color of a science fair ribbon makes absolutely no difference to a mother.  Miriam, I couldn't be more proud!

Couch to 5K: Day 26

My life, it is a-changing, one run at a time.

I really mean life.  My legs are changing. My gait is changing.  My body is changing...kinda.  But the biggest changes are in my life.  And it's all because I'm running.

It's really interesting to see how each running step has begun to shape a new path for me.  It all started at the Dani Johnson seminar in Denver.  I came home from that event with great plans for my blog, many of which I have implemented to great success.  One of those plans was Team Mother Load, a project to mobilize my fans into doing something good for the world.

So, I called Michelle at Phazes Fitness about setting up some remote personal training.  She told me to stop drinking soda, and I obeyed.  Within two weeks, it was painfully evident that the breakneck pace of my life depended entirely on the amount of caffeine I was consuming daily.  Without the caffeine, my body said, "No more.  Slow down.  Rest.  Let something go."

So, it was time to decide.  Do I slow down or take a break from school?  Do I give up the blogs?  Do I quit my job and find something less stressful.  The answer was fast and undeniable.  School is my future.  The blogs are my future.  The job has to go.

I put in my notice Monday and had an interview for something with fewer hours and less stress today.  I won't know anything about this new possibility until next week.  Meanwhile, I'm continuing to hunt, just in case, and I'm not considering anything that will take me away from my family as much as my current job has.

Can we afford it?  Maybe not.  Can I afford to keep breaking my neck doing too much? Definitely not.  We'll make it work.  I know we will.

Isn't it amazing what running can do?

Awesome Product: Wish Pearls

This week's Awesome Product is so awesome I had to sit and stare at it in awe for a full 10 minutes before I gave it to the girl it actually belonged to.  The giving was painful.  I wanted it...right then...for my very own.  That girl is lucky I don't believe in stealing.  So, so lucky.

The girl in question is one of the teens I supervise at the residential treatment facility where I work. She received a care package from her grandmother for Valentine's Day, and it was in that package that I discovered The Wish Pearl necklace

I held the Wish Pearl, and I beheld that it was awesome.

A Wish Pearl is a jewelry gift set that includes a pendant, chain, and a pearl.  It's the presentation of the pearl that takes this gift set from ordinary to awesome.  Each Wish Pearl gift set includes the actual mollusk in which the pearl has been cultured.  As a part of the Wish Pearl experience, the recipient opens the mollusk, makes a wish, removes the pearl, and then places it safely in the pendant.

I watched the above process occur with the girl at work, and the wonder on her face was beautiful to watch.  There was no mistaking her excitement as she opened her mollusk and made her wish.  She showed off her gift, mollusk and all, to everyone who passed while I sat nearby and fought the urge to grab it and run. 

Really, she'll never know how lucky she is.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why would you do this to a tree?  Why? Why? Why would you do this to a tree?

Sometimes, a product makes me laugh so hard I have to take a breathing break before I can write the Stupid Product review.  Such is the case with the WoodChuck Tree Face, a "face" you mount into your tree in case the tree in your yard isn't weird looking enough. 

"Honey, our tree looks so plain and tree-like.  Is there anything we can do to anthropomorphize it and keep the neighbor kids from coming into our yard?"

"Why yes, dear!  We could get the WoodChuck Tree Face!  I wet my pants when Hal put his up last year."

Let's take the ad point by point, shall we?  My translations are in italics.

Handmade in the USA of durable All-Weather Garden Stone, WoodChucks rugged and rustic good looks will blend nicely into your tree while his iridescent eyes catch the sunlight and the attention of anyone glancing in his direction.  WoodChuck's frightening and creepy looks will blend all too well into your tree while his irridescent eyes will scare the snot out of anyone glancing in his direction.

A great gift for any occasion. A great gift for fueding neighbors.


Handmade in the USA of durable All-Weather Garden Stone  U.S. manufacturing has really suffered since the beginning of the recession.  This is the best we can do now.

Not your Garden-Variety Mass-Produced Imports Let the masses buy pleasant looking outdoor products!  You can have THIS!

Color is throughout each piece and wont wear off can be left outdoors year-round. Once you mount it to your tree, you're stuck with it.

Install easily and harmlessly on the tree trunk with small screws or nails (not included). We have no idea what the word "harmlessly" means.

I'm writing this post from my dining room table and have glanced more than once out the window at the trees in my backyard, just to make sure they're not watching me work.  Wouldn't you know, my landlady bought one of these faces and I didn't even know.

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I have to go change my pants now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Because most of my readers have TV, maybe all of you have seen this. I still contend that you've gotta see this. I've watched it exactly 100 times since I saw it for the first time this morning. I can't get over the last line.

My man doesn't smell like Old Spice or lady scented body wash, and he doesn't have diamonds pouring from his hand, but he dances like a crazy robot doing a jig, and you can't put a price on that.

Couch to 5K: Day 24

I had a great conversation with Michelle yesterday about the direction I'm taking in my running and in my life.  When your trainer is one of your best friends, these talks have a tendency to do that.

I went out for my "make up" run yesterday and immediately knew it was not a good idea.  My running schedule is set up so I can have at least a day of recovery between runs, and here I was planning to run three days in a row.  My legs spoke to me right off the bat and said, "Sarah, you're being stupid."  The difference between the me of a few weeks ago and the me now is that I listened.

It feels good to listen to my body.  I used to do that more...used to be great at it.  It's nice to get back to center in this way.

*INTENSE CHANGE ALERT* I'm starting to say things that make it seem like I like running.  Back in your box, running desire!  You're not welcome here until at least week 7!  I am not a runner. Do you hear me?

Whew!  That was a close one.  No, I still don't like running.  I do like the results.  It's like Nyquil in that way.  It takes me at least 10 minutes to work myself up to ingesting that stuff, but it's sure nice to sleep without coughing.  Running=Nyquil.  Let's keep that straight, okay?

My run this morning was pretty good.  I'm up to 90 seconds running and 90 seconds walking.  Still no ankle pain today.  I think they're fully on board with this whole 5K thing.

I did have some moments of whiny complaint during todays run.  Those happened at about the 70 second point of each run cycle.  I whined to myself that this is hard, not fun, annoying, etc.  I decided to think about chemotherapy, radiation, mastectomy, reconstructive surgery... The whining stops really quickly when I think about what breast cancer survivors do just to stay alive.

I look forward to getting out on the road again on Thursday, maybe with less belly-aching. 

Why so serious?

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Mom, today I learned that if you have to be sick, you might as well have a sense of humor about it.

(Thanks to Lydia M. for being a goofball surgical mask artist...heavy on the goofball.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

When I started searching for today's Outrageous News story, I found one about 30 pounds of pot being found in framed pictures of Jesus.   I thought, there's my story! Thank you, Jesus.  A glance around the page, however, drew my eye to another pot related story, that of a drug bust in Arizona where 743 pounds of marijuana were found in a septic tank truck filled with human waste. I knew I had to profile them both.

There's only one thing I can say to the drug smugglers in these stories:  I loathe you and everything about you.  Okay, two things: I loathe you and everything about you, and nice try.  I'm having a lot of fun imagining the thought processes behind these criminal acts.

Drug Smuggler 1: No one will ever think to look for drugs behind these pictures of Jesus!  What border patrol agent would dare to desecrate a religious object? I'm golden!  As long as there are no drug sniffing dogs, it will work.  And really, why would there be drug sniffing dogs at a border patrol checkpoint? Victory is MINE!

Drug Smuggler 2: Nobody likes poop...not even cops.  Drugs...poop...drugs in poop...Victory is MINE!

Obviously, both criminals were caught and arrested and all the drugs in question were destroyed.  (Gosh, I hope they destroyed the septic pot.)  War on Drugs 2, Drug Smugglers 0, Jesus 1, Human Waste 1.

To Drug Smuggler 1: While I can't really speak for the big guy, I don't think Jesus is very happy with you.

To Drug Smuggler 2: May prison food give you constipation.

Maybe the food was on fire...

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Mom, today I learned that ash tray/garbage can combos aren't self explanatory to everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 22 and Week 3 Review

In the spirit of my "No excuses/Follow directions" mantra, I will not tell you why I only ran twice this week.  I will, however, tell you I'll be running tomorrow, an off day, to make up the day I missed on Thursday.  I have a great story that would "explain" why I ran Tuesday and not again until tonight, but a great story is nothing more than an excuse, and I'm done with those.

I got back from this week's second run about 20 minutes ago, and I'm flushed with the excitement of success.  No ankle pain, people. NO ANKLE PAIN!

Because I didn't get out until after 10 pm, I took the hubster along for protection.  He gets scared easily, and I have some basic self defense training, so I'm good at protecting him.  I kid.  I don't think either of us could do much against a determined adversary, but I do know that a woman reduces her risk of being attacked by 90% just by bringing along a second person.  (Also, zombies prefer lone women, as seen in my bloodsucking baby column.)

On my second run of week two, I made a command decision and stopped running at Liberty Park in favor of runs around my own neighborhood.  Folks, if you're trying to start running, the best advice this non-runner can give is to skip the track and run close to home.  I am amazed at the difference it's made.  No longer do I feel like I'm running for the sake of running, something that makes me want to throw myself in front of traffic.  When I run on the roads around my home, I'm going somewhere!  I'm running at first because I need to get my minutes in, but once I'm halfway through my time, I get to RUN HOME!  And boy, do I ever run then.

My first run in the neighborhood brought out a little more ego consciousness than I thought was there.  What if someone I know sees me?  They know I'm not a runner.  What will they think?  I sucked it up and ran anyway.  The only person I passed did happen to be someone I knew, but he's legally blind, so I felt okay about it.

Worrying someone I attend church with would see me run paled in comparison to running in front of my husband, though.  I was sure to prepare him for the experience.  "You're not even going to have to walk fast.  I'm really slow.  And I breathe like I'm dying.  It's probably going to be really annoying."  He assured me that he wasn't worried about any of that. 

I'm shocked to say that none of it turned out to be true.  Not only did I outpace him during my minute-long jogs, but I did so well and (gasp!) happily.  I'd run on ahead of him for 20 or 30 seconds, then turn around, a goofy grin on my face, and run back.  I don't think I've ever in my life cracked a smile while running.  This is a big development.  Huge.

While I did breathe heavily, it wasn't nearly as labored as it has been in the past.  My body definitely seems to be adjusting to the new activity level, and I'm liking the progress I'm making.  I also have to say that I've never felt more proud of myself than I did tonight, showing the man I love how far I've come.

A couple of thoughts in closing:

-If you want to start running and haven't in awhile, I can't recommend a Couch to 5K program highly enough.  I'm getting through this because I'm taking it slowly.  In the past, I've pushed myself too hard and have given up quickly due to disappointment.  This time, it's incredibly different.

-I couldn't do this without the help of my trainer, Michelle with Phazes Fitness.  Her training calls and emails have saved my ankles.  Her motivation keeps me going, and it keeps me honest.  Just know she's keeping tabs makes me try harder.  If you're thinking of starting a workout program and need someone to monitor your progress, help you make and keep goals, and challenge you along the path to fitness, the Remote Personal Training program at Phazes is a wonderful, affordable option!

Writing

Doreen Martel presents Identifying freelancing opportunities posted at Freelancing and More!.

Dana presents The joy of morning chores posted at Roscommon Acres.

Sandy Ackers presents My Muse Strangles Me posted at Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World.

Tiffany Colter presents A writer’s business team: Part 1 posted at Writing Career Coach.

axel presents Meditating In Japan posted at axel g.


Family Life and Marriage

Jessica Christman presents 10 Tips for Business Owners to have a Happy Marriage posted at Factory Direct Craft Blog.

Shannon presents Finding Life’s Equilibrium | Musings of a Midwestern MamaĆ­ posted at Musings of a Midwestern MamaĆ­.

Suzane Smith presents 40 Truly Amazing Facts About Babies posted at Online Nurse Practitioner Schools.

Peta Jinnath Andersen presents 23 Just For Fun Kids’ Books « *Insert Literary Blog Name Here* posted at


Poetry

Life's Defiants posted at Random Thoughts.

Sarah’s pick of the week

Madeleine Begun Kane presents A Traveler's Net Woes posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kitchen sink omelette? No, thanks.

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Mom, today I learned that the person who titled this menu item has obviously never seen the contents of my kitchen sink.

Published July 8, 2006
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

(Author's note: I don't know what miracle made emails from 2006 suddenly available in my hotmail inbox, but there they are.  I have found a few columns I thought I had lost and will be getting them up on the blog this weekend!  Here's one from July 2006 for your reading pleasure.)

People often ask how I come up with ideas for my column every week. My answer is the same each time. I get my ideas from life...from grand events to something as insignificant as a word said in a conversation.


Yesterday, life took me on a shopping trip to the grocery store, five rambunctious kids in tow, so here you have the metaphorical fruit of that trip. (The literal fruit is in the fridge).

Shopping with five kids under the age of ten is... There are so many obvious and obligatory endings to that sentence. Chaos? Pandemonium? Never boring? Good exercise? Grounds for a police action? It's an adventure, anyway.

Let the record show that I have five kids. I planned to have five kids, and I'm happy to have five kids. I wouldn't trade them for the world. I just thought by the time I had five, I'd be rich and famous and have a crack team of personal assistants to do all my shopping for me.

To illustrate: Shopping trips tend to follow the same pattern. I write a menu and a list, getting valuable feedback like, "McDonald's!" and "Candy!" from the kids. I remind everyone to make their last minute trips to the bathroom and we're off.

Once we've reached the parking lot, it's time for a quick going over of the Wilson Family rules of shopping. 1) Stay together. 2) No begging. 3) No whining. 4) No lying down on the floor and refusing to move. 6) No smacking your sister with pilfered fruit from the cart. 7) If you have money for vending machines, you can spend it AFTER we're ALL finished. 8) If you don't have money, you should get a job...no, I don't care that you're only 4.

And then we're off...or more appropriately, THEY'RE off. Two seconds after hearing the vending machine rule, my kids scatter for the vending machines until I haul them back to the cart. We then proceed down the aisles, five little voices begging and whining for this cereal and that fruit snack. At some point, someone is on the the floor, refusing to move. It's not long before a wayward piece of fruit is sailing toward someone's head.

Just when I feel like I'm getting things under control, one of them starts the dance. You know the one. Legs crossed, hopping from one foot to the next, dancing along to the beat of, "Gotta go potteeeeeeeeeee!" And like a rapidly incubating strain of some foreign plague, it spreads until every non diaper wearing Wilson is in an extreme state of bladder distress.

On a good day, we finish in under three hours, I manage to keep all the kids in the same checkout lane, and we get home with everything we've purchased. In the non summer months when the pavement isn't capable of searing my lips right off my face, I kiss the ground in front of my home and praise the Lord above that I have another two weeks before I have to do it again.
That's about the time I realize I forgot to buy the light bulbs.

Friday, February 12, 2010

At least she's a cute thief.

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Mom, today I learned where all my Vitamin Water has been going.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spelling Police...I'm on the job!

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Mom, today I learned that I won't order misspelled food, even if I really, really want it. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As you all know, or should know (men, I'm talking to you), Sunday is Valentine's Day.  I'm on a gift hunt for my Funny Valentine, Richard.  Valentine's Day in my house has to be extra special, because it's also the day of my husband's birth.  It's his Birthentine's Day, if you will.

In my tireless efforts to find my sweet the perfect gift, I've come across something that...wow...I don't even know how to finish this sentence.  In the immortal lines of one Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed: "I'm speechless!  I have no words!  That's never happened to me before!  Words are my LIFE!"

The product is the Gummy Heart, and you'd better just look at it yourselves.

*Sigh* My friend, Michelle, tells me every Stupid Product review I write only makes her desperate to buy the offending product and give it as a gift to people with a sense of humor. Alas, Michelle. This one is listed as a "discontinued favorite." They don't sell it anymore. Shocking...

If someone gave me this for Valentine's Day, I would probably either burst into tears or vomit, because I would interpret such a gesture as a sure sign of an impending breakup. (Really, vomit. One time in high school, I thought a boyfriend was ending things and lost my bowling alley food all over my shoes.)

The listing for the Gummy Heart encourages people to express their love in a creepy and disturbing way. Aha...going for the psycho stalker demographic there. Win her heart by giving her a disembodied heart! Less mess than dissecting her dog!

Being a poet myself, I can't ignore the poem in the ad.

"My love is pure.
My love is true.
You can have my heart
And eat it too."

Emily Dickinson, ladies and gentlemen.  That is some great rhyming, no?

Richard, I love you and I promise I'll find you something perfect for your Birthentine's Day this year.  It will be thoughtful, heartfelt, and thoroughly geekified.  It will not resemble a body organ in any way. 

You have my heart.  You may not eat it. 

Resurrecting an old blog

Raise of hands: How many of you know that The Mother Load isn't my first blog?  Wow, two of you.  Hi guys!

Before The Mother Load, there was Sarah...Phenomenally.  I started blogging there back in 2006, then set up a myspace account, started using their blog feature, and forgot about the original blog.  It's been months since I deleted my myspace account, and I think I'm ready to bring that blog back from the grave.

Before you start to shiver in your proverbial boots, worrying I'm giving up The Mother Load, take heart.  This blog is here to stay.  I just need a place to publish my non-humor stuff, and right now I'm feeling fairly stuffed with that stuff.  If you read my first blog post ever on Sarah...Phenomenally, you'll get a sense of what that blog is all about.

So, readers, I extend an invitation.  Keep enjoying the features on this blog, and if you're feeling a little more contemplative and quiet, check out what I write over there.  Love it, leave it, follow it, frown upon it...it's all okay with me.  It's my place to step away from the clown persona and embrace the poet.

Not a toilet.

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Mom, today I learned that the proprietors of this establishment don't have much trust for their customers.

Good morning to you! Are you ready for your daily laugh? I was supposed to post this last night when I got home from work, but after watching this, I started clicking on every video these guys have put up and ended up watching hilarious pranks until 1:30 am. You might call it flakiness. I call it research. I took one (or fifteen) for the team.

You're welcome.



Yeah...I'd probably get out of my car and swipe the air, too. :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 17

Accountability time: I only ran twice last week. I posted last Tuesday and ran again on Thursday (to great results). The weekend found me completely out of energy. Rather than go running, which would have corrected that problem, I succumbed to excuse making and stayed home.

Sunday night, I did some soul searching and am now in the process of simplifying what I can. The blog is staying. Feel free to cheer with delight or sob in relief.

Today was the day I ramped things up and started running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute. I'm still restricted to 15 minutes total as my ankles continue to improve. I look at 1 minute/1 minute and it seems like such a small thing. Not for non-runner Sarah.

I think each step up my incremental couch to 5K journey will be the same. I started with the 1 minute walk, counting the seconds until I would have to commit myself to a full 60 seconds of running. Once I got into the 50s, I experienced the same feeling of terror I feel when a roller coaster car is almost to top of its dizzying incline and will be descending in mere seconds.

What am I doing here? Why am I doing this? Am I CRAZY?!

I'm happy to report that the minute wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  In fact, it was only my last minute run that was even a little bit challenging.  I'm huffing and puffing, sure.  My muscles are burning, sure.  But it doesn't feel impossible anymore.

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Mom, today I learned that these can help me be Annie for only $6.99.  Leapin' Lizards!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Today's news comes from the Utah state legislature which is currently in session, fighting about ridiculous laws with the ridiculousness of people who know that most citizens don't notice they exist anyway. I heard about this story while listening to the radio, but here's a link to a print story about a bill that proposes a loosening of booster seat laws in Utah.

So, some lawmakers here in Salt Lake think the law that requires youngsters up to age 8 to be strapped into booster seats is excessive and should be pulled back.  No one was going to go for that, because it's ridiculous, so a committee has sent an amended version of the bill to the floor of the UT House of Representatives.

The new bill would make it legal for kids under 8 to go booster seat free as long as the car they're riding in is within four miles of their homes and not on any roads with speed limits above 45 mph.  Liberal lawmakers, parent groups, and doctors are calling this a "bad bill."  Conservative groups call it a blow for freedom.

"They can force our kids into carseats, but they'll never take...our FREEDOM!"  Simmer down, Braveheart.  Simmer down.

Can someone tell me how a bill this silly (and potentially dangerous) becomes the rallying cry of freedom fighters?  We've gone from "Give me liberty or give me death!" to "Give me liberty or give me a meaningless approximation or give me death!"  If the bill passes, will they throw a party?  "We got what we fought for...20% of the time, in certain circumstances, unless there are already booster seats in the car and parents don't want to unstrap them!  Take THAT, imperialist swine!"

I like parties.  Maybe I'll join the freedom fight.  I think this business of needing a driver's license is infringing on my God given rights.  I propose a bill that says I have to have a license to drive except when I'm driving a white car on a two lane road in the summer.  Booyah!

William Wallace would be so proud.

Heck the What, Indeed!

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Mom, today I learned that dyslexia can strike anyone, anywhere.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Now we're talking! I had so many submissions for the carnival this week that I don't have time to comment on each one.  Do know that I have checked them out and they're all worth your time!  I've even bookmarked a few I'd like to reread. :)

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Fight Firewalls With Kindle posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Surbhi Bhatia presents 10 Ways to Explore the World without Leaving Home posted at The Viewspaper.

Livia Blackburne presents Pillars of the Earth: an example of a prologue done well posted at Livia Blackburne.

Mike King presents 100 Ways to Serve Others posted at Learn This.

Kaushik Chokshi presents A Handbook of Awakening posted at Beyond Karma.

Pamela presents Good Sports? posted at Blah, Blah, Blog.

Mike Consol presents Mike Consol/My Blog | Why salespeople freeze when they write posted at Mike Consol's Blog.

Tiffany Colter presents Interview with author Jennifer AlLee posted at The Writing Examiner.

Divinelysmile presents Famous Fiction: 50 Celebrities and Their Favorite Books posted at Online Degree Programs.org: Top Online Degrees

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Always wondered how that worked...

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Mom, today I learned where fire hydrants get their water.

Friday, February 5, 2010























Mom, today I learned that working with only the first 7 letters of the alphabet is not good for spelling.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Awesome Product: Toasty Bears

Ever have one of those days?  Sure you have.  It's not necessarily that everything goes wrong.  Everything just goes.  You get to the end of your day and think, "What was that?"  Those are the days when you need something soft, warm, and cuddly to soothe your blahs.

I have a few options at my disposal when I'm feeling this way.  I have several kids who would love to cuddle up with mom for the night.  They kick.

I have kitties who are warm, fluffy, and ubercuddly.  They lose interest quickly and start wrestling with each other on my legs.  Or they decide the only reasonable place to cuddle is whatever place will restrict my breathing the most.

I have my husband.  He's a cuddler.  He's also a tosser and a turner.  He has a limited amount of time available for sleep on each side of his body.  Often, this is related to his nose.  I frequently hear quiet murmurings of, "Sorry, love. I have to breathe out of my other nostril now," as he gently detaches himself to roll over.

Sigh.  What's a girl with a case of the blahs and a need for warmth and comfort to do?  I'll tell you what.  If she's smart, she'll get herself a Toasty Bear.

You know those heating pads made of dish towels and rice that everyone knows how to make?  Toasty Bears are like those...only awesome.  Filled with flax seed and fresh lavender, citrus, and peppermint, a Toasty Bear is a teddy bear that can be microwaved, retaining its heat for up to 2 hours.  I love this product.  I want this product.  I must have this product.  Is it my birthday yet?

A toasty bear will never kick you.  A toasty bear will not flop itself down on your face or wrestle on your knees.  A toasty bear has no nostril related cuddle deficiencies.

If I don't get one for Valentine's Day, I'm begging for one for Easter.  Or Mother's Day.  Or Flag Day.  Maybe trash day.

(Thanks to Carrie W. for the Awesome Product idea!)

I am so excited about our success so far.  Fans have really stepped up and have done great work of inviting their friends and family to become fans of The Mother Load!  You guys rock and have an incredible amount of influence.  At this writing, we have 380 fans!  That's up from 113 when I made the goal a month ago.  That is huge!

So, we're down to the wire.  It's crunch time.  Mmmmm...that makes me want a Crunch bar.  (FOCUS, Sarah!)  Sorry.  That makes me want to meet my goal!  We have 10 days and 120 fans to go, and I believe with all my heart that we can do it.  I'll keep writing and inviting and building exposure in all the ways I can.  You can help by spreading the word to anyone you think would enjoy this blog.  If you're a follower of this blog and haven't added yourself to the Facebook fan page, get on over there and show us some love.

If you're struggling to think of people you could invite, here are some suggestions:

-Someone going through a rough time who could use a daily laugh.  I know that during my hard times, laughter has helped me in countless ways.  One of the reasons I write a humor blog is to share that gift with others.
-Someone with a great sense of humor.  People who know funny like funny.
-Someone who needs to grow a sense of humor.  Maybe I'll be the reason they stop annoying you.  It's worth a shot, right?
-People who buy stupid products.  Let me help them.  Either they'll learn the error of their ways, or they'll find a treasure trove of stupid things to add to their collections!
-People who want to find awesome products.  We've got the scoop on the goods right here.
-People you love.  Show that love with a blog suggestion.
-People who read.  It's kind of a prerequisite.
-People who know people who read.  A great way to get around the above.

As stated at the beginning of our challenge, every time you bring a new fan to the blog, you are entered into the drawing for a FREE Perfect Brownie Pan and those same entries count for our next product giveaway of a custom made Leah clutch from Unframed Art Bags.  The Brownie Pan giveaway ends on Valentine's Day at midnight.  If I make my 500 fan goal, I will dye my hair BLUE!

Let's make it happen! 

Stupid Product: Chia Obama

It's February, and that means it's officially Black History Month.  How well I remember my third grade report on Harriet Tubman and her courageous journeys through the Underground Railroad to free slaves.  In Black History Months to come, young children will be writing their biographies of our current president and the difference he made in the world.

Obama: the man, the policy, the change, the Chia.

When I found Chia Obama last night, I immediately turned my laptop toward my husband to share in my discovery.  His reaction consisted of a head shake and an exclamation of, "Oh dear...oh dear, oh dear."

Chia Obama, you've made my husband sound like Piglet.  You're fired.

According to the website, this Chia head is supposed to look like President Obama.  I don't see the resemblence.  For one thing, President Obama's hair has always been neatly trimmed.  This head is a few days' growth away from superfly.  Also, the face looks nothing like Barack Obama's.  That's kind of a dealbreaker for me.

According to the website, this is a decorative item.  I don't see the decorative value, either.  Maybe I'm missing a crucial component of the interior design gene, but I've never considered a Chia head as a must-have in home decor.  I don't have a singing fish or a velvet Elvis either.  Call me crazy.

What I do see is a desperate attempt to cash in on the popularity (well, the pre-Massechusetts election popularity) of America's first black president by any means necessary.  I'm sure if I searched further, I'd find all sorts of silly Obama merchandise. 

Of course, you know just writing that made me have to do it.  The world has gone Obama crazy.  There's the Obama Necktie! Obama boxer shorts! Obama toilet paper! Obama bling!  Holy moly and a happy Black History Month to all of you.

I'd better not show this to Piglet...I mean, Richard.

Is that an offer or an order?


















Mom today I learned that the adoption process just got a whole lot easier.

(Thanks to Mary D. for the picture!) 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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Mom, today I learned that this is not my van.  I learned it when it wouldn't open for me...

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...because I drove this to school.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 10

I got an email from my Phazes Fitness trainer over the weekend with a modified running plan specific to me.  She said my ankles had been talking behind my back, and she felt this would be the smarter way to run.  (Ankles, we'll talk about this later.)

So, I started from square one today.  I'm again doing 30 seconds running and 30 seconds walking, only this week, we've taken it down from 20 minutes to 15.  This is both a sadness and a relief for me.  My ego is afraid to admit I had to go backward.  My rational mind knows this is why I hired a trainer to help me do this.  Michelle told me the goal with this change is for my runs to build my ankles up rather than tear them down.  This is smart.  My ankles should thank me for aligning myself with smart people for this training.

I did not want to run this morning.  I didn't wake up to my alarm at 7 and woke up at 7:02 to my son telling me I'd missed my alarm.  Showing an incredible amount of restraint and grace despite my extreme fatigue, I thanked him for saving my butt, then asked his permission to sleep until 7:10.  He looked at me weird and then said he guessed that would be all right.  I can't be expected to make sense before 8.  You should all know this.

I decided to vary my run today.  By this, I mean, I was so tired, I missed my turn and had to park on the other side of the park.  This turned out to be a good thing.  It changed the scenery a bit and broke up the monotony of running in the same place every time.  It also made it seem like I'd already run for much longer than I really had.  Bonus!

What I'm learning each time I get back from a run is that running is like a lot of things in life.  I don't really want to do it, but I'm always glad I did when I'm done.  When I come home from a run, I feel like I stand taller; I have more energy; and my muscles work together in a way they don't do on a non-running day.

I don't have much more than that today.  For all the height, energy, and balance of this morning, I'm really glad I don't have to go out again until Thursday.  I'm running, but I'm still not a runner.  I'm okay with that.

Let me state for the record that I am a firm believer in homeopathy, essential oils, aromatherapy, magnet therapy, reflexology, chiropractic, herbs, and everything else that might fall under your "hocus pocus" umbrella. I also believe in medical doctors, drugs, surgery, and everything else that might fall under your "Western medicine" umbrella. I figure when it comes to helping people heal, we might as well use everything available.

I also have a sense of humor (shocker!), so despite my belief in homeopathy, I find this sketch hilarious. I found it on the Facebook fan page for Sole Healing Reflexology.  It's nice to see a practitioner of alternative healing with a sense of humor.  I'm seriously considering making use of her service for help in my running endeavors.  By seriously considering, I mean, I'm calling right after I click publish.

Will I go to her if I get hit by a car?  Well, that would just be silly.


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Mom, today I learned budget cuts at the U have taken a toll on student housing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I woke up this morning and wondered, as I often do, what is going on in the life of my erstwhile love, Mr. Willard Christopher Smith Jr.  A quick search of our secret communication device, I mean, the internet, produced a shocking and exciting answer.  Will Smith has political aspirations!

Okay, I know Dear Johned him in a column just before I married Richard, but you didn't really expect me to just walk away completely, did you?  Will's been in my life since I was 13.  That's a full 4 years before I met Richard.  Richard and I may share our dry wit, a comfortable friendship, a happy marriage, and a mutual knowledge of the existence of each other, but I'm sure you agree that seniority rules here.

So, according to his *gagwifegag*...well, that was unpleasant.  According to someone named Jada Pinkett Smith, who may or may not know the man who makes my heart pound, Will Smith has considered a career in politics in the past and is now strongly considering it again.  She also mentions that he has very serious presidential aspirations.

Can you blame him?  He's already had a political career, back when he ruled as Fresh Prince of Bel Aire.  There was a lot of responsibility involved in that job.  Add to that the fact that he's worked as a police detective, pulled himself up from homelessness to become a stockbroker, saved the world from killer robots, and he's saved the world from aliens TWICE.  What more information do you need?

I officially submit my name for consideration as his running mate.  Smith/Clark 2012!  It's got a nice ring to it, don't you think?

The wall outside my math class.

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Mom, today I learned that the University of Utah tolerates vandalism of the worst sort.