Friday, December 16, 2011


Mom, today I learned that bowls that say things like "Soup" or "Ice Cream" are only for smart people who know what bowls are.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Mom, today I learned why it pays to have friends who know Photoshop.

(Special thanks to my friend and Mother Load reader, Lis C., of Portland, OR, for this bit of awesomeness.  I finished up classes for my degree this week, but there are no ceremonies for fall graduates unless they want to wait 5 months.  Meh.  The original picture was taken at the Weird Al concert we attended in September, and it was way cooler than any stuffy old commencement ceremony!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I saw this story a week ago when it was originally published in the BYU-I student newspaper, and I thought, There's an Outrageous News story right there.  However, I was in the middle of studying for finals and writing papers and finishing up assignments at the University of Utah.  Today, the story jumped back into the forefront of my mind when a picture started circulating on Facebook. 

Let's look at the picture now, shall we?


Originally posted on Facebook by Shaila Keck, it had been shared nearly 200 times by the time I clicked the share button. This is a picture of Shaila's friend, Rachel Vermillion.  Cute girl, right?  Nicely dressed in a pretty but casual outfit.  Typical college attire in the cold winter months. 

You'd think that...because you're a reasonable human being.

Unfortunately for Rachel, she was not dealing with a reasonable human like you when she entered the testing center at Brigham Young University-Idaho to take an exam.  She was asked to leave because the outfit you see above was deemed immodest by a male testing center employee who felt her "skinny jeans" were a violation of the school's dress code which frowns on "form fitting" attire. 

You just scrolled back up to take another look at the picture, and you're wondering if you're in the Twilight Zone right now, aren't you?  It's okay.  You're really not.  I know how unsettling that feeling can be.

First of all, those are not skinny jeans.  I know this because I own a pair.  I had no idea I was buying something so fashionable when I yanked them off the rack at the local thrift store, but own them I do, however accidentally.  I promise you, my skinny jeans do not bunch at the bottom like Rachel's.  They don't flair like those.  They don't allow for appropriate circulation like those.

When Rachel tried to plead her case in light of the fact that the testing center would be closed before she could return in something sufficiently frumpy, the apparently blind eyes of her judge/jury/executioner were accompanied by a pair of deaf ears.  When she pointed out that other girls (thinner, less curvaceous girls) were being admitted with tighter jeans than hers, she was told that the question of modesty or lack thereof was left to the "ridiculously shortsighted, offensive, and objectifying discretion" of testing center employees (incredibly accurate italics mine).

This is probably the point in this column that I should make something abundantly clear:  I have no problem with a private, church run school having and enforcing a dress code.  I have no problem that my religion preaches the virtue of modesty.  I preach it in my home.  My girls and boys wear modest clothing or they don't leave the house.

I'm a devout Mormon who would never willingly attend any of the BYU campuses, but it's not because the Honor Code exists.  It's because there are dufuses on campus who misinterpret the Honor Code and feel it's their God given duty to tell everyone else what they're doing wrong.  I'm a fan of modest dress.  I'm not a fan of dufuses.

The dufuses in this case had actually posted a sign in the testing center saying that if a student was dressed inappropriately (as determined by the aformentioned italicized discretion of the employees), they should go home and pray about how to be a "true disciple" of the Lord.  The manager of the testing center was also quoted as saying that if someone prayed and felt their clothing was appropriate anyway, they "...have not asked, or have not asked the right question, or they have chosen an answer for their own gratification."

Because all the best dufuses speak for God, you know.

Scrolling up again to look at the picture, I think the problem here is less Rachel Vermillion's actual clothing and more the way it enhances and beautifies her gorgeous curves.  I think the staff member who failed to see tight jeans on stick thin students and only saw them on the curvy girl needs a lesson in what women actually look like. 

Hey, Dufus.  Women are not men.  Our bodies are not straight.  We have hips.  We have breasts (gasp!).  We have voluptuous bottoms and curvaceous thighs.  And you know who gave those to us? was God.  The Man Upstairs himself.  And disciple or not, I don't think He intends for us to equate modesty with shapeless frumpiness.  Women can wear clothes that fit and be modest. I promise.

To the school's credit, BYU-I issued a statement saying that there is no official ban on skinny jeans and that they were dealing with the problem in the testing center. To their detriment (at least in my opinion), they have not issued an official apology to Rachel.  I think I'll rectify that by doing it for them.

Dear Rachel Vermillion,

I wish to express my deepest apologies to you for your poor treatment at the BYU-I testing center.  Your outfit was in no way inappropriate, and anyone with half a brain and eyes that work would have known that.  I'm sorry you had to deal with a dufus, and I hope you were able to take your test without any further problems.  Also?  SHOUT OUT for psych majors!  Neuropsych was crazy, am I right?

Rachel, don't let the dufuses get your down.  Be proud of your beautiful, curvy body and know that you are my hero.  My girls will be reading this blog post, and your picture is going up in their rooms as an example of modesty and strength in the face of adversity and judgment.  My girls may well inherit my curves, and I never, ever want them to feel ashamed that they have them.  There's no sin in bootiliciousness.  Always remember that.

I may or may not also be taping your picture to my treadmill for motivation.


Thank goodness for Hulu...and quiet.


Mom, today I learned that sometimes, a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So, I'm turning 35 in a week.  35.  For the most part, I'm okay with this.  I've never been one to lie about my age or pretend I'm younger than I am.  As much as I complain about getting old, I actually don't mind it that much.  I mean, I was a child of the Cold War 80s who imagined Ronald Reagan with his finger perpetually on the big button.  I thought I'd die in a nuclear attack before I was 16.  Every year after that has been a wonderful surprise.

But there's something about 35.  It is, sad to say, a milestone in the marketing world.  From the time I was 18 until now, my views on the world mattered.  My television habits mattered. My opinion on just about everything most certainly least to the people who sell stuff.  I've been in the "coveted" 18-34 year old demographic for as long as I've been an adult, and in one week, all of that changes.

I could write this blog post about how the population is getting older and how older people matter more than marketers think, but that would be boring.  It would lend credence to the argument that boring old people aren't the types to which you want to market anything other than Geritol and blood pressure medication.

Nah, I know when I'm licked.  Mother Earth and Father Time have conspired against me, and there's just no stopping that.  I think they're getting kickbacks from Nike and MTV, but what can you do, right?  It's time to face the fact that in one week, no one will care whether or not I watch "The X Factor" (I don't) or love the Whitman Sampler Dark Chocolate Assortment (I DO!).  I am preparing myself for marketing oblivion, and that's okay.

But first...

Hey, I'm not 35 yet.  I have one more week of relevance, and today, I'm going to use it!  That's right. This 34 year old is about to tell you what she thinks!  Marketers, are you listening?  It's all here...the coveted opinions and shopping choices of a bonafide 34 year old.  A woman in her prime.  A shopper, watcher, and thinker you've been tracking.  In a week, I'll be older than dirt, but today, my friends, today I am a young adult, and I am speaking.  Hear me, oh great marketing conglomerates.

Dogs vs cats:  Cats...because dogs are slobbery, loud, they don't clean up after themselves, and they need babysitters.  If I wanted to have another child, I would have kept my uterus.

Denny's vs Ihop: Denny's.  The Ihop in Lawton, Oklahoma was damaged twice when I was a child, first by a tornado and then by a fire.  I think that track record speaks for itself.  God obviously wants me to go to Denny's.

The Walking Dead vs Once Upon a Time:  Once Upon a Time.  I tried The Walking Dead.  Riveting stuff.  I just need to be able to go into my basement and move laundry without carrying a gun.  I'd be willing to pack heat while checking the dryer, but I don't own a gun, so no more zombie television for me.  I toyed with the idea of disposable clothing, but Richard nixed that.  He also wasn't a fan of sleeping with the lights on.

Creamy or chunky: It depends.  If we're talking about cats, I'd say chunky.  If we're talking about peanut butter, I'd say chunky.

BYU vs University of Utah:  I don't understand the question.  Are there people who would choose BYU?

Butter vs margarine:  Butter...because, come on.  It's butter.

US Postal Service vs Fed Ex: Email.

McDonald's vs Burger King:  Either, but only if poison control told me I needed to induce vomiting immediately.

The Daily Show vs The Colbert Report: This choice is like Netflix vs Hulu. I like them both for different reasons.  I watch The Daily Show because it's hilarious.  I watch The Colbert Report because it's super hilarious.

Lol or ROFL: Either way, I'm really just chuckling quietly through my nose.

Republican vs Democrat: I'm an Independent, which means I can't stand either, which means I want to vote "None of the above," which means I wish Richard Pryor were still alive, which means I know that movie reference, which means I'm too old for marketers to care about what I have to say.

(Shhhhh...don't tell.)


Mom, today I learned what happens when you tell your sister-in-law, Mary, that you don't eat anything with a face.


I learned just how far my kids will go to get ice cream after a choir concert.


Shameless, don't you think?


Of course, I learned that I am a complete pushover, and I learned that Miriam, the slowest food orderer in the West, can order dessert quite quickly...when it has her name on it.


I learned that when the fan on one of your laptops stops working, you can keep it running if you sit in front of another type of fan while you work.


I learned my nephew, Ryan, is now old enough to get married.


But not too old to stop being a dork, thank goodness.


I learned that I am still capable of cross stitching.


And that I CAN wear amazingly uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion and live to tell the tale.


And finally, I learned that even when I show him a picture of how silly he looks, Richard will still keep trying to kiss me this way.


But then...this is Richard we're talking about...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stupid Product: Tofurky

I've been a vegetarian for seven months now. Tomorrow marks the first Thanksgiving holiday that will have me cooking but not eating Thanksgiving turkey and ham. I'll cook the meat for my omnivore children and save the leftovers in our freezer, so I can pull them out for the types of meat-optional meals I've been cooking this year.

One thing I won't be cooking tomorrow? Tofurky.

Now, I'm a fan of tofu. I've liked it since long before I made the decision to go meat free. Alone and raw, it's reminiscent of a square of soggy joint compound, but cubed and added to soups or cooked up in a stir fry or pasta dish, the stuff can be quite yummy. Do I think that only because I haven't had bacon in seven months? Who knows?

Point is, I like tofu. Tofu is my friend.  Tofu and I? We're like THIS!


Tofu based fake meat products?


Eh...not so much.

See, I'm one of those vegetarians who doesn't miss meat so much they need to eat fake stuff in order to pretend they're still meat eaters.  Contrary to the beliefs of some, I don't sit around wishing I could gnaw on a sinewy rib or chow down on chicken nuggets.  I guess there are vegetarians who feel that way, and that's why things like Tofurky exist.  I'm just not one of those vegetarians. 

And even if I were...have you SEEN Tofurky?  It looks do I say this delicately?  It looks like a distended, discolored, disembodied uterus filled with stuffing.  Would you want to eat stuffed uterus?  I didn't think so.  I mean...I don't want to eat animals because they're animals.  WHY would I want to eat something that looks vaguely human in origin?

I will give the Tofurky people credit.  Tofurky ingredients aren't as bad as those you might see in some fake meat products (Boca Burgers, I'm looking at you, here).  But thing I've learned as a newly initiated herbivore is that there is an entire world of food out there.  I don't need to eat inside the American box anymore, and I certainly don't need to eat fake food to make my plate conform to an old tradition.

Thanksgiving may be all about the turkey for most, but it's all about the family for me.  And I love my family too much to make them watch me eat a processed blob of falsehood made of soy and wheat gluten.  Hey, I'm a mom who loves her kids.  That's just how I roll.

Speaking of rolling... Conan gave his take on Tofurky below, and I laughed until I cried.  Watch it. Love it. Share it. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Still better than Renesmee.


Mom, today I learned that baby name books are getting job specific.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

But seriously, I don't...


Mom, today I learned why people think I drink coffee on the sly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pressing tofu, now easier than ever!


Mom, today I learned that there IS a use for the giant can of nacho cheese in my house.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Halloween was just yesterday, right?


Mom, today I learned that my math obsessed husband has officially ruined my children. Miriam organized her Halloween candy and calculated the min, max, range, mean, mode, and median.

Heaven help us all.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who's that girl?


Mom, today I learned that I'm still not above using cramazing (crazy amazing) camera angles to make myself look perfect for a Facebook profile picture. I have no problem with this.  In my next life, I want that (single) chin.  It's cute!

(Special thanks to my white hoodie for making my blue eyes POP.  Thanks, also, to my left arm for holding the camera just so, and to my long hair for hiding the rest of my face.  You guys are the BEST!)

The Mother Unload: Scale Free

As free as the wind blows?

I don't know how much I weigh.  I haven't known how much I've weighed for over a month now.  I lost track of my bathroom scale at some point during our recent move, so while I've continued doing the things I know will help me be healthier and lose weight, I have no idea whether or not I've succeeded in the latter.

Do I like it?  Well, I'm torn.  The gung ho, die hard, *insert other confidence inducing idiom here* part of me is saying, "Heck, yeah!" to the new me who isn't manacled to an arbitrary number.  The bit of old me who's still in there thinks it's nice to know you've been successful...and to tell everyone on Facebook.

For now, the strong, confident warrior woman is winning out.  Weight ain't nothin' but a number, after all.

Because I'm determined to tie birth metaphors into just about everything I do, I'll put it this way.  Much is made in the world of birth about the arbitrary measurement of cervical dilation.  Women who are close to their due dates go into doctor's offices hoping for good news.  They come out saying, "I'm already 2 centimeters and 70% effaced!  I'm going to have my baby soon!"  Or they say, "I'm not even dilated at all!  I'll be pregnant forever."  Permutations of these scenarios are endless.

The thing is, woman #1 might be three weeks away from actually giving birth.  Woman #2 might go into labor the very same day.  Or vice versa...or neither, nor.  The state of a woman's cervix tells us very little about when a baby will be born because babies come when they're darned good and ready, whether their mothers think the time is right or not.  Women get focused on a number and more often than not, that number drives them absolutely out of their minds.

The same can be said of weight.  Women (and men) too often walk into their bathrooms daily and step on their scales as if approaching a magic mirror straight out of a fairy tale.

"Scale, scale, on the floor:  Today, will I love myself less...or more?"

The number they find there means whatever they want to think it means, but most of the time, it's something like this:  "I've gained two pounds!  I'm a worthless excuse for a human being who doesn't deserve to live!"  Or, "I've lost two pounds.  WOOHOOO! I'm the most amazing person in the history of history!"

While it's great to see you've made progress, and it can be helpful to get a warning that you're slipping back into old habits, weights, especially those just a day apart, are as meaningless to those trying to lose weight as cervical dilation is to women wondering when baby day will be.  Everyone is different, every day is different, and weight is a complex mix of a large number of factors.

For instance, my thyroid is completely dead.  Kaput.  Non-functional.  I take synthetic thyroid hormone to keep things working and to avoid being a great, big ball of pain and paranoia every day.  While Synthroid does its job for the most part, I've never been able to get back the fluid balance I used to have before my body decided my thyroid was public enemy #1 and had it murdered in a drive-by.  My weight can fluctuate as much as 5-7 pounds from one day to the next.  One day, I'm Sarah of the adorable apple cheekbones and Shirley Temple dimples.  The next, I'm Puffy McPuffster, the Bloated.

If I used my weight as a guide for how well I'm doing in my weight loss, I would literally cry

But you don't need a thyroid problem to have weight fluctuations.  You need only be a human being.  Are you human being?  You are?  Then your weight must fluctuate...for no good reason...despite all the cardio and carrots and prayer!  So why not ditch the scale for awhile and focus on the other signs you're doing well?

Without my scale, I've become much more aware of the way my clothes fit and the way I feel.  The other night, I started undressing for bed and realized with a start that I had just taken off my tightest pair of jeans without unbuttoning them.  MY TIGHTEST PAIR OF JEANS!  What would the scale have said that night?  What would I have lost if I had been focused on a number instead of my jeans?

Regardless of my current weight, I'm feeling really, really good.  My stomach doesn't hurt when I eat anymore.  I'm more hungry and eat more often.  I CRAVE vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.  My cheating moments are no longer satisfying.  My tongue has begun rejecting junk whenever I try to eat it.  All of these things tell me much more about my current state of health than any old bathroom scale ever could.

I will weigh myself again at some point.  I see the doctor twice a year to check my thyroid levels and adjust my meds, as needed.  They have a spiffy little scale in their office that I've never been able to avoid.  I'm good with that.  In the meantime, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, looking for different, better signs that what I'm doing is working.

It won't be as exciting on Facebook, but that's what pictures of oversized jeans are for.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Have you ever been tagged in a post on Facebook? I was...last night. My friend, Corey, thought it was extremely important that I see this little bit of amazingness. I think Corey has her priorities exactly right. I giggled all over this last night and then guffawed again this morning when I decided it was required viewing for my cats. (Bulging eyes and laid back ears get me every time.)

These choir boys should get an award.  Enjoy!

(Thanks to Corey O. of Payson, UT, for sharing this gem with me.)

At least it's made in the USA...


Mom, today I learned that the underage worker is perfectly willing to work in a sweatshop...if it means having a cute Halloween costume.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quill, master of the blanket fort


Mom, today I learned that when you find a display of cuteness like this, you're much more forgiving of naughty cats. (Even when his naughtiness is the reason the blankets had to be washed in the first place...)

Thursday, September 29, 2011



Mom, today I learned that some license plates just don't give a darn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A kitten after my own heart


Mom, today I learned that I may have to fight Isis for time with my favorite Scottish Starfleet engineer...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Mom, today I learned that if I had a few "rich ladys" to give this guy, all this unpacking and painting would be a breeze.

Monday, September 26, 2011


As you may have noticed, I've been having a bit of a hard time keeping up with the blog lately. By lately, I mean for the last few months. By bit of a hard time, I mean, "Blog? What blog?"

Because I like to blog, want to blog, and feel guilty when I don't blog, I've been doing a lot of thinking to figure out how to get my blog posts up despite everything else that taxes my time. What I've realized is that the super structured blogging that used to be a help has become a hindrance.

I realized this as I attempted to launder my first load of clothes in our new house and found myself faced with a high tech washer/dryer set that not only washes clothes but can probably remove my tonsils and balance chemical equations.

Washing machines should not have more buttons than the space shuttle. They just...should not.

I realized that I wanted to write about that. I had all sorts of funny things to say about my fear and trepidation over this crazy machine...the way I approached it cautiously, like a rookie on the nation's most poorly funded bomb squad...the way I watched it for 15 minutes to make sure it was, indeed, capable of washing my exasperated use of the word "newfangled" and my surprise that such a word would ever come out of my mouth (along with my invention of the word "oldfangled," trademark pending.)

But I couldn't just blog about my washing machine, right? Today is Outrageous News day. I have to write about an Outrageous News story today, right? So what if I have a great idea for a funny blog post that will be easy to write. I have a schedule! Readers expect me to follow my schedule!

And this is why I haven't blogged regularly in months. If I have time for an easy post, and I'm nixing that because I think I'm obligated to write a scheduled post I don't actually have time to write, then nothing gets written.

So, the schedule? It's gone...fired...finished in this town.

So, what can you expect from the Mother Load now?

I'll still do my best to post a "What I Learned Today" picture and caption because I like those, and I have enough silly pictures to last me until the end of the year. As for the other posts, I'll continue to write those as often as possible. The difference is that I will write them when inspiration strikes and when I have the time to do a good job. This means I might have 2 Stupid Product posts in one week and no Outrageous News post, or I might devote an entire week to smaller, silly, stream of consciousness posts. Either way, I'll be blogging a heck of a lot more often.

I do understand that many of you are still traumatized by the recent changes on Facebook, and changing the Mother Load might seem like one more insult into your already injured online lives. Just think of it this way: Changing the Mother Load means you get to actually read the Mother Load. Also, I'm cuter than Mark Zuckerberg, so that makes it okay.

Looking forward to a new start!

Off to check on the shuttle...I mean, washer.

The sad thing? It kind of fits...


Mom, today I learned how some people spell "Richard."

Friday, September 2, 2011


Mom, today I learned that when it comes to getting Weird Al's attention at his upcoming concert, our family is probably more motivated than any other family.

(Author's Note: YES! WE'RE GOING TO A WEIRD AL CONCERT!!!  AND WE'RE WEARING MATCHING T-SHIRTS!!!  The spatula graphic was chosen for the "Spatula City" commercial in Al's movie "UHF".  See below and enjoy!  Also, feel free to be jealous of the fact that WE'RE GOING TO A WEIRD AL CONCERT!!!)


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are the two mutually exclusive?


Mom, today I learned that this license plate can mean one of two things. a) This person has an abundance of Christmas spirit all year long. b) He got a C in Santa school.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why it pays to be over ten.


Mom, today I learned that painting is the dumbest project ever and it's NOT FAIR!


And Miriam and Cate are stupid-heads who get to do everything just because they're older.

Where did I learn such a thing?


Three guesses.

(Thanks to Evelyn for letting me tease her on my blog.  She's really a sweet girl.  She's just not loving the limits of her single digit age.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ever see something that makes you laugh hysterically even though you're unsure why? This is one of those things. It's been on YouTube for a few years now, but it was only brought to my attention in the last few days, so I'm posting it here for those like me who didn't get to see its silliness when it was new.

This is definitely more fun if you've seen "The Dark Knight" and are familiar with Christian Bale's nearly unintelligible Angry Batman Voice. (We forgive Christian Bale because he's Christian Bale...and because he was so cute in Newsies.)

The closing credits are as much fun as the whole video.


Mom, today I learned that if I'm going to make fun of pictures like this on my blog...


I should probably avoid taking pictures like this. (Seriously? Only two spaces apart in my Photobucket album.)

I try not to get political too often over here, what with this being a humor blog and my being a blogger who likes readers of all stripes.  There are times, however, when I just have to speak, demographics be an angry God...with, uh, the weather?

So, Michele Bachmann, that darling of the Tea Party and the media alike (for very different reasons), has offered the press yet another Bachmannism in a long list of ridiculous sound bites, and the press?  They are reporting with apparent glee.

See, there's a pretty big storm over on the east coast.  You may have noticed it on the news, the Weather Channel, Facebook...  People are dying, cities are under water, homes and business have been damaged, some beyond repair.  It's a tragedy, is what I'm saying.  It's nothing to joke about, is what I mean.

So, Ms. Bachmann is tired of people in Washington not listening to "the American people."  She means the American people who agree with her, but okay.  So, she made a speech about it, and in it, Bachmann said that the recent earthquake and hurricane were God's way of getting Washington's attention.

Right.  Because God really doesn't like politicians?  Because God is a Republican? Because God has read through the health care legislation and realizes Obama means for all of us to go see doctors and not faith healers? I'm not really sure how God and the weather factor in here, but maybe I'm a little dense about these things.

Now confronted on her statement, Bachmann is backpedaling, saying that, of course, she was being humorous.  Unfortunately, the esteemed congresswoman from Minnesota doesn't understand that in order for something to be humorous, it has to actually be funny.  It's kind of a prerequisite.  I know because this is a humor blog, and it frequently makes me laugh.

Examples of things that are funny:

* Babies reacting to their first taste of lemon.
* Weird Al songs
* Eric D. Snider
* Rhythmically challenged people trying to dance
* My husband (see above)

Things that are not funny:

* Movies starring Rob Schneider
* IRS audits
* Hemmorhoids
* Starving kittens
* Politicians using natural disasters to further their own agendas while pretending to speak for God.

I'm not writing this to just jump on the anti-Bachmann bandwagon. I defended Bachmann in a recent opinion column I wrote for the University of Utah paper, for goodness' sake.  I just wish the woman would give me a reason to defend her rather than fodder for a strongly worded retraction. 

I should write her a letter.

I wonder if she'll listen to me... If her "humor" is any indication, she'll be expecting a tornado or a monsoon if she doesn't.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Mom, today I learned that people who can't afford real advertising think I'm dumb enough to believe they can pay me thousands of dollars a week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Insert funny title here


Mom, today I learned that if I want to have fun at church, I need to go to this guy's sermons.

I lost 30 pounds!  Over a month ago!  And I haven't lost anything since!  Woohooooo!

There are many words people use to describe where I'm at now.  Trapped.  Stuck.  Stopped.  Spinning my wheels.  Notice anything about them?  They're all negative.  They're all powerless.  They all create a sad little, helpless victim of the person who is trying to lose weight and somehow isn't anymore.

People get to a plateau in their weight loss efforts and they start to get angry.  "Why am I not losing weight?!" they demand.  "I'm doing everything the same, and I'm just STUCK!"

The thing about weight loss plateaus is that they happen to almost everyone, and we have a word for something that happens to almost everyone.  It's called normal.  Isn't it kind of silly to get angry over something normal?

"I had my oil changed 3,000 miles ago and now I have to have it changed again! What the crud?!"

"I'm moving in a few weeks and these boxes aren't packing themselves! What's WRONG with me?!"

"I'm 34 and my hair is turning gray, which is completely normal and not a cause for concern!!  WHY, GOD?! WHYYYYYYY?!"

If your body is doing what it was made to do, it's okay to take a breath and let it.  The problem with many people is that when they hit a plateau, they get discouraged and give up.  If they could just let it happen and move through it, they would come out on the other side ready, willing, and able to move down the scale again.

Wow, Sarah.  That's a pretty balanced perspective.  How did you manage to come by that?

I think I learned all of this from my years studying and working in the homebirth arena.  See, women in labor plateau just like people trying to lose weight do, and it's just as normal.  Many doctors expect labor to follow a nice, linear pattern of a centimeter of dilation every one to two hours.  Labor doesn't work that way, though, and so when normal women do what normal women do, these docs declare a problem and step in to intervene.

"Doctor, this woman's labor has stalled.  She's been at 5 centimeters for more than 2 hours."

"What?  She's doing what nearly every woman does in labor?  That will never do!  Her body is obviously broken!  We'd better get some pitocin in that IV, stat, and bring in the machine that goes PING!  It's a good thing I was here to save the day."

Sound ridiculous?  It is.  A natural labor plateau can mean any number of things.  Mom needs a little rest.  Baby needs time to move into a better position.  Hormones need time to be produced at higher levels.  Mom needs time to prepare herself emotionally for what's happening.  Doctors and nurses need to stay the heck out of the room so mom can labor in peace and not stress about an arbitrary measure like cervical dilation.

If you allow the labor to proceed on its own and let mom do what feels good, more often than not, the plateau will end when it's good and ready to, and the labor will continue on until a baby is born.

The same is true for a weight loss plateau.  It can mean any number of things.  Maybe your body needs time to get used to the weight you're at before moving further down the scale.  Maybe you've reached your set point and it's going to take a little more work to create a new one.  Maybe you need time to prepare emotionally for being a little bit thinner.

For me, it's about getting used to where I am.  When you lose 30 pounds, you don't realize you're still fat.  You're so excited you lost 30 pounds that you feel just as thin and beautiful as you ever wanted to feel.  I think that's important.  If I don't stop to feel beautiful where I am, I will never feel beautiful where I'm going to be.

That's not to say that it isn't annoying.  I would like this plateau to be over, and it's not really fun that I don't get to just decide for it to be over.  I'm just not cursing the god of cellulite that it's happening.  When I'm ready to move from this weight, I'll do it, and then I'll plateau again, and then I'll do all of this again.

Basically, the dreaded weight loss plateau is like the Dread Pirate Roberts.  There's a big, bad, mean reputation on the outside, and a gentle farm boy named Westley on the inside, just dying to shout "As you wish!" as he tumbles down the side of a hill.  It's not as bad as it seems, and it will probably help you get through your emotional Fire Swamps unscathed.

Just keep doing what you're doing.  And watch out for ROUSes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

 I mentioned in my Awesome Product post that a) I don't like to sing by myself on a stage and that b) I had managed to do just that at the end of MAT Camp this week.  Not only that, but the moments when I sang alone, I was forced by my fire breathing tyrant of a teacher, Mike Giles, to improvise in the grand tradition of terror inducing jazz music with no notes.  (Okay, he was more cheerleader than tyrant, but still.)

I expounded on the other blog about my experience singing scat for the first time.  To sum it up here..."I can't! ... I did it!"

Not only was I tasked with 4 bars of scat, but I was given a 6 bar call and response section that contained words and no notes past the first 2 phrases.  For someone who becomes nearly paralyzed with fear at the thought of any kind of solo, this is a lot to ask.  But I signed up for the class because I wanted the challenge...and because I have more spunk than I worked through my issues with the help of positive self talk, a poem I wrote a few years ago, my "swagger and strut" anthem by the same name (as played by Phil Woods), and the generous prayers of my friends.

The following video contains performances from three separate groups, and I'm a member of the first two.  Vocal Jazz is up first, and even though I can pick out every mistake I made, I'm choosing to feel really good about the overall performance.  I'm the dumpy one with the glasses in the middle. ;)  (Can you believe that's me AFTER I've lost 30 pounds? Wow...)

You can choose to continue on to the opera performance, but just know we had a total of about 2.5 hours to prepare.  It's silly and rough, but mostly silly.  If you really want to know, I counted the dance moves as my exercise for the week.  Lame?  Maybe.  But it was fun.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Awesome Product: MAT Camp!

So, today's Awesome Product is not a product in the traditional sense, and you can't even purchase it for another year.  You'll find this is a good thing, though.  Music, Arts, and Technology Camp is located in Wyoming, and you are probably not, so you'll need a year to get your ducks in a row and plan the trip.

I know you probably have a lot of questions, not the least of which is "Why would I want to go to Wyoming?"  I'll write this post as a series of FAQs and will hope I hit all of your potential queries.  If I don't, well, refer to the paragraph above for an idea of how much time you have to get all your questions answered.

Q.  Why would I want to go to Wyoming?
A.  Excellent question and one I asked myself the first time Richard proposed we pack up and head to cow country.  It is a little known fact that in Wyoming, everyone smiles.  All the time.  No matter what.  And they give you dollar bills just for coming to a complete stop at an intersection.  And there are jugglers performing on most city sidewalks and cobbler is served for breakfast every day.

(Did I overshoot it?)

Okay. I don't know anything about Wyoming as a whole, but what I can say about the little city of Evanston is that it's small enough for a week of peaceful relaxation but large enough that you can manage with most of the usual comforts of your bigger city life.  The air is fresh, the nights are quiet, and the sky is full of stars...but there's WiFi at the McDonald's and vegetarian food at Subway.  There's not much more I need.  You?

Q.  So, what is MAT Camp?
A.  Stealing from the website: "Students of all ages enjoy 5 days of arts related classes including music, art, dance, and theater."  MAT Camp is held from 8-5 in the local middle school building, and there are concerts and activities scheduled most evenings.  Friday affords students and teachers the opportunity to show off what they've learned in a series of concerts and exhibits.

The concerts are a really great time to take pictures to commemorate how awesome your spouse is.


But you might want to entrust your camera to someone who knows how to use it when you're the one on stage singing.


Q.  Do I have to play a musical instrument to go to MAT Camp?
A.  Nope!  I've been known to play a piano or two in my time, but I have no interest in taking classes from people who really know how to play and would expect me to play correctly.  For me, MAT Camp was all about singing.  For my 6 year old, it was all about art.  Cate chose only one class with her clarinet this year and spent the rest of her time studying acrobatics, stage management, lighting, and Flash Mob technique.  Anyone with any interest in the arts can have a full schedule of classes with or without any major musical background.

I thought about trying a dance class next time...until I saw Miriam execute this move on stage...


Yeah, I think I'll leave it to her.

Next time, though, I'll get over myself and be in the flash mob.


We'll see if Wal Mart lets us back in.

Q.  Isn't MAT Camp just for kids?
A. Not at all.  Adults are welcome in most classes.  According to the website, students ages 2-102 are welcome to enroll.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they won't actually turn away anyone over 102, so get Great Grandma Juniper's bags packed and sign her up for Stage Combat class.  It'll keep her limber. She'll thank you for it!


Q.  Just how professional are those teachers?
A.  The MAT Camp teachers are so professional, they get paid to teach! But seriously, folks, these are incredibly talented people who intimidated the snot out of me on day one and had me doing things I never thought I'd be capable of by day 5.

Case in point: Vocal Jazz.  I don't like to sing on stage by myself.  Ever.  And by the end of the week, my teacher, Mr. Mike "I Play the Saxophone Like a Madman Because I'm Awesome Like That" Giles not only had me on a stage, singing alone, but singing scat and improv (YouTube video to follow).  The following picture sums up my feelings on the matter.


The teachers are pretty good with the visual aids, too.  My Chamber Choir teacher taught us to sing from our foreheads instead of our mouths in order to get the best quality tone and allow our voices to carry.


Okay, so maybe this illustration traumatized half the students in the choir.  The concept was sound.

Q. How much does it cost?
A.  Up to 4 classes a day: $75; 5 or more classes a day: $150.  There are opportunities for work study, financial aid, and scholarships, so your camp fee can be significantly cheaper than that.  For instance, I attended all of my classes this year for free AND we got a small break on the kids' tuition because I taught a class on blogging.  Thank you, my need to make everyone in the world read everything I write.  

Q.  What if I have other plans that week?
A. Change them.  Unless your plans include an extensive hospital stay for a heart transplant, and even then, I think you could work around it, you should make MAT Camp a priority.  It's that good.  Besides, I'm sure the Evanston Fire Department has defibrillators.

Q.  Will you be there next year?  I've always wanted to hang out with you.
A.  Heck, yeah!  If you come to MAT Camp, I will personally hang out with you between classes every day of the week.  If they do a flash mob, I will request to be in your group and will sing and dance by your side...unless you sing better than I do, in which case I will sing a few people away in order to appear more talented than I am.  Basically, if you come to MAT Camp, I'll be your best friend.  With sugar on top.  And then we'll go on a nice walk to work it off.

Don't believe me?  Check out this year's Sarah Clark BFF:


That could totally be you.

Q. How will I remember to register when camp is a whole year away?
A.  Oh, you know I'm going to repost this sucker when registration time rolls around.  Your job now is to save your pennies and your vacation time.  Leave the reminding to me.

Q.  Did you miss me while you were at camp and I wasn't there?
A. Terribly.  I don't know how you could have done that to me.  It was really hard to be there without you, and I feel the only way you can make it right is to come next year.  So do it.

Q.  Are you just going to keep writing FAQs until I agree to come?
A.  You know me so well...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Mom, today I learned that the kids do NOT like leaving camp for a non-camp jazz band concert.


Until they realize there will be floats.


And face painting.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stupid Product: Happy Hot Dog Man

Is your lunch boring? You must be eating hot dogs! Do you know how to make hot dogs less boring? Replace them with actual food!

What? There's a new product that allows you to have "fun" with hot dogs and avoid eating anything with nutrients? I must see this amazing invention!

Aha. Ahahaha...ohohoho...ahem. Pardon me.

I have a few problems with this contraption?  Would you like to hear them?  I knew you would. 

* The meat. Making a hot dog look like a person does not change the fact that it's a hot dog. It's as American as cancer and obesity.

*  Cannibalism.  I'm not keen to start my kids on the path.  I just don't think I could look down into that punched out face and say, "Sorry, happy little processed meat man. My children are going to eat your flesh now."  Hmmm...maybe if we served him with fava beans and a nice chianti?  No, still not okay.

*  The product.  Okay, I guess that goes without saying, considering this is a Stupid Product post.  But seriously, you couldn't do that yourself with a knife?  You need a piece of plastic to make a little man out of your hot dog?  I know there are artistically challenged people out there who crave any little helpful product to help them in their creative endeavors.  I'm one of those people.  However, I refer you to my first point.

* The special offer.  WHY would anyone need FOUR of these things?  I don't even need one of them.  What in the world would I do with four?  I mean, I know I have five kids, but this product takes exactly 1.5 seconds to use.  I'm not that pressed for time.  If I wanted to use it (, I could certainly manage to manify 5 hot dogs with one Happy Hot Dog Man.  At least the Hug E Gram gives you an ugly bouquet of wooden roses for your trouble.

*  The gifts.  When I want my mustard to come out of a monster's head like a steady stream of yellow snot, I'll let you know.  Until then, yuck.  And ew.  And don't.

*  "Make your dinner a wiener."  You. Did. Not.

If you think this should have made awesome product status, then please, for the love of blog, don't invite me over to eat.  I'm too obnoxious for your kitchen.  I promise you that.  If you're with me on this one, you have a standing invitation for some soy burgers and brown rice at my house.

If you want me to make your burger look happy, I'll see if we have some fava beans.

(Thanks to Corey O of Payson,, UT, for the heads up on today's stupid product.  Corey is allowed over at my house for soy burgers any time she wants!)


Mom, today I learned that this will always make my heart pound.  Always.  (Think that's why he insisted on getting us here?)


I learned that glow in the dark bead projects can be a walking hazard.


And post lunch naps require a hallway far from jazz band practice.


I learned a sad, sad truth about this little Wyoming town.


And found sad, sad evidence of it.  Just say no, Wyoming.  Just say no.