Monday, March 28, 2011

They can be herded too.


Mom, today I learned that cats CAN be effectively barricaded out of a room.

Friday, March 25, 2011



Mom, today I learned that this is the best thing to happen to me, ever.

(Author's note: After two days of struggle with a drum sander, Sunbelt Rentals graciously switched it for this beautiful, beautiful machine. Look at that floor!  Floor, you will be stained tonight!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I must say...I rock this look.

Sprint PictureMail

Mom, today I learned that one should never attempt to refinish a wood floor without the proper protective gear. My Weird Al t-shirt is sure to keep me safe.

Friday, March 18, 2011

So, I've lost 15 pounds since I started all of this, and I am the first person to admit that I couldn't have done it without the support of some pretty cool friends. I am a firm believer that no one should ever attempt to lose weight without at least three friends who want to lose weight at the same time.  Having weight loss buddies is important for three reasons:

1) You have to be accountable to them, so you're not as likely to mess up.
2) You can encourage each other when workouts get boring and diets get tough.
3) You will have someone to talk to when all your other friends decide you're completely obnoxious.

We can't help but be obnoxious, you know.  It's part of the deal.  It comes from all the reading we're doing and all the triumphs we're having and all the extra energy that we have from not gorging on carbs and fat all day.  You start eating right, exercising, and shedding pounds, and you go into "Save the World" mode.  You're like a newly initiated member of a fabulous club (cult) and you can't think of anything better to do than to attempt to convert (brainwash) all your friends.  People get sick of that really quickly.

15 pounds into my weight loss journey, and I've officially become obnoxious.  Some friends and family would tell you I've been obnoxious my whole life.  These people have MS degrees in Stuffy from the University of Killjoy, so I'm not entirely sure you should take their words for it.  What you should believe is that I, Sarah Clark, am now, currently, at this time, very much obnoxious...right now.

Basically, if you're not currently trying to lose weight or if you're not completely enthralled by my exploits in the weight loss realm, I probably don't have anything interesting to say to you.  These days, I talk a lot about high fructose corn syrup, good carbs vs bad carbs, how many miles I've walked in the past three days, and what I'm going to do when I make it to the other side of 200 for the first time in 9 years.  (I'm going to buy an outfit completely inappropriate to my weight because, in my excitement over my weight loss, I will have forgotten that 199 is not 119.)

Having friends who are in the obnoxious phase with me ensures that I will always have an eager ear to listen to me rant about the dangers inherent in packaged food.  Being obnoxious myself means I am more than willing to listen to their many and various odes to circuit training and ankle weights.  It's a beautiful thing.

In order to make sure I had a good number of friends willing to whittle down their weights along with me, I suggested a 3 month round of "Biggest Loser" on the MOFia message board that is my daily haven from actually getting any work done.  Quite a few ladies jumped at the chance to join, so we all hang out on the "Healthy Moms" board, dishing about our triumphs and our defeats and giving each other encouragement along the way.

By encouragement, I mean that we trash talk each other about the money we're going to win and offer to send each other brownies in the mail when one or more of us loses more weight than everyone else.  One particular friend dropped nine pounds in the first week of the competition, blowing everyone out of contention for the first month's $100 prize.  There's a plainly wrapped package of chocolate chip croissants on the way to her house as I write this. 

I personally vowed at the beginning of month two that I would win the month's prize and that I had even put the money in my budget.  I was doing great until Cate's birthday party Saturday.  I'd lost five pounds in the first two weeks.  This morning at weigh in, I'd gained back two of those.  I'll either have to exercise two hours a day or cut my calories in half to win the money by the final weigh in.  Since I'm not willing to do either of those things, I'll probably just sneak in and change the spreadsheet in the middle of the night while Richard's sleeping.  I'm consoling myself with the fact that one of the participants had to drop out due to an unexpected pregnancy, so the prize isn't going to be as high, anyway.  (I also console myself with the fact that she was one of the frontrunners.  Yay for babies!)

To my fellow MOFia losers, thanks for putting up with my obnoxiousness and for sharing yours with me.  Tonight's rant will involve fast food marketing, and I'll probably tell you all how I'm going to wipe the floor with you by next Tuesday.  If I manage more than 3 miles on the treadmill, you WILL be hearing about it.

To my readers, obnoxious or not, I think you should be doing this with me.  Let's be friends.  Tell me your weight loss goals and keep me apprised of your successes.

(Then give me your address so I know where to send the chocolate chip croissants.)

Elementary, my dear Clark!


Mom, today I learned that these pancakes are just a photoshopped version...


of these pancakes.


I also learned that despite our amazing photo detective work, we were not eligible for a free dinner at Denny's.  We did however, earn a strange look from our server.

(Author's note: While you may think you've done some photo detective work of your own and have determined that the above picture has been reversed, the words on Richard's shirt are actually printed backwards.  No free dinner for you!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Isn't it romantic?


Mom, today I learned that my niece, Camille, has a potential prom date waiting for her response in Riverton. Someone should tell him she's married...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stupid Product: Bumpits

Today's Stupid Product has been on the Stupid Product waiting list for as long as there have been Stupid Products on this blog.  I've waited this long to profile it because it's always felt a bit on the easy side.  I mean, with an infomercial like the one below, do I really even have to say anything?

In the interest of not alienating a good portion of my readers who actually want their hair to look like this, I will pose this Stupid Product post as a question.

Why?  I say this with love and sincerity in my heart for my bumpy haired fans.  Why?  Why do you want your hair to look like that?  Why would you buy a product that makes you look like you're part 50s housewife and part alien?  What am I missing with my bump free head?  Was I born without a bump gene?  Am I less of a woman because I wouldn't ever want to do this to my hair?

Maybe because I have naturally curly hair that is already overflowing with volume on most days, I don't understand the plight of my flat haired sisters.  I don't love my hair on a flat hair day, so I can see where you're coming from.  But it seems to me, and I'm speaking from my heart here (and my horror), that the bump solution is taking things a bit far in the other direction.  It's like curing the plague by cutting off the infected person's head.  I mean, the plague is gone, but...

Okay, I think I've figured out my problem with bumpy hair.  It comes from spending 12 years of my adulthood in Southern Utah and seeing various bumpy heads shopping at Wal Mart in groups and eating at Chuck-a-Rama in crowds.  My former St. George Spectrum readers have already caught on.  When I see a bumped hairstyle, I can't help but see this:

Yes, living 30 minutes away from the polygamist enclaves of Colorado City and Hildale turned me off of bumped hair for life.  The fact that polygamist men liked to troll the dance floor at single adult dances, hoping to convert new blood into their inbred gene pool, probably had a hand in it as well.  There was no way I was going to any social gathering looking like I was ready to don a "Little House on the Prairie" dress and take on a few sister wives. I'm a one man woman married to a one woman man, and I like to think my hair reflects that.

Speaking of men, I polled quite a few for their reaction to the Bumpits look.  Their feelings were similar to mine, only instead of saying "Why?" they were more likely to say, "Ahhhh!"  and "Yikes!"  and "Ummmmmmm..."  Basically, if you're doing this to impress a man, you're much more likely to scare the snot out of him.  I guess if you're dating a particularly snotty guy, this would be a good thing.  For normal men, not so much.

Despite everything I've said, there are probably many of you who are happy with your bumpy dos and have dismissed everything I've said because you realize I don't know a thing about style.  That's okay.  I maintain that the product is still a stupid one.  According to a good friend of mine who tried Bumpits, the contraption was always visible through her hair, no matter what she did to hide it.  So, there you go.  Even when you want to make your hair look like that, it doesn't work.

Someone should really ask the polygamists what their secret is.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I don't like Miley Cyrus. There. I said it. I don't give a flying hairball what pictures she sent to which Jonas brother or what she did with a pole at whatever awards show. I just think her voice is as annoying as her alleged acting ability.


Do you know what I like even less? The television channel that spawned her. The Disney Channel, with the exception of Mssrs. Phineas and Ferb, who are hilarious despite their surroundings and who are available via the library, is not to found in my home. Even if I gave up my TV free life, I would beat the living snot out of my TV before subscribing to that channel.

Why? Because the live action shows are full of tween/teen overactors who make me want to gouge my eyeballs out with a rusty nail. The sad thing is that these same actors often prove to be completely capable of believable acting when paired with directors who don't hate parents. Case in point: Brenda Song. She has played THE most annoying character in the history of Disney on the "Suite Life" shows, yet her turn as a Facebook founder's girlfriend in The Social Network was enjoyable and real.

How do I know so much about actors on a network I despise? Because in the emergency room of our local children's hospital and in the waiting room of my nearest Instacare, the Disney Channel is on all day long.

"That's a pretty scary asthma attack your daughter seems to be having. Let's get some steroids on board and hook her on up to a nebulizer. Also, we'd like to suck some of your life force out of you and give it her. Why don't you watch a little 'Suite Life' for four hours? That'll surely do the trick."

Insult, meet injury.

To her enormous credit, Miley Cyrus appeared on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live and poked fun at her Disney training, managing to use what she learned there to make me laugh.  For the record, I'm giving the actual credit for my laughter to the folks at SNL, but I'm willing to say that while Cyrus is annoying, she's has earned a small amount of my grudging respect.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Non Outrageous News: Help for Japan

Hello, readers.  There is sure to be something funny in the news today, but I think our friends in Japan are more important than that.  So, if you'll allow me, I'd just like to take a moment to encourage all of you to give what you can to help in the relief efforts there.  If you have a little money you can spare, and I do believe all of us do, there are several reputable organizations that can direct your funds to the places where they are most needed. is running a piece by writer Megan Gibson on what you can do to help the people of Japan, complete with direct links to these charities.  The video below lists many of those organizations, along with others.  CBS has a news piece up on YouTube on how to avoid charity scams as you try to help.

That's all I have today.  Let's do some good.

Wolf, it's what's for dinner.


Mom, today I learned that the anti-bacon agenda has made it into our children's books.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Every now and then, I like to check out the new Facebook fans of The Mother Load.  Facebook is kind enough to show me a running list.  It's one of my page Admin super powers.  Sometimes, I click through to the profiles of my fans, check out their other interests, maybe look at a photo or know, general stalking.  You guys?  You are one good looking group of people, I must say.

Today, as I was perusing the latest batch of fans, I was surprised and delighted to see my nephew, Ryan, just back from a two year mission for our church, had decided to "like" The Mother Load.  I broke into a wide smile and thought, Aw! Ryan's a fan. How nice!

This was short lived.  My feelings of delight quickly gave way to suspicion as I saw this gesture for what it was: a blatant and completely shameless attempt to buy my forgiveness.  Realizing this, I got his new cell number from his mom, called him up, and told him that he was NOT forgiven.  (I may or may not have also asked his permission to write this blog post and to steal a picture or two from his Facebook page.  His quick and good-natured approval, while kind of him, did nothing to make a dent in the grudge I'm holding.)

See, Ryan was two years old when I met him, a bright and smiley kid who tiptoed everywhere he went and never forgot to ask God to "Please bless Barney and Friends" in his nightly prayers.  I was 15, the new girl in town, and his mom was one of the leaders in my youth group at church.  We realized we lived in the same neighborhood, and I was quickly integrated into the family as a babysitter/mother's helper/semi-permanent fixture.

Ryan wasn't a very hard kid to watch.  He was, it must be said, just a little bit on the weird side, but he was towheaded, rosy cheeked, and funny, often entertaining me with acrobatics and made up songs.  To be honest, he bore an uncanny resemblance to "Stuart" from Mad TV.

In case you, like Ryan, have no idea who Stuart is, I'm posting the video below.  This.was.Ryan.

Yes, this is the boy I will never forgive.  What could someone so innocent and cute, albeit a bit dorky, do to incur my lifelong wrath?

This is Ryan today:


Just look at him!  Blond hair? GONE!  Rosy cheeks? GONE!  Attention seeking acrobatics? Nowhere to be found! He's not even STANDING ON HIS TOES!

In willful disregard of an edict I gave the boy when he was 9, and I realized that he was nearly as tall as I was, Ryan has grown up.  I was very clear with him back in 1999 that he was getting too big and too old.  I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not allowed to grow up and that he'd better stop doing it RIGHT NOW.

Kids today.  They never listen.

The next time I saw Ryan, he was 17 and had facial hair and a girlfriend.  When I grilled him about his decision to grow up despite my instructions, he just laughed like he was in on some silly joke.  I was not amused.

Realizing he must have decided that a former babysitter doesn't really have any authority over him, I did what any self respecting woman in my position would have done.

I married his uncle.


Surely, now that I was his aunt, I would have some say over whether or not he continued his relentless advance into adulthood.



Not cool, Ryan.


Thin ice, buddy.  Really thin ice.


Ryan Christopher McLean, I am your aunt now, and you are in big trouble, young man. BIG trouble!

When I told Ryan about my idea for this column, he did what he always does when crazy Aunt Sarah talks.  He chuckled conspiratorially, certain that my antics were all in good fun, feigning complete ignorance of how his actions have affected the woman who used to slave over his macaroni and cheese while his parents were out on the town. 

Well, Ryan, I think I should let you in on why I've resisted your aging process for so long.  It's simple, really.  If you're getting older, then I must be getting older, and I am most certainly not getting older, so you have either sold your soul to a voodoo witch or broken the space/time continuum.  Neither of these things are acceptable behavior, sir.

For instance, you are now 21 years old.  If this is to be believed, then I must be 34.  I'm sorry, Ryan, but that simply isn't possible.  34 year olds are only one year away from middle age, according to a news report I heard on the radio the other day.  Do I look middle aged to you?  (Note: The correct response is "No, Aunt Sarah. You don't look a day over 25!")

34 year olds are only one year away from marketing oblivion.  Do you realize that once a person leaves the coveted 18-34 year old age bracket, they become invisible to advertisers of anything other than denture cream and Viagra? Is this the life you want for your aunt, Ryan?  Is this the future to which you're willing to sentence me, the girl who pushed you on the swings and read you bedtime stories and fed you pork and beans and hot dogs?  Are you really that cruel, Ryan?

A quick look at Ryan's Facebook page tells me that he's busy at work on a scholarship application, has a number of female admirers who are excited that he's home, and he's planning to invent a "fuel-less, self-sustaining, electro-magnetic jet-pack for astronauts to use in space."  Apparently, he is that cruel.

New plan of attack: Get his younger sister to stop growing up.  After all, I met her the day after she was born, and she still remembers when she used to call me "Reerah."  I've probably got a bit more sway with her.  Certainly, Jennifer won't let me down!  I think I'll take a gander at her Facebook page.  Looks like she and my other niece, Janelle, are discussing plans for college.

Dang it.

AND etc!


Mom, today I learned that I can go to Wal Mart to cah my checks. It's like a genie appeared and granted my dearest wih!

Stupid Product: The Slobstopper

As I write today's Stupid Product post, I'm happily wearing a cream colored shirt I found at a local thrift store for just a couple of bucks. I only buy light colored shirts at thrift stores, because I have a propensity toward spills, and if I'm going to ruin a shirt, I feel better if it didn't cost me $30.

My ex-husband used to say he was going to buy me a bib, and for good reason. In ten years of marriage, he never made good on that threat, probably because he knew I'd never wear it anyway. I may be prone to food related accidents, but I will never, ever wear a bib. My reasons boil down to simple logic.

Premise: Bibs look stupid on anyone who is not a baby.
Premise: I am not a baby.
Conclusion: I will look stupid if I wear a bib.

I don't like looking stupid, so there you go.  I buy my shirts at thrift store and buy my pre-treater by the gallon at wholesale clubs, instead. I think most people are with me here. Unfortunately, that didn't stop the makers of the Slobstopper from creating this.

You know what I love about these commercials? The "Has this ever happened to you?" disasters and calamities. I'm sure there is someone on the face of this earth who has dumped an entire cup of coffee on his shirt in this way. I'm just not sure it happens very often...certainly not often enough for the commercial announcer to ask in such a conspiratorial tone.  Just once, I'd like one of these commercials to show something annoying but fairly normal happening.  A bit of chili dog sauce on the collar...maybe a drop of mustard on a tie.

Also, can someone tell me what an "unplanned accident" is?  Does this imply that there are planned accidents?  If you plan an accident, do you need a Slobstopper, or is it only supposed to be used for those accidents that occur without warning or foresight and are, uh, accidental?

And then there's the requisite "hot chick" who walks by as our protagonist douses himself with coffee.  She shakes her head in disdain at this sad sack with a drinking problem, but when he drapes himself in a big, blue bib, she smiles like she's just found Prince Charming.  This is not real life, Slobstopper.  In real life, if a girl saw a grown man completely incapable of drinking an ordinary cup of coffee without a man-tarp, she'd question the authorities that allowed him a driver's license.

A quick check of the Slobstopper website tells me this adult bib sells for about $15, with another $6 tacked on for shipping. That's $21 so you can look stupid in the comfort of your own car.  Considering all the hot chicks you won't have to take out to dinner, I guess you can say it pays for itself.

The website purports to have a blog attached to it, but there's not much to find there.  There's a little one line post excitedly saying the product might make it onto the Ellen show.  Considering Ellen gives these types of products the same treatment I do, it's safe to say these people have never watched her show.  I guess no publicity is bad publicity?

There's a testimonial page set up.  It's completely empty, but it's there.  I suspect no one has submitted a testimonial because infants and toddlers can't read or write, and adults using this product probably don't want to be identified.  Keep trying, though, Slobstopper.  Maybe you should get that guy with the coffee to write one.  It really worked for him!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Awesome Product: The KidDictionary

You know that thing your kid does?  That thing that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever?  That thing that YOU certainly never did when YOU were a kid?  Ever wish you could find a way to laugh at it?  Parents, you're in luck! Today's Awesome Product, The KidDictionary, will not only give you the means to laugh (hysterically) at the strange and sometimes irritating foibles of your children, it will also give you the words to describe them.

You can see what I'm talking about below.

People, I am buying both versions of this book, and author and self described "lexiconnoisseur," Eric Ruhalter, doesn't even have to be my best friend. All he had to do was make me laugh with his made up words. And oh, did he make me laugh.  ( make up a word as delectable as lexiconnoisseur, and I will be YOUR best friend.)

A few other gems from the book:

  • UPPTITUDE (UPP tih-tewd)  n : The intense desire to be the one who presses the button in an elevator. 
  • DOMESTIC VIOLATION (doh-MESS-tik  VY-o-lay-shun) v :The potentially lethal mistake of referring to a stay-at-home mom as someone who “does not work.” 
  • DETASTE  (dee-TAYST)  v :  To harbor a deep hatred and disgust for a food you have never tried. 
  • TOYPHOON (toy-FOON) n : Routine recreational activities of children that leave their playroom looking like it was decimated by a hurricane. 
  • GARBOFLAGE  (GAHR-boh-flaj) v : To hide a piece of your child’s artwork under other trash in the wastebasket so they don’t catch you throwing it away. 
  • WISHJACK  (WISH-jak) v:  To blow out the candles on another child's birthday cake
You've used the garboflage trick a time or two, haven't you?  I remember distinctly the day my sister in law forgot to garboflage the massive amounts of loose paper drawings she had cleaned from my nephew Ryan's desk and discarded in the outside garbage bin.  The look of absolute devastation on this five year old's face was never to be forgotten.  This book could have saved the kid some trauma.  (More on Ryan in an all new Mother Load column out later today!)

If you are a parent, if you have a parent, or if you know a parent, you need to buy this book.  Someone's having a birthday today (just check Facebook!).  Mother's Day is in the near future.  Father's Day will quickly follow.  And while I think it's always too early for stores to put out their Christmas decorations, I think it's never too early to think of your Christmas shopping, especially when you find a product as awesome as this one.

The fact that Eric Ruhalter will be your best friend if you buy it is just the icing on the wishjacked cake.

(Thanks to Eric R. of NJ for the heads up on today's Awesome Product.  Eric wisely used the my submissions email address to let me know he had a product that needed to be seen here.  That takes gumption, people, and I'm all about rewarding gumption.  It helped that his email made me laugh like an unhinged diva on her way to a padded room.  If you have an Awesome Product you think needs to be profiled here, by all means, email me and let me know about it!)


Mom, today I learned that people who don't understand when to use an adverb should not be allowed to write an "IQ quiz." Whether or not people who misspell a quasi-celebrity's name are still allowed to make fun of her is a matter of debate.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I feel like I've come full circle with today's Stupid Product.  In many ways, it reminds me of the Placenta Teddy Bear, the first Stupid Product I ever reviewed on this blog.  Like that Frankenstein-esque product, the Tooth Fairy Keepsake Box is an example of parental devotion gone wrong.  It's a sweet little box in which parents can save each precious baby tooth their child loses, glued into place on a mock something you might see at a shark exhibit, only less pointy.

Parents, you don't have to keep everything your child ever did, ever.  Little Timmy had his appendix out when he was ten?  Let the doctor put it in a biohazard bag and be done with it.  Jenny needed her tonsils removed for sleep apnea?  No need to immortalize them in a jar of formaldehyde.  She's better off without them.  Austin lost a finger in an unfortunate firework accident?  I can assure you an urn with the ashes on his bedside table will only creep him out. 

I know what you're thinking.  Teeth are not placentas or fingers or tonsils.  Parents all over the country sneak into their kids' bedrooms late at night, money in hand, and pluck lost teeth from under pillows like clandestine, body part treasure hunters.  If we're willing to handle the teeth while we're on Tooth Fairy duty, why not put them in a little box and preserve them?

Well, for one thing, and this cannot be overstated, it's yucky.  If presented with a full set of my baby teeth glued into place on a  "mock mouth," I would not giggle delightedly and hold the box to my heart like a long lost friend.  I would very likely yelp in horror and drop the teeth on the floor.  Because, ew. Also? Bluch. Furthermore, what the heck? 

Of course, aside from the yuck factor, there's the problem of long term viability of such a keepsake.  Mother Load reader Kami J. of Idaho Falls, ID, tells me that when she was presented with all of her saved baby teeth as an adult, they immediately turned to powder after being shaken in their container.  Without some process of accelerated fossilization, those choppers aren't going to last.  And I don't know about you, but powdered teeth seem even more yucky to me than intact ones.

Finally, there are the hazards facing any collector.  Will you manage to find all the teeth?  Will you remember to play Tooth Fairy before each little nub disappears.  (The Tooth Fairy at my house, for instance, has resorted to just taking their word for it, because she just doesn't carry cash that often.)  What will you do if your child accidentally swallows a tooth.  Wait...wait.  Don't answer that.  I really, REALLY don't want to know.

The one thing this product has going for it is the price.  It's under $10, so if you're a parent who feels the need to hang onto every last tooth that falls out of your child's head, at least you won't have to fork over too much money for the opportunity to gross out your offspring with cataloged tooth powder when they're grown.  When your children look at you in disgust and say, "Why would you do this?" you will at least have gotten a good deal.

Remember that when your kids present you with a full set of your bronzed colon polyps on your birthday.

(Thanks to Taffi "Yes, that's my real name" P. of Caldwell, ID, for today's Stupid Product idea.  It's amazing to me that someone with a name as sweet as Taffi could cause me to vomit so spectacularly.)


Mom, today I learned that I can add IHOP to the list of companies who misuse "everyday."


At least they're consistent.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The vast majority of my readers were not my readers back in January 2010, when Richard and I traveled to Denver, CO, to attend Dani Johnson's First Steps to Success Seminar. You weren't my readers when I profiled her War on Debt program as an Awesome Product on this blog.  You weren't my readers when I took the steps to change my life for the better by plugging into what she taught us.

You're my readers now because of her.  You found The Mother Load because of what I learned from Dani Johnson at that seminar.  Before attending that seminar, I was a former newspaper columnist and a reluctant blogger who hoped maybe someday, somehow, people would find my writing and enjoy it.  When I left, I was a professional blogger ready and able to take the blogging world by storm.  All of you are evidence that it's working. It's happening.  I'm doing it!

When I learned, via Dani's Facebook fan page, that she would be appearing on a new show called "Secret Millionaire", I had one of those very rare moments when I wished we were a TV watching family. Fortunately for me, the full Secret Millionaire episode featuring Dani Johnson is available on her site, so we will be sitting down as a family this week to watch it.

If you didn't have a chance to see the show, you can check out Dani's appearance on "The View" below.  You can find a link to her fan page on my own Facebook fan page.

I saw someone on Facebook comment that without the cameras on them, the millionaires on this show might not be as willing to part with their money. I can't speak for anyone else lined up for this season, but I can say with a surety that Dani Johnson didn't need a reality show and publicity to give away her money.  She does it all the time.  Long before the cameras were on her, I sat in a convention center and listened to her share her incredibly passionate belief that if you aren't willing to give, you don't deserve to gain.  I walked away with a renewed commitment to give now, whatever I can, and to seek for more only with the intention to give more.

This woman has my respect and my admiration, and most of all, she has my gratitude for the impact she's had on my life.  I'm excited that her voice is being heard by even more people, and her message of generosity is being spread through this show.

The magical land of YouTube is already heavily populated with videos of cute and precocious kids singing songs on camera, but I don't think there's a child cuter or more precocious than little Rowan singing this song.  Not until I get my kids on there.

"Kids! Practice! Chop chop!"

I will say I think the song's a bit on the grown up side for her, but it's more harmless than other videos I've seen. And had she chosen a different song, we wouldn't get to see her make THE most adorable face on the planet every time she sings the "Ooohs."

Watch this, and your heart will melt like a popsicle in Southern Utah in July...or June...or October.

I concur.


Mom, today I learned that Michael's phonetic spelling ability is coming along nicely...and that he thinks Richard is awesome.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sarah's pants are falling down!
Falling down!
Falling down!
Sarah's pants are falling down!
And yet, she still wears them!

I've reached that uncomfortable point in my weight loss journey.  You know the one.  I'm "between sizes."  The pants that used to be snug despite being a larger size than any I've ever worn are now inching their way down my hips every time I move.  They're baggy and bulky and are doing nothing for my slowly slimming figure. 

So, why am I still wearing them?  Because the next size down is too small.  The baggy size is where I've been.  The too-tight size is where I'm going (for a little while), but there is no size in the world that will fit where I am.  I am woman without a size, and this is where I sometimes give up.

I should clarify that I can put on the smaller size and even zip them up.  It's just that when I do that, I end up with an unfortunate case of "muffin top."  This is not the yummy muffin top spoken of on Seinfeld.  We're talking about the flabby/poofy hangover of gut seen so often in unfortunately dressed teen girls.

Not willing to look like a 16 year old in a pair of skinny jeans that are anything but flattering to her body, I choose to wear the baggy pants instead. I'd rather constantly pull up my clothes than walk around looking like I'm heading to a water slide and put my inner tube underneath my shirt for convenience.

The problem with being between sizes is that it's very hard to feel good in your clothes.  When you don't feel good in your clothes, you start to think, Well, I used to be fatter, but at least my clothes fit.  Suddenly, a pizza or a big plate of spaghetti start sounding really good.  Well, they always sound good.  The thought of actually consuming them is what gets more attractive.

If I give up now, I can eat what I want AND my clothes will fit!  Hello, no brainer!

So, what am I doing to avoid giving up while I'm here in the in-between?  I'm giving it some thought.  One thing I'm realizing is that while cardio work is shrinking me down overall, a bit of spot work on my core would go a long way toward getting me into the smaller pants.  But that would involve sit-ups and crunches, and I guess I wasn't aware that people actually do those willingly.

I kid.  I actually love pilates and would probably see a benefit in many aspects of my life if I started doing them again.  It's just never fun to start doing pilates again after a long break.  You hear the video host say, "And now it's time for the hundred!" and you say, "You meant the twenty, right?"  You get through as much of it as you can, flapping your arms indiscriminately and feeling like your abs will spontaneously combust after about 15 seconds.  All the while, skinny/peppy pilates host is smiling away, her face the picture of serenity as if she's doing nothing more than drinking lemonade on a summer evening. 

When I get to my breaking point, much sooner than I hope, I lie on the floor, defeated, and I make snide comments about her hair or her outfit until she decides she's done.  Then we move on to the next round of exercise torture and repeat the process.

But that's just what it's like when I start core work after a break.  Pretty soon, I'm able to pop in the DVD and float down into position, all my muscles working in concert, the picture of athletic grace, if not as thin as the woman on the TV.  When she asks me if I feel good at the end of my workout, I put on my best look of lemonade serenity and say, "Yes! I did!"  When she tells me to "reward" myself with a big glass of water, I roll my eyes and remind her I'm not doing this for water.

I'm doing it for the jeans.

So, I have this daughter.  She's 12. She's usually a sweetie.  Very responsible most of the time.  Lost two pairs of glasses in the last 6 months.  We took her a week ago to replace her glasses and shelled out $150 for a pair and a spare.  They came in Friday...we picked them up Saturday...she found her lost pair within hours of returning home.

My response to this was to sigh and be glad she has glasses again.  Her prescription had changed anyway, so the new glasses were needed.  We can find a charity for the old pair and send them to a third world country, and she can learn a lesson in giving.  For some other lost item, I might have made her help with the cost, but glasses are in a different category.  Richard and I are on the hook for medical needs like that.  And really, the opportunity to raise this child more than makes up for any expense we just incurred.  She's definitely worth it.

Or is she?

According to a recent report published on, a study found that parents who were given information on the costs of raising children exaggerated how happy they were to be parents. See, back in the old days, children were very valuable because they could work the family farm and help raise the family income.  Since the economy shifted away from enforced child servitude, well, kids just aren't that valuable to parents, so parents pretend the emotional rewards are greater than they are in order to avoid realizing what a huge (HUGE) mistake they made in having them in the first place.  I mean, if it weren't for their kids, all these parents would be living in the lap of luxury without a care in the world.

That's right...because we parents have nothing better to do than sit around and tabulate costs vs benefits all day in an attempt to know whether or not we made the right choice in having kids.  I know I turn in a parenting profit and loss statement every year with my taxes.  The cost of those glasses is going to keep Miriam in the red for a long time unless she learns how to earn a wage really soon.  The government is also very interested in whether or not Miriam's skill at the flute is keeping pace with the money we spent buying her the instrument.  Don't even get me started about the clothes she wears or the food she eats when she doesn't even have a factory job and a nice case of rickets to show for it!

Can you even imagine?  No. Because you're a parent who loves your kids and you don't think that way.  You don't see your kids as an investment to which you expect an equivalent return.  You see them as a responsibility and a privilege, a job you are willing to do without thought to what you will get out of it. And in doing that, you step outside yourselves and find joy.  And if some researcher presents you with data and you try to convince them of feelings they won't understand unless they've experienced them themselves, they'll smile a sad smile and nod at your pathetic attempts to convince them of your happiness despite their "evidence" that parenting costs too much for that kind of thing.

As someone who works in an active research lab at the University of Utah, I have some training in reading studies and finding their flaws.  It would be great to get my hands on the actual data and check out the validity of the study.  How are they defining costs?  How are they defining benefits?  Do their methods in fact measure what they purport to measure?  But I don't have time for that.  As a happy mom, I obviously spend an incredible amount of each day deluding myself about the joys of parenting.

What I love about articles like this one is the fact that these researchers and the writers who report on them seem to think that telling parents that parenting is hard and expensive is some kind of shocking exposé.  As a mom of 14 years, I am here to say definitively that we parents are very aware of the fact that being parents is sometimes difficult and costs a lot of money.  No, really.  It's okay.  No need to free us from the cloud of parental optimism.

You know what else is hard and costs of a lot of money?  Marriage.  Having a job (when compared to living off the state, which is a viable option for many people).  Paying taxes in order to live in a society with appropriate public services and infrastructure.  Working toward a goal.  Getting ready for a vacation.  Pets.  Hobbies.  Going to the movies.  Having much needed surgery. 

Wait a minute!  All of those things are worthwhile if done right!  Are you telling me that anything worthwhile takes work, sacrifice, and the occasional heartache?!  And people STILL CHOOSE TO DO THOSE THINGS?!

Those poor, deluded people.  Where is science when you need them?

For your viewing pleasure: The little money-grubber herself.



Mom, today I learned that while Miriam's new glasses cost us a bit of money, it could have been so much worse.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's a common mistake. Right? RIGHT?


Mom, today I learned that Richard has ruined me.  My first thought upon seeing this was, "My doctor's office subscribes to the ThinkGeek catalog? AWESOME!"



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awesome Product: "Gridiron Gang"

Today's Awesome Product is a little bit of a departure for me because it's not something I think you have to go out and buy right now...or ever.  It's a movie, a first for this feature of The Mother Load, but that makes it no less awesome, at least in my mind.  (And you're here because of my mind, right?)

I think Monday had something to do with all of this.  That was the day I learned a certain state senator who will not be named in this post called the degree I'm pursuing a degree to nowhere. Yes, I'm still going on about that. Being a psych major does not necessarily make me adept at getting over just gives me license to tell other people to get over things. This is the way of the world. Get over it. (You see?)

So, still smarting a bit over the uninformed words of the senator about what I want to do in life, I strapped my laptop to my treadmill (yes, I'm still doing that) and watched a movie about what I want to do in life while I worked out.

You want to coach football to teenage criminals and call yourself The Rock?

Well, okay. The movie isn't exactly what I want to do, but it's close.  With 6 years of experience working with kids just like the ones in this movie, kids affected by abuse, gangs, drugs, poverty, and other ills many in society want to pretend don't exist, I'm back in school for one reason: to better help them.

 The distinguished gentleman from Draper, UT, has said I'm earning a degree to nowhere, and you know...maybe he's more right than he realizes.  The kids I aim to help are on a path to nowhere, and maybe I have to head down that path in order to meet them where they are and help them turn around and find the right way.

 "Gridiron Gang" is formulaic and a little schmaltzy at times.  That's okay.  It's also pretty real.  Having worked with teens in various lockdown programs, I can say the movie gets it right, from the battlefield of the streets they come from to the obstacles facing staff to the triumphs that can and do happen every day.

A note of caution: The language in the movie is pretty realistic, so don't go in to the experience expecting a Disney family feature.  Had the director really portrayed how these kids talk when they're angry, the movie wouldn't have made it past the MPAA without an R rating.  So, it's not as bad is it very well could be, but the things the actors in the movie say will likely offend sensitive ears.  See it anyway.

At the end of this year, I will walk across a stage, having earned my degree to nowhere.  With any luck, there will be some honors to nowhere with it too.  Whether or not a certain senator thinks that effort was worthwhile, I will make it worthwhile by making a difference in the lives of kids.

When those kids go on to be productive members of society instead of drains on the state and budget shortfalls that affect the senator's preferred job training programs become a thing of the past, he and I can sit down and work out suitable public apology.

Vote for The Mother Load!

So, you know when I told you all about the blog award for which I wanted to be nominated, and then I said I just wanted to be able to say the words, "It's an honor just to be nominated?"

I lied.  I want to WIN!

So, here's what you do.  You click on this link (this one right here): Yes, this one...the link of which I have spoken.  And you vote for ME!

You can also leave a comment encouraging everyone to vote for The Mother Load. Even if they are there to vote for another blog (these things are known to happen), they have the option of voting for up to three.  Maybe if they see a whole boatload of loyal readers telling them to vote for The Mother Load, they'll think, "Hey! That bandwagon looks kind of comfy. I think I'll jump on and have some brownies!"  (You'll need to offer them brownies if they're going to think that.  I am okay with this.)

A few questions you might like me to answer follow.

Why should I vote for The Mother Load?

Because I make you smile.  I make you laugh.  Even on days when you might not think you can smile or laugh at anything, I get you.  Even on days when I don't think I can smile or laugh at anything, I find a way, and then I share it here.  That's worth something, I think.

But I've never thought of this as a "Mormon" blog.  Should I vote for The Mother Load even if you don't write about Mormon stuff all the time?

Absolutely!  Yes, I am Mormon, and an active one at that.  But I choose to write my blog in such a way that it will touch people of all faiths, no faiths, multiple faiths, whatever.  I believe we're all this world together, so I don't want to limit my voice to only people of my religion.  However, I am LDS, and the award is for an LDS blogger, whether or not the topic is religious, so I am eligible, and I WANT IT!

What will you do if you win?

I, Sarah of the pretty voice and terrible stage fright, will tape a video of myself singing a song from a list of YOUR suggestions and put it on YouTube.  I will not be standing on my head this time.  The room will not be dark to the point that you can't even tell it's me.  I will sing for the camera, face forward, forgetting my fear, and you will get a show.  I may throw up...but we'll edit that out.

Do I get something if you win?

YOU MIGHT!  Leave a comment on the award blog, leave comment on my Facebook fan page telling me you've voted or shared the link to the voting page, or leave a comment here, and you will be eligible to win a prize!  I will hold a drawing once the winner is announced, whether or not I win.  That's right.  I will be giving away a prize even if I don't win the award, because everything you can do in this effort will bring people to The Mother Load, and that's good for the environment and for puppies and kittens and rainbow connections.

What's the prize?

You may choose a product I've profiled on this blog, up to a $50 value.  You can mix and match, as well.  Choose from the Stupid Products (why???) or the Awesome Products and find something you've always dreamed of having and then go, vote, share, comment, and you're in!  I can already see a few of you are hankering for some Handerpants.  Go for it!

Abandoned at the Wal Mart


Mom, today I learned some parent wasn't willing to help raise a new grandbaby...and some poor child is stealing her mom's cell phone to call in an Amber Alert.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stupid Product: Flair Hair Bandana

I found today's Stupid Product late on day one of my trip to Texas over the holidays.  We were in New Mexico and stopped at a gas station to look at a map and make sure we were still on the right road.  (We were.)  It was at this stop that I discovered this little bit of awesomeness and vowed to find the same in my own state.

Sprint PictureMail

Surely, this is a gas station of wonders! I thought to a British accent...because, why not? I set out to find more wonders like this, and alas, I was confronted with today's Stupid Product.  I tried to exclaim, "What the snot?" in a British accent, but I'm fairly sure people in England don't have things like snot, and if they do, they don't talk about it.

 Ladies and gentlemen of the unsuspecting public, I give you the Flair Hair Bandana.  (Not give as in gift. That would be unwise.  I like having you as readers.  Give as in present for your appraisal and subsequent ridicule.)

Sprint PictureMail

Sprint PictureMail's a headband, and attached to it is a shaggy mop of fake hair. I see no "flair" at this point, unless they're referring to the fact that the "hair" stands up if you fluff it.  Basically, it's a very ugly, very cheap toupee paired with a headband to complete your monster truck rally ensemble.

Bald men, I know you feel self conscious about the fact that the hair that used to be on top of your heads has migrated to your nose and ears, never to return.  I get it.  It's not fun being bald, and you don't have the money Hollywood celebrities do to cultivate a semi-normal looking replacement head of hair.  But really?  This is not the answer.

If you think being bald makes you look less attractive, please know, from a woman's perspective, this product will make you look worse.  Not only will I know unequivocally that you are, in fact, bald, but I will know that you are sad, pitiful, desperate, and bald.  Don't be that man.  Please, don't be that man.

Rather than cover your baldness with a product that looks like a dead, waterlogged mammal of some sort, why not embrace your baldness?  Bald is beautiful, men!  Don't believe me? Attend any Bruce Willis movie with me and see how the women in the audience react.  Not a single hair on his head.

If you need further reassurance, watch this video.  If you watch it and still think you need a Flair Hair Bandana, well, I'll try not to laugh at you when I see it on your head.  (Note: I said try.  I offer no guarantees that I will succeed.)


Textbooks put me to sleep too.


Mom, today I learned a babysitter's life is not an easy one.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toddlers & Tiaras is not a show I would choose to watch on a normal day, but I had a couple of abnormal ones last week while I was down in bed with some joint pain, so I moseyed on over to YouTube and watched an episode out of curiosity, boredom, and a desire to see something more painful than my shouders. Nothing cures pain like the chance to stare at a train wreck for an hour and thank the heavens your own childhood didn't involve outrageously teased hair and crazy makeup. (And I grew up in the 80s!)

This show is a sad, sad indictment of pageant moms and an even sadder chronicle of the effect this kind of thing has on some of these kids. I'm not anti-pageant. I once judged a pageant and found myself impressed by the poise and talent of the girls who participated. But these were teenagers. And they looked like normal people. And they were competing for money for school. And their moms weren't allowed in the judges area.

I was delighted to see that, so shortly after I watched my first episode of this show, Tom Hanks decided to film a spoof. He and "Sophie" (the adorable girl is an actress named Nikki Hahn) compete their guts out for the chance at a trophy. I've laughed my guts out each time I've watched it.

My day belongs to what, exactly?


Mom, today I learned that if I were taking my van into this dealership for grammar repairs, this would be a very, very bad sign.  Fortunately for me, it just needs a bit of recall work and an oil change.