Burrito Chimchanga en el Taco Bello…

There’s a new visitor in my window well of doom and gloom this night.  It seems to be a very PMS-y mouse… or at least one with 8 different personalities.  Right now the personality is the psycho serial killer named Manson as I’m pretty sure he’s eating a hole through my window screen as we speak… and by morning, he’ll have burrowed in through the glass and devoured my left pinky finger.  You don’t eat this body in a day!  It’s meant to be savoured for at least a century and a half!  Pass the bacon!

That aside… and believe you me, I’ve been shrieking every time I hear him rustling the dead leaves and picking at the window screen… how old am I!? We’re going into the 3rd week of fall semester.  I have 2 classes again this semester… another English literature class that meets on Tuesday nights from 5 to 8 and a Spanish class that meets on Thursday nights from 5 to 8.  They both require mucho class participation and basically make me want to vomit on a biweekly basis.  The Spanish class particularly is anxiety ridden.  When I get nervous, I have a hard time remembering words in English let alone a foreign tongue.  

It’s a broadcast course and our Logan classroom is the main classroom where the teacher resides in person.  There are a bajillion television screens throughout the room with people from other cities in Utah.  There’s one in Brigham City, Moab, Ephraim, Tooele, Mount Pleasant, etc.  So, it’s like we in Logan are Jem (she’s truly truly truly outrageous) and all of the other TV screens are the holograms and the misfits (our songs are better).  For most of the class we break into what the teacher calls “pods” (I guess… she teaches the class in Spanish, so basically I just sit there staring at her like a doof-bag while she repeats the same question 800 times hoping that one of the times I’ll be hit by the magical Espanol fairy and suddenly know what the crap she is saying).  A pod consists of one member of our Logan classroom (there are only 5 of us) sitting in front of a TV screen where there are a bunch of students from other cities.  So, it’s me… and then 10 people from Brigham City on a TV screen, which makes me feel like I’m the one who should be in charge of the group since I’m with the teacher and all by my lonesome on a TV screen.  We rotate screens in Logan, but the other cities just sit there and cross their fingers that that one awkward chic doesn’t sit down in front of them.  OH LAWSY!  

Of course, I’m most likely over exaggerating their thoughts, but what do you expect of me with a psycho serial killer mouse on the loose.  Whenever the teacher asks me a question in Spanish I immediately start panicking and then giggle like a 5-year-old on crack cocaine.  Teeheheeehheheheheheehheeeeeeeee   Breathe in… breathe out… this would be a good opportunity to practice my diaphragmatic breathing and/or hide the cookies… ALL the cookies!  

In other OTHER news… we finally got to the Ogden Temple Open House this past Friday.  Beautiful temple!  Except they had crystal candy dishes in every hallway with NO candy!  Grandma B would be appalled.

I’m posting this picture even though Madre’s eyes are closed… you snooze you lose.  Also, I am not in the picture… and that makes me happiest of all.

We also had Corbin’s 7th birthday party celebration with the world’s smallest cake.  Only because there was peach pie to be had.  Who passes that up for cake!?  


Filed under Family, School

Cascade Springs and Lemons…

Originality in title doesn’t seem to be my strong suit tonight.  Let’s call a dog doo what it is here, folks… a dog doo!  Tomorrow starts Fall Semester up at USU for me.  I swear I just finished summer semester 7 days ago… oh wait… I did.   No rest for the Wicked Witch of the Klutz family!   I had things to square away before the start of the semester, so I took a couple of days off of work to try to make a square peg fit into a round hole, and basically didn’t succeed… but it’s the thought that counts!   Friday was my planned tag-along-with-Madre fun-day before the onslaught of sitting on my amply-padded receptacle for 24/7 began!  

Fun-day this time was supposed to include a Salt Lake City food truck tour excursion… except that didn’t actually end up happening… we had no food from any food trucks… not for lack of trying, though.  It rained quite heavily for at least half the day, and so some of them packed up and left… no one wants to eat a soggy hamburger!  I’m just saying.  

Instead I drug Madre on an excursion up the Uinta Mountains to see what they call Cascade Springs.  It was a lot longer drive than the internet told me it would be, and Madre wasn’t so excited to make said excursion, but we went anyway because I was in the mood to fall down a mountain dag blastit!  Don’t question it!  Just do it! 

The trail was paved, although not evenly paved and rocking horse shoes on uneven surfaces is never a smart idea when you’re born with the gift of Klutz-dom, but I just inched along like a 110-year-old with a catheter and managed to not fall on my face once… although I almost did approximately 57 times… give or take 40 times.  

There were signs warning us not to drink the water… really!?  Do people not know this in the year 2014?  

The nature/short hike in was in memory of sweet Spencer…

After the springs, Madre got to stop at a new outlet mall in Lehi, Utah where I once again prepared my thesis for why there were couches in the actual bathroom… not a place I enjoy lounging.  Nursing mothers… blah, blah, blah… I’m sure they don’t want to lounge in there either!  

Because we missed the food trucks, we instead stopped at Pizzeria Limone where they specialize in uniquely-topped artisan pizzas.  Um… who knew lemon slices on a pizza would be like deliciosity in a bowl of weird!?  

I would recommend the lemon slice pizza… just… trust me!   When pizza gives you lemons… drink lemonade on the side!  

The day ended with a visit to Lindsay’s, a few more stores, and then when trying to get home through our usual Sardine Canyon route, found out at 11:00 at night that Sardine Canyon had been totally closed in both directions due to the rain falling 2 huge, car-sized boulders in the middle of the road!  Oh Utah… what will you do next!?  


Filed under Life

Cowboy Buicks and Weedy Golf…

I’ve decided that my quest in life to honor our sweet Spencer will be to be more present, appreciate being outdoors and the beauty of nature, and to cherish the moments spent with family and friends.  All of which Spencer was such a great example of.   I’d say I got my fair share of all three of those in this week.  I spent nights sitting out on the deck reading, got to see a visiting pal and her beautiful family for a bit on Wednesday (what up, my pal, Alena… Road Trip Eating the States is ON!), and then spent Friday night visiting an old haunt with Kayla and Corbin.  

I have fond memories of this old haunt from my childhood years.  Logan Miniature Golf, back in its heyday, was quite the place to be in the summertime… especially for a frizzy-banged, nerdy, mullet wearer.  I spent many a summer afternoon/evening trying to hit a ball through a moving windmill and trying to get the free golf game at the last pinball hole, but then the years happened… the repairs didn’t happen… the customers dried up… and now the place is a shell of its former self, all lonely-looking and in bad need of repair and a good old-fashioned lawn watering and weeding session.  There’s a MUCH nicer miniature golf course on the other side of town.  It’s newer, well-manicured, and has customers.  We still went to the rundown place… because it had memories… and weeds… but it made me sad to remember the days when it was alive with the voices and laughter of hormoney pre-teens and children.  

This would be the windmill attraction.  Except back in the olden days it had an actual windmill that would go around in circles helped by a motorized component so that it would trip up your golf ball from making it through the slot.  Now it’s basically a red triangle with a roof.  

This one is called the Washington Monument… now after a terrorist attack?

This one was called the Brooklyn Bridge… more like the Broke-lyn Bridge.  

The ancient crumbling totem pole… actual year probably 1775.  Kayla and Corbin seemed to like it anyway… and actually requested it over the newer fancier course.  There’s some things that can’t replace good memories… even if they’re broken down memories! 



In the second part of the title of this blog post, I had a strange request a few weeks back.  One evening the doorbell rang.  Whitney doesn’t answer the door unless she’s sure the Publisher’s Clearinghouse has her check on the other side.  But this night I happened to have just walked right in front of the door window on my way to pick up a water bottle… so I was stuck… unless the person on the other side was totally blind and partially deaf.  You can’t miss this silhouette otherwise!   

I peaked through the window before I opened it and saw a cowboy in full regalia… hat, boots, wranglers, westerny button down shirt, and one of those fancy mustaches that look like they’ve been super glued at the tips.  My first thought was that one of my dad’s relations was here to visit, so I opened the door.  He took his hat off in a howdy, ma’am manner and proceeded to introduce himself as a guy who lived up the street a few miles.  

I reckon I pass this house near everyday and seen that there Buick.  This may seem strange, but have you ever considered selling that Buick, ma’am?

That caught me off guard right there… ain’t no one in their right mind ever asked to buy Beulah the Broken-Down Buick… let alone called me ma’am like I’m 95 with a gout problem.  Beulah’s air conditioning doesn’t work.  She runs like a bull in Pamplona… and she was born in 1997.  Not someone’s idea of a fabulous vehicle.  I was curious so I asked him why.  To which he replied that his grandma has one just like it and she wanted him to fix hers, but he couldn’t fix it, so he was fixin’ to find one that looked exactly like hers and tell her that he fixed it.  

Um… okay.  

I should have asked him how much he was willing to offer… because I’m pretty sure if it was anything above 14 dollars, I’d have pounced all over that one!  Instead, I told him it was my only car and I’d need it on account of the fact that I was born with a klutzy gene and two left feet plastered in cement blocks.  I then told him that if he gave me his phone number I’d call him if ever I decided to sell it.  I’m sure my asking for his phone number scared the poor dude to death and he quickly mounted his horse and rode off into the sunset.  Kind of like John Wayne’s lesser known brother LeRoy Wayne… except with less Buicks.  

That makes the second time in the last few years someone has offered to buy Beulah.  I guess I should realize the gem of a vehicle I have on my hands more often.  Bird doo and strange gas smells be durned!  


Filed under Life

Camouflage Strollers, Inc.

It’s amazing how when someone you know passes away, every instance you ever spent with them comes rushing back at you like a waterfall of memories.  That’s what happened when I learned last Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. that my sweet cuzzin, Spencer passed away.  A flood of memories over this last week, nothing big or momentous or hilarious, just small happenings that bring a smile, warm the heart, and make me grateful that I was able to have that moment in time with him.

There was the time… he couldn’t have been more than 8 years old and I was a frizzy mullet-haired, rotund, pimple-popping, hormoney, know-it-all teeny bopper of 14… convinced I knew everything since I was the oldest kid of the group, the group that included Spencer, Lindsay, Jennifer, Michael, and Jessica.  I remember we were all sitting around the table and Spencer was reading a story he had written.  I was sure it couldn’t be good… he was 8… I was 14… I was the most intelligent mullet girl on the planet after all!  But I remember my mouth dropping when he began reading… this kid was intelligent beyond his years… beyond my years… and after I picked my jaw up off the floor, I remember laughing several times throughout that story.  You see, Spencer had a sense of humor for days… even a kid of 8… and I remember saying to myself, this kid is going to do big things in his life.  It’s pretty hard to impress a hormoney mullet wearer… but he did.

There was the time soon after he came up with a brilliant invention, a target designed to continually flip over when you shoot it.  I was impressed once again, and immediately began shooting ideas off of him.  Our best joint invention idea was the camouflage stroller.  It’s a multi-purpose stroller, you see… your kid doesn’t have to be able to walk to go on his or her first hunting trip any longer.  We decided we’d rig up some kind of an under carriage where you could load the deer you just shot… baby’s first deer hunt.  The merchandising sold itself!  It was genius!

There was the time just 10 or 11 months ago, Spencer, Jessica, and myself were charged with chasing Cruz around Temple Square for a few hours while other family members were inside.  We walked around the grounds for a little while, but eventually ended up in the child’s playroom on chairs about 4 inches tall coloring at a table about 6 inches tall.  We talked about roommates and cleanliness and germs and Spencer showed me some of the pictures he took around the Temple of the flowers and grounds, because that was another of his aresenal of talents, nature photography… and he told me of his sweet, beautiful, perfect daughter, Bethany.

The last time Spencer impressed me was just over a month ago at Jessica’s wedding.  He had his beautiful, 3-year-old Bethany with him, and I remember thinking how sweet and gentle and loving he was with her.  I saw him take her down the slide and push her on the swing, jump with her on the trampoline.  She clung to him and you could tell just how much they both loved each other.  Not all dads give their full attention, but he knew it was important…

Of course death is inevitable for each one of us, but when we picture dying, we picture it after having lived a long and full life with grey hairs and rotted out teeth.  No one pictures passing away when they’re young and just beginning on this crazy path of adulthood.  No father or mother expects to bury their child and no brother or sister expects to lose one of their best friends while still in their prime.   God must have had urgent need for a brilliant man with many talents for his Heavenly Army.  I’m grateful that my sweet Berger family knows that this is just a temporary separation from their son, brother, father, and friend.  The time in between the next time they are able to see him will feel long and days and nights will get lonely sometimes and hearts will forever have a piece broken off of them, that piece that Spencer filled up so fully.

I know that Spencer is wearing camouflage up in heaven, a silent cheerleader for his family still on Earth, swapping fish stories with Grandpa Berger and reminding Grandma Berger to lay off the fake purple hair dye.  Because you get to keep your sense of humor in heaven… I’m sure of it.   Much love to Uncle Shane, JenJen, Michael, Jessica, and Leslie, and all those who knew and loved our sweet Spencer.

Lindsay found this story retold by Ezra Taft Benson in a talk:

When the spirits leave their bodies they are in the presence of our Father and God, they are prepared then to see, hear and understand spiritual things.
. . . If the Lord would permit it, and it was His will that it should be done, you could see the spirits that have departed from this world, as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes.
[JD 3:368]

What, then, is death like? Here is a simple incident as told by my friend, Dr. Peter Marshall, the late chaplain of the United States Senate:

In a certain home, a little boy, the only son, was ill with an incurable disease. Month after month the mother had tenderly nursed him, but as the weeks went by and he grew no better, the little fellow gradually began to understand the meaning of death and he, too, realized that soon he was to die. One day his mother had been reading the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and as she closed the book the boy lay silent for a moment, then asked the question that had been laying on his heart. “Mother, what is it like to die? Mother, does it hurt?” Quick tears filled her eyes. She sprang to her feet and fled to the kitchen, supposedly to go get something. She prayed on the way a silent prayer that the Lord would tell her what to say, and the Lord did tell her. Immediately she knew how to explain it to him. She said, as she returned from the kitchen, “Kenneth, you will remember when you were a little boy, you would play so hard you were too tired to undress and you tumbled into your mother’s bed and fell asleep. In the morning you would wake up and much to your surprise, you would find yourself in your own bed. In the nightyour father would pick you up in his big, strong arms and carry you to your own bedroom. Kenneth, death is like that; we just wake up one morning to find ourselves in the room where we belong because the Lord Jesus loves us.” The lad’s shining face looked up and told her there would be no more fear, only love and trust in his heart as he went to meet the Father in heaven. He never questioned again and several weeks later he fell asleep, just as she had said. This is what death is like.                                                                      [Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter, pp. 260 – 61]

The sweet tradition brought from cousins who are on a mission in Tonga, write messages on balloons and send them to Spencer in heaven.

Until we meet again, Spencer.

Quote found by Madre Dessa:

“There is terrible suffering in our world today. Tragic things happen to good people. God does not cause them, nor does He always prevent them. He does, however, strengthen us and bless us with His peace, through earnest prayer.”

—Rex D. Pinegar, “Peace through Prayer,” Ensign, May 1993, 67

My favorite version of How Great Thou Art sung by Carrie Underwood.


Filed under Family

Death By Llama Gazing…

I recently read the chapter in my Managing Stress class about humor therapy as a means to control stress in one’s life.  They had a scale of the different kinds of humor and how effective they were at curbing stress.  At the tail end of the scale was sarcasm, which I feel I use in spades.  What was most interesting to me when I got to reading how the book described sarcasm, was that it didn’t match my definition… at all!  The book described it as a very mean and cruel kind of humor, one that hurts feelings and causes anger and lowered self-esteem.  The brand of humor at the top of the stress-relieving list was self-parody, which was much more akin to the version of humor I employ.  It’s basically exaggerating behavior or speech or happenings in one’s life as a means of laughing it off instead of harboring feelings of despair and anger.  And as long as you self-parody without harm to the self-esteem, it’s the best way to combat stressful situations.  Now I can change what I refer to as my brand of humor from sarcasm to self-parody… and thank all that be holy I can because I have a doozy to tell today folks!

Last Monday evening after work, I brought out the ole bicycle for some exercising… a usual thing… nothing to see here folks.  Madre just so happened to pass by and decide she wanted to join me, which is a once in a year happening as I usually go by myself, and prefer it that way so I don’t slow down the more fit people.

Madre chugged out her Wicked Witch of the West get up and we started on peacefully down the road.  (Translation:  I almost got hit by a car when I didn’t look both ways.)  The first 20 minutes was a usual ride… huff, puff, peddle, dodge a kid on a tricycle, run over a yappy dog on purpose, almost eat the pavement, etc., etc., etc.   But then we passed a field of llamas and Madre nearly snapped her neck off trying to catch a glimpse.  She turned her bike around and stopped… and I gracefully did a pirouette chimichanga complete with a double lutz with a grenadier con misa (translation:  I stopped next to her).  Except when I “stopped” I forgot that my feet don’t touch the ground whilst sitting on the bicycle seat, missed the opportunity to hold myself up by foot, and instead tipped over into a gravel pit about 85 feet deep.  So, now I’m lying in a gravel pit, bike on top of me, across from a field of llamas and I say to myself… Self… did you forget to pay your insurance bill?  (Translation:  #&$*#&$#$-IT!)  Turns out llamas don’t take kindly to the insurance bill topic.

After the realization that I  hadn’t broken anything, I finally stood up, only to discover an arm full of gravel pebbles and large pus-filled bumps.  Later that night whilst showering, I found out I bruised half of my right side with a large black bruise centered right directly on my tailbone (translation:  I now chant the entire opening of the Lion King every time I sit down… Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama).   For those wondering, I don’t have pictures of said llamas on account of the fact that I was too busy picking gravel out of my tailbone.

Note to self:  Death by llama gazing makes for a terrible story.  Next time at least hold off for Death by Bigfoot glaring!


Got some visits from my friends, Larry and Curly… Moe was at the bar.


Filed under Exercise

Defining Patience… But Hurry it Up!

Since I worked all last weekend, I had last Monday off.  My plans were grand… tell Madre to call in sick to work and have our annual Bear Lake trip where we sit and read and then bike whilst eating 8 bajillion gnats.  Simple days… kind of like Andy Griffith in Mayberry except without Aunt Bea… or Opie… or pie… but in color.  I had also decided I wanted to do a short hike up into this lake I’d never been to called Bloomington Lake, which I was sure would take a total of 11 minutes… TOPS!  Oh plans… I envy you.

What ended up happening?  We got to Bear Lake, and were supposed to drive a measley 11 miles a couple of towns over to Bloomington where we’d be able to access the road that took us up the canyon.  Two miles into the drive to Bloomington, we hit a traffic jam… and a traffic jam in the middle of a 2-lane road is the most frustrating kind.  We were totally stopped with a line of cars in front of us for miles.  I didn’t know what was going on down the road, but it seemed like we might be there all day, and so we sat in the line for 5 minutes, got all antsy, and decided to turn around and change up the plans a bit.  Our new plan was to drive around the lake to the state park we usually sat in to read.  No biggie… I can hike later.  Only, we somehow missed the turn to go around the lake and ended up on our way to Kemmerer, Wyoming… let’s face it… not even the people who live in Kemmerer want to visit!  No offence… I’m sure your town is lovely.

Forty minutes later, I got out the rusty GPS majigger to see if we could find a shortcut to get back to the park, and that’s when we ended up here…

Miles into a bumpy dirt road that the GPS told me to turn down but then couldn’t for the life of me make up her mind where I should go on this dirt road.  Freda, the GPS kept freaking out, telling us to turn where there were no roads to turn on… one time it told me we should turn into a pond, and I said to myself… self… if all of your GPS friends drove into a pond, would you!?   Only if said pond had a treasure chest of chocolate cake at the bottom!

When we finally realized that this “shortcut” was no shortcut at all, we did an 85-point turn in a truck on a 2×5 dirt road and decided to head back to the highway.  Stupid shortcuts.  We then went back the way we came… back to sitting in the traffic jam which we learned 10 minutes later was road construction crews re-paving the road… and if we’d only waited 10 minutes the first time around we wouldn’t have wasted 4 hours of our day.  Hurry up and be patient!  My motto needs some work.

We did finally make it to Bloomington and the canyon, which was another bumpy dirt road that seemed neverending.  I had my dread hat on and was sure we’d get a flat tire and then be stuck up here in the middle of nowhere with no cell reception and 2 Lifesaver mints, and the newspaper heading would say something about Lifesaver Mints Were No Lifesavers.  A good half hour later, we made it to the trailhead parking lot, which I swear I could have found if I’d just sniffed my way up there… holy nasty-smelling outhouses, batwoman!  Them babies were ripe for picking.

The hike up to the lake was 1.2 miles round trip, but when you dislike hiking and are a klutz, it was more like 52 miles all uphill both ways in near 100-degree heat.  I had a walking stick and maneuvered rocky terrain like I was a 105-year-old on a Jazzy scooter.   Oh laws… OH LAWS!  I made it without injury… and saw some beautiful scenery at the end.  I’ll call that good.  Next hike will be flat and paved in a car.  Mark my words!




Notice the snow!


Filed under Life

Note To Self: Look For Esteem…

I’m a tightly wound girl… bees constantly get stuck in my bonnet… and Ma in her kerchief and Pa in his cap had just settled down for a long winter’s nap…  Because I’m tightly wound my managing stress class stresses me out on a daily basis, but I’m also learning a lot about being stressed out.  It’s literally the Adam & Eve of our bodies… meaning that everything that is wrong with us begins with stress in some form.  If we were never stressed we’d all be like PollyAnna at an ice cream convention wearing a pink tutu and frollicking through a field of daisies.  In the real world, the police would be waiting by the dumpster next to the make believe daisy field because PollyAnna done lost several french fries from her Happy Meal frolicking nekked because her make believe tutu is at the invisible dry cleaners… the humiliation!

There are a lot of ways to help manage stress… but the key to all of those wrapped into a little package of glee-balls is SELF-ESTEEM!  Period… end of story… move me to Bermuda tomorrow.  The level of one’s self-esteem determines the amount of stress in his/her life.  Things may still go wrong in your life even if your self-esteem is the highest notch right on the line before way too cocky for your own britches… but your self-esteem predicts how you will handle a bad situation… and that makes all the difference.

Easy!  All I have to do is get a great self-esteem and I’ll be stress-free!  Sign me up… also, where’s the infommercial that sells packages of self-esteem because I need to buy about 32?  That’s the first thing I need to work on… self-esteem.  Push everything else to the back burner because once I get self-esteem in a good place, all of the other glee-balls will fall into place… they’re gleefully cool like that.  It’s a very foreign thought to think about actually liking myself and giving myself credit where credit is due… but it’s a necessity.

For the class, we have these assignments that ask some very personal and private questions.  The teacher is the only one who reads them due to the nature of said questions and she usually writes long replies to each of them giving us tips and advice on how to work on ourselves… kind of like a therapy session… except with less couches present.  On one particular assignment a few weeks back, I answered the questions… was very self-depracating and came across a bit like a #*$&#*$… excuse my French fries… and I didn’t even give it a second thought… self-depracation is second nature to me.  The reply from the professor at the bottom of the page?  LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF!!  She’s usually pretty verbose in her replies, but after reading through my answers again and counting how many times I put myself down, I understood… no other words were needed.

I ain’t gonna lie… my first reaction was to be annoyed… how dare she not cater to my pity party of self-hatred!  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was just what I needed to hear… because it’s the truth.  So, I’mma gonna go hunting for my esteem… if anyone spots it, put it in a bag, tie it up real tight like, and drop it off at the invisible dry cleaners… gonna be there picking up my make believe tutu.  **winkwink**



Filed under Life, Little Things