Monday, August 29, 2011

Called on the Red Carpet

Larainy knows that many of her dear readers missed the recent MTV VMA show  because sophisticated types like you are not the kind of people that would waste an evening plunked on a worn recliner drinking pop, eating Ritz crackers from the box  and pinching crumbs and salt granules off your chest for hours while watching a bunch of outrageously paid oddities prance around.

You dear reader, were probably 
  • Writing a letter to your Congressman with a 12 point plan to solve the national debt, or
  • Finding a cancer cure in your garage workshop with the chemistry set you got in 8th grade, or
  • Perched in the top branch of that big tree in your yard wearing camouflage gear and sweeping the neighborhood with your high powered binoculars to prevent criminal mischief
 So, in the interest of keeping you current on the culture, Larainy will present a sampling of what you missed.

Nicki Manaj demonstrated her uncanny magnetism to plastic by wearing every toy in her treasured childhood toybox, including a jumbo sized play bandaid across her lips

Justin Beiber, in an embarrassing red carpet moment, revealed a complete inability to speak parseltongue, leaving his pet snake humiliated and unable to respond to reporters questions

The Game (Yes, you heard me.  His name is "The Game") multi-tasked by changing the oil of his tricked out Hummer in the parking lot and still had time to saunter on to the red carpet and flash the inspirational hand symbol denoting a desire for world peace

Deena Cortese showed off the dress she made in her summer crafts class sponsored by the New Jersey Public Library.  The dress is constructed entirely of recycled plastic leis fished from the dumpster behind the Elk's Lodge after the annual B.P.O.E. Hawaiian luau fundraiser

Taylor Lautner revealed for the first time that his roots are French, not Native American and that his first cousin is another famous actor,  Pepe LePew

Kreayshawn, in a touching tribute to her beloved Nana, wore her late grandmother's mall hair, cascading in raven black waves down her heavily cartooned back

JoJo, in keeping with her recent community service sentence, carried a dozen trash bags with her into the awards ceremony, and picked up garbage into the wee hours after the glamorous event concluded

Destinee and Paris left Malibu Ken and Regular Ken at home in the Barbie Dream House and walked in together on their bendable lifelike legs

Katy Perry signaled a plea for help with the internationally recognized fuschia hair signal of distress...the signal that silently screams "Please, will somebody rescue me from this greasy Rasputin look-a-like that I accidentally married

Lovely little Selena Gomez didn't let the fact that rats had nibbled away the front of her dress keep her from attending.  She grabbed her rat-trap clutch, strapped on her sonic wave pest-be-gone bracelet and smiled, smiled smiled

All photos found here

Friday, August 26, 2011

Skeletal Gratitude

Things I am grateful for today

1.  Kind and quirky people that thoughtfully arrange a tableau*    

 like this one
on a well-traveled road.
So that people like me 
can laugh at them 
while we drive by,
taking a break from singing along
to John Denver tunes
to torture my children

Seriously, is this great or what?

 And I never would have found
the ape hiding in the brush
next to the motorcycle
if I hadn't stopped to take the photo.

* I know, I know, the background looks totally fake but it is absolutely for realsies.  Those are genuine mountains not a JC Penney Studio backdrop

has been safely delivered to college
 3.  That he is now attending
Brigham Young University,
the same college
his older brother is attending.
(Don't be fooled.
Although they both prefer communist eyewear
They are actually free market capitalists)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

May the Faux Force Be With You

 What do you do if you are a small Utah town
without a budget to pay for extra officers?

Rent a good looking mannequin
that doesn't demand overtime.
take lunch breaks
 talk back
or make your wife jealous.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Donuts By Any Other Name

My daughter hates mayonnaise so much that she has been able to develop her oil/egg emulsion aversion into an aversion therapy weight control program. 

  • Passing mayo section in Walmart = loss of desire for Jr. Mints
  • Unscrewing lid of mayo jar and sniffing = loss of desire for Chik-fil-A chocolate milkshake 

  • Accidental bite and consumption of mayo laden sandwich = loss of desire for Thanksgiving dinner

image found here
  •  Consumption of 1 tablespoon of mayo straight with eyes open = possible celebrity look a like potential

Yesterday I discovered a similar aversion therapy cure for my decades long love of donut holes when I read that this confection was introduced by Dutch immigrants and that the deep-fried dollops of dough were called "olibollen" or "oily balls".  

Somehow, that just took all the joy out of them

Friday, August 19, 2011

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

 BYU Education Week: Day Last
Today's tree of knowledge was actually a treefort of knowledge.  Not being an arborist* (*someone who likes Arby's and trees) I am not able to tell you what particular brand it is.  I did observe lots of trailing weepy branches that fall in a private sort of way around the gnarly trunk.  So yeah, I learned some stuff hanging out here today.

I also learned that I am not the only infidel sneaking caffeine onto this campus.  Someone actually brought this inferior Pepsi product into the Marriott Center. 

I'm sad/happy to leave BYU and fly home. 

  • Sad because I won't be able to go to the Bookstore and buy another chocolate, caramel, pecan "Myrtle"
  • Glad because I won't be able to go to the Bookstore and buy another chocolate, caramel, pecan "Myrtle"
  • Sad because I love learning from teachers with great minds and powerful spirits
  • Glad because my brain is so full it is making my hair fall out
  • Sad because I love Utah in the summer
  • Glad because fiery Arizona is home

  • Sad because it is fun to have my Mom for a roommate
  • Glad because it is more fun to have my husband for a roommate


  • Sad because I won't be able to hang out with my middle child and his plethora of awesome friends

  •  Glad because my youngest two are at home with a friend-plethora of their own
And oh so glad I didn't have to take any finals.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why When I Was a Grandma, I Walked 5 Miles Through the Sunshine to Go To School

BYU Education Week Day Four

 This is the tree of knowledge that I lay under today.  

image found

I didn't know it was a tree of knowledge when I chose it, but it turned out to be a pretty smart tree to lay under.  I learned you can probably learn as much laying under a tree for an hour as you can sitting in class for an hour, especially if the class turns out to be taught by a skinny old bald guy who sounds exactly like Will Ferrell.  Will Ferrell just doesn't have any credibility when it comes to discussing religion.  

And then I saw this little lady
She was hunched over, 
carrying her orange, 
wearing tennis shoes 
and carrying a backpack full of books.

That's the kind of lifetime learner I want to be

I asked her if I could take her picture
because I thought she embodied the 
spirit of BYU Education Week

She said "okay" but when I asked her to turn her head
she said, "Huh!  Hollywood."
I said "thank you"

I bet she found a tree to sit under and ate her orange.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Larnin' With Larainy

BYU Education Week, Day Three

Today I lay under a weeping birch and ate my lunch.  My brain rested after an interesting but mind boggling class about modern psychological theories and how they don't jive with the principal of moral agency.  I chewed my sandwich and then rested my brain by looking up at the blue sky through green favorite scene in all the world.  There is nothing like a weeping birch to make a person not feel like weeping.

Tomorrow I have decided not to take the class called "Do Animals Go to Heaven? An LDS Scriptural vs. World Religion Perspective" because I have a great fear I will find out that our dog Nixon is headed straight to hell for his unrepentant howling during thunderstorms and his gleeful murder of grackles.  

If he is a dog of perdition I don't want to know about it. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rise and Shout, Former Cougars are Out

35 years ago I rolled into this campus with a suitcase full of homemade clothes and no clue about what I wanted to study.  I spent two wonderful years, learning a lot, but left without a degree or a husband.  A few years later I acquired a husband, but the only degree I ever earned was my license to mother, and I awarded that to myself.

This week I'm back, attending BYU's annual Education Week.  I'm sleeping on a rock hard bed in a miniscule dorm room with a loud mini refrigerator, remembering why I like my mattress, even if it does have a ridge like the rocky mountains.

I brought along another BYU drop out, my Mom.  She came out here on the train from Michigan, 56 years ago.  She was only 17 and when she met my good looking cowboy Dad, she left without a degree too, marrying him and moving to Arizona.   He graduated from the University of Arizona and she began her Mom career.  She kept after it, eventually earning an advanced Mothering degree after producing eleven children. 

We have attended two days worth of classes so far, learning along with 20,000 other people who have to choose from 1030 different classes.  Today I took a classes about humor, genealogy, psychology, angels, Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt and another one I fell asleep in.  My brain isn't used to exercise.

Tonight I'm sitting on my bed of granite eating dinner... Doritos, a brownie and a diet Dr. Pepper that I smuggled on to BYU's caffeine free campus.  

Forgive me, learning is hard work.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

There's a Mountain in My Mattress

This photo of my bed looks quite lovely doesn't it?   You might even be thinking "Gee whillikers, that Larainy's style is amazing!  I wonder if she would consider coming over to evaluate my "space" and give me some fabulous decorating tips involving stainless steel appliances and ripping out linoleum. 

Believe me, all is not as it seems.  

    Under the comforter, the fuzzy blanket, the crisp white 500,000 count cotton sheets, the memory foam, and the mattress cover, something has happened.   A geological transformation has occurred and our 3 year-old pillow top mattress has developed a ridge akin to the Rocky Mountains.

    Don't tell me you can't see it - it's right there dead center!  Each night, after I say my prayers,  I climb onto my side of the bed and fall headlong into a cozy sinkhole. I sleep in the eastern trough and the husband is sunk into the western trough and a mountain range separates us. 

    Scaling this imposing height is daunting at the end of a long day.  I weakly wave a tired hand, blinking a flashlight on and off to say goodnight and sometimes I can hear a faint echo from the hollow over yonder.  

    Does Victoria's Secret make rappelling gear?

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    The Sisters Brontë Have a Smackdown: Act Two

    image found here  
    As you may recall, when we last left the Brontë sisters. Emily had expressed a desire to eschew her needle and thread in favor of horse wrangling and start her herd using the stud services of the family plow horse, Heathcliffe. Charlotte has informed her that this will not do because Heathcliffe is a gelding, but of course no genteel daughter of a Parson can be expected to know what a gelding is.  And how did Charlotte ever come to possess this earthy information, so lacking in delicacy or dignity?

    Color inflamed Emily's cheeks as she pondered Charlotte's question.  Heathcliffe, a gelding?   With a toss of her ringlets she drew the fine lawn handkerchief from her sleeve and fluttered it with an airy gesture. "I don't give a fig for where Heathcliffe was born. He's as fine a steed as a horse from London."

    "What's all this?" Anne said as she entered the parlor with a tea tray.  "Emily, you look flushed.  Here come sit down and have a crumpet."  She made her way gracefully to the table by the hearth, oblivious of the building tension in the room

    Charlotte's plain but pleasant face darkened with anger.  "Tea and crumpets don't solve everything Anne.  Are you aware that our sister wants to become a horse wrangler?"

    The tea tray, when it dropped from Anne's hands seemed to fall in slow motion, a thin stream of translucent liquid arcing from the white china pot  and crumpets launching like diminutive baked bombs.  The explosion on the stone hearth was tremendous, china shattering, tea sizzling as it hit the coals and the tray clattering for ages before it settled.

    The silence, after the explosion, was not a peaceful lack of sound, but rather like the humming noise on the heath as electricity charges the air before a great crack of thunder.  Suddenly guttural screams were torn from three lovely white throats as the sister's Brontë rushed at each other headlong in the frenzy of familial passion turned into a bout of wrestling, hair pulling and name calling.

    Let us draw a curtain on the scene so as not to observe the torn pantaloons, the clumps of hair on the parlor floor, the bloodied noses, the unladylike oaths, the climbing on the horsehair sofa and launching with an airborne assault on a writhing pile of crinoline.  A painful scene, a display of suppressed emotion let loose.  A scene eventually forgiven but not forgotten, to come to light in literary masterpieces like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

    The End


    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    The Sisters Brontë Have a Smackdown

    The untold story of the altercation that brought the Brontë sisters to a brouhaha

    Charlotte Brontë
    When Charlotte heard Emily sigh for the third time in an hour, she put down her mending and glared.  The glare however, was wasted as Emily was staring fixedly out the rain streaked window.  A sudden gust roared across the heath and through the garden, shaking the panes with a great rattle of icy raindrops.

    Charlotte flexed her stiff fingers and rose, crossing the chilly parlor to poke with angry jabs at the coal glowing dimly in the grate.  Emily started, her reverie shattered.   "Goodness Charlotte, you don't have to make quite so much noise."

    Charlotte ignored her younger sister and went on poking and prodding at the meager lumps that would never be sufficient to warm the spare parsonage.  "If you've nothing to do, you could help me with the mending.  Anne has torn another nightgown playing the pianoforte."

    Emily rose ungraciously, the feet she'd tucked under her grey wool skirt had gone to sleep.  She stamped her tiny boots against the cold floor.  "I've got pins and needles enough in my feet.  I don't need them in my hands."

    Charlotte's back stiffened, her head, covered with unremarkable brown hair raised slowly, her back still facing her ungrateful sister.  She stared into the fire, her spine as straight as the poker gripped in her hand.  A chill, unrelated to the cold room ran down Emily's spine.

    Charlotte turned smoothly, her eyes narrowed into cruel slits.  When she spoke, her words were deliberate and low.  "What did you say?"

    Emily  Brontë

    Emily swallowed, her throat suddenly dry as dust.  "I...well I have decided."  Her back straightened as nervous hands fumbled at her waist.  A look of resolve swept across her clear brow and she cleared her throat.  Her voice was high but her tone was clear. "I am resolved not to do any more mending.  I'm sick to death of needlework.  I have decided I want to be a horse wrangler."

    Charlotte gave a derisive snort.  "That will be a simple task as we've only one horse."

    Emily's shoulders rounded for a moment in discouragement.  Charlotte did have a point.  The Brontë herd consisted of only one tired plow horse named Heathcliffe.

    She brightened.  "I'll use Heathcliffe to start my herd!"  She clapped her tiny hands in excitement.  "We'll have a colt every year and soon I'll have a stable full of glorious creatures to wrangle."

    Charlotte's laugh was harsh and without jollity.  "You are aware Emily, that Heathcliffe is a gelding?"

    Emily raised a bewildered eyebrow.  "What's a gelding?"

    to be continued

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    On the Wings of a Flying Squirrel

    What possesses a young man to make a flying squirrel suit?

    Is it rebellion?


     A protest against our casual disregard of airborne rodents?

     I don't know the answers

    to these questions.

    I only know
    That he built it all on his own


    He will probably wear it to a dance party

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Move over Rocky, There's a New Flying Squirrel in Town

    When all the world is green?
    Do you march in parades
    Or drink lemonades
    Or count all the stars in the sky?

    Is that what you do?

    Or do you build a flying squirrel suit?

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    So You Married a What?

    When your daughter gets married, you acquire something called a son in law.  
    This is not optional except in certain states like New York.

    I don't like to think of my son in law as a son in law.  
    I prefer to think of him as a son who will never have trouble with the law.

    When we first met he asked what I would like him to call me.  I told him he could call me Laraine.  I later retracted and asked to be referred to as "your highness" but unfortunately, at that point it was already too late in the relationship to develop in him a properly subservient tone.

    There are disadvantages to these men who permanently attach themselves to the fruit of your loins.  They frequently whisk your daughters away to the far flung reaches of the universe, i.e. Texas, where it is difficult to properly interfere in their daily lives.  But, there are also advantages.  Let's dwell on the sunny side of the street, shall we?

    Advantages of having an extra man in the family:

    Photo by talented daughter with remote in her hand
    • He will participate in the production of quality grandchildren

    • If you glare at him in a pointed manner he will sometimes produce a faint chuckle/cough at your jokes

    •  If your daughter chooses wisely he will have the ability to mimic Mike Myers Scottish accent in So You Married An Axe Murderer 
    • He will ask deep soul searching questions like "If Emily and Charlotte Bronte had a smackdown, who do you think would win?"
    What's not to love?