I hated the whole concept of Santa Claus once I had children. I know how bah humbug that sounds, but I hated the idea of lying to my kids about something so weird. I didn’t mind it when i was a kid, and I have santa decorations in my home, but sorta got hung up on the concept. So I decided when my daughter was a brand new baby, that I would let my kids believe until they flat out asked. When they flat out asked . . . I’d fess up.
It was harder than I thought it would be when my daughter, at the age of four, came to me and flat out asked. Her huge hazel eyes squinted in suspicion, her skinny arms folded over her chest. I couldn’t lie, but I couldn’t exactly tell the truth either.
So I improvised.
I took her across the street to the beauty parlor where they have the angel tree set up every year in our town and I let her pick a star. We went back to our store where we sell gift items and I let her pick the gift for the little girl on the star. I let her hand me the tape while I wrapped the gift, and we took it back and put it under the angel tree. When we got home, I sat her down and said, “You were just Santa Claus. Santa Claus isn’t real as a person, but he’s kind of real in a way because people care about eachother in the world and do things for eachother.” Then I explained about the birth of the Savior and the gift that was to the world and how gift giving is a way for us to remember the ultimate gift. (I’d exaplined the Savior to her lots of times, but this is the first time I put it in context of explaining how Santa fit in) I told her it was fun to give gifts and play Santa. I told her it was so much fun that every year her dad and I got to play Santa for her.
She was four but she understood. And she liked what we’d done. She wasn’t traumatized over finding out that the fat man wasn’t real and I never had to lie. She won’t need counseling over it (she’ll need counseling over other things, but that’s for another post).
Since it worked so well with her, I tried it when my boys came to me with “the question.” It worked with them too. We’ve made it a little tradition and the kids like it. They don’t even mind that I make them earn the gifts with chores so they’ve put more into it than just pulling down a star from a tree. They have to work for the kids they get gifts for.
I like being Santa every now and again. That guy has huge job satisfaction. And even when the kids insist on doing their own wrapping, using too much tape, paper, and patience, it’s not truly Christmas until we’ve brought those stars into our own home and made them parts of our lives for a little while.
I took another one of those blogthings quizzes (man, you’d think I have nothing to do all day). But this one was imperative to the future of my chosen profession.
|You Should Be a Film Writer|
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!
It all makes so much sense now. I’m writing in the wrong medium. What was I thinking writing novels when I could be writing for the silver screen? Of course the woman in the picture looks as frustrated as I feel right now, so maybe I’m not all that far off. I received a rejection letter today and it stung, but the agent was so nice about it, I can’t even hate her. Sigh. Don’t they know it’s so much easier when we can hate them? (see the ‘how evil am I’ post)
I know . . . I know . . . there are other agents in the world, but I LIKED this one. Sigh. Get me the phone. I’m calling Hollywood and seeing if they’re hiring. OK, not really. I have at least ten more books to write before I can do anything else. I just feel whiney and displaced and irritated and fighting with my daughter over the blasted dog doesn’t help. I’m getting a Dr. Pepper and a box of Twinkies. Comfort food will get me through the current edits that are due in just a few weeks.
I spent the holiday weekend with my parents in St George and am proud to say I did no Black Friday shopping. This is likely a first for me. But all my Christmas shopping was completed in October so I am set! Woohoo!
Instead of shopping, my brother and I, along with our spouses and children, went to the swimming pool in St George. It’s called Sand Hollow and has a water slide and fun water things for kids to play on. It’s an awesome pool. We knew the kids would love it. My six-year-old nephew found another little boy his age and said to him, “Hi, do you want to be my friend?” The kid said, “Sure!” and off they went, friends for life . . . or at least until their parents dragged them kicking and screaming from the pool.
I’ve been thinking about how much simpler life would be if we could do that as adults . . . or even as teenagers. High school would have been far less traumatizing if we could go up to someone and say, “Hi, would you like to be my friend?” A new workplace would be easier to acclimate to. Writer’s conferences filled with new faces would be so much more comfortable. Changing wards or church congregations wouldn’t be so painful. Moving to a new neighborhood would be less nerve wracking.
The blogging world holds some of that youth-like influence. Maybe it is the anonymity of the computer that strips off the barriers of stuffy adulthood. But I don’t have a problem going to someone else’s blog, feeling touched or enlightened by their words, and leaving a comment. Comments very much are the essence of: “Hi, would you like to be my friend?”
Thanksgiving with the family was great. I missed having my other siblings present, but they stayed in Salt Lake and did their own deals. It’s nice to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, look around the table, and feel your heart swell with gratitude for the people surrounding you. There is much in this world to be grateful for indeed.
I know there is some great joy to be had when one is raising an intelligent child. There’s the obvious pride when teachers gush and praise you for your supreme parenthood (as my husband and I exchange the guilty looks of parents who know the child’s intelligence was nature not nurture). There is the satisfaction of not really having to nag about homework and tests. There is never concern for the future of said child . . . except sometimes. Like when said really-smarter-than-you child gets into word play. At times like those, you worry over the child’s future because once you kill them, they won’t have a future.
My children love word play; they love semantics, and they love using it against me. Like the time I bought lap blankets for each of them so they’d quit dragging their bedding off their beds. I told them the blankets were for them to drag around the house. So when I found the blankets outside and full of those foxtail weeds that you could pick out until your fingers bleed and still never remove them all, I went nuts.
“Why did you take these outside??? Do they look like outside blankets to you???”
They blink at me like I’m stupid (and hey . . . maybe I am), then they quote me my own words, “You said they were to drag AROUND the house. So we did. We dragged them around the whole house–a couple of times actually. We used them as super hero capes, but they didn’t stay on too well.”
“I meant inside the house, not outside!” I can’t believe I’m yelling what I “meant” when they all three know darn good and well what I meant. I didn’t pick the foxtail weeds out. I told them if they couldn’t do that, then I’d use the blankets and a lighter to create the heat for the next marshmallow roast.
So often my kids fling words like mud, “But you said . . .”
“But I meant . . .”
And they *know* what I meant. I have their test scores. I’m not raising dummies; yet they still keep up the semantics game.
And people wonder why I threaten to rip their tongues out of their heads and beat them with them. I swear I can hear those three smirking from the other room right now, plotting ways around the fact that they’re in trouble for not doing chores.
I told them to clean up their rooms. I told them I wanted all the stuff on the floor picked up. So later I went in to find the stuff on the floor picked up and discarded to any space *not* on the floor. Dressors were covered with spiderman action figures and star wars ships and legos. Half empty cups of water (from the nighttime episodes of a child entering my room an hour after bedtime demanding a cup of water. I swear before I had kids, I thought that the whole cup of water thing was a joke perpetuated by Hollywood) balanced precariously on top of towers they’d created from wrappers, old school papers, and the mud balls, sticks and rocks they brought into the house. (I love nature . . . when it’s OUTSIDE!).
“I told you to clean your room!” Again the yelling with what I told them . . .
“No . . . ” They say. “You told us to pick everything up off the floor. We did.”
I didn’t bother to tell them what I meant. I took a prescription strength ibuprofin for my headache.
TSK TSK. They’ve underestimated their mother. I am so sticking mayonaisse in the cool whip container.
Most of you know I work for Ebay. It is not often that I blog about eBay because I fear saying something I ought not to. I work in a legal capacity that renders most of what I do off limits for discussion.
But I have to write about this.
Abut a month ago I started looking around at my life and realizing I am truly blessed. This is after several months of all out depression over my writing career, and the fact that my basement STILL isn’t done, and my back has made me a useless person when it comes to yardwork (which I love doing). I decided to shake the depression and count my blessings. I really AM blessed and my life really IS great and I have a lot to be grateful for.
But up to that point I’d been an ungrateful pig and wasn’t saying thanks for any of it. I decided to start saying thank you. So I wrote a letter to the CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman. I never expected her to actually read the email, but I had to at least write the gratitude I have for my job as part of my effort to give credit where credit is due. (God’s been getting lots of prayers lately in this effort).
Well she did read it and sent me a very nice response. I was surprised to receive the response, but also pleased and I thought that was the end of it. It wasn’t.
Apparently she forwarded on my email to several managers and the like. She liked the letter and wanted other people to read it. I felt slightly ill when my supervisor shared this information with me. This isn’t exactly what I’d intended to happen and now I am all kinds of embarrassed.
THEN, I got a phone call, letting me know Meg was coming into town and inviting me to a luncheon with her and several of the top performers at eBay. I am not a top performer. I’m a solid employee. I get my work done and usually a little more than my fair share of it, but I am not one of those technological fiends who know every short cut imaginable to make my job easier. I am not a top performer because technology scares me. Yet I am going to the meeting, and getting lunch out of the deal, and meeting MEG WHITMAN!!!!!
She’s only one of the most successful women in America. She’s only one of the smartest women I know of. She’s only CEO of the most successful online corporation in the world! Yeah . . . I know. I plan on not opening my mouth at all except to eat. I may be mighty with a pen, but I’ll never get over it if I stutter something stupid. Odd that I can speak to a youth conference filled with thousands of teenagers, and speak at relief societies over the state with hundreds of women, and yet meeting and talking to this one woman terrifies me beyond comprehension.
Good things come when we count our blessings. Have a great day everybody! You all deserve it!
I write for the Writing on the Wall blog on tuesdays. Today’s post was fun so I am doing a repeat here on my own blog.
I was running the register in our store a few weeks ago and the last customer had just left when my husband came in from the back door and joined me behind the counter. A thrill of that high-school-girl-in-love shivered through me when his hot breath on the back of my neck turned into a soft lingering kiss.
I turned, anticipating a romantic interlude, but what I got instead was triumph. His eyes glittered with knowledge. “THAT,” he said. “Is why Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight is a best seller.”
I blinked. “What?” I wanted to slap him outright for making me think romantically when he was only using me as a test market.
Then he pinned me to the counter and ran his finger down my jawline and kissed me again. Dang, but he’s good. I almost did slap him, but had to catch my breath.
He laughed. “See?” he said. “She caters to the romantic inklings of every silly girl in America.” Then I raised my fist. A slap wouldn’t be good enough. He needed to be punched since I was one of those silly American girls. He grinned. “Not that I don’t like kissing you, babe. I do, but I listened to the audio book of Twilight and found that the plot is lame, and nothing happens except for some girl living out her fantasy of having a superhero type guy smother her in soft hormone-inducing kisses.”
My husband is all detached logic, and I really was fuming by this point since I really liked Twilight. I told him it had a brilliant plot.
“Ah, but what is the plot?” he asked.
“A young girl falls in love with a vampire and . . . and . . .”
He’s making fun of me now. “And what?”
“Well, there’s that other vampire that tries to kill her . . .”
“Not until the end, and she passes out for that–which is one of the lamest things ever. The story finally gets exciting and the main character sleeps through it? No, babe. The book sold well because it caters to female hormones.”
I see his point of view. And as much as I still want to punch the man . . . he has a good point. But I don’t think this is a bad thing. If you’re writing a best seller and you cater to the audience for which you write . . . that’s still brilliance in my book.
And the fact that each girl reading the book felt as if Edward’s kisses were on her neck, is proof in the power of “show–don’t tell.”
We can all take a lesson from this and know the audience we’re catering to, and make the book riveting enough that our audience feels that they–personally–are experiencing it.
I’m a terrible liar apparently. I always have been. When I lie my throat catches and I break into hacking coughs. My face turns 100 shades of red. And I’m never believable. Never. I stick to the truth–not because of my virtue (since we all know I’m usually in short supply of that) but because of my inability to fib. I’ve just never been good at it.
And even in print . . . I’m useless. Pretty much everyone guessed that number three was a lie and so it is. That whole incident did occur but it wasn’t me. It was my Sunday School teacher Rob who ended up in the hospital. I had been set up on a blind date that night and my date was apparently THRILLED to get out of having to spend the rest of the night with me and promptly volunteered to take Rob to the emergency room. I am glad they stopped spinning. I really might have thrown up. But I’ve never actually broken a bone in my life. I went back to my dorm and played idiot poker and ate chips with a bunch of my guy friends.
Blind dates suck rocks. I never really managed dating very well. I ended up arguing politics with my dates or dumping liquid in their laps (sometimes accidental, sometimes not). Since Scott was my first date and subsequent boyfriend, I’d never learned to play the dating game. I was always 100% open with my opinions because that’s how it had always been with Scott. I didn’t know how to be coy or flirty and guys didn’t like my frankness for the most part. That’s likely why I had so many friends who were guys and so few who were interested in me romantically.
And for those of you who really thought there was enough virtue to me that I would never forget my anniversary . . . thanks for the vote of confidence. Sadly, my husband will never let me live this one down. I do love him in every fathomable way. The man is perfect. I just forgot. We’d dated for several years and in my heart our anniversary will always be March 10th–the date of our first date. Even fifteen years later, I have a hard time remembering the actual wedding anniversary. I make a lousy female sometimes.
I was tagged by my good friend Carole to do this meme. The problem is I talk so much, is there really anything about me that everyone doesn’t already know???
The deal is this: I write three things that are totally true about me. Then I write a fourth that is a outright lie. Your job is to pick which is the lie.
1. In college, the roommates decided that there was way too much kissing going on from the girls on our apartment. So we had a little healthy competition to see who could hold out on kissing the longest. The first person who ended up in lip lock had to buy a Skor candy bar for every girl in the apartment, as well as a gallon of ice cream. I was determined not to lose since I was working full time just to pay for my measly meals of ramen noodles and frozen peas. I didn’t have money to fork over for candy and ice cream! But the guy I dated at the time felt pretty put out by the competition. Through the course of our date, after I proudly announced he wasn’t getting any lip action, he convinced me that it would be “funny” to have ice cream and candy bars delivered to the girls in my apartment while we listened outside the kitchen window for their reactions. He even offered to buy. I know I was getting conned into a make-out, but he was right . . . it WAS funny.
2. I forgot my first wedding anniversary and made plans for a girls night out. My husband kept telling me he was CERTAIN we had plans for that night when we going through our schedules for the week. I kept insisting he was wrong, because I’d checked my planner and there wasn’t anything written down. He finally slumped his shoulders in defeat and said, “Fine. I guess we can celebrate our anniversary some different night.”
3. I broke my wrist at a dance club when the group I was with decided to do a funky circle thing where all the guys linked arms in a circle and held the girls on their arms while they did some entirely foolhardy dance steps while spinning. (I was secretly glad to have broken the wrist since I’d have thrown up if they’d have kept spinning, and throwing up is far more embarrassing than breaking bones.)
4. In the fifth grade, my violin teacher asked me NOT to play at the Christmas performance because I was so awful. She asked me to pretend to touch the bow to the strings. I never went back to class . . . not because I was hurt or traumatized but because I knew she had an excellent point. I WAS awful.
I know I know. Halloween was a week ago and the most current post is from two weeks ago and I haven’t played anywhere in blogland for weeks. Sorry. I ran away with my husband. We went to Puerto Rico with my husband’s business and I decided NOT to take my laptop. It was strange, almost as if someone had severed a limb, to not have access to my computer and the life I live on my computer, but I managed tolerably well (as seen in photo above)
We scoured the shores for sand dollars, played in the ocean, hiked the rain forests, and swam in the waterfalls of the rain forest. Ah the bliss of listening to tree frogs sing you to sleep as the ocean waves beat a steady rhythm outside your window. I missed not having my kids there. I hate not sharing exciting things with them, but it was nice to go back to us and just being a couple for a few days.
I know I say it all the time, but I stand by my words. My husband is the sexiest man in the world.
From there we flew into LA California for my book signing at the Disneyland hotel which went fantastically! What is better than selling through a few cases of books and then going on Space Mountain afterward. Again, there was guilt for not having kids with us, but there is something to be said for roaming through the shops and spending time looking at the fine art in the galleries without hearing, “Can I have???” every two seconds. Now I’m back from paradise and trying to catch up on my kids, laundry, writing, and editing.
And I know this is wordless Wednesday but I have a hard time shutting up.