Author: larrie269

Will somebody drive to Kamas and buy me some donuts?


I wrote this as an attempt to get a job with a magazine as their humor columnist. I didn’t get the job. It was good times trying, though. Now, you can hear my story. It’s from last summer, up in Park City, so I get to include the video Google made for me from my cell phone media. Enjoy.

The fritter mission: unaccomplished

I couldn’t be interrupted. Not for a poopy diaper. Not for fighting kids. Not for spilled milk. Not for a few minutes. I was on Instagram. You can’t be interrupted when doing that. If you look away for a few seconds, it races you back to the top of your feed. Who designed that user experience?

While my two kiddos bickered and argued about who got to help Daniel Tiger go potty on the Kindle game, I double-tapped on all of my friends’ pictures of their kids. Like. Like. Like.

And then.

And then this delectable picture slid up into my view. Oh. My. Donuts!

I was hungry. Dinner waited for me to put down my phone and begin assembling a Pinterest-inspired Instant Pot Martha Stewart or Paula Deen or Anthony Bourdain or Lion House rolls copycat recipe.

Donuts looked so much better. Especially these donuts. The social media post was spot on: it highlighted the sticky sugar coating on the top of the fritter, with frosted and maple donuts tucked into the corners, and the caption was short and sweet: “The best donuts and hot fritters from the Chevron in small town, USA.”

The fritter filled more than half of the donut box.

Yeah. I could eat that for dinner. I had to go. I clicked on the location tagged in the picture.

These are REALLY from a Chevron?

I could get some donuts with my Techron?

I scanned over the comments on the post and made note of several important details: one person said they went and the donuts were sold out; the fritters are as big as a dinner plate; the locals want to keep it a secret.

The secret was out.

Do you ever fall victim to the mistake of browsing social media when hungry? I am an accomplished dessert-pinner between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon. The location of the donuts was problematic for me. It wasn’t because it was at a Chevron. I’m what you might call a Chevron fan girl. I know. You didn’t think that was a thing. It is. I’m one. My mom is one. It’s that Techron, you see. According to my wise mother: a reputable consumer product ratings magazine declared that Techron was a legit additive that truly did clean your engine when you used it. I often passed gas station after gas station to arrive at a particular Chevron, whip out my blue gas card, and fill ‘er up.

The problem for me was that the Chevron was located in Kamas. Trusty ol’ Google maps informed me that it was a 59 minute drive to purchase the sugary goodness of those small-meteor-sized fritters.

For some people, an hour in the car is their typical one-way commute.

I was once one of those people.

Now, an hour in the car means trouble because my world revolves around the sacred nap.

I’m THAT parent.

Don’t interrupt my toddler’s nap. Do you want to know the last people to knock on my front door during nap time? Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I decided to make the donut trek late in the afternoon after a day at the lake. Donuts post swimming and boating sounds like the best way to refuel. And I could do it while simultaneously fueling my SUV with Techron. Everyone wins.

I was with family at Rockport Reservoir, which, by the way, is a hidden gem on the Weber River, named after the town of Rockport: a town it completely submerged when it was created by the Wanship Dam. (Insert bad joke about being underwater on your mortgage here.) Shortly after lunch on the beach, I loaded up my four-year old and one-year old in my soon-to-need-gas SUV. We took a scenic drive to get there, traveling along Highway 32, through Peoa and Oakley before rolling into Kamas. My toddler fell asleep at the beginning of the drive.

“Let her keep sleeping,” I whisper-commanded my four-year old. He nodded and grabbed the sleep sheep to turn on some white noise. (I buy ALL the sleep products. Because nap time is sacred.)

“There it is, mom,” son announced, pointing not at the distant Chevron we were approaching, but at the red dot on the Google Maps app on my phone.

It was 3:00 in the afternoon. Could there be any donuts left?

We filled the car with Techron, then went inside for donuts.

I looked around for the donut case.

They didn’t have a case.

They had a wall.

A donut-display wall: four doors of five shelves with trays filled with donuts, bars, fritters, bagels, and brownies.

They HAD BEEN filled.

At 3:00 in the afternoon on a Wednesday, only a few brownies remained.

Not a single fritter.

Not one maple bar.

Not even a plain ol’ glazed donut.

“Where are the donuts, mom?” my son asked.

“They’re all gone, buddy.”

I told him I was sorry. I was sorry for myself.

I felt tricked. I’d been caught by a social media phishing scam! I’d seen pictures of donuts. Delicious donuts. Giant donuts. Calories-for-days donuts. Maybe they HAD been a trick! A gimmick! A carefully crafted hook to convince me to drive to the small town, nestled in a nook of the Uinta Mountains. Once there, I’d bought their Techron gas. And I’d used precious nap time to drive there!

It was a long, quiet drive back, without anything frosted in maple. Without anything that rhymes with twitter. Maybe I should stick to thumbing through Twitter before dinner time anyway. I have yet to get swept up in a futile mission to buy donuts while reading through Tweets.

Unless the Kamas Chevron has an account…

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Grit and authenticity #yearofbeautiful


The culture of the Carlquists is grit.

Carl Arvid Carlquist was born in Sweden in 1857. He moved to Utah, raised his family here, had a son, Carl, who had a daughter, Edith, and she is my Grandma DeeDee.

I am a Carlquist.

From Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, she says the following. “If you want to be grittier, find a gritty culture and join it.”

Or be born into it. I was born into the gritty, Carlquist culture.

It’s about the team you are on. Duckworth explained further in her book that excelling athletes need talent, hours, and correct practicing to become the best. But they also needed one more thing: they needed to be on a great team.

I tried out for my first competition soccer team when I was in elementary school. I think most of the girls there made the team. It wasn’t very hard to be a girl playing soccer in the late ’80s. I remember my freshman basketball tryouts and how we were running drills and it was packed, getting all of those girls, hoping for maybe 20 spots on the team, to line up together and start sprinting up and down the court. The coach had a lot of people to cut.

Great teams have tryouts. They cut people that won’t excel in their culture.

And the great players that make it, are what make the team great.

The sociologist, Dan Chambliss said it this way: “There’s a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity–the basic human drive to fit in–because if you’re around a lot of people who are gritty, you’re going to act grittier.”

Now, let me bring this back around to the Carlquists. As I said, Grandma DeeDee is a Carlquist. A few weeks ago, after finishing up a piano lesson with Dom, she started telling me about the recent projects she had finished in her garden and what was next on her list. Then she told me that she has a very specific goal lately: “to have more grit.”

MORE grit.

She’s 99. She has about 20 piano students each week. She puts in hour after hour of hard work in her garden each week. She plays the piano for the children in church. She does the crossword. She hosted a dinner with friends at her home recently and made several wreaths and decorations from flowers she’d picked from her garden and carefully dried. She’s doing all this while she’s going blind and has lost much of her hearing. And she feels crippled by arthritis.

She wants to have more grit.

She exudes grit. I have grown up around her and the Carlquist culture. It’s the grittiest. I have heard family stories of grit and witnessed it myself.

With that said, and with that history of a PART of my family history that is gritty (I have so many examples), here are three ways that I could work to be more gritty, myself:

  1. Have a growth mindset. This one is included in Duckworth’s TED talk and it “is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed… can change with your effort.” Failure doesn’t stop you. Grandma DeeDee calls her backyard the garden of her mistakes. I told her, once, that I’ve had a lot of failures figuring out how to garden. She laughed. She has failures every year. “That plant just doesn’t like that spot,” she said. “So you move it or you pull it out and throw the dead thing away.” You do something different next time.
  2. Pursue your passion. Lots of things I’ve read online have impressed on me that having grit doesn’t just mean that you’re tough. It means that you push through and hold true to your end goal. So you have to have an end goal to begin with. And then, you need to have the passion to get there if you’re going to overcome the potholes on the way. Grandma didn’t marry young. She finished her degree at the University of Utah and went on to Columbia Teacher’s College for her master’s. She lived in New York then went to San Francisco to serve an LDS mission. When she did marry, she was passionate about raising a family, fighting through eight pregnancies where she was sick the entire time. I have had two pregnancies, sick the entire time through both, and it felt eternal to me. With both pregnancies, I reached a point where I hit a wall of depression and unfounded realization that I would feel like this for the rest of my life. I couldn’t convince myself that it was temporary even though I knew it would be gone once the baby was born. I could never imagine doing that eight times. Grandma was passionate about having children. She pursued it and raised bright, talented, loving, and gritty kids.
  3. Authenticity matters. This is the part that brings me to my #yearofbeautiful initiative. How can I live more authentically? How does this tie to grit? Well, let’s imagine that you’re pursuing a goal and you’re determined to stick with it, no matter what. Because grit. But, as you get further along, you realize that your goal does not align with your inner values. Do you then keep your rigid determination to follow through? Do you ignore at what cost you must do that? That doesn’t sound fulfilling for me and I’ve found an article that lists many studies that found that it matters MORE if you can be both persistent, and authentic when creating your goals. From that article, they defined a three-part measure for authenticity: living in accordance with your values and beliefs; staying in touch with the ‘real you’; and not feeling the need to always do what others expect of you. My Grandaddy was in a hospital when my Grandma was younger and taking care of her little kids. He was in a hospital for mental instabilities. And he wasn’t getting out. So Grandma went down there and brought him home, determined to help him and take care of him, in addition to caring for her own small kids and her two step kids. She didn’t care what others thought about her going and doing this. She wanted her husband around. And she believed that she could help and take care of him. And she did. He got better. They worked hard. They raised their family. This story is authentic.

Understanding both grit and authenticity feels like understanding the entirety of an iceberg to me. I have a glimpse of the surface. I haven’t even walked on it yet, let alone, been beneath the icy waters to see the full size of it.

Tell me, please: have you found podcasts, blogs, books, or TED talks that have given you more insight into both grit and authenticity? What are they?

 

Connecting with others by asking, “How do you spend most of your time?” #yearofbeautiful


I thrive off of connecting with people so a big part of my #yearofbeautiful initiative is doing this better. It’s my third item (of 3) on my list: “I will strengthen my connection with others.”

I find, often (especially since joining the SAHM world), that I don’t know how to ask if a new person works, stays home with kids, or what. Do you tend to fall back on the question… “What do you do?”

And have you always had good responses to that question?

Here’s how my conversation sometimes goes down (and down and down, depending):

“Hey, new person,” I say. “So, what do you do?”

New woman stares at me. She stares at her feet.

I am awkward. It’s not a feeling. It’s a state. I am in the state of awkward.

It’s like that time I asked a coworker if he was feeling okay and he was and then he wanted to know why I thought he was sick.

New person finally answers. “Well,” she says, “I’m just…”

And there it is.

The “JUST”.

She’s just doing something that she doesn’t think will impress me. She’s just at home. She’s just working a lot. She’s just putting her kids in daycare. She’s just home cleaning up toys. She’s just in school. She’s just trying to find a job. She’s just not in school without a job. She’s just homeschooling. She’s just on the school board, running her own business, and driving her high-achieving kids to all of their activities.

Back in the day–before I had kiddos, before I met my husband, before I had a titanium toe–I listened to an audio book. I would go on audio-book kicks, see. I’d check them out from the library and then, while driving to and from work, it was me and the audio book. I always picked nonfiction. It was a great way to learn tidbits about new things. I learned about Yellowstone, Buddhism, Outliers, and being “normal” in social situations, from the book, How to Talk to Anyone.

I wonder how well I learned that last one. (Me and my awkward states of being.)

In that book, there was a section that talked about saying something different, something better, than “So what do you do?”

BUT I COULDN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS!

I blame children.

Memory… post babies… what’s that?

I kept thinking that I would need to revisit that audio book to recall what I should say to people. But then… this week, guess what I found?

A YOUTUBE VIDEO!

I know. I’m shouting.

But guess what? Some kind soul summarized the points from this book and made it visually appealing. Three cheers for that YouTube great. Woot woot woot.

After all of these years, I finally have the “better” question to ask.

Ready for it?

Here it is. (In case you didn’t already realize that IT’S IN THE POST TITLE.)

“How do you spend most of your time?”

Want to know how I would answer?

I spend most of my time doing so many things, from potty training my daughter, to pushing my son on the big ol’ backyard tree swing, to filming them both perform their bedtime ballet tonight, to throwing dinner in the crockpot in the morning so it was waiting when we came home from piano followed by a gym class, to helping put kids to bed, to ending the night with writing work and watching some random TV show.

What about you?

How do you spend most of your time?

daily habit tracker to feel more confident – #yearofbeautiful


daily-habit-tracker

It’s time to get back on track with my #yearofbeautiful initiative, and this time, I’m working on my goal of FEELING more confident. To do this, I wanted a visual that shows areas where I rock. It will also show areas where I am skipping out so I’m hoping that means if I’m not feeling confident, I’ll get an idea of areas where I could spend a little more time. The visual I drew up today is in my bullet journal (a recent trend in organizing your life and journaling based on this website): Larrie’s daily habit tracker. There are many versions online of something similar or with varying ways to draw it up. In fact, you can even hit up Etsy and purchase designs done by really professional folks. Mine is simply sketched in my little journal with a number of things that I’d like to work on for myself. You can see them all on my rad picture above. I know. So rad. My items fall into four categories:

  1. Personal health: yoga, sleep, water, less sugar, and exercise
  2. Spiritual health: gratitude (#3goodthings tweets), reading, prayers, and temple
  3. Work: monthly projects, freelance projects
  4. Fun: instagram posts, sending birthday cards, doodling, and piano (is that fun?!)

I’m hoping that by the end of the month, there will be a good amount of the squares filled in, but I’m not demanding it. Certainly, some of those items are not daily necessities, though some, I really would like to become such. Maybe, by the end, it will be a gradient going from blank to lots and lots of turquoise. Bring on the turquoise!

How it works (for those that would like a brief explanation):

  1. I have one page in my bullet journal dedicated to September’s daily habits and I’ve entered it on my index page.
  2. I have a list, going down the page, of the items from each of my four areas above.
  3. I have the numbers going across the page for each day of the month.
  4. Using a ruler (let’s look neat here, folks), I drew the outline of my grid.
  5. The dots in my journal create the rest of the grid.
  6. I fill in each square for the item I did on the corresponding day of the month.

What items would you put on your daily habits list? Would you feel motivated by something like this, or overwhelmed?

And as a reminder, here are the past thoughts and posts about my #yearofbeautiful efforts:

Writing, then forgetting, then finding it again…


I have found my own words, in writing, without memory of writing them.

The first time I can remember this happening was when I was first home from a summer of door-to-door sales. I opened up a tape recorder (because it was the year 2000, yo) to replace the batteries and found a tiny, folded note inside. It was my handwriting. I didn’t remember writing the note.

A few years later, I found a folded up note in my bedroom, tucked under my PC keyboard. I unfolded it to find a poem inside. It was my handwriting. I didn’t remember writing the poem.

This evening, I noticed that there was a draft sitting in my blog posts, unpublished.

“Hmm, what’s this?” I thought.

I opened it. I began reading.

Obviously, I can’t tell if it’s my handwriting, but as I have not given anybody else access nor told anyone the password to my blog dashboard, who else could be composing drafts in The Sciolist?

Was it you?!

Anyway, the draft post is below.

What do you make of it?

I don’t remember writing it. I don’t remember its purpose. It doesn’t seem to have a direction.

Have you ever had an experience like this (or perhaps, multiple experiences?!)?

Do you find record of your past self that you don’t recall?


“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair. That’s the secretive way. That’s probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They do it by prearrangement with themselves. They do it as a debt of honor. They tell stories that come through them, one day at a time, little by little.”

“Just take it bird by bird.” (referencing her dad teaching her brother how to

“If you don’t know where to start, remember that every single thing that happened to you is yours and you get to tell it. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

“You’re going to feel like hell if you wake up some day and you never wrote the stuff that is tugging at the sleeves of your heart: your stories, memories, visions, and songs; your truth, your version of things, in your own voice. That’s really all you have to offer us and that’s also why you were born.”

Families

Families are hard hard hard no matter how cherished and astonishing they may be.

In all cases that any of us, specifically, were conceived and born. Earth is forgiveness school. It begins with forgiving yourself and then you might as well start at the dinner table.

3 mom myths that fuel my “mommy guilt”


Fake news.

Do you see that phrase often enough these days? I think it’s an outcome of one of the biggest issues we face today: misinformation.

“Beware of the person who can’t be bothered by details,” said William Feather. (Cool name, huh? Bill Feather.)

I’m sure each industry is ripe with misconceptions that are upheld by emotions, personal beliefs, and misinformation. Well, I want to argue that the SAHM industry is also ripe with such misinformation. We don’t know (or care to know) the facts sometimes.

I totally did that with sleep. Initially, I read the baby sleep books, but do you know what happened? My kid did not cooperate with what the book said he should be doing. How rude! Eventually, I had to stop reading the books. I only wanted to read the books that told me exactly what I wanted to hear. If there are facts and statistics about raising kids, I only want to hear the ones that support the things I’m already doing. I only want to hear: “you’re doing this perfectly; you go girl.”

Even with my attempts to ignore literature about the things I don’t do for my kids, my own brain more than makes up for it. My brain likes to remind me of all of my short comings and when it does, I create “mommy guilt” about it. These are based off of emotions, personal belief, and misinformation, instead of something concrete.

With that in mind, here is my list of three things I’ve realized I create “mommy guilt” around. Sometimes, writing them down is good help, or at least good therapy!

  1. Other moms always like their kids. When I look out my windows over to the homes where I know other moms are spending time with their kids, I picture perfect little meals, clean kitchens, organized play rooms, and not-smelling-like-diapers garbage cans. Those moms love and adore every moment with their sweet, little kiddies. Every. Moment. Even the moments when they refuse to nap or they wake during the night for mysterious reasons or they have the worst poopy diaper two minutes before you need to get out the door for an appointment. When I am frustrated about the emotional ups and downs or dealing with a toddler and preschooler all day, I guilt myself for not looking past it all because these small human beings carry my genes. I guilt myself for not living up to the mythical images in my head of my perfect neighbors. I also wonder how in the world those neighbors get the stinky smell out of the diaper garbage cans! Seriously.
  2. Other moms spend a lot of times with their kids–on the floor, even. As I type this, Gabs is taking her nap and Dom is playing on his Kindle. By his self. He watches shows on that without me. He plays games on his own. He tells me about them and I sometimes listen. Do you know what’s happening in my mythical images of the other moms? They’re sitting with their sweet offspring while watching one single episode of Daniel Tiger and they’re talking about the messages of the show. Also, they’ve somehow managed to clean up lunch, put away toys, and fold laundry without taking away from any bonding time. Then, when that one show is over, they get down on the floor with their kids to build trains, pretend with dolls, read stories, draw pictures, and make messes (which will be cleaned up together in a really fun clean up game where the kid learns to pick up after themselves). None of those moms are trying to come up with games that will convince their kids to walk on their back (massage!) or pretend it’s mommy’s nap time, or just play on their own so I can go to the bathroom. Actually, I’m honestly not sure when those other moms use the potty. Probably after bedtime. And only then.
  3. Other moms have it all perfectly balanced. Both of my above points already touched on this part of the mythical image: other moms manage to scrub their bathrooms with bleach, keep the floor under the dining table swept and mopped, workout so they’re back to pre-baby weight, teach their kids discipline while also playing their favorite games with them, and get their own jobs done (whether it’s work or a hobby or church stuff). I, on the other hand, choose to ignore all of the other options on the list each time I focus on one item. For instance: as I write to get some work done, there are probably mountains of Ritz-crack crumbs piled under the table, rings as many and varied as Saturn developing within the toilet bowls, fat cells growing and expanding (but only around my waist!) within my body, and a tablet/screen is raising my kid. But I wrote some blog posts about cyber security and risk management! Oooo.

What would you put on your list? What misinformation do you feed yourself about the mythical perfect moms (or dads) living around you?

Here’s what I’m trying to do to fight the SAHM fake news in my head: recognize my own limitations.

Also, I have some pretty good tribes around for support.

I just asked Dom what game he’s playing on his tablet: chess.

Ha!

trying to overcome my blog burnout


blogALLthethings

I haven’t posted here for nearing three months.

That’s not to say that I haven’t written. Oh, I’ve written. I’ve written blogs and blogs. Blogs upon blogs. At least, it feels like oodles of blogs. It’s content that may not entice you. Would you read an article on how VPNs protect you from DDoS or the 7 benefits of open-source software?

I’m experiencing blog burnout, it seems.

I spend my blogging energy on articles such as those mentioned above and neglect this poor blog.

I read an article on Harvard Business Review about bracing yourself to deal with burnout better. From that, I personalized their suggestions and made them apply to me and this here blog. I only snagged a few of them as half of it wasn’t applicable to me. Here you go:

  • Don’t make these blog posts more than they have to be. I often avoid posting or finalizing or even starting a post unless I have an idea of a doodle to go with it as well. Posts need images, right? I mean, every post I write for the above mentioned small businesses have stock photos to go right along with them and, come on, people: we’ve all seen Pinterest and it’s image-driven content. How will people ever share my superb writing if I don’t make a pinterestable graphic to accompany it?
  • Figure out where to go to ask for help. I spend a lot of time perusing Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and specific news sites to find ideas for content for paid blogs. I don’t spend time searching for content for this blog. I don’t know where to go to find it. In the past, it simply came from living my life. That doesn’t seem to inspire me lately. Where should I look?
  • Share other content. Sometimes, coming up with my own, individual spin on something feels too tiring after all of the hours spent writing marketable content. I want to write for ME but there usually isn’t time. I do come across cool stuff, though, that I often share on Twitter. (Look, if you don’t follow me there, I’m not gonna lie: you’re missing out on some good stuff. Seriously, yo.) Perhaps I should start sharing those here, too?

So this became a rambling, thinking-out-loud kind of post about how to breathe some life back into my blog. I haven’t figured it out yet. Any suggestions?