Tracy’s DELICIOUS Guacamole

I’ve really slacked off on the caption contests. My apologies. But I’m back with this GREAT picture. Thanks Jarv for taking it with your iPhone. HIS pictures are actually in focus. This is Kate. She loves her mom’s guac.

Day 4: Is there anybody out there… like me?*

Today’s “Build a Better Blog” task required me to analyze a top blog in my niche.

My niche?

Is there any other blog in the world in my niche?

I was stumped.

So instead, I started scanning through my friends’ blogs. I heart my friends. I heart their blogs. These are some of them (in random order):

Mama’s Boys – Linds and I became friends our senior year of high school, but we went to school together since kindergarten. It’s sad that we missed out on all of those years of friendship we could have had, but we made up for it, possibly all in one weekend that involved squirt guns, walkie-talkies, cell phones, undercover gang patrol cops, and an accident.

Phabulous Phippens – Mine and Karen’s friendship came and went because she came and went moving to and from Utah and always back to the same school from elementary through high school. This included a short stint in a musical, getting in trouble with the typing teacher, and attempting to sing in choir first thing in the morning. When I have kids, I’ll expect to call her frequently for advice.

Shanny’s Life – Shannon and I also went to school together since kindergarten and became almost friends in high school, but REALLY became friends as roommates our freshman year in college. That happened because I leaned over in Calculus, senior year, and said, “Hey, I need a roommate and you’re going to BYU. What’s your social security number?” (I also follow her husband, Clark’s blog, Bethletard. It’s a good one.)

The M’s – Sabrina shares her blog with her husband-how cute are they? And again, she’s a friend who I went to school with since kindergarten, but didn’t really become buds until senior year. Are we noticing a theme yet? However, we do have some moments of connection prior to that, including hiding in a garage with baby quail (sometime in 3rd grade, perhaps), and having Calculus study sessions in my basement where we rewarded ourselves with playing some type of wrestling game on the N64 after.

my little adventures… – Meghan, Meghan, bo Beghan experienced the Larrie friendship curve. This is where it takes some time before she realizes my quirks are actually endearing and then decides that we should spend Valentine’s Day eating Thai food with our Korean friend and then bake mountains of chocolate chip cookies while listening to Outkast. Can you believe they allowed such unruly behavior at BYU? Thankfully, the friendship curve doesn’t seem to be a bell curve; no sloping down yet.

Scattered Starlight – English majors UNITE! Somehow, Katie and I never got to know each other during our tenure as English majors at BYU, but we became friends afterwards, thanks to my sister-in-law, her best friend, Genny. Now we get to connect in a myriad of ways, from reading each others’ blogs to twittering back and forth or posting on each others’ Facebook walls. Yep, we’re TIGHT.

v1.2 – “Kaakun” was in a BYU ward. I have no idea how we became friends because there are many, many holes in my memory from that year of school. However, I do remember him and Rachel playing the “state game,” his commentary during mine and my roommates’ ice skating finals, and drawing on his apartment window in the middle of the night. Since then, there have been Vegas weddings, broken beds, and vomiting at Crown Burger. Sweet, sweet memories.

Family blogs: life of laina – I’m so happy my brother married Laina, for many reasons, one of which is that she blogs and it’s consistent, unlike her husband, Thane, who recently started up again on his blog, My Separate from Wife’s Blog. Nobody else in my family really blogs so I adopted my sister-in-law, Tracy’s family: Aimee, internal conversations & ramblings of aimee heffernan; Scott, Vote of Die Blog; and Ryan, The Idealistic Investor.

Tiffanie – I am a fan of our story. We met briefly during the ’99-’00 school year when she visited my roommate from Kansas. Then, I ended up in that same roommate’s wedding party where her best friend from Kansas, Tiff, did not. Seemed odd and so I was hesitant to talk to Tiff because I was the bad guy in this situation. Then, many moons later, she moved to Salt Lake and we ended up in the same singles ward. I went up to her and said, “Are you from Olathe, Kansas?” Who’s heard of Olathe and who can pronounce it right? Me. That’s who. Oh-lay-thah.

Two of my roommates who weren’t actually roommates: Nichole-The Audrey show, and Leslie-The Collyafaces. We lived next door, but both apartments got along so well, we would have knocked down the wall that separated us if we could. Now, I just stalk them via their blogs where they post pics of their adorable little girls.

A Day in the Life of Clancy – I knew Clancy when I was younger, but she was always the big sister. Instead, I spent all of my time running around with her little sister, Lacy-climbing cherry trees, rollerblading down Harrison (from 1300 E to 1100 E), doing art projects and playing Nintendo. However, today, Clancy and I go rollerblading down Harrison. Wait. No, we don’t because she doesn’t even live in Utah. Instead, we just stalk each others’ blogs and hit up the jokes on FB chat. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Norton News – Amy and I rocked the basketball court (and sometimes the bench) in high school. I miss her motivational speeches tailored just to me and my emotional rollercoaster ride that was high school sports. Then, she motivated me through a summer of door-to-door sales by sending lengthy emails. Now, she’s got an adorable little family, house, life, etc. It’s fabulous.

View from the Bushes – Every time I read the title of his blog, I think of a peeping tom. However, Ross is not… as far as I know. He’s the former coworker who I initially judged by appearance (longer hair, scraggily beard) and then got over that and realized he was an English major turned geek with the sharpest wit in the department. He moved on to bigger, better things than our web dude at work and now I have to stalk him via his blog. And we have Facebook. Too bad I only got one date with his brother-he would have been a catch.

My sister blogs. Oh wait, no, no she doesn’t, otherwise I would have included it in the family section above. But once, her roommate tried to set up a blog for the two of them: Merphanie. That lasted long. The other roommate, Kasi keeps up the blogging on her own site: Kismet of Kas. Also, I follow Martha’s blog, MOSTLY MARTHA. I’m pretty sure we’re both Mrs.-Lake-trained writers.

I know-this list is getting very long. I skipped over some people because they haven’t blog very recently. (Or because I don’t want them to know that I read their blogs regularly, mwahaha.) The rest of the blogs that I follow are written by people that I do not know… AT ALL.

Here’s a quick list of SOME of those: almost literary, Normal Mormon Husbands, The Art of Over-Thinking, Why Mormon Girls Stay Single, Lifehacker, Mashable!, Seth’s Blog, etc.

Okay, I’m tired of adding hyperlinks so you’ll just have to guess what all the other blogs are that I follow. What blogs do you follow?

*When I started typing this subject line, I was singing in my head, Pink Floyd’s Is There Anybody Out There? There’s not much to sing, though. Basically, while writing the remainder of this awesome blog post, I was repeating over and over in my head, “Hello, hello, hello” fading out.

Just Call Me Bionic (Toe) Woman

I remember the surgery.


They did give me Versed (how mean) so I don’t remember it all. And sadly, I can’t really recall quite what my toe looked like all sliced open, but I remember some. Here’s the play by play:

Walking to Foot Surgery

Obviously, I couldn’t drive home after the surgery so I didn’t want to drive to work and leave my car there. Instead, I left my domestic tank (a.k.a. Volvo) at my parents’ and my mom gave me a ride to work. In order to only take one day off, I scheduled the surgery end of day on Thursday with Friday slated for recovery. After an exciting day in the office, I left a little before 3:00 to walk over to the Orthopaedic Center. It was the last walking I would be doing for some time.

Check-in and WAIT

Why would they have a waiting room if they didn’t want you to wait? I checked in, paid my co-pay (ouch) and sat down to read the paper. The assistant who checked me in said that I would be prepped for surgery around 3, and then be in surgery from 4-5, recovering for 30 minutes after and then my ride could come. I gave them my mom’s numbers to call when I was ready to be picked up (kind of like a take-out meal). After five minutes in the waiting room, a nurse came to get me and I thought, “Great, not much waiting.” Silly me.

She brought me in to another room and told me that the surgeon was THREE HOURS BEHIND. I waited for her to laugh and say, just kidding. It wasn’t a joke. He really was behind. This required me to send texts to my mom to try and arrange another ride. They wanted a name of the person who would pick me up before I went into surgery. I guess they didn’t want to send me home with the wrong person.

The next estimate of when I’d be done and in recovery was 8:00 pm and Mom recruited Laina to pick me up.

Now that I was all gowned-up, flapping in the wind (lots of wind in surgery waiting rooms), I pulled out my crossword puzzle, of course. However, the anesthesiologist interrupted me before I had filled in more than a couple. What happened to three hours behind?

My First Ultrasound

I asked the anesthesiologist if we could just do local. Of course he said sure. I’m the patient and it’s my body, right? So we rolled into another room where he did an ultrasound on the back of my right leg (in my knee pit) in order to find the nerve leading down to my middle toe.

Silly me to have thought that they would just numb my entire foot. But, I can’t lie to you, internet. When I could still feel the inside of my ankle, I was worried that I would still feel my toe, too and then how was I supposed to hold still when they started cutting? Rest assured: I felt no cutting. They only numbed the nerves they needed to. Fancy modern medicine.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Have you ever heard that blonde joke? About the blonde (obviously) who had headphones on when she went to the doctor’s, he asked her to take them off, she warned him that it wasn’t a good idea, but did it anyway and shortly after, collapsed (or possibly died). So the doctor picks up the headphones and listens: “Breath in… breath out… breath in…”

I felt like the dumb blonde.

But it’s the fault of the anesthesiologist, right? Whatever he gave me as we were rolling into the operating room, really made me drowsy. They put the oxygen mask on me and I remember him saying a handful of times, “Keep breathing.” Apparently, being under partial anesthesia doesn’t mean your brain remembers to breathe in and out. Eventually, I came out of my stupor and could again remember on my own to keep breathing. It was at this point that I saw the monitor.

Surgery is NOT Delicate

“Hey, can I watch that?” That’s what I asked the anesthesiologist. (By the way, it’s rather annoying to keep typing that word.) He said of course and even pulled the monitor closer.

I watched my surgery, ate some popcorn and jujubes, and chatted with the numbing doctor (so much easier to type than anesthesiologist). He told me about his dog, I pointed out how well you could see the hairs growing out of the surgeon’s ears.

I remember when they took at least one picture and I’m pretty sure it was after he had cut open the toe and bent it in such a way that the bones were protruding out where there once was a joint. I’m going to ask for a copy of that picture.

I also remember the holes in the bone, but I don’t recall hearing them drill them. They did fill up with blood pretty quickly, but they soon stopped that by sticking blue titanium devices inside the holes. (I have no idea what the specific term is for a new, permanent, titanium toe, but that’s what I have.)

The surgeon had a slightly difficult time getting them to snap together, though. Okay, maybe they weren’t quite like Lego’s so they didn’t snap, but it didn’t look like it was very easy trying to hook them together. They twisted, pushed, shook my leg some, used a handful of tools, twisted some more, and eventually got the male titanium piece in the female piece. It was something to do with lining up the hexagon shape. Ask Jarv. He could probably explain it better.

I couldn’t really see when they were stitching me up because their heads were in the way so I talked with the numbing doctor about his weimaraner. (I want a dog.)

Chocolate and Recovery

They rolled me into the recovery room where the nurses were waiting.

“You’re awake?” She sounded so surprised.

“Yes, and she watched the whole thing,” the numbing doctor said, sounding proud.

And by then, I was STARVING. They brought me my stuff and I asked if I could eat the chocolates I had in my purse. So while they tried to find out who was going to pick me up, I ate chocolate-dipped pretzels.

It was just before 6:00 p.m. Remember how the previous nurse said I would be out by 8:00 p.m.? Clearly, they SUCK at time estimates. It was too early for Laina, too late for Mom and I didn’t know who to call. Thankfully, my family took care of me and eventually, Tracy was called into duty and pulled up shortly after I had changed out of my cozy little gown. Hooray for family.

Dependent on Others

The biggest thing that I learned from this (besides that watching surgery on my own toe was beyond cool) was that I’m excessively blessed with friends and family. PLUS, they’re the friends and family who pick you up, take you food, bring you movies, etc.

I started making a list of all of the things that people did for me in the last few days and realized it was getting very long and if I forgot somebody, I would feel awful. Lots of people checked in on me, gave me rides, brought/bought me food, kept me company, etc. Thank you! Thank you!

Political Link of the Day: “Does Bernanke Realize What He’s Doing?

Afraid to look passive, policy makers risk making things much much worse.

Dusting Off My Square Dancing Skills

Once upon a time*, I was going to start telling you a story about my weekend. However, I got off on the tangent from my asterisk and forgot what I was going to say. That happens OFTEN.

Let’s try again. Story may change from its original intentions.

Once upon a time, I used to sleep in, do chores, and run errands on Saturdays. This Saturday, however, none of the above happened. Instead, the day was rather jam-packed and I was happy for it (despite the fact that I have no milk or eggs in my fridge, but I do have whip cream).

The day began with soccer and the weather was practically perfect, as was the field. Sadly, my game was far from, but regardless, it was good exercise and I played a better second half. (We lost and I totally shanked a shot on goal… sad. Well, really, the saddest part is that I couldn’t play better for the Campbell cheering section which came to watch mine and Maren’s team get 2nd place in the Utah Cup. Sorry Dad, Jarv, Jennie and the kids, but thanks for coming.)

After running around in the sun for 90 minutes, I of course thought it necessary to meet up with Shawman to pump some iron. So it was off to the gym to try and convince my biceps and triceps they had the energy to lift a 20-lbs bar.

After the lifting, I rushed home to clean up and meet up with Mick, Tracy, their kids and Maren to watch a movie. And what movie do you think we went to? High School Musical 3, of course! Those kids were excited for the dancing and singing and such; I was entertained by seeing my high school on the big screen. Disney made my East High look much more school-spirit-filled than I remembered it. After the movie, and after Abe danced around in the front of the theatre, it was off to the next activity: the Fall Ball.

Here’s where the new singles ward comes into play. It was a ward activity and when I showed up, there was nowhere to park so I had to back out of the parking lot and park on the street. When I walked into the park pavilion, they were sweeping it up after having pushed all the tables out of the way and an older gentleman was standing with a mic in hand, prepared to begin calling some square dancing.

When was the last time you square danced**?

Let the young single adult square dancing begin. I felt like a hand-holding slut. (This is where I was going to tell you the number of guys that I held hands with as I skipped around promenading home and such, but I have no idea… maybe 30.) For the most part, there was minimal stepping on feet, nobody fell down and everybody learned how to “go into the center with a whoop and a holler.”

Did I mention that it was a good way to meet many more of the guys in my ward? Now if only I could remember all of their names. I’ll get there… eventually.

It was an hour of dosados, allemande lefts, courtesy turns, promenading and grand squares. Turns out, it was a fairly decent workout as well. I almost broke a sweat.

Sadly, when they were preparing the dutch ovens to make cobblers, I had to leave to make it to an indoor soccer game (where I only scored once so it was not one of my better soccer days all around).

Thankfully, due to circumstances beyond both mine and the guy’s control, the date I had for that night had to be rescheduled. I went home and stretched my muscles.

So aren’t you proud of me for trying something new? Well, something fairly new as I hadn’t squared danced for many moons… (and thanks to Mademoiselle Drew for letting me borrow the use of asterisks for side notes from her blog style).

Political Link of the Day: McCain gives Obama a new nickname, Barack the Redistributor

*Once I asked an ex-relationship a question. It was my attempt to get some conversation out of somebody who seemed to have decided not to talk to me for a very long weekend playing tourist in a big city. I simply asked him, “Tell me a story from your mission and start with, ‘once upon a time.’” Don’t YOU think that’s a good question to hopefully hear an interesting story? Well, I did. But, ex-relationship did NOT. Instead, he chose not to answer me and later said something along the lines of, “Well, you have to ask more specific questions.” I didn’t realize that regular old conversation between adults was governed by such a particular rule. How have I ever managed to carry on conversations with people and not necessarily followed this? You’re probably appalled now.

**Third grade with Doug Bodell. I should iSearch him and see if I can online stalk him; he was my third grade crush.

Weekend Highlights – Late Night Movies, Late Night Soccer and Nothing Early Morning

Friday: I survived work. It was one of those weeks where this was a MIGHTY accomplishment. Go me. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do that night, though. There had been a possibility of a gaggle of girls at my place, but that fell through because of my inability to actually call anyone. I blame that on my phone dying and the need to break in my new phone before making massive amounts of phone calls. Then there was a possibility of a sleepover with the nieces, but that also fell through. It was also possible that I would watch Jarv’s and Jennie’s kids for them, but they recruited Laina to help out (who has WAY more patience than I do so I’m sure none of the kids were sent to sit in the corner in the garage for time out—wait, I would NEVER do that; they just sit in the corner of the LAUNDRY room, better).

Instead, I coerced my coworker to bring her HUGE deli sandwich left over from lunch over so we could save money on dinner. She came with her daughter who gave the cats a workout chasing after toys. She also took videos on her mom’s cell phone of my ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS cats playing with these toys and sent them to my phone. Cute, right?

After they left, I sat around for a while watching TV and could have taken the opportunity to go to bed early, but that right there would be proof enough that THE END OF DAYS WERE NEAR. Instead, I crashed the little party at Pete’s and G’s where I remembered that I’m mad at my brother for moving out of state and taking his wife with him. Grrr. We semi-watched Enchanted, but I kept on getting up to go and check out things like Pete’s new GPS device, Pete’s and G’s new fireplace, and of course to discuss finances with Pete.

I got home late. (Surprise.)

Saturday: I got up around 9:30, had some quick breakfast and then dressed up for Laurie’s funeral. It was good to see so many people there to pay her respect and offer support to her family. Also, I had NO clue that this friend of mine had an affinity for mooning people. I think if I had found that out while she was still alive, I probably would have found out by experiencing it. The stories were funny enough.

After the funeral: errands. Being an adult is über exciting.

Then it was off to Mick and Tracy’s to watch their brood of five. After pizza, a movie and starting a rock band which performed on Emma’s bed, they all fell asleep just in time for my Mom to come and relieve me at 11:00 p.m. to race to my soccer game.

I LOVE the late, late soccer games. If I didn’t have to sleep, I would run around ALL NIGHT LONG because I have the energy to do it. (Except that lately, my lungs haven’t been cooperating so well, but oh well. Must be getting OLD.) We crushed the other team and I had two easy goals in the process. Thanks Mom for your help!

Sunday: I have my new ward so FOOLED. They think I can sing. Well, okay, I CAN sing, but that really just involves me being able to read music and sing on tune. That doesn’t say anything about the tone of my voice. I AM NOT A SOLOIST. And YET… I am singing a solo next week in church. Permission to laugh now. I know, seriously. I fit just fine in a choir, but our ward choir director asked me to sing the last line of the hymn ALL BY MYSELF. I said sure, because, hey maybe somebody will come up and talk to me afterwards.

Somebody: “That sure was brave of you to sing that solo.”

Me: “Why thank you.”

Somebody: “I hope they don’t ask you to do it again. But it WAS brave.”

Me: “Right… what’s your name?”

After church, it was dinner at the parents’ and a little celebration for Thane’s birthday. This is my cool little brother who used to wear TONS of BYU paraphernalia. That used to be our bond—the cougar fans in the Campbell clan. But his blood eventually turned red and we only had our baby pictures left to bond (and fight) over. So instead, he let me play soccer with him. I suddenly realized that my cool brother was also NICE because he was willing to put up with me on the field.

We then finished out the weekend by watching Step Up 2 at Ster’s. Talk about QUALITY entertainment.

I went home that night and had an Epsom salt bath while I drank chamomile tea and read a book. I AM LIVING THE LIFE.