10.29.2009

Some Kind Of Deep (And Some Not So Much)


I have come to the conclusion that I must finally invent a back tickling machine.

I would call my great invention the "Tickle-O-Matic." It would have three settings and rechargeable batteries and would make rain sounds with the touch of a button. It would not complain about how often it was used and for how long, and it would NOT pretend to fall asleep. I am pretty sure I could make a million bucks.

But I was not thinking about back tickles tonight when The Holbs showed up all dandy in his missionary duds for a Young Mens Mission Prep activity. I was thinking about gratitude journals, now that you mention it, and then there was The Holbs, all cute wearing a suit and his old beat up name tags.

Hello, Sister Holbrook! he said with his missionary grin. Have you heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? His handshake was extra firm and it was so weird seeing my husband as a nineteen-year-old missionary that my mind immediately went to its dirty place.

I haven't, Elder, I said, eyelashes cocked and loaded. Maybe you could come over some time and tell me about it. Eyebrows wagging.

Uhh he said, not following.

Keep that nametag handy for later tonight! I winked.

INAPPROPRIATE, SISTER HOLBROOK! The Holbs shouted on his way to his car.

(We don't drive to mutual together in the same car. Are you kidding me? How would I make my quick escape then? On Mutual nights after 8:15 the treats arrive and I turn into a pumpkin, and that's the cold hard truth.)

Later that night with a freshly washed face I started thinking about what it would be like to be pregnant and get fat. I was even thinking it sounded a little scary! The heart burn, the nausea. Yuck. And then I decided right then and there, sitting in my studio, that I was going to be different. I mean, not that I'd be different. I'd be miserable, to be sure, but I'd made the decision now, and once I decide on something, look out! I decided I'd love it on purpose.

And then in the middle of that I stopped and went, Hey Wait A Minute. Why haven't I done this by now anyway? I am not infertile, clinically I am "impatient," but I hate it. Some days I think about the trials in my life and I am certain that it is the rudest trick anyone has ever played on anybody. I am a mother with nothing to mother but a couple a dogs. And sometimes I just get so down on it all. Why me, blah blah blah, woe and tragedy and stuff. Can't somebody just buy me a flapping baby already? Follow me here people, I am coming to something big. I sat there at my desk staring off into space, letting the ridiculousness of it sink in. This whining is just not the me I want me to be.

So I've decided: I will love this. From here on out I will love this time in my life. I will love it because I want to!

Here, hang on, I have to shout it:
 I WILL LOVE THIS, DAMN IT!

What else am I gonna do here? Be miserable?

There. That's more like it.

10.28.2009

Encampment

I am writing to you tonight from Fort Holbrook.
Fort Holbrook is a magical place! Fort Holbrook is the four foot radius extending from the ceramic space heater in the living room to the end tables by the couch.

At night we congregate here, two humans, a Scottie, and a woolly mammoth of an un-groomed Wire Fox Terrier, and also the woolly mammoth's baby, a stuffed dog named Rex. We wedge ourselves into this tiny corner of the house in our pjs and stockings and battle for floor space among elbows and knees and furry wet noses. The prime spot is close enough to the space heater that you feel toasty without singeing your whiskers off.

Back tickles at Fort Holbrook would be very nice indeed but I don't get my hopes up, because life can be cruel.

While encamping at Fort Holbrook we surf the Internet, sigh tired doggie sighs, play Settlers online against robots, and see how long we can stand having our personal space bubbles invaded. We really are quite the happening people.

It is important for people to have forts I think. Once I came home from work to find a Peter Pan fort on the bed. He had put together a giant nest of pillows and blankets and every stuffed animal he had ever loved in his pathetic little life. When I discovered Peter Pan in his fort that day he was out cold, strewn over stuffed turtles and teddy bears in total doggy exhaustion. I thought it looked pretty much like the epitome of what I hoped to do when I grew up.

My fort needs a good Internet connection, thick socks, a cold can of Diet Coke, and lots of space for daydreams. And white Christmas lights.

The Holbs likes a strong heat source, a blanket, and a dog (the smellier the better).

Let's all build us some forts tonight, shall we?

10.27.2009

An Assortment Of Thoughts For A Tuesday


I have an intrepid blogging team. My blogging team is made up of me, Peter Pan, and The Holbs. Me because I write it (obvs), Peter Pan because he stares at me while I type, and The Holbs because once I have posted I shout It's up! and then The Holbstar reads it from the front part of the house while I wait anxiously from the back part of the house for news on whether it will do. Then The Holbs says Not bad! or Could be better! or sometimes all I get is Uhhhhh and that is when I know my post has gotten too long, because The Holbs is famous in our house for not reading things I write that get past three paragraphs.

Usually my blogging team is like unto a well-oiled machine, but only lately The Holbs has been eyeing my blog like an eagle eyes a mouse in a field. Did you get any new comments? he asks, like, all day. On the plus side, The Holbsabomber no longer has plans to explode up the Internet, but the pressure! You are called Nat The Rat but there aren't actually any rats on your blog, he says, frowning, and, Are you losing followers?

On Friday it got to be too much, and I unceremoniously kicked him off the team, just like that, don't let the door hit you and et cetera. So now I have an opening in my blog board of trustees. Would you care to apply?
Duties: Read my grossly exaggerated missives on life once I post them and then tell me if it is a.) sucky, b.) not-so-sucky, c.) not silly enough.

Requirements: Ability to coat the horrible truth in a nice dusting of vanilla sugar, lift and carry 25 lbs and stand for long periods of time, are really good at tickling my back, have red hair, and a devilishly handsome smile.
Speaking of The Holbs, the other night The Holbs went to bed with an unopened can of Rockstar by his head, the memory of which has made me giggle all day. This is all because The Holbstar takes his calling in the Young Mens program seriously, and in an effort to "get into the heads" of the youth in his jurisdiction he has decided to watch this show Avatar that all the 14-year-old boys are raving on about.

In the interest of honesty I should report that it is basically Captain Planet, and is as such pretty stupid in various ways, and so from time to time I will listen in just to come up with obnoxious things to shout out. There are approximately thirty zillion episodes to sit through and so most nights The Holbs is watching and I am heckling until well past midnight. Suddenly now we are all part-Vampire around here, what with the nighttime activities and the aversion to sunlight and an inability to make it to early morning activities (not to mention all of the sparkling and dazzling I do anyway on a daily basis).

Last night we finished the final episode around 1:30 and I didn't fall asleep until well past 3:00, only to be awakened at 4:00 by Barney barfing in the living room.

 Which is really neither here nor there.

The end.

10.26.2009

Limbo


The Holbs checks on me all day with expectant eyes, as if I were a loaf of bread rising.

Well?? he asks with upward eyebrows.

I'm not not pregnant, I answer, wishing it so hard I can feel it in my toes.

Neither/nor. I am not anything, but I am also not nothing. Conception lingo, that fuzzy space between a late period and a positive test. I have yet to be told yes, however I have also yet to be told no. I am Late. All I can do is wait. And try not to get my tender hopes up.

At dinner I expect it to come. I tell myself it is inevitable. I convince myself I feel a cramp, to lessen the blow. But it still doesn't come. A small victory? I smile though I don't mean to. Too soon, I tell myself.

In the morning I hold my breath. Still, somehow, miraculously, nothing. I exhale but not with relief. Limbo is lame. Impatience is growing. I am pretty sure that is all that is growing. I wonder how I got to be so pessimistic.

Evening comes and nothing has changed. I consult Google. I inspect for symptoms. I interrogate the usual suspects, no one is divulging. But my head hurts something righteous. Master my headache is raging. Has that got anything to do with anything? Hmm? Instinct tells me most likely . . . not. Google confirms. I let myself imagine maybe, even though it's fruitless.

Day four turns to five. Tests are now telling me no but time says differently. A tiny flutter of hope is implanted and begins to grow. I count forward months, just to see. The timing seems dreadful yet also blissfully perfect. I review my running list of baby names. I know this will only hurt more but then I also know it would be impossible to make it hurt less, so with caution thrown forcefully into the wind I forge ahead.

I call my mother. If anyone can know, she will. Well, how do you feel? she asks, ready to diagnose. Forgetful, I answer. She laughs. You don't sound pregnant. I know she is right. I don't sound pregnant, and I don't feel pregnant either.

And on the sixth day it comes.

It always comes.

And I start counting again.

10.23.2009

Running Down A Dream


There is this house in town that I have fallen hard for. It is an old farmhouse on D Street entirely secluded and dwarfed behind weeping willows and tall green fir trees, the kind of fir trees where house fairies and wood nymphs and toadstools live. The roof is a steep A-line covered in moss and pine needles. The side entrance into the kitchen is a charming dutch door, a broom propped up against the frame. The front door is cherry red. Fallen leaves clutter the porch and inside a warm lamp glows. I'm fairly certain it smells like fresh bread inside. Fresh bread and lemon wood polish. Next to the house there is a stable and inside live three friendly old horses who clomp out to the fence to say hello to the passing school kids. In the winding driveway between the stable and the farmhouse live a barn cat and a baby blue Chevy pickup who has seen better days. Behind the house is a giant, grassy field. At night the tame neighborhood cats slip away from their cushy homes to become wild tigers there, prowling for mice in the moonlight.

This little house lives on my usual running path and so I pass it up to four times a week. I always look forward to seeing it and sometimes when I feel like I'm getting tired I use the house as motivation. Once I get to this house I let myself stop and walk slowly, to catch my breath and drink it all in.

Today as I headed out my front door to run the clouds gathered ominously and the air turned to chill. By the time I reached my farmhouse in the trees the rain had found a steady rhythm and beads were collecting on my forearms. I slowed to my usual walk at the pasture gate and then stopped for a minute to tie my shoe and watch my breath collect in the air before me. The white horse slowly made his way out of his warm stable to say hello, and as I reached through the fence to stroke his velvety nose I could suddenly see it all as if it were very real.

A house dress, hunter green wellies, thick wooly socks and a sweater coat,
out to feed the chickens and collect the eggs,
the barn cat coiling around my feet.

A fire burning in the farmhouse fireplace,
smoke billowing out into the wet early morning air,
the day's fresh bread baking in the oven,
home-canned preserves and sweet butter.

Long runs and quiet evenings,
a baby on my hip,
soothing and shushing and rocking and sleeping.
It was delicious.

The sky thundered and I woke from my day dream. I was soaked through with rain as I said goodbye-for-now to my equine friend and plodded along the last of my route, where a hot shower, a bowl of oatmeal, and an Internet connection awaited me at my little shoe box of a house on B.

We graduate in May and I think I've decided I'd stay here in Moscow, my dearest red husband, but only if I can have that farmhouse, some wellies, and a good assortment of house dresses.

 And a hen named Bossy if you please.

10.21.2009

A Bit Of Drivel And Then A Question


I am FEELING it.

 This morning as The Holbs rushed out of the house to get to school on time and I stretched my toes under the blankets I could tell the sky outside was feeling it too. It was gray, it was low, it was filled with impending tears. I rolled over and petted Barnaby a couple a times hoping it would make me feel better. Then I decided I would just have to build a fort under the covers with the dogs and not emerge until the after sun had set again. I would sigh, I would nap, I would snuggle, I would sigh and nap some more, and then my Red Holbsauce would come home to find me in my disconsolate state and heroically procure for me a burrito. Because what else but a burrito could solve all my problems? Thus determined, I got up and went for a run.

While I was boiling and stirring my oatmeal I suddenly felt all kinds of moody. Life's problems and injustices were knocking at my door and I thought long and hard thoughts about what it really means to be Christ-like and how to really love someone more than you love yourself. Would baked goods suffice? But then my oatmeal was cooked and eating oatmeal is not something you can do whilst otherwise mentally occupied.

While I blow dried my hair I started to feel strangely angry. It was quite the display of emotional achievement! I honestly could not figure it out. Where was this coming from? And could the fact that I was having a good hair day at least count for something?

But then as I kid-walked Maggie to Adventure Club things started to turn around. It was just such a romantic afternoon, and the minute I pick up Maggie to the moment I drop her off she is chatting a million miles a minute and telling me everything there is to know about everything. And don't you think a good walk outdoors can fix just about anything? Time slowed down as the leaves fell just-so and the air was perfectly chilly and the world was all crunchy and crisp. My favorite brown and white horse was out down the street saying hello to passing school kids and horses are just the friendliest things aren't they? I swear I saw him smile at me. I was remembering what my dad said about my mother once when we were driving around my hometown.

He said,

Your mother has brought so much beauty into my life. Every day I see what she has made for our family, and I just never could have expected my life would be so beautiful.

I think that's what I want to be when I grow up.

10.20.2009

A Serious And Reflective Study

Sometimes I like to imagine what life was like in the preexistence.

I like to imagine that one day we were asked to get in a line and pick out our future bodies. I picture various cardboard boxes scattered around Heaven, filled with all sorts of body parts and then you got to pick. Long legs or short? Strong arms or flabby? Freckles? Moles? Do you mind if your midsection is a little thick or do you prefer this one over here? Obviously those athletically inclined chose the beefy models, while those with more artistic souls opted for complicated brains and underdeveloped pectorals.

As for me, I'm pretty sure I chose this nose on my face just to be stubborn, on account of how much I love to root for the underdog, and let's face it, you can't have a nose like mine and not be an underdog. If I were to add up the number of times I was teased about my nose in middle school it would be pretty dang depressing, those are the facts.

The reason I bring this up is that the other day the Vandals won again. I mean, shoot. Here is my question for the eternities: how is this happening?

In all of everything there exists no greater of an underdog than the University of Idaho athletic teams. Do you know what lives in Idaho? Potato farmers. Potato farmers are neither Ballers nor Shot Callers, you know. Think it over.

But we are six-and-one and so The Holbsbrain and his wife of wonder went to a home game for once. (Fairweather footballers.) I had so much fun. The Kibbie Dome is wonderful. It's a football field, inside. Weird.

I ate popcorn and used my zoom lens to spy on people in the stands. I asked The Holbs all sorts of wonderfully obnoxious questions about the rules and what are we cheering for this time? 

We won again. We won, and then I started to feel my interest wane ever so slightly . . . I love to love whatever is most pathetic at the time, and winners just don't need me anymore.

For instance: what would happen if I woke up tomorrow and I was five-foot-ten? I'd lose the ability to brag that I thrive in conditions of tragedy, which is seriously what gets me out of bed every day.

And it's not just the Vandals abandoning me in my hour of needing to love that which is unlovable. Let's talk for a minute about my dog, Sir Barnaby MacDufflepants. He is that one there in the black.



Barnaby MacDuff is everyone's favorite dog. He's not nearly as complicated and emotionally touched as my Peter Pan (who is the underdog of all underdogs), however this rightly makes Barnaby the lesser of my canines and as such I love him a lot to make up for it, as he is the underdog of my affections. 

Only now he's all handsome.

I took him to the groomer today as a sort of experiment. They charged me an arm and a leg but for once I didn't have to spend an entire day chasing after him with the clippers going stay still!

I certainly didn't expect that he'd come out of it looking like George Clooney!

Luckily Peter Pan is jealous of Barney's stylin new do and has been an awful grump to Barney all night, causing Barnaby to pout and me to feel, what is that? yes! the stirrings of maternal love for something that neeeeeds me!

And anyway he may be too handsome right now but that Barnaby MacDuff will never not be too dumb. At least I will always have that.

Post Script. Thank you everyone for being so kind to me this week. I can't tell you how much it means to a girl. I do hope you stick around.

10.19.2009

Please Enjoy This With Chocolate


All day long I have had bloggers block. What is that about?

I had bloggers block when I woke up Sunday morning and the universe reminded me that I had to think of something funny/witty/clever/secksy to write about for all of you new people and I could just tell already that it was going to be some kind of hard stuff.

Now it is Sunday night and I am wearing my stretchy tights with no pants on. I like Sunday nights for this very reason. The Holbs is studying for something in the living room with Klicka and I am sort of trapped here in the bedroom, being that I am pantsless and all. It is a prison of my own making but my pants are in the other room and I am too lazy to get them but I also really want a bowl of cereal! Conundrum.

So instead I wonder what I will tell you about. Perhaps this little gem? Today we visited mi amiga mexicana Elsa after our usual Sunday churching and socializing and ragging on the Bishop who is not a Yankees fan. Elsa likes to cook homemade tortillas for me and this is good because I like to eat homemade tortillas and that right there is a symbiotic relationship if I ever heard of one. After we ate and we topped our meal off with the first! pumpkin pie! of the season!, we sat on her futon while her numerous latina daughters read us the jokes from the wrappers of their assortments of laffy taffys and we got to pet an assortment of her family pets. Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide. These jokes are pretty hysterical when you are high on homemade tortillas you know.

Speaking of (not really) there is something you should know about me. Most days I stay in bed until well past 9:00 am. Do you think less of me now?

Usually my mornings go like this:
Hear The Holbs getting ready at 7:30, go back to sleep.
Let The Holbs kiss me goodbye at 8:00, go back to sleep.
Let the dogs snuggle under the covers with me at 8:01, go back to sleep.
Wake up at 9:30, consider my options, maybe possibly get up, or else maybe, go back to sleep.

Riveting.

I really want a bowl of cereal but all I have is Raisin Bran and a sense of future guilt. I do not mean to say that Raisin Bran's not good cereal. You are forgetting who I am here. What I mean to say is that the kind of cereal I have is the kind of cereal that I like to sit down and eat in MASS QUANTITIES, so you can see the trouble there. But I have no idea what to write still and so it is really calling to me but also, the stretchy tights. Do you see the difficulties in my life?

While I am on the subject (not really), I have been thinking about it and I wonder if I say "Love You" too much. Is that a thing? I started to wonder this on my birthday when my Granny Goose called to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me she hasn't mailed my gift yet and here is why, because of everything in her life that requires doing or worrying, and also to tell me how Grandpa's garden is going. I always love these conversations because she finds the strangest things to go on about and I always feel I am getting a top-secret glimpse into my life as it will exist in fifty years or so. At the end of these conversations she always says Good night, honey-chile and I say, Love you, Granny Goose and then she goes Uh - bye and hangs up all prompt-like. This is not to say that my Granny Goose does not love me, do not mistake, because actually it is legend in my family that I am her very most favorite genetic relation. It is just, I don't think people say Love You in her life the way people say Love You in my life. And by people I mostly mean me. Follow along with me please.

I tell everybody Love You. I love my mama, I love my sister, I love my friends, I love the garbage man, I love the cashier at the Safeway. I end all conversations like this: Love you! Now, I have to allow for the slight possibility that maybe I just really do love everyone, but my inner doubt monster makes me wonder if it's just become a habit, like a signature sign-off. Love you! It's like people who hug too much and make other people go Ew. Do I really want to be a source of unwarranted lovingness? (Do I?) The other day over gmail chat I told an old high school friend that I loved her as we parted chat ways causing me to ponder for a moment whether that was indeed true and whether I freaked her out a lot, a little, or not at all? It turns out, I do love her, I probably did freak her out, and apparently I am just an indiscriminate lover. Isn't that just my luck though?

Anyway all this thought provoking has led me to a final destination, which is that I really do need a bowl of cereal, and probably also a peanut butter and honey sandwich while I'm in there sans-pants. Also it is plain I am not going to come up with anything interesting to write about and so I may as well give it up. Perhaps I will fall asleep reading my Book of Mormon, because that is what always happens when I read my Book of Mormon because being spiritual is just so tiring. And you know I would know.

Love you!

10.16.2009

Noteworthy, Moi?


Blogger made my silly little blog its Blog of Note today.

In the spirit of being noteworthy I will list six other things of note about me, for your reading pleasure.
1.) I am short. Short as in "can't reach the bowls" short. 
2.) My cankles are pretty noteworthy. The Holbs's college roommate even noted on them one time so you know (for once) I'm not exaggerating.
3.) I threw shot put in high school track after getting kicked off the sprints, distance, and jumps teams for being too slow, too pathetic, and too short, respectively. The shot put team, they keep everyone they can get. My PR was 8 feet.
4.) I have no kids, though not for lack of trying. I have decided I am not infertile, I am impatient.
5.) I think Diet Coke tastes best when it's from a fountain and for breakfast.
6.) My goal is to one day have pretty handwriting.

To help us get acquainted, I will refer you to this post which I wrote for my Blog's fourth birthday (my blog is so spoiled!). My more popular labels seem to be Gurgly Babies and The Holbs. You should know that I try not to take myself too seriously in here and neither should you. (I take myself plenty seriously in my real life, thanks.)

You can also check out my Etsy shop, Onesie-Twosie, should you feel so inclined.

So, welcome! Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments!

Nat With An E



Aren't public libraries just the most mysterious places?

Don't you find that musty public smell intoxicating? Aren't those squeaky plastic book covers sooo romantic? Don't you love to use those grubby computer stalls? Those miniature pencils sure do make my hands feel ginormous!

I love to go to public libraries only sometimes they are depressing to me. Something about those guys in the dirty clothes at the computer stalls.

I went last week to the library in order to reorder to my French tapes. How are my French lessons coming you are asking? Pas terriblement le puits mais vous remercient de demander!

When I go to public libraries I like to sit on a miniature chair or else the experience is incomplete. Public libraries always have miniature chairs. Usually in the kid's section, I suppose most adults have adult-sized bodies but I don't know what more to tell you about that.

Also I find the word "public" to be entirely gross. But can you hardly blame me?

This time the miniature chair on which I perched was with the M authors. I sat there and looked about and that's when I saw it.

The library's copy of Anne of Green Gables is covered in pink tissue paper under its plastic sleeve for reasons I cannot fathom. I had never read A. of G. G. however I had seen bits and pieces of the movie on PBS during pledge drives when I was a kid and knew only this of Miss Anne Shirley, that she embarrassed the ever loving daylights out of me.

I remember feeling scandalized watching the scene where Diana Barry gets drunk. To a girl of seven like me there could be nothing more frightening than accidental intoxication. When Anne recited poetry while her little boat sank I hid behind couch pillows in extreme discomfort, and when she fell off the roof after a dare? Forget it. I had to turn it off.

Then this weird thing happened over the summer where two people of divergent backgrounds and relations informed me that I reminded them of Anne Shirley. Once it was in an email and another time it was while on line for a Cafe Rio pork salad.

Both times it was like this: "You are so Anne Shirley! And trust me, you will get pregnant."
Both times in response I think I went like this: Frownyface.

And so there I was on my miniature chair come face to face with a pink copy of Anne Of Green Gables. I knew better than to tempt a pink fate, so I dutifully checked it out at the front desk. It sat in my bag while I drove to get a Diet Coke at McDonalds (their straws are too fat), and while I browsed through antiques at the antique mall, and while I painted my toes a charming red, and while I cooked up The Holbs a mighty tasty supper, and while I showered off a post-run sweat. But that night in bed I finally faced my fate, opened the pink book, swallowed hard, and started in.

By the time Marilla Is Surprised, I am surprised.
By the time Anne Shirley is allowed to stay, I know it deep in my soul.
By the time Anne is naming the Lake of Shining Waters, everything is explained to me.
I prayed about it and I know it is true.

Luckily Anne Shirley is NOT embarrassing, a delusion I had been suffering under for twenty-something years. She is AMAZING.

So now I have some catching up to do. Do all little girls read Anne Shirley and come face to face with their innermost secret wishes and dreams and desires and fears and embarrassments?

And The Holbs? Gilbert Blythe much?
Good crap.

Why did nobody force me to read this as a child? Did nobody love me? I look at my mother now with deep suspicion. How could this happen? Why does this bowl of popcorn taste so good? How did none of my teachers know that what I desperately needed (besides a swift kick in the rear) was an appointment at the Cuthbert home with my kindred spirit Anne-with-an-E??

Really.

I have already set about rectifying this most tragical and egregious mistake of upbringing. I can barely fathom how I still have any scope for imagination left at all when my talents for exaggeration and fancy were so undernourished in my solemn youthful state. Odds are with good luck I will someday have a little girl of my own. Odds are she's going to come out just like me, sadly enough. Maybe she'll be dark haired, maybe not; maybe she'll be dark eyed, maybe not; heavens to betsy she will be cranky as the day is long, no avoiding that. She'll be determined, passionate, obstinate, full of cockamamy ideas. I will have to buy her this book for her seventh birthday. I will sit her down and I will say "Read this, crazy child. It will all make sense."

I am telling you, it all makes sense.

Now tell me, who is your literary lightning rod and at what age did you discover her?

10.15.2009

Halloween is coming. Here is how I know.



The Winco is selling Cinnamon Devils.



My neighbors have brought their dead bodies out.



My husband is growing his delicious red beard.
(And it is dark by 6.)



I have set up camp by the space heater.





Walks look like this.





We've been eating Pumpkin Pasta leftovers all week. (RECIPE HERE!)



My house looks like this.

10.12.2009

Date Night


So I let my Holbsamigo take me to a ward party for our date night the other night. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and I do like to be a cheap date every now and again. The theme was Fall Fiesta and there was Mexican food to be sampled from various crock pots and the little kids got to duke it out over free candy with a baseball bat.

We chatted with Sue who was giving a talk that Sunday (as was The Holbserino). That Sunday was Bring Your Non Mormon Friends To Church To See We're Not Weird and so the topics were all investigator-friendly. Nothing about Kolob, okay? Keep the polygamy on the supah D-L! Shhh on that food storage mumbo jumbo!

The Bishop asked my husband to speak but not me. Don't think I didn't notice that. Then he asked Sue Clark to speak but not Paul Clark. I looked Paul squarely in the face over our tacos and asked him if he felt a little . . . what's the word? . . . dangerous.

The grin that spread across his face read my mind. You can't trust the words that come out of Paul Clark's mouth you know. He is liable to say really out-there things in Sunday School when the lesson is on the Law of Consecration and he happens to be the most liberal person I have ever seen take the sacrament. Who knows what kind of loose cannon garbage he could spew all over those innocent Gentiles!

(Look at the trouble I am getting myself into here.)

It is most likely that the reason I was not asked to speak in church along with my righteous stud of a husband is that the B-Ric doesn't want for investigators to fall head-over-heels in love with an already married woman, and not that when you give me a pulpit I tend to get a little carried away. I'm no Bish but I'm sure that's it.

But Paul Clark had more pressing matters to attend to that night and those matters were my hair color. Paul Clark noticed my bathroom-sink dye job right away.

"Have you chemically altered your hair?" He asked. I like the way he words things, what a nerd.

I answered in the affirmative. Then I readied myself for the inevitable compliments to follow. Get my humble eyelash batting motors revving and whatnot.

"I'm just curious, what drives a woman to change her hair color?" Paul asked. "I'm trying to understand the feminine mind here."

My feminine mind tried to wrap itself around the change in direction we were taking while my mouth hung open. I mean, not to be difficult or anything but this is not sounding like a compliment to me! I elected to use brutal honesty.

"I think my eyes are pretty when my hair is darker?" I said?

Then I felt really stupid.

He leaned across the table all eager like and said in hushed tones, "Look, I've told my kids they aren't allowed to smoke pot, but they can do whatever they want with their hair. So far nobody's taken me up on it."

I didn't quite know what to make of that.

Once we got to the all important stage of date night where the sweatpants come on, my Holbso mysteriously disappeared in his gym clothes to collect items for fixing the bathroom fan with our friend Lindo. Bless him.

He came home and installed it and then asked for his beautiful assistant (me) to flip the switcher and test it out.

I swallowed hard. "What if we explode?"

"Then we all go down together," he said with, what was that? bravado in his voice?

I said a little prayer and flipped the flipper. The fan vroomed on and I clapped with delight! What a Hero Mr. Fixit I snagged me!

Then my Holbsdate poured me some Crystal Lite into my plastic cup.

Oh I just love date night!