Thursday, January 31, 2008

Woo Hoo!

You know where I will be tonight!

If you are not familiar with the best show on television, please do yourself a favor:Run to your nearest Blockbuster, right this minute, and rent all available seasons. You will thank me.

And if you are not a "Lostie," well, I absolutely do not know what to say. We can still be friends, but I may never look at you the same way. (And you thought we Mormons took our religion seriously!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This Will Get the Party Started

This holiday season I rediscovered an appetizer that became a true hit. I made it for a number of different parties where it disappeared every time, and my creative foodie friend Melissa told me I should definitely share it on my blog. So here it is. Better late than never.

As a warning: It is definitely "old school." One of those recipes that was probably introduced in the 50's given the inclusion of chipped beef. However, it is worth keeping around because it is delicious!!! There is not one healthy thing in it. does have green onions, but other than that it is fat city folks, so it's perfect for the Super Bowl. Anyhow, if you are worried about your waistline remember this: It is an appetizer, so no one should be eating a whole lot of it. Although, you probably won't be able to help yourself. It's that good.

Here goes:

Stuffed Bread
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 c grated cheddar cheese
2-4 green onion
1 sm. jar chipped beef, sliced thin and chopped (Mine was called dried beef now. I found it near the tuna fish in my grocery store.)
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 sourdough round

Mix well and stuff hollowed sourdough round. Replace top wrap in foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. During the last 5 minutes of baking, add the bread cubes that were pulled out of the loaf to warm and serve around the hot bread.

A note: Add dried beef to taste since I don't exactly know how small the jar should be. Adding all of mine would have made it way too salty.

Just Stuff

Some things I need to get off my chest:

1. I was put out with Bob on The Biggest Loser for stacking his team. And then he had the audacity to say that the ONLY reason he chose the grey team was because being around one of them made him feel homesick. Right!...It had nothing to do with the fact that they are both male, or that they consistently drop big numbers, or that they've never been below the yellow line. was the homesickness thing. Please!

2. The judges got it wrong on Miss America. When Miss Michigan came out in her "evening gown" I actually said out loud, "Hoochie!" They said they were going for a new look, but please! We have enough of those in Hollywood, don't we?

3. And why does coloring my hair have to cost $100?! For that amount of money it had better overshadow some of these wrinkles I'm starting to sport. Seriously!

Guess that's it. I feel better now.

Oh...and if you have differing opinions, don't be afraid. Get it off your chest.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Giving Christian Charity...Well, Sorta'

Sunday night, while driving out of our subdivision in a rush to get somewhere and back again, we pulled up behind an idling vehicle in the middle of the road. It appeared the driver was waving us around, but as we pulled out to pass him it became clear he was frantically trying to get our attention.

"Jeez...I hope he's not going to shoot us and throw our bodies into the desert," I whispered as Thomas backed up. Sometimes I'm a fatalist trapped in an optimist's body.

The man jumped out of his car armed only with a sheet of paper. "I need directions. I have been driving around here for an hour trying to find my friend's house. It's on the corner of Los Logos Vista and Lobo. I'm from Georgia, and I'm helping in his store while he's at market, and I printed out directions to the store, but not from the store to his house, and I've been driving around for an HOUR..."

I think he could have gone on for a while. He seemed a little frustrated and scattered, so Mr. Wicke gently interjected. "Yeah, we can give you directions."

"Oh, that's great. I'm not kidding, I have been driving around and around this place."

"Okay, you're going to head back down this street and then take a right..."

This was obviously going to take a while. I quickly made a determination and said to Mr. Wicke, "You know what, honey? Why don't we just lead him there?" Then leaning over and sticking my head out of the driver's side window said, "Hey, why don't you just follow us in your car. We'll drive you there."

And right then I felt pretty good about us. I mean here we were in a hurry with no time to waste but were still willing to go out of our way to help someone. This was a "What would Jesus do?" sort of moment for sure.

It was also a moment that didn't last long. "Wait a second. There's Lobo. Does Los Logos Vista run all the way through?"

"I don't know."

"I thought that intersection was over where the Hatch's live. Oh, crap! What if we can't find it? Poor guy, he may end up regretting this."

"Let's keep going. We'll find it."

"I hope so. Shoot, no...that Boca. That's where I thought it was."

"Is Lobo at the end?"

"I don't know. Okay, Esmerelda...Wesley...Hah! There it is Boca! Shwew! He'll never know we were sorta lost."

"Um...yeah...but...where is he?"

We turned to look out the back window only to see black asphalt in the soft glow of our brake lights.

"Where'd he go?"

"I don't know."

Depite turning around and winding our way back through the neighborhood we never did find him. Poor fella'.

Yeah, I think, generally, Jesus does a better job than that.

A Tribute

President Gordon B. Hinckley
June 23, 1910 - January 27, 2008

If you read many blogs of Mormon authorship, you will see a lot of this man today because we lost our beloved prophet last night.

That's right, I said prophet. Because we believe, just like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, that God still chooses to communicate with His children through prophets and send them out into the world to preach His message. It isn't a job I would want. The nature of the calling requires an imperfect human to stand way out on a spiritual limb and yell into the roar of the societal wind. Some people might see that as nutty. Some people despised him for it, and some of us just fell 110% in love with him.

He was fearless. Remember when he was interviewed on national television by Mike Wallace and Mormons everywhere held their collective breath hoping to heaven that it came off well? After all we are fully aware that the general masses don't quite know what to make of us. At best we are seen as quirky. At worst we are seen as a mindless cult. What would our leader say? How would he be treated? None of us could have born to see him humiliated. And he wasn't. In fact, he was marvelous. The man we all loved was communicated perfectly across the screen. He was gentle, full of light, witty, and unapologetic about our beliefs. Quite frankly, I think Mike Wallace, that hardened cynical newsman, fell a little in love with him, too.

I will deeply miss President Hinckley. He taught me a great deal about service to our fellow man, kindness, gratitude and faith. Both his example and words helped me find the focus of my life, the quality of my character. His time spent out on that spiritual limb was not wasted on me, and I am grateful for his service and sacrifice.

Thank you, President Hinckley. Now go. Enjoy your rest. I know this lovely lady is waiting for you.

Sister Marjory Hinckley

As Sister Hinckley told the audience assembled at the 1998 Governor's Marriage Enrichment Conference, "I am very grateful for a husband who always lets me do my own thing. . . . He never insists that I do anything his way, or any way for that matter. From the very beginning he gave me space and let me fly. What a man!"

What a man, indeed.

For an insightful article on Gordon B. Hinckley's life and career, go here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Our Unwelcomed Welcoming Committee

It was late when we arrived at the 2 bedroom condo we had rented for our long weekend. All I wanted to do was drop into bed, but first I had to use the facilities. The toilet had one of those sanitary strips around it. I'm torn about those things. Part of me actually believes it is a symbol of cleanliness, and part of me feels a little silly unwrapping a toilet. Nonetheless, I bent over to rip it off and opened the lid--an important point, as the bending put my face in closer proximity to the bowl. Upon opening, this was staring me in the face:

I squealed like the girl I am and hot-footed it to the bed. Why sitting in the middle of the bed and pulling the covers up to my chin makes me feel safe I'll never know, but it does. It was a lukewarm beginning to say the least. The big question for me was what other creatures may have been lurking in the shadows of our love shack? Thomas tried flushing to no avail and then attempted to put my mind at ease; eventually he was able to convince me to use the other bathroom until something could be done in the morning.

When the sun rose and I finally got out of bed, Thomas was already gone finishing the final day of his convention. By the time he got back I was tired of trekking down the hall to the second bath and was ready to be frog free.

"I'll call the front office," he agreed.

"Why don't you just pick it up and throw it outside. That seems like the manly thing to do." The womanly thing, however, is to wait for the man to take care of it, of course.


"Why not? Just scoop it up. It's not that big." It sounded so easy.

"I don't want to."

Then I just couldn't let it go. My man is usually so brave. "I KNEW it! You're afraid of that thing, too!"

"No...But you know there are poisonous frogs."

That sent me into a fit of giggles. "You ARE afraid!"

"No...I just think I'll let the natives handle it."

But who can blame him really. Did you get a look at that thing? It's not large, but I think I see a wicked glint in its eye.

I wasn't about to touch it either!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Been Gone

I left. I just ran away and joined Mr. Wicke in Orlando for four days, four fabulous, lazy days. We didn't see MGM Studios. We didn't go to Disneyworld. We didn't make it to SeaWorld. And don't even try to make me feel guilty about it 'cause I won't. I can't. We stayed in bed. And I loved it!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Minor Mid-Paint Crisis

Yesterday I successfully coated two thirds of my loft in what appears to be pea soup. Last night I spent the majority of the evening questioning my taste level. This morning I am still in my bathrobe wishing that subtlety were part of my nature. It's not, so I guess I'll finish with the pea soup.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

While the Cat's Away...

Mr. Wicke is out of town, so I am going to take the opportunity to paint our loft in the next couple of days. It's going green, baby! (And I don't mean eco-friendly.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lessons from Our Parents

"Have you seen The Bucket List?" asked my mother-in-law while perusing the morning newspaper during their visit last week.

"No, but I really want to. Hey! We could get a sitter and the four of us could go see it tonight if you want."

"Well, because of Bob's hearing we don't see movies until they come out on DVD so we can use the closed captioning."

I had forgotten that my father-in-law's severe hearing loss would make a theater-going experience rather miserable.

"You know," she continued, "we used to talk all the time while the kids were growing up about how we would spend our retirement going to the symphony and concerts. We never do now." There was a hint of wistfulness in her voice.

I've heard that sound before...when my mother talks about the trip she and dad had finally planned right before he passed away. They were going to take the train back East and visit Williamsburg and other historical sights. It was a trip they had looked forward to for a long time, but dad always had work and their mutual responsibilities seemed to get in the way. It was a trip they never took.

I doubt any of us will get to the end without some regrets. Life is just messy that way. But if my mother-in-law was telling me anything, maybe it is that there is no time like the present to try to do the things we're always talking about. Because you never know what's coming around the corner. Because time is always shorter than you think.

...Maybe I'd ought to surprise Mr. Wicke with a couple of tickets to the symphony, just because.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Breaking the Ice and Busting Knuckles

I suddenly recalled this incident a couple of weeks ago while having dinner with friends. While not having thought of it in ages, it came to mind so splendidly vivid that I could hardly tell the story through my own fits of laughter. If ever a scene from my life could be compared to an I Love Lucy moment, this is it. I thought I would share it with you because as Mr. Bennet says in Pride and Prejudice, "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?" Here is a bit of "sport" for you.


In college I spent two and a half years as part of a musical theater troupe who gave our breaks and a month of our summers to touring around the country doing shows in community and schools. We traveled from Illinois and Iowa to California and Washington State, and met a lot of great people along the way. Wherever we landed strangers took us in overnight. It was arranged through the local music teacher or the arts council, so it's not as odd as it sounds, but sort of. Being paired with at least one other member of the troupe assured that we were never alone, but it's a lot of strange beds to sleep in nonetheless.

In Park City, Utah we stayed in the most beautiful mansion I've ever seen. I loved their elevator. And somewhere in Oregon I spent half the night trying to hug the edge of our fold out couch because it sank so badly to the middle. The other half of the night I just gave in and cuddled with my roommate. One family in Colorado took us cross country skiing, and I still use a recipe for a Swiss cheese vegetable medley I got from a woman in Nevada to this day. After the ice was broken, it was usually a treat to get to know a new family and gain a glimpse into their lives.

But there was always that strange moment when we first met our new hosts. They weren't sure what they were in for and frankly neither did we. In Boise, Idaho it was a little like that. When my roommate and I were called, we met an older couple whom I'm sure were doing somebody a favor. They were a little stiff and unsure about how to relate to a couple of 20 year old singer/dancers. Luckily we were a gregarious group who had a couple of things hammered into us:
1. We were always, ALWAYS representing our university and state.
2. We were always, ALWAYS to be on our best behaviour.
So we learned to be easy at making conversation.

"Hi. It's so nice to meet you. Thank you for inviting us to stay with you."

They led us outside to a big American boat of a car. A Cadillac or Chrysler, something really nice with a lot of buttons that my grandmother would never let me push as a kid. Once we got our bags in the trunk we began the long ride to their house. It began a bit too quietly for my taste, and, as I usually did in the first few minutes, I came to a quick judgement about our stay. This one might be a bit tough.

I wasn't so sure they were all that thrilled with hosting us. But as was my MO I was determined to win them over. I began by bulleting them with questions about themselves. "How long have you lived here? What do you do? Do you have any kids? How many? Where do they live now? Grand kids? Where did you two meet? How long have you been married?" I could keep this up all day, and I pretty much did, chit chatting away until we pulled up in their drive. I was surprised though. I still hadn't shattered their reserve. Not yet, anyway.

"Well, here we are."
"Oh, what a lovely home."
"Thank you."

The husband helped remove our bags from the trunk and led the way into the house. I was the last, maybe I hadn't yet learned how to pack light, but, regardless, by the time I prepared to shut the trunk they were all in the house. I gave the trunk a hearty slam, but it didn't close properly, so I reached my fingers under to lift it again when it automatically tightened to lock position. It all happened so fastthat I didn't have time to get my digits out of the way. I had no idea that cars were equipped with such a thing. I gave a little tug. Certainly this couldn't really be happening, but there I was. All eight fingers caught tight in the trunk of a stranger's car.

While there was some pain involved, it wasn't so bad that I thought serious damage was occurring. Mostly I considered my options at the moment. There weren't many. I literally could not maneuver free. I looked down the road on either side. No traffic, gratefully, but without being able to fully turn around I feared that their neighbor was watching from their front room window. This couple seemed concerned about keeping up appearances and I wasn't going to help in that department. "Maybe if I just pull a little harder..."no. There was no way I was going anywhere.

"At some point they are going to wonder where I am. And when they come out here...Can you imagine how dumb this is going to look?" I could just imagine their perspective. How exactly does one slam both of their own hands in the trunk and lock them there? This was not going to make a great first impression, but there was no way around it; I was just going to have to wade through.

"If I could just get my roommate's attention, maybe she could manage to get the keys without drawing too much attention." The door had been left open, but my voice was going to have to travel quite a ways. Judging the necessary volume but trying to keep my voice light and bright without any hint of ugency I began to yell, "Marlo? Marlo? Marrrrlllooo?" It took a couple of minutes, but she eventually emerged from the house.


"Uh, could you come here for a second?" As she came closer I continued, "Um, I kinda' got my hands stuck in the--"

"Oh, my--" She turned and ran into the house, and the next thing I knew they were all out there and Mr. Husband as fumbling with his keys in a hurry to unlock me while Mrs. Wife was nervously asking, "My goodness! What happened? Honey, hurry!"

And I was determined to preserve some dignity. "Oh, no! It really doesn't hurt. I'm fine!" As if this sort of thing happened all the time.

The trunk popped open revealing a long red indentation across the knuckles of both hands.

"Oh, good gracious! Are you alright? Maybe we'd better get some ice on that."

"Oh, no! It's not that bad. Really. I'm fine." With all the ease I could muster, I grabbed my bags and with my head held high walked toward their house.

Let's just consider the ice broken, shall we?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No, It's not a Health Nut Smoothie Additive; It Just Sounds Like It

Last night, in the Wicke kitchen:

Me: Get out. Are you kidding me, Logan?
Logan: Veetum and weat, Mom.
Me: What?
Logan: Veetum and weat. You know. You say that sometimes in a game or something.
Me: Oh, yeah...veetum and weat. I think I've heard that.

Read 'em and weep, folks; she's one funny girl. And who's she been playing poker with anyway?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Who Needs Monte Carlo?

I am really living the high life here, and should you have had your doubts about that, you won't after reading this post about all the things that I'm currently jazzed about.

1. I love my new Swiffer Sweeper Vac. I've determined that cleaning my wood floors is my least favorite job, probably because I have to do it so often, and this little tool makes it so much easier!

2. No, I'm not becoming a mechanic. Did you know that mineral spirits will take out any greasy stain from clothing? It's true. You know how sometimes you dry chapstick in the dryer by accident? Just me? Well, you can save all those clothes by rubbing mineral spirits on the greasy spots and washing it again. Now that is exciting!

3. I'm doing all my scrapbooking through I'm so excited about this I can hardly stand it. I create a book using their FREE downloadable software and they publish it for such a reasonable price (the best I've found so far) that I can't afford NOT to do it. I think I'm going to end up with a beautiful final product, and best yet, I can order one for each of my kids, too. Half the work, double the benefits, and no more mess. LOVE IT!

I dare any of the jet-set to compete with all that excitement. I mean c'mon! Can life get any better?

Monday, January 7, 2008

At Least One Thing is Regular Around Here

Is anyone having a hard time getting back into the routine besides me? If not maybe someone could come over here and motivate me? Seriously...I may have post-holiday-stress-disorder or something.

Or maybe it's just PMS and cramps...yeah, that's probably it. But post-holiday-stress-disorder sounded more exotic and probably wouldn't be as disturbing to the three men who sometimes read my posts.

Hey guys, just to get you to come back, this week you can expect another installment of "when things go really wrong." This one involves car trunks and utter embarrassment in front of strangers. You'll love it. I promise.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Battle

Griffin has taken to talking dirty. In his four year old world there is nothing funnier than the words "poop" and "pee." Once, to my utter horror, he even sunk to talking about his "wee wee." But folks, I run a clean establishment here, so that battle is on!

"Griffin! We do not talk like that!"

I can see he is not taking me seriously. It's just that mischievous look in his eye and that knowing smirk that gives him away despite all the head nodding that is going on.

"I mean it. I do not want to hear that word again. We do not talk bathroom talk or about our private parts to be funny. That is not appropriate. Do you understand?"

The head is still nodding, well, bobbing and weaving is a better description; the eyes are lolling about in his head lighting on everything in the room except me, and if that weren't bad enough his mouth is opening and shutting in a fish like manner.

"I'm not kidding around."

The first time this speech was delivered it was accompanied by a time out. The second time involved a talk with Daddy. The third time it ended like this:

"...Do you understand? I'm not kidding around. The next time I hear a word like that come out of your mouth you will get your mouth washed out with soap. Are you hearing me? You will get soap. in. your mouth. if you say one of those words again."

When I heard the word again later that afternoon we were at our friends' house on New Year's Day. "Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin pooped on your head."

His obvious musical genius couldn't save him from the wrath of Mama. Before the music had time to finish reverberating I had scooped him up and was headed to the bathroom. Daddy wasn't too far behind.

"Griffin, I told you the next time you said a potty word you were going to get soap in your mouth." Despite his squealing and struggling, I squeezed a little drop of Softsoap on my finger and forced it past his lips. The crying turned to coughing and spitting.

Then just as Daddy and I were getting ready to wax eloquent on the value of appropriate language, it happened.

The gag.

And you and I both could guess what was coming next. I grabbed him and he vomited in the sink. Over his retching head, Mr. Wicke and I locked eyes. Unbelievable!

That's right: He had just trumped our ace. You can't beat vomiting, even with righteous indignation.

In the final analysis, that battle may be awarded to Griffin. I don't hesitate to admit that I am up against a formidable and worthy opponent, one who is capable of incredible "strategery," but I don't buckle that easily, folks. I am determined to win the war.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Resolved not to Resolve

As a general rule I am against New Year's resolutions. Not that I'm anti-improvement. It's just that the whole new-year-new-day-turning-over-a-new-leaf-a-whole-new-me-in-2008 seems a little...what? Cliche? I don't know. It's probably the same reason I avoid going back to the gym in January. Everybody else is doing it. And you know very well that 50% will fall off by March. Oh, boy...For an eternal optimist that sounds a little glass half empty, doesn't it?

I know I'm in a minority here. Every one of my adult girlfriends are resolution lovers. They can't help it. They are type A down the line. That's probably why I chose them as friends, because I desperately need their influence. One of my friends looks forward to new year's resolutions like I look forward to new clothes. They make her giddy. She has resolutions to make more resolutions. (Pargs, you know it is true.) But I just can't get into it.

Look, it's just that in my experience, New Year's resolutions fit into the same category as crash diets. That blank calendar does something to our logical brains, and all of a sudden we are going in for the total overhaul in three months. The quick fix is on, and then when we don't see the whole new me emerge by March it's just too depressing to continue.

What I know is that improving my being, which tends toward laziness like a homing pigeon,is a slow, three steps-forward-two-steps-back, sort of process. My nature and tendancies are not going to be changed in three months. They're not even going to be changed in a year. Sadly, my New Year's resolutions would be nearly the same every year, and they'd go something like this.

1. Practice more patience.
2. Be a more gentle mother.
3. Be more thoughtful spouse.
4. Think of others more than myself.
5. Read scriptures EVERY DAY.
6. Study the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons.
7. Complete my food storage...or, okay, just get a good start on it.
8. Send a birthday card to all family and friends. Next year I'll work on getting them there on time.
9. Catch up my photo albums/scrapbooks.
10. Rid my house of all clutter.

Yup, pretty much the same list I was working on last year. I'll tell you what. When I can check off all the items on that list, I'll be happy to make some New Year's resolutions. Until then, I've just got too much work to do.