Saturday, July 31, 2010

Say it proud

A couple nights ago while watching the So You Think You Can Dance results show, I sent Jen the following text message: I'm going to become a Mormon. Not my typical deep thought during SYTYCD. But Jen didn't even have to ask me what I was talking about. She instantly knew that the Mormon's new ad campaign had won me over.

If you've watched even a single commercial break in the Twin Cities this week, you must've seen their new ads. (This one's my favorite.) These people talk about their jobs, families and hobbies—showing they're just like everyone else. And at the end, they subtly declare their faith.

And you know what? I think it works. The Mormon church won't say how much they've spent on the campaign, nor has it been around long enough for any measurable results. But people are talking about it in the media and at the water cooler. Even me—who has no intention of ever really becoming a Mormon. And that's the whole point right there.

Oh, we Christians get people to talk too. But how come the Mormons get a cool ad campaign and we Christians get Kirk Cameron, low-budget theme parks and Abreadcrumb & Fish evangi-tees?

But I suppose the Mormons "we’re just like everyone else" approach doesn’t really work for us. We're not nearly as extreme (or cheesy) as our faith is sometimes made out to be in the media. But we're not like everyone else either. We may be typical when it comes to our jobs, families or hobbies, but there's a reason for this hope we have, and that feels good.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Watch me Wipeout

I can’t believe I’m about to write about the TV show Wipeout on my blog. It’s the show that my husband (and a few blog readers I know) are crazy about, yet I just don’t see the same level of hilarity. If you’ve never seen it, it’s basically a game show series in which contestants compete in the world's largest obstacle course…and there are always plenty of wet and muddy slips, falls, and hits.

This summer, I do often watch it (more accurately, I watch the first half and sleep on the couch for the second half). I admit, I do laugh at least a couple times each episode. Actually, I laugh the most at my husband as he breaks up in hysterical laughter again and again. However, this week there is a new dimension to Wipeout in my household. Brace yourselves…we now own the Wipeout Wii game.

Last night we tried it out for the first time and I confess that we both had a pretty good time. Don’t get me wrong, I completely stink at it (and Phil isn’t much better), but that made for some pretty funny animated wipeouts. I kid you not that it probably took us 100 attempts to successfully make it across the infamous “big balls” obstacle (I will gloat and say that I was the one to finally succeed).

So, you’re all invited to stop by sometime and play along with us, as I think I can guarantee it will provide some good laughs. And to all fans of Wipeout, "Good night…and big balls."

Sunday, July 25, 2010


As I wandered through the aisles at Target yesterday, it was hard to miss the back-to-school section. It shouldn't surprise me anymore, but every year it does. I'm still trying to hang on to what's left of summer even though the signs of fall--in particular, my busy season at work--are all around.

I've almost forgotten what a true summer break feels like. Overall, I think it was pretty uneventful growing up. I vaguely remember spending hours reading Babysitters Club books, occasional sunbathing in the lawn and an annual trip to ValleyFair.

But among my fondest memories are the visits to summer camp. (I know. The fact that I used the words "camp" and "fondest memories" in the same sentence is in and of itself ironic. We all know I'm more of a hotel girl.) But the visits to Lake Beauty Bible Camp with my junior high youth group were just something special.

There were endless games of "Honey if you love me..." during the bus rides (and bus breakdowns). Whipped cream fights, polar bear swims, night games and relays that involved spinning around with my head on a bat. And somewhere in that week of silliness, I managed to learn a lot about my faith too.

In high school, I left the mosquito-filled cabins, crazy songs and questionable camp food for the sweat and sore muscles of dance camp. A different kind of memory, but still a fun part of summer.

Did you go to summer camp? Do you have similar carefree memories? Camp or no camp, I hope you can still enjoy a few not-a-care-in-the-world summer days before another busy fall begins.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ride escalators with caution

I think someone is trying to send me a message that I should take the stairs more often. I already shared my stuck in an elevator story last year, and recently I nearly ended up in the middle of an escalator mishap.

The escalator episode was the inaugural moment of my recent visit to my in laws in Niagara Falls. After finally arriving at the Buffalo airport (following repeated flight delays) around 1 a.m., we stepped on the lone escalator that would take us to baggage claim. The escalator was packed with people. Halfway down, we noticed a commotion. Someone had fallen at the bottom, completely blocking any way off this one-way ride. With nowhere to go, people just started falling on top of each other like dominoes at the bottom.

I soon realized my relatives and I were about to be next. Suddenly, my mother-in-law yelled to everyone behind us, “Walk up! Walk up!” As her instructions made it to the top, we were able to back up a couple of steps…just enough to buy us the extra second we needed for someone to find the emergency stop button.

In the end, we didn’t need to exercise the other options we devised in that moment (like jumping over the side or trying to ride the railing down). I did sympathize with the traumatized four-year-old boy who was in the middle of the people pile. I’m afraid he may never be able to step on an escalator again.

I’m happy to report that the rest of my trip was not nearly as doomed as that escalator ride. Come to think of it, that was my second traumatic escalator mishap. When I was a kid, my just autographed photo of MN Twins player Kent Hrbek got sucked into the mall escalator steps. My mom refused to stand in the long autograph line again for me to get a replacement. Oh, the tears.

Yeah, something tells me I may want to think about taking the old fashioned stairways from now on.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don't be a dummy

First of all, I need to apologize to the ten or so drivers on I-35W who I either glared or yelled at last night during rush hour. It wouldn't be the first time, but before I write more about driving, I felt the need to come clean.

That said, I do spend a good chunk of my time each work week sitting in traffic and questioning the legitimacy of several drivers' licenses issued by the state of Minnesota. Am I little aggressive/confident on the road? I suppose so. Unsafe? I think not. Maybe that's why it made me smile today when I read that the iconic crash test dummies have now gone on display at the Smithsonian.

I'm sure it was my parents who taught me the importance of always wearing my seatbelt, however I can't help but think Vince and Larry had a little something to do with it too. The only downside of this news is the fact that a piece of pop culture that debuted in my lifetime has now been retired to a museum of American history. That kind of brings me to a whole new level of old. Oh well. Click it or ticket folks!

P.S. Sorry for our absence in the blogosphere this last week. I hope you're all enjoying the summer as much as I am! J and I have each been doing some traveling this past week...and I returned to a few nightmarish days at work. (Blogging doesn't pay the bills, so I had to face the nightmares first!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Murphy's Law in effect

Murphy’s Law says everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. While that “law” may be facetious, I’m pretty sure my family may be able to add some strong evidence in support of it. Fortunately, it’s almost always related only to life’s minor inconveniences, but why does Murphy’s Law complicate even the simplest tasks? Nowhere in life is this more evident that when trying to make a purchase. (Remember Heather’s waiting in line example?)

The latest example: While trying to make an in-store purchase a couple days ago, I found that placing a special order would be necessary. What should have taken five minutes to order took over an hour, complete with calls to the manager, a little arguing, and even a second trip to the store. After all that, I was told they’d place the order sometime this week. Anyone want to place bets on whether or not this gets done correctly? Did I mention the sales associate wrote the info down on scratch paper?

Of course, in the same week, I got a call that the carpet that I was to have installed this week hasn’t even been ordered yet; I managed to lose my debit card; and I even got a “new” computer at work that’s in worse shape than my old one.

Since these are all minor examples, I can actually say it has still been a good week. And at least I have the means to make these purchases I complain about. I know it’s probably not just me who encounters these daily frustrations, but I might need reassurance (and maybe a good laugh) to prevent me from hiding out from the world around me. Anyone else have a memorable Murphy’s Law experience? Vent below!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chic bottoms

I was an advertising and public relations major in college. In exploring these two fields of study, I discovered that I had some skill for PR...and little to no skill in advertising. At least not for the creative side of it. But I have a huge appreciation for it. And I would like to pat the creator of this commercial on the back:

The tagline at the end is simply brilliant. I wasn't even sure this was a legitimate product until I saw a behind-the-scenes story on the making of the ad on The Today Show. Did you know they use butt doubles? Yeah, for the close-up butt shots, it's not the same little blonde kid. That's awesome.

Jen, I implore you to please get your hands on some of these while supplies last. I want my nephew to be this cool.

Now when there's a lull in your Fourth of July BBQ conversation, you can discuss the virtues of jean diapers. You're welcome. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lessons from Toy Story 3

This week I saw the movie Toy Story 3. Like the previous movies, it’s clever, funny, and an all around good story. Andy, the boy with the toys in the movie, is headed off to college. Not surprisingly, I got all teary at the end of the movie. It was bittersweet simply because I could relate. I often have a hard time with change, even when the change is entirely positive.

We all know I’m sentimental; I mean, remember my emotional car story? It’s that same sentimentality that causes me to hang on to a sweatshirt from my high school dance team, even though I haven’t worn it in 13 years. It’s also the reason I sat in my freshman dorm bathroom stall with tears in my eyes after my parents dropped me off at college. I just knew it was a defining moment…old memories were simply that, and new memories were about to be made.

Defining moments. They are the reason I’ll celebrate at my cousin’s wedding this weekend and the reason I’ll be sad to attend my uncle’s wake tomorrow after cancer ended his life. I just pray that all of us will use well the moments we’re given.

There’s one more defining moment for me this week. Today I’ll find out that baby Knight is a…[check the comments on this post later today, I’m about to go get a look at baby and hopefully find out the gender]!