Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Oh boy, do I have some excellent blackmail pictures of this girl.
But I won't post them.
Because I'm a nice sister like that.

Soooo tempting though....


My younger sister Jessica is one of my best friends. Which is funny, because when we were little, we almost always hated each other. I didn't like it when she'd come play with me and my friends (but of course it was perfectly okay for me, the bigger, older, cooler sister to tag along with her friends) and I was always whining if she wouldn't let me borrow her clothes.
Sister of the year, I was.

Today, I am so glad to say that our warfaring past is behind us and we celebrate an awesome relationship. Her blog, The Secret Life of B's, has lots of wonderful recipe ideas (she's a chef, people. A CHEF.), tons of silly pictures of her extremely cute and endlessly entertaining 2-year old, and all around fun stuff.

 (I'm the fat one)

So cute!

Some facts about Jessica:
~Born on January 2nd even though she was due Christmas Day
~She's not a morning person
~She's organized
~I used to call her Arwen because she looks like her. Why'd I let that die out? That was fun.
~Married her hubby six years ago... baby #2 on the way!
~Graduated from ASU with a degree in Nutrition
~She has the best victory dance ever. Wish I had a video of it. Picture a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and the Elaine dance from Seinfeld. 

Love you, Jess!! You're the best. Can't wait to meet your new little one in a few months!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Otherwise known as The Page Traveler

Darci and I have known one another since our ballroom dancing days with Del Sol, the dance team we were both on. One of my favorite memories of her was when our teachers told us to go back to the beginning of our performance number and she said, in a perfect imitation of Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride:

"You tol' me to go back to da beginning!"

I still giggle about that.

Nowadays, I am so happy to have found a bond with Darci through our love of writing and of Harry Potter. We formed a writing group called the Typelings and we meet once a month to discuss writing and other topics that amuse us. (Now accepting new members!)

Darci's blog, The Page Traveler Tales, is like an online book club. She reads, reviews, gives solid opinions, makes me think, and often makes me laugh. We have similar opinions on just about everything. I love it!

A few facts about Darci:
~She's married and has an adorable son
~She and her husband met while on the Del Sol dance team (he's a buddy of mine too!)
~Her birthday is on November 5th.
~She loves stars. Like, the shape, or the ones in the sky. Not necessarily movie stars. Although I'm sure she'd probably wet her pants if she were to ever meet Emma Watson.
~Darci served a mission for our church in Temple Square, Salt Lake City.
~She and her husband make and sell magic wands, in the style of Harry Potter. They are SO cool.
~And, incidentally, she was in Slytherin house. An odd thing for a Gryffindor like myself to have such a good friendship with a Slytherin. But she's an example of the best of them. :)

Yes. We're obsessed.

And so, to conclude today's Spotlight, I give you a video I found on Pinterest that I think Darci would highly enjoy.

Personally, I find this video utterly and completely awesome in all its particulars. I actually had the idea to make a Harry Potter montage to this song... seriously, I did. But someone beat me to it. With magnificent results!!

Friday, November 25, 2011


For my first bloggy buddy spotlight, I've chosen my Mom.
Because she is one of the most important women in my life.

Isn't she beautiful?

 Think she'll forgive me for hijacking her photo collection?
A few things my Mom loves and is good at:
~Being a good friend to her kids and grandkids.
~Speaking Spanish
~Serving others at home and at church
~Making quilts and other assorted lovely things
~Typing (she's like 150 thousand words a minute or something. She's good at it. Whether or not she loves it remains to be seen.)
~Using all-natural stuff like Essential Oils for everyday ailments
~Eating healthy and making it delicious
~Cooking. (again, does she love it? I don't know. But she's good at it. Very good.)

A few more facts about my Mom:
~Born on November 13th
~She has learned Spanish on her own through classes and practice
~She has given birth to 7 children. 3 of them... including me... without the aid of epidurals
~She's been married to the same guy for 35 years
~She has a talent for dancing, having been on the pom squad (or whatever those things are called), a folk dancing troupe, and other performance groups in her earlier days.
~She was sitting in a Lazy-boy chair at the hospital when she gave birth to me. This is a story that has been retold over and over in my life.

My mom is the best. Today, I salute her.
She's the one who got me into blogging. Her blog is fun, funny, instructive, and inspirational.
You can find her blog on the side bar under Mom, or at The Merry Misadventures of a Matriarchal Madwoman. I made up that title. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I love being "spotlighted." It's so fun.

So I thought, in the coming weeks, I would spotlight some of my bloggy buddies, ones I know in person and ones I don't. These would be the ones I have on my sidebar, the ones I follow and frequent. Some of them I don't know well... some I've never met. And some of the posts may be short.
But each of them will get a spotlight.
I apologize in advance if a lot of these posts say similar things.
witty and fun.

Cuz honestly, most of the people I follow are hilarious, beautiful, witty, and fun.
So I'll try to make each one unique. All will be from the heart.
Watch for yours!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Asthma,

Stop it.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Shameless bragging

if I may....

28 years ago my best guy was born.
As a tribute to my awesome companion,
I made this video of one of his talents.

You've seen a similar one before, but this one is
all him.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm losing it.

Facebook has its virtues.
For example, a friend of mine posted on my wall "Haven't you forgotten to post something today??"

I thought... did I? No. I always remember to post on Chapterhouse Lane. I very much enjoy rewarding my readers' anticipation.
I checked back on the blog.

And I forgot to post! I couldn't believe myself.

I must be going nuts.
So anyway, I posted this morning. I should post twice. Yeah, I really should. Inexcusable.

I may, one day, be able to plead my case.

I also had a test in Bio last night. I don't think I did very well. Major brain farts going on. Seriously, STP stands for Short Tandem Repeats, not Short something-that-starts-with-a-T Replication!!!
I remembered that this morning at like five-thirty. Ugh.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Love, Ames

Dear England,

I dream about you sometimes. The dreams are always pale, disjointed, and not at all like the reality but they make me happy nonetheless.
It's been five years since my visit. I think of you often and how soon I can return.
I love your history. I want to study it.
I love your literature. I want to study that too. Especially John Ronald, James, Jo, Jane, and Jack. And some Will and okay, maybe a little Geoffrey. Just a little. Uncle Geoff, you may be a distant relation, but your stories are weird.
Is it completely mental for me to say that I miss your cities and countrysides, England? That I think back on your twisting, maze-like streets, your ancient hills, and your cute-as-a-button bed and breakfasts with longing comparable to homesickness?
I can't pick one favorite place. I loved it all. York was so wonderful, I had to use it in a story. Lacock was absolute enchantment. I wish I would have walked around that place more. And I'm still kicking myself that I went all the way to Oxford and forgot to ask where John Ronald used to work. Really!? At least I got to go to The Eagle and Child where he and Jack and their other mates got to hang out.
Next time I come, England, I want to go to more castles. Like Alnwick Castle. And pass through York again. I'd love to ride the train and visit other historic sites in London. I want a picture by the statue of Peter Pan. I want to talk to more of your people, visit your LDS temples and churches, see and feel and breathe in every moment.
And I'd love to fight the temptation to do a spirited impression of Robin Hood in the movie Men in Tights when he arrived on your shores: kneeling on the ground, arms outstretched, exclaiming "Home! Home! England!" then bending down and kissing the ground.
But that would be undignified.

Give my regards to William and Kate.


Friday, November 11, 2011


Five years ago today:

I woke up early. I couldn't sleep.
I went to Dillards to get my makeup done.
The lady who did it was over the age of 60.
I was nervous.
She did fabulous.
I bumped my head on the makeup counter. It hurt.

I got my hair done. Half up. With curls.
I put on a pencil skirt and suit jacket.
I felt like a lawyer.
I went to the church to inspect decorations.

I was scared. I sat on a bench in front of the temple.
Then I saw him walking toward me. I smiled. The fear lessened. He took my hand.
We went in.
When we came out, we were an eternal family.

Five years ago I married the sexiest man alive.
Perfect for me.
My best friend.
The love of my life.
My friend, my companion, my partner.
And the father of an angel.

What a guy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Love, Me Monday

Dear snow,

I miss you. I've lived in Arizona for 99% of my life and I've only lived where you fall for two winters. I miss that giddy feeling when I first notice your flurries in the air. Like a little kid I'd squeeeeal, run outside, and try to catch you in my mouth.
I miss seeing you gather in thick blankets in the yard, in grimy clumps on the side of the road, and in the branches of trees. You turn everything into a Christmas card and make every day a hot chocolate one.
You even gave me a day off from school once. I was on my way to my least favorite class when the radio guys announced that the college campus had closed. The song "Beautiful Day" by U2 followed that announcement. You can imagine the perfection of that scenario as I turned around, went home, and watched Home Alone 2 while drinking hot chocolate and gazing lovingly out the window to watch you fall and collect.
I remember skating on the frozen blacktop in the Wal-mart parking lot. I remember laughing my head off while watching one of my friends attempt at making a snow-angel chain. I remember the misery of freezing to death when I unwisely left my thick coat at home (because I thought it made me look fat) when we went tubing down the snow-covered hills. Seriously, who does that?
I remember the time when I was a dance teacher, rehearsing in the warm dance studio with my girls. We were all sweating. We saw that it was snowing. We had to go stand in it. And then we had to dance in it.
So we did.
We turned up the music, left the front door open, and rehearsed the performance number. In the parking lot. Among the falling snow. It was glorious!
I love the glitter of diamonds when the sun shines on your calm, frosty surface. I love the tiny, delicate design of lacy snowflakes that I tried to see before it melted in my bare hand.
I love seeing you on the Superstition Mountains. A breathtaking image in the middle of a desert.
Yes, you're hard to drive in. I almost rear-ended someone because of it and I've slipped and slided (slid?) over the wintery street when you covered the road. Luckily, I never hit anyone. And yes, you make it freezing cold outside, you make every extremity on my body go numb with cold, and you're easy to get sick of when you're piled several feet high.
But oh, darling snow.
Wish you could visit me down here.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Two things that have no relation whatsoever.

Good news! My thumb is all healed. I cut it while carving my freaking awesome Halloween pumpkin.
Which, by the way, DID win an award for the contest.
Prizes were a big tin of popcorn, some Halloween candy, and 50 bucks off our next month's rent! NICE!

Guess what? I'm doing NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month.
50,000 words in 30 days. That's a little less than 2,000 words a day if I don't write on Sundays.
I'm a bit stoked.
And a little in over my head.
Is it cheating if I use large portions from the previous, unfinished draft of the novel that I'm going to write in 30 days?
Hopefully not.
Cuz somethings are better the first time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

She's with me when I need her

I don't go to baby showers.

Doesn't matter who, when, or whether it's a boy or a girl.
I don't like them. So I don't go.

My sister Jessica, who is one of my best friends, is having a baby girl right around the same time Ella was due. Even though it's not my beloved sister's fault for the way these events have unfolded, it is still salt on an open wound. I hope she'll forgive my honesty.
Her shower was last night.
And I was expected to go.
I didn't want to. I didn't want to be the one sitting in the corner, holding back tears, watching everyone gush and coo and awe over all the pretty little girl things she was bound to receive. I didn't want to be the one everybody had to tip-toe around and wonder if Amy's about to explode.
During the drive out to Mesa, I thought a lot about my self-pity.

Sometimes I imagine that Ella is beside me, somewhere nearby, offering me words of encouragement during times that are especially difficult. I don't know if these musings are the truth. I hope they are. I feel like they are.
In the car I had one of those moments.
I dried my tears.

I was not going to allow my grief to ruin this happy occasion for Jessica, who hurts for her big sister and also mourns Ella's loss.

Still, I arrived at my mom's house (the venue for the event) with a bad attitude. But by and by, the longer I was with my family, the more time I spent with the people that mean so much to me, I felt my mood lift.
Not only could I hold it together, but I could even have a good time.

I'll admit I cast a few jealous looks at the girl who brought her 10 month old daughter. And I still felt like had an obvious mark on me, the "baby widow." But I was treated normal, which was what I wanted. And  my fears of completely losing it were completely unfounded. I was able to smile.

I skipped the present-opening part. I lounged with my brother in the other room watching tv and playing Angry Birds on my phone. And I was content.
After everyone left, I went to get some food with my friend, who is also a friend of my sister's and a guest at the shower. She said I needed a pick-me-up. In all honesty, I felt totally fine. I wasn't moping or crying or even sad. But we went anyway. I got some onion rings and had a lovely talk with her.

Afterwards, I chatted and laughed too loud with my mom and sisters. It was fabulous. Fabulous people just make for fabulous moments, it's a scientific fact. The night ended up a happy one.

I feel like Ella was with me last night. Even if I was talking about something else, or thinking more about passing another level on Angry Birds, or laughing with my family. I had fun. I didn't cry. I got through it.
And the most important part of all: my sister had a wonderful party and got lots of lovely things for her sweet girl.

My girl isn't here.
But she's mine.
And she's perfect.
And she'll always be here when I need her.