Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dia de Palvo (or Polvo, if you are Aramie)

Happy Thanksgiving! I just wanted to give you all an update on our day so far. As most of you know, we are on our own for this meal for the first time ever. Most of you also know how domestically inept I really am. I think Adam put it best when he asked me yesterday about our Thanksgiving plans. He asked, “So, are you just going to go to Red Robin, or what?” And that’s exactly what we should have done. Let me ‘splain. Frankie’s Thanksgiving must and favorite dessert is cherry pie. But, he likes it cold. So, I cooked that first thing this morning so that it could cool and then go in the fridge. Don’t be too impressed at my ability to cook a pie; Corrine made the crust when she was here last and the filling was from a can. Anyway, Mom told me that I should have put the pie on a cookie sheet to bake it because fruit pies have a tendency to spill over. I didn’t know this as I dislike fruit pies and stay far away from them under normal circumstances. So, there was a ton of filling that spilled into my upper oven. I meant to clean it, so I turned off the oven to let things cool. I forgot, of course. So, I then made Aramie’s famous pumpkin spice cake and preheated the oven to cook it. Smoke began to billow into the house and before we knew it, we were suffering from smoke inhalation. 4 ceiling fans, open doors, and fanning towels later, we are breathing a little more easily. So, I go to clean the 350 degree burnt junk off the oven and find that I cannot lift the plate which covers the flame. I scraped it all with a spatula resulting in my having billions of pieces of burnt cherry filling just sitting in the oven, not knowing the best way to remedy the situation. Frankie and I are stricken by the same epiphany simultaneously. “Dust-buster!” Yes, I did. And it worked like a crazy charm! Just so you know, the dust-buster has lots of unadvertised uses. I hope your day is so great! Today, I am thankful for my family, the true gospel of Jesus Christ, a place to live, food to eat, and dust-busters. Amen.

How is your day shaping up?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Cheese Incident

the following is a true story. i have changed no names as nobody is innocent. this form is actually an essay i wrote for one of my classes this semester. it was fun to write and remember, and i got a really good grade on it. so, for your reading enjoyment, may i present to you the Judd Tale Theater story of The Cheese Incident.

Standing at 5’6, Aaron was not yet an intimidating figure. So, not only his stature but also his tender age of twelve made him an unlikely prankster in the family. That didn’t stop him. His prey was our older brother, Nathan. Nineteen years old and 6 feet tall, he was slightly more imposing. Aaron has always been fearless. I was sitting upstairs, reading a magazine when he walked past me and into the kitchen. The refrigerator door opened and shut. Aaron emerged from the kitchen carrying one individually wrapped Kraft single. As he headed for the stairs, I knew something interesting was about to happen. Aaron always made interesting things happen. I wanted in, so I inquired about the cheese and he motioned for me to follow him.

The downstairs bathroom was positioned just beyond the laundry room. This is where we set the trap. Nathan was getting ready for a date and Aaron couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The shower was still running and we knew Nathan was a fan of throwing his clothes into the dryer to work out any wrinkles. It’s the lazy man’s way to iron. So, we gauged the length of his stride from the bathroom door to the dryer. When we felt like we had found the right space, we un-wrapped the cheese. A slight argument ensued over whether or not to leave the slice lying on top of the plastic wrap, but logic overcame and while we wanted to tick off our brother, we knew better than to tick off our mom with cheese smashed into the carpet. Our devil-may-care attitudes extended only so far. So, with the cheese face up in front of the dryer exactly where we thought Nathan’s foot would land, we ran up the first half of the stairs to where they wrapped up to the second flight. Positioned safely ducking under the banister, we waited.

The shower stopped. We stifled an anticipatory giggle. The door opened. Our hearts began racing. The dryer door opened and shut. The bathroom door closed. No reaction. We looked at each other, puzzled, then clambered over one another as we raced toward the cheese. What went wrong? How could this have missed? It was fool-proof! Knowing that Nathan had only retrieved his boxers from the dryer and would still need his pants, we rethought our stride, stepping from the closed bathroom door to the dryer. We once again placed the cheese. We once again bounded up the steps and once again took our huddled places just beyond the curve of the stairs. Suddenly, Aaron had an epiphany. “The cheese is too far,” he whispered, barely audibly, “I’m going in!” We knew the timing was dangerous, but the cheese had to be moved. “God speed!” I whispered loudly, peering over the banister as Aaron stepped hurriedly, intent on correcting our error.

He barely made it back to our eagle’s nest when the door opened. We huddled closer, waiting. Nathan’s voice boomed through both levels of our home, “What? Ch...cheese? How…wha… I stepped in cheese? I stepped in a damn piece of cheese!” We looked at each other instantly and I imagine my face was much like my brother’s; wide, smiling eyes, mouth tightly closed, a laugh threatening to burst out at any second. The bathroom door closed again and we raced up the rest of the stairs and took unassuming positions on the couch, Aaron with the newspaper and me with a magazine. Our bodies trembled in silent laughter behind our disguises. Only Dad was witness to our mischief.

“What did you guys do?” he asked, in an exacerbated tone. We described to him, in hushed voices, our perfect crime. Between bouts of laughter, we barely got it out. “Geez, guys!” he said, chuckling and shaking his head. It’s no small feat to make dad laugh.

We heard heavy steps scaling the stairs.

Our faces straightened as best they could under the circumstances, and we pretended to be engrossed in our reading material. We were not suspicious looking at all.
“Dad,” Nathan began, “I got out of the shower and I stepped in a piece of cheese right there in the laundry room. A damn piece of cheese!” His intonation told that he was totally disgusted at the state of our home; a place so filthy that an innocent shower-taker could step in a stray cheese slice.

“What?” Aaron said with a poker face. “You stepped in cheese?” “Weird!” I added, drawing on my theater training. Nate grew suspicious immediately before dad ratted us out. “Nate, your brother and sister did that to you.”

The look on his face almost made me feel remorseful. He was betrayed and totally speechless. Aaron and I, of course, burst into maniacal laughter at the best prank ever played and Nathan just looked at us in disbelief.

“You guys did that?” His tone was both hurt and impressed. Aaron always has a ready answer and said, “What did you think, Nathan; that there was just some piece of cheese hanging out in the laundry room?” Nathan admitted that it seemed strange, but why would he suspect that someone had set a trap for him? It was a reasonable question. He walked to the brass coat hanger and slipped on his jacket. He noticed that there was something in the pocket. Unbeknownst to me, Aaron’s prank was not yet over.

The horrified look on Nathan’s face as he pulled from his jacket pocket the matchbox car with the note attached was all Aaron needed. My baby brother erupted in his trademark belly laugh and without even knowing the punch-line, Dad and I started laughing, too. We knew it had to be pretty terrible. I don’t reveal family secrets, so I won’t tell you what was written on that note. Suffice it to say that Nathan spent the next several minutes furiously washing his hands.

what is something funny that has happened in your family?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

sorry saps

yeah, i've seen New Moon, suckers! and i haven't even read the books. blasphemous, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Recently, Darby has been extra hilarious. She is so strong-willed at 3 years old, it fills me with trepidation for the teenage years. She’s a tricky little cuss, too. The other day, I was sitting at the table and she was laying on a chair in the living room. I could see her from where I was seated and she called out to me with a pitiful look on her face. “Mom, I need you!” Now, she says this frequently, but there was a tone of distress in her voice, so I rushed over to find out what was wrong. I said, “Baby, what do you need?” She sat up and said, “I need you…to get out of your chair!” She then jumped off of her chair and ran to sit in mine! I couldn’t believe it. Outsmarted by a 3 year old. Again. The other day, she was on a roll with the funny things she was saying. Frankie got home from work and she rushed into his arms and said, “Daddy! I missed my car.” Later, Frankie kissed her and told her that he loved his daughter. Darby crinkled her brow into a stink-eye and said, “I’m not Daughter, I’m Darby!” Finally, we were all playing and I pretended to hit Frankie (yes, pretended). Darby put her hand on my arm, as though to hold me back, and said, “Don’t touch Dad! He’s my sister.”

She is currently kicking the wall as hard as she can. Not really sure why.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rise and Whine!

This is a webcam picture of Darby lounging on the couch, watching Little Monsters, and hiding her face with an Elmo blanket. I stayed up very late last night working first on homework, then helping Frankie paint his office. While I didn’t have to get up as early as did my poor husband, I am very tired and wondering, what with all the lounging, why are we awake?!
What would be your dream morning?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home Cooking

(this is a picture of the Ecuadorian flag flying in the city of Quito)
Darbenstien has fallen asleep on the couch and I hardly know what to do with myself. This is completely unprecedented. And beautiful. You’d think I could come up with something, but I don’t want to waste a nap (which Darby no longer takes and hasn’t since she was 2---I hear it’s genetic, so thanks for nothing, Britney!) on housework. So, what do you think I did? I’ll break the suspense. I ate a whole can of spaghettios. With some goldfish crackers mixed in. It was actually remarkably undesirable, but I ate it nonetheless. Which brings me to another mission story.

If you are looking for a heart-warming, goose bump inducing story, you’ve come to the wrong place. I have those stories; I just never seem to tell them. My spiritual stories are sacred to me. I have to get to know you a little better before I’ll tell those :)

This story is about how nasty I am. Well, most of the stories of my life are about how nasty I am, but this one is different. If you’ve served a mission, you know that you have to get used to eating things that are not exactly what you’d eat at home. Well, I’m not domestic, as we all know, and my Mama wasn’t there to cook for me. So, left to my own devices, my main meal was a mixture of corn flakes, tuna, and barbeque sauce. I know; take a minute to barf and read on.

Tuna and barbeque sauce is something by which I still stand. Give it a shot and then write me back to tell me thanks. I grew up in south Georgia, mind you, and while most Georgians know better than to mix tuna with, well, anything, we all know how important barbeque is to our culture.

That said, I know that my concoction is not only unholy, but unconscionable.

So, we went to an investigator’s house after church one Sunday and began to help the womenfolk prepare lunch for the father. The father was named Fausto and he was a booming, imposing man. Fausto didn’t want us to come around in the first place, but he allowed it because his wife wanted us to come. The first time we met with them, they invited us to have lunch. My comp was an interestingly arrogant girl from Bolivia (la Paz). Fausto asked us our names, and we told him. “Hermana Judd y Hermana Renfijo.” He demanded our first names and Renfijo went on and on about not telling people our first names. She said, “But you can call us ‘Hermanita’.” In Spanish, “ita” added to the end of a word is endearing, and means “little.” Fausto boomed, “I DON’T DO ‘ITAS’!” Renfijo, who always had to be right, said, “You don’t call your wife (who was named Rosa) ‘Rosita?!” She was challenging him and he was ticked. He thundered, “No! I call my wife Rosey!” It was so tense in the dining room with all his children sitting in silence, staring at their father and my comp being super stupid. Without thinking, I said, “So, can we call you Fausty?”

There was silence. This unnaturally huge macho man turned to me, his eyes wide. Wide with what? I didn’t know. I was pretty sure I should just run for the hills and make a new life.

The silence was unnerving. It was long. It was horrifying. And then he roared with laughter. What a relief! I told him our names, but that we preferred to be called “hermana.” He obliged.

So, anyway, weeks later he came home to find us helping his daughter (who was our age) make his lunch. He saw me in the kitchen and said, “Oh, no!” I was genuinely concerned. I asked what was wrong and he said, “Hermana Judd is cooking?! I’m going to have to eat tuna and corn flakes!” And he laughed and laughed at me.

Much like Rodney Dangerfield, I get no respect. Fausto was wonderful and I adored his family. I learned a lot while teaching them. I hope to see them in the hereafter, when they come on a weekend vacation to the Telestial Kingdom. While my cooking skills have improved since then (only slightly), I think I’ll still make them some tuna and corn flakes. I mean, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, right?

What’s something nasty you’ve had to eat? OR, tell me one of your mission stores.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Give Me Something Good To Eat!

Now, I had to steal these images from Corrine’s blog because I never take any pictures at all! I rely so much on her to keep a record of my family! I’m so appreciative of her picture taking tendencies and abilities.

So, Darby was a monkey for Halloween. When Uncle Rich asked me what Darby was going to be, I said, “A monkey.” He said, “I know she’s a monkey, but what is she going to be for Halloween?” And that’s my Darbs! Aramie sent us the costume and it was so cute on Darbenstien. She loved the coat; she calls it her “rain coat” and wants to wear it every time we leave the house! She had a great Halloween; her Gran came down for a visit and they made sugar cookies together. Then, we met up with our friends, the Sell family, and took the kids to this neighborhood that closes off a cul de sac and people just line the street in their lawn chairs to pass out candy. It was so fun! Darby thinks it’s so great. She told me the next day (and that night on the way home, actually) that she wants to go again. She made out like a bandit and really enjoyed herself.

At our new house, I bought tons of candy to pass out and we only got 1 trick-or-treater! That’s a grand total of 2 in my whole married life! Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to eat the candy myself. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have to return it to the store. That would be bad for the economy.

How was your Halloween?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fatty Fatty 2x4

There’s a fat girl inside me, just trying to eat her way out. I love food. Let’s go through our list of top 3’s.

Breakfast food:
1. McDonald’s breakfast burritos
2. Denny’s Heartland Scramble
3. Cake

Lunch food:
1. Hot dog/chili dog
2. Frozen burrito (cooked, of course)
3. Bologna sandwich

Dinner food:
1. Anything from a drive-thru, large sized fries, please.
2. Pizza (no dirty Little Ceasar’s)
3. Really, whatever I didn’t have to cook is best

Dessert food:
1. Little Debbie cosmic brownies
2. Hostess cupcakes
3. And Aramie’s and my favorite, Suzy Q’s! I’ll tell you that story later.

And you? What are your top 3’s?