Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meet Tyker

Richard just hired a guy a few weeks ago and in talking with him, discovered he has a little hobby. He officially weds pets. Tycker is the reverend with real, certified sealing abilities. Anyway, check out the link on the side bar. It's pretty hilarious! And if you begin to wonder if it's real or not, check out the wedding album.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Triathlon Training: Day #2

On Monday, I thought I'd see how well I was conditioned for the biking portion of the triathlon. I didn't do too bad, but I have been practicing. Today, I thought I would venture out and try the swimming. As for how I did with that, you be the judge.

I started off by purchasing a swim cap and some goggles. One of the things I hate about swimming (I know, I used the word "hate" and still think I am going to try for the triathlon) is my long hair getting all wet and full of chlorine. The cap would make this experience much better. I picked blue, my favorite color, for luck.

I have never taken official swim lessons. I don't know a single stroke, except the Don't Sink and I still have to hold my nose with my fingers when I jump into the water. I've never liked the water and definitely have never felt comfortable bobbing around in it. Perhaps these issues are why I am feeling the strong desire to conquer my fear of water and do this race. I'm sure everyone goes from no swimming experience to triathlon in a little over a year...

Orem Fitness Center was my desired location this morning. I hadn't been in over ten years and I remembered that it had a decent sized pool. On my drive over, I was really wishing I wasn't going alone. When I got there, everything was changed around. I paused to gather my bearings, walked into the locker room and ran right into a naked old lady, the first of three on my journey. Yup. That's the other reason I don't like swimming. There's walls and walls of stalls with doors, but no one seems to care.

My locker was chosen inside the stall so I could do all my changing completely obscure. And as soon as my socks came off I remembered another reason. Bare feet touching the cold, wet locker room floor, swimming in other peoples' foot water! Um, crawling. Germs clinging.

Have you ever tried to put on a swim cap? I hadn't and I felt like a complete idiot trying to get it to work. I pulled it over my ponytail and ended up with a lop-sided tumor bulging off the side of my cap. I tried again, but the thickness of my hair was making it nearly impossible. I struggled for five minutes before I finally pulled real hard and snapped it on, hair whisping out all over. I was grateful for the goggles that helped hold the cap on. Together the two helped me look the part and I semi-confidently walked into the pool room. My goal was to time myself and see how long I could swim without stopping. You know, check my endurance. I jumped in the water and started the timer.

One lap across the distance of the pool was all it took for my lungs to collapse. Three measly minutes of kicking and arm waving. The confidence I had gained from the goggles had just warn off, but I paid $3.50 to get in and I didn't want to waste my money. So, I took a small rest and headed back down the length of the pool, on my back.

About half-way down, I was stopped by a leathery-looking, old man with a saggy tattoo on his left shoulder. He smiled at me and I tried to focus on him through my foggy goggles. He said, "Lady, you should try kicking with your legs and not your knees, you'll go faster." I laughed inwardly and thanked him for the tip, and at the same time stupidly admitted I didn't know what I was doing (dumb, dumb girl! As if that wasn't completely obvious already.) He took that opportunity to encourage me to take deep breaths and fill my whole body full of air, even my capillaries. I'd float better, he said. Again I thanked him and kicked with my legs all the way back to lonely safety. I couldn't help but wonder if my whole swimming person shouted out novice to everyone in the pool. Maybe I should've worn a sign!

With each pass, my legs hurt and I felt more and more awkward trying to use my legs and not my knees. Not to mention, every time I went by I got a "thumbs up" from my coach, who was sitting in the jacuzzi with four other old men. I wondered if Coach happened to catch me when I choked on pool water and sputtered for my last breath of air.

Twenty-five minutes. I had given up a non-stop swim early on, but I wanted to at least get in thirty minutes. If only my goggles weren't so foggy. It was driving me crazy. I should have asked Coach on my last lap what to do about them. I took them off to investigate. And wouldn't you know it...I figured out the problem all on my own. I had forgotten to take the little clear vinyl covering off the fronts of my eyeballs! The ones that clearly state, "please remove before use". Oh, how I wished there was someone there to laugh with me and not at me. I had already talked to four different people thus far.

On my last lap across the pool, I was splashed with hot water from the jacuzzi. I think this was the third time I'd been splashed, but I couldn't be sure. From the amount of water that hit me, this time must have come from all four men pulling their efforts. I stood up and stopped. I got a double thumbs-up from Coach, "You're doin' real good out there. Lookin' better!"

Thanks. I'm done. Humiliated and DONE!

I walked into the locker room, barely missing another naked woman, and went to take my cap off, if indeed that sucker would come off. As I stood in the mirror looking at my miserable self, I stretched the cap off my head. Water gushed out and poured down my head and all over my body. What the...!

My eyes hadn't recovered from viewing naked, sagging breasts, my nostrils could do nothing but smell chlorine, my feet were being infested by microscopic stranger-foot-germs and my hair was soaked through with pool water!

Maybe I'll try for a DUATHLON. Anybody?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


So, I want to do a triathlon next year, the one in Salem. Is there anybody out there that would participate with me? I am finding it hard to get willing bodies. It would take place in June, so we'd have the whole year to train. I have never done one, so I am not quite sure what it entails, but I am pretty excited at the prospect. I just need company.

Friday, May 16, 2008

FFA Week #9

Topic: What family traditions can you live without?

This particular tradition was introduced to me a short time after I was married. Richard and I were sitting at the kitchen table of his parent's home playing cards with our friends and my brother-in-law. It was a good clean card game, 5 Card Draw or Blackjack, I can't remember, but we weren't using the family-approved Rook cards. The cards in use had been smuggled in and worked much better.

We were having a great time snacking and enjoying the company, no one winning or losing because we weren't using money or even chips, when the garage door announced the arrival of parents. The look on my husband's face, as well as his brother's, was classic. Sheer panic flashed through their eyes. Immediately, the game came to an abrupt hault, cards began to fly and in less than 15 seconds flat, the cards in our hands had been replaced with old, jumbo "Follow The Prophet" cards (Yeah, I'd never heard of them either). Three of us sat there in awe and confusion as these two brothers expertly hid the taboo cards and replaced them with the next best thing within a quick reach. As my in-laws reached the top step, us twenty-five to thirty year olds were settled and playing a mock game of Go Fish with our prophet cards. And only two of us even broke a sweat. Never in my life had I witnessed an event that could cause two grown men to run for their lives over a deck of cards.

Traditionally, there is one kind of card that is not to be enjoyed within the walls of the Bean Home. I know this is not terribly unusual for some households, but it's a tradition we chose to live without. However, for those special occassions when Rook cards just won't do, we finally found an alternative that can be played at family reunions. Thank you M&M World. Pinochle can still live on!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Niagra Falls - The Next Stop

After Palmyra, we drove to Niagra Falls. It was still full of ice chunks and a little chilly, but very impressive. After viewing the falls, we went into to Canada and had lunch. Gavin found a Canadian penny and thought that was pretty cool. Interesting: the United States side is very natural looking and the Canadian side is cement and commercialism. Quite the contrast.

I call this our "engagement" shot, but despite it's cheesiness,
I'm still posting it. (Truthfully, I sat up there to hide half my
body in the hopes I might look less "bulky". A girl can try.)

(Maybe by next year, I'll have posted this trip in full! One day at a time, one day at a time.)

FFA - Week #8

Before I get grief for not posting earlier, I want you to know that I tried at least three times. My computer was soooo slow and it just wasn't worth all the effort. I am banking on the "better late than never" attitude.

Topic 8: What do you, or would you, hide from your children?

Let me start by saying this: When I was a little girl, I heard the phrase, "This is too good for children" or "No, you can't have any. You won't appreciate it". And...can I just say - I hated that! I vowed that when I grew up, I was going to let my kids have whatever delicatessan the grown ups were having, whether they appreciated it or not!

That being said, let me share my thoughts on chocolate. I didn't really care for it growing up. I could take it or leave it. In fact, most of the time, I left it. I failed to see the hype all those grown women would make over it. Well, something must happen to the chemistry of a woman's body as it ascends through it's teenage years, because that was then...

Now, I am a firm believer that chocolate, in almost any form, was created by God to make up for PMS. I can honestly say, it makes me feel better, even if only mentally. And my tastes have become more sophisticated as I have gotten older. I don't want that hard, waxy brown served on the outer layer of a candy bar (although, in a pinch, it will do.) I want the real good stuff! (It's not my fault a larger price tag comes with it...)

Remember the vow I made as a child, that I wouldn't deny my kids the "good stuff"? In some ways, I stayed true to that, but let's face it. The truth is, kids DON'T "appreciate it". I changed course on that vow the moment I watched my child pop a treasured truffle (priced at a dollar a piece) into his mouth and swallow it hole, like a dog and a piece of meat. He didn't even taste it or feel the velvet texture as it melted in his mouth! I am not even sure he knew he was eating chocolate.

From that point on, I have hidden my chocolate. Scattered throughout the house are little nooks and crannies where my treasure can be found, but only if you're over 5 1/2 feet tall. It takes skill and stealth to hide my addiction from my children. Sometimes, they'll walk in just in time to catch me shoving a piece down my throat. Then I have to lie about what I'm actually eating. My usual response, through a mouthfull of melting chocolate with traces sometimes dribbling down my chin, "Oh, nofing."

Now, you tell me, which is worse: telling your kids they have to wait until they can appreciate it or lying and hoarding to keep them from wasting your prized possession?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lucky Allison!

Alli went in this morning and had her tonsils and adenoids removed. She did very well. I was surprised at what a quick procedure it was, 30 minutes. I wish they didn't make you stay for another three hours waiting.

We're hoping to keep her doped up for the next few days. We don't believe in natural healing at our house. Give out the drugs and keep 'em coming until the pain completely subsides. Unfortunately, that motto just cost me over 50 bucks in prescriptions.

There were two choices in pain meds: 1. Tylenol with Codeine which would burn all the way down her throat, or 2. Capital with Codeine which is supposed to gently glide down her throat. I hope she appreciates the sacrifice we made for her comfort because she'll be gliding! And I'll be chinking dollar signs with every teaspoonful.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Joseph Smith Farm and Sacred Grove

Once we got to New Jersey, we took a mini-trip to Palmyra, New York and then to Niagra Falls. The first stop was the Smith Farm and the Sacred Grove.

This was a really cool statue in the visitors center. It's really, REALLY hard not to get emotional. I don't know what it was, but we liked it.

Gavin and Allison in front of the original log cabin with the Sacred Grove in the background.

I didn't realize this, but there are about three miles of trail through the Grove to wander on. We didn't go the full distance, but we had the place all to ourselves. And it looked very similar to what it would have looked like when Joseph was there. Not the leafy greens we are used to seeing. This is what "early Spring" looks like. The trees were just starting to bud out and daffodils spotted the ground all through the Grove.

Alli is pointing to original bricks in Alvin's house where Joseph hid the plates for a time. 80% of that house was still original. Richard's great uncle, Willard Bean, lived many years in that house after the Smith's had moved on. Willard Bean was quite a big name in the history of those sites. When the missionaries giving the tours found out we were Bean's, they were very excited.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Brace Face

Gavin is excited to announce that he is officially a "Brace Face". He has been very anxious to get these braces. Last month he spent a couple of days on the Orthodontist's website picking out the color of rubber bands he wanted (you can't tell, but he chose to alternate blue and green).

At church on Sunday he leaned over and whispered there were only 46 hours and 37 minutes left until he got his braces and from that point on he was giving me updates every thirty minutes - until I told him to hush up.

He'll only have to wear them for 9-12 months, just in time for Jr. High. Not bad at all, especially because he was so happy to get them in the first place. I expect that enthusiasm to last a day, at which point the pain will start to kick in!

Friday, May 2, 2008


Okay, I have slacked off for a couple of weeks and decided three weeks was just too long to go without writing. Besides, how can I get "picked" if I don't ever write anything!

This week's topic: What is the lamest thing you ever did as a teenager that you thought was SOOOOO cool?

Sunshine Tournament. Enough said.

Okay, I'll expound. I was a sophomore in High School (aka: the golden age for lameness) and we, my chicas and I, decided Sunshine Tournament was a must. You weren't COOL if you didn't go. (Truthfully, I didn't get involved in the planning of this event. I went along for the ride - my Sophomore Theme).

Sunshine Tournament, for those of you who are unawares, takes place south of here and includes: baseball game after baseball game, cruising up and down the main boulevard, getting drunk and making out with whomever will make out with you. Doesn't that sound like my kind of party? I fit into this little gig about as comfortably as a brand new penny loafer.

There were about six or eight of us girls that went together, if my memory serves me correctly, but I was completely surprised to find half the school had transplanted themselves into this sunny little retirement community. As the new girl, this was my first experience with the baseball-craziness that saturated my new hometown. Perhaps our fellow peers flocking around was the reason we felt it necessary to display our coolness with more vibrancy.

That vibrancy came in the form of a non-descript grey and plastic block. While we cruised back and forth, my friend passed her cell phone around for all of us to talk on as if we were someone really important because only the elite and wealthy had cell phones in that day. Of course, this wasn't a real cell phone. She bought it before we left at a toy store as a prop to our coolness. And it wasn't like the cell phones of today. Remember the original box phones that were more like a giant brick against your ear than an actual talking device? Definately cool because you couldn't mistake it for something else and you couldn't ignore these notably hip, newly licensed teenage girls passing a grey block around and talking nonsense to a make-believe recipient.

Oh, we thought for sure with that phone there wasn't a cute boy in town that wouldn't want to hook up with us. I even noticed a really old guy, he must have been around 25, checking us out. When I noticed him, he had a very distinct look on his face. I remember it clearly because we were stopped at a light and I had the phone to my ear and as I turned, I found him watching us. I continued to talk into my phone and he just stared. Poor chap...he was jealous.

For two whole days we paraded around town, hung out at an occassional baseball game, visited the hippest motels where the cute boys gathered and took turns being important with a very impressive, fake, brick phone.