Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Taste and the rapid journey through time

Lately I've been trying to be more creative in my grocery-shopping endeavors. Despite my increased amount of time and income, I still find that I buy mostly college food, the five staples being milk, bread, chicken patties, chips & salsa, and applesauce. I still prepare my standard four things for my lunches, which is barely enough to tide me over until an early dinner, and I often find myself whipping up a good ol' college dinner of loaded instant potatoes and oven-baked chicken patties.

The cost of "real" food hasn't been the issue here, but rather the effort it requires to make it edible. And the fact that I'm usually just cooking for me (I sometimes wonder if my roommate understands the meaning of "three meals a day"), which means if I make something awesome I'll be eating leftovers for several days.

So, I have been trying a little harder to expand my food horizon and to make sure I have more entertaining things to at least snack on or pack in my lunch. After all, everyone knows that I love food, and it would be a shame to continue the college tradition of cheap, convenient, and passably good food.

This plan has backfired somewhat, as I've bought stuff like Nutella (I recently discovered the stuff and now I'm addicted) and little goodies wrapped in convenient little packages. So I've been making myself browse the fresh produce section of Smith's for more than just carrots (blech--see, I do care about my physical well-being, otherwise I wouldn't keep forcing myself to eat raw carrots sans Ranch during my trapped-in-the-office lunch hours).

Unfortunately though, I'm not a big fan of fresh fruits and veggies. I love applesauce, apple juice, and apple pie, but I rarely eat just a plain apple. Cooked carrots are yummy, but I've developed something of a repulsion for raw ones. I usually buy pre-made salad rather than lettuce because I'm too lazy to cut it up. Raw broccoli is yucky, but I love it when it's cooked. I love dried apricots, but fresh ones aren't that tasty. Even peaches and strawberries usually end up getting smushed up a bit and sprinkled with sugar before I feel comfortable eating them. (However, I absolutely LOVE fresh pears, tomatoes, and corn, though they must be of the homegrown variety, preferably from Grandpa Jackson's garden.)

Wow. It's taking me a really long time to get to my point. Fast forward to when, a few weeks ago, a saw a line of dried fruits in colorful little bags--apricots, apples, cherries, etc.--and decided to check them out. Usually I buy craisens, but, because I was being adventurous, I picked the dried cherries instead, a food I haven't tasted in at least 15 years but vaguely remembered loving when I was really little.

Well, today I opened that bag of dried cherries. The smell wasn't particularly inviting, but I popped a few in my mouth anyway. After chewing for a few seconds, the flavor exploded in my mouth and sent my taste buds a-flurry, and my mind was flooded with memories from my childhood--sneaking dried cherries from Grandma Jackson's living room that Grandpa had brought home from the cherry plant, rediscovering my love for them when a friend in 4th grade shared her lunch with me, and working in the cherry plant during two horrible summers (incidentally, I can no longer eat fresh cherries, but, again, I will devour them in pies or in dry form).

I don't think I've ever experienced so many sensations from eating just one small thing. I've heard that, of the five senses, smell is the one most strongly associated with memories, but I think taste should go right up there with smell. Simply by chewing a few dried cherries today, I remembered the delight I felt as I whenever Grandpa brought them home, and I remembered things I had completely forgotten about, particularly experiences I had while living with Grandma and Grandpa Jackson. All in just a few seconds.

For example, I remember eyeing the bucket of dried cherries when Mom told me that someone had been fired (at my dad's work, I think) and I immediately envisioned a man being engulfed by a ring of fire while his wife and small children watched in tears; I then lived in fear for a few days that my dad would get "fired." I remember lining up against the wall with Tiffany on the first day of school to sport our brand-new clothes, and that everyone commented on the fact that I was almost as tall as Tiffany (though it would be years before I finally outgrew her for good). I remember eating those cherries with Tiffany and getting a stomach ache. I remember visiting Kimberly in the hospital when she was born, and that Tiffany shut my fingers in the car door and we had to go back inside the hospital to get a band-aid to make my injury all better. I remember the time that me, Mom, Grandma Jackson, and Kimberly were running errands, and I looked back at Kimberly in her car seat and her face was covered in blood because she could not scratching those mosquito bites. I remember the time Mom and Dad took us to fly kites in the big field across the street from the grandparents' house; it was extremely windy, the weeds were almost as tall as I was, and I had an Ariel kite that didn't fly very good (I think Kimberly had Flounder, who took to flying much better than Ariel did).

Not all of these memories have anything to do with dried cherries (at least, I don't think so; for all I know, I could have been hoarding a bag of cherries in my pocket when Dad took us to see Kimberly, or I could have been craving them when Mom and Dad spontaneously took us kite-flying). But somehow, eating those dried cherries today unleashed a torrent of memories from the short period of time during which I was obsessed with those dried-up little morsels of fruit.

Food is a powerful thing, y'all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fireworks ain't got nuttin' on Mother Nature

Last night I was reminded of yet another reason why I love the end of summer: thunderstorms.

If you missed the storm last night, you missed out :) This wasn't your typical Utah storm of a few feeble rumbles of thunder, no rain, and static electricity illuminating the clouds every so often. This was the real thing: pouring rain, wicked streaks of lightning, and roll after roll of booming thunder. The last time I was so transfixed by a thunderstorm was a lifetime ago when we were parachuting Barbies off the roof (FYI, testing out your dare-devilness on the roof while a thunderstorm is building in the distance is not the brightest idea in the world).

Last night's storm was underway by about 10:00 p.m., and the persistent rumbles from outside my window tore me away from my nighttime routine to the balcony of my apartment.

The communal firework shows of July 4th and 24th had nothing on the show nature put on last night.

The storm was literally a fierce war between two powers: the north and the south. As the unbiased referee right smack in the middle of the battle, I couldn't tell you which side was more impressive. Just as a rumble would be building to the south, the north would expel an ear-splitting boom that rattled my eyeballs in their sockets (okay, not really). Not to be outdone, the south would immediately follow up with with an equally impressive explosion, and vice verse. Each side was constantly warming up for the next impressive production of noise, at times sounding like the mountains themselves were groaning in protest, and it kept me riveted for a good 45 minutes.

And you can't forget the role lightning played in the awesome battle of nature. The sky was illuminated every three seconds with long, jagged streaks of lightning that spread in multiple directions and left an impression in the sky for minutes after disappearing; lightning would discretely light up the clouds as if someone were adjusting the lighting on an immense stage; and floods of light would periodically appear in the distance. The lightning hosted its own battle of impressiveness while thunder raged on either side.

To top off the night, after I had satisfied my pyrotechnic fascination, I settled down and read my (albeit boring) book for a few minutes, and then snuggled into my warm covers and fell asleep to the comforting sounds of retreating thunder. I don't know why falling asleep to thunder is comforting, but it is. Something about being safe in your warm bed while nature fights itself out. I don't think thunderstorms even scared me as a kid. The only thing I can remember is that episode of Under the Umbrella Tree when Holly tells her . . . friends (I can't remember exactly what her "friends" were) to count off seconds between the lightning and the thunder to measure how far away the storm was.

And finally, this morning was blessedly cool and was encompassed with the refreshing, sweet smell of rain. Thunderstorms rock. I can't wait for the next one.

Monday, August 22, 2011

That wonderful summer-fall transition

It came as a shock to me when I realized that thousands of kids got up extra early this morning, donned fresh new clothes, and posed for yet another first-day-of-school picture. My baby sister entered the gilded halls of high school this morning (and "gilded" isn't too much of an exaggeration; Salem Hills High is the nicest/hugest high school I've ever set foot in--much more classy than Payson High School), and college students (including my little brother! I'm getting so old) are bidding farewell to their lackluster summer jobs and/or exciting internships/study abroad opportunities, or are frantically trying to relax after an intense bout of summer school before starting all over again in the fall.

Despite saying goodbye to late nights and sunny, carefree days, it feels good to shed superfluous leisure and don productivity and hard work once more. Friends are reunited/introduced, stories are exchanged, and a whole new set of adventures begins.

It's an exciting time of year, is it not?

Of course, I didn't experience any of that this week. I didn't relish my Saturday night as my last night without the feeling of impending doom. I didn't sharpen my pencils, organize my folders and notebooks, review my schedule, or lay out a brand new outfit to wear the next day. I went to bed at a normal time last night without the typical start-of-school angst, woke up groggy this morning (my dreams were very vivid last night), and somehow managed to make it through yet another morning routine without climbing back into bed. It was a typical Monday, following a typical weekend.

But the end-of-summer buzz didn't completely pass me by; it got me as I was doing my usual pre-work reading (which tends to take a lot longer on Mondays). Despite its short tenure, I am not sad to see summer bow out; I love the summer-fall transition. This time of year just might even be better than Christmas, partly because the anticipation for the holidays starts at about this point.

Even for old people like myself, fall brings exciting changes, one of those being fall sports (football in particular). In the past I haven't been a huge football fan; I would watch the BYU-Utah game and the Superbowl, but that was about it. In high school I wanted to go to the football games not so I could watch the games, but so I could be a part of the social atmosphere. (And I'm sure I'm not the only one; Payson football hasn't been good since . . . it's never been good.)

Thanks to the NBA lockout and my steady 8-5 job, I've never been so excited for football to start. I still don't understand a lot of the rules, and I usually only cheer or groan because everyone else is doing it, but there's something about watching a football game as the air starts to get a little nippy and the leaves are changing colors that makes the whole experience fresh and exciting.

So, farewell summer and welcome back fall! (I say this while trying to ignore the fact that it's supposed to hit 100 degrees later this week . . .)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Disney movies and viewer perception

I've been thinking about one of the ending lines from Hope Floats a lot lately: "Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome." I have been revisiting my childhood over the past few weeks as I've been steadily adding to my movie collection, primarily in the Disney/animated sector.

Sometimes, watching one of your favorite childhood movies proves quite disappointing; you finally realize that the mice in An American Tail slaughter "Somewhere Out There," and movies like Fern Gully simply have no appeal. Sometimes it becomes embarrassing to admit that you liked certain movies; Gallavants is a good example (not that I ever actually liked that movie; I just remember watching it a lot, if that makes any difference. I blame Tyrel). I regret watching these movies in my adulthood because it has forever tainted what were formerly happy and innocent memories.

Fortunately though, some movie makers do everything they can to make a movie appealing to both children and their parents, though they will have vastly different interpretations. It's been entertaining to watch some of my childhood classics from an adult perspective, suddenly understanding things I was confused about as a child while at the same time being a bit confused by some of my childhood interpretations. Even better though, some of those interpretations are the same today as they were when I was five years old, allowing those memories to live on untarnished.

For this blog post, I'm talking about four movies in particular: The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Anastasia. Read on, and I think you'll understand what I mean.

The Little Mermaid
Younger self: I want to watch this movie every day.
Older self: Maybe the reason I loved this movie so much was because (1) I (like the rest of my sisters) was a song bird and may have harbored a hope that a guy would fall in love with my voice, and (2) Ariel couldn't talk throughout most of the movie; that was definitely something I could relate to. It's not that I couldn't talk, I just didn't much, even when I wanted to. Or, maybe I just watched it all the time because Tiffany loved it too.

Younger self: I wonder how effective it would be to comb my hair with a fork.
Older self: I wonder how effective it would be to comb my hair with a fork.

Younger self: Eric is the handsomest Disney prince.
Older self: Eric is still the handsomest Disney prince. The fact that he actually has lines might have something to do with it.

Younger self: Wow, Ariel is 16? I can't wait until I'm all grown up like her.
Older self: Why aren't any of Ariel's older sisters married?

Younger self: "Part of Your World" is my favorite Disney song. The later scene when Ariel sings "I don't know when, I don't know how, but I know something's starting right now" as the waves build up behind her was especially powerful to me, even back then.
Older self: "Part of Your World" is still my favorite Disney song.

Younger self: Ariel's dad is mean.
Older self: King Triton loves his daughter very much.

Younger self: Ariel's dad is the king.
Older self: Hey, cool! Triton is totally part of Greek mythology!

Younger self: The Sea Witch is kind of scary.
Older self: The Sea Witch character is slightly inappropriate for children.

Younger self: Why did Triton make Sebastian Ariel's babysitter? She's way bigger than he is.
Older self: Sebastian is right; Ariel is a headstrong teenager.

Younger self: Why does Ariel's hair keep changing colors?
Older self: I wonder if it's possible to have hair as red as Ariel's.

Younger self: "The prince is marrying the Sea Witch in the sky!" Well that's a weird thing to do.
Older self: "The prince is marrying the Sea Witch in disguise!" That makes a lot more sense.

Younger self: The dress Ariel wears after her dad transforms her is the most beautiful dress in the world.
Older self: *chokes up when King Triton tells Sebastian that the only problem left was how much he was going to miss his daughter*

Younger self: Wow, Jasmine is almost 16. She's so grown up!
Older self: Jasmine's only 16! Why the heck are they trying to marry her off?!?! And it's no wonder no one wants to marry her; she's kind of an immature brat.

Younger self: Mom, what does it mean to have fleas?
Older self: Aladdin is awfully clean for a street rat.

Younger self: It is perfectly normal to have a pet tiger.
Older self: Do people really have pet tigers? Seems a bit suicidal to me.

Younger self: Jasmine's dad is a kind, old man.
Older self: What kind of ruler plays with his toys all day? And why is it that none of the Disney princesses have two parents?

Younger self: Aladdin is a princess movie.
Older self: Actually, it's not; the title is a pretty big clue.

Younger self: I don't understand half of what the Genie is talking about during the "Friend Like Me" song.
Older self: The lyrics to this song must have taken forever to write. And the Genie's references to other movies and such is almost Gilmore Girls worthy.

Younger self: I want to ride on a magic carpet.
Older self: I want to ride on a magic carpet.

Beauty and the Beast
Younger self: The opening shot is really pretty.
Older self: The opening shot is really pretty.

Younger self: Belle seemed older than the rest of the Disney princesses, approaching spinsterhood.
Older self: Which makes her, what, 18?

Younger self: The horse is smart like the appliances at the castle.
Older self: How did the horse find its way home? And how did the horse/Belle know where the castle was?

Younger self: "Try the grey stuff; it's delicious." I don't believe you.
Older self: I still don't believe you.

Younger self: Ooh, look at all the dancing dishes . . . oh look there's more, and, WOW! There's like a million of them! *completely mesmorized*
Older self: Um, what's the point of the multiplying dishes?

Younger self: "There may be something there that wasn't there before . . ." How come no one tells Chip "what's there"? I want to know what's there!
Older self: Ah, now I get it.

Younger self: Hey cool, even animated people eat cream of wheat for breakfast.
Older self: Actually, for some reason that still amuses me.

Younger self: I want that library!!
Older self: I WANT THAT LIBRARY!!!

Younger self: "You look so, so . . ." "Stupid." 10 minutes of laughter.
Older self: Still cause for sniggers.

Younger self: Why are the fireworks falling down from the sky?
Older self: I still don't get it.

Younger self: Dimitri is pretty handsome for an animated guy.
Older self: Dimitri is pretty handsome for an animated guy.

Younger self: The concept of Rasputin selling his soul/dying/not really being dead = confusing.
Older self: The fact that Rasputin is falling apart makes his temper tantrums quite funny.

Not-so-much-younger self: It's funny that Rasputin sings when he drowns in the ice.
Older self: Oh. The train was making that noise.

Younger self: I like the part where Dimitri runs into the wall.
Older self: I still like the part where Dimitri runs into the wall.

Younger self: Is this movie true?
Older self: Gah, this movie is such a good chick flick!

I may have to do a part 2 of this post when I get movies like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Pocahontas; it's been at least 10-15 years since I have seen any of those, and my changed perception is bound to be more pronounced for those movies than it was for my three favorite Disney movies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Friday afternoon, another blog post

Does anyone else have the I-can't-work-on-Fridays disorder? I'm pretty sure it's untreatable, because most of us who have this disorder don't want to be cured.

Instead, we throw around footballs, practice putting, or, in my case, talk to self via keyboard and computer screen.

So, be forewarned: the following paragraphs probably won't follow a logical flow, which means that it will probably only make sense to Kimberly. Er, maybe.

I have found a new pet peeve; it's been growing steadily over the years, but became official today I decided. It has to do with fry sauce. I'm not a fan of fry sauce. I'm probably the only Utah native who doesn't like fry sauce. So it really annoys me when I buy a hamburger and some french fries in a drive-through and have to ask for katsup specifically. As far as I'm concerned, katsup is still the staple condiment for french fries, but it seems that everywhere I go, fry sauce is a given and katsup is stored in the back just in case some weirdo asks for it. (Am I even spelling katsup right? I've seen it spelled c-a-t-s-u-p before, but I don't like that spelling because it makes me think of cat soup.) To make matters worse, fry sauce is always put into convenient little cups, but katsup always comes in the stupid little packages that hold about a teaspoon of katsup and that are really hard to open/apply to your french fries while driving.

I sometimes wish I had gone to beauty school, just so I could figure out the mystery that is my hair. I've always been a bit obsessed with my hair, so I've put a lot of time and investment into managing it. Since I was about 12, it's been a constant battle to control the frizz, static, uneven waviness, and oilyness. And yes, it is possible to have staticky and oily hair at the same time. I feel like the past few years I've finally found a manageable balance: between washing it every day, an ion blow dryer, an expensive flat iron, expensive shampoo/conditioner, and leave-in conditioner I spray on after every shower, I've finally been able to win the hair battle fairly consistently. So it irritates me that, whenever I get my hair trimmed/cut, the first words out of the stylist's mouth are, "Your hair is so dry! What are you doing to it?" Grrrrrr. If anyone has any ideas on how to manage oily/dry hair, I would love to hear about it.

The best thing about building up my movie collection is that most of the movies I want for myself have been out for years and years, which means I can casually browse the cheap movies whenever I go grocery shopping and take home a priceless gem once every few weeks. This month I've picked up Little Women and Anastasia so far. Anastasia is my favorite movie at the moment. My obsession with this movie is similar to that I had with Tangled. I think it has something to do with the rogue male heroes; there is just something about those good "bad" guys that makes me a little weak in the head, so to speak. In the words of Anne spelt with an e, "I wouldn't marry a wicked man, but I think I'd like it if he could be wicked, but wouldn't." Plus, the part where Dimitri runs into the wall makes me laugh. Every. Freakin'. Time. Even when I'm ornery. Even when I try so hard to hold my snicker in that it makes the resulting explosion all the more painful.

Yesterday I realized that three of my oldest and most faithful friends are getting married. First, there's Kimberly; then there's my closest cousin Jessica; and my childhood friend/roommate Danielle (who is actually still in the annoying "unofficially engaged" mode). I didn't have many friends growing up, but these three always stuck to me through the years, even though I haven't tried to make those friendships last outside of high school when I didn't need them so much any more (except Kin of course, because she's, like, my sister, and a little hard to ignore most of the time . . . ). I feel a little better about my friendship abilities when someone I haven't talked to for years calls me specifically to share good news with me personally, or who always plan me into important parts of their lives even if we haven't spoken in months.

Most of you know the aversion I have to shoes and the habit I have of wearing flip flops until the first snow storm of the season. Wearing real shoes with socks in the middle of summer heat is one of my personal brands of torture, and I've only ever managed it when I was explicitly told not to wear open-toed shoes on pain of expulsion. When I was forced to don the cursed footwear I would usually go barefoot until the last possible moment, a.k.a. the moment I stepped out of my car. Well, I finally got the dreaded email from the CEO: flip flops are never okay to wear at work, even on casual Fridays. Shorts, yes, flip flops, no. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What do professionals have against flip flops, huh? What did they do to deserve the reputation they have for not being "professional"? What I don't get is that heels are perfectly acceptable because they look hot, even though they are death traps. But I guess image is more important than safety in the workforce. I wonder how long it will take for people to forget that flip flops are banned? Until then I'll have to find another borderline flip-flop option. Maybe I'll do something else to annoy everyone, like wear a BYU shirt every day. No one tells my I can't wear flip flops without suffering the consequences.

So, do you understand now why I can't focus? I just have too many awesome things running through my mind.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet the missing piece of my soul

Doing the adult thing and moving to the big city into a big-girl apartment proved to be a much more difficult transition than I had anticipated, in ways I wasn’t expecting it to be difficult.

For starters, without my 3+ hours of driving every day, I suddenly had oodles of free time on my hands, and I was also getting more than 5–6 hours of sleep every night. Awesome, right?

Not really. It didn’t take long for me to notice all the holes I had in my life without things like school and family to fill them. I often felt similar to the way I did between graduation and starting a new job: lost and unsure of what my purpose was. Most annoyingly, I knew that I was where I was supposed to be, regardless of how the situation made me feel. So I found myself longing for a piano more than I ever had before. I needed the comfort that those ivory keys bring to my soul. I was an incomplete person in a lot of ways, but I knew a piano would make things more endurable somehow.

Eventually, I decided that it would be okay for me to go a little crazy and buy a piano—I mean, who was going to stop me, anyway? So a few weeks ago, I went into the Piano Gallery after work to “price check.” I was prepared to take out a loan, pay interest, whatever it took to get me a piano within the next few weeks.

Walking into that store was a bit like walking into a library; I instantly got cold chills and what little self-possession I had evaporated into manic excitement. For a moment, I couldn't decide where to begin and just had to breathe it all in.

Thankfully, I had enough possession of my wits to avoid the real pianos; I was here to look at the digital pianos. Some day, when I'm a millionaire and don't have to share walls with random strangers, I am going to have a music room with a grand piano in the middle of it. But until that day, a digital piano will have to do me, as it is much more conducive to apartment living: I can control my volume a little better, I can use headphones to spare my roommate and neighbors (although I can't mute the sound of pounding), and it only requires 2 guys to move it, rather than 8 of the world's strongest men and special piano-moving equipment.

Anyway, I was the only person in the store besides the sales guy, so I was an extra easy target. (I find it somewhat ironic that I spent my whole life thinking that sales people were evil, and then I somehow ended up in marketing. A less intrusive form of manipulation, but effective all the same.) I told him my price range (the amount I had in my savings account, which I was sure wouldn't be enough), and waited for him to inwardly roll his eyes and think, "Great; I guess I won't be ending my day with a big sale today," but he just said, "We have plenty of new pianos in that range" and lead me straight to them.

That pretty much sealed the deal for me. If I still had possession of my smart shopping skills, I would have tried out more than just the 3 he showed me, maybe looked at some of the used digitals to see if I could get a higher quality piano for the same price, but the minute I sat down to test the ones he showed me, I had found home.

Before I knew it, I was sitting in a chair, quivering with excitement, as he calculated my bill. I paid a little extra so they would deliver it/put it together, and he said it would be there in two days.

I liked that sales guy.

So, two days later, I was working on my couch, trying to get as much work done as possible while I waited for the delivery guys to get there, because I knew that once that piano was in my room I would be too distracted to read up on electronic health records.

Fate continued to favor me, as the piano fit perfectly in the spot I had designated for it in my room. It may seem a little silly to have a piano in your room, but my room is huge, and my roommate is watching TV almost constantly, and I've learned from personal experience that the TV and the piano should be as far apart as possible. Besides, I've always fantasized about having a piano in my room. It's funny which dreams end up coming true. Actually, I had a dream once that we were vacationing in a huge mansion, and I got this awesome bedroom that had a gourmet kitchen, a canopy bed, a grand piano, a gorgeous mountain view, and a couple secret passageways the owners didn't know about.

So here it is, my Yamaha Arius YDP-161:

And, I am happy to report, this thing has been pounded on every day since I got it (minus the days I wasn't home). My forearms got properly sore from playing octaves chords over and over again, and my fingers have quickly regained some of their former strength. I haven't had the chance to truly dedicate myself to piano like this since, well, I'm not really sure. Before high school.

Even though I bought this for myself, I consider it a gift from God for a couple of reasons: (1) it's thanks to him that I even had the funds to buy one when I needed it, and (2) he was the one who told me it was okay to buy one in the first place. He understands that I need music and writing to help me work through hard times and high times in my life; he knows that creating music can make everything all better; and he knows that I'm not entirely complete without access to this wonderful instrument.

I can scarcely describe the joy I felt as sat down for the first time and played some good ol' Jon Schmidt. It is supremely awesome to be able to run home during my lunchbreaks on long, boring days to pound out some of my favorite songs for a half hour or so. I can think of no better way to kill time as I'm waiting for 1:00 church to finally roll around.

And, just as I had hoped, I feel like a complete person again, and the dark clouds of life aren't really dark any more.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Overheard at the Carter/Rushton reunion

"How did you get to be six years old?" —Mom
"I had a birthday." —Brad

"You almost set my butt on fire!" —Wendy

"You can be Robin Hood and Laid Marian." —Mom

"Who wants to play capture the flag?" —Tristen
"I wanna be the flag!" —Brad

"Do you want a Twinkie?" —Rod
"No, it has too much fat in it; I want pure sugar." —Mom

*Dead silence* and then . . . "YOU GUYS SHOULD FEEL MY FACE!" —Random girl I've never met before

"With girls, there's hair everywhere." —Jeremy S.
"Yeah, but boys pee." —Tiffany

"Kill it." —Mom

"Everyone has a talent; you need to find yours." —Dawn

"It's a short, fat, tiny, ugly, scared dog." —Jeremy B.