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1. Haunted Mansion Mary (#2)…+ Giveaway!

About a year and half ago I made a Mary Poppins-themed Haunted Mansion portrait.  At last, I’ve created a #2 in the series!

(Took me long enough, haha.)

Here’s Mary!


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And here is the whole picture :)

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I don’t know what it is about Mary Poppins, but drawing her sure cheers me up.  I guess it’s just like they say in the song–“When the day is grey and ordinary…Mary makes the sun shine bright!”  I hope this picture makes your sun shine bright today :)


Would YOU like to have a print of this stretching portrait?

My friends, you are in luck, because I’m giving away two prints of it!!

There are two ways to enter–First, you can comment on this post with the word, “WANT!”  And you’ll be entered into a random drawing ^_^  Or, you can also enter by entering your email into that sidebar “Stalk Me More” box, and be randomly drawn from that list!  —->

(Entering you email address there just means you’ll get story-monster blog posts to your inbox.  I never used these addresses for evil, though many times I have wished to.  Never fear; you are safe in my hands.)

If you both enter your email and comment “WANT!”, then you have double the chances of getting this tasty li’l print!

Winners will be announced when I post the next blog post next Monday  ^_^

 

 

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2. Ghost Riders in the Parking Lot

When I was in college, I worked an early morning custodial job.

FlashMob_01

Every morning, I’d wake up at 3:30 AM, get ready, head to the school, park in the Y lot (where students were allowed to park) and make my way across campus to the bookstore, where I cleaned toilets and mopped floors and replaced lights and was thrown in the dumpster by my coworkers.  (They did it because they loved me.)

Not to brag or anything, but I’m still really good at cleaning toilets.

Anyway.

One morning, I was trekking across the long and lonely parking lots.

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When the weirdest thing happened.

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This is me, minding my own business:

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And then…

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GUYS ON BIKES.

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Except they weren’t on regular bikes, they were riding little kid bikes.  Like, green and pink and red ones.  What??

Silently, they rode past, saying nothing.  They looked at me, I looked at them.

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As silently as a dream, they moved on.

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And so did I.

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3 hours later…

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What had I just seen????????

Fast forward to years later.  I’d never told anyone about this weird incident, because it was…weird.  In fact, I’d been so sleepy, I half-wondered if it was a dream.  But last week I was talking to a couple of friends…

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Both of these girls go to BYU, and we were talking about flash mobs.  So I told them the story.

ME:  …It was, like, 4 in the morning and whole bunch of guys on bikes came riding past…

TRISH:  Wait…were they riding kiddie bikes???

ME:

ME:

ME:  …What?

TRISH:  Because our friend was walking to her early morning custodial job, and she saw that exact same thing in that same parking lot!!!

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Keep in mind, this is years after I saw them.  YEARS.

WHO ARE THESE MYSTERIOUS BIKE RIDERS????

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Who indeed…..

*cue twilight zone music*

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3. Disneyland Secret No. 1

You guys all know I’m a HUGE Disneyland fan.

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I’d live there, if I could.

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I’m not sure where, because there’s tons of people and security cameras everywhere.  But it’s still one of my dreams.  (Up there with inventing the foldable waterbed.  I forsee very high market demand for that.)

Anyway, because it’s been on my mind, the last time I went to Disneyland, I decided to ask an INSIDER.  An actual CAST MEMBER (!!!!)

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THE TOONTOWN BACKDROP!!!  OF COURSE!!

It makes perfect sense.  No one ever goes to Toontown (or as I like to call it, Abandonedland) so logic says, there’d  be even LESS people behind it!

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The waiter said no one ever really goes back there, it’s just full of storage and old props that no one cares about anymore.

(I’m sorry to ruin the magic for you.)

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I thanked the waiter profusely and told him he’d probably be seeing me a lot more often.  Me, and my lice.

He was like:

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ROAD TRIP!  Grab a cardboard box and come along!

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4. Spider Season

Mother’s Day is good every year, but this year it was especially good because we got to Skype my little brother.  Adam is serving an LDS mission in Iquitos, Peru, teaching the gospel, helping the people there, cleaning houses with machetes…(this really did happen.)  We don’t get to chat with him much–just one email a week–but on Christmas and Mother’s Day, we get an hour to talk and he tells us how he’s doing and goes on about how awesome Mom is and, on the whole, makes the rest of us look bad.

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This is a picture of him, burning a shirt on his halfway-through-the-mission day. (This is a missionary tradition.)
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This is a picture of the fire quickly getting out of control.

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He looks a little creepy in those, so here is a better picture of him.  Or at least, a picture of him where he’s not the creeper.

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On a sad note, Adam’s been pretty sick lately with a mysterious fever.

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They thought it was the dengue (jungle fever) but the tests came back negative.  Then they thought it was a disease spread by a feral cat.  (Adam has a thing for cute little animals…he was in the middle of digging a ditch, and stopped to play with a nearby kitten.)

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The kitten was, actually, diseased.  And feral.

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But the sickness wasn’t from the cat, either.

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They finally found out what it was…

…it was…

TYPHOID FEVER.

Thankfully, antibiotics cure this (he’s feeling better already!).

I’m totally getting this t-shirt for him for his birthday:

AdamHasTyphoidFever

He was pretty much better by the time we chatted on Mom’s Day.

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We also got to talk to my sister, who’s just started a mission in Holland!  Here’s a picture of her with a stroopwaffle (whatever that is):

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She had interesting things to say, too…

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I guess spiders are a problem there.

She says the spiders are so bad there, they have something called “Spider Season.” (September-October.)  Millions of spiders come out and spin webs EVERYWHERE.

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Last Spider Season, two missionaries were knocking on doors.

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One guy didn’t want them around.

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So he

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(rip)

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THREW SPIDERS AT THEM!!!!

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WHY??  WHY??  WHY WOULD ANYONE DO SOMETHING SO TERRIBLE???

Let me warn you, you people in Europe who are reading this blog.  I am a mostly nice person.  But if you throw spiders at my sister, I will find you.

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I MEAN THIS.

Anyway, why would you want to throw spiders at missionaries?  Most spiders aren’t even deadly.  If you really don’t like missionaries…there are way more effective things to throw at them.

*looks both ways*

 Listen.  I’m gonna clue you in on a few Mormon secrets.   But you have to PROMISE that what you read on this blog stays on this blog.  Ok?

Ok.  Here goes.  THINGS YOU SHOULD THROW AT MORMON MISSIONARIES.

Thing #1:  $20 bills.

Take a few thousand out of your bank account and keep it by your door, just in case you hear them knock.  Then, THROW.  It may look like they’re grinning big and stuffing them into their pockets, but $20 bills are made of filthy lucre.

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It will slowly melt the flesh offa those squeaky clean missionaries.  Trust me, you throw $20 bills at them, and the next morning, they will look like this:

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(Side note:  Mormons always sleep with their Sunday clothes on, no exceptions.  If you see a Mormon sleeping in pajamas, you’ll know that they’re a BAD MORMON.)

Thing #2: Fudge.

Fudge is especially toxic to missionaries.  Is it not written “He who defileth his flesh with the tender goodness of fudge shall surely not entereth into heaven?  Especially rocky roadeth flavors and raspberry sea salteth?”  There’s a special place in outer darkness for missionaries who eat raspberry sea salt fudge, it’s a theological no-no.  Just so you’re aware.

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(Be sure to cut them up into bite-sized cubes (about 2″ x 2″ though 1″ x 1″ is acceptable as well, I suppose.)

Thing #3:  Pillow Pets.

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Because Pillow Pets are not good for anyone.

Thing #4:  Rocks.

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But only if the rocks look like this:

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Of course, you’ll be able to throw them much further if they’re set in 24 carat gold or possibly platinum.  It makes them quite a bit more aerodynamic.  Here is a scientific graph to illustrate what I mean.

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This isn’t just effective on missionaries, you can also throw them at regular Mormons.  Like me.  Mostly me.  Only me.  Feel free to throw this stuff at me anytime.

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(I like pearls.)

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5. Kids Do the Darndest Things (+ coloring contest results!)

My mom read last week’s blog post, and reminisced upon a tale of a teeter totter, giant cacti, and my older brother Tom (3 years old at the time).

When I was 2, we lived in Tucson, Arizona.  I don’t remember much except that the spiders were HUGE.  (You don’t forget things like that.)  But mom said there was a teeter-totter in the backyard, which I imagine looked like this:

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One day Tom was playing on the teeter-totter

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and got his leg twisted beneath it.

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He had a good cry, and then refused to walk after that.  Mom had to carry him everywhere.

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For a week she carried him, and then worried that he might have actually broken his leg, she took him to the doctor.

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The doctor looked at Tom’s leg, then went to his drawer

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where he pulled out an uninflated balloon.  (Hahaha.  Those were the days.)

He said:

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You guessed it.

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I hear kids will do this to you your WHOLE LIFE.


 

Thank you so much, everyone, for entering the Mary Poppins coloring contest!  There were some beautiful (and very creative) entries.  My coworkers here at Disney Interactive were kind enough to make a decision:

Ages 0-11:
1st place –  Leong Ton Yan
Honorable Mentions –  Lucy S. & Anna Stein

Ages 12-19:
1st Place – Annie Anderson
Honorable Mentions – Vivian Vriend & Ruth

Ages 20+:
1st Place – Dale McCarthy
Honorable Mentions – Elizabeth Muennich & Patrice

MPCarouselContestShee0_forwebt

We have a bonus honorable mention at the end for Chad Jemmett, everyone loved the Tim Burton-esque Mary Poppins.

I loved seeing so many different takes on Mary Poppins…we MUST do this again soon!

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6. The Devil’s Playground

When I was a kid–back in the Cretaceous Era, you know, before all these fancy phones and ipods and gaming tablets–we really knew how to have fun.

Sometimes we put on our swimsuits and swam in the ditch (which was a blast).

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Sometimes we flew kites into power lines (happened all the time)

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Sometimes we adopted animals that “followed” us home.  Animals with various sundry diseases, fur melting off, their mouth foaming.  They all needed love.

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These beloved pets always ran off after being with our giant family for only a couple of hours.  Too much love, I guess.

Let’s not forget “bizzing”!

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“Bizzing” is a winter activity where you crouch down, hang on to the car’s bumper, and the car drags you along the ice-encrusted road.  It was something my dad did as a kid, and he taught us.

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We weren’t very good at hanging on, and we’d be sent spinning out into the snowbanks along the roadside.  It was the best.

Side note:  I was uploading this blog post at my parents’ house (because not only do I mooch their food, but I also mooch their internet) and my mom saw these bizzing pictures.

MOM:  Bizzing?  Glenn, you taught the kids how to bizz?

DAD:  I, er.  I don’t recall.

MOM:  I can’t believe you would do anything so dangerous.

DAD:

ME:

DAD:

ME:

ME:  Can I have seconds?

Anyway.  All this was great fun.  For scientific reasons of course.  (I made a graph to prove it):

Mortality Graph

The higher chance that you might die or lose a limb, the more fun everything is bound to be.  So things like climbing to the tops of trees, leaping from the roof of the house onto a trampoline, sliding down the stairs on a mattress…golden.

And then, there was the mother of all mothers of playtime precariousness.

THE PLAYGROUND.

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Playgrounds were different when I was a kid.  Playgrounds were cool.  They were dangerous.  They had sharp corners.  They were SUPERSIZED.

They had blisterbars.

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Giant tires.

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Ooo…the strato-slide.  They don’t make slides this tall anymore!

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Wheeeeeeeee

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eeeeeeeeeeeee

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eeeeeeSPLAT.

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That was back when playgrounds had asphalt instead of woodchips, of course.

And of course, the slides were made of metal!  The local playground had a south-facing slide that could roast a pig.  We all called it The Griddle.

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sssssszzzz!

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It was the best.

There was also playground equipment that made no sense.  I remember a weird funnel thing at the corner of the playground.  No one knew what it was for.  Maybe sandcastle-making?  We’d pour sand in it and it would make a pile underneath.  I’m sure it was for something else, but sure beats me.

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It might be one of those playground toys that requires “imagination.”  Who uses that??

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention tetherball.  Us kids, we all knew what tetherball was for–you’d hit the ball and try to get it wrapped all the way around the pole.

And I’d pay you some big money if that’s how you actually thought we used it.

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Of course, the rope could never support 40 lbs of Kid, and tether would always snap.

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So now no one could play it.

So kids, when you see a lone pole with a broken rope attached, take it as a symbol of my generation’s selfish desire to steal an ounce of fun from you in exchange for a pound of pain tomorrow.  Kinda like the national debt!

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YOU’RE WELCOME.

  Oh.  And the teeter-totter.  Teeter-totters were (and are) my favorite playgound toy.  You don’t see these anymore FOR GOOD REASON but it’s also a shame, because I learned more about physics from teeter-totters than I did in my entire college and high school career combined.

They were great when the person on the other end was your same weight.

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But if there was an older sibling at the other end…

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MAY THE ANGELS HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL

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And then…the Mephistopheles of the Devil’s Playground.

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THE WIDOWMAKER

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This was a metal contraption that would spin round and round…

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…which would cause you to slide to the edges…

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…and be thrown off by the centrifugal force…

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(Onto the asphalt, of course.  Heh heh heh.)

This wasn’t the dangerous part, though.  The dangerous part was when you tried to get back on.

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So many concussions.  So many.

It was

AWESOME.

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WE DID.

Things have changed since then.

Kids nowadays, they don’t have a healthy fear of mortality like I did.  They think they’ll live forever.  And grown-ups are encouraging this!  They’ve gotten rid of all that great old stuff like the blisterbars and the widowmaker!  It’s really sad!!

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My sister and I go running at 4 am, and we run past our childhood playground.  Sometimes we even sneak into the playground.

(Which is totally against the law because the playground doesn’t open until eight.)

(Tee hee)

(Tee hee)

(Tee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!)

They’ve changed out all the giant metal cement stuff and have replaced it with small plastic equipment, all with rounded corners.

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Now where’s the fun in that?

They’ve added fancy electrical doohickies with lots of buttons and stuff.

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I’m pretty sure no one breaks their bones on it.  It’s tragic.

They have the same swings but they’re different than I remembered.  They’re…smaller.

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It feels like Thighmaster made them.

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So even those aren’t much fun anymore.

When I leave the playground, I shed a small tear for the upcoming generation.  Never will they know fear like I did.  Never will they know true pain, or sorrow, or the sight of a bone sticking out of the skin, or the feeling of your brain bouncing against the skull…

Tragic.

But then I remember one thing that causes me to raise my head in hope:

TRAMPOLINES

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We will always have trampolines.

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7. Adventures in Dating

Episode 5,628:

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Episode 287:

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Episode 1,422

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Episode 8,947:

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Episode 7,554:

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I have the WORST luck in dating and I can’t figure out why!!

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8. Nutcracker Illo

Here’s an illustration I meant to get done before Christmas, but, you know, life.

It’s finished now, and was great fun!

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Here’s a detail.

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I love drawing so much <3

In unrelated news, I realized yesterday that I made the coloring contest deadline on Sunday, April 13th.  There is no Sunday April 13th this year.  This is yet further proof I shouldn’t be allowed near numbers.

BlondeDayStamp

Anyway, the coloring page deadline is now Wednesday, April 13th.  Wear those crayons to the bone, my friends.

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9. Fire Escapades

My mom is pretty much perfect.

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…Except last week she set the house on fire.

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(It was an accident.)

She’s not quite sure how it started, but here’s what we think.

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In my mom’s kitchen, she has a cupboard she keeps small appliances in, like bread mixers and toasters.  It has an outlet, so the toaster always stays plugged in.

The cupboard also has a sliding door.

Anyway, mom was cleaning the kitchen (as she does every hour or so), and made this cupboard good and squeaky clean.

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What we think happened was the door caught on the toaster lever and forced it down.

Here’s a diagram.  (I know this is fascinating.)

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So however long later, mom was tucking my niece Sarah into bed for naptime.  (My mom’s been watching Sarah while Katie’s in for a bone marrow transplant.)  (Update on that at the end of the blog post.)

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The fire alarm went off.

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You know what the weird thing about fire alarms are?  They go nuts whenever you try to boil water, but for some reason don’t go off when things are actually important.

They’re just jerks, that’s all.

Anyway, mom got downstairs to find:

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MY MOM DOESN’T MESS AROUND!

She grabbed some hotpads, threw open the cupboard door

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Grabbed that fire

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Shoved it onto the floor

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And started batting it out!

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Meanwhile, upstairs:

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Meanwhile, on the porch:

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(That’s the UPS man.  In my family, we affectionately call the UPS guys the Brown Santa Claus.  Except they’re even better, because they come every day.)

The UPS man saw all the smoke and beeping and RAN INSIDE TO SAVE THE DAY!!

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He threw on the faucet and began pouring cups of water on the fire!

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He was.  I hope UPS makes him Employee of the Year!

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Things settled down a little.  My mom’s next-door-neighbor came over to help out (West Point, UT is Niceville, USA.  I’m not even making this up, my family moved when I was 11 and we were like, Why is everyone here being so nice to us??  I haven’t met one mean person yet.)  (Granted, I don’t ever leave my house…but still.)

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Anyway, the neighbor was like, “We should probably call the fire chief, I think it’s regulation or something.”  The phone call went kinda like:

NICE NEIGHBOR: We had a small fire kitchen fire here, it’s out now, you don’t need to send anyone, but we thought you ought to know–

FIRE DEPT:  Really???!  You had a fire???!?!

NICE NEIGHBOR:  Well, it’s out now–

FIRE DEPT:  HOT DOG!!!

The Department came down like the wolf on the fold,
Their firetrucks gleaming in crimsons and gold;
And the sheen of their lights was like stars on the sea,
When the red trucks rolled brightly in West Point City.

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They sent aaaaaall the firetrucks with alllll the sirens!

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Everyone had a good time.

The demolition crew came and removed her burnt-up cabinets.  They were also, oddly, quite impressed with her china (which I’ve only seen once in my life.)

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My mom was having a hard time with it all.  She was mortified by the whole scene it caused, sad about her kitchen, worried because my dad was gone on a business trip to the Middle East and she was alone to take care of everything, and to add to all that, she was scared to death of the insurance adjuster because he’s kind of a crab.

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And then, suddenly everything was okay….

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My mom says she’s not going to give up her hopes…but I follow her on Pinterest and I’ve never seen so many nice kitchens in my whole life:D


In other news:  My sister had her bone marrow transplant on Wednesday!!

Here’s my sister, the donor:

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(She’s okay!  The Okayest!)

It’s really interesting how they did it–they gave her a big shot every day for five days in a row, then stuck a needle in each arm and pulled blood from one side, sorted it, then put it back in the other side.  Somehow they were able to get stem cells from this.  Crazy, huh?

The transplant went wonderfully :)

The doctors and nurses all came in and gave her a balloon and birthday card, because it was her Bone Marrow Birthday.  This means when she’s 60, she’ll only be, like, 20!

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Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers…right now she’s recovering well, though these next few weeks will be dicey.  We are so grateful for all your help!

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10. The Secret Life of Men

My friend Joe once told a story of his screenwriting class.

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In screenwriting class, you workshop the scripts your classmates have written.  The class each gets a copy, you read it aloud, and then you “discuss”.  Joe’s class had just finished reading a script written by a guy named…Sean.  I think his name was Sean.  Anyway, in Sean’s script, there was a scene where two women are sitting on a bed, in their underwear, eating chocolates.

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They weren’t dressed in Victorian underwear, though.  (My mom reads this blog, sooo…)

It was time to “discuss”.  Joe, who was married and also had a bunch of sisters, began to “discuss”:

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And Sean was like:

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He obviously didn’t know what girls did when guys weren’t around.  Because if he did, the scene would’ve been a girl sitting on the toilet, browsing Pinterest.   For like, an hour.

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(I’m sorry you had to see this.  I’m sorry I had to see it, too.  The truth hurts.)

(Side note:  I have over 1800 recipes pinned on Pinterest.  1800!  Guess how many I’ve made?  3.  Not only am I a digital hoarder, but when the next giant solar flare hits, I’m up a creek…all those delicious recipes, sacrificed to the sun god.  It breaks my heart (and my tummy) just thinking about it.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about poor Sean-who-knew-nothing-about-girls lately.  At first I thought this was pretty funny…

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Until I realized that, having been single for most of my life (minus that 1st grade fling with Gage), I don’t really know much about guys.

I am Sean.

 

Well, okay, not entirely.  I once talked to a boy, so…I like to think I have a pretty good idea of what guys do when girls aren’t around.

And I am about to tell you.

(Brace yourselves.)

The typical day for a man begins at 6:00 AM.  Because guys grow beards while they’re sleeping, they have to shave in the morning.  I don’t know a lot about shaving but I believe it’s done with an ax.

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They then go and lift heavy things.

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Men love lifting heavy things!

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Barbells, bars of barbells, refrigerators, houses…The Secret Life of Men_10

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I can’t lift heavy things so I’m kind of jealous.

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Oh my gosh…it’s just…I’m…this may have been the dreamiest picture I’ve ever drawn I need to go take a cold shower.

(phew.)

After that, most of the day is spent taking car engines apart.  (Something I also cannot do.)

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(…or draw.)

For dinner, the manliest men do not eat.  They simply drink bottles of hot sauce.The Secret Life of Men_14

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Hot sauce with names like:  “Land of a Billion Tiny Black Peppers”….”Sweet Sweet Salsa Muerte”….”Melted Boiling Heart Cockles”….”Virgin Viper Kisses on Hot Asphalt.”

(I could do this for hours.  I’m thinking about starting a hot sauce-naming company.)

And then…men put masks on, grab baseball bats, and go out into the city TO FIGHT CRIME!!!

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Whap whap whap whap whap

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Whap whap whap whap whap

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Whap whap whap whap whap whap whap whap

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(Er…sorry mom.)

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After crime has been eradicated (around 11:00 or so), men like to get in touch with their soft-side by watching a feel-good chick flick.  (Men love feel-good chick flicks.)

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And then they aaalll go to bed…so they can do it again the next day!

Now you know.  The secret life of men has been exposed.  I’ve done you all a service.  Thank me, shake my hand, leave a comment…but most definitely do not tell me that what men really do is just wander aimlessly around the aisles of Home Depot.

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Don’t destroy my dreams.

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11. Carousel Coloring Contest!

I had someone ask me for another Mary Poppins coloring page…and it reminded me that we haven’t had a coloring contest in a while!  Well it’s high time!!  Mary Poppins is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

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Here are the rules:

  1. Save the image above, or you can click here to download it from my DeviantArt page.
  2. Color it!
  3. When you are finished, take a photo or scan it in, then email it to me at storyboarder@gmail.com, with the words “Coloring Contest” in the subject line
  4. Deadline is Sunday, April 13th
  5. Sit back and wait for the prize money to come rolling in!

The entries will be sorted by ages 0-11, 12-19, and 20+, and won’t be judged by me, but by other artists who will see which ones stand out the most.  Each category will have a main winner ($10 Amazon gift card prize), and two honorable mentions ($5 Amazon gift card prize).

Entries are open to international submissions.  I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pages!

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12. Bad to the Bone Marrow

I’ve had lots of people ask me how my sister Katie is doing.

If you haven’t met Katie, or are new to this blog, I have a sister who’s spent the last 4 years kicking a very rare, fast-growing cancer–leiomyosarcoma–and now she’s fighting leukemia, too.  If you want to learn more about her, you should watch this video:

Here’s a recent picture of her family:

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Aren’t they the sweetest??

It’s been nearly a year since the fundraiser–which turned out amazing (here’s the blog post about it)–and it’s been a rocky road getting the stars to align.  The doctors were insistent that she not have any new tumor growth for 6 months, and even if that happened, because the odds weren’t great, we didn’t think the insurance would cover it–and without it, the bone marrow transfusion would be over a million dollars (!!!!!!!!)

Around Thanksgiving last year, the doctors broke some bad news.

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Katie’s leukemia was getting pretty bad.  She would have to have some intensive chemo for several months in the hospital.

She checked in Thanksgiving Day.

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She couldn’t see her family much because if anyone of her kids brought a cough home from school or something, she might catch it and she wouldn’t have an immune system to kick it.

They all missed each other.

Katie’s not the type to lie around though.

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Every morning, she’d get up and walk the halls, up and down.  She counted and realized going up and down 7 times = 1 mile.

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The doctors got nervous about her wandering the halls like that, so they got her an exercise bike to put in her room.

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She learned the harp.

She taught piano to her kids via skype.

She crocheted some seriously awesome sock monkey pants.

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Katie was able to come home and be with her family for Christmas, and guess who got those seriously awesome sock monkey pants??

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YESSSSS!!!!

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They are the best thing I’ve ever owned.  I’ll post an instagram picture sometime.

A big holdup in all this was the leukemia doctor.  When he saw what cancer Katie had, he refused to approve a bone marrow transplant…he didn’t believe for a second she’d be able to fight it, and he even told her so (!!!)

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And Katie was like, well my plan is to get the bone marrow transplant and kick this cancer!

And that darn doctor was like:

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It was a fight for months.  That doctor couldn’t believe how well Katie was responding to all her chemo’s, and he kept dragging his feet in approving that bone marrow transplant.

My mom–you know she’s someone you don’t mess with–started praying for this doctor, and even put his name on the temple prayer roll.

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(My mom has unshakeable faith.  She really is an amazing woman.)

Only a few weeks ago, this doctor had suddenly changed his tune:

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And ever since then, he’s been firmly in her corner!

He was the one to pitch Katie’s case to the insurance.

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…along with a lot of other doctors!

It didn’t seem like there’d be much of a hope that the insurance would cover it…Katie’s leukemia was pretty far advanced.  But I’ll be darned…we got news just 2 weeks ago that the insurance was gonna do it!!!!!*

*I have absolutely no doubt my mother’s prayers had something to do with this.

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SHAMELESS MONKEY PANT DANCING

Now we just had to decide whose bone marrow it was gonna be!

I was a match…and so was my sister…and so was my other sister.  (The perks of having a big family!)

Well sister #1 is training to be Zuster Dixon in the MTC…so that’s out.  (She heads to the Netherlands in just a few weeks…we have a whole list of distant relatives there for her to convert mwahahahaah)

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So then it was me, my sister, and our thumbs!

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…she won.

Katie left just a few days ago for the hospital, where she’s now prepping for the bone marrow transplant.  On the morning she left, we heart attacked her lawn!

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This was Katie’s face when she saw it:

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It was a good moment :)

Katie has a long battle ahead of her.  Right now she’s in a hospital prepping for the transplant, and there’s have been some rocky days already.

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Any prayers or thoughts you could send her way would be deeply appreciated…She’s a fighter.  You watch and see :) :)

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13. Baby Infestation

Just when you’ve got life figured out
(And sleeping in ’til two)
Stork comes along and drops a bomb
That “free time” thing is through!

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So long the nights of peaceful sleep!
So long the unclogged toilets!

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So long the hours o’ steaming showers
With no one there to spoil it!

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Who knew that babies never slept?
(And cost so much to feed?!?)
Tho sleep-deprived, you’ve kept it ‘live

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…So then it starts to breed.

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Babies babies babies!
On the ceilings, on the chairs!

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Their little selfs are are the shelfs!

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There’s babies everywhere!

They climb onto the light fixtures
They tinkle on the floors

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Your blood and sweat is their swing set!

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And what exactly for??

A thousand baby giggles
When you tickle them at play

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A thousand baby cuddles
With a yellow-weed bouquet

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A thousand baby kisses
Planted sweetly on your cheek;

A thousand happy baby sighs
When nodding off to sleep

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A thousand babies running
When you open the front door

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Our heart’s in knots!  We love these tots!

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We hope we get lots more!!


Side note:  I’ve tasted formula before.  I figured since it was so expensive, it must be delicious.

I was wrong.  Poor babies.

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14. Once Upon a December

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Detail

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This movie is my childhood.

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15. My Dinner with Dick Van Dyke

A couple of weeks ago, I had the craziest day Of My Life.  OF.  MY.  LIFE.

It began at 4 am, when I ran a Star Wars-themed 10K in Disneyland.

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I’d been so nervous about it, I hardly got any sleep the night before.  In fact I kept on having nightmares that I had to stop in the middle of the race so I could finish household chores.

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It didn’t help that at the seedy hotel where we stayed, I was sharing a bed with my sister. (The Taylor Swift one.)

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(She really did say that.)

BUT I DID IT!  I ran the 10k and didn’t stop ONCE to do my laundry!

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I also didn’t cheat this time.

Anyway.  While it is crazy that I did any kind of outdoor activity, the REALLY crazy thing happened that night!

It turned out my friend, Christina (who’s as obsessed with Mary Poppins as I am!) was helping out at a Vantastix concert in California that same weekend!

The Vantastix is the acapella group that sings with Dick Van Dyke!!

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And she asked if I wanted to come along!!!

I said yes…of COURSE!

I helped set up at the booth in the theater lobby, with CD’s and books and DVD DVD’s and things.  I also met Dick Van Dyke’s wife, Arlene.

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She was really sweet, and on the ball too.  In fact, she hosted a Dick Van Dyke art show a couple of months ago!  I’ve heard rumors there’s going to be another art show soon–all you artists who read this blog, get your Dick Van Dyke artwork gussied up!!  I bet there’ll be a call for entries soon!

When the concert began, the stagehands even found me a seat, so I could see Dick Van Dyke himself in concert!!

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He has still totally got it.  He still dances!  And sings amazingly and jokes around, and it was so much fun.

I loved it when he told stories between the songs.

He told about when he was filming Mary Poppins, he also played the Elder Mister Dawes.  (You probably already knew this.)

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Sometimes, when he was still in costume, he went out on the studio lot where buses full of tourists were being taken around the studio to sightsee.

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The bus would stop to wait for him to cross the road…

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and he would take…

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…forever.

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Then, when he finally passed, the bus would get going and he would kick up his legs and race the bus, hightailing it past all the stunned tourists!  Hahaha!

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I wish I coulda seen that :D :D

After the concert I helped pack up the booth, and Christina was like:

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WHAAAAT

We followed a stagehand through a bunch of double doors, and there, at the end of the hall with the other Vantastix, there HE was!!!

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Dick Van Dyke!!

I GOT TO MEET HIM!!

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By george, I got my picture with him!!

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We went back to the lobby to finish packing up the stuff, but I was kind of in a daze and don’t remember much.

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But WAIT.  It gets even CRAZIER.

…Because as we finished putting cleaning up the last of the booth, Dick Van Dyke himself came out into the lobby!!  Just chatting and milling about and having a good time!

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He saw me fangirling in the corner.

And he began to dance.

I am not kidding!

He began to dance like this!!

He’s still totally, totally got it.

When everything was packed up, Arlene was like, “What places are open til late around here?” and the stagehand was like “Cheesecake factory is open until midnight” and Arlene to everyone was like

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“Okay, let’s go!”

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And lest my ears were deceiving me, Christina was like:

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WAS THAT OK

THAT’S RIGHT

NOT JOKING

I WENT TO THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY

WITH DICK FREAKING VAN DYKE!!!!!!!

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I still am trying to process this.

All through the restaurant, everyone was going nuts.

People were taking pictures and selfies.

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Even the Cheesecake Factory waiters were geeking out!

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Heck, the waiters…I was geeking out!

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In case you were wondering…he’s exactly like he is in all those movies!!  It’s so crazy how full of life he is.  Just so bright.

He’d just look around the table and grin and everybody!

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At one point, the waiter set a giant appetizer platter in front of him, with tons of leaves and fancy lettuce sticking up, and Dick Van Dyke was like:

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(It really did look like weeds.  Hahaha.)

At the end of the night, I ordered a lemon raspberry cheesecake to go (their best flavor) because I wanted to share with my sisters.

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But when I asked for the bill…

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I found out that Mr. and Mrs. Van Dyke were already paying it!

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My word!!!!

(I probably would’ve only ordered a glass of water and napkin had I known this)

(But still…awesome :) :)

We all left the factory as a group.

Dick Van Dyke held the door open for me!!!  (!!!!!!!)

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Needless to say, it was an amazing night.

I showed up at our seedy hotel around 1 AM, excited to tell my sissies the story and to share our cheesecake…compliments of Dick Van Dyke :)

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And we ate it up, every crumb.

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Here’s my picture from that night:

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It was…the best night of my life.

(I can only go downhill from here!)

BTW, if you share this post, be sure to tag The Cheesecake Factory.  I’m trying to convince them to change the name of their lemon raspberry cheesecake to “Dick Van Dyke” cheesecake.

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Because if someone like me can have dinner with Dick Van Dyke, anything is possible!

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16. Unresolutions

Right now I’m drawing this in a freezing cold house.  It’s freezing cold because the furnace went out, and the company it’s under warrantee with can’t come until Monday.

We’re also experiencing the coldest weather we’ve had in years.  (Go figure.)

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I don’t mind though because it means I get to sleep in my fridge, which is very warm comparatively.  Plus:  FOOD!

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Did you have a good New Years?  Have you already made your yearly unrealistic goals?

Last year I decided to record everything I ate on my phone.

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It was the worst week of my life.

The first couple days I did pretty good…until I realized that not eating at all was way easier than logging it in my phone.

So I didn’t eat.

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It got to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed and I was seeing black blotchy things whenever I lifted five pounds or more.

About a week in, I was beat.  So much for that goal.

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My little sister made that same goal this year.

She’s eaten an apple so far.

 

I’ve decided that this year I’ll be much more realistic with my resolutions.  In fact, I’ve decided to make them UNresolutions–things I won’t do this year.

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They might actually get done!

First off, I resolve to quit staring out my window at my neighbors at all hours of the day.  (They’ve said it makes them uncomfortable.  think they’re being overly sensitive.)

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The same goes for following them around in my car, parking in front of their house and watching them come and leave.

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This was one of my favorite pastimes and I’m really bummed about this resolution.  (I secretly think they like it when I do this.)

My next unresolution is to not spend a penny on groceries–the whole year!

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…And visit my parents more often!

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I live about a mile away from my parents.  They really love it.

My next unresolution:  I resolve to NOT run the presidential candidates and all their little minions over with a giant tank that has poisoned spikes attached to its treads.

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This one will be hard.  Really, really hard.

 

And then there’s this unresolution:  This year, I won’t buy a little white puppy in a moment on loneliness and then realize I’m always at work and can’t take care of it so I give it to my mom.

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This has happened the past several years.  (Really.)  Sorry, mom.  (She loves it.)

 

I unresolve to never leave my home again.

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Ever.

 

And lastly, I resolve to not set my sofa on fire in a moment of broken-furnace weakness.

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This one will be the hardest one of all.

 

(Time to go make my bed in the fridge).

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17. Illusionarium Audiobook

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope it’s been great so far.  Here in Utah we got a white Christmas, and I can’t think of anything better.

…Except giving an awesome gift to my blog readers!!  Y’all know I work as an artist, but you may not know that I also write books on the side.  (I love creating stories.)  A few months ago, a book I wrote, “Illusionarium” was released,  and I found out just a couple days ago that it made the NYT bestseller list! Cool!

If you haven’t heard of the book, here’s a short summary–

16-year-old Jonathan lives a quiet life on a far north aerial city, with hopes of one day becoming a surgeon.  But when his mother and sister fall ill with a mysterious and fatal disease, Jonathan must travel through an alternate London full of illusions and monsters to get the cure.  But can he find it before his family dies…and before he turns into a monster himself? 

We just finished producing the audiobook, and as a Christmas gift, I want to give it to you guys…FOR FREE!  Behold!

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Isn’t that a fabulous cover?  Kevin Keele, one of the best artists I know, painted it.  You’ll want to check out his blog and tumblr for more beautiful artwork.

Elyse Todd made that gorgeous steampunk title, and you’ll want to check her out on Behance.

I love the audiobook cover, I feel like it’s a great match for the book.

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Upside down…

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Really great match!  Hahaha yissssss.

Ben Cummins is the reader, and he does a stupendous job.  His voices are perfect!

Do you like Terry Pratchett-esque steampunk books with lots of humor and lots of monsters?  Then you’ll wanna download this audibook!  All you need to do is click on the link below.  This will lead you to a site (totally safe, I promise) that prompts you to enter a password.  Once entered, the audiobook will begin downloading.

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Password = RIVEN

Merry Christmas!  I hope all the best things happen for everyone in this upcoming year ^_^

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18. The Dick Van Dyke 90th

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Dick Van Dyke (my favorite actor of all time) celebrated his 90th birthday this past week.  I wasn’t able to go to the celebration in Disneyland, but I was still lucky enough to contribute!  This limited edition print was given away at the Jolly Holiday bakery.  I feel absolutely honored to have played a part in the event.

You probably recognize the Chitty doll and the chimney sweep, but that smiley face is from a little-known movie called “Bye Bye Birdie”–in one of my all-time favorite songs ^_^  Dick Van Dyke is just stellar in every role he plays.

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19. Cinderella and the Prince

“Cinderella” came out last week.

It

made

me

BAWL.

It was so good.  So I drew a picture :) :)

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Usually the fluffier the dress, the more I like the movie it’s in.

That means I loved Cinderella!

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20. Camping Virgin

If there’s one thing I like, it’s money.

In fact, I like a lot of monies.

In fact that love, so near and dear to my heart, gave me an idea that’s going to make me RICH RICH RICH!!!

PICTURE THIS:

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THE FUN TENT!!

First, the person who’s paid for their ticket {$482 for children ages 0-5, $679 for kids 6-12, $5,119 for teenagers, $23,917 for grown ups…Babies under 2&1/2 weeks are free, of course…I’m not a miser!} Anyway, the paying participant stands in front of a giant pit of mud.

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And is shoved into it.

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Next, the participant stands under a bucket full of spiders, snakes and mosquitoes.

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(I call this the “Lice Bucket Challenge.”)

(Hahaha!!  Get it??  Because “Lice” sounds like “Ice” as in “Ice Bucket Challenge”! Get it??  Get it??  Oh, you are a dead audience)

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Anyway.  After that, the participant…

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…is locked in a freezer.

That’s it!  Isn’t it a kick??  Aren’t I going to be rollin’ in the dough??

I AM.  I am gonna be rollin in the dough and do you know why??

BECAUSE PEOPLE DO THIS ALL THE TIME!  THEY PAY TO DO IT AND THEY CALL IT CAMPING!!!

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Yeah you are!

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who appreciate the dignity indoor plumbing can provide, and those who like to pretend they’re homeless.

I belong to the first group.

In fact, before this past summer, I hadn’t gone camping since I was a kid!  Which was years, and years, and years, and years, and years ago.

I don’t remember much.  I remember it rained and was so cold the spiders snuggled up to me for warmth.  It was

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the worst.

The rest of the experience my brain very wisely blocked from my memory, but maybe one day I’ll remember how I lost all the toes on my left foot.

Anyway, I bring this all up because last year, I was called to be in the stake YW, which is a church youth leader position.  I really like it!

Except for this part…

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WHUT

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Ever since I was a kid I’ve managed to dodge anything that requires me to leave my house.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

PROSPECTIVE DATE:  Are you doing anything this Friday?  You wanna go on a date or something?

ME:  You bet I do!  I’m totally free!

PROSPECTIVE DATE:  I was thinking maybe going on a hike–

ME:  Hahaha just kidding!  Go away!

It’s bizarre how many guys don’t appreciate a girl who likes to stay inside all day staring at the wall!!

{They’re so shallow.}

Anyway, because this was a church calling, I decided to pony up.  My friend Joe, who’s a wilderness survival expert and actually likes camping, helped me draw up a list of supplies:

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Thankfully, I didn’t have to spend *too* much to get the supplies I needed.  Definitely less than five grand.  But by george, those are the nicest socks I’ve ever had!

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And we began the hike in good spirits!

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About twenty minutes in, I realized I had made a grave, grave mistake.

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For one thing, that was that big yellow glowy thing in the sky.  I forgot the name of it, but it was totally annoying.

For another thing….NO BATHROOMS????

This turned out to be the worst part of all, because as I breached the last hill to the campsite, this is what I found:

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Apparently we weren’t the only people who thought that would be a great weekend hike.

This was not what I was promised.

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Our camp leader had scoped this place out several weeks before.

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But what could I do?  My eyeballs were swimming.

The moment camp was set up, I set out to find a tree.

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This turned out to be a problem.  Every tree I found ended up having a friendly resident.

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Things weren’t looking so good.

About four or so miles away from the campsite, I found something that might work.  No one was around.

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This frame is totally inappropriate.  I apologize.

If it helps, you’re the only ones who are seeing it.

OR SO I THOUGHT

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WHUT

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WHUT

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WHUT???!?!

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Aaaaaaaand…the rest of the camp was blocked from my memory.

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…Except for the part where I drank ZERO WATER for the rest of the trip…including the hike back.

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Remember the Fun Tent?

This hike inspired me.

I’ve decided to add a giant glass cage to it.  It’ll have a hornets’ nest, a bucket, and aaaaaaaaaalll the water you can drink!

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Interested?

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I’m gonna be so rich.

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21. My Itchy Periwig

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Ribbons?  Candy?  Itching powder???!?  What is it, woman???!!?  WHAT???!?!?

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22. Urban Legends

The last blog post was inspired by an urban legend.  You’ve probably heard it:

About 50 years ago, a lady decided to try one of those fancy beehive hairdoos.

The hairdresser was like, “Okay, it’s set.  But if you want to keep it nice, never  wash it–wrap it up in toilet paper every night and carefully sleep on it instead, and you won’t have to fix it in the morning!  It’ll stay nice for a good long time.”

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And the lady was like, “Swell!”

And that’s just what she did.

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But after a while, her beehive hairdoo got real itchy.

Real itchy.

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Yeah, you guessed it.  One night, in the middle of the night, she woke up like this:

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This is a morality story:  WASH YOUR HAIR.

Did you ever hear the urban legend about the bride?  She decided to have her wedding at an old farm, with an old farmhouse and an old barn.

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They decided to play hide and go seek.

(Those lovebirds.)

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Anyway, the bride went up to the attic and hid in a trunk–

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…Which immediately slammed shut

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And locked.  Of course.

Everyone in the wedding party looked, and looked, and looked.

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But they had to go home.

The groom searched but I guess gave up.

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It’s weird how in these stories, they never contact the police.

Anyway.

The trunk remained untouched in the attic for years…

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…Until…

(You guessed it)

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They found her!

This story is a cautionary tale as well: Never play hide and go seek on your wedding day.  And I promise you: I never will.

Did you hear the urban legend about Martha Washington?

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They dug up her coffin (why?) and found scratch marks on the inside of the lid.

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(!!!!!!!!!)

This was a legit fear way back when…they didn’t put preservatives in bodies or anything, they just dressed the corpse in a Sunday suit and stuck it in the coffin and buried it.

Some people invested in a bell that was connected to a string tied to their finger, so if they woke up buried alive, they could ring it and someone would hurry and dig them up.

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Now that we are civilized, of course, we make sure that you’re good and dead first by draining your blood and pumping toxic chemicals into you.  Isn’t that a relief?

I bet you had a haunted auditorium when you were a kid.

(Everyone’s auditorium was haunted)

My elementary school was haunted.

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Or so they said.

They said it had been built on an ancient Indian burial ground, and now 44 Indian braves haunt the school.

…Which I never witnessed (DARNIT!!!!), but a few months ago they were doing construction nearby, and what do you think they dug up?

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Not a skeleton (I wish).  But they did find Indian artifacts!  So maybe it was true after all….

I won’t say what elementary school it was, because some of the kids who read this blog go to that school.  I don’t want them scared to go to school, like I was.  (Though for entirely different reasons.)

Have you seen This Man?

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If you have, you are not alone.  Everyone dreams about him…or so they SAY.

Learn more here at www.thisman.org…and don’t punch me in the face when visiting this site gives you nightmares O_____O

One last story.  You know how every school has a haunted auditorium?  I think every family has an urban legend.

Wanna know mine?

My grandpa ran into Bigfoot!

Really!

Here’s the story.

When my grandpa was a young’un, he had the smartest donkey you ever met.  Her name was Ginny.

Ginny and Grandpa would often go to Democratic conventions (you know, because a donkey is their mascot) and they would do a fun little show for all the folks there.  My grandpa would say:

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And Ginny would shake her head furiously.

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And then my grandpa would say:

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And she’d be like:

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And everyone thought that was pretty great, until of course the Republican nominee actually did win (because this is Utah.)

All this to say, Ginny really was a smart little thing!

Anyway, one day, Grandpa and Ginny would backpacking up in the mountains.

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On their way to the middle of nowhere–there wasn’t a person around for miles–there was suddenly a giant rustling in the foliage up ahead.

Along with the rustling came a terrible, terrible smell.  It was just awful.

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Ginny went crazy.  She bucked and pulled and sat down and refused to go any further at all.

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Grandpa was forced to turn around.  Ginny hightailed it down that mountain!

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Was it Bigfoot?  My grandpa thought so.

 And maybe it was!  Who knows?  It definitely makes for a good Halloween story!

Does your family have an urban legend?  Ghost sightings?  Mind-reading?  Leave your story in the comments section!

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23. Speedpaints (and other assorted updates)

Speedpainting is a great way to warm up.  Here are some I’ve done in the last couple of months.

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Most of them were 30 minutes…except for the bottom one, which I spent way too much time on.

Sometimes I record myself doing these, then speed it up, which makes me feel like Bob Ross!

Behold a 15-seconder:

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Here’s some other stuff that’s been going on!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is being sold.  THE Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!  The one from the actual movie!!Chitty-Bang-330817

It’s going for a cool 3.5 million.  Totally worth it.

I figure if each of my blog readers gives me a million dollars, I’ll be able to afford it…plus money for a new engine so it doesn’t make that funny noise.

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Some people have asked me what I think the upcoming Mary Poppins sequel.  (You’ve heard that news, right?)

This is how I feel.

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How dare they.  How dare they.

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A lot of people have asked about my sister!  She is doing great!

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Here’s a quick phone picture I took with her and my niece, Mary.

Her hair is growing back!  Doesn’t she look beautiful?

She’s been stable for 6 months–meaning no new growth (unheard of with her cancer!) and so the doctors think she has a good case for the insurance to help with the bone marrow transplant.  They’re undergoing approvals right now.  Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts and prayers!  I know they’ve been helping.

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24. Mary Christmas Season! {+Giveaway!}

Happy Thanksgiving!  It snowed here and so we had a white Thanksgiving.  I love the snow.

I also love digital painting.  When I was a kid taking art, digital wasn’t a thing.  All the art supplies were sooo expensive and messy, and if you messed up, you had to start all over again.  Now you can try and do billion different styles and colors…I sure am grateful for that.

Anyway, here’s a piece that I’ve been meaning to do all year ^_^

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I drew it for my sweet Instagram buddy, Nerdpoppins.  She loves Mary Poppins as much as I do!  You should check out her etsy shop–so many amazing MP things!

She was also the host of this year’s “Mary Poppins in the Park”–a Mary Poppins day at Disneyland.  I went and it was so much fun.  Every dressed Mary Poppins-y and THE Mary and Bert came (!!!) Everyone had a great time.

Nerdpoppins is on the right…my sis is in the middle, and I’m on Bert’s arm, dying.  (Isn’t the skirt beautiful?  It was sewn & hand-painted by Nerdpoppins.  I’m in awe.)

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Speaking of that event, I gave out a limited edition print to the attendees!  And I have some left over!

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Would you like this sweet little 5×7 print?  I’m gonna mail it out to the first 50 commenters!  Here’s how to play:

1 – Leave a numbered comment of something you’re grateful for.  (So, if the comment before you says it’s #12, you would write #13.)  (If you are reading this from tumblr, you’ll want to comment here, on the actual blog.)

2 – If your comment is below 50, send your mailing address to storyboarder{at}gmail.com  (That’s me!)  And I’ll send you the print right away!

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was the best ^_^

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25. Temple Square Cinemagraphs

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I brought my camera & tripod to Temple Square last year, and made some cinemagraphs.  The one above is my favorite, but these other ones are fun too.

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Waaaait for it…

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This one’s subtle.  But I like the picture anyway.

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I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, HOW in the world did she take these pictures without 5 billion people in the background??

I’ll tell you, my friends, and it’s Salt Lake City’s best kept secret:

Temple Square turns the lights back on at 6:00 AM.

Yup.

Even the music plays.  When I went, no one was there.

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Except me :)

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…And about 500 other photographers.

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…And one very sleepy family of 7.

(I think they enjoyed it.)

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