Sunday, May 17, 2009

one post, two reasons: jo's b-day roast and a compliment to remember

it's that time of the week again... time for me to sit down and type a new blog entry. this blog will mostly be dedicated to my younger sister, jodi, in celebration of her and the birthday she celebrated this last week. contrary to popular belief, jodi is not the little ten year old that many of you may remember her as. like many of us, she got older with each passing year, went to school, got married, taught school, started raising a kid named ryan, and then had her own kids except that most of us probably didn't actually give birth to our kids, and if we did, most of us didn't name them ryan (not that she gave birth to ryan).

ryan is jodi's husband. i first saw ryan when he met up with our family in san diego for a family vacation. we were all anxious to meet ryan because he had already broken several very important cooper family rules that made him somewhat of an enigma to the rest us. namely, ryan drank caffeine, called himself a democrat, would have pizza delivered to him rather than doing take-out because he didn't mind paying a tip, and worst of all, ryan checked on his luggage when flying. actually, i'm not sure if checking on luggage is the worst of the egregious offenses i listed; however, this post isn't about ryan and his "vices," so we'll save my self-righteous indignation for another day.

that being said, ryan, is relevant to this post as i am about to recount certain excerpts from the speech i gave at ryan and jodi's wedding luncheon the day they got married (i needed to clarify that they had their wedding luncheon on the same day they got married just in case that wasn't implicit). i do this for two reasons, one because i am in the business of embarrassing people on this blog. secondly, because my speech led to one of the greatest compliments i have ever received and i am all about self-promotion on this blog, as well, i.e. everyone should know when i have done something noteworthy and if you don't hear about it on the news first then you will certainly read about it on my blog. chances are it will be the latter.

allow me to set the scene. jodi's husband, that ryan guy, is the grandson of the late elder neal a. maxwell. for those not familiar with the lds church, elder maxwell was a member of the quorum of the twelve apostles and a master wordsmith if there ever was one. at least one book has been written solely dedicated to his lexicon alone. his words are constantly quoted in church talks, church lessons, church books (including steve-o covey's 7 habits, even though many do not realize "7 habits" is technically not a church book in spite of being oft quoted in church meetings as it was never canonized) and the like. the sheer genius with which he was able to brilliantly express ideas, eloquently draw analogies, and masterfully articulate his thoughts to promote spiritual principles and Christianity has made him a favorite of many.

in case it's not obvious, i am a huge admirer of elder maxwell's works largely due to his uncanny ability to write and speak. so, it should come as no surprise that i was elated to find out that elder maxwell would be performing the wedding ceremony between ryan and jodi and then attending the wedding luncheon i was to speak at later that day. clarification: while i was elated elder maxwell would be at the luncheon, i was also very intimidated that he would be in the audience during my speech.

that being said, it was a wedding luncheon, which means that i was supposed to embarrass my sister and, as i noted above, embarrassing people is my specialty... especially if i like them. in jodi's case, she's fairly likeable. she was the ideal younger sister. no offense annie and kathryn, you guys were ideal younger sisters as well (can't we all be ideal younger sisters?), but neither of you ever took my sweaty socks off for me after a game of basketball simply because i was too lazy to do it myself. on top of that, jo would make my lunch for me to take to work the next day and pretty much do anything else i asked her to just because. very helpful and very sweet. that's the kind of girl jodi was and i say "was" because ever since she got married she just doesn't do that type of stuff for me anymore. go figure.

at any rate, jo's a great gal, so great that i felt compelled to thoroughly embarrass her during her wedding luncheon... yes, even in the presence of elder maxwell.

to start off, i talked about jo's alter-ego, "comman-jo." comman-jo is the alternate personality jo jo takes on when she is trying to get something done in a family clean-up project type setting. she is very efficient about barking out orders to the rest of us to complete such tasks as mowing the lawn in the thick of a vegas summer or washing all the windows at my parent's house of endless glass while she preoccupies herself with such difficult chores as arranging pictures in the bathroom and the like. in all fairness though, comman-jo hasn't been around too much lately... she must be seeing a therapist. either that or ryan gets all of comman-jo's attention these days.

after comman-jo i seamlessly transitioned into jodi's love of the camera. no, she's not a photographer who loves to take pictures, rather she loves to be on the other end of the camera when the pictures are taken. for a while there, life was but a photo shoot for my little sister and all the world was her catwalk. she had all the poses down. my personal favorite was the hand over the mouth in the "oops, what a surprise... i had no idea you had a camera and were going to take a picture of me" look. let's just say jodi probably has more pics of herself than anyone i know who's not a model. not that there's anything wrong with that.

following that, i talked about the time jo excitedly, and proudly, told me she ran in a marathon that spanned the grueling distance of five kilometers... 1.5 of which she had to walk, allegedly.

then there was the semester she got straight "a's" in college except that one of her grades was a "c" which didn't count because "the teacher was a jerk" or something to that effect. i think it was at this point in my speech when elder maxwell got up to leave the room. "uh oh," i thought, "i've gone too far and offended one of the brethren." but, i kept my cool and persevered to the grand finale during which i expounded on jo's acute familiarity with church history.

jo once shed light on a little-known fact about joseph smith, the first mormon prophet. the story goes that while joseph was a young boy he had some type of infection/disease that was attacking a part of his leg so severely that amputation seemed inevitable. apparently, some cutting-edge (no pun intended, seriously) surgery was available that joseph was willing to receive in an effort to save his leg.

it was an intense surgery that required a partial removal of the bone in his leg, but left the leg intact... meaning amputation never took place, at least that's what all the available evidence had been telling us for years (keep reading). for many mormons this is an inspiring story exemplifying the strength and resolve of the prophet joseph smith as he was very young at the time he received the surgery and did so without any form of anesthetic. pretty much every mormon who goes to church has heard this story at least one hundred times.

well, jodi is a mormon who goes to church and has likely heard that story a hundred times over. but, one sunday, when called upon by the bishop of our congregation without any notice to share some thoughts with the rest of the attendees, jo revealed a morsel of truth relating to said story that up until that point was unbeknownst to everyone in that room. it was di vinci code-esque...

succinctly stated, jo revealed to the congregation, among other things, that she was very inspired by all that the prophet joseph had accomplished while specifically mentioning his ability to persevere in spite of having had his leg amputated. i, for one, did not know that. it was groundbreaking.... and she mentioned it so matter-of-factly as if everyone already knew, but that's just like her not wanting to draw attention to herself and her discovery.

well, turns out, it would have been fairly groundbreaking had it been true, but unfortunately it was not. no biggie. in actuality, it's really not the worst misstatement of fact one could make in front of a church congregation... especially if you're ten years old or younger at the time, but, in jodi's case, she was not ten or younger when she said this, in fact, she had just finished her first year of college and had probably taken some institute classes that addressed that very story . like i said, minor detail. no harm, no foul.

truth be told, we probably giver her a harder time about this story than she deserves, and i'm sure she was nervous while speaking in front of a large crowd impromptu, but we've all heard countless stories about how good of a leg wrestler joseph smith was or seen the bronze statues of him standing erect on both legs and similar paintings... and so far as i can tell, none of these works depict him with a prosthetic limb. i'm not judging you, jo, i'm just saying...

that's about where i finished up. it was all good times. we laughed as much as a sober mormon crowd does at one of these things and we all felt better for having been there once everything finished up, which brings me to point number two of my story... and this is quick, i promise.

as i was shaking hands and accepting the good wishes and admiration of those who had enjoyed my words, read: my mom and my wife, i came into contact with elder maxwell. "this should be interesting," i thought... "either he is going to tell me how i offended him and why he left or we will exchange common pleasantries and go our separate ways." either way, i would be thoroughly satisfied to have simply conversed with the man. turns out, elder maxwell was a fan. he shook my hand, with slightly more enthusiasm than i was expecting, and told me i'd done "an excellent job." i thought, "wow, that's pretty neat, a sincere compliment from one of my all-time favorite orators, but i bet he's this nice to every guy he talks to who roasts his sister at a wedding luncheon." still, this is a compliment i'll never forget.

but, then he re-emphasized how well he thought i had done by saying "no, really, you did an outstanding job," all while still shaking my hand for an extended period of time, but not to the point where it was uncomfortable. i'm sure i blushed and mumbled some sort of thanks or reiteration of how i really knew that joseph hadn't had his leg amputated, but to say i was flattered is an understatement.

it wasn't much, and, like i said, i'm sure he was that nice and complimentary to everyone he came into contact with. however, it did mean a lot to me and i will certainly look to that moment for inspiration every time i speak at a wedding luncheon in the future. so, if you've had a similar experience with elder maxwell, now would not be the appropriate time to share unless you are one of those one-upper, thunder-stealing kind of guys... in which case, please allow two days to pass before posting the experience so that i may live in this blissful world of ignorance i have created for myself just a little longer. thank you.

in closing...

jo, you're a great lady and a wonderful sister. we love you and are lucky to have you around. happy eleventh birthday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

mother's day: the final leg of the gauntlet did me in this year

i know i'm a little late posting this week, but since i don't have an actual schedule for posting on the blog, it is impossible for me to be late... so, put any such though out of your mind. for starters, allow me to post a little plug for my cousin, kevin, who saw his name in the following headline this week (at least i am assuming he saw this): Wadsworth leads Rams into postseason.

kevin is a senior at rancho and plays on the volleyball team there (men's volleyball). apparently, they won their most recent match and are headed to the playoffs. congratulations, kevin! i have always wanted to see my name in the headline of a newspaper... the volleyball stuff isn't bad either. if you ever want some lessons in semi-professional blogging, i'll give you the friends and family discount provided you sign my copy of the rj. for the full article on kevin's volleyball prowess, read here:

back to mother's day. in case you weren't aware, mother's day took place this past weekend. i had a busy week and a rough go with the prior four legs of the gauntlet, thus, i am ashamed to admit i wasn't as prepared as i needed to be going into sunday. i thought i could squeeze some mother's day shopping in between caleb's t-ball game and jameson's baseball game. oh, the folly of my masculine mind!

i had close to a one hour window to get this done taking into account the back and forth travel time... or so i thought. what i hadn't considered was the dang free sample people standing every five feet at costco. who can resist a free sample of microwave lasagna at 10:30 in the morning? i know i can't. or maybe it's just the fact that there are ten other people waiting impatiently for a 2 inch by 2 inch square of pita bread covered in humus that makes me want it more. maybe it's just 'cause it's free. either way, i've got to try those mini top sirloin filets sizzling on the skillet over yonder if i'm to have the complete costco experience.

it's really quite pathetic: over zealous shoppers preying around some old lady on leave from the local nursing home for the day, all gussied up in her plastic hairnet, apron and portable hot plate/microwave.

back off, people, the lady's just trying to earn a little extra bingo money to use at her leisure.

without condsideration for the lady's well being, everyone jockeys for position, the timer goes off, the food comes out, we all inch forward expressing forced cordial smiles upon one another while trying not to seem as desperate as we are to get that mini-cup of vitamin water she just poured, but it's survival of the fittest and we secretly hope no one notices us boxing out the weaker life forms standing in the way as we move in for the kill (then there's always that one person, who walks right up after you've been standing there for five minutes waiting patiently for the next batch of brownie bites and just helps himself to the first one offered. what's up with that? does this dude have no sense of decency? dishonor on him and his family)... and this was in summerlot.

no wonder walmart doesn't do samples... the walmart mutants would invoke mass pandemonium at the very sight of free handouts.

needless to say, the free sample distractions slowed me down in my search for aim's gift and, alas, i was running out of time. a quick panic overcame me as i knew this would be my only chance to purchase her a gift before the big day. i nervously surveyed the store hoping something would pop out at me, but my efforts were fruitless. i was facing severe disappointment until it clicked... that lady giving out free samples of margaritas from the margarita making machine on the second aisle ... aim loves margaritas (virgin margaritas, that is) and i love getting aim things that help her get the things she loves... bless you, costco.

i raced over to grab the machine thinking i was home-free only to find out that it cost a fat $180 (fat with an "f", not a "ph"). well, she does love margaritas... it would be nice for entertaining lots of sober mormons... not a chance. $180 for a pimped out blender? not on my watch... not when i can almost buy one pair of true religion jeans for that same price (but not at costco, unfortunately), especially since it might encourage aim to take up drinking when she's having a stay-at-home mom moment. we can't have that.

so, back to square one... but wait, what's this next to the margarita machine??? the magic bullet??? as seen on tv! (note to blog zombies, if the box of an item you are buying says "as seen on tv," turn around and walk away while your dignity is still uncompromised... even if it is at costco and even if it is at a costco in summerlot).

but, it's only $50. it blends things. it says it makes soups, salsas, margaritas, omelets, etc. amazing. we already have a blender, but it's not called the magic bullet and i seriously doubt it has ever had any air time on tv. aim will love it... absolutely love it.

well, she did like it, but she didn't love it. it was something like a juicer on steroids. pretty sure it had a napoleonic complex... definitely compensating. no worries, we'll find aim a nice cutting board or something along those lines to fill the void left in the magic bullet's conspicuous absence.

not the greatest gift idea, but probably better than the workout video i got aim one year. i wasn't trying to tell her anything, she asked for it... for real. definitely better than the lingerie my sister bought for herself recently. not that there's anything wrong with lingerie, but this is a funny story. disclaimer: i don't talk to my sister about lingerie... i heard this story from my wife.

turns out my sister bought some lingerie. further turns out my mom was over at her house, caught wind of the unmentionables and wanted to see what theylooked like. so, my sister pulled out the underwear and showed it to her only to be met with a tickled pink "oh my goodness, i've got the same one!" i'm sure it was a special mother-daughter moment. such a proud mom (see what kind of family i come from?).

i'm not sure if my brother-in-law is aware of the fact that his wife has the same negligee as her mother, but i'm sure everyone everywhere can agree with me when i say that that my sister better have burned her set of silkies or donated them to the deseret industries upon discovering their evil twin existed in our mother's closet.

some perspective:

knowing that your wife has the same lingerie get-up as your mother-in-law says one of two things: your wife has really bad taste in lingerie or your mother-in-law has really good taste... either way, such a situation assuredly renders the purpose of lingerie completely ineffective unless of course you use lingerie to get your husband to take a cold shower in which case it's completely effective. no. all i can say is "no" while i shake my head.

in a perfect world, there would be some natural law that would automatically prevent a mother and daughter from purchasing the same lingerie... something akin to magnets that repel each other... it just shouldn't be allowed. such should have been the case here. unfortunately, my friends, we don't live in a perfect world, so, to that i say:

mothers, please, i beg of you, coordinate the purchase of your lingerie with your daughters for the sake of your sons-in-law.

that is all.

happy mother's day to all the moms in the house. you are all my heroes. may you all have a hundred magic bullets a hundred times over.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

the cooper five's week in review

some weeks i have to pull something out of nowhere to blog about. yes, i know it's a gift to go on bloviating like i do, but some weeks things just happen that are meant to be put on the internet for all the world to read. the posts relating to these types of weeks generally have a little more substance to them. this last week was one such week. prepare to be edified and uplifted.

jameson gets published and finds his sandwich

jameson's name in print arrived earlier this week, or maybe it was last. kudos to our boy... he has now done something at the tender age of nine that it has only taken me thirty-three years to accomplish: jamebo got published. not bad for the cooper five's version of ol' bill shakespear minus the flaming renaissance garb and the sweet pointy zorro stache.

i'm not jealous.... it's an accomplishment. boy wonder published before he learned to tie his shoes, he's a prodigy, a maravilla, ingenious! but, hey, let's not get carried away... i mean it's not like the kid's a semi-professional blogger or anything.

moreover, this just goes to the show that the affable lad may yet have a tinge of his dad in him. so, here it is appearing for the first time ever on the world wide web (i'm probably committing some kind of copyright violation here... but, those are the kinds of things that jameson has to look out for now that he's a big time, published author. i wonder what that's like).

the huggable, kissable, baby

the huggable, kissable baby is the
funiest baby
you've ever seen
he can be hugged at any time.
he is so cute
you will not believe your eyes.
he is so cute, you will love him so much.
he will do the most
funniest things you've ever seen.
you will love him right before
your eyes.
he's the most huggable,
kissable baby.
if you squeeze him, he will laugh.
he is so ticklish.
he is so cute.
you won't believe your eyes.
he's really funny when he's asleep.
(reprinted with author's permission as originally published in a celebration of poets. lower case added.)

jameson finds his sandwich

a couple days a go aimee was unpacking jameson's lunch bag after a long day at school only to find that he hadn't eaten his sandwich. as a mom, that can be frustrating on at least two levels (so, i'm told): for starters, is his mom's sandwich not good enough for him? secondly, the kid's always starving when he gets home... go figure.

anyway, the funny thing is that when aim asked him why he didn't eat his sandwich, he replied:

"i couldn't find it." and he didn't mean the lunch bag, he meant he couldn't find the sandwich within the lunch bag. i can't help but laugh again upon typing it. what makes it even more funny is that he was dead serious.

he followed up by asking in a very sincere, yet quizzical tone, "i mean, where did you put it (the sandwich), was it on the side or the bottom or something??? because, i couldn't see it (again, completely serious)." i laughed out loud some more. that was the funniest thing i'd heard in a while.

seriously, we're talking about a very normal and very open batman lunch bag... no secret zippers or pockets, no hocus pocus, just one big bag in which it would be virtually impossible to hide a sandwich... as a matter fact, i pointed this out to jameson, declaring, as i stuck my hand in the bag, "it would be impossible to not be able to find a sandwich in this bag."

jameson's reply: "it would be if you were blind."

my reply to jameson's reply: "even then, if you stuck your hand in the bag you would feel it."

sorry, jameson, you may be a poet, but you just lost the sandwich argument and you didn't even know it. actually, you lost the argument because i made it abundantly clear that there is no possible way that any person not incapacitated could not have found that sandwich. law school teaches you strong analytical reasoning skills and how to use triple negatives without getting confused.

caleb recites his scripture

caleb had the scripture again during sharing time in primary. he nailed it, or at least that's what i heard. i had to substitute jameson's class so i missed caleb's recitation of the scripture, but aim said he did really well. we got another video of him practicing which i'll be sure to post soon. way to go, little man.

colston's head is in the 90th percentile

i couldn't leave colston out of this post since that could create sibling rivalry issues of fair treatment someday, so i thought i would let everyone know that colston had his physical about a month ago and he came back as having his weight in the 25th percentile, his height in the 75th percentile and, last but not least, his head came in in the 90th percentile. that's what i call top heavy. he is his father's son. big heads run in the family and, apparently, colston's big melon didn't fall too far from the cooper melon tree.

it's not easy having a big head. most people want one, some are blessed to be born with one. some people flaunt them as if they have no dignity and get artificial head augmentations to make up for a lack of self-esteem. not me, i try to be modest about my big head. i'm still a person. there's more to me than my big head. i would just appreciate it if everyone would stop staring at my head so much... my eyes are up here, people!

jeremy uses aim's deodorant

that's right, i wore women's deodorant the other day... and it's not the first time. does that make me cross dresser? not in the least... clearly not the same thing. besides, i am the one raising all the ruckus when my mom's doing the annual grandkids nativity scene Christmas card picture and she wants to have the newest granddaughter portray baby Jesus in the photo. i'm not sexist or anything, but, i mean, c'mon... do i really need to explain that one?

i digress. i only wear aim's deodorant when mine's all out, which was the case this week. well, mine wasn't actually all gone, but it was in my gym bag which i left in my car for a few days all the way out in the garage. this was problematic for a few reasons:

1) it has been hot this week, especially in my car which means that the deodrant stick likely melted (i still haven't checked) rendering it less effective.

2) my car finds its home in the garage which is a long ways away from my bathroom which is the place where i generally put on my deodorant in the morning. too much effort and too much time to go downstairs just to get melted deodorant.

3) even if the deodarant stick had re-solidified, which it probably did, it probably reformed into stalagmite-like formations that hurt my delicate under armpit areas and don't give me the full coverage i need.

besides, i kind of like smelling all fruity and flowery for a time. it can, however, be a bit distracting as the fumes are somewhat entrancing. i oft times find myself stopping whatever it is i'm doing to focus on enjoying the odor emanating from my armpits. i think aim gets little bugged when i use her deodarant. i don't know if it's because of the little armpit hairs that all of a sudden start showing up on the stick or if it's 'cause she wants to maintain her monopoly of smelling all fruity and flowery. i just wan't to smell good for the sake of those around me, so i try to take care of myself.

aim just told me my posts are too long, so i'll call it a day with that. besides, i need a minute to focus on the perfect blend of my body odor and aim's deodorant.

iinitiate the blog

iinitiate the blog