Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

At Sixes and Sevens

by Stephanie Black

Multi-talented novelist, poet, and musician Cheri Crane tagged me in a seven-things-about-me game. I’d rather tell you seven things about Cheri—she’s more interesting than I am—but I’ll give it a try.

1. I have five children. Three girls and two boys. The oldest is sixteen. The youngest is three. Speaking of the kids, should I be worried that my oldest daughter has this mat in front of her bedroom door?

Actually, Amy is on the long-arm-of-the-law side of things. She wants to be a police officer when she grows up and is very involved in our local law enforcement Explorer post. When she found this mat in an online store, she thought it was hilarious.

2. I hate squash. Gag-reflex hate it. I always have. I can handle zucchini, though I wouldn’t seek it out, but any kind of winter squash—ick.

3. I'm way out of it when it comes to popular TV shows. My teenager downloads Psych episodes online, and I've watched some of those. But I’ve never seen American Idol or The Office, or whatever other shows are hot at the moment. I’d probably enjoy them if I did watch them, but I’m just not interested enough to figure out when they're on or to take the time to watch them. I did watch some of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, but only because one of my husband’s grad school classmates was on the show (and he won!). If I want to see a TV show, I can get it from Netflix. We’ve watched a lot of Monk that way. My current favorite is Ballykissangel, the BBC show from a decade or so back. It’s set in a small town in Ireland, which lends a nice air of nostalgia to the show (we used to live in Ireland), which brings up number four:

4. I once flunked an Irish driving test. I’d tell you more about it, but I don’t want to talk about it. It wasn’t one of my favorite life experiences. Nothing like having a U.S. license for eighteen years (with a good driving record) and then getting told that no, you’re not worthy to be on the roads. Those Irish road tests are brutal.

5. Mitt Romney used to be our Gospel Doctrine teacher.

6. I don’t have any pets, nor do I want any. This makes me sound like Grinch McScrooge, but I’m just not a pet person. I didn’t grow up with pets—who needs pets when you have younger siblings? We did have a cat--or rather a succession of cats—in my later teen years. They didn’t last long—we lived on the edge of the desert, so we’re assuming coyotes might have had a hand in pet population control. But I was off to college by then, and didn’t ever have much to do with the cats. I think dogs and cats and other furry critters are fine, as long as they belong to someone else. My teenager has three hermit crabs, but that's the extent of our pets.

7. I have strange nicknames for my children. For instance, I have a son named Stephen. Sometimes I call him Peter. Why? I don’t know. His first name isn’t Peter, nor is his middle name. “Why didn’t you just name him Peter?” my family asks. “I don’t like the name Peter,” I reply. Actually, this isn’t true. I like the name Peter just fine—I just like Stephen better. Why do I call him Peter? It just has that . . . je nais sais quoi that makes it ring as a nickname. Sometimes I call him Pietro. I call my younger son Binks, even though his binky days are long past. My second daughter is Slio (her name is Shauna), though I don't use her nickname as much as I used to.

Okay, now I’m supposed to tag seven other people. I’m going to tag the seven Ink Ladies: Katie Parker, Crystal Liechty, Tamra Norton, Robyn Heirtzler, Marcia Mickleson, Elodia Strain and Marsha Ward. I think I'll tag Anne Bradshaw too. I know that's eight people, but who's counting?


At 1/23/2008 2:36 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Re: #2 - But how do you feel about racquetball?

At 1/23/2008 3:24 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Ha ha! Good one, Jon.

Speaking of racquetball, I took a racquetball class at BYU. Fortunately our grade was not based on our skill. We would play another student each class period, and the winner would move up one court on the long row of racquetball courts. Guess who was perpetually in one of the last two courts?

At 1/23/2008 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my. Mitt Romney in your Sunday School class? I am, without question, the biggest Mittnerd, Mitthead, Mitten, Mittophile on the planet. If I were king I'd elect, by royal appointment, Mitt as Presdient of the Free World. Can I touch your hand Stephanie? I think this is a sign. Mitt is going to win Florida, then New York and the lone delegate from Mars. You heard it at the frog swamp first. Mitt heads love LDS fiction.

David Woolley

At 1/23/2008 6:36 PM, Blogger ChillyGator said...


Where is she getting the Psych episodes? We looked on iTunes but, alas, nothing...I <3 Psych.

At 1/23/2008 7:13 PM, Blogger Jon said...

When I was in better shape, I loved to play r-ball. I can't say that I was good at winning, but I loved to play. There's just something rewarding about putting an "oomph" of power and letting it go in an odd direction. I particular liked that odd POP sound you'd get when it smacked right into a corner. Also took some guilty pleasure at my serve that dropped it in the back right corner and had my wife scraping her racquet on the wall. Ah, good times.

Do kids in high school play racquetball nowadays? I should put in a scene...

(Also, we love Psych, too. Highlight of Friday nights. That's sorta sad, isn't it?)

At 1/23/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

David, you crack me up. Mitthead . . . Mittnerd . . . Mitten . . . You should start creating slogans for campaign T-shirts.

Chilly, she's getting Psych off an Internet TV database, I think--I'll ask her where.

Jon, are you writing YA fiction? Please share!

At 1/24/2008 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a funny story about the smallish bear lamps hanging in the Mitt Romney cabin at Park City which I will only share if your will email me the first chapter of The Believer. Fair?

The bear lamp story is worth one hearing (or reading).

David Woolley

At 1/24/2008 9:48 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

Well, it's a good job I tuned in to Frogland today, isn't it? I'm tagged!

Have to admit, I haven't followed through on a tag in a while because they always sound so complex. But who knows, today (or next week, or the week after) may be the day I make it happen.

You'll just have to keep checking my blog to find out, folks :-)

At 1/24/2008 10:29 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

David, you can read the first chapter of The Believer on my website, Click on "books."

Do I get the bear lamp story now? I'm intrigued.

At 1/24/2008 5:59 PM, Blogger Jon said...

I stalled on my dog story, so I'm trying another project. I guess it's a conversion story (sort of) with elements of suspense.

I'm using some experiences I've had and blowing them out of proportion (i.e. fictionalizing) because, well, real life is often quite dull. =)

In a completely unrelated matter, I'm having a hard time researching whether a church or home dedication actually keeps evil spirits out, the way the temple dedications are supposed to. The best I can conclude is that THE Spirit does, regardless of the ordinance.

At 1/24/2008 9:49 PM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

I'm not a pet person either. Glad to know I'm not the only one. I feel like a bad mom sometimes because I don't let my kids have pets. My five year old son does have a plastic fish he keeps in a tupperware bowl filled with water. That's nice of me, isn't it?

At 1/24/2008 10:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Jon, good luck with your story. Evil spirits--yikes! Sounds like you and Jeff must get along well.

Marcia, you are a woman after my own heart. My kids are welcome to have as many pets as they want--after they grow up and leave home :) The day I would consider getting a pet is the day that everyone in my household learns to pick up after themselves (I'm guessing the Millennium will get here first).

At 1/25/2008 9:33 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

No pets? None at all? How do you live?

I'll admit I have fewer animals now than ever before in my life - only 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 fish, 3 chickens, and 2 bunnies - but I live in a "neighborhood" with dozens (possibly hundreds) of friendly dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, geese, horses, cows, skunks and javelina so somehow I survive.

Wait! I take part of that back. The javelina aren't all that friendly. The skunks and field mice are way too friendly, however.

At 1/25/2008 9:02 PM, Anonymous L@pterces (Dave W) said...

I always thought it was odd that you had a brother named "Skipper". Did your parents have a particular affection for the Gilligan's Island character? I believe it was several years before I realized it was only a nickname.

At 1/25/2008 9:47 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Dave, I don't think it had anything to do with Gilligan's Island :) I think they just liked it, and thought it was a good way to differentiate Stan Sr. from Stan Jr. But Stan Jr. decided at around age 5 that he wanted to be known by his real name, so so much for Skipper.

Chilly, my daughter watches Psych at

Kerry, that's an impressive line-up of animals you've got there!


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