Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesdays with Sabrena -- Part II; Because I couldn't think of a catchier title

Picture of the Day. . . me and my Tatum at the reflection pond at El Tempo. Just as a side note, when I asked her and her little brother Max what they liked better. . . the temple or Costco? Good News, they both responded the temple. :)

Random Thoughts I probably shouldn't share with the masses:

* My feet have smelled a lot like apple cidear vinegar lately

* I really enjoy my job (that's a weird thing to say, right?) Seriously, I kicked-ace and took names at my meeting today. . . I shouldn't brag, but it felt great to be so prepared!

* Sometimes I wonder if I'm a figment of someone else's imagination

* I've already started listening to Christmas Music in my car (and I sang Christmas Carols to Danny Sunday night in bed)

* There's this girl in my Monday yoga class that I "compete" with in my head. Like who has the lowest Warrior I or who does the most chatarunga (I know I spelled that wrong). Anyway, that COMPLETELY defeats the purpose of yoga . . . I need to "stay on my mat"

*I taped the number "135" on my scale in the bathroom, because I was tired of seeing 150+ pounds on the scale (this has actually done wonders for my self esteem too!)

Have an uber fabulous Tuesday.
For Halloween I think I'll dress up as someone who's mentally sound... costume ideas?

P.S. And a special hello to my friends in cyber-space from Parsons...I'm sending you fabulous little law ladies an extra dose of Suite-Chi. ;) Danny says you're out there, but there's no way to really know . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

1000 Words of Suite Spots (the Wed Chronicles)

It’s Wed night . . . I missed yoga for about the 7th day in a row because of sickness and my work schedule. I hit St. George yesterday and will be back on the road again on Friday . . . but let’s be honest, you don’t read this for my travel log. . .

(Hmm, why do you read this? Feel free to tell me and I’ll try to tailor my remarks for your amusement.)

So “Feist” is playing in the background of our downtown apartment. The living space is uncharacteristically clean for the (Suite-)Mangums. . . truth be told, it usually only looks like this when we’re entertaining. In fact, just last week Danny wanted me to explain why we only vacuum BEFORE the parties, when it’s really AFTER the party that the place needs a good once over.

Admittedly, I’m more concerned about “looking’ put together than actually being put together. (Which is apparent if you look at my purse . . . designer on the outside, a disaster on the inside). And let’s not even talk about the science experiments in my fridge, or the fact that my car hasn’t been cleaned since the summer . . . (I’ve still got decorations from the Church Luau form the summer.)

Oh well, life is a beautiful disaster and I am happy to be a part of it.

So back to the apartment – which, I am happy to report is not a disaster. Some of you may be thinking I am bragging about being a “real woman.” (Is that what “Sister Beck” from the last LDS General Conference referred to it as?) No, I wasn’t the home-maker . . . (you all know better than that!!!)

It was Monsieur Mangum . . . Danny friggin’ cleaned the pad today!!!! It was the best present ever . . . (well, may next to diamonds, but that’s not really a fair comparison is it?)

Hey ladies, have you ever thought about the difference between man’s best friend (a dog) and (diamonds) a girl’s best friend? Well, if you haven’t . . I think it’s pretty easy to point out which is the more refined of the two species. . .

So, my friend Becca Winegar nee’ Whipple, was telling me about how annoying she thinks bloggers that just ramble on about their perfect spouses and families and lives . . . and so in honor of her, I would like to take a moment and point out some things that she thinks SERIOUSLY need to be addressed.

They’re a little controversial . . . so read at your own risk. . . (In no particular order)

• Becca’s anti-secret. . . not to be confused with the deodorant that’s strong enough for a man, but ph balanced for a woman. . . no, she’s anti – THE SECRET. You know? The book, the movie . . . think happy thoughts, the law of attraction, lose weight because you think THIN?!?! In fact, I get out of thinking about how much she loathes this book. Because I am a huge fan!!! I lost 5 lbs in one week on THE SECRET . . .just telling people I could eat whatever I want because I have a high metabolism . . . But then, much like weight watchers, I gave it up . . . and WHAM! The pounds packed back on like the freshman fifteen. . . (B. Wilde, this is not self-deprecation . . . just a fact).
• Point #2 in the Becca Winegar nee’ Whipple tirade. . . Becca is totally ANTI-Bumper sticker. . . here again we have to disagree, though my husband (and my old man) definitely side with her. They drive her crazy (not my old man and my husband, bumper stickers). But man, back in the day [college] when I drove a white 1995 Subaru Impreza (as opposed to my 2005 silver subie hatchback currently in tote). . . well, my car was covered in them. Some of the highlights: “Women make great leaders – You’re following one” and “I think, therefore I don’t listen to Rush” and “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people” and “Free Tibet.” I think I also had a “Sierra Club” sticker at one time when I was sending them money, and an EarX-tacy [www.earxtacy.com] sticker to boot. That reminds me . . . I bought a “namaste” sticker at Golden Braid Books and Oasis Café last month. . . I ought to Christen the new Subie. (Becca, don’t hate me).
• Point #3 is actually where Becca and I find common ground. Although, my husband and his family might be a bit offended by my words. . . but mind you, these are not my words. . . but Becca’s. And so how can you hold me responsible for her thoughts and feelings? Don’t kill the messenger. . . and I quote: “Dogs are not humans.” She then followed this little ditty with advice that they are not to be dressed up, or to expect the rest of the world to have the same sentiments for your puppies that you have. (Brandi Honey doesn’t think puppies are cute either, and I am telling you, this woman is an excellent judge of character. She knew all of my terrible x-boyfriends were losers long before I figured it out.) Anyway, love your dogs. . . that’s fine. Just please don’t expect me to love them with the vigor and intensity that you do. I think they’re smelly, have bad breath and leave hair everywhere . . . it’s really in your best interest NOT to consider them as humans. . . because who wants a friend with halitosis and a body odor problem? And as much as Danny gets annoyed with my “locks of love” decorating the bathroom floor, I can’t imagine fido’s tresses being much more welcome. ;) In defense of my canine loving friends, I do understand that they are part of “your” family…
• Becca is also anti-txt. I am going to save my feelings on that bit for a “Best of Column.” I was dating a guy who thought txting was an adequate form of communication. . . the story that resulted was, well . . . you’ll just have to check it out down the road. . . ☺

Good night my pretties. It’s time to watch Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. (Hmmmm, re-run. . . never mind),
Anyway, thanks for hanging in there . . . this was a long post. . . we made it through. And now it is time for me to go to bed, in my clean house . . .

PS. I’m flying solo tonight because Danny’s “out with the Boys” which I completely encourage. He’s getting a bit of exercise which I think is great; I like a man who isn’t afraid to sweat. ☺

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekend Round-Up!

Random factiods and thoughts for Friday afternoon . . .

Head Cold for the Better
a) Low Point: I'm home sick and I look as crappy as I feel.
b) High Point: I got to watch the Colbert Report I missed last night. ;)

Presidential Race
a) High Point: I've been waiting to vote for Hillary for ages
b) Low Point (not as low as I thought, though): I would never vote for a candidate just because they're Mormon, but if Mitt can move back to the middle of the road, it would be the first time in a long time I'd be happy with the Red and the Blue candidates.
*But I'm still voting the Clintons back in office unless otherwise moved by the spirit (although, Stephen Colbert did annouce his candidacy this week, so I'll have to do some soul searching.

A New Way to Help Teachers, since Referrendum 1 won't (VOTE NO!!!)
a) High Point: Go to http://www.donorschoose.com/ to donate to programs that teachers can't fund because our education system is so screwed up (especially in Utah. Find out more at www.utahnsforpublicschools.org/)
b) Low Point: There isn't one... The Suite-Mangum Foundation (aka Danny) made a donation to an art project for an inner-city school today.

Twlight Lovers
Are you thinking about Edward too?

Because I can't let it go, and I'll have to be funny another time. . . ;)

Did you know?
  • The average private school tuition is nearly $8,000 a year.
  • The average statewide voucher is estimated to be only about $2,000.
  • That means that for a family with four children, the additional $24,000 in tuition puts private school completely out of reach.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Best Of" Volume II: Really Frightening: What could be scarier than reality?

Just in time for Halloween, a little ditty from the pre "Suite-Mangum" days. . . when I was running solo in this dreary world. A few years ago, I did this little piece on the horrors of life as a singleton for my Saint George Mag column (October 2005).

And while I am EVER so gratful I don't have to deal with the challenges of dating anymore, I don't want my single friends out there in cyberspace and beyond to ever think I have forgotten the plight of a single gal (or guy) putting it out on the line day in and day out. . .

Just know, I've been there. . . so without further ado, I give you, THE HORRORS OF MY (former) ONLINE DATING LIFE. . .

I think it’s fair to make a case for being afraid of things that are supposed to scare you. I cut myself a little slack with the standards – heights, clowns, swimsuit shopping in February. I’ve never been one for scary movies (Disney’s Watcher in the Woods is about where I draw the line), and I absolutely loathe haunted houses and forests. All through my adolescence, my friends would try to explain that because the people responsible for “scaring” us were actually just teenagers like ourselves, if I just gave them a hard time or acted like they didn’t affect me, I wouldn’t have a problem.

But there was a problem. I was afraid, very afraid. For some reason, my body cannot make a psychological distinction between fact and fiction, and thus the physiological response follows – panic stricken conscience, sweaty palms, short breaths and a pit in my stomach resembling a black infinite abyss.

So for those of you celebrating the Autumnal Equinox and Hallow’s Eve with visits to these types of dastardly places, I’m just saying I’m glad it’s you and not me. I have plenty to fear without Jason/Freddy chasing me with a chainsaw or some equally threatening yard appliance. Besides, just being alive is scary enough. Andy Warhol once said, “Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.” I can relate just from being set up on blind dates.

Let’s be honest, the predicament of the single life is more than a conundrum. It’s a fearful angst-ridden place to be. How else do you explain the hoards of relatives, associates, colleagues and random acquaintances shell shocked and horrified to discover you’re over 25 and (gasp!) not married?

It hadn’t occurred to me that my singleton status should be cause for such terror until I ventured into the frightening world of online dating. Some have heard my diatribe about the woes of a text messaging courtship – believe me it can lead to more than cyber tears – but I thought romance on the information superhighway would be a safe place where I’d meet a plethora of liberal minded scholars with character like George Washington and a penchant for world religions, Led Zeppelin and The O.C. (not necessarily in that order).

“Sabrena, you should try eHarmony.com,” a former college boyfriend explained to me over a year ago. “It will really help you see what type of person you’re compatible with.” Ah, so that’s my problem, I thought. I just haven’t understood what type of person I’m truly compatible with. I thought my quest for an independently wealthy artist with Death Cab for Cutie on his iPod that shares my dislike for Fox News was a great place to start.

While the questionnaire for the eHarmony personal profile doesn’t ask how annoying you think Bill O’Riley is, questions do run the gamut from religion and politics to the importance of sexual relations in a (ahem) relationship. The site also instructs you to be as honest as possible. . .And so I was, even against my better judgment.

The final question of the survey asks about geographical logistics. I mean really, just how far was I willing to search for true love? Well, St. George and Salt Lake City were obvious choices. Plus, my day job does allow me to travel pretty easily, so it seemed that the West Coast was a natural fit. But why limit myself to just a couple of time zones, right?

It was like I had some sort of tick, checking the radar buttons. By the time I clicked “Submit,” I had included all of the U.S., part of Canada, plus the UK and most of Western Europe. Where’s the harm? I thought. At best, I’ll find my true love. At worst, I’ll get some really great pen pals from across the globe.

The anticipation was killing me. How many responses would I get? Twenty, thirty? Would there literally be hundreds of “matches” since I was open to whatever the universe had to present me and my social life? I was willing to take a risk. I began to imagine the Webmaster for Yahoo! emailing to tell me I’d need to purchase more space as my inbox would be constantly overloaded with requests from beaus across the world. Where would I find the time to court so many men? The anticipation was really overwhelming.

And as I sat there imagining my results, I realized that the database had been searching for quite some time. What if I set some record for “most compatible female on the Internet”? I mean, I’ve always thought of myself as pretty amicable. Maybe I’d be crowned Miss eHarmony or perhaps they’d make me something like the official mascot. Wow – how long would this thing search? It’s not like I was on an AOL dial-up connection or something.

And then it came, the answer to the question that would be the closest gauge of my dating reality, indeed one of the scariest moments in my 28 years of existence. Out of a database with literally thousands of names, came this message: “eHarmony has found 0 matches.” Zero matches for moi! I stared at the screen absolutely dumbfounded and then laughed from so deep in my gut that I think it was heard across cyberspace.

So, yes I am afraid, very afraid. But come to think of it, right now a haunted house might be the perfect thing to ease my nerves.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Two of Sabrena Suite-Mangum's Favourite People in the Universe!

Well, some of you have been asking for more pictures . . . I finally took down the picture of me and Howard Dean (Becky -- no more hate mail! kidding).

Anyway, this is Danny and my favourite niece Tatum Suite Smith (Cassandra's daughter).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Procreate in Two-thousand Eight!

Sooooo, I will point out that it’s still 2007, so nobody get any funny ideas about me making an announcement or anything. It’s not like that. But I will say that it’s time to start getting serious about the biological clock that is ticking louder ever day. Danny will be done with his undergrad in the spring, so it’s probably a good time to think about having unprotected sex. ;) HA!

This post is so inappropriate . . . But seriously, it’s on my mind, and with such a catchy title, how could I not post about it? It came to me while I was laying on a massage table, and I almost got up and typed it on my blackberry – but thankfully, I just allowed myself to “be” and committed it to memory for your reading pleasure tonight. . .

Anyway, Danny is a little weary of telling anyone when we’re ready to start having kids… understandably so. I can’t say I blame him … suddenly it’s out in the open that you’re “trying.” What does that mean, except that you’ve added new mean to the phrase “family planning.”

I remember Whitney Hammer (Hall?)’s husband talking about it at our SHS 5-yr reunion (thanks to Anthony Scharrier for putting that bit together). Anyway, he said something about how they had to start going “two-a-day’s” when they were getting serious about getting pregnant. I got a kick out of that.

My friend Christianne and her husband Tim -- just had a baby – CONGRATS! But they used to crack up (or just get annoyed, very fine line) at people that would say “We’re trying.” Seriously, what does that mean? Have you ever thought about that?

I mean, is that really just a PC way of saying “We’re having a lot of unprotected sex?” or is it something more calculated like: “I’m checking my temperature daily” or “We’ve invested in a Kama Sutra from Barnes & Noble and seeing how much yoga classes are paying off?” (Not that I would know anything about that).

The point of this all is . . . well, there isn’t really a point. Just another excuse to talk about sex I suppose. (I’ve been reading those “Twilight*” vampire books for the last two weeks, and they’re just so sensual and titillating . . . I think it’s done something to my psyche).

But the non-point is . . .

We’re not pregnant. We’re not “trying”... but just because you’re not “trying,” I don’t think that should stop anyone from stopping by Barnes and Noble after an invigorating session of yoga. ;)

Namaste my Pretties!

(Danny and I makin' out in Paris . . . oh, we are sooo scandalous!)

*Twilight and the other books, Half Moon and Eclipse are by Stephanie Meyer. Danny was annoyed I was so involved with them to begin with, but he’s kind of reaped the fringe benefits as of late... so no harm, no foul. Anyway, I finished the series last night – “Are you thinking about Edward Cullen?” ;)

PS. Danny’s hosting my belated (Dirty Thirties) b-day party is this Saturday night in Holladay. You can check out the eVite invitation by copying and pasting http://www.evite.com/pages/invite/viewInvite.jsp?inviteId=QTSXAOMKDIZLMDKLCYES&li=iq&src=email&trk=aei2 into your browser.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


So, I thought I would try posting a few of the pieces I used to do for St. George Magazine. . . Over a year ago, I had this "sex in the city" type bit I used to write for them about anything and everything going on in the world.

While the column was primarily about life as a singleton, they ended up being pretty well received, and I somehow had a piece of an entire community routing for my love life as I reported the ups and downs of navigating the singlelife in (Southern)Utah and beyond . . .

After I met Danny, the pieces changed a little bit -- even more so once we were married.

The following piece is from the December 2006 edition . . . it shows what happens when I try to be a sex-kitten of a wife . . . sometimes LOVE just ain't enough. My plans -- up in smoke (figuratively and literally.)

Let me know what you think . . . I'll add few of these now and then for the SLC crowd that may not have read them. (If you have already seen this stuff, sorry . . . skip along, skip along).

ssm, aka Sabrena Suite-Mangum

I am not a domestic goddess. While I come from a long line of bread-baking casserole-creating homemaking extraordinaires, admittedly I’m much more comfortable typing press releases or chatting with CNN than baking cherry pie. However with the kitchen pioneers in my genealogy, there had to be some genetic predisposition that would make me handy with a whisk/garlic press. Apparently I just wasn’t trying hard enough.

So I tried. I thought I would pair two things that seemed to be a win-win with men – food and seduction. Since, on this particular occasion, there was no way I was making it to the lingerie shop before dinner, I thought the next best thing would be one of Danny’s button-down collared shirts au natural. You know, a little Risky Business paired with feminine wiles?

I’ll just pair them with some sassy black stilettos, I thought. Crap! I just remembered I broke the back heel last week in a dreadful battle involving said shoe verses a very temperamental moving sidewalk at the Salt Lake City International airport. Score? Moving sidewalk: one; fabulous black shoe: zero.

Hmm. What’s left? Flip flops? Not exactly the beacon footwear of sensuality. Plus I’m so short I’ll look like an Oompa Loompa if I don’t add a little length to my legs.

This is ridiculous! I have more than 40 pairs of shoes and all I can come up with is a pair of flat soled 1995 Doc Marten Mary Janes?!? What are these doing in my closet anyway? Perhaps they would work if I was trying to seduce Kurt Cobain in the grunge era, but presently the shoes in question seem to be spouting more of a "geriatric" correctional vibe than Victoria’s Secret supermodel.

I grab a pair of 4 ½ inch red and white checkered heels from my closet that have a striking resemblance to a 1950s pin up doll – or at least what I imagine one would look like. All I need is that black line up the back of my hosiery. But I actually despise wearing socks of any kind, so I just stick with the shoes – no nylons.

Man, these heels are kind of hard to walk in. I’m scooting around through the apartment taking tiny steps in a gait that looks like “Peggy” from that Married with Children sitcom. I’m a bit off balance; and the carpet, though not exactly “shag” in length, seems surprisingly harder to navigate through than I remember.

I head to the kitchen. We received this fabulous cookbook for our wedding. It’s a *Julia Child’s “How to Cook Everything,” She’s got a no-fail super easy recipe for pork chops. And it’s fun to do impersonations of her while your reading through the recipes, so it’s a win-win in the kitchen.

I take the bible of cooking down from the shelf, but after that point, the details of the rest of the evening are all a little fuzzy. I don’t know if it’s selective memory, or because the kitchen literally got cloudy with giant wafts of smoke from the pork chops. But plumes of it billowed from the sizzling pork chops on the stove. Who knew olive oil could spark such pandemonium?

Next thing I know, I’m running through the house trying to open up every window in our 850 square foot apartment because the smoke is going to hit our detector any minute . . . Crap! There it goes!

It’s screeching and beeping, and being and screeching. It’s piercing my ears and the sound is giving me a panic attack. I can’t get it to turn off! Oh, my poor neighbors! Did I mention we have really thin walls?!?

I run to the patio door, and just as I’m pulling the sliding glass open I realize two things. Number one, my husband is walking across the street and already looks puzzled about the sounds coming from our apartment; and two, I am not exactly a hallmark of modesty in this little “outfit” I put together for my Suite-Seduction. Instead of looking like a sex-kitten, my wobbly bits are bouncing too and fro like a chubby adolescent belly dancer in training for their recital. Forget that I don’t like socks! I should’ve gone with control top pantyhose.

I can’t decide which emergency to take care of first. The smoke is in my eyes and I’m starting to cough. The pork chops keep burning, along with everything else on the stove, and the scream of the smoke detector has me on the verge of a migraine. And yet, I can’t take the burning pan out side #1, because I’m scantily clad and the neighbors could see me; and #2, because I’m scantily clad and Danny will see me. Obviously, I saw this all going down a lot different in my head.

“Darling, is that our smoke detector?” Danny says, clearing the air with a wave of his hand back and forth.

Dang it! I’m discovered. I run outside in a last ditch effort to rescue the pork chops. Though it appears I’m too late.

“Yes!” I say, smiling sheepishly as if this is not any thing unusual, like I set off the smoke detector every time I cook.

Danny looks around smiling, takes the searing skillet from my hand and makes a comment laughing under his breath about the place resembling “a scene from Backdraft.”

A few minutes later, he’s repaired the damage in the kitchen. The smoke detector has stopped screaming at me, he’s turned on our ceiling fan, opened the rest of the windows and I’m referencing our dinner as Cajun (or blackened) pork for the night.

“It’s all a tragedy!” I explain, almost on the verge of sobs, but mostly through sniffles and a bit of laughter.

“Nah,” he says. “A tragedy would be if you spent all day slaving in the kitchen and we end up sitting around eating (Little Caesar’s) Hot-N-Readys.”

Brilliant! I think “Take-out” is probably Victoria’s real secret.

*The book is actually written by Mark Bittman (not Julia Child. But it was a "Julia Child Cookbook Awards Winner" from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.