Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Opinions and Religion

My sister and I went up to my mother's house today to decorate her house for Christmas.  Why on earth my dad can't do it....I don't know.  Oh yeah.  He would hang some tinsel from the dear antlers and call it decorated.  Or at least that's what my mother's version of the story would be.  (Hi, Mom!)  She reads my blog now.

While decorating, my sister and I were once again divvying up her stuff.  My dad once told my sister that the day after she dies we'd better high tail it up to their house and get stuff before he's hauls it down to the Deseret Industries or D. I. for those of us in the area.  For those not, it's a LDS run thrift store.  It's craptacular.  Then my sister and I started making plans for what we were getting rid of and what was going to come to our houses.  I said that we were going to make a spectacle of ourselves hauling out all that crap to the sidewalk the day after we plant her.  I suggested it would be a yard sale and my sister said, "No.  An "estate" sale."  Because we all know how important and useful an old lady's stuff is.  I said, "We will hang a banner that states, "Well, she ain't gettin' any deader!""  There's a lot of sentiment in our family.  My only request to her death is that it be in the summer, when it's warm.

Anywho..

My beef of the day is this:  The Government and Conservative Leanings of the State of Utah.

There was once a day when the State of Utah was close to 90% LDS.  Those days are gone.  In Salt Lake County the Mormon to non-Mormon ratio is about 1:3.  In Utah County (Provo) where I live the ratio is higher maybe 4:5.  In Weber County (Ogden) and Davis County (Bountiful) it's probably somewhere in the middle.  In the less populated counties (Cache, Morgan, Summit, Juab, San Juan, Kane, etc) it's probably higher.  Then in Washington County (St George) it's probably quite low.  All in all the Mormon to non-Mormon ratio in the State of Utah is lower than 50%.  I saw or heard a recent guess on the percentage of Mormons in the State of Utah in the next 10-15 years will be 30%.

Utah Representatives and Senators you need to start representing people of all beliefs and non-beliefs.  The State of Utah can no longer be run like an extension of the LDS Church.  It's called separation of Church and State for a reason. 

Since moving back to Utah 15 years ago, working in the PTA for 13 years and working for a school district for 7 years I cannot in good conscience call myself a Republican any longer.  (I'm not a registered Democrat, Mom!  Don't freak.)  I vote Democrat on the state and local level because we need to have some equality of thinking in this State.  If I lived in Colorado or California or New York I'd still consider myself a Republican.  But not in Utah. 

We have had a particular Representative and Senator for our area serving for several years.  I want to throw up every time I hear either one of their names because they or so biased and so unfair. 

The laws and regulations that come up on capitol hill are ridiculous.  It's the same in small government as it is in large--let's make it possible for the rich to stay rich.  Not that I'm against being rich---bring it on.  But the State of Utah is so bent on taking public moneys, public school moneys and putting it all towards programs that are so STUPID.  Like taking money out of public school hands to pay tuition to private schools.  95% of Utah students go to public school. HELLO!  And by damn, if you didn't go along with that ridiculousness then your association is battered and beaten up every way you turn.  That's just a small representation.

Not everyone is a Mormon in this state.  Not everyone is in a white, heterosexual, two-parent household.  It's time for the State of Utah to start thinking outside of their narrow minded box.

Disclaimer:  These are my thoughts.   I am LDS.  I am very active in the Church.  I have served a mission.  I have held multiple callings over my lifetime.  I read my scriptures and pray every day.  I have Family Home Evening every week.  I go to Church every Sunday.  I have a testimony of Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I am not a Republican. This is not the thought of all members of the LDS Church.  But I have met several wherein it is.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Glasses

My mother sent me and a few others this email:

"do i want to go get new glasses.  you know i'm suppose to die. the ones i have are so skewed.  i see double, they won't keep clean.

but they could be laid across my eye sockets so i'll look like i'm in repose do nothing."
 
She's so funny.  I responded that she might as well.
 
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

A week or so ago a friend on Facebook asked for my recipe for Pumpkin Bread.  I got this recipe when we lived in Illinois and my husband was in graduate school.  A friend of mine there went to regular meetings for La Leche League and at one of those meetings someone brought this bread and shared the recipe.  It's the best recipe I've ever had for pumpkin bread.  I've tried others "just in case" but this one is the bomb.


3 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
16-29 oz. pumpkin*

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth and blended.  Grease 2 pans with unsalted butter, Pam, whatever you like to use.  Divide the batter between the pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.*

*The original recipe calls for 16 oz. of pumpkin but I only buy the big 29 oz. cans of it.  I used to add the entire 29 oz. to the recipe but now maybe I'll use most of the pumpkin--20 oz.   I eyeball it.  It makes the bread really moist but it takes longer to bake.  You just have to watch it closely after it's been baking for an hour.

False Alarm

I'm not pregnant.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Late

I'm 43 years old and my period is 5 days late.  My youngest is 10.  My oldest is 17.  What kind of hell on earth am I looking at? 

I'll be the oldest mom at everything.  Everyone will ask if they are my grandchild.

I haven't changed a diaper for 7 years. 

I don't know if my poor little boobies can take another year of a child hanging off of them.

I don't know if I can survive the up all nights, the pooping, the Terrible Two's.

I don't know if I can take a 50 pound weight gain, more stretch marks, debilitating heartburn. 

I don't know if I can take another natural childbirth at home.

How am I supposed to get back into shape?  How am I supposed to run a couple of Ragnars next year?

I will be 61 years old when this child graduates from high school.  61!!!  That's only 4 years till retirement!

If I have one do I have to have another so they don't grow up as an only child?

The braces. 

The maturation talks. 

Kindergarten. 

Immunizations. 

First date. 

Baptism. 

Scared of the dark.

Teaching them to read.

Preschool.

High School.

Junior High.

I was hoping to finally get out of PTA.


eep.

Maybe it's menopause.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snoring

My dog is laying at the foot of my bed snoring.  Loudly.  She even has that "ccccaw shoo" sound going on.  It's kind of cute.

But do you know what's not cute?  Sleeping in a hotel room with Darth Madar and her oxygen machine and Snorey McSnore Snore who needs a C-pap machine! 

My mother's old oxygen machine literally made her sound like Darth Vadar--Ho perrrrr, Ho perrrrr--when she was on it.  Now it's this steady stream of air.  In fact if you were sleeping in the same room with her you'd lay there wondering if each breath was her last because it was like this:  Ho...........crickets..........perrrrr. 

Then you got my dad.  When we were kids he could snore so loud that you would hear him clear across the house through closed doors like he was lying in the same room.  I remember waking up one night thinking there was a tiger in my room.  I was scared to death!  Then I got to the point that I would go into my parents' room and poke him so he'd stop.  By the time I was 20 or so I would lay in bed and yell, "Dad!  Dad!  Roll over!"  To which my mother would awaken "the dead" and he would roll over long enough for the rest of us to go back to sleep.

My mother used to say that she didn't hear him.  How the...What the hell?  They would be asked to stay in hotels when visiting relatives so as not to upset the nighttime balance.  She said that if she went to sleep before he came to bed then she didn't hear him.  Which is really the truth because I have the same dilemma here although my husband doesn't sound like he's going to swallow the house.

So this past weekend my sister and I took my parents up to Logan for a wedding.  Beautiful day.  Beautiful couple.  But we had to share a rather small hotel room.  My sister started coming down with a cold and didn't sleep much of the night and I tossed and turned quite a bit.  And "apparently" I was gassy.  But that's neither here nor there.

During the night my dad was sleeping on his back.  Because his hip hurt.  Because he's old.  It went like this:  Cccccaw..............................................ng hng ng hng *smack smack smack*.      Cccccaw...................................................ng hng ng hng *smack smack smack*.  He would stop breathing!  My sister had nothing else to do since she couldn't sleep so she would count the seconds until he started breathing again.  The longest one was 45 seconds.  He would snore, not breathe, then start making noises and smacking his lips until it was time for the next snore.

I don't know how they both stand it.  But I'm glad they have each other, not breathing or breathing all night long.  The End.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Where Are You?!

One thing I have noticed over the last several years of being a mother is this:  your kids always want to know where you are.  From the first child I ingrained into them that they must always tell me where THEY are.  They could go play anywhere in the neighborhood as long as they told me where they were going next.  If they were switching to another friend's house they would either come tell me or call me before they would go.  My oldest was so good at this task that the other children naturally followed suit. 

I only had one child who really pushed the boundaries of this rule once.  She had gone next door to visit a neighbor who's children were all gone but loved for little visitors to come calling.  I realized she was missing from the house and sent the my oldest and his friends out to see if they could find her.  30 minutes had gone by and we had gone to every house on the block asking if they'd seen her.  Nobody had seen her.  I am usually a pretty level-headed person even in situations like that one but after 30 minutes of her missing I was starting to feel the panic rise.  I had just headed into the house to call the police when one of the neighbor kids came to my house and announced they had found her next door.  We had knocked on the door but no one had answered.  I yelled at her and explained why I was so upset then sent her back out to play.  Whew!  Crisis averted.

I bought our first cell phone 8 or 9 years ago.  It is a dinosaur compared to what we have now and the plan was terrible.  This was back when no one gave out their cell phone numbers except for emergencies as they were still so expensive to use.  Cell phones are a wonderful invention.  They allow us to be able to get in touch with anybody at almost any time.  They allow us mothers to go to the grocery store by ourselves and not have to worry about leaving the kids home for a minute in their own care. (Come on.  You know you have all done it at least once.)

The day our oldest turned 12 we never hired another babysitter again.  The hubs and I would go out to eat, go shopping, go here and there together--without the children--and never have to worry.  We left for longer and longer amounts of time because we both had cell phones and the kids could call to bitch about each other at will.  It was almost like we were still right there.  We bought our oldest daughter a cell phone, then our oldest son.  We could get in touch with them at any time through talk or text.  These conveniences are nice but it makes it so we spend more and more time apart because we can connect electronically.

Last night the hubs and I went to see a movie and then out to a late dinner.  We were driving home, about 5 minutes away from the house when my phone rang.  It was our youngest.  He said, "Mom?  Where are you?"  I told him.  Then, "When are you coming home?"  I told him. 

When I got off the phone I mentioned to my husband that kids always want to know where their parents are.  Even I, as an adult, want to know where my parents are.  Each one of them has a cell phone and up until a month ago a house phone, too.  There are time when I will call my mom's cell phone and get no answer.  Then I'll call my dad's cell phone to ask where she is.  No answer.  Then I would call their home phone.  If there was no answer then I would naturally assume they were both dead.  Because that is the most natural conclusion to draw.

When one of them finally call me back I usually say,  "Oh good.  You're not dead."  Then I ask "Where were you?"  It's my right to know.  I made them parents.  It makes me happy to know the location of my parents.

All of my kids no matter how old they are will call me if I'm not home when they get home from school.  "Mom?  Where are you?  When are you coming home?"  I let them know and they seem to feel better about that. 

You know, you'd think they'd be more excited to see me when I walked through the door.  But usually all they really want to know is, "What's for dinner?"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dream?

I was blissfully sleeping early this morning, having a dream about.....something....I'm not sure what.  I dreamed that my mom was downstairs loading the dishwasher and called my name three times.  I heard her call me.  It woke me up.  I lay there for awhile trying to figure out if she was dead and had visited me or what as it was very real.  Finally I turned over and looked at my clock--it was 6:27am.  I called my dad and asked him to make sure she was still breathing.  He said that he had just left her on his way out the door to run to Salt Lake---she was alive and breathing. 

It was too real for me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011

First off, everyone should know we took my mom to Bed, Bath and Beyond yesterday to look for a new pillow.  While I was in the bathroom she knocked down an entire display of drinking glasses.  I asked my sister if she would have to pay for that and she said, "I doubt it.  Look at her."  Pathetic.

For the last several years I've been so busy on Halloween that I don't know how I get everything done in one day.  There was always the school classroom parties followed by the school Halloween parade, usually we stayed at school to eat lunch.  Then directly after school we would load up and go to my parents' house to show off the kids' costumes.  We'd make it home in time to eat a little dinner then go trick-or-treating.  We've added in a neighborhood trunk or treat in our cul-de-sac which I refer to as the cu-de-sac of horror, in the last few years.  The hubs always takes the kids out trick or treating.  I think I've done it once in my entire time as a parent.  Not to mention that the past 5 years have been spent in the employment of the school district....very tiring day.

The hubs loves Halloween so much that he calls it a holiday and doesn't work on that day which is fine with me because then it's a holiday for me, too.  I expected my Halloween to be just as busy this year as in past years but to tell the truth I sat around doing a whole lot of nothing all day.  The school changed the parade to 9:30 in the morning, the hubs and I went out for a quick breakfast, then we came home so he could continue working on the oldest child's costume.  I eventually took a nap.  Then in the afternoon started watching The Walking Dead on Netflix.  Really awesome show.  I watched all 6 before I went to bed that night.

The hubs makes the kids' costumes.  If they can get what they want already made then they buy it otherwise he sews them.  That's right---HE sews them.  I could care less.  In fact he said, "Aren't you glad you have a husband that can sew?"  I said, "I'm just glad I have a husband who care."  Because I obviously don't.

This is Molly as Harley Quinn.  She's the Joker's psychotic girlfriend.

Adam as the Joker and Molly.  Adam changed later into another outfit.
Emily as a Jedi.  He made the entire outfit except the pants. And the back of Emily's hair.

Matthew as a Ninja.  Homemade outfit again.

Adam as the Assasin's Creed guy. This is what the hubs was finishing up. He even made the boot covers.


As long as the kids are happy that's what counts.  And they were all very happy.


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Good Things in Life

Earlier today I tweeted:

Do you ever have one of those moments in life wherein you are extremely satisfied and happy and you feel that all is right in your world?

I received silly comments back like, "Yeah, after sex."  Or "I always wonder what I'm missing and don't like that feeling at all."  Stuff like that

Our Ragnar team came over to our house tonight for a party so I had to clean the house, of course.  There were some things I left until I knew the kids would be home from school and be able to pitch in.

The few minutes before I tweeted I was standing in my backyard that had been poop-patrolled (dog poop), the porch had been swept and cleaned, cushions on the furniture straightened, beautiful cool fall weather with the wan fall sun shining and my oldest son running around with the dog.  All the kids had obeyed me and done what I'd asked without a fight.  The house was clean and I was ready for the party.

See?  There was nothing extraordinary about the scenario.  The only thing I can pinpoint that would make me feel that way was the fact that everything was clean inside and out and the kids were happy.  The sun was shining and it was a beautiful fall day. 

These things together gave me a peaceful feeling. 

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Las Vegas Ragnar

But first a word about my latest adventure with my mother:  Yesterday she decided she wanted to go look for a new dress.  She's dying and yet she still needs a new dress.  So I suggest we go to Nordstrom Rack to shop because why should I have to suffer  through it.  And, oh wait, Pei Wei is right next to it so we will be able to kill two birds with one stone, right?  We ate then went to the Rack and the first thing I always have to do upon entering any store is find the restroom.  By the time I got back, which was a few minutes because I took a detour through the shoes and found these: 

New Shoes


she had hooked a scarf with her oxygen tank which then she then proceeded to pull the rack the scarf was attached to around the store until she noticed.  Then my sister realized she was out of oxygen so she went out to the van to get a wrench to switch the tanks.  By the time she got back in my mother was sitting next to an entire rack of Calvin Klein lady's suits on the ground with the rack broken in pieces.  I came onto it about the time a salesgirl was picking up the entire mess and finding a new rack to put it all back on.  As my sister relayed the entire incident to me all we could do was stand there and giggle.  I mean, come one!  There's nothing else you CAN do.

So I ran the Las Vegas Ragnar last weekend.  This sums it up:  188 miles, 36 hours, 4 hours of sleep.  It was one of the funnest things I have ever done.  And I have to say Nevada, or at least that part of Nevada is one of the most desolate areas I've ever been in.  Not much to look at.  And I grew up in Phoenix!

Parts of the Ragnar I liked the most:

1.  Laughing.

2.  The megaphone we had taped to the roof of our Suburban.

3.  Cheering people on.

4.  When the other people on the team were running.

5.  Laughing.

The parts of the Ragnar I liked the least:

1.  Pooping.  I never knew I had so much poop to give.  Every time we stopped I was pooping.  And it wasn't a drop here and a drop there it was full on poops.  I finally took some Imodium.

2.  Lack of sleep.  However, the lack of sleep determined the amount of laughing. 

3.  When I had to run.  I had three legs:  4.8 miles, 4.3 miles, and 6.1 miles.  But when I was running I wasn't laughing.

At the end of my first leg.  I'm running so fast you can barely see my legs!

With my sister at Lake Mead after my first leg.
Gassing up after my 2nd leg.
The last picture is in the desert of Nevada; it was a very long last mile.  Only Joshua trees grow there and some ugly little shrubby things.  It was on a dirt road in the middle of the day in the middle of the desert.  Poor me.

I came home with the Ragnar bug, however.  I'm excited to do my next one.  I've been thinking about the funny things that happened all week long and can only imagine that I will never have as good a time as I had on the first one.  I'm a downer like that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Working

I quit my job to work from home.  Which is actually pretty awesome if I do say so.  Like right now I am sitting on my bed, propped up with pillows, in my jammies, a sweatshirt and a pair of Uggs all toasty warm.  But I'm not really "working" right now.  I mean I could if I wanted to but I don't.  But I digress.  Frequently.

Working from home is so flexible.  I can pretty much leave in the middle of the day and go run errands, take a nap, go on a run, you know the "works".

I have wanted to work for my husband for several years.  He needs help.  Well, he needed help until I showed up.  He just doesn't have the time it takes to keep up on the billing, filing, etc. and that's where I have stepped in to do the job.

We are friends with a couple we've known for 25 years.  They both work outside of the home:  she as an accountant for a large hospital organization in the area and he for a job training program for the mentally handicap.  Their jobs have lost all excitement for them if there was any there to begin with.  He mentioned to my husband not too long ago that they think our job situation is ideal.  Both of us working from home for the same business.  They are a little envious of our position.

It IS nice.  Come and go when we please, take long lunches, work when our schedules allow or work when we schedule it.  I get to wear jeans--I didn't have that luxury at the last job.  We get to be together ALL THE TIME.  Not really.  And it's a good thing.

However, and here is the main part of the post, the hubs had reservations about employing me because he didn't know if I could take his direction.  No matter has stupid it is.  Okay, I added that last part.  He mentioned this several times before we went ahead and made the decision.  I can take direction.  I'll do it any stupid way you want no matter how stupid it is.  I can do it. 

We've been working on a project for a seminar for singles coming up in a week and he kept asking me details about the place we were planning on using.  I thought I was answering his questions.  I really did.  He kept asking the same questions different ways so I answered them the way he asked.  What he wanted to know was the total overall price.  Well, then why didn't he ask?  He says he did but that's not what I heard.  He finally said, "I knew this wasn't going to work!  I knew this would be a problem!"  To which I replied, "You've been expecting this to happen so you could say, 'I told you so'!"  Or some odd thing like that.  It was a fight.  Which is rare these days.

The moral:  He is going to have to learn how to give direction and I am going to have to learn another language.  Basically.  Manglish and Womanese.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Letting Go

This morning I was listening to a popular radio show and they had a tarot card reader on air with the host.  People would call into the show, give their birth dates and she'd start flipping her cards around and give the caller a reading.  She has a soothing Aussie voice and seems like a nice lady.  I don't buy into stuff like that but am always interested in what the "fortune teller" figures out from cards, crystal ball, birth date, or stars. 

One woman called into the show, gave her birth date and got her tarot reading which was in and of itself was vague in content and the caller didn't know what the reader was talking about but she did say one thing that has stuck in my mind all day long.  "You need to stop being a victim of the circumstance that has ruled your life.  No one is a victim.  We are all creators." 

Whatever it was that was "ruling" the caller's life she didn't say. And when she at first said, "No one is a victim."  I thought she was going to say something really stupid.  I was caught by surprise at the "We are all creators" comment.  It's true.  We are all creators.

I think, often, of people who have been truly victimized by other people, circumstances in their lives that are beyond their control.  Some of those people are able to move on.  Not let those circumstances control their lives.  Others dwell on the circumstances and in essence are completely controlled by them although they may really try to move on they just don't quite make it all the time.  Then there are the third kind of people who are not only controlled by the circumstances but allow those things that happened to them to continue to victimize them, wherein they continue to get into the same types of circumstances again and again.

In my previous employment I met a wide range of people.  I'm pretty good at getting people to tell me their stories and this job was a smorgasbord of stories.  One woman in particular was really interesting.

Because I took some extra interest in her I did some deeper searching and found out that she is my age.  43.  At 43 don't most people have their stuff together?  She had a long history of abuse.  Addicted heavily to meth.  Prostituted herself to get money for the meth.  She'd lost two children to foster care, was going to and finally did lose another.  She married another meth addict who eventually beat her.  She was in and out of jail for shoplifting.  And yet she was trying to get pregnant to have another baby.  She didn't want to lose her third child to foster care but couldn't keep herself together enough to keep or even have private visitations.  Just a mess.

Then there are those I have met who have been in similar situations but finally decided that they couldn't live like that any longer.  They wanted their children to live with them.  Wanted to get their stuff together by the time they are my age. 

Don't get me wrong.  I know about meth.  I know the addiction and the addictive behaviors.  There are all kinds of addictions:  porn, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sex, etc.  I know how the brain chemistry works and how it changes to make it nearly impossible to get rid of addictions.  I'm not saying, "Hey!  Snap out of it.  You could stop taking those drugs if you just tried hard enough."

What I'm saying is this:  Don't you get tired of being a victim?  Don't you want to be a creator?

I sat around being a victim (and believe me as I've aged I've come to realize that my life is NOT THAT HARD) for the longest time.  Why did this happen to me?  Why did this person do this to me?  Why wasn't I chosen for this thing?  She gets more attention than I do.....etc., etc.  I got tired of it.  Don't you get tired of hearing that from other people?  Well, I got tired of hearing it from myself.  Who cares if that happened to me, it's not happening any more.  Who cares if that person did that to me, they're not a part of my life any more.  Who cares if I wasn't chosen for this or that, I've had plenty of opportunities in my life, it's someone else's turn.  Who cares if she is getting more attention than me, it's her wedding.  (True story)

My hell, we're all valuable to each other and this existence in way or another.  If we make a difference in only one person's life (and that person could be our own self) then so be it. 

Let's stop being victims and start being creators.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Down to the wire

I'm running the Las Vegas Ragnar in two weeks.  Eep.  This morning I ran 4.6 miles.  Tonight I will run 3.4 and tomorrow morning I hope to complete 6 miles before I have to go to meetings at the Junior High and the Elementary schools and stink it up.  Eep.

I'm the 6th runner on our team which means I will run the 6th, 18th and 30th legs in the race.  To say I'm a little freaked out is an understatement.  Other than 5k races and running for my own "pleasure" (*snort*) this will be all new to me.  I don't normally get freaked out over things so when I say freaked out it means that I'm mildly concerned. 

My sister has run the Wasatch Back (Utah Ragnar) twice and is running on my team with me.  We're in the same van which means that whomever is in the van with us will be in the PARTY VAN!!! Woot! 

Kill me now.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Drivers

My family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A nickname our Church has been given is The Mormons.  I don't usually regard myself as a Mormon because the nickname is misleading.  I will often times say I am LDS--a Latter-day Saint but for those who don't know what that may be I say the whole Church's name.  I'm a lifelong member, graduated from early morning Seminary in Arizona, served a full-time mission in Minnesota/Wisconsin, married another "Mormon" who served a mission in Sacramento teaching the Hmong people, both graduated from Brigham Young University, had four cute babies, and we now reside in American Fork, Utah.  You can't get more "Mormon" than that.  I may share more about my beliefs at another time.

Twice a year, the first weekends in April and October, our Church has a General Conference.  It runs on Saturday and Sunday, 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm each day.  In Utah we watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio on KSL.  When I was a little girl growing up in Phoenix we would get only one session on TV--Sunday morning--and nothing on the radio.  When I was a teenager the Church started broadcasting it to various church buildings by way of satellite.  Now, those who don't live in Utah or the surrounding areas can watch it on KBYU-TV, LDS.org, or in Church buildings around the world.  This is an excellent opportunity for people of all faiths to listen to sound gospel teachings by a Prophet and Apostles of the Lord and others who have been called to serve in various capacities.

It can be, however, tedious by the 4th session.  We usually take a drive up the canyon and listen to it on the radio.

Today, we went up American Fork Canyon through the Alpine Loop that comes out at Sundance and back down to Provo.  I took pictures.  If you click on the pictures they will enlarge for you and you can see greater detail.






I love the green and yellows of the Quaking Aspen.
And the deep reds.
Our zoom is out on the camera.  This is approaching Sundance and the beautiful mountain valleys beyond.
 


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Straight Lines

Nothing gives me more pleasure to see a yard of unruly grass and mow it down in straight lines. 

I love to mow the lawn.  I always have.  I have one sister and no brothers which meant that my dad had to do all the man chores around the house.  Which I didn't think was fair.  I remember thinking one day that my dad had enough things to do around the house on Saturdays and why couldn't I take some of that burden off of his shoulders by learning to mow the lawn.  He never asked for help because he was so capable and easy going.  One day when I was about 14 or so while he was at work and I was home picking my nose, not doing anything in the summer I decided to go out to the shed, get his lawn mower out, and figure out how to make it go.  I was super skinny back then and had no muscles to speak of but I got that old thing going and I mowed the lawn.  I'd watched him do it many times and learned that you go up one way then turn around and go back the other way parallel to the up way......that makes sense to me so I'm leaving it in.  Pretty soon, I'd mowed the back and the front lawns.  I was so proud of myself and couldn't wait for him to come home so he could see it.  I don't remember if I did a good job or not but he praised me and then told me I had a new job.  What the...?!

I mowed the lawns from then on. 

I still mow the lawns.  After we bought our first little house my husband decided to take on private practice clients.  That man worked hard.  He was working 60-80 hours a week at that point.  Monday through Saturday.  I'd just had our fourth kid and we were down to one car that summer (we were pretty poor) so I was stuck at home for the most part that year.  He was working so hard and again I had the thought of needing to take some of the burden from his shoulders.  So I went out, got the mower going, and mowed the lawn.  It's been my job ever since. 

Our house, now, has about a half acre of grass to mow.  I can do it in an hour.  When we first moved here we had a riding mower which was fun but it didn't make the grass look all that great.  I was surprised when it broke down and I went back to the self-propelled mower how much better the grass looked.

My oldest child is on a lawn crew and when I was working for the district I would ask him once in awhile to mow for me as I didn't have the time once school started, otherwise, I mow the lawn.  One thing I learned from the Boy is to mow one direction one week ie. across the lawn, diagonal the next and the 3rd week mow  against the direction of the first week.  I don't know if that makes sense or not.  It makes sense in my head.

I heard my old neighbor once say that he always mows the lawn because he didn't want his wife to have to do anything outside.  He would be embarrassed to have her do his work--that sounds demeaning--he wasn't being demeaning, though.  He cherished her womanhood and didn't want her to have to stoop to outside work.  I have often wondered what he has though of me mowing the lawn, digging holes for trees and bushes, hauling 50 lb. bags of bark mulch over my shoulder.

My dad has often said, "Why don't you have that oldest boy mow the lawn.  He needs to do it."  I say, "Yes, he can do it and he does if I don't have the time.  But I like to mow the lawn and I do it the best."  Which is true I really do the best job.  People don't believe me when I say that I LIKE TO MOW THE LAWN.

I do hate to trim, however.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Opening a can....

I often refer to my life experiences as "before meds" and "after meds".  Before meds my poor family never knew what to expect from me.  Never knew if I was going to blow a stack over nothing.  I was crazy about keeping the house spotless.  I had a set schedule for everything.  I was super organized.

Now, I can be relied upon to be even keeled:  not going to blow a stack over much.  In fact I find that blowing a stack takes up waaay too much energy and isn't really worth it.  House is clean but not always orderly.  I have a calendar that I try to stick to but if it doesn't work out I can always do it tomorrow or next week.  Not too organized either.

One thing I do better though is I don't procrastinate as much.  I just get right down to business.

I used to go off on people in public from time to time.  I'd get right in people's faces if I felt an injustice was being carried out.

One day about 10 years ago, my oldest was in 2nd grade and I still had three kids at home during the daytime.  Sometimes I'd get bored especially in the winter and I'd brave a trip to the store.  This particular day we journeyed to the Target which was in a neighboring town about 20 minutes away from our house.

At about 2:00pm I looked at my watch and realized that I had to pick up my oldest from school in 15 minutes.  Luckily, I wasn't buying anything from Target that day, just wasting time.  So I zoomed out of the store to my white Dodge Caravan and started to get the kids into the car.  My oldest daughter who was 5 at the time got herself into her car seat and the baby was in an infant carrier so I clicked him in, easy enough.  My younger daughter at the time was 3 and had and always WILL have a mind of her own.  She decided to start doing the wet noodle:  you put kid in car seat, they go limp and slide out, you put kid in the car seat, they go limp and slide out, etc. etc.  If you've ever had a 3 year old you know what I'm talking about.

During this time I was actually trying to be patient and not yell but saying things like, "Come on, M---, work with me here!"  and "Throw me a bone, kid!"  Stuff like that.  No threats, no swearing, no hitting, just tired mom exasperation.  Finally, I threw an elbow into her crotch to hold her in while I buckled her down.

I backed out of the van, closed the door and turned around to take my cart to the cart corral (which I always do) and I hear to my left, "Reowr..."  You know, like a cat sound.  I stopped the cart, backed up and said to a lady in the car next to me, "Was that noise directed at me?"  Now keep in mind I'm "in a hurry".

She said something like, "Well.  You don't have to be so mean to your kids."  I said, "What are you talking about?"  She said, "You don't have to yell at them.  Maybe if you were a better mother they would obey you better."  And on and on and on like that.  I, of course, kept going right back at her and in so doing became so angry that my milk dropped down (I exclusively breastfed).  So I'm holding my forearms over my boobs to get the milk to stop, having words with this woman who would NOT SHUT UP, with the thought in the back of my mind that I'm late picking up my son and I will never be on time now when I'd finally had it.

I put my face into her car and yelled, "Lady?!  If you don't shut up I'm gonna haul you outta that car and I'm gonna KICK YOUR ASS!!"

She shut up.

I put my cart in the cart corral, got into the van, leaned over the passenger seat, rolled down the window and screamed, "At least I know who my kids' father is!"  And I drove off cackling.  Milk running down my belly.

I was so proud of myself.  I called my husband who had just started a private practice to tell him all about it.  This is what he said, "*sigh* Honey, it does me no good to be in the public eye if I'm hauling you out of the pokey."

Party pooper.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pot Roast-my mother's way

When we had been married about a year I told the hubs that I would be making pot roast for dinner one night.  I had tried several different types of pot roasts over that year and I know I wasn't very excited about how they turned out but it came to light that the hubs was even less excited about them.  He said, "Can you make it the way your mom makes it?"  Now, usually men say something like, "Can you make it the way my mom makes it?"  But I don't know if his mother ever made a pot roast.  I looked at him for a minute then asked, "Don't you like my pot roasts?"  Choosing his words carefully he said, "Well, they are all right but I really like the way your mom does it the best.  Can you call her?"

So I called my mother and told her the conversation we'd just had and she said, "Ooohhh!  Is the bride crying?!"  I kind of laughed then said, "No.  Just tell me how to make it."

This is my mother's pot roast recipe:

1 pot roast
salt
pepper
whole red potatoes
10-12 carrots washed, peeled, cut
butter

We make our pot roasts in an electric skillet with a lid. First you liberally salt and pepper both sides and the ends of the roast.  If you think it's enough salt and pepper, I can guarantee it's not.  Put more on. And them more. Turn the skillet on pretty much as high as it will go.  Around 400-425˚.  Put the roast in and let it sit there for a bout 10-15 minutes or until it is browned really well.

Then turn it over and do it on the other side.





See the nice dark crust?  That's how it should look.





While you are waiting for the roast to brown on the other side, prepare your carrots.  We like ours sliced long ways.  My mother makes the most beautifully sliced carrots.  Every slice is exactly the same as the other and they are thin.  Mine?  Not so much.  You can slice them in circles or on the bias if you want. Whatever makes you happy. 



Then you will make the foil packet.  Take two 18 inch or so sheets of
foil and lay them in a cross pattern over each other like this:







Lay the carrots in the middle of the foil packet, dot with 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper.







Fold up one foil and seal, then fold the other foil and seal so it looks about like this:

Now for the assembly:

You can either leave the roast in the middle of the skillet or move it to the side.  My carrot packet is fairly large so I moved the roast to the side.  Squish the carrot packet in next to the roast and place the potatoes wherever you find a space  We have six people in our family so I make 6 potatoes.  If I have more people over then the potatoes go into the oven and I make more carrots.

Before
After

Turn the skillet down to 150˚ to 180˚, put the cover on making sure it is all the way on--you may have to squish some potatoes in, and open the vent.  DO NOT ADD ANY WATER!!  The potatoes lend water to the cooking process.  Let it cook for 3 to 3.5 hours.  When you open the lid it will look like this:

Notice the potatoes are browned and the roast has shrunk.  Num!


Take out the roast and put it on a plate or platter.  Place the potatoes around it and the carrots if you want.  I usually put the carrots in a separate bowl.

                                         

The carrots come out caramelized, sweet with a somewhat nutty flavor that I attribute to the butter.










Make gravy in the same skillet.  There should be a lot of pan drippings.  If there are, however, not then add some butter to the skillet then flour.  I can't tell you how much because I don't know how much you have in pan drippings.  Start out with 1/3 to 1/2 cup then you can always add more.  Stir the flour around in the pan until all the drippings have been absorbed by the flour.
Flour
Stir it around a bit.



You will then let the flour cook at 300-325˚ with the drippings for a few minutes to make sure you heat the gluten in the flour making it capable of blending easily with the cold water you will add, ie. no lumps. 







 Add 1 cup of cold water at first.  Using a whisk start whisking the water and flour together.  If you have cooked the flour long enough it will smooth out quickly.  It will thicken quickly also.  Add 1/2 cups of water until gravy is the consistency you want.  This particular gravy turned out light.  Sometimes it turns out a rich brown.  Either way it tastes great.  Allow it to bubble for a few minutes.  Taste it for saltiness.  Depending on how well you salted the meat it may or may not need more salt.


Serve it up with some sour cream, biscuits or rolls and enjoy!



Friday, September 16, 2011

Gettin' a job

Last night my 10 year old received his Webelos award for Cub Scouts.  I love it when the kids get to Webelos age because it means the adult leader pretty much takes over and does everything so I don't have to do much anymore.  Bear and Wolf are a pain because so much of it is "at home assignments".  I love showing up to Pack Meeting, my kid getting his award and I didn't do anything but get him to the meetings on time.

While there I was talking to one of the other moms and the subject of my 17 year old working came up.  She asked, "When did you make him get a job?  We've been struggling to figure out which age is best for getting a job."

I then told her the story of "The Boy Gets a Job".

About the time he turned 16 the hubs and I informed The Boy that he would need to find a job because in essence--the gravy train was running dry around here.

This is how the conversation went with his dad:

Hubs:  Son, you need to find a job.
16:  Why?
Hubs:  Because you need to earn your own money.  We're not paying for your clothes and things anymore.
16:  (looking dejected) Fine.  But I just don't see the point.
Hubs:  You don't see the point?  Your friends all have jobs. 
16:  I've looked around and no one is hiring.
Hubs:  Look again.
16:  (some hemming and hawing)
Hubs:  Is there a problem?  Do you need help with filling out applications?  I will help you if you need help.
16:  No.  Dad.  I don't want to get a job.
Hubs:  What?  Why?
16:  Because it's just not my "thing". (I bolded that because it's just the funniest, stupidest thing ever.)
Hubs:  It's just not your "thing"?  Well, what exactly is your "thing"?
16:  Hanging out in my room with friends, playing the guitar, listening to music......

At this point the Hubs came up and told me what conversation had just transpired.  I laughed pretty hard.

A week later the boy had a job mowing lawns on a lawn crew.  I pretty much scouted it out and got him the job.  He's been doing it now for about a year and a half.

A month after he started he came home telling us how much he liked working and how he felt like it gave him a purpose.  Imagine.  When we tell 15 that she will need to be finding a job he gets all lecture-y on her.  Yesterday when he left for work he said, "Yes!  I'm edging today which means I'm in charge."  Whatever makes you feel important son.

The boy has also become pretty tight.  He will spend money on certain things but things like haircuts are somewhat of a luxury item.  The other night he asked his 15 year old sister to cut his hair because he didn't want to spend the $20 on a haircut. (He likes to go to SportsCuts or SportsClips or whatever it's called.)  They came in to show it to me and I said, "Well, it looks like you're gonna have to spend the money anyhow."  It was pretty bad.

Needless to say, I don't think we'll have to worry about the boy working or having a good work ethic any time in the near future.  Which is good because I've told them all that they are not coming back home to live with me.  Once they're gone, they're gone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dumbfounded

Apparently my blog is right up there with being drunk on the job:

As reported on KSL tonight.

 Pleasant Grove preschool teacher resigns after allegedly being impaired in class
by Sandra Yi and Pat Reavy
PLEASANT GROVE — A first year preschool teacher who works in a class with autistic children was cited for being intoxicated at work Tuesday.

The Mount Mahogany Elementary School teacher failed sobriety tests administered by police, according to Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley.

Pleasant Grove police, however, said Wednesday that when given a breathalyzer test, 23-year-old Kaylee Hoffman blew a .043 — or half the legal blood-alcohol limit to drive in Utah.

The district earlier had reported Hoffman was above the legal limit for driving, which is .08.

Hoffman was issued a citation for public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor, and released. The police officer who arrested Hoffman did not notice any visible signs of impairment such as slurred speech or trouble walking, said Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Mike Roberts.

However, she was issued a citation "because she was the primary care provider for those children at the time," Roberts said.

The arresting officer felt because Hoffman was in charge of providing for special needs children she needed to make good decisions. But because she had been drinking, the officer felt she was potentially putting those students at risk, Roberts said.

Bromley said the arrest happened after lunch when the school administration received an anonymous phone call that the teacher in question was drunk. "The principal immediately had her come down to the office," she said. "There was never a time the students were in danger."

Police, however, had a different story.

Roberts said one of the adult aides in Hoffman's class detected an odor of alcohol on her breath in the morning and contacted the principal about 9 a.m. The principal questioned Hoffman, who denied drinking and was sent back to her classroom when no signs of impairment were found, he said.

The Alpine School District, however, said the principal did not talk to Hoffman.

In the afternoon, police received an anonymous call from a person who said Hoffman was intoxicated and sent an officer to the school to investigate, Roberts said. That's when she was called to the office again and given a breathalyzer test.

Bromley said the class Hoffman taught in had three other adults in the room at all times, a master teacher and two aides, because of the special needs children. She said none of the other teachers nor the school administrators detected any red flags.

"Those three adults did not have any indication by the way she was talking or acting or smelled that she was intoxicated," Bromley said.

Hoffman immediately resigned after being cited, Bromley said. She said this was Hoffman's first job out of college. The school had been in session for about 2 ½ weeks.

A mother of one of the 3-year-old students in Hoffman's class said she was "shocked" by the news, noting that Hoffman "seemed like a great teacher."

The Alpine School District said Wednesday the four children who were in Hoffman's class will now be bused to two different schools in Orem and Saratoga Springs.
----

Written by Sandra Yi and Pat Reavy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Depression

I love Fall.  It is my favorite season of the entire year.  I think it's because I grew up in Phoenix where there is hot and then not as hot and there is no real change of the seasons.  We had grass in our yard that would die off in the winter and I believe the trees we had eventually dropped their leaves around November only to return by February but it wasn't beautiful.  I would read books that would include beautiful descriptions of Fall and I remember asking  my mother why our leaves didn't change pretty colors, just brown.  Then I moved to Utah attending BYU and there experienced my first real Fall, Winter and Spring.  I thought it was heaven.  When it comes to Spring I still wish that it would automatically warm up like it does in Phoenix.  But I am content to let Fall take it's course, changing the leaves, cooling down in increments, the frost, the beautiful colors, etc.  And of course the clothes!  And shoes!  And boots!

I decorated my house today for Fall.  On October 1 I will put up Halloween and then on November 1st, Thanksgiving.  However, the Fall decorations stay up through all of this.

While decorating today and over the past several days I have been noticing the change in my ability to function--sleepiness during the day, insomnia at night, and neck pain are my signals.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which I think is a stupid name and have wondered many times if someone made up the disorder just so they could name a type of depression "SAD".  Stupid.  Anyway, it is a type of depression that fluctuates with the seasons and the amount of sun that is shining.  Around the 2nd week or so of September I start to feel sluggish and start thinking about  what I call "upping my meds".  Which I did today.  I should feel better by tomorrow and even more so the next day.

I take medication year round, though, because it never quite goes away.  You know how there are people who get drunk and they are angry drunks?  Yeah, I'm an angry depressed person.  Apparently, I used to be mean(er).   Now I'm just slightly sarcastic and cynical whereas it used to be quite off putting.  And that's mildly stating the fact.

I think I've been depressed since I was a little kid.  I know now that it runs in the family so I'm pretty sure I was depressed when I was a little kid.  I remember sometimes being barely able to drag myself around, crying fits, being mean to my sister and ornery to my parents.  I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't accept me like I was.  I was a brat!  I've got one now just like me that I often times say to my husband, "How much longer do we have to wait to medicate her?"

When I got married.....it was bad.  My poor husband.  I just don't know how he stood it all those years.  I remember one time he said to me during an argument, "You're always yelling!"  Which I took immediate offense to and brought it up time and time again.  Because I was a bitch.  But it was true!  I WAS always yelling. 

One summer was particularly horrible.  I yelled all summer long.  From the time I got up in the morning till the time I went to bed at night I yelled and screamed and was just angry.  I asked if I could go to Girls Camp and the whole time I was there I had so much fun.  But the minute I came home it was back to the norm.  About a week later I called my husband at work, frustrated with my situation, and told him that it was true.  I WAS always yelling and I couldn't stand myself anymore.  He said something that changed my life, "Well, you know, you don't have to yell. "  And right then I realized that I was making the mistake of thinking that yelling was my only recourse.  Changed the rest of the summer for me.  Which was about a week before the kids went back to school.

I can't remember if it was that winter or the next that my SAD started to get really bad.  I was good until about January then I was a mess.  I'd lay in bed for hours every day just staring at the wall.  I'd become totally reclusive until the end of February when I could go out and start working in my yard and soaking up the sun.  Then next year it started in December ending in March.  And the next it went from December until June.  JUNE!  That Fall it started in October and I finally, finally!  said to my husband, "I can't do this anymore.  I'm calling a Psychiatrist to get some meds."  He didn't say anything then other than, "OK."  But I'm sure he was the happiest man in the world.

Since then I've been on Celexa.  It is a miracle.  For me at least.  I adjust it up in the winter, down in the summer and when the need arises.  I do have to take more now than I did when I started but that's fine with me.  I will never not take medication again.  I'm not saying that anti-depressants are a panacea for the masses but my hell, if you need them, take them and stay on them.  In the case of my family it is the greatest gift I can give to my family.  I just wish that I had done it sooner.  





Thursday, September 8, 2011

What will the ladies think?!

You can tell that my house was designed by a man. It has a teeny tiny kitchen with a crappy layout--the oven and the dishwasher face each other and you can only open one door or the other. However, when do I ever need to open my dishwasher AND the oven at the same time. Maybe, maybe once a year. On Thanksgiving. Or maybe Christmas.

Another thing about this house is the upstairs bathrooms. The kids' bathroom is cavernous. Huge! I'm not joking. My bathroom butts up behind it and it is a closet. What the crap?! I know there are four of them and only 2 of us but come on! I'm the one paying for this house and I should get the big bathroom. So says me.

(No pics of the upstairs bathroom as it is a pit.)

I do have to say that the bedrooms are all a decent size and each kid has their own room each with a decent sized closet. Actually they each have very large closets compared to mine. Which is the real object of this post. The state of our closets.

They are the smallest closets ever. The builder thought he was throwing the homeowner a bone by building two of them in our room. Woo-hoo!

The following are pictures of my closet. Notice how tidy it is:


Now for pictures of the hubs closet:

Yeah.
He doesn't care about his clothes like I do. In fact most of his stuff is downstairs in the laundry room stacked on top of the washer. Washed, dried, folded......

I told him that I was going to do a blog post on this difference between his closet and mine. He opened his closet and looked at it for a second. I said, "Don't clean it." He started throwing his arms about wildly pretending to throw everything out yelling, "Oh no! What WILL the ladies think?!" Then he stopped and looked at me like I'M the idiot and says, "Like that's gonna happen."

So what I'm saying is this: maybe if the builder had used less space for the kids and more space on our room we may actually have decent-sized closets and my husband may have a cleaner closet. Psh! Like that'd make a difference.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Charity

I've been accused several times of not being nice. Which if you knew me you would know I am but I see the world in a skewed fashion. However, I just saw a quote that made me really think. What do YOU think?

'Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt, or remain quiet.

Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped.

Charity is refusing to take advantage of anothers weakness, and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.

Charity is expecting the best of each other.'
--------------Marvin J. Ashton

I guess by this definition then to others who are looking at me they would view me as uncharitable. But are they being uncharitable to me? Makes you think.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Heroine

This is the first day in a month of Tuesdays I haven't had the cooler going in the house and all I can say to that is Halle-freakin'-lujia! It won't last. I'm going glass half empty on that one.

My sister and I took my mom to the movie last week. This blog is turning into stories about my dying mother. Whatever sells. We took her to see The Help. We had all read it and she wanted to see it with us. I was not looking forward to the experience as, well, you see, my mother is somewhat of a reformed bigot.

She grew up in an area that didn't have people of color let alone black people. After my parents married they moved to Phoenix where I did grow up with people of color--black, hispanic, American Indian--Phoenix is a melting pot. My parents would make racial comments here and there thinking that it was okay but I don't think they actually "knew" any persons of color. Really.

My parents went on two missions for our church after they retired. The first was to Zimbabwe and the second to India. My mother came home from the first thinking that she was the black mans' best friend. She would walk up to black people and ask them about their heritage and tell them that she knew what it was like for them, etc. It was so embarrassing. I'm sure they were thinking, "Listen here, Whitey Mc White White......"

So we took her to see The Help.

I was supposed to go to her house and help haul her down to the theatre but when I called my sister at 11:30 (movie started at 12:05) she told me that my mom had just gotten into the shower and to go get seats saved. I figured it would be no big deal as who else is going to sit in the handicap spots on the main floor?

I'm sitting there in a prime spot when what must have been the entire "still semi-lucid" ward of the local old folks home started wheeling and hobbling their way into the theatre. I was surrounded and they were all giving me the stink eye because I "appear capable". Finally, the "cruise director" of the bunch asked if I was saving spots for anyone and I explained that my mother is in a wheelchair and my sister was coming with her. So she switched around a few of them and I ended up sitting next to this lady who sounded like she was breathing a death rattle the entire time--Darth Vader-like.

My sister finally got there and sat next to me with our mother on the other side of her. With her oxygen tank going it sound like Darth Vader also but I've started calling her Darth Mader. So I've got the death rattle on one side of me and the oxygen tank on the other and we were ready to watch the movie.

My mother seems to be losing her hearing a bit. So all through the movie she kept saying, "What did she say?" "Who is that?" "Where's the other black lady?" and this was all done in a normal tone of voice for her. Loud. Then inequity would happen and she'd say, "Oh! Tsk. Tsk!" My sister and I kept telling her to be quiet. "Mom! Stop!" A sweet refrain from the last post.

Some old broad's phone kept going off in the middle of the movie and her phone would sing "Sweet Home Alabama...." 3 times this happened. 3 times!! I finally turned around and yelled, "Turn OFF your ringer!"

Anyway the movie was good. I cried. My sister cried. I'm sure my mother cried. She would whisper loudly to my sister, "Is Kara crying or not? I can't tell."

My sister oft times says, "Thrown them in a wheelchair, slap an oxygen tank on them and they lose their marbles" or " they can say or do anything." And it's true.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Olive Garden

School started this week which also coincided with the hottest week of the summer. I don't know what they have to do with each other except to make one as irritating as the other.

With school starting again and myself without employment outside the home I have so much more time to spend with my mother which was the purpose for quitting my job. Tonight and tomorrow night I will go up and stay the night with her as my dad went out of town for a few days. He needs breaks.

It also gives me more time to spend with her during the week. As selfless as my motives seem to be I know that spending extra time with her may drive me to drink or at least to eat an entire pan or two of brownies. mmmmmmmm.....brownies........ As demonstrated in today's adventure:

My sister has been faithfully going up to her house every Wednesday for a few years and taking her on an outing. I should thank my sister sometime for taken on that onerous burden. Now that I'm available I get to participate in this adventure. Today my sister decided that we were going to lunch---because we know our mom will pay for it.

I met them at the local Olive Garden where we sat down and had a lovely meal of soup, salad and breadsticks with alfredo sauce. We told her what the kids were doing, what classes they were taking this year, if they were happy, what our husband's were doing, if they were happy, if we loved her, if we will miss her when she's gone....you know, the normal stuff.

When it was time to go we got her Jazzy backed out from the table and my sister points to my mother's left and says, "Oh good. we have a clear path out of here," as there was no one standing in the aisle. My mother, who has always been like a bull in a china closet sees only what is directly in front of her, not noticing my sister pointing the other way and starts to go forward.

Now there is and always has been only one speed for my mother: AS FAST AS SHE CAN GO! She's 6 feet tall and mean looking and goes as fast as her legs and now her wheels can carry her. So she's got her Jazzy up on high and starts to go forward instead of to the left. She catches some lady's purse onto the back of her oxygen tank and starts to pull the lady's chair over. The lady is hanging onto the chair and at the same time is trying not to tip over the table and trying to get out of the chair.

My sister and I are yelling, "Mom, stop! Stop, Mom! MOM! STOP! STOP!!" as loud as we can and she is totally oblivious to the fact that this is even happening. Finally she turns around and sees that we're freaking out and that the chair hooked to her Jazzy by this purse is keeping her from going any further.

I have to say that luckily she has the most pathetic, duh! look on her face about everything now so that you can't help but feel sorry for her and you certainly can't get mad at her. The lady being pulled off her chair was a little annoyed, the table was all askew and the people at her table were incredulous. I was soooo embarrassed that I just took off in the opposite direction and waited for my sister to sort things out with the people and get her out of there.

When we got her out to the car and loaded her in, my sister questioned her about what happened in the restaurant and my mother didn't really know what had happened. No really. She really didn't have a clue. She's not losing it she's just oblivious.

I'm so glad I quit my job.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Resigned

That's it. The title says it all. I resigned from my position at the school. It has a 3 fold explanation:


1. My mother is dying. No really, she is. She has Pulmonary Fibrosis and has outlived her life expectancy by three years. She has tried every experimental drug the doctors can shove on her and I think they have prolonged her life. Not to mention her fierce will to continue living and see her grandchildren do their thing. But now we truly think she's at the end. She's 6 feet tall and weighs maybe 105 lbs. She's on oxygen 100% of the time and doesn't eat much anymore. She turned 74 in June. My dad is 77 and is very healthy but needs to have breaks now and again from the care taking responsibilities. So I quit my job to help them out. Sounds like I'm a real great gal, doesn't it.


2. My husband needs an office assistant. He is a Family Therapist with his own business. I know he could make more money and finish more projects if he had someone to do the books, the billing, and the hodgepodge of office life that I can do so easily. We had thought about it for some time and feel that we can make the leap now without killing ourselves. (God, please don't let us kill ourselves!--A serious prayer.)


3. I was sick of the District I work for. Aside from the fact that the district is the best run in the state and the legislature hate us, which I love, they have a backward way of thinking. It's an good old boys' club. Everyone hides behind each others coattails so no one takes the blame for anything. I just got sick of it. But, and it's a big but, if my mother's health hadn't turned I probably would have gone down in a blaze of glory. I could sue them and win. I could sue the teacher at my school--you know who you are you backstabbing bitch--who sent the district the anonymous letter. It's an anonymous blog people. And for the record I know of a few more people in the district who work in Special Ed that have blogs they write about their students and it's NOT anonymous. Go figure out who they are because I'm not a tattle tell.


And that's where I stand. I am still heavily involved in the PTA. I have one child left at the elementary school which I was formerly employed. I'm still going to be in the school often enough and have friends that will tell me stories that will make their way to my blog.


So watcha gonna do to me now, Big Bad District? HUH?! What now?!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Honeycombing Effect

We have this friend named, Steve, that is very interested in what he looks like. Not in a vain way, in an aging way. He's really quite funny. His mother and grandfather are obsessed with weird body diseases like elephantitis and moles with hair and teeth that could possibly be a twin. You know the normal stuff. So because of the overly active imaginations of his mother and grandfather Steve is also obsessed with bodily functions and dying and what he calls "honeycombing". His theory is that as you age your body starts to fall apart from the inside out and looks like a honeycomb. The honeycombing just gets worse and worse and soon it starts to look like it on the outside wherein you become a shell. Depressing, isn't it.

Steve is a hoot.

So the other night I had gone running and was sitting around in my running clothes stinkin it up all evening long while I watched TV and did a whole lot of nothing. I've been a runner on and off for several years but have decided to make a goal out of it so I started training for some races starting in January. I run three days a week and have become really good at it. I'm not fast by any standard but I can run 3-5 miles, have several routes and have come to quite enjoy it. My dog Pepper goes with me.

Anyway, I had gone on my run earlier in the afternoon and was sitting around watching TV when I decided it was time to get ready for bed. I needed to take a shower because I really sweat and stink when I run. Also, I thought because I was going to strip down anyway I might as well take a look at myself in the mirror. You know, because I've been running now for 4 months and, although I haven't lost any weight, I would most likely see some change in my body. But....

I was not prepared for what I saw. Granted it was evening, I was looking at myself in a full length mirror after eating dinner and drinking water all day long. And the lighting was BAD. One fluorescent bedside light shining it's evil upon my naked body. The sagging, the lumpiness, the horror that was there in that mirror. I tweeted my discovery, "Bad news, folks. I've really started to sag. I stripped down and took a look. I don't think there's much hope left. Waaahhh!"

Of, course I mainly got sympathy from--men. I had to correct them all really quickly to let them know I wasn't talking about my boobs. I have no boobs. The pregnancies and the breastfeeding have destroyed them to two small sacks that barely protrude from my chest. At least they used to be perky, little things that protruded from my chest.

No, I was talking about my belly and my thighs to some extent. I have this belly that looks like I'm 4 months pregnant but with chub. And I don't like it. Not. One. Bit.

I shouldn't really complain. I've always been really thin. I didn't start to put on weight until about 4 years ago. I could eat whatever I wanted, never had to exercise, wore a size 2. Then I hit 38-39. I put on 10 pounds that summer, then the next summer I put on another 10 pounds and within the last year another 8. It all goes to my tummy. I wear a girdle. For reals. Vanity has caught me by the tail and won't let go.

I won't look in the mirror again. At least not late in the evening after a day of eating and drinking, standing in bad light. Honeycombing just may be true and not a theory after all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Email

I have been banned from writing on my other blog about the school and all the intricacies accompanying it. The school board received an "anonymous" letter from a concerned parent.

Here it is:

I am anonymously emailing all of you to inform you of the information below, involving one Mrs. Kara Sherman, employee at Forbes Elementary School, in your school district. I do not live in your school district, not even in your state....but what Mrs. Sherman is doing is WRONG!
Mrs. Sherman became a random "follower" of someone I "know" on Twitter and that is how I became aware of the situation I am about to describe for you. Please follow the links below, as they demonstrate the problem Mrs. Sherman has created.
Once my acquaintance noticed he/she had a new follower on Twitter, he/she clicked on the new follower's Twitter profile:
It was at that time, apparent that the follower was Mrs. Kara Sherman as she had, at that time, listed at the top right of her Twitter page the following information:
  • Name Kara Sherman
  • Location iPhone: 40.381561,-111.782326
  • Web http://elementary..
  • Bio Wife and Mother Extraordinaire, Family Engineer, Lady of Leisure, Elementary school secretary
  • This information gives her EXACT location from her iPhone as well as the URL to her own personal blog:
    After reading through what Mrs. Sherman "blogs" about from her position as secretary at an elementary school, it was clear to us that she is repeatedly publicly disclosing, and with horrible biases, information that she in her position of employment has absolutely no business whatsoever disclosing on the Internet or otherwise. Also, Mrs. Sherman doesn't just blog about the students of Forbes Elementary School, she blogs about their parents, grandparents, school employees, etc as well. In her blog, Mrs. Sherman passes harsh judgement, gossips, makes gross assumptions, all while violating the privacy of the students and parents she was hired to serve by making it public! It is obvious that Mrs. Sherman has been blogging about events, students, and parents at Forbes Elementary School in a mean spirited, prejudiced, inappropriate manner....all on her personal blog and doing so WHILE AT WORK!
    Although on her blog, Mrs. Sherman does NOT list the name of the school she works for, a simple Google search of her name, "Kara Sherman", yields several results, such as:
    Her Google Profile, specifically listed her place of employment BY NAME & the School District's Name at first and she has since removed that info. However, your School District's name is mentioned in her LinkedIn info: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kara-sherman/1a/789/698 where she also again posts a link to her 2 BLOGS, one link is now not functional, but her "family" blog is accessible still.
    I respectfully submit that anyone can Google another person's name/Twitter name and unfortunately, links to her current blog is what will come up on the worldwide web for all to see, thanks to Mrs. Kara Sherman.
    TODAY'S Update: I typed this email and saved it as a Draft MONTHS AGO but never sent it until today. I thought maybe Ms. Sherman changed her ways. Until I saw her Twitter name pop up in an re-tweet today A short amount of digging & it appears Mrs. Sherman has changed her "name" on Twitter to "Elizabeth Poppleton" and removed her Location and her website URL from her Twitter page.....but still has "Wampuqueen" as her Twitter username, which when "Wampumqueen" is googled http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=0h&oq=wampum&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS392US392&q=wampumqueen and searched through Blogger http://www.blogger.com/profile/05958282429189357990 still leads you to her NON FAMILY website, titled: "Adventures in Babysitting" now located at http://queenofsecretaries.blogspot.com/ Please GO READ HER POSTS! :(
    Note: She has blog posts on her website from 2/15/11, 2/21/11 and 3/8/11 referencing her "problems with the district", brags about her steps to hide her blog on the internet, references to having a lawyer, how she will continue to blog about the students/school after being spoken to about her blog by the "Pal" Principal, and her intent to continue using her iPhone during work to post, access social media, etc.
    Signed,
    Anonymous parent of a special needs child, HIGHLY IRRITATED!

    Now this person is more famous than they ever wanted to be. Anonymous my butt.