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


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,, 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.