Saturday, August 30, 2014

So Glad I Took That Zyrtec




            While on vacation, I noticed a pain in lower left side of my mouth.  I was guessing a cavity – but I didn’t know what tooth.  After we returned home and I’d wake up with a sore mouth, I broke down and made an appointment with the dentist that I’ve been taking Jenna too.

            It has been a while since I’ve been to a dentist.  I know I should go twice a year, but we haven’t always been able to afford it.  Not to mention I am an incredible wimp. (If you look “wimp” up in the pictorial dictionary, you should know what I look like)

            I did not send Jenna in as a guinea pig to find my dentist.  Jenna LOVES to go to the dentist whereas I can't even admit to tolerating the dentist.   And it's nothing against the dentist himself.  I have a highly sensitive mouth, I guess. 

           Truth is, I’ve only been to three or four of them in my lifetime.  Whenever I have moved or insurance changes, I stop going to my current dentist and often take three to five years to even bother searching for another.

            So Thursday night I took a Zyrtec because I wanted to be relaxed while in the dentist chair yesterday morning. After Jenna and I parted at her school, I walked to the dentist office. 

        



     I was led to the dentist chair, I was told I’d be getting x-rays of my mouth.  I mentioned that Jenna and I have been blessed with the same gag reflexes and that I am not near as brave about my mouth as my daughter. I was just getting a cleaning. It really helped that I still felt drugged. Why should I want to be awake to have someone go and explore my mouth?

            I’m always amazed at the positive results I’ve had – even with waiting so long.  No cavities were found.  The dentist said my mouth looks good – he didn’t say “perfect” as he had with Jenna – before he removed three of her teeth and they still haven’t grown in.  I’m concerned as to why.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Memories of My Dad




            As Jenna and I were walking toward the school this morning, there appeared to be a car backing out of a driveway.  She took my hand and gripped onto a little. 

“Death Grip?” I asked jokingly.

“What does that mean?” she asked.

I told her that her grip was really nothing but related the accounts of my dad’s “bone-crushing” death grip.  We called it the death grip anyway.

As a child, I had always thought that my dad’s hands felt clammy.  Yet he was always holding the hand of one child or another.  He did it out of love and responsibility.

By the time he was in his early 50’s, my dad had been the victim of several strokes – many which went undetected, as they were considered “mild”.  But with each stroke came the lack of communication between his brain and his muscles.

His speech slurred more with every passing stroke – and although he knew exactly what he wanted to say, his brain didn’t send the message to his lips and tongue as quickly as it needed to. 

Dad was very unsteady on his feet, as his legs weren’t getting the signals from his brain about how he should move.  But he never lost his grip.  In fact, I think it increased.  He would hold onto things (people included) with every ounce of fiber that he had – and then some.  It would not have surprised me at all if he had sent one of us to the doctor for phalange repair. 

If I was the one he was gripping (stopping the blood flow in my arm or hand or what have you) I would stop dead in my tracks and say,  “We are not moving any further until you ease up on your grip”

He would just laugh and start to drool (again the mouth wasn’t getting the message from the brain).  Who would have thought that those would provide pleasant memories for me later on down the road?

Jenna also asked about my dad’s whistle.  I am certain he lost that ability perhaps with the first stroke.  I actually don’t remember when was the last time I heard my dad whistle.

He had a whistle louder than any other I’ve heard from any human being.  He would put two fingers between his lips and let out a whistle that could be heard from anywhere in the neighborhood.  That whistle was a sign to all of his children that it was time to come home – or sometimes just to know where we were.
           
Dad’s whistle soon became a recognized sound to many friends, “You’re dad is calling.”

I don’t remember ever being embarrassed by it.  I think overall I was impressed to be related to such a quiet person who possessed this loud gift.  And I am impressed, too, when I think of all the strength my dad held in his hand up to the end.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Buses Needed


Yesterday was the first day of school this school year. Before the bus pulled up to the curb, there had been only one passenger. I predicted that the bus before it was running behind and overflowing with passengers. I learned that my predictions had been accurate as we boarded the overflowing bus this morning.

Right after we boarded, the frustrated driver called into dispatch to make a complaint that he was already running twenty minutes late – picking up passengers from the bus prior to his as well as those waiting for the bus behind him. It wasn't fair that he should be late because the one before him had been late or in an accident or whatever.

By the time Jenna and I reached our bus stop, I saw the driver reach for the phone for the third time. This time it was with a request that he would only drop off passengers and not pick new ones up. He must have been granted clearance, for when I went back to catch the return back to my house, it was the same driver and I asked if he was still behind. He said that he was not. Good for him. Good for UTA for setting things right. If they set things right.

I know when one bus has a problem – breaking down or whatever else – it causes more delay with the next bus. I've been on those buses before. I've also opted to wait for the next. My personal opionion (not that anyone has asked, but here it is anyway) is that during those hours that students are trying to get to school, and people are trying to get to work – put out a few extra buses – scheduling them every ten minutes instead of every fifteen. It would (and does) make a tremendous difference.

We've been scanning Jenna's card each time we enter and exit the form of transportation that we are using.  It will expire at the end of the week.  We will both have unscannable passes - which makes it easier on me.  But I did like entering our route into the system - sort of.

Kitchen Miracles

Roland enjoys baking. Often he will make a chocolate frosting to go atop any desserts he has made. He usually makes a lot more than is needed. For the most part I quite enjoy his frosting. I always save it to use on something else. Between graham crackers is good. And if I refrigerate the product, it becomes hard like fudge and is good to eat that way.

Before we left on our trip, we had gone to the garden and took home some cauliflower which I broke and put into bags as we were leaving the next day. As I've mentioned in several posts, Roland does not enjoy my cooking for the most part – nor do I enjoy cooking. It doesn't help matters that he rarely ever wants to eat what I fix.

It's been a while since I saw somebody's post praising mock fried rice. My rice is always so horrific, I was excited to try it – but did not have the opportunity until last night. I did not follow the recipe to the letter however (This is the site I used)  as the recipe I used had called for four cloves of garlic (one is plenty) and carrots and peas (which I fully believed that we had but couldn't find, so used zucchini instead)

It turned out pretty good. Healthy, but good. Roland actually had seconds. It is the first dinner I have ever made that both of us have liked.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Visiting the Magic Kingdom Before School Starts



There was one year when Roland seemed to make more money than in previous years or even the ones that followed.

He had managed to find a package deal through a travel agency and took us all to California just right after Christmas.  The boys were out of high school for the holidays.  Jenna was two.



I have heard that between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the best time to visit Disneyland.  From personal experience, I know that between Christmas and New Years is the absolutely worse time to go.

I remember riding the tram the first day we went to the park.  Jenna’s enthusiasm at riding the tram from the parking lot to the park was awesome.  All four of them were excited and enjoyed every moment.


I’m not exactly certain why we had driven or taken the tram.  We spent two days at the park.  As I recall we just walked to the park the second day.  I know Richard and I went back to the hotel about four hours before the boys did.

While all three of her brothers still have fond memories of that vacation, Jenna does not remember.  Thus Roland decided we’d take her back this year.  I made reservations so that we would be gone during the last week of summer vacation and would come home just one day before school starts.

Corey had given me the name of a motel where he and Joh stay when they go to Disneyland. I had booked us at the Rainbow Inn thinking it was the same. Halfway between Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.  I had thought of going to both;  I thought that Jenna would enjoy the Timber Log Ride as much as I had.  I did not realize that KBF had become a roller coaster park – that Jenna would have loved far more than Disneyland.  And I hope that someday she’ll be able to return with someone who is younger and in better shape than her parents are.



First of all we had stopped off in Las Vegas and spent the night at Corey's house.  I am the last of my sibs to see his house in person.  He went with us to downtown Las Vegas.  We went to the MGM where he works and then to M&M World. He said it was the first time he has ever played tourist since he's lived there.

We had a two-day park hopper. We spent both days at Disneyland doing mostly what she wanted.  I thought we should walk to the other end of the park and start with Splash Mountain.  Roland, on the other hand, decided to hit every show and shop on Main Street –which would have been okay – but we were there for Jenna and she wanted to ride the rides.

That first morning was quite overcast.  It looked like it might rain.  Truth be told, I was hoping that it would.  I know that some attractions close due to the elements, but not all of them.  I recall a year my family had gone to Universal Studios when it was pouring.  We saw everything that was open!  It was great! I was hoping to recreate those memories at Disneyland.

I had told Jenna that she was in charge to choose whatever rides we went on.
 

We headed for tomorrow land.  The first ride she chose was the rockets.  And then Buzz Lightyear, I believe.  We’d gone to Space Mountain for a fast pass and then we went to Fantasyland and made an appointment for a princess package makeover. 

Jenna and I went on the Dumbo ride and Roland took pictures.  We also went on the Peter Pan ride and Pinocchio – I don’t recall having ridden the Pinocchio before.  I’m sure I have, but I just didn’t remember.


Space Mountain had been the favorite ride of our boys.  I am overwhelmed with how much they saw and how many rides they had gone on eight years earlier.  There were so many lines.  I stood in several of them just to get into the bathroom.  Jenna was still in diapers at the time.  


This year was different.  I think I was most grateful that there were no bathroom lines.  During all of my Disneyland experiences, the park did not seem that crowded in comparison. I smiled at many of the memories I’d created in past years and pulled them out occasionally during this year’s trip.

There was one year after Patrick was married and after my dad had passed away and when we planned a family vacation with mom, Kayla, Corey and I.  We were all adults and mom said we each needed to pay our own way.
Corey had told his friend, Jinx, about our plans and we ended up inviting Jinx to go with us.  He was the first one to provide full payment for the trip.

Jinx had worked at Disneyland one summer and knew all of the tricks of getting us around.  Jinx made that trip, I think.  He was always so funny.  I remember his leading us to Toon Town and commenting on some patrons who were walking away from Toon Town doing “that middle of the day walk” when it was so early in the morning. 


We had also spent two days at the park.  The first day we had ridden every ride possible.  The second day we shopped and watched shows and took things very easy.  That really was such an awesome trip.

Jenna had pictures taken while wearing the largest  “Brave” dress that was available.  It was too tight and there were tears in her eyes.  And so she changed to a tee shirt to meet the princesses.  She had her picture taken with Ariel, Snow White and Cinderella.



The next day we returned.  Since we had already seen Tomorrow land and Fantasyland, I suggested we go to Adventure land, Frontier land, New Orleans and Critter land.  I suggested we go to Critterland first and get a fast pass for splash mountain.

As we were going through Adventure land, Jenna noticed the Indiana Jones ride that had been closed eight years ago.  Her brothers had enjoyed riding it.  (It had been under construction the year that Jinx went with my family and I had never ridden it after that) Jenna’s never seen any of the Indian Jones movies, but said it was definitely her favorite ride.  


Roland and I enjoyed the tamer rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean or Small World (the night before) though I understood Jenna’s ambition for the roller coaster rides.  I had always liked those when I was her age.  Sadly my stomach has seems to have outgrown what once thrilled me.

I hadn’t planned on going to Toon Town at all.  The two times I had gone before, Toon Town was so overly crowded that the “Happiest Place on Earth” seemed a distant myth, but it really wasn’t too bad this year.  I think Roland and Jenna waited in line for the roller coaster longer than we had to wait in Mickey’s house.  We did get a lot of pictures.

My original plans included going to the beach – which actually seemed to be the highlight of our last vacation.  Just think of all the money we could have saved if we had started our vacation at the beach.  But we didn’t make it to the beach this year.  We hadn't made our way to Splash Mountain, the Matterhorn or California Adventures. Roland decided that we would cut our trip short and return home early.


He did all the driving.  Spent ten hours or more on the road on Thursday so that we’d have two extra days of rest.  I remember when it would take mom and I 7 hours just to get to St. George.  We would stay overnight and continue on to Bakersfield the next morning.  The speed limit was lower then.  Now it only takes 6 hours to get to Vegas.  But then I guess it depends on who's driving and how many stops are made.

Jenna starts the fifth grade on Monday.  I will have to start my scrapbook pages while she is in school.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thank You for Your Wisdom, Donna Voss






            About half the blogs I read are by friends or relatives that I know.  But once in a while I am drawn to one that either someone else has recommended or one that I have come across myself.  Such is the case with Donna Carol Voss.  She posts to this blog usually once a week on Sunday.

            I used to leave comments, but now she has a no reply and I haven’t been able to leave comments – not that my comments are important.  So many of her posts just resonate with me.  I just want to be able to tell her that.  Express to her how much I value her opinion.

            I absolutely love the unconditional love that she expresses for each of her children and for those who are not members of the Church and being careful not to use labels and very accepting of those who fall away from the Church.  She has such a great perspective on life and values.  I particularly like her posts written on July 20, 27 and August 2. 

            Often there are members of the Church who look down on those who have left the Church and seem to lack understanding or don’t even try.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the same outlook on life as she does?

An Awesome Smile Says It All




       Jenna and I took a bus out to Kearns Friday morning.  A member of my former ward had passed, and I wanted to attend the funeral.

       We have taken that route several times all summer long, but we had never had the driver that took us that morning.  She had a million dollar smile that was so sincere.  She greeted each passenger, as he/she was a personal friend. 

       I’ve had pleasant drivers before.  I’ve had many recognize me and assist with needs when I couldn’t find my pass or knowing exactly where to stop or even asking, “Which stop will you be getting off today”

       Most drivers are quite friendly – though there are the occasional passengers who will provoke.  The driver’s I have seen have dealt with the situation well, but there are some who are obviously bothered and let the human side shine perhaps more than it should.

       But this particular driver looked positive like nothing bad would interfere with her day and she would continue smiling no matter what.  She deserves to be acknowledged.  Thank you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Flies by Day, Mosquitos by Night



         I have always hated flies.  Annoying creatures that buzz around my face and land their teeny legs on my skin to share their germs.  My idea of hell consists of non-dying flies.

         Mosquitos never bothered me quite so much when I was single.  They loved my brother, Patrick.  I could stand next to him anytime the mosquitos were out and never be bitten.  He could even be doused in an entire can of repellent and I with nothing, and the mosquitos would still go after him.  I had actually convinced myself that mosquitos actually died on my blood.

         During the last five years or so, my blood must have improved in taste – or else the mosquitos are just getting more desperate.  I know the Red Cross is.  They had also taken my blood out of desperation.  It’s never been wonderful blood like Patrick or Roland has. 

I don’t know about Patrick, but Roland gets contacted by Red Cross every two months as though it’s mandatory now.  So why do the mosquitos always feast on me instead of him?  Because he’s always hidden under a blanket while I am always exposed?  Back in my childhood day, the mosquitos would have found a way to get under the blanket to get Patrick’s blood and still leave me alone.

         I have written this post about a family tradition in which we honor Christmas in July.  Though the last two years have been in August. 

         Michelle had messaged family members on facebook to give us a date and to make/get food assignments.  Messaging is supposed to be discreet, but somewhere along the way, at least one mosquito learned of the event.

         Corey had already responded that he and Joh would be unable to make the event.  When Michelle announced that we had surprise visitors, she was absolutely right.  We were all surprised to see Joh and Corey walking towards us.

         As the food broke out, so did the flies.  As Corey and I sat and visited, we both waved our arms as we swatted at flies.  As we were waving our arms I made the comment that I didn’t know which was worse: mosquitos or flies.  Within a matter of minutes I got my answer.

 

         Mosquitos, aware of our party, must have sent out a bulletin that read:

Free Blood Banks!

Free succulent blood!

Backyard party at Michelle’s house.

Tell ALL of your friends!



Every mosquito within a 500-mile radius must have shown up to chomp on my family.  The itches usually don’t start up quite that soon for me.  These mosquitos were ruthless.  They showed no mercy.  Amazingly none of us needed to leave in an ambulance.  We’re all still alive.  None of us were devoured to death – though I think that may have been preferable.  At least I wouldn’t itch anymore.

I’ve got huge bites on my arms and legs.  One even dared bite the bottom of my foot.  HOW DARE HE (or she)!  My family was not designed to be the source of another creature’s picnic food.  I wonder how swollen Patrick is right now.  Or Corey.  He received just as many bites as I had – or more.  Perhaps all of us got bitten equally – except for Joh.  He claimed the mosquitos weren’t bothering him. How's that even possible?

If it was fat that mosquitos were feasting on instead of bloeed, I could learn to live with the itching.  All family members involved would be so thin right now.

Mosquitos MUST DIE!!!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Missing R and Number 3


     



I am currently using an ancient Mac laptop – one that was purchased at a pawnshop at what we believed was a reasonable price.  Roland needed it for his class.  Frustration set in as he toyed with this problem for more than a year.

     The keys on the top row would stick.  Well, 1-6 did.  It was okay.  He didn’t need the numbers.  But when the top row of letters (particularly the e, r and t) started sticking – well, that was a problem.  Most often, the keyboard from the computer was plugged into the unit.

     We took it in to be serviced.  Less than a month later, the “r” key started sticking again and is often missed into the words now, unless one pounds on it.  So often when I am typing, the “r” doesn’t make it into my word.  It can be frustrating.

     A spell check will usually pick up on my missing “r”s, but it will never catch my missing “3”s. Nor does it catch words like “bother”, “dove”, and “dive” when I am really writing “brother”, “drove” and “diver”.

     The 3/# doesn’t stick.  In the case of the 3/#, it was the actual button fell off.  We still have the key, but I find it easier to hit the white peg from underneath than to try to push it through the broken 3/# tile.  And so often when I am using the numbers (I actually use the number pad when using a regular keyboard) on the laptop, my “3”’s don’t make it in either.
Roland doesn’t even use this laptop anymore.  He’s “borrowing” a more updated laptop – for two more months.  Only two more months to go and he will be finished with his schooling – and hopefully he will be able to get a job in which he can use his degree.

Just thought I would mention my missing “r” button.  Perhaps you have run across some posts on this blog that don’t quite make sense.  I’m just giving a suggestion as to a possibility.

Some Examples on Gifts of the Holy Ghost


           Lola gave the lesson yesterday on the gift of the Holy Ghost.  She asked for participation – though the first example that came to mind took more time to explain than I thought was appropriate.  As I listened to her lesson, I came up with a few examples from my own life.

         The first example I thought of was one of Warning  
      
         I was 17 and hadn’t had my driver’s license for long.  I hadn’t learned to drive a stick and thus drove the family station wagon (since it was automatic).



         My brother, Patrick, and I both worked at Snelgroves Ice Cream Store – approximately a 15 minute drive from where we lived.
I had asked Patrick if he would move the Honda, which was behind.  Patrick was only 15, but he had a lot more experience with the cars than I did.  He told me that if I wanted to drive the Honda to work, he would work the stick for me and tell me when to clutch.  I thought it would be good experience and decided to take him up on that.



         We were less than 2 blocks from Snelgroves when I tried to slow down using the brake, but was stepping on the clutch and not slowing down.  We rounded a corner going about 35 mph and I veered from the right lane into the left lane, went over a curb and came only a few feet short of hitting the store that sold organs. 

         Patrick’s eyes bugged out of his head, but he never said anything.  I have always admired him for that.  We were both somewhat shaken when we got to work.  I was determined NOT to drive home. 

         At that time the store closed its doors at 10:00 or 11:00.  Clean-up took a couple of hours – depending on what job task we were given.  That particular night we didn’t get out until well after 1:00.  The next day was Sunday.  Church started at 8:00 a.m.

         I handed the keys to Patrick and said, “If you want to get home, you’ll have to drive because I’m not driving.  We’ll say a prayer first.”

         Patrick was nervous, as he knew what the consequences were involved if we were pulled over and he was found behind the wheel.  At the same time I think he may have had a secret desire to “test his wings” so to say. 

I swore him to secrecy that he was never to tell anyone about this until he was interviewed by the bishop for his mission.

         During Sacrament meeting, my mom turns to me and says, “Did Patrick drive the car home last night?”

         You think that would have surprised me, but I was actually quite offended that she would even think such a thing.

         “Why would you even ask me that?” I let her know that I was offended. 

         “I don’t know”

         She asked me two more times in the process of arguing with herself – or rather questioning the promptings of the Spirit.  It finally came out that “Yes – Patrick had driven the car.”

         I think that she was in greater shock than how I felt offended. 

         It turned out that I had broken the rims of the wheels – probably all four of them.  And if my dad had taken the Honda to work the next day, it may have landed him in an unnecessary accident. 

         Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had inadvertently asked for that blessing before Patrick and I had left the Snelgrove’s parking lot the night prior. God does answer prayers – often in ways you don’t expect.

         The next example that came to mind was a time when Sunny was preparing for a primary sharing time on the subject of the Holy Ghost and the gifts we can receive.

         She had pondered all month about her approach.  On Saturday night (12 or so hours before the sharing time message was to be shared) she had a dream about a video she really had seen in real life.  She felt that was the message she was to share.

         She had gone to the Church early enough to reserve the video.  However it couldn’t be found in that library, but Sunny knew she had seen it before – at a stake activity.  So the stake center library was called, but they didn’t have the video either.  Sunny was frantic.
         She went into the primary room and got on her knees and poured her heart out as the tears fell.

         Meanwhile, a sister (I’ll call her Pat) who was in her same stake, was walking passed the Church when she felt a prompting to go inside and find the primary room.  She thought it strange as the ward she attended did not even meet in that particular building.  Fortunately she followed the prompting and went inside.

         She found Sunny in the primary room crying and asked if she could help.  Sunny blubbered her thoughts and described the video in detail. 

         Pat knew what video Sunny was talking about.  It was one that Pat had in her personal collection.  She went home to get the video for Sunny to share with her primary children.  But it wasn’t so much the video that Sunny had to share – it was more to relate the experience she had had in obtaining it.

         Translation          One of the first primary baptisms I had attended in this stake was one conducted by the Spanish ward – which then was just a branch.

         The first speaker gave a talk on baptism.  She spoke in English, but there was a brother there who translated her words into Spanish (as there was a youth from the Spanish ward being baptized that day) The second speaker spoke in Spanish about the gifts of the Holy Ghost and the same brother translated in English.

         The English Speaker paused after every sentence or two to allow the brother to translate, but the Spanish speaker didn’t seem to allow much for translation. 
         I remember one part in particular as she was rattling on, I thought, “Give that poor man the opportunity to translate.”

         And when he got up (I don’t remember the exact quote) he said that one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is the power to translate.  Let me demonstrate as I finish my talk and let Bro. Hill translate what I say.  But he will be translating by the Spirit  . . . “

         Wow!  That demonstration was so powerful.  I really did understand the message that was brought by the Spirit.

         At the time Jenna was baptized, it was also the Spanish ward that was conducting.  Each speaker had brought his/her own translator.  The second translator seemed to miss much in translation.  But oh, you could so feel the speaker’s spirit, and that was more powerful than any words that were spoken.

         As Lola concluded her lesson, she focused on the Holy Ghost acting as a comforter. I know I have more recent experiences, but this is the one that pressed most on my mind.

         I was working for a privately owned business in which communication was just not that great.  Only five people were involved.  The owner (Thomas) his wife (Penny) her mother (who was co-owner) Charity (my co-worker) and me.
In frustration, Charity and I decided to put in our notice.  Penny seemed quite understanding about it, but Tom did not seem so understanding.  Charity and I were both in tears when her mom came to pick her up. 

It sounds unprofessional that Charity’s mom was acting as the mediator on our behalf – but I know that if Tom didn’t understand us when we were speaking clearly, there was no way he was going to understand our blubbering noises.

My mom called me just as we were wrapping things up.  She was wondering why I hadn’t gone to a tithing settlement I had signed up for.  In all that had happened, I had forgotten, but was told I could drive to the church to meet with the bishop as soon as I was done.

At the conclusion of my tithing settlement, my bishop asked if there was anything that I needed.  Still in tears and upset with the prior situation, I asked if I could have a blessing and explained a bit about the events that had taken place. 

At that point I didn’t care if I still had a job or not, I just wanted to feel some peace.  And I did.  Immediately.  It was awesome.

For me it is easier to write about the past than to post something I consider sacred right now.  Perhaps I will share more at a later time.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What Kind of Parents are You? - You Don’t Even Know Us


         About a year and a half after we moved in, Jenna was out in front playing with Wesley.  Wes introduced her to Blake, who lived around the corner.  Blake and Jenna decided to be friends and ditched Wesley who had decided to climb on the roof next door.  Both Blake and Jenna were mortified by his decision.

         The next day Blake came over to play with Jenna.  It just happened to be her birthday and she had turned seven.  I had a party planned with many of her friends from the old neighborhood.  Jenna asked if Blake could go with us.  I told them both that we would need permission from Blake’s parents – or parent rather.  Like many of the children over here, Blake came from a broken home.

         Blake left the house and made his way back in what felt like only two minutes.  He said it was all right for me to take him to another city.  I didn’t feel right about it unless I talked with an adult first.  And so I drove him home and talked with his dad.

         His dad, who doesn’t know me, who had never even met Jenna before, said that Blake was a good kid and it would be all right if I were to take him to Kearns.  Are you kidding me?  Yes.  Blake was a very good kid.  Out of all of Jenna’s West Valley friends, I think I have actually  liked Blake the most.  But just because he was a good kid didn’t make me a reliable person.  I am.  But he doesn’t know that.

         So I took Blake to Kearns with us – still in awe that he’d been allowed to go with a virtual stranger.  There is no way in the world I would be allowing Jenna to get in the car of the parent of a friend that she just met and I don’t know.  Blake was not only allowed to go to the party, but his sister had gone out and purchased a Barbie for him to give to Jenna.

         Then there was Sadie.  Cute little Sadie.  She showed up at our doorstep one day.  Jenna had met her through some of the other neighborhood kids – and actually spends more time with Sadie than anyone.  She happened to be here as we were getting ready to go to Anna’s 4th birthday party.  Jenna asked if Sadie could go with us.  So I put Sadie in the car and drove her to her house to get permission.  Unlike Blake’s father, who spoke English, Sadie’s father doesn’t speak any English, and so I had to take her word (and his nod) for it that he has given permission.

         We’ve taken Sadie on bus rides to Kearns a couple of times.  And last night she had her first sleep over at our house.  Why would a parent allow their child to sleep over at someone’s house they haven’t met?  Again, I am not comfortable with the idea of Jenna sleeping over night with strangers – though I suppose that slumber parties could be in the future and maybe I won’t know the parents – or even the children – as her classmates also live in another city.

         And then there’s Desiree across the street.  She has two children, ages 8 and 6.  I really like the 8 year old.  She has been taught values and respect.  I think she has been the most respectful of any of Jenna’s West Valley friends, and would like to see Jenna learn that same respect – except for Desiree seems to be overly cautious about letting her children go anywhere – which I fully understand.  She doesn’t know us either. 

Jenna and I were walking somewhere when she said “Hi” to us.  I asked Jenna if she wanted to invite Alisha to walk with us in which Jenna replied, “Her mom won’t even let her walk to the corner” which made me laugh.  But I’ve learned that she wasn’t joking.  Alisha and her brother have to be within eyesight at all times.  

I wonder if something tragic happened either in Desiree’s life or the lives of her two young children.  I would highly suspect that both have different fathers – and maybe there’s a custody battle going on and perhaps one or the other has been taken and that’s why Desiree doesn’t trust anyone.  But I actually understand her overprotectiveness more than the allowing your child to ride in the car with someone you don’t even know. 

I wish I were more casual and trusting of people.  I wish we lived in a world in which we wouldn’t question the motives of the adult but be happy to let our child go – knowing that he or she will have fun and nothing bad will happen and that suspicions would be non-existent.    But there is suspicion and bad intentions and caution.  And labeling on my part – as I’ve referred to them as West Valley friends, and school friends instead of just friends.  But then there’s a degree of friendship as well.

Tomorrow I will be going to Kearns to watch my youngest nephew.  I will be taking Jenna with me.  Her other two cousins have play dates set up, and I am hoping to have one for her as well. So far it is looking good that she will be spending time with her kindergarten buddy. I hope so.  It will be good for her to play with somebody her age on her same level.