Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Paint, Hoes, Firetrucks and Blueberries

            Last week our ward hosted a service project at the high school. There were three areas that needed attention.  First and far most was the shed/ticket booth.  That needed to be primed and painted.  Second, weeding of the grounds - particularly over by the restrooms and track.  Third, power wash the bleachers. Ron appeared to be in charge of said activity.  He gave the assignments and we all went to the areas we had been assigned.

            There were six of us painting the shed.  Roland took over with delegation.  He has always been a "take charge" kind of guy.  Those who showed up to late to the activity  just assumed that Roland was in charge.  I was impressed with how Roland conversed with an eight-year-old from our ward (geographical boundary within the church) explaining what we were doing, why we were doing it, and how it would get accomplished.  The eight-year-old in turn asked questions that Roland would answer.  I loved the way he explained about the primer and the paint.

            Roland told him that the primer would have to dry before we could paint.  Why would we need paint if we already painted? (The primer itself was a drastic improvement upon the shed that probably hadn't seen paint since the day it was built) Roland explained to him that the primer is needed to go underneath the paint.  He asked the boy to think about the way he got dressed in the morning, and if he put underwear on before or after his outwear.  The boys just laughed as he answered and Roland compared the primer to underwear needed for the paint.

            There was one youth upon the latter trying to get the final touches.  The rest of us gravitated to areas two or three to see what we could assist with.  I tried pulling weeds, but as the ground as quite tough, I went to find a hoe to break it.  I chopped into the earth with a spaded hoe and felt like a field hand.  The work seemed endless until shortly after someone brought another bunch of hoes to all of those who were assisting.

            This is the kind of hoe that I have used and seen.

 I had never seen this kind before.  I didn't understand its value.

            One of the youth taught us old fogies how to use this weird looking hoe.  And you know what?  It was easier.  For those of us who had never experienced anything like it, it was kind of fun.

            My time in the "field" was short lived.  When the primer dried, I returned to assist with the painting.  By then more youth had joined us as well as the full time missionaries.  (I don't where Elder Morris was from but I don't think had ever seen a paintbrush before)  Even the principal of the school assisted.  We had a good turn out and got a lot done.

            We'd been looking forward to my sister and her family arriving and staying with us for a week.  We were hoping they'd make it to the pool party that our ward has after the service project.  Unfortunately they got off to a late start.  I think we had finished our service project before they had left their motel room in Idaho.

            Kayla and Bill have three children: six-year-old Anna, four-year-old Gary, and two (well almost) year-old BJ.  Of course there were several stops  made between Utah and Idaho.  They had hoped to arrive in Boise on Friday night but did not arrive until after midnight  early Saturday morning.  Kayla said she had just gotten the last child to sleep before dozing off herself.  She said that it felt like she had been asleep only three minutes when the fire alarm went off and all people from the motel were evacuated. (That was roughly 2:00 am)  No one knows why the fire department was called.  The kids were excited about the fire truck.  It did put a damper on Bill and Kayla's plans however.

            More stops until finally they arrived at our house just after 10:00 and straight to bed.  They went with us to church on Sunday.  The first thing on our agenda for Monday morning was blueberry picking.  Last year we would move from bush to push accumulating only two or three pounds max.  This year the blueberries are thick and ready to fall off.  From just six bushes we had over 24 pounds among the eight of us.  Well, I don't guess all eight of us were picking.  BJ was dropping blueberries into his mouth rather than in his bucket.  Gary refused to allow his blueberries to be weighed with everyone else's.  He needed to keep them separate as they were his and he was proud to have picked them all by himself.

            Roland and Bill took BJ drove to the big city of Roseburg (as Bill forgot his camera - which is actually worse than a typical teenager being without a cell phone) while Kayla and I took Gary, Anna and Jenna to the park before heading home.

            Each day we had blueberries in one form or another.  Blueberry pancakes, blueberry syrup, blueberry cobbler, blueberry muffins, blueberries from the bag . . . . there are still a lot of blueberries.  Gary took his home with him.  I don't know how many got eaten before their return.  Kayla said she needed a recipe as many of the blueberries got squished - I don't know if from Gary's bag or from the frozen ones we sent.  I'm guessing the latter. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Mother's Work is Never Done - Even a SuperHero

          I've always felt a sense of admiration to my sister, Kayla.  I suppose my admiration increased during this last weekend when her family came out to Oregon to visit our family.

          Wonder Women flies in an invisible plane.  She can ward off bullets with her bracelets.  But we have never seen her clean up after a two year old hurricane or try to reason with a four year old or change diapers.

          Sue Storm can turn invisible and sneak up on criminals.  She fights for justice along with her pals from the fantastic four.  It's impossible for Kayla to even try to become invisible as her children are always calling, "MOMMY!"  She is the leader of the fabulous five.

          Supergirl can fly through the air to catch falling victims.  She defends the innocent.  We never see her wipe the table or sweep the floor just to have to do again. The only time it stays clean is when ALL the children are asleep.

          Mothers don't often get or take credit for being superheroes - but many of them are.  It takes a superhero to keep up with a two year old who doesn't have all the words but does his best to communicate (for example, he may hand you his sippy cup so that you can test it to see the straw is not working properly) and gets frustrated when you don't understand - just as surely as a mother gets frustrated when she doesn't understand why her child is crying though most of the times she can figure it out . . . eventually.

          It takes a superhero to keep up with a four year old who wants to explore the great outdoors - and hey, if mom is busy with brother and/or sister, that's okay.  The four-year-old has feet and he knows how to work a door knob by himself.  He'll go outside without leaving his itinerary.  Often, little brother will follow.  But that is no guarantee that they will actually stick together once they are outside.  More than not, they will each go in a different direction.

          The superhero mom has many obstacles and challenges.  Some change from day to day.  Some don't ever seem to change for her. One of the examples of the non-changing obstacle (or seemingly so) is having to constantly climb over the long six year old and her toys that are always in the hall, no matter how many times she is told to move herself and the toys.

          The superhero mom often has to wrestle at least one of her children to eat a proper meal.  Sometimes the bribes that worked yesterday won't work today.  Of course the rules are different for every child and as they don't come with instruction books, supermom has to figure them out.

          In Kayla's case, she also has her husband to deal with.  For the most part, Bill is very supportive.  He will change diapers, run errands, take off work to be with family.  Bill is also a clown.  Endless kidding, major teasing.  He doesn't always know when to quit.  It's most annoying, especially when it feels like he is undermining her method of discipline.  Anybody who knows my sister and brother-in-law and family would agree that Bill is Kayla's toughest "child" to break.

          Daddy is fun, and he will seriously do anything for his children.  But mommy is definitely the one to comfort.  The children are unaware of her super powers.  They just know that mom will protect them and love any of the hurt away.  Daddy's jokes don't always get rid of the "bad guys" like mommy's super powers do.

          Moms may not be able to ward off bullets with their incredible bracelets.  They might not have capes that assist them in strength.  Their superpowers are far greater than those of the comic book world.  So many mothers operate on so little or no sleep. 
          Kayla and Bill use a "time out" as a method of discipline.  Each child has to sit in a corner or by the wall for a minute for every year of age.  I know several mothers who wish they could have a "time-out" just to get in a power nap.

          I don't know if Jenna has ever thought of me as a super hero.  I don't think I am.  But maybe.  I don't think I have the same superpowers as Kayla.  I figured that out before this last week. 

          Mothers (well, mommies) are superheroes.  That's all there is to it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ode to My Garden Pants

                   When I was looking for shorts,
                   you were there for me. 
                   You were longer than
                   what I had wanted.  Oh,
                   but you were so comfortable. 
                   When I had you on,
                   I barely even knew
                   you were there.  Well, that is
                   until you started to stain. 

                   I had tried cleaning you. 
                   I really had.  The stain
                   was just too stubborn
                   . . . or so I believed
                   Gradually you became my garden pants
                   as you were stained anyway,
                   what was a little dirt (as I mention in this post)
                   You protected me from the heat of the sun.
                   I appreciated that.  You must have had
                   connections with the sun. 

                   It removed the stains that
                   I could no longer find.  Still
                   I kept wearing you each week
                   when we'd clean the church,
                   each week we worked in the garden. 
                   I am so sorry you got torn
                   over the years.  It was
                   bound to happen.  I had you
                   for many years.

                   I still had you when
                   we moved to Oregon. 
                   I no longer worked in the garden. 
                   I did a rather pathetic patch work
                   on you and made you my
                   paint pants - which may have been
                   a demotion rather than
                   a promotion.  How sad
                   you looked. 

                   Still you continued
                   to serve me. 
                   I may have not noticed you still -
                   except for that stupid patch. 
                   That actually became annoying
                   after a while. 
                   You continued to rip -
                   well at least one leg. 

                   I hadn't noticed until today -
                   until I went to take your picture -
                   that you were also torn
                   just below my left cheek. 
                   The sun wasn't even out for
                   the last day you were worn.

                   There is a tear in my eye
                   as I toss you in the garbage can. 
                   You were so good to me. But you
                   have fulfilled the measure
                   of your creation. 
                   Good-bye, dear friend.
                   I shall surely miss you.

                                                                                    - kfralc

Friday, July 15, 2016

Making Dreams Happen - even if there're obstacles

          I LOVE the movie "Cool Runnings" - a movie that depicts marathon runner, Derice Bannock, going for his Olympic Dreams.  And when the obstacle of running into other track members knocks his dreams off course, he looks for an alternate way to take him to the Olympics.

          He discovers an "has been" Olympic athlete who had received a metal for a bobsledding competition.  There's no snow in Jamaica, but Derice (with the help of the ex-Olympic star) forms a team of members who are willing to learn bobsledding so that they may enter the winter Olympics.

          The show, of course, is probably only 5% accurate, if that.  The real "Derice" had very little training before the Olympics.  He said he saw a bobsled for the first time in September 1987 here and here

          It doesn't make me appreciate the movie any less.  I love the depiction of going for your dreams - even if you have to altar it because of whatever obstacles may fall into your path (in Cool Runnings, the obstacle was being disqualified for the summer Olympics due to the falling of the runners)

          One of my very favorite quotes comes from Cool Runnings when Derice learns that the medal had been taken away from the character (played by John Candy) who coached them.

          Derice (as well as all of us) is told: "... a gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough with one."
          Last week Roland and I watched the movie "Eddie, the Eagle" also only about 5% accuracy - at least according to Michael "Eddie" Edwards which you can read about here and here

          Eddie's goal was to be an Olympian - not necessarily to win - but to be.  The movie depicts him as being clumsy and one who is unable to make the cut at so many sports.  There are several obstacles which he tackles all throughout the movie (as well as in real life).  When he runs out of money, and can't seem to keep up with the high cost of the sport, he finds a job that includes housing and helps him keep up with the expenses of ski jumping - something he feels qualified for as England had never had a representative in ski jumping before.

          Like Darice of "Cool Runnings", Eddie asks to be coached by an Olympic has been (which did not occur in real life) and finds himself competing in the Olympics that exact same year as the first Jamaican Bobsled team.  That year (1988) the Winter Olympics were held in Calgary.

          I loved the determination of the character of Eddie Edwards, and even the real life Michal Edwards.  There were obstacles that he had to overcome, but his persistence paid off.  Oh no, he did not walk away with a medal in any place.  His jump was not that great comparatively - it didn't matter.  He was the first ski jumper to set any kind of record for England and it seemed to be that was all that mattered.

          Suppose the obstacles would divert you in a whole new direction.  I thought of Jill Kinmont and Diane Ellison.

          Jill was a promising young skier who had looked forward to participating in the 1956 Olympics.  She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated on January 31, 1955.  That same week she had a skiing accident in Alta, Utah. (see here) She did not make it to the Olympics at all. 

          The movie portrayals of Jill Kinmont in “The Other Side of the Mountain” and  “The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2” are probably more accurate to her life than the two examples above.  She couldn't even walk anymore, let alone ski. Her dreams changed. 

          Jill lived 52 years longer than she was told that she would.  She graduated from college.  She struggled to find school that would allow her to teach.  She made an impact on those that she taught and I'm sure made a difference in the lives of each that knew her.

          Diane's dream was to go to the Olympics as  a gymnast.  She had to come up with a way to pay the expenses of gymnast lessons herself (see here) She was taller than the other girls who were in the class.  She was referred to as "Big Bird".  She excelled and went on to perform in several competitions.  

          In 1981 Diane was asked to join U.S. Professional Gymnastics Classic.  During a workout  she had decided to make a move without her spotter.  see here

          I hadn't known Diane until after the accident.  She always seemed to have a positive attitude.  I did not know her well, but I did enjoy spending time with her when the situation allowed.  I remember being a passenger in her car once.  It was different to see her operating the van with just her hands (as there has been no movement in her legs)

          Like Jill Kinmont, Diane also graduated from college and found a teaching position at a school district in Salt Lake (actually the same school district that Jenna was schooled in until we moved to Oregon) She has given over 400 volunteer firesides, has been a motivational speaker,  She says that ironically, one of the biggest aids to her recovery was gymnastics. (see here)

         I also love her biography Don't You Dare Give Up by Renon Klossner Hulet .  I think it's a great resource for not giving up - despite the obstacles.
I would like to end this post with one of my daughter's favorite songs:



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Patriotic Turn-Around – Thank You Everyone

         Several years ago, my brother Corey presented a patriotic program to the Relief Society of the ward we attended.  Great program.  One that I had tried to recreate – though it didn’t go as I had planned.

         I have the original tape that Corey had made – somewhere.  I couldn’t find it and so had to recreate one.  He said he hadn’t saved the program and so I had to recreate that as well.  Rely upon my own research instead of his.  Though I believe I had it easier.  Today we have access to several sources on the Internet.  Corey used the card catalog and spent HOURS putting the program together.

         I recorded music, though I didn’t like the quality (or lack thereof) of the recording as the volume changed with each song.  I had asked Corey if he and Joh could/would record songs for me (I still have never heard the two of them singing together) and so he created a YouTube video with most of the songs I’d be using.

         My plan was to give a brief description of the song and have the sisters guess what song I was describing, and then I would play a piece of the song.  I had handouts with lyrics to pass out at the end of my program

         I rehearsed with the tape.  I rehearsed with Corey’s video.  I was happy to go either way and couldn’t quite decide which way to go. But then a blunder that took place last week helped me decide.
         Jenna and I were in the Church parking lot.  She had wanted to shoot baskets, and I had brought my script and tape player to practice the performance.  When Jenna walked toward me, she started singing along with a song, she seemed stumped as a verse she wasn’t familiar with started to play.    I decided to rewind the tape for her so that she could hear from the beginning – and then the tape garbled.  Quite badly.

         I could have just found another tape and rerecord everything.  But I had my back up.  Or so I thought.  I figured even with Roland’s “slower-than-molasses-in-sub 0-weather” laptop, I would have Corey’s recording and instrumentals ready to click on when it was time.  It didn’t even occur to me that the Church has blocked the use of YouTube from their wi-fi.  It makes sense when I think about it.  Problem is, I didn’t think about it.

         No tape. No wi-fied YouTube.  Now what?  Pass out the handouts BEFORE the program and ask for audience participation (which was a success by the way) and play it by ear.

         It actually turned out quite well.  It was a good turnout and the sisters really seemed to enjoy themselves.  They wanted to sing.  And they kept singing.  I think they enjoyed singing more than if I had just played.

         I’m grateful that they were grateful for the time I had put in and that each enjoyed herself.  I thank Corey for the time he took also.  The sisters were impressed that he had taken that time for me.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Sun Appears to Set in the South

        I've always been direction-ally challenged - a feature I inherited from my mom, I'm sure.  In Salt Lake I actually did know which way was east, which way was south - but outside of Salt Lake?  I am ALWAYS turned around.  It seems that I have been even more turned around living in Myrtle Creek and Tri City.

        Pacific Highway runs parellel to I5 - an interstate designed to run north and south - and does - for the most part.  Between exits 106 and 108 exists some really sharp curves - almost like traveling in a circle.  Those run east and west.  So Pacific Highway runs east and west.  I finally have that figured out after having lived here for over a year.

        The weather is not near as hot as it was last year.  I like the cool temperatures of summer.  It's one of the reasons that we moved here.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I LOVE Oregon.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Smiling about "Joseph" stories

        We have spent the weekend watching "Joseph" (with Paul Mercurio and Ben Kingsley)

and "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat" (starring Donny Osmond)

and I was reminded of humorous stories related to theatre or inaccurate Bible portrayal.  Some of which I have shared on my blog already.

        The first Sunday in October of 2012 (the year I had started my blog)  I had select a children's from the BYU channel for Jenna to watch.  It was an animation from the old Testament about  Joseph and his brothers.

          As she is watching the story of Joseph, Jenna had asked, “Mom, is this the same story as “Little Joe” from “Veggie Tales” 


          “They don’t have French accents though”

          “This version is more accurate than Veggie Tales. ”
original post found here

      Long before I had started my blog, or before I was even married, my brother Corey had the opportunity to audition for a stage version of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat.  

        While the production itself was to be held at Kingsbury Hall (in Salt Lake) the auditions were being held at a local High School because the musical director was that high school's choir teacher.

        So Corey went to the high school.  He got there early because he is always early.  He was asked if he was there for auditions.  He said he was and he was told to fill out an application.

        He thought the application was weird – unlike anything he had ever filled out before.  It was asking for things like his GPA.  He filled out the application and went to the theatre to audition.

        After his name was called, he presented his music to the piano player and was asked which part he was auditioning for. He answered that he was there to try out for one of the brothers and proceeded with his audition.

        After belting out the song he had chosen, the choreographer (or was it the conductor?) said, “You’re not auditioning for 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers', are you?”

        Corey said that he was there to try out for "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat".  But since he had been early and had quite a youthful appearance at the time (he was in his early 20’s I believe) it was assumed that he was there to audition for the high school musical try outs that took place before the “Joseph” auditions started.

        I was (still am) really quite proud of my brother and had been telling my co-workers that Corey would be playing Issachar in the musical, "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat" (David Osmond played Joseph in that version)

        One of my co-workers heard me say, "Is a Car"  and wanted to know why my brother would be playing the part of a car.

        I smile each time I watch the video "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat" - my then youngest niece appeared to have a crush on Donny Osmond and watched the video over and over (and probably wore it out)

        When our family had gone to a theatre to see a parody on "Forever Plaid" (which Corey has also been in) and "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat". Candy dressed up and looked so cute in her dress and hat.  She was so excited to see this production - not understanding that it was a parody.  I remember watching her watch it with such a bewildered expression thinking that the cast was doing it wrong.  It was really funny to watch her. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Spontaneous Jaunt to Sunset Bay

          The Red Cross in Roseburg is open on Monday and Friday only except for in the event of holidays, and then the center will be opened on another day.  Tomorrow, for instance, is the national holiday for declaring independence.  The center will not be open tomorrow and so they were open for five hours yesterday.

          Roland and I both made appointments so that we could donate.  Jenna, who was covered in mosquito bites, felt like she already had.  One difference was that neither Richard nor I itched after donating.

          My sister and her family are visiting us next week.  Jenna really wants us to take her cousins to the beach - which is about a one and a half to two hour drive from where we live.  It was a spontaneous decision for us to just decide to go from Roseburg to Coos Bay and then to Sunset Bay (where we had never been) and because it was spontaneous, neither Richard nor Jenna were really dressed for it - each wearing long pants.  I was, at least, wearing shorts and open-toed shoes. 

          The air temperature was nice - a little cool even.  I started out on the beach wearing a sweatshirt, but did manage to shed it within the manner of minutes.  Jenna was somewhat bummed that she didn't have her swimsuit, but did enjoy playing in the sand with her newly purchased sand toys.

          I took several pictures in hopes that I would get at least a couple of good ones.  Roland also shot a few.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Please Don't Make Me Back Up!

            Savannah is a friend of Jenna's and today is her birthday.  Jenna put together a small present and asked me to drive her out to Savannah's house.  Normally I would just call first, but I figured even if she was not as home, Jenna would still want to leave the gift. 

            Jenna LOVES the area where Savannah lives as there is a LOT of yard.  Trees to explore, a gazebo, trampoline, tons of shade - it is located on the outskirts of town.  Driving there is not that big of a deal as far as time.  And the main roads are not a big deal either - but the final leg is VERY narrow and has a "one-car-only" width bridge that doesn't appear to be much more than a ramp.  And I don't enjoy driving that tight.

            I have lucked out with not having encountered any traffic coming the other direction.  Of course today was only my third time out there.  The first time was in the rain - just me and Savannah.  The second time it was Roland who was driving - and there was a "traffic" issue.  We were headed out and grandpa was headed in when we met.  Roland wasn't sure what to do. "Grandpa" ended up backing up for us until we could actually fit around him.

            I hadn't noticed all the "No Trespassing" signs until this afternoon.  Tons of them.  I wouldn't call it a driveway - a community dirt road, perhaps.  I don't know how many houses branch out at the end.  I think I pass three houses before I get to Savannah's - and there are at least two more in another direction.  I wouldn't even attempt to do that drive in the dark.

            I think I'd rather drive to Savannah's - even across the ramp and the skinny one car lane than to drive to one of the leader's in young woman.  Her house is gorgeous, and the neighborhood looks nice, but it is all up hill and skinny and would be quite the drop at night.  Roland had driven there the first time, but I had to do it by myself the last time.  Didn't enjoy that drive at all.

            And then there's the drive to DelEv Blueberry - where the drive just feels so long and I always wonder, "Did I pass it?" and drivers tend to want to drive faster than necessary and there isn't a whole wide selection of pullovers to let the fast drivers pass.  Even less spots to actually turn around.  I'm not near as adventurous in Oregon as I was in Salt Lake.

            In Salt lake I could drive somewhere and have options of streets or lots to turn around or explore.  I have learned that in Oregon, even the well-known streets that are labeled are not necessarily driver friendly - at least to a city girl like me.  But I know people who grew up here who don't think twice about it.  Driving these roads is normal to them. 

            The roads may feel empty and give a "ghost-town" feel at times.  But you know what?  I would rather have that emptiness than to deal with traffic and too many reckless drivers on the road.  It gives me a sense of freedom.