Monday, September 16, 2019

Dash TV36: Ricks’ Outdoor Family Program

            Our family vacationed every year.  Often we went to either Disneyland or Yellowstone National Park, but there were also times when we did something different.  One of those vacations was sponsored through then Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho.  I don’t remember where exactly the “Outdoor Family Program” – took place.  I'm guessing somewhere in Idaho.

            I think Kayla was five at the time.  I don’t remember how many families were involved – though I can remember six.  We were all put in cabins which surrounded the shower area and bathrooms with flushable toilets. There were portapotties available, but they needed to be moved as they were pretty full to almost overflowing.  It was disgusting. 

The cabin we were in was pretty much wall to wall bed.  There were five of them fit together like a U shape (if I remember correctly) and six of us.  Patrick and I were assigned the beds at either end.  Kayla and Corey slept between my mom and dad on the three other beds all smashed together.  There was a floor to put our suitcases down and then it was a matter of shifting over mattresses.  Good thing we were a close knit family. 

a rough illustration

            It may not have been as much of a vacation for dad who had to get up early along with the other fathers and only one sister who had brought her five children.  I think they were all under the age of eight.   They would go and learn the day’s activities and explain the agenda to their families.  We got to go horseback riding, repelling and canoeing. 

            Frank was the name of the student who was responsible for harnessing those who wanted to participate and would say “Do you trust me?”
            With each person who was guided over the edge, Corey would say “I trust Frank” which would continue louder on each person until finally it was his turn. 

            Frank said, “Do you trust me?” and Corey responded, “Sort of.”

            There were three people in each canoe, and a really low beam.  Some chose to go under beam.  Our guide pulled over before we got to the beam and said, “That looks too low”

            One canoe managed to get under it but the second one tipped.  Two of the passengers were not very happy. 

            I think the program was an entire week, but maybe not.  I don’t remember all the details but I do know we held church services.  We had gone a ways from the camp and bread had not been brought for the sacrament and crackers were used in the bread’s place.  I remember Lance was one who blessed the sacrament.  I don’t recall who the other was.

            Lance had come with a couple from either North or South Carolina.  They had a young son named David.  I think Lance was just a friend. I remember one of the sponsors searching for muscle power.  As he searched around the group he said, “I need four strong guys and David to help me”  I thought it was funny.  

            Overall, I don’t think it felt like much like a vacation for my dad, but I know Corey and I had fun.  I think Patrick did to a degree, but he hated the mosquitoes.  I remember when he returned from the showers, his back was covered with mosquitoes.  He didn’t think it was cool to take a shower and then douse himself in a can of mosquito repellent.  It didn’t even matter which brand.  Mosquitoes travel for miles just to sample Patrick’s blood.  I didn’t have to worry about spraying myself – especially with Patrick around. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

32 jars and counting

Roland decided that we would make grape jelly yesterday.  We used two gallons of concentrate to fill over 30 jars.  I don't know why he dressed up - maybe because he thought his shirt would hide the stains?

sterilizing the jars

ladling jelling into jar

it amazed me how we could fill the jars this full

and have so much space when turned upside down

 We still have over two gallons of concentrate. We'll have to make more jelly another day.

Early This Year

The primary program was today.  Definitely the earliest time ever - especially with this ward.  The song leader, pianist, primary president and one of her counselors were on the stage along with the ten children who make up the primary.  It was fun watching Jenna sing along with as much as she was able.

I am not the only one who has seemed to lose track of this month.  Each third Sunday there is a linger longer - but not today.  It was announced in the program, but evidently we were not the only ones who had forgotten.  

I had gone out to the car to put my bag in the trunk and Jenna came out before I had the opportunity of returning to the building.  Jenna LOVES linger longer but told me that it had been cancelled.  Tough break.  I should have retrieved my camera from the trunk, but did not - otherwise I'd be sharing a picture of the seven turkeys I had to wait to cross the road before I continued on my drive.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Fruit Dance

          I spent the bulk of yesterday finishing pulling grapes off the stems and Roland smashed them all and heated them without boiling them and we made just over six gallons of concentrate.  We have two juices set aside for drinking.  He says we will turn the rest into jam, but that is what he said last year and we only made eight jars.  He found it irresistible not to drink it all.  It is really good and worth the mess.

boca grapes

paper towel on stained counter

cheese cloth top left side
permanently attached cutting board

my shirt

          About the title of my blog – well . . .  Roland and I had gone to bed late last night.  Late for us anyway.  Our automatic alarms did not go off at 5:00 a.m. I had told Jenna earlier this month that if there was no evidence of our being awake by 5:30 that it would be her job to wake us up – which she did.  I was so NOT ready to get up.  
          I had my eyes shut when Roland turned on the light.  I could see the light through my eyelids and black dots flashed under my eyes like strobed lights and with each strobe the dots multiplied and looked smaller.  But they weren’t black dots after all.  I could visualize blueberries and grapes dancing together.  They started out as two, but more “couples” joined them on the dance floor, until finally they faded.  Until finally I might have gone back to sleep but Roland had left the light on.  I got up for a family prayer. My plan was to turn off the light and return to bed.  Wouldn’t have mattered.  My alarm went off after Roland and Jenna left the house so he could take her to the church for early morning seminary.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Freeing Ourselves From the Snares

Warning folks - this post is a long one.  I have been trying to find the right words to convey my thoughts and hope that I have.  I somehow seem to have a big following in Italy - though I can't imagine why.  I know I don't have the greatest sentence structure and my thoughts somehow get clouded. May you have success in comprehending how this is written:

          I am so sick of marketing ploys that prey on people’s weaknesses or vanity that should you use said product you will not only look years younger but feel amazing.  There are products for getting rid on wrinkles, bags under the eyes, weight, etc.  One product claims tighter skin just by rolling their magic stone around your face.  It’s like society has conditioned us that if we should have turkey necks, wrinkles, scars, pimples or whatever – we are unworthy to be associating with second class citizens, let alone the first.  We are a disgrace and should feel bad about ourselves because we are so ugly and unworthy to be sharing the same planet as all the beautiful people.

          That is a bit how I viewed the church for so many years – perhaps not the church so much as perhaps some leaders who made it sound as if our being single, without children, without spouse, with addiction, working outside of the home, or heaven forbid, same sex attraction was a sign of weakness and our image wasn’t good enough.  There was the portrayal of being ideal – living up to a “forever family” image.  If we were single or anything else listed above – well, we weren’t on the path of righteousness.  There was something wrong with us.  We were sinners for not having partners (which we had been sealed to in the temple, of course) or any other mentioned above.

          I wasn’t ashamed of being single or family life.  I was born into quite an awesome family.  Mom and dad provided spectacular examples of married life and we were (still are) quite a loving family – why wouldn’t I want that for myself?  I did.  But I wasn’t dating.  I wasn’t going to get sealed in the temple to a man just for the sake of having a temple marriage.  The older I got, the harder it was to sit through “Today’s topic is on the family.  Of course we love the single people and would like to include you . . .” but they never did.  If anything, they pushed me further until I thought, “I don’t even want to get married and live this cookie cutter mold” which evidently doesn’t even exist.  Well, I suppose it does.  It’s rare though.  They did not tell us that as I was growing up.

          But today somebody has finally taken the time to admit that there is diversity.  Not many of us identify with the ideal or fully understand the proclamation (here) that seems to shout “DISCRIMINATION” to so many.  I know I’ve written about this before – several times in fact.  It was the topic on Saturday morning and again on Sunday.  Only we are no longer discriminating or pointing fingers – instead we are saying, “We don’t need the make-up or other fancy products;  we all have flaws and we need to reach out to others and let them know we can and should accept them regardless.  None of us fit into the ideal.

          On Saturday I had gone to the stake center for an RS activity.  Seems each year the attendance is less than the year prior.  I think there were only seven sisters there from our ward.  The theme I would guess was taken from Sharon Eubank’s conference talk (found here) about finding the light in the darkness.  The session started out with a couple of sisters sharing their “hardship” stories.  Slips of paper were passed to each sister with instructions to check boxes of challenges that we had experienced either first hand or within our families.

          The pencil I had been given had lost its led.  I took out a pen and checked three things believing I was doing well having only three challenges myself.  I had misread what I had experienced or close family members or else I would have checked them all – except perhaps “stay at home mom”. I have been and am currently a stay at home mom (for the most part right now anyway) but did not mark it as I never considered that a “challenge”.

          I have been single.  I started my post with that example.

          Blended family – if the blend had included only the boys, it would not have been a problem.  Jaime’s sisters themselves were not a problem.  Their mom was a problem.  A fat thorn in our side for years.  I still have not gotten over the feeling of resentment of having had her in my life.  Nor have I developed any sort of empathy or compassion toward her.  I have deeply enjoyed NOT having her in our lives.

          I know people who are divorced.  People who had gotten sealed in the temple.  People who believed they were headed for the ideal.  I have not witnessed this through my parents or boys but I do have cousins who have done the divorce thing.

          Infertility/Miscarriage -  my mom had two miscarriages and I had a miscarriage/abortion (see here) – I suppose it was a challenge, but it hasn’t haunted me to the point of depression.  I suppose a lot of this comes from my own interpretation and frustration of women in the Bible who somehow think or feel less than a person when it is discovered that she is barren.  I have rolled my eyes at the thought of feeling less than a person because you can’t have a child.  I have always thought, “get over yourself . . . there are other things . . .” though I suppose in the Biblical times the women were treated even more inferior than they are today and that was their only purpose for being on the planet.  Oh, how grateful I am that there is more to womanhood than just bearing children.

          I’m not knocking motherhood or feel for those who can’t bear children or go through the process of adoption (I can empathize with those who try to adopt and the heartache they feel when others seem to have more control than do the couple) but there are certainly more a woman can contribute to society than just what takes place in her womb.  There are some woman who don’t want to become mothers.  There are many woman who should not be mothers. 

          Incarceration – Nobody in my immediate family has been in a physical prison though each of us have dealt with a prison either mentally, emotionally or spiritually.   Often those prisons can be more devastating.  It puts a strain on relationships especially where Satan is involved because much too often it is hard to pinpoint in which the prison walls started to build up.

          Same sex attraction – I compared it to peanut allergies in this post.  No one chooses to have peanut allergies.  It may be controlled as much as sexual attraction.  Most people don’t choose who their attracted to, it just happens.  Denying it or rather trying to doesn’t make it less true.

          Addiction - I have never been addicted to those mentioned on the list but I do know that sugar is an addiction and have had a hard time trying to control my sugar intake.  My mom had a hard time with it and never gave it up completely though she was diabetic.  Most of the people I know that have addictions are sugar addictions.  Perhaps I have to have a sugar addiction to have compassion towards those who abuse drug or alcohol though I have made the choice not to rely on those myself.  I don’t even like taking prescribed medicines in fear that I may become addicted to those.

          Depression is a big one.  There are different degrees of depression.  Some go through mood changes constantly.  Some become drug dependant because of that.  I have seen it in my late daughter-in-law and her mother – though I don’t suspect she had always been that way.  I understand that she is getting worse.  I was told that she may be committed.

          Chronic illness or injury – that could also be my late daughter-in-law.  She had psychological issues as well, but I have been told that she and two of her sibs all used to get seizures.  Each of them died at the age of 32.  That brings us to death of loved ones.  I have always had a positive reaction to death.  It happens.  I have never lost children and of course the death will affect me. I can’t say for sure that I will be/would be stronger than Biff’s mother-in-law (see here) but as of now I believe I wouldn’t dwell on it nor would I post a death date reminder indicating how many years ago it happened because there are people who do it on facebook right now (Biff’s mother-in-law for one) and it bugs me that they seem to be dwelling on the death rather than focusing on life.  I realize for some people it is therapy, for others, I think it has the opposite effect. I think this attitude will stay with me should Jenna go before me.

          I did have a problem with being a working mom when I knew the boys would benefit more if I were to remain at home.  I wish I had been there for them that first year.

          Being a stay-at-home mom has not been a challenge for me, though I know there are some mothers who feel like they need a break and would like at least one day to themselves and that is understandable.  But it certainly does not fit into yesterday’s definition of the ideal.

          Part member or part active families.  I think often times there are so many who just seem to go through the motions of going to church each week, perhaps accepting assignments that call for serving a day other than Sunday.  Each of my boys has been married in the temple.  Two of my sibs.  All happy marriages.  Corey was not married in the temple.  Corey is not temple worthy according to the code. He is happily married and lives the gospel though not through the church.  We are all happy.  We are all close to God. 

Patrick and Sunny have raised all their children in the same manner as mom and dad had raised us.  All four of their children have been through the temple.  The oldest two have been sealed to their spouses in the temple.  Kayla and Bill are raising their three who are still in elementary school.  I’m not as close to the boys as I’d like to be.  We are nowhere near the ideal of where my sibs are.  The oldest is living out a somewhat soap opera life. But that’s a post within itself.

Financial issues – oh, this is the one I can relate to the best.  We had three boys on missions unable to financially support any of them.  But how blessed we have been.  Though we have experienced state, church and family welfare, we have never been homeless.  I have always lived in a house.  That has been a blessing that I perhaps had taken for granted at times. I feel for those who are struggling to find a home, to keep a home, for those who can’t seem to make ends meet no matter how hard they try.  I don’t fully relate as I have never been that far gone.

My sister, Kayla, had a learning disability.  Her oldest also struggles with some learning concepts.  Each of them have a powerful faith despite their struggles.  I have always envied that.  My two oldest boys seem to have learning challenges as well.

I have never had to dote on someone who was physically challenged nor have I been a challenge to others to the degree of being totally dependent on others, but I suppose if I don’t take care of myself I could end up headed in that direction.   I’m definitely not as spry as Jenna and I think she gets frustrated with that at times.  I have NEVER had good sleeping habits. I know that my lack of a proper sleep has contributed to my moods and my physical well being.

Later on Saturday evening, Roland took Jenna and I up to Roseburg to see a concert.  We had programmed our destination into the GPS which had gotten us around the coast earlier this month.  But sometimes when we have gone to Roseburg, our GPS somehow manages to take us astray.  Saturday happened to be one of those nights.  It took us in the direction that we needed to go but had us stop at a fork in the road which supposedly marked our destination.  It was not our destination but Roland believed he could see a building he thought was where we needed to be. 

Though we could see the building in the distance, the path we were on was not going to get us there and so Roland turned around and programmed the address into Google (which is maybe what we should have done in the first place).  As he drove toward our new destination we saw a deer running fast.  Roland announced that the deer was going to try to outrun him and slowed down.  The deer jumped high to leap over the fence, but not high enough.  Her neck got caught in the barb wire.  Jenna and I were horrified.  Jenna asked Roland to do something.  Roland didn’t believe there was anything he could do as the struggling deer would kick at him were he to try and assist.

Initially I thought this might make a good metaphor for some of our struggling youth whose frontal cortex part of the brain hasn’t fully developed and they think they can outrun what they may foresee as harmful.  But after Sunday’s lesson I realized that the deer represents all of us.  Each of have (or has had) something that we have struggled with and some of us feel we are being hung by our necks and are struggling to get lose from the pain.  Some of us watch helplessly as we our loved ones fight to become free.  Some get defensive when/if we try to help them and perhaps it’s not our place on how to make it right.  We need to pray for inspiration on how we can help guide others as well as ourselves to free ourselves from the pain and stay in tune with the Spirit.  We need to have a witness to ourselves that we may know how we should go about making amends and finding peace that will feel us and help us see the light. We somehow each need to go through our own personal crucifixion.

When Roland opened the door of the car, the doe struggled harder until finally she was free and took off into an orchard (won’t the owners of the orchard be thrilled?) Thus it is possible to escape the darkness and find the light.  We may have scars, but we will be stronger for it. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Happy Anniversary – Let’s Make Grape Juice

          Roland and I went to the outskirts of Roseburg (Melbourne) last night to pick grapes in the rain.  We didn’t go with the intention of being rained on nor did we go to the vineyard with the intent of celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary and yet it was.  I would have forgotten all about it if my sister hadn’t sent me an anniversary wish.  Wow.

          We were on our mini-vacation when the month had started.  What happened to the week after we returned?  September used to be the longest month in my opinion.  And here it’s been ten days and I have foreseen that this will be the shortest September ever. How odd.

          The weather has gone from unbearably hot to misty fog and cool temperatures except at 4:00 a.m. when the humidity is at 100 percent.  I don’t recall feeling so smothered in the humidity level while in Bandon – though I did in Coos Bay.  Who would have thought I would feel that same temperature and stickiness in Myrtle Creek during my sleep. 

          I’ve been getting up every morning to shut the windows. I wonder how much longer Roland will allow for us to go to sleep with the windows open before he attempts to kick on the heat.  He gets cold and I get hot.

          We started the grape juice last night but it was only a start.  We watched the first episode of “a Very Brady Renovation” How special that HGTV would make the premier on the date of our anniversary (LOL) We picked three and a half buckets and have almost three buckets left and possibly 13 gallons of juice by the time we are finished.  Roland says we’ll make more jam this year.  We will see if he can contain himself.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Semis and River Rafting

          Funny how something can trigger a memory that doesn’t seem like it would even belong.  For instance when Roland is driving, he seems to go over the speed limit by five miles or so.  Sometimes he will pass the slow moving trucks.  Often people will pass him as though he’s not even moving.  We haven’t had a semi pass us but have watched some semis pass others.  I was recently reminded of going on my first river raft trip.  How would a semi remind me of river rafting you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

          I had signed up for a program through BYU.  We were told to meet at BYU and we would car pool to southern Utah.  As it turned out, there were only three of us who signed up.  John and John Junior lived in St. George.  It seemed pointless for them to drive up to Provo just to go back towards their home.  Thus Larry was designated to drive me to St. George where we would pick them up and then onto whatever river rafting company was used.  I was the same age as Jenna is right now.  Dad trusted that Larry would get me to my destination and I didn’t have any qualms about the possibility of being in danger.  There is no way I would let Jenna ride with a complete stranger even if it was a credited sponsored program – nor do I suspect BYU would allow it today.  But there you have it.  Different time.

          Larry was polite and we talked.  I don’t remember the specifics except for when we had passed a semi that had been pulled over and it appeared that the driver was receiving a citation. Larry told me to pay close attention as it was rare and I would never see it again – which I haven’t – though I suspect it happens more often than it did at that time – just as suspicion and abductions seems to have occurred more often.

          We picked John and John up outside of St. George and continued on our way.  We had our own private chef.  His name was Pete and he made the most delicious food.  The three guys had allowed me to go first for every meal – I wonder how many there were or how long we were gone.  It seems weird to think about now.  I am sad that I don’t remember many details.  I know I had fun.  I purchased a picture and kept it in my Book of Remembrance – which is one of the many items that was left behind before our arriving in Oregon.  Too bad.

          I’d love for Jenna to go river rafting.  I’m certain that she would enjoy it.

Side Note:  Shortly after I created this post, Jenna had the opportunity of going camping with a couple of people who I don't know and actually neither does she.  It may have been innocent and with wholesome intent on the one making the arrangements.  Roland and I told her no.  She doesn't seem to understand the possibility of "what if". 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Bandon: Museum, Sculptures and Cheese

This will be my last post concerning our Labor Day weekend in Bandon this year:

One of the stops on the trolley route was Face Rock Creamery.  They make their own cheese but serve Umpqua ice cream.  Somehow it tasted creamier to me than when I eat Umpqua Dairy in Myrtle Creek.  Perhaps it was just the atmosphere.

          We did get some real food in addition to the ice cream and rare cheese that we had purchased.  That tasted different in Bandon than it did after we got it home. 

          Jenna had been torn between a sandwich or the smoked mac and cheese.  Unless you absolutely LOVE the flavor of smoke (not like, not tolerate, but LOVE) I would not recommend the smoked mac and cheese.  Even so, just get the small.

          There’d been a sign outside of the museum indicating that tours were free on Sundays.  

After we finished eating, Jenna and I walked to the museum and Roland said he would meet us there.  On our way to the museum, we passed some sculptures – which Jenna had taken a few from the trolley.  She took almost 20 more as we passed on foot


          She took 50 pics at the museum.  Here are a few: 

          After the museum we returned to the car and headed back to Myrtle Creek.  Roland and I were exhausted.  Jenna does not yet understand being exhausted.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Bandon from the Trolley

                We had seen the trolley on Saturday and Jenna had wanted to ride it at that time.  We did not take the opportunity then, but took advantage after we returned from Face Rock.  We had returned to downtown Bandon for some souvenirs.  Jenna specifically wanted a shirt from Washed Ashore, but there was fifteen minutes before it opened.  Roland led us to the toy store.  Somehow we had lost him and Jenna and I were outside when she noticed the trolley.  She asked the driver how much it cost.  When he said “free” Jenna had more reason.  The trolley comes by every hour.  We got on without Roland, but I didn’t think it right for us to be gone from him for an hour as he would have no idea where we were  (I had left my cell phone in the car or else I would have called him) and got off at the next stop and walked back.

 We went back to the Gallery where Jenna purchased a sweatshirt (which is now a permanent part of her body) and I purchased a book called Sea Change (here).  We did some more exploring and waited on a bench for the trolley to return.  I am so happy that Jenna had the opportunity of riding as she said it was the highlight of our trip.  Jenna took almost a hundred pictures - many of them blurred. With some I couldn't figure out what she it was she was trying to capture. She did get some really nice ones. With the exception of the first picture, Jenna took all of these pictures:

waiting for the trolley to return

microsoft Zeke filter

outlook for elephant rock

a bit blurred, but shows the town on water's edge

boat can be rented through Coos

the last picture that she took from the trolley