Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Maybe I’m Allergic to the Alka-Seltzer

          When I was little, I used to spin around until I got dizzy and then spin some more.  Especially when I had pleats on.  My skirt or dress would twirl with me.  I thought that was major cool.

          I don’t know how old I was when I lost my balance or perhaps I had just spun into the end table.  Either way, I was bleeding from a gash just above my right eye.  I had to have stitches.  As a result I have a small indentation just above my right eye.  Sort of like a dimple.  Small though.  Not actually noticed by many.

          I have had some people notice that my right eye does look smaller than my left.  Not a noticeable difference to most people – but those who study my face harder have wondered about it.

          In December I had a sinus infection which pained my left eye.  In January it was my right eye – but only for a day. With January’s eye infection, there were been few people who didn’t noticed  the difference in eye size as my right eye appeared to have swollen almost all the way shut.  It was weird. I had considered making an appointment with the doctor again on the following day (for it was a Sunday that my eyelids revealed only a slit of my eye) but by Monday morning it was gone.

          By coincidence I had also taken Alka-Seltzer plus cold medicine all three times.  I used to think it was the absolutely best cold medicine for me personally.  But now I wonder if they changed the formula.  Or perhaps it’s counter-reacting to something else I had that day (like chocolate? maybe) or if it’s the very dry air in our house.  Or if it’s the water itself.

          The pain behind the eye is not the worst part.  The worst part is being so disoriented that I’m not quite aware of what is going on around me.  So disoriented that I forget to drink water and become dehydrated.  In December I was just such a neglectful mother towards Jenna – who was home from school for the holidays.

          Today it is my left eye.  The closure of the lid makes it appear almost even with my right eye.  They haven’t looked near the same size as one another in over forty years.

          I am grateful for modern medicine.  For medical science and research.  And for those who take the time to learn it and pass it on.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Increasing Our Vocabulary

          I am familiar with the word “Hullabaloo” – I have used it before.  Not often.  It’s barely in my vocabulary.  I don’t recall ever saying that word around Jenna.  But she picked it up from somewhere.

          She and I classmate were sitting behind me in the car and were talking about “eating the flag”.  What?  She explained that the class had made American flags out of graham crackers, blue and white frosting, red licorice, and chocolate chips. 

          “Oh, sorry,” she says. “WHITE chocolate chips.”

          She then turns to her classmate and says, “Some people in this car don’t believe that white chocolate is really chocolate.  She thinks white chocolate is really just a bunch of hullabaloo”

          She may be right.  After all, if it doesn’t have any cocoa products, I don’t think it has the right to be called “chocolate” – but I don’t ever remember using the word “hullabaloo” to describe my disgust.  It’s not that I dislike white chocolate so much as I am appalled that it doesn’t live up to the “chocolate” name.

          I was so floored by her vocabulary that I didn’t think to ask her where she had heard that word.  When she returned home I asked. 

          Martha Speaks,” she said proudly.

          I do like that she enjoys PBS programs and that she learns from them.  Thank you PBS for shows like Martha Speaks and Word Girl that help my child to increase her vocabulary.

Monday, February 27, 2012

We All Feel Excluded at Times

I had read Corey’s beautiful testimony which he posted on his blog.  Still not allowed to share it in Church – which is really too bad.  It is so powerful and does give insight into acceptance.

There were some comments made by a few whose names I hadn’t recognized.  They’d been following Corey’s blog for quite some time but had never made comment until Corey once again mentioned that he might stop blogging.
I had told him time and time again that he needed to continue – or needs to rather.  It’s not just my selfish desire to read his eloquent words – he has been making a difference for over six years now.  Followers have seen him struggle and grow and give advice – though he doesn’t mean it that way.  His words just come out so naturally that a reader can’t help but feel some sense of awe.
Until Corey’s blog had been pointed out to me – I hadn’t done much research on homosexuality – or same sex attraction rather.  Just because one has SSA does not mean that he or she may act upon it – hard as it may be.  You either remain celibate and true to your church or true to yourself at the expense of membership.  It’s hard.  It’s like you’ve been told to multiply and replenish the earth but you’ve also been told NOT to eat the apple.

There have been many who have become angry or hurt by the decisions of the church.  Recently I posted a comment on the website Mormons for Marriages.  My thought was that if missionaries teach an unwed heterosexual couple the gospel and have them commit to baptism, they expect the couple will get married first.  But what do they expect of a homosexual couple? Would they even bother teaching them?

Corey could have taken a tremendously different path than he did.  Between the time he graduated from high school and from the two year college he attended, Corey grew into a very bitter person.  I had little contact with the prick that he had become. It wasn’t because he thought he was a homosexual that put a strain on our relationship – it was just that he would invite Satan – or Satan seemed to hang around his life and I wasn’t thrilled to see his presence crossing over into my own life – denying the fact that with my failing relationship with Corey, he already had. 

Satan had interfered with the pretty awesome relationship that Corey and I had once had.  But because we were already at odds with one another when he announced his coming out – I realized then that I just didn’t care.  Somewhere between high school and his college graduation, I had stopped caring about Corey.  The Corey I had known had disappeared and a very dark and ugly personality had taken over.

Corey is the first to admit just how dark and ugly his life was.  He had been fighting a losing battle practically his entire life.  The Church had said, “You need to behave this way.  You need to think that way.  You need to repent if you are not in the Mormon Box” – okay – it wasn’t taught entirely with those exact words – but that is the message that was conveyed.  Still is at times.

We are taught to stay in the Mormon lines and yet there is a Mormonad – a youth poster – with a picture of a single daisy amongst several roses in a vase.  The caption reads: Dare to be Different.  Really?  Sometimes I feel chastised for some of the different emotions that I feel.  And it’s not just me.  It’s every feminist.  It’s everyone who has had feelings and desires toward a person who is not of the same faith that we are.  It’s every person who has experienced what many may call “failed” marriages.  It’s the person who lost custody because his or her spouse had a “smoother” attorney.

From what I understand (I don’t have hard evidence to back this up, so I could be wrong) there was a high suicide rate among the women in the Church in the 60s, unable to live up to all the expectations outlined for them.  For years and years those from a black race could join the Church, but could NOT hold the priesthood.  It appeared that they had been told, “You can join the Church but never reap all the benefits that we have to offer”

Those who have married a spouse who is not a member of the Church or have a spouse who is inactive or recently divorced may feel excluded with activities or topics of eternal marriage.  Even single people who have been looking for straight partners may not always be comfortable with the subject of eternal families and how we need to search for an eternal mate and blah, blah, blah . . . as if they’re not already searching. 

So many meeting will start with, “of course we want to include our single brothers and sisters . . .” when what they are really doing is just adding salt to the wounds that seem to become deeper with each “enduring” meeting.

I went from “single” resentment to a “budget” hang-up.  I understand the need of balancing a checkbook and prioritizing and doing without.  I get it.  Sitting through the umpteenth meeting with my given financial situation doesn’t change the economy or Roland’s greedy ex.  We’ve been behind with attorney fees (have actually lost attorneys) taxes and so forth.  We don’t even have anything tangible to show for where our money went.  It’s a problem.  Rubbing my nose in it isn’t going to change the situation.  It’s only going to make me hostile and feel more resentment.

And now leaders are advising those with same sex attraction NOT to act upon their feelings – to remain unhappy living the gospel.  Oh – they don’t say “Be unhappy” they actually advise the leopard to “change his spots – or remove them rather”  though there are a few that have come to understand that homosexuality is NOT a choice just as being born Hispanic or Asian or any other race is not a choice.  It’s in the genes. 

There are many of those who act upon their feelings to share their lives with one of the same sex – they may feel welcome to attend meetings and even feel the love of their fellow members.  But over time it becomes trite and mundane.  There are still many lessons and talks given that encourage staying within the Mormon lines. 

          I recall the day that Corey told us that he had decided that he would go on a mission.  Blew us away.  Where in the world did that even come from?  Was my brother back and the imposter of the last two years taken a permanent hike?  The transformation that had taken Corey from my beloved brother into the arrogant self-centered jerk he’d become was such a gradual one – so gradual that neither of us even saw it was there in the beginning.  But the transformation from egotistical angry soul was not.  It was like black and white, night and day – nothing gradual about it.  And he put in his papers.

          I think if Corey had remained the imposter slimeball he’d become, it would have led him on a path of destruction.  I would have seen gays in a very unpositive manner as so many people do due to some sleazy and corrupt lifestyles that so many gay people take – although there are just as many straight people who choose to lead the sleazy and corrupt life.  I would have continued believing that homosexuality is wrong. 

          I would have had a Pharisee attitude without researching.  I would have kept my eyes closed because I believed that the Church had told me to.  I wouldn’t have been open and welcoming to a new idea.  Well, new to me. 
I would have forgotten how it feels to be excluded due to culture, life experiences, being single, being poor . . . I suppose there are a great number of people in the Church who feel excluded for one reason or another.

Homosexuality has been around for thousands of years – it’s been only recently that we’ve become more vocal about it.  And yet there are thousands who still close their eyes and refuse to look at gays and lesbians as real people with real feelings.  Some choose to lead reprimanded lifestyles while others are really struggling to find their identity, to be happy, to be accepted.

          Corey came back.  He grew into an even better and more accepting human being. He has touched the lives of so many.  And he’s given me hope.  Given me a new perspective on life.  Homosexuality (or same sex attraction) is not a choice – though acting on one’s desires is.  The gay man can feel every bit as the straight.  He or she can love a partner just as much as a straight man or woman may love a partner.  Feelings are real.  We don’t often choose whether or not we would like to be attracted to someone.  The feelings are there.  They are real.

The Church offers guidelines on how to act and how to dress.  (Would Jesus really be offended to see a Snoopy tie on a deacon or 2nd counselor or chastise a woman for wearing a denim skirt or open toed shoes?) guidelines to be conservative and professional overpowering being casual and appearing uncaring.
Not all members are willing to overlook those who really don’t have the finances of showing up in their idea of “Sunday Best”. For some people the jeans that don’t have holes in them really are their best.  If we were to exclude members based on dress code, our ward would have even less youth than we already have.  And it isn’t because they’re too lazy to dress appropriately.  We just happen to live in a rather financially poor area.

          We need to be happy.  God’s kind of happy.  The Church offers guide lines, but for most of us I think we need to spread our wings.  We need to take the principles that we have learned and continue to soar – but for most of us we need to soar beyond the walls that were created by many members who are trying so hard to live the letter of the law that they are not willing to look at others with the same heart and compassion that God does. 

          God loves us completely.  He knows who we are and what we can accomplish.  He has given us trials to overcome.  He has created paths for us to endure.  God has.  Man hasn’t.  I think sometimes we lose sight of that.  We’re encouraged to pray for ourselves to know what’s right for us.  No one can take away our personal revelation. 

Imperfect members relate these guidelines in various ways.  We are encouraged to pray about the things we learn.  We need to understand and differentiate between the two.  We need to understand God’s will for us versus man’s will for God’s expectations. God is perfect.  His children are not.

There are still some races and cultures who still struggle with acceptance.  When those who have homosexual feelings are better accepted, mankind will look for a new group of people to be afraid of, to pick on, and to exclude. Too bad.

The Idea Drawer

I may have mentioned before that even though I hadn’t officially started Blogging until the beginning of this year, I had ideas of what I would post – and sometimes I would complete my thoughts and mark it as ready-to-share while others still remain in the undeveloped idea mode.

I keep a list on file stored and tucked away until I can find the right words. Sometimes I will be inspired to visit one of my ideas and will add to it or change it around or combine it with another idea that I had.  And some I wonder if I will end up posting at all. Some I’ve actually deleted.

Most of the time I have posted, I have used the copy and paste method.  There were two times I posted directly.  From my perspective the direct post always seems to come out in microscopic form.  I prefer the font I have used with Microsoft word which I can read without trying to blow up the font size (as I often do with lengthy emails that I’ve received)

I sent one of my ideas to Corey.  He not only encouraged me to post it, he asked if he could use it in one of his posts.  Now that is really flattering.  Because it has always been me who has gone to Corey – except for two years which will be explained in the next post WE ALL FEEL EXCLUDED AT TIMES.

I like having an idea drawer that I can draw from.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It hurts just a little bit

          Since we were children, mom has made it a tradition to take each us out for lunch or dinner on his or her birthday.  I don’t know how old we were when the tradition started.  We used to go out as an entire family and gradually just the birthday child.
          This continued for the grandchildren after Patrick and his wife started having children.  I remember going out with the oldest two with the entire family – which gradually turned into just Patrick’s family and then just the grandchild. 

          I know my youngest nephew was four when my mom took him out.  His mom and I just happened to be with them.  I don’t know where we went to eat (probably somewhere exciting – like McDonald’s) but I do remember him choosing a pair of green overall shorts that probably only fit him just that one day. 

          I remember him saying, “I am four.  Today is four.  And I wear four”  The overalls were marked size four – I think they must have been mismarked however.  I seriously don’t believe he wore something that small since he was two. (My nephew is quite large in stature)

          After I married, my mom continued to take out Patrick’s children, but never mine.  She did acknowledge the boys’ birthdays for the most part.  But she stopped remembering when Jenna’s birthday even is.

          My mom and sister were both in the hospital with me the day that Jenna was born.  But my mom does not remember.  It’s not her fault.  She may have dementia.  There’s a lot that she doesn’t remember.

          My sister’s baby is almost two.  Grandma’s favorite grandchild – or so it appears.  But I don’t know if she remembers what month she was born either.  Although she might have an idea as their birthdays are only a week apart (eight days).

          So it’s not just Jenna who won’t be celebrating birthdays with Grandma.  My sister’s two children will probably never know my mom the way Patrick’s children did.  Before she had dementia.  Before when she had more independence and a driver’s license. 

          I miss my mom.  I’m sad for the loss that her three youngest grandchildren may never know first handedly.  I am grateful that each of us have memories to share.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If He’s Just Going to Die Anyway . . .

My dad had had a series of strokes later in life.  Some of them were so “small” that they went undetected.  The first one I remember had temporarily paralyzed the left side of his jaw.  Not realizing the magnitude of what was happening, we made jokes about it.

Because he was such a quiet man, we commented that his jaw was sliding off his face as he never used it. It eventually returned to his normal appearance.  It wasn’t until later on that we learned his downward jaw had been the result of one of the strokes he had had.

Dad started keeping odd hours.  He’d be awake while the rest of us were asleep and vise-versa.  He was in need of care 24-7 and it became too overwhelming at times.  We were told that the insurance he had would not cover a live-in aide – but they did have a list of nursing homes.  We did our best to avoid it, but it finally got to the point that we needed assistance.  I don’t know how we ended up with the facility that we did.  It was depressing.

He actually had strength left in his hands as he would hang on for dear life to any person who would assist him in walking out to the car or whatever.  We called it “the death grip”.  I would always stop in our tracks and tell him, “If you would like to continue moving, you will have to ease up on your grip because you are hurting me!” 

He’d laugh and his juices would come out and he’d start to drool. It was painful watching him go downhill.

We took my dad to therapy.  He was a favorite patient as he was very cooperative to do everything he was told. Except for one time when my mom took him out of bed and tried walking with him and decided to put him back before someone came in and caught them doing something that they weren’t supposed to do.

Mom would push on one side and race around the bed to pull him.  He laughed while she frantically moved from one side to the other saying, “Someone is coming. I don’t even know if we were suppose to get you out of bed”

Mom had done therapy with him.  They were both quite worn out when an orderly came in and brightly asked, “Are you ready for physical therapy?”

Mom looked at dad and nodded “yes” while he shook his head “No”.

Because the muscles in his mouth weren’t working the way they should, it became difficult to swallow anything.  We started out with thick juices and nectars to a no liquid restriction. He was given wet sponges to suck on in order to quench his thirst.

Each stroke left him paralyzed just a little bit more. He walked with a cane.  His speech became difficult to understand.  So difficult that many didn’t realize he still had the ability to think and still had a sharp mind. 

One time my brother’s family brought to him a vase of flowers.  When he was alone in the room, he removed the flowers and drank the water from the vase.  My sister-in-law was upset.  She said she hadn’t even cleaned the vase all that well, and would have done a better job had she known.  It was dirty water.  He was desperately thirsty though.

He would get out of bed and fall and was restrained and would cry that he was being tied up.  And we would cry with him.  Sometimes we would loosen the bands and then report our deeds to the nurse. 

I really don’t remember how long he’d been there.  But the insurance company gave us a deadline for when they would no longer supply payment for keeping him there. Eleven days before the deadline he had another stroke.  An ambulance took him to the hospital that was near the house of my family.  Someone went to see him every day.

We were able to teach him some finger spelling – which of course came slow.  And if we asked a question that wasn’t a “yes” or “no” question – it became quite a game to figure out the answer.

One time my mom went up to one of the members of the Church to thank him for visiting my dad.  He was taken aback and asked sincerely, “How did you know that?”
“He told me.”
“He told you?”
“But when I saw him . . . I didn’t know he could . . . How did he tell you?”

Dad loved chocolate milk shakes and hamburgers.  He had been hooked up to a feeding tube.  Daddy had already lost so much weight.  His legs were thin – like arms. He still had tastable desires.

Once my mom asked, “If he’s just going to die anyway, what difference does it make whether we give him a milk shake or not.”

The comment brought on some cold hearted stares, but seeing the sadness in mom’s eyes, they knew she was right.  It was highly probable that he would not be leaving the hospital alive.  And he did get at least two milk shakes out of the deal.

My dad never returned to the nursing home.  He spent his 54th birthday in the hospital – he was laid to rest a month later. He’d been released from his physical body.  He had endured to the end.  And he hadn’t complained.  How amazing is that?

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining.  My brother, Patrick, and I both gave talks. We played a recording of Corey reading his poem (as he was on his mission at the time) and my sister, Kayla sang Amy Grant’s “Father’s Eyes”  It was a really nice tribute.  I miss my dad.  I think of him quite a bit on really awesome days that take place in the fall.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Roland loves to cook.  He enjoys baking.  The kitchen is his domain.  Overall he is a really good cook. I can follow a recipe (usually) but I don’t enjoy cooking.  I do enjoy eating though.  Unfortunately it shows.

          When he was working on commission, Roland cooked dinner all of the time.  It was great!  Especially when he would get a hold of abandoned recipe books and feel inspired to make something different every night.  I didn’t always like what he fixed, but for the most part it was awesome.

          He has since found a job that pays an income that we can actually budget with.  But because he is required to do at least 40 hours a week,  I am now in charge of making the meals.  Roland doesn’t complain exactly, but always asks why I did this or why I didn’t do that or gives me helpful suggestions on how I can improve whatever I have prepared. 

          I don’t know why Roland wants me to prepare every meal.  When I have dinner ready, he is usually very late.  When I don’t have dinner, he is on time and wonders where dinner is. Aside from the turkey sandwiches that I’ve made and the ugly cake that was downed in just seconds, he never likes anything that I make.

          I finally came up with a dish that he raved about.  Well, not raved exactly. But he said he liked it.  I, on the other hand, found it to be somewhat disgusting.

          “Really?” I asked. 

          “yes.  I thought it was pretty good.”

          I can’t win!

          Last week I made ham fried rice.  I had never made it before.  It wasn’t bad.  It tasted much better the next day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


          This post is dedicated to my sister, Kayla and our sister-in-law, Sunny.

          Kayla has always been the strong silent type – both physically and spiritually.  She has always had tremendous faith.  She is a survivor.

          When she was younger she could detect the slightest movement of a wrapper being pulled away from a food item (usually something unhealthy like ding dongs or cupcakes or m&ms) She wouldn’t even be in the house, but in the neighborhood.  Unwrap that piece of candy, and she would appear through the door.  But it had to be real.  We could never get her to come simply by crinkling cellophane or foil

          She would say to my mom, “Can I have a piece of gum?” (or whatever)

          Mom, truly forgetting there really was such an item in the house, would come back at her, “I don’t think we have any”

          And Kayla would always know.  “Yes we do.  It is in the third bag pushed against the wall in the cupboard under the microwave”

          Sure enough it would be there.

          Kayla had a problem understanding prepositions.  Written directions would confuse her.  Mom had taken her to a therapist and spent a tremendous amount of time with her going over her homework, trying to help her to understand.

          Kayla had a huge following of friends.  They called and knocked at the door at all hours.  It got to the point where my mom had to physically remove Kayla from our house and environment.  They went to a nearby drive-in to have breakfast and stayed for hours while they studied.

          We used to call her Kaylarella as we would often ask her to fulfill tasks that involved cleaning or serving.  And she enjoyed it.  I looked at it as taking advantage of her na├»ve willingness.  She looked at it as an opportunity to serve and felt connected. Wow.

Kayla and I are thirteen years apart.  She was the last one of my mom’s four children to receive her driver’s license.  Not so much just because she was the youngest.  It just became a really hard task for her to conquer.  Driving was a worldly thing.  And her mind just wasn’t on the world.  That’s what I liked to believe.  Don’t know that it gave any comfort to her that I thought that way.

She was diligent.  She took at least three different classes – with each she would take the driver’s test at least three times – never passing.  Never earning her driver’s license.  It wasn’t until after I got married to Roland that he took her out and created a new confidence.  She finally had a driver’s license after she turned 27.

Kayla didn’t do a lot of heavy dating as I recall.  And just as with me, Kayla also married late in life – though not quite as late. She just gave birth to her second child, a boy named after my father.  There first was a girl she had named after Bill’s first wife.

Our sister-in-law should start a Blog.  Most everything that falls from her mouth seems so profound and full of wisdom.  I admire her and her sense of being.  She is such a positive person to be around and so full of hope and comfort.  I have always thought that after she joined our family. 

          The older she gets the wiser and more profound her thoughts sound. She’s not a butt-in-ski.  She’ll hold her tongue unless you ask for her advice.  She is such an awesome person. Everyone deserves to have that awesomeness in their lives.  I am so grateful for her – though I don’t always show it.

          Sunny embraces life and has taught her four children to do the same – or has tried to.  None seem as extroverted as she is.
          Sunny always invites enthusiasm and shares her joy with other.  She points out beautiful things to others. Perhaps I have her on a pedestal – but I am NOT the only one.  She really is a great asset to our family.

          I am so grateful for each of my sisters.  I love them both and value the friendships that we have established.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Healthy Imagination

          Jenna has always had a quite a highly active imagination – which is good.  She was able to turn the broken lounge chairs into a slide and used my exercise equipment as her swing.  It kept her entertained.

          Not long ago she told me a story which started:

          “Once upon a time, long ago, in a refrigerator, there lived some fruits and vegetables.  Each thought they should be the ruler of the fridge. . . “

          As the story unfolds it had an apparent Romeo and Juliette theme going.  Only at the end the carrot and the apple run off together leaving the other fruits and vegetables wishing they had been nicer to one another.

          She would act out stories with friends.  If the friend had a younger sib, the two would make the sib an evil dragon, hideous beast or unwanted monster.  Once when Howard’s mother and I were visiting, Jenna and Howard flew into the room chasing Howard’s little brother – irate because they had been playing pirates and needed the brother to walk the plank. (He evidently was NOT cooperating)

          Today she will act out entire episodes using her dolls or stuffed animals or sometimes just spoons or pencils.  This morning it was a monologue spewed from a bear dressed in camouflage – one that Tony had given her for Christmas a couple of years ago.  Jenna, upon seeing that the bear was dressed in the same army camouflage uniform as her brother, exclaimed, “Look what Tony gave me!  It’s a “him doll”, “him” meaning Tony.

          So this morning’s monologue goes something like this: “I am not wearing my coat,” she says in her gruff soldier voice, “and there is something in my boot.  Can you get that out for me?” 

          I looked at her and I looked in the boot to see a candy shaped gloss sticking out.  I pull it out and hand it over.  The bear thanks me and then goes on to describe the glorious artwork of the cool candy shaped container.  I often smile at Jenna’s awesome imagination.

         I found an empty glass in the refrigerator.  I told Jenna about it and she said that she didn’t do it (I believe her as I know she didn’t appreciate the contents) and suggested that maybe it was a “super alien from another planet who came into our house undetected”  - where does she come up with these things? (or vocabulary?)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NOT the Brady Bunch

          Roland has six children – nine if you count the three that were never born – which he often does.  They’ve all been given names – though I doubt we’ll be raising the unborn in the hereafter.

          Biff is the oldest.  He has brown eyes and looks just like his paternal grandfather.  Spitting image – only taller – which is saying a lot as Biff’s biggest hang-up about life seems to have been with his small size.  He really is not that tall compared to your average guy – but he is taller than those on both Roland’s side and his mom’s side.

          Tony seems to get his looks from his mom’s side – though I haven’t really seen it.  The receding hairline is definitely from her side.  Though Tony towers over his mom’s small sized family (small individuals – the family itself is actually quite large in number) he seems to share the same skinny genes that his mom’s side seem to hold.

          Randy is sort of a mixture. Hazel eyes (as well as Tony) all American boy. Freckles. Tallest of the three. Dimples show when he smiles – which is often.

          Vincente – I don’t know if they actually knew the sex at the time or had an ultrasound as his twin brother was a surprise.  I’m thinking if they had known the sex they would have also known that there were two of them.

          Stephen -  Roland had picked out a name for one before his late wife passed.  And when he learned there were two jotted a name down for the other. 
He must have written Stephen’s name in a journal after Vincente

          Francis – Amazon build like her mother – but with facial features from Roland’s side – which I hadn’t noticed.  But then I haven’t yet met Roland’s entire family.

          Pamprin also has the Amazon bone structure and a face like her mom’s.  But she does have dimples like Randy.  And actually her behavior is pretty identical to his also.

          Tracy was only six weeks inside me.  I remember exactly when and where he/she was conceived.  At least one of Roland’s little swimmers wiggled its way up my right fallopian tube before the egg was ready to drop. And that’s where Tracy grew. 

But my tube burst and my belly filled with blood.  We didn’t even know Tracy was in there until an ultrasound was given and we heard his/her heartbeat.  I still cry when I think about it.  Tracy had to be aborted – along with what was left of my tube.  If we would have waited another hour I would be dead, too.

We picked the name Tracy as we have no sex identity.  But I don’t believe Tracy is ours to keep.  I believe the “receiving a body” is more than just a six weeks in the womb.  I believe that Tracy may have gone to another family – or had to wait a while to come to our family.

Jenna is our miracle baby.  Conceived in my early forties and on only one tube.  She looks like both of her parents.  I have seen some expressions that remind me of Francis, but I have also seen some that look like Pamprin.  In her I see a lot of personalities, mostly mine and Randy’s and Tony’s.  Though when she was inside me she was strong like Biff – as we could see her doing calisthenics through the ultrasound.

We have a few pictures of all six kids being silly – well, five of them were.  Jenna was only six months and didn’t demonstrate any behavior other than being happy.  We also have one taken with Roland and his six children – the last time we saw his oldest two girls – the last time when all our boys were together.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Knit VS. Crochet

          Overall I think the knit is a prettier stitch.  I generally like the feel and am impressed with the eye-catching cable.  It just seems more polished to me or something.  But I would rather work with just one hook building one loop at a time than two piercing needles that contain all loops and can easily slip and unravel.
          Seems silly really as knitting has only two basic stitches: knitting and purling, whereas crocheting has a variety of stitches which can become complicated to my simple mind – just from reading the directions that is.  I think I do well with a hands on. Not always.  But if I have a personal coach explaining or showing what I’m doing, I can pick it up a lot quickly than trying to figure it out on my own.

          When I was younger (much younger) my mom crocheted two beautiful coat sweaters.  Mine was yellow and she gave the orange one to my cousin.  I think that yellow sweater was the most beautiful sweater that I have ever owned – well from what I remember.  I don’t remember everything about it.  But I do remember it being warm and sophisticated and wonderful.

          My mom had tried to teach me to crochet when I was younger.  She crocheted all the time.  Made hairpin lace afghans.  Lots of them.  And she made them for all the family members. 

She hadn’t attempted to start me on hairpin lace – a simple chain stitch and single crochet.  I wasn’t good at it.  I didn’t have a passion for learning it.  It was too time consuming – I felt.  I gave it up without really trying.  It wasn’t until after school that I was reintroduced to the world of yarn.

          Somewhere along the way I learned the granny square.  I know I made a pot holder at one point. But I still didn’t turn it into something I needed or had the desire to do all of the time.  But in 1985 I picked it up again.

There was a woman who was pretty much bed ridden.  But she was active with her hands.  She taught me to crochet.  My first project was a popcorn stitch afghan – though she had tried to get me to start with something smaller.  I made a red and white afghan to send to my mother.  With all of the many afghans she made for everybody else, I didn’t believe she had ever made one for herself.

I met another woman who had a passion for knitting and taught me how to knit.  Holding the needles while trying to stitch loops without letting go of the rest that we’re on the needle was quite awkward for me.  I think I may have knitted a scarf?  It wasn’t a very memorable one obviously.  It was my only knitting project until very recently.
Provo Craft introduced a line of looms they call the knifty knitter – and they are.  Projects work up so much faster than the knitting needles ever could (or do) My family and I have made hats and I will be making dishrags eventually.  What an awesome product.

You know what makes me wonder though?  Why is it that all knit patterns require crochet hooks to finish off, but crocheted patterns never ask for a knitting needle?  Could it be that the crochet hook is more powerful?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Triggers and the Mighty Thorn

I have a friend named Heather (actual name) who has this blog  in which she will often ask questions at the end of her posts.  Three of my answers have been so weighed with detail that I answered by email rather than leave a comment on the post, as some of my comments turn out to be larger than the post itself.

 The first question I remember actually sending an email for was when she asked, “What are your triggers?”  At first I couldn’t think of one.  It was ten days before the Christmas tree skirt came out.  There was my trigger.  A horrible memory that I should just get rid of. And yet it’s a busy time of year and replacing the tree skirt is never a priority – and it’s probably petty of me to feel the need to replace it anyway.

Before you can understand the trigger itself, you’ll need some background.

          All too soon after the boys’ mother passed, Roland decided to marry Satan’s sister.  In addition to our three boys and daughter, my husband has two other girls, Francis and Pamprin – whom I wasn’t even allowed to meet until over a year after Roland and I had been married.   

After another two year battle in court, we were finally able to have them for overnight visits – but not every other week.  Roland’s ex did everything in her power to sabotage the visits.  I had so many nicknames for her: the greedy snake, Malificent, Adolf Hitler, the peroxide cow (which in itself is an insult to all cows everywhere) and Satan’s spawn to name a few. 

I sent the following email to Heather:

“The thing that triggers me is the Christmas tree skirt.  The emotions are buried within me when the skirt and tree are put away - but each year we decorate I growl inside. 

“I bought the skirt the same year that Roland's pampered princess spent the holidays with us. It wasn't totally her fault that she was such a brat - her deranged mother catered to her every need - often at the expense of her older sister - whom they both treated like a pack mule.

“I think I actually invited Pamprin to go with me - or rather gave her a choice - she could go with me or stay home with Tony (their absolute favorite brother and probably the only reason they agreed to visitations in the first place) She chose to stay.
So I left the girls with Tony - Jenna included. Jenna was less than a year old.”

“The handyman had come to finish up in the bathroom.  Pamprin was "scared" - called her deranged mother the second I left the house I'm sure.  Maleficent (my nickname for Roland's ex) in turn called the sheriff’s department - who pulled up to our house the same time I did.  I was so mad.  I still get upset about it [whenever I see the skirt].  Maleficent has been a thorn in our side for years.  I have many wicked and unpleasant thoughts because of her interference.  (I think she is bi-polar - for real)”

          Recent news stories about the deranged Josh Powell (one of many stories is found here) triggers up anger to a less-than perfect system – one that failed Charlie and Braden Powell – the same one that awarded custody to Malificent who has robbed the girls of their minds.  She has not attempted to blow up herself or the girls – too greedy.  Needs them so that she has something to leverage with.

I need to get over it – I know.  I should be more compassionate towards her.  She needs professional help.  But it is the girls who suffer the most. 

That is actually another reason why my blog gives a false identity.  Malificent will take me to court if she should ever read my blog and figure it out.  She’s one of those sue happy psychopaths – who often will get her way as the system continues to fail those who are really trying or need protecting. 

I’m not even sure why I have created this post.  It’s not pleasant to read or look at.  It is something that I need to overcome.  Perhaps if I post it for the whole world to see it will provide me some sense of relief.  Some sort of goal that I need to set for myself. Only time will tell.