Sunday, July 29, 2012

Like a Fly to Cowpie

That’s how she described her passion for family history: “like a fly to cowpie”.  She had been raised on a dairy farm – it was a natural analogy – though I could think of better ones: “a duck to water” “a monkey on a cupcake” or Roland’s favorite: “like Godzilla on Tokyo”

        I don’t even have a passion for genealogy or family research (from an earlierpostbut wouldn’t have compared it to manure.  Family History is a good thing and works for a lot of people.  And there are many aspects of family history that I do enjoy – but research is a far cry from being one of them.

          It’s not just family history that gets her fired up.  I believe that it is everything that comes her way.  She greets it with her heart which shines in her smile.  I think she may have an even bigger love for life than my sister-in-law, Sunny, whom I truly admire. 

Sunny teaches pre-school.  Parents put their children on waiting lists and feel very honored when they get in.  Sunny is awesome at introducing children to their first steps to life.  May her students always remember her enthusiasm. I wish I had even just one ounce of that passion.

          In addition to the family history class, Hannah also has a calling as the enrichment leader.  She is so prepared and so excited and gets to know the sisters and invites them in and makes them feel welcome.  I think there have been some major awesome turn outs since she’s been put in. 

          Hannah and Sunny.  Share the joy.  You can’t help but smile along with them.  

Experiencing the Great Outdoors

          As soon as I hit “publish” on my last post – the very second (I kid you not) I could hear Highness scratching at the door – which made a grand total of 29 minutes and 41 seconds that he had been outside.  Which is 28 minutes and 58 seconds longer than usual.

          We haven’t had him for a full year yet.  I think he stayed out longer when the weather was cooler – but not cold.  After the snow melted and the ground softened a bit, Highness started digging.  He escaped too many times.  But he hasn’t managed to sneak past the board that we put up in May.  Too bad we didn’t know about it sooner.

          The couple next door has a grandson that visits almost weekly.  He’s a handful.

          Truman’s Nana invited my daughter over to play shortly after we moved in.  But Truman would wear on Jenna’s nerves.  He was much too immature for her. Still is – but has developed a more sophisticated vocabulary.

          There is still a two age difference between them, but over the years Jenna has come to tolerate Truman and even accept him as friend – maybe her only friend.  Just haven’t seen a lot of kids this summer.

          Jenna has never been on an actual camping trip.  The few “camping” experiences she’s had have consisted of setting up the tent in the back yard and roasting marshmallow over the grill.  Right now it seems to be enough.  In 2010 she went “camping” with her brother (the one who is currently in the army) This year it was with Roland after Father’s Day (which you can read more about here)

My last post indicated that she was camping next door.  A tent had been set up in the backyard.  She spent the night with Truman, and his Nana – who had invited Jenna to stay with them.  Don’t know that Roland was as thrilled with the idea.  But there had been a spark in Jenna’s eyes all day.  I couldn’t say “NO’’ and kill the excitement that she had been feeling all day Friday.  She would be crying otherwise.

Not only did she have a great sleepover.  She spent time in the pool and ran through the sprinklers and ended up going to the movies with the family Saturday afternoon.  They went and saw “Brave” which she initially didn’t want to see.  She expressed her lack of interest each time a preview would appear.  I said that I would like to see it – she must have had a change of heart.  She said that “Brave” was awesome.  I won’t be seeing it until it comes to the dollar theatre.  We’ll go on a Monday when the shows are 75 cents.

I am so grateful that Jenna has found friendship after almost three years.  Still has friends and is very popular where we came from – but it’s been a lot more difficult over hear.  Though she does have two sets of brothers fighting over her already.  Oh, my heck! She’s only eight!

Thank you Ben and Stacey for taking Jenna under your wing and allowing her to go on your family activities.

Friday, July 27, 2012

fireworks and sleeping beneath the stars

She came to me the other night.

"What is that noise?"

"It's the fireworks (all month long)"

"I can't sleep."

That was in her bed
in her room
fan going
didn't drown out the noise.

Tonight she is in a tent in
the backyard next door

Flashlights going
I can hear her friend talking
and his Nana asking
why don't they all go to sleep.

I let Highness outside before I went to bed.
He usually returns in less than an entire minute.
But he's out there lying down.
It's been almost thirty.

He must be taking comfort in the voices of
Jenna and Trume.

Hopefully I will have more details tomorrow
about this exciting campout.

Personalities of the Hundred Acre Wood

          I don’t know if I first noticed the resemblance between Jenna and Tigger (from Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh) or Frances and Eyore – I’m thinking the latter.
 Frances would often wear shirts with logos that were either Tinkerbelle or Eyore.  I once thought “Frances could be Eyore” kind of sluggish, not very pleasant, somewhat of a pessimist – which is sad – because she hadn’t always been like that. 

          The transformation probably took place within the first couple of years after she received her first period.  And perhaps it was during those times I would happen to see her that she was going through PMS or whatever.  She’d become lazy, had always been careless.  She could easily misplace her tail.  Frances was Eyore.

          Jenna has been enthusiastically pouncing for almost six or seven years.  As with Tigger, she doesn’t do it maliciously – she just gets excited.  Since I’d been picking her up from pre-school or the sitters or wherever, she has run to and embraced me at full speed and amazingly hasn’t yet knocked me over.

          She is not made of rubber and springs – and I’m definitely not.  Though I’ve tried to tame her, she still continues to pounce.  Jenna IS Tigger.

          That got me to wondering if the restof us   had personality traits that would resemble those that lived in the 100 acre wood.  Up until then I guess I hadn’t thought of each character as a different personality trait.  But now I do.

          I assigned myself to be Rabbit as Rabbit often feels uptight about stupid things that he can’t control.  Let it go.  Move on.  No, not Rabbit.  He seems to focus on the things that upset him.  Maybe not.

          Rabbit’s actually a harder worker than I am.  LOVES gardening.  I don’t loathe it so much as I just don’t care for the overall temperature that seems to come with gardening (put me indoors with an air conditioner) but does seem to often snap at others.  I REALLY NEED to shed this personality trait.  It’s not a desirable one.  But I do tend to get uptight about circumstances and wish I would stop.

          Roland is definitely Kanga.  He seems to possess maternal instincts and sometimes will coddle our children – particularly when they don’t want to be coddled.  He’s a worrier, provider, a nurturer and supervisor among other things. 

          I decided that Biff would be Winnie-the-Pooh.  Pooh’s one focus is with “hunny”.  Biff’s is the gym.  Stuffed with fluff?  Not exactly.  Biff works out.  He would never get stuck in Rabbit’s hole for example.  But he does have the same loveable qualities found in pooh bear. And there are times that I have wondered if his head might not be full of cotton.

          Tony and Pamprin are both playful.  Both would like to hold hands with someone who will make the decision.  Of course I don’t know Pamprin near as well as I know Tony.  He likes to laugh.  He likes to play.  But he has definite signs of responsibility.  Both Tony and Pamprin have changed diapers.  I wouldn’t think too many of the hundred acre wood characters would even know how to do that.

          Randy is wise.  I considered the owl – though the owl seems kind of squirrely to me at times.  I made Randy Christopher Robin – as Christopher Robin is more of the observer outside of the 100 acre woods and can come and go at his desire.  Randy has been coming and going since he was nine (possibly sooner).  Sometimes he’s a part of us, but often he chooses to let us work it out amongst ourselves.

          Wasn’t that a wonderful post?


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothing wrong with being Fox or Chick

“What do you like for breakfast?”
Said Fox to Chick one day.
But Chick was silent and frightened. 
He didn’t know what to say.

“I like eating vegetables.”
Fox continued on.
“I like raw ones upon my plate
And I eat until they’re gone’

“I like all kinds, but my favorite
Are the ones that have a root.
I’ll eat legumes to get protein.
Don’t care much for meat or fruit.”

Still quiet and bewildered,
Chick didn’t say a thing
The nervous fowl just shuttered
Beneath each wing.

And then they heard the taunting:
“Fox and Chick sitting in a tree . . .”
“Are they teasing both of us?” Chick asked.
“Or are they only teasing me?”

“I’m different,” said the fox, “And so
All the other animals make fun.
They think I ought to be a certain way.
And not the way I’ve done’

“I don’t think the same as most fox do
I don’t fit the stereotypical mold
But it’s okay.  I’m not like them.
Being true to myself I uphold.”

Chick understood. Fox wasn’t the same
Fox wasn’t going to eat Chick
There is something to be admired about
Making individualism stick.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Birds Gathering in Mom’s Backyard

          In 1963 Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was released in movie theatres.  My mom didn’t seem like a thrill seeker, but had gone to see “The Birds” and was quite freaked out about it.

          For years there was an apple tree in the backyard of the house where I grew up.  I recall several years when birds would fly overhead or gather into our yard as if it was the designated place for the birds to hold their daily or weekly conferences.  And mom would be freaked. 

          It seems quite hilarious really – by today’s standard’s I mean.  I remember mom checking out the video perhaps just a few years and decade after its release.  She sat Patrick and me down to show us this “very scary” movie so that we might understand her fears. 

          Well, it backfired.  The idea of the film was completely silly.  And everything looked fake.  (As an adult, I find the “making of the Birds” so much more interesting than the movie itself.)

          Patrick and I laughed – and even mom could see that it wasn’t really as scary as she had led herself to believe.  But we were watching a video in Patrick’s room with his two large windows and in the middle of the day with lots of sunlight streaming in.  Surely a dark movie theatre with these “bigger-than-life-sized-birds” (as they would appear larger on the big screen) was a lot more scary.  But Patrick and I believed that a large screen would only enhance all the flaws that we saw.

          Oh, I’m not knocking what may have been a horrifying chiller in 1963 – but by today’s standards – or even just the late ‘70’s, it seemed more like a comedy than a thriller.

          When I was at my mom’s house the other day, she pointed out the window and said to Jenna, “Look at all the birds!” 
She took pleasure in the fact that so many birds had gathered outside her window.  She wasn’t scared about or bothered at all.  And I thought back into a time when her reaction was always so much different.

          There has been a plus to the wicked health issues that have seemed to rob both of my parents of their yesteryear’s strength.  And that has been in seeing my parents behave in a different a manner unlike their old selves – but allowing themselves to express new emotions – or one’s that seem to have been buried away seem to rise to the surface.  I don’t often welcome the changes, but sometimes it brings me joy to see an unexpected behavior.  Such as welcoming the birds and not fearing the idea of what could happen (or at least did in someone’s imagination)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nearly Completed Section on Social Studies

We purchase workbooks for Jenna on occasion – mostly for fun on her part.  The last book we got has nine sections – including three parts of math, four parts of English, Science and Social Studies.

For the most part, the vocabulary and Language Arts seem too easy for her, while the math (for the most part) is spot on.  And she has breezed through writing and social studies.

Page 252 in the social study section shows “The Lady in the Harbor” comic illustration with trivial facts and pointing arrows

The crown with seven spikes stands for the seven seas and the seven continents

The torch is a light that welcomes travelers to the United States

The tablet shows the Roman numerals of the date the Declaration of Independence was signed: July 4, 1776

A foots forward position is a symbol of moving forward into the future

The Statue of Liberty stands on an island in New York Harbor.  She is a symbol of freedom and hope.

Page 253 invites the child to write a poem about what liberty means.    And these are the words she used to fill in each line that spelled out Liberty

Lady Liberty
Is standing by and looking at me
Being so beautiful
Eagerly, I want to hug her
Rare, oh, rare she is
Tall and beautiful
You are pretty liberty

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Reflection about the past and Present

          If I can’t get interested in a movie in the first twenty minutes or a novel within the first ten pages, I usually don’t continue.  That may not seem like I am giving a fair chance – maybe so.  But it’s something I have decided not to gamble on – usually. 

`        There have been too many movies and even more books read where I have sat through its entirety and am quite upset with myself for having wasted my time.  That is why I usually don’t go beyond twenty minutes or ten pages.  But sometimes I do.

          “that’s what I am” was actually kind of a slow movie – one I watched in parts because of several interruptions.  I don’t know if I would have continued otherwise – though I was somewhat intrigued by the narration by Greg Kinnear – it reminded me of Jean Shepherd’s “The Christmas Story” or “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of a Bliss” or Jim Carrey as the Adult Joe Wenteworth in “Simon Birch”

I don’t ever remember seeing any advertisements or even heard of “that’s what I am”.  Evidently it came out just over a year ago – must have gone straight to DVD.  I’m thinking it may not have done well at the box office.  But what do I know?

“that’s what I am” is a coming of age story set in 1965.  But there is more to it than the character of Andy Nichol (the character who narrates the story.)  Observations were made about the supporting characters of Andy’s world.

There is bullying against “the geeks” weeded out mostly on looks.  Stanley is a tall boy with red hair.  They call him “Big G” – G stands for ginger, an unkind word associated with red hair.  I don’t see it so much now as I did as a youth.  Many redheaded kids I had known were either shy or rebellious and often treated like outcasts – I think that’s stupid!

Stanley is smart – very smart.  Mr. Simon is the science teacher (or is it social studies?  I suppose it doesn’t really matter) that pairs Stanley and Andy together to complete an assignment (also hated that; grade me on my own merits, not an assigned partner) and Andy can’t seem to get together with Stanley except at lunch – but Stanley has lunch where the geeks are.  

They have been shunned to a lower class by the rest of the school – and if Andy were to cross the line – well, people might think that he’s a geek, too.  But Stanley won’t give up to doing assignments before or after school – Andy’s option is to be seen with Big G or just let Big G do all the work – easy grade, right. 

When a girl gets bullied (I’m guessing sexually – though they didn’t really show it) Mr. Simons takes action and the bully is suspended.  And so he starts an unkind rumor about Mr. Simons that threatens to put his job in jeopardy if he doesn’t deny the rumor.

It’s an unfair thing for this bully’s accusations to cause sparks to fly – to question the integrity of this man who has taught for many years and brought under investigation because of some bad mouth bully whom the principal doesn’t necessarily believe – but still – he has made an accusation nevertheless and the matter needs to be looked into.

Mr. Simon could easily deny the rumor – whether true or false – and there would be no investigation – but he chooses instead not to answer at all – which of course in grounds for dismissal –

Perhaps in 1965 the denial would have been good enough. But today there has to be an investigation, a suspension, a probation – and some of these accusations turn out to be true while others are just months and years of dragging ones good name through the mud so that the rumor is the only thing remembered and the fact that there is no truth to whatever rumor was started seems irrelevant – which is too bad.

Roland’s ex-wife has made false accusations about everyone she’s known, I imagine.  It’s a sickness on her part.  After a while she believes her own lies.  She won’t let up for anything.

Roland and I were not sealed in the temple until three years after we had married.  His membership was in jeopardy – not once – but several times at her wicked hands. She obviously doesn't know that Roland is in the bishopric or else she would do everything in her power to tarnish his good name and present position.

I know that there have been many who have lost their careers due to scandal – whether in the armed services, law enforcement, education, and what have you.  It happens.  There are those who have had to face up to their wrong doings and there are some who have basically had to start over because of the tarnished mishaps that often seem to haunt them.  Some move on with regret – others choose to move on and make the best of it (if that is even possible).

There are some people who are sour grapes and will remain that way no matter what.  I recall once being on a cruise line in which one particular couple would complain about their purser – giving him a bad rating – which of course would come up for investigation.  Each group of people who happened to have the same purser made it a point to complain about the couple and defend the purser.  I don’t know what the results were.  I hope the cruise line realized that the problem was with the couple and not the purser.

          I think the things I enjoyed most about “that’s what I am” happen at the finale, after the bully receives what’s coming to him.  And Mr. Simon went out with a blaze of glory.  But the best was at the very end – because there really is more than one correct way to mow a lawn.  It would be so nice if everybody could see that.  If it’s getting done, don’t harp on how it needs to be done.  Who decides what makes something politically correct anyway?

Knowonder we like it

          Phillip Chipping had a great idea of creating a magazine that would include one story for each day of the month.  Children would be encouraged to read and create. Then in September 2009 this wonderful magazine was featured in libraries across the nation.  Free to the public – for three months – and then it disappeared.
          But as with so many other businesses and personal lives, the economy robbed us of the funding that were needed to keep the magazine going.  And then in September of 2011 knowonder seemed to be reborn on the Internet.  A second chance.  Perhaps better access? 

Seemed to take another rest from its regular routine after December – oh, the stories continued – ones that we’re familiar with, ones that we grew up on – given in parts.  There used to be something to read for each day.  I can’t remember when it took another rest.

It’s back!  Format has changed a bit.  The stories aren’t dated (there used to be one for each day of the month) with some new additions – or perhaps it just seems more inviting – Fun Facts.  Introducing children to non-fiction and trivia in a very delightful way.  I’m impressed.

I do miss the cards though.  In the three initial catalogues from 2009 there were four cards inserted near the end – with these cards readers were encouraged to use their imagination and create stories using at least three of the four cards. 

Jenna absolutely LOVES these cards!  We’ve used these twelve as party starters. And we all chimed in while writing our own story (which was never published as it was submitted late November 2009 – the last published catalogue) I will have to dig further to find it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What do you Remember about your Baptism?

          My mom said that when she was baptized, she wore a white slip and panties.  She said it was embarrassing. She was almost nine.

          I find it odd that mom has no such records of the baptisms of her own children.  I don’t recall having seen a single photograph of any of us.  And yet it seems like it would have been important enough to get at least the two younger of my sibs. 

          I remember what I was wearing.  How pertinent – huh?  Mom had made a pair of white culottes – they were short, not the standard length they have today.  She might have made them because she didn’t appreciate having only worn a slip and panties herself.

          She also made a yellow gingham maxi dress which I wore to Church the next day. That is the sum of all that I remember.  No words, no people, not even my dad holding me in the water.

          I’m told that there were 25 kids that were baptized from our stake – five from just our wardI remember the names of two of the boys my mom said were baptized also.  I asked the mother of one if she had any memorabilia.  She never responded.

          My parents did give me a Bible.  I don’t know when exactly.  If it was on Saturday or Sunday – but I think it was for my baptism.

          The only thing I recall about Corey’s was that there was a small girl who was being baptized that day, also.  She was the smallest eight year old I have ever seen.
          At Kayla’s baptism, I do remember her smile as she and my brother, Patrick entered the water. 

          That’s all that I remember.  No talks.  No musical numbers.  Nothing.

          I have been to several baptisms in the last two years that happen to stand out more than mine did.  At least certain talks do.  And I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to share in the baptisms of others as I cannot remember my own.

          Corey and Kayla both seem to remember theirs.  They shared their experiences with Jenna.  That is cool.  To remember.  I hope that Jenna remembers her special day.  And it was special.

Unlike my mom however, I have tons of Memoribillia.  Uncle Bill took lots of pictures of her.  And I have been keeping a journal for her since before she was born.
          I’m grateful to be a part of baptisms – especially when I am called upon to participate.  It opens new doors for me.  Helps me remember things that I had forgotten.

The Wonderful, Fabulous, Miraculous GPS (Global positioning system)

          For those of us who are directionally challenged, the GPS is the best device ever!
          Roland had won a GPS in a contest through his work.  It was about a week or two before we had gone to another state to see his family over a year ago.

          Roland makes jokes that Jenna must have been injected with a phonographic needle when she’d receive her shots.  It took her a while before she started talking, but once she got it, she hasn’t shut up..

Jenna would start talking at the same time the GPS would vocalize directions.  Jenna became annoyed and said, “Gosh, she’s bossy!”

This last time we had gone, I was fidgeting for something else but hit the GPS in error.  Roland looked at me rather puzzled and asked what the GPS had said.  “Go 108 miles and turn left” 
Oh, thank you for the heads up!

          Randy wants a GPS with a sense of humor.  “You have just missed your turn!  Just kidding”
          Lately I have had a couple of problems with getting the right information however.  Somehow the GPS thinks I’m in a location where I am really not.  For instance, I asked it to find a credit union near my mom’s house.  The nearest locations it gave me were not “near” at all.  And the GPS can’t tell you how much construction will be in said path to said destination. 

          I like that it tells you the speed limit and lets you know what speed limit is being driven.  At least ours does.

          For the most part it is the most awesome thing to have.  What a great invention!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekend parades ALL summer long

          On June 3 of this year, my brother, Corey, marched in the Pride parade.  I wanted to show him my support by marching with him – but it was at the same time my granddaughter was being blessed.  And so I did not march in the scorching sun drenching my clothes in sweat or caused pain to my feet or back while walking in improper shoes.

          Yesterday I walked with Jenna in the youth parade for Days of ’47.  We walked with a small group of girl scouts.  We’d been told that we would be number 40, but shortly after we arrived, we learned that our group would be second following the police officers on their motorcycles.

          I thought the girls who were leading were walking entirely too fast.  We were walking much faster than a parade pace in my opinion – we weren’t spaced out well enough behind the motorcycles, I didn’t think.  And there was enough space between us and the flag for another float or band.

          Copper Hills High School had a band that did an awesome job in my opinion.  I wish they had been spaced closer behind us than they were as I really enjoyed their music.

          There are always parades going on in the surrounding areas if not downtown.  I recall one year our family went to join the boys’ extended family in Star Valley, Wyoming.  There happened to be a parade on their “main street” shortly after we arrived. 

          The parade starts down one end of the street going up/down just one side and making a full circle at the other end and return on the opposite side of the street.  What a hoot.  But I loved it.  The entire parade (at least from the spectators’ point of view) was only about 20 minutes.  A far cry from 2-3 hours of NYC’s Macy Thanksgiving parade or SLC’s Days of ’47.  My eyes get bored after 20 floats, bands, and what have you.

          My family had also got stuck watching the parade just outside of Arco, Idaho.  We were on the return from a family vacation – totally unaware that a small town parade was even going on.  The street we happened to be on didn’t go through that particular time and so we watched the parade until we were allowed to cross.

When I was younger – much younger – our neighbors would take us to a parade in American Fork for the Geneva Steel days – that was a good sized parade.  After the parade we went to the parades final destination to ride rides and enjoy carnival food.  That was a LONG time ago.

          Some floats and bands from yesterday’s parade (as well as some others) will have an opportunity to be seen again on the 24th as it marks the arrival of the Utah pioneers settling the state – though it didn’t officially make it into statehood until about half a century later.

          Each city will offer its own parade (or parades) to celebrate something.  In Midvale they have a couple of parades during the year.  One being Cinco de Mayo – which I’ve only been to once.  I think we spent more time waiting for it to get started than sitting through the actual parade. 

          Jenna was only two at the time.  Our main objective for being there was to provide some kind of entertainment for her.  It was kind of disappointing really.  For the first five vehicles (I’d say 70% of that particular parade was vehicles – not including the floats) were ones that we would see on almost a daily basis.

          It was led by a police car.  I think the fire engine was third.  And there were a couple of construction cars – really.  We waited for that?

          It wasn’t all disappointing.  There were the Budweiser horses and a mariachi band.  I really have fond memories of that one after the parade.  They were on one side of the pavilion playing music; Jenna and I were at the opposite end, unseen by the audience that had gathered around.  Jenna was dancing to the music and I was standing close by making certain her wobbly legs didn’t send her on a trip down the cement stairs.

          When the band finished playing, a loud applause could be heard.  Jenna graciously bowed and chanted “Thank you.  Thank you very much.”  I am so sad that my camera’s battery wasn’t charged enough to take her picture.  How cute it was.  Especially her bows and curtsies to an imaginary audience.

          Kearns has their fire, water and ice in August.  It starts off with a parade and ends with a spectacular firework show.  I plan to take Jenna to the parade and the fireworks.  Don’t know that I’ll go to the event itself as it has always been so crowded.  The last time we went the pools were closed due to the rain.

          So all over the state there has been and continue to be parades that will definitely suit ones needs and/or desires.  We have the lengthy parade on the 24th or the much shorter parades in the smaller surrounding areas. 

          The one on the 24th is televised.  I have never watched a Days of ’47 in its entirety.  Too hot outside.  Too long either way.  But if parades are your thing – I heard that it was the third largest in the nation (at least at one time) go for it.  Have a great time enjoying life!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

          When we first moved to our current neighborhood, I wondered if had neighbors.  It was quiet.  The most people I ever saw was in the morning when children would walk to the bus stop.  I hadn’t actually met the people on either side of us – but my social Jenna introduced herself to just about everybody.  We met our across the street neighbor through her.

          Next door to him on each side were Spanish speaking neighbors – the adults anyway.  Jenna would occasionally hang with the girl who was 4-5 years older than her.  Jenna said she didn’t know Spanish that well – weird.  If that’s what they spoke in the home.  They had to have spoken Spanish to the grandma as she just didn’t know any English.

          They have since moved.  The house was vacant for a couple of months before an acquaintance of the neighbors to the east of us moved in temporarily.  I don’t believe she was living there legally.  She was an uptight bitch.  I was relieved when she was gone – I didn’t think it would last.  And I don’t see it lasting for the current group that come and go right now. 

          Up the street from us is a house that has been vacant from 1-2 years.  A couple moved in just last week.  They are from California and according to her are NEVER going back.  Both are quite impressed with the welcome they’ve received.  And I like having them at the top of the street.  I am saddened that none of the move-ins have children that Jenna can play with.

          Traci and Miles packed all of their belongings and drove here from California.  They said that everything that could go wrong with the move did.  They were supposed to arrive on Saturday but because of some mechanical problems did not arrive until Sunday.  And then they couldn’t get a hold of the landlord and had oodles of possessions which needed to be moved in somewhere.  But it was unrealistic to take it all to a motel/hotel.

          Hot water went out and it sounded as if they experienced some kind of water explosion whenever they tried to use it.  Plus the garage door won’t open and so they can’t use the space.  (There was a lot of vandalism that took place on that house during the time of vacancy) But they are both happy to be here.

          They said that when they moved in that one of their across the street neighbors (they live on a corner) came over with a six or twelve pack of sodas saying that it was too hot to be working so hard and maybe they could use the drinks.  One of their next door neighbors invited Miles over for a beer.  Our across the street neighbor gave them a pie.  They are floored.  Never have they known such hospitality.  They said they would never see that in their old neighborhood and that if someone were to come by, it would probably be something negative – they used the example of shooting.

          I had actually met Traci the day prior.  There was a fire at a restaurant nearby.  Traffic had been rerouted into our neighborhood.  Oh, my goodness.  I haven’t seen that many cars over the two and a half years that we’ve lived her.  It was crazy!

          Traci had parked in front of our house – which is a ways down from her own.  She walked to her house on foot to find Miles standing in the street directing traffic.  I think that’s great that he took that incentive.  It really was helpful.

          Traci and I visited for 30 minutes or so.  And last night Roland and I were to visit with them both.  I hope they’re with us for a while.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Corresponding with my Secret Friend

          Jenna is always asking if there is any mail for her.  I suppose most children go through the stage of wanting to receive a card or letter that has been sent especially to them.  It doesn’t happen too often.  And the disappointments seem to weigh in even more.

          Recently we were at a pool party hosted by my cousin.  Her daughter, Melody and Jenna are five months apart.  We had arrived at the party late and both Jenna and Melody were going through withdrawal for each other’s company.  Before we pulled Jenna away so that we could return to our house, Jenna and Melody promised that they would write to one another – though we only live about 20 minutes away from one another.  Postage is definitely less than the cost of gas.  Not to mention the commute itself (construction and heat account for far more than 20 minutes) and our current car situation.

          Jenna’s has written three letters thus far (one for each day since the party) and I have mailed two of them.  She has been disappointed that she has not received anything yet.  I tried to explain that even if Melody had written that very night and her mom actually mailed it (which actually is quite doubtful) that it still wasn’t enough time to deliver a letter – unless she should get one today.  I’ll make sure she gets one – though it won’t be from Melody.

          I actually put a letter out in the mailbox last night – figuring Jenna would find it this morning when she took Melody’s letter out.  I did not sign Melody’s name however.  I signed it “from your secret friend”.  Jenna is certain that it came from Melody.  The letter she wrote out this morning was addressed to “?”.  It is currently in a drawer ready to be mailed tomorrow.  Well, partially ready anyway.  I haven’t put it in an envelope.  I told Jenna to look for some postcards that she has.  I have postcard stamps.  I ran out of the other.

          She decided that she would send letters to another friend who lives in the neighborhood.  She has decided to sign her letters “your secret friend”.  Who knows, maybe we will get a chain reaction from this letter thing.  It does feel good to have her so excited about the “secret” correspondence.

          When I was younger I sent letters to other countries.  I wrote to a girl in Guyana and to one in Germany.  Perhaps I ought to find her a pen pal that will assist in helping her to learn Spanish – or having a desire to further her Spanish fluency.  I will have to find some addresses – I’d prefer keeping her in the country though as postage outside of US is close to or over a dollar.  Maybe if we send enough out, we’ll find someone who is just as excited to do it as Jenna.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Happy Drunkard and Exotic Dreams

          On Feb 14 I created this post.  My sister-in-law’s visits with my mom were positive and full of conversation.  My visits were not so uplifting.  And then mom became Mr. Hyde for each of us.  But now she’s seemed to take on this happy drunkard personality with a desire to travel – and in her mind she has.  In her mind she has done a number of things that she would have never even considered just five years ago – such as sky diving.

          I have actually never experienced a conversation of where she’s been and what she’s been up to – but apparently she has told my niece and nephew-in-law countless stories about having gone to Russia, Hong Kong, China, and South Africa – all within the last ten years (she has been out of the state, but not out of the country – unless it was with a tour group in the early 2000’s)

          Occasionally my niece and nephew-in-law will take her with them to my brother’s house for Sunday dinner.  Corey was with the rest of the family when mom related her “sky-diving” experience. 

          The conversation started out with reminiscing of sky diving events that had already taken place in real life with my oldest niece and nephew.  Their younger sister was unable to go because of age or lack of money.  But after having watched Ellen and Kimball experience the thrill of falling out of the plane, three other family members have been saving up money to experience the same thrill.

          Apparently my mom chimed in with a story of her own as she has also been skydiving (my mom has never sky dived in her life; she doesn’t even enjoy certain rides at the amusement park as her legs are dangling.  There is absolutely no way she would ever go sky diving!  She cringed at the very idea of Ellen and Kimball doing it.)

          And so the family allowed her to speak without correcting her. Some smiled as she did so.  And because the events were so real to her and she was able relate with details, Sunny said that even Corey seemed to question whether she had actually gone or not.  She must have fallen asleep during some war movie where they were jumping out of airplanes or was watching a documentary or something.

          My grandma has been to China.  Maybe Russia – I don’t know.  She really did go on several tours and saw many parts of the world before she died.  I don’t know if my mom got her own life mixed up with her mothers or if she has started to watch the travel channel or if she has exotic dreams or what. 

          There was a time when Jenna’s visits used to wear her out (I think Jenna’s enthusiasm and loudness has wiped out just about EVERY family member) but now she welcomes her and calls her cute and crazy.

          I don’t know if it’s her blood sugar or in the meds that she’s taking or if this dementia is somehow gratifying her because so many desires have apparently been fulfilled in her mind.  But it just makes me worry about her all the more – for I know there are times that she is alone – and it’s okay if it’s the television that takes her away – maybe not the best thing – but certainly better than having her walk out the door and not knowing where she is. 

          We’ve called the police on her a few times – one time they found her (that was just before we took her license away) and a few times kind strangers have brought her home from wherever she happened to be.  We need to set up the alarm system so that she’s unable to leave unless someone is with her.

Thanks to the police and all of those who have spent time assisting us with my mom.  Thank you to the firefighters who continue fighting the countless amounts of fires.  My mom used to keep herself updated on all the current events.  I wonder if she even knows about the fires – or if she’s completely missed the boat on them because she’s been having all these global vacations.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Declaration of recruiting subjects back to the castle

Once upon a time in the kingdom of
  Natalafe, there lived a royal prince and
his subjects.  Now the name of the prince was Emmanuel Bishop and the king had given him a list with the names of all of his subjects.  The problem was there were some names on the list that he wasn’t familiar with.

Now all of these subjects lived far and wide all throughout the kingdom –
yet they all lived within a day’s walk of the castle.  Many of the subjects would come to the castle at least once a week to pay their respects to the king.  Prince Bishop knew all of those subjects by name.  He would often meet each subject at the castle gate and would welcome them.

But there were many subjects who never even entered the castle though the
king strongly desired for each of his subjects to attend.  Prince Bishop knew
some of those subjects but not all of them.  And yet the king had told the
prince that it would be his responsibility to make certain that ALL of his
subjects were safe. 

That was a huge responsibility. Especially with all of his other princely responsibilities and because he didn’t know all of the subjects on the list. And so Prince Bishop would try to come up with a plan to make contact with those who were not coming to the castle knowing that he just couldn’t do it all by himself. 

  And so it came to pass that Prince Bishop divided the kings’ subjects into units and called knights to serve over each unit. One of the units was specifically designed for the Lords and another for the Ladies. The knights divided the Lords and Ladies into even smaller groups called families and they called their squires to serve in pairs and visit a certain amount of families each month.

Each pair would be responsible for visiting three to five cottages within the
kingdom.  They were told they would only have to visit just once a month to
learn how each subject was doing. It was not a difficult task.  To give just a bit of time just once a month and report back to the knights who served within the units so that they in turn could report back to Prince Bishop. 
And now it came to pass that the squires had fulfilled their callings.

And this greatly pleased Prince Bishop and the king to have such compassion within their kingdom, that so many were willing to fulfill their callings Their reports made it so much easier for Prince Bishop to understand and help his subjects a little better.

The branching out and reporting back seemed to work well in the beginning but darkness fell upon the kingdom. For behold, verily, verily I say unto you that not all the squires would be able to work together each month. Each pair seemed to come up with excuses not to go until finally only about half the subjects in the kingdom were receiving visits. Thus Prince Bishop felt sorrow for he did not know how some of his subjects were doing. 

The knights seemed just as perplexed – why would those who had been called agree to give up only a little bit of time just once a month and not do it? Why wouldn’t they be willing to keep that commitment to help Prince Bishop and more importantly our King?

Prince Bishop called two royal hunters who would go from cottage to cottage inviting the subjects to come back to the castle. And each month the royal hunters would report to the prince about their findings within the kingdom of  his subjects. Prince Emmanuel Bishop always praised them.  He has praised many of his Squires also.  But not all of the Squires are doing their part and the kingdomric often wonders how to get the ALL of the Squires to do his or her part.

With faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of the king, We know it can be done.
We are ALL important to the King’s plan. What can we do together to strengthen our calling in our kingdom?

The End . . .  or should I say to be continued?