Friday, August 31, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Ode to Skool Lunch

I was working downtown when
I first met you And you
were fabulous!

You welcomed me with
your awesome deliciousness. 
How your scents penetrated in
my nose and I thought I had
found true love,  but alas I
did not visit you often. 

Oh, I wanted to –
I wanted to savor the succulence
on a daily basis –
only there was a hole in my wallet. 

I was allowed to visit just
once in a while and you were
always so good to me.  But you
always left me wanting more.

How I craved for that
Wonderful chicken salad and
baked goods that would
satisfy my pallet.

Years passed.  I was
no longer downtown but
at the other end of the valley. 
Imagine my delight when
I found you near my work.

Good food.  Good company.
I introduced you to
my friends.    We saw you just
a few times but still
not often. 

And then I got married.  My
finances went down and
I couldn’t visit you as often.
But I did introduce you to
my husband eventually. 
We saw you at least a
couple of times – usually at
somebody else’s expense.

It’s been a while - 
a very long while and so
we decided to visit you today
Only to learn that you are gone. 
The economy killed you as
with so many others.  And there
was a pang in my heart. 

Because we had never had
the intimate relationship that
I so desired. Had I known that
your death would be today, I
would have paid my final
respects to you yesterday –

To taste of your goodness just
one last time. To have
a great last memory of your
wonderfulness.  Instead my last
memory of you will be a
note on the door informing all that
you closed at all locations on
August 31, 2012. 

As I write this loving tribute, there is
a tear in my eye. 
The economy bites big time.  Well,
that is one reason why we haven’t
seen you.  It hit us long before it
hit you.  We understand.  That doesn’t
make it any easier.

Good-bye my flavorsome friend.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Triggered Doughnut Memory

          When Jenna and her classmate left the car this morning, they were talking about doughnuts – more specifically doughnut holes. 

          I took Highness for a walk and smiled as I thought at a memory about disappearing doughnuts.

          My brother Corey and I are nine years apart.  We seem to share a lot in common – particularly food habits.  Eating whatever is quick or handy.  Our kitchen skills were not the greatest. Plus we both appeared to be on the lazy side.

We also have a brother Patrick – who is two years younger than I and our baby sister, Kayla, who is thirteen years younger. They are both survivor’s. And both were quite comfortable in the kitchen from an early age.
When we were younger, we used to taunt Corey by saying that Kayla could be out in the dessert and live off the land; she would never go hungry.  Corey, on the other hand, could have starved to death less than three feet from a fully stocked refrigerator.

Afterall she was four and he was eight when he ran down the hall to our mom’s bedroom.
“Mama! Mama!  Kayla is making toast!”
“But I’m older than her.  And even I don’t know how to make toast.”

I don’t recall how old Corey was when our family received one of those novelty doughnut makers.  It was actually quite a cool product according to the late ‘70’s standards.  Patrick had made dozens of doughnuts (note: only two doughnuts can be cooked at a time) and Corey decided that it was going to be his turn.

He had asked my mom if he could make doughnuts.  She said “no” – but he pressed her.  I don’t know if she finally gave in or if he just chose to disobey.  But the girl from across the street had come over and he decided that they would make doughnuts together.

He obviously did not follow a recipe as he used at least one cup of baking soda.  The doughnut batter had already been poured into the doughnut maker when Patrick and his friends (also from across the street) and I watched as he tried to impress Becky with what would be the first doughnuts he had fully made by himself.

The look on his face was priceless as he opened up the container and the batter he had worked so hard on had disappeared – except for a tiny bit of residue in the bottom.  Becky lovingly scooped up what was left and held it to her mouth and tasted it. 

“This is really good,” she said in a pathetic attempt to make Corey feel better. 

The look on mom’s face was quite hostile.  She had specifically told Corey NO and there was really no way we could salvage the rest of the batter (did I mention he had doubled the recipe?)  and we all sensed that Corey was going to get a beating so severe that we might all feel the pain from it.

But then Becky’s brother laughed about his own memories and said, “It’s alright Corey.  We all make mistakes” and then proceeded to spit out every bad thing we had ever done – burning experimental dinners, hiding food (I specifically remember half a roast and a turkey) in his room and then forgetting about it (but an unpleasant odor would reveal what he had done and he would get into trouble for it), lighting the grass on fire . . . the list went on and on.

It was quite a few years later when my mom said Becky’s brother probably saved Corey’s life that day.  You’d think after all those horrifying memories she would have wanted to strangle us all – except she was laughing with us.  Except for the grass fire.  That had been way to close to the house.

I think Corey and I have both gotten better in the kitchen.  Still not our favorite haunt.  But we won’t die of starvation.  I don’t recall what happened to the doughnut maker.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Explaining Blogs

          When Corey started his Blog over six years ago, he gave himself a false identity.  He’s since been discovered by some, and I know from my own mouth there are even more that know the nature of his true identity.  However, because he hadn’t revealed his true identity on his Blog (there are certain individuals he still feel might need protection having their real identities revealed out of connection) I decided to keep mine anonymous also.

          I have changed the names of most of those I have or will mention.  I started out using “Cody” instead of “Corey” but “Cody” was/is his name, not mine.  So I changed it.  And now it doesn’t seem to matter one way or another.  He’s out and those mentioned may not need his protection anymore – though he continues with his name and only partial pictures.

I also keep myself anonymous for fact that Roland’s ex-wife is a sue happy individual – and I’ll leave it at that. 

          I often write things that sound a bit odd to me and ask for Corey’s assistance on changing the wording or grammar or whatever.  One was the idea for a post that I didn’t think I would ever post.  But he told me I should and asked if he could borrow some of it for his own Blog.  I was flattered.

          So I added two pages to the two pages I had already sent over.  I created a post and attached it on February 26, 2012.  I was surprised to see that Corey posted the entire thing instead of just “some of it” as I thought.  He called it “My Sister’s words and an Endorsement” I had called it “We all Feel Excluded atTimes

          At the End of Corey’s post, he refers to my Blog as a point of Interest.  That was nice of him.  So it’s provided a little bit of exposure – though it may have without his mentioning it in his post – because the name of my Blog appears in his side bar as one that he follows.

          I have followed a couple of blogs that have stopped.  Life got in the way for one – and pressing issues for another who has to sort out a mess that was created and somehow relates to her blog and so she is waiting for the right time to change everything to something better and hopefully more secure.

Both have had guest bloggers.  The latter said she was searching for humorous stories and has always given me credit for the ones she has used. It’s an honor having been mentioned on a few blogs themselves and not just in the comments.

I would also like to thank those who have commented thus far.  When my window says, “You’ve Got Mail!”  it’s nice to see it is a comment from an actual person and not just another advertisement.  Thank you Corey, Heather and Kris.

Posts that Inspire

          Recently I was googling Individual Worth in search for a proper definition to use in one of my posts.  As I went searching I pulled up a few blog sites with inspiring stories which I would like to share and reference.

          I came across an object lesson given by Stephanie Waite in which she laid out various belongings on a table and asked her class what each object was worth and what made them valuable.  Some of the objects were perhaps expensive things and some objects may have been more valuable to one than to another.  But the particular object that may have seemed worthless to most individuals was probably the most valuable thing on the table in the eyes of its initial owner.

          It actually reminded me of an object that is close to Jenna – a stuffed dog she’s had since she was 6 months old – though the toy itself looks like he’s been around much longer than she has. It’s been restuffed twice and has had matted hair cut off – never to grow back again.  But Jenna loves it.  It’s her baby.  It’s her lifelong friend.

          Recently she allowed her cousin to “borrow” it – a huge sacrifice on her part.  But Kayla (my sister) was not all that thrilled about inviting Jenna’s beat up toy (which really is clean – but appears to be unkempt) into her house and chose to leave it in the trunk of her car.

          What makes something or someone valuable?  Love?  The kind of love that makes you valuable no matter what.  No matter how beaten or ratty (inside or out)  I loved her post.  I loved her explanation.  And you can read the full post here

          Stephanie’s last post referred me to another blog.  I read a post that could fall into the category of Choice and Accountability.  What a tough decision to be made – and yet what remarkable faith and strength that would help so many others.

          Collin Presley had health problems from the time he was born.  He outlived his disease by twelve years (from my understanding) but died shortly after a new medication was given. 

          Their first thought was to sue the doctor.  Collin still had life with the old medication.  Surely someone had to blamed for Collin’s death – but an autopsy would have to be preformed to provide proof.  Doing an autopsy would upset the organs which the family wanted to donate to those who were still fighting the fight.  A battle with attorneys would have been so costly.  It wouldn’t bring Collin back.  On the flip side his organs could be donated and bring life to others.  That was the choice they faced.  You can read more of their story in this post though I recommend venturing even further with prior posts

          Katy Pluim amazes me with her short sweet posts as she deals with having only one arm.  I am so impressed with the things that she has taught herself that I struggle with having two arms.  She is a beautiful person with a husband and a three year old (almost three) daughter.  Here is one of her earlier posts on dealing.

Unfortunately I did not copy the reference for this next story.  I tried going back to my initial research and to Google–ing with the given subject, but more sites were brought up than I cared to wade through.  My apologies to the blogger (though there are many more resources for this particular story:

“More than one hour after the gold-medal athlete had crossed the finish line during the marathon in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzamia entered the stadium.  Only a few spectators remained as the lone runner appeared.  The athlete’s leg was injured and bleeding.  He was dehydrated and confuse.  As he crossed the finish line, the small crowd cheered in appreciation for what would become one of the most famous last-place finishes in history. But it wasn’t the runner’s performance that caught their attention – and the attention of thousands more during the almost five decades since.  It was his desire to finish the race, to endure to the end.  After the event in 1968, a reporter asked the runner why he had not quit the race since he had no chance of winning. The Tanzanian athlete was confused.  “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race,” he replied.  “They sent me to finish”

I actually shared this next story in Relief Society when the instructor asked the class for comments about Integrity.  What goes around comes around.  I think this is a really great example.

And finally one idea to teach in classrooms – though children are more accepting and perhaps this ought to be applied to all adults as well  Stop the bullying already. We are all different.  Embrace the differences.   

          How great it is to have so many great insights and so many who support one another through their blogs and create ideas and share.  Thank you!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chopped, Snipped, Spliced and Discarded – I could SO use that Money

          Before Roland and I moved from our first house, he introduced me to the reality show “Chopped” a one hour show that gives four chefs the opportunity to create appetizers, entrees, and desserts using four specific ingredients – most I haven’t been familiar with or think of as too bizarre to belong with  either the rest of the ingredients or in the particular round.

          I would think that there is more than eight hours of footage for each episode of “Chopped” – thus it is not just the chefs competing who get “chopped” but the editing as well.  It sickens me to know that all this wasted footage exists – that so much tape ends up on the floor.  The expense that goes into these reality series (Wife Swap is another example) and all the waste.  I could really use the money that is spent on wasted film.  So many Americans could – especially in this economy that seemingly continues to spiral downhill.  Where are the priorities of this nation?

          Recently there was a documentary on NBC called: “Mormons in America: NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams" and actually I feel a certain amount of emotion which I stated in my last post.

I think Rock Center handled “Mormons in America” well.  Some accused of focusing too much on the small percentage that “don’t really represent the entire church” well guess what?  It’s that small percentage that the world will be looking at. And I think it’s wonderful that it has been presented to the world (or nation anyway) that there might be a better understanding.

          Abby Huntsman does not represent the entire Church.  Who does?  Some criticized that the creators of the program should have gone to the authorities or at least devout members to for a more accurate understanding.  But we are a very diverse people – even among ourselves.  The gospel values are true regardless of its members.  But the members are not perfect.  We are not all cut out of the same mold – and the world needs to know that there are struggles that many members face that don’t always correspond with what the gospel principles teach.

I think the documentary was handled very nicely.  And I think Abby did a great job letting people understand her position but still being respectful of the Church. She probably has a better hold on what a non member might feel.  There are many who have left the church who experience that “ah-hah” moment after they’ve been away for it – not that they disagree or become uncomfortable – but all the sudden understand the meaning of “a peculiar people” and understand the non-members view – whereas those who are so close to the surface don’t have that same understanding.  They don’t see the forest for the trees.  Corey explained it a little bit in this post  

          There are many members (or former members) who have had their feelings hurt for whatever reason.  Treated like outcasts.  Overaggressive concern isn’t handled correctly either on the part of the leaders or the interpretation of the member (I think more of the first; as an example Abby’s bishop told her that she wouldn’t receive the same blessings – and although it may have been said out of concern – it hadn’t been communicated in a proper manner)  I like the way Clive Durham said it in this post 

          Bishop, stake president, and other leadership positions are held by people.  Imperfect people. Some, who unfortunately abuse their power, some, who should have never been put in that position to begin with.  Some who would rather not be there and wonder why the position was accepted in the first place. 

          Julienne (sp?) and Al Jackson do NOT represent all members.  A large majority, perhaps.  But certainly NOT all members.  Mitch Mayne is told he can keep his position in the Church so long as he remains celibate.  Celibate?  Really?  In a Church that pushes marriage and family? (And there are many who actually do push)

          That was Corey’s plan - to remain celibate – though he wasn’t fulfilled.  He would have been able to keep his membership – but still not feel whole – not complete.  He did NOT go in search for a partner.  Truth is, when they initially met, he tried to avoid it. 

          Their first encounter together was working on the same production in Las Vegas.  The two of them started out with a casual dinner, but after a while Corey's feelings deepened towards his partner.  He started to have feelings that he had been  told all of his life were wrong to have.

Corey returned home from Las Vegas the first Christmas after they had met.  Relieved in some ways not to be tempted by something he had been trying to avoid all of his life.  Yet torn because he really did have emotions for this guy.  And what a wonderful guy he is.  I really really do like Corey’s partner.

          Eventually it turned into something very beautiful.  Both celibate.  Both wanting to wait.  Both yearning for God to be a part of their “marriage” and I have no doubts that He is.  Corey had to give up his membership.  But he did not give up on the gospel.  He still attends Sunday meetings (minus the priesthood which he was never comfortable with in the first place) and though it’s often hard for him not to be able to participate to the fullest – Corey is happier than he has ever been in his entire life. 

          Corey is very knowledgeable in the gospel.  He is very well rounded individual.  He doesn’t represent the entire Church – even when he was a member.  But he does make an impact.  A GREAT impact.  He has a very strong and beautiful testimony.  He is one of many pioneers on a path that is slowly being smoothed over and more widely traveled – and yet too many who are on that path feel alone and unwanted and aren’t always handled with care.  Corey, fortunately, has had amazing support. Yet it seems to be a rarity with far too many.

We have a friend who is strongly opinionated and probably more of a feminist than Joanna Brookes.  She is married to one who has been on the high council as well as other prominent positions.  Both strong in the gospel.  Each representing what sometimes appear as conflicting ideas.  And I love them both.  And I respect them both.  And I am personally grateful for the diverseness.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interpretation of Dreams and the Worth of Souls

          Roland has often told me about different dreams that he’s had and always concludes with, “What do you think it means?”

          Dreams are just that.  Some are bizaare.  Some are wonderful.  Some you hope to never “dream” again.  And perhaps some do have meaning.  Truthfully, I don’t place too much value in dreams.  I think that is how God communicated to his children at one time – and perhaps still does to some – though I think the methods of communication have broadened sufficiently since then. My personal opinion is that, overall, dreams really don’t mean a whole lot.
          Still, I often have crazy dreams that I will write down or share just because they are so bizarre.  And sometimes I ask myself what would have caused me to dream it.  But I never go into depth about the possible symbolism that may (or may not) exist. 

          Last night I dreamed my nephew-in-law was getting married.  The strange part about my dream is that I don’t think it was to my niece – though I don’t remember getting a good look at the bride’s face.  But physically she looked too short and not quite so thin as my niece, Ellen. Actually I don’t recall remembering any of the wedding party – except for my niece (Ellen’s sister) who is currently in junior high right now.

          I believe the marriage itself was in the temple.  I know I watched them get married.  And suddenly everybody was changed into picnic casual – except for me and my niece – though her skirt and vest were a lot more casual than the white strapless dress that I was wearing – a dress that was pretty, but one that I personally would NEVER wear in real life.  Not in front of others anyway.  Not to a picnic.  And certainly not to the temple.

          And suddenly my thoughts turned to weddings past and things that had been missed out on.  I tried to shut it out.  I was tired.  It was early and I wanted to sleep still.  But I finally got up and turned on the computer and started reading through many of the comments left on this post.

          So often we allow ourselves to feel unloved, useless or unwhole because of certain comments made in society or by the Church.  We are told that we need to fit into this perfect mold, this compact Mormon box – and if you have feminist thoughts or same sex attraction or if you don’t go to the temple a certain amount of days or if you wear open-toed shoes without hose to Church or if you don’t volunteer for at least every other canning assignment – well, you just don’t fit into the box and you need to repent and turn your life around.  And if you don’t, you are not worthy of the “Mormon Box” Club.

         The young women of the church are taught values.  One of these values is Individual Worth. This is defined as individuals, each with her own divine mission which she will strive to fulfill – “for the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”. 

         I don’t believe he is looking for carbon copies but expects us to be true to Him but also true to ourselves – even though sometimes the two may seem to conflict.  We still have to find what makes us happy and stay true to who we are meant to be regardless of path others may follow or think that we should follow.  No matter how we act or what we do or who we are or how we dress – we will NEVER PLEASE ALL PEOPLE – we all have our own differences, our own personal taste, our own individual worth.  It’s important that we remain TRUE TO OURSELVES.  We have all been given the same guidelines but are still free to make our own choices and receive our own personal revelations.

And sometimes these personal revelations may conflict with the teachings of the Church – or our own interpretations of those teachings anyway.  My brother gave up his membership to be with his partner – someone he would like to be with not just on this earth life but throughout all eternity. It is something he pondered about and struggled with for a long long time.  And he knows (as well as many others) that the decision made was right for him.  But the path that he’s on may not be the right one for all homosexuals.  He’s on a divine mission with several bumps in the road.  God has given him that unique gift of smoothing the path that others may follow.  He is a pioneer.

 Neither Corey nor his partner chose to feel same sex attraction.  Really, why would an individual subject himself (or herserlf) to choose being shunned, misunderstood, or have suicidal thoughts because he or she does not measure up to Club Society or the Mormon Box?  Why would one choose to be closeted and live life in fear because the feelings and emotions that one may experience don’t jive with what is being taught.  If one does decide to come out of the closet, he or she risks being rejected by friends, family members, society . . . because why?  Because there is that desire to be true to oneself and to be accepted and not ridiculed for not measuring up?  So they are not entititled to the same blessings anymore?  Seriously?  Is that really how God works?

Stake Conference is in just a few weeks.  It is most likely that a new president will be announced.  My husband may be considered for the position – perhaps NOT as the stake president but a counselor maybe – though it is the president who will have to pray and find revelation to call his own counselors – Roland is being considered.

And here I am not wanting to jeopardize his enthusiasm but still feeling desire for Corey and others to feel more than just a sense of belonging verbally (though many don’t even get that) – but to continue with membership if they so desire – to be able to take the sacrament again.  Especially when they are so strong in the gospel in Spirit – but their names have been removed, their membership diminished. And still there are many who remain closeted and hope the feelings will go away, that they don’t bring shame to anyone, who try to live up to the Church’s expectations but are not happy with themselves.

It wasn’t until after I returned from my temple recommend interview that I questioned myself – had I answered the questions honestly?  I had at the time that I gave them.  It came so automatic that I hadn’t questioned it at the time of the interview.  But I suppose I do sympathize with a group whose teachings are different from what is taught in the LDS Church. 

Thus far I haven’t acted upon it – such as campaigning for their cause by going door to door or holding picket signs or what have you – and probably wouldn’t because of Roland’s position.  He doesn’t have the same understanding that I have acquired.  And I did have to acquire it – for I once agreed with every single message I’d received from the leaders of the church and would ask no questions.  Now I view the homosexuals as a fellow Christian trying to save her Jewish friends during Hitler’s reign.

Will society make the homosexuals put bands upon their clothes – similar to the star of David (perhaps a rainbow – God’s sign of promise) – so that we will know?  Will we all the sudden treat our family and friends like lower class citizens – as though they are less important?  Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.  The worth of ALL souls not just straight souls, not just green souls, not just female souls . . . . fortunately God’s worth is so much greater than that of men.  For God is not the one who labels us and classifies us into categories of tolerance.  We are all worth more to Him than men can even comprehend.

Recently (on Youtube) I watched excerpts of Oprah’s interview with Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka and viewed it as such a sweet relationship and thought of what a remarkable love went in to planning their offspring and how incredibly blessed they all are.  And yet they have surely received criticism by many who refuse to understand, who refuse to see the miracle that has taken place between them, who view them with Pharisee eyes. I really appreciate Oprah’s “ah’hah” moment that she shares in the last 15 seconds of this video.

 A straight couple can have an unwanted baby on accident, but a gay couple has to plan and save and jump through legal hurdles to have a child, and so I would think there would be more love invested in that child (or children)  We’re people.  We are all people.  We’re not star bellied sneetches – though many of us act like we are.

Friday, August 17, 2012

seven dozen cookies and reversing roles

Roland grew up on beans and rice.    I on the other hand grew up on casseroles.  So that's what I make.  I'm fortunate that Roland loves to cook and bake and enjoys a lot more than rice and beans.  He is actually a very good cook.  Not so great at cleaning up.  But when I don't have to cook the food myself, I really don't mind.

For several years I spent a lot of time on the computer.  Roland was basically self employed and I was his secretary creating a system that would work for us - advertising through post cards, letters and keeping track of addresses sent.  And Roland would cook and bake while I was on the computer.  I actually enjoyed that system.

But with the broken economy and an unpromising future, Roland has taken on a job with a company that issues paychecks twice a month and gives us an actual amount to work with.  He works from 8-5 or 7-4 depending.  And so I am now responsible for seeing that dinner is ready when he returns.  Usually I am scrimping for creative ways to utalize whatever happens to be in the fridge.  My last two meals have consisted of turkey and vegetables.

On Monday I made a mock shepherds pie.  Roland said he had never had it before, and actually claimed that he liked it. (I rarely ever get that.  I am not a chef.  I don't choose to be.  I can follow a recipe, but it's got to be exact.  If the item I'm baking needs to be covered, it must say so in the recipe - otherwise it won't get covered)

After two days of shepherd pie and frozen leftovers, I looked for another recipe.  Turkey and zucchini lasagna.  I found a few recipes through Google.  But still changed a bit.  I would rather have Alfredo than Mariana - though I know the Mariana is better for us health wise.  So I waited another day for Roland's input.  He wanted the Mariana, but at the last minute told me to use up the Alfredo.  And so I did.

I put some oil in the bottom of the crockpot and layered it with turkey and noodles, a beet greens and zucchini mixture, rocatta cheese, noodles and back to the meat and alfredo sauce and vegtables and cheese.  Only took three hours for it to cook - and it was good.  Rich.  But good.  But still - too much for just me and Roland (Jenna refuses to allow it anywhere near her lips)  so now we have three containers of leftovers for those days I don't feel like cooking (which is actually often) 2 with turkey lasagna and 1 with Shepherd's pie.

On Monday I made 7 dozen cookies - four zucchini and three no bake.  They were all gone by Wednesday.  Can you believe that?  Granted we did share 2-3 dozen - maybe a little bit more.  But I think my Jenna may be getting pudgy.  Okay.  No more cookies for a while.  It just sounded better than bread pudding - which Roland had wanted to make.  As if he has time.

Now it is he on the computer pulling up sites to reference material.  And he is on hours at a time.

I'd like to go back to how it was before - when he was in the kitchen and I was on the computer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Novelty has Worn off, That Ship has Sailed

          Recently I was watching a show (well, attempting to watch) called “Bunheads” The particular episode focuses around Michelle substitute teaching for Fanny, who is out of town, and, according to Facebook, will be for some time.

All of the supporting characters are aware of Fanny’s extended plans except for Michelle – who hasn’t checked her Facebook page and is bothered that the whole world seems to revolve around Facebook communication.

There is nothing private about Facebook.  Things are taken out of context, misunderstood, mistranslated, and up for political debate. 

One of my Facebook friends joined after three years of rebellion.  Facebook was not for her.  She’s been able to communicate just fine without it – but not always so informed.

Like Michelle, she’d learn from other people, “Oh, I hear your grandson won the trophy and that there will be a celebration.”  “Who else is going to Mr. Walkie’s picnic on Friday?” “Did you hear so and so got the lead in the school play?” 

Okay, I don’t know the exact quotes that she read.  The first example is probably totally inaccurate as she supports her grandchildren to the fullest and is always there – provided that the information has been related to her.

I guess after three years of listening to her family converse about current events that hadn’t yet reached her ears, she joined Facebook – though she seemed leery or did it out of rebellion or what have you.

Actually, it appears that she has been on it almost daily since she joined.  And usually her posts are profound and have great meaning.  She shares links and views and probably does reach more people now than before. 

I visit Facebook weekly at best.  I go in to view and post pictures and send wishes to those having birthdays (the calendar reminder is actually one of my favorite features)   Sometimes I read comments that have been made.  Overall I see it as a great big bill board with just as many advertisements as comments. 

The appearance of facebook has changed three to five times since I’ve joined – the latest being time line – and you are going to join forces weather you want to or not.  I actually didn’t have a problem with time line.  Corey has not been happy about the mandatory sweitch however.

I noticed that many times people leave comments on stupid posts, but I get very little on the ones that I really care about.  Or used to care about.  I seldom ever put posts on Facebook anymore.  I’d rather Blog what’s on my mind.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Online Schooling is Definitely NOT for me

          I have a friend whose husband is a recruiting officer for one of those online schools. He sits at a desk while the automatic dialer spins out call after call of potential students.  If/When one picks up, he introduces himself and states the purpose of his call. 

          I am certain that over 50% of their “potential students” are not potential at all.  They were victims of online job hunting believing that they were filling out an application for the a job that would hopefully tie them over and entered info on those pop-ups designed to retrieve information to so sucker you into going to their schools.

          I know as I have been a victim of this “potential” marketing myself.  I am livid at the method of “solicitation” – if I wanted to go to school, I would search out for the school – I don’t need someone contacting me to try to “sell” me a product that is going to put me further in debt than I already am. Thank you very much!

          Their biggest selling point (that I see) is that it works to the students convenience because he or she can choose his/her own hours and doesn’t have to be on a set schedule as with the campus schools.  They don’t clue you in as how the hours can literally swallow so much of your time.  But perhaps many really don’t know how time consuming it is. 

The recruiters are expected to have so many starts in any given month.  If they don’t make the quota, they are invited to leave.  That’s not really fair – given the circumstances that most of the “students” who are contacted are not interested in being called let alone making a commitment – which a large percentage don’t.

          The online schools don’t have near as much to offer in career choices as campus schools.  There haven’t been any that have appealed to me personally.  I prefer a hands-on – one on one if possible.  I like having a live instructor that can communicate to me without the benefit of a computer. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I value my computer – but not to the point of replacing an education the “old fashion” way.

          After a year or so with the company (I don’t actually know how long) my friend’s husband was entitled to take the online courses for free (provided he work with the online school for the next three years or come up with the finances on his own) for either himself or a family member.

          As he currently has only one child who would qualify – and that child wants to go into medicine (which is not an online program) and my friend isn’t all that thrilled about the programs offered either, her husband has decided to further educate himself – which is all well and good – but it is sooo time consuming.  His greatest sacrifice (in my opinion) has been giving up several hours of sleep.

          I’ve been to her house a few times when her husband has been trying to fulfill assignments.  It appears to be so frustrating. My friend has had to physically remove her children from the environment so that he is able to stay more focused.  But she is never gone long enough.  What is suppose to be “two hours any given four days in the week” turns into eight. 

She says that often he doesn’t get to bed until after 2:00 and then he needs to be up by 6:00.  Perhaps his body has adjusted to needing only four hours per night (uh, morning) but my friend says that he comes home physically and mentally exhausted.  And she is worried about him.

Right now he is an A student. It will be another three years before he “graduates” – and then what?  Will having his degree or certificate or whatever it is help him to land a better job?  Will all those hours he spent at the computer, giving up sleep (not to mention a few family moments) be worth it?

I can receive an education online without getting credit for it.  There is tons of information to learn and so much right at our fingertips (literally) but I have to go at my own pace – which is not a part of the schooling education

For some people, online schooling really is an ideal thing – particularly if they are only working part time and have inherited a good chunk of money – and single – without children – without interruptions . . . perhaps it for some it has its perks.  But it’s not for me personally.  I can actually understand why the drop-out ratio is so high.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Things sure have changed

The town I grew up in was not a metropolis.  Or at least it hadn’t started out that way.  But over the time, the city has built itself around that area making it much larger than a town.

When I was little, everything had to be driven to – the doctors, the swimming pool, the hospitals, my grandma’s house . . .  not much in the way of walking distance.  My parents even had to drive quite a distance just to get to the freeway.
Today access to the freeway is just around the corner from where I grew up.  I used to have picnics with my brother and his friends in a vacant field -which is no longer - as the land was dug up and is now a part of the intrastate freeway.

There are at least 20-30 fast food chains and restaurants within walking distance.  The small trailer where we had opened our first savings account broke ground on now houses an actual building that changed hands (bank names) at least three times before transforming into a Subway sandwich shop.  I don’t even know if it’s still there or not.  
Many stores have come and gone since I lived there. I remember one building was a Chinese restraunt, a fish and chips, a trophy and plaque store, and a doctor’s office. Currently it is a Hertz – really?  There is seriously a lot to put cars in?

I remember a few buildings changing hands on what seemed like a weekly basis. 
I loved going to Gibsons and to Allied.  Both names and places of the past.

Jenna gets angry when I accidently refer to her Ipod as a walkman.
Says I’m lucky I had my own phonograph when I was younger.  She was thinking the hand cranked kind.  I said (in a highly offended voice) I’m not that old.  She laughed.

My brothers (that would include my non-biological family across the street) and I used to take swim lessons at the Deseret Gym.  Now the LDS Conference Center built over where Deseret gym used to be. 

When we’d visit my Uncle out in Kearns, it seemed quite a drive from our house – but when I lived there with Roland everything was really quite close.  The Sinclair gas station that received its new make-over after we moved has now been ripped out so that the already wide road can be widened even more.

Of course I don’t remember anything about my birth except for what my mom tells me.  Dad wasn’t allowed in the delivery room.  I had three family members with me when I gave birth to Jenna.  My then 11 year old neice was able to watch her sister get born.  But than maybe it depends on what area you're in.  My son, Tony, said he wasn't allowed in the delivery room when his daughter was born - and that was just five months ago.

Jenna was not allowed to visit her cousin, Ana after she was born. But two years later she was able to visit her newborn cousin, Garret, once he got out of ICU and was brought into his mother’s room.  She wasn’t even allowed to visit Kayla (Ana and Garret’s mother) two years ago. 

Jenna’s car seat had been purchased at a garage sale eight years ago.  It passed inspection.  Not by today’s standards.  No way.  I guess I can understand that – to a degree anyway.  There’s another thing that improves each year – or attempted to anyway.  Mom held me in her lap when I was an infant.  As a toddler I was placed in a seat which slid over the back of the chair – front seat. 

My mom was told to keep my brother, Patrick, and I on our backs.  By the time Corey and Kayla came along, the policy had changed to laying newborns on their bellies.  Mom kept them on their backs anyway – even Corey who was two months premature.  Afterall the back procedure had worked fine for me and Patrick.  Somewhere along the line it got changed back.  Too many babies ended up smothering themselves.

Jenna preferred being on her stomach.  For the most part I would let her fall asleep on me and then I would lay her on her back.  I remember when she learned to roll from her stomach to her back.  She’d cry and cry when she couldn’t figure how to return to being on her stomach again.

What changes do you remember?

Friday, August 3, 2012

McDonald’s: an Evolution of Perception

          When we are children and don’t know any better, we believe that McDonald’s is the greatest thing.  Oh, sure, perhaps we’re too busy at the play center or enjoying the toy that falls apart long before we have finished whatever lame meal was ordered.  What did we know about nutrition?  It wasn’t even in our vocabulary.

          Teenagers seemed divided.  It’s fast, it’s cheap, close enough to the high school or jr. high.  Given the right time of the day . . . not that I think of it as a hangout – not in your larger cities anyway.  Not with a playland and 30 screaming kids.
          “It’s not where you take a girl on a date,” says Randy.  Although I could picture Tony doing that very thing – and not with a limo and candles (which Randy said was too cheesy – why spend the money on a limo?  Why not just better quality food?  Have to agree with that part.

          Biff likes the yogurt parfaits.  That’s about it.  Even at thirteen (when he was seriously a better eater than he is now) he saw McDonald’s food as something that would clog the arteries.  And it would take years and years to undo the damage.  I think Biff views McDonald’s as the gateway to suicide.

          As adults we would prefer NOT to go to McDonald’s.  It’s fine to take the kids when they’re younger, but as they get older?  Come on.  Surely we can come up with better food – even if McDonald’s does seem the only thing in the budget.

          Children don’t seem to   appreciate home cooked meals.  Going out just seems so much more prestige – even if it is McDonald’s.

          I recall the first time the boys had Alfredo sauce.  Neither Biff or Tony (who literally eats anything but chicken) seemed impressed, but Randy (who always expressed his gratitude and appreciative thoughts and anything to be the center of attention) said (and he genuinely did mean it as a compliment) "This tastes like restaurant food”

          Randy was grateful to eat something other than the budget meals that they had before I met Roland.  And he really did like it even if Biff and Tony weren’t all that impressed.

          I think it is the prices at McDonald’s that draw in the senior citizens.  I remember dad thinking McDonald’s was pretty good.  And mom, who, for so many year has said, “I don’t want to eat at McDonald’s.” didn’t seem to mind it the other day when Jenna announced that’s where she wanted to go.  I certainly wasn’t up for McDonald’s food, but that’s where we ended up and “grandma” didn’t seem to mind. 

          I guess by definition of the AARP I turned into a senior citizen at the end of May this year.  But my love for McDonald’s (should I ever have one) is so far into the future that I think my taste buds will have to be further gone than I am.

          On the up side: McDonald’s does provide housing for families for children who are in hospitals closer to the hospital than their own houses.  The paper products used by McDonald’s are supposedly all recyclable.  Big Macs, for instance, used to come in a Styrofoam carton.  Styrofoam is not recyclable. Therefore it was changed to cardboard.  Though I think more ends up in the “garbage” than in the “recycling” – how can a product all covered in fatty food possibly be recycled?

          There are a lot of pluses to McDonalds – possibly more than down sides.  They may have a bad rap with many.  But there will always be that genuine love among the children and senior citizens.