Friday, November 30, 2012

I WANT MY SPACE!



So often sitcoms will portray the girl as the snuggler and the guy as the one who needs the room.




I don’t have a problem snuggling when we’re both awake -  but when I’m in bed asleep (or trying to) I would rather not deal with that extra weight crushing my bones, leaving indentations in my body, actually making it hard to sleep. 

Roland’s a cuddler.  He’s been extremely tired all week – and very much in the middle of the bed (note it’s NOT a king size bed) leaving enough room on his side for another person while my arm dangles over the bed.  His head like a bowling ball on my shoulder. 

I could actually tolerate all of it except for the dangling arm.  It’s annoying when I look at all the room to the other side of them.  I actually wonder if there might be more room on that side.  Probably not.  If I could just take my arm off, there would be plenty of room.

Jenna likes to cuddle as well.  It worked out better when she was a baby and toddler.  Now there are parts of her body (usually an elbow or her head) that manage to find my ribcage or cut off the circulation in one of my legs.  She has always been solid.  I think she must weigh even more when she snuggles.

Roland’s always producing heat.  Great for winter camps.  Atrocious in the summer time.  I usually get up during the night to turn the fan on.  He always has the blankets around him.  Oh, please.  Like I want extra bedding around me as well.

I’m grateful that Roland does want to cuddle – that he wants to be close.  It is nice to be wanted.  Sometimes I’ll cuddle back until he falls asleep.  I do love him.  But I also love my space. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Content With My 35 mph Route



          Every once in a while, instead of turning at my designated turn, I will continue on the road I’m on just to see where it goes.  Sometimes I have missed my designated turn.  Sometimes I have been rerouted by construction. Such was the case this summer.

          Sometimes there is just no way around the construction. One is doomed to hit it sometime during his or her commute.  I still have my hang-ups with railroadtracks and crossing over bridges.  But unless I take the freeway, there is just no way to avoid the train tracks. 

          I can’t take the freeway, though.  For one thing, I truly believe my car will fall apart if I attempt to make it go more than 50.  And that would have not helped with the construction situation at all – as I would still have to get off to get to mom’s street and house.

So whether intentional or not, I found an alternate route between mom’s house and mine.  I cross three sets at present. Sometimes I have to wait for the same train at two different crossings.  



I also cross three bridges.  Only one makes me freak somewhat.  The other two are small – like two cars long.  But the one that goes up and over and around – it’s winds and curls around and one cannot see to the other side while crossing.  But it beats school traffic.







The construction has finally been removed, but I still take the 35 mph route out of habit.  It works for me.  There hasn’t been much in the way of traffic and it’s been a comfortable speed for both me and my car.  No school crossing.  And no shopper’s fiasco. I do have to wait occasional pedestrians.  Not a big deal.

I’m actually happy and comfortable with the route I am currently taking.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thoughts for Today’s Post


          I took Highness for a walk for the first time this month.  Poor dog.  (I've been going to mom's, trying to assist at Jenna's school or the cannery and Biff has taken on two full time jobs leaving Highness somewhat neglected)
          The weather has been awesomely beautiful once the sun is out.  When it’s down, it can get quite cold. But during the day – I often get hot and will turn the heat off and open a window.

                                                    

          I don’t recall a November ever where I could get away with wearing just a sweatshirt over my clothes.  But then we had wonderful weather last Christmas.  I took a picture of Jenna in some new clothes that had been sent – she was outside by the pine tree.  No coat. 

          I was taking pictures on a daily basis for about a week and had posted them to facebook with date attached.  It snowed hard by nightfall on the 26th and some pictures looked like the typical postcard Christmas of Utah.  But we had lots of “no coat” days as well.  Now that was bizarre.

          I remember a few Aprils when it had snowed.  There was one day in 2003 when there was quite a bit of snow actually.

          Ooki had come to us at the end of August 2002.  He asked if he would need to buy boots for the winter.  We’d been experiencing craziness of weather for the last decade at least, and I told him that if he made a purchase toward some boots that he might not ever need them, but if he didn’t buy the boots, then he would definitely need them.

          Ooki chose to ease the hardship of shoveling snow and whatever else is hated about the winter season as he bought himself not only a heavy coat but a pair of boots as well.  He did use the coat for four or five months – often with his flip flops, but only wore the boots twice that I remember.  And I don’t remember if that day in April was one of them.





          I took my three boys to the park. Ooki did not go with us – I think because of other obligations.  Ooki was rarely at home just to be home.  If we had something specific going – he made effort to be there.  But our going to the park was spontaneous.  And perhaps he just didn’t like the idea of the snow.  I can’t remember.

          We didn’t have a toboggan.  The boys took a long piece of cardboard, some plastic covering that had fallen from our covered car port, and Randy’s dune buggy (that one I still don’t understand) and used them to slide down the hill.  And I took a couple of rolls of pictures (though digital did exist – not in my possession) and probably would have tons more if Ooki had gone with us (he took tons of pictures; even posted them on his website which I don’t think he even has any more)

         The snow had completely melted by the next day.

          I really wish there was a way to stop the weather the way it is right now – and just keep it all year round.  Nothing warmer.  Definitely nothing colder.  No snow – at least on my roads.  No ice.  Spectacular elements.  That would really be sweet.




          Yesterday I was at my mom’s.  She must own a thousand books.  Over a hundred in her backroom.  And I would guess more than twice that in the spare room.  Some in her front room.  Some collectables.  Though not most. 

          I think there are three or four members who would be willing just to throw them all always – not even donate them.  Just get rid of them.  And I’m certain there are tons that Corey would like to have.  And he is probably the only one who would have room to house them.



          My main interest right now is the Norman Rockwell book that is too big to be shelved and too heavy to put on one’s lap.  If Corey can make a nice home for it, he can have it.  Otherwise I would like it.  I really like Norman Rockwell.

          On Friday mom and I will have lunch with a friend that we haven’t seen for over 30 years.  I don’t think mom will remember her.  But maybe once we get to talking?  She and mom used to watch each other’s children.  Or her two oldest girls would come over and babysit Patrick and me.  Corey doesn’t remember as he was only a toddler when they moved.

          I guess that’s all I have to say right now.  I have some organizing to do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It is Okay to Dismiss Early . . . at least in My Opinion


          
          Whenever Roland and I were asked to speak in our last ward, l the subject was often missionary themed.  A couple of talks we’d given were in reference to Mothers’ Day, but I think for the most part it was missionary work. 

          Roland and I were the ward mission leaders for four years – and must have been called to speak at least twice during the time we were serving in that calling.  And also after our boys were out in the mission field we had been called to speak.

          With each talk I prepared, I tried a new approach from the previous talk.  One of the talks that I’d given I have posted here.   But the first time I was called to speak was before we had gone to see “The Guardian which seemed to speak to me with the analogy of comparing missionary work to the coast guard. 

          Not wanting my talk to sound like a plug for “The Guardian” I went to the library to do some research on the coast guard.  I also found some scriptures to go along with my talk.

          There were five of us scheduled to speak.  I still don’t know why it was that we were unable to fill up the entire time – but we did end up running short and whatever counselor was conducting that day felt obligated to recap our talks and add his own experiences and although I did enjoy his talk I wondered if it was really necessary to fill the time rather than dismiss from the meetings early.

          I’ve been to several wards in which the bishopric always feels obligated to fill that void.  But not in my current ward.  Yesterday we got out half an hour early.  Thus my husband was able to finish up with his responsibilities in staying with the bishopric and was home at 4:30 (I don’t think he’s ever been home this early since our ward moved to the 1-4 schedule;  come January we will be attending 9-12)

          I enjoy dismissing early once in a while.  And I enjoy the privilege of giving talks in Sacrament meeting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chatter Matters . . . especially for Jenna


          In 2000 Mattel distributed a game called Chatter Matters.  I don’t know how the game happened to fall into the hands of Sunny’s family, or if it had been given to a specific child.  But they didn’t seem to enjoy it.

          They left it at my mom’s house without directions.  It’s pretty self explanatory, but I printed the directions anyway.  Jenna absolutely LOVES this game.  We started playing it just this year.


          We must have started in summer when Jenna was off from school.  The game continued to live at Grandma’s house, and that is where we would play it.  Jenna wanted to take the game home.  I told her that it wasn’t ours to take.  But Corey said he thought it would be okay if we did.  But I know Jenna and her lack of ability to clean up after herself and how many game pieces turn up missing.  I fully believed we could make better use of it at my mom’s.
          And after Thanksgiving we brought the game home to live with us.  Not intentionally. But I haven’t bothered to return it – which has been intentional.

          Jenna has always liked answeringquestions and listening to the answers of others.  We would play the ungame  – which isn’t a game but a pocket sized case containing questions.  Questions such as:  “what was your favorite subject in school? and why?”  “Where would you like to go on vacation?”  “What is one quality you admire about each family member?”    



          Each case came with two sets of questions.  The generic easy ones and the more thought provoking ones like: “name an experience involving death”
          I remember asking my dad that one before he passed away.  His Uncle Reese was seventeen when he passed away.  I think my dad was six.  He choked as he answered.  Kayla and I set the cards aside and decided to play something else.

          I don’t know how many years fell between the card packet to the board game (I would guess 14) – though it was still not a “game”.  There were no winners, no losers . . . no definite end. 




          Chatter Matter’s seemed to have many similar questions that were asked in Ungame’s level one – but with a twist.  The board game was designed with four rooms and a deck of cards for each room that would ask questions not necessarily geared toward the room – but may be where you are when you ask yourself the questions that come with the card.




          For example, the bedroom has questions especially geared to the player about his or her personal self like:
“What’s one of the strangest foods I’ve ever eaten?” 
or “If I could travel anywhere, where would I go? For how long? Who would go with me?



          The other players write down answers they believe the card holder will say and for each one that matches, both (or all) receive chips.

The Family room is designed for the player to answer questions about family members:




          “What religion, if any, did one of my parents practice as a child?”
          “What is the name of the first street I lived on?”

          Sometimes the other players will write down their predictions but not always.  The two questions above offers chips for each correct answer.  Helps if you actually have family members playing that can assist with the correct answer.

          Kitchen.  This card will allow you to collect chips for doing chores or will punish you and have you move your game piece to “time out” 
Examples of these are:




          I painted the bathroom.  Go to Chores/Allowance corner and collect

And then the player has an opportunity to talk about a project he or she has done around the house.

            The game room offers a variety of “games” to be played with each card.  Jenna’s favorite is called “Scavenger Hunt”

          It helps if you are familiar with the house of where the game is being played.  You divide into teams and look for whatever is written on the card:

          A receipt
          Something with a player’s name written on it (that could be a monogram or a piece of mail)
          A picture of me and somebody else in my family

          “Verbal Blitz” is the one I like the best.  It is also played in teams.  Three categories are listed on the card.  The player who draws the card selects the category and each team goes back and forth naming off soup flavors, or vegetables, or television shows or whatever happened to be selected, until one team stops or repeats an answer.  Winners get one chip each.




          “Doodles” is a mini version of Pictionary.  Three words are listed on the card (usually household items or chores) and you can draw either a chimney, a kitchen table or a window.  And the first person who guesses correctly gets a chip along with the “artist”

          The last game room play card is called “Home Movies”   Player acts out verbs that are written on the card:

          Riding a bike, skateboarding or skiing for example.

          Each player has a chip holder that will fill with 15 chips.  The first player to have 15 chips wins.  Not a tough game.  But can be long – especially when the players get stuck on a game card.



          I told Jenna that we would play it after our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday – and we probably would have had it been on top, but Jenna picked another game.  And that was the only one we played as Grandma was getting restless and we needed to remove her from the environment.

          I told her that we could possibly play it after Thursday’s dinner – but everyone else had to agree.  We played Spades instead. 

          So on Friday, when I took her over to Bill and Kayla’s house, we played.  Anna wanted to play with the chip holders and game pieces.  So Bill decided that she would play the game.  So he shook the di for her and asked and answered questions.  Ironically I think Anna won. And Bill declared that it was really a boring game.  I think we could have ended sooner if he hadn’t insisted on taking a turn for Anna (as well as himself) every time (after all she had lost interest long before he did)

          It can get boring.  But so can Monopoly. And given a choice, I’d much rather play Chatter Matters.  And I’m really happy that Jenna really likes it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Yesterday's Turkey Dinner


          I started this blog on New Years of this year.  I was faithful to write every single day – or almost every day.  But when school ended, so did my once-a-day posts.  My focus had to be on Jenna.  And when school started back up, mom’s memory had deteriorated and so I seemingly started spending more time with her (especially when Corey had gone back to Las Vegas – where he is now registered as a permanent resident in the state of Nevada) and so I still haven’t gotten back to one a day. Perhaps I never will.

          Kayla and her two children met Jenna and me at my mom’s on the Thursday of Thanksgiving.  I had gone because it was my day and we had already celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with the family on the Saturday prior.  Kayla brought her kids because Bill wanted to clean the carpets.

          They had left the house about 1:00 to return home to make dishes for their Thanksgiving dinner with one of Bill’s sisters (the one who lives in Utah) and baby brother. 
          Roland was planning on doing dinner at 3:00 – but time got away from him, I guess.  I boiled potatoes and mashed them.  They were ready at two.  I don’t think I started the gravy until 3:00. 

          At 3:30 Jenna and “Grandma” and I got into the car and drove to my house for dinner.
          Mom seemed to enjoy Thursdays dinner more than the dinner we had on Saturday.  For one thing she was a lot more alert.  For another thing, dinner on Thursday was quite small.  Only five of us.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits and rolls, and green beans.  Ice cream for dessert. 
          After we had finished eating, Roland wanted to play spades.  I don’t know if my mom has even played spades before.  And explaining games to her is a chore as it is.  But we went with it.  Explaining the rules every time we dealt. 
          Randy and Carrie had dropped by.  I was surprised to see them.  They had come to see mom.  And Roland decided it would be fun to play spades in teams.  Randy said he wanted to play by himself – and so Roland decided that he would give him grandma’s handicap and would appear that he was playing by himself.
  
          She had bid three tricks at one time when Randy had nothing in his hand.  She probably could have taken them if she had thrown out her lowest spade rather than her highest. 
          When we were down to two cards Kevin leaned across the table and said, “Grandma, I thought you said you had three” (referring to the tricks)

          “I did.  And now I only have two” (referring to the cards left in her hand) everybody at the table (except for Randy and my mom) started laughing. And then mom smiled as the rest of us were laughing.  And Randy stared ahead in unbelief.

          After a few more rounds, Biff volunteered to take grandma home (as I don’t drive at night – otherwise I would have gone)

          It was actually not a good night for Randy (card wise) and actually a better night for me than usual.  When Randy announced that he and Carrie had to go, Biff and I were certain that the only reason why he left was because he was losing.  We both figured if he hadn’t gone so far down into the hole, he would have continued playing.

          Today I will take Jenna with me to Bill and Kayla’s where we will hang for most of the day.  Roland has some work ahead of him that will be accomplished easier if Jenna’s not around.  Plus I would really like to play games with them. 

          Jenna has a possible hair appointment.  I will call at 1:30 to verify.  If not, we will just stay longer with Bill and Kayla.  And if Roland finishes with what he needs to accomplish, maybe Bill and Kayla will come here for some more games afterwards (if I remember to take Roland’s turkey to their house for lunch, that alone could bring Bill back for more)

          I’m grateful that mom had a good day yesterday.  I’m happy to hear that Corey had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I missed him.  But I’m happy for the opportunities that he has right now to get on with his life in Las Vegas.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Being Grateful


On January 3rd I created a post called “What I’m Grateful for A-Z” There have been oodles of posts on facebook by a number of people expressing gratitude on a daily basis.  I put these in alphabetical order as well.  Some are the same as my answers given three days after I created this post.  I admire so many of the statements given:

Agency:

“I can’t always choose what happens to me, but I can always choose how I’m going to react to it”

“A great sacrifice was made and a divine price was paid.”

“I’m thankful for all the veterans in my life and for all those who have served and continue to serve this great country.”

“passion for our freedoms”

Education:

“this also goes for choice in elementary and secondary schools”

“the ability to learn”

Guidance:

“I am thankful for a living prophet to lead, guide, and direct me”

Health:

“It may not be the best, but I am grateful I’m not a slave to bad health”

Employment:

“I’m grateful for a husband who works as hard as he does to support our family”

“It has saved our bacon this year”

Labor of others to ease the burdens of our everyday lives:

“Thanks to all of the garbage collectors who pick up my garbage weekly”

“the opportunity to donate blood . . . giving the gift of life is an awesome feeling”

Library and Books:

“for without we’d be very poor!”

“Thank you, Benjamin Franklin, for providing a system for us to check out books”

Music:

“Music is an impact on so many different levels”

Opportunity to vote:

“I am thankful that I live in a country where I can freely vote J It is a gift”

“women who fought to give us the right to vote and exercise that right”

Positive Attitudes:

“I need to adapt that pleasantness into my own life”

Religion:

“I am thankful for the help and support my Heavenly Father provides on that journey”

Shelter:

“My house may be small, but at least I’m not homeless”

“Even when I complain that I have to clean it, at least I have one to clean”

Spouse, family, friends and reasons why

Trials:

“It makes me a stronger person because I choose to face my trial and do something about it!”

“. . . the ability to get things done”

Material things:

 “ . . . Let’s just be honest.  This world is a much better place because of chocolate”

Nail Clippers, Snow blowers, telephones

Weather:

"Snow", "Awesome Fall"

"Wonderful sunshine"

“Grateful for the seasons. I think we've experienced all 4 in the last week....”

Others:

Art, Hugs, Laughter, Loyalty

Leftovers

Modern Medicine and Technology
Being prepared
Peace and Quiet Sight, Sleep

Another post:

“Just sayin' - I love reading everyone's gratitude posts! Makes me smile”

And the one that got me smiling earlier in the month:

That the elections are over!”

And at this time I am very grateful to be able to compact all of my memories in a space more reliable and even smaller than my brain.
I’m grateful for photos and written words that Jenna and Kayla’s children may be able to know the same grandma that Patrick’s children had the opportunity of knowing.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Visit with Mom


She had just finished eating when I arrive.
I don’t bother to ask if she has checked her blood.
We go for a walk.
I point to a house where a family had lived
Many years ago.
I asked if she remembers.
She says that she does.  That’s good.
She didn’t have a clue on Saturday.
I take her to my house to eat lunch.
I put her at the computer while I prepare the food.
She enjoys viewing the pictures that Kayla had taken
And had posted to facebook.
I make some suggestions on how to complete the day
I ask if there is anywhere in particular where she would like to go.
She says she wants to go home. Just home.
Her mother was a homebody, too.
I take her back home with a reminder that I will have to leave again.
I have to go pick Jenna up from school.  I’d like her to go with me.
She doesn’t want to go.
Just as I’m about to leave, I decide I will call Nate and ask if he could pick up Jenna.
Nate married my niece.  They live in mom’s basement.
Mom is overwhelmed at the idea of my knowing Nate
And having his phone number is such a foreign concept to her.
Why would I have Nate’s phone number?
I cannot get a hold of him.  According to her, it’s just as well
How would he even recognize Jenna?
I look at her as though she has sprouted horns
I end up driving to Jenna’s school while mom takes a nap
Or so she claims.
Nate opens the door when Jenna and I return
Mom seems a little more with it than she had been after lunch.
She seemed fine before lunch.
Nate says he has to run an errand
Jenna hands me a sheet of paper and orders me to write a story
“What story?”
I’m so not in the mood for making up something
“I will tell you”
As she starts in with her own story of an alien visiting a factory she sees that I am
using a pen and writing in cursive
“Use a pencil, mom.  And don’t write in cursive!”
“You write it with a pencil.”
“Okay, fine.”
She gets another piece of paper and says she will write her story but now I have to write my own.
Grandma dismisses herself so she can “look outside for a minute”
I stop writing. One of us has to watch her.
Jenna and I take turns watching mom standing in the driveway observing the sky
And then she walks into the back yard expecting the weather will change.
It doesn’t.  She comes inside and announces that she would like to take a walk
but that it’s just too windy.
Personality number three.
Instantly she becomes another person as she retrieves her puzzle book and hunts for words.
Jenna and I continue writing.
Mine is a Christmas story.  Unpolished.
I will post it next month.  Most likely it will still be unpolished.
Nate returns. Jenna and I leave mom’s house to return home. 
Still worried about my mom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

“Brave” and the Liahona




         Roland and I took mom to the movies after our Saturday Thanksgiving dinner.  We chose “Brave” because it was the shortest wait.  Mom enjoyed it which in itself made it worth it.   I felt intrigued by the parallels that seemed unfold – for me anyway.

          Merida is typical of many teens – many who have gone beyond teen hood but still place more faith in self than  a higher being.

          Merida’s mother attempts to prepare Merida for the role of princess and what expectations are included and what the future holds – none of which fit into Merida’s own plans of “freedom” of expressing herself, of taking on adventures without the hassles of trying to please everyone by fulfilling a role that is clearly NOT the fate she would choose for herself.

          The story incorporates the legend ofthe wisp

          “The will o' the wisp definition if we could actually define it would go something like this: a supernatural luminescent, flickering or dancing white to blue light occasionally seen over bodies of water, in meadows, and in forests . . . There has been a lot of theories as to what the will o' the wisp meaning or message really is. As previously mentioned, many people in Scotland, Ireland, and England thought that the will o' the wisp was actually lights emanating from fairies.” -   It is the “wisp” that Merida follows with the belief that it will change her fate.

          When she meets a witch who agrees to give her a spell, she is guaranteed that her fate will indeed be changed. Right away I figured that her fate would indeed be changed – but not in the way Merida had hoped or expected.

          Often we think that we want our lives to go a certain way – or perhaps it is expected of some of us to follow in the footsteps of the family business or practice.  Perhaps it’s expected of some to make the most of his or her education.  And perhaps there are many who feel that restrictions have been placed upon them and that freedoms have been taken away.  We seek a path that is pleasing to us and follow our hearts or the legendary “wisps” or perhaps we turn to a more powerful source.  Perhaps we acknowledge deity and ask for assistance to take us down the road of our desires.

          Like the witch in “Brave” our Father does provide us with assistance, often sending us tools that we may “grow” our own blessings.  But often we don’t realize that what has been “planted” is not at all what we had asked for – or thought we had asked for rather.  Often we are given a different path, or another direction and must go with it in faith and do our best to understand why we have been placed in a certain position, when really, that is not we asked for at all.  Or did we?

          The following day I was to give the lesson in our youth class.  I had read the lesson, tried pondering it, tried studying, but it just wasn’t coming together for me.  It’s not that my understanding of the material was limited (as is often the case) but just seemed that it would be majorly short if I didn’t get the participation that I needed.

          I may have mentioned it before – only I can’t find where – we have only one youth.  In addition there is the other class instructor and two of the young men instructors (one who is married to the instructor that I alternate lessons with) and a brother who would like lessons as they are simplified to the youth.

          I wasn’t well prepared.  The lesson itself was on the name of the church (3 Nephi 27), the desires of the twelve disciples (3 Nephi 28), and the pride cycle (4 Nephi).  I can’t remember why Bro. Basic brought up the Liahona  – but Jack held up his Ipad and said that it was the Liahona.  And the Young Men leaders ran with it.



Jed compared it to the compass used by Lehi and his family and pointed out that the Ipad or smart phone can be used for direction just as a compass.  We can choose to follow in faith or we can be misguided by our own weakness or pride.  We can find tools that will help us on the path to eternal life or we can find paths that may lead us to destruction.  I had never thought of that before.  I thought it was a cool analogy.

I feel quite blessed to be serving a calling in which I am learning more from the class members than I imagine they can be learning from me.  I feel quite blessed with the class participation and the profound thoughts that help me simplify and better understand things.

I feel blessed too to view things in a way that many people may not.  Such as finding God’s message hidden in a Disney/Pixar animation. That was definitely not intended.

I’m grateful for analogies and parables and those who are gifted with words to speak to the intelligent but also explain things on a “Dick and Jane level that I too may understand.

I’m grateful there are those who can translate Isaiah.  I still don’t grasp all of it.  There are some who have viewed me as one who is knowledgeable in the scriptures.  There is a lot that I do understand.  But there is even more that I don’t.

I’m grateful that we have wisps and Liahona’s in our lives to guide us if we will but have the faith to follow.   I'm grateful that there is a force greater than ourselves who really does know best.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Untraditional Thanksgiving



The thing I enjoyed most about Thanksgiving was that each year was spent with a different group of people than the year before – not always.  For the most part our Thanksgiving dinners were intimate.  10 -12 people.  Nothing overwhelming like the 30+ number that my neighbor from across the street likes to have.  The more, the merrier – or so is her opinion.  I prefer less people.

          Sometimes we would enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays with various neighbors.  Sometimes extended family.  Sometimes just us.  Each one different.  Each one with positive memories.

          I recall one year spending it with a couple who had two children.  I think mom and dad had only three at the time.  The movie, The Jazz Singer (the version with Neal Diamond as Jess Robin), had just gone to the dollar theatre.  It was part of a double feature.  The other movie was Scrooge.  Our neighbor, Mary, LOVED the Jazz Singer and I still love the musical Scrooge. 



         So after our dinner we went to the theatre to see both movies.  I believe it was the only time I had ever gone to the movies on Thanksgiving Day.




          Mom’s neighbor from across the street LOVES Thanksgiving.  Her idea of a perfect Thanksgiving is having dinner with OODLES of people.  30, 50 – though not always an overwhelming amount, I think it is the norm.  We’ve probably had dinner with their family at least five times during my life time. And it hasn’t always been with all of the same people.

          I remember having Thanksgiving dinner with my dad’s family one time.  We had gone to my aunt’s apartment.  We usually didn’t spend Thanksgiving as all of us.  My dad’s brother spent the holidays with my aunt’s family.  But there was that at least that one time.  It was a long time before Corey or Kayla.

          After Patrick got married, they would often alternate holidays – spending every other Thanksgiving with her family and then Christmas with ours and vise-versa.  One year when they’d gone out of town, we asked my dad’s sister and her family to come spend Thanksgiving with us.  The year my dad passed away, we drove out of state with Patrick and Sunny to spend the holidays with her family.

          The thing I love the most about Thanksgiving is we get to spend it with a new group of people pretty much every year.  It may seem nontraditional to do it that way.  But it’s truly what I enjoy most about Thanksgiving.

          This year we had Thanksgiving dinner (lunch) the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.  We held it at the Church building that Patrick and Sunny attend.  Sunny had decorated the table so nicely.  18 chairs had been set up and each family contributed to the meal. Kayla made her first sweet potato pie ever.  Corey really missed out with that one.

 Each of us had also brought games to play.  My family ended up playing only one.  My mom was becoming more and more restless and Roland and I took her and Jenna to the movies.  It was nice to hear my mom enjoying the movie.  I thought she’d nod off but she didn’t. 

We missed Corey this year, but I am grateful that he has the opportunity to spend the holidays with his honey (for a change).  I am grateful for our non-traditional Thanksgivings.  And I am grateful for my families and for Sunny who seems to hold us all together.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Faith of a Child



          It was 5:30 when we received a frantic knock on the door.  Jenna dismissed herself thinking it was the next door neighbor who had already dismissed himself three times when he did not get his way.  I had thought the same thing – but at the same time it was a more aggressive knock – one of panic not childish play.

          Jorge’s mother had a worried look in her eyes, “Is Jorge here?” she asked hopefully.

          “No, I’m sorry.  I haven’t seen him.  Did he come home from school?”
          “No.”
          Jorge and Jenna don’t even go to the same school.  I had no clue how to help her.  Her cell phone drowned out my question, “How can I help?”

          I worried along with Jorge’s mom.  And Jenna worried with me. 
          “What can we do?” she asked.
          “We can pray.”

          I said the prayer and pondered what to do – I didn’t even know their last name.  Before involving anyone else, I thought it would be better if I had more information to share.

I do know where they live.  So Jenna and I walked over to their house.  Jorge’s mother opened the door – Relieved and Happy.  She’d found Jorge!  I don’t know where he’d been.  The cell phone went off again and she jabbered into it in her native tongue.  Jenna and I excused ourselves. 

          As Jorge’s mother closed the door, Jenna said, “Well, I guess our prayer worked.”

Get into the Groove Already . . . you Stubborn Lid




          Earlier in summer this year, I had gone with my ward on a canning assignment and decided that once school had started that I would put in 3-9 hours of volunteer work at the cannery once each month.  Thus far I haven’t made it to five hours.  But I am proud to say that I have been at least once a month.
          The only shift I can do currently is the 11-2 and I can only go on a Monday or a Wednesday as I am with mom on Tuesday and Thursday and Friday is normally Jenna’s short day and gets out of school just after one.

          I had actually gone to the cannery last week, but the machine had broken down or something.  When I arrived it appeared they already had thirty volunteers waiting to fulfill assignment.

          In the past I have noticed too many people can present just as many problems as not enough.  I opted to return home – which actually turned out to be a blessing on my end.  I’d forgotten about fall break, and Jenna walked in the house at 1:30.  I would have felt bad if she had returned to an empty house with no clue about where I might be.



          In summer, when I was with my ward, I noticed three that had been assigned to fastening lids on jars.  Oh, I was so relieved not to have put on that job.  Ironically, that has been the position I have been given every time I’ve gone (with two exceptions) and it’s really not as bad as I had made it out to be – except for today.
         
          I was having so much trouble getting the lid to fasten.  But it actually wasn’t just me – we all had problems with them.  At first it just seemed to be Eve and I who were struggling.  There didn’t seem to be as much struggle for Jean and Kris – who were grabbing lids from another box.

          I decided that it was the lids.  They must have been nicked or flawed or something.  Steve – who is an actual employee and not just a volunteer – picked up a couple of lids to redo a couple of jars that had been missed (and I take full responsibility)



          Ideally there are supposed to be three people for the jar lids.  The first is to fasten jars number 3 and 6, the second 2 and 5 and the last one should be able to do 1 and 4.  But sometimes we have four.  And Jean would usually do two jars along with Eve and Kris leaving me with very little to do (Jean would sometimes let a jar slide on purpose so that I would be able to have the opportunity) until Penny came in and took Jean’s place (Jean had been there since 9:30) and appeared to be having more trouble twisting the lids than I was.

          Sometimes the lid would escape from her.  A few had become flying saucers.  At least a couple soared over my knee before crash landing into the floor. Some remained on the conveyor belt and took a ride along with the jars that were full of applesauce.

          There was one time I was doing Salsa with a team of Polynesian background.  I don’t know if they were holding a contest among themselves or if they each thought it was their duty to personally make the day’s quota.  Pekelo would do bottles 2, 4, 5 and 6.  And Kalani would do bottles 1 and 3.  I was lucky if I was able to do one in 18 jars – seriously.

          Today we did applesauce and the last time I volunteered, it was honey.  Now that was cool watching the forklifts bring in the one and a half tons of honey and then see it get sucked out from a tube and enter the machine.  Fascinating.