Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Prettiest Necklace of All

          Sunny was helping Ellen and Nate with cleaning mom’s house.  She set aside a box of necklaces for Jenna to go through. 

          There’s a bunch of seashell leis.  I think Grandma Mary must have picked a couple up each time she went on a cruise.  Mom had purchased some as well, but I think the majority came from her mom.

          Jenna had once asked for a “necklace making kit” and mom had given her one for her birthday.  And Jenna chose a special rainbow lace full of beads to give to grandma in return.  And my mom wore them proudly – at least that one day.  It was in the box among the many pieces of jewelry that remained. 

          As Jenna was sorting through her latest “treasures” she asked which of all the necklaces my favorite was.

          “Well, this one, of course.” I said as I held up the rainbow shoelace full of beads.
          “Then you can have it,” Jenna beamed.

          Two days later it went missing from my dresser.  I found it dangling around Jenna’s neck.  I asked if she was borrowing my necklace.  She said that she decided she wanted to keep it and I could choose another.  I think we can share.  I like sharing her treasures because of her excitement.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Addicted to the Middle

          I don’t know which episode it was, but I was watching “the Middle” and Jenna decided to watch it with me.   That one episode got her hooked.  And now she’ll watch it and rewatch it and memorize it.  I don’t like it near as much as she does.   Nor do I enjoy it as much as I once did.

          What’s funny is Jenna has gotten Biff hooked on “the Middle” which is surprising to me as I really didn’t think they spent that much time together.  But he went out and purchased the first season and brought it home.  Jenna’s certain that he purchased it for her.

          I recently learned that Corey also likes  “the Middle”.  They are such a quirky family. It’s actually kind of an odd show. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegetating with Veggie Tales

          There are multiple Sunday School teachers in my current ward – team teaching the same classes – including the youth class.  I find it odd in a way – though I understand the need for variety.  I don’t think the two instructors who face the youth currently are the greatest choice. 

          When Wade taught the youth, I believe they fully related to him – as they really are not that many years apart – or so it appears.  I know that Wade is actually older than fresh out of high school – he just has that youthful look.  He was released to take on another call.  And so it was Lori and I who’d been called to teach.

          Lori’s husband attended the class along with Wade and each would contribute to the lesson with such force and such power it was no surprise that they had all been called to serve or work with the youth.  Except me.  I mean, I didn’t fully relate to the youth when I was one of them.  I had already felt like the “grandma” of the group when I had served in young women’s almost twenty years ago. So given the circumstances, I feel even further removed than I had then.

          Lori was put in the primary and the one who has newly been called seems just as distant from the youth as I am – though her husband currently serves in young men’s and has some character with the youth – a lot more than Kim and I anyway.

          I have gone to Sunday School the last two weeks, but have left right after class.  Last week Kim’s husband contributed quite a bit to my lesson as well as Jack, the only youth present last week.  But the fact that he allowed himself to be a part of the class was such a great thing.  And I was grateful for Mike’s comments as well.

          Kim has taught only one lesson and had told Roland that she and Mike would be out of town this week.  He told me that on Friday.  And so Saturday I tried to scrape up some more material and ended up getting Wade to substitute my class yesterday.  I still have a cough I’d rather not share, and Jenna is in far worse shape than I am.

          So yesterday morning we watched videos – well, she did anyway.  I hadn’t put in “Veggie Tales” to keep with a Sunday theme.  I wasn’t even thinking about that.

          She thanked me, especially when “Dave and the Giant Pickle” came on.  I think “Rack, Shack and Benny” is actually her favorite – but I had not recorded that one.  She wasn’t big on Veggie Tales when we had daily access.  Now that we don’t have access anymore, that’s what she would like to watch.

          I used to record snips of music and play songs for her all day.  I had three tapes.  I’ve since given one to Kayla to play for my two year old niece, but have also kept one for myself.  When Jenna is at school and Anna is in dire need of taking a nap, I’ll whip out the music tape for her to watch while she lies down.  She especially likes the songs in which Elmo takes part.

          After Veggie Tales Jenna watched a few tales from “Happily Ever After”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Trading Earrings for Marbles

          Jenna has worn earrings almost everyday since collecting them “from grandma” but I think the novelty has worn off.
          There are girls at school who see her earrings and wish they had earrings too – even if they are the ear-pinching clip-ons or twists.  Parting with her earrings has not been a big problem – especially when there is one who is trading her for marbles – well, that’s what Jenna calls them.  To me, they look like the shiny rocks that go into bottles or vases or line the bottom of the fish tank.  But Jenna loves them.  She sorts them in the same manner that she has always done with rocks

          Yesterday Roland called to see how we were both doing.  I informed him that Jenna had gone to school.  He asked why and I told him I thought it was mostly for the earring/marble exchange.  He laughed.  Yes, now there’s an important reason to go to school. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

I seem to identify with Emily Owens

          I could have never become a doctor.  I especially couldn’t have been a surgeon.  For one thing I’m really not smart enough.  Even moreso, I am squeamish.  Major squeamish.  Finding myself nauseated by special effects shown in medical shows and even commercials.  I am a whimp. There really is no denying it.  I can’t pretend that I’m not.  Anybody who knows me knows that I can act my way out of a lot of situations, but not when it comes to my extremely weak guts.  I don’t have nerves of steel.  They’re more like silly putty.
          So except for the given profession, I just seem to relate a lot to the Emily Owens character on CW’s Emily Owen, MD.

          She has compassion for her patients – perhaps too much compassion.  She feels things and allows emotions to get in the way.  Sometimes what she says doesn’t match what she thinks.  Often it does as she scolds herself for saying the words. 
          She understands hurt feelings.  She understands feeling left out.  She understands certain emotions expressed by others.  She would like to be there for everybody and spread comfort and joy and has been told by her colleagues and supervisors NOT to get involved. 

          She’s attempted friendships with the friendless, has hurt feelings when “profession” gets in the way of others whom she’d like to be close to.  And has a rival who continues to insult her no matter how hard Emily tries to reverse it.

          It’s also given me a better understanding of doctors who seem to be inhumane with emotion – they have to be.  Otherwise they would be basket cases.  Tearing up during surgery is not a cool thing for the surgeon or any of the assistants.  They are actually better to do their jobs by not getting emotionally involved.  Perhaps that’s with any profession. includes lyrics

I wish the lyrics were included in the actual video.  I’m big on KNOWING what’s being sung.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting Old Sucks Big Time

          There are some who age gracefully – some whose minds and bodies appear to be so much younger that many are surprised to learn that they are actually older than they appear.  And then there are those who seemed robbed of their minds and or bodies long before their prime and often give the illusion that they are much older.  And then there are those who don’t appear to be that old but their minds seem younger than their bodies – much younger.  How did Corey put it?  Elderly children.

  Leon Goodman described Alzheimer’s in this way:   Her life is being chomped away from present to past by a voracious PacMan which cannot be stopped. My mom does not have Alzheimer’s, but I think the comparison here is just as accurate.  Only it’s not so much from present to past as it is just a very different time frame.  A time frame real to her but in an imaginary zone from the average view.

          As we age there are many among us who lose strength that perhaps many of us have taken for granted.  For example, having the ability to stand up and move from the bed to the toilet without losing our balance or the cold that seems to last longer with each passing year because somewhere along the line our bodies have slowed down and don’t seem to have the same ability for fighting off infection.

          I’m only 50.  I think I will die young.  Sometimes it feels that way.  Some days when my head is clouded and I’m burdened with physical pain, I would just assume die.  When my body and spirit separate, I won’t have to experience the physical pain anymore.  But I'm told I’ll be taking my emotions with me.  Hope that umberellas are provided.

        On January 31st I wrote this post about my desire to ease into another routine – or attempting to rather.  I posted entirely too soon.  I have not made a routine for myself.  I have not put in any volunteer hours at either the cannery or the school.  I haven’t been to the temple.  Nor have I been out to see my mom.

          I’ve been nursing my cold and now Jenna.  She would rather be in school.  So would I.  I’d like to be able to sleep through the night again.  I would love to feel good again.  I would love for all of my household and other family and friends to all feel better and stay better.  I would love to get back on schedule – like I was when Jenna was in first grade.

          Actually, we are both feeling better.  But I am still in a fog.  Returned to the doctors for an ear flushing.  And there was a lot that came out.  But not all of it.  My hearing is exactly where it was two weeks ago.  I am so sick of being sick!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ode to David Smith

We all know a
David Smith such a
common name 

In my case you were
the boy next door
middle child
your mom and
my mom showed
pregnant bellies
three times the
same time – well maybe
just two and a half.

Tow headed blonds
we both were
neighborhood games
and school
Your family had
the only trampoline
there for a while

chain linked fence
separated our back yards
we grew
neither of us married
until our late thirtys

you had two daughters
I have one.  Wish we could
have gotten them together
before you passed on
a year ago last month

Your final act of
service happened when
you were only 49.  You
were in the basement of
your parents up 
on the ladder I believe 
and you lost your balance 
or your footing
and you fell and left this
earth life. 

Your family will keep your
memory alive and I
hope that your girls may
visit often and learn more about
who you were and
who you are now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Would Like to See Someone Murder Germs - Permanently

Crime doesn’t seem to take a rest.  Rarely takes a holiday.  Germs at least seem to take breaks.  Maybe not.  There is always somebody who’s been invaded by germs. So often they can make us miserable. 

I haven’t blogged for a while for that very reason.  Icky, ugly germs – that hadn’t been detected in my own personal body until I went to the doctors to have my ears flushed.

It doesn’t set well with me that I feel worse leaving the doctor.  It doesn’t set well with me that I would feel even more miserable after starting the antibiotic treatment.  I’ve had pressure in my ear, in my eye, in my head, and in my throat.  I’ve had a cough and am now experiencing a runny nose – which is a good thing.  A runny nose indicates it’s finally coming out.

Unfortunately I forgot to turn on the humidifier on Saturday night and woke up with a dry throat on Sunday morning.  I took the last antibiotic.  And now I’m probably experiencing strep.  I hope not.  I return to the doctor’s on Thursday.  I can’t take anything stronger.  Not like last year.  Don’t want to be nauseated in addition.

So I was actually feeling better this afternoon.  Roland had given me a blessing.  And I felt well from about 11:30 to 3:00 – when I had to meet with my sibs and an attorney.  Kayla and I left the office first and bam -  I’m sick again.  Miserable sick.

At least I’m hydrated.  Jenna checked out of school early.  Dehydrated and throwing up.  I thought she was sharing my cold – our cold (Roland had it, too) as she was coughing this morning and crying – she does not deal well with being sick.

I’ve been catering to her needs – puppy sitting a few hours and rolling my eyes at Trume who wants to play with Jenna and doesn’t believe she is sick.  Reminding her that I had been sick and I’m sorry she had to get sick herself to understand the pain I experienced when she would barge into my room and ask, “Mom, do you want to play a game?”

I didn’t want to play a game.  But I didn’t want to neglect her either.  I wanted her to understand my position – but not necessarily my pain.  Damn those germs!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Being Grateful for Fleas

          On February 28, 1944 Corrie ten Boom was arrested along the rest of her family  for having broken the law. They had not turned in all of their bikes or radios.  They had not kept curfew.  They hid Jewish people.

          The entire family had been taken to Scheveningen prison in Holland.  Each member of the family was put into his or her own cell.  There was no contact between them – or even with the other prisoners. The cells were concrete with steel doors with a tiny slot in which food was inserted.  Their only contact was the voice of the gruff guards.

          And one day the guards didn’t come. In June 1944 Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken to Vught Concentration camp in Southern Netherlands.  For their uniforms, they were given paper thin dresses marked with X’s.  They were expected to perform heavy labor.  There was no communication among the prisoners and the guards were abusive. While at Vught, Betsie spent the majority of time in the infirmary due to failing health.

          As the war progressed, many prison camps were closed due to lack of funds.  In September of 1944 the ten Boom sisters ended up in their final prison camp.  Ravensbrück, located in northern Germany, was one of the last prisons to remain open. 

          Because so many other camps had closed, Ravensbrück was overcrowded with prisoners.  It was infested with lice and fleas.  The barracks reeked of urine.  But it was there they seemed to experience more freedoms had been deprived in the first two prisons.  That is, they were able to have face to face communication with the other prisoners and the guards didn’t seem to disturb them as much – especially in the barracks.

With their first night at Ravensbrück, Bestie offered a prayer of gratitude.  One of the things she said they ought to be thankful for was the fleas.  Corrie (as I, the reader) thought Betsie to be out of her mind.  And Corrie was certain that even God could not make her grateful for a flea. 

It isn’t until later in her biography that we learn that the guards didn’t bother the prisoners in the barracks because they didn’t want to be where the fleas were.

I have compared my trials to fleas.  I don’t enjoy having trials.  I love trials like I love fleas and poverty and hate and crime. I know that trials are necessary for growth, but you know, there are some times I would just like to take my hat off, toss it in the air and say, “Okay, enough already.  Please let me lay back long enough to understand what a breather really is.”

I try to express gratitude for things that I really am grateful for – my daughter, a stranger stopping to help change a flat, an answer to a question that has been on my mind, the unexpected chocolate chip cookies that my mouth so enjoys.  Little things.  Big things.  But not trials.

Yet how much better would my experience be if I could honestly say, “Thank you for the fleas” “Thank you for allowing the car to break down” “Thank you for yet another reminder from the IRS – this time a threat.  How joyful”

I realize that it is not the fault of God that my car would break down or run out of gas or what have you.  Actually, I’m very grateful that I have transportation and often thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to get to and from destinations without having broken down.

            I recall teaching a primary lesson.  A boy in my class had lived in Oklahoma in April of 1995.  He related the following story about his primary teacher:

          She was on her way to work and was running late as it was.  Having to pull over on the freeway because of a bad car situation did not help matters.  One might not think of it as a blessing when it initially happened.  It was on April 19, 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed – the very building where she worked.  She was still stranded on the freeway when the bomb went off.

          I’d like to be more gracious in thanking God for trials – for my own personal set of fleas.  Unfortunately there seems to be little humility on my end.  My pathetic attempts to show gratitude come out more sarcastically.  I suppose there has been a very good reason for having my ears clogged and hurtful sinus infections.  I don’t know the reasons right now.  Perhaps I’ll never know.  But I can still offer gratitude for the current “fleas” in my life.  I think it would help me become closer to God.  I know it would.

Monday, February 11, 2013

To Be or Not To Be Beyond the Walls

This year the Church created a new format for teaching the youth.  Our theme for the month of February is on the Plan of Salvation.  The website and brochure give guidelines and suggestions, but it is up to the instructor of seminary, Young Men’s, Young Women’s or Sunday School to allow him or herself to be guided by the Spirit to come up with meaningful lessons that will make an impact on the youth.  It beats the same outline and manual that we shared with the adults last year (and I suppose every year prior)

Last week I introduced self worth and service as part of the plan and had a tremendous amount of examples – including relating the ideas that have been shared in the video “Man’s Search forHappiness” (Didn't the Church put out a more updated version?)

The lesson itself seemed to go okay but I also seemed to lose my train of thought rather early in the lesson. I ended quite early and asked for a closing prayer.  But as it was so early, I asked the class to remain seated and allowed my overly quiet class to talk about whatever was on their minds.

I’ve been putting more thought and preparation into my lesson for next week – which thus far seems to be taking me in the direction of the three kingdoms – though I haven’t really felt inspiration so much as incomplete thoughts.

I’m not discouraged particularly, but I feel myself delving deeper into places where I don’t necessarily want to be – or would like to share with the class rather.  For example, I have read some opinions given on object lessons discussed in this site  as well as some others. Actually, I have been somewhat intrigued by some of my searches, but it’s not where I want to take the class.

I remember a fireside that had been hyped up with advertisement of going to Hawaii or some other destination.  All the advertisements were geared to our moment of “travel” – only the fireside had been presented to the adults about a month or two before the youth were given the opportunity.

Mom had come home from the adult fireside.  She had enjoyed the presentation and had enthusiastically shared with me that which had taken place.  It sounded (to me) like a really good fireside. And I remember wishing I could have gone – not realizing that I would be at a future date.

When I had gone to the youth fireside one or two months later, I’d forgotten about the fireside mom had shared with me.
First the group was taken to the passageway that is nestled between the chapel and the cultural hall.   The chairs had been set up similar to how they appear in a commercial airline. We had been given plane tickets in small official looking folders. As we boarded the plane, we were given leis as I recall. I don’t recall there having been a specific flight number.  I just recall the destination.  I thought it would result in a luau.  But no . . .

The flight attendant demonstrated safety devises as the pilot made announcements over the intercom.  The flight was underway.  We listened to Hawaiian music.  And then our plane crashed.  It was then that I realized what was in store.  I don’t know if it would have developed a different impression if I hadn’t already known what was going to happen.  But I had already experienced this crashed flight and results through mom.

We were told that everybody aboard had died upon impact and that there were no survivors.  Our guide showed us around taking us from one kingdom to the next explaining why we were there and who the candidates were (are) for each kingdom.

We were taken to two other rooms before entering the chapel to see all of our leaders dressed in white and were told that we had made it to the highest kingdom.  I don’t remember how I felt right then.  But I did walk away from the object lesson almost as impressed as my mom had been.  I thought it well done. Well illustrated.  There were many of us who did.  It hadn’t occurred to me that there were some that had been freaked out by the object lesson or uncomfortable or turned off or other emotions that were quite opposite from the ones I had felt.

I was to attend at least two more similar firesides. Both in the mission field.  The first was after I had been in the field for a month.  I was part of a tripanionship (three sister missionaries serving a one unit) and we portrayed the flight attendance and arranged for participants to learn their parts.

Brother Croft did an outstanding job as the pilot.  Our flight number: 307.  There was no divider between the cultural hall and chapel.  We used the stage as our airplane.  We passed out hand-made tickets in homemade folders and passed out leis (I believe)

Bro. Croft recorded music and provided great sound effects for the crash.  He had also given us eerie sounds to be played while the participants were led passed a dark room representing outer darkness – which not all firesides provided. We were told who would be sent to outer darkness and fortunately nobody in the group qualified.

 A lot of non-Mormons had been invited to the fireside and attended.  Upon seeing the bishop and his family on the stand in the chapel – which represented the highest kingdom – many laughed.  Many said: “No way.”  Too many saw a flawed family and wouldn’t accept the symbolism. 

The last time I attended the fireside was later the following summer.  I had served in the area for only a month and only knew a handful of members. I was with a companion who had a hard time getting along with any of her former companions.  It was actually a tough area for me.

The ads that were created to hype up the fireside were not for a flight to Hawaii.  We would be taking a train to the Orients.  As soon as we were seated, I figured out that the train would crash. But before the train went underway, each table (yes, we were seated at tables that had been set in two rows) we were given board games to play.  And I was actually so wrapped up in the game that I forgot about what was about to take place – until the lights went out and we were pronounced dead.

When we entered the chapel which was supposed to represent the highest kingdom, I started to cry.  I didn’t know many that were on the stage.  I was with a companion I wasn’t getting along with.  None of my family was there.  Just a bunch of strangers.  It did not represent Celestial glory – or if it did, it was not where I wanted to be.

          As I have gone through my research, I have also come across thissite  We made a mistake – we offended someone – apparently lots of someones.  We created an irreverence when we were trying to illustrate something good and wholesome.  That is what we were trying to do?

          People make mistakes.  Members make mistakes.  Doctrines are misinterpreted.  Things get misconceived.  It’s not that we are trying to be deceptive or opinionated.  That’s why it is so important to pray.  We need to learn for ourselves if something is right or if it has been misrepresented – if it’s our own lack of understanding or if it is the instructors . . . God is never wrong.  It is best to ask him than to take word for it.  It is best that we communicate with God and learn for ourselves what he expects of us individually and receive our own personal revelations.

          There had been one more fireside/activity that I remember from college – although not in detail – nor can I find an activity suggestion that is similar.

          Back in 1981-1982, the ratio (at was then Ricks College) was approximately 3 ½ girls to every guy.  The ward and family home evening activities provided more drastic – being about 5-6 girls to every guy.  There were two Relief Societies, but only one priesthood.  The statistics were pretty much the same throughout my life.

          At this activity, each of us were given four yellow tickets (actually, I don’t remember the exact colors nor do I know if they’re symbolic in any way, but that’s not pertinent to how I personally felt by the end of the night)

          We were given a choice of activities in which to choose from.  We could purchase a healthy drink or a more worldly one (of course worldliness at Rick’s college couldn’t have been more powerful than extra sweetened lemonade or perhaps orange soda pop) I would guess to represent the word of wisdom. 
          There was a fortune teller or a scripture booth (I’m just guessing about the scripture booth; I forgot the fortune teller’s equivalent).  There was also a room which represented a chapel for civil marriages or a room which represented temple marriage.  I forget what two situations represented the last choice that we were given.

          I hadn’t connected the dots back then, but I suppose the tickets that each of us were given represented time – and the markers would tell the “angels at the gate” just how we spent that time.

          I couldn’t get a pretend recommend to marry in the pretend temple because of the ratio thing.  I had made two wise choices, but realizing I would not be able to use a yellow ticket for temple marriage, I made a poor choice (knowing full well that it was the wrong choice) and went to the fortune teller – because what the hey.  I wasn’t going to find a partner to get married either civilly or eternally.

          Besides, Lucy was playing the fortune teller.  She had dropped by our apartment earlier that week to see if any of us had a flashy skirt which she could use.  Lucy was talented and funny.  I knew she would make a great fortune teller.

          Each time we made a choice, we were to turn in a yellow ticket and were given another color. 
          When the activities were completed, we passed through a door and would give our four tickets to one who “stood at the gate” and were ushered to our destination.  I had one yellow ticket, one orange and two blue. 

I ended up in the “Terrestrial” section along with more than half the ward.  As I recall there were only two couples (only four people) that had made it to the Celestial glory (the highest kingdom within the LDS Church) and only a few loners had been led to the Telestial (the lowest kingdom) section.  And I remember thinking to myself (even then) “This isn’t fair.  It’s not my fault that I’m still single.  It isn’t most of our faults.  We just happen to outnumber the guys.”

          I understood the activity and understood the concept that was being taught, but it felt like discrimination.  I had tried to get into the temple, but was robbed of that privilege because I had no partner – no guy partner.  And it had to be a guy.  It didn’t seem to matter much if I loved him or not – just so long as I “had done the right thing”

          I felt discriminated because I was single.  I felt discriminated because it wasn’t my fault.  I felt like I had been judged unfairly.  I was not happy with the results.  And as I looked around, those I felt closest to had all ended up in the same kingdom as I.  And I thought, “If this experiment really is accurate of the results to come, I don’t even want the Celestial Kingdom.  It looks lonely” (as there were a number of empty chairs)

          It didn’t occur to me then that my baby brother would grow up and be asked to leave the Church – well, not him personally – but that his records would be removed.  It didn’t occur to me that one day the Church would discriminate against him and his partner and deny them the blessings that actually so many of us are denied – because of civil marriage or feminism or acting upon same sex attraction or even black members for many years or for exploring beyond the walls. It doesn't appeal to me to live in a kingdom that discriminates.

          I do have more thoughts on the subject of going beyond the walls, but will have to save it for another post as my thoughts are not really in a well written order.  Perhaps this is not either.  How great there is to have an editing tool.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Maybe it’s the Media that Needs to Be Controlled

I don’t think more enforced gun control is necessarily the answer. Those that desire guns in their possession are going to find a way to get them – strict laws or not.

In my opinion it is cleaning up the media that needs the enforcing. The media needs to quit glorifying horrific crimes and violence. Even the commercials are getting out of hand.

John Wilkes Booth wanted to be remembered – and he is. Perhaps not in the manner he would have preferred – yet his name lives on. We associate his name with Lincoln’s murder.

At least two movies were made about Amy Fisher the crazed teen who shot the wife of her former lover or Wanda Holloway the famous pom-pom mom who plotted to kill the mom of a cheerleader who was/is the same age as her own daughter so that her cheer-leading daughter would be so devastated and uncheerleader-like that there would be a position open for her own daughter to become a cheerleader at the school in Channelview, Texas.

You want your name to live on, commit a horrific crime and it will be made into a movie. Maybe several.

There are so many advertisements now that seem to promote disrespect and crude behavior along with their products. Many unfortunately see this as “funny” and “acceptable”

There are several video games that promote violence. Extra points or levels or whatever are awarded when you have “killed” or overthrown or whatever. I suppose that has always existed in fairytales and cartoons. But wasn’t there a time when we could separate all that from reality?

Bullies, in my opinion, are normally bullied by family members. In order to overcome their own pain, they must turn around and treat others as they are being treated. For them it may provide a temporary relief. I don’t know. But their behavior is getting out of control. And I think the media has already gone out of control in some aspects.

There is still a wholesomeness which exists if you look for it – but you do have to look for it. It’s not like it was 40 years ago when all the families were cookie cutter stereotypes. When the biggest problems that occurred were when Wally forgot to take out the trash or Princess didn’t get asked to the prom.
I do like how commercials have developed into not always putting the man on a pedestal and giving him the opportunity to stay at home and change the diapers. And fewer and fewer representatives look like man-made models – they have real people who have flawed faces. They are more human than those fashionly faces that had nothing to do with the product whatsoever.

But the media is not always careful. Unfortunately there are endangerments readily available on the tube, on the internet, on the iPhone, etc. that sometimes teaches our children more than the classroom does – especially those who have been bullied, especially those who feel like outsiders, especially those who enjoy the escape of the media because those on the screen are not teasing the one who is watching. They are not making fun. They are being unkind to that individual. They are showing how to get even. They are displaying how you, too, can keep your name alive. They are instilling ideas into the heads of Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and Adam Lanza that you can get revenge and that your name can live on. You will get the last word in. You will become a glorified hero. Is that really the message we want our children to learn?  Not me!


Stricter gun control is not going to resolve the issue in my opinion – at least not completely.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I Can’t Hear You!

          Last year I had a sinus infection that put pressure on my eyes.  This year it’s my right ear.  It’s been clogging and feels like it does when I’ve been on a plane.  I thought it was the air quality that was turning me deaf.

          Jenna happened to be sitting next to me when she looked in my ear and told me it was pretty bad.  Apparently it’s a wax build up.  It didn’t hurt – but has been greatly annoying as my hearing’s been distorted, my thinking has been distorted and my balance has been out of wack.

          So I set up an appointment to get my ears flushed (I had thought it was both ears) believing that the doctor’s office may be equipped with a greater tool than a syringe.  This particular clinic is not. How pathetic.  The water that was used wasn’t even that warm. 

          I remember when I was in junior high, I had the same problem.  An ear, nose and throat specialist swiped his tool over the blobby wax several times- removing it in pieces.  Finally he was able to grab what remained. It hurt when he pulled it out.  He said it had been as big as an eraser – I would imagine one that is purchased to top a pencil – not the one that comes with the pencil itself.  What had been pulled from my ear was larger than the canal itself.

All the sudden all noises around me were extremely loud.  Even toilet paper was loud.  And I feel like the wad of wax in my ear today must be the same size – or larger.  The syringe didn’t work (what a surprise) nor the sticky substance that was put in my ear beforehand.

It may have loosened enough for the doctor to look to the canal and see it had been inflamed.  Evidently the wax had been damming a large pool of blood. So now I have pain in addition to the vermin that is plugging my ear. (I imagine it feels like a pencil eraser has been crammed into my ear) I am now emotionally out of wack as well as annoyed.  (But then I’ve been quite emotional all year)

The doctor prescribed antibiotics which I started taking yesterday.  There is also an eardrop prescription that I can’t start using for four days (the canal needs time to heal) meanwhile I feel like I am in a fog.  I feel what my mom must feel with her dementia.  

I don’t wish to socialize or clean or drive or even Blog.  At least I can sit still with the latter two – but still need to have some degree of being focused. Thank heaven for spell check and proof reading (perhaps I should have posted how it originally read so that you can see for yourself how fantastically wrong my mind seems to be working)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Growing Before Our Eyes

I remember the year my eldest niece turned ten.  She had requested that someone could get her a “Savage Garden” album as a gift.  Savage Garden? Really?  Hadn’t it been less than a week when she had been singing along to “Wheel’s on the Bus” and doing the actions for “Eensy Weensy Spider” and “Popcorn Popping” – okay, something for older children.  But still . . .

          “Savage Garden” was a group that I listened to.  Why would a child want to listen to that? Ellen hadn’t been six for quite some time.  She was growing up.  No longer did she watch shows like “Arthur” or “Bear in the Big Blue House”. Ellen was maturing. I don’t know when she had graduated from Disney Sing-alongs to Boy Bands.  She’d always been more sophisticated than her peers – or at least in my eyes.  Ellen was no longer the child I remember her being.

          And now the same thing is happening with Jenna. 

          I was doing dishes and had turned on the radio to drown out the sounds coming from “the Middle” which for some reason she insists watching on a daily basis (same episode) when suddenly she appears beside me dancing and singing into an imaginary microphone.

          I had heard the song before.  I had watched the video for the first time when Sunny posted it to facebook within the last two years.  I think she said her youngest daughter had been singing it and put it into Sunny’s head.  And now Jenna was singing with it – and she knew all the words!  When did my own daughter graduate from Sesame Street to Boy Bands? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Perhaps the Background Will Tell You

I’m a close-up – zoom-in-on-the-face type of gal.  But as I tackle my new project of cropping over 900 photos (It might be to a thousand) I have caught myself looking at things in the background.  Particularly in the old photographs.  Dads Bel Air Coupe, the yard we’re standing in, the couch before it was reupholstered, when there was a kitchen wall with window and no back room, etc.

Sometimes the background will offer a clue as to what year it was taken.  And if there is a Christmas tree, I would say it’s safe to guess the picture was taken in December.  And if I find a date or place on one photo and I see we are wearing the exact same things in another, I think it’s safe to assume the two may have been taken at the same time.

My paternal grandmother designed her house – created the way she wanted it to look.  And then one day she had to give it up and move into a condo that was closer to where I lived.  I could and did ride my bike to grandma’s condo on occasion.  I missed her house though.  I missed the space.  I missed the discoveries.

Grandma sold her house after my baby brother and cousin were born.  We have pictures of them both wearing yellow – babbling in turn as though they were having a conversation.  Although only one month apart, Edmund was twice as big as Corey.  Corey looked more like a doll next to Edmund.

I wish my younger cousins and siblings could have enjoyed grandma’s house and be able to share in the same memories as Patrick and I as well as two of our cousins.  When you’re little, you somehow believe things will last forever. Even when you’re not so little.  When you’ve had something as part of your life on a daily basis that you somehow take it for granted that it will always remain.

And now I face the same nostalgic challenge with my own mom’s house.  The house I grew up in.  The house that will belong to somebody else and become more of a distant memory for me and my sibs and our children.  Kayla’s two children won’t remember it at all.

We used to have a door with a window built into it.  I’d forgotten about that.  I was reminded when I looked at a photo with some ugly curtains hanging over where the window was.  I loved that window.  I was sad when we had to replace the door.  A peep hole isn’t near as exciting as an entire window.

Often it is the backgrounds that help me decide when the photo might have been taken.  I know approximately when we added the back room.  I don’t remember when we replaced the back door – or why.  

I had included this picture in an earlier post.

You know how sometimes you can get your picture taken at a certain attraction and you can obtain a copy of that photo on t-shirt, keychain, mug or what have you.  Back when this picture was taken, the draw was to have it made into a postcard.  It was through this photo that mom recognized the same background as the one in possession of my neighbors.  Turns out that his dad and my great uncle were pals.  Because of the background and putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we were able to identify who each person was.  Before the background discovery, our neighbor’s had never known who the little boy was on the grandfather’s lap.  Turned out to be my uncle Dick.  And this is of my great uncle and paternal grandmother.

I had also found a photo of Patrick in which he was sitting at a pavilion which to me looked like Hogel Zoo – but as there are several pavilions all throughout the world, I had no way of knowing for sure if it even was a zoo or a park or family vacation or a day trip or what.

As I continued through the photos, I found one of Patrick, Kayla and me in front of the seal display.  Patrick was wearing the same ugly shirt which he had been wearing in the pavilion.  So I think it is Hogel Zoo – and Kayla appears to be five or six and so that gives me an  year.

We may have felt stylish in the 70’s – but we weren’t.  It seems somewhat embarrassing to look at what we wore. ALL of us – even our conservative dad who kept his crew cut for many years and had not parted with his plaid sports coat until death.

I’m sure there’s more to come as I continue to crop and organize and rename and file.  Driving myself down memory lane.  Smiling occasionally with each memory while shedding tears with others realizing it will only be a memory now.  The house hasn’t been the same for the last year – especially for mom. It hasn’t been mine for over ten years now.  But now it’s more permanent.  It won’t belong to any of us.  It will become a thing of the past.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Button Bracelets and Broken Earrings

          Ellen found my mom passed out.  (This was last month - when mom was still in her house and not in assisted living) Her jewelry holder was on top of her.  Not good memories for Ellen – who doesn’t wear jewelry anyway.  I don’t wear much (jewelry) – certainly not enough for the wonderful piece of furniture I remember mom purchasing many years ago.  I don’t think I would have even thought about it one way or the other, but it had been moved into the same room where most of the photographs were.  I made a request to have it.

          Roland brought it in the house and started to put it our room. 

          “I got that for Jenna,” I said.

          He’s ordered her to take really good care of it because it’s an heirloom.  That cracked me up.  I had never thought of it in that way before.  An heirloom is something that has been handed down for several generations.  And I suppose if Jenna takes care of it, it could become an heirloom – but I don’t think of it that way now.

          Of course the unit itself is probably a lot nicer than most of the jewelry it houses – if not all of it.  Jenna has always loved to make and wear jewelry.  We made button bracelets with the residents (well some) where my mom lives. Jenna made one for herself and I made one for mom.

          She did end up with maybe half to a quarter of jewelry that was left behind by either my mom or either grandmother.  Ellen brought another huge box into the room.  Fortunately Jenna didn’t notice or I’m certain we would have walked away with more.

          The jewelry reminds me of those worn by children when playing dress-ups.  Or something to be collected and ripped apart for making something else – which is maybe what they all were at one time. 

          Some of it is ugly.  I guess it could have been considered stylish for its time – what time?  Long before I existed, I would think.  Jenna feels so grown up with her dangling earrings – disappointed that the really cute ones are all twist-ons that pinch her ears.  But she can wear the clips.  She wore a pair to church and has taken a pair to school today.  Jenna’s enthusiasm makes it all worth it really. 

          I wish mom’s jewelry was worth something.  Most of the pieces seem to be plastic or falling apart.  Jenna broke one of the earrings yesterday – I’m certain it was due to years of decay more than on her part.  But there were tears in her eyes.

          “Oh, it’s okay, honey.  We can try and fix it.  Or we can break the other one and make barrettes out of them.”

          Tears dried up.  All the sudden the pair of earrings had become quite valuable.  
“We could make barrettes with just this part,” she said as she pointed to the fan part that clipped over the ear.  Pointing to the imitation pearl teardrop she continued, “And I can use this part to make a necklace!”


For me the jewelry does not represent mom.  The only pieces I truly remember came from one of my grandma’s.  I don’t recall mom ever wearing most of it.  Maybe two or three pieces out of – how many?  I might be able to ask Jenna.  She probably counted them when she initially had her eye on them.

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If I can find any joy or peace of mind with all the devastation and turmoil that has been felt these past four months or so, this would be it.  Jenna’s joy and gratitude.  It means a lot to find that pot at the end of the rainbow . . . or even just the rainbow itself.