Saturday, November 30, 2013

Change for November

Tomorrow is December 1st.  I am truly amazed at what an awesome November we've had.  Awesome in Salt Lake City, Utah, that is.  I understand they've had their fair share of snow in the southern part of the state - or windy or stormy weather.  But in my little corner of the world it's been a great November as far as the weather goes.

Oh, there have been a couple of days that have chilled to the bone.  Just a couple is odd for November.  Usually seems filled with darkened skies and dry moisture - I realize that is an oxymoron on my part.  But the winters in Utah are harsh with a dry air quality - much drier than in the summer - and yet November is usually always filled with rain or snow or sleet or hail.  I don't understand why when the elements are wet the air is dry - but it is.  My skin and my mouth are always thirsty.

Most all of the trees have lost their leaves by now.  There are still leaves crunching on the ground.  Only a few trees have color left on them.  The scenery doesn't seem as naked as when the skies are grey.  For the most part the skies have had a brilliant shine that isn't normal for this time of the year.  Jenna and I have shed both coat and jacket as we exit the bus to walk to school and on the return home.

We've been bussing it for two months now.  And we have been blessed with overall great walking weather.  We had a few flurries of snow on the 21st.  But that's all they were.  Flurries.  Nothing stuck.

I believed that the mountains had received more snow - but they're looking pretty naked also.  Not a good thing for skiers or those who built their business to rally around those connected with skiing or other winter sports.  We depend on the snow to be sent into the valley as it melts and makes its way down rivers and streams.  And when it doesn't snow, we don't get the water supply we need for our own growth.  But I honestly don't miss not having snow in the valley.

I loathe shopping.  I know I've mentioned it before.  All of my mom's children hate shopping - and yet we've all married avid shopaholics - or at least three of us have.  I hate crowds.  I hate traffic.  I don't even want to leave the house between Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the traffic.  Especially Saturdays.  And Black Friday.  Dark Friday.  Bleak Friday.  A taste-of-hell Friday.  There is absolutely no way I'd be camping a night or two in order to get the "good deals" No deal is worth that!

But I have gone out with Roland these past couple of days - I think mostly due to the awesome weather.  I would love for it just to stay that way - though I would prefer at least two more hours of daylight vision.  That sun seems to drop out of the sky very early and it gets dark quickly.  And stays dark.  Not like Alaska though.  It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

I'd like to live somewhere where the temperature is pretty much like it is for me right now.  And keep it at this temperature all year round.  Perhaps a little more color and not so many empty trees.  We have truly been blessed temperature wise.  At least I think we have been.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Hodge-Podge of Family

Our future daughter-in-law has two brothers who are still living.  One lives in Texas where his wife is from.  The other lives in a posh neighborhood at the south and east end of the valley.

Yesterday we went to the posh neighborhood to meet Jeanie’s family and to have Thanksgiving dinner.  Biff had asked us to bring rice pudding – which to be honest with you - I have never had as part of a Thanksgiving dinner before.  Roland tried a new recipe (which was really very good by the way) and I found a container to put it in.

I must admit that I felt out of place offering this pathetic container as we entered their fancy kitchen and saw dozens of dishes that seemed to make the rice pudding even smaller – shrinking with each passing minute until I felt like what we had contributed to the meal had only a cup of runny rice.


Jenna played with boys (Jeanie's nephews) while Roland and I visited with various family members.  Not only was there family from Jeanie’s side of the family, but her sister-in-laws as well.  Half siblings, stepsiblings, in-laws, and in-laws of in-laws; we became known as Biff’s parents and sister.

I think Biff, Jeanie and her parents were the last to arrive at the house.  I really hit it off with Jeanie’s mom.  Sweet lady.  She reminded me a lot of Rochelle’s mom (Rochelle being my first daughter-in-law) and Roland said the same thing. Jeanie’s mother does seem to be in better health than both of my daughters-in-law's mothers.  She also seems to be in better health than Jeanie.  I don’t know why, but Jeanie always seems to have aged with each time I see her.

As usual I didn't have room for dessert.  And there were several to choose from. Fortunately Jeanie had made up an extra plate of pumpkin rolls for us to take home.  Her sister-in-law and I visited in front of the tree that never goes up before Thanksgiving, but it's new and was insentive to get her three children to clean the house.

Everybody was scattered.  I counted fourteen adults and four children.  Jenna was playing with Jeanie's niece just before we left.  I don't know that she was ready to go. We had both wanted to play games, but Roland didn't want us to overstay our welcome. 

We drove around some neighborhoods surrounding Jenna's schools to check out what houses were up for sale.  We didn't see a lot for Jenna was getting car sick.  Poor kid always seems to take ill during the Thanksgiving holiday.  After we returned home, Roland insisted that she go and lay down.  We finished the night with watching holiday movies. I finally had dessert.  It is so good.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Prioritizing expense

I'm grateful to have second hand stores or gift cards or sales in which I can make a purchase for a book bag or back pack.


I ragged on my daughter's lack of responsibility in yesterday's post.  Her backpack had been in the car on Saturday but she doesn't remember seeing it on Sunday.  Someone had been in the car looking for something.  We concluded that the back pack had been stolen by whoever it was.  We made a police report, but I don't expect that anything will come of it.  Wish they would have at least emptied the contents before stealing the backpack though.

Every once in a while I will see something quite profound on facebook.  I really like this thought posted by one of my friends:

"I was shopping when I saw a purse for over $1,000.00 Really! for a purse! I could buy groceries for 2 months for the price of that purse. Wow, even if I had that kind of money to spare I could never spend that kind of money on something so frivolous as a purse. Think of all the people I could help with that much money. It was probably a very nice purse, BUT IT'S A PURSE. My little purse I use is almost 2 years old and it costs me $20.00, It's looking a little worn but it still works just fine, thank you very much. Then it occurred that somewhere in the world there is probably someone saying “$20.00 for a purse! I could have fed my family for a month for $20.00” Yep, compared to the rest of the world I am wealthy indeed, and for that I am grateful. To show my gratitude I will be more generous with the money I have been blessed with."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend memory lapse and lack of responsibility

 Jenna’s room was not the neatest we lived in our first house but at least she did know where things were for the most part.  Over in West Valley I think she’s become less responsible with every passing year.  Puberty has certainly not made things easier.  She flies off the handle at every little suggestion.

 I’ve been working on getting her to accept responsibility. Pick up after herself.  Get ready on time. I’ve used rewards.  I’ve taken away privileges.  I’ve been nice.  I’ve been ornery.  Nothing has seemed to work.

Roland worked only half a day on Friday and thus just happened to pick us up after Jenna got out of school. Afterwards we ran errands and went shopping and did not return to the house until after 6:00.

Before Jenna exited the car I told her to be sure and grab her backpack.  I specifically remember telling her to get it now so that it wasn’t left in the car when dad went to work on Monday.  Of course almost every child thinks he or she knows better than the parent and Jenna is no exception.  She said she would get it later.

On Saturday before Roland went to work, I told Jenna that she should grab her backpack.  I told her that she could use it to tote the origami Santas she wanted to pass out.  Of course she didn’t.

Yesterday I told her to bring me one of her papers so that I could mark it off.  She didn’t.  If she had she would have eventually looked in the car for her backpack – which by then I had also forgotten about. 

This morning it felt wrong to say, “I told you so” when she was already crying as she scrambled to find her backpack and reminded herself of where it was.  I did my best to comfort her.  I tried to do my best.  Perhaps it wasn’t my best.  I was thinking that she should have listened to me.  I was thinking, “I hope this will help her to learn”

I have my own issues though.  After closing the door I realized that I’d forgotten my cell phone.  We didn’t have time for me to get it – especially since I had also forgotten my keys.  How could I have forgotten my keys?  Hadn’t I trained myself to return it to my backpack the minute I came home from church?  Apparently not.

We do get to the bus stop at approximately the same time each day.  Sometimes the bus is early we have missed our regular bus at least three times now.  We have been fortunate enough to catch the other route – which will run on the south side only after December 8th.

After the 8th the route we like to take will run every 15 minutes – which is a lot better than every 30. I don’t know if that will make a difference on how soon she gets ready.  I’m hoping she will make a better effort to be ready on time.

I hope that both of us will be prepared with all things necessary.  The biggest one would be prayer – which I suspect we’ll have to start just a little earlier.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Needing to be Needed

Earlier in the summer of this year my eldest son Biff went to Texas to see his “girlfriend” Hailey – who I had never heard him ever mention before.  He couldn’t have been home more than two weeks when he hooked up with Jeanie.  He started out texting her and then spending time with her – once, twice a week which eventually turned into daily and is hardly even at home anymore.  Sometimes an entire week will go by before I see him – or even talk to him.

He did call last night to report his engagement.  No surprises there.  A date has not been set so I’m thinking an elopement is still possible as they had talked about that several times before the engagement.


Biff has always kept his body in great shape.  He eats healthy foods.  He used to retire to bed early (6:00 pm at the time I met Roland, I kid you not) and rise early (4:00 a.m.) but working graveyard has changed that.  I think he’s slipped a little on some things – but nothing extreme.

The members of Jeanie’s family (from what I understand) have poor eating habits and are not in the best physical condition.  Jeanie has already lost two sibs to health issues – both were in their 30’s when they passed.  Jeanie’s 31.

Biff has single handedly tried to change the family’s eating habits – especially Jeanie’s.  She’s been sick though – faints a lot.  I don’t know if it’s in trying to change her deit and her body’s going through some kind of shock or if it’s a hereditary things and she could pass away early in their marriage – or live for an additional 20 years as had Bill (my brother-in-law)’s first wife who had a tremendous amount of health issues basically all of her life.

Bill loved AnnaLeigh.  I don’t believe he has any regrets.  And I don’t imagine Biff will either – should he have to face them.  I think Roland is concerned that Biff does not know Jeanie all that well nor has an understanding of the health issues at hand.  But I’m fine that Biff is okay with it and that he is well aware of what he is walking into.

A couple can walk into marriage both in awesome health, and one could catch a virus or get hit by a bus or some other accident and not be prepared for something that may bring such a drastic change.  Biff at least is aware of what he’s getting into.  And it’s not like Roland has set the standards of waiting to propose.  He thinks Biff ought to have a long engagement.  I think Biff needs to go with his heart.  Kudos for loving unconditionally.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bus Temperatures and Waiting

The one thing that I really don’t like about the bus system is the change in temperature.  Each bus driver has the ability to control how hot or cool the bus may be – or so that is my guess.
The regular driver, who takes Jenna and me from West Valley to Tannersville each morning, keeps his bus at a comfortable temperature – the way I like it in my house and room.  The way I keep it when Roland’s away.  Windows open.  Fans running.
Most of the older drivers keep the bus at furnace temperature – the way Roland likes it.  The way that makes me hot and uncomfortable and worn out. 

Long before I got married and was working downtown.  Taking the bus in summer wasn’t generally that big of a deal – not like it was in winter.  I would always sit in back next to a window that had been pried open.  I would remove my hat, my coat, my sweater and whatever else I could.  I’d pant. Before arriving at my designated spot I’d bundle up all over again.
Right now I wear a back pack in order to carry my coat, umbrella and sweater as needed.  I won’t need it when spring comes.
I’m actually getting familiar with some of the bus lines and how to get from here to there.  Yesterday I went out to see Harold.  It took only 30-40 minutes from Jenna’s school.  But the return home was not great.  The weather would have been fine with it.  My body was okay with just a sweatshirt but my ears and fingers felt frozen all day.  No hat seemed to work.  My ears felt like they would break off.
I should have gone back the way I came, but I took Desa’s advice at trying another route.  I must have just missed it and the other way late.  I think I’d been waiting for 30-40 minutes (the same amount of time it had taken for the entire trip between Alpine Ridge and Jenna’s school).  It took nearly two hours for me to return home.
Not quite as bad as it had been on Monday when I’d gone downtown to a rather expensive salon.  I wouldn’t have gone at all if the services offered hadn’t been free – well, free financially – but it did cost in time.  After I dropped Jenna off at school, I caught an 8:30 bus and transferred to go downtown.  90 minutes.  
I had arrived an hour before my appointment, but it just didn’t seem worth going home for just half an hour.  The hair dresser was late getting started which accounted for another 30 – 50 minutes. The process of fixing my hair was over two hours – which wasn’t a surprise.  I have a LOT of hair.
I was going to try another route on the return, but when I looked at the clock, I knew I should head back the way I came for there would not be enough time to go home.  I would have to return to the school for Jenna.  My bus arrived at the same time the first bell rang for dismissal.  Fortunately Jenna is a dawdler and hadn’t known how late I was at coming for her.
It’s true that I don’t like to wait for busses, but overall I have developed a sense of comfort – even though it does cost in time.  I’m okay with it at this point in time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mind Games: Educating Bullies

                  I believe it was 1996 when the freeway was in the process of a new makeover as Utah would be holding the winter Olympics in 2002 and the city needed to get ready for the mass transportation that would be involved.
            I was working downtown and had chosen to ride the bus to my destination.  Often I would catch a bus which ran along State Street, but every once in a while I managed to catch the one that went by way of the freeway.  Either way I had my nose in a book during the ride.

            I recall one day in particular I was reading the autobiography of a World War II survivor from Poland.  He was only a boy when the invasion started and described the horrific scenery – which to him was not so horrific - as he thought the dirt pits and piles and military transportation vehicles offered some sense of adventure – only he learned that the “adventure” was grotesque and inhumane and not at all what he had set out for.

            As I was reading the book, I happened to glance out the window.  My mouth dropped as I looked at the dirt piles and holes in the freeway – like the rubble that had been described in the book.  But instead of German vehicles, there were yellow caterpillars – no soldiers, (but no construction workers either).  It was actually kind of eerie.

            I hate Hitler.  I hate the very thought of all the tragedy, all the crime, all the needless punishment.  I have no Christ-like compassion for Adolph Hitler – perhaps a few of his followers.  There was so much brain washing and fear.  There are not enough words in my vocabulary to describe all the hatred and anger and remorse that I feel each time I read or watch or discuss anything related to all that senseless political crime.  So why do I continue?  I admire the strength of the survivors who stayed true to themselves – who pass on their stories and experiences.  I would hope that we may take into our hearts their pain and their experiences and learn and NEVER EVER repeat that piece of history. (But then perhaps we already are – or perhaps it already exists)

            There are so many accounts from children who were sent to live in the United Kingdom – a means of protecting them – or trying to.  Some were sent to good homes.  Others were not so fortunate.  Some became slaves to those that had been forced to or agreed to take them in.  Some were able to reunite with their real families – or at least some family members.  Many more were not.

            Currently I am reading a piece of historic fiction, “Someone Named Eva” by Joan M. Wolf.  She introduces a part of history I hadn’t learned before.  Girls with blonde hair and light colored-eyes were considered the “elite” and regardless of whether they had been born in Poland or Czechoslovakia, they were “stolen” and forced to take upon a new identity and become the Aryan – the best of the German girls. 

            I am horrified at the events that took place.  In 1942 the Nazis (or Gestapo) went into the homes and ordered al l family members to leave.  They were given only a few minutes to pack.  I have read so many accounts of being allowed to pack.  For what purpose?  Their possessions were confiscated almost immediately.  Almost everything they had was taken away.  Some were able to hang on to their identity.  Many others were not.  They were caught up in Hitler Youth or the Gestapo or the Brown House or whatever – saying “Heil Hitler” first out of fear and then out of habit.  Brainwashed.  Becoming numb. Saying but not feeling.

            Some were actually so caught up in it, they willingly accepted the harshness to be a part of their lifestyle (if you can indeed call it living) to become great bullies themselves.  To actually support the cause.  To praise evil.

            The girls in this story were “stolen”.  Two had been removed from Lidice along with their families.  And then they separated.  The men were taken in one direction and children with mothers and then separated again.  Milada and Ruzha were put on a bus that took them across the border into Poland.  They didn’t know why.  They didn’t speak German.

            Another bus carried twelve girls.  They didn’t speak Czech.  They didn’t speak German either.  Finally a pretty woman translated for all fourteen girls.  It was the one and only time that she would ever translate, for they were forbidden to speak in their native tongue.  German would be their new tongue.  They’d be accepted as German girls.

            Each morning they were expected to give the “Heil Hitler” salute to a poster.  Once they learned the German language they’d be introduced to German history and mathematics.  The youngest one (Heidi) was having too hard of a time keeping up.  She spoke in another tongue and was whipped for it.  Sometime later she disappeared.  When Heidi’s sister gave up on the German education, she too disappeared. 

            Whether or not their whereabouts had been explained to the other girls wouldn’t have made a difference.  They had fed them so many lies that it was hard to know what was truth.  Ruzha (whose name had been changed to Franziska) had hardened her heart.  She was a bully and worked hard at getting the approval of the adult bullies. 

            Milada worked just as hard to separate what she’d been taught from who she wanted to be – NOT a Nazi.  She was ashamed when people thought she was.  But that’s what the Aryan wanted.  And when the war was over, couples from all over Germany were called in to “adopt” the girls.

            So now Milada (who is called Eva) is in a fancy house with a new brother and sister and mom and dad.  All blonds.  All beautiful.  Her description of a horrible smell reminds me of the horrific smell described in “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” – a discovery that makes me cringe and cry and stirs up all these emotions of pain and dismay. How could so many people have let things get out of hand the way they did?

Milada remembers her own family.  And that is where I am in the book.  

Survivors allow emotion.  Bullies forget emotion. I must be a survivor. 

Obsession for Pokemon: Really?

Shortly after Roland and I became engaged, he wrote me a mushy letter filled with sentiment and quotes.  One of the lines he had written was: “. . . as Pikachu say, “I choose you””

I had absolutely no clue what that even meant.  Pikachu?  I figured it must be a quote from some movie I hadn’t seen.  Not only had I never seen Pokemon, I had never even heard of it.

According to what I’ve read (or rather my understanding of what I’ve read) Pokemon started out as a video game before it became an animated cartoon that somehow made its way into the boys hearts.  The three knew all the Pokemon characters by name and site.  At least one of the three boys seemed obsessed.

I don’t know where Roland may have found the time to sit down with his boys and learn the names of each character and whatever quotes.  But Pokemon has done absolutely nothing for me.  And after learning somewhat of its origin and based on a video game I have a better understanding on why it’s never appealed to me.

I remember my eldest checking out the animated series from the library and asking Jenna to sit down and watch them with him.  She’d take him up on it, but would stare at the television and then look at him with curious eyes – are you serious?  You would rather watch this than Oobi or Oswald? Where is this going? Why do you find this entertaining?

After a while she would become bored and either leave or create stories in her head and pretend she was watching just to be with her oldest brother.  When he asked her if she liked it, she would say, “It’s Okay” That was being kind.

Biff would continue to share his love of Pokemon, but she was never really interested – until lately.  I am quite floored by her behavior.  But I know my daughter.  I know it is only a phase and will get old within months (at least that is my prediction)

Apparently one of her friends (a boy) gave her a Pokémon card and then another boy gave her three more.  Suddenly boys were interested in her (suddenly?  Boys have been after her since before pre-school.  I don’t know why she hadn’t noticed it before) and so now she’s on this big Pokemon kick collecting and trading cards and learning the names of all the characters (wish there were math problem included on each card – have her memorize the times tables or division while she’s at it) 

She continues to show me the cards with great enthusiasm and I return with fake enthusiasm – trying to be excited for her but finding in hard to care because I really don’t.  Nor do I plan on memorizing the names or how much they’re worth, etc.  But if she will take care of them and treasure them I guess it’s a start.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Roland’s Time to Shine

      It was just over four years ago when we made the decision to leave Kearns and move into the cracker box house where we currently live in West Valley.  We were at least five months behind with our mortgage; the economy did NOT appear that it would ever get better; we were in debt to more than just the mortgage company and we were bound to lose more than just our house.

We already had a property in West Valley with only half a fixed mortgage than the elevator (up and down) mortgage we were given monthly in Kearns.  Still struggling and on Welfare for over two years and still paying on an unfair back child support  - but that’s another story – not a pleasant one at that and so it will never get posted on this blog.

Initially we were just going to swap out houses with the tenants that had been living in our WV house.  We had planned on doing so right after Thanksgiving. But the economy had been unkind to them also and they had to downgrade into something even smaller than our cracker box house.  They moved out before Thanksgiving and we moved in on November 30.

We felt good about our decision – though it cost us the house in Kearns.  It had remained vacant for over a year and had been vandalized at least twice before it was purchased.

We had totally awesome weather every day we moved items to a storage unit quite near where we live or to a donation center between the two houses.  It snowed the day of our final move.  We were meant to be here – at least Roland was. 

In Kearns Roland was always Jenna’s dad or the boy’s dad or my husband.  He appeared to be on the back burner so much of the time.  But in West Valley he has his own identity.  Jenna and I are the one’s who seem lost in the shuffle as we take a back seat to his callings and he shines and though several know Jenna and me – EVERYBODY knows Roland.
In less than two years Roland had had four different callings.  We had gone to the stake center for each one of them.  The first calling was as a counselor in the elder’s quorum.  When the elder’s quorum president moved out of our ward and Roland and I had been summoned back to the stake president we figured he’d be called to be the EQ president.  Both of us were quite surprised that it wasn’t to do with the EQ at all. Roland had been called to be the first counselor to the High Priest Group Leader.

The next calling was as High Priest Group Leader and finally first counselor in the bishopric where he has been for over two years.  It’s been an interesting ride and he has enjoyed every moment.  It’s been hard on Jenna who was so friendly and outgoing in Kearns to almost friendless in an anti-social and immature neighborhood.  And I miss having sidewalks to walk on.

The county seems to be fazing Kearns out to non-existent almost.  I wouldn’t mind returning to the ward itself – but I wasn’t happy about living so far west as I don’t currently enjoy living this far north – not that I guess it matters anymore.  Mom’s house was central station.  Even before she was gone there had been this sense of lost – we no longer have a central place.
I’d like to live in one of the neighborhoods surrounding Jenna’s school.  They feel so inviting.  Not to mention we’d be closer to Jenna’s school.  She could walk home.  And I could have dinner ready when Roland comes home.

When we moved in, two of our boys were on missions.  Biff had a room to himself for five months before Tony returned.  Tony got married ten days before Randy returned.  Randy said he wouldn’t have lived with us if he had to share his room with both Biff and Tony (three adults in one room would have been a bit crowded – especially since Randy is so awesomely tidy and the other two are not)

Randy has since married and although the room still holds most of Biff’s possessions, he spends most of his free time in Syracuse.  Says he plans on marrying Jeanie in January.  He said the same thing about this month.  Guess we’ll know when the time comes.  They’ll probably elope.
Roland doesn’t want to leave West Valley. He likes it here. The ward needs him.  He doesn’t wish to give up his calling.  What devotion. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hope that Smoke was Worth the Fine!

Yesterday morning was quite interesting.  It started off with Jenna and me taking the bus.  We were running late and saw our regular driver zoom by before we arrived to the stop.  The other route was not so far behind him and so we were okay.

I had volunteered to be the subject of a hair specialist but was unable to make it to the designated area at the scheduled time and so the one who made the appointment offered to drive me there.  We agreed to meet behind Jenna’s school.  Turns out that Megan has the same sense of direction as my mom had, and so it took a while before we actually got together.  It also took a while to get her car turned in the direction we needed to go (as she was very turned around)

As we were headed to our destination, the hairdresser called to tell Megan that she had mono and NOT to bring me – though the message was not received until we were near the location.  I wasn’t bothered really nor did I feel put out and apologized to Megan for having gone out of her way to come and get me (I actually hadn’t known how far she had come to get me until we were on our way there) and she felt bad that I had wasted my morning.

I told her that I would have taken a train to the library and as the library doesn’t open until 10:00 I would have spent that time waiting anyway.  She offered to take me to the library but I had her drop me off at TRAX station instead. 

I exited the train at the time my appointment would have started.  I still had to wait for the library doors to open – even with the bizarre morning excursion.  After I picked up the items that had been placed on hold, I returned to TRAX with three minutes to spare before the train’s departure.  I watched a man talking on the cell phone. He had a cigarette in his mouth standing less than six inches from the “no smoking” sign.  Really?

Before the train pulled away he’d been approached by a kind police officer – or so it appeared.  The officer was smiling as he pointed to the sign.  I sensed that perhaps he was a smoker himself (or had been) and was not thrilled with the idea of writing this guy up.  The smoker, of course, was not happy. I don’t know if the officer was writing up a warning or citation.  The train pulled away as the smoker stood waiting for his identification to be returned.

UTA fines are heavy from what I understand.  I may have violated crossing where I’m not supposed to, but I was never sited for it.  I don’t know if they cite you for that or if they just enforce you to walk to the designated area for crossing.  I know they’ll cite individuals who cross the tracks while on their cell phones, I just learned about the enforced “no smoke” policy yesterday.  And I know that there’s a huge fine involved for those who can’t produce proof of payment. 

I’ve actually not had many opportunities in which I’ve had to show proof – maybe it’s because I don’t ride the train all that often.  But I have seen police at various locations boarding other trains – or perhaps the driver will pick them up at an undesignated stop – I don’t know.  With the few times I have needed to show proof , it seems like the enforcement officers appeared out of nowhere and then were gone just as instantly as they had appeared.

Jenna and I did see two police officers interrogating two youth or young adults rather.  One may have been nineteen but the other was still considered a minor.  I’m guessing the two rode the train without having paid and got caught.  After the citations were issued the one that must have been eighteen or nineteen (though I suppose she could have been older), she walked passed me and Jenna like it was no big deal. The other girl was humiliated and ashamed. She appeared to be in tears as she was escorted to the parking lot by the two officers who stood behind her watching like the Gestapo. I assume waiting for her parents or guardians to pick her up.

I can’t imagine any amount of money attached to the fine to be worth the ride or the smoke or talking on the cell phone or crossing at the wrong place . I do understand each of them and I’m grateful to know that they are being enforced.  Oh, I’m certain that there have been many who have gotten away with it.  Perhaps more than there have been those who’ve paid.  Some sadly haven’t had the opportunity to pay with money.  Some have sadly paid with their lives – which is why the rules are enforced.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

East and West and Harold

Ever since I have given up driving, I haven’t made the time to go out and see Harold – mom’s boyfriend of five months or so – though I have written to him.  I sent the last letter on the first.  He just got it yesterday.

Jenna happened to be off on Friday, and I found a way on public transportation that would get us close to Alta Ridge.  But our pass expired on the 31st and I wouldn’t be able to get a new one until Roland got paid.  Jenna suggested that we go visit him after I picked her up from school on Thursday – but I knew that unless Roland was willing to pick us up from Alta Ridge that we would never make it home before him.  He told us to wait on our visiting Harold.

It was really too bad as the weather was so awesome on the 31st.  It was snowing when we left the house yesterday.  Jenna and I both wore our snow boots, It turns out we really didn’t need them.

By the time I left Jenna at her school it had stopped snowing and the sun was showing its brightness.  I put my sunglasses on and headed towards the bus stop where I got off.  But I continued in the same direction.

I took the bus to the train station and got off at another to board a bus that would take me to the east side.  I grew up on the east side and so recognized all of the locations we passed.  I really do miss that area and the familiarities that I had become accustomed to over the years.

The distance from the bus stop to Alta Ridge is not a bad walk in awesome weather – I bet it’s a bear in foul weather though.  Desa – the assisted living activities director- takes the bus to work on a daily basis.  She knows what routes will get her where and shared information on two different methods.

I was talking to Harold when his mail was delivered.  That’s how I know he received it yesterday.  I think he is going bonkers living there as he is easily annoyed by the elderly–childish behavior and having to repeat things as only a few of them can retain information for more than a minute. Mom would tend to repeat herself, but she took him on journeys through her descriptions – I guess.  He said that she had taken him to the house where she used to live.  I knew that wasn’t right and couldn’t believe he was telling me that.
He said that she had been excited to show him her bedroom as she was really proud of it.  He said he wasn’t impressed and that somebody had really let the place go – especially the yard.  I told him that it was not the same house where I had taken her to for the last time in January – the house I grew up in.  For my niece and her husband had been living there and had actually taken better care of it than she had. 

I told him that I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Maybe he had a dream and hasn’t been able to differentiate between having dreamed it and having it taken place for real.  I know for a fact that it wasn’t real.  Mom had a lousy sense of direction – even before the dementia.  And really, how would they have gotten out anyway?  Or gotten to where the house supposedly was? He didn’t have an explanation for that part.

After my visit, I thought I would give Desa’s alternative route a try, but then realized that I was hungry.  And I had to cross the street by Arby’s if I went back the way I came. And it just so happened to be Roland’s lunch time and he is not that far from Alta Ridge.  So I called him.

He was excited and really wanted to be with me – said he’d come pick me up, but he was on the phone with a student FOREVER.  Seriously. Three buses had come and gone.  I should have just crossed the street after purchasing my sandwich instead of returning for another sandwich and two drinks – one of which I ended up throwing away.  Not to mention that I had waited for over an hour. I really should have known better. I definitely will next time.

So by the time I was almost home, Roland was STILL on the phone (same student) and I was just shaking my head.  By the time I returned home I had less than an hour before I had to leave to get Jenna – but my socks kept on sliding off my feet and into my boots (My feet are between sock sizes – Jenna’s fit, but they’re tight.  The heels of “ladies” socks are usually always longer than my own.  They never fit right – and so I often have all this extra fabric in my shoes) and so I did want to change into sneakers before I continued on my journey. 

The bus comes every half hour and so I can arrive at Jenna’s school a half hour early or ten minutes late.  Last month I went for the half hour early.  That actually annoyed Jenna who has always preferred dawdling and specifically asked me yesterday morning: “Can you please take the bus that gets you there ten minutes late?”  
Okay then.  No more waiting for her for 30 – 40 minutes in the cold.  I can deal with it.  But Roland actually beat us home today.  Don’t know how well that’s going to work out.  I think I’m just going to have to crock pot dinner each day.

It feels like I’d spent most of the day on the bus or the train or waiting.  It didn’t seem like it had been that long.  Though it might have felt longer had I not been reading.  I may not have been the wisest with my time but overall I thought it was a really nice day.  And though I felt like I had wasted both time and money waiting for Roland and that Roland too, was disappointed about not having made the opportunity to see me, Harold and Desa had both expressed gratitude.  I guess it’s all just what I wish to focus on.