Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank You Budda and Freedom Fighter

            A week after Jenna’s first art class had finished, UTA had a problem when one of its trains derailed downtown.  The same train we would have been on had we still been commuting downtown.

I guess it wasn’t just UTAs problem, but anyone driving that particular path downtown.  It appears that it was covered by all of the media during some point of day.  But I hadn’t heard about it until after 6:00 p.m.  I guess by then it had become “old news” and I didn’t know anything more about it until the following day when I typed “UTA derailment” on Google. 

            The Tribune article was the first one that I came across.  Comments can be submitted and read at the end of the article. Many hurtful comments were made toward UTA and thus UTA passengers, but just as many had come to the defense of UTA and those who may have no choice other than public transportation.  I admire the courage of those who submitted their comments in defense of the passengers – many who do not choose to use public transportation but are empathetic to those who do.

            I didn’t read even half the comments.  It was hard to read the ones that ripped into the inconvenience of having to put up with rails and public transportation in the first place.  They are the ones who should be most grateful, I would think.  Certainly they have been inconvenienced by the construction and the building of UTA and perhaps getting behind a bus once in a while – but really, if they would look at the whole picture and consider the many passengers who use public transportation as a convenience so that they don’t have to drive or park downtown, public transportation makes it so much easier for those who do choose to drive because there are less cars to deal with.  Daily traffic could be so much worse.

            Slow moving or rerouted or stand still is an inconvenience.  Generally the traffic itself is not life threatening.  It doesn’t rob us of possessions or health.  It’s an inconvenience.  I’d much rather deal with horrible traffic situations than vandalism, or a tornado, or being shot.  Be grateful for public transportation and traffic lights and stop signs and traffic cops and so forth because when they aren’t present, things go awry. 

            So thank you budda and freedomfighter and for others who came to the defense of public transportation because (as pointed by some users of public transportation) there really are several who don’t have a choice.  We ALL need public transportation.  It does make a positive difference overall.

             For other coverage you can click here or here.  There is even a video on youtube.

Two Different Art Classes

Jenna has so many interests.  She enjoys dancing, singing, telling stories, arts & crafts, drawing pictures, coloring . . .

Butterfly on a sunflower
my Mothers’ Day gift this year

         When I was younger, my mom had me enrolled in dance lessons, piano lessons, swim lessons . . . I wanted that for Jenna.  But we could never seem to afford much.

         I did find an inexpensive dance class and tumbling class through the school district.  She saw it as an opportunity to socialize and didn’t take her dance seriously but did enjoy the tumbling part. 

         I had her in an inferior swim class.  She learned more about swimming when she was only a year old and the two of us took a class together.  I had also enrolled her in a theatre class as I figured there was dancing and singing and I didn’t expect that theatre would go overboard with expensive costumes as many dance classes do.

Both my cousin Michelle and my sister-in-law Sunny have offered Art classes and children’s workshops for several years.  I don’t know that I paid much attention except for the past five years.  We couldn’t even afford those – but this year they both had some good deals. 

The first class I took her to was located at an art studio downtown.  Michelle introduced her class to self-portraits. She told each child to lie in a position that represented his or her personality.  

Jenna chose a position that represented jumping.  She placed her feet one behind the other and held her hands in the air.  Her head was facing forward when I drew her.  Her body appeared much thinner than she actually is and there wasn’t a line to separate her feet.

On the first day the child painted their hair and skin parts.  Some started on the face, but not many.  I can’t remember if Jenna started her shirt that first or second day.  She decided to make her head face the side instead of the front.  What she had painted to be hair become mud “that had hit her in the face – and her arms had been up to stop it.” Okay, whatever.

Michelle helped Jenna with her face.  I think the reason that Jenna made her face on the side was so she would only have to do one eye.

On the third day the children added yarn to the hair in their paintings.  Jenna’s few hair strands were the same exact color as the paint.  The next day Michelle reminded the kids that all the strands of hair in their actual heads were not the same color and suggested they use yarns of different tones – which Jenna did.  Her head hair actually does look all of one color to me.  Some hairs may be darker.  I haven’t noticed any highlights.

Michelle also encouraged students to find pictures or decorations that might match their personalities.  Jenna – who felt she had messed up on the green shirt she had been wearing the first day – decided that she would turn her green shirt into a camouflage shirt.  She hadn’t quite grasped the collage thing that Michelle had mentioned and stuck to her camouflage theme gluing leaves and mossy looking yarn. 

I asked her what the camouflage had to do with her personality.  She said she would like to be and is interested in chameleons.  That is true.  But she has much stronger interests.  If I had been successful in explaining what Michelle had suggested, her collage may have come across more like this:

Instead she changed her self-portrait again.  The pointed foot on top of the flat foot made it appear as though she had a really big toe in comparison to the rest.  Michelle suggested that she retrace her other leg.  When I had traced Jenna, she was barefoot; when Michelle traced her, she had a shoe on. 

It worked.  One shoe off, one shoe one.  That fits her personality.  And the two shades of blue make it look more like pants and her size rather than the skinny deformity that I had pathetically traced.  

The children also painted plaster molds that the instructors had made of each of their hands.  Jenna and the youngest girl were the only two in the class who had their palms up.  Everybody else had them down.  I am happy that Jenna had hers different from the norm.

Michelle took pictures of all of her students next to their art work (plaster hands excluded as most were still drying).  Jenna did not have her hair in pigtails the first day.  She really had been wearing a green top and denim shorts that first day.  Her pose is still different from her self-portrait and definitely different from what I had traced.

         I wasn’t looking forward to taking her cardboard self home on the train and bus.  I had brought two large plastic bags so as pieces didn’t fall off along the way.  But as it turned out I didn’t have the opportunity to take it home that day.  The entire class will have their portraits on display in the Kindred Spirit Exhibit at Art Access July 18 – Aug 8. 

         Jenna’s second class was the following week.  Sunny gave Jenna some personal instruction as we were often early and had each child paint a picture of a photo or other small picture they had that they wished to be on canvas.

         Sunny’s method of teaching is so different from Michelle’s.  She taught the children that they could create backgrounds and eyes with different strokes and different brushes.  They painted around the table whereas most of Michelle’s class time was spent on the floor (or standing up)

         Sunny likes crafts and Jenna LOVES crafts.  When the children were through painting and waiting for the final touches to dry, Sunny had another surprise for them (which had nothing to do with their paintings) Each child got to make something out of pipe cleaners and beads.  Jenna made two ladybugs:

And this was her final project from Sunny’s class:

We had the painting when we boarded the bus.  We had it when we arrived in Kearns to watch my niece and nephew.  We left the painting at Kayla’s house when we took the bus home, as I didn’t wish to carry it in the rain.  It’s still at Kayla’s because we forgot to get it when we had gone out yesterday and actually had a car. 

Roland has not yet seen either painting.

I feel so blessed to have diversity and to be able to expose Jenna to different methods and styles.  She had fun in both classes.  Thank you Sunny and Michelle! 



Friday, June 27, 2014


Since she learned to walk, Jenna has had a habit of touching things and picking up things and examining things and trying things on.  Each year her habit seems to get worse.  It doesn’t matter where – a neighbor’s house, a good friend’s room, the gift shop or store.  Each time we have told her to look with her eyes and not her hands.  With the latest incident, I would hope that she’s learned her lesson.

She is always asking me or Roland to recount the story of “The Five Chines Brothers” until finally Roland just ordered the book so she could read it for herself.  The book came in and we dropped by Deseret Book on our way to the store to purchase groceries.

Roland and Jenna went into the bookstore and returned in less than a minute with book in hand.  I wouldn’t have guessed that Jenna would have had enough time to touch and play – but she did.  It wasn’t until we were shopping and eating samples that she discovered the CTR ladybug ring still on her finger.  She had walked away without having paid for it.  

It was a CTR ring – so of course she had to choose the right.  She had a dollar and so we told her we’d take her back and she would pay for it.  The dang thing was 2.00!  Holy Moly!  She said she would have rather just returned it.  But Roland made the decision to pay for it as Jenna had had it in her mouth and then had “accidently” dropped it into my drink.  It was our opinion that it really wasn’t returnable. 

Roland told Jenna that she would have to work off the cost of the ring.  She would have to sweep all of the floors in the house.  What devastation!  A chore that neither of us are great at – mostly because we can never manage to get it all into the dustpan. 

I’m not near as dramatic about the unpleasantness however.  Jenna is upset not only because she can’t seem to sweep with one hand while holding the dustpan with the other, but also because she seems to have lost her ladybug ring and so what’s the point? 

So not only was Jenna being “punished”  Roland had punished me as well as himself.  Jenna never did finish.  Next time she starts to touch an item, I will remind her of this traumatic event.  Hopefully this will be a lesson for her to look with her eyes and NOT with her hands.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Watching Trains and Taking Pictures

            Jenna had taken an art class last week. We’ve been taking TRAX of course.  It’s funny about that form of transportation.  Streetcars could be seen in downtown Salt Lake back in the late 30s.  I don’t know when the city decided to rip all the rail lines out.  So many changes have taken place through the years.

For over half a century the streetcars and rails had been done away with in downtown Salt Lake. The garage that had been used to house the trolleys has since been turned into a shopping center.

Meanwhile the rails have been re-dotting the Salt Lake map for the last two decades. Some existed from when the Union Pacific was built (I think) but most have been added by Utah Transit Authority.

The Union Pacific Building gradually changed from cargo trains to Amtrax.  (I remember having gone to it a few times to meet my grandma) The building  is now the entrance to Gateway Mall.  

For the most part we had come home as soon as class was over, but on Thursday we had gone out to see my sister and her kids.  Roland works late on Thursdays and so I am never in a hurry to go home. 

Jenna and I had been reading a book and had neared the end.  I asked her if we could finish up at the library and turn the book in.  On our way to the train Jenna felt the need to play in the water and I felt the need to take pictures. 

Jenna took this picture of me in front of two dead trains.  That really is the end of the line – though the tracks are a couple of yards from where the train station is located.  Trains don’t generally go that far.  In fact, I hadn’t ever seen trains behind the sign until the past year or so.

            Trains had pulled into the station announcing, “End of the Line – as far as we go” and then would remain stopped for 15 minutes – which was kind of nice.  But now the train stays four minutes max before it pulls out again – which I think would make it more convenient for UTA – but as a passenger I think I preferred the 15 minute stopover.  But I do think it is less costly for UTA to just leave and not stop for 15 minutes.  But that is just a guess on my part.

            I have seen up to three cars on a blue line train (the first UTA train line that was created) but it has always been just two on the green line.  I have never seen three nor have I seen just only one – until shortly after the above picture was taken.

            Jenna was playing in the fountains and drenching herself while I watched the train cars pulling in and out of the station. I noticed a single car on the opposite side of where we usually catch it.  I thought since there was only one car that it would be pulled into the spot behind where I stood (where the dead trains were parked).

            A two car train pulled in – or perhaps there were three. I hadn’t counted.  I had told Jenna that the train was coming. Just then Roland called and offered to come get us – which thrilled Jenna to no end as it gave her more time to play in the water.  She should have been a mermaid.  
Because Roland said that he would come and meet us, we had no reason to walk to the train. I was surprised to see the longer of the two trains (the one we would have walked toward) pull around and head to where the dead trains were.  I heard a voice announce that the green line train would be departing and watched passengers board the single car before it departed out onto the street. 

            “How weird,” I thought. I’ve never seen a single car with passengers.  But than again, I don’t generally ride nor watch the trains that late.

            The two or three car train that had gone toward the dead trains was heading back to the station – this time with five cars attached.  I’ve never seen five cars attached to a UTA train – ever.  I tried to get a picture, but could not manage all five cars in just one frame.  

            Jenna had moved herself from the fountain stairs to the mechanical river – which was actually closer to the library where Roland said he would meet us.  The final dead car pulled out around about 8:00 or so.  We should have been home already.  I have never hung around Fairbourne that late and don’t know if it’s a regular routine or if I was seeing something out of the ordinary.  I know the trains run later than 8:00.  Perhaps as it was getting later, only single cars were needed and that the rest had been returned to the train yard or the garage.

            Perhaps on Monday we will collect Jenna’s cousins and take them to Fairbourne to play in the fountain for a while.  I will have to tell Kayla to put their swim wear on beneath their clothes so that they are somewhat dry for the return home.  That is generally when Gary goes to sleep.  And sometimes Anna, too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who Would Have Thunk?


            My shed is in disarray and I know that I have shorts in there somewhere.  I don’t know where.  I’ve been searching for a nice day in which to organize and dejunk (there are tons of items that really should be trashed)

            I need a time that’s not too hot and not too cold.  Mornings are good – if I can find the ambition.  It usually takes me longer to wake up and by the time I get dressed and think of it, it is time for Jenna and I to leave.

            She’s taking an art class downtown.  I’m always so hot between bus stops and the train.  The bus has been running late due to construction.  (Utah roads are ALWAYS under construction during the months that aren't winter) It should still come within twenty minutes, I would think, regardless.  But there have been 30-40 minute delays.  That is a long time in the cold or the heat.

  The A/C has been on full blast every night for two weeks for two weeks before Fathers’ Day. Last night I had the heater on.  What’s up with that?

            Monday was cold when we left the house.  She wanted to walk up to TRAX to start out with – forget the bus.  I can’t believe June in halfway over and we were wearing sweatshirts.  Underneath I was dressed in pink and green.  I must have looked like rainbow sherbet.

            I don’t know what possessed me to wear such nice clothes when I’d be near paint.  Fortunately I was able to keep my clothes clean and dressed down yesterday and today.

            Yesterday was overcast.  I took my umbrella.  It was cold.  It was wet.  God watered my lawn.  I truly appreciate that.  The water pressure in my neighborhood is very poor – even more so than last year.  Watering my lawn would take four hours or so – and it’s NOT because I have a big yard.  The pressure is so low that the water has to be moved by hand in order to water the entire lawn.

            I had left Highness outside.  He didn’t appear to take shelter.  We dried him off and moved him near the fireplace and provided some heat for him.  Poor dog has got a cold.

            The sun is shining now.  The forecast said it would be cold still.  Summer officially starts next week and we’ve had early November chills to deal with.  I just don’t get Mother Nature.  Is she angry?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ugly Ties for Fathers' Day

     A wish for my
 dad and husband
 on   Fathers’   Day
 Here’s to all those  
     ties  -   my dad
     always wanted
       like  socks.  I
 thought giving socks
 as  a  gift  was  very
boring!  Even ties were
boring.  And yet I managed
to  give  him  at  least  one
  every year.  When Jenna
   and I were looking for a
    gift to give to Roland,
    I had suggested socks.
        Jenna thought that
        would be boring.  I
         laughed.  It’s what
            he  needs  but  I
             definitely under-
               stood.  We did
                  not get a tie.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Two Hours is Too Long

On the day that my oldest nephew was married
Jenna and I had lunch and played in the park
with my youngest niece and her brother
who used to be the youngest
but another brother will be born
I’m guessing in July. 

Kayla’s due date is August 2nd
but she looks like
she’s ready to pop
any minute.
We both believe that B.J. is on his side.
Kayla says he moves around
much more than the other two

Anna and Garrett (we call him Gary)
are replicas of their mother
at least they LOOK like Kayla
I bet their brother looks like Bill
and has Bill’s personality.
Hence my nickname for him –
B.J. = Bill Junior

Today we could not meet in the park for lunch. 
This afternoon
Jenna and I took a bus out to their house
and took them back to the same bus stop
and rode to the next TRAX station
where we boarded the train
Gary was especially awed
by this new sensation.

We took the train back to
where Jenna and I had started out. 
The kids played in the fountain
while we waited
for the bus to come.
We boarded the bus that took us
back to their house.
We had completed a wide circle.
Too wide.  They were tired.
I should have taken pictures
of them sleeping
on the bus.

Next time we will have to
choose another route
and spend only an hour
and a half on the wonder
of UTA –
perhaps just bus and
Fairbourne station
and not do the train.
I think all three
would rather play
in the water than to
ride the train again.

Spending Time With My Nephew and Niece

I have mentioned in earlier posts that my sister, Kayla, is expecting her third child.  Her eldest, Anna, will be four in the first week of July.  Garrett turned two in February and B.J. will be born in August. As a result, Jenna and I have been going out to assist at least a few hours each day.  

This past Wednesday and Thursday we had made arrangements to meet the kids at the park nearest Jenna’s school.  There is a park closer to where they live, but the bus doesn’t go by the park, and I don’t particularly wish to cross the street with the two children in order to get to the park.  So Bill has dropped them off at the other park.  We can make the return trip on the bus without crossing the street.

So on Wednesday, Bill stood in line with them to get their lunch and then he took off.  After Jenna, Anna and Gary played for a while, we got on the bus to take my niece and nephew back to their mom.  The kids were delighted with being able to ride the bus. 

We made our first transfer at the college.  There are two buses that we can transfer to and so will take whichever one comes first.  We waited for only two or three minutes.  With our last transfer we did not have to wait at all.  A ski bus is used for that particular route – though it makes me wonder what bus is used during the ski season?

The front seats are designated for wheel chairs (should said passengers come aboard).  I told Anna to continue to the back of the bus and climb the stairs.  Jenna taught Anna to flirt with the passenger seated across from them.  Gary fell asleep.  I was so beat by the time we got to Kayla’s.  Jenna and I waited for an hour and a half before we got back on the bus.

Roland stayed home yesterday.  I braved it and drove the car.  Bill arrived at the park earlier than expected.  He decided that he would eat lunch with his children.  After transferring his car seats to my car, he got in line with the three kids and purchased himself a lunch as well. 

He thought his two children would be very disappointed that we were not taking the bus, but they didn’t seem to notice.  None of us seemed to be hungry and didn’t eat as much – except for Bill who wolfed down two hot dogs and juice and left to go to work.

Jenna and the other two played in the sand before Anna started wandering and started acting tired.  I took them all back to Kayla’s house and told Kayla that we wouldn’t be able to do lunch today, but that maybe I could collect them and we could ride the bus and train just to give them an adventure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Baking Soda is Fantastic!

I have actually used baking soda as a cleaner, a medicine, a laundry booster, and perhaps a third of the suggestions listed here and here but my absolute favorite miracle (which I did not see listed) is that in addition to grease spots and stubborn stains, it also works on scorch marks and burns.

In the past, when I have burned a pot beyond recognition (usually my fire is too high) I have just thrown it away.  But the other day, I was boiling some water on high.  I excused myself to visit the bathroom and just forgot to come back.  I wish I would have done before and after pictures.  It was so truly amazing that I was able to save a pan that had been on the expensive side.

I was steaming corn – which by the way turned out really succulent and tasted great – when I realized that I had forgotten to turn it down.  The bottom of my pan glowed red along with the burner.  I thought that the fire had burnt a hole through the pan and that I would have to throw it away.  Baking soda to the rescue!

                                                                               actually did not look quite this bad

I thought I had filled to the burn mark.  But apparently not.  The pan was hot!  Even the plastic handles were hot (but fortunately not melted) and I took it outside and left it until late yesterday morning. 

Strange thing though, I poured vinegar on it to watch it bubble.  But it made the baking soda harden.  And it was hot to the touch.  Never had that happen. But I found I could use the hardened baking soda like a wonder eraser.  And then I scoured out what I could from the sides.

Okay, it’s not in factory new condition, but at least it’s useable.  And I am happy that my pan and colander have been saved!  Thanks to the miracles of baking soda.  Thank you Google for giving me that suggestion!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Loaded Paintbrushes and the Rest of the Story

After we had purchased the house
Roland put the boys to work
painting the trim red.
That was seven years ago.
Time to paint again.

Randy needs money
and Roland puts all three boys to work
and says he’ll pay them 100 dollars each
as soon as the work is done.
The instructions are fairly simple: 
Everything that is red needs to be painted over in green,
everything that’s white needs to be repainted white.

Biff was the first to show.
He works graveyard and comes
straight from his job
though two weeks ago
I think he went to the gym before coming here

Roland had to work that day
and so I had told Tony that he could be in charge
I didn’t want Randy to be in charge
because most of the time
he doesn’t even know what he’s doing
as he has managed to disappear
each time Roland taught the boys a trade

Randy appears to be genuine about helping
or at least that was the case two weeks ago
But he loaded the paintbrush
so that it dripped onto the cement below.
I know that’s not how Roland taught him
but listening has never been his greatest skill.
I am so grateful that he hadn’t tried painting Jenna’s room
Otherwise she’d have blue splotches all over her floor
not to mention we would have run out of paint
before all of the walls were finished
We put Randy in charge of moving the lawn.

All three boys showed up the week before last.
When Tony and Biff both took off
Randy continued to work
and may have finished
except for we ran out of green
Of course none of us were here last week
as Jenna had her 5K.  
That was the first morning
since Tony’s been married
that I remember him showing up on time.

Roland wants the job done ASAP
It’s taking too long.
He hired some other people to finish the job.
They didn’t finish.
They said they’ll be back on Monday.
Roland wants the job done NOW
so yesterday  Biff and Tony showed up
(Randy is out of town)
More got done.
It isn’t finished though.
There is more red trim to paint green
Jenna’s old room needed painting as well

After Biff and Tony left for the day
Roland recruited me to help him paint
We put a light beige over the pink
in Jenna’s old room.
The wall came out a light tan.
I like the color.

After the room looked finished
(though there are still a lot of flaws)
Roland took the bed apart 
and leaned it against the wall.
He then drilled a hole into the floor
and went under the house
to change the cable.

There was a time in my life
when I had gone spelunking
with a large group
and actually had fun
exploring the cave

It wasn’t until just before our exit
that I became freaked
at the very idea of the closure
and the "what if"s.
I have not been underground since.

Roland’s not at all fazed by the crawl space
but I am definitely having problems about it.
So he was in the crawl space and I was
over the hole that he drilled.
He could hear me. 
I could not hear him enough to
understand what he was saying to me
so I sent Jenna to stand over the crawlspace
and translate what Roland saying.

She hung upside down as she watched him.
The cables were too short and he and Jenna went to the store
to pick up a longer cable.

I tried to take a nap while they were gone
but my body was so sore that
I couldn’t relax.
I’ve never been eighty.
I’ve seen some 80 year olds who are quite healthy
and move like they’re twenty.
But I’ve seen more who seem hunched over
and have trouble walking
as though they are experiencing a shooting pain
with every step.
That is how I feel –
like the misshapen 80 year old
and every part of me hurts
even went I’m not moving

I couldn’t sleep
and so I turned on the television
to see if that might help
I flipped around until I landed on the BYU station
announcement is made that
Granite Flats first episode is coming up next”
I hadn’t ever seen it. 
I started watching it although
I figured Roland and Jenna would return
before the program ended
and I still would not see it.

The doorbell rang
and I got up to answer the door.
Roland and Jenna were standing there with several packages
half of which were food
I helped them unload their bags.
When I returned to the other room,
the TV had been turned off

Roland returned to the crawl space
and we threaded the cable through.
He then moved in the computer from one room
We hooked up and moved the desk
from the bedroom
Hard work
Both of us were tired.
Both of us were sore.
My mind was the only thing NOT sore
as it kept of thinking of things
I wanted to post.
I’m still sore.
When I got out of bed this morning,
I walked slower
and less gracefully than
Frankenstein’s Monster.