Monday, February 23, 2015

Before My Mind Forgets

I was looking for some photo pages the last week.  As I was searching, I came across a scrapbook that Jenna and I created together – or started to anyway.

A neighbor who had three daughters of her own had actually given the album to us.  I don’t know if it was something she intended to fill up eventually and life just got in the way, or if she just really wasn’t interested in that kind of thing – or why it had been in her possession in the first place.

I don’t even know how old the album is.  There is a copyright from Lansdowne Publishing.  It was first published in 1997 than in 1998.  The book itself is written and compiled by Deborah Nixon.  Designed and Photographed by Robyn Latimer.  Beautifully illustrated and very thoughtful.  It’s called  Mother’s Memories For my Daughter.

  I let Jenna pick out all the pictures that she wanted to use.  As I'd written down my memories into the book, she would cut out pictures and paste them in.  We had fun doing it – and I think it will be a great treasure for her one day – providing that she can actually read it.
When my mind is working faster than my pen, I tend to get sloppy.  The fact that cursive isn’t really taught in our public schools anymore has made it even more challenging.  Jenna can’t read cursive.

There have been several papers and stories that she has written on – sloppy print and misspells.  I have scanned many and have a picture in her original hand and a translation.  I figured I could do the same for mine.  And so I’ve started.  Barely.  Started.  My mind has raced with almost every page I’ve scanned.  There’s much more detail in my head than what’s been written.  I have been writing down memories, typing them, searching for more photos – which I know exist – but I cannot find them.  More searches.  More memories.  My fingers cannot keep up with my mind.

Corey has tackled the project of transcribing mom’s journal.  I am so excited for it.  I’m sure that it will take me longer to read than for him to copy it all. 

He shares certain memoirs every now and then.  It is fun to see them on facebook and remember when.  I love my mom.  I have great respect for her.  She was such an awesome woman!  And just so giving and compassionate.  I wish I were more like her.

The memories I have been writing down are about my grandparents and great-grandparents and then I started to write down what I know about Roland’s mom and then I asked him to change the things that I misunderstood and to add his own memories.  He wrote things about his dad.  I’m glad that he did, because I did not know him.  I was in high school when he died – just over twenty years before I had even met Roland.

As I’m typing or writing, I can think of more things.  I add thoughts, insert paragraphs, forever cut and paste.  I will easily fill up several flash drives.  That is where I am.  My blog is on the back burner – for a while anyway.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Mr. President

Winslow Press started the creation of a series called “Dear Mr. President” – I think a wonderful introduction.  I love the five books that were made.  I wish there was more.  I don’t know why it was discontinued – or so it seems.  Winslow Press doesn’t seem to offer publication later than 2002 (that I could see) and it doesn’t appear the site has been updated since May 2009.    Perhaps Winslow Press is one of many businesses that has had to file bankruptcy in the last decade and a half.

The three books I will focus on most are:

Though the Letters are fictionalized, information provided in the correspondence is based upon meticulous research.  I like how Winslow press refers reader to “learn more” though I personally did not find the useful, I like the concept of getting readers interest and encouraging research.

Presidents may have opened their mail at one time, but somewhere along the way the mail was handled by the secretary and now an entire team, I would imagine.  I don’t imagine the correspondence would have existed any other way but through our minds.

The poor coal miner wouldn’t have been able to send as many letters to Roosevelt as he did, as he would not have had the means for postage.  Nor would a slave have been able to correspond as they had even less means than did the coal miner.

All letters are start out with the twelve-year-old’s point of view.  Lettie has been taught by her mistress how to read and write.  Her mistress is the only child of a widower who most likely teaches Lettie out of boredom.  She encourages Lettie to write to Abraham Lincoln who responds. 

Knowing that the correspondence will put her in harms way should others learn that a slave has been taught to read and write. The letters are addressed to her mistress.  Correspondence allows the reader to understand the purpose of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s position and a thin view of what some slaves had to go through.

I think I found the miner story the most interesting.  To be certain that he received all of the young miner’s letters and weren’t open by his secretary, Pres. “Teddy” Roosevelt had the young miner address the letters to his son.  I do think I read a small error when Teddy expressed that Kermit was 13 in one letter and then 12 in the next. 

Besides reading about the conditions that the miners had to face, I enjoyed discovering trivial things that took place during Theodore Roosevelt’s reign.  He spoke with affection about all of the animals that belonged to his children – and baby-sitting the guinea pigs – which he really did do. 

And then there was Franklin D. Roosevelt who had some good ideas.  Some did not work out to his expectations.  His correspondence is with a girl of Italian decent.  She talks about different family members having to go on strike and about the hobos jumping freight lines.  That was interesting.

I also like how each of them use big words (which are capped and bolded) to describe things and use of contractions (which are underlined) to peak reader's interest not only in history, but grammar and vocabulary as well.

Winslow Press made it a point to caption each page with the words: “To learn more about specific mines, go to”, “to learn more about unions, go to”,  “to learn more abut Christmas during the civil war, go to”, “to learn more about the Dredge Scott Act, go to”

As previously mentioned, I actually didn’t find the winslowpress site at all useful, but I do like the idea of suggesting to readers to research mentioned subjects.  Wikipedia is always helpful for me, personally. 

Once the correspondence ends, there is a time line and brief history about said president.  A snapshot of a letter in his actual handwriting and then a letter the way it may have appeared by said 12 year- old.

Another interesting thing after the letters and time line is a synopsis of how the mail was delivered at that time and how much postage costs.  For more information on the post office it gives the Winslow site.  But there are so many sources that one can go to for more information.

The “Dear Mr. President” series is beautiful.  I think it needs to be continued. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Spoons Ran Out On Their Own

         You remember that nursery rhyme:

                                Hey, Diddle, Diddle
         The Cat and the Fiddle
         The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

The verse ended with:

The dish ran away with the Spoon

As a child, I wondered What the Heck that whole thing even meant.  But especially the dish part and the spoon.  It was cute, I guess.  But crazy.  Surely inanimate objects cannot run away – but since I have been married, I have learned that they can.

Most every spoon that has lived in our house(s) has been able to sprout legs and walk from room to room.  I had no clue that the majority of them would one day leave the house all together and venture out on their own.  They must have found a good home.  I have seen homeless socks before, but rarely do I ever see spoons – or any kind of flatware for that matter.

         I have replaced spoons at least three times – yesterday made four.  It’s around hot chocolate season that we start running low. I wonder if Santa helps himself to a few spoons to take back to his elves – and over the years the rest of the spoons gradually take off in search for their friends. 

When we were getting ready to sell mom’s house and expressing interest in different possessions, I told Ellen that I would like some forks and saucers.  I was actually specific about which saucers I wanted – the big plastic ones with a print that looked like the ones that used to belong to Grandma Helen.  We had only three saucers in our cupboard at the time, and really did have a need for them at that time. 

I don’t know why it is we were so stocked up on spoons already.  Our flatware drawer was overflowing with spoons – for a change.   I think Ellen gave me every bit of flatware that my mom had collected throughout the years – plus a generous amount of saucers.  I really didn’t need everything she gave to me, but hung onto it nevertheless.

Gradually I started replacing spoons – until there was nothing left in the bag Ellen had filled.  At one time there were three bins that held spoons.  As of Friday, there was barely one.

I told Roland not to get me candy for Valentine’s Day, but to purchase new spoons instead.  Currently they seem to be the only spoons we have.  I seriously don’t understand.  Why do spoons not like living in our drawers?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Slow Down, People – seriously – SLOW DOWN!!!

The weather the past few days have made for awesome biking weather, driving weather, walking weather . . . except for one thing.  There are some drivers who think they own the road and that the rules don’t apply to them.  They can drive as fast as they wish, as reckless as they wish and ain’t nobody in the path that is going to stop them.  Oh, whoops – there was.  Most of this could have been prevented.   

I was at the front of the school yesterday – and have to walk a ways to the bus stop and make at least three transfers.  I make my first transfer at the college.  I decided to take the 41 in whatever direction came first.  The first one to come was going eastbound and then I made my final transfer to the 217 – which is the bus I normally take.  But there was a blockage that prevented both northbound and southbound traffic.  The bus had to turn back and take a long detour around that area.  I was at a loss at what might have taken place.  The blockage was between intersections.  I couldn’t even visualize an accident.

Seven hours later I was on the bus going southbound.  Same detour.  What the heck?  I was reminded of this incident – when Roland and Jenna and I were returning to the house when we lived in Kearns.  

         It was after 8:00 p.m. when we made our turn off 4000 W onto a neighborhood street that would take us home.  We could see the lights up ahead from all the emergency vehicles that were there.  We watched the news and heard this story.  The number of children varied with each report.  Some local authorities said as low as five were hit.  Some said seven.

         I’m certain that it was not the intent of the driver to plow down those students – or was even aware that he was off course or where he was or what was happening.  It was later explained that he was driving with or without medication that caused a reaction. 

         The next morning that part of the street was still closed down – over 15 hours after it happened.  It had remained closed due to investigation on what was considered a crime.

         I actually hadn’t thought too much about it after we had left Kearns.  Not until yesterday when I learned that Redwood was still closed in that same location as it had been that same morning.  I know that being without power is quite painful, but I felt relieved to know it was not as serious as accidents causing injuries or death – or even worse, a crime that had led to murder.

         Roland was to meet me at Jenna’s school as we had an appointment with her teachers.  He wouldn’t have been able to go home his usual way anyway.  I told him about the blockage and he sent me a list of five different accidents taking place all throughout the valley – all at approximately the same time – all causing backed up traffic, detours and delays.

         The day before, police were out patrolling – looking for speeders and evidently meeting their goal.  I saw the same police officer pull over a second car after driving away from having written up someone else.

         There was a police truck behind a civilian car blocking the bus stop at the college.  It doesn’t happen often that a vehicle blocks the pathway of the bus.  But I have seen it three or four times where the bus driver becomes angry and will honk and shake his fist at the driver.  The bus driver was ticked but decided not to provoke the police officer (I guess)

         I suppose accidents at this time of year are common – but in the past it’s been due to ice and snow – not totally to stupidity.  Why drive so recklessly?  Why not enjoy the weather?

         Even some bus drivers have been known to have led feet.  Shame on them for flying from intersection to intersection, zooming past three or four other bus stops along the way – only so they can wait 3-5 minutes so they won’t be “ahead of schedule” – I don’t have the strength to run to the corner and across the street.  I’m an old woman!

         Just slow down.  Don’t go over the speed limit.  Don’t speed up for yellow lights!  Is your being in a hurry really worth the delays you create for others?  Is it worth risking others’ lives? Or even your own?  Leave early if you must.  But don’t speed.  Please slow down.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Three of the Four Seasons

After my post yesterday, the rain fell off and on.

When I left the house to go pick up Jenna, the sky was pouring down water from the sky.  POURING.  I had to return to the house for different shoes so my feet wouldn't get wet.

I had grabbed Jenna's umbrella and coat as that morning we had both left the house with just sweatshirts and I knew she wouldn't be prepared.  The spine came out of her umbrella as I was putting it into my bag.

Roland had forgotten his phone, but I can text him through an texting system that he set up through his computer at work.  I told him that it was pouring and asked if he could meet us at the school.  It would be an hour wait, but still.  Jenna and I are both okay with the rain, really.  But she is currently taking swim lessons, and I didn't know if the weather would interfere with the bus schedule running on time.

When I exited the bus less than 20 minutes later, the sky was barely drizzling.  No one in Salt Lake even knows how to dress anymore.  I notice people wearing shorts and coats, sandals and sweaters,  or packing extra stuff - I fall into that third category.  It's not nice to have to pack a parka, an umbrella, a light sweater, sunglasses and boots - just in case.  I'm not a pack mule!

The sun was shining as we waited for Roland.  The rain fell again as the sun was shining.  Jenna took my umbrella and danced around while I waited under the awning. Roland didn't arrive when we had expected.  I told him to meet us in front, but ventured around the school to see if I could see the car behind the school.  I do tend to misunderstand.

He wasn't behind the school.  He had stopped off at McDonald's to surprise us with dinner.  We ate on the way to the train station where he dropped us off so that we could continue to Jaime's class.  The weather and traffic conditions may interfere with the bus schedule.  It is rare when the train doesn't run on time. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Roller Skates and Scooters

       Shortly after school started, Jenna found some roller skates at a second hand store and Roland bought them for her.  She would never admit that they were tight on her, but I think they were. 

        She did try using them on occasion, but never really got the flair for using them comfortably.  After two months of leaving them outside in the cold, I told her to put them in the car and give them to Anna – not that they would currently fit her four-old cousin - but Anna can grow into them, whereas I believe Jenna has grown out.

         The wind has been howling something fierce.  Yet the last two days have been like a spring/summer transition.  Neighbor kids were riding up and down the street on bicycles and scooters.  How fun it would have been for Jenna if she did still have her skates – or maybe she'd feel embarrassed as she is the tallest of all the children by a long shot and wouldn’t have been able to keep up with Trume on his scooter.  She would have lagged behind with his sister – who hasn’t seemed to master gliding gracefully either.  

        Tank tops, shorts and bare feet in some cases.  Though I told Jenna I wanted socks on her feet when she jumped on the trampoline.  Last month I would make her wear three pair in addition to her jacket.  Yesterday she did not need a jacket.  I don’t recall ever having sent anyone to jump on the trampoline outside during the months of winter.  We’ve had strange weather. Could be the start of a drought.

         Would be nice if the weather would just remain.  Not get any hotter.  Not get any colder.  Perhaps the wind could ease up a bit.  I LOVE how awesome our current strange weather is right now.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Elements Seem to be Teasing Us Still

This post was created two summers ago.  I don't know what button I hit that made the post change to Feb 2015. Today the winds blew strong - but it was warm outside.  Go figure.  We did use the air conditioning in the car (never have I done that in February) and although it has been warm today, it hasn't been SUMMER warm.

I wrote a few verses about how I am personally handling this heat (not well) and emailed them to a friend who made it into a song.  He’d sent me the chords and the fingering.  But seeing it on paper really doesn’t mean that much to me.  I think it was sweet of him to send it to me.

I've had two showers today but my body doesn't know it
I've planted flowers and beets but my garden doesnt' show it
I wash more clothes in summer than any other season
I'm so tired all of the time and summer is the reason

Why can't heat just stay away from me
Allow my body to breathe free
Allow my mind to think clearly
Please just let me be
cool again

I'm standing in a rather large pool of sweat
I can't believe I haven't melted away yet
And in addition the sun has fried my brain
Before this summer's over I will have gone insane
I want to be inside with the A/C blasting on
I'm looking forward to when the summer's gone

Why can't heat just stay away from me
Allow my body to breathe free
Allow my mind to think clearly
Please just let me be
alert again

My clothes are on the line and would enjoy little breeze
My allergies are so severe that all I do is sneeze
I'm washing sweat drenched clothes every other day
I can't believe that I have not melted away.

Why can't heat just stay away from me
Allow my body to breathe free
Allow my mind to think clearly
Please just let me be
clean again

And now my groceries are spoiling in the car
They weren't there long Nor did I drive too far
I spent more time just waiting in the line
But now I'm home and my groceries are not fine

He didn’t include the last verse.  But I didn’t think of it until after I had sent the first three.
I actually hung the wash up and the wind started blowing fiercely.  It actually seemed to make the hotness more bearable – except it was almost too windy.  Jenna and I had gone to the park to eat lunch.  Everything kept blowing off the blanket.  After about three or four times of retrieveing items, we finally called it quits.  It appeared overcast later on in the day – teasing us with a chance of rain.  Rain made by perspiration.

Roland came home with some treats for family home evening.  They were pretty much melted by the time he got home – less than 2 blocks away.  In summer time there is no point in purchasing items such as candy bars or ice creams unless you carry a cooler in the car or if your intention was to turn those items into liquid anyway.

1st verse
  Am                                                                 G
I've had two showers today but my body doesn't know it
            Am                                                          G
Planted flowers and greens but the garden doesnt' show it
  F                                                                 G
Wash more clothes in summer than any other season
So tired all of the time and summer is the reason

2nd Verse
Am                                                  G
I'm standing in a rather large pool of sweat
  Am                                              G
Can't believe I haven't melted away yet
 F                                               G
In addition the sun has fried my brain
Before this summer's over I will have gone insane

Am                                    F
Why can't heat just stay away 
Allow my body to breathe free
Allow my mind to think clearly
Please just let me be
cool again

3rd Verse
 Am                                                             G
My clothes are on the line and would enjoy a breeze
 Am                                                   G
Allergies are so severe all I can do is sneeze
Soaking the fever rainment every other day
Can't believe I haven’t melted away.

Repeat Chorus

I want to be inside with the A/C blasting on
I'm looking forward to when the summer's dead & gone

Repeat Chorus

The Moody Skies of Salt Lake

This week I’ve been wearing my green coat – in case of rain.  Neither one seem water resistant.  But I think the brown coat would be scarred by the rain whereas the green coat would still look the same after it dried.

Last week I had dressed in layers.  There was one day when Jenna and I left the house that I had on two sweatshirts, my coat, a hat and a scarf.  I was neither hot nor cold as we walked to the bus stop and waited.  However I felt the need to strip down the second we stepped on the bus.

The heat was blaring.  Before I had even sat down, I had removed my hat, scarf, coat and one of the sweatshirts.  They may have both come off except the bus had started moving and I felt squashed where I was seated.  I had gone from quite comfortable to sweltering. I believe that even if I could have gotten away with stripping down to my birthday suit (which I would never do outside the privacy of my home) I would have still felt too hot to breathe.

As we left the bus, I noticed the skies had cleared and it appeared that it was going to be a nice day and that I wouldn’t need my coat anymore.

I had taken a bus to the library to return some books, but as the library was not open, I walked back toward the train.  I noticed the bus that goes out to my sister, Kayla’s.  I thought I would surprise her and got on the bus – thinking maybe I should have taken the train toward home to let Highness out until my return.  After all, he hadn’t been outside and I had errands to run and didn’t know if he could make it another six hours.

After I arrived at Kayla’s house I made a comment and decided to return back to the TRAX station just to run my three errands if nothing else.  As I made my way to the bus stop, I needed my coat.  Really?  The skies had been so promising just less than an hour before.  Suddenly it was close to bitter cold.  What’s up with that?

It took me 40 minutes to run my three errands.  I could either return home to let Highness out or I could wait for the bus and return back to Kayla’s in time for her to take Anna to school.  I really wanted to assist Kayla, as she was not feeling well, and her youngest, BJ, had been congested for some time.

Since I had run all three errands, and it had taken less time than I had anticipated, I would be able to return to the house sooner to let Highness out a for a minutes before I had to leave to pick up Jenna.  Besides, the skies were sending a light rain.  It was cold.  I thought it might pour.  It did not.  

The air was still cool when I returned home and let Highness out until it was time for me to leave.  As I walked to Jenna’s school, I noticed pieces of blue sky peeking through the pillowy clouds that appeared to be more grey than white.  Overall the skies seemed heavy with water.  I was certain that it would rain again.

There was one day I noticed the sky was white as I walked toward the school.  I could make out bits of mountain as the sky did its best to camouflage their appearance.  Those visiting the state for the first time might have not known they were even there.

Then there have been two or three days where I hadn’t taken a coat at all.  I had removed the sweatshirt or jacket or sweater or whatever I had on and would reveal my mostly bare arms and think to myself, “I have never been outdoors in just my street clothes and no source of warmth in February”  

The skies have been threatening rain one minute and having sunshine and brilliant hues the next.  I’ve taken my umbrella on occasion – though I had need for it only once.

This morning I wore my brown coat.  For the most part, it served its purpose.  It has a hood when the air gets too cold or windy.  The wind blew my hood off this morning.

I can hear the wind howling right now.  It sounds a lot more violent than what it appears.  In less than an hour I have to leave the house again so that I can return to the school for Jenna.  I don’t know which coat to wear.  I don’t trust the skies – or the wind.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Plea for Drivers to USE MORE CAUTION When Approaching the Intersection

On Friday morning, after Jenna and I had parted ways, I decided I would return to the stop where we had got off and take a bus to the high school and transfer there. 

I noticed the street was surprisingly clear and I could cross, but first I decided to text the time to see if it was worth the time.  Ten minutes.  I could cross the street and wouldn’t have to wait until I got to the high school.

As I was crossing, I noticed lights flashing in all directions from the intersection.  Then it dawned on me – the traffic was light on the side going north because no cars were getting through.  No buses either.  And so I called UTA to find if the detour would skip the stop I was at. 

It was a horrible accident.  Traffic was rerouted.  The bus drivers took a route behind the school and over to a road five stops away.  The only stop it made between the two main intersections was the stop where I usually go.

To think if I hadn’t been so lazy and thought myself clever, I could have been home 30 – 45 minutes before.

We found ourselves in a similar situation this morning.  This time it happened on the way to school and not on the return.  Different intersection and I’m guessing that no one was killed due to this morning’s collision.

Our driver had actually hit all the stops before turning around and backtracking through the college.  A few passengers who hadn’t been paying attention seemed a bit panicked when she turned.

“Where are we going?”

“There’s an accident up ahead.  We are on detour.”

I had actually wondered if the driver would take us to the main road right away.  The passengers were regulars from years ago.

“Oh, yes.  I remember this”

“Remember when they had a stop right here?” 

Traffic was backed up in a major way and so I planned on taking a different route home.  But after Jenna and I parted ways, and I approached the main road, traffic was moving again.  It still took a while to get home however.  Bus was late and I missed transfers. 

It’s possible to slow down, even for green lights.  Please use caution in the Intersections.