Sunday, April 26, 2015

Goodness, Gracious! Where’s My Head?

One day a month, Roland and I try to set up a double date with one of our boys and his wife.  At least two have suggested that we go see a play.  But we cannot just drop by a playhouse and expect to get tickets.  They have to be reserved.

In March we had gone to the park for picnic with Tony and Rochelle. After we got home I looked into buying theatre tickets for the date this month.  I purchased four tickets to Desert Star’s “Into the Hoods” for yesterday afternoon.  I first approached Jeanie and Biff.

Jeanie declined, as she and Biff would be celebrating their wedding anniversary – ALL DAY and Not With Us.  Okay.  If they had already made plans, no big deal.  I could call Randy and Carrie and if they couldn’t go, there’s my sister Kayla and her husband, Bill or we could go with Tony and Rochelle again – though they are notorious for NOT being on time – and that could put a damper on our plans.

Randy and Carrie had committed to go with us and had been looking forward to it for almost a month.

Meanwhile, it was announced in church (several times) that we had a “golden banquet” coming up for the seniors in the stake.  Theoretically I am too young to attend by myself – but Roland is of age and so I would attend, as I am his partner.  When it was first announced, I thought: “Oh, we’ll be able to attend.  We will be home by then.”

Before we went to Oregon, I had asked a friend if we could do lunch.  I think she shared with me her free days (while I was in Oregon) and I said I would call her when I got back.

You must understand that I have always had a mind for remembering things – from the past.  Future things, I’m not so good with – and never have been to be honest.  I set up phone reminders all the time (as I seldom ever look at the calendar) 

My last phone could remind me only when the phone was turned on. One cool function of my current phone is that the alarm will go off – even if the phone has not been turned on. Sometimes I have forgotten to switch the a.m. and p.m. to where it really needs to be, and have sometimes had my alarm go off when I am sleeping. I still have to have it in earshot to make it work in addition to having the right time.

Though I had returned to Utah physical, it took me a while for my mind to catch up – or perhaps it is in Oregon still. I had totally spaced calling my friend (I referred to her as Kelly in an earlier post) and contacted her after the fact with an apology (I had fallen asleep and had my alarm on pm so got my notice AFTER the fact)

Roland said he thought the banquet was on Friday – or at least I thought that’s what he said.  We arrived to the banquet 22 – 24 hours ahead of everybody else.  Parking lot was empty.  We had already arranged for a sitter and so decided to take advantage of it and went out to dinner anyway (just not at the stake center as we had planned)

Yesterday my alarm went off about two hours before Randy and Carrie arrived.  I couldn’t figure out why I had set it up for so early

I don’t know why I somehow got it into my head that the 2:30 play started at 4:00 and so we did not even leave the house until 2:30.  We took Jenna to Sunny’s house and then went on our way to the theatre and wondered why we had to park out in the outskirts when we had given ourselves plenty of time.

When we got to the theatre we had learned that we had missed an hour of the play – rather than go in late, we were told that we could return on Wednesday if we would rather.  I liked that option.  I think so did they.  I think they had given our table away and apologized.  It wasn’t their fault.  They didn’t have to accommodate us.  I’m the one who had made the mistake.

We couldn’t return for Jenna.  She had been looking forward to her play-date with Sunny even more than the rest of us had been looking forward to the play.  Randy suggested that we check out the aquarium and so we spent our double date at the aquarium for two hours – until they closed.  


By then my mind had figured out why my alarm had gone off so early and remembered the first time I heard the announcement for the “golden banquet” and remembered thinking that we would have returned from our date by then. 

The aquarium was fun.  Spontaneous.  Crowded.  We didn’t have to have a reservation.  Perhaps that’s where we’ll take Biff and Jeanie – if Jeanie is up to it.


We will return to the theater on Wednesday for a second date with Carrie and Randy.  This time we will be taking Jenna.  It will be easier than to try to find a sitter that late in the night.  Plus I would like her to see it.  She will just have to be exhausted when she returns to school on Thursday.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Front Yard Evolution

There were two trees and
an ungroomed and ugly hedge in
front of our house when
we moved in.
One was a sad looking
pine tree and the other was
a trash tree. 
Both needed to
come down in my opinion. 
And actually so did
the hedge, but we
couldn’t afford it.

The trash tree was
the first to go. 
It was either borrow a small
amount of money to take it out, or
pay the neighbors an outrageous sum
down the road because the roots
were pushing into her driveway.

We cut the hedge each week and
slowly got rid of some of it. 
We had the remainder taken out
after mom died. 

Jenna loved the pine tree. 
She’d often climb the ugly thing.
She begged us to keep it always. 
But after the last wind,
Roland noticed that it was leaning,
and the short roots were lifting up. 
So now we are rid of that tree. 
And Jenna is sad. 
But it’s not as though we
were planning on taking it with us
to Oregon. 
She was going to lose it eventually

Currently we have a bunch of
short logs on our lawn. 
It still looks better than
the trees or hedge did.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

My latest reading is a book written by Kathryn Fitzmaurice.  One funny thing about the book itself is that the book jacket is on upside down.  Onlookers may think I am truly weird when I laugh out loud and yet I appear to have the book upside down – but really, just the jacket is.  The library taped it down that way.  I don’t know whether mistakenly or as a symbolic gesture.

Destiny, Rewritten takes us on a journey through the eyes of a  sixth grader named Emily Elizabeth Davis.  She was named after Emily Dickinson because her free spirited, English-teaching mom wants the destiny of her daughter to become a poet much like Emily Dickinson.  Only the Emily telling the story doesn’t particularly care for poetry. She does like romance novels though and will often write letters to Danielle Steel.

Her mother had given her a book that she had purchased on the day before her daughter, Emily was born. It is The Complete Works of Emily Dickinson poems which she says contains over 700 pages. Emily's mom has scribbled notes in the margin to let her daughter know that this poem reminds me of the time you were born, this is when you did a certain thing in your life.  A treasured book that Emily will look at, but doesn’t seem to appreciate the way that her mother does - though she does look at it..

One day she asks the question about the identity of her father and is finally told that his name is written in the book with all the poems and notes.  But there are so many pages  that Emily doesn’t know where to begin.  Her mother reminds her that perhaps it isn’t in her destiny to push it. 

As Emily searches through the book, she is told she has a phone call.  While on the phone, her brother donates a box to good will.  It wasn’t even the right box.  Emily’s book hadn’t even been in either box, and suddenly it has been donated.

Much of this story has made me laugh out loud.  There is a chapter on comparing Laura Ingalls to Emily Dickinson and what an exciting life Laura Ingalls read and how boring her sister Mary was.  I thought that was hilarious.

My latest reading is about the search for the accidently-donated book.  Reading about overly organized Emily trying to change her destination has really put a smile on my face.  I highly recommend this book – even if it appears to be upside down.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Who is Grandma Beth?

      The week before we left for Oregon, I had gone to the school to pick up Jenna. I was reading a book from my own collection and not the library as the parking lot started to empty. I wondered if she was dawdling again before I realized it was Thursday and she has an after school program. So my choices were to go home and return or continue reading.  Or hey, I could just go to the library that was near her school.  I chose the latter.

       I looked through a few titles before picking up: “Girl’s Best Friend” from the Maggie Brooklyn Mystery series by Leslie Margolis.  It was interesting enough, but thought it might be fun for Jenna and I to read together.  And so I continued to look for another book before I settled on “A Million Ways Home” by Diana Dorisi Winget.  I ended up reading both at the same time and proceeded to mix up the characters and plots – at least in the beginning.

      Both involved girls in 6th or 7th grade.  Both involved dogs – though Maggie walked dogs in New York while Poppy assisted at a shelter in Washington.

Jenna and I took turns reading aloud from “Girl’s Best Friend” – I often laughed at the wording from story.  When I read “A Million Ways Home” it was to myself.  I often cried.  Not a good book for me personally to read out loud.  I really did enjoy it.  It was the book I was trying to finish up before we went to Oregon.

The story starts out with Priscilla Parker (who goes by Poppy) in a children’s shelter.  She’d been placed there when her grandma had taken ill.  She believed that her grandma would get better.  She believed that she would be able to care for her when she left the hospital.  Her grandma could not return home after the hospital, but was sent to a nursing home to recuperate.  Poppy believed she could care for her grandma every bit as good as the rest home.  There was so much about her current situation that she did not understand.

Her own parents had been killed before Poppy turned one.  She had been left in her grandma’s care for all that time.  She tried to make the best of the situation at the shelter, but that’s NOT where she wanted to be.

In searching for her grandmother, and losing her way, Poppy witnesses a crime and is placed in a protective custody with the detective’s mother.  Poppy visits her grandmother – sometimes without permission and does her best to continue in protective custody so she doesn’t have to return to the shelter.

I feel for the character.  I feel her love.  I feel her pain.  I understand her choices.  I really loved this book.

After we got to Oregon, Jenna asked me, “Who is Grandma Beth?”

The first thing that came to mind was the book “A Million Ways Home” – as the name of Poppy’s grandmother is Beth.  But how would Jenna know that?  It wasn’t the book that we were reading together.  And then it occurred to me that I had mentioned that we’d be visiting “Graham and Beth” and Jenna had heard “Grandma Beth”

We never finished “Girl’s Best Friend” as she seemed to have lost interest and I returned it back to the library two days before it was due.  Perhaps we'll check it out again some other time.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weather Picture post

April 14th: wind blew so hard and fierce that mountains can't be seen

April 15th.  Taken from my house to street and across the way

April 15th.  My back yard

April 17th.  The field that leads to the school Jenna attends
snow dusted fields but no trace of snow in parking lot.  Notice the sprinklers turned on
laughed when I saw this on Sunny's facebook page with the caption:
This is what your snow looks like when you forget your sprinklers are on.

Sunny took this on April 15th also

April 17th afternoon

April 17th afternoon

new scarf and hat worn 15th and 16th

UDOT is the cause for the Weather

I guess the slowed traffic I had encountered last week had been due to construction and maybe not an accident.  I hadn’t noticed all the poly cones and orange barrels set up until this morning – and so of course I returned a different way.  Construction or school zones.  What a choice.

I should have figured out that there is now construction on the roads by the harmful weather that we had Tuesday and Wednesday. Foul Weather ALWAYS takes place right after UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) sets up to do road construction.  It seems to linger for at least two weeks before UDOT can start actually fixing the roads (or at least appearing to do so) but has not been the case this year.  But we may have been hit with two weeks of bad weather all in two days.

In 1862 it was decided that the working individuals in this nation (we weren’t even a United States at that time) would pay taxes to help support the efforts of the civil war (see here).  The amount of income that one makes has been recorded since and taxes must be paid. 

I don’t know if they had a specific deadline then, but there is now.  Paperwork sent in has to be post marked before or on April 15th.  If the processing of the envelope is dated April 16th, the one sending is in violation.

Here, in Utah (and I would assume other states as well) there are a handful of post offices that will stay open until Midnight for all those procrastinators who were unable or unwilling to mail before said time.  There are several people who despise April 15th.

April 15th on this particular year (2015) was especially horrible for most Utahans who had to have their taxes in.  Not only did they have to face the deadline, but also had the elements working against them as well.  I think for the most part, Wednesday’s weather mirrored the feeling that most taxpayers have about the whole tax paying paperwork ordeal.

Not that the moisture is a truly terrible thing.  We actually are in need of the moisture – in the mountains, in the rivers, on top of nature where it counts.  We don’t ever need it on the roads – and yet it falls there just the same.

Jenna and I had gone to K-Mart.  I found a hat and scarf on sale for 99 cents each.  I bought both but had no intention of using them right away.  I put them on April 15, 2015     I shoveled the walk and driveway for what I hope to be the last time EVER.  Not only my walk, but my neighbor to the right, who is a widow, and our neighbor’s to the left – whom we home and visit teach.  Wore new boots – not insulated.  Feet cold but dry

Two snowfalls this year – one on March 3 and one on April 15.  It was like Mother Nature decided to dump down a month’s worth in just one day.   Of course by Thursday afternoon it was gone – at least in our neighborhood.  I could hear the water running off the roof all day. There is no evidence of there ever having been snow in some places.  It’s been cold, however.

Tuesday was quite windy. "Hurricane winds" is how it was described on the news (here, here, here, here, here and here) . I’ve encountered winds way worse than what I saw on April 14th.   I remember driving to fetch Kayla from her place of work.  A sign blew out and shattered to the ground as I drove passed.  And the traffic lights were swinging violently at every intersection. Of course, I felt overly tired all day. 

I wonder if it will be too cold to do yard sales?  Roland thinks we ought to start packing.  He’s right.  We need to go to the liquor store and get some boxes.  Someone had told us they make the best moving boxes.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Surely the Drivers in Oregon are Better

         I don’t recall having seen a car accident the entire time that we were in Oregon.  That doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.  I did see one patrol card on the side of the road had pulled someone over.  I saw one other police car.  But that was it.

         Someone had burned down the High School in Albany the night before we arrived.  We didn’t see the High School.  We just heard about it.

        Exactly one week ago, when I took Jenna to school, the sun was so bright in the morning.  I generally stay in the parking lot an additional 30 – 40 minutes allowing the sun the rise further up in the sky before I get back on the road.

         There is no normal in my routine as I haven’t been driving for that long and had forgotten how I did things a year and a half ago. Having spent spring break in Oregon had actually thrown me off remembering anything really. So I turned onto the main road instead of going around – not even thinking about it one way or the other – not until I approached the intersection and saw what looked like the rear end of a fire truck.  Perhaps I was wrong.  I just saw traffic at a stand still.  Many impatient drivers turned around – including me. 

         If I had thought about it, I would have just stayed put.  I really wasn’t in a hurry.  I just don’t care for traffic.  I’d rather spend an extra 20 – 40 minutes taking a less traveled route than to be bumper to bumper waiting to move.  But my decision caused me to slow for two different school zones.

         When I had gone to elementary school, students were given the opportunity to patrol – not only at the school but at the crosswalks as well.  I haven’t seen students as crossing guards for quite a number of years.  I saw it that day.  One school had students patrolling the neighborhood streets.  I wouldn’t want my student out there!

         When I passed the street with plugged intersection, I saw a ROAD WORK sign.  I questioned whether I had seen a fire truck or not – or was that a utility truck I saw that carries the poly cones?  Is my eyesight getting so bad that I can’t even tell the difference?  But then I was never actually that close to it to examine the details.  There had been several cars in my way.

         Shortly after I returned home, the Internet went out.  It was a pretty off chance that the road work/accident would be related.  I had no way of looking it up to find out – though I considered going to the library to see if service was working there.

         Several years ago (long before marriage – still in high school) I remember listening to the radio in another county.  The power flickered and I remember the DJ announcing the freakish outburst of power surge. 

         “That’s a coincidence, “ I thought.

         Really, power outage from one intersection to another seems rare – but from one county to another?  No way.  Turns out that the power outage had affected the entire state of Utah, some parts of Nevada and Wyoming.  I had never heard of that before, and yet I was around when it happened. (article about it can be found here and here )

         My aunt and uncle had tickets to see “Annie” that night.  Of course it was cancelled and they didn’t get to see it. 

         My brother, Patrick, picked up a newspaper and announced, “I am going to read my horoscope just for the fun of it”

         I don’t actually know anyone who puts faith in horoscopes – though I know there are people who do. We just don’t happen to take the entire zodiac thing seriously.

         Patrick read his horoscope out loud.  It said that he would be experimenting problems with electricity today.  We all laughed and then the lights came on.  The lights came on in our neighborhood.  We had been listening to a transistor radio for updates.  According to the announcer, the state was still without power.  But we had power!  I don’t know how many people on our street or in our neighborhood.  But some of us had power.  I don’t know why.  That entire event was just so odd.

         When I left the house to pick up Jenna, we were still without Internet service.  I passed an accident in the lanes going the opposite direction as I. At least two cars were involved.  One had tried turning left (or so it appears) There were no signs of whatever incident took place in the next intersection that morning.

         Jenna and I stopped at the library.  The internet was working there.  Our house was without for almost ten hours.  We had called on it more than once.  We were told that it was the area we were in and that they were working on it. I would like an explanation on why it had gone down for so long.
         A few more people now know that we are moving to Oregon.  Jenna is excited to have a yard sale.  We haven’t much time, really.  I have actually wondered if the neighbors from across the street moved while we were gone.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oregon or Bust

I will be 60 when Jenna graduates from high school.  I have often wondered if I would actually live that long.  It’s not that I consider 60 so old as to have a foot in the grave.  It’s my raspy breathing and hacking that has made me question my state of health.

I watched my father slowly die for two years – which really isn’t a long time when I consider what others have gone through.  The memory of a loved one’s death lingers with you no matter how sudden or painful.

I have always wanted to move away from Utah – well, maybe not always – but definitely after I got married.  At the same time (even if we could have afforded it) it would (and will) be so hard to leave my family members – knowing I would not or will not be able to afford to return often as there will be new births, deaths, Christmas, birthdays and other celebrations.  And yet if I stay in Utah and continue to breathe this dry air, I will be miserable and my family members will remember how hard it was for me to breathe during the final stages of my life.  I don’t want people to remember me like that!  I’d rather be healthy and far away and correspond through modern technology although I’d prefer in person. I would prefer to breathe.

I didn’t plan on five days making such a difference, but it did.  I could breathe so much easier in Oregon – and though I still had some of the phlegm, it never built to chocking me.  It came out right away.  My unpleasant sounds weren’t as long or as often.  The wind blew at times – but never knocked me into a coma.  

By moving to Oregon, I feel like I have bought another ten years of my life.  I will not only be able to see Jenna graduate from high school, I may see her get married and have children as well.  And I will be able to enjoy it if I am breathing.

Both Roland and I wear glasses.  In Utah, we are constantly trying to wipe them clean.  Often (to me) it feels like I am doing it in vain as the gunk seems to return in less than a minute.

I packed a huge amount of lens cloths for our trip to Oregon.  We didn’t even use them.  This is the air I have breathing and the air that I will breathe.  I have to move.  I don’t want to suffocate on my phlegm.  It’s looking promising that, if I stay in Utah, that’s how I will die.  I’d rather spend money on a move than on doctor and hospital bills.

I can be buried in Oregon when the time comes.  It’s not like Roland and I have purchased plots here, and I don’t think it’s a wise investment on the part of my family to have my body shipped.  And it’s okay.  I seriously believe I am buying more time to be.

Taking Oregon Home

In addition to the marvelous food that they fed us, Beth had packed a care package for us to take home.  Black corn on the cob for making popcorn, two jars of tuna that she had canned herself, and a jar of dried apples that we could munch while on the plane.

I packed the corn and tuna in the large check–in suitcase.  I carried the apples and ate some while at the airport.

After we got home, Jenna insisted we make the popcorn.  We have never had popcorn on the cob before.  Interesting.  

I made tuna fish sandwiches and they were delicious.  I have been fussy about tuna brands.  Thanks to Beth, I will probably never eat canned tuna again.  Her tuna was marvelous!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oregon – last day

After we left Newport, Roland had asked if I would like to get some shoes.  So as we were heading back toward McMinnville, we stopped off at a Fred Meyer’s – I don’t even know which town.  Jenna and I both ended up with rubber rain boots – which turned out weren’t necessary, as we didn’t need them for the car nor for the following morning.

On our last day we looked at housing in Beaverton, Milwauke, Happy Valley and Gresham – all suburbs of Portland.  We found a Kmart in either Beaverton or Gresham and exchanged Jenna's cheetah print footies for the only other pair of footies that was available: a meduim hot pink with rubber ducks.  Fit better and she says she likes the duckys and would have chosen the pink pair over the cheetah pair - so it actually worked out great.

 Nothing we looked at seemed promising as far as housing that we could afford.  Seems like the market has drawn potential buyers to the area – and they obviously have more money than we do.
Our house in West Valley will sale for $130,000 at BEST.  Same house in Oregon would go for $380,000 – 420,000 – that blows my mind!

We were told that housing in Vancouver did not run as high.  As we were close enough, we took Portland’s Intrastate across the Columbia River and went to Vancouver, Washington.  We ended up at a mall.  I don’t think we even looked at housing.

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am NOT a shopper.  There worst part about being at the Vancouver Mall (for me personally) was the rubber boots I was wearing. My feet were not happy with my choice of footwear.  I can tell you that.

Jenna and I had chosen to wear them as I thought they would take up too much room in the suitcase.  My feet were complaining by the hour.  We had already checked out of our room.  It’s not as though I could return and soak the aches away.  I just had to deal with it.


We left Vancouver Mall and crossed the Columbia River again – this time on Interstate 5.  Our destination was to check out Voodoo doughnuts – which several people had told us about.  There is absolutely not enough parking for that location.  The time I spent in line was not that long – not compared to how it’s advertised.

we would not have waited in this line - even if we didn't have a plane to catch

Roland said he was surprised that I had purchased only three doughnuts.  He said he thought I’d get a dozen.  Our next stop was the airport.  Why would I want to take 9-12 donuts to the airport?  Especially if we were going to have to carry on each piece of luggage before we checked them in (as we had done in Salt Lake)

The doughnut itself had an okay flavor.  It’s the way they are topped that qualifies them as gourmet.  I ordered two chocolate based doughnuts for Jenna and had forgotten to order the buttermilk for myself.  Jenna didn’t even want her doughnut and so I ended up eating the two I had gotten for her.  

Our flight was at 6:00.  We arrived at the airport between 3:00 and 3:30 and said good-bye to our rental (that was tough, actually, as I had gained an emotional attachment) and went to the baggage area and checked in our one, walked through security (this time it was Jenna and I that got to move ahead while Roland stood in line)

Jenna and I walked through security with six pieces of luggage, her stuffed frog, and a bag of bananas, cereal bars and one of the doughnuts.  They questioned the amount of luggage, but I assured them that we were with one more person and that I wasn’t even planning on taking the food on the plane.

The airport seemed dead.  At least the gates in the D section.  Only two flights going out – both at gate D7.  Both to Salt Lake City.  If there had been room, we would have been put on the earlier flight.  But both flights were booked actually.

Jenna rode the walkway back and forth until she became bored with riding it.  I read. Roland and I tried working puzzles together.  We ate.  It was a long wait.  We were given the option to check our luggage.  We checked in three pieces.  Jenna carried her stuffed frog.  We put our bags in front of us. We didn’t put anything in the overhead.

We were scheduled to arrive at 8:44 but were a few minutes late.  Tony couldn’t pick us up.  I had offered to meet Randy at a TRAX station, but he and Carrie had come to collect us from the airport and were driving around in circles until we came out.

We are definitely going back!