Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Orange Signs

              I haven't seen construction since coming to Oregon with Denise back in June.  Haven't missed any of the polycones or orange signs or slowed traffic. 

              The schools were closed and so I didn't count on the typical 3:00 pm traffic.  I thought it odd, as I was driving yesterday, that traffic seemed to slow down to a halt.  Oh, construction.  Haven't missed it at all.

              After five months of an orange-free road, I have seen signs of construction in this November bleak.  Really?  They couldn't have picked a time with better element conditions?  I'm not complaining.  Waiting for halted traffic in Myrtle Creek and Tri-City is nothing compared to Salt Lake. 

              I really do enjoy being the only car on the road at times.  I haven't missed the orange on the road.  Have enjoyed the natural orange found in the sunsets and on the trees.  There's a bit of tranquility that comes with living in Douglas County.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Grounded Airplanes

Jenna and I were playing Chatters Matters.  My card asked me to comment on a time someone had picked me up from the airport.  I don't recall having needed someone to come pick me up, but I related the time when I had sent Roland to the airport to claim my brother and sister.

It was late at night - early in the morning.  I don't remember.  After Midnight.  My mom would have gone, but I had asked Roland.  We weren't married at the time, but I was certain that he would do it.  He was surprised when I offered to come with him.  Why wouldn't I?  They were my sibs.  Kayla and Corey were returning from a trip they had taken to Europe.  The plane was late.

I think we were at the airport for a couple of hours.  Those waiting were tired, some achy.  Roland was thanking me for being there and giving me a massage.  I remember telling him that he could make some money if he offered that wonderful service to others who were waiting.

We were waiting at the gate.  It was before the terrorist attack - before the planes were grounded - before we had to remove our shoes and spend hours moving from security line to security line.  Jenna will never know how airport life was different for me than it will be for her.

I saw the Truck was based out of Springfield, and I Panicked!

            Springfield, Utah was settled in 1850 and then had a population of roughly 1,000 people.  I remember my dad telling me that the kids of his generation liked to hang-out in Springfield.  It has always seemed like a rather small community but still great community to live in.  Today it has a population of over 30,000.  It still seems like it would be a great area to raise a family.  I like Springfield, Utah.

            Springfield, Oregon, on the other hand, is about twice the size in population.  As of now, it is definitely a place I do not wish to live.  Springfield, Oregon seems to be a daily part of the news as one horrific crime or another are committed.  I think Springfield has had more crime than my surroundings had in the Salt Lake City area.  I like living in a town with a crime-rate equal to the crime portrayed in Mayberry on the "Andy Griffith Show"

            Currently Jenna is off school for the week.  Tomorrow we have a parent-teacher conference.  Right now she is at the youth center.  I dropped her off just over an hour ago.  On my return, I stopped by Ray's Food Market (there are only two grocery stores to choose from - unless one drives to the big city of Roseburg - which compared to Springfield is rather small - but still the largest city in the county where I currently live) to check out some prices on some needed ingredients for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. 

            After returning to my car, I noticed a business truck in the parking lot.  According to the address, it was based out of Springfield. One man stood with his back to the open door while a second guy spoke while flinging his hands wildly in the air.  The name "Springfield" on the side of the truck had me concerned.  Was the animated-arm guy angry?  Was a murder about to happen in the parking lot of our local food market?  I know it's wrong to think such things just because of a name - a widely used name.  Isn't Springfield where the Simpsons live?

          As much as I'd like to see Springfield, Oregon become crime free - don't bring it here!  Just make it vanish from the earth all together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Miss Playing Games

            Growing up, I enjoyed playing games.  Sometimes I would play games with my brother.  Sometimes mom and dad would join in.  They taught Patrick and I how to play a card game they called “500”

            Patrick won almost every single game that he played.  When we played 500, we would play three games – switching partners every game.  If Patrick didn’t actually win all three games – it was because I had lost all three. 

            Winning wasn’t important.  I was fortunate enough to learn that early on.  If I felt like winning was the only reason to play – I would never play them.  I enjoyed playing games because for the most part, it really was fun just interacting with my family. 

Whenever my family members would get together for whatever holiday, we would always play games.  And that is what I looked forward to the most.  It’s a family tradition that I’ve had with my sibs and have tried with my own children. I remember laughing whenever we would play games like “Awkward Family Photos” or “Pit” and just enjoy ourselves.  

The first year that I started my blog was in 2012.  It hadn’t occurred to any of us that it would be our last year with mom – our last Thanksgiving with her.  My last Thanksgiving with her.  I think Corey would have returned from Las Vegas to share the holidays with her one last time.  I think mom’s death has been harder on him than any of us. 

Sunny had invited the family to an early Thanksgiving dinner – celebrating with mom and her children and their children the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day.

Each of us had brought several games to play – though Richard, Jenna, and I played just one before mom got antsy and overwhelmed with the huge amount of people that were gathered together – less than 20, I believe – and wanted to leave.  We took her to the theatre and saw “Brave” which she enjoyed.

On Thursday we had another Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, but there were only five of us.  We were just about to play a round of “Spades” when Randy and Carrie dropped by.  We redealt so that Randy could play (Carrie just wanted to watch) so we could play in teams.  Some of us have fond memories about the game and the smiles that it still gives us – some of us anyway.

As I briefly explained in this post, my mom had dementia.  We had to explain the rules of the game each time we dealt the cards.  Mom did try, but really wasn’t getting it, but that’s what made the game fun – I thought.  I love it when we are all laughing.  Winning’s not important when you’re having fun.

Last year I remember playing board games with Roland and our three daughters-in-law.  That was fun.  Memorable.  Don’t imagine they’ll be playing games this year as two of them now hold my newborn granddaughters (that I still have not seen in person)

This year we’ll be spending Thanksgiving in McMinnville.  I don’t know if there will be any game playing or not.  It’s not important.  We’ll be spending the holidays with friends.  It will be a great holiday if we allow.  I am looking forward to another “non-traditional” Thanksgiving. (see here)

Christmas may be a tough holiday – especially for Jenna who misses her cousins and her brothers.  Christmas will be different for each of them, too, as well.  Changes occur.  Life goes on.  

I miss my family.  Don’t miss the snow.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Leaving the Church is Not the Same as Leaving the Gospel

There have been countless times when I have admired each of my brothers for their powerful restraint – for weighing the situation before drawing conclusions.  And then there’s me.  Even more countless times of leaping so much further than I have obviously looked.  When will I learn?!?

Recently I had created a post called “Any Day Now – Reprise” comparing the new Church policy to the system’s ignorance of Marco, a character in the movie “Any Day Now” starring Alan Cummings and Garret Dillahunt as a same-sex couple who love Marco and battle it out in court for full custody.  Perhaps I was wrong – or ignorant rather.  Just as so many of the characters that were supposedly trying to protect Marco were ignorant.

“Last week, the church instructed its local leaders that same-sex couples are apostates and that children living with them can't take part in church activities, including baptism, until they're adults and leave home.”

It’s a hot topic on facebook and in the news.  People are leaving the Church as a result of anger, or disbelief, or lack of understanding – or prayer.  Did they pray about the revelation?  Did they pray about having their names removed from Church records?

I, myself, have struggled with it.  In my post, I said I was ashamed.  I felt ashamed.  I still do to a degree.  Still have not felt that satisfactory confirmation, but perhaps I’m getting closer as I read beautiful testimonies from those who are no longer members but still have the faith that it will all work out.  I have read testimonies of those who’ve had to wait to be baptized or go through the temple and found “great rewards” that they may have overlooked if they hadn’t had to “fight” for what they have. I have also read about hurt and pain and anger and lots of questions and many who have leaped bounds without looking – many who sound as though they were wavering in the church for a while and are looking for an excuse to leave. 

I have read these comments on facebook:

“I still have great reservations about this policy and am still processing my feelings about it . . .”

“Does anyone see that the new policy has been re- examined in order to PROTECT children from having to make difficult decisions about their parents lifestyle before they are ready?! This is a fragile relationship in the world already, and the LDS church does not want to make it more difficult. People get over yourselves and stop trying to take everything that is good, and make it into something it isn't.”

“ I love children, all children. Period. When I read the media's presentation of this statement, I was a bit conflicted.

“The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints is the Church Christ founded in his day, and has been restored to earth by Him under direction of his Father through a prophet.
“The church is still guided by revelation from God. If we believe this, and I do. We are hearing the word of God when the prophet speaks, (or makes policy).
Still, we do not blindly follow the Prophet or the Church. If we have questions or conflicts, we should ponder and pray for our own understanding and personal revelation to obtain confirmation of them.

“It seems the same people who already criticize the Church are the ones making new criticisms.
“In the end, I would look at it this way. God is the head of this church and guides it through revelation to his Prophets . . .

“Because I feel conflicted, I will pray to understand this policy better. In the end I am God's Child. So are you. He loves us all equally, and personally. In understanding that I have no conflict.”

How so many view the new policy

As I have mentioned in several posts, I have often felt discrimination from the Church or its leaders or in lessons or presentations because I was single, or because I’ve been in debt or friends who have come from broken homes or have been cheated on or friends who have been abused . . . it’s hard to sit through lessons or talks that are geared to the minority, when I’m believing the majority don’t fit into that “perfect Mormon mold” and I know there are quite a few that really don’t want to.

We have been counseled from the beginning to “not just take the leaders’ words on faith” but to seek our own confirmation – to study it out and to pray – which I have been doing.  I still feel misguided, insulted, hurt, betrayed . . . but I know I can feel differently if I rely upon him rather than the words on facebook or even those who have blogged in defense of the church or in defense of the new policy.  Those who have painted the “unbaptized” children as the chosen ones – who have to “fight” to make it worth it. 

And then there are the church attenders who seem diligent as far as attendance goes, but have issues with the gospel - or simply don't know or are familiar with even just the basic beliefs.

I wish I had a gift with words.  I don’t feel like I’ve expressed myself accurately.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

“Any Day Now” - Reprise

LDS Church says children of same-sex couples cannot be members

"It feels like they are extending an olive branch and hitting you with it," said Wendy Montgomery, who is Mormon and has a 17-year-old gay son. "It's like this emotional whiplash."

I didn’t realize that “Any Day Now” was R rated when I had reserved it at the library – or I probably wouldn’t have checked it out. But it was in my possession and thus I chose to watch it.  I gave a brief synopsis of the plot in the post found here. 

I thought it to be a spoiler to reveal what happened to Marco towards the end of the show.  Seems symbolically fitting to me that the Church’s latest act of discrimination will end the same.  Keep in mind this post also – for the policies of the Church aren’t representatious of the gospel. 

I think Wendy Montgomery was accurate in her quote from this news story.  

How dare they.  Why must the Church be so discriminatory?  A child who comes from a broken home, abusive parents, alcoholism, parents who commit adultery or are dishonest, parents who are in jail due to some horrific crime – they can be baptized and come to primary and experience fellowship with the youth.  But a child from a gay couple who had to jump hoops to parent the child – who obviously has a tremendous amount of love – cannot be baptized until he or she is no longer living with GLTB  parents.  Please! 

So the church has now placed a condition upon these innocent kids to stay with a same sex couple or be baptized in a Church that discriminates.  Well, that’s a no brainer. Why would said child even want to be baptized?  What is his incentive?  The same eternal promise that the child from a less than perfect home will have?  See this post

It is indeed a sad day for Mormonism.  I find rather ironic that the theme for the church is to "Come Unto Christ" but then they enforce these stipulations. We're told that we have our free agency, and then they tell us how to vote (proclamation 8 for example) I, for one, am ashamed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Electronic Jinx Virus

          Marilyn lives at the top of the street.  I am using her actual name as she will personally never read this.  Not only is she computer illiterate, but she tends to give off vibes that work against electronics.

          She does volunteer work at the library.  Regular patrons have learned to never request her assistance with the computers.  If they have questions - even if it's not computer or program related - they know they have to ask somebody else - for if Marilyn gets within four feet of the computers, they all start going haywire.

          I was laughing as she was sharing her experiences with me.  But it's no laughing matter.  She is serious about setting off bad electronic vibes - and I think I may have caught her virus.

          Recently I got a new computer.  I did not get a new monitor the one I have seems to be working fine - or at least it did.  Lately, whenever the computer gets shut off or just the monitor itself, well, it takes great effort to get the two to communicate.  It's sad, really.  Pulling the chord out, stuffing it back in.  Unplugging the chord.  Hitting the reset button.  Often times it still won't work for me.  Oh, but it wouldn't dare flare up for Roland's magic fingers.

          Today I drove to the big city of Roseburg by myself.  I had to do this without the GPS as the Garmin wouldn't turn on.  Are you kidding me?  Did I catch an electronic jinx virus from Marilyn?  We've already established that the touch screen phone is too hard for me to handle.  I make screens disappear.  I take 90 burst shots instead of just one photo - or none at all.  It is just so much easier to hand the phone to Jenna and tell her what to find.  She can usually find things in less than four seconds.  I have timed her.

          I think I would rather be an electronic geek than a jinx.  I want access to my monitor and Garmin again.  I don't wish to be frustrated or scared.  Any suggestions? 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

From LPs to CDs to YouTube

            Roland and I recently watched a “Master Class” on Smokey Robinson.  I have always enjoyed his music and him and after watching his biography, have even more admiration for him.

            I had albums featuring Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Carpenters, "Earth,Wind and Fire" and Mannheim Steamroller. I listened to them often when I was single.  After I was married, I rarely listened to the large collection of LPs that I had.

            LP stands for “long playing”.  That is what my dad had told me. My dad LOVED music.  He had hoped that one day he would own his own record store.  I am sad that he wasn’t able to fulfill his musical dream.

            When I was growing up, dad would play Kingston Trio, Journeymen, and the Brothers Four.  Eventually folk seemed to faze out and dad eventually turned to county though still a fan of the music that had been popular in his youth.  I remember how different the vinyl records were – not just because of their music – but the weight and quality and continuous groove.  The treasured LP would boast about the high quality material while the more recent ones would remind patrons that it was/is a crime to copy.

            Though records were (and ARE) still around, record players themselves seem to be a hint of the past.  I did own a stereo with phonograph player when Roland and I were married.  But the needle broke, and availability for replacement is either outrageous or non-existent. 

            I still continued to collect records even after CDs (compact discs) were introduced.  There was a store called Randy’s Records that sold all kinds of records, and after a while it was the only place where I could find LPs.  I think one of the last LPs I ever purchased was a used album featuring the “Best of the Coasters”

            My purchase was made the very day that my niece and nephews received the CD from the Disney’s animation of Hercules.  I said that I would play two songs from the Coasters and then they could listen to their CD.

            I think Brian was four at the time.  When I took the LP out of it’s record jacket to place it on the turntable, his eyes got big as he exclaimed, “that is a humongous CD”

            There was an advertisement for a record player/CD unit.  Roland purchased one for me, and I played both CDs and records – but I knew it wouldn’t last.  Even before we moved, I questioned how long the needle would last.  I finally accepted LPs to be a thing of the past.

            The first CD I had ever purchased from Randy's Records was Clooney Tunes which I had initially listened to on LP as a youth and loved it and played it so much that the scratches seemed to come in louder than the songs.  I had to buy it for Jenna. I hoped she would love Clooney Tunes as much as I did.

            And even greater still has been the I-pod and the ability to store so much music in such a teeny little space, and catalog it.  And hook it up to speakers – that was my desire as I’m not much of a headphone person.  

            I still play my CDs in the car – often cassette tapes.  I like listening to music as much as daddy did.  Although my taste in music varies from the stuff he seemed to enjoy.  I didn’t mind the folk tunes sung by trios and quartets.  There are a few songs I like that seem to fit into the “country” category. I have never really cared for country music as a whole. I wish I did.  I think they put on the best award shows and entertainment.

            I am grateful for access to YouTube 

 to relive those songs from the past and daddy’s past and to be able to read along with the lyrics (if I chose to do so). It’s been quite a journey.  I remember the LP and the 8-track tape.  I even remember reel-to-reel.  Yes, I’m that old.

There may come a day when Jenna may say, “Yes, I watched YouTube back in the day.  I can’t believe I can remember that far back.  My kids must think I’m ancient.”