Sunday, January 31, 2016


This morning I made a bacon and cheese pie - which I haven't had for decades.  You can find the recipe at this site It is the first time either Roland or Jenna had it.  

Roland wolfed his down.  Jenna, as usual, didn't care for it.  

When my mom made it, it somehow tasted more delicious. 

Next time I make it, I'll be doing at least 2 1/2 cups of cheese.  One cup get's lost.  My mind knew it was in there, but my mouth didn't.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Going to Tri-City

            There are at least three kinds of loans offered to those who qualify to purchase a house.  The VA loan is offered to veterans.  The government will loan 100% of the funds needed for the house.  The house has to be up to code to meet all the approval of the inspector.  They are very strict.

            An FHA will pay up to 96½%.  It is up to the buyer to come up with the remaining 3½%.  The house has to be up to code and meet the approval of the inspector.  They are not as strict as VA.

            A conventional loan will pay up to 80% and the buyer has to come up with the remaining 20%.  Cash is also an option to those who actually have it. 

            The couple that purchased my mom’s house had been looking for a house with established and wholesome owner history.  How fortunate they were to be able to get into a house that had only one order.  How great for them that they were able to have that option.  I have not been as fortunate in my house hunting.  It seems with each house our options have lessened. 

            Yesterday, I had actually started a post about the last couple of houses we saw – specifically the one that Roland was determined to get.  I never finished the post. It doesn’t seem pertinent anymore.  At least not the way it was written.

              Before we moved to Oregon, I had decided that I wanted to live in one area for at least a year before settling on an area we would finally call home.  Our initial plan was to drive to locations between I5 and Highway 1 to get a feel of the land and decide where it was we wanted to live.

              After we moved in, Roland and I were both so exhausted that we didn’t ever want to move again.  But as we are only renting, it does seem apparent that we will need to move someday, though perhaps sooner than we had anticipated.
              We spent two weekends exploring.  We first went to Coos Bay and then to Eugene.  We did not look at houses.  We toured.  It’s just as well.  In the seven months that we’ve been here, I’ve ruled out living directly on the coast or living in Lane County.  I’ve been leaning toward Polk – though we’ve actually never looked beyond Douglas County for housing – at least physically. 

I have found houses in Polk that I thought might work for us – but we have not made a physical trip to Polk – perhaps through Polk the two times we’d gone to McMinnville.  I even found a house in Salem that will be going to Auction in less than two weeks.  My cousin said it’s in a good neighborhood, but we haven’t gone.  I think we’re meant to stay in Douglas County.  But in which city? 

              Before we had come to Oregon, we had known our monthly payment on the house would be more than our monthly payment in Salt Lake.  We had figured that into expenses.  We had not planned on the outrageous water bill – more than three times the amount of what we’d paid in Salt Lake.  Our expenses overall are more than we had planned and we need to either come up with more money or spend less.

We have managed to save a bit when we cut costs from our budget of things that – although they seemed necessary – we could try to live without.  It’s helped some, but would be more comfortable if we had more wiggle room.  

Another option that we had was to purchase a house that would give us a lower mortgage than what we’re currently paying in rent.  Thus we started looking at houses online and now have a realtor who can take us to houses and allow us to look at them in person.  We started looking for houses at the end of November.

Our journey has definitely been an interesting one.  Fixer-upper stick houses or manufactured houses, which Roland really doesn’t want – but overall I have liked a lot better than any stick beast we have looked at.

In the past, Roland has always looked at the house itself.  I look at the neighborhood.  I have attended the ward before we’ve moved in.  I have made my decision based upon location.  But I don’t know Oregon well enough.  I already have a feel of the wards.  Thus I have been looking at the house itself.  I have seen a few that I liked but wasn’t so fond of the location or else I’ve given myself more time to reflect Roland’s comments on the flaws of the house and have had time to weigh it in my mind.

We saw two houses the other night: one in Sutherlin and one on the outskirts of Roseburg.  I like the idea of Sutherlin – because it is closer to Roseburg and we’re closer to greater opportunities at finding jobs.  But I did not like the house or - more specifically - the yard.

The house is a short sale.  It could take up to two months for the bank to decide whether we can even buy it or not.  Also a six hundred dollar cost on an inspector who may not pass it.  That is quite a gamble.  Even from the realtors’ point of view, it seems like too huge of a risk. It is definitely the oldest house that we would ever live in. Also the traffic on I5 seemed loud – which is weird because I’ve been around heavier traffic all of my adult life. But I’ve gotten used to the quiet and have really enjoyed it.

Roland is excited by the potential of the Sutherlin house.  He sees what things can be done to make it “ours” but I do not share in his excitement at all.  The roof is flat.  There is only one wall heater.  The improvements that Roland would like to make don’t cost as much as the house, but they still cost.  I don’t want to make payments upon improvements and a payment for the house.  We may end up spending more than we are currently paying – which would defeat the primary purpose of our move.

Let’s not forget the cost of tree removal and sprucing up the yard.  I didn’t move to Oregon to spend the rest of my life to fix up a house and yard for someone else to live in (I think I might actually pass away before the renovation is complete) Also there was something in the air that seemed to have the same affect on me as the Salt Lake inversion. 

I think Jenna would have liked the started tree house and just having a tree to climb.  But I don’t think it will be worth the move just for that.  Nor do I believe it will compensate for not being able to finish up sixth grade at Coffenbury.  Overall the schools in Sutherlin do have better ratings than what is offered in Myrtle Creek or Canyonville.

All four of us eliminated the house in Roseburg before we had even arrived.  Dirt streets trails, railroad sounds.  Each of the neighbors seemed to have unsanitary piles of junk surrounding their houses.  I was fine with the interior of the house – very spacious, but still on jacks.  I can visualize an obnoxious wind knocking the house to the ground.  We’d end up in some neighbor’s yard that would just add us to the collection already built up in their yard.  No thank you.  I’ve already lived next door to a pack rat whose yard looked like a junkyard.  I don’t need to look at that on all four sides.

As I was writing, Roland announced that the Sutherlin house would be out.  We were supposed to look at one more house tonight and then we’d put in an offer on something.  It would be one of three houses, two that we had already seen or the one in Roseburg that we were supposed to see tonight. Meanwhile, our realtor called back to tell us why the house in Roseburg wouldn’t work for us.

Roland and I discussed the two remaining house options and narrowed it down to the same house we had signed papers for on Dec 1.  One we thought we would get on a VA loan except for Roland’s ex let her house go into foreclosure and defaulted on his loan and VA wouldn’t give us the amount that was needed – though they did offer to pay for a larger loan. A larger loan would defeat the purpose of our house hunting reasoning in the first place.  But then again, when does our government make sense?

            I still wanted to see Jenna finish out her school year at Coffenbury.  She likes school.  She enjoys getting up in the morning and really is excited.  I didn’t wish to jeopardize that.  If we moved to Canyonville, the morning sky is beginning to fill with enough light that I can see to drive her to finish sixth grade at Coffenbury.  If we took a house in Tri-City, she would remain at the same school until high school.  We both want her to continue in band, which is not offered in Canyonville.  My deciding factor was what the cost of utilities would/will be in each area.

    We won’t be going back to Utah to visit in March as we had planned.  Perhaps after the move, we will be able to save money to return to see our families.  We never did make it out of Douglas County. Perhaps one day before we die, we will be able to visit more of Oregon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Out of the Blue

          I vaguely remember reading about a situation of a girl who was struggling with maternal issues.  I don't know where I read it or how I had access, but evidently I commented on my own situation, trying to establish some kind of hope.  Two months later my family had moved from Kearns to West Valley.  I hadn't given my comment or the girl a second thought.

          We lived in West Valley for five and a half years before we moved to Oregon.  We've been in Oregon for seven months now and out of the blue I get this picture message and then a facebook request from someone I don't even know.  Turns out to be the girl who had saved my message to her phone and has had it there for all this time.  Evidently my words had left an impact on her end and she sought me out.

          I know I have done that myself.  Recently I sent a message to Jeff (mentioned in this post) although it's been over 35 years since we graduated high school  - at least I gave him something to go on - though he still may not remember me - nor is is it important.  What's important is that he was there for me and I did acknowledge it.  

        A similar situation occured with Maureen who sent me a friend request on facebook.  I did not recognize her name, nor did we have any friends in common.  She lives in Ireland.  I don't know anyone in Ireland.   I messaged her that I thought she had the wrong person.  But she was able to message me back exactly what I said.  

         The description fit.  How many other women with my name did not marry until age 39 and took in three boys and was grateful that she didn't have to go through potty training and had a tubular pregnancy and then gave birth to a girl even though the doctor said that there would be less than a 25% chance of getting pregnant. on and on.  Evidently I had also sent a picture of Jenna.  I don't remember doing that.

          I would not have this vague memory at all if I hadn't read what she had saved.  It is mind boggling to have someone contact you out of the blue like that.  I still don't understand how or where we made the connection.  She still has the same cell phone that she owned back in 2009.  I had gone through three phones and two different phone numbers (I think) in that same amount of time.  I have to delete things or else my phone will clog.  But then again, I still have a "grandma" style phone with buttons.  I don't like touch screen.  They frustrate me.

          I believe that God sends people into your life just when you need them.  We don't always know how we have influenced someone from our past, those we are aquatinted with, or even those we're not acquainted with.  Our thoughts, actions and emotions influence others close at hand and across the sea.  We don't always see it, but God does.  He has a hand in everything.  It is up to us to have the faith to understand the influence he brings to us through others.

          I just hope and pray that I may always contribute in ways that are positive.  I am reminded of this hymn.  I want to incorporate it into my life on a daily basis.  Thanks to modern technology, Maureen and I have the opportunity of corresponding and made a connection.  I am looking forward to many friendships.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I did NOT Sleep Well This Morning

I fell asleep
on the couch
Roland left me there

12:30 a m
"Hi, Mom!"
Jenna is standing
across the  room

She then plops herself
on the couch
next to me.

"It's 12:30 in the morning!"
I say
not too nicely.

She returns to her bed

I think
maybe I should get up
turn down the heat
I'm not really hot though
I am glued to the chair
I go back to sleep

1:30 a m
cats in the yard
they have woken me up before
The neighbor's dog is barking

Cats deserved to be barked at
Why are they doing it in our yard anyway
We certainly did not invite them

I think
maybe I should get up
turn down the heat
I'm not really hot though
I am glued to the chair
I go back to sleep

2:00 a m
neighbor's dog continues to bark
is there trouble outside
perhaps he's just cold
why do they have their dog outside anyway
I don't remember ever
having have heard him
disturb my sleep before
I do think that
he is a lonely dog

I think
maybe I should get up
turn down the heat
I'm not really hot though
I am glued to the chair
I go back to sleep

2:30 a m
covers off
I am boiling
I have to get up
I turn down the heat
and return to the couch.

I don't know how many more times
I got up
or for what reasons
Somehow I ended up
on the opposite side of the room
in my dream

For in real life
the only furniture
across the room
is a small book case
which I would break
in reality
if I were to sit
or lye on it.

But I can see Jenna
 sitting on the couch
I see the time on the clock
says 8:00 a m
which means she has missed
her bus

"Jenna!  Get your shoes on!"
In my dream
I'll have to drive her
In my dream
I have another engagement
It takes me too long to get dressed

"You'll have to ask
somebody else to drive you"
In real life
Roland is the only other person
But in my dream
are all three of her brothers
and my youngest brother
She can get a ride
with one of them

I am still getting dressed
when Roland returns
from taking her to school
In real life
I look at the clock again
It is 5:15 a m
It is almost time for Roland
to get up to go to work

I am so tired
but cannot return to sleep
until Jenna leaves
to go catch the bus
I need to wrap up
this post
and go fix breakfast
for Roland and Jenna

I will return to sleep

later on.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Your husband is going to be late."

            A facebook friend had been sitting in heavy traffic.  He must have been bored out of his mind.  He actually made a comment on one of my posts - which in itself was out of the ordinary.  But the post was over four years old.  That's what really threw me.

            I had not even started my blog yet.  Jenna was taking a theatre class near my sister's house.  Our house was two hours north of the elementary school that Jenna attended, and Kayla's was two miles west.  On Wednesdays I would just drive to Kearns and park in my sister's driveway.  We would walk around the neighborhood and visit others until it was time to walk to the high school where she had her class.  But on that particular day, we had little time to spare before making our way to the high school.  Who knew that the heavy traffic between three and four would still exist (and actually worsen) three hours later causing the instructor to be late also.

            I had even considered calling her when it was 3:30 but chose not to believing the delays would be cleaned up by then.  I was wrong.  She contacted me after 7:00 because mine seemed to be the only student phone number that she had in her cell phone.  The class had decided to play a game of "duck duck goose" while they waited.  I had mentioned the accident before.  I reconfirmed it.

            The accident had happened on 5400 and 3200 W.  I'd been hit at that same intersection just six months earlier - but there hadn't been enough damage to cause a major back-up.  But there were major delays that night.  It didn't matter where in the city I happened to be driving or at what time.  Traffic was a bear.  It reminded me of a Friday.

            5400 is not the greatest street.  I have always hated it.  The decades has just made me hate the street even more - especially after all the "improvements" that were made. Dorky traffic lights and lane change lights that made me feel like I was driving in a video game.

            Evidently last night's traffic was a repeat (or worse) than what occurred on the night I asked the question on my facebook post "Does anyone know what happened?"  because generally when one is stuck in backed up traffic,  it is unknown why.

            A couple of friends responded that a collision took place involving three cars and that someone had been flight lifted.  Three cars were involved in last night's crash as well.  5400 - but further west of the high school.  I looked it up last night.  There really wasn't much to the story.  And I could only find one source.

            Meanwhile, I had called Kayla, who is a mother to three who are six and under and at least one was screaming.  It didn't seem like it was a good time for her to talk, but at least she understood why Bill might be late (or was late) getting home. 

            I really don't miss the traffic that I had to deal with in Salt Lake.  Thus far I have not seen much in the way of collisions or heavy traffic in Oregon - except in Portland.  But I am so far from Portland that the traffic there doesn't affect me.  Heavy traffic in Myrtle Creek has been eight cars behind the school bus.  I think a collision in Myrtle Creek would be embarrassing for those involved.

            Funny how somebody from Oregon was able to tell someone in Utah that her husband would be late due to slow and heavy traffic.  The wonders of modern technology. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Operation Grandma Care

I belong to 8 different groups on facebook.  I think the first group I joined (or was invited to) was a neighborhood watch - which apparently is still on facebook - but with only 4 members.  I don't know if it's active or not.  I had actually thought the group had dissolved, but I haven't been in said neighborhood for several years now - nor am I currently living in the same state.

Every ward that I have lived in has had a page and I really like that.  I especially like it when  organized members send out reminders of upcoming activities.  I was disappointed that there was no such page on facebook for this ward.  Thus after 6 months and 12+ friends, I decided to create my own page. Slowly the ball starts rolling.

I have joined other groups that have either dissolved (due to changes on facebook or lack of interest)  or haven't gone according to the  group starters expectations.  I think the one I enjoy most is the one we keep to share memories of our family - mom in particular.  It is also the smallest group I belong to.

It started out as a page of necessity created by my nephew-in-law, Nate.  He and my niece, Ellen, were living with mom at the time.  Mom's dementia would cause her to take off without any evidence as to where she might be, or else she would get lost and take a direction even further from where she wanted to be.  Mom could not be left alone, and we were each given a schedule.  Facebook gave us a source in which we could communicate our concerns.

Nate had included six of us in the group: Nate, Ellen, Ellen's mother Sunny, my sister Kayla, my brother Corey and me. Nate had named the group "Operation Grandma Care".  Over the months others had been invited into the group - Corey's husband Joh, Kayla's husband Bill, and our friend Peggy who lived across the street from my mom. Shortly after we put mom into an assisted living facility, Nate chose to leave the group. But we continued to keep the group open as we still had concerns and needs to express ourselves as we would visit mom. We focused on positive as well as the not so pleasant.  It was really good for us to have that source.

After my mom passed away, there were some of us who just didn't want to see the page dissolve, although we didn't need to voice our concerns about how mom was behaving or what our concerns were with her and the fate of the facility.  Kayla had changed the name of the group to focus on memories of my mom rather than our care for her health.  She laughed at the name as there were eight members of the group and only one was an actual grandchild.  The majority of us call her "mom"

It is my favorite group because we sometimes share things that others hadn't known.  Corey will share pieces of information from her journal.  Kayla and I have both shared things not only about mom but dad as well.  Peggy has also shared information that we appreciate being able to hold onto.

I love reaching out and having positive reasons to stay on facebook.  It really has done great things for a lot of people.  I hope to have the same positive results with the RS ward page that I just started.  So far all the feedback I've received has been positive.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Earth and Sky Reverso

In 2012 I was introduced to Reverso poetry (created by Marilyn Singer) when Jenna and I checked out a book from the library.  The book is called Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer. (also beautiful illustrations by Josee Masse)
 Here is another attempt I have made in creating my own reverso.  Read the left column from top to bottom before reading the right.  Enjoy.

Without a coat                                              After so much rain
to keep me warm,                                        through my windows,
through clouds                                              sun is shining.
the sun breaks.                                               Today is beautiful.     

Yesterday                                                       The clouds hang low
it was raining buckets.                                  over the mountain.
The earth is so full of moisture                       It must be raining
the water forms lakes on my lawn.              in the hills.

In the hills                                                        The water forms lakes on my lawn.
it must be raining.                                          The earth is so full of moisture.
Over the mountain                                        It was raining buckets
the clouds hang low.                                     yesterday.

Today is beautiful!                                          The sun breaks
Sun is shining                                                   through clouds
through my windows                                     to keep me warm
after so much rain.                                         without a coat.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Make Believe to Reality

Last week Jenna and I watched a documentary called "Make Believe" a 2011 film from executive producers Ed Cunningham and Seth Gordon. "Make Believe" follows the growth of six teenagers who study tricks to become magicians. 

I copied the following quotes from this website.  When asked about studying magic, Collider received the following answers.

From Derek McKee: It’s hard for people to understand magicians because you can’t show them what you’ve been working on. They can’t relate to it. Most kids pick up magic for maybe two or three days and realize that it’s a lot of work, so they can’t really relate to working five hours a day on one trick

and Bill KOCH (who now uses his professional name Bill Cook):  Unless you’re into magic, you don’t understand it. The people that are into it for two weeks because they got a book from the library and bought a magic set, don’t realize that there’s theater involved, there’s scripting and there’s choreography. Standing on stage in front of people, if you pace or sway, you’ll make the audience dizzy. There is so much involved with just going out there and doing a stage illusion or a close-up trick. There’s choreography to walking around tables, so that the effect can manifest properly.

And while Jenna and I were impressed with each story on Krystyn Lambert, Bill Koch Siphiwe Fangase, Nkumbozo Nkonyana and Derek McKee, but the one that impressed us most was Hiroki Hara from a small village in Japan - where there is no cell phone or Internet service.  But Hiroki's family did have a VCR.  He had a recording of a magic show that he would watch over and over and study in slow motion and had taught himself how to do magic and would read books and magazine articles. 

All of the other five had some kind of mentor, but not Hiroki - he basically was alone with his studies and his decisions.  I believe he financed himself to come to the states to participate at the Magic Castle in California.


While we appreciated the talent of each of the performers and were intrigued by each of their journeys, we were most in awe of Hiroki - who I think is another great example of thinking positive and pursuing one's dreams.  I think they ought to have his story in Chicken Soup - and maybe they do.  I just haven't read it yet.


Positive Thinking.  Turning dreams into reality.  Entertaining is not an easy profession.  Nor is the time that is put into performing necessarily appreciated by those who are entertained.

I remember one time when my brother, Corey, was performing on stage, someone had asked him if he had a real job.  Well, yes.  Those who perform well put several hours into their performance.  Possibly more hours than attorneys may spend on any given case.  Performing IS definitely a real job - but most people can't relate to it being a real job.  But it is.

Thank you to all those who choose to entertain and devote so much of their time that we may appreciate the performance 

Friday, January 8, 2016


Salt will wake up the flavor 
in an otherwise dreary dish.  
Only a little bit is needed.  

Most recipes call for salt - 
but not a huge measurement.  
It almost seems
 irrelevant at times.  And yet 
that small amount is 
very much needed. 

  The smallest amount 
of ingredient is 
needed the most.  
If salt is left out, 
  the quality is lost.  
The taste is flat.  
The tongue is dulled.  
Salt uplifts.  
Isn't that weird?


  We depend on salt to 
melt ice on roads 
and sidewalks . Surely 
not the same salt that 
we use at the table, 
but perhaps the same salt 
we use to make ice cream.  

I find that fascinating that 
salt has that ability.  
Salt will also destroy snails 
the same way that kryptonite 
would destroy Superman.  
Perhaps not the same way.  
I have seen a snail 
shrivel up to death.  
I have never seen 
Superman shrivel.  
I saw a witch melt 

when Dorothy accidentally
 threw water at her in 
"The Wizard of Oz"

 Utah has a location 
called The Bonneville 
Salt Flats.

 It is Utah's racing track, 
I guess.  I don't know 
what the attraction is at 
speeding over salt.  It looks like snow.

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus tells us
that we are the Salt 
of the earth
We can give of ourselves
even if only in small measure
we don't want to be 
too aggressive and
overpower the dish
but instead, we want to
help wake up the flavor,
help melt away the frozenness
and use our power against evil.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Think Positive

        One of the gifts that I opened on Christmas was the Chicken Soup for the Soul "Positive Thinking"  stories full of reminders not to give up and to do whatever it takes.

        As I read I think of examples from my own life:

        Karyn was agoraphobic.  Her son had gone to a mission in Brazil and had developed feelings for a certain young lady.  After he had gone back to visit, he announced that he and this girl would be getting married and living in Brazil for a while.  Knowing that he needed some support from the family, he wanted his parents there, of course. Karyn and her husband had enough money for only one plane ticket. And because of her fears of dealing with crowds, it was decided that her husband would go.

        His job seemed to complicate the situation as far as the date was concerned.  It turned out that if he wanted to keep his job, he would not be able to fly to Brazil but said that his wife might be able to go.

        The reservations were changed so that they would be in her name, and she prayed.  She prayed long and hard.  It was a mighty challenge as she had to deal with the public at Salt Lake airport.  Imagine how terrified she was to fly into Brazil and face a more crowded airport and a more people than she could imagine.  Not to mention that the majority of people there would be speaking in a foreign tongue that she, herself, would not understand.

        She, of course, tells her story much better than I do.  I remember listening to her experience, fascinated with her determination.  I would have never guessed that she was agoraphobic - especially to the point which she expressed.  Now that's positive thinking.  I hate crowds but cannot fully relate to what she had to overcome.  What strength.  What admiration on my part.

        I wish I had all the details in order to accurately share Shauna's story.  There was a huge number of widows and shut-ins that I would go visit at least weekly.  I would go to uplift them - or at least that was my intention.  But I always saved Shauna for last or visit when I was the one who needed to be uplifted.    

        She kept records and journals that she didn't want anyone to look at until after she was gone.  She was such a great inspiration.  Her story needs to be told.  I had always thought that someone should interview her for an article in the Ensign Magazine or tell her story in any one of several  themed "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.

        I had been told that Shauna had outlived her disease by 17 years.  I don't remember the name of the disease, but it seems to me that the tissues would swell to the point of choking out all of her other organs.  We were roughly the same age, and yet she was hooked up to oxygen while I was breathing on my own.  She remained active as long as her body would allow. 

        She had such a positive attitude and would always get dressed, because "only sick people wear pajamas all day"
        I was also told that she hadn't gone back to get her nursing degree until after she had been diagnosed.  She wanted to help people and make them feel better, and served others for as long as she was able.

        Laughter truly was the best medicine.  It was what kept her going - in addition to refusing to allow anyone or anything to take her down.

I also let the words to this song fill my mind each day.  I asked Jenna to color a sign that says: Daily Proverbs.  I change the thought every other day and try hard to apply the quotes to my life.  I really am trying to think positive.