Saturday, April 14, 2012

My 100th post

            I am out of town right now and so did not post yesterday . . .  My computer and printer are both went to “fix-it” shops.  I did not plan on posting to my blog for the next four days. But it is raining now.  And the birthday party we showed up for won't be starting until later this afternoon.  So I am using the computer at the hotel.  
            I finally was able to add pictures on my 95th post.  It wasn’t that hard.  Corey told me where the icon was.  I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.  What an idiot (me, not him)

            For two years my daughter’s schools celebrated the first one hundred days of school.  Last year the student were asked to draw their perception of how they would look when they reached age 100.  This is what Jenna drew when she was in first grade:

I don’t recall them having their 100 day celebration this year.

I will post again after I return home.  May not be daily as I don't know when my computer will actually be ready.
I have many ideas for new posts.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Speaking of Television . . . or Cable Rather

          As I mentioned in my last post, there have been periods of time that we have had to do without.  The bills are too overwhelming at times.  We lost our first house due to the economy leaving us even more financially scarred.  After the move, Roland and Jenna were limited to DVDs from either the library or our own personal collection.

          We tried doing without the Internet.  But the Internet is required just for finding a job.  It’s an assistant to Jenna’s education.  It was a necessity with Roland’s last job.  And he may be starting Internet courses pretty soon.

          Our period without the Internet did not last for more than two weeks.  Eventually we added cable because it was only 8-10 dollars more.  But basic.  Very basic.  We had only 7 stations (perhaps 18 with all the shopping net works and three Spanish stations; okay seven that were regularly watched) – and lost one of the PBS stations in the process. 

          Our cable company screwed up big time – either that or we had been being cheated for five months.

          A UPS driver came to our door with a package from our carrier.  That was weird.  We specifically told them that we were struggling with payments just for the basic  basic (surely they are wise enough to figure it out with all our late payments and constant calls)  and so Roland calls to see if they upgraded their service and we need all this hook up now.

          The company claims they mailed the package out in November.  November?  Seriously?  It is now being delivered to us in April?  So Roland’s on the phone with at least three different employees – asking questions – plugging in wires – reporting errors and so forth.  (Good thing he LOVES cable – I would have given up and sent the equipment back)

          So this morning, instead of only 7 stations, we now get 40?  Maybe 60?  We also have other features that I don’t believe we are paying for.  On the other hand, I remember the package including certain stations that we weren’t getting before.  But now it just seems like there are more than what we’re paying for.  But then again I haven’t received the most recent bill.  We may actually be getting rid of both cable and internet if the bill is too high.  After all we do need to eat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TV Guide for 20 plus years? I must be old

          When I was twelve years old, my only living grandpa bought me a subscription to TV Guide and continued renewing it each year until he died. And then my dad took over with payments until he died. And I let the subscription run out.

          My mom asked why I hadn’t renewed it.  TV is just not all that important to me.  It may have been when I was twelve.  But each year I become less interested in the TV and programming.
 I did enjoy reading TV Guide stories on occasion – but there were oft times that even the articles or the lay out lost my interest.

          After I married Roland – there were two of us who really didn’t care if we owned a television and two that would “die without it”  and actually there have been months at a time that we have had to do without (especially after even local programming was changed to high definition)

          So after a while, I started receiving junk mail from AARP and funeral and retirement homes.  I was on all the lists for senior citizens.  It was crazy!  I figured it must have been all those years of having my name on the TV Guide.

I do appreciate the educational shows that Jenna enjoys.  And I have enjoyed the trivia and historical programs that Roland will watch sometimes.  I do watch shows right now. But as a whole, I really wouldn’t miss it if it were gone. 

If I do ever become interested in watching shows in prime time, they seem to get cancelled (“the Defenders” for example) and so most of the shows I watch are in syndication and it really wouldn’t hurt me if I never saw them again.

I am almost 50.  But I still don’t qualify for medicare or retirement.  I don’t get near as much junk with Roland as I did when I was living with mom.  Most of the time there is a “senior” offer, it has Roland’s name on it.  He’s not really a senior citizen either.  But he is closer than I am.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Turning Gang Behavior into Unity: No she’s not Pregnant!

If there are more than two people banding together to undermine authority – it is considered gang violence or gang related or birth of gang actions.  I was not aware of this until this morning, but evidently this cause took place in my daughter’s school fairly recently.

          From what I understand it was a bunch of sixth graders.  The principal said there had been about 30 of them who had decided to stir up some mischief and were plotting their aggressive actions in the hall by the doors when they should have gone out for recess. 

          Of course when they were reminded of the rules to go out for recess and to disengage their loitering, they stood together and refused – which then led to the principal’s office (who by the way is the most awesome principal ever and is even tempered and rational and deserves respect) and the kids somehow blew everything out of proportion. 

          Each of them had gone home to give a very inaccurate account of the events and so Mrs. Randolph had parents slamming her as well as the kids.  Mrs. Randolph was bashed on facebook and those involved discussed banding together by wearing the same color so that they would stand out.  The color chosen was pink.

          Somehow Mrs. Randolph got wind of what was going down and decided that ALL of her students would wear pink.  (It was referred to as Mrs. Randolph Day) There were rumors that she was pregnant.  Others said she must have cancer.  But no, it was for unity.  It was to even things out.  It was taking a stand.

          And for the most part none of the kids were wiser.  They just did it because she asked them to.  Certainly put a damper on the expectations of those sixth graders however.  How wise to have put out the fire before it spread and turned into something ugly.  At least I hope the fire has been completely smoldered.

Spring is here . . . and so is winter

Jenna and I were returning home from my moms.  I happened to look over towards the side of the street to see 2 dozen or more trees seasoned in pink and white (mostly white) blossoms.  Standing next to them or just a few feet apart were naked trees withered by the harshness of winter.  If the traffic hadn’t been so heavy or if I had been in the appropriate lane, I would have stopped to take a picture.  Not that it would have done justice really.

          The elements have taken turns.  The 31st was so windy, it knocked me in a coma. But the first was really nice.  It snowed on the sixth.  It was too nice for wearing jackets on the seventh.  Weird.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jenna Loves Caterpillars

          Jenna has liked caterpillars for as long as I remember.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know when – though I suspect it must have been in the womb.

          There was a week the caterpillar/butterfly cycle was discussed during her first year at preschool.  Twice during the week the focus was on the caterpillar and the other two days were on the butterfly.  She was there for the caterpillar days chiming in her knowledge and sharing with the class more depth than the teacher was actually ready to go into, dropping her mouth in disbelief and then saying, “You are right, Jenna.  How come you know so much about caterpillars?”

          “Oh, I just like caterpillars and so I know all about them.”

          I don’t think Jenna had even seen a real caterpillar before until the summer when she had turned four.   We had gone to a resort with the scouts.  One of the scouts had lovingly taken her under his wing.  And just before we left to return to our cars, he found a small green caterpillar which he allowed her to hold.  Oh, the joys! 

          Both had wanted to take the caterpillar home but the scout leader was talked into leaving it in its natural environment.  Jenna was hoping we could return for it later when no one was looking.  She did, afterall, know how to take care of it.  It would have been her first pet.  Her first responsibility.  But it wasn’t mine to give.  It wasn’t practical to have it in the car for the ride home.  But it was a good memory for her.  We did get some pictures.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's so Odd about That?

I googled Odd Facts and came up with list after list of odd facts – but not all were “facts”.  I questioned some of it like “Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street were named after the cab driver and police officer in “It’s a Wonderful Life” – I could not find any evidence that confirmed that.  Henson said he was not there when they named the characters, but even he believes that it’s just coincidence.

Then I decided I needed something to back up all the facts that I share.  Hey, but just because you read it on the Internet doesn’t make it true.  And just because you learn something in school doesn’t mean it will stick. 

For instance, my peers and I learned about the solar system almost every year that I was in elementary school.  (I personally saw no purpose for it.)  We were taught that Pluto was the smallest planet.  Today we are told that Pluto is not a planet at all.  It seems that the International Astronomical Union decided has debated the issue.  Whatever.  (Again.  What was the point of learning about it either way?)

So here are the facts that I found back up for (and more than one source at that)

Odd Facts

Charlie Brown's father was a barber (as well as Charles Schulz’s father)

Betsy Ross was born with a fully formed set of teeth called natal teeth

Bingo is the name of the dog on the CrackerJack box.

Butterflies taste with their feet

The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z, hence "Oz."

A group of kangaroos is called a mob.
A group of unicorns is called a blessing.
The first Santa icon (the one we all know and love today) made his first appearance with Coca-Cola in 1931.

John Wayne’s birth name is Marion Morrison.  His grave remained without a marker for almost twenty years.

Warren G. Harding was elected President on his birthday.

The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth.

Walt Disney’s original name for his mouse was Mortimer and not Mickey

4 Odd facts about me:

I can drink 1-2 quarts of liquid (soda, juice, water) and keep it inside of me for a few hours.  But if I have just one teaspoon of milk, I have to go the second it hits my bladder.

Wind wipes me out – even if I’m inside and am not even aware that it’s windy. I am literally so out of it that I feel drugged.

I can touch my nose with my tongue.

I am allergic to most Christmas plants.  Amazingly the tree is not one of them.

An odd fact about my husband:

 He can drive in any element and not notice how bad it is.  He will drive towards the sun glaring through the window or with an inch of snow on his windshield and not even be fazed by it.  I think that’s incredible!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Son in Thailand: Foreign Exchange

          I had always wanted to host a foreign exchange student.  While I was still a student myself, I had wanted my parents to take in a student from another country.  It wasn’t until after Roland and I were married for almost a year that I talked him into assisting my wishes.

          Our foreign exchange student was from Thailand.  He was in his senior year of high school and our three boys were in junior high school. Ooki was the greatest example to our boys.  He was always assisting and learning and growing.  I miss having him around.
          Ooki came to us in mid August.  We introduced him around the valley and actually drove to parts of the state, where we don’t go normally, just to show him it was there and it was an interesting part of the state.

          He did everything with us – even family pictures.  He became our oldest son.  And what an awesome son he is.

          Though not a member of our faith, Ooki went to Church with us every week.  When he was introduced to the Thai branch, he would sometimes go for six hours – three with our family and three in his Thai ward.

          He participated in scouts and most family events and was such a great asset – not just to our family – but all people that met him.

          Roland and I bought our first computer just a few months after Ooki arrived.  Ooki had that thing out of the box and hooked up in just ten minutes.  The computer was his baby and he took care of it.  And he did an awesome job.

          He had a digital camera and had created a website. That was cool to see ourselves on the Internet.

          He did have his peculiarities – like sniffing at everything before he would even taste it – and dousing most every food with ketchup.  We seriously went through more catsup in one month with Ooki than we had in eight months by ourselves.
          He says he’s shy and so doesn’t smile often.  But he should. 

He is very talented and very helpful.

          I miss Ooki.  We’re friends on facebook, but it is not the same as having him here in person.  I’m happy to have that contact though.  He is in a relationship and he posts lots of pictures. I love my son, Ooki.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Let's Go Camping

          My three boys love camping, especially my youngest.  I think I must have enjoyed it at one time – when I was a youth and had no concept of just how much work goes into it.  My current body is not designed for the discomforts of a frozen or hard ground.  Give me a motel room.

          The first year the Roland and I were married we had purchased two pup tents just before Christmas.  We gave one to Tony on Christmas day and the other one to Randy on his birthday (which was just ten days later).

          At the end of May we took our first camping trip together (and actually the only one I went on, now that I think about it).  Halfway there we learned that Randy had brought his blanket.  JUST his blanket.  No sleeping bag.  He thought a blanket would be all that he needed.  Seriously?  He said he loved camping and then acted as though he had never been.

          We stopped by a second hand store and purchased a sleeping bag for him and a frying pan which we could dispose of after our little three day weekend adventure.  We’d gone for a charity event and set up camp behind the rest stop which provided coffee and food to travelers venturing down Highway 6 – which at the time was reported to be in the top ten of the deadliest highways in the nation. 

          Upon arrival, the boys pitched their tents and went off to explore – leaving the dog (Houdini) behind in one of the tents – which took the Houdini only seconds to destroy.  What were they thinking leaving the dog in the tent in the first place?  The whole idea of bringing him was to keep both him and the boys busy running and exploring.

          Roland and I slept in the van during the day.  He had volunteered us to keep watch during the graveyard shift – which was fine really.  It was far too cold and uncomfortable for sleeping in the van.  We kept a fire going by the road so that travelers could warm themselves up as well.

I understand that there was a whole lot more lively activity during the day.  But that’s when Roland and I would sleep – or try to anyway.  Roland also cooked up hamburgers at very odd hours – like 7:00 in the morning.

          In addition to coffee and bakery goods, we passed out bumper stickers which read, “Pray for me.  I drive Highway 6!”  Because of the weekend program that this organization provided, injuries and crashes had been cut down a large percentage as travelers were able to rest a bit and get something in them to help them stay awake. 

          The boys continued their camping experiences whenever the opportunity would arise – often going with the scouts.  And so would Roland.  They’d go in the dead of winter – and Roland hates the cold.  I remember enjoying those moments when I would have the house to myself.  I enjoyed that a lot more than camping.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Superhero Birthday

          Roland and Jenna have birthdays exactly 50 ½ years apart.

          Roland enjoys comics.  He has read DC, Marvel, Black Horse, Gold Key.  He enjoys Hulk, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Hornet, He will watch programs that feature superheroes, Justice League, Dark Knight, Iron Man.  His absolute favorite is Superman. 
He has collected comic books, posters, George Reeve tapes, Christopher Reeves, and more recent than that.  He has watched Lois & Clark, Smallville, cartoons and whatever else might be Superman related.  And Jenna has watched some of his programs with him.

For her birthday this year, she decided to have a cake with Superman.  Oh, really? We talked about doing a superhero themed birthday party.  She had watched Justice League with Roland and was aware of Wonder Woman and decided to go as her.  Now she would like ALL the superheroes on her cake and not JUST Superman.

I have yet to attend a children’s birthday party where 50% - 80% of the cake does NOT end up in the trash can. I wasn’t about to fork over an added expense for such a luxurious cake – not that Jenna doesn’t deserve it – but I could really find other ways to “waste” my money.

Roland decided that we would do cupcakes.  He said that we had all the ingredients and made the cakes from scratch – but as they rose higher than anticipated, they actually turned out to be very ugly cake. 

Now, in Roland’s mind, it’s all about presentation.  Food has to look good – even to an eight year old. Embarrassed by the cupcake mutilation (they did lose form as we have tried to pry them out of the tins) he didn’t even bother to try to hide their deformation with frosting but went out and bought store bought cupcakes instead.  12 for our guests and a special one for Jenna.

We ended up with eight children and a sib, two moms (well three with me) and my oldest son – who took the pictures as I engaged the children in games and such.  They had fun.  And Biff got some really cute pictures.  After Corey returns and teaches me how to insert pictures, I will share some.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hardened Heart: If I can’t be happy, NO ONE can!

          For those of you interested in the “Once Upon a Time” series and have NOT watched the April 1st episode in which we learn why Regina is such a witch, you may want to watch it before continuing to read this post as I’m about to reveal a spoiler.

          Flashback to a scene where a horse rider and stable boy are embracing and she expresses her love to him.  But it is a forbidden love – one that her mother just wouldn’t understand.

          I was actually trying to figure out what fairytale it was – and why the female character looked so familiar.  (I didn’t realize it was Lana Parrilla until she said the name of her character;  I hadn’t recognized her as that character because she was nice – likeable – not the character she became – the one we love to hate)

          As she is expressing her love to the stable boy (Daniel) a horse can be seen charging with a girl rider who is screaming for help.  Regina saves her.  She introduces herself to the girl and learns that the girl’s name is Snow White.

          The king tells Regina that Snow White is his daughter and has no mother.  He has been looking for someone and tells Regina he has found her.  He wishes to marry Regina.
          Regina’s mother, played by Barbara Hershey, is overjoyed.  She believes “power” is what brings happiness and accepts his proposal on behalf of Regina.  Regina is devastated.  She doesn’t love the king.  Why would her mother speak for her.  She loved Daniel.

          Regina looks for Daniel in the stables and tells him she wants them to run away and get married.  As they are kissing, Snow White enters the stable and feels like Regina has betrayed her father.  But Regina explains to Snow that she does not love her father and she would like to marry the stable boy.

          She explains to Snow what true love is.  She explains a bit about the relationship she has with her mother.  And begs Snow to keep her secret.

          But Regina’s mom tricks Snow into revealing Regina’s secret.  She goes into the stable to announce to Regina and Daniel that she supports their love and would like to see them be happy – and then she kills Daniel.  She stabs him right in front of Regina. Regina is mortified.

          Seeing Regina in her white bridal gown, Snow compliments her on her appearance and makes a comment in favor of Daniel.  Puzzled, Regina explains that she is NOT marrying Daniel but is wearing the dress for the king.  She seems in a sad daze until Snow mentions that she doesn’t understand as Barbara Hershey’s character said she would be happy to welcome Daniel into the family.

          It is at that moment that Regina realizes that Snow has betrayed her secret.  Snow says she didn’t want Regina to lose her mother and be without, for Snow understood the importance of having a mother.  It is in that moment Regina transforms into a cold unfeeling serpent – even worse than her mother.  She is no longer the kind, feeling person who had expressed love to the stable boy.  She is a bitter witch who seeks vengeance on everybody.  Not just Snow.  Everybody.  Emotions deeper than hate have buried her heart.  It looks as though she may never feel again.

          And though the characters of Snow White and Regina aren’t real people, the emotions are real.  Being consumed by bitterness is real.  We all know people who fit the mold.  And it is sad to watch them and even give up hope that they can ever shed their slithery skin.

          Yul Brynner played Rameses in 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments”.  For me he started out evil.  There was no love.  No positive emotion. I never saw that character as anything but heartless.  But in 1998, Dreamworks released the animated version “Prince of Egypt” portraying Ramses in a different light.  He and Moses were friends.  They had had fun together.  And Rameses threw away all those emotions based on pride.  It hurt to watch him change from a human being into a unfeeling or uncaring ruler.  A serpent who would feast upon rats – and all mankind became his rats.

          I just don’t understand these people who experience this traumatic turmoil so consumed with bitterness that they want to ruin the lives of every other living human being.  And for what?  After a while they seem like they are so consumed up in evil that they forget what got them there in the first place.  Is there any way for any of us to get that spark back for them? Or are there hearts so hardened that there is no turning back?  Not ever.

          I would rather help these people than be afraid of them, or even feel sorry for them.  Not that I personally know anybody who is that heartless.  But I know they exist. 
          I guess it depends on their priorities.  Unfortunately, for some of those that are in power, the focus is on making others miserable.  That is the part that I don’t understand.  Why do they feel that is satisfying?  They are still as miserable as they were when the bitterness set in.  How do we get rid of the darkness that consumes them?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April Fool’s Day

General Conference has been cancelled due to the weather

The IRS is sending 700 dollar checks to everyone who has sent their paper work already.  These checks will be sent issued in June.

Gas prices are expected to go down by the end of this year.  You will see happier people with extra money in their pockets as they will be able to fill their tanks at less than two dollars a gallon.

Mitt Romney has dropped out of the Presidential election

NBC has decided to rerelease the original three seasons of Star Trek in prime time.  If the three seasons are as well received as they hope, they will start the forth season with a look-alike cast.  Auditions are scheduled to take place next month.

Ocean Spray has a new product in the makings.  It is called “Pine-berry” jam.  It is a combination of pineapples and cranberries.  This product has been introduced to consumers as a sample and has been very well received.  Pine-berry jam is expected to hit the super markets and other stores later on this fall.

Disney has negotiated a contract for a movie to be released next summer.  The writer of the script presented his offer of “Winnie-the-Pooh meets the Three Bears” but died before the script was written in its entirety.  A new writer was hired, but as the script became too dark and violent for the producers of the Disney films, the project was dropped.  The new writer is currently undergoing psychological evaluation.

We really DID win the Lottery! We plan to invest a good portion of it into the pine-berry jam.

April Fool.