Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Always Need God-- last guest post by Barb

I have heard it said that some people only call upon God when life gets tough. What would that be like? My infirmities constantly remind me that I need God. And with God, I have done more than I ever imagioned. It was not congruent with my former painfully shy self to conceive of going on a mission. During the days prior to my mission, I felt that I was being prepared very much for a mission. I felt God's love so strongly that I felt there is no way that I could ever repay Him. And the Holy Spirit helped me press forward when my nonmember family was very opposed to going at the onset. I still marvel how a young woman who likes to avoid risk would embark on such a journey. And this decision felt more right than anything that I had ever done. But it was still going against my grain though I may not have focused on that as much as my desire to go. I was so shy and so afraid of a mistep that I whispered responses to the temple recommend questions. There was a lot more to my life that I will not go into now though I have in the past. I needed to draw upon God. And I look with such fondness to those days.

Soon there would be days of despair that I can recall now though it almost seems a vague recollection as I try to conjure up the emotional pain. That is when obessive compulsive disorder came into my being. And a weeks time was a painful time to wait for a meeting with a Mental Health Professional. I looked proufoundly sad at times and was. Ocd is still there in so many ways in my life though some of which plagued me know has shifted and I have improved in so many ways. I have tools to function. God helps me in ways that those of faith may understand. And I am so thankful for the love I have felt at times when I feel so unworthy. I don't know if I will ever be completely without ocd on this side of the veil. There are times when it hurts so much when I am not able to reason as well or fit it into a box where others have told me things are okay. And some things seem too vivid even after all this time and all the assurances. Yes, I am so aware of others trials that seem more than I would be able to bear. I am aware through my constant and probably morbid dwelling on death through ocd of the miracle of life.

This Fall, I had a great desire to go on a day trip to the town where I have relation and my grandma was raised. I felt prepared by God in a special way and the opportunity was there. I did things to minimize anxiety that a normal person would not do in limiting places that I went on the way to my destination three hours away. And I was blessed to do okay in the process. I also had my security person with me who is my mom and if there was a concern, she could tell me it was okay. She does not really like the role of caregiver to a grown daughter and would love me to be independent. This trip makes me think that if God really wants me to do something and I will be open to the task that I can do it.

With my anxiety, I do not feel the Holy Spirit as frequently as I once did. I do think I felt the Holy Spirit more during my darkest days of ocd. Therefore, it may be more than anxiety alone. The most spiritual times for me at one time was before I got out of bed. My Bishop said that sounded reasonable as that was before I actually started my stressful day. I do feel so blessed to generally go to sleep and sleep well as I resolve most of my fears before retiring. I remember the pain of a few occassions when that was not the case. I think I awoke a friend once after visiting his house with the anxieties that maybe something bad would happen from my visit. I wonder if not feeling the Holy Spirit as often is because I have not made it to Church for a long time. I had a lapse of going before where I still felt the Holy Spirit often. When I stopped feeling the Holy Spirit very often, that was one of the reaons that I decided to meet with my Bishop who had wanted to meet with me for over a year. That was several years ago and his kindness and counsel helped so much in my functioning. However, going to Church even to meet with him was too much for my ocd as there were often babies around or small children and I worry most about being a risk to them. I have so often felt on the brink of being well. And that is so much better than the alternative! But it is guilt-ridden as I do not take the doors that may open to me. I felt the Holy Spirit so much around the time that they had the special ceremony for Jospeh Smith in December a few years ago and so many were reading the Book of Mormon to finish by the end of the year. Maybe I was a failure in not making it to Church during that time frame. Or it feels that way. But things happen that push me back so I don't quite get there. Yet, I feel sustained. I have faith in God. I don't have a lot of faith in myself though. I know that I do pretty well most days. But there are moments when I know how very, very vulnerable I am and how close I feel to losing it all.

I worry that people may marginalize me due to my mental illness. I have been blessed to have witnesses by the Holy Spirit at times that are so separate from depression or obsession compulsive disorder or other mental issues. A Bishop shared with me what I think is a good explanation. He said that my spirit is whole and not afflicted in the same way as my temporal body and as such the Holy Spirit can speak to my Spirit. I feel a peace just writing this.

I don't take for granted anything that I can do. And while I know how dependent I am on God, I do think there was a window after being a convert and before ocd that I may have started to think that I was special and not in the debt that I was to God.

I also have come to feel that I have some gifts intellectually that I had not supposed when I was in high school or even in my early twenties though I did very well in school and had encouragement from teachers. I had so much self-doubt that failure was around the corner because of my limitiations. As I took classes that required some abstract thought more than the run of the mill courses and also as I have matured, I have realized that I may actually in a qualititive way have my moments of brilliance. Without my many weaknesses and my problems in taking care of myself and the many things that humble me and what I think are learning disabilities, I may be very arrogant. I still have too much pride in that frame where my abilities lie for someone who probably should consider myself much more stigmatized than brilliant.

I know this may not all tie together as I have expressed a lot. I just want to share how I have felt. I could have had an ocd free world at the computer as well as free from other baggage. That is how I was at my earliest days on a forum. It was nice as I thought I came across pretty normal and also well-spoken at times. It felt good to belong. When I am open, then I worry if I belong a lot of places. Then, I retract what I say also as I feel I may be out of place. I have learned that people are very open on blogs even when it is not relevant. I hope that I have improved.

If you were to see me in my normal day, you may have no idea all the crazy ocd ideas that are running through my head. You may also have no idea how close I feel to God as he helps me function and go forward in those moments. I will likely run my concerns by my parents when I see them all the same. Yet, I would not want to go a day without the strength of God to help me through. Were it not for God and also the kindness I have found from many people, I would feel shame. There have been times when I have felt shame, but I am usually blessed to have a better view of my worth. I often feel very good about myself in ways that may not come across online. I worry about being so public as I know everybody has trials and many far worse than me. And I know ocd is common and many are not so public like me. It is so apart of my identity. And yet, I feel that I am so much more than ocd. And I thank God for all the ways in which he directs me to have a life despite my OCD. And I feel blessed in so many ways ever aware that I am so dependent on God for all these blessings. I can't go it alone. And I am glad to know that.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Conversation with Bill about Bacon

(all in a cordial tone)

Bill: "You know how you've been cutting the bacon in half?"

Me: (reclining on the couch trying to wake up) "Yeah."

Bill: "Don't do it anymore."

Me: "I like it cut in half. It fits the pan."

Bill: "I don't like it cut in half. I don't care how it fits."

Me: "I like it cut in half."

Bill: "I don't like it cut in half."

Me: "I like it."

Bill: "I don't like it."

Me: "I do."

Bill: "I don't.

Me: "I do."

Bill: "I don't. Don't do it anymore."

Me: silence

That was over the one time in the last 6 months I've made breakfast. He wins the argument because I rarely cook breakfast anyway. I make good dinners, though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Me and Bill are so screwed

That's what we say to each other a lot these days: "We are so screwed." Because we're both going senile, but in different ways (so they're all covered, you know) and we're losing our health.

Bill can't work the remotes for the TV and I have to do it all for him and he will mess it up and I'll have to fix it for him. I lose stuff all the time now and literally, within seconds, forget important things and friends. I have that face recognition problem(I read about it in People magazine and instantly diagnosed myself) where people with similar features look the same to me and that's disconcerting. I've been faking it a lot, I tell you, a lot.

The other day at Wal-Mart, I saw a woman I recognized and said "hello." And she greeted me in return. And it bugged me to death because I had no clue who she was or how I knew her. Finally, I went up to her and asked her and she laughed and said, "I was thinking the same thing."

It bugged both of us (she looked about 15 years older than I, but really really hot for an old broad) and we stood there for five minutes trying to figure it out.

Yesterday, while dusting, I found a $20 bill I'd stuck under a doily. I have no idea why I did that or where the money came from. Now THAT is senility because we are not rich and I so wouldn't lose track of $20 in my right mind.

Last night Bill and I were watching The Waitress (a really sweet show) together and I was thinking about all the pies and I said, "You know, maybe I should make the pies from scratch this year. Pecan would be nice. I haven't made a scratch pie in years."

And he looked at me and asked, "You used to make scratch pies?"

I sat up and stared at him in amazement because my crust is really a thing of wonder and he loved my pies! I just stared at him, didn't say a word. And he said, "well I know you make the crust, I meant the filling."

And I can't tell you how relieved I was. Because I don't know who's going to take care of us. Although I have a death wish, I would so worry about him if I die first because I wouldn't want anybody to be mean to him. I can see that happening.

I know if I out-live him and become old, nobody will still mess with me. Hell, I'll hide some pepper spray somewhere. Might forget where I put it, but I would so not tolerate mistreatment. I can see my poor sweet befuddled husband just being bullied all over the place.

These are the things one thinks about just before retirement.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"I deleted my guest post" Guest Post by Barb

I deleted my last guest post. I really hate to reveal how human I can be sometimes.

I like to think I am above all that. At any rate, I am so thankful to have counted many as my friends online. And thank you, Annegb, for all the support again and again. I know you hate it when I delete guest posts. I don't know if you even saw the post yet. The guest post was titled "On being Hurt."

Without giving details to what ancient history hurts I spoke of, I want to review a few things that I have learned in all these months.

First, I cannot expect a person to be responsible for the level of hurt that they caused when an ordinary person would not have been so sensitive. I know we are always to forgive, but I make it a harder offense to forgive because I am so sensitive. In addition, if a person really fell short and hurt me on purpose, then they are human and have not mastered that part of themselves yet. I need to allow them that without overlooking all the many ways that they have done good.

I have not mastered all areas of myself. And we may never fully master even the areas that are our strengths in this life. Also, I have hurt others myself and do recognize this. I try not to be a petty person. My weakness is thinking that people may not like me because I am unbalanced. In truth, I am surprised how very normal so many people treat me. Thank you all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Since I Got a Computer Guest Post by Barb

Surfing the web seemed so inefficient to me when I used it to research a paper on campus. No, I don't need to be "online," if that is what is all about. You put in key words and got list upon list of things that could be far from what you were searching for. I had never had a modem at my home. Using a search engine at the library was entirely different as it could point you towards actual research.

I don't remember when I first discovered the joys that could be mine by surfing the web. I know that I had longed for a computer for quite a time. I think one of my main objectives would be to email relatives. But what made me so pumped up when I learned that I would receive a used computer was the thought of all that information at my finger tips. I don't know if I am a paradox or such, but I love to learn and yet I get information overload. Just the thought of all that knowledge was giving me so much excitement coupled with information overload sensations.

I would think of words to try tread articles that interested me. As a Speech Pathology major, I like to put in words regarding that field of study. I learned that one of their major journals required official membership. I wanted to beat the system. Cognitive psychology is related to all this and I would put in a lot of key words in that regard.

Then, I went to desertbook just to browse and found this thing called a message board. I was shy to post. A person asked a question that seemed like it needed a pretty fast answer so I dived in feet first. That forum closed and around that time, one of the regulars there gave information about an LDS Blog. I had never seen a blog and didn't know what it was. Also, there was an Exodus of a lot of us to Nauvoo. Before it closed, I had already joined another beloved forum Helamans-Army that recently reopened its forum doors much to my delight.

And instead of doing all this surfing, I was reading desertbook much of the time and later my other forums. Blog upon blog was added. I think the first individual blogger that I knew was Mary A of bystudyandalsobyfaith. I count her as one of my treasured friends. As I do not have a blogger account of my own or google, I haven't been able to post comments on blogspot as I would feel funny using annegb's so hi to all of you friends!

And the fellowship of all this blogging and forums means so much to me. You get to know people online past the surface so much quicker than you do those you see day to day. I remember when I used to have a mind whirling with thoughts that I wanted to share. I used to slip an idea in here or there. Now I can write essays or poems and share what I feel. It means so much to share sides of myself online. I look forward to it as I go about the course of my day at work where I do not have access to all this fun.

I can feel rather inefficient though as I often recheck places for new posts that can be slow moving. I don't read a lot of blogs by most people's standards. I have made some good friends though and those are the ones that I read the most including Lisa M, Mary A, Téa, and I cannot forget Sarebear!!! My life would be so much less without Sarebear!!! It is such a cool experience when somebody has posted on something that I have wrapped my mind around once upon a time. I need to try to hold back on sharing my every racing thought though on a given subject lest I come across strange. Ah, that doesn't stop me much, most of the time!

I do share my online time efforts with an online library that I signed up for some months ago. And I am reading so much about reading. I took Intro to Reading years ago and want to learn all that I can on the subject. And someday I want to get a program that costs 1,000 dollars that teaches reading. Who knows for sure what I will do with this knowledge, but I am rather drawn to it all. I am wired pretty good for phonics. I kind of laugh at the fact that I can now have my hearts content of the coveted field of Speech Pathology at my online library now, but have only scratched the surface there. I keep adding so many books to my book shelf from introduction to philosophy that I find interesting though I wish I had a guide to explain things that are beyond me. I found a book on physics that said that there was no math prerequistes and decided that was too good to be true.

A lot of my online friends are writers and I have been able to read a couple of excerpts from them. And I want to get the books of those that have been published or may soon be published!
Well, I wanted to post something, but didn't know just where to start. But I can talk a lot about being online. I don't know if this was navel gazing though. :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bushisms I hadn't heard before (or totally forgot)

I love George Bush. I know a lot of people don't and I sure don't agree with him on lots of stuff, but I think he's human and cool, also kind of cute. He reminds me of Harry Truman.

But he says some really stupid things. (which I would, too, if I knew millions of people were listening).

I got this calendar yesterday (for next year) and want to share a few of the quotes in it. I honestly don't think he's this stupid, just challenged in public speaking.

"The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hatge is with an ideology of hope---an ideology of hate---excuse me---with an ideology of hope."

"Rarely is the question asked, 'Is our children learning?'"

"We thought long and hard about what to propose. We proposed a bold initiativ, an initiative that takes equities out of the system, so people are treated fairly."

"Then I went for a run with the other dog and just walked. And I started thinking about a lot of things. I was able to---I can't remember what it was. Oh, the inaugural speech, started thinking throught that." (US News & World Report, January 22, 2001)

"You work three jobs?. . .Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that!" (to a single mother of three)

"We had a good Cabinet meeting, talked about a lot of issues. Secretary of State and Defense brought us up to date about our desires to spread freedom and peace around the world."

"September the fourth, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day I will never forget."

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." (Interview with Katie Couric)

His advisors probably drink their mylanta straight from the bottle.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Some wonderful poetry

Who doesn't love Emily Dickinson? What I love is that she says these things in as few words as possible. She doesn't get as flowery as Neal A. Maxwell, but he also had a way with the pithy phrase that made one sit up and think.

I was looking for something to put on a little note to my visiting teaching ladies and I came across this:

"Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye:
Muche sense the starkest madness.
'Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur,--you're straightwayd dangerous,
And handled with a chain."

My sentiments exactly. Although I tend to take it to an extreme.

I'm sure she wrote a poem for that, as well :)

I'm Thankful that Bill has gone back to work

My husband is a force of nature. He bounces out of bed and never stops moving until he sits down to watch the news at night.

We had 16 people for Thanksgiving dinner and it was lovely. We had our grandkids and just had a nice time all the way around.

But by Saturday I was ready for everyone to go home (only Maxwell was left) and for Bill to stop moving. I cannot function with him in the house. He's in and out and noisy. He drives me crazy. He's obsessive about the dishes and before you say you wish your husband was like him, be careful what you wish for.

Finally yesterday morning (Sunday) he was cleaning up the kitchen AGAIN and I lost it. I made him stop and come in and sit down with me and be very quiet. And he did. We watched something about the Kennedy's together while I regained my composure.

I asked him to eat lunch uptown today (he usually comes home every day--THAT'S a treat). And finally I'm getting on top of my house.

I guess I'm crazy, too, because I can't work with people in my house.

If he gets any time off at Christmas, he's going fishing. That's all there is to it. I need silence.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have always hated Thanksgiving. It's the lonliest holiday (except maybe New Years) when you are single or struggling as a family. I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my first husband's family when we all got together and ate in the front room. I loved them so much.

Bill's family, not so much. They don't visit, they are sort of cold in their gatherings, although they love and enjoy each other.

But the last four years, we've had housefuls. Because Bill's daughter, Joy, from his first marriage started to come, she likes us now. And with our kids with spouses, significant others, and the grandkids, we've had a crew.

Now a lot of people is good at Thanksgiving. I don't mind the work and I enjoy the company.

And now we have the new dining room. Woo-hoo! We're having at least 20 people this year, 23 if my nephews come. We can fit 12 in the dining room, so we'll be all over the house again. The new dining room (the first second I get, I'm going to post pictures) has an old fashioned screen door that opens onto a little porch and the weather's been good, so we open that door and the kids run in and out and I love the sound of them screaming and laughing.

This is what we're having for dinner:

Vegetable Tray with hidden valley (I always put sweet pickles on it and they make me choke but I love them)
Lion House's ribbon jello salad
Cranberry-Pineapple Nut jello (I'm the only one that eats it LOL)
A big green salad, with shrimp on the side (My first husband's family always had shrimp in their salad)

Turkey, regular and cornbread stuffing

Candied Yams
The Green Bean Casserole!
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Rolls (I'm going with store bought crescent rolls this year, the kind you pound the package and it bursts and scares you, you know)


My friend Shanna is bringing pops and drinks and appetizers (she's rich and she brings stuff like baked brie, well this year she is now that I've discovered it) and good cheeses and crackers.

I'll make a big breakfast and then we'll piece until dinner.

And I should be cleaning as we speak because the house is a mess and I have bills to pay and laundry to do and shirts to iron. But here I sit blogging :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just start planning my funeral now

Well, I've alluded to my suicide attempt last year and it was awful in a million ways and I almost died and you guys would have missed me so much, I know. And I'm sort of sorry, although sometimes I think of the term "failed suicide attempt" and "failed" is the operative word. I know this is crazy, but I feel like a failure at suicide because at the last minute, I apparently changed my mind and got up. I collapsed and woke Bill up (I was sleeping the other room because we'd had a terrible fight and it was all his fault, as you can imagine)when I fell and he came in and somehow got me to the hospital. By the time I got to the hospital I wasn't breathing and it was hairy for everybody, except me, because I was blissfully unconscious. And I think they gave me versed because I don't remember a thing after laying down in bed, wondering if God would be so mad at me He wouldn't let me see my children.
I can see how guys succeed more because they use means that prohibit the changing of the mind. Although I found out first hand what a drug overdose can do to one's system. Hell, I could hardly walk for a month and I surely deserved it. I'm not complaining. Although I've thought more than once after I've done something I regret "if I'd died in July, I wouldn't have done this bad thing" or "I wouldn't have hurt this person" or "Bill would be getting over it by now and he'd have less stress in his life from his crazy wife and the house would always be clean and he'd have more money because I'm insured plus I wouldn't be spending all his money."
Well. You can see how irrational the thought processes of the truly depressed can get. Bill and I have reached a new place of commitment and closeness in our relationship, not because of what happened, but because I had to get concrete help to stay out the state hospital (you better believe I would have blogged about that experience) and I'm in a better frame of mind and body.
Well. Until Bill finds out (which I'm going to try to make sure he doesn't) that I spent a veritable fortune yesterday. I didn't mean to. I was just sort of wandering after a solid week at home resting and taking care of things here. And I wandered into the depot mall, a craft consignment store that has the cutest stuff and bought some cute stuff for the holidays (we're having tons of company) and then I wandered into Wal-Mart, where I bought this buffet thing and a small wood pantry that Bill will have to put together. Me and two girls and a guy put them into the backseat of my car. They're not gaudy or expensive---I always go for cheap stuff, but they're the perfect size for what I needed for my kitchen.
Well. That isn't the bad part. As I was wandering, it was a free day, I wandered into this new cloths store in town called Bealls. And fell in love. Because they have cute clothes, better than Wal-Mart, a little more expensive, but quality clothes. And here's the good part---they have petite!
If I told you how much I weighed, I'd have to hunt you down and kill you because nobody knows that, only the doctors nurse. Not the doctor, we are so not having that discussion. But my waist is about 35 " and my inseam is 31" on a good day. It's really hard to find pants that fit. But I tried on two really cute pairs of levis and they fit. Perfectly! And I don't look fat in them, either. Plus they were marked down from $40 to $28.
And cute jackets and suit pants that fit.
Well, I got carried away and then someone didn't show up to work and they only had two people in the whole store and long lines of people and I just kept buying more stuff.
My psychiatrist keeps asking about my spending, which isn't all that bad, usually. I don't go buy thousands of dollars of stuff or anything like that. I'm not even a clothes horse type of girl. Oh, maybe I should change that. I didn't used to be a clothes horse type of girl.
But I'm pretty sure I'm a dead man when Bill finds out. IF he finds out. You guys, keep your mouth shut. Or start practicing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" which all my friends will be singing at my funeral. Except my friend, Cathy, who will be playing the flute. It will be a nice and entertaining funeral.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Visiting Sedona

Here's my goal to posting more regularly. First, I think they should change the name of Mormon Mentality to Annegb's stupid neurotic blog because it seems like I'm the only one posting or commenting. I don't know where everybody is. And it just takes the class level down a notch when I threaten and use bad words to people.

I suppose it's like a blog train wreck.

My friend, Lauri, lives in Prescott, Arizona. She moved there several years ago and loves it. She's the Relief Society president in her ward, which when I heard, the first thing I did was laugh out loud. Then I said, "Oh, that's not appropriate....let me see...oh, Lauri, I'm sorry....oh, that's not appropriate either. Congratulations, I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job."

Then I had to say, "Crap, Lauri, I am so sorry. I'll pray for you."

I honestly had that reaction, first how funny was that? Then, oh boy, girlfriend, your life is about to change dramatically.

There are a lot of psychics around there, she's close to Sedona. And I have frequent flier miles and I think I'm going to have to go see her.

Unless in a few hours I poop out and change my mind and go lie on the couch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My writing career and personal laziness problem

Well, I'm not a lazy as I once thought I was. I am ill, chronically, and I've learned to be kinder to myself and appreciate the moments when I must rest as much as the moments when I'm feeling better and bouncing off the walls with fun projects.

However, I often take on projects that seem exciting, only to burn out after a few weeks and quit. Or spend the next years complaining until I'm released. I'm a true idiot. I never think ahead to "this will involve some effort" I think "oh, that sounds fun." or "what a good idea, you're right, I would be perfect for that."

I'm not vain, it's usually something I can do, like oh, make great cinnamon rolls. I wouldn't say "I'm perfect" for most of the stuff I'm not talented at, which I'm not talented at much.

But I can write a damn good nasty letter and I write a column for the paper which, when some of my fellow bloggers have read, doesn't "sound like me at all." For the paper, I write with a more reasonable tone and I have a bit of dignity. I do not cuss or go off on people. You would be proud of me, also surprised.

I write a column once a month as part of a writers group. We don't get paid, although I think we should be, but there is a certain amount of glory that goes with it and I have to think most writers love the glory more than the compensation.

However, the last couple of months have just been overwhelming to me in terms of writing. I was researching a local judge to write an op-ed piece. He's widely perceived as soft on defendants and I wanted to get at the truth. In the course of my research, I stumbled onto facts and experiences that made it fodder for a bigger story, news. The paper asked me to continue investigating and told me as soon as they hire a new bureau chief for our town, they would put me with a reporter.

I was fine with this, excited. Maybe I could be an investigative journalist! Well. Investigative journalism sucks. You wouldn't believe how hard work it is. I've spent literally hours and days at the courthouse looking up cases. Questions beget answers that have begot more questions. And I've been obsessed at getting to the bottom of the issue.

I interviewed the judge, who was really gracious about this novice who was out to expose him. Perhaps he saw the stupidity behind my facade.

I stumbled onto another story, that I've posted about on MM, which has just depressed the heck out of me.

So now, I'm tired, I don't want to be an investigative journalist, it was fun for the first two weeks and now it's work.

And I just don't think I'm cut out to be a writer because it involves an immense amount of work. I have so much respect for anybody who writes a book because how boring is that? It's work, I tell you, work.

I'm finding a new hobby.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bookslinger, here you go :)

"You suck." That's how tired I am that I actually wrote that to people on Mormon Mentality and I'm not sorry. Although I may abjectly apologize tomorrow, but I doubt it. I think they do suck.

This was my day started Saturday.

Maxwell got baptized and we are all like one great big Anne Tyler novel. Because he got baptized the same day as this kid in our ward and that was all nice, although they were almost late for the whole thing due to the fact that this family with 5 kids (and tons of company for said baptism) had only one bathroom.

And not only daughter-in-law's foster father was mad because he wasn't asked to baptize Maxwell, even though he's 60 years old, only has the Aaronic priesthood and never goes to church. So he sat out in the car during the baptism.

Then Rhiannon (age 3) decided to re-distribute the programs and song sheets I'd carefully laid out and that was a trip trying to sort them out at the last minute as people came in the door.

Then Sarah came! Hi, sweetie! even though she was sick....then I look up and in comes Jessie and Jack, her boyfriend....hi again, surprise, she said Jack wasn't coming. So we went out in the hallway so I could ask if things were okay because they were fighting (she looked just beautiful by the way, all you people except Brian who is married, you suck, too, because you didn't realize what a jewel she was when I was trying to fix you up).

And at that very moment, in walks Becky, Jared's old girlfriend, who loves the kids and is for some masochistic reason, hanging out at Jared and Jamie's a lot and is bringing half the dinner for after. Jessie froze (okay, she's in a fight with Becky and Briony, I'm not sure why, it has something to do with crystal meth and Jessie trying to get clean and Jack hates them, like I said, Anne Tyler) and I smiled and said hi, but right behind her comes Briony, and I have never in my life seen Jessie snub anybody, she is the sweetest charmingest thing in our family. Sarah is the snubber--and she hates Jack and she's back in the room sitting by Jack, not looking happy.

But Jessie snubbed Briony, her former friend, without a doubt. And I was trying to explain that I didn't invite her, and Becky invited herself and Jamie's foster mom is looking grim. But you know what, I had a good time and so did the kids who got baptized and the spirit was there and one of my best friends played the piano and she cried throughout and it was wonderful.

Then we had the drama after the baptism because Jessie and Jack wouldn't come over because Becky was there, and Jamie's dad stayed outside with the kids and Sarah said it felt so tense she was going home. But the kids and Bill and me and Jamie had a good old time, and our neighbors came over and tons of food and Becky is a sweetheart, even if she should just tell Jared to stick it.

So I slept all day yesterday and got up early today to wash in my new laundry room and I got started on the bills so Bill and I could talk about them for family home evening and I ran uptown to get some folding chairs Ace Hardware had on sale.

And Sarah called and she was crying so hard she couldn't talk, which we all just sit and listen and pretend we understand her and turn the volume on the phone down and she was really sick and the lawyer had lost the divorce papers from October 6 and Nick was mad about it. Who could blame him.

Dumb lawyer. So I called Nick and told him I'd take care of it. Then I pinned Sarah down on the details "Mom, I'm sick, I don't want to talk about this!"

Me: "grow up. this isn't going to go away."

So I gave her a hug and told her I loved her and told her to rest and I went up to that lawyer's office and I sat there while the secretary re-filled out the papers and got them right and then I went over to the courthouse where I've been doing investigative journalist stuff and they all know me and I went into the courtroom and made that lawyer sign the papers and then I went to the post office and I mailed them express mail.

And I came home and we're having good chicken corn chowder and truly, Anne Tyler writes about my family every time she writes a book.

I can't believe I had to do all that and I'm going to make that lawyer pay me for the postage. Which I'll be at the courthouse all day tomorrow and you better believe I'm going to discuss it with him.

And me and Bill are selling out and moving away from our kids.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I have become a mooch. . .

My friends are starting to avoid me at the store. Store workers are starting to get to know me on a first name basis. People won't answer the phone when I call.

Because I am turning into the biggest mooch and even more Kramer-like. If I see a friend in a store, the first thing out of my mouth isn't "Hi, how are ya?" it's "do you have your cell with you? Can I use it?" I know exactly where to go to use the phone in Home Depot, Wal-Mart, the grocery stores, and the library. In the grocery store, they hand me the phone and then they dial the number. I make the call. Then I have to have them dial a couple of other numbers. So far, so good, they've been terrific, although I get some double takes. "You don't have a cell phone???"

I've taken to calling my sister at work or my neighbor down the street and having them log in and check my mail in case there's something urgent. I trust them implicitly. But my sister is no longer speaking to me LOL.

My other neighbor's kids are getting used to coming over to see her and finding me in the office.

I hate mooches. I never accept charity. I need help. I think I'll see how long I can keep this going.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Going Luddite

I gave up my cell phone in June and let me tell you, my life is better for it. I haven't missed it, even one time, although I still may wish I had it if I'm abducted by a serial killer or escaped convict and need to call 911 from my car.

I use store phones if I need to check something, it's not a big deal. The best part is my phone never rings unexpectedly, or vibrates in my pocket, making me swerve the car into another lane. Nobody can find me. I love it.

I'm sorry to say, guys, I haven't missed the internet, either. My office is lost and cold and looking more like a basement storeroom, no life in it. The couch and the remote are happy and not so lonely, however. I have more time. It's more peaceful without it.

sorry, guys.

You should try it, really.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'll be disconnecting my DSL this week in order to save some money. I've sucked at blogging all summer due to illness and so much else going on, ie, the remodel. Now the remodel is almost done and I'm having to paint because of long story, somebody bailed. And I'm still sick.

I will check in at the library occasionally, and perhaps I'll go into some kind of crazy withdrawal and have to reconnect and sell my body on the street to pay for it, but as of now, I'll be taking a break.

Just as soon as I copy this blog, so I can hard copy it to my journal for history's sake.

Take care, guys.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Now THAT's a visiting teacher!

I love my visiting teachers, Jackie and Deanna. They're about 10 years older than me, and have been around the block. They're wise and funny and smart. My friend, Jackie, once told me when I was (yet again) planning my funeral "Oh, Arlene, we're not going to give you a funeral. We're just going to put you in a glad bag and haul you out to the cemetery."

A lot of people wouldn't find that funny, but I laugh every time I think about it. I'm such a pain in the ass, with my hypochondria and my melancholia.

And they come!!!

Yesterday, we were visiting and I mentioned, as I folded clothes, that I couldn't get Bill's garments to come clean, they are gray, for some reason.

They told me it was the Downy I'd been putting in them. Jackie jumped up and said, "Oh, I know how to fix that! Get your dishwasher soap."

And she went into the bathroom, and dumped the basket of garments in the tub, and poured dishwasher soap on them as she ran the hot water.

Then she picked up my plunger and mixed them around. Kneeling over the tub with my plunger as Deanna and I looked on.

Dang, you guys, you wouldn't believe the gunk that came out of those just-washed garments! I ran them through a cycle in my washer and they look darn good!

Now that's the spirit of visiting teaching. Deanna is just newly reactivated (I was her visiting teacher for quite awhile) and she plays the piano in Relief Society now and she is being a strength to me as I struggle. She lost a son to cancer and we cry together. Jackie is there for me at all times. I know I can count on them.

That's how to be a visiting teacher, you guys.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sarah shoulda been a blond

Sarah is a beautiful, willowy, green eyed brunette. She was the same age as the twins next door, who are black, and she thought she was black for the longest time. I never told her different, I don't know how she figured it out. Actually, she figured, quite accurately, that they were all "bwown."

But, you know, no offense to any blonds, she is the blondest brunette I know.

Today, she called me, very upset, from her new apartment, saying "Mom, tell dad he needs to come right away. I can't get the water off in the tub."

I said, "go get your landlord." Who is next door. She did, and called right back with the news that they weren't home.

"And it's the hot water, too, Mom!"

I said, "go over to the people across the street, they're nice, there has to be a water shutoff valve somewhere. Is it going down the drain?"

She said, "I'll go see. Yes. Oh. I was turning it the wrong way. It's off now."

I was very quiet because she gets mad at me when I laugh at stuff. Then she laughed. So of course I had to. I said, "If your dad had come all the way into town just to shut off your faucet, he'd've killed you."

And she told me she'd done that before. We all think she should have been born blond.

Me and Bill are going to retire in five years and we're moving away from our kids. Our grandkids will have to come see us once a year or something because I'm worn out. I don't want to be a mom anymore. Do any of you young girls realize you are going to have to mother those children until you die???Even if you're 85???

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm back

I thought I would probably die from this latest round of mononucleosis. It hit so hard, I couldn't sit up for long, let alone stand.

However, I am practically cured. This is the third time in the last twelve years I've had acute mono, dealing with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in the times between, plus the affects of aging and my deep and chronic depression.

This time, however, I knew the drill. I got into my NAET practitioner and began treatment for viruses and mono and epstein-barr. I know there's no cure, but there sure is hope and relief and the day after my first treatment, I was on my way to remission. My medical doctor told me just to live with it and take it easy.

The NAET guy put me on his machine, then he did the acupressure with exposure to the virus, sent me home with a portable stimulater (NOT a vibrator), and I kept up with it and damn if I don't feel a whole new person.

I have no illusions about a complete cure. But I know I will never be debilitated for years as I was before I started alternative medicine. That was about two years ago.

I have another witch doctor who puts glasses on me and they flash lights and once he hit my trigger points with a laser while ringing some sort of chime. And I felt better! I'm not one to pretend to feel better if I don't. This stuff works somehow.

I believe, too, there's a science behind it because this time, on Monday, I had a blood test for mono and epstein barr counts at the hospital that took four days to come back. Friday morning, I got into my NAET guy. His machine took seconds to show a high virus count, and his treatment took about 20 minutes. An hour after I got home, I got the call from my doctor saying that the blood test showed acute mono and high EB counts. Nothing they could do, they said, just rest. I said, "thanks." And thought I'd have saved a lot of time being ill, and money, if I'd just gone to the source in the first place.

No lie, you guys. This stuff works.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Bill and I are both hard of hearing. My hearing loss is recent, but it's sure been interesting. I borrowed his hearing aid for my right ear and it was amazing how much better I could hear. Do you have any idea how much hearing aids cost??? $4000. Yup. Tons. My implants are costing a little over $5000, so hearing aids are out for me for awhile. I want Bill to let me wear one and he can wear one, but he's emotionally attached to them now. I told him the doctor said my ears are very very clean, but he's keeping them hidden from me now.

Last night, after we got little Rowan to sleep and we were both exhausted and lying in bed, he said, "what's that?"

I said, "what?"

And he said, "I said, goodnight, hon."

And I laid there a minute, then I just cracked up. And we both had a laugh.

Today, after dealing with Rowan(she is such a pistol, talks and moves non-stop), the dogs, the bills, and the house, I headed uptown at noon to do some errands and take her to a craft class at the craft store. I live 5 miles out of town. I took Bill his lunch, but as I got out of the car, realized I didn't have my purse.

"Bad word."

I went into the dealership with Rowan carrying Grandpa's lunch and said, "Hi hon, I am having the worst day. I forgot my purse and I have to go back home and get it."

He said, "Before you go, I need a couple of checks for Home Depot."

I said, "I forgot my purse and I have to go back home and get it."

He said, "where's your drivers license?"

Me: Head exploded.

What a day. I also owe Rowan a million dollars when I get it because we made a bet that Max didn't have a middle name and Max didn't think he did, and guess what, he does. So I'm in hock to my granddaughter till eternity.

And me and Bill are wandering through our days failing to communicate.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"Put a Sock in it!" Grrrrrrrrr

My sister says "the strangest things happen to you, Arlene." And she's right. I don't get up in the morning and think "what strange thing can I make happen today" but it seems to be a gift.

Yesterday, Bill and I went to church with Madison. She, on her own, has started going to church. We're so proud of her and disgusted with her parents. She wanted to bear her testimony, so we went with her. It was fun because it was our "home ward" both of us had lived in for awhile and we had lots of friends there. One of James' childhood friends is in the bishopric and that is always fun.

But, the strangest thing happened. We were sitting next to a woman who talked loudly to her husband throughout the whole meeting. He kept saying, "shhh...." Anyway, she bounced up to bear her testimony right at the first of the meeting and went on for 20 minutes about her daughter's move to Texas and the problem with the black movers who kept stealing things.
She actually said, "They stole her makeup. I mean, com'on. Does a black guy need makeup?"

Now. I got my problems. I'm a bigot in areas. But that just enraged me. I've known this woman for 30 years and like her. She's always been a little bit manic, but she was nutso yesterday. I leaned over to Bill and said "oh, honey, stop me if I get up and start to rip her face off."

It bothered the two black families who were sitting in back of me also. They got up and walked out during her testimony. Dang, that bothers.

She finally sat down, and others got up, but she talked even more loudly to her husband, excitedly, and leaned over to my husband and said, "Bill, why didn't you stop me, I can't believe I talked so long, why didn't you cut me off (making that hand gesture on her throat)?"

At that point, I leaned over and whispered loudly, "Helen."

She said, "What?"

I said, "Put a sock in it, I'm trying to listen to the speakers." And I made the cutting gesture. And sat back.

She jumped up and ran out. And the rest of the meeting was quiet.

At the close of the meeting, I was hugging my granddaughter and telling her how much I loved her and how proud I was and I would be back to pick her up after YW (I was going to my ward RS) when somebody grabbed my shoulder and I looked up into Helen's tear streaked face.

She started going on about how I'd ruined the meeting for her, all kinds of stuff that I didn't remember. I snapped, "GROW UP!" and turned away from her as Madison walked off, to say hi to some old friends. She gasped and was quiet for a minute.

But she wouldn't let it--or me go. She went on and on in my face. Luckily for her, I didn't lose my temper. Or she'd have two black eyes and I'd be in jail. I said, "Helen, I like you. But it was incredibly rude of you to talk out loud and I wanted to hear what that guy was saying."

She was off again. You guys, it's entirely possible she was on steroids, she was acting nuts. Finally, I said, "Helen, this isn't the time or the place to have this conversation. I'm leaving."

Now, she was babbling to Bill, also, and her husband was just traumatized, he didn't hear what I'd said to her (we're all hard of hearing LOL). He didn't know what she was bawling about. He kept asking me. And I was just leaving. He finally got that I'd hurt her feelings and when I said, "I have to leave" he said angrily, "yes, you do."

I left the room, leaving (My husband can be the sweetest guy) Bill there with her and her husband. I looked back and Bill had his arms around her patting her back as she cried.

I frankly didn't give a crap. But I was thinking, "drama follows me like a bad cold."

I'm going to send her a card with flowers apologizing for my blantant unkindness. I'm not saying I'm sorry. But I know this woman. She is not a racist, nor is she mean. (I am mean). She is a moron, obviously, but a ditzy, hyperative woman. She is kind at heart, I know.

She must be going through menopause and she is in remission for breast cancer and obviously having some mental problems. For me to have ripped her a new butthole, or to have taken her out in the back and beat the crap out of her, either with my fists or words, would have been to easy and have been my bad.

In fact, I think my unkindness was the more egregious error.

Although, I called her bishop this morning and he said he spent the rest of the day trying to reconcile the two black families and hours in the evening trying to get Helen, who did not realize what she'd said and was mortified, to calm down. He said he thought somebody needed to tell her off. Not in those words, but somebody needed to tell her, anyway.

Last night I kept thinking of all your guys crazy church stories and thought, "well, I sure have a good one now."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Elevator Conversation

This conversation took place in the maybe 60 seconds it took us to get from 1st to 3rd floor of the medical building. You can say a lot in 60 seconds.

So I followed the cute little family with a hyper 5 year old (I'm guessing on the age) and a darling little girl, maybe two, cute little butt in denim shorts, pigtails. She started to grab my hand thinking I was her mom. I was charmed.

A Tom Cruise look-alike pharmacutical salesman jumped on at the last minute and we all looked at each other for a few seconds, then no one could think of anything to say. He looked down.

I spoke quietly: "you guys, just think if this elevator got stuck and we were on here for hours and we told each other all our secrets and got in huge dramatic fights and stuff."

Dead silence.

Then the salesman laughed and said, "that's the strangest thing I've ever heard on an elevator."

Me, thinking ("don't you ever watch TV?")

The young mother said, "I'm claustrophobic, I'd go nuts."

I said, "you guys, just think, she'd go nuts and the elevator would open on the third floor and we'd all be dead because she killed us in her phobic rage."

They all laughed, realizing I was harmless crazy. The young family got off on the second floor, and I traveled on with my new best friend.

I said, "has anybody ever told you you look like Tom Cruise?"

And he said, "All the time."

And I said, "Actually, you look better than Tom Cruise, because you're better dressed and not getting fat and your hairstyle is better."

He held the elevator door for me and laughed and said, "thanks, have a nice day."

And that's the story of my life, how you can get to know people really well, relatively speaking, in 60 seconds. Happens all the time. True story, every word.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Steroids, my new drug of choice

I've lost three teeth in the back of my mouth and OH!


Anyway, so now I'm getting implants (very expensive and my insurance doesn't cover. my poor husband) and last week they moved my sinuses and put in bone grafts and I got sick, of course. Well, the first two days I felt great. Did too much.

Then I got sick, long story and the swelling won't go down and my lymph glands are all swollen and I look bruised well i don't look bruised, I AM bruised. On one side, so I look like a bearded lady and people give me weird looks at IHOP, like "that poor girl, why doesn't she leave him?"

Anyway, Dental Surgeon is now in Mexico, Ear Nose and Throat guy out of town, and I started on my second round of antiobiotics and the swelling got worse. So I go to the ER and got a stupid dr. who put me on very dangerous antibiotics--to take with others no less (Not to worry, the pharmacist gave me a heads up and I didn't take them), but he gave me Decadron.

I took two. Which is why I'm awake and mouthy.

But you guys, these make you feel good. All happy and energetic and full of optimism. I'd take those if I played baseball. Or was a movie star or and pretty rich girl who sticks her boobs out artfully and is now wasting away in jail. I would.

I had no idea steroids made you feel good. I thought they messed up your metabolism and made you have muscles or something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My most embarrassing moment

My daughter, Sarah, has an unusual voice in writing. I love to read what she writes because I know her so well and I can just hear her speaking. She has a radiant and sweet personality and is slightly goofy. Unlike me, I am totally a goofball.

She and Nick have moved to Orem to go to school and I find myself missing her more than I've missed her since she was oh, maybe 12.

I remembered a paper she wrote when she was about 15. A part of it went like "Would you like to know my most embarrassing moment, that didn't even happen to me? I'll tell you! It was in fifth grade. We were all in class and it was very quiet and my best friend, Lisa, farted very loud and everybody laughed. Lisa farting in class was my most embarrassing moment."

She wrote a couple of e-mails to her teacher, one saying: "Mr. E., Instead of passing back our papers from left to right, I would appreciate it if you would now pass them from right to left because I don't want BJ to see what my grades are. Thank you for coperation" (that's how she spelled it.)

The other said: "I have checked my grades on-line and you still haven't given me credit for that assignment I handed in. Please fix this or I will be forced to make a complaint. Thank you."

She was in eighth grade.

My most embarrassing moments are too painful to discuss. I have plenty of funny moments that others might consider humiliating, but the real embarrassments, I don't talk about.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My new addiction

I have discovered Tetris. Bill and I always bicker when we travel because his driving bothers me (if I drive, we bicker, also, because my driving bothers him). So I went to Wal-Mart and got a recommendation from a kid to try Tetris.

It works like a charm. I sit with my nose glued to the game and never notice when he drives off the road. He won't play it when I drive though. Probably too hard for him.

But, you guys, I think I'm getting pretty good at it. Like I can get up to six without even trying. I've never made it past nine, but at first I never got past zero.

My grandson says he's been to 30, but I think he's fibbing. Imagine fibbing to your own grandma so she won't know she's better than you.

I take it everywhere and I'm like a snotty teenager, ignoring everyone and playing my game. It's wonderful to watch TV with because I can't just sit and watch TV.

Well, I like technology.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You cannot get a man to say another man is cute. Mostly.

I had the coolest talk with Daniel Bartholomew today, it's fun to "meet" people you've met on the blog. Let me see, I've met Heather Pitts and Sarebear in real life, and talked to two Lisas on the phone. FMH Lisa and Lisa's Rambling Lisa. Awesome.

But this is funny. to me. Daniel and I discussed a mutual acquaintance on the blog, a guy, and I asked, "what did he look like?" He said, "tall."

I said, "is he cute?"

He wouldn't answer. I laughed and said "woman totally notice if another woman is beautiful. If a woman goes up and bears fervent testimony, we will notice her clothes and hair."

Bill won't tell me if another man is cute, either. He literally can't describe another man except in terms of height. Sometimes weight--skinny or chubby, that's it.

I will say, "give me a break, he was standing right in front of you. You can't tell if he's homely or good-looking?"

"My mind doesn't work that way."

That's what Daniel said, too. Yeah, right. Go, girls.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Movie Reviews

Bill and I have gone over to Netflix. I quite enjoy it because I hate shopping and being in a video store makes my brain numb.

I've seen some good ones lately.
I thought I would become Roger Ebert. If John Mellencamp can do it, so can I.

The Painted Veil - The best movie I've seen in a long time, also the saddest. I can't remember anybody's name, but a good man (Edward Norton) falls in love with a rather vacuous, although lovely (Naomi Watts). They live in China and the photography alone makes this movie worth watching. Or maybe somewhere in Asia.

I don't want to spoil it, but this is a very good movie.

Venus - They use the F word all the time, perhaps there's other cussing. Peter O'Toole's performance redeems everything objectionable in this movie. I think everyone acts well, but Peter O'Toole, he's hot at 87. This is such a sweet movie. Although I haven't seen the end yet, so if it ends badly, not my bad.

DreamGirls - I don't think you really can sue somebody for telling your life story or even an event from your life, if it's public, but if you can, Diana Ross and Barry Gordy have a case. This is blatant Supremes. DreamGirls tells it like the Diana Ross person (Deena, I think) didn't have near as much talent as the (Mary Wilson?) person.

I actually think Beyonce Knowles was pretty good in this, not Oscar good, but pretty good. Eddie Murphy was good, I heard he sang his own songs, and he did well. The music was enjoyable, but didn't rise to the level of my two top soundtracks: The Big Chill and Phenomenon. This movie was okay, not over-done with the musical numbers and I thought the ending was sweet.

Little Children - Well, I thought this movie was something else entirely and I recommend against it. Way sex, way. Naked bodies. Adultery, perversion. Skip it.
Although, the ending was actually the best part of the movie, because the guy who'd persecuted the sex offender, to the point of causing his mother to die of a heart attack, shows genuine remorse and apologizes and it does end with hope.

Well, I know it was awful, but I wanted to see how it ended, thus I fast forwarded quite a bit.

Catch and Release - This movie was so much better than the reviews led me to believe it would be, Jennifer Garner is really a wonderful person and I guess that's what comes out in her acting. Although, it could be acting.

Diane Keaton has made these quasi-comedies and there have been several others that promise to be funny and they're not funny or entertaining, so I was prepared to be disappointed. But this movie was just right in so many ways, sweet, funny, profound, lovely.

The fat guy, I'd go out with him if I were 25 years younger. I liked him the best of all the guys in the movie. I just enjoyed his personality.

That's it for now! Next, I'm getting The Office, Season 1, The Good German and Letters From Iwo Jima. Bill always gets two and I get one because all present evidence to the contrary, I don't watch movies that much LOL.

Would anybody recommend The Woodsman? I rented The Departed and Bill sent it back before I could even watch it and Sarah told me not to, although my hairdresser loved it. Bill knows me though, excessive violence bothers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


This n That, playing with picture card :)

Princess Buttgold has turned 21. She's officially an adult. Her sister is taking her out "clubbing and dancing" tonight, which makes me nervous. But not too. Sarah is a good kid. I laughed and asked her husband if he was okay was that and he said, "I trust Sarah." She celebrated her birthday with our little granddaughter, Rhiannon, aka "Beannie."

Her mother started calling her "the bean" when she was a newborn because she was so tiny and skinny and long. Now everyone calls her Beannie. She has this mass of curly hair but some bald spots so for her birthday we gave her a blue wig. She was in heaven. Beannie is a little snot, she's very busy and stubborn--she's so our relative :). We celebrated her third birthday and Sarah's the same day. We spoiled her rotten and we were all exhausted when her dad finally took her home.

AND, Rowan graduated kindergarten! She had her final dance review, Maddie's voice review is next week and Max is done with the Scout-a-Rama. The last week has been so peaceful at my house.

When Sarah graduated from pre-school, they wore caps and gowns, no lie. Rowan's teacher scaled it down a bit and it was pleasant and short.

And the only thing I can think of is how peaceful my life is going to be with no lessons to truck kids to.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I've been in St. George for the last couple days, dentist and doctor visits and the like. I enjoy the get-aways by myself. I always stay in the same modest clean little motel and I feel sort of free being all by myself. I give myself permission to wander, to window shop and relax.

Although St. George isn't very relaxing this time of the year--it's so hot! It was sure nice to come home to this homey little house after two days of navigating the traffic and enduring the heat. It's always nice to come home.

We have a small family room downstairs, but we seldom use it anymore. This is our "front room." There's a small antique (but working) wood stove in the corner. It's a cozy room with lots of fishing pictures. I call it Bill's room, because I wanted him to have a place to be comfortable in and I can be near him.

My office is always cluttery--I would like to say I know where everything is, but I frequently lose things and forget what I'm doing. Bill has a shop out back with a full size fridge (kept stocked with his favorites), a work bench, a TV hooked up to satellite, and all his fly tying stuff. It's very neat and organized.

Don't tell Julie I poached her idea :). I'm figuring out my digital camera and the stuff you can do with it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

School is almost out, Thank God

My former, much maligned, sometimes unfairly--by me, daughter-in-law moved back to Cedar City last summer. She flies by the seat of her pants, everything is at a high drama level and the resulting chaos and messiness drive me crazy. She's a sweet mama, though, and she loves the kids. I started out the year by volunteering in kindergarten (Rowan) and 2nd grade (Max), and trucking the kids every Wednesday to their lessons.

My Wednesdays went like this:

1:30 Drive 2 miles north to pick up the younger kids at school (Rowan always shouts "I knew you'd come!")

1:30-2 pm Drive 4 miles south to Maverik for a very important part of our day, treats at Maverik. I started out spending $20 a shot, but we're down now to a thrifty $2.50, $1.25 per kid and they are serious about their choices.

2:30 pm Drive 2 more miles south to pick up Madison at middle school, take her for her treats, while Rowan and Max sit in the car and argue politics. Rowan never shuts up and Max can't resist arguing with everything she says.

3 pm Drive 2 yet more miles into the center of town to drop Max off to karate, he usually changed in the car.

3-3:45 Drive 7 miles home home, listen to Rowan read, and discuss politics with her while Maddie eats all the doritos and watches TV and surfs the web.

4 pm Drive back into town (4 miles) to drop Maddie off for voice.

4-4:30 pm Run errands, then wait in the car outside Maddie's voice lesson till 4:30

4:30 Drive 4 miles back to my house to drop Maddie off to veg, eat and watch TV (we have satellite, and the internet, they don't, she's 12--guess why she likes to come to my house)

5 pm Drive 5 miles back out to Enoch to drop Rowan off to dance, she changes in the car

5:15 pm Drive 7 miles back into town to pick Max up from karate

6 pm Drive 5 miles back to dance to pick up Rowan

Sometimes I have dinner on in a crockpot, sometimes I take them for a hamburger before taking them home.

But you young mothers, I have so much respect for you. This is one huge reason I'm exhausted and have much less time to blog.

Come June, lessons will end, recitals will be over and I won't be trucking kids. I paid for their lessons and I knew they wouldn't make them unless I took them. I resent this a little, only because when I have to drive them, etc. and have them all the same day, I don't enjoy them. I don't get to rest with them, read with them.

But they know me. They feel totally comfortable and welcome in my house. I have become what my grandma was, a port in the storm, because although their mother is sweet and loving, their home life is so chaotic and my stepson so unpredictable, going between abuse and kindness, these children need some stability, something they can count on to always be the same.

And you know, it's worth it every time Max looks up from his schoolwork, sees me waiting in the hall and the kids say ("Max, it's your grandma!") and he gives me that shy smile, trying not to look excited. And Rowie runs up to me in the middle of the story her teacher is reading and throws her arms around me and says "I knew you'd come." I knew you'd come. Please, God, let me have the strength to always be there for these children.

And thank you for June and the end of school.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bored with life

I think I might be getting depressed again, maybe the Cymbalta has plateaued, but I'm going to the doctor today. Perhaps he will suggest a nice glass of red wine in the middle of the afternoon for a pick me up.

I don't feel much like blogging, I feel like vegging out in front of the TV. In front of the TV in my beautiful pretend bathroom that has a Jacuzzi tub and TV with remote and lots of channels.

So I'll probably be AWOL for awhile. I keep thinking I'll refresh and I do, a little, and go like gangbusters, then I get bored and tired again. I never thought I'd be bored with blogging, but I sort of am.

Sorry, guys. You loyal few :).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Eight Cow Wife

I just realized I didn't blog about my anniversary--what we did. First, well, last, but this is so cool, I learned how to text message and spent the ride home playing with Bill's phone. Then I spent the next week text messaging the only child of mine who would answer me. It's quite fun and now I am like a teenager totally ignoring people around me as I click with my thumbs.

When Bill and I got engaged, I didn't get a diamond. I wanted one--I never had one in my first marriage--but we were poor and had the kids and other considerations. I kept hoping he'd value me enough to go into debt to get one, but he listened to me when I said never mind. So I didn't get one and I held it against him.

About five years after we got married, he gave me a pair of tiny diamond earrings. When I saw that box, I was thrilled, thinking it was finally a diamond. I tried not to show my disappointment. When I turned forty, he gave me a beautiful diamond necklace. I love it, but my resentment festered because I am that way.

While I held it against him for not getting me one, though, I never thought I really deserved it. I never thought I was a normal girl or even one anyone should marry, let alone gift with a beautiful ring. My inferiority complex kept me in a prison as I went back and forth, resenting him and feeling sorry for myself, then berating myself as unworthy, then feeling even sorrier for myself because I hated myself.

Am I a nutjob or what? Well, this year he did it. He bought me a beautiful anniversary ring, small and simple with shiny diamonds, exactly what I would want.

He cried when he gave it to me, I was in shock, but you guys, you wouldn't believe how it has changed our relationship. It just feels more official. I feel more valuable.

I always chastised myself for being materialistic in wanting that ring. And I got after Sarah because she felt Nicolas could have done better than the pawn shop diamond he got her (the stone kept falling out and now it's lost) and, when she couldn't wear her ring because of the aforementioned falling out of the diamone, I'm the one who put the bug in Nick's ear to buy her a band. A $30 band from Wal-Mart.

I don't think Sarah will feel good about herself until Nick puts a real ring on her finger. I don't want to make anybody feel bad here, but for heaven's sake, Bill and I wasted 25 years feeling bad about something that he could have fixed in the first place with a $500 ring. It seems a cheap trade off.

Women have tender feelings. These things mean a heck of a lot more than a material possession.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Welfare Mom

My mother was a welfare mom. We still went hungry but she always had booze and cigarettes. I sort of grew up embarrassed and a bad feeling towards welfare moms.

But I'm having second thoughts. I'm thinking "mom" is the important word here.

My daughter-in-law, who I've griped about to the heavens has moved to our area with my four grandchildren. She gets some child support from my stepson, but I'm not sure how much or how consistent he is, as we are mostly estranged.

She's working at Albertson's in their pharmacy from 11 am to 9 pm, making something like $11 an hour. She's had a tough time getting babysitters for that late at night. I have the three oldest kids on Wednesdays after school and her foster family helps out quite a bit, but it's still a dodgy proposition.

The state will pay for her babysitter, approximately $2000 a month. But they will not pay her $2000 a month to stay home with her kids.

That just doesn't make sense to me. It seems like it would benefit society for her to be home, assuming she's not drunk out of her gourd like my mother or stoned, etc. She's got her faults, but those kids would be better off with their mother.

In this case and others like it, forcing them to work defeats the purpose and tends to break up the family even more.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My marriage Part 2

Well, I didn't realize I was sounding so negative in my prior post. I guess I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, Bill would disagree that he didn't love me. In fact, he often does :). I will say, "no, you didn't." And he will say, "I did, too. It was just a hard adjustment."

Tell me about it. I went from a free and easy life with one child to three children and a husband. I'd only needed to work part time and I was more of a bachelor than Bill was. We ate macaroni and cheese. He canned his own tomatoes, did his ironing and kept a spotless house. He dated one other woman besides me. I had a little black book.

When I was happy, I was very happy. We both agree that when it's good between us, it's excellent. But when we aren't getting along (think Felix and Oscar), it's pretty bad. But despite the terrible times, we've always had a spark. Sex is not to be underestimated.

I will now go on with the story of my marriage. Looking back, I don't know how I survived four kids. I always had a couple of callings, worked in the PTA, bottled all the vegetables we ate, ground the flour that made the bread we ate, cooked, cleaned, and washed. I trucked kids to baseball, dance lessons, piano lessons, scout activities. I did birthday parties, Christmas, Easter, and on and on.

I remember when the kids would get sick and we couldn't seem to shake the flu, I would strip the beds and wash blankets, spreads, mattress covers, everything. Looking back, I worked my tail off. Oh, and I managed the finances, paying all the bills and doing the shopping.

Heck it's no wonder I was a nutjob.

Now when I have my four grandkids overnight, I have to rest for a week.

My heart just goes out to you young mothers. Honestly.

Bill, despite his devotion to the gospel, was less than supportive about family home evenings (which we had faithfully until James died and I lost all faith in these programs--and myself) and scripture reading and prayers. He is a task oriented person. He's definitely the one you want around if something needs doing.

However, as men go, he was probably better than a lot of men. He would rock the kids at night, cook, and he's always good for washing dishes.

The middle years of our marriage, looking back, were simply consumed with surviving parenthood and hoping our kids would survive as well. Being a blended family, we had unique challenges in his ex-wife and her influence against what we were trying to instill in the kids. Bill and James never got along. It was more my fault than either of them. Long story for another day.

Now, Sarah got married a year and a half ago. After the year of me going kind of crazy with menopause and adjusting to being alone in the house with my husband, we are coming to another place in our life.

He's getting to be my best friend. Don't tell him I said that in case I ever hate him and change my mind.

But really, life is so different without kids in the house. We have more money. It's quiet. We are forced to get to know each other and appreciate each other, perhaps for the first time in our lives.

Young people who marry have at least nine months together to get to know each other, to bond, and solidify their commitment. We didn't have that, so we're sort of backwards. It's sort of peaceful and pleasant now.

I can see his sterling qualities. And he's nicer to me. Thank God kids leave home.

As for my wish that I'd been one of God's smarter children and chosen to stay in heaven, I'm still convinced that's the way to go. Marriage is only one hardship of mortality. I really don't believe anybody told me mortality was mostly hard. I think I got sold on the body, becoming like Heavenly Father, "it'll only be a minute out of eternity" that sort of sales tactics. Somebody up there is a very good salesman. I should have read the fine print.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My marriage Part 1 of 2

As I posted before, Bill and I have been married 25 years. This is a total miracle. Also Bill isn't a quitter. I am. If it were up to me, we'd have been divorced the first year.

Bill didn't love me when we got married. I wasn't his type at all, I was the total opposite of his former wife and it took him some time to stop trying to re-make me in her image. I felt I was totally out-classed by both of them and I allowed this for awhile before my inner nutjob came out and I began to regularly rip his face off.

We met on a blind date-set up by my bishop, no less. I was dating someone else quite seriously and I didn't want to go out with Bill. My bishop said, "I'm not asking you to marry the guy. He's just divorced and I want to fix him up with a date." I grudgingly agreed to go out with him.

You guys, he was so hot, tall, dark, and handsome with a deep voice and a commanding air. He spent our first date talking about his ex-wife (who'd cheated on him and left him with their children). I figured he was too "pretty" and on the rebound and trouble and when he asked me out again, I said no. Also, I was almost engaged to somebody else.

But I broke up with the other guy (long story) and I needed a date for this ward thing. So I called Bill, totally blase about it and asked him to go. We went out a couple of times and the other guy was killed in a terrible accident. That was a rough time in my life. But Bill and I bonded.

He seemed to really like me, but I think it was all physical as I look back on it. He proposed about six weeks after we began dating in earnest. I must confess that I wasn't really in love with him, either. He was handsome and rich (I thought, what a joke :) and active in the church. He seemed perfect.

We did have an idyllic six weeks of engagement and a wonderful honeymoon. Everything ended when we had to come home and take care of three kids and deal with the laundry and bills. And he realized he wasn't married to his ex-wife anymore and I realized I wasn't married to Jesus reincarnated.

I was prettier than she was but not as organized. Not as good a cook or housewife. I drove him crazy with my emotional demands. He thought now that he had a babysitter all he had to do was go to work and bowhunting. And bowling and play poker with his friends.

This is sort of funny, but he gets mixed up about "our song." He still thinks it was "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" which was his and Julie's song. Every once in awhile he will say "you are the sunshine of my life." I reminded him once that was Julie's song, but he's old and senile now, so I just look at him and sort of smile and think "I married a moron who only looks like Gregory Peck."

It was rough for the first, oh, 24 1/2 years. LOL. I threw him out regularly the first two years, had a total breakdown from exhaustion and stress. Through it all, I cooked and bottled and stretched the few dollars we had to clothe the kids and provide them with lessons and bikes.

But I can honestly say that, while I've been legally married for 25 years, I've only been happily married, oh--maybe six months. That would be the first month, this last month, and a day here and there in between. I won't know if we had a good marriage till we're both dead and can look back and see if it worked after all.

And I still often think if I had to do it over again, I'd be a ministering angel to all you guys and skip all the grief of mortality.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Don't ever grab a lady's purse in Cedar City

I was walking into the grocery store last year (don't read this if I already posted on it and forgot) when a lady suddenly screamed and shouted, "he took my purse!" I looked up to see twenty or thirty people chase this guy down and one tackled him, bringing him down hard.

Then they piled on top of him so he couldn't get away. I walked over and yelled, "you're going to hurt him, you guys!" I was seriously worried.

The cops got there right away, rescued him, and the lady got her purse back. They took him to jail. He was a runaway from Pennsylvania. The paper wrote about it.

I think it's quite funny how that kid almost got killed purse snatching in Utah. Bet he never does that again.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Rowan, my six year old granddaughter, is a pistol. She never stops talking and is very aware of her person-hood. She's funny, too, we get each other's jokes and we laugh a lot. I spanked her the other day because, contrary to my instructions, she banged on the door where her sister was sleeping and woke her up. Well, I swatted her once. Boy, did she get mad. She was taking her toys and going home.

A couple of weeks ago, she was over here, sitting in her little rocking chair watching some childrens show on TV. I was cooking in the kitchen and I could hear a lady on the show saying, "nobody's perfect, and that's okay!"

Rowan got up and came in the kitchen, looking very disgusted. She said, "Grandma, I don't like that show. That lady said we're not perfect and I know I'm perfect."

I said, "Sweetheart, nobody's perfect."

She declared, "well, I am!"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Twenty-five years

When I was a little girl, I used to eavesdrop on adult conversations, my grandparents quiet murmuring as my grandma got my grandpa off to work, the good smell of coffee in the air, my mom and her friends gossiping and laughing. I longed to be able to have conversations where I could say, "remember 20 years ago when. . .?" Now I can. Twenty years can go by in a blink of an eye. In fact, the older I get, the more time flies. It's cliche, maybe, but it's true.

It seems like yesterday that Bill and I met and fell in love. What fools we were. He thought I was a cute, sweet girl, who would worship him forever. He didn't know that I would say up all night holding my eyelids open to read a book. He didn't know that I am the laziest person on the planet and I avoid the outdoors like the plague. He didn't know that I would fight him to the death over a recipe or nag him to take wood to the neighbor. And nag him to do it again.

I didn't know he was a big jerk. LOL, not really. I thought he was the perfect man. I fell for that pretty face. I didn't know he would get up at 4 in the morning, starting in April and practice for the bow hunt, ignoring the rest of us for months at a time. Then gardening season would come and he would continue ignoring us. I didn't know he had a temper like a bad thunderstorm or that he was the cheapest man on earth.

But, then, he didn't know I would open his eyes to the rest of the world through reading. He didn't know that he would be blessed by the relationships that would come into his life as he served others. He didn't know, couldn't know, that my emphasis on family would bring his oldest children back into his life and bless him with the joy of a close relationship with his grandchildren. He didn't know that when the chips were down for him, I would be there.

And I didn't know that he never gives up. He wouldn't let our marriage fall by the wayside. He has an inner strength I never dreamed of as he's been there, strong (and silent, yep) for our kids as they've struggled. I didn't know he would be so strong when Jared got cancer, holding his grown son in his arms as they both cried and vowed to fight it. I didn't know he was a total weenie for animals and little kids.

Twenty-five years. How did that happen? March 6, 2006, we will be off celebrating somewhere, it's a surprise for me and no one will tell me. Here's to another twenty-five.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Plus I've figured out how to crop

Toby & Shelby: guess who's the dangerous one.

Jessie's mermaid picture which is on the alphabet blocks at Primary Children's. My child is a famous person.

Now I wish it were faster. . .

That's pretty much all I have to say. I am having so much fun.

I have joined my sister to E Harmony and LDS Singles. I plan to pick the guys, too, because despite the fact that she's kind of a battle axe, she's very gullible about men. So I will be the one to tell them "hit the road, Jack" if anything seems out of line.

LDS singles is interesting because they post tons of pictures, unlike E Harmony. Although it costs.

I've joined and listed every school (almost) that I went to. Which why doesn't anyone post their pictures? I want to see what my old boyfriend looks like now.

I just wish it would go faster. It's hard to blog and surf the web and keep up with e-mail and play hearts all at the same time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I have DSL!

I got DSL yesterday. I've been plodding along on dial-up, where it takes a half hour to complete a search. This is downtown, you guys.

Bill and Sarah wouldn't use my computer because it was so slow.

I am having a blast with it, too, all over the planet looking for stuff. I've been playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire on-line (did you know JFK went to Stanford?) and checking out my netflix queue and reading the Drudge report.

And it doesn't cost more because I bundled on Qwest. And guess what, we have satellite with 185 channels, too! Which I think 60's music is the best music. I love the travel and food channels and animal planet. There is actually a whole channel devoted to gay Mormons which I haven't watched.

This is all very exciting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My garbage can is my new best friend

I am a pat rack. Uh. rat pack. Strike that. Reverse it. I save stuff just in case and if somebody I loved blows their nose, I frame the tissue. As a consequence, we have a house crammed with junk.

Lately, I have been feeling much better and going through stuff and hauling out bags of garbage. And it is garbage. As I am going through old drawers and find ragged clothes, I say to myself, "make the garbage can your friend, this has filled the measure of its creation" and I toss it. It is working for my messed up psyche and the house is much more organized and clean. It also smells better, not that old grandma moldy smell.

So, at the risk of offending the environmentalists (well, recycle as much as possible), I would like to say to you, meet your new friend, the garbage can.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sarah came crying home to Mom.

I need advice. Real advice.

Sarah came home a couple of days ago upset with Nicolas. No immorality, no abuse, or addiction problems. Long story. Also she might not want me to post it on my blog.

What I need to know is how far should I go in advice/comfort? First of all, I adore Nicolas. So that's not an issue. But they are considering a move which will entail some debt and we are nervous about it. I sort of said as much to her and let it go. We'll help them as much as we can.

I have to be careful, because if I make a suggestion, she takes it as an order and gets mad or decides she has to obey. I have to always add the caveat "you don't have to do this, just a thought."

But Bill wants to sit her down and really go through the financial implications of their decision. Which makes me nervous.

What would you guys do?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You've Got to Read This Book!

That's the title of a book I'm reading now by Jack Canfield, the creater of the Chicken Soup series. A bunch of famous and rich people tell the book that changed their lives. It got me to thinking.

The book that changed my life was True Story magazine, anybody remember them? My mom used to read them and leave them laying around. I guess she was hungry for romance.

When I was seven, I had already gone to four schools and lived in, I think five towns. Somewhere I'd learned phonics. I was bored one day, leaning against the radio where we spent much of our time being entertained and I picked up my mom's magazine. I thought since I knew the sound each letter made, I could sound out the words.

I did. By the end of the year, I was checking out big books from the library and I'd found my salvation from the world of degradation and poverty we lived in.

True Story is not an appropriate magazine for a seven-year-old. But it saved me.

What book changed your life?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Laughing Hyenna(Guest Post by Barb)

Shortly after starting at my current I company, I sat a reserved position with the name of someone who I had gone to school with starting in the first grade. I pondered leaving a note signed, "The laughing hyenna was here." I wasn't quite sure if she was one in the same or if she would even remember that nickname that she called me sometimes in first grade. I don't know if it was here or Danny who gave it to me, but I think they both liked to say it. She said that the name fit as I laughed just like the hyennas at the zoo.

When I finally saw someone occupying the desk that matched a mental image of what my friend may look like, I confronted her to find out if she were my friend from grade school who I last saw at age twelve. She was. She said she would not have recognized me as my hair is a much darker blonde. I access memories quite easily of first grade and grade school in general and running into her may make what I call my Norman Rockwell years more concrete. Home life and school were great in those years. My school was a small Catholic school with a small town feel.

My first grade teacher was a nun with dark brown hair and very pale skin. She wore dark rimmed glasses that were not very stylish but probably about the norm for the 70's. I have little sound bites of her and my class. My family thinks I remember everything. Of course, that is not true. But there is so much that I recollect from first grade that may equal my memories in a given year in high school.

One day before the school day started, I was walking around with jerking movements acting like I was a robot or something thereabouts. Sister let me do it for a time and then said it was time to wind down as the school day would be starting. I followed her cue and said my batteries were running out. Later, I would read a report card with her comments from first grade where she wrote about my coming out of a shell. I don't remember being in a shell. Perhaps I was very observational without talking at times until I got to know people, which is different than being shy.

The boy's plaid pants that my mom had me wear under my uniform to keep my legs warm on a walk on a cold winter morning were the subject of conversation one school day. The fact that they were boys pants was pointed out by one of my classmates. Sister started talking about hand-me-downs and how if you had an older brother that you may receive boys clothes. Wow, that was just like me. I felt special.

After randomly questioning us as to what we had for breakfast one morning and pointing out the food groups, sister said the french toast that my mom made would have all the groups if I had some fruit with it. After all, it is made with milk, eggs, and bread. She queried if I had orange juice. I thought I must have. I don't think I knew about food groups before that. I beamed at the new found knowledge of my healthy breakfast.

Sister had us students seated on the ground one day and she must have been reading a story. Danny who was my best friend in the class as we sat next to each other and talked a lot the easy conversations of youth. While seated on the ground, Danny scratched me out of the blue. I liked Danny, but I wanted him to know I would not take this. I promptly bit his arm. I am not sure if Danny's offence was seen by Sister. Mine did not pass her by. She asked if I had my rabbi shots? I am sure I looked dumbfounded as sarcasm was beyond me at that age. At that moment, our teacher's aide was there and I was ushered out of the room with her. The aide asked me why I bit Danny. I offered the oft repeated, "I dunno."

In my first grade mind, Sister had made one incredible mistake during the year. She had picked another students doll to be the baby Jesus. The event may had already come and gone, but I still wanted her to know how wrong she was. For show and tell, I took my newborn baby doll that could pass for a boy unlike the obvious girl looking doll chosen. I think I expected her to comment on what a perfect choice for the nativity my doll would be. The events of the day took a different course. I walked my doll around the room for other students to view. Questions of what can it do were made. This was the era of dolls that could eat and perhaps even craw. Sister came to my rescue in saying the doll was for loving.

This was the year I started reading first with sight and see flashcards and then easy readers. We practiced our addition. For music, we had rhythm sticks. During one music lesson, sister held my attention as she told the story behind the writing of "The Star Spangled Banner." They say your first grade experience sets the tone for your future school experience. I received a great start!