Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm taking a holiday for the holidays :); be back next year !

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Observations on Life

I'm sick again, I'm assuming mono, but my dr. won't let me get tested because it always shows that I've had an infection.  I don't know when he became all born again about lab tests.  I had a colonoscopy on the heels of a diverticulitis attack and now I'm limping around feeling crappy.  Story of my life.  Discouraging to the max.

But I'm still going to work and last night, I was listening to a conversation a couple of other agents were having.  This guy was telling his friend about his medical symptoms and how he manages his illness.  I only heard a bit of the conversation, but it struck me how call center agents are so much alike in temperament. 
Seriously, a lot of us are sickly and we love to talk about our symptoms.  We listen to others talk about their symptoms, with interest and concern.  Other ways we're alike:  we're all readers.  You walk into the break room at lunch time and there are a bunch of agents, eating their healthy food lunches (seriously, you wouldn't believe the salads and carefully prepared meals!) with their noses in a book.   Always, always, of course, people are on their cell phones, checking in with kids and spouses and texting busily.  So, we also are great multi-taskers.  I'd bet many of us are ADD. 

I'm always amazed when I meet another agent and we start talking, at the similarities in our personalities.  Very few dummies in our crowd, they get weeded out right away.  If you can't cut it, you don't last.  That being said, I'm always worried I'll walk in and be fired, but you know what I mean.

So, next time you call customer care for your cell phone, know that the person you're speaking with is probably 1. a reader with a very good awareness of the world   2.  sickly in some chronic way, diabetes, chronic fatigue, heart trouble, etc.,  3.  doing 3 things at once, not including TALKING TO YOU!  4.  concerned about others, I forgot to put that.  We're givers, servers, for the most part.   Many of my co-workers volunteer in the community or give back, even when they have very little to give.

Once again, I encourage you to see the people around you, really see them.  If you can make a human connection with that faceless voice when you call in upset and angry or stymied, you're going to get a lot better service.   We're always encouraged to do that with our customers and almost all of us do---of course, it's something I'm a genius at---well, not a genius, gifted from God.   But not too many of us go in to work every day with an apathetic attitude toward our fellow man. 

Just think about it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Brad will be graduating from Marine Corps boot camp tomorrow.  He'll be home ten days, then leave for two months.  By the time they have their one year anniversary, they'll have lived together for 6 months.  It will sure be glad to see him.  I'm so glad he made it :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scaring myself

I usually get off work around midnight.   Well, between 10 pm and midnight.  I drive home the back way and am usually the only car on a long dark road.  I turn on talk radio and at that time of the night, they're talking about aliens and satanic stuff and ghosts.  And I drive down the long dark road half scared to death, waiting for something to pop out at me on the road.

The few houses are dark; like I said, no other traffic. 

I can't believe I keep doing this.  It's probably quicker to take the freeway.  And safer. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I went to the school yesterday to help in my granddaughters' classrooms.  Rowan is in 3rd grade.  They talked about counting change; piece of cake.  I could handle that.

Then I went to Rhiannon's class.  I was in charge of her center, helping her and other children write numbers.  You know, it's very confusing to know what is the correct way to teach a child to write "2" and "5" not to mention, the teacher instructed me so quickly, I was a bit mystified about the graph the kids were supposed to fill in using dice.  And Rhiannon wasn't having my help on this day.  She kept mixing up 2 and 5 and arguing with me about it.  As I looked around the room, another mother helped in one corner, the teacher was at a different table and at another table, kids had on earphones and were laughing and turning pages of a book quickly as chimes rang out. 

The teacher suddenly got up and turned on music and everybody seemed to know what to do except me.  Rhiannon, age 5, knew where to put her things and exactly what to do.  I was thinking, "what a good teacher to have taught them this routine so quickly."

And I was also thinking "even Kindergarten's too complicated for me."

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I worry about getting fired every day.  Being fired would be one of the worst, most humiliating experiences I can imagine.  Unthinkable, getting fired.  I think it's my generation because a lot of the young people I work with talk about being fired in a rather blithe fashion.

I worried about being fired all last year, too, when I worked at the school.  Looking back, I realize I was the stupidest person there, totally unsuited for a job like that and my worry probably was well founded, although I managed not to be fired, but still....     I'm pretty sure I was on a chopping block and missed that bullet by an inch.

At first, in this job, I worried I'd be fired for being too stupid.  Totally daunting, being surrounded by young people for whom computer work was second nature and who knew so much already about cell phones. 

It's so easy to make mistakes in a job like this, where things change on a daily basis and it's impossible to memorize the information about the cell phone industry, to be technically adept at everything a customer could possibly call in about.

I wish I could say I've made every mistake known to woman, but I'm sure I have millions more to make.  When I do, I am filled with anxiety and it upsets my apple cart for days.  The young people I work with don't worry about it at all.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Yesterday I answered the door to a young black man selling some shampoo product door to door.  He was kind and cheerful as I declined to purchase.  I asked him "You're a member of a traveling sales crew?"  When he answered positively, I commented, "It's a hard life you've chosen."

He nodded, but remarked that he enjoyed the travel and meeting new people.  These traveling sales crews are popping up all over the country and remind me of the gypsies of old.  It is, indeed, a hard life, if you follow the news.  I can't imagine why one would choose to live that way.

My niece, Kimberly, has chosen that life.  When she was 17, she disappeared for a year.  We had her dead and buried, of course, it was just an awful experience.  She was listing in a missing childrens' registry and her poster was up on the Wal-Mart bulletin board.  Not a word from her for a year.  Then she turned 18, and turned up out of the blue, with a boyfriend named Paul---or Mark---or David, last name Evans, or Piccini.  We don't really know.

No one liked her boyfriend and she didn't last very long staying with family.  She said she'd been all over the country selling magazines door to door with the yo-yo boyfriend, who I despised on sight.  She lived with her brothers for a few months, and they were so good with her, so eager to take care of her.  But they threw the boyfriend out (she worked---he didn't) and she went with him.  She became pregnant and they married.  My sister, Dessie, adored that little girl, Sammy (Samantha).  

We couldn't find Kimberly to tell her that Dessie had died.  Her husband had been arrested in Salt Lake City and while out on bail, had absconded, Kimberly and the baby in tow.  She called two weeks after the funeral and Dessie's common-law husband, in a fit of bitterness, lashed out at her "your mother's dead and in the grave!"  Kimberly hung up and we never found out where she was and we haven't heard from her since the end of April 2008. 

I worry so about that baby girl, Samantha, with the beast of a father and an obviously incapable mother.  I worry that something will happen to Kimberly and Sammy will be in foster care, not knowing there's a family out there who loves her so much.  Kimberly's two brothers, my nephews, would take such good care of that child and her mother. 

Kimberly's disappearance haunts me.  So, when I saw that smiling young man, I asked him if he knew anyone named Kimberly with a baby girl, about two years old.  No, he replied, he didn't.  I asked him to wait a minute and quickly ran into my office and grabbed up a picture of myself that I'd run off to send to an old school friend---stupid, but I was in a hurry---and stapled a copy of the Irish blessing that I had on my desk and scribbled a note on the back.  I gave it the salesman and asked him if he ever met her, to give him the picture and the poem and to tell him we missed her.  He was kind and assented and also said he would mention her to everyone he met. 

I know, it stupid to think anything could come of it.  I alternate between wanting to throttle this niece of mine and praying fervently for her return.  I'm mad at God because He's messed up on following through on my instructions once again.   Most of the time, He's good on the follow-through, but once in awhile, I'm left extremely frustrated, screaming out to Him in my mind.  I don't understand what He thinks He's accomplishing by not returning this lost sheep to us.

In the meantime, we pray.  Here's a copy of the Irish blessing, one of my favorites, I had impressively printed cards, but gave them all away, so now I make my own.

Irish Blessing

May the roads rise to meet you,

May the winds

be always at your back

May the sun

shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall

Soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in

the hollow of His hand

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rascal, the dog

We got Rascal in 1996; he was the cutest puppy ever, a little white furball.  We'd stopped in at a pet shop and there he was and Sarah cried the crocodile tears, and we had to buy him.   The very next week the pet shop was raided and they found dead and dying dogs and very sick animals and the pet shop owner went to jail over it.  As we walked out of the pet shop, Sarah carrying her new dog, she said "His name is Rascal."

That was pretty psychic because he was a rascal if ever there was one.  He never comes when called, to this day.  He ran away from me, he chewed up the house, he barks if a car drives down the street.  Well, he used to, now he can't hear worth a darn, which has made our life quieter.  He sure was a good watch dog, though.

For all that, Rascal is a gentle soul.  He's never aggressive with other dogs, he's very mentally healthy that way.  He never bothered the cats and for all his barking, has never hinted at hurting a human.  He's good with kids.  My little granddaughter just loves to put the leash on him and he will gently follow her around, putting up with it.  Once, when she was little and he'd had enough, he put his teeth on her arm.  I saw it.  He didn't bite, he didn't hurt her in any way.  It was a slow, gentle act of discipline.  It was like "My dear, I've had quite enough.  Cease and desist."  She screamed her head off, but her feelings were hurt, not her arm. 

Now, in his old age, he's my buddy.  He follows me everywhere I go and sits with me till I go to the next room.  When I'm really upset and crying----I cry very quietly, which may come as a surprise---he seems to know it and he stays glued to my side. 

He's a lot slower now.  We surprise him often; I've learned to touch him softly on his head when he's sleeping or he jumps all over the place.  We have a Jack Russell puppy and sometimes Rascal has a hard time keeping up.  He'll still "man up" though and they play tug of war and tag all over the house.  Rascal just tires out quicker.  He's on a special old dog diet.

It saddens us a bit, to see this spitfire dog who once ran circles around the kids in the neighborhood (so funny to watch them try to catch him---he can still cut a rug that way if he feels like it).  We coddle him.  We let him lie on the front porch in the sun---the other dogs are never allowed out of the fence.  He's the grandpa we're taking care of in his old age. 

He was always Sarah's dog, although he bonded well with me because he had Parvoe when we got him and I nursed him with total loving care.  His life has been a gift in our lives.  Nothing like a good dog.


They were all blissfully nappng.  It didn't look very comfortable to me.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Is it possible for a person with MS and Lupus to live through an attack of Swine Flu and Whooping Cough?  Wouldn't they be dead? Or in Intensive Care?

Stranger in a Strange Land

I often feel like the character in Heinlein's novel (he was a human raised by Martians on Mars, who came to live on earth---I've read the book, but can't remember much about it except for his rather lost feeling); a stranger in an even stranger land.  As I recall the book, he seemed more confused than rejected, but the title alone tells many stories.  For many people.

I relate to that feeling of not belonging.  I never felt like I belonged in my father's family; because I didn't meet most of them until I was 16.  My mother's status as black sheep in her own family created a feeling of other-ness from my aunt and uncles and grandparents, although still, they were family. 

Luckily, I had three little sisters and we formed a rather cohesive group---to this day.  We went hungry and cold together, but we always had each other.  For better or for worse, that is, because we bicker amongst ourselves with the best of them.  That sister-hood, though, has been a source of strength and family to us and to our children to this day. 

There was a fifth sister.  Born third of us (actually the fourth of our mother's children, she'd been raped and impregnanted with a child when she was 18---the child, our brother, Larry, died 3 days after he was born from the pneumonia my mother developed during the pregnancy), our sister was born with the same birth defect that our mother had---a cleft palate sans the harelip.  My mother had a sister who'd died as an infant from the same problem.  My research leads me to believe this was the product of malnutrition in our mother and grandmother. 

My mother had me in September 1952; another sister in May 1954; our middle child born July 1955; another sister was born August 1956 and the baby was born September 1958.  Two later babies died.  My father, as I have written, was a beast, and I can't imagine what my mother went through with three babies in three years, one with a birth defect necessitating hospital stays and time away from her other children.  We were shuffled around quite a bit during that time. 

This third sister lived with an older couple who had older children, the in-laws of our uncle, during a hospital stay and they fell in love with her.  They begged my mother to give my sister to them and she did.  Not without misgivings.  I was adamantly opposed, but since I was 5, my vote didn't count for much.

It would seem like a Cinderella tale.  Comfortable, stable, mature couple adopts child from poverty-stricken home of ignorance.  It certainly seemed like that to me when we visited her.  She had a bike!  and her own room with Barbies!   I wished they would adopt me, too. 

But at the time, only she and the people adopting her were happy.  This picture tells the tale, I think.  Her new parents brought us pencil boxes.  They were lovely, kind, generous people, decent to my mother till their deaths.  But you know, I felt like I was being bought off with that pencil box.  I was not a happy camper.  Look hard at my face.

Ultimately, there was no happier ever after for this little sister of mine.  Ultimately, she didn't belong anywhere.  I know she loved and was loved by the people who adopted her.  But it seemed like she was alone.   I think she was alone at school.  Kids are mean to those who are different. 

Had she stayed with us, certainly she would have suffered hunger and cold and that awful white trash stamp put on us wherever we happened to land.  She would have never had a bike.  She would have never had that cute little room at the top of the stairs----she would have had a spot in the double bed where we all slept in home after home after dumpy home---often with outdoor toilets and no electricity.  The kids would have still been mean.  They were mean to us just because we existed.  She would have had it worse.

But----she would have had us.  I held on to my sisters tighter than any mother held her children.  We would have fought for---and with her.  She would have had best friends.  No doubt Chris probably would have beat her up a time or two and I would have bossed her unbearably and drug her sorry little butt to whatever church was around.  We would have curled up together in the closet when we were afraid and told each other stories and played with each other at recess. 

Now, there is no relationship.  She is bitter and angry.  Through the years, I tried to make a relationship with her, but my other sisters weren't very interested.  Mistakes were made on both sides.  She has chosen to distance herself from her adoptive family, to a large extent and there are frequent temper tantrums and constant blaming and re-hashing of old wounds. 

She posted some ugly comments here last week.   Her hatred and vitriole are coming from a place of deep pain and that feeling of not belonging.  She has chosen to turn her children against me as well.  Truly, I feel this is unwarranted.  My sin?  I forgot to call her immediately when my niece died.  Had there been a relationship between her and my other sister, of course, there would have been no oversight.  But she hadn't seen this niece since she was a baby---25 years at least.  She'd never made an attempt to have a relationship with this girl.  I would bet before she got the call that she'd died, she didn't even remember her name, nor can she name any of my sisters' children now.  Her last interaction with Annie was when she called Annie out of the blue 8 years ago to yell at her for not taking care of our mother.  Our mother, who she despised and never wanted anything to do with.  She never forgave our mother for giving her up for adoption.

I did forget to call her.  Totally.  I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of that kind of oversight.  It happens all the time with my father's family.  It stings, but I don't lash out.  I never have.  I send flowers when I hear of a death and celebrate and we will talk every few years, long, loud "catch-ups" with cousins I didn't know existed until my father died.  It's okay really.  It's life.

On the other hand, I've called her other times.  When Dessie died, I called.  She called me, too, a couple of times, but Dessie's death meant nothing to her.  Our mother, the same.  Why would I think she would mourn---grieve the death of a girl she never knew?

Which is rhetorical, because she's not mourning.  She's been yet again left alone, forgotten and reminded that she doesn't feel like she belongs anywhere.  And she's lashing out at the person, perhaps, she feels safest doing so with---is that a dangling participle? 

I have Chris, and Dessie, and Annie.  My other sister, she doesn't have them.  And I will mourn that till the day I die.  I couldn't make them care about her and I couldn't make her care about them.  I could never get past the walls to establish a real relationship with her kids.  So they won't know that their other aunts are dames---broads--in the truest sense of the words.  They will knock you down and then pick you up and give your kids a bath and feed them all the while telling the funniest jokes. 

She won't be allowed to post here again.   It's funny how people drop you and won't leave you alone.  I've gotten a vicious note on Facebook from her daughter.   I haven't responded till now .  I don't think anyone else in the family has received this treatment, but then again, who knows? 

Just a heads up if you see anybody bashing me elsewhere.  It will be poorly written and spelled, and filled with hatred.  That's how you'll know. 

I  was thinking the other day that it's not the people with high self esteem---even hubris, or conceit----who do the most damage.  It's those who are convinced somewhere inside themselves that they're worthless.  Because they think what they do doesn't matter.  Doesn't have an effect.   I know I do myself and others the most harm when I'm feeling the worst about myself.  Really sad situation.

Friday, October 02, 2009

What did I just say?

True story. Our little Jack Russell got scratched by the cat or something and it got infected and we've had the drama of the dog looking like he has the mumps and it's really quite sad. I took him to the vet to have it cleaned out and when I brought him home, attempted to clean up the clean out.

Later when Bill came home, I was telling him about it and I said, "I put him in the tub and washed it out with salt and pepper." Luckily Bill can't hear very well, or I would have won the "which one of us is more senile" contest.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Conversation with Bill

I usually get off work by 11:30 pm; sometimes later, sometimes a little earlier. By the time I get home, take some time to gather myself and adjust, it's pretty late when I get to bed. I always have a hard time falling asleep, so maybe I'll fall asleep by 2 am. But Bill leaves for work around 8:30 am and since I leave for work at 4 pm, we don't see each other much.

I've been getting up in the mornings so we can spend the mornings together before he leaves for work, but sometimes it's really hard. If I sleep in, it bothers him. But this isn't working at all; last week I was just running on fumes all week. I will doze a bit during the day, but I can't go back to sleep proper, so I'm always sleep deprived. And there's always laundry, etc., to be done.

So yesterday, I sat him down and I said, "This isn't working. I'm so tired. How about if we switch off for a week. You stay up till I get home and we visit then."

He looked aghast. "I can't do that! I'd be exhausted."

I just looked at him.

He said, "But you can go back to bed." We've been married 27 years and he's never figured out that sleep interrupted is sleep destroyed.

I said, "So can you. You just get up at your regular time and go to work and then when you get home, you can nap till I get home." See, he figures I can just sleep when he's not around and then I'm here for him.

"But...but..." He sputtered.

"It's only for this week. Then next week, I'll get up early."

"No. I just can't do that. You can sleep in."

Well, we'll see if that happens.

I truly believe at least 50% of my resentment and discontent with my marriage is I haven't had any sleep since 1981. I haven't been permitted to sleep past 7 am in 27 1/2 years. This is a man who will wake me up to tell me good night. And then get mad and tell me to go back to sleep.

I have learned that the only way I can make him understand my point of view is object lessons. Hence, my suggestion that he stay up till 2 am every night for a week, get up at 7 am and see just how bright eyed and bushy tailed he is. See if he wants to go to the movies on his day off.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mormon Businessmen

We had a general authority speak here yesterday. I can't remember his name right off, but it's not really important. I was just thinking how many general authorities are rich businessmen. At least, in our community, almost all the stake presidents, etc. are businessmen! Successful ones.

And a lot of them are jerks. Everyone has a story about being cheated by a businessman. Two of my best friends come from very wealthy families. I mean millions. One friend has a brother who was a mission president and is now the temple president, I won't say where. But I know for a fact that this guy has cheated his own family out of big bucks. He and his high councilman brother have stolen tons of money from his sisters.

My other friend's brother-in-law, recently released as a bishop, tried to develop and sell some property left to the family when his parents died; he actually sold some of it, without ever having the title because it was in the family trust and belonged to everyone. His siblings took him to court and forced him to back out of the deal, much to his chagrin, but he feels no remorse whatsoever.

You hear about this stuff in Utah all the time. Rich guys being put in high callings and stories, folk tales, or fables about the legendary asshole-ness of said person.

You guys ever experience any of that and what's up with that?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We are all waiting for our first letter from Brad. He's been gone three weeks and Sarah is getting to know the mailman intimately. No letters yet.

Attempting to comfort her, I got out James' old letters from boot camp. He really was an excellent letter writer for a kid. Only 17 and he wrote me almost every day, really descriptive letters. I haven't read them in years, and it was hard at first. I only read a couple and set them aside.

But now I find them incredibly comforting. He was happy and enjoying the challenge of boot camp. He describes his drill instructers and the daily routine quite well, actually.

While looking for them, I found a bunch of letters my grandmother, who died, oh maybe 20 years ago. I only met her after my father died, but she wrote faithfully until her death.

Grandma shares her love over and over. How did I not notice that?

Reading them now gives me a whole fresh perspective into these two people. I recommend saving letters from important people, even more now. I'm going to put pink ribbon around Grandma's and do a better job of preserving the letters from loved ones in the future.

And you know, although I probably write more letters than most people, I'm going to write more letters as well. Letter writing is becoming a lost art, so much so that receiving a letter in the mail is pretty darn exciting.

My goal: write more letters and find a better way to preserve the ones I've saved!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

And another funeral.....

Bill and I went away last Saturday to Beaver Mountain...a favorite place when the kids were little. I haven't been camping in years, no idea the last time. After two weeks of working, answering the phone for ATT customers with myriads of problems, large and small, and helping to plan the compassionate service and funeral luncheons for the families of the two children who'd died, I needed serious peace and quiet.

It was sad how happy Bill was about our little camping trip. We left Saturday at about 9 am and planned to get back around 2 pm Sunday and he planned for us to go fishing and hiking and riding the ATV around and wonderful lunches and dinner and breakfasts. He did everything, except pack my small bag. He was off Friday, so he got us all ready.

It was wonderful, manna to my soul. The lunch was wonderful---I made the burgers while he set up the tent and they were so good!

Our place on Beaver Mountain can only be accessed if you know it's there, you have to know the road is there because you can't see it from the turn-off point. It's a little valley, with a small stream and the most perfect camping spot. Our kids used to love to go there and of all the times we went there, Bill and I only fought once. Just like our usual messy fights that are actually fairly hilarious. I'll share later on that.

Besides cooking the burgers, all I did was lay on the folding lounge chair and read Jane Eyre. I wasn't up to fishing or hiking or ATV-ing the first day. He left me there and hiked up and caught five little fish that I cooked up crispy for our huge breakfast---bacon and fish and potatoes and eggs and pancakes and cantalope and hot chocolate! It had been very cold high up on Beaver Mountain. Bill froze for some reason and I made him go sit in the truck with the heater on before breakfast. We just sat in the truck and went back to sleep for an hour and got all warm before that wonderful breakfast.

We ended up just packing up and heading home. Not disappointed that we hadn't done all the things he planned. It was a perfect time for us and we don't have many of those.

We were heading out on the freeway and I checked my messages. There was one from my sister, Chris, telling me my niece, Stephanie, had been in an accident. That was all. I called her as soon as we had service and she broke the news that Stephanie had been killed.

She was 28, fresh out of rehab, in a halfway house, clean and sober for the longest period of her life when she died. My sister, Annie, has been---and will continue---to raise Stephanie's children. They had high hopes that Stephanie had finally overcome her demons and would someday be a real mother to the kids. They were reconciling as a family. She was dedicating herself to a Christ-like life, trying hard.

And she got on an ATV, rode around a curve, lost control and landed in such a way on a barbed wire fence that she bled to death in seconds. The surgical precision of the cut (she was wearing a helmet, we learned) convinces me that God had a hand in this death, which is such a comfort.

Bill and I just unpacked the camping stuff, got our ducks in a row with our jobs, visited the bank and left again for Casper, Wyoming, where the family lived. We drove it all in one day, the last hour, Bill kept nodding and so I drove. It's a long desolate drive.

My tiny little beautiful sister was the epitome of strength. I could feel her bones. She's maybe two inches shorter than I, and small anyway, but she felt even smaller. She kept saying, "I didn't know this is how it felt. It hurts physically. I didn't know what you were going through."
I wasn't much comfort, because I knew there wasn't any comfort.

We drove out to the site where Steph died and examined the dirt and the barbed wire. There were flowers and a cross there and the family is putting a huge metal cross there, as well. It's mind boggling to me how she died because only an inch one way or the other and she would have just learned a valuable lesson. God had to have meant this to happen.

She followed my example and wrote an honest obituary. She gathered her family and with dignity and grace, arranged a wonderful tribute to her daughter. She included her former husband and his wife---she calls her "wife-in-law---in everything. Her house was the gathering place. Annie's been active in AA for many years and her AA friends just smothered the house in food. She has three little grandbabies (I'm green with envy) and we all loved the soft little bodies. I make babies cry because I can't help just hugging them. Well, they cry, then they love my guts. I think I just imprint my smell on them.

They are all born again Christians and the funeral, with a huge attendance, was in a born again church, but was very quiet and respectful.

Bill and I got tired and snippy with each other, but we made it home in one piece. We are loving the peace of our home, which is a new thing for me.

I'm blown away at the death around me. I don't have any wise conclusion to make here. I'm incredibly proud of my sister and her strength and beauty.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Two Funerals

Our ward has experienced the deaths of two children in the last ten days. The first, a 14 year old boy who hung himself; and the day of his funeral, a 3 year old drowned in Lake Powell.

We feel pretty shell shocked. The teenager didn't actually live in our ward, his father did; he lived with his mother, but visited the neighborhood often enough that he was a fixture. Both wards participated in the funeral arrangements and the luncheon. We inundated the family with food and service.

The little Sunbeam's funeral will probably be Monday. Boy. I can't believe I'm helping to arrange service for families who've lost their children as I did. Sarah said she thinks God put me in this position for that reason. I've never thought of myself as a "who knows but you are come for such a time as this" kind of person, but maybe. I didn't know either child; I knew the parents, but because I was gone last year, I don't know the families as well as I used to.

Our ward is wonderful to step up in times like this; and it is a privilege to serve in this way. It feeds my soul even as I feel such a heavy burden of grief for the family. I think we're all like that in a way; I remember hearing about something awful that happened to a family in Japan once and feeling so very sad for them. We are part of the family of man, to be sure.

On a practical note, I'd like to suggest something we did for both families. In conversation with a woman, she mentioned that her brother owns a grocery store in a small Utah town and every time there's a death, he takes groceries to the family and he always puts in toilet paper.

So I called another young woman (who I knew could afford it) and she enthusiastically agreed to shop for essentials for the family. She bought paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex, paper plates & cups and milk, bread and eggs. Another woman took the family cold cereal and milk.

I asked another woman in our ward to do the same thing for this family. I think I'll make it a part of the service for the bereaved. Another thing we've done, twice, in cases where the young person was very well known and the family had many, many visitors, is to get a large ice chest and fill it with canned pop and ice.

There isn't one person in our ward who would take some of these families' pain. We wouldn't trade places, but we so wish we could comfort them and ease their suffering. Food and toilet paper are pretty much the best you can do in these instances.

I did take the teenager's family a copy of our book on suicide for Mormons. I'm so glad I did that. I didn't write it, but it would have never been done if not for my efforts. I'm not proud, I'm just so, so glad.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Peace and quiet at last

What a whirlwind week of kids and parties! Alex, our 13 year old, is seldom around other kids. Max, Rowan, and Bean are used to that hard scrabble life and so it was good for all of them. Max, who is 10, was properly respectful to a big kid and they got along and did stuff together and hung out.

Rowan, who is an 8, with tons of attitude, pretty much ran circles around Alex. One day, they argued about something and she danced around in the hallway yelling, "Make me, Make me! Come on!" She lectured him and argued with him and drove him crazy. Finally one day, while they were eating he yelled, "Rowan! Shut up! I'm trying to eat!"

She never shuts up. She's the only child I've told to shut up. Actually said the words. Not that it had any impact on her.

Bean, he ignored, and she him. Each kid got to sleep over (Max, two nights, they slept out on the tramp) and spend time with their cousin.

We went to a family picnic with Brad's family, the last before he goes into the Marines next week. Then had a big dinner with bbq ribs, corn on the cob, salads and cake here in our back yard. Brad's family is the first family I've met who makes our family seem quiet and demure. They all talk at once. They are really nice and I enjoy them. Just loud.

I'm deeply saddened about Brad's decision. I think it will be good for them in many ways because it will pay their school loans and give them a step up for the future. But the odds are he will be deployed to the middle east and we will have had little chance to really get to know him. I'm sad that the kids will be apart so much so early in their marriage.

But this morning, Bill has taken Alex fishing (he asked to stay for another week, but Bill said no---he's pretty burned out on kids :)) and the house is wonderfully quiet. Although I have mountains of laundry and the downstairs is a jumble of blankets drug in from the trampoline and toys and game boys.

I need to be more grateful. Bookslinger, your agreement with that goes without saying. LOL

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My sister, Annie, is raising her three young grandchildren, Jonathan, age 4; Jasmine, age 6; and Mariah, age 7. I have so much admiration for her because my grandchildren would definitely be in the orphanage and I'd visit. Old age just takes the wind out of one's sails.

Annie's a good writer and these are some of the funny stuff she's written about her kids, her grandkids, and our mother:

Kids say the darndest things.

When my children were young, we prayed together every morning before they left for school.
We stood in a circle, holding hands, as each member of the family took a turn to offer a prayer. Each child got their turn to offer their thanks and requests to God.
We encouraged them to prayer from their hearts and to always say thank you for something specific. We also encouraged them to remember to pray for someone else.
“Dear God,” began my ten year old daughter’s prayer. “Please let me get an A on my math homework”.
“Dear God”, she continued, after an unusually long pause, “Please help me find my math homework.”

There is less than 13 months between Only Son and Daughter #3. (Daughter #3 – aka known as Child #4 – was a surprise present)
I left them to play with their toys in the bath-tub as I went to grab their pajamas.
“MOM!” came the blood curdling scream from 4 year old Only Son.
I dropped their pajamas and ran, expecting the worst.
Three year old, Daughter #3 was looking down, completely bewildered. Only Son was looking in the same direction at Daughter #3’s body with complete terror.
“What’s the matter!?” I demanded, not seeing anything apparently wrong.
“Jennifer’s penis is broken!” came Curtis’ anguished cry.
That was the last time I bathed them together.

Cuddling and competing with who loved the other more, was a favorite part of our four year old grand-daughter’s visit.
“I love you as big as the sun and the stars” I told her
I had to admit defeat when she exclaimed, “Well, I love you with the sun and a horse”.

As I was doing Mariah's hair, we overheard Jasmine, the 6 yr old, ask Jonathon, the 4 yr old, how to spell "I love you."

Jonathon: " A. 16."

After a long pause, Jasmine responds, "Jonathon, that's not how you spell 'I love you'".

Monday, July 20, 2009


Dessie died April 20, 2008, one year and 3 months ago. I cannot believe it.

These are pictures from the last time I saw her, when she showed up unexpectedly (and drunk) at my house. Six month later, she was dead. 14 months later, Mom was dead.
Dessie was four years younger than I, and always, until the end, more beautiful and vibrant and alive. She lost herself. I think she's found herself again now. I feel her sometimes. I might feel my mother, but since I never really knew her, except as a childish and selfish person; childlike and sweet at the end, I don't know what she would feel like. I don't feel any great maternal loving spirit around me, though, to my great disappointment and disgust.
I think, "I can't believe she isn't there for us now any more than she was there for us when she was alive. You'd think seeing Jesus would have changed her somehow. No, she's still feeling sorry for herself somewhere in the ethernet of the spirit world."
But Dessie, she's dancing around all of us.

Got the recommend

The stake president (counselor, who was my former bishop) signed my recommend yesterday. He asked me how I was and I said, "I'm being good." and we both laughed. I told him about leaving because Bill yelled at me a lot (among other things) and he hasn't seen that side of Bill, but everybody and their dog has seen that side of me, so he looked a bit askance.

(my little sun porch in my little trailer)

The truth is I'm really pretty nice to Bill and always have been. I objected to his being gone every spare minute he had fishing and hunting instead of family, but mostly he's been free to pursue his dreams, I never nag him to do stuff, he spends whatever he wants and never gets in trouble if he makes a mistake in the checkbook.

I've had to fight for every inch of personal freedom I've gained in the last 27 years, if he asks me to sew on a button, he'll remind me hourly till it's done, he criticizes my cooking (and I'm a damn good cook), my cleaning---he can't stand any clutter, I can't even have anything extra on my dresser, and if I make a mistake in the checkbook, I'm in deep deep shit and not forgiven until I give a pint of blood and pay back the mistake with interest. My interests, including church callings, have been resented and supported grudgingly even to "babysitting" his own kids. He never asked me to babysit the kids while he went fishing.

It's been a hard way to live. Nerve-wracking.

But...crap, I digressed. The bishop asked me the garment question, which I took to be his assumption I'd taken my garments off. I corrected him and he said that's a standard question.
I shared that with the stake president guy and he said, "yeah, that's a standard question" but then he congratulated me because I'd been tempted and looked at the dark side and didn't go there. "You know what I mean," he said.

"No, actually, I don't." I said. "what are you talking about? I never looked at any dark side. I lived quietly and peacefully in a little retirement trailer park in Parowan."

And he stammered a bit and extrapolated to the extent that I realized people thought I'd left Bill in a fit of rebellion and I was expected to take up drinking and whoring. (my office)
(my kitchen/living room)
I told him clearly, "I never was like that. It isn't in my nature, although that might be hard to believe. It never occurred to me to do any of that stuff. I was tired and spiritually exhausted and in a lot of personal pain. My husband betrayed me in many ways and I would never have come back except to save our family. I didn't want to hurt my kids and grandkids."

Geez Louise, it wasn't about me partying.

This all goes to show that people look at appearances. My iconoclastic big mouth nature makes people think I could easily sink into serious sin and Bill's on-the-face-of-it orthodoxy makes them think he's solid as a rock.

Really unfair. But I got the recommend.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I love my son-in-law but I'm mad at Bill

Brad is without conceit. This is what he did last time he visited us: he forgot his church clothes and shoes. So he wore Bill's white shirt and pants and tie and his keds. He and Bill are pretty tall, but Bill is a lot bigger than he. He looked kind of funny with this big old clothes, pants cinched up tight in a belt, with his keds. He didn't care, he just went to church. I just think that's so cool.
(Brad and his grandma--he's that kind of guy)
...because Bill is so conceited about his looks he would never do that. He has nicer clothes than I and spends more time in the bathroom than I do. I find it tremendously annoying, I can tell you, to be married to a handsome man who knows it.

And now I'm ticked because I want to go to San Antonio to visit our grandchildren and he's sort of dragging his feet. He doesn't want to spend the money. He's telling me we are poor. But, I know he's really trying to save $$ and vacation time so he can go on the week long hunt with his friends in September. He has never once in all these years (27) put a family event above his fishing and hunting plans. And even if I gripe about this, he will just suddenly magically find the money to go to San Antonio AND hunting.

Last week, he said he had this great idea. We are getting our grandson Alex for a few days and I wanted him to stay for a week and spend time with the his cousins. Bill said, "hey you know I could take Alex back and take him fishing with my sister and her family for a few days." This has nothing to do with taking the grandson fishing. It has everything to do with fishing. I put the kabosh on that because hell, if he's going to spend time with them fishing, why go get him at all?

But I bet you $10 he will still go fishing with his sister's family.
(the fashion plate at the wedding)

I'm ticked. Thank you for listening.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kids Coming Home

I used to envy my neighbors whose kids came home to visit. It seemed like our kids didn't come very often--or want to. We had the grandkids a lot, but in my hermit stage, it was nice not to have company.

Sarah's been coming back regularly, though. I've treated her as a kid and not prepared at all. But last week, I realized that we don't know Brad very well and he's going in the Marines, so I got up out of bed and killed the fatted calf.

This weekend, we have my granddaughter, Madison age 14 and Beannie, age 5 (so cute) (I'll try to post pictures) and now Sarah and Brad are coming up for overnight again. And next week, our grandson Alex, age 11, who will be joined by Max, age 10 (he and Alex bicker endlessly) and Rowan , age 8, (Alex adores her and calls her Rose and they get along, probably planning on abducting somebody for ransom or some other crime). Then we're having a bon voyage party for Brad, who's leaving for boot camp August 3---and a big family birthday party for Jared, who turns 32 on July 24.

Well, the kids are coming home. I'm tired already. Today, instead of killing the fatted calf, I'm getting the fatted frozen lasagna out. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finding Myself, not poaching Seraphine

Seraphine on Zelophehad's Daughters wrote a wonderful post about finding herself that expressed so much of my struggle the last few years---I think this is the link, I can't figure out how to do that anymore. http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/

I get people mixed up all the time and thought she was an older woman I'd corresponded with but you know, the sentiments are much the same.

I believe my dark night of the soul came from many sources including my unhappiness in my marriage, my health problems exacerbated by menopause, midlife and depression crashing in, as well as the terrible problems in my ward and neighborhood. I also believe I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

I told Cathy & Bridgette (sorry if I misspelled it hon) that I wish I was dead every day. And that's true. I honestly wish all the time I'd succeeded in my suicide attempt. I just think about all the screwups since then and think "I could have avoided that...or that...or that."

I read something the other day in the Book of Mormon, I think about people who get discouraged and "curse God and wish to die" and boy did that hit me. I also read something about people who are more afraid of life than death. And that also hit me. Because truly I am. I'm ashamed of that but cannot find enough shame to change my mind.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm tired or sick or discouraged, probably a combination of all three; but I struggle every single day.

However, I'm getting better. I can feel it. I do not feel that awful blackness I used to feel. Healthwise, I totally struggle and probably always will, but I feel half decent more often than not nowadays.

Sometimes I see glimpses of my old self. Sometimes I have hope. Sometimes I look at Bill and delight in him and his goodness and don't think of all the awful times and feel hatred.

Sometimes I feel hope that we aren't such a failed family after all. Sometimes I get enthusiastic...about music or blogging or a new book or a project.

I believe intellectually that God is going to bless me if I can endure, if I can hold on, if only by my fingernails. And sometimes I feel like I'm finding myself.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sick Today

Well, I said I was going to get a migraine today because I thought this funeral today was going to be an unorganized mess (it's going to be just fine actually) and I guess God didn't want to make a liar out of me.

I feel just awful. My ears hurt, I'm coughing, my whole body aches and I spike a fever every time I get up and walk around.

This is nothing new to me. I hate it. This Epstein-Barr, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, whatever is actually behind this decades long illness (I'm hearing that Herpes might be the culprit, for people who have had bad cases of chicken pox as children seem vulnerable---and I had a memorable case of chicken pox) kicks my butt over and over again. My younger sister was just diagnosed with MS & Lupus, which are factored into the illness as well.

I bitch and moan and complain and whine and am not suffering with great dignity, I must say.

It would be easier if I had an illness that Dean Edell says doesn't exist except in my imagination, if there were something more conclusive than vague "I just don't feel good" symptoms. If I were in a wheelchair.

I've been telling myself lately to pretend I have some terrible illness and try to be like somebody in the movies, gallant and smiling.


I wish I were normal.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Napping

I'm not sure, but I think I fell asleep during a call the other day. It was rather embarrassing, but it was 11:30 at night and who cared if that guy couldn't get his voicemail. It was about a half second doze, but all kinds of things went wrong. He was very nice about it :).

Working until nearly midnight and having other obligations during the day are seriously cramping my style. I do take quick naps in my car during lunch (I'm waiting for the day I fall asleep and come back after a couple of hours....at least I'll be refreshed).

Jared is here and he and Bill are putting in a walkway, they'll bring the grandkids over in a little while. I'm giving them strict instructions that Grandma is napping and they have to play outside or play stealthily in the house. Hmmm.....we'll see how that goes.

Yesterday I met Cathy Can & Bridgitte of Life in Red Shoes fame for lunch. I was hungry, and they were late, so I ordered appetizers---potstickers, brie in phyllo, and stuffed mushrooms. Then, while they had salads, I had soup and a french dip sandwich. Then I had dessert. Well, they were paying, so I had a good old time.

Awesome women, both of them. I felt so comfortable, you know how you feel when you feel you've known someone forever? Old friends.

Then I went home and had to lay flat for two hours before work because I was so full and sleepy.

Bill waited up for me last night, usually, he's sound asleep when I get home (I often wonder how soon it would occur to him to look for me if I was abducted after work...I think maybe two days) and it was nice to touch base. I usually just see him for a brief moment in the morning when I'm still half asleep and then we talk during the day, but we never see each other, really, until my days off. He objects, but it may be one of the reasons we don't fight anymore.

I have had sleep at the forefront of my mind since July 14, 1971, when my first child was born. I've been sleepy ever since. I count the hours till I can go back to bed again. It's not the greatest way to live and it occurred to me the other day that maybe everybody doesn't go around sleepy all day. I drink coke, I drink lots of water, I eat, I take drugs and I cannot wake up.

Amazing what you can accomplish in your sleep.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Angry People

I have been an angry person---one of those people who got mad at sales people and spoke rudely and yelled and cussed (once, before I turned 20) over the phone to a customer service rep for Columbia House records. I'm embarrassed to think about my lack of class now, but it's true, I did it.

I have learned from my job that it gets people nowhere to act that way. I have learned that anger accomplishes nothing. I'm chagrined to learn it this way, this late in life, but I'm grateful for the lesson.

For instance, a man called me last week and asked to speak to a rep in another center, California. Now the man called at 10:59 pm, one minute before we closed down for the night. Plus, I have no way of calling a rep in another center and we didn't have anybody in our center that late who had that kind of authority plus that rep's center was also closed.

He yelled at me and lectured me and tried to bully me for quite awhile about that. Then he got even madder when I told him the credit that rep had made a mistake and he wasn't owed a $550 credit for text messaging. Now, his bill was two months late and he hadn't paid that much for text messaging in six months!

He started using the "f" word and taking God's name in vain. "You don't care if I can take care of my children! You're taking food out of my children's mouths!"

I finally called a manager, who backed me up in the decision not to give him the credit and very calmly refused to indulge the man's nonsense. Although, the guy, obviously a mysogynist, stopped yelling and cussing as soon as a man came on the line. He never got his way. His distrust of the world and hostility got him nowhere. I felt sad for his family.

Yesterday, a guy called in yelling from the start. He was concerned about the radiation and frequency in phones. I just couldn't take him seriously and I was totally calm with him. We couldn't help him, either. He's going to sue.

Both these men are angry at the world; they had no reason to be uncivil with me and they didn't help themselves with their anger. I know I'll be mad again and probably make a fool of myself again, but I'm pretty sure this is a lesson for a lifetime. Acting like an idiot is counter-productive.

Monday, June 22, 2009

In Defense of Kate Gosselin

Continuing my obsession with reality TV: I've recently started watching the Gosselins---first just to see what the hype was all about then getting caught up watching the train wreck their marriage has become.

At first I totally related to John---to his obvious desire to escape his marriage. When he gave those dirty looks behind her back, I knew exactly what he was thinking. I didn't condemn, in my heart, his infidelity. When you feel trapped and unappreciated and doomed in a marriage, it's easy to look elsewhere.

She treats him very badly. I mean, honestly, he should have smacked her back a few times. When she smacked Emeril in a recent show, boy, you could tell it was hard for Emeril not to smack her back. She has to quit that stuff.

And again obviously, she's gotten full of herself. She's cuter than she was and she's famous and she's taken with all the fame of her self. She's easy to dislike.

But...lately, I've begun to feel very sorry for her. One of the hardest things in life is to face yourself. Maybe the cameramen and producers and writers are editing things to make her look the villain, but she sure comes off the villainess in all this. She seems conceited and self-absorbed and mean and insensitive to her husband and her kids.

I imagine her watching the show, though, and coming to the realization that even the camera people don't care much for her....as she realizes what's been done to her reputation; admittedly she did a lot of it to herself. But that's going to be a hard realization.

And at the bottom of her heart, she has to come to realize that her efforts to support her family have boomeranged on her and she's lost herself. Maybe her marriage.

Tonight, we'll find out, I guess, if this couple has decided to divorce or work things out. Maybe they've banked enough to live comfortably for the rest of their lives, but still, Kate has embarked on this rather desperate endeavor to give her kids everything she never had which has erupted into something she couldn't have wanted and she has to be scared to death.

Because what if they don't have the money? She can still be a nurse, but Jon has no career, he won't be contributing to the family if they bust up and the show ends. She still has 8 kids and no apparent ability to live with less. Many families have that many kids and don't have to put them on TV to feed and clothe them, but they don't have all tne "things" either.

So, she screwed up. She pushed Jon, who doesn't seem to have much of a backbone or ambition, into this to support them and provide for the kids. I feel a bit of admiration for the way she's soldiered on in all this, despite the public censure, she keeps trying. More than I can say for Jon.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I love Kathy Griffin...and other guilty pleasures

I love Kathy Griffin; I'd be her best friend, if she'd let me. She cracks me up. I think she's honest and smart. She cusses a lot, but they bleep that out and I fast forward the descriptions of gay sex that pop up. I don't like her TV show as much as her stand up monologues. I tape them.

But I love reality TV, in general, and I read at the plot level, so I suppose it's the low life in me that I'm glued to a lot of reality shows.

I love--LOVE--Punk'd! I think Ashton Kutcher is an absolute hoot. I can do practical jokes on people like that because I'm so serious. I can't keep a straight face, but I can pull stuff on people and it's fun for a minute. Although my friend Dawn has never forgiven me for telling her our friend, Laurie, age 38, had Alzheimer's. She cried for days and refused to believe me when I told her I was just kidding. And then she hated me for lying. "Well," I said, "It's not a lie, it's a joke."

Someday my friends are going to get me for all those "jokes." I told Bill a lady in our ward was polygamous and he believed it for the longest time.

I love Cribs; of course, American Idol (Danny gokey started out my favorite, but something drew me to Adam, he's sort of so wonderful, he's Satanic); I like the first shows on Dancing With the Stars before they eliminate the morons.

Lately I'm into the Gosselins. I feel sorry for both of them, but more for the kids. Sarah has the same condition that Kate has and drs. have told her she'll have to use fertility drugs to get pregnant, so we might end up on TLC. It would be "parenting from the nuthouse" because Sarah pregnant with 6 kids would be that kind of situation and the rest of us would have to commit ourselves to get a rest.

I suppose that I'm going to have to repent of all this voyeurism, like I need to repent of drinking Coke, or the occasional R rated movie. Someday.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This week on the call floor.....

My last call last night, at 11 pm (10 pm, California time) was from a woman who wanted the texting block on her two sons, age 9 & 12, phones. So she could download some songs onto their phones and then she wanted the block back up. Now. I was supposed to get off at 11:15 and at 11 pm, for some stupid reason, some of our programs shut down or start working so slow that it takes 5 minutes just to remove a feature.

I was on the phone with that woman for 30 minutes. I got the texting set up the way she wanted and clicked out of her account and then she added, "oh, I need the internet block removed, as well." I hated her by the time I got off, 15 minutes late...people have no consideration.

I had call from a Russian lady about her bill and when she realized that I was nice and accomodating, she had a bunch of questions. Throw in that I could speak a little Russian AND was a Mormon in Utah and her husband insisted on speaking to me with his own questions. He told me how he wanted to be a Mormon so he could have multiple wives. His wife was yelling in the background "She's a grandmother, Grisha! She has grown grandchildren."

Another call came in from a guy who used to be the voice of one of the characters on the old Yogi Bear cartoon, Boo-boo, I think. He was delightful, in his 80's, getting a cell phone for the first ime and needing all kinds of help (grammar junkies, ignore this) and talking in the cartoon characters' voice. He had a really cool voice and personna. Jimmy Weldon. I enjoyed him. Until he accidentally hung up on me and another call came in.

I get yelled at every day. Most of the time, it doesn't bother me. Getting whined at makes me want to go to peoples' houses and slap them. But yesterday, I got chewed out royal by a lady who sounded just like Roseanne Barr. She had an extra $40 on her bill and she wanted it off! "And hurry up about it, I don't have a lot of time." Turns out she had plenty of time to tell me off about all her life problems. Her stepfather has a bad heart and he and her mother live in the mountains and need an expensive phone and ATT wouldn't give it to them. Give being the operative word.

She was skeptical when I told her I'd adjusted the amount off her bill. She kept saying, "Are you sure? If I call in tomorrow, will that be on my account?" Finally, I said, "If you call in tomorrow and that $40 is back on your bill, I will send you my oldest child and his dog."

Silence....then she said, "I hate kids. And I hate dogs, too."

Finally, I told her my name and said, "that's my real name, you can call me at home and yell at me."

She softened just a touch and said, "Well, I know all this isn't your fault..."

And I said, "Oh, it's okay. I've enjoyed talking to you. You sound just like Roseanne Barr."

After a moment of silence, she said, "I hate Roseanne Barr." And slammed the phone down.

All in a day's work.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chinese Guy Pushes Other Chinese Guy Off Bridge...

In a gesture of ultimate practicality, Lai Jinshang pushed Chen Fuchao to his death off a bridge in southern China. He'd had it with people climbing up on the bridge and threatening to jump.

Fuchao was up to his ears in debt and like many before him, climbed on the bridge and threatened to jump, as people and police gathered around him trying to talk him down.

As I said, this had happened before on this bridge. Many Chinese are deeply in debt and suicide seems an option.

But Lai had had enough with the drama. He bypassed police, walked up to Fuchao, and stuck his hand out as if to shake Fuchao's hand. When Fuchao put his hand out, Lai pushed him off the bridge, and turned to salute the crowd. Problem solved.


I have a sick sense of humor. I thought this was funny.

I also thought "well, Lai made that bridge safe again. Nobody's going to climb up there for a long time unless they really really mean to jump."

Good on you, Lai.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Joke's on Me....and other updates

My friends all hate me on their birthdays. Because I am the "baby" of our group. And I give them a really, really hard time about how old they are. Well, it is disconcerting to have friends in their 60's. How the hell did that happen? 30 used to be old!
My friend, John, for instance, is ten years older than I am and boy it's really bone chilling to have a peer who is almost 70. I look at him and think, "you don't seem ancient."
I gave them such a hard time that, for my 40th birthday, they got up at the crack of dawn and put a big sign covering the whole side of my house and put balloons and flyers on everybody's mail box to announce my age. I didn't care, because, as I reminded them, they were still older than I.
This year, Bill's ex-wife, Julie turned 60. We are friends and she's three years older than I am and that's how I keep track of her age. So, I alerted her co-workers and they planned to roast her and I sent her flowers with black balloons and I had her name put up at the marquee in a motel downtown. I knew she'd hate it and that was the fun part.
She called me later that day and said sweetly, "Thank you for the flowers, Arlene, but I'm not 60."
"Yes, you are! You can't fool me. I know exactly how old you are! You're three years older than I am and I'm 57." Laughing.
"Arlene..." (quietly and still sweetly)"You're not 57. You're 56. I'm 59. I'll be 60 next year."
Damn. She was right. I got my age mixed up.
Oh, well, it was fun and funny for various reasons and I'll get her next year. At least now I know for sure how old I am. That happened the year I was 52. I gave my sister a bad time about turning 50, but she reminded me I was 51. Making her only 49.
Well...you really can get confused about your old age. It will happen to all of you young people as well.

I think I have a church calling. It's been niggling at the back of my mind, anyway, and I almost volunteered for it because I thought our ward needed better compassionate service, but it always comes back to bite me when I volunteer for something thinking I could do a better job. But I was talking to my stalker visiting teacher, who is a doll, and also the new RS president and she told me who they were calling as compassionate service leader. I told her how I rocked that calling years ago and she asked me if I would consider being the assistant, because the other person also works and it is a big calling and I said okay. Maybe I'm getting active again. We'll see. I haven't been called yet, but if I do, I'm going to accept. I could do compassionate service with one hand tied behind my back. It's easy and fun for me and since it does sound sort of fun, maybe I'm coming out of my 5 year slump.

I'm resenting Bill today. I asked him to stay home for Memorial Day weekend, although I have to work Saturday and Monday. My sister's boyfriend is coming up and he's difficult. He's an alcoholic and angry at the world. We have fixed up Dessie's grave and it will have a nice new stone on it. He wants to visit her grave and I totally understand. However, with my work schedule, there will be little time for socializing. He probably won't even want to socialize anyway. But, because of the possibility for problems, I felt I needed Bill to stay home, especially for Sunday. Just in case.

But he came to me and said, "I will if you really want me to, but I think I should go to Ely. I haven't seen Alex (his grandson) in a long time and I feel I need to take care of the graves (his parents and my first husband and son) up there." He's throwing in Alex and the graves because he knows those are also my priorities.

But it's really about fishing. He's got his boat all ready to go and parked in the driveway to pack up, etc. He's going fishing. Alex is the shill he's using to get me to say okay. Which normally I never say a word. He's very lucky that way, he can go and do whatever he wants without a peep from me. I very seldom ask him not to. It's been years since I asked him to stay home with me from anything.

But. "If you really, really need me, I'll stay, but....." And I said, "whatever, you're right, I'll be working."

The other part I resent is that he fishes in the lake where my husband and son were killed. I just find that so disrespectful to my experience of giving my son CPR on the side of that lake and knowing my husband was already dead.

It used to really hurt my feelings, but now, whatever. At least I'll be rid of him for the weekend. It's relaxing to be home alone in my slobhood.

I just hope my sister's boyfriend doesn't show up. I doubt it. But this is an argument Bill already lost. He just doesn't know it yet. His mother did the same thing to me when James died. I asked her specifically to come be with me. I honestly needed her. She was going hunting. Asking me over and over again, "do you really need me?" until I said, "no, it's okay." She and Bill's sister drove from the hunting camp to the funeral and then went right back to hunting. They were the only members of Bill's family to come to the funeral. And they never spoke of James again in Bill's family.

I've given up expecting him to consider my feelings. I asked nice, too. One more nail in the coffin.

Friday, May 15, 2009

GM's List

GM is supposed to notify its dealerships about closings today. Bill has worked for a small dealership in southern Utah since 1986; before that he worked for another dealership for 8 years. That dealership also sells Pontiacs, so they're probably suffering right now. Boy, those old Trans Ams will be worth a mint!

Bill has been quiet and concerned, but oddly, not mentally ill at the prospect, which is new for him. He usually is a nervous wreck. He's the senior salesman, if GM does end its contract with the dealership, he will probably still have a job, unless the business closes altogether. That's not really a realistic assumption, though. They do sell a lot of used cars and have a body shop and mechanics. A lot of people would be out of work.

I guess it would be quite disastrous. Bill's 62 and we still have a small savings (I have no idea how much or where, I do know we lost a lot in the stock market debacle, but with our marital problems, I have no clue about the IRA or 401K funds), so we might be okay for awhile.

I feel very badly for the young families who depended on GM for their future. I'm not making any judgements about economic realities; I'm fairly ignorant about that stuff. I just feel badly for people.

Not so much for us, though. I think if we lost everything and had to sell our house and get into a smaller one, it might be the beginning for us. We never got to have "our" house. It was all about practicalities based on the fact that we had three kids when we started our marriage. We just jumped into it running. If that's even remotely grammatical.

General Motors has been good to us. Bill complains about his job all the time---the insecurity of it. It's really up and down at the best of times. Because he is a good salesman---and by that, I mean, he cares about his customers and takes care that they buy a good product for their needs---he has a lot of repeat customers who are older and secure financially. We've been able to tread water the last few years.
But all the economic stuff will surely catch up to us as well.

If the worst happened and the dealership closed, we would survive. The other families who depend on it for a living, not so much. It's really easy for people to toss off condemnation of GM and the other big car companies, but if you look at the small picture, peoples' lives are affected.

For us, for today, things are okay.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I dated a Hopi Indian guy when I worked for the university, oh, let's see, that was more than 30 years ago. I loved him, he loved me, he had a drinking problem and wasn't interested in Mormonism. We broke up and it was really hard and sad and I will always love him.

I typed one of his papers once for a class he was taking on child development. He wrote about a kid he worked with in glowing terms. "Korey is a bright and wonderful kid, etc..."

The next year, after the breakup, in a weird coincidence, I moved, with my small son, into a subdivision. Korey's family was our neighbors! What a cute little boy he was, brown and sturdy, big eyes and shy smile. Korey had been adopted by the family, he was a Shoshone child from northern Utah. The family eventually adopted 7 children: two Caucasian children, Korey, a boy from Ecuador, and three children who had the same black father and white mother. My children were fortunate that they grew up color blind in our racially diverse neighborhood (the family across the street was Tongan!).

Korey and my James became best friends. There were five boys who were glued at the hip; all building tree huts, digging underground forts, racing their bikes, going to boy scouts and the swimming pool. These five boys seldom quarrelled, just great kids growing up together. Korey and the others were a constant fixture at our house, eating popsicles, playing Star Wars, and planning intrigues as only boys can.

My Sarah adored Korey of all James' friends.

Korey, and the other three boys, Cory, John, and George, was a pall bearer at James' funeral. This kid was as close to my family as if he was family.

A small glitch occurred when James was 15, Korey, 14, I may have mixed up the ages a bit, but not much. James came storming into the house, "Mom, don't let Korey around Jessie any more! He's a pervert! I just caught him on top of her on the trampoline! I punched him and threw him off our property!"

I thought James was overreacting and in those days, of course, we didn't know as much about sexual molestation. Frankly, I was embarrassed for Korey. I talked to Jessie, who was 8 and told her if Korey bothered her any more to come tell me. No big deal. Korey and James avoided each other for a couple of weeks, then went on as nothing. The other friends tell me they remember a fight between the boys, but James never told them what it was about.

However, about two weeks later, Jessie came sobbing into the house and said Korey had come out into the back yard of his home where she was playing and held her down and pulled her underwear off.

At that point, we took it a bit more seriously, and Bill made an appointment to talk to Korey's father, who was our bishop, to give him a heads up. No more was said or done. We never mentioned it again. I never discussed it with Korey's mother. I wondered, at times, if she knew about the problem, because she frequently left Korey to babysit his four younger sisters. But I trusted them and figured they had it under control.

2006, early Spring. Cory's mother called me to tell me that her daughters had revealed that Korey had molested them for years, beginning when the youngest one was 5 and Korey 14. The younger girl was messed up big time and needing serious psychological care. The situation dominoed from there, seven victims in all came forward, at least four of the girls had reported the behavior to Korey's father, the bishop, who called them liars.

One 5 year old had been molested while Dayna tended her. Dayna was upstairs while Korey molested this girl in the basement. When her mother took her out to the car, she told her mother, and they went right back into the house and confronted Korey in front of his parents. Korey didn't admit to everything he did, but he was forced to concede he'd molested her. His father called the parents of the victim into his office and had Korey apologize.

I knew nothing about the others all those years. Many of you know what happened next. Korey was charged as an adult and convicted of sexual abuse. He's now a registered sex offender, although there's little risk he'll re-offend, according to the extensive and invasive testing he had. The families involved are alienated, it traumatized our ward, and residual bitterness lingers (is that redundant) among us all. Korey's father died, unable to answer why he hid and protected his son all those years. Were we suing people, the church would have a lawsuit on its hands. The bishop's failure to act and believe the girls led to a great deal of pain on all sides.

I had a meltdown, yada yada yada. It's been rough.

I feel such melancholy for those days when the kids were running and playing and best friends. I hadn't seen Korey since June 2006, the sentencing trial. But last week, when I took Bill's shirts in to be cleaned, he entered the cleaner's and stood in back of me as I gave them the shirts and paid. I saw him walking in and just pretended like I didn't know it was him. I kept my back to him. It was incredibly awkward.

I glanced at him as I walked out, without speaking. He looked sheepish, embarrassed, a small smile on his face. This is so so sad. I loved that kid. But he did this awful thing, his family behaved abominably towards the victims during the trial phase of this saga and what once was is no more. Korey, I believe, never told his mother the full truth of what he did and she feels attacked and victimized herself, as do the other family members. No apologies. Korey scored very low to re-offend, but also very low on victim empathy and remorse. I feel his lack of true repentance and honesty made the whole situation ten times worse. I wish I could hate him, but I don't.

I can't believe it. I just can't believe it's come to this. Korey. Korey.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Tulips, Lilacs, Honeysuckle & Apple Blossoms

My yard is like a park....not a perfectly maintained park, although Bill keeps it looking pretty spiffy. It's got quirks that make it interesting, though, the weird triangle shape of our lot, for one thing.

I do not have a green thumb. I've been able to grow things, but not the way Bill or other expert gardners do; I don't like the feel of digging in the dirt, either. But I love the plants when they grow. Every tree and bush in our yard has been planted at my direction. I love shade and the trees have been planted skeewampus because I will decide an area needs shade. We have a big blue spruce in the front yard that was--no lie--two feet tall when we planted it in 1982.

Dayna and I dug up some starts from my aunt Cora's lilac bushes--her house in town had been sold to build a motel. They're about 8 feet high now. They don't always bloom, though, because the weather here is so unpredictable and usually there's a freeze in late April that kills the blooms. They sure provide a lot of shade, though.

We have a honeysuckle bush just outside our bedroom window that blooms gloriously in pink for a few weeks in late May; likewise the snowball bush in the front corner of the yard. We planted an apple tree the year James died---1991. It's still small; the apples have never been much to write home about, but the blossoms are so pretty and it's big enough for small children to climb the limbs.

My neighbor, Cathy, always has the prettiest tulips and daffodils in her yard. Mine never do well. I have a theory that this is because her yard faces north and mine faces south and tulips and daffodils like it a little cooler.

I have rose bushes: yellow, yellow-green (absolutely stunning), pink, purple, and my aura rose, a wild orange red color. They always do well.

Our yard attracts birds of all sorts; robins always build their nests in our trees, which our cat loves. This year, a really smart robin has built a nest right outside the kitchen window on top of the electrical box---the cat can't reach it. It's a nice sunny place for her eggs. And there are eggs--we looked. She's always there, watching over her babies. Bill puts up hummingbird feeders and the little buggers come in hoards, viciously fighting each other for the nectar.

We have a bird feeder in the garden and when Bill plants the seedllings, he always plants flowers, as well. This year, I'm going to persuade him to plant morning glories all around the perimiter to climb the wire fence blocking off the garden area. That will attract bees and provide lovely vines as well as flowers. I love morning glories. They grow so easily.

This is the prettiest spring we've had in a long time, although I fear the warm weather is a harbinger of a miserably hot summer. Sometimes I get up really early and I love the smell as I peek out; the birds are happy--you can tell because they're making quite a racket, and I think my heart is healing.