Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer in San Fran, day 2

I meant to do these two posts back-to-back, but ended up going camping and having too much fun (that will all be posted at my Unlikely Kayaker, so anyway, here is day two's highlights.

We started by taking little Wesley to the nearby park for a nice long walk. I'm always a little surprised to see a large natural area in such an urban environment, but it had a very calming and re-energizing effect on all of us.

Well, after Monday's successful drive into the city sans modern navigation devices (I do it OLD SCHOOL with a Google Maps print out, baby!) I was feeling pretty danged confident. I was trying to figure out what the girls and I should do, and thought Chinatown would be cool (despite Cass' warning that it takes advanced parking skills to go there). I had a tourist book and a map, and was feeling pretty cocky.

That confident feeling faded fast when we got down to that area and I realized I was in way over my head! I went to plan B, which was to go where I'm a bit more familiar, so we ended up touring Lombard Street, and heading back towards Crissy Field, but this time we stopped at the marina end for a change of scenery.

~Notice the Segway riders in the background, imagine signing up for a tour and having them try out your skills on that crazy street! No thanks!~

Before we got to our destination we stopped at a sandwich shop called Mr Pickles on Lombard St. It's definitely worth a stop if you need lunch in the city. The sandwiches were delicious and the staff was extremely nice. The young man who rung us up, was very friendly and after handing over our large bag of lunch items, he couldn't remember if he'd put in cookies for the kids' meals so he added 3 more (1 for me!). (And we ended up with 6 cookies to eat, yum!)

The girls entertained themselves trying to outrun the waves, and I enjoyed watching all the windsurfers and sailboats.

We then met up with Cam and Cassie for a visit to the Pirate Store and other interesting shops on Valencia St. (And yes we were mopped.)

Getting out of the city was extremely stressful what with trying to find a gas station (they really don't like people to drive, apparently), Nat's bladder at full capacity, and a scary amount of afternoon traffic.

Both girls were very tired, very cranky and in sensory overload mode. Nat kept going on and on about how the mountains were so much better than the city, so I knew she was homesick! She kept asking on our way home, "Are we in the mountains yet?" When I finally told her yes, I was surprised when she rolled her window completely down.

When asked what she was doing, she told me, "I'm getting all that yucky city air out and letting the mountain air in!"

Yep, it was tons of fun, but also nice to be back in the quiet pines!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

...A Summer in San Francisco

Remember the quote from Mark Twain: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco". Well, unlike old Samuel Clemens' visit, we were just there in summertime and barring a few foggy/windy/chilly moments, for the most part San Francisco was wonderful and quite summerish.

The girls and I took a quick overnighter trip to visit Cam and Cass. Upon entering the city via the Bay Bridge I was greeted by the toll booth attendant with a "Hello, my sistah!" and then upon looking in at the girls, "You all are beautiful!" Well, with a greeting like that, I knew it would be a good trip! (Miss Moo thought he was weird, but I corrected her and told her he was making the most of his job!)

Since Cam and Cassie were working, I took the girls to Crissy Field/Fort Point. Here were the highlights from day one:

It's FREE. Parking and everything! (and one gets bonus points for finding FREE anything in SF!

Yummy sandwiches from the Warming Hut

Beach, beach, beach and stinky crab shells

DOLPHINS!!! Yes, we spotted dolphins in the bay. They are Miss Moo's favorite animal, and everytime they surfaced she was so excited she would let out a little "squeeeeeee!" Very cute!

The Foghorn from the Golden Gate bridge

Fort Point! I didn't even know you could go in that brick building at the base of the bridge and then to find out you could walk through it (for FREE!). It was creepy, and exciting and fascinating and I LOVE old buildings. And a couple was getting their wedding portraits there. This was my personal highlight.

We then met Cam and Cass and went to see the new Winnie the Pooh movie. Cam and Cass both grew up with the original Pooh (well on VIDEO, me, I grew up with him as a tv special) so we all had high expectations. And thankfully, it was very well done, very much like the original, very charming, and lots of laughs. I wonder if any other 24-year-olds would be excited to see it? That's what I love about Cam and Cass--they're still embracing their childhood.

We then spent time with Cam and Cass and their adorable rescue dog, Wesley. It was our first time meeting him, and oh what a charmer he is. So easy going and loveable! He ditched his owners at bedtime and spent the night cuddled up with me and the girls.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Case of the Shrunken Neck

Miss Moo got a nasty scratch on her neck playing yesterday with her friend. She was telling me how she put Neosporin on it, but it didn't make it feel better. It made it sting.

Then she brought out the tube of medicine she used to show me.

I asked her if she knew what this stuff was for.

She didn't.

I told her people used it on their BUTTS. She promptly screamed and threw it across the room.

Yep, she used Preparation H on her scratch. Maybe this will get her to read the dang label first!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Disneyland Then and Now

Yes, I'm still milkin' the Disneyland trip. I'm just as shocked as you are.

~And my computer won't go online, so that's why it's taken so long to get this post up.~

Way back in 1972, my parents took my sister and me on our first trip to Disneyland. I was 8 and my sister was 12. My mom, who, let's just say, frequently changed her hair color, was kinda blonde.

In 2011 we took our youngest two girls on their first trip to Disneyland. Nat was 8, Miss Moo was 11, and Sis was kinda blonde. (She also, changes hair color like she her changes socks.)

Back then Autopia was definitely a hit.

And it still is:

Although I have issue with the name Autopia. Cam explained to me that it's all about the Utopia, but I think it's an awkward name and needs and extra syllable. I think it should be Auto-topia. Walt just missed the boat on that one.

One of my favorite rides then:

The Mule Ride! Yep, they had a mule ride. I'm guessing it was where Toon Town is now.

This time one of my very favorites was the Finding Nemo submarine ride which used to look like this:

Getting pictures with the characters is still fun.

Just after this shot, my sister and I moved away, but the big orangutan held on to my curvy cousin and wouldn't let her go! Those hot-pants were working for her...the big ape!

However, Mickey was, and still is, the consumate gentleman and didn't try to accost my curvy daughter.

But, the more things change, the more they stay the same:
These poor suckers are still at the mercy of this rhino.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Cheap, But My Kid Is Smart.

So this is how the poor folks do Disney:

We packed in a bunch of snacks and water bottles (Disney is ok with this, which is really nice considering they want $2.79 for a stinkin' bottle of water!) Then we ate one meal in the park each day.

The first night we ate at place at the fake wharf at California Adventures where we got sourdough bread bowls filled with delicious soups. Yep, definitely a hearty meal/bargain at $8.99 each.

Thursday night I splurged and bought everyone the picnic meals which also got us entrance to the preferred seating, (well really standing), area for the World of Color show. These came with a dessert, drinks and fancy World of Color reusable bags so at $15 each it wasn't too bad a deal.


We watched World of Color from front row center. It was AMAZING! Definitely a highlight. We were in the splash zone, so we ended up a bit "moist", but it was worth it!

For the girls, I gave them each $25 spending money before our trip. I also extended an opportunity to earn more money with the deal that I would give the $1 for every stuffed animal they were willing to get rid of.

Both of their rooms look like some sort of plushie zoo gone wild, so I figured this would be an incentive to "thin the herd".

Well, Miss Moo completely dismisses my offer. She's not gonna part with even one crittter. Nat however, decides that she'll see what she can come up with. I have to promise that when they are donated some other child will love and appreciate her animals. And I tell her I'm pretty sure they will all go to good homes.

A little while later Nat shows up with a box full of animals. A flippin' box! THEN she goes down to the basement and goes through another box that has been down there since we moved 2 years ago (and you think they forget about that stuff!)

She proudly counts the animals and declares that I owe her 34 dollars!Dang! Now why didn't I offer 25 cents per animal? Holy cats! (and cows, and bunnies, and birds...)

To say the least Nat ended up bringing home a few more souvenirs than her sister! (She even treated herself to cotton candy which I was too cheap to buy for her.)

Both the girls got a set of ears. They went to a shop where you can build your own ear hat. Each girls' hat definitely reflects their personality!

Miss Moo's are funky and sassy just like her, and Nat's are cuddly and sweet. (Shhhh....don't tell Nat, but I'm pretty sure those fuzzy ears are made from discarded stuffed animal hides.)

But the real deal at Disneyland is the build your own Mr Potato Head. You get to fill a box full of parts for $20. These aren't any old parts, they're exclusive Disney parts. Filling up the back of the potato body is ok, and then the rest is like a twisted game of Tetris. The only rule is you have to be able to shut the lid of the box.

Here is Nat's potato. There are still parts in the box too! I don't think there's any way we could get it all to fit in the box again! (I wanted her to get the pirate hat, but the Cinderella hair took up too much room, so she let me stuff in the pirate eyes as a consolation.)

So be frugal when you go to Disneyland, but don't be stupid. Especially when it comes to kids and money!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My, What Big Lapels You Have!

I was going to make this entry all about the sneaky way I prevented the torture of listening to my husband's choice of radio station on our 7 hour journey (both ways) to Disneyland. (It involved taking the girls to the library to choose some books on tape...Hello, Harry Potter! Oh and yes, I have an old timey thing in my car called a cassette player, so the kids got to finally find out what that hole in my dash is used for.)

Well, I changed my mind when overhearing Nat telling Miss Moo how scandalous it was that her Sunday school teacher at church said the word "lapel" in class today. Shocking, right? He was pointing out a boy's lapels right there in class! So I thought the lapel story might be more fun to tell.

On our first day at Disney, we went right to the town hall and each got a button. Sis got a button saying "Happy Birthday" since her birthday was just a couple weeks prior, and her present from me was her ticket to Disneyland.

Everywhere we went the Disney "cast members" were wishing her a happy birthday. I mentioned to her that it seemed an inordinate amount of male attention was directed her way, and I teasingly told her that maybe it was because of the location of her button.

She told me no, her button was located right where it should be: on her lapel. And of course, I couldn't leave that alone and made some crack like, "Oh is that what you're calling it!" And then for the rest of our time at Disney, Sis and I made inappropriate comments about her lapels.

Well as they say, little pitchers have big ears, and the girls now thought that "lapel" was a rather racy slang word for boob. Which leads us to my Nat in church today, having to hold back her laughter when *smirk* her teacher said LAPEL! (I have so messed up my kids. I'm ashamed!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Grim Reaper and The Mad Hatter

Finally. FINALLY, we were able to make it to Disneyland!

This has been a trip years in the making, and with a little careful budgeting of our tax refund, I was able to make it work this year.

I may blog about this trip for the next month, who knows. I want to remember every nuance and savor it. (like those Godiva truffles my son used to bring me...)

The plan was to work on Monday, and take Tuesday and Wednesday off. With Thursday and Friday being county-wide school holidays for the county fair, we wouldn't miss too much work or school.

Well, Monday at work, I got pulled out of class to meet with the personnel director from the county office of education. She came to notify me I was being laid off. Dang! Due to lower enrollment there isn't a position for me next year. Normally that kind of news would've ruined my day...but not on a day when I was soon leaving for Disneyland!

The personnel director continued to pull aides aside, (I thought it would've been more appropriate had she been dressed in a black cloak and carrying a sickle myself), and most were given news of hours cut or that they could be bumped from their postiton. Not the best day for any of us.

Comparing notes at our staff meeting at the end of the day, I told my co-workers my bad news followed by, "but I'm going to Disneyland!!!"

I decided not to think about the lay off until my return to the real world. (Which is now.)

At any rate, here is a picture of the first person we met as we entered the Happiest Place on Earth on Wednesday.

It just got better from here on out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm a Hillarious and Talitive Mom

...and no, I didn't forget to hit spell check on that title.

Also, for the record, I'm adventureous, extaordenary, and nice smelling. This according to one of the coolest Mother's Day gifts ever made by my little Nat:

Isn't this great? And I love that the spelling wasn't corrected. Ordinarily that would make me crazy, but in this instance it is charming and sweet.

Some of the other traits I am famous for according to my 8 year old: awesome kayaker, likes reptiles, entertaining, loves family, good example, hard worker and joyous.

Oh, and by the way talitive = talkative. I don't think she noticed she'd misspelled it even after I asked what the word was.

I really, really love this gift.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Go Here

Go here to find out Why I Hate The Swedes, and you'll be treated to the newest semi-clean swear word now used in my household.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'll Give This Post A Solid 7, and The Weekend a 10

As per the challenge from Momza's post I will rate the events of my weekend on a scale of 1-10.

It started Saturday morning waking bright and early to participate in Mormon Helping Hands which is a Church-wide day set aside to do service work. Our ward went to our local fairgrounds and helped spruce it up for our upcoming county fair.

The girls were excited to participate, but I was NOT, having waitressed the night before and wanting to sleep in...but because they were enthusiastic, it made me motivated to get my rear in gear and go. And I was glad I did. (rated: 9)

My friend and I and 6 girls were put in charge of painting frogs on the pavement (our fair's theme is frogs...). It was a lot of fun despite kneeling on the pavement for hours. (rated:9) I wish I had thought to bring my camera!

We then packed up and drove to Sacramento to stay with Grandpa and attend the Walk MS event on Sunday at the state capitol.

This is my 3rd year walking and raising money to find a cure for MS. I previously spent 4 years doing American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in memory of my mom, but switched my efforts to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to honor my sister. It is nice to raise money for a cause when the person affected is right there to appreciate it. It feels good to do something, anything, because it's hard to see someone you love fighting a disease like this. (rated: 10+)

Here we are at the end of the walk. My dog is done for the day!

My brother-in-law and I always walk together while my sister and my girls hang out and wait for us to complete the 5K. This was my first time walking at this venue, and I loved seeing the old historic houses. (rated: 8)

Bro and I had looked at the map ahead of time, and when we came to a certain crossroads, we kind of thought, "Hmmm...thought we were supposed to turn here. How come everyone's going straight?" So we stopped amidst the throng and consulted the map, and sure enough the route turned. So we made the right. Everyone else kept going straight. We're talking about 1000 people! We were the only ones following the ORANGE signs flagging the route.

(Notice lack of crowds of walkers)

Weird. But funny! (rated: a SOLID 10 for map-readers and non-lemmings). Later a couple more people caught up with us who had walked the right way. The majority of the folks screwed up though. Mind boggling, I tell ya!

How cute is my dog looking proud wearing her medal that all of us walkers recieved at the finish line. (She's a 10 for sure!)

The girls and I hung out afterwards and enjoyed the capitol grounds which are always gorgeous, but might I say, spectacular at this time of year. The rose garden especially.

Just wow. (rated: another 10, of course!).

Oh, and Sis (whom we now refer to as Sissy Montana after her recent move) also did the Walk MS up in Billings the day before. I was really proud of her. And then she celebrated her TWENTIETH birthday on Sunday. (20! That means I don't have any teenagers anymore~at least for the next year and a half, anyway!) (rated: 10 for her walking, 10 for her birthday, but a 5 for her being 20 which makes me feel old, which is a 1, but that's offset by no teenagers which is a 9!)

So there's my weekend which also marked the end of our spring break (rated: definitely a 10).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spontaneity and Recalls

The girls insisted that we go to Grandpa's house for Easter this year. We still have snow on the ground at home, and they wanted to "go somewhere where it's warm and there's grass."

I love hanging out with my sister and bro-in-law and the girls do too. Dad...well, I do enjoy visiting him, but I have to take him in small doses because of his negativity. I wish we could make his life happier, but I think he would have to make that choice.

We had a great Easter. I convinced the girls to go to church that morning since our festivities wouldn't be until the afternoon. We've never gone to another ward other than our own, and the church we went to was HUGE. Two chapels, and several wards meeting at the same time.

You know, though, it's comforting that wherever you go, it's the same. No matter the size of the building, the teachings, the classes, the friendliness is the same. Made my day.

The next day I had to take my car in for a recall repair. The lady on the phone said to expect to wait for about an hour and a half. There was a waiting area for kids, so we borrowed one of their dvds, got junk food out of the vending machine, took advantage of the free hot cocoa and set up a little impromptu picnic.

Doritos, Red Vines, popcorn, and teriyaki jerky never tasted so good! (And the jerky tasted even better after Nat accidentally spilled it into my cranberry tea!)

Funny, out of all the days and experiences during our stay, this one sticks out. We had a great time. We were even a little disappointed when they told us our car was done early. It made me think of part of a lesson I had heard in church the day before. The teacher asked how we could be as little children as Jesus asked us to do. I think being spontaneous, making the most of a situation and enjoying each other are things that come easy to children and make life memorable and fun.

Being open to the world and living in the moment are things that children are experts at, and if we put our worries and responsibilities aside for a time and quit thinking of that to-do list we need to accomplish we can be more open too---to everything, and the gospel in particular. for thought. And it only took a Honda recall for me to learn that!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So Stinky!

I'm not sure what it is with my Nat. She is such an outgoing girl. Since the time she could talk she would strike up conversations with anyone and everyone. She's a total goof, and never holds back on acting silly. She makes friends easily. But...she hates to perform. She somehow doesn't like any extra attention on her.

When there's a school play or the children's classes sing at church, she gets very self-concious and the one thing in particular she says that she hates, HATES when people come up afterwards and tell her, "Good job!" She says it's SO embarassing!

This last Sunday the kids had to get up and sing at church and she really wanted to stay home and get out of it.

It was a beautiful song and the kids did great. When Nat returned and sat next to me, I wanted to tell her she did a good job, but instead, I whispered to her, "You stunk up the place!"

And she looked up at me with the biggest smile on her face!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just Stuff

Nat says this morning: Is it going to snow anymore?
Me: I don't know.
Nat: Why don't you know?! Your name is MOTHER and it is about NATURE!

That kid has the weirdest ideas.

I subbed in the kids class today at church, and the little 6 year old boy I was sitting next to was getting kind of antsy and fidgety. I figured I'd try a technique we use on the autistic kids at work to see if it calmed him.

I told him, "I'm going to massage your shoulders. It might help you sit still and listen better."

I proceeded to do the deep pressure squeezes that we do with the kids at school, which helps our special needs kids to feel grounded. Sure enough this little guy just melted and relaxed. A little while later he turns to me and says, "Will you do it again?" Too cute.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'm Ready to Bust Some Grief!

This week I took a two day training called Griefbusters. It is a program through Hospice that pairs an adult (the Griefbuster) with a child who has lost someone. The Griefbuster meets with the child one a week for about an hour and helps the child work through their loss. (They did train us not to use "lost" or "passed away" or other euphemisms with children, but I know that you know what I'm talking about.)

About 7 years ago I took a grief workshop through Hospice to work through the death of my mom. It was so helpful for me to be able to have a place to go to talk about her, and to know that what I was going through was normal and that others were going through the same things. During that workshop, one of the participants was a woman I knew, but just as the wife of one of Mike's friends. Her 3 year-old son had died. During the workshop we formed a friendship, and since our youngest girls are the same age, we've kept the friendship going.

Well, when I arrived Wednesday morning, I was surprised to see that she was there too. We kind of laughed that here we were doing the grief-thing together again.

Anyway, when I told people I was going to this training, the responses were mostly negative. WHY would I want to do THAT? It would be so hard to see a sad child. It would be depressing. That was what I heard from others. But because the grief workshop I attended was so helpful to me, I want to pass that forward and who is more deserving than a child?

I'm excited to be a Griefbuster, but at the same time I realize that a child has to suffer a tragedy for me to do what I'm trained to do. That's kind of weird. But tragedies are going to happen regardless, so it's good that there is this program to help.

As a side note, the training was held at the county's senior center, so for lunch my friend and I lined up with the seniors in the cafeteria to eat. We'll both be 47 this year, and we joked how it was a milestone for us -- we had our first senior meal!

I liked what one of the guest speakers said during the training, "Grief is not something you fix, it is something that you accompany." And his other piece of advice was, "Stay close and do nothing." Which means we're not there to fix the child, or offer advice, we're there to support them, to listen, to witness their memories.

I can do that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Real Difference Between Boys and Girls

Both the girls had a friend over for a sleep-over last night. It worked out well that they each had their own friend. Girls just don't do well in 3's, I've found. Boys seem to work it out, girls seem to leave one out.

Which brings me to a well illustrated difference between boys and girls from last night.

The girls (all four of them) decided to play a game of indoor soccer (with this cool hovering soccer disk thing we have).

Now boys would just clear the living room and get down to business. The girls on the other hand, started by choosing a name for their teams. Then each team worked on cheers for their team.

The Moons (the 8-year-olds) wanted to actually moon the other team at the end of their cheer, but since I said no, they settled for taping paper moons to their pajama pants instead.

The Raccoons (the middle-school 11-year-olds) huddled in the bedroom and worked on costumes and make-up to go with their cheer. There was paper and pencils and practicing and choreographing going on for quite some time before they all came together, showed off their cheers and team spirit, and started the game.

Which lasted approximately 1/10 of the time the preparation did. That's girls for ya!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why Cowboys Walk Funny

The world according to Nat: "I think I know why cowboys walk funny. They probably get a wedgie when they ride their horse and when they get off they don't want to pick it out in public so they walk like this" (doing her best impression of a bow-legged cowboy). So now you know. You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Double Standards

I was talking to my dad the other day and he asked how Sis was in Montana. He then reminisced about a time that he and a friend went to Alaska and then travelled back down through Montana. He told how he would find an odd job to get by, drop in on acquaintances for lodging, or just rely on the kindness of good Samaritans for a meal.

He says it was one of the best experiences of his life and though he wouldn't want to do it again, he was glad to have gotten the chance to travel like that.

Then he said that if he had had a son, he would've given him some money and sent him off to do the same because it was such a great way to see the country and learn about life.

Of course he would never think of doing this with us girls. He was so over-protective of us. I remember a time when I was 18, still at home, and my sister told me of a job opening, running a hot dog cart in front of the state capitol building. I thought it sounded like a good job for me, but when my dad heard about it, he freaked out and forbid me to pursue it. He couldn't possibly stand the thought of me on the street interacting with strangers! And downtown! He would rarely let me drive downtown, let alone actually work there. What was I thinking?!

Yep, that's my dad. But I love him, double standards and all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wrappin' It Up

Well, Sis and Trav made it to their destination in Montana, on time, in one piece and without the assistance of a tow truck. Win. Win. and Win. I'm considering revamping the children's book The Little Engine That Could and have it feature an old red Subaru wagon instead. Could be a hit.

Sis called me when they made it to Idaho Falls. I fell in love with that place just from the photos I found online, and in one of my fantasies, we picked up and moved there leaving bankrupt/ corrupt California behind us.

Then I saw what passes as a "high" temperature in winter there and decided maybe just visiting Idaho Falls someday would probably suffice. (Although Nampa/Boise are looks promising...and by promising I mean warmer.)
Before Sis left we had a mom/daughter weekend in San Fran. It was nice to have time alone just the two of us before she left the state.
The highlights were Lombard St.

We went there Friday night and again on Saturday. We love walking up and down the street, and I let Carley drive my car down it. Such a cool place.
We then went to Coit tower and rode the elevator to the top and enjoyed the views.
We also smashed pennies. Our souvenirs for the day were our smashed pennies imprinted with SF scenes. We're such cheap dates!
Then we enjoyed our picnic lunch at Alamo Park overlooking the "Full House" houses.

And if you're ever in the city make sure you visit 826 Valencia. It's San Francisco's best pirate supply store. I can't even explain this place, but I laughed until I cried at one point, if that gives you any indication of the fun in the store.

On Saturday we spent all of $14, not counting the pennies, and we went to places we hadn't seen before. Definitely a memorable trip!
Yep, it's a wrap. That was pretty much my week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And...They're Off!

So Sis and her boyfriend left for Montana early this morning.

I had dinner with her and her boyfriend's family last night to say goodbye.
Her little Subaru wagon was packed as full as I've ever seen a car packed,
with stuff even strapped on top.

You know that saying about the sack? Well I changed it to
"Ten pounds of crap in a Five pound car"!

Boyfriend's mom is an expert packer, so she packed the car,
and all their little things they needed to take, and all their clothes
(he has as much as she does apparently) and several pillows each.
We joked that they couldn't open the back hatch at risk of explosion,
and if all that stuff did come flying out,
there's no way those two kids could fit it back in like his mom did.
It's like playing Tetris with blankets, and bags and pillows.
My hat's off to her!

As always, I'm strapped for cash, so couldn't even send my girl off
with a little pocket money. Made up a goody/snack bag for them instead
with little well-wishes written by me and the little girls all over it.

I hope they have an adventure in Montana. They're going to a small
town, but it's still bigger than any of the towns in our county.
His dad has a store and deli and will employ them and house them.

I will be glad when they arrive and are safe and sound. Did I mention
that the Subaru has 197,000 miles on it? Yep. Let's hope it's up for at
least another 1,000 or so.

Last night I dreamed that I was still trying to fit little things in all
the nooks and crannies of her car. Trying to make sure she had
everything she needed.

I guess that's the reality. I can't give her everything she needs anymore.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Of Being 19 and Adventures

So, in a couple days my oldest daughter is moving to Montana. A LONG way away.
It's hard for a mom. Not to mention all the worrying I have to do while they drive
for TWO DAYS in an old car.

She's 19. I kind of did the same thing when I was 19. Quit my good job as a printer,
and went to shack-up with my boyfriend on the top of Donner Summit.
Yes, THAT Donner Summit.
Luckily my boyfriend was employed to plow snow, so our driveway was always clear.
That's the only way to go if you're gonna live there.

The little house we rented was really for summer use. And it was COLD. INSIDE.
Ice on the inside of the windows cold. And we only had a fireplace, with green wood.
Couldn't afford to use the electric wall heaters. For some reason it didn't bother me.
When you're 19 it's an adventure. I wouldn't last a day in that house now, let me tell you!

I worked at a ski area and had a fantasy that my boyfriend (of 5 years)
and I would get married in the summer.
It didn't happen.
Why buy the cow when the milk is free and all that jazz, I guess.
It broke my heart. And I broke up with him and moved on.

Oh, to be 19 and going on an adventure.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meaningful Coincidences

I picked up a book during lunch in the staff room the other day. It was called Consider the Butterfly. It looked like my best choice from the selections, and I hate not to have something to read while I eat, so I took it.

It looked a bit new-agey for my taste, but I figured I could always put it back. I don't care for books that pussy-foot around or ignore the religious aspect of life. Oh, they'll say "spiritual" but meaning it comes from your own spirit, or they'll refer to "the Universe" making something happen instead of God. Yeah, not my thing.

This book however mentioned God right off the bat, so that was ok. The subtitle is "Transforming Your Life Through Meaningful Coincidence", and she does refer to "the Universe", but I forgive her that since it's obvious she's one of faith.

The book is a collection of "synchronicities" in her life. Little things that have all come together and given her a message or reassurance or added to her faith. We all have things like this that happen. She points out that we should write them down, share them, act on them, enjoy them.

I've had many times of meaningful coincidences and now I want to look back and start remembering them. A lot of time I find synchronicities in numbers. Just last week I had many leading up to my teaching a lesson at church on "Service":

1. Happening upon a newspaper article about vandalism to a local cemetary and how a day was set aside to try to restore it, and how it was expected that a handful of volunteers would show, and 130 people showed up.

2. Taking my girls to their Church activity where they made cookies and valentines to give, and the lesson was on service.

3. We had a substitute in our classroom, and when she found out we desperately needed art supplies she cleaned out her storage and arrived the next day with boxes and boxes of wonderful things for our kids to create with.

4. And then having a youth speaker on Sunday give a talk on serving others just before it was time for me to teach my lesson.

Synchronicity. Gotta love it. I know it is our Heavenly Father taking care of us, answering prayers, helping us, giving us hope, knowledge, laughter, faith.

Oh and the author's name is Carol Lynn Pearson. I ALMOST named my little Nat, Carolynn. "Carol" after my mom, and "Lynn" for my sister's middle name. She got Carol as her middle name instead and was born on my sister's birthday, but this very tiny meaningful coincidence wasn't lost on me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Come Snow or High Water...

Today was my Sunday to teach in Relief Society (the women's Sunday school class, basically). I'm assigned to teach on every third Sunday. My topic was "Service" and for the last month I've been excited to teach this lesson. Some of my topics have been hard for me, but this one I KNOW, and I can relate to, and I'm passionate about. Yay!

Well with our crazy blizzard, and feet upon feet of snow, and plow trucks that can't keep up on clearing the roads, travelling down the hill to church was looking a bit iffy. The weather broke yesterday, but the snow on the road was still to deep for my Honda Civic to handle, so I prayed for a plow to come and talked to Mike about Plan B.

Plan B was for him to drive us to church in his ancient rusty Land Cruiser which has no heat, is missing a back window and the girls would have to double buckle in the jump seat in the back. Ugh!

Well, thankfully the road had been plowed this morning and I was able to make it to church and teach my lesson.

We have the greatest group of women in Relief Society, they are all so willing to speak up and be a part of the lesson that it makes my job easy. Today was no exception and everyone had wonderful stories of service to share.

I began by talking to about my grandpa and how he was such a great example of someone who loved to serve others.

Grandpa loved to tinker, so he always had electronics and such laying around his house. He volunteered at the local American Cancer Society thrift store and was their go-to guy when they needed to have something fixed so they could sell it, so all these things were his projects.

Side Note:
I remember my mom telling me about how his love of tinkering got him in real trouble with Grandma one time. She had finally replaced her old ringer-washer with an automatic one. Grandpa was fascinted by it, and wanted to know how it worked, so he took it apart! I could imagine the hot water he was in, 'cause Grandma had a temper!

Anyway Grandpa was also involved in community service groups, and served up until his 80's. He volunteered to deliver meals with the Meals On Wheels group and mom used to kid him about being older than most of the folks he delivered meals to.

Well, I feel like my lesson went well. The time flew, and I only covered about half of the material I had prepared. I touched on the fact that even a small act of service is worthwhile and read this quote from Mother Teresa, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."

Friday, February 18, 2011

All Fired Up

Last night during a raging blizzard, our power went off. I'm so thankful that our water is heated by propane and that we have a big ol' woodstove to keep us warm and that we can cook on in a pinch. Makes those power outages so much more bearable.

I gained new respect for Mr Osburn the woodstove (yes that's its brand name, not the Mr though) last night however. It was dark and the only light was from the glass door of the stove where the fire was burning. I was near the hearth, tripped on something, and fell against the woodstove catching myself with my hand. Well, I knew I was screwed even though my hand lit upon the surface for less than a second.

I immediately ran for the sink and dowsed my hand in cold water. I'm extremely proud of the restraint I showed by only muttering, "Son of a nutcracker!" This injury was significantly curse-worthy and I would have been forgiven any serious slips, but amazingly I held back.

I ended up keeping my throbbing hand in a pot of cold water for 8 straight hours. I was finally able to get some relief at about 4am, and got some much-needed sleep! The stinging, burning pain was so intense! I thought it would never quit.

Examining the damage today, about 1/3 of my palm is blistered along with 3 of my fingertips. It's gonna be a while before I can do much with that hand (which is thankfully my left one).

Today was a snow day so I didn't have to worry about work. We have gotten at least 4 feet of snow in the last 24 hours. This is one of the biggest storms I can ever remember, even surpassing our recent Thanksgiving blizzard that gave us an entire week of snow days. The plows haven't been in our neighborhood since yesterday afternoon so there is close to 3 feet of snow on the roads. We are truly snowed in. I've lived up here 18 years and never seen it like this.

I'm thankful that our power has been mostly on today, that we have a generator to run the fridge when it's not, that we have a good supply of food and yes I'm very thankful for Mr Osburn. I've kept my distance from him today though!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crazy Old Guy

I had the most interesting experience today.

I was with my co-worker at an all day training getting re-certified in CPR and first aid, and at lunch we went across the street to Taco Bell.

We were just finishing up when this older gentleman came over and sat next to us in the nearly vacant restaurant. We could tell from the get-go that he was a character. He just had that vibe about him.

Sure enough he starts up a conversation with us. He's an entertainer that has traveled all of California playing his guitar, and he happens to do "free" reflexology at one of the local tourist attractions (I'm guessing he's kind of like a street performer). He wants to know where we're from and knows all the areas we mention (but mostly the bars he's played at in those towns.)

Then he wants to know my birthdate. So I play along and he adds my numbers together (or something) and then proceeds to tell me that I'm a people person, that I do best in jobs that involve helping people and he says some other things that are pretty accurate about my personality.

He asks my friend's birthdate and tells her about the same (not knowing that we're special ed aides), but that she would also do well in sales. He seems to have glommed onto me at this point and starts flattering me. He can't have any ulterior motives that I can figure (being that he's got to be in his 70's), so I'm friendly back.

He then wants to know all my kids birthdates and analyzes them. He nails my oldest daughter. Says she got brains to spare, doesn't need college and would do well in any upper management position (telling people what to do). I tell him she will love to hear this! He also nails my youngest. The other two there are lots of traits he describes that pertain to them, but not as accurate as with Sis and Nat.

At any rate, I'm thoroughly entertained at this point. He was a really nice, friendly old gentleman that said I was "a keeper". My friend and I both enjoyed him.

It's funny how just having this man give me a little positive attention really made my day. Of course anyone loves to hear others praise or compliment them, but for me, always having had very low self-esteem, always feeling invisible, especially as a young adult, it really made my day.

Don't get me wrong...I don't take compliments to heart just from any old crazy person I meet on the street. This guy was special! LOL

Sunday, January 30, 2011

TV, Bonding, and Memories

Has anyone been watching Downton Abbey on PBS's Masterpiece Theater? Oh my gosh...what a wonderful show. It's like watching a good novel. A good historical fiction novel (my favorite genre, by the way). The scenery is stunning and you really feel like you're in the mansion, and you see how hard the servants worked and you see the class system, both upstairs and down. Love, love, love it. You can catch up on back episodes until Feb. 22. So worth your time (in my opinion).

At any rate, watching this show reminded me so much of my mom, and I know she would have loved this show as much as I do. I could picture us curling up on the couch together enjoying it, and discussing the characters--hating O'Brian and Thomas, loving Bates and Anna.

I have such fond memories of watching tv in the evening with Mom. We always had a couple must-watch weekly programs. Remember Knott's Landing? St Elsewhere? 30 Something? The Thursday night line-up with the Cosby Show, Cheers and Hill St. Blues? Yep, we watched all of those.

My dad worked a swing shift during the week, so those evenings belonged to us girls (mom, my sister and me). We'd do a simple dinner, maybe eat out, and then spend time watching our shows, chatting and snacking.

Seems like TV was better back then. I don't know. I watch so little of it now (what I can find online since we don't have cable service). Anyway, I'm glad that I found this program to enjoy and to bring back some wonderful memories of sharing time with my mom.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm Officially "A Mormon"!

My profile is up at! I love this site and it's amazing the diversity we have in our religion. Check me out! I would encourage you to watch some of the video profiles, they are very inspiring and none of it is "I'm going to shove this down your throat". You realize that we Mormons come from every walk of life and circumstance there is.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Icy Sheets

No, literally, sheets of ice!

This stuff has been slipping off our roof for the last couple of days. It gets really long, then crashes against the house. It's a little un-nerving to be honest.

It's these dog days of winter that make me think I can't do another winter in this house in this neighborhood. Our house is dark, and our part of the neighborhood is right against the mountain and we get virtually no sun. I go to other parts of town where there roads are thawing and their houses are being warmed by the sun, and they have actual SUN streaming through their windows, and I'm so jealous!
I keep my eye on the prize though, the glorious days of summer when I'm only a short walk from the lake and that's what keeps me living here in "little Siberia".

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pretzel Baking Goodness

The girls got a pretzel baking kit from their big brother and Cass for Christmas. Miss Moo was a little more into the baking part of it (Nat helped with the eating part).
The directions said to roll the dough into 3' lengths! I don't think my little kitchen has 3' of counter space, so we did the best we could.
There's the twist...
...and now it looks like a pretzel.
Sprinkling salt (we did cinnamon-sugar ones too).
Ahhh, nothing like warm pretzelly goodness right from the oven!