Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Nest for My Birdie

Scott is all moved into his new place. Suffice it to say that Saturday was a very tough day for this mom. I guess it's because all the other times he's been gone, (on his mission and away at school) I knew he'd be back, at least for a little while. This time he won't be back, and the wierdness of it all is even though I know that it's what needs to happen for his own good and happiness (so you'd think I'd be ecstatic about his grown-up choice, right?), there's still a part of me that took it really hard. I came home and cried and cried. (As I did each time the two others left home. You'd think my heart would harden, wouldn't ya?) When I looked back over the past year since he graduated from UVU, I was surprised at how much I'd come to enjoy having him be back home. He probably didn't know that, but I did.

Today is better, but it's still pretty close to the surface. If I think about how much it cheered me up to come home from work and see his light shining underneath his door, I still get a little teary. But these things happen as they should, and I just need a few days to adjust and get used to it. But it's just like I told you it would be. I cleaned up a bit in there, and then I closed the door. I can't go in yet. Maybe in a few days, but not yet.

But here's a couple of pics of Scott in his new digs. I don't see a hint of regret or uncertainty on his face. All is right with the world. And, in a bit, I'll be just fine too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunshine & Guacamole

Today is one of those gorgeous days that make you want to eat a breakfast of strawberries and Rice Krispies with sugar from the cutest bowl in your cupboard, sit in the sun tanning your legs, and then take a leisurely sunset stroll along the beach. Maybe even a frozen banana with the works, while wrapped in a big sweater against the cool evening air. Perfection in weather - that's what we had today.
But was today Saturday? No, no... of course not. So here I sit in my windowless cubicle, craving some sunshine after having just a brief kiss of warm at lunchtime. Retirement is looking mighty fine about now.
I have the day off tomorrow. It's a day filled with all of those annoying doctor appointments I've been putting off: mammogram, bone density - you know the type. But I should have plenty of time during the day to get some sun, and kind of rejuvenate. And, you know, basically do nothing, while doing all kinds of good for myself. Everyone deserves a day now and then to relax, think deep thoughts, lay in the sun while reading a good book (sunscreen slathered on!), and treating oneself to sunny day foods. I'm thinking guacamole, for starters. And anything lemony.
Do I sound like I don't have a care in the world? Think again. I have lots of 'em. That's why I want to have a little escape tomorrow (in between appointments designed to smash and prod) to build my strength, get my feisty back. Get me back. If you're tired and winter weary, come join me. I'll even share my guacamole, mmk?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And Then the Dog Barfed...

Yesterday was one of those days you think about for awhile. I had taken the day off from work because I had some lab work I had to get done in the morning, and in the afternoon I was going to go to my Uncle Art's funeral service. I hadn't seen my Aunt Lucy and Uncle Art in way too many years, although they lived locally. Their kids (my cousins) all line up in age with my brothers and me, so we all went through school together starting - for me - in 6th grade. Fred was the cousin who was my age, and we landed in the same 6th grade class when I was just new to the area. We got teased unmercifully about being "Kissing Cousins" (remember - this was the 60's and kids were not all that clever or sophisticated...), but over the years we became good friends, and had lots of fun together. After high school we went our separate ways - me to BYU, him to USC and then USC med school. He's now a cardiologist in the LA area. I don't know how it happens that years go by without seeing people - especially when you're in the same family. You'd have to know my dad's family and the dynamics there (Lucy is his sister) - and even then I'm a little baffled by the disconnect. Whatever - it is what it is. My memories of Uncle Art are fuzzy, but fond. What that means is that I can't conjure up any specific memories, other than just a really good feeling when I think about him. I remember that I always liked being around him.
The service was beautiful - one of the nicest I've ever been to. My cousins took turns telling about their dad - funny, sweet things, all very poignant. Art was a good dad, and close to all of them. And Carrie's daughter sang - such a beautiful, sweet, clear voice. It brought tears to my eyes. I think Art was loving it - I know I would have if it were me. He has a lovely family.
There was a reception afterward, and we had a chance to visit with everyone. I'm so glad that I was able to reconnect with Fred after all these years. I am sadthat we hadn't been in contact for so long - I think I've really missed out on something nice. I was able to have a nice chat with Aunt Lucy, and I want to keep in closer touch this time around. That side of my family contains a lot of cousins that I don't know very well, and that's too bad. There was talk of a female cousins reunion later on, and I think I'd like to go to that. I never have before because I didn't know them well enough, but I won't let that stop me this time. I was also able to spend some time with Serena - one of my cousins from Utah - and that was a treat. She sat behind me during the service, and during the hymns she would sing in the most goegeous voice you can imagine. I want her to sit behind me in church all the time. We used to play together when we were kids, when we would go to Utah to visit my grandfather. It was wonderful to see her.
Along with the cousin reunion, I also saw a couple of people from high school that I literally haven't seen since 1971.
Again, great to visit and catch up. It always leaves me feeling bittersweet - that part of my life is so long ago and far away - but there are lots of good memories there to play with. So - I think the theme of the day is this: Stay Connected. Don't let another 15-20 years go by with no contact. Some of us could be dead, and that would be a shame.

Aaand next - on to Book Club and our stellar discussion of "Three Cups of Tea." I dashed home from the memorial, changed clothes, and ran over to Lana's. Most everyone was there already, and, luckily, everyone had read the book. The discussion was going pretty well when their little dog wandered in and just puked on the rug. Lana, unruffled, called her oldest daughter to come in and clean it up, as it was her dog. So there the barf sat for about 15 minutes before Oldest Daughter decided to come in and clean up. I couldn't concentrate on anything but the yuck that was about 6 inches away from me. Hey, I'm all for children having responsibility, but if my dog ralphed all over the carpet, you'd better believe I wouldn't be waiting 15 minutes for someone else to come clean it up. But that's just me.
Kind of a wierd end to a very different day. It's too bad that it took a death to bring everyone together again. But I have hope that we won't wait for such a solemn occasion again to pick up the phone and say hi. Life keeps us busy and occupied, but somehow we need to find the time to reach out to each other over the miles.

Monday, March 16, 2009

And Just Look At This!

Look at this cute headband that Katie made! She has *stuff* to make only one more (*stuff* is hard to come by in Puerto Rico) so if you want one, you'll have to hurry! Go to her Mia Moo site to place an order and haggle pricing. (I have no idea) Anyway, just looking out for all of you - I think her things are beautiful, and I think I need a few for my ponytails!
Also, look at her beautiful face - we just found out that she is going to have another baby, and she is glowing already! She insists that photoshop makes her glow, but I think otherwise.

Fly Away, Birdie

We have a new milestone coming up: Scott, our last fledgling, is moving out on the 28th. He's worked hard, and survived a few financial devastations and employment snafus in the year since his graduation. His little welcome to the Big Boy World. (side note: When I was first married, a million years ago, I remember thinking that a $50 dentist bill was just about the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I've learned a thing or two about Worst Things since then.) But back to Scott (shown above with my aunt and grandma - one of my favorite pics of all three!): he found a place in Huntington Beach - a 3 bedroom house, where he'll have one of the rooms. He's beyond excited to get on with his life. And I'm excited for him. Really. But you know how it is - you can't help having those darned mixed emotions. Excitement and mommy-ache. Pride in a job well done, and worry that you haven't done enough, or done it at all, for that matter. Did I love him not enough, or love him too much? (Is that possible? To love too much?) Anyway, you get my drift. I have yet to see the new place, but I have the feeling it will be wonderful - at least to a 25 year old single male who is dying to get away from the folks. It WILL be wonderful. It will. But L will have to take me out for a sobby little dinner after we help him move, so I can distract myself from the empty room at home that I won't be able to go into for about a week. *sigh* Moms are silly sometimes... After an appropriate period of moping around, I'll peek into the room, wander around a bit, energize myself to clean and organize, and then I'll realize I have my little painting/craft room back. And hey- now there's room for my coats and jackets in the closet! And that's when I'll realize that these things happen as they should - children are meant to grow up, and mommies are meant to move on. Sort of. I think really, that we just sort of lurk and fret from further away, and then we distract ourselves with the grandchildren. (And a wonderful distraction they are!)

So here's to Scott - kudos to him for reaching that elusive *on your own* milestone. He's a good kid - a good man. I'll miss him - he's the only one who can beat me at Scrabble.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This Is What I Thought About Today

This is going to be one of those random, meandering posts. Kind of about this, and then about that. And then about something else. Just bear with me.

Katie sent me a little story and quote today that I liked. It's a good reminder, when life sucks, to try to quickly learn whatever lesson it is you're supposed to learn so that you can get on to the good stuff. The chocolate cake of it all, if you will, that is just beyond the broccoli. And it goes like this:
A mother was watching her kids play in the back yard, when she noticed that her toddler Jesse was gone. She frantically called out and heard his cries. She found him next door entangled in some blackberry vines. It took her some time to entangle him and he was in pain. She remembered that the neighbors also had a pond and if the blackberries had not detained Jesse, he may have wondered into the pond and risked drowning. The parable of the story...sometimes Heavenly Father allows us to stumble into thorny places to protect us from more harmful situations.

The quote from George Q. Cannon:
"The Saints should always remember that God sees not as man sees; that he does not willingly afflict his children, and that if he requires them to endure present privation and trial, it is that they may escape greater tribulations which would otherwise inevitably overtake them. If He deprives them of any present blessing, it is that he may bestow upon them greater and more glorious ones by-and-by."
Now, I know that's a simplistic little Sunday School lesson, and sometimes we suffer tragedies and trials that aren't so simple to overcome. But, generally speaking, if I can remember that little parable in my day to day struggles, I will probably do some quicker learning of lessons trying to get to the point of it all, and a lot less complaining and whining and wringing of hands.

That said - (Sunday School is dismissed!) I heard today that Katie and Mia will be coming for a visit the first 2 weeks in July. So you know what that means... Mia + July 4th fireworks = FUN! I'm already planning the days off from work to play with my little friend. Oh - and Katie too. Now we just need Lexi and Matthew and Ronna!
I can't believe that I'm already making plans for summer, but it sure is a lot more fun than looking out at the gloomy weather we've had lately. It's been so chilly at night - L and I have even worn socks to bed, and you KNOW how sexy that is! You might say we could turn on the heater - and we do - but if we turn it up to where it's comfortable, then after awhile it's too hot. We've never been able to master the thermostat at our house. So in the winter we put on socks, and link our icy hands together to fall asleep. No one else would think so, but WE think it's kinda sexy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Heads On A Stick

This past Saturday, L and I attended our first political rally. It was sponsored by a local radio station (KFI) and was a California tax revolt rally. For those of you who don't live in California, we just got hijacked, beaten, and robbed by our California legislators - yes, those folks we voted in to watch our backs up in Sacramento. We knew our dear Governor Schwartzenegger had turned against us and, because of his own inability/desire to control the state budget, had drafted a tax hike so severe that it's left most of us reeling. But we (naively) thought that our representatives would rally round and vote it down. No such luck. It seems they were all in cahoots (while putting on a lyin' denyin' front) and the tax rate hike was approved. Now, the only recourse we have is to vote NO on Prop 1A (which will vote no on a spending cap, but will put the tax hike in effect for only two years. Voting YES will do virtually nothing to control spending, but the tax hike would be in effect for FOUR years!) The other aim is to oust/recall the Republican representatives who signed a No Tax Agreement(when they wanted to be reelected), but then went totally against what the pledged they WOULD NOT do and just rolled over when it came to standing up for us, their California constituants. I'm telling you, people are very, very angry. And more than a little nervous when thinking about our income reduction. But mostly betrayed and angry. So the theme of the rally was "Heads On A Stick." How jolly.
Saturday afternoon, L and I drove off to our little rally. I remember saying to him that I hoped there would be a decent showing of people. We got to within about 1/2 mile of the location, and we started to see people parking and walking. We finally found a parking place and struck off walking ourselves, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING how many people were there in Fullerton on a Saturday afternoon. We were told it was around 15,000 people who came! The radio show was broadcast live from the rally, and we were all very enthusiastic. There were the silly things, like lopping off the heads of Arnold action figures with swords, and the smashing of Terminator DVDs, but there were also a lot of petitions for recall (sadly, none from our district), as well as information about what we all can do. But most of all, it was great to see the solidarity of so many people. And there were all kinds: young adults, young families, not so young families, middle-aged folks, people my parents' age - and from many different walks of life. And one other thing that struck me: we were all angry and concerned about the state of affairs in California, and people were riled up, but EVERYONE was polite. I didn't see one instance of common courtesy going by the wayside. If someone needed to exit the crowd, there were lots of excuse me's, and everyone helped them by getting out of the way. A woman behind me dropped her Coke, and she must have apologized to me and others 10 times while trying to clean it up. It was a concerned crowd, but a nice, decent crowd. For some reason, it made me really happy to see that. I guess I half expected to see people out of control, although this is Orange County, after all. And I'm not under the delusion that this one rally will solve anything - but I'm sure (being the first one of its kind, and being successful) that it did send a clear message to those watching in Sacramento, because there will be more of them. And I'm loving the way lots of nice, but very different people came together over a common cause. It was exciting, and hopeful. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the man in the stars and stripes shirt wearing a Mad Hatter hat, with tea bags hanging off of it (you know, like the Boston Tea Party? Tax revolt, and all that?), but he was moving all over through the crowd. But check out the "Arnold is a girlie man" poster. Isn't that GREAT? It was an afternoon well spent, and I feel I got my feet wet in the political arena. Because this is going to be a fight we'll ALL have eventually. It may have begun in looney California, but trust me, it won't end here. So get your dukes up, folks. We have one crazy fight ahead of us, and we need to be organized and united, and take the time to make our voices heard.
On another battlefield, did anyone happen to see the promo in TV Guide touting the upcoming episode of the HBO show, "Big Love?" Apparently, for this episode, the producers found some bitter ex-Mormon to help them duplicate rooms in an LDS temple, as well as the temple clothes and ceremonies inside the temple. What the ???? I was shocked, to say the least. AND - (so unlike me, but I'm finding my voice here) - I wrote an e-mail expressing my outrage and disappointment to the show's producers. The very idea that they would use a religion's sacred beliefs (ANYONE'S - not just ours) to ridicule and poke fun at so they can boost ratings, and be controversial (it was said in the promo that they are "educating" us) is disgusting. I hope some of you will take the time to write your own letters and/or e-mail. Because it isn't just about LDS beliefs - if they can do it to us, they can, and will, do it to anyone. Because nothing is more sacred to these people than making money.

You can view the HBO promo for yourself (get to page 48) here

You can e-mail your disgust here

You can write to HBO (owned by Time Warner) at this address:
Time Warner Inc.
One Time Warner Center
New York, NY10019-8016
Please grab your courage, find your voice, and stand up for what's right.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Win With a Comment!

Something fun for the weekend: A GiveAway! My daughter makes the prettiest flower hair clips and headbands for little girls, as well as their mommies. They are gorgeous - all glammed up with Swarovski crystals, beads, and sometimes, feathers. You can see them here. Check out the whole blog (scroll all the way down) and notice that she makes little burp cloth sets (is there a more attractive name for those?) as well, for both boys and girls. Anyway - be one of the first three to leave a comment on her MiaMoo blog (say whether you have a boy or girl - or maybe it's just you!) and she will send you a gift! I don't know what it is - it's a surprise - but it will be good. Hurry hurry!

Let me know if you are a winner. I just love gifts, don't you?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thanks A Million...

You know - back to Sunday - I came away with another little snippet of suggestion from Sister Glenna that I liked very much. She was talking about how, when she prayed, she found herself giving God a long laundry list of things to do. So she decided one day to just give a thankful prayer - nothing but thanks. No needs, no please bless this or that, no please help me with whatever. Simply thanks for everything she was blessed with. She said it gave her a whole new insight and feeling. I liked the idea, so I decided to give it a try. It's amazing how hard it is to do! I would just be on the verge of asking for something, and would remember to only give thanks instead. It was hard, but I liked it. It forced me to concentrate on all of the wonderful things I'm blessed with, and enjoy - rather than rushing through that part, and getting to the part where I needed and wanted. I felt it gave me a new perspective. Who wouldn't, as a parent, love it if our children came once a day and just thanked us for everything we do for them? I would think that our Father would love it too - and it's the least I can do for all the grief I give Him.
Of course, I can't entirely give up my pleas for help - mostly because so many of them aren't for me. I need plenty of help, that's for sure, but so do so many others that I know. But once a day, it's so refreshing - even purifying - to think only of what I'm blessed with and let it pour out. Perhaps it will do the same for you. See? I only look like I'm sleeping in RS - I really am paying attention!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's All Good

It was a good weekend. Nothing extraordinary happened. I think it was more that it was just a weekend filled with *nice*. Saturday morning started slowly - just the way I like it. I was just opening my book to read for awhile ("The Mighty Queens of Freeville") when my son came in and asked if I could give him a ride to the tire place - he had a flat. And while it certainly wasn't nice for him, it's always nice for me to spend even a few minutes with him - even if it involved flat tires. Soon enough, I was back home, and I decided to call the Girls (my aunt and grandma) to see how they were doing. They've been going it alone, without a caregiver to help out, and I was a little worried that it would be too much for my aunt. (My 97 year old grandma had a stroke just before Christmas, and it's been dicey.) To my surprise and delight, they both sounded great! It's the first conversation since the stroke that my grandma wanted to get on the phone and talk, without first being prodded. We ran through everyone in the family, and how they were doing, and my grandma was laughing, my aunt was joking, and - best of all - she didn't sound exhausted. A great conversation.
At noon, I went to my massage and facial appointment. It was a gift from L for Christmas, and I was excited to finally schedule it. Sooooo relaxing, and good spa-smelling. As anyone who knows our family knows - we're all about the smell of things. I've seen even my boys get very excited about the smell of this soap, or that lotion - which has caused more than a few sideways glances from "outsiders." But back to the spa: it was heaven. My skin glowed and my muscles were relaxed. Mission accomplished. I spent the rest of the afternoon potting some new flowers, and fertilizing everything, which is something I haven't done in ages. It was a good day.

Sunday: I woke up achey and stuffed up. I think the massage made me sore overnight - too much of a good thing, maybe? Also, sometimes a massage and RA don't react well to each other. AND - I'm still stuffy. I'd hoped to be healed by now, so that was disappointing. My good friend Donna called and asked me to lead the music in RS. I said no, because my face felt huge from the stuffiness, and then I cried because I wasn't more saintly and service oriented. I felt like I dragged myself to church, enduring to the end. As I shuffled into RS and sat down, I found myself sitting next to Glenna, an older sister in the ward. She is the mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother of a virtual dynasty of families in our ward. I was sitting there, kind of feeling sorry for myself, when she leaned over and said "I read your blog the other day." I must have looked surprised, so she explained that my blog was linked on her granddaughter's blog, and that she had gone to it to see if it was me. (And it was.) I mumbled something like "Well, I hope you liked it..." To which she replied: "I love to read different blogs - I find it's a good way to get to know people better." I'm not sure why, but that just made my day. It explained perfectly why I will go (every day) and read all of the blogs that are linked to mine. Some are family, but the vast majority are people I've never met. Some are funny, some are inspiring, some are educational - but I love them all, and I feel that each one is a friend. I notice that my blog gets hits from places where I know no one. I like to think that maybe others out there are reading my blog in the same way. They wouldn't know me if they passed me on the street, but they read about the person I am, and the silly things I do, and the things I care about, and maybe they can see me as someone a lot like them - someone they'd like to have a good chat with over a Diet Coke. I kind of started doing this blog in the hopes that my sister friends from all different points in my life would have a place to come to where we could keep up with each other. But in reality, most of them don't blog, aren't into computers, and so we still keep in touch in more traditional ways. But I've found new friends that I keep up with, who add spice to my day through their blogs, and their comments on mine. And for all of you - those I know, and those I know only through their written words - I thank you for your daily dose of hilarity, good advice, and grounding. I'm having such a good time here. Please pass the cookies and red punch.

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