Thursday, November 29, 2012

House of Mirrors

Eyes closed, she stumbles from room to room.
Each obstacle meets curled shoulders as
Thoughts crash hard against her.

In moments of courage
She turns her head.
Wide eyes greet only mirrors,
And shades of herself.

She shakes her fist
And cries for the words
That once came so easily.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yumprint Update and Then Some...

Yumprint?  What's that?

That's my update.


Dinner?  What's that?

Last night I made Mac and Ella a tuna fish sandwich and Rohan and Brynja had grilled cheese.  And they all had apples.

I feel pretty good about that.  Dustin was out of town, so I didn't need to cook for him and I can't remember if I ate anything or not.  I think I had a late lunch (of sorts) and so I must not have been very hungry.  Either that or I have amnesia.

I took my kids to our local Halloween store and we spent over an hour there just walking around looking at stuff and putting masks on.  It was free and they were highly entertained.  They thought I was the coolest mom ever.



And two other points of interest that Facebook knows but my blog does not...

Back in May I went platinum blonde.  And in September I went to Europe.  Here are a few pictures to cover both items:  


Me standing next to a statue of the world's tallest man... Guinness Museum; Copenhagen, Denmark


Swedish Sauna.  It's tiny and that's why my fingers are like that.  (it is an inside joke between us and this Finnish friend of ours named Patrik why that is funny.)  Skansen Open Air Museum; Stockholm, Sweden.

This was an authentic Viking Rune stone, still it's original environment in the forest where it was discovered.  We had to hike to get to it.  It has a picture of a Longboat and the runes written there say something to the effect of, "In memory of the good son."  This is near a small town (can't remember the name...) in Finland about 30 or 40 minutes north of Vaasa.  

On the shore of the Baltic Sea.  That island you can see in the distance was our destination in this picture.  I was waiting for Patrik to pick us up in his boat and we rode to his summer house (cabin) on the island.  The island's name translated to "Thor's Island".  Awesome.

 
Standing on the porch of Patrik's summer home, with the Baltic Sea behind us.  Beautiful.


Stockholm, Sweden.  This city was a surprise around every corner.  This was inside a courtyard surrounded by buildings.  The courtyard was invisible from the street until you come upon this tiny opening in the wall of the building and then, surprise!  This awesome courtyard.  I think it was some kind of hotel behind me.  And to my left (your right) was this little green space like a park.  Grass and trees.  And this was all hidden, tucked away in this courtyard.  It was so cool.  



Perhaps someday I'll post more about our trip.  I'd like to.  It was amazing.  But for now, I'm happy to get this much up.

And see how I'm blonde now?  Yep.  That's been fun too.  


 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You Might Want to Sit Down...

I'm keeping you updated!  It's not a very good update, but I'm just excited that I remembered I have a blog.

Update:

I haven't looked at YumPrint one time since I wrote last.  I might have pinned (can I say pinned?  It's not Pinterest...) a recipe since then, but visited the site?  Nope.

And I think I've cooked dinner a total of 2 times in the last two weeks.  Well, maybe a couple more.  But I have been on the roof of my duplex for those two weeks (well, only in the day).  We're reroofing and it's sucking my will to live.  And cook.

So, I'll try to update you when I actually start having a life again that doesn't involve shingles or a 4/12 pitch.

Thank you for your patience... please continue to hold.

Oh.  And for your viewing pleasure... or not.

PICTURES!    I told you you might want to sit down.  I'm trying to be picture-girl.

If you're my friend on FB, you've probably seen these.  But there are some who are not on Facebook.  I know of two for sure.  ;-)



Boom truck with rooftop shingle delivery.  Best $65 I've ever spent.   


Dustin and I after one of the days of the tear-off.  This roof had 5 layers, the first one being old, original 1920 hot-mop tar stuff.  It was a really fun and exciting job.  Don't we look excited?  Yeah.  Not really.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yumprint?

My awesome friend, Rachel, posted about this new social networking site called Yumprint.  It's for recipes and Rachel's excited.  So, I for sure got on the site and signed up.  Are you kidding?  Something that helps with the dinner hour?  We all know I have dinner issues.

So, as I was looking around on the site and trying to figure out how it worked, I started to feel panicky.  I've not tried Yumprint, but have tried all kinds of books and emails and calendars to try to help me figure out dinner.

One book, in particular, I loved because it had 5 (or 6? I forget) days worth of recipes with a shopping list prepared for the whole week.  I did it for about a month and thought it was awesome, and I discovered, much to my surprise, that I really like cooking WHEN I don't have to think about WHAT to cook and I know I have all the ingredients already in the house.  I loved trying new recipes, which this forced me to do every night.  I really loved the whole process, except for going to the store.  My excuse for falling off that month-long wagon was that it was expensive.  It was perhaps a little more pricey than I would normally cook, but I probably saved money for that month because I spent less time at the store.

As I said, I browsed Yumprint for about 5 minutes seeing if I could figure it out, got panicky and then had an epiphany.  All the things I've ever tried to do to help myself cope with dinner had one thing in common.

ME.  

I'm the common denominator.  And whatever it is inside that makes me resist the planning of the dinner hour is the same thing reason I fear schedules, routines, plans, lists, etc..   And whatever it is is big.  Big and scary.  The panicked feeling that I experienced tells me just how big and how scary it is.

I don't know what I'll be doing about that, but I plan to change it.  Bit by bit.  Day by day.  Meal by meal.  Week by week.

I'd like to say I'll keep you updated...

Anything is possible, right?


Monday, October 8, 2012

My Teeth Are Brushed


(warning... this post is completely random and fairly disturbing... read at your own risk)


I shouldn't start a blog post at 12:30 a.m., but I didn't want another writing miscarriage on my hands.  I've already brushed my teeth and was ready to go to bed, but as I brushed, I was reading a remarkable book called The Dance by Oriah and I had some thoughts.

Let me tell you, as I was reading this book, I felt like I was reading something I wrote.  Not that the subject matter was my life, but the writing style was much like my own.  It made me feel like I was mourning my own death because I never write anymore.  And then I thought about the crazy dream I had last night... the dream that Dustin had to wake me up from because I was crying in my sleep.

So, I'm writing.  Even if it sucks and doesn't make any sense.

This is Clancy taking action.  Nonsensical action, perhaps, but action nonetheless.

In this book that I was just reading Oriah says this;

"The question is not why are we so infrequently the people we really want to be.  The question is why do we so infrequently want to be the people we really are."

This struck me in inexplicable ways.

And, though it makes no sense whatsoever with any of the context of this post, nor the title, I keep thinking of that dream and so, even though it's fairly freaky, I'm going to write about it:


I came into my basement family room where my children had erected a blanket fort.  The fort was covered in blood and inside it I found a little girl who had been stabbed.   In my house.   WHAT?!!!  

She was a beautiful little black girl and I thought she was dead.  I was freaking out and started screaming for someone to call an ambulance.  When I got closer to her, I could see that she was still alive.  She wasn't doing well though and as I examined her, I found a stab wound just below her sternum.  

This child was a stranger to me.  I didn't know who she was or how she got in my house, much less who stabbed her.    


I picked up the child, who was about 7 years old, to carry her upstairs and, in the way of dreams and how they seamlessly change in nonsensical ways, the child was suddenly a baby who was perhaps 6 months old.  I think the baby was a girl.  The baby had no clothes on, but had a white blanket wrapped around her and the wound (in the same place as the little child) was swollen and angry looking.  The baby was very lethargic.  

I saw an ambulance (of sorts... you know how dreams are) pull up in front of my house and as I ran frantically to answer the door with the babe in my arms, two stern faced and steely haired older women came in.  They invited themselves to sit on my couch and proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions that I can't remember now.  I only remember that I wanted to scream at them that I had a dying baby in my arms and that they were supposed to be helping her, not asking me a bunch of questions that didn't matter AT ALL!!!  

I was enormously frustrated and frantic.  These two women didn't even pause to look at the baby as they finished their questions and brusquely left my house as quickly as they entered it.  

There was someone else in my house with me who had called 911.  This person was not present during the steel twins' inquisition, but reappeared as they left.  I was frantic again.  As I realized the ambulance and the 'help' it was supposed to bring was leaving, I decided I had to take the baby to the hospital myself.

I don't know who this person was that was with me, but it was someone I trusted and I was somewhat comforted by their presence.  I remember feeling grateful that I wasn't alone.  


I struggled to put the baby in a car seat.  Then, I struggled to put the car seat in my car.  As I was trying to do this, I realized the baby wasn't in the car seat anymore.  I panicked!  I thought she must have fallen out when I was messing with the car seat trying to get it in the car.  I looked around screaming, "Where's the baby!" and the other person pointed to the white blanket that the baby had been wrapped in.  It was sort of under the car seat.  

As I grabbed the blanket and felt the baby inside it, I realized that the baby was very hard.  I pulled the blanket out with the baby inside it and uncovered it's face and what I held in my arms was now a hard plastic doll, all shiny and frozen in a fairly creepy way.  

The baby had died.  

In my dream I howled with grief and frustration.  I was crying and screaming and beating the car with my fists.  I was so angry at the women who came and asked me questions.  I was so angry at myself for letting them ask.  I was so angry that I didn't even know who this baby was and why it was in my house or who had stabbed it so cruelly.  As I screamed, the person who was with me (who was a woman, by the way) was trying to calm me down.  

And then, I woke up to my own sobbing and howling and Dustin touching me and telling me that everything was ok, and that it was just a dream.

It was so disturbing and frightening.  Like a horror movie.

Don't ask me why I kept feeling like I was supposed to write this out, but I obeyed.

Sorry for you.       

And, as I'm proofing this post, I can't help but notice the relationship between my last post about metaphorical miscarriages, the baby in my dream and the fact that reading this woman Oriah's writing made me feel like I was mourning my own death.

Maybe I'm the baby.  Maybe I'm also the stupid ladies asking all the wrong questions and just causing problems.  Maybe I'm everyone in my dream and it's like many aspects of myself who all seem to be in conflict with one another.

That actually makes a great deal of sense, considering my life lately.

Interesting.

And again, I'm sorry for you, the reader this insanely bizarre post.

Good night.
   

Friday, September 28, 2012

Metaphorical Miscarriage

I've said before that the shower is my thinking place.  It's also the place that I always came up with the best blog post ideas.  Then all that went away.

More and more in the last few weeks/months, I, once again, have blog post ideas come into my head in the shower.  It's like the moment of conception for a new baby. There's a life to my thoughts that's outside of me.  It grows and develops in my head for the duration of my shower and, as I get out, I always want to run to the computer and start writing.

BUT.  

If I don't wash my face and blow-dry my hair as soon as I get out of the shower, my hair dries funny and I sometimes forget to wash my face.  So, I always do that first.  

And my baby miscarries.  Every. Time.  





This was not the intended post for today.  

But it's something.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Proverbs by Rohan

Ella and Mac and I were just reading through a few old posts on my blog and we came across this one where I had asked the kids to finish well-known proverbs.  We laughed our heads off reading these and I decided that Rohan needed to do this so we could enjoy his answers as well.  



Proverbs by Rohan:


The original proverb: Better safe than sorry!
Rohan- Better safe than... healthy.


The original proverb: Strike while the iron is hot!

R- Strike while the... sword's killing.  


The original proverb: It is always darkest before the dawn.

R- It's always darkest before the... dark.


The original proverb: A rolling stone gathers no moss. 

R- A rolling stone... kills.



The original proverb: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

R- A bird in the hand is... dead. 


The original proverb: There's nothing to fear but fear itself.

R- There's nothing to fear but... people.



The original proverb: If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.

R- If you can't stand the heat then... get an umbrella.



The original proverb: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

R- The squeaky wheel gets... fixed.



The original proverb: To err is human, to forgive is divine.

R- To err is human... but to make a mistake.



The original proverb: I think, therefore, I am.

R- I think therefore... I give. 


The original proverb: Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise.

R- Early to bed and early to rise makes... you feel better because then you'll have better energy.



The original proverb: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

R- A journey of a thousand miles begins with... a person. 



The original proverb: There is nothing new under the sun.

R- There is nothing new... except for Brynja. 



The original proverb: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

R- The grass is always greener... than the sun. 



The original proverb: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.

R- Don't count your chickens... before lunch. 



The original proverb: You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

R- You can lead a horse to water, but... not to food. 



The original proverb: Don't bite the hand that feeds you

R- Don't bite the hand that... eats you.


The original proverb: No news is good news.

R- No news is... reported. 



The original proverb: A miss is as good as a mile.

R- A miss is as good as... a hit. 



The original proverb: You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

R- You can't teach an old dog new... stuff. 


The original proverb: If you lie down with dogs, you'll rise with fleas

R- If you lie down with dogs, you'll... bite them. 



The original proverb: The pen is mightier than the sword.

R- The pen is mightier than... the sword. 



The original proverb: Where there's smoke there's fire.

R- Where there's smoke there's... fire. 



The original proverb: Happy the bride who the sun shines on.

R- Happy the bride who... killed his wife. 



The original proverb: A penny saved is a penny earned.

R- A penny saved is... one cent. 



The original proverb: Two's company, three's a crowd.

R- Two's company, three's... are better. 



The original proverb: Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

R- Don't putt off til tomorrow what you... love. 



The original proverb: Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.

R- Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and... the world cries with you. 


The original proverb: Children should be seen and not heard.

R- Children should be seen and not... dead. 



The original proverb: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

R- If at first you don't succeed... then you will be seen by a king. 



The original proverb: You get out of something what you put into it.

R- You get out of something what you... like to do.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lately...

... I have been duplexing my little brains out.  I...

  • ... patched some drywall that was water damaged.  I did a decent job on a smooth ceiling (no texture).  Good enough that my 30-years-of-experience-drywall-finishing-father couldn't even see where the patch was until I showed him.  I felt puffed up with the thrill of doing something all by myself.  
  • ... laid a tile entry all by myself and grouted it almost all by myself.  (Mom came and helped a bit/watched/cheered me on)  But then, when the carpet dude came and kicked in the carpet, all the grout joints busted up and some of the tiles popped loose.  I will admit that I bawled my brains out.  I felt like a failure.  It wasn't really my fault, but I felt like a failure, nonetheless.  So, now I get to redo it with a minor modification that was overlooked the first time.  BOO.  
  • ... painted over 2400 square feet of walls, baseboard, window casings and returns, and doors.  
  • ... laid a linoleum stick-on-tile floor (until 4:30 a.m. one night.  I have a problem...)
  • ... listened to four MP3 books during all this.

... I have also been keeping up on a summer chore-chart with my kids.  It's been great.  They've been [mostly] very willing and they've done a good job.  

... I have been reading a lot.  

... I have been dreaming of blogging again, so I wrote this post, but now I feel all done-ish and like I want to get up and do something else.  

The end.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Unsettled, Distracted

Eyes open
Scarcely blinking
Expose painful imperfection.

Eyes closed
Head shaking 
Deny cold reality.

Eyes scanning 
Up, down, here, there
Words that don't belong to me
Distract from all this reality 
And this imperfection.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On Beards

I have many thoughts about beards.  It's rare day that my husband isn't sporting some sort of facial hair.  Beards, sideburns, goatees and Van Dykes are "in my face" all the time.

And I love it.

When my husband is clean shaven, he's really cute and I still adore him endlessly because he's my Dustin, but I REALLY like it when he's sporting some facial hair. It's darned sexy.

I have these thoughts about my husband and his beard off and on all the time, but just now, I was watching a music video where two men had scruffy beards. This set a train of thought in motion this morning and I realized one of the reasons I like facial hair so much is it's so definitively MAN.  It's something I'll never have.  Perhaps it sounds silly, but the fact that I'll always have a soft face with a delicate jaw and my husband has to make a daily choice to shave or deal with the resulting scruff (YUM!) on his strong jaw stirs the same feelings I wrote about here.  I love that.  Maybe that makes no sense to anyone but me, but facial hair is just so... quintessentially man.  

Don't confuse my love of beards with a love of all forms of facial hair.  Check out this hilarious website I discovered as I pondered this post.  The La Souvarov... NOT my favorite style.  In fact, a few months ago, about thirty or so minutes before Dustin and I were supposed to go to dinner with a big group of friends, he walked out of the bathroom with this face-do:


My friend, when commenting on this pic, said, "I am glad that we have the "stache" documented for all to remember the legendary way to really get under Clancy's skin!"

I was LIVID that Dustin shaved this into his face mere minutes before we went out with friends.  I wouldn't even look at him.

I did get over it, eventually.  I had to beg divine intervention to do so.  Seriously.  I prayed that I could let it go and just have a great night out.  God is merciful and kind and I actually felt an immediate lightening of my anger after my petition.

I know.  I'm crazy.  Maybe I was PMSy?  That sounds like a good excuse.

The point is that not all facial hair is created equal, in my opinion.  I love me a Van Dyke or a nice scruff-beard with a clean neck.  I don't love the neck hair.  Things need to be tidy.  I even love when Dust goes a little crazy and shave in some mutton chops.  When he is clean-shaven, I like him to leave sideburns.

I try very hard not to dictate what he shaves, but it's really hard for me to keep my mouth shut (or pucker up for a kiss) when I don't like his current choice of face-do.

Aren't you glad you aren't my husband?  Poor guy.

:-)

This ends my thoughts on beards.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Connection

Right now I am in a hotel room in Boise, ID.  My sweet Dustin is [hopefully] relaxed and confident at this moment as he is taking his test to become a FG/GIT (Field Geologist/Geologist in Training).  I've just been killing time while I wait for him to finish.  (I'm so proud of him!!!)

A few minutes ago, my cell phone rang.  I went to it thinking it would be my mom or dad who have my kiddos.  As I looked at my phone, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was my Grandfather calling me from Texas.  I answered and after a few hellos and howareyous, Grandpa told me that he had eaten some chocolate just before bed last night and had unknowingly carried bits of it from his clothes or fingers onto his bed sheets.  So this morning, upon awakening, he had chocolate stains on his sheets. 

My adorable Grandpa called me from Texas to ask me how to get chocolate stains off of his sheets. 

I haven't had conversations on the phone with my Grandpa very often in my life.  It seems as though the only times I did were when he and my mom were talking and she would put it on speaker phone and we'd all say hi.  I'm sad to say that I rarely called my Texas Grandparents just to say 'hello and I love you'. 

My sweet grandmother is gone now.  That is hard and tragic. 

And.

Because of her death, I went to Houston and spent a week there.  For three of those days, there was no one else there except my parents, my Grandpa and myself.  Grandpa and I connected in a way we never have in the past.  He told me things.  He cried to me, mourning over his sweetheart.  He kept apologizing for his tears and I told him to let them come, that he needed those tears over his lost love.  I held my aged Grandfather as he wept, cradling and stroking his head between my shoulder and my ear as I cried with him. 

While I was there, I tried to help Grandpa get things in order.  There is a terribly overwhelming amount that needs doing, but I did my best to make a dent in it.  As we talked on the phone this morning, he told me of the progress of some of those things.  I guess Grandpa really felt my sincere desire to help him while I was there and had also felt how our connection had been strengthened, because he called me, ME!, to help him with his sheets.  I'm sure he tried to call my mom and my aunts first, but I can't tell you how it warmed my soul that I was on the list of people to call for help in matters of laundry. 

There is always dark and light in every situation, equal and opposite.  A light to counter some of the pain of grandma's death is the manifestation of a deeper connection with my grandfather.

I love you, Grandpa. 






Monday, February 13, 2012

Grandma

I want to write something eloquent and beautiful to sum up the last week and a half of my life, but I don't seem to have the energy.  I'll just stick with the facts.

My grandmother passed away on February 1st.  She and my grandpa live in Houston, TX.  So, my dad and I (and my parent's 15 week old Maltese Poodle, Addison) got in the car on Thursday, February 2nd and drove for 28 hours straight to be there in time for the viewing on Friday evening.

My dear husband was completely awesome, assuring me that he would take care of everything and to just go and have a nice time (as nice as you can have at a funeral).

The viewing was such a mix of emotions.  Everyone would ask while we were hugging, "How are you?"  What do you say to that question at the viewing of such a beloved person?  Yet, I was asking everyone the same thing.  Most of these people I hadn't seen in several years, and some of them, a decade or more.  I hadn't been to my grandparents house since I was 11 years old.  Sad, but true.

When my uncle, Mickey, and I exchanged the "How are yous", I responded, "Well, kinda crappy.... and wonderful at the same time."  It was so good to see all these people.  All this family.  All those who share my blood.  It was crappy to be there with my grandmother laying still in her coffin, her beautiful hands crossed over each other.  Mickey, who is always searching for the perfectly coined phrase, burst into laughter and exclaimed that I had done it.  He expressed the same feelings about the question that everyone was asking each other, "How are you?"  There was no good answer, but apparently, I found it.  How are you?  I'm crappy-wonderful, thanks for asking.

The viewing was poignant.  Crappy and wonderful, joyous and tragic.

It was hard to see my mom.  She was more shaken than she would've ever imagined.  My sweet grandfather was strong, but his strength would slip now and then and his heartbreak would peek through.  It was emotional and tender to witness all the love in the room.

After the viewing, we went to my Grandparent's home for more visiting and last minute prep for the funeral the following day.  My aunt, Bronwyn, was trying to write up the life sketch from the notes she had written, and she was struggling.  I offered to do it for her.  My mom and I, together, wrote up from all the notes, what I thought was a beautiful life sketch honoring a beautiful woman.  I was glad I got to participate and help and that my mom was there to clarify and add her own beautiful memories and words.

Saturday, the day of the funeral, I was awakened, not by my alarm clock, but by the incredible thunder from a very incredible storm.  We got ready and rushed out the door.  We had another few minutes with Grandma's body and then, a beautiful and comforting family prayer was said by my dad as we closed the casket.  

We followed the casket into the chapel and proceeded to have one of the most amazing services I've ever attended.  It was so perfect.  So beautiful.  So powerful.

I sobbed and sobbed, particularly at the end, that my siblings weren't able to attend.  My brothers and sisters were trying hard to make it work, but in the end, it just didn't.  I missed them so much and ached that they weren't able to participate in the beauty that was there.

I had the honor of being a pall-bearer, which surprised me in how much it meant to me to escort her casket out of the building and then lift it into the hearse.  I felt like I was part of her honor guard.  Her casket was so beautiful and completely something that she would have chosen herself.  Natural, light wood and the most beautiful spray adorning the top.  It was the prettiest casket and spray I've ever seen.  As we walked her out, I kept my hand on the casket, touching that beautiful, soft wood.  It was such an honor and I couldn't stop crying.

The hearse took her away to await her burial the following Monday.  The family congregated in the church and had a luncheon prepared by the ward Relief Society (church group).  I've never felt so grateful for the service of a funeral luncheon.  What a wonderful thing to do for grieving families.

After the lunch, we went back to my Grandparent's house and everyone sat around visiting.  We had an impromptu talent show.  My uncle Lex played guitar, people were singing and playing piano.  We all sang songs that we've all been singing our whole lives with our family, Old Dog Tray, Nellie Bly, Man's Life's a Vapor, To Ope Their Trunks... it went on for at least two hours and it was magical.

Monday morning was the burial.  It was an interesting thing because it was at the Veteran's Cemetery.  They stressed many times the importance of being on time.  We were successfully on time and were escorted to a pavilion.  The pall-bearers removed the casket from the hearse and placed it on a raised concrete thing.  We said the dedicatory prayer for the place Grandma would be buried, but it was interesting because we weren't even in the actual plot for her burial.  We left her casket in this pavilion (not unattended, but it felt that way because we were just supposed to leave) and the cemetery workers came and picked up the casket to take it to the burial site without any of the family around.  It was very different than any burial I've previously seen and I know it's because it's a Veteran's Cemetery.  My grandpa told me they have over 2,900 burials there per year.


I took several hundred pictures over the weekend and my favorites were at the cemetery.  It was a bright, crisp morning... very cold for Houston, TX.  The beautiful lighting made for nice pictures.
Here are a few, cemetery and not.


My Grandma (in the picture), Grandpa and all their kids.  


 Grandpa and I 

 My amazing Grandfather.
 The beautiful casket and flowers.

 My stunning Mother. (next two as well)



 My Uncle Lex.  One of the best parts about this trip is the chance I got to spend time with and get to know this man.  He's SO great.  I am a lucky girl to have such an amazing family.

 Aunt Tana and Grandpa.  I have the sweetest and coolest Aunts on the planet.
Lex keeping us all mesmerized with his voice and a guitar.

 One of my greatest treasures, my aunt Devan.  She's helped me so much over the years.

 Tana and Bronwyn.  Brony was kinda my other mother as a kid.  We saw her family the most as they lived (and still live) the closest to us.

And finally, Jann.  This woman is gold.  She's so sweet.  



This was a weekend I will never forget.  Dad and I stayed longer and helped Grandpa with some things around his house.  And then, on the way home at 1:30 a.m., we lost the alternator on Dad's car in Artesia, NM.  Thank goodness it was in a town and not in the hundreds of miles of desert between towns.  We felt very blessed.  We even felt blessed when we discovered, a few miles down the road, that AutoZone sold us a faulty alternator.  We only drove about 30 miles to the next town and found another AutoZone and RE-replaced the alternator.  It was an annoying time delay, but we were very grateful because it could have been much much worse.

I'll miss you, Grandma.  But I know I'll see you again.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Five and Five on Friday

Oops.  Fell off the wagon again.  So I'll play two games today.  Mine and my friend Travis'.

Five Fabulous things in my life right now...

1- Gotye.  My latest musical fixation.  I adore this artist.  And when I say I adore, I really mean I'm obsessed.  I'm listening to him right now.  I watched a whole live concert of his last night.  Twice.

2- Dustin is off work today.  I love that story.

3- My kids are awesome.
  •  Mac is so FUN right now.  He's moving into a different phase where he's more like a real person instead of a little kid.  I know that the next several years (think teenager) will come with their own set of challenges, but I sure enjoy the person my son is turning into.  
  • Ella is so delightful and creative. This child is ALWAYS creating something.  It's so fun to watch her talents unfold and her skills develop.  She's becoming quite the little pianist and artist.  And she's so passionate about both.  
  • Rohan is still Rohan.  Delightfully entertaining and completely easy to love.  He has a very stubborn streak that is hard to deal with at times, but we all have something.  The other day we had a convo that went like this:
    Rohan: Mom, I want to go to Egypt.
    Me: You do?
    R:  Yeah.  Are there Egyptians in Egypt?
    M:  Yep.
    R: But do they know any tricks?
    M: Ummm... (smothering laughter as I always must around this child...)  I'm not sure?...
    R: But why are they called Egyptians?
    M: Because they're the people of Egypt.
    R:  Oh.  OK.
    And then he walked away, our conversation sating his Egyptian curiosity.  What a kid.  
  • Brynja should probably have a post all to herself because she's grown and changed so much.  She's so fun.  She's so darling.  She's the most amazing mix of completely amiable and total spitfire.  She loves to hug and give kisses.  She loves to say NO.  She loves the word MINE and she says it both very sweetly and with great force.  In March she'll be two.  Two?  Yes.  Two.  I can hardly believe it.                 
4- I love helping friends.  I often get the chance to pay forward much of what I've learned from my amazing mother and aunt and for that I'm so grateful.

5- Words.  Words are the best.  I love the expressive power of words.


And I'm playing a new (for me) game today... Five on Friday.  My blog-friend Travis hosts this every week.  Link up if you want to play!

These are five of Gotye's songs that I can't get enough of.  I said it above, but I'm rather obsessed with this artist and all his music.  The videos are often very bizarre, but that's part of his charm for me.  He's quirky and different.  Different music.  Different presentation.  I love his style of different.  And he's got such great beats.  (He's a drummer among other things)  So, I hope you enjoy a little sampling of Gotye.

This first video is the song that has brought him the most success.




Such a great, driving rhythm in this song:




Love the words on this song. Don't we all feel this way when we get on the phone?


And live? He's amazing.




This one I couldn't find on YouTube.  Hope this code works.


Watch Gotye and other great gigs on Moshcam.


If you liked Gotye's music, I suggest you go poke around on his GotyeMusic YouTube page and look at some of his behind the scenes movies and the process he goes through in creating much of his music.  He and his process of music making fascinates me.

I hope you enjoyed.    Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bridge

Spanning chasms and offering safety, the bridge stands year after year.  It's strength seems effortless, taken for granted by those upheld by it's engineering.

Time, neglect and chaos take their toll.

At first it's just softness underfoot, spongy.  The small, slow deteriorating of wood and the quiet rust of metal a warning.

They all want to say it fell suddenly, but they never listened to the rust and the softness of the wood until they were tumbling through the dark waters beneath it.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas


Ok, ok.  I'll do a Christmas write-up.

Our Tree:  We don't have a "theme tree".  I have colorful, warm, cozy lights that remind me of my childhood and the magic that was Christmas.   None of my ornaments match and I love it.  They all have a memory or were a creation of my children.  Sometimes I look at other trees and think maybe mine looks a little messy, but that's how I like it.  A messy, colorful, warm tree.  It's magic.



And, to make you all faint, I'm throwing in a picture.  That there is the tree.  And when I was taking pics, Brynja's cute antique-ish Radio Flyer rocking horse happened to be in front of the tree.  Kinda fitting.  (And this is me messing with my new camera off of auto-mode, but I don't have a tripod so flashless pics are tricky as of yet)

Christmas Eve was a mellow thing this year.  I usually find myself shopping for a few last minute things that day, as well as trying to make cookies or treats of some kind for neighbors and friends.  I managed to get all my shopping done beforehand and I thought, perhaps, I'd be baking or something that day, but I decided I wouldn't do it until I had cooked the chicken noodle soup (homemade noodle kind... takes forever) that we were planning on having for dinner.

I got the food done and had no time to make anything for neighbors and that was completely ok with me.  (sorry friends and neighbors!  next year...)

The morning of Christmas Eve, I had the choir practicing the Christmas program that was scheduled for the next morning (Christmas) at 10:30 a.m.  The practice when FANTASTIC and I felt, for the most part, completely ready for the program.  And it was good.  Good, I tell you!  Tears were shed during the practice as stories were read and songs were sung.  It was fabulous.  

So, back to the afternoon... Had dinner ready and went to my mom's house.  My mom was feeling not-so-great at the time.  She had been in the hospital earlier in the week... Sunday through Wednesday... after dealing with serious pain in her chest.  It wasn't a heart attack, but pericarditus that she's been battling ever since her heart attack in September.  So, Christmas festivities were kept very low-key, which suited all of us just fine.  We ate soup and bread, laughed and talked with my parents and my brother, Taylor, and his girlfriend, Cherryn.  We did our version of the Nativity which is pulling out the pretty ceramic pieces that my mom painted years ago and telling about the role each figure played in the story of Christ's birth.  It's a nice time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas.  Then I read a few Christmas stories and we called it a night.  Low key.  Perfect.  

We got home, did the Christmas pajama thing and sent those excited kids off to bed.  

And then Dustin and I started the Santa process.  We had a very frustrating time trying to assemble a toy.  It took more than an hour and it DIDN'T WORK when it was all put together.  We were freaking out.  I was so upset.  We ended up writing a note to Ella from Santa telling her that his elves must have broken the toy while assembling it and that her parents would get her something else.  (The note was really for the benefit of Rohan.  Ella inquired as to the true nature of Santa a month or so before Christmas and learned that it is her mom and dad who act in the name of Santa and the Spirit of Christmas.)  It was disappointing, to say the least.  It was compounded by the fact that I didn't feel very well.  I was agitated and SO INCREDIBLY tired.  All I wanted to do was go to sleep, but we had things to wrap and stockings to fill.

Aside:  My kids and husband had been shuffling the flu between them for the week previous.  Brynja was sick, throwing up and feverish, the previous Saturday night and spent all of Sunday completely miserable.   Next came Ella and Rohan on Monday and Tuesday.  They shared their sick day.  Poor Ella threw up over and over and over.  I bet she threw up every ten minutes for four hours straight.  It was terrible.  And then it slowed down to every 30 or so minutes for the next, oh, six or so hours.  Rohan had it coming out both ends.  Not as much puking as Ella, but he made up for it in other ways.  (Think 1 a.m., 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. baths...)  And I forgot that Dustin shared this sick day with Ella and Roh as well.  Lucky.

Mac waited until Thursday/Friday and he was miserable too, but his manifested a little less severely than the other kids'.

As for me, I told my body that I was healthy.  I didn't have time for anything otherwise.  I couldn't spare a moment to succumb to the bug that plagued the rest of my family.  And I didn't.  And I was proud of myself because I really and truly felt like I kept it at bay by sheer force of will.  

Pride comes before a fall.

Usually, as we finish up laying out Christmas for the big morning, I go wash all the dishes, clean up any extra stuff in the living room and make sure everything feels good in the room before I go to bed.  Not this time.  By the time we were wrapping up, I was really feeling weird and I was scared about it.  Over and over again, I did my mental exercises  to fend off illness.  And it got worse.  There were dishes in the sink and some clutter on the table, but I decided I didn't care.  Not even a little bit.  I went to bed at about 1:45 or 2:00 a.m.  

I fell asleep for about 15 minutes and then bolted out of bed.  I was well and truly sick.  I had it like Rohan, coming from two directions.  I was so cold.  I would go in and lay on the hardwood floor in front of the heater in between my special times in the bathroom.  I had this little tiny fleece blanket that I would try to squeeze my body under as I laid by the heater.  

I know I fell asleep several times and was continually awakened by my body trying to expunge the virus I had previously eluded.  It was the most intense illness I've ever had.  

All my kids were sick for a minimum of 24 hours.  I started throwing up at about 2 a.m. on Christmas morning.  Here's where I was freaking out.  You recall that I direct the choir in my church?  And you recall that we do a big Christmas program every year?  And this year happened to be on Christmas Day?  I was totally clueless what I should do.  I was most likely going to be sick until at least the next morning at 2 a.m.  Should I call my bishop in the morning and tell him I wouldn't be there?  Me, the director of seven of the nine songs and the soloist singing the eighth?  What would they do?  Could Sandy lead them all?  Should they just sing congregational hymns?  Would they cancel the whole thing?

Amid puking and other things, I had these thoughts floating around.  I couldn't believe that I chose THIS time to get sick.  Seriously?  But when I say the thoughts were floating around, that's really how I felt.  This illness was so intense and I was so tired that I was fairly delirious.  I might have even passed out at one point.  I don't really know what happened except that I remembered sitting on the porcelain throne and then the next thing I remembered was pushing myself off the floor because I needed to sit there again.  And throw up.  At the same time.  Lucky me, I had a bowl and lucky me, I had the toilet paper holder to hold up the weight of my upper body because I couldn't hold myself up.  But I don't know how I got on the floor in the first place.  So I either passed out, or fell asleep and laid myself down with my pants still down.

It was violent.  It was delirium.  It was horrible.  And it was short.

I had, without much recollection of getting there, laid back in front of the heater on the hard floor and fallen asleep.  I'm guessing I left the bathroom for the last time at about 4:30.  I woke up to the sound of my kids coming through the kitchen to wake us up.  I exploded off the floor (don't know where the energy for that came from) telling them that it was too early and they needed to go back to sleep.  My kids informed me that it was 6:30 and I replied that it was still too early.  They had to wait until 7:00.  They grumbled until I told them I'd been throwing up all night.  Then they felt bad and acquiesced.  

I went and laid in my bed next to Dustin.  He told me how sorry he was that I was sick.  As I lay there in my bed, I did a "body check", so to speak.  An evaluation of what was going on.  I discovered that I didn't feel like I needed to use the toilet.  Good news.  And in checking on my stomach, I discovered that I felt.... HUNGRY.  Hungry?  I was shocked.  Who feels hungry when they've been throwing up?  Only people who are on the mend.  I allowed myself to hope and I ate a saltine cracker.  

Dustin had gone downstairs to hang out with the kids for the half hour they were required to wait.  I slept a little bit and then we all got ready to go see what "Santa" brought.  I just sat on a chair through the festivities and tried not to move my tender stomach.  

As time went on, I felt a little better and a little better.  At about 9:15 I went and showered and got myself ready for church.  I was shaky and weak, hollow feeling and tender-stomached, but I managed to get ready and go.

As I led the music and the program progressed, I seemed to get more strength even though I was exerting more energy and had only had a few crackers and some water.  Things went very well.  My solo was kinda disappointing, but considering how I felt, I was happy I was able to do it at all.  So I took the mediocre assessment and decided instead that it was pretty great.

And then it was over.  

And that was my Christmas miracle.  The Reader's Digest Version of the flu.  Two hours instead of 24-36.  

I was so grateful for that gift, and I just took it easy the rest of the day.  

Here are more pictures so you can faint again.  (don't worry, I didn't take any selfies of me barfing or similarly engaged...)



 On my bed, waiting so sweetly.


 The magic moment of walking into Christmas.



 Mac got a nice digital camera.  (The shark was the toy that didn't work.  MEGA disappointing)


Dustin and Rohan... opening something.  (proof of Dustin's presence.)



And me... trying to enjoy myself on two hours of sleep and shaky, hollow, sick-recovery-ness.  



Ella made this pillow for Mac (with help from me).  She was so excited! 


Rohan opening a gift I made for him... and I'm kinda proud of it, so....


Here it is.  It's a suitcase that I got from a thrift store and made a dinosaur habitat inside.  


It has a volcano and a cave and "water" (painted).  And then, when he's done playing with it, he closes it up and it's just a suitcase!  :-)  It's cool.   



And Ella after opening her art stuff that I spoke of a few days ago.  She was SO excited.  




Brynja was so cute.  She loved this doggie that Rohan gave her.  She snuggled it for a long time.  



In spite of the wild flu-ride, it was a great, low-key Christmas.


THE END.