Monday, December 29, 2008

Is it worth remembering?

It's strange how every now and then a stray thought meanders into your mind and causes you to sit up straight and give it further consideration. I was busily engaged doing absolutely nothing a few minutes ago and it struck me.

Whatever I do today will be what I have to remember tomorrow

What kind of a memory am I making? Is it going to be worth remembering? For me? For one of my children? For a friend?

I had just written on Lin's blog about wanting to spend more of each day doing what inspires, interests and pleases me. Maybe if I don't quit working altogether I will, at the very least, take longer recesses. I'll try to snatch some corner in every hour to do, visit, write, or make something memorable. Why not? I'm not in much of a hurry anymore. I can certainly allow myself the time to smell the lilacs along the highway.

This holiday season has been awash in some tender, some giggle snicker snort, and some inspiring moments, memories to be cradled in my mind and cherished forever.

I can't think of a reason why I shouldn't have some portion of every day furnish me with such treasured times. Seems like a worthy goal for 2009.

I think I'll give it a shot.

pics are one of my families favorite Christmas traditions. Mom's (that's me)wrapped packages. Someday I may share the reason I wrap presents like this even for the two year old. It's one of my favorite stories.

AS REQUESTED: This is a codicil

There was a woman from Georgia living as a missionary in Japan with her husband. One afternoon in the early fall, the missionary couple were visiting with one of the local farmers. She mentioneed how much she missed the Georgia peaches this time of year. The old farmer pointed to the top of a mountain in the distance and told her that very sweet peaches were known to grow there. She sighed at the thought and they discussed that it was a long way to go and there was no transporation available other than an old goat and cart. Much of the trip would have to be made on foot. It simply wasn't possible to make the trip to get them.

A few days later, the old farmer stood at the door of the missionaries home. He held a basket of beautiful, golden red peaches in his hands. The woman gasped and asked, "Where did you find these?" "On top of mountain", said the farmer.
"I can't believe it! I can't believe that you traveled such a great distance to bring me such a wonderful surprise." "Great distance, part of gift." was his softly, humbly spoken reply.

I LOVE that! I love the generosity of spirit it expresses. The time, effort and creativity that I put into wrapping a pretty package is "part of gift".

Monday, December 8, 2008

Since the Year 1969...

The year was 1969. I was standing at the window of a rather expensive boutique admiring, and desperately wanting to buy, an extremely expensive handmade Father Christmas. "You know what, Shirley? I think I'm just going to break down and pay the price." "Why? Let's just go home and make one." "Make one? Are you kidding me? I couldn't make one of those!" "Why not? They did."

To this day, I remember that conversation. I absolutely knew that there was no way I could reproduce what I saw in the window that day. I'd never painted anything in my life. I had dabbled at trying to draw a pencil sketch of an ex-boyfriend, and one of my dad...but, that was the limit of my artistic endeavors. But Shirley somehow convinced me to at least go home and try. So, we stopped at a junk yard, found some weathered wood, went home and drew a pattern on it, cut it out, and she proceeded to show me what to do to bring that old board to life. The results are the second picture from the top.

Since that time, I've painted, carved and sculpted quite a few Father Christmas's, Santas, Belsnickles, etc.

Shirley is my aunt. She's my mother's only sister, and she's younger than my oldest sister. She is also one of the people I love most in life. I lived with Shirley, my Uncle Bill and their daughters in three seperate houses over a period of several years. Shirley and I had such a great time together. Laugh? Omigosh! Til I couldn't stand up. She taught me so much! She especially taught me to never be afraid to try and accomplish anything. Her expression was, "If you're going to miss the bus anyway, you might as well miss it running after it." She gave me confidence and helped me to discover a few hidden talents. I'm a better person than I would ever have been without the precious gift of her in my life.

I tell you this because I'm leaving for California in the morning to spend some time with her. She's not dying... at least not physically. But, a few years ago she lost a daughter to liver cancer... now she's losing another one. When Nancy died it was so hard. They fought valiently to save her before she finally closed her eyes and took her last quiet breath. But, this daughter... this one is harder still. This girl will go on living, but she'll be living in hell. And Shirley can only watch from the sidelines, wondering when it all began. Where was she when it started? Why didn't she notice? What could she, should she have done? She can only look across the room at her husband with his leaden eyes and stooped shoulders and wish for a way to reach in and grab the joy that used to be apart of him. I need to be with her.

I won't be writing for a while, and I may not be commenting for a while, I didn't want anyone to think that baking and decorating had become more important to me than stopping by your sites for a visit. I'll miss you. And I'll try to check in from time to time. But, if you don't hear from me, please know I wish you all the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest Ever After.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lists and Legacies

Well... it's that time of year. They're everywhere. They're on the minds or in the notebooks of every elementary school child in America. You see them in every paper, magazine, and scrolling down the screen in newscasts. Those hokey lists stating "What I'm Thankful For."

So what's one more.

I told myself forever that I wanted a rich, full life. I beleived that I'd be satisfied when I finally had all of the things that I dreamed of as a little girl. A big house with beautiful dishes and fancy furniture. I dreamt that I'd have closets full of dresses with sequins and beads, and a fur coat. But, with time I realized that having those things didn't satisfy me at all. I began moving toward a peaceful, inwardly simple life isn't about depriving and denying myself of the things I want. It's about getting rid of the things that no longer contribute to the fullnes of my life, leaving time and space for those things that will still matter when I'm gone.

I've come to realize that living the "good life" is a matter of making peace with who we are, because until we do...we'll never be content with what we have.

Living a full live doesn't mean having it all, going everywhere, doing everything, being all things to all people. Many of us have begun to realize that too much is ... well, just that...too much. Maybe we've been collecting so many things because we've been living in a past life. Or we've been living in a maybe someday, what if I might life.

Acheiving serenity may ultimately mean doing fewer things and having less stuff, but when the time is right for each of us, the decision to do less and to own less, will come, not from self denial, but from the wisdom that comes by taking time fo figure out what is really important to us, and in letting go of all the rest.

I finally came to the point a few years back when I decided not to buy one more thing unless it was something I absolutely could not live without. There's not too much of that out there.

Now, if I buy something, I'll treat myself to a big bouquet of flowers. I'll spend the afternoon with a friend, see a matinee and buy the biggest bucket of popcorn they sell. I'll buy some little thing to surprise a neighbor. I'll spend my time and money on building memories, not building a higher stack of clutter to set on a shelf, or purchasing something else that I'll have to squeeze into an already overflowing closet.

Since making that decision, I have had fewer things, but more abundance in my life.

I wrote a list of what abundance was to me a few years back. I share it with you now because this really is what I'm thankful for.

Wildflowers in a mason jar
Birds sitting on telephones wires
Licking the beaters
My Mother's hands
Bare feet on a summer day
A cup of tea and a moment of quiet
Hummingbirds fighting over the bird feeder
The sharp smell of fallen pine needles
A tank full of gas and time for a drive
Raspberry starts in spring
family vacations
Wearing fun hats
Wind chimes in a garden
Warm socks on a cold day
The words, "Mom, I'm home"
Sandpipers chasing waves on a sandy shore
Playing dress up
Jumping in a pile of fall leaves
A cool hand on a hot forehead
Telling stories at dusk
My children's faces by campfire light
Someone to cry with
My husband walking with our children
Having a choice
A ripe nectarine
The funny names of small towns
Sand between my toes
Nuzzling a baby's downy hair
Waking to someone you love beside you
A freshly sharpened pencil
Horses running in a field
Little boys playing in puddles
White English fences
The family dog's welcome

All of these make my LIFE full, not the corners of my family room. I am grateful to have learned what I truly want to leave behind for my children. A legacy of pleasure in the small joys each day brings. Memories of a mother who built sand castles with them, took leisurely water hikes, shared sweet oranges and laughter with them, who loves them, loves their father, and who loves God.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just desserts

I got up a little early this morning to make some rice pudding to take to a colleague who had quite a mishap on her horse yesterday... I was just a tad bleary eyed, so I turned the "Juke Box Oldies" station on the sound system to help put some spark in my step.

I'm measuring the cinnamon when a twangy little ditty by the name of "Just Walk on By" starts to play. Some pygmie of a man is singing to his sweetheart how much he loves her, but he belongs to another...sob. He blathers on about how hard it is for him to think of giving her up, he just can't...but, they must remain strangers on the street... wah, sob. So he tells her that if she sees him with his wife just to "Walk on By", and "Wait on the Corner". Are you kidding me?! Not gonna happen with this gal! I'm beating the eggs furiously by this time thinking, "Am I supposed to feel sorry for this two timing twit?" (I know, I get worked up easily when you try to get me moving sooner than my bodie's natural cycle wants to)...

Then... I love this... the very next song to play was, "Hit the Road, Jack". Woohoo!Is that sweet justice, or what? It just got me whistling and dancing, singing at top volume and slapping my pant leg with a wooden spoon everytime the song said, "Hit the Ro-o-oad Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more... Hit the Ro-o-oad Jack, and don't you come back no more.... I was feeling good as I placed my rice, egg and raisin dessert in the oven. Silly? Yeah, probably. I mean it wasn't a major strike for womanhood or anything. But, whatever works to bring a giggle to your heart, eh?

Anyway... Hopefully, this will NOT be the highlight of my day. I raise my orange juice glass to better things to come, and the ability to continue to enjoy the small things.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Sandman's Fairie Dust

Remember when you could sleep anytime you wanted? Anywhere you were? Our lives were uncluttered, and therefore our minds were uncluttered. The sandman would sprinkle a little of his magic fairie dust in our eyes, we'd yawn twice, and ZZZZZZZ... It was as simple as that.

For years, decades actually, I didn't sleep more than four hours a night. I'd crumble into bed exhausted, snuggle into the folds of my down comforter and let my head melt into the pillow. aaahhhh... sleep, blessed sleep. A deep sigh. And then it would start. My junkyard of a mind, that seemed shackled to the day's stresses, would begin frantically sprinting from one disjointed thought to another and I would lie there for what seemed to be centuries listening to my bones decay and my brain matter turn into slumgullion. A lack of sleep doesn't do anything particularly nice for a woman's face, or her body for that matter. And we don't even want to start to discuss what flopping like a dying fish from ten p.m. til 3:00 a.m. does for her creativity. It was usually about three that I'd slip into slumber... just long enough to feel like sludge when I'd wake up at 4:15 feeling a definite, bordering on urgent, need to pee. I'd regularly stub my toe on the book that fell off the bed, or trip over the shoes kicked carelessly from my feet, and grope for the ladies room. Mission accomplished... I'd feel my way back to bed. About now, I'd be dizzy with wanting to sleep... I'd surround myself with the warmth and solace of bed, reach out to feel Wayne's broad shoulders beside me, and shut my eyes feeling comforted and secure. And then, the hotflashes would start. Covers off, covers on... flop to my right side, flop to the left, ...covers off, covers on. And so it would go until about 7:00 a.m. when at last, I'd sink into the dark goodnight. Until 7:45 when the alarm clock would scratch it's noisy wake up call. Fortunately, I've been an extremely high energy person my entire life, and I've always loved morning... so I didn't grump at the kids while eating breakfast too often. But, I'm pretty sure I have a dozen or so more wrinkles than I should have.

But then one day, while out for a drive to no where in particular, we stumbled across the Hollow. The owner was just nailing a For Sale sign to the gate as we drove down the lane. We stopped, walked the grounds, and wrote out an offer to purchase on the spot. In less than a month we had moved onto the property. It was like an intravenous drip of Ambien.

I don't carry a lot of stress these days. My hubby is very easy to live with. My profession is generally rewarding and fun, and something I could walk away from any time I chose. My children are doing well... okay, maybe not all of them, but three out of four ain't bad. And the fourth one is improving and doing better with each sunrise. Each of them is a joy to me. I love living at the Hollow. It isn't perfect, but it is everything we need, and that is enough. I've been surprised since moving into such a tiny home just how much we can live without. I am at peace. There are still some nights when I don't sleep. But it's usually because I want to write, or make beaded bookmarks, or sculpt a Santa face, or take a ridiculously long shower and meditate. I am like a child again. I sleep when I need to, wherever I am. Life is uncluttered. The sandman may not work his magic with his fairie dust any longer, but I take a hot shower or sip a glass of hot milk and ZZZZZZZZ. It's as simple as that.

Life is delicious!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just thinkin...

I read about a psychiatry class on emotional extremes where the professor was asking the students the opposite of several emotions. "What is the opposite of joy?" he asked one student. "Sadness" was the reply. "The opposite of depression?" he asked another student, the scholar in the class. "Ebulience" was the answer. Very good, commented the professor. The professor then asked a young woman from Texas, "What is the opposite of woe?" The Texan, crinkled her brow, thought, brightened, and replied, "Sir, I believe that would be giddy-up".

I was just thinking about that.... and it's true. The opposite of woe really is giddy-up. Git thee up. Get going. Get moving. Do something. And if you really want to dump those woes, do something for someone else. Perhaps the Texan was the true scholar.

I don't know the full circumstances in the lives of many of you... but I do know this. There are several of you who have grasped this concept in their teeth, said "giddy-up", moved past your trials and woes and are making a full, rounded life for yourselves and those in your circle of influence. You are my inspiration. My cowgirl hat is off to all of you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gladys Lena "Happy Bottom" Brown

In answer to my good friend Lin's request. Here are a couple of photographs of my mother.

The top picture is one of my favorites. It's the way I remember her...doing some little kindess for someone.

She is eighty years old and sitting at my dining room table writing a note to a neighbor to tell her she had noticed her young son doing something she thought was impressive that morning. She was always and forever writing notes to someone. Truly, there never beat a more tender heart.

I should have included a picture of her handwriting. She could write smaller than I can type, both beautifully and legibly. Honestly, Reader's Digest would have condensed one of her postcards before printing it.

The second photo is her graduation picture. In her youth her hair was jet black and extremely thick. She was a small woman...only 5'2". She married at 22. She and my dad fell in love amost instantly and remained contentedly husband and wife throughout their lives.

I need to get the one small indignity she had to face out of the way. She was the oldest of five children...had three younger brothers. They were a motley crew who referred to her from the time they first learned to speak as "Happy Bottom". Her name was Gladys... get it? glad -ys... got it yet? Glad-ass. Brothers! Seems like their whole purpose is to taunt. At least when they're not protecting. She had a ready laugh, although she never understood anybody's jokes. She knew every flower in creation by both common and botanical names. She was an average cook when it came to meatloaf and soups, but, she made incredible desserts! She never worked outside the home, but was the local "kool-aid mom" to all of our friends. When I was in the ninth grade I wrote a paper titled, "She's everybody's Mom" about her. She loved to play tennis and baseball, had a mean back hand and could hit a wicked line drive. She could type 95 words a minute on an old manual typewriter. I can remember listening to her in her office...clackity, clackity, clack, clack, ching!!!" Her fingers just tap danced on those keys. She didn't much like fancy things. She always wore housedresses or muumuu's. Daddy offered to buy her a fur coat one Christmas and she just thought the idea was silly. Well... we DID live in sunny Southern California so it probably was. But sunshine and warm temperatures didn't stop the Hollywood stars from wearing them, so daddy wanted her to have one, too. More on her lack of interest in owning anything too fancy or "hoity toity" as she called it... we ate off of S&H Green Stamp dishes and drank from metal Arden Cottage Cheese glasses. Does anyone remember those? We lived in the biggest house in the neighborhood, had the first television and the first garage door opener, and Daddy always bought her a big car. But, that was him... not her.

She never went to bed until my sisters and I were tucked in for the night after an evening out. She asked all of us the same question almost every time we came in the door. "Did he kiss you good night?" And her reaction to our answers remained the same for a decade. "No" resulted in a pat on our hand. "Yes" resulted in "Gasp!" followed by a look of disappoinment or horror depending on how well we knew the young man. She was rarely ever angry and always busy making something to give away. She sang constantly, always off tune, and generally with a rather loud voice. She had literally hundreds of people who loved her. And she was (and is) adored and revered by her children.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Greasing the Palm

Okay, let me preface everything else I am about to say with this: I tip really well!!
About the silliest thing a restaurant can do is automatically add the gratuity to my bill. The server always puts more in his/her pocket to take home at the end of the shift when it's left to me to decide how much I'm going to leave.

That being said, can I just tell you how tired I am of finding a tip jar in more and more places.
Subway Sandwich, Taco Bell, the hairdresser, the shampoo girl, the grocery store deli, the ladie's room at the mall. Recently, I have seen requests for tips at the local pharmacist's office, the dry cleaner's, the ice cream shop, the florist shop, and See's Candies. I am asked to leave a tip for the maid who makes up the bed and cleans the shower after I leave a resort or motel. And, I was taken a bit by surprise when I saw a tip jar at a Lube Shack when I took my car in for an oil change and tire check. Honestly... don't any employers have the responsibility to pay a reasonable salary to their employees anymore? Is the customer supposed to subsidize everyone's payroll?

I suppose I'm sounding like a bit of a tight wad about now. I don't think I am. I'm extremely generous by nature and am predisposed to giving presents and cash to all sorts of friends and strangers. I love nothing more than surprising someone with a thank you gift, or tucking $5.00, $10.00, $20.00 in someone's pocket along with a short note. I always leave my pennies in the cup at the gas station for the guy who doesn't have enough change for his morning cup of coffee. I leave quarters in the horses in front of the local grocery store to treat someone's child to a ride. I place money in parking meters that have expired. I buy treats for kids who have been shopping with their mom's and are obviously getting tired and bored. I always try to buy cookies, brownies, etc from girls earning money for camp or cheerleading outfits, and little kids selling lemonade on the corner or at their mom's garage sales. I enjoy doing all of that.

And I like to tip for exceptional service. But I also like being able to decide when it's been earned. I really like the idea that it truly is a "Thanks for taking such good care of me" gesture.
I really, really like when it's unexpected. But, I am growing weary of the constant hand out hand up, mentality that's taken over in so many stores and service industries. I'm running out of grease for all those palms.

Maybe a better solution would be for employers to increase wages. I know that would also increase prices...but, it would increase the price of having the tires rotated for everyone... not just those of us who feel obligated to put a few bucks in the tip jar.

Please feel free to call me out on this if you think I'm being unfair.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Broken Clothespins

Lin challenged us to write a blog about thanking someone a couple of posts ago. It takes me awhile to get my heels to click. I've been cooking at a very low temperature for a while now.

I thought about it, though... and I decided to share some of my favorite mommie stories. My mother was a woman who's gratitude for life was so complete that it exuded from her every pour. Truly, flowers grew wherever she shed her skin.
Two examples:

As an adolescent teetering on the brink of being a teenager and delirious with the heady nectar of youth, I was totally unaware of my surroundings. Usually caught up in stories that lived in my head, I paid little attention to what was going on around me. But, I used to enjoy sitting in the avocado tree watching my mother constantly carry on conversations with the clouds while she was working on something outside.

One especially cheery summer day she was hanging clothes on the line above a patch of flagstone and dichondra grass. She was whispering to the sheets, and singing to the rosebushes, and generally twittering with gaiety to whomever and whatever she believed she was keeping company with. I walked toward her trying to hear her words with greater clarity. I startled her when she turned and saw me and she literally jumped a foot from the ground. Now, my mother was 5'2" and weighed aaahh hem...more than she should have.  She lost her balance when surprised by my stealth approach on her reverie, and she stumbled.  I took her arm to steady her, and asked what she was so excited about. I'll never forget her answer. "Why, sweetie. There is so much to be grateful for this morning. Do you know I hung this entire basket of clothes and didn't find one broken clothespin in the bag?!"

I wish you were here to see me this very minute. I'm smiling so wide, my face may crack...yet there are tears forming at the corners of my eyes. This is such a vibrant memory for me. I can plainly see the apron she wore. Cotton, with tiny scarlet flowers on a field of soft yellow. Pockets of bright red tulips. It criss crossed over her back, and tied at her waist and was piped in spring green. She was wearing it over a muumuu. The day was hot... you could feel the sun hitting your skin. The moment is recorded indelibly in the crevices of my mind. It was one of the greatest teaching experiences of my life.

"Broken clothespins? You're standing out here in the heat talking to yourself about no broken clothespins?"

She took my hand and led me to a lawnchair. "No, sweetie. I'm talking to God and thanking him for this one perfect morning. Clean sheets, smelling sweet as I flick them in the air...soft grass beneath my feet... warm sunshine making my camelia's blush more beautifully every day... a daughter to sit and talk with in the shade of this avocado tree. No broken clothespins is just one more thing to feel joyful about. If you aren't able to feel joy over the littlest of things that happen each and every day... you aren't going to feel joy over anything. At least not for long. Being grateful needs to be practiced, honey. Look around you this morning and practice gratitude, Caryn.  Practice being thankful and feeling joy.  Practice stating your appreciation to the Man who blessed you with all that fills your days and your life with contentment."

I grew up a little that morning. I began to take notice of the small delicacies that God places on our plate every new day. And I began saying so, giving thanks.  

I hate to take up too much of your time, so feel free to go on to something else if you'd like... or perhaps come back later when you have a free minute and a cup of tea in your hand.

One other story about my mother being thankful and how telling someone "Thanks" can bless their day, and (possibly) come back to you ten fold.

One Christmas, she went to the United Parcel office to mail some gifts to kith and kin that couldn't be hand delivered. The lines were long. The people waiting in the long lines were becoming irritable. The workers were scurrying, doing what they could to keep everyone happy. She could feel the strain of the situation for them. They were being sniped at by several patrons who felt they'd waited too long, or the prices were too high, or the twine used by the woman weighing their packages wasn't strong enough. One worker was close to tears as my mother approached her and handed her packages over to be stamped and placed on the conveyor belt..

"Wow! You certainly know how to handle people under stress. Look at you! I think I'd have been tempted to throw one of these heavy parcels at a couple of the grumps that have walked through here and you've just remained so pleasant. Good work." The woman just stared at her, then a smile started to form as she completed the task at hand. My mom went home, packed some of her famous peanut cookies, spiced nuts, and English toffee in a LARGE box and asked me to drive her and her package of goodies to the United Parcel station. She actually waited in line again to hand them over to the fella in charge of the work crew. "I just want you to pass these out and enjoy them. You're doing a marvelous service and I thank you for doing it with such patience, grace and professionalism." The man was dumbfounded. He called to everyone, told them this woman had brought them cookies and good wishes. The whole crew laughed and applauded, the people in line behind her were smiling and the tension in the air just dissolved. It was a great time. BUT... the best part is yet to come. A day or two later, a UPS truck drove up to my mom's house and the delivery man carried a beautiful arrangement of white poinsettia's, roses, and spider mums to her door. They were from the United Parcel office. They just wanted her to know how much they appreciated her kindness. My mom loved the flowers, but just shrugged at the praise. "Viruses aren't the only things that are infectious" was her comment.

And, that's my story. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pumpkins and Sunlight

I love living at the Hollow. It's beautiful in every season. I love the light shining through the trees when a soft spring rain begins to mist the land, the clematis that effortlessly graces our entry when summer sun heats the soil, the vibrant, cheerful harvest of fall that colors the landscape in October, and the cool white snow that washes the grove with simplicity in winter.

Each season has it's own purpose, tells it's own message, has it's own value. Each in it's own time treats us to it's own delights.

It occurs to me that we are like my land in many ways. We each have our own purpose, tell our own message. Each season of our life has it's own beauty, value, and delights.

The more I accept that time is a limited resource, the more I treasure it. The more I want to fill every minute with value. I've mentioned before that I see a great difference in being busy, and in being productive. I've also mentioned that on occasion I find puttering to be extremely productive, and of immeasurable worth.

My husband and I stopped by for a short visit with several of our neighbors to deliver a goodie to them Halloween night. It was interesting to note how many of them were spending their time. It was a tender awakening for me. A few young couples in their 20's and 30's were dressing their children in inventive costumes for an evening of trick or treating. One couple in their late 40's was playing a board game with their son on the family room floor. Another 60ish couple was straining home made apple juice. They shared a glass with us and it was yummilicious! A couple in their 70's were cutting intricate wooden clocks and painting them for Christmas gifts. (and they were gorgeous, I might add) Another, that are in their 80's were sitting side by side at the kitchen counter making rootbeer lollipops together. Why? Because they thought it would be fun. Now, I don't know that I was as impressed with their productivity in creating tangible things that could be held and touched as much as I was impressed by their productivity in developing strong relationships and precious memories. They were all at different "seasons" of life. And they were all doing something of value. They were each spending their time, and giving their attention to one another, nurturing and replenishing each other in the same manner that rain nurtures and replenishes parched soil. And they were all a beautiful sight to see fullfilling the purpose and living the message of thier season.

What a delightful evening they treated us to, and what a memorable All Hallows Eve it was.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Toe Socks and Coffee Cups

Another tag?? Argghhh...

Okay, seven wierd things about me. It occurs to me that some of the wierdest things all of us do have been done by us for so long that we most likely don't see them as being wierd. ie:

1: My favorite sandwich is peanut butter, mayo, dill pickle, and lettuce. I also prefer my apple pie hot, with a thin layer of cheddar cheese and a small dollop of chunky peanut butter on top. You've no doubt heard the expression, "Apple pie without the cheese, is like a hug without the squeeze." Right?

2: I love toe socks. If I had my way I'd wear them every day all winter long. Even to church. Okay... truth be told, I have worn them to church. What the heck and who cares, anyway? They're usually tucked inside a pair of boots or under a long skirt.

3: I prefer to sleep sideways on the bed. My own bed, the bed in my daughter's guest room, beds in resorts, hotels, and anywhere else I lay my curly locks on the pillow at night. However, I do curb and control myself in the interest of keeping 30 some odd years of marital bliss going. I can't sleep without holding something in my right hand, though. A corner of the pillow, a schrunced up section of sheet, a bottle of water...

4: I have a tendency to ask somewhat personal questions of complete strangers. It always amazes me how many people are anxious to talk with a willing listener. It also amazes me how quickly you can begin to genuinely care about someone, and how often you find a way to keep in touch, when they've shared something about themselves that they've stored in the recesses of their heart. I've begun many a friendship this way....and I am NOT a Monteil Williams, Jerry Springer kind of talk show fan.

5: I hate wearing a bra. I take it off in all sorts of strange places. I left it in a thinly attended theater one evening when my youngest boy, Cordell, and I were on a mommy/son date. I've embarrassed the daylights out of Wayne when he noticed it dangling from beneath my sweater, and nearly reaching my shoes, while dining with a group of kith and kin.

6. It bugs the beejeebies out of me when Wayne pours himself a frosty rootbeer or an iced lemonade in a coffee/hot chocolate cup. Cups and mugs are for HOT drinks. GLASSES are for cold drinks. Why would any thinking person care about something so ridiculous? And yet, I do.

7: I've watched Dirty Dancing, oh I don't know...maybe 40 times. I know it's a poorly acted movie with a horrible moral message to it. But, I can't help myself. I can tell you where all the spots are that should have been left on the floor in the editing room. Heck... I'm not even a Patrick Swayze fan, the dancing is only good in spots, and the dialogue is amateurish. So... what hold does it have on me? I can't tell ya! I will say I haven't seen it in several years and I don't plan to purchase it on DVD, so perhaps the spell has been broken.

Tha-tha-that's all folks! Oh...before I forget, I tag Jo, Kay, Mare, Linda, Cali, Maria, Cordell.
Please say I'm not kissing seven more friends goodbye.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Know the Drill

I feel a toothache coming on. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you may remember that I have very few natural teeth left in my mouth to cause me pain. (a total of five) Yet, somehow here I am with sharp sensitivity to pressure. RATS!

So, after a hiatus of a decade or so, I am going to take a deep breath and make a call to my dentist. I know the drill. I'll call the office. The line will be busy. I'll listen to some innocuous music for several minutes. It will be interrupted only to remind me that my, "call is important" to them. Eventually a sweet voice will ask what they can do to help me and I'll reluctantly admit I need an appointment to alleviate some minor pain in a lower right anterior. They will "fit me in" in about three and a half weeks by which time my minor pain will feel as if an angry crew of tiny men are trying to jackhammer my existing crowns from my mouth.

When I finally find myself sitting in the chair in Dr. Mackley's office, I will be entertained with his HDTV playing an infomercial about Cerec crowns, porcelain veneers, dental implants, and whitening proceedures that no one's dental insurance covers. These will include dozens of Before and After shots from which it can only be concluded that women become much better at applying makeup after they get veneers.

Dr. Mackley is never all that happy to see me. I'm not a good patient and I never want extra dental work now that I actually have to pay full price for it. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I used to work for Dr. Mackley and my dental work was done at no cost. (including six implants. (yes I said 6) Pretty pricey stuff! Anyway, he will inquire about Chandi, who also used to work for his office, about my other children, about my church callings, about our new home, and politely ask me if I need some work done, or if I just dropped by to pick up a new toothbrush. He will then proceed to flick a switch which will bring the interior of my mouth onto his high definition screen.

It's somewhat disconcerting to see my inflamed tooth 18 inches in heighth and in full, raging color. He will then pan artfully from tooth to tooth explaining in great technical detail all of the attention he would like to pay to the crumbling remains of the few teeth I have left. I will try to let him know as clearly as possible why it would not be economically feasible for me to invest our entire life savings on this project. I say that because it is always difficult to speak with any degree of clarity with his hand, his assistant's hand, a dual-suction upright rug-cleaning system, and a 22 piece cordless drill set competing for space in my mouth. "Aast aah aaa caaa aga ah ul at ah caa a ent uh ull" Amazingly enough, he will understand what I say, he will be displeased, and will tell his assistant to type in my chart that I have elected to have no further work done until my teeth rot completely.

He will then spend all of 12 minutes injecting, drilling, filling, grinding and polishing until the pain is relieved, the infection controlled, and the tooth sparkling. His assistant will record the events of the day on my computerized chart and walk me to the front desk where they will present me with a piece of paper detailing the Dr's recommendations for future work. A possible root canal, two crowns, some whitening, replacement of two existing fillings and a thorough cleaning. (On five teeth, mind you) I will be then be asked to make full payment for today's visit. I'm guessing $680.00 or so.

Yup! I know the drill.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Witches Britches

Well, the BIG night finally arrived. Witch's Night Out at Gardner Village. I could NOT BELIEVE how many women were running around in tall hats, flowing capes and pointy toed shoes! There looked like there were thousands of us. I know there had to be more than one thousand. It was such FUN!!! The decorations were world class. I especially loved the BIG orange britches on a witch playing baseball. Hilarious!! We decided to make it a tradition and are hoping to be able to take some of our other family members and friends with us next year.

There was great live music with a very talented D.J.. Women (yeah, us too) were dancing, waving their arms in the air, and singing unselfconsciously, though often off tune, to a little Bruce Springsteen. There were fortune tellers, and and old time photo booth. We had "fairy kisses" pressed on our cheeks, 20 - 40% off coupons tucked in our hands, and spider rings placed on our fingers as we traveled in and out of the crowded shops. We even had a chance encounter with the one and only Jack Sparrow... well, at least she really looked like the one and only Jack Sparrow. Of course there were carmel apples (at four bucks a pop), hot soup in bread bowls, cackling laughter, and fabulous witches EVERYWHERE!

Gardner Village has great shops and it's always a treat to both play and purchase there. But last night was really a very good time! I recommend it highly to anyone who could find a way to put in on their October calendar next year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Families & Phone Calls

I read the posts of many of you today. It was sweet to read about the family traditions celebrated, and the cherished memories of loved ones who've gone before. It was a joy to hear about the accomplishments of a child and the pride and peace they brought to his mother's days.

Family is at both center and circumference of my existance. I loved reading it was the same for so many of you as well. All felt right in my world.

Then the phone call came. A daughter of a client of mine called from Massachussets to ask me to be considerate of her parents. She asked if I would not allow too many people to invade their privacy, walking their land when they aren't serious buyers with both the intent and the means to purchase. So far so good. "Of course, I'd be happy to protect them in that manner. I appreciate the call and the concern you have for your parents that prompted you to make it."

She requested that I let potential buyers know that the terms of the sale are non-negotiable, that her parents are not to be made to sit on a giant yo-yo as they were dropped and tossed in all directions with empty promises of a purchase. She didn't want them on emotional highs and lows as I brought unsuitable offers to them. I wasn't too sure what she was aluding too... but, okay. "I'll only bring SOLID written offers to their home for signature. But, I am bound legally to present any and all offers verbally to see if they have any interest in further negotiations." She got a might testy over that comment. She did NOT want them disturbed with phone calls and visits that were not full price offers. uuhhhh... allright. "I'll discuss the details of your parents expectations with them further. Perhaps let them know I'm more than willing to address any concerns you or your siblilngs have." No! She didn't want them to know she'd called me. uuhhhh...mmmm...okay. I was starting to feel uncomfortable.

Then she threw the frying pan. She informed me that she and other family members don't want to intrude... they're trying to stay out of the transaction on the property as much as they can... but, she "warned" me that if I were to convince them to sell their home and land for less than the price set, if I were to take advantage of them that way, the children may be forced to take legal action and have them declared incompetent to make such decisions. WHAT??!!

I guess you should know that the property in question is 92 acres of the most beautiful ground in the county. The asking price is one and a half million buck's. The parents are elderly, not in real good health, and absolutely brilliant! He's a retired engineer who made mega bucks working in Saudi Arabia for the oil companies for 18 years. He owns and manages several properties in two counties. He's also a crusty old geezer who has certainly never had any trouble standing up to any neighbors when called for. They are extremely magnanimous people, generous of heart, and kind to a fault. But INCOMPETENT?? I should also probably let you know that these have become friends, teachers, and confidants of mine. I have as much respect for these two incredible people as I've ever held for anyone. I truly love them.

I'm not only at a loss to know how to handle the situation, I'm at a loss to understand it. It doesn't conjure up pictures of baking cookies, and watching your children with pride and pleasure, or looking up from the work at hand to lose yourself for a few minutes in the memory of times shared with loved ones.

I wish I'd let the answering machine pick up the blasted call!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Can Fix That..

This would probably not be my first choice for a topic of conversation. I mean, what can you say about some poor old geezer with his head under a hopeless cause thinking that he's going to find some way to put this rusty remnant of days gone by back together. Give a man a little duct tape and he thinks he can save the world.
I hate to tell the truth. But, you know the adage regarding old habits and all that... So here goes:
My cute hubby is a world class dork who thought stuffing an old shirt and some overalls that he found in the barn with whatever he thought the squirrels would enjoy building nests out of, might be a fun way to spend an afternoon. So we looked around for some rags, newspapers, shredded sheets, plastic hands, cowboy boots that no one would claim, and a rusty wrench and built ourselves a mechanic that we knew would not overcharge us. And there he lies...yes, he does have a head (A smiling George Bush) wearing an ugly, green John Deere hat.
By the way Wayne was right, as he often is, it WAS a fun way to spend the afternoon.
And that is the story of the fourth picture in the fourth folder in my photo file.
p.s. Thanks to all of you who left your suggestions and insights on my last post. I shared your sage ideas with Chandi and Dustin and we figure if we follow them and hang tough long enough, his lackidaisical attitude is TOAST! (Am I even close to spelling that right?) Thanks again!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

S.O.S. and HELLLLP!!

I have a favor to ask of some of you teachers and retired teachers..

We have an 11 year old challenge in our family. He's such a dang smart kid. Davin is advanced years beyond his grade level in all of his subjects. BUT... he's not a good worker and he's completely unmotivated! Therefore his grades are mostly C and below. He's got some anger issues that I think stem from his mom abandoning him at a young age. He's my son Dustin's boy, and Dustin has had full custody since Davin was three and a half years old. Before that time he was sort of tossed from stem to to family. He's not at all rebellious...well...he does get angry at his Aunt Chandi from time to time, and he can be somewhat devious in his negative responses to her authority. She takes on the responsibility for his care and feeding quite often while her brother works. It will take him three hours to complete a 20 minute assignment, whether it's homework, yard work, or cleaning his room. He'sa maka her craceee! Well, truth of it is, he drives all of us a little bit nuts. Did I ever tell you what my husband said when I told him he was driving me nuts? He said, and this is a direct quote, "That's not a drive Caryn. It's a short putt." I'm getting off track, aren't I? Do you think Davin's lack of concentration and follow through could be genetic? Egads!

Anyway, she wrote about having a little pep talk with him and how it turned out. Or didn't turn out as the case may be. She was trying to find the function lever that would turn his brain onto a more optomistic approach to his life. Here's a Reader's Digest condensed version of her experience. She was giving him the old "You can do it if you just stop telling yourself you can't" talk. You may be familiar with "The Secret" and the idea that you will get back whatever you throw out to the universe. She told him that "Positive energy attracts positive energy" to which he replied, "Well, that just doesn't make any sense at all. A positive magnet doesn't attract another positive magnet. It attracts a negative. I can't even push two positives together."

uhh, well...mmmm... "that's not the way it works when it comes to mind power and the universe." Yeah, she was taken off her game a little. Dang sixth grader.

So... whaddaya think? We're not expecting a therapy session here... just a little response from teachers who may have had to deal with children like this in the past... or present. I was about as useful as a bent nail. We need expert HELLLLP!

I had originally asked you to check in on Chandi's blog site... but then I was reminded that her blog is an invitation only type of thing... so you can comment here and I'll have her read them on my site. Thank you, thank you...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Changing the Sheets

I stood in the driveway and waved as his rental car drove across the bridge. My hand involuntarily took the corner of my apron and rose to wipe one small tear as it traced the contour of my cheek.

I breathed in deeply, exhaled slowly... breathe in "He's gone." ...breathe out "sigh... better go up and change the sheets."

He'd made the bed, as he always does. I removed the crocheted pillows and the old quilt, gathered the sheets in my arms taking in the smell of his cologne, and carried them downstairs for washing.

What am I doing? Why, when I miss the children so when they leave us, do I hurry to remove all traces of their being here? Why not leave those sheets on the bed a while longer so I can continue to inhale and take in the whisper of fragrance he left behind?

Does my home really need to be so tidy? Do I need to rush back into the uncorrupted, unspoiled orderliness that we've become accustomed too? Why not leave the note that he wrote to me on the bathroom mirror? Why not leave the book he borrowed on the windowsill? Why not allow myself a few more days to bask in the memory of having him here? Why not?

So I walked right back upstairs, smiling broadly, and remade the bed with the sheets unwashed. Granted, when I replaced the bedding things were tucked in a little tighter, smoothed a little more... but, next time, they won't be. I'll leave things exactly as he left them for a while. I'll shake my head and wonder who ever taught him to make the bed with the sheets thrown up over the pillows so that the bedspread can't be properly slipped underneath them. I'll mark the passages that we discussed in the book and write in the margins some of the thoughts he had about them. I'll warm myself by reading and re-reading the note on the mirror dozens of times before tossing it in the wastebasket... or placing it in a drawer to be rediscovered, and enjoyed again while putting on socks some time this winter. To toss it would be making a waste of it. And memories of time spent with those you love most are a precious thing to waste.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Through a Wider Lens

The most important thing we can give, or recieve, is not an expanded view of the Universe... but, an expanded view of ourselves.

I made a comment on a blog tonight about what fun it was to "expand our universe". It got me to thinking. It's completely true. Travel that stretches your capacity for appreciation of new foods, different cultures, and changing climates is precious. Reading and digging the depths of another person's attitudes and insights is almost immeasurable in it's value in increasing our compassion, our ability to be useful to others.

But, what use is any of it unless we believe that we can take the knowledge we've gained in our hands and forge a better life for ourselves and those who have entered our sphere of influence. We need to know that WE can make a difference. We need to know that we can uplift, encourage, comfort, inspire, entertain, or carry a wounded soul on our shoulders. We need to learn to recognize and credit our own place...our own purpose.

I've met a few people who have expanded my view of Caryn. They believed in me. They saw me as something better than I was and would settle for my being nothing less than the best that they saw in me. My children Dustin, Dallin, Chandelar and Cordell are such people. They have elevated their opinion of me, and have elevated my behavior in doing so. Lin, my sister-in-law Trina, my mother and dad, and my Aunt Shirley have made me look at myself through a wider lens. And my friends, Patti, Floris, Verl, Terry, Doug, Fred, and Kristi to name a few more. And, of course, my best friend, my champion, my hero Wayne. He's expected me to be smarter, more competent, more in tune with Heavenly Beings than I ever thought possible. And because I love him, because each name mentioned on this page is someone precious to me, I didn't want to let them down. It became necessary for me to find a mental magnifying glass... to see myself as a larger image... to expand my view of me. What a priceless gift they have given me. I may never be what they think I am... but, I will draw closer every day. Because they believed, they helped me to believe. And belief is really the spring board that enables us to swim in sweeter, clearer, deeper waters.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's it all about, Alfie?

Life isn't about waiting
for the storm to pass.
It's about learning to
Dance in the Rain!

Chandi and I have had some glorious rain
to dance in these past few days. It fell from
the skies in monsoon amounts last Saturday.
We had a great time casually strolling through
parking lots and laughing at our hair getting
frizzie as we did the shopping that needed to
be done, and made our way to the theater.

It came in torrents from the mouth and legs of her
three year old in the form of terrible two's tantrums.
We again continued on with the things that needed
to be accomplished as if there were no storm raging

She amazes me in her ability to patiently love and
teach no matter what thunder claps and lightening
strikes. She dances and sings distracting her
distraught little one until the sunshine creeps back
into the landscape of his sweet face, and his rainy mood

On another note....

We did a movie marathon Saturday. We saw three

Our advice is:
Skip "Night in Rodanthe" Although we both like
Diane Lane and Richard Geer, the film is slow and
disjointed, and it has a low believability factor.

Don't miss "Ghost Town" For sheer fun and English
wit it's tough to beat. We laughed until our sides hurt.
And it had some very sweet and tender moments.

SuziQ is 110% on the money in her recommendation to
see "Forever Strong" This is a film that should be shown
to every young person at least once every six months between
age 8 to 26. It is excellent! My son had a companion while serving
a mission for our church that was a Rugby player for the
Highland High School team. He says that the movie depicts
his former coach just about perfectly.

So, there you have it... Our movie reviews for Fall 2008.

As for the week-end review, well...
It may seem silly to see have seen three movies as we did,
but it was a rainy day, and it was fun, so we did it anyway.
We may have gotten soaked in the downpour this past
weekend, but we splashed in the deepest puddles and had
a great time together anyway...
Our three year old may have been a stinker from time
to time, but his mother scooped him up in her arms, twirled
him around and around, and we laughed with him anyway...

Cuz THAT'S what it's all about, Alfie.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ahhhh, Sweet mystery

What makes something (or someone) beautiful in the eyes of one beholder and so sort of not too special in the eyes of another?

That's a fair question. I really don't understand it. Personal preferences and perspective seem so odd to me. I mean, you'd think a guy would either be goodlooking, or he wouldn't. A woman would either be pretty, or she wouldn't.

Wayne and I had a good friend from Samoa who thought Southern Utah was the most gorgeous place on earth. Southern Utah? Is he kidding me? He grew up in Samoa...that's the Pacific Islands, for Pete's sake! White crested turqouise water, mountains weeping moisture from moss covered rocks into open mouthed pools below, a myriad of coconut laden and flowering trees, orchids, white ginger, ...fresh pineapple. Yet, he found scorched sand, dried sage brush, scorpions, and parched cedar brush beautiful.

What would cause something like that?

Have you ever been shopping with a good friend and shuddered at the new blouse she bought? My sisters are always an interesting experience for me to shop with ...and for. Wanda Lee likes to dress like a gypsy on steriods, (baubles, beads, free flowing fabrics in wild colors, rings on every finger, false eyelashes, red lipstick, and rhinestones in her long, black tresses) She's our vibrant personality. Shirley dresses like a polygamous wife, (neck covered up to the earlobes, long sleeves, very 50's colors, prints, and styles, no make-up) She's the epitome of purity. Marlene dresses like a fading southern belle, (big skirts, lacey blouses, big bows in her hair, light lipstick, pinched cheeks, and occasionally a little mascara for a big affair) She is the classic, virtuous woman....and I dress very Banana Republic, Gap. (Plain shirts and fitted pants in earth tones, small gold earrings, natural fabrics...and yeah, make-up...the whole gamut, in natural tones) Basically boring. We all gag when we go through one another's wardrobes... and often into one another's homes.

We grew up together, same mom bought us our school clothes, lived with the same lamps and drapes in the living room. We attended the same charm school and had the same woman teach us how to apply our make-up. How did we get so diverse in our tastes?

Even our men are different. We have a blustering old fart, a workaholic, an intellectual, and a down to earth, laid back, outdoorsy guy. It just seems so odd.

I don't even know why I'm bringing all of this up. It was just on my mind, I guess. And, please don't get me wrong. I'm never embarrassed by any of my sisters...they always look very presentable, quite attractive, really. It's just that what's pretty to one, isn't necessarily pretty to the other.

Oh, except, Chandi standing in fall leaves. Now, THAT'S just a universally pretty sight.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where are the clones?

Do you ever have those times when you honest to gosh wish you could divide yourself into about six different people? One to tidy up the house, one to can some fruit, one to get a little cardio vascular exercise, one to show clients around the county for hours, one to write some entertaining and profound words for your posterity, and one to take a loooong shower and use up all the hot water? I've had several days where I feel like some kind of wind up hummingbird flitting from one project or obligation to another. Almost makes me want to believe in cloning.

What do you think? If you pushed your clone off the top of a skyscraper, woud it be: a)murder; b)suicide: c)making an obscene clone fall? Just wondering...

I digress. My pal, Lin seems to thrive on having a zillion things to do. I'm learning to like a slower pace. I'm really beginning to guard my time with ferocity. I just don't seem to be as willing to serve on committees and volunteer for as many town functions as I used to. I want more time to spend wandering the aisles of my own mind. I've become a fan of puttering, frittering, trifling, dallying, and dawdling.

Some days, I find the interruptions of making beds, doing the laundry, putting up peaches, taking clients from one home to another, shopping for groceries, etc to be an enormous infringement on my time. But, it all needs to be done. Someone bring in the clones.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The good news is...

Polly the Parrot didn't look well and the vet confirmed it. "I'm sorry." he told the owner, "I'm afraid your bird doesn't have long to live."

"Oh no," wailed the owner. "Are you sure?"

The vet left the room and returned with a big black Labrador who sniffed the bird from top to bottom, then shook his head. Next the vet brought in a cat. He too sniffed the parrot and sadly shook his head.

"Your bird is definitely terminal," said the vet, handing the owner a bill.

"Wait!...$500.00?! Just to tell me my bird is dying?"

The vet shrugged. "If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would have been about $40.00, but, with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan....."

I've had an extreme amount of pain in my right arm for about a month, so I went in for an x-ray of my shoulder a week ago last Thursday. The Dr's office called me first thing Friday morning and informed me that the Dr would like another x-ray that would give her a better view and requested that I go to the hospital that afternoon to have it taken. Well, I forgot as I was anxious to head up to my daughter's house for the week-end. So she called me Monday about 7:30 AM and asked that I go to the hospital that morning to have the requested x-rays taken. I complied.

Just over two hours and 14 x-rays later, I was told that the radiologist wanted to take a cat scan and was calling for clearance from my physician. Okay. Clearance given. We took it, twice.

That evening, Dr. Jackson called to tell me the good news was that there was no malignant tumor on the bone. Wha?? She thought I may have a bone spur that she could possibly treat with a cortisone shot, and if that wasn't successful, we could schedule surgery with an orthopedic surgeon, and there is a chance that if they scrape the bone, the pain might stop.

Now, I'm thinking 2 x-rays in the office, 14 x-rays in the hospital, two cat scans...and she THINKS that she MAY see a bone spur that she can POSSIBLY treat?

Which of the two stories is the biggest joke?

I can only laugh. I just have no other reaction.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


That's it! That's all I have to say...except,
Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just for a minute

Okay... Can I be sad, just for a minute?

It's a long story.

I feel like my entire being is flooded with tears. They just keep spilling out and I can't seem to stop the flow. I'm not altogether sure why. Oh, that's ridiculous. Of course I know why.

I'm feeling neglected by some of the people I most trusted with my heart. Namely, my sisters.

I have four living sisters on my side of the family. Two who my mother and father gave birth too. (Wanda and Marlene) And my aunt, who is younger than my oldest sister and who I've always considered my favorite. (Shirley) And Shirley's oldest daughter. (Diane)

I've lived in our home at the Hollow for 2 and a half years. Before moving here, we lived in a town called New Harmony for four years. In this six and a half year period of time, each of my sisters has been to visit me once. Never overnight, and never in this home. Now understand that three of the four lived a great enough distance that they needed to spend a night near New Harmony when we were there. And the fourth lived less than 20 minutes away. We lived less than five minutes from the freeway off ramp in New Harmony and each of them took the short side trip to say, "Hi" and visit with us for a while only once. I invited them...many times. When family would stay with my sister in Cedar City for a few days, Wayne and I were never asked to come for Sunday dinner with everyone, or to meet them at Applebee's for lunch and a chat. I invited myself regularly, however, and was well received when I went.

Here, in Fairview, each of them has driven past our home several times. Now, granted...they would have to take a detour to get here. It may take them an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes out of their way. But, not one member of my side of the family has ever alloted the time to see us. There again, we've invited them...many times. We've asked them to spend the night in our guest room, to come for one of my famous breakfasts, for a dutch oven cookout on the patio, for a drive up the canyon (in the car...on the fourwheelers), just for a short stay to catch up on one another's families. But, no one has come.

A couple of them have made arrangements to stay less than two hours away from here in a hotel. I've mentioned that I'd drive up to spend some time with them. I was not, ever invited to drive up and meet them, though. Wanye and I were not asked if we'd also like to get a room. We would have.

These women constantly tell me that they love me. But, today, I'm not seeing it. Today, I'm not feeling it. Today, I would like one of them to take a little time and come to see me. Today, it hurts. So today, I'm sad. Silly, huh?

Okay. Minute's up.

Think I'll go outside and play with the dog, gather produce from the garden, and make a big pot of hearty vegetable soup.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gotta love the Amish!

My heart sank as I read the spam that began, "By opening this e-mail, you have activated the Amish computer virus." Oh no! What had I lost? Would else could I lose? What could I do to try and stop any further damage? I read on...

"Since the Amish don't have computers, this works on the honor system. Please delete all of your files immediately. Thank you."

This was sent to me in the name, and under the guise, of friendship?? Oh well, it was a brief ha ha ha moment...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Important and Imperative

I love Shel Silverstein!! He speaks volumes to me with his nonsensical poetry. Shel and Calvin and Hobbes both start my mind racing. (Yes, folks! She IS one of the worlds great intellectuals)
At any rate, I was browsing through 'A Light in the Attic' and stumbled across this:

Bob bought a hundred-dollar suit
But couldn't afford any underwear.
Says he, "If your outside looks real good
No one will know what's under there."

Jack bought some hundred-dollar shorts
But wore a suit with rips and tears.
Says he, "It won't matter what people see
As long as I know what's under there."

Tom bought a flute and a box of crayons
Some bread and cheese and a golden pear.
And as for his suit and his underwear
He doesn't seem to very much care.

So... what's important in life, and what's not? There is a moral in here somewhere. But, the question is...can I find it?

Lin wrote a post and asked for her cyberpals to let her know what was important to them.
The number one answer was FAMILY... Each respondant said that was what they would be willing to put their life on the line for. Family. I said the same thing, in part. I would die for my family. But, I most likely won't be called on to die for them. I have, however, been called on to live for them. I said I would. I think I have. But, so often we let these people who are so dear to us tumble into second or third place.

That was brought home to me this morning. I needed to teach a Sunday School class this morning to a group of scriptural scholars. I was a tad nervous about it. Did I say "tad nervous"? I was a wreck. It was important that I do a good job.

I'm what you could call a fastidious housekeeper. As I walked through the kitchen this morning, I noticed dishes in the sink. I noticed the milk, cereal box and a bottle of peaches on the counter. Immediately, my sarcastic, snotty persona took hold of the situation and I began making snide comments to my husband. A pretty accurate quote would be, "Wouldn't it have been nice if SOMEONE could have cleaned up after his breakfast this morning? Oh yes! That's right...that's "woman's work". Wouldn't want my man to go out in public with pruny fingers from putting his big, strong, masculine hands in dishwater... "

Now was it important that my kitchen be clean before we left for church this morning? mmmm, probably not very. Although for some reason, it always seems to be important to me.

Was it important that I be able to concentrate on my lesson and prepare my frame of mind and my spirit as well as my words? Yes! It was. It was important to me, and to those who were going to be sitting in class waiting to be taught something of value, and to those who had entrusted me with the responsibility of uplifting and inspiring the class members a little this morning. It was important.

But... it is imperative that I have a caring relationship with this wonderful man who I'm sharing my life with. It's imperative that I let him know how important he is to me, and how much I appreciate his willingness to make himself something to eat while I walked the floors practicing and timing my lesson material.

He is one of those people that I said I would be willing to die for... But, for some reason that escapes all logic, this morning I wasn't prepared to live in such a way as to let him know that he matters more than a tidy kitchen sink, more than teaching a class.

I placed a bronze medal around his neck this morning. I let him slip into third position.

It's odd how often we do that type of thing. We're reading a book, writing a letter, working on a project of some kind when our kids or grandkids want to talk to us, have us tell them a story, or watch how far they can jump... and these sweet little packets of joy are suddenly relegated to second place as we tell them, "In a minute... I just have to finish (fill in the blank) or, "Not now. Mommie's/Grandma's busy."

What's important? What we look like we are? The suit we wear? How we see ourselves...the way we wish we were? Our new underwear?

Or a box of crayons, a slice of cheese, and a golden pear? Food to fill our creativity, our body, and our love of the luscious, sweet moments that only our family can give us?

Monday, September 8, 2008

drinking from my saucer...

Shoot! Our bathroom is completely torn apart...again! We had it remodeled last August. The shower started to leak, so the contractor came and tore it apart, patched it up, and left us happy with running water to wash our hair. Then, about two months later, the shower started to leak again. We called the contractor. Then we called the contractor again. Then we called the contractor for the for the third, 17th, 23rd, and 42nd time. Months later, he came out, ripped up the floor, ripped off the bathroom door, ripped off the shower door, ripped off the tile on the bottom half of the shower, and went hunting for a week.

I should be irritated, right? Nah! I just packed the car and drove up north to stay with my kids for ten days. I played with my daughter and her three little boys. I played with my first born son and his boy. I played with my second born son. We went shopping and to football practices and soccer games, made Chandi's witch's hat, and went to see "Mamma Mia". We canned peaches and grape juice and ate stuffed zucchini and crab soup. We tucked sweet children into bed and were rewarded with baby squeezes around our necks. We fought with the 6th grader about getting his homework done, and saw a zillion cartwheels, jumps off a curb, and races on the scooter whenever we heard, "Gigi, mommy, watch this". We listened to the political pundits rant and contort the truth on both sides of the aisle, and held brilliant armchair debates with the best minds in the country. It was a delightful time!

I came home to a husband who missed me, made me dinner from produce he'd picked from the garden (and barbecued brats), helped me carry in groceries, and decorate our yard with fall leaves and pumpkins for my office party tomorrow night. He put me on the fourwheeler when he thought we'd worked long enough, and took me over to visit with neighbors who fed us wisdom and ice cream and begged us to stay a little longer.

Who needs the bathroom to be perfect when you're surrounded with people who can share your life in so many pleasing ways? At least the shower worked when I got home. Although the floor is still particle board waiting for matching tiles to be found, the wall still needs to be repainted, and floorboards replaced. But, I just don't seem to care when I stroll through the grove, and hear Wayne whistling in the yard, or answer the phone and a voice on the other end says, "Hi mom. I just called to talk. Can you hold on for a minute, Keaton wants to tell you he loves you." When evenings are spent with good friends who invited us over for a barbecue, or who giggle with me while sitting barefoot on the lawn, sharing stories, I know that my life is delicious indeed. I really am "drinking from my saucer, because my cup is running over".

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ding Dong

Ding Dong the hat is done...the hat is done... Ding Dong, the Witch's hat is done.

I found a child's velvet witch hat at a garage sale. It looked a little like the proverbial "sow's ear. But, I placed a quarter in the sellers hand and happily made my way to North Ogden to help my daughter turn it into "silk purse". Two trips to the craft store, a little tulle, and a couple of flowers later... Voila! We're on our way to the costume we invision. Pretty cute, huh?

We have everything we need to make the rest of the outfit (except for the purple and black striped socks). I'll post the whole ensemble when it's completed. We're thinking that I may join her at Gardner's Village for Witche's Night Out. If I do... I'll be an "Autumn Witch". We really don't like the whole moley nose, snaggle tooth, stringy hair, scary bit.

Wayne and I live so far out of the way that none of the neighborhood kids come trick or treating at our house, so my husband likes to dress up and deliver candy to the kids homes. It'll be fun to put something together for us to wear that's a little higher grade than we've done. Soooo, after Chandi's costume is finished, maybe that'll be our next project.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

laughter and cake wrecks

I'm sitting at the dining room table in my daughter's home in North Ogden. I've only been here a day and a half and we've already shared so much with one another... from the ridiculous to the sublime!

We got giddy and laughed till tears streamed down our cheeks. We cried till the need for tears subsided, and our salt stained faces broke into laughter again. I can't think of anywhere I would rather be than wherever my children and grandchildren are. We don't need to go shopping, visit any of the local sights, see any chick flicks, eat any grand meals, or share in any profound conversation. (although we do all of those things, especailly shop, eat well and wax wise) But, we really just need to be in the same room soaking up each others vibes to be sharing good times)

My daughter, Chandelar (Chandi) and I are currently looking for high quality, modest, Practical Magic pretty, or fashionably chic (not at all scary) Witch's costumes for adults. Any ideas?

Anyway, just thought I'd say Howdy... and let Lin know that I haven't fallen into a sink hole somewhere between Sanpete and Weber Counties. I'm just occupied with being "mom" and "Gigi" to my brood.

Have a Tony the Tiger day.

p.s. Just for kicks, if you want a chuckle...look up "cake" The writer is funnier than her cake wrecks, and some of her cake wrecks are hilarious. That's my tip for today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh, What a beautiful MOOOOORNING!!

Oh what a beeeeUtiful day!!

For today, I am totally filled with joy. Why, might you wonder? We have contentious campaigns on the tele every day. Awful stories about mothers who may have harmed their own babies are played and replayed to the point of nausia. It costs two months salary to take a vacation in a neighboring state. So many things to be stressed or unhappy about. But, today...I don't care.

The creek is running, the hay is baled, there are fresh eggs waiting to be pulled from the nests, the peas are bearing a second crop, and the corn is tall and tasty. My children are all able to make their mortgage payments this month. My four sons are strong and courageous, not to mention kind, and oh, so handsome. My gorgeous daughter is tender and loving, very spontaneous, and such fun to be with. My grandchildren may not be cuter, or brighter, or funnier than yours, but I think they are anyway. My husband is a super hero to me, (and he's just outside the window watering my shade garden while singing and whistling. I love it so much when he does that) This morning, all is right in my world.

So, I think I'll skip listening to the news today. I won't hear one word fall from a political pundit's mouth. I won't fill up the gas tank while muttering naughty things under my breath.

I'll play the soothihg CD that Lin sent to me. I'll call my children and tell them how wonderful they are. I'll hug my hubby. And I'll walk through the grove with the breeze lifting my hair from my shouders and whisper a prayer of thanks for this one perfect, delicious morning filled with the sounds of nature and complete contentment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If only I'd just belly flopped!!

I was fifteen and a sophmore in high school... I had a HUGE crush on Alan Byers, who was absolutely the cutest guy in my circle of friends. We were at a swimming party. I should tell you that I used to think I was a pretty good diver. So, I perched myself on the board, took the clip out of my long, chestnut brown hair and shook it loose seductively, balanced, bounced, sprang into the air and curved my body downward to slice through the water gracefully...which I did, by the way. But, I decided last minute to do the Esther Williams bit and open my eyes wide and smile as I entered the water.

NOW... it is important that you know that I had a rare condition when I was in the eighth grade that necessitated having all but eight of my teeth extracted. Yes, I was a denture wearer at the ripe old age of 13.

Back to my story... The moment of impact, the rush of water forced my teeth out of my mouth. So, there I was temporarily blinded and toothless, completely unable to find my dentures. I reluctantly gave up the idea of just staying under water until I drowned and came to the surface just as my girlfriend, who saw what happened shouted, "Caryn's lost her teeth in the pool". And I sat on the sidelines watching helplessly as Alan Byers and every other guy at the party dove for my teeth.

Do you have any idea how awful it was to have Alan...tall, handsome, wonderful Alan hand me my "uppers"? He was shaking the water out of his hair and laughing as he placed them in my outstretched hand.

My life has all been uphill from that moment. Lots of embarrassing moments have come and gone... none that I was as devastated by...or enjoy the memory of as much.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Broad shoulders/Tender hearts

So... just who is the sexiest man alive, anyway? According to People Magazine, it's been Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Tom Selleck, Matthew McCon(can't spell his name) and a whole slew of other chisel chested, square jawed, messy haired Adonnis types.

I used to think Jeff Chandler was sexy... anyone out there remember him? Robert Mitchum had a certain appeal to me. Gads! He was a star even prior to Jeff Chandler. (I am definitely no longer a "chick". My "pullet" days are long gone.) Maybe my wierdest choice for a sexy man was Charles Bronson. I'll send a dollar to anyone who knows who HE is. This man didn't have one single attractive feature... well, if you don't count his truly great body... His nose, mouth, teeth, ears, hair, eyes, cheekbones and jaw were all pretty skiwampy. He didn't have dimples, but he did have major ravines in his face almost everywhere. Somehow, when you put all his lopsided features together he just looked very masculine. Although, rather like a short, fleshtoned, vulnerable version of Frankenstein. But, he could make my older sister and I at least semi- swoon.

Anyway, I digress.

So... Who is the sexiest man alive? Let me give you my current thinking. It would be one who exhibits:

* Tenderness toward his wife, children, parents, pets...
* An ability to listen
* A willingness to respond to what he hears when he listens
* Spontaneity
* Humor
* Fidelity
* Kindness and friendliness towards people who serve him ie: waitresses, car valets, washing machine repairmen, pharmacists, the guy who works the counter at Walmart, Best Buy, and I.F.A.
(hmmm.. this is beginning to sound a lot like my hubby, oddly enough)

Bottom line... As I've matured, I've learned to recognize traits that will never be recognized by People magazine in judging what gives a man sex appeal. I don't find a man desireable who leaves wife number 2 for girlfriend #11 to father child #4 outside of wedlock, or thinks it's cool to drink and snort his life away, or has lost complete touch with the "common folk", and has therefore filled his 9 garages with 68 vintage cars, and the closets in his various homes, here and abroad, with five hundred seventy seven $6,500 suits. So, in the previous paragraph, I listed what I would use as criteria.

Oh yeah... did I forget to mention broad shoulders, good teeth, thick hair, smoldering eyes, long legs, and a jungle cat walk. Nah! I jest. In my mind, there is a HUGE difference between goodlooking and sexy!!! How about you?? Any nominations?

p.s. May I just take a moment of your time to say something kind about Paul Newman. He is one of the rare Hollywood leading men who married one woman, remained faithful to her, lived through some unspeakable heartache, and dedicated much of his life and a good deal of his fortune to helping others. He lived as a gentleman would, graciously, privately, and with dignity. In my mind, he earned the spot he held on magazine covers and in the hearts of his fans. I wish him and his family well during this difficult time. He will be missed by many.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Half of knowing...

It's is a GORGEOUS day outside today. Perfect! The sun is warm, not hot...the grass is lush, the flowers are in full bloom, the creek is chattering, telling tales about the mountain glens above as it tumbles over the stones below , the breeze is whispering secrets in the leaves of the trees... A variety of birds are twittering in noisy conversation. It seems all of nature on our land is visiting with one another. It's amazing how so many sounds can seem so still and quiet.

Do you know what I'm doing? Well... beside sitting at the computer, looking out the window and wondering why I'm not exercising the good sense to be out there? I'm wishing I was 30 pounds lighter. Wanna know what else I'm doing? I'm munching my way through a bag of M&M's.

What??? There is so little consistancy in my life. I just can't seem to get my right brain and my left brain to work as a team.

I read, or heard, or made up... that half of getting what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it. So... I guess that means I'm half way to being 30 pounds slimmer. I KNOW I have to chuck the rest of that bag of M&M's. It's the other half that seems to be the set back. You know... the actually giving up what you know you have to give up. There you go... I just tossed another one in my mouth.

I may have to say ta ta to you lovely ladies who may stop by, put on the pair of dusty Nike's sitting under the bench in the mud room, and mingle the thwup, thwup of my footsteps with the other sounds I hear. A walk may loosen some of my fat cells.... and some of the cobwebs from my brain. I need to clear up my mind so I can clean up my behavior. There are lessons waiting to be learned from the creek. If it stays on one place and doesn't move, it either swells or begins to dry up...either way, it stagnates. It had to travel many miles before it began to run clear, clean water and gained the capacity to offer nourishment and refreshment along it's path.
p.s. I will NOT take the bag of chocolate covered almonds with me. I WILL take them to the neighbors children. Oh, oh... see the inconsistency already? How can I take them to the kids across the street and not take them with me? Let me make a new commitment... I will NOT eat any of the chocolate covered almonds... the REALLY, YUMMY, chocolate covered almonds on
the way to the neighbors house. Ahhh...I feel two pounds lighter already.