Monday, March 30, 2009

Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.

Steven Wright

As Benjamin drove us home from Seminary this morning, I got a quick glimpse of a interesting little by-play. A cat was swatting at something in the air. I am fairly certain that I saw a hummingbird hovering just a couple of feet (MAYBE 3 feet, but I think less) off the ground. Was the hummingbird teasing the cat? or protecting something? As we rounded the cornor, I saw another cat, a relative, hurrying to the scene.

*At the south end of my block, on 25th Ave, there is a whole tribe of clearly related street cats. Several cats that white with black markings. Have been for years. Actually, I don't know how many there are, but there are certainly more than three of them - I cannot remember the most I have seen at once, but I have the clear impression that there are several of them. They are pretty cats.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hooking Up

I can almost hear the gasps from the younger generation for whom these words have been successfully hijacked.

That's not the only thing it means, you know.

hook up:
To assemble or wire (a mechanism).
To connect a mechanism and a source of power.

To meet or associate: We agreed to hook up after class. He hooked up with the wrong crowd.
To become romantically or sexually involved with someone.
To marry or get married

But I wasn't actually thinking about any of those things. I was just smarting off with that.

I am crocheting a crib blanket like I have crocheted for my grandchildren for the child of a dear friend who is himself the child of dear friends. Normally this is too large an undertaking for nonfamily, both in time and money. (It doesn't take much to be too much for me!) But these are dear true friends who have sustained me in some of my difficult times and honored me in their special times. I am rushing this blanket and I hope I am not messing it up too much. Much of the work is being done as a passenger in the car in the dark and on crowded light rail trains. One does what one can when one can.

What I don't like about crocheting, besides that I, a naturally warm person am covered with a nice warm bunch of yarn, is that I cannot do things like read when crocheting. It is great for watching movies, but I am not watching movies on light rail. It is also good for thinking.

What I do mostly is think about the peoeple I am crocheting for or have crocheted for. So, lately I have been thinking alot about babies, about my babies (for whom I never crocheted a blanket) and their babies. About how beautiful, good and smart my children and my grandchildren are. About what a blessing it is to know that my grandbabies have good, loving, faithful, responsible parents. I think about my children who are not yet having babies and HOPE that I will be able to crochet their blankets when the time comes. (Some of my joints get a bit achy about it.) I think about my good friends and how they have blessed my life. I have been very blessed in my friends.

Crocheting is a very warm experience.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mom's apology

I don't really know how to say what I want to say to my children.

You would think I would by now, because I have thought about it for
years and worked on it in writing more than once. I am just going to
"go with it" today. I will never get it quite right and today is,
according to at least one on-line calendar, "Forgive Mom and Dad Day."

I do know that I often wished my mother would have just once
acknowledged / apologize for how much she hurt us. I wonder how much
I am guilty of the same thing.

I love you. I wanted to be a good mother. I apologize for the times
I failed you. I don't think I ever meant to, but that doesn't feel
any better to a child. I apologize for times I was too tired, lazy,
distracted, discouraged, ignorant, and/or depressed to be a good

I know of many things I have done or times that I have hurt or
disappointed my children. Some I remember, some I have been reminded
of, and I am sure that there are far too many other times and things
of which I remain unaware.

Dear children, I apologize for them all.

Including, but not exclusively, all the times that I …

- embarrassed you in front of your friends
- inadvertently betrayed a confidence
- didn't listen
- forgot you in time-out
- lost you at the Fair or Marine World
- forgot to pick you up on time
- not enough hugs
- not enough fun together time
- spanked you when you didn't deserve it
- failed to discipline you when you did
- failed to teach you life skills
- let you think I didn't value you
- didn't get you new clothes for special occasions
- had a house too messy to have friends over
- failed to acknowledge when you did a chore well or did something extra
- failed to let you really know how very blessed I have always felt to have you

I am sure you can think of many other things for which I should
apologize, so, I'm sorry, really I am.

I love you. I feel extra-ordinarily blessed in the children that the
Lord has given me and in the mates that they have chosen (and who have
been willing to choose them even though it means getting the rest of
us) and in my grandchildren.

The Rose Princess

In our never ending struggle to dig out our family room, we
occasionally discover treasure. Not often, but enough that we don't
just hire a large dumpster and wholesale-ly trash everything.

Monday, we found The Rose Princess - a beautiful doll that my mother
set aside for me. My mother liked to collect beautiful things and
some of them she took special care to have enough for each of her
daughters. Dolls and rings, are what come to mind. I don't know about
the dolls, but I think that she made sure she had rings for all her
daughters including "adopted" daughters and daughers-in-law and her
granddaughters. She wanted each one of us to have something from her.

My mother and I always had a prickly relationship. I didn't FEEL she
loved me. I continually understood that I was a disappointment to
her. I don't remember that so much as young child, but definitely as
a teen and on into adulthood. I never, ever measured up.

When I was a teen, after her 3rd divorce when she was interested in a
totally unavailable man I was sometimes her confidante. That was a
little weird and uncomfortable But I know that when I confided in
her about my concerns and struggles, she used it against me and
attacked me in my vulnerable spots.

I felt sometimes like we were competitors. She flirted with my
boyfriend. A very unfair competition. She was far prettier, more
talented, and more coquettish.

How much of it had to do with how very young she was when I was
born?!! She was only 17. Many a time, angry at some perceived lack of
responsibility, she would yell at me, "When I was your age, I was
married and had a boby to take care of!" In my mind I would answer,
"Yeah, well I am not that stupid."

I think she sometimes resented her shortened youth.

I have to say that I was a pretty good kid and fairly responsible
teen. I took care of my brothers and sisters and a lot of the house
work while she was at work and off chasing men or, more perhaps
accurately, allowing men to chase her. But I couldn't do it all. And
it seemed that all she noticed was what I didn't get done.

She had a horrible fear of being alone in her old age. She told me
that one day the children would leave and she didn't want to be alone.
I thought, "If we are so unimportant to you now, indeed we will!"

Anyway, our relationship remained rocky and prickly pretty much until
the end of her life.

I think that near the end, as she saw what wonderful children I have,
seeing the problems in some other families, and not knowing of my
marital troubles that would eventually lead to divorce, she was not
QUITE as disappointed in me. But by then I was fat and of course, my
house was always messy, so I didn't gain all that much ground.

When I visited her very shortly before her death, hugged her and told
her I loved her, my sisters there were nearly shocked. Mom made what
is reported to be her last effort to speak trying, we all assume, to
tell me that she loved me

Here's the Rose Princess telling me that my mother loved me at least a
little and in her own way. She wasn't perfect any more than I am.
Perhaps I am ready now to accept it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blessings on You

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mostly because I haven't posted in a week

Last Tuesday was our ward (congregation)'s Relief Society (women's
organization) birthday dinner. I skipped that to go to a men's sale
at Macy's. No, they were not selling men. I am not shopping in that
department anyway. Not for the foreseeable future. Probably wouldn't
want a man you could get a Macy's either. But I digress.

The sale was for men's clothing and I am in the process of dressing a
young man for a mission.

Not looking for suits either. He has a couple of suits that we got at
the last Deseret Industries (LDS run thrift store) suit sale. AND
Nila C just hemmed them and his white pants! I hope to get him a good
possibly wool suit at Mr Macs in Salt Lake City. again I digress

We were looking for long sleeve white shirts and a belt or two. What
was I thinking? Macy shirts on sale cost as much as shirts regularly
priced elsewhere. While Andrew was trying something on, I ran into D
Hunt on a Daddy Daughter Night - he took her to ride the mall carousal
before coming to check out the Macy's sale - she did get to have some
fun. He said that the Macys shirts were "too nice" and wrinkled too
easily. He recommended Van Heusen from Penneys. I think he. like us,
left without buying anything.

When Andrew rejoined me, we went to Penneys. Couldn't find any white
VH shirts, but we bought a couple of belts and saw D Hunt and daughter

We went to Nordstrom Rack to look for shoes. Didn't find shoes, but
we bought luggage.

I had never been to Nordstrom Rack before, didn't even know it was
there, and didn't know that Ross and Marshalls were right down the
road. All of them not far from home on a street I have traversed many
times. I just don't shop much.

Found Ross and got a couple of VH "test" shirts. Is he 15 1/2 32-33
or 34-35? Turns out to be 32-34. Wow! Ross prices are a lot lower!
Not all ads are lies.

It was too late to go to Marshalls.

This Tuesday Andrew and I have platelets appointments at the
Bloodsource. We will probably eat dinner there - they usually have
sandwiches and soup for the donors. After that, we may go to Ross,
Marshalls and the Rack to see what we can find. We need shoes.
Really good shoes.

We also need to get him a rain coat and galoshes. He will have to get
his winter wear in Canada, but we need to get him his MTC and Canadian
spring outter wear before he goes, I think.

Oh, and we need to get him dark, conservative, V neck WARM sweaters.

I can hardly remember what I did the rest of the week. Except babysit
the almost next door grands on Wednesday. E borrowed my stamp set
"All in the Family".She's pretty good at lining up the body parts!

Saturday morning after Scout Committee Meeting and getting a birthday
present in the mail, we worked on the family room for the first time
in a couple of busy weeks. Amazing how much junk we can throw out and
still not seem to make any real headway.

We found out that about the only things still good in 72 hour
backpacks we filled YEARS ago were - some hard candies, mini-games,
mini flashlights (surprisingly) and a couple of lighters. Need to
shop for 72 hour kit food. And actually have our 6 month "picnic" and

We are hoping to find the family room and then get a Wii in time for
Andrew to get to play a bit before he goes. I am going to have to
toughen up and do stuff after work, despite being tired. When not
shopping or going to meetings. I don't know if we will make it.

Church today was great. One speaker, an RM (returned missionary) told
us about one lady that they taught who as soon as they started talking
to her felt a witness of the spirit, believed, and was ready to commit
to bapism the first time they met her. She introduced them to her
daughter who was completely different. She had to ask a lot of
questions, think, study, pray and struggle before she knew. They both
developed strong testimonies. That wasn't what his talk was about
actually. He was talking about tithing, sacrifice, and yes,
testimony. However, I liked hearing about people seeking truth and
finding it through their different gifts.

Is it better to believe and have faith immediately or is it better to
work it through, question and learn? One is not better than the
other. Both are good. We need to do a bit of both, I think. Even if
we receive an immediate witness, we need to study and learn. Even if
we learn by study and testing, sometimes we have to go by faith in
what we have already tested. There have been things I have not
particularly "liked" or understood, but because I have a testimony of
the gospel as a whole, of living prophets and priesthood authority, I
have accepted the word of those I have learned to trust. As
incredible as it seems, I realize that God might sometimes know more
than me. As arrogant as it seems, I still sometimes want to "counsel
the Lord" and have to struggle with faith and trust a little. So
far, not too bad. I pray to be faithful, but would rather not have to
face the test!

In Relief Society we talked about Joseph Smith's faith in the face of
trials and adversity. How grateful I am for that faith and

As we entered the house after church, Ben breathed in and said, "I
love you, Mom!" Pot roast!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Final Furlough Friday and "2nd" Saturday

Yesterday was our Final Furlough Friday. With the budget passed, the need for the big showy gesture over, and the union negotiations completed, things are changing.

We will be furloughed one day a month, not two. Better for our personal budgets, but, oh, man! we were really finding good use for the time! We will no longer all be furloughed on the same day. The media says employees will be able to pick their own day. We have not heard officially how it is going to work. Why am I a bit anxious and skeptical?

With the end of Furlough Fridays, a huge sigh of relief will go up from all the downtown businesses - especially the little lunch places. But it also spells the end of Furlough Friday specials among other businesses around town. One exercise place was doing Free Furlough Fridays. I didn't manage that. (Aren't you surprised) IKEA did free breakfasts.

Yesterday, Andrew, Joseph and I went to IKEA. (Benjamin was watching Jared while Ruth helped on Esther's field trip.) We did NOT just go for the breakfast. (But it was GOOD. VERY good for free, and still very good for the $1 they normally charge - scrambled eggs, potatoes and bacon!) We did the IKEA tourist bit and (the main reason we went) bought Elder Andrew Robarts flat sheets and pillow cases.

At Costco we looked at luggage. I want to look around some more, but really, I don't know anything about buying luggage! And of course, bought food. The sample ladies got me again. We tasted the triple berry smoothies and I was a goner. I had been hungry for something, but a little queasy. The smoothie was perfect! So, naturally, we bought. And went home and had some. NICE!

Andrew and I ditched Joseph and proceeded to the LDS Bookstore and next door distribution center. We had his name imprinted on his scriptures and bought the February and March Ensign because our subscription is messed up. (They need help. For months, David's & Teresa's Ensign has been coming to our house. When does it stop? When they messed up my renewal and I am not getting one. nuts! ) Then we bought Andrew the things he will need when and after he goes to the temple. As soon as he arranges to get his suits and white pants hemmed, he will schedule his first temple.

We picked up Joseph and Benjamin for the guys to all get their hairs cut.

I thought I had a card-making class to go to at Ruth's, but it had been canceled. I was looking forward to it, because she always does such great stuff, but I was tired, so I didn't really mind too much. We visited briefly and I went home.

Today started with Benjamin going to a Merit Badge Clinic to work on his Communications Merit Badge. We saw a little lady duck in the Stake Center parking lot! Where did she come from and where was she going? I had Anna, so just kept clear. I walked the dog and worked on making potatoes to take to work for breakfast. (love microwaves and refrigerators!)

Shortly after noon, we were in Rocklin for CPR Saturday. Too bad we were in the 12:30 class. Tom, Ruth & the kids were in the 11:00. There were enough mannikin's that Esther and Jared got to "do CPR", too. Ruth says that Jared (age 3) did the whole 2 minute CPR drill - although his chest compressions made no impression on the dummy. Wish I had pictures of that!

Aside - I have another camera. I think I will keep. It's a Sony. Got it at Costco (so I can take it back) 10X zoom! That, I like! But it is not as steady as my old Mavica was. The Mavica was a little big and heavy, which I didn't like, but that apparently is why it didn't have a steadiness problem. It took great pictures. This one seems pretty good - if I can keep still on those zooms! NOT pocket size like the one that was stolen. I miss the tiny size, but this one is pretty small and nice. Now, I need to get my act together - and time ! - to upload. or is it download? move pictures from camera to computer to internet. whatever

but back to my fascinating life -

Finished CPR training with barely time to go to Star Eco Station to see an old friend, Sedgwick the Blue Fronted Amazon parrot that we had inherited when a dear friend's mother died. Parrots need a lot more time and attention than we could give him. They are like 2 year olds. After some soul searching, we searched for a home for him. This children's museum is a great place! The aviary room is filled with big cages - Sedge's cage must be at least 4X5X10-12 feet easily. He is with lots of other parrots (each in his own large cage) (what a noisy place!!) and they have a big flight cage at least 20 feet long where they can exercise and socialize. The people there know, understand and like parrots. Sedge makes great noises (when he wants to) that really entertain the visitors. He will answer "Hello! Hello!" when he hears a phone ring. His best sound is probably his car alarm. We also visited "cousin" Gus. When my uncle's parrot got to be more than they could deal with, they followed my example and donated him to Star Eco Station. They drove him all the way down from Oregon to give him a more suitable home. All the birds looked well and happy.

On our way back into town, we stopped at Deseret Industries. I was hoping that Andrew would find some good knee length shorts for PE at the MTC. No such luck. He found some pants we might cut off. Not really PE clothes, but... Ben found some shirts and a pair of jeans. I got a couple of skirts and top or two. Joseph discovered a 50 book set of nearly 100 year old books. Kind of a collection of the world's wisdom. From Socrates to the end of the 19th Century. (19th? is that right? Printed in 1910) $3 each. That's a lot of money! But he was captivated by these books. So, he asked them if they would give him a deal on buying the whole set. $75 and Joseph has quite a library. Now, WHERE does he put them?

Grabbed some hamburgers and on to the ward activity.

Fun in a Box! Holly F had gotten boxes and boxes! There were many dozens of boxes! The kids made a giant tower.

I was more or less stationed at the missionary boxes - we have two young men and a couple out right now. I was there with paper, pens and stickers to encourage people to write to them and put the letters in the appropriate box.

In a non-box activity, Greg F had all the kids sitting in a big circle with metal pots and bowls which they pounded on with metal serving spoons alternatively waving light sticks in the air and yelling (not at all simultaneously) "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!) as he told them the story of, well, Gideon.

We were split up into groups. We, the yellow group, tossed bean bags into boxes labeled "Perfect" (not purr-fect, but per-FECT) for perfect the Saints, "Proclaim" for proclaim the Gospel, and "Redeem" for redeem the dead - the 3-fold mission of the church- when our leader named something like "tithing" "prayer" "temples" "apostles" and so on. Then we would have to say how the thing he said fit the purpose we had tossed the bean bag in -or the other way around? How they fit each other.

Back together, there was a game of musical boxes, while other children played in, under and with boxes. I had to break up a box boxing match which I am sorry to say did involve a certain soon to depart on his mission young man. All good fun, but with too much potential.

Finished with boxes, we had a family fun dance beginning with the Bunny Hop, then Hokey Pokey and the Limbo, before some actual dancing. Swing and Latin rhythms were what got people out on the floor tonight.

Two "Saturdays" in a row and not enough! Didn't finish my laundry or do much of any housework. No yard work. Nor much studying. How do people do it???!

They were two good days, though. And tomorrow (oops, today now) I am looking forward to a day of worship and rest. And, maybe? time to stamp?

Monday, March 2, 2009


Last I wrote, I shared some of my anxiety about Andrew's mission. Not about him serving a mission. Just about him surviving the prairie provinces of Canada with any degree of comfort.

I am rather a spiritual midget. I have a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, of His restored gospel, of the priesthood, prophets and revelation. Witness has been born to my soul. Nothing dramatic at all, just occasional waves of assurance, warmth, emotion, sureness. Once in a great while. No flaring beacon I. Sometimes I worry whether my pilot light has gone out, it flickers so quiet and low. Of course, I am not nearly as diligent in fanning the flames as I should be!

When Andrew received his mission call I knew it was from the Lord, but I had my personal misgivings.
Mother worries about his comfort and welfare. I mean, it really gets mind bogglingly cold there. Brain knowledge and theoretical testimony, but not heart and soul conviction. Finally! I asked the Lord if this is where Andrew is really supposed to go, is this a true call. No angels, no music, no rapturous uplift. But a fullness of feeling that spilled out in tears - not tears of sorrow or fear, good tears. The feeling was brief, so brief I can not words for it, but it was clear. It echoes again as I try (and fail!) to express it. I am still concerned about his comfort and welfare, but it's different now somehow. Andrew is going where God wants him to go. Andrew can do it, I can handle it, God will help.