Monday, January 30, 2012

Pretty much a regular weekend

How did your weekend go?  Mine, as always, too quickly!  Not an unusual or remarkable weekend, but good.

Saturday is the day to try to get so many chores done that there is not time or energy to do during the week.  Laundry, making my work breakfasts : ), shopping, hopefully a little house cleaning.  How grateful I am for electricity and helpful household appliances, for well-stocked grocery stores, for farmers and truckers and that whole unseen army that makes our supplies available, for a job so I can pay for my food, for living with such fine young men that make few messes and help take care of things.  Saturday best bits - being able to help David with one of his projects by loaning him my trailer (thereby helping mitigate the foolishness of that particular purchase and ensuing expenses!) and Reading Club with my guys.  We are reading Inheritance, the 4th and last book of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.

Sunday joys - taking the Sacrament and remembering our Lord's love and sacrifice, holding a sleepy little granddaughter on my lap while discussing the joys of gospel living with sister saints, sitting in on a Board of Review for a fine young man who has just earned his 1st class rank, sharing dinner with our locally serving missionaries, grandchildren and daughter delight, as well as resident young men of quality.  Enjoying the lively antics of my grandchildren and the wonderful goodness of how my children are with kids. Singing Sesame Street songs with Andrew.  Enjoying the peace when all the guests leave and the house is quiet.  Being able to pay bills and have everything current financially.

Comfortably sleeping in my snug bed in my own peaceful home.

A good weekend.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What A Way To Wake Up

I almost never remember dreams. But this one woke me up. - No, not a spiritual or otherwise enlightening dream. Just a dream.

Ruth,Miriam and I and maybe someone else were in a hospital nursery viewing area. (Although the windows were a bit too high for decent viewing). I started talking to the nurse about people I know who had hard to diagnose diseases that sap one of energy and joy and cause discomfort or pain. I am concerned about my son Joseph who doesn't have the vigor a young man should and experiences joint pain, excessive tiredness, and depression. Ruth and Miriam started joking around and laughing. I asked them to act like grown-ups but they said they didn't want to. : ) The nurse asked them to go outside where they would enjoy seeing a newborn kitten and some other new animal baby I have forgotten. We talked a bit more. Then suddenly we were in a car talking. My car, I think. The nurse was driving on a highway or freeway going pretty fast, but not speeding. Suddenly, I saw a car in front of us, rapidly approaching backwards. Blue. Trunk slightly open ?) Although I was on the wrong side of the car, I could tell the driver was looking back at us and deliberately ramming our car. Just as I called a warning to the nurse/driver, the cars crashed. I don't think we were hurt. There were car parts and other debris all around. It all happened very quickly and the crash woke me up just as I was thinking about “It's always the car that rear-ends the other car's fault. There are people who stage rear-end accidents so they can sue for money”

I had awakened at 5:30am but determined to enjoy no alarm clock Saturday – especially since Sundays are now wake up early Sundays, especially tomorrow, and Saturday is the only opportunity to sleep in at all - if there is nothing scheduled in the morning – Anyway I managed to go back to sleep until the crash at 7:30. Not as refreshing as I had hoped. Not sure it was worth it. Is that the message? Get up and do your chores? But sleep is important, too, and chronic tiredness is a serious health threat. Sigh

Now time to get started on all the every day chores of life for which there is no time during the work week. Hope you have a happy and productive day. 

The good news is that it was a dream. There was no crash. The bad news is that my concerns for Joseph's health are real. Something is not right. He should feel better and more alive. We have more than once taken him in for full checkups noting our concern for this vague wrongness, but the doctors didn't find anything. I want him to go again, but he is an adult now and has to decide himself. One gets tired of going to the doctor and doing tests and coming up blank.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spoiler: We Did Not Blow Up

But you probably know that because I posted this.

Andrew came out to meet me when I came home from work.  We walked and talked together as I put my bike in the shed.  As we passed the side of the house, I suddenly paused and asked, "Do you smell gas?"  Yes! we did. By the gas meter.

On into the house, turning on lights to find my files.  Went right to the Safety pamphlet from PG&E.  With the phone number to call should you smell gas.  Actually the first number listed was 911, but that seemed a bit much as nothing was happening. yet? I called the second number, PG&E, and pushed "1" for hazardous situation.  

The lady wanted us to rate how strong the smell was.  I was thinking 7, but Andrew thought 3.  The lady thought we should err on the side of caution and go for 7.  Which put us pretty high up on the dispatch priority list.

We were instructed to stay clear of the area in a safe place and NOT to turn ANYTHING on or off, not even to disconnect the phone at the end of the call.  Of course, once she terminated the call, I reflexively hung up the phone, which I was not supposed to do. Nothing that could remotely cause a spark. We did not evacuate the house, but stayed at the opposite side of the house in the dining room and kitchen area. Joseph even thinking to close the bathroom and my bedroom doors in case a fire did start there.

Well, most of us.  Joseph would not abandon his cat, so he was in the guy's room - the meter is outside one of their walls - trying to catch her which only made her angry.  He almost got her in the carrier, but only succeeded in getting scratched.  Despairing of taking her to safety, he opened the window on the non-meter wall and shooed her outside.  Scraping metal??!! Part of it is plastic.  I think.  Then joined us in the dining room, automatically flipping the switch on the way.  We are really not good at this.

The guys had been watching Harry Potter (1, I think).  When it ended, Benjamin turned all the movie stuff off.  oops  There we go again.

I probably shouldn't have used my cell phone in a failed attempt to post to Facebook either.  But it is not our fault that people kept calling us.  We let the answering machine pick up (as usual)

It is a good thing that the leak was outside and none of it inside or we probably would have blown ourselves up.

It seemed like ages that we waited on Yellow Alert, both nervous and bored, dog on leash thinking she was going to get to go for a walk, but really ready to evacuate if something did blow or to be restrained when the PG&E guy came.  Our incomplete 72 hour kits were near the door.  Including the family cat that Joseph did manage to crate.  Who was NOT happy. (No plan for bird rescue.  Sorry, Mrs Cotton!)  Fortunately, we had pizza which Benjamin had prepared for dinner. (We gave the walk-disappointed dog pizza crust which appeased her somewhat.)  And while it seemed like a long time, it was less than an hour since I got home and the whole thing started before our hero arrived.

Mr PG&E quickly found the leak.  Repaired it and checked around outside and inside the house for any further signs of trouble.  Turned back on the pilot lights for the wall heaters and the water heater. 

Not quite 2 hours after it began our adventure was over.  No explosions.

“The Other Side of the Sky” by Farah Ahmedi

Today I returned a book my supervisor loaned me.  Actually, she had to ask me for it, I kept it so long.  That is because I read through it twice.  Once quickly for the amazing life story of this still very young woman and a second time more slowly for her perception and insights.  I may add it to my library.  I recommend  “The Other Side of the Sky” by Farah Ahmedi  

some words of wisdom and insight from Farah

Page 2
I have seen my dreams crushed, but new ones have sprouted in their place, and some of those dreams have even come true.  I have lost loved ones, but not love itself.

Page 41
(she was talking about her hunger for learning that led to her hurrying to school and stepping on a landmine.  While hunger for learning is a good thing, this seems like a good metaphor for much in life) 
And that hunger was my downfall, for it made me careless- just for a few minutes, but that’s all it took: a single careless moment.

Page 62
And this, too is the world.  Whatever my story means, this is part of it too.  Again and again- even though this world is filled with such indifference and so much random cruelty- at a crucial moment some good person has crossed my path and taken the trouble to care about me.

Page 63
Meeting Christina was a turning point for me, because I had somebody now. I had somebody. That makes all the difference, you know.  Even if your body is whole, your spirit can wilt.  You suffer if no one knows you exist. 

Page 65
…the mind is where it has to start.

Page 83
We weren’t laughing at the time, but we laughed later.  You have to take your laughs where you find them.  It’s good to laugh when you can.

Page 115
Actually, we did not know one single thing about our future, except that the road ahead of us brimmed with difficulty, danger, and darkness. In any other circumstance we would have been trembling with anxiety.  Yet,  in the midst of this terrible time, we exuded exuberance.  And why? Because we had reached this spot.  The future lay in God’s hands, but we had reached this spot.  It’s a good thing that a person can pause at times and take pleasure in difficulties overcome, because if we had spared one droplet of thought on our future, that thought would have stripped us of joy and drenched us with dread.  Instead, for a moment there, one memorable moment, we tasted unmitigated happiness.

Page 122
Everything becomes normal if it just keeps going long enough.

Page 123
When you see some possibility of getting out of a pit, you can draw strength from the idea of where you will be once you get out: You see a goal worth fighting for. If the best you can hope for is to sink more slowly, struggle comes to feel pointless.  You say to yourself,  If I’m going to sink anyway, what does it matter whether I sink quickly or slowly? You lose your drive. 

Page 132
And with that surrender, a change began.  I felt it in that moment.  I felt it ever increasingly in the days that followed. What was this change?  My attention turned toward God.  And the more I attended to God, the more I discovered how to be patient and tolerant and how to relax.  When that girl snapped her orders at me, I let it wash away, I let it go, I absorbed none of her spite and hatred, and so she failed to plant any seeds of bitterness inside me.  Negativity stopped sprouting in my heart.  I grew so calm, so serene that even the girl who was bossing me around noticed the change and eased up on me.

Page 132
Strangely enough, whenever I was absorbed in solitary pryer, I felt I had company.  I felt somebody’s  presence and tenderness embracing me.

Page 133
No sooner had I posed such questions in my heart than I felt a warmth glowing and growing form the middle of me, and I knew that God was listening to me, that God was nearby, very close indeed, an invisible light, a bodiless friend, a smiling power.  I had such a strong and positive feeling about God being there.

Page 165
And I still feel how important it is to pay attention to God, to recognize God, to believe in God, to live with a pure heart and let only purity and truth come pouring from one’s soul: That’s the way to live.  Such is my belief.

Page 189
You are trapped inside your language like a rabbit in a cage.

Page 189
Everybody enjoys reading an adventure story or seeing an adventure movie, but a real-life adventure is harder to enjoy because you don’t know how it will turn out.

Page 207 – after visiting a museum and learning about dinosaurs
It makes you think about the world and what lasts and what doesn’t.

Page 210
As they say in Afghanistan, when someone extends their hand, don’t climb on their shoulder.

Page 213
I want to know about her religion, just as she wants to know about mine,  We can talk about our beliefs without pushing each other to feel wrong.  This is one reason why I love her so much.

Page 223-4
“Why has America done so well?”
In our American history class I read that when people came here from so many places, they came with ambition, they came to start over, and they worked hard.  That’s probably part of it. Also, they were able to raise their voices here.  They were able to express themselves and search for their own beliefs and say what they believed out loud.  I think that is why America has developed so remarkably.  Here, people can live their lives without fear.  In places like Afghanistan, by contrast, everybody is afraid.  Nobody dares to raise his voice.  I thin America has grown strong because it lets everyone take a part.

Over in Pakistan and Afghanistan and places like that, it isn’t just the government that holds society back.  People are afraid of their neighbors, of what “others will say.”  People hold one another in check.  Here, you can try something new.  If you invent something, people will congratulate you and take an interest in your invention.  There, they will say, “Why did you invent this thing? We don’t’ want something different! What was wrong with with what we had before?” Here, you can announce your opinion, and if you’re against something you can say so and it becomes part of the discussion,  not a reason why you have to go into hiding.

Page 226
I know it’s hard for American students to reach out to us refugees, and maybe you worry about being rejected or put on the spot.  But here is one thing I want to say in this book: It’s harder for us to reach out to you-we, with our clumsy English.  I want to say, Don’t be afraid of us-you have to understand: We’re  afraid of  you.  We want to be friends, but you have to take the first step.

Page 244
Some of the improvements are just details, but details add up.  In the end , details make a life.

Page 249
Now I don’t want to erase, or forget, or destroy any part of myself.   I want to love myself and keep adding to who I am.