June 30, 2017

What is a Bulldog?

The past several days I've been immersed in the work of finding Bulldogs.  It's not always simple to find a lost dog.  I wish I could just xerox a photo and staple it to a telephone pole for passers by to see and call my number.  I'm looking for special Bulldogs.  The ones who graduated in 1987 from Provo High School.  Through a series of unfortunate events I find myself the point-person to look for those of my graduating class. I didn't run for office during my Jr year, I was appointed by one person while I slept on eastern standard time and woke up to my phone sending me contact information.  At first I was surprised, but I think my appointer knew I would take this on and now I really have no choice.  I'm actually grateful for the chance I've had to catch up with people I once knew.  It's been a lot of fun along with a lot of headache.

There are many missing still.  Every time I find one I get so excited though.  I finally got smart and figured out via a tutorial from the inter webs how to scan a document and send it in an email to all the contacts I have in the system.  T was away at the time so I had to learn myself how to do it.  So that has been productive to get the Bulldogs working for me.  Still I'm like Oscar Schindler with a desire for more.  I must find one more!  Laundry, dishes, and grocery shopping are pushed aside while I scour the internet for missing Bulldogs.  The email pings and my heart sings every time a new RSVP comes in.  Is it a yes? A no? A maybe?  I respond with a heart/like and comment "YAY!" or some other word of encouragement to every yes, encouraging them to continue.

Looking at names I brush the cobwebs from my brain and remember myself in high school.  I read the comments in my yearbook that is old an falling apart (much like myself as of late).  I didn't know a lot of those people well, I just wasn't shy about asking for signatures.  My kids see how many I have and think I was popular.  I never saw myself that way.  I remember looking in the mirror and thinking "who even are you?"  I had a lot of hesitation as a teen.  I wasn't one to try out for everything or form a club.  As a 48 year old I am much more comfortable in much more skin.  I look in the mirror now and know that what I see matters much less than what I do.

The surprising thing is as I fill out my own 'Bulldog Bio' and decide what I will share about my today self with my yesterday classmates I realize that most of my interests had their beginnings in high school.  I was part of Mr Lindsay's high school choir and I didn't know then that I could sing.  Today I love to sing and I don't mind telling you that I have a decent soprano voice.  I learned to sew in home economics and that is a skill I still use today.  I look around and not many people today know how to sew, and I have Mrs Price to thank for that.  I am a bit of a francofile and love all thinks Franacais.  I finally went to France with my family for the first time last Summer and I thought often of my French teacher (for 3 years) at PHS, M. Burnah.  Yes he might have given too many shoulder rubs in class but he really knew how to teach French.  I love art!  Thank you Mr Jones!!!  I can spot a Matisse or a Van Gough from across the museum thanks to that man.  I still remember the slide show test he gave us where we had to identify artists from Picasso to Marie Cassette, Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec.  How Grateful I am to that man who inspired my love for good art.  Mr Rutter & Mrs Brown taught me how to write and express myself.  I'm still an avid reader and part of a monthly book club.  I might have been all of those things without those good people teaching at PHS.  But I know my life has been enriched because of those caring teachers.  So even though my photo is not on every other page in the yearbook with clubs I joined or offices I was elected to, I know who I am today.  I'm a Bulldog! Proud to be litter-mates with the class of 1987!  Beat 'em.... YA! Beat 'em.... YA! Beat 'em YA! Beat 'em YA! Beat 'em YA! YA! YA!!!!!

May 03, 2017


This week it's Teacher Appreciation week at my daughter's elementary school. With 5 kids under my belt, I've been through many teacher appreciation weeks.  I have a bit of a snarky attitude towards this week.  Why are we as parents being assigned a specific time to appreciate our child's teacher?  Not only are we assigned a designated week to do our appreciating we are also told how to show that appreciation.  Day one is 'give your teacher a flower' to show your appreciation.  Day two was a note, today is day three and it's 'give your teacher a snack' tomorrow is office supplies.  I mean really.... what says I appreciate you more than pencil lead refills or post-its?  I've always participated because I don't want my kid to be the one who is heaven-for-bid unappreciative.  But I'll be honest and tell you that I do it with an attitude. I do appreciate our teacher, I just don't appreciate being told I have to show in assignment form.  Next they'll be grading us on how well we showed our appreciation.

My last child is special.  I mean they are all special in their own way but she has the blessed opportunity to be last.  She may have come this way but it's also part of where she falls in the family.  She needs to fend for herself more and she does.  Is it this way because I'm older and tired, because I just don't care about the stuff that I know doesn't matter,  or because I'm spread thinner? I'm not sure the reason.  Eliza has street smarts.  She doesn't come to me as much as my 18 yr old does for help with stuff.  Bless her, she just figures things out on her own.  She reminded me this year that it's time to bring a flower to the teacher.  And she didn't ask me to go buy a big bouquet from the florist either.  There were plenty of those emerging flowers-first out of the cars at the drop off line Monday morning.  No, Eliza simply asked "do we have any good flowers blooming in our yard this week Mom?" She planned to pick and arrange them herself with a wet napkin and foil to hold them until they got to school.  She chose bleeding hearts and azaleas and they were stunning in their simplicity and uniqueness.  She wrote a note on paper from the printer folded it in half and drew a nice piece of pencil artwork on the front for note day (without a reminder!!!).  Heartfelt words from an 11 yr old.  Today when I returned from the middle school drop off she was holding a sheer fabric bag of salt water taffy from our Spring break trip to the beach.  She'd found a mini heart shaped wedding card from some stash of cards and told me she was going to use it to write her note on if that was okay with me.  I couldn't help but think how I've been doing teacher appreciation week wrong for so many years.  Why was I stepping in and doing it for them without real appreciation?

Eliza has shown me how to appreciate a teacher.  How to appreciate a self sufficient child.  Audrey is always accusing me of showing favoritism to my youngest child and this is a prime example of why.  She does things so I don't have to.  I appreciate my cleaning help in a similar way.  When she comes every two weeks I have a love that goes beyond the check I write that I don't have to vacuum dog hair off the impossible to vacuum steps to the garage.  I think with every step I take up to the kitchen how much I love Fransisca.  When people help me and do things so I don't have to do,  I get a bit giddy.  The other day Troy organized the tupperware cupboard.  I wanted to take him right then and there.  Instead I texted him a sweet thank you the following day.  It seemed more appropriate.

I think humans need appreciation and one of the best ways to show this is to do something for them that they didn't expect.  I know Mother's Day is coming up and there will be expectations met or unmet.  But nothing beats a kid who saves you a trip to the store.  I wonder what office supply day will bring?  I can't wait to see what she'll come up with..

March 20, 2016

Philippines: Feeling Uncomfortable

When you jump down from the jeepney and look around at all the faces lined up outside the hospital it can be a bit uncomfortable.  Many have shown up for you to take care of their needs and have most likely been there a while. Some of them in pain.  Many of them afraid.  Perhaps not all of them completely trusting.

The wait ahead for these people is lengthy to say the least. The line will just get progressively longer throughout the day.  I personally don't like to have people wait for me.  I'm impatient by nature and waiting for others at times sets me off.  So, for me, showing up to all those watchful eyes waiting in the hot sun for me to get myself in gear was unsettling.

However there's another underlying feeling.  I felt a bit like I was being observed.  Especially when awkwardly finding my footing climbing off the roof of the jeepney. It felt awkward, because I'm sure this kind of thing was as natural to them as a monkey jumping from tree to tree.  I did feel different.  Obviously I looked different.  My circumstances were... different to say the least.  The feeling of awkwardness melted away by day 3.  By that time I felt looked upon and welcomed with grateful smiles.

On the 3rd day I became more able to greet them one by one, looking in their eyes during that walk through the front doors. Before the last day I took it upon myself to boldly take a panoramic photo of the entire scene outside our clinic.  I slowly made a circle and photographed them all waiting in plastic chairs.  Waiting under plastic tents. Holding children on their hips.  Grasping their paperwork.  I'm not entirely sure they were completely aware of what I was doing.  A number of them could speak English and laughed when I proclaimed that I now had a photo of each and every one of them!  "I've got you all right here in my phone!" LOL they did.  If there's any culture of people who loves to laugh it's these people.

I have recently returned from a medical/dental mission trip to the Philippines.  One of the first things I learned is that there is no time for resting, and that you don't use two Ls when spelling the word Philippines.  Almost within the first minute that we rolled our suitcases into our rooms we were told to change and get ready to start working in the clinic.  This would not have been so hard if we hadn't been traveling for the last 17 hours to get there.  Funny but now I can't remember the tired feeling as much as I remember the faces in the waiting crowds.

When we arrived that first day we saw perhaps the largest crowd of the week.  We met with the man in charge and he choked up during his welcome speech.  We knew were in the right place.  Getting organized and ready to see people that day was probably the hardest thing we did all week.  Much of our equipment had not arrived yet, so we were reduced to working with 1 syringe to numb people up with.  We just wiped it down between patients. We saw 50 people that afternoon.

On day 2  I needed a distraction, (our scalers hadn't arrived still), so I grabbed a bag of  found toothbrushes and started teaching the kids in the crowd how to brush.  A translator soon found me, offering to carry my bag around while translating.  Being that close to the people I strangely felt like I should have worn different shoes.  My tennis shoes were florescent green and yellow and I felt like they made me stick out even more.  No one was mentally criticizing my footwear I'm certain.

Most of the kids were happy to get a toothbrush but some were too shy to interact with me.  Then I found one girl who was eager to learn what I had to say. This sweet girl wore a blue striped T shirt and I decided to teach her to floss as well.  Floss samples were not something we had for everyone, but I gave one to her. The thing that melted my heart about this girl was that she not only absorbed what I had to say,  but that she went and got friends that were willing to listen and brought them to me for instruction. That made my day!  I truly feel that cleaning someone's teeth is a good deed, extracting rotten teeth and avoiding infection is critical & making someone a partial denture is super!  But teaching a young child the value of putting bristles to gumline and flossing interproximally.... that is the best thing of all!  That prevents the need for everything else. The fact that I taught someone who wanted friends to know this great thing, made my dental hygienist heart swell.  It was a true highlight.

And another thing I learned that day was that people aren't so scary when you go out in the hot crowded hallway with them and start to teach their children.  I definitely felt the stares of welcome friendship and gratitude that afternoon.  I saw smiles and nods. It was not uncomfortable. It was not awkward. I found my footing in my loud green shoes.

When Igore (our philanthropist/organizer) came up to me that day and told me I should probably find a cooler place to work, I know he meant well and was encouraging me to pace myself.  But I couldn't think of a cooler place to be.

Our Jeepney (a multiple passenger vehicle)

My dental savvy friend, and my shoes : )

Adorable kids!!!

A comparably small crowd that morning

January 16, 2016

Missing Eric

Yesterday I realized that I am still mourning for the loss of my brother Eric. You don't realize how much you miss a person when they are not really a part of your everyday life.  We didn't live close enough to interact with regularity. Thus, my daily routine was not upset by his passing.  Yet there is still a hole left when I think about him.  Today marks 2 months since he was able to stop suffering and pass through the veil.

I realized this as I unexpectedly cried while I drove up my driveway and spied the pot of mums dead in the dead of winter.  Dead like my brother.  They were a gift this past October from a kind neighbor who had heard about the pain I was in over my brother's steady loss of health.  His days numbered on this earth motivated a visit home for me to see him and rub his feet one last time.  My friend and carpool buddy had been in the loop driving more for me in my absence.  The mums were an act of kindness during a hard time and now serve and a reminder of life missing where it once bloomed.

Today Eric's daughter will likely give birth to his first grandson.  I can imagine he is hanging around the hospital room whispering encouragement to his loved ones, saying "take good care of each other."  Life is amazing and hard.  It comes and goes with so much goodness and difficulty in-between.  I hope the new spirit entering that family will be just the healing balm they need to help them recover.

I have been swirling with memories of my young boys lately.  We unearthed some family home videos of our little boys.  So much happy crazy joy to behold on our 10 inch portable VCR.  One wishes you could go back through time and live one or two of those days again.  Baby Drew pretends to be a tiger from "our zoo." During a feeding session on his 3rd birthday, said tiger suddenly learns to feed himself picking up a slice of bread and carefully eating yet avoiding crust. Evan insists his name is Darth Vader and builds amazing Lego swords.  Nathan learns to write the number 5 (the trickiest number for him to learn) in "11 or so" tries.  Where did those years go?  I cry readily at the thought of their passing.  When things are taken from us we mourn their loss but we also neglect to feel the joy of the now due to our sadness!  LIFE!  EXPERIENCE!  PAIN! LOSS!  Why why why???

I know it will all make perfect sense one day, but a Mother's pain at the very thing we knew would happen (kids growing up and leaving us) is sometimes more than I can bear!  Yet what did I think would happen to them if I brought them to earth and kept feeding them?  Did I somehow not realize this was part of the deal?  Why do I take this so personally?  We want them to be good people and leave us right?  It's what is best!  I should be planning my fun times with Troy, we've only got 3 left at home and setting the table is so much simpler.  Vacations can happen with more ease and less hotel rooms right?  ...Right?  There has to be a bright side to this.  I struggle to be content with these perks. I want my little walkie talkie toting school walkers back!

Perhaps God wants us back with Him too and that's why our time together is limited.  We will all be together in the end.  I'll hear my brother call me Kelly B or say "how's my beautiful sister?" once again. And I need to learn to enjoy my adult children more and not cling to the past.  It was lovely but it was also a trial in it's own way. Why don't we remember the hard stuff as much?  I just hope I didn't mess up too much.  I hope in our future we can remain connected and close.  That's why we really need a cabin or a boat right?  Maybe texting and Skype will be good for now. I wish I could Skype my brother.  What would he say to me?  I am sure it would be some sort of message of love.  He'd tell me how great it is to be with your loved ones on earth and not to waste a single moment of it.

I love you Eric

April 14, 2015

Spring Break

We had a wonderful Spring Break.  The only thing that would have made it better is if we had this week's weather last week : (

We had T's parents in town which was a rare treat.  We celebrated Easter with them and that was very fun.
DC Temple on Conference Sunday

Easter Carrot Cake.  Still eating this out of the freezer over a week later.

Spring has sprung!
We went to Virginia Beach (our old vacation spot!) and had a very good time.  A new place was build to replace the one that closed down.  This one was even closer to the ocean... Score! We flew a kite, went to the movies, ate marvelous pizza, hung out and played games indoors, went swimming at an indoor pool.  We made do with the bad weather.  Unfortunately we skipped out on the amusement park due to chilly weather and not much time to enjoy the day by the time we dealt with slow waffle house service and traffic.  Big Girl was the most disappointed.  We will go back in August and do it for sure.
My feet and Big Girls feet.  Hers look like she's having more fun.

Windy cold fun at VA Beach

Swim Day

On the way home we stopped at the cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin.  Cold but fun once again.  I always love doing that.

Cheesy Grin from T

A Selfie of... myself
A less happy shot of Little Boy... (who is no longer little)
We are getting anxious to hear where Evan will be serving his mission.  He met with his Bishop on Sunday and will be submitting his paperwork with the Stake President soon.  The big question will be where he will be when the call comes.  In Utah still at school or here for his ear surgery.  He will have them send the mission call to us here and we will forward it to him if he's still in Utah.  I secretly hope it's here.  I want to be with him when he opens it.  Selfish of me.  I suppose whatever will be will be.
My Handsome pre missionary son.  With a bad haircut from a friend.

A funny thing was said yesterday that bares recording.  Little Girl said that when she gets to college she wants to study art.  No surprise there.  She loves to draw and is especially good at anime style cartoon people.  She has a dear friend in the area named Lucy and the two of them recently decided to go to college together to study art.  After some reflection the other day she said to me "I'm afraid Lucy might distract me from my work in art college"  A very mature concern I must say.  I also fear she has overheard one too many conversations about her older sibling's first year in college : (  There certainly are a lot of distractions out there.

At the moment I have piles of laundry and an empty fridge awaiting me... she should know that distractions are a life time trial.  Whelp... Better get to it!


March 24, 2015

A Yearly Update : )

Hello Blog!
How about an update on the goings on around here?  We are at a pretty sweet stage in life.  With two son's out of the nest and three kids who are pretty easy left at home it feels nice.  I miss the older ones but going from 5 to 3 in a relatively short period of time makes a huge difference.  We are still busy but it's pretty manageable.  Having girls who usually like to help me makes it even sweeter.

So here's what my crew are all up to these days:

Big Boy is serving his mission in Brazil and has only until July 28th left!  We just heard the official date yesterday from him.  It's earlier than I had thought so now I'm happily processing this information.  He is loving his time there despite the hard times.  He has grown so much as a person it's almost unbelievable!  His influence on his brother Middle Boy has been incredible.  The two of them have had a relationship that has been somewhat competitive in the past, but now it has been so sweet to see him reach out and encourage his brother for good.  What a great person!
Big Boy in Brazil Spring 2015
Middle Boy is making a come back this semester!  His first one was rough, but he's really proving himself this time around.  He is in Logan at Utah State.  He really likes it.  I am super proud of him for getting back on the horse and learning from mistakes.  College is harder than it looks in the pamphlets.  He s also taking the Aggie by the horns by filling out his mission papers on his own.  This is a huge answer to our prayers.  He plans to submit his papers this coming week and we should know in a few weeks (or so) where that kid will be heading for his next two years.  Fasting and prayer do work people! I really love this young man.
Skyping with Middle Boy
Little Boy is not so little anymore.  He's about passed his Father in height.  But My husband will not admit this openly.  He is a star student and runs XC and track.  Yesterday he ran 10 miles after school.  He was bushed!  He recently completed his eagle project.  He did a blanket making/sleeping bag/school supply drive for a camp for underprivileged kids effected by drug abuse in the home.  He keeps busy with violin and school and running and that keeps him happy.  Sometimes stressed but mostly happy.  Yesterday I felt for him so I spent about an hour organizing his room for him.  He's stretched pretty thin lately and honestly when I do this every once in a while it makes us both feel better.  I hate messes.  He hates nagging.  It's a win win.  I found several items that were unopened from his Christmas stocking(s) that he had no idea he had because his room was such a mess.  I even unearthed two brand new shirts!  He had just been telling me he was growing out of shirts the other day.  Hello!?  If this is my biggest problem with him I know how lucky I am.  Believe me... I know.  He's a gem.
Making the final delivery for his eagle project
Big Girl is blossoming into a young woman.  It's sad to see her childhood leaving our sights.  But she is still a delight.  She's into fashion and friends.  She loves her newly decorated room that she inherited when Middle Boy left for college.  She works hard in school and at the violin and piano.  She really wants a cell phone but we are holding off on that for now.  I think I may have bribed her to keep playing piano for a few more years at the end of which time she'll get a phone...  Tricky?  Maybe.  She turned 12 in February and enter Young Women's at church.  She's thrilled with this and looks up to many good girls there.  Her younger sister is still her best friend.  She is not without the struggles that come with growing up.  I'm glad I get a front row seat to watch.
Sweet rolls made by a sweetie
Little Girl is fantastic.  She is funny and smart and enjoying reading Harry Potter for the first time on her own.  She was baptized in January.  What a great way to start off our year.  She enjoys piano (most of the time).  She loves spending her money.  Every time she gets her allowance she wants to buy another set of earrings for herself.  She got her ears pierced in November and often tells me how long she has until she can wear dangly earrings.  She's organized and wants to be a teacher.  The playroom is her classroom (the same location as her predecessor's: teacher Audrey).  One addition she has added is separate hand sanitizer for boys and girls.  When I asked her about it she told me it's also the 'pass' for them to put on their desk so the teacher knows they are in the bathroom.  Then when they return, they use the sanitizer and replace it to it's spot.  I think that is an revolutionary and germ-free idea! This teacher is well loved by her family.
On a hike in Utah last Summer.  
I feel like I am writing a yearly Christmas letter here.  At least it will be fun for me to read back on even if it is a bit long for the blog.

T and I are good.  We both just got over horrible head colds. We are both looking forward to Spring when we celebrate our 23rd anniversary!  This year it's a chocolate walking tour in Georgetown and an over night stay in the city.  Sounds good eh?  It will be ; )  I planned it.

Overall I am very happy with my life.  The plantar fasciitis hasn't got me completely down.  I've discovered I love yoga.  I may go back to work if I can screw up the courage this year.  Having college-aged kids going on missions, and kids at home with music lessons and braces is pricey!  However I seem to keep pretty busy with what I currently have going on.  I love being there to volunteer and be home when kids get home. I spend a lot of time wondering about our future when T leaves his current job in five years.  Where will we be next?  I search real-estate online to help me determine the answer.  The best wrap around porch home wins!

That's all for now!

November 20, 2014

Farewell Randy

Just ten short weeks ago my brother in law Randy didn't feel so well.  On November 12th he passed away peacefully.  We may never know what really happened but there have been lots of theories.  I am numb trying to make sense of this.  Just two days before he passed we still had hope.  My heart aches for his family.  He has a new missionary in the field right now.  He was only 60.

I got to see things unfold through the lens of my neurologist husband.  That was good and bad I suppose.  Good to be more informed, but harder because I could see the looks of concern on his face that no one else could.  "This life is fragile" coming out of his mouth quite regularly.

I know it's not fair, I know he was a good man doing good things.  He had many people who loved him.  Why?  I want to know why!  But if he were a bad man doing bad things with many people who hated him that would have been the worse scenario right?  So it's logical to look at the good things he did and the fun memories we have of him.  That certainly makes it easier for a short time.  But then you just start feeling sad and gypped.  I tell my iPhone "my brother in law died" and Siri answers "I don't know how to respond to that"  I completely understand that response.  I'm struggling to find meaning and comfort as well.

Here are some memories I have of Randy.  His family and ours used to take family vacations together.  So I recall trips to Mexico with him as a teenager.  I believe it was either Randy who once heard me swear unknowingly at about the age of 8-10.  I saw him doing something mechanical to the motorhome and asked him casually "hey Randy, what the hell ya doin'?" He laughed out loud and kindly corrected my use of the word 'hell'.  I think I may have picked that up from Randy's Dad Lavar.

Randy loved to laugh and visit with people.  He was a tease but a nice tease, never poking fun at your expense, but laughing with you.  He loved to play games and he was really smart.  He loved his kids and really really loved my Sister Marie.  I learned at his funeral that he used to call her the most beautiful woman you've ever seen to anyone who would listen.  I loved him.

My husband said something profound as we were traveling back to Maryland yesterday.  He said you know it's sad that he's left loved ones behind but for him it's actually not that bad.  He lived a fulfilling good life.  He had a strong testimony and was doing good.  His children just about all raised with his last son on a mission.  You know he really went out on top and avoided the perils of growing old.  We think that when you die somewhat early that it's so tragic, but if you've done all you were meant to do then it's really not so bad except for the separation that death brings.  Someday when we have a different perspective our separation will seem like a short period of time.

I couldn't think of any of that eloquent stuff when I hugged my dear sister.  All I could say to her is "this really sucks!"  And she agreed.  Sometimes life sucks, but looking back on the good stuff makes it better, and after time has done some healing we will most likely agree that life is good.  Randy sure thought so during his lifetime.  He was a good example to us all.

Randy Loveless

August 04, 2014

The BS.... A

artistry by Jarom Vogel (a cousin)

As I said in my last post, we left our appointment with sad hearts thinking all was lost.  There would be no signature from Ms X making it impossible to meet with the board's monthly meeting in two days time.  On the ride home I discussed our options with my 2nd son.  There was the option of trying to find another who would sign.  Time being short that seemed unlikely.  We didn't even know where to start looking.  We could forfeit the court of honor party we were planning and spend the money on a plane ticket home some weekend in the near future with the only purpose of meeting with the elusive board.  That seemed like that was a silly way to spend 500.00 just because someone didn't like the spacing on your application.  Perhaps he would just like to be a Life Scout for Life.  I've known plenty of very nice men who never got their eagle scout award who turned out just fine.

It just seemed so sad to have come this far and not be allowed go the last 2% of the way.  I knew my son deserved this and more importantly he wanted it.  My apathetic son, who hardly found motivation in anything really, wanted to be an eagle scout.  He wanted to jump through the silly hoops to get himself there.  Even though the past month getting him through the hoops was painful, as long as he told me he wanted this, I was willing to keep holding his hand, guiding him through it.

His older brother had gotten his eagle two years earlier (with another frustrating experience with these scout enthusiasts).  I still recall that at my Big Boy's eagle court of honor, my Middle Boy seemed more excited about scouting and getting his eagle than I had seen before.  He wanted that cake and slide show party for himself one day.  I didn't want him to feel like he would be a life long 2nd to his brother in this department.  His older brother may rub his face in it.

Despite our pointless position I encouraged my son to work on the small details she had pointed out to him, and I contacted his Father who was away at high adventure campout for 3 days.  It was just the place my husband needed to be actually.  He was rubbing elbows with our scout district leader on the beach with boys from our stake at a scout outing.  The heavens where smiling down on us after all.  He talked to the right person who asked that we put down our situation in an email and send it to him.  T is good with words and wrote the most diplomatic reasonable explanation for why his son deserved to advance.  He simply explained our current situation, sited the BSA website where it explained that we only needed to provide references not actual letters in hand and asked for the board to consider meeting with him.

The email circulated all the way up to the district commissioner.  It basically started a firestorm of follow up emails.  One man being so upset that he accused us of feeling dismissed, waiting until the 11th hour, misrepresenting facts and going in the back door over their heads to get what we wanted, etc.  We just stayed silent.  Sometimes silence speaks the loudest.

The following day my son received a phone call asking if he was the scout that was leaving for college soon.  He replied that he was.  "Scan me a copy of your application and I will sign it for you" she stated.  We sent it.  Our date spacing was still off, that couldn't be helped a this point.  We also never changed his personal statement that she felt wasn't on point enough.  The board he met with said it was the best one they had ever read though : )

Ironically when I turned in his book at the official scout offices the secretary noted that there was no date by Ms X's signature.  I had to look hard to find it printed very small above her name.  On purpose?  Perhaps a way to have the last laugh on her part.  One last mini heart attack for the LDS scout slackers.  Well played Ms X, well played.

At the official board of review my son had a moment with one of the most angry of the emailers who decided to have 'a chat' with him.  This was relayed to me by our scout master who was close by. My husband and I were in the other room.  He asked my son "why on earth did you wait so long to be here tonight?  You did your project in 2012 for heaven's sake!  You denied yourself 2 years of serving in scouts as an eagle where you could participate in mentoring programs and so much more... why did you wait?!"  Evan kept his cool and replied "I'm good."  Even though he probably meant it as "I just didn't care about all this"  I really do think his wording was perfect, because he really IS good.  He's a good kid who on the following day helped a single mother for several hours with a move.  Too bad that didn't get recorded in a book somewhere so that he could report it as doing a good turn daily or something right?

Scouting represents a lot of good things.  It's really too bad when some people forget about being helpful and friendly, courteous and kind.  After it was over I did email the list of angrys.  I calmly thanked them for their accommodations, explained our situation, refuted the accusations and asked that kindness and communication prevail.  Never heard a word back.  Honestly I don't think they knew we were reading along all that time.  I also showed my son what you do when someone acts badly.  I walked up to that angry man looked him in the eyes, shook his hand warmly and thanked him sincerely for his time and for helping us out.  I was cheerful and brave.

Note the Fork

Boy Scout Law

A Scout is:
  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

July 28, 2014

Scout Aggravation

The lady at the scout office was aggravated and insulted.  I was confused and frustrated.  How dare I suggest that on 'E-Trail to Eagle' my son's merit badges were all in there, all his advancements from Tenderfoot to Life Scout... complete!  "E-Trail to Eagle is NOT an official scout website" she screamed into the phone.  Then she managed to compose herself and apologize for her ruddiness.

You know when someone loves something.  I mean really really loves it then it's offensive when they encounter another human who does not study it and give it the proper understanding it deserves.  Welcome to the situation wherein you need to work with a scouting enthusiast.

In the past week I have had to deal with 6 of them.  It's an interesting road trip met with many detours and dangerous curves ahead.

My second son had met (albeit just barely) all the requirements to earn his eagle scout award, and just needed a couple signatures from them.  Now the scouters can smell a 'just barely' scout a mile away, and they don't appreciate the stench.  Where as I was just pleased he still wanted his eagle and was semi-willing to do the work to get there, the enthusiast just saw him as the weakest link in their eagle chain of command.

I won't even go into the problems he ran into getting signatures from merit badge leaders.  There were hurdles that he put there for himself and I don't like to rag on my own kids on the blog (at least I'm trying to repent of that).  But just know that it had been a bumpy stress-inducing road to get us through the last month to get to the point where we needed to enter the scouting enthusiast lion's den.  So we were already a bit frazzled.

Then came the day that my husband mistakenly decided to pick up the phone to call the book approval lady.  I realize she has an official title but I'm too inexperienced to know it.  And I am not ashamed of that fact either. See the apple doesn't fall far from the tree now does it?  The first book approver could not be reached via email or phone.  We just figured he was out of town.  Middle Boy had been the one trying to reach him.  We sorta did things hand in hand here.  I'd make my son call people (which he hated) and when he'd done his emotional quota for the day, one of his parents would step in and do a step for him on his behalf.  Like a good secretary would do for one's lazy boss.  Sorta.  On that day when T made the call, our son was actually out hunting down an elusive signature for a last minute blue card.  Here's how the call went...

"Hi are you available to look over my son's eagle application and book this week so that he can make the board of review this Friday?"

.... silience.... "May I ask why it is that your son is not making this call for himself?"  ...Sigh

"Well he should be, but he couldn't get through to the first guy and now he's out getting a signature, could you just let us know if you are the right person to call and we'll have him call you when he gets home or he'll get no supper tonight."  (Just kidding).

By the time we got to see the book lady face to face, her radar was on high and she was hip to us slackers. It made no difference whatsoever that we fawned over her dog who looked just like ours and had the same name!  She didn't care to see a photo.

She looked over his book like it smelled bad.  She took out things it didn't need and flung them on the table like they were radioactive.  She wondered why in world he had trouble on the computer with spacing the dates correctly (a problem no one had ever had before us).  We didn't need both the white and blue cards.  No extra photos besides the eagle project related ones.  Our essay was too warm and fuzzy.  Where was our list of accomplishments?!  No letters of recommendation in hand seemed to be the biggest no no.  Although when I pointed out to her that the website clearly stated that all the scout needed to do was provide names and information for people who could recommend you she acted like I was crazy. We looked it up later- guess what?  Not crazy.

So we left her house signatureless,  with our tails between our legs feeling like all was lost.  No board of review for us.  Leaving for college in 3 weeks and another board didn't meet until after our departure.  Christmas break would not work because, she informed us as we were about to leave,  "the board doesn't meet over the holidays."  Too bad for us.  Unless we wanted to foot the bill for a 500.00 plane ticket home just to meet with a board.  That seemed crazy.  Surely there had to be another way.

Well we found that other way...  Oh yes, we found it alright.  When you tell us no, we just figure well... we'll see about that.

To be continued

July 23, 2014

A Confusing Conversation With a Brazilian on FB

Hello Today I found his son in the transfer and talked with him
cool do you know where he is being transferred?
I think it was to not know right ribeirao saucer is much elder to me remember. kkkkkk But I guess he's in Ribeirao Pires. If I'm not mistaken he district leader
He is district leader. Did he meet his companion?
Mate it is a Brazilian I think also had a very Argentine then I'm confused but he was very excited because he would be transferred
thanks for the information
Nothing now will have to go to school. even more
good luck

Seen 6:01pm

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