September 26, 2011

A Question of Taste

I watch Project Runway.  I love to sew but hardly find time it seems.  Too busy watching reality TV I suppose.  This season there are some real jerks on the show making for great drama.  I have also been fired up at the way the judges are so condescending and say rude things about 'pureeing the squash in that blouse'  I puree things!  Nina Garcia loves to question everyone's taste levels.   I question her pureeing skills!  Good thing I love Tim Gund.  He makes it work!

I have to wonder about some of my family member's taste levels.  My Little Boy picks the most terrible outfits to wear to school.  Orange and red mixes (not in a good way).  Baggy, ill fitting hand-me-downs.  Where is his pride?  Luckily he is still at an age where he will listen to my advise and change his horrible outfits.  Big Boy would not be so easily persuaded.  He might actually listen and alter his choices later, but to change just after my suggestion would be giving me too much power.  But oh how I long for him to "lose" that green Orlando T-shirt he owns.  Yes, the one with the hole in the armpit.  The one I wasn't around to pick out.  I believe it came home from a business trip my husband went on.  Just ask my esthetically savvy girls about their Dad's business trip T-shirt selection.  The blue T-shirt with the Canadian moose embroidered on the front went straight into the "grubby" category for Little Girl.  She wears it over her nice shirts when she paints.  I think Big Girl uses her over-sized red Canadian T with a backpacking, flag holding Teddy bear on it to sleep in.  But only when every other set of PJs is in the wash.

The other day I heard Big Girl complimenting Middle Boy's new school back pack.  It's black with trendy neon trim.  The week before, Big Boy was saying how awful he thought his brother's choice of back pack was. We all see things a bit differently I guess.  But I am noticing more and more that some of my kids know what looks cool and some do not.  For instance, this morning Little Boy is wearing his new cross country, coach-issued-yesterday sports jersey to school.... as a shirt.  His reasoning is that he has practice today...  so that's one less thing to have to change.  I asked if other kids did this with their sports jerseys.  He couldn't be sure.  Not the type to notice I guess.  I am really smiling inside at his lack of fashion sense.  He's like the character Rowley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid showing up on the first day of school wearing his Mexican surappe (blanket poncho).  But you got to respect the fact that he just doesn't care what his peers think, and like Rowley that makes him likable by one and all.  I can't say the same for Nina Garcia.

September 16, 2011


This morning I awoke at around 4:40.  My arm was cold.  Why did we have the fan on anyways?  I can feel the new season approaching.  I love the Fall.  My husband's alarm went off.  I treated myself (and him) to some snuggling. His alarm goes off too early for my taste.  He works out at this hour so that he doesn't take away from his time with us.  How he is consistently staying up late and getting up early I do not know.  My body would rebel.

Due to a head cold I have been battling I could not get back to sleep.  So after some time had passed, I went to scratch Middle Boy's back until he was lucid enough to talk to me.  It was time for him to get up for seminary.  We discussed some of the details of the weekend.  A camp out, a XC meet, a pasta dinner with his team.  He got up gladly and I fed him pancakes.  I also approached my 17 yr old.  I tried humor to wake him.  He didn't respond as well as his brother.  Maybe I should have gone with back scratching.  I wish I could change the friction that is between myself and my oldest.  Alas, he is a teenager and I am his mother.  He crossly informed me that I was waking him way too early.  I told him I needed to chat with him about a couple things before school.  Then as I went on (about 3 minutes in) he crossly informed me that I was making him late with all this talking.  Sigh.  I told him  that if he could make his bed this morning, that I would make him a nice sack lunch (they usually do this for themselves-is this mean?).  He informed me that I could make him lunch if I liked but he had no time to clean the room.  I made his younger brother a lunch and then thought about what to do for Big Boy.  If I made him lunch then I wouldn't be following through with what I had said now would I?  But where is the love there?  So I made him a sack of "snacks" instead.  No sandwich!  Just chips fruit and a cheese stick.  That'll teach that little whipper snapper!

As I sat at my computer in the darkness, I thought about my week.  It's been a dark one.  I've been sick, I watched a sad move, 9-11 was remembered.  Nothing too bright.  I am a bounce back kind of person and don't like to be stuck in the muck.  But sometimes I do take a trip on the downward spiral and have to find my way back to the top- the sooner the better.  Reading my scriptures always helps me.  Remembering my many blessings is another key.  I thought about yesterday afternoon.  We had a small miracle.  Big Girl has been pining away for the loss of her ipod.  It's an old ipod that has been passed down through a few of us (lest you think I spoil my 8yr old).  I recently put a bunch of her favorite songs on it before a road trip.  Her friend gave her a snazzy cover and charger that she wasn't using anymore. She couldn't have been more trilled with the decorative cherries.  Then in the chaos of coming home and unpacking it was lost.  It's been lost for over a week now.  Every day she asks if anyone has seen it.  She spent one Saturday afternoon making "missing ipod" fliers and passed them out to all of us.  

The words read "She has cherries, she is gray!"

Fransisca was helping me that day (please bless that we can always afford help around here-it makes me so sane).  I told Big Girl Fransisca would be the perfect person to ask if she had seen it.  Fransicia got our hopes up by saying she had seen it in her room on her desk.  Then she recalled that it was another kids desk in another home she just cleaned.  Rats!  Where's the miracle?  Just wait!  

So yesterday I tried to act sympathetic as she worried once again about her missing prize.  She verbally went through where she had been when it was last seen with me.  I suggested places she might look.  Under couch cushions, in drawers, etc.  Then she suggested she should probably pray and ask for help.  I told her that was an excellent idea.  To my surprise she dropped right then and there on her knees in the dining room and said her silent prayer.  She got up, wandered around for about 5 minutes and then asked if she could climb on the counter top and look on top of the fridge. " Why not?" was my response.  Would you believe that was right where it was!?  She said the idea just popped into her head.  Amazing! She dropped down in the same spot for a prayer of thanks.  There are good things in this world after all!

And as I finish this post and look out the window- the sun is rising most beautifully.  

Man's Inhumanity to Man

Since our family decided to cut off the cable I get most of our news in my car.  New announcements about killings in Afghanistan or shootings nearby fly through the airways and ring in my ears.  My reaction is almost always the same.  I tilt my head to the right and my eyes flit in the direction of the the radio.  My brow furrows, my body language says 'did I just hear you correctly!?' Then I go back to thinking about my grocery list.  I commit about 30 seconds of my thoughts to the sadness and loss... and then I move on.  I like to think I am a compassionate person who has empathy for others and their pain.  I have been through loss and pain in my lifetime.  I get it.  But I am also a practical person who has to get through her day.  I may mention something about whatever bad news I have heard that day to my husband over dinner or chat about it with a girlfriend on the phone.  But who is that really helping other than myself?  Maybe I am not as good as I would hope.

Recently I watched a movie that got me thinking.  I love it when movies do that to me.  It was called The Conspirator directed by Robert Redford.  It tells the story of Mary Surratt and her trial.  She is called into question after her son and a group, including John Wilkes Boothe, plan and then assassinate President Lincoln.  Because she ran a boarding house, and rented to some in the group, she is charged with conspiracy.  The trial was unconstitutional due to the fact that she was not allowed a trial in front of a jury of her peers.  Generals from the North decided her fate.  She was a Southern woman and feelings between the North and the South were still raw from the civil war.  I did not know my US history well enough to remember what the outcome would be as I watched this movie.  I couldn't believe the result of her trial.  I couldn't believe her son hid in safety and let his mother pay for his crimes.  My hat is off to Mr Redford for a job well done in directing this movie.  He made me cry like a baby (but that isn't hard).

My first thoughts after watching The Conspirator were that people of that day were so misguided and let prejudice blind their judgement.  How glad I am to live in a country today that is not so divided.  Then my thoughts turned to all the stories I had heard over the 911 weekend.  One in particular stood out.  Several Muslims in the San Diego area were interviewed about how they were treated just after the September eleventh attacks.  These people attended the same mosque as the men who flew the airplanes on 9-11.  They told stories of the hatred and disdain they felt from their community.  They endured the mistreatment of their children and threats to their lives,  and what did they do?  Endured.  They kept the doors to their mosque open.  They still hold community outreach programs for the public.  I really admire that strength.

Today as I dropped of some tennis shoes for my forgetful teen so that he could run with the cross country team after school, I caught a bit of the morning announcements.  I heard this: "The gay and lesbian awareness club will be meeting in a new location at lunch today... room 314, all are welcome"  My son overheard me remarking about this to a friend on the phone this afternoon.  When I hung up, he made the comment that he didn't even hear that announcement and he was glad he didn't.  I chose my next words carefully. "God loves all his children equally- I expect you to try and do the same."  

It is this hatred of one another that gets us riled up and makes us crash into buildings... Makes us rush to judgement.  Makes us invade countries.  Make unkind comments.  I am not sure what to do about the inhumane acts I hear about on the radio, but I know that in my home I will try my very hardest to teach humanity.  Hopefully by my example.  

I was proud to hear my kids playing nicely this afternoon (even though an hour earlier there were tears).  Middle Boy helped his sister build a killer fort.  When she then asked him if he would please help her find her missing ipod (an old hand-me-down she has been missing and making wanted posters for),  his reply was classic.  "I will help you with that tomorrow- only one nice thing per day."  It would seem we still have some work to do at our house.

September 11, 2011

911 Remembered

As we are all aware, the tenth anniversary of Sept 11th is today.  It's a pretty somber occasion to recall. I recently went to the Newseum with my sons and got pretty choked up at the 911 display.  They have one of the actual radio towers there for you to see and soak in.  Hardly anyone who has lived through that day can leave the exhibit with dry eyes.

I will never forget the moment I saw the towers being hit live on the air during The Today Show.  I was on the phone with my neighbor Crystal and we were discussing the first crash and weather it was an accident or not when the suddenly second plane hit.  To say we were shocked would be a understatement.  I was grateful to have a good friend on the phone with me when it happened.  The next phone call I made was to another friend in the area who's husband was in the military with my own husband.  I brought up the elephant sized question on both of our minds.  "What do you think this will mean for our husbands?"  I mean whoever did this was surely starting a war.  We tried to console ourselves with the fact that most likely whatever war we got ourselves into would probably be over by the time our husbands were out of residency.  We couldn't have been more wrong.  Both of our husbands have deployed since then.

My husband just signed on for more time with Uncle Sam putting him at risk for deployment for another decade.  I am not going to even speculate on the possibilities of our troops getting out of this mess (and yes I believe it's a mess) in the next decade.  Sadly many American's actually believe that we are in Iraq because of 911.  I am not one of those Americans.  But that is a post for another day.

After the Pentagon was hit I decided I had better get my children out of their school.   I walked to the elementary school pushing my baby boy in his stroller.  I thought I saw glimpses of smoke.  I stood in line for what seemed like forever to sign my two older boys out of their classrooms.  I wasn't the only parent with the bright idea of keeping their loved ones close for the rest of the day.  A fellow mother-in-line turned to me and asked how I was doing.  Tears welled up for both of us and she answered her own question with the response of "I know, you're just as bad off as I am aren't you?"

The tricky part of that day, and the upcoming days that followed, was knowing how to react in front of children.  What to say or not say.  My kids were 7, 4, and 1.  My 4 year old was especially  quick to pick things, not easily distracted.  I wonder now how this event shaped them into the people they are today.  Could this be one of the reasons my oldest loves the comforts of home so much?  Possibly the reason that my middle son is so into weaponry?  Who can say...

In Feb 2003 they were starting to deploy soldiers.  I was recovering from the delivery of my first daughter in a military hospital.  I had to get a shot before they would release me.  I sat in my wheelchair next to a very young man who would be one of the fist ones out to Afghanistan.  He was getting a whole slew of shots himself.  That really rattled me to think someone so young could be gone for good in another month.  I tried to keep things light by asking for his opinions on a name for my first daughter.  He helped us cast the deciding vote.  I hope he is still alive and voting today....

May we never forget the sacrifices made for our country and remember our troops/ local service men and women on 911.