Monday, July 31, 2006

Peaceful times

One would think that I didn't post all week because I was busy handling another major catastrophe in my life. Nope. I was just enjoying peace and solitude and they aren't very exciting to write about.

So here's the deal. It's either chaos and tons to write, or peace and nothing to say.

I've been channeling fly lady and de-cluttering my house and (hanging head in shame) I've gone back to (gasp) carrying an organizer again. Yes I know I have a beautiful palm pilot. I love my palm. It is wonderful. It holds all my addresses and phone numbers and to do lists and I will love it forever but it is just not working for my new callings at church.

I get handed pieces of papers, flyers, notes and all sorts of stuff that just has to be included in the bulletin. I have lists of youth speakers and lists of lessons and well it was making me crazy. So I unearthed my cute plaid zip up organizer and made little tabs for each of the auxiliaries and I'm attempting to take control of the paper. (So far it is working out nicely, I just need to let go of the palm pilot guilt.)

And... I finally took inventory of all my cute little knitted squares from class. I made a list of all the squares and put check marks next to the ones that were done and found out I had 19 more squares to go... wahhh.... I so thought I had less than that. It's ok. Half the battle is admitting where you are. It got me motivated and I've finished three squares since I took inventory and I should finish a fourth tonight.

Hubby was in Indiana last time I talked to him, with a truck load of frozen strawberries and fruit cups. He will officially have enough hours to finish training tomorrow. Woo Hoo! Next, he has to drive with another new driver for 30 days and then he'll finally get his own truck....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Where were you when it was 114 degrees...

A couple of months ago I was pulled aside at church by someone from the stake. (apparently the stake was not aware that I was "difficult." They still thought I was a useful member of the church....) Ah my first stake assignment. Pioneer Day. Easy assignment. I was to work with the person in charge and handle publicity, make flyers and hang-out on the day of the event. No problem. I can do that....

It truly was a pretty easy assignment. I love the person I had to work with. Very easy-going. She told me what she needed. I got it done. There was no drama. There was no power struggle. It was exactly as it should be. People working together to get it done.

I got one little tiny assignment added on... the pies for the pie eating contest. No crusts, they don't eat them anyway. Just purchase three #10 cans of chocolate pudding and one thing of pastry pride. I got a little panicked when I saw that pastry pride came in a milk carton. You mean you have to whip it.... oh no.... you got the wrong girl for this job..... I called the pastry pride guru and explained that I was way outside my comfort zone. "Is there a reason why we have to use pastry pride?" I then learned all of the great virtures of pastry pride...and a pep talk. Ok fine... I can do this....

Flash forward to the night before the day of the pies.... You can re-read the last entry to get all the details. After that long night, I got up at 6am, my house was already 80 degrees and I started whipping and whipping and whipping.... Is it possible to make whip cream when it is this hot. Somewhere in the depths of my non-cooking, non-baking mind.... I had this vision of putting ice in a bowl, then put the mixing bowl in the ice bowl.... Oh yea, it worked. I got some mighty fine whipped cream.

It's now 8:30 in the morning and who knows how hot it is. I put the 8 beautiful pies in the fridge and began the rest of my pioneer day duties. I welcomed everyone, I sweat, I chatted, I sweat, I passed out cold water, I sweat, I ran to the store for more bags of ice, I passed the thermometer at the high school - 113 degrees.... I went back and I sweat. At one point we heard the news that it hit 114, with the heat index I think it was 118.

It finally started cooling down as we packed everything up.

Despite how hot it was, I really did have a great time. I became a firm believer in pastry pride. Those pies looked awesome when we brought them out at 1pm in the 114 degree heat. I had fun chatting with the guy at the mormon battalion booth. We looked up my ancestor and I read about him hunting for food for the company. I quilted with Sister Swing and learned about her grandmother and the violin that crossed the plains with the pioneers. I watched the kids make butter and rope, throw wet sponges at each other and ride the horses. I hung out and talked with the mountain men and learned about their "rendezvous." And at the end when each step was an ordeal and I just kept hoping we'd stop finding things we had to clean up or put away or take down... I said a silent prayer of gratitude for my relatives that made the arduous trek many years ago. I wonder how many 114 degree days they endured as they crossed the desert, without ice or pies or pastry pride?

On the road again...

Even if I hadn't personally driven hubby to the bus station so he could hook up with his trainer again, it wouldn't have been long before I realized he was fact it was less than 24 hours before the first thing went wrong....

Josh called home from camp "Mom, they want you to come get me because I have a 102 degree fever."

No matter how many times we try to say it only takes an hour to drive up there, somehow it always takes longer.

I got the phone call a little after 4pm. I had a party scheduled for 7pm, no bosses in the building and I had some work that had to be finished. I kept working while I tried calling boss #1's cell phone, which rang in the other room. He left it on his desk. I kept working while I called the hostess to relay the story. "I'll be there" I promised, "but I might be a little late. It depends on how long it takes me to find a boss."

I called boss #2 and he said go. I left a note for boss #1, took the mail and left.

A little over an hour later I arrived to find the sick boy in the med lodge, but then I had to track down the med guy and talk to the head guy and hear what an awesome but sick kid I had, collect all his clothes from his cabin, put him in the car and speed back down the mountain.

He made it all the way home, in the back door and to the sink before he got sick. I worried all the way home, what I would do if he didn't make it. I had visions of him getting sick, followed by me getting sick....

"Sorry son, gotta go, there's sierra mist in the fridge, drink it slow, take a cool bath, I have my cell phone..."

I was a half hour late for the party, but it went great. So so so.. glad I had packed it all up and put it in my car in the morning. I was late, I was frazzled, but because I can also be anal... I pulled it off.

I wish I could say that the rest of the weekend was one of relaxation, but that wouldn't be near as interesting.

Stay tuned to find out where I was when the thermometer reached 114 degrees.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I am inspired daily by the blogs of others. I love reading their perspective and how they deal with life. Today I read a great entry by Cathy Zielske. Click the link to see her blog.

She read an article in Real Simple magazine that asked readers what the most fearless thing they have ever done was.....

What a thought provoking question.

I would have to say that the most fearless thing I have ever done is to leave home. I was 18 and my mom kicked me out because my room was dirty. I'm sure what she really wanted me to do was clean my room. Instead I went to a friends, bought luggage, quit my jobs, moved to Spokane and started my life over.

I think that decision forever altered the rest of my life. I lived with my aunt and uncle who loved me unconditionally. They helped me to heal the wounds of my childhood. They helped me to stop saying "I'm sorry," about everything. I got to see what it was like to have a normal family life. I didn't wake up to fighting. I didn't have to worry over every little thing I said or did. I was able to have fun, experiment, grow, learn.... I learned to love.

After being there for a while, I tried to return home, but I only made it a couple of weeks before I had to move again. Home was not a good place for me. Thankfully I had the opportunity to see what a home could be and my life is forever changed.

I learned that the decisions that take the most courage, usually wind up being the ones that change your life forever.

Monday, July 17, 2006

One Crazy Family

My family likes to say that I am the strange one. They act as if all bizarre conversations are my fault. Hubby says he was normal before he married me, but I have rubbed off on him. I say they are all weird. Perhaps I helped them get in touch with the weird that is within, but honey, I can't teach this........

Random car conversations..... Act I

Hubby: Ahh, poor dead squirrel
Son: How do you know he was poor?
Hubby: He was skinny.
Son: How do you know he wasn't Rich and anorexic? You don't say poor actress when you see a skinny anorexic actress.

Many miles later.......

Random car conversations....Act II

Hubby: Ahhh, another dead squirrel. I won't say poor because I don't want to get into another argument about his financial status.

Now, back to my argument. Their weird and my weird are very different. They have random bizarre conversations where they argue about stupid things. These conversations can go on forever, or maybe it just feels like forever when you get stuck in one. Me? I wouldn't have argued about the squirrel's financial status. I probably would've told you his name and how disappointed and sad the rest of the family was. In fact, I'm sure the second squirrel was a relative that just couldn't bare to live now that the first squirrel was gone.

We have plenty of time for these conversations and a never-ending supply of things to talk about every weekend as we drive back and forth to scout camp. I think there must be a million squirrels along the way. This weeks favorite was the squirrel that sat in the middle of the lane, eating. He did not move. At the last second Josh swerved to miss the squirrel, who still sat there eating. He finally moved before the big truck behind us got to him. I'm not sure about that one. Dumb or Courageous.....

Then there are the cows..... I don't know how many times I went zipping past them on the dirt road, but one time I caught them walking across the road. Now I look for them every time I drive in. They hide. They lurk in the shadows of the trees and watch all the cars go by. I think I saw them the first time because I came in much later in the day (that would be the day the child forgot his laundry at home. I made the trip twice that day....) I fooled them and they didn't expect my car to come by. Well this week they were right next to the road. So close that Rick thought he could just step out of the car and pet them. I didn't know cows could move so fast. Of course Rick thinks it was the car door that scared them...

Hmmmm what's scarier....

the sound of a car door


a big guy jumping out of the car to pet you.

I'm with the cows. I'd take off too.

Friday, July 14, 2006

For Crazy Aunt Pearl

I have an addiction, a blog addiction. There are a few blogs that I just have to read. My day is not complete when they don't update. Well one such blog is I live in California and I still get a kick out of her observations of LA.

She has recently returned to the land of dating and had some interesting observations. As a mother of a 16 year old boy, I am right in the middle of this rite of passage and I have some tips to share.

Teaching a child to date does not start when they become old enough to date. It starts from the moment they are born. (please note, my child is NOT perfect...but he has his moments)

My husband still opens doors for me, other women, the elderly and someone with their hands full. Josh grew up watching that. As he got older I would prompt him to open the door for me, other women, the elderly, someone with their hands full. A few months ago we were at the mall and the elevator in the parking structure was broken and a pregnant woman and her mom and her baby and her stroller were standing at the foot of the stairs. So many people just walked by. I held the bags and Josh helped them up the stairs. Every day you encounter instances where you can teach your children to be helpful.

The result? He started opening doors for girls long before he started dating. He even walks closest to the street. (I never taught him that, he either figured it out or dad is responsible.) He is shocked that a friend of his walks ahead of his girlfriend and never opens the door for her...unless it's a special occasion.

In Cub Scouts we always had the boys serve their parents refreshments first. They are Boy Scouts now and they do it without being told... most of the time.

But that is only half the battle. A mom can teach a son how to treat a girl, but the girls need to know how to act too. Wait for the guys to open the doors, thank them, expect them to call ahead for a date, come to the door.... Some may call it old fashioned. I call it respect.

So Josh is old enough to date now, but he has one final hurdle to jump through. Before he can go out on a date, he has to ask me out. And the rules for taking me out are quite firm.

1) He must ask ahead of time because I have a very limited schedule.

2) He must plan the date and let me know the appropriate attire.

3) He must pay for the whole thing.

4) While on the date he must use good manners, he must open doors and treat me with respect and he must prove to me that he has the skills and maturity to treat his date with respect too.

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but it was passed on to me and I love it!! It has caused Josh and I to have some great conversations about ideas for dates and what is expected. He's not in a huge hurry to ask me out, the girl he likes isn't old enough to date yet, but I know he's already planning the date.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm Back

Woo Hoo. I'm home. Ok, so technically I have been home for a few days, but life is never dull at Chez Dawn and this is the first chance I've had to even think about blogging.

Since I have too much to really write. I'm going for a list of random things as they pop into my head.

Hubby might be coming home tomorrow. Woo Hoo!!! He was coming home via bus, but it was so much fun last time that he's not really looking forward to another bus trip. Looks like we might fork over some cash so he can fly the friendly skies..... I've already warned him that coming home four days earlier than planned means that the house will not be in the same condition that it would've been on the 10th....

Why is my house a mess??? Let me just list the reasons for you....
Before my trip there was the last minute cram session to get all the artwork done. And here are my adventures since arriving home... actually the fun began with a phone call while I was still in Utah....

Joshua called me and asked "Mom, do I have health insurance?" Oh that's never a good question. World Cup fever had taken over the camp. The boys were playing soccer. The details are sketchy. Someone pushed someone who fell into Josh who...thinks he might have broken his wrist. Oh Joy! Of course this happened on Thursday and he's finally telling me on Saturday when I'm still three states away. I told him to ice it and wait for me.

I got home at 4am Sunday, slept for a couple of hours, made some phone calls to make sure he has insurance (love the switching jobs thing...grrr.... but am glad we thought to purchase insurance for him while we wait....)

Off to Kaiser where I continued to lament the loss of our super duper great insurance that cost $5 per visit. I had to pay every step of the way.... $51 dollars later and Josh is sporting a splint for his badly sprained hand. Thank goodness it wasn't broken!!

Doc was funny. Kind of busy/abrupt. But when we got back and found out it wasn't broken, I asked if he had any limitations since he would be returning to work at camp. Suddenly doc's attitude changed. He was oh so impressed that Josh was a camp counselor at a boy scout camp. Josh started getting super duper cool treatment then. Gotta love boy scouts.... it opens doors everywhere.... and I really love when stuff like this happens. I think it helps my 16 year old, almost eagle scout.... keep his eye on the prize.

So hand is taken care of and suddenly Josh has a couple extra days at home...which means the social calendar must be filled and mom must put on her chauffer hat. That boy is just lucky I still remember being a teenager in love..... Yes, I went to the "best friend's" house for dinner. Yes both the families went to the drive in. (Family activies - ok.... dating....not allowed. She's not 16 yet).

I thought social obligations were fulfilled. Nope. We all had so much fun that we were invited back for the 4th.

Somewhere in there I got a few hours sleep and started to design my pages that need to be done by Friday.

Today I took the boy back to camp, was 3.5 hours late for work and now I get to do that mad rush, clean house because hubby is coming home....

So see..... I really do have an excuse......

In case you think I might exaggerate about the house.... just know that I still have an extra couch and paper racks sitting in my living room.... reminders of the great... let's re-do the house when I have a million other things to do....

Good thing that man loves me. Maybe he won't notice the house.