Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bragging, A Physical Interpretation

On a lighter note, I saw this and had to post it:
There are 4 people I know who come to mind when I think of bragging.  One is constantly bragging about herself, 2 brag about their kids, and the last one brags about her child and herself (a double braggy whammie.)  Sadly, all of them are women.  (It seems to be a gender thing--well done, guys.)  Honestly, I do not get what people hope to accomplish by bragging. We have all done things we're proud of. 

Right now I'm proud of myself for posting this picture.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Great Book...

Looking for a great book to share with your kids? I came across Number the Stars last night and read the whole thing in one sitting (160 pages.)  I highly recommend it.

Click on the picture below to read my review on my other blog.  And then..get this book.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve"

I am already getting really jazzed about attending BYU Education Week in just a few more weeks. The class catalog came a few days ago and I poured over it for a couple of hours trying to decide which lectures I wanted to attend.  There are so many choices!

Education Week is a very inexpensive event that takes place on the Brigham Young University campus August 19-23 of this year.  For about $60 (for the entire week!) you can go to classes on many different subject from 8:30am until 9:30pm.  You have complete freedom to attend an entire series or hop around from one class to another throughout the week. 

These are not college classes.  They are structured to be of interest to people in the middle of their lives.  There are lots of classes on religious topics and church history, because this is a private religious university, but there are many others as well.  There are classes on marriage, parenting, home management, communicating, estate planning, history, music, dance, law, finance, and many others.

As I scoured the catalog and thought about how to best use my time, I thought about how my priorities have changed since the last time I attended, which was about 15 years ago.  At that time I went to a lot of church history and music classes.  Now, as a married woman in my (gulp) 40's, some other ones caught my interest. (Marriage, food storage, finances...but I'm still planning on going to some of the fun ones!)

Although I haven't completely figured out my week, and may not until the last minute, I know it will be a week of learning and growth.  How wonderful that an event like this exists every year.  I can't wait!

This event is open to everyone of all faiths.  It is not too late to register and attend.  Click HERE for all the information.  It is an amazing experience!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Swear...

 ...I do not like it when people swear.

It's no secret to most people who know me that I really, really don't like offensive language.  Today while waiting for a doctor's appointment, one of the male LVNs was being loud and using the s--- word over and over.  Really?  You can't say "thing" or "stuff?"

And, yes, I mentioned it to the nurse who took me back to the exam room.  Who knows if anything will come of it.  But, wow, it was unprofessional. 

The other day I watched a movie I hadn't seen a long time.  Bad decision. It was one of those I-didn't-really-like-it-at-first-but-I'll-give-it-another-try type movies.  Now I remember what I didn't like about it.  The offensive language peppered throughout. An otherwise decent story was totally ruined.

From movies, to books, to music (I use these terms generously,) it just seems like using certain words is the "in" thing.

Here's my take, and I know I'm not alone.  Using those words does not make you "in" or smart or more adult or part of the group. If you think that, then maybe you need a new group or a redefinition of the word "smart."

Maybe it is the idea that the words are "taboo" that make people want to say them more.  Human nature is to always want what we can't have, right? But at a certain age no one is going to spank us or wash our mouth out with soap for saying these things.  At that point it's called personal responsibility. 

And of course, there are so many politically incorrect words that offend others, yet the old standbys are there for everyone to partake of.  What a great way to bring everyone together.  Not.

We wear the way we express ourselves like our wardrobe.  There are the people who you can always expect to speak eloquently, without resorting to that garbage. Then there are the ones who come with their own personal "bleep" button. 

Seriously, humans.  Let's work on this.

OK, off my soapbox.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Summer Catch-Up Post

Someone has been a lazy blogger lately and I think it is me!  The truth is, with the weather being so wonderful, the last thing I have wanted to do is sit in front of the computer.  But here is what's been happening...

At the end of June I started preparing for my mom to come up and visit us.  I'm a little obsessive when it comes to preparing for company, no matter who it is, and Eric has just learned that when I get into "tornado mode," it is best to step aside.  I don't think I got that bad this time, but having overnight company did give me a push to do some of the things I constantly put off.  A big one was polishing furniture.  Most of my wooden furniture in the dining and living rooms are inherited pieces from my grandparents and from a senior, never-married lady who lived next door to the house I grew up in.  My dining room table set and secretary are from her.  A huge console in our dining room was once the first TV/radio/turntable combo that my grandparents put in their house back in the 1950's.  All of these are beloved pieces, even those that are not in the best condition.  Polishing them brought them back to life quite a bit.

When the day of my mom's arrival finally came, it was a day of delays.  They weren't her fault, but that of an overly cautious airline after the crash that happened in San Francisco a few weeks ago.  All told, my mom got in about 6 hours later than the original scheduled time. We were eating dinner near the airport at nearly 9pm and still had an hour's drive back to our house.

The following week was a good visit, probably the best one of my mom's visits up here. I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I am not that new in this state and house anymore.  That's a nice feeling, and even though we visited a couple of places I had never been to before, my comfort level permeated throughout her visit.

We went outlet shopping, we visited Pittock Mansion in Portland, I gave her a perm, we went on a lot of walks, I cooked a lot of dinners and we went out a few times.  She also had more of a chance to bond with my hubby, who she hadn't seen in nearly 2 years since he and I drove to CA for Christmas 2011.

We rounded out her visit by going to dinner at a local BBQ place, which, happily, she really enjoyed.  All around, I think all of us felt more relaxed this visit, which cut down on the post-visit recovery time.

Sadly, one of the things my mom did have to witness while she was here was the decline of our 2 older kitties, Darcy and Ashley (above.)  Ashley's health has been a topic of discussion for many months, since she began having seizures about once a month almost 2 years ago.  Her brother, Darcy, began having them a few months later, and had one last Sunday just as my mom and I were returning from church.  We have spent a lot trying to find the source of the seizures with little success.

Unfortunately, Ashley's health had taken other negative turns as well.  She was losing weight and yet she was constantly hungry.  Her day consisted of either sleeping, going potty (very unhealthy potty,) or asking for food.  It seemed like her body just wasn't absorbing food anymore and she was getting thinner and more and more bony.

A couple of weeks ago, a new reality hit.  She was starting to go potty outside of her box.  We don't think she was doing it on purpose, but that was kind of a non-issue.  It just meant that something else was wrong.

After all of the discussion of when to put her down, we realized the time had finally come.  I tearfully made the appointment on Thursday.  That night she ruined my favorite, hand stitched, tablecloth--a confirmation that we were doing the right thing.  Again, I don't think she did it on purpose, but it proved that she wasn't able to control her insides anymore.

Yesterday we did the deed.  It was so, so hard and she was still feisty up until the end, which made it harder.  We tried out a new vet, who turned out to be really great and sensitive throughout the appointment.  (We had come close to doing this 2 months ago and I had done a lot of research with clinics in town.)  Sadly, Ashley did have one last (short) seizure between the sedative and the final injection. We petted her and I cried during our last moments with her.

It never ceases to amaze me how these little critters work their way into our hearts.  They love us unconditionally and they trust us implicitly, which is why that final decision is such a tough one.

Today we are adjusting to a new normal.  Ashley was always circling around the kitchen asking for food, or skittering across the counters.  A lot of times she was just sit looking out the window.  She was the curious kitty who would greet and sniff anyone who came into the house. Our 100lb dog would not cross paths with her, finding her too intimidating.

She and her brother had been with me since the day I moved into my first apartment back in October 1996.  It was a Saturday afternoon and the humane society was closed, so my mom and I went to a Petco in South Pasadena.  As we entered, a lady was holding a kitten with enormous yellow eyes buried in her dark face.  I instantly knew that I would be adopting her. (The cat, not the lady!)

Ashley's been with me through 4 different homes, since I started my career, and through an 18 hour drive from California to Washington after Eric and I married in 2010.  She's always been a combination of solitary and social and she loved attention, although it had to be on her terms.

The house definitely feels different today, even though I have a doggy at my feet and 2 more kitties napping with Eric in the other room.  Outliving our pets is part of the cycle of having them.  It's the hard part.

I am really glad I have something to look forward to after yesterday's sad event.  BYU Education week is coming during the 3rd week of August and I'll be attending for the first time in nearly 15 years.  I'll be driving with my dog, Bailey, as my companion.  It will be the first time driving from Washington to Utah, instead of California to Utah.  My mom will go too and we're staying with a friend in Orem.  I'm really looking forward to it.

And so Life goes on, with its ups and downs, always trying to teach us something and always giving us opportunities to decide how we are going to handle things.  Despite having to say goodbye to a beloved kitty, it has been and will be a good summer.  As always, we have so much for which to be grateful.