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Thursday, June 30, 2011

32 years ago about that? And they said it would never last....take a lesson - never underestimate the power of pure stubbornness.

And fear.....

My husband and I met during a very non religious time for both of us. We had to look high and low for a church to get married in. My family was not religious at all, and it didn't matter where we were married, but my soon-to-be husband's family was very Catholic, and very interested in a Catholic wedding. So we found a Catholic Church that would marry us. The Priests we found at St. Francis were fabulous about the whole thing, all they said was you have to come to counseling before we will agree to marry you. OK, fair enough, we can do that, 12 weeks you say? OK, we can do that....(yikes!) so we show up for our first session and the Priest takes one look at us and says, "You know if you get married in the Catholic Church you must raise your children Catholic."

We hadn't even talked about children much less how they were going to be raised. We were more of a "in the moment" kind of a couple. It just shows how prepared we were. Not at all. When Brother John was about to marry us, I whispered in his ear please don't say, "Until death do you part." I always believed that marriage was forever. He was good with that and off to the races we went.

My very Catholic, very Italian new mother-in-law met me in the foyer after the wedding and looked me straight in the eye and said, "there are no divorces in this family." Because I had been married for 3 minutes and we hadn't had a single fight yet....I assured her that sounded good to me too. I have always loved my mother and father-in-law, they are the best. And even though my mother-in-law passed away far too soon, her influence in our family is real.

Our wedding day, June 29th, 1979 was 117 degrees in Las torture for even the most ardent desert dweller. Want to know what it did to my new husband's family from New Jersey? I think one of his cousins actually melted. There weren't a lot of return visits from his family....especially in June.

I am not going to say that because my mother-in-law told me there were no divorces in the family that that is the reason we have stayed together......but the fact is marriage is very important to them. And they taught that to my husband. Example is a powerful thing. I worry sometimes that I am a terrible example to my children. We aren't the husband and wife team who never fight or at best hide all the fights....we get irritated regularly...and hide nothing. But we make up and then wake up to another day. Passion runs high for both of us. When folks tell me they never fight I don't know how to react to that. Does that mean we are simply dysfunctional, or could they just be big donkey liars?

We take that "for better or worse" out for a spin almost every day.

Marriage isn't easy, and staying married isn't easy either. But it is the best thing I have done. It is wonderful to have someone to share memories and a few dreams with. It is good to have someone to hug any time I want to. But mostly it is good to be with someone who remembers that once upon a time I had a waistline. Dang menopause.....while I am at it, dang pizza, french bread and pie.

I have made two decisions in my life without ever looking back...neither decision gave me a moments regret or even so much as a second thought. It was just right. One was becoming a member of the Mormon church and the other was marrying my husband. Both decisions were as incongruent as could be for a girl like me. I was a Southern girl marrying an Italian boy from New Jersey, and yes my family considered him a Yankee. He liked salami, provolone and something called calamari. I was Mormon and liked everything fried......he came from a large family, I was an only child. He thought crystal stemware must be cheap because it broke so easily in the dishwasher (6 at one time....30 years ago and I'm still not over it) I hated the cold and chestnuts are nasty. One time he actually wanted to put them in my stuffing.....ha!

We have had some obstacles to overcome.....but we came to simply accept what we couldn't fact we are still doing that, still overcoming obstacles. But I root for the Yankees with wild abandon and he's is funny that way. Especially the part about rooting for the Yankees.

I have never one time in the whole time we have been married ever doubted him. And that is my greatest blessing.

Thank you darlin', I love you!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just pure tenacity

I hate migraine headaches. When I get one I feel like I am in slow motion and something is sucking my brain out of my ear. And it won't stop....

But what I love about migraine headaches is someone, somewhere, in a far away lab invented a medicine that chases these deadly brain sucking headaches away. On the down side the headache is replaced with kind of a bombala fatigue that makes doing anything short of laying on the sofa impossible. However when compared with searing, brain sucking pain, a little fatigue is just fine.

But sometimes things don't go according to plan. In other words when I went to the medicine drawer where I keep Advil for constant muscle pain, Excedrin for the times I can't find diet coke and a few other things that the Hipaa privacy rule prevents me from revealing.....there was no migraine medicine.....oh the agony!

Last night I was teaching an institute class so I had to wait until that was over to drive like I was on fire to our favorite Walgreen's pharmacy. I pounce on the pharmacist at exactly 8:50...time to spare....and then I see the blood drain from her face. She knows she has to tell me that my prescription has no refills and she knows I am going to freak out.

Shut up!! How will I sleep? Better yet how will my husband sleep?

Fast forward to 8am this morning. The race has begun. I am a proud member of Health Plan of Nevada (which basically means you can only get sick in Nevada - sorry about Mikey's almost broken leg in Cedar - and it also means you pay and pay to get less and less)....on the other end of my first phone call is someone who has the power to refill my prescription. I will myself to be nice, patient and did I say nice? Could I actually pull that off? But at 8am?

For the next 40 minutes I speak with one person after another...finally at the end of the phone call (and of course one time we were disconnected - start over contestants!) I am told they will send a message to my doctor who may or may not call the pharmacist. It might be Monday, sorry.
But it is Friday I tell them frantically! (will hysteria work?) I am helping my husband cook for 300 tomorrow, I can't have a migraine. They are sorry...and then the ridiculous memorized end of the call..."is there anything else we can help you with?" I had to ask her.... "so far, what have you helped me with?"

Oops, not nice.

Suggesting to a group of people who have that much power to give you something you truly need that they indeed share a brain, is not helpful. I see any hope of getting my medicine fading quickly away.

At 11am I decide to wait no longer and simply go to the doctor's office. I can explain to them that I am in great pain and maybe they will just hand me the prescription. Off I go. On arrival I see that there is a line...what luck! When it is my turn I explain everything to the receptionist. She is quite nice and she takes my pathetic story to the nurse who may or may not go to the doctor with my request.

There is a clear chain of command.

At this point, I make up my mind to see this through. I am NOT going home without the medicine. It has become a matter of honor, or something. I imagine a group of people symbolically standing behind me, hundreds of people rejected under the same circumstances. Beaten and dejected leaving without their meds. I am doing it for all of them.

The nurse comes out after about 20 minutes, quite annoyed, to tell me that they have 2 or 3 days to fulfill these requests. I looked at her straight in the face and said, "not if you have a migraine." She told me it would take "some time" to get the doctor to write the prescription. I can wait I tell her...So I sit down for a long wait and start texting everyone I know...I saw the picture of Erin's new baby, organized a meeting, and generally caught up on life. Nothing wasted!

The nurse came out to tell me my request was called in, give it 20 minutes she says..hooray! Score! I can feel the pain lessen. Off I go to the pharmacist at Walgreen's after about 30 minutes, (I had to get some diet coke) only to be told my prescription was expired and the doctor was not responding.


This is the message from last night, they don't have the new information, I am screwed, this is awful....oh the humanity!! This wild chase for geese has ended with nothing, not even geese.
And then it occurs to me...the doctor called the wrong pharmacy! That has to be it! I go back and stand in line, stand in line, stand in line....the same poor pharmacist looks at me with such pity, (or disdain?) I explain to her that they must have called the Target pharmacy..."please (I am almost begging) call them and see if my medicine is there."


No? They didn't have the number (yes they do) the time (you are in business to have time) or inclination....(I am using sheer force of will for them to be inclined)
I explain I have come too far and I am in far too much pain to stop.

She blinked and then she called Target.

Score! They tell me to sit down, the prescription is indeed at Target, it is being transferred over. Give us a minute.

Finally at 1:22 I leave Walgreen's with 9 imitrex (actually their generic brothers) pills. I got into my car and took one of those pills right there in the parking lot with almost scalding water that had been in my car for who knows how long.

And I smiled.

I did it.

Rack up another metaphor of life....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I love graduations...I love the hats, diplomas, and most of all I love a good commencement speech. Add to that hundreds of happy graduates, grateful parents,tired but fulfilled teachers and you have the recipe for total happiness.

That is what I felt yesterday, total happiness. My youngest child, my Emma, graduated from high school. She gave a wonderful, inspiring speech....her voice never faltered. There is a reason she graduated on the day of the year with the most light...the longest day, the first day of summer...that is her metaphor, she is light and warmth, and never gives up. Then at the end of the ceremony she led the student body in moving their tassels from the right to the left.

....and just like that they were high school graduates.

My feelings were so intense, and so profound...I found it hard to breathe at times. When we first got to graduation, I had this overwhelming feeling of, "Well, it's here, and there is nothing you can do to stop it" I knew there was no way to get back the days of her childhood. My little girl grew up, and I started to cry. Her life is changing for sure but an enormous part of my life is changing as well. The days of small children are past. They were great days, and I will miss them. And just like all moms suddenly faced with their children growing hurts. As hard as it was, I loved it. I loved kneeling at the side of their beds, I loved the games, the gym meets, the recitals, I loved helping at their schools, I just loved being with them.

Over the years I brought crates of oranges to games, bought pounds of cookie dough and enough candles to light St. Patrick's Cathedral. I know I spent more time in my car than in my house.

We survived lost elections, lost tryouts, lost shoes, and lost games....we jubilantly brought home trophy's and ribbons, good report cards, and enough slurpees to change the economy.

It is a job I enjoyed so much...but it is a job that changes. it is hard to watch so much of the really sweet stuff just vanish...

Like the first time they don't need you to tie their shoes, or hold their hand. Or when they get their license and drive solo the first time.

Those are all good things of course, but that feeling, that feeling of obsolescence looms. You know the meaning of planned obsolescence right?

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period of time.

And that is a bit how I feel today....obsolete, I am a product designed for a limited useful life.

Dramatic? yikes!!

That isn't completely true, they still refer to me as 'mother' and they still love me...but the day to day stuff? As they tell me, "I got this, mom." And I am happy that they can fly on their own. That is a good thing.

However, that is a concept I am not doing well with today.

The truth is, I will miss kneeling at the side of their bed having prayer. I will miss watching them dance, play football, soccer, basketball, baseball, cheer, and do gymnastics. I will miss walking in the front door and seeing 25 pairs of shoes knowing that meant there were 25 teenagers in my den...I already miss their friends....I will miss making pasta for 10 then 20 and then maybe 30 teenagers.

I am blessed to have had the experience, but I will miss it to be sure...

My little girl Ashleigh was the dish who ran away with the little Trey dressed up as every character he saw on television or the movies and wore a suit to pre-school, my little Mikey who refused to go to first grade because he thought he was never coming home again, and 6 year old Emma.......standing with the coaches on the football field, her baseball cap on backwards with a whistle and a clipboard.

Those memories along with about a million more are mine....and I am so grateful for them.

But today I am a little sad...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Murder, Moms and The Book of Mormon Musical...

I am so tired of hearing about the mother in Florida who may or may not have murdered her daughter. I try to avoid it, but because I am interested in the weather, politics and world events I still listen to the news. But it seems this is the way the news works....the temperature in New York according to the Casey Anthony trial is......we can report from the Casey Anthony trial that the Prime minister of Italy is having his problems these days. The stock market brought to you by the Casey Anthony trial, the Republican debates....a break through in medicine....incredible rescues....things so important seem to pale in comparison to a story I don't want to believe even occurred.

I kept all this to myself until I read a blog this morning called Kazzy's Pondering's. In her blog she wrote about how she ran outside, as though she was on fire, to take pictures of hot air balloons as they floated by. And all because she wanted to send the pictures to her missionary in Mexico...because it was a reminder of home. And she wanted him to feel some love from home.

That's the mom I want you to think about. The mom who loves with a fierceness that a tiger would step aside for.

I admit that some of that fierceness came out the other night as I was watching the Tony's...I usually watch the Tony's, but this year I watched with a bit of trepidation. I knew the musical, "The Book of Mormon" was going to win a lot. Out of curiosity I had listened to some of the score on NPR. Some of the songs were so profane I simply clicked it off. But some of the songs were filled with so much mockery and disdain about Mormon missionaries that I found myself feeling that fierceness only reserved for tigers.

Through my blog I have met people from India to North Carolina, from Utah to Mexico, and beyond. My new friends are divergent and because of our differences, so interesting. I have no desire to converse with people who only think as I do. I love finding out how my Hindu friends are coping with life, and my friends in New England, and Indonesia, and Texas, and North Carolina....I have not spoken about my religion much because I live by the adage, "Preach the Gospel every day, and if you have to use words." I think we are our best example...walk the walk of whatever you believe in, that is the best way to show others who you really are.

But since this blog is all about words....I have a few words, a few carefully chosen words, to say about the Book of Mormon musical. However understand that anything I say pales in comparison next to the official statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints....

"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."

Succinct and to the contention, a completely guileless reaction to a play that sets out to mock a religion, a culture and a people.

These are my thoughts and I take full responsibility for them.

Every play that is nominated presents a song or a part of a scene for the television audience to get a flavor of their whole production. The song the Book of Mormon musical chose to perform was about faith...this Missionary from Salt Lake City was seeing horrible things, but he stilled believed. Because that is what Mormons do..they believe. I am sure I am taking this benign view out of context, but I won't take issue with that. I do believe. And even though the audience snickered when this naive young man believed no matter what I thought, it's true.....I do believe.

This play was not just about Mormons, it was about all people who believe. Don't miss that point.

I want you to see what real Mormon missionaries look like....and they have moms like me.

They also look like this...

This is my beautiful daughter in the middle...a real missionary who believes...

A dear friend of mine came over right before my son was leaving for Costa Rica for two years...he looked at me and just shook his head. He supported what we were doing, but didn't understand it. He said to me, "I understand when parents send away their kids when they are difficult, I don't understand sending away the good ones."

My husband and I did indeed send away some good ones...but they came back better ones. They lived with a different culture for two years. They understand a language and a people completely. They found out what they could do when they only had the Lord to depend on.
This experience has been priceless. My sons were 19 years old..they left college, a job, friends and their family to serve others...all because they believed. And so did my daughter.

I hope some people will be curious after they see the play. I hope they ask questions...we may not be as catchy and flashy as the play...but we'll do.

And if you see a missionary this summer give them a cold drink or a hot dog. They are far from home and would be so grateful for a little love.

There is a professor at Harvard Business School named Clayton Christensen who wrote the most amazing essay about Why he believes...I highly recommend it. You can find it here...

Friday, June 10, 2011

They're Back!!!

So this mama bird is flying around looking for the perfect place to build a nest of sticks and poop. And she sees....a red door! that's the ticket! What other bird is going to have a nest next to a red door?
So being one stylin' rockin' mama bird that is exactly what she does.... just like one of her predecessors did last year.
A trend is borne...along with a couple of baby birds only a mother could love.

So the population of my house went up a couple when Stylin' rockin' Mama Bird popped out these cuties. Holy cats! They don't look like they're done do they?

Only a mother could love these little darlings....

I love what she's done with the place, don't you?

I hope they fly away soon...I am getting tired of being attacked by a Stylin' Rockin' mama bird every time I open the door. I was here first.

It's odd to have a nest in the decidedly not real wreath on my red front door. And I forget every time I open the door that I am only a guest here...and Stylin' Rockin' mama bird is in charge.

The little teamsters in the bird union should kick in on the power bill. Then I wouldn't be so cranky. But as it is the little organizers have simply taken over. Strong union.

Proves that even in the animal kingdom being unique rocks.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy People Are Hiding Something? So Not True....

Gather round children, I have some advice and I want you to listen closely.....when you are out there in the world and your actions suddenly cause you to say...."Quick hide!" you are doing something wrong. And when you hear it, listen to me carefully again, here is what you do.....stop, drop and roll! That's right, act as though your rear end is on fire and you have only a few seconds to keep from going up in flames.

One more are doing something and suddenly you feel the need to hide what you are doing.....stop doing it. There, my work is done.....I believe I have saved your reputation, job or marriage. You are welcome.

For any of you who watched Anthony Weiner's press conference yesterday you saw how humiliating it can be to get caught in a lie, in front of the world, being interrogated by the NEW YORK press. For anyone who found joy in that press conference, well, you have never been caught taking 2 one liter bottles of diet coke into a football game where the sign clearly says..."Bring nothing into our football game - you must buy our 6 dollar soda." And with shame I will carry the rest of my life I was caught with the goods, or in this case the a 16 year old stadium attendant, who promptly confiscated my walk on the wild side never made it to TV, radio, or newspapers...I just did it in front of my dearest friends and my husband...oh, my...

Life is filled with opportunities to try and get away with something.....and you must know it never works. Someone, somewhere, knows. And. they. will. tell. Because people hate it when you try and get away with something that they secretly wish they could get away with but know that they could never get away with it and so how did you get away with it and since you did I am going to tell.

Nothing about what happened to Congressman Weiner is amusing, it is a cautionary tale, Maybe we aren't sending ridiculous pictures of our private parts to strangers, but we have our own cover ups...don't we? Although I once sent a picture of my foot in a shoe to Betsey....however I was at a shoe store and I did need to know if my foot looked fat in the shoe. She wasn't offended and it didn't make it into anyone's blog, and yes my foot did look fat in the shoe....

Maybe we should all take this time to assess our own behavior. It's a good time to clean house a bit....ask yourself, will I tell the truth even when it's hard? Can I be honest when no one is looking? And when I have the urge to hide something, can I stop, drop and roll?

Life is filled with little stops that give us pause and a chance to do better. And it's never too late to do better.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Warrior Personalities and the wisdom of Stevie Nicks

Recent events have forced me to come to terms with myself.....and as my patron Saint Stevie Nicks says in the song Landslide...."and I'm getting older too." So I am no longer going to hide behind what I believe in. There should be at least hints and bits of who I am in the words I write.

I am coming out.

I am a warrior personality. It manifests in several different ways. For instance...Sam's Club....I am standing in line guarding my milk, eggs and frozen chicken, when I hear yelling. Unusual at Sam's...Mildly curious I look several check stands over and see a young man verbally assaulting a much older man. The older man was so afraid, it was awful, and worse yet no one was doing anything, not the customers, not the wildly tattooed checker, and security? Seriously? Sam's Club? Not even a guy from automotive with a tire iron...nothing. I look around at the pasty faced cowards standing near me and say, "is no one going to do anything?" The woman in front of me says, "you don't know, he might have a gun." A gun? Well, maybe, but I have 10 pounds of frozen chicken breasts, I like my odds. So I start yelling too. And I don't was enough to at least get other people to start yelling....we were all yelling. Yelling is a great distraction. Finally, the hierarchy at Sam's strapped on a few and got out from behind the counter. They escorted the older man to his car and did some heavy staring at the younger man. I mean heavy staring...the kind Al Qaeda quakes in fear over.

I spent the rest of the day wondering why no one did anything sooner. Is this what we are reduced to? A society of people who just stand there?

Part of the problem is we don't have anyone to believe in...our leaders aren't noble any more...Where is Braveheart? I want a guy with blue paint on his face and a feisty horse.... I want someone to stand up and say right out loud who they are and what they believe in, and that you should believe in it too! No fear, no worries about how it looks....just a good old-fashioned, straight from the hip, look you in the eye, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead kind of guy. Inspire me! Wouldn't you follow that kind of leader right off a cliff?
Recently I listened to the Prime Minister of Israel Bebe Netanyahu's speech to congress. It was amazing....I was ready to join! Forget the fact Israel is not recruiting annoying old white women. I was ready! And also forget my buzz kill friend Kedrick who wanted me to know both sides of that conflict have blood on their hands.....I loved his speech. I knew who he was and when leaders tell you who they are, at least you have a fighting chance to pick "your" right guy. But when they hide behind subterfuge and talk out of both sides of their mouth....beware my friends, you might end up with someone you don't recognize after the election.


We have big doings coming up next year. I hear 2012 is going to be the most blood thirsty election we have ever seen. Is the food at the White House that good? What is the attraction to pounding your thumb with a hammer every day during a campaign? Tell me!

And just to put everyone on notice, I am bringing my warrior personality right out on the porch for everyone to see. When folks get assaulted in this coming election because of their religion I will rally the forces of good and defend them tooth and nail.

Come on America!! If you know something is true, say it! Be courageous! Let other people hear you say it. Fear and faith don't live together...stand up for what you believe in, print it on your shirt...have cards made......and if you don't know what you believe in, for heaven's sake take some time to answer the nagging questions of your soul!

Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where are you going?

There are answers to these questions.....are you ready? Let's Roll.