Sunday, February 26, 2012

Little Lover

Quite the weekend we have had. Yesterday, Brian forgot to put on the emergency brake when he parked on a hill while picking up Daniel. He turned around to see the car rolling backwards with Keegan still in the back seat. As any good dad would do, he ran as fast as he could to try to catch the car but instead of making a grand save he wound of face first on the pavement. He tripped, hit his chin, scraped his arm and most likely cracked a rib. (He isn't having much luck in the rib department but the trip to Hawaii where he ended up in the hospital with a broken collar bone, three broken ribs and a PE shall be left for another time) The car came to a stop when it crashed into a mailbox. Luckily, the car, the boy and the mailbox suffered less than Brian.

I had to work, then I had to help out at the guitar concert and I'm beat. I've been working long days getting ready for the conference in two weeks. So I needed some time today.

After church, I headed up the mountain for a couple of hours of cross country skiing. Beats the heck out of running since you burn as many calorie without the joint impact. I think its a great cross training activity. I got a bug up my butt and decided that I was going to ski every loop of the Nordic Center. I think I did something like 12K. All I know is it was beautiful, peaceful, hard, envigorating and fun.

When I got home, Keegan put on a suit and told me needed to have a meeting. When he was four he used to put on his "fancy clothes" and pretend he was Arock Abama (you know, the president). This time, he was in charge of our finances. He wrote out line items and asked me how much we should spend on each item, wrote it down and totaled it up. Then asked me if i thought we could afford it. What a kid.

Next on his agenda was Go Fish. Honestly, I don't think I've had so much fun for awhile. OK, I've had a lot of fun but I really enjoyed out two games.

Then we ended the night with a pedicure. He decided that I needed to have polish on. I let him do my toes since I was a bit worried about my nails with work tomorrow. Good thing because if you saw my toes you would be glad too that my fingers are not manicured as well. He started with a nice pumice scrub and then polish. He used three colors, red, blue and pink. If I am in a car accident, please tell the paramedics that I don't need a pulse ox on my big toe. My circulation is fine, its just the polish combination and the fact that it is all over my toes and not just the nails that makes me look hypoxic.

All in all it was a great weekend. Winning the Kindle, grateful that everyone is OK and the love and attention of the sweetest little boy on the planet.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hot Damn

So tonight was the first fish fry for the Lenten season. I love the fish fry, except when I'm pregnant (which I don't believe will ever happen again). I don't eat fried fish any other time of year and as my friend Susan and I decided, its church sanctioned so it must be healthy, right?!

Anyway, this year they had a raffle for a Kindle Fire. I kind of wanted it. I mean not enough to buy more than a "donation" amount of tickets or to mug an old lady to get it. So we got our fish and were having a great time. They did the first 50/50 drawing and no one at my table won. I was thinking about going home but decided to get some tickets for the Kindle. While I was painfully writing my name and number on the tickets (I hate hand writing- it really does hurt my hands to write) when Nora (remember sweet Nora) came out and threw her tickets in and said "The luck of the Irish will win!" I looked up and said, but Nora, I am the Irish one, not you. She told me I was taking her fun away.

I went back in to see how the drawing went (being as Keegan was off vandalizing the church or being a ring leader or something so I didn't need to worry about him) They did the second 50/50 drawing (yes, Catholics like a good fund raiser drawing) and finally they pulled a ticket for the Kindle and sure as shit I won!!!!!!!!!!! Wowie wow wow wow.

I went to get my Kindle and there was Nora teasing me about winning. Fr. Dave said not to let her tease me because she gives him crap every day. But then Brian took under the auspices of charging it. Good thing I had so many witnesses that it was my Kindle and not my husband's. And he forgot to take Keegan home with him. Good thing I double checked before I went home!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

JAB!

Wow, I didn't see that coming. I have been doing pretty well with my grief. I have really missed dad but I've also been able to talk about him and laugh about the silly things he used to say. I find myself saying things like "you know, all those rotten things people say about you just aren't true" and "step into my office" or my favorite " you are in trouble, you are in more trouble than you have ever been in in your whole rotten miserable life." and all his other dadisms. He had a very odd but fun sense of humor and taken out of context people didn't get it. Most of us kids are the same, we say things and then laugh like crazy while the rest of the world just stares at us.

But I digress. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. The Easter season has always been pretty significant to me. I had planned to go to mass at work (why not, how easy can it get) but then I saw in the bulletin that Mark and Mary had requested that the 7 PM mass be said for dad. I decided that mass would be crowded but having more meaning to me.

After work I picked up Keegan and we made the 35 mile trek to pick up my clearance tile from the big box hardware store in Orem. Well worth the trip to save 6.00 per tile. There was a bit of a mix up and they had gotten me the square inch tiles instead of the subway tiles. The color was the same but I really wanted the subway tiles. After searching with an associate for a long time it was determined that the computer was wrong and I could have the 1 inch or nothing so I took what I could get.

Problem is that now I was cutting it close to get back. I made it about 10 minutes early to church and walked in only to realize that our "new deacon" was con celebrating the mass. He looks like a nice guy and people were talking to him. I planned to sit in the church but a 70 mile trip right after school was too much to ask a busy 7 yr old so we stayed in the foyer. When I sat on the food donation box it was right in front of the room where the clerical robes are kept. Its where dad used to sit to wait for mass to begin. I swear with every inch of my being that he was there. It was dark in the room but I kept looking in and it was like he was there perched on his chair with his cane and cute smile. OK, I was a bit teary but OK.

Then after mass, an old friend I hadn't seen for about a year came over and gave me a hug. She said she had just found out that dad died and she was so sorry. Already emotional, I got a bit more teary. Then someone else I don't know well came over and gave me a hug. She told me how she still has dad's phone number in her phone and she doesn't want to delete it. By then I was crying. I was trying not to. My sisters were still inside and I didn't want them to get going. But all the sympathetic looks and a few hugs said everything- "having a new deacon really means that deacon Steve is gone." God bless Nora, the secretary, I just love her anyway but she came over and just pulled me into her and said, "we aren't replacing him, no one ever will." Then she said "see his picture is still up there and I'm not taking it down until I get absolute orders that I have to." I'm so lucky I have such great people in my life. Really, I am. And so many people have grief but God it hurts- bad.

In other news, I got accepted to speak at the Utah Public Health Association conference. I submitted last month and hadn't heard back so I kind of forgot about it. I am so busy but this will be fun- and really it will be easy. My topic will be "Healthier Populations Begin at the Breast" I'm speaking on exclusivity in Breastfeeding and why it takes collaboration to make that happen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PTA Reject!

I am a working mom; I made that choice for a lot of reasons. I love my job and I have a very flexible schedule. I have always been able to help out at school and still work. The problem is, I don't fit in at school. My daughter started school in the city because is was close to the U where I worked. It was great! I was a room parent and felt needed. Then when I was shaking up my career path, I had year and a half where I was a part time working mom. That was a good time to move the kids to the neighborhood school.

We have a great school. Wonderful parents, excellent teachers, everything you could want? Well, except diversity. A friend of mine was interviewing schools in the neighborhood and when she asked about diversity she was told "well, we have some diversity, there are two black kids, three Asians and a woman who wears the veil- they all bring diversity." Well Noelle said there was no way her daughter was going the be the "Jewish Phillipeno adopted child" so she kept her daughters at the school my kids had been going to. I really wanted to have friends in the neighborhood and a closer drive.

So we embraced the change and I signed up for the PTA. The first year I was a Commissioner for some event. I don't remember what it was. Then the next year I was put in charge of McGruff. I apparently didn't do a good job because I wasn't invited to be a Commissioner again. I didn't much care because I had started my new job and was trying to have another baby (my five years of secondary infertility). I had made some friends and I ran the Girl Scout Troop at the school (not a PTA endorsed activity mind you). Eventually, the older two moved up to middle school and by then, I had Keegan.

After the break of not having anyone at good ol B Elementary, Keegan was starting first grade. I had him attend a private Kindergarten and the first three weeks all I heard about was how unready he was for school because he hadn't done Kindergarten as a B Bear. As I knew he would, he caught up in a month and did just fine. His K had focused on DAP learning and not the teaching they do in most public Kindergartens. I did get my first "all but degree" in elementary education before I switched majors. It was a matter of being patient and not giving in to the teachers.

Last year I didn't do much, I was a Mother Helper on Monday's so I did develop a good relationship with his teacher (after that first month). So this year I signed up for room mother. Then I became the Grade Coordinator. It was an easy description. Coordinate the Halloween and Valentines Parties. One hour each, four rotations- could it be any easier? The Halloween Party was a blurr. My dad had died four days before, the directory hadn't come out yet so I was lacking phone numbers but I pulled it off!!! I was so distraught that I don't remember much. Which brings me to today.

I was in charge of the Valentines Party. No lets be clear here, at work, I am in the middle of coordinating a conference with an international speaker. We have over 200 health care professionals attending and we have Grand Rounds Scheduled. I can organize an event. So I emailed all the class coordinators and asked them if they had their activity ready. They said yes. I had two classes because one class never got a class coordinator. No problem, the story and the activity. I went to B&N, got a book and googled Valentines activities. I emailed my room parents and told them what to do. It all should have been fine. Except that one of the class coordinators is the PTA president. She apparently can't listen because her craft took 25 minutes. UMMMM, she had one hour to rotate 4 classes through. The math doesn't work out here. So that set the rotation back and the other groups ran out of things to do because they couldn't move to the next rotation. She didn't care one bit. Then another of the PTA people told moms they were doing things they weren't assigned to which messed up the helpers.

Honestly people, its a darn one hour party and now I have teachers upset because we aren't organized, moms mad because they couldn't rotate with their child (we all were at the same meeting in Sept) and I felt like I was getting the cold shoulder from the PTA moms. The kids had a blast though and really, that is what mattered.

I don't understand what it is with this PTA that gets me. I can fit in most anywhere, except here. What I can't figure out is if its being the less than dominant religion so I don't see these people at church (for the most part they are all in the same Ward). If its the working mom thing. I feel like they look at me funny because I have to show up at events in management approved attire where they are all wearing their cute skinny jeans and boot. Most of them also probably have a thong a vagazzle. Or if its socio-econmic. Not only do most of them stay home, but they live in the nice houses up the street and drive 40K cars while I have my little basic mini-van with no bells or whistles.

Whatever it is, I leave the school feeling very lonely while they all go out to lunch. And then I go back to work where I have friends and colleagues who appreciate the work I do. Screw the PTA!

BTW, I'm on the PTO at the high school and I don't have a hard time fitting in there. It just has to be that school.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Running

I am an accidental runner. In high school, I kind of thought it seemed like it would be fun, but it took work and I didn't really put in any effort to try out. I was in music and theater plus I worked full time- yes, I really did. 30 hrs per week during the school year and up to 40 hrs per week during breaks. How did I do it, I don't know but I needed the money. Dad had gotten sick my Freshman year, mom went to work but had no college so she made minimum wage. There were six of us kids and I was one of the oldest. The only way to have anything extra was to buy it ourselves. I also commuted to school. I went to Judge Memorial Catholic High School and I intended to graduate from there. My brother and younger sisters all ended up in public high school due to finances and other things. I had a car payment so that I didn't have to bus everywhere and I paid for all my books and fees. My grandma paid part of the tuition and my parents paid the rest. A lot of the kids were rich, not just well off but rich- the mayors kids, the very affluent lawyers in the community, but I didn't know enough to know how poor I really was.





So as I was saying, I didn't have time for track on top of everything else I was doing. As a young adult, I was going to college and working so again, I didn't have much time for other things-especially things that required exertion! Then I hit 39. With each of my three pregnancies, I had gestational diabetes. Diabetes really doesn't run in the family so I didn't really pay much attention except to eat very carefully during pregnancy and make half-ass efforts to exercise. I just thought it was how my body reacted to pregnancy. I think my OB thought the same because I actually had to convince her that we should do an A1C two years after my last one. So when it came back high- I don't mean 5.9 or 6 but 6.9 it threw me into a tailspin. Diabetes before 40! No No No! I immediately took action got on the exercise bandwagon. I have never been excessively over weight. Yes, a bit, but at 5 feet tall you don't get much leeway on weight. That is when I started running and got my A1C back to normal.





I'm not super fast, about a 34 minute 5K which is middle of the road for my age. And if you run the right race you can place- I can't wait to move up to the next age group! I've run numerous 5Ks and 1 10K plus done two bike rides and a triathlon. Now, I'm registered for Ragnar!!!!!!! After I paid my 100.00 to Bernice, I found out she is driving the van and leaving us sorry suckers to run. It will be fun though. I don't know my spot yet, I'm hoping for the hills. My boss said she gets the shortest legs but I'm hoping for no more than 4.5 each leg. I'm pretty sure I can do that. So for now, I've got to step up my training.





Saturday, I got on the ol dreadmill. I like to run outside- it feels better but I'm a wimp when I don't have to run in the cold. It was one of those nights when I just wasn't feeling it. My sciatica was bugging me, my pace felt off and I just wanted to do 2 miles and quit for the evening. But just as I was at that spot, dad's "song" came on my ipod. For his funeral we did a DVD collage of pictures and each of us kids picked a song. I chose American Pie because the song represents a huge change in culture and a point of no going back. That is basically what I felt about losing dad- we can't go back and we must move forward; but unsure what forward was going to bring. So that song came on and I stepped up my pace and I got a second wind. Thanks Pops! Well right after that ended, Uncle Joe's song came on- Dancing Queen! (More on that in a moment)





Uncle Joe died 22 days before dad. He was Uncle Ken's partner for about 13 years but I think they dated before Ken and Dave were together. (Dave died of AIDS in 1997) Ken and Joe were a true couple I don't care what anyone says about gay marriage; the two of them were more committed and dedicated to each other than many straight couples- end of subject! Joe was doing OK but they decided to end the cancer trials he was in because he hadn't responded the way they anticipated. They ended the trial on Friday and he died on Wednesday. Dad was supposed to officiate at the burial but he bought himself a night a the hospital after coding at the end of a bronchoscopy. So both dad and mom missed the funeral (mom was ticked!) It was at the funeral that I found out Joe loved ABBA and Dancing Queen- well it just fits him. (long ago when they came to the Corned Beef and Cabbage event at church- hey, we are Irish! Joe was talking to my mother in law about cruises and in his loud and boisterous voice he said "well all I can tell you is that I will NEVER do a Princess again! He meant the cruise but Barb and I took the other meaning and still laugh about how Joe won't do princesses) He was wonderful, funny, talented, kind and truly gay and I mean that in the most complimentary way. I miss him. So Dancing Queen right after dad's song made me think the two of them were up in heaven pushing me to my max. I ran an extra 3.25 miles for a total of 5.25. That on a night when I had nothing in me. It was a great run, the kind that makes you feel good and proud and want to do it again.





I just wish I could feel as good at the start of a run as I do at the end. If someone can figure out how to give me the endorphins at the beginning, I would be very happy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Romance

Last night I had to run to the store for a few things for dinner. Daniel said he wanted to go with me which meant Keegan was coming too. UGH. I wanted to run in and out; she says, 120.00 later.

All the Valentines stuff is out. I really don't care for that Hallmark Holiday but Keegan is a lover (sweet, young and innocent boy). He kept throwing things in the cart- for me; to be bought with my money. I generally let him put stuff in and then make him choose and then go put everything else back. By the time we got to decision time, I was getting two huge boxes of cheap chocolates (I'm a chocolate snob), two plush animals, a potted rose and some rose petals. We narrowed down to the rose petals and a box of chocolates. Along with the impulse items I got because of the sale, Keegan's class valentines and the stuff we really needed.

After dinner Keegan decided that I needed a relaxing bath. I did need one, but I also needed to clean my very disorganized house. I have hit my point of not being able to cope with the clutter. So he filled the tub and threw in the rose petals. Then he threw in two different flavors of bath products and he "perfumed" the air. I got in the tub and he stood outside yelling in, are you relaxing, is that a romantic bath, aren't you so glad I did that for you? Then he set a time and told me when I had to get out. He then came in and put lotion on my arms and legs. Two additional flavors/scents. I smelled like The Body Shop blew up in my pajamas. Then he gave me a back rub.

Despite the fact that I had other plans and I smelled like I needed to take a cleansing shower, it was really sweet- but not very relaxing or romantic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heavy Heart

Ever since she disappeared in 2009, I knew that Josh Powell killed his wife or was at least an accessory to the crime. There was just no way he was innocent. It reminded me of Mark Hacking when he killed his wife Lori.

I watched the case unfold and I hoped that they would arrest him after that psych press conference in Nevada. I hoped they would arrest him after his dad was arrested for pornography. I hoped that when he took that lie detector test last week that something would be found. I just feel so bad for her parents constantly waiting to find out for sure that their daughter is dead. I was glad that the Cox's had custody of the boys.

So on Sunday after a nice day of cross country skiing, I got to my sister's to watch the Super Bowl and she greeted me with "have you been watching the Susan Powell case?" I replied with yes, "did they arrest that guy finally; isn't he in jail?" She said no, he just blew up his house with the kids in it. Oh God. As the story began to unfold it made me sick to my stomach. If he wanted to die why didn't he just kill himself? Turns out the guy was so sick and demented and viewed his boys as possessions and if he couldn't have them, nobody could.

Then I saw the report on the autopsy. He killed them with a fucking hatchet and then blew the house up. All I can think is that he should rot in hell. But then I remember what I told one of the girls in my religion class on Sunday. "We never know what goes on in some one's heart and soul. We don't know what happens between them and God so we cannot be the judge." I just hope with all my heart that these two innocent boys are now in the arms of their mother and at peace. And God grant peace to the Cox family- this is an unspeakable tragedy. But I also agree with the officer who said-"This was an evil act- if we call it a tragedy, then it lessons what happened."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reconciliation

When I was 7 or 8 I sang a song to my aunt while she was babysitting. It went like this:

Yankee Doodle went to London riding on a lady. Pulled her tit and made her shit and then she had a baby.

I must have learned it at school or from the neighbor kids. Apparently she thought it was hysterical and told my parents. I think they might have laughed but I'm not sure because the next thing I know I'm being told that its my First Reconciliation. I was confused, I thought it was my First Eucharist. Mom explained it to me (why didn't they tell me this in CCD?!) and dad drove me. I wanted a white dress, veil and presents instead I got a lecture on singing dirty songs and how maybe that was something I should confess. That's about all I remember. Apparently it wasn't that bad and I went many times after that. I could still recite the whole thing. I don't go to reconciliation any more. I don't mind, I'm not scared, I just don't.

Today was Keegan's First Reconciliation. I made sure he knew what it was and why he was going etc etc etc. OK, I did almost forget it was today. The meeting we went to was three days after my dad's funeral. The date didn't stick in my head and I don't recall seeing a reminder in the bulletin. Thanks to Meredith, I was in the know and didn't forget to take him. I planned to just put him in cords and a sweater. He chose a pin striped suit complete with vest, jacket and tie. Oh and a safari hat- whatever. He said he would prefer a top hat and bow tie but he would just have to go with what he had.

We sat down in the pew and he whispered to me that he wasn't nervous. But he bit his nail for the next 30 minutes. We were in the third row so he was one of the first. He wanted to go to Fr. Dave but Fr. Paul had the faster line so he was sent over there. He came out and said it was great. Not too scary then we headed over to the social hall for a cookie and hot chocolate. Somehow, I don't think they had cookies pre Vatican II.

So now for my reconciliation joke.

Two little boys were waiting for reconciliation. The first one finally got called back. He went in and Fr. O'Brien said, why hello me lad, what sins do you want to confess. Little Patrick said, well Father, I have been bad. I messed around with one of the girls at my school. Oh dear said Fr. O'Brien. Was it Mary Margaret Mulligan? Oh no Father said Patrick and I can't tell who it was. Well said Father, then was it Emily Shannon? No Father he replied. I will never tell. Ah said the good Father, then it must have been Katherine Sullivan. No said Patrick. He finished his confession and was sent on his way. He went back to sit by his friend who asked "what did he give you?" Well replied Patrick, he gave me six Hail Mary's and 3 good leads.

Our afternoon ended with the winter voice recital. I found myself a bit teary because it was the first recital after dad died. He was my kids' biggest fan. "Smith can sing" and now, younger Smith can sing and he would be soooooo proud.









F**king Muffin

Keegan loves bad words. Great! He also learned the "F" word from Uncle Joe. I tried to keep that one from him. I never say it so I thought it would be OK. He knew there was an F word but I told him it was "FUDGE!" He's no dummy.

We stopped to get coffee on the way to school/work/daycare. I had gotten Keegan a hot chocolate and a muffin. He gets breakfast at day care but he doesn't like it. I don't know what was wrong with the muffin but he didn't like it. He was being obstinate and bull headed. I told him to get out of the car and he wouldn't. I told him he needed to eat the muffin now or not have it. No go. Finally the car pool girls got there so he gave in. But instead of admitting defeat graciously, he yelled from the back seat, "fine, just give me the FUCKING MUFFIN!" I calmly told him we don't say those words and let him eat a few bites. I put the rest in his lunch box. We walked inside and you would have thought that nothing ever happened the way he ran to play with his friends.

I got back to the car and Daniel just looked at me and said, "well at least he used it in the right context." Oh Daniel- Mr. Logic! I told my in-laws and now when they are tired and hungry they say, "I'm in a fucking muffin kind of mood."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Living next to Big Love

I've never watched Big Love. I don't have time to watch any TV. But I've heard about it quite a bit. Why? Because I live in Utah.

I just ran to the cafeteria to get lunch and it was filled with polygamists. Like a huge party. Everyone was talking, laughing, hugging and playing with the kids. If it weren't for the weird hair, ugly dresses and running shoes with nylons you would never think anything was unusual about this group. I started thinking about my life around the polygamist families and my biases.

When I was a little kid I had a friend, I think her name was Becky. She was blond and sweet and I liked her. She lived in a huge house (compound) and had tons of "siblings;" she told me some were cousins but it was easier to just say they were all her brothers and sisters. We were friends very long because she found out I was Catholic and said we couldn't be friends anymore. Bias formed.

I don't really remember much else until college when we were talking about he group in Big Water during a psych class. They are all educated women; doctors, lawyers, accountants all living together under one roof- self sufficient but all having sex with the same guy. And an ugly guy at that. I just couldn't get it.

After I got married, I could kind of see some benefit to having a sister wife- someone to share the household chores with. Someone to delegate laundry to. And if you are the first wife, you get to boss all the other wives around. Bonus! But you also have to share you husband and again, the sex part creeps me out.

When I was in grad school, my neighbor told me she hired some polygamists to clean her house and wondered if I could use the help. Sure did! I hired them and they were cash only, under the table money. Bias -I don't like tax evaders. They did OK, but they broke my vacuum, would only use certain products and lost the key to my house several times. The one time they broke in through a window because they said they had to get paid for that day of their husband would be upset. Bias- the husband is abusive. The part that was really bad was that one of the women hoisted her sister wife up on her shoulders to get in through the kitchen window- they were both pregnant. What if they got hurt?! They don't carry liability insurance being as they don't even claim the money. The final straw was when they kept changing the day they came. I'd get everything straightened for them to clean and then they would call, "say Liz, would you mind if we came on Thursday instead?" I finally said "we are done"

I didn't like my kids seeing this example of a way of life. My neighbor thought it was great because it showed her kids how they would be if they didn't get an education. I didn't really agree. They shared dresses and kids and work and a husband. They cheated the government and broke into houses and they weren't reliable. And they were due two days apart with babies from the same guy. Obviously I have issues with that.

Then the Warren Jeffs trials hit the news. I have a friend who's husband is a defense attorney for the polygamists. She tells me they are very nice and caring people. I'm sure they are. I have seen that. And I also see the abuse and demeaning way they treat the women. I think this is my real issue with the group. The sex- not my cup of tea; the abuse- unacceptable.

But just because what happened with old ugly Warren doesn't mean its always that way. Its just like saying that all Catholic priests are pedophiles. Its just not true.

So there I sat watching this unconventional family enjoying each other- I assume they were here for a good hospital visit and not a death or tragedy- and wondered how different are they than any other person. Is the seemingly odd and unaccepted behavior of this group any worse than the people who put on airs and act perfect yet underneath the beautiful exterior is an alcoholic dad and a mom downing Prozac. Now I am contemplating the perfect family and guess what, it doesn't exist. There are definitely extremes that go too far but I think we all just amble through life looking for happiness in whatever we are given and in what we can change.