Friday, August 29, 2014

Books I read in August 2014

So, did you hear? I moved in August.  I didn't...get much reading done.  To add further insult to my book injury, I have yet to get a library card in my new town.  Maybe tomorrow...

I only read ONE book in August, but it was a good one.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell****

This was a romantic comedy and everything you would ever want in a romantic comedy.  The end.

(I'm not that interested in writing a book review today.)

In other news, Mark and I took a hike yesterday morning on the trail next to our house.  I've been wanting to since we got here but I haven't had the energy because of all the not reading/unpacking I've been doing.

It was gorgeous; I am in love.

First, we had to walk up through some sagebrush to get to the trail. I love me some sagebrush. Mark said, "This is the best of both worlds, sagebrush and civilization."

(For the record, I think sagebrush without civilization is pretty great too.)

Utah Lake in the distance

The temperature was even lovely.  A perfect cool morning with the promise of warm sun later.

We saw the most enormous quail I've ever seen.  It was in a tree.  I wish I could have seen how it got up there.  It was so fat, I don't know how it could fly.

Here's a close-up.

In case your life isn't complete without really fat quail pictures in it...

Mark and I talked about a quail's hairdo techniques as we walked back home to start school.  I snapped another picture when I saw our house in view.

Maybe I'm the luckiest girl in the world to live in such a beautiful place?  It made me happy for the rest of the day.

At least until the kids got home from school and Braeden was lonely and homesick and that hurts my heart... Also, it makes me feel less like the luckiest girl in the world and more like the sorriest mother.

Mark and I are heading out for another walk in a little while.  This time we'll meet Melanee, her mom who is visiting, and the cutest preschoolers in the county.

I think it will get our day off to a good start.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adam's nemesis

When Adam was a student at BYU, he was called into the honor code office because he had been arrested for drunk driving.

Adam had them check the social security number.

Ohhhhh.  It was a different Adam Davis.

Nevermind.  You're excused.

After we were married and living in Provo, we got a phone call in the middle of the night.

"Are you Adam Davis?" the voice demanded.


"Are you dating my mom?!?"


"Do you live in Pleasant Grove?"


They hung up.

When we bought our house in Pleasant Grove, our realtor called us at one point because there were several tax liens outstanding for Adam Davis in Pleasant Grove.

Again, check the social security number.

I hope I meet this other Adam Davis someday. He seems to lead a colorful life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

School days

I've decided that since we can more or less function in our house, I need to pace myself with getting things settled house-wise and get a routine established. (I am seriously like a toddler...I need a routine to be happy.)

We started school Monday, Mark and me. Mark and I used to share a table in our old school room. (It was Jill's table and now it's been promoted to our kitchen table...when we use it I think fondly of Jill.)  Mark never liked sharing a table with me. I'm messy. I stack and spread out and clutter. He would slide his arm across his half of the table every morning, pushing my detritus to my side.

I told him in our new school room, he'd get his own desk. And I'd have my own desk. He was thrilled. I'm sure his desk will always be as neat as a pin and mine will not.

Our school room is a small little bedroom that I think will be lovely once it's all set up. I have put all my craft type stuff in there too. So far, the room is sort of a disaster area. I set it up just enough that we can have school. I figured I could work more on it while Mark did school assignments. One problem is my desk. The legs are in the room and the desktop is in the room. The hardware is...somewhere. Somewhere lovely, I'm sure, but it's not doing us much good desk-wise.

For this reason, Monday morning there were a few things piled on Mark's desk.

He stood in front of the desk, surveying it. He started muttering:

"You'll have your own desk, they said."

"Your mom won't put her stuff on it, they said."

I quickly moved the stuff. "There," I said, "I won't put things on your desk."

He sat down, satisfied.

He's such a turkey. I am glad to be back to school; I missed the dailiness of school with him.  He's a turkey, but he's my turkey and the time we spend together is a priceless treasure. I know how fast time moves and I'll never regret this precious time with my sarcastic and passive aggressive red head.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bitter but mostly sweet

Yesterday the Jorgensens came to visit us.  Emma was slightly manic waiting for them.  She told Mark that he had to wait in the backyard.  He was holding vigil in the front yard and every time Emma saw him move, she thought it was the Jorgensens arriving. 

I told Emma to calm down.

Much to Emma's relief, they arrived and we were all overjoyed.  It was SO good to see them.  They are our familiars; definitely more family than family friends.  We visited and Braeden and Leif disappeared to go talk about boy things and Emma and Freja disappeared to go talk about girl things and Mark and the little girls hit the backyard.  Soon Emma and Freja were sitting at the piano, singing beautiful harmony and making me happy and sad at the same time.

Because what kind of barbaric parents separate their daughter from Freja?

I only took one picture.  In the evening we drove to the Mt. Timpanogos temple.  Here is a handsome group sitting on a bench:

Braeden, Leif, Mark and Britta
They stayed the night with us and I got up and made a big breakfast before our kids left for school.  Unlike my mother and sisters, that is not typical behavior for me.  We had honored guests though...

Seeing the looks on Braeden and Emma's faces when they hugged everyone good-bye was hard.   It's hard to have sad kids. 

When the Jorgensens left, there were more hugs and tears.  It was hard to say good-bye to them when we left Washington, but this was worse because back then, we knew we'd be seeing them in a few weeks.

I'll say it again, moving is not for sissies.

There's a melancholy pall over our house.  It's nice to have such wonderful friends though.  Even though it makes us sad to be separated, I'm grateful for the Jorgensens.

Also, we're watching Cormac and Azure in a little while and my parents and grandma are coming later today.  We'll rally for those happy events!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Curtains and college

It's been a little over a week in our new house.  We have considerably fewer boxes around.  Things are sort of shaping up.  There are places where I need to go back and organize but at least we can find most things.

Except my curtains.

Have you seen them?

There were some curtains on one window that had a certain "no" about them.  Brown, satiny, beaded, layered, scary.  I had some other curtains I was going to replace the brown confection with.  I just couldn't get to the window because there were stacks of boxes in front.  Saturday we cleared enough boxes away (they were the boxes full of books, so HEAVY) that I could get to the curtains.  I pulled them down and stuffed them in a bag and can't find the other curtains.

No one else has seen them.

I have looked everywhere.  Several times.

I think I'm going crazy.

All day yesterday I would start thinking about the curtains and head out on an expedition through the house to look again.  Losing things is exasperating.

In the evening we had visitors to distract me from my manic curtain search.  It was a welcome diversion.  Marianne, Clarissa, Hyrum, Morgan and Carolina stopped by.  They had just checked Clarissa into her dorm room at BYU (little Clarissa!  suddenly old enough for that!).  Mark and the other boys immediately went to the basement for a Nerf battle.  Mark has been dying for a Nerf battle.  I heard bumps and bangs coming from the basement.

And was grateful for a basement. 

And cousins.

Talking to Clarissa, I felt the bittersweet feelings of an ending and a beginning.  I could empathize with her sisters sending her off.  It was hard to have Marianne leave for college.  I am also excited for Clarissa.  Adam and I were talking recently, when we were driving by the Y on the mountain in Provo, about how much we'd loved BYU.  The difference between high school and college was like the difference between a dentist visit and a trip to Disneyland.  I'm happy for Clarissa.  I'm also happy for me that I live close by.  I told her to call me if she's lonely/homesick/needs anything/wants to go shopping.

Today's a big day around here.  Mark and I are starting school and the Jorgensens are coming. 

It's a good day to be a Thelma.

(Except where are my curtains?)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The highs and lows

On Tuesday morning, you may recall our family room looked like this:

Yesterday, I tackled it.  I worked long and hard, I unpacked and moved stuff and made decisions and was excited to have it in shape by the time the kids got home from school.  They would be so surprised!

It looked like this when they got home:

Braeden came in and plunked himself down on the couch that was in a completely different spot than where it had been that morning.






I pointed it out to him and he said, "Oh, wow.  Good job, Mom."

Then he started looking at his phone.

All that work in the family room made me exhausted.  I thought this move would be easier because I don't have to stop and take care of little children during the day.

Maybe it would be easier if I had to stop and take care of little children during the day.  I'm tired.  I do force myself to take breaks to do things like prepare for school for Mark.  I'm still tired.  Maybe I'm old...

In addition to feeling tired, I was feeling anxiety of one kind and another.  I had tried to keep it from Adam because with starting a new job, I didn't think he should have to deal with me too.  (That never works, I don't know why I try.  Adam can tell I'm anxious and he can handle it.  I still continue to be delusional at times...)

Tabor called yesterday afternoon.  He was on his way to Tooele for a horse sale.  (Tooele is about an hour from my house.)  I started telling him about Things and I started crying and then his phone cut out because he lost reception on his drive.  He said later that he was glad he wasn't on the phone with his wife in that scenario.

I forgave Tabor for hanging up on me in my distress though.  He called back.

He had to get his animals attended to and called about 8:00.  He said, "Be brutally honest with me.  Is it too late to come over?"

I told him to come.  We'd have root beer floats.  (I'd bought the stuff for root beer floats to celebrate the first day of school but we were all too tired for celebrating.)  I called Ammon and invited them as well.  Their children were asleep so Melanee stayed home but Ammon said he'd come over later.

A while later, Mark told me he had a surprise for me.  He told me to close my eyes and I didn't trust him completely but I sort of squinted my eyes shut and followed him to the front door.  He flung it open and there stood Marianne and her four girls!

I said, "You heard we were having root beer floats!"

I had forgotten that they were in Utah for an orthodontist appointment.  Marianne had said they wouldn't have time to come to my house but they would come on Sunday when she takes Clarissa to BYU.

It was a lovely surprise!  I kept waiting for Enoch and Olivia to show up but they never did.

Tabor took longer than expected to come so I called him.  He said that he'd gone a different way.  He said it was a way that would have been faster if he'd been on horseback.   Also, Tabor needed directions to my house.  I don't really know how to do it yet.  I use my phone to guide me but I was using my phone to talk to Tabor.  Tabor said, "Is there a grown-up I can talk to?"  I got Adam's phone and did a terrible job directing him (it didn't help that he was making me laugh so much that I'd get distracted) but he finally made it here.

Happiness is sitting around my family room with  I've never had that many siblings in my house at one time.

Adam snapped a picture because he said I looked so happy.

clockwise from top:  Clarissa, Liberty (who has pants on, they are light colored), Deseret, Emma (who doesn't have pants on--she was in her pjs when they all came), Tabor (eating his dinner), Ammon, Mark, Marianne, Braeden and me.  Carolina is the adorable centerpiece.

I looked sort of bedraggled but I'm glad I looked happy too.

Because I was.

Thursday, August 21, 2014



1- Adam woke me up at 4:00 a.m. because it was raining and our windows were open.  When it rains here, it is less like the gentle Pacific Northwest misting and more like the rain is angry and seeking revenge.  Adam and I mopped up the school room and rescued things from the rain.  (Everything dries really fast.)  Adam had checked on the kids but Mark's door was locked.  Our kids have never had locking bedroom doors and apparently Mark likes the feature.  We tried to get it open with a paper clip and banged on the door and he finally heard us.

2- We told Mark not to sleep with his door locked.

3-Melanee and Katie and their kids stopped by for a grand tour of the box maze.  As a bonus, they brought their cute kids.  As an extra bonus, they took Mark with them to the museum.  He had the time of his life and is already planning a return trip.

4-I made a bit of progress and talked on the phone and had an AC repairman come.  He fixed us up!  Also, he cost us money!  Also, he gave us the happy news that our AC is about at its life expectancy so start saving up!

5- I picked Braeden and Emma up from school.  The bus doesn't come to our house and we got rid of Adam's Saturn.  Did I tell you that?  I don't know if it's more amazing that that car lasted 19 years or that Adam finally gave it away.  He is going to buy a new car eventually (like after our Washington house sells...) but in the meantime, he has commandeered Braeden's car.  Which puts me squarely into chauffeur capacity.

6- Why won't the bus come to our house?

7- When I picked them up, Emma was happy.  She had connected with a few of the girls from church, she loved chemistry (whose child is that?  Adam's, I guess) and she liked all of her classes except computers.  She and Braeden can start a support group:  People That Have to Retake a Computer Class Because UT Won't Recognize the WA Class.   PTHtRaCCBUWRtWC.  A nice succinct acronym.

8- When I picked them up, Braeden was OVER THE MOON.  He had had his drama productions class.  The other drama kids pulled him into their circle like I knew they would.  He had stars in his eyes about everything drama related.

9- We went to Target for school supplies.

10- We met the aunts and cousins at Chik-fil-a and admired their cuteness and took Mark back home with us.

11- Adam came home from his first day at his new job.  He seemed to like it.  He also said it felt like drinking out of a fire hose.  I have full confidence he'll get a handle on it soon.

12- The big kids had an activity with their church group.  They made more friends and came home happy.

13- The rest of us did some errands and were caught in a terrific lightening storm. 

14- Lightening scares me.  Something about it striking my biggest little brother when he was eleven and it starting fires.

15- Adam and Mark thought the lightening was the bees knees.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First day of school

...with pictures even.
Here they are in front of the fireplace.  I felt like the chaos really captured the day.  Plus Horace is in the shot.  (Braeden found Horace fairly quickly when we started unpacking.  He was concerned about our little guy.)

Here they are on our deck.  I thought it would provide a backdrop that is a little more serene.  It was cloudy and rainy which I think was a gift for my Northwest children.
If we hadn't just uprooted ourselves, I would be obsessing about it being the first day of Braeden's senior year. 

I have bigger fish to fry/obsess about.  Things like will my children have someone to sit by at lunch.  (Neither of them did but they have set up a meeting place today--by the intimidating girl Viking painting--so they can eat lunch with each other.)

We slogged along at home while they were away.  I finished our bedroom and our living room.  Here's the living room:

It's pretty empty because the accessories are who knows where but it's nice to have a place to retreat to where there isn't a box.

Braeden and Emma returned from school unscathed.  Braeden was enthusiastic about his AP government/politics class (who didn't see that coming) and he seemed to more or less like his other classes too.  Emma was bored to tears by syllabus explaining (Braeden's teachers seemed to dive right in and hers...didn't).  She was lonely and looking forward to making friends. 

We went to Ammon and Melanee's for dinner (delicious!  Melanee is a great cook and Ammon is a great sous chef) and Katie and her girls were there.  I looked down the long table and saw all those faces I love and felt happy.

Braeden and Emma hugged and snuggled and played with their little cousins and I think it was the perfect tonic for a stressful school day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is not for sissies

Yesterday afternoon a bird hit the window above our front door with a loud whap! and died on the doorstep.

It felt like a metaphor for our life.

We're all a little war torn.  Our house is a wreck.  We are wading in boxes and can't get our air conditioning figured out.

Our kids start school tomorrow and they're nervous.  Their nervousness manifests itself in surliness mostly.  And then there was the deer in the headlights look Emma gave me when I left her at orientation today.  It is physically painful to have sad/nervous/anxious children and not be able to fix everything.

We're not used to the heat, altitude or dry climate.  Mark left sacrament meeting with a bloody nose yesterday.

It's all been really lovely.

There are bright spots though.  Quite a few.  First and foremost are Ammon and Melanee.  They have treated us to their adorable children which we have loved.  Also, they have been superhumanly helpful.  Ammon and Melanee were here ALL day on Saturday, the day our stuff arrived (except for when Melanee took her little ones home for a nap).  Melanee brought us food and made us lunch and dinner and then dinner the next day as well.  She helped me decide where to put things in my kitchen and she unpacked boxes.  Ammon unpacked and carried and unpacked and carried and unpacked.  He reached the tall shelves and then went about fixing things.  He looked for things that needed repairing and then did just that.  He is amiable and generous and incredibly good at fixing things.  I can't believe how lucky I am to be living near them.  I need to quickly get some talents so I can repay them.

Our house--once we get it a little less like a tornado, and figure out the AC--will be lovely.  The view knocks me flat.  I love it.  I love the mountains and the sunshine.  We've had a few neighbors stop by with gifts of bread.  Everyone at church was really kind. 

We will keep buggering on.  And we will get this figured out.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Good morning sunshine

I was awake at 5:30.  My mind didn't care that it was 4:30 Pacific time.  It was ready to go.  I took a bath and checked my email and Facebook.  I watched a mind numbing morning news show about how denim may be on the way out.  Apparently people are preferring yoga pants.  Finally at 8:30, I was beyond bored and didn't want to wait on my sleeping children any longer.  I opened doors and started playing music on my phone. 

Braeden started singing along to the Beach Boys.  He goes straight from sleeping to singing.  He's always been that way.

Emma slept through several songs.  I gently shook her shoulder and she slept on.  I shook a little more enthusiastically.  She groaned and rolled over.  She's always been that way.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The first day of the rest of our lives


We are on our way.

Yesterday the movers moved us and Geri, my visiting teacher, Keri, and Stephanie and I cleaned the house.  Janet came with brooms and enthusiasm to help but we were done.  (Not her fault.  She had a busy day and the cleaning went faster than expected.)

We stood around and cried and then the kids and I went in the empty house and cried and said good-bye to our beloved little house.

Then we had dinner at Geri's and said more good-byes and cried some more.

This morning, Braeden and Emma and I said a tearful good-bye to Grandma Geri and away we went.  (Adam and Mark will join us on Saturday.) In the van we wiped our tears and muttered KBO to each other which Braeden has been telling me often lately, quoting Winston Churchill.

Keep Buggering On.

I fully anticipated enjoying my drive with my children and those two don't disappoint.  Geri bought Emma a new book for the trip so it was mostly Braeden entertaining me.  We listened to music and sang and he caught me up on world events because he reads The New York Times like it's his job.

We stopped in Ellensburg for "first lunch" at Taco Del Mar.  (When you are a seventeen year old boy, first lunch and second lunch are a thing.) We'll be far from the mar in Utah so we wanted to enjoy one last time. 

We stopped in Pendleton at the Safeway where we always stop.  We lost Emma in Safeway.  Braeden said, "You stay here and I'll go find her."  Emma wandered up to me and I was on the hunt for wasabi almonds which it turns out are good for keeping you awake if you're drowsy.  I texted Braeden that I'd found Emma.  I texted him when we were in aisle 6, looking at nuts.  I texted him when we'd moved on to look at the soda choices.  I kept texting him and texting him and finally we found him.

His phone was in the van the whole time.

Braeden was ready for second lunch.  He got corn dogs which I wouldn't abide in the van so he had to stand outside and eat them.  He said the whole time he was leaning against the van, eating his corn dog, he was thinking about what a crazy mother he had.

Sorry buddy.  Corn dogs = gag reflex.

Braeden drove in Oregon, where the speed limit is 65.  Somehow that feels better than letting him drive when the speed limit is 80, like it is in parts of Idaho and Utah.  He did perfectly well and I could actually relax which is a huge difference from two summers ago and last summer too.  The only problem is that he had no sympathy for girls that needed a rest stop.  He told us that our inferior bladders were not his problem.  He said it with a smile as he pulled off the freeway though.

At the rest stop, there was a van full of people dressed in overalls and dresses.  The women had bonnets and the men had beards.  Mennonites?  I don't know enough to know.  The van pulled away and there was a loud shriek and a young woman and a young man came tearing out from behind the building and chased after the van, which had left them.  Finally the van turned around for them.

I was wondering if we were going to need to offer them a ride.

Once in Idaho, when I was driving and we were contemplating dinner at Cracker Barrel in Boise, I said, "I can't remember, is it exit 50A or 50B?"

Braeden said, "I got you, Girl."  He pulled out his phone to ask Siri.

Right then, I saw a billboard for Cracker Barrel.  Exit 50B.  I told Braeden Idaho predates Siri.  Ask Idaho a question, and a billboard will answer.

Emma considered that maybe Siri knows the answer to our questions because she asks Idaho.


At Cracker Barrel:

--Our waiter was named Clifford but unfortunately he wasn't a big red dog like Braeden and Emma were hoping.  He was a short round little bearded man who Braeden said looked like a watchmaker.  (He did.  Geppetto.)

--We all three ordered French Toast which is so delicious and addictive we think it probably puts the crack in Cracker Barrel.
--Emma obsessively arranged the pegs in the peg game so the colors were symmetrical.  Mark would have been happy because he has to do the same thing.
--More Mennonites (?) arrived.  Different than the other group.  An older couple came inside and ate at a table full of decidedly un-Mennonite people (among them a girl with spiked hair and short shorts) while about 10-15 young adults, dressed plainly, stood around in the parking lot by their vehicles, eating a picnic.  Braeden was incredibly curious and wanted to understand what they were doing and why they weren't all eating together.  Emma said maybe it was Amish Con 2014.  We'll never know.

I thought I knew how to get to our hotel but I handed Braeden my phone and told him to make sure I was heading the right way.  He kept getting distracted and telling me wrong directions.  I said, "You're really terrible at this."

He said, "That's what my friends always tell me."

We found the hotel and I turned when I shouldn't have and so missed the entrance.  "I should have gone that way." I said, "Why did I turn?" 

At the same time Emma said, "Because you're a stuuuuuupid woman," while Braeden said, "Maybe you're afraid of success on some level."

Ha ha.

They wondered what we were going to do in our hotel.  Watch Netflix?

I said no.  I said it is time for me to be an introvert.  Adam, because he's Adam, got us a two bedroom hotel. Emma is watching HGTV in the living room, Braeden is watching news in his room and I'm in the silence of my room.

We will keep buggering on.

And see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Yesterday morning, we were in utter chaos, trying to separate what was supposed to be packed and what was not going to be packed.  I was trying to get children moving in the directions I wanted them to be going in and it was a mess.  Geri showed up with a sackful of Egg McMuffins and a box of donuts.  She set up breakfast on the front porch.  She took our laundry to her house and washed and folded it.  She brought back the towels so we could get them packed.  For not the first time in our lives, she was the calm in the storm.

We stayed at her house last night.  She gave Adam and me her bedroom; she slept in the guest room.  She said, "Make yourself at home," and we did. 

Sometimes you need a mom.

This morning, I crept away from Geri's house early while everyone was still asleep.  I came over to our house that is quiet and echo-y and full of boxes.  I started doing a few last minute tasks to prepare for the final part: the movers loading the truck.  I decided to call my mom while I worked.  She said, "Are you OK?  You don't sound OK."

And I really thought I was OK, but when I heard my mom's voice I started to cry. 

I told her about being in my weird house that is our house still but doesn't feel like it.  I told her I was sad.  She said, "Of course you are sad."  She said she would be disappointed if I weren't sad.  She said she's glad our family has been so happy here and are sad to leave.  "It's better than being eager to go because you hate it there," she pointed out.

And she was right.

She made me feel better.  She said to just enjoy the sadness.  Then we talked about other things, among them the time she'll be in Utah in a few weeks and will come and see us.  That's something to be cheerful about.

Sometimes you need a mom.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Our house is partway packed.  It's weird.  Nothing is on the walls, boxes line every room.  It is our house, but it isn't.  It is wonderful to have packers do the packing but I started helping them because I have a lot of excess nervous energy to burn.  Sitting around doing nothing is kind of like torture.  I have to do something or I'll start feeling too many feelings.

I have been surprised by how nice people are to us.  Not surprised that people are nice, I know they's just that a lot of people are going out of their way to stop by with treats and to say good-bye.  It makes me feel loved.  And sad.  Saying good-bye is the worst.

Just a few more days in this strange land of boxes and then we'll be in an even stranger land of boxes.

I already knew moving is hard.  I've moved enough to know that.

This is the hardest move we've ever had.  I asked Adam why he thought that was the case.  He said it's the biggest move we've ever had.

But we moved to Connecticut and then back.  That was pretty big.

He pointed out we have a bigger LIFE now.  Bigger kids and deeper roots and WAY more stuff.

A ridiculous amount of stuff.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Team rocket

The Jorgensens hosted a party for Braeden and he and his four best friends (they call themselves Team Rocket for reasons I don't pretend to understand) dressed for success (?) and David took their pictures.

David emailed Braeden the pictures and Braeden asked me to put them on my blog because it is basically his scrapbook.

So, for your viewing pleasure:  Team Rocket.

(Will it surprise you to know these are...drama friends?  They will do anything for attention and for a laugh.)

Braeden, Josh, Jadon, Griffin and Leif

the boys with the argyle socks

Here they are playing Apples to Apples.  I'm sure these five boys were arguing excessively.  It's sort of their love language.  That and argyle socks.

Some of the girls got involved with the photo shoot:

There's really nothing quite like these kids.  I will miss them.

I haven't had the gumption to get anything like a going away party together for Braeden.  Janet knew what he needed.

Someday, somehow I'll figure out a way to repay the kindnesses everyone in the world has given me.  Until then, I am very grateful. 

Braeden bought that jacket at a thrift store which is one of his favorite places to go.  Inside a pocket there was a funeral program for a man who apparently loved baseball.  "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was sung at the funeral.  Braeden and Leif now do a lovely funereal rendition of the song.  Also in the pocket were a handful of unwrapped mints.  I said, "You didn't eat them, did you?"  Braeden said, "No, I handed them out in my Sunday School class."

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lucky girl 2

Tuesday and yesterday I was able to indulge in leisurely lunches with my friends.  Jill and Stephanie and I went to Ivar's for fish tacos; Janet and Stephanie and I went to Mod Pizza.  (Jill and Janet weren't both available on the same day.)

When I was a little girl and struggling with making friends, I wanted more than anything to have a Best Friend.  Just one and I would have been happy.  Now I have such terrific Best Friends.  I am sure I don't deserve them.  The only downside is how sad it is to leave them.

These are my friends.  We've laughed together and cried together, we've confided in and advised each other.  We've helped each other and cheered each other on; we have worked together and played together.  We have exercised together and successfully undone any benefits of that (besides the enjoyment) by eating together.  These are my friends.

I was very proud of myself yesterday because I had not cried all day.  Then Janet told me what she was serving at the going away party she was giving in Braeden's honor for his friends and I cried.  Because she knows what his favorite foods are.  It's one thing for your friends to know what you like, but when they know what your kids like too?  That's a friend!

The only way I can cope with leaving these friends behind is knowing we will see each other again and knowing we're the kind of friends that when we see each other again, it will be like no time has passed.

That and I'm pretty sure we'll all live in the same neighborhood in heaven.

We'll take walks together.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Did that really just happen?

On Tuesday morning I called the kids' new school.  I had to wait until that day to ask my question because that was when the counselors would be available.  My question was:  The window to register new students, the 5th-13th?  Does it matter if you get there early or is next week fine?

I was fully expecting them to say next week was fine.

They didn't.

They said, "You'd better get here.  Classes are filling up fast."

So I called together my troops and we tried to figure out what to do but my mind was reeling and it was Adam who ultimately decided what we should do.  (Here's a helpful hint:  if you're ever in a crisis, call Adam instead of me.)

At the beginning of this moving process, I promised my kids I would do whatever I could--I would move heaven and earth--to make this work, to make it easier and better for them.  I can make big promises like that but Adam is the one that makes them happen.  He made the arrangements and gave me the details. 

He decided Emma and I should fly to Utah for the registration.  One glitch in the planning was the car rental.  I think because of BYU education week, there were NO cars available to rent from the SLC airport.  My stress level was already through the roof and that wasn't...helping.  I called Melanee.  When you have an arsenal of people you can call, crying and in distress, who will save the day, nothing too terrible can ever happen to you.  I asked if Melanee could pick us up at the train station in American Fork and she insisted that she'd pick us up at the airport.  She canceled her entire day and instead devoted it to us.  I texted Ammon that his wife was awesome and he texted back that he already knew, but thank you.

After a nearly sleepless night, Adam drove Emma and me to the airport in the dark morning.  We zipped through security because Adam had sprung for first class tickets.  Apparently when you buy your tickets the day before, first class isn't that much more expensive.   We probably looked like refugees at the curb but Melanee and Cormac and Azure picked us up anyway.  They all looked fresh faced and gorgeous and we were delighted to see them.

We drove straight to the school and sweet Melanee took her kids on an exploratory adventure outside while Emma and I conquered the registration process.  There were forms to fill out and an enormous line.  I pulled the "We flew here from Seattle and are only here for the day" card and got to cut in front of some of the poor locals.  Everyone was extremely nice and Emma even got to audition with the choir teacher.  My little songbird made advanced women's choir and when he was describing the choir program to her, I almost started crying (granted, I'm an emotional wreck) because it will be marvelous for her!

Registering Emma was pretty easy.  She got the classes she wanted although has to retake a computer class she took last year because it was called something different at her old school that doesn't work in the new school.  Crazy, but it will be an easy class at least.  Braeden's schedule was more of a challenge.  We had to work all sorts of wonky angles to make his classes work and electives he wanted were full and things like cabinetry and architectural design and robotics were open.  Mark would like those but Braeden, not so much.  Between texting him and finally calling him and an extremely patient counselor, I think we finally got a satisfactory schedule.  I felt absolutely drained after the process, but relieved too.

We had a celebratory lunch at Chick-fil-a.  Cormac and Azure charmed me with their utter charm and I showed them pictures of the backyard in our new house in an attempt to make them want to come and see us, often.

Melanee offered to take us anywhere we wanted to go.  We wanted to drive by our new house--which is still surreal--and then we went to their house.  Azure and Emma and I all took a nap.  (Ammon and Melanee have a really comfortable bed.)  Azure and Emma slept on and Melanee and I chatted and Cormac whispered in an effort to not wake up Emma, which was adorable. 

As I sat in Ammon and Melanee's comfortable house and visited with Melanee, it felt like I was taking a small break from the whirlwind of my life lately.  It was free therapy.  I am going to really enjoy being neighbors.

Ammon came home and Azure, who was awake by then, ran toward him with all the glee of a little girl whose beloved daddy is home from work.  I love that kind of stuff.  Especially when you have teenagers who don't run at you with glee, ever.  On the way back to the airport, we stopped at Zupa's for dinner.  Because Zupa's.   I informed them I wanted to buy dinner and Ammon looked at me compassionately, like, good luck with that.  I said I was serious.  I wanted to pay them back for their generosity.  Ammon just smiled.  I tried to look like an intimidating big sister but he's a lot taller than me and I seem to have lost my age advantage (I think I lost it about 20 years ago).  I made everyone else go first so I could pay at the end but Ammon still managed to pay.  Then he rounded up napkins and utensils for everyone and basically was the star of the show.  There's a reason we all know Ammon as the perfect one.

They dropped us off at the airport and it wasn't very sad to say good-bye to them at all because we'll see them again in a week and a half.  That was nice.  Saying good-bye around here isn't as easy.

Emma and I flew to Salt Lake City yesterday, registered for school, and then flew back.  Adam said I was a jet setter.  If by jet setter he meant crazy person, then yes, I think that describes it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lucky girl

Sunday night most of the Six Chicks from my writing group got together for a farewell dinner for me.

I am having a hard time saying good-bye to people.  I mostly just want to disappear and not have to say good-bye.  It's different for some people though--including my writing group.  I felt happy anticipation about going to Maryanne's house, knowing I was going somewhere safe and where I was loved, among people that wouldn't be swayed if there was some ugly crying involved.

The food was glorious and the company was even better.  We talked about our writing group and what our now somewhat virtual meetings will look like.  (I was instructed that I would have to take a nap on the days we meet--me joining through Skype.  Our meetings with these night owls are already late for my wimpy self plus I will be in a different time zone.)

Then we talked about Everything Under the Sun which is sort of our custom.  We're a somewhat diverse group but these women get me.  When I am with them, I feel like me.  I don't feel like I need to do anything to fit in or measure up or impress.   I'm just me and that is good enough.

When we said good-bye, there were tears (my fault, I started it) because I wanted to try to tell them, just a little bit, of what they mean to me.  I couldn't because I can't express it.  (I especially can't express it when I'm crying.)

I felt incredibly lucky when I was driving home.  I don't know what I did to deserve all the marvelous friends that I have.  They can't possibly know how much they matter to me.

We took fuzzy looking selfies with our phones.  Here's one version:

I think that's the shadow of my arm across everyone's faces...

In a totally expected turn of events, it's not a super flattering picture of me.  It doesn't matter though.  I love these women. Continuing to be in touch with them in our writing group may be one of my favorite reasons to love the internet.

Monday, August 4, 2014

90% unsuitable


This is hard.  It's even harder if you are 90% unsuitable for the task.

I'm 10% suitable for the task because I can summon the work ethic my parents instilled in me.  I can do the work.  I can work hard.  Also, I can write lists.  I can organize and prioritize and write lists that would knock your socks off.

Other than that, I'm terrible at this.


If moving were my job, I would be fired.

It's not even keeping my emotions in check that's the problem--and that's not always easy--it's the other parts of my personality that are completely at odds with this process.

For one thing, I have too much stuff.  And I have been getting rid of stuff all year--five things a day.  Why couldn't I be a minimalist?  I could have been one of those people with empty rooms and cleared surfaces and crisp white walls and all lucite furniture.

But I'm not one of those people.

For another thing, I'm a planner.  On the surface, it may seem like this would be an asset in moving to a new state.  It isn't.  The reason I'm a planner is because if I don't have a good plan, if I don't have everything figured out, I feel anxiety.  I have very little figured out.  Question marks swim in my brain (mostly between the hours of 2:00-4:00 AM). There are a million (more or less) factors out of my control.  Everything from will someone buy our house to how long will closing on the new house take EXACTLY?  (I don't want estimates.)  Also I don't know (and won't until the counselors are at the new school) EXACTLY when we need to be there to register the kids for school.  It sort of kills me to not know the answers to every question.  Why couldn't I be one of those flexible free spirits?  I could have been one of those people who wakes up in the morning and decides on a whim to go berry picking or sky diving and can readjust to whatever life hands them.

But I'm not one of those people.

Finally, I'm an introvert.  A lot of the moving process is torture for introverts.  You have to have strangers in your home to scrutinize it; you have to talk on the phone to a million (more of less) strangers as you set up and transfer your life.  People in our neighborhood walk or drive by and stare at our For Sale sign.  They're curious.  I get that, but I like anonymity.  Why couldn't I be outgoing?  I could have been one of those people that never met a stranger and loves talking to people and being the center of attention.

But I'm not one of those people.

The knot in my stomach was particularly tenacious when Adam and Mark were away at scout camp.  Adam has calming powers.  While he was gone I slept poorly, which is pretty much my norm lately but I had really bizarre dreams including but not limited to a half human, half baked potato (complete with foil).  Braeden told me I was crazy and I said, "Hey!  I'm going through some things!"  He smiled and probably patted me on the head which apparently is fun to do when you tower over your mother.

When Adam got home I told him all my anxiety (which he already knew about because he feels it too but he is better at keeping it in check) and he told me all of the things to make me feel better (which I already knew but sound better coming from Adam.)  He pointed out to me the difference between not being able to handle a situation and not enjoying a situation.  Because I guess I am handling it; no one has met any grave calamity (yet).  For some reason, just realizing that distinction has helped me.  Feeling inept and incapable is no way to feel.  Feeling like this is no fun but it will improve eventually is better.

I may be 90% unsuitable for moving but Adam is 100% suitable for being my husband.  He has had 19 years to perfect the art.  (Happy Anniversary Adam!)

Friday, August 1, 2014

What I read in July 2014

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ***

I really liked this book.  The only reason I give it three rather than four stars is because the language was a little rude.  (I always think that's unfortunate.)  The Rosie Project is about a guy's quest to find a wife and his quirky way of going about the task.  It made me laugh and it made me happy.

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister **

This book was OK.  The premise was about a woman who had survived cancer and challenged her group of friends to each complete some diverse task that would be hard for them personally.  She picked the tasks.  It was a good beginning but then it read like a formulaic series of short stories.  Each woman confronted her task, thought it would be too hard and then ultimately triumphed.  Meh.

One Summer by David Baldacci **

This was a feel good book, part romance and part conquering challenges.  The characters weren't completely believable and it wasn't terribly compelling, but it was OK.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri **

I didn't finish this book, which is a collection of short stories but maybe I'll go back to it when my life is less stressful.  The stories were interesting but also a little depressing and I needed something more escapist and less dismal.

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan ***

This book was just what I needed.  It was a crazy, improbable but fascinating story about a mysterious bookstore, an eccentric cult, a 500 year old mystery, Google and long time friends.  I can't even describe it.  I liked it though and I kept wishing while I was reading that someone else was reading it too so we could talk about it all.


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