Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Epic Halloween Post to You

This post has been swirling in my mind for a couple of years now. 

First of all because I became amazed--and I don't use that word lightly here--I am in total bewilderment at the amount of money and energy people spend on Halloween decorations and costumes.  What the heck is going on with this holiday, and where is all of this disposable income coming from?

Halloween 1962-1980:
My mom's box of halloween costumes was limited.  She had a witch costume.  And the stand-by hobo look.  Other than that you dressed up from stuff around the house.  I did notice in the costume parade at school that some kids were getting a little more time and attention paid to their costumes, but no big deal.  This day was a perfect excuse for a classroom party which means the mom's brought in cookies for us.  Yippee.  Trick-or-treating by teenagers was not allowed and considered rude.  Trick-or-Treating was only for elementary school-aged kids period.
At our house, and many others, there was ONE family pumpkin.  We sat down as sibblings, decided on what would be carved, and worked together to carve this ONE pumpkin.  This was done in the late afternoon.  Then said pumpkin was placed on the porch with a candle in it, and viola, house was decorated for halloween.  Was I aware that some families had multiple pumpkins, one for each child?  Yes.  Oh, the luxury.  But I was from practical, economy-driven stock, and why should they spend 25¢ so that we could each have our own pumpkin when the thing was just going to be thrown out at the end of the night?  Just work together and carve this one pumpkin and be thankful you have the opportunity to do you know how many starving children there are in China that would give anything to get a small portion of what you have???  The decision of carving the pumpkin was basically how big were the triangle eyes? and do they go here and here, or right here?  and which side of the pumpkin is the best view to carve the face in?  Because.....THERE WAS ONLY ONE FACE THAT THAT PUMPKIN WAS GOING TO GET:  (always. every year. no variance. this was it, as it was on most every pumpkin I ever saw later that night)

At our house, every year we had chili.  As soon as it was dark, we put on our costumes and headed out.  With a parent and a few blocks of the neighborhood.  We came back, poured our loot out on the floor, ooh and awed at the variety, and started eating.

And that was that.  Halloween, done and done.

Quick refresher of Halloween.  It started and ended on the 31st.  Got dressed for school.  Brought your costume in a bag.  Went through the school day and after lunch put your costume on over your clothes.  Did a parade.  Ate cookies in class.  Went home and carved one pumpkin with your brothers and sisters.  Ate chili.  Went trick-or-treating for an hour with your dad.  Came home, put the loot in a bowl.  Went to bed.


Halloween 1986-2007
Costumes:  Yes.  I bumped it up a notch allowing a variety of costumes.  I didn't just give my kids the choice of two.  But I did set a budget and tried to make do with what was around the house.  Halloween stores started popping up and there was no way in Halloween induced hell I was going to pay $30 or more to buy a costume.  We had some ghosts on display around the house.  A hanging annoying ghost that boo'd at you when you walked by - and with 5 kids running around the house it was always going off.

The biggest difference here was that I was now in the state of Nevada.  And October 31st is our statehood day.  Which means that it's a State Holiday.  No school.  So now the costume parade and cookies by the parents had to be held on the 30th.  And the costumes were a little more involved.
We started out with the traditional one for the family.  But in the back of my mind, the rich kids each got their own.  And who doesn't want to think they're rich?  Reality for a mom of a bunch of young kids, flying knives and slimy pumpkins are a recipe for disaster.  When the older two were old enough to carve their own pumpkins, I started buying them each their own pumpkins.  Since the 31st was a school holiday and the kids were home, we carved pumpkins earlier in the day.
I'm crushed.  My husband is not a fan of chili.  I could not continue the Chili tradition.  Pizza became my easy, quick, go to dinner for Halloween.  Trick-or-treating at dusk, several blocks.  Half way through my kid-raising years the church we go to started having Trunk-or-Treat as a safe alternative.  So we went to that, then the kids went around our own neighborhood anyway.

Here's where things started going askew for me.  As the kids got older they wanted to KEEP going trick-or-treating.  I was raised that was rude, but all their friends seemed to be doing it?  What to do. What to do.  Always in a mode to protect my mom sanity this became the solution:  I will only help the younger children with costumes and trick-or-treating.  If you are over 12 years old, you're on your own to design and make the costume.  You could only go out with a group of friends.  That seemed to work for us me. 

Quick Refresher.  It's started on the 30th because of Nevada Day, ended on the 31st.

Halloween 2013
Costumes:  They seem to have evolved into quite a production of professional quality.  Better hope you can sew or have a grandmother that does, and spending $30 or more per child is not unheard of.  Nevada Day has now become a separate 4th Friday of the month holiday, so the kids are back to having it on the actual 31st in school.  BUT.  At church, Trunk-or-Treat is now standard activity.  Some wards have strayed from the 31st to the Friday or Saturday before.  At that point you're not offering a safe alternative, but an excuse for a ward party.  Who wants to get their whole family dressed up for Halloween two different nights?  And instead of buying one bag of candy for a handful of visitors I would expect at my house, I'm now buying $50 worth of candy (two large tuperware bowls) to pass out at the church to a group of kids that go round and round and round three times plus all the neighborhood kid that join in.  I'm not complaining, I've always done it, I am just stating a differnce on how this has all evolved.
Pumpkins:  The standard jock o'lantern face is not acceptable any longer.  These pumpkins must be elaborate pictures cut into the rind.  Intricate designs that involve the help of parents, and a special pumpkin carving tool kit.  And it is now standard for each child to have their own pumpkin.  And all of a sudden it's dangerous to put a candle in a pumpkin? What the?  You have to use glow sticks?

Dinner:  We're back to having chili.  Now it's served at the trunk-or-treat.  Which, thankfully, my ward is doing it this year on the actual Halloween night.

Here's the killer.  Since I've never been one to turn the outside of my house into an elaborate fake web of Halloween decorations, it's pretty plane except for the traditional glowing pumpkin.  But I'm at the church, not my house, remember?  So what we have is a dark undecorated house, that we're not home at because we're at the church.  I thought nothing of it until a few years ago the radio and news started running stories about child molesters and how they are not allowed to decorate for Halloween or hand out candy.  Great.  Now my neighbors think we're child molesters.

The biggest change of all is the number of families that dress up.  Parents and children.  And themes.  It's crazy.  At first it was kind of unusual to see older people dress up.  But now, it's almost standard.  The amount of time, money, and energy that needs to go into this is mind boggling.  How in the heck do you 20-somethings have all of this time, money and energy? 

There is no longer just a party at school, but every organization and club your children are in have some sort of dress up.  Mothers are putting their kids into costume 3 and 4 times before the holiday is over.

For what?  What is the lure of Halloween? Why are we doing this to ourselves?  I honestly don't get it. 

Quick Refresher: 
Halloween in the 2010's:  It is a freaking all-week-long extravaganza.
I love Halloween for the children.  Watching their excitement as they parage their costumes, the originality of what they dress up as, handing them candy and talking to them.  I love that. 
I just think sometimes simple is better.  Why can't we notch it back down with this holiday?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Remodeling Week in Review

Or why things aren't happening very fast around here.

It has been a lovely week at our house.  I talked myself down from the ledge on last week's rant and here is this week's progress (or non progress?):

The front room had a bad week.  A few things were 'put' there, and not properly put away.  The table is the staging area for my painting.  Ron went shooting with his friends.  One of the friends wanted to shoot the 50 cal., but failed to move his forehead out of the way of the scope.  Actually two different people did this.  The recoil is a bit redonculous on that gun and if your forehead stays in the way, there will be cuts and blood involved, but luckily no stitches.  And it looks like if I want to get one of my comfy lounging blankets back for this winter, I should go get another case for Ron's father's day present, which he has just wrapped in a blanket.  I took the veep's word when he announced that if you hear noises outside your house you should fire two warning shots out the front door with a shot gun.  I had a semi automatic shotgun made for Ron for a gift.  It needs a case.  Christmas is coming.

I got an email on Friday that the custom doors I had ordered for the cabinets on each side of the fireplace were too large and needed to be reconfigured.  Great.

This is the kitchen.  Cabinet update.  My cabinet guy in town can match and work within my budget so we're going to get together and get an order situated this week.  Only when I told him I'd meet with him this week I forgot I would be gone 3 1/2 days.  Hopefully Friday the meeting can take place. 

Before I leave town, I want to get the ceiling tiles for the kitchen ordered.  Seems like an easy enough task, no?

Ahhh, the laundry room.  Yes it is bigger than most.  But I don't have a garage.  So the freezer and extra fridge have to go in here, not out in the garage.  This room I did get painted to see if I liked the color of the paint before putting it in the front room.  Yes.  I really like it and pictures don't do it justice.  The freezer is hanging out in the middle of the room at the moment, but it gets pushed back in the corner.
 Just another view.  Again, the washer and dryer are pushed out about 4 1/2 feet so they will be moved back and on the left will be a folding table.  I have the butcher block top for that.  I just want it to be a tall work table style with one or two open shelves below for storage.  The walls above the W&D and the folding table will have open shelving.
On this wall here will go a buffet that I bought last Saturday and cupboards above.

 The kids' room received paint on a couple of walls.  That is the extent of my painting this week.

This is a sample of the tile I want to put in the laundry room.  Along with the lovely old concrete and two layers of linoleum that are in there now.  If you are following along with this nightmare, this floor and the remedy sparked the last meltdown.

This is why we can't just put the tile down.  There is a hump right there and see that 3/8" of space at the end of the tile?  It would break the tile.  no bueno.  This happens in several places on this floor.  We will have to pour self-leveling concrete.

Hey- I did get the toilet and sink for the bathroom ordered.  It is at the supplier's warehouse and I need to go pick it up on Monday.  I am in full hunt mode for the right kind of chest to put the sink on.  Help a sister out here.  Under $200.  Ornate.  curves or interesting stuff going with the chest itself but the top has to be rectangle.  34" high and 40-46 inches wide.  No small task but if we all work together we can find the perfect piece out there. 

So as you can see, not a lot got done house-wise this week.  But that's ok.  I was busy with two of the cutest little grand daughters.  Monday night Drew spent the night.  Tuesday night my visiting teachers came over.  Wednesday night we met up with friends for dinner.  Thursday night church meeting.  Friday night I was exhausted.  (plus, I really don't like painting at night, I prefer sunlight)  Saturday I helped with a wedding for the morning & early afternoon and two hours later had another church meeting.  Then dinner with friends.

That was my week. This week has something fun planned too.  I think I can fit a few assignments in and be ready to paint next Saturday while listening to General Conference.  Whoo-hoo!

Have a great week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Right Brained vs. Left Brained Remodeling

I'm trying to be like Jesus, but this morning, I was convinced it's just not possible.  Jesus, as far as I've read, never went through a remodel.  I'M LOSING MY RELIGION, PEOPLE!!! 

As I've thought about it today, I think I've decided there is a definite right brain/left brain problem with this whole process.  Half of me has had it the other half is trying the talk down the crazy lady.  What set me off this morning was discussing the laundry room, and the fact that there are heaves in the cement floor.  And Ron wants to pour self-leveling concrete to level it out before installing the flooring option. 

This will add one or two days to the process.  And then if we tile, that's like a week (times 3 because the rule is every thing costs twice as much and takes three times as long to do as you originally thought) more to complete tiling.

I just want it done.  Today.  Can we just throw a rug down, over the two peeling layers of linoleum, and call it done?

That's what one side of my brain says.  The other side says, "it's only a couple of weeks, and it will be done right, and when it's done, it's done."

I can't handle the mess.  The non kitchen.  The non family room.  No extra bathroom. 

The decisions are incredible.  I like certain things.  I hate paying the price that they sell those things for.  I really want a bombay type chest as a vanity cabinet in the bathroom.  (I can buy a chest new for around $400, or used on craigslist, then modify the drawers so the sink would fit in - but a new one ready to go, set it in place, over $1,200.  Really? I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money for a bathroom sink cabinet....but it would look so cool. How can I get this look for less?)

I spent an hour and a half looking at sinks online.  And toilets. 

And I went through all this time to pick out tile, because Ron says, "I really don't care what you do."  This whole process has taught me that when Ron says, "I really don't care what you do."  What he is really saying is, "I really don't want to talk about this right now, but yes, I have very definite opinions on what you should do."  So after I've spent hours coordinating and figuring out what to do in a certain room (let's take the bathroom) when he's ready to discuss it, everything I planned on goes out the window.  I had a nice pencil tile picked out.  And now he wants slabs of marble, or whatever, because he saw them in a hotel and he thinks that's a nice clean look.  I think he doesn't want to take the time to install the tile.  Three slabs, a little/lot of goop, and slap them in place. done and done.  whereas tile would be another week long extravaganza, and after tiling the laundry room floor, he'll be done with his tiling quota for awhile.

The walls in the house were going to be ivory.  They're now darker.  I don't know how to describe it, it's in the brown/grey color family.  I actually really like it.  It's just not what I spent hours picking out after he really didn't care what I did.

All of this is enough to make me go crazy. I thought I was ordering cabinets.  I had called this company 3, THREE, different times asking questions.  Then I send in my order and they call me back and tell me the color I chose for the cabinets has a 25% premium.  Really?  That was the first question I asked.

The final straw this morning was realizing that General Conference is in 10 days.  And there is no way I will be laying on my own couch watching conference in the front room and fixing a big breakfast for whomever was invited over to join us.  Nope.  In my bedroom watching conference it will be.

And since the cabinet order was put on hold, I'm scared I won't have cabinets installed for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have a different cabinet person or will break down and pay the dang 25% premium BECAUSE AFTER ALL OF THIS I'M GOING TO HAVE GREY CABINETS COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.

So while half of me is throwing a royal fit, the other half is trying to be patient and understanding of: the heat this summer, how busy we are with work (thank you, thank you, thank you), family responsibilities.  We only have so much energy.  Ron leaves at 5 in the morning and doesn't end his day until 6 or 7.   Girls camp, family vacation, YM trips took up several weeks.   Ron refuses to pay anyone to do something he can do (i.e. laying tile). ((I know, I know, his time is worth money and sometimes it's worth it to pay someone to do something, even though you could do it yourself, because your time is more judiciously spent elsewhere, I know, I know.  Tell the other half of his brain)).  I'm trying to be patient.

Maybe this is the "always darkest before the dawn" moment in this remodel extravaganza.   

Rant over.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vigsel, Födde & Död

Is that handwriting not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?! 

Oh, I wish I could write my Ns like this.

 I have been staring at this gothic writing for weeks and weeks now as I stroll through digitized images of Sweden's parish records.

Notice how the N in No. 65 reaches over and loops into the T in Torstensmåla.  Simply Beautiful

You can't help but wonder about the recorder of these records.  As years pass by, you see when a new recorder takes over and their handwriting changes.  You also wonder about all of the villiagers.  Siggamåla was a small farming villiage.  There were less than 20 families usually.  As I go through the decades following my family, I find myself cheering on the Larssons and the Johanssons and Nilssons as well, as each of their children move on, join the military, get married.  Their families intertwine as love birds marry their neighbors.  At some point about 30 years in, one of the sons or sometimes a son-in-law takes over maintenance of the farm, and the original parents move down in the record a few lines.  You know the time is coming soon when the word dödd (death) will appear, and the remaining spouse will be referred to as änka or änkeman (widow or widower).  After several nights of following this neighbor's family thru the generations, you realize that this event caused as much grief and sorrow as our own family deaths do to us.

This is the actual church my family attended.
The Swedish records are beautifully written, beautifully accurate, beautifully detailed. Each parish keeps a record of all marriages, births, deaths, who moves in, out, from one farm to another, who's taken communion, who owes the parish money, there is a treasure trove of information...if you know where to look.  Finding the right farm/village area, right parish, etc. can be daunting.

I wondered where my ancestors were from exactly in Sweden for decades.  I kept getting small pieces of the puzzle, starting with Kronoberg Län.  I received another puzzle piece later that said they were from Almundsryd parish.  I did not know the names of parents, brothers, or sisters that were left behind, and finally that piece of the puzzle fell in to place at the beginning of summer.  I have now found them and I'm just busy putting all of the extended families together.  One of Emma's brothers moved to another farm area and I haven't found that yet, but I eventually will.  Even if I have to sit down and page by page read a 600 page ledger book looking for him. 

When I sit at the computer to do research I do several things.  Open my genealogy program.  Open the internet and one tab for familysearch, one tab for the swedish records, and one tab for Google Translate (Swedish to English).  Sometimes I open a second tab of the records because I might see what I think is a death note, so in the second record I can look up and verify that death right then, without leaving the original page I was on.

This is the birth record of my great-great grandmother, Emma Nilsdotter:

 This tells me she was the 51st birth in the parish that year.  She was born on 27 April 1861, she is female.  Name Emma.  Then the next column says Hakansson, Nils (then something beginning with B) and Nilsdotter, Anna Hustra (wife) from Torstensmäla.  Age of the mother at time of birth was 21.  Because of the patronomic naming system at this time she will for the rest of her life be known as Emma Nilsdotter.  (that ended in 1905 when each family had to decide on a family name from then on out) (and it ended for Emma in 1903 when the United States said she would be known as Berntsson, her husband's last name)

The above record is Emma's mother's birth record.  Had a little bit different format during that time.  Under September births, her name is Anna Stina (2nd from bottom on the left) she was born on the 17, Christened on the 24th.  Father is Nils Petersson, mother Elin Svensdotter. from Siggaboda.  Then it lists 3 lines of witnesses to the Christening.  These are usually family members or neighbors, and where they are each from.  Still beautiful writing.  Sometimes there are doodlings around the years and decorations at the bottoms of the pages.    (P.S., see on the right hand column the last child, Benta.  That word under the names means illegitimate birth.)

This is my favorite record.  Whenever someone would die or move, a line was drawn thru their name.  This record shows that their son, Hugo, died on 15 January 1898.  And then the rest of the family, Johan, Emma, Hildur, Esther, and Anna left Almundsryd Parish and moved to Amerika on the 11th  of April, 1903. 

With that penstroke slashing out their names, my life was forever changed.

Emma Nilsdotter Berntsson in Wisconsin, America in the 1930s.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Why you should give a Shi'ite about Syria

I know so many want a “quick read” on Facebook or blogs about where I’m shopping and vacationing, this won’t be that. I have put a lot of thought and research since the President announced he was in favor of U.S. strikes on Syria on whether I thought this was a good idea or not.  I have formed some opinions and just want to share why I feel the way I do – and that can’t be done in a two sentence update. 
If you find yourself busy with every day life, I offer you my primer on what is going on “over there” and why I feel the way I do about any military action on our part.  This is very unofficial list of the cast of characters, in the briefest possible explanations:
Sunnis – Muslim sect that believes that the leader is to be selected or elected.  They follow the Hadith (further expounds on the teachings of Mohammad).  They are followers Sharia Law & Finance.  Since they support Sharia Law they tend to be more rigorous followers.  Nations that are a majority of Sunnis are:  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and African Countries (approx. 80% of all Muslims).
Shia or Shi’ites – Muslim sect that believes that the leader is both a spiritual and political leader and they are a direct descendant of Mohamed.  The leader is an Imam.  They recognize twelve Imams so far, and the 12th disappeared and will return as the Mahdi who will set the world right with justice.  In order for the return of the Mahdi, the world must be in commotion.  Iran is the country with the largest majority of Shi’ites.
Most countries in the Middle East with ‘uprisings’ going on stem from Sunnis and Shi’ites fighting against each other.

Syria – The country has a majority of Sunnis, but their leadership is Shi’ite.  This is the largest problem in the country and why they are in a civil war against each other.  Recently vast stores of Liquid Natural Gas have been discovered on the shores of Syria.
Russia – Most of the oil that is sold in Europe and China comes from the Russian pipelines and their company Gazprom.  Russia would like access to the Syrian LNG to sell to Europe and China. Russia recently forgave all debt from the island of Cypress on the conditions that Cypress not allow any foreign countries to land their planes and refuel on their island.  Russia is backing Assad – the president of Syria -- so they can form an alliance for the LNG.
China – recently signed agreements for gas and oil from Russia.  They are also letting Russia install production plants in China.  China would like access to the LNG as well.  A new pipeline will allow oil to flow two ways, to Europe or China (controlled by Russia).
Saudi Arabia & Qatar Sunni.  They are working together.  Qatar has large resources of LNG.  Qatar would like the ability to pipe their gas to Europe as well, but the country of Syria is in the way and won’t authorize a pipeline thru their country.  These countries are supporting the opposition or rebel fighters in Syria so that they can throw out the current president, Assad, and install their puppet president that will allow the gas to flow.  This would also undercut Russia’s dominance – therefore Russia is supporting the president Assad and by default the Shi’ites.
Al-Qaeda—getting their backing from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Islaamic terrorist organization.
Hezbollah – Shi’ite terrorist group based out of Lebanon.  They are backing president Assad.
Hamas – Sunni terrorist group based out of the Gaza Strip.  (usually you hear about Israel fighting against Hamas)
Exxon Mobil – Exxon Mobil was the largest single donator to President Obama’s Inauguration, at $260,000.  This is after a very rocky 1st term which found both the administration and Exxon suing each other, mainly over the President ending deep water drilling in the Gulf.  But the kicker to me was the fact that in May of 2013, Exxon signed an agreement with Qatar for LNG production and distribution to foreign markets.  It would be so much more efficient if the gas did not have to ship from Qatar to Texas and could just be piped north thru Saudi Arabia and Syria.
So this gives me a few questions: 
  1. Why are they (Exxon) signing agreements for foreign distribution of oil and gas when Qatar cannot get the overland pipelines secured for the delivery?  
  2. Is U.S. military action against the Assad regime in order to facilitate Exxon’s agreement with Qatar? 
  3. Was there prior assurance that the U.S. Military would step in and open a way for a new puppet government in Syria to allow a pipeline? 
  4. Is this a quid pro quo for the Gulf drilling shut down?   
Basically I see the problem as two religious factions fighting between each other on who has the right to rule whom with outside government forces intervening to protect and promote their own interest in the oil and gas in the area. 
“What about Assad gassing his own people,” you might say.  I may have a cold heart, but dead is dead. Does it matter if it is with a bomb, a missile, or gas.  I am not advocating this fighting in any way, I just feel that the media is playing on emotions that this is far worse than what has been going on over there every day.  Why now, after 100,000 deaths, do we all of a sudden care?
I call this Selective Compassion.  If you are going to get upset about governments treating their people unfairly then why wasn’t something said about Darfur?  Or Rowanda? Or… I could go on and on.  The first time I was aware of selective compassion was in the Oklahoma City bombing.  After songs and tributes and fundraisers for all of the remaining survivors, 3 months later there was major flooding along the Mississippi.  It wiped out as many people, disrupted as many lives, yet it was mentioned for a day on the news and people moved on.  Sometimes when I hear even local newscasts about someone whose “life was taken in a tragic accident and you should donate to this bank account because the wife was caught so off guard that they need help with expenses, it just isn’t fair, there are young children, you must help out,” I often picture in my mind some other wife walking out of UMC Trauma where her husband just died wondering how she is going to cover the expenses and take care of her children too, yet nothing will be said for her.
So after years of watching this in the news what I take from it is:  The media is selective in who they want to get upset about and when.
In case you were still wondering where I stand:
  • I do not feel there should be U.S involvement in a religious civil war in other countries. 
  • I certainly don’t think we should be getting involved in a war against Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah.  
  • Europe will support Assad as well because if they don’t, Russia will turn off their gas. It gets cold in Europe in the winter.  They’ll do what Russia wants them to do. 
And since when do we want to fight on the same side as Al-Qaeda?  Google the You Tube video of Syria rebel drinking the blood from the heart of someone they just killed.  Yeah, it’s pretty gruesome. Those are the people we would be alongside fighting with if we choose to go against Assad.  These are tribal barbaric people.  Stay far away.
And lastly, there have been reports for several years on the number of terrorist from Hamas and Hezbollah that are entering into our country through our southern border.  I believe there are people in place now within our own country ready to inflict damage against us should we militarily strike.  No longer are we warding off ships in the ocean, they are the enemy within.  We haven’t even touched on cyber war possibilities that could cripple us as well.
I certainly do not feel that the U.S. should be in any military involvement if it helps Exxon Mobile and Qatar make more money.  In fact, if this is in any way a quid pro quo, it’s got to be criminal.
I do feel we ought to open up our own drilling on public lands and become energy independent and let those guys all turn their sand into glass in a blaze of glory.
Those are my opinions and why I feel that way. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

This just about sums it up.  Wearing a Lake Powell t-shirt and making a shark week onesie.
So first off, this week I wish I had the capability to send out surveys.  I know websites do them, I just need to figure out how.  This is for my Sunday School lesson. 
Would you like to talk about:
  • The Saints being stuck in the knee deep mud for a month slogging thru Iowa? 
  • Brigham Young & Co. figuring out a way west
  • Preparations and divisions of responsibilities
  • Are you the family moving ahead seemingly having it all together, or do you feel like the family that was left behind preparing for better days?
  • The Spirit of Prophesy vs. the Spirit of Revelation
There are your choices.  Basically, I'm going with the last one, because face it, we're all going to have periods of time when we feel like our lives are just slogging thru knee-deep mud for a month - we also need to figure out our way through and have a plan.  So what better way to prepare than to have the spirit of revelation and the spirit of prophecy so you individually are guided.  Sometimes you're out front, and sometimes you need to stop and be still for a season of preparation. 
Back to About Me
I am finally, after years of social media, trying to figure out what to say in the About Me section.  I asked for suggestions on Facebook.  Some were too ....flattering?  Some were funny.  Some might need explanations.
My sister suggested : "I know my way around treasure island at Disneyland"  This is a family folk lore story.  As I remember it we were at Disneyland and I wanted to explore treasure island and appearantly the rest of the family just wanted to get from point A to point B.  So now I'm labeled as the one who had us totally lost.  I was never lost, just checking things out.
My mother in law mentioned: "Climbs up and out on top with lots of flair."  This is only because I am so dang uncoordinated that I'm always, always tripping and falling over my own two feet. 
Heidi is a fellow Texan.  Quite honestly I'm going to have to claim dual citizenship. Texas and So Cal.
Lesli mentioned a Gwen Steffani song.  We all know it's, "I ain't no holler back girl."  Except one day I was driving down the road listening to KLUC and a guy calls in and says his girlfriend swears she's saying, "I ain't no Harlem black girl."  He wanted them to clear up this argument on air.  I thought it was funny.  And now I sing both versions of the song.  This ... is bananas!
The most surprising was Elizabeth mentioned that I know how to calculate what Sunday will be Easter Sunday.  I don't know what's weirder, that I can't remember to buy milk at the store but remember how Easter Sunday is set or that Elizabeth remembered this factoid about me.  So that you are all in the loop, Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
A couple mentioned me teaching.  I've taught a lot of classes in church settings.  For every person that likes me as a teacher there are usually two others complaining to someone higher up how they can't stand me as a teacher.  It is what it is.
Several people mentioned my laugh, or me laughing at their jokes.  Here's the scooby.  I'm a wingman.  I cannot tell a story.  Definately cannot tell a joke.  I am not the person you want to invite to your party to liven things up.  BUT I do love being with people who are funny, can tell stories, are everything that I'm not.  You throw the party and invite those people, I'll be there to laugh at them.  It takes both kinds, just doing my job.
Here's a few other facts about me: 
  • I like to be barefoot.  If I have to put on socks and shoes, it's too cold.
  • I like to live in a temperature range of 60-85°  I don't like to be cold and I certainly don't like to be hot.
  • I would rather drive than fly
  • I keep the Dr. Pepper company in business - 10, 2, & 4
  • I am hair handicapped.  I can't fix my hair nice and I can't afford a live-in stylist. 
  • My favorite place to vacation is Lake Powell.
  • My list of things to do, try and see is long enough for 3 lives
  • I am drawn to projects and fix it things.  I'm going with it's a good thing, cause when it comes to people, I'm often able to see through the rough parts to the good parts.
  • I usually always drive faster than the posted speed.
  • I like all kinds of music (except country) including radio-editted rap.
  • I, at 51, recently schooled a 20-something on what the phrase "I'm on a boat" was (see point above)
  • I have had 2 albums in all 5 music formats known in my life (album, 8 track, cassette, CD, mp3) those are Hotel California and Boston. [The Best of Bread came in second.  Never owned that album]
  • I almost got kicked out of being a leader at girls camp for (quietly, ever so quietly) singing the Eagles at our campsite.
  • If only Mo-Tab music is allowed in Heaven, I'm in serious trouble.
  • I read a lot.  But 0 books of fiction. 
  • I am a casual dresser, jeans and t-shirts are as fancy as I get
  • I wear make-up usually on sundays, unless it's the hot part of summer, then I don't even do Sundays.
  • I am amazed when I look at a chart of the Apostles and Nelson and Oaks are near the top.  What the?  Weren't they just called?
  • I have a concealed carry permit
There you have it.  How do you wrap all this up into two or three About Me sentences?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tossing and Turning

Everyone has those nights occasionally when they can't sleep. Last night was one of those nights.  So what exactly had my brain spinning so fast there was no time for rest?

My Tuesday.  I have about 6 hours of work to do for the business. It must get done. I need about 5 hours to get ready for activity night.  I have to take care of business.  I have to have things ready for our night of sewing.  How do I do both at the same time?  Don't forget there is a reimbursement check in your church bag.  Go to the bank.  Hey, while you're at the bank go to Deseret Book 'cause you told the bishop you would grab program covers for Sunday.  I have a harp lesson.  Can I meet up with the superintendent for signatures, then hit kinkos to make copies of what he signed for us, go to Joann's, then bank, Deseret book, down to contractor's office on the south side of town, can I do that and be done by 3?  I don't think I have time for harp.  It just furiates me if I can't make it to harp. 

My Hang-ups.  I have a totally irrational fear.  It has ruled my life. I try to keep it under control and not negatively affect my kids, but it constantly resurfaces.  I am scared to death of one of my children/now grandchildren being kidnapped.  Those seat belts on strollers? They're not for keeping the little one from tumbling out, they keep someone from walking by, and grabbing and running with the child.  I know it's crazy, but really, there's a reason we didn't go to Disneyland a lot, definitely never the beach, and barely the park.  I took a group of girls to Salt Lake City for girls' camp, oh my, I barely survived the panic attacks of trying to keep them all together where I could see them all at the same time.  So going along with this fear, one of my children told me two totally innocent sentences, something about killing spiders, a guy came by dropping off flyers for bug spraying, I don't know exactly because what I was really hearing was, "I was home alone with two kids and opened my door to a total stranger."  I tossed and turned for a couple hours over the fact that he easily could have forced the door open against her.  Oh, the horror of what could have happened.  Their stake is having a big 24th celebration, which means the kids will be out running around, in a crowd.  Ughhh.  Can we all just stay contained indoors, not talking to strangers?

How will I get Tuesday accomplished?

Read the scriptures. If you can't sleep, read the scriptures.  I wasn't four verses in and I already had a list of about six things I should be better at.  How is this comforting if now I'm stressing on being more charitable.  Patience. Serve more?  How am I going to get thru Tuesday, and add to that serving someone?  How come I'm so ubrupt  with people? How can I be this happy loving person that people are drawn to?  I'm so confused.  Can't I just be me?  I don't smile naturally. I have a natural stern look. Doesn't mean I'm not happy.  I must be doing something wrong.  How should I act so people like me?

Don't forget the list of stuff that has to happen on Tuesday.  That job account. Ron is ordering materials today. . .

My brother-in-law is very sick.  We need to go visit them.  Tuesday is not looking good. Wednesday is ward temple night.  Ron will barely get home from work in time for that.  That leaves Wednesday.  What if that's too late? We need to go see him sooner.  You can't tell sick people, hang on, I'll come later. That's not how it works.  

How do people get it all done?

Tuesday, don't forget your list for Tuesday. There is no room for error in this day.  

You know why you're tossing and turning? Because your joints hurt. Silly girl, if you had taken some Advil 5 hours ago, you probably would have slept just fine.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


There are pros and cons to this post. 

  • I am not a grammar expert.  I have many downfalls including a prolific use of run-on sentences, dangling participles, etc. 
  • I risk sounding...bossy? Nagging? Arrogant? Condescending? Ungrateful?  After all, if someone wants to acknowledge us in a group, I should graciously appreciate it, not point out their error.
  • If I can be a conduit to help you speak and write properly, I am honored.

There is an awkwardness in the air around us. I have noticed it since I acquired this name almost 33 years ago. This week was only two days old and there had already been three infractions in my presence. Think this is not a problem? 

From the pulpit:
We'd like to thank the Browns, the Kennedys, and the Marx for....     
(Names changed to protect the innocent)
Who is "the Marx?" Why were the Browns and Kennedys plural, but our name was left hanging weirdly singular out there?  I wonder if they hear what is coming out of their mouths? Doesn't that sentence sound odd to you when you speak it?  Why doesn't your brain kick in and fill in the blank correctly, "the Browns, the Kennedys, and the Marxes?"
Later in the same 3-hour block of time:  "If you have any questions, ask the Marx." 
I have seen this pop up when people write lists of names.  As you read down the list it could look something like:
The Brown Family
The Marx
The Jones Family
Again, why is our surname singular in a sea of plurals or families?
I really try to not take it personal, but it's hard not to take it personal when it is my name.  To set the record straight, here is the rule for making a proper noun ending in x plural:
Add "es"
It would be spoken or written as such:
"If you have any questions, ask the Marxes."
"The party is at the Marxes."
"We would like to thank the Marxes."
"Are all of the Marxes related?"  (yes.)
If I was ordering a welcome mat for my front door, it would say:
Welcome to the Marxes
Some might prefer to have it say Welcome to the Marx's.  That would be correct possessive form.  This would give the implied meaning of "Welcome to the Marx's home"  but on my welcome mats, I prefer to let you know that there are many Marxes living in this home, and we all welcome you to join us.  Wording in this instance would be personal preference, but both would be correct use of plural or possessive form.
To speak the possessive form of Marx it sounds like the plural, but to write the possessive form, you simply add an apostrophe s.  Examples:
The Marx's boat.  The Marx's car. The Marx's hydraulic jack.  The Marx's time. Whatever the item might be.
And finally the plural possessive form:  Marxes'
I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but if you ever need to mention something that belongs to a collective group of Marx family members, there you have it.
I am Kim Marx
Married to Ron Marx
We form Ron & Kim Marx
Together we are referred to as the Marxes

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mean Girls in Action

It's been a sick week over here at my house.  Tuesday evening I climbed out of bed to go gather eggs and water the chickens.  Horror. There was one laying on her side. Chickens do not ever lay on their sides.  She looked bad.  I took a hand full of water and tried to pour it over her beak.  As I did my chores she struggled up and hobbled a few steps and fell back down.  I put a handful of grain right by her. 

Then I witnessed the most horrible thing.  The other girls we're pecking her.  One would run in the coop, peck at her, and I'd shrew her off. Then it would happen again with a different chicken.  I don't know what happened earlier in the day to get this started, but it was obvious they were kicking her while she was down.  

It was the barnyard mentality in action. It was sickening.

I looked around to see if I could somehow isolate her. There were outdoor lounge chairs. I have extra chicken wire in the shed.  It was more energy than I could muster and I went back to bed.  Ron returned an hour later and I went out and told him I had a problem. By now she's lost (a kind term since this happens by another chicken standing on you with their claw feet shredding your back) half of her feathers and is bleeding in a couple places.  It was so sad.  "I wish I knew where Kruger's old crate was at, I could put her in that."  Ron knew right where it was.

It was windy outside, and I certainly wouldn't want to sit out there trying to get better in the wind, so I decided to put her in the house.  I put the crate in the unfinished laundry room. Put a handful of alfalfa in the bottom and a dish of water. Then I went out and scooped her up off the floor of the coop and put her in the crate. She just looked up at me, still laying on her side and panting.  Back to bed I went.  My last thought of the evening was "I certainly hope she's not dead in the morning, i better have Ron check on her."

Wednesday morning, still in a NyQuil-induced fog, I heard this awful squawking.  And it didn't end.  What was going on?  Finally I remembered the chicken.  In the laundry room. And my dog.  I called to Kruger. he came running and laid down next to me and I fell back asleep relieved, "she made it through the night."  Overall this little lady has been quiet the last couple of days. On Wednesday she was back in the upright position. I decided maybe she would prefer a roost, so looking around, I just grabbed the push broom and put the handle thru the crate.  Sure enough when I peeked in at sundown, she was sitting on it.

Today her sores have mostly healed, and little downy new feathers are showing up.  I will probably keep her in here a few more days.

But that barnyard mentality. That's scary stuff to think about.  Remember this the next time somebody talks about in an emergency situation people behaving like animals.
I hope you have a crate in an unfinished laundry room to go hide out in.