Red Party Shoes on my 21st Anniversary

Maybe it really is a girl thing, but shoes can make me happy.  These red shoes, for example, always make me feel like I am in a daring mood and ready to have some fun.  I took this picture on our way home from SLC on Tuesday after celebrating our anniversary (the road was bumpy-hence the blur).  

We had had an emotional week and weekend and we promised that for at least one evening we would not talk about any of the things we had been dealing with.  And we tried to not talk about the kids either.  Or work.  Or the house.  Some of you may be scratching your chin right now wondering what we DID talk about, but I am fortunate enough to have a husband who talks to me about our marriage, about how he can better serve me (it's good to be me), and about our goals and dreams.  

After going to the temple we went to Madeline's in South Jordan and had all-you-can-eat crab legs.  The meal also came with a rib eye steak, but get real.  I was out to eat my weight in crab legs and I think I actually came close.  We laughed as we accidentally splashed melted butter across the table and even flicked a rogue piece of crab meat every now and then.  It was fun and flirtatious and just what the doctor ordered.  

And at the end of the evening as we walked back into the house and my youngest ran up and hugged me I felt like clicking my red heels together and whispering, "There's no place like home."

iphone...the other woman

So, I fully admit that when I got my brand new Mitsubishi Outlander last summer I felt like I loved it.  Not just that it was new and clean and had some really cool features, but that I actually LOVED it.  I took friends on drives and offered to chauffeur whenever the opportunity arose.  I took pictures of it from all different angles.  It became my place of solace here and there when I wanted some peace and quiet so I could read or listen to music.  Hey, it has an amazing sound system.  Plus, it didn't hurt anyone!  By this past spring the novelty wore off and I started to see the Outlander for what it really is... an awesome vehicle, and that's it.  *sniff*

Now my husband has found someone else.  She is beautiful and thin and does whatever he asks. She even seems to be able to guess what he needs before he says it.  The thing that's hard is that he flaunts his relationship right in front of everyone... at home, church, wherever.  And he seems to almost go into panic mode when they are not together.  I admit that I am jealous, and I have become a real defeatist about it because I know I can never match up to her qualities. Yes, the ever-present iphone has become a constant companion.  But if he is on the same time schedule that I was on with my car I only have about one more month until reality sets in and she takes her proper place.  Crossing my fingers...

New Life In An Old Body

Last night my husband and I went to Provo to engage in an evening of short plays written and directed by local, just-trying-to-get-started-in-the-business talent.  The group is called New Play Project and has been running for a couple of years now.  It operates out of an old bungalow that has been converted to a theater, which used to be used by Provo Theater Company.

As we pulled up I noticed the sad lawn, and as we walked up to the front entrance my eyes went straight to the chipping buff-colored paint on the columns.  I thought to myself, "This poor building is so ignored and seems to be just dying." I have to admit that my hopes for anything uplifting were low given the appearance of the playhouse.

Immediately upon entering the building we were greeted by a couple of energetic twenty-somethings who were thrilled to see us and showed us exactly where we could purchase our tickets and pick up a program.  We walked downstairs and the buzz got stronger around the box office as many of the players and staff seemed to be electrically charged running around taking care of final details before the evening got started.  

Seven short plays in about an hour and a half.  A lot of variety, from horror to comedy, from broken relationships to newly beginning ones.  Of course, as in any artistic collection, I felt more involved in some of the works than in others.  The tender light comedy about the first wooing (Adam and Eve) was sweet and real and believable.  I loved it.  In the Q and A after the plays one of the playwrights commented on a common belief he disagreed with.  He said that too many people think keeping stories and principles at a distance somehow makes them more sacred.  He said many people might feel uncomfortable portraying Adam and Eve's possible dialogue in anything but scriptural language.  He believes things become more sacred, often, when they are more part of our regular existence.  It made me really think.

My husband and I are pretty good about talking about ideas.  As a matter of fact, we often enjoy going to dinner after a play or a movie so that we can talk about what we liked or disliked, not only on the technical side of things, but on the theoretical side.  Last night was no different, and as we ate we considered some of the writing, and even directing, along with intentions in the plot.  It was a nice night.

So, as I woke up this morning I realized that I shouldn't allow myself to ever get caught up in making a judgement based on an outward impression.  That old house had a lot of life left in it in the form of enthusiastic people trying to make us think about anything but weeds and chipped paint.

Here I Go Again

When we lived in Los Angeles my husband and I really caught the movie bug.  We enjoyed the older theaters that had not all succumbed to the "new and improved" style, meaning they had one screening room with velvet drapes and creaky floors and that authentic musty smell.  This is not something that I would want in my own home, but in a cool art deco experience it seemed like a must (no pun intended).  
While were there in L.A. I somehow became addicted to Elizabeth Taylor movies.  For one three-day period I rented every LizT video I could find and stacked them near the TV as I worked my way through them.  Luckily, I had two toddlers at the time and used their naps as my screening times.  I made the journey with Liz from young to old, thin to thick, husband to husband.  I get that way sometimes, where I am like that retriever that will dig in the bushes for hours looking for the tennis ball someone threw to me.  Anyway, I had my fix and then I was done.
Then there was Howard's End with Emma Thompson and I thought to myself, "Here we go again!"  A few years ago I went on my Emma binge, renting all of her stuff, and I have seen every film she has made.  Howard's End is a favorite so that gets to stay in my pill bottle as I move forward with my addiction.
Bette Davis provided my other keeper with All About Eve, which G and I got to watch in Seattle recently in a 70 year-old theater with fifty seats and an 8 foot ceiling. So cool!  Yes, she too became an obsession for a couple of weeks while I did everything possible to track down old, almost unknown films.  Some are really pretty bad, but Eve is melodrama at its absolute best.
So, I am fickle... I soon moved on to Katherine Hepburn and was mesmerized by some of her performances.  We went so far as to drive through her hometown in Connecticut last summer as we were making the trek from Virginia to Boston.  She was a real icon in the movie industry, but also in making social and fashion statements.  High cool factor.
Last night I found myself slipping into it again.  I saw Mamma Mia twice in one day and have plans to go twice more in the next few days.  I found myself looking up Meryl Streep filmographies online last night while a second window was running You Tube clips of her.  I knew I was in trouble when I printed off the list and magneted it to my back door.  I figure that if I watch 2 films a day I can get through all 46 by the time I get back to work mid-August.  

Throwing a Party for Myself

Yesterday I was sitting near a friend at our sons' AA soccer game and we started reciting our own personal histories to each other.  She is from Washington, I am from Virginia.  We each have four kids, close to the same ages.  We have had similar experiences in our communities, etc.  She asked if I would reconsider this one choice I had made many years ago which has changed my destiny.  I found that I didn't even need to think about my answer.  I would make the same choice again and again if I had to.  Some things are just like that- no thinking time necessary. 

Next Wednesday is a huge day for me.  25 years ago, on the 23rd of July, I made a life-changing decision which has, well, changed my life in every single aspect.  You know, those kinds of decisions that are so crucial that you seriously cannot imagine what your life would be like had you not made them?  And you know these things have taken deep root in you when the people involved are important but not the most important part.  The most important part is how you change and remake yourself, even if it is subtle.  And then, of course, you realize that almost every other critical choice you have made is a by-product of that alpha choice.

Now I am making arrangements for my own party.  I will be sending out one invitation.  Maybe I will put some confetti in the envelope, or maybe I will glue some glitter on it.  I might even treat myself to a nice dinner out.  But one thing is for sure.  25 years ago I made the decision alone and I will celebrate my choice alone on this day.  It is the appropriate way.  There will be reflection, and maybe even an emotional moment or two.  So, if you happen to go out next Wednesday and you see a woman in her prime (read as "mid-forties") alone with a tissue in her hand, just assume it's me and those are tears of joy.

"... prepare to die!"

I was cleaning through some old recordings of the boys today and ran across this family favorite. Who doesn't love Princess Bride?  Our number 3 boy is so cute I just want to squish his little face! Sunrise, sunset, as they say.  This little actor is turning 12 one month from today, actually, and I am crazy about him.  

I have such vivid memories of my dad gathering us all around and cranking up the old movie projector.  Click, click, click.  There were the movies of me and my two younger brothers dancing, or of us running up and down the driveway.... over and over.  You know, the stuff only a loving parent can watch 57,000 times without ever getting bored. 

It's hard to believe I am now that parent.  I sit here at the computer and get all misty-eyed as I see these videos of my kids when they were tiny.  When they were our entertainment as we sat and marveled at them and their funny things they did.  

I better go get a tissue.  I have another 56,999 viewings before dinner.  

Times and Seasons redux

Twenty years ago I was celebrating my first anniversary with my sweet husband and was pregnant with my first child.  I had graduated from BYU with a degree in education the summer of 1987 and was looking forward to my second year of teaching fifth grade in a nearby city.  Life was full of firsts.  Things were very very good.  As the school year started I began to reconsider teaching this second year.  My baby was due in the fall and my husband and I both knew that going the distance until Memorial Day was unlikely.  I wanted nothing more than to be home with my new baby and to become my own version of June Cleaver.  I got my wish, quitting in December.  I have been one of the lucky ones, not just because I got to stay home with that little one, and three additional children, but because I wanted to AND I got to.  Every mom is different, but for me it was my deepest desire, even a craving, to spend my time at home with my kids.  I am grateful to a good husband who supported me in this goal.  

Two years ago that very first baby of mine graduated from high school and left to attend BYU.  He moved into his own apartment and took care of himself, except for some of the monetary things (and I am assuming the bathroom was on its own too).  So after talking it over with my husband I decided it was a good time to go back to work and make some extra money to facilitate my son's moving out (which can also be interpreted as:  "More money, more food in the fridge, more peace and quiet, more of our own time on the couch, etc").  Of course, we missed him, but we knew this was the way of things. People grow up and move on.  So after years of wiping noses, chasing after little ones, and disciplining, I was ready to be a career person again.  I was ready to be dignified.  

I work in special ed.  What did I do today?  I cleaned B's runny green nose, I chased G down the hall as he ran away laughing at me, and I crawled on my stomach, in my nice new white Christopher and Banks shirt, under the door of the bathroom stall to pull N out.  Yes, I am a dignified career person.  And I love every minute of it.

Let's scoot!

Last weekend G and I went to South Jordan to check out a scooter I had found in the newspaper. Ok, anyone who knows me knows that I get a bee in my bonnet every now and then and usually it ends up stinging other people. This time it stung my husband as I convinced him we would love having a scooter to buzz around town in! It is almost silent since it is electric and we are able to 'stealth' around S'ville.

Come-As-You-Are Party

I would usually be fine if people were to just drop in and stay in the kitchen or living room, but the basement? GULP This is where I lose credibility and people realize what a nice facade I have created. Does anyone know a good laundress?

Young Patriotism

We had our annual July 4th breakfast at the church this morning where L and FG were part of the flag ceremony.  A young mom in our ward originally from Ukraine talked about the reasons she is glad to be an American citizen.  Hot water, electricity, variety of foods, freedom of religion and expression, just to name a few.  I left feeling more thankful than I have in a long time for all of my blessings as a member of this great country.  Thanks Olga!