day 345: comfortable spice

I sit in the white leather chair in the den and think and think. Geo walks in with a friend and brings me some chicken korma they have brought home for me. I want to be by myself for a bit more, so I eat alone and enjoy the quiet and comfort of the silence. The food is spicy and burns my mouth a little, so I call out "hooooweeee" and keep eating as my friend calls out an apology from the living room. I rinse my plate and join the guys and we talk about our kids, our responsibilities, our lives. It feels good to have friends I have known for over 20 years. That is part of being an adult. Then we drive him home and I guzzle a bottle of water and doze off a bit on the way home. My mouth still burns a little.

day 344: full speed ahead

Is it just me, or does life fly when you are my age?  You spend years thinking the kids will never be out of diapers, or able to do their own homework, or even slightly independent, and then poof.  They are adults, and you have to re-navigate the whole thing.  How to talk about money.  How to talk about intimacy.  How to treat them differently.  All of a sudden. 

Still learning how to do it.  I hope we don't mess it up too bad.

day 343: illumination

When a lot of different lights come together they can make an eclectic beautiful thing.

picture from flickr creative commons

day 342: leggy

My guy and I went to dinner tonight to celebrate our 23rd anniversary tomorrow.  Geo and crab legs.  Two of my favorite things.  I must admit that it has been kind of nice to have some time this week without the kids (thank you scout camp) and to reconnect.  We have needed this after the cuh-razy summer we have had.  Tomorrow lunch with the future in-laws at PF Changs. 

Click here to hear my cover for the week.

day 341: more than i've got

Today between the wedding clothes shopping and a couple of other little things that came up, I felt insecure and unworthy.  Too many blessings.  Too many signs of trust.  It was overwhelming, and once I got home after a great, but long, day, it kind of hit me a little.

Often lately I feel like I am in a bit of a fog.  This kind of fog is one where I am progressing and learning and growing, not one where I feel stilted and frozen.  I finish one big thing, and right when I am ready to breathe a little easier new things come along to keep me thankful, and humble and counting.  Blessings. 

Musical Monday: Across The Universe

 click on the title below to hear my recording
Across The Universe

Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.

day 339: eternal round

Thank you for holding my hand.  For pulling me up when I have needed pulling.  For pushing when I have needed encouragement. 

Thank you for using these hands to work hard for our family.  For fixing things.  For making things.

Thank you for playing the piano.  For writing.  For washing dishes.

Thank you for running your finger tips over my eye lids.  For touching my hair.  For wiping tears.

Thank you for wearing your wedding ring.  For showing your commitment to me.  For being my husband.

Happy Anniversary week.

day 338: pioneer coolness

We spent the day with my in-laws today, visiting Antelope Island out in the Great Salt Lake.  Out on this Island is the ranch of Fielding Garr, who entered the valley with the first wave of pioneers, and after a year in downtown SLC decided he needed his space.  Garr raised, and eventually took care of, cattle, out on the island.  His home is still standing, and is believed to be one of the oldest structures still standing Utah that was built by a white man.  This man was my husband's great-great-great grandfather, and he was a rock star.  And the trip out there and back was like being in a prehistoric time machine.

day 337: clean

I step down into the water ready to start my spiritual life.  New.  Fresh.  Clean.
I see my parents, some good friends, and some people I don't even know there to offer support and a smile.

Prayer said.  Promises made.  Breath held.  
Then down I go, submerging my old self.

Here I am now, still feeling, sometimes, like that teenager who was beginning a new way.
I am young and new at this, years later.

I am glad to still feel dripping wet.

day 336: countdowns

I finished up my intense summer school teaching program (practicum) today and am now looking at three weeks of classes remaining.  It's a strange feeling when you have been on the countdown for something and as the end approaches it almost feels subtle and anti-climatic.

The last few weeks of pregnancy is anything but.  I remember having visions of my babies and getting so excited about holding and kissing them (and not being huge and uncomfortable anymore).  But in those cases I was getting a real prize at the end.  Something beautiful for all of the months of hard work.  In this case I will feel a satisfaction of 18 months of study and hard work paying off, but in such a less tangible way. 

I wonder how it will feel to be less swamped.  To spend more time with my family.  To have my evenings to myself.  I am ready to give it a shot.

day 335: oh, to be young again

I remember once back in my freshman year of college, when I thought it would be cool to take a No-Doz and stay up all night, basking in my procrastination.  Yeah, I may not have taken the pill this time, but the basking is just as overrated.

(2:59 a.m., and counting)

day 334: moody with a chance of rain

Mrs. Burton, is it raining?  Mrs. Burton, look out the window.  Look!  Is it?  Is it?

I had my back to the window and tried to move ahead with my lesson, but he wouldn't let it go.  So finally I turned around and took a peek.  No rain, but a murky sky with a luke-warm wind that was blowing the huge flag, in a half-hearted way.  And I thought of my sometimes state-of-mind.  Half commited to what needs to get done, but my mind elsewhere, often.  Half blowing the flag.

Sometimes the best thing (often times the best thing) is a good storm.  Clean out the air.  Get the cool wind blowing. 

So I had me a storm today.  Rainy eyes.  And I feel better now.  :)

Musical Monday: Sleep Song

With the engagement of my oldest son this week, I wanted to do this little lullaby I discovered recently.  Any of you who have been reading my blog over the past year or so know that I have been basking in nostalgia as I welcomed home my oldest from an LDS mission and have now sent my second son out.  My two youngest sons will both be in junior high school this year, and now we have a wedding in 2 months.

Please click on the title below to hear my recording for the week, and then go and hug your children.

To Perry, my first-born
Sleep Song

Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.

day 332: monument

Today I heard a friend speak in church, where he spoke about having our weaknesses become servants to us.  Where we do the bidding and not the other way around.

In my busy life lately I get some quiet time as I drive to and from campus, and I have found it a good time to reflect and rethink my actions. Recently I have found myself thinking about pride and forgiveness and other qualities that seem to be at odds. 

Making my weaknesses servants to me.  Making my own weaknesses become strengths.  Making myself more shaped and formed according to the gospel.  I have work to do.

day 331: evening

Shredded teriyaki chicken with a splash of habanero sauce for good measure, on a bed of sweet rice.  Pineapple and melon on the side.  Man, that was good!  Topped off with a beautifully-made cupcake for dessert.  This was the food at a wedding reception Geo and I attended tonight.  And get this; the father of the bride did all of the cooking on his own.  I was impressed. 

We walked there and back in the warm, almost sticky, evening air. 
Fingers wrapped in knots with each other. 
Talking about our own wedding; the string quartet, standing in the line shaking hands.
After we walked home we hopped in the car to go get shaved ice down the street.
Drove around the north part of town and looked at a house that was so cool.  So out of our price range.
Some time to ourselves since all three sons are out tonight.

day 330: inefficient lemonade stand

Dropped my son and his long board off at friend's house and then took a little drive through the neighborhood with #4 as we headed home.  Two cute little girls were sitting on the sidewalk with their red plastic cups and 2 pitchers of drinks- one lemonade and the other red Kool Aid.  How much? I called out the car window.  Twenty-five cents.  

I sent my boy out with a couple of quarters and watched as the magic began.

The cute little thing (the girl, I mean) picked up the pitcher and started to pour, only she didn't know how to spin the lid around so that the slots were forward and the drink could pour out.  She shook the pitcher and we watched as the lemonade flowed out from around the entire lid.  I think you need to spin it, helpful #4 said.  Then she spun it all the way around so that the same problem reoccurred.  I saw my son start to giggle and then he had to walk away so that he didn't hurt anyone's feelings.  This thing is broken, she said.  Then her little coworker came up and said, Here.  I can fix it.  She pulled the lid off so hard that what was left of the lemonade came spilling out onto the sidewalk.  Uh oh, she muttered to herself quietly.  At this point my son was barely able to contain himself.  He grabbed the partly-filled cups, climbed into the car, and we laughed all the way home until our stomachs hurt.

Is summer the bomb or what?

day 329: camera hungry

My iPhone has had a scratched camera lens since I have owned it, thanks to the previous negligent owner (read: husband), and I sent off our point-and-shoot to my missionary who was having problems with his camera.  So, I have really had no functioning camera in a few months, and I am getting a little jittery about it.  What am I missing in the documenting of my kids/ family?

I cannot wait for my new iPhone to hurry up and get here!  I am hoping it can do all sorts of things, like pay my bills, track my kids' whereabouts, and mostly, take cool photos and videos.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of my pinstriped leg and black-sandaled foot I just took with my scratch-o-rama lens.

day 328: dehydration

On a long walk with Geo yesterday we talked about drinking before you get thirsty, in the metaphorical way, of course, because that is the way we are. Taking preventative steps in our lives that lessen the chances of being blindsided by our own weaknesses, or even the weaknesses of others.

In the literal sense I have been dehydrated. I actually think I get that way often. I feel it coming, and I tell myself I need to drink more water, but I put it off. Over and over again this is the case.

Then I allow it in my personal, emotional, spiritual life too. I have thought since yesterday about ways I can drink before I get thirsty. I can be diligent in my own personal study and cognitive exercises. I can get more sleep. I can eat better, without feeling poorly before I do. I can foster my important relationships.

I can gulp it down and be ready to sweat.

day 327: go-go kazzy

For fun I looked up images online for the 1960s (the decade I was born in).  The main things I ran across were images about the Apollo mission and images of Jackie O.  So iconic.  Both. 

Then I found this dress, and I thought, Add a black shell under this and I would totally wear it today! 

White boots, or black?

Musical Monday: When It Rained

Maybe I had rain on the brain this week, but while I was driving in my car running errands I cranked this one up and thought maybe I could try it out.  I had to mess with the key a little to make it work, and I still ended up having to hit some low notes, but it is a gorgeous song and I had a great time singing it.  Click on the title below.

When It Rained
Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.

day 325: me against me

Lately I am discovering some tough truths about myself.  And by lately I mean the last few years.  There are so many principles I believe in that I teach my children and encourage my friends in, but when it comes down to it I have a hard time putting them into practice in my own life. 

I have allowed myself to hold onto feelings of injury.  I have let these feelings determine future responses and expectations.  And guess what this does to the soul?  It opens the door to real cynicism.  To low expectations.  To assuming the best is just not in the cards.  Sheesh.

It is hard to face our weaknesses, because when they seem to be tied up in other other people our self-preservation hijacks our minds and we begin to feel justified in our negativity.  A few months back I reread a talk given by Thomas S. Monson called, "School Thy Feelings, O  My Brother."  I have not forgotten how President Monson taught about choosing our reactions in difficult situations.  I want to be better at making that choice.

day 324: glass tile

I love design. I like figuring out how to use a space well without crowding it up with knick knacks and stuff everywhere.  It needs to have straight lines and an open feel, with unused space.  Space that just sits there and says, Look at me. You can breathe over here.

Glass tile is a favorite.  You can get it in various colors and shapes, but it is the transparency that makes it so beautiful.  It is strong and makes a statement.  But that transparency gives it a vulnerability that is so gorgeous.

I fall short in the transparency department.  I have the strong part kind of down.  Kind of.  But I would like to add a bit of transparency to make myself the best I can be.  It's the mix of these things that makes glass tile so alluring.  Good goal.

day 323: memories of rain

It was so loud we couldn't hear each other talking.  Pounding rain on a metal roof of a big warehouse.  My mind always goes right back to home, to Virginia, and when we walked outside it smelled like home.  Warm and damp and musty.  It was fun to wait it out. 

The summer we lived with my parents before moving to CA to attend USC, it rained for 6 weeks out of the 10.  I do not exaggerate here.  42 days of rain in 2 and a half months.  Having lived in the west for a few years, I had forgotten about the culture of rain.  In that culture you check and talk about the weather often.  Here in dry Utah, not so much.  In that culture you don't plan an outdoor event without contingency plans.  Here, your chances of rain ruining plans are pretty low.

The lush greenery.  The natural sprinkler systems.  The slippery grass every morning.  A bit of Eden.

day 322: importance of iron

About 4 weeks ago my husband was let go.  As bishop of our ward (congregation).  He served well for over 5 years, and these men here were an incredible support to him during the entire tenure of their bishopric.  The kids and I would sometimes whisper to each other during Sacrament meeting that they looked like his body guards up there sitting on each side of him.  And in many ways they actually were.  They stood by him, supported him whenever he needed it, and were often the first line of defense. 

We saw it fitting that Geo get them these shirts as a small, fun, token of appreciation.  This photo was taken on the day of the release.  What a great trio.

Do you have Ironmen or Ironwomen in your life?

day 321: bang a drum

#3 came home at midnight from an all-day trip with his marching band drumline today.  They went to Ogden, UT to watch a professional drum corps perform.  Pretty inspirational stuff for an aspiring percussionist.  With most of the money his dad gave him for the day he was able to purchase some very nice drum sticks with rubber tips.

These are cool because I can drum anywhere and it doesn't hurt anything.

I like that he feels comfortable enough to tap around on the tables, countertops, and all other furniture.  I like it because it means I have made him feel like his interests are not a bother to me.  #1 has had a few band practices here at the house as they have been preparing for studio time.  This entails him using cushions from the big leather chair down in the family room to muffle the sound leaving his bedroom window.  But Geo and I just talk really loudly over the banging and the amps and think it is awesome that our boys like music and want to use their talents.

Plus, I do my own drum banging around here.  And often my sticks don't have rubber tips.

day 320: particles

orange butterflies
purple fish
blue soccer balls
brown pencils

All colored for a math activity with my students tomorrow.  I colored while I sat in my living room visiting with a good friend about taking teaching moments with my family.  We talked about the no-family-routines problem in the summers.  We lamented our own personal failures, but laughed at our weaknesses.  It felt good.  To be real and honest.

Sheets of honesty raining down as I don't have the energy, or inclination, to hold anything back.  It makes me wonder about my life when I am not so spread around.  When I don't leave part of myself in my car, part in the classroom, part on my pillow.  I have become so used to being all over the place.  I leave my little trace.  My particles.

Musical Monday: Chasing Pavements

When I recorded Hometown Glory I knew I would come back and do Adele's other hit, Chasing Pavements.  In Britain pavements are sidewalks, so keep this in mind as you hear the lyrics.  Click on the title below to hear my rendition of this cool song.

Chasing Pavements

Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.

day 318: orville, on july 4th

In church today we all stood to sing The Star Spangled Banner, and Orville, the sweet man in front of me, cried into his white handkerchief until his wife held and patted his hand and managed to get him feeling better.  This is the same man that stood in the bottom of a metal ship, holding the rail, all the way (when he was awake) from Seattle to Korea.

Who knows how people who have been to battle feel when they hear these songs?  I know I don't.  But I am thankful, just the same, for their sacrifice and service.

day 317: ghosts

Every now and then I think I see ghosts of my little boys. 

I see the place where the toy chest used to sit near the sliding door and then a wispy little brunette boy is sitting there with Fisher Price knights and dragons all over his lap.  Then I go to the pool with my family and see a little boy with cute flipped out ears and see mine splashing around right next to me. 

But then one of them drives up and comes in calling for me, and when he finds me he gives me a big hug.  Then the ghosts are gone.  For now.

day 316: rope swing committments

As I have mentioned before, I grew up in a Huck Finn kind of environment with very few fences, and very many forests and creeks.  Or "runs" as we call them.  Bull Run ran through part of my rural neighborhood, and it was a favorite hang out for the teens.

Bull Run was a brown, slow-moving creek that had things besides fish living in it.  It was not uncommon to be splashing around in the muck and to see a water snake bobbing its head around right near you.  Ah, good times.

One side of the run had a field with horses and tall, wild grass, but the other side had an average-sized cliff with a rope swing.  If we weren't jumping off the bridge on Brentsville Road into the run, then we were up a couple of hundred feet, where the rope swing hung against a rock face.  The thing I learned from this rope swing was committment.  It was all about grabbing the rope and committing to landing in the water.  You had to visualize your self dropping the 20 feet, so that once you grabbed the rope and lifted your feet you knew how it was going to end.  The kids who got into trouble (meaning bruises, and even cuts) were the ones who swung out, and then decided to ride the rope back in.  Not good.  You didn't come back where you had taken off.  You came back against the rocks, where you physically paid for your lack of committment.  And it could be brutal.

I love metaphors from the laws of nature.  After all, aren't we connected to our world in both tangible and intangible ways?  Patterns repeat.  Lessons are found in molecules and atoms that have to do with our lives.

day 315: relativity

I have written recently about my allergy attacks, which have subsided thank goodness, and my struggle with late hours doing homework for this summer practicum I am involved in.  Truth is, I have been whiny, which is not the usual me.  And I apologize.

Relativity.  We can only live and feel what we know, but at some point some I believe it is healthy to get perspective.  My-problems-versus-their problems kind of thinking.  When my son was living in Kenya for two years and wrote letters to us about what he was facing, and especially what the Kenyan people were facing, I got a weekly dose of relativity about my own worries.  It was good for our whole family.  We learned a lot and got more real about our lives.

This might be one of the reasons I enjoy special education (the other reasons being the amazing families I have gotten to know).  I regularly see people who have had to learn to live with children who may never be independent.  They have health impairments, learning disabilities, etc. that will keep them from ever being on their own, which means parents will never be on their own either.  These people are heroes to me because, let's face it, some days it helps to know that one day we will set them free and just enjoy them from a bit of a distance.  Am I right?

I have 2 friends in particular that I am thinking about here.  One who has recently been left by his wife of 23 years.  His autistic son will be his charge forever.  He is a wonderful dad who is beyond willing to commit to this life.  And though I am biased, I need to say how great he is at being the perfect parent for his 15 yr-old son.  I love this guy like my own brother.  The other is Heidi at Dunhaven Place.  We have become friends, even though we have only met in person once.  I could talk about a number of her talents and good qualities, but for this post I just want to mention her devotion to her family, which consists of a few members that need her regular attention and assistance.  I love this lady, and have felt recommited to special ed because of these kinds of acquaintences.

So I am practicing a little relativity here, and realizing that even though I can have a hard day here and there, things could be harder.