Sunday, July 26, 2009

Everything's just peachy!

We had a lesson in church today about adversity. Actually... we had two lessons on adversity. Last week was also a lesson on adversity... hmmm, makes me a bit nervous, like we need to be getting ready for some serious trouble.
Anyway, our Sunday School lesson was intense. Not many people shared, and as comical as our teacher can be, it was quite a somber lesson. He, of course, talked a lot about the adversity the early saints went through and why the Lord gives trials.
So by the time our Relief Society lesson started, I had been festering a bit about my feelings.
As things were said, and experiences were shared, things were positive and everyone shared 'feel good' things about bringing each other food, blah, blah, blah.
So I raised my hand and made my 'Debbie Downer' comment. I just had heard enough fluffy stuff... people so "thankful" for their trials and what not. I was careful to say that I was "not discrediting the lesson, or things people have shared" but I know that there are things we are all going through. Big things, that we would never share in Relief Society. (Especially when we are all supposed to be happy and positive about everything we say and do) THOSE are the trails that we struggle with. That's adversity! The things we have a hard time getting through without being angry with the Lord, or feeling sorry for ourselves and having doubts and questioning our faith.
I said that maybe I'm not the only one who struggles just making it through the day sometimes, let alone thinking about serving others and seeing how we are growing from our experience.
I shared how I was SO angry with the Lord for a while, I didn't believe the church was true, or that God loved me. I can now look back and see all the things I learned from that difficult time, but I am NOT going to pretend that I went through all of that with an eternal perspective... singing songs of joy and happiness. It's easy to look back on something and see what I learned from it... it's not so easy to see those things while enduring pain.
I also shared a part of my Patriarchal Blessing, and how it tells me that I will go through trials, and enduring them will refine my soul. It says that I will have "the strength to be healed in times of illness, and courage to be comforted in times of sorrow"
For me, it is truly courage, that I need to have. In times of great sorrow and heartache... having the courage to be comforted is what I have a hard time remembering.
I know this is because the Lord knows how incredibly stubborn I am. How independent I am, not wanting to rely on or trust people. Especially if I am hurt or feel vulnerable.
The courage to be comforted for me means trusting in the Lord, and those around me. Having faith that the Lord does love me, and will never leave me.
(and by the end of my sch-peel... I shed some tears. I hate that!)

I got a phone call after church from the RS president. She wanted to thank me for my comment, to tell me that she understands that times can be difficult, and assure to me that the Lord loves me. I know I'm cynical, but it's funny to me. The Bishop called Mr. Smith into his office a couple weeks ago, and told him he was worried about me. So I know that the poor RS president has probably been told to take me on as a charity case. No doubt my comment made her worry even more.
Comments like that are not the 'Sunday School Answers' people want to hear. They don't make me look perfect, or help advance me in a race to become the next RS/YW/Primary President. I just can't sit there and pretend that a room full of women, including myself, have perfect lives. And even in our perfect lives, when there's a little bump in our road, we pretend that we handle things perfectly, with unwavering faith.
I'm not saying that those type of women don't exist, but it not the norm. How can we help each other if we have to uphold some 'wonder woman' status? I want to feel like I can bring a meal to someone whose going through a hard time, and offer more than just food... because I have actually struggled with hard times myslef! I know! SHOCKER!!
So I may now be seen as a greater charity case, I'm pretty sure we are ALL charity cases. Even if we deny it, and try and prove that we are just supposed to help others... because heaven-forbid we need help ourselves... we are all in need of genuine charity. I think that being honest with ourselves and others is the only way to truly build each other up. To live in a society where everyone's out to top each other, and prove perfection, we aren't doing anyone any favors. Especially when we serve, and complain about it. We have all done it and received it. An offer to help along with a complaint about having to do it. In my opinion, that's worse than no help at all. The last thing anyone wants it someone helping them who just turns around to talk bad about them, or gossip about why they seem to need more help than others.
We ALL have problems, some are better at hiding them, but we ALL have them. We ALL go through things that test our faith, and break us down to places we aren't sure we'll come back from. I'm not saying that Relief Society is a place to share personal trials, but being more realistic, less judgmental, offering genuine kindness, and accepting help... is a healthy goal. Although a lasagna from the 'Wonder Mom' is a nice gesture, a true feeling of sympathy or empathy will feed a soul.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tasty Nuggets almost lost!

So, recently I decided to abandon my Facebook account.
When I signed up, I knew so very little about the world of Facebook. As I got deeper and deeper into the dark world of my past, I wondered if it were possible to get those hours of my life back.
There were a handful of friends I was ecstatic about finding. There were also fun people I loved to say a quick "hello" to. I just wasn't impressed with knowing what people were doing every minute of their day. I'm not interested in when a person eats, sleeps, or poops.
Call me crazy, but I love reading things about someone... stories, experiences, and adventures. But just a sentence telling me that some who-ha "... has a rash" is not entertaining.
So I logged back on to the account today, to contact some people. Well, to my surprise... I found a contact had asked me to join a group of my High School class. There was a link to a blog which was set-up two years ago, to inform people of our 10-year reunion and have people RSVP.
This was a reunion I never heard about, until a friend of mine called to see if I would accompany her. She is a divorcee who has gone through some tough times. It was a smart move for her to come with me. She probably knew that showing up with me would save her any embarrassment or questions. (Since I was the reject who should be in rehab or locked up somewhere) Had she not called to invite me... I would have never known about it.
I can say that after attending... I'd have been okay having let that evening pass by without knowing. It was more than disappointing, and 10 years later... the banquet hall we gathered in might as well had been the lunchroom cafeteria. Same groups, same jokes, same feelings, same faces... just instead of boys trying to act cool... they were chunky, balding men trying to act cool.
So this blog, however, turned out to be an INCREDIBLE find. It was the best 'tasty nugget' I've read in quite a while.

(Tasty nugget: a quote, story, or experience worthy of sharing at the end of the day... in bed with your hubby. Something to laugh about... quite often about yourself! An example... "Did you know that _____ has 435 pictures of herself on Facebook?" or "Sassy Pants asked me if I knew what her favorite things were. When I said 'what?' she said 'your boobies!'")

This blog was intended to serve a meaningful purpose. It started out well, people RSVP-ing to attend a reunion. As I scrolled down through the comments, I started to become impressed with the adults of whom names I recognized. Then...
Classmates go from posting an RSVP, to adding things to try and prove they're funny. Trying to get attention... or to get a rise out of people. (funny, the same people who did that 10 years ago) Especially the group of guys who are still out to prove how cool they are... only now I think they are only trying to prove it to themselves!
So two guys (named Jake and Mike) joke that they are married and coming with each other. (wait... how old are we?) And then it started to get good...

Homo in Provo said...

Congratulations, Mike Smith and Jake Terry (or should I be calling you by your celebrity couple name JaMike? Or your San Francisco name, Mr. and Mr. Smith-Terry?) I am so proud of you guys for finally coming out of the closet. I have long suspected that both of you may be on my team, and now we have actual confirmation. "Not that there is anything wrong with that" - Jerry Seinfeld

...but seriously I am disappointed that there are still people in our society, from our generation that would discriminate people based on their own personal sexual orientation, that has been scientifically proven to be engrained into our DNA.

Sadly, it is because of this continued bigotry that I will not be planning to join you at the reunion with my life partner. Instead we are forced by the moral majority to live a closeted lifestyle in order to ensure that our adopted son is not subject to all of your hate. I sincerely hope that my son's generation is not as closed minded and hateful as my own.


Anonymous said...

I can't speak for all of us, but I know there are enough of us who would be happy to see again you and meet your wonderful partner. Please consider coming! And bring pictures of your son!

Joel said...

J. - Homo in Provo - dude, just come to the reunion.

Projecting hatred towards the people who are "discriminating" against you isn't the best way to overcome it. It will probably only make it worse.

And just to defend Mike and Jake... If you don't know, I will tell you. A family member of mine is gay, and Jake and Mike have always shown them love and friendship. The don't hate gay people. It was just a silly goof. No need to make a disertation on our closed minded society.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can’t believe what I’m reading here… Some of my former classmates are now coming out of the closet? I just found out about this reunion, and I’m actually going to be in town that weekend, but there is no way in hell I’m attending this. I’ve always thought Orem, Utah was one of the worst possible places to grow up as a gay male. For this reason, I isolated myself and didn’t really enjoy high school. Not that it does much good now, but it is some what comforting to know that I wasn’t the only gay student at MVHS who had to grow up in that homophobic environment.

Anonymous said...

Leviticus 20:18 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

Anonymous said...

That's right! It's been 10 years, and the people of Orem still haven't changed much!

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal, people? Let's get real here. Some of us are gay, some of us are straight, does it matter? We all bleed the same. I am gay, i'm still attending the reunion ... and i'm not expecting to get stoned lol. So although i don't feel its anyone's right to ask one's sexual orientation -- or even CARE for that matter -- i want to break anonymity in the hope that other classmates who also happen to be gay won't feel the need to hide and not attend. Let's all feel welcome.

Joel Covington

At this point I was completely enthralled! This was better than ANY talk show or trashy book. Especially because I know these people... and they are coming out of the closet... in a High School Reunion blog!!! And it just kept getting better and better...
Homo in Provo said...

Sadly, as some of the comments above have illustrated many of our 1997 contemporaries have yet to advance beyond their pubescent stages. Already, we have been subjected to several jokes about how funny it would be if 2 of our male classmates got married. I am sorry, but I don't find anything funny about mocking my lifestyle and my personal choices.

Furthermore, Leviticus popped up and pretty much said I should kill myself. Now I know that not all of you feel this way. Many of you are probably homosexual like me, but you have chosen that your living a sin instead of facing the realty that your genetic code has made you the way you are and there is nothing you can do to fight those urges.

Unfortunately, through my life I have come to realize that probably 90% of Utah County feels the way Leviticus does, and wishes I would just off myself. And it is because of that overwhelming bigotry that I cannot agree with you Andrea that we all had a hard time with High School. For how difficult you thought your life was did you really have people who felt you were better off dead? There are very few of you that can truely empathize with me and can truely understand what I have been through, but now I am just rambling on... overwhelming point is that it has been 10 F*&#ing years and yet I am sad to report that my contemporaries have not yet to matured to the point where I can exit the closet and live my life in a persecutionless society.


Anonymous said...


I think you need to be careful in your own judgements. I live in Utah County and I could not care less about your sexual orientation.

I also think you need to lighten up about the whole issue of people joking about being gay on this blog. I had a roommate for about 6 months who was gay and he and his friends would joke all the time about straight people and being straight, I guess looking back I should have been offended by it but who wants to waste the energy, it was pretty funny anyway.

The majority of us would much rather see you come to the reunion so we can catch up than not see you come and if someone has a problem with you then they deserve a swift kick to the head.

In addition to all this rambling, I don't think people are going to sit in the corner think, "Oh my goodness, that guy is gay?!?" I'd imagine it's going to be, "Holy crap, look how fat he got" or "Wow, she really married beneath herself" or "Those are totally implants!"

So the moral of the story is COME TO THE FREAKING REUNION!!!!

jon preston said...

Don't you all think this is getting out of hand. And yes I may be a hypocrite by leaving this comment about it. But HOLY SH@# can we just stop!!!. J- I'm sure there are plenty of reasons not to come. But there are also plenty of good reason too come. So show up!!! it won't be the same without ya! I'm so glad that we are all adults and can talk about this in a rational manner. since the sarcasim it's coming on pretty thick!

Anonymous said...

Well, if not a bit emphatically, spoken Mr. Preston! I think it has gone far enough. What began as a rather tongue-in-cheek joke has spawned some ugly commentary here. I'd like to note that since Joel Covington admitted to being openly gay, not one person has written him and said unkind things to him! It wasn't even a blip on the radar. And isn't that great? He's still Joel and we all still want to see him. We feel the same way about you, J. Even if you don't feel like you can come, please stop criticizing us for what you feel the community has done to you. I would hope you'd note that you've had a great deal of support (sans the scriptural reference)from your old friends and classmates and let it rest. We'd love to have you come... what more can we say?

I am just honestly copying and pasting here! I wish I could take some credit, but I could not have scripted it better! I realize it shouldn't be so entertaining... but at this point I was ready to start flipping through the yearbook, because I was dying to know who all these 'anonymous' people could be! And as sad as it all is sounding, there are actually some very good points made, and intelligent and insightful words of wisdom... but anything positive about this whole situation is completely overshadowed with the fact that these posts are part of a 'class reunion invitation'! Bahhhh!

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was legal for gays to adopt children. If it isn't I think it should be. I would hate to think of passing away and having my kids raised in that environment being taught that homosexuality is NOT a sin (and don't give me your B.S. scienticially proven argument).

J, I implore you for the welfare of your son, please let him be raised in a normal household so he won't have to be subjected to the same bigotry you were.

I love you as my brother and I am praying for you.

Anonymous said...

J, you need a real counselor not the reunion blog.

Anonymous said...

And I would implore that we return this site to its original purpose... an RSVP page for those who will be attending the reunion and those who are sending their regrets.

Anonymous said...

J, I agree with anonymous above have you tried counseling? I have a cousin who had your same problem and his parents sent him away to a camp to get counseling. That was about 5 years ago and he has now grown up and is married to a woman. If you want I can ask him or my aunt for the information. Just let me know?


Mike said...

Jake and I didn't mean anything derogatory. I have gay friends that I care about and my comment wasn't meant to offend anyone.

The Pre-Pubescent Immature Closed-Minded Bigot
(Sometimes I go by Mike Smith)

P.S. I hope no one was offended by that Post-it note comment that I left too.

Megan said...

Wow- this is quite the blog! I'll be there.

And just as I thought all hope was lost...

Anonymous said...

Mike and Jake-

You disappoint me. About the only reason I was going to make the extra effort to trek out to Utah was to see the two of you arm-in-arm. Especially after seeing you in drag on myspace. Wow! To know envy is to see your shaved legs poking out of a saucy cocktail dress. You, my friend, CAN work it.

While my girlfriend of 6 years will tell you I am straight, who among us didn't question their sexuality watching the two of you squat thrusting in gym class. But I digress...

However you identify, I wish you the happiest of Pride Days from my hilltop hideaway in San Francisco. It is a damn beautiful thing to see so many people with so many bad haircuts flock here yearly to a Mecca of personal freedom and public hand holding.

One doesn't need to look at genetic evidence to find proof of homosexuality being natural. Look at dogs at the park, hamsters, SLC zoo, discovery channel, bonobos (closest genetic relative), yes even the newly beloved and mistaken-for-monogamous penguin. Or ask any medical doctor who wasn't too scared to actually look and ask--namely Alfred Kinsey. Or just pick up a history book for a change. Would anyone bother to be afraid of it if it wasn't so NATURALLY everywhere?!!

The APA has not considered homosexuality a mental problem since the 70s and anyone who treats a patient for homosexuality is quickly stripped of their license.

Leviticus was written by a bunch of old woman-hating Jewish Rabbis who were also fearful of pork and being near any woman who was menstruating. Are you really going to live your life by that? When was the last time you stoned your neighbor for walking over 40 paces on the Sabbath? Move to old Jerusalem with the Orthodox Jews or the Taleban in Afghanistan--you'll fit right in

And to "J." this hateful punk wrote "scienticially" Are you really going to let that kind of ignorance worry you? Not that you should move if you don't want to--but what is keeping you in Utah? Is it because you love Olive Garden and Krispy Kreme so much? Well we have those here, plus WAY better food. Mountains/skiing? yes! Forests? yes! Deserts? yes! Way more cool people per capita? h#*% yes! No offense to my classmates or to Utah. It's a gorgeous state to visit, especially the southern part. Is rent more expensive? yes. Is it worth it? yes. Are you paid more by employers to compensate? enough yes. Or pick some other coastal state.

But Heck and Gee whiz things have changed in Utah. Why there's a strong latino presence there now. They're changing everywhere. Which is why we have a fundamentalist resurgence now. They're fightin' scared. My classmates may have been judgemental but I didn't know any that believed the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood like Bush and Jerry Falwell. They did believe Jews floated to America in wooden submarines...but they've always been fiercely interested in science and history to justify their faith in Joseph's Tomb Raider epic. Again no offense, Mr. Smith could write and I called that divinely inspired.

Again I send my regrets. I'm amazed at how much I have changed and experienced in 10 years, and also how much I have not changed. It would have been fun to wander around like so many slow songs at a weekend dance, people-gazing and laughing to myself, at myself, and with all of you.

When I was 16 I wanted to play in Rancid. And some drummer I met and skateboarded with in Utah when I was 16 is now doing just that. I'm really glad that I changed, but it's cool to know that I could have done that or anything else with the right motivation.

Perhaps I'll have some big accomplishment in 10 years that will be worth coming out there to gloat about.

Thanks to everyone whose been posting here. I'd love to hear more from you.
Sorry for lurking, then posting such a long message.

Nate Gallagher

Anonymous said...

I will be in Cali on vacation, so I won't be coming to the reunion. I didn't think I wanted to go, but now after reading these posts I kinda wish I were coming! I forgot about so many people! I was laughing out loud at work when I read some of this stuff! Hope you all have fun!

And with that post, the tasty nuggets ended. It was last post before the 'big night'! Oh how I wished I had read all this before the bless-ed event. I would have had a MUCH better time, I would have been SO entertained to see some of the people whose names are on the above comments, and even more entertained wondering who the anonymous comments came from. This was 2 years ago!
I think we deserve some award for that display of knowledge and maturity! I mean, who are these people? I can't help but wonder if submitted to Oprah, we might get some special 'America's most IDIOTIC graduating class' episode. Dr. Phil could help us sort out our issues with one another. And to think... so many people in my class married each other? No wonder I had a fighting chance... I dropped out of High School. You hear that you should 'stay in school', well in my case, staying in school would have only increased my therapy sessions.
Even if it was 2 years late, I'm so glad to have found this treasure. If I'm ever having a crappy day, I'll just pull this up and it will give me a good laugh.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Every Mom has a story like this... this is mine...

(Inside a very public, very crowded dressing room. I'm really bothered with the fact that I have to buy something specific to wear to an event. It's hard enough to find something that fits well, let alone in a certain color, and by a certain date...argh! So I'm frustrated and in a rush, dragging Sassy Pants all around stores)

Sassy Pants: "Mom! I like your boobies!"
As I'm standing in front of her with my shirt off.
Me: "Thanks!" (in a whisper)

She then pinches her little nipples a couple times and says...
Sassy Pants: "Are these my boobies?"
Me: "Yep" (still whispering)

Sassy Pants: "Will my boobies grow big like yours?"
Me: "Yes... they will." (then I put my finger to my lips and 'shh' her)

A few seconds pass, she is still pinching herself
Sassy Pants: "How long?... 3 years?" (as she hold up two fingers)
I'm shaking my head 'no' back and forth

Sassy Pants: "... 5 years?" (as she holds up three fingers)
I keep shaking my head 'no' and I hold up both hands to show her all ten fingers
Sassy Pants: "10 years!... Argh!!! (as she stomps her foot and her hands fall down to her sides) That's along time!"

At this point I hear two ladies giggle. I thought the conversation was over...thankfully.

Then as I put my shirt on to leave, she says...
Sassy Pants: "Mom! I can't wait till my boobies get big like yours!"
Which gets us two more giggles and one loud belly laugh.

Love her.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bare Lake... lots of bare, but never bears.

"Mom! I love staying at the LaCondo!"
"Do you remember last year's La Condo?"
"LaCondo's in Bear Lake are the best ever!"

When we ask Sassy Pants to dance, she throws down some sweet moves. But when we tell her to "shake your body!"... well, she does some sort of weird thing. She hunches over, stiffens her back, and wags back and forth. She looks like Golum from Lord of the Rings.

I was taken back by the number of older women in bikini's around us this year. I don't know if there were more than usual, or maybe I just noticed more this year.
I can't get over the fact that some women seem so comfortable in their own skin. Very few of the bodies I saw actually looked good... or bikini good. It seems like the people who should be the most covered up are always the ones with the least amount of clothing on!
I admire and somewhat envy the ability to be that comfortable. I sat watching in awe... sat in my full one-piece suit, with board shorts and a tank top over the suit... still feeling like every cottage cheese bump was hanging out for the world to see. Then look to the left and right to see other people's cottage cheese flowing freely, and their enjoying themselves. Am I the only one who cares? Or do I just care too darn much?! I seem to think that everything below my neck and above my knees is dangerous to the human eyes! (except my boobs, besides not being where they should be, they're okay. But my cleavage comes with my upper arms... blah!)
I'd like to think that I can overcome my insecurities, that I can work-out to tighten things, I can loss weight, or maybe find that miracle suit (a literal miracle suit) There's a part of me that knows I will never be totally happy with my body. I have to say that I will try... just spending more time around carefree people without perfect bodies.

It was a great year at the Lake! It can never be without drama, but luckily the drama was before we left, and didn't come up with us this year.
We have tried to arrange a fair and somewhat equal system for this trip, and never fail... someone gets their undies in a bunch about it. My Mom gets the condo (LaCondo) and the water toys are provided by us and the *** . Meaning bringing them up and providing gas. As kids, we take turn providing meals, dividing them up over the week/weekend. It is a pretty sweet gig, yet year-after-year, someone wants to enjoy the vacation without contributing. I'm not sure why, but there is nothing more that bothers me more. Paying for food... is that too much to ask?

It's getting tougher to get together... I'm not sure if it's that we are getting to be such a large family, or people are just so different. It shocks me how different we are, and how different we are continuing to become.
Mr. Smith and I have a hard time vacationing with people, because we like our vacations to be as laid-back as possible. Feeling obligated to someelses timetable kills me! I can't do a schedule, because then we are stressed when we are trying to keep a schedule... and I might as well be stressed with my schedule at home. With that said, it is hard to be the ones everyone seems to be waiting on. I decided this year that the only way we can vacation in groups... is to not plan anything with anyone but ourselves. That way, if we are the last ones to get somewhere... who cares?! we weren't planning on being first! I need to have a vacation... meaning a vacation from stress, and pressure, and the feeling of competition. If I'm not forced to follow others timetables... then I'm not stressed trying to follow it. And ultimately disappointing everyone when we can't keep up. (and how on earth can you call THAT a vacation?)

Aside from that type of drama... there was something so different this year about our immediate family. Car rides were better, sleeping was better, meals went smother, time at the lake was stress-free. It dawned on me that this is our first summer without diapers or naps! WA-HOO! It was awesome! Now if we can just get on our own timetable, summer vacations will be perfect! I do enjoy this stage in life... this stage of our family.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Faux-ee lady

So, once upon a time... a very smart and very capable person... ran into the FRONT of her garage doors! How?!
It's kind of a long story, but it involves having my foot on the brake for a really long time, thinking the car was in park. Bending down to pick something up, and... well... you can get the idea.
So Mr. Smith and I didn't know how expensive our garage doors were... until they needed to be replaced! The insurance covered all but the deductible, and a painting allowance was included.
At the 'Parade of Homes', we saw a company who faux painted garage doors. It looked awesome! Given the weather conditions here in Happy Valley, wood doors don't last long. The faux painting was an alternative to the wood look... without the price or maintenance.
We decided to go with it!
It is so stinking hard to choose colors and designs for something that is SO big and will be such a huge part of the front of my house. I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around how it would look finished.
I made all the decisions... picked everything out... and just held my breath! I figured it would turn out one of two ways... really hokey, our really good!
When they came to paint, they didn't follow a schedule. We were told it was a three step process. Well, after the third step, we thought they were finished. I was so sad... they didn't look as good as I had hoped.
Mr. Smith and I debated calling and complaining, but I didn't think there was anything they could do.
Luckily... Mr. Smith called to talk to someone, and they mentioned that it wasn't done. WHEW! So they came out and finished it, and the finished product was GREAT! Even better than I had imagined!

I worried a bit about the neighbors reactions. When we first moved in, a child came over to play and said "My Mom calls your house the barn house!" I have to say that I was a bit surprised! I love the carriage doors, and I never thought about it looking like a barn.
Our house is already the only one in our subdivision, and now it is even more different.
I have to look at it as 'my house'. Regardless of the houses around it, I want my house to be a reflection of my style and as long as I like it... who cares! right?!
So we've had mostly positive feedback, I'm sure the negitive stuff is only said behind my back... not to my face. But we had an interesting conversation with a neighbor the other day.
He is not a neighbor we have gotten to know too well, and he lives up the street. I knew that he was the one against putting in a playground adjacent to his yard, because of the way it would look. Well, the funny thing is... his house and yard doesn't have what you would call 'curb appeal'. It's not trashy or ugly... it's just not attractive either. They won't put in a fence, and the landscape isn't... well, I have my own opinions. Anyways...
We are sitting in the park and he turns to Mr. Smith and I, he says "Your garage doors look different." I hesitate "They are nice" he continues. But the look on his face is not convincing. I respond with "Thanks! We like them." Then he continues to tell us that when our house was being built, he had a huge problem with our garage doors. He said "They looked horrible! We were going to file complaints with the HOA. But then they painted them a solid color, and they looked better."
Mr. Smith and I look at each other with the same face. "Oh really? Hum." Is all I could muster out of my mouth. I had no idea that the neighbors had such issues with our house. And I was getting a bit angry at the thought of our garage doors being such a conflict for people. ARGH!

Which brings me to a thought...
Originality is something we should be better at embracing.
I live in a community controlled by an HOA. We have to have the same type and color of fences, we have to have a certain number of bushes and trees in our yards, and we cannot park on the street overnight. We have to approve ANY landscape/grass/sprinkler plans prior to doing anything. Even the size of trees we have is controlled.
The logic is that our neighborhood be nice, neat, well-groomed... and ultimately uphold it's value. There is a comfort knowing that your neighbor cannot park his car on his lawn, move his fridge and nasty couch to the porch, and chain a dog to a tree.
However, it's interesting to notice... that even with all the restrictions... there are people who refuse to follow the rules, don't care for their yard, or leave cars on the road.
To me, there is a different between neglect and just plain differences!
We had a home on our street put in zero-scaping. People pitched a fit! I personally didn't like the way it looked... but hey! I don't live there! They maintained it well, it wasn't messy or dirty, and yet it bothered people so badly!
I think that we would all do better just remembering that we are all different. Originality is not a bad thing. Infact, more originality would be great where I live... then we wouldn't have the 'cookie-cutter' streets.
As a kid, I remember 'that house' on our street. It was blue, and kind of a victorian style. They added on to it a couple times, and it was just... different. At Christmas, they would string lights between the trees and the house in random formations. Some lights would blink, some were white, and some were multi-colored. It was the talk of the neighborhood. And I remember all the horrible things I heard adults say about their yard and home.
20 years later... They still live there. They have raised their family, and only the husband and wife live at home. Now, as an adult, I drive down the street and think "Hey! That house looks cool!" And if anything, all the other houses on the street look old and dated. I know they love their house, and have probably enjoyed every renovation.
Now... I'm not doubting that it would be a hard sale. But that's the point, that house is 'them'. We have a blue house on our street. Inside and out, the entire house is blue. I'm thinking that selling it will be difficult, but that's not my problem. It's how they want it, and more power to them!
So, to each their own! People don't have to love what I do to my house or how it looks. We may be 'the house' on the street, whatever. I think that as long as I love it... that's good enough for me!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sweet and Sassy

It's hard to believe... my Sassy Pants is now 4 years-old!
She has been such a wonderful and fun kid to have. I need to watch myself, because I'm afraid I will give her a complex... she really is a good kid! You know how parents label their children... the smart one, the athletic one, the artistic one... I don't want her to think she is my naughty one, or the 'stinker' as her sisters say. (even if it's true)

She has come a long way this year! She has learned to go potty... which was quite an accomplishment. She is going to start her second year of Pre-school, and she is learning and growing so fast.
She does not like to be left behind... so much that she refuses to EVER be the last one out the door, or in the car, or anything we may be doing.
She is spunky, and has crazy amounts of energy. She loves to smile, and has become so much more cheerful in the last bit.
Sassy Pants is one of the fastest kids I've ever seen. She has the speed and coordination of an animal, instead of a human. And if you know the background of her physical development... it's incredible!
She is really smart... too smart... and can read people like a book. She adores cat's and dog's, and can be rather gentle with them.
She is surprisingly sensitive. In being softer with her, she becomes softer. And she can get so hurt if she thinks you are mad or angry with her.
She has developed the funniest story telling abilities. She has become quite the talker! She follows me around all day starting her sentences with "Guess what?" (It's all I can do to not answer with Chicken Butt... how mature am I?) She makes a cute click-type sound with her tongue behind the top of her teeth and the roof of her mouth. And she'll pause between sentences with a "tsh, tsh...well...tsh, tsh...well..." I love it!
She LOVES Mr. Smith. She is a 'daddy's girl' and he loves it. She wraps her arms around his neck so tight! If her tries to leave in the morning without giving her a kiss... she gets so ticked! If she's hurt, he is the one to comfort her. She always asks him when he leaves for work "Daddy? Will you come home to me?" and he always answers "I'll be home at dinner time." And she'll smile and hug him again. She just wants to here him say it each day.
She has NO FEAR! And while it may be difficult for Mr. Smith and I... I know that she will accomplish so much in life.
I love my little Sassy Pants... she's my spice in life!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Verbally and Physically Handicapped

I’ve been rather subdued lately. (I love the word sub-duuuuuue-d, spoken in a low voice with a British accent) I must say that it has worked well for me. Consequently, I have started getting up and running every morning. It seems to be a good way to sort thoughts, and release any anger or negative energy.
It’s still hard. I didn’t realize how hard it is for me to not give an opinion or talk about what’s bothering me. I had a couple slip up’s… of course. But I consciously made an effort to change the subject, or just stop talking.
I was at a family gathering where someone bashed my profession. I definitely snapped back, but overall the night was a success. No diarrhea of the mouth. And when the topic of 'said night' was later brought up... again, tight lipped.
I'm learning great respect for 'listeners'. People who can sit back and just listen to others, without interjecting an opinion or thought. I found it interesting to not add anything to a conversation... really different for me, but also really great!
I wasn't a wallflower, especially around Mr. Smith's family, but I sure listened better.

We were able to celebrate the holiday weekend with both Mr. Smith’s and my family.
It was good times, and good food, and great company! Our family’s are very different from each other. In fact, I’m not sure they could be more opposite.
They eat different, talk different, act different, even the topic of our conversations are so different. On both sides, however, the kids are lucky to have cousins their ages.
The following weeks are completely filled with family gatherings... with my family. It will be quite a test for my new rules!

We also celebrated Miss MaGoo’s 8th birthday. Wow! We did a big party with her friends.
It was a lot of fun, and even the weather cooperated with us. I was lifting some rather heavy buckets, and bags of things, when I hurt my wrist.
I made a bad sound and I felt like someone had poured gasoline on the inside of my arm and lit it on fire! I had some strong medicine (left over from something) and it knocked me out. When I woke up I knew something was terribly wrong. It looked as if I was growing a baseball on my arm.
I went to the dr. for x-rays and schtuff. I left with more strong meds, and my arm in a splint. The best part?… I’m supposed to keep the splint on for 4-6 weeks. And even after that, I may not get mobility back for up to 12 weeks.
How excited am I to spend our trip to the lake without a hand? How about our camping trip? I can’t ride the machines, I can’t put up a tent, can’t roll up a sleeping bag, I can’t even effectively put on sunscreen!

On a brighter note… I can already tell that my left hand is more coordinated!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I pledge allegiance

We celebrated the independence of our great nation this past weekend. I must say that I can’t let the holiday pass without expressing how truly grateful I am for the freedoms that we enjoy.
I know that I take so much of it for granted, and probably don’t even realize many of the things that freedom brings to me and my family.
I am so thankful for the brave men who fought, and the supportive women of whom I owe many of the luxuries I enjoy on a daily basis. I know that a tremendous number of people lost their lives for a dream they believed in. They saw the vision of what our country could become.
So many of the laws and procedures they established are what give us the power and means to live the way we do. I am grateful I can practice my religion, that I can work to become anything I want. I am grateful for the freedom the speak about what I believe, and write about it (or blog about it) I cannot imagine living without these freedoms, and I often forget that there are many who don’t have that.
I am grateful to be a woman in this country. Where I have the right to vote, and be involved in my community. Where I also, can work to become anything I want to be. I know that many women have sacrificed and worked hard for those rights.
I must say how thankful I am for the men and women who fight to ensure we keep those rights. For the ones who physically fight and risk their lives, and their families. And also for those who speak up, and have the means to protect our laws and uphold our constitution. Those who stand as a voice for the people. Whether I agree with them or not, I am thankful that the passion and drive of our leaders continues to make America the nation that it is.
I honestly believe that so much of our freedom is up to us. Many people sit back, complain about things, want certain things, and are not brave enough to make a difference. I cannot imagine not exercising my right to vote. An act that some consider insignificant, yet the most powerful tool we have. So many died for us to have that right. So many more died for that right to be given to every race and gender. That small, but amazing act, is what sets us apart. It’s the foundation of our freedom.
I have a family member who has strong political opinions. His opinions come mostly from sitting and watching television. Listening to men and women who desire is to discredit, humiliate, laugh at, make fun of and essentially ruin people’s lives. I can’t help but think of the scrutiny that many families and individuals have suffered through slander. I believe that all of the hate speeches are hindering our nation’s progression.
I believe that if you don’t like something, and have problems with something… do whatever is in your means to change it! Sitting on a couch is not doing anything to make the world a better place.
I personally believe that supporting our nations leaders is the best way to support our country. Granted, I do not believe in everything our leaders say or do. But thankfully, that is my right as a citizen. I am my own person, and truthfully I have never completely agreed with everything someone else has said.
Yet in the end, it doesn’t matter which side you are on, part of being an American is supporting our president, supporting our military, and supporting our country. That’s what makes America… well, America!