Friday, February 21, 2014

I need this...


... and the matching bumper sticker.



Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I! Just! Can't! Let! It! Go!


I've got some thoughts – thoughts that border on the obsessive – thoughts that keep coming back to me.  And each time they come back, I holler Let It Go! and then the thoughts come back again, but only stronger.

It's all because the whole premise of my obssessed-thought predicament is predicated upon that Let it Go! tune.  Let it Go!  Let it Go!  Can't hold you back anymore!  

You see the vicious cycle, don't you?  Unctuous thought > heart races with urgency > Let it Go!  > hum the tune > unctuous thought arrives again > heart races with even more urgency.

Over and over and over.

I try to be one of those folks that adheres to the dictum that we shouldn't give stupid, pretentious, self righteous people any more attention, because that's the reason people are stupid, pretentious and self righteous.  But this time, it's different.  This time, I've got my undies in an uproar over being misrepresented.

I cannot Let! It! Go!

I am about to give a stupid, pretentious, self righteous nitwit some attention.  I shall repent later.  First for calling her stupid, because that's just not nice, and not based on facts, and second, because I'm disobeying my own dictum (that of giving stupid, pretentious, and self righteous people attention.)

So there's this Mormon grandma lady who has seen Frozen, at least two times too many.  She has fabricated a blog post on the ferals of a this Frozen flick, claiming first and foremost, with fire and fatuity, and with far too many words and mouse/thumb scrolls, that Frozen is Disney's last-ditch effort to push the "gay agenda."

You can see it here.  If you like.  And if you make it through the whole thing, well... you won't make it through the whole thing, even if you agree with her, because it's boring and has middle-aged harpy written all over it.

This lady calls herself a "Well Behaved Mormon Woman."  This in itself proves the self-righteous and pretentious accusation, listed above.  But, seriously, I cannot let it go.  I feel I need to write the LDS church and demand that she label herself the Unofficial Well Behaved Mormon Woman, because, well, there is nothing well-behaved about her.

Now, I believe that everyone is entitled to their very own opinion.  When it comes to the issue of homosexuality, I feel the same.  We are each entitled to feel how we feel about it.  I will not, can not, impose my view, or express how you should feel about this issue, for it goes against my inner core set of values to demand someone share the same opinion as me.

(I have inserted my disclaimer, now we can continue...)

There isn't a single piece of dialog, anywhere in Frozen, that says "kids be gay" or "girls should love/like girls" or "boys should love/like boys."  Nowhere.  (Or maybe I wasn't paying attention, set me straight, if that's the case.)  Therefore, any commentary of said "gay agenda" is nothing short of an inferring judgement and a hollow 'n haughty accusation.

Let's talk about Judging, shall we?  Lets!

Jesus, the center of the LDS Christian faith, said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."  St Matthew, 7:1-2

Jesus also said, "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way." Romans 14:13

But wait!  There's more!  This issue of judging each other was a big deal and He didn't stop there!

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." St John 7:24

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."  Luke 6:37

"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." John 12:47

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge." James 4:11

In all fairness, I am judging the poor dear, by accusing her of the judging.  But the difference, however, is that I never claimed to be a "Well Behaved Mormon Woman."  No-siree, on-the-contrary.

Bottom line, sweet (not!) Well Behaved Mormon Woman?  You should go to business school.  Disney is not wasting its resources on any agenda; Disney is not trying to woo your precious offspring into homosexuality.  Disney is all about one thing, and that thing is Cash.  They could care less what you think because they have your money.  At three showings!  (Or however many times she saw it.)

I think I can let it go now.


p.s. I might have just placed a giant "X" on my back.  Well Behaved Mormon Woman has 7.3k followers. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Arlington National Cemetery


Happy President's Day!

In honor of some presidents and the place where presidents took care of things, I thought I'd post some of my favorite photos from the D.C. trip.  Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most awe-inspiring, emotional, and visually appealing places I've ever been. We spent hours there.  It was tough to narrow the photo-pickings, so I just decided to post them all.  Kidding.  Not really.


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Robert E. Lee's House

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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Paying respect to "Silent Cal," who is our favorite president for various reasons.

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Here we are!  

This last photo, and compliments, goes to some female LDS missionaries who were out sight-seeing for the day.  There's something about missionaries that make you wanna run up to them,  talk to them, and then on the sly, ask them to take your photo.  

I believe this is our only family photo from the whole trip.  I need to work on that.  More family photos.  Means we need to find more missionaries?



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Freedom From Want


Warning... today's post is not happy or uplifting.  If you choose to read on (not really recommended) it'll either make you feel superior, what with my drolling druthers, or it'll ruin your day.  I'm hoping for the latter because misery likes company.  Oh, but the pictures are purdy.  You can just look at the purdy pictures.

Every once in a while I say, "This is it" as in "This is it?"  I have battled my way through the first 25-years of my life – a life of hell, mind you – to spend my days as a tiny, insignificant cog, churning about in the parent, career, church, and society machine?  This is it?

(Just bare with me while I work this out, kay?  I have no idea where this is going.)

It's my attitude, right?  It must be.  Life is about attitude.  Believe and achieve! What you think you become! Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Life is what you make it! Nothing is impossible!

Thing is, I see my kids two or three hours a day.  I see the Spouse less.  And when I see the three, I have to share them with various interludes; interludes that as of right now, take precedence.  Interludes like work, and homework, and friends, and piano, and church, and household chores.  Not to mention the interruptions that just show up and say "Here I am!  Deal with me! I know you have stuff you're trying to do, but I'm here and I'm more important so give me attention and do something for me or else you're being rude!"

It's all enough to squeeze every last bit of air out of my mid-life inflatable lifeboat.

(Remind me to build my next midlife lifeboat out steel.)

I'm not lazy.  I'm not a quitter.  I have the will of a giant.  Anything I want, I will get – through stubbornness alone – all I need is the want. But therein lies the problem.  The want is gone.  Gone, gone.  I don't want anything.  I don't want food.  I don't want a house.  I don't want a vacation.  I don't want more time.  I don't want more friends.  I don't want to ski.  I don't want to run.  I don't want to have fun. I don't want... anything... except the one thing I cannot have.

What do I want?  I want more time with the people I love.  More time to watch, interact, and be –without the distraction of having to "get something done."

While in Washington DC, we were out monument browsing.  One of the last monuments visited was the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial.  It's beautiful.  Cascading waterfalls, statues and this:


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"Freedom from want."  

Ask the Spouse.  I stared at that placard for a good five minutes.  Freedom from want... freedom from want... freedom... from want.  Shield us, protect us, ward off.... the want.  Want is bad. Want is evil.  Want must be kept away.

Now we all know what President Roosevelt was saying back then.  The world was jobless, homeless and depressed; life was a mess for most.  But "freedom from want?"  I know what freedom from want is.  Freedom from want is depression.  

Seems the tools that can get us out of depression (jobs, affluence, luxury, technology, etc., etc.) can take us right back.*

Freedom of....? Freedom from....?   There sure is a big difference.


*I'm mostly speaking of me here... didn't mean to lump you all into my depressed category.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bits of Nothing and Pieces of Something


✮ Nothing much is happening.  It's all work, work, and more work, followed by homework, homework, and more homework, followed by housework, housework, and not more housework, cause housework gives me no joy.  I stop the housework before it gets to more housework.

✮ I guess what I just told myself, with that paragraph, is that while work is work, and homework is work, I get a meager amount of joy from both.  I'm going to hang on to that.

✮ Yesterday I was a bad mom.  Bad, bad, mom.  We all played hooky.  I took the kids out of school and we built New York City.  We swallowed lemonheads and swedish fish whole then washed it down with Mountain Dew. We capped the afternoon with two New York City-filmed movies: Tower Heist and Men in Black.

(They still practiced the piano, though.  Hooky-day doesn't provide a piano-practice exemption.)

✮ Spouse 'n me, we saw Men In Black on our first date.  I'll bet I've said that here before.  Please hold while I check.  Nope.  This is the first.  We had dinner at  Frontier Pies on that same date.  I didn't have pie.  I should have had pie.  I love pie.  Extra especially fruit pie.

✮ On my play hooky day, I still worked eight hours.  Take that!  All you everybody out there that think I'm lazy!  On my hooky-day I worked eight hours! And built New York City!  We Rabids are superhuman.  In three hours we built what took other folks hundreds of years.

✮ How did we build NYC?  With a kit.  The founding Dutch should have had a this NYC kit, so as to sidestep some hassles.  The kit begins with a jigsaw puzzle, that's really a map of Manhattan at the 1700s, then you build another puzzle of the current-streets on top.  After you have the streets, you can plant the buildings.  We planted the buildings in the order of their erection.  It was cool to see how the city was built.

✮ Did I just use the word erection?  Sure did.  Now that's something!


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Proud erectors. 

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Spidey saves the ice cream truck.

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Yahoos are star-struck.  They love their Spidey.

✮ I have Dutch ancestors who lived in 17th century New York.  True story.  I don't look Dutch though.  Maybe next time we should build Amsterdam?  Or Chicago?  Or Paris?  Yeah.... Paris.  I've been there.

✮ I don't really have much fun anymore.  I'm not very fun either.  I turn down invitations because I find myself boring and don't want to subject others to my boring.  Mostly though, I turn down invitations to hang with large groups of women.  Large groups of women are not my thing.  And you will never (ever!) hear me say that I'm going to "Girls Night Out." Will I attend "Stitch 'n Bitch?"  Of course.  But never a "Girls Night Out."  

✮ Speaking of fun, sometimes I catch myself thinking, "I guess I've had all the fun I"ll ever have."  I need to stop saying that.  I'm in a fun-rut.  Fun-ruts are hard to get out of.  And it seems like each fun-rut gets deeper and harder with every dig.

✮ I've picked a theme for the year.  It is: Hope. Engage. Persist.  I'll start this hoping and engaging and persisting by working on the fun-rut.

✮ My current fun-rut came on Monday after a seven miler.  The calf is acting up again and I'll be on the couch for a bit.  This is a real bummer because on Saturday I had a very promising 15 miler.

✮ I want a New Girl episode where Jess gets herself out of a fun-rut.  That could be helpful.  And funny.  New Girl is always funny.

✮ With all this couch time, I started watching Bones.  I'm watching it right now and Dr. Brennan is running around yelling "Where the hell are my bones?!" Snicker.  And maybe a snort.  Earlier she said, "Why does this dead body have skin on it?  You know I don't do skin."  I like shows with quirky characters.  This one is full of 'em.  I'm going to adopt Brennan's "I don't know what that means" with the hope that the target of said phrase would deem me too genius to understand the trivial.

✮ I watch too much TV.  Actually, I don't really watch TV.  I listen to TV and glance at it occasionally.  It keeps me from getting lonely when the Yahoos are at school.  If you would have told me six years ago, that I'd be lonely and missing the Yahoos each and every day, I'd say you were high.  Life has a whole bunch of feast or famine, doesn't it?

✮ While we're on the subject of feasts and famines, let's talk about my employer.  We do tax return software on the internet.  In the past, I've been mum about where and how and what, but have since been given free license to promote!  Go to www.FreeTaxUSA.com and prepare your return.  Federal is free, state (if you choose) is $12.95.  Safe 'n secure 'n authorized – it's great for most.  AND... here's the bonus.... enter AMBERS25 at checkout for a 25% discount.

✮ Gee, that's a funny coupon code, this AMBERS25.  Why is it AMBERS25?  I'll tell you why, the employees are having a contest to see who can recommend the most people.  The coupon code keeps track.  I wanna win!  I wanna win! I wanna win!  Thought about paying people to use my coupon code, but thought again – this avenue could get me fired.  Doh!

✮ Speaking of fire.  It's time for me to get back to work.  Into the Fire!  With Taxes!  (And Sarah McLachlin.)





Friday, January 31, 2014

Fourteen, Part II


Yesterday Two days ago, I had promised a 14-memory documentation.  Random memories, mostly, that would just come to me on the fly.  So here we go (in no particular order):

1.  The running date.  While dating, October 1997, I believe, we had set a date for an early morning run.  It would be our first run together and our second(ish) actual date.  If you want to call it that.  Spouse had run cross country in college and even though I was in decent shape – having just run my (very!) first marathon – I was nervous.  Can I keep up?  Will he run me into the ground?  I like this one.  What if I say something stupid, as I'm apt to do while running? As I'm apt to do all the time.  

The plan was to meet at his place and early.  Something like 6:00.  He's not a morning person at all, so when I jogged up to his front door and knocked, I was surprised to see the door open immediately.  Evidently he slept on the floor by the door to make sure he didn't miss me.  That's when I realized that he likes me too.  

2. Motorcycles.  Also while dating, he taught me to ride a motorcycle.  He had this Honda CBR F-something-er-other.  I could barely touch the ground when mounted and saddled.  What I thought, was that I'd sit up front and he in back, you know, to make sure I don't do anything stupid.  Nope.  That wasn't the plan.  When I asked, "Aren't you going to ride in the back to make sure I don't do anything stupid?"  He said, "Nope.  I'm not crazy."

That was when I realized that he didn't like me enough to die with me.  Later we bought Harleys and morphed into pretend biker geeks long enough to  road-trip a few times.  We traded his Harley for a fence and mine for a fireplace.

3. Proposal.  Every year we have this Christmas party with our Novell friends.  The tradition started in 1997 and we have yet to miss a year.  At the party of 1999, Spouse put an engagement ring in his white elephant gift and staged it so I'd be "forced" to choose it.  Thing is, I actually picked the gift without having to go through above mentioned staging.

When I opened the white elephant "gift," I found this shiny, expensive  thing that resembled a diamond ring.  Imagine my shock! Imagine my horror!  Imagine my confusion!  Imagine my happiness!  He knows I like surprises.   I said yes.

Aside, this is going to take forever!  I better condense some.

4. Bowling.  One time Spouse took me bowling.  I was grouchy, ornery, and hated everything that day.  He took me screaming and kicking (inside) and I ended up having a great time.  He's done that a bunch since.

5. Anniversary Pizza.  One year on the anniversary, we sent the kids to a neighbor and had pizza in the tub.  I brought this up a few days ago and Spouse drew a blank.  "I don't remember that." Evidently the pizza wasn't good enough to remember?  Better get a different pizza next time.

6. Jobless Baby-Daddy.  Two weeks before Yahoo #1 was born, Spouse's place of employment went belly-up.  And by belly-up, I mean all employees, save three, were brought into a room. "We can't make payroll and we're going under.  But you can take your computers if you want."

The next day I went to the hospital to register.  (They like you to do that, I guess, so that you can just roll into the hospital and labor without the hassle of paperwork.)  During the interview, the registrar asked "Are you married?" Yes.  "Where does your husband work." Blank stare.  More blank stares.... Even more blank stares... Why the blank stares?  I just became that girl – that knocked-up girl with a jobless baby-daddy.

7. Showered with Trust.  After Yahoo #1 was born and I was still in the hospital, I left the baby with Spouse to take a shower.  It was the best shower of my life, and for two reasons. First, we all know how good it is to shower after calving.  Second, I was overwhelmed with relief.  I have this awesome dude outside my door, one I trust completely, someone I can leave my children with always.  That was the day I realized the true meaning of trust.

8. Brats around the Block.  I went into labor with Yahoo #2, ironically, on our fourth anniversary.  After six patient hours of "working," it was time to go to the hospital.  The last baby took something like forever, so we figured this on would be no different.

Six hours wasn't enough, though, and they sent me home.  Told me to eat something and walk around the block.  So Spouse grilled-up some Bratwurst and we walked around the block.  That was the longest walk of my life, but a Brat I'll never forget.

9. Vans in the Grand Canyon.  One time Spouse and I hiked the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We had dropped my dad Mikey and his cronies at the North Rim the drove the cars to the South.  Once we arrived at the South Rim we hiked down to meet them. Spouse was wearing Vans because he's a Vans kind of man.

At the bottom near the river, we found Mikey with a to-the-bone gash in his knee.  Flies were hovering, dirt abounded and it didn't help that he tripped again and landed in a pool of donkey piss.  We hauled the ol' torn-up bugger out and took him to Flagstaff for stitches.  The doc on duty said, "Sir, this wound is grossly contaminated."  We returned to the South Rim somewhere around 2:00am and Mikey spent the next six weeks on antibiotics.  Spouse continued to hike in his Vans.

10. The Thumbs Speak.  At movies, we have this tradition with the previews and it goes like this: the preview will play, with its barks and bursts and brilliance, and when the preview finishes, we all look at each other and "present thumbs."  A thumb up means "It's a good one!  Let's go see it!"  A thumbs down means "Absolutely not!"  And a thumb to the side means, "Maybe, but only if one of you has a thumb up."  Even at the most epic of flicks, this Thumb Thing is my favorite part of the movie.

11.  St. George, 2002.  Spouse has been at the finish for most of my marathons.  The most memorable was St. George, 2002.  I was running along the last mile-straight-away, that being the old course mile-straight-away that's been since changed to a zig-zag.

I was running along, with less than a half mile to go.  And out of the corner of my ear, I hear "GO RABID! GO RABID! GO RABID GO!"  I turned and waved.  And there he was.  Cheering me on with a video camera and a fussy 'n angry 18-month-old in a backpack.  I declare his wrestling with the crabby baby was more work than my marathon.

12. Moth 'til you Drop.  We drove to Arizona once, and listed to Moth Podcasts the entire way.  That was a great time.

13. Darth CodeWarrior Vader.  During one of Yahoo #1's birthday parties, Spouse came out dressed as Vader.  Never was he more attractive.

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And finally, the memory to trump all memories...

14. I'm yours if you'll have me.  Our dating situation was a complicated one.  Mostly it was because I was a mess.  I had chips on my shoulder, I had trust issues, I had all sorts of things to work though. You might recall that I have been married before, and said marriage left me broken, battered and betrayed.

Spouse and I dated for a year, and when things became serious, I freaked and ran.  Ran far away.  He was very nice.  He treated me well.  Surely it was too good to be true.  I was sure that if we were to get married, the whole thing would be a repeat of the experience I had just finished.  (There was also a religious commitment that had me freaked, but I won't go into that here.)

We broke up.  He went his way.  I went mine.  We both worked a lot, we both dated.  Somehow I had the presence to establish a no-dude-can-be-dated-twice-in-a-row rule, which was successful in keeping me from getting serious.  I also had a no-chick-can-be-dated-twice-in-a-row rule, which was easy to follow because I wasn't into chicks.  For a whole year I kept myself at arms length from any and all. It was a really weird year.

Then I found this motorcycle and needed to see if I could still ride one.  So I called him and said, "Hey.  Can I borrow your bike to see if I can still ride a motorcycle because I found this little orange Sportster that I want really bad?"  And that was all it took.  He rode to my assistance and boy did I still love him a bunch.

We spent the next few weeks together, nonstop.  Eventually, we had to have "the talk" because it wasn't fair for either of us to be yanking the chain of the other.  So I sat him down and I said, "I'm yours if you'll have me."  

I'll never forget the look on his face.


*** Check back later.  I might have more photos.  Not now though, 'cause I'm going running.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fourteen


The Spouse and me, fourteen are we.  It happened on Mon-dee.

We tend to anniversary on the down-low because we celebrate our gracious and enduring love each and every day.  Each!  And Every! Love-Enduring! Day!  This year's anniversary happenings went like this: fourteen random photos attached to the strings of fourteen balloons.  I'd show you here, but the pictures are in the bedroom and I have this thing about keeping my bedroom off the internet.  Weird, I know.  Then after a stressful day of work for both, we packed the Yahoos, picked up a to-go picnic, then traveled to the parking lot of Novell's former "Building M."

"Why are we here?" asked one of the Yahoos, don't remember which.

"We met in this building," was the reply, in unison.

Some moans and gag-me-with-the-romance groans came from the back seat.  Then there was a  a quick "Can I have my brownie now?"

(Spouse was driving and I was sitting shotgun – just in case you thought the moans and gag-me-with-the-romance groans were of the anniversary nature, and that a brownie dessert to an alleged anniversary moan 'n grown was our "thing.")

That's right folks.  It was 17 (or 18?) years ago, on the Novell Campus in Orem, Utah, Building M, that we met.  Spouse wrote software that sometimes housed some bugs, I found the bugs, I told him to fix those bugs, then he fixed the bugs and I tested the fixed bugs.

We meant-for-each-other-geeks were married January 27th, 2000.  Sigh.

It's been a great ride.  I mean this truly.  Sometimes it's easy and rewarding – other times unpleasant (and unyielding and compromising and infuriating.)  At the end of the day and on each anniversary, it's always nice to sincerely declare it worth the extra effort. I'd do it again a thousand times, and I love him more now than the day we were married.

Fourteen is a magical number, and I feel that I need to come up with fourteen of our most memorable moments.  Except I'll need to do that tomorrow because I'm out of time.