Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time Travel

I am going to build a time travel machine. I really am. I want to go back and try a different tactic (or two, or three, or a dozen) in certain (past) situations in my life. I want to see what MIGHT have happened if I had made different choices. Or do I? Hmmm.

Isn't that what life is about? It's all about choices. We drive down the freeway and take the wrong offramp, and end up in a neighborhood we are completely unfamiliar with. We order a new couch in the color that's all the rage, only to find out that burnt orange really doesn't go with our light blue carpet. We choose to live correct and honorable principles or fly by the seat of our pants with no moral code to guide us - each individual choice taking us down a unique road, sometimes with a few confusing detours along the way (because of our choices).

We choose. Or sometimes we refuse to. Or sometimes we procrastinate our choices, waiting for something to force the decision one way or another, thereby taking the responsibility that goes with making a choice away from us (or at least that's what we rationalize in our minds).

And yet, when a choice is taken away from us or forced upon us, we fight to regain that right. For example, have you ever tried to choose an outfit for a teenage girl? Even if she asks?!?!

Some choices are simply not yours to make.

But, I think that for the most part, we are thankful each day for this God-given privilege to choose, which is why we are so protective of it.

We choose our spouse.

We choose our clothes. We choose to exercise and eat healthy, or be a couch potato and eat fast foods.

We choose to smile or frown.

We choose to read a book or watch TV. We choose to work ethically or just get by.

We choose the right, or we don't.

Sometimes there is no gray area when we make a choice, sometimes there is.

Everything we do is choice. And every choice we make has a consequence, sometimes that consequence is not played out instantly, but it does play out eventually.

It takes courage to make some choices. It takes courage to let others make their own choices.

I have made a lot of choices in my life, some good, some bad. Some really good, some really bad.

I didn't choose my children, they were sent to me without any preapproval or screening process. I am so glad! What if I had passed one over? What if I had been afraid to have six kids, or not wanted any more after Katrina was stillborn, or worried about some silly idiosyncrasy that I thought I saw in one of them? What if I had not had the privilege to be their mother?

I choose not to think about that possibility.

I love being a mother. My kids are grown now (my youngest, Kalen, is almost 18 and has thought she was grown up since she was 15), but as they were growing up I watched my children make choices - good and bad choices. I watched as they learned from them (some learned faster than others). Some of my kids feel I gave them too much leeway, allowed them too much freedom to choose, and maybe they are right.

But hey, this was my first attempt at being a parent. I didn't get a practice run at it. I was making choices, testing theories, experimenting with their lives basically. But don't all parents to some degree? I regret those times I fell short as a parent, both in instances where a choice I made caused the 'failure' as well as when simple inexperience was the cause.

I made decisions then, and I am making choices today. Decisions that affect not only me, but friends, family, and those I love. We are all making decisions that will affect our future. I do know that for the most part I made the best choices possible considering where I was and what I was dealing with at that point in my life. I did, I truly believe, the best I could.

I suppose time travel could make sense (try one decision, race forward to see how it works out, if it doesn't look too good, race back and try another......repeat), but something tells me we wouldn't get much done. Besides, I can't even manage a remote control, I am not sure how I would ever build a time machine. I think I will make a choice right now and scrap the time machine plans. However, choices and their relationships to time are still worthy of consideration.

Choices are important. They determine our life path. They determine our lifelong friendships. They determine our family relationships. They are our best teachers.

Sometimes, as we are planning for the future, the choices we are making today are choices about how to deal with a choice we made in the past. Wow, that sounds a lot like time travel. One eternal round. Past, Present, Future. Repeat.

I am grateful for the ability to make choices. I know I have a lot more choices to make in my life and I am determined to make better choices than some I have made in the past. I want to be a better, stronger, happier person, one who is more compassionate, more patient, more real.

I wish I could go back and change a few choices I have made, but I can't. So today I will look to yesterday for lessons I need to remember as I also look forward to the future. Wow, more time travel.

Some choices need to be instantaneous, some require thoughtful preparation. Some don't even need to be made. It's a confusing

One thing's for certain. We need to look at the big picture, the broad spectrum, the whole enchilada, the past/present/future. We really can't afford to rationalize or procrastinate, there's too much at stake and life is too short to delay.

We need to use our minds to learn from our past and plan for our future - today.

We can do this! I can do this! It's a choice, nothing more, nothing less.

Today I choose to choose.

Beam me up, Scotty! (oh dear, does that require a remote control?!)

Original Star Trek Series Intro and Theme Song

Friday, May 29, 2009

Something Old, Something New

It's a crap shoot, ya know, this wedding stuff. You plan and you plan and you just never know how that day's gonna turn out, with one exception - you can be fairly certain that the bride and groom won't notice much beyond each other and won't remember much of the extravaganza.

White is so banal anyway. What's to remember? No wonder we add colors and flowers and people in frilly dresses and dark suits with fancy ties. It makes sense that colored mints are par for the course and towering cakes with unfamiliar people perched on top are de rigor.

And now it's customary to add trees and white lights (everywhere)'s a wonder the bride doesn't trip over some poorly placed chord.

And this brings me to Kelly and Logan, the newly engaged couple who didn't even want a wedding. And I can see why. Who wants to have bags of leftover mints as dessert for the next year, topped by a frozen (and stale) cake top with those same unfamiliar people cryonically preserved and still perched on the inch of sugar-icing? I am pretty sure they don't. But I bet the cake cutting moment will be worth all that planning!

Who wants to worry about what color hat someone might wear and how people who really don't like each other (but come together for these very spay-eh-shul occasions) might act? No one, which is why most folks are on their best behavior at weddings.

So, why have a wedding? It's expensive, it's stressful, it's over in an hour, you have to invite people you have never met - and you have mints left over.

The bride has to find the dress of her dreams, in one shopping spree usually. The groom has to suck in for a cumberband of appropriate color. They both have to select "best" friends and favorite family members to serve in the wedding party. It's a wonder weddings don't sometimes turn into family feuds. It's more of a wonder that more couples don't elope mid-wedding-planning. I am certain many consider it. So what keeps them on track, what motivates them to have a wedding? Love. Family. Tradition. Celebration. Friends. Love......

Weddings are celebrations of life and love. They are as much, if not more, for the guests (family, friends, others who have to be invited because of that silly Vanderbilt book of etiquette) as they are for the couple getting hitched.

And there's an interesting phrase, "Getting hitched." Sounds like redneck trailer talk to me. "Hitch it up, Fred!" Somehow, "Hitch her up, Logan" just doesn't feel right.

So, we have weddings, we invite people "just because" AND "because!", we hope for civility, grace and courtesy from all, but mostly, we love that feeling of hope and dreams and optimism that young couples in love almost ooze, to say nothing of those mints; so we plan and plan an hold our breath in both excitement and dread all the time watching out for those loose chords and saying quiet prayers that this union will be one for the eternities.

Knowing Logan and Kelly...and watching them together, and sensing their mutual respect and witnessing their obvious love for each other... this one's a slam dunk.

Which brings me to Ralph Bobik...and those size 14 Converse basketball shoes he wore to my reception - with his tux - in 1976, sending my poor Dad into heart failure. I love that guy. I am not sure my Dad felt quite the same affinity for Ralph at that moment of truth when Joel (my Dad) looked at Ralph and said "YOU BETTER NOT have forgotten your dress shoes."
I loved my Dad. And I love that memory (which proves that brides DO remember some things from their weddings and receptions!).

And I love Converse. And I love weddings. And I love Kelly and Logan.

And now I get to go help Kelly find the dress of her dreams in one shopping spree.

And maybe even a perfect pair of Converse, for a very special day and an even more special girl.

Of course it won't matter, she won't remember much of it anyway. But I will and so will everyone else who is there. But the person who will remember? Logan. The minute Kelly comes into view - princess for a day to all of us but in Logan's mind that day will be one of those eternal photoshot moments, forever engraved in his memory.

Weddings. An old tradition for a new love.

Well, and for the mints, of course.

Elvis Presley "Something Blue"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Run, Kalen, Run!

In my dreams, I am a runner. I jog through parks, along streams, over bridges and under low branches. There's a gentle cadence to my step and a sparkle in my eye. Sometimes I wake up and my shins feel taut, like they did before I hit 45.

This past week I have been running like a crazed woman, jogging through life at a fast clip to catch up with bills, with correspondence, with work, with blog posts, with family, with my emotions, with friends, with time. Now I wake up and my shins are just fine, but my head hurts.

I hate headaches. They are painful. They take all the fun out of whatever you are doing. For drinkers, the next day is payback time; for the overly focused, downtime can be a killer; for the guilty, they are silent reminders; for procrastinators, stress-induced headaches are like calendar reminder beeps on your cell phone: Headache? What did I forget? Where should I be? How late am I?

Pain can be a motivator or a wet blanket.

For those with fibromyalgia, pain is often a mixture of both, and it doesn't go away.

This past year, my youngest daughter Kalen was in Brazil on a Rotary Exchange. What a life changing experience! A foreign language to master, wild parties to attend, early morning instead of late night curfews, tropical heat, and the pain of fibromyalgia.

The diagnosis was irrefutable. It was echoed by 3 doctors individually. It was real. Kalen was thousands of miles away and facing a reality at the age of 17 that seemed impossible. She had to face it alone. She had to accept what seemed impossible. She had to understand it. She had to deal with it.

Who would have thought this amazing time in her life would also deliver such unexpected news?

This was gonna be the race of her life.

In Forrest Gump, we were taught that "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Kalen "got" fibromyalgia. But she also got beauty, brains, a stubbornness that will be her strength and a zest for life that I haven't seen in too many.

Exercise, diet changes, medication, sunshine, better rest, lots of water and more were necessary.

So she started running....again, and more, and still. Using the pain to motivate her, to pace her.

And she felt better - not good, but better.

Oh, she still has pain. She still has headaches. She even gets shin splints. But she's better.

Kalen's home now, wistfully leaving her second country and beloved friends in Brazil behind. She is happy and beautiful and yes, she has fibromyalgia and pain, but she is headed into the next phase of her life with a smile. She is focused. She is determined. She is Kalen.

Her homecoming was a celebration: "Oiiii, Kalen Marie! Beijos!" We are glad to have her home.

And now, in her dreams, if Kalen ever wonders what that soft noise is that almost wakes her, it's just me - jogging quietly along beside her with a gentle cadence, shin splints and a headache from doing too much, but with a proud and supporting smile.

Life is just a box of chocolates, and I got Kalen.

Lucky me!

Forrest Gump Original Theme Song

Red Rock Heaven

I love special days. Granted, every day could be considered "special" (think Utah accent - "Spa-eh-shul"), but there are some that are just more special than others.

This past Mother's Day was one of them. I spent the weekend in Moab. The weather was perfect, the B&B was lovely, but it was the hammock that made the day.

Early afternoon. Slight breeze. About 85 degrees. Book in hand and time to waste. Almost the perfect scenario, but add a hammock beneath tall trees with leaves blowing gently against a blue sky and you are close to nirvana.

I have come to love the out-of-doors more than ever in the past few years. I love the sun on my already sun-kissed skin and the breeze in my hair. The scent of outdoors in its raw and natural state is nearly intoxicating. I even like red dirt in my shoes - well, not really, but that thought brings back some great memories.

Maybe it's the natural beauty of this enchanted state, maybe it's the personal tours I have been privileged to enjoy, or maybe it's yet another rite of passage - appreciation for the earth and respect for the elements.

They say we should take time to smell the roses. In Moab, we took time to see the magnificent arches, and take a nap in a hammock.

And in New Mexico, we should take time to watch a sunset, hike in the fresh air, hit a shooting range and taste the green chiles.

Heaven can't be much better than the smell of a rose, a nap in Moab or a hike in New Mexico.

I believe in heaven.

I really hope there will be hammocks there.

Bryan Adams "Heaven"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


It's hard to imagine accepting a diamond engagement ring from a kneeling man while holding a gun in your hand.

It's harder to imagine a man kneeling behind a woman who has a loaded gun in her hand.

But it's easy to imagine Kelly and Logan together forever.

The proposal was proper. Dad had been asked, Logan was on his knee, the ring was sparkling and Kelly (unaware of the proposal) was probably the only thing not exactly in proper form. After all, she was wielding a pistol when she turned from her target practice to find Logan down on one knee behind her and holding a ring.

What's a girl to do in this situation? Are there etiquette books about this kind of proposal? I don't think so.

Kelly's instincts kicked in, almost as quickly as the tears started flowing, and she quickly (and carefully) tucked the gun behind her while offering her left hand to accept the blinding diamonds.

Now, we don't know what was actually said during those sentimental (and armed) moments, but I can tell you this - Logan must trust Kelly. And there is no doubt that Kelly trusts Logan.

There weren't any witnesses that I am aware of that day, but there were certainly sparkles and grins and tears and love, and yes, ammunition and weapons.

Thank heavens these two found each other.

Now they can write the first etiquette book for proposals on a rifle range, and include a special chapter about accepting a diamond ring from the man you love, while holding a gun in your hand.


White Ribbon, the new Duct Tape

Today I bought a small (very small) bbq. Thankfully the ladies at WallyWorld noticed I was a single (older) female and offered to sell me the floor model, rather than the box which contained dozens of parts and even more nuts and bolts. I nearly fell to my knees in gratitude.

We rolled the (very small) bbq to the curb and I pulled the Accord alongside to the smirks of the self-impressed WallyWorld door boy. "It won't fit."

It won't fit. No offer to help. No movement from his post. No suggestion. Just "It won't fit." (I wanted to tell him that his blue vest didn't fit...or something like that.)

The lady sales clerk and I looked at each other and thought in silent unanimity, "Wanna bet?" Together we lifted sideways, thinking we would slide the (very small) bbq on its side into the back seat.

No go. It wouldn't fit.

The wing shelves on either side of the grill made it impossible. No worries, we would just take one wing off...but no go again. No tools, and no offer forthcoming from the ill-fitted blue-vested (and now smug) WallyWorld door boy. (I was so wishing Kelly was there, she would have given him a few comments about his customer service skills AND his blue vest!)

Not to be discouraged, we looked at the trunk. Honda engineers are truly geniuses. They build this cute little car with great gas mileage (and a sunroof!), and STILL remember to include a HUGE trunk.

Out came the survival kit, the window washing fluid, the golf clubs, the ever-present black down vest, the tool box, a file of unknown origin with rather important looking papers inside, a squished Kleenex box, 12 maps, two items I have meant to return to Target for over a year (wonder if the Wally-gals would notice they didn't come from their store??? Hmmm, nah, not worth the effort), and finally, two spoons, a hose bib and several red rocks from a hike I took over a month ago.

Together my new best friend and I lifted the (very small) bbq and tilted it carefully into the trunk at a gentle angle, carefully placing it so as not to break off the wings or the cute little mesh drawer on the front. Once settled in the trunk, we looked for the bungee cords that should have been in my trunk, but they were not to be found (with all that stuff, no bungee cords. Ridiculous. This might have been the ONE moment I wished I was a man. Men always have bungee cords).

As we glanced back at the now oblivious man-child in the silly blue vest (of course he wasn't going to watch when IT FIT!), we noticed a grocery cart rolling from less than a foot away from him and heading into the parking lot - and a parked car. Did he notice? Of course not! (I wonder what they pay these guys)

My friend and helper ran to get the cart (her blue vest fit perfectly) and I took one last glance into the trunk, wondering if the (very small) bbq was going to stay put on the 10 block drive home. My gaze landed on about 1/4 inch of sparkling white. VOILA! EUREKA! I hadn't found gold, but I pulled at the end of that white something and realized that I had found a 12 inch piece of white ribbon, probably left over from some frantic last minute gift I wrapped in my car.

I tied the sparkling "bungee" around a leg of the (very small) bbq, threaded it through two holes in the hood interior and I was set.

I thanked my newest best friend (Sonia) and smiled triumphantly at the overpaid, blue-vested Doubting Tom and off I went.

I love being a woman. We simply don't know what "It won't fit" means.

Not only that, we can take 12" of white ribbon and create everything from a dog leash to a bungee cord to a bracelet to sandals to a new hairdo. And give us a pair of scissors and we will even make it curly! Ok, so it's not duct tape, but it's close.

And that was my day at WallyWorld.

I may go back tomorrow...with a white ribbon in my hair.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Faith, Miracles, A Little Girl and John Wayne

When a woman decides that she wants to get pregnant (and her husband agrees), it's a huge decision.

When a woman decides that she wants to get pregnant for the 5th time (and her husband agrees) after the birth of 3 boys and some not so fun trials along the way, it's a brave decision.
When a woman decides that she wants to get pregnant after 3 boys in a last ditch effort to have a little girl (and her husband agrees), it's a shot in the dark decision.

When a woman decides that she wants to get pregnant, (and her husband agrees) knowing that for the next 9 months she will likely gain back the weight she just spent 2 years losing (and more), also knowing that she will throw up daily (if not hourly) for at least 1/2 of that time, remembering that serious post-partum depression is par for the course with her pregnancies, and keenly aware that her chances of having a girl can't even be measured, it's a leap of faith.

And so, together they took that leap.

As is often the case, faith preceded the miracle and our darling little Kierstyn arrived regaled in pink skin and dark hair..............................but in this case, faith preceded but blood clots followed.

When darling Kierstyn arrived 20+ days early, we were all relieved, surprized and elated.

She was a girl! Pink was now the color of choice! Karynn had a female companion in a house of maleness. Hurray for womankind!

Our combined elation carried us all through the next few weeks until the very scary blood clot caused Karynn's leg to swell to the size of a basketball (her words). After ER trips, meds and watchful family, a final rush to the hospital followed by surgery removed/dissolved the clot and sent Karynn home with a walker.

With the resolve of a Mom who has waited for that little girl since she was my little girl, and the determination of a mother of 3 boys, Karynn walked sooner than expected, leaving the walker behind as soon as she could. She wasn't going to be unable to carry that little girl!

And so, the morals of this story are that miracles happen, faith is powerful, decisions can be risky but can also pay off, dreams come true, little girls can change ornery boys in the blink of a tiny eye and Mom's can pretty much overcome anything if it affects their ability to nurture and take care of their brood.

And that, my friends, is not JUST a story, it's a true story. Maybe even a story worthy of telling to others, certainly a story that merits a country western tune and possibly a great TV movie, but for those who love Karynn and JR and their family of boys and one girl, it was real life and we are very grateful.

John Wayne and Glen Campbell had a fair understanding of True Grit.. but Mom's really get it.

I love my little girl, and her little girl. Pink rules and girls rock!

What beauties! I can't be the only one to see the nearly identical smirks and hand/wrist positions in Mom and Daughter. I love these two girls.

Orange is the New Pink - or so I hear...

My son Kurt is a tax attorney on Wall Street. Disregarding a slam-dunk family vote, he did not choose this picture for his law firm's corporate website.

He is the oldest brother of three. Kollin and Kyle are younger, respectively.

Kollin towers over Kurt and is a 2nd degree black belt in Kenpo Karate. A teddy bear on the inside, he is a trained fighter, but only on the defense. He isn't trained to attack and it would be silly to retreat.

Kyle towers over Kurt too, but in direct opposition to Kollin, he always attacks and then always retreats - instantly, calling "Mom!" (yes, even at the age of 24). He is, after all, the youngest son.

Kollin has always looked up to Kurt as his older brother, well, except when Kurt was beating him up as a child; I doubt he was very wild about him then.

I always warned Kurt that someday his 'little' brother would be bigger than him, but Kurt rarely listened.

I wonder if maybe Kurt hasn't noticed that now he looks up to Kollin too(literally), because the facts don't seem to have registered on the attorney (anymore than they registered on the little kid).

There is still an ongoing challenge that began the day Kollin was brought home from the hospital and to this day, Kurt has never abandoned it.

And speaking of today, the challenge was renewed a few hours ago in the following email exchange about the color pink being assigned as a font color to identify Kollin's family on an all-inclusive family calendar (he does have two girls, for pete's sake).

So, here goes:

Kollin's email: Whoa, pink? ... Kyle should have been pink. (notice he says NOTHING about Kurt)

Kurt to Kollin: "But sinsai, Seafood Carter Wong liked pink. I will fight your"

It will never end. Thank heavens for teddy bears.

Oh, and this just in from the pink-fonted teddy bear wearing black belt accessories: "Orange is the new pink."

Or is that the orange-fonted teddy bear....I don't know, this whole color thing is getting a bit fishy to me.

One thing I am certain of is the double black belt and that's enough to convince everyone except Kurt, of course.

And salmon rules.

Let the games begin.

Walker-Texas Ranger Theme Song

Kung Fu Theme Song

(P.S. If you had $5 and Chuck Norris had $5, Chuck would have more money.)

Krschhttshttt. Testing. 1 - 2 - 3. Krrrsshttskkshht.

This post is about Agent Freckle (AF) and TattooMama (TM). The guys must have handles too (Cabela and Levi?) but I don't remember them, which is a perfect segue into my next comment:

Tattoo Mama, aka Karen, is my friend. She's a Harley gal and an RN. She's a Virgo too. She's real (no BS here) and a Mom, and she's hooked up - literally.

Last weekend, a group of us gathered to install TM's new CB radio and antenna. And what a team we were (I was, of course, the supervisor).

Following a great breakfast, we all wandered to the VERY well organized garage to begin this project. After a few hours of fun and work, the first official communication cleared the airwaves to cheers all around! It worked! It was hooked up!

TattooMama's handle comes from our coordinated and shared support for her daughter Lauren's new (and first) tattoo. Let me simply say, this tattoo isn't small and it isn't easily hidden.

Gulp. Breath. Chant: "Mom's are cheerleaders, Mom's are cheerleaders."

Second chant: "Eighteen. Eighteen. Eighteen. Legal to make own decisions."

It's a beautiful design that Lauren drew herself from the ancient native american zia symbol. It's a very artistic and appropriate expression.

The zia is easily recognized as the symbol on New Mexico's flag - a red sun with rays streching out from it. There are four groups of rays with four rays in each group. This is an ancient sun symbol of the Native American people called the Zia. The Zia believed that the giver of all good gave them gifts in groups of four.

These gifts are:

The four directions - north, east, south and west.

The four seasons - spring, summer, fall and winter.

The day - sunrise, noon, evening and night.

Life itself - childhood, youth, middle years and old age.

And all of these are bound by a circle of life and love, without a beginning or end.

An honorable message. There are far worse things one could have tattoed onto their forearm.

This new tattoo on the arm of a friend's daughter reminds me of my son's first tattoo, one I was adamantly opposed to and thankfully completely oblivious to for a long while. When I did learn about it (irritation building behind my curious smile as I asked to see it), he tentatively, but proudly, pulled up his shirt to bare an ancient Chinese symbol for (he was telling me quickly) "Integrity".

Gulp. Breath....CHEER! (it wasn't a rose with someone's name on it! or a skull and crossbones!)

Tattoo's still weren't my thing, but evidently they were his.

Why do kids have to grow up? Why do they want tattoos? I don't know. Why do adults want CB handles for that matter? It's all a matter of personal expression.

AgentFreckle morphed from my original handle "The Big Freckle" (given to me in the 80's by Bill Hunt on a trip to Mt. Shasta). Karen used it in reference to me after I managed to take a particularly sleuthful picture, appropriately named "Azzphalt ".

As in all things, photography can be creative too.

It's the simple matter of personal expression.

krrrsshttttt this is AgentFreckle lookin for TattooMama, come in TM??! You out there?...krrrshhsttttt

Hmmm. Didn't copy that. Over (under?) and out.

Steppenwolf "Born To Be Wild"

Mommy, I sick, I tie-red, I hung-gey.

Kids. You try to get them to sleep enough, eat right, exercise, be smart about exposing themselves to germs, wash their hands, and not do too much.

But, as we all know, kids will be kids, even when they are really BIG kids. Like...almost 24 and living in Washington DC on their own, or kids in far away countries, or in Utah.

Today I had a voice mail from my youngest son, Kyle. It went something like this, (think - sickly voice) "Hi Mom, this is Kyle. Happy Memorial Day. I had to go to Urgent Care today, but I am not going to die. Bye."


I called, and yes, Kyle was sick and I heard all about it. (Erin was sick too, but I didn't hear as much about that). It sounded like a rough week. I loved talking to him and enjoyed listening to his tales of woe. He finally went to Urgent Care after over a week of misery. He told me it felt like when he was so sick at school and cried because he felt so bad as the nurse called me to pick him up.
This time, rather than picking him up and bringing him home, I gave him the motherly talk over the phone about being more careful, heading to the doctor sooner (not that I practice any of this), drinking fluids and resting. Mostly, I was glad that somewhere in that grown up psyche was a lingering memory that little boys want their Mom's when they are sick.

I am glad he is better.

This call reminded me of a call I received several years ago from my middle daughter, Kelly. She was in her first year at college, in Utah. I lived in Washington state. One day I received a call from her - (imagine - sickly voice) "Mom, I am sick. I can't even get out of bed. Could you please bring me a glass of water?" (Being a Mom means being creative and so I called my older daughter Karynn who lived in the same town and asked her to please check on Kelly - and take her a glass of water. She did. :) )

And then, just recently, when Kalen "Skyped" (is that a new verb?) me from Brazil, complaining (imagine - yep, sickly voice) of a sore throat and white dots. She, without hesitation, opened her mouth as wide as she could and leaned nearer to the camera, upon which I grabbed my handy dandy mini-flashlight and (pretended) to shine it into her mouth, pointing it at the computer screen. :) See picture above for verification of mutual insanity.

Sometimes Moms just have to play along, no matter how absurd.

And kids. Ya gotta love em. If not, who would they call when they are sick?

Who Bought those Specs?!?

Ok, so they were cheap. Huge, aren't they?

Specs seem to be a right of passage. They make me feel as if I deserve respect, simply because I am able to perch them cutely on my nose.

I have various styles, red, blue, brown...large, small, square and even metal John Lennon-ey round frames...

... but my favorite pair is two-toned: dark brown on the bottom and an aqua blue (not teal!) on the top. My favorite pair wasn't cheap (like the pair in the photo).

Just recently, my son Kollin walked into a room where I was sitting and looked at me strangely, which I thought was fairly out of line since I had my favorite specs perched perfectly on my little pug nose - supposedly denoting deserved respect, not a strange look from my son - and he said, "Did you break two pairs of glasses and glue them together?"

So much for style, flair....and perch-induced respect.

I guess I will have to go gray!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Stupor to Stupendous

Sometimes I wonder about myself. I question my ability to love unconditionally and forgive so easily. I am doubtful about the wisdom in opening my heart without any armor in place.

Then there are the times that I remember the joy I have experienced as a result of these risk-taking traits. Oh sure, I have been hurt because of them as well, but my memories are heavy laden with joyful connections, happy reunions and gratitude for relationships of all kinds, in all stages.

This Memorial Day Weekend has been one of those "Stupor to Stupendous" experiences...beginning in a life-stalling, disappointment induced stupor and ending in a stupendous display of loving friends, circled around a campfire with me, laughing and talking and sharing tales while lounging comfortably in our camp chairs.

Life is one step at a time, even at my age, and I am grateful for the small successes as I work my way through. A favorite quote from long ago: "The only way out is through."

Ok, then. Onward and upward and through - with a little help from my friends.

Joe Cocker "With a Little Help from My Friends"


Once in a while you meet someone so unexpected that your life is changed by a simple exchange or quiet smile.
For me, one of those experiences happened when I met Joe.

Joe lived in New Mexico, he was an unassuming redneck gentleman, transplanted to the Land of Enchantment from Southern California, a man of few words and a wry sense of humor. He was worn, tired, sometimes almost seeming defeated, but there was something about Joe - not the least of which were his NM skyblue eyes - that charmed me through and through.

He was obviously intelligent, you noticed that in the first conversation. But there was also something unidentifiable, something that made me want to hug this man.

A former sharp shooter and accomplished hunter, he would sit for hours at the range, watching, talking, offering advice on occasion and shooting even less often.

Joe passed away last week. I was fortunate enough to have the time to make the trip south from Albuquerque to Hurley for his memorial service. It was a celebration of the life a man who many probably overlooked, a man who to his friends was much more than a tired redneck. He was charming and unforgettable.

I only met Joe 3 times, but my memory of him is as if I had known him much longer. He made an impression on me, one so deep that I hydroplaned my way south from Albuquerque in the wee hours of the morning and in a raging rain storm to join his friends and family in honoring his life.

It was the least I could do.

So, here's to Joe. I am so glad I met him. May he rest in peace.

Some Days Shine Brighter than Others

It's been a roller coaster week, month...well, year. Life has taken unexpected turns and leaps, almost with a whispered message "Be careful, curves ahead" or "Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." or "Be careful." (period!).

From Kierstyn's early arrival and Karynn's troublesome recovery (blood clots are dang scary) to Kalen's early return from Brazil (OIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Kalers!!!) to Kelly's graduation from SUU (you rock, Kellers, couldn't be a prouder Mom!), to Logan and Kelly's engagement (talk about shining brighter!)....this has been one loo loo of a month.

I am so proud of my kids and their partners -they take life with a grain of salt, honor their commitments, treat others with respect, practice patience, choose tolerance over judgement (with appropriate exceptions), love purely, behave honorably and act with compassion.

In the past week I have listened to an inspiring Valedictorian, felt the confusing sting of mistrust, celebrated a rite of passage at a graduation party and shared life with friends.

Four nights beneath the star-filled skies of NM, circled around a roaring fire on camp chairs with good friends - what could have been a better way to spend Memorial Day weekend? We laughed so hard we cried, we talked about life's shining and duller moments, we strengthened our resolve to be good people and we learned from each other.

Most importantly, we enjoyed the moment.

I am living in the Land of Enchantment...and I am enchanted.

Shine on.

Shine Bright Morning Light

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Milestones and Miracles

It was a busy 4 days last month. Kalen returned from Brazil, Kelly graduated from college, Karynn gave birth to Kierstyn, Logan asked Kelly to marry her - and she said YES!

Life doesn't get much better, or much more hectic than that....unless of course, someone gets a blood clot in their leg, another receives a proposal at the age of 17, and best friends suddenly become foreign to you. gets even more hectic.

Thankfully miracles happen, blood clots can be dissolved, heads overcome hearts, reality hits - but with compassion, and other hearts heal.

I am grateful for the vicissitudes of life and the lessons that are learned. I hope they make me a better person.


Today I attended the graduation for a friend's daughter from a charter school. There were only 9 in the graduating class. My friend's daughter was the valedictorian. She talked about the steps we take in life and how important it is to stop and enjoy the view along life's trail. It was a good message.

The following quote was on the back of the commencement program: "I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, to the depths of your soul and to the most special places your heart can ever know."

Some days are a dream. Some are a nightmare.

I prefer the dreams.

Fleetwood Mac "Dreams"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When the Sun Sets in the Land of Enchantment (everyone is watching)

I have missed too many sunsets in my life.

I remember seeing the Arizona Highways magazine on our coffee table as I was growing up. My Dad was born in the southwest and his appreciation for desert fauna and flora, along with the breathtaking sunsets, was obvious.

I hope to see many more New Mexico sunsets. They take my breath away. They are a process, taking several minutes, allowing the mind to review the past day and ponder tomorrow's possibilities.

"Never let yesterday use up today." I love this favorite phrase from my new friend, Karen.

It's a good motto for life.

Marques Houston "Sunset"

What It's All About

Family. That's what it's all about, and this is "my bunch".

What a brood! Aren't they grand?!?!

This picture was taken at Kelly's SUU graduation weekend, but the weekend became a mega-4-days of stuff coming out of nowhere.

Karynn had just delivered Kierstyn (very early), Kalen had just returned from Brazil (very early), Kyle and Kurt had flown out from NY and DC (right on time) and Kollin* had just started his Kenpo studio in SLC (way overdue!)... (and Kelly was about to get engaged (eternal), but none of us knew that, including Kellers). Woohooo!

What more can I say? Life just keeps on comin' and I couldn't be prouder of my kids.

Just FYI - (*tag on Kollin's shirt: "Hello, my name is Indigo Montoyo. You killed my father. Prepare to die.") I have no explanation. A mother's love is unconditional.

A Door to Nowhere on the Perfect Day

If a door opens to nowhere, is it really a door?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?

If a perfect day happens but no one remembers, did it happen?

If a blog is created and no entries are made, is it really a blog?
If someone writes a blog, and no one reads it, is it really there?

Hope these q's don't keep you awake at night.

Life is good. Hugs to all.