Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red or Blue?

It's not easy being red.

Unless, of course, you are the New Mexico Lobos heading home from Utah after beating BYU in a fun-tastic game at the Marriott Center with a score of 83-81. Even those of us in the nose-bleed section could feel the energy radiating from the court so far below. It was palpable. It was deafening. It was one of the best games I have ever watched!

And exhausting. The players were dripping sweat, the fans were hyperventilating and those of us who live in New Mexico but love BYU were totally worn out. It's tough to scream for EVERY basket and holler for EVERY bad call - on either team, on both teams, the entire game!

But that's what I did. It was go BYU, then OMG Lobos, then yeah BYU, then alright Lobos....I can't do too many of these games in a row. I don't have the energy!

However, having set the scene for you, I now have to confess a few things. A) I live in Albuquerque, B) I love the Land of Enchantment, C) Not only do I live in Albuquerque, I live in close proximity to UNM - I can walk there, D) I am a REDhead, E) I have long dreamed of working for UofU (another RED school), F) Red is my nickname, G) I flew out with the UNM Lobos, H) I sat next to Darrington Hobson in the terminal and I) then he decided to take a little nap since our plane was delayed so I snapped the picture above.

So, when it comes down to it, I may love blue - after all, it's long been my favorite color, but the bottom line for me will always be this head of red hair. Add in the red of UNM's Lobos to the red of the UofU Utes and there is just no blue in sight.

Well, except my eyes. They are blue. Maybe this isn't as easy as I thought. And my BLUE eyes are often referred to as my best asset, so maybe it isn't all about red. And then there's my LDS background which certainly makes me feel some responsibility to cheer for "the Lord's team". I mean we were playing basketball where apostles and prophets have stood and spoken, and you can be sure they weren't cheering for red yesterday. "Follow the prophet..." And my oldest son graduated from BYU. Oh dear,  I don't's a conundrum of non-eternal consequences. I know this may seem frivolous, all this time spent on discussing a sports event, but it feels, well, sacred. And you can see why! I mean, this is serious business.

It was a sell out crowd, over 22,000 people, no empty seats, a sea of white t-shirts with blue Y's emblazoned across front and back, speckled with about 50 red Lobos t-shirts here and there - oh, and one HUGE New Mexico state flag waving above the team in the hands of a devoutly enchanted Lobo fan.

And then there was me, sitting between Kalen - the avowed not-interested Mormon, and two recently returned LDS missionaries (Denver and Vancouver) - one wearing....wait for it....RED! Yes, a fellow LDS-type wearing RED and cheering for the Lobos! I was saved....again. ;)

So, go RED! I mean, go BLUE! OHHH freak, it's all so confusing! He and I weren't sure who to cheer for.

But one thing's for sure, the enchanted Lobos just won their 13th straight game when they took the Cougars by 2 points on BYU's home court, and I was there to watch and cheer both teams on.

Go Lobos! And go Cougars - cuz there's something about the underdog that brings out the empathy in all of us.

And I'll say it again: it's not easy being red. But, game on!

So, go Red! (which means, go Jeannie, it's your year, babe!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In or Out?

A door swings both ways. In and Out. Egress and Ingress.

The question is about which way you want to go and sometimes that can be confusing depending on the angle you approach the door from.

I always look at the door (just as I look at the glass) as half open (or half full). It's the portal to a new opportunity. Yes, it's also the path leading from the past, but as I walk through the door I am not looking behind me, I am looking forward to the future.

Maybe that's why my life has been filled with excitement, anticipation and new experiences. The upside has been constant activity and no boredom, and the downside of all of that hype has been the absence of regular calm and relaxation. And that's why I believe all doors should swing both ways. 

The future is always linked with the past. And the past always leads to the future. Excitement melts into relaxation and calm creates the energy for celebration.

Sometimes life can be a dizzying experience and feel like a revolving door that just goes 'round and 'round and 'round. But I prefer doors that simply swing back and forth, because life shouldn't be dizzying, it should be a balanced blend of calm and excitement.

We need a little bit of both.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cutting your Losses

We all lose sometime, somewhere. It's inevitable in life.

Sometimes those losses are almost too much to bear, sometimes they are only a pinprick on the map of life. But any loss is measurable at some level and causes a reaction of some kind.

I am all about cutting my losses. I have a lot of experience with this. I have loved and lost, gained and lost, earned and lost, purchased and lost, birthed and lost, married and lost, divorced and lost, found and lost (a completely opposite occurrence from what it should be), learned and lost, played and lost, gambled and lost...well, you get the picture.

If I wasn't such an optimist, I might consider myself a loser!

At this stage in my life I have very few goals left to complete, but they are real and they are important to me, and they have been lost in the craziness of the past 35 years of my life (otherwise known as the parenting years).

So it's time to reclaim these goals as my own, find the best avenue to reach them, and get going. And what I want is not all that complicated, it's really very simple.

1) Laughter every day of my life
2) Family every day of my life
3) Work that I enjoy every day of my life - well, every work day of my life
4) Faith every day of my life
5) Financial security for the rest of the days of my life.

I think I have found the avenue, let's hope it comes through.

Light candles please. And pray, ponder, pontificate, hope, bribe - whatever it takes.

It's time for me to cut my losses by focusing on them, because I am on the winning team!

Go Red!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


It's a simple choice between two options: yes or no.

So the question becomes, why is something so seemingly simple, so frustratingly difficult?

I wish I had the answer, but I can't even decide a yes or no question.

Trust me, I am not the one to go to for counsel.

I'm too busy flipping back and forth between yes and no.

How's that for ridiculous?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Road Trippin Blues

It's my favorite thing to do.

It's my least favorite thing to do.

Road trippin'. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Putting dust in the rear view.

And blasting your CD's so loud as you sing along that there is absolutely NO question that your voice is as good, if not better, than the artist's.

An example. I sound like Susan Boyle AND Adam Lambert while driving along singing at the top of my lungs.


I can even hit those Lambert high notes and do the mouth-wide-open-tongue thing.


It's flawless.

Personal, private karaoke. There's no better way to test your voice range. And mine's amazing.

I love a road trip with music blasting.

It's the nights after, with the same songs repeating over and over in my dreams, that bother me.

Those road trippin', night blastin' blues.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pillow Talk

There are some people you can't imagine sharing a bed with. There are others you only dream of sharing a bed with. And there are those you are forced or destined to share your bed with.

But then there are those select few that you actually choose to share your bed with. 

As a child I didn't even like to share a bed with my sister, and it really creeped me out to sleep with my Mom. Yeah, I had issues. But that's another blog entry, not this one.

As a young mother, I loved to share my bed and cuddle in the mornings with my kids. That was a magical time. 

As partners, husband and wife, lovers, I love to share a bed. I am a snuggler. I like to cuddle. I like the security in knowing that I am not alone. I need to keep my feet warm and I love the pillow talk. 

And that brings me to John. 

I am captivated, infatuated, addicted, lulled into submission, drowning in the sound of his voice, drunk on his words and well, totally into him. John can eat crackers in my bed anytime. I might even warm HIS feet.

Read this and maybe you will see why:

"In the gray time after the light has come and before the sun has risen, the Row seems to hang suspended out of time in a silvery light. The street lights go out, and the weeds are a brilliant green. The corrugated iron of the canneries glows with the pearly lucency of platinum or old pewter. No automobiles are running then. The street is silent of progress and business. And the rush and drag of the waves can be heard as they splash in among the piles of the canneries. It is a time of great peace, a deserted time, a little era of rest.

Cats drip over the fences and slither like syrup over the ground to look for fish heads. Silent early morning dogs parade majestically picking and choosing judiciously whereon to pee. The sea gulls come flapping in to sit on the cannery roofs to await the day of refuse - they sit on the roof peaks shoulder to shoulder...The air is cool and fresh. In the back gardens the gophers push up the morning mounds of fresh damp earth and they creep out and drag flowers into their holes.

It is the hour of the pearl...the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself."

Excerpt from Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck.

That's John. We've been sharing a bed.  And pillow talk. 

And then my eyes fall shut and his words go silent and slumber wins.

Until that magical hour of the pearl, when I stretch across cold sheets to the other side of the bed, only to roll back to the lonely silence of my own pillow.

And I lay there for a moment. And I daydream of my night dreams.

And I wish for this new day to pass quickly and the night to return soon, bringing with it the soothing cantor of the master wordsmith.

The lullaby of pillow talk. The conversation of lovers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life and Death

My friend's father passed away yesterday. He was 94. Almost a century of life behind him. It feels odd to consider the recently deceased "lucky", but living a life of almost a century with your companion by your side is definitely a blessing with more than a little bit of luck tossed in.

Somehow the fact that someone lived a full life for almost a century just feels good, it sits well when you think about it. So much so that it makes you react with a mixture of joy and sorrow when you hear of their death. It's very different than when someone dies young. But death is still a loss, no matter the age or quality of a life lived, and we need not forget that.

And as final as death is, as sad as it might be, it can be a relief too.

Taking care of a 94-year-old isn't a walk in the park, no matter how much help you have. Heck, taking care of a 75-year-old can be tough (almost as bad as a teenager). But that could take up an entire blog entry and teenagers(one, specifically) are not the topic of today's post.

I've watched three men take care of an elderly parent over the span of my life. I have watched them do laundry, take care of the shopping, clean house, run errands, drive to doctor appointments, change diapers, bathe and feed their Mom or Dad.

I watched my Dad take care of my Grandma and Grandpa for many years, some of that time working along side my Aunt Jean.

I watched my husband take care of his mother as her health declined following a fall resulting in a broken hip, multiplied by the rapid acceleration of  dementia into full-blown Alzheimer's. She lived with us as long as we could manage it, and we have some amazing memories of fun and laughter with Grandma, but I also remember the tougher times and Hal's amazing patience and dedication to making certain his mother was clean and comfortable and taken care of.

And I have been aware of my friend Ed over the past year as he would spend time with his parents, or not join in a group dinner because it was his weekend for laundry duty. He and his sister helped take care of their parents after they moved into an assisted living home. It's Ed's father who passed away yesterday. Ed had been with him most of the weekend.

And each of these experiences, where I have been an observer much more than a participant, has given me a greater respect for the respective caregiver. I have literally watched in awe. It's not easy, and it's not something anyone can do, but what better way to show respect, love and honor for your parent and the sacrifice(s) they made for you over the span of your lifetime than to take care of them as they took care of you so many years ago. The ultimate "giving back" opportunity.

And what a strong indication of character. These three men showed something in their personalities that many don't even have. There are certainly other ways to develop character, this is simply one that I have witnessed personally and feel motivated to comment on by the recent loss of Ed's Dad.

Life can be short, or it can last for 94 years, and the only thing we can be certain of is that it will come to an end. Knowing that, we should always make every moment count for good by helping others, being true to ourselves, living with love, honoring our family, giving back and setting an example by our actions.

Death will steal our breath, but it won't erase our reputation or alter the degree of character we built or lost during our lifetime.

Character is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we sure don't want to miss our turn, because death is ahead of all of us.

Live, Love, Laugh. And then as we all will someday, leave this life with honor and a sense of a life well-lived.

Life and Death. In the end, just as in the beginning, that's really what it's all about.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Who dat?

The Saints are marchin the Super Bowl. Who dat, you say? They are the favored competitors (in this part of the world anyway) in 2010's Super Bowl XLIV against the Colts. Yep, the magic of New Orleans Saints against the reputation of the Indianapolis Colts. And people are caught up in the magic.

Personally, I don't think it has a thing to do with football. It's about music, food, and spirits. N'awlins is famous for everything BUT football, and I think the local fans are thinking more about Hurricane's than Touchdowns.

So, as the game plays out on Sunday, I hope there is jazz music blaring in the background, fried chicken and grits on the table, blue crab dip for your chips, crab cakes, pigs in a blanket, bright beads around your neck, and a room full of spirit(s).

Here is a recipe from's website:

Simon and Garfunkeled Crab Cakes

Makes 12 crab cakes. 3 cakes per person
16oz lump crab meat
½ cup chopped green onions, just the green partscrabcake4
½ tsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp chopped fresh sage
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp salt
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup mayo
1 beaten egg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup vegetable oil

crabcakedinnerPlace in a medium sized bowl the crab meat, chopped green onions, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, Cajun seasoning, and half of the bread crumbs. Separately mix together the wet ingredients; mayo, the beaten egg and Dijon mustard. Then combine everything. Do not mix too much.  Measure out crab cake mixture into 12 equal parts about a ¼ cup each. Roll the cakes into balls and then flatten each to about a ½ inch think. Spread the extra bread crumbs out on a flat plate and then dredge each cake slightly top and bottom. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet and cook cakes in oil till golden brown on each side. Serve with lemon and favorite seafood sauce.

Who dat? Them's the Saints! Go team!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chin Up! Shoot Down!

A picture can be worth a thousand words, or chins.

No matter how you look at it, keeping your chin up is a good thing, but if you have a choice, always have the photographer shoot down.

Let's face it, chins can be a defining characteristic - think of Jay Leno. And whether you walk tall and keep your chin level with the floor, or lift your nose and tip your chin up, or drop your gaze and dip your chin down, you can send a  message about yourself without saying a word.

And such is the reality of my recent picture at the very fun Albuquerque Roadrunner Food Bank "Souper Bowl" fundraising event. I must have been so overwhelmed that I forgot the "chin up" rule for the picture. I mean, not only do I have an obvious chin, but I have more than one.

Another way to say this might be: turtle neck sweaters are not always your friend.

And so, instead of staying as depressed as I was for the first day after seeing the picture, I have decided to pull myself out of the doldrums, stretch out the neck on my turtleneck, lift my chin and press forward.

Life will go on, although it's gonna be a bit harder than normal since I now am aware of the double weight hanging off the lower part of my face. If I really wanted to stretch the truth a bit, I suppose I could claim the title of weight lifter.

Anyway, yet another wake up call. First the heart scare, which thankfully turned out to be nothing. Then the TV spot, which caused me to gasp and turn off the TV. And now the double chin photo. It's as if the entire universe is shouting at me.

What, you are probably thinking, is the universe shouting? Well, duh, it's obvious isn't it? Whispers and hushed words and mumbled comments and forceful explosions are shouting in unity: "Get a grip, Jeannie. Stop eating, start moving, Jeannie..."

and most important....."Chin up, Jeannie!"


Monday, February 1, 2010

What if...

What if...I had moved to DC.

What if...I hadn't moved to New Mexico.

What if...I hadn't married Kory and had 6 kids.

What if...I had finished my degree.

What if...I hadn't been actively LDS for most of my adult life?

What if...I was more active?

What if...I wasn't so sedentary in my lifestyle?

What if...I didn't have such great friends?

What if...I had a huge retirement savings?

What if...I could travel the world?

What if...I hadn't learned to love fundraising?

What if...I hadn't finally realized that internet chat and games are addicting, if not unhealthy and evil?

What if...I hadn't had to work and could have just been a Mom?

What if...I had cooked more.

What if...I had never learned to use a computer?

What if...Facebook didn't exist?

What if...I hadn't spent an Easter vacation in Arizona and learned to love horses?

What if...Ronda Copeland was still alive?

What if...Charlie and I had never dated, or never stopped dating?

What if...Mr. Grande had given me an A, instead of a B+?

What if...I had kept dreaming in Spanish?

What if...Maria and Felipe hadn't come into my life?

What if...Kalen hadn't gone to Brazil with Rotary?

What if...I still had the condo?

What if...I hadn't spent all that money on fake nails?

What if...I hadn't spent all that money, period?

What if...I had saved all that money?

What if...I had been home every day when my children came home from school?

What if...I had waited until my kids were raised to remarry after my divorce from their Dad?

What if...I had paid more attention and left sooner, more than once?

What if...I could have made common sense, heartfelt, intuitive and inspired choices, instead of finance-necessitated decisions?

What if...we hadn't moved so much?

What kids had started and graduated in the same school district?

What if...I hadn't been so overwhelmed as a single Mom of six?

What if...we hadn't moved to Provo?

What if...we hadn't moved to Salt Lake?

What if...I hadn't been born with red hair?

What eyes had been green?

What if...we had never gone to Laguna Riviera?

What if...I hadn't love high school?

What if...I had been a teen mother?

What if...I hadn't been a single 40-year old with 6 kids in Utah?

What if...I hadn't met the great singles in SLC?

What if...we hadn't met the Belcher's?

What children were troublesome?

What kids were from a normal, healthy, non-divorced, happy family?

What had never been an issue?

What if...I hadn't lived in survival mode for nearly two decades?

What if...I had kept the house on Teton?

What if...I had gone to work for Brulte?

What had ended already?

What if...I lived closer to my kids and grandkids?

What if...we hadn't moved to Washington state?

What if...we had never been to the Ellensburg rodeo?

What if...Suncadia hadn't been there?

What if...I hadn't married Hal?

What if...we hadn't been given Devin for those years?

What if...things were different with Hal's girls?

What if...vindictive, addictive women weren't in our lives?

What if...I loved to ski?

What if...I didn't love chocolate?

What if...I was rockin a size 8 again?

What if...I let my hair go naturally peach, then white?

What if...I wore a braid down my back?

What if...I got a job where denim wasn't OK?

What if...I actually slept through an entire night?

What if...I didn't have something to smile about every day?

What if...I couldn't feel the sun 300 days of the year?

What if...I didn't have someone to laugh with?

What if...Mom and Dad were still here?

What if...Jamie hadn't died from AIDS/HIV.

What if...Katrina hadn't been stillborn?

What if...I wasn't healthy?

What if...I didn't have those wonderful memories of Sunday dinner at my grandparents?

What if...I didn't remember talking to Mimi and Boppie every Sunday night?

What grandkids don't have those memories?

What if...I learned to ski?

What if...I played tennis again?

What if...I was 35, what would I change of the past 20 years?

What if...I was 50, what would I change of the past 5 years?

What if...I could plan the next 20 years? the next 5?

What if...I got a job offer?

What if...I have to choose.

What if...I make the wrong choice.

What if...I already did.

What if...that is the question, isn't it?

What if?

I wouldn't be me. And you wouldn't be you.

That's, what if.

But it sure could have been a lot easier.