Sunday, September 23, 2012


Another FlashFiveFriday

AJ looked out from the cabin doorway to survey the damage from last night's storm. He had heard several lightning strikes, felt the ground shudder with massive impacts from fallen giants, and hunkered down under the sturdiest piece of furniture in anticipation of personal danger. Ara had remained calm, surprisingly so, while they rode out the storm. It had petered out sometime around four in the morning, slowing in fits and starts, then finally a truce with simple rain for an hour before leaving them to see what remained.
Ara was still asleep, two hours not being enough, and not as invested in his mountain as AJ was.


A bit more catch up, and a couple of related topics make that easier!

Do you prefer to have still photographs or videos from important moments? and Talk about your favourite photograph.

I have two very important people in my life who have ideas about which of these is best. My sister Hanna is a professional photographer. She is very good at what she does and is always getting on me to take more pictures! I love going through her port polio, and our best family photos have been shot by her. Without actually asking her, I'm pretty sure she sides with still photographs. On the other side is my sweet husband Matthew. He is a video fiend. Even back in the 80's when the large, heavy, clunky cameras were becoming accessible to the layperson he had one and used it constantly. Now, his iPhone video camera is overused, taking up all the space on out photo stream. It used to be VHS tapes, some labeled, some not, cluttering our bookshelves (which took up room from the much more important BOOKS.) To be fair, he also takes stills-about a million of them, and whether it is video or stills, he has always had the same problem with editing procrastination. I don't think we need 20 shots of a stranger along with a video while she gives a speech. Sorry honey.
With that information I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I like still photos much better than video. Part of this is vanity, since I hate the way I sound in videos, especially as I demand that the video camera be cut off. Part of it is the inability of anyone I know to take a decent video. And, part of it is the way modern video doesn't stack up to the old 35 millimeter, black and white, silent films from my grandparents era, and even some of my own very young cameos. I like the B & W best, but as color was added there were still many good qualities in these films. Perhaps it is because the equipment, film, and processing all were finite resources, unlike our digital cameras now. Maybe the older generation was simply more talented!
I like still photos from any era. The professionally posed portraits and the spontaneous snaps all capture moments in time that become a story unto themselves. Videos are stuck with the story that comes between frame one and the end. Still photos have endless stories attached, from history to in the moment spontaneity. The best photos remind us of a story, that leads to a new story, that continues to another story, that... well, you get "the picture!" even that phrase, "get the picture," has specific meaning for those who hear it. A mental picture, or series of pictures, are available for perusal at leisure or to frame a situation in a way so that it is relatable to anyone listening and "getting the picture."
My favorite photo is one from my wedding. My new husband and I are standing in front of the Manti Temple where we had just been married for time and all eternity. It isn't my favorite because I look so gorgeous. The wind was blowing, messing with my hair and dress. It isn't my favorite because the photographer captured all the beauty of the spring gardens. I didn't have a lot of money, so I hired a friend's son who worked cheaply. Don't get me wrong, he did a good job, it just wasn't professional. It's my favorite because Matt and I look so happy. Radiantly happy. It's my favorite because of the symbolism of the temple. And, it's my favorite because it is the photo Matt and I chose to tape in Sarah's incubator as she struggled for life.
The hospital encourages parents to place family photos in the incubators for the babies to be able to see their parents faces since most babies can't be, and aren't taken care of by their parents, but by highly skilled and compassionate nurses. I'm pretty sure the photo is more for the comfort of the parents than the babies, because most of the babies don't have much of an opportunity to be awake and aware of their surroundings. These are sick little souls who wear themselves out just fighting to survive each day. Sarah's nurses did like our photo, and several asked if we had gotten married in a castle. I wish I had the photo scanned so I could share it here, but for those who are not aware of how beautiful Manti is you can go here:
It does have a castle type of feel, and the questions gave us a chance to share our faith and why we felt so calm about Sarah's condition. she was our little missionary from day one.
One picture is worth a thousand words, and while I haven't reached that mark in this post, I could, and easily surpass that. Just the two stories attached to this picture that I have shared are the tip of an iceberg. I have to feel that those of us who are writers might have a common love for still photographs. Pictures can remind us, inspire us, and push us. It's a good thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Trip Memories

I've fallen behind on my blog writing, mostly because I needed a break. Everyone needs a break, and the posts I'm using to get back into things are appropriate. Part of my break was a mini-trip to Albany with Matt and Sarah. It was just the right amount of relaxing. The two topics are
How much of the world have you seen? And What was the best thing you ever saw on a trip?
I'm not sure what the percentage of the world that I've seen, especially since my travels outside of the United States are limited to Canada above Niagra Falls and a small trip in from Michigan, and two trips to Tiahuana, Mexico. So, all tourist attractions and not real experiences. I have seen and enjoyed a large portion of the U.S., first by living a bunch of places from the East Coast to the West Coast, and then also by vacations. Some vacations were road trips, where the trip was as much fun as the destination and stops for photo ops next to roadside attractions are expected. My favorite roadside picture is probably in Georgia, where I stopped next to a giant peanut with buck teeth for a photo. (For those unfamiliar with the reference, this was near the hometown of Jimmy Carter.)
My favorite spot was a relatively recent trip to Bear Mountain. The park itself was not open yet, so there weren't bus loads of tourists. It will be nice to go back when the lodge is open to hear more history, but the reason this is the best thing I've ever seen was because of the completeness of the scene. The hill and trees were green from an abundant spring rain. The air was fresh because we were far from the cities and interstates. The sun was waning, and finally setting as we left, but for the time we were there it brought light to our hike without forcing a sweat. A small stream highlighted scents of nature, both pleasant and not, but honest just the same. Canned "mountain stream" never smells like this. A few animals crossed our path, and we were able to see some in a small zoo kept on the premise. I don't know if anything could have improved the memory I have of that trip and that particular destination.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Another Flash Five Friday. Write for five minutes about the prompt.

AJ decided against giving Ara the necklace for her birthday. It was beautiful, like she was, and the jewels matched her eyes, but it just didn't feel personal enough. He had only met Ara two months ago, and with the amount of time he could plan on living, two months was barely a blink. This was his dilemma. If he gave Ara something too personal it might scare her off, but if he didn't take the chance he might not get it again no matter how long he lived.
He chose the personal gift. He knew she liked to cook, so he took time and went to all the locations he could find and collected spices. He enlisted the help of his sister to package it nicely and then wrap it. He was so nervous about her reaction that he almost just sent it anonymously. In the end the gift was hand delivered by him. He even showed enough outward calm to sit through the unwrapping. It was also the first time Ara kissed him. Nothing was the same after that, and that was a good thing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who is someone you wish you could see again?

I'm not sure I can choose just one person for this post. The reasons will become clear, I hope, as I list each one.
My Grandparents Who Have Passed Away
Not only would I like to see my Grandma Hippen, Grumpa Hippen, and Grandad Smith again, but I would like to see them in the prime of their lives. Each of them had deteriorated significantly in their mental capacities by the time they left us that I don't feel there is unfinished business like saying goodbye. I'm fine there with the exception of Grandma Hippen. But, that is because she was too young for the Alzheimer's that forced us to say goodbye long before she actually died.
I would like to see them to hear more about their lives and what they remember about the time period when they grew up. I know I'll see them after I join them on the other side of the veil, but by then any of life's lessons they might be able to help me with will be a moot point. Additionally, the idea of writing a life history would be impossible, since I don't think I could convince a publisher from beyond the grave. I know I won't be able to actually achieve this wish, but it is there, deep in my soul.
My Friends Who I Never See Any More Because of Distance
There is a whole list of people here, some of whom I can't remember their married names because it's been that long. Maybe I'll just use first names so I don't hurt feelings! There is Donna, Fran, Shauna, Andrea(I actually saw her recently, but only for five minutes and that was at a funeral), Kristy, Lisa, Amber, Michelle, Becky, Linda, Meridith, and any number of mutual friends that were part of our fun but not front and center in my memories. It would be fun to get a huge group of us together because all of us are fun loving, funny people who couldn't help but get along despite never meeting before. That would be a party of epic proportions! It would also be fun to see each of them one to one or in the small groups they actually fit into. I see several of them on Facebook, but that is a poor substitute for real life.
I visited my parents this past summer, and that was great, but there were too many people I didn't get to see. Even those I did see were often in a hurry, or I was, so visits were cut short. Again, a list: The three grandparents from my first wish, Grandma Smith, Sheri, Mom, Dad, Lyle and family, Eric and family, Heather and family, Holly and family, Hillory and family, Seth and family, Hanna and family, Tawny and Tom, Tommy(passed), Shaye and family, Sunny and family, Summer and family, Spring and family, Shannon and family, David and Marlene, Amanda and family, John and family, Chelsea, Chase, Stuart and Martine, Farr and family, Stephen(passed), Francie, Robert and family, Joellen and family, Camilla and family, Stephen, John, and Stephanie. I'm pretty sure that covers it. A family reunion where there were no time constraints on anyone, where any and all food was non-caloric, and where shyness and unfamiliarity was not a problem would be wonderful.
I realize this isn't a realistic wish in any of these areas, and probably not what was meant by the topic. Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic. Maybe I'm just lonely. Maybe I'm just a bit off mentally. Whatever the case is, I've enjoyed dreaming up these reunions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Do you think there is a collective definition of beauty or is it always in the eye of the beholder?

Beauty should always be in the eye of the beholder. And, the beholder should be less influenced by the collective idea of beauty than most of us are.
I could write a diatribe on how our society makes people, women in particular, feel that they are worthless because the do not conform to societies idea of beauty, but I just don't feel like it. It's not that I don't feel like writing, it's just that I am coming to see that despite the truth in this idea, there is a bigger truth that if we could embrace it and teach it would change so much more than beauty.
We all need to accept responsibility for our own thoughts and actions.
I can hear the arguments now. But, other people can be cruel, even if I accept myself. Yes. They need to accept responsibility for that. Individually we need to accept responsibility for our responses to the cruelty. I have a niece who recently was treated poorly by a girl she thought was her friend. It was a case of the girl had a new friend who didn't want to play with my niece. (That is the extremely short version of the story!) Instead of blaming the former friend my niece sought advice from her parents about how to overcome this situation and regain the friendship or find a new friend. Because of my niece's attitude and her parents' wisdom she was able to bridge the rift and not only have a return of a friend, but the possibility of a new friend. Who is this new friend? The girl who did not want to hang out with my niece in the first place.
A happy ending? I hope so. It gives me hope because I see my niece accepting responsibility for her response to a hurtful situation. I see the former stranger accepting responsibility by admitting she just didn't know my niece and that is why she precipitated the exclusion. I see the vacillating child accept responsibility by initiating a play date where both her initial friend, my niece, and her new friend can become acquainted and possibly develop their own friendship.
I'm not about to change the world with my one little post or even my hope in those who try this, but lately I have found less and less motivation to complain about things. Even complaining about how most people won't follow this principle feels wrong. I want to feel hope. I want to have this hope spark an inner beauty in anyone who has it that everyone can see.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Which sense is more important to you: vision or hearing?

While sitting here contemplating this topic I can hear the traffic outside my window, particularly the garbage truck picking up this week's offering. I can see the cat next to me stretching, then standing up to see what the noise is outside of her window. I can hear my husband moving things around in the backyard as he fixes things up for Canaltown Days. (more on that later) I can see the laundry that needs to be folded. Earlier though, I did not hear my daughter's bus pull up. If I hadn't seen it, I would not have realized it was about ten minutes early.
I like hearing things. I like overhearing things too! There have been many conversations overheard at restaurants, airports, and workplaces that are too funny to be made up and therefore may end up in a book someday. However, I like seeing things even more. I've mentioned before that I like to speak to people face to face, and part of this is to gage reactions. This is the major reason I like my sight. I also love colors. I love having beautiful colors all around me. It lifts my mood and spurs my creativity. In that same vein, I like pretty things. Pretty flowers, nice furniture, fine art, and elegant clothing all bring me a certain pleasure. I'm not trying to sound shallow, because I could live without any of it if needed, but it does have its appeal.
If given a choice between loosing my sight or loosing my hearing I don't think I would be able to choose. Suppose the doctor is standing there before a major life saving operation and asking this question. What do I choose? I'm afraid this question would be agonizing! Luckily, that type of thing is unlikely to happen.
What does happen all too often is the gradual loss of one or the other (or both!) with age. For me, my sight has been poor most of my life. I started wearing glasses in third grade and had to move to contacts by fifth grade because my sight was so bad. This was back in the day of only hard contacts, and I was far too young to be responsible for something that expensive. I lost far too many for a child of a family on a strict budget.
But, I digress. And, I shall again, but this time it will be for a purpose. My daughter was born early and subsequently developed a bleed on her brain. She also was in an incubator on oxygen for quite a while. The consequences of these events are cerebral palsy and blindness in one eye. The eye problems extend to the other eye in that she needs glasses or a contact. She got her first pair of glasses at about 15 months and promptly stopped crawling backwards and began moving forward. The CP means several things physically, but the most noticeable is her inability to speak. Because of this our family has learned sign language. We don't claim to be nearly as proficient as those families with actual deaf members, but helping us all understand what Sarah wants to say is invaluable.
I promised a point to that tangent, so this is it. I know sign language! I have a distinct advantage when it comes to hearing loss. I have had temporary hearing problems in the past, and while they were very frustrating, I wasn't completely lost. The frustration was mostly because I was used to hearing things from the other room and not having to get up just to talk to someone in another part of the house. It was hard, and luckily temporary, and for that I am glad.
Recently, I had an episode of Bell's Palsy. One of the side effects was the inability to blink my left eye properly. I ended up with an eye patch that was awkward and ugly. Not pirate-like at all! I did not do well with that trial. I did not keep my suffering to myself and I knew it was temporary. I don't want to think how poorly I would react to a permanent loss.
So, I have had problems with both sight and hearing. I can imagine how life would be if either were permanent. If I had to choose which sense is most valuable, sight or hearing, I would choose sight. I don't want to bumble around my house any more than I already do, I want to be able to see words that I type or read in books, and most importantly, I need to see my family.
I need to see my husband's love. I need to see my daughter's smile and words. I need to see my son's graduation from law school and more. I need to see my grandchildren grow. I need my sight.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wordsworth called memory the "inward eye."  Are your memories more sight-based, or do they concern sound, taste, touch, or smell?

Memories for me are based on so much more than just visual. I believe my two strongest senses are taste and smell. Because of evidences too complicated and numerous to mention here I belong to a group of people called "super tasters." Simply, it means I have more active taste buds. Linked with this is a powerful sense of smell.
I came to the realization that I could detect odor much more easily than others while on a walk with my mother. We had stopped to chat with a neighbor and when we walked away I mentioned how good she always smelled with her exotic floral fragrance. I thought it must be a purfume, but my mother looked at me a bit sideways and told me she had no idea what I was talking about. And she had hugged the woman at the end of the conversation! So, no purfume, just an innate good smell.
Tasting nuances within food at a higher level came as a surprise to me too. It was difficult to explain when I was younger why I liked one fast-food chain above another, but now I know it was all in the flavor. It was probably the fat content too, but healthy eating is a different subject. I couldn't explain my preferences because I thought everyone could taste things the way I did.
When eating I like my food to have an abundance of flavors that blend and enhance each other. Good food can be one of the most pleasurable experiences available to me. Restaurants are judged not on service, because that can change from night to night, but on taste.
I loved living in Arizona because of this. The different cuisines available were spectacular, and the spices were used without fear. I thought moving to the East Coast would give me more of the same type of opportunities. New York City has so many famous restaurants that one could conceivably eat at a new place every night for a year or more. Unfortunately, outside of the city, things become bland, bland, bland. There are no good Mexican restaurants, only mediocre, and for a family from the Southwest this is hard to give up. The abundance of pizza and Italian restaurants is insane, but their red sauce/gravy is little more than tomato sauce.
Don't get me wrong. I have had some outstanding Italian, French, and American meals here in Upstate New York, but I've had to go a long way out of my way to find them. When we try something new I can usually tell if we are in for a treat just from the aromas coming from the kitchens. Those trips where we have found great food that overtakes the senses are definitely the most memorable. I look forward to more of them!

Friday, September 7, 2012

What is the coolest thing you've ever seen?

The coolest thing I have ever seen changes with the number of decades I've lived. Part of that phenomenon is the definition of "cool." Boys weren't cool until late into my first decade. Leg-warmers were still cool until after my second decade. Attempting to keep up with trendy music was cool through my third decade. And, as the last part of my fourth decade reaches me, it's been cool to find inner peace and acceptance.
My own maturity dictates most of these, with the exception of leg-warmers, but even then following fashion trends was much more important to me during that time period.
That being said, none of the "coolest" things have anything to do with those broader ideas.
When I was very young the coolest thing I had ever seen was a boxcar. It was deserted in the middle of a wooded area and my family and I found it as we hiked from the road to see the Missouri River. I remember the boxcar much more clearly than the river because it scared me. I was certain that it would start rolling and either crush me or take me away. I had a very vivid imagination as a child! It was cool because I had never seen anything like it before. It is one of my earliest memories and because of that is susceptible to a child's reality vs. everyone else's reality, but it's still cool.
As a teen the coolest thing I ever saw was a live production of West Side Story. I went to the play with a small contingent of the Drama Club fom my high school and was able to sit in the front row. Being in Drama meant that I knew some of the tricks of the trade, but even with behind the scenes knowledge it was magical. I did get to go backstage afterwards, so that made it even cooler.
In my twenties the coolest thing I ever saw was a sunrise. For those who know me well saying that a sunrise was cool is a surprise. I am a night owl and can count only a handful of sunrises I have seen on purpose. I normally like sunsets much better. This sunrise, however, was cool not because of the usual reasons people give, but because it was the first sunrise I ever saw through my daughter's eyes. My husband Matt, daughter Sarah, and I were on an early flight to somewhere I can't even remember. He had Sarah on his lap by the window. We had been flying for about a half an hour so we were a decent way above earth. There was significant cloud cover and the plane was above them when the sun began to peek above the clouds. I had never seen a sunrise that didn't involve the earth, so I was suitably impressed, but it was when Sarah stood on her daddy's lap (she was less than one) to see better that it became the coolest thing. She stared at that sunrise and all of the shades of orange and yellow it was turning the clouds and said, "Oooh." It was just the right thing to say, but it meant so much more to realize that this sunrise was one of the many firsts I had been blessed with because of her.
In my thirties I had the opportunity to be the coach for my sister as she gave birth to my niece. My own daughter's delivery had been a frantic scramble to deliver her by emergency C-section, my mind a bit fuddled with anasthesia, so a labor and delivery was new. My sister had decided on a name much earlier in the pregnancy, but I suggested that her daughter's middle name be Ann, just like our mother's middle name. It seemed right, and I'm convinced it helped form a bond between granddaughter and grandmother. I still hope I didn't force my sister to use Ann, but my niece seems to love her middle name, so all is well. The birth was relatively normal and much like the films from the birthing class, high school biology, and television shows on Lifetime. It certainly had its drama with the baby's father being weird (nothing's changed there!) but it was nothing like prime time television births. There was real blood and real pain and a helplessness I felt at not being able to control the pain for my sister. However, when my niece arrived, the word miracle did not feel big enough. She was huge compared to my baby, but so beautiful. I've maintained that there really are ugly babies, and I've seen a few, but I've also maintained that babies need to be cleaned up before they are the beautiful bundles we expect. No one looks good with fluids and blood all over them! But, at that moment, I knew I was wrong for at least this baby. She only got better when the nurse cleaned her up and that was incredibly cool.
These last seven years have brought about all kinds of cool technology with things like my iPad touch screen, improved computer animation, the Cloud, etc. The coolest thing I've ever seen doesn't have anything to do with technology. Instead, it is those who maximize the possibilities within technology. These people are part of the rising generation. By "rising" I do mean those that are rising to the occasion. It would be so easy to sit back and allow technology to do all the work and there are plenty of people who do that. They wouldn't know what to do if confronted with a loss of this technology. The coolest are those that use the technology to improve life around them, not allowing the technology to use and control them. They take responsibility for their own lives, not demanding anything from others that they wouldn't do themselves. Sometimes while watching the news it seems impossible to find these people among this upcoming generation, but I've seen them, I know them, and I'm incredibly proud of them. They are the coolest thing ever.


"If it's important to you, then it's important to me. I don't know why you constantly worry about putting me out. How many times have I needed your help?" AJ tried to get Ara to look him in the eye. Whatever was bothering her it must have been bad, because she wouldn't make eye contact.
"It's just that I'm embarrassed. I don't know why I feel that way. I know I can trust you. It's just very hard for me to ask for help."
"Well, let's start with what you called me for. You said it had to do with our secret. Is there a problem with the security?" AJ felt his heart pounding as he tried to remain calm. Obviously, Ara was upset, and he didn't want to upset her further by showing his own panic.
"No." Ara stopped. She opened her mouth a couple of times, lost her nerve, and blew the breath out. "It's broken."
"What's broken?" AJ said, trying to keep his breathing and his voice even.
"The portal. Duchess knocked it off the shelf by accident. She's hiding now, waiting for you to stop being mad"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Are you okay with letting people see you cry?

That, of course, is the short answer.
I do cry in front of people occasionally if I cannot hold the tears back, but believe me, I try with everything I have to keep them to myself. This usually happens at events like funerals, weddings, deaths of my favorite characters on television (Ducky!), and moving music. Luckily the television deaths and music happen when I'm alone or only with my hubby. He's not shy about trying to comfort me. Unfortunately, he also tries to comfort me when we are in public, which draws more attention to my tears than I would like.
The most dangerous tears are those shed over music. Usually I am driving alone when this happens. I'm driving along and one of those sappy love songs or songs about illnesses or dying (Sara Beth by Rascal Flats) comes on and I start bawling my eyes out. Now I cannot see the road when there are that many tears flowing. And, inevitably, I can't get my face back to normal by the time someone sees me. My face is blotchy and my eyelashes stay wet no matter how I try to dry them. More than one drive-thru employee has looked at me with pity.
I will also admit to crying in public when I am in pain. And, by public I mean the hospital. Doctors and nurses need to know when they have pushed me past my pain threshold, and the only way to ensure that they notice is to cry. Doctors rarely do anything differently, but at least they acknowledge the problem. Nurses often try to alleviate the suffering if there is a way available.
Why am I not okay with letting people see me cry? Probably because of the hypocrisy that ends up surfacing. I get lots of attention when I do cry in public, but all of the "Are you okay?" questions are stupid. Do I look okay? Offers to help rarely come to tangible action which annoys me beyond belief. "What can I do?" is also a stupid question. I really wish people would just do SOMETHING! They know what they are capable of and what time limits they have, I don't. And, no matter what they do, ANYTHING is better than NOTHING.

Bob Marley asked: "Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?"  How would you answer him?

I am not a naturally happy person. People have often mistaken my "neutral" face for upset. Upon reflection, I do think that as of today, I am happy and satisfied with my life!
My life may not be perfect right now, but I am happy a good deal of the time. Since approximately this time two years ago my body had started to give up on me. It started with pancreatitis and moved fairly quickly to anemia and kidney failure. Since December I have been on hemo-dialysis three times a week. At one point in my life I have been in similar situations and thought "Why me?" I didn't just think it, I let everyone around me know how unfair I felt this was. What had I done to deserve this?
I'm not sure what has changed beyond maturity. The fact of the matter is that this round of health problems is worse because of my age. I cannot recover easily as I did when I was a teen. Even in my 30's I was faster at recovery. Now, the slightest infection wipes out all my energy. But, I'm either more mature and don't need to whine or I've resigned myself to this lifestyle where I no longer travel, cook frequently, or consentrate well.
I hope the detailing of my health problems hasn't come across as unhappiness, because the point I'm trying to make is that DESITE all of that, I feel happy. I'm pleased with my life and with the minor accomplishments I've made. I have a wonderful husband and an outstanding relationship with him. I have a beautiful daughter who makes me proud every day. I have an accomplished son who keeps me honest with myself. Together with his incredible wife, who I also love, they have given me two unbelievable granddaughters. These two girls help me feel young again as I see things through their eyes. They also help me feel a bit old when they wear me out with their energy, but I'll take the exchange.
I am not a naturally happy person, but my life has made me happy, and that's what it takes to be satisfied.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Look Me In the Eye

Do I prefer to speak to someone in person or on the phone? I hate talking on the phone if it can be helped. I will do it, mostly because we live so far away from family and many friends. That being said, I would rather see someone face to face, look them in the eye, and see truths, lies, reactions, and personality.
The best conversations are not just face to face, but over a good meal. It helps pace the conversation, allowing for lags and thoughtful moments while chewing food to think of just the right answer. It cements memories by involving more than just two senses. It's a time for any number of people, from a couple on up, to participate in a conversation.
There is a downside to mealtime conversations. If there are too many people at the table multiple conversations flare, leaving someone like me at a loss as to which to join. Often, at an event where there is more than one table I see other tables that seem to be having a better time than mine. It's like the check-out line in the grocery store. I did not "choose wisely."
My mother, who I can only talk to over the phone now because of miles, says she can tell how I am by the tone in my voice. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) she is right. When I get the opportunity to see her face to face that doesn't happen. I haven't decided if that is because I'm a much better actress in person or if I don't feel the need to convince her that "all is well" when I'm right there. The last time I visited I caught a cold and had a migraine and I only pretended to be fine for part of the time. At some point it all catches up and EVERYONE knows I'm miserable.
So, do I prefer to speak to someone in person or on the phone? I think I'll stick with in person.

The Object I See At This Exact Moment

I've decided to participate in another blogging challenge for September. I like having prompts. The challenge can be found here:

I don't have my glasses on, so "seeing" is kind of a problem. I want to write about something besides my iPad, so I'll go with the beautiful gold spread that is on my bed. Some people, males mostly, (and I don't say this as a bash, just a fact) consider the spread yellow. This would be a mistake, because the color goes much deeper than that. It was purchased to help highlight the different shades of purple I love all around my bedroom. I'm a big believer in balance, both in color and in life.
Life gets out of balance all too easily. When Matt and I first married we tried to strike a balance by dividing duties as well as money making. I cooked, he cleaned the litter box. I decorated, he took out the trash. I worked part-time and packed lunches and drove him to work so I could have the car, he worked full-time plus. I paid bills, he... well, you get the idea.
Now, Matt works two full time jobs while I attempt to take care of my health. I attempt to do many things, but mostly it boils down to my health. If I'm feeling good I can do dishes, fold laundry, etc. The balance is off and we both feel it. It's nobody's fault and we both understand that, but it wears on our relationship nonetheless. And, that, dear readers, is more important than dishes or money. So, we work harder at that than any other part of our lives.
Technology helps. Because of text messaging we can send little love notes or notes about what's going on in our worlds. We use the Farnsworth app to send visual messages. We update the family calendar and budget. We work on research papers together no matter if we are in the same city or not. Matt can add things to my grocery list any time he needs.
We are headed closer to the balance that I crave. Sharing values, church, FHE, and Warehouse 13 keeps us close. Knowing that this phase of our lives is temporary keeps us closer.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sunny's Birthday

Sarah likes to celebrate the birthday's of her imaginary friends and siblings. There are quite a few, so this actually happens often. This time it was Sunny Beaudilaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events. Sunny's favorite meal, according to Sarah, is bean and cheese enchiladas, celery, carrots, apple slices, orange soda, and cheesecake with chocolate sauce. I have to admit, it was yummy! It's also nice to not have to plan one of the meals for the week.
I don't mind planning and executing the meals when I have the energy to do so. Unfortunately, I have a little bit of an infection and it has drained all my energy. I bought all the ingredients for the enchiladas, but ended up just ordering some take-out from South of the Border. It's not a great Mexican restaurant, but it's the only one close to us. They were pretty good, since it's hard to mess up something so simple. Hopefully with the antibiotics I'm getting I'll feel better soon and be up to cooking my own enchiladas!