First Name Basis with Police

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There are a few ways one can get on a first name basis with police.

  1. Become a criminal.
  2. Volunteer for the police.
  3. Make two phone calls in one week.

As much as we had no desire to be on a first name basis with police it happened. Anonymity was not in the cards for us. We went with option #3.

A week ago on Saturday we put the kids to bed prior to our weekly date night to the grocery store. As we pulled out onto the street a white truck made a U-turn behind us. The move concerned Heath. He kept looking behind him saying how strange it was. I suggested we turn back into our circle.

As we came around the corner we saw the truck parked on the street across from our house. The driver was still inside. Cell phone glow partially illuminated the inside of the cab. He was a white male in his early 20’s. He kept his head down and turned away from the window while he busied himself on his cell phone.

Heath drove out of the circle and up to the next in an attempt to give the kid enough time to do whatever he was planning on doing. Personally I don’t think we gave him enough time but that being said, I didn’t want him breaking in while my babies slept. When we came back through the circle the same way we went out we saw that the kid was still sitting in his truck.

What in the world was he doing? Our neighbors across the street have children in their early 20’s. Between those kids and their friends that visit from time to time, we recognize the pickup trucks that park across the street from our driveway. I have never seen anyone park in that spot and not immediately get out of the truck to head for the house.

What in the world was this guy doing? Why did he make a U-turn in front of our house to be facing the direction he was? Why was he still sitting in his truck? Was he casing the neighborhood or was he waiting to make a drug deal with someone coming through the trail pass through?

The stakes were too high to wait and see. We pulled back in the garage, shut the door, and called the police. It was a low priority call but I was hoping an officer would show up sooner than they did. I had to go to the grocery store before it closed at midnight and became Sunday. So Heath stayed behind ready to call me with an update. Two police SUV’s were cruising down the road to nowhere so I called Heath to let him know they were on their way.

Keep in mind my agoraphobia. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite jobs. There are too many choices on the shelves that I become overwhelmed quickly. I congratulate myself on the fact that I can shop now. That was not always the case. I was on high alert and had to keep reminding myself of the benefits of late night grocery shopping.

Shopping late at night is nice because the only other people in the store are young partiers out for an obvious beer run. They wander the store loudly talking as they pick up beer and snacks. They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them. The other nice thing about shopping so late is we have developed a friendship with the store employees. They recognize us and know we will chat with them while they scan our food. I was a little embarrassed to have to shop by myself. I wasn’t sure what to say if our favorite friendliest employee saw me alone. The story was so weird.

I shopped as quickly as possible only buying enough food for Sunday’s dinner. Heath promised we could finish our shopping later. Meanwhile back at the Circle Showdown, the cops came at that truck from both sides lighting the place up like Grand Central Station. By then the kid had left the truck. Heath suggested they look on the trail behind our house. Still nothing.

They did run the kid’s plates. The truck was registered in a nearby city and the kid only had a couple minor traffic stops on his record. There was nothing else to do at that point. The police thanked Heath for calling and said if anything weird happens this kid would be their first suspect. The truck was gone early the next morning and I haven’t seen it since. Case closed.

Heath felt stupid for being so concerned he called the cops. I kept telling him that it was fine. Heath is not a worrywart like me. The fact that he got a bad feeling from this kid and his suspicious behavior concerned me. I thought reporting it to the police was perfectly valid. Other than tattling on drivers who block our driveway during busy sporting event weekends at the park, Heath has never called the police before.

Little did we know a week later he would be on the phone with them again at 3:00 am. A strange sound woke me up. It almost sounded like something had fallen off a desk. I assumed all was well and tried to go back to sleep. But the sound kept coming. The more I listened the more I woke up. The sound was coming from outside but what in the world was it? And why at 3:00 am?

“Heath! What is that?” The words came out in a loud whisper before I could stop them. I don’t know if he had woken to the sound or not but he was certainly awake then. After several seconds of intense listening in the dark he concluded that it was Penny, our neighbor’s dog. “She’s trying to jump the fence. I can hear her panting between the sounds.”

It didn’t make sense. Penny is their baby. They would never leave her outside overnight. Even if they did I can’t imagine why they weren’t aware of the racket she was making in their backyard. Our persimmon tree blocks our view of their yard until the leaves fall off. A light shone in their yard outlining the tree leaves. It didn’t stay on long though. Finally there was one long and loud crashing sound then only panting for a long time.

The dog had successfully jumped the fence. I was impressed. Penny is a tiny little terrier mix. Who knew she could jump so well? Not knowing what else to do, we stared out the windows into our dark backyard. The panting moved from side to side of our yard. I caught a glimpse of the dog as it passed a spot dimly lit by moonlight. It was definitely not Penny.

It was a shaggy sandy colored dog of medium size. I only saw it for a second and I doubt I could pick out the dog from a lineup. But I saw enough to know it was definitely a dog and most certainly not Penny. Ok, so now we have some weird dog in our backyard. Now what?

Given the early time we didn’t think anyone would answer at Animal Control. So Heath called the police. He always repeats the person’s name when he calls someone. The name sounded familiar. It was entirely possible the call was answered by the same woman who took the first call a week ago. I wonder if she recognized us.

“Hi Betsy, we had a dog break into our yard and it is now actively trying to break out on the other side!”

Information was taken down and we were promised an officer would be sent. Sleep wasn’t going to happen. The sound alone was too hard to ignore plus we had to wait for an officer to walk into our backyard at some unknown future time.

Betsy said a labradoodle was reported missing. What little I saw in the moonlight seemed to fit the description of the missing dog. I wonder how many yards this dog had escaped from before getting to ours.

More and more time passed between the crashing sound of desperate claws on wooden slats. We didn’t even notice when it stopped altogether. The panting continued only it was outside our yard. We were shining flashlights into the yard. Which is tricky to do. That dog was pacing behind our apple tree and not in front of it. All the sounds were there but no dog. Then we heard a distinctive splashing sound.

Heath got back on the phone to call off the officer. He reported that the dog had jumped the fence and it sounded like the dog had gone to the bottom of the ditch because we could hear splashing.

We were content in knowing if there was a reward we wouldn’t get it. Houdini Dog had escaped again. Can you imagine what that dog must have been thinking? I want to know where it lived. How far down the street was it jumping fence after fence until it finally found a way out of the maze of backyards? That must have been a relief for Houdini. Free at last!

When I got up for the day I looked out the window at the spot where Houdini had to have escaped. You would never know anything happened. Heath went outside and inspected the fence. No signs of dog struggles. We’re both so tired we have wondered many times if maybe we both had the same strange dream!

The lesson we have all learned is that police get really strange calls and labradoodles can jump. I just want to sleep tonight not worrying about the safety and security of my neighborhood.

Looking Through Windows

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My favorite weekends are when the prophet speaks to us through General Conference. I have been looking forward to this weekend for a very long time.

I had a minor setback when something happened that hurt my feelings. It was a situation very similar to the message in this video. Dirty windows cloud our vision and we jump to the conclusion that others don’t know how to clean laundry properly.

Hopefully I have found enough patience and understanding that I can benefit fully from the messages of General Conference. Because I have been so looking forward to listening by the Spirit for that personal prophetic epistle just for me. God lives. He loves us. And He speaks to us today through living prophets. I can’t wait for a weekend of spiritual renewal and personal revelation.  

Who put the “thou” in “thou shalt?”

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The Ten Commandments were given to Moses centuries ago in the Old Testament. The Old Testament. Doesn’t that make them outdated? What relevance could the ten commandments possibly have for our advanced society today?

In the 1970’s a minister on the radio said that he never talked about the Ten Commandments in his church anymore because they were so out of date. Not only were they outdated but he felt the language was too harsh for the weak sensibilities of our day. Strong words such as command and Thou shalt not. This minister believed the Lord should have used softer words like I recommend or I suggest or I advise.

If a minister is dispensing of the Ten Commandments in the 1970’s, what good are these Commandments now some 40 years later? Even today there are churches that don’t have ten commandments but rather ten suggestions.

Tuning in to the news for even a few minutes brings to mind all the Ten Commandments for anyone who is aware of them and hopes for a more peaceful tomorrow. I don’t want to stand in judgment of the world. I want to take this idea a step further and make it more personal.

My friend brought up an interesting idea in a church lesson. It has really made me think. The 6th commandment states Thou shalt not kill. Well that’s easy enough for me. I don’t hunt. I have no desire to kill another person. I feel no need to own guns for protection. The same was true for Eric. He suggested that maybe the commandment doesn’t apply to similar people. What would be the purpose of a commandment that doesn’t apply to most people? Perhaps it’s outdated or needs to be reworded.

Then he asked how many of us drive a car? He pointed out that a car can be a deadly weapon. How often do we think of that? How often do we climb into our cars, weighing anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 pounds, and speed to our appointments we are late for? Is that not a violation of the 6th commandment? What about the times we are careless, selfish, or just not paying attention as we drive?

There are so many stories on the news almost daily about fatal car accidents. One story was told of a car speeding down the freeway. It clipped an SUV whose passengers included small children. The driver of the car lost control and the car rolled off the freeway crashing violently into a tree. The impact caused the car to catch fire which ultimately burned the driver and passenger to death.

Thou shalt not kill. In that case they killed themselves. Luckily no one else was hurt. What a tragedy though.

Every time I hear Katy Perry’s Roar I can’t help but think of a music teacher who was killed in a senseless car accident. The news showed a clip of her leading her students in the singing of that song. She was in the car with her husband and mother. They were out celebrating the teacher’s birthday. Their car was stopped at a red light. A truck was speeding down the road. The driver was busy looking at his phone and was oblivious to the upcoming traffic light. He slammed into the car with such force it’s actually impressive the husband survived. His wife and her mother did not.

Thou shalt not kill.

Are the words too harsh for our day? A story is told of the chief engineer of a company. He was fired and asked the president why he had been dismissed. The president said, “You let us make a mistake which cost us a lot of money.” The engineer replied, “But certainly you must remember that I specifically advised you not to do that.” The president replied, “Yes, I remember that you advised us not to do it, but you didn’t pound the table when you advised us.”

Is that what it takes? Soft words delivered with fist poundings for emphasis? Unfortunately I see this mentality in other drivers every day. I drive by a park near my house every day. There are two signs at the exit from the park. Two large, bright yellow signs with thick black letters that say “CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP.” There are also stop signs. Which the last time I checked were not optional or nice suggestions.

At least once a day, I kid you not, there is a driver who ignores those signs or chooses not to believe them. I don’t know. But they start to go thinking the thick white lines marking the crosswalk are a stop bar for cross traffic. So far no accidents but we have had many close calls.

Thou shalt not kill. And vehicles can be deadly weapons when misused.

Just this morning I was at an intersection trying to turn right. As I started to creep out into the intersection I noticed a pedestrian standing on the corner. It’s hard to look left and see when to attempt to fit into traffic when I’m concerned for the safety of a pedestrian on my right. Just as I was about to go the lights changed. I had the green. I stopped to wait for the pedestrian who should have crossed in front of me. A car behind me came around my left side to make a right hand turn in front of me.

It freaked me out! The pedestrian wasn’t walking. I couldn’t understand why he was just standing there with no indication he would ever step off the corner in either direction. Still, I felt obligated as a driver to wait. The driver behind me felt no such obligation. He drove around me as if we were on a larger arterial street with two right turn lanes, rather than the neighborhood corner we were on with barely a center divide line. What if the pedestrian had started to walk? That could have been ugly.

Another intersection I have to navigate several times a day has two left turn lanes. A woman was in the furthest left lane. I was in the right left lane. When we got the green arrow she inched her way through that turn very slowly, not to mention widely. She was crowding into my lane. I was trying to maintain my position in my lane. Many parents turn right immediately after that left turn. I stay in the middle lane so I can drive to the back of the school. A few parents do what this woman was trying to do. They try to turn right from the furthest left lane.

She cut me off. Still slowly. It was as if she really had no idea where she was. And then slowly drifted into that right turn only lane on the other side of me. I was mad enough I honked at her and loudly yelled that she was an idiot. Because that’s how she was driving. (Not a Christlike attitude on my part, I realize.) She was facing forward with the blankest expression I have ever seen on someone who just crossed several lanes in front of other motorists who were braking hard to avoid hitting her.

Every day I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands when I drive. In a way I am. I am operating large machinery that has been known to kill people. I’m not the only large deadly machine out there either. The streets are congested with many more. How many of us are consciously aware that our cars, convenient as they are, could be so powerful and deadly in certain circumstances?

I don’t think any of the Ten Commandments are outdated or should be reworded. I think people need to be more responsible in recognizing consequences to their choices. Yes, there are atheists out there but even then they should strive to be more responsible citizens. It’s not surprising to me that the commandments have been woven into the laws of the land. If only we regarded the laws of the land with more importance than merely suggestions.

Sometimes Things Just Click

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It feels like for weeks and weeks I have been trying and failing. Every day I carve out 30-60 minutes to devote to the Lord. I read my scriptures, read gospel themed books, and I pray. I cling to this routine. Some days it’s the only time I feel any sense of peace in my tumultuous mind. Sometimes I still feel lonely and lost despite all my best efforts.

I think I got to a point where I needed to go out and do rather than sit and read. Thinking is great. Doing is better.

Like a cartoon character I feel like I have walked around with a cloud over my head. If I’m lucky I can leave the cloud behind when I leave the house. Peter Pan found his shadow and my cloud always finds me. If I knew how to shoo it away I would. Especially when I came home feeling more despondent after visiting teaching. That’s not supposed to happen. Service is like exercise. It should make you feel good, not worse.

Just to be clear, nothing was said during my appointments that would perpetuate my gloom. I think it’s just my cloud that’s always there. In fact, I felt great as I visited in each home. It was when I walked through the door to my house that the heaviness returned. I started to wonder at what point do I seek professional help? Or is this all part of the mourning process?

I realized that I refer to my August trip to Utah as if it happened six months ago. It was just last month. The last several months feel like ten years. I need to be patient and realize it will take time. I will never be the same again but one day I will return to a sense of normalcy. It’s only been a few months, just relax, right? Easier said than done. However today just clicked.

Our school district is offering training on a reading program designed to serve at risk students. This is the year I have planned to actually volunteer at the school. I heard about the reading program from Gwen’s kindergarten teacher last spring. I told her I would volunteer in her classroom when Gwen was in first grade. The paperwork for the program came from Gwen’s teacher so I wasn’t sure who to work for.

I decided to go to the kindergarten training because I liked the timing of the training best. The lady in charge said I could take the first grade training packet as well. She said first grade isn’t much different from kindergarten and I could probably figure it out on my own. She hadn’t scheduled me at my school yet because I didn’t have any time preferences. My schedule is flexible. I learned that first grade has a greater need for tutors than kindergarten so she scheduled me for Monday afternoons in Gwen’s classroom.

The training was at a school just over the hill from the elementary school my kids attend. I was supposed to be there 30 minutes after school started. Since I saw Gavin had gotten on the bus before we left I knew I didn’t need to waste time and gas driving back home. Armed with Ensign magazines I drove to the other school to read in the parking lot.

An article on depression caught my attention. The man talked about his earnest prayers for understanding and relief. He felt like some days the Spirit lifted him out of his hopelessness. He felt confidence to continue – if only until his next prayer. As he humbled himself to seek help through prayer he found himself growing closer to Heavenly Father.

Studying a particular story in the Book of Mormon helped him realize that there was a purpose to the trial. The winds of adversity blow us where we need to be. He realized he had been praying for those winds to be calmed but without them he wouldn’t reach the blessings the Lord had in store. It was a good reminder for me.

I especially loved the last part by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

Never Lose Faith

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“How do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. …

“Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. …

“… Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.”

With that boost to my spiritual confidence I walked into the school for my training. All morning I had joked with my kids that I was going to school too. It all came rushing back. It was as if I was back in college feeling so inspired to change the world.

The more I learned about the reading program the more my heart grew. I will be working with the students that have always held a cherished spot in my heart. The kids who don’t qualify for branches of Special Education but are drowning in a regular classroom. Those kids I pulled aside to work with one on one when I was a regular classroom teacher. The same kids I enjoyed testing for Resource but they didn’t qualify and I hated telling their parents the news. I am so excited for this opportunity.

After my training I felt so light and happy. The feeling continued even after I came home. I am so grateful for this break in the clouds. I’m sure there will still be dark and stormy days ahead but for now I am appreciating the filtered sunlight shining down moments of joy.

Volunteering at the school is new to me but service is not. Sometimes things just click. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

Woot!

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We have been spoiled with our Amazon Prime membership. The trip between coveting, to purchasing, to delivery is a short two days. So waiting is much more painful when we order our annual shirts from shirt.woot.

This year was agonizing. For some reason our order was split with four shirts arriving one day and the last shirt arriving over a week later. There was no way of knowing which shirts were coming when.

The kids played out every possibility in their minds. Parker was certain his shirt was in the first batch. He checked the mailbox every night. Finally the first round of shirts arrived. With a crazed look in his eye and fingers shaking he ripped the vinyl packaging apart. His shirt was not one of them.

Oh the horror. Oh the unfairness of it all. Oh the howls and tears and slamming doors of disappointment.

Sympathy was immediate for all of us. There were no words, no gestures, no amount of patient understanding that could possibly soothe his pain. We tried. Eventually Mom and Dad had to get a little strict and force his mourning to end early. We had a dinner date with friends to keep. Parker wanted nothing to do with us. If he were a little older it would have been extremely tempting to let him wallow in his own pity party while the rest of us went out. Instead we had to make him come along. In his defense he tamed the wild beast within remarkably well.

Without consulting one another we all decided to save our shirts until Parker received his. Heath did take his shirt with him on his business trip. Parker’s shirt was scheduled to arrive while Heath was away.

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Heath was proud to wear his World’s Greatest Dad shirt on the flight home.

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It was a beautiful day when Parker’s shirt arrived. The shirt was carefully laid aside until that Friday when Heath was coming home. We all agreed to wear our shirts the same day.

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As much as Parker loved his new shirt, he was a little disappointed in the reaction he got from people at school. His teacher is old enough and smart enough to get the joke that the Lego mini figures on the shirt are movie characters both played by Harrison Ford. She laughed right out loud when she saw the shirt.

The rest of the kids looked at the shirt while crickets chirped. Parker explained that Indiana Jones and Hans Solo are both played by Harrison Ford. More crickets. Parker came home and announced that maybe his shirt should be a weekend only shirt. He said the kids not only didn’t get the joke they stared at him all day. He felt uncomfortable. I am happy to report that he got over it and has worn the shirt to school again despite his clueless classmates.

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I love Gavin’s shirt. It’s perfect for him! Especially since he’s in the laptop program at school.

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Gwen was wearing her One Flight per Customer shirt yesterday. I needed to pay for some crafts I had signed up to do at a church craft night. The lady we were visiting looked at Gwen’s shirt and could not stop laughing. It really is a very funny subtle joke.

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I like to wear my shirt when I’m feeling particularly piquant.

Surviving another week on Say Whats

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We have survived another week without Heath. Nothing too interesting happened in his absence. At least nothing like the last time he was gone a couple weeks ago. Gavin’s bus was a no show on Wednesday. I took him to school and complained online. I should hear from someone by next Friday. We’ll see what happens.

The Boogeyman never visits anymore when Heath is gone. It makes for really boring recap posts. The closest we got to the Boogeyman was when Gary the garbage can flipped his own lid.

We have one of those touchless garbage cans. We call him Gary. He is very eager to please. But we made fun of his zealousness in the beginning and now he hesitates half the time to open the lid. We wave our hands in front of the sensor like crazy and still he thinks about it. The other day the kids were at school and I was reading in a chair far away from Gary. The lid opened all on its own then closed seconds later. I had to say, “I got nothing for you Gary. Just relax!”

Oh and last night there were horrible animal screams outside. I wonder if a fox finally caught one of the ducks. It sounded awful but there was nothing I could do about it. It was dark so I couldn’t see anything and it sounded like it was on the other side of the ravine.

Other than that our nights have been filled with giggles. The kids like to make videos of themselves on the homework laptop. Then they play it back and laugh and laugh. Heath calls at night when he’s finally done for the day. As we chat the kids are running through the house giggling. It’s kind of a fun scene. I heart my family!

It took FOR.EV.ER to get this video from the homework laptop onto YouTube. I had to get my husband’s permission to access the site since it’s blocked to the kids. I kept clicking the button that says “My Parent is Here” but since I didn’t know the password it didn’t really matter that I’m the mom. Heath was able to help me out when he landed. Finally I got it to work. The video is a little long and probably boring to anyone who doesn’t know us but it cracks me up. That kid is too funny. For all our grandmas out there …

And for the fun of it, here are some Say Whats from the week.

Gwen: Velma looks hot in her new tires!
Parker: She’s always saying stuff like that. She says the S word too.
Me: What’s the S word?
Parker: Sexy!

Gavin: I’m going to put it on my website.
Me: You have a website?
Gavin: I’m going to get one.
Me: Says who?
Gavin: When I take over the world!

Gwen: There was a girl today who was trying to be on fire.
Me: How was she trying to be on fire?
Gwen: Well she had glasses and she was dancing around in the sun.
Me: How does that make her on fire?
Gwen: I have no idea.

Me: You show up as unavailable.
Heath: Well I’m unavailable because I’m married to you!

Me: You look happy.
Gavin: I have been so happy the last couple of days.
Me: Why are you so happy?
Gavin: That’s classified.
Me: But I’m your mom. You’re never going to tell me?
Gavin: I’ve been so happy since I started planning taking over the world. That’s all I can say.
Alrighty then!

We can’t wait for Heath to walk through the door! It’s been a long week without him. I do agree with Gavin, it went by fast. One more trip for me and hopefully a long break of business trips and family trips. I’m ready for life to get good and boring again.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it all!

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Diamonds glitter in the sunlight. A twinkling reminder of the blessed rainstorm this morning.

In the middle of the night I woke to a low constant rushing sound. It took a minute to recognize the sprinklers. In my half asleep stupor I could have sworn I had heard the sprinklers many times this week. I started to worry that we were wasting water. That precious commodity I had been praying to fall from the sky. I could be right I could be wrong. Eventually I went back to sleep. (Later I checked and we only have the sprinklers set to come on twice a week as prescribed for our area. Sleep does funny things to minds.)

A couple hours later I awoke again. This time to the tell tale tapping of rain. My heart soared at the beautiful sound. Unfortunately I only had ten minutes before the alarm would arrest sleep for good. For a few magical minutes I enjoyed the sound of the rain. The window was open and I opened the blinds all the way to let more cool air in as well as my favorite smell. Who cares if the smell of rain is really decomposing matter. It smells wonderful!

The kids were so excited to find their long pants this morning. Gavin wanted to dig out his PE sweats. I had to tell him it was only 60 degrees outside. Not much cooler than a normal morning. The sun came out later and we hit 75 degrees for a high.

Gwen was so disappointed that the rain faucet was barely dripping by the time she had to go to school. She proudly took her umbrella anyway. She also opened and closed it several times as I drove away. The water sprite within was back. How unfair that the storm had already passed. Even more unfair were my instructions to not jump in puddles. She doesn’t have any rain boots. Mary Janes weren’t going to keep her feet dry enough for puddle jumping.

I like to believe the gray sky and ground fed her soul a little bit anyway. I know they did mine.

After school was a parade of colorful twirling umbrellas. Gwen was not the only kid celebrating. The kids pranced and pirouetted through the field and down the path. Like a synchronized water dance, umbrellas would open wide, slowly spinning through the air. At the same time different umbrellas closed with an artistic twirl at the hip. For a few beats the closed umbrellas were used as walking sticks. Soon the open umbrellas closed and the closed umbrellas swung open and were tipped behind heads like a parasol.

Other than the sunshiny rain dance of the parasols, the only indication of this morning’s substantial rainstorm is the diamonds on the leaves. Wally Weatherman is calling for more rain tomorrow. We can’t wait!

Ready for a Change

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The crunchy brown leaves have been swirling from the trees for weeks now. They are brown and crunchy from a combination of intense sunshine with no rain. Temperatures have stayed content in the 80’s. That may be changing soon with a promise of rain. Oh please let it rain!

Stores have long since taken down summer fashions to make room for their fall lines. Plaid clothes in snuggly textures and heavier fabrics. I tried to take advantage of the discounted shorts and t-shirts as I back to school shopped for my kids. We tend to wear shorts until Halloween if not till Thanksgiving. Discounted clothes look like rejects on every front. Ill fitting and ugly. There’s a reason why they weren’t snatched up sooner.

Some years I want to protest the onset of fall. Other years the smell of freshly sharpened pencils beckons for trendy jackets and warm soup. This is one of those years.

I have been faithfully smearing self tanning lotion almost daily for a month now. August came with the end of a long summer for me. Somehow I wasn’t outside absorbing Vitamin D and having the natural results to show for it. Self tanner kept my secret. I want to quit but every time I miss a day or two my skin looks orange and splotchy. Besides that I don’t like how my legs look like they were spun from filmy spiderwebs when I wear skirts and dresses to church.

Soon I will give in to my need for change and put the shorts away. The self tanner won’t be as important to me when I’m in jeans every day. It’s probably time to trade my flip flops for real shoes. I see other ladies already transitioning to fall. They look so cute. I’m so ready for summer to be over.

Bring on the wind, the rain, and the chilly mornings. Bring on festive decorations and the smell of baking bread. It’s time for the basket of blankets in the family room to be used to nestle under while watching movies, rather than to build forts with or dress up in.

We have battened down the hatches of our yard. The pool has been shoved in a plastic box because there’s no way of folding it neatly! The box sits on top of the outdoor carpeting we put down over layers of sand for a softer pool bottom. It’s also easy to stop doing yard work since we haven’t done much this summer anyway. Radio commercials suggested we let our grass grow long to be more drought tolerant. How could I not follow that advice? Every two or three weeks we would cut back on the scraggly grass seed.

I’m looking forward to the problem of Gwen not having a rain coat that fits. I really want to wear fuzzy sweaters just for a change. I would melt but the idea sounds wonderful. For now I will settle for long sleeved shirts. My t-shirts are getting boring. I want to grocery shop in high heeled boots and a leather jacket because it’s fall and I can.

My dad’s house sold yesterday. All that is left is selling his car. Hopefully that doesn’t take long. Maybe this need for a change in scenery is a need to move on from summer and all the pain that came with it.

If only I could blow the summer away on a kiss into the wind. Then the rains could fall and wash everything away leaving the earth, as well as my mind, clean and fresh.

By February I will be ready for spring. The days will start to get longer. Blossoms will burst with hope. I will be ready for fall and winter to end to welcome spring and summer. For now I want to cuddle under a blanket with a good book after closing in the walls of my home with holiday decorations.

The sun will come out tomorrow. For now I’m ready for a change.

Good Review = Good Luck Charm

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The BYU shrine seems to grow every week. The BYU helmet always finds its way to a prominent place, either before the game begins or during the game. Cosmo the pillow pet is supposed to join us for games but sometimes he doesn’t. The kids usually remember Cosmo. When they do they like to bring their own stuffed homages to BYU football to the party. A teddy bear cheerleader, and two teddy bears holding footballs zipped up in blue footballs.

Now we have a real genuine painted football displayed on our TV stand. It’s the cubic zirconia of footballs with painted stitching. Granted it is full size and plastic. Actually Amazon describes it as a full size pvc pebble football with collegiate striping. As far as novelty items go this is a great one. It looks good in our shrine. Gwen commented that it was bigger than the helmet. That made me think of Phoebe and her giant dog that was as tall as Monica’s dollhouse.

I have to tease Heath for buying the helmet. It was an impulse buy based on a customer review. He may tell the story differently but I’m sticking with that. This was the review.

“I bought this for my boyfriend as he mentioned “it would be cool to hold my team’s football while watching the game on tv.” It seems to be a quality item, though it is being used as a novelty in our home, not a toy. I can’t comment on its durability in the backyard, but as a grown man’s version of a teddy bear at movie time, it serves its purpose perfectly. In the off season it adds a nice appeal to his home office decor.”

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A grown man’s version of a teddy bear at movie time! Sounds about right.  

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Ok, so I was caught holding it too. Only I didn’t hold it for long. Better things happened when Heath held it.

One complaint we have against the ball is that it needs to be pumped up. If you’re going to squeeze a stress ball you want it to have a little more resistance. At least if the stress ball is a football. If I wanted to work on my forearm strength I would do reps squeezing a stress ball in my hand. If I really wanted to relieve stress I would click a pen. Incessantly.

That’s not how I watch football though. I’m usually reclined in my special corner of the sofa swigging my Diet Coke and screaming at the TV. Because those players can hear me.

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This is how Heath watches games. In the beginning anyway. Later when things get intense he stands. The phone is always nearby though. Diet Coke check. Phone check. Football check. Bring it on!

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I love game days.

The drought is over!

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Wally Weatherman forecasted rain for the first time in nine months or more. The kids were so excited about the rain. I was too. Unfortunately we don’t live in the Napa Valley which seems to be the only place that ever gets rain when Wally Weatherman forecasts it. Still I held on to hope.

There was no evidence of rain. The roads were dry. Gwen checked the grass and was so excited that it was wet. Probably from the sprinklers. The weird thing was that when I got to the school the ground was wet. It wasn’t like sprinklers gone wild all over the sidewalks. The roads were completely wet too. Silly microclimates. There were also sprinkles on my windshield. Not enough to even dirty the glass or turn on the wipers, but noticeable sky spit.

Gwen was beside herself. “THE DROUGHT IS OVER!” She kept exclaiming! Ah the faith of a child. If only sprinkles so few you could count them would be enough to end the drought.

She also believes the splash pads will be turned back on now. I was talking to a city landscaper recently who said the splash pads will never be turned on again. It wastes too much water. He said something about having the same amount of water storage that we had in the 1950’s. Think of how many more people there are now. Basically he painted a picture of how little water we actually have. Like next to nothing. Two drops at best.

The clouds are playing peek-a-boo with the sun today. That’s a Gwennyism from when she was 2 or 3. I love days like this. The weather in California is spectacular, but every once in a while I miss the clouds. A friend described California’s weather by saying that when the rain stops the sun comes out. It’s true. There are rarely gray, moody days. Last night Parker noticed the clouds hugging the mountains. He said, “Look at the clouds in the clouds!” We laughed about his silly mistake.

It’s muggy today. Our overnight lows were warm. It was 70 degrees in San Francisco before 7:00 am. That’s crazy warm. The clouds kept the temperatures up. Our house never cooled down overnight and the A/C has been running off and on all day. It usually doesn’t come on until later in the afternoon.

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This is what Heath saw on his way to work this morning. A double rainbow. Maybe it’s good luck that one day we too will get enough rain to declare the drought over. Keep praying for us!

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