Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fun times in Utah!

Ok these are some really old pictures that I never got around to posting before now. These pictures are from our really fun trip to Utah to visit with my family. One day we went to a fun museum with my nephews. There were some great photo opportunities.

Look behind you!

Diana celebrated her birthday while were there.

The girls enjoying watermelon at the lake.

Grandpa and Miles.

Bald as a ping pong ball!

One thing I love about Jared, is his goofy and adventurous nature. Sometimes he likes to be silly. I think that he will try anything once. Last summer while we were in Utah, Jared decided that he would let my brother shave his head.

This was back at the end of July. I am amazed at how fast boys hair grows back. By the time school started he had his hair back. Here is a picture taken of him on September 15th.

Friday, September 28, 2007

No kidnapping, but there may be a murder.

Jared did not come home from school today at the usual time which is 2:45. Yesterday, he stayed after school to help set up chairs for the orchestra performance at open house last night. We found out from our next door neighbor that the bus was 55 minutes late getting to the school to take them home. Our neighbor Tanner, actually got so tired of waiting for the bus, that he just walked home.
Today, I was over at a friends house where Marion was doing an electrical job. Their son, who is Jared's age walked in the door just as I was going home. Jared and Jake are on the some bus so I expected to see Jared when I got home. When Jared wasn't here, I called Jake to see if Jared and Tanner were on the bus. He told me that they weren't on the bus. Jared's cell phone is sitting on the table, so of course I can't just call him and see where the heck he is. I next called my neighbor to see if Tanner was home. She said that no Tanner wasn't home. Now I got in my car and drove up the street to see if I could see the boys, no luck. While I was driving and looking, I called Jared's school to see if they could shed any light on the situation. The person I talked to put me on hold, but came back and said that as far as they knew, all the buses were on time. By now it was time to go and get Diana. So while I drove to her school, I called Jake back and questioned him further. He then told me that originally Jared and Tanner had been on the bus, but that someone came on and took about 15 kids off of that bus and put them onto another bus. So now as I wait for Diana to come out of her school, I call Jared's school back and I tell them this story. I am now beginning to be a bit concerned. Did some strange person kidnap 15 kids off of the bus? Finally the dean gets on the phone with me. He tells me that he was upset by how late the bus was yesterday. He was told that the reason for the bus being late was that the substitute driver got lost. How is that for reassuring information? So he personally watched today as all the buses were loaded. He said they all left the parking lot at 2:25. I say to him that it is now 3:25 and so why has it taken a whole hour for the bus to bring my son 2 miles home. Now I am really beginning to worry. And I have a few words with this administrator about what kind of place is he running where a whole busload of kids gets lost for an hour. He tells me that he will call transportation and gives me the number so I can make a complaint as well.
Next I get a call from a number I do not know. And wouldn't you know if it isn't Jared calling to say that he and Tanner decided to walk home. Apparently they have had a fabulous time making several stops along the way. Also they tell me that Jake had to have known that they were walking, because A) they told him they were going to walk when they got off the bus and B) Jake made the L for loser sign to them when the bus drove past. When we asked Jake why he didn't tell me, he said "Oh, I forgot." So I guess the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. Next I made the slightly embarrassing call to the school to apologize. "Sorry to have alarmed you, my son isn't kidnapped, but his punishment for worrying all of us may be the death penalty." Now, that I know he is alive, I may just kill him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Amazing Race

Well, I returned last night safe and sound. Well maybe not so sound, but I am back to normal life. It was very nice to have a break for a few days and see my family in Seattle. We certainly had very yummy food and I may have gained 5 pounds in 4 days, thank goodness I wasn't there any longer. One of my favorite TV shows is the Amazing Race. I was able to experience on a small scale the trials of traveling. As seems to be the case often in my life, my airplane rides were a bit out of the ordinary.
I flew out of Las Vegas Friday night. I had never done this before, but apparently Friday night is the ideal time to go through security at McCarren Airport. I was shocked to see the shortest line I have ever experienced. After arriving at my gate in record time, I grabbed a salad for dinner and read my book while waiting for the plane to board. I was in the last group to be called to board the plane. Most of the other passengers had already boarded. As we lined up, the Airline worker said to her co-worker, "I think we may have to unload the plane, because it was hit by lightening when it was landing." This made those of us in line a tiny, bit concerned. I quickly called my brother-in-law who is a pilot to ask if this is any thing worth worrying about. Someone else in line actually got out of line and I think was having reservations about getting on the plane. My brother-in-law reassured me that planes are hit by lightening often and it really is nothing to worry about. The airlines just has to have someone come out and inspect the plane to make sure it is safe to fly it. Sadly right when the inspector came, there was a huge thunderstorm and he could not inspect the plane because OSHEA has rules about people being out near the planes during a thunderstorm. Our pilot gave us several updates, telling us that things would be delayed. At one point he tried to soothe any irritated people by telling us "It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground." He had a point there. I was worried because I had to connect to another plane in San Fransisco. But I tried to look on the bright side, that if I was stranded at the airport all night, I could just pretend I was on the Amazing Race. Finally we took off about 45 mins late. I did have an hour for my connection, so I still had a chance to make it. And happily, I did make it just fine. So all was well that ended well.
Coming home, I only got to the airport an hour early, which normally is plenty of time. In the past I have never waited more than 10 minutes for security. I am not quite sure why, but there was a very long line yesterday, and it was moving pretty slow. I did make it through after about 35 minutes and then I hurried to my gate. With 15 minutes to spare, I quickly bought some stuff to take home to my kids at the corner store. While I was waiting to pay, a lady with a crying baby came and got in line behind me. I should be more sympathetic, but I selfishly thought "I hope that baby is not on my flight". The mom didn't even seem to be tyring to console the child. I wonder she always cries. If this were a movie, ominous music would be playing. Finally I boarded my plane. My seat was 22C which was the very last row of the plane. I had to drag my suitcase all the way to the back. And wouldn't you know it, there was that lady and the baby who was still crying. I thought "Well at least I am at the back of the plane." (more ominous music) As I made my way to the back, I felt badly because I kept bumping people that were overflowing into the aisle. My parade to the back was accompanied by me saying "Pardon me, excuse me, and I 'm so sorry" repeated over and over again. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, I made it to the back of the plane. Imagine my concern, when the last row of the plane was 21 not 22. I said to the flight attendant, "I don't mean to be demanding or a problem, but my row seems to be missing from the plane. Does this mean I have to sit in the bathroom?" A last minute plane change was the reason for the problem, so he called and got me a new seat assignment. And you probably guessed already that it was at the front of the plane. Yep seat 7D. So I began my pilgrimage back up front, and wouldn't you know it, I was in the row behind the crying baby. That is what I get for feeling smug, when I walked past them the first time. Not only that, but there were two other smallish children who both proceeded to cry off and on during the flight. I know it could have been worse, they could have been mine. Trying my best to ignore it, I read my book. Perhaps in the future it would be fortuitous to bring earplugs. This time the flight was not delayed. Going home I connected in LAX. I had an hour there and got some dinner. Finally I arrived in Las Vegas at 8:30. This was perfect, because Marion had just returned from Scouts. He and Diana came and picked me up at the airport.
Everyone at home seemed to have survived nicely without me. Once again a big thank you to my parents and sisters for a restful, fun weekend and to my dear husband for covering everything while I was gone.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm running away from home!

Seriously, through some rather strange turn of events, I am flying to Seattle for a four day trip. I will be there with my three sisters. It will be very nice to have a little break from the hamster wheel. There is not very much going on this weekend, so it is a good time to go. I will miss the primary program on Sunday, which I did not even realize was happening when I made my plans. I actually have not been home in over a year, and it will be good to visit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good news, Diana's bike isn't gone for good, just my brain!

Well I had reported a while ago that Diana's bike was stolen. She was very sad about this, but replacing it has still not made it to the top of the priority list. We saw a bike just like hers at Savers one day, and wondered if it even was hers. So imagine how amazed I was when I picked her up from a friend's house last Saturday and she informed me that her bike was there. It turns out that Diana took her bike to the church for a pioneer primary parade for the 24th of July. I think I had to go to work that day or something, and so this friend offered to bring her home from the activity. Somehow the bike did not make it back to our house. Good grief, this probably happened only a few weeks before we discovered the bike was missing. You would think that I could remember that she had it at the church. I honestly thought that we had not seen it all summer long. So good news, we found the bike, now if I could only find my brain things would really be looking up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Somebody stop the wheel, I want to get off!

Tuesday was an especially exhausting and exasperating day on the Hamster Wheel, otherwise known as my life. I got Trent up and out the door. It is so nice that Trent can just take himself to seminary and school. That has made my life easier. I had to take Jared to school, so he could make up a test that he missed when he was sick last Friday. He usually rides the bus, which is also very nice, but not today. After that, I managed to get Diana to school. I was supposed to help with student elections, but I had called and told them I couldn't do it, due to over scheduling. The nice lady on the phone works in the health office. She told me that I didn't even need to give a valid reason for canceling, after all I don't work for them, I am just a volunteer. As Diana was walking into the school building, I notice that she does not have her glasses on her head. Yikes, that is not good. I don't know why, but we are having the dickens of a time remembering her glasses. The first week of school there were at least three days when I had given them to her, and then she took them off at the last moment to do her hair or something. After this method failed a few times, I have started just putting them on top of my head when I see them while running around in the morning. That is part of the problem also, she never leaves them in the same place so it is hard to find them at times. Monday morning, we were walking into the school yard and she said "Mom, I forgot my glasses again." And I was able to feel on the top of my head and sure enough, there they were and I gave them to her before the bell rang. Well, that was not the case this time. I asked her teacher if she thought Diana would really need the glasses that day. She replied that well Yes, vision would be a requirement of the learning process planned for the day. So I walked home and got in the car and took the glasses back to the school.
Next on the days itinerary, was a doctor appointment for me. I had my blood tested for my annual check up and it came back that I am anemic. Maybe that accounts for why I can not seem to sleep enough and why everything around me seems to take on the shape of a bed when I stare at it long enough. Anyway, my appointment was suppose to be at 10:30 and I arrived five minutes early. Finally at 11:10 they called me back. Thank goodness I was listening to a good book on tape. Sadly, I had a dentist appointment at 11:15. I was finally going to have someone look into fixing my broken tooth. So I had to reschedule my dentist appointment for 2:00.
I got out of the doctors office by noon and ran some errands. Jared has been obsessing about getting a bag to carry all of his lacrosse gear. I ran over to Savers in the hope of finding something that would work. No luck. Then I went to Goodwill, again No luck. I went to the bank and went home and got some lunch. I did the dishes and then it was time for the dentist.
I went to the dentist. The assistant took a picture of my tooth and then I had to wait for the dentist to come in and look at it. Jared had to stay after school so he could make up a test in another class. While I was waiting for the dentist to come in, Jared called to say he was ready to be picked up. I think it was about 2:30 then. I told him he would just have to wait. I tried to call Marion, but he did not answer at school or home. Finally at 2:45, I told the dentist that I really had to go. He then came and looked at my tooth. I have to get a filing replaced and he wants me to get a mouth guard for at night because he thinks I am grinding my teeth. Gee, what reason would I have to grind my teeth? So now it is 3:00. I finally got a hold of Marion at home and asked him to go and get Jared in the front of the middle school. I tried to call Jared back, but he did not answer. At this point I am wondering why am I paying an exorbitant amount of money each month for four of us in our family to have a cell phone? Marion doesn't routinely carry his and Jared is not answering the dang thing that he just called me from a minute ago. Crimeny. I am now running out of the dentist office to go and get Diana by 3:20. At some point Jared calls me back to see what is taking so long and he tells me that he has walked a ways home down to a gas station. Marion does not have his cell with him, and so I can not call to tell him of the change of plan. I get to Diana's school, just in time and finally talk to Jared and find out that Marion has managed to find him. Sheesh.
I took Diana home and told her to start on her homework. Marion had to leave to go to soccer practice. I had to take Jared to buy a cup. I imagine that I won many most embarrassing mother awards during this expedition. For instance a 13 year old boy can not be to impressed when his mother calls his friend, and the friend's mother is not home, and so she asks her son's friend what size is his cup? And then when the boy does not know, she insists that he go and look so he can tell her. Yeah, that went over real well. Then there is the process at the store when the horrified son has to watch as his mother holds up different kinds of cups and discusses publicly the pro and cons of each type. All of this had to happen very fast because the Hamster wheel stops for nothing, not even embarrassing catastrophes. Once home, Jared put on the purchase and it was extremely humorous to watch as he demonstrated its efficiency at deflecting blows. Anyone who has ever watched a son wear a cup for the first time can relate to what I am talking about.
We returned from the store at 4:15. Just in time to see if Diana was ready to go and run frantically through the house looking for her faith in God book. We raced out the door and picked up a less active girl who attended activity days for the first time. I dropped them off at 4:30 and sped back home to get the boys and take them to Lacrosse. Sometimes speed limits, stop lights, and other drivers can be such a nuisance. Once the boys were deposited, I returned home to an empty house. I sat down for a moment of rest in front of the computer. This is when Trent walked in from his day. He requested a sandwich, which I quickly threw together on my way out of the door to pick up the girls from Activity days. We dropped of the girl we had given a ride to and returned home to work on Diana's homework. Marion came in from soccer for a few minutes, then he went down to the church for scouts. I went and picked up the boys at 7:00 and returned home. For diner we dined on frozen pizza, it was all I could manage. It was then that Jared informed me that it was picture that the next day and so he needed a check, and also he needed money for his orchestra shirt. Trent needed a bit of help with some home work and so it went until finally I was able to collapse into bed.
Today was a little bit better. I went to institute and the temple, but no doctor or dentist appointments. And my neighbor drove the boys to Lacrosse, so I could take Diana to Family Fun night (a misnomer if ever there was one, but that is a topic for another post) and then we went to the church for an enrichment class on wise shopping.
I have finally managed to buy myself one of the those day planners thingy-boppers. After sitting on the counter for two months, I have started to use it. My dream is that it will help cut down on these issues of double booking things at the same time. The problem seems to be that I am not the only one scheduling things. It is all these other people who keep telling my kids what to do and where to be that are the problem. So now I am doing better at writing it all down, but what do I do about how tired it makes me to see it all written down in one place?

Happy Birthday to Camille

Well I think that most of you would know about Camille. But just in case you don't know of her, she was a three year old little girl that we were going to adopt right before we moved to Las Vegas. She lived with us for three months as a foster child and then right when we were going to move, the county decided that she would be returned to her birth mother who was in drug rehab. This is one of life's great injustices as far as I am concerned, but I cling to the faith that Heavenly Father will make this all right. If not in this life, then in the next.

Yesterday was Camille's birthday. She is now 12 years old. I have not heard anything about her or how she is doing for over eight years. I don't know why, but somehow I am sadder this year about her birthday. It may because it is a special milestone. I am saddened to think that if she was still with us, this Sunday would be her first in Young Women's. So I am using this forum as therapy, and even though she will not read this, I think it will make me feel better to write about it.

So Camille, where ever you are in the world, know that I still love you and think about you and pray for your safety and happiness. I hope your birthday was a happy one. I remember the birthday we had together when you turned three. You looked so cute and it was fun to buy presents for a little girl. May the Lord bless and keep you, until the day we may meet again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No good deed goes unpunished.

Last Thursday I went and volunteered for Diana's class. This year she is in third grade and come to find out all the third grade teachers make their lesson plans together. There are six teachers all together and I guess each of them takes a turn for two weeks. So what this means to me is that I am not just copying for Diana's teacher, I am making copies for six classes. That is 6 sets of 20 of each copy. The first week of school, it took me 2 and a half hours to make about 1800 copies. I did not hole punch any of them that week. The next week it took me 3 hours to make about 2400 copies and I did hole punch the ones that needed that done to them. I kept thinking that there has to be a better way. The girls in the front office told me that I should be making all those copies on the rizzo (sp?) machine instead of the copy machine. So that brings us to last Thursday. I arrived at the school determined to cut my time and be more efficient.

I went and signed in at the office. This apparently is not optional. At my old school I never once signed in during the 7 years that my boys attended. Perhaps they had so few parent volunteers that they were just glad I was there to help and they choose not to harass me as payment for my services. Well when Diana started at this new school 2 years ago, I was introduced to RULES for parent volunteering. We have a principal that we lovingly refer to as Hitler. She has very many rules for everything. Basically you are not allowed to do anything at her school. So anyway they are very insistent that you sign in and obtain a visitor badge. I am sure that this is all great and better for security, but I find it to be a pain when I am there all the time and they know me. So once I had my badge I went to make all my copies. It actually did go faster this time and I was thrilled when I was completely finished in just under two hours. I went to the office to turn in my badge. Imagine my surprise when in the slot where my driver's license should be, I find badge #3 and not my driver's license. I have badge #36. There is still a driver's license in the slot for badge #3. So it is not hard to figure out that the person who had badge #3 had mistakenly taken my license when she left. Shockingly enough, I was not impressed with the idea of some other person running around with my license. I complain to the office staff and each one replies that they did not take any badges from anyone. Finally we figure out that the lady who took my badge has had a stroke and is not quite all together there and that she likes to just help herself by putting her badge back. Once I learn this, I calm down a little bit, but I am still not impressed. I went home and received a call a short time later telling me that they tracked the culprit down and that my license would be in the office the next morning.

Two years ago, I accidentally left my license in the office and took home my visitors badge. Unfortunately, this was the Friday before Christmas break so I had to live without my license for two weeks. This only proved to be inconvenient when I went to Comp USA on Christmas Eve to buy a new computer. If I had my ID I could have applied for an interest free credit card to put my purchase on, but instead I had to just pay with cash. I guess that was good to have less debt. Anyway after that I vowed to never let the office have my license again. Instead I would give them my car keys, figuring that it would be pretty hard to forget to get them. Hopefully I would not just walk home and leave my car there, right? But then last year, the office cracked down and they said it was no longer acceptable to leave keys, it had to be the ID. I then made a photocopy to leave each week when I volunteered. This worked well all year last year, but somehow I lost that copy of my ID during my many travels during the summer months. So this year I haven't managed to copy it again. Funny that in the 3 million copies I have made in the past three weeks, I have not managed to make just one copy of my license. Well be assured I will make a copy for tomorrow, because I will not let these people ever have my license again.
And yes, I did get it back the next morning so I guess it wasn't really all that awful, but cheese louise I wish it didn't happen in the first place.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Trent has a new pair of wheels

Well something rather exciting and unexpected has happened. We have purchased another car, bringing the total cars at our house to four. Marion has a 2001 white Astra van, I have a 2005 black Elantra, Trent now has a 2000 white Ford focus, and we also have a 1989 grey honda Accord. I can't remember if I ever wrote about the honda. It is kind of a sad car story, so I may have opted to edit it out in the hopes that I could erase the darn thing from my memory.

It all started last spring, about a month before Trent got his driver's liscense. Our next door neighbor asked us if we wanted to buy this honda he had for just $100. The car was not running at the time, but he assured as that all it needed was a water pump. We decided that it would be a good car for Trent to work on and so we paid him the money. To make a long story short, we ended up spending another $1500 on repairs and the darn thing still did not pass the smog inspection. Also the air conditioning did not work on it and it kept stalling even after all the work was done to it. I did not trust it to get Trent to work and I was gone so much this summer, that he just drove my car. We have been debating what to do with the Honda and whether to sell it and cut our losses. I hated to sell it, if Trent needed something to get to work in.

So that brings us to Monday, when I was sitting at my mechanic's shop getting the oil replaced in my car. He told me that he had this Ford focus he had fixed up and he was selling it for $2400. I checked and the blue book on it is about $4500. It is in really good shape and the air conditioning works in it. So we decided that is was too good of a deal to pass up. Now Trent can get himself to seminary and school and to work when he finds a new job. I think that will not take him to terribly long. And would you believe that it is slightly cheaper to insure the 2000 ford than it is the 1989 Honda. I guess it has something to do with Honda's being stolen all the time. Sheesh, it makes no sense to me. I am just excited to be done taxing that kid around all the time. Maybe now, I will have time for job to help pay for all these new cars. I don't want to get bored or anything.

Four Quirks about me!

OK, I am copying this idea from the famous e-bay auction lady's blog. But I of course have my own unique and different quirks from her so I don't really feel that it is copying. She received an e-mail tagging her it, telling her to identify her 6 quirks. She could only come up with 4 but they are very funny and worth reading, if you haven't already. You can find her blog at I like this quirk idea more than the usual quiz e-mails that you get. You know the ones that ask what's your favorite ice cream and things like that. Now people's quirk's that sounds like possible entertaining information.

So let's see, what should be the first quirk I discuss. How about when I eat Almond Roca, a favorite of mine, I like to scrape the chocolate and nuts off the inside toffee with my teeth. Then I am left with a yummy toffee center to eat all by itself. This may defeat the candy makers intent to have the toffee and the chocolate mixed together, but I kind of like the two tastes separate. That sounds kind of quirky.

Another quirk of mine would have to be my addiction to crunching on ice. I don't know where it came from or even when it started. I just love ice. And even though I know that it is not great for my teeth I can not seem to help myself. For those of you unaware, there is "good" ice and "bad" ice. The "good" ice tends to be softer and even somewhat like snow. "Bad" ice is really hard to crunch and not worth the effort or possible broken teeth. I know which of my local stores sell the "good" ice, and I will go out of my way to get it. I do have to say that I am a bit sad when the boys in my family waste my "good" ice by just using it to keep their water cold in their water jug at soccer practice. But I can hardly buy the "bad" ice for them and train to them to only use that ice and how would I differentiate for them and keep it separate in the freezer? This dilemma had reduced me to just sharing my precious "good" ice and restocking my supply more often. The place I work for sometimes, has the best ice machine. The ice it produces is really soft, more like shaved ice. I am in heaven when I am there, and I really need one of those machines at my house. See I told you it was quirky.

That leads me to my next quirk. I am always cold. I know the fact that I like ice seems to contradict the fact that I hate to be cold, but hey we are talking about quirks not common sense. The best thing ever is to be able to crunch ice while sitting in a hot tub, because then you will not get cold from the ice. Of course one might think that being cold in Las Vegas would be a rare occurrence. This is not the case because air conditioning was designed by men. And every one knows that men are always hot, so they have set up these systems to cool buildings to 30 below. It has taken me a while to finally accept and embrace the fact that this is so. Now when I go to see a movie during the summer, I wear long pants, bring a jacket and/or a blanket, thermal underwear, and hand warmers. Last time I went, I foolishly did not require my children to make the same preparations and ended up sharing my blanket, which left me not quite as warm as I wanted to be. Well to add to my quirkiness, I almost never go to church without my blanket. Why should babies get to be the only ones who get to spend 3 hours wrapped in warmth? During the winter I add my down filled coat and gloves to my arsenal of warmth. I practically worship that coat and it has to be one of the best things I have ever purchased from Savers. It is so warm and has a fur lined hat, that I am not to proud to wear in the name of warmth even if it messes up my hair. One day at church, a gentleman spoke to me after watching me in my blanket and coat. He asked if perhaps I had a deficiency. I thought to myself, of course I have deficiencies, duh. He seemed to sense my thoughts and clarified that he meant a vitamin, mineral or hormone deficiency not mental or some other insulting deficiency. I have had my blood checked yearly, but always get the report back that says physically I am fine. Of course mental deficiencies can not be tested by blood work so maybe that may be where my problem lies. In an event, I also make sure to take my blanket with me to institute. So actually as uncomfortable as the heat in the summer can be, my least favorite part of Vegas is in the winter when it actually is cold for two or three months.

This leads me to another quirk and that is that I don't really care how I look in public. I am not sure when this started either. I can remember going to early morning seminary in my pajamas and wrapped in a blanket every day. (again with the blanket) Even sometimes I went with hot rollers in my hair. I know that today, I would make a wonderful candidate for "what not to wear". I think that it is not so much that I don't care what I look like, as it is that all my life, if it was a choice between 5 minutes more sleep and putting on make up, sleep wins every time. At this point in my life, my children have sucked dry any energy that might have gone to making myself more presentable to the public at large. Yes I am blaming this quirk on years of sleep deprivation.

Well these are the only things that come to mind right now. Perhaps if I think of more, I will put them in another post. I have no doubt that there are many more, but that I am in denial about them. Hope you found this mildly entertaining. It is probably old news to most of you.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Marion received a new calling today- Young Men's president. They did not get him released as ward clerk, so he will wear two hats for a week. He is still in a bit of shock, but I know that he will do great. I am the Laurel advisor and so we get to work together with the boys. And Diana thinks she is one of the young women already and loves to come with me to mutual, so now she will always have an excuse to come. Next Saturday we are having a one day retreat with the youth at the Bishop's cabin up on Mt Charleston. It should be a fun day. I think that Marion is going to cook the dutch oven dinner. Diana is going to go and spend the day with friends, so that will be nice.

A shout out to the BYU football team. Thanks for a great exciting game yesterday. I think in some ways I enjoyed it more than the game last week, when there was never even any question that we would win. Of course I would have liked it better this week, if they had won, but it was still very exciting to watch nonetheless. We had a big group here cheering and that was fun. Well Cougars, better luck next week against Tulsa. I am excited that the game is at night so we can watch when we get home. They had this same activity last year, and I was a driver for it even though I was not in young women's at the time. It was the day of the Boston College game that was so exciting, with a heatbreaking overtime loss. I remember that I was listening in the car, and the reception kept going in and out. I about died of suspense wondering what was happening, and took to driving around the neighborhood trying to find a good place for the radio reception. So it is very happy that this year I won't have to go through that again.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ten Great things about Las Vegas

Any of you who know me well, know that I have not been the biggest fan of living in Las Vegas. One friend told me that she learned to like living here after eight years. Well, I have been here for nine and I guess I don't hate it as much as I used to do. Especially since we moved two years ago, I have liked it much more. I decided to make myself think of things that I like about this here town, in some sort of self help exercise. So here goes:

1. You can watch people playing the slots while you grocery shop or get a slurpee at 7-11. This used to phase me, but now I hardly even notice.

2. You can see the beautiful skyline of hotels with all their flashing lights while you sit in the football stadium at the high school.

3. You can have the opportunity to test your gardening tenacity with the soil here that is filled with calcium deposits. I once attended a gardening seminar, where the speaker said that if you have $100 to spend on your garden, spend $90 on new soil.

4. You can save money sometimes spent by others on extreme sports. If you want an exciting adventure, just drive through town or on the freeway, and you are more than likely to have a near death experience.

5. You don't have to pay any state income tax. Of course you are getting what you pay for and you will see it in places like your children's school.

6. You don't really need a dryer for 9 months of the year, just put your wet things outside for a few minutes and they will dry in a jiffy.

7. You don't need to worry about having a high maintenance hairstyle. The wind here will turn any hairdo into a tangled mess much of the time, so what is the point.

8. You can find many ways to spend your extra cash, such as higher car insurance and electric bills.

9. You can watch a movie and then go bowling without moving your car, cause guess what, both activities are at the same casino and nowhere else.

10. You can easily get a tan, if that is something you are interested in. Of course whether or not you are interested, you will get more than your fair share of UV rays.

11. You can be part of one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with 7000 people moving here each month. Of course this makes for more traffic and longer lines everywhere, but hey the more the merrier, right? (OK I threw this one in as a bonus)

Well sorry for my sarcastic tone. There are some really good things about living here, I just have a hard time identifying them. I think that one of the things I dislike the most about Vegas, is that I have no immediate family living here. That is something that has turned out to be a lifelong sorrow of mine as I have never lived close to family my entire married life. I just need to get over it because it is never going to happen and so I guess it wasn't meant to be. At least I do have some dear friends here who are like family to me and that has made living in an unbearable place, bearable. So perhaps I do like living in Las Vegas after all because I would never have met these friends otherwise.

Blast from the past

I know that I am making a lot of posts in one day, but it seems like I have a hard turn getting a turn on the computer and so I am taking advantage of it while no one else is wanting a turn. I know this a very belated post, but I wanted to put it on anyway. Here is a picture I took last spring when I was in Provo, for women's conference. This is the house Marion and I lived in the first 5 years we were married. Yes, this is good old 1009 N. University Avenue. It was incredibly cheap which was such a blessing while we were both in school. For the first two years we lived in the back basement apartment (#4) and paid $125 a month for rent including our heat. This got us a kitchen complete with water heater and pipes running along the ceiling, and a smallish bedroom, and a bathroom. The bathroom was really a closet someone has added plumbing to, Marion could not even stand up straight in the place. Then we moved to the front basement apartment (#3) and paid $150 a month for the next 3 years. For the extra money we got a living room besides the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom and not even any pipes on the ceiling. I know that I am old, but that was a fabulous deal even twenty years ago. Anyway this picture has kind of a funny story behind it. As I was leaving BYU, I stopped by to see my old home. There was a repairman looking at the front lawn, and he came over to see why I had stopped. I told him that I just wanted a picture of the place for old time's sake. He told me that wasn't good enough and to get out of the car so he could take the picture with me in it. I got out and stood in front of the house. He again said it wasn't good enough and told me to hold my arms out. And that is how this picture came to be. The place looks remarkably the same except for the large tree that was taken out to make room for the parking lot on the side. We have some great memories from those days. We had a great view of any parades that came down University Avenue during the year. It was very close to campus which was ideal. We had great neighbors who became great friends. Also we had great fun watching BYU sports and playing in the intramural sports programs. Yes, dear old house, thanks for the memories.

Poolman named Pat

One of the nice things about our house is that it came with a pool. And when I say nice, I mean nice like children are nice when they are sleeping. A pool has many wonderful things like providing the children a way to be outside of the house when it is 120 degrees with out suffering heat stroke. I never cease to be amazed that even if it feels like you are living on the surface of the sun, if you can manage to get wet, you will feel cooler, yes even cold. But as wonderful as pool ownership is, it does come with some inconveniences. One of these would have to be that pools tend to have many hidden costs that tend to drain a budget faster than a kid can drink a Slurpee on a hot day. Things such as electricity to run the pump and water to refill the pool when water is lost to dehydration or children splashing. I don't know who invented the game of lets jump up and down in the pool until we create a tsunami that will send half of the water splashing onto the lawn but apparently it is quite a popular game. Other costs include chlorine, nets, brushes, and pool toys. Apparently water is not fun enough, you need noodles, pool floats, and blow up things to maximize your pool enjoyment. Another cost is a solar pool cover. This is a kind of a catch 22 thing, because it is a bit pricey to buy, but it cuts down on dehydration. So you get to choose if you want to spend your money on water or the pool cover that will also have the benefit of heating your pool. In Las Vegas during the hottest part of the summer, if you leave the cover on , you can heat your pool to the temperature of a Jacuzzi. This proves not to be very refreshing, but is good for night swimming. The sad thing about the cover is that the sun and chlorine tend to be hard on the wear and tear of the cover. This results in the disintegration of the plastic which in turn leads to tiny blue triangles sluffing off the cover any time it is moved. I call these things the blue scourge. Our first cover wore out last spring, and after fighting the blue scourge for a month or two, I finally had to give up the battle and throw the thing away. I don't know if I will ever completely eradicate those tiny blue triangles, but at least they are not in the pool filter anymore. Filters are another way that pools can require financial investments. Here again it is a catch 22 because even though filters are quite expensive, your pool will not remain clean and will instead assume the role of swampy marsh in the back yard if you do not keep the filters in good working condition. Another bad thing about pools is that they require a fair amount of work each week. This involves brushing the sides, vacuuming, and skimming pine needles from the surface. I really don't mind cleaning the pool that much. In fact I get a great sense of satisfaction when it is done and it looks beautifully pristine. The problem comes when one is not home for two months. This is when the fact became very apparent that cleaning the pool is my job, because it didn't happen when I wasn't here. So maybe some day I will be able to afford a pool cleaning service that will come weekly and care for my pool, whether I am here or not. Until then I am stuck with a pool man named Pat.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mama's got a new pair of wheels!

Well for better or worse, I have purchased a new car. People keep asking me if I am excited and I don't know how to explain that I just feel pretty much numb about it. I am beyond thrilled to have a car so that I could turn the rental car in, before some other horrible thing happened to it. You know like being hit by lightning, a tree falling on it, or a meteor falling from the sky, just normal everyday happenings. I tried to take it back last Saturday, but wouldn't you know that they are not open on Saturday and they were closed on Monday as well for the holiday. So I was forced to be responsible for it for a few more days and wouldn't you know that when I came back home and parked it in the garage I did not pull in all the way and when I closed the garage door, it put a large scrape in the bumper. Cheese Louise! and many other expletives I can not write in this family friendly format. Anyhow you can see why I shook the dust off my shoes and walked away from that evil, cursed rental car. In fact when I took the car back, I told the guy that the car was most likely cursed and they might want to warn the next person that rents the car. Maybe they would even want to have an exorcism or some other ceremony to frighten away the spirits of peril that seem attached to the car. Anyway, one good thing, the guy checking the car in was so concerned with the damage to the front of the car, that he did not seem to notice the scratch in the back. So I can check one thing off the monumentally long list of insurance agents and other such people I need to call.

So my new car is pretty much like my old car, a Hyundai elantra. Except instead of being gold, the new one is black, and instead of being a standard the new car is an automatic, and instead of having 50,000 miles the new one only has 28,000, and instead of being paid for, the new one has a loan. Also the new car still has the sun visor on the passenger side, because no child has managed to break it off yet and the new one does not have a red stain on the front seat where a crayon melted permanently into the fibers of the seat. Another difference would have to be that the new one does not have a scratch on the bumper from my garage door, YET. I got the car from the same guy I bought my old car from, he gets them at the auto auction. After my insurance settlement I will only owe a couple thousand, so I guess that is not too bad for a car loan. I was shocked at how high interest rates are but oh well I guess that is life. The other sad thing is that the new car has a cassette player instead of a CD player. That can be changed pretty easily, so it is no big deal. Also my old car had a hideous back door on the passenger side. This was the result of a time when I backed down my driveway before Diana had closed the door and the door was bent backwards by a brick wall next to the driveway. Then in a "what was I thinking" moment, I let someone in a parking lot talk me into letting them try to fix it and then in an even stupider moment, I paid them for turning my door into what looked like mobile graffiti. Anyway, that door has had problems for the past two years and I am not sad to see that part of my old car totaled. So all in all I think I may have come out ahead in that I now have a car that is in better shape. The new car does have a few small dents, but I told the guy buying it for me now to worry about that, because it will end up like that anyway. I am very happy to have the matter settled. Now I have more time for talking to insurance agents and such. And of course there is traffic school to help fill any moments of boredom. I guess that will just involve watching a video for an hour, so how bad can it be? Maybe it will prove interesting enough to warrant writing about.