Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dark Horse Days

"It's the most humiliating thing I know of to run for office."  ~ Lenore Romney
Thank you, Mrs. Romney, for making it okay to feel humiliated.  I was slightly delighted to read of your 1970 campaign for US Senate.  I too was once convinced by party officials to run for public office.  I too had to deal with baffling  rumors and I too lost the election. 

I had popped in on city council meetings a time or two and had worked with the council on a few minor issues, but considered my interactions with them to be largely forgettable by all parties involved.   Apparently, I was wrong.  Somewhere along the way I had made an impression because out of the blue one Sunday afternoon, I got a call from a member of the council with the suggestion/invitation to run for office.  When I cornered him with "why me?" he said that I "exemplified courage".

 He promised unconditional support and coaching from both himself and the Mayor and for the most part he was good for his word.  In fact, things went so well at first that many people I met while campaigning started saying things like "why are you still out campaigning? you've got it in the bag."  And it certainly started to feel that way.  Until...

I said the "P" word.  P is for Privatize.

In Utah, it's not uncommon for a city to decide it's their job to provide recreational amenities for their citizens.  Golf courses, pools, gun clubs, cable television, etc.  Unfortunately, none of these institutions were or are self-sustaining.  Left to the rules of real- life business and free enterprise, they usually fall flat on their bottoms and go bankrupt.  Therefore the general population must be taxed, directly or otherwise, to maintain them.   Remember...a government that is big enough to give you everything, is also big enough to take away everything.  In this case, your choice and your money are the casualties.

No one had coached me on how to skirt this issue.  In all honesty, forget skirting probably should have been avoided all together, but one night at a debate I opened my big mouth; and although I didn't know it at the time, I essentially announced my resignation.  The following day the phone calls began and my campaign ended.  

I learned the hard way just how many of my supporters were golfers and just how much it meant to these golfers that their past-time of choice be subsidized by their unwitting neighbors . I'm assuming there were somewhere around 27 of them because that's how many votes I came up short.   To this day I am still somewhat scared by the fact that part of my fate that night and the fate of that cute little town to this day, was and is decided by people like the gentleman who called me a "socialist pig" for wanting to privatize the city golf course.  Wow...those who know so little, rule so many. Yikes.

I don't know what Lenore Romney did the day after her defeat way back in 1970, but her humiliation sure resonated with me when I read about it today in a magazine.  It instantly took me back to 2007 when  I spent the day after my defeat at home, curled up on the sofa with two darling daughters, watching Ratatouille and eating an entire carton of Breyers together...right out of the carton.

My consolation prize, and truly the best prize of all, was the kind folks whom I would run into from time to time after that, who would not only recognize me in public, but express their support and regrets that I had not won.  Even as late as 18 months after the humiliation, I was reaping the balm of approbation.  Not bad for a loser.


Three weeks ago I broke up with Facebook.  It was supposed to be really hard or at the very least ...interesting.  Hey...good blogging material is hard to come up with sometimes!  But alas, I've got nothing.  With the exception of this little blurb...the experience has been noticably unnoteworthy.
Sorry FB.  I guess you really don't rock my world, you merely occupied it for a while.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Morning Rain

I hope I didn't wake you up today.  I ordered a thunder storm, with a side of heavy rain and it arrived a little early.  But 5:45 isn't such a bad time to get up when it's a Saturday, and everyone else is asleep. When everything inside the house is quiet and everything outside the house is loud.  It's especially not bad if you keep all the lights off and just go with whatever early morning illumination the rain let's through.  Sublime.  That is a good word for this moment.

Thunder and lightning are like a gripping paragraph in the middle of your novel that you weren't expecting.  That one paragraph that changes everything for the characters in the book and that does not allow you to put the book down or refrain from turning it's pages.  You are alarmed and yet seduced at the same time by the power and magnitude of everything that is out of your control.  And you want more, you definitely want more, primarily because from where you know you're safe.  Such is the gift of vicarious danger.  All of the adrenaline, and none of the consequences. Such is a Saturday morning thunderstorm, from the comfort of your living room window.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Loaf You...

One of the smartest things my husband ever did resulted in having a loaf of bread thrown at his head. If you can handle an 18 slice whack to the too can have wedded bliss.  It was very early on in our marriage. I was just discovering what it was like to come home at the end of a long day, anxious to catch up and reconnect with my sweetheart, only to find that Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the entire crew of the Starship Enterprise were on a five-year steal his brain. 

In other words; if Star Trek was on...I was invisible and inaudible.  Literally. Star Trek was his version of football and you football widows know what that's like. I was flabbergasted, crushed, and eventually...irate.  In all my 20 years of life and what little maturity came with that, I opted for what I now know to be "emotional extortion" or in Mormon lingo "unrighteous dominion".  I went in the bedroom and pouted.

Now I know that his reaction was probably more lucky than it was deliberate, but nevertheless, there couldn't have been a more proper response to my sulking.  He did nothing.  Nada.  My bad behavior went completely unrecognized. A year went by, if a day, with this pattern of bad behavior when suddenly one night, I gave up.  I threw in the towel, or in this case...the loaf.  After repeatedly trying to ask him an important question and not getting as much as a simple grunt in reply, pure exasperation possessed me and I grabbed the nearest non-lethal object and hurled it at his head. It was a loaf of bread.

BAM.  It got his attention. Then I walked out of the room.

I never cared after that.  My happiness became my own responsibility, independent of him. It took me another decade to learn to apply that to every aspect of our relationship, but it was worth the journey.  Had he ever responded to my little tantrums, I would have learned quite a different lesson and would have possibly become a rather manipulative little punk. Not only did this new approach to life make me happier,  it made me more interesting to be around too.  It started to be his idea to hang out with me and do what I was doing.  And after I stopped perceiving Star Trek as the enemy, I started watching it with him and discovered it was a really good show, geekiness and all. is my mission, my duty, and my joy to share that message with others in hope that it opens up a few new possibilities for them, and an entirely new 'frontier' of happiness. Let's do this, girls. Engage!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Please Pass the Penguin

    These cute little guys are our new salt and pepper shakers.
    Not only can you shake 'em...but they roll when you wind them up. 
    Passing has never been more fun.  I honestly don't think salt and
    pepper has ever been more popular at our house.  Now it seems
    everyone's soup needs a little something extra, as in...a visit from
    a rolling penguin.  

In the unfortunate event that you or a friend are diagnosed with breast cancer, and an oncologist prescribes Taxotere (manufactured by Aventis), please make sure that plenty of thought is given to all of the side-effects, but this one in particular:  Taxotere users have a 3-6% chance of never recovering their hair after treatment.  This ranges from never recovering all of their hair, to never recovering some of their hair. 

To put this in perspective, in America approximately 289,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer a year.  If all of them used Taxotere as part of their chemotherapy, the result would be between 8,670-17,340 women who would, for the rest of their lives, suffer from Persistant Chemo Induced Alopecia.  Significant hair loss. 

Compare this to other undesirable statistics: 400 people are struck by lightning a year (40 fatally struck), 60 people are attacked by sharks (worldwide), 1,500 people are injured in tornados (70 people die), and there were 117 aviation accidents last year with 828 fatalities.  These are all incidents and events that we people as a whole, not only fear, but take great measures to avoid when possible.  If comparing hair loss to natural disasters seems a little dramatic and out of context, just ask a woman if she'd rather be struck by lightning or see the top of her naked scalp every day for the rest of her life. 

"Better bald than buried" we all used to say in the chemo room at the hospital; and that is certainly true.  But if you've ever read Lance Armstrong's cancer story, you will remember that when he learned that his prescribed chemo would jeopardize his lung performance for the rest of his life, he didn't say "Better breathless than buried", he made the doctors do their homework and find an alternative chemo that would not affect his lungs. 

We're all just so scared and overwhelmed when we first get our diagnosis.   There are SO many choices to make and an overwhelming amount of new vocabulary and facts to digest, we just latch on to whatever the doctor says and start running the race of our lives before we even check to see if our laces are tied. 

I just wish someone would have spelled this out to me.  I would have dug deeper.  There was NO question in my mind that my hair was going to grow back.  I had the stages of regrowth all worked out in my head, with all the cutest short hairstyles already selected.  Start out with the Sinead O'Connor look, then move on to Halle Berry...add a little Meg Ryan pixie-cut get it.

And in case you're a dude, and you just don't get's your analogy for the day.  Boobs.  Imagine getting a nice rack when you turned 40.  Not just fat-gut man boobs, I mean the real deal, jiggy-wiggly girl stuff.  Now take a cold shower and stay with me (remember, they're on you).  Yah, you could tape 'em down, alter your wardrobe, whatever.  I know...I've got wigs and hats.  But the cold hard fact is...the new look sucks and you just want to be you again.  This was never part of the plan.

So wah-wah-poor-me-barf; I know, but the bottom line is (since we're spending time at the bottom):  If you're the type of person who would hide from a tornado or avoid swimming with sharks, be woefully wary of the Taxotere. Tell your friends. Don't let them be one of the numbers. The odds of hair complications on that medicine are higher than most of these other dreadful risks.  Read the small print. If it says "hair growth should resume 4-6 weeks after completing treatment", don't put a whole lot of money on "should". 

See for more information, and heal at your own risk.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Acumen at it's finest...

When your husband comes home from work and mentions that his boss, who is usually cranky, behaved rather nicely instead, it's always interesting when your 11 year old has a ready explanation:  "Maybe he ate some cake?"

That's my girl.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Leaving Facebook

On Monday July 7th, 2008 I joined Facebook.  There was nothing significant about that event, in fact if I remember correctly, it basically happened at gunpoint.  I had heard all about social networking on the internet and it's inherent dangers and had forbade my children to join any of it.  But trusted colleagues of mine began to suggest that Facebook would be ok for kids, if their parents were one of their online "friends".  I reluctantly agreed and eventually created an account and just like that; BAM!  I had one more chore to add to my list of things to do: log into Facebook once a day and spy on my children.  But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

Little did I know then, that not only would I come to enjoy my time on the website, but I would eventually develop an entirely new section of gray matter in my brain, devoted solely to the purpose of communicating with the world via Facebook.  In the morning, I turn on my computer and check my emails.  Then I open up Facebook and leave it running throughout the day.  Like a punctuation mark at the end of every chore, errand, or activity, I stop by my laptop and see what's happened while I was away.  It's almost reflexive and definitely...pathetic.

But, I can do pathetic and I've done it for almost four years now.   It's been great...until now.  Now the makers of Facebook have introduced a new format called "Timeline" and I do not care for it at all.  The designers of this new format completely missed the whole 'less is more' chapter at web design school and as luck would have it,  I am all about simple. 

So today, Thursday May 10th, 2012 I deleted my Facebook account.  It's been interesting.  More interesting than I expected.  I didn't think I would hear anything about it, I didn't think anyone would really care.  Maybe the response I've received to my announcement is just nice people saying nice things, but whatever the kind of melted my heart, just a little.  So I have to say...thanks guys, you're the best 295 friends I've ever had!  You can still read my blog and leave comments.  No need to be a stranger.

P.S.  The kids are taking wagers on how long I can stay off of Facebook.  I'm placing my bet on an entire year, the kids are talking more in terms of weeks.

Friday, May 4, 2012

For the Birds

Here's the little bird that flew into our garage today and couldn't figure out how to get out (nevermind the HUGE opening right behind him that we all like to call a "garage door".

Here he is banging his head against the window.

Here's his partner in crime, acting like he doesn't know him.

When these little birds aren't hanging out in my garage, they are outside snagging the bugs from my lawn (at least I think that's what they're eating).  Five or six at a time, all out there pecking away.  Thank you little birdies! Bye bye little insects!

Also in my garage is a bag of unopened lawn fertilizer.  You see, however much I would like a nice, lush, weed n' feeded yard, I can't bring myself to dump this dust on their dinner.  You're welcome little birdies. 

And since we're talking about fertilizer...this is my eyeball.  Rachel says it's creepy. I think she means the picture is creepy... because it is.   But this is to show you that I have, if I do say so myself, pretty hazel eyes. They are my mothers eyes.

Rachel has them also, see? As a matter of fact, so does Phoebe and Kate.
We all have my mothers pretty hazel eyes.

Here is Phoebe's Eye.  Kate's eye is in Utah and my camera doesn't have a big enough lense to take a picture from this far away.

So after the chemo was supposed to have worn off and I found myself waiting in vain for the return of all my hair, people started recommending the new prescription eye lash fertilizer, Latisse. There was just one little side effect: it could change your eyecolor. 

Well, that was a deal breaker for me!  No way.  Having long, thick eyelashes cannot be better than having my mother's hazel eyes.   So even though I have so few eyelashes you can count them now, and even name them if you wanted to....once again, I'm going to pass on the fertilizer.   

(I could, however, use some Photoshop on the wrinkles!  Whoa!  Nice, red, wrinkles woman!) 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I suppose I do like raindrops on roses, or I would...if I hung out with wet flowers enough.  And I do like whiskers on kittens; primarily because I don't really like whiskers on anything else. But when it comes to a few of my favorite things...well, I have a different list.  So for posterities sake ('cause I don't think Broadway is interested):

1.  The smell of rain on cement. 
2.  The sound of heavy rain at night. 
3. The tingling feeling of someone else washing and or styling my hair (oh, how I miss that!).
4. Getting inside a car that has been warmed by the sun on a brisk day.
5. Taking a nap in said car.
6.  Witnessing my children as they experience something new. Especially if it changes their world...just a little.

Now this last's special.  This experience most likely won't happen again, but is oddly enough, one of my favoritest memories and therefore, one of my favoritest things:

7.  Sitting on the floor in my kitchen (you can hate me, but it's pretty much always clean - the floor that is), with my back up against the cupboards; taking turns with a spoon, a yoplait and two smiling toddlers who inbetween bites, toddle-run the full length of the room and back before presenting their open mouths again for another bite.

 For a germ-a-phobe like me, this spoon sharing thing is way out of character, but maybe that's why it's such a favorite memory of mine.  I don't know, it's just that time stood still that morning and it was very happifying.  I don't remember the flavor, but it was the best yogurt I ever tasted.

So sing with me now..."when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I pay taxes"...I simply remember, I simply remember.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Where's the Car?

Today I drove our Yaris, of stick shift persuasion, into the garage and proceeded to carry our groceries into the house.  I then gathered everyone that needed to go with me on the next errand and stepped back out into the garage, which was surprisingly...empty.

"Where's the car?" I asked myself and anyone listening.  It's been stolen, I thought.  The neighborhood construction workers were my prime suspects.

"It's in the ditch." Mark replied as he came up behind me.   This was more of an assumption than an observation, since he couldn't actually see the car from where he was standing, and that's when I realized that I had probably not set the emergency brake, as I was so prone not to do.

Sure enough, it was in the ditch on the other side of the driveway.  Thank goodness for a side-load garage! would have been in the street or who knows where.

Relieved, we were able to drive it right out of the ditch.  The neighborhood construction workers went from being my prime suspects to my prime audience.  Sheepishly, we all got in and resumed  our original task of going to the Urgent Care facility so that an unnamed "someone" could have an unnamed "something" delicately removed from their physical person-ness.  Not setting the parking brake was in all actuallity, stupid thing number 2 that these humble, bumbling Jarmans had managed to accomplish today .  Not our best work.