Friday, April 18, 2014

Stuff I've run (as in "drove") into...

I'm sure the seven or so people who still read this blog have been thinking that it's been a while since I've bared (born?) my soul and told the www something STUPID I've done.

Well, today's your lucky day.

I've been thinking (and laughing) about some of the stuff I've run into over the years, and I thought I might make you a short little list:

* Basha's (yeah - the store ... or, at least, one of the pillars in front of it)

* Dunaways' van (who, besides me, has EVER gotten a ticket for "reckless parking"?!)

* a multitude of curbs (I totally curbed it on the way out of the dealership, the day I bought my first car. Left the wheel cover thing there on the side of the road. ... True story. Kirk was with me, and I don't know that I've ever seen him laugh so hard - before or since.)

* Mark Nguyen (it may have been over 20 years, but I still remember the name of the dude who was riding his bike down 9th East on that fateful night)

True stories, every one of them.

I was born to have a driver. Obviously.

Monday, April 14, 2014

TMM and BFF's

For those of you who may not be my FB friends to have seen the ongoing "dialogue", I give you...


I tell you what, I posted something on the facebook over the weekend that referenced Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Jenni and I've been going back and forth with movie lines ever since.

Gosh, I love TMM. Also, I love Jen. Also, I love that SHE loves TMM every bit as much as I do.

Like a squirrel, gathering the nuts of life...

Happy Day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Marching through time

Please forgive the title. It is a TERRIBLE pun. (My dad would be so proud.)

This morning, I thought it would be fun to go back through this week/weekend in the last five years. (This is one of the joys of having kept this blog since 2008. When my aged mind can't remember something clearly, all I have to do is go back through ye olde blog and BAM! There it is. ... Assuming the thing I'm looking for is a piece of ridiculousness that would have been chronicled here.)

Anyhoo... Like I said, I thought it would be fun to go back through this week and see what I was doing, when.

And I was right. It WAS fun.

So, I'm going to make it easy for you to do it, too.

March 2009: In which I write about how grateful I was for the "opportunity" to make significantly less money than I had in previous years. ... No, but really. I really was so grateful. I still am, actually.

I am SO grateful for the way my professional life took a turn in 2008. When the bank closed, I needed a job. Any job. Soon. And I found one. (Who's unemployed for less than two weeks? ... Only me. ... I'm still amazed at how quickly and effortlessly that job landed in my lap.) It was my original intention to go back into banking as soon as I could get something permanent. I thought about working for the FDIC, and even interviewed to work on a team that would have been traveling around the country. )How awesome would that have been?!) But something kept me at a call center.

Hello, that "something" would be the Lord. That company had the best corporate benefit package I've ever seen. Their insurance was FABULOUS. I paid $500 out of pocket the year I had my first surgery. That was my surgery, the week in the hospital, 6 weeks of radiation, and countless surgical followups. Seriously. $500. ... I may have been bringing home less, but what I saved in spending on medical costs made up for it.

And my work schedule was such a blessing, too. The first two years I was there, I worked a 3x12 schedule. That's right. I worked 12 hour shifts, 3 days a week. As in, I had a 4 day weekend. Every week. Which gave me time with friends and family that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I was able to spend time with the people that I love the most, and I treasure memories made during those years.

That job was such a blessing. I mean, really.

March 2010: In which I write about having spent the night before at Myra's, watching TV and eating cupcakes.

Ahhhh... Those TV-watching nights at My's house were good times. As I recall, that was the spring that Ken was traveling internationally, so Myra and I would gather for snacks and television with our (okay, my) TV boyfriends (Castle, Dr. Jack and Sayid). Riley was a baby, and she'd stay up late with us, laughing and being silly.

Those were the days of the book club that is no more, the Halloween parties in the Johnsons' backyard, late night conversations about oh... everything we could think of, and weekly recipe shares.

March 2011: In which I write about having gone wig shopping with Cousin Julie, and post pics of myself as a platinum blond.

It was the weekend before #2 came out, and Julie had made her (sometimes) annual pilgrimage to Arizona to enjoy the warm winter weather and some quality cousin bonding time with her cousin who had cancer.

We laughed and we cried, ate too much and slept too little, partied with friends and spent down time by the pool that weekend. And we went wig shopping, because Dr. W had told me there was a real chance I'd have to do chemo after the second surgery and I wanted to make DANG SURE I knew what I wanted, so I could send someone else to the store to pick me up some hair if that was the case.

The Genova Girl is still my favorite, btw. Just in case anyone ever needs to know...

March 2012: In which I write about March of 2011, suppository and all.

True story.

(The post right before this was Jo's birthday surprise of going to see Straight No Chaser - who I love. But this post made me feel more, so this is the link I'm sharing. If you'd rather read about good times than hard times, please feel free to pull up March 22, 2012.)

It's funny to me, how well I still remember that day in the hospital. Out of all the surgeries and hospital stays I've had, that day was probably my hardest day. (That I remember, anyway. Rumor has it that the first day after my last surgery was a DOOZY. Hallucinations and all manner of crazy. ... Poor Judy.) Having just read that post, I'm struck that I didn't think to mention that pretty much every vein in my right arm had been blown, so one of the techs had to bring in an ultrasound machine to find a vein for my IV.

That's right. They had to do an ultrasound to find a good vein. ... No wonder I get a lot of grief from phlebotomists - even now - over the scar tissue in my right arm.

Anyway, that day was hard. So hard, that a year later I was writing a blog post about it. (And three years later, am again referencing it.) But what I learned in that hard day is that the people in my life matter more than the stuff in my life. Even when the stuff is really hard stuff.

That day was hard. It was hard from the get go. That shower was brutal - for so many reasons. The suppository experience was NOT AWESOME. Popping yet another IV wasn't super fun. (I had so many IV's pop in that hospital stay, though, that it wasn't surprising. I swear to you, I looked like I had track marks when I was released.) ... But the thing that made me cry - nay, sob - was knowing that I had a friend in a different hospital, for a very different reason. And the thing that brought me comfort was that Jo and Roomie came - and didn't leave, even though it was ugly.

People matter. A lot. More than anything else. ... And I'm so grateful for the people in my life.

March 2013: In which I write about singing/crying through a hymn in church.

We sang The Lord is My Shepherd last Sunday, and I actually made it through the entire song without dissolving into a puddle of tears. ... I was pretty proud of me. (There's a first for everything, right?)

Which brings us to this week in March, 2014: I had some sleepovers with Jo's kids so she and Dean could go to Denver for her nephew's wedding.

Here are the takeaways from having spent two nights and two days with five children and one puppy:

Watch where you step. Puppy poop is much harder to clean up if you step in it (barefoot) and then track it through the entire family room.

Make sure the six year old is wearing shoes before you let her get in the car to go to the park, esp if you know you're going to have to park across the street and walk half a block before you get to said park.

While you're making sure the six year old is wearing shoes, maybe check the three year old for pants. Otherwise, you're going to have both a shoe-less wonder and a kid wearing nothing but a t-shirt and panties out in public.

Don't buy the little kids Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers at Wendy's. Kids are gross and actually like the cheapie burgers at McD's. Save money. And, more importantly, save the bacon for people who'll actually appreciate it.

When having a Frozen party with multiple females under the age of 10, make sure you bring your own stash of bobby pins. Doing "princess hair" is a must, and sock buns and ponies need a little bit of help to stay fancy while girls are jumping around, singing "Let it Go" at the top of their lungs, waving their arms about like THEY have actual powers and can command the winds and sky.

No, but really... it was a great weekend. I am exhausted, and my body and my spirit are at war (walking around a park, pushing kids on swings and pulling a crying three year old off a stack of rocks - all sans binder - did me in), but it was a great weekend. The older kids are getting to be so much fun. (We stayed up late, watching PG 13 movies after the little girls went to bed.) And the little girls are adorable, even if they are exhausting.

Five years. (Actually, the blog has been going for almost six years. So, please allow me to rephrase.)

Five months of March.

All awesome. ... For different reasons. But awesome, nonetheless.

There have been hard times, fun times and silly times. But they've all be good times.

What was amazing to me, as I walked through the posts in the last five Marches, is that the overriding theme is that of gratitude. Gratitude for the people in my life, for the time I have had with them, for the memories I have been able to make with them.

Life is good. I am blessed.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy International Day of Happiness!

It's thing. (See? You can look it up here.)

God bless Cousin Katie for knowing such a thing and broadcasting it on the Facebook while I still had enough time in the day to consciously make time to be happy.

Not that I wasn't happy before I read the news, but still... any excuse to seek out the happy in my life is a good one!

To that end, I've whipped up a short little list of the things that are making me happy today:

Raindrops on Roses
Whiskers on Kittens
Bright copper kettles
Warm woolen mittens
Cream color ponies
Crisp apple streudels
Doorbells
Sleigh bells
Schnitzel with noodles...

JUST KIDDING! (You've got to know I cracked myself up with that...)

Here's MY real Happy List:

Books
Banana Popsicles
Banana Creamies (EVEN BETTER!)
Wheat Bagels
Red Petunias
Sam Axe
Good Friends
Laughter
Music
Raspberry Yogurt
Feather Pillows
Cadbury Eggs
Runny Fried Eggs
Airplanes
Kittens
Hugs

The list could go on and on (if you've been here before, you would know that I could make lists all day long), but I really want to sign off so I can get back to two of the top three items on my list. I have a book to finish, and one last banana Creamie in the freezer.

So, I'm going to go and be happy, doing (and eating) what I love best. Please do the same.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Henry

Dude is starting to make me crazy.

I may or may not have mentioned that Henry is getting bigger. (It's certainly inferred by my post in January - you know, when I laughed the hole in my stomach even bigger - and the fact that I bought maternity jeans last week.)

Uh, yeah. Yeah, he is.

I keep meaning to take a picture so I can do a side-by-side comparison to the pic I posted in the fall (you know I so enjoy doing contrast and comparison essays) to show you all, but I always seem to think of this when I'm just about to get in the shower, or when I'm lying in bed, or when I'm sitting on my couch, typing a blog post. None of which are times conducive to doing grabbing ye olde camera phone and doing a selfie stomach shoot. So you'll just have to trust me (for a few days, at least) that Hen is a growing boy.

Beyond my tummy getting firmer and pokey-outy-er in the last couple months, I've had some bizarre pain that I haven't had in past months. Like, now the right side of my bellybutton hurts. That's weird - for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I haven't been able to feel anything right of my bellybutton since my second surgery. In March of 2011. Also, I have some concerns that the seam in my stomach is splitting. As in, Henry may well be ripping my body both sideways and longways.

Awesome.

I'll be placing a call to MD this week to see if Dr. G can fit me in for a consult next week. I've been deliberating on making the call all month, because this is very much a lose/lose scenario (lose: the risk of surgery is still too great, so Henry is deemed inoperable until he gets even worse, or lose: I do need to have surgery, which means I'll get my abdomen opened up and I'll get to learn how to balance/walk all over again), but after today... I just can't justify putting off making the call.

As grateful as I am for all the things I can do with this prematurely old body of mine, on the days that I'm very literally held together by elastic and velcro, I sort of want to scream. Or eat a pound of Cadbury eggs. Tomato/tomahto.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Places I've peed my pants

We all know about that time I peed through my pants (and filled my shoes) at the movies when I was 33. But what you may not be aware of is that this is something that's been happening for YEARS.

True story.

For years.

Here are just a few examples of when/where I've ... erm... lost control:

* The brown chair (Mom & Dad's house - High School, because I was laughing so hard at something Rhonda Daniels said when we were talking on the phone)

* My sister's bed (Christmas Eve - 2007 ... It's a good thing she doesn't read my blog, because she has no idea I totally had an accident while we were sharing her bed. Ha!)

* In my parking lot. (2006 - Now. ... I can't even tell you how many times I've peed my pants trying to make it from my car to my door, and/or on my walk home from church. ... My church, btw, is literally across the street from the complex I live in. It's not a far walk, is what I'm saying.)

* Lowe's garden center (October 2013 ... I went into the bathroom and took my panties off and wadded them up and put them in a bag inside my purse and continued shopping. ... This would be one of the perks of peeing yourself when you're wearing a dress. No one knows.)

You'll note, I am sure, that I didn't mention any prepubescent pee stories. It's not because I had a steel bladder as a child, in case you were wondering. Oh, no. I just wanted to impress you all with how wide and varied my accidents have been WHILE I'VE BEEN A GROWN UP. (And I'm sorry to say this is not all of my stories. Not by a long shot.)

I hear it's worse for women after they've been pregnant/given birth. ... It's frightening, really, to think that my "urgent bladder" issues could have been made worse by carrying a child. Thank heaven the only things I've ever grown in my belly are tumors!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My new jeans

This afternoon, on my way home from work, I stopped at Target to buy some maternity pants.

I'm not kidding.

Well, sort of I am.

I didn't go IN to buy maternity pants -- but while I was in the store, I had a thought that maternity pants would come up high enough that they wouldn't cramp Henry's style. So I tried some on, and actually walked out with a pair of maternity jeans. This is what it's come to, folks. Maternity pants.

I've been wearing maternity dresses for YEARS now (pre-tumors, even). But this is my first pair of maternity pants.

Maternity jeans and high-waisted yoga pants. Those are the only things that Hen'll let me wear. ... I love my life.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cue the music...

It's a small, small world.

Tonight, I opened one of the happiest/most fun emails of my life. (And I'm here to tell you, I've had some rockin' awesome emails in my time.)

My friend Jen forwarded me an email that her son, Zane, sent home from the mission field. I won't repost the whole thing, but would you check out this middle paragraph:

     So I was talking with my Bishop while helping somebody move and when it came up that I was from Snowflake he said he knew somebody from Snowflake a long time ago back in College at BYU. His friend ended up being none other then THE Laurie Evans!!! He told me stories of going to Denny's with her and he said that it was one of his favorite things to do in College. I could see how fun that would be with Laurie. So next time you talk to Laurie let her know that I am in Bishop Matthew Woll's ward.

Matt Woll.

Holy moly.

The memories are flooding in. ... And the water looks very much like this:


(photo courtesy of Amy's FB vault of pics - LtoR, Brent, Jared, Matt and Larry)

Matt was in my ward for, like, three years. He was the EQ Pres when I was in my first (and second) RS presidencies. I'm pretty sure that every other member of both presidencies I served with had a crush on the man - and who could blame them, would you look at him? (Julie and I were roommates at the time and we mourned, on a fairly regular basis, that none of the sets of brothers in our ward were tall enough for the two of us.) Matt's apartment, and his brother Craig's apartment, (they were next door to each other) were regulars at Sunday dinners, Christmas in July parties, movie nights, etc.

So many memories. So many good times. So many great people, living in a very small, tight-knit church community.

The BYU 3rd ward was life-changing, on so very many levels. I'm tickled pink that Matt Woll would not only remember who I am, but be able to tell stories to Elder Owens about the good times we used to have together.

I tell you what, I've been blessed - my whole life - with truly amazing people for friends. And this man, who is now a bishop on the other side of the country, working with one of my best AZ friends' sons, has always been one of my favorites. 

This game called life is such an amazing journey, isn't it? I love it when I get to actually, literally, see the ties that bind us to each other.

It is a small (and totally awesome) world. I love it!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How can I find comfort when someone I care about dies?

Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball.

Last Sunday, I was asked to flip lessons and teach this Sunday (today), instead of next. I agreed to teach said lesson without asking what the assigned topic was.

Uh... hello. See the title of this post. THAT was the assigned topic.

Interesting, as I've been in a bizarre form of denial about Mark. (Some of it mourning, as in sadness, some of it is anger, and... I am sorry to say that I've just put a finger on this in the past week... some of it survivor's guilt. Which, really, I'm thinking is probably the root of some of the anger.)

Anyhoo, this lesson hit me like a freight train. And I had some SERIOUS grumpiness directed at The Powers That Be (aka: God) that THIS is the lesson that fell into my lap. So much so that I put off reading all the recommended conference talks until this morning, and that's when it hit me. ("It" being the freight train.)

Would you read this quote? Oh my goodness gracious, it's like Elder Nelson was speaking DIRECTLY TO ME, in a talk he gave over twenty years ago:

Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)
Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.
Russell M. Nelson, “Doors of Death,” Ensign, May 1992, 72–74
Again, "the only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."

Insert my softening heart right here.

It's worth it. The grief and the sorrow when we lose someone we love? ... It's TOTALLY worth it. Because if we didn't love those people so much, they wouldn't leave a hole. But we do love them, so they do leave a hole. ... And since the cost of not missing them would be not loving them, the pain is worth it.

Am I still sad (and sometimes mad)? Yeah. Do I have a measure of guilt (that I know is irrational, because it's not like this is a choice I made, or a circumstance I created), because I am still here and Mark is gone? Also, yeah. ... But I have a heck of a lot more peace than I did even 24 hours ago, and for that, I am grateful.

You've got to know that I still cried through my entire lesson (I'm a weepy little thing), but I'm so grateful for the "opportunity" (I put that in quotes, because I fought this lesson good and hard) to teach this exact lesson - right now, when I  needed it.

It's amazing to me, how the Lord creates circumstances to meet our needs. Simply amazing. Poetic, even. I love Him.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

Guess who moved to Mesa eight years ago, today?

That would be me.

I cannot believe I've been here for eight years. In some ways, they've been the fastest years of my life. In others, they've been the longest. ... But no matter how I look at it, I struggle to believe I've been here.

For. Eight. Years.

It's a funny story, actually, how I ended up here. I knew it was time for me to make a move (pun intended), and for several months prior to making a final decision, I was weighing Provo, Utah and Louisville, Kentucky as my options.

You heard me: Kentucky.

What can I say? I read a lot of horse books when I was a kid, and Kentucky was painted as a very lovely place. Rolling hills, thoroughbreds, white picket fences, etc. Also, I had a good friend and former roommate who lived in Louisville who I'd been to visit a few times. I'd fallen smack in love with the architecture, the rolling hills, the fall color, the general kindness of anyone/everyone I met. ... I'm telling you, southern hospitality is a real thing, people.

Utah was tempting, because it was familiar. Kentucky was tempting because it WASN'T familiar. In Utah, I'd be surrounded by extended family. In Kentucky, I wouldn't have family for, literally, thousands of miles. I felt like they were both great, viable, options and I just needed to make the choice between two really good sides of a coin.

And then I prayed about it. ... And couldn't get confirmation from The Man Upstairs on either plan. (And I'm here to tell you, I made QUITE A CASE for both of them. Nevertheless, I couldn't get a warm fuzzy to save my soul.) So, I asked a flat out, open-ended question about where I should go. And it came flying at me: Phoenix.

I'm pretty sure that I rolled my eyes and thought something along the lines of, "Yeah. Right. Sure. Move to the desert. That's gonna happen." And then I thought about it for a minute - just long enough to ask, in prayer, for confirmation that Phoenix was the right place for me to be - and I had an overwhelming feeling/recognition that I needed to be in the valley of the sun.

I went home and went online and, within hours, found an apartment in my price range online. I went to work the next week and arranged an interview to transfer with the company I was already working for. Maybe six weeks later, I packed up my car and drove myself down to said apartment and moved in over President's Day weekend.

And I've been here ever since.

Here, where I fell into the lap of the most incredible church community I ever could have asked for. Here, where I've met and worked with some of the most quality people I've  known in my entire life. Here, where I am - at most - three hours away from my parents. (They've made a trip down more than once because they knew I needed them, and I'm beyond grateful that I haven't been 6,000 - or even 600 - miles away from home.) Here, where my brothers and their families live. Here, where Jo is only five minutes away. Here, where I have had access to medical treatment in facilities that were fully equipped and able to handle my bizarre needs. Here, where my beloved Dr. H practices. Here, in an apartment that has never been too expensive for me to justify staying in my own place, even when I couldn't work.

Eight years and two months ago, I was pretty hellbent on making a wildly different decision than I ended up making. Now, I'm sure I would have had a heck of a support system, no matter where I'd ended up in the early winter of 2006 (I have a knack for attracting the best people, everywhere I go), but I'm so glad that I stayed in Arizona, that I ended up here.

Happy Anniversary to me and my teeny tiny (600 sq ft) apartment, my city of residence, and all of the people who've been along for the ride in this phase of my life. Life is good. Even when it's crazy, it is good. I am blessed.