Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Friday, December 31, 2010

Moving into the next Decade

The past ten years for me have had some major speed bumps along the way. Unemployment, relationships, and money issues.
Most of my major appliances have gone on the fritz, my yard has flooded, and my car has been nearly re-built.

What has happened- is LIFE.

But on the other side of that, are all the good times the past decade has brought with it.
Ten years ago, my kids were eleven, nine and eight. I had been divorced for three years and was dating a man who I was sure I would marry.
What a difference a decade can make.
I hate the word resolution, I do however, love goals. The two-thousand and teen decade will bring a lot of changes in my life I am sure of it.

My son, has just six months left on his contract in the armed forces. He is still unsure whether he will sign on for a new contract. While serving, he has completed some courses in CSI and is continuing with it now. There are so many directions his life can take in the next ten years. In ten years, he will be thirty-one!

My oldest daughter received a promise ring for Christmas. It is a promise of his commitment to her but they are taking things slowly and not speaking of marriage just yet. She is soon signing up for a phlebotomy course which will help us get some funding to get her into her college courses, and guide her into the medical profession of her choosing. In ten years, she will be twenty-nine.

My youngest is graduating from high school this May and already applied for college. What will happen in her life over the next ten years? In ten years, she will be twenty-eight.

In my own life, I may find love, I may get into a job I really love and feel as though I can make a difference in. I may attend my children's weddings, see the birth of my grandchildren, and my hope is that I attend very few funerals.

I have good feelings about the new year. And even better feelings about the next decade. One of my favorite quotes 'My cup runneth over' (Hebrew bible psalms 23:5) describes my life completely.

The love of my parents, my children, my extended family and close friends. The comfort of home and a warm place to lay my head at night. Enough food to nourish my children and cause the scales to tip a little too far from my own gain.

I had a fabulous two week long holiday celebration with all three of my kids and one friend of my sons (who is becoming like my own child). Spending quality time laughing, joking and enjoying each others company. And I am truly excited about the coming year. I see big changes for the better.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year! 

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!!!

No matter what you are celebrating this week, I want to wish you a very happy holiday!

We are very busy here hardly a moment to stop and breathe.

My son is home with a fellow soldier friend, who is becoming like another son to me. This will be the first Christmas season spent without my parents, none of us made the trip, but it will be fabulous none the less.

Old friends of mine and my children's, stopping by, friends of the kids who have become as close to me as my own kids, and Christmas eve with my best friend and her family in the mountains. I am rather excited to make the best of this season.

We have already done a lot of baking for the neighbors and parties,

Gotten creative with graham cracker gingerbread houses,

Shoveled knee deep snow,

and opened my doors to a near homeless and pregnant old friend more than down on her luck.

Can you feel the spirit of the season?

Wishing you and yours a fabulous Holiday, and to those of you who will not be celebrating a holiday, have a wonderful weekend!
And thank you for reading.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vegas babay

A trip to anywhere at Christmas time is usually not in the cards for anyone among the unemployed. Not true for me. My best friend started a new job her first job in over 15 years, this past summer and invited me to stand in as her 'other person' for the big Christmas bash.

This was not your ordinary office Christmas party. The company has agents all over the United States and my friend works at the corporate office here in Utah. It was a great opportunity for her and her co-workers to put a face to voices they spoke with on the phone many times a week. For me- it was a free trip to Vegas!

We had a great time. We drove down rather than fly, it gave us an opportunity to stop by my parents house on the way. Although it is ten degree's warmer where they live, they were both sick with the flu.

We got to Vegas Friday afternoon, just enough time to get cleaned up. The company scheduled a cocktail party -meet and greet for that night. It was a casual affair. I thought it might be a great chance to meet some handsome young bachelors while she was introduced to coworkers. That was not to be. Most were couples. The only other singles were young nineteen year old girls from her office.

The party was open bar. The company went all out to make it memorable for the employees. And it was. After about two hours we were led upstairs to an improv comedy show. We were not the only patrons at the show but the entire half circle front section of the theater was reserved for the employees and guests.

The comedy was rank and a bit uncomfortable for my friend as she works everyday with these people but funny nonetheless. The evening after the comedy was ours, but after a few drinks and the six hour drive, we were ready to call it a night.

We stayed at the MGM grand and after two nights there, I am convinced it is time to save up for a new mattress here at home. Those beds were like sleeping on a cloud.

Saturday was awesome. We had the morning to ourselves and played a little at the casinos. My friend regretted that we rode a roller coaster as it caused her residual whiplash to flare up. We didn't win big at the tables and we didn't lose either. That night we got to dress up. There was to be a dinner and a dueling piano show.
I have been to one other dueling piano show prior to this and  it is an experience I will always remember and was anxious to watch one again.
We took a taxi to a very swanky upper class country club. It was beautifully lit in the warm Vegas evening. The night began with hor devours to die for. Then a dinner buffet that made the hor devours taste even better as it was not that great.

After a little more socializing and a chance for the overindulge-rs to do just so, the entertainment began.

I was so excited for the show. It started out just as I expected, Billy Joel, Van Morrison, Jimmy Buffet and all the classics. There was a performance by a terrific Rod Stewart impersonator, complete with twirling microphone stand. And then, it turned quickly into a hair band concert of the 80's... one of the artists stood on the pianos belting out a guitar solo from AC/DC so loud I am sure they could hear it in San Francisco.

It was still fun to dance to and it got a little crazy as it was open bar that night also. I still had the time of my life. Let loose and let off some stress.

But am I really getting that old? Am I really turning into one of those old women? It was so loud my ears rang for hours afterward, the nineteen year old girls were driving me crazy, the guitar solos went on a little too long, and I preferred the softer classic rock to dance to.
The highlight of the evening? (insert sarcasm mark here) was getting hit on continuously by a very drunk older man while his fiancĂ©e stood two feet away glaring at me. Apparently I was the 'sexiest girl in the whole room' and was 'rocking my dress'.

But those were just the highlights. It was truly a great time and I was grateful for the time away.

Downside to the trip is in the ten minutes I spent with my parents, I managed to catch the flu and have been fighting it for a week. It could have possibly been that my friend was always directly too hot to my too cold and drove with the windows down partially in 20 degree weather.

My son is coming to town tomorrow to spend a couple weeks with us for Christmas I will be drinking up the Vitamin C and resting up to make this the best Christmas yet!

Anyone ever been to a dueling piano show? Do you prefer it up loud and crazy? Am I acting like an old lady?  I can take it - tell me the truth     Maybe it was the flu coming on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Catching up

WOW has the month gotten away from me!
So much has happened since I posted last but I have had absolutely no time to post.

My baby turned eighteen on the sixth of December and made me feel as though this life is moving along at warp speed. I have now nearly solo raised three children into adulthood. No small feat but also the most amazing and gratifying thing I have ever done. My most prized accomplishment.

Her birthday was both wonderful and bitter. Her father has a way of spitting on any happiness they have. An absent father who is more likely to call them on his own birthday than on any of theirs, makes life hard. I can count on one hand the number of things beyond child support that man has done for his children. Included in that handful of joy are the number of times he has contacted them, either by letter, phone call or physical visits.
You would think that a text message to her for her birthday from this 'father' of hers would be a step in the right direction, but it was rather brought my poor girl to tears.
A little background prior to the message: The father of my children is now on marriage number three. I being his first wife, we have three children. He had two more children with his second wife with whom he also has little to no contact. Wife number three is a widow with four children of her own. Children whom are stop children to him and who have more contact with him than his own blood children. Blending families is tough, step-children require as much love and attention as blood-born children. And he is a wonderful step father.
However, his blood children are nearly non-existent in his life.
He has also recently joined a new church, one in which he is able to repent for the sins in his life. We know this because in the social website Facebook, he has been openly cleansing his conscience. His divorces, his porn addiction, and more.....
Apparently relationships lost are not one of those things he wishes to change. As I wrote recently about his relationship with his mother (also lost to this new church calling) and my kids. Also posted on this social website for the world and his/my children to see is day by day activity on a mission he served for this church.
Good for him right? Not so fast! This wonderful example of a father, is out preaching to the masses of a third world country on the importance of family. Hypocritical way to sling some shit right?
Of course my children take it with a grain of salt.... a grain that stings just a little in the open wounds he has created.
But- let's get back to her happy birthday text. It is an effort on his part right? well, it would have been..... had it come on the correct date, and free of excuses of his schedule being so busy. To busy to send a two minute text message to his daughter?
It takes more than one hand to count the number of times I have consoled the tears of my children caused by this man. I keep hoping it will get easier the older they get.... it does not. They love him dearly, they continue to hope he will be the father they think he should be, but they are coming to realize he may never be.

Christmas will be the tightest ever this year. Many a December I have spoken to my kids about the slimness of Santas pocketbook. Never have they been disappointed. With my continued unemployment, this will be the lightest Christmas yet... and yet, my now grown children are not concerned at all. They have voiced those same words I myself have spoken to them on oh too many occasions in the past.
We have never had a bad Christmas, it is all about being together, not what we get or give each other.

God but I love these kids!~

Friday, November 19, 2010

“It doesn't matter what size or shape you are. Burlesque is about feeling positive about who you are, about knowing how to shake what you have and being proud of it.” Baby Doe

My daughter and I had the opportunity to attend the premier of Burlesque this past Wednesday night. Although I  will not receive any compensation for this post, I felt the need to describe how this movie left me feeling.

I have always been a fan of Christina Aguilera's incredibly haunting voice. That girl can sing! If you have ever seen a stage performance by Christina, it is not a far stretch for the performer to snag a part in a Burlesque show. But can she act?

My quick answer would be yes, she pulled it off. Definitely not an Oscar performance most pointedly a crying scene where she seemed forced and fake. However overall, she was very believable. Possibly as she may have faced some similar obstacles in life as her character. The singing and dancing however- incredible! It is what she does best. In one scene she is stunning in a form fitting sequined gown, flawless close-up skin and her first note actually sent chills up my spine. She is in her prime!

Cher, in her sixth decade in life, plastic as she is, was stunning. Not too bad with the pipes herself. A solo scene shows that she still has it. A beautiful woman and a beautiful song.

Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars fame made her debut and proved that she is more than a dancer. She holds a soft place in my heart as she grew up in the same city as I. Way to go Julianne.

This movie was everything I was expecting, hoping for and more. Loads of energy keeps your interest. Awesome talent and interesting and beautiful costumes leave you wanting to visit a seedy underground burlesque venue. It is set in LA but has a bit of New York flair.

Because it was a premier, we were elbow to elbow in a packed house. Before the film began I was concerned about the seemly lonely chatterbox to my right. But when the show began, even she was mesmerized by the fabulous music and energy and never spoke another word (except for the three incontinent riddled dashes from the theater).

I too was transformed by this movie. In addition to the music that drives you to jump up from your seat and dance, makes you yearn to belt out the tunes yourself and run to the nearest Burlesque, it is hilariously funny. The best one liners I have heard in a while.

The male eye candy does not disappoint. I dive into Cam Gigandet's cookies, but then you will not understand that until you see the film. Eric Dane of Grey's Anatomy is always great to look at. But his character is not as nice.

Stanley Tucci is in the perfect role. I have not seen him in a role I didn't like but as Cher's best friend he is fabulous, they pair together nicely.

I highly recommend this movie. It has been a while since I have walked out of a theater ready to send all my friends in to see it. This year, I have been lucky enough to find two.

Red  with and all-star cast and a terrific plot and direction. It was my favorite film of the year.

But it just lost its first place standing with me.

Go see burlesque! it opens Thanksgiving day. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Blues

The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.

I have been doing my best to keep from dragging the positivity of this blog down with constant banter on my unemployed status and the frustrations and discouragement that comes with it.

I am a positive, and glass is half full personality type and truly think that a positive attitude can make a huge difference no matter what obstacles you may be facing. Although I get no satisfaction out of others pain, the thought that 'things could be worse' or that 'someone else may be fighting a harder battle' does bring me some comfort in knowing that for every negative I may be facing, there is also a positive that makes me that much richer and happier.

I currently struggle with the guilt, and inferiority of sitting home day after day unable to find work and knowing that I am the sole person responsible to ensure that my children are supported and safe and taken care of. Thank the heavens above that I live in a country that provides for unemployed workers. Even though it adds to my guilt to receive those benefits. It is enough to pay the monthly bills.

But now we are coming into what should be one of the happiest times of year. A time with family, a time for closeness and a time to show those you love- more so than on a regular day- how much you love and appreciate them.

Over the years as a single mother, the holiday have been tight in the pocketbook, but never have I faced a year when I could afford nothing, not even the holiday meal. That is the case this year. It breaks my heart. I have been blessed with the most appreciative and understanding children. Never have they complained when times were tight. The holidays are always full of love and caring. But in a way it makes the guilt that much more difficult to face. Why should they spend a lifetime compromising merely because their mother cannot find work? Cannot afford to give them the Christmas they deserve?

But as I stated, we have always enjoyed the holidays. It is a time that we spend together. We have always found inexpensive or free ways to spend quality time together with each other and with extended family. And that time is priceless. For anyone who may be in a similar situation I have put together a list of some of the ways we have created lasting memories for next to no cost:

  • Decorating the house together while playing and sometimes dancing to Christmas carols.
  • Baking yummy Christmas treats, trying out new recipes and sharing with neighbors.
  • Working at a soup kitchen, sub-for Santa or just helping out an elderly neighbor with snow removal or shopping
  • Popping popcorn and threading strings of popcorn and fresh cranberries for the tree. These can also be hung outside for winter birds to feed on.
  • Snuggling together under a blanket, drinking hot cocoa (spiked with rum for the adults) and watching old classic holiday films.
  • Driving around town viewing holiday lights and decorations- Most cities have lists online of the best houses.
  • Baking and painting salt dough ornaments together and hanging on the tree. 
  • Building a snowman, sledding, or in warmer climates playing a family game of football or baseball 
  • Reading holiday stories or feel-good stories together each one taking a turn to read. Even better if you have a fireplace.
  • Playing old classic games such as Chinese checkers, Old maid, Chess or scrabble together
  • Invite a guest for dinner, a lonely elderly neighbor, an old friend you have lost contact with, or let your children each invite one friend who may need a boost.
  • Passing on old traditions your children that your parents passed on to you- And then create your own.
  • Practice some classic Christmas songs and then go caroling in another neighborhood or a shelter.
  • Throw a Christmas treat party- Invite each guest to bring 20 or 30 of their favorite Christmas treat, heat up some hot cider and share the joy.
  • Take some family photos outside in the weather, or using props such as reindeer antlers, Santa hats or the treats or snowman you have built together. Print out inexpensive copies add a stamp and mail Christmas 'postcards' to friends and family.

Every year we come up with a few new ideas to make the holidays fun and exciting no matter the budget.

If you have any to share. Please comment below.

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Next week is Thanksgiving and I truly have so much to be thankful for! Family, health, great kids and parents, unemployment benefits and a truly happy fulfilled life.
I wish you all the same

Friday, November 12, 2010

Addiction should never be treated as a crime. It has to be treated as a health problem. We do not send alcoholics to jail in this country. Over 500,000 people are in our jails who are nonviolent drug users. Ralph Nader

On Facebook yesterday, an old school friend posted this as her status:

If anybody has any feedback positive OR negative regarding Wellbutrin, I would appreciate it.....

I have taken Wellbutrin. There was a time after my divorce and again after the demise of a six-year relationship; when I couldn't sleep, I couldn't focus on my daily responsibilities. The anti-depressant Wellbutrin was recommended by a therapist. I am typically a positive, glass is half full personality type. It is rare even with this roller coaster life, that I am really down or unhappy. I took the medication for just a month. I will say it helped, at least with the sleep by clearing my head of the demon thoughts.

But then, I am not much for taking any medication. I don't like to feel drugged. Twenty-one years ago when I had major surgery and was prescribed the steroid Prednisone. I was also given a pain reliever, Percocet a cocktail of Oxycodone and Acetaminophen. After a week of the pain killers, nausea and hallucinatory dreams that would scare the shit out of anyone I quit the Percocet and limped by on over the counter pain relievers. 

Call me a control freak if you must but I do not like feeling as though I am not in control of my thoughts and actions. I have a deep empathy for those suffering from disorders that affect the body and mind. I also understand the need for pharmaceuticals and drugs. I just have a hard time understanding the needs of a healthy individual who feels the need to take them to escape.

Horrible things happen to people everyday. Many people face things that are just too much to bear. And I can imagine that they feel that getting high will help them escape those feelings. But it is a temporary fix. Most times taking them further into that dark tunnel. 

The county I reside in is often referred to as 'Happy Valley' a term used in part because of the saturation of the LDS faith in the area making it seem to some outsiders as the sacred hallowed ground where nothing illegal, immoral or unclean should happen. And yet others mock it with the name as a place so clean there is no fun to be had here. In reality, it is like any other suburban community. As in other communities, the population is increasing ten-fold, the crime rate is on the rise, and drug use is also rising.

It seems as pressures grow in communities, the need for escape also grows. And in turn, drug and alcohol use and abuse seems to follow. In times past it seemed that most stresses were cooled by the men meeting at the corner watering hole and drinking and joking away the weeks stress. While the wives would hold play dates and gossip sessions where pointing out others problems made one's worry's seem smaller and easier. What do we do in modern day? How many are turning to narcotics and illegal drugs?

Bad things have always happened to people. People have always wished for that escape. But as time goes by, I often wonder why do we create more chaos and trouble on ourselves? Why does that make any one of us feel better?

Another old friend whom I recently reconnected with has been through some tough times. Married to an alcoholic, divorced, blamed and shamed, turned to drugs, then stronger drugs, then rehab, four children created in the chaos, unemployed, turning to sex as a relief and pregnant and alone at 41. Is she learning? is her life changing for the better? It seems not. She is not alone.

Drug use a huge problem in this country. And not just illegal drugs. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Drug use is the biggest war we will ever face as a country. And it is not getting better. 

The first time I watched a drug ad on television, I was shocked. My first thought was, do the pharmaceutical companies really need to advertise? As I have worked in the medical device and pharmaceutical arena most of my adult life, I understand the profits of such companies.

Then I began to listen to the ads closer, if you are having these symptoms (most of which were vague enough that on a given day might be common to almost anyone over the age of say 30) ask your doctor. Ask your doctor? When did we some to this place in time where the patient is requesting of the doctor? How can it be safe? 

I remember my kids commenting on the two minutes of side effects listed at the end of the more recent ads. Surely to cover their asses in litigation against those laymen home grown pharmacists- the viewers. My kids would say things like wow who would want to take that drug? With all those side effects? I would explain that most prescriptions have a laundry list of side effects, it is just that most people in this instant gratification world ignore the twelve page leaflet accompanying it. 

I do not blame the physicians, with the exception of those illegally prescribing. It is embarrassing how quickly this virus seems to be spreading across the nation. We as a nation may just be our own worst enemy.

The drug lords, the corrupt physicians are certainly not idiots, quite the opposite. They will sit back and watch us kill ourselves and each other off while taking it all to the bank.

Which brings me back to the post by my friend. It is the small things like this that start the fires... Have we become so commonplace with prescription use that we would take the advice of our social media friends over that of a practicing and licensed therapist and physician? And should we? Is drug use (even legal) so common that a consensus of enough friends who have used it before seems a better choice than the doctors who seem a little too quick to sign off that prescription pad to feed a society of quick fixes?

Do you remember a time when you could walk through a mall or city street and never see on that walk the signs of drug or alcohol abuse? Can you now? It is no longer a disease of the ghetto, nor is it something folks from the other side of the tracks have 'gotten themselves into.

It is the neighbor lady school teacher, the basketball star, the famous movie star, the soccer coach and the homecoming queen. It is everywhere and everyone. 

In addition to the use and the abuse and its effects on those who use, abuse leads to crime increases, more violence, and overall poor health of the country as a whole. Those who are terrified of the thought of crossing the borders to Mexico, who think that countries problems seem far from our own better think again. 

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I can't even find one I like, let alone share!

Have you seen the new series on TLC Sisterwives?
What do you think?

Growing up in the state of Utah has been interesting. But it was not until I left the state for the first time for more than just a week vacation I realized just how we were perceived. The summer after my senior year of high school. I took a summer job working in Arizona at the North rim of the Grand Canyon. A great job where I had the chance to meet many people from many other states, countries and cultures.

I would often ask questions starting with where they were traveling from and my naive seventeen year old sheltered brain took in a lot. An occasional visitor from Europe or Asia might infer my origin also. And although it is just North of Arizona, many had never heard of it. Utah. It was interesting the number of people who actually thought that Utah was an island, with its own species of people. huh? wha?

And yet others shocked me when they actually asked me if I had horns! True story! Unbeknown to me at the time, Utah has been akin to many myths and even some strange truths....Here is one website that discusses the oddities.
things that make you go hmmm

Let me attempt to explain just a few of the things I have a first hand accounting with:

Horns? No we do not have horns (or tails for that matter) hidden under our hair. Unless you are speaking of the hours immediately following my knowledge of my ex's infidelity, I cannot promise there were no visible signs of horns.. or a tail.. or possibly steam emanating from my ears.

Utah is one big commune/ cult: No, we do not belong to a cult that is locked in by ten foot tall cement walls holding us in while we raise children born from sex with cousins, brothers and uncles.
I cannot tell you how many times I was asked that summer: How many mothers do you have?

All Utahns have multiple wives / mothers: No. I love my mother very much, she is my light. There is a 2% population of polygamists in the state which leads be back to the new show airing on TLC.

Do Utahns wear funny underwear? Mormon practice, is that when a couple is sealed in a ceremony in the temple, they receive garments. These garments are white undergarments meant to cover the body (temple) of the practicing Mormon. I am not a member of the faith and I do not have the specifics. However, in answer to the question: No Utahan's based on our geographic location do not wear funny underwear. Unless you are speaking of those candy cane imprinted long john, drop seat lingerie my ex husband sprung on me during a family gift exchange that one Christmas... now that was funny underwear!

Although I was raised in the state of Utah, it wasn't until I was home from my summer in Arizona on a family trip to a local mine, when I had my first encounter with a polygamist family. I would not have known they were a plural family, they appeared as any other large family, were it not for their excessively modest attire and archaic hair styles. The young boys were wearing plain colored pants and overalls with white button-up shirts. The girls in floor length dresses with a turtleneck of lace to their chins. I remember thinking how hot they must be in the summer sun with long sleeves covering every bit of skin down to their wrists. A few of the young girls had shorter dresses or short sleeves which were worn over pants, thick tights and long sleeve undershirts.
The girls wore braids that ran the length of their backs, the boys looked as though they had visited the local barber in Walnut grove. They stood out. They were different. They were even more covered than the Mormon long shorts created in order to cover those 'funny undies'.

As the years went by I learned a little more about the followings of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ which is a different religion entirely from the Mormon faith they are often associated with. Although the Mormon- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, followed the law and changed its outlook on polygamy and plural marriages some 100 years ago, there was a time they practiced and even encouraged the practice.
The Fundamentalist church has been in the news more recently with the antics of Tom Green, and even more so with the incarceration of  Warren Jeffs.

I have learned along with the rest of the nation. The latest 'coming out' of a polygamist Utah family, the Brown's, on TLC's sisterwives interested me. The Browns live less than ten miles from me and I would not have known had their lives not been portrayed to the world on this series.
I watched along with the nation, curious to see inside this compelling and shocking unknown world. We all wonder, how could those women so that? How could one man be so arrogant as to think he needs or deserves more than one woman in his life? Those women must be brainwashed, emotionally abused and beaten down.
And then I watched.
What I saw was a glimpse of what we all strive for. A healthy, happy, structured family. A family so full of love for each other you feel it in your bones just seeing the interaction.
Watching the show I felt a little like a voyeur, a little uncomfortable as I was quick to judge.
I could not live the lifestyle.
I can not seem to find a man I would be able to live with. I cannot imagine sharing one with others. But these women - and the children, and Cody, the father all seem so happy and centered.
Despite the 2% of the population of practicing polygamists in this state alone ( they don't all reside in the state of Utah) it is still an illegal practice. And the Brown family has faced a lot of adversary by coming out. One wife lost her job, they faced a criminal investigation, at least one of the daughters changed schools. What courage.

"If we raise productive, contributing members of society who are moral and ethical, that's our final goal, whatever their path is," People quotes Janelle, who has six children with Kody, as saying.

Thing is, the world needs more love. And the Brown's are overflowing with it. Of course I realize this is a television show and not all emotions and issues will be shown but as the mother of three children who have been through the horror of divorce and an absent father most of their lives, it is nice to see a loving family.
As in the case of Warren Jeffs and other cases pending in the state wherein forced marriages between older man and under-aged girls,  I cringe at the thought. But that is another scenario entirely. I cannot comment on the series 'Big love' which aired on HBO.
If a man has more than one 'wife' in his bed, but raises happy, healthy children is he perceived by the law to be better? or worse than a man who is not married, but has planted his seed and impregnated multiple women on his drunken or drug laden escapades.
When deciding whether to prosecute, I believe we must think first of the children. Those who are not old enough to make the decisions on their own. Rather than consenting adults showing no signs of abuse.
This is a fine line. This is a controversial issue. This is not a Utah issue. There are many religions and cultures which practice plural marriages, both in the US and abroad.
When is it considered abuse?
When is it at the detriment of the women? The children?
Would it be different with multiple men?
Was Julius Caesar a poly? Ali Baba?
What are your thoughts?

Friday, October 29, 2010

One last Halloween

One of the few advantages of being unemployed is the freedom I have with my time. When I was working full-time I was usually up and gone long before my kids were awaking and preparing for school. This morning I awoke to my youngest preparing for her last Halloween in high school.

This is likely the last true Halloween I will get to spend with my girls. My youngest (pictured here dressed as her Idol) will turn eighteen in just over a month and head off to college in the spring.

It was fun to help her prepare her costume in the early house in a quiet house. I think she looks mighty fine.

This weekend, I am planning a night in. I don't want to be the wet blanket parent intruding on their Halloween party with friends. But I am welcome here. My kids actually want me to hang out with them and their friends this weekend.

I know it won't last, this may be the last. So I make no plans.

I will dress in costume and probably man the door and candy distributions. I have also been placed on food duty. But I am excited to enjoy this time with my girls one last time.

Next year I will go out and party with friends. But this one last time, I will be one of the kids.

I cant wait!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't like the weather? Wait an hour.

That is a common saying here in Utah. The weather is known to change in an instant. You can be in shorts in the morning and a winter coat by afternoon. And then possibly back into shorts as the sun comes out and melts off the snow. A fickle woman Mother Nature is.

But mother nature never ceases to make for some beautiful sights.

This is what I awoke to this morning. That large white lump is our large Halloween spider. But according to the reports this should all be gone by the weekend for the kiddos and their neighborhood treks.

Happy Halloween!

Update: And true to form just a few hours later

Snow is gone. But my poor spider web fell hard to the short storm.
Going to have to reconstruct. (Please disregard fallen leaves I have yet to rake)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Halloween Cruise

Yesterday was a rainy Saturday here but warm for late October. The morning was slow and lazy as we snuggled in watching movies waiting for my older daughter to get off work.
Then we got busy carving the pumpkins for the porch.
A messy and terrific way to spend a rainy afternoon. 

The oven warmed the kitchen as we roasted the seeds.

We also found out that our lab loves pumpkin as he snagged a huge chunk carved from my own and ran out the dog door to inhale it. Strange dog. His favorite things- although we rarely feed him scraps, are cauliflower, raw or cooked, and now pumpkin.
Although it has been unusually warm this autumn, it has been great to get out and see the wonderful fall colors in almost perfect temperatures.
We managed to get the yard decorations out for Halloween which also has not happened for a while. 
But yesterday the rains set in and the land is wet. 

But the temps are still not too cool yet. 

At the beginning of October we got a great deal on some tickets to a Halloween cruise on the Provo river. 
We have been on their Christmas cruise at this particular site and it was great. Similar to a sleigh ride all visitors snuggle with a heavy blanket across their laps as the slow pontoons glide over the river under the overhanging trees. The branches hang low over the river their bright Christmas lights reflecting off the water. Animated characters along the riverbanks also glow with strings of tiny lights of red, green and white.

Great family Christmas memories are made there while singing carols along the otherwise silent river.

So- this year we decided to try the Halloween cruise. Spooks and headless figures hanging from the branches while spooky sounds and Monster mash rang from the speakers were what I was expecting. But we were a bit disappointed at the lack of decor.
 A few strings of Halloween part lights shaped as candy corn, pumpkins and skulls. Two 'pirates' telling horrible pirate themes jokes and a very silly sword fight with one of them ending up in the frigid drink. And a host/ boat captain who forgot his lines, was not very personable and couldn't manage the simple CD player which played a Halloween poem for the crowd. Not really well planned or captivating.

However, it was a great night. The weather was almost perfect considering the rainy afternoon preceding the evening. It was time spent with my kids. And floating along the river, although a mite bit boring, was still really relaxing and brought us into the beauty of nature once again. 

The moon was near full and the sky hauntingly dark. 

We stopped for some hot chocolate and snacks then headed for home. 

Happy haunting everyone, hope your October is frighteningly perfect.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Night on the town

It has been a while since I have been clubbing with my best friend.

Last night, after sending my son and his friend off on the road back to their base, we decided it was time.
In Utah the nightclubs are few and far between. We have a few favorites that we frequent. It has come to the point where I have given up on the thoughts of actual meeting anyone I would date at any of the places we go. The men we have met out at the bars are far from my idea of a date-able man.
(note: not me in the photo)

Although I could really use a nice night out to catch up on girl talk and have a few drinks, my expectations of the night being any more than that were low. And I was o.k. with that.

But it turned out to be a great night.

With all the back pain I have been suffering the past few months, I was weary of hitting the dance floor. But regardless of that, we hardly sat out any of the songs. We danced the night away. It was just what I was looking for. It seems strange but there are more nights than not, that all we want is to 'cut a rug' and not one offer of a dance.

Of course the two of us will hit the floor together and boogie to a great song. But the establishment we were at, was more like the Texas honky tonk's with many couples doing the swing, two-step and cotton-eyed-joe. All dances that require a partner. And we managed to find many partners for many dances. Exactly what I was looking for. Some nights you just don't want to get hit on. Sometimes you just don't want a date or a hook-up to come from the night out.

Many a night we stay at the table and catch up on what was new with each others lives between meetings and never dance a bit.

Last night we hardly sat.

And the icing on the cake, was that I awoke this morning a little stiff in some areas of my body, exercise stiff. But the back pain was gone.

Which is a refreshing change. I can deal with exertion aches.. they go away. It was the cronic back pain I have been feeling that is so difficult to remedy. And who would have thought a little bit of recreational dancing would help with that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Absence from those we love is self from self - a deadly banishment. William Shakespeare

What a great weekend!

We headed south for a four day weekend to watch my youngest perform in the annual Utah Shakespearean Festival.

She rode down with the school Thursday morning and we drove to my parents just one hour south of where she would be performing.

We spent some time with my parents for two days while she attended workshops and then on Saturday we drove up to watch her perform. After her performance, they had a few hours of free-time. We drove up into cedar canyon to decompress at Navajo Lake. It was the perfect time of year and the perfect time of day. Absolutely gorgeous.

We then left her there for the rest of her workshops and encore performances,  and returned to my parents house. Later that night I returned to pick her up following their awards ceremony. Their ensemble group took second place and her school took first place over all. Way to go Vikings!!! It was a lot of fun. The scenes  were great.

The rest of the weekend was fun and filled with activity. We could not have asked for better weather, DesCartes fit right in with us all and we laughed and just played all weekend.

We even took the time to create a small celebration at precisely 10-10-10 10:10am. Just because we felt like it. It is life's little celebrations that makes it lively and fun.

I hated saying goodbye to my parents. It is always hard but we will see them again soon.

On our way home, we stopped so that my kids could see my ex's family. My ex (the father of my children) lives in Alaska and is not a large part of my children's lives. However, rarely do you divorce the 'family'. It is important to me that my children have the chance to know both sides of their family and heritage.

They had not seen each other in a while and it was nice to let them stop to chat for a while. My ex's mother was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis about six years ago and her health has deteriorated at an accelerated rate since then. I find it sad that my ex has lost his relationship with his mother especially in her condition but find it to be in their best interest to ensure that it does not happen with my own kids.

We arrived home late last night, missing everyone terribly but it was nice to sleep in our own beds.

Back to the old grind.