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:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Coo, coo, ca-choo, Mrs Robinson

After two full weeks fighting a respiratory infection, my lungs finally clear just days ago. And after a really trying week at work and too many communication problems with the boss. The house was beginning to show signs of the stress of the week. In the past couple weeks, my asthma was amplified by both the inversion and my infection. Just walking down the stairs with a basket of laundry would take my breath away.

So this weekend there was much to catch up on. Add to that some neglected deep spring cleaning and I had my work cut out for me. After hours of scrubbing, washing, folding, organizing I was ready for a break.
I settled in to watch a movie. The free movie selections on our cable system is slim pickin's but one title caught my eye. A movie I had wanted to see for a while.

The 1960's movie The Graduate. I was not disappointed. In the opening scenes you see how the two main characters are both looking for an escape. Dustin Hoffman's character a young college graduate unsure of his future and avoiding the life direction his parents want for him. And Anne Bancroft as the older married woman unhappy in a marriage she entered into for all the wrong reasons.

I am a victim of an affair. I would never condone such acts. But the graduate leaves you really feeling for the characters.

I understand this was quite a controversial film in its release. And I understand why. Not just the themes but nudity as well.

I grew up with the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel and sang along with the soundtrack as I watched.

I have seen only one other performance with Anne Bancroft, 1981's Mommie Dearest. I remember how scared I was of that character as I was but the age of twelve or so myself. Amazing talent.
And of course Dustin Hoffman, one of this centuries best character actors was brilliant in The Graduate. and so many other films in the years since.

As I watched the movie, I also learned a few fun trivia bits:
  • The leg shown in the movie posters and media materials was not actually Anne Bancrofts, but the leg of Linda Grey a little known (at the time of filming) model. 
  • Anne Bancroft is the wife of comedian /  producer Mel Brooks
  • Dustin was already set to play a part in Brooks movie the producers Hoffman asked Brooks for his permission to try out for the part. He allowed Hoffman to audition, confident he'd be found unsuitable for role of Mrs. Robinson's lover.
  • Robert Duvall, a college room mate of Hoffman's, has one line in the movie.
  • A neighbor of mine - Robert Redford was turned down for the part of the graduate because Nichols did not believe Redford could persuasively project the underdog qualities necessary to the role. When he told this to Redford, the actor asked Nichols what he meant. "Well, let's put it this way," said Nichols, "Have you ever struck out with a girl?" "What do you mean?" asked Redford. "That's precisely my point," said Nichols.
What a great way to relax watching the incredible abilities of the actors of this film. May of whom I remember from films and television of my youth.

If you have not seen this film, and wish to see a very handsome young Dustin Hoffman, I highly recommend it.

And now, I have more cupboards that need cleaning and floors that need scrubbing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

If Victor Hugo could see the state of our world now.

My youngest daughter has stars in her eyes, she is a drama student and Shakespeare is a love of hers. This year her school put on a production of her favorite among the Shakespearean Victor Hugo's works. Les Miserables.
Try-outs were held in November and although she didn't get one of the few speaking parts, She was ecstatic to be a part of the ensemble groups. And she shone!

Although the play runs for nearly two weeks, the shows have consistently sold out. The school paid a large royalty fee in order to even show this play at the school. Add costumes, sets, and the price goes up. Hopefully they will recoup enough of the costs in order to continue with great plays in the future.
We live in a very conservative area. Les Miserables is set in France in the 1860s. It deals with war, love, prostitution, prison, and poverty. There was some foul language that to most would roll by as pure realism. Giggles and gasps in the crowd reminded me where I was. There is a scene of prostitution and my daughter stood near her latest love interest. I am not sure if I should be worried at just how well she played this particular part.

There were a few younger actors in this play and they nearly upstaged the senior school students. - Nearly.

In her ensemble scenes, My daughter had four costume changes. So much going on.

The sets, the acting, the music, the talent were all amazing. It was hard to believe that this was a group of high school kids.

The two months of set building, practices before and after school and many weekends has really paid off.

I was so proud of my daughter.

Oh! And she can dance too!

I nearly used 4 gig taking pictures. I am so proud of the school, I am so proud of my girl!
What a great performance.
Sometimes I think that the local talents adds a whole element you don't get in Broadway and Hollywood. An element of real vs beautiful.

When we stepped outside, there was a blizzard of beautiful white snow. Beautiful to look at that is. Not as beautiful to drive in, with a very packed parking lot and most of the other cars driven by 16-18 yr olds. But we made it home safely, I canceled plans for a night out, took some cough medicine and called it a night.
I slept in until 9am this morning, I cannot remember the last time I did that. I suppose I needed it. And woke up to the beautiful snow and clean clear blue skies.
No Miserables here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. - Patrick Young

Old Mother Earth is wrecking all sorts of havoc this month it seems. With The earthquakes and aftershocks in Haiti,

Heavy rains and flooding in Southern California, Extreme High Surf in Northern California, and heavy snow and low temperatures over the northeast.

And here, as in my last post we have been living under a heavy thick cloud of our own pollution held down like a veil over our heads making it so difficult to breathe that most schools have kept the children in at recess.

But yesterday, snow fell. Rain moved in from the storms on the west coast.. the clouds opened and the sky cleared.

Have you ever made the statement 'I spoke too soon'? Well, I have spoken too soon. I made a comment just the other day, how with all the bad luck the past few months, at least I haven't been sick. Last year at this same time, I had bronchitis more times that I wish to recall.

Last Saturday my best friend and I decided to hit a club for some long overdue girlfriend time. I had felt a little stir crazy after so many nights in out of the bad air. When I met her I was having a hard time breathing and figured it was the outside air that night.
Recently the law changed and smoking is no longer allowed inside bars. Great news for me, bad for her. I mentioned that I would not be going out on the patio with her, my lungs wouldn't take it. And it is not the place I choose to be anyway.
There were a couple times I was left alone at our table when she went out for a smoke. And only one obnoxious, pushy, sweaty, overweight man with bad breath who didnt get the not so subtle hints bothered me.
When she came back in, we got up to dance, for the most part to avoid the aforementioned creep man.
While we were dancing, I began to really have a hard time breathing.
Now- we have not been out in a while and with this horrible weather I have not left the house as much as usual the past few weeks, but I was really heaving.
We sat for a while and had some more to drink as I caught my breath. The rest of the evening went along pretty uneventful. Until we walked to the car.
I had to pull out my inhaler. Really scary stuff.
I was diagnosed about 6 years ago with very slight asthma. Very slight. I take a pill every night and sometimes I nearly forget I am asthmatic at all. I occasionally use the inhaler when at high elevations or when I am hiking or exercising strenuously. But it is only on rare occasions that I need it.
I caught my breath enough to get us home and made it to work on Monday morning.

The entire day I felt as though there was an elephant lying on my chest.

After a doctors diagnosis, ruling out pneumonia, I left with an arsenal of medication and no real understanding of what it is I am fighting. Here I am on day 2- home from work, day 2- on antibiotics, day 2- inhalers twice a day, and day two sleeping 4 hours straight.

TMI moment: The antibiotics are causing bladder infection... the cough medicine makes me sick to my stomach and instantly puts me into such a deep slumber that I am among the dead. And Ironically, the inhalers throw me into a coughing fit until my ribs ache. - Good times

And I still cannot breathe normally.
All because I spoke too soon.
Tomorrow I will get myself to work and hope that the meds start to kick in. I wouldn't dare take the cough medicine. Codine has that effect on me.
Please let this chest cold / Asthma pass as the inversion and bring on the sunshine and blue skies.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

“They will be given challenges based on phenomena such as hurricanes, fog, tornados and tsunamis. So you see this year it's pretty relevant.” -Julie Berry

I updated my profile header with a snowy mountain picture that I took on one of our hikes late last spring. That is what Utah winters usually look like, Crisp clear blue skies, purple mountains covered in clean white snow. Notice the contrast to the heavy air in these photos I took recently.

It appears that my camera is out of focus, I assure you, this is what you see without the lens.

This year is an exception. Heavy clouds of dirty air held in by low atmospheric conditions, turning to ice crysals in the frigid temperatures.

And then this: Fog.
A fog so thick it can hide monstrous mountains behind its veil.

Although summer is my favorite of the four distinct seasons here in the state, I don't mind winter.

It has its own beauty. The (usually) few days we have with really low temperatures and 'bad air' are more than redeemed with those sunny winter days.

Those days you need sunglasses from the sun gleaming off the freshly fallen snow. White as marshmallow fluff. 

A golden sun cast over the dark looming and white topped mountains is a sight to behold, takes your breath away.

The weather this month seems to be a metaphor for the deep pain and non-clarity that my friend Mike must have been feeling over the holidays.

And 200 miles south of here, On a small Island that is a beautiful haven for tourists and yet only a few miles in, a poor and starving home of many terrorized by violence.

The people there are fighting a fog of their own. A deep, unsettling and scarring fog.
Made worse now with the earthquake.
Far too many paying the ultimate price. And even more it seems left to live a hell on earth, with nothing left.

I watched a clip from a news story, a woman no older than her late twenties or early thirties, she was chanting and wailing as she was held by her husband. A woman literally driven insane by the loss of not one child but all five of her loves. The heartbreak this poor woman was more than I could bear to watch. The correspondent, by his own admittance, a tough minded soul, broke down at the sight of her pain.

The fog is thick, the pain is unbearable. This will one day be a piece of history, much like that fateful day in 2001. But I don't think that this fog will ever completely leave us.

It is in times like these, we also see more humanity, more love, more charity. The people of Haiti have needed help for a long time. They have lived a nightmare long before the earth shook their island nation to rubble.

Could this be our wake up call? Should we try to do more?
For the third worlds, for the troubled friend, perhaps for the lonely elderly, the struggling single parent or young mother.
There are things we can do to help clear the fog, and each small pebble builds mountains.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The first Contest on this blog ever!

The first thing I want to mention is it seems to be my lucky week. Not one- but TWO wins for me!
They were each passed on to me by fellow single mother bloggers.
The first award was this one:

Given to me by  new blogger and twitter friend notyouraveragesinglemomma. The challenge that come with this particular award is to create a list -Ten things that make me happy. The way the past few months have gone, I see this as a refreshing, eye-opening task. However, I have not yet had the time to get it posted. The second part of the challenge is to pass it on to ten bloggers whom I find inspiring, I welcome the opportunity for this too. I will get to it soon.

The second award was a fellow bloggers support on her New Year's Resolution. She has made a resolution to watch less Television this year. A challenge that I believe we all wish to accomplish at periods in our lives. She put up the challenge to her readers to post a comment and take a guess just how many days she would make it through her challenge before watching television again. I hardly remember commenting, I wanted her to succeed. But my guess was that she would last no longer than I would, and guessed 4 days.
I was unaware that she would be under the weather, and also entertaining friends with games which used her television. You can hardly blame the girl for her demise. But thank you so much Aljolynn  I can hardly wait for my little taste of Hawaii. And good luck with the restart of your personal challenge I know you will do fine.

Which brings me to my own very first contest.
Everyone has an opinion on the right way to roll – over or under – and both points-of-view have been argued in households for ages. This January, Cottonelle brand sets out to settle this Great Debate once and for all. Are you Team Over or Team Under?

 As a member of the Mom Bloggers Club, I have the opportunity to win an entire months supply of Cottonelle tissue. And honestly who cant use toilet paper. With two teen girls in the house smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season we use a lot. Seems I am the one left with the bare cardboard roll staring at me as I attempt to reach for the box of tissue.

But the best part of this whole toilet paper debate??? You as a reader of this humble blog can also be a winner. Simply leave a comment below and you will be entered to win 1 of 10 Cottonelle gift baskets randomly chosen on January 29, 2010 from all entries.

 What beats a contest open to all? I would love to hear from my regular commenters as well as some silent readers I just know are out there. And I cannot think of a better time to come out.
So leave a comment and good luck and I will work on my happy list.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Although I love this Place

Utah has been getting press lately regarding the air quality around here.
No offense to the people who live there but usually when the topic of bad air quality is debated, La comes to mind. And well,  to be honest, Salt Lake City usually brings to mind images similar to Denver or Tahoe. Clear bright blue skies with pristine snow caps.
Not this year!
*Cough* *Cough* *Sputter*
It seems that no less than four of the northern major cities in the state have qualified for the 'worst air in the nation' list.
Wintertime in the Rockies it is not uncommon to see a large low cloud hanging low into the valleys, a cloud large enough to run mountain bench to mountain bench. This large looming cloud is called an inversion.
With the ceasing of convection, which is normally present in the atmosphere, a number of phenomena are associated with a temperature inversion. The air becomes stiller, hence the air becomes murky because dust and pollutants are no longer lifted from the surface.
This can become a problem in cities where many pollutants exist. Inversion effects occur frequently in big cities such as Mumbai, India; Los Angeles, California; Mexico City ; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Tehran, Iran, but also in smaller cities like Oslo, Norway, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Boise, Idaho, which are closely surrounded by hills and mountains that together with the inversion effect bottle-caps the air in the city. During a severe inversion, trapped air pollutants form a brownish haze that can cause respiratory problems. The Great Smog, one of the most serious examples of such an inversion, occurred in London in 1952 and was blamed for thousands of deaths.- Wikipedia

Most winters we get inversions, however a good snowstorm clears it out of the atmosphere and the sun shines in and the air is clear once again. Not this year! Although we have had a couple of real good storms, the bad air continues to hover and haunt.

I suffer from slight asthma and it is tough to catch a breath these days, outdoor activity is near impossible. Respiratory illness and bronchial colds are as widespread as the swine flu.

We had the opportunity this weekend after some work schedule changes, to drive to the south end of the state to visit my parents for three days. I felt like an elephant had been lifted from my chest. My eyes were not red, my lungs filled with clean oxygen, and my sinuses clear as ever.

Until we drove home.
As the girls and I were heading north, we could see the beautiful sun setting in the clear blue sky above the red rocks of the south, as the mountains took on a more blue grey hue, so did the sky. Resembling the large shadow cast over the land in Close Encounters, the horrible grey-brown clouds hung over the valleys we were headed into.
It was great to see my parents, it was nice to chat about our upcoming cruise and to breathe so free.
But too short.
They predict a storm on Wednesday, Hopefully it will be big enough to clean the atmosphere but not so big that the traffic is hazardous. I am still making do in my sons car, awaiting my repairs. And I am just not used to driving without 4-wheel drive.

For now, I will be shallow breathing. And if we don't get a storm soon, I am afraid that the winter doldrums will continue to bring me down.
for now, this song brings a little sunshine to my day whenever I hear it:

and so does this face!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I lost another great friend yesterday. Another man I worked with at the same job as Mike. Same great family of coworkers. Craig, worked maintenance. He was raising a daughter alone and would often come to me for answers about the intricacies of raising girls. He was always quick to help out not only at work but offer advice or drop by your house to help with electrical, heating, air conditioning anything you may need help with.
He replaced the outside electrical panel on my house.
Craig was also a member of a local Sheriff Posse a group of volunteers on horseback who would risk their own lives to climb to areas in the mountainous Utah terrain that only hikers and horses could get to. When he would ride his horse in the parades or directing traffic at the rodeos he always had a smile beneath his handlebar mustache. I will miss that.

Craig was sick, the evil monster that cancer is took him way too early from this earth.
Rest in peace Craig. I hope you are now free of pain and trauma.

On a lighter note:
Look who stayed with us last night.