Thursday, April 29, 2010


I admit to checking out the people boarding the same airplane as myself.

I mean, if we crash in the middle of the Pacific and end up spending six years on a beautiful tropical island that amazingly resembles the North Shore of Oahu, I would like to know in advance who the Sawyers and Lockes of the groups are - as well as getting on Sayid and Jack's good side - and how to eliminate Benjamin Linus right away.

No, seriously, I just look at people and just randomly wonder if the 395 lb. guy is going to be sitting next to me - what way I could offer my sole talent of putting babies to sleep to the mom traveling with a newborn without coming across as a kidnapper-weirdo - if there is ANY way the Australian couple with the lovely lovely accents can be directly behind me on my left side (my hearing side) - and how could so many of these people afford to sit in first-class and I can't?!
I go through the normal frustration of being rushed onto the plane so we can leave on-time but then be forced to stand in the cramped aisle while waiting for everyone in front of you load tons of stuff into the overhead, make certain they have a pillow and blanket, and ask the airline attendant (who is frantically trying to get all passengers situated before the plane actually takes off) each and every question that they will cover in their little 'pre-flight' lecture that most of us have memorized from being on multiple flights.

When we finally got seated, a little red-haired boy in the row ahead of me turned around and asked me loudly what my name was, told me his name was Brent, and proceeded to throw his hands high in the air as the plane began lift-over over the ocean.

Brent was true entertainment the entire six hours - he was continually grinning from ear-to-ear, he was always interested in something, he played his GameBoy for hours without any help, and only occasionally (about every five minutes) yelling hello to his mom and dad, who sat across the aisle.

I wouldn't have picked Brent out of the waiting crowd as the person who helped this be one of the happiest flights I have ever been on.

Thanks, Brent.


Yesterday I was surrounded by people for 16 hours.

Not just people around me, or at the same event of meeting - I mean besieged on every side, encircled by strangers (or, as I see it, friends I haven't met yet) to the point where my personal air space was constantly and continually being violated in a fashion that would have drove most people to hand sanitizer, running shrieking out the terminal, or Valium.

Yes, you are correct, sir - I was flying.

At airports, the polite waiting-in-line-at-the--bank line is suddenly compacted by a factor of 9. As drivers do, the shuffle-up-the-moment-the-light-just-MIGHT-be-thinking about turning-green-again forces you to stand with your nose on the shoulder of the person in front of you, while your carry-on bag is constantly pushed forward by the person behind you.

I tried to maintain what for me was a proper and respectful distant distance while in line, but shortly succumbed to the directed glares and significant grunts of those convinced that the additional 2 cm. move would make a SUPREME difference in getting to the luggage scanning machine.

That same frantic sense of go-go-go-go compels everyone to almost-run pace, dodge in and out of traffic exactly like the red convertible that simply has to get ahead of you until he is stopped at the red light right next to you.

I'm not old and/or grey enough to garner the respect for the elderly, but I am forced to walk at a slow pace because of my breathing problems. And much like the 'classic' Toyota from the eighties, you can stomp on that gas pedal as much as you want, but it ain't gonna get you into the fast lane.

The entire experience would be out of the question for your normal germaphobic, claustrophobic or any social disorder person.

I may soon begin putting my name in those actual categories. Mr. Monk and Howie Mandel, say hello to your new best friend.

Monday, April 26, 2010


It's fun to be the target of most of the national reporting shows - at least for a couple of days.

Arizona has 1) passed the strictest illegal immigration laws so far, but almost guarantees racial profiling (like, duh!), 2) approved carrying a concealed weapon without requiring a class or additional permit, and 3) Sue Lowden proposing health care reform via bartering chickens for medical care.

Oh, wait, that's Nevada, not Arizona.

But Arizona was the lead story on both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's shows tonight - and since I live three miles from the Mexican border, it's sorta fun to hear all about "Law and Border."

And the story on Colbert went on to show an actual chicken (and a parakeet and a rabbit and a goose) to poke fun at Lowden and the barter idea....

... and mentioned "cutting off just a drumstick for the co-pay", holding up a butcher knife.


Does the American public realize that Chicken McNuggets, KFC, and grilled chicken comes from LIVE ANIMALS?!

Please, again, can we talk about lowering cholesterol and food expenses and eating a WHOLE lot healthier by getting at least a tiny bit on the side of vegetarions, okay?


A lesson in church today was about keeping a journal.

I began keeping a journal when I was in junior high mainly to help me with a goal - to become less shy.

(Okay, now let's wait for the laughter to die down)

Yes, yes, believe it or not (and those of you who have only known me that past forty years will not, I know), I went through a painfully shy period after fourth grade.

I even know why I became so shy - in fifth grade, I was put back into fourth grade so I would be with my own age group. I was getting odd enough that my parents noticed it (which sorta means that it was WAY beyond any sort of normal weird), and decided that although I was doing great scholastically, I wasn't developing socially.

And the age difference, especially between 8 and 10-11 years old is pretty drastic.
Somehow the stigma of everyone thinking I had flunked a grade really shut me up in a tiny shell.

In junior high, I decided I was missing out on too many things - I was going to stop being bashful and quiet and someone you never noticed.
It also helped that I became friends with two of the craziest girls at my school.
And I began a journal to help myself.

Guess it worked.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


When you have children, you are often thrown in to the middle of arguments, such as "MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYJOHNNYTOO
HEHITMEMOMMY!!" and "YOULIER!" and on and on and on until you step in, tear the teddy/car/blanket/binkie from the one hand and hand it to the other one, and then it begins all OVER again, just switching parts.
I'm currently in that exact same sort of dynamics with some neighbors.

People can live for years and years next door to someone without even knowing their name and have no more communication than that neighbor-acknowledgment nod when you each walk out at the same time Sunday mornings to get your newspaper from the driveway.

But out here, even though we must live much farther apart from each other- the smallest area you can have a house on has to be at least four acres - we kinda have to know each other.

- Medical emergencies. The nearest hospital is a half-hour away, and it's only been the last six years that we have been able to dial 911 and get anything other than a Mexican radio station. But even an ambulance takes a while to get here - and even longer in the monsoon.

- We have a whole lot of foot traffic through our back/front yards - illegal aliens, drug smugglers, coyotes (the human kind and the animal kind).

After ten years, our only direct contact has been with illegals who simply come to the front door and want to go back home; they've walked for miles and miles and miles before they even crossed the border into the U.S., and they are exhausted, or have been deserted by their coyote (the human kind), or separated from their group.
But we have neighbors who have been threatened by illegals - a family that lives within a mile of us was held stage at gun-point by smugglers -  cars are stolen routinely in our county.

So our concept of "neighborhood-watch" is just a little broader than it is in regular suburbs.

- We share some things that are a little immediate - water (shared wells usually between 3-5 houses), property lines (sometimes encompassing miles), dirt roads that must be maintained by us the drivers (no city, county or state maintenance... EVER).
So now we have a bit of a disagreement about our water well... and unfortunately, I have allowed myself to be nominated for the position of the adult, trying to get the children to 'play nicely.'

Wish me luck. (Oh, and here is the song, if you don't remember it)

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have difficulty spending money on myself.

I mean, I have no difficulty spending $58.36 at Target in one day. But that's for green, light green and yellow colanders of different sizes that stack so cutely, B-12 vitamins, two boxes of Zip-Lock gallon bags, a bag of eight black tube socks, bright fuchsia duct tape, and two prescriptions for my husband (who refuses to use the second health insurance which does away with any co-pay because it takes fifteen seconds of additional time to remind the pharmacy to run the 2nd coverage).

But it is almost impossible for me to buy a new pair of shoes (especially since I only wear three pairs - my house slippers, regular old running shoes and my Sunday one-inch heels).

I can buy a top, but only if it's in the 50% off rack -- and is light purple -- and is a v-neck t-shirt in XXL.

Once is a long, long while, I will be seduced in by a mascara advertisement and purchase some lengthier-double-strength-violet-tinted-to-make-the-green-in-your-eyes-pop-whiskey-sours-scent that pretends my eyes will look then exactly like Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives.
But today I forced myself to get a pedicure.
My feet are normally hidden under at least two pairs of sock, my shoes, and my 35" inseam jeans. But since I am leaving shortly for Oahu (obviously spending money on myself does not include purchasing airline tickets to go see my grandkids), and am certain to be barefoot and/or in sandals for six weeks, I bowed to the inevitable.

And pushed myself into the local mall, walked into the chlorine-saturated air, and sat for twenty minutes with my bare feet in the hands of a tiny little Korean woman.

And it was heaven.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


A bird, flipping through his feathers on a bush, who doesn't notice you standing by.

The baseball hat that fits better than your hair does.

Piles of colored Sharpie pens next to multi-colored papers.

The completely worn out paperback copy of a favorite book, thumbed through enough that both the front and back cover as well as the first ten pages are gone.

And why this happens, I have no idea, but just as I am falling asleep, I will suddenly giggle at something - a thought, perhaps the beginning of a dream, but something that suddenly makes me chuckle.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you've always known."

"Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, 'I am not the kind of person I want to be.' It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied."

"The mind can go either direction under stress - towards positive or toward negative; on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyper-consciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training."

"I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me, I will turn to see fear's path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Monday, April 19, 2010


With my first baby, I was frantic that with my hearing loss, I would not hear her if she cried out in the night.

But, of course, mother instinct is louder (and much more persistent) than any auditory receptor.

It still works, even when across oceans and lands and seas (with the image of the American flag being raised, dramatic music for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Boston Pops Symphony in the background, as the camera slowly pans over to... wait, that image is just in my head... right?).

Okay, back to the subject.

As my kids have flown the coop, left the nest, grown up and scattered, etc. etc. etc., my husband claims that I completely avoided any sense of loss by simply getting more animals to take their place.

And my ultimate child-substitute is Murray (he's the slightly larger one on the couch to the left).

Murray sleeps on a bed next to mine (and a real bed, not a dog-bed), and waits patiently every night for me to go to sleep before he goes to sleep.

And I have a serious time-line I must follow each and every night before I get to sleep...

Unfortunately, the last one is the most important if I am actually going to go to sleep - by the end of 15 minutes after taking my nightly Ambien CR, I must be relaxed, under the covers, and mentally going through the plot and script lines from a favorite movie of mine (Jane Eyre, Princess Bride, Dave, or Serenity)... which almost always allows me to sleep into sleep.
But last night... well, my child was in need.

Murray, right at the 15 minute mark, suddenly began a coughing, sneezing almost seizure fit. Immediately my brain began churning out how to possibly do CPR on a dog - what emergency treatment would be open at 12:32 a.m. - and would there be any possible ill-effect from doing mouth-to-mouth with a canine?

He got over it fine on his own, but not before all my mom-instincts had gone on red-alert.

And my carefully balanced bedtime routine was totally and completely screwed.

It is amazing the things that can be accomplished at 4:26 a.m. - my closet got cleaned, all sorts of loose papers got filed, and my on-again, off-again internet connection was uninstalled, reinstalled, uninstalled again and finally each and every plug and connector to my CPU were un-and-re-plugged.

I sure hope I sleep tonight - and if not, I am fully prepared to administer any or all resuscitation methods necessary.
Just with a bottle of Listerine right by my bedside.