Monthly Archives: December 2005

Crosswalks?

We live in walking distance to the new elementary school. Often the girls and I will walk in the morning. I’ll load up Emily in Jacob in the bike trailer/jogger bundle them up and close them in and off we go. Yesterday it was cold and slippery and I thought my hands were going to freeze to the bar. We walked to the end of the street where the crossing gaurd was waiting.
“I have to go to the police station after this,” she says.
“What happened?”
Apparantly she was standing in the middle of the road letting a boy cross. There was a car behing her, right up to her rear. As soon as the boy hit the middle of the road and was crossing to the other side she zipped around the crossing gaurd and took off.
Maybe now they will finally do something about that intersection. I hope if they don’t, nothing worse will happen. The cars on the one road just zoom through and the city says “We can’t put a crosswalk there.” They have decided that stop signs aren’t neccessary either. They might, might, put in a sign that says 20 mph when children are present. But it is December and nothing has happened. My kids walk through there every day, lots of kids do. I hope nothing drastic has to happen before they do something. In the meantime I am grateful for our dedicated crossing gaurd that is out there every morning freezing helping our kids cross safely.

4 Comments

Filed under Opinion, Parenting

Walls

Weekly Anamnesis #3

I sit surrounded by glass walls.
Pain and fear exposed
Agony bared for all to see.

I cling desperately to hope,
Fearing my world shattered
And my son ripped from me.

Optimism besieged by thorns
Pricking and piercing the tender flesh.
Trust and reliance put in God and Miracles.

Faith and prayer is not in vain
My arms enfold him in walls of love
Joy bursts forth, gratitude proclaimed.

-J.H. Schmidt

Some background might be insightful or appreciated and can be found here.

5 Comments

Filed under Anamnesis, Children, Heart, Parenting, Poetry, Writing

Finally!!

I have not entered into the realm of digital cameras becuase I enjoy “real” photos. I am always afraid that I will procrastinate and not get my pictures developed, so I am old fashioned in that I have a regular camera. I still procrastinate in deloping my pictures, but maybe not as bad. So here, finally, are a group of pictures I wanted to post earlier . . .

First here are the pictures that were supposed to accompany my first post, “Trick or Treating”.

Elizabeth as “Little Bo Peep”

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep, and doesn’t know where to find them. Leave them alone and they’ll come home wagging their tales behind them.

Dorothy as “Little Red Riding Hood”

“Why Grandmother, what big teeth you have!”

Emily as “Goldilocks”

“Mmm, this porridge is just right!”

Jacob as “Humpty Dumpty”

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

(Of course they put our Humpty together again!!)

As referenced here these are our two birds. They were finally named “Pitti Sing & Peep Bo” from the Mikado at the insistance of our children.


Finally I couldn’t resist these two pictures of Jacob. They were taken in July. We had ( I say had because I have no idea where they are anymore) these goofy play glasses without lenses. They were a hoot and looked quite realistic. This is what happened when we put them on our boy ( he was 4 months old at the time).


I laughed and laughed over these, especially the one with his little tongue sticking out.

3 Comments

Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Family, Humor, Jacob, Lizy, Photography

Fancy Football

When I was a kids the only time I ever wore a dress was for church. It took major convincing to get me to where a dress for school. There was one particular day when my dad was successful, I really have no idea to the reason why anymore. It was this peach colored dress with a white doily looking collar, (I don’t know how to describe it, and in the 5th grade who cares anyway). I had these dainty looking little white shoes on, so not fitting my personality. Every recess the boys would always play touch football with our teacher Mr. Hutchinson (until someone broke his arm anyway). I usually played with them. Today was no different, though a number of them scoffed as I walked up in this frufru dress claiming I wanted to play. I have no idea what Mr. Hutchinson was thinking, he was good at poker faces, and agreed that I could play if I wanted to. Needless to say that boys think girls can’t play football and I was usually avoided anyway, but today in a dress I was especially scorned.

Finally I had my big moment, I was wide open and the football was flying through the air. I jumped up and snatched that ball, kicked off my shoes and took of running. I think those poor boys were so surprised by the peach blur not many thought to come after me. So here I was, barefoot, running down the field with my mudsplattered dress flapping around me. There were a number of boys who made a valiant effort, but I just cruised into the touchdown zone without giving them a thought. I threw down the ball in the true touchdown victory, jumping in the air and celebrating.

It should just figure that the only time I ever did make a touchdown was when I was wearing a dress. Oh, by the way, I think my teacher just shook his head and laughed, and boy did he and I have fun rubbing it in the boys faces that a girl in a dress ran them into the ground.

6 Comments

Filed under Goofs, Humor, Personal History, Youth

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

I used to think I didn’t get into too much trouble or didn’t drive my poor mum completely batty. I tried to puzzle over where my Dot got her crazy antics and quirks. Then this morning a horrifying thought was revealed to me.

It all started with her shirt. Actually two of them. She was wearing her black school t-shirt with her white t-shirt underneath.

“Honey, you only need one shirt, go take one off.”

“I can’t mom.”

“Why ever not? Is it stuck?”

“No, silly.”

“All right, then why can’t you take one off?”

“I need to wear the black one in order to keep the white one clean.”

It took quite some reasoning with her before she would take off one of the shirts. And then I remembered my poor mother.

“Julia, why do you have 5 shirts on?”

“Well, my other shirts got dirty, so I just put on a clean shirt on top of the dirty one.”

Well, to me it made sense. Why waste time changing right? Of course I think there were times when I just added layers for the fun of it.

So my horrifying thought? I am much more responsible for my daughter’s crazy antics than I thought. And Mom, if you read this, I am so sorry for all that laundry I caused you. Oh boy, am I ever sorry. And now its time for me to go change loads . . . again . . . . .

4 Comments

Filed under Children, Dot, Goofs, Humor, Parenting, Personal History

(In)discretion

Usually I avoid band wagons, but a weekly writing assignment isn’t bad, and like Heather, it gets my brain going . . . Weekly Anamnesis (a recollection of past events) #2:

(In)discretion: Something said or done that is tactless or unwise

My roommate was mad at me and I didn’t know why. She wouldn’t talk to me and walked out of the room if I entered. I finally cornered her and simply asked, “What did I do?” I was not prepared for the answer.

“Someone said that they had heard that you had said that anybody could have passed the math exam I failed.”

Ahhh, my indiscretion revealed to me, yet it had never happened. I try really hard to have tact, and though I may think a certain comment, I would never actually say it. I tease, but I am not cruel, and that would have been cruel. Besides the fact, I didn’t know she had taken a math test.

“Ummm, I would never say that. I didn’t even know you took a math test.”

“You should have, we are in the same major. (Elementary Education)”

I shook my head and bit my tongue wanting so badly to say, “What, should I ask every day when I see you, ‘So, fail any math tests today?’.” But I managed to hold the comment back.

When she realized this reason for her anger no longer worked she tried other tactics.

“What a bout the time we were at church choir and you wouldn’t let me direct the music.”

“Umm, (that um was vital for my thinking as I searched my memory banks trying to locate the accused occasion) the director asked me to conduct. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings; I was just doing what I had been asked to do.”

“What about . . .” she came up with a number of different scenarios, all of which had a reasonable explanation, until she finally, in a last desperate attempt, said, “Well, I guess you are too wrapped up in your self then.”

There it was. My final indiscretion after all others had failed. What did it mean? Was it one final stab to the heart or did it have basis? It haunted me, I had always tried to be kind and put others first, had I failed so miserably? I knew the conversation was over. Her face closed off and she got up to walk away.

“Whatever it was, I’m sorry, and hope you can forgive me some day.” My last feeble attempt to patch a broken bond. And then I moved on.

It hurt, because I tried so hard to let her know that I would never intentionally do anything to hurt her or anyone. We had been friends, good friends. I shall never know what really set her off. I shall never know what my real indiscretion was. Maybe it was trusting her and becoming her good friend in the first place. We parted our ways and she never spoke to me again. She is probably still fuming somewhere about her insensitive roommate just as I am sitting here wondering what unforgivable faux pas I was to have committed.

3 Comments

Filed under Anamnesis, Personal History, Writing, Youth

Christmas Time

I love the Christmas season. Our tree full of memories glowing softly in the front room with my husband’s village and train beneath it. The train chugging along softly past the glowing houses. The piano adorned with my village and the miniature people building snowmen, caroling, and ice skating. My Mother-in-law’s beautiful oil winter scene and my father’s water color winter roads hang on the wall for background. Our stockings hang from the fireplace mantel in expectation of things to come. A wreath created from tree cuttings hangs on the wall above the fireplace reminding us of the never ending love of Christ. An angel sits below it surrounded by whimsical snowmen. Lights weave in and out illuminating the wreath and scene below it. Displayed across our entertainment center is our nativity. The crèche houses Mary and Joseph watching over Baby Jesus as the shepherds and wisemen look on in wonder. Lights threaded through the figurines radiate its warmth and lift our eyes to the angel above heralding the coming of the Savior. The house smells of pine and cinnamon and baking.

The children seem to be infused of excitement and their peels of laughter bounce of the walls in a cacophony of sound. Our home is infused with memories and love. We gather in the evening to read our scriptures and Christmas stories by the tree. Stories of the true meaning of Christmas; of giving service and love. The children hang on every word and no one wants this magical time to end.

There is a special spirit at Christmas, or maybe the spirit is just stronger because we are celebrating the birth of His Son. Everything so warm and wrapped in love, it is just a little easier to be patient and kind, and we seem to say please and thank you even more. It’s not that much different from the rest of the year but there is simply an extra measure of love.

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Memory, Opinion, Religion

The Bargain (A Creative Writing Activity)

I took a creative writing class while I was at Ricks College. It was one of the toughest and funnest classes I took. Our teacher was awesome but she made us work hard, an example was our final. We had to turn in a minimum 80 paged portfolio of our writing from the semester, etc. I had never written so much in my life. She gave us a lot of writing games and exercises. One of my favorite was a character sketch dialogue. This was the basic outline. We created character sketches for two people on the chalkboard. Our assignment was to write a story where each of the character traits come out. The catch? It could only be through dialogue. It was tough. At first I hated what I came up with, but my teacher liked it (which totally shocked me). I thought I’d share the character sketches (in case any one wants to give it a whirl, it’s kind of fun) and my dialogue.

Character #1: steals pencils, white base-ball cap, gentle fake smile, perfect teeth, short blond well-groomed hair, villain, has 2 caddillacs,gets food stamps, embezzler,

Character #2: rants about punishment from God yet hates old ladies, black suit, brown tie, crisp white shirt, boy scout, pacifist who carries a gun with no bullets, short, muscular, indian, wants a nose ring, has a temper, chief mortician, Bob Feather Hawk

The chief mortician came storming into the main office and looked angrily at his co-worker.
“If I catch you stealing one more pencil from this office, I swear, I’ll . . .”
“You’ll do what Bob?” The co-worker asked smugly.
“I’ll take off your white base-ball cap that you are always wearing and I’ll stuff it through your gentle fake smile; perfect teeth and down your throat!” Bob felt like he had steam coming out his ears.
“What’s so wrong with stealing a few pencils?”
“What’s so wrong with stealing a few pencils? What’s so wrong with stealing a few . . .”
“Yeah, what’s so wrong with stealing a few pencils. You deaf or something?”
“I can’t believe you seriously don’t think stealing pencils from the office is wrong.”
“It’s not like I am embezzling thousands of dollars or something.”
Bob eyed him suspiciously, “Stealing is stealing, even if it is just a bunch of pencils. Why did you bring up embezzlement? Are you embezzling money?”
“Why would I embezzle money?”
“You steal pencils, why would you just stop there? Why not go for the big cash?”
“Yeah, that’s right, and my two old cadillacs are stolen too, aren’t they?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. You do get food stamps legally, and you should be making plenty of money to buy your food without them Who are you bribing now?”
“Oh! So now I’m bribing people! What is your problem anyway? I’m not the one who is ranting and raving about punishment from God, and yet hates old ladies.”
“I may hate old ladies, but I don’t steal from them do I? I even help them across the street.”
“Just because you are afraid of being struck down.”
“Helping people is still helping people and I don’t steal the shirt of some poor child’s back. You even look like a gangster with your short, blond, well-groomed hair. Only gangsters wear their hair fixed up like that!”
“Yeah, and you’re the typical Boy Scout in a black suit, brown tie, and nice crisp white shirt, aren’t you? Even though you look the part, you sure don’t act it by accusing me of embezzlement and car theft!”
“I didn’t accuse you of those, yet, I just demanded that you quit stealing pencils from the office.”
“What is implied is worse that what is said directly”
“Look, I don’t want any trouble I just want the stealing to stop.”
“Oh, trying to play your part as the pacifist? I’m not the one that carries a big gun . . .”
“With no bullets, and I am a pacifist, though no one is perfect. Why do you always play the part of the villain anyway?”
“It’s a lot more exciting than being good all the time. Besides, you sure weren’t playing the pacifist earlier, you were about ready to take my hat and shove it down my throat! You know you paint a really pitiful picture: a short, muscular, Indian who wants a nose ring, is a pacifist? You better be careful, you might start scaring all those old ladies you help across the street away.”
“Look. I’m trying my hardest. Even a pacifist looses his temper now and then. All I want is the pencil stealing to stop.”
“So, what will you do if I stop?”
Bob smiled to himself, “I’ll drop all charges of embezzlement and car theft.”
The co-worker jumped up angrily, “That’s bribery! That’s more villainous than stealing pencils!”
“I’m not bribing anyone, I’m bargaining, and bargaining is the most peaceful way to handle a situation. Are you willing to cooperate?”
“Fine, I’ll quit stealing your pencils,” the co-worker consented grudgingly and stormed out the door.
Bob Feather Hawk kicked back in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk with a smug smile on his face. “I knew that if I brought up embezzlement it’d get him.”

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

Big Red and Secret Agent J

It was 6:00 a.m. when I was blinded by a bright flash of light. I dove for cover under my cozy blankets and cringed as dad whipped them off me. With a teasing grin he grabbed my toes and tugged. At times I thought he may tug on them so much he’d pull them right off. Maybe if he did I wouldn’t have to get up so early today. No such luck, all my toes were still intact when he returned again to see if I had made any progress.

“Hop to it!” He said cheerily, tickling my feet.

I groaned, even at the age of nine I hated optimism in the morning.

“Ah dad, can’t we sleep in just this once?”

“The animals can’t sleep in, they need their breakfast, and we have a lot to get done today.”

I nodded my sleepy head to show him I understood and stumbled out of bed. My brothers and I usually slept in our clothes to minimize the time it took to get ready for the day, and the feeling of cold jeans in the morning was just terrible. I ran my fingers through my short hair and went upstairs.

My stomach growled as I smelled breakfast cooking. “Make sure you bundle up, it’s really cold out there,” mom called to me.

“Okay.” I grabbed my boots and yanked them on; they sure were stubborn on early mornings. Just as I grabbed my coat, my older brother, Kimball, came up behind me bopping me on the head, “Come on squirt, I’ll race ya.”

I grinned, not being able to pass up a challenge, “You’re on!” I shrugged on my coat and raced out the door. The snow was up past my knees and it wasn’t long before I firmly planted my face into a drift. Kimball came up behind me, picked me up, and set me on my feet once again. Then he raced ahead, “Last one to the barn is a rotten egg!”

I laughed and raced after him, trying my best to step only in his footsteps. I stumbled and fell in the snow a few more times. Finally Kimball turned and came back for me. He picked me up and lifted me onto his shoulders. Then he ran and turned in circles all the way to the barn. Our laughter echoed over the quiet fields, and the sheep looked at us sleepily to see who was disturbing their breakfast.

My job was feeding and watering the chickens and gathering the eggs. Kimball would break the ice out of the bucket for me and gathering the eggs wasn’t too bad, except when it came to Big Red. Big Red was true to her name, a big fat red chicken who had the meanest streak and a terrible liking for little girls’ fingers. She was almost always sitting on her nest. I dreaded trying to shoo her off. I closed my eyes and opened the door, hoping with all my heart that she wouldn’t be there, but sure enough there she was on her usual roost. I gathered all the other eggs first, putting of Big Red for as long as possible. The beady black eyes stared at me with a hatred that seemed to say, “Today is the day I’ll get you.” I cringed. I could hear the evil laughter; the gloating; I was scared and I knew Big Red could sense it. I took a deep breath, “Okay Big Red, you aren’t going to get me this time.” I reached out a hand to try to shoo her away.

Something came flying at my face. I could feel the chicken’s claws and beak. Its wings were batting at my face. I could feel the feathers sticking through my shirt. I screamed batting and hitting at it trying to get it away. I was gasping for air when suddenly I stopped and looked down. There was hay all over me, sticking in my shirt. I could taste particles of hay dust on my lips, and as I ran my fingers through my hair I found a clump of hay sticking to my head.

“Huh?” I muttered confused, there was no sign of a chicken attack; in fact Big Red was still resting peaceful in her nest. Then I heard laughter, I turned around only to see Kimball holding his sides laughing. My great battle with a deadly chicken was only a battle with a flying pile of hay.

“Look out J, the big bad chicken might be coming to get you. You should have seen your face, you were positively terrified. Your arms were wind milling and you invented a great new dance! By the way, you screamed like a girl.”

“I am one, half wit. Besides it’s not funny, Big Red practically eats me alive every time I try to get her eggs.”

“Don’t be a poor sport; I was just having a bit of fun. You’re not really mad are you?”

“Not so long as you get the eggs from Big Red,” I said laughing. “You can sacrifice your fingers to her this morning.”

I grinned to myself as we carried the eggs inside; the teasing was worth not having to get eggs from Big Red.

Once we were thawing out in the warm kitchen, eating up our yummy breakfast, Dad announced that we would stay up a bit late that night so we could gather up the stray chickens that had flown the coop. I smiled this was a favorite.

The appointed time arrived and I became: “Secret Agent J: Chicken Catcher.”

It was dark outside and pitch black in the barn. Dad toted along a flashlight so we could see where the chickens were roosting. They usually roosted in clumps for warmth. We found a batch of them on the wall of one of the stalls. My sisters, brothers, Dad and I snuck quietly up behind them with great stealth tracking the fugitives. We all kept an eye on Dad waiting for the hand signal to attack. We were in position. The fingers came up, a silent 1, 2, 3.

Everyone pounced at once. The barn was instantly filled with the din of squawking chickens and flapping wings. There were legs, arms, wings, and chicken feet flying in all directions. My first grab wrapped around Lisa’s ankle, “J! I’m not a chicken!” Finally I hit my mark. I latched onto the skinny legs and hung on for dear life. “I got one, I got one!” I could feel the wings flapping into my head and face. I was spitting feathers and laughing at the sight of everyone battling their renegade chickens. I suddenly saw my self with one chicken in each hand taking flight over the farm, “Super J!!”

“What are you laughing at, J?” Heidi asked as we carried our fugitives to the chicken coop. I flushed; I hadn’t realized I had laughed out loud. “Ummm, nothing.” That was definitely one day dream to keep to myself. We deposited our chickens and then stood in the snow comparing our trophies and battle wounds by flashlight.

6 Comments

Filed under Farm Stories, Humor, Personal History, Writing

The Great Escape

“There, it’s finished!” I shoved the last hay bale into place and looked up at our golden castle. “What do you think?” I asked searching my brothers’ faces for any signs of approval.

Kimball nodded and smiled, “It looks really great.”

“Yeah, ” Paul agreed. “We had better take cover before the enemy attacks.”
We dropped to our hands and knees and slithered into the secret tunnel on our stomachs. I had only gone a few feet when Paul reached out and grabbed my shoulder, “Shhh. Footsteps, do you hear them?”

I froze, straining to hear; my eyes grew wide as I nodded my head. The attackers were in the room above us. We remained motionless; afraid even to breathe for fear that they would discover our hiding place. Finally the footsteps faded and I looked at my brothers.

“Go on,” Kimball mouthed not wanting to speak in case they were within earshot. I continued to crawl through the tunnel with my companions at my heals. We came to the end of the tunnel; we were almost ready to enter the banquet hall. Paul drew his sword. Motioning for us to do the same, he waved us forward. Holding up his fingers, he silently counted to three. On three his foot lashed out connecting with the door, sending it flying. We leapt into the room with our swords raised, ready to free our castle from the enemy. We stood back to back fighting the guards and monsters off with all our might.

“There’s too many of them!” I cried. “We have to retreat!”

“We can’t, ” Paul shouted, his eyes wide. “The entrance to the tunnel is blocked, we’re trapped! ”

“Wait, we can climb up the rope by the wall over there! ” Kimball pointed across the room.

We fought through the enemy making our way to the rope. Paul got to it first and started climbing while Kimball and I fought to drive the enemy away.

“Kimball, look out! ” I screamed as a sword narrowly missed his ear. “Hurry Paul, climb faster! ”

“I’ve made it! Hurry J, start climbing,” he called.

“No. Kimball, you go first. You look like your getting tired and you’ve been wounded in the leg. I can still fight a while longer.”

Kimball started climbing up the rope as fast as he could. I gasped, as the throng pressed harder against me I found my self being pushed away from the rope and against the wall.

“Kimball, help me! ” I screamed as I felt the guards seizing my arms. My companions could only watch helplessly as they dragged me to the dungeon. The guard kicked the door open and threw me to the ground.

“I’ll be back for you later, ” he growled.

I scrambled away from him and tucked my knees up under my chin. Cold and scared, I found myself dosing when I heard voices, “J, J, look up.” Looking up, I smiled when I saw my companions grinning. Eagerly they lowered a rope. I grabbed hold of it and started climbing, but just as I reached the top the guard threw the door open.
“They’re escaping! ”

“Quick, jump! ” Paul yelled.

I grabbed the rope and jumped, swinging across the courtyard. Letting go of the rope, I fell into a large pile of hay. When I landed there was as a crack and a nauseating stench and our magical world disappeared.

My brothers started laughing, “You landed on rotten egg! ”

“Those stupid chickens,” I groaned, letting myself fall back onto the hay.

I believe I met the hose again . . .

(A little background: One of our favorite places to hang out was in the hayloft – the upper story of our barn. We would stack the bales and create grand castles and secret tunnels. Many of the bales got broken in the process, much to my father’s chagrin, though he admits now were he do it again he would let us break all the bales we wanted. The broken hay was shoved into a big pile. From the rafters we had tied ropes with footloops to swing on. We would pile up 4 or more haybales put our foot in the loop and swing away. Most often we would swing and do amazing leaps into the hay pile. Sometimes our chickens would fly the coop (I’ll do a chicken post one of these days) and lay eggs in hidden places and we always had to check the hay pile and other such places for eggs. Every once in a while we would miss the inevitable egg . . . )

p.s. Today is my one month mark, I have now been blogging for one month!! Yippee!! My posts may not be great or even very interesting to anyone else but I am having much more fun than I ever thought I would. 🙂

8 Comments

Filed under Farm Stories, Goofs, Personal History, Writing