Friday, September 30, 2005

Is it me, baby, or just a brilliant disguise?

I've been singing the Bruce Springsteen song in my head all day. Adam brought home this "disguise" from school yesterday and we've been having a great time with it. The only thing is, my big ol' nose doesn't fit in it. How sad, my nose is too big for the big nose, mustache and glasses disguies.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bad spellers of the world Untie!

I have long suspected I had dyslexia. As a child I always got the b’s and d’s mixed up. Sadly, my southpaw, great reader DS is doing the same thing.
I don’t remember struggling with reading, but I do remember being put in the turtle class and surprising my teacher one day when I came to school late and landed in with the rabbits and kept up with them. Part of my problem was reading out loud, I just couldn’t do it, and this is how the teacher tracked my reading progress.
But someone directed me to this web-site and article and I swear, this person was writing about my life.

Here are some excerpts from the story:

"Poor spelling may well be the last remnant of dyslexia that a person has otherwise compensated for," she says. "But it's something we haven't looked at directly."
Am I about to learn that something is amiss with my brain? I have some of the symptoms of dyslexia: horrible spelling, serious difficulty remembering names and numbers … But I'm missing the big one -- profound reading trouble. I read for pleasure every night of my life. We don't have cable.
And this: "You had the underlying threads of dyslexia, but you've compensated for it really, really well. When you have time, you do well. But when you have to do things very quickly, it's not automatic. Your autopilot, for spelling and for reading, just isn't there."
As a youngster I was probably getting just enough information and pleasure from reading to push through some amount of dyslexic drag. And the more I read, the more compensatory tricks my brain wired into itself until I became fluent, at least under relaxed conditions. It's only when the heat is on that my reading goes a little wobbly and, even more often, my spelling collapses in a heap.
It's probably one of the lesser beaten tracks to a career of deadline writing.

I wonder if my being left-handed plays into it as well? I always felt like I was struggling uphill, I would love to know it's just because my brain is wired a little differently than your average bears.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Missed it by that much

I have a lot of random thoughts to share today, so please, just bear with me:
Another fine mess
Adam has a passion for potions. For many months now he has been using Pixie Sticks and Kool Aid to make potions in a tiny little caldron we bought at the dollar store.
So long about August I started looking for a bigger caldron he could use for his potion making.
Yesterday was the day. Finally the Halloween caldrons are on store shelves. I left it on the counter and as soon as he came home from school he was mixing himself a potion.
The results have been a sticky floor, sticky table and sticky cups. But Adam has been keeping himself occupied, so it’s all good.
Don’t forget to stir the noodles
It took less then 10 minutes to ruin dinner, which in turn ruined the entire evening. I started out with great plans. I went shopping early in the morning, bought fresh mushrooms and sour cream for the stroganoff I planned to cook for supper.
I had the meat stewing for an hour before I mixed it all together and threw in the noodles for the final 10 minutes. Then I sat down.
!0 minutes later the noodles were stuck to the bottom of the pan and the house smelled rather smoky. I asked David if we should dump it and just order pizza, but he said no. So we glumly sat down and tried to eat the mess.
After two bites Adam announced, “I’m done.”
David told him he had to keep eating or go to bed. Adam is plenty stubborn, so he chose to go to bed and wailed while we all tried to choke down dinner. Eventually Adam went to sleep, waking up at about 8 p.m.
Yep, you guessed it, he couldn’t go back to sleep again, so at 11:15 I sent him to bed for the final time and felt like a total crumb because I caused all this by sitting down instead of stirring the dinner.
Now I know why my mom always came unglued whenever she burned the potatoes.
Aggie Van Crash
All I can feel is sorrow about the Monday night crash of a Utah State University van carrying 10 agriculture students and their instructor. Nine men were killed in the crash; two more are in critical condition at local hospitals.
The magnitude of the crash is hard enough, but as an Aggie Alum and the sister of a former USU agriculture student it is just a little too close to home.
The instructor was about my age, a father of several children. The rest were young men in their 20s, some married, most sons of farmers and ranchers who were depending on these men to continue on the family business.
I don’t have any thoughts beyond sadness and prayers for the families of the men who died.
That’s right, Chief!
The death of Don Adams, a.k.a. Maxwell Smart, (I can hear his voice in my head). Didn’t make me sad, it made me smile.
I’ve been reminded of his goofy legacy, the cone of silence, shoe phones and of course his “missed it by that much.”
When we think of a simpler time, we usually hope for a world of picket fences and country stores. But my simpler time included Maxwell Smart, Agent 99 and Control.
Humor is a large part of my personality. My sense of humor was formed by the likes of Maxwell Smart, Rocky and Bullwinkle and later on the Muppet show. It was gentle humor, but not mindless.
Because of Maxwell Smart and all of his colleagues, I love puns, and the clever use of the English language.
Thanks Max!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The scrappers version of "Flat Stanley"

The scrappers version of "Flat Stanley" is paperkins made (somewhat) in our own image. here you see Pressed Sage (that would be me) on the right, note her camera is in her left hand. She is playing host to Flat Sandi on the left. Neither one of us are dressed correctly for the rainy morning soccer game dimly seen in the background. But at least Sandi brought some sunshine with her.
Some people might think I have too much time on my hands.

Friday, September 23, 2005

In honor of Harry Potter

And, in honor of my son, Adam's obsession with "making potions," I have decided to give powdered drink mixes, packaged as "potions" for Halloween treats this year. This was my first attempt at the card. Clearly I need to find something a little more streamlined, since this card took me 2 hours to make. For one thing, I will be doing computer journaling. I don't think I'll do quite so much inking, and maybe I'll even use {gasp!} stickers to speed the process along.
But I am enchanted with the idea in general and I am thinking that along about April, when magazines are looking for Halloween ideas, I will develop this further for a paper craft publication. Any thoughts?

By the way, LaWana, I don't have you newest e-mail address, you are going to have to e-mail me first.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

For those in the path of Rita

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threatening
A grave in the angry deep?

The winds and the waves obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Second hand clothes

View from my window. I don't know why, I just felt like including it in my post.

Hand-me-downs, secondhand, thrift store finds, basement bargains and dumpster diving, it all just sounds so ~ shoddy.
I heard reports that some victims of hurricane Katrina are not necessarily thrilled to be given pre-owned clothing, furniture and appliances. I have mixed feelings about this.
As the fourth daughter in a frugal family, I have seen my share of hand-me-down clothes. In fact, the clothes were passed around so much people recognized us at a distance because they were familiar with the cloths; they just weren’t sure which one of us was wearing it.
I remember one Christmas my mother, who could sew just about anything, got her hands on an inexpensive bolt of flannel. We all got jimmies for Christmas. They were great the first year or so. Cute, white gowns with a cheery red (what is now a retro) pattern printed on them.
But by the time I had inherited my fourth gown, it was no longer white and red, no longer cheery. Frankly, it was ratty.
My mom also had no problem with deciding the set of drawers in one person’s bedroom would serve much better in another room. This was okay, I guess, when we were children. But after we left for college and / or jobs / married life it became more problematic. You never know when you are going to get a call from Mom with the “perfect’ couch to fit in that empty corner in your house. “You know the one, your brother had it, and I think all the cat urine smell will lift right out with a bit of scrubbing.”
I exaggerate, slightly.
But we were taught to use things until they were all gone. Every year we went through our clothing and anything that wasn’t too worn out or didn’t fit any of us was passed on to our local charity. It is a habit I still maintain.
It is an act of reckless courage for me to throw out a Glad container housing a three week old science experiment that was once leftover dinner.
But, with all our handing down, we did draw the line at secondhand socks and undies. I can understand why someone who has fled a beautiful ocean-side house might turn up their nose at the chance to wear someone else’s granny panties.
I guess my point is, hurricane Katrina has had me reassessing all kinds of things in my life.
1. Things don’t matter, people matter.
2. I need to get prepared should an emergency hit.
3. I need to be careful with what I buy, so I can spend my money on important things.
4. I need to take care of what I have.
5. I need to help others ~ but I don’t need to give them my trash.
6. I need to go clean all the leftovers out of my refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Right now

The cat just jumped out the window.
I'm listening to Rush Limbaugh.
I have finished a diet Cherry Pepsi.
I'm wondering what I'll eat for lunch.
I just finished two stories for a deadline.
My camera is sitting on my printer.
The familyroom is full of laundry that needs to be folded.
I haven't showered yet.
I'm wearing a grey, long-sleeved sweat shirt and blue print pajama bottoms.
It's a little chilly in here, so I'm sitting on my right foot.
I'm feeling relaxed ... but a little guilty about all the things I "should" be doing

Monday, September 19, 2005

My weekend in 200 words or less:
Friday ~ crop at my house with Six friends and, eight children. Yikes!
Friends talk, eat and scrap.
Children dumped Legos, chased the cat, put half-eaten suckers on floors and walls.
Friday night ~ two brothers-in-law and moose of nephew crash in the basement.
Saturday morning ~ Brothers gone fishing. Yeah.
Adam has soccer. He wins. Yeah again!
Saturday afternoon ~ New Cabala’s in Utah. Must visit. Crowds. Yikes!
Saturday evening ~ Logan’s birthday at the Mayan. Eat enchiladas, watch divers, Logan dances with the hat.
Saturday late ~ brothers go to pick up yet another brother and his new wife. Home at 1 a.m. I am asleep. Yeah!
Sunday morning ~ make waffles for nine people. Sunday afternoon ~ nap!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I don't want any more children

There. I said it.
I love babies. They are cute, and tiny and smell good. (Well, sometimes they small bad, but that's another story)
Sometimes, when I see tiny little baby booties or onsies I weaken a little and think to myself, "ohhh, babies, sigh."
But then I hold a baby. Like little three-week-old Kade here. He is so sweet with his expressive, scrunch face and eyes that see into eternity. He is so precious and new. He's starting to squirm and cry, time to go back to Mommy!
There was a time a baby like Kade would have never left my arms. Back in the day when I couldn't hold a pregnancy for the life of me. First, there was the loss ~ at 18 week ~ of Duncan. He was less than a pound at birth, and still he struggled for life until the doctor cut the cord and he died in my husband's arms.
Then there was the two miscarriages during the first three months of 1998.
The unenventful one where I had just decided I was pregnant before losing it.
And the tramatic one where I knew I was pregnant, I saw the baby's heartbeat but the doctor was worried because it implanted low. I started spotting at first, then it became ugly. A week after the first sign of spotting the baby was gone.
During this period of my life, a friend of mine brought her new-born baby boy into my work. I couldn't wait to get my hands on him. I pulled him out of his carrier and held him close, stroking his tiny head, breathing in the scent of him.
Long after she left the scent of newborn baby lingered on my clothes. I can remember going into the break room, smelling the clean baby scent and feeling empty inside.
Finally I was able to carry a child full term.
Adam David Lang was born on Dec. 20, 1998. He was six weeks early, had trouble digesting his food and keeping his body temperture steady. But he was a tiny little miracle.
Now my little miracle baby is six. He is going to first grade and learning how to read.
I no longer smell the baby scent on me when I hold a newborn child. But I remember. Oh yes, I remembr, the miracle involved in the birth of every child.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My September Garden

I went wandering around in the back yard yesterday with a camera because I felt the need to shoot something. I was lucky to catch the last rose, not withered by heat or cold. I also snaped this shot of the rose bushes climbing up the back of the carport. I need to get out in the garden and do some pruning.
My boss called me yesterday and we are finally back to full staff. Maybe I'll now have some time to enjoy the last lingering days of Indian Summer. I love this time of year, I don't know why.

Another Hurricane Story

Reuniting families was the best part for Julie Lambert and Mona Saddler, Tooele County EMTs who spent a week volunteering to help victims of Hurricane Katrina seeking shelter in the Houston Astrodome.Reuniting families was the best part for Julie Lambert and Mona Saddler, Tooele County EMTs who spent a week volunteering to help victims of Hurricane Katrina seeking shelter in the Houston Astrodome.The worst part, Lambert said, was how little they were able to do in the face of the overwhelming sea of suffering."It was the most exhausting thing I've ever done," Lambert said. They never worked less than 20 hour shifts, and Saddler worked one 36-hour stint before she was able to get back to the hotel and sleep.Lambert and Saddler thought they would be put to work doing triage assessment and providing emergency medical care.Instead, they were directed to a room of some 200 people, most of them ages 60 and older, and set to work doing "basic nursing-home type stuff." Their medical experience was limited to offering support care for people suffering from a virus."Most of what we did was be an advocate" for the people in her charge, Lambert said. The elderly evacuees were exhausted, confused and "had know clue how to go through the system," she added.Left with little but a garbage bag full of moldy socks, survivors clung to these scant possessions like shipwreck victims clinging to a life boat."Some would not even get up to go to the bathroom" because they were afraid their garbage bag of wet clothing and tuna fish cans would be gone when they returned.One man spent three days on a roof, watching horrors of dead bodies floating past him. He said the memory burned in his mind was watching an Irish Setter swimming in panicked circles. He was unable to get the frantic animal to the safety of the roof, but had to watch as it exhausted itself until it drowned, she said.Another man told her of his heartbreak when he realized he had to leave his nine cats locked in his house and seek higher ground."It was an incredible experience," Lambert said. "I would do it again in a heartbeat. After I get a nap."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Logan turns Eleven!

My firstborn son, Logan, turns 11 today. I’m afraid I’ve been a rather preoccupied mother. But in honor of his birthday I am listing 11 things I love about him.
1. He made me a mother when I had given up hope of ever having the privilege.
2. He was a beautiful baby and has grown to be a very handsome young man.
3. He is a good neighbor.* see related story.
4. He loves order. Even as a baby he loved scrubbing crayon marks off the walls. True, he sometimes marked the walls so he could scrub them, but that’s another story.
5. He is a great leader. This year he started working as a soccer ref. and he loves it, because it gives him a chance to enforce the rules. Logan is all about the rules.
6. He loves to learn. He is fascinated with science, and math, and how things work.
7. He loves to make things. One of my favorite creations was his “water fountains” he built in the swimming pool last year. He spent the better of a week building and refining it.
8. He loves nature. He loves to garden and watch things grow.
9. He has a gentle heart.
10. He is a good big brother. He does a great job of watching out for his little brother.
11. He makes me proud to be his mother.
* The other day the doorbell rang. I answered it to find my neighbor’s sister standing there. “I just had to come over and tell you what a great kid Logan is.” She said.
He had volunteered to go help them lay sod, while the teenaged-twins (a boy and a girl) and their friends just stood around watching.
This particular neighbor was widowed this spring in a very tragic way. (It’s a long story involving her husband’s drug addiction and spouse abuse.) She has been wheelchair bound for six years because she had a stroke when said husband was in jail for drug abuse. He also helped them put a roof on their house this summer.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Why wait until the last minute

I've been playing in my pictures and have come up with these two ideas for a "removed for publication," sign. There's no sense in waiting until the last minute. I'm taking votes. Please weight in on your favorite.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The woman with the Golden Touch

Forget about Gold Fingers, I have gold toes. This is the sort of things that happen to me because my feet are not just for walking. I can pick up almost anything with my toes. Pencils ~ a piece of cake. Toys, no problem. Pennies ~ yep, I've even been known to do that!
My monkey toes came in handy when I was preggers because they meant I didn't have to bend down to pick things up. But I developed this skill long before the young ones came along because I would just rather not bend over at all.
These toes were caused by a "scrapping accident." I was holding a page protector with my feet while spray painting it gold.
Someone suggested I just keep spraying so I could go to the next Halloween party as an Oscar. It's a thought, but I don't think I want golden hair. Well, not brassy gold, that is.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Me, myself and eye!

I have been challenged to post a self portrait on my blog, so I am going with this one. I made it more artsy with the help of Adobe.
I put a print of this photo in a photo album I sent down with my DH to his class reunion this weekend. He told me everyone accused him of "robbing the cradle" LOL. I am three years older than he is.
Let's hear it for the power of Adobe and making the ordinary look good. Now if only I could figure out a way to do the same thing with my makeup.

Friday, September 02, 2005

One survivor's story

I wrote this story for my newspaper, "The Tooele Transcript Bulletin"
I just thought those of you who know me would like to see what I've been doing all week.

“It’s gone, there is nothing left. The town is gone” said Christiana Champagne, survivor of hurricane Katrina in a telephone interview with “The Transcript Bulletin Wednesday.
“It is terrible; there is no Bay St. Lewis, Mississippi. There is no city. The whole town is gone. Waveland is gone. The bridge is gone. The bridge for the train is gone. The beach is gone,” she said.
Champagne, sister of Tooele resident Stacie Norman, weathered the storm hunkered down in a wooden triplex less than a mile from the shore of Mississippi Sound. Speaking from her “MaMa’s” home in Alexander, Louisiana, Champagne told of a natural disaster beyond the scope of human imagination.
“It is devastating to see that city,” said Norman, who watched the television helplessly as her mother, sister and aunt were battered by the wind and water of Katrina. “Our roots run deep down there.”
Champagne’s Bay St. Louis coastal town is just a few miles from Gulfport, Mississippi and 45 minutes from New Orleans, Louisiana. She had sent her three children to Ohio to visit their father less than a week before the Katrina disaster.
Champagne and her fiancé, Steve, stayed in their home, which had survived hurricane Camille, “because we had no money to leave. It was the only thing we could do,” she said.
Her mother lives in a brick house some 10 miles from the coast in Diamond Head, Mississippi, but the house was surrounded by pine trees and Champagne did not want to hole up with her mother because she was afraid the trees would fall and crush the house.
Miraculously, her mother’s house was spared. Although trees crashed down all around the building, some missing it by as little as three inches, none damaged the home.
Without enough cash to board the windows, Champagne and her fiancé stocked up on food and watched from their home as the storm lashed the coast. By some miracle the windows did not break, but she watched as the wind bent 50 foot high trees to touch the ground before whipping back the other direction to touch down again.
“We never realized we were in big trouble, until we were flooded,” she said. She is one of the fortunate few whose house is still standing, although it was swamped with about a foot of water.
After the storm, Champagne began to understand the scope of the disaster. “We were very fortunate,” she said. “There were bodies floating, bodies hanging from trees.”
Champagne said her neighbor, the coroner for Hancock County, estimated the death toll in the county will be over 600.
“There are so many people that have lost their lives,” she said.
This isn’t the first hurricane Champagne has witnessed, “I have been in them before, but never like this,” she said. “There were a lot of people who couldn’t leave.”
Although she was in something of a communications black-out, Champagne did hear a lot of rumors, including stories of the local hospital collapsing, killing everyone inside of it.
Champagne and her fiancé spent the first day after Katrina in a rescue effort. “You don’t even understand what its like,” she said. “We seen people on top of buildings, people with six week old babies without diapers or formula. People crying and screaming.”
With the use of their truck, Champagne and her fiancé were able to help people. But the truck was little protection against the heat and the mosquitoes.

Rather than spending the night in her hot, swampy house, Champagne chose to sleep in the truck, but she didn’t do a lot of sleeping because of the blood hungry mosquitoes.
“I haven’t slept for so long, I’m not sure I can sleep again,” she says
Tuesday, as stores of water and food began to dwindle, “it was total chaos,” she said. People began looting and the police, who had lost all of their cars and much of their equipment in the storm, were unable to control the unruly population.
Shelters, damaged by the storm and unable to continue providing food and water for the refugees, sent people back out into the street, she said. No outside assistance was seen until Wednesday morning, when Champagne said she saw the National Guard bringing in supplies.
“There are so many people in so much need,” she said.
“We need ice, we need drinking water. The water here is not good, we have been told not to drink it,” she said. “I assume people need clothing, I lost all of my clothes.”
Champagne, her fiancé, mother and aunt drove to Alabama Wednesday where they plan to rest for a few days before returning to what is left of their home.
As far as plans for the future, “as crazy as this sounds, I haven’t even thought about it,” she said.
“We know what we’ve left. We know what we’ll be going back to,” she said. They have left a place where “we have no power, we have no water, we have no food, we have no clue.” But, she said. They plan to “go back home and deal with it.”
“It is nothing I would want anyone to go through,” she adds.
Through it all, Champagne says she is grateful. “We’re all alive, that’s all I can say,” she says. “Thank God. We were not even a mile from the beach.”
Champagne said she has faired better than many because she has a house and some help. “There are so many homeless people, they done even have a slab, (where their house once stood),” she said.
“Any support would be so greatly appreciated, you don’t even know. There are so many people who have nothing.” She said. “We need a lot of prayers and a lot of help.”