Bridge to terror bit ya




My son is learning about castles in history this week. I try to ask him about what he is learning on our drive home. Some days, there is no discussion as we are all in a state of exhaustion. Some days there is sleep, yes, even behind the wheel. Some days there is rocking out to DubStep. Today we talked of castles.

Most specifically, we spoke of moats. I’ve always loved castles, but the moat is extra intriguing to me. I proceeded to ask my poor son all the questions that have plagued me over the years but that I have never actually taken the time to find answers for. Where does the water come from? How deep were moats? Did they fill it with fish and fish in it? Were there alligators or other ‘barrier’ animals to keep swimmers out? Did they pave the bottom with bricks or rocks? How did the castles not sink into the moat after time?

I had a lot of questions about moats. My son had less answers. I’m pretty sure he was in the exhaustion mode while I was flying high on the “It’s Friday and I can do what I want for five minutes!” mode.  He only answered one questions. I asked why people didn’t just swim through the moat and get into the castle. He told me simply, “The bridge and castle walls were too high.”

Well, of course. I can admit when I get caught up in the romance thinking of something and don’t bother to actually think about it logically. One point for the boy this time.

It made me think of myself. Now, I’m not trying to say I’m a brick house or that I live in a castle or anything. It made me think about some issues I have with letting people into my life. I admit to being very guarded with my heart, mind, and waist size. I put on a good front and spew a lot of bull to keep my privates private. This could be like putting a moat around my ‘castle.’

In spite of this guard, or moat, I really do want people to take the time to swim across my moat and get to know me. Knock on my door, bring your battering ram, make an effort. Make me feel like you want it so bad I can trust you won’t throw it in the trash when I finally let down the draw bridge.

But maybe, even after people swim across my moat, battle my alligators, escape the shrieking eels, and make it to my walls….they are too high. Maybe the window is closed and I can’t hear them screaming up to me to let down my hair.

Maybe, or maybe I’m just a really good castle builder.

Cause I said so.

Ob Structure



One of my favorite parts of working where I do is the commute. You would expect me to say it is short or pretty or filled with awesome drive-thru restaurants, but that is not why. I do have to admit that it does have some beauty, the sunrise out here on the edge of civilization is pretty amazing. These days I have to work hard to position the visor so my retinas don’t get charred, but it is pretty. I drive amongst a bunch of drones that don’t annoy or fill me with joy. The drive isn’t long. But, the best part is who I drive with.

A big reason I stay at my school is I can drive my boys to school every day. They attend the school on the same big campus. I can go visit them at lunch if I really want to embarrass them. I can also keep an eye on alien attacks or herds of wild dogs from my classroom window. It’s pretty convenient.

There are two ways to get to school. One way is new, clean, and long. The other is dirty, dusty, and quick (cuz you can ….go faster….). The boys and I decided we would forgo the nice new roads in favor of saving an average seven minutes of driving each day. Yes, we actually timed it and figured that out.

Going the back way, we have experienced a sort of prophetic phenomena. After going down a fairly long straight road from our house, we make a 90 degree turn to the right. As soon as we turn, we can see the Gilbert temple off in the distance. It is quite a distance away, so the first time we saw it we were kind of shocked. It stands, as a beacon to us across the wild desert. After driving for a few minutes, the temple seems to disappear, as though it was never really in sight. We search and squint and strain our eyes and necks to see it, but it is not to be seen. Just before we have to make our next turn, there’s the temple, peeking out from behind some trees.

The rational explanation for the temple coming and going from sight is obviously a change in the height of the road we are on, but the spiritual application is better. I told my boys that seeing the temple is like the Spirit or inspiration. At times, we are right on track and we can see everything clearly. Other times, we may still be moving forward, but the goal is not quite as clearly in sight. This is where our faith steps in and we have to just keep on driving. The temple doesn’t move, our Heavenly Father doesn’t move, but sometimes….we go up and down on our path to them. Good times, bad times, trials, choices….all of these things are going to be on our road. Our job is to keep on driving. Keep on looking for our end goal. Keep on having faith that it will all work out for our good.

And of course, every now and then, play Bohemian Rhapsody at full volume.

Cause I said so.

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Den Zelous



How do you deal with a broken heart?

How do you know if it’s broken or just not whole?

How do you deal with loss when you are lost?

How do you move on when your feet are stuck?

How do you keep from moving when you are sinking?

How do you ask for less when you want more?

How do you leave when you can’t go away?

How do you see when your eyes are closed?

How do you open your heart when it has a hole?

How do you finish if you don’t know how to start?

How does the future look when it’s the past?

How can you be brave when you can’t find your fear?

How do you run if you can’t find your feet?

How do you heal if you can’t find the cut?

How do you say goodbye when you never said hello?


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Ocean Bored


rubber duck on the beach

You’d think I could find a quite place to write in the middle of the ocean, but no. A cruise ship is not a quite place, especially during spring break. I had big dreams of sitting on the sunny deck, by the pool, writing chapter after chapter of amazing prose while getting a sultry tan. No such luck.

Apparently, the cruise ship will sail regardless of the weather; I’m freezing. It will also sail full of annoying piano slamming preteens as well. My teens are peacefully sleeping into the afternoon hours while I search the ships corners for a safe thinking spot. You will be happy, relieved, even surprised to discover that I have not only not gone over and slapped the piano abusing children in the head but I have not even sent them evil, teacher/mom glances. This could be due to the rocking of the ship, as I have a hard time walking, and would probably lose some of my authority if I fell on my butt as I made my angry march towards them. It could also have something to do with the fact that I am well aware that my children have annoyed people in the past and that’s just what kids do.

That being said, there is a limit to my kid allowance. It was very difficult no to get my face in the news the first day of our cruise. My dear son, who suffers from social disorders, tried to find an empty spot in the hot tub. As he asked to squeeze in, a (spoiled, badly raised, horrible, snotty, brat) boy turned to him and told him he couldn’t come in because he was a “bastard”. Now, I am not one to use bad words on my blog, but I am wondering if anyone else out there is teaching their children that this word is okay? The best/worst part was that there was an ‘adult’ in the hot tub with the other kids. Did this ‘adult’ do anything? Yes, she smiled and encouraged him on. Mama cat tried her best to come out and show her claws, but instead, calm rational mom steered her away with son under her arm.

When I asked him what happened, he related the above story and then said, “ I guess they just don’t know any better. They weren’t raised good.” Thank goodness I kept the claws in. Once again, my dear son taught me a lesson.

Yes, those kids weren’t raised ‘good’. I now have evidence that I’ve done a bit better, encouraged my children to be a bit kinder, think, and act responsibly. If they don’t, you know those claws are coming out for sure.

Cause I said so.

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Fork in my road



I took the kids on a Western Adventure today. It was one of those adventures I asked them about, they agreed to, and then they didn’t really want to go to. We managed to get there without much crying or carrying on, but it was a challenge at times. It didn’t help that we were there early.

The ‘establishment’ we arrived at was a glorified mobile rest stop in a dirt parking lot. If I hadn’t been watching the signs and ignoring the GPS, we would have missed it. We arrived about 25 minutes before we were due. The sun was on the warm side. The allergies were creeping up. The teens were restless.

Just as I was about to second guess my reservation making skills and call the place to confirm, our mighty steeds arrived. The fact that our Segways were being delivered by and elderly gang of trouble-makers caused my teens to give me weird, worried looks that said, “This might be really lame.”

In spite of the facts that the sun was hot, the idea sounded a bit lame, and their mom had actually picked the activity, my kids were troopers and put their happy faces on. Guess what? They fell in love with Segway-ing! My youngest informed me that he was never walking again and I must buy him one off Amazon the minute we arrived home.

This was the only off-road segway tour in the country. At least that is what Cassidy and Don Le Mancho (not their real names) told us as we did our training. I had done a segway tour with my dad and sisters back in November in the city and it was a blast. Doing it off-road was even better. There are really shocks on these two-wheeled beasts, so my bones got jarred a bit as I hit those rocks they told me to avoid, but I didn’t fly off and I didn’t break it.

As soon as we started out onto the trail, the amazing Spring clouds came up and gave us a beautiful shade. The weather couldn’t have been better. Our tour guides told us all about the Indian Reservation we were on, the wildlife, history of the area, and even torched a small jumping cactus to show us how to eat it. I learned that those holes you see in the ground…you know,the ones you always thought belonged to snakes? Well, they aren’t snake holes. If they go down at a diagonal, they are rodent holes. If they go straight down, they are spider holes. How would a snake make a hole? Hmm….never thought about that.

Our guide was nice enough to tell us these interesting facts as we stood looking at a nice, straight downward hole, near the path. Youngest voiced my thoughts when he turned to me and said, “Now, I didn’t need to hear that. Here comes my arachnophobia creeping up on me.” You and me both dude. The guide waited patiently, hoping the owner of the hole would emerge. He said ‘she’ was pretty old, that these creatures lived to be 25 years old as females, and only 10 as males. Such good information!

So, the day was a total success. When the tour was over, youngest did some parking lot runs for a few minutes, not wanting to get off. I felt his pain. It is totally easy, fun, and addicting. I highly recommend segway-ing to everyone. And if, for some reason, you don’t have enough people to go with you, I know two to four people ready to jump on an opportunity to get back in that saddle.

Cause I said so.

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Reigning Men



For some reason, I’ve been noticing the passing of time more lately than usual. I feel myself growing older, I see my kids maturing before my eyes, and the past is stretching further and further behind me. I feel like I’m coming up on one of those hills you can see for miles and miles….but when you are at the top you can’t really tell how you got up there. How did I get here?

I’m a pretty capable person, always have been. My mom would tell you tales of me getting my wisdom teeth out or having jaw surgery and being a super hero. That’s her version. Mind over matter was my mantra and it worked. If I want something done, I usually just do it myself. Even when Brad was around, I would usually end up doing it. I would either get tired of waiting or just jump in feet first.

I decided to start my garden this week. It is spring break at my house, so it made sense. I have a wonderful garden area on the side of my house. The garden is actually one of the big selling points of this house. I wanted a bigger living room and  a garden spot. It has taken me almost two years from moving in, but I am finally attacking the garden. The area is a four foot raised bed, sprinkler fed, and almost completely full of dirt. It wasn’t quite full enough.

Step one, get more dirt, aka soil, to fill the garden. It kind of amazes me that we actually pay for dirt. Of course, we pay for water……Anyway. I was a good girl and measured the area before going to Home Depot to get soil. I needed approximately 80 cubic feet of soil. (I know this because I can do 5th grade math….) I got out my calculator and did a price check and even talked to a nice ‘gardener type guy’ before settling on the soil I needed.

26 bags of soil doesn’t seem like a whole lot until you lift the third bag. At that point, the, “what the h*** am I thinking” starts to set in and it becomes a real effort to not run at full (wimp) speed to the parking lot and drive straight to the craft store where things are WAY lighter. Having my son with me helped me be strong and stick to my guns. (He was inside on the lawn furniture playing games on his phone due to his allergies, but still…)

Quick thinking got me a rental truck and a forklift (and driver) to load up all those bags. Yay for me!

As I drove away triumphantly in my big hourly truck, I realized I still had to unload the truck. If I counted optimistically, I had me, a pregnant 25 year old, a two year old, 13 year old, 15 year old strapping young man, and a 20 year old…who may or may not be home. This was not looking good.

I admit that the thought went through my mind like this, “This is one of those days I wish I was married.” Yes, it’s true. I wish I had a man at home or even at the store doing this all for me. I was tired and I had just gotten started.

No sooner had I uttered these mental words, then the thought came into my mind clear as a bell. “Call the elders.” Of course! The missionaries are always looking for service projects. I don’t have home teachers that come so, I’m totally allowed to use them. I called them up and they came right over. Not only did our two elders come, but they brought two others they just happened to be giving a ride to. It took them all of five minutes to unload my truck. I gave them water and they were on their way.

I am so grateful for this tiny little miracle. Knowing me, I would have tried to get all those bags out the truck by myself and would most likely have thrown my back out. That would have ended my fun spring break and really messed up our plans.

The Lord has taken my main man, but he has not left me alone. I am so grateful for the men in my life that are there for me when I need heavy stuff moved, computers fixed, advice, hugs, priesthood blessings, protection, and even company on a given evening. I sometimes worry that I have taken too long, been single too long, left my kids without a father figure for too long, but I’m doing the best I can and I know my Father in Heaven is mindful of me.

Cause I said so.

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Why why why….



It may be hard to believe, but I’m a grandma. People say I don’t look old enough and those people are immediately my best friends. I don’t feel old enough, really, but I also love having this little monkey around the house.

Having a grand baby is an interesting thing. The biggest thing it has taught me is, I was amazing about twenty years ago. At the time, I didn’t realize how amazing I was. I just did what I did. I played with the babies, answered the questions they had, read books, and took naps. Young mothers will understand what I’m talking about. You just kind of do what you have to do.

Back then, mommies didn’t meet at the gym for hours while the babes played in the kid area. We stayed home and had play groups. Play groups were a fancy name for watching a bunch of kids once a month so you could escape to do laundry alone three times a month. It was guilt free mommy time. Heaven forbid you missed your week to be the host.

My daughter is in the new breed of baby mommies.She is super fit, has girlfriend dates, and is going to school. She amazes me at all she can do. At her age, I was lucky to put on actual clothes once a week.

Being a grandma has also shown me how smart the Lord is. I can’t imagine having babies of my own at my age. That makes me sound old, but something has happened to me. I still like playing with the kids, reading books, and taking naps, but I like them in much smaller doses. Working all day uses up a lot of my patience allowance. By the time I get home, grand baby has about an hour, after my nap, of my remaining patience. As he gets deeper into the terrific twos, that hour is shrinking.

I never thought I’d be a grouchy grandma. I had a few of those myself and swore I’d be the fun, cookie making kind. Maybe the difference is that my grand baby lives with me. Maybe I’m getting an overdose? Maybe, with all my schooling, single-mom-dom, and beginning a career…I’ve turned into a different person. These could all be factors in my growing grouchy grandma attitude.

Then again, It may be that I started back at the gym this week and my body hurts. I don’t think I really like anybody at this point.Cause I said so.

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