Monday, July 20, 2015

You can keep your perspective, please

Yesterday in between classes at church someone made a comment to me about our transition to Oregon. I said that things were better 3+ years in but that we still missed our friends and the North Carolina beaches. (Sharks and all!) She reminded me that Oregon has beaches too and then proceeded to explain to me the way she looks at things, and how I could look at things in this same way and then I wouldn’t be sad about having left my home.

I wanted to smack her. (No, I’m not super charitable, even at church!) This is a person, who with her husband chose to move to Oregon early in their marriage. They’ve lived in the same neighborhood for all of these years, only moving into a bigger house (in the same area) as their family grew. They had 2-3 kids when they moved here and their much-the-youngest 7th child leaves on a mission in 3 weeks, to give you an idea of how long they’ve been here.

Did I mention I wanted to smack her?

The thing is, I know she was trying to be helpful. “Here, if you look at thing from my perspective you won’t feel all of this terrible pain that you’ve been experiencing for so long!!!” But her offer of perspective felt like it negated my very real (and very painful) feelings, and as painful as they have been, they are honest and true and they are mine. It isn’t helpful to have someone say that if I’d looked at things in their way I would have been just fine.

Here’s the other thing, though. I’m good at perspective. Super good at it. I had a friend tell me recently that when she was in a moment where she needed perspective she called me. That statement gave me pause. She didn’t call me when she needed someone to mourn with her. She didn’t call me when she needed comfort. She called me when she was ready for perspective.

This tells me that perhaps I, too, have offered perspective where none was wanted. That I have at some point inadvertantly minimized someone’s pain with my suggestion about a different way to think of things. I hate the thought that I have ever made someone feel the way I felt yesterday, and I should perhaps just start apologizing to everyone I know.

And thank them for not smacking me. ;)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Maybe not lazy…

I always (always) feel like I am pretty lazy. Disorganized and lazy. But after this week I think I should lose that thought. I have been all alone since 4AM monday morning. I could have been eating bon-bons and watching tv and reading. Here is what I have done:

  • Read 2 books
  • Gone visiting teaching
  • Babysat Kate 2 afternoons
  • Fixed dinner for Mahon & CL one night
  • Run 9 errands one evening (seriously--I thought I would die when I had to walk across Lowes which was my last stop)
  • Taken 1/2 of fabric out of the sewing room and sorted it, cleaned off 1/2 of counters 
  • Cleaned out girls closet 
  • folded all folding clothes
  • taken down 3 shelves and put up closet rod instead (hence trip to Lowes)
  • put many many clothes from floor and laundry baskets on hangers 
  • organized clothes in rainbow colors 
  • took apart desk and removed from room 
  • slightly rearranged room 
  • vacuumed as I went 
  • cleaned out under beds 
  • put Jenna's beds on risers 
  • changed sheets on both beds & made them 
  • Put together new shelves for my shower 
  • cleaned entire bathroom including mopping floor & washing rug
  • got angel hats from girl’s camp ready to mail
  • cleaned & swept Harry Potter room
  • cleaned, swept, and mopped laundry room

I need to train my brain to think about myself differently. Because I don't think that is a lazy person. I think I am a person who has a hard time getting started on projects sometimes, and a person who transitions badly. But not lazy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Utah Weekend

I wrote before about deciding to go to Utah to get the girls' wisdom teeth out. What I haven't written about was that about 6 days after we got back from Utah I took Jared to the dentist to get his teeth cleaned, and the dentist gave me the very unexpected news that Jared needed his bottom wisdom teeth out RIGHT AWAY. I was stunned. In the fall when the orthodontist had said that Jenna needed hers out within 6 months, she'd said that Jared was probably good for at least a year. I was kicking myself for not taking him to Utah and just being done with it. (Though no one would have traveled home as comfortably if I'd had 3 kids with me instead of 2.)

That day at the dentist's office I remembered something that I hadn't remembered the day I got the big estimate from the oral surgeon with Jenna: that a family had moved into our ward a few months ago and the husband had just opened a new oral surgery practice. I thought that maybe his prices would be a little lower than the big well-established practice so I took Jared in to see him. The estimate they gave me for Jared's 2 bottom wisdom teeth was $150. (The top won't be able to come out for a few years.) I had a moment of "what if." What if I'd remembered about him months ago, what if I'd brought both girls here instead of taking them to Utah?

Almost immediately images and memories from my weekend in Utah filled my mind, and I realized that I had no regrets about my weekend. Here is a listing of experiences that I'm so glad to have had:

  • Listened to great books on tape with the girls.  (Book of 1000 Days & Cheaper By the Dozen)
  • Spent the night in Logan with friends we haven't seen in a long time.
  • Saw my cousin’s tiny new baby.
  • Had the amazing experience of going to Robby's wedding.
  • Saw my kids (the girls and Jason) enjoy being with their cousins.
  • Was able to have a long conversation with someone that's been unhappy with me.
  • Hung out with my sisters.
  • Spent time with my aunts and uncles.
  • Saw lots of other family at the wedding & reception.
  • Spent the night at Andra's which is always such fun and I haven't done since Cindy Lynn moved to Utah.
  • Went to the Payson Temple open house--twice!
  • Saw the progress on the new Provo City Center Temple.
  • Spent lots of time with Jason.
  • (witnessed firsthand Jason's roommate situation...making out behind a pillow with his girlfriend on the couch...though that experience isn't a plus!)
  • Had Jason's help with the girls right after their surgery.
  • Spent an evening with my dad and saw my brother Grant there as well.
  • Was able to focus just on the girls (and the driving) without any distractions the next day.

As all of these thoughts flooded my mind I realized--while it may not be conventional to drive your kids 900 miles to get their wisdom teeth out, it was a real blessing in my life and I have no regrets.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Anticipation and a little destruction

It's been interesting to see how much of my settling in to living in Oregon has had to do with anticipation.  After the first difficult winter I planned lots of traveling for the second winter so I was anticipating those trips for months.  The first fall in our home I planted lots of tulips.  One of my friends made a comment about not liking tulips because they don't last very long, but as I planted the bulbs I was so excited about what I was going to see in a few months that I decided it really didn't matter to me that much to me if the flowers didn't last very long.


The first spring in our house I was more than a little disconcerted to see what looked like ears of corn growing in the arborvitae next to the driveway.  When I realized it was bamboo invading from the neighbor's yard I was annoyed and had Josh and Tyler tear it out.

In between that spring and the next spring, though, my feelings about the bamboo changed.  Our backyard has been such a source of delight to me in this house.  We looked at many (MANY) homes where all you could see in the backyard was the house behind you.  Sometimes it felt like there was no privacy at all.  The lot behind 75% of our yard is an old lot of several acres, and just behind our yard there are mostly woods.

During the summer after Josh tore out the bamboo the neighbor behind the remaining 25% of our yard put an addition on his house.  He cut down several trees in his yard and then put on a huge (at least 20 foot) addition, pushing his house much closer to his back fence (and therefore our yard) than it had been before.  I HATE it.  HATE.  IT.

I started looking at the bamboo growing by our back fence in a different way.  Look how tall it was!  Look how thick it was!!  Look how evergreen it was!!!  I already knew from talking to my bamboo neighbor that a decent sized pot of bamboo was $50 at the local nursery, but then I had a thought.  I could wait until the next spring when the rouge bamboo came up by my driveway again, dig it up, and plant it in my backyard.  What a great idea!

Last spring 2 bamboo plants sprouted.  We watched them grow and grow--sometimes it seemed almost a foot in a day, and then dug them up as carefully as possible and transferred them to a pot. Despite our care we could only get a little bit of one of the rhizomes (the big root thing that the cane grows out of) and after a couple of months in the pot that bamboo cane died.  The other cane survived, though, and this year has put out a couple of small new shoots.  Last month we dug a big trench around the area where we want to plant the bamboo and put in a 30" barrier that should keep the bamboo we plant from escaping anywhere else. When this year's bamboo sprouts are all done growing & leafing out, we can transplant our bamboo into it's new home.

In the meantime, I was waiting and watching for new bamboo to come up by the driveway.  Waiting.  Watching.  Waiting.  Watching....

I just went back and reread the post about Josh and Tyler taking out the bamboo.  If I had know then what I know now I wouldn't have had them do such a thorough job of it.  This year we don't have any shoots, just some small grassy plants.  I am bummed about that.

In what was a very unexpected turn of events, though, one day I was sitting in the chair in my room and I happened to look just right out the french doors and saw this.

Just in case you need to see that up close, here you go.

I was so annoyed!  No bamboo in the driveway, and bamboo here getting ready to wreck my fence again!  I was going to break it off (which will stop it from growing) but just didn't get around to it by the time I looked again...

And yet I still didn't knock them down.  I was busy with things to do, you know.  Maybe in the back of my mind I had the idea that I would figure out a way to be able to take advantage of these bamboo canes.  So they grew and grew and grew.
One day I noticed something new--not only my 2 canes growing up between the deck and the fence, but the tip of a cane poking between the 1st and second deck board.

That's when I started thinking differently...I started thinking about deconstructing the deck.  I looked at it carefully, noticed that it was put together with screws, and rationalized that what is screwed together can also be un-screwed!

Friday evening when I was done using the drill in the attic (another story) I brought it outside along with several different drill bits.  I then proceeded to loosen as many of the screws in these two boards with a regular screwdriver, then take the screws out with the drill.  I ended up having to drill several screws out and that wasn't pretty, but being the end boards I figured they didn't have to be too pretty.  When Russ got home from work I was just starting to try to pry one of the boards up.

(Does he get home from work and think wow, she's at it again?!?)

He helped me get out the last stripped screws and provided the strength I needed to pry up the two boards.  Let's just say that being rained on and sunned on for the last 3+ years, they were on there tight!  When we finally pulled them up it was dusk and it took us a minute to figure out for sure what we were seeing.

This is a picture I took a few days later.  You can see that without the boards in it's way, the new bamboo to the left took off.  But can you also see what surprised us--on the right, two other little bamboos that were entirely under the deck boards that look like they've grown a few inches since we took them off!  On the far right are two others, but they look so stunted already that we're thinking they must have been from earlier this spring or even from last year.

The sad thing about the deck removal was that I hadn't counted on the deck frame (non-technical term) underneath.  So those two big canes are pinched between the frame and the fence.  I'm still hoping that when the time comes (we can't do anything until they have their full growth) we'll be able to get at the rhizomes via the space we've just opened up and then pull them out.  Crossing my fingers on that one.

So there you have it.  Our bamboo story as it unfolds.  A story of anticipation with just a little bit of destruction.  I can't wait to see how it ends!

Monday, June 22, 2015

What's up with my blog?

Every now and then when I look at something on my blog I look at the numbers of blog posts I've written.  And it's irrefutable--I am not blogging as much.  Last year I didn't blog as much as the year before, and this year it's really sad.

I'm not even sure what the deal is.  You'd think that with older kids who can take care of themselves more I'd have more time to blog, not less.  For years and years I've been waiting for the day when ________ would happen and I would have more time.  When I wasn't entertaining restless Rachel, when I wasn't wiping noses and bottoms and dressing little people and cooking all of the time and home schooling and all of the things that have consumed my time for so many years.  But here I am now, with relative freedom, and guess what--I still feel like I don't have much time.

I know that part of it is that as I get closer to 50 I have a little less energy than I used to.  And certainly I have much less (MUCH LESS) mental energy.  It used to be that while it was easier to blog when I could feel the words flowing freely, I could also snatch a free minute anytime to pull together pictures and write about them.  Not so much now--there are times when it feels like my brain is a barren wasteland and all I can do in that moment are tasks that require more body than brain.

Another unexpected part of the equation is Facebook.  For all of my initial certainty that Facebook was going to ruin the world, I find that I enjoy the ability to share a picture (usually via instagram), a frustration, an idea, and the format (i.e. short) is fast and easy.  Plus you get feedback on Facebook whereas that's rare for my blog now.  (Not complaining, just stating a fact.)  Recently I made a Facebook "book" which is like a blog book but oh so much easier.  It really turned out fun and I'm surprised at how much I've enjoyed looking through it.

After typing all of this out I think I can say that part of my frustration has to do with my "averse to change" personality.  I liked it when I kept track of my life & thoughts & pictures really well on my blog, and I want it to keep happening like that.  But it's obvious that I'm making different choices in my life right now, and I can't have it both ways.  It will be interesting to see what happens when the triplets are in school full time next year.  Will I devote more mental energy to my blog?  Or will I find other things to fill my time?  

Stay tuned...

PS--just realized one interesting factor.  For years I blogged using Windows Live Writer.  Then in January this year I got a new computer and it's a mac.  I went with the mac because I was excited to try their video program, but I'm questioning that decision now because I miss Live Writer like CRAZY.  I hate the way I have to do pictures now, and I know that also has some impact on my blogging...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Long Drive

I've taken a lot of road trips, mostly without another adult driver.  Our first road trip to Utah was when the triplets were 5, and we did it a number of times in the next 7 years.  I've driven from coast to coast as well.  Most of the time I've been able to arrange our days that we had about 8 hours of driving time, which generally translated to 10 hours of travel time.  

The trip from Oregon to Utah is a little different.  It's 12-14 hours (depending on where my final destination is) and always presents a conundrum.  We are lucky enough to have a friend who lives near Boise who has graciously offered her home as a stopping place.  But life is busy enough that most of the time I don't want to take (or can't take) 2 days for the trip.  Which means it's going to be a LONG DRIVE.  I know there are people who can drive 15 or 16 hours and be just fine, but before I started driving to Utah my longest drive time was 6-7 hours to Atlanta and that was always exhausting. So driving the 12 hours to Utah is a big deal for me.

Every time I drive between Oregon and Utah at about 5 hours into the trip I panic. I think things like THIS TRIP WILL NEVER BE OVER!! And HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO DO THIS?!? And occasionally I WILL DIE!!! And then I take a deep breath and keep on driving.

Here are some of the things I did to entertain myself yesterday:
  • Listened to my book on cd for 30 minutes, then decided that Russ needed to listen too so stopped.
  • Talked to Marilyn for a long time which is always such fun.
  • Watched and occasionally tried to take a picture of the interesting things I saw.
  • Listened to 2 old Jeffrey Holland devotionals. Beautiful, but not good for tired driving.
  • Listened to approximately 4,000 podcasts, mainly Gretchen Rubin's "Happier" and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."
  • Sang like a crazy person while beating on the steering wheel.
  • Talked to Jason for quite a while.
  • Panicked when I couldn't get the rental car to lock at Walmart.
  • Ate a whole quart of strawberries and way too many almonds.
  • Watched the sunset in my side mirrors for 20 minutes, finally stopped to take a picture because it was so beautiful.
  • Talked to Russ until I was hoarse from all of the talking. 
  • Sang some more.
  • Drank endless bottles of water laced with 5 hr energy.
  • Wished I could see the stars better.
  • Was so glad when I finally arrived!

Here are some pictures from my day yesterday.

I always have to drive through the Multnomah Falls parking lot so I can look and snap a picture.

Driving through the gorge is always gorgeous!

I had no idea that horses stick their heads out the windows like dogs do!

I wonder what that is?

Why of course!  It's a helicopter!!  (Don't you drive around with your helicopter in tow???)

 How do two trains pass each other on tracks that are literally only a few feet apart?  VERY slowly!

I appreciate strange cloud shapes.

I watched the sunset behind me in the side mirror for 20 minutes before I finally just had to pull over and take a picture.  It was stunning.