Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Timey Wimey Artsy Fartsy Stuff

And Dizzy Wizzy Stuff! 

This has been a weird morning. Wednesday is one of Alexander's pre-school days, so for me that means working out. 

I dropped him off and then went to the clubhouse and ran three miles on the treadmill. 

I had a strange dizzy feeling before I started, but I dismissed it. After the run (and I did push myself rather hard this time too...) I then wanted to work on upper legs and abdominals. That lasted just a couple reps when the I was overcome with a crazy dizzy feeling and I suddenly felt really sick to my stomach. 

I figured it was best to just go home, so I started to head out but only made it to one of the couches in the lobby. I lied down there for awhile and then managed to drive home. I went directly to the shower like I always do, but I found myself overcome by the dizziness again. I had to sit down in the shower! And it's not exactly one of those fancy showers with a built in bench or anything. I threw on a robe and lied down on my bed. Anytime I stood up, the dizziness and feeling was so disgusting. At one point I was certain I was going to throw up. I even stumbled to the kitchen to try to grab a granola bar and lie back down, but I didn't feel like putting anything in my mouth. That is not typical, as I'm always hungry after working out. 

Luckily I had my Ipod (music for the work out) within reach and I was able to message
Alexander's pre-school teacher and tell her my situation as it didn't look like I was going to be able to go pick him up in the next 20 minutes. She was able to hang onto him afterwards for a little while as she had some other kids at the house as well. He joined some other kids for a picnic lunch in her backyard. 
 
I fell asleep for about 45 minutes and I seemed to be alright when I woke up. I went to pick up Alexander and I was fine. A few minutes after picking him up I felt the twinge of the dizziness again, but not as like I was before. I just hope I'm not sick (or worse - a symptom of something really bad) and it's some strange fluke. Well, I did have to chase Alexander down the street at one point, barefoot, so that didn't help. 

 

Dr. Who Tribute Art


Anyway...above is the latest artwork  for the Whovians out there! Am I a Whovian? Only by association. Chris and Mikelle are huge Dr. Who fans. And if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have discovered that I am in love with David Tennant, the tenth doctor. 


So even though I'm not into Dr. Who like they are, I don't think it's much of a problem. Plus, having Mikelle into Dr. Who is a blessing compared to all kinds of other things she could like. This is a sweet deal. And she likes David Tennant too and converse shoes!

She has nice taste. Just like her mother. 

Never mind the chick in the picture. It was supposed to be me. ;-)
I love the Vincent Van Gogh story line as well, but that's the wrong doctor. Booo! Still, I was drawn to the Tardis/Van Gogh artwork from that storyline.It helped move along my interest in wanting to make some Whovian tribute art. And the red-head Amy companion is my favorite of the companion girls. I just wish it was still David Tennant. Matt Smith's demeanor and chizzled face does nothing for me. However, I gave him credit in the artwork as well.

Mikelle with her Tardis Van Gogh poster Christmas morning!
Almost complete!
I made sure to also show some mobile phone designs that the Tardis area of the work would look like. I'm hoping this moves things along in my shop! There are quite the Dr. Who fans out there.
The original artwork will go into Mikelle's room as I promised, and I've made prints available. There's been a lot of response to the Whovian artwork as being positive, but no sales yet! I discounted the prices until Valentines Day, so I hope that helps move things along. 

Anyway, I have some things to catch up on since I spent the morning lying down all weirded out from this dizzy thing, so it's time to go. 

We toured the Gilbert Temple last Friday and I'll cover that in my next post. 

Until next time...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Splashes of Color: The Color Run and Scouting for Watercolor Discoveries!

Before the race - all clean! 5 out of 6 of our team!
The Tempe Color Run 5K was on Saturday 1/25 and it was a success! My time was 37:32! It was also my friend Missy's time as we ran the whole thing together.

The sun stayed behind the clouds for about 70% of the run. It was the best I could hope for. Well, the day before we had more clouds, so that would have been nice it that was the case for the Color Run. However, it still worked out well. I was worried about too much sun, and thankfully that wasn't the case.

Every kilometer we were pelted with paint dust. It started with pink, then yellow, and so on. I think the blue is when I ended up really covered. (I was a little surprised how much I sneezed for the rest of the day!)

We had 6 on our team - Whimsical Wandomness. The first picture is 5/6 of us. Missy's daughter Breanna, the sixth team member, was taking the picture.

Missy says I kept the pace so she and I were able to run it! I think I also kept running because when you "pay" for something, you care about it more! lol But seriously, I kept running because I trained for this and I plan to keep it up.

Most of my training was on treadmill since the sun kept blaring around here (this winter has been disappointing and warm. Yuck!) and I was only able to take advantage of cloudy outdoor runs about 3 times! Therefore, as the day went on after the race, I started to ache really bad! 
It didn't help that Chris and the boys and I had to take a long car ride to Wickenburg. Long car rides don't help in such situations. 
The end of the race. I don't think Missy and I are in this shot, but it still shows how dirty everyone gets at the end!
Sholee just after the "Pink"
Tev after the Pink and his Puppets "Oscar" and "Wilde"
Missy and her kiddos after the race!
Mikelle and I after the race
Missy and I after the race!
Mikelle with the Kreps. She stayed behind and partied with them while the boys and I had to bounce!
I am grateful for a friend in Tempe who said I could shower at her house before we set off for Wickenburg (to meet with our Contractor and see how close we are to breaking ground). If I don't shower after workouts, I can't function. Yes, I'm one of the cranky ones when I don't get a shower.  I'm not much fun to camp with if I don't have shower access.

I will do the Color Run next year, but we'll be living in Wickenburg by then. Therefore, I will get a Tempe motel room for sure. I would have leave insanely early in the morning to make the race if I didn't. 
Neon Dash coming up in April!
I am going to keep up the "3-mile rule" with each work-out. There is a Neon Splash Dash in April and I'm especially excited about it because it starts at 8pm. That means no sun (yay!), and they use Neon paint and black light. 

This morning the sun was behind some temporary clouds, so I ran to the clubhouse (a little less than a mile), then accomplished 2 more miles on the treadmill and then ran back home. By then the sun was out, but it was 10 minutes out of the whole thing and I have to obtain more "outdoor terrain" training so I'm not as sore after the next 5K.  

Watercolor Discovery - Cub Scouts Style! 
Christian finishing his project later that night.
A couple days earlier, I taught the Art lesson for Christian's Cub Scout Bear Group.  I forgot how much fun teaching that age can be. Back in my Heartland K-8 days, I remember really feeling my niche with the 4th grade age on up to junior high. Most of these boys are in 4th grade.

However, despite how much fun it could be, because there were TEN 9-year old boys, I also remembered how awesome it is to have adult help! Thank goodness for that. I also knew the boys so I was already aware of which one of them I could whack on the head with a pen or paint brush if I needed to and the parents would be okay with it (that's not exactly a good idea in the general teaching arena...lol) 

I assigned the boys to finish their project at home and email me a picture (since there was no time for them to dry and do the final step while we were there). It couldn't be finished at the activity because Scouts is only an hour and that includes other instruction, modeling and clean-up. Plus, the watercolor paint had to dry before the salt was rubbed off and the Sharpie step was added. 

Later that evening, I sent the steps to each of their parents' e-mails AND spoke with all the parents as the boys were picked up. I still only ended up with  2 1/2 out of 9 pictures sent to me here 5 days later (one is only "half" because he didn't do the Sharpie step even though I talked to his dad when he was picked up and they were recipient of the email I sent later that night with instructions plus links to blog entries with examples of this project). :sigh:  Yes, I am in "teacher mode", but I want these boys to finish the project completely to acquire the full effect of the project. 

 I love the different personalities and effects that come from this project. As I've already mentioned in previous entries about this project, it's also awesome because it doesn't have the pressure of having to look like "anything". The boys can play with the colors and salt effects and see what it "discovered" at the end. When some of the kids feel they "can't draw", this project is perfect. Everyone is an artist. At the end it's discovered even more!

Below are two of the completed ones sent to me. I'll be obnoxious and send another "reminder" e-mail to the missing six. :-)


Let's keep our fingers crossed that Winter can make an appearance here in Satan's Lair! 

Until next time...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Prefer to Laugh (Sometimes Innapropriately)

After the last few posts about crying, I had to laugh at this quote from Marjorie Hinckley. I'll have to ask Chris what he thinks of this quote, because he gets rather upset that I fight the crying thing so much.  He wishes I would just "give it up" and allow the cleansing ritual more often.

However, I know I have the "laugh concept" down pat. A little too much, I might add! But you have to use humor in almost all situations. Sure, you can use it in all situations, but that can land you into trouble. 

Have you ever wanted to laugh so hard that your teeth hurt, but you knew if you did laugh at that moment someone would kill you? Yeah, been there. 

Or when you're trying not to laugh for the same reason because it would be inappropriate, but you can't help it and something stupid squeaks out of your mouth? I know that's happened to me often and recently. 

However, I think back to when that happened in an incident that occurred during my last semester of college (undergrad...someday I hope to specify the difference between my undergrad and graduate work...)  

It actually was a good thing that the moment of inappropriate laughter happened then because that last semester was quite the trial, to put it mildly. I've discussed it before on this blog, so I'm not going to get into it now. I didn't have much laughter then, and even in situations that I would have laughed, I didn't. My brain chemistry was so out of whack.


However, in my Latin America Geography class (and last requirement for my Geography Minor), for some reason I ended up always sitting by these geeky newly married young Mormon guys (I can make fun of them - I'm Mormon too) who were in school while they probably had a young wife at home who was most likely pregnant or already had a baby. Yeah, I can make fun of that. I was big and pregnant at the time too. I don't know why these guys (we'll call them Geek Guys) and I bonded, but whatever. Maybe I was safe for their married selves to hang with because I was so pregnant and frumpy, there was no suggestion or the remote chance of any "shenanigans". 

ANYWAY...let's just say there was a situation in the class that Geek Guys  kept making fun of someone else in the class (behind that person's back, of course). I understood why Geek Guys were making fun of the person, but I tried to just lay low. For reasons I'm not going to entertain here along with the fact that it wouldn't have been right, I wasn't going to participate in their games.  

Nothing to do with the Geek Guys story, but this seems to be a good place to add this...I read this too late at night and almost lost it with laughter...
 However, one time, when they were making fun of the person, Geek Guy #1 kept passing doodles over to me about how he felt having to endure class with that person. One doodle was of his finger being slammed in a door. I would quietly chuckle and then pass the note back. Then he'd pass a doodle to me of his whole hand being slammed in the door. I'd draw a smiley face and then pass it back. 

But then he really upped the ante. 

When he passed a well drawn doodle of him slamming his own head with a toilet seat, I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing. I couldn't hold it in. It was like that desperate feeling of needing to pee but you have to hold it just a little longer, but then someone pokes you in the bladder area and there's some "tinkle". 

I remember I covered my mouth, but still squeaked out some kind of strange noise and our professor stopped what she was saying and looked my direction. I was mortified. Not only that, but this was an awesome teacher and not the kind of teacher I wanted to interrupt with something so ridiculously stupid like that. 

I think she was one of the teachers who felt sorry for me for my health problems because I did not deserve an A in that class (B at best), but that's what I received. Therefore, the fact that I interrupted her lecture with my immature laughter did not sit well with me (or her, obviously). 

I couldn't stop laughing, but I somehow managed to mute it. 

When the teacher took a second to shift gears and we had a few minutes to chat amongst ourselves, I punched Doodle Geek in the arm and said, "Thanks for getting me in trouble!" I was 28 years old and in the equivalent to my senior year in college and I felt like I was in high school. Except for the pregnant part. Well, some girls in high school knew that feeling too, but... oh, never mind.

Therefore, humor is great in almost all situations.
The kind of inappropriate humor I love. I feel bad that it's on the same posting that I quoted Majorie Hinckley, however.
One of the funniest things ever...
I know I've posted this before. But it's just awesome. It also gives me a new appreciation for the stupid song. I e-mailed it to a fellow teacher once at the high school and then he called me yelling at me because the song was in his head for the rest of the day.  Awesome.
It just sneaks up on you!
And I'm dead SERIOUS (no pun intended) about the below instructions with the Grim Reaper. If inappropriate humor seems to follow me throughout life, and funerals are to celebrate ones life, then it makes perfect sense! If I die before Chris, he won't allow it, so please don't tell him ahead of time. When he gets mad at you, show him this blog entry. He'll probably have already seen it, but in his grief of not knowing how to go on without the wonder that is me, he'll most likely forget. It would be even better if more than one Grim Reaper shows up. Too bad I won't be there to see that!


And as for this Ferret note, I did do this just a few months ago. It was a situation where parking was scarce and a spot was available, but someone in a huge truck parked in a way that our medium sized Mazda 5 (NOT a minivan! ;-) ) could barely squeeze in. Mikelle was with me. She asked what I was doing. I said, "Writing the ying-yang next to us a note..." 

I wrote the note word for word of what's posted to the left. I wasn't proud of myself. Okay, I was. And let's face it, if I had time, I would have drawn a ferret. 

And to end the laughter for now, here's a classic. Oh, I have a lot more inappropriately funny stuff, but I try to keep this blog PG-rated, remember? 

This one seems to go along with the Penguin one fro  above:



2 Days to the 5K Color Run! Chris says I need to eat a bunch of carbs Friday night. That sounds both awesome and yet, I worry that despite the 5K the next morning (too early, if you ask me, but I'll make the sacrifice), the carbs will become too attached!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Suffer Well


This week's "Sunday Doodle"
I really don't cry that much. I really don't. However, lately, it seems like I do. Have you ever been so upset or emotional about something and you just cannot keep it together? Then when someone asks if you're okay and tries to help or comfort you, it causes you cry even more? 

Damn, I hate that. 

I don't hate what the loved ones and friends are trying to do in those moments. I just hate how it can be compared to a crack in the dam and the only thing that blocks a breach and the floodgates is a mere finger plugging the leak. 

When someone notices you're upset, it's like removing that finger and the water pours out. 

No need to be concerned about what caused the above scenario recently. I have alluded in more ways than one, and often with humor, that life is hard. As the song goes, "I just hang on...and suffer well...sometimes it's hard...hard to tell..." * And that "suffering" doesn't suggest that all is bad and going wrong. 



It simply means that even when you're working for something and working in the right direction, there are still roadblocks, setbacks, or even a huge tree in the road that makes it seem impossible to traverse. I recently used the analogy with a friend about trying to reach the top of the mountain. The goal is the top of the mountain, of course. However, who is to say that the trail isn't tough? Maybe there are multiple trails leading to the summit and some are much tougher than others. What about if you choose to  venture off the marked trail and you're still progressing to the top, but you find yourself with a harder route due to the change of route?

Yeah, it's like that.

I do want to state again how grateful I am for the friends and loved ones around me. Some of them are nearby and some are further away. Today's technology helps in that they don't have to feel as far away as they really are. As for the friends that are nearby, it will be hard to leave them when we move across town. 

And some additional thoughts that seem more than appropriate to close out this entry: 




*The Depeche Mode song "Suffer Well" was written by the vocalist, Dave Gahan, seen in the video. It is about his journey through hell. While the song is specifically about him and his experiences and mistakes, I cannot deny the message and how I can relate to his demons (replacing them with my own), past heartaches, and memories - only to make it through and look back knowing you "suffered well".

...And T-minus 4 days to the Color Run 5K!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

When the Storm Begins...

This piece is next in my Romance series as we approach Valentines Day next month. Of course it doesn't have to be near Valentines Day to create works in this thematic element. It's just a good time to do so.

This is titled "When the Storm Begins"

...This piece carries the message of braving the storms to survive together. 









There were quite a few messages I wanted to use in this piece, but I narrowed it down to two:


-And-


There is more by way of the romantic and even sensual (no, not like that...get your mind out of the gutter!) themes I'd like to explore, but this is a lot of romantic lovy-dovy art in a short amount of time. 

Besides, I told Mikelle I would create a composition she's been talking about for awhile. I will return to the romantic, but after a break!  Don't get me wrong. I love the romantic lovy-dovy stuff (if done well...don't play Celine Dion and expect me to get in the mood...gross), but in moderation.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Seven Things (Part 2)



Before I complete the Seven Things list, here are some of my January artworks. One is a custom commission, and the other two are my own projects that are always available in prints.

This one is titled "Our Smiles Should Touch Now". In exploring the more romantic themes, I wanted to capture a simple moment of a kiss, but in a more meaningful and even ethereal manner. I do not want that moment to have the trite "infatuated" feel. 



Our Smiles Should Touch Now

I have two more romantic themed works in mind. The one I'm working on now is frustrating me greatly, but I am staying with it.
 
This one below is titled "The Earth Without Art is Just 'Eh' " I started this in August and then had to set it aside due to a lot of custom commissions. I finally pulled it out and finished it.
"The Earth Without Art is Just 'Eh' "

"The Earth Without Art is just 'Eh' " in Progress
This one below is a custom commission. He gave me a list of the luxury cars he wanted included. It was quite a challenging project, but also very enjoyable.


I also completed an order for "Be Mine" Blocks and have another order I'm working on right now. This is the one I sent off just last week.

I
I made these LOVE blocks last year (left) and ended up selling them. I miss them and want to make a set just for us (and keep it...lol). 
I hope I get the motivation to do so. The hard part there is the Pinewood Derby is this weekend and last night Christian told me how he wants his car embellished. He and Chris worked on the shaping and sanding last night. Now, it's the stage where I come in. Sure, Christian will be doing a lot of the work, but let's just say I'll be very much involved. 

 

 

Back to 7 Things...

Continuing from my previous entry, here is the rest of 7 Things.

7 Adventures I Want To Have Before I Die
Climb Kilamanjaro in Tanzania
Move to and LIVE in Oregon (anywhere from the I-5 area to the coast)
Visit Argentina then take a cruise ship from the tip of Argentina to Antarctica
Visit the old castles of Bavaria and other parts of Germany
Visit the Netherlands where my great-grandparents are from
Visit the East Coast 
On that note, go to Boston and then take 'The Cat' or a similar boat up to Maine and Nova Scotia.(and visit Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia)

7 Treats I Could Eat Every Day
Oh gosh...this is a question, I almost don't want to answer because of the demons involved. If calories, common sense, and slower metabolism wasn't a factor, this is what they would be:

  • Cold Cereal. Almost any kind. Especially Kelloggs Chocolate, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Ohs!, Trix, and million others.... See a pattern here? The kids hate me because I won't have cereal in the house at all. It's too much of a problem for me.
  • Oreos. Nuff' said.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies (especially the Coconut Chocolate Chip from Paradise Bakery....)
  • Bosa Donuts It's a local Donut chain here and O...M...G... This includes their Buttermilk Bars. OMG... And my family is no help. Just Saturday morning, we helped clean the church and I jogged home (about 2 miles). Chris and the kids come home about an hour later with a box from Bosa Donuts!  No wonder these last 10 pounds aren't going anywhere...
  • Chex Mix: Especially Muddy Buddies and Turtle
I know I need to list two more, but technically I've mentioned way more than seven!

7 People I'd Be Lost Without
Does Our Father in Heaven and Jesus count? Well, I say they do. That's 2 so far.  
My husband and kids. That's 5 more...
That leaves one more. I'll just let that sit. I think I included the ones that are most important.

7 Places I Want to Visit
I pretty much covered that in my "Adventures" list above. Then again, other places that didn't get mentioned - or not specifically - are:
  • Going back to British Columbia (the three times I've already been there aren't enough). I wouldn't mind living there either!
  • New York City. I also want to visit the Lake George area where my Great-grandfather (4 Greats) John Tanner lived. He owned practically the whole area before he sold it off and moved to Kirtland, Ohio.
  • Machu Picchu/The Andes
  • Vermont (and I know it would be hard to leave...I wouldn't mind living there either)
  • Crater Lake in Oregon. I've been to Oregon numerous times, but haven't made it to Crater Lake yet.
  • San Francisco. I've never really been there. I've flown into Oakland and San Jose, and been nearby to Lake Tahoe and Placerville, but haven't technically been to San Francisco.  
  • Paris and the French Countryside and smaller villages...

So there are the seven things! I know I cheated in some areas, and some of my favorite songs from the previous entry did not get mentioned, due to the "Soundtrack" theme I was keeping. Oh well. I'm sure there will be other entries.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Seven Things (Part One)

Due to the heaviness of the last two entries, I figured I'd lighten up with this next one. I saw this posted on Facebook and thought it would be a fun blog entry. Of course with all the 7s, I think of Monica on Friends going "Seven! Seven! SevenSevenSeven......seven!" lol

7 Everyday Things I Couldn't Live Without:

    1. My Diet Pepsi (it's the last vice I have left!)
     2. AC/Heat (mostly AC)
     3. Fans
          I laugh at the interior design programs and try to talk
          people out of having ceiling fans. I know they're not a
          design "do", but they're a survival "do".
     4. Shelter/Curtains/Shade
     5. Indoor Plumbing
     6. Microwave Oven
     7. Dishwasher (even though the one we have now is a 
                                 piece of crap)


7 of My Favorite Songs

This is tough to narrow down. Just on Saturday NPR posted Tell Us the Six Songs of Your Life saying:
Everybody has a playlist — songs you carry in your head and in your heart that remind you of sometime or someplace or someone. You hear the song; you remember. You remember; you hear the song. Like an optical illusion, two memories braided together in your soul.If you could tell your life story — chronologically, up to now — in six songs, what would they be? Because I was thinking of poignant songs/music and times of my life that would make up such a soundtrack, this was the list I used to answer their question: 
  • "What's the Matter Here?" 10,000 maniacs  (this YouTube contains the audio) Lyrics be found here.
  • "Watching the Wheels " John Lennon. This entry from April 2011 mentions the significance of this song.
  • "What it Takes" Aerosmith (This YouTube has the song with the lyrics)
  • "The One" Elton John 
               It has to be a really amazing lovesong for me to buy into a sappy ballad. I find more ballads that   
               are powerful and passionate (such as rock ballads, "What it Takes" above it a perfect example) 
               to drive the point home to me. However, Elton John's "The One" knocked it out of the of the  
               park in 1993.
               Alexander coming to our family was so significant in different ways. We weren't sure we were 
               going to have him after what we went through with bringing his brother Christian into the world. 
               Then we took a leap a faith and Alexander was going to join our family. I loved that I was going 
                to have a baby around Christmas. And bringing him home from the hospital on Christmas Eve 
               was an added bonus that we didn't expect.
               Life is hard. We know it. I think I made it clear in the last two entries. However, it doesn't 
               mean we have to be miserable despite the difficulties. Thomas S. Monson said "Enjoy the      
               Journey Now" (it's actually says that in the branch on the top left corner of my current blog  
               banner)

There is supposed to be another song for a seventh favorite song. Well, favorite songs and songs for a soundtrack can be quite different. I'll stick with the above list for now since I'm in the "soundtrack" frame of mind.  

7 Pastimes I Never Tire of Doing


I couldn't exactly say I never tire, but I find enjoyable:
1. Drawing
2. Watercolor/Painting
3. Paper Piecing/Scrapbooking
4. Napping
5. Eating out. We've cut down on it quite a bit, but I still love it.  
6. Planning, dreaming of designs, home designs, re-purposing to create a more fun and funky or beautiful space, etc. The whole package of what that entrails.
7. I love browsing in stores when it can be alone and without rushing. It's a Catch 22 though. Because if I don't have the money, seeing things I cannot have rains on that parade. At the same time, I love the inspiration and ideas I can get from it.


Next entry? The rest of the list and some of the recent artwork I've completed.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Few Heavy Carry-Ons...


I want to acknowledge the positive responses I received for my "Getting to the Gate" posting and express my gratitude. 

However, I want to make it clear that I am far from perfect, and I know I can have just as much of a bad attitude with the agents and fellow passengers of life (and in flying).

The ones that especially grind on my nerves are the ones that not only believe they're better then everyone else, but they also make it clear to everyone else that they truly are comfortable with the illusion that they are better than everyone else. 

I often want to respond to that attitude with the below:
I'll never forget an experience on a flight from Portland a couple of days after Christmas in 2007. Mikelle was 7 and Christian was 3 (turning 4 in another 3 months).

Again, let me emphasize that Christian was 3. He was just a little older than Alexander is now. (At the time of this trip, Alexander will not grace us with his blessings and antics for another 3 years...)

We had spent Christmas on the Oregon Coast with Chris's family (by the way, I not only recommend spending Christmas on the Oregon Coast, but LIFE in general should be experienced there...I vow I will live there someday...)


Allow me to pause for 3 photos for nostalgic purposes:
Oregon Coast Christmas Eve 2007
Florence, Oregon and signs to all the different Florences in the world. Florence, AZ is 1200 miles!
Big Stump Beach outside the little cabin where we stayed. Waldport Oregon 12/28/07
In order to afford the flight and make everything work, our flight out of Portland was at 7am. The cheap flight also meant that we fly into San Jose and then switch planes onto hell - I mean, Phoenix.

Let me add that we were coming from Waldport. That's the central Oregon coast. 4 hours away from Portland. Therefore, in order to make the early flight, we were on the road at 1am. Arriving at the airport, there were longer lines to check our baggage then we expected. We made the flight, but it was close.

Mikelle and I were seated almost across the aisle from Chris and Christian. The seats on one side of the aisle are not directly across from the seats across the aisle, so I was in between the row Chris and Christian were in. This is important information. Just stay with me.

We had just boarded and sat down. The plane hadn't even pulled away from the gate yet. Christian started kicking the back of the guy's seat in front of him. That particular passenger looked to be about in his 50s and dressed in a nice "business casual" manner. 

Well, I was well aware of Christian's energy and hyperactivity (and now Alexander has it). I also hate - HATE bothering other people in this manner. As expected, the guy in front of Christian wasn't pleased with the kicking attack. No one would be.

Being hypersensitive to it, I immediately made sure Chris was aware of what was happening (whether he was already aware or not) and therefore Christian's legs were then cemented onto Chris's lap and held down with Chris's hands. Christian struggled, but his legs were not moving. Christian was no longer kicking the seat, but he was wiggling and making his opinion known.

But the guy in that seat in front of Christian was still determined to be a real jerk about the whole thing. I don't think he realized I was the mother of that child and I was sitting right across the aisle in full view of him AND my son and husband behind him. 

Every time Christian made any sound at all - even looking out the window and mentioning airplanes or the sky or something, this tool of a man turned around all disgusted. Christian wasn't yelling and screaming, but being 3, he wasn't exactly down with the whole "let's use our inside voices" concept either.

Chris didn't see any of this going on in front him. He was busy keeping his son occupied and keeping his son's predatory legs permanently anchored onto his lap. However, I was seeing it all. He would make an off color comment to the person next to him about his displeasure of our son behind him. With each of the this jerk's look of disgust, making a big deal about anything Christian said or sound he made, my "Bruce Banner" Mama self was turning into the Green Hulk MamaBear with each passing second. (See? I can't even choose which metaphor to use - the Hulk or MamaBear, so I went with both)


I wasn't too sure about Ruffalo as Hulk at first, but he pulled it off nicely!
Combine just the "Mama Bear" with the fact that we had been driving since 1am. If that wasn't enough in of itself, I was already a stress case about Christian's hyperactivity. I was constantly worried about it causing an International Incident. And let's just address the Elephant in the room about the anxiety issues I have in general. Throw that reality on there and we had some serious fun on the horizon.

I also felt bad because Mikelle was asking me to help her with her seat-belt, but I was so fixed on watching the putz with each additional huff, comments to the person next to him and turning around each time Christian even laughed or ask his dad a question, that I didn't even acknowledge her. I was caught in the trance. The nice lady sitting at the window on the other side of the Mikelle helped her with her seat-belt.

Because this was six years ago, I can't remember exactly what was the last straw was for me, but since I was on the verge of going off on this guy, instead of doing that, I stood up and went to the back of the plane to a flight attendant.

By now we were taxiing and I wasn't supposed to stand up. But I knew it was either I stand up to obtain assistance and cause a minor inconvenience, or let the Hulk out and then cause the plane to stop, return to the gate and then security guards would be summoned to escort me off the plane. That would then result in me losing my job, because if I got arrested, I would have my state issued Fingerprint card taken away until the matter was resolved. And I cannot teach without the Fingerprint card. Therefore, pouncing on the jerk wouldn't be in my best interest, to put it mildly. Not only that, but if I was removed from the plane, it would most likely end up on the news as such instances usually are.

Mr. Tool was sooooo not worth all that. 

Therefore, I opted to stand up and seek out the nice attendant lady. She immediately said I needed to sit back down. I said, "We have a situation." I muttered something about the guy in front of my son who was being a real jerk despite the fact that the kicking that started the whole thing had been addressed and ceased.

She followed me back to my seat and just as I was sitting down, Christian was excitedly pointing at different planes out the window as the taxiing yielded different views. Mr. Jerk then turned around again in the determined angry huff I in which I had become quite familiar.

I finally spoke (plus, the attendant was right there, so that was handy). 

"Sir, do you have a problem with CHILDREN?!" I asked determinedly.
(by referring to him as Sir, it indicates I was going to speak respectfully to him despite the fact that I wanted to pound his face in instead)

He seemed a little taken aback that he was confronted. Maybe he was used to getting away with being such a piece of excrement for so long that it caught him off guard.

I remember his response verbatim. (Sorry for the language, but I'm quoting him.)

"I have a problem with this goddamn kid kicking the back of my seat!" he huffed.

I started to say, "I apologize for that. But we stopped that right after it happened."

But I wasn't able to get all those words out because he folded his arms and loudly exclaimed "Jesus Christ...!" dragging out the words. So it was more like, "Jeeesuusss Churrriiisst....!"

Calmly and diplomatically, I said, "I wasn't aware Jesus was on the aircraft, Sir."

He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

The flight attendant said she would be more than happy to change his seat. He said he didn't want to. Seriously? He acted like my son was the worst part of his year, and he didn't want to be removed from it?

She went to the back of the plane and got on the phone. She then came back and said she made arrangements for his seat to be changed. He maintained he didn't need to change seats.

Maybe he didn't expect the confrontation. Maybe his pride was hurt. I don't know.

He said he would be fine. He remained in his seat and the taxiing commenced again and we took off.

Therefore, the matter was resolved. Sort of. The Jackwad didn't do anything for the rest of the flight, but I had to endure the flight to San Jose (which was a short flight from Portland, but it felt much longer) sitting just feet from him. And then what happened? After everything settled down and the flight was on its way, tears just flowed. It wasn't a loud crazy cry. No one would have known I was crying unless they looked right at me. It was a silent exhausted deluge of tears as I sat there. I hate how I get so angry that it makes me cry. I wish I can be like a Warrior Princess and get the job done and move on. Not cry afterwards!  

Ugh, I hate that.

Life is like that. We have to deal with people like the Tool in the seat in front of Christian. They can be family members, they can be co-workers, or in general people that we just have to be around. We can react to them by letting out the Green Hulk and causing more problems for ourselves, or we can turn the other cheek. Turning the other cheek is hard to do. We want justice. I know I do. My pride hurts so much when I have to let some things go and people commence on their merry way continuing to be the same putzes that they are. And sometimes we have to still be around them as they are doing their thing. Oh, I hate that.

And sometimes we have to speak up. With the Jerk on the plane, I knew I did. It did improve the situation as he didn't do anything for the rest of the flight other than exist and remind me that he was a pathetic waste of space. But the pain doesn't go away quickly. Sometimes it lingers just like my tears lingered.
You know Samuel L. Jackson didn't cry after dealing with the snakes on the plane!
When we landed in San Jose, I wanted to lower myself to his level in order to feel better and get a little retribution. He and his traveling companion remained on that plane and we exited the plane in order to transfer to the next one. I wanted so badly to say, "Happy New Year, M***erF**ker!" Oh, I wanted to say it.  It wasn't like he was going to follow me. I could say my peace and be gone.

But the "MamaBear" in me is a double-edged sword. What kind of example would I be for my seven year old daughter who was right behind me if I said that? Then Chris would be upset at me for both saying it, and then also saying it in front of Mikelle. And yes, saying it wouldn't have been the right thing to do, but at that time, that was the last thing on my mind.

I was grateful that I didn't say that for the sake of my daughter, but also angry that it appeared I had to walk away from the jerk with my tail between my legs and not have the last word. The pride in me wanted to grace him with the send-off.

So many times we have to walk away without the last word. Life is hard that way. We know there is Karma and God will judge everyone. It's just so hard to wait.

 I know it is for me.

One of my biggest battles in that area? I know for a fact that my physically and verbally abusive, pathologically narcissistic, adulterous and porn-addicted father continues to fault me for having no relationship with him. If his past awful self-serving letters to me are any indication, he blames me and my mom for all of his actions in the marriage and when I was growing up. He holds ZERO accountability and fault. He also judges me as a bad person and maintains I am shooting myself in the foot for having no relationship with him as if he is on some kind of pedestal and deserves something he has never earned or has been worthy of. 

One of the phrases he used? "I hope that attitude doesn't rub off on those beautiful children of yours." Nice. What attitude is that? Respect for myself? Walking away from toxicity? Creating a better life for my kids and teaching them to be accountable for their actions as I'm accountable for mine? That's not what he was referring to of course, but yes, I do hope that attitude rubs off on them.

The hard part for me at this stage in my life is knowing he's out there with that attitude. It's also hard for me knowing he says crap like that and actually believes it. And his third wife obviously believes his version of everything. If she's happy with that illusion then more power to her I guess. But the "justice" part of me wants to let out the Green Hulk and shout, "Let me tell you who he is! Let me tell you what he did! Let me tell you what he refuses to admit or apologize for!" 

My other struggle is the whole universal "why" question in wondering why I was given him as my father when so many people have close relationships with theirs.

Sure, the hard part with my dad is over. I do not have to see him anymore. I do not have to be around him. I am not a kid living in the same house as him.  However, the stage I am in is like sitting on the plane after the hard part and confrontation and just having to endure the rest of the flight with the jerk sitting there with my silent tears and the desire to relay a nice rude send off with those choice words. 

That's where I am now.

For those in my family who hate when I'm brutally honest and forthcoming about what went down as far as that particular male counterpart in the home, I'm not sorry.  I'm not going to muffle this and hide it as so many expect me to or have expected me to in the past. This is pain and I'm going to express it. It's part of working through it. It keeps the Green Hulk from pouncing on the Jerk in the plane and thus creating more problems.

It was Confucius or Buddha (one wise old man long ago from the Far East...I've seen both credited with these words) who said:

I know God's judgement is going to be one of the huge revelations of truth. However, in the meantime, I see no harm in getting a jump on things! Well, sometimes there is no harm in it.

Especially if it can be done without letting out the Green Hulk. Usually.