Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Emotional Brain

Sunday May 24, 2015
On this stressful Sunday, I'm trying to find the words to navigate around how highly emotionally charged I am. When we become overly emotional, we are operating from the Limbic system of our brain (aka the "emotional brain"). 

It's probably best to not rely on just that area of our human CPU. Sure, it has its purpose. But have you ever reacted to something in an highly emotional way and then later regretted it? Yeah, that's because decisions were made from our emotional brain (the "feeling" and "reacting") rather than the cerebral cortex - aka the "rational brain".

We all have our "hot button" issues that get us going. They're basically the things you don't want to bring up with family members at the Thanksgiving table. "Hey, Uncle Al, are you going to take that bumper sticker off your car now? He lost the election earlier this month..." 

One of my hot buttons as an LDS woman is when politics are wrapped up into the doctrine and presented as one of the same. There is a culture that comes with the church that sure, has its good points, but it is often a huge crutch when it is misconstrued and treated like the very doctrine in which the gospel of Jesus Christ is defined. One of these crutches has to do with politics. Here in the Mormon Corridor (Utah being the center and Idaho and Arizona being the suburbs), it is often assumed that to be a good Mormon you have to be a Republican.  But if you go to an LDS congregation in a different part of the country, you won't find as much rigidity in that political mindset. Sure, you'll find Republicans, but you won't find a bubble of LDS Republicans that believe GOP stands for "God's Only Party" with their talons in that belief like a bald eagle grabbing a salmon out of the water. 

By the way, once an eagle grabs the fish, it cannot release its talons from the grip - if that really helps with this metaphor.  If the fish is too big, eagles have been known to "swim" the catch to shore. I saw this first hand in Alaska. It was pretty incredible. 

And if the fish is still too big? Eagles have been known to drown. The fish of course is dead too.

It's good to be tenacious and really sink our grip into something, but it could also lead to our undoing if it's too much and drags us down.

It is often difficult to realize the depth of our grip on things when we are in the midst of our own culture. However, the Mormon culture is fluid - depending on where you are in the world. Mormon culture in Brazil, for example, is going to be different from the Mormon culture of a stake in Ohio, and that will be different from the Mormon culture of a stake in Utah.

With this much variation, it should be obvious that culture is definitely not doctrine. Even the policies change sometimes in different parts of the world, because the needs of the members of the Church are different. That is precisely why I get so nutted up when cultural/political "opinions" are stated from the pulpit as if they are fact.

Regarding today's speaker (and I will keep names to myself in respect for the individual), if you're going to blame the Women's movement for destruction of the family, you better include all the advancements that Satan takes advantage of. That's a long list: The printing press, the mail system, the telephone, etc. etc. Don't pick and choose like a buffet to make your slanted political points and state speculations as if they're fact riddled in fear mongering.

Satan takes advantage of every good thing.  Just look at the internet. I can bring up important and inspiring images and articles and even scripture in a heartbeat. But we know what we can also bring to the screen in same amount of time.  Due to the advancements of the internet and other communication systems (that are all connected) we can connect and talk to friends and family far away. But we can also expose ourselves to negative communications we otherwise never would have seen or heard before these advancements. If you don't believe me, read YouTube comments.

Regarding the Women's movement, I will always be forever grateful that it was in full swing by the time I arrived on this earth, because I always knew I'd have a career and a family. 

Does my family come first? Damn straight. And for me, being able to work when Christian and Mikelle were small worked out for our family. When Alexander came along, it was time to stay home for awhile. That was a decision we made as a family. And now, I'm going back to work. It is what is needed for the family. The money is only a small part of it. We're building this new home and my income, though small, will help sustain that. However, my reasons for returning to the classroom are more than financial. It has been clear that I operate better when I have something going on outside the home as well.  Some people are just wired that way.

However, of course it can be understood how women working can be negative if she is away from the home too much. It's one thing if the money is desperately needed to make ends meet. But when the career takes priority over her family, of course her children will suffer. But that is not just the case with the women! 

Look at the men who become workaholics and spend too time away from their family when their priorities are messed up. Satan works on the men too. There was no "Men's Movement" needed for that. Funny, that wasn't mentioned on Sunday.

And if you have a problem with gay marriage, fair enough, that's your right. But yet, what about straight people that abuse and molest their family and others? Of course that wasn't mentioned. I have news for you - you can freak out about gay marriage all the live long day. But let's look at how we treat others in our own families and how that contributes to the "destruction of the family". 

Let's expel energy on that. 

Tuesday May 26, 2015
I have had some time to move to the more "rational" part of my brain, though I am still emotional from the events on Sunday. And the frustration and tears that resulted from the slanted words from the pulpit are only a small part of the emotions and trepidation that I've been experiencing. There is more, but I cannot share them here.

Luckily there have been distractions. Art demands from clients. That's a good thing, despite the stress that comes with it. But if I could choose the type of stress to be under, this would be one of them. 

I'm overnighting this artwork to Florida today. It was a rush order from Juanita, a repeat customer. I am forever grateful for her loyalty to me as an artist. 

I am also honored to be a part of paying tribute to a teacher that has meant so much to her and her daughter's life. That teacher is whom this artwork is for. 

Meanwhile, interior painting at the new house continues. Ever feel like you work so hard at something and yet feel as if nothing was accomplished? That's how I've been feeling with the painting. Oh, plenty is being accomplished. It just seems as if will never get done. But it will. I'm told.

And my loofah has been working just as hard in scrubbing 4 or five different colors from my skin and nail beds on an almost daily basis.

 Until next time. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Feeling Stabby

There is a higher level of stress and crankiness that causes hesitation in making another blog post right now. I don't want to sound like a complaining broken record. However, looking at the last year or so, especially starting with our move to Wickenburg, it's pretty much been that way: Stress, Tired, Worry, Anger, Bouts of Depression, Stress, Tired, Worry, Anger, Bouts of Depression...  and lather, rinse, repeat....
Between demands with the new house in these final stages, last week of school (both with my own kids and subbing...there's a reason I refused to sub this last week of school. I declared last Friday my official last day of school for the year), courses I've been taking in piggyback to obtain the credits I need to renew my certification in time for my new teaching job that begins at the end of July, three custom art orders in process (and probably a fourth), and all the demands that come with the aforementioned things or splinter cell side effects of the aforementioned things, it's a wonder I haven't gone completely off the bend. In some ways I have. There are poor decisions in the last year or so I'd like to just forget and have forgotten.  And yesterday I think I hit a new low in stress management. Or shall I say, stress non-management.

And yeah, a stomach bug hitting me Saturday morning just as we were going to start painting the interior of the house certainly didn't help.  And have you ever stayed in bed (well, with the exception of the bathroom...but let's not go there...) for oh...at least 18 hours straight and then ventured out to the rest of the house? If you have kids, I don't recommend it. I can think of worse things, but a house that looks like it's been hit by an EF-5 Tornado is on the top of the list of unwelcoming sights that bring back all the nausea and gastrointestinal distress. 

Luckily on Monday I was able to make up for lost time with the interior painting. But then comes the worry...what if these paint colors look like crap?

Here I am hellbent on making sure the paint colors go up before trim and flooring, but if the colors look like crap, then we'll be stuck with them unless I want to go through the headache of taping off the trim, protecting floors and covering furniture later and changing the color. Therefore, these colors have to be right! See? Anxiety and worry....

I will say that despite my tears and poor behavior yesterday, I will give props to the "stair guy".  FINALLY...Now here was a guy yesterday who informed us up front what our options were and what would be more expensive. He gave it to us straight. Oh, if only he was the cabinet and flooring guy too! One thing that has had me feeling quite stabby is the vague descriptions of materials and not knowing what kind of price points each options have. DON'T show me anything without prices! I need to know what is in the budget. I know I'll go for the expensive stuff, so it's best not to see those!

The longer you look at this, the funnier it gets...
It's comparable to what I've seen time and time again on Say Yes to the Dress. If you're a bride and arrive to the appointment saying, "my budget is $3,000...." Then you SHOULD NOT show her a $6,500 Pnina Tornai design, omit the valuable information of what the price of it is, have her try it on AND fall in love with it, and then inform her it's out of her range! What happens then? She tries on the less expensive dresses and NONE of them measure up to the expensive perfect dress. 

The same thing happened to me with the cabinets. DON'T show me everything, tell me to choose and then "maybe" it'll be in budget. I can tell you right now, if I'm choosing from everything, what I want WILL NOT be in the budget. Put away the expensive Pnina gowns and show me the $2,300 Lazaro

But can you afford that upgrade? Just use a white bezazzled fanny pack...

But sorry, the price won't get the "seal" of approval...
At least the bride knows the same day at the same appointment that her perfect dress is a pipe dream and she can be disappointed in a timely manner. Oh, I just LOVED choosing the cabinets and then days later finding out they were out of budget, and then having to go BACK and choose again since the first choice was that perfect Pnina gown. Yeah, that's fun. It's one thing to have to go back and re-do something because of a technicality or something is back-ordered or out of stock. But there is no excuse to having to choose again because they don't have prices posted and it takes forever to look them up to see what the cost is. THEN...add Alexander to that kind of incompetence (having to find somewhere for him to go while we do the cabinet goose chase OR bringing him with us and praying he doesn't act like this-click here), and there is a reason - I'll say it again - I feel stabby.

Despite feeling stabby, check out Christian's two Reading and Math medals he received yesterday. It looks like Christian feels stabby (right). Are they getting awards or doing a group mug shot?
There's the smile!

And because they'll always be my babies (below). They were kicked out eventually, though.  And Mikelle is so cute and pathetic on the couch. She's got the same stomach big (striking on the last day of school right before the LAST final). But taking a picture is too risky. 

Until next time...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Moms Weekend and How to Pull Off the Impossible

Moms Weekend
A perk about having my birthday on April 29th is the close proximity to Mothers Day. It's a fun little bonus! I think there should just be 2 weeks of celebration, shopping and presents. Haha

However, this year, since we dropped way too much coin on interior paint for the new house last week (18 gallons and we're not even done with the interior paint selection yet!) AND it was necessary to buy new bedding for the new master bedroom in order to figure out what accent wall color for the master bedroom that will also go with our current drapes because we aren't going to drop money on new drapes, I am content with my Mothers Day gifts of appreciation simply being that the current residence is cleaned top to bottom without any complaining or anyone trying to get out of it. 

Yeah, we'll see how that turns out. 

It's been a tough week. The new house is coming along and I'm grateful. But it doesn't come without its own frustrations and headaches. When kids who are not flexible to such stresses and demands is thrown on the mix (let alone Alexander's tantrums that seem to be escalating), along with limited hours in the day, energy and patience runs out quick.

Surprise Party - Saturday April 25th
Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, Chris managed to have a surprise party for me at the new house. Yes, it's still under construction and it was planned that way. It was important that it was celebrated there as in his planning, he did say that one of my biggest joys from this last year is finally seeing the house being built. It made sense to have the party there.

Usually it is very tough to surprise me. Oh, it's possible. It's just tough. But this time, there was a decoy that played into the success of the party. I thought we were going to Gilbert the weekend after the unfortunate dreaded birthday and hang out there and probably stay overnight at Bruce and Liz's to celebrate. Therefore, the Saturday before the horrible birthday and some of the days leading up to it, I wasn't paying attention to the some of the weird things that were going on that may have otherwise clued me into the event because I was just focused with going all the way out to San Tan Valley (over 100 miles away) with Mikelle and getting our hair done. After all, hair appointments are sacred. And this one was overdue. 

I planned to take Mikelle shopping for new pants somewhere along the way as we headed back after the appointment.  But then, the frustration began when Chris had texted both Emily (my friend and hairdresser) and myself requesting that Mikelle and I come back right away as soon as our hair was done. I was feeling stressed out because I promised Mikelle the new pants. I had been putting her off on doing it for a long time, and I promised her we would do that after the hair outing. 

I told Chris just that, but then he hit me with, "I'll take her shopping for pants on Monday. You need to come back. We need to meet with the contractor." Well, that upset me. I was thinking, "No. I'm not going to rush back on a nice Saturday to meet with the contractor! I need to get pants for Mikelle while we're driving by a million places we can do so that we can't get in the tiny po-dunk cowboy town we live in! Sweet Moses!"
Holding Emily's baby while she did my hair. So sweet...

But he wouldn't let up. And texting Emily too? In retrospect, I should have clued in that when he texted her phone and I noticed that it was him, that she wouldn't let me read the text when I picked up her phone.  Up until that point, I would pick up her phone and read her other texts to her that came in when she was doing my hair. 

However, when Chris's text came in, she took her phone and read it herself. But again, because the "decoy" birthday day was in place a week from that day, all these kinds of little signs went over my head. (Yes, Emily was aware what was going on back home...)

Anyway, not knowing what was really going on, I was upset that I had to renege on what I promised Mikelle. Then, as she and I were driving home (which would take almost 2 hours), I told Mikelle I'd grab her something to eat. That's about when Chris called/texted again to find out where we were on our route home (I assume Emily texted him when we left) and asked for an Expected Time of Arrival. When I told him I had to pick up something to eat for Mikelle (we did skip lunch, and by now it was after 3pm or something like that), he said he'd pick something up for her to eat and meet her there at home with it. That frustrated me even further. Mikelle was mad too. I would be! I promised Mikelle we'd get food, and even that is something that we can't do? What is going on?

No, Mikelle was not in on the party knowledge... Chris kept her out of the loop so she would babysit the boys that night and not complain that we were at my own party.. Plus, Chris had a surprise for her in store too...

Have you ever had to ride in the car with an upset teenager? Okay, that's like asking if you've ever seen a sunrise or sunset. But how about a two hour ride with an angry teenager? And the teen is upset because two things that you said you would do, you then said you were not going to do? Yeah, I thanked Chris for the fun car ride due to the position he put me in.  He said, "I'm the bad guy in this. Blame me." Oh, of course I blamed him. But I was still the one who had to drive home with the angry child.

To complicate things further in the anxieties in my head that were now spinning around, the fact that I had to go back on my word also cut deep because growing up, my parents were notorious for promising something and then turning around and going back on what they said (and then getting mad at us for being upset about it...). I was determined not to do that to my kids.  Oh sure, I can say no to my kids. I do it all the time. However, when I promise something, I'm not going to go back on my word unless there is a pretty damn good reason. Therefore, when I had to do it twice to Mikelle in the space of a couple hours, it was rather upsetting, to say the least.

I thought it was typical obsession that Chris has with big projects (like the house being built...a big project, to say the least), but this time it was getting ridiculous. Then he reminded me that there was this comedy play or something down in Peoria that evening that he wanted to take me to after we met with the contractor. 

At this point in the frustration with driving home, I was no longer interested in going all the way back to Wickenburg just to turn around and drive down to Peoria for some strange production I've never heard of after meeting with the contractor. Everything felt so rushed and I was short-circuiting. I almost called Chris back and said, "Go see the contractor. If there is something I miss that I need to weigh in on and it screws something up, it's my fault and I'll live with it. I need to be able to stop and at least get Mikelle something to eat! And forget that play! Too much back and forth and I can't even take advantage of being in town to get pants for Mikelle!" 

But somehow I stayed the course, even though I was seething. I don't think I even stopped at my church - er, QuikTrip, to get a large idol...I mean, Diet Pepsi for the road. Because I knew if I did that, I knew I'd have to also stop somewhere later and pee. And the way things were going, we couldn't have that now could we?

Then I got a text asking me how long it would take to get ready to go once I got back. Seriously? I said 10 minutes. After all, my hair was already done. However, I wasn't too jazzed about getting dressed up to see a contractor at the site and then rush to Peoria and sit in the dark. Clothing wise, I chose something more on the frumpy side. It was kind of like a business casual outfit that one wears if they feel bloated. 

Now Chris hardly ever questions what I wear. He doesn't need to. It's usually the other way around! I have to question what he wears and encourage alternative ensembles. But this time, he looked disappointed at what I put on and asked if I wanted to step it up a little. Him questioning me on this was uncharted territory, and I was already irritated that I had been summoned back to that end of the earth in the manner that I was. And now I'm not dressing up correctly? What is this, the Twilight Zone? So I declined and said, "No, I'm wearing this. So let's go.

Yeah, this is one of those things where I should have just changed. He wanted me to change because he knew I would soon be upset that I chose the clothes I did. I made a similar mistake when I mentioned that on the way to Peoria, I had to stop for more eyeliner.  But no need to worry about it when headed to the site to "meet with the contractor". But Chris tried to stop on the way to "meet with the contractor" to get my eyeliner then. I told hm not to, as we were allegedly running late to meet at the site and I wasn't going to be inconsiderate by stopping at CVS for make-up. But Chris knew I would soon be upset that I didn't have eyeliner on. :sigh: Still, I was thick.

Well, the way our new house is situated, you can see it from a distance from the highway. I looked over at the house from the highway and saw a plethora of cars in front. That's when I started to freak out a little. Chris tried to explain that it was construction guys, etc. But there's not even that many cars there during the week for the regular construction! And yeah, workers at 5pm on Saturday? Yeah, right. I know we're coming off a major recession - especially in the housing and construction industry, but even that doesn't explain why workers would be there at 5pm on a Saturday. 

Yep. Some of the dots started to connect in my mind (and panic), and yes, I realized I should have worn something else. I realized I should have stopped to get eyeliner. 

It was still another mile and half to drive around to the house, and in those few minutes, I also knew something was up, because as I would argue and push Chris to tell me what was up, including telling him he was full of crap about the excuse that people are still working at the house, he didn't argue back or respond to what I was saying like he otherwise would. Yeah, something was up. 

At least this meant we didn't have to go to Peoria.

Anyway, I was kind of freaked out. When I saw people from all the way from Gilbert/Chandler/Queen Creek/San Tan Valley there, I also felt guilty that they were somehow guilted into driving all this way. I also saw so many new friends from around here. The combination of old and new friends in the same place was kind of an overload to my brain. 

Not having a frumpy outfit on sans eyeliner sure would have been a good way to start. You know, looking your best in a weird situation would start things off on a better foot. 

Notice there are no pictures posted from the party. Yeah, there's a reason for that. I told anyone that took pictures not to tag me if they wanted to post them.   

And Mikelle's surprise? Bruce and Liz brought their daughter, Katie. Mikelle's oldest friend since they were 3 and 4. Chris quickly took Katie to see Mikelle. They got to hang out together on what would have been just any old boring Saturday night babysitting her brothers.

Okay, okay, let's shift gears. Chris asked those who came to the party to share a memory. I will not post all of them. Some of them are embarrassing. Some of them are also things that I wished didn't have to follow me to Wickenburg to enter the knowledge of the friends here. :facepalm:

It feels weird even posting the ones that I am adding. I don't want it look like I'm boasting. But this is an artist blog and kind of an online journal. Still, it's a little weird. I do appreciate all the comments and memories that were submitted to Chris or to me after the party. I know there are a lot more that Chris is still on people's case to get that he has not received yet.

Sure, it would be entertaining for all if I posted every comment/memory that was sent to Chris, but it's my blog and I can do what I want.  My snippets to the comments are in red italics.

This is from Dr. Deryl Lamb. Our good friend and he was our doctor. He also delivered Mikelle and Christian:
1. I was substitute teaching Gospel Doctrine (church Sunday School) when this new family, the Henrichsens (we had no kids. So it was just Chris and I) in the back came in just before starting. I can't remember the topic, but Jill raised her hand after one of my questions and quoted Tori Amos.  I'll bet no one else in the room knew who Tori Amos was, but in my car the time I had one of her cassette tapes. I knew right then that she was cool and special. I remember that. Actually, he quoted Tori Amos. I raised the point that Tori was the daughter of a preacher. 
2.  Love her overall sarcasm and artsy way of looking at the world.
3. She had trying times with her first trimester with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. That was Mikelle's pregnancy. But with my second pregnancy? Um...yeah...with Christian's pregnancy, let's include the second trimester as well along with the other complications that took over from there that came with that pregnancy from hell...
4. She helped me promote my book even though I had zero charisma (he sells himself too short) and stage presence. She even got me on TV on two different stations for my 15 minutes of fame. 

There are probably more fun memories with Jill. 

From Karla Tolstoy - one of my best customers. She lives in Ontario, Canada:
1. Super Creative. Insanely creative. 
2. Intuitive in how she creates the artwork- almost as though she channels the person she is doing it for.
3. Kind and giving and really wants to have an impact with her art. 
4. Patient as I must drive crazy some days with my ideas and revisions. 
5. A part of our house as I have commissioned approx 30 pieces of her artwork. Maybe more as I lost count as many of them hang around our house. My laptop image is one of hers and my keyboard! I am surrounded by her artwork!

I am so in love with design that as soon as she finishes one, I think of a new one! I live vicariously through her art! I think I have an addiction program to her designs and I might need therapy. :-) 

Love, Karla

(check back - I will add some of the artwork I've done for Karla...)
From my friend Marian Lee and her daughter Emma, from my ward (congregation) and neighborhood in Queen Creek:
Jill was my VT (visiting teacher - church assignment) when my sweet Autumn (their boxer) passed away. Jill knew how much Emma and I loved our sweet girl. On the Sunday night after her passing, I get a text message from Jill that she had left something at my door and to look for it in the morning. I was already in bed upstairs as it was past 10pm. I asked her if I needed to go downstairs to get it. She was funny. She would text back that it wasn't treats, so no teenage boys would steal it. The next morning when I pulled out of our garage to take Emma to HS, I saw the bag at the door.  I told Emma to go and get it because Jill had left something for us. Emma got back into the car and carefully unwrapped the package. It was the most beautiful framed drawing of our Sweet Baby Boxer Autumn.  Tears filled our eyes and ran down both our faces.  What thoughtful gift to comfort our broken hearts. 

To this day, the beautiful picture of Autumn (right) hangs on our wall, above her ashes, in our family room  Every day we see our beloved Autumn and reminds us what a huge part of a our family she was for 10yrs.  Jill will always be in our hearts as the individual whose thoughtful gift of her amazing talents has brought much comfort and a smile to our faces and warms our hearts

When Chris read it, and Marian cried again, I said, "I don't like making people cry..." I really don't. I just want to help, but I feel bad if anyone cries. 

This one is from my friend Tammy. She lived in Queen Creek down the street from me. She recently moved out of state, however:
I know there were many funny moments many times in Relief Society (our church women's scripture study) when I'd think, "Did she just say that?", but my brain is a bad memory keeper.  I do have another moment that stands out. It was after Blaine's funeral (her husband that passed away suddenly) and she gave me a picture that she'd been doodling during the funeral. I remember how touched I was, first that she took the time to come, and second because of her picture and  what she wrote (I don't remember what I wrote). It captured the mood of the day perfectly.

From my Mom. She wasn't there as she lives out of state:
I thought of a few cute things about Jill.

First, when Jill was about two years old, whenever I was in the kitchen baking or cooking and she would sit at the counter or on a chair, we knew early on that art was in her blood because she would draw on anything that she could. Since the cookbooks were out, she would draw in my cookbooks. Her art was already detailed at that young age. That is probably the only time she found use in cookbooks (yeah, thanks. But it's true). I still have some cookbooks with her art in them.
About Age 2

Second, when she was about 3-4 years old, she was in a Christmas play at our church. She was one of many eight doves. They all came out as a 3 year old would and did their thing. All except Jill left the stage. She would not leave the stage with the other doves. They were many efforts to get her off the stage, but she would not leave. So she kind of stole the show.

I remember that. When we came out on the stage, the older doves I guess had speaking parts. I was in the background with the younger doves. There was a space between the two groups of doves in the front that had speaking parts. So I thought it was only logical that I fill that space so I could get a speaking part too. Seems to make sense to me. 

There are dove pictures from that evening. But those pictures are at my Mom's house. I don't have them. 

Last, brand new in our new ward in Laveen (the dove congregation..same as above) she was taken out to foyer probably for misbehaving and brand new in our ward Jill pulled the fire alarm in the middle of Sacrament meeting. If we wanted to be less obvious to our new arrival in the ward, there were no choices of that happening after this incident. They did have to call the fire department to tell them that it was a false alarm.
Um...I was being watched by some guy. Not even one of my parents. So if they left me with some stranger, it's their fault. I do remember how upset this guy was that I pulled it after he told me not to. But it said, "Push. Then Pull Down." I was just following directions. Geez. 

I'm starting to realize why I'm dealing with the problems with Alexander that we have been though. 

This is from my friend Jacque. I am omitting the first memory she shared from this so I can retain some grace and dignity. :-) Let's just start with the second part of hers:
Also, let it be known that Brett (her husband) has always said that one of the reasons he liked going to Sunday School was to hear Jill's comments. This is why we love Jill. She's never afraid to share her opinions and it keeps things interesting and exciting.

From my sister Kariann. I'll just share the first part of hers. Not the second one:
I have been told that she forced me to walk. She never let me crawl. When I wold, she would pick me up and force me to walk instead of crawl.

My cousin Ashlee:
When I was a little girl, Jill came to stay with our family for a week (I was 15...summer between 9th and 10th grade) one summer.  My parents stocked up on milk and cereal of course. Anyways, Jill took me swimming. Our family always walked to the pool at Gilbert Junior High because it was right around the corner from our house. Jill walked some distance ahead of me and turned around to realize I was lagging behind. She knelt down on the sidewalk with her arms stretched and yelled, "HUG ME NOW!" and I came running and she embraced me vigorously.

Funny, I don't remember that. I remember staying with them, of course. I just don't remember that specific incident that Ashlee was relating. Weird that I remember the dove and fire alarm incidents from ages 3-4, but not something from when I was 15? lol

My father in law:
Being artistically challenged, I am amazed by Jill's talents. At least three pieces of artwork adorn the walls at our house.  The way she works so many themes into her artwork is just amazing to me. 

And, I am in awe of her ability to work with adolescents in the classroom. It is a special talent to be able to challenge these students to do wonderful things with their minds and hands. 

She is a rare person and I appreciate her abilities and her love for others. 

His wife, Georgia:
The first time I went to church with your family and I was in Relief Society sitting next to Jill, I noticed that she drawing the whole time. I admit I wondered if she was paying attention. But WOW! She participated in the discussion, shared thoughts, asked questions all while her pen was still moving.  I realized here is a woman who has mastered multitasking and whose talent just overflows from her. I have since enjoyed the FB posts she shares of her Sunday Doodles and it brings back memories of that first day (I haven't had Sunday Doodles for awhile because I currently teach Primary). Happy Birthday Jill!

Anyway, Mothers Day is almost upon us...along with the last 2 weeks of the school year. Can the house be finished by mid-June? It's possibility. Exciting times ahead.  Until next time.

Friday, May 1, 2015

This is 40

It is with mixed emotions that I announce I have somehow become 40 years old this week. No, it's not mixed emotions. Well, unless those mixed emotions are the combination of sadness, frustration, anger, dread, etc. etc. 

This post may seem to contain a lot of selfish concerns and declarations. But they are very real anxieties to me. I cannot just shut them off. I'd love to if I could.

Sure, I can still run long distances like I did in high school. However, my best mile time of 7:42 is long in the past. Since my last 5K (equivalent to 3.1 miles) time was close to 35 minutes, that puts my mile time between 11 and 12 minutes. It's always close to that on the treadmill too.

Then there's another number. The one on the scale. I wanted to turn 40 and be at the same weight I was before Mikelle and soon after I had her (she was the only baby that the weight just melted off afterwards. That makes sense since I was the youngest - a 25 year old spring chicken - when I had her...). I did get there again 9 years ago, but despite getting close a few times since then, 2006 is the last time I saw that magic number. At this point, I'd be happy at within 10 pounds of it (which is where I was a year ago...:sigh:)
Sure there are some things that make turning 40 not that bad. I found a list like this on a couple different articles/sources over the years...I can't remember any of them specifically, so I'm not trying to plagiarize by not linking them.

Sure, these can be good things about 40. But you know what? These things applied for me around 35, so I would certainly be nice to still be a thirty-something with these perks. 

Yes, if you haven't figure it out by now, I'm having a big problem with the numbers. No matter who tells me age is just a number, it doesn't change the anxiety attack. Like I said, if I could turn it off, I would.
You become more comfortable with the person you are, but you are not necessarily totally happy with it. Yeah, that's true. I'm happy that I can look back and know I pushed forward to get my degree even though so many other things were stacked against me. My tenacity and stubbornness that is detrimental in other areas, was my saving grace in that instance. In fact, other than still living in Arizona and not having my Masters degree yet, I would say things are pretty good. Our house will completed next month (June). 

I will say that if our house wasn't being built, I'd be losing my mind. But that also has to do with the arduous loan process with the bank. Also, we bought the land in October 2010. Alexander was in the oven. It's been a hard road to get from purchasing the land to making the home a reality. I am so happy we are so close.

I do wish I could have traveled so much more of the world by now. To date, the furthest away I have been is Anchorage, Alaska. That's awesome, but eastward travels need to occur as well.  If I could have been ascending or descending Mt. Kilamanjaro in Tanzania when the dreaded 4-0 hit, it certainly would have made the transition easier. But that kind of trip is no cheap feat. Instead, we're building a house. No trip to Africa yet. But it's overdue!

You tend not to fret as much about stuff which used to bother you. Anyhow, you don’t have that much time to think about it. Sure, I fret about things that shouldn't bother me. But that comes with the anxiety thing no matter what age I am. But believe me, there is a lot of stuff that doesn't bother me now that would have bothered me in the past. In fact, right now at the house, the master shower is kind of an issue of some frustrations and annoyances. And our contractor was so frustrated when he saw that the shower was dry-walled when it shouldn't have been yet. 

He's a generally even-keel kind of guy, so it was kind of a big deal seeing him get as upset as he was when he saw the shower had been dry-walled (because of a deal with the plumbing that has to be solved before the dry-walling). I was like, "dude...chill...we'll get it figured out...." Plus, the following day he was leaving for Hawaii. I told him he needed to get there mentally and then send us a picture of him sitting on the beach with a fruity drink adorned with an umbrella. 

Hey, I'm just happy the house is being built and I'll have a shower that I don't have to crutch down into and bend in order to use. I'm just happy that I'll have a shower that isn't in the same room as the bed. That's right. Currently, our shower is in our bedroom. That is kind of fun in this temporary state, but not with the bending and crunching one has to do in order to use it. There's a reason I love going to the gym. Well, aside from stress relief and staying up to date with exercise. I love the showers that I can put my hands up and bow to the high ceiling angels to bless me.

Small things can make you happy – like the sight of an empty dishwasher, folded, clean clothes, or a really good night’s sleep. Oh my gosh, yes! Lol!

People become less intimidating. You tend not to be impressed with titles and accumulated wealth. No one has figured it all out. Yeah, that's true. What does get to me are when some of these people are so much younger than me, however.

You gain confidence, even if you also lose hair. My hair is already thin, so I better not be losing any hair. And my friend Emily who does my hair (and the beyotch is 10 years younger than me) made the mistake a year or so ago of telling me she saw some gray hairs. What happened after that is a blur.

I drove the 100 miles last Saturday to have her cut and color it again (it had been almost 3 months...can you say 'trailer park' roots? bleh...) and I asked her if she saw anymore gray hairs. She said something to the effect of, "I learned not to talk about that with you..." Beyotch. 

You don’t care that much what people think about you. Other people’s opinions are just not that important, so you can admit to liking stuff no one else does and even be proud of it. That's right! However, if I died suddenly, I need some friends to erase the music off my ipad. I don't need that kind of postmortem humiliation and revelation about myself. Some of the music is fine, but there are some "????" music on there that just shouldn't be revealed to the rest of the world. 
Kids, why are you looking so mortified?

But it is actually freeing not to worry about what other people think and things that would embarrass me do not anymore (to the chagrin of my children who are still concerned about such things). 

But I do get overly concerned with embarrassing things that I don't plan on. Such as when I tried to get in to the wrong car the other day and the owner of the car was right behind me and said, "that's my car..." Yeah, I still want to crawl in a hole from those kind of situations.

Another thing that screams "40" is needing to get a mammogram. No, I haven't gotten one yet, but I will say that when I went to the doctor a couple of months ago, she mentioned, "you're too young for a mammogram."

I said, "really? I'm 39..." She looked back at my chart and said, "Oh my gosh, you are. For some reason I thought you were 32. You don't look 39."

So there is that. Haha.  I don't know if she was full of crap and lying to me, but that was a perk. But then she hit me with, "I'm 32."


Still, I'm not looking forward to making it to second base with mammogram machine. I know it's not going to be as enjoyable as actually making it to second-  Oh, never mind.

To end this post, this was taken on my 40th birthday. I elected to sub half the day for a social studies teacher at the same middle school I'll be teaching at next year. I wanted to sub at least half of that day so I would have a reason to get up early and commence with the day. Otherwise, I would have sat around the house feeling sorry for myself.  

Anyway, a dork 7th grader tried to get my iPad. Before I got it back from him, he snapped this picture.  And despite what my friend Dave said, that's not a booger in my nose. It's a piece of skin. But thank you, Dave, for posting that it's a booger and making it look like I posted a picture of myself with a booger in my nose. Thank you for that. 

It's not a booger.
What 40 looks like...total dork...but my newly re-colored hair looks nice! haha
Next post - the surprise birthday celebration last weekend at the house site. People I hadn't seen since the move made the drive here! Plus, so many from around here also came.

My husband is wonderful. I was mad at him, but in a way that I knew it was unreasonable to be mad at him. So it wasn't as if I made him suffer.  This 40 thing is tough, so it's hard for him to do the "right thing". I don't think there is a "right thing" unless it's the discovery of the Fountain of Youth.

Stay tuned.