Monday, August 31, 2009

I'M CELESTIAL AND HERE'S HOW I KNOW....

Today, my daughter had to use my car while I babysat her children. My car's air conditioner is broken...and did I mention that it's been unseasonably hot this past week and a half? I mean HOT!..as in 105 degrees. Sure, the humidity has been under 20, but still, it's 105.

Also, my keys are heavy. Something I didn't realize. But they are. And when you get out of the car, you have to schlep them around with you when you get out of the car. Just cause...

Also, my daughter was driving my car during rush hour...while shopping and doing errands...

When she finally returned home (we found her on the front porch, drenched in sweat, loaded down with packages), she wasn't exactly what one would call "exuberant". She glared at me and all she said was..."your car...." and while handing me my keys said, "and these weigh a ton...".

So! After realizing that my poor daughter, who is used to traveling in a very comfy and clean, orderly car, with very functional air conditioning, had been through the mill and had, apparently dropped several kingdoms (just kidding), I realized that I must be celestial...because I don't cave into road rage given the conditions I drive in...especially during the 118 degrees I was used to driving in before I moved...yessir....I can hear the angelic choirs from here....or maybe that's just my daughter getting her back rubbed from her loving husband.....

whatever....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Words of wisdom....

This is something that my friend, Nelly, sent me over email. I found it full of wisdom. It had a calming influence and I wanted to share it. Read it carefully and ponder its message....hehe....

Just in case you are having a rough day, here is a stress management technique recommended in all the latest Psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work and will make you smile...

1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.

2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.

3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.

4. No one knows your secret place.

5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.

6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity..

7. The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater.

There!! See? It really does work. You're smiling already.

Monday, August 24, 2009

THE BOY AND I....

Little Eli and I have been out shopping. We went to buy housewares. We have had a blast. We looked at dishes (do we want to go shabby chic, bright red or safe white?) and glassware (we went with 3 sizes and decided we like curvy shapes versus angular), a waste can for the kitchen, groovy ornamental hooks for over the door in our bathrooms, lustrously soft, "awesome" bathmats that took our breath ("and our sensibilities") away, a 3-tier storage rack, Dad's birthday present (a series of nautical knots and flags on a banner) as well as lunch. We're exhausted.

Oh yea, We also enrolled him in college.

:)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

HOW YOU KNOW YOU'RE VISITING TOO OFTEN AT YOUR GRANCHILDREN'S HOUSE

I reported to my daughter's house this evening at 4:00 pm for her and her husband to go out. I've been there...a lot...since I moved to the same neighborhood. We're having *ahem* a lot of bonding time together. Did I mention A LOT? My son-in-law has been quite patient.

Anyway, I knocked lightly at the door and no one answered. I wasn't sure if Em was home because I didn't see her car. It could have been in the garage, or she could have not even been home yet. I saw her husband' car in the drive. So...I just walked around to the back and let myself in. I began doing dishes and straightening up. Soon, the 2-year-old boy came down the steps and found me cleaning the kitchen. His eyes opened wide and his little face broke into a big grin. Without taking his eyes off of me, he leaned his head to the side and yelled up the steps, "DA DA, MOO MOO'S HOME!"

Yea...maybe I'm visiting too often....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

MESSAGE TO KAISER-PERMANENTE!!!!

I was sitting in an urgent care waiting room last night for a *ahem* an bladder infection. No bueno. I called Kaiser Permanente, my insurance company, to schedule an urgent appointment with a physician and the phone triage nurse recommended to me that I go to the KP urgent care I got there at 7:30 PM and wasn't seen until 10:00. I would have gotten there at 7:00 but the MapQuest was wrong at EVERY MAJOR TURN!!! Every single one. Also, every single individual that checked in after me was seen before me. I was livid. But to start with it, I parked my car and went to the door in front of where I parked my car. For the record, I parked where the handicapped parking is, though I didn't use the handicapped spot. The door was locked and the sign on the door (of this huge, 3 story bldg) instructed me to "use the main entrance at the front of the building". Okay. Good thing I wasn't on crutches or in a wheel chair because there is no sidewalk to get there. An individual redirected to this door has to walk in the parking lot, back to the street and half a block down to the big front door, which is way up a hill. It's stupid as all get out.

Then the 2.5 hour wait. But while I was waiting, a mother and her adolescent daughter (poor girl) were sitting behind me and the girl had a fever of 105 degrees! Yes!!! I was sitting next to another mother whose poor daughter, roughly the same age as the swine flu girl, had a broken ankle. So, here broken ankle girl and myself (bladder lady) were sitting there exposed to flu girl. Don't you think Kaiser Permanente would have the foresight, given that EVERYONE and their brother knew this flu was coming, to separate those with flu symptoms from those who do NOT have flu symptoms? Doesn't that just seem reasonable? But noooo, not only were we all exposed to it, moi was overly exposed to it because my paper work got overly shuffled and I was left there to the very end.

However, as I'm trying (sometimes desperately) to be a better person in stead of a grouchy loner, I calmly accepted the fact that these things just happen. Maps can be wrong, bad building designs can happen, poor paper shuffling occurs, and since I was possibly exposed to a wretched viral infection, I can not see Em or the kids and had to cancel plans to visit the temple with friends from the desert today just in case I'm not carrying a virus that could infect them...I will remain calm and maintain presence of mind. I will not lose my temper. I will not speak unkindly. I will remain generous in my thoughts and actions.

But my message to Kaiser Permanente remains thus: SEPARATE YOUR WAITING ROOMS FROM THOSE WITH FLU SYMPTOMS AND THOSE WITH NON-FLU SYMPTOMS (FRACTURES, UTI'S, SLIGHT TRAUMAS, ETC). And frankly, you should be ashamed of yourselves! Sorry. Couldn't resist. But honestly!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

FORGIVING-NESS AND FORGIVABILITY: THE ATONEMENT IN THE LABORATORY

I recently wrote a paper on the topic of "forgiveness". Interestingly, in the lab, forgiveness is broken down into separate attributes; "forgiving-ness", which is the ability to forgive others, and "forgivability", which is the ability to get others to forgive you particularly. Celebrities and sports figures, as well as children, typically have a high index for forgivability. They're easy to forgive. It's easy to overlook their wrong doings. Also, favorite politicians have higher-than-normal forgivability. This explains why Obama typically tends to prove more popular than his policies. He's likable. People want to believe in him while contending with the governmental twists and turns we're taking. Of course, the more people's wallets are stepped on, the more this can change. I'm not a political pollster, although I'm intrigued now with what I know about brain physiology, which is this....

Biased thinking. And this is where forgivability comes in.I'm going to cite myself so I don't get charged with plagiarism (even plagiarism of myself-which is a real offense), which is a distinct possibility and damnable by hellfire and toenail plucking. "Forgivability was actually mapped in the brain as occurring in the posterior cingulate area and lit up on imaging studies when participants were shown their favorite politicians. When the same subjects were next shown slides demonstrating their favorite politicos engaged in unsavory behavior (which required forgiving), the prefontal cortex (which is in charge of emotional reactions) fired up. At this point, the posterior cingulate area over-rided the prefrontal cortex; in essence “damping down” any negative reactions. Following this, the ventral striatum activated, which rewarded the participants for their ability to remain biased (Biotech Week October 22, 2008)."

In other words, the human brain will reward itself to believe in a biased, patently false manner. It will lie to itself and feel good about it! It's OKAY WITH THAT!!! Now! How hard is it for missionaries to do their work? How difficult is it for people from say, the Peace Corp, to go into a village and teach them how to wash their hands correctly and allow the citizenry to get inoculations for their own good? What kind of an uphill climb is it for a teenager to stand in the midst of his or her peers and say, "No. I don't want to drink alcohol or take a hit of weed" and for those peers to still respect that kid? What I'm saying is-maybe miracles occur around us all the time and we're not noticing them. It would take, perhaps, the Spirit of the Lord to undo that wiring and firing in these flawed and somehow incredibly wonderful brains of ours, to allow for that! I'm just putting it out there. I have to read this research from a gospel perspective. And I can only rant about it here, in the safety of my blog. I have to maintain my nonbiased, scientific method in academia.

I also think this. If those researchers studied the Atonement for one week-just one-with diligence and an open heart, it would answer any and all questions they ever had or would ever have, relative to forgiving...or "forgiving-ness"....or "forgivability"...or any other word that has to do with compassion or love or worth or value. All of it.

References:

Katz, D., (2009) Forgiveness: From confessional to couch.Unpublished paper. Walden University, School of Psychology, PhD Program. Rieder, Instructor. Summer Quarter, 2009.

This is your brain on politics. (2008) Biotech Week. NewsRX. October 22, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2009 from HighBeam Research. Document number 1G1-187237046.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

HIGH NOON IN MY KITCHEN AND OTHER SUNDRY ITEMS...YEA, I'M BACK.

Well, I'm back, but I don't know for how long. I'm sitting in a parking lot "borrowing" their internet waves. I don't have the 'net in my home yet-still settling in. But let me tell you about my new habitat for inhumanity. No...it's not that bad. I actually love my new neighborhood. It is so convenient to everything...and I mean everything that I could ever imagine needing is within 1.8 miles of my front door. It's a "geographic oddity"! (O Brother Where Art Thou reference). I've clocked it. EVERYTHING. Even a hookah bar. But I haven't seen one strip joint or "gentlemen's club" AT ALL. It's quite refreshing. The ocean breeze is also refreshing. I can drive with my windows down. People are walking around outside, in August, by CHOICE. Amazing!!! Do you hear me Chany and Warren? Tell the Big O to transfer you right back here!!! :) It's a gathering place for the Saints-really! It's latter day prophecy.

Anyhoo, some small, weird facts about the apartment. There is tract lighting in my vurry (nod to Eric) small kitchen which aligns straight down the middle of the ceiling. This gives the feeling that it is constantly high noon in my kitchen. Do you know what happens at high noon? Besides gun duels. By the way, what happens after a gun duel? One person is vurry (nod to E-rod) dead and one person is left looking ruggedly handsome and remorseful. The other thing that happens at high noon is the casting of shadows. Everywhere I turn, there are shadows. I'm like a giant, moving sun dial. It's always half-past Debbie in my kitchen. It's maddening.

Also, I live upstairs. I'm constantly schlepping groceries and sundry items (like my computer bag and text books) upstairs. I'm going to create muscles if this keeps up. If I develop muscles, I'll have no excuse for not running the monstrous vacuum cleaner anymore. This could be problematic.

Pete has exchanged all of the light bulbs for the low-heat, low-energy, big savings pig-tail looking light bulbs. I think that's a fine idea but I also think they're funny looking as all get out. All of my appliances look like illuminescent swine have climbed into them leaving only their tails exposed.

I have no storage for all of the food that we have. Crazy. During the zombie apocalypse, one's best course for survival (besides breaking into and securing your local Costco) is to break into and secure a local Mormon residence. There is plenty of food and water to last you for a long long time. There. I said it.

Well, my battery storage is running low. Also, I'm gathering withering stares from others as I sit here in my car, in the breezy shade, typing on my laptap. I probably appear weird. I should flash a fake badge of some kind and look CSI-ish. Oh yea, outside of a Von's grocery store...yea, that's me...cutting edge....

Hopefully, I'll be back on Monday with more biting, sardonic, wit. Adieu.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

PUDDING=LOVE?

I was reading a friend's hilarious blog the other day (http://rachelsaysso.blogspot.com/) and the mention of pudding came up. I find great comfort in pudding. I thought about it and even when you take it off the spoon, your lips form the word, "mmmmmm"...am I right?

So, what is it about pudding? Is it the creamy texture? The warmth? It's even good cold. Is it because we ate it as children? I remember my mother standing there and stirring and stirring and stirring (we're a little spoiled now, I suppose, what with the instant varieties and all).

I don't find that same comfort with bread pudding-just the Cosby-kind of pudding. All creamy.

There are other comfort foods as well. Mashed potatoes, cream-of-wheat, dumplings, my mom's meatloaf, my sister's gravy, all of these foods just make me feel like the world is a good place and all is right within it.

There are people much wiser than I (Dr. Andrew Weil is one *of billions*) who maintain that the energy and emotions that we experience while preparing our food is somehow stored and transferred into those who eat it. So in other words, if you're cooking with love, those who eat your food are going to feel loved in addition to nourished. I believe this. I truly believe this. I think that's why my kids like my cooking. I am NOT a great cook by anyone's imagination. I never have been. But I have always enjoyed the heck out of cooking for my kids because I adored watching them sitting around and eating. I loved it as they grew older and brought their friends over. Thanksgiving was celestial to me. Everyone was eating. The preparation began days before. Even the menu was a thing of joy to me. Putting that food together was a labor of love and I think that's what people were enjoying-not the actual food.

I think that's why the missionaries like to eat over here. It's not so much what they're eating, it's because I thoroughly enjoy feeding them. I put my soul into it because I love them so much and I enjoy having them in my home. I think that's why they like it and typically don't leave until Peter has to shoosh them out the door to get home in time for curfew.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MOO'S HOOD

Yesterday I was at the new house unpacking (today I'm back in the desert cleaning up loose ends, etc.). Em and the kids met me and we had lunch and visited the local (fabulous) grocery store and they showed me around the neighborhood. It was a good time...almost. On the way to the car, Mae picked up something and I noticed it was a razor blade. I told her immediately to drop it and Em and I scrambled to find our waterless sanitizers. Em made the requisite phone call to the office and then had to explain to Mae never to pick stuff up off the ground. Experience one at Moo's new neighborhood.

After we returned and I was sitting in the car with the kids in the parking lot while Em was getting some stuff out of the trunk, Mae and I watched as a little boy about Mae's age came doddering along the sidewalk, seemingly by himself and also seemingly unaware of his surroundings as he talked to himself and kind of half danced/half hopped along his way. Mae is always aware of her surroundings and is very mindful of everything going on around her because Mae is 5 going on 50. Mae asked, "Who does that little boy belong to?" I wondered also because in Mae's world, little children are always attached to a grown-up. I couldn't rightly answer until I saw someone who must have been his grown up bringing up the rear. I said, "Oh, here come his mommy!" A very tall lady, dressed head to toe in black....with green hair....with a very very large lizard perched on her shoulder...glided past us. Experience number 2 at what is now Grandma's hood.

Moo Moo's home Mae....Moo Moo is home.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

FRIENDS HELP US OUT AND FRIENDS HELP US IN...

We woke up this morning raring to go. Our stuff was outside boxed and waiting and ready to be thrown into our 17 foot moving van. Up pulled several cars from Church and a bunch of really good guys got out and began working. We love our friends. They had come to move us. They loaded that truck as full as it would load. Rex, Scott, Loren, Kai, Kendall...we owe you more than the dozen doughnuts, water, Dr. Pepper and Sierra Mist we threw at you. You're all champs.

And then we took off to the new place, up the switch backs, through a mountain meadow, down a valley and straight to our place. It was grand. When we arrived, my son-in-law and his brudder were there to help, as well as FIVE people from our new ward (congregation) to help unload and schlep boxes and furniture and more boxes up stairs to our new digs. How wonderful. Two good friends (one is family) and five total strangers willing to suffer through heat to help a family of strangers feel welcomed and get settled. It just doesn't get much nicer than that.

Then my daughter Emmy showed up with a case of water and FOUR, count 'em FOUR huge pizzas! That put my measly little dozen doughnuts out of work right away. How generous. And how fun to see my girl walk through my door!!! It was a grand day.

We're back in the desert tonight. Working on packing up food, pots and pans, and other loose ends. We'll go to church here tomorrow and probably leave here for good on Monday...hopefully....

Anyway, we've got keys to the front door of our new place, keys to the mailbox, and a gate opener to get into the community so that means we're in, we belong. And I'm beginning to think there are no strangers anywhere, only friends we haven't abused yet. :)