Thursday, October 30, 2014

One Little Table

How much furniture exists in the world? Will we eventually run out of the need for it? Or will we keep building and buying the cheap stuff which eventually makes it to a dump or campfire?

We just said "buh-bye" to a table we've used for ten years. My former roommate, Wendy, gave it to us when we got married. She purchased something new/newer. This was after my roommates and I had used it for four years. This was after Wendy had purchased it at a garage sale. Who knows the history of it prior to Wendy?

We would have kept using it except my mom passed away and we were finally able to bring her table from Montana. Mom's table became part of the family when I was born. So now my husband and I eat dinner there. The stories Mom's table could tell...

In some ways it would be nice to go to some furniture store and buy a brand new table with matching chairs, but it will probably never happen. We will keep using this one. And then we will die and it's likely someone else will find it useful.

The "roommate table" was actually picked up this evening by Wendy! It's going to her stepson and his new wife. Another set of newlyweds! Today is the anniversary of when we first signed our apartment lease. What goes around comes around. The table simply camped with us a for a decade and now it's back with a previous owner.

Sigh. So much growing and learning happened at and around that little table.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Photographing Pears

If some anthropologist ever goes through the footprint I'm leaving here on Earth, I hope they surmise that I really loved fresh fruit.

A darling fourth grade boy left this pile of pears on my desk a few days ago. I once taught his older sister in fifth grade and long before that, I taught his older brother in Primary. Circle of Life. He is a twin and he made his debut with his sister when the older sister was in my class. And now he's leaving pears on my desk.

I called their home the other evening to thank them all, but his dad handed the phone directly to him. The boy advised, "Wait until they are soft and yellow." Got it.

They have no idea how much I've been enjoying them while they are still green and hard.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Game of Deprivation

Don't worry, we're not really deprived. No, not at all.

So I'm reading my first Wallace Stegner ever and I love it already. In chapter two, the husband is narrating their early married life in the Great Depression and he says, "With the right wife, and I had her, deprivation becomes a game."

These words really caught my attention because the night before reading that, my dear husband suggested that we not eat out this weekend (we traditionally eat out once each week). He further suggested that we not go to the grocery store this week. I agreed to both suggestions. We have plenty of food to eat in our pantry.

Yesterday was a coworker's birthday celebration, so another coworker volunteered to phone in a lunch order and run to pick it up. I abstained from doing this for coworkers' birthdays last year, and once again, I abstained yesterday, especially since my husband suggested we not eat out this weekend. Husband encouraged me to go ahead and order, but I just stuck to my usual school cafeteria lunch which is really a bargain at $3. Three dollars is less than a salad at Cafe Rio, for sure. Plus it saves me time from packing a home lunch in the morning. Someday perhaps I'll get to the point where I pack my home lunch daily.

The thing I find interesting about this is that we are DEBT FREE and LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS!!! And yet, we still feel the pinch. We are both employed, though my husband is under-employed. He works two jobs and I work one. We have health insurance. We are so blessed. We have no children. No car payment. No loans. No credit card bills. And yet...I abstain from ordering a Cafe Rio salad so we can make it to the end of the month. We have savings!

Are we saving too much? Putting away too much for retirement? No. I don't think so. Are we unwise with our spending? No...but perhaps an outsider could point fingers at us. Another baby shower this week and another five bucks donated to the "group gift." I feel fine about that five bucks. The temple is free, we have an annual pass to National Parks and the local canyon. I go to the library instead of the bookstore. Yes, we did recently hire a photographer, but only once every five years do we get "real family pictures." So, you see, it's a game. Everyone plays differently. We each have our own style. And for us right now, it's a bit of a pinch as we inch toward payday.

We "deprived" ourselves of our annual Fall Break Trip and yet our little day trip on the Pony Express Trail ended up costing us two new tires. Is that why we're not going to the grocery store this week?

We certainly have more to learn about this "game" of Deprivation! Sometimes it's tempting to wonder how other people do it. Where do they get all that money to buy all those clothes? Where do they get the time to shop for all those clothes? What am I doing with all of my time? Blogging too much? Am I reading too many books? Do I attend too many scout meetings? Am I spending too much time with my husband? Big fat NO on that one (we've only lived together for about half of our marriage)!

I just hope I'm "the right wife" and that this game of deprivation will continue to be something we can work on together. Thank heavens for cans of beans and tomatoes!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Roads for Adventure!

The Mister and I decided to save our pennies for Fall Break and just do a day trip rather than leave town for the whole thing. Bright and early on Thursday morning we headed for the Pony Express Trail which amounts to four hours of washboard gravel. First stop, Lehi Bakery. Yes, I had me a square donut!

We stopped at every Pony Express monument marker and K read aloud to me from one of his guide books about the significance of that particular station. He had about six different maps/sources/guides to make our trip more complete. I mean, we saw a pet cemetary built by Porter Rockwell's sister-in-law and everything. My roommate, Suzette, and I took this road fourteen years ago and although we stopped a few times, we completely missed a few juicy tidbits.

We saw a total of four wild horses. We smashed many-a-rock at the Geode Beds but found no pretty crystals inside of plain looking rocks. We arrived at Fish Springs Wildlife Refuge and soon after, the warning light for a low tire came on. K retrieved his handy air compressor and alleviated that situation. Meanwhile, I photographed bark. We are not bird aficianodos (sp?), but we think those birds are called Coots.

Just prior to reaching the Nevada state line, out around Ibapah, the warning light came on again so there was more compression of air. A very nice woman in a white pickup with a cigarette in one hand and a skull on her back window jumped out and offered to help, "I got all the stuff." We thanked her, but we had all the stuff to change a tire as well. Nice people out there--being so far from anywhere, you have to help one another. She was the only other vehicle we'd seen since Fish Springs. Meanwhile, I photographed the effects of the setting sun. Just beautiful.

We made it to West Wendover, Nevada where we fueled up at Smith's. To our amazement, the tire pressure was perfect! K was not hungry due to the two big chicken salad sandwiches he had eaten at our late lunch. I on the other hand entered the grocery store and purchased a corn dog from the deli to tide me over. No, we weren't headed for the buffet at the casino. We said another prayer, changed drivers, and I set the cruise right on 80 which was the speed limit out there. We made it home just fine with no more warning lights.

Yesterday, we bought two new tires!

From East to West, Clear Creek is BEST!

Clear Creek was glorious! We were blessed with such great weather, great kids, and great parent chaperones! It just flew by! I wish I could publish photos of kids doing all these activities, but I don't want to get sued.

Of course the Ropes Course is the big favorite so Mohawk Walk was a huge success. They also enjoyed Wildlife Olympics (our inaugural debut of it), Tie Dye, and sports on the field.

Our evening rotations included a bear activity, boon doggle, and shrinky dinks. Then we all headed to the campfire for glow sticks and s'mores. The other teacher and I announced we would be playing Sardines, so we asked the parents to hold the kids at the fire for five minutes to give us a chance to hide. We headed to our spot and were suddenly rushed by five kids who were not obeying the request to stay at the fire! Nothing like having a bunch of figures coming at you with glow sticks.

When they came running toward us, I called out, "Cheater! CheaterCheaterPumpkinEater!! I have never seen such blatant cheating in Sardines!!!" So we hid and then we heard the countdown at the fire for the obedient ones to be released to look for us. It took awhile, but they started to find us, one dad chuckling at our unique choice of hiding places. One girl showed up and walked around us calling out in a rather loud voice, "Hi, guys! What's going on? What are we doing? Are we playing a game?" We shushed her and implored, "Get down!" I personally was stretched out on my belly and unfortunately got stepped on a few times by kids who found us and started to hide with us. It was my most painful game of Sardines ever.

The morning rotations consisted of the hike to the Hermit's Meadow, Geocaching with GPS units, and more Ropes Course. We hiked two groups up and I stayed in the meadow reading while they hiked down with parents and the next two groups hiked up with parents. I sat on my special rock and wore an orange safety vest because it's hunting season. I read. I enjoyed. I reflected on all the many, many times I have been to Clear Creek (I worked there a couple of summers). And I just soaked up the glory of it all.

After lunch, we load the bus and head back through the beautiful autumn colors of the canyon.

Matched the kids and their gear with waiting parents. Told the secretaries I was going home. Showered and went to the temple.

Next day, found thank you notes on my desk (with a bottle of lotion) and good wishes for Fall Break. In the words of one of my students, "Now THAT was fun!"

I'll close with a few quotes from student journals about their overnight field trip to Clear Creek:

"It was probably the best Monday and Tuesday I have ever experienced!!!

"I didn't like it. I LOVED it!!!"<

"I really wish that Clear Creek was a month long field trip so we could do the ropes course thousands of times."<

"I loved every second of it! I chose a bed and took my shoes off and slid around on my socks singing 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun!'"<

Conferencing with the Parents

Parent/Teacher Conferences have come and gone and they were a blast! I really love meeting with each family (100%!) and discussing the progress of their children. I really love watching families interacting with one another.

Most impressive this time was a dad in uniform that stopped in from work to meet his wife and son for the conference. He got paged toward the end and started to head out, but he stopped and said, "I'll see you later, Son." Then he left the doorway and strode over to his boy, wrapped his arms around him and kissed him on the cheek. He said "goodbye" to his wife and left.

So glad there are men who still kiss their ten and eleven year old boys. I'm sure they'll grow out of it soon enough, but this was a beautiful thing to witness.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Did you do anything fun over the weekend?

People always ask how our weekend was and whether we did anything fun. Let me tell ya, doing dishes with my husband is fun! It's so great to have him around! I try to appreciate every moment we have together.

Last weekend was General Conference in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We watched from the comfort of our own home both days. On Saturday afternoon, we drove to SLC to meet up with Sachiko who was back in town. We enjoyed a great meal at Tucanos and then took in a film at the Planetarium. It was all the time we had with her. We had to DVR Priesthood Session in order to make time for Sachiko, so we've been watching one talk from that every night this week. Loved Bishop Dean Davies' talk about Fasting. He's a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric and at the moment I can't remember if we call him Bishop or Elder. I think it's Bishop.

This afternoon/evening we went to the fruit stand and purchased some fresh food from Juana, the lady who has been running it for ten years now. She's so nice! Then we went to the grocery store. Not pictured: mushrooms, celery, and greens with herbs. Made a little trip to the library. Watched some football. Took a nap. Did laundry. Cleaned out a storage bin. Exercised. Talked to one of my sisters.

YES!!! I've been having a LOT of fun on my weekends! Life is good. Oh! Almost forgot. Went to see Meet the Mormons on Friday after school with a couple of other teachers. Loved it.

I think I'll close this post with the first two sentences of a text I received from my younger sister today. It could double as the opener of a mystery novel:

Oh, I have to tell you. Of all the random things, we found a dead chicken in our yard today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Zip Zip Zippy, Zap Zap Zappy...

H-A-P-P-Y, I'm Happy!

Not everyone feels the same joy I do when I get to leave the dentist's office "unscathed."

I'm just so GRATEFUL that I don't need anything past the cleaning I had today. Same thing happened six months ago. What a BLESSING! My mouth is clean and polished and fortified with fluoride. We have, hello, DENTAL INSURANCE! We have a very nice dentist with a friendly team of staff members. Seriously, when there is no talk of cavities, it is nothing too much more than a wonderful social event!

I couldn't stop giggling a couple of times today. The first question that set me off was when I was asked what flavor of polish I wanted. I asked, "Do you mean what flavor of fluoride?" No, that's not what she meant. No one has ever asked me what flavor of polish I wanted. So naturally I asked for the menu: strawberry, vanilla, peach, or mint? I went out on a limb and asked her to surprise me. I got vanilla.

And then later I was asked about the flavor of fluoride: watermelon, caramel, or mint? I chose mint.

And THEN...I was asked what COLOR of toothbrush I, blue, or gray? I chose red.

There are people in the world without teeth whatsoever. There are people without rice or any food at all. There are females who use cardboard during their menstrual cycles. One of my students forgot her lunch in her carpool van today and bravely told mom over the phone that she would "try" to eat the school's pizza for lunch. I personally insist on buying Puffs Plus with Lotion.

Yes, it's nice to have a choice sometimes, but I hope I never let it get to me. We take so much for granted.