Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Official

This is E3 Peter Frome posing for his mother to take photos of his awesomeness about an hour after he graduated from Naval Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, IL. It was an fabulous event of tradition and pagentry complete with ship's bell signaling, bosun's pipe and cannon fire. Admirals gave speeches, awards were presented. There were drum cadences and marching and standing for a really long time at parade rest. There was an excellent redition of "Anchors Away" with appropriate enthusiasm of the relieved, proud, exhausted, obedient recruits.

Then, we got to hang out with him for about eight hours. He had to be back in his "ship" by 20:00 so that he'd be packed and ready to leave the next morning bright and early. He was headed off to Groton, CT, to submarine school, which seems to be another, more specific, boot camp experience. Hmmm...but I'm confident he'll succeed with flying colors there, too. His goal: sonar school. So eight more weeks of learning hard stuff in arduous conditions and then he'll be on his way to living a life of intrigue, under the sea. (cue Little Mermaid music?)

Seriously: we're SO proud. He did so well; he is so enthused; we had a great 30 hour trip and all's well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Look at ME! Look at ME!

I guess KittyCat has figured out that whenever we are in the living room, our attention is directed at the big box on the wall. So she decided that she'd pose there in order to be certain that we'd notice her. Her style is effective, but not at all subtle.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buy This, It's Wonderful

For years now, ever since we had one for a pet, CoolGuy and I have realized that if you see a Golden retriever in a commercial, the subliminal message is "Buy this stuff--it's wonderful and good for you and your whole family. You can tell--look, there's a Golden retriever in our ad."
I saw these wonderful fellows recently as their owner was walking them, near my house. I couldn't resist taking their picture, and, as Goldens are the friendliest dogs ever, they even smiled for the camera.

Well, recently I was glancing at a magazine and there was a photo of a Jersey cow. The point of the article was to get the reader's sympathy for factory-farm cows. I've seen big dairy operations. They are almost exclusively Holstein cows. It makes sense, because Holsteins give the most milk for the work and effort and hay. They are boring, too. No drama cow-mamas.  But, they also look boring and plain. If you want to represent machine-like cow-ness, then you use a Holstein's photo.

But if you want to generate sympathy for those sweet little cows...then isn't this face going to serve your purpose better? If you want to get your viewers to think warm, small family-farm thoughts about wholesome homegrown dairy products, then you're going to use the Golden retrievers of bovinity--voila:

Love me, love my milk and cheese. Everything about me is cuddly and wholesome and cute. See?? Just saying...advertisers are very calculating. Notice the Golden retrievers and Jersey cows in commercials and print ads. You'll see what I mean.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Missing You

When I started on this business with the Stupid Feet, I didn't realize that I was also giving up one of my favorite things: cute shoes. It's been nearly two years that I've had one foot crisis after another, so my cute shoes have been gathering cobwebs in my closet. Just for kicks, I took some of them out and looked at them tonight. This doesn't even include the boots, or some of my "sensible" shoes in the other room piled under my dresser. (I have quite a few shoes...) I have some really darling red church shoes that I LOVE! Not to mention the comfy sandals by Ecco.

And, seriously, I don't even have that many authentically "cute" shoes according to today's standards of "cute shoes", since I've been such a flat-footed weirdo most of my life. But, the shoes that I do own, I really like to wear. And sometimes, having just the right shoes, makes an outfit so fabulous.

I realized after church last week, as I walked out to my car in my long, flowing skirt, with my hair up in a bun, and my hiking boots...that I looked like one of these ladies from Southern Utah.  But, I'll have to learn to fix my hair in that braid thing to complete the look.

Plus, I walk into the Young Women's room each Sunday, and look what I find. Adorable shoes, terrific boots, cutest flats.

Some day, I hope to rejoin the world of Cute Shoes. In the meantime, I'll dust my collection regularly and visit with them, now and then. I'll admire women's feet and compliment fourth grade girls on their darling little boots, and marvel over those teachers who wear heels all day. I'd just like to wear sandals again, seriously. I'm crossing my fingers that next summer, at the beach, I'll be styling with painted toenails and cute shoes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reserved Parking

While out running errands today, we stopped off to eat lunch at an old favorite, El Pollo Loco. In fact, it was the same one where we had a Grand Adventure last year. We pulled up in front of the store, and CoolGuy got out the handicapped parking permit hang-tag to put on the rearview mirror. Then we got out of the truck and I started limping into the store. He hung around a little bit, and I went in to wait for him.

We placed our orders, filled our drink cups, then sat down in a booth facing the space where the truck was parked. I said, "You know,  I'd be too superstitious to park in that space again, like you did." He laughed and pointed, "Yeah, I got out of the driver's side and thought about last year, too. Then, I looked down at the pavement and thought, tires fit right inside those paint marks there. Then, I realized,'s the same paint marks."

I got up and shuffled over to the window and looked. Sure enough, there were the truck tires, poised perfectly inside the marks the police had made last spring. I laughed and laughed. Everyone in the place turned to stare, but I couldn't stop laughing.

So, not only did we use the same parking space again, because we've got the hang-tag for the handicapped spot, but we also parked precisely in the "scene of the crime"---we have a private parking space at El Pollo Loco!! It's awesome!  This time, no excitement with the meal. Just some crazy lady, who walks funny, laughing her head off.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Birthday Time

It is CoolGuy's birthday so we celebrated. We went to eat at Jaleo because he's been craving their squid, served with carmelized onions and garlic with some type of bright green herb sauce.  Here's a photo of the tasty little things:

If  you haven't been to a tapas restaurant, then by all means, head down here and we'll go with you to Jaleo. Or if you live in the East, then go to Jaleo in DC or Bethesda. You order little servings of tasty things and they bring them to you one at a time. This way you get to savor every morsel, sipping rosemary lemonade between bites. I've tried to order different things each time, but I'm pretty much hooked on their beet-citrus salad with Valdeon cheese and pistachios, and the gambas al ajillo: "the very, very famous Spanish tapas of shrimp sauteed with garlic."

This time I tried Ensalada rusa: "The ultimate Spanish tapa, a salad of potatoes, imported conserved tuna and mayonnaise." YUM. At first, you think, umm...too much tuna, I was expecting more potatoes...but then you begin to nibble it. And then you're eating it with gusto, because it quickly grows on your palate. Each plate is just enough for two of you to get a small serving, or for one person to have a satisfying taste. But, none of our plates went back to the kitchen with leftovers.

So, then for dessert, we ordered a chocolate flan and olive oil ice cream, with a Catalan crisp (some type of thin cookie) and, even though it was a small serving, it was outrageously delicious. I'd tipped off the waitress that it was CoolGuy's birthday, so it came decorated with a lit candle. We had a pleasant evening, in a lovely place and it almost makes up for the fact that we've had, ahem, quite a few birthdays, at this point.

Here are a few more photos from recent fun times. Being grandpa is pretty fun---it makes being this age worth it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunday School

I think that it is the sign of a great class when I learn something new. But probably, it is mostly the sign that I need to study my scriptures more often and more thoroughly. I learned some interesting things on Sunday, and I'm sorry it took me so long to write them down here. (All too often, the days just fly by, and, because of Mr. Stupid Foot, I am often exhausted by the time I get home, and I forget that I have cool things to talk about on the blog.)

So we were in the very beginning part of the Book of Mormon. Our teacher chose to approach the story of Lehi's family leaving Jerusalem by discussing each of the people in the story. He asked us to discuss what we knew about them, and what part they had in the narrative. The first thing I learned (or relearned, but I'm embarrassed to say that I honestly do not remember this...) was that Lehi saw a pillar of fire when he had prayed to to God on behalf of his people. He'd heard the prophets proclaiming repentance (see Jeremiah, and 2 Kings) and so he prayed to ask God for help. And a pillar of fire appeared to him. No wonder he quaked and trembled.

But, besides being a little dismayed that I had never noticed the pillar of fire thing before, I was struck by why Lehi was privy to this display. He was obviously a very seriously religious man. He didn't just hear something from the prophets and think "Tsk, tsk." He went out and asked God, with all his heart, to bless his people. He was concerned with their welfare, their fate. Of course, all of his concern only led him to go out and preach repentance himself, and then he was mocked, condemned and had his life threatened. Sigh.

The other part that was quite significant to me was reading a nuance about Nephi. These little subtleties are why it is good to be in Sunday School. People are asking questions; other people are adding their insights. Often this is when I'll read a verse in a different attitude than ever before, and I'll get one of those "Ah ha..." moments. I've always just thought that Nephi had gone along with his father because he was the "good boy." But, in chapter two of 1Nephi, I read a little differently this time, and I realized that he had chosen that role. He made a concious effort. Maybe I'm splitting hairs. Maybe I'm saying the same thing. But he states that he was "exceedingly young", and so he probably just went along with the parents because he was young. Maybe Laman and Lemuel were teenagers, and had more of a life, and so were more greatly affected by the seemingly bizarre idea to move into the wilderness.

But then Nephi goes on to say that he had "great desires to know of the mysteries of God" and he, too, went out to pray, like his father said he'd done. Nephi surely had heard his father's prophecies, and he'd seen him rebuke the older brothers, and he knew that something significant had to have occured to his father. Apparently, Nephi wanted to understand more. He hadn't just been naturally obedient (or maybe he was...) but he also wanted to understand for himself. So he asked, and he received an answer from God and his heart was softened and he "did believe all the words of [his] father.

So, why did this strike me as significant? I guess because if one of my heroes like Nephi had to go and pray and ask for himself and then get confirmation, then I surely had better follow that pattern, too. If I want to know the mysteries of God, I can find out. It's worked everytime I've tried it, too. I just need regular reminders to never stop searching for that understanding for myself. There is a continual need to update my understanding since there is a continual pattern of troubles that regularly come up in the world and in my life.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

At Last!

This is the very first apple I have received as a teacher. Seriously. And it was delicious and enormous. Thank you Sergio.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Nine-year Olds...Sheesh

These hiking boots are my steady footwear this week. I'm wearing both of them, with an additional brace thingy on my collapsed foot. Then, I also took my knee-scooter to school so that I can rest my foot whenever I walk out of my classroom. But, yes, I'm wearing hiking boots everyday.

Yesterday, a boy---out of the blue---pointed at my boots and said, "Those are old, aren't they?" I replied, "Well, yes, they are pretty old."  Then, he responded, "They're ugly, too." I replied...uh...when I could talk again..."Well, they aren't as cute as her shoes."  I pointed to a girl who was wearing some sparkly flats.

Now, he is one of those boys who is quite intelligent and has a good thinking brain. But, seriously, someone is going to need to help him with relationship/tact issues as he gets old enough to date, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Looking for Reasons

For a couple of years now, I've had an uncharacteristically gloomy outlook. There was a long stretch where I really felt on my own, and without the usual comfort of the Spirit. Lately, I've begun to realize that it wasn't God who moved away. I heard a talk recently about being consciously thankful everyday. The speaker talked about praying without asking for things, every now and then. Just giving thanks. So, I decided to start focusing on that more. I began to look for little, teeny blessings. Here's one that I got last week.

I'd lost a couple of earrings in the last few months. Something about the clothes I wore, or the way my seat belt fit, or maybe just that left ear was being weird, but I'd had earrings come out of the hole and disappear. A couple of times it happened at school, but the students found one of them in the hallway. Another time I found it on my chair at home. But a month and half ago, I realized I'd lost one of my very favorite earrings and I was very sad. I'd been to a store trying on coats, in anticipation of going to visit my kids in cold northern Utah, and I really needed a warmer coat. Later that night, I brushed my hair over my ear, only to realize that no earring dangled from the left ear. I was crushed. I loved those earrings and wore them often.

To understand the sorrow I felt, you need to know that when we first moved into this house six years ago, we had a break-in one weekend. We were out of town for a three day holiday and came home to find our door kicked in and the house ransacked. The insurance replaced the television, the computers, and the camera. But the big jerks had also taken my jewelry box. I didn't own anything too valuable except my wedding rings (which I was wearing) and some lovely silver starfish-shaped earrings that CoolGuy bought me when he was traveling through Bali. So, those aren't going to get replaced anytime soon.

But, the real value of my jewelry box is that it contained my sixteen year collection of holiday pins given to me by my students. It had special handmade items from my children, and spiffy things like the painted flamingo earrings I found in Boise when I was homesick for San Diego. None of it was valuable to anyone but me. I know that the thieves would have given it a quick look and dumped the whole thing in the trash. So, I've spent six years collecting a new box full of earrings that I've grown to love, because they are replacing my old friends. So when I started this new rash of earring loss, I was pretty bummed out.

Well, last Thursday, I was out on my patio, cleaning the chairs and the table in anticipation of my son and his wife's visit, I looked down as I moved a chair, and there lay my lost earring. Right there--on the patio---five weeks after I thought I'd lost it in the coat store. But, I realize now that we'd eaten lunch that day on the patio because it was such a lovely afternoon, and then I'd gone shopping. I just didn't notice the missing earring until after I'd returned from the store.

JOY! Seriously...I wore that pair of earrings at least once a week. I loved them. I suddenly felt warm all over. I quickly said a little prayer of thanksgiving, and again felt that rush of warmth. It said to me, "I love you. I can't fix most of the troubles in your life that are bringing you down these last couple of years. But I can help you find your earring. I can do more, too. Just remember---I love you." 

I'm working at looking for more signs from God that I am His daughter and He loves me. I'm looking everyday for specific things for which to give thanks.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


I hereby resolve several things for 2012:

  • to spend less time wearing orthopedic appliances on my feet.
  •  to spend less time attending college classes, less time doing college homework, spending less money on tuition.
  •  to read the newspaper more and textbooks less.
  •  to go home within two hours after my school day is finished instead of staying so late.
  •  to go on a vaction to some place that doesn't have any relatives--I'll go just for the tourist attractions.
  •  to write more thank you notes.
  •  to throw away some of the junk that is sitting on my desk.
  •  to be thankful everyday for something
  • to tell God about that thanks