Monday, May 20, 2013

its been a long time....

Its been a long time since the last time I wrote on this blog. I got that job I had interviewed for that I wish I had sold myself better at, and  I left that job after 15 months and over 20 late paychecks. We've had graduations, new babies, health scares, family trips, promotions, etc, etc, etc...

Its May 20 2013 and I am currently employed at Salt Lake Community College Dental Hygiene Department. After leaving my previous job I took a few months to find a job where I could do some professional development and be surrounded by educated people. Academia is just what I needed after over a year of  working for a  start-up that felt more like a poorly written sitcom. Like most experiences I gained knowledge, I know what I can put up with and what I can not, and I added characters to my repertoire.

So much has happened since I last wrote but one of the biggest events is that my 5th daughter Carolyn will be serving a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Dominican Republic for 18 months. She leaves June 5th for Santa Domingo and will be entering the Missionary Training Center   for 6 weeks to polish up her Spanish and learn how to be a missionary. After that she will be living with, and serving the people of the Dominican Republic until December 2013. I am excited and proud of Carolyn for her desire to serve, I'm also going to miss her.

My goal with this blog is to share my experience of being the mother of a missionary  and to share some of my adventures since I last wrote. Its May 20, 2013, I am 53, the mother of 6, mother-in-law to 2, grandmother of 3, and married for 29 years. The adventures just keep coming.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Interview do over

Like many people out there I am in the Interview process. looking for a job and trying to decide which direction my life should go. I took the summer off to enjoy my family and recharge. Last week I had a second interview. I feel like it went well but feel like I could have done better. I should have sold myself more, I should have let them know I was capable of doing the job, and I was the lady for them. I need a do over!

Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the interview...perhaps a little too much. After sitting down with the group of people in charge of hiring we started to chat. Turns out I grew up with one of their old girl friend, I was raised with the wife of one of their in laws, and one of their Mothers married the Father of my brothers best friend. Yea it was one of those Forrest Gump moments.

Even though I made those social connections and I have a pretty decent resume I could have gone in and made sure they knew I was the one for the job. I find out this week if my interviewing days are over, but just in case I failed I'll make sure to prepare like a politician next time, and turn conversations into opportunities to sell myself. "And by the way I just took a refresher course on Microsoft Office 2011", and "my best selling point is the time I have to put into a families grown and I have fewer and fewer distractions outside the office."

I went to a Bridal Shower this weekend and found myself talking to a women about my age who is also figuring out whats next. After going back to school she is in the process of trying to get into 3 different very competitive programs at a local University. We laughed at some of the options and directions we could go if we are turned down. She told me she may just apply to work at the new fancy grocery store opening up around the corner from her home, stacking apples sounded good to her and they have really nice aprons. I've looked at selling passes at the ski resort 15 minutes from my house (I'd get free and discount ski passes), and a front desk job at the Aquarium selling tickets and working in the gift shop.

I did manage to say in my interview, "all want is to get my foot in the door, I can do anything". If my future lies at this new start up company, at the ski resort, the Aquarium, or somewhere else I'm sure I will find a way to make my job just what I want it to be and take advantage of the opportunities placed in front of me. Stacking apples leads to management, and taking tickets at an Aquarium leads to feeding the Octopus and Penguins. Now that's a future, and a job my grand kids could brag about.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Getting in Shape for the Next Tsunami

I can't believe its been over 2 month's since the March 13th Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami in Japan. Like many of us it was a wake up call for personal preparedness. Images of the horror and video's of victims got me thinking..."would I be able to run , jump, crawl, climb, my way to safety if a Tsunami was headed my way? And would I be able to help others and not be the one needing assistance?"

I live in Utah so a Tsunami is highly unlikely, but that doesn't mean I won't be asked to push myself to my physical, emotional, or spiritual limits some time in the future to help someone in need or save myself. So I joined a gym. At 51 years old and after 3 years of limited exercise it has been a journey. Its been almost 2 month's of Spinning, Zumba, Water Aerobics, Cardio Jam, and Kick Boxing and I still feel like I just might throw up in class. Today some older lady told me my face was the color of my tan top, it was bright orange.

I have to admit some days I don't want to go, some days I make excuses and promise myself I'll walk the dog instead. I haven't lost any weight and my pants still fit the same, this is a waist of time. I should just give up! I remember someone once told me after I had my first child 25 years ago and I was discouraged at the shape of my post baby physique they said.."it took you 9 month's to get this way, give yourself at least 9 month's to get back to where you were."

I will never get back to where I was, age won't let me. But I can prepare and do all in my power to get ready for what ever is coming my way weather it be a Tsunami, Health Scare, Personal Loss, or what ever Life dreams up for me. Sometimes change and strength happens very slowly, and it has to happen from the inside out. Sometimes you will be the only one who notices the subtle differences, until that day when the extra strength is needed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Returing to Life After Your World Ends

Apparently May 21st 2011 is the end of the world, so says a Preacher from California. Its scheduled for around 6:00 pm Eastern time this Saturday. The end of the world has been predicted numerous times starting in 60 CE when some  religious scholars claim Paul had predicted the Rapture in his lifetime.

Since the Birth of Jesus Christ Astrologers, Popes, Mystics, Theologians, Mathematicians, Meteorologists and a variety of other Religious leaders have predicted the Second coming, The Rapture, Armageddon, and the End of Times. Some of the dates include 365 CE, 75 CE, 500 CE, 968, 992, 1000, 1033, 1147, 1179, 1346 the year of the black Plaque, 1406, 1524, 1669 ...and most recently 1914, 1918, 1929, 1925 ...41 ... 75...94, and 2000/Y2K.

I'm not sure how this end of world thing is suppose to happen but if it does apparently only 2% of the world's population is going to be taken to Heaven. That leaves the rest of us down here to clean up. We have had lots of practice, most recently at Ground Zero, in New Orleans, Japan, and across the Midwest due to Tornado's.

This weekend Floods are expected in many parts of the US and for those people their World is ending. There houses will be washed away and they will not only lose their homes and possessions, but will also lose their places of employment and jobs.  With any luck they will escape with their lives and be able to start over.

Four month's ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She had a double Mastectomy and started and aggressive chemotherapy regiment. She lost her hair and has spent the last few months fighting for her life. The world as she knew it ended in February but just last week she had her last treatment and is ready to start her new life as a cancer survivor and grow her beautiful straight blonde hair back. Who knows perhaps it will come back red and curly.

Most of us know with every ending comes a new beginning. Some Ends we choose and some Ends are plopped into our laps. So weather we chose to move our family across the country or our house gets washed away life changes, and when one life ends... another begins.

No matter how Saturday May 21st turns out there is work to do and I'm planning on being here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When Bully's Grow Up.

Bullying has been in the news for a while now.. Most recently a boy from Australia was captured on video striking back after multiple jab,s and injuring the bully. I can't imagine how the parents felt watching their boys in this video, shame, fear, disgust, or anger. I imagine it was a combination of all of those.

I was never classically bullied in school. I tried to stay out of the way of rotten kids. I did have to defend some friends that thought talking back was a good idea, my begging and pleading skills usually got us out of trouble. I did punch a kid who stuck me in the arm with a pin, and I chased a girl off a moving school bus (it was almost stopped and the bus driver had just opened the door) after I had warned her multiple times to leave my little sister alone. She never teased my sister again and that boy didn't speak to me for years.

As an adult bullying takes on a different form. Avoidance and steering clear of horrible people helps reduce the inevitable confrontations but unfortunately they happen. Yes it happens in our cars on the road and in parking lots, in the work place, in the neighborhood, and even at church.

My 23 year old daughter runs a dance school. She is a talented, gracious, sensitive young lady with her heart in the right place. When you run a dance school and work with young dancers you also have to work with the parents. For the most part parents are supportive of not only their child but also of the teachers and the school as a whole. Like in elementary, middle or high school Adult Bully's use threats, lies, and coercion to get their way, drag others into their sickness, and make them feel justified in their bad behavior.

Wikipedia defines "bullying is a form of abuse. It involves repeated acts over time attempting to create or enforce one person's (or group's) power over another person (or group) , creating an "imbalance of power”. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, family, the workplace, home and neighborhoods.

Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian combined with a strong need to control or dominate. Further studies have shown that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying. While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others can use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser him/herself feels empowered.

In such groups where the 'bully mentality' has been allowed to become a dominant factor in the group environment, a steady stream of injustices and abuses often becomes a regular and predictable group experience. Such a toxic environment often remains as the status-quo of the group for an extended period of time, until somehow the bullying-cycle should eventually come to an end.
Until or unless at least one individual who has at least some abilities to work with others, opts to expend whatever energies may be needed to reverse the 'bully mentality' of the group, the 'bully mentality' is often perpetuated within a group for months, years or even decades."
This week my daughter stood up to a bully parent and family. It wasn't easy and it will take time to purge all the poison that they have spread. I look forward to never hearing their name again, never getting one of their rude emails, never having to watch my 23 year old daughter defend herself against a man twice her age and his emotionally unstable wife.
The bullying ends today with the exiting of that family. Although with most bully's they will predictably rear their ugly head at some point in a pathetic attempt to take back some of the control they once misused. It only takes one person to expend whatever energies may be needed to reverse the bully mentality of a group, this time it was a 23 year old young lady who I am very proud of.

In Search of Signs of Spring

Its March and Spring officially arrived Sunday. The last few month's of winter have been a time of change. January is usually a new start for everyone but for me it brought not only resolutions but freedom from the 9 to 5 commitment of a job. I am happy to say  I have adjusted well.

February brought a much needed vacation with my husband, and the death of my father which brought me on another type of trip. March would be about Saint Patricks Day, some show's, a parade, a last minute float, and hope for warm weather.

I knew the adjustment to life after work would take some time and I gave myself 3 months. I'm letting go of guilt, searching for the perfect routene, and as of today gone back to the gym. It feels as if I'm coming out of some kind of a hibernation and shaking off the cobwebs not only out side my house but also inside my head.

I went looking for signs of spring today and found some green shoots emerging from the muddy garden. I even found some fuzzy little buds on the tree next to the driveway. Just as I made the discovery's the wind blew in a storm with just enough snow to cover the ground once again. Life tends to do that.

Tomorrow is another day and with it comes the chance to reveal fresh growth and opportunity.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cancer with a "C"

Cancer is a rotten disease. Its nice that now a days it isn't a death sentence like it was when I was growing up. A matter of fact any talk of Cancer was done in Whispers up until the 70's. It wasn't really shameful to have Cancer but nobody talked about it even once they were gone. 

My first memory of someone talking about Cancer openly was Shirley Temple Black. Yes that adorable curly top was one of the first people to opening admit they were battling Cancer. "In the autumn of 1972, Temple was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The tumor was malignant and removed, and a modified Radical Mastectomy performed. Following the operation, she announced it to the world via radio, television, and a February 1973 article for the magazine McCalls. In doing so, she became one of the first prominent women to speak openly about breast cancer."

I remember her on the Mike Douglas Show talking openly about Breast Cancer in 1973. I was 13 years old and never heard of Breast Cancer or for that matter much about Cancer at all. Back in 1973 Tobacco Companies were still trying to deny the link between Cigarettes and Cancer. Shirley Temple Black appeared on the Mike Douglas show 4 more times that year starting the National discussion on Breast Cancer. On April 23rd this year Shirley Temple turns 83.

My family has had its own run ins with Cancer. I lost both of my Uncles, and a grandfather. My husband lost 2 Aunts, a Grandmother, and his Mom 7 years ago.

Seven years ago my Mother in Law appeared to be healthy. She took a trip to Ireland with my husband, kids and I, and even took some of the other grandkids to England on a Harry Potter Adventure. By summer she was battling a resistant pneumonia and traveling between Arizona and Utah for Highschool graduations and visits with Family. In July one of her 9 sisters passed away, she returned to Utah and delivered a powerful eulogy. I remember as she and I squeezed into the back seat of our Saab on our way to the Cemetery she turned to me and said " Ceal I just don't feel well." Her stare scared me, my husband and I became really concerned.

After a brief return to her home in Arizona she scheduled a doctors appointment in Utah to see a specialist who could help her with her pneumonia. After her first visit when all the tests were administered the doctor turned to her and bet her 5 cents that there was no way it was cancer and scheduled her followup appointment. It was just what the family wanted to hear, but just days later she was rushed to an Emergency Room and given the diagnosis of Non-smokers Small Cell Lung Cancer. It was everywhere, lungs, bones, brain, organs... everywhere.

The diagnosis was hard to take but we were ready for the fight of her life, and our life. That's when we were given the news, we had 4 to 6 weeks. How could this be? We had come so far in Cancer treatment and she had been seeing doctors for months complaining of lung problems. 

When someone is diagnosed with Cancer you imagine being given a thick heavy book with pages and pages of information, strategies, operations, treatment, survival rates, and ultimately a cure. When my sweet Mother in Law received her diagnosis the family was handed that heavy book and told to turn to the last chapter. She passed away just weeks later in my home surrounded by family. 

The day before she took her final breath the nurses took me aside before they left and whisper, "don't be surprised if its tonight." My sister in Law and I slept on the floor of her room that night just listening to her breath. Some time after midnight her labored breathing woke me up and I turned to my sister in Law and told her I thought it was time. We quickly got my husband and my father in Law, and as I left the room to give them privacy my husband turned off the oxygen machine and they all sang songs and assured her as she calmly slipped away. 

That was 7 years ago this summer, it feels like it was just yesterday. All Cancer starts with a "C", a "C" for Cure. We've had 7 more years of research, 7 more years of lives being saved, and additional Chapters being added to that Heavy Cancer Book you get handed when you start the fight of your life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I was called Garden Poultry!!!!

While I was in my home town of Greenwich CT a couple weeks ago  I found myself in conversation after conversation about life in what was once a small town back in the late 60's and 70's. Life all over the country was slower and simpler back then, Greenwich was no different. Saturdays consisted of going to "the Ave" and just hanging out. During the summer the trip to the Ave came after you took the ferry  back from spending a day at Island Beach.

Like many memories they are fuzzy. And the name of the place where we got the most fantastic fried chicken and giant egg roles had escaped me for the last couple weeks until today. While I was visiting with family and was struggling with the name of  "the chicken place on Greenwich Avenue" they would  blurt out the wrong name, thus freezing my brain. I've been home for a week now and it came back to me in the whiff of the nose.

Here I was across the country in the mountains of Utah when I came out of the Irish Dance studio and like always caught  the aroma of Kentucky Fried Chicken across the street.  It was just the push I needed. My brain losened up just enough to hear those words down load in my brain ....GARDEN POULTRY!!!!!! Oh my gosh there it was, those words, that chicken, that smell, Yummmmmmm.....

Garden Poultry no longer exists like most of the stores on Greenwich Avenue in the 70's. Gone is Woolworth's, Mead's,  The Sports Shop, Pizza Palace, Baskin Robbins, Rodgers, Cheese Shop, Widmans Bakery, Pickwick Arms Hotel, Richards, Baskin Robins, The Country Store, Putnam Drug Store, B& G Army Navy, Carnival Card Stop, and around the corner Outdoor Traders.

Fortunately it looks like the Island Beach Ferry is still operating in the summer. Next time I find myself strolling up The Avenue after a day at the beach looks like I'll have to go to Starbucks.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Acapulco Baby...

Getting ready and planning a trip is always a mixture of emotions and excitement. First is to just choose a time that works, then decide on a location that fits the logistical criteria and available finances. Once that is chosen and tickets are booked it’s time to prepare. Since I have a little bit of an anxiety problem the next step includes some sleepless nights worrying about…well just about everything. When I planned my solo trip to interior China to pick up my daughter from a semester of teaching English I spent many nights repeating the fraise “what the H#!! was I thinking?”  By the way China was great even if my daughter did leave me standing in a remote Chinese Airport waiting for her to come get me for almost 2 hours when I first arrived.

Late January through early February was chosen as the optimal time for me and my hubby to vacation solo for the first time in….ah well I don’t remember. With only 2 of our 6 kids still living at home, and both of them being responsible teenagers we booked our 7 day trip to Acapulco in conjunction with my husband’s 50th birthday.

My night time anxiety was quickly put to rest as all my kids assured me they could take care of each other in our absence and my husband convinced me that tourists weren’t being decapitated in Acapulco, just local drug traffickers and gang members. So it was time to worry about the next item, the Bikini. I have worn a bikini all my life, I even wore one on a vacation to Saint Thomas 7 months pregnant. My maternity bathing suit was mysterious missing as I packed my bags the night before and there was no time to purchase tent style swim suit to cover my belly. So I wore my basket ball mid section like an accessory and ignored the stares.
Aging has introduced new challenges for me and my bikini, and wearing one has become more a sign of courage and defiance. I went ahead a picked up a new bikini at Costco and warned my husband of the impending disappointment of my failing physique when we would soon be sitting poolside in Acapulco. Luckily with age has also come failing eyesight and we would both be looking at each other threw a haze of Over 50 Eyesight. I also discovered that Acapulco vacationers did me the service of being 15 - 25 years older than me and even with thier saggy bodies wore tiny bathing suits with pride, even the men. Welcome to Acapulco Baby!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Lost on Memory Lane

Last week I returned to my hometown to attend my fathers funeral and catch up with my family that are scattered all over the US. It started the minute I flew over the New York City Skyline gazing out at the Long Island Sound. I had a story for everything that flew past my window. I haven't live in the Tri-State area for almost 8 years but it is still the place I call home. Before me and my husband packed up our 6 kids and headed west  we spent our last Sunday visiting every house we had ever lived in, in about 4 hours. We even visited the childhood homes of our Fathers in those few hours. Our roots go deep.

 As my shuttle headed up I-95 the familiar road signs pulled me back and before I knew it I was somewhere in the 60's. My first home town Larchmont came and went but in those moments I flashed back to the train station my father walked to every day for years, the Chinese laundry were he got his shirts cleaned and pressed, the apartment building where we trick or treated, the dentist that didn't believe in Novocain. We traded that suburb for a back country home in Greenwich just over the NY State line in 1968, I was 8 years old.

I grew up in Greenwich, I graduated from High School and its were I became an adult. After exiting the I-95  and driving down the narrow streets of Greenwich on my way to my sisters home I started to remember things I didn't even know I had forgotten. Every corner brought back more memories and I became lost in the past. The High School Football games, riding the ferry to Island Beach, Manero's greasy garlic bread, dancing in the park, that fried chicken on Greenwich Avenue, I was back somewhere in the 70's.

Just 45 minutes away is the town of Bethel that I called home for almost 20 years. I bought my first home and built my dream home there, had all 6 of my kids and put them all on the school bus for their first day of school in that town. The trip up to Bethel brought me so far down Memory Lane that after visiting with a friend who lived around the corner from the home I designed and built with my husband I slipped and found myself forgetting I lived 2300 miles away in Utah. I always laugh that after these 7.5 living years across the country I still dream from Connecticut, and when I close my eyes I'm back in my dream home on Falls Lane thinking of projects that need to be done.

After a week wandering through the corners of my mind it was time to return to my husband and children. Even though I have fond memories of growing up, and raising a family in these historical towns It was time to sleep in my own bed.

As the plane took off and the lights of Manhattan faded into the night I started the journey back. And after 4 hours and 2300 miles giant white mountains appeared under us and the straight lines of the grid street system of the Salt Lake Valley pulled me into the present.

Its fun to get lost and wander around old stomping grounds remembering were you came from. Its also fun to be found standing on the curb at an airport by your Husband and kids being greeted with hugs and kisses and a big Welcome Home.