08 May 2017

On the Occasion of Buying a New(er) Vehicle

Dear Big Blue,


I know it always irked you that I named you Big Blue when you were a big red Chevy suburban. Maybe it was my love for you that made me have to tease you. Three of my four babies took their first car rides inside of you. You made space for us when our family was expanding.

We have been through a lot of tough times together. Remember when we got stuck with the children at dinner time while we were trying to see Natural Bridges? My blood sugar was so low that I didn't laugh or take pictures. Remember the nice man with the broken arm and his sweet wife who pulled us out of the ditch with their Capable Truck? That two wheel drive was a bit of a problem for our relationship at times.


I feel like I should apologize for all of the stinky things I let my children do to you, when you have been such a mostly reliable vehicle. For all of the apple cores and crackers and smashed fruit snacks - I'm sorry. You deserved better. You gave us the best you had.

I am also sorry for the day I was so tired and so upset and tried to back out of the garage with the rear passenger door open. I'm sure that hurt.

Yes, you had your shortcomings. But the pauses you gave us had silver linings. Remember how another time when we were stuck, Alex and I shot a time lapse of the clouds rolling by? If you'd had four wheel drive, that moment of sweet serenity would never have happened.

Now it's time for us to part ways. I have loved you, Big Blue. I hope you find a good new home. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for taking us where we needed to go. Thank you for being my big red wagon full of happiness.

-Jen

21 January 2017

Independent

Or Why I attended the Women's March

First let me list two reasons which, though they brought other women, did not bring me:

1. I did not go to protest President Donald Trump. I am not thrilled that he won, but I support him as my president, and I feel glad that I live in a country where we can mostly agree to disagree. I was disappointed in the window breaking people.

2. I did not go to support the pro-choice movement. I take a nuanced pro-life view, in that I think women who are victims of rape, incest, or other crimes, or whose lives are endangered by their pregnancies should have access to abortions, and make those decisions with care providers. I call my view pro-adoption, because I don't consider this as black and white of an issue as many people do.


Last night, as I contemplated going, I had to decide why I was going if not in protest of the president. So here are my reasons:

1. Feminism is not an F word to me. While I have in the past identified as feminist, I now consider myself a Soft Feminist, because I value and honor the unpaid work women do as much as the paid work they do. I accept that their self-sacrifice and unpaid contributions to society cause them to be paid less over their life-time, and that many of them are willing to make that gift to society.

I also feel like Serious or Hard Feminists sometimes reject pro-lifers out of hand, and that is not for me. But I support women of all ambitions, whether their ambition is to raise and rear children, or to conquer the business world, or be the best second grade teacher in the county. I support them. And this march was (for me) about supporting women.

2. I am disillusioned by the fact that anti-immigration sentiment has taken such strong hold of the Republican party. I support immigration. I think our immigration court system is struggling, and needs fixing. Many people who come here legally lose their legal status not because they are bad people trying to evade the law, but because our system is underfunded and failing to serve them.

I feel like locking people out because they look different from us (ie building a wall between us and Mexico, but not us and Canada) is wrong. I prefer to tear down walls and build bridges instead. I also feel like many policy makers and their constituents are making decisions about these issues based on fear. If we are making decisions based out of fear, doesn't that mean that the terrorists are winning?

3. I have never been to a march before. Sometimes I get bored, and a March? Hey. Novelty! My friends were going. It was fun. A guy with an exciting nose piercing behind me said, "This is the first time I have ever looked around me in this town and not thought, 'I hate everyone here.'" How often do I get to hear someone say something like that? I'll tell you. Not often. Today was my first time going to a march. I didn't break any windows. I did not behave like a three-year-old throwing a tantrum. I walked about a mile, smiled, and waved. Some people flipped me off from their cars. Others waved and honked. The sun shined. I liked it.

God Bless America.

22 December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016


For Alex, 2016 brought an exciting trip through Yankee Doodle canyon in February, during which he at one point found himself under the water, holding his gear above the water, to get through a tight spot in the canyon. He had a very guilty look on his face when he got home, which gave Jenny great concern. He currently spends his spare time in the company of digital dinosaurs.


Jenny spent her early summer in Florida converting away from her previous distaste for all things Disney Park at Disney world. She started a position at a law firm as an assistant in the late spring and suggests that you all put any real property you have in a trust to prevent probate court for your heirs.


For Grace, the fall brought fifth grade. She is in the oldest class in her school. With some friends she has a Harry Potter Book group, which is very magical. She was a Holyhead Harpy for Halloween. Spanish is going great, and she crafts all over every surface of her life imaginable.


For Henry the year has been filled with his developing love for legos, as well as a major man-crush on his third grade teacher. He loves going to school, and his parents love that he loves it. When the word “persistence” came up for vocabulary, he was the only one in his whole class who knew exactly what it meant.


Scott's kindergarten teacher sent him off to first grade because he was reading too well, and now he has to go to school all day as a first grader. He seems to be adjusting to the new rigors well, although he misses some of his kindergarten buddies.



Kaleb's vast stores of energy amaze all who attend him. His favorite servant of choice at this time is his mother, although he is also frequently known to allow his father, his Aunt Sara, and other beloved family members to fill his needs.



We did have to cut down the lovely tall pine trees from our front yard this year after an accident in which one of them tried to attack our house, but failed. We have planted some Sycamores in their place, and we hope they will be better behaved than their predecessors. To fill the hole left in our hearts by the trees, we added on to the inside of our house. From that experience we learned that we never want to add on to house again, and feel compelled to discourage friends and loved ones from the same. Just say no to home improvement.
 
We hope that you and yours have the ugliest sweaters at your parties and the Merriest of Christmas Seasons. 

PS I would like to apologize to any paper recipients of this letter for the typo, which I discovered after sending half of them. I'm sorry. I love you all.   -Jen
 

03 October 2016

Juniper Berries and Rat Droppings

Or in other words:
How I spent my weekend.




















11 August 2016

What I did with my Summer Vacation

For many, many years, I went without ever going more than about a month without blogging. I also seldom left the house during the summer, and often ended the summer in my counselor's office. And then this summer happened. What was I doing, you ask? Well, here is a photo illustrated list. Before any of this happened, I got a job working three days a week as a legal assistant at Barney, McKenna, & Olmstead. (Buy all our playsets and toys and estate plans and litigations.) Without further ado, I give you: My Summer.

Traveling to Florida with these two of my favorite people ever.
Visiting the NASA Space Thing and seeing all the Things there.
Remembering to do my laundry. Laundry IS always with us.
Taking as many selfies as possible to commemorate our good fun.
Traveling to Outer Space. Where no man or woman has gone before.

Eating the most delicious Morroccan food in the Entire Galaxy. Period. 

Slapping Buzz Lightyear's hand away from my tush. Get a grip Buzz, and not there!


Then I came home from happy la la land in Florida, to the biggest mess our house and marriage has ever endured. 


I felt grateful that the previous owner's cable television cord saved Alex from a broken leg, neck, or even death, when he fell through the sheetrock during this project. 

I experimented with about 50 shades of beige. 

Blackberry season happened. I made mixed berry jam for the County Fair, and then forgot to check what ribbon I got. My quilt did get a blue ribbon. Thank you, that's nice of you to say.

I taught my sons important life skills on the Fourth of July. What does Freedom really mean, if you can't blow bubbles with it?


We attended a family reunion where my 84 year old grandmother was raised 30 feet in the air on this swing. She loved it. So did I.  The picture is me, not her, in case you can't tell.

We attended another family reunion, where all these guys played their beautiful instruments, and we were reunited with long lost family, and it was tender all around.

We attended another family reunion. Yes, that is three, and we realize in retrospect that maybe we should choose moderation sometime. At the third one this little one went fishing for the first time. We did not catch any fish, but the lake was very, very beautiful. As was the baby boy.
At the last reunion (still only the third - whew) we enjoyed the company of all of these hoodlums, and wished those who couldn't make it had been there.

Other things that happened this summer:
* I bought some Cutco knives. I made a cheese and tomato sandwich immediately after opening them, and it was a very, very good choice.
* Alex and his brother impersonated the Everly Brothers with a guy who does Roy Orbison in Reno and some other far away place.
* Alex and I went to Havasupai. It was the best.
*A bunch of other stuff that it is now too late for me to recall.

The takeaway for me this summer is this: Never travel and go to family reunions and remodel your house in the summer again. Focus on the important things, like posting on your blog, and not leaving the house. Your therapist loves and supports you, and she probably misses you this year.  

11 May 2016

On the Subject of Children Growing Up

My daughter turned 10 recently. I don't really know how that happened. I have been a mom for a decade.

For Grace's birthday, she wanted to get her ears pierced, and some of her close cousins came along and got their ears pierced as well. She said it was so much better with them there, and with them doing it, too.

Her aunt came in at the beginning, and I started chatting with her about the earrings. The savvy beautician caught Grace by surprise, and before I had a chance to turn and watch, I missed the actual piercing.

Sometimes I worry that this sort of thing, the thing where I blink and miss a life changing milestone, is the story of my motherhood.

Let's hope not, because seriously, look at this girl.