Showing posts from July, 2009

Little Known Facts About Me

I think these are fun to answer, mostly because when I go back and read my answers months and years later, it is interesting to see what has changed and what stays the same.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
8:30 am

2. How do you like your steak?
medium rare - pink center, not red

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
The Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince)

4. What is your favorite TV show?
I haven't been watching much TV but I do enjoy law-centered shows like Law & Order, CSI, Boston Legal

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Phoenix in the winter and Colorado in the summer

6. What did you have for breakfast?
I don't do breakfast.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

8. What foods do you dislike?
spinach and liver

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
It's closed now, but really like Abuelo's

10. Favorite dressing?
Depends on the salad. Thousand Island for Seafood Salads, Italian for Garden Salads, Ranch for Chef Salads


Week Ending 7/26/09

It's been a busy week, which has been good. Lots of good and bad news which I think evened out in the end.

Monday we checked email to learn of the death of our good friend, David Hibbert. Neil sent out messages to those he was in contact with from the "old ward". I love how they always refer to it as such even though the ward changed names, boundaries, and faces multiple times. I took Aaron and Daniel shopping and then Aaron went to spend the rest of the day with a friend. Neil picked up Derek and took him shopping. While they were out, he got the phone call from Chase offering him employment in their Collections Department. We are excited that he has a job and even more excited that it is with Chase. He will have his employment history back along with immediate benefits.

Tuesday I had an appointment with WIC with the little girls. This involved getting their fingers pricked to check iron levels. They were not happy with me. But we got through it and both girls qualify. Af…

Goals and Plans

The deaths of this past week have me thinking. I suppose it is common to become introspective at these times as you hear of the contributions of those now gone. It is not unusual to consider what you are contributing yourself and determine what type of memories you want to have shared at your own funeral. I don't expect mine to come for quite a while. I come from a long line of lively women.

My great-grandmother Bingham lived well into her 90s. I recall spending the summer between my junior and senior years of high school with my grandmother in South Carolina and my great-grandmother was bed-ridden at that time. She must have been sick because I knew she was there but there were no conversations or interactions with her on my part. My grandmother McNeil is now 93 and though she has had some bouts with cancer, she is still fighting. I had actually hoped to get out to visit her this summer but with the job situation, we had to delay. I'm hoping she'll still be around next sum…

Books I Have Read

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up? Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman X
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Total: 7

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

Total: 3

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 W…

It Takes a Village

Neil and I did some late night shopping and were headed home to unload groceries. It was just shy of 9 pm and as we are approaching our street, we see a little girl, about 7 or 8 years old, on a scooter on the sidewalk. A gold car is next to her and we watch as there appears to be some conversation, then the girl gets into the car. It's probably nothing, but it doesn't look right. Neil reads off the license plate number and we begin to follow the car. It heads south to Thunderbird then makes a right turn, heading west. We follow. The car switches to the left lane and we do as well. Right before 56th Street, the car switches back to the right lane and heads north onto 56th. We pursue. The next light is Acoma and probably the last street we are willing to allow the car to turn onto to return to the neighborhood before we call the police. The car continues north and I dial 9-1-1.

The operator asks for the emergency and I tell her what we have witnessed. We continue to follow the c…

Being the Better Person

I faced a conundrum. Two people had died and funerals were being held on the same day at almost the same time - close enough that I couldn't attend both fully. One person was the aforementioned "great man" who has been an important part of my family's life. The other person I had never met but was the mother of a sister in my ward. I can't claim that I have known this sister well or for very long - about the same amount of time as we have been in the ward. To most people, the choice would be obvious - go with the one you know. In fact, the information I had received via email was this:

The Viewing for Br. Hibbert will be this Tuesday night from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at our building. The Memorial services will be Wednesday at 9:00 am also at our building. Bishop didn't tell me, but I know the burial will be at the Mesa Cememtery. They may want just family to attend there - I don't know.

Unfortunately, Patty's mother's funeral will also be on Wednesday at…

When Great Men Leave Us

It is not often that one gets to rub shoulders with a great man. Most often you are not even aware of their presence on this earth though there are a few who are noteworthy enough to get mentioned in the paper or on television. Some leave a mark on your personal world through coincidence but occassionally, there are a few whose influence affects you to the core.

Being away from the computer and normal social circles, we came home from Thatcher to learn of the news of the passing of a great man. It was not unexpected - he had recently become extremely ill as his body fought off a cancerous invasion. But it was only two weeks prior that he had stood in Sacrament Meeting to bear his testimony and there hadn't appeared to be a significant change in his appearance nor his demeanor. He has always looked like an old cowboy and acted as ornery. Truthfully, I haven't known him that long. We moved into the ward shortly before Rachel was born so my association with him has been less than …

Visiting Grandpa

Cierra has been bugging us to go visit grandparents this summer. She has been particularly concerned about visiting Grandpa Taggart who died just a few months before she was born. We think it may have been triggered from her visit to the Veteran's Memorial Cemetary when we helped the scouts plant flags the Saturday prior to Memorial Day. She insisted that Grandpa needed a flag. So as we prepared to go to Thatcher, she made sure she had her flag and we promised she would get to go visit Grandpa.

Saturday afternoon we headed over to the cemetary. Grandpa had been cremated and a burial lot had been purchased. There is no headstone yet, but one is planned as soon as the estate is truly settled. We keep thinking this will be the year only to get last-minute paperwork. 2010 is looking good.

Uncle Ian showed Cierra where Grandpa is buried, Dad poked a hole in the ground, and Cierra planted the flag. Next time she wants to take flowers.

Week Ending 7/19/2009

It is definitely summer in Arizona. It is too hot to do anything - even sleep. It doesn't stop the kids from sleeping, which is nice because I can get so much more done when they're not awake. This week has been relatively boring, but we did enjoy a nice mini-vacation this weekend.

Monday I started training for a job which will allow me to work from home. It is mostly data entry and I am excited to be busy and bringing in some money. While at training, a man came in and said hi. I had one of those moments where I recognized the face and the voice but the name and the "why I know him" data eluded me. Once he left the room, I asked my trainer his name and everything clicked. I actually know his wife better than I know him and it had been a couple of years since I had seen either of them. After I finished up training, I ran by the library and switched out books and movies and picked up some of the kids' prizes for the reading program.

Tuesday I went back for some more…


I had relegated Facebook, MySpace, and other similar sites into a "For Teens" category in my mind. When Neil and I staffed on Wood Badge earlier this year, I kept hearing of how everybody was on FaceBook and/or MySpace. Then I kept getting invites to join Facebook. In an effort to keep such spam at bay in my inbox, I joined. Little did I realize that I was now going to get inundated not just by other requests for friendships, but inane comments posted to the Wall.

I have accepted friends from high school, family, previous wards, and online parenting groups. I have accepted friends who I have not talked to in real life in over 20 years, and some to whom I've never actually spoken to. I did draw the line when I received a request from my ex-husband. I figure that if he hasn't bothered to have a real relationship with me or his children since 1999, there's not much reason to pretend to be friends on line.

The relationships between my "friends" and me are not…

The Evil Picture

I'm trying to clean the kitchen. The three little kids are running to and from a duck game on the counter in an obvious effort to drive me nuts. It's working. I finally bark at them to quit running and then glance up to see them all seated on the hearth. Wish I had my camera. Rachel has clapped her hands over her ears in an obvious attempt to drown out my ranting. Cierra has her hands over her mouth as she has just shoved potato chips in and is trying to keep them from falling out. Nick is rubbing his eyes with his balled-up fists. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. Should I be offended?

Speak - By Laurie Halse Anderson

In an ongoing pursuit of learning and knowledge and having something in common with my children, I often read books from the Young Adult section. "Speak" is a required reading assignment for Aaron to complete prior to the start of 9th grade English. After requesting a copy from the library, I found the audio book so checked it out. He listened to it and when the actual book became available a few days later, I snuck off to read it before handing it over to him.

This is a short book - less than 200 pages - written from the viewpoint of a 9th grade female who begins the year unliked by her peers. Although the writer does not clue you in immediately as to why she is an outcast, clues are given and the reader can figure out the unwritten details. The majority of the book leads the reader to believe that the main character has quit speaking other than inside her head. She doesn't participate in classes and is perpetually late or absent altogether. By the end of the book and th…

Week Ending 7/12/09

The new schedule is not working well. I am still sleeping in later than I would like and the kids are being lazy as well. But we'll keep on trying. We are still making it to church on time so we're not complete failures.

Monday Neil did some job hunting at Chase and I worked on packing up stuff and sort of cleaning along the way. Tuesday Neil and I both went to a job fair that ended up not happening so went to the temple instead. You can read of my skirt-shopping exploits in a previous post. It was good to be back at the temple, especially since we had talked about going sooner and it hadn't worked out. Neil held his scout meeting while I focused on finding the floor in my bedroom.

Wednesday was more cleaning for me and Neil went to a job fair which did actually happen but was not very promising. We were supposed to get the carpets cleaned which is why I was looking for my bedroom floor, only to have the people show up and tell me that they were not a carpet-cleaning servic…


I got a message today from my dad. My cousin's marriage is off. They went to the courthouse to get the license and her fiance bailed. I can't imagine the pain and confusion she is feeling now. My heart goes out to her and I hope that this experience doesn't sour her on marriage.

How do you recover from this? The invitations have been sent, friends and family are ready to show up at the temple and reception, gifts have been bought - it's quite the embarrassment I suppose. What must people be saying? Hopefully very little and hopefully what is said is in support of her. But what do you say to someone who has been jilted like this? At least she found out now? At least it wasn't across the alter when he decided to say no instead of yes? At least she doesn't have to go through a divorce? At least there aren't any children involved? Nothing really seems right, does it?

I can't say I've been overly close with this cousin. I know she is one of three girls and…

Lost in Austen

We had a carpet cleaning scheduled for this afternoon. They would clean two rooms so I chose the dining room and the master bedroom. They have the most carpet. The dining room was easy. We had cleaned it yesterday in time for scouts and it was still in a reasonable state of clutter-free. I did have to re-vacuum, but that's not really surprising. The master bedroom was a different story. It has become the catch-all since nobody is allowed in our room outside of family. It's a fairly big room. It holds a queen sized bed with a headboard which has cupboards on either side of the bed, a couch, a dresser, a chest of drawers, two desks, an exercise/weight system, a table, and a bookshelf. That doesn't include the walk-in closet which holds boxes of books, knick-knacks, future Christmas/birthday presents, camping and hunting gear, and clothes. The room has become overrun with scout stuff, church stuff, school stuff, sewing stuff, computer stuff, and stuff which has no clear categ…

T - 1

Tomorrow is the scheduled sale date for the foreclosure on the house. Our realtor has been talking to them every day. He called this morning to basically say nothing new but that he was to call back in the afternoon. The afternoon call comes and we have been given a 60-day extension. What that means is we now have two months to stay in the house, continue to search for jobs, search for somewhere else to live, continue to pack up all the stuff we aren't going to need in the next six months but want to keep. It is possible that in that 60 days the bank will accept the offer and we will have some additional time for the house to close. They may accept the offer but the buyer will be long gone investing in something else. That will give us additional time to market the house and hope for another offer. Bottom line is we have some breathing room, but don't want to breathe too much.

Dressing Up

There was a job fair today. I dressed to impress - black slacks, white and red blouse with a black belt. I did my hair - nothing special, but a bit of gel and a hairdryer beats the normal air-dried look I go with. I printed out 20 copies of my resume. Neil mapquested the address and off we went. It took a little time to find the place. Mapquest likes back roads rather than the obvious route. The place didn't look like a job fair location, but in we went. There was no job fair today. We did get to hand over a resume and received a business card with the business' web site.
All dressed up and no where to go. Neil makes a comment that if I had worn a skirt instead of pants we could go to the temple. We had planned to go last week, but never made it. Probably my fault. It's too hot to sleep at night and too hot to drive during the day. But we're already out and instead of allowing my choice of clothing affect the ability to go to the temple, I suggest we go buy me a skirt.…

Slug Bug White

Yes, we play the slug bug game, but without the slugging. Aaron has long been teased for the ghost slug bugs he finds which no one else sees. He's a bit competitive. We actually had to ban the game because it was leading to fights. We're still not allowed to play on Sundays. The older kids don't usually play at all but the game is back on.

Nick: Slug bug white! Rachel: Slug bug yellow! Nick: There's no yellow slug bug. Rachel: Uh huh. Nick: No, you made it up. Rachel: No, I made it down.

Powers of Observation

You know, you think you tell your kids things. Sometimes I work on the assumption that if I know something, so do they. Take this whole bishopric change. We had been told by a couple of people of the change and I thought in telling Neil, I had also told the kids. Imagine my surprise when Daniel turns to me this morning and asks when Brother Bloom became the bishop. I could've sworn I'd mentioned it. But then I realize I must've been working with the principle of osmosis and assumed that what I knew, he did as well.

Did you know that Tweety Bird is a boy? Ummm yeah - doesn't everyone? Apparently this is another piece of information I had neglected to pass on to my children. And I didn't realize that families all across the nation were having dinner conversations based on the gender of cartoon characters and I'd been committing a social faux pas. Truth is I don't watch cartoons (much) and since the advent of DTV, I haven't been watching television at all. …

Week Ending 7/5/09

Summer has hit Phoenix. We were lucky that most of June was relatively nice especially being out in the sun for day camp. Now camp is over and we are trying to get the kids back on a regular schedule. Last week was a transition week as we tried to convince our bodies that we no longer had to stay up until midnight. We actually made it to church on time today so it must be working.

Speaking of church, we've had a change in bishopric. Our new bishop was the previous 2nd counselor and having worked with him through the various callings over which he was my mentor, I am still having troubles calling him "bishop" rather than by his first name. It also doesn't help that he looks like he's 15 years younger than me and my perception of him is more of a younger brother than the father of our ward.

I never thought I was resilient to change - in fact, I was always wanting to move a lot when I was younger and thought it rather unfair that my father had chosen a profession with…