Tuesday, February 28, 2012

12 Years Ago.

12 years ago today I was wanting my baby to come, yet hoping he would wait another 48 hours. I didn't want a Leap Year baby. I suppose it would have been fun if he had been born on February 29, but I'm kinda glad he wasn't. He's a March kid. And that's a fact.

Today we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house so Isaac could pick a quilt. Each of the grand kids gets to pick a homemade quilt when they turn 12. Isaac was so excited! A homemade quilt from Grandma and Grandpa! There were many to choose from. But when he saw this one, he knew it was his.
On an inside corner there is a tag with "Return With Honor". He is pretending to sleep. But deep down he is smiling! He loves his new quilt.
One more week and 48 hours and I will have a 12 year old. He is preparing to receive the Aaronic priesthood and be ordained a Deacon. I can't wait to see him pass the Sacrament. I think he can't wait to pass it! He is finished with his Faith In God requirements and will get his book signed. I can't believe my baby is almost 12.

I also can't believe our good fortune to have an extra 24 whole hours to use tomorrow. What are you going to do with all that time?? Sleep? Eat? Watch TV? Read a book? Wash windows? Do laundry? I am so excited to have 24 hours with which to catch up with my life. Or, maybe it will just be another Wednesday to keep up on. I guess an extra 24 hours doesn't really mean much. It's just another day. But I still think we should count it as an extra 24 hours with which to have some fun. So, what are you going to do with all that extra time??

Saturday, February 25, 2012

And The Award Goes To...

In the spirit of the Oscar's, which I don't watch because I haven't seen most of the movies, I just titled it like the Oscar's. But this really isn't like that. But I have 2 wonderful awards that need some recognition.

First. I am a Wolf Den Leader in our ward's Cub Scout Pack. I love my calling. I was told by my great friend and Cub committee person extraordinaire, Mandy, that I qualified for the religious square knot. So I looked into getting it. I found that there is a whole big time deal that can be done along with the religious square knot in the LDS church program. It is the On My Honor award. So I qualified and went through the interview with my bishop and on Thursday night at our Blue and Gold Banquet, I received this...
It's the scouting crest with angel Moroni. I love it. Daniel even got to come up and present it to me. The Young Men, aka: soon Isaac, can receive this award by earning their Star rank in Scouts and finishing the Deacon requirements in their Duty To God books by the age of 14. So my boys will be working on this award at the appropriate time.

Second. And only second because it happened on Friday. Isaac had his second Robotics Challenge Night. He partnered up with a boy named Evan. The challenges were hard! Hard I tell ya! Daniel and I were helping with judging and entering all the scores. Many teams didn't even get a blue award. And there were lots of white awards. Tough challenges. Isaac and Evan earned two blue, one red and one white. Pretty good scores all considered. So Isaac's total score from both challenge nights equals 100 points. That is a Captain rank. We're pretty proud of our Mr. Roboto.

All 3 kiddos begin the Goat club in March. We are pretty excited about it! And speaking of goats, Mama Cass' udder is starting to show. (Blushing) We are getting close. About a month or 2.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Under The Influence. Addiction.

I am under the influence of 2 very strong influences. Actually, I have a couple of addictions. And I feel I need to share with you. It will be a form of therapy for me to share them. They have taken over my life. I can't get anything else accomplished. I have fallen under the spell of 2 very potent entities. I have lost control. I need intervention.

1. Downton Abbey Can't get enough! I have watched all of season 1 on Netflix and will begin watching season 2 on line. And then my life will be able to move on. I am only taking a small break today because the Blue and Gold Banquet is tonight and I have stuff to do. But I am hooked. If you are, too, you know my pain. If you haven't begun to watch, look out!! It will take over your life! Only one thing trumps Downton Abbey. Only one...

2. Indexing

I read an article in the Ensign about indexing and then put the magazine down. I then got on to Family Search. But just for a moment. Then I took my first batch. Then it was batch after batch after batch. I can't stop. I will sit for hours and index. I have let laundry go. I haven't made dinner. I forgot to eat lunch. I know I need to shower, but I can't stop indexing. It has taken over my life.

I changed my mind about needing help. I really need to keep watching Downton Abbey. It is so so so good. I can't stop and I won't stop. And I will not stop indexing. I am addicted and find great Joy in extracting names of people who will have posterity looking for them. They then can find their names, dates, place of birth and/or death. They can complete a search for an ancestor and can then do the necessary work for them. I love Downton Abbey. But I love Indexing more! Try it, you'll like it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Boy And A Goat.

Sometimes a boy just needs a soft place to rest his head.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Back In The Pasture.

The goats earned being put back in the pasture for good today. Hi goats.
The reason is that they kept breaking through the gate Isaac had set up at the bottom of the deck. The deck has a bag of hay sitting on it. Too much of a temptation. After Isaac got the goats out back, he got the shop vac out. I wondered if he was planning to vacuum up the poop and hay. So I watched at the window.
He blew the poop and hay away. Just tidying up a bit.
So the deck and patio are somewhat clean now. There is lots of poop, I mean fertilizer, in the grass, too. But the grass will be ready for kids to go out and play in a matter of a couple months. And all the goats will remain in the pasture. Where they belong.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Fifth Job.

I figure I needed to get caught up on the Job posts. I don't know what happened there. Oh well. So let's get on to the next job.

I had just served a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And it was a Spanish speaking mission. So hey, I could use that on a resume. My sister Katie was to leave for her mission about 2 weeks after I got home. So we did some quick catching up and spent time together and she told me about the job she had just left. It was collecting for Discover Card. She put in a good word for me and told me who to talk to so I could get a job. I applied and they told me it would be a couple of months before they hired again. They would keep my application and call me. So I had to figure something out for the mean time. I was 23 years old, dirt poor and didn't have much of a wardrobe. So I went to Kindercare and got a quick job to fill the time and get some money.

At the end of June I got a call from Discover Card saying they wanted an interview. Yes! So I went in and was hired. My start date would be July 5. So I quit my other job and worked on a professional wardrobe and began training.

Our trainer's name was Kitty. Yep, like a cat. There were 3 or 4 men in the class and then me and another woman named Shelia. Shelia and I hit it off quickly and were friends for a very long time. In fact, she is the one who got me talking to Wife Beater guy's ex girlfriend about his violent history. The only person still there today is Shelia. She's a die hard.

In the training we were taught about the debt problems and what options we could give people to help and how to make money ourselves by helping them pay their delinquent bills. We read a lot, listened to actual collection calls being made, practiced a lot and, after a few weeks, we were ready to go out on the floor.

We were each assigned to teams we would be working on. We were all pretty well split up and that made us all especially nervous. One of the things our trainer did was to tell each of us what our strengths were and how those strengths would help us collect. For me she said this, “Jennie is going to kill with kindness.” Now one thing you must remember is that I am much crankier now than almost 20 years ago. So killing with kindness wasn't a stretch. There were some who didn't think I'd actually make it out on the floor because of my kindness. But I did okay.

I eventually worked my way up a little to other levels of delinquency. I did pretty well and earned great incentive each month. I also took Spanish calls after learning how to speak Collections in Spanish. I had an opportunity to be on a team of people who were trained to work with card members who were in the military. I learned quickly that asking for a delinquent military man's commanding officer was a great way to get a payment.

One of the things I heard every single day was “you can't get blood from a turnip” or “you can't get blood from a stone”. After getting this for a while I began asking the person if he was a turnip or a stone. Sometimes I got hung up on. Sometimes I got a huffy, sputtering response that ended in a hang up. So I gave up on that and began to just say “we aren't asking for blood ma'am” or even letting them know that they could get money by donating blood. Or plasma. Offering a side job of delivering pizza or getting a paper route were sometimes taken with gratitude. But more often than not, if you are in debt with one credit card, you are in debt with other creditors.

Many of the delinquent card holders were older people who got the applications in the mail and filled them out and sent them in. Then they bought groceries or medicine or dog food with the card. And because they are on a fixed income, the balance doesn't get paid. Others of the many delinquent card holders were in that very same predicament, but they were college students with no job. And the rest were people like you and me, with children and stuff and who lost a job or had a pay cut or who just got in over their heads.

Let's talk about cars. When I got home I drove my dad's hobby, the rotary engine Mazda RX7. It was a piece. Of HUD. I began work at 1:30 in the afternoon, so getting to work wasn't a problem. The problem was that I got off work at 10 pm. That meant a cold engine. With a cold engine I found this car had a noise problem. It would backfire. LOUDLY. So many nights I would leave the DC parking lot and backfire very loudly as I did so. Heads would turn. Every once in a while someone would duck. The next car I drove was a cute blue 4 door Geo Prism. With no guts. It took about 3 days to get to 60 mph. And that's with the A/C off. But it was quiet. Aahh. Peaceful. I paid my dad for use of the car but knew I'd need my very own transportation. So I saved for my very own car. After the wardrobe was furnished, of course.

My job supplied me with an income worthy of purchasing a car. After a couple years' work I had enough for a down payment, insurance and months of payments. I went with my sister Katie to look around. I wanted something quiet and fast. I fell in love with a lovely fast quiet green 4 door Pontiac Grand Am. I got in to test drive, put the A/C on high and went for an uphill road. It took that uphill like it was down hill. And with the A/C on! I bought it.

In that very fast Grand Am I got many a speeding ticket. But I loved that car. In fact, it's the one I drove until we bought the mini van after Sam was born. Now my love is a blue fast quiet and durable Dodge Durango. Fast. Quiet. What more could a girl want.

Okay. Back to the job. I was with Discover Card in Collections for just short of 5 years when I knew my whole life needed a shake up. I was 27, single, well dressed and bored. I had broken off recent datings with a polygamist and a wife beater. I knew I needed a change. My dad came to talk to me one night and said that there was an Allstate agent in Provo who was looking for an office manager who could speak Spanish and be in it for the long haul. He told him about me and said he'd pass the info along. I got the agent's card and planned to call. At about the same time, I knew I would be single for the rest of my life and was set apart to be a Temple Ordinance worker. I also was looking into moving to the Provo area and going back to school for a teaching degree. I gave my 2 weeks notice after being hired by Dave the Allstate agent.

Discover Card helped shape my post mission life. I learned how to work with people even though we would never be face to face. I also learned to work with people right in front of me. I overcame certain shyness and, though I killed with kindness, I grew a stronger backbone and desire to never be in any position to owe someone money while they profited from it. I gained compassion for those who suffer from bad financial choices but also gained a certainty that debt is a choice. I'm grateful for the friendships I gained while I worked there. Shelia. Natalee. Catherine. Christopher. Dave. Jana. And many more. Their life experiences and personalities and choices helped me determine how to live my life in a way that I wouldn't regret anything. But most of all, those almost 5 years make me glad I have the best job ever right now. Mom.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Really Hate When The Alarm Goes Off.

Do you get that yuck feeling in your gut when you hear the alarm? Is it just me? Even when it's on the TV or in someone else's house or just not time to have the alarm go off, I get the yuck feeling. Time to get up. Once I'm up I'm fine. It's just the jarring sound of the alarm. Or something.

Do your kids sing that I'm sexy I work out song? My daughter was singing it this week. She said the girls at school are singing it. I told her to stop. I don't like it. Then I had the TV on this morning and an M&Ms commercial had that song on it. M&Ms are harmless in my book, but now they've got that annoying song with it.

I recently lost a little bit of weight. Not enough for oohs and aahs, but I am loving the fact that I haven't worked out in over a week (until today) and didn't put any back on!! Plus I had pizza a couple of nights. And Olive Garden for my birthday. Woohoo.

I think the best exercise is Just Dance. It makes me sweat and I feel it in my muscles. Plus I can sing along. Great for breath control. You know, in case I ever spend mucho time under water or need to sing while running in place.

Speaking of sweat, you know, up in the previous paragraph, I know I've mentioned before that I sweat a lot. Like to the point of embarrassment. My Gyn told me to start taking Black Cohosh and see if that stabilizes my inner body temp control. I guess there isn't any control. So far I think it's helping. I don't sweat like I used to. July will help me know for sure, though.

In July we're going to Yellowstone. We are all excited! We hope we aren't so late in the year that we won't see animals. But if we don't have a run in with a wild moose or hungry bear I'll be more than happy.

My kids are hoping to get into the 4-H goat club in a couple of weeks. I am waiting for an informative phone call to see what the schedule is. I hope it will work into ours. If we get in, my kids will get to enter a goat or 2 in the fair this summer. Oh Joy!!

I went to Astro Camp on Monday with Isaac and some other 6th graders. I had to be a System Specialist. It was stressful but very cool. His class is in 7th place among all the school classes who go to the Astro Camp field trip. But still, it was stressful.

But so not as stressful and jarring as that darn alarm going off in the morning. Does it bother you? Or is it just me?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mr. Roboto Is In The House.

It came! It came! This has been an exciting week at our house. Isaac finally had all the necessary funds raised to pay his part for a Mind Storms Lego Robot set. It has taken a few months, but last Friday he did it. So the set was ordered on line and got in on Wednesday. He has been in robot hog heaven since. Here is just one small tidbit of what he's been doing. Honestly, the robot moves too fast for me to get a good picture.
We also have a couple of cousins staying with us this weekend. See Ruthie there? That's the perfect picture of the amount of energy in the house. Today we all went to the 4-H Fair and got to see lots of fun clubs that 4-H provides. We got information on the Goat club and hope to get all 3 kiddos registered for the beginning of the club meetings in just a few weeks.
With all this excitement I need a nap. And pizza for dinner.

Hey Grandpa... We are waiting for Isaac to get really awesome at all the fun and different things his robot can do. Then we'll come over so he can show it all off for you and Grandma!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Early Halloween.

I know that the whole picture here is frightening. But what I wanted to show is the scary in my eye. A couple of days ago I had a migraine and threw up. My eye apparently couldn't handle it and popped a blood vessel. It's seeped from the top of my eyeball down to the bottom.
My children say I freak them out. I've had people ask me what happened with looks of dismay and fear on their faces. I try to thicken my eye liner, only to look more scary. It's an early Halloween. In my eye.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Under The Influence And A Thought For Thursday.

Years ago I was serving as the Enrichment counselor in the Relief Society presidency in our ward. I worked with wonderful women in that presidency. One Sunday the president was conducting and was going through announcements and then said that I would give the Enrichment announcement. Only she forgot my name. It was funny and so I got up and said something to the effect of "we've only been working together for a year and she can't remember my name" ha ha ha. And then I announced.

When I got home from church the message light on the phone was blinking. So I clicked it on only to get a hang up. So I checked the caller ID and called the woman back. I was barely into my "what's up?" when she laid into me. She said I was so mean and that I didn't even see the president crying when I made the forgot my name comment. She accused me of being a Nazi bi---, oh yes, a Nazi bi---. She told me I had better apologize to the president in front of the entire Relief Society to redeem myself. I couldn't even respond before she hung up on me.

I got off and went to Daniel. I wondered why she was so angry with me. Later that day Daniel was on the computer and found an email from this woman. It went into detail about how completely awful I was and that I should be released from my calling.

Daniel left town the next morning. Thanks very much. So I called the RS president and asked her to come to my house please. She could tell I was upset and came right over. I apologized profusely to her for my comment and asked for her forgiveness. She was confused. She said she was laughing, not crying. Only she had a few cold sores on her mouth and when she laughed they broke open and so she had to cover her mouth and maybe that's what this woman saw and mistook it for crying. We talked for quite a while about what had happened once I got home the day before and when she left a while later I knew I hadn't offended her and that I really was a good person.

So as time went on, this woman went to the Bishop and told him that I needed to be released because I was so hard to work with. The Bishop had already spoken with the RS president and told this woman that there was no offense taken that day. That the relationship between the 2 of us was fine and that I was not going to be released.

So the anger in this woman bubbled for quite some time. She was released from her calling shortly thereafter so that I didn't have to work with her and the anger she had for me. I really struggled with this experience for a long time. I took the Nazi comment to heart and it effected the way I worked with the other women on my board. But then one day, about 2 weeks after the initial incident, the other counselor in our presidency came by my house. She knew I was still reeling and wanted to give some comfort. So we talked for a while and then she offered some advice that helped then and continues to influence my life now. So here's the influential comment and the thought for Thursday...

You can choose to be a duck or a porcupine. A duck lets all the water roll right off its back while the porcupine lets the water sit in between its quills and fester. It's better to be a duck.

I chose to be a duck at that point. I enjoyed the rest of the time I served in that calling. The word Nazi doesn't even come into play when I go through what or who I am. I am so grateful for that advice and the influence it has had in my life.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Older And Wiser?

So yesterday was my 41st birthday. On Friday I received these beautiful flowers from Daniel. Starbursts and Iris s. Irises. Iris flowers. Saturday morning Daniel and I went to the temple then came home, had lunch and took the kids to see a movie. The Muppets. It was fun! And then Daniel and I went to dinner. Sunday, the real day, was just the usual. Church. Then we had a family get together with Daniel's family. It was a wonderful weekend.
I'm one year older. And wiser too? I guess that remains to be seen. Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

So Put Your LIttle Hand In Mine...

Happy Ground Hog Day!

...There Ain't No Hill Or Mountain We Can't Climb...