Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Too Much Media, Too Little Val

Despite what you may think, my interest in blogging and social media has not waned.

It has been diverted.

I have had this blog for several years (back in the days when I wasn't driving and I was slowly losing my seizure-having mind) and I love it.  I love it like an old, pet cat.  Speaking of cats, you need one?

I am sort of stuck.

I talk.  I talk a lot.  Not as much as some, but definitely more than most.  And while I have all these words floating around in my head and they tend to just fall out of my mouth (like today when the Nebraska Furniture man delivered my new kitchen chair, he had been in the house a total of about 12 seconds and I randomly offered him some snacks and water--which he took me up on), sometimes even talkers stop talking.

Or run out of coherent things to say.

Life has been pretty crazy the last few months.  I know.  Everyone says that.  I actually don't say it very often, and certainly not as any kind of excuse for whatever of my area I am falling short in.  But it is true.

I retired from RYLA, after 10 years.  We had cancer surgery (Mr. Fun and I--two days apart--both benign).  I drove 4,859 miles back east.  Because I could.  I have been called as a photography missionary for the Mormon Church.  I have even made dinner a couple times in there as well as planned my country's 500 year anniversary party.  :)

Things are slowing down, although I have had a recent Facebook rant about those fools regarding the Miss America pageant.  As a matter of fact, I am going to put it in here so that when I print this, my grandchildren can read it sometime and think, "Man, our grandma is freaking cool":

Dear Miss America Racist Ranters:
First, unless you are full-blooded Native American, chances are you have some sort of ancestors who immigrated to this country at some point so that you would have the opportunity to sit on your couch and tweet your stupidity for the whole world to see.

Second, if you had gotten off said couch at some point to look at say, an atlas, you would see that the Middle East is about 2,482 miles from India. And that almost all Middle Easterners are not terrorists but folks who love their children, go work every day, and worship their God in the way they feel to be best for them.

Last, but not least, I have lived with, served, and love the Indian people. If you were not such closed-minded idiots, you would be proud to have a beautiful woman like Nina Davuluri to represent you.

Get a life.

While it seems to have fallen out of my mouth easily, it actually took some time to put together because I really had to think what words didn't involve swearing.  I am a missionary, after all.  The nice deal of all this is that some fella I never met named Jim put me on his list of Favorite People.  Which is pretty satisfying because little does he know that I have been working for years to get on it.  That, and the fact that I will never make the People Best Dressed List, so I will take whatever list I can find.

My life is so consumed with this photo thing and everyone who would read this blog should be reading the churchy blog (less swearing for starters--I mean SLC buddies in the Church History Department follow it so I have dial it down) because church is good for the soul.

I do love this blog because I can let it all hang out (like using that saying right there....what is hanging out and how much is all?). I guess I like to do what I want, when I want, and how I want.  Good thing my mom told me to look up my number for numerology (hello, Number 5) so that I could learn this about me. Otherwise I would still be following the directions of everyone around me, bossing me around.  I am a Gold and following like a sheep is one thing we do when we are feeling low of energy (I know this will only make sense to True Colors Rich L. and The Girl).

The bottom line is that I am not sure how much I will be updating this blog.  You can find me here:  http://www.theminimission.blogspot.com/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/whatthemormonmissionarysaw

I still collect my articles about Bob the Builders so no worries, the award that means nothing is still in play!  :)

Here is a little churchy blog to get you started:



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bob the Builder Award: Right Person, Right Place, Right Time

Got this on the Facebook this morning....couldn't say it better:

A special shout-out to Charles Ramsey, the hero accredited with rescuing the three women that were victims of kidnapping in Ohio for over a decade. When asked what he planned to do, with the reward money, he replied "give the money to those girls, I have a paycheck!" Feel free to laugh, but understand, his actions were courageous and the forfeiture of the reward is noble. May he reap the benefit of his actions in Heaven. Thank you Charles for showing us, you don't need a suit, tie or big bank account to be a hero. You just need to be fearless! Roger that! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Open Letter to Some Bomber(s)

Dear Bomber(s):

First, let me say I think you think you are pretty tricky.

I bet you are at home watching all this news coverage about Boston.  Probably eating some crappy Ben and Jerry's Salted Pretzel Ice Cream (the worst ice cream we could think of here in Andersonville), with your feet up and wearing your sweats.

Sweats you probably picked up at the local Wal-Mart.

Here in America.

AND to add insult to injury, you are probably smiling.

I could care less if you are from the US, from the Middle East, South America or Canada (which I have to agree those Canadians are just too damn nice to blow us up).

I could care less what your problem is.  Wait, I take it back.  For someone to blow up someone else, you have to have more than one problem.  And I guess, looking deep inside my humanitarian heart, I actually do care.

Which makes me mad.  Dang it, I do care what your problems are.

You see, that is what makes me different than you.
While it is true that I, too, am at home tonight watching the Boston stuff on the news, I am not eating Ben and Jerry's.  I am not wearing sweats (long undies and my bright pink Boy Scout shirt) and just finished two pieces of Melba toast.

And I am not smiling.

If you were sitting here with me, I would definitely offer you something to drink or some Melba toast.  Because that is what decent folks do....

consider others.

Not blow them up.

After your snack at my painted teal-colored table, you know what would happen next.  I would verbally have to have a "come to Jesus" talk (as my mother calls it) with you.

And I wouldn't be very Jesus-y about it.

It would involve some swear words (you have to remember I am convert to Mormonism so some of my heathen ways have stuck with me).  I might even feel like punching you in the head.   But I wouldn't.

Because that is what decent folks don't do (unless you are Darrell K from high school and you just ripped off the new refrigerated handle off my mother's new fridge....which of course earns you a punch in the face....but I digress...).
Keeping it real, it just plain makes me cranky that you think you have the right to be a jerk.

When, in actuality, you do have the right.  Here in the good old USA.  And my fellow Americans gave you that right.  Whether you are American or not.

I have heard hours of commentary about that folks that were killed.

I have heard about the victims.

I have heard about the runners who did not get to meet their running goals.  Who have trained for months or years to run this race.  To finish the race.  To cross that finish line.

Since you are watching this at home, you have heard it too.

People who have been robbed of their goals.  Dreams.

Who you haven't heard about are the folks like me.
I am not a runner.  The last time I ran was on January 26th, 2002.  It was a memorable day for me, so that is why I remember it.  So this it isn't about the running.

For me, I identify with those runners who did not make their goals.  Who have worked for years to make it to the finish line. And who may never get there.

My race is humanity.  And today, it makes me wonder if we will ever get "there."

What you did today, you did a pretty damn good job tearing it up.

I don't mean our physical injuries.  I mean our hearts.

Humanitarians are driven by heart.  Passion.

And hope.

So, when jerks like you come along and disrupt our peace, we reel.  We cry.  We get angry. We feel hopeless....but only for a moment.

And then we get even.

I don't mean physically.  Or militarily (sure that happens, but I don't make those calls).

I mean humanly.

We run 26.2 miles and run directly to the hospital to donate blood.  We offer our tiny city apartments for sleeping.  We give coffee.  We share blankets.  We pray.  We post on Facebook.  We stay connected with each other.  We climb over and tear down crowd barriers, running towards the bombs. We turn in helpful tips.  We look beyond our ourselves and our hurts to help the people beside us.  We get it done in the
moments we ache the most.

Bomber guy, you have only given us a temporary set back.  You have failed in your doing bad.

I feel sorry for you and your "sorry ass" (as my father says). Your Ben and Jerry's ice-cream-eating, sweat- wearing ass.

You cannot win.  I will not let you.

I will get up tomorrow and do good.  Because that is what decent people do.

Humanity will finish our race. And we will win.

So bite me.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The View From The Ditch

Remember this movie?

The Boy sees a psychologist.  

At the children's hospital that we attend  (that sounds like attending a concert or something equally as fun as that ...but wait, I recently sat through an organ concert that I would have gladly on any day of the week gone to my dentist for work on my teeth then sit through that recital again).  Let me start over.

At the children's hospital that we go to for the boy's health, they have a theory that you treat the "whole" patient.  We have a psychologist   Psychiatrist.  Nutritionist.  A LPN.  The doctor.  The biofeedback ladies.  A physical therapy lady and a social worker.  I am sure our insurance LOVES us.  Not.

So, because of the mental impact his illness has had on the formation of his personality and his development, I have had absolutely no problem using the insurance we have at a cost of  $277 a visit (bill to insurance, not us) for the boy to have someone else to talk to, besides me.  It has been a good thing.

Months have passed since we last saw her.  It was good to connect recently.

She said something that I have been pondering the last few days.  She said, "I am so glad to see you have climbed out of the ditch."  
I don't remember who said it first or when we had that conversation years ago.

When we were younger, The Boy and me, his illness consumed us.  And rightly so.  He was so young.  It was so hard.  And it was crushing all of us on Forest Avenue, not just him.  We lived at Def con 5 for so long, coupled with everything else that was going on (Tom, my epilepsy, Mr. Fun's cancer) that it was not a matter of if we would break, but a question of when.  We had a to develop some sort of objective voice in our life management, so we started with Mrs. D for The Boy.

A great parenting decision, if I do say so myself.  :)

She works with lots of "kiddos" with broken body parts, so we were right at home.

As the conversations carried on, we talked about how we were in our survival mode.  The analogy came up about tornado and how sometimes, when you have no where else to go, you run for the ditch.  

It was an easy analogy for him to understand, given we live in the outskirts of Tornado Alley.

For those of you who have not lived a spring in the mid west, the ditch is your last resort for safety when you have no where else to go.  The theory is that it is better to be in a low depression so that you aren't impaled by flying debris.  It makes it harder for the winds to catch under you.  Sure they can pull you out of the ditch, but you stand a better chance of survival than laying on the flat ground.

Remember when the truck drove into a ditch under an overpass?

Is the ditch ideal?  No.  Ditches are dirty.  You get filthy.  Ditches are unsecured.  Anything can crush or fall on your from above.  The sides are not stable.  They can collapse on our.  Some people have even drowned in ditches.  

All in all, if your life is so bad you are in a ditch to survive, you've got problems.  

Just ask the soldiers from World War 1.  Trenches they were called back then.

Where I grew up, we didn't really have sidewalks.  If I wanted to walk or ride my bike into town, I had to do it in the ditch along the main road.  It was bumpy, hilly, and took a lot of effort to navigate.  But when I finally hit the pavement at the Parker's gas station down the road, it was like winning the biking lottery.

The pavement was smooth and quiet.  It was level.  And maintained.  Someone had invested in that part of the road so that it was easier for others to use later.  

I love pavement.  Still do.  I know that I am not the only one from Soldotna who does.  I remember I was in a room full of Alaskans when we found out one of the longest dirt roads in our town had finally been paved (I was married with kids by then).  Funny River Road.  About 30 miles.  When we found out, it was like one of us had gone to the moon!  Everyone swooned.  Everyone awed. There was cheering!  It was magical moment that to the non-Soldotna native looked like "What the heck?  You guys are all jazzed up about a paved road?"  

To me, ditches and pavement go together like salt and pepper.  Ying and yang.  Truffles and dark chocolate.
A lot has changed since we climbed into the ditch initially.

Tom has passed away.  Mr. Fun is cancer free.  The Boy and I are finally seeing a light at the end of his academic and scout goals.  I have my epilepsy under control.  The days are longer in peace and joy.  While The Boy's health is probably never going to improve, we have found ways to manage him and it a little more consistently and successfully.
Mrs. D is right.  We have finally been able to climb out of the ditch.  The tornado is gone.  Sure, another one might come back.  In the mid west, they always seem to.  But for now, we feel the light on our faces.  Our dirty, messy-but-still-in-one piece faces.

One more thing...
Hey!  Did you hear that Funny River got paved?!  Woo hoo!