Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Has it come to this?

One of the first emails I opened this morning was from Oak Norton, the guy who exposed the leftist leanings of the administration of the Alpine School District. I think I've posted a link to his website here a few times (www.utahsrepublic.org) a few times. He keeps on top of important issues here in Utah, most of them dealing with the schools, and he periodically sends out emails on these topics. Our legislative session ends next week, so today I wasn't too surprised to see an email from Oak asking people to contact their reps and senators about three pieces of legislation still needing to be acted upon. The first one on the list is on the list is: HJR 5 - Joint Resolution on Parental Rights and Fundamental Liberty. I clicked on the link to check out the resolution, and the first thing that jumped out at me is that the primary sponsor of the resolution is none other than my own Utah representative, Chris Herrod, whom I am supporting in his run for the U.S. Senate. This resolution urges congress to propose the Parental Rights Amendment to the states for ratification in the U.S. Constitution to protect the rights of parents in raising their children.


It takes my breath away to think that our country has come to a point where we have to consider getting the states to pass resolutions or bills to try to add a specific amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the rights of parents to have the primary say in the raising of their children. Did you know that a sophmore Utah representative, Carl Wimmer, wrote the legislation that became the tool by which the 26 states have been given standing in the case now before the Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare? Without that legislation, almost certainly there would be many fewer states who could have been included in that case.

I don't know what the chances are that Chris's resolution will pass (and thus beginning the process of process of garnering support amongst other states to write such an amendment), but the fact that we have to even consider it is appalling to me. And I'm so grateful for forward thinking representation in our state legislature.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

He who can’t understand your silence will not understand your words. ~Unknown

Sometimes words won’t come, or the words that do can’t express what one wants to say. Sometimes the words are there, but cannot be spoken and must remain locked in one’s heart.

That’s when listening with the heart is the only way to hear.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Family

Brody, Carter, Gayle, Bill and Kennedy.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Poetry in Motion

Sitting on the sidelines of a soccer field today watching Kennedy guest-play on a team coached by Gayle's college roommate, I overheard some people behind me talking. Kennedy's name had been mentioned.

"Who's Kennedy?" one asked.

"She's a guest player. She's the little fast one."

I smiled to myself. Yep. That pretty much describes 11-year-old Kennedy. She was definitely the smallest player on the field, and a year younger than most, if not all, of the other girls. But fast she is. She runs like a gazelle. She leaps across the field, zigzagging to wherever she needs to be. If you blink, you may miss her.

Kennedy was a full term baby, but she weighed under 6 lbs. She was born screaming. Feisty. But sweet. Determined. But kind, and champion of the underdog. Unless the underdogs are the opposing team. Then, not so much. She likes to win. As a baby and toddler, she earned the nickname of "Houdini" because she could escape any restraint, which has translated to being able to slip through small openings in packs of aggressive soccer players with the ball in her possession, and "Mighty Might" because of her sheer determination at anything she attempted. There was no stopping her. There still isn't.

At another soccer game a few months back, I overheard a teammate's father call her "The Streak".

Today, she earned that nickname again when a teammate who was being pressed on the other side of the field passed the ball to Kennedy. She seized the ball in the open, moved like a flash toward the goal and launched it over the goalie's head into the net. Her grace and agility, the ease with which she moved, the absolute perfection of her lithe body, brought tears to my eyes. Poetry in motion. That's Kennedy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Picky, Picky

I told her I wasn’t picky. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that isn’t true.

On a whim, I walked into the hair salon next to where I work out in the morning. I love the girl who has been cutting my hair in her home for a few years. She is a sweetheart and gives a good haircut at a reasonable price. I wasn’t really shopping for a new stylist, but when I couldn’t reach her the last time I needed her (for a couple of weeks), I panicked and started looking around, “just in case”. She did finally return my calls, and cut my hair. But the seed was planted: I need a backup.

So back to picky. I told the girl at the desk I wanted to schedule a haircut with someone who can cut thin hair and make it look good. I have cowlicks, too. I told her I wasn't picky. Jana will cut my hair this afternoon and we’ll see.

When I left the salon, I realized I really am picky. Yes, I want a good haircut, but I really want more than that. I want new hair…thicker, that’s more brown than gray that doesn’t have to be “touched up” from a bottle. I’ll keep the gray streak in front, it’s kinda cool, and I earned those little badges of courage one at time. I want a new face. You can leave the smile wrinkles, but I’d really appreciate your erasing the frown wrinkles. I want a new body, too. Younger, thinner, the way it was about 40 years ago. I’ll keep my stretch marks from pregnancy -- they are reminder of the wonder of new life. I’m willing to work for the thinner part. I know there are no free lunches (oops, the food reference just slipped in there).

So Jana, we’ll start with the new hair style today, but let’s be thinking about the rest, ok?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Experiment

Leroy was never my favorite person at work. In fact, for a long time, he was my least favorite. But, in the end, he taught me an important lesson, and I will always be grateful.

The mini-man, missing only the hand-in-the-front-of-the-jacket portion of a Napoleonic pose, flung open the glass entry door of the NCR branch office at 2116 Madison Avenue and passed the front office staff without a word or glance. We ignored him, too, because we had learned that as often as not, an encounter with Leroy could suck the sunshine right out of one’s day.

Leroy was a senior cash register salesman, with his own territory and expense account, and from time-to-time, a junior salesman working under his supervision. In his 50’s, he was several inches under six feet tall, somewhat stout though not fat, with graying sandy-colored hair. His wife, Jane, was perhaps a little taller than he, a pleasant woman, a necessary recipient of my pity. They had no children, but Jane was a stay at home wife, and she occasionally shared recipes with us office girls.

I was in my early 20’s, young, holding my first real job, burdened with the mistaken notion that we respect those older than us or in positions superior to ours simply “because”. Leroy displayed no compunction claiming that counterfeit respect. The truth was, I was afraid of him. Better to be ignored by him than engaged by him. More than once he had reduced one of us in our office to tears by bullying over some unimportant matter. I had succumbed to one of his tirades myself. Although Irma, the branch manager’s secretary and big sister figure to us younger girls, armed me with protection (don’t cry, get mad!), I found that my best defense was simply to look through Leroy as if he didn’t exist.

I ignored his self-important entry that day as I did most. But once again, after he had passed by, I felt a niggling, uncomfortable feeling that as unpleasant as he was, I didn’t enjoy disliking him. Our worst encounter was at least months, maybe more, behind us. The emotional pain he had inflicted was now not even a dull ache, but just a subconscious bad memory. Still, the sight of him reminded me that I was not on good terms with all people. A thought came to me, I wonder what he would do if I was nice to him. I decided to experiment.

The next day he again blasted through the front door and marched over to the cabinet at the counter where we filed salesmen’s mail and messages. He snatched a handful of small pink telephone slips from his folder, put on his reading glasses and began shuffling through them.

Mustering up courage with a silent deep breath and my best casual voice, I ventured, “How was your day, Leroy?” He went on reading for a few seconds, then looked up at me, tilted his head down and glared at me suspiciously over his glasses. “Why do you ask?”

I shrugged. “No reason, just wondering how it went. You were in Port Clinton today, right?”

He hesitated, seeming to weigh the possibility that I had ulterior motives. Evidently convinced that was not likely, he replied, and we momentarily engaged in casual conversation about the customers he had called on. And then he walked down the hallway to his office.

Well, that was interesting, I thought. He was almost pleasant.

Each time I repeated the experiment, it became easier. There were no further brow-beating, humiliation-inducing outbursts directed at me or at anyone else amongst our office staff. Leroy had been disarmed by kind words. My feigned interest in him became genuine after awhile, and when he passed away suddenly a few years later, I was truly saddened. He had become my friend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm still alive

But you'd never know it by checking in here. I'm so bad. This won't count as a real honest-to-goodness blog entry because it's going to just be stream of consciousness. So if you bore easily, move along. This will be boring.

I'm cleaning the basement storage area. Well, only as a second thought to what I'm really doing down there: looking for something I wrote in 1995. I'm sure it's in one of those boxes marked "old files" or "family history" or "misc papers". There are several of those. I'm almost sure I saw the needed 1995 paper the last time I perused some of those boxes about 4 years ago. And I'm under pressure to find it. It's for Bob, for his retirement.

As I was mining the boxes, I came across one marked "old calendars and other stuff" or something like that, and found many years worth. Do you keep old calendars? Why do I? Is it something deepseated like throwing out the calendar is like erasing those years? I keep a journal, so there is probably a record of the important things I did on particular days. But the calendars show the daily grind stuff. Ok, I may never look at them again, but it's really hard parting with them. The one from 1978 -- I remember the calendar well and recognized it on sight: was given to my by Missy Long, a dear friend from Ft. Hood -- on that calendar are recorded all but the first appointment that I had with the missionaries who taught me the basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. June 17 is marked "quit smoking" (past tense). I remember that night. Elder Poulsen asked me to remove the cigarettes from the package, tear them up and flush them down the toilet. Then he asked me to autograph the package and give it to him. July 20 is marked "Baptism 8 PM" The beginning of a new life. The calendar is the tangible evidence of those sweet days. The writing on the tablet of my heart is still there, too, but can't be touched by my hands or seen with my natural eyes.

I'm going to bring one box of "old papers and family history" upstairs to go through sheet by sheet because it's the most likely to be hiding the paper I'm looking for. I removed the lid and found a stack of research, documents, notes, and memorabilia. If one sheet at a time is removed and placed into a file cabinet that I already have set up to organize such things, that's one box that won't have to go back into storage. That will make more room for a box of newer treasures.

Where's my sister when I need her? She's so good at throwing out. I even tried to call her to ask her "permission" to get rid of a bunch of old table linens that belonged to Aunty Mary and Grandma. I know I'll probably never use them again, if I ever have. I mean, there are probably more than 50 cloth napkins of many varieties. Place mats. Beautiful old linen tablecloths that are way too large for the table I have, but that I would hesitate to use anyway because ironing them is a major project. Stuff I haven't used in at least 10 years. Kathie would say, "Get rid of it, Pam." Period. No discussion. That would make it easier.

I think I need a nap.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fighting the Mid-winter Blahs

How often do we end a brief, casual conversation with a friend, "Let's get together soon," or "We'll have to get together," and then forget to follow up on that great idea? I'm sorry to say I do far too often. Intentions are sincere, but life gets busy, or the doldrums set in, and the phone call just doesn't get made.

In December, Lynne and I ran into Venise in Costco, a friend from our neighborhood who I haven't had much of a chance to visit with in the past several months. She and her husband were in the middle of moving out of our immediate area, fortunately only about a half hour away. Still, it wouldn't be the same not to bump into Venise at church or at Day's Market down the street from time to time. I said, "We really need to get together for lunch one day soon." We all agreed, and said maybe in January, after the move and after the holidays.

A week or so ago I bumped into Helen, a mutual friend of ours, and caught myself saying the same thing, "Let's get together for lunch soon." And the conversation with Venise came back to me. I knew I had to follow up.

Today we met at Brick Oven -- Venise, Helen, Lynne, Cindy, Annette, Faye and me. Annette, who we call the Cupcake Lady, came with a cute woven vine basket filled with attractive and yummy chocolate cupcakes decorated with tiny red hearts on the generous chocolate frosting wrapped in clear plastic cups and cellophane bags tied in festive red ribbon. (Weight Watchers points value? Have no idea, but surely there's a rule somewhere that says if it's from a dear friend at a special lunch, there are no points.)

We had asked for a round table so that we could all take part in every conversation (Grandma always said I was afraid I'd miss something, and I guess she was right), and they put us in the back corner of the Banquet Room. Hmmmm, I wonder if we looked rowdy. Here's our cute waiter, Kris. You can ask him.

We spent an hour and a half visiting and laughing. A little "problem solving", too, like helping Annette to find a good ring tone for her cell phone, and talking about fun places and activities for this summer's Youth Conference. But an hour and a half really isn't enough time, so we talked about making this a monthly gathering. There's nothing like good friends to blow away the mid-winter blahs. Come spring, maybe we'll be meeting out on Lynne's yard swings.

Kris was still smiling when we left and helped us out by taking our picture, so maybe we weren't too obnoxious.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why I love snow

1. I can see where my kitties go when they don't know I'm watching.

2. It's white. I love white.

3. It's pretty on the tree branches.

4. It covers the brown grass of winter.

5. In Utah, it fills the reservoirs so we will have much needed water the rest of the year.

6. It gives me an easy way to exercise -- at least when I shovel snow, I'm actually accomplishing something.

7. It makes skiiers and snowboarders happy. I am neither, but if I were, I would "love" snow even more.

8. Snow provides good picture opportunities.

I'll add more as I think of them... please feel free to add your own reasons in the comments section.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Learning from History

Subject: Cry for Me, Argentina

From an email, author unknown

Think, remember....

In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain 's maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world's industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world's second-most powerful economy.

It was blessed with abundant agriculture, vast swaths of rich farmland laced with navigable rivers and an accessible port system. Its level of industrialization was higher than many European countries: railroads, automobiles and telephones were commonplace.

In 1916, a new president was elected. Hipólito Irigoyen had formed a party called The Radicals under the banner of "fundamental change" with an appeal to the middle class.

Among Irigoyen's changes: mandatory pension insurance, mandatory health insurance, and support for low-income housing construction to stimulate the economy. Put simply, the state assumed economic control of a vast swath of the country's operations and began assessing new payroll taxes to fund its efforts.

With an increasing flow of funds into these entitlement programs, the government's payouts soon became overly generous. Before long its outlays surpassed the value of the taxpayers' contributions. Put simply, it quickly became under-funded, much like our Social Security and Medicare programs.

The death knell for the Argentine economy, however, came with the election of Juan Perón. Perón had a fascist and corporatist upbringing; he and his charismatic wife aimed their populist rhetoric at the nation's rich.

This targeted group "swiftly expanded to cover most of the propertied middle classes, who became an enemy to be defeated and humiliated."

High taxes and economic mismanagement took their inevitable toll even after Perón had been driven from office. But his populist rhetoric and "contempt for economic realities" lived on. Argentina's federal government continued to spend far beyond its means.

Hyperinflation exploded in 1989, the final stage of a process characterized by "industrial protectionism, redistribution of income based on increased wages, and growing state intervention in the economy..."

The Argentinean government's practice of printing money to pay off its public debts had crushed the economy. Inflation hit 3000%, reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. Food riots were rampant; stores were looted; the country descended into chaos.

And by 1994, Argentina 's public pensions -- the equivalent of Social Security -- had imploded. The payroll tax had increased from 5% to 26%, but it wasn't enough. In addition, Argentina had implemented a value-added tax (VAT), new income taxes, a personal tax on wealth, and additional revenues based upon the sale of public enterprises. These crushed the private sector, further damaging the economy.

A government-controlled "privatization" effort to rescue seniors' pensions was attempted. But, by 2001, those funds had also been raided by the government, the monies replaced by Argentina 's defaulted government bonds.

By 2002, "...government fiscal irresponsibility... induced a national economic crisis as severe as America 's Great Depression."

We've seen this movie before. The politician's populist plans NEVER work, because power corrupts and government bankrupts everything it touches. For those that will listen, history shouts over and over that we cannot sustain the wild spending and government takeover of business, banking, health care, and continue to inflate unfunded entitlement programs! Like history tells us, it will be utter and complete disaster!!!

Today's politicians are guilty of more than arrogant stupidity; they are enslaving future generations to poverty and misery. And they will be long gone when it all implodes. They will be as cold and dead as Juan Perón when your children and grand children must ultimately pay for the blind arrogance of politicians!



This may be an oversimplification of a very complex history of a nation. Still, I think Edmund Burke's statement, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it," is worth considering, not just with the Argentine example, but with all world history.