No, not me... Jeff. On this milestone in his life, Jeff had to work a full ten hour day, but still left some time to have a birthday dinner at Tuscany Restaurant. I had been planning a big, fun, party with friends and family for a few weeks, but Sandy City decided otherwise, and my plans had to change at the last minute. We were going to gather funeral style to pay respect to the "nearly departed", with a Eulogy and a nice musical number, Dust In the Wind, played on kazoo by Mindi and Kaylee. I guess this is one of the hazards of renting a place for a party instead of having it at home! Apparently refinishing the floors was more important than taking my money (yes, I'm bitter). After a a tantrum or two, and some tears of frustration, I decided to reserve a table for dinner instead. I also decided to whittle the guests down to just Jeff's parents, his brother and wife, sister and husband, and Brit and Kaylee. Tuscany has fabulous food and a nice atmosphere so I was pretty sure nothing too big could go wrong.
Jeff got a few funny gifts this year including adult diapers, a can of pork & beans labeled "Over The Hill Bubble Bath", a Bingo game, and some cute homemade things from Kaylee. Instead of one birthday cake, we got everyone a bundtlett from Nothing Bundt Cakes- so yummy!
Happy 40th birthday old man! We love you!!!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Disclaimer: girlie post.
I'm probably not going to blog about all the books I read in my book group, I am going to blog about "Peony In Love." Peony was supposed to be September's book and we finally had our discussion of it last Thursday. When I started reading, I thought we were reading an epic love story, based on true events (as true as any historical account can be), and when the main character dies after just a few chapters, I put the book down in disgust! To be honest, I'm not a fan of romance novels to begin with, so ghost romance is way down there on my list of stuff to read. Luckily I decided to pick it back up again and finished it anyway. Peony was not the best book I've ever read, but it reminded me of some really important issues... namely the struggles we face/have faced simply because we are born female. It reminded me of how far we have come, but also of how much things haven't changed over the ages. Peony is set in 16th century China just after the Manchus invaded in what they called the Cataclysm. Women had been, for centuries, valued only for their beauty and their ability to produce sons. In order to be considered beautiful and refined, they had to start mutilating their bodies at a very early age. Foot binding was practiced and continued to be practiced in China clear into the 20th century. Yet, women had been writing poetry and had been published by men in China for a thousand years before this time. A strange juxtaposition I thought. So it got my mind turning in a couple different directions.
How much different are we today? What are we, as women really valued for in our "modern" society? If we have become so enlightened and liberated, why do we still continue to mutilate our bodies in the name of beauty? Especially when we know that beauty is so fleeting. True, we don't bind our feet, but we all know what I'm talking about here. And is it possible that our obsession with physical beauty has been our own greatest enemy on our path to equal rights? These are just questions I've had, not conclusions I've actually come to believe. I'm also not absolving any other party from their blame in the oppression game.
Yet, I think we women know that only a handful of us will be remembered through the ages based on our physical beauty. Often those are the women who die young. I believe what we really want in the end is to be heard. Whether it's through the stories we tell our children, our writing, the canvas, in song or deeds, we want to leave something behind. So it made me think that if we are going to continue to push for anything, maybe it should be for our freedom of expression. The freedom to be the women we each WANT to be. The freedom to put our desires into action or art.
Reading Peony reminded me how many women who, at this very moment, still do not have a voice. It reminded me how much I don't say because I'm afraid somebody may not like it, I might offend someone else. Well, at least I have that option! And if I did decide to voice my opinion (and don't get me wrong, I voice it often enough) the worst thing that would happen is that someone might disagree, someone might not like it. So keep talking ladies, keep telling our stories, and keep your opinions coming, because these things will be our legacy.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I should WANT to blog about our trip to Moab last weekend. It's only my favorite place on Earth, except maybe the Caribbean, I think I'd have to visit the Caribbean several more times before knowing for sure (for Jeff in case he's reading). But I'm typing this post simply to record that we made this trip, for later remembering. I think my reluctance is mostly due to writer's block. Do you have to be a writer to get that? And maybe because I'm dog tired this week. As I type, Brit is watching 2001: A Space Odyssey in the same room. Has anyone seen this movie? Who made this crap, and what were they on? I'm just saying that it's done nothing but add to my distraction.
Last Friday we hitched up the new trailer and headed for Moab, Utah for a short weekend with Jeff's brother and family. In the past we've always had a Jeep and spent most of our time Jeeping with some eating and hiking mixed in. Well, that's not entirely true... our first year or two we also did some gnarly mountain biking trails. This trip we were Jeepless, bikeless, and showing our advancing age- I guess, because we spent most of our time eating and sitting around playing games at the campground. And you know what? It was a perfect weekend! I think I needed a nice, relaxing, day or two away from the house and my regular responsibilities. It was nice to have time to spend with Scott and Polly and their kids. We were able to leave the kids at camp so that the growed-ups could have a quiet, growed-up kind of lunch. On Saturday we hiked and scooted our way through the Watering Hole hike (the trail is unnamed, so we gave it that name) with six kids and two dogs.
The weather was perfect for hiking... not too hot, not too cool. The only two issues I had with our weekend in Moab were that it had to end, and that the lense on my new camera has crapped out on me, so I didn't get many pictures. And isn't Moab one of the most picturesque places to visit? Kaylee got a few with her little camera so that I could have some filler for this ill-constructed post.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I think I've been tagged for this... right Amy? And while I really quite like being tagged, it also reminds me of how boring and small my life is! Crazy sounds right, but crazy threes tag would probably have been just about right! I'll give it my best shot to fill in all eight without having to make stuff up :)
Eight favorite t.v. shows
My Name Is Earl
CSI (the Las Vegas one)
The First 48
Dr. G Medical Examiner
No Reservations w/ Anthony Bourdain
Little People Big World
Eight Favorite Restaurants
The Melting Pot
Eight things I did yesterday
Ate breakfast outside looking at the red rocks of Moab
Packed up our trailer
Spent four hours driving home from Moab
Watched "Uncle Buck" in the car with the kids
Opened several Vanilla Cokes for Jeff
Ate a frozen burrito while feeling sorry for myself for having to leave Moab
Watched t.v. while feeling sorry for myself for having to leave Moab
Finally snapped out of it and went to bed
Eight things I love about fall
I love that it's not winter yet
All the fresh harvest foods
The turning leaves
The smell of smoke in chimneys (yes, even in the city we still have it)
Weather that's cool enough to be out in during mid-day
Getting back into a routine after summer break
Celebrating Jeff and Kaylee's birthdays
Eight things I'm looking forward to
Our next family vacation
Getting into better shape
My next lesson learned from one of my kids
Going to "The Secret Life of Bees" with Kaylee
Costume party with friends this Saturday
Jeff's birthday on the 27th (the old boy is turning 40!)
A big Mathewson Christmas party this year (hint, hint)
A better ecomonic outlook
Eight things on my wish list
A healthy family
More love, forgiveness, and acceptance (globally speaking)
A good singing voice (sorry kids, for now you're stuck with what you hear)
A happy ending for Clark and Tif and baby Emily (or Sadie, whatever they decide)
I wish for my kids to follow their dreams
I'd like to conquer more of my personal obstacles, and...
I'm wishing for some REAL solutions to the real issues
Eight people I tag
Monday, October 13, 2008
Do you ever feel like your life is dull? Like you're doing the same old thing day in and day out? Like you wish you could have a little excitement once in a while? This weekend was a break from the same ol' thing! Jeff's sister and family made the trek from Phoenix to S.L. on Friday. Lucky for Jeff, his sister married his soul mate (not in a Brokeback Mountain kind of way ;), and her husband Nate (said soul mate)
decided to come up this weekend for some Utah duck hunting action. Before Jen and Nate relocated to Phoenix, Jeff and Nate took it for granted that they would always be together during hunting season. I guess I always took that for granted too, and it left me guiltless for not tramping around after him through marsh, and mud, and all kinds of terrible weather!
The boys planned a fun weekend of nothing but hunting and invited anyone who might have a yearning for marsh, and mud, and all kinds of terrible weather. There were actually some takers... if you can imagine, so early Saturday morning a group of six brave (crazy) souls set out for duckie domination. Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself. I should first explain the dynamics of Jeff 'n Nate. See, Jeff is the Jeff we all know and love most of the time. But when it's Jeff 'n Nate, well that there is an Entity all It's own. Still mostly human, but also a little different species altogether. It's not really something you can explain, more something you have to experience. Friday night Jeff 'n Nate went to Cabela's to pick up a few last minute items, and then the kids and I went to dinner with Jeff 'n Nate. Jeff 'n Nate had to get up early again Sunday morning for more hunting, and It was taking my nephew Tanner with It, so both Nate and Tanner had a super fun sleepover at our house Saturday night. I was thinking hard about it, and I can't remember the last time we had an all dude sleepover at our house! They were good boys. Nobody put anyone else's hand in warm water while they were sleeping, or wrote on their face with permanent marker. They even remembered to make their beds in the wee hours of the morning!
Tanner's was more of a "try" to make his bed, but I'm still giving him the credit for it. I think they had fun hunting, even though they didn't get to kill many duckies. I'm told that the killing is only half the fun of these hunting weekends.
Besides the hunting, there were some really fun (and very noisy) family parties. Sunday night Jeff's whole family gathered at his parent's house for Megan's (my niece) early birthday party. We had yummy food, thanks to Jeff's mom Linda, and presents, and cake, and lots of kid fun! Tonight we had a birthday dinner for Jeff's brother Scott at Bonsai with Jeff's entire family, and my brother Joe, as a tag-a-long. It was the perfect place for 22 people to gather publicly because no matter how noisy we were, it was just as noisy at the next table!
Tomorrow Nate goes home, Jeff goes back to work, and our lives become boring and ordinary again... until Friday... when we take our new trailer on Her maiden voyage to Moab! I have to remind myself to be careful what I wish for!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
There's a chill in the air, the leaves are falling from the trees, I'm back to sleeping on a heating pad, and what do you think I'm craving? Ice cream. I'm picky about my ice creams though. Not just any kind will do and since I'm presently boycotting Haagen Dazs after they cancelled my favorite flavor of all time, Mayan Chocolate, Baskin Robbins has my business. Kaylee calls it Baskin 31 Robbins and I have to chuckle a little each time she says it that way :) My favorite flavor of the 31 they claim to offer is Peanut Butter 'n Chocolate. Jeff doesn't really like ice cream, I'm still not sure how I feel about that. It's almost like when two people get together from two opposing religious backgrounds... how do you make things work? He'll have a shake now and then, maybe just to appease me, but it's not the same. In fact, we normally can't agree on desserts in general. Oh we can discuss politics and religion without things getting weird, but don't even get us started on Skittles vs. M n Ms!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
We bought a new 5th wheel trailer this weekend after many months of looking and negotiating. The reason we've been looking at 5th wheels is a pretty long story, that I will tell in parts.
PART ONE: anyone who knows me well at all knows that I have ALWAYS had a hard time in the cold months. Some years are better than others depending upon how well I am managing my Fibromyalgia. But, for as long as I can remember, I have been a human popsicle for about four months out of each year. *Side bar: when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about 16 years ago, I had never heard of it, and I thought my doctor just made something up because he couldn't figure out what was really wrong with me! The name probably makes sense medically, but it sounds like a made-up disease to me. For years I never talked about my health issues much because I was embarrassed to say I had this made-up disorder. Okay, moving on... so I don't do the cold very well, but I just deal with it because this is where we live.
PART TWO: Last winter we started talking about putting our house up for sale. We had several reasons for wanting to sell and these are those in order. 1) This place consumes too much of our "fun" time, and we wanted to have the freedom to "play" on the weekends while our kids are still around. 2) We have 4500 square feet, 6 bedrooms, and four people. Now that we don't have any of my family living with us, we don't even use half the house. 3) Last winter was so cold, and so long, and from a health standpoint, I barely made it work with all the outside chores we have on our little farm. At the time, I didn't really acknowledge that I wasn't doing well because I love living here with all the animals. I really don't want to have to give that up. But, my most important job is to be a good mom and wife, and to manage my health accordingly. 4) We have been taking little steps towards living more simply, or leaving a lighter footprint, as some would call it. I am more into that kind of thing than Jeff is, but he has come around a bit. We think a lot about how we can conserve, and living in a smaller house, with fewer utilities is just one of the ways we felt we could do that.
PART THREE: we all know that all eco and no play makes anyone a dull boy (or girl), so in March of this year we took a fabulous Caribbean cruise. It was, among other things, just the break from the cold I needed. About a week after we got back from the cruise I started to have some weird things happening to my hands and feet. Whenever I would go outside, or wash my hands, or even just get my adrenaline pumping, my hands and feet would sting and turn white. If I would bump them on something they would hurt way worse than was normal for simply bumping them. I thought it was strange, but I've had all kinds of weird issues that I've felt must have been a product of having Fibromyalgia. If you think Fibromyalgia sounds like a made-up disease... try Erythema Nodosum, or Costochondritis. So I just kind of "went" with it, thinking my body was angry at the joke I'd played by taking it to a warm tropical paradise, and then bringing it back home to the cold. Weeks went by and instead of getting better, the symptoms were getting worse. Even though the weather was warming up, I was still losing feeling in my fingers and toes whenever I put them in water that was not at least 100 degrees, or when I was at Home Depot with their industrial air conditioning, or at the grocery store in the meat and dairy depts. Anywhere, really, where the air was below 75 or so. And by that time my fingers and toes would go from white to blue. The worst part wasn't the freezing... it was the thawing out that really hurt. You know how it feels when you've been out too long in the snow or freezing temps. and your fingers and toes freeze? That's what mine were doing! So when they would decide to thaw out, they hurt like crazy, and then started to itch like crazy. Before we knew it, I was going crazy! Long story short, I have something called Raynaud's Syndrome. At least this time the disorder has a halfway believable name. On the upside, I've dealt with so many strange health issues for so many years, that I feel like we will find ways to cope with it, and it will be okay. The biggest concern with Raynaud's is to keep the flare-ups or "attacks" to a minimum. How do I do that? Apparently attacks are precipitated by prolonged exposure to cold, and by lots of stress, so attacks are limited by eliminating cold and stress as much as possible. It was easy to eliminate cold during the summer, but we've had to start formulating a plan for winter. I've been nearly attack free since the beginning of August and I'd like to keep it that way! Raynaud's is not life-threatening unless attacks cannot be controlled.
PART FOUR: we began talking about a plan to help me stay warm this winter. We talked over so many different options from selling our house and buying a small place here and a small place in Phoenix, to renting an apartment in Phoenix for the winter months, to staying with relatives (since I have an open invitation to stay with the Woodards whenever I need to). In the end, fall was coming and our house has not sold, and probably won't sell anytime soon, so we decided to go with our best plan B. We bought a bigger truck, a 5th wheel trailer, and the kids and I will be migrating south for the winter. The reasons for why we chose this plan are a little more involved than all that, but I've decided this post is long enough already, so I'll save them for another time.
I have to admit, I've been like a kid since we got it home. The kids wanted to sleep in it Friday night, and then we all slept in it last night! We've been hanging out in it, playing games and watching movies. It's like taking a vacation at your own house! Kaylee took a few pictures.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Today was October 1st, the first day each year that I start to feel a little bit of dread. Dread because I know that winter will soon be here, and I am not good at doing cold. We had a busy day with art classes and then "My Fair Lady" at Pioneer Theater so I didn't get to be outside in the sun as much as I'd have liked... unless you count the sun beating down on us through the windshield of the car. We are lucky enough to have season tickets to the Pioneer Theater Company's afternoon matinee through their educational outreach program. A really smart homeschool mom was able to reserve seats for a certain number of homeschoolers in the first three rows. Our seats are on the third row, right at center stage! The best part about all of it is that we pay $2 a ticket. So for three season tickets, we only had to pay $36! Yes, we have to sit with a theater full of jr. high and high school students, but it makes for a fun kind of energy with all the extra enthusiasm (pent-up teenage angst, coupled with an afternoon spent out of classes) and the kids always give a standing ovation at the end. Today was our first play of the season and I thought the cast was fabulous and the set was amazing.
Today was about as good as it gets where weather is concerned! It's just a beautiful time of year here in the Wasatch Mountains and we have been gifted with a mild, and warmer than usual fall so far. When the weather cooperates like it has this year, we get enough moisture to keep things alive and green, and enough warmth to make those trees turn colors slowly. It's about as pretty on the hillsides as I've ever seen it. All day I was in kind of a fog of weather bliss, soaking up the sun and warm, forgetting about what lies ahead. I mentioned this to Jeff when we got home tonight and he quickly reminded me that I only have a couple more days to bask in it. Saturday we are in for rain and cold and that first smack in the face that winter is coming soon. He said this with an evil grin and I just knew that he had somehow willed this new weather pattern. He is a duck hunter and everyone who hunts ducks knows that the first Saturday of October is the annual opening for duck carnage to begin. Any duck hunter also knows that nothing gets those ducks flying low enough to be pelted with thousands of bbs like stormy skies! I have extra sympathy for those little duckies because they, like me, just want to make their annual migration to someplace warm and sunny before the snow flies. For the ones who make it, I envy you :) It looks like he'll get his glory day on Saturday, but for now, I still have my sunny skies and warmer than normal temperatures, at least for a couple more days. I think because Mother Nature must have been so pleased with herself for producing such a gorgeous day, she decided it only fitting to end the day with a bang. The sunset tonight was a perfect end to a perfect day. If I was a better blogger, I would have taken a couple of pictures to share. Instead, you get the one I found on the internet instead.