Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blogging, Math, Cruises and Red Ribbon Week

Blogging feels overwhelming and a bit daunting right now, like exercising and laundry and visiting teaching and dust and what to make for dinner. Oh and math. Math is scary. I used to break out in hives everyday of 6th grade when we did math,  My teacher would send me to the sick room. Now I think about writing and break out in cellulite. It's kind of the same thing except at this house there is no sick room, just dust and dinner that needs to be made and laundry and me not exercising.

The ocean is also scary and overwhelming and daunting. And big. I have always been terrified of that place. This is probably because I grew up watching "Gilligan's Island" and watching movies like the "Poseidon Adventure" and "Jaws" at a young age. I also drank out of the garden hose, didn't wear a seat belt, and I don't even think bike helmets were invented. Anyway, it's not dying in the ocean, it's living in the ocean that terrifies me. If you do not think this is a scary thing, you haven't been watching Finding Nemo or reading the Reader's Digest for the past 20 years. Every time I start to convince myself that the ocean is "ok," the R.D. publishes a story about someone that fell off a boat and treaded water for 4 days and was almost eaten by sharks and saw 4 boats and 9 airplanes before their eyeballs were sunburned out of their sockets until they were finally rescued so that they could begin therapy for the rest of their lives. I'm just sayin that if I were my ancestors, I'd still be living in the mother country, far from the sea.

But this summer I faced my fear and went on a cruise. A cruise is like a small country with too much food and too much gambling and a walking art gallery of tattoos floating in the ocean. And yes, even though I'm back, my stomach rolls just thinking about it. (Did I mention there are a lot more rolls on my stomach?") Not the I'm going to throw-up kind of roll, but the roll you get coming down the first hill of a roller coaster. But at least it's just that and not the hyperventilating and near passing out that happened to me 25 years ago when we crossed Galveston Bay. In a car.

So I can cross "face my fear of the ocean" off my 50 things to do before I'm 50 list. And I can add, "lose the 7 pounds that I gained on my cruise," because I did a lot of self-medicating on the cruise, food  being my drug of choice. So now I am having my own red ribbon week month. Just say NO! NO! NO! NO!

When I wasn't panicking about the lack of land and the fact that the ocean was 6,000+ feet deep and full of lurking creatures, I enjoyed:

kissing stingrays

and dolphins

and this hottie on the beach

and spending time with these people.

Friday, May 30, 2014


She did light it up. (See previous post.) I even got to yell, YARD SALE when she actually did drop her stick after getting clobbered in the head. BTW clobbering people in the head with your stick is illegal and gets you a yellow card and a time-out.

Now I am not complaining, I am just stating some observations out loud: a championship game should be played on a neutral field, not on the home field of one of the teams who happens to be at a very high altitude that nobody else plays at. Also, if you are going to promise the opposing team a locker room and air conditioning at half-time, you should probably do so, or at the very least provide some shade, or else the parents of the opposing team might be watching their daughters panting in the hot sun and start making observations.

With that being said, you have probably figured out that we did not win. Perhaps if playing conditions had been different, we still wouldn't have won. PC is a great team. I guess we will never know. What I do know is that #2 is not a bad place to be. Recently Tess didn't try out for something because she wasn't sure if she could win. She regretted this decision and realized that not trying was worse than not winning. Thus DLF (dead last finish) is greater than DNF (did not finish) which is greater greater than DNS (did not start).

Winning is great, but it's more important to show up, to put everything on the line and know that you gave it your best. I know I've quoted Cool Runnings before but here we go again:

Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough *with* one.
[Turns to leave]
Derice Bannock: Hey coach, how will I know if I'm enough?
Irv: When you cross that finish line tomorrow, you'll know.

In case you were wondering what number 2 looks like, it looks like this:

 and this:

and this:

And my favorite from G-Pa, who might not know how old he is or how to tie his shoes but has all the important stuff down:

   "You did it again!"

                                                                                                                         "You won!"

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Taser Tess

Tomorrow is the women's high school Division 1 Lacrosse Championship game. At least here it is. Women's lacrosse is a combination of Red Light Green Light and Mother May I. Men's lacrosse is kind of like legalized assault and battery. It looks like this:
And this:
I am no longer allowed to watch men's lacrosse because I yell things like, "KILL HIM!" and I jump up and down and throw things and I totally look like one of these parents:

and I don't even know who's playing.

Girls wear skirts when they play, that is how nice women's lacrosse is. Need I say more? Men's lacrosse is all about brute strength. Women's Lacrosse is all about skill and agility.

My daughter's uniform looks kind of like this except the white parts are grass-stained, and food-stained and blood-stained and the red parts are purple.

This is an action shot of T. and explains why her jersey isn't white. She claims she got tripped. BTW, this is called a "yard sale" when a player loses her stick. So, if you are at a women's lacrosse game and a player loses her stick, yell, "yard sale!" politely of course.
In case you are wondering, my daughter does have hands. Two of them.

Last week to promote team unity, the captains kidnapped all the players in the middle of the night. This is the kind of thing girls do while guys usually just smack each other on the butt.

The only problem with kidnapping my T. is that we live 20 minutes away from where Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. We searched for her. We've read all the books. So when the LaX girls came to kidnap T., they couldn't get into her room because the door was locked. So they pounded and they scratched and when T yelled, "Who is it?" they pounded louder.

Now I would have totally intervened if I wasn't in the room of resting finishing up some paperwork. The husband would have intervened if he wasn't lying on the bed with a pillow over his head cursing team bonding activities and puberty in general.

The next thing we know, there is screaming because this happened:

I kind of forgot that she sleeps with a taser. Apparently, she needs more practice because she didn't even hit anyone. Maybe next year.

I hope she lights it up on the field tomorrow, politely of course in her grass-stained skirt.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things this Week

A few of my favorite things this week:

My man-child who cannot stop reading. I used to make him sit with me on my bed and read for 30 minutes a day. He would cry and tell me I was the meanest mom in the world. Now I sit on his bed at night and make him give me my book and he tells me that I am the meanest mom in the world. I love being mean.

Toast Corner. Toast Corner is what happens in my daughter's AP Engl/lang class when you are hungry because your mom hasn't been grocery shopping for 3 weeks, or you decide you'd rather put on mascara or clothes instead of eating a bowl of cereal. There is no judging, just bread and butter and jam and a little cup for a 15 cent donation. 

My new friend, B.T. She's been to Costco and back, and I think you all know what I'm really getting at here because you know how I feel about Costco. Let's just say that it is definitely not my idea of the HPOE (happiest place on earth). But she is ALWAYS smiling. She is ALWAYS grateful. She is always HOPEFUL. She is so INSPIRATIONAL.

My new ottoman. It is awesome because my husband bought it for me and he hates it. If he furnished/decorated the house, everything would be painted white, and we would have a folding chair in each corner of the room. He's all about space and no clutter and so am I. I space and I clutter. If he loses his day job, he could probably get a job decorating prison cells.

No roly-poly bugs in my cupboards. My two, adorable granddaughters, Charlotte and Lila, love roly- poly bugs--not to eat--that would be my adorable granddaughter Jena, who also likes to eat rocks. They will hunt polies for hours in my backyard in a cup--which is one thing I have going for me that the other grandmas don't--a yard full of roly-poly bugs. One day I found a cup of you-know-whats in my cupboard. Fortunately, I didn't find roly-polies in the cupboard, so I did myself a little happy dance. However, I did find one on my bathroom floor. I don't even want to think about it. Some interesting facts about roly polies:

1. Roly-poly bugs don't urinate, which I think would be an awesome super-power to have. . .Do you have any idea how much time that would save? Can you imagine the diapering and potty training years if you were a roly-poly mama? And what about road trips. Wahoo!

2.  A roly-poly bug can drink with its mouth and its tra-la-la-boom-de-ay. (People that is a nice way of saying anus in case you are wondering.) Not really a skill I'm envying. Not really seeing any practical use for that. Hmmm, definitely not as cool as juggling.

3.  Roly poly-bugs eat their own poop. (See number 2 above)

4.  And finally, roly-poly bugs bleed blue. Go cougars?

(I think I just squirreled. Back to what we're talking about here, my favorite things. Yes you may sing if you'd like.)

I got this cool present called an appointment for a family picture for Mother's Day. It also came with a guarantee that nobody will complain and everyone will wear whatever I say and everyone has to show up and smile and be happy. This present is kind of like being dictator of a small country for an hour.

I have lots more favorite things, but I will save them for another time that is not 12:20 a.m. on a school night? morning?

What are some of your favorite things this week?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Present I Would Take

Happy birthday Mom! You would be 71 if you were here, but you have been gone for almost 8 years now.

Mom, if you were here, I wouldn't spend time looking for a unique gift or searching for the perfect card. I did that while you were alive and when you died, you left all those things here and well, they are just things; so instead of giving, I would take.

I would take back every eye-roll, every heavy sigh, every thought that smacked of "you don't understand; things are different now."  I would take back every unkind thought or word. I would take back all the times I hid when you came back from the store because I didn't want to carry in the groceries.

I would take all your thoughts and memories. I would sit down with you and ask about every minute of your life. I would fill my mind with stories of you. I would ask how you felt when you left home; how you felt when you got your first kiss; how you felt when you buried my sister. I would ask you why you wanted to be a vet and why you didn't become one. I would ask you what you feared most and what gave you the greatest joy. Why did you get along with your dad better than your mom? I would ask about the worst times in your life and how you got through them. What would you go back and change if you could?  What did you dream of doing?  Because, it has occurred to me that your 9:00 to 5:00 desk job was probably not your dream life.

I would listen and take everything you said and ponder it over and over in my mind and carry your words in my heart and breath them into my soul and I would be a better person because I would have a bigger part of you with me.

Friday, May 2, 2014

50 things to do before I'm 50

I have this friend named Brittany M. who is amazing. Really, is there any thing she can't do? She made this list of 40 things to do before she turns 40. Because she kind of inspired me, I had to make a stinking list of 50 things to do before I turn 50 because because I already turned 40. But now I am mostly just exasperated and tired and trying to think of 29 more things to do. My kids tried to help me by adding skinny dipping to the list. Ha, if I did add that, I would write chunky dunking. I am "blathering" all this because blogging once a week is number 8 on my list followed by finish my Christmas craft from 2010.

To simplify this daunting task, I might start adding things that I've already done because this is the best way to make to-do-lists. Remember I discussed the merits of this before in another post. This works well for me because I can cross off items as soon as I add them, and folks that is a stress-reliever. And stress is a bad thing; it causes wrinkles, and cancer and male patterned baldness.

So if I were to add things I've already done this week to my list, I might add:

* Sat through a college graduation. Really, we can put a man on the moon but we can't make graduation a little more entertaining?
* I got my teeth cleaned. Have I mentioned that I'd rather go through childbirth than have any kind of dental procedure? Yes, it was grueling and yes I made a voodoo doll of my hygienist and yes I need therapy.
* I finished Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Okay, for a girl that doesn't generally like fantasy, I LOVE this series. Book 1 is The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance is book 2. Did I mention that they are each over 1,000 pages? Now my favorite cuss phrase is "storm it all" and I am contemplating having another child so that I can name him Kaladin Stormblessed Campbell or her Shallan Davar Campbell.

What's on your list?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Grandpa - Doing That Thing You Do

When I was 16, I went to a church track meet, not to run, but to check out all the cutie boys in shorty- shorts, because I was that kind of a desperate pubescent mess. Somehow I ended up running the 440, although the word running is probably a gross exaggeration of what I actually did.

Regrettably, I got about 1/3 of the way around the track and realized that my heart was beating in my brain and that the dreadful, moaning, gasping sound I could hear was coming from me.  I thought about bowing out, but wasn’t sure if any cute boys in spandex-tight shorts might be watching, so instead of humiliating myself I decided to finish the race dead-last and crumple in a heap of sweaty, gaspiness because what says “I know you want me” like I can’t breath and I smell bad?

I vowed that day to never not be able to run around the track once at a church track meet again, (one of my loftier goals,) so I started running around the cemetery. Actually I walked a side, jogged a side until I could run around the cemetery. I figured it was a good place to run because only dead people were watching and if I died, nobody would have to move my body too far.

Pretty soon, I got so I could go around and around that cemetery; the headstones were a blur I tell you. Then I moved to the roads where I could run in my sleek, running shorts with my sweaty glistening, tanned body past the houses of all the boys who should have had crushes on me. I felt like such a big deal that I decided to train with the cross country team.

School started and we had our first race. The gun went off and I got about 1/3 of the way around the track and realized that my heart was beating in my brain and that the dreadful, moaning, gasping sound I could hear was coming from me. That’s when I realized that I am not a competitive person. I am all about raising the white flag and surrendering.

Now I don’t run competitively. Actually, that last word wasn't necessary. I mean running is great if you don’t like breathing or if you happen to be someone else or if you don’t enjoy having toenails.  Unfortunately, I don’t care if I ever run in a church track meet again. I figure I could always rock the church track meet in a cheer leading skirt and some pompoms, right?

My father-in-law is a runner. He can’t even run and he still runs. He’s so slow now that I have to walk backwards to keep up with him. But he runs. It’s what he does; it’s what he’s always done, probably because he doesn’t want to wear a cheer leading uniform at a church track meet.

A couple of months ago, he decided that he was going to “run.” Everybody at “his place” was busy doing other things and he decided he wanted to see the mountains, so he left. After all he reasoned, I am a runner and I was a scout leader. He could remember those things, but unfortunately, he couldn’t remember that he has Alzheimer’s.

When we realized he was gone, we started searching for him. The staff where he lives started searching for him. The police and fire department started searching. Hundreds of volunteers searched. There was a story about him on the news and there was a reverse 911 call that went out. And just to make things really lively, some search dogs and a helicopter joined the fun. Unfortunately, we searched within a mile radius of his place, because how could he get any farther when he was so slow?

By 2:00 in the morning, the search died down. We started looking again at first light. No luck. Then at 10:00 a.m. we got a phone call. He was at Alta View Hospital. Somebody had found him and that’s where the fire department who responded had taken him.  Why so far away we wondered? There were closer hospitals. The answer was that they took him so far away because HE WAS SO FAR AWAY. Step by step he had traveled over 8 miles—up and down hills, across 8 major roads and the freeway. To the mountains. 

When we got to him in the hospital, he was dehydrated, all scratched up and extremely cold. Crying, my husband and I ran into the room. His eyes lit up, he smiled and asked, “What are you guys doing here?”  It turns out he wasn’t lost at all. He knew the whole time where he was even if we didn’t. It was a grand, liberating experience for him that subtracted 10 years from our lives.

He is turning 74 next month. Everyday he asks us when his birthday is. Some days he asks if we skipped it. But no, we are not skipping it. How could we not celebrate such a great man who keeps running even when it’s hard? And what better way to celebrate than by having a race? So, for Dad’s birthday we are running 75 miles. (It seemed a shame to only run 74, so we are celebrating the beginning of his 75th year.) Fortunately, this is a collective run. Between everyone at the party, we will run 75 miles. There are about 25 of us, so nobody should have to do more than 2-4 miles.
So, for grandpa, I will put on my running shoes and “run” around our mile course gasping for air, my heart flopping in my chest like a fish out of water; I might even do it 2 or 3 or 4 times. Who knows, I might even run in a cheer leading skirt with pompoms because I think his life is definitely worth cheering about.  I’m a little worried about the “run,” but how bad can it be when I know he’s good for at least 8 miles?

Grandpa running in a 5k with 3 of his grandkids.
June 1, 2013

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Nice to be Important but it's More Important to be Nice

I've been thinking a lot about being nice. Nice people rock. Nice people who are nice when it's hard to be nice especially rock, like the man who helped clean frozen whipped cream smeared all over my daughter's windows in sub-zero weather after a basketball game because some dumb boy thought this was a better way to say yes to a dance than flowers, a note or a phone call text. Did I mention that this was a game that my daughter had played in and his daughter had played in and that my daughter's team had beat his daughter's team in a close, intense game? Did I mention that he was visiting our school? Well, now I did. Thank you kind man. You rock!

Obviously I still have a way to go because I am still obsessing with the "dumb boy" who left the whipping cream on my daughters windows. Did I mention he did it again a few nights later because the first time it smeared and you couldn't read the yes?

The other day I was sitting on the couch looking at photo albums with my father-in-law. This is the man that has taught me a lot about what's important in life (people, not things), who is thankful and appreciative of the littlest things--going for a walk, a hug, gummy bears and apples. He is also the man that introduces me as his parent, forgets to wear essential articles of clothing, and occasionally shaves his eyebrows because he's just not sure when to stop.

As we were thumbing through the album, he came across this picture of himself.

He said, "I look nice in this picture; am I nice?"
I replied, "You are nice; you are very nice."
He then grabbed my arm, looked at me intently and asked, "Have I always been nice?"
"You have been nice your whole life," I answered.
He sighed a big breath of relief.

Forget that most of his worldly possessions are gone--that he can't remember how to use a telephone or turn on his t.v., and that most of the time he's not sure where he is or who everyone else is. But he's nice. That's important. When all's said and done, God isn't going to care about the big house he owned, or the amazing things he did as a chemical engineer, or all the exotic places he traveled, but He will care that Dad was nice. And he is. Very nice. I hope I can be as nice.

And, because we're talking about being nice/kind here, I wanted to share this post that my son made in our family blog:

When I got off work today I just wanted to spend time with my family.  Since it was Grandpa's birthday I felt like I should get him a present since I honestly can't remember ever getting him anything for his birthday.  On my way home I stopped at Golden Corral to grab a gift card and saw swarms of people headed for the entrance from all directions of the parking lot.  It kind of looked like a heard of Zombies from Walking Dead, many of the people with canes and walkers crept forward like they were going to eat their last meal.  I quickly parked and awkwardly power walked past at least 20 people only to find that many people already in line.  At Golden Corral the line moves so slowly not because of the restaurant but because of the of the people in line.  The Electric Scooter companies should stop airing infomercials and just work the line at Golden Corral.  Anyway that took a long time.  Leaving, there is that intersection, the one that was designed by Hydra agents implanted inside Draper City.  I literally hit all 6 possible lights red trying to get to 12600 it took 10 minutes to travel 500 feet.  (Can you tell yet what my rant is about?)

I met up with Bree and the kids.  We divided Bree got the cute one and I got the crazy one and I headed towards Neal's.  I felt bad since every Potluck I've ever been to with the Staker's I rely on the mercy of Mom, Danny and Joe's family bringing food I feel safe eating.  I stopped at KFC and it literally took 30 minutes to get a bucket of Chicken and a small French fries for Lila.  Awesome service and I really could write a whole post about that.  

I get home and Bree is having a girls night with some ladies in the area and our table that is a month old totally got destroyed by acetone.  I'm not sure it is safe to have that stuff in the house after seeing what it can do to our table.  

Anyway believe it or not the only time I got mad tonight was when I hit that sixth red light.  I want to be kind to everyone for that is right you see.  Old people doing what old people do at Golden Corral is life.  It is like asking a fart not to stink, a fart should stink(until we invent the pill and make millions$$$)

At KFC....when a 15 year kid, who drew the short straw or I think had a jerk of a boss make him be the one to bring out food that was delayed by 30 minutes...leadership at its finest.  I could tell he was just waiting for me to be mad and yell at him.  He was literally bracing himself as he apologized looking down at his feet.  I put my hand on his shoulder looked him in the eye and waited for him to return my gaze and said "Its okay.  It is a bucket of chicken and a small fry not a big deal at all.  Don't worry about it."  I had just got to spend 30 minutes talking, playing and walking around with Lila.  About 20 minutes into our wait Lila grabbed my hand looked me in eyes and said, "Dad, I love you.  Thanks."  With my busy schedule I don't get to spend a lot of time with Lila what a blessing to have those 30 minutes with nothing to do but wait and get to know my little girl better.    

The table is just a table.  With Lila it was just a matter of time before it was destroyed, the recent invention of the table cloth will solve all our problems.  Hey!  Alexx maybe that is why you just gave me a bunch of old table cloths.  

A lot of crap is going on at work that is making a lot of people angry.  At the end of the day is it worth it?  I don't think so. I hope I can be happy and kind to everyone because that is what I want from everyone and that is the right thing. 

Thanks Quin. Happy early Mother's Day to me!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Where do I start when I ended so abruptly and let all 3 of you down? Where have I been the last 385 days you ask? I am asking myself the same thing. I was on sabbatical. To accomplish what you ask? That is what I ask too. Hmmm. Well. Hmmm.

I've done a lot of thinking, okay a little bit of thinking. And what I've been thinking is, why do I blog and why do they call the stuff between your toes jam when it doesn't taste anything like jam? Here are some of the answers I came up with about why I blog at least:
I need one more thing on my to-do list.
Somebody said I should.
I socialize with people I've never met, creepy, but good, I think.

Then I asked myself, why should I blog? Here's what I came up with:
When my hard-drive goes out that I haven't backed up for months and I lose my whole journal, at least I'll have my blog on the world-wide-web unless I haven't blogged for as long as I haven't backed up my hard drive.
But the biggest reason I need to blog is that blogging fills some deep need I have to create, to use my mind, and communicate in more than grunts and moans.
In other words, I need to blog to preserve my history and avoid brain-rot.

So, I'm back although my brain is probably a little rotten. In case you're wondering, this is some of the stuff that kept me occupied during my sabbatical:

Jena Claire Campbell was born. And yes, the J is for me!!! and the ena is for the other awesome grandma, Kena.

We did this all wrong because Kena + Jill equals Kill.  I should be standing on the other side. . .

My daughter Cool Beans married the equally cool Luke Madsen.

Boston Milo Benson was born.

Bri married the amazing Tyler Killpack and I got to plan another wedding. What CAN'T I do with a glue gun???

Harvey, Aiden, Trey, Tyson, Colton Charlie was born.  His brother still asks, "What is baby Harvey's name again?" And because I have this obsession with videoing things and eating handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I made this:

I also made this for a friend:

And re-edited this because I wanted to:

And made this because what could be more exciting than documenting ice?

I also did a load of laundry, picked the kids up from school and gave the dog a bath.  Probably.