Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is My Blogger Broken?

I like to write. I like to talk. You could say that I like communicating, Period. Then why do I feel so shut down sometimes? It's like my blogger button is broken and nothing can trigger that part of my brain that can put the words down for any reason. Even for you. And you deserve a blog. You read this and then you leave me little notes and make my day. I want to give it to you. But, my blogger is broken.

Even my Face Booker is broken. I can get a comment or two out. Maybe send a message. I check in as often as I can force myself to sign on. And I love to read you updates and bit and pieces. I feel your energy and it boosts my desire to give back.

Maybe some times in our lives just aren't meant for as much connection?
Maybe what we are doing requires enough emotional and physical stamina that at the end of the day or even at the beginning of it, there is not enough energy to pump out meaningful prose.

Or is it simply a matter of priority? Maybe my life isn't in order enough to be a blogger?

It's probably just because I don't have access to pictures that tell or at least initiate the story of our lives. There's no picture of the hotel in Virginia that we lived in for two weeks after we moved out of our unfurnished house so that the renters could move in. Poor Bart lived in a dumpy hotel for nearly 4 months!

There are lots of pictures of the trip cross country that took us 6 days of driving through Ohio, Chicago, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Wyoming and home to Heber. We saw the Badlands and Crazy Horse, Mt Rushmore, the Wall Drugstore. We even spent a night in Ohio with Bart's sister and her family then did a quick tour of the Dayton Airforce Museum which is unbelievable. Unfortunately, I haven't yet figured out how to get to them.

Somewhere in this computer are pictures of the babies I tended with my friend who runs daycare in her home. They were adorable and it made my life so sweet to spend time with the littlies and be with my sweet friend. I think I actually could adopt a child if we could ever settle down. LIke one friend says, "The loving is the easy part." It so was. I fell in love with those darling faces.

There's not one shot of the boys or my mom or Lynette or Barabara painting our huge garage off the house. It took forever. I even rented a scissor lift and had a lovely time scooting all over the palce and elevating myself to the highest heights at the push of a button. My aunt's boyfriend in California who is a professional painter suggested I buy myself a grinder. So I did. And I grinded the paint off every inch of trim. It was hot and long but we did it. It was gray. Now it's green with cream trim. Very pretty. I'll probably repaint the whole thing next year though as I tend to be finicky when it comes to color committments!

I wish I had a picture of the flood too. In May the house in Idaho flooded to the tune of nearly $40,000 worth of damage, all 3 floors. Ceilings were torn out along with all the carpet in the basement, all the hardwood hickory Bart installed himself 3 yrs ago, walls that I had painstakingly faux painted. A ton of the nutty alder trip was ripped out as well. Then I would put a picture right next to all that of my friend Stephanie who stepped in to organize the repair of it all. She managed the entire project in a way we couldn't have done ourselves even if we had been there, which we weren't. And Australia is far away. Feels even further when something like that happens. Then I would have to put in a plug for Barb who set up the cleaning company coming and Bro. Bell who figured out how to turn off the water and Sis. Frei who actually who just happened to be doing her RS visit to the new renter and found the water streaming down the living room windows! And lets not forget Belinda, the renter, putting up with all of that mess for 2 months!!

On a more pleasant note I would love to get the picture from my mother in law of all the cousins doing their homework together. My two boys and Bart's sister's kids were happily studying away after school one day. All at the same table, helping each other out. So cute. They have been getting so well. It is a joy to see. We have a great routine here and the cousins make it all easier.

Speaking of cousins they're leaving right now. So, I am signing off. Hope my blogger heals quickly!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Patrick Inn Penn

So, we're doing some hard time here at the Patrick Inn Penn. Hard to tell sometimes whether you're being blessed or cursed!! (laugh loudly here) Not that it matters since it's all for our good but wow. There's no fridge, microwave, couch, x box (sad faces). There are no neighbors to serve, no friends to laugh with, no way to make cookies!!
We need a purpose, something do do that is meaningful. What a reminder of how important each and every moment of each and every day is and that being "anxiously engaged in good works" has much more to do with our own well being than anyone else's.

We manage to keep busy for much of the day but then wind up watching tv for the rest of it. There are so many interesting things to watch. Did you know there's a channel about Buddy, a baker in Hobokan, NJ? He's a genius! We watched him make a life size dinosaur out of pound cake, chocolate, a ton of Royal Frosting and some powdered food coloring. The most amazing was watching him make the boiling water for his "Take the Plunge" cake ( a huge cake pot with lobsters poised to jump into the hot water, sculpted out of chocolate and corn syrup clay dressed to look like the bride and groom!!) by pouring some isomalt syrup over a bag of actual ice. It hardened to look like frothy water!

And, had you any idea that there are gangs running rampant in Nashville, Tennessee? Brown Pride is one of the leading groups. Lately they have fought with a one out of El Salvador. El Gordo, the BP king pin laughed as talked about gunning down his threat whenever and wherever he possibly could. They stake claims to the alleys all over the city. Tennesse has the loosest gun laws in the country making the violence between rival groups that much more serious. Lacy and Brett, be careful!! On a lighter note, Bart and Riley were thrilled to watch the BYU game. They played somebody in red uniforms and it was close. Sounds like BYU won mostly because the opposing team lost their quarterback (Heisman trophy winner dude) so lucky them. Grandpa Packer might have other thoughts on that. (chuckle here) Bart did suggest that they had some great plays earlier in the game and that, had they actually gained the points from them, would have given the Y a good chance at winning as well. Since, according to Bart's explanation, he loathes BYU except for when they are playing someone besides the U it's hard to see why he would be defending their play or hooting and hollering over their successes or moaning over their mistakes. Hate to say it honey, but you LOOK like a fan. Sorry.

I am certain my family and I have lost more precious brain cell function in the past 3 days than a veteran heavy weight does in his entire boxing career!! It's like this tv magnet has pulled us in and every day we have to tear ourselves away. We can watch that thing till late into the night and still have to force ourselves to push that little red button on the remote.

My version may be a tidge over the top. Don't get me wrong. Sunday Bart took us to Chesapeake for the day where we crossed a 17 mile stretch of bridge and tunnels over and under the sea, had a gorgeous lunch at a hole in the wall restaurant called Sting Ray. Yesterday we went to the movies, and not just any trip to the movies either. We saw All About Steve at this theater where you order food and then wait for them to bring it to you during the show. The food was pretty bad but the movie was entertaining.
And, it is nice to be together even if we are going a little stir crazy. Poor Jeremy has resorted to kick flips on his skateboard, inside (groan). Thank goodness it's Tuesday. Bart is back at work so there's one less person to fight over the remote!!

Kelli and boys

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Early AM Surprise!

I am on the Wildlife Ambo (Ambulance) rotation this week.  It's been very quiet.  We responded to a call to pick up a lorikeet with a 'broken' wing, which happily flew away the following morning, hee, hee.  I mean it wasn't the nicest take off of a wild bird I have ever seen but he was air born!  There was also a lady with a snake in her yard, the woman who had found a puppy without a collar.  We don't "do" snakes or puppies so, yeah, kinda boring.  You just throw them a few numbers of others who handle that stuff.      Yesterday morning that all changed.   I answered the phone ringing me out of a sweet, deep sleep.  ( We handle all calls between 5 pm and 8 am)I heard a man's alarmed voice informing me,  "I have two koalas in my house!  I have no idea how they got in but there's one in the lounge and one in my boy's bedroom!"  

Sure enough, we found a gorgeous, fat healthy koala sitting quite comfortably on the lounge room floor and another in a back bedroom between the wall and the bed.  At home in the lovely  and tidy house,  unflustered by the excitement they had caused, they treated the space like their own place happy to leave their doo doos on the floor.  The owners were quite accommodating as it is spectacular to see a  koala in the wild much less have one visit in your own house, oh, and the fact that they can rip your insides out with those claws is another great reason to let them have their way!

As you can see, we gathered them up and set them on the other side of the fence where they happily escaped up trees!  That sounds and looks SO much easier than it was.  Thanks to my capable companion, Stephanie, who orchestrated our rescue and release plan all went smoothly, never mind that the koala nets are ripped to shreds!  It's a true adrenalin rush to have hold of a bagged koala thrashing wildly and grunt screaming for it's life!!  I like to think they were grateful in their own way.  We were sure thrilled to be a part of returning them to familiar ground.

Bart was disappointed to have been out of town.  Poor guy.  He's my true wild man and would have loved it.  If he had been here, though, I would have been faced with a real test of my courage, 7 young men and 3 young women in SEMINARY!  Hee, hee.  All kidding aside, I couldn't help but find myself comparing the challenges of each setting.  Hmmm, teaching the scriptures to teenagers at 6:50 am, manhandling wild koalas?  Hmmmm, it's a tough choice depending on the day and their moods!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Serendipity or Something Else?

So I have been at it again.  "It" is addiction.  Yup, I eat sugar till I'm sick on a regular basis.  It's not necessary to convince any of you of the damage this has done to my life.  I  know it.  That's all that matters.  Because I know it, I will never give up seeking freedom from it. 

Last week was another "first week off" from sugar.  It was bad, in so many ways!  I offended so many people.  One of them was my sweet little seminary gal.  We'll call her Surfer Girl.  So, to be honest, Surfer Girl is one of our least well behaved students (she has admitted this herself though I am quite sure reading the truth would be a different thing!).  No matter that she is a senior, and our class president, and totally delightful and responsible in sooo many ways.  (If you're reading this SG, you know it's true!), she can really push your buttons ( you know that's true too, sweetie), if you know what I mean.  So far I have happily maintained a sense of love and affection for her.  If she came in stomping her feet and declaring that she hated seminary I didn't take it personally.  When  she rolled out her homework and ignored my efforts at the lesson I could calmly choose to address it or ignore it depending on the day.   Her declarations of "This is stupid" while we attempt to get a good ole Scriptury Mastery game going received mostly patient corrections on my part.  

Not true for last week.  At one point she gave me a wicked little smirk and asked, "So, is SOMEONE having a bad day?" when she noticed my distress at not being able to find a game piece for the activity I had spent hours preparing.  It seemed obvious to my deranged and addicted mind that she meant it as a jab.  She seemed thrilled knowing that I was stressing out.  I quickly offered that I would be happy to find her a place in someone else's class.  Mmmmmhmmm!  That's right baby.  I stuck it to her.  Gave her back a little of her own medicine.  She had it coming, right?!

So why did I feel so stupid?  How come I thought about her off and on for days afterwards? And I wonder why, after that, she seemed like my little enemy instead of my dear little Surfer Girl? I was sure she hated me.  All respect was thrown out the window (the addict in me is VERY  dramatic, hee, hee)!  I had damaged our relationship beyond repair, blah, blah, blah.  

A little voice inside my soul whispered, "It's going to be o.k."  "Everyone has a bad day."   Oh, and lest I forget, "You do need to apologize."  So I set my heart on talking to her but wondered how I would find the opportunity.  Should I speak to her face to face?  Call her on her phone?  Text her?  Email her?  I wasn't sure how big or small the apology should be or what I should say.  All I knew was that I had some cleaning up to do.  

Wouldn't you know it?  Sunday.  We're sitting in church.  At one point into the meeting Jeremy leaves to the restroom.  Riley is already in the back monitoring the door as the 14 year old boys do so I am left alone.  Late and scurrying in a hurry, here comes the valuable moment for which I have been hoping.  Surfer Girl and her mom plop down in my row.  It's never happened before.

It took me about 30 seconds to write out the short apology on the back of my used grocery list. Basically I reminded her of what I had said and told her that I loved her and that the truth was I would miss her terribly if she were not in our class.  I meant it from the bottom of my heart.  Her response?  Pretty typical.  There was a lot of "Ha, ha, ha" and a "I don't even remember that." but then there was the important part, "I forgive you."

More than serendipity is my vote.  I count it as one more small but powerful miracle in my life.  
By the way, Surfer Girl was the rockin' best she has ever been in seminary today ( mostly because she's done with her assignments!).  I think she'll change the world!!  She's that cool!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Barely Bloggin

I have just spent far too much of my sacred sleeping hours browsing blogs.  Am I the only one that gets sucked into checking out catchy titles of unknown bloggers?  Before I know it I am bonding with strangers.  It's actually very fun but stressful.  I thing it's the rational little voice persistently urging me to, um, doy, GO TO BED!!  You don't now these people.  You never will.  They don't care and neither should you.  Go be productive.

So to all of you that I already know and love, thank you for your posts.  I will continue to indulge in delightful moments of reading all about anything you have to say or looking at any picture you choose to upload.  As for the rest, sorry dudes, I got a life to live  you know.  I'll miss you but sometimes we just have to say good bye.  It's for the best.  You'll see.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

On the Road Again

Yup, we are! We are on the last week of a 4 week trip home to the states. We have been in Heber, California, Idaho and now it's back to Utah. There have been so many fun moments that we'll treasure until we can make some more! The boys have had a couple of "sick" (that's a good thing!) ski trips up at Kelly Canyon. They have pulled each other on snowboards behind the 4 wheeler in the snow at Grandma and Grandpa Packer's house and had unbelieveably late nights watching movies and playing XBOX at Brumfields. Jeremy had the unique thrill of surfing with a pro, Uncle Jimmy. Big Jimmy said he has potential so we'll have to hook him up when we get back to Australia. There happen to be a couple of nice places to surf over there.

We had the pleasure of stealing our cousin Kylee away for as much of our California activities as possible. She had a mysterious knack for keeping Riley and Jeremy both entertained, or at least distracted, by their constant need to constantly entertain her! A very nice arrangement, I must say.

Grandpa Riley took us to the border fence between San Diego and Tecate. It is remarkable and reminds me of a snake. It slithers through the hills beyond what is visible straight up and over whatever lies in it's path. He's working on installing the gaps in the original fencing, which is an unattractive cut in the landscape made of six foot sections of metal sheets, with the new fence. The new design is unusual and well thought out. It's 18 feet tall with tubes every 5 or so inches that are set on a diagonal. The spaces allow the border patrol to see exactly what's happening on the other side. Now how come they didn't think of that the first time?! To make climbing it more difficult the last 5 feet are flat steel. Once installed, each tube is filled with cement and then capped. Surprisingly, it is a pretty cool looking fence. It was definitely cool to be so close to the work going on there. The icing on the cake was riding in Grandpa's work jeep. That thing took us up and down things that looked impossible to climb or descend!! Here's to keeping the drugs out of California!!

Oh and have I mentioned the food? Carne asada burritos from the place Grandma and Grandpa R have been frequenting for the past 40 years. They swear it hasn't changed one ounce! They were sooo good. Of course, we were met at the door with the smell of fresh baked, way too delicious, chocolate/butterscotch chip cookies by Grandma R. We ate those till we were sick. O.K. so it was just me, but still, very good. There have been yummy lunches, one by the beach near Aunt Robin's and Hannah and Ben's in Cardiff by the Sea, a couple at local lunchos in Idaho Falls, some yum trips to Cafe Rio type restaurants in Utah. You know, where you get your home made tortilla, special meat, beans of your choice, sweet or mexican rice, etc, etc. and best of all, HORCHATA! Mmmmm. No offence please, dear Australia, but your Mexican food totally stinks. Sorry. We have had at least two delectable overnight french toast breakfasts with buttermilk syrup. Very naughty and all my fault I am afraid. Tonight Mike and Laura pulled out some lovely ice cream, Reeses and Chocolate Brownie something or other. Mmmm, with a little milk and stirred together, just like a milkshake. Thankfully my jeans seem to be happily growing right along with my hips. That's what I call a useful wardrobe!!

Oh, the funny for the night! I almost forgot, (and then I am , yawn, going to bed, I swear). You know that buttermilk syrup I mentioned. Well, when it gets cold it separates and gets cloudy and lumpy on top and clearish brown underneath. It looks just like some kind of cooking fat you have poured off to cool and now needs to be dumped in the garbage. Anyway, my sister Jen showed up later in the evening. We had all been munching on some apples and I cut myself a slice while she was watching. I couldn't resist adding, "Mmmmm, now I'll just slather this with some of this bacon fat (hee,hee)," as I spooned a big gob of it onto my apple and quickly stuck it into my mouth! Horrified. Sickened. Disgusted. Yeah, that just about covers it. I thought she was going to toss her cookies right there on the kitchen counter. It was awesome!!!

Time for bed. Big day tomorrow. Who knows who we'll see, what we'll eat or where we'll go but if we're lucky it will be just as lovely as every day up till now has been. (Not counting the two root canals!!) So thanks sweet husband for letting us come. Thanks to family and friends for your love and hospitality. And for the patience of those who are waiting for us to actually show up! We're on our way!!