Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.

Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.
How I feel after throwing a party...

Thanks for the visit!! :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Family Camping Trip

Unplugged from everything electronic since Friday for the family camping trip to Bear Lake.

I enjoyed the silence...and I have stories...many stories and I reconfirmed several things: I can and have and do enjoy camping but I don't love it and it is never my first choice of how to spend vacation time...ever. But it's relatively cheap to do, and you get to be all warm and snuggly and living way too close together which helps you work on tolerance, patience, perseverance, and charity towards your fellow sibling, their spouse, or child...or maniacal dog...and those are the people you love and want to be with and does not include drunken or intrusive strangers singing Bon Jovi and Garth Brooks karaoke late into the night...though I sang along around my campfire with them...come to think of it that was actually really fun and made me laugh, but you get my meaning just the same.

When people say: we will be camping by the beach at the lake and will be swimming everyday...this actually means "you will still have to hike to pee, you will be filthy from lake silt 10 minutes after you arrive, you should have brought more than flip flops for your feet, and you will be sleeping on the ground on weeds and gopher holes in a tent and to get out you will crawl like a wounded dog on hands and knees and occasionally curse like a sailor under your breath."

I. Hate. Tent. Camping.

  • But I love my family, Dutch oven cooking, campfires, pitch black skies littered with stars, laughing kiddlywinks as they relish the joy of dirt and rain and songs and fires.
  • Swimming nudie-booty in the cool of the great, blue lake with no one else least at a healthy distance with warnings shouted followed by "Are you serious?" and “Yes I’m serious.” and “No…really…are you really naked?" “YES. NAKED. SKINNY DIPPING. Now stay away or the discomfort is on you...I'm swimming free" and then laughter and “O.K.” And then that cool, clear, blue, mountain water with a lingering Spring chill sliding over your slick skin like a porpoise and you are shining like diamonds and you are alive and primitive and free. 
  • Watching the skyline darken and purple, eking out every last moment in the water before massive thunderstorms that whip up whitecaps on the lake and make everyone immediately work together to get things hauled up from the lake, put away, and battened down, charges the humans down covering them in dirt, dust and rain. 
  • Chortling and laughing with my mom as we share a tent and try to roll ourselves into our sleeping bags and back out again, sharing personal poetry, quotes that thrill and inspire and personal stories and tales of joy and woe, memories and musings of grandparents and ancestors, stories of silly siblings, and ponderings on nature, God, life before birth and life after death, and things that inspire, and how grand and glorious the universe is and how fantastic it is to be a human being. 
  • Singing "Yes We Have No Bananas" and "Hello My Honey, Hello My Baby, Hello My Ragtime Gal" to the gleeful delight of small children, telling a roaring good tale about The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf, and Jack and the Beanstalk during a thundering, maelstrom of a storm to wild and woolly five year-olds. 
  • Blowing up SEVEN rafts and/or tubes to everyone’s delight, using a kayak for the first time powering yourself by your own effort and volition through the water, dipping the paddle in and out and in until you get the rhythm and you gain your confidence and you begin to think that maybe your next outdoor purchase should be a little watercraft. 
  • Sitting in an empty campground at a vacant picnic table with my Mom and sister-in-law talking as the birds swoop and peep and the sun rises over the mountaintop, and you watch your camp slowly awaken as one little five-year old boy skinnies out of the bottom of his tent as his parents still sleep, and creeps barefooted tent to tent to see who else might be awake to play with and talk to.

These are the memories...these are the good times...these are the reasons you put up with packing a mini house in bags and crates, with the forgotten items that always get forgotten, and why you push through the occasional annoyances and obstacles like storms, rain, dust, puking children, forgotten pots, food dropped in the dirt, smoky fires, wagons that won't pull in the sand, and why you have a good attitude even with prickers in your dusty toes because you forgot your tennis shoes at home by the dresser with a fresh pair of folded socks inside of them just waiting for you...and near misses of peeing on your own pants as a grown adult woman because you hovered a little too wobbly over the latrine pit...but no made it and didn't have to cop a squat like a kitty cat in the middle of a vacant field with your pale bare bum like a little white moon in the air because you weren't sure you could duck-walk another 50 yards to the bathroom.

I am thankful for modern times--meaning plumbing and electricity and tall Queen-of-Sheba beds and soap...soap is awesome--and am not sorry I live in them. Camping is great for outdoor time and helping put some perspective on life as a whole...helps you remember where you came from and who you are. And best of all--it creates stories and memories shared of all of the drama and comedy and unexpected situations that crop up along the way.

Next stop: hotel camping...or if I find the Money Tree or The Goose Who Lays Golden Eggs...a big, fat truck and a beautiful that's camping in style! But now I'm just doubt I'll be scrabbling around on the ground like a dog, climbing out of a horrible tent again, with crazy hair, a headache, and a cross legged, hopping pee-walk, sooner than I'm ever planning on or expect.

Happy camping kids...go live the dream...or something like it. :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunshine and Saving a Life

I saved a little girl once.  She was drowning in a 3 foot deep section of a community pool patrolled by lifeguards and full of people.

It was an exceptionally hot summer day in Payson, Utah, sometime in the summer of 1976.  I had gone to the pool with my cousins and this place was packed.  Kids were bobbing and playing everywhere, splashing water, jumping, leaping and laughing.  Moms and big sisters were lounging on pool chairs slathered in Hawaiian Tropic or Johnson & Johnson's Baby Oil, sunglasses perched on their faces; towels were stretched out on the grass and on the concrete, little children were laying in puddles on the concrete walkway in the sun warming up and bouncing up again and they were off, launching themselves back into the pool.  Babies were napping in strollers under cover, and no doubt there were any number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and apples and oranges, with a smattering of Fritos, and swigs of 7-Up and Tab, eaten and drunk that day.

I was 6 years old, wore pig tails tied with ribbons, had pink cheeks and was having a grand and glorious time.  I loved the pool.  I loved water.  Going swimming and splashing was one of my very favorite things to do.  I was happy as a little clam.

I had just gotten in the pool, walked down the stairs and into the water and was making my way through the crowd when I spotted someone struggling in the water.  There was some awkward splashing and their face was not staying above the water, and their arms and hands were flailing for purchase to something solid and life saving.  They were just out of reach of the side of the pool, and right where it started getting gradually deeper.

I distinctly remember looking at these big, panicked, brown eyes bobbing in and out of small waves, a little pale face framed by dark hair.  I comprehended that something was wrong and that this was not o.k.  I remember the feeling and the thought of “It’s o.k. Walk to her.” And then “Put your arms out.”  And so I did these things.  I walked and I opened my arms.  

It was a little girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old, and she gripped on to me as I put my little arms around her.  She was able to pull her head out of the water then and I held her and walked back to the stairs.  I helped her out of the pool and said “Where’s your Mommy?” and she just looked big-eyed at me and shook her head.  

So, I took her by the hand and we walked in the sunshine under an azure blue sky, our little feet pattering and splashing along the warm, wet steamy concrete with its occasional cool puddles, amidst the squeals and laughter, and the sound of the diving board springs and splashes, looking for her mom.  She gripped my hand and walked close.  We wove our way through the throng of lounge chairs and she suddenly let go of my hand and ran for a woman in a black bathing suit stretched out on a lounge chair, and that was it.

The mother did not know I was there and I did not talk to her.  The little girl briefly looked at me as she ran, but did not turn back or reference me to her mother.  

And so I turned around, feeling warm and good inside, and walked back to the swimming pool, smiled and launched myself back in to the water.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Don't Let the Coyotes Lick Your Feet

In talking with a staff member today, I relayed a story from some time back when I was really struggling with everything. 

My dad had just died, my heart was crushed, I was angry, and I did despair.  I was lamenting the situation of our home at the time…we had a posse of skunks that apparently had been living multi-generationally under our house, which was much older than the owners had originally indicated. We had peacocks in the driveway that lived across the street but liked to roost in the trees in our yard, and scrabbled and screamed as evening would come on.  I swear I saw a rat run through my kitchen and into our library one day, but I couldn’t ever find it, or a hole where it would hide and I never saw it again, and nothing was ever chewed or pooped on, so who could say what the phantom menace actually was. 

I was struggling at work with a troll of a boss who used and abused me to his heart’s content, mostly because he could, he was older and had power, I was young woman and did not.  I felt alone at church, no fellowship or camaraderie, no friends really.  I’d been trying for several years to have a baby and had been tragically unsuccessful, and I felt physically exhausted from all of the fertility treatments, and also had yet to be diagnosed with PCOS, and was suffering greatly from a number of its effects at that point in time.

It was a rough go and I was plumb out of good cheer, and faith was dragging her pretty little feet, and hope was on a coffee break.  I will never forget how upset and angry I was at everything, at life, at the unfairness of it all.  And that most obnoxious and yet despairing of questions crept up to my lips and said “Why me??  Why me.”

My husband, who is my dearest friend and my most beloved of confidants, knowing my pain, and feeling my despair, looked me square in the eye and said “Tracy, what pioneer woman wouldn’t love to have what you have, if it meant that she didn’t have to be outside in the elements, and that she didn’t have to sweep a dirt floor?”

I should note at this point, that I was the president of my chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, of which I am a descendent.  My pioneering ancestors, both in the United States and in Brazil, are very important to me.  My family, those I know and those I don’t, are some of my greatest examples.  Their sacrifices do not go unappreciated or unnoticed, and I always wanted to make these people that came before me, the women in particular, proud of the kind of woman I was.  So knowing this, his comment was particularly poignant.  I paused.

He went on to say “Tracy, I know you are struggling now.  But you are a trooper.  You always push through, don’t stop now.  Keep moving on.  You can’t lay down on the trail and wait for death to come, you just keep going until one day it is better or you reach your destination…or you are dead.”  Which elicited a morose and cynical and almost hopeful little smile from me.

And he was right.  I can’t just lay down by the trail.  I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually I’ll find myself around a quiet evening campfire with a bowl of pottage to warm my insides, and some quiet rest before I tackle it all again in the morning.

Being me, though, I twist the story a little more, and when I get down or blue, I remind myself that I don’t want to fall down in the prickers and the sagebrush waiting for the coyotes to come and start licking at my feet as I complacently wait for my fate…and so I gather up my skirts and continue trooping along my way, chanting “You can’t lay down along the way, up you go, moving forward now, at least your braids aren’t frozen to the ground and you didn’t just leave your dead husband and baby behind wrapped in quilts under the sky and in the elements because the ground is too hard to make a dent in to dig a grave.”  And so I say a little prayer and I troop.

My father has been gone 13 years now…and this conversation took place not too long after his death…and this counsel, and this mantra, of trooping through and moving forward, has served me well through the years, and I have never forgotten it, and I am infinitely grateful for the tender mercy that was delivered to me through a loving husband who knew what I needed to hear.  I don’t know that he thought that this would stick with me through the years, but it has, and it has become my trusted go-to thought when I am struggling through some trial or difficulty.

It’s not always an easy path, and sometimes I feel like I am blazing the path and that there is no one who has gone before, but that’s not quite true no matter what it feels like.  There are many who have gone before, and as they blazed a path for me, so I blaze a path for those who come behind me.  I troop along, so they can troop along.  Just as I gain strength from my predecessors, I hope that I can disperse some faith and hope and strength to others.

This life is a beautiful thing, there is joy and there is pain, and there are trials and difficulties, but what wondrous learning, what opportunities for service and for love…ah the love…what great love there is in helping each other, and in learning, and in forgiving, and in moving on, and forward, and upward, trying to become holier beings that shine and share and serve and give.

When in your darker hours, do not despair.  Instead, stand up, know that no matter what you are loved, and that you are needed and you are believed in.  Know that there is beauty in your soul and kindness in your heart and purpose in your living and being, even if you have forgotten it, or if you can’t see it or feel it just now. 

Don’t let the coyotes lick your feet…get back up and keep on walking…picking flowers and singing songs along the way…because either you will get there sooner or later or you might die along the way…but at least you died trying and trooping…and that’s something to learn from too.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Ed Wood Principle and Being a Happy You

Here's the question of the day: If you could do anything you wanted to do, of all the things that interest you, things you are talented at (or would like to be), places you would like to visit, and etc. what could you be doing, how could your life be richer in purpose and experience and knowledge? And once you figure that out...why are you not pursuing that anyway, at least some of the time, even if only a little here and a little there?

Sure there is sacrifice in this life and unexpected trials and travails and roadblocks, and yes, some things do cost money...but if it is that important to you that it is at the top of the list then so what? Figure it out, work hard, and make it happen.  Life isn't just for doing everything you're supposed to do and should do, and what everyone else tells you should be your priorities; it is also for joy, growth, happiness and satisfaction, and in doing the things that you want to do that enrich your life.  I think this point often gets lost in the day-to-day shuffling and runnings and busy-ness that we are all so soakingly involved in.

It’s important to remember and refresh in your mind and in your heart that your opinion on how to direct your life, on how to be happy and successful matters the most, not the least.

As a note of counsel as you’re thinking about these things and wandering around in your own brain and skipping through the chambers of your heart’s desires: don't be a martyr about why it won’t or can’t work; it is a lazy, boring perspective as well as tedious and unenlightened, it will just bring you down and hold you back.  People like to help and share their resources and look for opportunities to help out friends, family and strangers, but being a Debbie Downer gets old fast and you push people, right along with their resources and opportunities, away from you with all of the negativity and squawking.  And while you’re at it, don't always look for the reasons for why something won't work, but look for the reasons why it can work or should work and then chase it down, work it, pursue it and enjoy.

Ed Wood was an odd duck who made some pretty crappy, albeit entertaining in their horrible-ness, B-movies…but he loved what he did and he didn’t see why he should fail…and so he didn’t.  He lived doing what he loved.  At our house we call it the “Ed Wood Principle” which means that precisely because you don’t realize that everything is against you, and that you should, for all intents and purposes, fail, you push through, keep working at it, and so you don’t fail, but rather you thrive and succeed.  Even if your movie is a crappy B-movie, if all you ever wanted to do was make movies, well then you did it, didn’t you?  You got some experience, you had some fun, you struggled and you learned some things along the way.

Make your life what you want it to be, full of the things that are important to you for whatever reason.  Live.

Happy hunting.  :)