this is me now

7.29.2011

i'm in love----with a tree

we used to have a wall for family pictures---then two years ago we repainted the inside of the house and didnt put back up most of the pictures----i went a little minimalist----UNTIL I SAW THIS! it is a tree painted on a wall---then you put your pictures on the branches.  I found it here.

i'm in love.....with a tree.

palmyra, new york

18 months ago i gave david a gift---a trip to palmyra, new york for july 2011.  all expenses paid!

so July 14, ace, david & i hopped on a plane to buffalo, new york---rented a car---and headed to palmyra.
(for my non-LDS friends---palmyra is the place that Joseph Smith had his vision of God, the Father and Jesus Christ and also where he received the ancient plates which he translated into the Book of Mormon.  This is sacred, blessed land.  We toured thru the Joseph Smith Farm a bit---then made our way up into the Sacred Grove area.....which is a wooded area behind the farm---there are dirt trails and benches that have been put there for convenience---no one knows exactly where the vision happened....so folks are encouraged to just go and wander and feel the spirit of the place.  There are trees that were there when Joseph Smith prayed.

video
We looked around ---and then separated off to have some individual time to pray and ponder.   As Ace and I came upon each other again---a large family reunion group passed us by---stopped at one of the original trees----and sang---I Believe in Christ---in lovely harmony.  Everyone in ear's hearing stopped to enjoy the  moment.  My parents would have had us sing at that same moment----what a heart-touching memory.



loved that the trees were so straight and tall---easy to walk around and imagine the day that Joseph Smith came here, as a 14 yr old boy, to ask God a question.


the sun shining thru the trees---it was about 6 pm...cool, nice breeze ....the Grove wasnt too crowded---and you feel the desire to whisper....sat and watched grandparents and their little ones walk thru----a look between david & I told us both that this is a place we wanted to bring our family.

this is an original tree---totally hollow now.


coolest thing---this was not a hallowed place before Joseph came---this was a place where he was comfortable ....this was home.  It became a sacred site when he knelt in prayer.
it was a beautiful moment in a hallowed and beautiful place.

7.22.2011

Dear TVland

Thank you
thank you for all shows reality...and competition....i live vicariously happily thru you.
thank you for survivor---all 21 seasons---and american idol---(altho i always root for 2nd place---i'm a curse)----amazing race, project runway, designstar---ALL cooking competition shows---chopped/next food network star/iron chef (america ---not japan or china or wherever---way too cheesy---even for me)-----(well---not Challenge---too much fondant---and they use rice krispie squares---thats not cake)-----
thank you for toddlers and tiaras, the duggars....deadliest catch....
thank you for I didnt know i was pregnant and Biggest Loser (why do i always eat while i watch that show)
thank you for those storage unit auction buyer guys
thank you for any i didnt mention---EXCEPT-----bachelor (sloppy seconds gross me out)/so you think you can dance (i only watch the auditions)---big brother (try to watch it---just cant)....hoarders (makes me clean and feel bad about myself---because i UNDERSTAND!)
thank you for itunes and hulu and nbc.com and fox.com and other sites where i can watch the shows when it fits for me---THANK HEAVENS FOR DVR----rocks my world.

and now---thank you, Lyric & Jasmine----for telling me about THE GLEE PROJECT----combining my love of pop music AND a competition-----WITHOUT all the Glee teen drama that is scripted (not like the reality shows that are REAL
I'm a better cook, know world geography better, my house is designed---i know im NOT pregnant----we are 6 and counting (8 by mid-september!), America has ALWAYS had talent, I work at not being 'pitchy' when i sing....i know how to make fire (you have to go to tribal council)....i will never put my granddaughters in pageants (but i know what a flipper is) but i betcha Beth would win----i'm tempted to go to a storage unit auction----and i respect crab more now when I eat it....and i know i cant dance.

love,
merf

7.18.2011

monday monday (sing it---or at least hum it)

...so ace is gone....we get up for a leisurely trip (100 miles) to Palmyra -----I THOUGHT THE SESSION WAS AT 1130---IT WAS 1100---WE STINKIN MISSED IT----DAGSTINKINRASSINFRASSISNABIT.....  So i sit and pout in the car for a bit---dave goes back in---finally i suck up my pride and go back in----

then we go to the visitors center and watch an AMAZING movie about the restoration of the Church thru the eyes of Lucy Mack Smith---Joseph's mother....it was wonderful---what a testimony she had---and how strong was her witness thru the loss of grandchildren and sons all for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Then we found the Lollypop farm---essentiallly a petting zoo and animal shelter----so we didnt get out of the car....drove (BY THE TIME I AM STINKIN TIRED OF DRIVING) back to Rochester---checked into our hotel---and got back in the car and drove to Lockport----60 miles---90 minutes----NEVER IN TEXAS DOES IT TAKE 90 MINUTES TO GO 60 MILES---but up here they take you thru every small town in western NEW YORK----30 mph---wiinding roads--toll roads everywhere (altho they are much cheaper than florida or texas)--I LOVE MY INTERSTATES----so we got on the boat and went over  2 locks on the Erie Canal---totally cool---saw where fire hydrants were invented----so many different kinds of bridges ---i am always amazed at the inventiveness of people---the wheelbarrow was invented to help cut and carry out a 3 mile part of the Erie Canal in Lockport.
then we DRIVE 90 MINUTES back to our hotel---both sit on our laptop (me doing dancing moose---dave who knows what).
tomorrow---back to palmyra (30 miles)---temple----then 100 STINKIN miles to buffalo airport and home by 1130 p.m.---please have it be about 85 wednesday----its really nice.

tomorrows blog----the pros and cons of small town america vs METROplex.....(spoiler---metroplex wins)

tomorrow is

7.17.2011

sunday----lazy day

we woke up and ate a nice breakfast at the hotel---then drove over to the u.s. side and went to see the movie about the people who have gone over the falls and lived to tell about it...16 tried---9 made it....the first one that did it was a 63 yr old woman in a barrel!
then we just strolled around the edge looking at the falls from different vantage points---then crossed over the to 3 sisters islands (very small---connected by bridges)----so pristine---so uncommercialized.
i love that palmyra and niagara have not been tainted by too much civilization----nauvoo looks very commercial compared to palmyra------and Niagara has not been commercialized  by the state---it is very friendly.  The Canadian side of Niagara was very commercialized----expensive to park----beautiful flowers and parks....really beautiful.  The U. S. side of the falls isnt as pretty---but New York state has done a terrific job on keeping it available to "common folk".....interesting---canada charges $3.25 to drive across the bridge---and .50 to walk across same bridge from canada side to u.s. side---u.s. doesnt charge.

we then drove to our hotel on Grand Island, NY and enjoyed the pool----then took ace to the airport---he has summer school tomorrow and cant miss---but we are staying to do a session at the palmyra temple and ride the locks at lockport, ny.
weather---gorgeous...the locals were complaining about the heat (record high was going to be 91!!!!)
people---friendly...so many people from different countries----ace is extremely friendly to strangers---so we met and chatted with a lot of new people.
cost---very reasonable...even the cost of flying to buffalo was not as bad as i thought.
company----other than being on top of each other for 4 days---we have survived.
pictures to come

saturday----passports!

we took the short trip up to Niagara Falls, Ontario----longest part of the trip was getting from us to canada---1 hour to cover about 100 yrds over a bridge---gorgeous sites on both sides....and both sides have the exact same hotels/restaurants etc----altho, the Canadian side had haunted houses all over the place---go figure.
 we checked into our hotel (king bed with a jacuzzi in the room---so ace volunteered to sleep on a cot.....we spent most of the day on the u.s. side...museum (lame)---aquarium---lame-----cave of the winds---maid of the mist----trolley rides all over...we walked over to the us side-----nice walk across the niagara river....hot but not stinkin hot.....we got to the caves of the wind---which is a walk down long stairs to put you within 20 ft of the bottom of the falls---its like being in a tropical storm (deck is called hurricane deck)---they give you a poncho and sandals---IT WAS GREAT---so much fun.....I'd do it again in a minute----kept my sandals---and yes---there will be a picture of them too.
Maid of the mist is the most famous thing---its a boat that goes right up to the falls---again, they giveyou a poncho---youdo get wet----i'll be putting up pictures----it was overwhelming the spirit and the power and majesty of that water.
ace says hi to EVERYONE ----howya doin---where ya from?   goofy but sincere....but everyone is willing to take pictures of each other's groups---very friendly.
it was a long day---so we headed back to canada..... dave and ace toured down a street with all sorts of haunted houses and game rooms and fast foods----

note to self: it never goes away

niagara falls is not an expensive holiday----
the museum/aquarium/maid of the mist/cave on the winds and the movie we saw this morning about the people trying to go over the falls----$33! TROLLEY $2 FOR ALL DAY....parking on the canada side---$20....parking on the us side $10....
cell phone signal---HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE in upstate new york.

7.15.2011

day 2---lazy daisy-----vacation!

today started off with us sleeping in---and in---and in....then having a nice breakfast at the hotel (coupon for one free---dad and i shared)...then we headed back to palmyra where we first went to Hill Cumorah----you can stand on the top and see down to where the audience sits....there is also a very cool Moroni statue.....everyone is so friendly---taking pictures for each other.  We spent some time in the visitors' center---saw a cool movie about the restoration of the Church.  Then we went over to the Temple and looked around.  President Hinckley wanted visitors to be able to see the Sacred Grove from the temple and vice versa---so it was very cool.
then we headed into downtown (and i use that word loosely) Palmyra---checked out the very cool publishing company where Joseph Smith had the first 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon printed....then we went and got some Tshirts and Ace got a hat....and then some fudge---TOTALLY DELISH----chocolate/peanut butter and marshmallow.  We ate New York pizza in the car as we drove to Waterloo (about 22 miles) to the home of Peter Whitmer-----this is where Joseph finished the translation and the Church was organized....it was a beautiful site---like time had stopped.
we had thought to go see Harry Potter tonight---but we were all tired---so swimming at the hotel sounded better (well---the hot tub sounded better)---then ordered in Chili's and watched "8 below" together....now at midnight we crash---or at least i am---it was a wonderful slow day ---totally vacation.
tomorrow is niagara falls---yay!

Start spreading the news---i'm leaving today....

well---okay---we left yesterday---but it was too late last night to blog---and truth be told---we arent in New York City---but we are in New York.
dave, ace & I got up at 0-dark-30 and (thanks Joe!) hopped on a 6 a.m. flight to Buffalo, NY (via Atlanta--I HATE ATLANTA AIRPORT (too too big))---btw---the airport and airplane were packed---WHY ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE UP SO STINKIN EARLY GOING SOMEWHERE?
anywho-----we had a lovely flight and rented a cute little---and i mean little---sorry ace-sitting-in-the-back-seat---aveo and off we drove to Rochester to our first hotel.

a little history---18 months ago i gave david a trip to Palmyra, NY ----the LDS church started in Palmyra and there are significant sites to be seen---so for 18 months every  major holiday---i havent had to give him anything---just a reminder that the trip was coming....lame---but it aint a cheap trip!----anywho----dave was able to use his frequent credit card user/signer-upper points to find us hotels in the area every night---saving me well over $500----BONUS!

we got to our hotel and i had to make some work phone calls (got 11 calls while on the plane)---sitting in the room we heard planes taking off RIGHT OVER OUR HEAD! no wonder it was a cheap hotel (holiday inn---but apparently right on the landing strip)----we were laughing at the idea of not getting any sleep---so----calls finished---we went out to the car to drive the 20 minutes to Palmyra---and ZOOM---airplane overhead---we looked around and realized that there were tons of people looking up---we looked up---IT WAS THE BLUE ANGELS! 6 planes were doing formations right over our heads! WOWOWOWOWOW! so we got out our camera and watched....great show---totally bonus.  (there will be pictures on this blog---but not right now.

drive to palmyra--via rochester downtown (bad navigator---i'm just sayin)....went straight to the Joseph Smith  Farm---this is where Joseph lived with his family when he had his vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
after visiting the log and frame homes, the cooper shop, the threshing barn---we took the small hike to the Sacred Grove---this is a foresty area on the property where Joseph went after reading in the scriptures that if you wanted to know the truth---pray---so he went to a quiet area in the grove, knelt and prayed. No one knows the exact spot---there are dirt paths for people to walk----it is beautiful---and like 82'----compared to 182' in dallas---so we were thrilled.  we found a bench and sat and looked....people were very quiet as they walked along the paths....we each went off to have some private time to reflect and pray on our own. There are trees there that WERE there when  Joseph had his vision.
we saw a lot of grandparents with their children and THEIR children---dave and i decided we would bring our family here sometime soon---the Holy Spirit was so strong---it was a comfortable and comforting place.

as we were getting ready to continue our walk, a big family (obviously a reunion) came by---we waited for them to pass---then---they stopped a few yards beyond us and started singing a hymn IN PERFECT HARMONY! that is exactly what my mom and dad would have done with us----i videoed them and we chatted a bit with them.....everyone along the paths stopped to listen---it was angelic.

after we left the Grove---we drove to a pharmacy to get bugspray and Pringles---then to Subway for dinner (woot woot---yes---we go all the way to new york and have subway)---then head to Hill Cumorah for the pageant. (every year at this time, the church puts on a pageant re-enacting scenes from the Book of Mormon---the Hill Cumorah is where Joseph dug up the plates that had been buried there by Moroni 300 years after Christ's death.  There were actors in costumes milling around chatting, taking pictures (ace got pics with everyone)---3 young men came up to us and chatted---then one bore his testimony of the truthfulness of what happened ---the vision, the Book of Mormon---it was so sweet---these boys were 17---just like Ace----I think he was touched.....success.
DID I MENTION THEY WERE SELLING SALT POTATOES? (just red or small potatoes boiled in water with more than a cup of salt in the water---then salted again and drenched in butter)---IT WAS PERFECT!
(sorry---back to the show) There were missionaries all over the place.  There are 700+ people in the cast....and 9000 people in the audience---lady next to me is from this area---her parents brought her to the show 20 years ago---so now she is brought her daughter (about 16)---she's not LDS, but she felt it was something her daughter should see----God moves in mysterious ways......show started at 9:15 pm and ended about 10:30---it was so well-done.
and FREEZING! WHO KNEW WE NEEDED JACKETS IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY (leah did---so i brought a light sweater---but poor ace was freezing in t-shirt and shorts)
sidenote---a lot of anti-Mormons were picketing and using bull-horns before and after the show---telling us Mormons were sinners and how wrong we were----ya know---I dont think Mormons picket Easter Sunday mass at the Vatican---we shrug (hmmm---remind me to link that story of Mormons shrugging---think it was from the Washington post or New York post or some post)

sorry for the long post----there will be more today----going to see where the Book of Mormon was published, the temple, Peter Whitmer's farm (where Joseph spent a lot of time translating)---but its 9:15 a.m. and dave and ace are still zonked---UNHEARD OF!

and now i'm humming "start spreading the news---i'm leaving today---i want to be a part of it---new york, new...."

7.11.2011

fill in the blank

 Dear xxxxxxx,

I xxx having you xxxxx to xxxx xxxx.  I xxxx the xxxx---for awhile---i xxxxx xxxxxx back and xxx the xxxxx  you xxxxxxx and your xxxxx with  xxxxx xxxxxx.  I xxxxx  that xxxxxx have been  xxxxxx  to xxxx xxxxxx xxx so xxxxx to xxxxxxxx the xxxx xxxxxxx.

and now----a bit of xxxxxxxxxx---xxxxxxxx----xxxxxx Miss xxxxxx  perhaps----
we have xxxxx xxxx to xxxx our xxxxx to a place where wexxx xxxxxxx xxx xxxxx xx.  Please xxxx xx xxxx your xxxxxx---nay,xxx xxxxx your  xxxxx  after you xxxx xxxxxxxx your xxxxx.  Please dont xxxxx so xxxx  xxxx. xxxx what xxx will xxxx based on history.  Please xxx let xxxx xxxx xx on xxx xxxxxxxxxxx.  Please make xxx xxxx i have xxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxx.  Please dont xxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xx around.  Please xxxx  my xxxx---they are xx xxxx xxxxxx.  And while we are at it, xxxxx have xxxxxxx, xxxxxx, xxxxxx and xxxxx  for nearly xxx years---i kinda xxxxxx what  xxxx xxx xxxxxx.

whew---glad to get that off my chest.

love
merf

ps....my daughters tell me that it looks like i am cussing/swearing/expletives deleted---ah--not so!...well...not on ALL the "fill in the blank" personae---and there are probably 7!  some of my xxxxx are merely and simply (wait--is that a duplication?) just an explanation of frustration---not nigh unto anger.

7.09.2011

um----tmi---and no---there are not pictures

When you become a certain age---there are things that happen---
5 start school
8 baptism
16 drivers license, date
21 drink (well---if you choose to imbibe)
67 retire

there are also things that physically happen at/about certain ages
6 mo crawl
12 mo walk
2-3 yrs potty-trained
6 baby teeth fall out
12 puberty sets in
40 need bifocals or reading glasses

you get the idea

there are also medical tests with a date attached
vaccinations have ages
mammograms
prostate checks
COLONOSCOPY screening

every year, millions of people are supposed to have this age-appropriate procedure done---most dont---why?
1. GROSS-EW--YUCK
2. fear of the preparation
3. STINKIN EXPENSIVE
4. ew--gross---yuck
5. fear of the procedure---really---a camera up where?

yep---when you hit the big 5-0 it is time for a colonoscopy screening....now---for truth in advertising---i hit the big 5-0 um/er/coughcough a number of months ago----but David said we had money in our healthcare reimbursement account that needed to be used up---so i went and got new glasses....and had a chat with my primary-care physician....who agreed it was time.....yuk.
but i put on my big girl panties and went to see the gastro-enterologist.
 (sidenote: WHO THE HECK WOULD GO TO SCHOOL FOR 8 YEARS TO DO THAT FOR A LIVING?)
i explained to Dr Guinan that, since i had a gastric bypass 30 years ago, there was NO way that i could drink the gallon upon gallon of liquid required to 'prep' for the test....isnt there a pill?  he said 'yes--there is a pill---but it is 20 pills---with water'----so he prescribed a different prep---16 oz of a grapy-flavored water type drink---followed by 32 more ounces of water--all to be drunk in one hour (yeah---it took me 2)---drink it the day before---then 4 hrs before the exam---repeat....(so i was up at 2 STINKIN A.M. drinking this---took me nearly 3 hours---watching ESPN) (my prep cost $60---WELL WORTH THE MONEY---SUPREP BOWEL KIT)---then off to the endoscopy center.  oh---btw---the diet for the day before is clear liquids.....THAT WAS THE WORST---green jello, chicken noodle soup sans the noodles or the chicken,popsicles (nothing red or purple---you figure it out)----and stay close to a "facility" (if you get my drift).  (btw---if you dont do it right---the dr will send you home and you have to RE-DO it!---um, no thank you)
i had, of course, googled all the info i could about said age-appropriate procedure----DONT DO THAT---it will scare you to death.  I had pictured (here goes the tmi part---you were warned) myself semi-conscious (in Europe they do this WITHOUT ANESTHESIA!), butt-up (yep--i said it)---groaning (google talked alot about groaning during the procedure)
david drives me to the center ===where we pay (all bills together) nearly $600 WITH INSURANCE (what is wrong with this country????!!!!!)...and wait...and wait.
FINALLY they call me in---i put on a lovely gown and lay on a bed with heated blankets and towels---THANK YOU!---cute little socks with rubber stripes on the bottom complete the ensemble.
we wait---and wait....does not bode well for mr right-before-me .....if they find polyps---the dr has to cut them out---more time on the table.
the anesthesiologist---Charlie--cute bald guy with tats on his neck---"HEY---ARE YOU SURE YOU WENT TO MED SCHOOL?"---comes in---tells me what to anticipate and i request REALLY DEEP SEDATION---he assured me i would be out.
iv--in---ouch---my already bad veins are so dehydrated that cute nurse Dee has trouble---so when she gets the i.v. in she puts me on a little saline solution---my voice is totally hoarse due to the dehydration--again---figure it out yourself----i lay on my left side nice and relaxed---they roll me into the (duh-duh-dahhhhhhhhhhhhh) procedure room---there is a tv---Disney? Pixar?---no---my innards.
okay---ready to go---dr guinan comes in and apologizes for the delay---lots of polyps today--but maybe i'd break the trend---i told him to take his time....and i'm out.
waking up---there is david---total of about 15 minutes later (wait---did the dr really check me out thoroughly in that short of time?)----(wow---do the math---he's getting paid like $2000 an hour!)---i feel fine---AND I'M CLEAN AS A WHISTLE! yay!----wait--couldnt he have found SOMETHING nice and benign to make all this worth it?
lots of---well---hmmm---how do i put this delicately? well---they fill your colon with air so he can see---and the air must go out----so the nurse encourages me to let loose....excuse me.
30 minutes later i am dressed and heading home---stopping for Wendy's fresh-cut french fries with sea salt---and a nice long nap.
long story short----it was no big deal---prep was easier than i thought---worth the extra money---no memory--no discomfort....TOO STINKIN EXPENSIVE....
see ya in 10 years!