Anne Lorene’s Blog

Archive for January 2009

On my journaling group, Collective Journey, we have been doing alphawrites. We take a letter of the alphabet and grab a word and go from there. I am not going to publish all of them, but here are a few samples.

B is for Breanna
Breanna is my first grand daughter that I could be a grandma to. She was born seven years minus one day, after Kayla. I was not at her birth, but I was here first visitor when she was born. Deb was finishing up with school when she was born, so I spent several nights with her when she was just days old. I saw her at least three times a week after that until Erick and Deb moved to Portland.
She is seven now and is a beautiful girl. She resembles her mom so much. She inherited Deb’s build, which is fine, but she is not a tiny and petite little girl. Deb is 5′ 7″ and Bre takes after her. She is not overweight, but because she is taller, is heavier than many girls her age. This is the way Deb was when she was little. I have no trouble with it, but Barb, Deb’s mom, used to make Deb feel so bad about her size, and Deb to this day feels that she is too big.
She has Deb’s big brown eyes, but blonde hair, that comes from Erick, who was a towhead. His hair would bleach almost white in the summer. Unlike her mother, who is big on plain shirts and jeans and denim, Bre is very much in touch with her feminine side. She loves playing dress up, makeup, nail polish and jewelry. Her favorite colors are purple and pink. She loves ruffles, too. I hope she can continue to develop this part of herself and just learn to have fun with girly things.
We have rituals that we do when I am there. We read together before bed. For years, I did the reading. Now she reads to me. One of my challenges is to find books for her that she can read by herself. As her reading skills increase, I am sure this will get easier.
We have been learning to cook since I got here. After nicking her finger once while chopping onions, I decided to get her a chopper for onions and peppers and such. We found one and gave it to her for Christmas, and she was so thrilled. I also bought her three cookbooks, with some good wholesome recipes for kids to make. I gave her and Liam aprons for Christmas, also with their names on them.
She seems to have adjusted well to the divorce, and has accepted Mark as her stepfather. His parents dote on the kids, and she flew to Sacramento on her own to visit them last summer. I told her the other day that she was blessed to have lots of grandparents to love her and Liam. There’s grandma Barb (Deb’s mom) and her companion, Charlie, Mark’s parents, and me. I don’t want her to ever feel that she has to choose between us. We all love and care for her.
She is a wonderful big sister, and is so loving towards her little brother, Liam, and guides him through some of the rough spots in his life. I know that when he starts kindergarten next year, she will be there watching out for him. She is also very affectionate and gives spontaneous hugs to us all the time, which we think is way cool. I am a bit nervous though, since she is so outgoing an open to talking to strangers. I know we need to work with her about trusting the right people in her life.
I don’t know what she wants to be when she grows up, but I am grateful she has a solid foundation of people who love and care for her and want only the best for her. I wish I could freeze time and just have her always be the sweet carefree little girl that she is right now.
U is for Ugly
I can’t believe it, but I totally skipped U and V. so here goes.
When I was little I bought into the conventional definitions of beautiful and ugly. Beautiful was defined by blondes with willowy waists and long legs and white teeth. Ugly was anything else. Part of this was just my being a child and accepting what other people said was beautiful. I had dark hair and was short, so never fit the profile, and therefore I was not beautiful, so I must be ugly. I used to think, what about Elizabeth Taylor, and Annette Funicello,.two of my idols at the time. What about them? Weren’t they beautiful?
As I grew up, I began to redefine what was beautiful and ugly. My mother was beautiful with her dark hair and white skin. My father’s sisters, my aunts, had the same coloring and they were beautiful with the voices of angels as they sang. My first grade teacher who had white hair and was plump was beautiful to me.
So I realized that my off kilter definitions had as much to do with how I felt about someone as it did about the way they looked.
And that is why I have often felt that older people are beautiful. I love it when e
Ellie writes about some of her older clients, and the beauty she finds in them.
I feel that after so long, what we think and do shows in our faces and bodies. Wrinkles are not ugly if they belong to someone who still has a zest for life and who shares smiles with everyone. Mae, my father’s second wife, was such a nasty person, and she had the most malevolent look about her. We called her the gargoyle, for the way she would glare suspiciously at everyone who came within her range.
People who know what their mission is in life, and their willingness to share it with others, who are clear and focused, are beautiful. They often just shine, and I want to be around them.
To me all of you on CJ are beautiful, because you have shared so much of your souls with me through the years. Being so honest about yourselves has brought out your beauty. I know to the outside world, we look like such ordinary people (except maybe Harald, who is really good looking eye candy). There is nothing that is spectacular about any of us, to those who are viewing us on the surface.. They don’t know what they are missing. Our talents, our gifts our sharing make us the spectacular people we are. There is not an ugly person in the group. When I met so many of you in Denver , I was not disappointed by your physical appearance. I was overcome by so much about you, your honesty, your talents, your just being you.

S is for Stick and String and Silliness

I love to knit. Everyone knows that about me. I have knit Socks, Scarves, Sweaters, Hats, mittens, whatever else I can. I have supplied my family with stuff for years. I knit on the train and in the car when I am on a long trip. I think I am pretty good at it, too.
And it has never been a negative thing in my life until now.
A word of explanation: I work for the Business Controls group, and the A/P department is under us. It is made up mostly of women, who have a high school education at the most. I have to sit in the middle of them, which is not fun, but I just go about doing my job. They are petty and mean to each other, but I really don’t let it get to me. It’s their department and I just happen to sit in the middle of it.
A recent audit of the department showed they were deficient in a lot of their processes, making many errors. Despite policies and procedures, they double bill, double pay, and incorrectly pay many invoices for Regence. Things got so bad, they brought in a new person, Pegie, who is supposed to whip things into shape. So far, all she has done is “team building” stuff. They have spent hours decorating their cubes, (rows compete at each major holiday), have lots of pot lucks, have a lending library (of romance novels) and go to movies as a reward for getting their jobs done. Aren’t they supposed to do their jobs well, anyway?
I have tried to ignore them and their noise most of the time. But one time they had a pot luck for their department, and one was week later for the whole floor. I came in and wondered if I had misunderstood and had missed bringing in what I had signed up for. I was told very pointedly that the food was for THEM, and I was not included. This came from Cindy who sits across from me.
She is just very negative. I think part of her resentment comes from the fact that she processes our invoices and thinks I make the $75 hour or so that I am billed out for. I don’t make nearly that, but I do make about four times what she does. But that’s not my doing. I do a lot of specialized things that she hasn’t a clue about.
Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk, knitting on a hat for Heber. It was after 1, but I had a snack at 11, and so wasn’t ready to eat lunch until then. I ate lunch and then did a few rows. Well, you would think I had pulled off the crime of the century. She went to her boss, who went to my boss who called me in today. I told Chris that it was my lunch hour and I was not keeping her from doing her work. It’s the perception that I was not doing anything that seemed to bother her.
Another co-worker has been working on a pair of socks. We have chatted about them, very briefly, in passing. She is a new knitter and has been struggling with some things. We have probably talked a total of five minutes about knitting over the course of three days, but that got reported, too. Since when does doing something on your break that has nothing to do with them get you in trouble?
Now Cindy and Jayme, who sits next to her, think nothing of spending ten minutes each day rehashing Jayme’s love life and problems with her boy friend. I have no choice but to listen to it, since they go on about it right next to me.
So I promised Chris I would put a sign up the next time I knit at my desk. It would either say Break or Lunch. That should get her off my back. I swear I haven’t seen such juvenile behavior since I taught seventh grade years ago.
N is for Numbers
This is sort of a freewrite, but I was thinking of numbers this morning.
Sarah (She Who Will Not Be Mentioned) has recently responded to the report that an additional $30,000 in clothing bills have been charged to the RNC, and they were wondering what the money was used for. Her response was a vague, “loose children’s underwear.”
Now, Sarah Baby, you have five kids. I only have four, but in my time of raising them, I never spent $30,000 in underwear for them. In fact, I don’t think I have spent $30,000 total in clothes for them and they started buying their own clothing about 20 years ago.
In fact, there were years when I probably spent about $400 total for all clothing for them period. We didn’t have much money and I learned how to be very frugal with what I did have. I remember times when my grocery bill was $20 a week for dad, mom and two little kids. I am still careful in the grocery store, buying lots of stuff to cook from scratch. I can make a giant batch of chili for under $3.00, and that includes using a pound of ground beef in it. I use my 30 year old pressure cooker to cook the beans, and they are pretty darn cheap. Our Thanksgiving turkey is still providing meat for soups for the kids. I put a large container of leftover meat in the freezer and will thaw it out in a few weeks and make some more dishes out of it.
I know how to make five meals out of a rotisserie chicken. I shop at Target and Goodwill, with the exception of shoes and bras, which come from Nordstroms. Since my foot surgery in 1994, I cannot wear poorly made cheap shoes. And as I diabetic, my feet need to be pampered. I have several friends who have had amputations due to poor fitting shoes and wounds that would not heal.
I am sure there are those of you on this list who can beat me at this game. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a good quality of life. I just work the numbers and try to be as careful as I can with what I don’t have. I never spend more than I make, having given up credit cards about 8 years ago. With the instability in my income, I save when I am working so I can live during the times when I am not.
How different is that from the government who tosses numbers around with such abandon that we are in shock. I don’t know why the Bush administration claims they are fiscal conservatives. The amount they spent on the war alone goes into the billions on a monthly basis. And what do we have to show for it after five years? Over 5,000 Americans dead and how many Iraqi civilians? (As if an American life were worth more than that of a Iraqi).
The financial bailout keeps producing more and more numbers of astronomical proportions. The salaries of the Wall Street executives alone boggles my mind. How much money does one person need in order to live? They attempt to justify their obscene salaries with the comment that “they are worth it, and worth keeping.” Hello, who got us into this mess? Freddie Mac people robbed so many people of their homes, and when confronted with the possible consequences of such reckless lending, fired the risk assessment people who questioned their judgment.
I know this is a ramble, but one number I am proud of is the number of people who voted this last election, and the number of people who voted for Obama in the hopes of putting an end to this unrestrained fiscal insanity. Someone characterized the Bush administration recently as an eight year long drunken frat party. No one felt the need to justify or change their behavior.
K is for Knight in Shining Armor
As in, there ain’t one. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn over the years. It would help if I could sort out fiction from reality. I got a good education at BYU, but it was not without its major flaws. One of them was the concept that you would meet your one and only, marry and live happily ever after. And if it happened on your first date, and you were engaged less than a month later, that’s the power of being in tune with God and getting a correct answer on the first try. Those of us who agonized long and hard over our decision must be deficient, and not worthy of instant revelation.
Looking back on a number of those relationships, I found that many of them did not go the distances, and a little more time taken in choosing a mate may have made a difference. But then such stories are not nearly as thrilling. How boring to tell your grandchildren years later that you dated for a year before deciding to get married and then had a long engagement. Where is the drama? The confirmation of the heavens that you knew the instant your eyes met that he was “the one?”
I don’t trust my judgment concerning men, having made such a poor choice in my marriage. Not that I have had many serious romances in my life, but I don’t’ flirt well or play games. I am totally professional at work, rarely discussing anything of a personal nature. Since the main place I meet men is a church, over 90 percent of them are married. I am usually good friends with their wives, and know lots about their children. Most of them are utterly faithful to their spouses, and that’s what I admire about them.
They just don’t show up on my radar that often.
I know, it’s safer that way.
Tom was an exception. He was always one who could ring my chimes. I suppose he could have even when we connected three years ago, but the circumstances were too awkward. He didn’t think marriage should stand in the way of our getting together and it it became obvious after a while that he had some extra curricular adventures, and saw me as another conquest. I, having been through what I had been, was not willing to play the role of other woman. I had been a wronged wife. I would not inflict that pain on anyone.
I have gone out to an LDS Singles site, but maybe I am too picky. I see too many red flags. Many of them don’t want to even look at a divorced woman. We are damaged goods. I remember meeting one guy at a single’s event who had been married twice. He stated that he divorced both of them because they disobeyed scripture and were not “obedient” enough to him. Or there was the guy who lost his wife to cancer two years earlier. He posted a photo album of 10 pictures. Seven of them were of him and his wife and the kids!
Anyway, I have learned that I need to be responsible for my self, for earning enough to survive on my own, to make friends and find things I want to do to fill my life. I can’t expect anyone else to do that for me. I see so many women who live in a bubble, and have to ask their husband for permission to leave the house. Now, I am all for coordinating schedules, but permission should not be needed.
Tonight is another singles event. I promised to show up. I have been resisting joining the group since I moved here. But I spoke last Sunday at their meeting and met a few people. I know that I will be older than most of the men, and so will probably find some more women who will be more interesting. Maybe I can find another movie buddy to see chick flicks with, like I had in Woodbury. Maybe I will find someone to attend the temple with. But a knight in shining armor, not likely.