The Wonderful World of Soup~

Soup is an endless sea of wonder, just like the many things I choose to write about. My thoughts explore Writing, World to National Events, Family Catastrophes (past and present) or whatever seems to get me thinking while sipping hot soup, tea, cider or a cold Pepsi...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Twelve Days Old

What does it mean to be human? Is it our ability to think out a problem and make a sound decision? Maybe it lies in love, kindness or human nature. Is it rooted in laughter and joy? I can't pretend to know exactly, but I think our humanity is defined by our ability to care for someone enough to forget ourselves. It's simply being selfless. This is the only solid meaning of love, really.

I know my parents loved me the moment they laid eyes on me. I was born about a month early, so shock was likely their first reaction. Afterall, they already had a 10-month old baby. Knowing what I know today, I don't see it as a coincedence that I was born just 12 days before Roe vs. Wade passed. I doubt my mother knew since she rarely watched or read the news, but I wonder what my parents thought of the Supreme Court's decision that year? Maybe they knew, but I would not be surprised if the story was the farthest thing from their minds at the time.
Fast Forward. I remember my first big research project in highschool. I think I was a sophomore. It was decided last minute, and I'm sure the mistakes were abundant. But I remember how I felt ( and that I got an A:). Yet I was appalled at what I learned. In short, I did a big project, with colorful posters, photos and an extensive essay, on abortion. Even's an ugly word. 
This is where I first learned about the silent scream. The memory haunts me. There wasn't much out there explaining the procedures of late term abortions. Maybe they were not as common, but they did still very much happen. On a side note, if that information was discovered in detail, I would have cried for weeks. As it was, I think I only cried a day or two with the info. I'd found. I discovered the alarming rate abortions were occuring. This was in the mid 80s, so I did not have the Internet at home. I likely typed it up on a typewriter since I'd taken that course the year prior. I thought I knew the subject well, but my facts were even then, outdated. Though I can't recall exactly, I probably found most of the information in books at our school library. The whole topic was vast and set me into a tailspin of ethics with the many complications to consider during pregnancy. What if the child had down syndrome or some other major disability? (All common reasons a person would get an abortion.) But on a second side note, I think these unusual circumstances are also very personal. While I would not have said so as a young person, I think these terminations should be weighed carefully and taken case by case. But still, what cruelty to end a life because it was maimed or dealt a serious hand. I only had old stories and statistics, and still, I was horrified, shocked and somehow, a different person! 
The first case of someone I knew needing an abortion was surreal. She would have been my piano teacher had I not been seriously injured one summer. I remember hearing the unusual story less than a year later, the wife of one of my teachers. He was a member of my church, very Christian and very much pro-life. His wife was pregnant with their fifth child, but her health was failing. He was told by someone higher up in the church administration, that she should terminate the pregnancy to spare her own life. They ended up moving shortly there after. It was rumored that she had to move to a different climate for her health, but I thought it was more to do with the rumors. Again, I could never question or judge someone who chose their own life and young family over an unborn child.
But there are other justifications for abortion.
Even at the young age of 15, I developed an opinion on what I'd do if I was raped and became pregnant, or even the latter with consent. Would I terminate the pregnancy? Thankfully, I never had to make that decision. I suppose it's human of me to say that I could never judge someone who's made that choice. But I knew that I would never terminate. The unborn, silent child in my womb would see the light of day, but would go to an adoption agency. I'd likely even pick the parents.
Interestingly enough, one of the first historic cases related to the legalization of abortion did involve a rape story in 1970. She would later recant and admit it was a lie, but there did exist a woman who tried to abort her third pregnancy based on a rape allegation. Her lie was discovered when investigated and she did carry the child to term before any law could aide her choice. But in the other situations, abortions have been legal in rape cases (in most states) and when the mother's life is at risk.
It would be many years later that I had a friend in college who I grew close to. She and I hung out quite abit one semester and had a few classes together. She started asking my opinion on abortion. She said she had "this friend" who became pregnant unexpectedly. She wanted to know what I would tell her. I was completely nieve that it could be her, so I told her my views without restraint. I remember pleading that she tell the friend to not go through with it! I remember the look on her face. The abortion must have already happened, so what I said did not matter. But she had the sorrow of the world in her eyes. I still did not know it was her. I assumed it was a family member. She eventually moved away to go to a university, I believe. About 5 or 6 years later, she moved back to the area and we found ourselves in the same field. This was when someone told me what she'd done. I instantly recalled our conversations and knew it was true. I never said a word, but I knew exactly how she felt about it. My heart ached for her. What made the matter worse, in my opinion, is that she married the father and started a family. I simply could not fathom that she would choose to end a life out of convenience and reputation.  

Roe vs. Wade would not apply to the first two stories, but it was meant for her. She went on with her life and attended the university. I don't think she finished her first degree and would later change majors, but she was not bound by the constraint of an unplanned pregnancy. Her choice was not constrained by laws against the abortion either and perhaps she did not have the same view of life at conception. Which brings me to my next encounter with abortion. Abortion number 3.
This one happened when I was working as a church missionary in England. One morning, my companion and I knocked upon the door of a beautiful, dark-haired woman. She seemed shocked to find us on her doorstep. The woman was quite emotional and asked us to come back the next day. We did and she shared with us her distress. She said she had trouble leaving her flat and needed help making a grave in her apartment. Taken back by her words, we were at a loss. Running would not have been foolish. Without even a thought of fleeing the scene, we knew she needed help. She invited us in and explained how she'd had an abortion and could not live with herself. I never knew exactly, but it appeared as if we'd saved her life. She credited our first visit as a sign from God. We were asked to bring a large flower pot or garden box on our next visit, so we did. We also purchased some flowers for her to plant. This is where she fashioned a make-shift grave for her unborn child. We visited her several times and did what we could. While we invited her to church and shared the message of Christ, this would not be the purpose of our visits. She simply needed a friend. During one of our friendly visits, she told us of the many, cold-hearted woman she'd met at the abortion clinic. Most of them showed no emotion or sorrow. Some of them bragged that this was their second or third time getting an abortion. That stuck with me for some reason. Alone at the clinic, all she could do was bawl uncontrollably. We did our best to calm her grief and tell her she was still loved, but told her to seek out professional help. 
There are perhaps more of my friends, acquaintances or perhaps family who have had an abortion in the past that I do not know of. Perhaps some are even considering an abortion at this very moment. My heart would again plead for the beauty of life!
My purpose is certainly not to offend. While I still cannot judge why they made the decision to terminate, there is one thing I can make clear or suggest. I am always on the side of life. Even before the heart beats, their is life within life. I could never promote, encourage or stand by any law that claims it's the woman's right to choose her body over another. I will always look for a leader who believes in life, just for the sheer example. While health, rape and other major circumstances do play a role, the nine judges in 1973 were dead wrong. Just look at the catastrophic numbers (one report claims 56 million) and look at what the industry has stooped to. Where is our humanity today in that number? I was only 12 days old on January 22, 1973 and born to a poor, broken family, but I'd already benefited from a simple choice. Anyone born and breathing is given that rite of passage. Life is messy, complicated and doesn't make sense. Still, I wonder. How different life would be if all babies were treated like a joy to behold, even if they were placed in the arms of another? Think of the humanity in that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Beautiful Array of Colorful Cotton & Lycra

The Infamous Sock Basket
(:A Dissertation of my Nemesis)

"Clean socks are overrated", said no one ever.

Inspiration can come in many forms. On the evening of August 27, 2014, I found such inspiration in the form of a sock basket. This is the said, infamous sock basket (above). Isn't it beautiful? As I pulled out my cellphone to take a photo of the array of brightly colored socks belonging to our four minions of both genders, I recalled a wondefully funny story...

Many years ago, when I had one still in size 1 diapers and another barely potty trained, I went to my sister-in-law's home. She had 5 children still at home and worked long hours at the local college library. I came upon a strange, but humorous depot of odd socks. One of her daughters, the second oldest, was searching through it trying to find a match to a sock. This was hilarious to me.
"What is this?" I asked.
"It's a sock basket, mainly for the long lost socks we can't find the matches to," she replied.
"Really?" I giggled.
While my question seemed innocent on the surface, what my "almost married three-years mind" thought was that I'd never stoop so low. Though my mother had something similar (but much worse), I knew that I would be above such atrocities in a well kept home. After all, I would never repeat the mistakes of my parents. Surely, my little girl (and the one just born), would quite simply put, have a better life. I did a pretty good job keeping up with the laundry with one and back then, I even washed, folded and put away my husband's clothes. I loved washing the baby clothes!
By the time I had the third child, the sock basket most likely appeared. It stayed fairly low and was often sorted through, so life hadn't hit too hard. I was blessed to be a stay at home Mom then and my main roles were housewife and mother. Life went on. At some point, I knew I had to finish my degree. So, I went back to school to attain my B.S.E. when #3 was about a year.

The house pretty much exploded.

I did do laundry, but it was always backed up. A few years later, I had our fourth child. He was born a few weeks early and came with me to a few finals (slept the whole time). By the time he was potty-trained, I went to work part-time for a small newspaper, partly for sanity and partly to pay the bills. The plan was to write from home and still be the stay at home Mom. But that only lasted a month or so. The paper needed a full-time reporter. We sometimes added another sock basket (for adult socks) and I will admit that my laundry often sat unfolded in baskets and/or on the coach. After almost 2 years of this, I went to work at a middle school to put my husband through school and get better in line with my kid's schedules. All of them were in school by then. The sock basket became a permanent, normal way of life.
I have come to love the sock basket; it's true. It keeps some matched and some unmatched socks. It also has seasonal socks, you know, for Easter, soccer and Christmas. I think about those early years when I made fun of my sister-in-law and have to laugh inside. Just like many things I've thought and said, that day came back to taunt me. It's pointing its finger at me, holding its stomach, and laughing uncontrollably.

I imagine that someday I will miss the infamous sock basket. With the oldest now a senior and the youngest exiting elementary, I really like to look at the range of clean and bright socks that it holds. I know with all my heart that the little socks will slowly disappear, and not because the washer ate them. So for now, I salute you sock basket. I salute my mother who had one, my sister-in-law and all of you. If you don't have one, maybe you are laughing. But whatever you do, don't laugh out loud and don't say a thing...

Friday, July 25, 2014

LDS Black History Month

I've always been fascinated with the history of Blacks, or African Americans, in our country and throughout the world. I went to a highschool that was about a third white, a third Mexican and a third black. To say the least, my highschool experience was unforgettable. (But to tell the truth, I loathed highschool). There were often massive fights between classes, sometimes where the entire 5A school of close to 3,000 (or maybe 4,000) were transfixed by a gang fight. It was a literal battlefield somedays. Teachers, (with empty classrooms) tried to break up these huge fights, but to no avail. It was almost comical. Our small to mid-sized town shared its main drag with an Army base, hence the draw for many African Americans. We were also very close to the border, hence the Mexicans. (We lived in the Gadsen Purchase from Mexico). Then there were many rich caucasian families, often comparable to Beverly Hills teens. Ya, I was often out of place. However, I had friends of every color under the sun. I had enemies too, some who simply hated me because I had black friends and talked to black boys. Others despised my white skin and blond hair. I took both verbal and physical abuse from a few, but thankfully I had a few good friends with ebony skin who were good and kind souls. I remember going into our libraries (we had two) and seeing the routine Black History Month. So, this is the theme of my late night/early morning blog.
I came across an interesting article about black pioneers today. Really? How fascinating! While they had some negative things to say about blacks and the priesthood (and temples), I found the article fairly mild in the anti-Mormon sense. The overall theme was that it was high time these Saints were remembered. One such saint was a slave, given to a Mormon couple as a wedding present. He was freed of course, and joined the faith, but many focused on how Mormons owned slaves. I find that statement ridiculous. For one, ofcourse Mormons owned slaves. Most of the country did at the time, regardless of their faith. What should be more relevant is the history of the Saints during the Civil War. If you're wondering what side we took, it was not with the South. Many Saints were known to have freed their slaves. What a beautiful thing that this particular slave was freed and joined the faith, even if he was listed as a servent in the history. Then, he crossed the plains with the Saints and stood near Brigham Young when he said, "This is the Place!" over the Salt Lake Valley. That's pretty cool. I certainly don't have any known ancestors with that historic claim.
Then came the comments afterward. Many bashed the faith, discussing how persecuted and mistreated these black saints were. I was not there and do not know, but clearly this article claims the opposite. While I may be accused of taking a Polyanna approach, I like to imagine they were loved and well cared for. The article mentioned the tragedy it was that they were erased from LDS Pioneer History, but were they really erased? While it would have been nice to have heard of their story sooner, this is not something the leaders of the church kept under lock and key. I doubt they paid off others to keep it a secret. Thousands of pioneer stories have gone untold. We mostly recall/retell the major tragedies like Hans Mill and the Martin Harris Handcart company and rightly so. These horrific stories involved blood, frozen babies and many graves. Of course these were/are overtold, but they were just as unbearable then as they are now.
Mainly the comments bashed on the controversial history of the priesthood, so I thought it relevant to share my experience as a missionary with the many black Saints that I came to love instantly in England. I was surprised at how different these blacks were compared to African Americans. They weren't all obessed with entitlement, racism and to be blunt, not as many were "cocky". They were just so different, mostly in a good way. I was also bothered by the comments made about Mia Love, a black Republican running from Congress from Utah. Many were offended that she was a Mormon. I almost chewed out the few who ripped on her, but I realized I'd be wasting my breath. (I think she's a gem).
So, I bit my lip and put in my two cents. While I am white and cannot speak for the black Saints and Pioneers, I do find all of their stories remarkable. I can't wait to hear more. I do like the news and don't have network television, so I sometimes comment on these online debates/threads. Sometimes, I get positive feedback, other times, the trolls come out. But that's not the point. The point is that we all have our opinions, but mine is just better than yours! 
Just kidding. The point is that we all have a voice and we should not be afraid to sing out,especially with our Faith. For your reading enjoyment (or disgust), here are my comments made to the article posted on Huffington Post. How convenient that it came out on/near Pioneer Day!

"I will likely get bashed here, but I want to stand up for my beautiful faith. While I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1990s in England, I came across a different kind of African-English people (likely much like Isis Green).They were not caught up in political platforms, reverse racism, playing the victim, etc. When they prayed and blessed the sacrament, it was compelling, let alone richly spiritual. It was as if they regarded their newly ordained authority with a bit more humility and respect than many, likely because it did not come easily. Here's a little fact for the haters and anti-faith oriented people who bash on the priesthood in our faith. In biblical times, it was only allowed to be in hands of the Levites (Levitical Priesthood). Millions of faithful Christians were not allowed to hold the priesthood, regardless of their skin color or wealth. Only in the modern times did the priesthood spread to many tribes, lines and families. In my opinion, it took so long because of the great need for humilty and respect. It was never about a right. I adored, and still do, the entire black congregations and always wanted to be around them. I brought new/future members to these members of our faith (along with those who were Phillipeno). How wonderful it is to learn of their early history, but please, stop making this about rights and persecution. And don't get me started on the controversy with women, that will take another epistle. It's all much like the argument with Jesus' color of skin. We don't need to be offended that he was a fair-skinned Jew. It just is what it is. This is God's plan and I find it eternally beautiful. God Bless & Keep the Faith. ♥ ("

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Missed Themes and Frozen Hearts

Themes. There are so many themes and messages in the world. Themes are somewhat predictable, but get right to the core of human nature. Here's a theme, for example: Love conquers all. Ever read a story with that theme? Perhaps you've experienced a Theme park with a loved one before- such as Disneyland, Legoland or Sea World? While they rob us blind and trap us with their inventive, commercialized creations, they still have beautiful themes... Dream the impossible, explore all frontiers, reach for the stars, save the whales, etc. ! Underneath these messages about life, we all want to follow our dreams, live happily ever after and not miss the beautiful wonder of the world!

Stories like Disney/Pixar's Frozen come to mind. Two sisters are torn apart by a curse. They live in the same castle, but have become strangers. After they express themselves, face conflict and a desperate need to be loved, they must somehow find each other again. One sister ends up at a crossroads. Sacrifice herself for her sister when she needs her most or run into the arms of her true love. The ending is happy and somewhat predictable, but not exactly. Most of us expected to see a wedding and true love's kiss. (I refuse to give it away & be the spoiler; I've already said too much.) But here's the point. The message (& the music) struck a chord with every single member of my family. Here are just a few of its themes.

*With sacrifice comes great blessings.
*Life is riddled with challenges.
*Be careful who you trust and who you put your faith in.
*Be there for each other.
*It's never too late for love
*In the end, Love truly does conquer all.

I recently read a Twitter comment on someone else's view of Frozen. It was posted by someone who rallies for same sex marriages, wishing that Disney would produce a film where a "princess marries a princess". While she liked the movie, I am a little confused. First of all, did she miss the main points? (Did she also not notice that this focused on two sisters and Not Prince Charming and the Princess?) But this is the world we live in. It's all about rights and politics. Nobody cares that something good and beautiful came together. It's like she was blind to the real message. Two sisters, orphaned and alone, came together in true love and sacrifice. They conquered their foes and realized their fears. I thought it was one of Disney's best messages. While I have many points that I could make about our current legalized marriages and other such controversial topics, I will keep it simple.

We need a country more aware of the THEMES and less aware of the battle over certain "rights". There will often be a time when we should unite and battle for rights. The right of equality (in race, gender, religion), the right to worship however we please, the right to an education, free speech- these are the true rights that our forefathers fought for and painted crystal clear in our constitution. But too many in our world are lost and confused. They trample upon the Constitution. In their view- In the land of freedom and opportunity, everything should be free! For example, something that started as a sacred union between a man and a woman in Christianity (and other religions), should be given to those who wish to unite the same genders. More so, if you disagree, than you are a hater and a bigot! Tis a trap created by the one sole author of lies.

What if we respected the religious beliefs of others instead? What if we did not cry foul when these laws and traditions did not suit our purposes and lifestyle? I can respect the choices of two adults, but I cannot stand idly by when they alter the simple union of man and wife. Perhaps the government should create a common law category for such unions, if they are wishing for tax breaks. But I do not think this would appease their appetitites. They want to make a political statement. And, they want a Disney movie glamorizing this choice, which I imagine will be watched by children. Which brings me to one last point.

Why bring children into their choices? Raising a family is challenging enough in this world. If rights are the big concern, what about the rights of the child? While they can no doubt provide loving homes, what about the day when a daughter needs her father and/or a son needs his mother? This is the part that makes me sad. I can't even imagine. Cutting out the Mommies or the Daddies is not what our children need in this world. We, as a nation and world, have fallen into yet another trap. The author of lies has always waged a war on the family. He saves his best weaponry for that beautiful fortress- the family.

I absolutely loved the ice castle in Frozen. But it was a metaphor. She challenged her powers to their limits and created a cold, magnificent chasm between herself and the home she once knew. She wanted to stay there, alone, forever with her ginormous ice monster of fear. She thought she was protecting her beloved sister this way. Meanwhile, the village she once loved was buried in snow and ice. She could not return to save the village and thaw her accidental curse, for she did not know how. All were doomed. But as I told you before, Love really does conquer all. And as the snowman Olaf put it perfectly, "Some hearts are worth melting for."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lighning Bolt Decisions

(AKA) How to Make the Right Choice In Life

By Stephany Mae Robinson
In a perfect world, life is easy. There is never any conflict. We have the most amazing friends and family??? Well, where do you think all of these great character traits and skills come from? Our families and marriages are simply impeccable. I jump at the chance to introduce my new friends, coworkers and random strangers to my parents, my siblings and even my cousin, Eddie...
To all who know me well, your concern began at the word family. Just like the rest of the world (minus the Romneys), my family is most certainly not perfect. But it's supposed to be that way; I get that. Why the sudden emphasis on my dysfunctional family? I assure you, I have taken this path for a reason: 
I must tell you that one of my favorite life lessons has recently jumped out of its storage bin and bit me on the nose again.
Life is Conflict, which is to say, that we are faced with challenges daily. Often time, the challenges are huge, but most of them are trivial. We face challenges within ourselves, in our relationships and certainly with our families. It makes me think of the great line from Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (sorry for those who feel this is a trendy movie for groupies).
As Katniss finds herself alone, scared and fighting for her life in the arena of death, she proceeds to shoot one of her allies. He responds, "Remember who the real enemies are!" It was in that moment, that she chose to enter the final stage of the climax. Prior to this, her choices were simple: kill her new ally or shoot a lightning charged arrow at the dome. But this is just the outer conflict. She must also choose to trust someone or not trust anyone and assume they all wish her dead. Imagine how the story would have ended if she made the wrong choice.
For those who know and love the story, she chooses to fry the dome instead of her new friend. Her choice breaks down the whole system and the corrupt world she is forced to live in, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.
Now back to reality. This presents two questions...1. How do we know if we are making the right choice? 2. Who is the real enemy?
Question 1-Which is the right choice? I like to pray, of course, but I also know that I am human and screw up on a regular basis. It would be an understatment to say that it's in my nature (have you met my mother?) I also admit that sometimes I'm not in tune with the Spirit like I should be. Life is hectic. I don't read my scriptures and stop to listen when I should. In other words, I don't trust my own judgment. So, I do my best to get back on track and then I use one more gage. I ponder (another crucial part of prayer) and search the choice out in my heart and mind. This is done when I determine which choice is the more difficult of the two. In my experience, the more challenging choice is usually the right one.
For example, I did not want to be a teacher for a time. I ran like an escaped convict when I saw the first open door. I missed my old life, the one where I did not worry about 100 children on top of the 4 I already had. I did not waste anytime praying over the matter, I just knew what I wanted. I also knew life was easier before I was a teacher. I had to go through several difficult detours after that bad choice before I found myself wishing I was back teaching again. Which taught me another thing. God often provides a way back to the path. Just like before, when I knew where I was supposed to be, the return path lit up and happened quickly. It was like someone above planned for my exit and re-entry. In this case, I see the fruits of my labor almost daily. Though it is a difficult sacrifice which I still find myself loathing, I have a passion for teaching. When I no longer feel that drive, the compassion and a fire for teaching, I must choose to let it go.
For now, I am blessed and honored to teach. (I'm back at the same school, but feel more resolve.) In my present position, my family still is the center of my life. I'm lucky to have a boss who supports that. I rarely get dinner on the table at 6 pm each night and the laundry often sits in its baskets, but we laugh, spend time together and enjoy each other's company. We are a family. A new favorite activity is sorting/folding laundry together during an episode of Duck Dynasty. I cherish such nights. 
Question 2- Who is the real enemy? This should be something we think about whenever we encounter a difficult decision. The father of all lies, Lucifer, Satan or Diablo, has goals very different than our own. His aim is to make us feel alone and tear us from the things that he fears most, the family and love. Life is not meant to live alone. Just like Katniss in the arena, we need each other. While it may seem difficult to keep up relationships and strive to find love and peace in our homes, this is the greatest battle we will ever fight. We must accept that it is a battle, for that is what the enemy has determined it to be. We arm ourselves daily with prayer, forgiveness, compassion and trust. It will be a struggle if this is not in our nature for a time, but then these skills will become easier. We will rely on them.
Don't listen to the lies of the adversary or from society. A strong family is more important than anything, even fame, money and a career. It will get easier and we will feel a peace and joy like no other. After great effort on our part and some patience, the fruits of our labors will be evident. 
Final summation- Remember, life is conflict and it is that way for a reason. We are not supposed to be floating down a lazy river when it comes to our families and relationships. Work hard at work, but save your true patience and best work for those you truly LOVE. After you have searched, pondered and prayed, go with those difficult choices. The outcome may surprise you, like a bolt of lightning on a clear, summer day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I am a white European Native American with tan spots

I am troubled. The news stories keep streaming in on The Martin-Zimmerman case. While I feel great sorrow for the grieving parents, I feel that the justice system actually worked for once. Well, let me strike that. Honestly, I think the justice system works most of the time. While some are served a great dose of injustice due to an array of loop holes and dishonest people, I truly believe that most juries and judges who follow procedure and study out the facts deliver accurate sentences. But our media and blind administration would have our minds think that this is not so. Our country, just like the last election, is divided and torn. The biggest reason for this is the Media Monster. While a news reporter is trained to find relevant, credible information, some just care about ratings. And sadly, while Americans should always seek for the facts and find trustworthy sources, they often spend 5 minutes on the Internet reading articles with an embedded agenda or watching ridiculous YouTube videos about the case. This is pretty much why our current leaders are in office as well. There are not enough doing their homework and too many more who want entertainment. Then, there are the dillusional liberals and outspoken celebrities. Please, we beg of you. Just stop talking... I recently found an old friend who candidly admitted that he was a Democrat. Naturally, he voted for Mr. Obama. Don't worry, we are still very good friends. But we had a brief discussion on the current President. Many in our country wish to blame everything on this man,which simply is not fair. This is true. He should not be the target of every mishap, disaster and/or backwards policy. However, I still believe one thing very firmly. Our president is a leader and therefore influences the common Joe Schmoe to believe certain things. For example, what are the ethics on gun rights, abortion or healthcare? Not sure, well, what does the Prez think? The President also has the ability or inability to encourage cooperation, unity and tolerance. Which brings me to my final point. Why does the President obviously feel that a great injustice has occurred in the Martin-Zimmerman case? Does he need to express his opinion, especially since he was not there that fateful night? He should take a step back and support the judge and jurors in this case. Better yet, he should stay out of this race-baited topic entirely. I'm beginning to feel that he does not care about the Zimmermans and their children? Perhaps he is still trying to win our votes and trust. I really liked the 16 year-old White House intern who asked the question that matters most in this time of life or death. It is too late for him to crawl back into a corner now... Two words: death threats. Maybe the President has been too shielded from the death threats he is receiving. Perhaps he should read a few and then offer a slew of body guards to Mr. Zimmerman and his family, regardless of Zimmerman's skin color.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Strange Chain of Events

I recently broke down and did something completely out of character...

I made an appointment to see the dentist. The appointment was planned last minute, so that I didn't have anytime to talk myself out of going. I got in on a cancellation appointment and had to rush there after the boys had swimteam one morning. We made good time leaving the city pool (no missing goggles or flip flops), and made it back to the house in record time. Rushing to the ladies room, I brushed my teeth again, removing most of the evidence that I'd just split a Pop Tart with my son, after all. A brush whizzed through my hair and I blew my nose when out of the blue, BAM! A NOSE BLEED! As my luck would have it, I'd just used the last of the T.P. as well.

Seriously? Now I had to get to the dentist on time with a NOSE BLEED and somehow not stain my clothes in the process! As I kept my head tilted back over the sink and scrounged for the cotton balls below, I heard a knock at the door. My son waited just outside, ready to get in a warm bath after doing 20 laps in the frigid city pool. He was persistent since his little brother was in the other tub and using all the hot water. He knocked again, but was told to wait due to my sudden nose bleed. I stuffed cotton up my nose and made my way to the locked medicine cabinet in the kitchen for nose spray.

Somehow, I got the bleed to stop rather quickly. The dry, triple digits were more than likely to blame. But I still had to get to the last place I wanted to be, the dentist. I told my older daughters to keep an eye on their brothers, feed them lunch and then I hit the road again. About halfway into the drive (just 10 minutes from my house), I stopped in the left turning lane for the red stoplight. I was about to turn onto our little highway at this point of the trip. As I waited there for the light to change, a large white semi truck just about ran me over for his "wide turn". I actually had to back up about 50 feet so he could pass and so I could live to see another day. It was as if the universe were trying to keep me from going to the dentist. I truly considered it a miracle that I made it to Dr. Bushman's on time, with like 5 minutes to spare! It was odd to be there alone. Even though I hate the dentist, I actually like the receptionist, the dentist (I was once his daughter's English teacher) and the hygienist at this particular office.

I'm pretty sure the smart dentists find the nicest, most charming people to work for them since they know the whole affair is legalized torture which we fork over our earnings toward. I was the last in the family to get that checkup, putting it off as long as possible. I'd done the rounds of getting my kids checkups and followups, a difficult task with school-age, busy kids and a full-time job teaching English to 14-yr. olds. Since we didn't have insurance for 2.5 years, there teeth were in pretty rough shape, which translated to mean double or triple the appointments. We racked up 23 cavities, even with one cavity free. (He's the gifted child who makes the others look bad, but badly needs braces, of course). Now honestly, let me make my position clear: I DO NOT LIKE GOING TO THE DENTIST!

Why, you may be asking yourself... Why be a hater? Maybe ymar arrived a dentist or maybe you are one of those amazing parents who brush and floss your kids teeth every night and make sure they get three cleanings a year. I can see you hovering over your 13-year old son, ordering them to open wide. Well, I am not one of those parents, at least with dental hygiene. I brushed their teeth until they hit like age 3 or 4, then gave them each a SpinBrush and let them go crazy. (They also wiped their tooshies at that age, but that's for another day). My logic was like, hey, this set will fall out soon anyway. I find ways to cut back their sugar intake, make them eat their veggies, and only brush their teeth for them like once a month, when I feel the need. I don't even tell my teenage daughters to brush anymore, since they will roll their eyes as soon as I open my mouth. Call me a lowlife parent, but you must understand how much of an improvement this is compared to my parents.

Dad's voice is still crystal clear. He'd say, "Girls, get in there and brush your teeth. It'll make hair grow on your chest!" Of course, we would generally do what he said, even after we understood that little blond and blue eyed girls should not aspire to such burly dreams. Typically, dad was the one who was interested in our dental hygiene. Being a dad, he probably got us to brush our teeth once a week, tops. Mom cooked, cleaned, made sure we bathed and did chores. She rarely told us to brush, floss, rinse with fluoride or scour our tongues. Though I can't say for sure, but I believe we'd get a new toothbrush maybe once a year, usually from the dentist or school hygiene bags. The first time I even knew what dental hygiene was happened at school in 5th grade, when a dentist visited during  health week. I thought the free toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and red tablets were super cool. When I got to try the red tablets, I realized how poorly I'd been brushing instantly when my teeth lit up red in about every nook and cranny. This was also pretty discouraging. But things got worse, a ton worse. Our dental hygiene suffered greatly when dad was diagnosed with leukemia and then passed away two years later. The same year he was diagnosed we lived in Washington state. We went to the dentist a few times in the two and a half years we lived there. I remember the dentist was shocked that we'd never been to the dentist before. I was age 9. When we moved back to Arizona, Mom let another 6 or 7 years go by before taking us to the dentist. She was always kind of a legend for the wrong reasons at every clinic and dentist she took us to, but I guess she did her best with the tough circumstances she had to raise 5 kids in. Things did get better when our stepfather came into our family when I hit 15.

Back to the present cleaning of 2013- I climbed into the hot seat and a heavy metal "shield blanket" was laid across my body. (This should be a cue to run). Now, I do not ever think about it in the moment, but why don't they give you a radiation helmet? I know we have a skull and all, but isn't the brain the most important system we have? While the hygienist zaps each side of my face, my mind instantly stews upon the fact that X-rays are pretty outrageous in cost alone. It's pretty much like they are making you pay for a chance to be exposed to cancer. Just like most everyone else, I'm polite as he fills me with radiation. I hold the film in place, which really makes me feel like some of that charge should be reduced. I am basically doing someone's job at that point!

The hygienist was nice and all, but his space was lame and beige. No pictures, ceiling posters, nada! When the cleaning began and he brought out the sharp, metal instruments, I realized how similar these little sets are to the torture tools they feature in action films. I wonder if any criminals were once dentists or hygienists, maybe jilted over a lawsuit or something? I suffered through unimaginable pain,parting due to bone and gum loss. He scraped, poked, slipped into my gums and all while I stared at white and beige walls! Thankfully, a window and a few trees were also in view to stare at from time to time. After about 20 minutes, the neck pain started to set in. My least favorite part was when he explained that my teeth were so bad, I'd have to come in again so he could clean the top half. I also had two new cavities. He recommended I take Ibuprofen for the pain and explained that I had a stubborn muscle on the bottom half of my mouth that was inadvertently pushing the toothbrush up and off the gumming so I'd have to be more vigilant. The 1/2 cleaning took an hour. Ultimately, this is pretty much why I hate the dentist. You are poked, prodded, zapped, lectured, and then charged up the WAZOO! "Oh, and we look forward to seeing you back here for more in a few weeks!"
On my drive home, I dropped off the porcelain dolls that my daughters never really liked at the local thrift store. While I was there, I made a momentary discovery. All books, paper or hardback, were only 10 cents each! I quickly rummaged through and found 9 books, including Agatha Christie, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown, a Curves Weight loss book and a Your Money Matters book! It was the most fun I've had in a Thrift store in years. It was a strange chain of events, to say the least, but I guess it all turned out in the end. I didn't arrive late nor was I bleeding profusely upon arrival. I wasn't flattened by a semi-truck and I had a new Christie book to enjoy after a dose of Ibuprofen. Ya, life is good, cavities and all.