Monday, January 28, 2008

Midwinter Day's Nightmare

Last Thursday night Darren and I took Adrienne and Samantha to see BYU's production of "A Midsummer Night 's Dream." We were on the very front row and the stage slanted down toward the audience and at times it seemed as if the actors would slide off the stage and into our laps. I would not have been surprised if a swarthy Athenian ended up at my feet. I may not have been too upset by it either . . .We could see every expression on their faces. I've never sat so close before. Anyway, it was amazing.

Two days later, however, it was a Midwinter Day's Nightmare. I'll just write a few clue clue words and you can piece together the picture: snow, Wyoming, stuck
, snow, wind, fight, off the road, broken car, tears, anger, car parts, AAA, paying extra, no sleep. That was my weekend. Oh, yes, there was that 3-minute snowmobile ride and the 20-minute cross country ski. We musn't leave out the hour of highlights that made everything worth it (sarcasm intended).

I was born in Wyoming. In Laramie, to be exact. It was the middle of October and it was a blizzard apparently. Who ever heard of of a blizzard in October except people from Wyoming? In every picture we have of Wyoming, there is snow in it. I am always sitting on huge snowdrifts to get my picture taken. Was it NEVER summer in Wyoming? I will have to ask my Mom. I kept thinking about Wyoming's horrible weather conditions as I was driving along 1-80 last weekend, watching a genuine blizzard descend at alarming speed. I thought of all those toddler pictures of me sitting in the snow as we passed car after car that had spun off the road.

When we got home I told Darren I would never go to Wyoming again unless it was really and truly summer. Last year when we went in August it was wonderful. Everything bad that happened, happened because it was January and we were in Wyoming. OK, enough.

President Gordan B. Hinckley died Sunday. I loved that man because he made me feel like I could do it. When others might have said, "YOU SINNERS--SHAPE UP," he said, "You are wonderful. We should all try a little harder, reach a little higher, do a little better." I can handle admonitions in gentle, loving doses. He was unfailingly positive and good-natured. And he worked like a horse for 97 years.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Home Alone on a Friday Night

Unbelievable! My house is completely silent tonight. I've found myself all alone on a Friday night. Adrienne and Leah have gone babysitting and Darren has taken Nathan and Sammie and their friends up to my Uncle Ted's ranch in Evanston, WY. We will join them tomorrow for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and sledding.

I survived my first week in the autism class. Not only did I survive, I thrived. I absolutely loved being at school for six hours a day this week. Need a cure for the January blues? Get a job, I tell you. It works wonders. I haven't functioned this well in January since the 80s. I am truly astounded at how much better I feel not being home all day. My little blue light box helps as well. The combination of the job and the light box seems to be working miracles with my mood! I'm so relieved. Only seven more days until January is over.

Let's see, what shall I do with three hours to myself? Watch a movie, GO to a movie, go to the library, go to the bookstore, work on my manuscript (nah)? Take a bath, file my fingernails, exercise (nah)? Read a book, clean the family room, (nah) pack for tomorrow? Drink hot cocoa while curled up in that super soft blanket? Look at the dings in the wall and the spots on the carpet? For sure I will crank the heat up now that Darren's not here to turn it down. It can actually be above 64 degrees tonight.

The possibilities are endless, but I'm leaning toward the library and Borders since I have a coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

What would you do on a Friday night that was all your own?

Monday, January 21, 2008

10 Days Left

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day everyone! I've been out shoveling show for an hour and it was coming down so hard I had to do it again 45 minutes later. We haven't had this much snow since we moved back to Utah almost 10 years ago. It's definitely a winter wonderland in our neck of the woods.

Tomorrow I'm going to start substituting at the elementary school in the lower grade autism class. The teacher is on maternity leave for 4-6 weeks and I will be the aide while she is gone. This past month I've been helping in the upper grade autism class periodically and my eyes have been opened to the trials and frustrations that these children face. I have been sworn at and yelled at on occasion while I've been in that upper grade class, but I've also seen the light bulb go on in some children's faces, and that made the other stuff worth it believe it or not. I am relieved to be occupied during this dreary, depressing month.

Adrienne went to a girl's preference dance at Orem High Saturday night and had a ball. We actually went out to buy a dress for this event and that was a fun mother/daughter time together. Her girlfriends did her hair, makeup and nails, and she looked gorgeous. Thanks Shelly and Bridgett for saving me tons of money at the beauty salon!

I feel sorry for the server at Macaroni Grill who had to cater to all 22 people in their group. And each couple had separate checks! What a nightmare!

Darren is coaching Nathan's Jr. Jazz team and the team's doing great. It gives him something to do on dreary Saturdays besides watching ESPN and playing Game Cube. He can't wait for soccer season to start again. This time he'll be playing without a broken ankle. I'm excited to see what he can do. I can't imagine ever seeing green grass again after the winter we've had.

Sammie is back at art classes after a two-year hiatus. She's decided that she's had a long enough break and is ready to create her beautiful masterpieces again. Leah is much happier since we started to going to school later and coming home later.

Cub Scouts continues to be an adventure a week for the other leaders and me. This past week a boy slipped on the ice, hit his head and started to black out. His eyes rolled back in his head and he was screaming. Only one leader was outside. The rest of us were inside cleaning up. While she was trying to make him focus on her and get him off the ice, the newest cub scout came up to her and said, "Sister Jackson, I didn't get my treat yet!"

Little boys are oblivious to the world around them. Not that I didn't already know this.

Only 10 days left of the worst month of the year!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Snowy January Day

Christmas is over and the tree is on the back patio covered in six inches of snow. A piece of silver tinsel has broken free of its white cocoon and is flying around in the wind, a remnant of a our joyous holiday. What a beautiful Christmas it was. I'm grateful for the lovely memories.

This is the time of year when I seem to fall off the face of the earth. I struggle to stay upright in January. If I had my way I'd stay in bed reading all day in my pajamas drinking tea and eating whatever I wanted. But that's bad for me emotionally and physically. Intellectually I know this. But I can't help wanting to swaddle myself in covers and avoid the world.

That's how I felt yesterday. The world was not a happy place. Then I awoke to an email from a long-lost friend in Madison, Wisconsin. She told me she found me through this blog and that she enjoyed reading it. That kept me from wanting to go back to bed for the first time since January 1. Thanks, Pat. It also made me want to write in the blog instead of going back to bed. This is a major victory!!!!

Pat filled me in on Sally, her daughter, who is 16 now. I started babysitting Sally when she was six weeks old. Now she is a brilliant mathematician (yes the 16-year old) and attending college as a sophomore in high school. Blow me away. Does Sally know that I can't do math past the sixth grade if my life depended on it? Please don't tell her, Pat. Tell her I have other virtues.

So January . . .tons of snow and frigid temperatures. I don't remember having this much snow in the past 10 years. How do we make it through to March? This is how I plan to do it:

Thinking about a fun vacation. We're going to NYC (all six of us) in April! My sister and brother in law live in Manhattan and we will stay with them. Darren purchased tickets to Wicked today. The Red Sox are playing the Yankess when we are there as well. Darren is willing to sell his soul to see this game. There is much to look forward too. An entire week in NYC doesn't come around every day.

Substituting at the elementary school for 4-6 weeks while one of the teachers is on maternity leave. Working for six hours a day will definitely drive the doldrums away. It will also pay for our trip to New York. Well, part of it anyway. It will at least pay for Wicked and the Red Sox game!

Feeling so blessed that my sister and her family are moving back to Utah after having lived everywhere but for the past 15 years. Our children can be cousins and have fun getting to know each other. We can spend holidays together--wow Thanksgiving and Christmas with my side of the family, that's a first in many, many years!

Celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary in August. I don't know what we'll do, but it will be fun celebrating such a milestone.

Going to the cabin in Montana with family. We didn't go last year but we're going this year. Now that the kids are older, it will be even more enjoyable. Yes it will, Darren.

Thinking about what I accomplished last year. It wasn't a shabby year, goal-wise. I did (surprisingly) well at many of my goals. For this I am proud.

I am not going back to bed. I am going to go shower and go be duty guard in the frigid cold. It that doesn't keep my mind alert and functioning, nothing will!