It seems we are growing some Elegant Stinkhorns in the mulch in our front yard. It sounds like something from Harry Potter. They look gross and smell gross. I don't know how they sprouted or how to get rid of them. They are some kind of a fungus. They look like a carrot with some very gross ooze on their tips. Enjoy the pics! To bad I can't do a scratch 'n' sniff thing for you.
On Friday, Chris and I and the kids picked up Anna and Lucy and 4 of our kids' friends for an afternoon of swimming at my mother-in-law's pool. As we approached her street, we could see that the street was blocked by firetrucks, ambulances and police cars and smoke was pouring from the house next door to hers. We had to turn around and approach the house from another direction and got there in time to see the firemen putting out the fire in the house. It didn't look like a horribly bad fire, but the fireman said the the entire structure will have to come down and that if it weren't made of brick it would have burned to the ground.
The women that lived in the home have lived in that house for many years. They were retired school teachers that never married and lived together for at least 40 years, probably more. Probably they lived together their entire lives. They are pretty old--late 70s, early 80s.
When Chris was a little boy, they were mean to him and the other children in the neighborhood. They would take the children's balls and toys. They would complain about all the noise that the children made. They would complain about children riding bikes on the sidewalk in front of their house. They would complain about cars parking in front of their house. Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine parked in front of their house when they came swimming with us and the old woman turned her sprinkling system on so she would get wet. As they have gotten older, they haven't really gotten any nicer.
I still feel bad for them. What a sad thing to lose everything you have including all your photos and mementos. One of the sisters had all of her things that she wanted to be buried with stacked on the foot of her bed. Chris' parents have told me all along that these sisters are heirs of some famous Rackham man. The genealogist in me started to research. Horace Rackham was the attorney who incorporated Ford Motor Company. He scraped together $5000 to buy 50 shares of stock in 1903 and was elected to the board of directors of the company. He was able to retire from his law practice in 1913 and then in 1919 he sold his stock to Edsel Ford for $12.5 million. He was a great philanthropist during the remainder of his live donating the land which the Detroit Zoo is on, Rackham Golf Course in Huntington Woods, and many great donations to the University of Michigan. He died in 1933.
This man was the great uncle of the sisters. I don't know how much, if any, of his fortune that they have inherited. I don't know why they never married and had families of their own. I can't help but wonder if their loneliness has contributed to their outward meanness to others. Or if their outward meanness has pushed others away and contributed to their loneliness. In any case, what a terrible destroyer fire is. This experience has given me cause to reflect on the fact though I have many possessions and cherished keepsakes, the things I love the most aren't things at all. They are the people who share my life.
Yesterday was such a great day in the temple. Chris and I were there for most of the day. I think one of the loveliest parts was being welcomed to the House of the Lord by President Dunnigan and President Medley. Such great men! Also lovely was seeing all of the faces of wonderful friends serving as well.
We were able to do many ordinances for family including sealing both sets of our great grandparents together. I haven't participated in the sealing ordinance in a long time. I remember when we were sealed to each other, I was more interested in looking into the eyes of my sweetie than listening to the words of the sealer. A month after we were married, we had the opportunity to attend the sealing of some dear friends. As I sat and listened, I was struck by some of the words that I had missed at my own sealing. I was glad to get the chance again to hear these words and feel the power of that ordinance.
Leaving the temple that day the thing that struck me the most was the reminder to have joy in my posterity. It is something that I try really hard to do but sometimes in the midst of the bickering and teasing and frustration and potty training and picking up...I forget to find the joy. I am going to try to concentrate harder on finding the joy.
I was going to do my "Weekly Top Five" on Monday as my Top Five Favorite John Hughes movies. I just sat down to do it and as I starting typing the list, there are just too many more than five to make a list like that.
My all time favorite John Hughes movie is "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." I saw it for the first time at a sleepover in the 6th grade and it captivated me in a way no movie I'd ever seen before. After seeing it, I knew I had entered my teenage years. I was no longer a child. In high school, a friend and I spent one entire sleep over memorizing the words. The entire screenplay. There were people we knew that looked like some of the characters and we would call them by the names in the movie. We had secret theories about a possible relationship between Cameron and Sloane. I am always on the look out for a good Cameron look alike. I spotted one on an opposing swim team once and secretly took pictures of him through the whole meet. I named my son Cameron, for Pete' sake! I really love this movie.
The rest can't be put in an order. They are all pretty special. "Sixteen Candles" was first seen at my 18th surprise birthday party. My friend gave me a copy of it and I watched it over and over again. If Chris dies, I'm giving my heart to Jake Ryan. "The Breakfast Club" was one that I saw too young and it took until I was older to understand some of it. In 8th grade, I had to do a group project with some kids. We gave our group the name "Neo Maxi Zoom Dweebies." I saw "Some Kind of Wonderful" at another sleepover. I was enthralled with the lead's hair and got a cut just like hers. My friend and I watched "Weird Science" at her older sisters house every time we visited her. I remember watching "Mr. Mom" when I was 10 on a family vacation to Mackinac Island. The hotel had HBO! It was awesome! The summer before we got married, Chris and I watched "Vacation" over and over again. We would sing the "Marty Moose" song to each other all the time. We watch "Christmas Vacation" every year after we put up the Christmas tree. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is oft quoted at Thanksgiving. "She's having a Baby" was THE date movie to watch at BYU. I probably saw it at least 10 times when I was there. "The Great Outdoors," "Home Alone" and "Uncle Buck" are newer movies that I love and have started sharing with my kids. How can you not love John Hughes movies?
One of the best things about them are the soundtracks. So many of my very favorite songs are from John Hughes movies. Here's a list of my very favorites. Go get them on your ipods. You won't be sorry.
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds "I go Crazy" by Flesh For Lulu "If you were here" by The Thompson Twins "The Edge of Forever" by The Dream Academy "Pretty in Pink" by the Psychedelic Furs "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo "Young Americans" by David Bowie "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors "True" by Spandau Ballet
Don't you just want to grab a friend and watch your favorite one? I do!
When I was in the sixth grade, we studied World War II and watched a movie in our classroom that depicted life in a concentration camp. I remember sitting, riveted in my chair unable to comprehend what was being portrayed on screen. It was hard for me to believe that this had actually happened to real people. This was my first introduction to the horror that was WWII and the Holocaust. The details of this period in time gripped me like none other. I spent hours pouring over WWII books and watching movies. The summer before 7th grade, I spent laying on my stomach in the backyard reading the entire Time-Life World War II series. All 39 books. It was an obsession with me to read and watch more and more.
It's hard to put my finger on what enthralled me about the era. Perhaps it was the struggle of good vs. evil. Perhaps I identified with the persecution and attempted annihilation of a religious group. Perhaps it was the romance of the time--heroes fighting for freedom and the women they loved, women taking to factories for the first time in their lives, victory gardens, etc... I guess it was all of these things rolled together.
I talked about it nonstop with my mom and dad, friends, teachers...anyone who would listen. I got the game "Axis and Allies" for Christmas when I was 13. It was all I wanted. I made my parents play it with me over and over again. I'm sure they were terribly bored! I was obsessed. In high school, we read the book "Delivered from Evil," in my American History class. I spent one weekend reading the entire 1000 page book and loved every exhilarating minute of discussion that we had in class about it.
I lost touch with this passion I had after high school. I still enjoyed watching WWII movies like, "Schindler's List" and while Chris sat with his head between his knees during "Saving Private Ryan" because the beach landing scene made him light headed, I sat transfixed, unable to take my eyes off the screen. We watched the series "Band of Brothers" faithfully together. And then, nothing for several years.
Last week, I checked out "The Winds of War" by Herman Wouk from the library. While reading this book, I felt my familiar love of the history of the WWII time period return. I finished the book and am now reading it's sequel. I have found that the History and Military History channels have several shows dedicated to WWII history. Last night, I was watching a show about the last days of the war and it was showing liberation of some of the concentration camps by the American soldiers. I had to stop watching after a few minutes because the suffering of those interred there seemed much more acute to me now that I am a mother. It is unimaginable. So much hatred...I can't understand it.
I feel overwhelming emotion in trying to end this post. I started it on July 28th and here it is August 5th and I still don't know what to say. I want to sneak in my baby's room and cuddle her and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for being born into the world now and to a safe haven from the evils of the world. I think I will.
Nineteen years ago today my dad woke me up and told me that my mom died in the night. At that moment, one volume of my life closed and a new one opened. The entire day felt unreal. It was like I wasn't me, but I was just watching things happen in my house. People came and left. We went to the dry cleaner and Churchill's like everything was regular. But it wasn't regular and when I had to interact with people, I wanted to scream at them "My mom is dead. Don't you know? My mom is dead!" But I didn't.
She died on a Saturday. My dad said we had to go to church on Sunday even though it would be hard because if we didn't then it would be harder the next week. I suppose he was right. We always sat in the very front row and it seem to me that no one spoke as we walked from the back door of the chapel to the front. A dear friend embraced me and I sobbed in her arms.
After church, we had to go to the funeral home for the viewing. People were there already because it started before I even got there and I was upset because I didn't get a minute alone with my mom before people starting coming. People kept telling me that she was wearing her wedding dress but I knew this couldn't be right because she borrowed her wedding dress and didn't own it. When I approached her, she was wearing all white and the clothing would have looked like a wedding dress to an unknowing observer, however it was sacred temple clothing. She looked very beautiful. I touched her hand. It was cold.
The day was a blur of people and hugs and tears. Finally everyone left and we were alone with her. I took her wedding ring and put in on my finger. I was lonely.
My cousin came home with me and stayed overnight. I was so glad. Sometimes we talked and laughed and sometimes I cried and she held my hand.
Her funeral was nice. I don't remember anything about it except sitting next to Anna and feeling like everyone was watching me. I remember that someone put anti-Mormon literature in the bathrooms. I was so angry I took it and waved it at my dad and cried. How could anyone be so cruel? It was done by a cousin of mine. I had one cousin who's husband wouldn't come into the church building. I guess he though Mormonism was catching. We might grab him and baptize him if he came in.
We had to drive to Lansing for her burial. My dad dedicated her grave.
That first day, I thought that it couldn't get any harder. I was so wrong. Although the pain isn't as new as it was then, nineteen years later I think I miss her more now. On August 4th, there was a rainbow in the sky. Every year after that I have seen a rainbow on that day. Even the year I was in Utah. Even the year that it was beautiful out but a friend gave me a card with a rainbow on the outside. She didn't know about my rainbow thing. When I see a rainbow, I feel like God is saying to me "I took your mom, but I promise it will be worth it." I hope I have enough faith to believe Him.
All of the ingredients in Enfamil, Similac and store brand baby formula are exactly the same. The prices however are not the same. The store brand is half the price of the others. I am interested to know why someone would pay for the expensive brands. It doesn't make sense to me.
***update*** I found my memory card reader under a pile of laundry in the laundry room. Right where it's supposed to be. :) Here's a few pictures I wanted to post with this post.
I have been waiting to write this post because I had some pictures that I wanted to take from my camera and upload for it. However, SOMEONE has stolen both of the memory card readers that I have. I'm not naming names *cough* Cameron *cough.* So I guess you get the post without the pictures for now.
My cousin, Hayden
Lizzie enjoying the mini-recliner with Aunt Suzie
Emily went to her second year of YW Girls Camp this month. She had a super fun time. She especially loved having Anna there as an adult leader this year. Emily came home with stronger friendships with girls in our ward. Hooray! I'm happy for that. She had fun canoeing, picking mulberries, performing in a skit, swimming in the lake and all the other fun girls camp stuff that happens.
I drove the girls to camp and home again. On the second trip out to Battle Creek, I stopped at my aunts house to visit with her in Marshall. I have posted about this particular aunt before. She's one of my favorites. One time when I was staying there in the summer, I convinced her that I was old enough to ride her bike from their house in the country to town to get a few things she needed from the grocery store. I think I was probably in the 7th grade so that would make me about 12 years old. I looked it up on the map and the distance was about 6 miles round trip. That is a lot for a 12 year-old-girl in unfamiliar territory! However, I was determined. I got on the bike, which included one of those baby seats. I headed out and promptly got lost at the second turn. I just couldn't remember which way to go. The cornfields all looked the same and I headed the wrong way for a while. I got myself straightened out and headed over a river and then over some rail road tracks. Those were scary on a bike. I continued on until I got to Michigan Avenue. I think every state in the union has a Michigan Avenue and they are all the same: 2 or 4 lane divided highways with fast cars zooming by. I didn't have any much of this kind of road experience but I pressed on. I made it onto the road and almost immediately had to drive on a bridge over I-69. This was terrifying. I went as quick as I could over the bridge and headed into town. I made it to the Feldpausch's grocery and purchased the items for my aunt: sour cream and enchilada sauce. I put the items and the change in the bag and headed back to the bike. I wasn't looking forward to the drive home but nevertheless, carried on. I wanted to cross Michigan Avenue right there in front of Feldpausch's because I was going to the McDonald's across the street to get something to drink. As I was riding across the5 lane highway, my bag broke and all of my purchases and money flew all over the road. I hopped off the bike and scrambled around trying to pick everything up. The sour cream had cracked and some oozed out but I think I saved everything else. I made it to McDonalds, drank my pop and contemplated calling Aunt Suzie and having her come and get me. I decided I could make it home, so this time, I buckled the bag of stuff into the kid seat and headed back out. I made it back over I-69, and headed out to the country. I had to go back over the railroad tracks and when I did, the bag I put in there flew out and scattered my purchases all over the tracks. I was panicked that I was going to be hit by a train but determined to rescue the food cuz how would Aunt Suzie make her famous chicken enchiladas without the sour cream and sauce?? I got everything and continued on my journey. I made it back to 130 Brook Drive in once piece thankfully. I relayed my adventures to Aunt Suzie, who was able to save most of the sour cream and make the delicious enchiladas. It was quite an experience in my 12 year old life.