Around Town

Lessons from the trail: that dude on the bike

Fotor_144077863385631I’m walking down the trail yesterday with my baby in a stroller and my dog darting about.  My trail is asphalt, but there is a great surrounding riparian area where my dog loves to explore. She chases birds, sniffs for treasures, drinks from puddles. I imagine her trail-time is much like mine: she feels free and at ease with her instincts.

So, at one point this cyclist comes roaring around a curve, and almost runs over my dog. Not really slowing down, the cyclist shouted at me over his shoulder: “Please keep your dog on a leash so she won’t run in front of the bikers.”

What he had no way of knowing is that like the guy suggested and the law commands, I used to keep my dog on the leash.  However, I found that the outstretched leash was a big problem for the cyclists. They would have to come to a complete stop behind oblivious me in my headphones, my wide stroller, the leash of death off to my left, and my dog trying to sniff the other side of the trail.

So, over a period of about three years I’ve learned to just let the dog run, and hope for the best. Whenever there is another dog approaching I quickly apply the leash.  Lately though I’ve been searching for the right solution as there are a lot more cyclists during the earlier time that I’ve been using the trail. Sometimes Olive has obliviously jet out in front of them and I realize that’s a problem.

For the rest of my walk, I was considering this cyclist. I started out angry with the overpowering thought of, “how dare he?” “What makes him think he’s the king of the trail?” I silently deliberated on how aggressive he would have been had my dog been on a leash and he didn’t just have to slow down but stop altogether. I thought about all who share the trail and wondered if in ignorance I hadn’t been being considerate enough. Eventually my heart softened and I allowed the idea that perhaps I was the arrogant one and he was right to reprimand me.

Fast forward 6 hours to my daughter’s high-school soccer game.  The opposing school’s soccer field is less than ideally situated. The sun blares down on it and on one whole sideline there is nowhere for spectators to sit at all.  The school always posts signage telling the opposing team to sit west of the 50 in hot and sunny and the home team to sit east of the 50 where it is partially shaded. However above the sideline up a small hill is an adjacent park almost totally shaded by towering trees. Having hauled four of my children, a picnic dinner, and five camping chairs from the distant parking lot, and worrying over the baby getting too much sun exposure, we situated ourselves in the shade of the park. We expected to be there for two whole games (about four hours) as my daughter is rostered on Varsity but usually only plays on JV. Technically we were over the line in the opposing side’s territory, but we were so far back I hardly thought it mattered.

Fast forward to fifteen minutes into the second half of the varsity game. My friend Jen had showed up just after I did and was sitting next to me with her kids. West of her about 5 feet was an elderly gentleman in his chair. At some point, a gentlemen stood talking to friends directly in front of the elderly man at a coupling of chairs closer to the field at the top of the hill. The elderly man kindly raised his voice, “Down in front, sir.”  The dude turned around and glared at the man and then turned back to the game. The elderly man did not relent. Again, “Down in front, sir.” At this point the man turned around and with the angriest face and beaming eyes said, “I’m having a conversation.” The old man: “I’m trying to watch the game.” The ball-capped late-40 angry dude:  “Well, why can’t you stand?” The old dude:  “Because I am sitting.”  The ball cap man was ticked off and seemed to think that the old guy was being completely unreasonable. He failed to see the “share the trail” mentality.

In defense of the old man, twice I said loud enough for the man to hear, “It’s just soccer etiquette, sir.”  It didn’t take long for him to turn on me. He walked in my direction and screamed, “Why do you think you have anything to say to me?” If you know me, you know I rarely back down. I said, “Because you were just really rude to this man, and I was defending him in the soccer etiquette.” Boy, did that make him even more mad. He still kept coming at me physically and vocally. “You want to talk about soccer etiquette, do you? What team are you from?” I honestly answered the name splattered across my t-shirt. He said, “You aren’t even supposed to be sitting here.” I silently realized four things: 1- This guy liked to deflect his bad behavior on to others 2- he was probably the one who always posted the less-than-inviting signs, 3- he was in a foul mood because our team was spanking his, and 4- there was a reason his team played so physically and aggressive.

Unsettled that my husband wasn’t there to gently lay his magic hand of mouth-control on my forearm, I quickly mulled over my options. One of which was him baling me out of jail at a later time. Lucky for my husband, I had small children to tend to and didn’t completely trust myself, so I knew I needed to stop him from coming at me. Loudly I declared, “Listen sir, I am crazy. Certifiably crazy. Papers and medication and everything. You really don’t want to mess with me. I am probably the last person here you want to pick a fight with.” He instantly retreated from me as if I would whip out a gun at any second and subsequently was finally out of the view of the old man. My friend Jen busted a gut. I busted a gut. The old man looked satisfied. Although with a lot less confidence, the mean guy was still mouthing off from a distance, I shut him out by suggesting that maybe he should get some medication too. We never heard any more from him.

Jen said, “What kind of man treats an old man and two mothers like that?” I answer her here, “the kind that thinks he doesn’t have to share the trail.”

The old guy turned to us and said, I’m actually here to watch his team, but I wasn’t about to say it.”

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Freedom Week

To start this post I want to share a photo
that I took with my own two hands.
I am so proud of it.
I caught it when coming out of the grocery store.
I didn’t have a tri-pod,
but apparently I got the camera still enough
to do justice to that gorgeous moon.
I have this amazing ability at getting myself roped into things.
That’s a nice way of saying I often forget to say no.
This year, my big project has been
Freedom Week.
It’s be a beast.
Just enough to remind me to say no
for another year or so.
What a gorgeous view, eh?
Freedom Week
is a yearly week-long celebration
at the girls’ school
that focuses on the freedoms we enjoy
as Americans.
I was originally told that all I had to do
was plan a few dress up days
and line up a speaker for an assembly.
If that is all I had to do
I wonder why it occupied about
80 hours of my time over the past
two months.
Anything for freedom.
Or my kids.
Or because I can’t say no.
I did rope in a few people to help.
My ward’s (Mormon way of saying congregation)
young women
did a great job with the big banner
and small posters for each classroom door.
Aren’t they cute.
I was sad I didn’t get a photo of them all.
They cranked out 16 of these
in about 30 minutes
and no one uses glue and glitter
like young women.
The greatest sacrifice for me
was waking up at 6 a.m.
to hang up the flags outside.
It was dark
and I hate mornings.
I let Abigail drive around the
empty parking lot
as a reward for waking up early.
She was pretty stoked.
Each student got their own personal
American flag
as they arrived to the assembly this morning.
Aren’t they just the cutest?
We lined the halls with red white and blue.
And messages of freedom.
I’d like to think that this is what
I looked like
all morning.
This is me teaching the kids about IwaJima
while introducing Mr. Mason a WWII vet.
But I am sure it was much more like this.
 Props to the school orchestra and choir.
They did amazing.
Two of my perfect children
are singing
about voting
and loving America.
Can you spot them?
The Mayor of Orem
brought along some of his heroes:
A local police officer,
and some firefighters.
You should have seen the faces of the kids
when this guy walked in the room
in full firefighting garb.
It was awesome.
My personal favorite part of the day
was introducing a true
American hero.
He is in the middle of this photo
in the Marine Corps shirt.
His name is
Fred William Mason
and he faught at IwaJima.
What an honor it was to
give the kids a piece of history
and to see them give
Mr. Mason
the standing ovation
he deserves.
(See the bottom of the post
for his story)

Perhaps my greatest gratitude should go to this man.
He is always my technical support and go-to guy.
As you can see by the photograph,
he was perfect
at entertaining Caroline.

We’ve already over-established what a handful she can be, right?

Here’s the slideshow I made.
I had no idea what I was doing,
so give me grace people.
It was a great way to spend my 39th birthday.
And the day before it. And the two days after it.

We also did a few other things:

  • school-wide speech writing contest (the winners gave their speeches today at the assembly and got $20 giftcards to Wal-Mart)
  • The Cub Scouts officiated at the flag ceremony
  • A student soloist did the Star Spangled Banner
  • A mock presidential election (Governor Romney won with 74% of the votes)
  • Letters from the kids for Vets at the VA Hospital
  • We were supposed to do a donation drive but student council never got it together
  • Each student received a white star to write about what they appreciate most in their freedom. They will each tape them on their classroom door banners. (picture above)
  • Oh and we have dress up days all week.

Monday – stars and stripes
Tuesday – red white and blue
Wednesday – Dress like your favorite American hero or wear a uniform
Thursday – Denim day (jeans were invented in the US)
Friday – School spirit colors – which happen to be blue and white.

* Oh and an added not for future reference. I asked Bella what she liked best about the assembly and with all attitude she immediately responded with, “I hated it when you cried mom, you embarrassed me in front of all my friends.” Maybe someday she will see that differently and be proud of a mom who is so grateful.

Fred Mason’s introduction

It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to one of our great American heroes. He’s a friend and neighbor to us all.  He lives right off 1600 North in Orem. His name is Fred William Mason and I am proud to know him.
Mr. Mason was a corporel in the Marine Corps during WWII. He faught at Iwa Jima.  There is a famous photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize of soldiers raising the American Flag at Mount Serabachi on Feb 23, 1945. Mr. Mason know the soldiers in the photo personally.
IwoJima was a volcanic island and no civilians lived there. Its name means Sulphur Island. It was a very important military spot in the Japanese Territory and it was a critical victory for American strategy. If we hadn’t won at IwoJima we probably wouldn’t have been able to drop the Atomic Bombs and the war may not have ended so fast.
The Battle of IwaJima happened from Feb 19 – March 26 1945. Only 216 of the 21,844 Japanese survived and of the 70,000 Americans who faught 6,821 were killed and 19,217 wounded. Many of those soldiers were friends of Mr. Mason. He served in the 5th Marine Division of the 28th Regiment.
Mr. Mason is 86 years old.
He was born in 1926 in Lexington, KY.
He was the fifth child of 9 kids in his family.
His four brothers also served in the military.
Two also served in WWII
Richard fought in the army at Okinowa.
Earl was also in the army and was taken as a Prisoner of War at the March of Batan in the Phillipines.
Glen and Ernie enlisted after the war into the Navy and never had to fight like their older brothers.
He worked on farms from age 8. Sold veggies at the market.
He wasn’t able to attend school but a few years as he was expected to help provide for his family.
Around age 12, his family got indoor plumbing.
At age 14, he started taking the bus and going to church to every Sunday with his sister.
He grew up during The Great Depression. When I asked him what his favorite food was, he said he was always hungry and would eat anything he could get his hands on. He particularly like his momma’s biscuits and gravy, and was always really happy when he would get a little bit of ham in his beans.
He was drafted in 1944 at age 18.
Went from Lexington to Louisville to join the Navy, but there was a Marine recruiter who snagged him and 4 others in line up to fill his quota for the day.
Went to Camp Pendelton in California for Basic Training.
When he was done he boarded a ship and was told 4 days into it that they were on their way to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese.
After the Battle of IwaJima, Mr. Mason reboarded the ship and remembers many soldiers celebrating. He however just wanted to brush his teeth (they had been in the trenches for over a month) and went to the Red Cross to ask for a toothbrush but was told they didn’t have enough to give him one.
Mr Mason was shipped back to Hawaii, where he served 8 months of occupational duty and was discharged in 1946.
After the war he went back to Lexington where he worked at a Wholesale Food Distrubutor. He delivered food to Colonel Sanders of KFC and says he looked exactly like his pictures. In fact, he can’t remember him every changing from before the war.
Mr. Mason is a hero to me for another reason then his honorable military service, after the war, he taught himself to read. Remember he didn’t have much school growing up.
In 1950 he met Mrs. Mason and they had their first child, a girl named Debi, who is also our neighbor.
Mr. and Mrs. Mason then moved to Indiana so that Mr. Mason could work at a Defense Plant building helicopters. The had two more children. Both boys who still lived in Indiana.
Mr and Mrs Mason moved to Utah 14 years ago.
They have been married for 62 years.
Mr. Mason continues to make a difference for his country by working a Heritage School in Provo. He has worked there mentoring troubled youth for the past 6 years.
Mr. Mason is truly a remarkable person. Tom Brokaw once called his generation the Greatest Generation. I believe they were a great generation and I believe Mr. Mason was one of the greatest.
Please join me and give Mr. Mason and all his friends who fought for our freedom the round of applause they deserve.

Race #2

The whole family participated in a 5k together.
I would say it was our first, but LG did one last year with all the girls.
Caroline didn’t join us this time.
We got a sitter.
It was a great time
and we appreciated the chance to have some family fun
while exercising AND helping raise money for the kids school.
Have I ever told you how much I love my man?
Thanks LG for supporting me in my crazy adventures.
It was a small race,
but Abigail was 14th overall.
If she would have passed one female
she would have won a top 3 prize.
Funny she doesn’t really “run” persay,
but soccer really is a great sport for overall athleticism.
Next year Abigail’s goal will be to beat Ms. Shepherd
who was 2 minutes faster than her.
I was happy with my time.
32:35.
That is almost a two minute improvement
from my first race in January.
I’ll take it!
Little Miss Sophia came in 6 places behind me.
At the beginning of the race she was sticking right with me,
I thought she would beat me,
but all my training brought me in 5 minutes ahead of her.

LG was the best dad and stayed with Bella the whole way.
At the end I ran back to them
and offered to carry Bella up the hill
but LG said “NO WAY ALICE –
She has to finish by herself.”
What a smart dad.
This is what we all looked like at the finish.
Go Gold family.
Go here for official race results.

Merry Christmas

Check out who was shopping at Target yesterday.

In the words of Mater,
“This here blog is bein’ neglected.”

I am spending lots of time with my family
and loving every minute of it.

Thank you to Jeremy for the reminder
that time is the best way to show love.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Maybe after Christmas, I will attempt
to write a yearly recap.

Maybe.

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I don’t know about you Honda.

First you trap my little 4-year-old in the steel.

Then, you trap my 12-year-old in nylon.
Super resistant nylon.

It’s a good thing we always carry a Leatherman in the car.
I wish that could have worked for Sophia.
She’s our special child.
The only one to ever go under the diamond blade saw.

The craziest thing of all.
This same scenario has played out
with a niece and a nephew.

We need emergency exits!
Or less wiggly kids.

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Wolverine through and through

For you readers who aren’t familiar
with Utah,
last week was The Holy War.
That means that the holier than thou team BYU
got spanked by the rebellious Utah Utes.

I have a few suggestions for the team’s improvement,
inspired by photos of my kids and their cousins.

Maybe before their next football game,
the BYU Cougars
should go to The Bean Museum
for some inspiration
on their animal instincts?

They could learn to stare down and intimidate their opponents.

Charge like an ostrich.

If all else fails they could just be silly
and hope some laughs could get them some yardage.
Blending in may get them better results.

Or even crouching beneath the other team.

Maybe they just need some glasses?

Or maybe they won’t play any fair opponents at all
because they are just like helpless little mice.

How about this great idea?
We should just lock all the players in the elevator with our kids.
That might give them some better training then they’ve been getting.
Our future BYU cheerleader still looks good
even though she just experienced 
two great defeats in the same week:

BYU’s  54-10 loss,
and a broken arm.

Poor Sophia.

Maybe the Cougars could change their mascot
to something a little more fierce
that can actually beat a Ute?

Did I mention that we aren’t really BYU fans?
Go Utah Valley University.
Everyone knows that Wolverines
are better than Cougars,
and usually a little more humble.

If you agree with me that UVU
is the best higher education
in Utah,
or you just loathe BYU,
how about you like my blog on facebook?
Look to your right sidebar.
You’re one click away from being my newest fan.
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My love affair with THE Wal-Mart

How anyone living in the 21st century can avoid shopping at Wal-Mart is beyond me?

If you have found the secret, do tell.
Recently I have reconnected with the site
Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.
There are some crazies out there.
It’s really sad to think I am one of them.
I just entered my self-check out story in their contest.
I can’t remember the offered prize,
but what do you want to bet
that it’s going to require more of my life
given to my local Wal-Mart?
Shoot, now I hope I lose.
Unless of course,
I won’t have to actually spend
my own money at the place.
Tristi had a hilarious tweet the other night.
It said, “I got an e-mail from Wal-Mart, they miss me,
uh, I was just there an hour ago.”
Truth is always the best humor.
I was shocked at myself today when 
I not only respected but admired some people 
over at Wal-Mart:

Please tell me all my shopping hasn’t tainted

the little bit of sanity I have left.
Whose with me?
Is this not the smartest way a man could wait for his wife
while she is shopping?
You know how I always get distracted
in those clearance sections.
I mean he could probably
sneak in a whole basketball game
when it’s back to school season.
The only thing that I would suggest
as improvement
are a few extra camping chairs
kiddie size.
If you get my drift.
Then mommy could really get her shopping on.
A set up like this would have really come in handy
Wow.
I really am confessing
all my love for Wal-Mart today
aren’t I?
I think next month my game
is going to be
who can tell the best Wal-Mart story?
I think my mother in law has one
about someone passing gas.
Go ahead, feel free to give us a teaser.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget this month’s contest.
I’ve only got six funny jokes to choose from so far.
You don’t want to disappoint my kids, do you?
Your chances of winning a $20 giftcard of your choice
are looking real good.
Who wants one to Wal-Mart?