The Dad Life

Dear Mom [Week 23]

Dear Mom,

I have so much studying to do. It’s my second night at the library this week. I have to read the entire novel Sense and Sensibility before Tuesday. I am just getting set up in a study room for another four consecutive hours of reading. I talked to you on the phone yesterday and told you how on Tuesday night after an 18 hour day I was completely shaky and nauseous and had to quit my studies early at 11:30. I hope to quit tonight by 10, so I can go home and see LG before he falls asleep. That is the the hardest thing about being in school and working. I feel like I never get to see my family, and when I do, I am taking care of so many needs at once it doesn’t feel like quality time. I’m damned if I do, I’m damned if a don’t. I know Abigail gets mad at me for pushing and pushing her to make sure she gets her college done early in life, but I need to stop. She has her own journey, and if it isn’t a priority for her right now, maybe she too will have to do it the hard way at 43, like me.

Enough about me. I just wanted to explain quickly (mostly to LG if he ever reads this & for my future self) that right now I needed to not study for a minute. I was drinking my smoothie and hunkering in, but as I was checking some e-mails, I was drawn to my blog URL in my signature line. I wanted to check how long it has been since my last letter. Remember my original goal of writing every week? Well, I guess that is a monthly goal now. Ha. Welcome to my current life. I am barely surviving. I definitely don’t feel  like I can thrive in any area. Home, work, or school. But, I keep plugging along. Nothing is going to stop me. And, tonight my hours of homework are also not going to stop me from writing to my mom.

Every time I sit down to write you a letter, mom, I have to calculate what week it is. How long has it been since dad actually died? What a horrible exercise. I hate it. At the same time, for me, it seems necessary. I don’t want to not keep track of every single day that I have lived without my dad here with me. On August 25th 2016, my life changed forever. I have my days before that. Not enough. And, my days after. Every day is a strange mixture between being too long (as he isn’t here and that is excruciating to rediscover over and over again) and too short (because every day I live is one day closer to my children experiencing the same loss).

So, we are at 23 weeks. If I got pregnant around the time dad died, I would now know the sex of the baby. I would have gone straight to the store to buy  something baby blue or pink by now. I would be thinking about names. Instead, all I have is an amputated womb (thank you, hysterectomy) and an only son not named Richard (after dad), like I wanted, but Maximus because it sounded better with Gold, meant the greatest, and wouldn’t be shortened to Rich. Rich Gold. Ha. 23 weeks! Too long. I love my little Max, but every time I look at him I think I should have tried harder to convince LG to name him Richard. It would have been the perfect way to honor dad. Maybe someday, one of my girls will give us a Richard because if/when they get married their last name will be something other than Gold – a horribly comical match for Rich. The thought of having a grandson named Richard is making me all kind of weepy right now. Life really does keep moving forward. And, so many people right now are obsessed with politics. It’s not about Trump. It’s about family. My grandkids will hardly know the name Donald Trump, but they will Richard, and LeGrand, and Maximus.

Butterfinger bites were my hard moment last week. Bella had no idea that they were the treat dad wanted more than anything while lying in his hospital bed when she suggested them to me at The Dollar Tree. Also, Krispy Kreme donuts. I went to get some for my kids as a special treat. I was initially bummed that the “hot” light  wasn’t on, but immediately relieved when I thought how sad I would be to not share with dad his favorite.Also, whistling. Someone was whistling. I told LG how I wanted to hear him whistle more. LG has a great whistle. Dad’s was better. I just want to hear dad whistle, right now. Avocados are in danger because  of Trump’s tariff. That would not make dad happy. Dad wanted to vote for Trump, but dad would never want his cherished avocados to be messed with. How that man loved avocados! It is like he was half Mexican. Full Mexican if we consider how hard he always worked. If I had two minutes more with dad I would give him an avocado and let him eat it while I hugged him the entire two minutes. Why didn’t I hug him longer before I left that hospital room? I hate that regret. I hugged him good, but no hug is ever good enough to be the last.

I was thinking about our avocado tree in CA. I wonder if it is still there. It was a good little tree. So, was our peach tree and our apricot tree. I was wishing I could go back in time and watch the day(s) that you and dad planted all those trees after buying that house. How I would love to observe that happy time. I can imagine in perfect detail, dad in his twenties with a shovel. He was so strong and capable even in his seventies, but he was a handsome devil in his twenties. No wonder why you guys had so many babies. One of my favorite things were apricots off our very own tree. I used to feel like that tree was just mine, as it was on the north side of the house, and I convinced myself that everyone else forgot it was there. Then, thinking about our fruit trees makes me think also about geraniums and gardenias. You see, you and dad, are inseparable. Just like fruit trees and flowers. You planted them together. You enjoyed them together. Now, your kids reminisce about them without being able to separate the two of you in them. Maybe 100 years down the road your great-grand-kids will be reading about them, straight from this page. I hope they will know what wonderful people you and dad are. I hope they will be convinced of a little house in heaven surrounded by the same exact trees and flowers. I can’t wait to smell the gardenias dad is planting right now. It will be one of the last things I think about before stepping through the veil.

Right now, I will be starting Sense and  Sensibility imagining dad after a hard Saturday of yard work. He’s dirty. The entire broad back of his thin cotton button-up is drenched with sweat. He comes into our tiny kitchen with a proud smile from ear to ear. He looks satisfied and content. You are cooking dinner. He comes up behind you and waits for you to turn. He holds out the flaps of his  shirt and reveals the source of his pride. 8 or 9 perfectly ripe avocados. As big as softballs. He says, “Sharon, I don’t know what you’re cooking, but whatever it is, can we have avocado with it?” You shorten the distance, ignore the dirt from his shoes on your recently mopped floor, admire the avocados, then you meet his smile. Your smile is as proud as his. You say, “Maybe I should quit cooking and we can just eat those. There is just enough for the whole family. Oh Rick, look what you’ve done. These are the most beautiful avocados I’ve ever seen.” His smile gets bigger. The look on his face reveals the way he feels: all powerful like nothing in the entire universe could grow without his intervention. You reach for the salt and pepper. Mom, I didn’t know it until right this second, but that’s the kind of wife I want to be. I want my husband to beam with pride, just because I state his name and follow it with, “Look what you’ve done.” That’s grace. You gave dad a gift like that every single day. I will try to do better.

Just Like Their Dad

At the center of the universe.
There is family on the left that
equals the family on the right.
They go before.
They come behind.

Together, they get the job done.
And make their father proud.
Telling His story is their task.

It’s not the attendees,
but their father,
who was listening,
still very much alive,
that should give pause
at the enormity of task.

Be honest.
Be kind.
Be faithful.
Be brave.
Be super-human.
We should all want to be
just like him.
No pressure.
Whatsoever.

The nights might be slumber-less.
What story to tell?
The scaling of buildings?
The flying through skies?
The magic better than duct tape?
The smile of his eyes?

Our Father,
is a man full
of great power
and even greater love.

He will tell us what to say.
Brother one is a leader: faithful and wise.
Brother two: generous and kind.
Sister one: loyal and capable.
Sister two: organized and creative.
Brother three: handy and humble.
Sister three: enduring and strong.

All of them are
JUST LIKE MY DAD.
All, flawed by earth,
yet still,
perfect inside
seeking the right,
and
a remarkable force for good.
Our favorite people are
family.

Jolting our hearts
and paralyzing our tongues
is often one pathetic truth
that we dare not say.
No matter how remarkable we are,
It takes all of us
to make one of him.

Dad is a superhero.
A mortal and a God.

When people question Him.
Why doesn’t he alleviate
all the war?
all the suffering?
all the pain?

I think of Superman.
Who always did.
But, sometimes,
just like Dad,
maybe Superman is busy,
not dead.
He’s waiting.
On us.
To do His job.

Perhaps
it’s up to
His formative children,
to fill his shoes.

When one child suffers,
maybe
his brothers and sisters bury their heads
instead of praying for the strength necessary.
To be just like their dad.

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*Dedicated to my dad and my Father: the best Superman who ever lived. And, to the God of the Universe who also calls me His daughter.

Funniest Fish Funeral Ever

We had pet fish once.
They were named Dorothy and Goldie.
One for our last name and the color of the fish
and one for my grandma and Elmo’s fish.

I think they lasted in their bowl in my kitchen window for three days.
Abigail still recalls with great emotion the day she found them both laying belly-up.
“Their eyes, mom. They were just staring at me.”

Daddy was gone, so Papa took care of the situation.
Fortunately, somewhere in the book of life law is the rule
“Dads take care of  pet burial.”

With papa’s love and care the fish took the next huge step in their circle of life:
they became garden fertilizer.
Our girls know how much papa loves their garden,
therefore they knew that the fish got a royal ending.

fishing with papa

To this day, they beg me for more fish.
I always tell them no.
“You begged me for a cat.
You promised me you would take care of it.
I’ll sleep with it, feed it.
And you don’t.
Then you begged me for a dog.
Mom, we’ll walk it, we’ll feed it, we’ll play with it, we’ll give it a bath.
And I do it way more than you ever do.”

The first fish experience combined with the dog and cat makes three strikes.
I will never be guilt-ed into another fish experience.
Not unless it’s the fish that will end up on my plate to eat.
And we all know that salmon or tilapia aren’t going to fit in a tank.

We now settle for fish window shopping at Walmart every time we visit.
I think that makes me a “good enough” mom and that’s as high as I aim nowadays.

The other day on facebook, a friend asked a serious question.
Should she replace her son’s fish for the 5th time without telling him,
or just go ahead and tell him that it’s dead?

All I could think about was the master himself Bill Cosby.
How I love Bill Cosby.
I wish I could find other masterful and clean comedians to follow.

Better yet, if you have Netflix, go and watch the whole second episode so you can have all the laughs.

I love you Bill Cosby. I really do.

Daddy’s Baby

I guess LG had been trying 
to grow his hair out again.
I hadn’t noticed
until a few days ago he
lamented to me,
“Alice, I forget how far back
my hair has receded
until I grow it out.”
Bad for LG.
Good for me.
I love his hair buzzed.
Imagine my surprise
today
when Caroline
brought this photo to me
and said,
“Mom this is so strange.
Dad doesn’t have pokey hair.”
LG I guess
you are going to have to 
keep
your
style.
We’re you trying
to grow it out
at hopes of
revisiting
those newlywed days?
Better luck next time.

2013 goals or Going for the Gold

I’ve been trying to finalize my 2013 goals.
Even though I gave myself a C last year,
I am an absolute believer in the adage
“goals that are not written down are just wishes.”
While at Ikea on our date Saturday
LG and I came up with a winning idea
on how to motivate our family
towards betterment.
Money is a pure motivator
for all of us,
so we are going to reward ourselves
with GOLD.
We decided on family Olympics
for 2013.
Or as LG says,
“We’re having family hunger games.”
Everyone will get to put their names
in a pot in a once a week drawing
for 5 gold coins.
We will all earn chances in the pot
by accomplishing
our 5 personal and 5 family goals daily.
(That’s up to 70 shots a week)
Unlike hunger games,
we want our names in the pot.
The more we accomplish our goals,
the better chance we have to win a gold coin (or 5).
Our theme is
“Go for the Gold.”
Get it.
We’re the Gold’s.
We’re so funny.
I am super excited about
the 5 rings of improvement.
LG and I narrowed our desires for our kids into
5 categories:
spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and financial.
(See the above photo)
Here are the goals
we came up with as a family
in each category.

Some of these goals are going to be easier than others.
Reading should be a cinch.
Believe it or not
I think sharing feelings
might be harder (especially for some)
 than daily scripture study.
The kids are already up in arms
about the soda
but I love that they will still have the choice.
If they drink soda,
they lose a shot at a dollar.
If it were up to us
we’d take it away all together
but this way we make the point
without taking away their agency.
I am super excited about
seeing how this family challenge
will pan out.
I hope to win a few bucks along the way
and I think this may
have the “fun” factor
to keep us motivated all year.
Anyhow,
I am sure you have all been dying
to see what my goals are for
2013.
With no further ado,
by category
we go.
Financial
1.Save a $1 a day toward family vacation.
2.Stay under budget.
Emotional
1.Journal/study/meditate daily before doing anything else.
2.No phone in bed.
3.Give a meaningful inspired service weekly.

Physical
1.Use myfitnesspal every day until I weigh under 160 pounds.
2 Keep running 3x/week.
3.Run 2 half marathons (unless I get pregnant)
4. Add in a fourth workout every week. Something other than running.

Spiritual
1.Pray every day.
2.Temple once a month (take Abigail with 4x)
3.Organize family genealogy.

Mental
1.Learn a new word every day. 
(I discovered a cool app for this)
2.Go back to school,
even if it’s just one class.
3.Write every day
(blog/outline of novel)
4.Read 100 books
(adding in 1 junior non-fiction

Marital
1.Bond every night.
(Communicate regularly)
2.Go to bed and wake up together.
It’s lofty, I know,
but if I only get a C,
I will still have accomplished twice
as much as if I had never written anything down.
My OCD side really loves fresh starts.
Just think, we have one every day.

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.

How to raise girls right.

Growing up I never understood that my friends were allowed 
to come and go with their boyfriends as they pleased.
As a parent, I am even more perplexed by the parents
who not 
only let their young daughters date,
but encourage them to do so.
It’s crazy and foreign to me.
Just like my mom and dad
and LG’s mom and dad,
we will stand by the no dating until 16 rule.
We want to keep our girls innocent and pure,
and have every expectation that they will
live according to God’s command
and follow in our footsteps 
and save themselves
until marriage.
Read on for some really great rules to raising girls right.

This time General Conference was especially special for me.
Of course, the talk about how to be a good dad to girls
was totally awesome.
I am so grateful that my girls have such a great daddy.
The ideas presented by Elaine Dalton, 
who just had three sons welcome new baby girls 
within a three week span, are timely, true, and tender. 
Make sure you go over and watch. 
Then conveniently leave it open for your hubby to find.

And if you really want to be safe,
you can always use this date my daughter application
used by the father of a good family friend.
Yeah, seriously.
He was a cop once.
And he was ultra safe.
Almost even too conservative for this conservative.
But most definitely on the certifiably paranoid schizophrenia side.
After reading this application again
and chuckling, I think God was really
good to our girls
to give them a gentle giant of a father
to even out their crazy mom.
But, at least I am not this crazy:

APPLICATION TO DATE MY DAUGHTER



NOTE: This application will be incomplete and rejected unless accompanied by a complete financial statement, job history, driving record, lineage, and current certified medical report (including drug tests) from your doctor. 
1. NAME  ___________________________________________DATE OF BIRTH ________________                    PLEASE PRINT FOR INSCRIPTION ON TOMB STONE


2. HEIGHT ______________ WEIGHT __________ I.Q _______G.P.A.____________ 
3. SOCIAL SECURITY # _____________ DRIVERS LICENSE # __________________ 
4. BOY SCOUTRANK____________________________________________________
5. HOME ADDRESS _________________ CITY/STATE___________ ZIP __________ 


6. Do you have one MALE and one FEMALE parent? ___yes___no   

If No, EXPLAIN______________________________________________________
7. Number of years your parents have been married________________________________
8. Do you own a van? ______ A truck with oversizedtires? ______     A waterbed? _________     
Do you have an earring, nose ring, belly buttonring,    or a tattoo? _____________________     
(If  “yes” to any of #8, discontinue applicationand leave premises


9. In 50 words or less, what does “LATE” mean to you?_________________________________________________________________________________________________
10. In 50 words or less, what does “DON’T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER” mean to you? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
11. In 50 words or less, what does “HER FATHER IS A SNIPER” mean to you?________________



12. Church you attend _____________ 

      How often do you attend ______________________ 


13. When would be the best time to interview yourfather, mother and priest/rabbi/minister?____________________________________ 


14. Answer by filling in the blank: please answer freely. ALL answers are confidential      
(That means I won’t  tell anyone -ever- Ipromise.)     
a) If I were shot, the last place on my body Iwould want wounded is      _________________________________
b) If I were beaten, the last bone I would wantbroken is my       ______________________________________     
c) A woman’s place is in the       ______________________________________     
d) The one thing I hope this application does not ask me about is      _________________________

e) When I first meet a girl, the first thing I notice about her is      ______________________________________      (NOTE: If your answer begins with “T” or “A”,discontinue. Leave premises keeping your head low. Running in a serpentine fashion is advised.) 
15. What do you want to be IF you grow up?____________________________________   


Please Review the Following Nine Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter


Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up. 

Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or handsoff of my daughter’s body, I will remove them. Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely thatthey appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big,and I will not object.  However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during thecourse of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely inplace to your waist. 

Rule Four: It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughtersafely back at my house, and the only word I need fromyou on this subject is “early.” 


Rule Five: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, if you make her cry, I will make you cry. 


Rule Six: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget.  If you want to be on time forthe movie, you should not be dating.  My daughter istrying to fix her hair, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge.  Instead of juststanding there, why don’t you do something useful,like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Seven: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas,or anything softer than a wooden stool.  Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight.  Places where there is darkness.  Placeswhere there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough toinduce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater,and a goose down parka – zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay.Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better. 


Rule Eight: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied,balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing,merciless god of your universe.  If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance totell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  I have a sniper rifle, a shovel, and fiveacres down by the horses. Do not trifle with me. 

Rule Nine: Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.  It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in thedriveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi.  When my Agent Orange starts acting up,the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. Assoon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak theperimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, thenreturn to your car – there is no need for you to come inside.  The camouflaged face at the window is mine.Should any of the above rules be misunderstood, and broken you may feel the need to run. 


However you need to remember that I have my Sniper Dope (ranging abilities) out to 1000 yards, in low light conditions.Should you run you’ll only die tired!


I SWEAR THAT I HAVE READ ALL THE RULES AND THAT ALL INFORMATION SUPPLIED ABOVE IS TRUE AND CORRECT TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH,DISMEMBERMENT, NATIVE AMERICAN ANT TORTURE,ELECTROCUTION, CHINESE WATER TORTURE, AND RED HOT POKERS. 

______________________________________________________________


Signature (That means sign your name) Thank you for your interest. Please allow four to sixyears for processing. You will be notified in writingif you are approved. Please do not try to call orwrite. If you do attempt any communication before yourapplication is approved, automatic disqualificationwill result. If your application is rejected, you will be notifiedby two gentlemen wearing white ties and carryingviolin cases (You might want to watch your back). This is your “last chance” to check your answers.Perhaps you should check your response to question#10. This guy didn’t get it!Do you still want to date my daughter?


_____ Yes, please accept my application 


_____ I um, no, I uh, think I have the wrong house.

Gyro Bowl

Look what we got in the mail.

No, not Piper.

Not the packing poppy paper.

It’s a gyrobowl.

And Caroline put it to the test.

Piper helped a bit.

A while back I got an e-mail
asking for a product review.

I happily obliged.
knowing that 
Caroline would love a chance to try and destroy it.


If you haven’t seen the GyroBowl at Target yet

when you were out by yourself 
on your latest Wednesday night survival trip,
let me explain.
It’s a revolutionary no spill bowl that promises to bring an end to messy child eating habits.

Gyro Bowl uses 360-degree technology to keep items inside the plastic sphere. It stays open-side up, no matter which way a child decides to twirl it, throw it or dump it; virtually indestructible and works just like a globe!

Parents can rejoice at the thought of never having to clean snacks off the carpet or out of the deep crevasses of a car seat (we’ve all been there) again.  Children will love taking this super snack contraption with them everywhere they go.



Go to Amazon and buy one for your baby or toddler.

It will give them hours of fun as they try their darndest to spill all over your kitchen or your living room, or your car, or if you are really brave in their bedroom behind a closed door.

You are going to have to buy your own though because I am not giving mine away. My mini-van has been begging me to buy one of these suckers. Its carpets have been screaming for equal rights for vans with or without children.




Do you think they will invent something that can keep a kid from spilling while pouring next?
It seems we need that every night at the dinner table.

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Girls can play football too.

On Sunday, my hubby, LG got up to give a talk.
He was as cute as usual; I love hearing him speak.
He never does it publicly unless he is assigned.
Following, our three girls, me,
and the ward’s Young Women’s choir,
he got a little choked up as he said that good women are a theme in his life.

After all, he is the dad of four beautiful daughters
and the husband of a pretty hard to handle wife.

He then told a funny story.
Hit the read more. You don’t want to miss this one.
It’s about the kid shown above. And football.


I never blogged this when it happened so I was glad for the reminder found in my hubby’s brain.

About a year ago, LG was serving as a Scout leader.
Our time was always precious,
and so LG took Bella with him to a Wednesday night activity.
The boys played football and they were great to include Bella.
She loved it and was talking up the game the whole way home.

She then begged for a football for her birthday.
LG went out and got a football for her.
Usually the gift buying is up to me, so it was a pretty big deal.
Bella was so excited, tore into the package,
and entreated her dad to “play now daddy.”

Before they could go out to the yard
so that LG could show me that Bella
has some pretty good throwing potential,
Bella ran with the ball back to her room.

When she came bouncing back down the hall,
I think LG had a taste of reality.

She handed LG the ball,
which she had sprayed with adhesive glitter.
“Look dad, I made it sparkle.”

I love that girl.
And I am secretly jealous that I never played football.
I didn’t want to be one of “those” girls,
but I sure do love the sport.
I think I could have been good at it.

It would be a dream come true to see Bella succeed with football.
And I don’t care what you really think.
If you ever see her, you better tell her
how cool it is that we just signed her up
to play in our local flag football league.

Let’s just keep her balls glittery.
Just to be safe.