All About Me, All About I

What is your favorite subject in school?  Psychology.

What is your favorite flavor of jelly beans?  HATE jelly beans.

Which flavor of ice-cream do you prefer?  Mint chocolate chip.

What do you usually do when you have leisure time on your hands?  Leisure time? Pfftt. Next question, please.

What is your favorite season and why?  Spring. Renewal and hope. And pretty flowers.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?  Can I go alone?

What is your favorite color?  Black. Everything black, dahling.

Who is your best friend and how did you meet?  You know, I have lots of friends I would label best. But each fulfills a totally different need I have. The friend I've had the longest who has been there with me through a lot of fun things and some really ugly things is LuAnn. She moved to CA when we were in the 6th grade. When I grow up, I want to be her.

What is your favorite grab and go meal?  McDonalds. Duh.

Do you prefer to wear pants or dresses?  Dudes, I always wear the pants.

Which Temple do you like best?  Oakland.

How many siblings do you have?  One. And she counts as that best friend too. I mean, the chick's known me almost my whole life and still likes me. She's golden.

What is your favorite electronic device?  My hair straightener.

If you could be any animal which one would you prefer to be and why?  An eagle. Not a horse. No way. People are jerks to horses. Eagles are free and fly and if you end up bald, you're especially cool.

What kind of vehicle do you usually ride in?  The Mama Mobile, but the cool kind. An excursion.

What is your favorite sport to watch?  I'd rather pull my eyes out than watch a sport.

Which sport do you most enjoy actively participating in?  However, I like to play lots and lots of sports. Except golf. I only like golf clubs if I can beat things with them.

What age do you consider old?  I honestly think age is a mind game. My grandpa is 97 and he chooses to live young. His body isn't as flexible, sure, but he doesn't act old. I admire that choice

Do you prefer pens or pencils?  Pens. Pencils are so dirty and unreliable.

Do you like your handwriting?  Meh. It's the only kind I've got so I'll keep it.

Have you ever been water skiing?  Yes. I totally suck. I know that may be hard to believe with my cat like reflexes and all, but it's true. And I don't let go of the line when I eat it. Did you get the mental image on that?

What do you most like to do in the snow?  Stay inside.

What is your favorite all-time movie?
  The Usual Suspects.

Can you change a tire?  Sure. I'm really handy with a tire iron. (wink, wink)

Is your room more clean or more messy?  My room is a reflection of how I feel inside. It looks like a nuclear bomb went off. But I make my bed every day.

Do you prefer a bath or a shower?  Shower. Baths are so gross. You sit in a bunch of dirty water and end up sweaty and hot and wrinkly by the end. And forget getting your hair clean. Waste of time.

What do you prefer to drink with your morning meal?  Vodka. Just kidding. Orange Juice. with vodka. (just kidding again.)

If you had to be stranded on a deserted island with one person who would you want that one person to be?  Allen. He's handy, kinda funny, and he's the living scriptures so I would be able to keep my spiritual side in tune so when I died on the island I'd be prepared.

Do you find it easy to save money?  FAIL. Epic fail.

What do you do when something funny happens?  Laugh and point.

Did you have a favorite toy as a child?  Breyer horses.

Do you share a bedroom?  Yes. For the first time in my whole life, I have to share a room.

Do you carry floss in your purse?  No. I've not been diagnosed OCD yet.

What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?  Being born. My life is consistently weird.

Do you mow the lawn at your residence? 
Yes. I do the yard work at my house. I must suck though 'cause the yard guy who does the neighbors is always leaving his card on my door.

Have you ever been in a musical drama or play? If so, what was it?  Yes. My life.

Have you ever helped a stranger? If so, how?  I love helping strangers. My latest experience was coming home from SLC. I had decided that since I was traveling alone, I would be on the look out for a mom or dad who could use an extra hand with their kids. I said a prayer to be available and helpful and that someone would trust me enough to ease their burden. In the airport, I saw a lone woman struggling with her stroller and toddler. I offered to push the stroller while she carried the baby, but she said she had it under control.

When I got on the plane, I chose to sit by a man and his daughter. His wife and son were in the row ahead of us. That little girl was so cute; about 2 years old and a little less than pleased to be on the flight. He didn't seem to have any toys or anything. So, I started playing with her and distracting her. She ended up playing with my Iphone while he and I visited. After some time, he mentioned that his wife was LDS but he was not. He was, however, investigating the church. He asked me all sorts of questions. As the conversation progressed, it turns out he was a rancher from SoCal as a kid and into roping. He's a big shot business man (they had a driver coming to get them at LAX) now, but we talked horses for a bit, too. He told me he thought it was no coincidence I ended up sitting next to him so he could learn more about my conversion. He ended up giving me his business card. I told him it was definitely NOT a coincidence we ended up on the same plane in the same row.

That was such a fulfilling experience for me. It felt really good to help someone else. To know my prayer (and his wife's I'm sure) was answered so clearly is such a testimony builder. I wanted to be that person everyone is grateful for when their kid is melting down and they are embarrassed and tired and I got to do that.


Party On!

Theme: Garden Party
Didn't Aunt Rachel do a beautiful job arranging all of the goodies?
Lexi got me a butterfly shaped cake pan for Christmas. As soon as I opened it, she told me: "Now you can make me a butterfly cake for my birthday!" So I did.
Activity and party favors all in one: watering cans that they got to personalize and then plant seeds that would grow into purple flowers (thanks Jennie, you genius, you.)

A rousing game of duck-duck-goose
Lexi and Lauren. These two have a long history together. Their first party: blessing day. The girls were blessed on the same day here in Tracy and we invaded the Silcox's for an open house that afternoon. I love seeing them five years later and finally getting to see each other on a regular basis.
Go Addie Go! (thanks Laura for so many great pictures)
Another request: pinata! Thanks (again) to Jennie for hunting this down while we were holed up in Reno.
Hannah was determined to break open that butterfly.
Look at that strong Uncle Craig holding that massive pinata.
Nolan meant business.
Like they'd never seen candy before and would never again.
Of course we had worms and dirt for a snack. Thanks Aunt Rachel for, literally, putting this whole thing together. There is no way we could have pulled it off without your help.
Grandpa Tweet and Lexi
Rough housing. No party is complete without it if Uncle Allen is there.
Dani and Aubree
Hannah and Lexi
Addie acting silly.
Emily entertaining herself.
Aunt Laura this is one of my favorites! Thanks for catching the stuff I missed during the party.
Let's not forget the presents.
Aside from our Chuck E. Cheese detour in Boise, this was the first real party Lexi ever had for her birthday. What a success! This was a collaborative effort if I ever saw one. Thanks so much Aunt Rachel, Uncle Craig, Jennie, Grandma and Aunt Laura for all jumping in to make sure we pulled it off. Lexi felt so special and had the best birthday ever.

An Actual Conversation

Lexi {shivering}: Mom, I'm freezing! I'm shivering!

Me {turning on heater in car}: You are? Do you know why you shiver?

Lexi {intrigued}: No, why?

Me {teaching voice}: Well, shivers are really little muscle contractions. When each muscle moves, it creates a little heat. So, you shiver, it creates heat, and you get a little warmer. Shivers actually make you warm.

Lexi {contemplative pause}

Lexi {enthusiastically, after having a scientific breakthrough}: Well, I'm gonna get super hot because I have really big muscles!!!!!



I've heard about this website, but never took the time to visit. Well, after following a few links and doing some random clicking, I found this guy's story. It's his answer to a simple question. Every member can create their own profile that can be viewed by anyone. I love that the church, which is a huge entity and can seem like it's made up of faceless drones, is getting personal. The gospel is about people. Millions of simple, normal people who do a million simple things a day that end up shaping the world and eternity. I really am proud to be a member.

I hope reading the following personal account gives you goosebumps too. 

 Why do Mormons go on missions? 

Near the end of my mission I met a lady who had been investigating the Church for over 9 years. She had studied diligently with several religions during that time. When she told us she wanted to be baptized she said there were just a few questions she wanted ask me first. Her first question took me by surprise. "Does your dad do wood working?" she asked. "Yes" I answered, thinking that was an odd question. "Did you ever work in the shop with him when you were younger?" she asked next. Again, I answered that I had, still confused about why she was asking questions she seemed to know the answers to. Her next question startled me. "Did you wear a red and white flannel shirt when you worked with your dad in the shop?" She could tell the question had taken me off guard. Nearly ten years earlier my grandfather had died. I had saved one of his shirts to use in his wood shop where my dad and I built a scale sailboat together during the two weeks we spent taking care of his estate. I wondered if she had tracked down my family, oceans away and somehow learned about my past.

Seeing that I was perplexed by her insight, continued. "I should tell you why I'm asking this," she said. "Nine years ago when I first met the LDS missionaries, and read from the Book of Mormon, I prayed to God and asked Him if I should join this Church. After my prayer I lay in bed silently. I closed my eyes and an image flashed through my mind. I saw a father and son working in a wood shop. The boy was young and he was wearing a red and white flannel shirt. I didn't hear any voices, but I was overwhelmed with a good feeling, and with the feeling that that boy was the missionary who would baptize me! I had no idea that it would take nine years, but when you first came to my door, I knew you were that boy!" We entered the waters of baptism together on the very last day of my two year mission in England.


Phillip George

 Phillip "Buddy" George, 80, of Middleton passed away on April 7, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer. Phil was born in Sparks, NV on May 6, 1930. He continued to love the desert and the thrill of the untamed West long after he relocated to Simi Valley, CA in the early 1950s. From there, he and his family settled in Livermore, CA until 2002 when he joined his family in Middleton, ID until his passing.

As a young man he was a Golden Gloves amateur boxer and pursued an acting career, often reminiscing about meeting many Hollywood stars. He eventually chose to make his livelihood in construction specializing as a lather. He enjoyed home improvement projects and was eager to help family and friends. Phil loved the movies and going to the theater. His focus on health and an active lifestyle was evident as he was an outdoor enthusiast and avid gardener. Phil spent much of his time serving at Livermore Presbyterian Church and also at Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church. During their golden years, he and his wife could be found taking other senior citizens hot meals as part of the Meals on Wheels program. For the last fifteen years, he selflessly served as Leona's full-time caregiver due to her advancing Dementia.

Phil always had a smile on his face and a joke at his lips. A captivating storyteller, he could easily bring his personal adventures to life. He had an easy, confident way about him. Each of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren enjoyed a unique and special relationship with him. The words of Winston Churchill: "I'm ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" best reflect the way in which Phil approached life head on. He was a heroic figure to many with a bigger than life presence.

He is survived by his wife, Leona, sister Patricia M. Wasilewski, sons Kyle (Cheryl) George, Keith (Debbie) George and daughter, Kellie (Geoffrey) Case, granddaughters: Melissa Bauer, Tanya George, Stephanie (James) Harris, Nicole George, Andrea (Shawn) Rafahi-Shirpak, Traci (Allen) Riddle, and Marti (Brian) Combs, and 12 great -grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Phillip Edward George Sr., mother, Lenora Constance Petty George, and brother, William Robert George.

Internment will be Tuesday at the Middleton Cemetery. Services are under the
care of Flahiff Funeral Chapel. Condolences may be given at  www.flahifffuneralchapel.com.

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. - William Penn

What exactly do you say to a person who is dying? I mean do you just ignore the elephant in the room and talk about the weather? Is it rude to just come out and say what is on everyone's mind? Is it better to leave some things unsaid?

Nah. Not for me and grandpa. I feel like we've always had a pretty honest relationship. I wasn't going to walk away from my trip knowing things had been left unsaid. But, I also knew I wanted to say the things that were most important.

He knew I loved him. He shared the same memories I did. I knew he worried about me; he knew I ignored his consistent advice to sit up straight. He tried to coach me to sing; I could barely squeak out a single note because of my stage fright. He loved the wild west, riding horses, and history; I was a horse trainer and outfitter and had lots of great stories to tell.
Grandpa was pissed about being at the facility. He's an independent and determined kind of guy. He doesn't ask for help. He sure as hell has never needed any, right? He let everyone know that he was going to be heading home so don't get comfy there.

The night after we took all of those pictures, I had them developed at the local Walgreens. Lexi and I picked them up, got some frames, and a picture hanging kit. I showed up and told him, "Word on the street is you're breaking outta this joint so you don't want any pictures. But, while you're here, you might as well have something good to look at. So here's some pictures of my family." That got him chuckling.

We laughed easily that last day together. Even in the face of death, he found humor in life. After we talked about the superficial things, I plainly asked him to tell me the story. He didn't beat around the bush. He was direct. It was bad and the doctor hadn't given him false hope.

He said he was ready. His body was tired. He couldn't run, or jump, or do the things he wanted anymore. According to him, "My bird watching days are over."

I asked him if he was scared.

No. Not a bit.


No. Not a bit.

I was shocked. He'd attended church for years and every once in a while told me to get serious about life. In this moment when he was actually going to make that walk, he let down his walls. He told me he wasn't so sure about "that heaven crap" and "floating around".

I asked him how he thought he'd get there without a body. I mean, isn't floating kind of the only option at that point?

Eh. I'll hitch hike.

Yeah, well you better be careful who you take the ride from. The road goes two ways there.

We laughed hard at that one.

I asked him if he was worried.

He was. About Grandma. But, he said, nothing lasts forever.

Oh, grandpa, but it does.

You think?

No, Grandpa. I KNOW. I know families are forever. I know I'll see you again. I know there is a heaven and we can be together. I love you. You are my hero. My heaven isn't heaven without you. I'll meet you there, man.

Oh yeah?

Hell yeah. I'll pick you up when I get there; I'll bring you a horse and we'll ride. I know it. I love you so much, Grandpa.

Sport. Let me tell you one thing. Never say mean things to your husband. Always have something nice to say on the tip of your tongue. 

Ok, Grandpa. I will.

After that, it was time for me to leave. I had to rip myself away. Who wants to leave when you know it's the last time you'll ever hear that voice? Or see those bright blue eyes filled with wit and humor? Or see that smile that lit the room? Or feel those strong arms engulf you in a massive bear hug? And the swagga! My Grandpa had swagger, man. Just watching him walk into a room was a treat.

I'm so glad that I didn't leave without saying those things. I'm so grateful that I could share with him my faith about the life after this.

I do know I'll see him again. He'll be strong and tall and stand up so straight. He'll be there with that smile and he'll pat me hard on the back and call me Sport. I know this to be true. It's so damn hard to lose someone, but I look forward so very much to that day when he'll be there waiting for me.

I'm gonna say I told you so, too.


It's Her Party

Lexi had been asking to go to Chuck E. Cheese's to have a birthday party for quite some time. I think it started before Christmas. My party philosophy is pretty conservative: we don't do them. I just can't seem to justify spending $500 on a kids' party. I will say, however, that by the time I create decorations, buy food, come up with crafts, forget what I've planned and rebuy half of the stuff and get the party favors all worked out, any party with more than 3 or 4 kids isn't gonna be cheap. Anyhow, that's a discussion for a different day.

We were in Idaho for Lexi's actual birthday-day this year. She was so good while living in a box of a hotel room, being quiet at the residential facility, staying in the car for days on end (or at least it seemed), and being virtually ignored, I felt like we could try to do something special for her birthday.

Lo and behold, Boise has its very own Chuck E. Cheese. We were near lots of family, some of whom we hadn't seen in almost two decades, and even got one of our New Mexico friends (who moved to Idaho a few years ago) to come with her twins. I have to give the Cheese it's due: they rocked! We spent very little and had lots of food and fun for everyone. We played for hours and I think all who were there ended up having a great time.

She loves posing for the camera now!

Shannon with E & A. So good to see them. Shannon used to watch Lexi for me when I first started training horses again in New Mexico. She had her babies and then moved! I miss her a lot.
Uncle Brian made gluten, dairy and soy free cupcakes for Marti and Emmy.
Cake was included. I told you they rocked.
Asha wasn't so sure about the whole gluten free deal!
Emmy was stoked though.
Nana love
The star himself delivered the cake and took photos.
Opening lots of presents. Who do you think was more excited about the gift: Lexi or Nana?
The gang
After the emotionally charged week we'd had, this was a much needed distraction. Besides, it was Lexi's birthday and we couldn't let it go unnoticed, right? Thanks to everyone who partied with us and helped us have such a fun afternoon.


Home Again, Home Again

At the end of March, we made an unexpected trip to Idaho. We went to see my Grandpa George who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his liver. The trip was wonderful in that we got to visit with him and the kids got to see him. He was still feeling fairly well so we spent all of our time with him talking and laughing.

The trip was supposed to be a short one: one day to drive up, three days to visit, and one day home. The drive up required chains over the Sierra's. It was a little precarious as it was white out conditions complete with a jack knifed big rig sliding down the mountain toward us at one point. We hit the pass at midnight and white knuckled the two hours it took us to make it over and in the clear.

Wednesday was our day to depart. After our spontaneous birthday party for Lexi, we head out later than planned. We didn't get to Winnemuca until after 9 p.m. that night. The snow was already coming down and we were tired. We decided to set up camp and make our way to Reno in the morning.

Snow coming down in Winnemuca
We ate a quick breakfast and made the trek to Reno. The weather had different plans. The pass was closed. Snow was coming down in sheets in Reno. We knew we had no choice but to hole up another night.

I told Allen we should stay at Circus Circus. Cheap rooms, fun kids activities and a good night's rest. To my shock and disbelief, he'd never been to Circus Circus. He'd been through Reno a bazillion times, but never stopped off to play the games. It was settled!

We had such fun playing the games. They give you coupons so you can play tons of games for a pretty reasonable price. Every half an hour, they have a live circus act perform on the center stage, too. The kids were over the moon.

The next day, we hustled to get ready and get home. We kept hearing talk that the pass was still closed, but we wanted to check it out for ourselves. We drove the twenty miles to the checkpoint and watched car after car after truck turn around and head back toward Reno. Sure enough, there had been an avalanche. They told us to check back in about an hour. The nearest gas station and restaurant was chock full of eager and road weary travelers. We knew that as soon as they cleared the roads, the line to get on the highway would be forever long. We were feeling a little defeated. We just wanted to get home at this point. After some fighting animated discussion, we drove back to Boomtown to enjoy their little indoor game set up.

Air Hockey
Some kind of bucking thing. The kids loved it. Especially the 35  year old one.
As you can see, we got everyone all spiffed up for the occasion.
Exactly 45 minutes later, we tried again. We pulled up and they had just opened the road! There was no line and the sky looked clear. As we got closer and closer to the summit, we soon saw why it had been closed in the first place.

Fuel for the road. What if we got stranded?
It was SO slow going. And can we talk about the idiots who were trying to pass the other cars? Allen and I agreed that if they caused a wreck we would be the first on scene: to kick them in the shins! Forget pulling them from the wreckage, we were going to hit them while they were down.

We left Boise at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and, finally, after 2 days on the road, we made it home at 5 p.m. on Friday with just enough time to get ready for the big birthday bash on Saturday!

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.