08 August 2014

Not so Funny

Midnight. The Wife and Husband are driving home. It has been a long day and the Wife is trying to stay awake.

Wife: Oh, guess what?

Husband: What?

Wife: After I dropped you off this morning guess what I saw.

Husband: What?

Wife: There was a FedEx truck in front of me and when I turned the corner there was a UPS truck.

Husband: And?

Wife: So I came up with a joke.


Wife: What do you get when you cross a FedEx truck with a UPS truck?

Husband: I don't know.

Wife: FedUp.

Husband: Oh.

Wife: (laughing hysterically) Oh here's another. I feel like I'm caught between a FedEx truck and a UPS truck.


Wife: I'm FedUp!

Husband: Almost home. We are almost home.

Hysterical laughter continues.


15 July 2014

Learning the Impossible

As you may have judged from my previous post, there was a day last week when I was not feeling very positive. It had been a very long day with anger, tears, frustration, and guilt on everyone's part. That night there was a disagreement about brushing teeth, going to bed, playing with toys, the rules regarding a new toy and everything in between.

Moose and I were so stressed that we called up a good friend (at 10:00). As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, Moose and I wanted a blessing to help calm us and let us know if we were even pointed in the right direction with our parenting.

Our good friend came over and brought his brother-in-law (BIL) to help. Come to find out BIL is a psychiatrist, who works with children, in the Foster Care system. We hadn't told our friend what we wanted, but we received exactly what we needed.

We kept them until 11:30 and received the council we needed, both spiritually and temporally. What stuck with us the most is something that BIL told us as he had been talking with us. He told us that one of the skills parents need to learn is how to shut up. As an adult we sometimes over talk when silence is more powerful.

Yeah . . . talk about teaching old dogs new tricks.

But by golly, I've noticed in the three days I've been working on this new skill that when I keep my mouth shut after succinctly and clearly explaining that it works much better.

The other skill I need to learn is to make sure that I don't let my emotions take control. I can be all torn up inside, but I have to seem like I am in control. If the kids realize they have control over my emotions then I lose the little power I have . . . Sigh. No talking and no crying . . . I have a lot to work on.

Award Ceremony


After a long day with many tears, Wife texts her mother.

Wife: (text) I think I won the World's Worst Mother award tonight if Son were the judge. I would like to thank all the little people who's names I can't remember. . .

Mother: (text) Some days are like that, even in Australia.


(I quoted part from Veggie Tales. My Mother replied with "Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day".)

02 July 2014

Not Sinking In

Moose and I are trying to teach Tech a lesson in money management. We started this lesson on Monday. It is supposed to last for three weeks.

First to explain the lesson. We printed fake money and are paying or charging Tech for various activities. We gave him enough money to pay rent, buy food, and pay for screen time everyday. He even has money left over. He can also do work to earn money. He has to do his daily work. That is his job. He can also do yard work or even sell his tools and toolbox for instant cash. If he runs out of money he can take out a loan. The money received by loan can only be used for life essential items.

If Tech manages to use his money wisely he gets real cash as well as some advantages when school starts. If he uses his money okay he still gets some real money. If he doesn't use it well we don't exactly know what to do. I will also add that we will feed him, fake money or no. But some of his privileges may not be available, such as screen time. . .

So this started Monday. It is now Wednesday night. Anyone care to guess how much he has left? After Tech got home from his merit badge class he wanted screen time. He didn't have enough money. Moose was trying to get Tech to realize this was a problem. He was trying to get Tech to understand the real world application. If this was real world what would Tech do for food. Would Tech be willing to really sell his toolbox . . .

"Wait. I forgot I can sell my toolbox for more screen time."

Face palm.

So. Even though it may kill me we are going forward with this lesson. Tech will have no screen time after tomorrow. He will not be able to play with friends before his work is done. He will not get dessert (Moose and I will not be eating it in front of him). We will feed him, the same as we always do. But, let's just say we don't know how this is going to end.


Saturday we spend a great time with family. We left around 11 and got home just after 5. We had run to Wallyworld to pick up some night lights for our basement since we will be having family staying down there over the 4th. I headed to the basement to plug in the lights. I opened the door and stared at the large window. Shattered.

Moose came running when I called his name. He stopped behind me, just as shocked as I was. One half of the sliding window was broken as if something had flown through it. The screen was ripped off and ripped out of its frame in the window well, and the window cover wasn't visible.

We ran through the house to see if anything was missing. All the electronics and medications accounted for. Nothing visible missing. But the back screen door was open and it was shut when we left.

We believe it was an accident. That something was accidentally thrown through the window. Our screen covers are completely covered but there are gaps large enough for a perfectly thrown baseball. What scared me was the fact that there was broken glass found 15 feet from the window. A lot of glass was inside our house, but there was no sign of the object that broke the window. What scares me is the fact that they probably came into the house to retrieve what was broken. They could have slid the window open, came in, grabbed the object, and then left closing the window behind them.

The window is now boarded and we are waiting to hear the verdict on how much it will cost. We have now made braces for our windows and sliding back door, though as Moose points out, they can still just break the windows. Oh well. I am just glad that it wasn't worse.

01 July 2014

Cartoons = Real Life


Mother and son driving home. They pass a truck painting the lines on the road.

Son: I know how that works.

Mother: That's good. How does it work?

Son: Brush and *mumble*.

Mother: Brush and what?

Son: Boot.

Mother: Boot?:

Son: Yeah, you know. *makes circling motions with his hands* Brush and then boot and then brush and then boot.

Mother: Actually . . .


26 June 2014

For the Birds

I am trying to write a sequel to my novel that is getting published. The only problem is that I keep getting distracted. By my bird feeder. I love watching the birds. I don't have any fancy birds that come to my feeder, but I have a lot of sparrows. Yesterday I probably had close to 15 birds at one point.

Over Father's Day weekend we went to Summerfest up in Logan. It seems that every year we go into a booth that has something that really just grabs our attention. This year is was a fellow who does bird carvings. This really hit home for me this year because of how much my grandmother loved birds. Standing in the booth looking at the birds Moose pointed out that he had two red winged blackbirds carvings.

Living up here we love the red winged blackbirds. We will drive by the fields and see the birds perched on the fence posts. We decided to spent our anniversary money to get it. Granted if there had been a sandhill crane we would have been torn over which one to get. We love living up here. It is so peaceful.

20 June 2014

What's in a Name


Wife and husband laying in bed talking.

Husband: Did you know that "The Ultimate 10" is actually 14 teams? That seems silly.

Wife: The Hundred Years War lasted more than 100 years.

Husband: That is reasonable. They just rounded.

Wife: Okay. What about a Baker's Dozen?

Husband: It's thirteen but after the Baker eats the one to test it there is only a dozen left.

Wife: Then why is it also called the Devil's Dozen?

Husband: That's because it makes the Baker fat.


17 June 2014

The Monuments Men

by Robert M. Edsel

I read this book because I had seen a preview of the movie. The movie looked interesting and when I saw the book on the shelf I thought I would give it a try. The librarian told me that she had really enjoyed it which was another point in its favor.

The book is a historical non-fiction about the events of WWII regarding the art and monuments of Europe in the path of the armies. It follows quite a few characters as they do their darndest to save the art. It is a history with lots of dates and names, but I wasn't bogged down by it. I am not a big reader of histories or biographies, but this one I finished in about a week and a half because I was so fascinated.

What draws me in: Mr. Edsel does his research. I hate reading histories where I can't tell what is factual and what is artistic license. There are excerpts of letters, and documents that he draws from. He read journals and books from the soldiers involved. He did what he could to make sure the book was a true as possible.

Even though the book is filled with history (of all things) it was interesting. I didn't feel like I was slogging through the boring stuff with occasional nuggets of interesting things. I am ashamed to admit I don't know many specifics of WWII. I can name off important people and the various countries, but I really had no idea what happened. It is explained in the book and it was interesting. In order to understand the severity of the situation, Mr. Edsel explains what was going on so we could appreciate the enormity of the Monuments Men situation.

I liked that he gave not only the Allied side of things, but also the Axis side. I didn't know about all the decrees that Hitler had regarding the art. I found it fascinating (as I have mentioned before).

What kicks me out: It is historical. There are lots of people and lots of dates. For some people that might be a turn off. It would have been for me if I hadn't seen the preview and had a direct recommendation. Here is your recommendation. "It is really really good."

Should you read it?
Yes. If you are a history fan? YES! If you are an art fan? YES!!

Should you buy it? That I leave up to you. I probably will buy it, if only to have a reference to go back to for dates and information about WWII in general, not just about the Monuments Men situation.


Wife is looking through her text messages.

Text from Husband: I'm sorry. I accidentally took the butter for lunch.

Wife: (To herself) Not a big deal. He'll be hungry for dinner though.

Several hours later. Husband comes home from work.

Husband: I'm sorry. I took the butter.

Wife: It's not a big deal, but I'm sure you're hungry.

Husband: No. You don't understand. I didn't realize it was the butter, until after I microwaved it.


05 June 2014

Funk Prevented

We almost had another funk Tuesday. It could have been like Friday where he is non-responsive for hours, doesn't talk, just covers his head with his blanket until we coerce him out of his room to take a shower at 8 after which he just goes back to his room and stays there the rest of the night.

Tuesday night we told him he wouldn't be able to go camping on Friday. Tech began to shut down. I more proactively tried to get him involved in another activity. He snapped at me and covered his head. I gave him ten minutes to work it through in his room. And then I got him out of his room. Do you know how?


There is a new rule in our house. A rule of etiquette. If someone knocks on your door, you answer it. Granted it takes about a full minute of knocking on the bedroom door, but it makes him get off his bed and open it in order for me to stop. If he doesn't come out but shuts the door again, I just keep knocking.

I wasn't going to let him stew. We had addressed the problem head on, gave him time to think about what had happened and why, and then we got him to keep moving.

My knuckles hurt, but the funk was prevented. We ended up having a nice evening together.

02 June 2014

Use What You've Got


Husband calling wife from work.

Husband: I am going to the doctor today after all.

Wife: You're still not feeling well?

Husband: No. I took my temperature. I have a fever of 101.

Wife: I didn't realize you took the thermometer to work.

Husband: I didn't.


Wife: How do you know your temperature?

Husband: I used my multi-meter.


Husband: I washed it first.


30 May 2014

I'm am an Awful Mother

For the last few minutes I have been chanting this in my mind. Apparently I only now get motivated to write on my blog when I am admitting to a mistake. My friends at work all tell me that I need to write these things down so if there are other Foster Parents out there who feel the same way they don't have to feel it alone. Or something like that.

Tech is a great kid. I don't want anyone to think otherwise. He just hasn't had the environment to learn, grow, and develop as a healthy child in a stable, loving environment. When you are labeled as mentally retarded, never to live on your own, placed with the children with down syndrome in school, and given mood altering medications instead of being taught proper coping techniques, you just don't learn everything you need to. (Can you tell how I feel about some of his previous caregivers?)

My problem is sometimes I want to treat him as if he doesn't have that past, and I can't. It doesn't matter that he has lived 12 years because no one taught him how to be a 12-year-old.

Tonight he and a friend made plans to go see a movie at the local theater. They made the plans at 5 and the movie started at 7. Tech rushed home to get dinner and made a deal with us regarding getting his allowance early so he could go to the movies. This friend (who is a really good friend and kid in general) ended up helping his grandparents with watering their fields because his dad was too sick to do it. Because he chose to help his grandparents they didn't make it to the movie. They are now going to see it tomorrow.

Tech is no longer functioning this evening as a rational being. Something about not going to the movie with his friend has caused him to meltdown. We tried to encourage him in some activities (activities that if he would complete would mean that he would no longer have to make a deal with us regarding his allowance). Nothing. He pretends to be asleep sitting on the couch and when we call his name he opens his eyes and then closes them again as if he didn't hear us and is still asleep.

There are days I wonder if this is actually normal 12-year-old behavior. I mean no one likes to have fun plans cancelled, but the plans were just delayed, and he could have earned his entire allowance instead of it being reduced due to not completing his work. I just don't know some days. Maybe it is a good thing that we don't have any measuring stick. But right now, as I type this blog post and wonder what he is doing in his room, I just keep thinking "I'm an awful mother."

29 May 2014


I can't believe it has been over a month since I have written. I will try to keep that from happening again, but with summer staring, I can't promise anything.

I am not a perfect mother. I never thought I would be, but there are days that I thought I would be better than I am. So to admit my failures.

There was one night that Tech had some history homework. The teachers and school have been amazing and accommodating. Since Tech's reading is not on grade level, his history teacher takes the time to make his worksheets easier. For this particular assignment he only had to do the fill-in-the-blank questions and not the short answer. I read the question and then find the paragraph and read the sentence with the answer. Then I make him tell me the answer. Normally it is word for word the fill-in-the-blank from the paragraph. I can tell when he doesn't want to do it because Tech just repeats the last word I said. In addition to doing the worksheet he has to focus on his penmanship. If he isn't focused his letters are unrecognizable.

I have never struggled with homework. I just can't see why someone would spend more time and energy complaining and avoiding the homework rather than just doing it. This particular night I was frustrated. The whole day had been hard. The night before I had been frustrated because I was stressed and Moose kept telling me that he didn't feel comfortable helping Tech. That wasn't what I wanted to hear and I lost it. As a side note I let things build up and then every couple of months I lose it for a night and just lie on the couch and cry. I was feeling so tired and frustrated that Sunday night I let it out on Moose.

So on Monday, Tech comes home with this homework and I am trying to keep it together. It didn't turn out so well. I would ask him to do something and, like a regular teenager, he would pretend he hadn't heard. I was still feeling the effects of the night before and ended up crying through dinner preparations. Tech knew something was wrong and just left me alone. After dinner as we tried to do homework, Moose stepped up and really helped. Tech really didn't want to do homework and was dragging his feet. (As I have learned over the years, I was abnormal when it came to homework. It seems that normal kids don't just do their homework.)

Tech was pushing back at Moose and I lost it. But here is the sad thing I thought I would be reasonable and put a bookmark in the history book. I then slammed it shut. And dropped it on the floor. I then accused him of wasting our time and that if he didn't care, I didn't care. I then ran to my room knowing I had screwed up. I felt like I should just hide under a rock. So I went to my closet.

Moose stuck his head in a few minutes later. "What are you doing?"

"Hiding under my rock."

There was a click. "At least do it with the lights on."

Moose knew I needed some space and that Tech needed more support than I did. I wish I could say that was the last time that I lost it. Maybe my next post will be about trying to get him to drink cough syrup.

Tech still says he likes living with us. At the meeting with the caseworker he said that she could write in his file that he likes reading! He is a good kid. I know there are days that I sit in my room and cry, but I have come to learn that I cry because I care. I will keep my closet available if I need it, but at least I haven't had to use it again.

17 April 2014

My Hero

It has been some time since I've written. I keep coming up with various topics to write on, but then life gets in the way. I am not surprised that having a 12-year-old in our life has made my life busier. In fact if it didn't make my life busier I would be worried that I was a neglecting mother.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in class listening to the kids. Every week they have a student of the week called the "Superhero." The teacher I work with had decided not to do a student of the week. It wasn't that there weren't deserving kids, but it had been so busy. The previous superhero had left the cape at home and forgotten his "About Me" paper. As she was explaining one of the kids yelled out, "But what about Little Miss. Will she get to be superhero?" The other kids joined in. Basically chanting that Little Miss should be the superhero for the week. The teacher agreed and she got everything set up for Little Miss.

The entire first grade gets together and all of the teachers announce their superheros for the week. The child then goes to the front and collects a prize and certificate. The teacher and I were worried that Little Miss wouldn't want to get up and it might cause a scene as the kids try and encourage her up while she fights back. When the teacher called Little Miss, she stood up immediately and hurried up to the front where she got her certificate and pencil.

The next week she would occasionally put on the cape and call herself Batman, or Robin as she twirled around.

Little Miss is autistic and will never live on her own. I am pretty sure she doesn't know exactly what the Superhero means, but she knows she has watched nearly every other student in the class wearing the cape. What really got to me was the fact that it was the other students in the class who really wanted her to get it. It wasn't something the teacher planned to teach the class an important message. It was something the kids themselves knew was important.

I love working at the school. These kids are good kids.

04 April 2014

A Perfect Parent?

The last two days, Moose and I attended a conference put on by the Utah Foster Care. The main reason we went was it was a quick way to get hours for our re-certification. Now we are already planning on going to next year's if they have it again.

There were two speakers. The first was Dr. Laura Bennett-Murphy. She works here in Utah with children who are from refugee families and endured severe trauma. Let's just say that I needed the tissues I brought. There were several points that really stood out to me. The first is that as a parent there are times that when my child loses hope, I can still hold on to it and reassure them that behind the storm clouds, the sun is still there and it will be back. I also loved the idea that children will get frustrated and mad with me as a parent. Even when they are yelling at me and telling me that I am stupid or they wish I was dead that they still love me. (And now for the cute picture she showed.)

Thursday's speaker was Daniel J Siegel, MD. Moose and I had to slip our an hour early and we were so disappointed not to hear it all. What he talked about was the Adolescent brain. 12-24 is the age of adolescence. They are neither child nor adult and knowing what is actually going on in their brain can help adults teach them. It was amazing. We sat in rapture from 9 until we had to duck out at 3. We spent the entire drive home talking about how things are now starting to make sense.

Tech is 12 but we can already see how the things Siegel talked about apply to our situation. He has a book out called Brainstorm that is written for both an adult audience and for an adolescent audience because adolescents don't always know why they do why they do but if they know how their brain works it gives them power over themselves.

Moose and I have ordered the book and I will do a review when I read it, but I can already tell you that I am going to love it.

What really stuck with me that both speakers emphasized was the fact that parents will occasionally flip their lids. Both speakers admitted to the fact that despite all of their education, training, experience, they still get frustrated. The fact of the matter is that it will happen, but as adults we need to repair the situation after it happens. That is what makes a good parent.

Maybe Moose and I have a chance at doing okay after all.

30 March 2014


Moose reminded me that I wrote this story. This is a Fan Fiction piece based on characters from the anime series Ghost Hound. This is a series that Moose and I really enjoyed. It is a psychological horror. It is not what I expected it to be.

Taro wished he could dream. Since being at the university in Tokyo he hadn’t been able to dream let alone travel to the Unseen Realm. After five years he wasn’t sure he would ever do it again. He had hoped to Soul Traveled when he reached the island. His sleep was plagued by the pain in his chest.

He used the sleeve of is coat to clear the condensation from the glass as he looked at the passing scenery. He focused on the mountains. They seemed to have aged thousands of years in the time he’d been gone. He couldn’t see the shrine hidden among the trees. He wondered if Miyako would even be willing to talk to him again. He pressed on his chest and gasped as another round of pain threatened to crush his heart.

No one stood at the bus stop. He hadn’t told anyone he was coming home.

The winding road up to his house was slick from the light rain. Every step increased his heart rate. Puffs of breath accented the raspy breathing.

He watched the still from a distance, trying to regain his breath. People milled around the brewery, their focus on the product. One person paused in their movements and looked over at him, standing in the yellowed street light.

“Taro, is that you?”

Taro dropped his bags to accept a hug from Kei, the Master brewer. She nearly bowled him over.

“Why didn’t you tell us you were coming? We would have sent a car to meet you. Come on out of the rain.” She kept an arm around him. He couldn’t even his breathing. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.”

“Did you hear about Miyako?” she asked. Her brows were drawn together.

“Yes.” Taro picked up his bags again and hurried to the house.


The next morning the sun peeked out over the trees as Taro rode his old bike into town. The pavement still showed wet patches but would be gone before lunch. The newsroom was packed with desks and chairs. One man sat in his chair with his feet propped up on the desk typing on a laptop that looked like any movement would send it crashing to the floor.

“Can we help you?” someone asked.

Taro tried to catch the eye of the man who was typing. “I was just hoping to have a few words with Masayuki.”

The man’s head popped up and a grin split his features. “Taro, why didn’t you tell me you were coming for a visit? How long are you here?” He just caught the laptop before it fell and set it on his desk.

Masayuki directed Taro to a small bakery down the street from his office.

“You’ve gotten taller,” Taro said as he looked at his friend. “And you cut your hair. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

Masayuki ran a hand through his hair and grinned. “It just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. It’s good to see you. How long are you in town?”

“I’m back. I just graduated and got a job.”

“You got a job back here? Why would you do that?”

“I’m the high school’s new psychological counselor,” Taro said peeling his pastry apart and hiding pieces of it in his napkin.

“Have you visited the others? I’m sure they would love to see you as well.”

“I plan on visiting everyone. But there’s something else.” Taro tossed his uneaten pastery in the garbage. “Have you seen anything in the Unseen World?”

Masayuki let out his breath. “I haven’t had an O.B.E. for almost three years now.”

“Do you know why?” Taro looked up, searching for any sign of pain on his friend’s face.

This time it was Masayuki who paused. “I moved in with Reika.”

Taro counted to three before he felt his voice would be normal. “I hope you and Dr. Otori are happy together.”

“We are,” Masayuki replied. “Most of the time.”


Taro sat on the steps leading up to the shrine. He held a letter in his hands that he had folded and refolded hundreds of times over the years. The year after he started his Masters he had received the letter in the mail: Taro, I’m getting married. The pain in his chest had started shortly after this.

“Taro? I hadn’t heard you were visiting.”

Taro was shaken from his reverie by the low voice. Makoto had gotten taller but nothing else had changed. His long hair was pushed back from his face, and no smile lines even hinted. He held a guitar case in his hand.

“It’s nice to see you, Makoto.” Taro stood and brushed at his trousers to clear the dirt. “What are you doing here?”

“I always come to the shrine at this time of day.” He paused and raised an eyebrow. “She’s not dead.”

Taro stuffed the letter back in his pocket. “I know she’s not dead.”

“Do you regret leaving?”

They started the climb up to the shrine. The steps had been repaired in a few places and Taro focused on the new patches as he tried to keep his breathing even.

“I didn’t think it would be this hard.” Taro paused on the stairs, trying to regain his breath. The stairs continued upwards into the trees. “I feel the weight of everything I left behind. I wonder if I made a mistake and lost something irrevocably.”

“College made you speak in big words.” Makoto stood a few steps above him, his breathing catching only here and there.

“Did you ever want to leave?” Taro asked and winced at an especially sharp pain.

Makoto turned his back and started up the stairs again. When Taro reached the top Makoto was there with a glass of water.



Miyako stood a few feet from him. She looked exactly how Taro pictured her. Her hair was still tied in two parts behind her ears. She didn’t wear her shrine maiden’s regalia, but rather plain clothes. There were holes starting in the knees of her trousers. Her mouth was the thin line of somberness that often covered it when she was young.

“Miyako-san.” Taro winced as he stuttered. “I hope I am not disturbing you, but I would like to talk to you and your husband.”

She folded her arms and looked him up and down before giving a nod. “Come into the shrine.”


Miyako’s husband was a thin fellow who often had to push his glasses back in place. He explained that he had come to the shrine to study with Miyako’s father. Taro nodded and clenched his hands. He had chosen to leave. There had never been anything between him and Miyako more than Taro’s childish infatuation.


He looked up and met her steel gaze. It was the same look as always. When she turned towards her husband it soften. A faint smile played across her lips and the corners of her eyes crinkled.

“I wish to express my congratulations. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it to the wedding.” Taro held out a gift and bowed his head.

“That was thoughtful of you,” Miyako’s husband said taking the gift. “I have heard a lot about your adventures when you were all in high school. It is good to finally meet the last of the group.”

Taro smiled, taking in the sight of Miyako smiling. He still wondered what would have happened if he had stayed. Voices of children could be heard outside. Makoto sat in the corner the case across his lap. He set it aside and stood up.

Miyako’s husband waved him back in place. “I’ll go take care of that. Would any of you like something to drink or eat?”

All three shook their heads. Taro stared at the floor, a buzzing in his ears. He held his breath.

After Miyako’s husband disappeared, Miyako turned towards Taro.

“Are you alright?”

Taro shook his head, his breath coming in labored gasps.

“College made you soft. We used to run up and down those stairs all the time,” Makoto said.

Taro pressed a hand too his chest. “It hurts. It’s like part of me is missing and my body can’t fix it.” His vision blackened around the edges. “I can’t do this anymore.”


Taro lay on a futon and stared up at the ceiling. Candlelight flickered across the rafters and he could just make out thin trails of smoke. Music thrummed. He tried to sit up and settled for rolling to his side. Makoto sat in the corner a child asleep on the floor in front of him. He held a guitar and picked at the notes softly.

“Is she yours?” Taro asked in a hoarse voice.

Makoto looked up from what his fingers were doing and nodded, not missing a note that Taro could tell.

“I didn’t realize you had a child. Are you married?”

Another nod.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“There are a lot of things you would know if you had bothered to keep in touch,” Makoto said.

“I tried — I wanted to. I didn’t want to leave.”

“No one forced you to.”

“Once I decided not to take over the family business, I had to find my own path. I always planned on coming back.”

“At least you could have come to visit us.” Makoto’s voice was soft. “You were the glue that held us together.”

“You and Miyako still seem close.”

“Our daughter’s enjoy each other’s company. And my wife is religious. She finds it important, so I find it important.”

Taro pushed himself up and his breath caught.

“You should see a doctor.”

“I have. There is nothing physically wrong with me. I thought that seeing Miyako—” he trailed off. “But that was apparently a stupid conclusion.”

Makoto strummed another chord. “How is your spirit doing?”

Taro shook his head and lay back down. “Nothing’s there. I can’t enter the Unseen World anymore.”

“We all tried to leave. And we all came crawling back. Even Masayuki can’t last more than a month away from the shrine.”

“What do you think it is?”

Makoto leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “Our spirits are tied here. Our bodies can go, but our spirits stay. I’ve seen flashes of your spirit in the unseen realm. I didn’t realize it wasn’t your conscious self. I thought you were just ignoring me.”

“I wouldn’t ignore you.”

“That’s what I kept telling myself, but then you never contacted me in the Apparent World.”


Taro sat on the steps and looked down the long flight.

“I won’t carry you.” Makoto said. His still sleeping daughter was on his back secured with some cloth. From the way Makoto moved, Taro assumed he had often carried her in this fashion.

“But you would give me a push?” Taro said with a half-smile.

“See you around.” Makoto gave him a small smile and started down the path. His flashlight beam focused on the stairs.


He turned to look at Miyako. He rubbed the back of his head and blushed.

“I’m sorry I was such a bother this afternoon. I really am happy for you.”

She brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I want you to have this. Whenever we go visit my husband’s family I feel ill. This always helps make it better. Wear it especially when you sleep.”

Taro took the small charm bag from her. “Thank you Miyako-san.”

With the borrowed flashlight, Taro crept down the stairs. His bike rested at the bottom, leaning against the arch. How he always left it. A note lay in the basket. Makoto’s address and phone number.

“Come to dinner next week.”


Back at the still Taro lay on his old futon. His crystal radio sat on his desk untouched save for his mother’s habitual dusting. With the charm around his neck, Taro realized that his breathing hadn’t been quite so labored as he walked up the hill. The pain in his chest eased just enough that Taro slipped into a dream.

24 March 2014


Every year Moose and I go to an Anime Convention. One of the things that we enjoy is the Anime Music Videos. These are videos that people have creating splicing different scenes and putting it to music. Moose decided that he wanted to try his hand at it so he used his birthday money to get the needed software. We knew the good videos took a lot of time. Not only do they have to splice them perfectly but they have to find the perfect clip in the first place.

My own opinion on what makes a good AMV are as follows:

1. It has to work with the chosen song.
2. It has to make me want to watch the anime, especially if I've never seen the anime.
3. It has to draw an emotion from me.

So here are a few of our favorite AMVs. We watch these on a regular basis because we like them.

It's Tough to be a Host
Beyond the Boundary
Usagi Drop

16 March 2014

Wild Imaginations

I believe I've mentioned before that my little sister loves dogs. When she was young we went to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. My parents bought one of the child leases because they didn't want to loose her among the thousands of people that attend. Babe took to that lease and every time she wore it she would crawl around on hands and knees and insist we call her Twinkles.

I have seen other children pretend to be animals. It isn't anything new. What was new was the little girl I work with pretending to be a dog.

The class I work in is amazing. They love and adore Little Miss. On Friday one of the girls was walking around on her knees saying "I'm a baby." Little Miss thought this was funny and she got down on her knees. And then she got down on her hands and started to bark. It took me by surprise. Usually she imitates what she sees the others doing. She has never shown any sign of being able to imagine herself as something different. In fact Little Miss gets affronted if she thinks someone is calling her the wrong name. All during afternoon recess, outside on the blacktop, she crawled around on her hands and knees and barked. It was really cute.

The day before during lunch, before Little Miss came out, I noticed a young man who was behaving differently from the other kids on the playground. He had a rolled up paper in his hand and was hiding behind a basketball pole. He would peer around it, make shooting motions, and hide again. (Granted at another school he might be suspended for such behavior, but I knew his behavior was harmless. How did I know? Because he was doing what I used to do when I was his age.) I walked over to him and asked if he was enjoying himself. He looked up in a shock and put the paper behind his back. I said it was nice seeing someone with such a vivid imagination and wished him fun.

A few minutes later he and another boy ran by yelling something about an enemy soldier on their tail and they had to hide. They were doing it on Friday too. It is nice to see kids being kids. 

13 March 2014

Feeling like a Mother

Yesterday I truly felt it. The motherly feeling. I now understand the sinking in the pit of my stomach as I wonder if everything is alright. Of seeing the child cry and wanting to help but not knowing what to say. Of being disappointed in the child's actions and wishing it could have happened differently. Of hoping it will never happen again and yet preparing for when it does. Of trying to apologize to someone for something your child did when the child doesn't have an understanding of what he did wrong. Of staying awake at night while trying to determine how to get through the next day. Of wondering if there was something I could have done earlier to prevent it from happening.

I was expecting it to happen eventually. I have felt some of these feelings before, but it really is different when the feelings are regarding someone who is under your care. Who would have trouble surviving on their own. Who is still learning about life, how to interact with others, and deal appropriately in situations.

As my dad would say: Isn't this journey exciting?

And now that you are all thinking the worse I will add that Tech is safe, we are safe, it was just an unfortunate situation. No more details will be given.

12 March 2014

Quick and Easy

Moose and I were sitting at church when Tech sat down and folded up his leg. At that point we noticed that underneath his church trousers was a pair of Levis. We looked at each other and shrugged. As we drove home we asked him why he was wearing two pairs of trousers.

Tech: Because you told me I have to change after church. Now I can just pull of my pants and be ready to go. I can be quick.

I just laughed. I mean, wouldn't that be uncomfortable? It isn't even like when I wear long-johns under my clothes. He was wearing two pairs of trousers. As Moose and I were changing out of our clothes he admitted to something.

Moose: When I was a kid, we would put our pajamas on over our street clothes so when we woke up in the morning we would just pull off our pajamas and be ready to go.

Maybe it is a guy thing?

08 March 2014

Prom Week

This week was supposed to be devoted to reading. It wasn't. *sniff* Instead I took on a new project. I altered two prom dresses. I didn't tell the customers this, but I have never altered clothing for anyone beyond myself and Moose. On Monday I had one of Moose's coworkers come over with her daughter. They had purchased a prom dress at a discount price, The zipper needed to be fixed and a strap added for extra support. I took a look. It took me less than an hour to fix. She asked if I would be willing to look at another girl's dress. The second dress came in on Tuesday. This dress needed to be hemmed up, a strap added, the sides taken in, and a few other tweaks here and there. It would take me hours. (I need to learn how to say no.) Instead of reading I spent Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, Thursday night, and Friday morning doing the various alterations and having two more fittings. Did I mention that Prom was Saturday? I was terrified. The last thing I wanted was to ruin someone's prom, but the only thing I wanted to do was read "Words of Radiance" which appeared on my doorstep Tuesday afternoon.

Both girls were happy. I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I got spending money. Will I do it again? If I can have more than three days to get it done, yeah, probably.

03 March 2014

No Need for Reading

Moose and I have different opinions on reading. As I mentioned previously, reading is a priority for me. For Moose it was something that he didn't enjoy, until I took away his cable, and gave him books he found interesting.

This week we have been working with Tech on his reading skills. Due to his situation he needs help with school. As we were working one night he threw up his hands in frustration.

Tech: I don't need to learn this.

Me: You don't need to learn to read?

Tech: No I don't.

Me: Yes you do. You can't get a driver's license or a job if you can't read.

Tech: That doesn't matter because I am going to own my own business. I don't need to read.

Moose and I are worried. I am kind of hoping he knows he has to read and that this is just him letting out his frustration. Kind of like how I often say "I hate my hair, I am going to shave my head."

Now all we have to do is get his confidence up. We have motivated him to read because reading is tied to his screen time. He always gets between 8 and 9, if he gets his homework/studying done. If he wants any more time he has to read. Bwahaha. What a maniacal plot we have hatched.

28 February 2014


At the elementary where I work there was a reading competition for the kids. The class I work in was one of the winning classes and the kids were really excited. Their prize was they got to watch a movie . . . I am not even going to go there.

Now that the student competition is over, the teachers decided to have a reading competition. We were split into groups and our reading minutes are going to be averaged. It seems that everyone in my group has mentioned at one point "I'm glad you are a reader because you can make up what I don't." Considering more than half of our team has said this I am not sure that we are going to do very well. I guess it all depends on if the other teams are feeling the same way.

One of my coworkers asked me how come I have so much time to read. I told them it was because reading is a priority for me. I make time to read. Granted there are probably other things that might be better for me, but I feed my family every day, clean the house (the house is cleaner since Tech moved in, more on that later), and work part time. I teach piano lessons one night a week. Teach cub scouts one night a week. Attend religious meetings at least once a week. I also attend a writing group twice a month and whatever else happens to pop up. I also now help with homework and studying almost every night. (No wonder I have been sleeping well.) For me, reading is a necessity. It is me time. It is what relaxes me.

For me, reading is my reward for doing what I should be doing. Every night after Tech goes to bed I reward myself with a good book.

I don't know if we will win (I have over 1,100 reading minutes this week), but I love an extra excuse to dive into my books. Now excuse me, I have been lax in my reading duty today. I have to help my team.

(Oh, and a few minutes ago, I entered a short story in the contest my friend told me about. I don't know if it is what they were really looking for or not. Writing a hard science fiction piece in 500-600 words was dang hard. I wrote three stories and then ended up tweaking one I wrote over two years ago. Go fig.)

25 February 2014

Atrophied Muscles

Yesterday at work my friend told me of a great writing opportunity. She is really excited for me and really thinks I could win if I enter. The contest ends on Friday. The more she told me the more I realized that this would be a nice break for me. It is a hard science fiction story between 500-600 words.

The only problem is . . . I haven't written a short story in months. My time has been split so many ways I just haven't done it. I sat down with the intention of writing the first draft last night. As of this morning I have under 200 words that I am not even sure I like.

I am the first one to preach that coming up with ideas is a skill. It looks like I just need to use the "Writing Excuses" BICHOK approach. "Butt in chair, hands on keyboard." So enough with the blog. Time to go back to the story. I will be submitting something and I only have three days left.

21 February 2014

I Don't Know

Tech started school on Tuesday. That morning Moose and I were in the office doing the finishing touches. The secretaries were helpful. They are great ladies. Since Tech has gym he needed a gym uniform.

"What's his size?" One asked as she looked through the box of uniforms.

"I don't know?"

She glanced up at me. "Small or medium?"

I shrugged "I don't know. I've never bought clothes for him."

That got a raised eyebrow. They finally just had him hold them up and told him if they didn't fit to bring them back and change them out for something that would. A little while later while filling out more paperwork she asked if he was in the system.

"Yes. He moved in with us on Saturday."

That got a smile and I no longer looked like a completely ignorant mother.

Oh the story fodder I am already accumulating.

20 February 2014

Relatively Easy

This last week I embarked on a new journey. I am now a mother. I did not wait nine months and do not spend sleepless nights trying to cajole a child into sleep only to wake a few hours later to begin the process again. No. My husband and I are now the parents of a lively12-year-old boy. This boy, Tech, is smart, cheerful, and eager to please. We are excited to have him in our home.

As a new mother, every day I am learning something new about myself. I am learning that I actually clean more now that I have Tech here. I am also learning that I am bothered by things I never thought about.

I first noticed this particular peeve when I started working at the school. Some kids do well in school. Kids like me. For us, it seemed that traditional schooling was designed with us in mind. For others, like my husband, school is the best torture that could be devised to torment their every moment. Working in a first grade class the kids are proud of their accomplishments. They like to share with others their accomplishments. These phrases often include the words “It is easy.” As the year has continued that phrase has increasingly bothered me.

I don’t want this post to be a statement of the obvious (reference the title). But rather I think that this phrase is just as harmful to the person saying it as it is to the people who are hearing it. I have come to understand that just as kids are quick to say “This is easy. I can do that.” They are just as quick, or even quicker to say “This is hard. I can’t do it.”

Maybe you are expecting some remark here about how I have come to help the children work through these difficult times and uplift them. Nope. Maybe in a year or two I will have insight as to how to help children with this. For now, Moose and I sit up at night to devise ways to trick, cajole, plead, and reward Tech into doing what he should be doing. Tech is one that has had few intellectual challenges due to his situation. As I talk to my friends they just nod and welcome me to motherhood.

I just hope as a mother I can teach him that he can do hard things. And eventually I hope that I can do it without the tricks, cajoling, pleading, or additional rewards.

19 February 2014



While fighting over who had to have the bookmark on their pillow, the bookmark slipped between the headboard and the mattress. When the husband and wife finished reading the wife makes the husband look for the bookmark.

Husband, looking under the bed: I can't find it.

Wife: I am sure it fell.

Husband: Maybe.

Wife: You know there is a black hole under the bed. I stuff things under there all the time and it always remains clean.

Husband: It's not a black hole.

Wife: Are you sure?

Husband: Yeah. Kitty sells the stuff she finds under the bed on Ebay.


15 February 2014

LTUE 2014

I know it has been some time since I have written. My family life is changing, in a very good way, and it has taken up the free time I've had. I am hoping things will be more stable, though not calmer, in the next week or two.

This weekend I attended the LTUE Symposium in Provo. This is my favorite conference. Once again my awesome dad and I presented a research paper and lo and behold people other than our family and friends came to it. I even had people stopping me in the hall later that day telling me that we did a good job.

What I really want to get to, while I have a minute to sit in front of the computer, is a particular experience I had. I was able to sit on several panels and offer advice. The people on the panels have an opportunity to promote themselves. I don't have a book out yet but my friend, who is with the same publisher, does. I would tell people I have a book coming out but while they wait for mine they should read this other awesome book and then I would hold up my friend's book and put it in front of me. On one panel, the person sitting next to me told that I shouldn't do that. I asked why. She said because it wasn't my book and people might think it was mine. I just thought it was kind of odd that she didn't think I was doing the right thing.

I really don't know if I helped out my friend. I really don't know if I helped myself in the long run. But truthfully, I don't think I did anything to hurt me. I just found it interesting that another author didn't think I should be promoting someone else's book.

By the way . . . While you wait for my AWESOME Urban Science Fiction "Future of Lies" you should read my AWESOME Friend's Book "The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions." It is available on Amazon or from Fox Hollow Publications.

My Amazon Review:
I know Christine and had the chance to be a Beta reader for this particular novel. The first time I read it I thought, "This is a good story." When I read the final draft I sat back on my heels and said "Wow. Crap. Now I have to wait for the next one."

Acquisitions takes place in our future. A virus has decimated the world and the the survivors are put into two categories, Mutants and Immunes. The story follows a teen-age boy who learns that he doesn't fit into either category. As a No-Code he has to fight for his survival more than the others. No-codes aren't suppose to exist and therefore they are killed ASAP.

This book is an apocalyptic sci-fi. There is potential for dystopic, but at this point it is really more about the survivors trying to clean up the mess. I think it would be great for any teenager who is into Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent or any of those type of books. Christine brings the characters to life and makes you care about them. We aren't just cheering for Cam we are cheering for all the characters. We don't want them just to survive but we want to see them actually get a chance at a life without violence or fear. There isn't anything in the books that I would consider inappropriate language, physical, or violence wise. All-in-all it is a well written book and I am ready to pound the door to get the next one as soon as I can.

15 January 2014

Moose Socks


The wife is laying in bed while the husband is getting his pajamas on. He takes off his socks and holds them up as if to throw them at the wife. The wife covers her face.

Husband: What's wrong?

Wife: I don't want socks in my face.

Husband: Why not? They have Vitamin C . . . and Fiber.

Beat. Hysterical laughter.


I love my Moose.