Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Post- They Fought For Me

Ed posted this as a note on Facebook today.  I thought it was great and wanted to share and maintain it here on my blog.

Kaye and I are a bit unusual among our peer group. Our parents were older than our friends parents. They were WWII era men and women who knew personally the great sacrifice of war. My mother's father was killed in action in Bari, Italy while serving as as the First Officer on a cargo ship that was loaded with Mustard Gas Bombs. The last of these horrible weapons was recently incinerated at a facility on the edge of the west desert, just 30 miles or so from our home in Utah. Kaye's father was a Scout with an Army Calvary Division. We know very little of his war time service. Like many of his generation, he would not allow himself to be defined by his military service. He was a great man. He was wounded during the war but rarely spoke of the pain those wounds caused. He was part of an Army unit that arrived first on the scene at one of the horrific death camps established to eliminate the Jews. He returned home, completed an education and spent a career with the Boy Scouts and then a second career as a Junior High School shop teacher. Many spoke during his funeral but none remembered him for his service to our country. Those who spoke of his life spoke of more current acts of service. He committed his entire life to doing good.

My father was a radio operator and spent most of his time during WWII stationed in Souix Falls, S.D. training other young men to do the same. He was stationed for a time on Tinian Island in the South Pacific. An island that would remain unknown but for one event that guaranteed it a place in written history. Like Kaye's dad, WWII was a distant memory and he didn't discuss it ever. I can't ever recall him telling even a single anecdote from his years of service. He returned from the war and settled down to become a businessman, friend, volunteer, and father. He was a Mason and a Shriner. Like Kaye's parents, my Mom and Dad spent many hours involved in numerous service organizations. My Father worked tirelessly to support the cause of Shriner's Hospitals and the other charities of the Masonic Lodge that he was a member of. When he died, it was his Masonic friends who came in a seemingly endless procession to express to my Mother the help he had been to them personally.

These men fought for honor, for duty and for me. Like most of my generation, the sights and sounds of war are the ones we see on television newscasts. I took Kaye's Dad to see Saving Private Ryan many years ago. He remarked as we were leaving that he had crossed the beach about 14 days after the invasion first began. It was total chaos he said. And while the movie captured some visual imagery that provoked long forgotten memories, he said it was the sounds and smells that he could never explain. No one could.

Today we remember them. They fought for us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Evening of Excellence

When I was in high school, back in the days when the stars shone brighter because they were new, it was a big deal to get a scholarship.  Most students did not get scholarships to go to school and if you did get a scholarship it was probably a fairly small one.  I think that I got one scholarship for $500.00.  And I graduated 6th out of about 500 seniors in my class.

Tonight we attended the Evening of Excellence at Lehi High School where we witnessed over 2.5 MILLION dollars of scholarships being given out to the senior class.  I was just happy to be there because it wasn't that long ago that I wondered if Colby would make it through school- nevermind continue on to college.  But because of his involvement and excellence in music, he has been awarded two half scholarships for next year. . . one at Weber State University and one at Utah Valley University.  He also received the Semper Fidelis Award from the US Marine Corps for musical excellence.  (And I had absolutely nothing to do with any of these awards!)

After the ceremony Ed and I took Colby out to Winger's for a late dinner.  While we were there he thanked me for making his senior year so great.  he said that he had loved having me as a teacher.  I managed to not bawl, although I could not talk for a while.  So, what I am tonight is one proud mama.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not Perfect

The secret is out.  I am not perfect.  And I can say that I don't want to be, but I do!  I HATE making mistakes.  I hate getting upset.  I REALLY hate making mistakes.

In my book one of the worst mistakes you can make when working with kids is forgetting someone's award at a awards event.  I know how much it hurts the kids and it hurts me just as much because I beat myself up about it.

Tonight I missed a jazz band student and a percussion student.  Aaaarrrrggghhhh!  That drives me absolutely crazy.  And then I got chided by a mother who thought that I had forgotten her child as well.  Unfortunately that child did not qualify, but I still feel badly.   Aaaaarrrgggghhhh!!!!!!!

And I am also mad that I let things get to me.  Another mistake.  That mom got to me, but not as much as the people who I have worked with for the last 10 months who now don't even bother to say "hi" to me because I am no longer part of the group.  What I have to say to them should not be in print.  Too rude.  I hope they don't need anything in the near future.  I'll forget in a couple of months because that is just how I am.  But I am ticked off tonight.

So. . . I guess I am perfect.  Perfectly disgusted.  With them.  And myself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jazzed about Jazz

Last night we had "Jazz Nite" at good old Lehi High.  It was a tradition when I was at Lehi before, but it hasn't happened in several years.  We held it in the Commons Area on the little stage and we sold some snacks and desserts.  Some of the desserts looked amazing. . . but I didn't get any!

Karrie Green was in charge of the decorations and little did I know what an over achiever she is!!!  (She reminds me of someone. . . hmmm. . . who is it. . . Oh, yeah.  Me!)  The open space between the commons and the hall was filled in with a wall of black paper glittered with stars and swirls.  A mirrored disco ball hung from the rafters while decorations hung on fishline waved over the dance floor. Just plain amazing.  I SO wish that I had photos!!! (If you are reading this and you have some, please send them to me!  These pics don't show the "wall"!)

My two jazz bands played 3 sets of music for the audience's pleasure.  OK. . . some of the tunes had slight issues. . . and one was a total crash and burn. . . but no one seemed to mind.  By the time we wrapped things up with Earth, Wind and Fire's September, the dance floor was packed!  It was a night of fun- which was the whole point, so I will call that a success.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Seminary Graduation

It still amazes me that LDS teenagers attend a religious class as aprt of their school schedule.  And it amazes me even more that they GO and for the most part they ENJOY the class.  The church hires some great teachers who are energetic and spiritual.  Colby has been blessed with several great teachers and tonight he, and hundreds of his classmates, were awarded a diploma for finishing four years of seminary.  It's a good thing we took pictures before the meeting, because afterwards we had an outrageous downpour complete with lightnigh, thunder, and hail.  Hmmmm. . .  maybe they all didn't deserve those diplomas. . .

An Unwanted Show of Affection

It seems to be a rite of passage for adolescents. . . since they are uncomfortable with their changing minds and bodies, they often engage in inappropriate activities in an effort to impress others or to show affection.  For adolescent boys (and apprently adolescent girls as well. . .) the "Doorbell Ditch" and  "Toilet Papering" are popular stops on the road to adulthood.

In the past month we have had the dubious honor of being the recipients of these displays of affection not just once, but twice.  These visits appear to coincide with the birthdays of Colby and Parker.  The first clue was the doorbell ringing at 12:30am.  When I looked outside I was met with a vision of white strips of paper fluttering in the breeze.  I know it is hard to believe, but my first inclination was to feel anger and frustration, not love and acceptance.  I stand chastened.  Maybe the frustration comes from the fact that the perpetrators went all the way around my house and not once did the dogs give any indication that there was something unusual going on outside!  No treats for Lewis and Clark today.  I went back to bed while Ed watched for sometime, hoping that the delinquents would come by again, but to no avail. 

At about 7:30 this morning, after taking these beautiful photos, Colby, Parker, Reed and I  spent the better part of an hour pulling toilet paper out of our trees and bushes, cleaning it off all the vehicles, and stuffing it into four large garbage bags.  Since we found the wrappers, I am confident that the paperers used 48 double rolls of toilet paper in their quest for decorative domination.  At least we can be comforted by the fact that they did not scrimp.  I thought the draping of the fence was really quite well done and the paper that is stuck on the roof attests to a strong throwing arm, so I think they should get an A for effort.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prom 2011

I am a little behind in posting prom photos.  Colby's senior has come and gone so quickly that I can hardly believe it!  I had all sorts of big plans, but mostly we are in survival mode.

Colby, being the good son that he is, decided he should mow the lawn on May 6th.  We appreciated his efforts, but he paid dearly.  Apparently his Allegra wasn't really up to the additional allergens. His allergies took a hit that took some of the joy out of the prom.  He went through a whole box of tissues in a 24 hour period. . .

He did put up with a few photos before heading out to pick up the other members of his group, but you can see by the look on his face that he just wasn't that into the photo session.  This was by far the best shot. . .

I was quite impressed this time around that the guys actually had something planned before the event began.  Usually I am prodding Colby to come up with a plan a day or two before the dance.  The hardest part for this event was finding accessories for Colby's tux that would match Brittany's dress.  I printed out color samples to match against that sash and I even visited the dress to make sure that I had a good mental image of the color.  Clash would have been bad.  From now on I will begin my searches for similar items at Men's Wearhouse.  They easily have 3x more choices than the competitors.

Colby picked up Nick, Heather and Brittany before heading over to Quail Park (which is the revised, somewhat snooty name of the American Fork Amphitheatre.)  They were running late because Nick forgot Heather's corsage and they had to go back for it.  When they finally did make it to the park, I whipped out the camera only to realize that I had left the memory card in the computer.  Luckily there was a Wal-Mart nearby, so Papa C went on a tear for a new CF card.   

It was fun to watch all the prom kids with their photographers.  There were some stunning gowns, some 70's tuxes, and lots of giggling.  What fun!  This foursome met up with Garrett and Kayla for dinner and then they drove up to the Prom in the mighty Suburban.  The Prom was actually held in a room at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.  All Colby had to say about it was that it was way too hot.  He is such a talker.

So, here is Colby with his special lady, Brittany.  She may look familiar because they have gone to every formal together.  That is SO against our family rules, but she is such as sweetheart that it is hard to argue that he should be dating other girls.  We met some of the other girls. . . and Brittany is an excellent choice.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Band On The Run

As part of the massive fundraising effort that has been kicked off at Lehi High School to allow the band to get to Washington, DC for the 2012 National Independence Day Parade, today we had a race.  I have been imagining this event in my free time (from approximately 2:17am-2:54am) for almost three months.  I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to stage the event and how it would all flow.  But reality hit this week. 

Reality in event planning is when when you have to try to get people to do a specific job in a specific way so that the outcome looks like what is your head- only no one else has the whole picture, so it may or may not come together.  Reality is understanding that you cannot do it all. . . you must have help.  And reality is also standing back and letting it happen.

I am happy to say that reality was wonderful today.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but great in its own way. There were so many happy moments: like Home Depot actually being open at 6am, my first helper arriving at 7am, chairs on rolling carts so that I could put them where I wanted before I had to explain anything, a warm creamcheese and strawberry donut, more helpers than I had jobs, more runners than I was expecting, students who were on time, perfect weather, and parents who truly are willing to do anything I ask them to do.  I am actually feeling overwhelmed by how so many puzzle pieces where on the right place on the table today.

The most exciting moment for me was seeing a huge crowd of people leave the starting line and head down 1st North in the 5K.  It was one of those moments when you realize that all your thoughts actually came to life!  Not only had I never planned a race before, I have never BEEN to a race before, so I wasn't ready for the excitement of the starting line!  I am not sure how many people raced or how much money we actually cleared, but I know that everyone had fun (with the exception of the gentleman who got talked into walking the 10K. . .not happy), and that was half the battle.  

Next week we will get back to the administrative tasks, but for today, it was fun to be a party planner.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Mother's Day Yet!

Those of you who know me well know that I absolutely hate Mother's Day.  First off, my mom is gone, so I just get sad thinking about how she isn't here.  And then there is church.  Although I know that the purpose of talks about moms is to be encouraging, it just backfires every year.  I usually come away from the Sunday Services feeling like a total and complete failure as a mom.  This general feeling is compounded by discussions of great stay-at-home moms (Hey!  I LIKE working!!!)  and quotes about how no success compensates for failure in the home. (Hey!  I am not solely responsible for failures in the home!!!) 

So. . .  this year we may have found a solution.

This Mother's Day was also our Stake Conference.  For those of you who are not LDS, this is a twice-a-year two hour service where we take 6-7 congregations and shove them into one building so that our regional leaders can speak to us.  They are usually wonderful meetings. . . if you get there at least an hour early to get a soft seat in the chapel so that you can hear what is going on.  Clearly we could not have 100% attendance or there would not be enough seats for everyone, so this year we decided to serve others by staying home.  (How is THAT for justification???)

I slept until 9:20am.  I got up and laid around in my jammies until the middle of the afternoon- well after I had eaten Ed's wonderful "Big Breakfast."  I was presented with a new office chair for my desktop computer that Parker put together.  I hardly know what to do with a chair that sports two arms!  I've only had one for so long that this is a real treat.  By the time I showered, dressed, and played a couple of games of Scrabble with Norm (the computer's name on my iPad) it was time for a very nice dinner.  Very yummy.  The day ended with a reception for Nate Seamons at the school.  That was great, too.  Except for the cupcake crumbs that I had to scrape out of the carpet. 

All in all, it was a lovely Mother's Day.  I got lots of hugs and snugs and I relaxed.  I think I'll be skipping church next year, too. . . whether or not it is Stake Conference!  But don't tell the Bishop. . . we will let it be a surprise!