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Friday, July 27, 2012

Memories of my brother

Okay, I know I haven't been on here forever, and now, I'm not even going back to my story yet. This post is really for my nephew, Mike. Mike asked for some memories of his dad, who was killed in an airplane crash about 12 years ago. A few other people wanted to read it and this is what I came up with as the best medium to share. If you don't want to read about my brother, Bobby, stop now. This is the first 6 pages, I didn't want to make you wait forever while I finish. It's only sort of in order. And it's just my memories, some of them may be wrong.


My Memories of My Brother, Bobby
First, a note to you Mike, since you asked for this. I’m going to tell you what I can remember, since of course, everything I say will be tainted by my perspective. I’m not going to write it to you, though, because there may be things in here that you won’t want to know, but you asked for them, and you’re an adult. There may be things that your dad wouldn’t want you to know, but he’s not here, and so he doesn’t get a say.
Bobby Bogle was born on January 17, 1964. His parents lived in Tucson and were attending the University of Arizona. They were young, his mom had just graduated high school the year before. I wasn’t born for this, so I can only tell a few stories that I’ve heard.
He was actually named Robert Laurence  Bogle, Robert after his dad. His dad’s name was John Robert Bogle, people called him Bob. He said that if his wife wanted to name their son after him, she had to pick his first name and call him that, no more going by middle names. Betty Jean Pickering had grown up in Chandler, Arizona with Bob and they married soon after high school. She was a pom-pom girl (captain of the team) at Chandler High, and he was the son of a successful farmer who attended military school in New Mexico (NMMI).
Bobby was full of energy as a little boy, despite or maybe because he was diagnosed with severe asthma at a very young age. His mom had to give him shots for a while and she remembers the doctor telling her that the drugs he needed were such powerful stimulants that they would take ten years off the end of his life, but without them, he would die.
Bobby’s parents had a dog named Squirt. Bobby loved to chase him around their house in his walker shouting, “Squee, Squee” and running over his tail as often as possible. (A walker was a little contraption that they used to put babies in before they could walk to keep them occupied. It was kind of like a bouncer on wheels and the baby could pretend to walk all over the place. It had a little tray for toys or cereal, as well.)
In October, 1966, Bobby’s brother, Jamie was born. Bobby adored his new little brother and, at the tender age of three, would comment on his energy with, “He’s so rambunctious!”
Several things happened in 1970, including me. Dad had finished his Bachelor degree in business and was working at a bank when he was called by his family to come home to Chandler to help run the farm. His dad, who was Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard, had been in a car accident. It became evident that he needed some help to overcome his alcohol addiction. He had entered into a program in Minnesota and would be gone for a while.
The small family, two young boys, dad, and pregnant mom, moved back to Chandler. They first moved into a small house in town and while they were there, a couple of young men knocked on the door and asked them what they knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Always curious, the parents invited the young men in and they began to talk. The family soon moved to a house on the farm, a community known as Ocotillo, about 4 miles south of town. The missionaries asked if they could come again after they moved. Knowing that they rode bikes everywhere, Dad told them they could, but didn’t really expect them to.
Imagine their surprise when the missionaries really did set up an appointment and ride their bikes, repeatedly, all the way to Ocotillo. They kept coming and having conversations for about 8 months. By this time, a baby girl had been born in May. Mom and Dad named me Monique Fay, but the boys, now 6 and 3 wanted to call me Rocket so they could send me to the moon or Football so they could kick me. Apparently, I was in the way of their fun. In August, around the time of their 7th wedding anniversary, Mom and Dad were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we started to go to church. I vaguely remember that we went to Sacrament meeting, came home to eat and went back to church for Sunday School. Primary was held on a weekday afternoon.
My memory is a little spotty here, but I know we loved living out in the country. We had two dogs now, Lovey and Shadow. Lovey was a black lab and Shadow was some sort of black and white sheep dog. Lovey was the best dog in the world and I think all of us who knew her hold all black labs in a special place in our hearts. We had some random cats here and there as well, but Lovey was the true family pet. Shadow was hit by a car when I was still pretty young.
There was a ditch across the dirt road from our house and early on winter mornings on the way to catch the bus, we’d check it for ice and see if we could stand on it, sure that we could skate the ditch to the bus stop. It never worked. Along Alma School rd (now Basha rd) where the bus stop was, ran a big canal, all the way up to about Germann rd. Some of those mornings the fog would rise off the canal and it looked like we lived in a fairy land. This canal was the source of many adventures as we grew. We fished in it for crawdads, collected the tiny shells that littered the banks, and of course the best, Bobby and Jamie would blow up Bobby’s raft (a 2 seater with oars) and try to ride the rapids. The bridges over the canal were a definite obstacle and decisions had to be made about whether the water was low enough to make it under the bridge (laying down, of course) or the bridge had to be grabbed and climbed over. It was high excitement!
The pasture between our house and Uncle Pete’s house held various animals over the years. My earliest memory is of Aunt Karen’s Shetland pony. After he passed, sometimes that pasture would be full of yearling thoroughbreds, for a while it held a big bull that we bred with our milk cow. Either way, it was a source of entertainment. The horses would somehow find a way to open the gate, and we’d have a stampede on our hands. (Megan admitted later that she occasionally opened the gate for them, just for the thrill.) It was awesome to watch Mom hop in the station wagon or van, Dad would show up in the truck, and they would chase those horses back to the pasture. Often a farm guy would come along to help so they could block all of the exits and get them turned around. We would watch from as close as we were allowed to without getting in the way. The bull was more of a dare kind of thing. Which of the boys would go into the pasture with him? Or, who was going to get the cattle prod and chase him out of the cow pen when he would jump the fence?
The boys had bunk beds in their room and loved to pull the mattresses off and jump or roll off the top bunk onto them. Jumping off the roof was at least as fun. Anything and everything was a possible tool for fun. Including the time that we had been making political signs for Mom’s run for the school board. We cleaned up all the paint with gasoline and Dad told Bobby to take care of it. We had a barrel for burning garbage across the road by the ditch. Bobby dumped the gas on top of the garbage and told me to get back. I went to the middle of the road. He backed up as far as he could and tossed in a match. A tower of flame shot up. His face and hair were burned pretty good and I swear that’s why I’ve never had full eyebrows since. Mom actually had to take him to the doctor for the burns on his face and Dad had a chat with him about fire safety. It didn’t stick.
There were a few neighbor kids whose parents worked for the farm around. Jamie liked to play football with them, but that was sometimes too much running for Bobby’s asthma. He liked to play spies and would sometimes let me help him, if I was really quiet. There was a weird bush in the front yard (where that pistachio tree is now) that grew so that it was really shaggy and bushy, but hollow underneath. It was also pretty scratchy, but there was one spot where it grew up a little around the bottom and you could crawl under then you could almost sit up, once you were in the bush. We would climb under there and spy on the other kids, pretending they were criminals or some sort of bad guys.
Another game the boys would play in the front yard was (completely politically incorrect) Smear the Queer. This was usually a game to play when lots of friends were over. They usually played with a football and one person would throw the ball up into the air for everyone else to try to catch. You would think that nobody would want to catch it, but it showed how tough you were if you did. Who ever caught the ball was the queer and all the other kids would then try to tackle them before they crossed a random line. Once you crossed the line, you were safe and got to be the one to throw the ball up for the crowd. Kick the Can was a game that the girls could play too. Eventually, the boys even wanted the girls to play with them, cute neighbor girls and friends anyway.  Kick the Can was like hide and seek, but the hiders tried to sneak back out and kick over a can that stood in the middle of the yard. If the seeker found you you were out, but if you kicked the can you would win the round and be the new seeker.
We never ran out of things to do, even though I’m sure we told Mom that we were bored so often she wanted to strangle us. We rarely walked to the Gonzales’s to see them. We would go in the backyard and climb the side of the play house, over the roof of the Gonzales’s shed, down through a hole in the roof and out the door. If we weren’t going to look for someone to play with, we were going to beg a butter tortilla from Frances. She made the best tortillas in the world and she made them every Friday for her family for the week. She eventually told us we had to pay a dime each for them, it was essentially like we were eating all their bread for the week. We saved our dimes as much as we saved money for the ice cream man.
One time, I remember we were going to Legend City with the Davis’s. Bobby and Von, always the jokers, emptied out some mustard containers and filled them with yellow yarn. They scared us all to death that they were going to squirt us with mustard and out shoots yellow yarn. Mom and Dad were in the front of the station wagon and Br. and Sr. Davis were in the middle seat, all of us kids piled into the back with Bobby and Von squirting us with fake mustard the whole way. I remember the log ride, but I think the car ride was even more fun. I’m pretty sure Bobby got Jamie later with some real mustard after he’d faked him out so many times.
I followed Bobby all around the farm. He and Jamie would tell me all kinds of stories. There were peacocks that wandered around when we were young. They told me that the wings of a peacock were so strong, they could kill a man. This may have something to do with my bird phobia. We would hunt for and collect the peacock feathers all over the place. Bobby once offered the little kids $5 apiece if they could bring him a little feather off the top of a peacock’s head.
We would head over to the camp (the other side of Alma School rd. Our side was the park.) to play in the cotton piles. We were not supposed to play in the whole cotton, it messed up the long staple that our cotton was known for, but of course we did. We would make tunnels in the cotton trailers that were probably about 10x10x20ft. Once the seeds were removed, no one cared if we played in the piles of seed. It wasn’t as soft, but it was still fun. They did tell us to be sure that no one got trapped under piles or bales of cotton.
We also headed for the barn for some activities. The horses were for racing, not riding, so we just petted them. The haystack at the back of the barn was the perfect place to play pretend, though. It was about 15 feet high and jumping off of it was the ultimate proof of coolness. This was probably exactly where our parents intended us to go when Bobby got ahold of a brick of firecrackers. We didn’t want them to hear us setting them off, so he headed to the back of the barn. We are so lucky that we didn’t catch the whole thing on fire.
Behind the barn was a treasure trove of scariness. The chute for loading horses (or giving them shots, or whatever) had a pole across the top where a lady had hung herself, not really of course, but “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” There was a really old pontoon boat, haunted of course, and a haunted house, that once it was torn down, became the haunted foundation. Tractors were for climbing on and hoping that you could convince someone to take you for a ride. In the Fall, hay rides were the best. The boys would jump off the back of the trailer and “ski” behind it. Eventually, Bobby was the one driving the tractor.
Bobby always wanted spy sets or radios or something he could put together for his birthday or Christmas. When he didn’t have them, he’d find something else to take apart, just to see if he could put it back together again. He was so excited the year he got his telescope for Christmas. Of course, he was excited every Christmas. Every year, Mom would tell us that Christmas was going to be a little tight and not to get our hopes up too much for all of the things we wanted. Every year, one of the grandparents would slip Mom some extra money and we would at least get the big thing that we had asked for.
Every year, we would go to Grandma and Grandpa Bogle’s for Christmas Eve for chalupa and tamales. Grandma made the chalupa (with a little help usually) and she would buy tamales from one of the farm workers. We always got to open a present at her house, and it was usually pajamas to wear home. We always got one toy and pajamas from Grandma and Grandpa. We would play there with our cousins. Bobby was the oldest cousin and so he really preferred to play with Uncle Jacky (JC) or Dad’s cousin Bill.
On the way home, it felt like it was so late. We would search the skies for any sign of Santa Claus. Any airplane or helicopter was fair game. We were sure that we had seen Santa and that we had better hurry home and rush to bed so that he wouldn’t skip our house. We would all rush to bed and try to sleep, or not sleep, but listen for Santa. Bobby would usually wake up about 4:30 and come wake me up to go check out our stockings. He had tried to wake up Jamie first, but he was too tired. Jamie would hear us giggling and come out rubbing his eyes and asking if anything good was in our stockings. There was always a navel orange in the toe, some pecans or walnuts, chocolate, and some little toys or money. Our present from Santa was never wrapped, so we could obviously see it. Our stocking was usually next to it. We would dump them out, then refill them, so that Mom and Dad wouldn’t know what we’d done. We had to wait until at least 6:30 to wake them up. As they got older, it became 7, but I can’t remember a year that Bobby was at home that he didn’t wake up at 4:30. A couple more of the presents he loved were the raft that traveled the canal and a big Styrofoam remote control airplane.
We had chores too. Each of the kids had a night to clean the kitchen. That meant wash the dishes, including the pans, clean the counters, clean out the sink, and sweep the floor. Clean the kitchen meant clean the kitchen. Of course, we tried whatever we could to get out of it or put it off, but a dirty kitchen in the morning probably meant a swat with the belt. The boys had to keep their room and bathroom clean, but as they got older, their chores were more often outside. While I was inside whining about dusting or sweeping or mopping, they were out mowing the lawn or chopping weeds. Weeds had to be chopped from the garden, the yard, and the sides of the pastures across the street. Taking out the garbage was usually the boys’ job as well. One of our favorite (not) chores was milking the cow. She needed to be milked in the morning and at night and no one wanted the morning run before school. When she was in the pasture across the road, it was less of a deal, but then she was moved over to the barn. The boys would drive the station wagon over to the barn. Jamie decided he should teach me how to drive it too. I was about 8 and couldn’t reach the pedals, so he gave up.
Of course, during this time, the other kids were coming along. Elise in 1973, Merilee 1975, Emily 1977, Tom 1979, Chris 1982, Megan 1984, and Ty 1987.
I think about the time Bobby was 12, he got a job working on the cotton crew. This meant being out in the cotton field about the time the sun came up to chop weeds out of the cotton. Bobby would leave with Dad in the morning (during the summer). I think they usually got home a little after lunch and then showered and slept. Of course, whatever Bobby did, Jamie wanted to do too, so it wasn’t long before he was on the chopping crew as well. We were all taught to check the irrigation lines and restart any that had stopped. These were just curved, black plastic pipe that hung over the bank from the ditch to the field. With the right technique, they would draw the water from the ditch to the field. Probably around 14, Bobby started driving a tractor. He’d been driving a truck for a while, but the tractor was a big deal, plowed rows had to be straight, cotton that was being picked could not be wasted.
I’m honestly not sure what Bobby learned first, to drive a truck or a tractor, or to fly a plane. D-daddy had a cool flight simulator at the office that we loved to play with. The boys could drive the truck or car, as long as they avoided the paved roads. They sometimes had to run Dad out something that he’d forgotten, or a lunch if he couldn’t make it home. Dad had a phone in his truck long before normal people did. The first one actually looked like the old tan office phones. He was always out on the farm and it was helpful to be able to get ahold of him.
Bobby took his scout training very seriously. He learned to shoot, what knot to tie in what situation, how to survive in the wild, and he valued it all. I think he liked to watch the old show MacGyver and try to decide if he could have done the same things MacGyver did, or if he would have done them differently. We used to have a tether ball pole that was used to swing on when the tether ball went flat. The pole broke off near the base and just a little jagged bit stuck up from the ground. One day, when Mom and Dad were gone, I ran into it and cut my toe pretty badly. Bobby cleaned the wound, bandaged it up, elevated it (with about 8 pillows, I think) and when it still seemed to be bleeding, called Mom and Dad on the car phone. I think they were at the movies. The phone was set to honk the horn when it rang, and so they came out of the theater to a horn blaring across the parking lot. They rushed home, but Bobby had taken care of everything.
As Bobby got older, his adventurous spirit did not die, it expanded. He loved to emulate what he’d seen on tv. He may be the very reason for the phrase, “Do not try this at home.” Because he would. Dukes of Hazzard taught many great driving lessons and there were plenty of country roads to experiment on. The railroad tracks made the perfect ramp for jumping whether in town, or out. The 6-million Dollar Man jumped off many a building. Luckily, Chandler didn’t have many buildings that could cause too much damage. The guest house to the swimming pool at Grandma’s and the house to the trampoline worked as substitutes. I believe that fire ran a close second to the excitement of flying through the air.
Bobby was well ahead of me in school. I remember when the boys were going to John Hancock academy in Mesa, I was so sad and wanted to go to school too. It was 1974 and I was too young. Mom tried signing me up for preschool, but it wasn’t good enough. Eventually, she let me start kindergarten and I remember the song the boys would sing about the principal, to the tune of the Army song. “Over land, over sea, over Mr. Gaddy’s knee, there’s a wuppin a waitin for me. Might be red, might be blue, might be Mr. Gaddy’s shoe, there’s a wuppin a waitin for you.”
Soon we transferred to Erie school. Bobby was probably in 5th or 6th grade when I started. I remember they were just opening Willis Jr. High. Although we always rode the bus, I remember we used to be part of a car pool for seminary. We always wanted to go to Elmer’s for a rocket pop (the conical tri-color suckers). We would go downtown for the CHS homecoming parade, Maxwell Street days, eating at Serrano’s or Ortega’s, a 5 cent ice cream at Thrifty was a great treat. (That was even cheap for back then.) We loved to go to Dudding’s drug store, which we did a lot for Bobby’s meds, or anyone else’s. There were awesome gumball machines and a fortune telling scale. A night out to Bob’s Big Boy was pretty special. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TMI

Hmmm, wow, this is really personal. I'm not at all sure that I should be putting this out there. Of course, if you've known me for more than 20 years you may or may not already know the basics. Obviously it has taken me a while to get here. I kept telling myself that I just didn't feel like blogging. Seriously, I just didn't feel like blogging this. Also, I only have about a quarter page after this written. It really does get better from here. This is just the biggest molehill we had hit so far and I've struggled with writing the rest. Really, (spoiler alert) this is the climax and from here the falling action is just a bunch of lovey dovey, let's get married crap.

Well, apparently I'm willing to sacrifice dignity for...wait, what is this for? Fame, fortune, no. My "craft", perhaps. Attention, maybe, but as I cringe, I'm guessing that's not it in this case anyway. I guess I just don't care all that much about my dignity. If you could not mention to my husband that I've thrown him under the bus as well, that would be great. So, here goes...


We’d come full circle, back to New Year’s Eve, although this time I was pretty sure I would have a date. I just had no idea how that date would end.
The big dance was to be held at Fiesta Mall in Mesa. The church, the institute, someone… had rented Fiesta Mall in order to keep our precious young adults off the streets on NYE. Of course, they’d gone to the best to dj the dance and our buddy Dennis performed admirably as always. He was there with his adorable wife, Alisa. They had been pretty wrapped up in each other and hadn’t really been on the single scene anymore, so we hadn’t seen them for a while. When we went up to say hi, David and I were holding hands. Dennis was in shock. I honestly don’t know how this could have slipped past him, but he really was surprised that we were dating. I’ll leave that to him to explain.
We hung out with our friends, danced, and wandered the open areas of the mall. Finally, a year later, I got that midnight kiss from the one person with whom I had hoped to share it.
We had a lovely evening and played and had fun. We seemed to be getting closer to each other with each passing minute, which is probably why now suddenly seemed like the time to talk about our feelings.
Oh, feelings. Why do they always have to get in the way? In my mind, we were getting pretty serious. I did now possess a ring that had “I love you, David ‘90” inscribed in it. I thought there was no way I could have a secret from this guy. I decided now was the time to tell him that I had kissed his friend while he was away. It wasn’t really a big deal, after all to quote a famous dork, “We were on a break!” However, I didn’t want that guy to know something that David didn’t.
We got to my house after the dance and sat in the car “talking” for a while. I finally mustered up the courage to tell him. He was upset and I was upset and then we laughed about it and kissed and made up.
Then he told me that he had something he wanted to tell me as well. Deep Breath! Did I remember back when that girl came to visit from Alaska? Um, well yes, I did. It was only a few months ago. Well, apparently there was a little more to the story that didn’t really seem all that relevant at the time. Apparently he may have sort of underestimated the time that they spent kissing. He felt really bad about it and was so sorry, and I cried.
Now what was I supposed to do? I had just told him that I had kissed one of his best friends, but it was when we weren’t even really dating. But of course, we broke up pretty much every other week. But we weren’t broken up when he kissed this girl. What did this mean for our relationship? Top all this info exchange with the fact that it is somewhere dark thirty in the am on New Year’s Day. What drama!

I am about to press enter and put this onto the interwebs like a crazy person. Here goes... 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dental disaster

I read once (on another blog, whose writer was probably jealous of certain blogs that we all know and love) that "Mormon" blogs are so lame because they only show one side of life. They are always positive and never let the reader see that their lives are not perfect. (If you never read "Seriously, So Blessed" you should look and see if it's still up. I heard the writer stopped. It is a hilarious spoof on the Mormon blog)
I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm definitely far from perfect and don't try to appear so. However, I also think, who wants to listen to Debbie Downer all of the time? So I sometimes vent here and sometimes not.
Today was more frustrating than life.
A little history, when we moved to So Pho, we continued to go to our family dentist that we had for years. Things were fine. After moving to Chandler, we decided that Phoenix was a little far to drive to go to the dentist, especially considering the plethora of dentists here.
There is an awesome dentist in our ward. If anyone needs a dentist, go see Marshall Hanson at Fountains Family Dental. He rocks! David went to Dr. Hanson and had fabulous work done to repair some old dental work. He bought their firm insurance and paid about the same that our insurance would have required. It was a big job.
Anyway, I took the girls to Dr. Hanson. They love him just like everyone else does. He is very gentle and kind. Unfortunately, the insurance didn't make nearly the same dent in the cost of Lauren's 6 cavities and Emma's sealant that she needs. So, we had to find someone different.
I searched the listings on the insurance website. The few reviews that I could find for dentists on the list were not good. Most, I couldn't find anything about. The several dentists that I know where not on the list. Frustration! Finally, I found a pediatric dentist that had good reviews and called them to set up an appointment. During the phone call the receptionist pointed out that since they specialized, instead of the insurance paying 80%, they would pay 20%. This wouldn't work for me.
I started looking again. I finally found a dentist that I hadn't noticed before, right down the street. I made the appt. We waited 2 weeks for Lauren to get home from Utah.
This morning we got up and went to the dentist. I sat filling out sheet after sheet of paper work. I talked to the receptionist about the insurance that we have. We had discussed it on the phone. SRP uses Delta and EDS. We have EDS. I'm not sure how this became confusing. Lauren is now in the chair, getting xrays and finding out that in the past 3 months, even more cavities have developed.
The receptionist calls EDS and while they are partners with the parent company, this dentist is not in their network. Somehow, I managed to get their address and phone number from my insurance web site, but they will not pay for the dental work. I pay for the work they have done so far on Lauren, but she still has a mouth full of cavities, Emma still doesn't have sealants, and I still have to go home and find ANOTHER different dentist for them to go to, all in the 2 weeks before school starts. I really wanted to punch someone in the face!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What does it all mean?

So, I'm back from Utah. Except that I've actually been back for over a week. Instead of staying up in Koosharem for the 4th, we thought that my mom had a heart attack and came home on the 26th. So we've been spending time with the rest of the family that came to town and fighting with Mom to not overdo, when she is a classic overdoer.

Well, I think I will post the next installment of the David saga.


In my family, we have always gotten together with the extended Bogle family on Christmas Eve and then had a quieter Christmas at home and visiting my Pickering grandparents. After Grandpa Pickering died, Grandma would usually come to our house, or even sometimes come to dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Bogle’s. This was a big to-do. All of the cousins that lived in town and often the ones who didn’t would gather for a traditional Mexican dinner of tamales and chalupa. I’m not exactly sure where our chalupa comes from, but it is heaven. Start with a base of corn tortilla chips, top with the chalupa (pork, pinto beans, and green chili) and all the fixings, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa, sour cream. Later in the evening, Grandma would bust out the ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. Every year, without fail, this was Christmas Eve dinner. This year, I had let my Grandma know that I would have a guest coming with me. Oh My Gosh! (To paraphrase The Fantastic Mr. Fox, It’s kind of a big deal, so don’t just say okay.) This was David meeting my entire family. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding except in a parallel universe where everyone is kind of midwesternish and less dancy.
Now would probably be the time to mention the missing member of my family. My older brother, the one who had teased me and tormented me and overprotected me from other boys, was in the army, stationed in Germany. We were in a constant state of waiting to hear if he was deployed to fight against Saddam Hussein. His wife and daughter were with him, probably wondering a lot more than we were. At least I didn’t have to worry about anyone commenting on the size of my plate in relation to the size of other things.
In my opinion, the evening at Grandma and Grandpa’s went well. We had the traditional tearing into the presents from relatives. Grandma wrapped up a bag full of pistachios for David. He seemed appreciative. I’m sure my Grandma wondered about that too, what to gift this boy who really hadn’t been defined as yet. Of course, I knew that we grew pistachios and we had the same giant box full in our cupboard at home that my grandparents did. But hey, she did wrap it up in a gift bag.
Afterwards, we got to the big show. David and I went out on our own. I gave him his beautiful box (that I had pain-stakingly rewrapped). And he gave me a bag. I pulled out a big white teddy bear. Kind of typical. Kind of boring. Kind of wearing a ring.
No, not that kind of ring! But a ring none the less.
It was a gold band, a pinky ring, with “♥ I love you, David ‘90” engraved inside. Well, let the wondering begin! What did this mean? Or did it mean anything? It was definitely time to talk.
We’d come full circle, back to New Year’s Eve, although this time I was pretty sure I would have a date. I just had no idea how that date would end. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Holidays are fun!

Well, we're headed off to Utah for a while so this is the last installment for about 10 days or 2 weeks, whichever comes first.


So, about a week later, we’re at his sister Karen’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Everything was going swimmingly, ya, that’s a good word, swimmingly. His family was all very nice. Of course, I’d already met his Mom and Dad spending time at their house. (Actually meeting them for the first time has dissolved from my memory.) Now I got to meet his older sister and her 6 kids. She had just had a baby about a week and a half before, and was now hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her house. Ya, that’s not intimidating. David’s other sister was in rehab at the time.

I held the baby and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner. New for me, to have stuffing with nuts in it and things just slightly skewed from the traditional dinner I was used to and had never experienced with another family before. The little kids ran all over the house. This part was my element, having 7 younger siblings myself. It was all very family and holiday. David was sweet and I was happy.

Now, you can see that our holiday history was sort of hit and miss and of course we had the biggie right around the corner. “Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat.” My dad loved to sing this little ditty and remind me of the way I would sing it as a little girl. “Tristmas is toming, the doose is detting fat.”  This year, I stressed about what to do with this semi-permanent boyfriend. I thought things were getting more serious, but I had thought that before. What do you get for the person you want to spend every minute for time and all eternity with? And what is he going to read into it? And what will he get me? (Not that he has to get me anything.) And what will it mean? I finally decided to get David a nice, brand-name sweatshirt. I put everything I felt about our relationship into the packaging. I picked out a nice, masculine, striped wrapping paper. I gently wrapped tissue around the article inside the crisp, square box. I lined up the stripes so that they matched perfectly, wrapped ribbon around, and attached a large bow. It was perfect.

One day, I came home from work at the local radio shack to find my beautiful present destroyed. The story was that my little brother had unwrapped the present because it was so pretty. (He was about 8. Something was fishy and I didn’t really buy it, but the parallels with my relationship were pretty eerie. I just hoped that this was not foreshadowing. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oh we just love the drama!

So, life went on with David and me going to movies, dancing, hanging out with friends, etc. And by etc, I mean there was some kissing going on. We were a little old fashioned. Exclusive dating meant that a kiss goodnight was once again a part of the plan. We were actually pretty good at this part and thought that practice would make us even better. We were right. We would practice at his house, my house, in his driveway, my driveway, but perhaps my favorite was the stop light kiss. The implication, of course, was that we couldn’t stand to not kiss, even long enough to drive down the street. David was actually quite good at knowing how long a stop light would last. We only got honked at once or twice.
As the holidays approached, David told me that a friend of his from his mission in Alaska was coming to visit. He would need to spend a little time with her, yes, her.
Long Pause.
I could be an understanding girlfriend. After all, we were in a loving, somewhat committed relationship, right? I was the one invited to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family at his sister’s house. I really, really tried to think positive thoughts, and not so much about the rocky past of our relationship. Unfortunately, the brain will have thoughts that the mind does not want to have.
On the Friday night that David was supposed to spend with “Alaska girl”, (shouldn’t there be a rule against the Friday night friend visit?) I ended up staying home. (Somehow, asking why we couldn’t all just hang out together never crossed my mind.) Later, that evening, a little before 10 o’clock, David called to tell me that he’d taken her home, and asked if he could come over. Silly, na├»ve me, took this for a good sign, my sweet boyfriend wanted to hang out with me and had taken this intruder home early.
Of course, I agreed that David should come over and when he arrived, we went for a walk outside. I lived in a little agricultural enclave where tamarisk and eucalyptus trees grew at least 80 feet tall and the old redneck joke about turning off the paved road definitely applied. It was a perfect place for a moonlit walk.
We held hands and walked and talked. David seemed a little nervous, but I didn’t really think too much about it. After some small talk, he turned to me very seriously and told me that he needed to tell me something.
I can’t really remember the conversation, I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked it from my memory. The gist was that “Alaska girl” had kissed him and he hadn’t really tried to stop her very quickly. I couldn’t decide if this was dubious or devastating. Did I believe that this stranger had gone in for the kiss? Was the fact that he had fallen for it a deal-breaker? Should it matter that he had felt the need to come right over to confess? Somewhere in the back of my head I remembered that I had kissed someone that David didn’t know about either. Would that make it easier to forgive him? Did that even count, seeing as how we were “on a break”? Was forgiving him what he was looking for? Would the heart-pounding, heart-stopping contradiction of emotions ever calm?
Evidently, forgiveness was what he was looking for because he was apologizing profusely. I’m pretty sure that I cried, although like I said, it’s all pretty hazy. I’m pretty sure he cried too, because he’s good like that. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I heart the Ice Cream Nazi

So on the way back from camp, with Megan, Lauren, Emma, and Matti in the car, we decided to stop for a little bit in Pine. The Strawberry festival was going on and we couldn't resist. We were all in pajama pants, hadn't showered, probably didn't smell very good, and didn't really care.

The girls headed off to see what they could see while Meg and I spent a few minutes drooling over the cutco knives. They returned after a few minutes searching for kettle corn money.

We headed off to see what else was around, specifically a bathroom, as we'd been using port-a-johns for the last 4 days.

We happened upon a place called "Tornado Fries".

This is pretty much what it looked like. It reminded me of one of my favorite fair foods ever (which Elise knows the true name of) that are best doused with malt vinegar and salt. Well, they didn't have vinegar, but they had a wide variety of flavored salts, including vinegar flavored. While I rushed off to find a restroom, the girls decided to make it a sampler with a variety of the different salts. Later, I tried it and was underwhelmed. The potatoes were thicker and softer than I was expecting, which was more the original curly chips, like this:

butterfly fries, picture by ljc@flickr

So the girls are eating the lame-o tornado potato and we head down to the infamous delicious homemade ice cream shop. We pause to read the myriad of signs on the door, including one that says something to the effect of, No sodas, not even cans, we sell soda here. Ok, none of us has a drink, so I figure, we're good, and we head inside. The girl behind the counter immediately starts asking Lauren about the potato on a stick. "Where did you get it?" "That's so cool." "Is it good?"

Then the little old lady comes out from the back room. She pats Lauren on the shoulder and says, "Honey, I'm gonna give you a tip. You don't take food from one establishment into another. Just a little tip for you."
I'm thinking, "There is a festival going on outside your door. You do not sell fries, potatoes, or anything other than ice cream and desserts. I'm buying ice cream for everyone in my group. How does this potato affect you?" I didn't think it was quite like having my kid bring her happy meal into dinner at McCormick & Schmick. But, I bit my tongue.

Then the people next to us were discussing buying ice cream for their grandson, who couldn't eat the cone. They said, "We'd like one scoop of strawberry in a bowl, please." She replied, "Do you want to get the child's cone? It's smaller and cheaper." They responded, "Well, he can't eat the cone, but..." Ice Cream Nazi interjects, "That wasn't the question."

I'm thinking, Well, it kind of was the question. If you're gonna get all up in their face, be more specific with your line of questioning.
Strawberry ice cream cone…yum!
photo-Terry Richardson's Diary

So, I still got strawberry ice cream and it was good. Everyone else seemed to enjoy theirs as well, but I'm wondering if it was worth the degradation.

I need to look and see if that shop from (wait for it, Megan) Mystic, Connecticut takes online orders.