Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Family Blog

I am the editor and chief of my Olsen family newsletter. I thought I'd get around to doing a newsletter once a month, but getting family information was like pulling teeth and I'm not a dentist.

So I decided to start a family blog and my dad's name wasn't taken. So if you're interested in family junk and my family has a lot of junk, especially me. My junk is by far the worst. Check it out at Paul Olsen Family Blog.

I'm leaving Thursday, October 23, 2008 for Northern Utah. It's my dad's 90th birthday celebration. Although he turned 90 last Sunday, October 19, 2008, the rest of the family is having a get together this Saturday at my brother Scott's chapel in Brigham City. It's the only place big enough for my family.

I'm the only one of my dad's children that lives outside the state of Utah so my husband Tim and I are the only one's who have to travel for two days to get to Brigham City, Utah.

I'm the one trying to look out from behind my brother Scott.

Just to let you know the extent of my family. I have four older brothers. Scott, Reed, Dale and David. Between the four of them there are 34 grandchildren. I only have one son, Mike, (see previous post).

At last count, those grandchildren have had over 75 great-grandchildren and numerous great-greatgrandchildren. My family takes very seriously the commanded to "multiply and replenish the earth". I figured one times one is still one. That's why we only have one child. (Right!)

So hopefully it won't snow and mess up my weekend. I don't do snow!

We make as the usual stops along the road to Brigham--new kind of Mexican restaurant in St. George; the Famous Cheese Factory in Beaver (for curds); The Church's distribution center on 17th South in Salt Lake for church stuff; and great buffet in Salt Lake City, if we're lucky.)

We're going to attempt to go to the Logan Temple. It's for research for my second book as well as wanting to see inside. That's where my parents, my maternal grandparents and my fraternal grandparents were married. Then we slip by another cheese Factory on 10th North in Logan for all kinds of dairy delights. And I can't forget to purchase my year's supply of Brigham City's famous candy on the way out of town. I'm on a diet now and have to ration my chocolate supply until our next trip to Utah. Do you think that just one year, just one trip I could go to Italy or China or someplace equally as thrilling? Probably not! My life and my love and my family are in Utah, so that's where we go. For sympathy, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mormon Mommy Blog (my version)

I'm always impressed and a little saddened to view the proud Mormon Mommy blogs that are out there. Impressed, because these wonderful women are raising exceptional children and have the right to boast about their offspring. Saddened, because I missed out on having a Mommy blog. So here’s my attempt.

Tim and I married in July of 1982. (That’s a long time ago for you who are counting.) On our honeymoon, we went back to my mission area in Kansas and Nebraska. We also went on a wild goose chase to Texas pursuing a dream career for Tim, but that’s a subject for another blog post. (A really long and terse blog post!)

In November of 1982, I got pregnant with my only child, a son. I have to tell you that I was never so sick in all my life before or since. I think I used to pray to die it was so bad. I didn’t just have morning sickness, I had morning, mid-morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon, later afternoon, early evening, evening and nighttime sickness. The doctor was afraid I’d dehydrate or blow a gasket or something equally as vile. I managed to break all the blood vessels in my eyes and sprain a few ribs. Fun, don’t you think?

I’m not sure when the sickness ended, but in April of 1983, Tim decided he wanted to work for the church. The church was interested and flew him to Salt Lake for an interview which turned out great. We packed up all our belongings and had my brother Dale haul us to Salt Lake and we found a basement apartment on 6th East and 6th South. We stayed there until the landlady made it impossible for us to live civilly as neighbors. (Tim never got the job with the Church.)

We had to pack up and move in two days. I was eight months pregnant. The forced move caused my blood pressure to soar out of control. Suddenly we were in a new town, (Logan, Utah) I had a new doctor and going to give birth at a new hospital—all in one miserable day. Not the best of welcome's. We arrived in Logan on Friday afternoon, ate a chili dog and drank A&W rootbeer and then shuffled off to the Logan Regional Hospital where the doctor on call, (my doctor went out of town), induced labor.

I labored all Friday night, all day Saturday, (thank goodness for National League Baseball), and into the night on Saturday. The obstetrician on call decided to go horseback riding and forgot all about me. He finally strolled in about ten p.m. and found both me and my baby in distress. Without so much as a sorry excuse, I was hurled into the operating room, freezing cold, hooked up to tubes and wires and scared out of my mind. Because it was an emergency C-Section, Tim couldn’t be with me. There was no time for easing me into sleep, they just poked and prodded and forced that awful mask over my mouth and said “good night Gracie.”

Much later, when someone slapped me and told me to wake up, that I had a beautiful baby boy, I wanted to slap the person back. You see, I was expecting a girl. My doctor in California promised me a girl. I’d prepared sweaters, booties, and baby clothes for a girl. However, when Tim came to see me in recovery, he insisted I had a boy—not a girl. I was still too groggy from the anesthesia to argue with him. I couldn’t verify that interesting little tidbit because they didn’t bring him too me for several hours after delivery.

But when I finally saw my little boy, my heart was lost. I knew immediately the name we had chosen for him was wrong. He wasn’t a James Paul (after both our fathers), he was a Michael and I knew that without question. There was something about that little cherub face that spoke of Arch-angels.

From Logan we moved to Brigham City, Utah and then back to California. My son grew and matured. He was the delight of my life. I wish I could say I was the delight of his. I was tired. I guess that’s the best way to say it. Now that I look back now, I gain an enormous amount of weight after Mike’s birth and that added to the heavy burden that I felt. Thank goodness I had Mike to help me find a great happiness even though I felt like a miserable louse inside.

We moved frequently, but he never complained. I often thought how horrible it was that he would never be able to say that this or that home was his childhood home or the town where he was from. He did well in California. We took him to the beach for the first time. He loved it, especially the taste of sand. I never thought he’d put it in his mouth. But it made a great picture.

He also learned to walk while we lived in Claremont, California. He loved his friends and I babysat a couple of children that he adored.

Mike developed his love of computers at a young age. He was barely eleven months old when his father left out first computer down on the coffee table. Mike knew he wasn’t supposed to touch it, and from the grin on his face, he knew better, but the temptation was too great. From that single finger poke came his unconditional love of computers. Mike still works with computers doing help desk work at a company here in Camarillo.

Though he’s grown now, just turned twenty five years old and finally moved out of the house, he’s still the joy of my life. It’s not always been a smooth path Mike has chosen, and my heart has been dragged through the street a time or two, but he’s grown into a kind and loving individual, one I’m very proud of. So maybe I do have a legitimate right to brag about my baby boy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wait, what, I need therapy? What are you nuts!

This was my very reaction when my acupuncturist, Tim (pictured below to the left) told me he thought I had issues with money. I told him you have to have money to have issues with it. He laughed and said that was his point, I had a bad attitude about money, or the lack thereof, and needed to talk to someone about it. I think the only thing that really bothers me about me is that when I have to pay for something and I know very well that I don’t have the money for it, I come unglued, cry a lot and basically plunge into a serious depression. That’s not crazy, right?

So I thought I’d humor Tim (not my Tim) and take his free counseling session that he offered me. It was an offer from a new counselor in the Camarillo area. It was free (another money issue) so I went.

He has an amazing office. A lavishly tiled floor, expensive elegant furniture, the kind of place to inspire relaxation, I suppose. After waiting for a moment while he conferred with his office person, I was shown back into one of his “therapy” rooms. I fully expected to see a psychiatrists couch, but was disappointed when he took a overstuffed chair in the corner and I sat on what I thought was a velvet sattee.

My emotions were near the surface and threatening to boil over when he began to talk to me. He first asked me while I was seeing Tim, (not my Tim). I told him I was having difficulty with the sciatic region in my back and it was causing me considerable pain in my feet and back. The next thing out of his mouth shouldn’t have surprised me, or come as a shock. See I’ve been a big girl, (if you’ve read any of my posts up to this point you’ll know this), so I shouldn’t have had a melt down when he asked me if I’d ever considered losing weight. Come on. What would you do or say? Suppose you just dropped ninety pounds in a year and were still working like a dog to get the rest of it off? Maybe I have issues with my weight as well.

Anyway, after that comment I had a hard time listening to anymore of his counsel. I was already incensed. However, when I stopped to think about it, I really should have cut the guy some slack; after all he didn’t know me from Eve. He had no idea I’d already dropped ninety pounds. He just saw that I was huge and thought he'd offer constructive criticism. But I was already too irritated to listen.

The man has some great ideas for getting rid of stress through meditation, refocusing our minds and energies and learning techniques for self-affirmation. He’s written ten books and is working on another. He does belief in prayer as a way to overcome depression and stress and works with religious and educational organizations. However, he didn’t give me a cure for my money issues. I have come to the conclusion that we’re all a little crazy. How else do we survive a world full of craziness and insanity?

When I came home and told Tim (my Tim) about my session with the counselor, he was sympathetic to my plight, but had his own spin on my phobia. He told me it’s not so much a matter of money or the lack thereof; it’s a matter of security. I just don’t feel secure. Tell me who feels totally secure in today’s world, well except for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

Anyway, I like to give you just a few examples of my basic insanity:

I’m crazy about the church and my Lord, Jesus Christ (well not so much crazy as zealous!)
I’m crazy about my husband Tim.
I’m crazy about my son Mike.
I’m crazy about my 90 year old dad and my extended family
I’m crazy for the Twilight series of books, thus that makes me crazy for the new Twilight movie to open 11/21/08
You might also add that I’m suffering OCD (That’s Obsessive Cullen Disorder for all you Twilight Fans)
I’m crazy about anything chocolate (a chocolate coated bumper might taste yummy!)
I’m crazy for Dodger Baseball (If they don’t beat the Phillies I’ll really go insane!)
I’m crazy about rock n roll

I also have fears and phobias:
I fear my own death and that of loved ones (it's just scary)
I fear the loss of security or jobs
I fear liberals (only the screaming kind)
I fear having health problems, surgeries
I fear I’m going to miss an episode of “Dancing with the Stars
I fear I’m going to have to wait in a long line at the opening of “Twilight”

I also have obsessions:
I’m obsessed with perfection, though my home, my clothing or my life would not reflect that perfection
I’m obsessed with Twilight
I’m obsessed with getting my hands on as many books as possible
I'm obsessed with losing weight and feeling better
And I'm obsessed with anything chocolate (a chocolate covered bumper just might be tasty)

Okay, okay, I’ve got problems. So does everyone. Is there really a “normal” standard that people are supposed to measure up to? Well I can’t see it. We all have our fears, phobias, obsessions, craziness and insanities. Isn’t that what we do every day? We do the same thing over and over and over again and expect different results. For example: we get up, get dressed, eat, and go to work (school), come home, eat, sleep and repeat. I personally believe like Bon Jovi did when he sang his song, “Everybody’s Broken. See if you don’t agree.

Step into the deep end
Make yourself at home
When you wonder why you're breathing
Know you're not alone
It's so hard to believe
It's easier to doubt
You're trying to hold in
But you’re dying to scream out.

It's okay to be a little broken
Everybody's broken, in this life
Its okay, to feel a little broken
Everybody's broken, you’re alright
It's alright, it's just life.

Take a look around
Tell me what you see
Is who you think you are
Who you want to be.

So it’s ok to be a little broken

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Twilight--The Real Happy Ending

WARNING: If you have an aversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint theology, please DON'T READ THIS!!!

"Breaking (The Morning of the First Resurrection) Dawn"

I have a totally ingenious (Latter-day Saint version) squeal for "Breaking Dawn". I thought it up all my myself. I should be knighted or something equally as grand, because this idea is so heavenly, so divine. I'll bet no one else could come up with an alternative ending to Twilight that is so perfect.

Anyway, enough self-gratification. Let me set the stage. First of all, Bella and Edward get married, we all know that. They have Reneesme, (silly name), she grows up, (in 7 years), marries Jacob (ew, sick), they start on their happily ever after. Well they can only go so far in their version of "happily ever after', right? Vampire, werewolves--no matter how long their live in "their" version of immortality, even they cannot survive a world that is destroyed in some cataclysmic explosion of Biblical proportions, right?

Well that's where my next best seller comes in. You see Forks, WA sits inside the boundaries of the Washington Tacoma Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I could see the missionaries assigned to Port Angeles becoming very curious about the folks in the small town of Forks. I could almost picture their mission president sending his most tenacious missionaries to the area. You know the type, the Elder Kessler and his companion, (I can't remember his name from the Mormon show "Saturday's Warrior"), a real set of bulldog missionaries. These are the never-say-die kind of missionaries that won't take no or a door slamming on their double souled Bone Sierra Lace-up shoes for an answer. Like I said, bulldogs!

I can picture them now, trudging down that long road out of town toward the Cullen's cut off, eager, anticipating finding that "Golden" family. (Because they haven't had one baptism in eighteen months of hard labor.)

They aren't detoured by the long, three mile winding, fern over grown lane that is obviously impossible to find unless you were a vampire and this was home. But our senior Elder, let's call him Elder Moss. (That seemed appropriate for the location.) And his companion is Elder Green, (funny, right?).

Anyway, they're trudging through the squishy emerald green vegetation, being led by the spirit. They haven't seen another house for a very long time and Elder Green starts to get cranky. Well more like--scared to death. The dark grey clouds are low, threatening like giant bloated water balloons, so not only will they be stuck out in the un-godly green hell, they'll be drench as well. But Elder Moss is undaunted. He can smell the prize. Well he can smell something--and it's sweet!

After a long deathly quiet trip, they break through the ferns and into the meadow, or the large lawn in front of the Cullen's mansion. Stunned into silence, Elder Green can only gawk, his face pale, his lips red from biting them. But Elder Moss moves forward to the porch. There are lights on in the home and he knows people (funny again) are inside, so he's going to knock until someone opens the door. Elder Green is really that, by now he's physically green. He has a bad feeling, a terrible deep down, hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck, fear. He winces and trails reluctantly after his companion. What the heck, you only live once.

Anyway, just as Elder Moss prepares to knock, the door bursts open and Emmett Cullen fills the doorway looking like he just found lunch, a delicious beef steak and a juicy pork chop. He licks his lips and Elder Moss nearly swallows his tongue. However Elder Moss finds his voice and prepares to give his door approach. At the same time, Emmett is ready to roll on the ground with laughter from the look on the Elder's faces.

"Hi, sir. My name is Elder Moss and this is my companion..." Elder Green is inching his way nervously off the porch and has one foot on the top stair. "Elder?" Elder Moss's eyes are wide with fright.

Elder Green freezes. Elder Moss turns apologetically around to face Emmett. "Sorry, he's a bit shy." He smiles as Emmett who looks back over his shoulder and laughs. "Anyway sir, my companion and I are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we've come to your home to deliver a vital message for your salvation."

Now Emmett roars with laughter, almost doubles over with glee. You know what he's thinking. Remember the whole "lost" soul thing that freaked Edward out. Well Emmett's not buying it. And by the time he's through laughing, he's not alone at the door. Jasper has come to stand behind him and Rosalie at his side, Alice under his arm. Elder Moss sees Rosalie and forgets his name, where he came from and why he's standing at the door.

"Elder?" Emmett grins. By now Elder Green has returned to Elder Moss's side and their eyes are glued to Rosalie's face. Emmett's booming laughter rings through the rafters, but he grabs their arms and jerks them inside. "Welcome, boys. Won't you join us for dinner?"

Well I won't bother you with the "gory" details, but suffice it to say, the Elders are very persuasive. The entire family listens to their lesson including Edward and the new and improved Bella. Jacob and Nessie are there, so are Leah and Seth and Charley and Sue. The spirit of the Lord permeates the home filling them the answers they've been seeking their very, very, very long lives.

Anyway, cutting to the chase, they all get baptized, even the Indians at La Push who are delighted to read the Book of Mormon that tells about their "real" ancestors and everyone's happy.

They explain to Edward that it's not the heart that gives the body animation, it's the spirit. And the spirit and the body are the soul of a person. Edward is convinced that his soul is saved and he believes the Lord will forgive him for his indiscretions while he fought his nature. (Of course, we can't know that, but it makes a great story, right?)

Epolog: A general authority visits a stake conference in Tacoma and learns of the major baptism of Elder Moss and Green and he wants to meet the La Push families and the Cullen families. During their interview, this man gives them a blessing and they're freed from their dark night of torture. They all become human. Rosalie is ecstatic, Bella's mad and Jacob and Nessy are thrilled.

So here's the deal. It's the last scene in the Seattle temple. Everyone, well almost everyone from Forks is there. Carlisle and Esme are sealed, Emmett and Rosalie are sealed, Alice and Jasper, Edward and Bella, Jacob and Reneesme and Charlie and Sue are sealed. Then Reneesme is sealed to Edward and Bella, and Edward, Rosalie, Emmett, Jasper and Alice are sealed to Carlisle and Esme. Now there's not a dry eye in the temple--now that they can cry again. Elders Moss and Green are feeling like heroes of a Biblical epic.

Can't you just see that happening. Wow! What would be better than real immortality and Eternal Life. Could there be a better ending than that? I don't think so.

(Leave your kudos for my brilliant new novel in the comment area. Thanks.)