Friday, July 29, 2011

Intelligence Quotient Versus Habitually Dull

I fully admit that I'm not the brightest bulb on the planet.  While I may not be 300 watts, I'm certainly more than 60 watts.  I'm not a college graduate--by circumstance--not by choice.  I do have a certificate from a great business college which will have to do.

I admit to being more than a little self-conscious about my lack of education and "wattage" because of some of the circles I've traveled in my lifetime.  Having said that, it was ingrained in me from birth, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Internet Explorer works for me.  It's not broken.  I have no desire to fix what isn't broken.  I don't have gadgets like Blackberries, ipads, and whatchamacallits.  I don't own a cell phone, nor do I want one.  I admit that I didn't replace my old DOS computer until nobody knew how to fix it anymore (not that long ago).  I buy technology (as well as cars, clothes, shoes, and everything else I own) with the intention of using it until it dies.  I use computer programs until they stop working for what I need them to do.

Last night, someone was taking a social media poll about what Internet connection (I guess that's the right terminology) that people were using.  This person never told us why he was taking the poll.  I responded that I use Internet Explorer.  I'm sure he got a good belly laugh from that one.  He obviously already knew what I did not hear until today.  Apparently, according to some "study," Internet Explorer users are supposed to have very low intelligence.  Thanks, ever so much, sir, for making me look like a total jerk!

I've been quite annoyed all day (partly because I'm suffering from an ear infection, and partly because of the admitted self-consciousness about not being a college graduate, or a 300 watt bulb).  After a doctor's appointment (and drugs), I'm finally beginning to see the humor in this.  I'm also wondering which one of Internet Explorer's competitors paid for that study.  I've also considered that I really do have a lifetime of habitual, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," attitudes, so I think I'm okay with it for now--or maybe it's the drugs kicking in.

If there is a way to make me feel stupid, someone out there will find it.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guest Post: Dad's VW Bug

Picture from HERE
 We didn't have a sun roof, nor the luggage rack.  The first VW was
black, not green.  The second one we had was green, and my
brother, Rick, in later years built a huge box for the top to store
scuba diving equipment and first aide supplies.
Today I have a special guest post, by my older sister, Cheri (Janes) Scott.  My blog is full of references to my eccentric father.  I'm sure my readers think I make up this stuff--but you can't make this stuff up.  I feel very validated after reading Cheri's story.

About 1962, our father decided it was time to replace our 1949 Pontiac.  We were all thrilled because Dad bought this swoop-backed Pontiac right after the war, and right before the car companies came out with huge fenders and big grills.   It had been an embarrassing stigma upon the children of the family for some time because we lived in a neighborhood where people bought new cars every couple of years.  At any rate, Dad looked around and Volkswagen Bugs were just becoming popular.  The fact that Dad had a wife and four kids and this would be our only car, was not a deterrent to buying such a small vehicle because he was also cheap and could see the gas savings mounting into a giant savings account.

Dad was thrilled with his (almost new) car.  Of course he and Mom sat in the front seats, and Rick (age 13) and I (aged 15) rode in the backseat.  One of us had to hold Colleen who was two.  Now just because all the seats were filled, or double-filled didn't phase our father.  The motor is under the back hood of a VW so there is a small compartment in the back for groceries etc.  He put a pillow back there, and that is where eight year old Laurie was to ride   Luckily, she was so tiny she fit, or he may have just tied her on the roof!

We quickly began to notice that there was a camaraderie among VW owners because it was such a new thing.  When you'd pass another VW Bug, everyone would honk and wave.  Dad also began noticing that about this time men started wearing Bermuda shorts.  He was making fun of the old guys with hairy legs and knobby knees until he noticed a lot of VW owners were wearing Bermudas.  Not to be outdone, Dad had to have Bermuda shorts.  Of course at this point, you have to go back to the point that he was cheap.  I will also have to add, more than a little, eccentric.  He decided he needed German style Bermuda shorts with suspenders to go with his German car.  He had Mom cut off a pair of old brown suit pants, and make him suspenders from the cut off legs.  That wasn't decorative enough, so he told Mom he needed fancy trim like the German shorts had.  By this time, I'm sure Mom had had enough of him.  With her get-even, sick-sense of humor, she sewed little felt flowers all around the bottom of the legs, and all over the suspenders.  She found him a jaunty cap and attached a feather.  He looked like a goof-ball!  It didn't bother him a bit.  He made us all get in the car and we headed for a family reunion.  I remember tenderly thinking back to the old Pontiac and  wishing we had it back!


Note from LaurieBee:  I remember very well sitting in the "cubby hole."  Nana Janes gave me a red plaid blanket to put back there.  Please note this was long before seat belt laws and horrendous traffic.  I didn't remember the Bermuda shorts -- but this is VERY typical of Dad and Mom.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snow Flowers and Dice

An acquaintance on Google+ this morning mentioned that he was taking his five-year-old on a business trip today.  Shivers of good memories came over me.

I grew up in Reno, Nevada, which is about 60 or 70 miles south of Susanville, California.  Dad planned a business trip to Susanville.  He was selling life insurance to the prison guards at the prison in Susanville.  Dad decided to take me along on the trip.  It was a gorgeous trip up to Susanville.  Snow still lingered on the ground, while sunshine parted the leaves on the trees then rested as tiny sparkles on the snow.

The new camera I'd saved more than a year to purchase was ready to break in.  Dad pulled alongside the road, showed me a bright red snow flower blooming smack dab in the middle of a snowbank.  I took a picture of it, and somewhere I'm sure that picture still exists.

The prison guards were very sweet to me, and one of them gave me a pair of dice that had been confiscated from a prisoner.  I saved those for many years, but I think they finally made their way into a kid's board game that was missing dice.

I don't know why Dad decided to take me on that trip, but I'm so grateful for those memories.  To a child, there's nothing in the world like having a special day with a parent -- just one on one.

Friday, July 22, 2011

17 Miracles Review

This isn't my usual post.  I've just been to see the movie 17 Miracles, which is the true story of the Willie and Martin handcart companies.  There is nothing closer to my heart than the history of the handcart pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My third great grandmother, Ingeborg Mortensen Jensen was a handcart pioneer.  Although she was not in the Willie or Martin handcart companies, she endured many trials.  (Please note that the link to Ingeborg shows a picture of the old metal grave marker.  A couple of years ago, my family put together "the Ingeborg fund," and placed a proper grave stone -- including the words "handcart pioneer" with her name and the proper dates.  I have sent a message to the owner of the website with that information.)

I found this movie compelling as a descendant of pioneer stock, but there are other reasons to see this movie.  It is a story of the human spirit.  It tells the story of those great immigrant Americans who paved the way for us today.  We are reminded of what we can be, if we hold fast to truth and righteousness.

If you have not yet seen 17 Miracles, I would highly recommend that you do -- whether you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) or not.  Take a box of tissue with you.

Gift of Humor

Today I laughed at something that a friend posted on Facebook.  Most of the country is in the throws of an awful heat wave.  The picture that was posted was a sign that said, "Satan called.  He wants his weather back."  I responded that someone had not lost his/her sense of humor.  My friend said that she personally believes a sense of humor is "essential survival equipment."

That reminded me of my Dad.  Dad never had much in the way of material things.  Financial debt from serving in World War II and the Korean Conflict, mixed with raising four children on salesman's commissions, never afforded him luxury items of any kind.  He always saw to it that we had food on the table and clothes on our backs.  While we didn't have luxury items, we never thought of ourselves as poor.  We were rich in family, and that's what counted.

As Dad got older, he used to say to us, "When I go, you won't inherit anything.  The only thing I have to give you is my sense of humor."  Dad and Mom both had a wonderful sense of humor.  It didn't matter what was going on in our lives, they could find the humor in things.  I wonder if Mom and Dad realize what a valuable inheritance that was?  What an incredible legacy?

Sometimes when all is very quiet, if I listen carefully, I can still hear Dad laugh, and I can still see Mom belly laughing.  Mom and Dad left us more than a sense of humor, though.  They left us integrity, honesty, and love.  What more could children ask?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life Moves On

I finally did it.  I gave notice at work today that I'll be leaving the end of August.  I'm going home.  Home to be with my husband.  We will be empty nesters when Kaylonnie leaves on her mission on September 20th.  Since I became pregnant with Molly two weeks after we were married, we've spent almost 35 years (in December) raising kids.  It is finally time for Danny and I to spend some alone time.

Change is never easy.  The first 17 years of our marriage, I stayed at home with my kids, and worked part-time in law offices in the evenings a couple of nights a week.  It was not easy to go back to work full-time.  I had hoped for two more years at home until Kaylonnie was in the first grade, but we really needed me to work, so I went back two years earlier than planned.  Quitting my job is not easy now.  There will be adjustments (mostly financial), but other adjustments, as well.  We'll need to keep me busy, and we'll need to adjust to being home with each other -- but that's the part I'm looking forward to doing.

There is some sadness involved with this change.  Over the years, I've worked in many law offices.  Some wonderful, some not so wonderful.  This last four years, I have really enjoyed my job.  I've been working for a nonprofit organization, Pacific Legal Foundation, as a legal secretary making sure that the Constitution is upheld, and defending the little guy from big government.  These four years I have really felt like I was doing something important -- something more than the ordinary.

I will move on to other projects now.  I've always wanted to write.  I don't know if I'm any good at it.  I only have a high school diploma with a year of business college.  There was a time when I really cared about someday actually writing the great American novel.  Actually, my real desire was to write children's books.  I'm guessing that I'll never be published, and that I'll never make any money at this.  At this point in my life, that doesn't matter -- what matters is that I write for myself.  If I write a couple of children's stories that are not published, at least my grandchildren will have them.  Maybe I'll write short stories.  Maybe I'll just continue writing this blog.  I don't know yet.  Whatever I do, it will be what feels right for me.  I write for me.

So, in about six weeks, if you are local, you may see me walking around Curtis Park with Danny, hand in hand.  More likely you'll see Danny 100 feet ahead of me, with me struggling to keep up!  I'll be taking back the grocery shopping, or some of it.  I'll be doing most of the cooking again.  I've missed that.  I'll be getting healthy again.  Mostly, I'll be enjoying my marriage, my kids, and my grand kids.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Test Patterns

Picture from Wikipedia is in the Public Domain
Remember test patterns?  Remember when insomniacs listened to "Taps" played by an Air Force Band while watching the flag lowered, and then there was the static we called "snow," until television reappeared in the morning via the test patterns?

Off and on during my childhood, we didn't own a television.  When we did, it was not like TV is today.  Reno only had one channel until I was in junior high school when the second channel was added.  When I was in high school, we received a third channel.

We had a little black and white TV with a "rabbit ear" antenna.  Mom was a marvel at adjusting the rabbit ears just right to get optimum reception -- even if it required aluminum foil or a clothes hanger be attached.  Sometimes an assignment was made to sit next to the TV and hold the rabbit ears.

Television used to come with tubes inside, which would burn out and have to be replaced.  Mom was the master of finding, testing, and replacing bad tubes.

At some point the sound began to fizzle on our little black and white TV.  Mom showed us how to hit the top of the TV in just the right spot to get the sound on again.  That worked for a time, then it became so bad that an assignment was made to sit next to the TV and keep banging on it.

When my grandmother Janes passed away, we inherited her television.  At first we were thrilled because it was somewhat larger than our little TV, but the big one had a bad picture tube, which was too expensive to replace.  It only lasted a few weeks.  As usual, Mom saved the day, and the "piggy back" TV was born.  She put the small TV with no sound on top of the larger TV with no picture, and we were back in business.

Television used to be a family activity.  It was charming to gather every Sunday evening for The Ed Sullivan Show.   Dad loved westerns, so we all grew up on Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Have Gun, Will Travel, and a western that I only remember by Dad's name for it, "Tight Pants" -- or maybe that was his name for Paladin on Have Gun, Will Travel -- I don't remember.  Dad loved the movie, The High and the Mighty with John Wayne as an airplane pilot.  We watched it over and over again.  We were visiting Mom in the hospital when she had double pneumonia, and The High and the Mighty came on TV.  We all gathered around her bed to watch it -- me perched on the window sill.  Later, Mom told us that she just wished we had all left her alone so she could rest.
Lorne Greene in Bonanza
Picture from Wikipedia is in the Public Domain
Ironically, the best part of TV was the commercials -- especially cigarette commercials.  I can still hear the music from the Marlboro Man, and I remember the slogan, "I'd walk a mile for a Camel."  Although my siblings and I can still remember some of the lyrics, they must not have been very effective because none of us smoke.  I would much rather have children watching cigarette commercials than male enhancement commercials or feminine hygiene product commercials!

As I sit mindlessly watching reality TV some evenings, I long for those days of simplicity sitting on the floor, propped up with my pillow, dog curled up beside me, watching Bonanza or Big Valley.  During each commercial, someone would take a potty break.  It was then the responsibility of those left in the room to yell, "It's on!" when the show returned.

Dad sometimes made homemade milkshakes for us, or sliced two Milky Way candy bars into thin slices on a plate to share during the show.

Memories are good -- especially those memories of a much less complicated time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Days Gone By

My grandson, Michael, a couple of years ago
Happy Independence Day everyone!  I was just sitting here going down memory lane.  I was thinking about family traditions my family had when I was a kid.

Mom and Dad always talked with us about what the 4th of July meant.  If we were in Reno, we would go to the drive-in and watch a movie because when the city fireworks show began, we had a perfect view behind the movie screen.

Personal fireworks are illegal in Nevada, so I didn't even know what that was until I was an adult and moved to Sacramento and saw the crazy Californians trying to blow each other up.

If we were at the cabin for the holiday, we would make signs that said "honk for freedom," and sit on the edge of the highway and wave to people as they honked.  At night, we would bang pots and pans together for noisemakers, make smores, and blow bubbles in the meadow.

Fun times!

Have a safe and lovely 4th of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Over the last week, I've read bits an pieces of Twitter "tweets", Facebook "status updates", and blog posts about the new guidelines for sister missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was a very busy week, and I wish I could have read the whole discussion.  The snippets of discussion that I was able to peruse were fascinating.  There were objections about the guidelines for makeup by some, and a whole discussion about the lack of acceptance of dress in general amongst members of the church.  I thought a lot about my past, and how frustrated it was for me not to be accepted.  After giving it some thought, however, I realized that it was not only in church that I was not accepted.  I was pretty much on the outs with my peers my whole childhood -- not accepted by any "group."  There were individuals who embraced me, but not a single "circle" of friends.
So why is it that it is so hurtful when we are not accepted at church?  Maybe it's because that's the one place on earth (other than in our own homes) that we feel we should be accepted.  Didn't Jesus teach that we should love all of Heavenly Father's children?

The internet blogosphere discussion this past week wasn't really about the guidelines for sister missionaries, as I don't think anyone would argue that the Church doesn't have a right to say how the missionaries should be dressed to represent the Church (indeed, the Saviour Himself).  The discussion went much deeper into how we feel about each other, and what we expect of each other.

A good friend (and my first counselor when I was Relief Society President at church) often reminds me that we are all on different levels spiritually.  Remembering that is the key to not judging others -- especially for outward appearance.

When I was Relief Society President, two wards were dissolved and merged into our ward.  We gained 101 new sisters from all walks of life.  Most people embraced the change and realized what an inspired decision this had been.  There was one sister, however, from our old established ward who cornered me in the parking lot and told me that she was going to attend a new ward because some of the new people "smelled bad."  I was floored.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I kept hearing my first counselor's voice in my head, "We are all on different levels spiritually."  Resisting the temptation to punch this sister's lights out, I calmly told her that it was her choice, but that she would be missing a great opportunity to help these new sisters grow -- and to grow her own testimony in the process.  I didn't see this sister for a few weeks, then she came to me to apologize.  I've watched this sister grow in so many ways because of her change of heart and willingness to include others into her circle who took her out of her comfort zone.  I'm happy to say that we are a very cohesive ward now.  While there will always be personality clashes (as with any family or group of people), I truly believe that we all love each other.

May we all strive to love as Jesus loves.